Mercy is a brave step forward for Sweet Cobra; it’s the sound of a band evolving from the damn-and-blast hardcore of its origins, and progressing into something more powerful in the dynamism that this newfound maturity brings with it. An incredible album.
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By Kyle Harcott When the bands manage to get it right, I’m a fan of the trend of new classic-sounding power metal bands cropping…
The band’s first full-length, Our Slow Decay, constantly balances a tightrope between pronounced shades of Times Of Grace-era post-apocalypso, and modern-era thrash gallop on a par with Baroness, Bison, or High on Fire. As well, occasionally, the kind of vocal harmony work pops up that wouldn’t be out of place on an early ‘90s Dischord album – and holding the whole thing down, one hell of a masterful drummer in the drunken-fisted Gordon Koch. The band’s equally at home tossing around monolithic lightning bolts of slab-dirge as they are trotting through bone-jarring warhorse crunch, and Our Slow Decay is tempered with each equally.
But the album’s triumph for me, without question, is the majestic, heartfelt (hell, almost power-pop!) pageantry of “Don’t Look Back”; its two-note clarion-call intro causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up every time I listen– and the lyrics and vocals propel the song into sheer anthemic glory.
Hellbound’s Kyle Harcott reviews Kylesa’s latest effort, entitled Spiral Shadow, released on Season of Mist.
Agnes Vein have well steeped themselves in the lore of Blood Fire Death-era Bathory and latter-day Celtic Frost, but at times, the music also hints at the drone and mood of Jesu. There’s also the strong aftertaste of Primordial in the guitar tone. It’s an eclectic mix, but the influences serve them well and Agnes Vein have managed to distill them down into their own secret formula. I highly recommend Duality to anyone whose ears pricked up at any of the aforementioned inspiration.
Jucifer live is Total Ritual: Thick smoke and hot underlight, howling fury and gnashing of teeth, sonic overkill pouring forth from Amber Valentine’s monolithic wall of cabinets. From the second she steps onto the pitch-dark stage to begin her rite of setup to the moment the cloak is removed and the Flying V is strapped on and she begins beating hell out of it like it’s some faltering beast of burden, ritual is the only way to properly sum up the band’s live oeuvre.
Kyle Harcott reviews an appearance in Vancouver, BC of touring machine, JUCIFER.
Another one of those bands I somehow stumbled onto by accident, there’s very little I can tell you about Indianapolis’ Sleepbringer. Born out of the ashes of Heroes Laid To Rest, an Internet search bore only one other short review (so far) of Compendium, although I have the feeling that once this record gets heard a little more, that’s going to change. What I can tell you without a doubt is that this record absolutely crushes, it’s one of the most promising debuts I’ve heard this year.
San Francisco’s Hammers of Misfortune have recently signed to Metal Blade, and as a result, the label has reissued their entire back catalogue in hopes that it will get the due recognition it missed the first time around. With no expectation and no foreknowledge of the band, I tossed myself in at the deep end to review these four reissues and wound up discovering something completely fresh.
Kyle Harcott reviews the new Metal Blade reissues of the Hammers Of Misfortune back catalogue.
“Having seen the Melvins in previous three-piece variants over the years, this was my very-excited first time seeing this four-on-the-floor version that includes the Big Business guys, even though the band’s been touring in this incarnation since 2006. First, the stage set-up is key: Looking like one monstrous kit, the twin drumsets are dead center of the stage mirroring each other as centerpiece of the show. Yes, everybody is situated right up front and gets to act as frontman-in-his-own-right in Melvins Mark, what is it, now, Eight?”
Kyle Harcott reviews the July 5th show Vancouver performance by the Melvins and Totimoshi.