Archive for the ‘Electric Wizard’ Category

Noiseweek: New Releases for 2016, Kev Carmody, Church of Misery and more

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.

It’s a quiet time for new releases and tour announcements, but that’s all set to change in the next few weeks, with new records from Witchcraft, Tortoise, Abbath, Ty Segall, and Savages all coming before January is done.


Oh that’s right — Bowie’s new album ? is already out. His late-career purple patch continues. Five ?s.


Panasonic executives have made the sensible decision to cash in on the vinyl revival, with the return of the legendary Technics 1200 turntable announced at CES in Las Vegas this week. The almost-indestructible turntables were discontinued a few years back, but much like in the case of LCD Soundsystem the time (and the money) were right for a return, so here they are again. Anyone asking where the sync button is needs to get in the sea.


Municipal Waste have made a strong start to 2016, with this excellent piece of anti-Trump merch.



Discogs Turns Record Collectors’ Obsessions Into Big Business | New York Times
“The site, once run from a computer in Mr. Lewandowski’s closet and originally restricted to electronic music, has grown rapidly. It now has 37 employees around the world, 20 million online visitors a month and three million registered users. It eventually opened to all genres of music and has a mission of cataloging every record in existence.”

‘Bloody oath’: Kev Carmody on politics, Paul Kelly and music industry battles | Guardian Australia
“Carmody first picked up a guitar in the late 1960s, teaching himself to play with the aid of a book he found at a local dump. ‘They were just open-air supermarkets. I found a wet bloody book that said Teach Yourself Guitar, so I brought the thing back to the camp, dried her out over the flamin’ fire, and started to work through it.’”


Church of Misery – ‘Confessions of an Embittered Soul’
The Japanese doom veterans tease their forthcoming sixth record as part of Decibel’s flexi series, with vocals from Repulsion’s Scott Carlson.

White Spot – I Had The Best For A little While
Like a lot of acts from Louisiana, you can almost hear the oppressive humidity of the bayou on this solo project for Marcus Lemoine.

Pig Destroyer – ‘Prowler In The Yard’
Remastered and reissued, the Virginia grind legends’ 2001 LP sounds just as vital as ever.


Guy Ben-Ary – ‘cellF’
Watch the Perth premiere of this mind-bending contraption, fusing synthesis, performance and neuroscience.

Electric Wizard — ‘Sadiowitch’
We somehow missed this among the madness at the end of 2015.

David Bowie — ‘Lazarus’
The videos accompanying ? are as creepy as all hell.

Dave Cutbush’s Top 10 Albums of 2014

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Life is Noise director and host of RTRFM’s Out to Lunch on Thursdays Dave Cutbush counts down his best releases of the year.


Melbourne’s Magic Mountain band unveiled a gem of a debut earlier in 2014 and their polished release built on their strong live reputation. Sparse Hammond-laden instrumentals are captured beautifully on Wilderman. Aggressive and rhythmic in parts and serene and delicate in others, this is my favourite Australian release of 2014. Fans of Earth or Dirty Three will love this, but Magic Mountain Band have their own unique take on a widescreen Australian instrumental sound.

9. SUN KIL MOON – Benji

It is hard to mention Sun Kil Moon or indeed its driving force Mark Kozelek without mentioning the continued (and mostly one-sided) arguments with The War on Drugs and various commentaries on fans and critics. Sometimes it is difficult to work out whether he is genuinely having fun or is serious about his critiques. Either way it has got the music media a-talking and can’t have hurt his public profile. Any publicity…

But if you put aside all the trash-talking, Kozelek has been a songwriting powerhouse for 25 years. Through his solo work and his bands Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon, Kozelek has consistently written some of the best bent Americana and, alongside the likes of Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy) and Bill Callahan, has kept alive a quality and consistency of US country-folk that is at the forefront of songwriters on a global scale.

Benji is a thoughtful social commentary both on the level of the songwriter’s personal experience and those of US society as a whole. This is a great album, a personal album and an album that grows with further listening. Kozelek may have a questionable public persona, but through the vehicle of Sun Kil Moon he has stories to tell and beautiful music to make. Hopefully he will stick to what he is very good at and leave the stupid staging to the likes of Kanye.

8. PALLBEARER – Foundations of Burden

Ironically Pallbearer hail from Little Rock. Let’s just let that hang in the air for a moment…

The second album from these US metal merchants, like their incredible first effort Sorrow and Extinction, builds on the great breadth and diversity of the every burgeoning Sabbath-inspired doom scene.

Crushingly slow riffs build on a powerhouse rhythm section and Ozzy inspired vocals. It is sometimes pretty hard to fathom how this is a band with only two releases.

