Tag Archives: doom

Wreck And Reference – Black Cassette

Every now and then I come across a release that I really want to tell everyone about, yet no matter how long I let it simmer in my head, I’m at a loss for just the right words to use… Occasionally that has resulted in something of a lateral approach, but I really didn’t want to leave it a minute more before talking about Wreck And Reference’s Black Cassette, particularly as – instead of something moderately easy like altering images with wire, sand and various other mediums – the artistic inspiration this is responsible for involves herding a big group of unsuspecting people near large buckets of different coloured paint, plus the use of a fly wall and a catapault.

I have no idea why, though I’d hazard a guess it has something to do with that cover art, but it’s all beside the point since it’s not something I have the resources to accommodate. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that the presumed people-mosaic such a thing would result in looks very cool the way I imagine it.

There is something a bit fascinating about the focus of surprise people have after being subject to forces greater than themselves, particularly if that force has become an accepted if but domineering presence, as I suspect a great big catapault in a room would be. I’d bet good money people would be splat against that wall and saying things like “My good coat! It’s ruined!“, partly because they already know and have accepted how they got stuck to that wall, and it can’t be changed, and partly because there is strange comfort in the absence of will and choice. Such, also, is the power of something that is both personal and visual that it usually supersedes the importance of great things in our immediate vicinity, even if they pose a threat.

Generally, if people are thrown, they accept they will fall.

On to much more important matters, however, and this music. There are things that are due attention (like all the stuff about innovation and so on, in particular that this can be filed under genres like doom, noise and metal yet it’s all electronic aside from the drums). And then there are the things that grab mine… Things like “what’s it like to not have hands?”, a line in the first track All The Ships Have Been Abandoned, which is my own paint-covered coat. (Metaphorically speaking).

What’s actually important is that there is a hell of a lot that is striking within the 2o or so minutes these tracks run for, and if/when you give some thought to what struck you the most, I doubt it’s going to be what instruments were (or weren’t) used. These songs have been crafted effectively enough for that to be largely inconsequential, to me anyway. As in, good music is bloody good music; don’t care how you make it.

You can currently purchase the second issue of Black Cassette from Music Ruins Lives, which includes an exclusive track. As with all their other releases, numbers are limited but if you miss out, you can grab a digital copy from Bandcamp.

S4E

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Deserts, Mountains & Psychedelics: Adrift For Days Interview

Adrift For Days‘ debut album, The Lunar Maria (released 2010), is undoubtedly my favourite Australian album of recent years. With it’s sedate, psychedelic, doom-laden  sludge, infused with blues and tribal elements, it’s safe to say very few Aussie albums have impressed me both immediately and to such an extent that I had to ask just where the hell this came from; and by that token, what else I’ve been missing out on in this vast country of mine.

Who better to ask than the guys responsible for making me a born-again Oz music noob? Mick (Kaslik) and Lachlan (R. Doomsdale) were kind enough to spend a little time answering some questions, starting with how this all came to pass in the first place.

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Adrift For Days – the Lunar Maria

For reasons that are not unknown, but best left to explain in greater depth at a later date, it’s not often I mention Australian bands here. Though, to be more accurate, it’s less common when compared to the origin of the majority of other artists I write about. Also, unless you count artists on the more garage/punk/thrash side of things, like Massappeal (who, in all reality, are still pretty old school anyway), the last Australian metal band I had a yen for was Mortal Sin and the album Mayhemic Destruction (1985, but it was @1990 I wore out my vinyl copy – also more on that sometime later. Probably).

Consider that, however, a testament to the fairly narrow scope of what actually appeals to me in the relam of all things metal, and not necessarily that Australia doesn’t have talent worth exploring – as mentioned previously, I rarely ‘get’ black metal, I often lose patience with drone, and the slightest hint of a cliché makes me run a mile (eg silly aesthetic details like names that misspell words such as apocalypse, or other doom-inferring words, so they can put a big X in it – apparently that’s still cool). Add to that the fact that I now have a serious aversion to full-on screamo type vocals and it automatically excludes a surprisingly large amount of music in the genre.

Believe it or not, having such, shall we say, discriminating taste can actually be quite frustrating, and while the above is ultimately fairly extraneous, it’s also a way of explaining the little extra awesome it is to find something that pretty much exemplifies everything I look for in heavier music – that something being the above album by Sydney-siders Adrift For Days. As they’re on home soil, it also means – finally – I actually stand a chance of seeing them live (unlike every other artist that’s made my favourites list recently).

Just to be clear, this isn’t just a decent album I’m mentioning because the band are fellow citizens of my country (really, that’s just not my style), but as it happens to stand, the Lunar Maria is already my favourite Australian album of the last 5 years, probably more. There will likely be someone that suggests I must have missed out on a bunch of stuff, and they may well be right, but at this point in time they’re going to stay missed as this album had me right from the start and I can’t see it letting go anytime soon.

