Simple music done well, with fire and passion, great production, hooks and attitude. German group Pabst have it in spades on their recently released single ‘Hell’, taken from their brand new album Deuce Ex Machina. The song has a glam stomp that bristles and surges impressively. Alt rock that sounds like it belongs on radio and in sweat-soaked dive bars.
Japanese genre-destroyers Boris return with a new album, NO, due out July 3rd, self-released on Bandcamp. Check out the searing, careening distortion punk-fest that is ‘Loveless’.
A message from BORIS:
“International borders are ‘closed’ now.
All kinds of anxieties, fear, sadness, anger, and hatred have arisen to drive the world apart.Everyone is in a process of trial and error, doing what they can to live.The critical state of the world has placed culture, art, and other means of expressing ourselves into a dilemma as well.We decided to start managing our band ourselves again a few years ago, so we even more keenly aware of the current situation.
It was our actions up to this point and our methodology, various cultural influences, as well the connections and support we received from people around the world that led us to create this latest album.
Culture is lore that is not bound by blood, in other words ‘Non Blood Lore.’
We have put all of our influences and connections into this album so that they may be passed on circulated.That is our current stance now as Boris, our role and mode of action.
The title of this album is NO. People have a system whereby they unconsciously grow accustomed to things and adapt to them.But, this same system is also cursed in the way it allows inconvenient or troubling things to be disregarded as if they were never there to begin with and goes by other names such as ‘resignation,’ ‘subordination,’ and ‘forgetfulness.’We renounce this system.‘Is this something I felt on my own? Is this idea something I came up with on my own? Is this something I chose to act upon myself?’Everything begins with questioning and denying oneself.That is the proper stance for people to adopt.
Music and culture possess incredible power.The anger and discontent we had no outlet for in our youth shone through in our music, helping us to channel negative energy channeled towards creative ends and leading us to new means of expression and artistry.We hope this latest album can be a mirror that gathers and reflects people’s negative energy at a different angle, one that is positive.That is the power and potential of the dark, extreme, and brutal noise music that we have experienced up to this point.Today’s society is littered with words that may or may not be true, making it easy to want to just not listen to what anyone has to say.But, that’s all the more reason why we hope that you will at least open your ears to these songs sung in the language of another land.These shouts that have no proper meaning as words will help release the raw, unshaped emotions within you.This is ‘extreme healing music.’
International borders are ‘closed’ now.When we’re able to travel again, it will be proof that the world has moved forward.We pray for the day when we can share the same time and place again.
Dei Lucrii are a psychedelic noise-punk quartet based in Los Angeles California who’ve just released their new EP Devil’s Thumb.
Below you can check out the first two tracks from the release, both of which hit the accelerator and burn ominous rubber across the melting highway bitumen. There are shades of stoner rock and punk, with a dark and heavy underbelly, in their sound. You can also hear the desert influence, giving it a western-noir vibe amid the distortion and weighty rhythms.
Stand back, turn it up and hold onto something. Swiss trio Heavy Harvest hit the afterburners on this blistering one and a half minutes of hardcore noise rock. Think Jesus Lizard in a blizzard, or a practice session in a shipping container with METZ and Shihad. It’s brutally good and a sample of their new album Iron Lung which explores all corners of intense, heavy, unhinged noise rock. Sonic catharsis of the highest order in these fucked up times.
CABLE TIES, LONG JAMS AND LOUD AMPS
Between festival appearances and European tours, Cable Ties’ Jenny McKechnie chats with Chris Familton about their new album Far Enough and explains the band’s 30-minute riff test.
Picture three figures, closely grouped between numerous amps and drums, hunched over their instruments in the middle of a large warehouse as heavy guitars at full volume fill the voluminous space and make their way through cables to an analogue desk. That was the scene as Melbourne trio Cable Ties laid down the tracks that make up their second album Far Enough.
With engineer and producer Paul Maybury (Rocket Science) behind the controls, the band knew they were in good hands after working with him on their debut album. “We love Paul so much,” enthuses singer, songwriter and guitarist Jenny McKechnie. “Personally speaking he’s really good at knowing what you’re capable of. When we went in and recorded our first 7” he got us playing it again and again and I think that made the single something that we couldn’t foresee at the time. On this record he’s both the recording engineer and the producer so he knew how far he could push it to get the best out of us and when to tell us to shut up and that we got the best take.”