A top shelf heavy release for 2014. Who knows what they will do next.

7. APHEX TWIN – Syro

After a hell of a long wait, Richard D. James is back with another strange amalgam of electronics, noise, techno, jungle and noise. And whilst it isn’t a crazy splatter fest like previous albums, Syro should keep fans both old and new happy. Aphex Twin once again keeps a groove going where you think it is going to fall apart. Equal parts disturbing and delighting, this is my favourite electronic album of the year.

6. BECK – Morning Phase

Every time Beck puts out an album it seems to be in my top albums of the year. Morning Phase is just another in a long list of incredible albums from an American songwriter at the top of his game. Although it has been compared with Sea Change, I prefer this album. From the crisp production to the perfect instrumentation, Beck rarely puts out anything less than amazing. Let’s hope the phase continues on into the evening and beyond.

5. ELECTRIC WIZARD – Time to Die

The Wizard returns.

Undisputed leaders of UK doom, Electric Wizard are back and whilst they are not really breaking any new ground here, they have put out another great record with Time to Die. The big difference for me is the drumming. The return of Mark Greening makes a huge change.

But the old themes of drugs, death, Satan are still there and mark it typical of their craft.

Why change the formula when you have already killed it?


4. TY SEGALL – Manipulator

The modern psych pop-rock master keeps pumping out the records. Will he ever stop?

Actually, it seems like Ty did take a little more time over Manipulator. But he really is frantically pumping out the psych rock pop wizardry.

For mine the track Feel is Ty Segall at his best: a great pop song, with just enough 60s sensibility without being totally deritative, catchy as hell and crunchy like a stale gingerbread biscuit. His falsetto vocals and monster lead breaks just add the perfect amount of icing.

Somehow I think that although this is a cracking listen, we have only just heard the beginning of a truly brilliant musical career. Here’s to next year’s top albums. He will surely resurface.

3. TINARIWEN – Emmaar









2. YOB – Clearing the Path to Ascend

As Alan Watts says at the start of Clearing the Path to Ascend, it is indeed “time to wake up”. And I think much of the world has woken up to the incredible power and beauty of YOB.

This album is grand without being overblown, dark without being depressing, and powerful whilst still being beautiful.

I have really tried to punish myself to the point of getting sick of it, I simply cannot.

It contains the driving song of the year in ‘Nothing to Win’ which perfectly contrasts with the mournful closer ‘Marrow’.

In any other year this would have been my album of the year. This is a doom-laden slice of perfection. An album that should make this band very well known – even to those who would regularly not touch this kind of music on a regular basis.

I love it.

1. SWANS – To Be Kind

SWANS must have made the most spectacular return to music in recent history. Since reforming in 2009 they have released three incredible albums and the latest, To Be Kind, sees them at the very pinnacle of their existence as a band.

Once again like a cult they are lead by Michael Gira on a dark American Gothic journey, one that takes nothing without necessity.

To Be Kind is a wagon laden with essential provisions only. The repetition only disturbs us more… and more and more and more than we could possibly feel. It is psychosis, it is crushing, and on and more and then release…. only to be rolled over again and again until you mind and body and existence have been shattered and trodden on and obliterated. It is revolting and appealing and confronting and compelling. It is SWANS and they have destroyed you.

You are amazed… and alive.

Dave Cutbush is the director of Life is Noise and the host of RTRFM’s Out to Lunch on Thursdays from 12-3PM (+8 GMT).

Deryk Thomas’ Top 10 Albums of 2014

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Deryk Thomas of RTRFM’s Critical Mass counts down the year’s best in the world of doom, death and thrash metal.

10. SCAR SYMMETRY — The Singularity: Phase I
SS have always released razor sharp futuristic melodic metal, but this is the next step up. It flows well, and cant wait to hear the other chapters.

9. DECAPITATED — Blood Mantra
A fair bit of the technical stuff has gone, in favour of more straight ahead fast paced modern death metal. Great album considering what they’ve been through in recent years.

The best album they’ve done. A real coming of age for the band, like Scott Bishop has pointed out, they’ve figured out how to combine heavy metal sounds with the melodic stuff.

7. AT THE GATES — At War With Reality
At The Gates are back in the studio. Lots of anticipation for this one being one of the top picks for the year. Yeah, it probably is, but it’s a bit ho-hum in the back half of the album. Six other albums were better than it.

6. 1349 — Massive Cauldron of Chaos
A late comer for black metal release of the year. Better production and more adventurous elements to vocals have set this one apart from previous releases.

Jus Osborn, tour Australia already damnit.

