The Great Old Ones – Al Azif by orlandooom407

“The ocean from beyond the rift watched us as it extended a hand into itself”

French metal and hardcore always seemed scarce to me prior to 2011 being that the only three french heavy bands I could’ve named off the top my head at that time were Gojira, Anorexia Nervosa and Nesseria. The Great Old Ones (Antithetic Records) now join their cousins Alcest on my list of memorable metal en Francais. Now; with the tsunami of atmospheric metal crashing into my Google Reader each day the tasteful well engineered stuff can fall few and far between. One key facet of the musical dexterity required for elegantly torturous texture focused metal requires balancing the ethereal scales with equally hypnotic heaviness and, contrarily,  spaciousness. Al Azif maintains symmetry while additionally contributing some extensive triple guitar work that isn’t limited to harmonies. You can preview two songs at the widget below.

Pre-order Al Azif from Antithetic Records.

Like The Great Old Ones on Facebook.

– Jared Oates


Fire in the Cave – S/T by orlandooom407

Fire in the Cave‘s two-track self-titled debut (available on Bandcamp) is a howling black morsel of delicious evil.  It is a musical hayride of demonic darkness.  If the band’s Socratic name leaves you wanting navel-gazing philosophy, go listen to Liturgy because Fire in the Cave is an unrelenting sludge train of nut-pummeling brutality.

Confession time: I’m not usually a huge fan of genres like doom, sludge, or stoner metal, because I have a serious deprivation of short-term memory brought on by (ironically) heavy dope use throughout my early life.  So I tend to get impatient listening to “slow jams”.  Mmm…jam.  I like jam.  I could eat it out of the jar with a spoon.  Wait…focus…THE METAL.  I guess what I’m saying is that long, slow songs tend to bore me.  Not so with Fire in the Cave.  I wish I could shoot impressive-sounding musical terms at you like “time signatures” and “tempo changes” and shit like that but the best I can do is say that FITC is ‘not boring’. I don’t mean that like “well hey, at least they’re not Cradle of Filth”, I mean it more like: “if you’re expecting yawn-inducing 78-minute songs with a chord every three and a half minutes this is going to punch you in the face with a train”.

Not being familiar with any of the aforementioned genres actually kind of works in my favor because I can’t be tempted to say “these guys sound like…” and am sort of forced to judge purely on the merits of the music.  On the other hand if you’re one of those people who likes the comparisons so you know what to expect, you’re fucked, mate.  Did I mention Bandcamp? The tracks are available there for the reasonable price of name your own fucking price so go listen to the songs and decide for yourself, asshole.

Here’s what I get from Fire in the Cave: musically, it has the atmosphere of black metal with the odd bursts of thoughtful, expressive guitar work which somehow manage to fit the flow of the songs perfectly.  The drums do tend to get swallowed up a little but you know they are there, a fitting spinal column to the complexity of the songs.  And what can I say about the vocals? If you’ve met the ginger man-ape who fronts the band you’d probably never expect the rage-filled venom gurgling below the surface just waiting to be spewed out at full force.  The two tracks are produced well enough to let the tight musicianship shine through without polishing off the raw edge.  You can’t help but be impressed by the musical talent evident here; this is not brutal for the sake of brutality, or doomy for the sake of doom; not something designed to be shoehorned into a convenient sub-sub-sub-genre.  It is quality song crafting for the love of making music.

If I was writing this review for my own blog, I would give FITC’s debut my highest rating of 5 out of 5 drinking horns raised, but since I’m not, I’ll just say it’s fucking awesome and recommend that you go get that shit for yourself and treat your earholes to 16-odd minutes of pure swampy savagery.  You won’t be bored.

Click here to follow Fire in the Cave on Facebook.

– Gregor Von Leakenhawer

New Tombs Record Defines Totality! by orlandooom407

I had the pleasure of hosting these three gentleman for pizza and lodging following their incredible show in support of Wormrot this last March. I commend Mike, Andrew and Carson on their professionalism, astounding musical chemistry and words of encouragement they shared with me.

That being said, Path of Totality hadn’t dropped yet when we all were together that one night. Having now heard the record in it’s entirety I will name it as my favorite record of 2011 thus far. Its rare that I see such a pristine execution of blending elements of black metal, sludge and atmospheric wrapping it all together beneath Mike Hill’s haunting growls and proclamations. Path of Totality was recorded by John Congleton, who is most recently recognized in heavy music as the engineer behind 2009’s Blue Record by Baroness. With such impressive production combed with delicately assembled movements, that, at times, smell familiarly of Joy Division, Tombs pulverizes the listener only stopping briefly to swell into the next torturous passage of blistered black misery.

I took this brief description from their bandcamp page:

“TOMBS tap into the infinite well of emotion and expression on their astounding new full-length Path of Totality. Recorded by John Congleton (Baroness, Explosions in the Sky), Path of Totality is a massive step forward in songwriting and scope for the trio. Path of Totality finds TOMBS achieving what their previous recordings had always hinted at – an ultimately heavy and nuanced fusion of their disparate influences. “Bloodletters” and “Constellations” see the band flex its prodigious muscle; “Vermillion” and “Cold Dark Eyes” wrap arms of blackened misery around the listener, while the profound sadness of “Silent World” and “Passageways” further explores the trio’s UK post-punk influences. With Path of Totality, TOMBS has come into their own as one of the finest heavy bands in the world.”

Check out this marvelous release in full stream at their bandcamp page – tombsbklyn.bandcamp.com

If Tombs stops in your town, don’t be a dingus, go watch the chaos as it assaults your ear drums.

-Jared Oates Haggard