Grava – Weight Of A God

Weight Of A God Album Cover Art

Grava – Weight Of A God
Aesthetic Death
Release Date: 28/11/22 
Running Time: 27:34
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Hello again. It is I, Dark Juan and it should be pointed out that Mrs Dark Juan has foolishly left me unattended as she has gone to The Centre for Folklore, Myth and Magic up in Todmorden (yes, in Yorkshire we have a town that is called Deathmurder in German. Unsurprisingly I quite like the place) and I have debauched myself singularly since she has been gone by dint of napping, chocolate coated choc-chip cookies and lashings of hot tea, don’t you know? My tastes for the abstruse and the baser pleasures continue to be unchecked as I have just had some cheese on toast. With pepper on it.

Satan, may you forever guide me as I indulge myself shamelessly to satisfy your whims. I may even have a vegetarian bacon sandwich shortly.

Today’s subject is “Weight Of A God” by Danish “sludge unit” (their words and I dig that term because they couldn’t really be classed as a band judging by the naked Lovecraftian horror sliming its way out of my headphones) Grava – a three-piece based in Copenhagen, they have only been together as a unit since 2020 and this long player represents their debut album. As an experience it can be charitably described as “somewhat uncomfortable”, mainly because the band were absolutely committed to committing (heh. I love shit wordplay) the rough sound of a live performance onto this record, and therefore there are deliberate serrated edges all over the fucking shop as well as some of the most vein-bulgingly, eye-poppingly committed vocals I’ve heard since Crowbar’s Kirk Windstein opened his cruelly tortured throat, from both Atli Brix Kamban and Neils Asger Svensson. Both of these august gentlemen apparently have decided that singing is not for them, choosing instead to employ the kind of demented howling, grunting and roaring that would not be out of place in a torture chamber in Hell where many miscreants were being brutally anally raped by a huge-cocked demon who REALLY enjoys his work. Who has backward facing hooks on his schlong. Yes, this album’s vocals could serve as the soundtrack to eternal damnation by buggery all by themselves before we even begin to discuss the overpowered, ridiculously hirsute, ultrafuzzy Sludge that passes for music. This album is proof that fast does not always equal heavy. This is plutonium pants time. With all your female relatives wearing them. This is amply displayed on album closer ‘The Pyre’ where there is an almost stationary central riff with much dissonance that just repeats and repeats until a violently fuzzed up church organ and choral singing (also massively fucked about with) takes over and just builds in intensity and power and electronic interference until the poor listener is suffering mucho cranial trauma and leaking blood from nose and eyes as the aural pressure builds and builds and builds until the metaphorical explosion occurs and the sound fades at the same rate as the blood and life force ebbing from yet another victim of a stunningly successful sonic attack…

The album opens with ‘Waves’ and there is absolutely ZERO fucking about from the band as they crash straight in to a shockingly violent song about the final moments of shipwrecked men drowning in icy seas. Dissonance is the order of the day on the guitar and bass and the whole song is an experience not unlike being dragged under the tracks of a main battle tank whose driver is an out and out sadist and is crushing you inch by inch under 60-odd tonnes of warlike steel, diesel and ceramic laminate. ‘Bender’ (being the second song and not the misanthropic character from Futurama, unless these Danish Sludge merchants decided to write an ultra-heavy song about a poorly drawn robot with a similar attitude to Dark Juan) is even heavier. It’s like having an entire planet dropped on your head and there is no subtlety or finesse displayed by Grava either. This entire record is designed to be one of the heaviest things ever created and that’s it. It is analogous to slogging through heavy, waist deep snow to try to escape the grinding mass of the volcanic eruption that’s happening behind you and the slowly moving magma flow, carrying the weight of buildings and forests it has already consumed, is GAINING on you no matter how much you struggle and try to go faster…

Even the solos (such as they are, being as they are mainly violent screaming sounds) and the middle eights aren’t particularly finessed. Guitars mean one thing to this band and that is that they operate as weapons of mass destruction. The bass is designed to cut the guts out of nearby passers-by and the drummer (Casper Axilgård) has decided that there is no such thing as a hi-hat or a china cymbal and just belts the ever-loving shit out of the fucking crash for all he’s worth. Also, judging by the power with which he’s battering his tubs on ‘Alight’, he costs himself a fortune in new skins every song because that is not drumming. That’s just fucking up equipment because you’re a violent and unpredictable bastard and he’s picturing it being human faces he’s pummelling.

Surprisingly, for a band that is so sonically uncompromising, the production and mix on this album is pretty excellent. Ably handled by Troels Damgaard Holm (which I REFUSE to believe is a real name. Mainly because it makes Dark Juan’s real name look like a bag of British shit) it has somehow managed to retain coherence and a measure of clarity in the face of a band who are only bothered about pushing the boundaries of what can be considered acceptable levels of distortion. Here’s a hint – no-one but the most committed lover of Sludge would ever consider the distortion level of Grava to be anything less than “This goes to eleven.” Grava have pushed it up to about seventeen and appear to be lamenting the fact that if they push it any harder they are going to crack the borders of reality and let all kinds of warp-corrupted spawn into our dimension. Songs have an easily understood structure even though it is frequently hidden behind a wall of sound so immense wightwalkers wouldn’t stand a chance trying to get up it and all the instruments can be cleanly discerned, even if the overall sound is forcing your eyeballs out of your skull. The album is a short one, clocking in at around 27 and a half minutes, but this is because the songs are not drawn out creations, they are short, sharp, sludgy shocks that deliver their payloads and are done with and discarded in preparation for the next attack…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterede Dark Juan blodsprøjtvurderingssystem) awards Grava 9/10 for a shockingly good debut album, that has a mark deducted because it might be considered too extreme unless you are a seasoned Sludge veteran. Dark Juan of course fucking loves it. Especially ‘The Pyre’ with that absolutely lethal repeating riff and slowly growing ecumenical menace from the utterly bastardised church organ.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Waves
02. Bender
03. Crusher
04. Cauldron
05. Alight
06. Appian Way
07. The Pyre

LINE-UP:
Atli Brix Kamban – Vocals, guitar
Niels Asger Svensson – Bass, vocals
Casper Axilgård – Drums

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.

