From the get go this record hit me with more groove than my floor sex, which is groovier than White Zombie. The opener is a right foot tapper, you’re drawn in and it consumes you like your first cum party. By the third track, i was getting a pain in my foot, like I said before, this shit is foot tapping crazy. These fellas supply you with everything you need, hail Widows you cunt.
4th track and all I can picture is an orange goblin on the clutch of my Chevrolet; feels good right now. I’m not going to say anything else about this record apart from if you are a fan of groovy fantastic music then buy this little beut.
Hail groove+Satan. X
I was delayed on the tram ride down to Manchester by an attempted suicide close to one of the met stops and when I got to Picadilly station, our intended train was cancelled, so we had to wait for the next one, at the other end of the station. When this train arrived it was already too full to board, and there were angry mothers shoving their prams on board to ensure themselves entry, while we stood, wondering if we were in some sort of social experiment.
The next train was in 40 minutes, again at the other end of the station, so, hurling a half can of Strongbow at the departing cattle wagon and violently cursing ineptitude and privatisation, I set of back down to the other end of the station, amongst the “stags”, in Baywatch fancy dress to attempt to catch my third train.
By this time Iron Swan were probably underway and I was sat down sullenly sharing a rotten Sainsbury’s sandwich with an un-metallic pidgin, and attempting to drink more warm Strongbow, while my teeth screamed.
Miraculously we got on this train, and while we were still crammed like livestock on the way to a slaughter house, it managed to pull into the station around half past 8. Apparently Iron Witch had started playing around quarter past but when I arrived at the venue there was no one on stage. I wasn’t sure about Iron Witch as main support due to their heavy influence, thinking it would probably be overload, but I never found out anyway.
We were warming up with a couple of shots from the bar next to the stage, as the feedback from EHG started wailing that hollow, discontented wail that feels like anxiety after a binge. Mike approaches the front centre of the stage and drawls, “Anybody come see us here last year”? After several shouts he points at a guy at the front and says; “yeah I remember you, you told me you fucked your sister”. Then it’s into the heavy depression saturated blues grooves. Within the first song violence tears a hole through the middle of the crowd so I made my way through to the front. I tried to get some decent photos but someone kept grabbing or running into me from behind and I didn’t want to lose my camera. Mid way through their new song; a fat epitome of EHG, “New Orleans is the new Vietnam”, I couldn’t watch the band for getting whiplash from somebody behind me every two seconds.
Trying to enjoy it on my own terms I lost it:
“YOU FUCKING PRICK” I screamed, throwing my mostly crushed can of red stripe as I wheeled round and gripped the culprit with both hands. The situation then looked a little strange. There were about 4 clean cut meathead’s, mostly short in height and blond facing away from the stage looking around, their jaws and eyes working with the intensity of cocaine and looking for an excuse to flex a peck, or over power someone who didn’t bench as much as them.
It looked like the ‘roid’ club at the gym’s day out and I wondered if they actually had any interest in listening to the band or whether it was like, “I heard there’s like, moshpits where you like, shove people ‘n shit”.
I made my way back to a point where I could absorb the music and listen to the heavy groove mixed in with the raw streaks of punk. Mike Williams sounded as abrasive and desperate as ever clutching at the stand with fingerless gloves and the band, as a whole, are tight. It’s actually the only time I’ve seen them where it’s not obvious that someone’s fucked up; the last time in Leeds, Mike was swaying looking skyward saying “I want to die”, before smashing a bottle on stage, to the alarm of the security and band mates (alongside other more humorous banter).
It’s a strong set including favourites of class A riffing in the likes of “Jack Ass In The Will Of God” and “Serving Time In The Middle Of Nowhere”. No one can stay still when stood in-front of Eyehategod, hearing that southern groove of misery. The only thing that possibly held back was the volume, which could have stepped up significantly for the circumstance, as well as the pussies at Sheffield Corp cutting the band off with one song to go.
