Posts Tagged ‘New Heavy Sounds’

You could say that feminist/queercore punk trio Shooting Daggers have been ‘nailing it’ since the release of their first single ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ last year.

Amongst a clutch of rave reviews of the single, they have become a ‘must see’ on the grass roots punk circuit, on top of that the band were invited to support Amyl and the Sniffers at their recent London shows and also asked to play Desertfest 2022. Their upward trajectory seems inevitable.

Perhaps it’s because they are ‘the real deal’.  Shit kicking UKHC full of youthful fury and shorn of vacuous posturing. Fierce and committed in what they believe in, as how they play. Case in point being their latest track ‘Liar’. The band says …

‘Liar is a song about breaking the silence over abusers, a song that calls them out for who they really are with no more excuses. This is a really important song to us and we would like to spread this message, to not only the victims of rape and abuse, but also to the entire community, encouraging people to not engage with abusers and to stop trying to justify their rapist friends’

The video that goes with it (created by guerrilla filmmakers Punkvert TV) echoes that sentiment.

A furious cut up of images, by turns visceral and edgy, and definitely not for the faint hearted. Watch the video now:

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‘Liar’ is taken from Athames the band’s debut EP set to be released on 20th May by New Heavy Sounds. Landing on 7” eco mix coloured vinyl with an 8 page lyric booklet and full download included. Limited to 500 copies. The ep will also get a limited edition CD and audio cassette release as well as being available on digital platforms.

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New Heavy Sounds – 29th October 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Back in the early 90s, when riot grrrl emerged as a thing, the UK inkies were all over it, just as they were all over anything that looked like being the next movement (who remembers The New Wave of New Wave, or The Scene that Celebrates Itself?) and sometimes, when there wasn’t anything, then they’d sometime just shoehorn some random bands into a bracket and give it a name and see if it would stick (Romo, anyone?). At that time, the music press proselytised hard, gushing about the way that hearing bands was like an epiphany – and every other band, apart from the shit ones, all of whom were call really fucking shit, were a complete revelation, as expressed by means of a smorgasbord of extravagant similes and extended metaphors.

Of course, what goes around comes around, and riot grrrl has been making a return for a while now. It’s fitting for the times when issues of gender identity and the difficulties women face every day in society are at the forefront of discussion. It’s the real grrrl power, it’s about liberation, and a reminder to those who need reminding – which is seemingly half the planet – that women can rock just as hard and kick just as much arse as guys, if not more so.

So it’s fair to say that in being transported some way back in time, Shooting Daggers’ debut release for New Heavy Sounds – a 7” flexi no less, that comes with a fold out insert, A4 poster, sticker and badge in a poly bag in a limited run of 250 – does yield a rush that’s tinged with nostalgia (although back in the 90s you’d be legging it round your local record shops to see if you could score a copy. According to their PR, ‘Sal, Bea and Raquel are a visceral amalgam of hardcore punk, riot grrrl and metalcore. They describe themselves as a feminist punk/queercore outfit who cite their influences as bands like Gouge Away, G.L.O.S.S, Turnstile and Gel.’

‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ is a minute and fifty-one seconds of guitar driven shouty punk fury ‘It’s all about you!!’ Salomé Pellegrin snarls over the fuzzed-out thrash. There’s no subtext here: this is as direct and angry as it gets.

As if the point needs making any more explicitly, they double down on the vitriol on the B-side. ‘You look so sexy tonight, you make me want to dismantle the patriarchy’ – so starts ‘Missandra’ before a thick, lumbering grunge riff grinds in. Is it right to respond to hate with more hate? Perhaps not but misandry at this point in history is understandable, and it’s beyond time that men need to collectively own the centuries of shit perpetrated against women. No buts, no excuses. And it’s a corking song, too. They pack a hell of a lot into a fraction over three minutes here, switching the tempo up to go full hardcore punk, and yes, it’s a no-messing and much-deserved knee in the balls, the likes of which deserves to dismantle the patriarchy, one by one.

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Sky Valley Mistress who released their debut album Faithless Rituals on New Heavy Sounds last year, just as the UK went into lockdown, are finally heading out to play some live shows to support the new record. To coincide with these dates the band have also shared a new video for ’She Is So’ which you can check out now.

