Archive for the ‘DrAlienSmith’ Category

Anger Management: DrAlienSmith

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

Al Smith deserves some kind of reward for services given to underground music. Since the early 90s he’s toiled away with Bergerk Studios (originally Death Rooster), working with a heap of bands and artists. With an ear for punk, metal and the left of centre, Al has recorded/mixed and engineered bands diverse as the scuzzy punk of Rupture, legendary black/celtic metallers Samain, doom overlords Drowning Horse, The Devil Rides Out, Claim The Throne, Extortion and Bamodi. But far from an elitist, he’s also lent his talents to more indie artists such as Abbe May, The Leap Year and Andrew Ewing.

In between his recording and mixing work, Al has always dabbled in bands and projects. Swapmeat was a delightfully weird and catchy combo that evolved from some home demos to playing, and I quote, “hard-edged guitar-driven groove rock type tunes sprinkled liberally with our influences of industrial metal and cheese rock.” Al has also collaborated with Cat Hope on the dual bass/drone/noise outfit Lux Mammoth, James Smith on the soundscapey Smidirin, and hugely underrated guitarist Steve Matzkov on the dark post-rock of Matzal. He also ran an awesome short run label Sound Gallery which focused on some of the aforementioned artists.

Al’s first solo release came last year under as DrAlienSmith. Under Songs was an excellent mix of Jesu-styled guitars and dark, industrial soundscapes. Phosphorus takes these elements further with five excellent tracks. “Clover” opens the album sounding like you are walking through a haunted house: a ghostly piano plays from an upstairs room while a Godflesh and Four Tet mix CD skips over the P.A.. Second track “Phosphorus” gives a dark industrial chug but an unexpected highlight comes in the form of third track “Something Sun” with its lush guitar layering it is an uplifting soundscape with just a hint of darkness.

As you would expect, the production on this is outstanding. Everything coming through loud and clear and the songs never outlive their welcome. Worth tracking down in every way.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.