Pitch Black Forecast…ever heard of them? If your answer is “No” then allow me to inform you to what you’ve been missing. You’ve been missing a savagely abrasive, leaden groove-laden Metal band from Cleveland, Ohio that could actually be described as a “supergroup”. Really, an honest-to-god supergroup and that term fits the bill in this case because Pitch Black Forecast resulted as a band after Jason Popson (A.K.A. singer J-Mann of masked act Mushroomhead got lined up with the drum deity we call “The Atomic Clock” Gene Hoglan of such great bands like Dark Angel, Death, Testament, Meldrum, Strapping Young Lad among others. The duo soon recruited former Integrity bassist Steve Rauckhorst (after recording their 2008 debut album “Absentee” with earlier bassist Craig Martini) and guitarists Rob Reinard and Tom Shaffner of local Cleveland faves NDE and Keratoma.
Working originally under the moniker of Absentee, the band did manage to record a debut album during 2007 that became titled “Absentee” as the band underwent a name change. That debut album featured manic, aggro-metal harshness benefited with the inhuman drumming assault provided by Hoglan and capped off by the ultra pissed off vocal stylings of Popson. It also featured guest appearances by Devin Townsend, Ringworm’s Human Furnace, Lamb of God’s Randall Blythe, and Avenged Sevenfold‘s M. Shadows. 2012 brought yet another release in the form of the 5 song EP “Burning In Water…Drowning In Flame” and then summer of 2014 brought news that Pitch Black Forecast would be releasing a compilation of previously-released songs remixed and re-tracked to become “closer” to the vision Popson desired from the start. The title of the album was revealed to be “As The World Burns” and was released on Oct. 21st of that same year and as an added bonus it includes a 4 song EP from Jason Popson’s post-industrial project Bitch Wrangler titled “Spitefuck”.
If you like harmfully face-ripping and outright angry as all hell metal then you should definitely get out from under the radar and take heed to Pitch Black Forecast.
Foul Spirits are based out of Kent, Ohio and they have this evolving sound from song to song that turns every listener into a junkie wanting more. Has amazing elements of thrash, punk and metal. The vocals have these deep gutturals and then to a more thrash based vocal. The quick pace of each song keeps your head banging almost instinctively. They carry with them this amazing sludge like vibe. At times it brings to mind many a great NOLA based bands, but then they throw a wrench into the machine and come out with a sound all their own. The album “Volatile Versatile” released in December of 2014 is worthy of a trophy case. The album is one of those that will get you pumped and ready to raise all out hell. The song “Devil in Me” hits every possible tempo change it could. Starts with a racing guitar and drum beat, then the vocals run through like a bull in a china shop. The end of the song comes together and brings with it this sound that would remind you of Louisiana cult legends Acid Bath. By no means are these guys fucking around. Each song has a fierce and raw sound that just grabs you by the throat. Check these guys out. – Fist
Stockholm, Sweden has always been home to an amazing array of bands over the years and standing out in the crowd there has become increasingly hard. Sideburn is one of those standouts, and has been since Morgan Zocek helped form the band in 1997. The style they play brings you back to that old school classic rock sound with some blues and a pinch of doom. The new album “Evil or Divine” does not disappoint. Released May 22, 2015 it has become a favorite of ours and often does not leave the playlist or cd player. The opening track “Masters and Slaves” starts out the album with some amazing retro guitar work and eases you into the vocal style of singer and guitarist Dimitri Keiski. . Guitar solos by founding member Morgan Zocek seem like they are never going to end. The guitars are just the beginning of the unblemished musical perfection that they bring to this album. The next track is where Dimitri really brings out his full potential and range in “Sea of Sins” hits both highs and lows and takes the listener on this musical journey. The crashing of the cymbals and beat of the drums by Fredrik Haake clears a path for everything else to chime in. Musically Sideburn has an amazing progressive style with various hints of other genres, and when you add the vocals it just brings in that retro feel that fits perfectly like an old pair of pants. With a song title like “The Day the Sun Died” you know that it will summon the darkness and doom that lives inside a black heart. Things are slowed down and everything hangs on each note. The deep tone of the bass riffs by Martin Karlsson bellow out and help steer the song in the right direction. The chorus comes through like a flawless symphony of sounds, and lurks around from the ear to the tip of your tongue and has you singing along. The album is the soundtrack to the journey it takes you through while listening. The sound Sideburn has is not watered down, and needs to be consumed by all.
Photo taken by Jonte Strömberg
Edited by Morgan Zocek
Art, food, wine, the Eiffel Tower and maybe a few other things are what commonly come to mind when thinking of Paris, France. Abrahma is one of the great products of France and should be added to that list as well. The impeccable music they create will not escape you. Flawless and well orchestrated throughout, it’s like a maze made perfectly for the ear. From the city of love is where they reside, however the darkness truly comes out with their retro doom sounding music. They have released one of the best through and through albums I have heard this year in “Reflections In the Bowels of a Bird”. Released in May the album starts with “Fountains of Vengeance” and has that fuzzy wah wah sound that in a way sets the tone for the entire album. The intensity changes several times really keeping you on your toes. By the time the second song comes on you are really ready for anything. “An Offspring To The Wolves” has that amazing doom sound. This is the first single on the album in which they have also released a video as well. Not only is this album amazing in sound but the album art is also vibrant and is likely to stand out on any record store shelf. The vocal style changes somewhat throughout the album, not drastically but just enough to make every song sound refreshing. At times vocalist Seb Bismuth sounds like an early era Brandon Boyd from Incubus. Track 3 “Omens Pt. 1” starts a 3 part series of songs on the album. Some of the guitar work really casts out a Sabbath like sound. The music seems just perfectly melded together and then the vocals are the final touch to it. It’s so well orchestrated that each chord seems perfectly timed. The song winds down to such a somber drawn out ending that leads greatly into the next song. “Weary Statues” starts out with some drone like sounds and then gets into the drum beat at which point it’s off to the races. This song sets a fast pace and is my favorite track on the album. It has a mean chug along guitar and vocal sound that lead into this surprising melodic portion of the song and then right back to up tempo. I won’t give the rest of the album away but it is the type of album that will stand the test of time. It is 52 minutes of 70’s inspired bluesy doom rock that will keep you listening til the last second.