Faceless Burial, Speciation review (Dark Descent Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records 2020)

With Speciation, Faceless Burial reconciles the storied past with the calamitous contemporaneous world to show that, while the level of suffering is bad now, it is not new.

The three ambassadors who make up this band from Australia round out their first lustrum with a stabbing assault of inescapable musical kismet. If you had been looking and listening you would have known it was coming because the earlier work, Grotesque Miscreation (2017) and Multiversal Abattoir (2018) both, shook the elements and rattled the environment in a new creative space that maintained a distinct and obvious homage.

The average song length has ticked up a bit with Speciation, clocking in at around six minutes, and that is all for the better. The writing on the new album demonstrates increased depth of process compared to the earlier work. While the songs here certainly maintain the aggression and crack heard before, the arc of the expression is clearer and stronger over the length of each piece.

This set opens with a blast of energy and does not have an intro bit like the earlier albums did. “Worship” is a battering ram at the front with all elements aligning in a show of force. The melody and thread of the song appears just before the one minute mark, and the drama unfolds from there – a story shown in music and told in narrative. There is a driving force, there are external smashes that periodically disrupt the flow, and a then there is a recurring current (or two) in guitars and percussion that weaves in and out. This basic structure plays well in the rest of the album, and it is a stylistic element practically unique to Faceless Burial. You can certainly recognize them by it. There are six entries and my mind processed them in order, in pairs. The titled track does stand out (to me) because of its doom elements and clever riffs arrangements, plus the lead work in the fourth minute is inspired. This album is one to keep in regular rotation. Recommended.

Out this Friday, August 7, you can get one track now on Spotify to tide you over (the earlier albums are there, too). All of the physical versions can be discovered through the links below.








Faceless Burial, Speciation review (Dark Descent Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records 2020)

Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted review (Copper Feast Records 2020)

Foot conjures a tsunami of sound with The Balance of Nature Shifted.

The Melbourne band Foot released its first EP (self-titled) in 2016, and its first full-length, Buffalo, in 2018. Sticking to the two-year cycle, more of their unique brand of introspective desert music has solidified from the mirage that is 2020. The main creative engine in Foot is Paul Holden, who writes the music and sings and plays guitar on the albums. On the band’s Facebook and Bandcamp pages, Holden has commented on this new collection of songs at some length, suggesting that their composition was influenced by the astonishing flux we all find ourselves in right now. It is not just the new catastrophes we have to deal with, but ones that have been building. Check the title of the album and interpret it in the broadest possible terms.

The music is a heavy desert sound, stonerish and reminiscent of grunge in many ways (although there might be more motivation today for the despondency that permeates the music than there was in the grunge era). The first song, “Despair On Hope Street,” starts off with a faraway tinny cracking for a few seconds before the avalanche of guitars lands directly on your head. It sounds like 20 guitars, that rumbling riff does. Heavy fuzz, and lingering vocals combined toward the end with a Tim Sult-style directness in the lead work puts you right in the middle of the situation Foot is going to deal with over the course of the album. The deep, cooking desert vibe emerges slowly over the next few songs and a straight-up doom hammer is there too from time to time (e.g, “Green Embers”). This album coalesced for me as an ethereal enterprise that sounded great the first time through and even better the more I listened to it. Foot is absolutely on my radar from now on. It would be great to see them at the next Psycho Las Vegas – they would fit right in. Recommended.

Streaming and digital downloads are available now at Bandcamp and the usual elsewheres. The physicals are out this Friday, July 31, from Copper Feast Records (links below). Foot will get you rolling, and that is a fact.







Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted review (Copper Feast Records 2020)

Shatter Brain, Pitchfork Justice review (Wormhole Death/Aural Music, 2020)

Shatter Brain is the perfect name for this Australian band who set out to rattle your cerebellum with their latest, Pitchfork Justice.

The members of Adelaide’s own Shatter Brain are seasoned metal musicians: Tom Santamaria (vocals), Matt Disisto (guitar), Jack Hartley (also guitar), Pat Callaghan (bass), and Ryan Quarrington (drums). Their sound is reminiscent of heavy bands like Power Trip and even, to some extent, old school metal bands like Slayer, but their take is variegated by juxtaposition with guitars that sounds like Savatage, say, in a song where the vocals put you in mind of Five Finger Death Punch. The vocal style in particular is sort of schizophrenic while the guitars have frenetic bursts coupled with smooth, clear scaling riffs. Shatter Brain is a destabilizing musical pathogen in the best possible way.

The band released a short demo in 2018, then a split with Blunt Shovel after that. Pitchfork Justice is their first full-length, and it is a cage match if the cage was on fire and rolling down a mountain. The amalgam of styles comes across as a natural originality in the songs, maybe best seen in the title track which is a six minute expression of rage in a rippling cadence punched by crashing waves and sudden attacks of percussion and guitar. At the halfway mark, there are two huge ravagers, “Fencesitter” and “Noble Savagery,” both of which have mad, flaring elements – guitar breaks on the former and hyper riffing on the latter. The two songs have completely different cadences and emotions while both being hardcore hammers of their own design. And then there is the closer, “Death Goes On,” which is short, like a radio single, and very punk. This album keeps you moving in mind and body all the way through.

Pitchfork Justice is out now at Bandcamp (where today, May 1, 2020, the site fees are waived and the band gets all the $$$) and the usual other outlets. This one is worth looking into because it is a keeper. Recommended.





Shatter Brain, Pitchfork Justice review (Wormhole Death/Aural Music, 2020)