Archive for the ‘Pallbearer’ Category

Two Minutes With Hobo Magic

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Hobo Magic deal in grooves: thick, fuzzy and bathed in a smoke of haze. There’s only a smidgen of Sabbath worship built into their self-titled debut and it’s skillfully hidden behind masterful riffage and a supersized rhythm section. Before they support Pallbearer at Crowbar next week, we spent a couple of minutes with the trio to find out what’s new.

Describe your music in five words or less.
Groovin’ spaced-out sonic ride.

What’s going on in the world of Hobo Magic?
A shitload of train hopping and drinking moonshine. Yeaaah, nah. We’ve been vibing out hard playing some rad shows in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast with killer local and international bands, jamming new tunes for our next album, meeting some gnarly people and working on our first ever Australian tour and release in August which is going to be wild!

What motivates you to make music?
The state of the world today, major issues that most people choose to ignore, music is the perfect way to push a message and speak some truth! We also have such a rad time playing together and vibing with everyone at shows, listening to good music, seeing people have a good time and all share that connection at shows also is the best! There’s loads of inspiration through the bands we play with and that always keeps us wanting to groove harder… Brisbane has such a killer music scene!

What have been the high and low points of your musical experiences so far?
A kinda low but funny point was at one of our first gigs at the Salvos Youth Club in Noosa. We had a group of frustrated teens throw glow sticks at us as we grooved out. We found it hilarious but I guess they just wanted a campfire jingle instead of a Sweet Leaf cover. High points for me have been putting out our first release, playing in Melbourne to so many rad people, supporting Red Fang and Windhand and pretty much every time we play together rules hard!

What music are you listening to at the moment?
Besides the old school Classics, the past few weeks new music I’ve been digging is Bill Withers, loads of Rush, local Brissy groovers Black Deity, Curtis Mayfield, Miles Davis and a new favourite band of mine Danava who tear it up.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which member of the band would get eaten first?
I’d say Carter… unless hes upped his wrestling game.

Here’s an opportunity to bitch about something, whether music related or not. What really pisses you off?
When you get keen on the rider beers but there’s none left, the state of the Abbott Government, the fact that all Australians don’t have the right to get married, mining, dredging in the great barrier reef and when I break a new string at band practice is a killer!

You’re putting together your perfect gig featuring Australian artists. Who would you get to play and where? Feel free to include acts/DJs/bands/venues that no longer exist.
There are so many rad Australian bands past and present so this is a hard question, but right now I’d say Black Deity, AC/DC (Bon Scott era), Buffalo, Hydromedusa, Smoke, Prowler and maybe a cheeky Hobo set at the end, set up by the side of Lake Weyba in Noosa!

Hobo Magic join Lizzard Wizzard in support of Pallbearer on June 21 at Crowbar in Brisbane. Tickets on sale now through

Two Minutes With Looking Glass

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Before they support doom giants Pallbearer in Sydney, we spend a couple of minutes with Canberra metal stalwarts Looking Glass and find out what’s new.

Describe your music in five words or less.
Cosmic, ephemeral, guitar, bass, drums

What’s going on in the world of Looking Glass?
We’re just finishing up recording our fourth album and working on tunes that might end up being on our fifth.

What motivates you to make music?
Life would be desolate without it.

What have been the high and low points of your musical experiences so far?
Lows — when Clinton moved to Perth for two years.
Highs — heading to NZ three times and supporting Saint Vitus.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
The Birthday Party, Graham Central Station, Goatsnake and Rush.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which member of the band would get eaten first?
Lachlan. He is the least thin and vegan anyway.

Here’s an opportunity to bitch about something, whether music related or not. What really pisses you off?
Josh from I Exist having his guitar stolen by scum from a gig on the Central Coast last week.

You’re putting together your perfect gig featuring Australian artists. Who would you get to play and where? Feel free to include acts/DJs/bands/venues that no longer exist.
The Birthday Party, Hard-Ons, The Easybeats, Tigerflesh at the Terrace Bar, Canberra (RIP).

Looking Glass join Hawkmoth in support of Pallbearer at Hermann’s Bar in Sydney on Saturday, June 20. Tickets on sale now through

Two Minutes With Merchant

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Before they support doom metal giants Pallbearer in Melbourne, we spend a couple of minutes with Merchant and find out what’s new.

Describe your music in five words or less.
Fumes off the tar pit.

