Black Acid Devil (USA) – “S/T”

•February 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

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I have associated Colorado with sports: The Avalanche, the Broncos and snowboarding (as well as “Dumb and Dumber” of course). This is now a thing of the past as I will, from now on, remember this state as the homebase of Black Acid Devil. I don’t know if they are into sports- when I think about it, it seems pretty improbable, as you can’t blame someone for [“not knowing] anything about dopesmoke” and be an ultimate jock – but it seems to me they had better things to do. Like play some wicked and tar-thick music for example.

Coming from Boulder,CO, this fresh three piece definitely knows how to use their influences and use them “intelligently”. If listening to the opening track “Firebird” felt like traveling back to 1998 and re-discovering Nebula’s “Let it Burn” – due to the song’s catchy psychedelic rock riffs, a rolling bass/drums combo and echoing vocals – the rest of the album is really different from this first song. Another changing element is the type of vocals used throughout these five songs in that it ranges from lackadaisical (SoCal-style) to really aggressive (a mix of Mastodon and Matt Pike maybe?)

“Nameless City” takes more of an epic approach. Starting with a nice and quiet Arabic intro theme – later mirrored in the faster recurring guitar bridge -. This song has a general doomy aspect to it while keeping its groovy elements.

“Dopesmoke” (come on guys…make an effort for the title!) starts with a bass line you expect to be followed by some crude sludge Eyehategod-style…well it’s not! Instead, Black Acid Devil suddenly could pass themselves off as The Melvins, with a repetitive and slow harsh guitar riff, supported by almost out-of-tune vocals. “Dopesmoke” also comes with a classic-to-be riff (aforementioned). This for me has the best bass lines and arrangements of the EP (worthy of Acid King’s III, which coming from me means a lot!)

The last two songs “Chronoclasm” and “Doomscrolls” (featured on their myspace) are more in the vein of an in-your-face yet slow High on Fire (huge gritty guitar tones, tortured border-line strep-throat vocals with layered guitar leads) and Dozer’s “Through the Eyes of Heathens” respectively.

To sum it up, Black Acid Devil might not be reinventing the wheel at this point, but sure is on the right track. The variety and above all this raw and round sound just makes this EP (clocking at 29 minutes) really pleasant to listen to. The influences are pretty clear but there is no rip-off, which is rare in this genre. If you like all-natural, balls out pachyderm rock, Black Acid Devil is for you.

Cease (Aus) – “Cicada”

•December 4, 2009 • 1 Comment

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“How to decipher Cease’s music??” –That’s what I first thought. People always need to put words on everything so as to feel comfortable and be able to impress friends at parties by name-dropping trendy sub-genres they don’t understand but swear they’ve been following this very movement since day one. Screw that! Cease is a brain-fuck. Take it as pretty much indescribable with our human language and also, that they will mess around with your brains when they play live!. By the way, this 3 piece all-instrumental jam band (know for their long and drony/noisy improves) hails from Perth (Western Australia).

Cease are a one of a kind band yet to be rivaled by another of their class. Imagine Chris Hiakus starting a band with (a really angry) Massive Attack and someone from Buried at Sea on guitars. – this is obviously a stupid analogy that I maybe should have kept to myself-. Thing is, you cannot put words on this music. I just know it’s good. Local street press awkwardly associated them with the “shoegaze” movement. I disagree. We’re talking drone?doom?post-rock? I just have no clue.

The four tracks of this first full length could well be one big 40 minute song, as they naturally flow into one another. Tribal at times, drony and relentless at others -the guitars are merely used to distract you from the mesmerizing cycles of that bass/drums engine – with heavy use of fuzz and space-out effects. This an “Are You Experienced?” kind of voyage you are about to embark on, just in 2009 , on acid and a whole lot heavier.

Beware though…This is not an album for massive-riff-oriented people (hope you like repetitiveness as much as I do). Cease certainly does not rush things. They take their sweet time. And you might as well enjoy it, because if you ever see them live, every gig is a rebirth for Cease. And that is one aspect I like about these guys. They managed to evolve from a pretty noisy/improv’/psych genre (circa 2007) into something new, without losing their identity, that is playing and recording without knowing what you’re gonna end up with. They even got heavier with time!

