Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light

In my parallel universe these bands would be on The Jools Holland Show, although it wouldn’t be called The Jools Holland Show, Jools would still be around, sat at a table in the corner with his ligging mates looking glum; the show would be called “Wash Out Your Ears You Cloth Eared Idiot and listen to some decent music”.  This is a remarkable album, it somehow makes generally impenetrable music into a commercial entity. I use “somehow” in the loosest possible terms here, I know it’s never going to get on the Radio One playlist in a million years, but in the same way The Residents made weird accessible this music makes metal/noise/industrial/experimental a little more palatable to the average punter who might be stuck in a particular genre hole. I’ll leave the detail to the promo people (below in italics) who give a far more coherent background story than I can or indeed have the time to do.

I bask in the unfettered joy of this noise, I know a good number of musical acquaintances will be somewhat dumbfounded by the cathartic distorted noise herein being described as commercial, but there is a need to listen carefully, and in the context of the more extreme ends of the metal world, and peel away the various layers. This is Throbbing Gristle meets Doom/Death Metal in Lee Perry’s head. If you thought Mark E Smith’s current vocal exorcisms with The Fall were too extreme for your delicate ears you should perhaps stay away, however if you are prepared to be challenged and have your perception of what music is or might be then you should take a punt on this. But you probably won’t, you’ll probably go and see that Pink Floyd tribute act in your local pub and feel content in your nostalgia. And no, Jools still looks glum, he is probably wondering where Coldplay have got to.

The Body and Full of Hell are both unique and influential forces in heavy music. Both artists welcome challenges and eschew self-promotion. Each artist seems driven to take risks and push boundaries of what is considered heavy. A clear example being that on recent tours The Body have performed without any live guitar or drums. Both artists enjoy the creative growth and music and good times that come out of collaborations. Each has collaborated often with other unique but like-minded musicians such as Thou, The Haxan Cloak, Krieg, Merzbow, The Bug and the list goes on. Despite their obvious differences in songwriting, The Body and Full of Hell are unified by their shared aesthetic, catharsis through the manipulation of emotions transformed by visceral noise and fueled by an inescapable sense of dread. They have returned to collaborate again not because of their commonalities but because of their differences and what those differences yield in performance. With Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light, The Body & Full of Hell have integrated a love for electronic noisescapes with abrasive, precise sonic assaults into a sound unlike anything either has produced before.

Written and recorded in one week at Machines with Magnets in Providence, the music of Ascending draws from unexpected sources such as reggaetón and jungle (“Master’s Story”). There are some familiar guests to The Body fans, namely vocalist Chrissy Wolpert (Assembly of Light Choir) and Ben Eberle (Sandworm), as well as first-time collaborator drummer Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt, Black Pus). Samples, synth, saxophone, and a drum orchestra all throb, and sputter, coagulating under the weight of the two bands. Programmed drum patterns and loops taking cues from hip hop are bent and twisted throughout, flawlessly emboldening the distortion drenched guitars and howling vocals. Each element, though meticulously crafted, is visceral, as the exhilaration of improvisation has not been curtailed by editing.

Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light casts aside the dogmas of heavy music. Extremity in The Body & Full of Hell’s music is not based on macho musings or competitive trendiness, but rather is an integral tool to exploring the anxieties of modern life and the bridges between personal and political strife. As leading voices in DIY and underground music communities, The Body & Full of Hell, along with peers such as Thou, are expanding the possibilities of extreme music by shaping worlds of sound with a palette of diverse influences seldom seen in “heavy music” today.

Releases on Thrill Jockey on November 17th


The Grind


Unsane have let loose an impressive new track “The Grind” from the incoming eighth LP, Sterilize (Southern Lord, 29th Sept). About the track, Unsane guitarist/vocalist Chris Spencer says, “This is the drum crusher we’ve been looking forward to doing live! A song about living to the fullest while you’ve got the chance”.

“The Grind” is now available at Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music or indeed via Bandcamp

Unsane are heading to Europe on a tour that spans over a month, running from October 5th through November 7th, including the recently announced Southern Lord label showcase in Amsterdam on October 29th alongside Magma, Sunn O))), Okkultokrati, Wolfbrigade, Circle, Big|Brave, and Vitamin X.  Unfortunately there is only one UK date which is at The Dome in London on October 16th.

(photo credit: Dan Joeright)


Pure Phase Ensemble 6 feat. Anton Newcombe has unveiled the video for ‘Balwan’, the second track teasing the forthcoming ‘Live at SpaceFest!’ LP, to be released through Nasiono Records. This new single was preceded by the first one ‘God Drugs’, which sees The Brian Jonestown Massacre ringmaster Anton Newcombe at his best. The album includes seven tracks.

Pure Phase Ensemble is an eclectic rotating group of musicians, who come together every year in December during Gdansk’s illustrious SpaceFest!,. The group’s makeup constantly changes, guided by the artistic vision of a new curator every year and directed by Anna Szynwelska and Karol Schwarz of Nasiono Records, who has been responsible for its musical cohesion from the very outset.

Anton Newcombe led this current incarnation, along with with Emil Nikolaisen of Scandinavian rock band Serena Maneesh. The six other musicians involved this year were drawn from various Polish alternative bands. They include Karol Schwarz (7faz, KSAS), Olga Myslowska (Polpo Motel), Maciej Karminski (Jesien), Marcin Lewandowski (Judy’s Funeral, Castlings, Soon), Jakub Zwirello (Oslo Kill City, Szezlong), and Kacper Graczyk (Aiodine, coding).