Horrors That You’ve Seen
Smokin’, Skatin’, Satan
Made in the Meth Lab
With ‘sludgecore’ becoming popular once again, here’s a slightly different take on the term with ‘stoner hardcore’ crew Horrors That You’ve Seen, with their latest four-track, the brilliantly-titled ‘Smokin’, Skatin’, Satan‘, the first release since their debut album ‘Breaking Hearts’. For me It’s a difficult one to sum up – hardcore elements generally mix well with sludge, as proved continually by the likes of Crowbar, Eyehategod, and recently, newer bands like Iron Witch. Within a sound more akin to stoner rock or metal, these elements seem far more juxtaposed and don’t seem quite as cohesive, at least not here as historically displayed by originators such as Black Flag or Saint Vitus – though the booming slowdowns that hardcore and stoner/doom share ought to go hand in hand. Still, HTYS for the most part do this well…
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Like a fistful of broken glass this line up promised to be savage, with premium disciples of grind travelling from near and far to the Kraak Gallery in Manchester. I decided to prepare by arriving early and pretending to help with load in, but then I sat in the baking sun by the small alley entrance to the Kraak, which smelt faintly of bins and piss, drinking two litres of Taurus before Death Tripper started.
The band from Nottingham, are an assault of thick tight groove over a barrages of percussion. There is the usual chaotic element of grind but their distinction is simplistic thrashed out punk riffs and downbeat that slows down into realms of sludgery. These are the moments which stand out with visceral crawling broken down aggression and torn vocals. It’s a shame there weren’t greater numbers present at this point but you wouldn’t have know that to watch the band, who gave it everything anyway.
Next on stage are Pine Barrens, with a special brand of un-easy noise. The frantic riffing amidst lead weighted breakdowns would be a satisfying combination, but it’s the bastardised yet unmistakable black metal frosty element, permeating the crusted exterior that gives the band an especially dismal air with discordant shredding and minor layers. Vocals are executed by a front man who’s amongst the crowd relentless in desperate tones. The vocals encompass the band’s sound as a whole; destructively bleak and tormented.
There’s nothing subtle about Gets Worse who take up the stage next, painting a musical tapestry of a tank rolling over a skull. The sound that erupts from the speakers is huge; crushing guitars and bass that sound like a fuzz bored of stoned grooves, opting instead for something more representative of a meth binge. Despite the overall wrecking ball effect, there is no lack of clarity which keeps the momentum and high energy level throughout tracks, culminating in violent punk grooves and breakdowns that make losing your shit pretty fucking easy. The vocals are a battering duty taken by all three members. Abrasive screams surround “large angry man grunts”. It’s the kind of noise employed by grind and crust bands: a sound which is hardly humourless but works completely. There’s an overall vibe that would have your average Daily Mail reader too rigid for even the use of well rehearsed cliché remarks. Gets Worse are a great deal of fun.
The Canadian monsters of Grind Fuck the Facts are the last act of the night and bring a level of intensity worthy of that position. A deviation from what you would conceive as standard Grindcore, there’s a Kalashnikov volley of different elements with the urgency and negativity of a guerrilla war. There are satisfying moments of groove and straight out hellish punk but that is only a fraction of the arsenal. Odd moments of melody, harmony and other more experimental sounds bring welcome diversity to what would otherwise be a very abrasive concoction of technicality in rhythm speed and playing, with extremely harsh tones from the band’s front woman, whose vox might surprise you first-hand. Unfortunately the band were hindered by technical difficulties which ate away a sizable chunk of their set, what we did see and hear though was an almost Avant Garde approach with their ewer material, to a genre which is hardly recognised as innovative.
With an all grind line up I often find bands over similar, yet each band brought their own distinct elements that stood out and made for an awesome night that’s only fault was poor attendance, make sure your there next time you slovenly creatures…
Samothrace, Bell Witch and Black Magician
The star and Garter festers in the heat of the rarely sighted sun, once again the ready receptacle; a decrepit husk that has the privilege of hosting some of the biggest noises you’ll hear, as Seattle based Doomers Samothrace and Bell Witch descend on Manchester with support from Scousers Black Magician.
