I’ve always enjoyed when a member of a band you really dig, steps away from the comforts of their group and spreads their wings with different projects. After some time away from his previous group, former Memento singer, Justin Stewart Cotta has returned with another stellar collection of songs. The 5 songs that make up this new self titled EP are full of the emotional prowess that Justin was known for in Memento as well a bit of a dramatic tinge from his time on stage in his native Australia. These songs are introspective and full of charm. My favorite song as of this writing is “Stranger.” There is something truly hauntingly beautiful about this song. The lyrics and melody along with the piano, dissident guitar, and subtle drums (all of which are played by the esteemed Kellii Scott of Failure) really make this come alive. I personally am looking forward to hearing more from Justin. And it would be pretty awesome if there was some new Memento in the near future too.
Justin Stewart Cotta:
There have been so many great three piece bands over the years and it never ceases to amaze me the power of what a three piece band can emit. Recently I came across a three piece band that is putting out some serious heavy grooves along with a pummeling sound and I couldn’t wait to share them with you all. Let me introduce you to O Zorn. Armed with a sound that is part stoner/doom, sludgey and noise rock, it comes as no shock that O Zorn is going to deliver a decimating sound. Their new album, Your Killer, was recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606. That along with the riffs of both Bill Kielty and Bill Meyer and the unstoppable carnage that drummer Danny Walker brings to the rhythm, has made O Zorn a force to be reckoned with in the heavy music community. Your Killer is out March 20 (via Seeing Red Records). In the mean time, check out these two songs from this upcoming “killer” of an album.
O Zorn- Casket:
Yes, you read that right. Stabbing Westward is back and they are bringing the goods with them. Stabbing Westward originally reunited back in 2015 while singer Chris Hall was on tour with his other band at the time The Dreaming. What was originally conceived as a one off expanded once they were asked to be a part of the Cold Waves festival back in 2016. After some time away, in late 2018, Stabbing Westward was awoken again, as the band embarked on a tour to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of their very excellent album, Darkest Days. Over the course of time, the band started to play more shows and began writing new material. The band now, is made up of original members Chris Hall (vocals/guitar) and Walter Flakus (keyboards, programming), along with (former?) Deadsy and The Dreaming member Carlton Bost and Bobby Amaro. Now, in 2020, that new music has arrived in the form of the Dead and Gone EP, which features 3 new songs as well as two remixes. The three new songs on the EP, “Dead and Gone,” “Cold,” and “Crawl” seemingly pick up where Darkest Days left off with a little bit of a modern tinge. Chris Hall hasn’t lost a step vocally and sounds just as good as he did back in the bands heyday. This EP is a pretty solid reminder why Stabbing Westward were all over the radio back in the 90’s. It leaves you wanting a full length album for sure, as this wets your appetite. The song “Cold” has some really cool textures and elements that gives off a different flair for pop, industrial and even world music (Middle Eastern to be specific). “Crawl” is a very cinematic song, that while simple in its structure, it’s very catchy and mixed with Hall’s vocals and delivery, makes for a very captivating song. Cheers to Stabbing Westward being back and out on the road!
Stabbing Westward- Dead and Gone EP:
Dead and Gone:
By: Brian Lacy
Every so often, a band and album comes out that you hear about but, forget to check out in a timely manner. That happened to me over the course of the last few months with the band of the week. A while back, I saw Riley Breckinridge of Thrice raving about the new Holy Fawn album Death Spells. I put it on my list of things to check out but, for some reason, I kept missing it. Well, that was a mistake. What a tremendous band they are, and their album is superb. This Phoenix, Arizona based band is quite possibly one of the best things Arizona has ever exported. Their blend of shoegaze, 90’s reverb rock, ambient tinges and crushing noise is captivating and hypnotic. There is a real depth to their songs and albums that has anyone listening stand at attention and feel compelled to get lost in the music. There’s an element of danger to this band that when you listen, you can tell they are about to erupt with a sound that is devastatingly beautiful. Their album Death Spells is definitely one of the best of the past decade and worth putting in any collection. Holy Fawn has also released a 3 song EP this past January entitled The Black Moon and it’s pretty damn fantastic as well. Holy Fawn is a band that should be on your radar and should be checked out live to get the full effect.
