Trial, Sisters Of The Moon (Metal Blade Records 2021)

The new vocalist for Sweden’s metal band Trial debuts on an EP of cover tunes.

Trial (sometimes Trial (swe) ) has been honing their approach to heavy metal for ten years, most recently with the well-received Motherless (2017). The song writing and musical style has evolved over the years, and the solid guitar-driven metal on this new EP is a tantalizing preview of things to come. The members of Trial are Arthur W. Andersson (vocals), Alexander Ellström (guitar), Andreas Johnsson (guitar), Andreas Olsson (bass), and Martin Svensson (drums).

The first song, “Sisters Of The Moon,” is a Fleetwood Mac cover from Tusk. That’s right, Tusk. It might be lost to history now, but that album was the follow-up to the absolutely unfollowable Rumours. There was nothing Fleetwood Mac could have done at the time to get people to like Tusk (or any other album they might have released then) as much as they loved Rumours, no matter how good it was. Interesting, then, that Trial picked this one of all Fleetwood Mac songs to cover. They have laid the metal in heavy compared to the original and this new versions pulses with energy and life.

The second track is less of a surprise. More of an homage to Geezer Butler than to Tony Iommi, this cover of Black Sabbath’s “Die Young” would have pleased Ronnie James Dio, I think. Thankfully the airy, dream sequence from the original is a little less onerous here. Don’t get me wrong – I love this song, and Heaven and Hell was a great album. It was also the first one without Ozzy Osbourne so it continues to be bitter on my tongue. This new version is a banger, just like the original. And there is something cathartic in a way about an EP that pairs a Black Sabbath song with Fleetwood Mac song. Recommended.

Available on January 29th, Metal Blade has the goods (link below).

Links.

Bandcamp, https://trialheavymetal.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TrialHeavyMetal

Metal Blade, https://www.metalblade.com/trial/

Trial, Sisters Of The Moon (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Bleach Everything, Bound / Cured (Dark Operative 2021)

Tighten up your wig because this one is a quick, hard punch right to the mouth.

Bleach everything began in 2012 as a band with a central locus of Richmond, Virginia. Changes and evolution ensued, and a few years ago they also started a magazine – check out their website (link below) to see what some of that content looks like. The taproot is punk with hardcore capillaries, but they do sound different from the store brand. The band’s discography shows a good list of 7 inchers, splits, and the well-known RFTCC (2019). The band is Ryan Parrish (drums), Brent Eyestone (vocals), Kelly Posadas (bass), and Graham Scala (guitar).

“Bound” has a chorus that teeters on the melodic, existing like an idyllic island surrounded by rough waters. “Cured” does that, too, and so we have a theme carried out in two pieces over the course of less than three minutes. It is punk and maybe hardcore, but there is this modulating factor I am talking about that gives it a different ring.

The press releases reads, in part, thusly. “Thematically, ‘Bound’ explores the uncertainty of luck and life and never truly knowing how it can, will, and can still shake out. ‘Cured’ addresses the notion of figuring out how one must come to terms with the truth before death takes care of the task.” I can’t disagree with this assessment. What I got out of it went off in rather a different direction and came from just letting the sounds roil over me. You do it your way.

Pre-order the digital for two bucks or the x-ray flexi disc for three bucks via the Bandcamp link — they’ll be out this coming Friday. This one is for fans more than newbies, and the fans are going to like it.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://bleacheverything.bandcamp.com/

Website, https://www.bleacheverything.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/BleachEverything

Dark Operative, https://darkops.site/

Bleach Everything, Bound / Cured (Dark Operative 2021)

Nervosa, Perpetual Chaos (Napalm Records 2021)

The thrash is verily raging from the new metal set by Nervosa.

Nervosa began in São Paulo, Brazil just over ten years ago. Brandishing a rugged version of classic Thrash, the band released three albums over the years, the new one making four. Founder and guitarist Prika Amaral is joined by three new musicians for Perpetual Chaos: Diva Satanica (aka, Rocío Vázquez, on vocals), Mia Wallace (bass), and Eleni Nota (drums). It is a truly international band, with the three new members hailing from Spain, Italy, and Greece.

The new set is made up of thirteen songs – that’s a good number. Brevity is the call sign with these three minute furies, speeding as they do to bowl you over before you can tell what hit you.

