SVN SNS RCRDS stands for Seven Sons Records; we're a small independent music label from Paris, France, founded in 2010 by David Gamelin and myself, Alex Poveda. A couple years ago, Thibault Signourel, Editor for the French webzine Hartzine, joined us in the adventure. Originally the label was just supposed...
AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy rock music. This month, Cloudkicker streams his ninth record, Subsume, Jesu returns with a new track, plus songs from Doomriders and the supergroups Mutoid Man (members of Cave In and Converge) and Black God (members of Coliseum and Young Widows).
Ben Sharp, who creates under the moniker Cloudkicker, has been blasting the instrumental music scene to pieces since he started releasing music back in 2007. Everything is written, recorded, mixed and mastered at his home in Columbus, Ohio, and like the true lover of music Sharp is, all of his releases are streamed for free online. Physical copies exist, and if you love Cloudkicker’s jams enough. you can always pay Sharp for his efforts as well -- and money should definitely be thrown his way for his prog-metal influenced take on instrumental music. His ninth (!!!) release since 2007, Subsume is streaming on his Bandcamp page, with a limited vinyl run scheduled for sometime in the early Fall. Do yourself a favor and hop on this wagon. It is well worth the ride.
Jesu - "Homesick"
Jesu, the brainchild of metal God Justin Broadrick, is back out with a new album soon, and it seems like it has been quite some time since his last. Every Day I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came has the appropriate long-ass title befitting of any post-metal album, and as the first track "Homesick" shows, Broadrick has gone with a more guitar-oriented approach this time. Granted, is about as thrilling as watching paint drip off a wall and slowly dry into chips, but don’t let that deter you. Any Jesu release is well worth the effort to soak in, and as fall approaches, the soundtrack for the season has arrived with it.
After their Earth Tour of 45 countries in 90 days, you might think the members of Horse the Band would loathe each other to the point of disbanding. After such a frenetic pace of travel, the close quarters of their interactions, and the meager financial compensation paid to them, what incentive is there to endure?
To enact the Kauffman-esque humiliation upon their audience they are known for: that is the incentive. And now here in 2013, absent record label and foregoing a new album since 2009, Horse gladly take on bonus levels for touring outside of the US. It has become increasingly clear: American audiences no longer excite Horse, and our incessant need for retro gaming nostalgia is exactly what drove them to other shores. We could have been a bit more appreciative that they didn't always write lyrics about video games, and from our folly, Europe has capitalized.
Along for this particular tour is UK band Rolo Tomassi, past tourmates of Horse who also call themselves admirers of the band. When asked about watching Horse address the audience on tour, keyboardist James Spence sums it up in a very apt description, joking that they are "a mixture of entertaining and terrifying."
"Having spent a fair amount of time around them offstage," he continues, "it starts to make way more sense. I appreciate their honesty and that they're unafraid to be themselves at all times."
The tour's Berlin date meant a brief homecoming before departing to Russia for Horse's Lord Gold (Erik Engstrom), who now calls Berlin home base. It would also be the end of the road for Rolo Tomassi, whose upcoming tour schedule has them visiting Japan and Australia this fall. Between the matched amount of enthusiasm for animated keyboard playing between both bands and Horse's outlandish hilarity, the show at Berlin's Magnet made evident that Horse's fun on tour is exponentially higher when not playing at home.
August 12th, 2013 @ Magnet in Berlin, Germany
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOSH CONNOLLY (ROLO TOMASSI) AND MATT CARTER (HORSE THE BAND)
AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy rock music. This month, Russian Circles teases with a new song from a new album, Dead In the Dirt introduces themselves to the world with a fury, plus new songs from Weekend Nachos, Touché Amoré and Modern Life Is War. ...
AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy rock music. This month, Pelican is back with a new album, Revocation introduces a banjo to their metal jams, plus songs from Harm's Way, Dog Shredder and ALL PIGS MUST DIE.
In the early 2000s when post-metal was really beginning to take hold, Pelican were synonymous with the instrumental version of what ISIS and Neurosis were busy churning out. The Chicago quartet became quickly known for their sprawling soundscapes on The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, but changed it up a bit on recent albums -- hedging their bets more on shorter songs than the long 10-minute-plus jams they were known for. Rumor at the time was although the band loved the long stuff, the shorter jams were more enjoyable to play live. Fan reactions to that change appeared a bit mixed at times, so the die-hard, old-school Pelican fans will be delighted with their new song off of Forever Becoming, due out on Oct. 15 courtesy of Southern Lord.
AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy rock music. This month, Nails claim the title of most brutal band running at the moment, and Children of God combine sludge and aggressive hardcore into one swampy sound. Plus songs from Akimbo and Paint It Black and Gaytheist.
Nails were once known only for being the band featuring ex-Terror guitarist Todd Jones. Nothing can be further from the truth now, as Terror has continued to release their meat-headed moshcore albums for the hardcore community and Todd Jones has successfully gravitated Nails towards being one of the better grind bands out there. Abandon All Life, released on Southern Lord Records earlier in March, is 17 minutes of pure, unadulterated brutality, not for the faint of heart. Recorded at Kurt Ballou's God City Studios, the trio have mastered their combination of grind, power violence, metal and hardcore into a full out World War III assault on the ear drums. Nuclear holocaust is hardly something to be worried about in today's world, just what happens if Nails stays on this path of destruction.
Akimbo - "Equal Opportunity Asshole"
Record Store Day came and went on April 20th, and amongst the chaos of independent record stores nationwide, Seattle power-trio Akimbo released their swan song album Live to Crush to 500 eager souls. The trio called it quits last year, but recorded their final unreleased material and released it on Alternative Tentacles. Outside of having one of the best album covers of the year, Live to Crush is everything that Akimbo was the best at. Monster rock riffs, bludgeoning basslines and ferocious drums sound like army of orcs manning the helm of a hard rock band. Akimbo carried the heavy torch in Seattle as the rest of the city fell prey to bearded and flanneled indie folk rock pretty boys, and now the phoenix rising of the band Sandrider continues the lonesome slog. If you got your hands on this one, you are one of the lucky ones.
