INTERVIEW/REVIEW: WOWS - Chakpori (Single, Argonauta Records)

There is a wealth of incredibly progressive heavy music coming out of Italy these days most notably bands such as SunopcrisyStorm{O} and for the subject of this review Verona’s, WOWS. It’s always a pleasure to stumble upon gifted bands that know how to actually write movement into their songs. WOWS are extremely capable and individually bring immensely raw songwriting talent to the table. It’s a rare find indeed to discover such a skilled collective that are so immersed in their craft. I had the opportunity to connect with WOWS guitarist, Matteo Baldi recently and he was kind enough to share some thoughts on what the band represents.

“We are six people who love music and want to say something in it to the best of our possibilities.” offers Baldi. “Our creative process is different for each song but, the main work is in the rehearsal room where everybody can contribute with an idea and where we can actually hear how the songs sound.”

And what exactly is the sound that WOWS delivers? A deeply introspective and atmospheric post-hardcore element definitely runs through “Chakpori”. It’s a song that draws the listener in a little at a time with hushed vocals and a percussive, distorted lead riff and bass line. But, this is only a taste from their 2015 release. “Vocal arrangements are one of the most important things in our records. We like to keep it clean but also violent and raging. We used English but we tried to get out more feelings than words in the songs.” explains Baldi. “Some songs have abstract and imaginative lyrics such as ‘Alaska’ and ‘Riwka’. Or others we used some really dark images and feelings to match the intensity of the music.”

So how did WOWS decide on “Chakpori” as their latest single and how is it relevant to the band?

“Actually, ‘Chakpori’ is the last video we published for our 2015 record AION before releasing new music. The first two videos are ‘Riwka’ and ‘Nemesi’ if you might wanna check it out. ‘Chakpori’ for us is a very significant song. It sums up our style and our idea of music and it’s for sure one of the best songs we’ve written.”

For a clearer idea of where the band is coming from musically, I cut straight to the chase and ask Baldi to shed some light on WOWS’ influences.

“Many bands I could write here and many musical genres as well. Let’s say we took something from Tool for sure, from Cult of LunaAmenraand Neurosis but also from RadioheadPortishead and Massive Attack.”

I’m starting to get the picture. Crushing yet darkly beautiful, WOWS seem to have a penchant for the surreal and the sublime. In particular, “Chakpori” does a magnificent job of presenting the ideals that WOWS embrace.

“We like to mix our influences, we don’t aim to follow a specific kind of music.’ says Baldi. “We just want to make music that means something for us and hopefully to whom may listen to it.”
If you’re looking something fresh and intensely moving, check out WOWS. Authentic and innovative, this is a band you won’t want to pass over.


LIVE REVIEW: The Witching Hour Tour - Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque, NM (DED, The Word Alive, In This Moment)

'You will end up where you are meant to be' -Tyler “Telle” Smith

Unlike anything I have ever seen before, there was literally a line of people wrapped around Sunshine Theater for the Witching Hour Tour. It was a completely sold out show! Thankfully my 16 year old niece and I got to the building around 4:30pm because we were only about 1/3 of the way down the line. Most people had been there since like 3pm. I have never been to Sunshine Theater so I thought us arriving around 2:30pm would have been way to early. Turns out I was completely wrong; we should have turned up around then. But eh, it wasn't too bad. Finally, around 6:30pm they finally opened the doors for all of us to flood in. After a brief security pat down we were on our way.

To be honest, I was really only there to see In This Moment. I hadn't even actually heard of DED or The World Alive before buying the tickets for this show. I have loved In This Moment for years! I had in passing listened to one or two of each of their songs. I had truly no idea what I was in for. DED took the stage, and immediately there was a moving presence. DED is a nu-metal band from Phoenix, Arizona, not far from our home of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were energetic as hell, albeit they were kinda that band you listen to when you are angry. That isn't a bad thing, I am a firm believer that every emotion needs a good soundtrack. One of my favorite songs was “FMFY”. If you aren't sure what the abbreviation means, YouTube the song, you'll get it! And they kept this energy flowing for the whole set, which was pretty amazing to me.

On a personal note, a lot of things have been going on in my life. A lot of changes have made me very sad, some of them have made me very angry. And listening to “FMFY” kind of helped me work on those ones that were making me angry. It was like the best form of anger management I have had in years.

So, after a brief intercession, they began to set up the stage for The Word Alive. The crowd began to push a bit, kinda started to sardine us. Of course, we had kind of made some 'friends' in the line who were shielding us from any real harm, which was nice because I was without my towering husband to keep me safe. Mind you, the 16 year old I had with me is like six feet tall and kinda hefty, so I didn't think I was completely screwed. But still having the six foot six powerhouse Keith would have made me feel better.