What’s going on in the world of Merchant?
Oh boy we have heaps of stuff coming up! Just last week we were anounced to take part in one of the Melbourne legs of the Pallbearer tour, which is a huge acheivement for us. We definitley look up to those guys an their music alot, so it feels awesome tocnsidered worthy enough to join them in the bill. Otherwise, we have been lining up shows for the rest of the year, which is always exciting. Even more exciting is that after this Pallbearer gig, we will be diving back into the writing, to conjure up some more crushing riffs for all the boys and girls.

What motivates you to make music?
I guess the main thing is spending time working with some of your closest and oldest friends. But other than that, I guess it’s just because we love to play and write! To try and follow in the footsteps of our idols and torch bearers of the scene, both locally and overseas. Personally, I just love playing shows, to see everyone having an awesome time rocking out to your music, it’s a pretty humbling feeling.

What have been the high and low points of your musical experiences so far?
Oh man, there have been plenty of highs and lows. I can really only speak for myself here, but there have been times when I’ve been stuck in bands where trying to make music is like trying to draw blood from a stone. That was probably the lowest point for me musically, we all wanted to write and play, but not making any headway eventually led to commitment and perseverance levels to drop into unfortunate disbandment, but what can you do really? Music has to come naturally, to paraphrase a quote from Mike Sheidt of Yob. If writing is becoming something that you have to force, there is no point trying to write, as it’s not going to be genuine. That being said, there have been heaps of good times too, having the chance to record in a brewery, also playing a fundraiser for the Sea Shepard crew was pretty awesome too. But again, for me, its all about the rush of live performance.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
As much as we all have our similar tastes in music, mostly metal, but our tastes are rather broad at the same time. But for me, I am currently spining some new releases from local bands such as Watchtower and Horsehunter. But, just by going through my iTunes ‘recently added’ there are bands like Torche, Thou, Kogn and the Wounded Kings. But my go-to’s would be Conan, Cough, High on Fire, Sleep, Windhand, Elder, Bongripper, Electric Wizard and Yob, just to name a few.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which member of the band would get eaten first?
I couldn’t say exactly, but it would either be myself or Mirgy. Being that Nick is a builder so he is most useful, Wilson makes beer so he would be next in line for necessity. But then there is me, who works in a guitar factory, and Mirgy who installs fridge systems, so I guess it would be me, as Mirgy can run faster.

Here’s an opportunity to bitch about something, whether music related or not. What really pisses you off?
So we have all worked in bars before, and I think the unanimous decision between us and every single bartender everywhere, is people who put their money in the puddle of beer on the bar top, instead of putting into your open and waiting hand. I mean, how much of a dickhead are you? I’ve been working for 11 hours straight and now I have to grovel for your money. Jeez.

You’re putting together your perfect gig featuring Australian artists. Who would you get to play and where? Feel free to include acts/DJs/bands/venues that no longer exist.
The venue would definitely have to be the Metro/Palace Theater (RIP). The acts would probably be, Horsehunter, Watchtower, Grim Rhythm, Quiet Child and Matt Sonic and the High Times. Sick.

Merchant join Horsehunter in support of Pallbearer at the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne on June 19. Tickets on sale now from

Two Minutes With Warpigs

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Before they support doom metal giants Pallbearer at their first Melbourne show later this month, we spend a couple of minutes with ambient duo Warpigs and find out what’s new…

Describe your music in five words or less.
Angelic, divine, cut throat blues.

What’s going on in the world of Warpigs?
We’ve just released our first full length, Natural Philosophy, on vinyl. It’s been a long time dream for us to have our music on wax and it feels great to finally have a product we’re not only proud of, but also feel represents so much of what we’re about.

What motivates you to make music?
Each other. A duo is much different from larger bands where there is always some element of compromise in music making. In Warpigs, we’re able to completely be ourselves, to completely create and play from our hearts. It’s a unique experience that allows us to draw from every and any influence.

What have been the high and low points of your musical experiences so far?
Playing live to air on PBS’s Pojama People was a great experience and one we’re truly grateful for. Playing live in general is always a high, the way we write our music allows us to embrace the moment and expand our songs to suit the setting. In this group I don’t think there really have been any low points, though that time Poly broke his foot was pretty shit.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
All sorts of stuff, it’s kind of hard to name anything in particular. Lots of local stuff, lots of bands we’re playing with. Melbourne/Australia has some awesome music.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which member of the band would get eaten first?
Probably Poly, he’s a vegan so he couldn’t eat me anyway.

Here’s an opportunity to bitch about something, whether music related or not. What really pisses you off?
Scenes, seriously wtf?! My 21st was at the Arthouse, the bands playing were Dreadnought, Fuck I’m Dead, Running With Scissors and Alarum. It was awesome. That lineup would never happen these days, and that is shit. There is nothing ‘punk’ about dressing the same as everyone else in the room.

