Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Malleus Interview Storm of Witchcraft

Storm of Witchcraft
Blood Harvest

Interview by hutch
Boston’s Malleus self-released a tape in 2016. Blood Harvest now resurrects the ornery seven tracks and commits this vile violation to tape, CD, digital and, of course, vinyl, on October 25th. Answering by email, The Hammer acknowledges an excitement of finally rereleasing Storms of Witchcraft. Blood Harvest has been great. We were actually pretty familiar with Rodrigo from his punk label Putrid Filth Conspiracy in the early 2000's. So when we made the connection that he was behind Blood Harvest as well, we were pretty psyched. Feel like he knows where we're coming from as far as our background and inspiration goes.”

Known professionally as The Hammer, the Malleus member reminisces about the origins of the mysterious Boston trio. “At that time, everyone we knew in the Boston punk scene was obsessed with Discharge and really raw D-Beat. So, all these uninspiring dis-clone bands started popping up everywhere which only fueled our discontent with the current state of punk. I was absolutely obsessed with the Satanic Rites tape (Hellhammer) and Discharge as well and decided that instead of just doing another boring D-Beat band, I'd take my obsessions in a different direction.”
That obsession spawned Storm of Witchcraft. “We spent a few years writing, really pouring over every little detail of the songs and trying to make the best possible demo we could.” The Hammer’s reluctance to spew retreads of worn paths has resulted in a classic release. Malleus’ sound embraces Discharge’s legacy of low-tuned sonic exuberance with crushing riffs which summon Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, and Bathory. The Hammer takes pride in this release. “A lot of time and effort went into making Storm of Witchcraft what it is.”

The sound is brutal; low and gritty, but mixed and mastered well. Clear, clamorous and, well, not shitty. Too many d-beat or black metal bands think crappy production is a hallmark. I hate that antithetical thinking. Be gnarly, be subversive – but still sound good. The production is thorough, elevating each component while keeping the music raw and crusty. Hammer reports, “We recorded with Chris Corry of Magic Circle at his practice space and we had our friend Ryan (Side Two Studios) do the final mixing and mastering. The whole thing took 2 days to record. We did the music on one day, vocals on the next. CC was recommended to us by a mutual friend and although we didn't know him personally at the time, we were familiar with him through growing up in the same circle of the local punk scene. We did know that CC was obsessed being able to emulate tone and capturing the same sound of bands from the past so we thought he'd be able to nail early Hellhammer/Frost, and we think he did with Storm of Witchcraft.  We wanted to avoid a lo-fi sounding demo at all costs but still come out with something that was abrasive, raw, and energetic. The music itself is super riff-driven and we try to vary the tempo as much as we can and all that would be completely lost if we decide to record this with one mic and a 4-track.”

The opener, “Winds of Wrath / Ire” aurally depicts a chilling wind, gathering intensity, leading to a panning of eerie sounds. This two minute seduction is quickly interrupted by a crashing of a grinding riff, punching and punching. The final minute of the “Ire” portion is a flogging mid-paced riff that pounds away. “Blackened Skies” begins harkening an epic, but quickly charges forward with purpose. A twisting, belligerent riff in the middle, for the chorus, is malevolent and bold. While many have emulated the aforementioned forefathers of black metal, Malleus has remarkable accuracy in combining homage and originality. In a genre where the majority of ideas are simply reworked executions of the masters, Malleus take the Discharge model and apply it to the Satanic ferocity of Bathory and Hellhammer. Again, even I grow weary of citing Tom G and Quorthon’s early work; pining to infuse a wider reference spectrum. But these just fit so perfectly. The music is invigorating in two ways. The pure spirit of the music but also the refreshing aspect of new takes on this style.
Hammer advises when looking to forefathers to be sure to inject one’s own fluid into the mix. And do it well. “Just keep the focus of the band very specific rather than drawing from all these various sub genres and convolute the sound and direction of the group. Nowadays, it's so easy for anyone with a computer to record their own demo and everyone needs instant gratification so instead of taking their time to create something worthwhile, they rush into making a demo and posting it on the Internet. Then they complain when it gets passed over and people move on to the next shitty demo.”

