XII Boar unleash cover of Motörhead’s ‘Damage Case’

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It’s always good to see a UK band going from strength to strength despite the ignorance of the masses, and XII Boar are a fine example of such exponence, having released several killer EPs and singles including this year’s 7″ ‘Truck Stop Baby‘. The band have now revealed a previously unreleased recording from that record’s sessions, in the mold of a tribute to the legendary Motörhead’s ‘Damage Case’, hallmarked by the trio’s wicked blend of sludge, stoner rock and blues, marks of which are left all over this version. It rocks from one style to enough, dropping into the bluesy section with an ‘eins, zwei, drei, vier!‘ and the result is emphatic enough for this to be considered one of my favourite Motörhead covers around.

The cover is available on their Bandcamp page and can be streamed and downloaded for free. You can stream it below here too. Get on it!

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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‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 Preview: Friday

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Welcome one and all to We Must Obey’s annual preview of this coming weekend’s ‘Kin Hell Fest. As those who’ve previously read our preview before, the drill is as such: we run the gamut of every band playing this festival, summing them up in a few words with images and links to their sites where you can follow them or check out some of their music.

This year, ‘Kin Hell Fest is bigger and better than ever. Being held in the 1400-capacity Vox Warehouse in Leeds, the festival has attracted the biggest names so far since the fest was founded in 2011. We are very proud to be supporting this festival again as we did in 2011 and in 2013, and together we will all make this a festival worth remembering. So without further ado, let’s get down to previewing Friday’s action.

Death Tripper – 14:00-14:25

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Cracking young hardcore/d-beat/grind crew who first came to our attention here when they released a split with Nottingham vegan PV chums Meatpacker. A great way to kick off proceedings.

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Ephemeral Foetus – 14:40-15:05

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This Derby-based lot are a cracking band, mixing d-beat crust/thrash/punk riffs with raging societal intensity and aggression. They recently released a split with fellow Derby crusties Piss on Authority (‘Fallacy’), and if those three tracks are anything to go by, they be as relentless in their performance here as they show ‘Relentless Contempt for Man’.

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Pist – 15:20-15:45

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Super riff worship featuring a wealth of experience from the Mancunian scene. Pist will step up early on the Friday slinging tracks from their recent released debut ‘Riffology’. Heavy rock ‘n’ roll to raise a glass/plastic cup to.

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Necro Deathmort – 16:00-16:30

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London based duo Necro Deathmort are certainly one of the most intriguing additions to the line-up, bringing with them electro beats fused with doom vibes and industrial machinations. With a slew of releases behind them, their appearance here will herald a monolithic vibe; expect them to stand out.

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Iniquitous Savagery – 16:45-17:15

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Scottish brutal death metal merchants who will soon be releasing their debut album, and will arrive here to pummel your brains in with ridiculous riffs and carnivorous screams aplenty.

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Haar – 17:30-18:00

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In Edinburgh, a ‘haar’ is a dense chilly fog that blows in from the North Sea when the wind is in the east. Cheers Lonely Planet! It’s also home to an excellent progressive black metal band of the same name, producing music as murky and challenging as the conditions out at sea.

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Evisorax – 18:15-18:40

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Wigan grindcore berzerkers who have the backing of Scott Hull and J Randall of Agoraphobic Nosebleed fame – the former mastered their 2011 album ‘Isle of Dogs’ and the latter released it through his Grindcore Karaoke label. Their shows are known for being highly charged and confrontational, which is just fine with us.

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Undersmile – 18:55-19:30

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A rich, diverse, and quintessentially heavy doom band from Oxford, coming with the backing of Dylan Carlson (Earth) and Henry Rollins. High praise indeed. Ranging from titantically heavy to marvellously serene.

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Ingested – 19:45-20:20

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The headliners of the first edition of KHF are back! Expect huge slam pits for this lot who in 2013 stepped up their game with their brilliant LP ‘The Sorreption’.

