Faith In Jane, Axe To Oak (Grimoire 2022)

Faith In Jane sets a new standard with their latest album Axe To Oak.

In only ten years Faith In Jane is already releasing their eighth album. Pretty amazing. The trio from Maryland – Dan Mize (guitar, vocals), Brendan Winston (bass), and Alex Llewellyn (drums) – play psychedelic rock on a heavy, grungy plane. Expect extended jams and musical journeys into the unknown.

The first song on the album is the nine-minute exploration “Whiskey Mountain Breakdown.” They are starting off with their trump card – this song is amazing. I have always been a fan of the longform heavy music creations, and this one has to go into the queue for heavy rotation. The song has a pounding pulse and is at the same time beautifully lyrical. Mize’s voice is perfect for this manner of music and his guitar work flows and rages.

“She Moved Through The Fair” comes next, and it is a somewhat contemporary arrangement of a traditional ballad. It is surprising to hear and it fits perfectly in between the opening epic and the following song that challenges first in endurance and ingenuity, “Enter Her Light.” A bit slower in its opening bars, “Enter Her Light” casts a darker shadow with its sinister tones than do the preceding songs. The lilting moments, having a different context here, carry a distinct message and sentiment.

Side two features more radio-friendly lengths in its tracks while maintaining the established sense of peregrination, despite the apparent contradiction. “Heavy Drinker” has a noticeably weighted fuzz and it is indeed a good song to sit down and drink to. I can verify that with personal experience. “How Many Ships Sail In The Forest?” is an unusual piece in that its pace is particularly slow while its length is the shortest on the set. Perhaps that is only notable to me. The guitar is amazing in this instrumental song, as is accompanying bass line.

“Axe To Oak” and “The Seeker” are a natural pair. The former has a heavy groove while the latter is more laid back and very much in the grunge dimension with a big flourish at the end. One seems to flow into the other, and it works in both directions. These two songs are a great way to wrap up an incredible album. Highly recommended.

Axe To Oak is out now through Grimoire Records. Links below.

Band photo by Caroline Winston.

Links.

Faith In Jane website, https://www.faithinjane.com/

Bandcamp, https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/axe-to-oak

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

Grimoire Records, http://www.grimoirerecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Faith In Jane, Axe To Oak (Grimoire 2022)

Clutch, Sunrise On Slaughter Beach (Weathermaker 2022)

Clutch throws a curveball on their new album, Sunrise On Slaughter Beach.

The groove metal band from Maryland has moved into its fourth decade. Sunrise On Slaughter Beach is the thirteenth studio album they have created, and there has never been a dull moment in the band’s history. Tim Sult, Dan Maines, Jean-Paul Gaster, and frontman Neil Fallon have crafted yet another unforgettable record that will be immediately embraced by fans.

But curveball, I say? Here is a widely quoted comment by Fallon on the new record. I saw this first at Lambgoat. “Sunrise on Slaughter Beach is a weird record. It was, by and large, a studio creation. It reminds me a lot of Jam Room in that regard. Under normal circumstances we may not have entertained the idea of using vibraphones, theremin, or backing vocals (thank you Deborah Bond and Frenchie Davis!). But as they say, necessity is the mother of weirdness.”

Clutch has never been a stranger to innovation and exploration. For example, “In Walks Barbarella” from their previous album The Book Of Bad Decisions was a surprise with its prominent use of brass. The extensions on the new record Fallon talks about are interesting and entertaining, and there is never any confusion about which band is playing when you listen to the set. Clutch is one of my favorite bands, and they have been since the first time I heard them. I have seen them live more than any other act, and I plan to keep that metric going until the end.

Sunrise on Slaughter Beach is out now in all its weirdness through Weathermaker Music. You can stream it anywhere, and you can buy it at the links below. Where will this one land in the annals of the band? That’s hard to say. What I do know is that when I drop the needle on any Clutch record, I never pick it up until it has run its course, and that is a fact. Sunrise on Slaughter Beach is no exception. I could go on and on about each and every track on the new one, but I am not going to do that. Instead, I insist that you go listen to it. The review will write itself in your head. Highly recommended.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Clutch website, https://www.pro-rock.com/

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

Weathermaker Music, http://www.weathermakermusic.com/

Clutch, Sunrise On Slaughter Beach (Weathermaker 2022)

Yatra, All Is Lost review (Grimoire Records 2020)

Yatra release their second set of masterful doom this year: All Is Lost.

The first album from Yatra was Death Ritual, released only two years ago. Blood of the Night followed in January this year, and now there is All Is Lost. The three-piece band from Maryland is Dana Helmuth (guitars and vocals), Maria Geisbert (bass), and Sean Lafferty (drums). The sound they create is fundamental but I wouldn’t call it stripped down. It is heavy with purpose and lithe as a leviathan in the ocean.

Recorded in June this year, All Is Lost is the perfect theme for 2020. The themes are ominous and dark. The lyrics are less about narrative structure on many songs and are filled with vivid imagery. The perfect example is “Blissful Wizard,” which repeats the refrains “blissful wizard / rides the night” and “bless this mountain” to convey the thematic structure while the music fills in the story. This approach puts the listener in a general conceptual frame of mind and allows subtleties to be individually interpreted as the music speaks in ways everyone can experience differently.

The music is doom – heavy guitar riffs, gruff vocals, pulsing rhythms. The opening song is the title track and it starts the set off on the path of fear, uncertainty, and darkness. There is a real feeling of not knowing what is going on but knowing for sure that it is bad. “Reapers ride the blackest winds / harvesting the death foretold.” A blackened prophecy of death seeping in, unstoppable. The lead breaks are potent and brief, as in “Winter’s Dawning,” where it lives between tectonic riff shifts. A track that sticks out in my mind is “One For The Mountain.” It is a dark fantasy theme carried on a veritable river of music created by the guitar in both lead and harmony. This song is the set stone piece for the album to my ears, and it is surrounded by metal that is going to have a lasting impact on heavy music. Highly recommended.

All Is Lost is out this Friday, October 9th and this is one you don’t want to miss. The digital, CD, and limited vinyl (100 copies) are available through Bandcamp. You can get ready for the new one by catching up on the first two albums if you haven’t heard them yet.

Band photo by Nichole Strouse.

Links.

http://yatradoom.bandcamp.com

http://www.facebook.com/yatradoom

http://www.grimoirerecords.com

http://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com

http://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords

Yatra, All Is Lost review (Grimoire Records 2020)