Besides the redundant riffs of d-beat clones, The Hammer also complains of uninspired metal lyrics of vapid party anthems. “I would hope that Storm of Witchcraft and anything else Malleus does evokes more emotion or provokes deeper thought than just wanting to party or get fucked up. If people can listen to our music and gain some sort of enjoyment or satisfaction from it, that's great. But for us, metal has always been more than the soundtrack to heavy drinking. As far as Storm of Witchcraft goes, It's obvious that we take direct cues from the likes of Quorthon and Tom Warrior for our sound but in the early 80's, bands basically had Overkill (Motorhead), Lightning to the Nations (Diamond Head), and Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing (Discharge), and look what they came up with so what can we do with those records? And that's always been our approach. Just keep the focus of the band very specific rather than drawing from all these various sub genres and convolute the sound and direction of the group. Nowadays, it's so easy for anyone with a computer to record their own demo and everyone needs instant gratification so instead of taking their time to create something worthwhile, they rush into making a demo and posting it on the Internet. Then they complain when it gets passed over and people move on to the next shitty demo. A lot of time and effort went into making Storm of Witchcraft what it is.”

The Hammer reports Malleus’ plans to finally spread their unholy gospel. They are embarking on their first tour of the West Coast with Witchtrap from Colombia, whose 2015’s, Trap the Witch, is equally carnivorous. They join Hirax, Xoth, and Witchhaven for Seattle’s stacked Famine Fest, Day 1, Sept. 22nd. Hammer continues, “We will support Merciless from Sweden on their only East Coast show in Brooklyn on October 20th with Antichrist Siege Machine. February 16th, (2018) we will be supporting Morbosidad and Blaspherian in Baltimore, MD.” Other shows aren’t booked, but Malleus is ready to mesmerize when they do. “We're going to continue to play anywhere people will have us. Hoping to get in the studio again by this fall/winter to record a couple tracks for a 7 inch.” 
The back to back tracks, “Demonology I” and “Demonology II” combine to last over nine minutes. Part I drags through its parts in a true Celtic Frost atmospheric sludge. Slow and ringing guitars set the pace. The thunder rhythm section dutifully obliges within a few minutes. We then are treated to a stomping bridge with a solid groove. Part II again delves into a long strain of feedback before a speed-fueled riff propelled by unrelenting drums. “The Wolf” follows the same pattern for its three minutes. “Act of Faith” is a slower, heavier jam. The Celtic Frost vibe resurfaces, that same tone and distinguished guitar sound CC extracted to emulate Tom G Warrior. The low end and bass drums weigh in, boasting a sinister gravity to the track. The imagery and lyrics all tie in with wolves and demons and faith.

Snarling all this demonic terminology, Malleus have a platform to share their views. The Hammer is concise and candid. Again, The Hammer eschews clich├ęs and token references for an opportunity to expose his deeper beliefs. “True evil doesn't actually exist. All people are slaves to their needs and desires and only act in a way to satisfy them, even "good" people.  Altruistic people are motivated by innate feelings of empathy in which they feel pain when others suffer and feel good when others feel good. In the end, everyone is motivated by internal selfish desires. If evil was only used to describe actions that cause more harm than good, I could get behind it but too often evil is just a word used to describe others whose actions conflict with one's own. That being said, many groups such as Christians truly believe in evil so the word can be useful if you're trying to antagonize them.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Madball Wisdom in Chains Family Biz review

Madball / Wisdom in Chains
Family Biz
September 25th

Two of the hardest working bands in hardcore are releasing a tantalizing split 7” just to let you know they are still coming hard. Honest. Sincere. Commited. Consistent. Madball and Wisdom in Chains are holding it down with a track each until Madball’s full length comes out on 2018.

Madball’s side comes packed with their revered energy. The track, For the Cause is also the name of their impending full length. This track continues with the firestorm they have been unleashing. The Mitts era is a gallery of classics; Legacy, Empire, Infiltrate the System, the three eps; and most recently Hardcore Lives. This feels right off of any recent. Only news I can find is that the full length will be on Nuclear Blast, no word on release date or producer. The tough, crisp track sounds like the prior ones – hopefully meaning Erik Rutan is behind the boards or even Zeuss. “For the Cause”, is vicious. Slamming track.

The flipside is blessed by the PAHC champs, Wisdom in Chains. As a bonus, Mad Joe shares the mic with Freddy Madball on “Someday”. Mad Joe’s gift to the hardcore community has always been raw, personal lyrics. We get emotionally open lyrics, contemplating what a man’s legacy will be, with solid melodic guitar lines over rough, beastly rhythms. WIC’s low chug is savage and will incite any crowd to point, swing, dive and stomp. It’s a fast, forward focused 4/4 beat with ripe time changes for cathartic pauses and two-steps.