After a brief tribal incantation, opener Bury All That’s Chosen kinda lopes on in with an almost creepingly indulgent, downtempo bluesy feel. I was pretty content just with that, but at about 4 minutes the song kicks into a dense wall of heavy, sludgey, melt-your-face psychedelic stoner doom, accompanied by vocals that could well be just as at home in gothic post-punk as they are here. More to the point, vocals by someone that has a good voice and primarily uses it to sing. Praise be for that.

It doesn’t let up after the first track, either – Messages Through Sleep, the third track after a brief outro, similarly blends a chilled blues mood, post-rock ambience and the hefty weight of doom-laden metal to become some of the most effective 12 minutes out of the 71 minute duration. The blues gets a little low-down and gritty for the stoner jam The Leech, while Along the Moon River gives up 18 minutes of some seriously leaden-limbed, melatonin*-inducing stuff.

By the time Waveform Collapse dissolves, if you weren’t smart enough to do it in the first place, you’ll have to peel yourself off from whatever surface the Lunar Maria stuck you to (wall, floor, possibly the ceiling depending on your original disposition) so you can whack it on repeat and sink back in.  There’s nothing here that feels contrived, out of place or superfluous; for a debut album it’s impressively paced, brings a bunch of the best elements from various styles to the table (really digging the blues vibe) and does it all in an uncompromising, inspired and intuitive manner.

Hear what I mean by taking a listen to the first track:

You can check out Adrift For Days at  MySpace, better yet, click the following link and download the album from Bandcamp. But even better still, you can also buy the Lunar Maria in a CD/Digipak version directly from the band.

(*AKA “Hormone of Darkness“)

S4E


Random but Likely Suspects

About a week ago  saw  the demise of Amie Street, and if you read my previous post on the matter, you’ll know that I had numerous difficulties in spending the remaining credit I had. This was resolved, albeit intermittently (i.e. I managed to complete the epic Mount Eerie album, Song Islands vol 2, but since I had no idea what to spend the rest on, I left it at that until I could think of something else. Not the wisest of moves – long story short, this resulted in a desperately timed 11th hour email to customer service to pretty please allow me to complete my last purchase. Their response: keep trying, it should work eventually. Oh, and I received that email after I finally achieved success.

There was little method in the choosing of my final purchase.  In a move somewhat contradictory to my previous post, I simply went through all my current Last.fm recommendations, searched for them on Amie Street and grabbed the first one that was available. This turned out to be the 2009 album Disconnected by Greymachine.

Yeah, so I’m a year or more late to the party, but I’d never heard the name before, and no I didn’t listen to any of it beforehand – I was feeling wildly adventurous. (That being said, there were some controlled circumstances. The recommendation was based on my listening to Nadja, The Angelic Process, Pyramids, Jesu and Isis; with those first three being objects of my affection of late).

It was, then, an awesomely pleasant surprise to find an album I would have bought anyway without duress (had I known about it and stuff). I’m certainly not a connoisseur of all things metal and/or associated sub-genres; which essentially means that there’s a limited scope to what appeals to me in the long-term, though I do make intermittent attempts to broaden that scope. I mention this because Disconnected is pretty much everything I look for when I want something on the heavier side of things.

Greymachine is the result of Justin Broadrick (Jesu, Godflesh) and Aaron Turner (Isis) teaming up, along with Diarmuid Dalton (also of Jesu, Godflesh) and Dave Cochrane (Head of David); according to my nimble google fingers, anyway, as – to be honest – I’m only familiar with half of those bands, and certainly not extensively. So that tells you the who of that rather mug-shot looking line-up above, the what, however, is a little outside what I’ve heard from Jesu and Isis thus far, but definitely more appealing to me.

I have to say I’ve never quite understood why Jesu garnered variants of metal as genre descriptors (particularly sludge and doom metal). Maybe I’ve listened to the wrong stuff. Who knows, but  to my ears Jesu sounds like cleanly produced pop music compared to Greymachine. It’s noisier, heavier and sludgier by several miles. Perhaps the only aspect that’s common to both, is that in amongst Greymachine’s massively dense wall of doom, sludge, industrial and noise, are some very welcome rhythmic, melodic riffs. For me, it refines the overall sound from being one huge assault on the senses and actually gives me something to get involved with (for lack of a better way of explaining it). Suffice to say, when I listen to something on the heavy side of music, I don’t want to come away feeling steamrolled by it, which seems to be the case quite often when it comes to doom / sludge / drone projects where I’m not given anything to grab onto as it rolls on by. (Or over, as the case may be).

I guess the point that’s really worth making here is that while my knowledge is limited, Greymachine is unlike anything I would have expected from the artists involved if I’d known beforehand who they were. Disconnected does, however, fit in quite nicely with the Angelic Process and Nadja RiYL, so definitely seek it out if you’re keen on the sound of either /or with a sludgier, industrial edge.

Greymachine @MySpace

Buy the CD @Hydra Head

Oh, and MetalSucks has a free download of Vultures Descend, posted all the way back in 2008.

S4E