Back to School

I’m just taking the liberty to write a bit of a personal thing here now and then. Though I’m super excited about this blog, I’m also very aware that my busy schedule will not be to its advantage.

Today I went back to school again. Yes, again, after four years I’m back to studying to get my masters in teaching Dutch. It really is quite a big step to take and I have to admit it feels rather scary too. The worst part of it is that you think everyone looks at you.

Most students are young and in the days where you live on a can of energy drink and a bun with ham and cheese and rage on for hours. I feel insecure being older, do they think I failed at life? Do people look at me as some weirdo? All that you have to put aside, but it’s weird not to have that bonding experience and excitement, but I’m here for me now. I’m not here to taste life and enjoy, I’m here to study hard and get ahead with my life.

The upside is that I’m spending quite some time studying by myself, so today I had a good listen to some excellent records.
Listener has done a great job on ‘Wooden Heart’. I never tire of hearing that one. ‘To Ride, Shoot straight and Speak the Truth’ by Entombed is a super motivational record in a way, it really helps you getting through a boring text. That ‘Magma’ record by Gojira was especially helpful in getting through the train ride there and The Hellacopters ‘By The Grace of God’ is an absolute masterpiece!

I did something new today, that I haven’t done since my first week at uni, about 10 years ago. I went to sit on the grass in the sun with my book and just enjoyed the day. I know I’m on the right path and I’ve already got a wealth of life experience. It’ll all be fine.

Underground Sounds: Caïna – Christ Clad in White Phosphorus

Label: Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings
Band: Caïna
Origin: United Kingdom

It’s been a ride for Caïna with their special kind of black metal. The band has bene active for a good decade now and seems to blend together different sounds into their own production. Their latest album is a testament to a unique sound.

No two albums bij Caïna have been the same and so this record is a welcome change. Though heavily connected to the punk scene, a testament of that may be their recent split release with Esotheric Youth, this record appears to take on more of that old black metal vibe… but that´s only if you sample some tracks.

Towards the end of track 3, ´Fumes of God´, we start hearing the strange synths. Were they there all the time? If you listen closely, maybe they were because the post black metal elements are clearly somewhere hidden. The song following, titled ‘Throat of the World’, is a track full of harrowing ambient-like efforts. The band received support by Belgian horror soundtrackers Vermapyre for this effort. It’s a highly effective in setting the mood with its banging, clanging haunted house effects.

It’s not the only time the band incorporates noise elements, on ‘Pillars of Salt’ the noise artist Warren Schoenbright is added to the club to create a wild, almost jazzy like track. A bit King Crimson playing freejazz on a cemetary I suppose. When the gentlemen of Caïna are not frolicking about with these intermezzo’s, the sound is thunderous, overwhelming and bleak. It’s music that feels like an icy blaze of sonic hail. Add to that a flavor of gothy new wave elements, because there’s stuff happening all the time on this album. It reminds me of Taake and Nihill alike, complete chaos!

There’s plenty of influences on this album that allows the group to tell its story. Industrial and noise are part of the modern day wasteland that seems to be expressed in their work. Add to that wild vocals that range from guttural to piercing, always unnerving the listeners. This is one hell of a record and I don’t think I’ll tire of this one anytime soon.

Underground Sounds: Spaceslug – Lemanis

Label: Independent
Band: Spaceslug
Origin: Poland

I’am still lookin for shrines and altars
Mind’s ignoring, what eyes have shown
– ‘Photon Lander’, Spaceslug

If you like surfing on those astral waves, than you need the right soundtrack for being weightlessly floating and slowly wobbling along. Polish stoner titans… wait, that sounded way to solid… Polish massive space slugs Spaceslug (it’s not perfect, but kinda cool sounding) from Wroclaw have exactly the sountrack for you.

The sound of these gentleman is somewhere in between My Sleeping Karma, Radar Men From The Moon en Earth or Sleep (not sure yet). The group has released with Lemanis their very first album and it’s a homerun. The cover is already epic, depicting a snail or slug facing the enormity of the galaxy, depicted in its full awesomeness.

