Monday, December 15, 2014

OUTER HEAVEN - Diabolus Vobiscum

Melotov Records announces its first release of the new year: Diabolus Vobiscum, the debut EP by Outer Heaven.

Out February 10th, Outer Heaven's Diabolus Vobiscum kicks off Melotov's 2015, following up the label's busiest year to date – 2014 saw new releases by ACxDC, Tiger Flowers, Seizures, Vices, and Holy Tongues.

Decibel Magazine calls Outer Heaven, "new school death metal with an old school feel," exuding "a similar claustrophobic vibe" to the mighty Incantation and Coffins.

Stream Outer Heaven's "Vile Rebirth," off Diabolus Vobiscum, exclusively via Decibel, here.

Founded in 2012 in rural Pennsylvania, Outer Heaven is a familiar name in the hardcore scene, having played recently with bands like Full of Hell, Enabler, and Old Wounds, but on debut EP Diabolus Vobiscum the band dives headfirst into the abyss, showing total commitment to its sound: minimal, unearthly doom-death. From slithering dirges to mid-tempo headbangers, Diabolus Vobiscum is thoroughly soaked in evil, thanks in part to its cavernous production job. The EP was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Outer Heaven frontman Austin Haines at his own Black Beacon Sound in Douglassville, Pennsylvania.

Haines is backed by guitarist Jonathan Kunz (a founding member of Rivers of Nihil), bassist Phil Jaquez, and drummer Paul Chrismer.

The Diabolus Vobiscum tracklist is as follows:
1) Lord of the Void
2) That Which Was Taken
3) Unholy Strength
4) Vault of Whispers
5) Vile Rebirth

Diabolus Vobiscum follows a 2013 demo, available here.

"Publicist guy says: 'We think you'll like this – it sounds like Coffins.' So, we decide to check it out because we love Coffins. And yes, we can hear that a bit but we hear even more similarities to Mitochondrian and Decibel favorites Incantation. These are promising comparisons for extreme metal. Despite throwing out a few names to bait the hook we'll also say that Outer Heaven doesn't really sound like these bands as much as they exude a similar claustrophobic vibe. It's new school death metal with an old school feel without the shelf dust."
–Decibel


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Out now: THE BANNER - Greying

With The Banner's third full-length, Greying, out today, December 9th, on Good Fight Music, CVLT Nation has launched a stream of the entire album.

Stream The Banner's Greying, exclusively here.

Fans can now order the LP, CD, and various merch options, from Good Fight's official store, and the digital tracks via iTunes and Bandcamp.

Greying, The Banner's first new full-length in six years, sees the New Jersey band perfect its sound: churning, machine-like hardcore, soaked in darkness, at times veering fully into the goth/industrial realm. Early reviews of the album name-check bands from across the map, from Gaza to Type O Negative.

CVLT Nation reports: "Greying is a tortured work that layers on the anguish in heavy doses. Its spastic dance between the calculated and chaotic brands it as The Banner's most unique collection to date, and I hope that they continue this route, carving a bloody, despairing path that only they dare walk."

Greying was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Will Putney (The Acacia Strain, Body Count) and Randy Leboeuf. The album is Good Fight Music's final release of 2014 – a year that has also included releases by Old Wounds, The Contortionst, and more. The Good Fight team is the same team that released The Banner's previous two albums, 2005's Each Breath Haunted and 2008's Frailty, via former label Ferret Music.

The Banner, live:

Feb 14 - Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom w/ E-Town Concrete, Vision of Disorder, Indecision, Suburban Scum
Feb 18 - Albany, NY @ Bogie's w/ Xibalba
Feb 20 - Amityville, NY @ Amityville Music Hall w/ All Out War, Xibalba, Rude Awakening
Feb 21 - Baltimore, MD @ Charm Cty Art Space w/ All Out War, Xibalba, Rude Awakening
Feb 22 - Providence, RI @ Firehouse 13 w/ All Out War, Xibalba, Rude Awakening
Apr 17 - Worcester, MA @ New England Metal and Hardcore Festival

"4/5. Blending their caustic hardcore with elements of icy black metal, post-metal and introspective shoegaze, this is a dynamic, emotionally wrenching collection that exists somewhere between fury and despair. A moving, multifaceted record, indeed."
–Alternative Press

"Shadowy metallic hardcore antiheroes..."

–Decibel

"Jersey crushers... Every second is heavier than the one before it."

–Metal Injection

"War-fed death chug and shit-pissed hardcore rant... Other songs hover in fritzed-out goth mode."

–MetalSucks

"Their metallic hardcore gruffness is cloaked in goth leanings and frosted over by varying degrees of black metal. Although Greying might be a difficult listen, that's not a weakness; in a sea of easy listening hardcore, it's The Banner's greatest strength."

–Exclaim!

"Greying kicks major ass. Believe you me. You need to hear this monster."