The minute The Word Alive started their set I was hooked! The metalcore band also hailed from Phoenix, Arizona. And (I sincerely apologize, guys give me time I am so gonna catch up with your discography and I will know every word by next year I swear!) while I do not remember names of the songs, I picked this to be my soundtrack of uplifting in my depression. Tyler not only was comical on stage (inside joke about breasts- mind you not as bad as it sounds), he also got real with the audience. He has had a rough two years (boy do I ever relate to that), and he talked about people leaving us too soon. This hit me, hard. See, my brother in law was 16 when he committed suicide. And it just left the biggest hole in our lives. One that I am not sure will ever feel okay ever again. And while I have had many more (too many more) people leave way too early, it was losing someone that was such a light in the darkness that just- got it just rips your guts apart and obliterates your heart. You just wonder will it ever be okay again. Mind you, I didn't know my brother in law very long. I had only met him 2 years prior to him taking his own life, but that kid just made you love him the minute you meet him. Another thing I loved about this band is how grateful they were to be playing for us. It was so uplifting to see how humble they were. I didn't want their set to end. I wanted them to stay forever.
So then In This Moment began to set up. And mind you folks, they were playing all sorts of music in between sets- and it was almost goosebump worthy to see this whole crowd of so many diverse backgrounds and such to come together to sing this song. I don't know, maybe that sounds stupid, but I love it.

But soon, the sardine can began to get smaller as people were crushing each other to push people out of the way to get closer to ITM once they took the stage. One of the new 'friends' we had made in line got attacked by some guy, and I was not going to not let something be done. To be completely honest, the security team was no help. This guy was in the front grabbing this girl in a headlock and choking her. So I reached back and got him off of her. And while I love In This Moment, three songs in I pulled my niece out of that crowd before someone crushed us to death.

What I did see of the band I was there to see, was great. Their theatrics didn't disappoint. She was just as beautiful in person, but yeah no band is worth dying to see. I do hope that if they do come back again, that I get to see them again. Because I was really enjoying the hell of the show ITM was putting on.

I guess that is kind of the reason I have tried to avoid going to big shows. As much as I love those bands I love and want to support them, sometimes their fans are toxic as hell. And I mean, I get that you get into a show. Hell, I got into this tour! I was jumping up and down, screaming with the rest. But what exactly is the point of crushing people or trying to choke them to death. It just ruins the night for everyone else. My niece's birthday surprise was completely ruined by a couple of idiots.

So this was my experience with The Witching Hour Tour. I found my new favorite band who I will see every time they come to Albuquerque! Hopefully though, next time we won't get crushed and flustered so that I can meet the guys of The Word Alive!


REVIEW: BODY VOID - I Live In A Burning House (Crown and Throne Ltd/Dry Cough/Seeing Red)

Gritty, meticulous, monotonous. No doubt words that will come to mind upon hearing the most recent release from San Francisco sludge outfit BODY VOID. High off their debut album Ruins, the band seems to have found the appropriate root to define and solidify their sound.

Refreshingly, BODY VOID does not rely too heavily upon the typical grinding fuzz that a fair amount of sludge metal bands lean back on (not to say that I don't enjoy that sort of thing). Most of that is saved for the bass, which heavily reminds me of a similar style used in groups such as Triptykon. Paired with a rather simple, but highly effective, guitar sound the band has managed to create a sonic landscape of despair - a necessity for a band who chooses to name their album 'I Live In A Burning House'.

Not unlike other underground Sludge acts, BODY VOID seems to love the effect of having their music 'fall apart'. As in, by the end of a particular section or song, the music begins to sound broken - guitars squeal, drums tense up, and, of course, the bass continues on with it's droning simplicity. Luckily, a bit of this is balanced with somewhat faster, almost punk-like sections and vocals so shrill and caustic that I dare to label them as blackened.

With some utterly massive tracks, BODY VOID has put forth an offering to be reckoned with. This is, no doubt, one of the best sludge releases of 2018 thus far. Though, if given the chance, 'I Live In A Burning House' may capture the interest of more then just fans of the sub-genre.


MINIREVIEW: Æpoch - Awakening Inception (Self-Released)

Throwing just about everything in the way of metal at you, aside from simplicity, Ontario based prog-metal band Æpoch seems to have the overall aim of annihilating your cranium. Think Gigan (and God I love Gigan) times about a thousand with a heavy dose of... everything. Seriously, there is no other band I've heard as of late that throws this much into an album and keeps it cohesive enough to be considered music.

This album is a Death Metal smorgasbord, but there is an overall psychedelic feel to Awakening Inception... eventually. Sure, the opening tracks are obsessed with kicking your face through the nearest wall, but when things calm down,  Æpoch can be a somewhat thoughtful affair. You'll get a spoonful of really well thought out bass solos, classic rock-esque solos (so many solos), even some alt-rock type stuff too. Surprisingly, even blackened elements make their way onto this album. Tracks like 'Delirium of Negation' and 'The Expiration' serve to shatter your expectations amidst a sea of the unexpected. Its baffling, almost indescribable. Then again, I just described it.

If you find a dull moment on Awakening Inception, then you have just listened to way too much metal. Seriously, how are you alive? Brains, no doubt, melted on the floor. At least it happened while you were listening to something good - like Æpoch.