Vinyl Pressing Info:
100 - OPAQUE GREY w/ 14 CLOUDY CLEAR (color in color)
100 - OPAQUE GREY / BLACK (half & half )
100 - TRANS BLUE w/ ORANGE (a side / b side )
200 - GOLD (Coretex Records Exclusive )
200 - OPAQUE BLUE (Reality Records Exclusive )
700 - BLACK
 or Nuclear Blast (their new label) has pre-order of NUKE GREEN VINYL

My interview with Roger Miret for My Riot Book

Roger Miret Interview
I want New Noise to get the traffic so please hit the above link. Roger is always a chill dude to talk to. Humble and low key. The book is a fantastic read. Highly Recommended.

Also - CVLT NATION has a good Q&A with him.
CVLT interview

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Iron Monkey release new video 2017

One of my favorite all time sludge bands are returning despite all doubt. Hailing from Nottingham, their two LPs in 1994 and 1996 are certified punk-doom metal classics. One of the most repugnant to commit their vile rants to wax, Iron Monkey have returned. Check out their new video. Ugly.

"Cult UK doom/sludge outfit IRON MONKEY has shred the official video for “9-13”, the title track of their first new full-length in almost two decades. Watch the Jack Atherton directed video now via Decibel Magazine HERE 

9-13 is set for release on October 20th on CD/LP/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical packages and digital orders are available via HERE

After disbanding in 1999 after the death of their original singer J.P. Morrow, IRON MONKEY has reformed for phase two of their mission. Recorded in their hometown of Nottingham in Spring 2017 A.D. with producer Johnny A. Carter, 9-13 is 9 songs and 48 minutes of total nihilism. Now older, more cynical and more isolationist, IRON MONKEY are back to usurp the scene, then crush it’s skull. Without question, their most focused, aggressive and direct material to date, 9-13 is an all-out assault of violent hatred and nightmarish negativity. Recommended listening for fans of pain, suffering, and misanthropy."

Burn Do or Die review

Buy Vinyl at DW
BURN bandcamp

Do or Die
Deathwish Inc
Sept 8
Review by hutch

Burn has peppered their history with releases. Do or Die adds to their one album and three EPs since 1990. They may not equal much output over 27 years, but each has triggered myriad inspiration for many bands. Gavin Van Vlack (Absolution) and Chaka Malik (later of Orange 9MM) joined forces to fuse one of the most unique bands in the NYHC scene. Others would run with this style, but these dudes were first. Two graf writers ignited turntables in 1990 without looking back on their self-titled, four track Revelation Records debut. 2001/2002 saw a one-two punch with Cleanse LP (Equal Vision) and Last Great Sea EP (Revelation). But that eleven year gap was second to their 14 year gap until 2016’s …From the Ashes (Bridge 9). Seeing every major player label ha been chasing them, DO or Die follows that path releasing September 8th on Deathwish Inc.

But the last few years, Burn have been doing shows and gathering momentum at a faster pace than other spurts. Chaka looks fit and spews wisdom as fiery as ever. Their live presence is electricity barely contained. Chakas intensity transmits wonderfully here. The vibrant performance is classic. Gavin Van Vlack’s bizarre guitar work exhibits a unique approach to hardcore, noise, and rock. Now equipped with the rhythm section of Tyler Krupsky and Abbas Muhammed, this frantic melee dancing on taut piano wire births a sharp record with Do or Die. Chaka has a feel of every word being profound and prophetic. Audiences pay attention, clinging to his tense, engaging delivery.
Burn’s characteristics shine here. Their calling cards of off-beat tempos leading into bouncing NYHC rhythms are bountiful. The guitars often seem to contradict each other with a ‘contrasting as complimentary’ approach. Burn presents tough, crunchy riffs that are infectious; melodic guitar lines balanced with respites of stability. All of which delve into noisy rough tangents.

“Fate” opens and blazes” through. “Ill Together” sliding groove is enticing. Muhammed’s snare is precise and holds the chaos together. “Dead Identity” howls of anger over a caustic riff. The title track has layered vocals; some just frantic repetition. The drum pummel and charge in a constant rolling beat. But Van Vlack holds back with a sparse, slow guitar line. The push is phenomenal and tears the listener in two ways. This is the mantra for either a mental collapse or an incendiary chant before changing the world. Explosive. “Unfuck Yourself” continues the challenging lyrics. Krupsky’s bass is allowed a loose leash and revels in the opportunity. Mixed up front, it is glorious. A quitter tune, it still is stirring.

On Deathwish Inc this time, the Converge fam reps hard here with production by Kurt Ballou and a slick montage of eclectic clip art collected by Jake Bannon. Howie Weinberg mastered Do or Die. His experience is eccentric (google him. Rush to Lester Young to Slayer to Tom Waits). Burn have returned. Even if they lay dormant for another decade, a gem is here now. PMA flowing, sitting idle after listening to Do or Die is not possible.

RIYL: Candiria, VOD, Bane, 108, Quicksand, Fahrenheit 451

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cold As Life Suffer EP review

Cold As Life 
Suffer” b/w “For the Few” 7”
 Demons Run Amok

What do you say about this legendary group? Reflecting the attributes of Detroit since 1988, including all its detriments and its resilience. “Cold As Life is Detroit and Detroit Is Cold As Life”, Jimmy Gestapo (of Murphy’s Law) once said. Cold as Life embody Detroit and its inherent violence, stubbornness, incarceration; but most of all, survival and fortitude. Continuing after the death of original vocalist, Rawn Beauty, they moved on to make some killer records. Born to Land Hard defined metallic hardcore equal with Set It Off and Satisfaction is the Death of Desire. Born to Land Hard is an intimidating and revered LP; respected for it honesty, aggression and rage. Sole consistent member and drummer, Roy Bates now carries the famed hardcore band with hardcore flyer/album artist, Craig Holloway (and ex-Cold As Life from years ago), rejoining on bass; also adding guitarist Matt Martin and new vocalist, Jesse Adkins. This EP takes the digital tracks from last spring and commits them vinyl via Demons Run Amok.

Two killer new songs help anticipate an LP later this year. They ride that blend of Detroit / NYHC groove and brutality equally. Negative vibes, tough as Hell riffs and breakdowns; Detroit hardcore purity that is still punk at heart. Forever sanctioned (and self-imposed) to DIY with touring and pressing records, Cold As Life only know how to do it their own way. Here, “Suffer” begins with that feedback rising, like the mythical feel of Born to Land Hard; triggering sweaty anticipation. Adkins spews callous vocals over the ode to addiction. The chorus is classic Cold As Life writing, although recorded more straight forward than that Born to Land Hard metallic crunch sound. We still hear their defining thick hardcore pummeling and banging sound. “For the Few” draws us in again with that cold feedback and a thick strum, gauging the audience’s readiness for the impending melee. A bouncy mid-tempo song warns of backstabbers, traitors, and snakes. This anthem is a bonding rally cry for hardcore purists. Heavy and Detroit in each growl and chord, this is a pit inciter.

Vinyl is yellow (/100) (exclusive to RevHQ). Coretex carries Blue (/222) and Black (/512). Also, catch the white (/102), mint (/98) (only through Fastbreak!), and 20 test presses.

Fireburn Don’t Blame the Youth review

Don’t Blame the Youth 
Closed Casket Activities

As if it wasn’t enough that Bloodclot’s Todd Youth (Agnostic Front, Murphy’s Law, Warzone, Danzig, etc) returned to a short, fast, loud ethos and catapulted John Joseph of the Cro-Mags back into writing original material and is crushing it on a national tour with Negative Approach, Todd Youth has a band called Fireburn. Not only is the striking art, by tattooer Tim Lehi, triggering some Bad Brains worship, the music is a direct ode to those originators of hardcore punk, once banned in DC. Tight, fast, tough, angry; Fireburn does it all here. There is even a reggae jam, the closing fourth track (after a 45 second ripper), “Jah Jah Children”, mixed by the legendary Jamaican dub master, The Scientist. Oh and Youth went and got Israel Joseph I, formerly of the Bad Brains. As if this wasn’t enough, the equation expands by getting Todd Jones (Nails, Terror, Carry On) and Nick Townsend (Knife Fight). The vocals, lyrics, and music are distilled Bad Brains of the ROIR era, fiercer and rougher. Only wish there was more material, especially at $13 for the vinyl.

The savage opener "Suspect" rips pleading against corruption and bigotry of our authoritarian figures. The songs speeds through, eviscerating with conviction and "Break It Down" is slightly slower (it's all relative) but pound like a track off of Rock For Light. Packing much oomph, this track employs some back up vocals to add punch. A short lead carries us as we approach the final chorus. At 2:45, the conclusion of the track leaves you gasping. "Let This Be" is a :45 spastic rant. The wailing switch to growling vocals s the HR we've missed since quickness. The band transitions easily into the reggae which closes the EP. 

Closed Casket Activities delivers 1,500 12” vinyl EPs; 250, Metallic Gold (CCA Exclusive); 250, Blue with Black Smoke (Band exclusive); 500, Red with Black Smoke; 500, Green with Black Smoke