Monday, 6 February 2017

Into Orbit - Unearthing

Into Orbit, the instrumental masterminds from New Zealand, have this month released Unearthing. It comes with a fantastic bit of artwork by an artist called Nick Keller, which perfectly visually displays the impact this band are capable of creating through their music.

Like a heavy post rocking lasagne these two, Drummer Ian Moir and Guitarist Paul Stewart, build up layers of tasty delights with their seemingly limitless musical composition and performing abilities.

I was a massive fan of their first release, Caverns as you will see here, and Unearthing is no different. In fact it's better.

There is still the creation of these stunning musical landscapes in tracks like Stone Circles and the haunting brilliance of Scattering Light. These soundscapes can be breathtaking, inspiring and really set a mood and atmosphere.

But, they are packing more punch now. This was already evident as coming into their writing with the earlier release of Gilgamesh, which is on this album. But is also carried through the album in tracks like the opener Dark Matter and Caldera, my favourite track on the album, brimming with chugging heaviness and spacey lead lines.

What I do like is the varying length of tracks. This is not an album full of 10 minute self indulgent musical masturbation pieces. The tracks do what they need to do and end and are therefore full of impact. There are epic numbers, such as the fantastic  Equilibrium, and there are shorter ones. There's not point where you think 'this is going on a bit'.

Into Orbit still create music you listen to in a dark room wanting to take a musical journey and feel nice and zoned out. But it's now also music you can listen to when driving a fast car or undertaking an epic, dangerous journey.

Both musicians put in a fine display of their very obvious talent for performance and composition. The drumming in the outro of The Archer is something which shows off Moir's range of styles and he brings as much to the table here as the stunningly creative layered guitar work of Stewart.

If progressive heavy post metal/rock and epic soundscapes is your thing, you really need to spend a few quid on this album. Here's a handy link for you to do so!

Follow Into Orbit on Facebook and Twitter

Friday, 3 February 2017

Hate Unbound - Plague

Hate Unbound hail from Detroit, Michigan are due to release album Plague on 17 February.

They comprise of singer Art Giammarra, guitarist Daryl Mitchell,   guitarist William Cundiff, bassist Sean Demura, and drummer Franklin “Foot” Hannah.

Their influences range from Death to Lamb of God and it's telling, in the groove and heaviness on show in this thrashy deathy metal band.


Baptised In Lies opens up the album full of violent intent. A thrash standard with ripping solos, pounding double bass, heavy groove seeped riffs and satanic scales. Just what I was hoping to hear.

There are moments of greatness on this album. Cut's opening riff is simply brilliant, as is the twin style lead section. Puncture is full of drive, anger and groove, a headbangers delight. Grey Skies has and underlieing melody in parts which I love and really adds a great dimension to the music and my favourite solo on the album to see it out.

The track Suffering is unfortunately not for me, however the brutality isn't far away with tracks like Burn your Idols, Plague, Fallen and Soiled, all of which chug along satisfactorily. The outro with a slowed down riff in Burn Your Idols has some brilliant drum and guitar work as something to look out for as well as a batshit mental guitar passage in Soiled which keeps things interesting.

I, Martyr almost made me think I was going to see the softer side of Hate Unbound with a rather subtle intro. If their soft side is a sledgehammer in the gonads, then I suppose I may have been right, but it takes all of 25 seconds to allay any fears of a ballad. This is a strong track with plenty of chops and changes.


In my eyes this is one for seasoned Thrash fans rather than those looking for anyone breaking the mould. But there's is nothing wrong with that, it's a fucking excellent album. This should go down very well with an old school audience who are fans of aggressive thrash with not overdone wanky solos, but nice short stabs of axe mastery which are well placed and played along with a earth shatteringly growls vocal and some strong drum work. (There's no wonder they call him 'Foot').

Not sure about all this boundless hate, they sound like teddy bears to me. Teddy bears with bloody cleavers and under demonic possession that is us, oh and they look like an awesome live act too!

