Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon review (Small Stone Records, 2020)

The third album from Lord Fowl has a classic rock sensibility with extra fuzz on top for good measure. Glorious Babylon is a great summer jam that is right on time.

The band is Jon Conine, Vechel Jaynes, Mike Pellegrino, and Michael Petrucci (now Van Hartley). They popped into existence in New Haven, Connecticut in 2007. Their first release, Endless Dynamite, came out two years later to the sheer delight of the locals. Moon Queen followed three years later with a similar sound of good time rock and roll. The first impression that enters my head when one of their songs starts to play is a burbling 1970s nostalgia, an earnest this-is-how-I-am-feeling-right-now vibe with the amp on overdrive and the soft fuzz engaged.

This new one continues along similar lines, harkening to the earlier work and taking a step ahead as well. The footing is surer on Glorious Babylon, the compositions a bit tighter. The flavor has matured a little and they do sometimes twinkle of Thin Lizzy (like the press release reads) if TL got an update into the contemporary psychedelic stonerish situation we often find ourselves in these days. Some songs, like “Glorious Babylon,” are kick ass rockers, and others, like “The Wraith,” are more serious and ponderous. “In Search Of” goes full space boogie and “Fire Discipline” is full of punchy guitar riffs augmented by echoing lead breaks. The band takes you on a tour of what they like to play, and it is a good ride to be on. They are a little bit like contemporary bands such as Black Coffee and maybe even Dirty Honey, but while you can detect a nuanced ecliptic of these bands, you wouldn’t mistake Lord Fowl for anyone else. Their third album is the best one so far and it is a good sign of things to come. Recommended.

Band photo by Meg Herlihy.

Glorious Babylon is out now. You can get CDs and vinyl from Small Stone Records through Bandcamp; downloads and streams in the usual places. Do it up and get your buzz on.

Links.

Lord Fowl

https://www.facebook.com/LORD-FOWL-260582122862

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/glorious-babylon

Small Stone Records

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

http://www.smallstone.bandcamp.com

Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon review (Small Stone Records, 2020)

Clutch Live Stream on YouTube April 23, 2020

Clutch gave us another 16-minute livestream today from the Doom Saloon. I loved it and so did the 8,909 other people who watched live, I bet.

The three songs this Thursday afternoon were “Noble Savage,” “The Face,” and “Earth Rocker.” They are streaming these live performances through a standard laptop camera for the video, but the audio is improved and not the just the laptop mic. Neil Fallon said that they are planning on getting more cameras and making further upgrades as they work through this early experimental stage but that streaming equipment is hard to come by just now because of the understandably high demand.

The big news from today’s live stream comes in three parts. First, they are going to keep doing these and they are working on the schedule. It is best to subscribe on YouTube and click the notifications icon to find out when new ones are happening. Second, they might do some of these completely unannounced – this one was announced yesterday on social media. And third, they have tentatively planned to keep doing streams (live shows, etc.) even after the in-person shows start up again. After all, once they figure out how best to do it, there’s no real reason not to continue on with them once the world comes back.

I am all in. Can’t wait for the next one.

Clutch!

Link.

https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialClutch

Clutch Live Stream on YouTube April 23, 2020

Clutch Live Stream on YouTube April 21, 2020

Clutch gave their fans a sixteen minute livestream on their YouTube channel today in what they described as an experiment, promising more to come.

Live from their rehearsal studio The Doom Saloon, Neil, JP, Tim, and Dan played three songs live: “50,000 Unstoppable Watts,” “El Jefe Speaks,” and “Willie Nelson.” Check out the terrible screen grabs to get an idea of setting. It is weird, of course, to see these live performances in front of a virtual audience, but it is great to see Clutch under pretty much any circumstances. The sound was great for a livestream over YouTube. By the time it ended, there were 5,580 people who had stopped by, and many more have checked it out since then.

Until the live in-person music comes back, we’ll look forward to the next stream. See the link below if you missed it live – it was recorded, of course, and you can watch it and re-watch it at your leisure.

Clutch!

Link.

https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialClutch

Clutch Live Stream on YouTube April 21, 2020

Ulcerate, Stare Into Death And Be Still Review (Debemur Morti Productions, 2020)

After five albums, Ulcerate brings a new standard to Death Metal with Stare Into Death And Be Still, a reverent awakening of crushing thunder.

From New Zealand, Ulcerate is Paul Kelland (vocals, bass), Michael Hoggard (guitar), and Jamie Saint Merat (percussion). The band has been around for about twenty years (initially known as Bloodwreath), and the current lineup has been in place for more than a decade. The confidence their experience gives them permeates the seven- and eight-minute songs of the new album. The music is never rushed and is always sure-footed.

Stare Into Death And Be Still has a different feeling to it than Shrines of Paralysis (2016), or even Vermis (2013). It is more reflective, and its thematic approach veers into an examination of witnessed human reactions to death. That manner of emotion permeates the atmosphere of the songs throughout the entire set.

