Friday, 26 August 2011

No Made Sense - New Season/New Blues

No Made Sense
New Season/New Blues

When No Made Sense released ‘The Epillanic Choragi’ to widespread critical acclaim, the world should well have been at their feet. The plaudits kept coming in, and loyal fans continued to head to their shows. But it hasn’t really taken off for the Reading three-piece in the way it should have; and I’ll admit, I never got round to checking that album out in full. The wait for this album has been much, much longer than any of their epic songs.

Those concerns aside, ‘New Season/New Blues’ is a welcome return from these progressive metallers, and as its been made available on a pay-what-you-like scale through their Bandcamp page, there’s no reason why any true rock or metal fan shouldn’t add this to their record collection. Interesting and forward-thinking enough for prog musos, yet accessible and resistant enough to avoid going off on too many tangents.

Clutch now have their own beer!

Yes, you read that right. Courtesy of the New Belgium Brewing Company, Maryland’s finest purveyors of the riff, Clutch, are getting their own ale! The Clutch Dark Sour Ale (9.0% ABV) has been released this month are part of the company’s experimental ‘Lips of Faith’ series. The description is as follows:

"Pure rock fury meets Belgian-style brewed folly in this collaboration with Maryland hard-rockers, Clutch. A pronounced bass line of dark chocolate, coffee and black malts bridge the sourness of our dark wood ale for a fluid riff."

I don’t think I can put it much better than that.

Unfortunately, anyone hoping to see this reviewed in our ‘Room for One More’ series that I launched recently may have to wait. A long time. New Belgium are based in the United States and I’ve no idea whether this bad boy will be made available in the UK. But you never know. My quest for fine ale is never-ending.

Peter Clegg

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Steel Panther: Uncaged again. Classy as ever

So Steel Panther have re-emerged, with guitarist Satchel dropping the following bombshell:


That release date is Monday October 17th, for those of us in the UK. The first single is 'If You Really Really Love Me', released on Monday November 7th.

They've also handily announced a London show at the Electric Ballroom on Tuesday November 8th, going on sale this Friday (August 26th) at 9:00am.

Get on down!

Peter Clegg

Malefice - Awaken the Tides

Awaken the Tides
Metal Blade

Over the years, in my own personal opinion, the mainstream approach to modern day metal has declined. That sort as displayed by the New Wave of American Heavy Metal that made its uprising in the early part of the 2000’s. Maybe it’s just my own personal tastes, or maybe it’s just that those sorts of bands just aren’t as inspiring or creative as they used to be. Certainly I could point the finger at any number of (particularly American) bands who just appear to have stagnated, whether it’s just becoming more radio-friendly or just going with the all-out beatdown crowd. Maybe it’s that stiflingness that’s pushed me to explore variety.

That said, it’s not as though this sort of approach is a lame duck. If it’s done right, then it’s got potential to succeed. And Malefice do it right again on third album ‘Awaken The Tides’. Yes, David Mitchell’s favourite band return here with new drummer Chris Allen-Whyte and the result is ten tracks of explosive thrashy heavy metal that blows the competition out of the water.

Indeed, it still retains a heavy metalcore vibe, which is perhaps just a product of the popular sound at the time, but the key difference between them and their peers is the quality that lies beneath, as well as perhaps a lack of recognition – its self a product of being late to the party, or scene abandonment, or perhaps even being British?

In any event, the album itself is an enjoyable one worthy of repeated spins, starting off with a few quick blasts from new drummer Allen-Whyte on the title track. The usual traits of the metalcore sound are retained, including the Gothenburg-esque riffing, but the delivery is there to get necks moving, particularly during a brutal beatdown on ‘Delirium’. Even during the more atmospheric songs (e.g. ‘Minutes’), they still bring the brutality in their sound.

Fair enough, it’s a tried-and-tested formula, but Malefice have created a fine effort here, and its commendable they’ve not gone all out for the weedly-weedly approach that swamps/plagues metal today, and while retaining a level of melodicism to their sound, at least they haven’t gone for the pound sterling either. Whether they’ll get any more recognition for sticking to their guns is another issue, but it’s far from stale and you could do far worse than take a listen to this, even in 2011.