“Venomous” is the no-nonsense opener that cracks and zips with fist punching riffs, blast beats, and a rollicking lead break. The vocals snarl into the Death Metal range, adding a sinister touch to the sound that matches well with the wicked themes – witness the next song, “”Guided By Evil.” Apart from the ever-present up-tempo, there are a lot of approachable hooks and fan-pleasing choruses that’ll be great live when the crowd sings along. The pressure is on all the way to the final track, “Under Ruins,” which, itself, is one my favorites.

There are a few guest appearances to add to the variety and season the mix, including by Guilherme Miranda (Revolta), Schmier (Destruction), and Erik A. K. Knutson (Flotsam and Jetsam). The album is imminently listenable and bears re-spinning at its end. The newest incarnation of Nervosa has definitely thrown down the gauntlet with this one. Recommended.

Perpetual Chaos is out now. All sorts of versions and merchandise are available at the Napalm Records site. The band has its own store, too, and there is always Bandcamp. Consider yourself hooked up.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://nervosa-brazil.bandcamp.com/

Website, https://nervosaofficial.com/website/english-home/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/nervosa

Napalm Records, https://napalmrecords.com/english/nervosa.html

Nervosa, Perpetual Chaos (Napalm Records 2021)

Coffins, Defilements (HPGD 2021)

The new compilation from Japan’s Coffins scoops together nearly two hours of out-of-print musical pieces from across almost ten years of work.

Coffins has an astonishingly long list of releases dating back to 2000 including splits, EPs, live albums, LPs, compilations … you name it. The music is a Death/Doom Metal amalgam that takes a grind-you-down approach to melody. The Metal Archives lists the member as Uchino (guitar), Satoshi (drums), Jun Tokita (vocals), and Masafumi Atake (bass).

Defilements gathers together materials from five EPs that have been out of print for a while: Craving To Eternal Slumber (2015), Noise Room Sessions 2014 (2016), March Of Despair (2012), Sewage Sludgecore Treatment(2012), and Live At Asakusa Deathfest 2016 (2017).

It is out now, and you can get the digital, CD, and merch at Bandcamp. If you missed a couple of these beauties when they first appeared, now is the time to make amends. It will press the pain right out of your brain. Recommended.

Links

Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/defilements

Website, http://www.coffins.jp/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/intothecoffin

Coffins, Defilements (HPGD 2021)

Miss Lava, Doom Machine (Small Stone Records 2021)

Lisbon psychedelic rockers Miss Lava release their first full-length album in five years, Doom Machine.

Miss Lava has been lighting up stages in Portugal and across Europe for almost fifteen years. They play a feisty blend of heavy psychedelic rock with broad appeal and crossover atomism. The new one is their fourth LP, and they have released a couple of EPs as well. The band is: Johnny Lee (vocals), J. Garcia (drums), K. Raffah (guitar), and Ricardo Ferreira (bass, vocals).

Doom Machine has twelve tracks with eight primaries connected by brief interstitial elements. There are also three bonus tracks on the CD and digital versions. The opener is the rousing “Fourth Dimension” that lays down a super fuzzy high energy riff supported by pelting percussion. It has a catchy pop sensibility that labels this one a single for sure. “The Mire” follows and has a more solemn, mystical feel to it and psychedelic desert flavors. “Magma” is a tantalizing bridge guitar bit leading to the second movement of three songs, each working a different angle and conveying an alternate perspective.

The second set of six tracks have a somewhat different feel to my ears, more exploratory with a deeper kind of emotional venting. I am especially drawn to “The Fall” and the title track for these reasons, with the latter going full-on spaced-out at its end, warping the set into infinity. The bonus tracks are great, too – not leftovers or throwaways, they are up-tempo and surging songs that exist in their own space and at the same time enhance the album as a vital part of the whole. Recommended.

The CD and digital versions of Doom Machine come from Small Stone Records and there is vinyl at Kozmik Artifactz.

Band photo by José Dinis.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/doom-machine

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MissLavaOfficial

Small Stone Records, https://smallstone.com/artist/miss-lava/

Kozmic Artifactz, http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/

Miss Lava, Doom Machine (Small Stone Records 2021)

Sumeru, Blood Ordinance (Brilliant Emperor 2021)

Australian metal band Sumeru reveal their first new music since 2018 with Blood Ordinance.

