As they prepare for the release of their collaborative new album— featuring Chelsea Wolfe, Ben Chisholm and Stephen Brodsky, Converge have unveiled the second single from Bloodmoon: I, “Coil.” Speaking on the song, Jacob Bannon comments, “’Coil’ turned out to be one of my favorite songs I’ve ever been a part of. There is an infectious slow build that ends up becoming theatrical in tone. Lyrically it was a true collaboration, with all of us expanding on each other’s ideas as they came to be. I believe Chelsea’s vocal was the starting point in that for this one. Kurt really pushed vocal harmonies to a new level as well. Encouraging many of Steve’s ideas while we were in the studio tracking together. This one really has everyone of us firing on all cylinders creatively.” When you hear this song, you’ll get it. It’s such a tremendous track. I personally can’t wait for this album. Ever since they performed at Roadburn I’ve been waiting for this to finally come to fruition. Bloodmoon: I, out November 19th on CD/Digital and on Vinyl June 24th.
There are some bands out there that are very meticulous and worth the wait. One such band is Bossk. Throughout their career, Bossk has developed a cult following within the Post-Metal genre and has carved their own spot among their peers. Their new album, Migration, is a post-metal, cinematic and ferocious gem. The layers and textures found throughout the album expand with each listen. There is so much to this album that you will be wanting to hit the start button all over again once it’s over.
The album brings together different elements that when fused together makes for one hell of a great listen. One of my favorite things about this album is the atmospheric approach to the songs. It’s experimental and psychedelic at the same time. The push and pull of tension found in the post-metal genre is beyond strong on this release. Each moment captivates your senses and draws you in more and more. I could go on and on about the each song but, as I’ve said in other reviews, that would just take away from the element of surprise. The production on Migration is superb. The synths shine and cut through in a way that is almost haunting. The rumble of the low end and drums makes your blood flow faster and your heart pound harder. The riffs are crunchy and crisp. On the songs with vocals, even the different vocalists help to propel these songs into another dimension.
Bossk have truly created a masterpiece of an album with Migration. There is a real ebb and flow that captures you from the first note. To be able to capture these sounds and feelings makes Migration a truly remarkable album. An album like this has the ability to bring in other listeners from different genres and expand the minds of them. The richness of Migration is on full display with each song. It’s almost like they transcended while making this album which makes the future is very bright for Bossk. Serious contention for Album Of The Year is strong with this one.
Over the past few years, I started delving deeper into certain record labels and their catalogs. One label that I’ve come to really admire is Deathwish Inc. This label is run by the legendary Jacob Bannon of Converge/Wear Your Wounds and Tre McCarthy. This label has and continued to be a force with great bands and releases such as, Cult Leader, Cold Cave, Code Orange, Boysetsfire, Deafheaven, Oathbreaker, Planes Mistaken For Stars, Terror, Birds In Row and Bossk. Now, speaking of Bossk, they are gearing up to release their long awaited second album, Migration (out June 18). Migration features 7 new tracks of pummeling post-metal; recorded in 2019 and finalized in 2020, this new album sees Bossk joined by guest vocalists Johannes Persson (Cult of Luna) and Josh McKeown (Palm Reader). The first single “Menhir” features Johannes of Cult of Luna and it’s a sludgy beast of a track. This new album, and first in 5 years is chock full of synth noise and atmospheric guitars to towering, pummeling riffs and vocals, creating a sonic landscape like no other. If you are in the mood for something a bit on the outside or the norm, definitely turn the volume up on Bossk!
Bossk- Menhir (featuring Johannes Persson of Cult of Luna):
I love a good side project. More often than not, the side project allows the artist to explore a different side and see where that experiment goes. It’s quite interesting to hear this other side and experience something you aren’t used to hearing from that person. Which leads me to the band of the week, Blunt Razors. I’ve long been a fan of the band Planes Mistaken For Stars and when I heard that Gared O’Donnell and Neil Keener were working on new music that wasn’t going to be Planes material, I became very intrigued. While quarantined together throughout 2020 in Peoria, IL, they wrote and recorded a plethora of incredible songs. Sonically, some were enough of a departure from Planes Mistaken For Stars, that the pair felt it deserved a different name. And with that, Blunt Razors was conceived. Their debut release, Early Aught, is comprised of five gut-wrenching originals that have the grit and charm that Gared and Neil are known for. The two songs released so far, “Speeding” and “Amber Waves” show that there is a whole other level of creativity to these two talented writers. Their debut is out on November 20 (via Deathwish Inc).