Opener ‘Proton Lander’ is like one of those hypnotic clouds in space you sometimes see depicted, you get lost in a swirling mass of riffs and repetition that feel so loose and relaxed that you just soar away with them. When the cool guitar lines start to build up the vocals kick in, with a repetitive line being chanted: “I know the space, I know the haze”. It says a bit about the imbibed inspiration I suppose.

It also works to connect the band to the more spaced out stoner scene, though apart from the heavy foundations, there’s something way more spacy in the music of these guys. Meandering guitar tones, wavery bass lines and drums that keep it all together to create slowly cascading tones of the infinite. A track like ‘Hypermountain’ illustrates this well.

The vocals offer the aura of mystery and being in a sort of cultish environment. As if the vocalist has secrets to offer that no one knows of. In the mean time the music just warbles on in a manner that displays little care for things like gravity, which is interesting to listen to.  I absolutely dig this record full of space stoner. “I know the space, I know the haze, alright!”

Possessor: a horror film disguised as a band

Did you hear that awesome album by Possessor yet? You should, because it blends all styles into a potent cocktail of gritty,  grimy horrorcore sludge.

You can probably rant on about the Sabbath-esque influences and noisey southern swagger, but these Londoners sound unique and awesome, so I thinought it would be a good thing to get in touch with them and get into it with these gentlemen.

Graham Bywater, Matthew ‘Bean’ Radford and Marc Brereton were keen to answer some questions about their music, horror films and their new album.

How did Possessor get started? Were you guys involved with other bands before?

Marc: I was in quite a few bands before Possessor and I still am, but this is definitely the most fun. I’ve known Graham for years as we met back in college and used to record stuff in his bedroom. We always talked about playing together, but it took until now to come into fruition but when Graham asked me to be a part of Possessor it didn’t take long to commit when I heard what he was pumping out.

Graham: Marc was the only person I met at college who didn’t really have strict guidelines and restrictions to what he was into. He wasn’t ashamed to say he loved Green Jelly. The dude had literally no pretensions. He also immediately reminded me of Sasquatch so that was good.

Bean: I know that Graham and Marc have known each other since they were very young, but my personal involvement with Possessor began shortly after Electric Hell was released. I met Graham by complete coincidence. We were both on our way to a Fu Manchu gig in London and had stopped at the same pub before the show for a few pints. My Iron Monkey T shirt was enough for Graham to start a conversation and we soon started talking about music. Graham mentioned Possessor. I’d actually heard of them and had really liked them; they were also looking for a permanent drummer so I offered my services.
My “audition” consisted of a night together, drinking beer and talking about Guns n’ Roses. By the end of the evening Graham had gone missing and Marc had seen my girlfriend naked. This pretty much set the benchmark we have followed ever since!

So what bands do you guys like and influenced your sound?

Graham: It varies greatly depending on the mood. We drove through a rain storm listening to ‘Canadian Metal’ by Darkthrone on the way to a gig recently. That was a very heavy and inspiring moment and has kinda stuck with me. That album, ‘F.O.A.D’ seeped its way into the sound of Dead by Dawn. Other bands that have been on repeat recently are Midnight, Pentagram, Enslaved, Death Evocation, Misfits and some band called Metallica. The Shrine and Bongzilla have been on my iPod a fair bit and that new Kvelertak album is crazy. I normally aim to discover a band a day if possible. Even if they suck.

Marc: Everything.

Bean : I feel really passionate about music. I listen to blues, classical and jazz but at the center of it all is a love for heavy metal. Black Sabbath are the beginning, middle and end for me and they are a huge influence on my playing. From there my tastes go in a lot of different directions. All the way from LA Glam to Death Metal. Classic stuff really. Obituary, Priest, Black Flag, Iron Maiden, Love/Hate, Entombed; I could go on and on.
In terms of influence on Possessor: For me it’s about those bands who can capture an energy and put that on tape. Motorhead’s Overkill comes to mind as does Charles Mingus’ Blues and Roots. On the Mingus album you can hear the band whooping and howling as they play. It’s such a live, un-tampered, vibrant sound. It’s an odd comparison but it’s exactly how I’d like Possessor records to sound.

21502_1065708576814203_2895016722674837009_n

I understood that you guys are not originally London folk from an interview with Doomed and Stoned. Where do you guys hail from and is how would you say it impacts your sound?