LIVE REVIEW: Decibel Magazine Tour 2018 - @ The Rickshaw Theatre

First of all, my sincerest apologies go out to Decibel Magazine, Enslaved and Wolves in the Throne Room. Regrettably, due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to attend this performance in its entirety. However, I was so incredibly impressed (and at times moved) by what I did manage to see that I have decided to offer up my thoughts regardless. I hope you don’t mind me taking a few moments to share my unforgettable experience, such as it is.
 We arrived at Vancouver’s legendary Rickshaw Theatre in time to witness Denver, Colorado’s doom bringers Khemmis absolutely killing it. Since I first learned that I would be reviewing this show, I was very excited at the opportunity to finally see these guys live. In my opinion, Khemmis stands at the forefront of their chosen genre and did not fail to deliver on their unique brand of harmonized metal. The sound was second to none and the dual guitar work of Phil Pendergast and Ben Hutcherson cut through with little effort. Focusing mainly on tracks off their third release, “Hunted” the set was executed with poise and precision.

Hailing from Denmark, the ethereal Myrkur took the stage next. A brilliant backdrop emblazoned with the band’s logo was raised as spectral lighting brought it to screaming life. What a great visual-simple yet effective. The band specializes in a distinctive, blackened sound that provides a powerful foundation for Amalie Bruun’s lofty vocals. Her immense voice brought back memories of seeing Rose Chronicles play at the now defunct Town Pump back in the late nineties. Especially in her higher register, Bruun’s tones literally bounced off the walls and resonated in a way so striking everyone stopped in silence. “People in the back, are you relaxed? I hope those seats are comfortable”, the Danish artist mused as she broke out a handmade frame drum and began an Old Norse traditional song. Paired with her drummers’ evocative, pounding backbeat, the tune came across strong and proud-a fitting end to an evocative set.

Before Wolves in the Throne Room took their places on a very well primed stage, a pre set makeshift smudge ceremony was held. Having already adorned the stage with mystical set pieces, the crew vacated the area to allow one of WITTR’s lead guitarists to cleanse the vicinity. And what an atmosphere it created! Densely spiritual and steeped in mystery (not unlike WITTR’s music), the audience was left captivated and intrigued. Outside of Pagan ritual, I’ve never seen white sage used in such a mesmerizing manner. Stage presence is definitely a strong suit with Wolves in the Throne Room. As band members took their cues from front man Nathan Weaver, the opening acoustic strains of “Born from the Serpent’s Eye” rang out. Wow. Once the song’s blackened leads began, an enormous pit broke out and sent me flying! I hadn’t been knocked off kilter like that in years and it felt amazing! Note for painstaking note was played to perfection and I was left utterly speechless. Easily my favorite track off of “Thrice Woven”, I couldn’t ask for a better gift.

All in all, this was an extremely memorable show and each artist presented themselves with poise and professionalism. If you are lucky enough find tickets to the last leg of the Decibel Tour in your city, my advice is to jump on it. You’ll be hard pressed to find a show this good for some time. Failing that, try to find headlining dates with any of the featured artists and without doubt purchase their music and gear. You will not be disappointed.


REVIEW: Vaginal Mutilation - Self-Titled EP (Old Lion Recordings)

There comes a time when your average metal head makes the bold decision to take a break from all their Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and so forth. It's all great stuff, no doubt, but the genre is so vast and diverse that you can't just lean back on the classics. So, why not dig deep and find the most messed up stuff possible? If you've got a hankering for what-the-fuckery then maybe Vaginal Mutilation is for you. Er... the band that is, not the act.

You could go so far as to say that maybe Vaginal Mutilation borders on Grindcore/Slam, because of it's decent pace and extreme content. However, I'd prefer to keep it somewhere on the skirts of Death Metal - especially since the guttural vocals remind me so heavily of the early 2000s. There was a time when this style was everywhere, though it was brief. Sadly, on the flip side, you also can't hope to even understand what's being said. Maybe I'm a little sick in the head, but it would have been nice to have some clue what was being said on these tracks. I understand a good majority of screaming and harsh vocals, no problem, but this is all pig squeals - which is great, if that is what you're into, but it totally kills all chance of vocal definition. Atop that, Vaginal Mutilation is also a Indonesian band. Therefore, a person has to take into account accents and level of understand... IF the vocals are even in English. Man, I really wanted to hear why 'Free Sexs is Not Answer'. Some mysteries, I suppose, will never be solved.

Musically, aside from the squeals and whatnot, Vaginal Mutilation provides a pretty solid gamut of compositions. This EP's silver lining is most definitely the music itself. Here you get some good riffs, and decent variety. The band really knows how to change things up enough, track to track, to keep you invested. I'm not going to say it's anything to write home about, you aren't getting some far-out stuff, but it gets the job done and adds some character to the whole thing.