–Gun Shy Assassin

"Greying is a tortured work that layers on the anguish in heavy doses. Its spastic dance between the calculated and chaotic brands it as The Banner's most unique collection to date, and I hope that they continue this route, carving a bloody, despairing path that only they dare walk."
–CVLT Nation

Thursday, December 4, 2014

CR best of 2014

Personal favorites, not including bands I worked with this year.

1) Unit 731 - The Hive Mind
2) Raspberry Bulbs - Privacy
3) Code Orange Kids - I Am King
4) Chain and the Gang - Minimum Rock n' Roll
5) Olivia Neutron John - Vulnerability
6) Mobb Deep - The Infamous Mobb Deep
7) Ocrilim - Beggar
8) Pyrrhon - The Mother of Virtues
9) Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts: Red Classroom
10) Black Veil Brides - Black Veil Brides

See my list and others', on MetalSucks.

Monday, December 1, 2014

NETHERLANDS + CMJ

As Timo Ellis and his Brooklyn gang of pop-metal acid-eaters prepare the next Netherlands EP for release in 2015, they have bestowed another new song upon the world. Stream Netherlands' latest single, "Sluggo," exclusively on CMJ.com.

CMJ editor Eric Davidson proclaims, "If you always liked the concept of super-fuzzed stoner rock but need copious amounts of Coca-Cola in addition to NyQuil to balance out your moods, this is the band for you. 'Sluggo' is an absolute burning blur of a song..."

A recent review by Noisey's Zach Lipez describes Netherlands as "Dio-inflected yowling over Drive Like Jehu overridden-in-the-red propulsion" and "glammed out Highway Star vocals running wild and free over distorted bass chaos."

Ellis, a 20-year veteran of the New York rock scene, has collaborated with Melvins, John Zorn, Cibo Matto, and more. In Netherlands, Ellis is backed by drummer Dave Burnett and keyboardist Ava Farber. Stand by for more details of the new EP, coming up in 2015!

"If you always liked the concept of super-fuzzed stoner rock but need copious amounts of Coca-Cola in addition to NyQuil to balance out your moods, this is the band for you. 'Sluggo' is an absolute burning blur of a song..."
–CMJ

"Dio-inflected yowling over Drive Like Jehu overridden-in-the-red propulsion... Glammed out Highway Star vocals running wild and free over distorted bass chaos."
–Noisey

"Gritty, high energy punk/metal, anchored by a huge distorted synth bass tone; the effect is something like Future of the Left banging out one of Torche's more rambunctious tunes."
–BrooklynVegan




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THE BANNER + Metal Injection

As the countdown to Greying ticks on, The Banner unveil one more of the new album's songs. Stream "Circle of Salt," exclusively via Metal Injection, here.

Greying, The Banner's third full-length (and first since 2008!), hits stores December 9th on Good Fight Music. Fans can pre-order the LP, CD, and various merch options, now from Good Fight's official store, and the digital tracks via iTunes and Bandcamp.

"Circle of Salt" is a rugged slab of absolute despair, exemplifying the key elements of The Banner's trademarked sound: crushing hardcore, blackened horror, and dark ambience. As Metal Injection puts it, "every second of this track is heavier than the one before it." Over a decade after their formation, and with hundreds of bands influenced by their melding of hardcore, metal, and goth vibes, The Banner continue to push the game forward.

Greying was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Will Putney (Body Count, The Acacia Strain) and Randy Leboeuf.

Other new tracks off Greying were recently premiered via Revolver and Alternative Press.

The Banner, live:
Feb 14 - Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom w/ E-Town Concrete, Vision of Disorder




Thursday, November 20, 2014

YOUTH FUNERAL - See You When I See You

Twelve Gauge Records kicks off the new year with the January 27th release of Youth Funeral's new EP, See You When I See You. 

The San Francisco label released a pair of gems last year – the debut LPs by Nervous and No Sir – and now makes its return with one of the first essential records of 2015.

Youth Funeral's See You When I See You was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Will Killingsworth (Orchid, Ampere, Magrudergrind) at Dead Air Studios. 
The New Hampshire band paint in colors familiar to fans of screamo's old guard – the full-throttle blasts of Jeromes Dream and Usurp Synapse, the melodic detours of Saetia and Off Minor – but these kids own their sound. No tribute act, Youth Funeral know their history but this music is theirs. From the chaotic to the serene, they play it like they mean it. 

And, wow, can they play. Emotion counts for more than musicianship amongst many bands in the genre; Youth Funeral are that rare bunch that possess heart and technique, both. When they're going hard, they're frantic and dizzying. When they're gentle, they're lulling us with the iciest interludes.

Stream Youth Funeral's "When It Pours," off See You When I See You, exclusively via BrooklynVegan. BrooklynVegan calls the song "a complex, heavy slab of screamo in the Orchid/Loma Prieta/Deathwish Inc vein. One thing that sticks out about them is the technically proficient instrumentalism... It manages to be technical, emotional, and tightly composed at the same time."

