Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sons Of Balaur - Tenebris Deos

Gotta love the power of black and roll. It's weird how Season Of Mist, a label normally dedicated to more esoteric music has become one of the premier labels in the field - but I guess that's just how the cookie crumbles. So here were are, jamming a band with a song called "Succubus Slut" which is incredibly rad, delicately refined in the magic of vicious riffs and satanic might. There is a strange beauty to the balls out attack of Tenebris Deos and it hints at so much more to come from these rock and rollers.

I think what gets me about Sons Of Balaur is the sheer quality of the songwriting. Not only does this band understand the importance of a good riff, but they also know how to get songs that ebb and flow, that revel in a certain rock and roll debauchery but also show that these guys are far more intelligent than their iconography might suggest. This is a band who understand that black metal is the way forward and who stomp out tracks, one crushing chord at a time. The invoke many traditional black metal themes and seem to revel in the satanic madness. There is a beautiful intensity to Tenebris Deos that makes for a surprisingly fun listen you are going to want to keep coming back to.

Quite frankly - I could listen to Sons Of Balaur all day - they are just that kind of band. There is a certain bloody beauty to their sound that makes me want to revisit it time and time again, reveling in the murk. Tenebris Deos is vicious, but in many ways strangely transcendent. Songs like The Curse Of Bloodlust suggest to me that there is more to this band than meets the eye and watching them evolve will be a fascinating prospect. Sons Of Balaur might be the future of black and roll, but even if they aren't it's hard not to dig them.

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Darklands, Aneurysm, Tournament & Tower at Shea Stadium

Another night, another show, Bushwick is one of my favorite places to see a show - especially in that neighborhood around the old Acheron, that walk home certainly invokes the memories. As is - Shea Stadium is a very exciting little venue tucked away in one of the countless warehouse spaces that defines that area. So when you get the opportunity to attend the record release parties of two solid bands in one night, Tournament and the almighty Tower you start to see that you are on track for rock and roll salvation. 

Darklands where up first playing a wonderfully suburban brand of pop punk, unafraid to dip into vats of noise and worship the old masters. This is the kind of pop punk that captures the original spirit of the genre, it may not be quite as pissed off as some of their predecessors but that's okay. Instead we get music tailor made for VFW's and back rooms in alternative coffee shops. It certainly tapped into a bit of nostalgia in me. Though they didn't play for long it was hard not to vibe out to what they had done here and made me want to dive back into those old bands, to spin that Menzingers vinyl and look back on our collective youth. 

I was pleasantly surprised by Aneurysm who sound like what would happen if Clutch had debuted on Subpop in 1990 and wanted to be a hardcore band. What I'm trying to say is that Aneurysm exist at a perfect crossroads of rock and roll, hardcore and old school grunge. It's groovy and powerful but also vicious enough to keep you on edge. Aneurysm comprehend the burning magic of rock and roll in all of its formations and grow it in their own, very special and powerful way. This is a band who are riding a powerful wave of rock and roll and seem to be hinting at far better things to come in the very near future. 

The first highlight of the night was Tournament - though I'd never seen them before I was certainly impressed by their latest release Teenage Creature. They deliver some powerful and wonderfully dirty brand of rock and roll that can't help but to resonate. There is a very human pulse to Tournament's music and the deeper you delve into what they have refined the harder it is to turn away from their waves of sound. They draw you in and refuse to let you out of the otherworldly coffin they create. This is cleansing and pure rock and roll at its finest - destined to keep you on the edge of your seat and in love. 

Of course the true triumph of the soiree was Tower, the band who I am quite convinced were sent from the heavens to save rock and roll. This is a band who have the stage presence, the songwriting chops and the sheer manic energy to make the entire genre seem worth it again. In a world where rock and roll often seems flaccid and boring Tower come screaming out with wicked guitar solos, a vicious frontwoman whose voice fucking sparkles and a rhythm section that pushes harder than you thought possible. This is a band who invoke the true spirit of rock and roll, and if they sold their souls for rock and roll I wouldn't be surprised. People go apeshit over Tower and they might be the band to take this entire degenerate scene to a whole new level.

As I walked home I kept repeating to my roommate, "Holy fuck, wasn't Tower amazing?" jumping up and down, unable to contain my excitement. They are the most potent live band I have seen in years and overshadowed everyone else to grace the stage - despite very capable performances on all fronts. Shea Stadium was the perfect venue for this shindig, not only did it remind me of the first time I saw Tower at the Acheron, it also came apart at the seams, showing us that this Brooklyn scene will last for now and forever. 

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sanhedrin, Cauldron and Satan at Webster Hall

Man - your first show back after tour is always a weird experience, especially when you have a lineup as stacked as this one with a killer local, one of your favorite bands who grind away on the road and old school legends. Add in a venue as great as Webster Hall a venue that is both legendary and excellent. It's the kind of place that makes live music work, everything about the venue is ideal for heavy music, especially the Marlin Room which provides couches, great views and top notch sound. This was a fitting return to New York City's triumphant scene.