You’re putting together your perfect gig featuring Australian artists. Who would you get to play and where? Feel free to include acts/DJs/bands/venues that no longer exist.
We already did this at our recent vinyl launch at the Gasometer Hotel, just wish it was a warmer night so we could open the ceiling.
The line up was, Magic Mountain Band, Warpigs, Goodbye Enemy Airship and Bonnie Mercer. We would’ve added The Boy Who Spoke Clouds, but we got him to mix the night instead.
There are so many great bands in Australia and we’d be happy playing alongside any of them.

Warpigs join Child in support of Pallbearer on June 17 at the Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne. Tickets on sale now through

Interview: Pallbearer

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Pallbearer didn’t creep into the consciousness of doom metal fandom so much as rocket explosively to the forefront of discussion with their debut album, Sorrow and Extinction. It would have been hard for anyone to match the unusually high expectations generated by such a debut record, but the band from Arkansas delivered magnificently just after the midway point of 2014 with a masterpiece of epic melodic atmosphere and heaviness that engulfed listeners in its powerful emotional tides. Foundations of Burden was easily one of the best records of the year and an undeniable classic as far as doom metal goes, consolidating Pallbearer’s distinction from the prevalent trends in the genre through their great capacity for infusing profound beauty and poignancy into bone-crushing heaviness. Ahead of their first Australian tour in June, I was lucky enough to catch up with bassist Joseph D. Rowland and discuss what went into making such a fantastic album and what fans can expect when they make their way down here.

Black Captain: Foundations of Burden is a quintessential example of what always attracted me to doom, particularly when I think of some of those more melodic early 90s European bands that were emerging from the whole Earache and Roadrunner death metal hegemony at the time. It is probably most succinctly explained by the first lyrical passage of the album: “Without light, the dark encloses all”. There are so many beautiful contrasts of light amongst the really brooding heaviness on the record, giving the latter so much greater impact. Was that atmospheric contrast something you were more conscious of when writing for your second album?

Joseph Rowland: I think that’s something that we’re always trying to keep in balance. We’re definitely drawn more to the melodic end of the spectrum than writing ugly, heavy music. Obviously, we’re into that really heavy music; but, at the same time, we try to keep a lot of melody involved. I think that goes hand-in-hand with balancing those light and dark aspects, keeping dynamics in the music and having sections that are kind of restrained or pulled back a little bit compared to the most bombastic elements. That’s present emotionally and dynamically throughout the album.

BC: With American doom I think it’s quite noticeable, when compared to those European bands I mentioned previously, that there’s often a stronger blues/rock influence evident. You guys really bucked that trend with your albums. It’s encouraging to read some of the influences you’ve cited over the years and how that’s led you away from being another one of those colour-by-Black-Sabbath-numbers groups.

JR: Yeah, at this point I think that style of music has reached a critical mass. There just can’t be any more of those Sleep clones, which obviously in itself is kind of a Sabbath tribute. That’s stuff that we love; but, I just don’t think the world needs another band that just copies Sabbath songs with changing the patterns up a little bit. I mean, it has its place. But it’s kind of tiresome at this point. We’re definitely approaching what Black Sabbath did but trying to incorporate other elements like progressive rock and hard rock, basically a lot of stuff from the 70s but without trying to do a retro-throwback thing either. We want to push things forward.

BC: I’ve seen you talking about bands like Asia and some other really unusual — in the context of a lot of heavy music paradigms — bands that have inspired you.

JR: Bands like Asia and Boston, their songwriting sense is really, really incredible. That’s definitely something that we relate to and aspire to, to be able to write songs that are memorable and have that melodic sense in there without being derivative.

BC: You’ve mentioned Al Cisneros as your favourite bass player and of course Geezer Butler being a big influence. You’ve also cited Geddy Lee alongside those guys, which of course really underlines the impact of prog rock on Pallbearer’s music. You might be surprised to know that Rush barely even show up on the radar down here in Australia.

JR: Oh wow, really?

BC: Yeah. I’m curious about what your favourite Rush record is, given the size of their body of work and how diverse it is. An influence by Geddy or that band can take on a really different form depending on where you find their most resonant expression.

JR: I actually think my favourite Rush record is probably Signals. It kind of bridges between the more progressive stuff from the 70s and then like getting into that more keyboard-era Rush without it being all keyboards. It’s still pretty heavy and moody, a little less joyful than their late 80s stuff and the more like hard rock 90s stuff. I actually got to see Rush play a couple of years ago and it was really, really fantastic.

BC: Far out, probably my favourite, too! I listen to songs like “Losing It” these days and can clearly hear a gateway leading eventually into doom, qualities like that really melancholy and slow riff in the bridge.

JR: Yeah. It’s awesome.

BC: Vocally on Foundations… there are these moments very reminiscent of classical and pre-classical choral music, where there are these epic passages with everyone in the band singing together. Is that something you’ve listened to a lot and been directly influenced by?

JR: Yeah… I mean, it’s definitely not like a direct influence in the sense that it’s not something that we were necessarily going for. We just wanted to start incorporating more harmonies and kind of make it more layered and interesting. Also, we wanted parts where someone besides Brett (Campbell, vocals & guitar) is doing the lead vocal or the major vocal part. I just feel like it adds a little bit more interest to the music, as long as it’s beneficial and not just being done for the sake of excess.

BC: It worked really well. It added such an epic dimension to the record, some of it reminding me a bit of the more tranquil parts of something like Mozart’s death mass requiem, that kind of thing.

JR: Oh yeah, growing up I had years of classical training and spent time writing four-part chorales and stuff. It’s just a distant memory now; but, I think some of that influence definitely creeps in there.

BC: Your lyrics are well known for their deeply personal nature. Do you get asked a lot to flesh out what they are specifically drawn from?

JR: I think at this point people have come to understand that we are never going to directly address what any of the songs are about. Every now and then there’s something that we might share with someone that we’re close to. But in terms of the press, there’s been enough of it now that they know we’re never going to answer something like that.

BC: As you are writing such emotional music with these lyrics of such personal depth, do you find that a lot of your engagements with fans of the band take on that nature, that they are drawn to express themselves with you in the same way?

JR: Yeah there have definitely been plenty of interactions where people have shared with us that the lyrics were really meaningful to them in some way and helped them get through some moment of difficulty that they were having at some point in their lives, whether that may be the loss of a loved one or something like that, dealing with relationship problems, all sorts of stuff, pretty much most of the adversity that you could think of, really. Something in the song has lent some kind of specific meaning to them in those moments. That’s always been something that’s quite humbling to us, that there’s this connection that they made with something that was really important and meaningful to us and it helped them put something into context in their life. That’s always rewarding and humbling to hear from people.

BC: “Ashes” is such a great counterpoint to “The Ghost I Used To Be”, the way it flows out of that grandiosity and intensity of the preceding song. The whole record is so well put together in that way. Was it an easy and natural thing for you guys to figure out? Or something that you tinkered with for ages to get that flow that was right for you?

JR: We pretty much knew that the last three songs on the album were going to be “Ghost I Used to Be”, “Ashes”, and “Vanished”. It was the first half of the album that we kind of struggled with, rearranging it quite a few times whilst we were in the studio. We ended up with something quite different to what we’d expected it to be from the beginning. But the second half of the album we pretty much knew from the get-go how that was going to be. And, “Ashes” was always going to be the penultimate song.

BC: You’ve no doubt been asked about a billion questions about the attention you’ve received since your debut album. That kind of hype can often be the undoing of a band, where they start to get away from what worked so well with songwriting, made them so distinctive, and becoming focused on writing for an audience, ‘catching the wave’ and creating a broader accessibility in their sound. How have you dealt with all of those accolades and kept it from affecting how the band writes music?

JR: At this point in time, we’re still taking the same approach as we always have, just take everything in stride and don’t have any expectations of what the next step will be, but just be ready to go for it if the opportunity presents itself. In terms of the writing, I mean everything that we’ve written so far has just come about in a really natural and organic way. Our process of writing for the last 4+ years has just been Brett and I working on songs separately and then getting together with the band and filling in the gaps, doing some slight rearranging and adjustments to the skeletal structure of the song. We’re currently in the midst of writing new stuff again now. I don’t think there’s ever really been any pressure for us to write songs in a particular way; so, that’s just a bridge that we cross when it comes.


JR: I always feel like it’s a goal of ours to have our live show be more of an experience, not just you coming and standing there and watching us play. I’ve heard a lot of different things; so, I really think it just comes down to the individual. Someone might say it was like a religious experience whilst someone else will say it was really boring! (laughs) I mean, personally, I always try to channel any intensity that I have inside into the performance, so that it’s a cathartic experience and hope that it creates something of a primal event. We’re definitely not one of those bands prone to just standing around and getting into the shoegazing. We all love what we do and put everything into the performance every night. But yeah, it will all be down to everyone’s individual perception, how much they enjoy the music, how well we’re conveying it, how drunk we are, a lot of different factors.

