Bongripper – Miserable

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Bongripper
Miserable

Following their split adventures in 2013, with hardcore/grind mob Hate and British doom compadres and everyone’s new favourites Conan, Chicago, Illinois’ Bongripper step back into their own shadows with their latest new album ‘Miserable’ comprises ‘just’ three tracks; ‘just’ because the shortest times at 17:48, while the album closes with a monumental 28:25 monolith. And that’s not without mentioning the supreme Mike Miller artwork, which combines to make a thunderous stallion of a record.

Bongripper have always been one of the most compelling instrumental doom bands to listen to, because this know how to harness a riff and then some. ‘Endless’ is a positive reminder of this – that first riff is thick and chewy like beef biltong, the second a sweet doom chugger – but of course I could go on describing every riff and it would get a bit tedious. Simply, Bongripper still retain the knack of knowing when to dispense with one riff and move onto the next of their seemingly abyssal stack of them, moving from a sense of grooviness to one that sounds ominously evil, and this one is no different, eventually culminating in near enough white noise. ‘Descent’ is equally malevolent, with some of the most thunderous booms ringing in from about nine minutes in, before dropping into a spacey, cavernous outro than perfectly sums up the songs title – it feels lonely, foreboding, even despairing, how you should feel when descending the depths. ‘Into Ruin’ caps off the whole thing with some superb headbang-inducing riffs and more low end crawls before unexpectedly alley-ooping you with a fast stoner-thrash section before dropping back into another tormentous riff. I just love how much they can pack into a song like this when their minds are at it.

This has been available for a little while now and I strongly urge you to check it out if you haven’t already. Links are below – you can stream the whole thing too and you too will find yourselves descending into ruin endlessly.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Miserablehere (download); or here (CD – vinyl presently sold out)

Stream it below:

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YOB: Clearing The Path to Ascend: CD preorder bundles now available

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Image by James Rexroad

Two years after leveling the expectations of critics and listeners alike with ‘Atma‘, Portland doom bringers, YOB, prepare to unleash ‘Clearing The Path To Ascend‘, an aptly titled album for what will undoubtedly be the crowning achievement for a band whose journey now nears two decades of creating music as commanding as it is cathartic. As is the YOB way, the tracks here don’t simply offer a vacuous glimpse into the already riff-soaked doom genre. These songs demand the tandem attention of mind, body, and soul – etching a mark across a sound that finds YOB as formidable and unequaled as they’ve ever been. True ascension requires a destruction of those barriers that prevent any movement forward. Unsurprisingly, YOB pummels any and all of these obstacles with absolute authority, clearing the way for a genuinely visceral listening experience and climbing upward into a realm that sets the band in a heavy metal place that has been and will always remain wholly their own. 
 
Recorded at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene, notorious for its reserve of vintage equipment, alongside longtime collaborator/iconic sound-sage Billy Barnett, and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Beastmilk, Nails) at Audiosiege Engineering, YOB will release ‘Clearing The Path To Ascend‘ on CD and digitally via Neurot Recordings on 1 September, and on vinyl via Relapse Records on 2 September.

Clearing The Path To Ascend‘ preorder bundles are currently available:
For CD orders head here; and for special T-shirt bundles, click here
 
YOB will bring their riff domination to the UK/Europe, commencing on September 3rd, 2014 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. YOB will be joined by Pallbearer.
  

