Monday, 22 July 2013

The Sounds Of The Great Grey North

Over the past couple of years there's been a great resurgence in the underground music scene in Scotland. And don't give me this "it's always been there man, you just have to know where to look" pish because I've been looking, for fucking years, and I doubt there are many that'd argue with me that this is the healthiest the scene has been for a long time.

Heavy bands, of all genres, from all over the country, have never been so plentiful, and with this years' inaugural North Of The Wall featuring a 100% Scottish line-up, and the continued draw of Les-Fest, it seems that there are plenty of people out there who recognise how great a time it is for the Scottish underground.

Anyway, the idea of this ongoing blog post was to collate as many of these fucking brilliant bands in one place, and give people a resource if they're looking to check out Aberdeen's grindcore scene, or see if there are any stoner rock fuckups from Glasgow they'd like to listen to with bong in hand, or where the nastiest, most malignant black metal from Edinburgh can be heard. Hopefully this will provide a starting point. Here we fuckin' go:

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Wizard-worshipping doom metal from Edinburgh. Formed in the cold, harsh winter of 2012 over a common disdain for mankind, Atragon worship at the altar of the riff. They desire only to bring about your doom through the powers of distortion, tube amplification & heathen ritual. Volume I available from Witch Hunter Records. See them live on just about every heavy music bill in Scotland.

Of Spire & Throne
[ | Of Spire & Throne on Facebook | ]
Edinburgh's Of Spire & Throne specialise in expansive blackened sludge, which is right up my street. Their latest release 'Vagary' is 21 minutes of torturous, mournful noise that will ruin your day. Go succumb to the misery over at their bandcamp.

[ | Ommadon on Facebook | ]
Crushing doom with the impact of tectonic plates colliding. Two-headed dronebeast who record most of their output in isolation up in the Highlands.
All recordings (I-IV) available free through their bandcamp, as well as being collected into a discography tape available through Tartarus Records/Witches On Fire later this year, with new album V coming sometime in 2013.

Headless Kross
Psychedelic doom three-piece from Glasgow. Spacey, drawn-out stoner excursions with surprisingly harsh vocals. Recently released a split with Lazarus Blackstar on Head Of Crom which is well worth checking out. Stream it over at their bandcamp.

East Glasgow miserablists. Capable of producing a foul racket ranging from sludge to all out noise. One of my favourite local bands of recent times, they don't play anywhere near enough for my liking. Apparently recording new material this year, thank fuck, as I've been playing their Mammothian/Loud/Cult demo regularly for over 2 years now, and I'm fiending for new stuff. Gies a fix, eh guys?

Bacchus Baracus
[ | | New album streaming at Bandcamp ]
Glasgow's finest purveyors of whiskey-soaked barroom brawl anthems. Drummer/vocalist Qball manages to channel the hard-hitting groove of Clutch stickman JP Gaster as well as the erudite rasp of Neil Fallon. Catch them live and imbibe as many drinks as you can. New album available through Wasted State Records.

The Cosmic Dead
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All-out psychedelic warfare from Glasgow's most prolific band. In just a couple of years these guys have cemented themselves as one of the greatest exponents of Hawkwind/Amon Düül II worship, even securing a slot at this years Roadburn. If you dig long-form trips around the outer reaches of space, or if you just ingest a lot of substances and would like the ideal musical accompaniment, check out one of their squazillion releases right now.

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The crushing isolation of travailing an endless barren landscape, set to a soundtrack of expansive, reverberating dronedoom. They only have one track on their bandcamp at the moment, but if they continue down the same bleak path, they'll be ones to watch out for if you like a heavy dose of misery in your doom.

Holy Mountain
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I first saw these guys back when they were a duo that sounded like a feral lager-soaked High On Fire, though haven't managed to catch them live again since. I oughtta remedy that, as their latest release 'Earth Measures' (available through Chemikal Underground) is an absolute belter. If you don't believe me, either listen to it, or read this fucking hilarious review of it then listen to it.

