Witchery – Nightside

Nightside Album Cover Art

Witchery – Nightside
Century Media Records
Release Date: 22/07/22
Running Time: 35:47 
Review by Rick Eaglestone
7/10

Masters of infernal metal since the 90’s, Sweden’s Witchery are poised to release their most undeadly ambitious album to date; “Nightside”.

The band waste no time in attempting to raise the dead with opening track ‘Witching Hour’, which is a non-stop rollercoaster of furious beats and solo’s – great start to the album and an early contender for my highlight track. But then the intro to ‘Don’t Burn the Witch’ hits, and this my fellow metal fan has to be my highlight track!! It has the aura of Satyricon’s ‘Fuel for Hatred’ about it too, which is an added bonus.

The album continues to flow with ‘Storm of the Unborn’ and interludial ‘Er Steht in Flammen’ before the unholy trinity of ‘Popecrusher’ ‘Left Hand March’ & instrumental ‘Under the Altar’ take hold of the middle section. The first two tracks of this trinity are heavy, but they in no way compare to the sheer ferocity that is ‘Churchburner’! I am honestly taken aback just how fast and heavy it is in parts – more of this please.

‘Crucifix and Candle’ has the best start to a track of the entire album, and when most of the lyrical content is effectively The Lord’s Prayer, you can’t help but appreciate just how wonderfully blasphemous it is! Also, it has a wonderful solo towards the end, and if that wasn’t enough, the band casually unleash ‘A Forest of Burning Coffins’ which is maybe even heavier than ‘Churchburner’.

The album concludes with the ominous and foreboding title track ‘Nightside’, which for me personally finishes this album off in just the right way.

Heavy metal witchcraft at its finest.

‘Popecrusher’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Witching Hour
02. Don’t Burn the Witch
03. Storm of the Unborn
04. Er steht in Flammen
05. Popecrusher
06. Left Hand March
07. Under the Altar
08. Churchburner
09. Crucifix and Candle
10. A Forest of Burning Coffins
11. Nightside

LINE-UP:
Angus Norder – Vocals 
Jensen – Rhythm Guitars
Rickard Rimfält – Rhythm and Solo Guitars
Victor Brandt – Bass Guitar
Chris Barkensjö – Drums 

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Voluntary Mortification – Suffer to Rise

Suffer To Rise Album Cover Art

Voluntary Mortification – Suffer to Rise
Rottweiler Records
Release Date: 22/07/2022
Running Time: 42:11
Review by Alex Swift
7/10

The term “Christian Deathcore” seems to be somewhat of a contradiction. No matter how passionate bands are about it, it seems strange for devout Christians to use their craft to preach the gospel in a medium that is so frequently assumed to be the antithesis of their beliefs.  And sure, we can guffaw at Christian rock’s many embarrassing moments – I’ve been known to do that myself, but our beliefs alone shouldn’t let us ignore some of the intriguing work in the genre. Metal details voyages through hell, serving as a rallying cry for all those clawing their way from the shadows  – in that sense, applying a frame of reference informed by the teachings of Christ need not be a negative. 

With their debut, Voluntary Mortification have accomplished exactly that. A concept album that uses nine tracks of savage cruelty to depict the protagonist Paul’s descent into the torments of hell and their eventual redemption. It’s a solid narrative that supports a fine Deathcore effort. ‘Death Tremors’, a pulsing, groove-laden mass of unashamed metal, kicks “Suffer to Rise” off. 

Here, the five-piece skilfully combine traditional death metal with a more aggressive offering for a final result that will drag you kicking and screaming into to the world they’ve created. ‘Vindicator’ contains a part that would rival practically anyone in terms of brutality. Beginning on a  thunderclap of guitars and percussion, the piece later slows to an agonising, glacial beat. In the end, a  final volley of scorching chords and screamed vocals come in as you struggle to gather your destroyed remnants.

The album’s second half has some excellent tracks, including the punishing ‘Abomination’, and the album’s closing track, ‘Crush the Serpent’s Head’, which ends the record in brilliantly violent fashion. You’ll feel captivated and liberated by this song as they viciously treat each riff like their sharpening a blade, before slowing the piece to a gigantic, lumbering stomp, and leaving us with a long, cathartic roar.

Noticeably though, there are some issues in the vocal delivery. Although the highs of the vocalist Conner are rather impressive, his lows are somewhat weak. The issue becomes less noticeable  as the album progresses, such as on ‘The Cull’, which is just an all-around and absolute destroyer. Make no mistake, the ferocity of his highs rattle you to your bones, and his range does save this record to some extent. However, it’s for the weakness in the lower register that I’m taken out of the experience slightly. 

“Suffer To Rise”, as a whole, is a compelling narrative that is sufficiently well-told without particularly breaking new musical ground. Regardless of whether you agree with the bands religious beliefs, their music is compelling enough to demand a listen just for how vicious it can be.