Watch the video here:

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Birmingham, Alabama 4 piece EMBR are set to release a 3 song EP called “1021”. The title alludes to the fact that, the EP is the second in the New Heavy Sounds 10th Anniversary CD EP series.

‘1021’ follows on the heels of their critically acclaimed full-length “1823”. It also falls in line with the 2-year anniversary of the drummer Eric’s kidney transplant.

EMBR deliver 3 brand new songs, each of which push the template set up by the album. These compositions chronicle love, devastation, disappointment, forgiveness and anger, and once again, musically EMBR are on top form. Drummer Eric comments on the video for new single ‘Vesuvious’,

"Vesuvious, the first track from the upcoming EP 1021 is an intense composition. It’s a bit out of the box for EMBR, which is exactly what we set out to do. Musically, it’s faster and more up-tempo than what we usually write. The riffs are driving, The rhythm section is pummeling, Crystal’s vocals are soaring, at times haunting and she even Incorporated a substantial dose of her screaming.  Lyrically, the song is loosely based on “the lovers” from the Pompeii disaster. If you listen to the lyrics you’re hear some of that story. So you could say that this song is a heavy love song. The video is composed of footage from our weekend at Ledbelly Sound…… stick around till the end for A few outtake clips. We hope that you’ll enjoy the song as much as we did writing it."

Watch the video now:

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New Heavy Sounds – 26th Mar 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

It was supporting the mighty Black Moth at their final gig at Leeds’ Brudenell a couple of years ago where I first encountered latest New Heavy Sounds signings Sky Valley Mistress. If the world hadn’t gone off the rails, if live music hadn’t been halted, there’s a very good chance that Sky Valley Mistress would have been well on the way to stepping into the gap left by Black Moth, with their no-messing riff-centric brand of rock, having honed their sound and style in front of more live audiences. Because this is how bands so often evolve, and build fanbases. Everything was perfectly positioned…

Still, credit to the band for not resting on their laurels or simply waiting for life to resume, and for maintaining their profile with this new EP, picking up the slack after their lockdown tribute cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Every day s Exactly the same’ back in June of 2020, which feels like a lifetime ago. Back then, lockdown still had an element of novelty, it felt like there was an opportunity to use the time gifted creatively, and that maybe the ‘new normal’ could afford something beneficial despite the closure of public spaces.

That optimism has given way to fatigue and a widespread sense of emptiness, , and the acoustic sessions EP very much feels like the stop-gap that it is. Unable to write, rehearse, record, and perform together as a full band as they usually would, laying down an EP containing acoustic versions of songs from their debut album, Faithless Rituals, and coincidentally – or otherwise – marking the anniversary of its release.

To their credit, they’ve done something a bit different: there’s a synth bass that growls in the low-end regions on ‘You Got Nothing’. It returns to bookend the EP on the reworking of ‘She Is So’. In between, acoustic guitars and piano provide the main musical accompaniment to these stripped back reworkings. And they are well-executed, and as such, hard to fault – and makes you long even harder for live shows and for new material proper.

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4th December 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Bandcamp Fridays have been providing a rare and unique lifeline for struggling artists, and while times are still ridiculously tight in what continue to be utterly bewildering times which have hit the music industry where it really hurts – namely grass-roots venues and the artist who depend on them – the opportunity for artists to actually make a proper revenue from sales or downloads and physical releases is a big deal.

And if one thing’s become apparent, its that artists are going all-out to create releases that offer something different for their fans, and the unexpected arrival of an EP of 90s grunge covers from U.S doom quartet Embr.

Recorded in August of this year – in an actual studio, no less – with Matt Washburn (Mastodon, Royal Thunder, Artimus Pyledriver) the EP finds the band bringing a full-blooded sludge tone and a doomy, old-school, Sabbath-esque twist to four songs by leading exponents of the grunge era – with each member of the band selecting a song for inclusion.

Confession time: I absolutely fucking loved Nirvana, and still do. Alive in Chains, I dug, but never really found any enthusiasm for Stone Temple Pilots or Soundgarden, preferring Mudhoney, and the greasy heft of Tad. Nevetheless, what’s clearly apparent from listening to these four cuts is the degree of sincere affection for the songs and the sound that’s on display here. Moreover, they’ve done a great job of selecting songs that suit their own sound, showcasing the strengths of the original songs while sounding like Embr. It’s also something of a revelation hearing songs originally sung by men delivered by a female vocalist, and again, that they’ve pitched them in Crystal Bigalow’s range is a major factor in their success.

