Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Warcrab - Scars Of Aeons

Longtime readers know that I've been following the career of the UK's Warcrab for years now. This stunning sludge death unit has always prided themselves on a sound reminiscent of bands like Bolt Thrower and Soilent Green. Their slowed down vibes and powerful songwriting comes to the fore with their latest offering, Scars Of Aeons. A band who kicked it for a long time at the underground level, it finally feels like the guys are getting their due and pushing for a far brighter future as lords of the genre.

It's easy to get lost in what the band does here. Primal riffs are accentuated with potent melodic guitars. Devastating death growls are laid overtop of  potent drums. While the group is still at times definitely struggling with lifting themselves above the morass of local scenes and growing their sound to a truly top level. While Scars Of Aeons is certainly miles above anything the band has done in the past there are times where I wonder if Warcrab are quite ready for the big time. What I can say though is that there is something totally punishing about this band that you can't help but to end up enamored with.

Warcrab is one of those bands who could represent an exciting future for a struggling UK metal scene. When they are on top of it they are truly on top of it, and their logo can't help but to be badass. They are a band who are clearly pushing as hard as they can to develop something transcendent. The guitars on a track like Destroyer Of Worlds communicate a sort of Crowbar-esque potency that simply can not be ignored. Warcrab understand what it takes to get to the top - and I think they just might make it.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Slagmaur - Thill Smitts Terror

Slagmaur were recently flown out to play Saint Vitus Bar, I hadn't listened to them in years but I stayed because they had cool masks and who knew when I would get a chance to see them again? I was very glad that I did stay though-  there set was one of the most impressive I have seen from black metal bands in years, defined by powerful riffs, potent grooves and some really fucking creepy masks. So when I got Thill Smitts Terror the bands first record in eight years I couldn't help but freak out a little.

The band has always sat firmly in the avant garde, and yet that being said the group uses Thill Smitts Terror to put a special emphasis on songwriting. To remind us time and time again of the inherent power of this kind of music and to coke us out every time we think to stray. Thill Smitts Terror is a wonderfully creepy album. It's an album that uses traditional second and third wave of black metal ideas in conjunction with a very eerie keyboard playing what are oftentimes circus inspired melodies in order to leave the listener with a visceral experience and one that will leave them wetting their pants in terror.

There are few records out there that can sound as out and out scary as this one without being in general violation to what heavy metal should be. What makes Slagmaur so impressive is that even though they very much adhere to traditional heavy metal polemics they are able to raise the hairs on the back of my neck and send a shiver down my spine. Thill Smitts Terror is a record that invokes far darker creations and reminds us why we all fell in love with this music in the first place - it's gloriously fucked up.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Gridfailure - Hostile Alchemy

In recent months Gridfailure has become one of the top harsh noise projects in the scene. Hostile Alchemy is the projects latest release, a demented and oftentimes transcendent release from a New York state collective that seems to punish the listener even more with every passing second. There is a looming horror to Hostile Alchemy, a sort of Texas Chainsaw Massacre derived sense of the macabre, a bloodthirsty and strangely disturbing take on a genre too many ignore, this is demented shit for a digital age.

What I've always loved about Gridfailure is that despite everything there is something strangely entrancing about the work. When you listen to a Gridfailure record no matter how abrasive the sounds or demented the approach the band always comes through and manages to sweep you away to a twisted otherworld. The demented magic of a track like Scourge Telepathy is guaranteed to send chills up your spine, but it also continually hints at a much darker reality. The deep throated growls layering in on top of everything are just the icing on the cake, the nails across the chalkboard of an already fucked up mindset.

There is something almost antediluvian about Hostile Alchemy. The gradual and crushing motion of these tracks makes it feel like the earth is shifting beneath your feet. There is something uniquely terrifying about the soundworlds found within the deeper that you delve. Hostile Alchemy is an out and out experience. Gridfailure is going to punish you and force you to recalibrate your understanding of music. There is something inherently evil about what's going on here and I can't help but love it. 

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

1476 - Our Season Draws Near

The world of post black metal is a weird one and the genre is still so relatively new and fertile that there are a lot of cool new directions to explore. 1476 are the latest to do so with a sound that explores the sound of bands like Agalloch just as much as it hints at more mainstream punk roots. There is something strangely American about what the band has done here, and it seems appropriate that the record this reminds me of the most, Atlas Losing Grip's Currents, also features a lighthouse on the cover.

What keeps me coming back to Our Season Draws Near and what leaves me so straight up fascinated by this bands creation is the purely epic nature of the compositions. The songs are all brilliantly constructed, immaculate in their conception and endlessly layered. The bands ability to shift from pure Agalloch worship to moments that wouldn't feel out of place on a mid 2000's emo record and then back into black metal is stunning. This is a record that in many ways I feel was tailor made for me. There is something incredibly human and very endearing about what's been accomplished here. It's a record that can't help but to keep you in a constant state of thrall.

These days I have so goddamn much to listen to that it's rare that I will go back to a record after spinning it a few times for review. Few records really reach out and touch my heart and as I get older it becomes incresaingly difficult to really want to invest time and energy into new bands. 1476 is one of the few bands that seems to cut through and speak to me. It's an album that reminds us of the burning power that these songs can have and blazes with a sort of energy that can't help but to come straight from the heart.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mary Todd - Bone Stock

Those of you in on the Brooklyn scene know that Mary Todd is one of the hottest items in grind right now. They are one of those wonderfully unique bands who are fully aware of how straight up mathy they are but who also revel in the scum. A group who elevate grindcore to a brave new level, their latest offering, Bone Stock is an absolute monster. The sheer aggression here tempered with songwriting elegance is delicious. The band has proven once again they fit alongside bands like Tiger Flowers and Meek Is Murder.

There is something strangely entrancing about Bone Stock. This is an album that has the unbridled aggression of Napalm Death but balances that out with a rumbling bass guitar and atypical drum beats. The sheer technicality of the music is regularly surprising, but it makes sense in the context of a band who have never been afraid to add flashy moments to straight up auditory destruction. While the band certainly has some of the common recording and songwriting limitations of younger groups there is a lot to really sink your teeth into here. The riffs contain a beautiful raw power with more than a few dirty looks to go around, and that's really all you can want.

Wonderfully ADD and chock to the brim with more than a few gnarly ass riffs there are pretty much no other groups out there doing what Mary Todd do. Sure they have peers but few are wiling to make it as purely weird and bring in so many weird and unexpected elements to the schizophrenic sounds found within. Despite this your average grindcore fan is going to get quite a bit out of Bone Stock. What makes it so impressive is that it is a record that stays intelligent without becoming cerebral, taking in all aspects of the genre and balancing them perfectly.

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