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Columnus Metallicus

Columnus Metallicus - Spend Spring Loaded With Toby's Metal Reviews
Toby Cook , May 10th, 2010 05:33

This month, Toby gets angry with a volcano, blasts back some LSD-screwed weed when he should have been writing about tanks, and brings you the best and worst in metal and beyond

At fucking last! Some sun! Thank you Spring, now I can finally venture outside in my shorts, flip-flops and Iron Maiden printed string vest, with a hanky tied at the four corners on my head... No, of course not, I've got to venture further into the sub-basement and more thoroughly apply the corpse paint, lest any stray ray of sunlight ruin my consummately worked-on milky complexion...

Oh, and another thing that April seemed to have brought is volcanoes! Or more specifically, volcanoes that cause Shrinebuilder to cancel their debut UK show. Now, I've nothing against Iceland, indeed, I have several very good friends who are Icelandic... but fuck Iceland! Fuck its fucking volcano and its cunting volcanic fucking ash, and fuck April; month of fools and foolish fucking volcanoes.

Black Breath Heavy Breathing Southern Lord

During my life there have been times, as I'm sure there have been for most confirmed metal heads, where I have questioned why it is that I love metal so: during the random acts of bullying at high school for having long hair and Sepultura on my Walkman, seeing Motörhead t-shirts on sale in Topman and the level fame afforded to Fred Durst. Every once in a while though, a band comes along that re-affirms exactly why it is that you love metal, and right now that band is Black Breath.

Let's be straight, Black Breath aren't on some sort of crusade to save metal, they aren't moving the genre into strange and exciting new territories, hell, what they do isn't even startlingly original, but they are good at it; like, really fucking good at it. Imagine the best parts of Discharge, coupled with the nihilistic leanings of Cursed and the 'death 'n' roll' styling's of early Entombed and you're pretty close to ground Black Breath cover. Kurt 'Converge' Ballou's production perfectly captures the gnarly-er than gnarly riffs, and such is the raw aggression on display that on tracks like opener 'Black Sin (Spit On The Cross)' and 'Virus' you can almost feel the bile expectorating out of the speakers, and stripping the skin of your face. Quite simply, this could already be THE album of 2010.

Brutal Truth Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses Earache

Another month, another reissue. This time Brutal Truth's seminal grind masterpiece, ECDER, gets the fold-out-cardboard-packaging-with-bonus-tracks-and-some-interview-or-other-with-one-of-the-band-about-how-they-made-the-album-and-how-they-didn't-think-it'd-be-so-good treatment. Despite it's title, in the years to come Brutal Truth would become faster and more extreme than they are here, but this is still the closest any American band has come to matching the early wave of British grind pioneers (Napalm Death, Heresy etc). With an impressive 11 bonus tracks – including a barely recognisable cover of Black Sabbaths 'Lord Of This World' – and three videos, it's more than worth the extra couple of quid. But if you're reading this column, you should really already own this album...

Wormrot Abuse Earache

If you've ever been to Singapore, you'll know that – with the possible exception of one particular district and one particular basement bar come brothel come mouth of hell, the 'Blue Banana' – it's clean, very, very clean and the people are nice, very, vey nice. So it's a surprise to find that one of the grind-iest (is that a word?) of grindcore bands to emerge in recent years, Wormrot, are indeed from the minute island nation. Although in the truest traditions of the genre Abuse clocks in at under 20 minutes, Landfill grind this is not. Just the right side of being complete, unlistenable chaos, 'Shitlack', 'Fuck... I'm Drunk' and 'Blasphemy My Ass' go off like Speedy Gonzales, amped up on, er, well, cheap speed, waving a rusty chainsaw about. And their cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's 'Rich' far out-does the original!

Witchsorrow Witchsorrow Rise Above

Yeah, yeah, yeah, go on, say it: "Witchsorrow have just rehashed Sleep's Dopesmoker, except for people who are really depressed and like hanging out in the woods with a load of similarly depressed old hippies, who pretend that they're Pagans, or some bollocks." Yeah, I hear you, and I don't fucking care! Witchsorrow is the epitome of what the doom sub-genre is all about. Yes they owe a lot to Sleep, yes they owe a lot to Black Sabbath – but if you're depressed, have smoked enough pot to make your corneas bleed and want riffs that move slower than a Blue Whale in a tar pit with a gammy fin, then you've found them.

Locrian Territories Small Doses

Although 'Locrian' can refer to either a member of the ancient central Greek tribe, the Locrians, or a musical scale used primarily by jazz and death metal musicians, this has nothing to do with Chicago's 'post-industrial noise' duo Locrian. To be perfectly frank, on first listen Territories is a pretty bloody arduous listen, but here perseverance is the key. What at first comes across as unstructured, poorly executed racket recorded in an oil drum by a monkey with learning difficulties, eventually it reveals itself to be an intense 50 minute drone odyssey; the multitude of seemingly random clicks, glitches and oddities making for a deceptively textured and engrossing album.

Year Long Disaster Black Magic; All Mysteries Revealed Volcom Entertainment

According to YLD Black Magic... is a concept LP, based around the more-than-slightly-obscure and once banned Mikhail Bulgakov novel The Master And Margarita (and don't think I'm going to go into details about it here – Wikipedia it or something you lazy bastards – but it has something to do with the Devil going on holiday to Moscow ). Not that you'd realise any of this from the music contained within, mind. Rather, the overly burnished production, naff song titles (see: 'Love Like Blood' and 'Foggy Bottom') and the fact that the whole thing comes across like a watered down GN'R/Avenged Sevenfold gives the whole LP the feeling of being one of those albums that overly protective parents are happy to buy for their kids because 'it rocks', has very little swearing and no songs about tits.

Cauldron Chained To The Nite Earache

So, like, either they do things a little differently in Canada, or no one has yet told Cauldron that it's no longer 1983. Either way the unpretentious, no shit trad-metal peddled by the Canadian four piece is so gloriously tongue in cheek (I hope!) that it's impossible no to like it. Ok, so Jason Decay's vocal range is a way off Rob Halford's to say the least, and on occasions it sounds painfully weak and strained, but you won't notice, and if you do, you won't care; especially when set to the brilliantly retro riffery of 'Chained Up In Chains' and 'Witch Trail'. For once a seriously enjoyable metal album, instead of yet another enjoyably serious one.

Mouth Of The Architect The Violence Beneath EP Translation Loss Records_

Of all the poor decisions I've made in my life – and there have been many – the poorest was probably electing to smoke a small amount of cannabis that happened to be treated with LCD before a GCSE History exam. While I can't say that the experience of laying in the sun in the middle of a Hockey pitch watching the world move in various hues of yellow and blue was really that bad (up until I entered the exam hall, faced with the prospect of writing about Nazi Germany for two hours, in silence) the only thing that could have made it better would have been this EP. Essentially a melding of Pelican and more traditional southern rock outfits such as Baroness, the occasionally melodic, often brutally sludgy, post metal on display is, well, it's much better than a history exam.

Lair Of The Minotaur Evil Power Grind-house Records

Evil Power may just be one of the most accidentally awesome metal releases of recent months – and when I say awesome, I really do mean, like, totally awesome dude. 666 per cent full of dirty, gnarly riffs, lobbed about with all the subtly and precision of someone from north Norfolk, chucking huge flaming turds from his huge flaming tractor. Straight rock, punk and metal influences rear their heads throughout, on an album that tellingly was mixed by none other that Pig Destroyers Scott Hull.

Cathedral The Guessing Game Nuclear Blast

As Cathedral main-man Lee Dorrian revealed to the Quietus recently , after the release of the groups previous LP, The Garden Of Unearthly Delights, they weren't even sure that they were going to produce another album. But, they did, and it's nothing short of awesome. Right from Dave Patchett's epic artwork to the 85 minute running time, it's no exaggeration to say that it's potentially the album of their career... But don't take my word for it; read Noel Gardner's excellent review on the Quietus , as I'm off to staple my face back on after listening to Black Breath.