Thursday, December 18, 2014

Megaton Leviathan – Past 21 Beyond The Arctic Cell

Some artists, some performers, just have “it”.  That ability to take something that many other people are doing, but make it their own.  Put their own individual stamp on it.  That is exactly what Megaton Leviathan do with this release.  They bring us the doom, heavy as, well, a leviathan, but with their own unique twists to it.  This is music that you want to listen to over and over and lose yourself in what you hear.

Opening track “Past 21” is a great example.  The song starts out as cold and sparse as an arctic plain, white out in every direction.  You don't know where to turn, you don't know which direction to go, because everything is cold and white as far as the eye can see.  But as the music builds, there are some very cool psychedelic touches that come into earshot.  There is instrumentation that you don't necessarily expect to hear in this kind of track.  And you start to feel a little warmth, a little hope, that maybe this isn't as bleak as you first thought.

“The Foolish Man” is the next track up, and again brings us some unexpected sounds.  This time it is a sitar winding its way through the track and bringing all the far out associations of that instrument.  Another track that builds and builds.  I love the style of doom this band plays.  It gives me what I call “the nod”.  The music, the riffs are repetitive, there's a little bit of a drone going on under all the layers, and you can close your eyes and nod your head and explore the music in different ways.

There really isn't much conventional doom on this whole release.  Maybe the the last 3 minutes of “Arctic Cell”, when the band locks into a crushing, fuzzed out riff and rides it for all its worth through the end of the song, but that's about it.  The great curve ball comes on the 4th and final track, “Here Come The Tears”.  Sung it a clean style, lyrics very clearly pronounced, and a pretty straight forward, almost ballad arrangement.  Until about halfway through, when the doom drops like Thor's hammer.

This is a great release, full of unexpected things in all the right places.  It feels like a mountain of doom about to fall on you and crush you into insignificance, only to break apart at the last second and shower you with pebbles.  It's cold, it's warm, it's a little weird at times.  Best of all, it works all the time.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Unmothered - Unmothered EP

Scene:  A small, sparsely populated lecture hall.  The type of room you find at every college the world over.  A frumpy looking administrator stands behind a podium in the center of a well-lit elevated platform.  He looks non-enthusiastic.

"It is with a modicum of pleasure that I introduce our distinguished speaker for the evening...a, uh...someone who...well, he...oh the heck with it!  I have absolutely no idea who this man is or what he is going to talk about.  Please welcome...what's your name again?"
"Penfold?  You can't be know what?  I don't care.  Please welcome Penfold."
Complete silence greets the new speaker as he walks to the podium.
"Hello everybody.  As the beaten down shell of a man who introduced me mentioned, my name is Penfold.  I was asked to come here today to give a lecture on new advancements in molecular science technology that no one in this room cares about.  Let me see a show of hands.  Who out there is here by choice?"
There is no movement from anyone in the audience.
"That's what I thought.  Alright, then I've reached a decision.  I'm not going to leave because I need the speaking fee to help pay off a miniscule percentage of my student loan debt, but I'm also not going to talk about some newly designed pipette.  No, I'm going to talk about something I find interesting: gravitons."
A small voice is heard from the back of the room.
"What's a graviton?"
"A graviton, young lady, is a particle yet to be discovered that people like myself believe effects the force of gravity between objects.  My apologies if that question was voiced by a dude.  I can't see you under these lights and the voice sounded feminine."
Another voice breaks the silence.
"What's so special about gravitons?  Don't we kind of understand gravity already?"
"The answer to that question is we don't really know.  All we have are hypotheticals.  I believe in gravitons like I believe in dark energy.  My most radical thought on these particles is that they are unmothered.  I believe that they existed at the awakening of the universe, that they are a spectre of the incredibly distant past, a trancendor that is fundamental to life as we know it today."
A snarky comment is thrown out by a young man slouching in his seat.
"That's great, but what about the second question?"
"There was no second question."
Slightly confused, the young man shifted to an almost upright position and persevered.
"Yes there was.  That guy asked why you were talking about this at all since we already understand gravity perfectly well.  What's the point?"
"I'm sorry.  I didn't hear a word of that after 'yes there was'.  You see, I have this bothersome filter in my brain that automatically tunes out idiots and their moronic babbling.  Now, where was I?  Ah yes, gravitons being unmothered!"

Greetings waveriders!  Thanks for dropping by the site.  I'm glad you're here.  Today I am going to let you in a secret that the state of Texas, Austin specifically, is attempting to keep from you.  You see Texas is such a big state, and the city of Austin houses so many bands per capita, that they thought they could hide the existence of this group from everyone else.  Well I'm here to put an end to that nonsense!  It's high time that all of you waveriders learned of Unmothered and their glorious self titled EP.

Unmothered, in case you skipped the introductory paragraph, call Austin, Texas home.  How did I hear about them?  Through blind luck that's how!  Okay, maybe there was slightly less luck involved since I discovered them at the Ripple Music sponsored Metroplex HeavyFest III in Dallas, Texas.  The thing is that when I ran down the list of bands performing at the festival with Racer and Pope, Unmothered was the one act that none of us had heard beforehand.  They were a completely unknown entity, and they grabbed my attention before they played their first song.

If you're at all familiar with Ripple Music than you will have a pretty good idea about the type of bands who play at a Ripple Music sponsored event.  We're talking about hard rock/heavy metal bands rooted in or directly inspired by the masters of the 1970s.  Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, etc.  So when on the second day of the festival I am sitting in the bar/lounge half of the venue and I hear a drummer laying down some sweet jazz fills for soundcheck my brain immediately goes on full alert and I start walking towards this mysterious noise that's not like the others.  I planted myself in front of the bass player, a few feet from the stage, and waited.  When the band laid into their first song, my head exploded.

Unmothered are a power trio that plays what they call (affectionately?) haunt rock.  Haunt rock in my estimation is comprised of 1/3 sludge metal, 1/3 death metal, and 1/3 jazz/black metal/noise metal/stoner rock.  This melting pot of sound is completely invigorating and one hundred percent intoxicating!  Everything about their live performance worked for me.  The enormous riffs, the menacing guitar and bass tones, the growled vocals, the musical intricacies within each song, the thunderously dexterous drumming.  Look, I don't want to downplay the other two musicians contributions one iota, but that was the single most impressive jazz-based heavy metal drumming performance I have ever seen!

Now obviously, not everyone will have the opportunity to see this band live.  At least not immediately.  Have no fear however, because that is where their self-titled EP comes into play.  My fellow music fanatics, you can each get your hands on a CD or vinyl copy of this EP and experience for yourselves the unbridled power inherent in Unmothered's work.  All seven songs, from EP opener "Gravitons" to EP finale "Trancendor", will fill your metal loving heart with glee.  You will also experience an unquenchable desire for more when the EP ends.  I'm afraid this desire can only be tempered by hitting the play button to start the ride over again.

Waveriders, you need Unmothered in your musical lives.  If you won't take my word for it perhaps you'll listen to Tim Wilson, bassist of the mighty Wo Fat, who was standing next to me for most of Unmothered's performance that fateful night.  Seconds after Unmothered's set ended Tim turned to me and said, "Well that was impressive".  Yes sir.  Yes it was.  You know what to do folks!

- Penfold

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Crown - Headhunter

When The Crown's new album, 'Death Is Not Dead', comes out early in 2015, it marks the band's first full-length in five years. More importantly, it celebrates their 25th anniversary. To give us fans a teaser of what is to come, the band recently released 'Headhunter', a smashing 7" vinyl single. However, something's afoot in The Crown case you haven't heard, drummer extraordinaire, Janne Saarenpää, is no longer with the band. The split is amicable with life throwing curveballs taking you down different avenues. But since Janne was such an integral part of the band, will his departure affect the sound? No need to worry waveriders, because their resolve is pretty good to say the least. Read on fellow Crownheads and I'll tell you all about it.

Going for the jugular, 'Headhunter' leaves you with no place to hide, as the band are out for blood and in excellent form. Man, it's like they've never been away at all. What they bring this time around is a slight return to the amazing 'Deathrace King' in sound but with a little bit more melodic leanings mixed with a punk attitude. Hmm, what the hell do I mean by all this? Well, the core of the song is definitely rooted in  'Deathrace King', while the lead guitar and solo provides the melodic side. New six-stringer Robin Sörqvist is phenomenal and brings a lot of depth to the music, he's a great acquisition indeed. Guitarist Marko Tervonen doubles up not only playing guitar but he also handles the drums. And he does a fantastic job banging the hell out of the skins. More straightforward in his approach than Janne, Marko is the one who brings punk to the fray which works great for the song. Singer Johan Lindstrand sounds great as ever as he spits out the venom bringing forth pure evil the way only he can do it. Bass maestro Magnus Olsfelt keeps it all together with his furious almost rhythm guitar-like bass playing. Wonderful is all I can say. Any fears I had upon their return were quickly shelved as The Crown immediately shows they are the masters of death metal!

The b side of my orange coloured copy is a very good cover of Napalm Death's 'Unfit Earth' from their album 'Harmony Corruption' from 1990...the year The Crown were born. A coincidence of its inclusion? I think not. Staying pretty true to the original version The Crown clearly puts their stamp on it. At the same time it shows where the Swedes' origin comes from. When they were first called Crown Of Thorns, the riffs you hear on 'Unfit Earth' is what shaped their music back then. Not exclusively but put on 'The Burning' or 'Eternal Death' and it's easy to see what impact Napalm Death had on the band in the beginning. So trust me when I say my fellow countrymen are doing the English legends and pioneers great justice. The drums on this track are handled in a very good way by Henrik Axelsson.

Welcome back The Crown, you've been sorely missed! I've already played this single to bits and pieces trying to quench my thirst for the upcoming album. As great as 'Headhunter/Unfit Earth' is I am pretty sure these death-heads are going to treat us to a beast of a release come January 2015.  

- Swedebeast

Monday, December 15, 2014

CODE announce album details and unveil new track

London-based shapeshifters CODE will release their bold new album entitled "mut" on February 27th in Europe and March 10th in North America via Agonia Records. Tearing down the barriers of extreme metal limitations, CODE have taken a daring plunge into the unknown following their urge for further unhampered expression, and have delivered a dynamic progressive post-rock album that is sure to cause a stir. The premiere song off the release entitled "dialogue" is now available for listening!

Listen to "dialogue" here:

On the new album, the band commented: "mut is the sound of us as a band freeing ourselves not just from the confines of what CODE is, but from genre conventions of any description. The time for conforming has past and we have created an album that is the purest distillation of our creative ambition. This is the first time in the history of the band that we have created music with no reference points and as a result, this is our most stark, intimate and emotional album". 

"mut" was recorded in the famed Brighton Electric Studios (The Cure, Foals, Nick Cave, Royal Blood) with engineer and producer Paul 'Win' Winstanley. Cover artwork and layout have been created by the Austrian designer Thomas Neulinger.

Band's fourth album, the follow-up to 2013 effort "Augur Nox", will be available in: slipcase CD, limited grey vinyl, hand-numbered transparent vinyl and digital formats. Pre-orders are available HERE.

"mut" tracklist:

1. on blinding larks
2. undertone
3. dialogue
4. affliction
5. contours
6. inland sea
7. cocoon
8. numb, an author
9. the bloom in the blast

CODE are:
Aort - Guitars
Andras - Guitars
LORDt - Drums
Syhr - Bass
Wacian - Vocals

CODE begun life in London in 2002 and have developed a reputation for delivering some of the most fresh and innovative progressive black metal around with their previous three albums; the debut "Nouveau Gloaming" (2005), the Spellemann award nominated "Resplendent Grotesque" (2009) and the acclaimed "Augur Nox" (2013).

CODE on-line:


Agonia Records:

Volahn Premieres New Track At Noisey - Music By Vice

Today, Volahn - founders of America's mysterious, ever-churning Black Twilight Circle - premiere the new track "Quetzlcoatl" at heavily trafficked tastemakers Noisey - Music By Vice. The track hails from Volahn's second doctrine of native occult theology, Aq'ab'al, set for international release on January 9th, 2015 via Iron Bonehead Productions and The Ajna Offensive for the vinyl version and Crepusculo Negro for the cassette version. The Mayan calendar symbol for night entering dawn, Aq'ab'al symbolizes the earthly dark spaces & those within our own consciousness. The Maya value these places as both of spiritual and physical wealth. Aq'ab'al is the re-generating power of the still & the dark - the place of rebirth & transformation - as in "Be Still & Know that I am God." A Black Twilight journey to a sound portal opening towards the dawn of Mayan gods and the jaguar warrior-kings who sustained their will: Volahn's Aq'ab'al proclaims the spirit of indigenous ritual through six tracks of cosmic black metal coming to an hour long. Recorded at Black Twilight Studio and mixed & mastered by Arthur Rizk at Solomon's Gate, Aq'ab'al captures a professional recording immersed in metaphysical esoteric hysteria. Hear this hysteria for yourself exclusively HERE, courtesy of Noisey - Music By Vice. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Volahn's Aq'ab'al

1. Najtir Ichik
2. Halhi Khoba
3. Bonampak
4. Quetzalcoatl
5. Koyopa
6. Nawalik

Sunday, December 14, 2014

ASTRAKHAN's 'A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin' Out Today on War on Music Records

War on Music Records has released A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin from Vancouver, British Columbia's own ASTRAKHAN today on 45-rpm, 180g vinyl 12" LP format. The album includes two songs from the band's digitally released EP The Pillarist and two brand new tracks recorded at Rain City Studios with Jesse Gander (BISON, ANCIIENTS, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, JAPANDROIDS). The lavishly colored cover was created by Nick Patterson with inner sleeve design by Dena Lazarenko.

Order the LP from War on Music at  this location.

 A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin is streaming in its entirety at this location.

Cupid's Fist
Blinded by the Diamond Planet
 Rest in Depths
 The Pillarist

"Astrakhan deliver astutely crafted metal with a stoner/sludge backbone and hints of heavy metal and progressive metal swirling within the marrow." Metal Observer

 "Well crafted, rewarding songs that showcase some phenomenal melodies, thoughtful musical structures and pounding sonic passages." - Echoes and Dust

"Astrakhan serve up an interesting combination based on traditional metal yet include nods to progressive arrangements whilst dipping their toes in the pond of doom and sludge to provide a real potpourri of variety." - All About the Rock

"Western Canada is in the midst of quite a metal boom as of late, especially Vancouver, and Astrakhan is the latest to attract attention. Cut from the same cloth as Kylesa, [they] serve up a confident combination of sludge, prog, and garage rock" - Adrien Begrand (Decibel)

 "For a band that has only been together a couple years, the chemistry is incredible. They're already crafting their art in such grand fashion that before long they'll be forcing the bands now considered influences to up their game." - Matt Hinch (

Band photo by Amy Ray Photography

Born out of years of failure, frustration and stifled creativity is ASTRAKHAN. The band has emerged as a unique force, landing somewhere appropriate yet conspicuous within a thriving Vancouver metal scene that warmly embraces its sludge / doom / stoner and riff laden heavy metal.

The music is meticulously composed while maintaining the grit and ferocity that has come to define their live performances. No chord is redundant, no riff is repetitive, no progression is without purpose. The contrasting styles of their two-headed vocal attack serve as a definitive element. The urgency behind their music is palpable, and the final product is undeniable. ASTRAKHAN has built a loyal following based on nothing other than the quality of their craft and the intensity of their live shows. The sense that something meaningful is upon us grows stronger with each new song conceived and venue conquered.

Dustan Toth - Vocals/Bass
Adam Young - Guitar
Rob Zawistowski - Vocals/Guitar
Jerome Brewer - Drums

Acheron To Play Final Shows Of The Year, Introduce New Drummer

Earlier this year, American black/death metal maniacs Acheron released their long-awaited album Kult Des Hasses on Listentable Records. Due to some issues within the band, Acheron didn’t play any shows during most of the year and later parted ways with longtime drummer Kyle Severn. After this time, former guitarist Shaun Cothron rejoined the lineup and Brandon Howe was hired to play drums for their November/December shows entitled “Unleash Hell 2014.”
Howe is working out so well that Acheron has officially hired him as their official drummer. Band founder Vincent Crowley states: “Brandon has been very dedicated and has shown a tremendous amount of energy and creativity. He is a very solid drummer, and playing live with him has been a pleasure. After rehearsing our setlist, we started to work on a couple new songs. He was very easy to work with and brings a lot to the table. After our show in Baltimore, we knew he was going to be our new drummer.”
Acheron will be finishing up their 2014 shows this weekend on December 12th (Indianapolis, Indiana) and December 13th (Chicago, Illinois). When they finish the run, Acheron will start working on material for their next album.
The goal for next year is to work on new music and do as many shows as possible. Acheron has never been an extensive touring, band and they hope to change that in 2015! Acheron has recently been added to the roster for The Flaming Arts Agency for any European or Asian booking.
Last but not least, Acheron finally released their video for “Satan Holds Dominion,” which is on the Listenable Records official Youtube site at

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