Photo credit: Clemens_Mitscher


Necro Deathmort have shared new music from their eighth full-length album “Overland” (Profound Lore, 6th October). Progressing from last year’s “The Capsule”, Overland is more dynamic and layered than its predecessor. Overland expands their sonic palette introducing further acoustic instrumentation and exploring new territory. This progression can be heard on multidimensional album opener “Poliz” which sets the tone for the rest of the album, as they slowly build layers of sounds, working into a repetition around a key phrase, and pulsing beat, before dropping away into blissful ambience. Further track 80,000 can also be streamed.

The duo, comprising Matthew Rozeik and AJ Cookson, create an intriguing and alluring blend of electronic-based music seamlessly intertwining dark ambience, noise, synth-driven beats, cinematic soundscapes, and heavy drones. They have amassed an already impressive and prolific catalogue to date of which Overland appears as full length number eight.

photo credit : Eleanor Short

Rising and Falling and Rising

The Rise & Fall of a Northern Dubstar (released on September 15th through  Universal Music) is the new single from Intastella featuring Stella Grundy & Jah Wobble and brings a spotlight to one of Manchester’s enduring talents.

Building on Stella’s 2015 “The Rise and Fall of A Northern Star” album, stage play, and tour, the project has been extended and re-imagined with a new eleven track album, which is also released in September. The new album was produced by Stella with Jonathan Hurst and features legendary bassist, Jah Wobble. Upcoming live shows will also feature Nick McCabe (The Verve ) and Craig Gannon (The Smiths).

For this new album, Stella recruited a highly eclectic cast of session musicians and performers including with  Wobble and  McCabe, reggae legend Dillinger, Simon “Ding” Archer (The Fall, Pixies and PJ Harvey), the bard of Salford John Cooper Clarke, Harry Shearer (Spinal Tap, The Simpsons) and producer writer Mike Bennett (The Fall, Specials, and Ian Brown) adding to the original body of work and creating a more cinematic feel to the proceedings.

The new album builds around Stella’s recognisable husky vocal style which stands out among loping and dubby Manchester rhythms with visceral guitar/synth attack and attitude that could have only emerged within the M60 ring. The original album was a remarkable piece of work, this new set builds on that to create a highly enjoyable listening experience. Grounded in Manchester pop, Stella has weaved together a “Granadaland” theatrical vibe with the best elements of the musical DNA of the city, reflecting the last 30 years of sounds that have emerged from the north-west. There is indie,dance, punk, and dub here, splashed with a psychedelic wash of colour, and narrative passages which offer fractured glimpses of what it is like to live, and attempt to survive, in the music business. This release is a true homage to the north-west scene, both current and historical, and hot on the heels of the recent Cherry Red compilation celebrating Greater Manchester, is both timely and celebratory.

A hugely enjoyable listening experience, the new single and the forthcoming album will be featured on future editions of the Aural Delights Show.


Social Media Links

Forthcoming Gigs

  • Saturday 16th September 2017 – Stella Grundy : Hatchfest 2017, Lakeside, Macclesfield
  • Thursday 21st September 2017  – Intastella – Musicians Against Homelessness Benefit Show – The Bodega, Nottingham
  • Thursday 28th September 2017  – Intastella – Musicians Against Homelessness Benefit Show – Night and Day,   Manchester
    Saturday 21st October 2017 – Intastella – Dublin Castle  London – Polyfest 2017 – In Memory Of Poly Styrene
  • Saturday 24th February 2018  Intastella ft Jah Wobble Installation with special guests Nick McCabe and Craig Gannon. – O2 Ritz,  Manchester
  • Sunday 25th February 2018 – Intastella ft Jah Wobble Intallation with special guests Nick McCabe and Craig Gannon – Koko, London

Pillar Of Fire

TAU CROSS, the multinational punk/heavy metal collective featuring Amebix bassist/frontman Rob “The Baron” Miller, Voivod drummer Michel “Away” Langevin, and members of cult crust outfits Misery and War // Plague, have announced their second full-length album, Pillar Of Fire, due out July 21st on CD, 2xLP, and digital formats via Relapse Records.

Comments TAU CROSS on the new album: “Pillar Of Fire is the continuation of some of the ideas that were explored on our first album. This time we have managed to share the songwriting more equally and introduce some other textures to the songs. This should help to establish TAU CROSS as less of a one-off phenomenon and more of an ongoing musical collective producing our own distinctive sonic environment.”

Pillar Of Fire was recorded across three different countries and co-produced by “The Baron” in the same manner as their eponymous debut. The drums were tracked in Montreal, guitars in Minneapolis, bass in Seattle and Minneapolis, and vocals on the Isle Of Skye in Scotland.

Pillar Of Fire further expands the group’s unique musical approach ranging from dark folk witchery to industrial punk metal brutalism; a moody melting pot of Killing Joke’s metallic post-punk and Motörhead’s anthemic, hard rock with flourishes of traditional instrumentation and an infusion of 16th century English mysticism. Pillar Of Fire is a musical unearthing of TAU CROSS’ philosophical preoccupations: mythological motifs, ultra-terrestrial hypotheses, surreal, social political landscapes, and the endless search for meaning in a controlled universe.

Rob “The Baron” Miller – bass/vocals
Andy Lefton – guitar
Jon Misery – guitar
Michel “Away” Langevin – drums
Tom Radlo – bass
James Adams – keyboards
Tracks from the album will be featured on Sonic Attack 219