The artwork of “Cicada” is also really professional and just beautiful. If it’s marketable as a concept album, maybe an animal documentary show should get in touch with them, as listening to this album feels like going through the life-cycle of a Cicada: from larva to ashes…

Partnership with Hellride Music

•November 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

From now on, most my reviews/interviews can be found on Hellride Music (owned by Chris Barnes). For submissions, please use the following email address: nodusgordis at gmail dot com!

Note from Hellride:

Please remember, submission of review material does not
guarantee a review. Please be aware that the review you actually get, may not be the one you wanted (i.e., if it sucks, we’re all pretty likely to call it as we hear it).

Thank you,

The Hellride ‘Zine Staff

Hangman’s Chair (France) – (A Lament For…) The Addicts

•November 19, 2009 • 1 Comment

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I just recently came across fellow French doomsters Hangman’s Chair and was spun out to find them on France’s grind reference-label Bones Brigade. For the record, this band is made up of Rising Dust/Arkangel drummer Mehdi Thépegnier and former members of Parisian band Es La Guerilla. Unfortunately, I could not get a hard copy of “(A Lament For…) The Addicts”, as according to guitarist Adrien Lederer, the album is out of press (he kindly sent me the album via email).

This first full-length opens on “Sad but Drunk”, which sets the tone from the outset: a Goatsnake-type of heavy doom, which however is not just a mere copy-paste. What differentiates Hangman’s Chair from the Californians is mainly Keo’s vocals, which is a perfect mix of aggressiveness and melody, sounding like the bastard child of Peter Stahl and Layne Stanley. Talk about charisma…

As far as the music is concerned, you might be thrown-off by the versatility of the tracks that vacillate between Pepper Keenan’s palm-muted and bluesy riffs (“I am Proud to Destroy Myself” – “Deep in the Bottle”) and Greg Anderson’s bent one-note passages. For solos addicts, “(A Lament For…) The Addicts” is a lesson in the art of mastering your instrument without showing-off, which once again is reminiscent of a famous New Orleans crew.

I really liked the fact the guys used original samples throughout the album and not the usual witchcraft-related soundbites of so-called cult movies we keep hearing everywhere. They know better (although I don’t know where they were taken from).

As a bonus for you listener, Hangman’s Chair will also indulge you with two superb acoustic tracks, including one instrumental piece (“Skit 1”) which is a perfect song to sip a bottle of whiskey on a shady porch. The second one (“Maybe the Snow is Back in Town”)  I think is a direct tribute paid to Black Sabbath and Alice in Chains. Indeed, when the song starts, I automatically thought of “Sleeping Village” on the eponymous Black Sabbath album. By the time you reach the chorus, you will think you are listening to AIC’s Dirt  -“Rooster” maybe?-.

My favorite song out of these 47.27’ would be “No Rest I’ve Found, simply because it gives a good idea of what this band is capable of doing. Needless to say I am proud of finnaly being able to name-drop French bands in my musical conversations! Hats down gentlemen!

Bongripper (USA) – “Hate Ashbury”

•November 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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Here we go again…The infamous BONGRIPPER is back at work. As much as I enjoyed their 2007 release “Hippie Killer,” in my opinion, this album is unfortunately pretty disappointing. Not that I always expect bands to evolve from on album to another, but “Hate Ashbury” is simply too much to take. This band might has lost its magic. The same elements of “Hippie Killer” are being used: that awesome warm bass tone and the juxtaposing layers of ethereal and massive sludge guitars.

Out of the 8 songs on this album, there are only 3 proper songs per se. The rest is either feedback or some massive drone riff going on forever, or just noise…It just seems to me they had decided on the duration of the record before they wrote the songs to fill it. What a waste of time…and what a disappointment!

Now, out of the aforementioned three “songs”…you get some BONGRIPPER at its best: the more doomy bits are awesome and at times vaguely reminiscent of Electric Wizard. Song VI is an awesome build-up, but unfortunately it doesn’t lead anywhere. Why the hell did they stop the song there? It just makes no sense.

The best song of the album for me would be VIII, which is one (literally) gigantic and mesmerizing bad-ass riff. The drum beat has a really cool vibe about it and is also super heavy. But once again…it finishes with an endless feedback.

What were these guys thinking when they made this record? In my opinion, the only excuse for it would be that they decided to record on impulse and showed up to the studio unannounced. Perhaps the sound engineer squeezed them in to his schedule between two other bands? Under these circumstances, I would commend them on a great album, but assuming that they were not under such time pressures, it feels half-assed. Evidently, I am disappointed by the lack of creativity on this record, however I do think these guys are great musicians and look forward to a much higher level of inspiration on their next record.