Bean : I’m originally from a small village in Kent. It’s fair to say that it was a fairly isolated place without easy access to town. As a result my childhood was spent reading and writing stories and playing in the nearby woods, close to churches and graveyards! All of this helped me to develop a good imagination which in turn guided my interest towards fantasy tales and horror stories. Ever since I’ve had a disposition towards the occult as an aesthetic, which is why I find Possessor so appealing. It’s also why I’d love people to experience the band in the same way as they would a ghost story or slasher movie!

Graham: Kent. Staplehurst via Sevenoaks. I’ve always been more inspired by nothing than everything.

Horror flick are as I understood an inspiration too. How do you know you’re catching that vibe when writing a song?

Graham: Possessor are basically a horror film disguised as a band. It’s just a natural part of our sound and is effortless. I guess it has a lot to do with the decade we were born in and to this day I don’t really know anyone who isn’t totally nerdy about cinema. I got into bands like Maiden and Helloween around the same time I discovered films like The Terminator and Re-Animator and I knew from a very young age that music and film go hand in hand. People seem to pick up on that with Possessor which is good.
When we younger me and Marc used to spend our Sunday afternoons watching Hills Have Eyes and Evil Dead and the natural instinct was to follow it up with a beer and a jam.
Maybe we should write a musical. I reckon we could do a gig within a film, like in the woods with the Blair Witch or in the kid’s dreams in Nightmare on Elm Street.
Bean : For me, a good example of this would be The Creeps (from Dead by Dawn). It started as a jam on some percussive ideas for another song, but hearing the drum played back in isolation was so evocative of all things voodoo. It put an image in my mind of cannibals dancing under a volcano while their cooking pot boiled. I think the best Possessor songs can make a direct connection to the mind’s eye.

How do you guys pick your artwork? Because it instantly gives off that film vibe. Is it created from scratch or do you use existing images?

Graham: This album took a bit longer as we wanted to outdo our previous concepts without losing the originality. We always go for simple and mysterious imagery but the idea of the faceless character of past releases has become something else with this design as it reveals slightly more.
We often use really old public domain photos that just jump out at us. I normally edit and rework the image until it looks like something new and creepy but always surreptitiously empowering. We don’t talk about the art much as it really should just speak for itself. We like mysterious figures and forms, not blood and gore.

14045941_1214117925306600_687400667040053116_n

If Possessor was allowed to do a live soundtrack to a film, like bands have been doing on Roadburn Festival for example. Which film(s) would you love to do the score to and why? (and how would it sound)

Marc: Lord of The Rings!! (needs no explanation)

Bean : Something thrilling, visceral and brutal. Texas Chainsaw Massacre would suit us perfectly. That, or a compilation of machete attacks from Friday the 13th.

Graham: The Lost Boys or perhaps Motel Hell? Something trashy and eye catching. Or perhaps it would be even more insane if we played a heavy set to something like Open Water or even a collection of bits from Jurassic Park. Dinosaurs stomping and sharks chomping to the riffs!
A festive gig set to Christmas Evil could be good too.

How would you describe the writing and recording trajectory for your latest album (which is so awesome)?

Graham: Pretty natural. There’s a certain sound, style and spirit to Possessor that writes itself. Having said that this album is definitely edging more towards being filmic and the end result certainly feels more like a group effort this time round. We took a while creating this album because of time restrictions and work but the actual performances themselves were done live and on the spot. One take on most tracks.

Bean : It was recorded really quickly. The drum tracks were done in a single afternoon and in the majority of cases they are first takes. We really wanted to retain the energy and spontaneity of those fresh takes so we deliberately moved through the process quickly without poring over the details or refining them. We wanted this to be a brutally real album with imperfections and accidental highlights. I’m proud to say I think we really achieved that.

12928271_1124781777573549_5779603557994640522_n

If I say that you guys sound like Black Sabbath and Kyuss meeting at a Danzig show, how does that score on the chart of interesting comparisons you’ve heard?

Graham: Well I love Kyuss and Sabbath so that’s fine with me. I’ve noticed we have been compared to Venom and Therapy? a fair bit, and to be honest I don’t get that at all. One review said we sounded like early Electric Wizard crossed with Bathory (?) I think I prefer your description mate but to be honest I don’t really think much about comparisons. We sound like Possessor.