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I just missed out on Bisongrass' last show around my parts, so I guess I'll just foam at the mouth until the next time they come back down from Aberdeen. Anyway, they play solid as fuck stoner rock

No Island
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I caught these guys when they opened for hardcore legends Negative Approach, and was suitable impressed with their intensity. I like my hardcore on the genuinely angry side with a wee bit of the old powerviolence thrown in, so these guys were right up my alley (at night, filled with big cunts that want to kick your head in). Get their EP Let Glasgow Perish off bandcamp and go about punching things.

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Did any of you go see Black Breath when they first played Glasgow? Naw ye fuckin' didnae, because me and the guys who play in Hush were the only cunts there. Considering they played to an almost empty room, they let rip with the full force of their set, delivering an intense set of angular hardcore in the vein of Cursed, Converge et al. Go give their Night Music release a listen over at their bandcamp.

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Crusty grind from Aberdeen. Haven't had the chance to see them play live yet, but I really dig their recent split (available through excellent Scottish noise/doom label At War With False Noise) with fellow grind bastards Sufferinfuck. Who I'll blather about now.

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Grindcore from West Lothian, these guys are fast as absolute fuck. Perhaps unsurprising for grindcore, I know, but there's a ferocity missing from so much modern grind that Sufferinfuck have in filthy spades, they eschew clinical precision in favour of just all out anger and aggression. Lovely stuff. Get their 'In Boredom' release for fuck all here.

Clocked Out
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Glasgow fastcore kings who have the most hyperactive frontman in the city. You really need to see this band live to get an idea of how manic their live show gets. They recently brought out a three-track 7" so go get that.

Skeleton Gong
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Skeleton Gong are fuckin' weirdos. I recently caught them live for the first time, and was met with an intimidating amount of amplification, a double drumkit setup, and a bunch of wild-eyed guys rocking a variety of interesting headgear choices; dreadlocks, cowboy hats, baldys, all cross-sections of mad bastards are represented in the Gong. They also fucking rule, their thick syrupy sludge hitting somewhere between Weedeater and Kylesa, with a more cosmic angle. However you want to try and describe it yourself, gie it a go and download their album 'Eskimo Wizards & The Louisiana Swamp Priests' for free from their bandcamp.

Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair
[ Wheelchair x4 on Facebook | ]
More mad bastards, with an almost impossible to google name, Wheelchairx4 specialise in fastcore/powerviolence. I'm sure I've seen them live at some point but I'll be damned if I can remember where, when or who they played with. They've got an album, 'Contraception', up for free download over at bandcamp.

This relatively new Edinburgh band may not have any releases to their name as yet, but their space-themed sludge offerings have managed to snag them a support slot to EyeHateGod. I'm excited as hell to finally get to see them live, and you should be too. Get down to the EHG gig and support your local sludge band!
Also, buy a t-shirt off them because I drew it for 'em. SHAMLESS PLUG.

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Homme-worshipping stoner grooves from the sun-kissed sandy wasteland of Dundee.

Cancerous Womb
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Edinburgh's Cancerous Womb play repugnant grind-inflected death metal. They're currently in the process of recording their debut full-length, but until that sees the light of day check out their Fritzl-tastic 'Austrian Basement' Ep on bandcamp.

Cerebral Bore
Perhaps best known for featuring youtube brutal vocal sensation Simone "Som" Pluijmers, who has now left the band, Glasgow's masters of brutality Cerebral Bore are signed to Earache records and have toured all over the world. Lucky cunts.

I'm not sure how much of a full-time proposition Skullwizard are, but when I saw them live recently, they scared the shite out of me. Whoever their vocalist is, she went from wind-whistling shrieks that just about split my skull to dancing around to Journey's 'More Than A Feeling' mere minutes after their set had finished. A truly terrifying proposition.

Jackal-Headed Guard Of The Dead
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Their own bio says it best: 'And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, for the earth had spat forth a most vile group of scum; borne loose with steely eyes and ravenous bellies. Their foul purpose is that most unnameable of horrors, the dark art in which even the most sinister backstreet necromancer in Cairo would not dare utter...doom metal. We are a doom band, who also like Lovecraft, weed, and films so raw they'll skullfuck your brain and leave you with a twitch. Enjoy, you cunts.'