Black Magician take to the stage fresh from their exploits at Roadburn. Their mid-slow old school doom vibe surpasses musical influence and has made its way through the aesthetics of the band, settling up onto the guitarists truly Iommi-fied upper lip. Endemically heavy grooves accompanied by organ synth keyboards are substantial though seldom change from their pace, and when they do it’s not quite sufficient to be distinguished. After a while, it feels like being dragged along but it seems the crowd don’t share this opinion, as a substantial fan base have come down predominantly for Black Magician and seem to be more than happy at the front of the room.
I’m not inside for the opening notes of Bell Witch, but this has a very little effect on my ability to hear them. As I climb the stairs to the venue it’s like being physically hit by a tide of crushing but warm valve driven sound. The 6 stringed bass from Samothrace erupts out of duel heads, one bass one guitar, creating a tight, colossal sound that most bands with a full effect of two guitarists and a bassist will never encroach upon. More mellow sections create a wild and dark aura, surrounded by gripping melodies. The bassist leans like a dreadlocked swaying gargoyle overlooking some great structure, chanting and tapping harmonies on the sixth string while the drummer hammers huge rhythms with thunderous fills; head upright growling and chanting in quasi-religious tones. Bell Witch are slightly more basic and drone-based than their partners in Samothrace, but it’s apparent that they share a key member in creating huge atmospheres on the brink of ominous, but with overpowering positivity.
Harnessing the power of the great gods, Samothrace, occupy the stage launching into their newer material from their new album, Reverence to Stone. The sound is as un-mistakably distinct and potent live as it is on record; using almost classical compositions and crescendos to build up into massive consuming climaxes with soaring vocals that proceed to ebb away in volume and severity like the extremities of the seasons. I remember the first time I heard Samothrace lying down more than a little stoned, and imagining a light house being battered by waves in the middle of a huge storm in blackened skies. The feeling of immense power and melody that is built upon feels comparable to the force of nature because of the subtleties of the sound; it’s devastatingly destructive but cleansing and inspiring. The material played from Reverence to Stone has an increase in steady rhythms, more easily identifiable as blues influenced with some faster riffing and also seems to delve into more psychedelic realms than the older material of Life’s Trade. Probably due to familiarity I was fairly ecstatic when the bass and drums came into Awkward Heart’s for the last song of the night, utilizing harmonizing guitar around huge riffs and ethereal vocals to awesome effect.
It’s a shame that some of the crowd seem to have dispersed by now, but that only made me feel slightly superior for having witnessed it all, which was even worth it when I got up for work at half 7 in the morning after rolling in at 3am.
NAAM Announces New Album ‘Vow’ On Tee Pee Records + UK Tour Dates
21st May 2013
NAAM has just completed their second full-length album, ‘Vow’, due to be released by Tee Pee Records on 3rd June which will be available on CD, LP and Digital Download.
‘Vow‘ opens yet another chapter for this Brooklyn-based quartet, breaking new ground both sonically and progressively through the exploration of the realm of psychedelia. Dark melodic tones, vocal harmonies, and heavy synthesizer presence accompany the listener in the shift towards NAAM‘s astral plane. As deep, doom-ridden tones and tribal drums accompany the acid-casualty grooves and freakouts of NAAM past, NAAM future presents not only a more progressive and developed concept through music, but also through the concept of spirituality.
NAAM‘s musical and lyrical evolution into darker territory once again focuses on the sacrament – this time through the rites of sexuality, the devotion towards hedonism, and the mortification of desire. As the band’s past concepts have dealt with higher powers, unknown beings, and mysticism, ‘Vow‘ draws from a more personal, Id-driven nature, focusing on the animal/human duality within.