Bean : One of things I really value about Possessor is the wide variety of comparisons that have been applied to us.
People have said we sound like Metallica, L7, Prong, Ministry, Slayer, Pantera and Rob Zombie too. I love that it is difficult to pin us down. The best bands always have something unique about them which is exactly what I think Possessor are striving for

What is a Possessor live show like and are you guys planning to hit the continent soon?

Bean : The Possessor live experience is a heavy one. Our hope is the audience gets on board in the same way we are; basically to celebrate heavy music and have a good time.
We would LOVE to play future shows on the continent. Our recent show at Sonic Blast in Portugal was a huge success. European metal fans made us feel so welcome and really seemed to “get” what we do. I’d be happy to experience some more of that.

Graham: Yeah, that was great fun. I think our live performance often depends on how well we are rehearsed. We like to keep it raw and exciting and ever so slightly theatrical. Depending on the night and the beer intake we may wear a form of war-paint or corpse paint purely because it amuses us and brings to mind the old school craziness of Alice Cooper or Gwar. Other shows can be pretty slick with heads down and feet on the monitors. I think that sometimes a sloppy gig with shit loads of passion and energy is more memorable than being a predictable and routinely structured one. I don’t know why anyone would want to see the same exact performance twice.
We would love to travel and play more outside of the UK, so…

Marc :..Set us up with some dates.

What are the future plans for the band?

Graham: Have some fun and try not to go insane in the meantime. We will be releasing a special something for Halloween this year so keep an ear out for that. One thing we really want to do and have discussed in depth is put out a covers EP. That would be fun, but it could go either way. The songs would have to be weird enough to be worthwhile. We wouldn’t just be covering Ace of Spades and War Pigs.

Bean : In the immediate future? Hopefully more shows. I’d really like to take Dead by Dawn on the road and see people react to these songs. We’re at a stage now where we’re trying to build the profile of the band and that means getting out there and showing people what we’re all about. Beyond that… Write. Record. Do it all again, only bigger and better!

Marc: Burn stuff!

Finally, if you had to describe Possessor as a dish, what would it be (and why)?

Marc: Spicy shepherd’s pie, it’s heavy and hot.
Graham: Fajitas. Loads of heavy flavors with some added cheese.
Bean : Old fish heads and beer – because our food budget will ALWAYS be weighted towards beer.

Any other thing you want to share? 

 ALL: Thanks for having us. And Stay heavy.

Underground Sounds: Gilded Lily – Mongrel’s Light

Label: Lions Jawbone
Band: Gilded Lily
Origin: Canada

For anyone who believes Canadians to be peace loving and timid, there’s some news for you and it’s called Gilded Lily. The group hails from Barrie, Ontario and has thus far only released a demo. This full length is a statement to say the least.

Something must be stirring in the northern regions, because bad-ass genre defying bands seem to emerge from Canada a lot in recent years. Bands with a disposition to stand outside of the outsider art in a way, which is emphasized by the peculiar neo-realism artwork by Quinn Henderson on the cover. It really defies expectations in its cocktail of genres and folky riffs.

The record clocks around 32 minutes of furious, unrelenting fury that seems to combine black metal with grindcore and more. Most noteworthy and possibly overlooked are the lyrics, which are poetic and speak of a desolate place where only the lowest of the low is present.

The romantic sense of longing you clung to
Is beaten into the cement of the curb
Anointed with a mixture of alcohol
And piss and spit and cum
Where the carnal is holy

This is packed up in guttural vocals, cascading guitars and bludgeoning blast beats. It’s a big noisey composition of dissonance and blaring reverb. Whirlwinds of guitar shredding and dense atmospheric passages, sometimes all hammering at the listener at once. Never relenting and always brilliant, it gives the true feeling of inescapably to the listener. Though notoriously filled with blackened elements, sometimes there’s just the cold hardcore vibe present as well, like on the beating intro of ‘Yellow Dog’s Song’, which turns into a dirty, gritty ride.