‘Death Tremors’ Official Lyric Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Wages Of Sin
02. Death Tremor
03. Vindicator
04. Valley of Slaughter
05. Silence
06. Demoncratic Society
07. The Cull
08. Abomination
09. Suffer to Rise
10. Into Your Hands
11. Crush The Serpent’s Head 

LINE-UP:
Conner – Vocals
Eric – Bass
Matt – Guitar
Jacob – Guitar
Johnny – Drums

LINKS: 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alex Swift and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Nebula – Transmissions From Mothership Earth

Transmission From Mothership Earth Album Cover Art

Nebula – Transmissions From Mothership Earth
Heavy Pysch Sounds Records
Release Date: 22/07/2022
Running Time: 39:00
Review by: Alun Jones
9/10

As I write this, we’re sweltering in a record-breaking heatwave.  North Wales, which is where I’m based – and also where the nerve centre of Ever Metal can be found – has had some of the highest temperatures in the whole of the UK.  It’s crazy.  And so, a new album from desert rock titans Nebula seems extremely apt right now.  “Transmissions From Mothership Earth” has arrived at exactly the right time.

And it arrives with a welcome burst of fuzz drenched psych rock, exactly as expected, in the first track, ‘Highwired’.  Big fat riffs, dashes of space rock and a whiff of herbal cigarettes: classic Nebula, really.  Up next is the title track, which adds some nice, sixties secret agent vibes to the melting pot, together with a punishingly heavy section.

‘Wilted Flowers’ begins with a mellow guitar section before exploding into a thunderous head tripper.  There’s a feel of Mudhoney and the Stooges with Nebula’s best work, as evidenced here and with ‘Melt Your Head’.  Other tracks like ‘Warzone Speedwulf’ and ‘The Four Horseman’ sound like early Monster Magnet dripped in acid fried Steppenwolf and left to dry in a Tarantino desert landscape.    

No surprises then with this latest Nebula release, and with titles like ‘I Got So High’ you can guess exactly what to expect.  But who cares?  “Transmissions From Mothership Earth” is a solid album of pounding rhythms and spaced-out fuzz rock.  It’s bound to make my end of year best of list, and right now it’s the perfect soundtrack for summer.  Enjoy, fellow explorers – it’s gonna piss it down with rain tomorrow. 

Talking about nebula and space and galaxies and all that, did I tell you about the great telescope trick we played on Bill Ward once?  It was at Brian May’s house, and he’s well into all that astrology business.  Bri’s got this huge telescope for star gazing.  So Tony, Ozzy, Geezer and me persuaded Bill to take a look.  What he didn’t know was that Brian had put black paint inside the lens, so Bill ended up with a great big, black monocle on his face.  Bill didn’t realise, and walked round like that all night – extremely paranoid as to why all the guests were laughing at him.  Great fun!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Highwired
02. Transmissions from Mothership Earth
03. Wilted Flowers
04. Melt Your Head
05. Warzone Speedwulf
06. I Got So High
07. Existential Blues
08. The Four Horseman

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

GLDN – First Blood EP

First Blood EP Cover Art

GLDN – First Blood EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 22/07/22
Running Time: 15:52
Review by Dark Juan 
5/10

Well, today has been a right day of ups and downs, and it’s only 12:48 at the time of me settling to write some stuff that literally one person in Somalia reads. I will not be sated and will keep doing this until the mighty Ever-Metal.com juggernaut has conquered North Korea and the righteous power of metal topples the Kim dynasty and Juche communism is brought to an end, and the victory parades will celebrate the day a better world was won. Yes, that was a VNV Nation lyric I managed to shoehorn into a metal record review. Anyway, since I have got home from wrangling young gentlemen, I have had to take to task a fucking gammon dickhead for having a bash at my friend Sarah as she has an Eastern European surname, discovered that the biggest joke I have ever heard or seen is my current bank balance, had to warn a teenager about the dangers of sending unsolicited dick pics and the fact it will be all over social media in a day or two, and when the inevitable fallout happens it will be HIS OWN FAULT, and have had to make coffee in an effort to stimulate my poorly abused brain cells into some spasmodic form of life in order to provide you with concise and precise information about the Brooklyn, NY based GLDN and their latest EP, “First Blood”.

GLDN are the brainchild of one Nicholas Golden, who appears to be another of those really irritating bastards who can play everything and sing as well, and “First Blood” is the debut record from him. The blurb states that GLDN is, “An unnerving and rage filled world [of GLDN] where boundaries are pushed and your comfort is NOT paramount! Daring and transgressive, GLDN cannot be contained, nor put into a single musical category – with elements of industrial, metal, and crust punk with passionate and furious vocals.” 

