Posts Tagged ‘Exile on Mainstream’

Exile on Mainstream – EOM082 – 23rd June 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

So, are Tricky Lobsters anything like Scottish indie band of the 1980s, Close Lobsters? No. They may share a crustacean genus, but sonically, Rostock-based rockers Tricky Lobsters swim in very different waters indeed. They’re little known outside their native Germany, where they have a substantial following, but it’s well known that the Germans really do like their rock and that British acts who enjoy only cult status domestically are huge over there (take, for example, The Sisters of Mercy and Placebo, who regularly headline festivals there while receiving comparatively little attention back home).

Worlds Collide delivers everything you’d likely want from a proper rock album that has no pretence of being anything else. Opener ‘Bitter Man’s Fame’ sets the tone, with big, ballsy blued-based rock riffage amped up to eleven. Think Mötörhead covering 70s ZZ Top. Or perhaps the other way around: like ‘Just Got Paid’ played with gnarly aggression. And then with a big, greasy dollop of psychedelic biker attitude spat in on top.

‘Big Book’ is a quintessential heard rock tune: it’s not subtle, and it’s not especially clever, but it is big, especially in the chugging rhythm guitar and twiddly breaks department. But what separates Worlds Collide from so many albums of its ilk is just how dense it is, just how thick and up-front the guitars are, how much attack these guys bring to the performance.

They’re a proper power-trio, and it’s the thunderous rhythm section that holds it all together as they piledrive though riff-led behemoth after riff-based behemoth. The slower, quieter moments, like the reflective first section of ‘Dreamdiver’ with its picked guitar and sad-sounding strings only serve to accentuate the meaty heft of the bulk of the album’s nine cuts.

It may, on the surface, seem like rather weak summary to state that Worlds Collide is a rock album you can really rock out to, but given just how diluted and limp so much so-called rock music is these days (I’m not being an old fart: we exist in a time where PVRIS and Linkin Park are classified as rock bands. I mean… seriously), it’s refreshing to hear something as unapologetically old-school and played with energy and guts as Worlds Collide.

 

Tricky Lobsters - Worlds Collide

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Exile On Mainstream – 21st April 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

It begins with a howl of feedback. Of course it does. The sustain continues through the opening power chords: doomy, slow, before it all comes crashing in, trudging tempo and gut-churningly downtuned.

Obelyskkh’s fourth album isn’t so much about surprises, but about continuing – and extending – the trajectory of its predecessors, albeit with a greater emphasis on groove. Not that this is an album you can dance to: it’s very much one to slow headbang to. The press release draws attention to the fact that the album’s title ‘evokes one of H. P. Lovecraft’s iconic poems, providing inspiration for the album’s lyrical content and the artwork for The Providence. Another dimension to the album is illustrated almost perfectly by French revolutionist Victor Hugo: “Above all, you can believe in Providence in either of two ways, either as thirst believes in the orange, or as the ass believes in the whip.” The band lived by this message throughout their uphill battle to complete the record.’

It’s taken them four years, and The Providence feels like four years’ anguish and slog distilled into six immense pieces. The title track, which opens the set, is twelve minutes long. It’s not pretentious, but heavy with portent: this is a vast doomscape of an album, dominated by some colossal guitar riffery, propelled by a juggernaut of a rhythm section.

Things get a bit progressive folk-metal in the middle of ‘Raving Ones,’ but when the riff hits its stride, it’s a throbbing, driving rush. Elsewhere, ‘Northern Lights’ veers toward classic, vintage horror, with a deluge of cataclysmic guitars burning a purgatorial furrow on the scale of the Grand Canyon. And just when the thick distortion threatens to burn out the eardrums, a shift toward upper frequency overload provides the punishing attack needed to complete the abominable mission. The fourteen-minute ‘NYX’ stands as the album’s centrepiece, and is a classic slab of thunderous, sludgy doom metal. Over the course of a succession of passages, it grinds its way to a punishing critical mass, with velocity consumed by density.

Clocking in at under six minutes, ‘Aeons of Iconoclasm’ feels almost throwaway in its brevity. Fear chords weave and waft almost subliminally, and it feels at first like a mere interlude, but then the gates of hell open and every screaming demon ever known tears down from the blackest of skies.

In contrast, the slow, but so, so, dense guitar overload of ‘Marzanna’ feels like a gentle wind-down, although at over nine and a half minutes of roaring thunder and groaning, droning, slowed riffage and mangled vocals that squeeze Sabbath through a Melvins filter it’s hardly some kind of loungecore fluff.

Everything about The Providence is immense. This is heavyweight, it’s doomy metal exactly the way it should be.

 

 

Obelyskkh – The Providence

Exile on Mainstream – 18th March 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

‘The only constant is the blackness of the shape. Everything else, including the shape itself, is in a constant state of flux for Black Shape Of Nexus.’ So begins the press release. If it sounds like preposterous hyperbole with a hefty hint of pretention, then think again: it doesn’t even begin to convey the enormity of this dark, dense work which on the surface confirms to all of the conventions of droney doomy stoner sludge metal, but in fact breaks every last one. The imagination of Carrier is astounding.

To get down to brass tacks, there’s heavy, and then there’s HEAVY. And then there’s this, which is all shades of heavy, and more. As the press blurb implies, Black Shape of Nexus are not a band to align themselves or define themselves as any one fixed thing. Never mind the full sprawl of their output, which occupies four previous releases, Carrier could provoke lengthy and heated debates over which section it should be located in at the local record store (if such a thing still existed. But imagine High Fidelity set in a shop devoted to all things alternative, rock and metal. The conversations would run for pages). And that’s cool.

It’s also cool that Black Shape step up and slap a political disclaimer on the front page of their website. They shouldn’t have to, but kudos to them for making it clear that they’re principled about the people they want as their fan-base. The message reads, ‘Note: There are some doom/drone bands out there sympathizing with fascist/racist “views” – we want to make it as clear as possible, that we strongly disagree with such opinions.
B·SON is anti fascist and anti sexist. Thank you for paying attention! Got that? WE’RE ANTIFASCIST YOU NAZI FUCKS!!! EAT SHIT!!!’

It’s depressing that we do live in a world where extreme right views are rife, not only in countercultural circles, but have become almost accepted in corners of mainstream politics. But at least we can be sure that Black Shape are among the good guys, and not just musically. Although, you could argue that musically, they’re the band guys, ‘cause Carrier is creaking under the interminable weight of the devil’s tunes.

(Shape)shifting between styles, ‘Carrier’ explores various manifestations of heaviosity If the idea of a light, vaguely jazzy break for a few bars in the middle of a seven-minute trudge through the most devastatingly cataclysmic doom seems not so much incongruous as eye-bulging crazy, then you’ll be in even more of a spin to learn that it actually works. Yes, opener ‘I Can’t Lift It’ is a belter, and sets the bar high.

The guitars are backed off – and barely present – on the dark ambient pulsations which occupy the first half of ‘Lift Yourself’, before ripping into a dingy crust-punk thrashabout. If you’re struggling to keep up already, quit now: the Melvins to Sabbath sludge of ‘Sand Mountain’ threatens to collapse under the weight of its own riffage before ‘Facepunch Transport Layer’ lunges in to bring a psychedelic twist to the pulverising chug.

It all comes to a colossal, gut-churning head on the mangled doom of ‘Triumph of Death’: 12 minutes of relentless metal. Transitioning from slow-paced doom and cranking up the tempo and the brute force to build to a driving riff, it drives the album home

It’s punishing, but in the best possible way.

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Black Shape of Nexus Online