Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lycus - Demo 2011



Lycus were a completely random discovery, though I'm pretty glad I found them. The band formed a few years ago and after some gigs and a demo, disbanded in 09. So what do? Obviously move to San Francisco. Once relocating, Lycus was back to life, and now they've put out another demo, aptly titled Demo 2011, and it kicks a lot of arse.

In tagging this post I almost included 'funeral doom', but eventually decided against it. Lycus play death/doom, quite structured and heavy akin to certain European acts along the lines of Ataraxie or Ophis. Elements of melody exist, but not so much as to call them melodic death/doom.

The demo has three reasonably lengthy tracks and each of them are really captivating. There is zero meandering here, which is a sure sign of good doom. Another notable feature of the band is the vocals - the most guttural of gutturals, they weigh heavily on the atmosphere.

As a demo, this release is fantastic. It gets me wet even thinking about what Lycus' next record will be like. You can stream the demo from their bandcamp page, as well as download in your choice of FLAC or 320k mp3. I'm not entirely sure if there are physical copies available, but if you want to find out, you can email these delightful chaps at lycusdoom@gmail.com

Lycus bandcamp

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pharaoh - Pharaoh



Three piece sludge band Pharaoh from New Jersey, USA have kindly sent their self titled 7" in to S4D, and what a 7" it is. Two 5-something minute tracks make up this record, each of them toying around with sluggish tempos, bludgeoning riffs and vicious vocals. What I like most about Pharoah however is that while they retain their label of 'sludge' in every way, they bring an extra element of ferocity - not all of the sections of these two songs are simple down-tuned punishment.

At times the band will venture into almost crust-like territory with a slight hardcore edge. As anyone into sludge will know, there is a great deal of cross-over between the two, and this generally works out really fucking well. You know what this sounds a bit like? Dystopia. A little more sludge-based with slightly deeper vocals, but this is something along those lines. Anyone with a hard-on for Dystopia, or for similar bands like Sea of Deprivation, or pissed off crust bands like His Hero is Gone, or for the dirty fuzz of shit-kickers like Grief or Accept Death, then you will like this. In other words, if you've got a good taste in music, then Pharaoh is for you.

This 7" is available for purchase from A389 Records. Feel free to download it here. The band have stated that there is another record in the works for later in the year, so watch out for it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Leucosis - Pulling Down The Sky

Well being no stranger to the current black metal greats that are sprouting up anywhere you can name in the United States I can pretty much say that the USBM scene is dominating at this very moment and you don't even know. Whether it be the cult phenomenon BTC (Black Twlight Circle) or all your favourites in the Cascadian Black Metal scene, or all your limited cassette demos you collect; it's for certain the US is on top. After all this you can only laugh at any subhuman brave enough to call out the current USBM scene. True Norweigan Black Metal.. more like True Californian Black Metal.

Leucosis hails from the sunny lands of Santa Cruz, CA; also sharing this place one of my current favourites Fell Voices and being told the two were very much similar right then and there I am sold. They both share an overwhelming amount of atmosphere and give such a relenting crush after every single riff has been inflicted upon you. The band being described as 'ambient black metal' may be a little unsuitable for me because when I think of ambient black metal I immediately think of bands like Xasthur, Leviathan, maybe some Darkspace. This is how i seperate my good from bad so Leucosis you can stay out of that category.

Immediately right after the 'Opening' has passed you are visously pulled into the massive title track. Distancing shrieks and howls are heard beneath crushing riffs that almost seem to fly from every direction. This formula continues throughout the album and at times get very overwhelming. Right after the crushing assault of 'Approaching Lucidity' you are quickly given a short breather into 'Intermission' then whirled into the calm soothing intro of 'Invention of the Monsters' but to soon find out you are back to where you started. 'Hymn to the Forest of Pixels' provides another breather for the listener as it prepares you the mammoth 'Incarceral Form'.

Being an hour something long album may be a big deal to you, but the way all the tracks are done and the little intro's and outro's provided everything perfectly works out. I found myself just in a trance half the time by their powerful blend of atmosphere and doom. It's one of the more impressive black metal albums i have heard this year being up there Ash Borer's latest output. It's another band you can gladly add to your list of current greats in the USBM scene.

download here

$5 at http://www.myspace.com/leucosis
or by contacting leucosis.band@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Post-Punk/New Wave Bullshit

You won't find any Pornography or Unknown Pleasures here. These are just some of the lesser known (but great nonetheless) albums of the eighties post-punk, new wave scene.

The Sound - Jeopardy (1980)



Forever on the cusp of notoriety, The Sound never achieved the fame of such contemporaries as The Cure, Wire etc - a fact that never ceases to perplex fans. I pin it down to their somber follow-up 'From the Lion's Mouth' which to some is considered genius but to me came off as just another mellow Joy Division derivative. However this charged, anxious and edgy debut is worth seeking out. Elegant and charming in it's simplicity.

And Also the Trees - Virus Meadow (1986)



Deeper, darker with a tendency towards the more dramatic, in other words it teeters on the edge of the gothic realm. Chock full of angst, Simon Jones tends to recite his lyrics like poems rather than sing them. If you like your post-punk a little theatrical and with a side of anguish this is the one for you.

Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth (1980)



And now for something completely different. Delightfully minimalist post-punk with gorgeous female vocals. This album, the only the band ever released, is a true gem. Do yourself a favour and get this one even if post-punk isn't exactly close to your heart. Sounds like The xx eighties style.

More Post-punk/New wave bullshit on SlaysforDays:

The Chameleons - What Does Anything Mean? Basically
Television - Marquee Moon
The Cure - Disintegration

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mammon - Demiurge



'I am a false prophet, God is a superstition'

I've sat on Mammon's Demiurge for a while now. It's not because the demo is bad, in fact, it's quite the contrary - the three songs on this Canberra based band's first demo are all very excellent and have simply needed a little contemplation to properly write about. There is an immediate depth to Demiurge's composition, and as I will shortly explain, the demo's concept runs just as deep.

It's hard to pinpoint Mammon's style of music. If I were to make a very broad categorisation, I'd say post-metal. However, this does not sound anything like what post-metal commonly sounds like, e.g. Neurosis, Isis, Cult of Luna, Rosetta, whatever. There is a greater emphasis on sludge here, but I refrain from simply calling it sludge because there are progressive elements beneath the rawness. The beginning of 'II', for example, is black metal through and through, but it does not sound out of place at all - Mammon blend in the fusion of styles articulately, and so deviations from their usual sound fit in with the overall feel of the record. This also goes for the slight hardcore-y feel of the demo too - 'III' sounds very much like any European emotional hardcore group, with an almost post-rock inspired screamo template, or you could even describe it as having a little neo-crust influence, with its dark and numbing mood.

While the music itself is well-written and executed flawlessly, a great deal of thought has gone behind its concept - this concept of course encapsulates the demo, but it's also a pivotal part of the band itself, so future releases will possibly be further extensions of this concept. This concept, put simply, is opposition to religion. In the words of the band, 'as a band we believe that revealed religion (and, to a large extent, all religion) represents the ultimate personifcation of fascism, that it is exploitative, deceptive and inherently a force for evil, due to its advocacy of the master-slave relationship (the essence of abjection) and its promulgation of immoral and ultimately harmful teachings'. They strongly encourage and advocate naturalism as a framework for morality, which is something that I can definitely relate to, as I'm sure most of S4D's readers can too. This concept follows through the band's music and lyrics, and also extends to their artwork, which you can see above.

The artwork was done by Jacob Rolfe, a Melbourne based artist who is familiar with members of Mammon. His depiction of a snake intertwined with a burning church sits very resolutely alongside the demo's concept - 'the lyrics on Demiurge express revealed religion as the 'Demiurge' [in other worse, the creator], personified as a snake (a creature typically chosen to represent evil), and argue against the intrusion of this immoral institution into our lives'. You can visit Rolfe's website here.

Not only as an integration of creativity and concept, but simply as a rocking piece of music, Mammon simply succeeds. It's obvious that the band have an enormous amount of talent, and as good as Demiurge is, I feel that a lot of this talent is still untapped. This release is highly recommended, and any subsequent releases from Mammon will be undoubtedly excellent. Although providing the demo as an mp3 release for all of you to download, Mammon have also said that they would be willing to send a free copy of their CD to you, provided the shipping isn't ridiculous. If you're situated in Australia, get onto this. Otherwise, feel free to simply download the rip. Mammon have really impressed me, so this comes with as much of the S4D stamp of approval that I can give. Apparently the band is currently working on an EP which is due for recording in the next couple of months. Keep an eye out.

download Demiurge here

contact Mammon at this address for a CD or simply to tell them how great they are - mammonband@hotmail.com