Beginning at the end, “Dissolved Orders” seems to have a message for us in this time of isolation and viral fear: “No halting the flood’s advance / Let it wash over / No halting the flood’s advance / See it through to the end.” It is probably just a coincidence since this album was recorded late in 2019, but it does make you think. And the music that goes along with these lyrics is tectonically somber, funereal on the ninety second lead in, then deadly serious, fierce. There is a break at the apex four minutes before the end, but it does not give respite. The story continues and it is the story of a struggle, the music shows; an epic, defining menace that must be overcome. How did we get here? That part of the tale was posed and told at the beginning with “The Lifeless Advance,” “Exhale The Ash,” and the title track itself. Ulcerate have created a complete arc that is not so much about the story and meaning of life but is instead more about the way we are affected by and way we react to death, especially as it plays out right in front of our eyes. This perspective is specific and unique. The musical compositions are expertly crafted to express these views and observations in a way that no other band has. You experience this music as you listen to it and it requires your attention.

The full album drops next week on April 24, 2020 through Debemur Morti, and of course Bandcamp, Spotify, and the like. Stare Into Death And Be Still is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. Highly recommended.

Links.

Ulcerate

http://www.ulcerate-official.com

http://www.facebook.com/Ulcerate

http://ulcerate.bandcamp.com

Debemur Morti

http://www.debemur-morti.com

http://www.facebook.com/debemurmorti

Ulcerate, Stare Into Death And Be Still Review (Debemur Morti Productions, 2020)

The Black Dahlia Murder, Verminous Review (Metal Blade Records, 2020)

The Black Dahlia Murder come out screaming on their new release, Verminous, the first full-length album from the band in three years and an excellent follow-up to 2017’s Nightbringers.

The Black Dahlia Murder is one of those bands whose name you are always excited to see on the lineup at a festival because you know they are going to be on top of their game and, wherever they are in the lineup, they will put on an amazing show. They made a big entrance with Unhallowed in 2003, and since then the band has released a new album every couple of years, on average. They have all been good, and eagerly anticipated by fans. Nightbringers was particularly sharp and fresh, integrating new ideas to grow the beast in innovative directions. It was natural to wonder what would happen with the new one – would it be a new season, another growth year? In a word: yes.

Verminous has a stadium-filling sound. Trevor Strnad’s voice is as strong and gruff as ever, and it encourages listeners to join in on the fray. The opening salvo is the title song and it is a race to the edge of the cliff – it is like turning on the engine and revving it up for about a minute before letting it rip. As you go along on the ride through the album, the scenery changes but the metal never fades away. “Removal Of The Oaken Stake” has soaring gothic guitar refrains that give you a feeling like you are surrounded by ancient stone, while “How Very Dead” is a late-night horror show filled with dramatic shocks and dripping blood. The percussion is furious and relentlessly pounding throughout, and the guitars are full force heavy in the rhythm while the leads are both piercing and melodic in turns, with the occasional nostalgic callback. “Dawn of Rats” is the closer, and it brings the set to a thundering climax. It starts with this, “Blood of our revenge awash / None sweeter to the taste / Flagellate the liar / Our verminous desire it must be;” and ends with this, “Did he toast with you / To their innocence / So fleeting and so sweet / The dawn has come of your defeat / We the rats must have our feast.” This album is destined to be a fan favorite for the next decade.

Verminous is out today, April 17, 2020, on Metal Blade Records and streaming in all the places you usually listen so lend it your ears. The Black Dahlia Murder is on an upward trajectory with this new one. Highly recommended.

Links.

http://www.tbdmofficial.com

http://www.facebook.com/theblackdahliamurderofficial

https://www.metalblade.com/us/artists/the-black-dahlia-murder/

The Black Dahlia Murder, Verminous Review (Metal Blade Records, 2020)

Woodhawk, Violent Nature Review (2020)

The power trio from the Canadian Southwest, Woodhawk, looks rock and roll straight in the eyes with Violent Nature.

Building from the ground up with their debut EP then their first full-length album Before the Sun, Woodhawk has steadily grown a fan base enamored with their approachable classic rock sound. Turner Midzain (guitar, vocals), Mike Badmington (bass, vocals), and Kevin Nelson (drums) throw out a wall of music bigger than you would expect from a trio. The basic guitar-bass-drums chemistry works an alchemical spell to generate memorable riffs and solid compositions.

Violent Nature is the band’s newest studio work, and it builds on the experience they have gained from their first two releases. The album starts strong. The surprisingly dramatic opening of “Snake in the Grass” leads to a buzzy roll of guitars and an unexpected piano break, the precise kind of surprise needed to snap the listener to attention at the beginning of the set. The sound is loud and heavy in the next song, “Weightless Light.” The vocals are assertive and urgent: “The weight upon my chest translates into my head / I try to breathe without a breath, but choke on what I’ve said / Do I deserve the silence that echoes endlessly / Drag me from the darkness of memory and misery.” The frantic guitars are still there on the next song, “Dry Blood,” and the message in the words is more active this time, even more aggressive. Midzain steps in for the first time with a rousing lead break on “Heart Stopper,” and right on time. By the middle of the album we know what lane the band is in and they play it well. The songs all have a full sound and always a sharp shot at the right time, and a clever turn here and there that keeps the landscape fresh. I hope they make it south of the border on their next tour so I can see them live. Or maybe Heavy Montreal next year?

Violent Nature is available in vinyl now on the band’s website, and in digital at Bandcamp and the usual other places. The band has a couple of British Columbia dates on the books in May – check out their website for the latest updates on their tour which will get going as soon as the air clears.

Band photo by Trevor Hatter.

Links.

https://www.woodhawkriffs.com/

https://woodhawk.bandcamp.com/music

Woodhawk, Violent Nature Review (2020)