TOUR DATES WITH PALLBEARER IN SUPPORT:

Wed 3 Sept NL Utrecht Tivoli de helling
Thurs 4 Sept UK Bristol The Fleece
Fri 5 Sept UK Manchester Roadhouse
Sat 6 Sept UK Glasgow Audio
Sun 7 Sept UK Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Mon 8 Sept UK London The Underworld
Wed 10 Sept DE Dortmund FZW
Thurs 11 Sept NL Groningen Vera
Fri 12 Sept DK Aarhus Atlas
Sat13 Sept SE Gothenburg Truckstop Alaska
Sun 14 Sept NO Oslo Hostsabbat
Tues16 Sept FI Helsinki Tavastia
Wed 17 Sept SE Stockholm Slakthuset
Thurs 18 Sept DK Copenhagen Loppen
Fri 19 Sept DE Leipzig UT Connewitz
Sat 20 Sept PL Wroclaw Firlej
Sun 21 Sept DE Berlin Bi Nuu
Tues 23 Sept CZ Prague Klub 007
Wed 24 Sept AT Vienna Arena
Thurs 25 Sept AT Innsbruck PMK
Fri 26 Sept CH Winterthur Gaswerk
Sat 27 Sept IT Milan Lo-fi Club
Mon 29 Sept CH Lausanne Le Romandie
Tues 30 Sept DE Karlsruhe Jubez
Wed 1Oct FR Montpellier Black Ship
Thurs 2 Oct ES Barcelona Razzmatazz3
Fri 3 Oct ES Madrid Villamanuela
Sat 4 Oct PT Porto Amplifest
Sun 5 Oct ES Erandio Sonora
Mon 6 Oct FR Toulouse Le Dynamo
Tues 7 Oct FR Nantes Le Ferrailleur
Wed 8 Oct FR Paris Glazart
Fri 10 Oct GR Athens Kyttaro Club
Sat 11 Oct  BE Antwerp Desertfest Belgium

As a precursor to the release, YOB is offering up two ‘Clearing The Path To Ascend‘ video teasers here. Stay tuned for further YOB happenings to be announce in the weeks to come.
 
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Neurot Recordings
Neurot on Facebook

Nightfell – The Living Ever Mourn

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Nightfell
The Living Ever Mourn
Southern Lord/Parasitic

Nightfell is a new band comprising of its two core members Todd Burdette (Tragedy, His Hero is Gone) and Tim Call (Aldebaran, Shadow of the Torturer), collecting here as Nightfell, a two-piece project which has recently released their debut album ‘The Living Ever Mourn’. As members of some of their respectively critically acclaimed and loved underground work, you would expect Nightfell to meet those high standards, and ‘The Living Ever Mourn’ doesn’t let anyone down. It’s a mix of Burdette’s and Call’s collective experience, leaning more towards Call’s doom worship in more ways than one, but underneath some of the trudge and plaintive mood is some ripping riffs and thunderous strikes. The guitar tone, particularly during the shredding, has a whiff of Amon Amarth about it, though you won’t find any odes to vikings or Norseology here. Burdette’s vocals are often deep growls if not guttural and connect with some wicked moments – yes, the black metal ‘ugh’ is often overused but even in its sheer simplicity, it boosts the first part of ‘The Last Disease’, which moves at a fast if not quite frenetic tempo before shifting into a slower dirge to finish. Much of the material here works in pretty much the same manner, barring ‘Empty Prayers’, an incredible dirge featuring clean, chanted vocals, a heavy, almost weeping riff, occasionally punctuated with a bit of slide for that added punch. They could have made that song twice as long and it would still be perfect. And ‘Altars To Wrath’ is one hell of a track that twists and writhes its listener into enduring pain. I’m not sure whether this will be a one-off project from Burdette and Call, but I would be happy for more Nightfell in future. Splendid stuff.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘The Living Ever Mourn’ here
Stream it below:

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Fange – Poisse

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Fange
Poisse
Cold Dark Matter