BC: Reading the reviews from when you got to tour with Yob there were descriptions of people doing things at doom gigs reviewers hadn’t seen before, the way the audiences were getting into it to a degree that you’d be more likely to see at something more uptempo and frenetic in nature. You’d both released albums very close to each other, and to tremendous acclaim. The buzz on that tour must have been unreal and a really good experience for you guys.

JR: Oh, definitely. It’s definitely one of my favourite tours that we’ve been on. We had never toured Europe before. We’d been over to play festivals, but hadn’t toured like that. We were over there for six weeks and we got to connect with a lot of fans and play a lot of really amazing places.

BC: No doubt you’ll get a great reception down here and people are very excited about seeing you play here in Australia. Thanks for having a chat today, Joe. All the best for the upcoming tour.

JR: Yeah, I’m really excited about it. Thanks!

Pallbearer tour Australia for the first time on the following dates:

June 17 – Melbourne – Ding Dong Lounge
June 18 – Hobart – Dark Mofo Festival
June 19 – Melbourne – Northcote Social Club
June 20 – Sydney – Hermann’s Bar
June 21 – Brisbane – Crowbar

Tickets on sale now from, Oztix and venue outlets.

Noiseweek: GWAR, Minsk, holograms, Pallbearer, Nirvana tributes and more

Friday, April 10th, 2015

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


CNN is reporting that the surviving members of GWAR are being sued by the father of late frontman Oderus Urungus — AKA Dave Brockie — William Brockie, for allegedly holding onto Brockie junior’s remains, music equipment and artwork. Brockie senior is seeking $1 million in damages as well as the return of his son’s ashes and belongings, which are reportedly kept locked at the band’s Slave Pit headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. Both parties remain uncertain on the status of the Cuttlefish of Cthulu, but sources say it remains in the possession of authorities in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh earned himself some serious punk cred this week with the proclamation that April 9 is now Riot Grrrl day in honour of Kathleen Hanna’s performance in the city on that night. Walsh’s Chief of Policy, Joyce Lineham, has known Hanna for the better part of two decades and used to host her when Hanna’s bands would come through town. The proclamation is adapted from Hanna’s Riot Grrrl Manifesto and includes the following passage: “The riot grrrl philosophy has never felt more relevant, with misogyny still rampant in many cultural spaces;” and “Riot grrrls redefine the language used against them and continue to fight the newest incarnations of patriarchy. In doing so, they ironically confirm one ex-congressman’s accidental wisdom: ‘the female body has ways to try to shut that down.’ It sure does: women’s voices telling their stories can shut that down.”


In news straight out of a Phllip K. Dick dystopia, late Tejano popstar Selena Quintanilla will be next to receive the hologram treatment already bestowed to the likes of Tupac and Elvis. With the blessing of her family, tech company Achrovirt LLC will begin working on a of Quintanilla pending the success of a soon-to-be-launched $500,000 crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. Jesus.


How London’s NTS is helping redefine live radio | The Guardian

“If video killed the radio star, then digital streaming is dancing on its grave. Spotify and the like have redefined listening habits but they’ve also driven (mainly young) listeners away from the human interaction the FM dial offers, towards endless playlists interrupted by infuriatingly upbeat adverts about clearing hotlines. An Ofcom report last year found that Brits under 25 dedicate a measly 24% of “listening time” to traditional radio. But you can’t call up Mixcloud for a shout-out when you’re bombing up the M6 for a night out at the Warehouse Project, and that’s where east London’s NTS Radio offers a middle ground.

The station, which turns four this week, positions itself somewhere between BBC 6 Music’s diversity and pirate radio’s DIY spirit; and, like Rinse FM before it, it’s a combination that’s helping to lure music fans back to radio. It’s part of a global network of new, hyperlocal internet stations, including Soho Radio in London, Berlin Community Radio, and Know Wave in NYC, who offer idiosyncratic music selections throughout the day, and not just limited to twilight slots. Some sets come from established DJs such as Andrew Weatherall and Caribou; others, if you happen to live in Hackney where NTS’s shopfront studio is based, quite literally from the girls next door.”

How can we change the face of power in the music industry? | The Fader

“Perhaps part of the problem is the static nature of the business, but that’s not to say there aren’t also unique challenges that face women on the corporate ladder. In an innocuous quote in the Billboard Power 100 issue that hints at a deeper problem, executive VP of Capitol Music Group Michelle Jubelirer describes the moment a male employee introduced her to Mick Jagger as his boss. “I don’t think Mick believed him,” she said. Sexist attitudes in business are deeply ingrained, and will likely take a long time to change. This was famously illustrated when a Harvard business professor changed the name of Silicon Valley exec and SkinnySongs CEO Heidi Roizen to “Howard Roizen” in half of the case studies about her that he gave to his students. The professor measured his students’ responses to the study, and found that the majority would rather work for “Howard” than for Heidi, despite their two profiles being totally identical. Students described having an impression of Heidi as being more power-hungry and harsh than “Howard”; the more she asserted herself, the less they liked her.”