This is all well and good, but GLDN’s world actually appears to be tinkly-bwomp NIN-esque squelches with a Marilyn Manson aping baritone and a very similar sounding scratchy howl. It is neither daring nor transgressive. Daring and transgressive would be recording heavy metal records with hurdy-gurdies, and getting Katy Perry and one of these drill stars who wear sunglasses over balaclavas, and look fucking ridiculous, think they are dangerous when really they are a spotty teenager from rural Buckinghamshire with arms and legs like pipecleaners, and basically fuck about near a hired Lamborghini in their videos, which all seem to be filmed on the same street in Tower Hamlets [without actually touching it because just out of shot is an aggressive and angry owner with a baseball bat who has warned the youths to not touch it] while rapping about how shit their life has been and how they are scared they are going to get stabbed, and calling it Drill Metal and expecting the leather and denim and New Rock clad hordes to accept it without question.

Pardon me. I have digressed. Indeed, a number of the songs being offered on “First Blood” sound like “Antichrist Superstar” era Brian Warner bumping uglies with “The Downward Spiral” version of Trent Reznor. 

Let us dwell upon that mental image for a moment or two.

Horrifying, isn’t it? Or possibly one for the wank bank, depending on your point of view.

The sound of GLDN is somewhat enhanced by some tasty, buzzing guitar, but too often this is cut up and the loud-quiet-loud dynamic sometimes wrecks some promising brutality by slowing everything down, so Nicholas can do his best Trent Reznor crooning over a bit of dissonant piano, or electronic wooshing. There’s no boundaries being pushed here. This EP sounds like the year 1996.

Opening offering ‘Gravedigger’ kicks off with an electronic beat and bassline before metallic guitar cuts in for 12 beats and the faux-emotional crooning starts, extremely reminiscent of the delivery of Filter’s Richard Patrick, and the chorus sounds like it could have been written by Deftones. The middle of the song has some throat mangling howling a la the God Of Fuck. In fact, the whole song sounds like “Title Of Record” era Filter. Not a bad influence to have, but it borders on copyism.

This continues on the title track. Pure Marilyn Manson, but a mix of Spooky Kids era Mazza and “Antichrist Superstar” including a lyric that could have been written by the man himself – “They always look so pretty when they’re on their knees.” It’s all overblown and perverse sexuality, wild gyrating, demented roaring, sequenced, layered and multi-tracked guitars and not very much substance. ‘Ripe’ is more of the same – dissonance, baritone rumbling, a simple bassline, lyrics about hypocrisy and lots of downtuned guitar and roaring on the chorus, before going to a swooping, gothic-tinged middle eight on the synth, and then a heavily-produced solo that’s just a load of drawn out notes rather than fretboard gymnastics that segues neatly back into the chorus. So far, so still Mazza Manson.

‘(harmful if swallowed)’ (sic) is a bit more interesting, with a piano playing a wrong note deliberately that increases the sense of menace in the music nicely, but it’s just a bridging piece, and that makes me fucking furious because the music and that harsh, dissonant piano could have been turned into something magnificent, and it has just been wasted.

‘This Must Be The Place’ is just a slightly more electronic Marilyn Manson song. I know I keep coming back to him, but this is the overwhelming influence I hear. This particular song would not sound out of place on “Antichrist Superstar”, even the chorus sounds like it belongs on the title track of that august record and would fit the song quite seamlessly. I’m struggling to contain my disappointment here. Normally I would launch into some horrible bullshit and be mean to Nicholas, but I have become acutely aware lately that I am trashing the art of creators and they pour their heart and soul into it. All I do is tell them that they are either a) very good at it, b) average, c) rubbish or d) Warrior Soul. Mainly because I am a faile… RETIRED musician who was REALLY shit at playing music and if you can’t do it you write about it instead. Unless you’re EM’s Rory. He can do both, the annoying knobjockey. 

DISCLAIMER: Rory isn’t an annoying knobjockey. He is a fine gentleman. Rob Sutton is, though! Wink, wink…

Last offering on this six-tracker is ‘Parasite’ and it is far and away the best song on the EP, where he leaves Mazza alone for a bit and combines an aggressive, angry howl with a creepy clean voice, punchy, speedy drumming, and full on metal guitar with extra fizz and fuzz, lushly produced and brimming with a life all its own.

The EP does benefit from a decent production, with no one thing overpowering the other, but it has a curiously lifeless and flat quality that is difficult to describe, and although GLDN promise much in their press release, claiming elements of metal, industrial and crust punk, all I have heard is mainstream 1990s gothic industrial metal that the emo teens of the day would have gone fucking gaga over, that instead offers this grizzled old metal bastard a curiously warm and nostalgic feeling, rather than slavering excitement. It’s all a bit uninspiring, to be honest. I haven’t even got my old baggy Menace jeans out to relive the 1990s vibe.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is disappointed. It was expecting something visceral, wild and incendiary and instead got the spavined love child of Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson.

Which brings us back around neatly to that mental image we shared before.

You’re welcome.