Fange are a trio from Rennes, France, specializing in dirty, harsh, downtuned sludge, with ‘Poisse’, their debut release, exemplifying what you’d expect to hear from a band of such description – indeed the amount of quality sludge and doom I’ve already heard this year is meaning have to really pore through the fibres of each release. ‘Poisse’, I’m pleased to say, is among the better ones. They feature drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo (of Brain Pyramid) in their line-up, but this is far from the psychedelic retro worship of that band, and instead what they do is in no way trippy or upbeat. Fange are jarring, viscous and thoroughly oppressive in nature, striding firmly amidst stomach-churning riffage and noise elements. They do nod to certain allowances of atmosphere (the awesome feedback/noise intro to ‘Cloches Fendues’ sets the tone brilliantly), while the start of ‘Ammoniac’ sets off on a ripping hardcore punk tangent before settling back into what the band does best. And they do it really well – it’s not original (not much is these days) but its succeeds in creating a downtrodden vibe. The band’s name translates as ‘mire’, which is quite appropriate considering the depth of groove, fuzz and snarl, amidst a swirling brew of discordant aggravation existing in the interminable void they create. Check out the stream below and enjoy some of the harshest noise to come from over the Channel.

<p style="text-align:right;”>Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Poisse’ here (name-your-price download/limited CD)
Stream it below:

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Old Skin – :consume:

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Old Skin
:consume:

Owing very much to my lack of activity towards the end of last year, I missed the debut release by Mancunian hardcore/metal crew Old Skin, highly anticipated for it containing members of Esoteric Youth and the brilliant Knife Crimes, who we reviewed posthumously after they left the world behind with, for my money, one of the best demonstrations of hardcore of recent years. So Old Skin came with a degree of expectation, but they showed that anyone expecting Knife Crimes mark II on ‘Mære’ that they’re anything but – what this band and that band have in common is an eye for darkness; but Old Skin were open to elements of post-metal, Old English folklore and a slight air of mystery. Whatever your take, Old Skin quickly became a flagbearer for UK hardcore, a scene which is bulging at the seems as it stands. That’s partly what makes the release of ‘:consume:’ such an interesting one.

Anyone following underground hardcore and metal right now, and everyone with an interest in the digital format should take note. For Old Skin have decided this release will only be available from 26/05/2014, up until 01/06/2014. It’s now 29/05/2014, which means there’s only a few days of this left before you properly miss out. And while these two songs don’t open up in the way that ‘Mære’ did, certainly not by way of experimentalism or reflection, it’s still a release worthy of the frenzied hype going around the social networks in a bid to get as many people to check it out before the band take it down forever. ‘Swordcharmer’ starts with a slow build-up, vocalist Michael Ribeiro showing exactly what a beast of a roar he has as the riff coarses and pumps up until 2:23 when it’s very veins explode in a brief crusty shred n’ blast out before dropping back into the main riff. The B-side, if you will, entitled ‘Snakeswallower’, is a more usual affair, albeit a corker, going at the jugular acrest a slight technical lick, before dropping into a mid-paced chug-groove and a satisfying hardcore rodeo to ride out to the finish.

This release will undoubtedly please fans of the genre and anyone into acts like Converge, Integrity, Oathbreaker, etc. who might be looking for something new can’t really do much better than this right now. A full length is planned by the end of the year and the blogosphere is sure to lose theirselves in it all again. One day, we’ll all have old skin, an inevitability, but we could all do with Old Skin in our lives, and the time is now to consume ‘:consume:’, or to watch it disappear forever. Time is ticking.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘:consume:‘ here (name-your-price, until 01/06/2014)

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Megalodoom – Tectonic Oblivion

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Megalodoom
Tectonic Oblivion
Witch Hunter

Some records are so heavy, you feel the weight of their delivery in your ears. Megalodoom’s ‘Tectonic Oblivion‘, quite appropriately, will do just that. Having previously impressed with their demo jam ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Grief‘ (later properly released through Tartarus Records), their debut EP, recently released through Witch Hunter Records, sees them truly accomplish what you’d expect from a band whose mantra is ‘No words. Just riffs‘. The opening track ‘Polar Vortex’ sounds just evil, in an ominous, Sabbathian way, but such is the boom coming out of every groove from the low end of the guitars and the thunderous bass that it isn’t just a superlative. And as the EP progresses, the Nottingham quartet show they’ve not just enhanced their ability to drag out a riff without losing its appeal, but also to create moments of such cacophony that they might well register on the Richter scale. The opening rumbles of ‘Sword of the Spirit’, the longest track here, are slightly reminiscent of High on Fire or Grief before they throw in another truly monstrous and devastating riff. The superb production ensures Megalodoom’s quaking delivery is pushed to the fore – overall ‘Tectonic Oblivion’ is another fantastic release that should belonging in your already bulging collection and confirms Megalodoom’s belonging in this frankly stupendous stoner/sludge/doom scene we have on these shores.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Tectonic Oblivion‘ here (name-your-price)
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We Must Obey is now three!