EMQ’s With MNRVA

MNRVA Logo

EMQ’s With MNRVA

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA Doom/ Sludge/ Stoner band, MNRVA. Huge thanks to their Guitarist/ Vocalist, Byron Hawk, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Byron Hawk. I play guitar and do vocals for MNRVA with Kevin Jennings (bass, vocals) and Gina Ercolini (drums). We were all hanging out having some shots of tequila shortly after Lemmy died and stumbled into the idea of doing a Motorhead cover band. On the spot came up with the name and a set list on a napkin, lol, and shortly after that started working on the songs. We did some really cool and fun shows for a couple of years and then decided to morph into our own thing. We knew we wanted to be in the broader Stoner/Doom/Sludge/Psych umbrella and each picked a song to cover that we liked and that set the parameters for our sound. After that, we went right into working on our own songs.

How did you come up with your band name?

Gina came up with Owl of Minerva but there was already a band out there with that name, and a bunch of bands with the name Minerva. So I suggested dropping a couple of vowels to make it distinctive and pick up some social accounts and it just stuck. Here we are four years later.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from Columbia, South Carolina in the southeastern United States. The scene here is really good, especially in our narrower three-state area of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. There’s a “Southern Sludge” tradition in Atlanta, GA, Savannah, GA, Columbia, SC, and Raleigh, NC that has spread across the region. Lots of great Stoner-Doom bands right now—Space Coke, Dayglo Mourning, Doomsday Profit, HolyRoller, Embr, Hot Ram, Dyerwulf, Bog Monkey, Sawzall Doll, Auralayer, Oakskin, Cosmic Reaper, Big Oaf, Witchpit. The scene for Stoner-Doom is really growing.  

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our album “Hollow” just came out with Black Doomba Records, and our video single for the title track ‘Hollow’ is out as well. The songs are on Bandcamp and Spotify and you can buy the CD via Bandcamp. The video was cut together by Anthony Stagliano from his indie film Fade. It really captures the doomy and trippy vibe of the song.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Guitar wise, early stuff like Randy Rhodes, Van Halen, Rush. Edgar Rivera from Solitude Aeturnus was a huge influence on me. He played so flawlessly, balanced melody and feel with fast but precise picking, and was a stickler for details, carefully writing and reproducing every solo, and he constantly practiced. Learned a lot from him. I still remember sitting in his room and dropping Kill ‘Em All on the turntable as soon as we got it home from the record store. Of course that changed everything.

What first got you into music?

I still remember sneaking into my sister’s room and checking out all of her albums—Black Sabbath “Vol.4”, Queen “News of the World”, ZZ Top “Fandango”. It went on like that. Those album covers drew me in.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Our friends in Embr and Dayglo Mourning just collaborated on a Down cover for ‘Bury Me In Smoke’ and made a super cool video for it. Sounds and looks killer. Would love to collab with them on something.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Tough question. There are so many big ones, I mean who wouldn’t want to play Download or something like that? As for genre-specific festivals, we really want to play Maryland Doom Fest. Ripplefest of course. Hammer of Doom or maybe Keep it True in Germany. Doom City Fest in Mexico looks pretty cool. Playing with, meeting, and getting to see cool bands is always the reason to play festivals.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Never really got anything weird. I guess I’m not weird enough to inspire weird in return.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Many thanks for listening to, following, sharing, and seeing MNRVA. Any scene is all about participation. Without it, no scene. Without a scene, no real reason to create and play.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

In the great guitarist debate between Rhodes and Hendrix, I might say Hendrix. Both, along with SRV, had lots of music ahead of them. All gone too early. But I’d like to see what Hendrix would have continued to do with tone. Stoner-Doom all traces back to Sabbath and Hendrix. What other tones would have come from Hendrix that we could draw on today? Wish we could answer that one.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

The creativity and the achievement of goals. If you don’t enjoy those two things, you’ll have a much harder time. I really hate all of the things that get in the way of achieving goals. And they are myriad. Creativity is easy. Achieving goals is hard work. I guess I’m a bit of a workaholic and a bit stubborn. But you kind of have to be both to make strides in music. Not going to get very far sitting around or giving up.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

The fact that musicians are the last to get paid. I understand why the structure is what it is, but it is even more difficult now to be a musician than ever if you are really trying to make it a profession.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Far too many honestly. But one of my all-time favourites that I think still influences me today is Fates Warning “Awaken the Guardian”. It was seen as Proggy back in the day, especially as Fates Warning evolved. But that is a really Doomy record. Great Doom sound and guitar tone along with some all-time great riffs.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

I’m a CD guy. I know vinyl is having its resurgence, which is great, but CDs are inexpensive, easier to store, and sound great. What’s not to like? I always try to buy CDs at shows when I can to support the bands I like and see.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

We recently got to play the Gravitoyd Heavy Music Festival in Austin, TX. An awesome lineup—The Atomic Bitchwax, The Well, Valley of the Sun, Howling Giant, Horseburner, Tia Carrera, Yatra, Thunder Horse, High Desert Queen, Switchblade Jesus, Doomstress, Temptress, Silent Monolith. It was a great show overall. So many killer sets that day! Many thanks to Gravitoyd for having us come and play.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I’d probably do a small label or be a show promoter. I’ve dabbled in organizing some shows and have thought about doing a small label since the 1990s. All work and no money, much like being a musician, but once you get the music bug you’re a lifer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

An artist, philosopher, musician, politician, and scientist walk into a room. Would make for a great joke, or maybe a dinner party! Give me one of each at random. That would certainly be interesting.

What’s next for the band?

