Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Beelzefuzz - The Righteous Bloom

Beelzefuzz are one of those bands that I always think are way bigger than yet actually are. Part of this is because they are goddamn amazing and part of it is because their name already suggests a degree of greatness. Their latest offering The Righteous Bloom is eleven tracks of righteous stoner doom that plays to the strengths of the genre, and while it doesn't necessarily set any new standard for what stoner metal can be, it certainly makes for an engaging and distinct listen that will keep you coming back.

The Righteous Bloom is actually a rather addictive listen. Beelzefuzz have a sort of tripped out aesthetic that is wholly their own and it is surprisingly fun to dive into it and enjoy all that it stand for. Even though The Righteous Bloom totally plays into more traditional stereotypes of what stoner metal can be it's hard not to fall in love with their chilled out vibes. The half shouted/half sung vocals are a high point - they bring a strangely earthy magic to the table an help to cement the bands place as chilled out intergalactic space warriors. The Righteous Bloom is a reassuring listen and one that all but forces you to keep coming back.

With this record Beelzefuzz have distilled the power of stoner doom into just a few tracks and give you something to sit back and chill out too. The Righteous Bloom is a monster of an album, a record that encourages you to taste the forbidden fruit again and again and which speaks to the fundamental magic of heavy metal music. The Righteous Bloom is a stone cold stunner. It shows an understanding of the genre that far exceeds the bands peers and nails the hammer back into your flesh time after glorious time.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

The Decline - Are You Gonna Eat That?

It's a skate punk band named after the 19 minute long NOFX song. If you can't get behind this shit then I don't think we can be friends. The Decline are absolute masters of the skate punk craft - these Australians use their latest offering, Are You Gonna Eat That? to show us that there is still a lot to be said in pop punk. Sure they ape NOFX - but they do it incredibly fucking well, and Are You Gonna Eat That? is one of the most fun albums that I have had a chance to spin for this blog in a good long while - it might even make it onto my iPod.

See, I think the beauty of The Decline is that they know exactly what kind of music they want to make and they make it incredibly well. They are hard rockers, dudes who like to have fun, and who grew up listening to Fat Mike. So there music consequently has that same strange power that NOFX's does - in fact this is far more relevant than anything there ancestors have done in years. Are You Gonna Eat That? creates its own void. It represents a distinctly Australian brand of skate punk. There whole approach to songwriting has a distinct sensibility that fits into old paradigms and is endlessly satisfying.

So yeah - I just want to have fun and listen to loud music. That's exactly what The Decline offer, and I fucking love it. Are You Gonna Eat That? is anthemic, exciting and speaks to a generation who need punk rock heroes of their own. It's an album that shows us that their is a future for the skate punk genre and that sometimes if you just want to put on a beanie and do some siqq tricks off of the stairs at the park there is still a place for you. So come along, dive into a band who you can't help but to love and who will bring you back time after time.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Myrkur - Mausoleum

A lot has been written about Myrkur in the last few years and I don't feel any need to tap into that. I like her music, she's not a Nazi and that's all there is to it as far as I'm concerned. The point being - I wasn't really expecting her to put out an acoustic live album, and yet here she is, and she has pulled it off with aplomb. Mausoleum is an interesting listen, and one that captures all of the inherently bizarre magic of Myrkur's sound. She's an anomaly in the metal world - but she seems to be doing well for herself. Call it hipster black metal all you like, the songs here are all damn good.

The re-arrangements of the music into acoustic versions is extremely well done - and Myrkur, backed up by the Norwegian Girls Choir does justice to the power of the music. It fits perfectly into the growing trend of black metal musicians creating acoustic music, and acoustic musicians becoming popular in the black metal set. The music is stunning though. There is a haunting power to what Myrkur has done here - compounded by the fact that the whole thing was recorded in a tomb. As I'm sure you are starting to notice - when an eclectic and brilliant musician like Myrkur does something she never goes halfway.

I love eerie acoustic music, so I am by default a little bit biased here. Myrkur has always had a special place in my hart due to her ability to craft heart wrenching melodies that just work. She represents a way forward for black metal that builds in a concrete way on Agalloch and Ulver. Her use of choral work even sees her introducing new paradigms that make sense in the context. If you can't get behind all that she has done on Mausoleum then the next wave of black metal simply won't be for you.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Worshipper - Shadow Hymns

My brain is fried - let's be up front about that right now. That being said - Tee Pee Records rule so I kind of feel obligated to scrawl down some words about their latest offering, the dynamic, the titanic Shadow Hymns the most recent release from the Worshipper camp. A strong stoner doom record, the band has a penchant for slightly silly, always bombastic lyrics and clearly understands the modern doom polemic. Even though they play into a lot of tropes they do it well, making for a fun repeat listen.

One thing I can say about Worshipper is that they have an incredible understanding of modern stoner rock riffing. The execution on a song like Step Behind is absolutely flawless and shows all that the band are capable of. It's just frustrating to me that the band has such a fondness for cheesy lyrics. It leaves me wanting more and feeling like this band is rather entry level (Not that that's a bad thing) Still - there is something charismatic to the inherent bombast of Shadow Hymns it gives the entire album a sense of fun and makes me want to come back to it. In a world where stoner doom has become a very serious thing for some fucking reason, Worshipper provide release.

With strong performances throughout (The vocals are absolutely stunning!) I feel like Worshipper are starting to really come into their own. These guys are clearly incredibly talented musicians and listening to the solos alone gets me excited. They have perfectly processed the music of people like Pentagram and turned it into what is very much their own interpretation of classic ideas. I want to love Worshipper more than I do - but I get the distinct impression that as they grow it will become impossible to deny their might.

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Final Sign - Hold High The Flame

Final Sign are waaaaay too much fucking fun for a Monday night being spent feeling sad with my cat. They are the rare US power metal band where the musicians can actually play and are clearly part of something larger than themselves. Their latest offering Hold High The Flame is exciting and powerful, chock full of potent riffs and epic vocals. It shows us a band on the verge of greatness, still refining their sound but clearly possessing all the talent required to truly, and definitively succeed in 2016.

Hold High The Flame is, when the band plays to their strengths, one of the best power metal records of the year. When they do the things they are not so great at... the album suffers. As I put it to one friend, "I love it when the singer imitates Dickinson and hate when he imitates D'Ianno" The dude has some amazing fucking pipes - I don't understand why he doesn't take full advantage of them. Otherwise - in terms of songwriting, when the band goes balls out and epic things are majestic, some of the thrashier and punkier riffs feel a little out of place. But Final Sign is still growing - and things are clearly very exciting in their camp!

This is a record that represents all that the US power metal scene can be and shows us that there is a path to greatness in a scene that is so often ruined by 16 year olds who don't know what they are doing. old High The Flame is, if nothing else, a fun listen, and one that is a veritable tour de force of a band starting to seriously find its stride. Just listen to the high energy riffing on the title track - it's impossible to deny that Final Sign aren't on to something special here. They understand why this music is and always will be exciting and that's a damn good reason to listen. 

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