Saturday, August 26, 2017

Weekend Playlist: August 25th, 2017

This week we have a new summer soundtrack by Queens of the Stone Age, a crushing return from The Haunted, a magnificent farewell from Pagan Altar, a folktronica album by relative newcomer Gordi, a journey into space with Howling Giant and another with Ruby the Hatchet, and plenty of others. This is a big weekend so let's get to it!

The Playlist

"Villains" - Queens of the Stone Age

When the singles for "Villains" released I was skeptical as the mastering seemed to hide the guitars low in the mix. Luckily, that seems to be a fluke, and streaming it upon release Homme's and Leeuwen's licks are as prevalent as ever. Homme's vocals at times feel almost Bowie-like as some tracks filter through space rock stylings; synth is utilized more than on previous QOTSA outings. The tracks are the perfect mix of fuzzy and frenetic, and despite coming the last week of August the album might easily be considered the soundtrack of the summer. Play it now, play it loud, repeat. See below for the complete playlist on Youtube posted by the band.

"Strength in Numbers" - The Haunted

The Haunted has always been on the precipice of greatness. 2004's "Revolver" was the closest they got when Peter Dolving took over vocals from Marco Aro who then returned to the group with a brand new lineup in 2012. "Strength in Numbers" shows the new band coming together nicely after a couple of releases with crushing riffs and solid song structure. Fans of melo-death/groove should plug this one in asap. Check out the music video for "Preachers of Death" below posted by label Century Media Records.

"The Room of Shadows" - Pagan Altar

Pagan Altar have had a fairly obtuse career starting things off with a demo in 1982, then laying dormant for nearly 20 years to return with a decade string of some of the best NWOBHM/Classic Doom albums ever released (1998-2006). In 2014, the group was to release another masterpiece, but things were put on hold when singer Terry Jones was diagnosed with cancer. He eventually succumbed in 2015, and the album seemed lost forever. Thankfully, the band didn't want to see Jones' legacy end on such a note so they pieced together the vocals he had recorded for the 2014 album, and re-recorded the accompanying music. From this process, "The Room of Shadows" was built, and it is as glorious an album as one could expect. While there are times the limitations of such an effort show up with some repeated lyrics, the music is so well composed and performed that it feels like a minor footnote. Alan Jones (Terry's son) fires on all frets, while Diccon Harper (bass) and Andy Green (drums) keep the momentum moving. It's a stellar release that not only shows the talent of those involved, but acts as the perfect swansong for Terry and Pagan Altar as a whole.

"Reservoir" - Gordi

On her debut EP, "Clever Disguise", Gordi melded electronica and folk, and with her first LP shows how powerful and mesmerizing lyrics can mean more than the music behind it. This isn't to say that Gordi's approach isn't also musically inclined with inventive takes on percussion in "Heaven I Know" backed by powerful piano chords. The album's a very personal journey from an artist who's just beginning a strong career.

"Black Hole Space Wizard: Pt. 2" - Howling Giant

Begin Transmission: Howling Giant are simply massive as they travel the galaxy creating rich textures with their instrumentation and combating the evil forces bent on destroying time, space, and fun. Join them on their quest to bring the breakdowns of the Druids to those less fortunate, and spread knowledge across the 'verse of this extremely brave and talented band: End Transmission.

"Planetary Space Child" - Ruby the Hatchet

Ruby the Hatchet continues to push the boundaries of psych rock, and "Planetary Space Child" is chock full of spacy riffs, psychedelic grooves, and plenty of satisfying synth. Not to mention Jillian Taylor's epic croons which blend splendidly with the music and continue to be a highlight.

"Amain" - Crimfall

A sweeping folk metal epic with very good production values and impeccable storytelling. Be warned there are death growls, but the band melds choral and female vocals alongside it so don't let it steer you away.

"Finisterre" - Der Weg einer Freiheit

"Finisterre" is an album full of atmospheric black metal that hits hard; if that makes any sense. Der Weg einer Freiheit knows when to slow things down, when to add in a few driving riffs, and when to let all hell break lose.

"Ett Fjärran Kall" - Fornhem

Fornhem executes a more traditional take on black metal intertwining folk elements similar to groups like Bathory. The dichotomy produces an album that's both cold and warming. If you're a fan of classic black metal stylings give this one a listen.