We just recorded a video for our next single from “Hollow” for the song ‘Not The One’. Hoping to have that out late summer, early fall. We are signed on to play New England Stoner and Doom Fest in the fall. Super looking forward to that!

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram primarily for socials. Bandcamp, YouTube, Spotify and other streaming services for music.
https://www.facebook.com/mnrvasc/

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

After looking it up, I’m gonna say biscuit. But in the US we call them cookies. My youngest kid used to call soft cookies, cakies. Let’s make that happen internet!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

It’s been a really wild ride going from quickly getting the band together and putting out an EP in 2019, having all that momentum disrupted by the pandemic in 2020, and then jumping right into signing with Black Doomba in 2021 and putting out the record in 2022. Seems like a blur. But I can’t say enough about having supportive PR in C Squared Music, a label that puts work behind their artists in Black Doomba, and all the cool bands in the scene that get it and really support each other. We’ve had lots of great experiences so far and are looking to have some more.

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

EMQ’s With EXOSPHERE

Exosphere Logo

EMQ’s With EXOSPHERE

Hi everyone. Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA Sludge band, Exosphere. Huge thanks to the Guitarist/Vocalist, Steven, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Steven! We started as a project I had with a friend, who was our original bassist, and we got a few riffs together, but needed some help to make it a real song. So we ended up asking for help from our Singer/Guitarist Jackie, and Drummer Bill. That song eventually became ‘Paralyzed’, and then an EP, an album, and a bunch of shows later, we are here.

How did you come up with your band name?

Our old bassist and I were sitting on his computer, hanging out, probably smoking some weed while trying to Google topics to find names. He eventually came upon Exosphere, which is the highest layer of atmosphere before space, and we decided that the name fit well.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from The United States, specifically from Arlington Heights, Illinois. The scene out here seems to be mostly Punk, Hardcore, and some Deathcore bands. Lots of low tunings, aggressive riffs, angry energy, and malort.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our single Beg Towards The Sky premiered on Doomed and Stoned on Friday 13th May, and was officially released on May 15th.

Who have been your greatest influences?

As a band,our biggest influences would have to be Mastodon, Devin Townsend, Yob, Elder, and Death.

What first got you into music?

Me personally, I was probably 5 or 6 years old and heard The All American Rejects song ‘Move Along’ on YouTube. I couldn’t stop listening to it, and from then on I haven’t had a moment where I am alone without music playing in the backround.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

We could die happy this instant if we could collaborate with Mastodon.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Probably Wacken so we wouldn’t have to buy tickets!

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Not a gift, but a fan from Denmark sent us a picture of a bootleg he made of our first EP after it was released, and we all thought that was pretty cool.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you all so much for all the support you’ve given us over these few short years that we have existed. It means more than anything to us, we are forever grateful for it, and we plan to show our thanks with some new tunes.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Chuck Schuldiner without a doubt. Such an amazing person and musician who was unfairly taken way too soon.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love the ability to express the emotions that words fail to encapsulate, and the opportunity to get up on stage and show everyone what we are about. The only bad parts about being a musician is loading heavy gear into venues, and the amount of money we sink into the band with such little return. It can be hard, but we make it work because we love this more than anything else.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Definitely the mentality of streaming platforms, and how they pay out. The focus should be on making the best music you can and getting it out to the fans, not just how many songs you can pump out a year.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Phoxjaw’s “Royal Swan”. Not a single skippable track. It’s the perfect balance between melodic and heavy. Every chorus is beautiful and catchy, every chord and riff is perfectly placed, it’s just a perfect 10/10 album.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

Personally I say CDs because you can play them through a CD player and download them as many times as you could possibly want.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Our last show before covid at this amazing venue called Beat Kitchen. We never had so many people at a show, the sound onstage and off was killer, all the bands were super tight, we didn’t miss a single note, and we had some fun effects to play with. All around a great time.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

If I wasn’t a musician I would just be sitting in my room reading some pointless philosophy books while dreading the next day at the office.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Bill Kelliher, Eric Andre, Timothy Leary, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Hunter S Thomson.

What’s next for the band?

We are currently working on a concept album about the horrors of AI, the Bardo states, and the void. Going to be lots of big groovy, dark hellscapes, and unrelenting riffs.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

https://www.instagram.com/exobear_official
https://www.facebook.com/exosphereband
https://exosphereband.bandcamp.com/
https://music.apple.com/us/artist/exosphere/1462583406
https://open.spotify.com/album/2Ylo37gkrFQfgrHzF6odmC

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

They are a biscuit, and nobody can change my mind.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for having us! Definitely stay tuned on our social media, because we have alot planned for the future! Stay safe, hydrated, and have an awesome day.

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

Chimpgrinder – Vol 666, Oliver, Simian Space King (Remasters)

Chimpgrinder – Vol 666, Oliver, Simian Space King (Remasters)
Electric Talon Records
Release Date: 22.04.22
Running Time: Vol 666: 9:22, Oliver: 9:05, SSK: 15:47
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon, my fellow followers of the Left Hand Path. Have you made your obeisance’s to our Dread Lord yet? And if not, why not? I am Dark Juan, and I am here to lead you to life of debauchery and salaciousness that would make a porn director blush, via the medium of a poorly written and even more poorly punctuated record review in which I shall scribe lengthy, nonsensical sentences that don’t have ANY ACTUAL POINT to them and are simply here for my own left-field amusement because that’s the way I roll, homeboys and girls, and other people whose gender I am not going to assume at this point because I don’t do gender politics. If you’re a good person, regardless of how you identify yourself, I am going to treat you with respect and friendship and expect the same back. I will get cross if I am not reciprocated with…

Now then, Chimpgrinder. A name to conjure with if there ever was one. What does it mean? Are we discussing a bunch of horrible bastards who are shoving simians through mincers? In which case there is a special place in hell for you all in which I shall PERSONALLY put you all very slowly through a bacon slicer, feet first. It gets exciting and interesting when you get near the gentleman vegetables. The begging and screaming are music to the ears of this Hellpriest… Or is it the name of a dating / pick up website for homosexual hominids? Where big bollocked bull chimps can find their significant same sex other for sexual shenanigans? It does beg the question as to how a chimpanzee might communicate with another of his species over the interwebs. Yes, I have been imbibing. Lidl and Aldi are selling single malts for £16 a bottle and it frankly would be rude not to.