Tommy Concrete And The Werewolves
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Lords of Bastard
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Self-styled psychedelic megariff dickheads from Edinburgh, the Lords Of Bastard play tightly-wound stoner weirdness that brings to mind Big Business or something equally as odd. Their drummer is tight as fuck. In depth review, eh? Give their latest album 'Cuddles' a blast and see for yourself, I can't do everything for you!

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I've seen Co-Exist live but I'm fucked if I can remember who it was with. I remember being impressed by them anyway. This is another of Qball's bands, and couldn't sound more different from Bacchus Baracus, seeing as Co-Exist specialise in furious bursts of grind/death metal. Stream their newest EP 'Skelf' over at their bandcamp.

Horrors That You've Seen
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I first checked these guys out because their vocalist has the same name as a guy I went to school with. Wisnae him though. In their own words:
'Hardcore band from Edinburgh that play more Sludge and Doom than we do hardcore. Hardcore for fans of longer songs and slower riffs. Hardcore to get high to.'
Go get their latest recording 'Smokin, Skatin, Satan' off bandcamp because it's good.

Set Astray
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Hardcore created by angry young men from Stirling. Check them out if you like the NYHC sound and punching folk in the face. New EP available from Glasgow-based label Thanks For Nothing, you can grab a free download here.

Man Must Die
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Man Must Die hail from Glasgow and play crushing tech death that sounds like getting your head stuck in a concrete mixer filled with nails and broken glass. So, y'know, pretty good. They're currently recording a new album, and judging by the in-the-studio videos they're posting, it's gonna be fucking awesome when it's done.

Fifteen Dead
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Fifteen Dead are from all over the shop, but get together to create a raging blackened crust racket reminiscent of Martyrdöd, Skitsystem and the rest of them manky Scando d-beat lot. The whole blackened crust thing is getting pretty big these days, and Fifteen Dead are defnitely in the upper echelons of that scene. Their stuff is available for pay-what-you-want download over at their bandcamp. I highly recommend you go chuck 'em a few pennies in exchange for their stuff.

Ablach might be the only gaelic grindcore band in existence, but if I'm wrong and thereare more out there, please correct me as soon as fuckin' possible because Ablach are incredible. Hailing from Aberdeen, and taking their name from the gaelic for 'Mangled Corpse', they play fast, furious crusty grind with many not-so-subtle nods to their forefathers, both historical and musical.
You can get their album Aon from Moshpit Tragedy and Dha from Grindcore Karaoke. Those recordings feature covers of grind originators Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, Terrorizer and Phobia strewn throughout the band's original material that has a mainly historical subject matter.

[ | Bonesaw on Facebook | ]
Why did no-one tell me about this band sooner? I mean, a quick trawl back through the archives of my blog will reveal I'm a total sucker for ugly primitive death/doom, and these guys deliver it in spades full of putrid gravedirt. Their facebook saws 'think Autopsy on a budget' and I'd say that's about right. Anyway, these decrepit bastards come from up Aberdeen way, so I think I'll be venturing up for a wee bit of death metal tourism next time they play. Fuckin' Bonesaw man... lovely stuff.

Easy Bake Oven
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Easy Bake Oven are a self-described 'Blackened Stoner/Doom' band from Glasgow. I caught them as local support at the Bison b.c./Black Cobra gig a few weeks back and was pretty fucking impressed with their disgusting sludge. Their EP 'Stoner Wisdom' is available for fuck-all over at bandcamp, so what are you waiting for? Get it!

Dog Tired
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Dog Tired are four-piece groove metal from Edinburgh. Think Pantera/Machine Head/Lamb Of God, with a sort of mid-90s Corrosion Of Conformity swagger. Check out their new album 'Titan', available on itunes/spotify.

Roll On Three
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Edinburgh bluesy stoners Roll On Three sound like Houdini-era Melvins with guest vocals by Phil Anselmo. At least that's the first impression I get listening to the recordings they have upon their bandcamp, though you should go download it for yourself and tell me I'm talking shite.
In fact, I'll tell myself; the Melvins weirdness is only present in opening track 'My Lost Way', the rest is a bastard hybrid of Down/Superjoint Ritual. So good, basically.