For more than ten years Sumeru has been playing metal. They are typically labeled a Doom or Stoner band, but they often play up-tempo, even speedy music, and on the new release high velocity is very much in evidence. They have published two full-length albums so far, Holy Lands (2014) and Summon Destroyer (2018) to complement their self-title demo from 2013. Blood Ordinance features new vocalist Jake Willoughby, and it is an excellent introduction.

There are two songs on the EP. “Cold Chamber” leans way over on the Death Metal side with its up-tempo opening and outwardly challenging vocals and percussion. It is a genuine aural throttling. It does slow down about three and a half minutes in, layering more standard Doom filaments in the channels. The final minute is a beautiful, solemn outro. “Foundry of Dread” also starts out as a banger and never lets up. If you are waiting for the song to turn over to disquiet and foreboding haunts you are out of luck. It is fierce all the way through.

The EP is out now and when you buy it from Brilliant Emperor you get three digital bonus tracks. There is no mention of the bonus tracks on the Bandcamp page, so I’m not sure what happens there. The previously unreleased bonus tracks are reported to be “Blood Ordinance,” “Kingdom,” and “Spines.” Recommended.

Links.

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sumeruband

Bandcamp, https://sumeru.bandcamp.com/

Label, https://brilliantemperor.bigcartel.com/

Sumeru, Blood Ordinance (Brilliant Emperor 2021)

Wedge, Like No Tomorrow (Heavy Psych Sounds Records 2021)

The cover art for the new Wedge album is a burning fire extinguisher. That is poetry and the perfect sign for the band’s third set.

Wedge first appeared in Berlin as is made up of Kiryk Drewinski (guitar, vocals), Holger Grosser (drums), and Dave Götz (bass, keys). They play a bluesy heavy psych that puts you in mind of bands like Kadaver, Blues Pills, a little bit like Lucifer maybe, and heavy on the jam. Every song eventually gets around to a solid slab of groove, and that is what cements Wedge in my mind. There were two albums before the new one, starting with the self-titled one in 2014, followed by Killing Tongue in 2018.

Rooted in 1970s rock sensibilities, the eight songs on Like No Tomorrow are a swim through nostalgia while the currents of modern fuzz undulate against you with variegated fervor. The music is absolutely solid while maintaining a relaxed DIY feel to it. There is some social commentary in the lyrics and you can make as little or as much of them as you like because it is the music that is going to be in the forefront of your mind when you listen.

The first song is “Computer,” and it starts with a jazzy vamp on the keys and a pulsing guitar riff. The vocals set me on an Atlanta Rhythm Section spiral is the best possible way. A couple of great bridges later there is the first guitar solo and you know you are in the right place. “Playing A Role” opts for the guitar up front and the thumping bass line lays the rail for a catchy tune that in another time could have been a big radio hit. Each song all the way through has its own perspective and identity.

There are a couple of tracks in the three minute range but most run four to five, breaking the music up nicely. The anchor piece is the nine minute “Soldier.” In the long form, Wedge keeps the ingenuity at full force and stretches out in a further exploration of themes and individuations. I am glad I took the trip. Wedge is going to be in my playlists from now on. Recommended.

Like No Tomorrow is out now, and the easiest buy in the US is the digital download at Bandcamp. Heavy Psych Sounds Records does have an on-line US shop (link below) and you can pick up vinyl there.

Band photo snagged from their Facebook page.

Links.

Website, https://www.wedgeband.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/wedgeband

Bandcamp, https://wedgeband.bandcamp.com/

Label, https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm

Wedge, Like No Tomorrow (Heavy Psych Sounds Records 2021)

Unbounded Terror, Infernal Judgment (Xtreem Music 2021)

Early 1990s Spanish Death Metal band Unbounded Terror offers up a vigorous assault on your senses.

Thirty years ago the band came together in Mallorca, Spain. It was the early days of Death Metal there, and they quickly joined the ranks of well-regarded heavy bands. Nest Of Affliction came out in 1992, but the band parted ways shortly afterward due to musical differences. These things happen. The resurrection was last year with the well-received Faith In Chaos.

