Not metal, but metal-adjacent
By pdfreeman Mar 23, 2011 5:34AM
Here's another awesome musical performance from Austin, TX last week.
Pontiak are not a metal band, but they're a band headbangers, particularly of the stoner-rock persuasion, should absolutely get to know. They're three brothers from Virginia—guitarist Van Carney, bassist Lain Carney, and drummer Jennings Carney. All three sing. They record in a log cabin near where they live. They've made five albums to date—2006's Valley of Cats, 2008's Sun On Sun, 2009's Maker and Sea Voids, and 2010's Living. They'll be releasing an EP, Comecrudos, later this year.
Their music is somewhere in the neighborhood of classic sprawled-out, slow-burning '70s guitar jams by Neil Young and Crazy Horse or Cactus, but with an extra dose of drone and bottom-end boom. Think of them as a cross between the James Gang and Sunn O))), and you'll be pretty close, as this video indicates. This song is called "Shell Skull," and as heard on Sun On Sun, it's a concise four-minute disc-opener. This version closed their set at Emo's (arty black metal group Liturgy followed them), and it's nearly 11 minutes long, with guest percussion by a member of noise-rock group White Hills.
If Pontiak was on Small Stone or Tee Pee, they'd be worshiped by stoner rock aficionados. But they're on the Thrill Jockey label, which puts out a lot of gentler, artier indie-rock stuff, and consequently the hirsute, headbanging public ignores them. Well, it's time for that to end. Pontiak kicks ass, especially live. Check it out.
Two nights each in Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, Boston & Brooklyn
By pdfreeman Mar 22, 2011 9:25AM
The Melvins had so much fun doing a month-long residency at Spaceland in Los Angeles, they'll be playing a series of two-night stands in May and June. The set list in each city will feature songs from Lysol, Eggnog and Houdini on the first night, and songs from Bullhead and Stoner Witch on the second night. There will be no opening acts. The next Melvins release will be Sugar Daddy Live, out May 31 on Ipecac.
Here are the dates and cities:
May 13, 14: The Crocodile, Seattle, WA
May 16, 17: Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
May 27, 28: Mohawk, Austin, TX
May 31, June 1: Double Door, Chicago, IL
June 3, 4: Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
June 6, 7: Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
The Only Album You Need This Week
By pdfreeman Mar 22, 2011 7:38AM
There are a lot of good albums coming out next week. Something for just about every kind of metal fan, in fact: Amon Amarth, Cavalera Conspiracy, GridLink, Havok, Obscura, Whitesnake and Within Temptation are all releasing new studio material on March 29. But this week, there's only one album you need to set aside money for—the third release by Illinois-based tech-death/metalcore act Born of Osiris, The Discovery.
The group's first album, 2007's The New Reign, was more like an EP—sure, it had eight tracks, but they only ran 22 minutes and change. On that disc, they were a technically proficient deathcore band, heavy on the complex riffs, chugging breakdowns and squealing guitar solos, but these melodic interludes would keep popping up, almost like a whole different band had muscled the first band aside for a few seconds. Plus, they used more keyboards than other deathcore bands, and used them not for mere atmosphere, but as an actual lead instrument at times, indicating that they were as interested in prog as they were in brutality.
On the follow-up, 2009's A Higher Place, they could be heard more successfully integrating the elements of their sound into a cohesive whole. The songs were more conventionally melodic (even if they weren't any longer—A Higher Place was about 34 minutes long, but had 13 tracks to the first one's eight) and the keyboards were becoming crucial to the songs, rather than merely adorning them as intros or interludes.
Now comes album number three, and it's their best work to date. At 15 songs in 52 minutes, it's easily their most expansive record—four songs cruise past the four-minute mark, and the final track, "Behold," is nearly six minutes long. There are some amazing moments here; a burst of heavily effected guitar less than a minute into "Recreate" is particularly likely to make the listener's head pop up in surprise. There's still a lot of stuttering, chugging riffage, of course; these guys know how to carve up metal. "Two Worlds of Design," for example, launches itself with a spastic, lurching bit, then builds a slightly more steady-rockin' groove before the keyboards come in and the head-nodding (different from headbanging) begins. Then it does it all over again. Sometimes the band gets downright mellow; "A Solution" is a two-minute interlude of drum machine, gentle synth lines, and crooned vocals that sounds like something from a Linkin Park album. But most of the time, this is a hammering (and yet quite well produced and mixed—it won't give you a headache, even though it's fiercely loud and aggressive) album that will make technical death metal fans, and fans of intricate, progressive hard music in general, very happy.