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I first got into Zillah because their old guitarist Andrew Yates was proprietor/meat wizard at my favourite Glasgow food emporium Where The Monkey Sleeps. He's since left both Zillah and the Monkey, and now crafts towers of flesh in the kitchen of Nice N Sleazy. Go sink your teeth into the fucking best burgers in Scotland.
Anyway, enough of the food pimping, Zillah play scorching technical death-tinged metalcore, reminiscent of bands like Burnt By The Sun, which is a very good thing. All of their releases are available for free over at bandcamp, and I recommend their 'Substitute For A Catastrophe' album wholeheartedly. Get into it!

War Charge
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Edinburgh's War Charge play pissed off hardcore. You can stream their latest recording 'New World Justice' over at their bandcamp, and order it from Purgatory Records if it tickles your angry bone.

Prelude To The Hunt
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Prelude To The Hunt play some of the foulest racket I've heard come out of Aberdeen since the accent. They recently released a split with Manchester's Esoteric Youth on Church Of Fuck, and deserve to be making as many waves as their Manc counterparts. Said split features a blistering cover of Cursed's 'Reparations', if that gives you a idea where they're coming from. I fucking love Cursed, so PTTH get an automatic thumbs up from me.

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Dirtdrinker are fucking disgusting. Coming across like a twistier Unsane with spazzy discordance ramped up to the max, this Aberdeen two-piece create the sort of noise that burrows their way nto your cranial cavity with their writhing, sludgey earworms. Absolutely horrible. I love them.

The Colour Pink Is Gay
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Guaranteed to anger the PC brigade with a name like that, Glasgow-based tech metal motherfuckers TCPiG are a total heidfuck. I don't know how people can listen to this band without wanting to put a screwdriver into their ear canal just to make it stop. If the sound of Japanese cartoon themesongs played by mental patients through warfare grade amplification is your thing, these guys might be your thing. Remember the wonderfully absurd Take A Worm For A Walk Week? Aye, like that maybe.

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Scordatura play modern tech-y death metal. These Glasgow deviants will be supporting Fleshgod Apocalypse on their UK tour, so get down to Ivory Blacks in October and support your local brutalists. Until then, shred your fuckin' face off listening to their new album 'Torment Of The Weak'.

Exile The Traitor
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Glasgow's Exile The Traitor play Swedeath-influenced metal that folk who dig Carcass' 'Heartwork' and At The Gates will be right into. They don't have much available for streaming at the moment, but what they do have is solid as fuck. Check them out on bandcamp.

Bleed From Within
These guys are from my hometown and are probably one of the best-known bands on this list. Who'da thunk a band from Hamilton of all shiteholes would get signed to Century Media and tour the world? If I'd known that, I would joined a band and gotten outta there fuckin' years ago. Ah well. Fair play to the Bleed From Within lads for doing so well. Musically they play tight, technical death-y metalcore, so give 'em a listen if that's yer bag!

Agonised Deformity
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These guys are from Carluke/Wishaw, two of the biggest shiteholes on the planet. I've seen Eastern European retirement homes with more life in them than those places. So it's only appropriate that Agonised Deformity play brutal, eardrum-obliterating, slam-worthy death metal, that ought to liven ol' Pishy Wishy up a bit! Stream their racket over at their bandcamp and mosh yer way down Wishy 'high street'.

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Edinburgh's Acatalepsy play proggy, weird death metal with occasional pretty intricate bits. So like Opeth, but not really. Their erratic staccato chugging takes a bit to wrap your head around if you're a braindead plodding sludge maniac like me, but they're definitely worth a listen. Do so at the usual place. You'd think bandcamp was fucking paying me to promote them, eh? I can only dream.

[ | Maelstrom on Facebook | ]
Remember Akercocke? The black metal band who played sweaty, Satan-conjuring shows decked out in the finery of Savile Row? Maelstrom sure do, adopting a similar aesthetic for their own gigs.
Scotland's metal gentlemen's blackened death has some symphonic elements, but don't let that put you off, they're not naff and overblown like so many bands who attempt a bit of keyboard noodling.


