Tag Archives: metal

[pre-order] Iron Reagan – “Crossover Ministry”

Iron Reagan’s latest, “Crossover Ministry,” serves up a healthy dose of hardcore punk energy and attitude with thrash metal chops and aggression. Really the more that I listen to it the more Tony Foresta’s vocals remind of Tom Araya’s. It could also be that right now I’m listening to the track “More War” where Foresta alternates the title with sardonic battle cries of “let’s make more guns!” and “we live, you die.”

It’s pretty clear that Iron Reagan isn’t really going for the “evil” aesthetic like Slayer. The band does a much better job of capturing the overall spirit of hardcore punk. One can detect a touch of Black Flag and Fugazi  in some of the more biting lyric deliveries.

Take for example “Fuck the Neighbors.” Starting with a brief skit of a milquetoast neighbor wondering when the band’s loud party is going to end, the song counters with a steady pounding of muted eighth notes  with Foresta barking, “Fuck the neighbors, fuck your yard, the more you complain, the more we go hard,” and “not my problem!”

With “Grim Business,” heard above, the dual guitar attack storms through what seems like an epic two and a half minutes. Most tracks on “Crossover Ministry” hover within the one to two minute range. “Parents of Tomorrow” is the briefest track, clocking in at only seven seconds.

The hardcore punk ethos comes out in the brevity of the songs. Iron Reagan doesn’t seem particularly interested in languishing on lengthy introductions, or constructing complex transitions into extended solos. Every song starts out urgently, and doesn’t let up before an inevitably abrupt close. Sure, there are guitar solos on many of the songs, but they are definitely not the focal point by any means.

Great album from start to finish, showing that Iron Reagan is able to shred, and not take themselves all too seriously. This is exactly the album that we need right now. Blistering, forceful, and even a little bit cynical.
Pre-order Iron Reagan’s “Crossover Ministry” and tour dates
And you can find “Crossover Ministry” in any number of formats both physical and digital on either the Relapse site, or the band’s own bandcamp page.

You can also find the band on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Finally, Iron Reagan has a bunch of shows coming up to promote “Crossover Ministry.” Check them out below:

—All dates 2/24 – 3/17 with Power Trip —
Feb 24 Houston TX, Walter’s
Feb 25 New Orleans, LA Siberia
Feb 26 Birmingham, AL Saturn
Feb 27 Raleigh, NC Kings *
Feb 28 Richmond, VA Broadberry *+
Mar 01 Baltimore, MD Soundstage *+
Mar 02 New York, NY Marlin Room +&
Mar 03 Pittsburgh, PA Spirit +$
Mar 04 Cleveland, OH Now That’s Class +$
Mar 08 Montreal, QC Les Foufounes Electriques
Mar 09 Ottawa, ON Brass Monkey
Mar 10 Toronto, ON Velvet Underground
Mar 11 Detroit, MI Marble Bar
Mar 12 Chicago, IL Reggie’s
Mar 13 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock
Mar 14 Des Moines, IA Vaudeville Mews
Mar 16 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
Mar 17 Oklahoma City, OK 89th Street Collective

*w/ Genocide Pact
+w/Concealed Blade
&w/ Krimewatch
$w/ Protester

— With Wrong & Night Birds 3/22 – 3/24 —

Mar 22 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub
Mar 23 Miami, FL Churchill’s
Mar 24 Tampa, FL Crowbar
Mar 25 Greensboro, NC Blind Tiger

Absent in Body – “Absent in Body”

“Absent in Body” is the fifth and final installment of the series “The Abyss Stares Back,” featuring a collaboration between Scott Kelly of Neurosis; Mathieu Vandekerckhove of Syndrome and Amenra; and Colin H Van Eeckhout also of Amenra and CHVE.

I only put a small excerpt of the twenty minute opus above. I wanted to give at least some idea as to what was going on here. Nobody told me I could do that, but writing about music is hard enough without you, the reader, then having to simply imagine the music that I could possibly be describing.

The track, like some others I’ve covered this week, is an interesting mix of ambient drones, and total destruction. As such, the excerpt above comes from somewhere toward the first third of the song and captures a little bit of both worlds covered throughout the rest of the track. The track opens with a primordial drone; strings rattling against frets, a steady buzz from which the overtone series emanates amongst distant foreboding echoes. Before long a John Bonham-like four-on-the-floor beat comes in at precisely 60bpm. This is accompanied by deathly growls and a de-tuned, chugging palm-muted riff. At this point Absent in Body begins to take the shape of a stoner metal band, like Kyuss, mixed with death metal.