Infernal Judgment is a compilation that includes one new song, the title track released earlier as a single, three live recordings of songs from Faith In Chaos, and four re-recorded songs from the band’s debut album. It has been a little more than a calendar year since the re-entry album so it is nice to have this new material.

The single is the big news, and it is a thunderclap of ravaging menace. The signature sound is there, and we can take it as a sign of things to come. Fast and urgent, the melodic signatures are intermingle alongside the clever hooks and pummeling rhythm. The re-recorded songs are “Dreamlord,” “Fear,” “Slaves of Sufferage,” and “Sarcastic Souls.” A lot of metal bands are doing this, and the main advantage of re-tracking old songs is the improvement in recording technology and possibly cleaning up some odds and ends from the early originals. These new versions are definitely crisper than the initial recordings. The live tracks are “They Will Come From The Pain,” “Silent Soul,” and “Hated In Hell,” and they sound great. The presentations are consistent with the studio versions but with renewed energy and the magic and madness that live music creates.

The album is scheduled to be out now and is available in digital download, CD, cassette, and vinyl versions. Check out the band’s own website for more info on what they are up to, and buy the music and merch through Bandcamp. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/infernal-judgment

Band website, http://www.unboundedterror.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/UnboundedTerror

Unbounded Terror, Infernal Judgment (Xtreem Music 2021)

Transcending Obscurity Sampler (2021)

It is a new year so that means a new label sampler from Transcending Obscurity.

This label has released some of the best heavy around. In 2020, FFMB covered several of their albums including the amazing Jupiterian, Heads For The Dead, and Revolting releases. 2021 has just as much promise, and the music that has already been announced will freeze you in your tracks.

The sampler itself has 38 songs on it and it is absolutely massive – some songs are a full album side, like “Reverential Silence” by Arch which runs 15:30 and “Secret Powers Entrenched in an Ancient Artefact” by Eremit that goes for more than 18 minutes. The breakdown by genre according to the label is: Tracks 1-22 – death metal/grind/crust, Tracks 23-26 – technical/brutal death metal, Tracks 27-33 – black metal, and Tracks 34-38 – doom/sludge metal. There has to be something here you like. And it is all new music. Check out the full list at the link below.

The sampler is available now and it is FREE – name your price at Bandcamp (link below). How can you pass on this? You can’t. Highly recommended.

Link.

Bandcamp, https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/album/2021-label-sampler

Transcending Obscurity Sampler (2021)

Kabbalah, The Omen (Rebel Waves Records 2021)

Kabbalah are brewing a psychedelic elixir in their cauldron of dreams and it is called The Omen.

The trio from Pamplona, Spain creates music that is a fascinating amalgam of contemporary fuzzy doom matched to a seventies-era rock passed through a grungy sifting machine where unexpected elements latch on, including beautiful melodic vocals and eerie themes and harmonies. The band has released a few EPs, as well as the full-length album Spectral Ascent (2017), leading up to the new one, The Omen.

The album is described in the band’s press release in part as an “occult rock grimoire where sticky melodies, funerary riffs and haunting vocals come together.” All of these things are true. I can think of a couple of bands from the past that appear to be clear influences on Kabbalah, but I have never heard anything quite like the music they make so let’s set those other names aside.

Some of the songs have a sharper edge, like the opener “Stigmatized” with its gravelly guitars, and “The Ritual,” which comes across more directly serious and dramatic. Much of the music is very laid back and hypnotic, with clearer seventies-inspired guitar tones and lovely, lilting vocals, as in “The Night Comes Near.” The echoing whispers and urging rhythms in “Labyrinth” come back to you at night when you are falling asleep, and the closer, “Liturgy,” is convincingly summative. You can feel the living desert infused in the notes of this music, and you when you close your eyes as the album plays you come to know the spirit of the ceremony.

If you rotate this album into your listening queue your life will be better. Recommended.

The digital for The Omen is at Bandcamp, Rebel Waves Records (an imprint of Ripple Music) has the CD and vinyl, and you can get a cassette from Stoner Witch Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://kabbalahrock.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Kabbalahrock

Ripple Store, https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products

Stoner Witch Store, https://stonerwitchrecords.bigcartel.com/products

Kabbalah, The Omen (Rebel Waves Records 2021)