Articles by Matt Butler
An album of relentless brutality, gory lyrics, a hefty dose of humour and – this is most important – mammoth hooks and breakdowns. When only death metal will do, this will do nicely.
This band promised more far-reaching concepts, more progression and more experimentation. This album delivers. And it is testament to the adage that if you make music that is worth hearing, listeners will do their best to make it heard.
By the end of the final song, the band play like they know it is the end of a trilogy born of sadness and are putting every sinew into making it as fast, loud and intense as possible.
On first impressions this consists of two squalls of blackened screamy intensity. But then you notice variations and major-chord progressions that your reptilian brain responds to by giving you goose-bumps.
This album will get attention because two-thirds of the band were in Fugazi. But don’t buy it because of that, buy it because it is a great debut.
It’s a narrow tightrope that an avant-garde musician must balance upon. But Jason van Gulick does so with aplomb.
If they are this good on only their second EP – nine songs into their career, to put it another way – imagine what they could do if they were given time and money to spend on an entire album. Outstanding.
If you need an album to match an excess of caffeine but one that doesn’t lumber you with irritability or melancholy, you are in luck.
This album has a sneer, a swagger. But as well as that, it has a whole heap of melody.
The King is Blind straddle genres. They’re a bit deathy, a touch thrashy, a little groovy… even a tad folky, for a few brief seconds. But throughout, they are all metal. And metal rules.
Every drum is beaten like a Dickensian bastard. Every growling bass note is played with no thought for human hearing. Every guitar riff is strummed with scant regard for bleeding fingers. This is doom perfection.
This is doom, but as for what it really sounds like… well, that is a tough one: it is big but delicate, heavy but airy, morose but uplifting. And it hangs together like all good albums should.
By the end of this album, you’re hooked on the melody and bludgeoning sludge – even if at the beginning of the album you took some convincing. They get you in the end.
Cambrian’s music is billed as Hawaiian doom, which I bet is a sub-genre you’d never thought you’d read about. And it is heavy, make no mistake. But in addition to being heavy, it boasts a languid quality. And damn, it is gorgeous.
You know what you get with Rancid. But it is good to hear that after 24 years and nine albums, they have regained their mojo.
Petyr seem to have cut out the middle-man and come up with their own stoner-rock skateboard movie soundtrack.
Playing at being louche is harder than it looks. But this band do it effortlessly, with their lengthy jams and tales of seeing Kiss.
In seven inches this packs a lot in: noise, attitude and an ability to slip in slices of achingly good melody among big sandpapery blasts of punk.
It’s cheesier than a fat man’s pizza but most enjoyable. And it is further evidence that power metal does indeed rule.
There are some some genuinely gorgeous moments in this album. The only thing is it seems to be weighed down by its own concept.
Arc of Ascent certainly aren’t the first to put out a whole album of massive riffs accompanied by a very good vocalist singing lyrics with an eastern looking viewpoint. And they won’t be the last. But the fact they did – and did it very well – should be more than enough reason to buy this album. Do it and give Hamilton a claim to fame.