5/10. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Gravedigger
02. First Blood
03. Ripe
04. (harmful if swallowed) – This is not me having some kind of seizure and losing command of English. This is how it is written. It is making my internal grammar Nazi fucking FURIOUS!
05. This Must Be The Place
06. Parasite

LINE-UP:
Nicholas Golden – Everything

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Midnight Road – Ready For The Fight

Ready For The Fight Album Cover Art

Midnight Road – Ready For The Fight
Self-Released
Release Date: 15/07/22
Running Time: 36:00
Review by Paul Hutchings
7/10

Formed in 2006 in Bilbao, Midnight Road’s sound switches between classic rock, and the reliable pace of AC/DC, with a large helping of 1980s sleaze. Having released their debut album “Thin Lines” in 2010, they certainly aren’t inexperienced with support slots to the likes of Slash, Inglorious and Gotthard to their name.

There is nothing new about the music, but despite that there is a natural appeal to classic rock played well, and overall, Midnight Road deliver. The opening title track is well placed, a real solid opener which gets the head nodding and the feet tapping. This is the song you need at a festival with a beer in the hand. Simple, effective, and catchier than Covid on an easyJet flight. The tempo slows a little on ‘Road to Death’, an emotionally charged song that works well, allowing lead singer Jon to open the smoky rasp that becomes as familiar as an old friend by the end of the album. 

Competently performed, the only challenge for Midnight Road is getting their music noticed in an already overcrowded field. The NWOCR movement has thrown up hundreds of bands who can deliver the sleazy style that we have here. Making the distinction from band to band can be difficult. But to give the boys from Bilbao their credit, there are several highlights here which will give them opportunity. The vibrancy of ‘Red Lips,’ for example, with its singalong chorus that lingers in the memory, which is always a good sign. ‘Get Your Way’ has a swagger that’ll appeal to lovers of this genre, whilst the closing song ‘Back In Town’ channels the AC/DC vibe and maintains the momentum. 

There’s an energy here which is infectious. Bang that head, clap along, stamp your feet. It’s a feel-good album that provides plenty of entertainment, and that’s got to be okay hasn’t it? 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Ready For The Fight
02. Voodoo Queen 
03. Road To Death 
04. Red Lips 
05. Dirty Tricks
06. When You Smile 
07. Welcome To The Revolution 
08. Get Your Way 
09. Face To Face 
10. Back In Town

LINE-UP:
Jon -lead vocals
Josu -lead guitar 
Iñigo – rhythm guitar
Jose – bass
Jambo – drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Gates To The Morning – Walk Between Worlds

Walk Between Worlds Album Cover Art

Gates To The Morning – Walk Between Worlds
Self-Released
Release Date: 22/07/2022
Running Time: 42:57
Review By Alex Swift
8/10 

New Jersey-based trio Gates To The Morning, the project of multi-instrumentalist Sean Meyers, plays an atmospheric form of progressive black metal, and their most recent release, “Walk Between Worlds” is the subject here today. 

Opener ‘King Obscure’ is comprised of clear guitars and tense background ambience. The light background parts fade away as the piano enters, leaving us with an endearing and melancholic tone. Next, ‘Piscean Daydream’, begins with more clean guitars and soothing background tones. Tom’s drums maintain a constant presence as the song progresses. Clean vocals and upbeat, optimistic guitar chords open ‘Moon in the Mid-Day Sky’,  the layered  lead guitar work wonderfully complementing the songs cerebral nature. 

‘Paradigms Fall’ begins in a quiet, peaceful manner. The vocal harmonies are seductive,   transporting you to far-off realms that you can only imagine, the soothing music, helping you put your troubles out of your mind. ‘Sacrament’ has a poignant presentation with a number of components that eloquently complement one another. A gloomy tune with vocals that sound ritualistic, ‘Chapel Perilous’ gives you the impression that you are being punished for the faults you have done in life. 

This is followed by ‘Chasing Shadows’, which moves like a dancer who has memorized their routine. Nothing goes wrong, nothing is made wrong, and everything seems planned. This transitions into ‘Terra Incognita’, which features beautiful vocal harmonies. The piano led ‘Return to Earth’ is quite charming with the beautiful  poetics and skilful ebb and flow. Finally, we come to the last song, ‘Fortress’, which begins with a funk-laden groove. As the song progresses, layers grow and swing to the music, slowly enveloping and swallowing you in the serene tones.

Great music should provoke thought and challenge your preconceptions. The album’s ability to walk the tightrope between hope and despair was one of the things that challenged me. The majority of the tones were atmospheric, but there were murky parts in the background that occasionally reared their head. Through this combination, “Walk Between Worlds” delivers a diverse and intriguing listening experience.