If the half-tempo trudge of their take on ‘Heart Shaped Box’ (Crystal’s choice) takes some getting used to, its impact – as the immense power chords drive down hard and heavy – is strong. The ultra-low bass that rumbles at a crawl through the stripped-back second verse is worth the money alone, but ‘Junkhead’ is probably the heaviest track here – which is no real surprise, given that AIC were always at the most overtly metal end of the spectrum in the grunge canon.

Then again, despite the rather poppy middling rock chorus, the repetitive chord sequence of ‘Mailman’ is well suited to a sludgy trudge-along, and ultimately, Embr have done a good job, making Idolatry well worth a punt.

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EMBR are four musical kindred spirits who have delivered a crushing, yet beautiful debut album in 1823. At this point, it is worth stating that the title 1823 has special significance. It’s not just a numerical title, it has substance. Eric Bigelow (drummer) has been on the list for a kidney for around 4 years.

Eric received a kidney transplant in May of 2019. This happened right in the middle of writing the album. The kidney was from a deceased donor and all Eric and Crystal Bigelow (singer and Eric’s wife) know about the donor is that it was a young woman between the ages of 18-23. The album is dedicated to the donor and the surgeons at Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville TN. And what a fine tribute it is.

Musically, 1823 could be categorized as ‘Doom’. However, on this debut it’s obvious that EMBR have range, drive and a desire to add to the genre, to broaden it whilst staying true to its core fundamentals.

Rest assured, the band have all the nuts and bolts in place. Mark Buchanan (guitar), Alan Light (bass) and Eric Bigelow (drums) keep everything tight and weighty. Massive drop-tuned guitars, chest rattling low end, pounding drums, fuzzy distortion, it’s all there. But they also add in synths, a bit of grunge and alt rock flavours.

The vocal talents of Crystal absolutely soar and strengthen the music. Her range, patterns and harmonies transport the band’s music skyward. Crystal adds soul and an air of melancholia to the musical creations. If a pointer were needed, think Mastodon meets Witch Mountain with epic sweeps and a shade of gothic drama.

The songs on 1823 are loud, brutally beautiful, aggressive, abrasive and at times atmospheric, uplifting and emotional. Welcome to the next chapter of EMBR.

Ahead of 1823, they’ve offered up ‘Where I’ve Been’ . Check the video here:

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“It seemed to make a lot of sense to strip it back of all the industrial electronic sounds and leave it with just a guitar that sounds like it’s lost in an empty void, because that’s pretty much what’s happening to every town and city around the world right now”

For Sky Valley Mistress the lockdown couldn’t have come at a more challenging time, you see March 20th was the release date of their debut album Faithless Rituals an album that had already had a rocky road to get to the finish line and as momentum grew and everything started to fall into place the reality that the world would soon be standing still and for a period of time the band would have to sit back and not be the centre of the universe albeit for a short time has been testing. With all promotional duties and tour commitments shelved and working out the challenges of lockdown Sky Valley Mistress have simply just got on with it.

Seeing the band live is a sight to behold and the real frustration is that the “Faithless Rituals Tour” and the preparation that went into it hasn’t happened and when it does it can’t help but be different from the Pre-Covid version, we know venues and live music arenas won’t be the same, but we also know as a band Sky Valley Mistress won’t be the same, they haven’t really took to or got the luxury of performing streamed shows but instead have been putting together enough material for a second album and even though its all been done from a distance the band have never been closer and when the time is right they’ll be working in the studio.

To begin their lockdown endeavours and armed with Trent Reznor’s Tambourine which Max & Kayley required live from a Nine Inch Nails Scala show in 2013 they have recorded a version of ‘Everyday Is Exactly The Same’, each part has been performed, recorded and mixed remotely and strips back their usual sound to create a sombre version of this 2005 NIN classic, accompanied by a video created, directed, edited and featuring Kayley filmed in Isolation.  

Watch the video here:

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BlackLab, ‘the dark witch doom duo from Osaka, Japan’ are poised to return with their new long playing record Abyss.

Recorded under a full moon over three intense days, the album has the ‘off the leash’ abandon of ‘Fun House’ era ‘Stooges’ and is marked by a fat dose of doom meets slowed down hardcore punk; filled with loud, ultra distorted guitar, and yet, a surprising amount of melody as well.

