Toronto hard psych trio Tumble give us the first glimpse of their music with Lady Cadaver.
Tumble got together just last year. The sponsor a retro hard rock sound with a psychedelic purpose. The band is Liam Deak (guitar, vocals), Tarun Dawar (bass), and Will Adams (drums).
This EP has two songs, a situation we used call a single in the old days of physical media. “Lady Cadaver” is the feature, and it comes out punching. It is a fuzzy delight. This is an up-tempo airplay single if I ever heard one. The bluesy stoner set-up is joined with Deak’s exemplary rock and roll voice to mingle in synchronicity. There is even a drum solo just past the middle. When is the last time you heard one of those in a studio recording? Purportedly about a bad trip, this one slaps.
The B-side is “The Plague” – the band says it is a “psychedelic heavy rock instrumental for your hip shakin’, head banging pleasure.” That’s what we can call truth in advertising. It is trippy and catchy, and it also rips. It is a wonderful showcase for guitar, and the rhythm section gets a workout, too. I can’t wait to hear more. Highly recommended.
Lady Cadaver is out now, far and wide. Listen in at your favorite streaming source, and find out more information about the music and the band through the links below.
New York state doom keepers Inherus debut their post-metal creation, Beholden.
The four-piece heavy music band Inherus is hard to describe with a single tag. I like doom so I would call them doom, but they aren’t doom in a traditional sense. There are progressive elements in the music, but I wouldn’t call them a prog band. I used the “post-metal” label in the slug line, but I am not even sure what that is. How about this: Inherus combine elements that, on paper, might not seem to go together very well, and yet they achieve amazing results that I haven’t heard before in any other place. The band is Anthony DiBlasi (bass, vocals), Beth Gladding (vocals, guitar, synth, mandolin), Brian Harrigan (vocals, guitar, synth), and Andrew Vogt (drums).
“Forgotten Kingdom” starts with a shout and a pounding, and we’re off on this six-song set. Chunky guitar riffing and gruff, menacing vocals work their way around obstacles on the way to you. All the songs on this album are long (except one), so they all have multiple movements and tempo changes. The first slow down offers quiet, clear vocals as a beautiful but perhaps deadly respite. And then the music slowly builds back to its origin level. “One More Fire” starts out in the gentle posture, and overall has a sort of long ballad feel to it, with very little singing, comparatively. “The Dagger” paces itself, striding cautiously at first. The music is mysterious, both in its loud and quiet forms. There is dark magic here, and perhaps beasts lurking in the night and in the depths.
Side two gives us “Oh Brother” and some of the harshest constructions on the album. The middle third is extirpating. “Obliterated in the Face of Gods” is a two-minute song, the odd one out. It is primarily created sounds that set up the last gasp, “Lie to the Angels.” The jump this time is surprisingly chipper, although it does not stay that way for long. There is a kind of prog sense toying with this composition, trying to make headway among the harsh, aggressive voice and the clear, spellcasting singing. It is a heady deployment. This music will stay in your head for a long time after you walk away. Recommended.
Beholden greets the wide world on Friday, May 26th through Hypnotic Dirge Records. Have a look at the links below.
Gothenburg doom folk band Ockra release their debut album, Gratitude.
Ockra formed in Sweden in 2018 and is comprised of members of the stoner doom band Sulphur Dreams. The three wanted to stretch out a bit and explore related musical realms. The music they create floats between heavy and quiet, stoner and folk, pop and perhaps soft jazz. It is an interesting and uncommon combination. The band is Jonas Nyström (drums, percussion, mellotron), Erik Björnlinger (guitar), and Alex Spielhaupter (vocals, bass, mellotron).
“Introspection” is a song that is perfectly titled, and a nice way to ease into the seven-track set. It is short, quiet, and has a steady build toward “Weightless Again.” This guitar-driven song does indeed have a nostalgic tone to it in the rock beginning. The passage that enters next conjures a drifting sense of solitude and peacefulness. The quiet vocals are reassuring, but not because of what they are saying so much as for the way the singing feels in your ears. Toward the end, the framing returns to its initial state, making a big exit. “Tree I Planted” comes next, rolling in on a welcoming bass line. This one leans more in the folk direction, picking up toward the end. “Acceptance” is the heaviest so far, opening with a stern guitar riff and a serious, if not menacing, stance. The early lead guitar break is a sign of things to come. There is a mild-mannered moment but the song finishes heavy and it is a fine way to end side one.
The back triplet begins with “We, Who Didn’t Know,” an extremely quiet piece for half its duration, sounding then like music being played in a distant meadow. The second half is electric and resounding, filled with a depth of production. “Imorgon Här” is a lament, in my ears at least, told at a slow pace and with some trepidation. The final song is “Tage Wie Dieser,” set up in the by-now-familiar format of quiet and slow leading to more active, aggressive music. While there is some structural similarity to these songs, they do not really sound that much alike. Each has its own being, intent, and narrative. If you are in a reflective mood, this album will be most welcome. Recommended.
Gratitude is out on Friday, May 26th through Argonauta Records. You can get more information at the links below.
Sardinian stoner rockers Loose Sutures give us a guide to the sado world on their third album, Sado Sex For Dummies.
In only four years, Loose Sutures have cracked out three albums. That’s pretty ambitious for stoner rock. Downshifting to a trio, the band is now Antonio Pilo (guitar, vocals), Marcello Meridda (bass, percussion), and Marco Angius (drums, vocals).
“Highway Shooter” is a rambler, and a great way to start off the eight-track set. I feel like I am driving down the road just listening to this. The vocals have a pronounced echo to them, and the guitars are fuzzy and firing. And there is a tasty lead break toward the end. What more could you want? “Another Hell” is a little more stood-up and direct. It has an excellent reflective solo in the second half. “Sadism and Gallows” has a haunted feel to it, while “White Line” starts out at speed (which I expected, given the title), then turns slow and trippy, which I did not see coming. A wild rage does come back, and it kicks.
“Kinky Katy” is on the edge of side two, and it is unsettling. The sideways and sawing riffs make you think something bad is about to go down – or maybe it already did. “He’s My Friend” has a very punk execution that is a fantastic diversion this late in the set. “Cowbell From Hell” is a short bit that goes Amboy Dukes on us, which counts as another surprise. The end is “Black Star Flashing,” a song that is very involved with itself. It is the kind of thing I would nod my head to, and along with, at the conclusion of a sixpack. Great stuff. If you like stoner rock at all then you will get into this. Recommended.
Sado Sex For Dummies is out on Friday, May 26th through Electric Valley Records on digital and vinyl. Look to the links below for the available varieties.
Denver sludge trio Vexing launch their debut full-length album, Grand Reproach.
Vexing is a sludge and death metal band with progressive tendencies and the regular scent of doom. In 2020 they put out an EP, Cradle, and before that was a demo that presaged the new album with early versions of some of the songs we find on Grand Reproach. I like the rough and ready feeling of the music that clearly is well thought-out and carefully prepared. The band is Clayton Whitelaw (bass, vocals), Garrett Jones (guitar, vocals), and Jeff Malpezzi (drums).
There are eight songs on the new record, starting with “The Mold.” We get half a minute of crackling and noise before the guitars kick in, and the growling huff of vocals. It’s like a back-alley bar fight. “Vanquishing Light” originates in the distance, a faint sound growing louder, bringing with it those menacing guitars. This song is longer than the opener, allowing for a middle section of spacy otherness, and a grand exit. With “The Invisible Hand,” the tempo slows and the mystery grows. The unseen world has just as much aggression as the visible. “Shallow Breath” is a raft adrift on a body of water of unknown size. There is confusion and desperation that leads to lashing out. Ultimately some resolution is found, and, while it might not be a panacea, the waters calm until, near the end, a leak is discovered in the raft.
On the flip we get “Howling,” as in wind, and the sounds of distant space. “Blunderbuss” corrupts the solitude with suggestions of evil deeds, and then the actual deeds themselves. The longest track is next, “Small Black Flame,” edging toward the ten-minute mark. I like this one as a standard-bearing piece because it has all the elements we have been hearing and digging on so far, laid out with both patience and ferocity. It is my favorite track on the album. The set closes on “Red Skies,” a somber reminiscence that will bring different emotions to different people. This is sludgy death metal grown with deeper roots than you usually hear. Recommended.
Grand Reproach is out on Friday, May 26th through Ordovician Records. Bandcamp is the quick get – touch the link below.
The debut album from occult black metallists Ara Solis is filled with noise and suffering, Ashvattha.
The origins of the band are a bit murky. As they tell it, “The beginnings of Ara Solis are difficult to trace and are often elusive, since the band was formed from the ashes of other black metal bands and solo projects. The oldest piece of recording is a rehearsal with different members to the current lineup dating from 2015 that never was spread. It is not until 2020 that the lineup becomes stable.” No mention of who is in the lineup, however, except the intimation that they might be a duo (although the band photo would seem to refute that notion).