Immaculate Self-Conception | Pitchfork

“When it comes to portraying women, music media buys into the ideas of glamour just as much as the fashion industry, and Instagram feels like an opportunity to supercede the romantic manipulation of photo-doctoring. Airbrushing remains one of the few lies in the commercial economy that’s allowed to remain unchecked even after the public is made aware of their own deception. By that I mean this: When a product doesn’t perform as advertised, it is taken off the market; when an academic misrepresents his research, he is stripped of his title; when a media icon lies about a simple detail of his personal experience, he is suspended without pay. In music, the misrepresentation inherent to altering the female image is an accepted cultural norm despite the fact that in most other instances when people, commodities, or ideas have been publicly misrepresented, there are penalties. We are sold the myth of what women in entertainment are supposed to look like every day, and the fact remains that no one has ever revoked an advertisement or magazine cover because it physically misrepresented a (perfected) female icon. Airbrushing is designed to flatter and romanticize reality—but it’s also an act of deception, however benign.

As a contrast, the impulsive, documentary-quality of Instagram makes it feel like the only corner of the Internet where women can choose how they are portrayed; they can flatter the male gaze or subvert it. An interesting dimension of fame is that female musicians are in the unique position of having access to photos that other people of take of them; as such, their choosing to include photos from the press alongside, say, selfies with their dogs represents a new, highly-tailored way to curate their image. It says something about what women want to add to their own narrative every time a distinction is made between what does and does not get shared.”


Minsk — The Crash and the Draw

This might be the heaviest record of the quarter-year. After six years dormant, the fourth LP from the post-metal outfit (who share a hometown with the late, great Richard Pryor) is quite possibly the best marriage of atmospherics and brutality I’ve heard since the disbandment of ISIS. The first side of this record is ugly, but Minsk are not a group of one-trick ponies; the nine-minute The Way is Through recalls the transcendent moments of Panopticon as the masculine veneer of vocalist Tim Meed recedes, revealing a beautiful vulnerability beneath the bravado, before the rage comes again in the climax. Utterly entrancing.

Solkyri — Sad Boys Club

Solkyri imbue their music with the kind of energy post-rock bands need: a vitality that breathes life and kinetic momentum into the often stale and static aesthetic. This is uplifting stuff, recalling sleepmakeswaves and And So I Watch You From Afar while remaining firmly grounded in a dynamic riffing and compelling songwriting. Expect nothing but big things from this Sydney quartet.

Nothing — Something in the Way

This second cut from the forthcoming tribute to Nirvana’s Nevermind shows Nothing at their most subtle and subdued, substituting their usual reverb pedals and tremolo picking for distant synthetic whines, whispered words and an utterly depressing piano track. The tribute’s out on April 18 through Robotic Empire — who also released an In Utero tribute this time last year — and features covers from Boris, Young Widows, Pygmy Lush and Thou.

Golden Bats — 7?

Cvlt Nation premiered this harrowing offering from our Brisbane friends Golden Bats. It’s an ugly pair of tracks, but Golden Bats aren’t looking for a prom date, so revel in the filthy Iommic dirge and unbridled dread before the 7? drops on April 18 for Record Store Day.


Pallbearer — Watcher in the Dark

Some eight months after the release of their sophomore epic Foundations of Burden, Little Rock quartet Pallbearer have unveiled their first ever music video, the 10-minute “Watcher in the Dark.” There are some stunning landscape shots here of what I am guessing are the Ozark Mountains in their homestate of Arkansas, alongside a slew of tripped-out galactic and alien visuals that recall Duke Nukem 3D. Killer.

Lightning Bolt — The Metal East

Speaking of tripped-out, Lightning Bolt’s first clip for their new album might just be the most messed up music video of the year. Part mid-90s side-scroller, part Ren and Stimpy, part space cartoon bad trip and perfect for the frenetic madness that is Lightning Bolt.

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).

The Black Captain’s Top 10 Albums of 2014

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Oi Magoi is a strange and clever creature. The melding of black metal with early ‘70s psychedelia, prog rock, and touches of Hammer horror kitsch has a more natural and less forced quality than the debut. The result is something slippery that’s quite difficult to nail down, yet quite fun to try. The band has produced something distinctive from the bulk of heavy music around today, and certainly from the more typical sound of Greek heavy metal. With ironing out the odd kink, Hail Spirit Noir could go on to be a special cult favourite amongst heavy music fans. Not quite sure it’s worth the 666 Euros as listed on Bandcamp, but good on them for trying!