Most tangible is the urban despair of Gilded Lilly on ‘A Sparse Room’, where over a buzzing noise vocals are screamed in what, played out in your imagination, feels like an empty factory hall. After that opening rant, the track kicks of with an almost tribal rhythm and industrial drones. The whole album is a show of force to me, but there’s that remaining feeling of gritty squats and the rawest, bleakest hardcore shows ingrained in the sound of this band. Why? Because that’s exactly the feeling these gentlemen are trying to evoke with this record, which I think they succeeded in with flying colors.

 

The Books I Read #19

I read some more books, so I guess it’s time to share those with you, with works by R.A. Salvatore, JJ Koczan, Ace Frehley and the mighty Henry Rollins! Enjoy and pick them up if you can.

R.A. Salvatore – Paths of Darkness ( The Silent Blade, The Spine of the World, Servant of the Shard, Sea of Swords)

source: bandcamp

Ok, one more serial for now, since right now I had my fill for a while of the saga, but Paths of Darkness is indeed something else. The focus is less on the character of Drizzt, but more on others like the barbarian Wulfgar. After the traumatizing events in the previous books, people have been damaged, broken even. The collateral needs to be resolved before the band will be able to join together once again. It’s a welcome new thing in an otherwise endless string of group adventures, which I think is an interesting switch, though also showing you that nothing lasts really.

Though I wouldn’t want to pin that responsibility on the author, I think in a way the topic of trauma is very present in this book. The effect on a person and the intense fase of trying to work your way through it. The struggle the character Wulfgar goes through is heavy, complex and confusing to all surrounding him. The turmoil is well described by Salvatore and really given context and explanation. This is something that made this series of books very powerful, and worth reading. The following set is also exploring a similar side road, so thatś something that’ll come up in another series of books.

JJ Koczan – Electroprofen

source: twitter (author)
source: twitter (author)

JJ Koczan is an immensely productive guy who manages to keep up the blog ‘The Obelisk’ all by himself. To me, that’s amazing and inspiring at the same time and I’ve had the pleasure to meet JJ on Roadburn and found out he’s a humble and friendly guy, totally in it for the music, nothing else. That is something you see in his book too. I don’t know too much about JJ’s experience as a writer, but there’s something about his style that speaks to me as a music fan as well. In a way the form of this book can describe as a collection of songs too. Short, losely connected stories and poems work together to create a whole.

I enjoyed reading this short novel, as a bit of a dark exploration of humankind. I have the sense that there’s a personal vibe to the stories as well, which I think makes it so much more connecting and powerful, striking the right notes with the reader. JJ demonstrates his skill for putting down a good story here and I hope he keeps at it. I would love to read a doom laced full story of him one day. The book is out on War Crime Recordings, not sure if they still have any…  It would be worth your money to pick this up to support this talented gentleman in his writing, because I’m keen to read more. Check out his website on music for more of his writing, which follows a similar personal expression.

Ace Frehley – No Regrets

source: goodreads

I have to admit something to you, my dear reader. I’m a fan of the band Kiss. It started gradually, but I definitely would have to refer you to the podcast where Danko Jones interviews Abbath about Kiss for the spark that ignited my interest. Now, you can appreciate Kiss as a whole, but delve into the four individuals and that is one crazy journey. My first Kiss bio this far was none other than the oe of Ace Frehley, who played guitar in Kiss three times and left each one. Ace is a likable guy in the media, but was also a troubled person for years with substance abuse. His take on things is a bit different and I’m tempted to believe he missed the point on some topics, but hey…

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/266318867″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Ace is quit laid back and proud of his troubled past, but also likes to inform you around the end of the book how he believes in Aliens and has met them. The weird supersticions he has take all sense of truth away for me, but his perception of the history of Kiss is in general plagued by little consideration for there being another side to the story. Ace is mild and understanding for most of the book, but at some point keeps going on at Gene SImmons and Paul Stanley in a way that is hard to validate or check anywhere, but makes them the bad guys. I have not read all the others, but in the bio of Gene SImmons there’s atleast an attempt to paint a complete picture. Ace sees himself as a victim and his victory on alcohol not too long ago is his biggest victory. It’s still a great book full of saucy material. Read it if you can! Because for all his weird stories, Ace Frehley tells it like a true storyteller.