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Pentagram Chile – 20:40-21:20

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Pentagram’s story from being one of the forerunners of extreme metal to releasing their debut album 28 years later still seems unreal. Yet Anton Reisenegger managed to pull it off after all that time and delivered the goods for the lost years of never making it happen. They’re about to land in town so prepare to get your heads banging away in appreciation of a band that Reisenegger refused to allow to die.

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Napalm Death – 21:40-22:45

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Do these guys really need an introduction? Oh go on then. The granddaddies of grindcore, Napalm Death have in their thirty years as a band redefined extreme music, taking down fascists, racists, policitians, warmongers, hypocrites, societal injustice, famine and more with their diatribes. Often imitated, never bettered, it’s truly a coup and a cause to celebrate that they are greeting this festival with their presence. If there’s a band this weekend you must not miss, it has to be Napalm Death.

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Famine – 23:05-23:30
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Local merchants of hardcore/powerviolence/crossover style animosity, they emerged last year with our top-10 rated EP ‘A Hand of Sore Thumbs’ and are another of the highly rated reasons for you to ensure you turn up early on Saturday for the full attack. Shouting along to the chorus of ‘Sold Bowels (Saved Owls)’ should prove to be a weekend highlight, as will jumping in the pit for these.

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Lock Up – 23:50-00:50

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Closing out the Friday night will be an appearance by deathgrind supergroup Lock Up. Joining Shane Embury, fresh from performing with Napalm Death, will be the dream team of Tomas Lindberg, Nick Barker and Anton Reisenegger (also fresh from his Pentagram slot). This is the ONLY place you will see Lock Up in the UK this year. Make sure you don’t miss it!

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Peter Clegg

BongCauldron – BongCauldron EP

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BongCauldron
BongCauldron EP
Superhot

Hailing from Leeds, Jay (drums, aka drunken bog dweller), Biscuit (guitar, relentless Squatch hunter), and Ben (bass, abominable cave goblin), make up the sludge power trio BongCauldron. One look at the name of this band will tell you everything you need to know about what they’re going to sound like, and what they’re likely to sing about. That doesn’t make them any less deserving of your attention or your judgment. The fact is, BongCauldron serves up an addictive stew of stoner rock, sludge metal, and boogie, on their debut s/t EP. It won’t surprise you greatly, at least not lyrically, but the band know how to jam through tracks such as ‘Tree Wizard’, which contain equal amounts of groove and gruff aggression. There is some neat variation between songs though, with the single ‘Up’ a hearty display of riff and reverb, the speedy blasts of ‘Vehemence’, and the Sabbathian sounds of ‘Gimp Jig’. Overall, it’s a pleasing body of work, falling somewhere between Wo Fat, High on Fire, and of course, Sabbath, given a slightly rough production job to maximise the distortion and drive in every bludgeoning groove. These five tracks will firmly establish the band within the swellings of the UK underground, surely pleasing these hungry swamp creatures.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘BongCauldron’ here (CD/download)
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Groan – Ride the Snake

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Groan
Ride the Snake
Superhot

Fun loving doom rockers Groan return here in time for Chrimbo with a new five track EP, ‘Ride the Snake‘. If you’re familiar with Groan you’ll know what to expect, and for the uninitiated, take a trip back into the late 70s/early 80s, only that you’ve taken the modern day scene through a time machine and you’ve pretty much got this band. Riff wise, ‘Ride the Snakekicks arse. The main riff to the lead single ‘Women of Doom’ is big, chunky and full of raw power, and tracks such as ‘Drug Lord’, with the inclusion of gang vocals at the beginning and a rollicking riff, show the band’s versatility between slow doomy trips and straight-up rock monsters. The guitarists here throw some scintillating solos into the mix and really are the driving force of this band Vocalist Andreas Mazzareth reminds me a little of Ronnie James Dio – nowhere near a master thespian as the late metal god but his delivery has a mix of straight up 70s hell rocker and Dio at his encapsulating, soaring best. The only letdown is that lyrically it’s not very inventive at times – perhaps the only thing here that for me really prevents ‘Ride the Snake‘ as being great, instead of ‘rather good’. Still, you can’t sniff at this – Groan come with a solid reputation, which is strengthening with every release, and they are sure to satisfy their growing army of followers with this swaggering record.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Ride the Snake‘ here (name-your-price download/CD)
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Vista Chino – Peace