Bongripper (USA) – “Hippie Killer”

•November 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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The Windy City is known for so many different things. Well, you can now add BONGRIPPER to the list. How could it be that such a band managed to stay under the radar for so long??!! (is there a label strike going on or what?). At first, I thought I was in for some typical sludge that was going to be saturated with some weed-related samples. I was so far from the truth!

Even though these guys seem to love puerile humor, believe me: they don’t mess around with their music. This inspired 10 song self-released album is so eclectic it is actually hard for me to compare them to anyone in particular.

First of all, it’s an (almost) all-instrumental band…which is a good thing as it gives you time to digest and ponder over these annihilating riffs. “Reefer Sutherland” might mislead you into thinking BONGRIPPER’s music is heavily infused with death metal riffs…well…no. It’s just a one-off. Most songs, except maybe “Terrible Bear Attack”, which is a nice cross-over between hardcore and early black metal), are tight as hell are a  mix of dissonant (love the harmonics and the harmonized guitars) and punishing sludge with the occasional groovy passages a la Earthless (“The People Mover”). Then, when you reach “Charlie, Burt Reynolds has got Shit on you”, you might wonder if you accidentally put on one of your dusty Isis album. As I said this band, although they have a strong sense of integrity, are also all over the place but in a good way. I really just can’t pinpoint any bands that would sound alike…

To sum it up. Bongripper’s recipe is an ingenious mix of sludgy (border-line post metal) efficient power chord riffs, supported by a snappy snare which contrasts with some superb melodic bass lines. The guitars manage to oscillate between spacey arpeggios and section of layered chorus. For those who are hard to please, the length of the album might just be too much and the only relatively negative point -there is only one- might be that the songs are sometimes too linear. Besides that, BONGRIPPER is just very intense!

I am now left with a dream of an ultimate face-off between the boy on Hermano’s “Dare I say…” cover art and BONGRIPPER’s…I’d put a $100 on the latter. Poor little kid would stand no chance against that shotgun!

LORDS OF BUKKAKE – S/T (Spain)

•November 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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Joder! (as they would say in the talent-infested country of “Bull Skin”)…Introducing Lords of Bukkake, from Barcelona. You can’t go wrong with these guys. Spanish labels Odio Sonoro and Gaia Records teamed up to release – with the help of Sir Billy Anderson – a sludge masterpiece.

The artwork takes us to some kind of forgotten and desolated place that could have been the set for “Hostel”. As there is no “No Trespassing” sign on the fence, let’s go a little further and step into that abandoned building if you don’t mind. A book entitled “The Path to Happiness” lies on the floor (the former tenants probably had to run from something and didn’t have time to clean up…god knows what we’re going to find in there). As you open the door, a whaling guitar sound can now be heard from a distance…at this point, you can still change your mind and vacate the premises. You have approximately 1.30 second before entering a realm of chaos and debauchery (option a).

If you chose to stay (option b)…well done! I am proud of you (sorry you do not get life or strength points though). “Black Lung” is a 20 minute track of repetitive but so freaking heavydelic sludge. Though, you won’t realize it as you will be acquainted with bassist/vocalist Toni L. Querol. To give you an idea, his vocals sounds insanely sick…kinda like a gremlins that would gargle/choke on semen (after all, they didn’t choose such a name for no reason…) while undergoing an upper gastro intestinal endoscopy. With his friend Sergio Linares on drums (and what a goddamn drummer!!! It seems he plays in his little own world and expect his bandmates to tag along), they constitute the core of this band, in my opinion. Not that the guitars are not interesting, but LOB isn’t riff-oriented. It’s all about the intensity and the slowness of the music. The guitars are like a massive concrete wall, supported by really cool and eerie leads (pretty rare I might say for a typical sludge band).

Out of the 4 tracks (still, running time exceeds 50 minutes), my personal favorite would be “No Excuses”, due to its grooviness. This self-title album is a must for those who like heavy (I mean it!) music, even if you a are a sectarian kind of person who ONLY swears by Bongzilla, Iron Monkey and co. For fans of sickeningly-excellent pounding tunes around the world….spread the gospel! Ya!