Henry Rollins – LA Weekly Articles 2011-2012

source: goodreads

Though Henry can spin a yarn, his ability to offer short and to the point stories on stage is reflected in his columns for the LA Weekly. In this book he offers a collection of those from a certain period of time between 2011-2012 that he wrote, but before any editor touched them. It’s some typical Henry material that you’lll easily get into if you like his ideas, and also will inspire you to read more of his work and check out the music he encourages… nay, urges you to check out. Old jazz and blues all the way up to metal, every week another good bit of advice for the ears. It’s really some added value that you’re getting right there from the man who fronted Black Flag and Rollins Band.

If you don’t feel affinity with the opinions of mr. Rollins, then there’s always some room for debate on most topics. The door is always half open, except when it comes to hatred, homophobia, racism and such, those are very clear and so is the opinion of Henry about you if you think such things are fine (usually thats pretty much the issue). The book serves well as a continuous read, but also just to take one item at the time. It’s immersive, personal and filled with the typical wit you find in the work of Henry Rollins. Specially his bits on the Bush administration are usually hilarious. His fandom of Rush Limbaugh (sarcasm) is a recurring theme, that makes Limbaugh look exactly the way he should. It’s just great stuff, read this!

 

Bishop’s Green has a party in Eindhovens Blue Collar Hotel

On a regular weekday I cross the square in front of the appartment to see some dirty streetpunk at the Blue Collar Hotel in Eindhoven,  one of the prettiest venues around. Canadian bad boys Bishop’s Green are playing and there’s a nice turn out for these gentlemen. The guests of the hotel are surprised by the group of skinhead showing up for this gig, but the atmosphere is good.

The weather is fine, so enjoying a nice lager out on the terrace is no punishment for the waiting guests. They’ve apparently come from far and wide, even from Madrid in Spain, which tells you a bit about the scene itself and the band playing today. This scene is slowly shrinking it seems at times, but is tight and warm, filled with dedication and unfortunately that is often overlooked when discussing the whole Oi! movement. The band itself is remarkably friendly to any visitors, grateful even. But regardless how sweet everyone is, there’s about to be some violence in front of the stage!

stealers

Stealers from Rotterdam has been around for a while and has that right raw sound with aggression and energy that fits in with the headliner. The guitars keep up quite the pace and give the sound a feisty bite. Roaring his frustration but clearly enjoying every second of it is frontman Pet. Though some of the visitors are sitting out this one in the sun, the band is definitely up for it and manages to really warm up the mood for the main act. After a short set, we wait for the headliner. These guys have a new record out, titled ‘Street Law’, give it a spin.

It’s a noteworthy fact that Bishop’s Green is a fairly young band. The Canadians have only been playing shows for about five years now, but have earned their places in previous bands. Five years in band years is a lifetime in a way. The grateful attitude of hard working frontman Greg Huff says a lot to why this band is drawing a dedicated crowd. In between songs the bald guy with head tattoo’s is all smiles and hand shakes, but then shoots of a number of short, explosive songs. Lyrically the band deals with the more typical themes for the genre, but this always finds a willing ear with the working class, who’s lives are the themes of the songs. Hell, I find resonance in the music of a band like this just as much.

bishopsgreen2The sound relies on the staples of the Oi! scene and is pretty much straight forward, though surprisingly melodic and filled with chants and folky elements. There’s a primitive element to the music of the band, which really ignites when the band and audience jointly create that particular atmosphere. Chanting a long and raising fists, this is the interaction that matters. The pumping drumwork of Orville Lancaster is just chugging on to that party, where more beer flies around then gets drunk. Punkrock, the way it was ment to be, without ruffles, bells and nonsense and only the occasional guitar solo by Scott Farquason.

The band doesn’t play that long, but every song is spot on and the crowd gets rather jostled and I suppose fatigued. Heat, beers and a lot of fun. The sound of the band might not be pushing forward the genre, but why change a thing that is working fine. It’s been a good night.

Thanks a lot to Brendy Wijdeven for the pictures! 

 

 

Sounds of the Underground #49

Through some numeric fails by myself, this is the last sounds of the underground in the old form with Astronoid, Monoliths, Vukari & Void Omnia. After this, reviews will appear solo, just one band at the time.