You can break the song down into four parts, as it alternates between more ambient material to harder edged, directed, driving metal with a steady pulsing beat. The last few minutes of Absent in Body are especially brutal, with thick, supremely distorted harmonies droning in the red. It sounds as if the music itself is attempting to break into the actual physical world through sheer force of decibels and shredding distortion. I think, actually, the best way to describe the track is to actually show the track. So, take a look at the track below.

Absent in Body is still up for pre-order, with an official release date of January 20, through Hypertension Records. At the moment there are only about fifty copies of the original 500 copies available. You can pre-order from Hypertension here.

 

Hadals – “The Dog”

Here’s a fresh batch of noise coming out of Nashville. Hadals’ “The Dog” is available on cassette from the Portland, OR based label Nailbat Tapes.

Opening the release is “Hound of Golden Light.” It’s squealing feedback refuses to be kept at bay, while the track plows forward aided by the heaviest of bass lines. Vocals are relegated to the background, and despite being pushed into the red the punishing discord of the guitars are clearly at the fore here.

“Claws Stretching to the Sky” starts off one part Wolf Eyes and one part punishing death metal, choosing to focus mostly on anxiety inducing wails and distant sounds of torment. Following that “My Teeth on Your Neck” picks up exactly where “Claws…” left off – with the crushing bass-heavy backbeat and feedback taking over once again.

Closing with “Sink Into the Earth” solidifies the fact that this release really is of two minds. On the one hand there is the noisy, Wolf Eyes/The Thirteen Ghosts elements, casting an unnerving pall around the distorted guitars and drums. Slowly building from one to the other the last minute and a half finds Hadals absolutely punishing their instruments into apparent oblivion.

You can grab a copy of this limited cassette from Nailbat over at their bandcamp page. And while you’re there you should check out a few of their other new releases including the Portland-based death/grind of Maltheist, and dark/ambient/noise of Red Boiling Springs.

 

Skinless – “Only the Ruthless Remain”

I have been waiting for the right album to come along so I could finally get to writing about some death metal. I’ve recently been feeding an addiction to the music of Cannibal Corpse, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to them for about a month now. It’s just every day listening to at least three or four albums. And it’s frustrating because I don’t really feel like I could write about them until a new album comes out, as their most recent was released in 2014.

Thankfully, Skinless is releasing their first album in over 7 years today. The album is “Only the Ruthless Remain,” an unrelenting onslaught of brutal death metal. Skinless is astonishingly tight, moving between insanely fast shredding to thick and heavy dirges, without warning. And, like Cannibal Corpse, Skinless has a way of sneaking in some deft sweeps of technical virtuosity with quick rhythm and tempo changes, the occasional asymmetric meter, and at times an actually swinging rhythm section. The solos throughout are particularly interesting in that they aren’t perpetually seeking to blaze through a million notes in a few bars, but instead are often times tracing out expansive melodic lines.

The track “Serpenticide,” sets a good example for the sudden metric modulations and tempo changes that take place in several other songs across the album. This one also features an extended dual guitar line that seems to purposefully avoid finding any sort of stability, instead wandering over top of a rhythm that never seems to stay in one place for very long. Drummer Bob Beaulac’s drumming is rock-solid, and often explores subdivisions and borrowed rhythmic values inside those subdivisions that lend the feeling of a looser groove, but are actually firmly in place the entire time.

You can hear “Serpenticide” as well as “Skinless” in the player above. Like I said, the album is out today and you can pick from any number of formats from their bandcamp page. The album is available as a digital download, 2 different kinds of colored vinyl, or as a CD.

And, yes, their new guitarist is named Dave Matthews, but it should be pointed out that he is definitely not the shitty acoustic guy.

Stream: Buffalo Tooth – “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce”

Can one put together stoner rock, hyperactive punk, thrash and metal and still make it make sense? According to Buffalo Tooth, yes. Their debut full-length, “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce,” hits us with one guitar assault after another. This band is not kidding around, with thirteen tracks of stoney thrash, there is hardly a moment’s rest. From the hard driving blues based riffage of “Little Girl,” to the fingerboard tapping dual guitar freak-out of “Sex Priest,” Buffalo Tooth has all the bases covered.

One minute the vocals can sound like Danzig, the next they might have just a shade of Jello Biafra in them; the same can be said of the transformation of the guitar styles emerging across the album – one minute slow and heavy, the next fast and clean. Also, let me just state for the record how nice it is to listen to an album that isn’t afraid to just throw in some guitar solos. The influence of Black Sabbath does factor in here, but in perhaps equal measure with some harder edged punk and metal. More than a hint of Bad Brains can be detected without question, but listening close I’m also picking up on some early Metallica, for example a little taste of “Master of Puppets” toward the close of “Street Poo.” Then there is some East Bay Ray style guitar tone and technique on the punk-rock boogie of “Laced Up.” Appropriately, the vocals reach maximum Jello Biafra delivery here. Finally, on the closing track “Greenbacks” we get some riffs that sound like early Nirvana that get thrown into a blender, sending the entire song into a speed metal tailspin before closing out the entire album with riotous noise and incessant aggressive drumming. If you love everything that Ty Segall has done, especially with his band Fuzz, then you are going to love this album.