Youth Funeral feature Casey Nealon on guitar and vocals, Raph Bastek on guitar and vocals, Mike Ralston on drums, and Travis Fitzgerald on bass. In Nealon's words, See You When I See You's dominant theme is that of "confronting mortality's reach to oneself and all things."


Twelve Gauge Records will release See You When I See You as a limited pressing of 500 vinyl 7" EPs and as a digital download. The tracklist is as follows:

1) 
Vultures
2) Confidante
3) I Remember
4) When It Pours
5) Weak But Warm
6) See You When I See You

The EP follows a 2013 EP, Symptom of Time, and a recent split with Scowler, released on Skeletal Lightning and Broken World Media.

Screamo is alive and well and moving forward into the future in the hands of Youth Funeral (and peers like Loma Prieta and Capacities.See Youth Funeral on tour in January – stand by for dates!


2014, 2015

PRESENT:

Hollow Earth's debut LP, Silent Graves, came out last week on Panic Records and the band is now in the midst of a great big US tour.

My final release of the year is Greying, the third LP by The Banner, out December 9th on Good Fight Music.

FUTURE: 

New 2015 releases by Graf Orlock, Outer Heaven, Youth Funeral, and so much more! Look out for announcements very soon. And on a personal note, I'm revving up my own band, Body Stuff – the second EP is in the works, you'll be hearing a new song shortly, and we play this show on December 1st. The first EP is here.

PAST:

A full recap of my 2014 releases, for your year-end lists and other reminiscences:

Feb 4 - High Water - High Water - Vitriol Records
Apr 8 - Tiger Flowers - Dead Hymns - Melotov Records
Apr 8 - 1-800-BAND - Diver Blue - Almost Ready Records
May 27 - Jar'd Loose - Turns 13 - The Path Less Traveled
Jun 24 - ACxDC - Antichrist Demoncore - Melotov Records
Jun 24 - Gloom - Gloom - self-released
Jun 24 - HUSH. - Unexist - self-released
Jul 15 - Highlands - Dark Matter Traveler - Say Again Records
Jul 22 - Vices - New Breed - Melotov Records
Aug 5 - Holy Tongues - Weak People - Melotov Records
Sep 16 - Old Wounds - Death Projection - Good Fight Music
Sep 23 - Divider - All Barren - Glory Kid
Oct 7 - Seizures - The Sanity Universal - Melotov Records
Nov 11 - Hollow Earth - Silent Graves - Panic Records
Dec 9 - The Banner - Greying - Good Fight Music

...as well as campaigns for Circle Takes the Square, Gospel of the Witches, and Netherlands, who did not have new releases this year.

And in 2014 I also did some journalism of my own. These two pieces:

Justin Pearson / Mass Appeal
Lil Debbie / High Times

THANK YOU, ALL!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Out now: HOLLOW EARTH

Hollow Earth's debut full-length album, Silent Graves, is out today, November 11th, on Panic Records.

Produced by Andy Nelson (Harm's Way, Weekend Nachos) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Integrity, Nails), the album is now streaming in full, here via Invisible Oranges.

Invisible Oranges' Bruce Hardt gives this review: "Boasting a sound not unlike the melodic and riveting brand that Shai Hulud is known for, Silent Graves also takes time to ponder the chaos it creates, channelling the contemplative heaviness of Neurosis... The album moves at a fluid pace, a headbanger as much as it is a moshing soundtrack... It feels like the Rust Belt sound, rooted in D-beats and metal riffs, is really coming to the fore, as evidenced by a seeming resurgence in interest in bands like Integrity and Ringworm, and support for up-and-comers like Enabler (of which [Hollow Earth guitarist Mike] Moynihan is also a member at the moment)... Silent Graves is definitely part of that... One of metallic hardcore's best offerings this year."

Hollow Earth are now in the midst of a massive US tour. Full tourdates, here.

"Boasting a sound not unlike the melodic and riveting brand that Shai Hulud is known for, Silent Graves also takes time to ponder the chaos it creates, channelling the contemplative heaviness of Neurosis... One of metallic hardcore's best offerings this year."
–Invisible Oranges

"Doom-y metallic hardcore nastiness"
–Decibel

"In the vein of Converge, Nails, and Enabler... To call it 'a scorcher' and/or 'a ripper' would be to undersell."
–MetalSucks

"Creative riffing – a fretted onslaught that does nothing to stop the flow of energy leaping out of the output jack."
–Gear Gods

"Dripping with anger and passion"
–About Heavy Metal

"Metallic hardcore in the tradition of artists such as Nora and The Hope Conspiracy... Downright savage."
–Last Rites

"Massive metallic hardcore weight"
–American Aftermath