Last time los grillos checked in on Sweden’s Ram, we were throwin’ our cricket horns up for Under Command, a split album with fellow Swedish metal fiends Portrait where the bands trade hits on each others’ tracks in addition to knocking out a couple of originals and covers of classics from Exciter and Kiss. Ram’s original “Savage Machine” was just that, and their cover of Kiss’s “Creatures of the Night” almost got me to drop the needle on my old Kiss albums. (Almost– then Gene Simmons, the Duke of Douchebaggery, popped into my head and I couldn’t do it.)
Now Ram’s back with a new long player, and it picks up where “Savage Machine” left off with a rabid intensity. Equal parts leather-clad NWOBHM and dark-robed, face-painted occult metal, new album Svbversvm loves to rock the fuck out as much as it hates the letter “u”, and even when the band switches the pace from double-kick overdrive to mid-tempo gallop, it never switches off the metal-tude. With a tight-riffed attack led by a vocal charge that has just the right amount of snarl in its soar, Ram hits the sweet spot between King Diamond and Dio, and anyone who’s ever hoisted a few in honor of those two towering metal infernos will find more than enough reason to crack one open and crank up Svbversvm.
Svbversvm is out now via Metal Blade Records. Check it out here.
France’s Solar Flare Records is soundtracking one helluva (noise) Rock-tober with new releases from Pigs and Sofy Major that have come to crush your headspace with relentless riffage run through a wood chipper along with, we assume, a few bottles of rotgut, a sheet or two of acid, and a box of rusty nails. From Pigs comes sophomore album Wronger, a shredding, grinding rager of a record that does well by the legacy of grillos favorite Unsane– which makes a helluva lot of sense given that Unsane bassist Dave Curran straps on the guitar for Pigs records.
Curran got behind the boards for Sofy Major’s third lp, Waste, and his production serves well the band’s punishing melodies. Everything is big here, from the pummel of the drums to the rumble of the bass to the distorted vocal yowl (or david yow(l), if you’re into shitty puns– and the grillos loves a good shitty pun). But for all of the racket– and this is true of the Pigs record too– the songs are all, like with the best of the noise-rockin’ bands (Hammerhead, Barkmarket, Jesus Lizard, aforementioned Unsane, you get the picture), fuckin’ catchy as hell. So if that’s your bag, dig in and rock out. And if it ain’t your bag, well, maybe it should be.
Pigs’ Wronger is out now, and Sofy Major’s Waste lands on October 30, both via Solar Flare. Check ’em out here.
Mark Lanegan has a new album out. It’s called Houston (Publishing Demos 2002). It’s on Ipecac Recordings. It’s folky and dusty and weathered and beaten and uplifting and meditative. And it is, like all things Lanegan, superfly fucking badass. As badass as its cover. If I were you, I’d go buy it.
Houston is out now via Ipecac. Check it out here. (There was a delay with the vinyl version; I hear it’ll be out on October 2nd.)
Like the oil painting that graces its cover, Das Gesicht, the latest from Ricky Lindén– under the moniker Rikky– is layered and eerie and packs a remarkable amount of feeling into a small space. In just four short tracks the album moves through haunting atmospherics and deceptively simple off-kilter psych-folk that upon first blush appears as a lonely, stripped bare acoustic in mourning, but repeated listens reveal new layers of manipulated sound that hisses, echoes, and drones behind brooding vocals and dark melodies. Rikky’s guitar is definitely in mourning, but it’s not alone.
Das Gesicht is out now via mrs.vee recordings. Check it out here. Or pick up a copy at Rikky’s Bandcamp site here.
For those already hip to Houston’s harbingers of headbanging, Venomous Maximus, the band’s sophomore effort, Firewalker, has been a long time comin’. But los grillos slept on the much-celebrated doom of debut Beg Upon the Light, so Firewalker is our introduction to the band’s no bullshit, in the red metal– and a helluva introduction it is. After the sinister, occult-tinged “Intro” they launch right into the galloping, dual guitar lead attack of “White Rose” and never let up. And over it all is the impassioned, possessed dark howl of vocalist/guitarist Gregg Higgins. Almost goth in its low end moan, borderline exclamatory in its this-is-how-it-fuckin-is delivery, it’s a distinctive voice that– along with the hyper-melodic, relentless riffage of guitarists Christian Larson and Higgins, and locked-down rhythms of bassist Trevi Biles and drummer Bongo Brungardt– maximizes the shit out of the band’s venom. Play it loud.
Firewalker is out now via Shadow Kingdom Records. Check it out here.