NEW MUSIC: Milly – Talking Secret

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Some woozy, slow moving shoegaze sounds for you today. ‘Talking Secret’ is a new track from Milly, a Los Angeles band fronted by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brendan Dyer. The song blends UK and US styles really nicely. There are echoes of post rock and grunge in the mix. I guess a band that you could draw some parallels with would be Swervedriver and the way both acts combine texture and rock.

NEW MUSIC: The Klubs – Loosen The Crown

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For fans of Protomartyr, METZ, Viagra Boys, Pissed Jeans

Lay down a rhythm section that has the heft and swing of Jesus Lizard, guitar that scissors and slashes across the speakers and a suitably belligerent and unhinged post-punk vocal and you’ve got a damn fine song from South African band The Klubs.

It’s a hell of a bass line that drives this thing, leading it down a sleazy laneway on a hot summer night. Great stuff. It comes from the Pretoria trio’s new EP Cult Party, Pt. 1: Male Plague.

NEW MUSIC: Domiciles – Sinking Sun

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Domiciles (Fife, Scotland) have released this new seven minute slab of hypnotic psych rock. ‘Sinking Sun’ is the second single taken from debut album This Is Not a Zen Garden, set for release this Friday (16/08/19) via Last Night From Glasgow.

The vocals are subdued, buried in the shadowy corners of the song as the rhythm section does the heavy lifting, laying the foundation for guitars that spark and spiral across the stereo landscape leaving sonic chemtrails and deep riff furrows. It’s compelling stuff that draws as much from post-punk, Krautrock and shoegaze as it does from the dark art of bands like The Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Horrors.

NEW MUSIC: Cross Dog – Scars

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Cross Dog are a self-described heavy, noisy, feminist punk band from Peterborough Ontario, Canada and man they deliver a blistering slab of noise/punk metal on this track from their new album Hollow. There’s the raw, unbridled fury of the first Hole album bleeding into the hardcore of a band like Refused. It’s unrelenting and built on only bass, drums and vocals but the dynamics they build into the track make it fascinating, layered, brutally heavy and visceral. Check it…

NEW MUSIC: Paso Viejo – Kitsune

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We’re always on the hunt for great post-rock that settles in that sweet spot between textural exploration and epic sweep, without heading too far into metal territory or getting too technical at the expense of heart and soul.

Argentinian band Paso Viejo definitely caught our ear in that respect, with this track ‘Kitsune’. It sparkles and swells, painting details in the shadowy, mood corners and allowing movement and graceful patterns of sound to flourish and evolve in an unhurried fashion before the final adrenalised sprint to the finish.

The track comes from their second album Agua de Oro.

NEW MUSIC: Velvet Starlings – Kids In Droves

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Here’s a great slice of authentic garage psych rock from Los Angeles band Velvet Starlings, fronted by Christian Gisborne. ‘Kids In Droves’ cuts a fine balance between 60s UK mods sounds, a tough Britpop angle and US garage rock circa Nuggets. The single follows their self-titled EP of last year which has seen them generate some major radio attention and a US and UK tour dates.

LIVE REVIEW: Beastwars @ Crowbar, Sydney

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Beastwars with Witchskull, Potion
Crowbar, Sydney
July 11th, 2019

Crowbar is quickly establishing itself as the home of Sydney’s metal and hard rock scene and tonight it hosted New Zealand’s finest metal band, Beastwars. They’ve just chalked up their first number one album, in the wake of breaking up, singer Matthew Hyde’s diagnosis and treatment of cancer, a reformation and the recording the devastating new album IV. In our review we described it as “a blistering, pummelling, cathartic battle cry of a record,” and the expectations were for a similarly brutal live performance.

Potion are a psych/stoner metal trio that know their way around mystical bedrock heavy riffing grooves. Song titles like ‘Dead Mountain’ give you an idea of the territory they inhabit. They do heavy and slow, fast and chugging with equal aplomb, getting the heads a shakin’ early.