No matter if you like this sort of metal or not, Vaginal Mutilation is just a band that has taken every step to draw the curious and extreme in with a collection of hideously named songs - most of which relate to sexual atrocities of some sort. I mean, the band does have a point in doing this - citing sexual abuse, atrocities, and foolishness as the reason behind it all. Though naming a band 'Vaginal Mutilation' and having tracks such as 'Butcher of Anal Canal' doesn't really incite a sense of seriousness. As for brutality? Well, most definitely.


INTERVIEW: The Bad Larrys

(This interview is between Edward Dinsley and The Bad Larrys)

[E] Your debut album, "Hodads" sounds amazing! How did you hook up with Pete Lyman?

Davis: Pete Lyman was actually recommended by Chris Karn, a friend of my who is also my sales rep at Vintage King in LA.  I had been working on this weird little instrumental project in my attic called “The Ivory Moans” at the time and really wanted to put something out independently that sounded great.  It kinda had this blacksploitation/spy feel to it.  This was years ago and the first time I had worked with Pete. We have continued working together for anything I put out. 

[E] You have a very distinctive sound. The surf element definitely gives you an edge. Why surf?

Davis: Well I think everybody in the band had this love for western music, whether it be heavy psych nuggets, spaghetti western zingers, or just straight up garage rock.  A lot of that shares surf rhythms and vibe overall if you pick it apart.  It just oozes cool and vibes really well between all of us musically. 

Jaret: I think it was the original idea, to play mostly surf stuff, when I had walked into the band. I had a bunch of more psych-garage sounding riffs or progressions and they all worked together really nicely and naturally. Now, if we’re not playing surf, the tones are still there and that is where all the vibe hangs on. Spring reverb and light echo with Fender guitars with whammy bars is all edge.

[E] There is a voice mail clip at the start of "Bottom of the Bag"-who is that? Where is it from?

Davis: That’s actually a friend of my brother, Adam, named Albert.  Albert got drunk and wouldn’t leave the bar so Adam left him there and went all the way back to Delaware without him.  Adam’s phone died and when he woke up his friend had called him crying and begging for a ride.  We thought it was hilarious and a good Philly reference, but the song is also about friends you have to babysit while drunk.

Jaret: Damn, I thought that was Adam the whole time! Sounds like Dave locked him out haha. 

[E] What is the local music scene like in Philly? Who are your favorite bands to play with? 

Davis: The local scene is has a lot of industrial music, psych and garage music, there’s also a lot of alternative and post punk sorts of bands too.  The thing that Philly always has had in spades are killer jazz, hip hop, and RnB bands, although that’s not necessarily our “scene”, it’d be ill representation of Philadelphia not to give those bands a big nod because those musicians are killer. 

Well most the bands we have played with in Philly we honestly haven’t gotten the chance to play with again.  Half the band just moved to Philly and we rehearse and record out here, but we all just started playing venues in Philly together last year so we’re pretty new. 

Jaret: Lot’s of cool dude bands but mostly everyone we’ve met has been warm and receptive to our shit. Matt Kelly rules, always tons of fun to play with that dude and his rotating lineup. Tough Shits are the shit.

[E] Who are your main influences individually and as a band?

Davis: I really like the pulpy, greasy, and extremely edgy rock and roll bands/performers: Chuck Berry, Link Wray, The Sonics, Bo Diddly, Howlin Wolf, The Cramps, Personal And the Pizzas, Shannon and the Clams, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Elmore James, Roy Orbison to name a few.  Y’know, rockin music either from or inspired by the mid to late 50’s/early 60s? Compilation albums are also huge for me too along with a lot of punk and proto punk lately.  I could sit and name hundreds of artists, but I won’t.  They’re my little secrets.   I also love reading a lot of cultish mystery/horror and beatnik novels and watching Netflix and b movies alike.  Traditional tattoo art and flash paintings have a huge influence on my aesthetics also. 

Jaret: The band’s influence is definitely a good, harmonious blend of all of our tastes. I’m into a whole wacky slew of shit but all of my influence from this band comes from King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and especially FUZZ, CFM, and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers. Ballsy guitars and fast pacing. 

[E] Did you record live off the floor in the studio?  

Davis: Yeah, we used very minimal overdubs some vocals and guitar solos here and there. The main thing we needed overdubs for was aux percussion.

[E] How do you get your sound? What kind of gear do you use?

Davis: I would say it’s a healthy combination of using mostly analog signal paths before we get into the computer.  I work at a studio in Philly called Drowning Fish where I have a ton of analog gear dating back to the forties, and a four track ampex that we had restored that was supposedly Kieth Richards’. I also use mostly vintage microphones and amps.  I think the main thing that gives us our sound is taking risks while recording live and committing to decisions that cannot be undone.  Like sure, smash this snare through an old compressor on the way in, fuck it.  We usually take a Memphis approach of bringing things into the red.