Yes, you read that right. Holy fuckballs. Yes, despite much limping about and shuffling towards inexorable doom – much like the world it seems – We Must Obey has made it, just about, to the ripe old blog age of three.

Regular visitors over the last year or so will have seen occasional high points in our coverage, such as when we got a Q&A with Ginger Wildheart, provided our in-depth, if slightly tardy, coverage of ‘Kin Hell Fest, and our recognition of printed media as Iron Fist, a magazine as true to metal as any other, launched last year. Then gradually we became less active as a blog, as I personally became more active as a person. In the last couple of weeks, largely thanks to the sporadic flow of activity spurring from ‘Kin Hell Fest and it’s aftermath, it’s fair to say that for now the fire is alive. Should my priorities continue to be taken up with other things as they so often are, then I can’t say for certain if we’ll make it to four years. I love rock, metal and all its offspring, but continuing as a one man operation with no sign of any further help coming in from the inside, it’s harder to find the same love for doing this blog as I did when I first started, inspired by the likes of Cosmo Lee and Invisible Oranges, and Andrew Childers of Grind and Punishment. I’m inundated with review requests these days and I try so hard to listen to everyone, but it’s hard to keep up. And there’s many I don’t even review despite having enjoyed their craft.

But I assure you, I don’t want to end it here, and if I, or indeed if anyone, can help me find that spark to make this more than just a passing concern for me again, you’re more than welcome to join this ship and we’ll steer it back on course.

I must continue to thank the usual suspects – Lauren at Rarely Unable, Grim Kim Kelly at Catharsis, Chris & Witch Hunter, Jona & Pelagic Records, and anyone whose been in touch to supply me/us with content. I do try my hardest to keep up and I’m often overwhelmed, but these people, among others, are part of the reason that metal and the flora and fauna that surrounds it remains intriguing and exciting. And thanks of course to Paul Priest and ‘kin Hell Fest, for supporting this blog in equal if not bigger fashion to us. Paul didn’t just spread the word but he pushed a good few new followers our way. If only we and many others could have done more for their festival. Most of all though, I must thank all the bands and artists who continue to innovate and create, that keep the metal flame alive and keep it exciting. Even as I approach 30 years of age, this isn’t anything that has its power over me like metal, that ability to retain an iron grip over me and leave me wondrous as to what I’ve just heard. And of course, I must not forget those who stop by to read these posts and gives a shit about my opinion. Indeed I’m forthright enough to heartily recommend amazing new bands to you, and if you’re enjoying listening to them as I do write about them, then you’re just as important part of the cycle.

Despite some of the gloom passed here, am I happy to reach this milestone? Why of course I am. I created this thing
after drafting my own skills for a year or so before deciding to have a crack at it. It hasn’t grown much, but neither do all the best Pokémon. And will I make it through a fourth year? I’m really not sure. But I’m not going to let it sink without trace either, and keeping the mystery alive is better than letting the magic die. If there is such a thing as magic here.

And for the record, I’m not giving out any cake. Luckily, you can make it yourself. And as we share our blog birthday with the one and only Metal Cakes, you actually can! Metal Cakes is six years strong today and there’s a new Entombed-themed cupcake for you to have a bash at! Go on. What’s more metal than cake, eh?

I’m digressing now. I think we’ll leave it there. Cheers everyone!