Witchskull dialled back the clock to a more classic rock and metal sound. Sonically it was Ozzy fronting Motorhead with many of the songs pulled from their album of last year, Coven’s Will. A bassist that looked like a lumbering, menacing Rick Rubin and a guitarist/singer with the stature of Ronnie Dio owned the front of the stage, laying down tight, paint-peeling solos and rolling, monolithic bass lines. It was an impressive set that balanced and progressed old and newer styles as one.

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Beastwars are now four albums deep so they’ve got plenty to choose from when it comes to an hour-long setlist. They drew from all of their albums, giving a holistic overview of their churning, emotive and visceral metal and hard rock. What they do so well is channel everyone from The Melvins and Soundgarden through Kyuss and Neurosis and onto contemporaries such as Pallbearer. There’s an industrial sheen to their sound but at its core there’s a primitive and primal human howl.

C9F7B23D-7FB0-49AD-9350-E067D63C03ACFrontman Matthew Hyde is hard to take your eyes off. He’s in slow motion as he sways, conducts and conjures up spirits and demons with raised hands. He’s essentially in the eye of a sonic storm, that calm spot at the core, as the fury rages around him. All his energy, no doubt dented and damaged from everything he’s been through in recent times, is channeled through his lungs and larynx. Meditative, brooding, tension-building verses invariably open up like an arriving hurricane into choruses of lacerating, throat-shredding howls that scream desperation and vindication in equal amounts. Highlights of the set included ‘Mihi’, ‘Raise The Sword’, ‘Rivermen’ and more. At times some songs blended into a morass of sludge riffing and dense rhythms but the peaks were more plentiful than the valleys across their set. When the dynamics fell into place with the rock solid rhythm section and Clayton Anderson’s clinical yet full-blooded guitar playing, Hyde seemed to channel something otherworldly and intensely personal – and the power and impact was immense. 

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Beastwars proved they’re a band who know how to convert emotion into music with intensity and gravity, hitting the hearts and bodies of the generous crowd who bowed down before them.

Chris Familton

ALBUM REVIEW: Beastwars – IV

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IV
Destroy Records

Sometimes it takes monumental life events to galvanise a band, or any creative endeavour for that matter. In the case of New Zealand band Beastwars it was the diagnosis singer Matt Hyde received, confirming Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In the weeks following his chemotherapy treatment the band hit the studio and recorded their fourth album – a blistering, pummelling, cathartic battle cry of a record.

“You can never get away from your mortal decay,” Hyde howls on ‘Mortal Decay’. This is an album that addresses mortality and the brutal reality of our time on this earth and the fragility of life. Out of that there is a sense of immense strength and resolution from both singer and band. There are winding, ruminative passages in some songs that add a reflective quality to the heavier, more visceral sound that dominates the album, but don’t start thinking this is a metal band going soft, their essence of heavy swinging and paint-peeling riffage is still firmly intact, made even more powerful with the quality of the songwriting and ideas on IV. 

As musicians, the band sound freer and more inventive than they ever have before. There is colour and shade on a song such as ‘Omens’ which combines the moodiness of Tool with lumbering doom metal density, while on ‘Mortal Decay’ the song straightens into pure metal chug and gallop at the three quarter mark to brilliant effect. On ‘The Traveller’, Hyde stands exposed, delivering an affecting primal scream  before the band join him and carry the song forward on a comforting melodic bed of heavy bass and avant garde guitar squalls. ‘Wolves And Prey’ tumbles and churns like a spinning vortex and ‘Like Dried Blood’ combines a piano and Hyde’s ghoulish vocal to great effect as the thunder grows and the riffs thicken and fill the air like heavy smoke.

“Out of adversity comes opportunity” said Benjamin Franklin and Beastwars have taken that mantra and bled a visceral, life-affirming album into existence. You’d be hard pressed to find many better metal albums than this in 2019. 

Chris Familton