Jaret: The guitars are my old Jaguar, and Sean’s American Strat through a ‘69 Fender Bandmaster Reverb, a ‘69 Super Reverb, a ‘66 Dual Showman with 2x15s, an old Roland Space Echo, and a ‘66 Fender Reverb Unit. Not too many pedals for the album, all the fuzz was a Death by Audio Fuzz War, a bit of Boss Blues Driver/OCD boost and amps all pushing past breakup. I think we used one of Davis’ old Gretsch’s for the right channel guitar in Deep Space Radio? 

[E] We have lots of waves up here on Vancouver Island. Any tour plans as of yet?

Davis: We’re all trying to work it out scheduling wise, if we were able to get signed and get some more support we’d probably be touring more and sooner.  That said we do have a lot of regional east coast dates, but working things out independently just takes a little extra time.  I actually have a friend in Vancouver who wants us to make it out there, Vancouver to San Diego LETS DO IT!  We all want to quit our jobs so....

[E] A 7 inch with select tracks would be a welcome release. Are you planning to make any vinyl pressings in this format or otherwise?

THE ENTIRE BAND: We do have 100 tapes on the way from Wiener Records!! Vinyl is super expensive, so we’re looking for somebody who wants to support us before we make that plunge.  The whole band reallllllly wants to get this pressed so talk to us! 

The Bad Larrys

REVIEW: The Bad Larrys - Hodads (Self-Released)

I hadn’t heard much about Phillie's The Bad Larrys when I first gave this impressive slab a spin apart from the fact that they had been dubbed “proto-punk” and “psych-surf” by their peers. Surf? Wow. That’s different. Hodads, however, while definitely incorporating the aforementioned elements totally transcends any well meant attempts at describing their crazy varied sound. It’s hard to pin down a band that so effortlessly flows between genres and mixes things up with such tasty results. The Bad Larrys have absolutely left no stone unturned on their debut LP offering up a banger of an album chock full of well crafted hooks and debauched party anthems. But, if you think they’re going to stop there you’re in for one hell of a shock.

Hodads plays less like an album and more like a collection of radio ready hits destined for raunchy Netflix soundtracks. Let me make myself clear; this is not a bad thing in the least. On the contrary, The Bad Larrys are on to something huge and come riding in on a tsunami dripping with reverb and aching to break. There honestly isn’t a weak link on this record and the more I listen, the more I can’t get it out of my head. It’s just that good.

Mastered by Pete Lyman (Red FangThe Jesus Lizard), the album comes off sounding highly polished while retaining its notably vintage tone. Thanks to the equipment at Davis M. Shubs’ disposal and home studio of Drowning Fish, the band were able to lay down some seriously timeless tracks that groove so well together you’ll be left wondering how they haven’t been scooped up by a major label already. All in good time, I suppose.

Stand outs like “7 Foot Vultures” and “I Like You Anyway” flow between the mournful and whimsical in a way that makes perfect musical and lyrical sense. It’s amusing how fun the band sounds on tunes like these, making die hard converts out of even the most jaded among us. If I wasn’t won over from the start, The Bad Larrys definitely got me with the next track (and ode to early onset alcoholism), “Fired in the Morning”.

With lines like, “How did I come in here like Jean Harlow/and waltz right out like the walking dead?!” what’s not to love? An apt description of my early twenties, this track will have you raging into the wee hours on any given weekday and wishing you had picked up that extra 15 pack before 11.

I would be remiss if not to mention album closer and The Bad Larrys’ latest single, “Rama, Mammon, Abraxas, Ahriman”. Tempered with tantalizing keys and kaleidoscopic guitar shots, the revolving main riff is as heavy as the album gets. Vocalist Sean Flynn demonstrates a certain unbridled poise throughout Hodads but really lets loose on the chorus here. Flynn howls the song’s refrain with all the punk rock fervor of a young Glen Danzig while still managing to keep up his signature Strokes-esque style.

If you’re not already convinced, Hodads is a must for every dedicated music enthusiast. It really is a solid product that vibes easily with psych/stoner and straight ahead garage rock fans alike. Maintaining a healthy balance in mood, the outcome is a fine recording complete with just enough street cred to keep things edgy yet dance-able. If The Bad Larrys are any indication, psych/surf/garage is the new mainstream and make no mistake; you’re going to want to get in on the ground floor.


Keep up with everything about The Bad Larrys on their Facebook here.

INTERVIEW: Cam of Motherslug

(This interview is between Keith, The Odd of Direnotes and Cam of Motherslug)

[K] Who is Motherslug? What brought the band together?

Motherslug have been kicking around for six years now. Nick and Cyn are the remaining founding members, I joined after they had been jamming for almost a year with Ferg and Matt and that was the lineup for the first EP. Ferg left just prior to Three Kings in Darkness and we picked up Regan a couple of years before we released Electric Dunes.

[K] Space/scifi is a reoccuring theme on 'The Electric Dunes of Titan', how did you come up with this? What influenced you to take this route?

The title to the opening track was the last thing to fall into place and it really encompassed the feel of the album. I read a lot of classic fantasy and sci-fi; Asimov, Frank Herbert, LeGuin, Poul Anderson, Hoyle, Moorcock. In fact the title Cave of the Last God is taken from the last chapter of one of Larry Niven's books, 'The Magic Goes Away'. I guess I like the mythology of space, the great unknown void is a blank canvas and the generally dystopian nature of our inevitably high-tech future lends itself to doom.

[K] How would you say Motherslug has evolved since the initial EP?

When we started out we wanted to be the heaviest band on the planet, I'm sure most heavy bands strive for the same goal. But it became apparent that we didn't want to be playing the heaviest songs without those moments of light. It is the contrast, the mellow melodies juxtaposed against some crushing riffs that creates the heavy. We do have those moments in the earlier songs but we never realised them to their full potential. Over the years our song writing skills have improved and our shared experience of being in the band breeds a musical familiarity so we work together much more efficiently to mold a song exactly how we want it.

[K] What is the origin of the name 'Motherslug'? How did you or your bandmates manage to come up with such a unique name for the band?

Motherslug is taken from the title of an Acrimony song - The Mother of all Slugs!

[K] Motherslug isn't exactly you're typical run-of-the-mill stoner/doom metal group, there is a good bit of rock in the sound as well. What are some of your influences?

Yeah there's a quite a mixed bag in there. We all dig the core influences of stoner/doom; Kyuss, Floyd, Sabbath, Zeppelin. Regan draws a lot of influence from players like Jimmy Page, Eddie Hazel, Hendrix, Robin Trower, Sir Lord Baltimore, Cactus, Captain Beyond, Randy Holden, Blue Cheer, MC5. I grew up with Kiss and Devo, got into punk around '84 with Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Crass and Suicidal Tendencies and then real alternative stuff like The Birthday Party, Beasts of Bourbon and The Cramps. Early 90's Monster Magnet, Metallica  and Danzig. Through the late 90's I got into Cold Meat Industries, Deutsch Nepal, Lustmord and used to make my own lo-fi fucked up noise tapes. Modern day influences are Chelsea Wolfe, THAL and Scott Walker but I drag all of that musical baggage from over the years with me when I'm pondering a lyric or melody.

[K]What is the metal scene like overseas, in Austrailia?

Melbourne is the capital of live music in Australia, lots of good venues, dozens of great bands. There is a decent small scene up North in Brisbane but the rest of Australia is dead. We play with heaps of great bands you should look out for; Merchant, Dawn, Jack Harlon & the Dead Crows, Boracherro, Hobo Magic, Seedy Jeezus, Arrowhead.

[K] Outside of creating music, what else do the members of Motherslug do with their time?

Regan drives a van and work with old ladies at a charity shop. Nick does weird shit with spreadsheets, Cyn is an accountant and I am a Producer at a games company, I make video games.

[K] What was it like placing so well on so many metal Charts, Lists? Did you ever think Motherslug would be what it is today?

We were stoked to see the album get such a great response from bloggers and reviewers around the world. It made a lot of 'best of year' lists, it hung around in the Doom Charts over three months and has sold incredibly well for a total d.i.y. release from the arse end of the world. It is a testament to the production skills of John Bartels to pull the recording back from the brink and not only make it sound great but he made it sound like Motherslug - it sounds stupid but recording a live band and getting it to sound like the band is not an easy task. We were ready to trash the tapes and start again.

[K] Biggest pet peev when it comes to the music industry?

Heavy music is largely ignored by radio and media in this country despite there being a large audience for it. It's an uphill battle to get that broader recognition and we can already see from the release of Dunes that we have a larger following overseas than we have here in Australia.

[K] If Motherslug was an animal what would it be?

A slug, obviously. 

[K] Any upcoming tours/shows in support of 'The Electric Dunes of Titan' planned?

We had our launch in November last year, have played a couple of shows since and have a gig next week with 24 bands on three stages at Filthfest. Rather than go on the road and flog these songs to death we have decided to put our efforts into  getting the next album rolling. 

[K] Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions, anything else you'd like to say at all?

Thanks for taking the time to interview us, have a good one.

QUICK REVIEW: HAR - Visitation (Blood Harvest)