Sanhedrin are a really exciting Brooklyn based act who find a weird, but surprisingly good balance between space rock and speed metal. There sense of dark and light, while still being polished, is really solid. They have a sort of authoritative rock and roll swagger that hints at great things to come. Yeah they were a bit limited with a limited set in an early time slot, but it doesn't take from the fact that Sanhedrin truly understand the power of rock and roll. This is a band who are going to go for the throat and remind you time and time again that this is exactly what the Brooklyn scene so often needs, a dose of reality.

I've loved Cauldron for years now, and I was thrilled to see that they would be playing some deep cuts - a special treat from a band who thrive on them. Asides from their stunning set closer of "Chained Up In Chains" Cauldron leapt from peak to peak, showcasing all different sides of their discography and playing a handful of songs that I never expected to see them play live. Perhaps best of all, guitarist Ian Chains seems to have largely recovered from the terrifying car accident that the band survived earlier this year. Cauldron prove that the power of rock and roll is infinite and we will always fight on.

I'm not as familiar with Satan's work as I maybe should be, but it's always fun to watch these old NWOBHM bands tear it up, especially when they get to play in front of a crowd of adoring fans. Watching Satan play, a band who has been through so much and around for so long it's obvious that these guys are something special. As they perform you see the years come away and despite the shoddy sound (Or perhaps because of it) you start to feel like you are in a dingy English pub in the early 80s. Last night in New York City Satan captured the music of a movement and it was triumphant.

And so the evening came to a close. I had a cold and had to make my way through that cold unforgiving New York City night back to the gentle streets of a Brooklyn ghetto. Sanhedrin, Cauldron and Satan all hint at an older era of bands - one that many people say is gone, but I disagree. I still think there is hope for rock and roll and we need folks like these to help move it forward. Embrace the darkness, observe the fucked up majesty, and bury yourself in the combined discography of bands who truly 'get it'.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Superjoint - Caught Up In The Gears Of Application

Superjoint are the one and only - the masters of their own reality, the dudes who are going to take the genre to a new level and who play by their own rules. After an extended period of bullshit, Mr Anselmo seems to have come through on top - ready once again to champion his unique brand of no bullshit heavy metal. Caught Up In The Gears Of Application is the sort of metal record that showcases the strongest sides of the genre and shows us that there is a bold future for a band who is putting out their first record in 13 years.

Phil is obviously the focal point of this record, his vocal delivery is stunning, showing off all sides of his range over powerful, grindy riffs that have a sense of forward momentum that is entirely their own. Caught Up In The Gears Of Application is a truly exciting record, an album that explores new sides of the Superjoint sound but also uses that old fashioned New Orleans groove. Superjoint has put together an album that pushes forward relentlessly and refuses to make compromises. Phil brazenly calls out his detractors and shows that no matter what madness surrounds him he will grab it by the motherfucking throat.

So feel the punch in the gut, get caught up in the punishing madness, suffocate on the bloody stump and let yourself suffer under the strain. Caught Up In The Gears Of Application is exactly what it needs to be, raw, vicious and unrelenting. Everything that has made the Phil Anselmo projects great over the past few years is represented here and it shows us that this man is one of the truly great forces in metal. This is a band who grind forward, now and forever. Ready to hit the road and make us suffer maybe it's these guys who will make America great again.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Départe - Failure, Subside

Départe are the kind of band who take the post metal polemic to the next level. Their music is powerful, exciting and full of stunning and subtle melodic content. Failure, Subside is an album that captures the magic of metal in 2016 - it is grandiose and over the top. It has all of the bombast of the 80s but it inserts a lot more of the potency of black metal and even a few touches of symphonic metal. Départe is all about the compositions, and by god, does Failure, Subside have some truly great ones.

This is an album that requires full immersion. If you sit down and chill out you will find yourself exploring exciting new sonic worlds. Failure, Subside is full of rich sounds, orchestral padding and more than a few potent riffs. Even though many of the compositions on this record hover around the eight minute mark Failure, Subside remains engaging. It's rare that a record can have such a dedication to long form content and still maintain interest, but Départe pull it off with aplomb. They convey a certain beauty in their desperation, one that Failure, Subside perfectly captures, time and time again.

There is something strangely mesmerizing about what Départe have done here. Failure, Subside crash forward, invoking amazing soundscapes and allowing you to navigate into worlds you might have never otherwise been exposed to. Départe understand the transcendent beauty of post metal, their clean vocals are soaring and their growls crippling, sure they can push the envelope further, but as is this record is pretty damn intense. There is still a lot to be done though, and I'm very curious to see where it is going to go.

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