9. KAYO DOT – Coffins On Io
A tortured and thoughtful sci-fi noir hybrid of suave neuromanticism, 80s darkwave, and frenetic prog rock, Coffins on Io is an outstanding work by a daring and divisive musical treasure. It demands being listened to in its entirety, continuously revealing details and emotions within the densely packed compositions with each play. Even with their best record yet, it is simply too much to expect near unanimous love. Thankfully for those who are exhilarated by music that keeps the listener on their toes, it’s not in Kayo Dot’s nature to seek out those types of dreams. The ones they share with us are far, far superior.

8. OCCULTATION – Silence In the Ancestral House
The New York trio mixes apparent influences from Mercyful Fate, Black Sabbath, NWOBHM, and just an edge of goth on this theatrical gem released through Profound Lore. Nameless Void from Negative Plane supplies riffs that tick all the boxes for any heavy metallurgist, driven on by the solid drumming of Viveca Butler. Annu Lilja puts in an amazing vocal performance alongside her wonderful bass grooves, elevating the band’s sound into an epic haunting occult rock gem. Produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, Silence In the Ancestral House is is chock full of great moments for fans of old school metal with a few twists.

7. FVNERALS – The Light
Swoon at the brilliant production and elegant compositions of gloomy yet multi-faceted post-rock on this debut LP from Brighton’s Fvnerals. The expansive sound created by hypnotic synths, guitars that drift between deliberate dirge-like mantras and shimmering jangly strums, and down-tempo drumming is crowned spectacularly by the haunting, sensuous surrender to despair of vocalist Tiffany. Together, the three musicians have swept well beyond the suggested potential of their EP. Their capacity for deep, meditative mood of such moreish grimness is impressive. A bright future beckons for these souls calling from the shadows.

6. INTER ARMA – The Cavern
Is this the most metal thing that has ever happened? Just under 46 minutes of riffs, all from the top shelf and surpassing pretty much anything else Inter Arma have tried their hand at before (which is really saying something)… The Cavern is a masterpiece that never once feels tired and overdrawn at any point across its epic journey. Engaging from start to finish, the moment you start to make a sarcastic Spinal Tap dig you are slapped hard in the face mid-sentence by another mind-blowing progression, with the opus continuously evolving into something better as it blazes away. The musicianship is breathtaking, full of surprises and soaring melodies amidst the whirring savagery. If you’ve yet to explore this, plan to set the required time aside and be thoroughly rewarded.

5. PALLBEARER – Foundations of Burden
Wearing their hearts on their riffs, there is smoothness to Pallbearer’s doom that avoids the sense of pastiche that is so pervasive in metal. Whilst their debut was certainly a great effort,Foundations… sends Pallbearer hurtling into the echelon of heavy divinity. Pallbearer’s gift for crafting layers of melody to achieve their intensity on Foundations of Burden will leave you speechless. The songs are free from the staple production values of a heavy record. It’s not that it hasn’t been done before, just so rarely this well. “The Ghost I Used To Be” and ‘The Watcher In the Dark’ are magnificent highlights, showcasing the immensely pleasing irony of just how elevating doom metal can be for the spirit.

4. BEHEMOTH – The Satanist
It seems Behemoth are a love/hate proposition. For those who decry an independent music reviewer praising such polished, slick production and a record that took Satanic death metal into the upper regions of the American charts for the first time ever, I say nick off and have a pow-wow with the Poles who want to jail the band, the Russians who deported them, and all the other gatekeepers. The Satanist is pure excellence, driven by shameless ambition, total lack of self-consciousness, and intense tribulation Nergal has experienced over recent years. The pride taken in the band’s work shows clearly in its outstanding, bar-setting production for death metal. A landmark work in the genre, and one that will create even more expectation at their next step… which Behemoth will gladly meet head on.

3. YOB – Clearing the Path to Ascend

And now, reaching the point where virtually nothing separates the albums on this list going forward, 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.

2. MERKABAH – Moloch
Somewhere in the Abyss, there’s a room packed with the souls who lost their way searching for a volatile sound blended from the extremities and sanity-proofed experiments on the fringes of jazz, hardcore, post-rock, and psychedelia. They stand transfixed by a sense of imminent disintegration, engulfed by volatile transmissions of psychosis, spread outwards upon a incendiary command of sound and vision by the five demonic vectors that make up the perfection through chaos that is Merkabah. The band’s Moloch is a pitiless and unforgiving pleasure, provocative and asphyxiating in its brilliance. Within the tremendous invention and intensity of the songs, there is the deep sense that, at their peak performance, Merkabah must be an incredible live band. I have half the mind to travel all the way to the bristling cauldron of exceptional music these days that is Poland simply to find out. Without question, this release from way back in March was one of the most unique and captivating albums of 2014.