A couple weeks back, a new band was unveiled in the form of Umbra Vitae which features Jacob Bannon of Converge, Mike McKenzie of The Red Chord, Sean Martin of Twitching Tongues, ex Hatebreed, Greg Weeks of The Red Chord and Jon Rice of Uncle Acid, ex Job For A Cowboy. The first song they released, “Return To Zero” was one hell of a track out of the gates but, this new one, “Mantra Of Madness,” is a whole other level of killer. The title is quite fitting for the times we live in at the moment too. Their debut album Shadow of Life, comes out May 1st on Deathwish. So, with all that in mind, check this out!!!
A while back, Oathbreaker released a new song called “Ease Me” on the Adult Swim Metal Swim 2 compilation. Now, a new EP release featuring the song along with a few different remixes by Jesu, Chelsea Wolfe and others, will be released May 8th (via Deathwish Inc.). Oathbreaker is one of the best bands I’ve heard in a long time and their 2016 album Rheia is an absolute masterpiece. If you’ve never heard it, I urge you to do so. Check out Ease Me and the Ease Me (Jesu Remix) below!
It’s always interesting when bands take different genres and mix them together. The end results are at times questionable but, when a band finds the right pairing, it all comes together. There is a band that has caught my attention that has mixed shoegaze and sludge in a way that not only works, it feels right too. Greet Death, a three piece band from Flint, Michigan, are releasing a new album, New Hell, on November 8 (via Deathwish Inc.). The first couple songs released are just a glimpse of the lush and full melodies, dreamy guitars, and punchy rhythms that drive the poetic lyrics to soaring heights. The groups debut album, 2017’s Dixieland, showed that Greet Death are here to leave a lasting impression and that they did. New Hell looks to pick up where their debut left off, while expanding upon their sound to reach a new level.
Greet Death- Do You Feel Nothing? (from New Hell):
I love it when you are searching for something new to listen to and you come across a band you’ve never heard and it all just clicks. That happened to me this week when I heard the band HarborLights. When I heard the song “From Virtue (Sacrament)” I knew in an instant that this is what I was looking for. HarborLights have this really great sound that balances delicate melody along with strong dynamics that take their songs to ethereal places. The band formed about 8 years ago and since then have released 2 split EP’s and one full length. Their new album, Isolation Ritual (out September 13), is sure to be quite the album for 2019. The two songs released so far “From Virtue” and “Hold The Dark” are taking me by storm and enticing me so much that the anticipation of this album is growing by the day. HarborLights are the perfect band to put on and let the music take you away.
Every year I try to go to one show at the very end of December. There is something about the energy in the room at these shows, that you just know you are going to witness something pretty spectacular. Last night at The Satellite pretty spectacular doesn’t quite cut it. I’m going to go ahead and say that seeing Cult Leader, God Mother and Seizures last night was not only intense but one of the most fun shows I’ve been to in a long long time.
Opening the night was Seizures. They were a last minute add to the bill and the perfect tone setting band or the night. I had heard the name of the band before but never heard them and they completely rocked the house. They have this really cool early Thrice vibe ( a la Illusion Of Safety) mixed with a bit of Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan. So they definitely have that “mathcore” style down to a tee but they also have a real sense of depth to them as well. Every player in the band is extremely proficient at their instrument and their vocalist Cameron is a beast on stage. As I mentioned above, they really set the tone for the night and they really are a band that will be one to watch out for in the heavy music scene.
Getting to finally see God Mother live was everything I wanted and way more. Their 2017 album Vilseledd was and still is one of the best metallic hardcore albums I’ve heard in a long time. The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Ben Weinman has even stated that Dillinger has passed the torch onto God Mother. That’s how good they are and it’s beyond true. The chaos that ensued during their set was something I haven’t seen in years. As their set began, with the band on stage, vocalist Sebastian Campbell made the bands presence felt as he went out in the crowd and formed a circle from all the people in the crowd. The band then began ripping into their assault on The Satellite and from that point onward it was as though the eruption of chaos was meant to be. Circle pits ensued along with an impromptu limbo contest, which was one of the coolest and most fun things I’ve ever been a part of at a show. God Mother is the real deal. The band absolutely slays and they deliver the goods on song after song. The element of danger and passion that brews inside each member makes God Mother not only a force to be reckoned with but as time goes on, they are going to write some really epic songs.
