Live Review: DESERTFEST LONDON, UK 2018 – Day 1 [Photo Gallery]

Zeke @ Koko. DesertFest London 2018

The UKs very own version of Roadburn took over London over the bank holiday weekend of 4th May – 6th May. The annual 3-day DesertFest London festival hosted over 70 bands including some of the biggest names in the stoner rock scene, at the most iconic venues in Londons Camden town – from the Roundhouse to Koko, The Underworld, The Black Heart and The Dev(onshire Arms). Camden was a hive for worshipers of the scene to congregate for the 7th edition of this fundamental tour, and with headliners that included Graveyard, Napalm Death, High On Fire, Hawkwind and Monster Magnet, this year has been it’s biggest and most diverse yet!

FRIDAY 4TH

Today saw the festival at it’s busiest for it’s opening day, with 26 artists across 5 stages, not to mention the thousands of tourists bustling about Camden town – famous for it’s vast array of boutique and quirky independent shops, amazing street food and markets, weird and wonderful street performers and musicians, as well as being the absolute hot-spot for all kinds of sub-cultures to thrive. With the distinct smell of weed fresh in the air on a blisteringly hot day in the capitol, I was ready for the beginning of what would be an epic weekend of (natural) highs from the outstanding line-up at DesertFest London 2018. (Full gallery follows article). Continue reading

Manchester’s COLD FELL Offer Up Full Length Debut [Album Review] [Album Stream]

Manchester, England, a city that exploded around the turn of the Industrial Revolution, has served as a backdrop and inspiration of metal musicians of all ranges.  No small wonder, either, given the social issues created once the trappings of the industrial exploitation machinations were set into play. Workers were often forced into inhumane working conditions and eventually, periods of civil unrest between the working poor and the bourgeois erupted, leaving behind inauspiciousness in it’s wake. From these circumstances, and similar in cities such as Birmingham, the bubblings of metal sprung forth to unleash upon the world an especially dreadful perspective.  The natives Cold Fell (so named for a mountain in the North Pennines, a spine, if you will, that weaves throughout northwestern English countryside) have finally gotten the opportunity to add their own voice to the offerings, four years after the release of their first EP. Comprised of Laurence Taylor (of Caina) on vox, Karl Sveinsson and Giovanni Infantino on lead and rhythm guitar, Callum Cox pounding on the drums, and Oliver Edward Turner on bass, Cold Fell evidently put the gap time after their initial EP to good use as 2017 has been gifted with one smoking full length debut. 

“Irwell” is both the name that christens their Argento Records release and a river valley nestled in (you guessed it) northwestern England.  Coming in with eight tracks, “Irwell” is a solid monster of a proper debut which bares it’s teeth from the opening, snapping fierce jaws within instrumental passages so you, the listener, do not escape it’s mighty grasp.  The band members here have an excellent chemistry which is evident in the ways in which each track has been composed.  There’s not a superfluous time change, solo or angry vocal howl throughout the album that I could find; these guys were on a mission of craft and on “Irwell” they absolutely bring the pain.  Peppered throughout each of the songs, one can easily see the influence that classic black metal and contemporary bands of the same genre have had on the members, and rather than setting out to exploit those genres or relying on a more avant garde/experimental approach, CF pay homage to those before and current in black metal by efficiently utilizing the core sounds, topped with their own personal flavor. Take, for instance, ‘Folly (Health & the Glory)’  which opens with a nicely fat bass thrum underlying the assault unleashed by the typical frontrunners of guitar and drums.  Densely atmospheric in the right places, the track pummels along, punctuated with howling guitar shrieks that eerily mimic a female’s screams in places, while ‘Bone Ceiling’ bites and snarls in its own right, featuring a nice addition of fist pump worthy chants that will surely be as appreciated during a live performance as it is on record. My overall album pick, though (and it’s surely a close call to make), is narrowly the doom and gloom served up by ‘The Whip (Armed to the Teeth): furious skin work where appropriate with some nicely bitter slower tempo drops, some skillful lead guitar that helps pull the beat back from the mire and cohesive and spot on instrumental passages.  The album closer, ‘Dream of Seppuku’, is a wholly appropriate one that fits like a glove.  Seppuku refers to the Japanese act of suicide by disembowelment, and this track moves in thematically appropriate ways until it fades into a more somber tone sprinkled with some piano keys.  While not necessarily a game changer (and not that it had such ambitions in the first place), “Irwell” delivers a solid album sure to catch the attentions of the black metal scene, and gives just enough to keep us wanting more.

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All Hell Release Video for “Graveyard Dust”!

allhell

The blackened thrashers from Asheville, North Carolina All Hell have released a video for “Graveyard Dust” which is by far my favorite track from their 2015 release The Red Sect. Make sure to catch them on their upcoming tour. We recently was able to catch them in their hometown and experience their amazing set by candlelight. One of the most catchy blackened thrash songs I’ve ever heard. Check out the video and enjoy.  Continue reading