1. RAISON D’ETRE – Mise en Abyme
For those who know the man’s work, it’s pretty much a given that anything Peter Andersson releases under his project Raison d’Etreis going to be bloody brilliant. After a 5 year break between releases, Andersson produced not only the best album of 2014, but the best of Raison d’Etre’s catalogue across the 22 years of its recorded existence. Mise en Abyme is the singularity, effortlessly sucking you into the deepest recesses of your psyche. Four tracks, adding up to just a skerrick under an hour, provide the ideal soundtrack for witnessing the abandonment of reason that characterizes our times, the anthem for the stench of humanity as it wantonly destroys itself and everything it comes into contact with through ingrained hagiographic values of greed and self-importance. The drones and ambient frameworks are filled with incredible detail, transporting the listener inwards with the purpose of introspection and self-discovery. Whether it is peace or panic,Mise en Abyme will show you things about yourself you may never have known were inside you. This is a supreme soundtrack for being placed within the abyss (the translation of the album’s title), befitting a year when elements within humanity too often showed their bottomless capacity for sinking into decrepitude.

Check back later in the week as the rest of our writers’ count down the best releases of the year.

Pallbearer — Foundations of Burden

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

From out of Little Rock, Arkansas, there comes an increasingly revered doom metal quartet, a band who triggered the metal underground abuzz with praise over the last few years for their debut album Sorrow and Extinction. When members of Baroness declare a group their “favourite doom metal band”, it’s wise to pay attention. That band is Pallbearer and they have just released their second album, Foundations of Burden.

With ‘Worlds Apart’, Pallbearer lead off like an all-star cleanup hitter, smashing it out of the park with riffs exploding with emotion. To say the album is not traditional as far as metal goes — which some previews felt the need to express — really does require a history lesson. The self-conscious efforts of so many pundits to distance themselves from the genre bear little connection to the evidence given the barriers that have been broken down by the many laudable trailblazers and the attraction their work obviously creates, in spite of metal’s faults of the past and the idiotic forehead-slapping behaviours of a slice of the demographic. There is plenty here that stems from a foundation of the very best metal across decades and it’s to Pallbearer’s great benefit and credit to carry the torch to such wonderful heights.

So, as one the best metal bands of the present, Pallbearer are undeniably distinctive. Wearing their hearts on their riffs (as opposed to simply teabagging everyone to death), there is smoothness to the doom that avoids that sense of pastiche that is so pervasive in metal. Without bearing even the slightest resemblance to the blues that is characteristic of so much Sabbath-inspired American heavy music, they create all of the natural flow of the cleverest slow hand of the South in each of the album’s songs. Like Agalloch, there is a connection to the European — dare I say Swedish — roots of the genre, but with flawlessly evolving compositions proving something those across the Atlantic barely ever managed.

Most of the tracks are around the ten-minute mark, never feeling overly drawn out by ensuring that each passage is a distillation of Pallbearer’s very best. The second half of ‘The Watcher In the Dark’ is a magnificent highlight, showcasing just how elevating doom metal can be for the spirit. It is, perhaps, in the band’s strength with melody that the temptation exists to separate Pallbearer from the rest of metal, which ignores the great skill and undoubted influence that the Scandinavians have contributed to the doom metal genre over the past two decades. Pallbearer’s gift for crafting layers of melody to achieve their intensity on Foundations of Burden will leave you speechless. The songs are set free from the staple production values of a heavy record. It’s not that it hasn’t been done before, just so rarely this well. ‘Ashes’ must be one of the most transcendental moments of beauty a metal band has pulled off in recent times. Eat your heart out and ask for seconds, Neige.

‘The Ghost I Used To Be’ begins as though it has been transported straight from one of the golden ages of doom metal, standing easily alongside the best from early Paradise Lost and Katatonia’s Dance of December Souls. Fans of this era will be forgiven for breaking down in tears and hugging the speakers as though reunited with a dear friend thought forever lost. Brett Campbell’s vocals are sensational, like glistening sheets of the aurora borealis over a glacial landscape of heartfelt yet pulverizing guitars.

Profound Lore Records released Foundations of Burden on August 19. Whilst their debut was certainly a great effort, this new work sends Pallbearer hurtling into the echelon of heavy divinity. Don’t waste another second waiting to get the finest doom metal album released this year.