Peter Clegg

Official merch store (note: ‘Awaken the Tides’ not available here)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Sarabante - Remnants

Southern Lord

At one point, Southern Lord were using the slogan ‘Let There Be Doom’, and you couldn’t see them looking beyond pumping out Sunn 0))) and Burning Witch records for all eternity. But lately, Greg Anderson and co. have taken quite an interest in all things hardcore/punk. Indeed, with a roster that now boasts like Black Breath, Nails, Trap Them, All Pigs Must Die, etc., it seems that Southern Lord have quite the gambit on anything crusty sounding, anything that screams raw anger and bile through the speakers at a considerably faster pace than any of the label’s previous numerous funeral dirges, without sacrificing the heavy.

Reaching out across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean, Southern Lord have now snapped up Greek hardcore crew Sarabante. The first track ‘Πνιγμένοι Στη Σιωπή (which according to Google translate means ‘Drowned In Silence’) starts off with a cracking instrumental section, nice and heavy, before the vocals come in, which are nothing too out of the ordinary, though they are nice, aggressively shouty vocals. Musically Sarabante provide a tight attack, providing some speedy aggressive melodies and even showing a bit of variation during the slower mid-section, ‘Our Day of Torment (Here & Now)’ in particular showing the band drawing on influences from further afield such as Neurosis.

The production’s not always perfect, and the backing vocals, particularly on closing track ‘Do You Feel Safe?‘ seem barely audible amongst the maelstrom, but the overall quality shines through and Sarabante provide an enjoyable d-beat romp. ‘Remnants’ is 34 politically-fuelled minutes seething with rage and anger, particularly given recent events in Greece, and there’s sure to be plenty of coals to stoke the fire further down the line. A solid debut offering overall, and under Southern Lord, there’s sure to be plenty to hear from this band in the future.

Peter Clegg

Sarabante official blog (translated to English)

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Review Roundup: †††/Moloch/Obsessor

††† (Crosses)

First up in this review round-up, an out-of-the-blue EP offering from  ††† (or verbally, Crosses), featuring Deftones’ Chino Moreno and Far’s Shaun Lopez teaming up for some electronic rock that’s not too far away from Chino’s previous side-project Team Sleep. The result is five tracks of mostly beat-driven music, with some occasional guitar flourishes, with Chino’s trademark vocals all over everything but the closing instrumental, ‘†’.

Although Chino’s presence doesn’t help this stand out much from his major concern, the EP’s fairly enjoyable as a whole, without bringing anything new to the fore. There’s some an occasional eeriness about one or two of the beats, particularly opener ‘†his Is a †rick’, but there’s some great moments embedded in here as well – I can imagine ‘Op†ion’ sticking around on my MP3 player for a while – although it’s not quite enough to get the pulse racing. It’s more of a grower than an instant hit, and again, it’s not diverse enough to stand out from anything Chino has done with Deftones. But give it time, you might well be pleasantly surprised. It’s available for your e-mail address, and was released somewhat unexpectedly – so free of that hype, go ahead and delve in.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Room for One More: The Nook Brewhouse Berry Blond

This is another new feature I’ve decided to bring to the blog which isn’t really anything musically at all. That said, rock and metal go hand in hand with beer and by that, I mean real ale. None of that pithy lager stuff – real beer! And I was so impressed by this particular one t’other day, it has inspired me to write about it here and give it, and its brewery, some well deserved attention. With all that said, welcome to Room for One More!

The Nook Brewhouse is a family-run, five-barrel microbrewery based on the site of an 18th century brewery beside the River Ribble, right in the heart of Holmfirth in West Yorkshire. It’s a brewhouse and not a brewery, as they mainly sell their fine ales in the attached pub, The Nook, otherwise known as The Rose & Crown. They only started up in the summer of 2009 but by jingo, they’ve made fantastic progress already and their beer is top notch.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

YOB - Atma

Profound Lore

Heavy is a word banded around a hell of a lot when it comes to describing heavy metal, and within its subtext, particularly anything falling under the banner of doom. With everything about the genre arguably influenced by trailblazers in heavy such as Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath, its easy to fall into superlatives about such bands being ‘crushing’, ‘massive’, ‘destroying’ etc. as though it’s a given, and will have the most frenzied fan or critic reaching for the thesaurus. The truth is, most bands aren’t deserving of the tag when compared with Eugene, Oregon’s YOB.

