Monday, 5 September 2011

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Helmet - Seeing Eye Dog (2010)

Whenever I get bored now I'm just gonna stick an album on and write about it. Not arsed if no one reads it, but maybe I'll get better, maybe i'll rediscover decent albums or whatever. Submitted the Endless Boogie one to a Zine, the guy emailed be back straight away and it should be up within a month.

Metal? Hardcore? Post-Hardcore? Grunge? Helmet.

This band isn't so much a band anymore, but more of a brainchild of singer/guitarist Paige Hamilton. Helmet has gone through such immense line up changes over the past twenty years, and has featured former and future members of such a vast array of artists; from noise-dance group Battles, to thrash beasts Anthrax to indie pop rockers Jets To Brazil. After having a break from the studio for 4 years Helmet are back with another effort titled Seeing Eye Dog.

Rather wet album artwork if you ask me, but anyway...

As the album kicks off I see some of the same elements used in their early recordings, particularly their debut Strap It On. Not so much the odd time signatures, but the recognizable detached drop D chugging and their more distorted riffs. I wouldn't say these riffs are few and far between, but maybe swallowed up and over-saturated by more melodic and calmer rhythms. The second song, Seeing Eye Dog takes me back to the slower chuggy parts of the debut album and I really like that. It doesn't stay like this however, we see yet more variety in styles been used as the album goes on. Track 3 and 4 are what I would regard as [almost] radio friendly and as I mentioned earlier softer and more melodic. Like most of Helmet's mid-era releases, Seeing Eye Dog doesn't really know what it's trying to sound like, this might not be a bad thing though, still countains the elements of a good rock album. Other than the odd stand out drum fill, I find myself only impressed by the 6 string side of things, but the drummer and bassist are still fully capable of holding a rhythm.

Track 6, Morphing, brings us 3:18 of pointless drone and noise which doesn't sit right with the rest of the album, followed by a grungey sounding "White City" that shows us Paige can still sing, and just as it's about to get boring we're greeted with a short but sweet chaotic solo which fits in nicely. Personal highlight on the album for me is the almost-sludgy ending that is 'She's Lost'. This is the longest track on the album, showing rather impressive guitar work and this time, good use drone and fuzz to bring us into the songs second guitar solo. Good effort.

If you're looking for another Strap It On like I was, then sadly you're not going to find it here. If you're looking for [mainly] good song writing, well constructed rock music with easy on-the-ear vocals then this may be your album.

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Sword - Warp Riders (2010)

The metallic stoner band, not the Leeds punk band I'm afraid.

Now here's a band that I've seen live and enjoyed, and loved their previous releases, so obviously I was awaiting the new album with high hopes. New drummer and new producer, not that the latter should really make a difference. The opening track unleashes an impressive display of fret-wankery, and yeah, It really does sound good. Entirely instrumental, I think maybe we could possibly be in for a treat with this album. The second track, Tres Brujas gets off to a good start also - until singer J.D Cronise opens his mouth. I don't know what's happened in the past two years but this sounds weak. A band who I'd previously describe as sabbath fanciers, don't really show their worth on this '2 part 10 track sci-fi concept album'. I don't really care for the lyrical content on this, because I like The Sword for their big riffs, not big concepts.

As the album goes on, admittedly the vocals do sound stronger, and the music as it goes sounds pretty technical, but the song structures become boring and I realize I've heard this done better before. I see a pattern when track 6 comes on. Astraea's Dream, another entirely instrumental effort, and it sounds good. On my second listen of the album, I get to the end of track 7, the title track, and get bored, turn it off and put The Freezing Fog on. To me this was a bit of a let down. I feel the need to mention the fact they opened for Metallica on pretty much a full world tour, but that doesn't really matter because this is a poor effort. No hat trick of good albums for The Sword I'm afraid. Listen to it, then listen to Age Of Winters. You'll understand.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Endless Boogie - Full House Head (2010)

Ladies and Gentleman, shave your beards, cut your hair, and throw out your Skynyrd records in disgust at the fact you haven't heard this band before. Taking their name from the 1971 John Lee Hooker album, Introducing, Endless Boogie. Hailing from New York, a city and scene that is undoubtably one that's hard to crack, this band have been hidden away for over a decade. Maybe they've been hiding behind the front mans questionable haircut, I don't know, but going by their latest release Full House Head I feel I've missed out on something.

A CLOSE PAL pointed this band out to me after seeing them at the Pavement curated All Tomorrows Parties festival in Mineshead. Stephen Malkmus is a fan and so am I. The album starts with a certainly laid back, "Empty Eye" which pretty much sets the platform for the rest of this tarrying yet felicitous album. Followed by a catchy filthy blues rock track with an equally catchy/disgusting title, "Tarmac City".
This album is clearly very well produced, but don't let that put you off, singer Paul Major manages to keep it dirty with his rough, liquor-soaked woodbine vocals, varnished by a landscaping display of mini Hendrix licks. The album ends as good as it starts with "A Life Worth Leaving", which to be honest they may as well have just been titled Endless Boogie, because that's exactly what it is. Sounding more lo-fi than the rest of the album, this 22 minute jam is certainly the highlight of the 8 tracks. Upset that I'll never own previous releases, due to them being out of print, I can only eagerly await future releases and tours!

Track List;
1 Empty Eye (9:39)
2 Tarmac City (4:55)
3 Slow Creep (10:50)
4 Mighty Fine Pie (6:28)
5 Top Dollar Speaks His Mind (8:31)
6 Pack Your Bags (8:37)
7 New Pair of Shoes (4:47)
8 A Life Worth Leaving (22:36)

buy it here.

Sloath - Sloath (2010)

Sloath are a psychedelic drone sabbath-worshipping 5 piece from the sunny south of England. Formed in 2007 with their debut album out on Riot Season, they play repetitive, loud, slow skull smashing riffs that don’t really ever get old.

Their self titled release features 3 tracks and is over 40 minutes long. Might as well start at the beginning, the opening track, “Black Hole” doesn’t beat about the bush and hits hard straight away with spine shaking fuzz. Vocals are sparse, with an onslaught of chaotic wails every few bars. Track 2 see them introducing elements of desert rock, with bass tones reminiscent of early 90s Kyuss. With the crushing bass-heavy riffs, comes a high pitched bellowing riff complimented with well timed feedback and hard hitting drums.

Winding down with “Please Maintain”, we are mellowed out with slow, sombre tones that wouldn’t sit so out of place with Earth’s Bees Made The Honey In The Lions Skull. This 22 minute masterpiece reaches a peak just over half way through, then becoming more distorted, louder and setting a standard for what new bands describing themselves as post-metal, should probably try to sound like. Either that or they should put down their instruments and give up after hearing this album. Released only on vinyl and limited to 500 copies, this is a treasure worth owning. You can buy it here

Saturday, 6 November 2010


Someone asked me the other day, "what do you do?" To which I replied, "nothing."

I knew it'd happen sooner or later.