Gary Lenaire – “No Time Now”

 Posted by on July 16, 2018 at 21:44  No Responses »
Jul 162018
 

Although this album has been out for almost a year now, it was only uptill recently that I got my hands on it, and I immediately fell in love with it. Gary Lenaire, one of the founding member of the Tourniquet had been working on this album under the project name – Talking Snakes, with a number of featuring guest such as Bubby Lewis, Anna Sentina, Neil Swanson, Guy Ritter, Aly Frank and Andrijana Janevska. The album was released on the 29th of July 2017 and had been written, produced, engineered and mixed by Gary himself. The mastering and the album artwork was done by Pat Keane and Willie Frazier respectively.

Gary Lenaire has released 12 records, published over 100 songs worldwide, was nominated for six GMA (Dove) Awards, and received HM Magazine’s “Guitarist of the Year” award from 1994-1996. In context of this album, Gary quotes, “I don’t know what time is or if it exists at all. I have long felt that time, as perceived by humans, is an almost inescapable infatuation with the past and the future–longing for or regretting days gone by and anticipating or dreading the future. It is in that hypnotic daydream that we waste our experience, the actual present–reality as it happens. It is when we truly love that we lose all sense of time: In a song, a family gathering, meditation, prayer, a lover. In recording this record I found myself in that timeless space.” Continue reading »

Jul 122018
 

Out of the ashes of Crimson Thorn come Taking the Head of Goliath who have released the debut studio album …a monstrously heavy slab of death metal and follow up to their debut live album.

The Minnesota band Taking the Head of Goliath traces their roots all the way back to 2015 and basically is the story of a collection of bands breaking up and members of those bands getting together and looking for bass player, which brought in Luke Renno from Crimson Thorn.  The band quickly gained attention, playing their first show on the For Today farewell tour, which also featured Norma Jean.  The band’s debut show was also released as an ep earlier on Noisetrade and their self-titled ep  is their debut after signing to Rottweiler Records.  On the self-titled ep, Matthew Mark Vangsgard laid the drum tracks but he has since left the band and been replaced by Steve Reishus (ex-Crimson Thorn). For those who can’t easily decipher the lyrics, the band is looking to spread a message of hope, redemption, strength, and courage through Jesus Christ.

Haunting, eerie music builds in the intro track “Of Sin and Death” and then the pounding rhythm of “Oblivious into Oblivion” kicks in with a great guitar fill at the beginning before settling into a double bass driven section supporting a mixture of death growls and shrieks.  Guttural vocals rule the day here and the band comes through with punishingly heavy riffs to keep the song moving.  For my ears, the closest comparison here would be bands like Broken Flesh and Cannibal Corpse. Continue reading »

Bismoth – “Psalmic Peace”

 Posted by on July 4, 2018 at 20:36  No Responses »
Jul 042018
 

Jethro de Beer, the creative force behind “Be Not Betrayed” (SkyBurnsBlack Records) and “Bismoth”, strikes me as a thinker and a fighter. The spirit of his struggle, documented online, is captured for me in the title of that Marilyn Manson / Sneakerpimps collaboration, “Long Hard Road Out of Hell”. Quoting music from a movie may look like I’m making light of a troubling subject, but no. It is as when Paul writes to the Ephesians: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (6:12). It is clear to me that extreme metal seduces the listener ever downward, and once he/she has developed a taste for its tonal palette, it becomes difficult to take anything else seriously. I returned to an interview with Pilgrim, of Crimson Moonlight where he argues for blackened liturgical metal, and while the accepted view holds that black metal can’t be Christian, he says that “… it can be anything but neutral and lukewarm.” (http://bravewords.com/features/crimson-moonlight-blackened-liturgy). I have this impression when I listen to “Psalmic Peace”.

“Waters To Dust” is set against a bleak, frostbitten backdrop and I’m immediately taken in by a gravelly voice that whispers a precis of Psalm 106. I enjoy the thin, razor-like quality of the guitars, and this is where it becomes interesting for me; sombre instrumentation, yet lyrically hopeful. When I listen to “The Lamp of Your Body” by “Be Not Betrayed”, it shares sonic qualities with “O, Majestic Winter” – for me, an altogether more experimental take on unblack metal. Continue reading »

Jun 242018
 

The Beckoning bid farewell as a band and leave us with an ep that is at times as majestic and beautiful as it is heavy and brutal.

Since the release of this ep around the beginning of 2018, The Beckoning have announced the end of the band with everyone involved leaving on good terms.  The Canadian band has been around since 2010 and this “ep” is a combination of the previously released demos Desolate (2014) and War (2012) and even though only four songs, clocks in at close to half an hour in length,  pushing the boundaries of the definition of ep.  Given a listen to the material, one can’t help but be surprised that this much sound comes from a band of three people, husband and wife Roy and Meghann Turple covering drums, vocals, and keyboards and Eldon Loewen handling bass and guitars.  The band enlisted guitarist Derek Corzine (Blood Thirsty, Whisper from Heaven, ex-Bloodline Severed) to mix the ep and his experience in the various genres covered by his bands shows through in an album that manages to make a myriad of instruments and vocal styles show cleanly in the mix.

Immediately when “Lamentation” starts with its piano piece, one can’t help but wonder when the inevitable explosion of metal guitars and drums will come, especially given the album cover.  Suprisignly though, the first bit is just keyboards and guitar taking the over the piano line, more like what one would hear in power metal song, but then the music goes quiet as a spoken piece begins backed by a chiming clock and Meghann’s beautiful operatic voice.  Continue reading »

Jun 242018
 

It took me sometime to get myself familiarized with Blackfinger, which is a psychedelic rock/heavy metal band from Chicago, Illinois. Eric Wagner, known for “Trouble” formed Blackfinger in 2012, alongside The Skull (which focuses primarily on doom metal genre). The band released two studio albums so far and have toured mainly in the United States. Throughout 2012 the band worked on their debut album, and on 29 August 2013 announced that it had signed with The Church Within Records. On 12 April 2014 Blackfinger’s released their debut eponymous album.

The band went dormant for sometime and resurfaced with an entirely new lineup for a second album. The lineup was announced by guitarist Terry Weston (Dream Death, Penance) following which the band performed live in 2016. The band signed up with M-Theory Music in April 2017 and announced their second album “When Colors Fade Away” due to be released on 15 September. A mini-tour was planned around this album but ultimately postponed barring the release show.

The album starts off with, “When Colors Fade Away” which has nothing short of chunky riffs, slowed down tempo on the drums and fuzzy guitars which rings in and sets in the mood for some classic doom styled song, and towards the end we encounter a shift in vocals with the guitar pelting out a hypnotic solo. Mathew Cross pleasantly surprises us with a melodic bass line that starts off “Can I Get a Witness”, the vocal delivery is more narrative during the verses and takes on some punch during a heavy chorus, which brings out two guitars panning out rugged solos. Continue reading »