Zvi is the pseudonym under which guitarist Ron Varod crafts his aching, abysmal dirges. Varod has been linked to his work as the guitarist and vocalist of So is the Tongue and currently swings his axe with the avant-garde heavyweights Kayo Dot. One could attribute the sound of Zvi to the time Varod spent in both of the aforementioned bands. But the overall product is much darker and sinister than a lot of the music put out by both musical outfits, if you can believe that.
It’s been roughly seven years since the release of Bird Eater’s debut EP, Utah; a release that unfortunately flew under the radar as sister band Gaza was making their ascension into the “limelight”. Utah’s blend of death metal, metallic hardcore, sludge, and western influences was a slight contrast to the dissonant chaos of Gaza, of which Bird Eater shares two members. The band’s long awaited, recently released debut full length succeeds in further distancing the band stylistically from their sister band. Dead Mothers Make the Sun Set shows Bird Eater really growing into their sound and harnessing it for the goal of beating you to death.
The majority of the nation is freezing. Flurries of white powder from Hell are accumulating in mass quantities in certain corners of the U.S. It’s become so cold in those areas that the snuggie your significant other bought you (the things you always thought were a joke until you realized how comfortable they are) cannot bring you any solace. You’re wondering what you can do to stay warm without running up your electricity bill? An easy answer; listen to Godhunter. Tuscon’s purveyor’s of sludgy goodness have harnessed the intense Arizonian heat within every note. Godhunter’s debut full length, City of Dust, is so thick with heaviness that you will forget about the severity of the weather for a good 50 minutes.
I remember stumbling upon the Connecticut duo Have a Nice Life randomly about four years ago. I was perusing the internet, doing Satan knows what, and came across a picture of Aaron Turner (Isis, Hydra Head, etc) wearing a Have a Nice Life t-shirt. I was strangely drawn to the name, so I did a little research and found their 2008 album Deathconsciousness; the debut full length that started their “cult” following. The album was certainly ambitious and not just for being a double album. The album’s amalgamation of drone, post-punk, Gothic rock, noise, shoegaze and so one, was definitely something I had not beheld before. I honestly regret not learning of the band sooner. Since that album, Have a Nice Life’s activity has been fairly sparse, besides the 2010 Time of Land EP. Tim Macuga and Dan Barrett have been using their time in other various side projects, such as Giles Corey and The Flowers of St. Francis. But this year the duo reunited by fate, as a song title suggests, to release Have a Nice Life’s long awaited sophomore album. The Unnatural World takes what the band have done in the past and progress it ten steps further; even rivaling that of their 2008 cult classic.
It’s always refreshing to see sludge or doom metal bands thinking outside of the box and not rehashing the familiar nuances of many bands before them. Chicago’s Indian is one of those bands who stand out of the doom pack for sure; always verging on the edge of blackened malevolence. The band’s 2011 album Guiltless showed the band’s first voyage into a more darker realm than heard on their previous releases. This year’s From All Purity is next step in their blackened exploration and makes Guiltless sound weak in comparison. From All Purity is a 40 minute, debilitating monstrosity that will envelop you in choking blackness.
As far as instrumental rock is concerned, Scotland’s Mogwai have always been in the upper echelon. The band’s continuing stylistic evolution helps them distance themselves from your average post-rock categorized band. Album after album, Mogwai add something new to their musical repertoire and create a full length that is alien and familiar at the same time. 2011′s Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will represented yet another new chapter for the band. Compared to 2008′s The Hawk is Howling, the instrumentation was more on the subdued side, but without sacrificing any of the band’s lavish songwriting. The bursts of heavy guitar mastery were replaced, for the most part, by bright selections of melody and driving, alternative rock rhythms. It was a little different but something you would expect to hear Mogwai do. With this year’s Rave Tapes, the band takes a step in a slightly new direction. Forget what you heard on Hardcore Will Never Die, because Rave Tapes is a new animal all together.
When I sit down to enjoy a stoner rock album, I usually approached it the same way, I drink a few beers (which I don’t do often) and zone out on the music. This is not how I initially listened to the new EP from We Hunt Buffalo, but I like to at least try out every album that comes my way. Holy shit, was I impressed. I’ve somewhat fallen out of touch with stoner rock over the last year or so, though I’m not really sure what happened. At some point, I just didn’t listen to it as much as I used to. I think We Hunt Buffalo may have reinvigorated my interest in the genre however. Also, by the time I started this review I was indeed a few beers in, making me fall even deeper in love with this band. Continue reading
Australasia is an Italian instrumental musical duo that many of you may not have heard of. Let’s change that! I really dug Australasia’s debut EP, Sin4tr4, and their debut full length album picks up where it left off and then some. Vertebra is an beautiful little album and simply calling it “post-rock” would be a crime.