4. WORMWOOD — Wormwood
There was a glut of new releases that hit our inboxes recently on Critical Mass, this is one that stood out. It’s the guys out of Doomriders doing a visceral take on doom and sludge. This is an EP. Now this is the first time I’ve bent the rules a little to include a non-full length because A) it’s awesome and B) it’s not exactly a bumper year for heavy metal releases.

3. ANIMALS AS LEADERS — The Joy Of Motion
If you haven’t heard this one yet, reward yourself. Combines djent metal with jazz fusion instrumental stuff. Gets stuck more in your head with each listen and that’s the sign of a “top” album. Saw them at Amps a while back and have been a fan ever since.

2. MASTODON — Once More Round The Sun
Mastodon are the best at what they do. Never got sick of this album since its release. I reckon I listen to it every week or two.

1. TOMBS — Savage Gold
This was always gonna be a contender, and it just grabs you straight away. Primal post-metal riffs and pounding drums. Very basic in approach, every post is a winner on this album.

Scott Bishop’s Top 10 Albums of 2014

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Scott Bishop of RTRFM’s Critical Mass counts down the best heavy releases of 2014.

2014 is nearly over. It’s been a great year for heavy music, including a reformation album many of us thought we would never hear (At The Gates). Ultimately on these lists there will be a few albums that didn’t make the grade due to various reasons and unfortunately we at Critical Mass can’t hear every metal album, as presenters though we do our best to dig a little deeper and present our personal top 10s (with 5 honourable mentions).

5 honourable mentions:
At The Gates — At War With Reality
Eyehategod — Eyehategod
Tryptikon — Melana Chasmata
Behemoth — The Satanist
Babymetal — Babymetal

10. EARTHROT — Follow The Black Smoke
From Perth. Gnarly, abrasive, crusty and everything in the red. Love it.

9. VALLENFYRE — Splinters
A surprise release, not being familiar with their back catalogue, the pedigree of members had me thinking of a different sound (slow doom death) but it got much better!

Took me a while to come around to this, especially since vocally it sounds like Jus Oborn sounds like he’s singing down the corridor, but it’s the heavy/slow DOOMY riff fest that you want and desire from EW.

7. ENTOMBED A.D. — Back To The Front
Back indeed! Stripped back and with fire in their bellies the Swedish masters show the young’uns how its done.

6. GRIDLINK — Longhena
The final album from the grind perfectionists. Ravenous riffage and vocals shrieking all over the place. Some well placed violin and clean guitars make this a perfect end game for Jon Chang and co.

5. DYING OUT FLAME — Shiva Rudrastakam
Coming straight out of Nepal with their self-styled Hindu/Vedic death metal. Some brutal riffs mixed with chanting and traditional instrumentation. Best debut for sure!

4. THE AUSTERITY PROGRAM — Beyond Calculation
Noisy metal/punk with heavy chugging bass and angluar guitar. Justin Foley is part insane preacher and part Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’.

Excellent songs and production. These guys have finally found a sound that bridges the melody and the heavy. Pop structures and anthems that deserve to shouted along too at massive European festivals.

Almost cheating with a double album here but it’s DEVIN TOWNSEND! All the crazy, layered, symphonic, bombastic sounds you could ask for! The pop metal of Sky Blue and the epic, heavy metal space opera of Dark Matters.

1. MORBUS CHRON — Sweven
Morbus Chron took death metal into all kinds of weird and surreal dimensions with Sweven. Weird instrumental passages, howling vocals that drift in and out, heavy headbanging riffs. It’s so wrong and so right, I just want to hear it again and again!

Scott Bishop is a host of Critical Mass on Perth’s RTRFM from 9pm-11pm Wednesdays (+8GMT). You can stream Critical Mass from

Check back this week and next as Life is Noise contributors continue unveiling their top 10 records of the year.

Life is Noise’s Top 10 Albums of 2014

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Our staff count down the best records of 2014 — from the heavy to the hallowed and everything in between.

