Vacation is amazing, right? You’re not at home, you get to eat meals at different places, and in our case, we got to drink pretty much any kind of draught Dogfish Head we wanted. If you’re really excited about feeling it quickly, get the Life & Limb. It will bury you.
OK, now the bad part of vacation (other than being on the beach during an earthquake) is that you fall a little behind in running your web site if you’re, you know, the only one writing the thing. That’s the case here, and while we got a lot of content onto the site last week, some things fell a little off the map just because it did. It happens. Can’t keep up with everything, especially when you’re trying to have fun and relax. So today I’d like to devote time to a few things on which I did fall behind. I’ve given ample listening time to all of them, mind you, but it was more a matter of saying things about them. OK, you get it. Let’s get on with this already.
I’ve been really into the first record from Moab ever since the promo arrived in my inbox about a month ago. “Ab Ovo” hit me like a ton of bricks, and something about it reminded me a bit of Jimmy Page’s heavenly guitar thunder and Soundgarden’s earlier years before they kind of withered and died artistically. I even described it to my wife like, “Imagine if Wolfmother weren’t a total abomination. It’s kind of like that idea.” It’s more a rock album than metal, but certainly people who like things more extreme will find plenty to like here. That goes double for if you like to smoke up while taking on your rock. This will hit your spot right away.
The dudes hail from Southern California, and the sunburnt nature of their music is the only thing that makes that obvious. There is plenty of 1970s rock and doom attitude here, and anyone who falls at the power of a killer riff will find submission natural. It’s easy to either groove or dream with their stuff, and you can do both on the smoking opener “So On,” which has some damn tasty guitar work and is a fantastic stage-setter for the mind-altering stuff that follows. “Dimensioner” kicks off with some cowbell and a deliberate pace before it opens up into a desert-like pounder; “Sated” is a bit darker and kind of off kilter melodically, and Andrew Giacumakis’ vocals reach into nasal Ozzy territory; the dual “Staring Wall” pieces are trippy, muddy and forceful, and both represent the edgiest examples of doom metal on the disc; and “Fembot” has a speedier tempo that’ll have you waving your arms windmill style all over your house. Watch out for the lamps. Or don’t.
Yeah, this is a killer album and a really promising debut. It rocks as hard as other Kemado bands such as The Sword and Saviours (more on them soon), and it’ll have you wielding an air guitar in no time. Too bad the summer’s coming to a close so shortly, because this is great stuff for sitting in the lawn, putting away beers, and not giving a shit what your neighbors think of the volume.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.myspace.com/moabinthesky
To buy “Ab Ovo,” go here: http://www.kemado.com/artists/moab/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.kemado.com
Southern Lord’s been drowning in the D-beat, crust, hardcore world for quite some time now, which we’ve chronicled pretty heavily, and they’ve really been talking up their latest signing All Pigs Must Die, and with good reason. Their debut long-player “God Is War” is a skull-splitter of an album, and if word of mouth if any indication from many of the folks I talk shop with on a daily basis, this is going to go down as one of the year’s most-talked-about, most-played records. I seriously have a handful of people or so who, each week, talk up this record, so that’s a really good sign for the APMD dudes. I mean, it’s a small sampling, but it’s a positive one nonetheless.
The band is made up of hardcore veterans, all of whose names you should know. You have frontman Kevin Baker (The Hope Conspiracy) who does his finest throaty, make-Tom-Araya-sound-like-a-pansy assault, drummer Ben Koller (Converge), and guitarist Adam Wentworth and bassist Matt Woods (both of Bloodhorse), so you can imagine the carnage that meets you on this eight-cut face bruiser. You can check off the expected it-sounds-like bands – Discharge, Disfear, Converge, Black Breath – but only in the sense that if you’re into those groups, you’ll naturally go nuts over this. These guys have a savagery and power that’s all their own, and they practically sounds like they have fingers pointed in your chest, with Baker spewing real venom in your eyes, as they play cuts such as “Pulverization,” “The Blessed Void,” doomy “Extinction Is Ours” and spacious, provoking closer “Sadistic Vindicator.”
This isn’t music for the weak willed, and they’re not going to be kind of gentle with their message. This a full-frontal assault that you can see coming but have no chance of stopping. I would imagine experiencing APMD live might require some level of pain relief in the days following.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.facebook.com/apmdband
To buy “God Is War,” go here: http://www.southernlord.com/store.php
For more on the label, go here: http://www.southernlord.com/
And now, a bad one. Or at least a not-so-good one. Maybe it’s that I don’t get Pennsylvania’s Century or that I’m tired of hearing bands who sound like them. Whatever the case, I just can’t get down with these guys. Their last effort “Black Ocean,” released in 2008, I didn’t hate, but it certainly hasn’t made any profound impact on me the past three years. I welcomed their new album “Red Giant” with an open mind because I liked what their leader Carson Slovak did with Armsbendback, and I think he has some decent creative ideas, but I just haven’t been blown away by Giant’s music. By the way, it should be noted, this time Slovak split vocal duties with Ricky Armellino (This or the Apocalypse), so that’s a pretty big change.
The band’s music is, I guess, metalcore-based, but I always think that has a negative connotation to it, and they don’t really fall under that banner of garbage bands who would be on the second stage of Ozzfest, if that still was a thing. They mix true hardcore with grinding metal, add some groove and post-metal influences, so you see how just calling them metalcore would be cutting them short. Opening cut “Lobotomy” is probably the angriest piece of music Slovak’s even been involved with, as there’s a ton of hate spewed here. It just sounds kind of juvenile, like it should be on a Slipknot album. The problem is the record gets less interesting and noteworthy from there, and I only really retained “Lobotomy” because it irritated me. “Synapse” is heavy and should help create the circle pit; “My Lexicon” tries to mix things up a little bit by adding some Deftones-like out-of-box thinking, and it’s probably the best cut on here; “Painting Leprosy” has more of a punk feel to it but also sounds like a rejected Kurt Cobain composition they sped up; and kicker “Oak God” is notable for its guest appearance by … wait for it … Kevin Martin from Candlebox. There are other guest spots on the disc by folk rocker Adam Taylor and former Armsbendback frontman Mike Coasey. Oh, and the art work is pretty awesome, so there’s that.
I’ll consider it’s possible I just can’t get with this style of metal anymore, and oversaturation may have something to do with it. Or, as I suspect, it’s just a mundane, non-challenging, heavy-for-the-sake-of-heavy record I have no use for and that probably won’t do much to increase Century’s profile. But to each his or her own, so if you feel differently about “Red Giant,” leave us a note in the comment section.
For more on Century, go here: http://www.myspace.com/century
To buy “Red Giant,” go here: http://prostheticrecords.bigcartel.com/product/century-red-giant
For more on the label, go here: http://prostheticrecords.com/