Find Hate Unbound: Facebook/Twitter

Pre Order on Bandcamp

Friday, 13 January 2017

Belial - Nihil Est (New Release) & Belial (Self Titled EP)

Belial are a UK based Godless scourge, so you might like them. This technical death metal band are releasing double EP Nihil Est on 27th January via Siege Records, Their title means "There is nothing", which I'm assuming has something to do with their proclaimed Godlessness. Either way, it's a great title so a good start. Does the album live up to the title?

Belial - Nihil Est

Opening with an industrial haunting feel that always grabs my attention, In Extremis introduces the album in a very scatty, disjointed way. It'll no doubt have many Tech Metal fans reaching for their favourite wank rag, although I personally like some order amongst the insanity, which doesn't appear until about 2 minutes into this track. Once it does, I get a pretty euphoric feeling from the song.

Eon from the outset is more like it and is an intriguing track with the marrying of the soft piano and synth parts and the brutal heaviness creating an effective hypnotic, creepy ambience. This blends seamlessly into Naught. The initial whack of double bass and blast beats catches you a bit off guard, but it settles into a good, seriously heavy track with parts to grove too and parts to just take in all the madness.

Odium begins and you think 'this is it, this is the track that's going to blow me away'. And whilst it loses a bit of its impact after the intro it then builds back into a fucking insane solo and breakdown which is simply brilliant. This track is full of bits to enjoy and admire. And the same goes for In Origin. It starts off strong and has some real epic moments and is driven and direct throughout. It's a good way to end this strong new release from a band who clearly have a fantastic future ahead of them.

Self Titled

As I was fortunate enough to have the first EP included, I'll review it as well. Why the fuck not hey! Heroin Holidays opens the proceedings and I'm feeling more at home. This is more organised chaos than the majority of the new EP. The vocal is more gutteral and it's good, soooo good. Whilst it still has the fiddly, Tech traits of the new EP, you can get deeply into it and immerse yourself in the track. This is a thoroughly enjoyable offering.

The quality continues in the form of Wraiths, which has some downright kickass grooves and an uplifting feel, it's seriously a fucking brilliant piece of work.

Host is in parts epic, the melodies and feels created at certain points are almost unparalleled In any of their work, however the track is a bit too disjointed for me to turn these parts into a bone crushingly brilliant track. Luckily the interlude Wen saves the day with a riff that makes you hold onto your balls before introducing you to album closer Parasite.

And it's a great way to close out the EP, summising all that is done well throughout both releases. Great riffs, huge drive from the rhythm work, good synth sounds and a vocal consistent in its deep growl and on point throughout both records.


These are incredibly clear well produced EP's full of second to none musicianship and an ear for eerie melody. The use of samples, synths etc is well thought out and creative. When they nail it, in tracks like Heroin Holiday, Wraiths, Parasite and Odium, it is seriously nailed tight and going nowhere.

I am not saying the other tracks are bad, they aren't, quite the opposite in fact. They are, in parts, a little chaotic for my personal taste however I think fans of this specific genre would be calling me out on that conclusion, as it's kinda the point, but there are moments of pure brilliance in literally every song.

Just to add an extra dimension as well, when being able to appreciate them as instrumental tracks that are at the end of the EP (I'm not sure if these will be part of every release), you get a different kind of enjoyment out of them and can further appreciate the top rate musicianship on display.

Two very strong offerings. How these guys are not on the Techfest 2017 bill already is beyond me, but I'm assuming they will be after this album gets some circulation.  I strongly urge Tech Death fans to be getting a copy of this pre-ordered and buy the first EP here.

Follow them on Twitter/Facebook

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Boris The Blade - Warpath

Boris the Blade release Warpath on 27th January. Named after Snatch's arms dealing gangster, you probably get that your not going to be hearing romantic odes to Florence Fanny or whoever. No these guys are a Deathcore band full of anger as violent intent.


The albums title track Warpath, is also it's opener. Psychotic glitches and relentless heaviness drive  the track. An eerie melody underpins the all out battering of a great title track packed with machine gun double bass, groove elements and anger.

Second track,Backstabber, starts with a more atmospheric slow feel, but when the vocal smacks you in the face you know you're listening to Boris the Blade, soon your head is spinning with tech metal runs and black metal melodies. It is a bit stop start in places, which put me off my stride a little, but then contains a glorious breakdown and second passage with a vocal performance Corey Taylor would be proud of and lyrics that Jonathan Davies would give you a blowy and a cheeseburger for.

Misery is in a similar vein to Warpath, another relentless barrage of aggression, with interesting changes in dynamics that flow into each other well. But directly after is Nihilist, which has a high impact opening full of atmosphere and punch. I like the way this track, in it's own way, gives you a break from the battering ram of heaviness. It's a creepy, dark number which stand alone is my favourite so far.

Omens is dark, extreme and abrasive and has the addition of a rapped/spoken word bit that reminded me of I Am Hated by Slipknot. It was a highlight of a track that unfortunately I didn't quite get up to that point.

As soon as Paralysed opened up I started to think, 'this is more like it'. A track full of drive and direction, brutally bludgeoning in a satisfying sadomasochistic way. Great drum work, guitar parts that are varied, skills up and melodic and heavy like a sledgehammer. A song that had my attention from beginning to end.

Thorns, in a similar vein to Nihilist, breaks things up a bit. Whilst it can't be accused of not being heavy, it includes more mellow, ambient parts which sound like they could become an epic 20 minute tour de force. But that's not what these fella's do. No wanky flouncing, just moments of serene melody cut short by grievous intent! And you wouldn't want it to be any different.

Devastated opens up with electro noises and machine gun bass drum. Again bringing an eerie ambience in droves, underpinned by the increasingly impressive drum work. Whereas Elixir follows the same paths as previously trodden on the album in terms of the heavy underlined by melody formula before the battering ram intro to Solace begins the end of the album.


By this point I am feeling battered and bruised! Mostly in a way like you might after lasting 12 rounds with Tyson! It left me with a great feeling, like I've had an outlet for my aggression and anger, but also wishing there was a knockout earlier in the fight. Whilst it lacks a track which stopped me dead and made me replay again and again the album as a whole is a great listen. It is full of good songs, excellent musicianship, and a vocal performance that is sublime in its anger and directness.

It should be a popular pick for Deathcore and Extreme Metal fans, fans of Technical Metal (some of the musicianship is simply incredible). I could also see it as a great feeder album into the more extreme side of the metal genre for those dabbling on the fringes. I could easily see a Slipknot maggot picking this up and having a eureka moment. It carries the right balance between melody, brutal belligerence and sinister intent to speak to a wide audience. And an album that can help broaden the horizons of music fans is worth its weight in munitions!

You can pre-order it here or via trusty old Bandcamp, and while your waiting for it, if these guys are new to you, go and check them out on Facebook.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Interview With A Wizard...... Union Collective

Wizard Union are a Sludgy Stoner band from Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti MI with an interesting sound and ethic. The band started in 2012, when whilst playing with seperate projects Drummer Larry and Guitarist Samir decided to jam together. They later invited Samir's workmate Aaron to play Bass in this project, and have been producing colon crushing Stoner riffs ever since.

I was fortunate to get to hear their new release Phantom Fury and speak to Collective member Samir about how they go about their thing. And no this is not a tale of tragedy, Vampire children and immortality, like the title would have you believe. It's far more interesting than that.

So why is their project any different from anything else? What makes them unique?

Wizard Union are part of a collective, the Wizard Union Collective, which is all about promoting and distributing their various projects. What does this mean? I hear you ask.

Samir: ''Overall it's about having musical freedom to do and play whatever we want without calling it Wizard Union. It's just a part of a larger body of work''. So potentially this approach could incorporate different projects from the same musicians, an opportunity to explore different sounds and genres as a group".

So why does this approach work for Wizard Union?

Samir; (There's) ''No deadlines. (We) release as much as we want from different members. Play shows with whoever is available within the collective. Right now we're still pretty young as a collective, but the three of us have been playing with each other for almost 5 years now, and we're open to jamming with others, and if we jam with someone else and it doesn't sound like Wizard Union, then we'll call it something else and release it''.

So, this is a metally musical melting pot, allowing freedom of expression for the musicians that are involved. An idea that I find fascinating and intriguing, so my main thought is how does it transpose itself to actual performance? Is it garbled, without direction or identity, or is it creative and purposeful?