Astronoid – Air
Blood Music 

source: bandcamp

Don’t confuse these guy with the heavy stoner/doom band from Sweden, this is a different kind of tune. Self described as a band playing dream thrash, Astronoid hails from Groveland in the United States, near the national parks in California. The group takes their inspiration from atmospheric groups like AlcestWindir and Jesu to create their very own sound. Lofty, open and warm it’s music to immerse in. The art work gives away and predetermines your experience slightly I believe. The air and wind swept rocks give something mountainous and wide to the music. Enough bumbling, lets dig in.

Fast paced with high notes and the occasional lofty bit of blast beats, the band reminds you in a way of Deafheaven with an emo singer on vocals (not in a negative way). Expressive, clean vocals that sound like they could be part of a Yellowcard song. It makes for a strangely accessible bit of music with a continuously soaring, high feeling to it. That actually gives quite some varied tunes, like the minimal start for the gentle intermezzo ‘Violence’, that feels like trickling sound, well dosed and reduced to a minimum to merely support the vocals. The next track offers a full on battery of bombastic music. But it never gets bombastic, it always remains a bit shoegazey, even reminding you of that Angels & Airwaves sound. I know, that might not sound complimentory, but its ment that way still. It’s a magical record, hard to place, but magical anyways.

Monoliths – Monoliths
Dry Cough Records 

source: bandcamp

Monoliths hails from Nothingham, therefor being from the proximity of whatever earth vein is the cause of all the heavy stuff coming from that part of the world. The band myth is that they started playing and the sound that come forth evolved in a most natural manner, it’s just what it is and played with full conviction without a plan and without premeditation. Remarkable fact is that James Plotkin took care of the mastering (known from Khanate and OLD). It says a lot about the qualities and strength of this young band.

To describe the music of these three musicians as monolithic would be the biggest understatement you could make. The collossal riffs are like a force of nature, smashing through everything with its might. Two tracks are presented, of which the first is ‘Perpetual Moon’. A scorching, distortion riddled session of gargantuan guitar work and earth shaking drums. It really is just riffs and pounding, endlessly all the way to the end times. ‘The Omnipresence of Emptiness’ is even more reminiscent of the high and mighty Sleep with its stretched out sound and meanderings. The hypnotic endless repetition is switched to a new speed at just the right time. It’s amazing to see how well the band manages to pull the right stuff out of their big wizard hats to sound menacing and dark. What an overwhelming debut.

Vukari – Divination
Bindrune Recordings

The band Vukari hails from Illinois’ Chicago and has been around for a few years. This is their second full length in their obscure and very own branch of black metal with dense atmospheres. The group likes adressing conceptual issues in their music, which is an interesting and fresh take on the genre. In the ranks we find plenty of musical experience. Most notably drummer Mike DeStefano, who has been working live with Abigail Williams. For the rest it’s a background in all sort of genres like deathcore (I Killed Everyone), thrash (Eternal Vomit) and stoner (Horseburner). All that seems to fade when this band is gathered to make their own sound.

The band plays a sound that can really only be described as what it is. Atmospheric black metal, but the pace is rather intense on most of the songs. There’s some dense postrock inspiration audible in the repetitive sound of these guys, remniscent of the more loud groups as if Russian Circles meets Altar of Plagues or such. At some points when the rolling heavy rhythm section is really being synced with the gruff vocals of Marek Cimochowicz one can almost feel the Isis vibe of heavy post metallic thunder. Peaking is what the band does on ‘Sovereignity Through Extreme Tyranny’, the guttural, decaying vocals and the down pour of melancholic guitar riffing offers a truly majestic experience. Grand and spun out, this song is I think the best representative of Vukaria’s sound, which is deeply atmospheric, warm and as foggy as the cover featuring a man on a boat in the mist. It matches and feels like a complete package. Dream away with this.

Void Omnia – Dying Light
Vendetta Records 

Void Omnia is a relatively young black metal band from Oakland in the United States with ties to various bands, most notably the massive sounding Tombs. Other bands that members have been active in are slightly lesser known Infinite Waste, Apocryphon, Mutilation Rites and many more. Most succesfull one could say,  has been their bass player Justin Ennis who was in Tombs and MR. The bleak sounding band has released their first full length now and its a tough bit of music. I was mostly attracted to it thanks to it’s indecipherable logo, which was a bit different to me. Also the cover with a priest-like figure facing cosmic chaos is intriguing and captivating instantly, speaking to something in the unconscious I suppose, about Elder gods?