‘Paradigms Fall’ Official Video 

TRACKLISTING:
01. King Obscure
02. Piscean Daydream 
03. Moon In the Mid-Day Sky
04. Paradigms Fall
05. Sacrament
06. Chapel Perilous
07. Chasing Shadows
08. Terra Incognita
09. Return To Earth
10. Fortress

LINE-UP:
Sean Meyers – All instruments and vocals
MPMD – All instruments and Engineering/Mixing
Jon Salluce – All instruments

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alex Swift and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Cruentus – Fossilized

Fossilized Album Cover Art

Cruentus – Fossilized
Kvlt Und Kaos Productions
Release Date: 15/07/22
Running Time: 41:00
Review by Paul Hutchings
8/10

Formed in Norrköping, Sweden, in 1998, Cruentus is a two-man project comprising Martin Öhman and Petter Bocian. Originally a three-piece, the band draw their influences from the Scandinavian extreme scene of the 1990s. Listen to “Fossilized” and you’ll catch glimpses of bands such as Edge of Sanity, Dissection, Entombed, At the Gates, Amorphis and Dark Tranquillity. 

It took over a decade for the band to deliver a full-length album, 2020’s “Night Embrace Me,” which one might suggest was drawn very much from the rather similar sounding Emperor album. With album number two, Cruentus have drawn even deeper on their old school roots, for this is a record that belongs deep in the underground. Over the 41 minutes which the ten tracks cover, you’ll find everything that you’d expect. Shimmering banks of tremolo riffing, harrowing, strangulated roars of pain and despair, and frantic explosions of blast beats that speed the songs along. 

“Fossilized” is unsurprisingly a viciously aggressive release. Intro ‘Ascending’ leads into the potent ‘The Catalyst,’ followed quickly by the punishing ‘Nihil Extra,’ which ebbs and flows but generally maintains the intensity, the slower tempos accentuating the sinister feel of the track. There’s more than a nod to the likes of Entombed as the album progresses. ‘Prey’ is a sprawling monster, whilst there is a savagery that broods with malevolence under the surface on ‘Relentless Scourge.’

It does change pace several times. The likes of ‘Averted Reality’ demonstrates the more complex and intricate writing that the band have developed, and there is a real organic flow to the music. Combining pace and melody isn’t something that many bands do well, but this album does capture that. 

With a third album already in the works, it’s fair to say that Cruentus are homing in on the black metal upper echelons. An album with heart, albeit a dark and blackened one. Go get it.  

TRACKLISTING:
01. Ascending
02. The Catalyst
03. Nihil Ultra
04. Mot Altets Slut
05. The Lost Ones
06. Prey
07. Relentless Scourge
08. Averted Reality
09. Doldrums
10. Primordial Reprisal 

LINE-UP:
Petter Bocian – vocals, drums
Martin Ohman – guitar, bass, vocals

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Gruntruck – Push (Re-issue)

Push Album Cover Art

Gruntruck – Push (Re-issue)
Cherry Red Records
Release Date: 08/07/22
Running time: 53:32
Review by Laura Barnes
9/10

Even though I was born in 2000, I really love the 90s. 

You know how some people get all weird about the 80s? They religiously collect Talking Heads vinyls and insist that Donnie Darko is the greatest movie ever made? I’m like that with the 90s. I think that nu-metal rules, CDs are an excellent and practical way to listen to music, and Scream 2 is the greatest movie ever made. So, when the opportunity to revisit 1990s Seattle came a-knockin, who was I to say no?

Gruntruck exist on the heavier side of grunge, and are certainly more Alice In Chains than Nirvana. Their version of grunge favours fury over apathy and speed over atmosphere; their catchy hooks have fangs. That said, the late Ben McMillan remains a quintessential grunge frontman, and his gruff vocals act as a sonic time capsule that catapults you right back to 1990s Seattle. “Push” was Gruntrucks second album, and saw them shift slightly away from their psychedelic influences in lieu of a more compact and thrashier sound. The result was an album that could have (and by all means should have) tattooed Gruntruck into the cultural consciousness and transformed them into a household name. Instead, legal disputes and a strained relationship with their record label meant that “Push” didn’t quite get the attention it deserved. Still, dedicated music fans soon discovered “Push”, and granted the album a most honourable status: a cult classic. And it’s easy to see why: with “Push” Gruntruck have delivered an album that is exemplary of its genre, whilst simultaneously sounding fresh and unique. ‘Tribe’ kicks off the album with a goose-bump inducing riff that worms its way into your head; ‘Machine Action’ is a twisting python of a song that slithers and turns around you, capable of suffocating you at any second; ‘Above Me’ is a thoughtful and heavy track that explores the allure of codependency. On a personal level, my favourite track on the album is ‘Slow Scorch’. As a woman who’s early music education was received courtesy of the Kerrang! music channel, I am horrified that this track never once graced my TV screen. It has everything that makes rock rock, from the gloomiest bass guitar to anti-establishment fury. 

Of course, if you are already a grunge aficionado, then you already know all this. So what does this reissue have to offer to those already familiar with “Push”? Alongside the original album, this reissue includes 3 bonus tracks – ‘Crucifunkin’’ and ‘Flesh Fever’ from Gruntrucks debut album “Inside Yours”, and a Demo version of ‘Machine Action’. Whilst ‘Crucifunkin’ and ‘Flesh Fever’ are welcome inclusions, the Demo track feels like a anticlimatic conclusion to the album, especially since we already heard a more ‘full’ and satisfying version of the song earlier. The physical copy of this reissue also provides an album booklet that revisits the story of Gruntruck, from their casual formation out of proto-grunge band Skin Yard and thrash band The Accüsed, to gaining Beavis and Butthead’s much sought approval, to the sombre live show that signalled the end. The booklet also features old photographs and setlists from Gruntruck’s glory days, providing an interesting glimpse into the Seattle scene. Overall, this reissue has something to offer to both potential Gruntruck fans and die-hard rock fans alike. 

TRACKLISTING: 
01. Tribe 
02. Machine Action
03. Racked
04. Crazy Love
05. Above Me
06. Gotta Believe
07. Break
08. Slow Scorch
09. Follow
10. Body Farm
11. Lose
12. Push
13. Crucifunkin’ 
14. Flesh Fever
15. Machine Action

LINE-UP:
Ben McMillan – Vocals, Guitar
Tom Niemeyer – Guitar
Tim Paul – Bass
Norman Scott – Drums

LINKS: 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Laura Barnes and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Pist.On – Cold World +

Cold War + Album Cover Art

Pist.On – Cold World +
M-Theory Audio
Release Date: 29/07/22
Running Time: 40:28
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

When I was a child I played with childish things. When I became a man, I was supposed to put away childish things but I fucking didn’t because growing older is mandatory but growing up is entirely voluntary and I’d rather be an excited and overgrown child than a staid and miserable adult. Despite all the shit that comes from being a grown up, I’d like to think that I have retained a certain childish and Puckish sense of humour and adventure. And part of that is a glorious and shiny enthusiasm about certain things, music being the main one of them. I am capable of quite staggering feats of idiocy to this day (witness playing a gig at the sadly defunct Lemon Factory in Swansea – My debut gig with Black Rose Park. Got horrifically pissed, struck up an enduring friendship with Kayleigh, who fronted a punk band called Grim Citizens at the time (now they are Ignitemares and are rather good if you like a bit of pop punk), and formed a wall of death while they were covering the Misfits’ ‘Dig Up Her Bones’.  I also broke two ribs during said wall of death and hit someone so hard that I managed to eject my left contact lens and had to drive all the way back to Newcastle Emlyn with my left eye closed. Oh, I forgot. We were due on after Grim Citizens. It was a glorious, filthy mess) and I refuse to grow up.

Now THAT was a good night.

Another magical night I had was many years ago when I went to see Brooklyn miserablists Pist.On when they were touring “$ell.Out”. I had fallen in love with their muscular, yet uber gothic sound when I first heard ‘Grey Flap’ and I think every metal fan of a certain age had a bit of a thing about Val Ium… Anyway, the show was tremendous and Henry Font and Burton Gans were very polite and generous towards the particularly excitable and gauche young Dark Juan and talked to him for some time and generously signed a poster which I still have somewhere. They are a band for whom I have a considerable and long lasting regard and love…

So, it was with considerable excitement and enthusiasm I snatched the expanded edition of the recently reviewed (by the mighty and insightful Simon Black of Ever-Metal.com, no less. https://www.ever-metal.com/2022/03/23/pist-on-cold-world/ is the link for this and I strongly encourage you to read his sage counsel. I agree with every fucking word) “Cold World” EP. This is a special and rather brilliant release because it now encompasses the rare as hens’ teeth “Saves” EP from 2001 that was self-released by the band and is more difficult to get hold of than an honest fucking Tory. I shan’t repeat everything Simon told you about the three songs on the original release of “Cold World”, apart from to say that if you dig melancholy and melody you’ll fucking love them, but I shall tell you whether it is worth you splashing out the wonga on a version that essentially is a three tracker of new music, a twenty-year-old EP, a song from the 1995 Metal Blade compilation “Metal Massacre XII” and four unfinished demos.

ABSOLUTELY IT FUCKING IS!!

Pist.On are one of those rare bands that have something to offer nearly everyone – us sad old goffs appreciate the black humour and melancholy, the doomsters appreciate the lack of speediness, the word freaks enjoy the lyrics which are shot through with snide, self-deprecating wit and there’s melodies and vocal harmonies and one of the great strengths of the band, the raw, gravelly delivery of Henry Font’s singing,  being as it is a fluid, sonorous, sinuous thing that can be dripping raw pathos at one moment and switch gear to vituperative fury in seconds. He is gifted with a remarkable set of pipes indeed and manages, somehow, to project an air of friendliness and danger, AT THE SAME TIME.

The “Saves” EP is comprised of three songs – ‘Vamp 69’, ‘Opera’ and ‘ I Don’t’. All these songs are fucking classic Pist.On – vocal interplay between Font and Ium being the highlights of all three songs. But these are the past of Pist.On, not the future and while they are part of an enviable canon, I want to look towards their future so I shall concentrate on the demo songs from 2021. Although I will state that I fucking adore ‘Vamp 69’ and have done for twenty years.

Of these, ‘Light’ is an absolute monster of a song that showcases everything great about Pist.On – even though they are not the fastest band in the world, they are capable of crushing you easily with their heavily bass-driven sound. It manages to even fit a thrashy little lick or two in there. Listening to Pist.On is like being made to suffer peine forte a dure, but instead of stones flattening you, it’s the bass work of Jack Hanley which is really satisfyingly forward in the mix and loud as fuck. The guitar work of Burton Gans is also fucking exemplary, playfully slipping and sliding beneath the rhythm work of Henry Font, who is also a very capable player. ‘Pain’ is also another very good song indeed, a ponderous, dangerous grooviness slowly overtaking the senses and then slamming you back against the wall and punching until your torso is a bloody, floppy mess. Where other bands might be users of weapons and guns, Pist.On are Brooklyn streetfighters – they’ll still kick your arse from here to Timbuktu, but fists and feet are all they will need to employ. Compared to the comparatively lightweight, arctically clear production work modern metal seems to employ, this record has a most refreshingly heavy, treacly and organic sound that adds a peculiar warmness and deep intimacy to Pist.On’s work that was shared by their compatriots in Brooklyn, Life of Agony and of course the Drab Four, Type O Negative (whose Josh Silver is credited with dragging Pist.On out to the attention of the world). ‘Exhume Her’  is a bit of a cheeky homage to the Drab Four, as it happens, as well. If you substitute Henry’s anguished howl for the mellifluous baritone crooning of Peter Steele in your imagination, you’ll see what I mean. 

In short I can’t tell you how simply fucking delighted I am to have heard this record. Pist.On have lost none of their eclectic romanticism for me (even if teenage Dark Juan was absolutely head over heels for Val Ium) and they have managed to retain their idiosyncratic charm that sits somewhere between metal, goth, punk and grunge. 

I fucking love them, and chucking in the extremely rare “Saves” EP would have earned a high score all by itself although I generally disapprove of re-releases, but “Saves” was something of a unicorn and to have it added to modern Pist.On tunes to compare and contrast is just fucking wonderful and the demo songs also add a raw je ne sais quoi to the experience as well. A twenty-year obsession has just got even worse.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is bouncing up and down like a sugar-fuelled toddler at a birthday party and can’t help but offer the Brooklyn bruisers a full throated 10/10, mainly because I finally have a copy of ‘Vamp 69’, but because this is a beguiling record full of contrasts that fondly remind you of past glories, yet still manages to retain importance and relevance. The world has missed Pist.On, and so have I.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Cold World
02. Ruin Your Day
03. Icicles
04. Vamp 69
05. Opera
06. I Don’t
07. Ice Bath (Demo 2000)
08. Another Day (Demo 2021)
09. Light (Demo 2021)
10. Pain (Demo 2021)

LINE-UP:
Henry Font – Vocals and guitar
Burton Gans – Guitar
Jeff McManus – Drums
Jack Hanley – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Canadensis – The Decades Apart Have Weathered Us Both

The Decades Apart Have Weathered Us Both Album Cover Art

Canadensis – The Decades Apart Have Weathered Us Both
Medicine For A Nightmare
Release Date: 29/07/22
Running Time: 63:43
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Hello, good afternoon, and welcome to another thousand words or so of terrifying ranting. Today’s horrors are brought to you by the number seven, the word “transubstantiation”, and the fact that the UK is currently sweltering in temperatures that are hotter than Satan’s arsehole after a meal of California Reapers. I, Dark Juan, am slowly dissolving into a pool of foetid and furious liquid because, let’s be frank, I am a Northern Englishman, and am built more for wandering about on winding, windy moors terrifying Southern campers by screaming for Heathcliff. You wanna see just how fast a camper can move when they are assailed by the plaintive cry of Dark Juan recreating the famous Kate Bush song on the moors in the pitch black for the simple reason that Mrs Dark Juan has thrown me out of the house because of the terrible caterwauling I was doing in the kitchen. I am not built to be slowly chargrilled when I am going about my daily business. I am especially not built to be arguing with ornery young gentlemen who have decided that going and playing basketball in 33-degree heat is a good idea, and I have said no and threatened them with staking them out in the heat and letting the crows take their eyes instead, because they are being fucking stupid. Such is the level of professionalism I operate at with my young gentleman wrangling.