There's pretty much nothing available online to prove these guys even exist. Pretty sure members of Clocked Out are involved, I've definitely seen them play a show together anyway. They were good. Get it together ya cunts.

[ | stream 'Illiad' at Soundcloud ]
Edinburgh's Eagletomb play hypnotic doom. I'm pretty excited to get to see them play in a couple of weeks. Not much more to say than that, check them out if you like Sleep. Because who doesn't like Sleep?

Party Cannon
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'Party Slam' from Dunfermline that basically sounds like the sort of thing you'd dance to at Obscene Extreme if you'd ingested the wrong cocktail of substances that day. Blastbeats and vodka and vocals that sound like hangover farts all in one band, how can you resist!?

Throne O Diablo
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Another band I saw supporting Black Breath a couple of years ago that I haven't really followed too closely, despite them being absolutely hilarious live. Are they meant to be? I don't know, but between the double-necked guitar and generally bizarre stage presence, I was laughing my arse off at them. But then I was also very very drunk.

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Okay technically these guys hail from New Zealand, but seeing as they are currently based out of Edinburgh, they get included. Barshasketh play wintry black metal, so they should feel right at home up here in the Northern Hemisphere. Yes, I know NZ gets winter too, but I couldn't think of anything cleverer to say. Check them out if you like it frostbitten.

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Scotland's Achren produce a crushingly heavy and uncompromising brand of metal. Raw, razor sharp riffs; death metal growls; black metal screams and dark, brutally driving melody combine to create a unique and commandeering sound which has gained the name ‘Blood Metal.’

Monday, 15 July 2013

Meth Drinker / Moloch split LP

Alongside Denmark's Bottom Feeder, Italy's Grime, Massachusetts' Plague Survivors, the UK's own Moloch and New Zealand's Meth Drinker, the term sludge is being reclaimed by a clutch of young bands to epitomise hateful howls, squalling feedback and corrosive distortion at torturous tempo, as opposed to it being applied to any vaguely slow heavy music, or seemingly automatically applied to any band from Georgia.

This is a development I welcome wholeheartedly, and I'm glad to see two of the finest exponents of The New Wave of Worldwide Sludge Metal sharing a split. I've had the great misfortune to witness both of these bands live shows, and left both sets feeling like I'd been held down and had rusted nails slowly forced into my aural cavities. I should probably mention I regard that as a good thing.

Available through Feast Of Tentacles here:

Read my full review at The Sleeping Shaman...

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Ramesses - Misanthropic Alchemy DLP

When Ramesses announced their split in January this year, I was pretty gutted, but not especially surprised. Guitarist Tim Bagshaw had moved to New York, and was playing in Serpentine Path with the guys from Unearthly Trance (with whom Ramesses released a split in 2009), and there were rumours going around that drummer Mark Greening was back behind the kit with Electric Wizard. The split was inevitable.

Criminally underrated during their decayed decade together, Ramesses were one of my all-time favourite bands, as well as simply one of the best heavy British bands, and it's only fitting that their horrifying legacy be preserved. The label started by the band, Ritual Productions, have reissued the band's debut album Misanthropic Alchemy as a kind of epitaph, and after trying to get hold of a vinyl copy for ages now, I snapped one up as soon as they were available.

I never managed to snag a copy of the original vinyl release so I don't have much basis for comparison, but it can't have been as perfectly packaged as this repress. The intricate print on silver mirror board is glorious, though this being a double LP it struck me as odd they wouldn't go for a gatefold sleeve, but its still a thing of twisted beauty.

'Ramesses Part 1' opens the record at an uncharacteristically fast tempo, the clatter and clang of Mark Greening's poor abused drumkit driving the whole corroded cacophony along at deathly speed. Adam Richardson's serrated rasp of a voice spits only the necromantic call "Arise legions... Destroy Enemy..." before the summoning is complete and the tempo drops you into 'Ramesses Part 3'.

