Holy shit, the new Wovenhand album, Star Treatment, is a fucking crusher. Maybe it’s just that it plays to my particular tastes, but I’m full on digging this thing’s epic mix of gothic boom and country preaching awash in sonic portents of the apocalypse that give it a heavy metal vibe. Call it Goth-Americana. Call it A-metal-cana (all right, don’t call it that– that’s pretty stupid, even for the cricket). Just call it badass, ’cause this thing moves with purpose. David Eugene Edwards, the creative force behind Wovenhand, and 16 Horsepower before that, has no small number of damn good albums in his catalog, but this one feels like a grand statement, a culmination of his creativity up to this point, one that announces itself with authority and takes the listener on a journey of dust, darkness, and deliverance. (Fans of Mark Lanegan and Peter Murphy alike, do yourself a favor and get this straight away.)
Star Treatment is out now and available via the Wovenhand Bandcamp site. Check it out here.
Motor boogie thrash bangin’ badasses Possessor are back with another slab of full throttle horror-metal horn-raisers. Mixing myriad influences into a thick and heady brew of rock-the-fuck-out, these dudes bring to mind loads of potential comparisons, but turn the dial to eleven on debut lp Electric Hell, last year’s Stay Dead ep and onward to latest lp Dead By Dawn, and it’s clear that the sound that rattles your bones is pure Possessor– fuzzed out, beautifully fucked, and catchier than heat stroke in hell (where los grillos presumes the band crashed a burned out garage to record these nine brain-melters).
Dead By Dawn is out now and available via the Possessor Bandcamp site. Check it out here.
On their latest, Waiting on Cool, Charleston, South Carolina’s Heyrocco announce their 90’s influences loudly and proudly, launching straight out of the gate with the hard-driving, hyper-melodic “Yeah” before easing into the slack-rockin’ “It’s Always Something New”. Over the rest of the 6-track ep, they strike a balance between the two on guitar-driven, hook-filled songs that hit all the indie/alt-rock touchstones (that the parents of these young dudes’ likely had rockin’ on the cd player while they were still rockin’ in their cribs). However the fuzzed-out, earnest angst of the nineties came to the members of Heyrocco, it clearly had a lasting impact that they bring to their music, from the off-kilter edge of Built to Spill to Weezer’s ear-worm anthems to the radio ready pop/punk of Jimmy Eat World. Just the thing for a little burst of head-bobbin’ energy to get you through the sun-scorched doldrums of summer.
Waiting on Cool is out now via Dine Alone Records. Check it out here.
Impulse, the latest from Austin’s Boyfrndz, starts with a hyper-melodic riff and vocal punch that immediately pulled me in for a wholly absorbing psych-tinged, prog-metal ride, which surprises the fuck out of me because I don’t usually go in for prog (and I pretty much can’t fucking stand The Mars Volta, a likely critical touchstone for folks talking about this album).
But then, I am a huge fucking Queensryche fan, and though members of Boyfrndz might tell me to piss off for making the comparison, I honestly don’t think you have to travel too far down the prog-metal road to get from here to here. Or here. (And don’t get me wrong, I mean this as a compliment. And I’m not talking about stadium-sized, “Silent Lucidity”-era soft-Ryche, I’m talking about Warning and Rage for Order Ryche ‘n’ Roll.)
Anyway, the Ryche is a bit more metal and bit less, say, Radiohead, in its prog leanings, but I’m guessing members of Queensryche and Boyfrndz have worn out the same Pink Floyd albums. And both bands have a knack for melody and not getting so lost in the technical side of things that they forget to keep shit catchy. Between that and having successfully brought together myriad influences, beyond prog, to create a unique sound– and an epic, emotional album– Boyfrndz perhaps transcend the limits of a Queensryche comparison. But even if they didn’t, that’d be okay, ’cause I don’t give a fuck what you say– the Ryche rules.
Impulse is out now via Brutal Panda Records. Check it out here. Or grab a copy from the Boyfrndz Bandcamp site here.
Verdun [ver-duhn, vur-; French ver-dœn]
- A fortress city in NE France, on the Meuse River. A German offensive was stopped there in 1916 in the bloodiest fighting of World War I.
- A band from France whose debut album, The Eternal Drift’s Canticles, mixed and mastered by the great Tad Doyle, delivers a slow, low, and melodic aural pummeling cut from the same sonic cloth as Mr. Doyle’s Brothers. A band so crushingly heavy that it, too, could turn back a massive German offensive. And there would be blood. At the very least, eardrums would bleed.
Get ready for the crushing.
The Eternal Drift’s Canticles is out now via Lost Pilgrims Records. Check it out here.