So, with that in mind, I have retired indoors, where the temperature is merely uncomfortable instead of fucking lethal. Having managed to successfully procrastinate for over an hour when preparing to write this nonsense you’re now reading, I have finally dragged myself on to my sofa where the most comfortable buttock crevice is (Dark Juan has an arse like two poorly parked Volkswagens) and fired up the pooter and am currently ensconced, merely perspiring lightly, to listen to the latest release for Oregonian dronemeisters Canadensis. This is where some of you might get confused as the word “Canadensis” is the New Latin term meaning “Of Canada” with regard to species and their taxonomic classification, but it is also the name of the Pennsylvania village where this musical project was begun. The band is composed of D. Fylstra of Folian (and many others) and Tom Asselin of Shifting Harbour (among others also) and it is possibly the ultimate in Shoegaze and Drone. Opening track (it’s difficult to call it a song because the tempo is slower than continental drift) ‘The Shedding’ lasts a mere THIRTY minutes and is an aural depiction of two entities weighing up possible outcomes to some unknown conflict or relationship. The first half of the piece is slow, ponderous, pensive brooding, slowly building up into an explosive decision point that lasts and lasts until the emotion is drained off and the brooding returns and tiny points of light permeate the black, as the entities decide they are going to part ways, although they have only ever known being one. Yet, the sadness still remains, even though (on the second track ‘That Day I Felt Lighter’, clocking in only twenty minutes this time) there is a certain sense of relief permeating the gloom. Still, the entities move in a torpid fashion, languorous and indolent, and yet with an increasing lightness of being that doesn’t actually go anywhere. 

It just… is. Until time says it isn’t anymore.

How can I best describe this music to you? Remember Anathema? The Scouse Gothic Doom Metallers for whom Darren White and Duncan Patterson played? On their debut album, “Serenades”, there was a closing track entitled ‘Dreaming: The Romance’, clocking in at twenty-three minutes plus, and it was much like this album – not so much pieces of music as a trip through emotion and the soul with an accompaniment of ambient sound. It is swirly and dreamy, soft and gentle but with steel beneath the silk skin, indolent and fainéant. It is those moments of quietus that everyone feels after they have survived a devastating crisis and they realise that they have actually started to heal, their soul beginning to escape the black, and colour seeping slowly back into their lives. ‘That Day I Felt Lighter’ reminds me strongly of that feeling.

‘Completely Incomplete’ is a musical piece that references (to my unbalanced mind, anyway) the person who has come out of a long-duration relationship, or traumatic event, and come to the understanding that they are never going to be who or what they were ever again, and that, although they are no longer part of a cohesive whole, they are a universe unto themselves, and that, even as they have undergone vast changes, they can function anew, by themselves. They can have enjoyment and activity without the other part of them, although the heart still gives an occasional pang of sorrow, and there might be times the person is sat, perfectly comfortably, watching the rain wash down a window pane and listening to it fall upon the ground, overwhelmed by the smell of petrichor and not wishing to move for evermore.

Not wishing to move for evermore. Canadensis make this Hellpriest want to cloister himself away from the world and just sit in silence and darkness and voyage into the internal universe of my own head. Granted, much of my imagination does resemble the Eye of Terror from Warhammer 40k, complete with Daemonculaba and Iron Warriors and The Unfleshed, but there is also a romantic and wondering, wandering component, and Canadensis appeal greatly to that part of my soul. This music is absolutely staggering, and it never moves beyond languor, yet retains interest and depth and feeling throughout. ‘As The Fog Swallowed The Beacon’s Light’ closes off the record and seems to reference the regret one may feel when, having made the decision to separate yourself, and having passed through the light you feel and the understanding that you can do things alone after making a huge, life-changing decision, you still have that ache to have that other person back, to experience things with you and to see the new you experiencing new stimuli and to share it with you. A wistfulness for lost things, and lost souls.

Metal, this is not. Not even a little bit, but it is absolutely fucking superb. Dark Juan loves Drone and Shoegaze, but this is not in the territory of Swans, Boards Of Canada, or even Kitchens Of Distinction. Canadensis play downtempo, almost ambient electronic music that probably will not be of any interest whatsoever to the casual or rabid metal fan, but will be of much interest to those of us who like having their head fucked with, and their souls turned inside out by sound.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is once again conflicted, as it thinks this album is a magnificent thing, but it has to lose marks for not being Heavy Metal. Conceptually, and in execution, it’s one of the most Metal things I have heard, as it carries its own serene power and a kind of unrelenting, yet gentle puissance. But, and this is the kicker, it is not Heavy Metal music. I don’t fucking want it to be though. It wouldn’t work because of the raw, emotional component that bleeds through the ambient, dreamy, long drawn out soundscapes. 

Goddamn it, 9/10 because I fucking love it that much. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Shedding
02. That Day I Felt Lighter
03. Completely Incomplete 
04. As the Fog Swallowed the Beacon’s Light

LINE-UP:
D. Fylstra – Synthesizers, guitars
Tom Asselin – Synthesizers, guitars

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.