Now I have dragged myself back to reality and what I am actually listening to, I shall tell you the tale of the band Chimpgrinder. A group of gentlemen from Philadelphia, PA, in the former colonies of Her Majesty the United States of America (the Queen called by the way. She’s appalled at the way you govern your country and has indicated Her wish to return the US to British rule. You all owe us 400 years of back taxes and NO TEA PARTIES THIS TIME…) and the fact they are super scuzzy fuzzmeister generals. To quote the chaps themselves:

“The origins of the band evolved from the necessity of cheap band rental space.  Having cycled through a few roommates, and tired of sharing rooms with flaky Emo and Deathcore bands, our landlord suggested a cheaper discounted space in the decommissioned animal wing of the human centrifuge building in the bowels of the Johnsville Naval Air Development Centre. Walking down the dark hallways to the practice space, large metal ring tie downs are spaced intermittently along the floor leading to the tiny 11×11 concrete room with no air conditioning or heat. A large incinerator and animal cages were our only neighbours.”

This area, and the equipment surrounding them, caused the band to come up with the concept of Chimpgrinder, being a band documenting the history and tale of an astro-chimp named Oliver, and his subsequent murders, lust for his blonde nurse, dissolution and attempts to form a cult after his escape from the facility he had been a prisoner of for twenty years. The band writes from the first-person perspective of Oliver as he tries to make some kind of sense of everything and form a useful allegory to the same feelings in humankind as we stagger our confused, often drunk, way through life.

We start our odyssey with “Vol 666”, as we are listening to these records in order of their release, so as to form a coherent narrative of the journey of Oliver and the band’s musical metamorphoses, and the first thing that strikes you is the angry, snotty, Punk attitude of the players, even though the music is Sludgy as fuck. Consulting the liner notes for the record, we discover that the band recorded the songs in single takes and this DIY aesthetic carries through into the sound of the finished work. It’s furious, claustrophobic and not unlike being hit in the face by a Massive Ordnance Penetrator, even with this expertly remixed version. I can recall the somewhat chaotic production of “Vol 666” on the initial release and this remixed version manages superbly to keep the anarchic quality of the music, but is also able to lend it depth and clarity (to a certain degree – this is Sludge, remember?) although the vocals are far too low down in the mix for my taste. Otherwise it’s fucking brilliant. 

Dark Juan is more than partial to a good heavy dose of Sludge, and Chimpgrinder’s treacly, warm and sticky sound is just delicious. And they have a concept. Dark Juan fucking LOVES concept records. The other great thing about Chimpgrinder is that they do not fuck about. Each record, and each song doesn’t outstay its welcome. Short sharp shocks are the order of the day and that is fantastic because most Stoner and Sludge bands spend so long noodling and fucking about the listener can go and make a full roast dinner and the band will still be playing the opening riff of the first song while the singer scrabbles desperately around for the LSD he has misplaced. This record sounds that dirty you’re in danger of catching any number of STD’s from it. Trust me, that’s a Very Good Thing.

Next is “Oliver” and the first thing that grabs you (by the balls, natch) is how the band has evolved from the filthy Sludge-Punk-Metal of the first record to a more Doom Metal based blueprint, with the Sludge dialled down the tiniest amount. The vocals are now discernible as well, instead of disappearing behind walls of Stoner sound. The songs are more coherent and much easier to read, although the basic building blocks of huge superfuzz, mogadon-slow grooves and a bottom end so heavy it crushes matter into neutronium are all still crushingly there. There’s nothing clean about this music. It’s all used hypodermics, beer cans, half empty Chinese food containers and oil-streaked clothing. I don’t even want to speculate on the state of the band’s underwear. 

The very small space that Chimpgrinder rehearsed in gives their music a massive, yet closed in and dangerous quality which couldn’t be replicated in a studio. Yet they can pick up their skirts too and break out of the drug-fuelled musical realms they inhabit and kick you straight in your big fat head, as evidenced by ‘The Blonde Lab Assistant’ and ‘She Has Visions’. It’s safe to say I am becoming a bit of a fan of Chimpgrinder, although their name is conjuring up images in my head I really don’t want to contemplate at any great length. Even a libertine has limits. ‘An Ill Advised Harem Experiment’ amply displays this, being as it is about a drug-fuelled, psychotic simian trying to form a human harem. Yuck. But as a musical concept, fucking awesome.

The last of this triumvirate of remastered recordings is “Simian Space King”. At this point in the narrative universe of Chimpgrinder, Oliver, who had been attempting to form a cult in Africa composed of hedge-fund debutantes, auto-didactic celebrities and sympathetic tribesmen, has been recaptured by the government and has been fed all kinds of psychotropic drugs and flung daily into a centrifuge to force his mind back into negative space to find a door that should open when he nears it. This is the kind of shit I wish I could write. All my stuff tends towards kink and body horror and having a bash at religion. I am VERY jealous. The aggressive nature of the music has been turned down a notch on “Simian Space King” and veers more towards Stoner grooves than the aggressive, thick Sludge of the previous two records. However, that is not to say that Chimpgrinder have wimped out on this one. It’s a more considered, open record. The instruments breathe and the musical arrangements show considerably more consideration. It is the sound of a band hitting their stride and kicking all the ass in the world on behalf of their much-maligned simian brother. The music is cleaner and less treacly and thick than on “Vol 666” and “Oliver”. The title track itself is kind of like… a Sludge ballet, if you will. Put your cans on and shut your eyes and the music conjures up images of endless lines of rainbow-lit chimps gyrating and posturing in a complicated, otherworldly dance in a fractured, jagged representation of space and NO-ONE KNOWS WHY THEY ARE DOING THIS. I would like Chimpgrinder to explain just what they are doing to my psyche, why, and how I can make it stop.