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Vista Chino
Peace
Napalm

The Kyuss Lives! reunion was meant to be joyous. Despite Josh Homme’s refusal to be a part of it, John Garcia, Brant Bjork, Nick Oliveri and finally Bruno Favery, playing Homme’s parts, embarked on an incredible tour which was possibly the last one I got proper merry to before parenthood made its presence felt. For many who never got to see Kyuss in their heyday, this was as close as it could get to the real thing, with 3/4 of the original line-up jamming out classics from ‘Blues for the Red Sun’ and ‘Welcome to Sky Valley‘ making for practical stoner heaven in 2011. Then it got ugly. Homme and Scott Reeder, at one point deputising in the reunion for a trial-bound Oliveri, sued the other members and the Kyuss name got dragged through the mud. Seemingly it centered on the reunited band seeking to use the Kyuss Lives! name for studio material and thus profiting from it. Regardless of however popular it made Homme in light of his proceedings, he had a point, and so the Kyuss Lives! party came to an end, the Kyuss name tarnished not by the music, but through judicial action.

And so, the reunion returned to wilt in the hot desert sun. And like the proverbial phoenix, Garcia, Bjork, Oliveri and Favery rose up, under the name of Vista Chino, and thus the most simple solution to this mess – a name change – was found. The debacle was resigned to the past, and it therefore seems appropriate that the latest album in the Kyuss family lineage should be entitled ‘Peace‘. Enough of the shit-stirring, let’s see if the group still sound as good now as it did in the 90’s. The surprising answer is yes, absolutely. ‘Peace’ is a cracking return from a group whose members’ best days are often considered behind them. That it does more than enough to step out that large shadow is something else.

Vista Chino – Dargona Dragona

True, it doesn’t do away with that old skin completely, as ‘Dargona Dragona’ brings back shades of 1991 all over again. A simple no-brainer, to remind people of that era is as much as you’d expect from the seasoned veterans of the desert scene. The hot glow of the sun seems to shine ever brighter though, as ‘Peace‘ rumbles on. ‘Planets 1 & 2’ is phenomenal, Bjork handling Planet 1’s vocals and Garcia coming back for part 2, a brilliant reminder of the excellence they first showed in the 90’s, yet the first mark that Vista Chino steps out and casts its own shadow, is the seductive 70’s groove of ‘Adara’, followed by the jam band indulgence of ‘Dark and Lovely’, and the whopping stoner worship of the 13 minute ‘Acidize…The Gambling Moose’. Never mind what went before it – Vista Chino Lives!

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Peace‘ here

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Horrors That You’ve Seen – Smokin’, Skatin’, Satan

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Horrors That You’ve Seen
Smokin’, Skatin’, Satan
Made in the Meth Lab

With ‘sludgecore’ becoming popular once again, here’s a slightly different take on the term with ‘stoner hardcore’ crew Horrors That You’ve Seen, with their latest four-track, the brilliantly-titled ‘Smokin’, Skatin’, Satan‘, the first release since their debut album ‘Breaking Hearts’. For me It’s a difficult one to sum up – hardcore elements generally mix well with sludge, as proved continually by the likes of Crowbar, Eyehategod, and recently, newer bands like Iron Witch. Within a sound more akin to stoner rock or metal, these elements seem far more juxtaposed and don’t seem quite as cohesive, at least not here as historically displayed by originators such as Black Flag or Saint Vitus – though the booming slowdowns that hardcore and stoner/doom share ought to go hand in hand. Still, HTYS for the most part do this well, most often laying down desert-soaked grooves and occasionally exploding into punk rage. They do finish on a cracking note, the closing ‘Cast The Witch’ finishing with an earth-shaking slow riff that warrants repeat listening. Perhaps though I’m just a tiny bit disappointed that the end product didn’t quite stack up with some awesome packaging – artwork of a pentagrammed pizza and a cassette tape from recycled card and hemp rope? Yes please. At least their dedication to the leaf is seemingly unmatched.