Slowly uncoiling riffs emerge from the suffocating murk, unfurling themselves insidiously from the speakers. Cries of "Holding out to die" are sung in a startlingly clear voice, contrasting with the usual vocal style employed that erupts forth like molten hate. Around two thirds of the way through the track it switches down a gear, taking on an elegiac, sombre tone. The lamenting wails sound like some damned maddening choir. The music burns out and smoulders in warm feedback before the needle scrapes its last. Damn it's great to finally hear this album on vinyl.

Side B opens with the dirge-like 'Lords Misrule', a draining, dragging track that picks up pace as it progresses. Ramesses lay bare their mission statement in this track, with a putrid growl of "doomed to death". When this album was released, very few bands were forging together the various metals found in Misanthropic Alchemy. With the recent resurgence in death-doom, and almost every subgenre seeming to merit the prefix 'blackened', maybe people have forgotten just how much Ramesses were digging the graves of Winter and Autopsy at a time when very few were. Of course now both of those bands have been resurrected, but even as recently as 2007, there weren't many ploughing the same corpse-bloated furrow as Ramesses.
I'm getting a little off topic, but I can't state enough just how vital this band were to me personally. They opened whole new (creaking tomb) doors along my musical path.

'Coat Of Arms' has an almost postpunk chiming guitar intro before it erupts into the familiar sludge, the distorted mix courtesy of Billy Anderson is so foul and thick you could almost choke on it.
When the vocals eventually appear halfway through the track, it's another case of contrasting the tortured moans of "souls so lost and old" with a more acidic delivery courtesy of "bludgeoned minds". The last minute of the track is a furious flurry of blackened blasts, a maelstrom of sounds to close out side B.

'Terrordactyl' is the precursor to the musically similar 'Terrasaw' from 2010's Take The Curse, opening with the same ramshackle drum fill, before the beast morphs through various incarnations before settling on an unsettling alternating mix of shuddering, churning horror and a sort of drugged funeral march.
Towards the end there's the perpetual threat that the whole thing will explode into blastbeats, before a demented guitar solo that sounds sped-up or backwards masked, somehow unnatural brings things to a head, and the song ends with the harshness of a slap, heard literally in the final sample.

The cacophonic rattle that opens 'Before The Jackals' introduces a plodding doomed procession, conducted by the wretched death rattle emitted by Adam Richardson's ruined larynx. It circles deeper and deeper until the hypnotic effect becomes overpowering, where thankfully it ends before you lose your mind. The plaintive fingerpicking that comprises 'Earth Must Die', the last track of the original album, seems like an ominous portent of horrors to come... but they never do, the track just endlessly racks up the tension.
As I thought when I first heard it, it's still a really odd way to end an album, it seems like a pointless build up to a release that never comes. It's still a great track, it just suffers from being misplaced within the running order.

The two live tracks that follow the end of the album, recordings of 'Lords Misrule' and 'Ramesses Part 3' remind me of just how alternately bludgeoning and hypnotic the band were in the live setting.
I managed to make it to one of their last ever shows before they ceased touring, supporting Eyehategod no less, and was totally blown away by how well they recreated the malevolence of their recorded work, and that effect is captured perfectly on these recordings.

Misanthropic Alchemy is the sound of Ramesses still hashing out ideas, taking the first steps down a darker path than they ever had in their years in Electric Wizard, a conjuring of sounds more atavistic, more primal; old doom from a dark age. Their development would eventually culminate in the refined blackened doom of Take The Curse a few years later, but these recordings mark the beginning of their descent into the darker recesses of doom.

You can pick up this limited double LP from Ritual Productions here:

Or opt for the CD version which also includes a bonus disc containing the EPs We Will Lead You To Glorious Times and The Tomb:

Friday, 5 July 2013

Gurt - Hoboreaper

Remember the heady days of CD singles when you'd buy a copy of a track you already owned just to hear the not-really-worth-it remix or a couple of live tracks recorded somewhere you'd never heard of? London filth merchants Gurt sure do. Their latest release is a limited CD single to tide us over 'til their full-length debut is released next year.

I don't think I've bought a single in the past decade but based on the swampy stomp of 'Hoboreaper', I think that trend is about to change. Opening with a demented martial beat and a see-sawing riff, this tightly-wound sound isn't what I was expecting in the slightest. Definitely an attention grabber. When Gareth Kelly's glass-shard-vomiting vocals kick in, it sounds bizarre atop the crazed march of the music.