The main event of the evening was Cult Leader. Ever since I first saw this band while on tour with The Dillinger Escape Plan, I’ve been hooked. That first time was astounding and totally put me into a hypnotic trance. Last night that hypnotic trance occurred again and I didn’t want it to end. Shrouded in red light, the members of Cult Leader tore through their set with a sense of purpose and passion that most bands would be envious of. Cult Leader recently put out their spectacular new album A Patient Man and their set was compiled of a slew of songs from it and their previous work Lightless Walk (another gem of an album). This new album though is dark and brooding with all the feels you would expect from a band this deep. I don’t know what it is about this band but every time I’ve seen them now, I get lost in the music and aggression and it takes all the negativity away. I’m going to put this out there that Cult Leader is not only a band that needs to be seen live but also they are truly superb at creating and capturing the real essence of what the band is.
What a great night not just for heavy music but music in general. Seeing bands of this caliber at a place like The Satellite (it’s still Spaceland to me) was ferocious. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some really great shows at this venue (I’ve even seen Deftones here) and this night tops it all. What a great show from Cult Leader, God Mother and Seizures. I wish the show would have gone on longer, that’s how damn good each band was. It’s bands and music like this that keeps me doing what I do. So, thank you Cult Leader, God Mother and Seizures for delivering one of the best shows I’ve seen all year as well as the best end of the year show I’ve seen in years!
Ever since I saw Cult Leader live, I’ve been impressed. The night I saw them, they were on tour with The Dillinger Escape Plan on their final US tour. The moment they took the stage, you could tell that there was more to this band than just being a heavy band. As they tore through their set that night, I was hypnotized by their magnitude of volume, precision, and pure passion for what they created. Needless to say, I was at their merch table right after their set to buy their album Lightless Walk. That album has been in constant rotation since I procured it over two years ago.
Cult Leader have returned with a new album entitled A Patient Man, and if you are a fan, you’ve been waiting patiently for the next chapter of the band. The wait for this album was immensely worth it. A Patient Man is not for the faint or weak of heart. This album is dark but there is an element of optimism to it. From the moment “I Am Healed” kicks off the album, you best buckle up because this album is going to take you on a ride. “Curse Of Satisfaction” keeps up with the pummeling nature of the album. “Isolation in the Land of Milk and Honey” is one of the most brutal and honest songs on the record. It’s a very introspective song with lyrics and parts that really strike a chord within. “To Achlys” might just be one of the most epic songs of 2018. It’s a welcome departure for the band. Though if you’ve been listening to Cult Leader for some time, you could tell that they were expanding and evolving into a differing style like this. “A World Of Joy” continues on the epic path and could quite possibly be one of if not the best song on the album. “Craft of Mourning” brings the album back to the heavy with a crushing attack. “Share My Pain” is one of those songs that shows the band incorporating a “groove” element to their repertoire. This song stands out not just because of the groove but because of the personal approach. “Aurum Reclusa” is as Cult Leader as it gets. This song harks back a bit to the Gaza days. The title track “A Patient Man” is another epic. This one, like “To Achlys” is deep and introspective only on this track there is a bit more “hope.” Closing out the album is “The Broken Right Hand of God.” This track is a great summation of what A Patient Man is. It’s brooding with heaviness, epic moments and full of heart.
Cult Leader have carved out a niche amongst their peers. They have evolved past the norm of just being a heavy band. Each member of the band has made significant contributions to make A Patient Man something special. Musically, Casey Hansen, Sam Richards and Mike Mason have created a sonic style that (as I’ve mentioned before) is hypnotic and heavy at the same time. Vocalist Anthony Lucero, really grew not only as a lyricist but as a vocalist. His sort of crooning on some of these songs really, gives off a personal touch. And Kurt Ballou’s production work is outstanding. He really helped to deliver the sound this album needed. The jump from Lightless Walk to A Patient Man is quite astounding. To be able to still maintain your roots and come away with a piece of work like this is something to really be proud of. I can just imagine the live set in a club being something I will and others in attendance will remember emphatically. Thank you Cult Leader for understanding and not being afraid to go after what moves you. Music is art and it’s a wonderful thing. When you can find the right members to balance the vision, great things like A Patient Man happen.