In fact, Yuko has said that the band’s name is a combination of Black Sabbath and Stereolab, well here on Abyss is where that strange mix begins to make musical sense.

The band haven’t lost their love of lo-fi or ‘Riot Grrrl’ attitude.

The guitars are loud and heavily gnarled to the point of chaos.

Vocals go from shoegaze melodic to hardcore screams (in fact rarely has a vocalist in this genre screamed so musically as Yuko does) and underneath all this, Chia batters the skins, all rolling and tumbling thunder amidst the riffs.

Yes there is a smattering of ‘Sabbathy Wizarding’ of course, but submerged within dark, deep fuzz and punk rock crank and grind.

In truth the vibe is closer to both the arty heaviness of early Boris, and the sweet savagery of My Bloody Valentine, than any kind of ‘doom’ tropes. And in many ways, Blacklab are continuing the long tradition of Japanese experimental noise that bands like Melt Banana and Bordeoms exemplify. Ultimately though, it’s a sound that is undoubtedly BlackLab’s own.

So over 8 tracks, clocking in at around 42 mins, you get the current Blacklab world view.

‘Abyss’ is an album that is as raw and alive as it gets.

It’s refreshingly free of artifice, and it doesn’t arse around. What more can you want.

Say hello to the Osaka underground and watch the video for new single ‘Insanity’ now.

New Heavy Sounds – 11th October 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

Cold in Berlin’s evolution has followed a fairly steady but swift arc: having emerged in 2010 with the spiky attack that was Give Me Walls, Rituals of Surrender represents their fourth album. That’s a respectable work rate, and over that time they’ve remained true to their dark, post-punk gothy roots, but have become progressively slower and heavier, the guitars growing sludgier, doomier.

In musical circles, there is always a ‘new strain’ emerging, even if said strain is a revisioning of an older strain. Not so long ago, it was post-punk revivalism, then there was a vintage heavy metal return, which in turn spawned the emergence of a stoner / doom / sludge hybrid. Cold in Berlin, having crashed in on the post-punk tidal wave are now more closely aligned to another more niche strain of the latter, namely colossally heavy female-fronted bands who bring an ethereal and emotive aspect to the sludgy / stoner / heavy template. Is it lazy journalism to bracket Cold in Berlin’s latest offering alongside Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and the last couple of albums by Chelsea Wolfe? Perhaps, but the references are at least instructive in terms of establishing a certain thread of stylistic commonality. But for every similarity, there are equal differences, and Cold in Berlin are most definitely a unique proposition in the way they balance the instrumental heft with Maya’s powerful vocals.

The album gets straight down to business with ‘The Power,’ which prefaced the arrival back in early September, accompanied by an appropriately moody, horror-hinting video. The bass and guitar grate and saw in unison over a slow tribal march. The tension builds and breaks in a landslide to a mammoth chorus.

The nine tracks on Rituals are heavy – plenty heavy – with some killer riffs. But that weight and the overloading overdrive is not at the expense of accessibility: the songs are clearly structured and benefit from strong and defined choruses.

Lyrically, the album is strewn with funereal imagery of death and decay, coffins and caskets, yet somehow manages to avoid cliché. The songs also pour anguish. ‘There is grief that tastes good in your mouth / there is grief that takes years to scrub out / There is darkness buried beneath my skin / there is darkness at the heart of everything’, Maya sings, pained, at the start of ‘Avalanche’ against a sparse sonar-like bass boom and a weeping drone of feedback before the drums and power chords come crashing in with crushing force. Can there be onomatopoeic instrumentation? If so, Cold in Berlin have mastered it, the pulverizing

The ritual aspect of surrender is never far from range: ‘You could string her up / you could string her up her body’s a temple for your love’ Maya sings commandingly on ‘Temples’ against a thunderous grind of heavily distorted guitars. Elsewhere, ‘Monsters’ is tense, intense, and grand, drama radiating from every note, and Rituals of Surrender is outstanding in its consistency.

Blending hefty riffology with full-lunged brooding, Rituals of Surrender sees Cold in Berlin occupy the space between doom and goth, emerging like Sabbath fronted by Siouxsie. And they do it so well: this could well be their definitive album.

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