That said, YOB are more than just any old doom band, and while they’re no strangers to the dirge, their music are packed with a range of influences and spellbinding magic, designed for that elevatory aspect of their sonic brew. Having used Sanford Parker to produce previous album ‘The Great Cessation’, vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt opted to produce ‘Atma’ himself and the result is something sounding dirtier in tone, and it compliments YOB’s sound fantastically.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Cannabis Corpse - Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise

Cannabis Corpse
Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise

Despite what you may think about the gimmicky approach, this band is all business. They don’t play parodies of death metal classics, instead focusing on delivering their own songs with an old-school bent to them. None of the technical approach that’s flooding the scene a la Obscura, Necrophagist et al (not to knock that); just riffs that shred and beats that blast so hard your long hair better be windmilling, or you ain’t worthy.

Following on from 2010’s ‘The Weeding’, ‘Beneath….’ is eleven death-metal slammers (and an intro) all in name of the leaf. Whereas previous releases ‘Tube of the Resonated’ and ‘The Weeding’ lifted and twisted song titled directly from Cannibal Corpse, the new album chooses instead to play on Deicide and Morbid Angel titles. The intro, ‘Visions From The Dankside’, sets up perfectly for ‘Lunatic of Pot’s Creation’, and before long, you might well find yourself yelling in unison with the band, particularly during ‘Dead By Bong’, ‘Slave To The Chron’ and the slow groove of the title track’s chorus, pumping your fists in the air and rocking out with reckless abandon. Riffs are tight and killer, the bass is audible and providing perfect groove, and the drums provide suitable momentum at all times.

For all their parodying and silliness, Cannabis Corpse are doing far more than simply paying tribute to old-school death metal, they’ve dragged it into the modern day and are delivering it with aplomb. And it’s incredible to think they were just bassist Phil ‘Landphil’ Hall’s side-project to Municipal Waste a couple of years ago. I think it’s safe to say they sit comfortably alongside Landphil’s main band with their own identity. Put simply, the quality of this album puts this year’s death metal disappointments firmly in the shade, and by golly is it good to see younger bands coming up, taking the mantle and slamming into into several tiny pieces on the pit floor. Get this album and worship the leaf that inspired it.

Peter Clegg

Or, direct from here, if you prefer

Thursday, 11 August 2011

2011 England Riots: A musical analysis

What a tumultuous few days it has been for England. Following the death of Mark Duggan from a police-related shooting, what started as a peaceful protest from Duggan's family and friends in Tottenham seeking answers and justice for him spiralled into wave after wave of riots. Shops were smashed, looted and torched. Proud historic businesses built up over many years were burnt down with minutes. Copycat riots spread out across cities across the country, with nothing to protest against; instead, scores of hoodlums sought to partake in the supposed thrill of this wanton destruction, destroying city centre shops in their own uprising, with no goal but to cause trouble. More despicable acts have been committed. People's homes, livelihoods, and more, destroyed. People putting themselves in the way have been attacked and sometimes killed for no reason other than doing the decent thing. Shameful. Absolutely shameful.

As quickly as social networking whipped up the riots, so the vast numbers opposing them whipped up a clean-up operation instead. Londoners, Brummies, Mancunians, Bristolians and more became sick and tired of these hoodlums running through their towns, smashing windows, burning down buildings and looting goods. The riot clean-up operation got under way thanks to Twitter, and there was the additional ‘Anti Riot – Operation Cup of Tea’ going about on Facebook too.  Eventually, the government realised that increased police presence leads to reduced crime on the streets. It didn’t take a genius to work that one out, did it?! Although in typically British fashion, it helps that it’s rained a good deal recently.

Thankfully this crackdown has seen the riots quelled, with many arrests made, and many wayward youths and formerly respectable pillars of society shamed in the courts. That said, the enquiry and the recovery will go on for much longer, you feel. The gap between the have and the have-nots in the UK is wider than ever before and still widening and is in dire need of address.

My aim of this blog wasn’t to take a political stance, or to tie anything into current affairs. It was purely musical. And it still is.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Sorry guys

We're sorry for anyone who tried to watch the live stream we advertised for our shamelessly plugged show in Wakefield on Saturday 6th August. Turns out, there was no sound. And what good's watching a band with no sound? Sorry guys, looks like technical gremlins won the day.

Peter Clegg

Friday, 5 August 2011

Five Finger Death Punch: American Capitalists

We here at We Must Obey like nothing more than promote the finest in kick ass rock and metal. However, occasionally, there’s subjects that provoke our ire. And by jove, Mike’s not happy. Here comes the hate!