You can get this CD direct from the band over at

And check out more of their recordings at

Read my full review over at The Sleeping Shaman...

Naam / The Cosmic Dead / Bacchus Baracus / Lords Of Bastard - The Citrus Club, Edinburgh

This review originally appeared over at The Sleeping Shaman.
Flyer drawn by yours truly, check out more of my design work here:

This was one of the most highly anticipated shows of the summer, and everyone I spoke to at the gig was totally psyched (ha!) to see such a solid lineup of mainly local bands, as well as New York's excellent Naam.

Hometown openers Lords Of Bastard kick things off with their set of psych-tinged stoner rock. Their setlist was mainly culled from their recent release, the brilliantly titled Cuddles, with fast paced tracks like 'Bloody Hell' and 'Ghost Time' sounding absolutely monstrous live. That's a good thing by the way.
Their tightly-coiled, almost jazzy rhythms are accompanied by driving organ swirls, this evening provided by guest organist Victor due to regular member Sanjay's absence.
Guitarist/vocalist Mike Aitchison's voice cuts through the muscular swagger of the music easily, his soaring wails contrasting with the short sharp stabs of the rhythm, but it works.

I last saw Glasgow's Bacchus Baracus supporting Pentagram, where their set of burly, booze-sodden rock more than held it's own against the legendary headliners. Tonight's performance proves that wasn't just a one off with a set so raucous I'm surprised it doesn't start an old-fashioned bar-room brawl.
Gravel-throated drummer/vocalist QBall could give both Neil Fallon and JP Gaster from Clutch a run for their money, which is no mean fuckin' feat! The rest of the band lays down solid grooves that have the slightly more inebriated members of the crowd flat out dancing. A truly weird sight to behold.
The swirling, mindwarping theremin solo that closes out the otherwise straightforward stoner rock set is a little unexpected, but it fits perfectly with the overall psychedelic vibe of the show.

I'm not familiar enough with the band to know exactly what the setlist was, but judging from the strength of their set tonight I'll be getting hold of a copy of their new album Tales of Worries, Woes and Whatever as soon as possible.

Unfortunately due to the show running slightly behind schedule, we don't get nearly enough of The Cosmic Dead's meandering psych explorations, but what we do get is a short but sweet set of woozily pulsating rhythms and ever-evolving eastern-tinged melodies.
The reverb-drenched one song set 'Khartomb' holds the whole crowd captive, with everyone powerless to resist it's swaying groove. Vocal duties are handled by all members bar the drummer, with each vocalist becoming lost in thrall to the continuously morphing momentum of the jam.

The exploratory tendrils of the band's expansive space rock don't get the opportunity to reach far enough into the substance-addled minds of the crowd, but the beauty of such a loose improvisational set is that they're able to wrap things up nicely without harshing anyone's vibe too much. Hopefully I get the chance to witness a full mind-melting set from these psychedelic space lords sometime soon.

If you didn't manage to catch Naam on this tour, what the hell are you doing with your life?!
New York's premier exponents of heavy psych and excellent facial hair completely blew me, and everyone else crammed in to the venue, away.
You might think after so much keyboard-accompanied heavy rock that the crowd would be weary of the sound by this point, but each band managed to do something completely different from one another, and Naam manage to encompass everything from trippy atmospherics to floor-rumbling stoner heaviness. The layered vocal harmonies weave perfectly atop the music, while the music locks into a serious groove, and synth lines oscillate wildly through the whole mix.

The set was a mix of new material from their latest album Vow, as well as older cuts like 'Skyling Slip' from their self-titled record, and 'Starchild' from last year's The Ballad Of Starchild, and even though I wasn't familiar with the new material, I can't wait to pick it up.

It's great to see that even in 2013, the psych rock scene is alive and thriving, with weirdos from New York to Edinburgh and beyond venturing further and further into the recesses of their minds and the far reaches of space and creating new sounds with what they find. More brain-frying shows like this, please.

All photos by Simon Anger, Amplified Music Photography []