Cardinals Folly ‘Our Cult Continues’

cardinals folly - our cult continues

So here’s another current metal band rocking a retro-metal vibe, but like Possessor— a band los grillos mentioned a few weeks back– self-described doom metal band Cardinals Folly sound as much like what came to be known as grunge as anything in the metal genre. Makes sense, given doom is part of where grunge came from, but there’s more to it than that. Again, like Possessor, there’s a near lack of big guitar solos, off-kilter vocals, and a thick, fuzzy tone to the whole affair– yet Cardinals Folly sound almost nothing like Possessor. Really, because of the way they bring together seemingly disparate elements and influences, they sound nothing like any metal band I’ve heard recently. Metal dudes have always been outsiders, but these dudes sound like outcasts from the outsiders. It’s like a couple of loners met smoking cigarettes in the woods behind school– one obsessed with Sabbath and the Metallica Garage Days ep, the other with the Melvins and Joy Division– and started a band so they could hang out in a garage, smoke tons of pot, and work out their existential crises.

Our Cult Continues! is out now via Shadow Kingdom Records. Check it out here.

Midnight ‘No Mercy for Mayhem’

midnight - no mercy for mayhem

After an opening instrumental Macguffin that sets expectations for a pretty straightforward, classic metal rocker, Midnight’s latest, No Mercy for Mayhem, launches into a nineteen song banger that blew the covers off my speakers and the doors off any preconceived notions I might’ve had about what was in store based on the album title, label name, and a loose descriptor the mentions “black” and “thrash”. Sure, the growling, gravelly vocals are a bit blackened and there’s more than a hint of thrash in the album’s relentless riff fest, but this down and dirty motherfucker feels as rooted in bluesy punk as it does 80s metal, and calls to mind Dead Moon as much as it does Death Angel. And I’d bet my balls this band’s record collection includes more than a couple Motorhead albums. Like Lemmy, Midnight’s singer knows how to inject some seriously addictive melody into the mayhem, and released at another time– say the early to mid-80s– this thing could’ve seen some surprise mainstream success. Rough, raw, menacing, and melodic all at once, Midnight bring together elements of different metal sub-genres to create a sound that is their very own kind of metal monster, and it certainly surprised the fuck out of me.

No Mercy for Mayhem is out now via Hells Headbangers Records. Grab a copy at the Hells Headbangers Bandcamp site here.

DUEL ‘When the Pigs are Fed’ and ‘On the Edge’

duel

Do you dig bell bottoms, bong hits, and Blue Oyster Cult back when they were some motor boogie bad asses with big, bluesy riffs and even bigger hair? Then you’ll be psyched as shit to make the acquaintance of Austin’s DUEL. With early singles “When the Pigs are Fed” and “On the Edge”, DUEL get their motor boogie on with some seriously hard rockin’, psych-tinged doom that plays like the aural equivalent of smoke billowing out the back of a 70s Econoline with fire painted down its side. Or maybe the speakers rattling on your weed connection’s El Camino. What I’m saying is these two tracks announce a band that knows its way around a heavy stoner groove, and I’m lookin’ forward to when they get together a long player. In the mean time, this one’s up to 11 and on repeat.

“When the Pigs are Fed” and “On the Edge” are available now through DUEL’s Bandcamp site. Check ’em out here. And if you’re in Austin on August 30, catch ’em live at Swan Dive with Void Strider and Crypt Trip.

Possessor ‘Electric Hell’

possessor - electric hell

Between the name of the band, the album art, and the propulsive riffage, Possessor’s Electric Hell comes off on the surface as a straight up metal record with some doom and thrash tendencies heavy in the mix. But once you dig in and discover the distorted vocals, the thick, rumbling bass, and the general absence of screaming guitar solos, it reveals itself to be as much a hypermelodic noise rock record as it is a metal album– and that’s plenty fine with me. St. Vitus meets Unsane? You fuckin’ bet, man. I’m all in.

Electric Hell is available now at the Possessor Bandcamp site. Check it out here.

Hey Mother Death ‘Highway’

hey mother death - highway

My recent obsession with the current crop of cold wave, dark wave, no wave, whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it wave has led me to all sorts of cool places, the latest of which is the late night, dark alley soundscapes of Hey Mother Death. Performed and recorded by duo Laurence Strelka and Denma Peisinger, Hey Mother Death’s debut lp Highway— following 2012’s self-titled ep– traffics in cinematic explorations of inner demons and the dark corners of human desire. Though the album’s core often feels cold and detached, like Blade Runner, the music also exudes a raw, slightly disturbed sexuality in its jazzy bass lines, like a goth version of Ryan Gosling in Drive, or maybe a cold wave Tom Waits. Jagged guitar lines slice through a sparse urban landscape created by a minimal musical backdrop, and sensual spoken word vocals, simultaneously alluring and foreboding, paint the sky black and blue as the songs slowly sink into your psyche and scrape and kiss its fragile flesh.

Highway is out now digitally and available for vinyl pre-order via the band’s own Snake Power Records. Check it out here.