Just a few words on the new Five Finger Death Punch album. Not because I’m even slightly interested in anything they’ve done musically, but because after hearing the album title ‘American Capitalist’, I was intrigued. “Is it satirical?”; “how can you possibly use that phrase with pride?” Then I heard this stupefyingly cuntish quote from their guitarist Jason Hook:

"You know, it's kind of like dog eat dog, it's the survival of the fittest, (Hitler was a Darwinist!) and we're sort of putting it out there as a positive thing. It's like, we are American capitalists, we will divide and conquer, we will — we're going for the throat and we're not ashamed to say that."

And right there and then, I felt inclined to project my hate bile forth into the world.

First I was tempted to just find a picture of some sick/shit and post that under the album title, which is honestly more than it deserves. I have instead, however, been sucked into a vortex of despise created by these idiots. What was running through their tiny little brains when they, or most likely someone else, decided that a song/album called ‘War is the Answer’ was in good taste? Probably all the ‘super cool’ things the wider world have come to associate with America; oppression, greed exploitation and dubious invasions. But they were probably like, “Cool man, America’s number one, let’s do an album about how ignorant we are and how we like to fuck people over, HELLYEAH!”.

Not that I take their projection of this message seriously, by the way. Their “dividing and conquering” is limited to their 14-year-old audience and other cretins who are happy to listen to second-rate Pantera riffs with the inclusion of mega gay generic sing along choruses thrown in. This celebration of ignorance is of course not limited to Five Finger Death Punch, but bastardising the authenticity of music like metal or punk, which roots itself in being against the grain is always sad to see. Jesus Christ, hip hop and rap started out as a musical form of revolution, now look at the wretched state of it.

Off topic political rambling aside, I did actually nearly make it through ‘Under and Over It’ their newly-released track from the forthcoming album, before I put something good on (by the way, they probably are aware they’ve re-worded a Down album for that track). I actually found myself doubting during those several painful minutes that the lyrics to the song could actually be so, could I put it...shit. But, I’ll give you a few of my favourite lines to make your own minds up.

Did you hear the one about me being a prick?/Did you know I don’t care, you can suck my…

And then really homing in on what we all want here:

You can be me and I can be you/you can live just like a star”.

So what’s really the fuel for this musical dirge? If we were to go off the album title, it would probably be a tale of some American business entrepreneur, or maybe the tale of a corporate label sucking the life out of everything that’s good in music. If you actually listen to it (not advised) I think it’s mainly the product of sister-fucking and no education (which doesn’t support the title really, does it?).

I have a headache now and if this is the band’s idea of a joke, I’m going to feel very stupid.

The best summary I can imagine is borrowed from a fine man called Bill Hicks, whose
phrase for such talentless, soulless musicians was “suckers of Satan’s cock”.

Michael Collins

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Shameless Plug: Terrorizer Grindhouse Wakefield (featuring The Prophecy)

I couldn’t resist another shameless plug for my band, Poison Dwarf, especially as, due to marriage, kids, and eventual recording, it’s going to be our last show for a bit. The Snooty Fox is, for the final time we hear, hosting a Terrorizer Grindhouse event, and me and Mike (along with our bandmate, guitarist Phil) are happy to be a part of it. It features a killer doom and sludge line up with headliners The Prophecy, and support from Iron Void, Iron Witch and our good selves. It’s only a fiver in and it’s scheduled to be an early start (doors at 6:00pm, bands starting at 7:00pm). If you haven’t got plans and fancy some top quality heavy action, get yourselves down to Wakey for doom, beer and general grim times.

For those of you unable to make it, it may interest you to know that this gig will be streaming live over the internet, via The Snooty Fox’s website! This is going to be a fantastic doom/sludge show and if you can’t be there in person, you can enjoy it at your computer screen, where you can doom out with a can in your hand from your living room/bedroom/wherever you like! Although we’d love to see you in person.

Anyway, if you do wish to watch from the security of your inner sanctum, head to this very link here for around 7pm for a free live gig stream. Whether you’re there in person or behind a cyber screen, get the beers in and enjoy!

Peter Clegg

The Prophecy - Echoes

 Iron Void - Gates of Hell (live)

Iron Witch - Single Malt

Poison Dwarf - My Name Is Mud