(N.B.: I'm not recommending this one way or the other, but if you buy this album from Hot Topic, it comes with a DVD that includes some live footage, a video of the band telling you how awesome the album is, and some other stuff. Just FYI.)
Grind from Singapore
By pdfreeman Mar 19, 2011 10:56AM
Wormrot played the same venue as Kill the Client, three and a half hours later. They're from Singapore, and they've got a great "signing story": they self-released their debut album, Abuse, and Earache Records founder Digby Pearson downloaded it—illegally, using Mediafire. He immediately offered the band a deal, reissuing Abuse with (on iTunes anyway) 34 bonus tracks. The band's second album, Dirge, comes out in early May, and it's amazing. Twenty-five songs in 18 minutes. Pure grinding rage, from a country not exactly known for tolerating sociopolitical dissidence.
Here's the first five minutes or so of an astonishing set. Their drummer, Fit, was hitting his battered kit so hard and so fast that every few songs, something had to be re-tightened or put back in place. Meanwhile, guitarist Syid was impassively cranking out riff after riff, as vocalist Arif screamed his head off. Wormrot like to play the US, so if they come to your town, don't miss 'em.
Plus an interview with vocalist Morgan
By pdfreeman Mar 19, 2011 8:20AM
Kill the Client have been around for a decade, but are just now moving to the forefront of the US grindcore scene. They deserve to be its kings. Their politically engaged lyrics tend to focus on corporate dominance of politics and the business world's abuse of workers (note their name and the title of their first EP, Wage Slave, not to mention their Cleptocracy—"government by thieves"—album), and their music is absolutely ferocious—a metallic version of grindcore, but with no solos or bullshit, just pure focused rage. Their most recent album, Set for Extinction, was one of my favorite records of 2010. Their drummer, Bryan Fajardo, also plays for GridLink, Phobia and Noisear.
Here's some performance footage, and a man-on-the-street interview with primary vocalist (the guitarist does some barking of his own) Morgan.
The men don't know, but the little girls understand
By pdfreeman Mar 18, 2011 8:10AM
Here's I See Stars playing "Wonderland" (from their new album The End of the World Party) and "The Common Hours" (from their debut album, 3-D) last night in Austin, TX. This is a band that many of this blog's readers likely would not count as metal. Their singer's too good-looking, for one thing. And they have rave synths and disco breakdowns, and a bunch of songs on The End... sound like they stole their melodies (yes, they have melodies, not just riffs—another thing that separates them from many contemporary metal bands, cf. the Red Chord) from '80s movie soundtracks.
Also, girls like them. This band attracts a very young and probably 50/50 audience by gender. I am neither young nor a girl, but I like 'em too. Here's the video; see what you think.
Beards and blast beats
By pdfreeman Mar 18, 2011 7:17AM
Here's some live footage of The Red Chord, a band I don't like much but one some other people are positively fervent about. I have no idea what song(s) they're playing, or anything else. They seemed to be having sound problems, but maybe they wanted an overwhelming wave of bass. Who can say? Anyhow, here's the video. Enjoy!
Four songs in five minutes
By pdfreeman Mar 17, 2011 7:43AM
Here's some more video from last night - punk semi-supergroup OFF! (punctuation and capitalization in original), featuring former Black Flag/Circle Jerks vocalist Keith Morris, Burning Brides guitarist Dimitri Coats, Redd Kross bassist Steven McDonald, and Earthless drummer Mario Rubalcaba. They blast through four songs from their so-far only CD, First Four EPs: "Black Thoughts," "Darkness," "Poison City" and "Now I'm Pissed." Crappy, distorted sound quality = punk rock, so enjoy.
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