Monthly Archives: May 2012

My “I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR 2012” (London) experience.

What can I say about a Friday and Saturday at I’ll Be Your Mirror? I saw Slayer play Reign In Blood in its entirety, saw Sleep play (never thought I would), met Steve Brooks of Torche/Floor and had a great time sightseeing. Continue reading

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White Suns – “SINEWS” Quick Review

White Suns – Sinews
Genre: Noise rock

Label: Load Records

White Suns are a three-piece noise rock demon from Brooklyn, and “Sinews” is their second album, although it is the first release while on noise-pushing label Load Records.

As an album of six songs and just falling short of the 35-minute mark, “Sinews” is noticeably short. However there is no real wavering moment. There is always a build up, always tension and always the sense of a looming moment where your ears might be pushed to the limits. This album is, in one word, intense.

Second track, Footprints Filled, from the very beginning sadistically abuses your ears, leaving you unsure whether you’re really meant to enjoy it. The guitars and drums play along with each other, intertwining and intensifying as the track progresses. The drums are especially brutal, they just hammer away with no remorse and no sign of slowing for the majority of the song.

Cenote is a track just full of unbearable despair, the instrumentals all fighting each other in a climb but constantly falling back down, eventually reaching a climax. The guitar rips, the vocals shred, the keyboards stomp and the drums punch until the song closes with each instrument almost collapsing from fatigue. The final track Oath also seems to  have the same build-up-and-fall approach.

Flesh Vault just features this thick feedback while strings sound like they’re being played at random with no real care, as a sombre poetic monologue is told, as if a cry for help in an empty wasteland: “I crawl through a century/kicking free of narcotic tendrils/the ways unmarked/but the map is in me”.

By the end, you just feel as if you’ve been exorcised, like ‘demons’ have been smashed or torn from your soul. The overall relentlessness of the band to challenge their listener is both impressive and scary. On the other hand, this sort of means that there is no real variety in their sound, just different approaches and settings. Probably not an album you’d suggest to a prog rock fan.

If you like bands along the lines of Drunkdriver, Sore Throat and maybe Homostupids, then you will probably enjoy some aspects of this. “Sinews” is definitely for those whole like music extra loud, noisy and primitive.

7.3/10
Favourite tracks: Footprints Filled, Cenote.

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High On Fire – “De Vermis Mysteriis” Review

High On Fire – “De Vermis Mysteriis”
Genre – Sludge/Stoner metal

Label: E1 Music

High On Fire is the sludge metal brainchild Matt Pike, of recently reformed doom giants Sleep, and this is their fifth studio album. The band came from the ashes of the unfortunate demise of Sleep in 1998, and has since been a more direct and aggressive way of music for Pike, almost a Motorhead equivalent in the doom/sludge genre. High On Fire is a band known for its fast-pace, and Pike’s signature guitar-shredding and snarling vocals. Continue reading

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I’m going to I’ll Be Your Mirror in London.

Yes, that’s right, I am going to the ATP event held at the Alexandra Palace, that is co-curated by All Tomorrow’s Parties and the post-rock titans Mogwai. I’m really excited and it’s going to be great! I’m only going for the Friday and Saturday, and then hopefully sightseeing on the Sunday, but this is all about the music. So I’m drawing up my plans and timetable, and this is what I have planned.

For the FRIDAY…

4.30 – 5.15: A STORM OF LIGHT
5.45 – 6.15: YOB  (leaving early to catch…)
6.30 – 7.30: MELVINS
*
8.15 – 9.15: SLEEP
9.45 – 11.00: SLAYER

*Wolves In The Throne Room might be a possibility for 15 minutes after Melvins finish, depending on how difficult it is getting from one room to the other. Unfortunately, I might have to miss them.

As for the Saturday, I have a lot less clashes due to less bands that I want to see, which means I might actually be looking at the stalls, the cinema and taking part in whatever might be there. So for SATURDAY…

1.45 – 2.30: FLOOR
3.00 – 3.45: HARVEY MILK
5.00: MIXTAPE SWAP
6.45 – 7.30: MUDHONEY
8.15 – 9.15: BALAM ACAB
9.30 – 11.00: MOGWAI

Seeing as I have a lot more gaps, it’ll be cool to check out the merch stands and other stalls I’ve heard about. Also, if anyone is going to IBYM and planning to take part in the “Mixtape Swap”, give me a shout, would be cool to meet people with similar music interests and swap tapes (or CDs).

So yeah, I’m damn excited. It’s a dream to be able to see Slayer play their iconic Reign In Blood in its entirety, one of my favourite albums of all time and one of many CDs I’m surprised I haven’t broken from overplay. And it’ll be the second time I’ll be seeing Melvins, which is crazy for me. It’s just going to be a great event, and the variety in music is astounding – I actually wish I was going for the Sunday so I could catch El-P.

If you’re a music nut who’s also going, don’t be afraid to hit me up for a meet, or recommend me a band to see that I haven’t put down already. I’ll be putting up a review of the event sometime next week, so keep an eye out or subscribe with the button on the right of the page – it’s going to be emotional!

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Torche – “Harmonicraft” Quick Review

Torche – Harmonicraft
Genre: Sludge/Hard rock

Label: Volcom

“Harmonicraft” is the third album of the Florida-based quartet Torche, led by guitarist and vocalist Steve Brooks (of recently reunited Floor). This is also the second Torche album to be produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou. The band is known for its catchy and almost ‘pop’ approach to the Sludge/Stoner rock genre, despite Brooks using an extremely low guitar tuning he named ‘Drop Z’.

So, Torche deliver yet another album that could only be described as a Riffosaurus Rex, and fits well with their discography so far. As soon as the album opens with Letting Go, the band drops into a no-nonsense, balls-out hard rock anthem. And when the track finishes, you’re not even given a chance to digest it as you’re thrown into the first single of the album Kicking, another song filled with massive riffs and hooks that would not go amiss in a stadium during the end of the world.

Again, not a chance is given for a last note to ring out, Walk It Off kicks in – a song that should be called ‘driving-through-the-desert-at-100mph-in-a-vintage-car’. Being one of the shortest on the album (clocking in at 1:26) it is also one of the more aggressive tracks, yet sounds like a metal party tune that encourages trashing rooms and shotgunning beers.

The following few tracks are pretty standard Torche tracks, which is far from a derogative statement in this band’s case. Kiss Me Dudely has a chorus that makes you want to punch your fist in the air, while Solitary takes a more morose and soothing mood, another song that wouldn’t go amiss during the last moments of mankind. The title track (Harmonicraft, an instrumental) has a more progressive rock feel, opening with a high-end riff that delves into the brooding lows, almost challenging you to air-guitar.

There is not much more that can be said for “Harmonicraft” that’s been previously mentioned. If there are gripes with the album, then it might not be the kind of album you would listen to if you were mourning the end of a relationship or need something to relax to. However, for rocking parties and cracking a few beers with your friends – then this is perfect. If there ever was a teacher to guide bands into making riffs that would tick both the “heavy” and “catchy” boxes without jeopardising one over the other, Steve Brooks would be your man.

8.6/10
Favourite tracks: Walk It Off, Kicking, Harmonicraft.

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Death Grips – “The Money Store” Review

Death Grips – The Money Store
Genre: Hip-hop/Experimental Hip-hop

Label: Epic

“The Money Store” was released earlier this year in April, but there was no way I could pass by an opportunity to review it. First of all, Death Grips is a hip-hop project made up by a trio that consists of  vocalist MC Ride (real name Stefan Burnett), drummer Zach Hill (of Hella and many more) and keyboard/sampler Andy Morin. Continue reading

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Squarepusher – “Ufabulum” Quick Review

Squarepusher – Ufabulum
Genre: Electronica/IDM 

Label: Warp

Squarepusher is the alias of renowned electronic/IDM artist Tom Jenkinson, known for his jazz fusion with electronica and bringing his bass guitar virtuosity into his live performances. “Ufabulum” is his 15th album release, and another change in relation to Squarepusher’s style in recent works.

First off, “Ufabulum” is a LOT different to the previous few albums he released, particularly the likes of “Shobaleader One: d’Demonstrator” and “Just A Souvenir”, which were inspired by daydreams Jenkinson had of a futuristic electronic “rock band”. This concept brought him to approaching a hybrid sound of Daft Punk and Black Moth Super Rainbow. “Ufabulum” however, seems to return to the earlier styles of his work, but with a sense of post-[something] refreshment. The energy is more vibrant and he even seems to be exploring further into new textures.

Unreal Square, for example, seems to have strong dubstep influences but his approach to the style feels fresh and different to what you might expect anything affiliated with the d-word. In the first half of the song, he keeps to a very slow and slick tempo, but then after a steady build-up with beats, the track bursts into drum’n’bass, yet keeping the same melody, sometimes twisting or snapping it into different directions.

Then tracks like The Metallurgist, are almost the opposite. Dark, brooding and screaming “no-nonsense”, almost reminiscent of the dark and faster moments of his contemporary Aphex Twin. Dark Steering is similar, but progresses through different levels of tempo and atmosphere, intertwining episodes of soft melodies and neck-snapping breakbeats.

Personally, the only faults with the album is that some sections might become too similar, and that it’s easy to lose track of when one track ends and another starts. Stadium Ice and Energy Wizard both seem to have a heavy 80’s synthwave vibe, the latter more noticeable with its trance-like atmosphere, and the two could probably be morphed into one track. This seems to be a case for a couple of the other tracks too, like 303 Scopem Hard and Ecstatic Shock.

Otherwise, “Ufabulum” is a good album in terms of its apocalyptic party feel. Its infectious melodies can lull you into a blissful nod, but can turn 180 and throw a flurry of sounds and breakbeats. Its all-round accessibility and addictiveness would be a great introduction to someone wanting to explore the world of Squarepusher. A definite for an an IDM or a long-time fan of Squarepusher.

6.4/10
Favourite tracks: Unreal Square, Dark Steering, Energy Wizard.

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