Well, that was a fucking musical journey and a half. I’m seated, quietly, in Dark Juan Terrace, wondering just what the fuck happened to me. The answer is Chimpgrinder. Chimpgrinder happened and now I don’t know what is real anymore. I’m just going to leave you with the explanation of the story of Oliver the band provided kindly while I attempt to re-join the actual continuum I should be in, as Chimpgrinder have blown me utterly out of universal sync. Wow.

“For twenty years Oliver had been kept in a small, isolated compound. Agent Jefferson was his only friend. He exposed Oliver to the blues, he shared cases of Budweiser with the Astro Chimp as they watched boxing matches and the Discovery Channel, he brought in armfuls of magazines Oliver used to make collages; Agent Jefferson was the one-time space chimp’s pipeline to the outside world. Jefferson was also the man paid by the government to keep Oliver satisfied and imprisoned. When Oliver found a photo of a certain blonde nurse in the wallet that Jefferson carelessly left out one day, 20 years of friendship, and imprisonment, came to an end. Now Oliver, with blood on his hands, must face the legacy of a past he doesn’t understand and a future that has flashbacks of Centaurus A screaming across his mind.

Oliver would get sick from the combination of psychotropic drugs and centrifugal force he was subjected to on a daily basis. His handlers would in turn use the lust he felt for his nurse to reorient him. You might sometimes think about how we swirl around a black hole like so much uneaten meatloaf heading to the garbage disposal but Oliver was continually spun into the reality of that void and then jerked up by an unnatural appeal to his instincts. The eternal stomach of the void and then the heliocentric flesh of the blonde woman.

You might remember in the last album he killed the nurse’s husband and fled to Africa to start a cult comprised of hedge fund debutantes, autodidactic celebrities and sympathetic tribesmen (if you weren’t around yeah that’s what happened). But the government caught up to him and put his mind back into negative space to find a door that should theoretically open. A narrative occurs to Oliver in disjointed fragments. Like the pieces of it suggest a direction. Can he ride the arrow back home? Home to what? What will he bring with him once he learns he’s got a full crown of doors like 13 burning black diamonds slanting upon his simian brow?”

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Chimpgrinder a fully universal 10/10 for their absolutely amazing concept sludge. Which in itself is something to which The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has never been exposed before and is now blown into realms of imagination better left unexplored.

TRACKLISTING:

Volume 666
01. Obliteration and Bliss 
02. Paid
03. The Blonde Lab Assistant
04. Oxygen Thins Out
05. She Had Visions
06. An Ill Advised Harem Experiment

Oliver
01. Warm Beer, Cold Ape (Intro)
02. Turning From the Sun
03. Meetin’ My Baby
04. Just an Animal After All
05. My Crime
06. Sacred Ape

Simian Space King
01. The Arrow Ritual
02. High Ground and Looking Down
03. Waylaid Way Out
04. Simian Space King
05. Stomach of God
06. Infinity Creep

LINE-UP:
Aaron Gerwer – Vocals
Steve Mensick – Guitars
Chris Scott – Bass Guitar
Chris Turek – Drums

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.

EMQ’s With Pyreship

Pyreship Logo

EMQ’s With Pyreship

Hello everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA Sludge band, Pyreship. Huge thanks to their Bassist, George, for taking part. 

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band? 

I’m George and I play bass. Back in 2018 Sam, Steve and I were all new members in a different band that was fizzling out. So we started getting together and writing some songs just the three of us. Just for fun. We had great chemistry and Sam had a ton of ideas. None of us wanted to just call it quits. One day Steve suggested we bring Jason in to jam with us. Then one day we realized we turned into a band and wrote an album.

How did you come up with your band name? 

We had been kicking around band names. One night I watched the 13th Warrior with a friend. We got to talking about how the Pyreship (Viking funeral) scene was kind of analogous to modern society. The feeling we were watching the end of something great. That we were going down in flames with it. Choosing to go down with it. But there were still moments of pride, courage, and honour to be found in the fall. And even a macabre beauty. An inescapable heaviness to the moment or idea of it. So I pitched the name and everyone liked it.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there? 

We’re based in Houston Texas. Texas has an awesome Metal scene and pedigree. So many awesome bands now and throughout the years have come out of this state. Everyone in Texas can be super friendly and open to new people. People like to work hard and play hard. That definitely carries over into the music scene.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video) 

‘Light Is A Barrier’ the first single was released on February 25th and the album drops April 22nd.

Who have been your greatest influences? 

All of us are 90’s kids and we grew up with the music of that time. Albeit each of us leaned into different genres and scenes a little bit more than others. But we all have certain common influences. Soundgarden, Neurosis, Tool, Fu Manchu, Meshuggah, Jimmy Eat World. Kind of all over the place stylistically but that was kinda how it was back then. 

What first got you into music? 

Generally… I grew up in New York in the 90s… they basically issued you a Ramones or Wu Tang tape when you showed up to school. I took both and asked if I could have that Stooges tape too. But man I’d be lying if I said anything other than ‘Teen Spirit’ got me into PLAYING music. It was a bunch of normal looking guys just melting faces. Turning the music scene upside down. And for the first time someone made it seem it was something I could be a part of.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be? 

I can’t speak for everyone else but I’d go with Trent Reznor, Chelsea Wolfe, or Author and Punisher.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why? 

Hellfest. They basically build a city in a field. The scale of it is insane. Plus I’d basically get to see most of my favourite bands in one place.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan? 

In Louisiana a guy gave me a beer and a half eaten poboy.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be? 

Go see local bands. Support your local scene. Those bands live and die by their fans and without support they don’t get a chance to grow into the big bands that make those amazing albums that you know in love.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be? 