Stream it below and pick up a download or limited tape for yourselves

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Smokin’, Skatin’, Satan’ here
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Kylesa – Ultraviolet

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Kylesa
Ultraviolet
Season of Mist

I have a slight confession to make here. While its no secret that I love sludge and doom metal – as it is present around various parts of this site’s history – I’ve never got Kylesa. I don’t know why. As a drummer, I should at least have been blown away by their incorporation of two drummers into their sound. I should have dug those sweet psychedelic sounds, those thunderous grooves. But for all the explosion of the stoner metal scene in the mid-2000’s, Kylesa seemed to be the band that got away for me. Despite attempts to get into them more, nothing seemed to click. Did I genuinely not enjoy this band? Was it myself, or was it something I deemed them to be missing.

After listening to ‘Ultraviolet’, I’ll possibly never ever understand why it’s taken me so damn long. And most of you are probably wondering the same thing. It’s the wake-up call I’ve been waiting for. One of the most enjoyable slabs of music to come my way this year. I guess after not being able to appreciate the last couple of albums, ‘Ultraviolet’ feels like the apex of the swell; as though Kylesa have been building to this for some time. Much darker and introspective than previous releases, ‘Ultraviolet’ is a vast spectrum of titanic riffs and acidic skies, psychedelic wonderment and ambient gaze. ‘We’re Taking This’ is one of the album’s fiercest songs, before plundering into a trippy midsection before going back to its booming riff. By contrast, the almost mournful ‘Steady Breakdown’ embellishes Kylesa’s new psych-vision, while ‘Quicksand’ makes for one of the more happier sounding songs against the call of ‘I’m choking on my own blood!‘ Founder members Philip Cope and Laura Pleasants trade off riffs and vocals with aplomb, Pleasants in particular showing an immense melodic streak that’s more prevalent than ever before, most terrifically on the closer ‘Drifting’ which evokes a barren, lonely existence through its echoey opening scenery, before exploding in the final 90 seconds to finish on an almost hopeless, yet enthralling journey.

For me, now begins the long process of reparation – to show this band a bit more love and recognition and to make up on what I’ve not realised. That Kylesa, slowly, surely and now definitively, are stamping their territory as one of the standard bearers for modern, innovative sludge metal.

Peter Clegg

Buy/stream ‘Ultraviolet‘ here (CD/vinyl bundles)
Or here (MP3/various formats)

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Queens of the Stone Age – Tension Head

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Nowadays, mention Queens of the Stone Age, and Josh Homme will probably be the first things that springs to mind. It is his band, after all, formed post-Kyuss, progressing them from the deserts to cult status to mainstream acclaim/disdain(?) and starring roles at festivals the world over. For my money though, its been a while since their glory days, and by glory days, I’m talking about the Nick Oliveri-era. The era that spawned two fantastic albums, ‘R’ and ‘Songs for the Deaf’. The former the springboard to greater acclaim from the band, the latter the all-conquering, Grohlery, Lanegany, body-grooving, name-taking drive down the devil’s highway that gobbled up awards left right and centre. Then Homme fired Oliveri and all of a sudden…I wasn’t as enthused by what QOTSA were putting out.

Don’t get me wrong. I love songs like ‘3’s and 7’s’, and ‘In My Head’. And ‘Make It Wit Chu’. But they lack an element so common on ‘R’ and ‘Songs for the Deaf’, an element that makes those albums so good.