What’s the album about. Here again, I will rely on published sources. “An altar of golden sacrifice mightily arises ashore the tempestuous waters of Finis Terrae. At the sylvan realms of frost, the holy gate of light and darkness appears erected stone by stone to safeguard the transdimensional portal of heroic resurrection. The Garden of the Hesperides grows around. The ancient tree of life and death [Ashvattha, Yggdrasil] pours the sap of eternity in the ritual copulation of oxygenic and anoxygenic photophosphorylation. Mortals bow their heads toward the arch of heavens. The sword of the warrior reflects the light of the midday amidst the eternal dust of warfare. The moon reflects the light of the sun at night, lightening the hidden paths of the forests beyond reincarnation. War is the Essence. Living souls are reaped where the Phoenix is reborn.” That is a lot to cover in a single album.
There are three tracks on the record. “Tromo Negro do Firmamento” has an ambient beginning, a single note that eventually starts to warble then fades out. Silence. A solitary electric guitar appears, crisp and crackling, then noise loads the frame and sour movement takes over. A shrieking voice can be heard. These elements come and go, then abruptly stop. “Ara Solis” is unrelenting, longer, and similarly styled. There is more and louder screaming on this track, and it is disturbing, especially when paired with a solitary guitar. Yikes. It does have a long cooldown, so you have time to mop your brow.
The anchor piece is the seventeen-minute “Ashvattha: The Tree of Life and Death.” In some ways, this track is a bit like a combination of the first two. I got into the guitar parts more in this third piece, and I am attracted to the ambition of its magnitude. The final few minutes are quietly moving. This album is not for everybody, but if you like noise and black metal and experimentation, this one might be for you.
Ashvattha is out on Friday, May 19th through Iron Bonehead Productions in digital, with a CD coming from Zazen Sounds. Try the links below for more information on the releases.
Rose Funeral wrapped up their Father Death Midwest Tour at Black Circle with a Sunday Metal Matinee.
Here is something you don’t often see: a heavy metal show in the afternoon. And on a Sunday, no less. Sure, if you are at a festival, bands do play in the afternoon, but the main show is in the evening. With Sunday Metal Matiness at Black Circle, the feature show goes on before the sun goes down.
There were four bands on the slate for the May 7th show, starting with St. Louis’ own Hard Graves. They are a hardcore / metalcore act with enough energy and aggression to keep the room spinning all afternoon. All the music that day was loud and rugged, but I think Hard Graves was the harshest. They have a new EP out, Consequence Of Action, which you can listen to at the usual outlets and you can pick up a physical copy if you like their music as much as I did on Sunday.
Homicyde rolled up from South Carolina. They are a death metal band that formed in 2010 and have so far released two albums, Taken (2010) and The Sickening Tales (2022). Twelve years might seem like a long time between records for an active band, but however they are doing it, they are making it work. The five-member band almost spilled off the stage at Black Circle, so large was their presence. They muscled through thirty minutes of music and looked to have more in the tank when they had finished.
Hometown death metallers Fleshbore were greeted with rousing enthusiasm when they stepped up and hit the first note. Their most recent album, Embers Gathering, came out from Innerstrength Records a couple years back, and there is reason to believe new material is not far off. There are five musicians in this band, too, and when you add in lead singer Michael Ohara’s wingspan, there was no place to hide during their set. The music they create lies along the melodic shore of heavy, often structured on technical musical pilings. Their set was tight and menacing.
The big news was the appearance of Rose Funeral. The band formed in Cincinnati playing deathcore in 2005. They got off to a roaring start, releasing their first album, Crucify.Kill.Rot. (2006), independently, then signing with Metal Blade Records for two more, The Resting Sonata (2009) and Gates of Punishment (2011). Since then, there had been radio silence until the emergence of the single “Father Death” last year. Even more music is in the offing with the band teasing another major drop for the end of May.
The Midwest mini-tour has been in support of the new single and to set up more new music. They will be playing at the resurrected Milwaukee Music Fest over Labor Day Weekend in a crowded field and, if their performance is anything like it was on Sunday at Black Circle, they are sure to gain a whole new tranche of fans.
Look for these bands to show up in your travel radius, and seek them out whenever you can. Meanwhile, browse the Bandcamp pages for all four bands and pick up some of their music and merch. Links below.