I’m gonna say Cliff Burton not just because he was an amazing bassist and composer but because it would be interesting to see how he would’ve changed the lives in music of Metallica over the years. I mean imagine if we all liked more than the first four albums…

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate? 

Music is therapeutic. Every time we get together and turn our amps on and start to play it’s loud therapy. All the chaos and bad going on in the world and our lives just gets the volume turned down for a little while.

I think anyone that’s seeing our back line would probably understand why I would say long uninterrupted flights of stairs into venues.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be? 

Companies that make money off of streaming musicians’ content should be paying them a much more fair share.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums? 

Sepultura “Chaos AD”

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads? 

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consume most music digitally. But there’s something to be said for taking the time to put on some vinyl and listen to an entire album beginning to end. It’s more deliberate and aesthetically pleasing.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date? 

I’m probably gonna go with our first show ever. We opened for Conan and Serial Hawk. It was in a tiny ass house basically. The audience was 2 feet from us. It felt like going back to all of our roots playing house parties as teenagers. It was insanely loud, and packed. So much fun.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing? 

I mean… we all have day jobs so… basically life would be the same, just less fun and hearing loss.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party? 

Tom Waits, Teddy Roosevelt, Zydrunas Savickas, Ryan Reynolds, Dave Chappelle.

What’s next for the band? 

We’ve got a few rough ideas for songs so hopefully we’ll get back in the recording studio in a few months.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people? 

The usual places: Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp.
Bandcamp: https://pyreship.bandcamp.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pyreship 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pyreshiphtx/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PyreshipHTX 
Website: https://pyreship.com/ 

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit? 

Yes

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!

Pyreship Promo Pic

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

KYOTY – Isolation

Isolation Album Cover Art

KYOTY – Isolation
Self-Released
Release Date: 25/02/22
Running Time: 01:10:00
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
8/10

I took a punt on this one. It wasn’t something that stood out as hip or fashionable to review. I knew nothing about the band or their music. So, a short history lesson for me is important. KYOTY play atmospheric Sludge and Post-Rock. They are based in New Hampshire and formed in 2009. Abbreviated from Keep Your Opinions To Yourself, the band are regarded as cryptic and secretive. Consisting of two members, guitarist Nick Filth and bassist Nathanial Parker Raymond, they released an album entitled “Undiscovered Country of Old Death and Strange Years in the Frightful Past” in 2012 with drummer Rob Brown. The album was remastered and rereleased as “Remanufactured Realm of Ancient Annihilation” in 2017. Their discography lists a live recording, split releases and a number of singles. Since Brown departed in 2020, KYOTY has utilised selected drummers to enhance their sound. 

This leads us neatly to “Isolation”, their latest release and one which certainly impressed on first listen. 70 minutes of deep, dark sonic soundscapes varying in length from four to 12 minutes and all weaving musical threads that envelope the listener. It isn’t warm, but at the same time it doesn’t chill the bones; more a variation of sounds that enable the listener to become immersed in the waves of sound that the band generate. Huge swathes and heavy passages are interspersed with lighter, almost ethereal moments that capture emotions and feelings on a tide of musical magic. 

Written during the pandemic, the music captures the divide of quarantine. Shared electronically throughout the past two years, music was completed and finalised before being released in single instalments. For fans of the band, tracks including the opening ‘Quarantine’ and ‘Ventilate’ have already been available via streaming sites and they provide the first 15 minutes of the release. The music is crushing, thick riffs and crushingly heavy passages dominate, but there is time to breath and catch one’s breath. 

Having stated their intention to release a song each Friday, I was unsure how much new music apart from the bonus track ‘A Fog, A Future Like Place Imagined’ would be on this release, but what is evident from further listens is how the album flows when it is played in full.  There’s the dark, angular challenge of ‘Holter’ and the gargantuan delivery of the 12 minute ‘Faith’ which opens gently, before expanding into a cinematic soundscape which detours from place to place with some style. 

Mastered by Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios and with artwork designed by the band, ‘Isolation’ is another album in a long list this year that demand time and investment. I need to spend longer with it to give it full credit. Yet, even on the first few listens, it is a captivating release that is likely to grow into a firm favourite, time allowing. 

Quarantine’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Quarantine
02. Ventilate
03. Onus
04. Holter
05. Languish
06. Rift
07. Faith
08. Respite
09. Memory
10. A Fog, A Future Like Place Imagined

LINE-UP:
Nick Filth – Guitars
Nathanial Parker Raymond – Bass

LINKS:

KYOTY Promo Pic

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.

Kurokuma – Born Of Obsidian

Born Of Obsidian Album Cover Art

Kurokuma – Born Of Obsidian
Self-Released
Release Date: 04/02/2022
Running Time: 38:21
Review by Gaz Bates
9/10

I have been a fan of Kurokuma for a few years now, so I was exceedingly excited to hear their debut album, I was not disappointed. ‘Born Of Obsidian’ is mesmerising in its rhythms – the way the songs weave into each other, but still stand alone from one another is a testament to the trio’s song writing. Exploring Mesoamerican civilisations and deities from Aztec and Olmec cultures, Kurokuma have made something special.

The opening track ‘Smoking Mirrors’ sets the tone for this journey of sonic Psychedelia And Sludge. As a Bass player myself I have to mention the Bass tone here, it’s honestly superb and the way the Drums and Bass sync together is flawless. ‘Sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli’ is the second song on this album, heavy and destructive, the guitar work here is fantastic, giving off hints of Sepultura but with that Kurokuma vibe we all know and love. The third song on ‘Born Of Obsidian’ is the lead single ‘Jaguar’. The Olmec Shamans were believed to have the ability to transform into jaguars and Kurokuma have written a soundtrack for this ceremony. The whole piece is honestly phenomenal, but I have to single out the vocals here, which are as savage as a jaguar’s snarl and growl, really quite breath-taking. ‘Ololiuqui’ is a song that lets all instruments shine – beautiful but haunting Guitar lines, driving Drums and a Bass tone to knock the wind out of you. Closing out this album is ‘Under The Fifth Sun’, again showcasing the rhythm section, the Bass and Drums click together as the Guitar creates a soundscape for your mind to wander in, a psychedelic soundtrack with tones so heavy they weigh you down as you watch the Universe pass you by.