DANGER

That six-letter word is what makes every rock ‘n’ roll band who’s ever been a) worth a damn and/or b) successful,?actually something. The Rolling Stones have it. The Stooges have it. Alice Cooper has it. Motley Crue have it. Nirvana had it. Motorhead have it. The Wildhearts have it. Queens of the Stone Age had it, til Oliveri got the boot. And now they don’t seem so dangerous.

Of course, ‘Tension Head’ was ‘13 th Floor’ by Mondo Generator in a previous life, but its on ‘R’ where it really feels unhinged. ‘13th Floor’ wasn’t bad, but it feels like its missing the spark which ignites this rerecording. The riff that signals the song’s beginning and its subsequent unsteady descent into chaos is the invite into Oliveri’s world of trouble. ‘Every day I wake up feeling this way’. Get in the car. ‘I take it downtown, with all the action goin’ down’. The screw is loose. Before you know it, its rolling around somewhere in the footwell. Then you understand what this is all about: ‘(high life) I feel so sick/(low life) I feel so fucking sick…on the bathroom floor’. The central theme has now been established, with the tension head in question burning the candle at both ends, living life to both extremes – the euphoric high of letting hell loose across the town, high on drugs, with reckless disregard for health and dignity, the lack of which brings said character down to earth as he wretches in the restroom, barely able to raise his head up to view himself in the mirror in the ultimate downer.

Queens of the Stone Age – Tension Head (Rock Am Ring 2003)

It’s violent intensity is for me what sets this apart from ‘13th Floor’. Its all around heavier, more off-the-rails, with one hell of a vocal performance from Oliveri, who really sounds like he’s losing his rag in the second verse with his roars of ‘no more/no mooooooorrrrrre!/no mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooorrrrre! (I’m done having fun!)’ Not on any other Queens song does Oliveri sound more intense – the only time he sounds arguably more maniacal is ‘Six Shooter’ from ‘Songs from the Deaf’, but its not foot to the floor, edge of the seat stuff like ‘Tension Head’ is.

It’s obvious what this songs about. Having an addiction and trying to kick it. Oliveri’s character in this song is deranged and somewhat paranoid, an effect of whatever concotion he’s on. Given some of his misdemeandours (both real and alleged), one or two might call it semi-autobiographical, in light of the recent plea bargain he struck after being arrested over domestic violence in July 2011.

Now you may be wondering why I chose to feature a song from ‘R’, one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of the previous decade, in an Underrated feature. Simples. The same reason ‘Ain’t No Fun (Waiting ‘Round to be a Millionaire)’ by AC/DC was featured. Everybody loves AC/DC, and a hell of a lot of people love ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’. But look throughout their live releases, and when exactly was the last time they played that song live? Rarely is it ever talked about either. It’s all about ‘Back in Black’, or ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’, or ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’. In years to come, no one is going to be talking about ‘Tension Head’. They’ll remember ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’, ‘The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’, ‘No One Knows’, ‘Go With The Flow’, ‘Little Sister’, ‘Burn the Witch’, and so on, and so forth. But ‘Tension Head’, and most of the Oliveri lead tracks? I feel they’ll mostly get short shrift.

For all my lament about the way QOTSA have gone, the news of Oliveri’s appearance on their forthcoming album, along with Dave Grohl’s return has drummer, has renewed hope that this might just be the best QOTSA album we’ve seen for years. And even if my hopes are dashed in that regard, would it kill them just to let loose the hounds of hell one more time, dragging us down to the fiery subterranea in Lucifer’s sidecart, laughing maniacally without a care in the world as we do? For danger is the key element of any rock ‘n’ roll band that wants to truly kick and take names. The feeling you’re about to plunge over that cliff. That feeling of excess. That unstoppable feeling. From the screech of the tyres to the final collision with the lamppost. Waking up on the cold bathroom floor, fresh from the previous night’s excursions. It wakes up the demon in all of us. Without that demon, rock is absolutely nothing. And Oliveri is that demon personified.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘R’ here

View all previous Underrated features here, including articles on AC/DC, The Wildhearts, The Cult and more.