Holy Fawn- Death Spells:
Holy Fawn- The Black Moon:
Over the last few years, there has been a surge of instrumental bands that have changed the landscape of what you can do without vocals. Certain bands have come to the forefront of that and have released seminal albums that have a lasting impact. Caspian, is one of those bands. Through their career, they’ve released a wide spectrum of albums that have reached the heights of cinematic and grandiose rock with an accompaniment of thunderous rhythms and riffs galore that would can shatter glass. It’s been 5 years since their last album, the very highly regarded, Dust and Disquiet. Now, Caspian have unleashed one hell of an epic album with On Circles that, is one of the most captivating of their career. There’s an intimacy on this album that comes out more and more as you listen, while at the same time, there’s an immediacy to it that drives you to tune in closer and closer. On Circles, is Caspian at a creative height and pushing themselves to step out of their comfort zone even more, for example, on closing song “Circles On Circles,” guitarist Phillip Jamieson adds vocals to this very introspective song.
Hands down, Caspian have released the first great album of 2020. This album is definitely going to be talked about through the whole year, as it should be. It covers a wide range of elements the band has become known for and touches on new ground that doesn’t feel out of reach for their capabilities. Caspian are back and ready to set sail on one hell of a journey with this album.
Caspian- On Circles:
The many sub-genres of rock and heavy music have given us some pretty awesome bands over the years. When a band begins to draw from different areas of influence and inspiration, the end results can often be refreshing. A couple weeks ago, my attention was drawn to a band that has combined bits and pieces of bands like Neurosis and Swans along with a bit of a Type O Negative vibe and that band is called Ether Coven. The bands new album, Everything Is Temporary Except Suffering, is one hell of a way to start off 2020. It’s got all the elements of the bands I mentioned above along with some other surprises thrown in making it quite a very interesting and thought provoking listening experience. Ether Coven is the type of band that can make those “epic” style songs, along with some straight up heavy and doom laden material, which helps to create a sonic diversity in what they do. Plus having their album being produced by Erik Rutan (Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and so many more) has really packed quite a punch to make sure the end result is pristine. So, break out of your norm, and check out Ether Coven!
Ether Coven- Everything Is Temporart Except Suffering:
The Fort Lauderdale natives recently signed to Century Media Records after A&R vet, Michael Alago (signed Metallica and White Zombie) notified Century Media of the band. Born from the ashes of vocalist/guitarist Peter Kowlasky’s (vocals and guitar) former (and occasionally still active) band, Remembering Never, Ether Coven marry the dissonant sounds of Neurosis and Swans, the sumptuous gloom of Type O Negative and the riffing of their home state’s death metal heritage. Helmed by a creative core of Kowalsky and Devin Estep (vocals, guitar), the band has spent the past three years touring clubs and DIY venues across the Eastern seaboard and Canada, performing alongside the likes of The Body, Eyehategod, Cro-Mags and Torche. Now the band is ready to release their new album Everything Is Temporary Except Suffering, which was recorded, mixed and produced by Erik Rutan (Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Goatwhore) with additional mastering done by Alan Douches (Cradle of Filth, Motorhead) at West West Side.
Since the turn of the century, the post-hardcore genre has become one of the most intriguing sub genres of rock music. The amount of room to experiment within it has given us some pretty stellar bands. Taking inspiration and influence from past punk and hardcore bands along with bits of the 90’s like Drive Like Jehu, Jawbreaker, and Fugazi to name a few, Bakersfield’s If It Kills You has really delivered something refreshing and enticing. Their 2018 EP Infinite Hum (recorded and mixed by Kowloon Walled City’s Scott Evans), is one hell of a way to get to know this band. The band is ferocious and passionate and you can hear it in each and every song. As a three piece band too, the guys in If It Kills You really know how to maximize their sound to not only stand out but pack one hell of a punch. I can’t wait to hear what they come out with next.
If It Kills You- Infinite Hum: