Grandpa Capra- Episode 3
New Episode of My podcast is up, please feel free to check it out!
High on Fire- De Vermis Mysteriis
“I got this idea about Jesus Christ and the Immaculate Conception: What if Jesus had a twin who died at birth to give Jesus his life? And then what if the twin became a time traveler right then?”
Now, these aren’t the maniacal ideals of a two-bit cult leader, or even a “drunk off the communion wine” Catholic Priest. This is Matt Pike, singer/guitar player of the band High on Fire describing his inspiration for the lyrical concepts found on their newest record “De Vermis Mysteriis”.
High on Fire are a trio from Oakland, California who have fine tuned their portrayal of stoner, sludge, and progressive metal over the last ten years of their existence. Since their origin, High on Fire has always mixed aggressive rock/metal with strange and borderline outlandish concepts into their music. This record is no different, but what does stand out however is that “De Vermis Mysteriis” has a much more raw, thrashing feel to it courtesy of production credits by hardcore/metal mastermind Kurt Ballou. Between Ballou’s stripped down approach to recording and High on Fire’s “take no prisoners” songwriting style, this record carries a sense of urgency that was lost in translation on previous efforts. Fast paced riffing, insanely technical guitar solos, Motorhead inspired vocals, dirty low end bass licks, and frantic drum parts make this 52-minute slab of epic rock and metal something you will walk away from bruised and broken, yet yearning for more.
It may take an Easter miracle to understand the concepts on High on Fire’s “De Vermis Mysteriis”, but it’s a no brainer that this record is extreme metal fans musical revelation. You can follow this artist through their Facebook, purchase this record through Insound, or stream a track below:
Pallbearer- Sorrow and Extinction
Even to a common music aficionado, the genre “Doom Metal” is mostly considered uncharted waters. This extreme medium of metal music is chock full of slower riffs with low-tuned drone elements that either seem absolutely epic or incomprehendable walls of noise depending on the listener. Luckily for us, Pallbearer have developed a traditional Doom Metal styling that progresses the genre even further on their debut album “Sorrow and Extinction”.
It’s absolutely accurate that Pallbearer channels their sludge-filled approach from inspirational acts such as Black Sabbath, Pentagram, St. Vitus, and Candlemass on “Sorrow and Extinction”. However, the band also incorporates progressive metal and psychedelic rock into their already monolithic musical blueprint, birthing a unique sound that becomes more rewarding with each listen. Clean dramatic vocal melodies, harmonized guitar parts, extremely distorted low-end bass, and drumming played alongside and around gigantic riffs spawn a more grandiose vision of Doom Metal excellence that Pallbearer accomplishes in only five tracks.
It may take a little longer than usual to realize what these Little Rock, Arkansas gentlemen are accomplishing on “Sorrow and Extinction”, but it’s a genuinely rewarding moment when the realization arrives that this record is a gloom infused masterpiece. You can follow this band through their Facebook, purchase this record through their label Profound Lore, or stream a track from the record below:
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Schoolboy Q- Habits and Contradictions
I find myself constantly having the same arguments with individuals claiming to be “well versed” in hip-hop culture that organic hip-hop is still alive and well. I get it, the 90’s were a great period for independent hip-hop, but times change and there are still relevant artists pushing the culture forward like never before. Throughout the 2000’s, different rappers and crews with interesting approaches on the genre surfaced such as Definitive Jux, Asap Rocky, Doomtree, Pac Div, and finally Black Hippy which Los Angeles rapper Schoolboy Q is a member of and considered a valuable asset. His latest release “Habits and Contradictions” just so happens to offer the most refreshing hip-hop to be released so far this year.
It’s somewhat of a challenge trying to pin down Schoolboy Q’s rap style. He’s amorphous in many ways channeling street life, drug dealing, and the defilement of women one moment, but then showcases optimism about his day-to-day struggles at the next turn. His rapping characteristics are not always heavy on wordplay, and he’s also not constantly “hot dogging” his flow with speed and accuracy. Some may write off these particular traits as a lacking MC still discovering his footing, but it actually has the opposite effect in making Schoolboy Q’s style seem well rounded and allows his listeners to immerse themselves in the world he creates throughout “Habits and Contradictions”. No matter what walk of life you are from, this record has the uncanny ability to make Schoolboy Q’s experiences seem channeled through the listener as if it were their own everyday happenings. With this mesmerizing appeal backed by the excellent use of production and sampling, “Habits and Contradictions” becomes more of an addictive experience than just another hip-hop record doing the same old song and dance.
Schoolboy Q’s “Habits and Contradictions” is a breakout record for this young artist, and should be on the tip of any hip-hop aficionados tongue. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so. You can follow this artist through their Facebook, purchase this record through Amazon, or stream a track from the album below:
Orange Goblin- A Eulogy For The Damned
A few years ago I got into Orange Goblin by complete chance. There’s a critical point in every music lovers life where the listener undergoes a faze of complete infatuation with either a particular artist or entire genre of music. In my case, I went through a spell where I became engrossed in anything that carried the moniker “Stoner Rock”. To this day I’m not exactly sure where or how this inspiration came about. There wasn’t any influence from my friends; they were too busy worshipping bands like Jimmy Eat World, Radiohead, or The Mars Volta. I also was the farthest thing from your stereotypical Stoner getting high in his black light poster filled bedroom while listening to Pink Floyd records. I just somehow fell in love with the general idea of how the songwriting in Stoner Rock focused on incorporating the same riffs that would continually groove for extended periods of time. I was getting reacquainted with bands that I already loved like Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden, and Fu Manchu but also was discovering artists that I should’ve been listening to like Kyuss, Electric Wizard, Sleep, and finally England’s Orange Goblin who quickly became one of my personal favorites in the genre. So it goes without saying how ecstatic I became when finding out that Orange Goblin were releasing a new record in 2012 entitled, “A Eulogy For The Damned”.
Orange Goblin play a brand of Stoner Rock that strongly focuses on the classic influence of Black Sabbath and Motorhead, but also blends elements doom, metal, and punk into their crust-driven sound. However, “A Eulogy For The Damned” takes what Orange Goblin does best, and gives it a more polished and produced feel without watering down the intensity of this band’s signature sound. Riff-laden guitar work, smooth low-end bass, dynamic drumming, and ruggedly sung vocals all honor this vintage style, but gracefully transitions this record into current times without renouncing them as a revival act.
Orange Goblin are seasoned veterans when it comes to the “Stoner Rock” genre, and “A Eulogy For The Damned” is a fantastic reminder and step forward for this English band. You can follow this band through their Facebook, purchase and listen to their entire album through their Bandcamp, or stream a track below:
Brick + Mortar- Heatstroke Demo
I’ll be completely honest, the first time I was introduced to Brick + Mortar’s music it didn’t really leave a lasting impression. It wasn’t that I believed they weren’t talented; it just seemed after hearing their last release “7 Years in the Mystic Room” some songs stood out and the rest just seemed slightly unfocused. I understood what this group was trying to achieve translates gracefully through a live setting and anyone lucky enough to witness their onstage antics would follow this band to the ends of the Earth, but what about an individual that didn’t have this luxury? Well, Brick + Mortar recently put out a 3 song demo entitled “Heatstroke” that showcases tremendous growth in their songwriting and is a finer representation of their trademark “Lightning in a Bottle” energy and sound.
Brick + Mortar are Brandon Asraf (Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Samples) and John Tacon (Drums, Vocals, Samples) that play and interesting hybrid of Indie Rock, Electronica, Hip-Hop, Reggae, and Pop. A musical stew of influences this off the map normally spells a recipe for disaster, but the Asbury Park duo have somehow created and mastered a sound that presents itself as intriguing uncharted territory. Catchy sincere vocals, impressive groove oriented drumming, ambient looped samples, and light strummed guitar work serve as the meat and potatoes for this act, but are more inviting and focused this time around leaving the listener eager to return to this brief release yet yearn for a full-length effort.
Brick + Mortar are taking huge strides on their latest demo “Heatstroke”, and it won’t be much longer until more people stand up and take notice. You can follow this artist through their Facebook, purchase and listen to this entire release through their Bandcamp, or stream a track below:
Vasudeva- Roots of the Tree EP
Perhaps I’m biased because I live here, but I strongly believe that New Jersey is fertile soil for some of the best-unsigned talent in the United States. It’s almost as if the Garden State is this untouched creative bubble that never really goes through a lull of visionary artists. Whether it has been through playing music in different bands or just attending shows in general, I’ve constantly discovered wonderful up and coming acts time after time again. With that being said, Vasudeva is another local act that has taken me by surprise with their latest 4-song effort, “Roots of the Tree”.
Vasudeva is a four piece instrumental band from Central New Jersey that combines elements of dance-infused, progressive, and experimental rock that is comparable to artists such as Minus the Bear or Maps and Atlases at first listen. However as the Ep unfolds, it slowly sinks in that Vasudeva are moving in a direction away from these influences and write songs that are a fresh take on this musically complex yet accessible genre. Lightly strummed and nimbly tapped guitar parts, groove heavy bass lines, and expressive rhythmic drumming help to convey elements of lightheartedness and optimism throughout this entire instrumental Ep. It also allows the four songs to emanate a musical aura that compels the listener to experience the same “rose-colored lenses” artistic vision that Vasudeva create through their music.
Vasudeva are a Garden State secret that should progress to bigger and better things, and “Roots of the Tree” is a fantastic stepping-stone in doing just that. You can follow this artist through their Facebook, download this entire Ep for free through their Bandcamp, or stream a track below:
Retox- Ugly Animals
We live in strange times. Anything you’ve ever wanted is instantly downloadable, individuals spend more time communicating through social networks than conversing face to face, and the telephone has become a new age technological Swiss-Army knife that tricks the owner into feeling smarter than what they actually are. It’s constant mind-numbing pitfalls like this that make every day seem even more lackluster than the next, and is exactly why Retox wrote a 13-minute long middle finger of an album entitled “Ugly Animals”.
Retox is a band that plays a snotty yet intricately abrasive blend of punk, hardcore, and thrash metal. This San Diego based group consists of members Justin Pearson, Brian Evans, Thor Dickey, and Michael Crain who all cut their teeth playing in nonconforming acts such as The Locust, Head Wound City, Cattle Decapitation, The Festival of Dead Deer, and The Crimson Curse. “Ugly Animals” is a direct address to the monotony that our society has collapsed into over the course of this generation. Spastic guitar and bass lines, harshly-shouted vocals, and precise yet bludgeoning drum parts fly by on this short record that help create a sense of chaotic urgency that somehow feels catchy and cathartic after each listen.
Retox’s “Ugly Animals” is a sonic purging that is meant to light a fire under the ass of any mundane listener. You can follow this artist through their Facebook, purchase this record through Insound, or stream a track from the record below: