Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, January 30, 2015

Blackout - Armageddon

I'm tired, I've got Alestorm tonight and a whole weekend ahead of me. What better thing to motivate me into my Friday night than some good old thrash metal? Wonderfully primitive, oftentims almost demo-like in its conception, Blackout are the kind of thrash band who invoke old school Sodom. Extremely stripped back with yelled vocals and subpar production, Blackout still manage to put together something fairly enjoyable with Armageddon. It's the kind of release that reminds us of our roots and sets us on a path to extinction.

See, Armageddon is fun because its so simple. The vocal lines have a very basic sense of aggression to them which actually touches on something fairly deep within us all. The guitar tone is fairly standard fare, but I feel with a bit more attack they could be doing something truly special. One way that the record does shine is in the guitar lines. The runs,while often scale-oriented are still fun to listen too and feature a couple really cool licks without really becoming fappy. The playing is clean and finely executed. The shredded solos seem like something to come out of a basement, and are made all the better because of it.

At the end of the day, I'm still not sure what to make of Armageddon. But I will say this: if you like simplistic and face ripping thrash, then Blackout is the band for you. What they're doing is straightforward and fun if you want something that will just go straight for the gut. Yes the vocals take a few songs to get in too and some of the riffs feel recycled, but as an early effort Armageddon shows a band with a distinct sound who are excited to start pushing the envelope. Probably worth a spin for any thrasher out there, get out and keep it heavy!

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Sólstafir w/Nordic Giants in Paris (@Le Nouveau Casino, 27/01/2015)

Rushing across Paris as fast as humanly possible, I arrived at Le Nouveau Casino last thuesday with the firm determination of not missing out on a single song that evening. As I took the time to catch my breath, I stepped into the venue to find the room absolutely jam-packed with people.  With both French dates marked as sold-out, it seems pretty clear that, in light of last years’ unfortunate tour cancellation, Solstafir’s concert had been long-awaited by French fans.

Opening for the Icelandic quartet was a post-rock band named Nordic Giants. The duo took to the stage wearing tribal clothes and masks covered in feathers foreshadowing the importance of the visual aspect of the bands' performance. Making use of the stages' backdrop as well as a TV screen placed at the front of the stage, the bands' music acted as a score for various short films, embarking every single audience member on a poetic voyage beyond reality to explore the endless wonders of human imagination.
The band visibly took great care in turning their shows into a perfectly cohesive show, as the compositions were perfectly fitted to bring each short film to life, creating an incredibly immersive experience. With one anonymous musician handling keyboards and the occasional trumpet sections on one hand, and the other taking care of percussions and guitar duties, the band managed to create an impressively rich, larger-than-life quality with their climactic songs.  Each song had its beautiful and haunting melodies within rich compositions paced with superb crescendos and outbursts of thunderous drum grooves. The second half of their set marked the appearance of a few sampled guest vocalists who were brilliantly incorporated into the scenery of each cinematic piece.
In short, Nordic Giants provided us with an incredibly beautiful musical and visual experience to which I can only respond to by giving my highest praise. For any fans of cinematic post-rock from the likes of Maybeshewill or God is an astronaut, I highly recommend checking out this band and looking out for their upcoming performances.

Then came the time for tonights' headling act to mark their long awaited return to Le Nouveau Casino. Starting things off with the moody intro Náttfari off their now 10 year old album Masterpiece of Bitterness, it did not take more than the first few notes for the band to instantly mesmerize their entire audience with their unique sonicscapes of unfathomable beauty. Following the brief intro, the band went straight to business by hitting off with the excellent Köld, off their album of the same name. With the exception of 1 more song off each of the aforementioned albums, the bands' set will go on to feature exclusively songs off their last 2 records, with an emphasis on their latest full-length effort: Ótta.
Anyone having witnessed a live show by the Icelandic quartet must understand how captivating it was to see and hear these majestic compositions come to life before our very eyes. As every song drew to a close, the sound of every instrument would gradually die out to eventually leave way for the five or six seconds of silence from an audience completely taken away. I found myself deeply moved every time every song would fade into these lulling moments of silence followed by thunderous cheers from the audience, these brief fragile moments during which everyone slowly returns to the present moment after having been carried far, far away.
The sound of wailing bowed guitars and magnificent, roaring reverberated leads echoing across the venue were complemented by what I can only qualify as a perfect vocal performance. Not only staying pitch-perfect, Aðalbjörn "Addi" Tryggvaso's powerful live vocals convey an incredible amount of raw emotion on every song. I've even spotted a couple of audience members that were so moved during the gig that they would occasionally break into tears of joy.
Other than that, the show had a few moments during which some instruments weren't audible enough (most notably the banjo and the rhythm guitar), but needless to say that these minor issues did little to bother, let alone compromise the band's absolutely stellar performance.

In short, Tuesdays’ gig at Le Nouveau Casino was one of top-quality performances for both bands. With Nordic Giant's awe inspiring cinematic post-rock set and Solstafir’s powerfully engaging take on post-metal, this was certainly not an evening to miss out on. For any fans that happened to have missed out on this sold-out gig, I can only suggest you pay close attention to both bands' future tour dates.


