Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Conan - Existential Void Guardian

For the last six years, like clockwork, Conan has released a new album every two years. Now they stand proud with their fourth release, Existential Void Guardian the record that clearly demonstrates the potential to put them over the top and bring them to brave new heights. I've always felt that a bands third and fourth record is what makes or breaks them. It can make them feel like an also ran, or it can put them in a position to become one of the biggest bands in their genre. If they knock it out of the park then success is theirs for the taking, if it's more of the same, it's all over. This is the former.

While Existential Void Guardian is without a doubt a Conan record defined by the selfsame crushing riffs and shouted vocals that have made the band so special to so many for so long, Conan also bring a lot of other goodies to the table with this album. Rather than just relying on the brute power of their downtuned guitars, they have crafted some of their best songs to date with incredibly potent riffs and sense thorughout that this isn't just another Conan album ,but instead the release that sees them transcending their prior limitations and branching out whilst never turning away from their roots. The potent forward motion and massive bottom end proves time and time again that Conan are never gonna let up.

The band swaggers through this fourth release authoritatively and with a potent sense of 'Fuck you'. It serves to make Existential Void Guardian the sort of dominating release that leaves you reveling in the murk of the groups so called Caveman Battle Doom. Driving forth with the energetic and gut wrenching devastation that has made the band so great for nearly a decade, Existential Void Guardian shows us that this is only the beginning. Not only is it only the beginning but we are about to embrace so much more. It might get loud.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Krakow - minus

Here's an interesting one, a true weirdo, an outlier in the strictest sense and a record that while willing to borrow from everything seems clear that, as sludgy as they may be, are not going to purely hold themselves to that. The crushing sense of forward motion on these tracks is exciting and hints at a band who have really say down and focused on refining their greatest material .And they have, this album represents the pinnacle o 13 years of work and the quasi-impossible task of reducing two albums into one. 

This is a record that is at times almost epic in scope. They continually impress with bold new musical directions and a deep understanding of not just how to write powerful songs but how to conjure up epic auras and hint at interesting new possibilities. Their heart rending threnodies and penchant for elegant melody is exciting and reminds us time and time again that Krakow aren't just another band of pretenders. These guys have honed their craft into something exciting and fresh which isn't going to soon be forgot but which will instead continue to evolve and refine itself day after day and year after year.

There's a lot to love with minus though I feel like the band is only just getting their feet wet. There is so much more to come for these guys if they continue to refine the sound that they have shown us here. This is a group who not only play by their own rules but seem capable of creating their own rulebook. To exist on the sonic edge is a challenge though and there's a reason not a ton of bands do it. You can get lost in this record though, and that's what counts. It's a mesmerizing journey and one I will always love taking.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Spacetrucker - Smooth Orbit

I've had this theory for a little while now that a lot of these stoner rock bands aren't actually stoner rock bands. They might fit into the aesthetic but they are tied into something else, they are tied into grunge, and bands like Backwoods Payback, Zed and now Spacetrucker prove it. It's not just the guitar tone or the vocals, but the entire ethos, the attack that Spacetrucker bring to the scene is what makes them unique, differentiates them and gets you digging into whole new blasphemous realms of heavy rock glory.

Here's the thing, a lot of the guys in this scene grew up with grunge, a helluva lot more than grew up with fucking Budgie and Necromandus that's for sure. It all informs each other though and that's the beauty of a band like Spacetrucker. While the grunge influence is clear, they are unafraid to bring in some wonderfully weird fuzz stuff, pushing their pedals to the limit of their capabilities and occasionally slipping into complete noisy oblivion. It's this tendency for raw rock fury, pure noise driven annihilation that makes Spacetrucker such an interesting band to sink your teeth into and traverse the distorted universe with.

There are a lot of really solid riffs in what Spacetrucker does, but not too many, which is a mistake a lot of bands make. While at times they might be a bit longwinded, they still definitely wrote songs here. While I'd like to see everything under four minutes or so, the general attack of the band is exciting and tracks like Not As Hung suggest that there is an incredible talent here just waiting to be developed. You can groove with these tracks, they have clear drive and they remind us that no matter what we do we are going to fall in love with the pummeling riffage.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Trappist - Anicent Brewing Tactics

A supergroup featuring members of the hardcore and powerviolence scene, a noted grill chef and craft beer enthusiasts doesn't necessarily seem like something that I would be really into. But here we are. I love it hen records that seem absurd on paper end up badass in execution. Ancient Brewing Tactics is one of the most fun thrashy punk records of the year. With a specific beer paired for each song this is the sort of alcohol obsessed pit inducing metal mayhem you can't help but to fall in love with.

There is an overarching sense of chaos, and quite honestly fun that serves to make this record so addictive. With Ancient Brewing Tactics Trappist remind us why we all got involved in this music in the first place. This is clearly a great record written by dudes who not only are scene veterans but realize they are just in it to have a blast with their buds. There is no attempt at cracking your skull with fancy techniques, the band are just that fucking good and they know it. It's punishing and heavy, but there's nothing about it that will blow you away. Instead the focus is on songwriting and gut punching good times.

Join the band for yet another round as you dig into a group seemingly hand crafted for 2018. This is where scene cred, craft beer obsession and good music unite in the name of something greater than the component parts. Most bands delivering this level of raw sonic madness get lost in the seriousness of it all or are trying to push to be something they are not. Trappist are just there to put a smile on your face and remind you that heavy metal and hardcore is about community first, so we might as well remember that.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Mutilated by Zombies - Scripts of Anguish

So there's obviously a lot of OSDM going around these days and that's really cool, but what's even cooler is the way that it has sort of evolved fractally with subcultures withing subcultures. While most of it is in the extremely brutal and oppressive style, a la Vastum or Disgusted Geist, we are still finding groups like Mutilated By Zombies showing up with frightening regularity. The balls out assault and punishing attack outlined on their Redefining Darkness debut is over the top and throat crunching.

See, in a world where the influences of Entombed and Dismember dominate, it's exciting to see someone focusing on what the label bills as "Traditional Death Metal". There are sharp angular riffs here and a remarkably full sound given that the band is only a three piece. The punishing assault and twisted burning wreckage of a sound that they have unveiled is mesmerizing to say the least. You find yourself getting pulled into these grandiose and overarching riffs that come screaming for vengeance. The bottom end revels back and forth, dancing across your eardrums with the hard hitting and dynamic drum sounds.

This gore worshiping and riff cranking group is a cut above their peers, they aren't fucking with the stale commonalities of the genre but instead proving that these young bucks have completely mastered the gnarly traits of their musical forefathers. We are reaching a point where the first generation of death metal fans are having kids who re playing in bands. We have lived in a world steeped in death metal for 30 years now, and this is the sick and twisted result. Mutilated By Zombies understand the essence of death metal and Scripts of Anguish proves it.

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