The band have built up a strong reputation over the last half decade for their blistering and impassioned live shows and McKechnie identifies the essence of those performances as something they’re always striving to embody when they’re in the studio. “What we always want to do with a record is achieve that similar live feeling of excitement and capturing those emotions obviously has to be done in a different way because you can’t feel the bass in your lungs when you listen to a record.”
Sonically there’s a clear progression and evolution with Cable Ties’ sound on Far Enough. It’s heavier, more primitive and they’ve added a weightier 70s rock framework to their punk sensibilities. As McKechnie explains, it’s a sound born of experience and a deep and intense exploration of the power of the riff. “From recording the first album to recording the second one it was a matter of having a lot more miles under our belt, playing a lot more and getting a sense of who we are and what we wanted our sound to be – which was different to the first record. This one’s got a bit more of the primitive rock ’n’ roll thing going on,” says McKechnie. “It’s a bit heavier and that came out us going into the rehearsal studio and jamming on a riff for at least 30 minutes. If you can’t do it for half an hour it’s not worth it!”
The synchronicity of McKechnie’s playing with drummer Shauna Boyle and bassist Nick Brown is key to their sound and how astutely they can turn three minute punk songs into six minute hypnotic workouts. “It comes from jamming a lot and we’re all obsessed with repetition, the build and release of tension and chasing that cathartic rush and feeling that you can get from long jams and loud amps. That’s what we love about rehearsals and being in the band and so that’s what comes out on the record.”
Anyone who has heard Cable Ties is left in no doubt that this is a band who wear their hearts and beliefs on their collective sleeves. McKechnie populates her songs with intelligent, poetic and passionate commentary on a range of social, cultural and political topics. It’s something she’s always done as a form of catharsis and raising of awareness. “Even when I was writing folk songs in my bedroom as a teenager I’ve always written about political issues because I’ve always gotten really upset about them and needed a way to process them. That’s what I’m continuing to do to this day,” she explains, before adding “With this album it’s taking a bit of a jump from the last one in that it’s doing that and also starting to be a bit more self-reflective as well.”
With international and national tours ahead of them, including an appearance at SXSW in the USA, Cable Ties’ first priority is the release of their new album, says McKechnie proudly. “We worked really hard on it and I put all my feelings on it. I don’t really hold back much!”
Spinefarm/Search and Destroy
With the band’s split in 1998, it took 14 years for them to spread their various music wings (including the excellent International Noise Conspiracy) and re-set their personal lives before reconvening for live shows and then delivering the strong comeback album Freedom in 2015. It showed they were still vital and able to conjure up fire-in-the-belly forward thinking heavy music.
War Music solidifies the band’s return to active duty but it’s a more refined and compact take on the modern rock album. Trimmed of any excess, it rips and roars across ten songs in 35 minutes. There’s little diversion into synth interludes or overly prog workouts. Instead it keeps things locked tightly around the precise and knotty guitar riffs and that rhythm section that still kicks and drives with metronomic muscle.
Not everything works though. Malfire swaps intensity for more melodic commercial rock shapes and it just sounds overplayed. Likewise the punk-pop melody of the chorus in I Wanna Watch The World Burn. The second half of the album is where they really find their feet, Turn The Cross tumbles violently with tangled breakneck playing from all band members. It sounds truly thrilling, a band on knife edge, right on the lip of the wave. They follow that with Damaged II, a song that would fit on any Rage Against The Machine album. When they re-enter the maelstrom after coming to a halt momentarily it’s like the swing of a sledgehammer. The Infamous Left is an exercise in old school thrash metal before the band closes the album out with the stomp and swagger of Economy Of Death.
The themes of War Music are still the same with Dennis Lyxzén howling and screaming about protest, struggle, revolution and inequality. With Refused it’s the sound though. That hurricane of distortion. militant rhythms and the combination of primal physicality and intelligent application in the band’s intoxicating noise.
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…
Beastwars with Witchskull, Potion
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.
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.
Frontman 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.
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.