To be old and punk rock is to be old and potentially irrelevant, and that is, to a certain degree, why most punk bands have such a limited life cycle. How can anyone maintain the anger, aggression and emotional commitment to hold onto the values and morals deemed important as a teenager, without the world grinding it all down into a jaded package of disillusion?
There is nothing that says that being in a punk band means you have to start when you are 20 and cease when you are 27, but to a certain degree, the writing is on the wall the moment you start. You may have been bellowing discontent to a crowd of 20-year-olds with your first vinyl, but after the third album is released, an older you will probably still be bellowing that discontent to a crowd of 20-year-olds.
With that in mind, it is completely understandable why bands in the realm live and die so quickly, and those that stick around for decades are few and far between.
February 10th, 2012 @ Showbox at the Market, Seattle
But Gainsville, Florida quartet Hot Water Music are one of the few between. Hot Water Music released Finding the Rhythms in 1995. After eight full-lengths, numerous EPs, and returning from an "indefinite hiatus", the torchbearers of the post-hardcore/emo wave of the mid-'90s are still going strong. For their tour in support of their latest release, Exister, HWM took out for support two very similar bands in different points in their career: La Dispute and The Menzingers.
When reminiscing about Hot Water Music, most people bring up how they were their favorite band at one point or how no one else spoke closer to home lyrically, etc., etc. For many in the punk community, Hot Water Music proved that you can wear your heart on your sleeve and not sacrifice any points for it. This evening at the Showbox in Seattle, the legions of kids that sang along to their every word 15 years ago have aged and matured likewise, rounding their set out with one of the oldest median age punk crowds you'd see in a while. When "Wayfarer" rang out, the crowd cheered almost louder than the band sang. The mosh pit was active, but not in a stupidly vicious way, and there wasn't a single crowdsurfer until a teenager finally was able to get on the shoulders of someone else to make his mad dash for the barrier between the crowd and the stage.
HOT WATER MUSIC - EXISTER ALBUM REVIEW
LIVE SHOW REVIEW CONTINUED BELOW
As a staff, we all have our own unique musical tastes. Sometimes those tastes overlap stylistically and sometimes they veer off into strange directions galore. Below are our top album lists of 2012, separated by writer and summed up with genre tags.
Vivian Hua - dance, electronic, indie, funk, metal
Judy Nelson - dance, electronic, indie, pop, psychedelic, soul
Ryan Pangilinan - pop, soul, pop-punk, punk
Peter Woodburn - electronic, hardcore, metal, instrumental
Aural Devastation is a regular column about heavy music. Here are some favorites from 2012, beginning with relatively structured songs and descending into the chaotic.
Baroness - "EULA" from Yellow & Green + ENTIRE RECORD STREAM
As the last song on the Yellow Album, "EULA" had an interesting job, as it...
Few bands have remained as relevant and impossible to duplicate as the Massachusetts based metalcore kings Converge. Ignoring the insane impact that each member of the band has had in all aspects of the music industry -- from record label owning and producing to cover designing and playing in every band possible -- it isn't a very far stretch to call Converge one of the more important heavy bands to exist in the past 20 years. All We Love We Leave is the perfect example of Converge's ability to develop something new while still maintaining the familiarity of the whole assault of sound.
See full post for tour dates.
In July of 2011, Frank Carter, the snarling, cocky, explosive front man of the UK-based hardcore band Gallows left the band over creative differences, and it seemed like the band was done for. After the band pulled what the Guardian called one of the great rock n’ roll swindles, it seemed that the face of all that rage would be impossible to replace.
The band would tap ex-Alexisonfire screamer Wade MacNeil as the new tattooed face of a band that was seemingly the most important hardcore happening of the past decade. Early reviews were a bit mixed on Gallows' new material and touring performances. It wasn't that MacNeil wasn't a good fit for the band necessarily, but Gallows previous material was very British, and somehow hearing a Canadian scream, "London is the reason," just didn't resonate as hard.
SEE FULL REVIEW
MusicfestNW does one of the better jobs in the festival circuit of scheduling the heavy bands. Reason being that MusicfestNW, unlike most festivals, doesn’t take place in one central location. Rather, it is scattered amongst the various venues throughout Portland, Oregon. And although normally walls might seem like a constricting measure in life, the walls of the venue provide a safe haven for the volume to hit extreme levels, the vocals to shriek instead of harmonize, the double bass to reach red-lining beats per minute and the guitar distortion to be devastatingly heavy. Aural Devastation is a recurring column about heavy music.
Seeing Swans is an emotional experience and a tough one to make it through, at that. Charging off the brilliance of Michael Gira and company's epic new release, The Seer, Portland was laid to waste by the heaviness that is Gira’s project. Gira is well-known throughout the live circuit for his intensity, and although he is no longer as confrontational as he was in the early days, his intensity on stage translates immediately and effortlessly to Swans live show. It is a slog that is based on repetitive, almost locomotive-like mashes of noise and distortion. Over it all, Gira can be seen yelling at his band, demanding more energy and channeling some sort of weird musical rage. With every heavy stomp and grimace, one felt Gira’s pain as if it were one's own. There were a few souls in the Hawthorne Theatre without earplugs. They must have ignored the decibel warning on the front door. Not a smart idea.
The Seer is a 2-CD record that saw an August 28th release. It is the result of the band's getting back together in 2010, after a 14-year hiatus.