Feb 122014

Here are some thoughts about two new splits I’d like to recommend, with streaming music for each. They make for quite a contrast.


My last mention of DC’s Borracho came in connection with a video, which combined a stunning piece of music from the band’s 2011 debut Splitting Sky with a stunning piece of film; since then, Borracho have released several short works and, in 2013, a new album (Oculus). Cortez are from Boston, and this split  was my first exposure to their music. The new split will be a 7″ vinyl from AM Records scheduled for shipping around April 1, and a pre-order of the vinyl will bring you an immediate download of the music on Bandcamp.

Each band contributed one song to the split. Borracho’s “Know My Name” is a real skull-breaker. The riff is king, but a king so soaked in radioactivity that the Geiger counter is going off the scale. It’s ultra-swampy and ultra-groovy, a stoner metal monster with a chorus meant for sing-alongs (except few people will be able to hit Steve Fisher’s gritty highs). Awesome track. Continue reading »

Jan 192013

For just a three-man group who don’t bother with a bass, Cortez kick up a hell of a ruckus. I wrote about this Swiss trio in a MISCELLANY post last December (here), about a month before release of their latest album Phœbus. It will be out on vinyl come January 25 via by Throatruiner Records (with CD releases coming from Basement Apes & Lost Pilgrims), but it’s already streaming and downloadable on Bandcamp now.

A few days ago Cortez premiered an official video for one of the new album’s songs, “arrogants que nous sommes”. The music itself is definitely worth hearing, but the video is even more exceptional.

The song is a burst of hardcore intensity. It seethes with fury and it’s loaded with head-bashing riffs and very cool (non-blasting) drumwork. I don’t miss the sound of the bass — the song makes up for its absence by drawing heaviness from emotional intensity. Continue reading »

Dec 252012

This Christmas Day installment of MISCELLANY is a blockbuster, in two senses:  First, instead of the usual line-up of three musical discoveries, I picked five for this excursion. And second, what I found busted my block with the power and quality of the music. I’ve usually had good luck with these explorations, but today’s collection is especially good.

For those people who are new to the site or just forgetful, here’s how the MISCELLANY game works: I randomly pick an assortment of bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands with new releases). I listen to one or two songs (though I broke that rule in this post, as I have in the past). I write my first-listen impressions. And then I stream for you what I heard so you can form your own impressions.

The subjects for today’s post, several of whom have made their releases available for free download, are: Witch Ripper (U.S.), Cage (U.K.), Inconstani Dei (Russia), Cortez (Switzerland), and Vulgaari (U.S.). And I’ll tell you this much more in advance: All of the music goes off in different tangents from the majority of the metal we usually cover on this site. They were great discoveries for me, and I hope they will be for you, too.


I learned about this band via an e-mail from its sole member, Curt Parker. I decided to check out the band’s self-titled debut EP for three reasons: (1) Curt Parker was a member of the now-defunct Iron Thrones, and I enjoyed their music; (2) Curt Parker recently moved from Minneapolis to our current home base of Seattle; and (3) I thought the cover of the band’s EP (created by Tim Bradley) was awfully damned cool. And as an added bonus, I later discovered that Witch Ripper has made separate videos for each of the EP’s Continue reading »