01. A Call
03. In & Thru
04. Pardoned Pleasure
05. Laid to Rest
06. Brightest Sight
07. Of the Hour
09. Midnight Glow
NAAM will also be hitting the UK in support of ‘Vow‘ during June 2013 and below are the tour dates:
11-Jun: London, Borderline
12-Jun: Oxford, The Wheatsheaf
13-Jun: Liverpool, Blade Factory
14-Jun: Manchester, Star & Garter
15-Jun: Edinburgh, Citrus Club
16-Jun: Glasgow, 13th Note
18-Jun: Brighton, Sticky Mike’s Frog bar
Not unusually, Manchester is cold, wet and gray. The Sunday feeling of melancholy and hangover seems to be accentuated in the streets behind Piccadilly Train station, where “The Star and Garter”, premier shit hole venue, is sunken unremarkably into its miserably surroundings. Not all however is how it seems. Through the doors of the venues apathetic front an increasingly large crowd is gathering, revitalised on strong imported lager “Primus” at two for five pounds and awaiting the ridicules sonic excess of Bongripper, Conan, Humanfly, Nomad and Wort. “The Sunday blues” would be understatement.
There’s already a back log of people queuing when the doors open and the upstairs fills up rapidly with people ready to become sacrifice to a horrendous amount of volume, the potential of which looms on the back wall, in the form of Orange, Sun and Peavey gear. First to make noise are WORT, at this point I’m at the bar in an internal debate over whether I should buy two cans of primus or a pint of San Miguel. “Sure, San Miguel has the refreshing taste of foreign shores, but that comes at a price, and two cans of primus for only 5 pounds get’s me on the way, plus there’s less chance of a spill”. I purchased the Primus; “not a bad deal”, I thought, stopping to wonder how much it costs them in wholesale per can as I headed outside for a cigarette.
Nomad bring Mancunian teeth kicking savagery encrusted in a layer of new Orleans swamp mud; this up-beat variation is fresh on the bill. The live presence of the band is something that you’d expect from one already prolific in the scene, the bassist bounces manically whilst a wildly gesticulating front man riles up the crowd whenever the chance is there. There’s straight up metal amongst the bluesy southern licks and more frantic interludes but Nomad’s slower doom driven Riffage is their most effective weapon. The finest of which is unleashed towards the end of their set in “Burn the water”, you could drag a corpse to that.
Space suits mandatory for Leeds finest Humanfly. The band have been amongst my favourite to watch live over the past few years with their unique and varied sounds from post rock atmospheric build ups in to ludicrously heavy groove orientated destruction. The bands fluidity in which they change tempo and atmosphere makes it look although the band naturally occurs, without any conscious thought. While maybe a year or so ago, these tripped out effect riddled cosmic explorations would make way for a crushing, doomed up fist to your spaced out face, it now transcends to rock vibes less weighty and aggressive. It works brilliantly at what it does; which is melting you into space, with a glazed expression and a nodding head, but the sound has mellowed with Awesome Science, and I do miss the older aspects.
Tearing you from that fuzzy warm feeling with rabid teeth is the snarling beast of Conan. The volume takes on an obnoxious level. “Jesus Christ that’s loud”; people would be saying if you could hear them, which is understated, when your innards are vibrating. Conan sound like the audio to some ancient huge brute, tearing across a battle field and lopping some poor bastard from the shoulder blade to their hip. Moments of crushing mammoth gallop occur between viscerally fuzzed out negative drone that plods like the last dying steps of a wounded giant. The “war beats”, provide thunderous fills between the sections, smashing barbarically over huge primal rhythms and chanting battle cries. Conan’s iron axe to the face sound isn’t for everyone and some of the crowd have fled for the safety of the bar. Those who appreciate the uglier bludgeoned face of doom, however, have their bloodlust sated.
The Star and Garters upstairs venue is about as tightly packed as you could imagine for monsters of doom Bongripper. As the first notes of a resin and menace soaked riff are plunged into, the front of the crowd tears open, sending my pint (the primus has gone) skyward, and me flailing after the cunt that’s shoved me. Bongripper ignore the constraints that your typical doom band are shackled by and have engineered their own product utilizing sounds that span genres. The spine of the noise is impossibly heavy groove, but their constantly changing dynamic journey through a track strays far from your standard blues based doom. Songs transcend through atmospheres and build ups into evil rhythms and melodies that I find myself embarrassingly humming later to some of the band at the urinal. Everyone’s been absorbed by the end of the set, with looks of euphoric rapture that wouldn’t look too out of place in some weird occult setting. Epic’s a word that has unfortunately been hijacked by faggots, tonight however it is applicable.