Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Brother Strange - Witch Slayer

Stoner rock is interesting to me because even as we see a glut in the market we also see that people are trying harder than ever to carve out their own specific niche. Such is the case with Brother Strange, whose latest EP, Witch Slayer certainly serves to advance their breed of so called 'Wild West Texas Stoner Metal.' With massive guitars that are reminiscent of bands like Plainride and almost Sabbathian vocals, the band revels in the murk and crafts hard hitting and frequently hard partying rock and roll.

Witch Slayer continually impresses because it overcomes many of its limitation, namely the production and the relatively short run time, in order to prove that they are something greater. This is a band who continually push over the top. There is a certain bombastic magic to a track like album opener 'Scorpion King' that makes it hard to turn this band off. Sure not everything is perfectly executed but that doesn't really matter when you're having a good time letting it rip with the Brother Strange guys. Witch Slayer might not come loaded with surprises, but what it does have is fun riffs and crippling grooves.

Brother Strange don't get lost in the self gratifying nonsense that makes so much stoner rock insufferable. Every track on Witch Slayer has a clear direction and even the silliest moments (I'm looking at you 'Love Trooper') have a certain pomp that makes them fun and over the top rather than sad and weird. Witch Slayer is a huge step up for the band and though they still haven't quite lived up to their potential, Brother Strange continually crunch forward with a smirk on their collective lips. Who can't get behind that?

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Wesenwille - I: Wesenwille

Dutch black metal seems to really be having a moment right now. The entire spectrum of the genre is represented too with bands embracing both the symphonic metal of Carach Angren to the avant garde post black metal magic of Laster. Wesenwille are another welcome addition to the pack with their hard hitting sound and modern take on the genre.With a clear lyrical direction and an ability to paint some truly potent soundscapes this duo has rapidly made an impression on me and hinted at much more to come.

Inspired by the concepts of Ferdinand Tönnies’ work Gemeinschaft & Gesellschaft, which essentially embrace the notion of how humans protect each other in small societies but act selfishly in big ones, I: Wesenwille is a bit more thoughtful than your average black metal release. Rather than just stopping at 'the world sucks and religion is evil' as many of their peers do, I: Wesenwille sees the band embrace scathing deconstructions. With avant garde touches worthy of Altar of Plagues decorating these tracks and pushing these heartfelt messages ever forward it becomes hard to deny the bands staying power. 

I: Wesenwille is one of the more impressive debuts to rage out of the Dutch black metal scene in a hot minute. The way they spit bile and then counterbalance with potent and darkly arpeggiated passages continually speaks to what Wesenwille are about. There is a clear direction with the songwriting here and the more time that I spend with I: Wesenwille the more that it gives to me sonically and emotionally. With touches of punk inveigling upon stately black metal, there is much more to Wesenwille than initially meets the eye.

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Finsterforst - Zerfall

Finsterforst have long been one of my favorite bands in the folky black metal underground. It's been four years since their last release Mach Dich Frei. Now they are back with Zerfall the fifth full length from the Germans. This is a record that is consistently a head and shoulders above its peers, nicely straddling both the worlds of pagan black metal and a slightly more mainstream sound. Though some of us were thrown by their 2016 covers EP, #YOLO it feels like the band is back with something reflecting their grandiose roots.

What gets me about Zerfall is the overall quality of the arrangements. There is something simply poetic about the composition on a track like 'Ecce Homo' it really allows you to get lost in the soundscapes presented. Finsterforst consistently go above and beyond here pointing at bold sonic futures and angling towards something greater. In other words, it feels like exactly the sort of masterwork that we have come to expect from a band who built their name on black metal bombast and a deep understanding of the magic of the German forests. What more could a lover of dark and heavy music ask for?

As a general rule the quality of the performances here is once more a step forward from previous output of the band. In particular the clean vocals seem to have obtained a certain majesty that simply wasn't there on their previous output. Zerfall is a mesmerizing release through and through and there are some serious peaks here. I will be impressed if the band ocntinue to build on what they've done here - it's just an impressive record thorugh and through, it makes sense why it took them so long to put it together. Dig in, the forest is calling.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Sadokist - Necrodual Dimension Funeral Storms

Finland has this wonderfully depraved blackened death and thrash metal underground. There are all manner of twisted bands rising up from the murk in order to cast out unholy blasphemes. The lo fi and raw magic of the second full length from Sadokist only adds to this pit of primordial evil. Necrodual Dimension Funeral Storms is a masterful release, routinely pushing the band towards ever more depraved twists in the myth. Sadokist have gone for the throat with this one, cackling as they drag you kicking and screaming to hell.

Necrodual Dimension Funeral Storms fascinates because of its ability to routinely get a little bit more depraved than you thought possible. This is a band who very much ape the first wave of black metal but do it with a sort of bloodthirsty knuckle dragging intensity. One need look no further than the copious spikes in their promo shots to see that this is a band who are enamored with the over the top magic of back metal. Tracks like 'Orgy or Crime' build on this attitude of carefree destruction. It makes for compelling listening from a band who seem to revel in the fact that every song feels like it's about to fall apart.

Sadokist are a fun listen if you are into their brand of Satan worshipping blackened thrash metal. Yes at times it's primitive and even borderline silly, but that's sort of why we listen to this music. Sadokist have been honing their take on this type of music since 2007 and Necrodual Dimension Funeral Storms stands out as another gem in their crown. Certainly a record worth multiple listens and one that shows these guys will always be enamored with the spit in your face magic of metal, fans of Hells Headbangers will not be disappointed.

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Cliterati - Ugly Truths/Beatuiful Lies

Cliterati have long been one of my favorite West coast punk bands. Their mix of genres and sneering attach is fun to listen too, coming up in a scene of hard hitting bands that Tankcrimes seems to crank out with glee. Their latest offering, Ugly Truths/Beautiful Lies is fifteen tracks of fun and over the top political punk fury. With anthemic choruses, ('Unfuck The System' is a particular standout) and direct callouts of entites like FOX News, it's hard not to have any sort of appreciation for punk rock and not be at least a little bit enamored with what Cliterati are doing here.

There is a sort of crazed desperation here that comes from being marginalized in an increasingly oppressive society. Cliterati are looking at the problems facing America today not as ivory tower liberal observers but as people who have to wade through the shitstorm that is this country every single day. It's rare that you find a band who can communicate nuanced political opinions without being art rock nerds, but Cliterati manage to find a balance and continually impress. This is straight up some of the best written punk rock that I have heard come out of the US scene in years and that serves to make Ugly Truths/Beautiful Lies all the more addictive.

Punk rock needs fury to keep it alive. Cliterati have that fury. There is a rage here, a tormented hate that seems to drive every single thing that they do. In an era where punk rock has frequently lost its edge or has simply spent too much time in art school its refreshing to find a group who emphasize black and white art alongside DIY ethics. While in some ways Ugly Truths/Beautiful Lies could be seen as belonging to a bygone era of punk their message is distinctly 2019 and should certainly not be ignored.

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