"Burn the World" - Portrait

In case you didn't have enough NWOBHM with Pagan Altar's release here's a more straight up heavy metal album in the vein of Judas Priest. Portait shred, and sometimes that's all it takes.

Hope you found something to listen to and have a great weekend!

- The Catalyst

Friday, August 18, 2017

Weekend Playlist: August 18th, 2017

Last week I was out of town and unable to put together a post. To make up for that we luckily have a very solid week of releases. Before I post those, however, I definitely recommend you check out Pyrrhon's "What Passes for Survival", Incantation's "Profane Nexus", and Dawn of Disease's "Ascension Gate". Yeah, last week was great for death metal. In case you missed it, Poison Blood's S/T debut EP is also worth a look. Now without further ado here's the breakdown of this week's picks.

We have a Canadian prog-death outfit's first full-length, Cloakroom's latest, another phenomenal release by Ripple Music, a Mastodonian love affair, a grunge-era callback, Steve Wilson's next brush, and Necrolytic Goat Converter's self-released debut LP, which is as good as the band name preclude's. Enjoy!

The Playlist

"Paleblood Sky" - Becomes Astral

Becomes Astral's debut full-length formulates fiery fretwork and magnificent mélange to produce a phenomenal outing for death connoisseurs and the casual observer alike. Also, for fans of Dark Souls the final track has a special treat in store for you.

"Time Well" - Cloakroom

Cloakroom's latest album is a posty doom-laden shoegaze adventure interweaving floaty riffs with fuzzy drops. Recommended for folks looking to throw something on in the background that isn't too distracting but packs a wallop when your focus turns to it.

"Servants of the Salem Girls" - The Necromancers

Ripple Music continues to be a top choice for fans of the stoner and doom genres, and the latest from The Necromancers holds to that standard. The group harkens back to the classic doom of yore combining Luciferian lyrics with gutteral vocals. It's a head-boppin' good time.

"Lupus Metallorum" - Old Iron

Mixed and recorded by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, The Sword, ISIS), Old Iron's sophomore effort proves the group has the gusto to run the Seattle heavy music scene. The first half of the album hits hard with a sludgy mixture of heavy riffage, while the second half slows down and pours out doomy refrains.

"We Won't Get Out Of Here Alive" - Transit Method

Transit Method harkens back to 90's grunge with a heavy metal tint. It's fast, frantic, and most definitely fun.

"To The Bone" - Steven Wilson

Steven Wilson's work is hard to come by for free even on the internet and it's very hard to determine if something posted by a third party will be taken down. For now here's an informative interview with Wilson done by The Telegraph UK. The album in full can be found on nearly all streaming sites including Deezer, Apple Music, Spotify, etc as well as via physical distribution at all major outlets. Watch the interview here.

"Isolated Evolution" - Necrolytic Goat Converter

Sometimes a band's name is enough to do a double-take. Thankfully, Necrolytic Goat Converter and their creator Chris Voss have the talent to back up the title with depressive lyrics filtered through impressive instrumentation.

Hope you found something to listen to and have a great weekend!

- The Catalyst

Friday, August 4, 2017

Weekend Playlist: August 4th, 2017

I've been doing these posts on my Facebook lately, and thought I'd formalize them by adding them to the blog. This weekend's playlist showcases a young symphonic metal group out of Boston, a progressive project featuring Dave Lombardo and Mike Patton, and a glorious gypsy punk effort.

Primary Playlist

"Solveig" by Seven Spires

Formed in Boston, these Berklee alumni have unleashed symphonic pleasure. Adrienne Cowan's vocals soar and crush while Jack Costo's sensational guitarwork is destined for legend. Sadly not on Bandcamp but here's a couple of videos to showcase their range. Order the album on the band's official site here


Dead Cross features the legendary talents of drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More) as they go on a whirlwind trip of chaos with each song delving deeper and deeper into the depths of pure insanity.

Eclectic ska/gypsy punk group, Russkaja was founded by Stalhammer singer Georgij Makazaria, and their new album provides the perfect escapism needed for fun weekend.

- The Catalyst