Sunday, 20 December 2015

OPIUM LORD - 'The Calendrical Cycle: Eye of Earth' review

OPIUM LORD - 'The Calendrical Cycle: Eye of Earth' review

"So Stourbridge doom fiends OPIUM LORD are back with their debut album and follow up to their two track 'Prologue: The Healer'', and right from the opener 'Challenger', we're plunged into the dark and murky depths of crushing riffs, grimey bass, unsettlingly eerie delayed lead guitar, and pounding drums, conjuring comparisons to stuff like MORBID ANGEL or even a doomier ZAO or FALL OF EFRAFA. Vocals are still pretty varied, ranging from harsh, throaty, lizardy screams, to deeper, guttural roars and shouts, spitting out some pretty hellish lyricism. The local Temple of Boom has done a fab job on the recording and mixing, because this is as heavy as anything, and thanks to Dave Mitson's mastering it sounds punishingly huge. Favourite tune for me besides 'Challenger' would have to be 'Crystals' for the great chord progressions, but this is really consistent stuff across the seven tracks, with perpetually colossal riffs, unsettling leads, crushing drum work, and harrowing vocals throughout the predominantly sludgey rhythms. Awesome work, highly recommended for those that like their music crafted in the blackest of forges in the deepest of pits. Beautiful photographic artwork too."

Sunday, 13 December 2015

NEW ALASKA - 'Western Corners' review

NEW ALASKA - 'Western Corners'

"Stourbridge's NEW ALASKA are back with another dose of their unique brand of post-punk awesomeness in which you're always guaranteed plenty of angular rhythms, odd chord-work, tight basslines and pounding drum-work, and obscure but intelligent lyricism. I definitely don't think these guys get the credit they deserve; their songs are played with honesty, in a unique style that's as far from any fad or trend as you're ever likely to find, structured with a lot of consideration, are catchy without being poppy or cheesy, and are challenging without being overly technical. They also have an energy and anger that many faster or heavier bands just don't have, and this album is a perfect example of that, as Pete somewhat monotonously shouts his way through these ten new tracks, of which I think the pacey 'Corsairs' is a good, catchy starter, 'Kathy' is also a memorable highlight, and I love the slower, driving chord work towards the end of 'Palehorse', one of the more experimental tracks. Highly recommended for fans of angular post-punk stuff like FUGAZI, THE COMPUTERS, and other local lads WAX FUTURES."