10. TINARIWEN — Emmaar

Even though the songs are sung in their native tongue, Tinariwen’s epic desert blues transcends barriers of language and culture. It helps that the Malian band’s brand of rock — a label that does little justice to Tinariwen’s diverse and often spiritual aesthetic, but feels more appropriate than any other term in Western music criticism — bursts with flourishes of familiarity, from Hendrix to Dylan. Emmaar feels like a bridge between worlds, a fact best exemplified by its opening gambit ‘Toumast Tincha’, a riff-filled odyssey that’s equal parts intriguing and recognizable, grooving and introspective. Emmaar is the perfect soundtrack to journeys unknown. — Matthew Tomich


Excellent songs and production. These guys have finally found a sound that bridges the melodic and the heavy. Pop structures and anthems that deserve to shouted along too at massive European festivals. — Scott Bishop

8. SUN KIL MOON — Benji

Though Mark Kozelek’s year has been marked by petty feuds and pettier insult songs, he was also responsible for one of the most moving and honest records of the year in Benji, an ode to the minutiae of contemporary life that spans from San Francisco to Ohio to Newtown and back. There’s as much darkness as there is light in Benji, though it’s more poignant moments are the most heart-wrenching like opening track ‘Carissa’, where Kozelek uses his guitar and voice to make sense of the accidental death of his cousin in and give her life poetry. Rarely does an album feel like it’s being written and played right in front of you, the stories unfolding in real time as Kozelek seemingly finds the words as he goes to narrate the lives of those around him. Worth countless repeat listens. — Matthew Tomich

7. TOMBS — Savage Gold

Post-metal with more than a dash of black, Savage Gold is dissonant, haunting, extreme – and one of the surprise releases of the year. See also their excellent cover of Bowie’s ‘Heroes’. — Scott Williams

6. SHELLAC — Dude Incredible

Dude Incredible simply gets the job done. Clocking in at just over half an hour, the record is Shellac stripped of anything that might be considered superfluous, leaving less a record and more a precise, surgical airstrike. From the prowling bass of ‘Riding Bikes’ to the snarl of ‘All the Surveyors’, Dude Incredible manages to pack real menace into an austere half hour. Nothing is overused and nothing is overdone (both in terms of songwriting or production), a fact that won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows Shellac and Albini’s form. — Jack Midalia

5. ICEAGE — Plowing into the Field of Love

Plowing Into The Field of Love is everything people love about Iceage and a whole lot more. The songs still wallow the in same bleak mirth Iceage bathe in, but the dense, nihilistic moods are now littered with the sounds of folk and an undeniable country swagger, which might sound odd to some fans but by damn you wouldn’t have it any other way. This whole album is like a punch in the guts, but it’s the sort of punch you’re grateful for, the one where once you’ve managed to start taking in oxygen again and you reach out and gladly ask for another. It’s bold, aggressive, mangled and so perfectly enjoyable, an example of a band leering ten feet above their contemporaries. — Jack Payet

4. SWANS — To Be Kind

Michael Gira is a without a doubt the scariest human being on the planet. Swans at their loudest and heaviest are a terrifying beast, but it’s the quiet moments of To Be Kind in which Gira seems to be at his sneering, menacing worst. Boasting more than a hint of the industrialism of Einstürzende Neubauten, this is a record I would regularly put on as background music, only to find I’d that I’d either stopped whatever I was doing and that an hour had passed in the blink of the eye. There are certainly worse ways to spend a couple of hours. Additional mention of the cover art, which is either the best or the worst album artwork of 2014. — Jack Midalia


Devin has to be admired, not just for the great music on this album but for the projects he takes on in general, the majority of which are born from his bizarre and brilliant mind. Z2 is a double album (condensed down from 50 songs originally), the first part being a typical DTP “pop metal” album taking elements from Epicloud and Addicted, though it feels more mature. The second half is a War of the Worlds-style rock opera featuring the return of Ziltoid (Devin’s alter ego, a coffee-loving alien hell bent on world domination) similar in musical style to the first Ziltoid album but with a bigger scope and budget. The Ziltoid tale will also be taken to the musical theatre stage next year at the Royal Albert Hall for a show that sold out within weeks. — Scott Williams

2. ELECTRIC WIZARD — Time to Die

It took me a while to come around to Time to Die, especially since vocalist Jus Oborn sounds like he’s singing down the corridor, but it’s the heavy/slow DOOMY riff fest that you want and desire from The Wizard. — Scott Bishop

1. YOB — Clearing the Path to Ascend

YOB’s Clearing the Path to Ascend was virtually undisputed amongst aficionados of independent heavy music as one of the best albums of the year. Crowned by a song bound for a timeless regard in the world of heavy music, ‘Marrow’, the rest of the album gradually emerges from the blinding supernova of the closer across multiple listens to burn slowly into the mind as one of the most outstanding albums made in heavy metal history. Scheidt can make it seem as though drawing upon an utterly deadly riff is as easy as breathing for him, and is quite happy to let you have it methodically and relentlessly over a period of time where other bands would have played twenty different ones. This is doom deep in a trance. YOB is meditative. YOB is introspective, and deeply moving in its sincerity. On this record, YOB is godlike. — The Black Captain

Check back over the next two weeks as we reveal our individual writers’ top 10 records of 2014.