“Born Of Obsidian” is a sonic journey and the trio should be proud of what they have accomplished, which is a brutally beautiful crafted debut album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Smoking Mirror
02. Sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli
03. Jaguar 
04. Ololiuqui
05. Under The Fifth Son

LINE-UP:
Jacob Mazlum – Guitar / Vocals
Joe Allen – Drums 
George Ionita – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Gaz Bates 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.

Milquetoast – Caterwaul

Caterwaul Album Cover Art

Milquetoast – Caterwaul
Wise Blood Records
Release Date: 28/01/22
Running Time: 35:38 
Review by Richard Iggo
7.7/10


The first time the word Milquetoast made an impact on me was in 1994. Brandon Lee’s swansong movie “The Crow” hit the box office and featured a soundtrack that many continue to see as one of the best of all time. It included incredible bands and songs, one of which was ‘Milquetoast’ by Helmet, appearing as the Butch Vig remix ‘Milktoast.’

Now though, and with the correct spelling in place, it’s the name of an Indiana-based ‘Party-Sludge’ three-piece, who have just released their debut “Caterwaul” on Wise Blood records.

The link to Helmet goes beyond the shared use of a word. Helmet’s debut album, “Strap It On,” was released by the Amphetamine Reptile label, famous for its stable of Noise Rock acts including Mudhoney and Melvins, two bands who along with Dead Kennedys and Black Flag are offered by the band’s label as comparative references for Milquetoast’s sound. No pressure then!

Opening with the confident roller-coaster gallop of ‘Dead Inside,’ Ty’s vocals and guitar wail alongside Andy’s own howling roar and solid bass, both underpinned by angry staccato drumming from Nick. This is followed by ‘Recognize,’ which initially keeps up the relentless pace but loses inertia to some jarring timing diversions instead of building on a solid foundation. Maybe that’s the plan though, and for a band like this, it’s fully on-brand.

I don’t know if the Spanish language track ‘Matapacos,’ which translates as ‘Cop Killer,’ shares the same sentiments as the Body Count classic. I’m guessing it’s actually inspired by Negro Matapacos, a black dog symbolic of protests against police brutality in Chile. But I don’t speak enough Spanish to decipher the lyrics, so I am likely horribly wrong! Strictly in terms of music, though, it doesn’t feel as fleshed out as other songs here. Some elements really work but as a whole, it’s just unsatisfying.  

The opening vibrating bass strings in ‘Stoner Safari’ speak to the band’s roots. Drummer Nick said that “most folks will be able to tell that we’re a bunch of Stoner Doom Metal nerds attempting to play Punk”, but from what I’ve seen, the way the band looks is more indicative of that than their sound. This song also offers an opportunity to experience the Milquetoast sense of humour, something that’s sprinkled liberally throughout the record.

Album highlight ‘Step Off’ is where the Mudhoney comparison shines brightest, with more than a hint of ‘Touch Me, I’m Sick’ audible. The Surf-Rock riff of ‘Space Force’ rolls into ‘Fake News Blues,’ expressing Punk frustration with the ongoing battle of opinion versus fact, before we hit ‘Wall,’ another album highlight. This song makes me question the Dead Kennedys comparison, at least in terms of sound because they’re far closer to the fantastic Oregon Punks Poison Idea, and this spookily ties the band back to The Crow soundtrack once again, which features a Pantera cover of ‘The Badge’.

The album finale ‘Forgotten Death’ flips between Proto Goth vocals of a tuneless Nick Cave and jangling guitars into rhythmic Noise Rock and back again, requiring effort to appreciate, but proving rewarding after several listens. It’s not the song I would have ended the album on, as it’s a bit of a downer, which is somewhat at odds with a band that seems to have a hell of a lot of fun with what it’s doing. 

So, in the end, did Milquetoast rise to meet the lofty comparisons that their label set up for them?

While “Caterwaul” would not be out of place as an Amphetamine Reptile labelmate to some of the bands Milquetoast is compared to, there’s a little way to go before they’d stand alongside them as peers. There are some really enjoyable songs and moments here, but they simply don’t hit at the same level.

Even so, I could easily see ‘Dead Inside’ sitting on The Crow soundtrack alongside greats from The Cure, Pantera, Nine Inch Nails, and of course, Helmet. No mean feat.

‘Step Off’ Official Audio Track

TRACKLISTING:
01. Intro
02. Dead Inside
03. Recognize
04. Matapacos
05. Stoner Safari
06. Step Off
07. Space Force
08. Fake News Blues
09. Wall
10. Forgotten Death

LINE-UP:
Ty Winslow – Guitar and vocals
Andy Bowerman – Bass, vocals, and synth
Nick James – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Iggo 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.

Areis – Areis

Areis Album Cover Art

Areis – Areis
Wormholedeath
Release Date: 10/09/2021
Running Time: 39:12
Review by Steven Hooke
7/10

The region of Occitania in Southwestern Europe that acts almost as a centre point to the Venn diagram of France, Spain, Monaco, and Italy, drawing in cultures, dialects and history from a multitude of sources. Hailing from today’s geography lesson is Areis, a four-piece from the French Occitanie region who – much like their homeland – pull in inspirations from a variety of styles, creating a mood board of punk, post-hardcore, sludge and black metal.