Lyrically things don’t tend to get too serious here, as if you couldn’t tell from the song titles “Sex Priest,” “Street Poo,” “Smells Like Jello,” and “Street Polygamy.” Speaking specifically to this end are the lyrics to “Snacktology,” wherein we hear how much the singer loves snacks: “I love, I love snacks. I’ve got the munchies man, all I wanna do is eat some snacks.” What could be more stoney than that? Not much.

“Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce” is out now on Captcha Records on 160g black and white splatter vinyl, and you can choose to add a 24″×36″ “How to Tour Tijuana” poster to that. You can check out all that stuff on Buffalo Tooth’s bandcamp page.

Stream: The Swan King – “Last So Long”

For some reason or another the band Pelican popped into my mind just yesterday. I was mentioning some metal bands to someone, and all of a sudden the memory of that band sprang to mind, even though I wouldn’t be able to name a single song of theirs if I tried. I do remember listening to them a while back and I can feel their sound in remembering them. So I thought that it would be fitting to post about The Swan King today, seeing as how Pelican’s guitarist is playing with them; that and both bands seem to conjure the same sound-images in my mind.

Heavy, palm-muted chunks of distortion, but not the kind of uncontrolled distortion like what I posted about yesterday. This is the precise and sharp cut of thrash metal. Think Pantera without all the mid-rangeyness of Dimebag’s guitar. I guess while I’m comparing things, I could draw a line from Mastodon to The Swan King, though the latter is significantly more straightforward in their approach. The guitar work is equally dexterous, and the riffs arguably just as powerful, if a little slower. Slow usually translates to heavier though, and add to that that it sounds as if the guitar here is at least a minor 3rd down from standard tuning. It’s got a nice, almost warbling crunch to it, most noticeable on “Closer to the Source.”

The pulsating chug of “Built to Break” has about as close to a hook as a metal song can have. It’s on that track the band really shows that they aren’t relying solely upon punishing riffs, but can also think a little more melodically, with clear, open voiced chords fitting right in with a crunchy low string barrage in the bridge section. The fact that there’s a nice modulation right before the vocals comes in is also a nice touch. Along the same lines, the title track is equally as affective at creating catchy hooks out of thrash metal material. There are sections of “Last So Long” that are pretty close to what could easily be described as “anthemic.” The band also displays a penchant for extended instrumental sections between verses that aren’t necessarily filled with busy fretwork. Instead, it’s in these sections that the band tends to ruminate on some extraneous ideas that fit nicely within the song’s context. They will, however, not wait too long to remind you that they are here to shred, as evidenced by the opening of “As It Is” with it’s sweep-picked runs and persistent double kick drum action.

“Last So Long” was officially released this past Tuesday, June 3rd. It was recorded in their hometown of Chicago at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio. You can check out the entire album above.

Stream: Unholy Two – “Talk About Hardcore”

If listening to this doesn’t keep you up and get you through the rest of the week then I don’t think there is any hope for you. Maybe you should check your pulse.

Track after track after track of chaos in the form of uncontrollable feedback, noise, screams, growls and static. The energy, immediacy and all out anarchy that has been committed to wax here is absolutely astounding. This is an aural assault the likes of which you don’t hear very often, if ever. It’s impossible to tell how many guitars are on here, because even though I know there are only two, at times it sounds like there might be ten or more. One is possibly just dedicated to generating feedback, it seems. Perhaps it is just left leaning up against a Marshall stack. Meanwhile another guitar pops up and might pluck out a bit of a solo. Either way, everything tends to (and by “tends to” I mean “definitely will”) descend into a swirl of unrelenting feedback, like on the fifth track “Muta Scale.” There, it seems, that the song at the beginning of the track is just a means to unleash a blast of feedback to assault the air in a loud spinning drone for the last few minutes.

“OKC1995” bursts forth from the pall of feedback that has permeated a good 98% of the album thus far and presents the listener with an honest, blues(ish) based riff. It isn’t long before the bass alone is responsible for all the harmonic underpinnings before the guitars just go into aggressive shoegaze mode.

There’s really no great way to categorize what Unholy Two are doing on this album. The only thing left to do is to listen to this 30 minute hardcore offensive. The album is currently available from 12XU, and there might still be some limited edition, muta-mist green colored vinyl copies here, so check that out.