First off, Visitation’s intro is as creepy as they come. I’ve grown used to patiently waiting through some pretty lengthy prologues in my time but this gets to the point immediately. It features an instrument native to HAR’s homeland of Tel Aviv that while completely unknown to me, grabbed my attention straight away. It sounds to me like an arghul played in a drone like fashion, layered with haunting funeral bell and steeped in a mire of guttural groans. Weird and slightly disconcerting, it sets the scene for a relentlessly blackened EP that delivers at every turn.
Album opener, “A Shadow Henosis” is a cacophony of dissonance consisting of disembodied wails, foreboding guitar and outright ruthlessness. The mix is both terrifying and transporting. Evoking images of desolate lands and ancient evils, HAR have unearthed a timeless ambience with this track.
The diversity continues with the aptly titled, “From the Blood of a Whirling Dagger”, a decrepit whirlwind that features the dual face melting tactics of guitarists Daniel Atai and Shaul Pollack. From the outset, this song absolutely pummels with furiously paced blast beats and above average vocal work.
Closing on a high note, “Conjure the Black Flame” comes screaming out of the gate with all of the vengeance of a stirred Balrog. I’m hard pressed to find fault with any of HAR’s musical choices on this track as it is crafted with all of the diligence at their command. Again, the ethereal shrieks and howls trademark of Visitation return here and add a depth of hellishness to an already ominous vibe. With its ambitious intent, the song is quite simply brilliant and leaves little room for debate.
What I appreciate most about Visitation is its varied tempos, mid range vocals and almost complete lack of ego. This is raw black metal at its finest. Despite its overall top notch production, Visitation still manages to come across as unrefined as the best in its genre. This is no small feat considering the specifically lo fi demands of purist listeners. In a time where cassettes are being recorded in dank basements to decidedly minimalist effect, this is a welcome change. It proves that today’s generation of black metal can be just as sinister sounding as its predecessors without sacrificing tonal quality.


INTERVIEW: Jani of Svartanatt

(The following is an interview between Sammi Spells and Jani of Svartanatt. See her original review here.)
[SS] Hello! Thank you so much for taking time to sit down and answer some
questions for me! Please, introduce yourself.

Hey im Jani, singer and guitarist in the band.

[SS] What are some of your influences?

I dont listen to music so often actually but i have to thank Kurt Cobain cause it were the grungewave with Nirvana that got me interesed of start to play guitar in a age of 9. I got hooked when i heard the bleach album a raw mix of punk and rock. I usually get ideas to write songs at night. melodies and riffs just pops up in my head.

[SS] Who is your personal favorite musician of all time?

Its a hard one. Theres so many good musicians. Kurt Cobain and Phil Lynott maybe one of them.

[SS] What attracted you to the sound of the 1960s-1970's southern rock sound exactly?

I have been listening to 60-70’s rock since i was 10 years old and got stucked when i first heard bands like The baker gurwitz army, Thin Lizzy and Lynard Skynard some years later. Im not so much in it for some special sound. Our band just sounds like we do. If its loud enought and we got some crunchy sound then we’re pleased.

[SS] How did you guys come to be?

It were the year of 2014. I called up Daniel Heaster( drummer) and asked if he would be interesed of playing drums in a band. I had earlier seen him play in other bands and i really liked his way to beat on the drums. We both are from same city ”Gävle” so i knew him little before we started our band svartnatt. Then i hooked up up with Felix Gåsste and Mattias Holmström on a concert in Stockholm i saw some cool dudes headbanging on stage (Felix Gåsste&Mattias Holmström guitar &bass). After the show we took some beers and i asked them both if they would be interesed of play bass in a band:). Some days later we meeting up in Daniel Heasters rehearselroom and svartanatt were born! Martin Borgh(Organ) is old friend of mine that i asked some months later to join the band.

[SS] Do you have any particular writing process?

I always put the chords and melodies together as one sort of package then i tryin to figure out some cool drumbeats. Last of all i write the lyrics that is the most difficult challenge.

[SS] How do you handle nerves before a live show?

I never got nerves. I have been standing on stages since is was 11 years old so thats probably why. Its just fun.

[SS] In your downtime, what are some things that you enjoy?

When i dont write songs i hanging around with my family and friends. I love Bowling, must be the best sport in the world, you can drink beers while you playing.

[SS] What's the greatest thing about being in a band? What are some things
you could do without?

its an adventure to travel around with these fellows in the band and visit new citys and meet people that want to hear our music its just lovely. We always have a great time together!
One gig shows. When we travel for about 6-7 hours to do one show and next day is the same way home. It shows that we’re a hard-working band!

[SS] If you weren't a musician, what would be your ideal career?

Its because the music im still standing on the ground. I cant think of anything else to work with? Im musicteacher to so :).

[SS] What does the future hold for Svartanatt?

2nd of March we’re releasing our 2:nd album ”Starry eagle eye” and we’ll be touring as much as possible and hope to get in touch with some booking agency.

[SS] Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?

Thanks for all support! Stay tune fore some more r’n’r!!! Keep on rockin!!!

REVIEW: REPULSIONE - Desecrating (Wooaaargh)

Quite literally, Repulsione scared me. I'm no stranger to Grindcore, I actually own a few Grindcore releases myself, but after sliding on my headphones and expecting the same-old run-of-the-mill stuff - I was thrown off so badly by the fuzzed out Bass that it made me jump. And, that is a pretty good representation of what you'll get on the entirety of Desecrating. It's the musical equivalent of being beat over the head with a shovel - just a particularly disgusting one.

I'm not going to pretend I even know what is being said here, what any theme is, nothing. There are some scant hints, but the majority of the vocals are screamed at you with incredible speed and aggression, or so slow and low you can't hope to get what is going on. I mean, it's Grindcore, you could be listening to anything at any time and rarely catch a single work through an entire album. So, Repulsione hits that check-mark and then some.