Listening to Phantom Fury I am pleased to hear a great many influences sounds and also unintentional influences. There seems to be a hardcore punk ethic and I hear hints of EyeHateGod, Thrash even Surfer Rock! Whilst all this is evident it is not confused but instead pleasingly interesting and most importantly as heavy as a left hook from Chuck Norris. I asked Samir where influence were drawn from.

"I'd like to think Wizard Union is what happens when the three of us get together. I know the one band that binds us altogether is The Melvins, but we're all into different shit. I listen to a lot of punk and metal. It's funny you mention surf rock, because I'm definitely a fan, I just never consciously wrote anything like that. I was in a stoner/doom/thrash metal band called Lord Centipede, so maybe that's where the thrash comes from. I like the Eyehategod's Dopesick album.'' (C'mon you like EVERY EyeHateGod Album, just admit it to your self Samir - Editor)

Phantom Fury is full of heavy fuzz, grinding guitars and is held together well by the quality of Larry's drumming. Harsh Tokes Of The Wizards Pipe has grinding guitars, a hint of an eerie edge with a punky style vocal.  Whereas Cosmic Gatekeeper is fast paced, almost a punk track in its own right, until it hits the sludgy breakdowns, slowing the situation down with a pleasing groovy step down sequence.

Ancient Evil Bong chugs along joyously, hitting you aurally with guitar stabs and vocal aggression before taking an inspired turn with a breakdown and buzzing solo then it slowly works itself back into the faster paced chug of Doom.

Burn Bitches, Not Witches would be the crowd pleaser of the tracks, with a chorus that was made for shouting back at the mans and a great lead riff. Not just a pretty name! Samir; ''The chorus Burn Fucking Bitches Not Fucking Witches, came from something I read on the Internet somewhere. I thought, that's funny, I should make that a song title or use it for something. I have lists for song titles, album names, and band names for projects in the collective, for when I find shit like that. Once I had the title for the song I was like so what's this gonna be about? And it's about the Salem witch trial. I guess people can sing along to the chorus if they want to, but that's not what I had in mind when I wrote it.''

Burial Ground opens with a wet psychedelic sounding bass before leading into the most outright stoner riff on the album. My fist reaction was to head bang and there was no cause to stop throughout the entire track. Full of monumental riffage and drum attack, this is an absolutely storming track.

Phantom Fury takes off where Burial Ground finishes, continuing the stoner theme with great riffs but covers more ground musically than any other track, taking many turns and directions.

This is definitely a release that improves with each track in terms of sound and songwriting in my opinion. Speaking to Samir about this progression and future plans he told me;

''Our next Wizard Union band project which we'll start recording next spring is going to be the start of a living LP. We're going to have an album on Bandcamp that keeps getting updated with new songs over time, rather than just releasing a bunch of EPs. When we think the LP is full, we'll release the physical copy and then start the next LP the same way. So the evolution of the songs that you mentioned on Phantom Fury, might be even more apparent on the LPs. We have 3 songs ready to record, and maybe 3-4 written that I think are good enough to start practising, so who knows how different those songs will be compared to our previous works. They're fucking heavy though.''

As far as I'm concerned this a Collective to keep an eye on. They have plenty to offer in terms of the Stoner Sludge sound but also touch on different styles which could open them up to a larger fan base. But to just regard the Wizard Union element would be wrong, there's other things to look forward to from these musicians.

Samir; ''As far as projects we have lined up, Larry and I have a Sludge Punk Noise Rock thing called Bladder that we're planning to record in the spring. That project pretty much came out of he and I playing together as Wizard Union as a duo, because our Bass Player Aaron had to drop out at the last minute, and we didn't wanna cancel'' Samir took over Bass duties for this show as they felt it might add to the Doom effect, but they were not happy with the outcome. ''We didn't necessarily like Wizard Union songs played with just a bass and drums, but Larry was like, hey how about we keep this going as a godheadsilo type thing, and that's pretty much how the collective idea was born. Keep it all under one umbrella.''

Check these guys out on Bandcamp and give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter. If they're you're thing the EP is only $3, which is cheaper than a pint of Fosters Kangaroo Piss. Have a taste below! (of the band not Kangaroo Piss).