On the Turntable – Primal Rite ‘Sensory Link to Pain’

REV169 - Primal Rite - Sensory Link To Pain [cover]

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day left us with a little pot of gold in the new Primal Rite EP Sensory to Pain. The three songs on the EP immediately establish who the band is, where they came from and why they deserve a listen. Musically, it’s rich with 90s inspiration from the metal, punk and hardcore genres. Their sound encompasses so many sub-genres, even – I don’t expect they will ever be hurting for fans. The EP is a quick listen, they shred while knowing how to get in and grab your attention, but keep the songs long enough to sustain your interest. However, what really makes Primal Rite stand out from their predecessors are the vocals.

The vocals are guttural, tough and blissfully brutal. They’re also muddy, something I could imagine being a bit distracting to some listeners, but I am from the swamp so I dug it.  I will likely always have a hardcore kid inside me who hears a breakdown and a guttural vocal and wants to stand up and pound my chest, feeling like I am the most brutal of them all. This EP made me want to do exactly that, in an ideal world there would be more vocalists like Lucy just killing it and plowing past gender norms, inviting an accepting, open scene.

Primal Rite’s lyrics are truly an expression of real life and offer perspective, and because of this the power of the vocal track creates a feeling of unity, which in my opinion is the single purpose of any heavy genre. It’s unafraid to stare what’s ugly in the world in the face and say, we see you and we stand together.

Recommended Track: Primal Discipline

Grab the EP from Revelation Records here.

-Pygopagus-

On the Turntable – Crypt Rot ‘Embryonic Devils’

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About five months ago, I went to the Soundcloud page for Southern Lord Records to hear an early-release track from Crypt Rot.  I proceeded to listen to “Chapters of Torment” just about every day for the next couple weeks.  Shortly after, I learned they were playing at The Power of the Riff this past December in LA.  I was already scheduled to shoot the fest so I was excited to see these newcomers live.

As I said in my corresponding Power of the Riff piece, their set was the best way to open a festival, hands down.  To be honest, I was super bummed that more people didn’t get to see them.  Being the first band on the first day of a bill is tough, and doing so while being relatively new is even more tough.  Those of you that missed them really missed something special, but you can do yourselves a favor and catch their tour this coming summer.

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Crypt Rot at The Power of the Riff 2016

We’re finally coming up on the release of their debut album Embryonic Devils, and I was afforded the chance to hear it in full.  I have to say, from the opening track with the almost campy haunted house sound effects (squeaking door) to the closing track “Internal Organ Feast,” I was completely engrossed, and ended up listening to it three times on my way home without batting an eye.  In addition, the members of the band have names such as “Father Flesh” and “The Executioner,” so you should have a good idea of what you are getting into.  

The opening track, “Chapters of Torment,” which after five months I am very familiar with, rolls right into what has become my favorite track on the album.  I plan on catching these guys when they hit NYC in May and I have to say that if “Scaphist Waste” doesn’t inspire a pretty fierce pit, then in my opinion no song can.  It’s raw, fast, and just damn good, with Father Flesh’s vocals tearing through the song and super heavy riffs breaking things up and getting the head banging.

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Even when CR slow things down a little with “Pit of Morbidity” it doesn’t feel out of place.  If anything, I think it gives the band even more dynamic and proof of talent.  The addition of the vocals by Rotten Mistress is what takes this song from great to incredible.  She has the perfect voice to compliment the male vocals – both haunting and achingly beautiful.

There really isn’t a moment in this album when I think to myself, man, I’m kind of getting bored, or I wish this song had this or the album had that.  For a debut album, this is a solid starting point and I look forward to seeing where this crew from Ohio goes next.

Grab your copy through Southern Lord here

-Skc Photo-

On the Turntable – King Woman ‘Created In The Image of Suffering’

I think one of the best things about being part of the SGM fam is the freedom that we have, since we answer to no one but ourselves.  We are a group of women from all walks of life who join here to try to create something new and different, if such a thing is still possible.  We don’t allow advertising on our site, so we can post about anything, in any form, and that is something I genuinely cherish.  So in that stead, we thought it would be interesting to offer a couple of simultaneous posts.  Below you’ll find two reviews of the new King Woman album Created In The Image of Suffering.  I have teamed up with Pygopagus to offer our thoughts on this album, and we decided to showcase how far-ranging our opinions on it were, sort of a dueling pianos review. Check it out!

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Thalia Gore’s Review

It seems like every time I hear about a band lately, they are from the Bay Area.  I have yet to check out the scene, but I’ve definitely been meaning to stop by to check out some shows and see what the vibe is like over there.  The most recent SF band to come up on my radar is King Woman, as they have just released Created In The Image of Suffering on Relapse Records.  

I was excited to check out this album as soon as I heard of it’s impending release and the corresponding video for “Deny.”  This marks the debut full-length album from Kristina Esfandiari and the album is laced with her own personal demons lingering in the dark, hazy sound this trio creates.  

The album starts off with “Citious” the digital-only track that was an album bonus.  This track runs roughly one minute and slowly eases you into King Woman’s sound.  As the second track, “Utopia,” unfolds, you are suddenly wrapped in a gauzy and distorted doom womb.   

I like the fact that Esfandiari’s vocals are even with the music, not above it nor far below, creating a seamlessly woven balance. I really appreciate how haunting she can sound between the distortion and echoes.  Like she’s caught somewhere in the afterlife and is kind of okay with being there.

Sadly the album starts to lose me at “Hierophant,” at which point things start to feel too repetitive.  A chorus is sung one too many times or a riff harped on a little too often.  I think they have great potential and a genuinely unique sound, but I think come their next album they should delve a little deeper into the editing process.  Overall I think this is a great debut and I will be interested to see how their sound matures.

 

Pygopagus’s Review 

King Woman unveils their debut full-length album, Created In The Image of Suffering, and I hand the veil back. The first track, “Citios”, the digital only bonus track slaps you in the face with its cringe-worthy vibe of an angst riddled teen, with nothing to complain about, who just discovered how to make something “artistic” in Garageband. It didn’t feel like a bonus it’s more of warning for the quality of the rest of the album.

You often see the adjectives, “breathy, hypnotic and ethereal” thrown around when referencing female vocals with a similar, super on-trend vocal style. This album strikes me as a high school band trying their best to emulate Chelsea Wolfe for a Battle of the Bands in the high school gym. It’s contrived, from their look, the album name, the sound –  it’s all a little too on the nose to work or feel authentic. The vocals sound lifeless and without the effects and layering wouldn’t be record-worthy. The music itself is slow, repetitive and hugely uninspiring. I was particularly frustrated with the mixing of the record in relation to the snare drum. It’s so sharp that it’s jarring compared to the rest of the heavily sedated sounds.

As I listened through each track, hoping that I was nearing an amazing moment that would change things around, I got more anxious and frustrated by how unpolished the album is. The lyrical content, vocals and instrumentation is uncomfortably elementary. The hip thing that I would expect them to do is take all of their weaknesses and try to spin them into an intentional sound, but it’s not even possible, it’s just a fact that it is unpolished.

Debuting an album is a huge deal, and the work required to achieve it should be applauded. The courage to put yourself out there as an artist is fucking terrifying and in a sense I hate that I am that person who’s shitting all over it. But the reality is the only thing I like about King Woman is their name. This is an over-saturated market, and one that is blossoming with tremendous talent that transports you to a different place. In order to break into the scene and leave a mark they have to discover and embrace their own unique sound, because there is nothing unique about this album.

Least favorite track “Worn.” Say ‘break the bread’ one more time and see what happens.

Grab your copy from Relapse Records on CD or vinyl.

On the Turntable – Power Trip ‘Nightmare Logic’

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Power Trip is a band I wasn’t familiar with prior to hearing their second album Nightmare Logic, which will be released February 24th through Southern Lord.  I was instantly welcomed into the album with a wall of delicious distortion followed by what felt like stumbling into a wormhole that took me straight to an excitement and energy right out of none other than Metallica’s first studio record Kill ‘Em All.

The songs are short, exciting blasts of energy and aggression. This is a common format in this type of album, but often such short songs feel unpolished, rough or too meandering, like unfinished ideas. Power Trip’s great skill is their editing of their own work, which results in a gorgeous mix of classic metal, thrash and punk. As an added bonus, there are so many glorious guitar screams, the kind that I long for but can usually only find in fantasy metal!

Each band member is incredibly talented, and together they have created a much-needed throwback sound with a modern twist – it doesn’t seem like they are just cloning a sound that works. I am most impressed with the energy sustained throughout the album, it is consistent and combative and even more so it sounds like the makings of an incredible live show.

In my opinion, lyrics are something that many metal fans are too forgiving of, by implicitly not expecting much more than vague threats of violence and male chest pounding/dragon slaying/etc – but Nightmare Logic is not only refreshing in its sound, but also lyrically. The band provides us with anthem after anthem inspiring us to fight back against oppression. This genre is not normally my thing, but I cannot tell you how jazzed I am to have an album that serves as a great collection of songs with a purpose that couldn’t be more relevant!

Recommended Songs: The entire album from beginning to end

Grab your copy of Nightmare Logic on Southern Lord here.

Photo by Skc Photo

-Pygopagus-

On the Turntable – Trevor Shelley de Brauw ‘Uptown’

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When I first gave Trevor Shelley de Brauw’s new album Uptown a listen I was writing a letter to someone, trying to decide whether to lie to explain away my bad behavior or tell the truth and own up to my failings as a friend. The music lulled me into this dark battle of my personal code of ethics vs. my urge to simplify life with a tiny lie. Instead, the music led me to acknowledge my actions and feel a whole lot of feelings about the ordeal. Trevor’s got a gift, in that he created a very powerful soundscape that perfectly served as the soundtrack to my personal dilemma that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Trevor, who’s most recognized for his work as a guitarist in Pelican, created a small but valuable piece of art with this album. I had a brief moment of being unimpressed with the simplicity of the songs and overall length of the album, but I dismissed those thoughts instantly when I realized how much these droning impressionistic sounds were making me feel. I was caught off guard when I saw one track titled, “Turn Up For What.”  I was eagerly awaiting that track so I could figure out what was going to happen but again I was pleasantly surprised by its quiet strength.

Uptown is the result of ten years of work and marks Trevor’s first solo album. He has always been a force to be reckoned with, but this album transcends genre and gives him the added badge of artist. While that may sound vague, he creates something so simple yet so complex. Something that could be applied to so many different types of art and could work so beautifully as a layer to each. I think this needs to be scooped up to be the soundtrack of a short film asap, but who am I to push my own agenda on such a fantastic solo project.

I don’t think this is an album that should be listened to song by song, I would recommend buying the entire album and putting it on in the background and observing what happens next!

Grab your copy of Uptown from The Flenser here.

-Pygopagus-

On the Turntable – Black Anvil ‘As Was’

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When listening to Black Anvil’s new album As Was, the great Pablo Picasso quote “Good artists copy, great artists steal” comes to mind. The most notable difference in this case is that I would not be so bold as to call Black Anvil great artists, more so I can’t get past how much their signature style sounds like a mash up of 15-second clips from various popular metal sub-genres. Because of this, I found myself desperately trying to find something I liked in each song, and the shining light in the whole album for me is the consistent delivery of Paul Delaney’s vocals.

His voice has a beautiful grittiness, with a perfect amount of rasp that really honors the black metal heroes of the past. I can see how many will view As Was as an exciting new record that beautifully pays homage to the greats! I would highly recommend this album to someone who’s just getting into metal, as it offers such a variety of styles in each song. Everyone needs a band like this to help them hone in on what exactly they like about metal and to provide them with a starting point to deep dive into their preferred sub-genre(s).

In an interview with Deaf Sparrow, the band said, “…These people do not know us, do not know what we are about, at ALL. I don’t need to make anyone else happy with what this band does. It’s not about pleasing the listener. If you are pleased, then great. If not, go fuck yourself. We could easily be carbon copies of other bands, but we still write what we want based on our reaction. Not that we’re this original band, to me we are, in the grand scheme we’re not. I think real recognizes real in the end of the day”. From that I get that they are inspired by the process of creation more than the final product, in that the lyrical content and journey to create the album is more important than the audience’s reaction to it. I respect the hell out of that, because this album is their chance as artists to express themselves and who am I to harsh their buzz?

The album really picks up steam at the fifth song, “As An Elder Learned Anew.” This song was the first that told a story I felt invited to be a part of. As a listener I want to be transported to a different time and place. I want to go on the journey with the band and I would encourage them to explore how they can express themselves and speak their truth by showing, not telling.

Recommended Songs:
“On Forgotten Ways”
“As An Elder Learned Anew”
“Ultra”

Grab your copy of As Was on Relapse Records here.

Rolling photo by Lani Lee.

Pygopagus-

On the Turntable – Neurosis ‘Fires Within Fires’

Ayee, Neurosis fans — this one’s for you. Thirty years running, the post-metal pioneers have just released their 11th studio album, Fires Within Fires, on the band’s Neurot Recordings. Do not expect any crazy experimentation or deviation from their classic doom metal sound; this album, in a nutshell, is classic Neurosis.  The album is a true testament to the originality and skill of a band considered one of the first to ever combine hardcore/crust punk with atmospheric and psychedelic sounds, leading to the subgenre post-metal. While striking the band’s signature balance of light and dark, the album sounds completely relevant and up-to-date, despite their massive discography, and, dare I say, age? Fires Within Fires proves how experience and sheer talent can break down barriers of what could be exhausted sound and stretched-out creativity. These guys still have it — in fact, it seems as though they are only just beginning.

This forty-five minute LP is comprised of just five songs, each raining heavy with guitar, drums, and bass, creating a thick sound that carries effortlessly throughout the entire album. Pretty and mostly instrumental, the album relies greatly on chaotic guitar riffs to drive the sound forward. Mixed with the stomping beat of the drums, much of this record could be the soundtrack to some grand, mythological tale. The head-banging-fist-pumping guitars reflect back to the driving punk sound found in their earlier albums, especially in “Fire Is The End Lesson.” The pure, raw sound can be heavily attributed to the experienced and masterful ear of engineer Steve Albini. Nothing is overdone or overproduced on the album; you are in it with Neurosis from start to finish.

Speaking to Decibel magazine earlier this year, Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Steve Von Till describes his feelings about the band’s three-decade-long career: “We’re so fucking lucky, man. [We have] such gratitude for the brotherhood and the ability to be a part of this sound and this family.” Vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly adds, in the same interview, “We approach everything as if it would be the last thing we do, and we’ve been very conscious of that, particularly over the last ten years. Because we realize that the longer you go, your odds decrease substantially.” Contrary to other of long-standing rock bands, which can sometimes sound outdated and irrelevant, Neurosis remains on top with this record. It is clear they will remain influential in the doom-metal scene, drawing in old and new fans alike.

-Tallulah-