The cover is done by Glenn Schonn. It’s that chaotic vision, that allows you to really enter the realm of madness that is the sound of Void Omnia.’Remanence of a Ghost Haunt’ starts of with a rapid pace and blistering guitar work, though the rhythms feel almost folky (though on a different kind of drugs). Screeched vocals and a dense, technical mixture of instruments offers a layered cake of flavors for the listener. It’s sometimes almost Dragonforce like, how the blast beats and relentless speed combine, but then it settles down a bit to speak of mountainous landscapes with an uncanny intensity. The frantic pace of the record and sudden stop-go moments, like on the hatchet like ‘Singularity’ are a bit much and even though the band shows its technical prowess, it’s an exhausting listening experience, but rewarding.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor makes it worth to wait

I’ve been looking forward to seeing the band GY!BE for pretty much years. Ever since my class mate Geertjan introduced me to them in my first year at uni. I was pretty much hooked on the band instantly and their label Constellation Records. I wouldn’t say I’m a devout fan, but I was a bit nervous in 013, while waiting for the band to start.

It was the ‘Dead Flag Blues’ that got me into this band. A song with the most harrowing spoken part I’ve ever heard.

We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
And the machine is bleeding to death..

Then the band fell apart, but like any group that has so much to say, these guys didn’t stick to their hiatus forever and took a break of about 8 years only to return completely reinvented and reinvigorated with ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’ The sound is now much heavier and bass driven, but still pretty much the best band in whatever you want to call the genre out there.

So standing rather close to the stage I enjoyed the opening tunes of K/G/D, a noise musician, normally active with his act Total Life or Growing. The warm drones feel very natural and organic, only slightly deviating when the musician twits and turns some knobs. It’s a performance of only half an hour, but a very welcome start for a show filled with similar sounds. You don’t need to much appetizer before a band like GY!BE.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor-2

In a circle or semi-circle in a way, the band slowly emerges and starts on their opening tune ‘Hope Drone’, which swells with every addition to a full orchestration. This is Godspeed You! Black Emperor at their best, creating music that keeps you tense and excited throughout the listening experience. Obviously there’s no rock’n’roll banter, there’s just the music and the audience. Without skipping a note, the band continues on with ‘Mladic’, the opener of their return album with strange eastern elements woven into it. The band doesn’t even break their stride and continues ever onward.

The set is a mixture of songs from the last two records, which are just way more heavy and driven, leaving the postrock staples behind a bit. Sure, the repetition is still an essential element to the music of the Canadian group, but it’s changed with its time and that’s the best thing in this case. New song ‘Buildings’ specially dragged me along with its majestic visuals of towering sky scrapers and mild build-ups with warm tones.

As a desert a bit of the old back catalogue is played with ‘Blaise Bailey Finnegan III’, which stands apart on every level from the rest of the set. It shows the huge difference in sound between the band then and now. But still, they tower over anyone else in this genre.

Photo’s by Paul Verhagen | Website

New label Auf Der Axe Records in Eindhoven

Eindhoven Rockcity has been enriched by the addition of a new label, titled Auf Der Axe Records. The label instantly dropped its first release, which is no other than The Dwarves’ ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’ on cassette. You can order this… now!

Auf Der Axe Records is founded by TOm Auf Der Axe, who has been a passionate blogger, roadie and music lover for years. You can still read his old blog on the new website, though its in Dutch, and find out stuff about the earlier Eindhoven Rockcity scene.

Tom is known for playing, apart from the pen, the drums in Heretic. He used to be active in Misfits tribute band Devilöck and for example Fuzzlord, but like any drummer probably a legion of other bands. Another of his passions is the Dutch Chili Festival, which takes away quite some time as well. There was still room for a label though.

Starting a label has little to do with the profits of it and more with making some sweet stuff, which is the best motivation for anything. The first cassette is out, but keep your eyes on the website for future releases.

Follow Auf Der Axe Records on Facebook  and order that cassette on the website!