Composition is not bad but I can't decide if I tolerate or hate the double bass on Desecrating. I do enjoy originality, but the tone is just, as I said, fuzzed to hell and back. It's like listening to a buzzsaw an inch from your ear - I am not exaggerating in the slightest. It's okay for a couple of songs, but because of the tone being what it is, how the band seems to want one bass to act as a guitar and the other to act as a straight forward bass - it just throws everything out of whack. The standard acting bass occasionally evens things out, but it can't help but feel like it's all a little off - even for Grindcore.

At times, Repulsione gave me a headache. I had to stop the album occasionally just to take a break, even on songs I enjoyed like 'An Infamous Beast'. Maybe it all sounds better in a live environment and the band was trying to stay true to that? Or, maybe there should have been more effort put into the intermingling of the instruments.

Again, the songs are good, really well done, but the fuzzed out bass should have just been a guitar - especially if Repulsione was just going to obliterate the sound associated with bass guitar. It's absolutely crushing, no nonsense Grindcore. It is utterly brutal, but when it comes to the point where I got to take a breather to save my brain from imploding - a few points might be lost. Then again, it might just be what this band is going for. If Grindcore is strictly about in-your-face aggression, Repulsione are the crème de la crème of their chosen genre.


REVIEW: The Dahmers - Creepiest Creep (Lovely Records)

If you are one that likes the Horror Punk Genre, The Dahmers is a band that made me want to dance while listening to them. Listening to them, I am definitely reminded of the Misfits. This being said, The Dahmers reminded me a lot of the energy of the Misfits. I have to say that of new music, they are really good. I tend to be partial to music from the 70s-80s as that is what I listened to growing up, but I just have to say "wow" to The Dahmers.

'Creepiest Creep', the first song on the EP, reminds me a lot of a blend of the classic rock blended with punk. This has not only strong vocal, but the music itself will have you wanting to listen to even more of their songs. Truly my favorite song on this EP, definitely give props to The Dahmers on this song. I am usually not one that favors any form of Punk. I will listen to it, but I truly enjoyed listening to this song. I am, yet again, not disappointed when I started to listen to the second song on their EP 'Reoccurring Dreams'. Even though this song isn't more than a little over a minute long, they definitely get their point across with this song.

'Without A Face', the next song on the EP, was not exactly my favorite. I'm not saying that it is bad, only that it isn't my favorite. Of course that being said, that is because I truly favor their song 'Creepiest Creep'. 'Kiss of Dario', the last song I listened to by The Dahmers, is a really upbeat song that had me wanting to dance yet again. I was not disappointed listening to them.

Listening to this EP, it is composed of many songs that I could see being used in comedy horror movies. That isn't a bad thing either. They really know how just to keep the listener on their feet. I definitely hope to hear more from The Dahmers in the future. Great vocals, and absolutely great music.


REVIEW: Towards Atlantis Lights - Dust of Aeons (Transcending Obscurity)

 Powerfully emotional, Towards Atlantis Lights draws from historical moments and blends folk, doom, death, and black metal elements together in order to bring their story to life on Dust of Aeons. And, by story, I mean an epic spanning four tracks, one of which is a whopping 30 minutes (The Bunker of Life) and the other over 16 (Alexandria's Library). It's a somewhat short run time on paper, but the density and captivating nature of the yarn spun here makes every moment worth it.

Pleasantly, for a story-based album, Dust of Aeons features a bevy of vocal work. Good vocal work, at that. The fusion of unconventional folk-like clean vocals and crushing death metal vocals works incredibly well. It also provides a counter balance for the, occasionally, simply written songs. Then again, speed and over-complication is not exactly  great thing when your opening track lasts longer then your standard television program. As a guitar player, I could only imagine remembering the entirety of this album would be a superhuman feat at best.

But, that isn't to say Dust of Aeons doesn't feature a bevy of memorable riffs or compositions. Everything here is massive, monolithic, and when it isn't, the writing is teasing you with moments of death and black. The transitions between slow sorrowful doomy riffs, to crackling black, or crushing death, are done bafflingly well. How Towards Atlantis Lights manages to just change without some stop, or break, beforehand is beyond me. It's just about beyond anything I've ever heard before (at least when it comes to doom). Outside of this, there is a lot of piano work - a staple, I'm noticing, in doom's pieces to provide some variety when harsher writing isn't called for. But, despite my disdain towards the use of it - I can't deny that Towards Atlantis Lights, much like Et Moriemur, has done masterful things with the instrument.

I'll be honest, I hate most musicals but Towards Atlantis Lights isn't that, despite it having a narrative. The entire album feels like an experience, but doesn't sacrifice creative merit or provide emotion or atmosphere strictly though lyrics and vocals like your standard story-based album would. Every component is important in expressing what the group wants to say, and how they want you to feel about it.