On this, their debut self-titled album, Areis offer a fluid amalgamation of genres that share a kinship with the likes of Giver, Pariso and Morokh. A duality of low-end grooves and higher-end melodies dominate the album, traversing the realms of blackened hardcore (‘Born Again’, ‘Le Pain Maudit’, ‘Of Gold And Blood’), melodic hardcore (‘Eternal Curse’, ‘The Wanderer’, ‘Recall’) and post-rock (‘Under The Sun’, ‘Vacillate’). The album’s wonderful production job allows both layers to be heard crisply, revealing a strong library of riffs from axemen Paul Gonzalvez and Pablo Malbec, and bringing forth an extraordinary wall of sound on the final third of the release, with a rich, full climax in ‘Recall’ through to ‘Vacillate’.

Another dual-attack on “Areis” is the tandem vocals of Gonzalvez and bassist/vocalist Michaël Jarrié. A similar attack as their instrumentals, the pair trade low growls and a gritty, hardcore bark to add an extra layer of assault to their sound. Both vocal styles share the limelight in fair and naturally-feeling transitions that do not take away from the momentum a song has built, and even add to the energy of a song when layered, creating a vicious gang-vocal-esque effect, heard from the off on opener ‘A Wretched Vow’.

It’s a fair outing for the quartet on their debut. What could’ve been a muddied sound is in fact a new worthwhile entry into the modern hardcore spectrum, with dynamic vocal and tonal pairings, a cracking production job, and a bounty of jaw-clenching riffs. But while there are a lot of interesting ideas and arrangements, it’s hard to think that Areis have lent on this potential creativity enough. Looking at bands such as Respire, Svalbard and Birds in Row – 3 bands who also craft a sound made from hardcore, black metal, and aggression-tinged melodies, albeit in a much different way to Areis – they push the boundaries of their already-very loose parameters, and experiment from the first note to the last. In Areis, the furthest they leave the core sound of the debut is ‘You Are The Best At Your Worst’, which ironically feels like it takes more away from the broader sound, stepping closer to a more straight-forward groove metal sound when there are so many different avenues at their disposal.

The good news from this is the aforementioned bands are all at least two albums in with a plethora of EP’s and comps surrounding them. The fact that Areis can sniff at their heels, and draw comparisons to Giver, et al. paints the Occitans in a strong and hopeful light for the future, and a group to put stock into now.

‘Under The Sun (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Wretched Vow
02. Born Again
03. The Wanderer
04. Of Gold And Blood
05. Eternal Curse
06. You Are The Best At Your Worst
07. Escur
08. Le Pain Maudit
09. Recall
10. Under The Sun
11. Vacillate

LINE-UP:
Paul Gonzalvez – Vocals, Guitars
Michaël Jarrié – Vocals, Bass
Pablo Malbec – Guitar
Antoine Dineur – Drums

LINKS:

Areis Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Zeahorse – Let’s Not (And Say We Did)

Let's Not (And Say We Did) Album Cover Art

Zeahorse – Let’s Not (And Say We Did)
Copper Feast Records
Release Date: 29/01/2021
Running Time: 33:09
Review by Steven Hooke
7/10

Returning after a 4+ year break are noise rock-merchants Zeahorse, a Sydney-based four-piece who combine fuzzy, sludge metal riffs with clean psychedelic vocals in a delivery not a million miles away from punk rock.

Invoking a heavier approach than 2016 offering “Torana Dreamin”, much of which is courtesy of bassist Ben Howell whose mired tone could rival the Bloop, “Let’s Not (And Say We Did)” consequently draws in a lot of comparisons to Fugazi, Hawk Eyes and to a lesser extent, Helmet. Opener ‘Designer Smiles’ does this almost immediately, a filthy, bassy riff that acts as lead conductor to the music, before the hypnotic vocals of Morgan Anthony come sprawling in, resulting in a high-energy melancholy, dating back to 90’s grunge (complete with a very ‘Black Hole Sun’-esque solo).

The album then breaks into a brilliant three-part special from ‘Panic Laps’ to ‘The Ladder’. ‘Panic Laps’ has a nice injection of pace, even as Anthony continues his floating vocals, in a well-worked clash of tempos and brings the album from the 90’s feel of ‘Designer Smiles’ into the present day. Follow-up ‘Guilty’ feels like it has more of an attitude in the vocal delivery, akin to Hawk Eyes’ Paul Astick, accompanied by a lingering vocal hook the chorus will stick with you for the rest of the day. And then ‘The Ladder’ presents a bit of a kick up the arse, as it leans more towards Zeahorse’s punkier roots. The song packs tight bassline riffs, a punchier chorus, and a general frenzy that is perhaps lost in the more aloof, stonery tracks heard prior.

The latter half of the album feels like it takes a step pack in tempo and makes up for it in a gluttony of riffs. ‘One Of Everything’ is a sole three minute shot of adrenaline, in amongst blown-amp-sounding, face-gurning riffs, with ‘Cut The Slack’ almost falling into stoner doom territory, owing to the cloud of psychedelia that makes its way into the fold as well.

By garnering comparison and directly/indirectly drawing inspiration from a multitude of names, Zeahorse almost back themselves into a corner of “why listen to the new thing instead of the original thing that we already know and like?” In response, the band does a fine job of establishing their own identity throughout the majority of the album. Songs like ‘One Of Everything’ and ‘Panic Laps’ never feel punk enough to be outrightly branded Fugazi 2.0, but show enough homages to bring in new fans.

For those about the riff and maybe certain horticultural practices, this album should be a winner. Intense, bass-heavy sounds stomping their way through psychedelia and 90’s grunge, with interludes of punk rock to keep the party going, Zeahorse are heading into their metal phase with gusto and with more than ample ideas at their disposal.

‘Designer Smiles’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Designer Smiles
02. Panic Laps
03. Guilty
04. The Ladder
05. Cut The Slack
06. 20 Nothing
07. One Of Everything
08. Don’t Laugh

LINE-UP:
Morgan Anthony – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Max Foskett – Guitars
Ben Howell – Bass
Julien Crendal – Drums

LINKS:

Zeahorse Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.