Negative Mantra is a new band, but its members are well known from other projects over a period of many years. When I saw those names — as well as the name they chose for their band — I had a high level of confidence that their just-released debut EP A Hymn To Disappointment would be heavy, grim, and hard to forget. I wasn’t wrong.
Here’s the line-up:
John Porada (Terminate, ex-Nachtmystium) – Vocals, guitar, bass
Jeff Wilson (Abigail Williams, Wolvhammer, Chrome Waves) – Guitar
Charlie Fell (Abigail Williams, Cobalt, ex-Lord Mantis) – Drums
The EP emerged last week on Bandcamp without any fanfare. No press release, no advance dribbling out of teasers or song excerpts. One day it wasn’t there, the next day it was. I discovered it only because I noticed brief Facebook posts about it by a couple of people in the band, mentioned almost in passing. But word of this release needs to be spread around, because it’s very good.
We had a busy day at the site yesterday, and I thought I wouldn’t have time to explore new music. But my wife decided to strand me at home last night while she went out and whooped it up with some friends of hers, and so what was I to do? I damn sure wasn’t going to venture into the loris compound by myself; my wife’s good with a knife and she usually has my back, but without her I’m not getting close to those devious fuckers. So instead I decided leave the loris ninjas to their own devices, hunker down at the computer, and drown myself in new metal. Here is a collection of new stuff from four bands that helped me pleasantly pass the time.
Let’s first have a round of applause for Juanjo Castellano, because goddamn, is his cover art for the new EP by Avulsed the absolute shit, or what?
(Andy Synn wrote this review of the debut EP by a French band named Barús.)
Ladies and gentlemen, I need you to stop whatever you’re doing and listen to this. This deserves your complete attention. All of it. There will be no exceptions.
Are you listening yet? Good.
Welding the mutated megaton guitar heft of Meshuggah at their slowest and heaviest to a heaving undercurrent of soul-crushing Doom and touches of the sort of hypnotic, almost ritualistic, atmosphere that would make your average occult-obsessed Black Metal band turn green(er) with envy, French Death Metal types Barús have managed to create something with their debut EP that simultaneously embraces and defies convention – something utterly dense and uncompromising, yet surprisingly progressive and introspective in nature.
After two weeks in Texas, I’ve had 36 hours in Seattle and am now about to head north to Vancouver, with two bodyguards to fend off the paparazzi, of course. We will be taking in a Bolt Thrower show this evening (I know I’m being an asshole, but it doesn’t happen often, so I think I get a break). Before hitting the road, I thought I’d throw a few things your way that lit me up in my listening yesterday. Variety is the spice of life, and there’s quite a bit of variety in this selection.
I’ve forgotten how I stumbled across this next video. I saved a link to it before leaving Seattle two weeks ago (which was right when the video came out) and finally checked it out. It’s a single video named Room 69 that spans three songs by a San Francisco band named Mohicans (pictured above). To say the video is bizarre would be an understatement, but it’s damned entertaining, even if it’s loaded with WTF? moments.
(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP by Sanzu.)
Much like another recent review of mine, it’s impossible to conduct any sort of write-up of the debut EP by Australian Death Metal troubadours Sanzu without referencing the ever-present spectre of their main inspiration.
In this case the band’s particular brand of bludgeoning, biomechanical groove clearly owes a heavy debt to French heavyweights Gojira, with every nerve-jangling pick-scrape and raw, bellowing vocal line steeped in the band’s undeniable influence.
Yet there’s clearly also much more than mere hero worship going on here, as the quintet manage to put their own distinctive spin on things, opting for a heavier focus on the Death Metal side of things which allows for an even heavier delivery than that of their idols.
Also, did I mention that it’s really fucking heavy?
(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by Scotland’s Exile the Traitor.)
Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room right away, shall we? Melodic Death/Core marauders Exile The Traitor really like The Black Dahlia Murder.
It’s obvious in everything from their song structures, to the tempos they choose, the inherent melodic spikiness of their riffs, and the subtly blackened bite of the vocals who these guys’ main influence is. Even if it apparently takes two entirely separate vocalists to successfully follow in Trevor Strnad’s portly footsteps.
Now that may all sound like criticism. It’s not. In fact, despite what I’ve said above, this is a damn good EP in its own right, bursting with unholy life and suitably necrotic energy.
[For those who came here for a review of Megiddo’s The Holocaust Messiah, I suggest you read THIS ONE, since it’s a revised review of the entire album; the one below was based on a listen that omitted three of the album’s tracks.]
Roughly 13 years have passed since Toronto’s Megiddo put out an album, and aside from a trio of splits in 2003, I don’t think there’s been any new music from the band at all since then — until Barbarian Wrath released The Holocaust Messiah about 10 days ago. It consists of seven tracks, plus an intro and outro — and it’s a gem.
I have to note at the outset that I’ve only heard six of the tracks so far, because the title track and the intro and outro music haven’t yet been posted for streaming — but I’ve forged ahead with this review instead of waiting for my CD to arrive, because I’m more enthusiastic than patient.
There’s nothing fancy about the music. The songs are remarkably simple, with an organic sound, and almost all of them are fairly short. Each one has just one or two riffs (and some well-timed variations) that the band drive home through repetition, and equally uncomplicated, no-frills drum and bass rhythms. But the riffs are so ingeniously crafted and so damned catchy that this primal music proves to be highly addictive.
(Andy Synn reviews the latest EP by Victorian Whore Dogs, from Guildford in the UK.)
Let’s make this quick, shall we? I’m sure we’ve all got things to do, and places to be.
In short, Hobo Chic is awesome.
Those of you who have to leave may now do so. Anyone interested in a bit more detail… click on.
Well, just this past weekend I made a big deal about how I was going to be out of town for 2 weeks in Texas working day and night for my fucking day job and dismally watching the content on our site fall to a trickle. I am indeed in Texas for my day job, and it won’t be long before I really do have to knuckle down and earn my keep — but things haven’t been that crushing so far. And so… I continue to blog!
Here are some musics I enjoyed over the last 48 hours that I hope you will enjoy, too — reviews of three new short releases, some praise for one more new song from an eagerly anticipated album, and a feature on three tracks from a recently discovered album.
Demonwomb are from Wien, Austria. Powertrip Records is going to release a self-titled, five-track 7″ by the band on June 19 (their second EP) — but you can hear all of it on Bandcamp right now, and you damn well should. Why should you? Well, let me count the reasons:
I’m going to apologize in advance for a potential excess of enthusiasm about the new EP by Temple of Dagon that we’re about to premiere, but I can’t help myself and there’s no one here to stop me.
Revelations of the Spirit is one of the heaviest and most electrifying things I’ve heard all year. The riffs are massive. The guitar leads are infectious. The bass lines are pavement-cracking. The drum blows are spine-shaking. The vocals are raw and ravenous. The music is both savage and scintillating, fusing elements from a variety of genres, from crust/punk to thrash to concussive Bolt Thrower-style death metal. It’s a paragon of head-wrecking metal.