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

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Psalm Of The Morbid Whore

LOINCLOTH is a culmination of years of worshiping at the altar of the riff. Psalm Of The Morbid Whore arrives with the promise of absolute pummel! Guitarist Tannon Penland and drummer Steve Shelton (Confessor) return with their twisted brand of instrumental metal on the forthcoming Psalm Of The Morbid Whore, this time around also enlisting the hands of Tomas Phillips on bass, who collaborated with Penland in experimental outfit Gauchiste for their self-titled 2012’s release through Little Black Cloud Records. Penland, Shelton, and Phillips were joined by guitarist Craig Hilton who contributed to composition and live sonic assaults on tour with Sunn O))) and at festivals from Barcelona’s Day OF Doom and Power Of The Riff in Los Angeles, to Richmond’s GWAR-B-Q.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Loincloth/266521466700945
http://www.southernlord.bandcamp.com

Sacred

THE OBSESSED was formed in the late 1970s in Potomac, Maryland by legendary guitarist Scott “Wino” Weinrich (Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan). The band spawned in the realm of musicians/artists such as Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa, The Dictators, and The Stooges. The earliest lineup consisted of Wino, bassist Mark Laue, guitarist John Reese, and drummer Dave Flood. In 1983, Wino took over vocal duties and the band became a three-piece to record the Sodden Jackal EP.

The band broke up in the late ‘80s after Wino moved to California to join Saint Vitus. At that time, a German label, Hellhound Records, and the booking agency that had signed Saint Vitus, released The Obsessed, originally recorded in 1985, prompting Wino to reform THE OBSESSED. After multiple lineup changes, the band signed to Columbia Records in 1994 to release their third and final album, The Church Within. Despite highly acclaimed reviews, THE OBSESSED would breakup following the release, seeing Wino forming Spirit Caravan (Then Shine) and other projects.

In September 2011, THE OBSESSED returned to the stage at Roadburn Festival with The Church Within legendary lineup (featuring Wino, Greg Rogers, and Guy Pinhas). The band played a few more reunion shows over the next couple years at Hellfest Open Air 2012 and Maryland Deathfest XI in May 2013 with bassist Reid Raley.

Wino announced the full-time return of THE OBSESSED in March 2016 and the band’s official signing to Relapse Records to record the follow up to The Church Within. The new lineup originally consisted of Spirit Caravan bassist Dave Sherman and Wino’s longtime friend and former road crew member. drummer Brian Costantino. On October 31st, 2016, Wino announced the lineup for THE OBSESSED, included bassist Bruce Falkinburg and guitarist Seraphim, making that the first time the band had been a four piece in over thirty-five years. Now in 2017, THE OBSESSED unleashes Sacred, the band’s first studio album in over two decades.

http://www.facebook.com/TheObsessedOfficial
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com

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.

Nikki_Shiers_TC_web_02_1_
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.

TAU CROSS:
Rob “The Baron” Miller – bass/vocals
Andy Lefton – guitar
Jon Misery – guitar
Michel “Away” Langevin – drums
Tom Radlo – bass
James Adams – keyboards

http://www.facebook.com/TauCrossOfficial
Tracks from the album will be featured on Sonic Attack 219

Terminal

Circle is the very definition of genre-defying; a rare feat for any band, but effortlessly achieved by the prolific Finnish collective. Their latest album Terminal, confirmed for release June 23rd through Southern Lord, is described as pure hedonistic pleasure.

Never content on staying the same, the band has created an idiosyncratic cocktail of sonic fusions, conjuring an impulsive, dizzying energy that stirs a spirit of curiosity within the listener, and possesses all who encounter the band. Whilst many would run out of creative steam after more than thirty albums, they continue to boldly explore sonic soundscapes, venturing curiously into terrains of Stooges-esque swagger, trance-inducing kraut rock mantras, beautiful electronic ambience, psychedelic rock noodling, arena storming AOR weirdness, ‘70s prog rock extravagance, glam pop pomp, and of course their core sound, heavy metal, not to mention other peculiar and daring sounds that simply cannot be pigeonholed.

http://www.circlefinland.com
https://www.facebook.com/CIRCLE-51716654430/

Old school pomp metal – barking mad

To be featured on Sonic Attack 216

Hate Filled World

From from Connecticut and Massachusetts, Slow Death  features Randy Larsen, former bassist and singer for seminal noise rockers Cable and Empty Flowers, drummer Matt Spearin of Disapperer, guitarist Jeremy Medeiros, and bassist Jesse Sherman.

In August of 2016, the band entered Dead Air Studios with Will Killingsworth (Vaccine, Orchid, Laceration, Ampere, Bucket Full Of Teeth) to lay down their first record which was recorded and mixed in just two days. Just as quickly as the record was finished Corpse Flower Records agreed a release as a one-sided 12″ with a screen-printed B-side created by renowned illustrator Mark Rudolph (Carcass, Coalesce, Battlecross etc.).

With eight songs, clocking in at around eighteen minutes  the mix of old punk and hardcore blended with some early AmRep style noise rock is likely to attract heavy music fans young and old. Lyrically, the band centers its attention on old horror movies and serial killers, mixed with a sentiment of depression and frustration.

Available now via Corpse Flower Records digitally and on limited vinyl in three color variants (clear, translucent red and clear with red splatter). The vinyl comes swathed in a 3D cover and comes with 3D glasses.

http://www.facebook.com/Slow-Death-1588538484773360/
To be featured on Sonic Attack 215

Excellent stuff, full of energy and intent, a highly enjoyable bridge between metal and hardcore punk. Not a big fan of the cover mind you!

Gammageddon

During the night of April 26th, 1986, a world-changing accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. A catastrophic meltdown befell Reactor No. 4, resulting in core explosions and open-air fires. Copious quantities of radioactive materials and airborne isotopes were consequently dispersed into the atmosphere and surrounding lands. The disaster has been widely regarded as the worst accident in the history of nuclear power globally. As a result, Reactor No. 4 was destroyed and is being enclosed in a concrete and lead sarcophagus to prevent further escape of radioactivity. Large areas of Europe were affected by the accident. The radioactive cloud spread as far as Norway.

Moved by devastating consequences of the event, a German band called Cytotoxin   released their self-produced full-length, “Plutonium Heaven” in 2011.  One year later, they entered Kohlekeller Studios (Aborted, Benighted) to recorded their critically-lauded “Radiophobia” full-length released via Unique Leader Records. A stunning display of musical precision, Metal Wani awarded the record a perfect 10/10 review calling it the, “most technical music I’ve ever heard,” further lauding its, “well-structured slams and breakdown…a milestone in the world of death metal.”

Cytotoxinbandpic2

Five years later, it is time for “Gammageddon”. Captured earlier this year again at Kohlekeller Studios, Gammageddon centers itself on the city of Pripyat. Named after the nearby Pripyat River, Pripyat was founded on February 1970 as the ninth nuclear city — a type of closed city — in the Soviet Union, to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and had grown to a population of nearly 50,000 by the time it was evacuated the day after the Chernobyl disaster. The city is now a ghost town. Gammageddon serves as a soundtrack to the horrors leading to the evacuation. It will be released on CD and digital formats via Unique Leader Records on July 21st.

http://www.facebook.com/Cytotoxinmetal
http://www.uniqueleader.com
http://www.facebook.com/UniqueLeaderRecords

Teetering on the edge of insanity, with math-rock  like precision on guitars and drums, and intense guttural vocals, this is 40 minutes of unrelenting sonic barrage. Remarkable musicianship with superfast shredding and on the point breakdowns result in a fascinating listening experience.

The album will be featured on Sonic Attack 219.