Nordic Giants 

Official Website


Nordic Giants Setlist 

1. (Unknown)     (film - "Lunar" by Tyson Wade Johnston)
2. Mechanical Minds     (film - "The Gift" by Carl Erik Rinsch)
3. The Seed     (film - "Death of an Insect"… more )
4. Through a Lens Darkly     (film - "The Last Breath" by David Jackson)
5. Néoténie     (film - "Reload" by Jodeb)
6. Together     (film - "Pencilhead" by
7. Little Bird     (film - "Solipsist" by Andrew Thomas Huang)
8. (Unknown)
Outro (film - "The Last Breath" final scene)



Sólstafir setlist
1. Náttfari
2. Köld
3. Lágnætti
4. Rismál
5. Ótta
6. Svartir Sandar
7. Djákninn
8. Dagmál
9. 78 Days in the Desert
10. Fjara
11. Goddess of the Ages

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Black Pussy - Magic Mustache

Black Pussy. Now there is a band named to be reckoned with. I've been familiar with this groups work for a while via friends on the West Coast, but I think this might be the first time I listened to a record of theirs all the way through. I am happy to report that the songs found on their latest full length Magic Mustache. Groove heavy and chock to the brim with all kinds of magical riffs, Black Pussy have managed to put together a record that is exciting and emotionally powerful, hard rock for a modern age.

See, in this world there is a lot to hate and so little that can be taken to remind us of our past and guide us forward. That's why Black Pussy exists, to excite the listener and guide them forth into a world that is familiar, and lal the more powerful because of it. Sure the whole world sucks and no one will sleep with us, but guess what? We have the holy riffs that Black Pussy seem to toss about nonchalantly. These are songs that will liberate you and allow you to find a sense of freedom in all the bullshit and darkness that we have to deal with on a day to day basis. As the world looks down, take Magic Mustache with you when you throw your shit back at it. This is glorious primal rebellion in its purest form.

Black Pussy have tapped into something wonderfully primal with this record and it's going to keep you thinking for many a spin. There are chaotic layers of noise that make this record have an incredible wall of sound. The sense of drive that dominates this record pushes you through, listen after listen, and it seems nearly impossible to stop. Let your heart open up and fall into the void, because Black Pussy want you to understand, this world was not meant for you, but they can help you feel at home in it.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Antigone Project - S/T

In a surprisingly short time Antigone Project has become a fixture of the French alternative scene, perhaps highlighting this bands power is their new EP, Antigone Project, four songs of liberating and spacey rock, this record is the kind of thing that represents a weird new direction that rock and roll has started to develop in in recent years. Distinctly French and fun to listen too time after time, this is an interesting record to spin and will certainly appease fans who are after a brainier variation on what is, after all, Chuck Berry's music.

Antigone Project have the sort of beautiful compositions that capture the imagination and let the heart fly. Yet it is all underscored by touches of rock that simply can't be denied. Despite the neo-classical elements that make this record so classy, there is just a touch of grit keeping things destructive. the synths have just enough edge to them that you have to wonder what Antigone Project are really on about and if they might just accidentally destroy the world. There is a clear sense of drive on this EP and one that keeps it interesting for multiple listens. These guys have managed to craft a very iconoclastic and distinct sound, one that will keep you inspired for many a spin.

At the end of the day, Antigone Project is the sort of thing that proves to me rock and roll will never die. These are the boys who seem destined to bring music to a new level. Sure it may not be rock in the traditional sense, hell it's not aggressive or angry really, but it speaks to the heart and that's all that matters. Out there and ready to break rules that you didn't even know existed, Antigone Project are lending legitimacy to twenty first century popular music and giving us a reason to look to the stars for guidance.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

One Last Shot - First Gear

First Gear cover art

Groovy Pantera derived hard rock, One Last Shot is the kind of music that makes me think of nights in bars smelling of cigarettes, beers, and fake boobs (They have a smell, I swear!) One Last Shot have managed to distill the sort of profound and powerful beauty that these places have into their music. Though they have yet to really break, they show that they are full of potential and are the kind of band who seem ready to rip your face off with their new EP, the ever memorable First Gear a rock and roll record that could only have come out in 2015.

There is something distinctly modern about this record. While the groove is definitely  primary aspect to this record, there's a lot of brutal moments that give us a tasty death metal twist. A sort of heavier version of Pantera, One Last Shot have the ability to crank out tracks that will leave you on bended knee, a slave not just to groove, but anthems that will make you smile and bang your head. Songs like Prophesick are wonderfully constructed and will capture your imagination. They reflect the deeper power of rock and roll and have proved to me that this is a band who not only have a clear artistic vision, but also a iconoclastic way of delivering it.

A sort of culmination of what rock and roll deserves to be in 2015, First Gear is a fun listen if nothing else. One Last Shot will rip your head off and bury it in the dirt as your body thrashes around, loving every minute of high energy rock masterworks like Skateboard Song. These guys understand what's been missing in rock and roll music these last few years and reinvigorate it with heavy riffs and a sense of fun. One Last Shot seem destined to go places, so why don't you hop along for the ride!

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