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Tomahawk Mit Gas Review

General Information:

Artist: Tomahawk
Album: Mit Gas
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Experimental Rock
Released: 2003
Length: 41 minutes
Language(s): English, Spanish
Label(s): Ipecac Recordings

Track List:

01. Birdsong
02. Rape This Day
03. You Can’t Win
04. Mayday
05. Rotgut
06. Capt Midnight
07. Desastre Natural
08. When the Stars Begin to Fall
09. Harelip
10. Harlem Clowns
11. Aktion 13F14

Tomahawk Mit Gas Cover

Tomahawk Mit Gas Cover

Tomahawk Mit Gas Review

Mit Gas (German for With Gas) is the second album by American experimental rock super group Tomahawk. Released only 2 years after their self-titled debut and the band has already shed themselves of their country influences and delved a little bit further into soundscape territory with more noise and ambient elements creeping into the mix.

Birdsong sets the ball rolling, ever so slowly, with a mild-mannered wall of distortion contrasted with samples of birds tweeting. If you can imagine a sludgy liquid slowly oozing out of your speakers with birds gently perched on your lightshades tweeting joyously then you’ll have some understanding of the surreal nature found in this song. The tension builds up over the first minute and then bassist Kevin Rutmanis and drummer John Stanier change the pace by beginning with a moody mid-tempo rhythm before Duane Dennison’s guitar comes in to enhance the tension further.

So far so good – and steady – then Mike Patton introduces his eclectic vocal stylings in the form of a wordless wail that sounds rather distant and is somehow akin to a lunatic chasing you through the woods with a knife, if only that lunatic was a gleeful Mike Patton taunting you with his sinister vocal acrobatics. The verse arrives with a characteristically obtuse narrative delivered in a deep spoken voice about “the way you look at me when you’re hungry/lay your head down, shoot a load in your ear/the way you look at me when you’re hunted” that only gives credence to the lunatic-chasing-you-through-the-woods image. The song eventually breaks into a frantic lead-guitar with the energetic rock attitude fans will be anticipating. A steady decline in tempo then leads to what would have been a disappointing fade out but buzzing noise, church bells and the familiar bird tweets carry the song into an unexpected and satisfying conclusion.

Delving into completely new territory, a looped drum beat more akin to an ambient drum and bass song is coupled with a slow and sombre clean guitar to make the mid-album Capt Midnight instantly stand out. In case there’s a chance of you losing interest the song explodes into full-on rock fury half way in and Mike Patton goes from an eerie croon to shouting without any vocal effects which lets the rawness of his performance stand by itself. The drum loop and ambience is restored after the outburst with the song ebbing and flowing to the build-up of it happening again through the use of noises and sound loops to keep the anticipation high without ever reaching the expected payoff.

More atypical song arrangements are also found at the end of Mit Gas with the bass and keyboard centric Harelip breaking down and turning into the transitional piece to Harlem Clowns to create a two part song. The latter quickly returns to the distortion and noise first heard on Birdsong and uses a looped snippet of dialogue stating “I don’t know how to read notes” before the unusual soundscape becomes the focal point. Another recording is played at the end which listings numerous other bands and artists.

Even more challenging than this is Aktion 13F14. It marks the return of the acoustic sound found on their debut but is nothing like what Tomahawk has done before. A mechanical voice, presumably performed by Mike Patton, is overlaid and gives the listener instructions on how to defeat an opponent in hand-to-hand combat and concludes with a reminder stating “remember, attack aggressively, with one purpose in mind: to kill”. A series of rapid snare drum rolls are performed before ear shattering noise is pumped into your skull at maximum volume and goes on relentlessly for about half a minute. Assuming you haven’t suddenly developed tinnitus there is a graceful period of silence before a melodic guitar begins and is overlapped with mumbled and incoherent voices.

There isn’t any real context available for the last two songs so their durability is down to how outside the musical box you’re willing to travel before you start asking if you really get what’s going on or if Tomahawk is just taking you for a ride.

With so much focus being given to the noise and experimental aspects so far it is fair to ask what happened to the atypical rock songs. The answer is that they’re still here with inviting names like Rape This Day, Mayday, Rotgut, When the Stars Begin to Fall and Harelip. They’re far more accessible and probably what most fans are after so they are more likely to garner repeat listens and favourability than the bits that genuinely remove themselves from most people’s understanding of music. In contrast to all of this there is a sincere moment to be found in Desastre Natural, a ballad with its only quirk being that it is sung entirely in Spanish and somehow it manages to fit in with everything else around it.

Mit Gas has a broader experimental edge that draws on ambient and noise music while still maintaining a balance with their off-kilter rock foundation. However at the same time these new influences are more likely to deter listeners so it is worth listening to for existing fans but for newcomers it is advisable to start with Tomahawks self-titled debut.

Performers:

Mike Patton: Vocals, keyboards
Duane Denison: Guitar
Kevin Rutmanis: Bass
John Stanier: Drums

External Links:

Tomahawk on Ipecac Recordings
Tomahawk on Wikipedia
Mit Gas on Wikipedia

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Gojira Magma Review

General Information:

Artist: Gojira
Album: Magma
Genre(s): Heavy Metal
Subgenres(s): Groove Metal
Released: 2016
Length: 44 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Roadrunner Records

Track List:

01. The Shooting Star
02. Silvera
03. The Cell
04. Stranded
05. Yellowstone
06. Magma
07. Pray
08. Only Pain
09. Low Lands
10. Liberation

Gojira Magma Cover

Gojira Magma Cover

Gojira Magma Review

Magma is the sixth album by French heavy metal band Gojira. By their own standard, Gojira are far more subdued and concise on Magma than all of their predecessors with much of this being down to a conscious decision “to be a little punchier sometimes*”. The unfortunate passing of Joe and Mario Duplantier’s mother will also have undoubtedly had an effect on the mood of the album too.

Those familiar with the band will expect Mario Duplantier to unleash a percussive barrage at the start of The Shooting Star but instead the song breaks into a simple nu metal-esque guitar riff, rock drumming and monotonous chanting wrapped up in reverb. To their credit this well-worn style is done with a unique flare and as the first song it sends a message to long-time fans that Magma is going to have something different about it.

This isn’t to say that long-time fans will be alienated because the next three songs, Silvera, The Cell and Stranded leap right back into the groove metal sound that Gojira fans are listening out for, complete with the shouted vocals that are sometimes mixed with this new monotonous speak-singing style, but the death metal influence has all but evaporated.

Gojira tradition dictates that there should be a short instrumental track in the middle of the album and this time it comes in the form of Yellowstone, a 79 second garage rock jam doused in distortion that is, to put it politely, unfocused. Maybe the band was testing the waters or maybe they needed a new way to express themselves but in the end it comes up short. In contrast the acoustic song, Liberation, is a peaceful instrumental that is as stripped back as it gets with only a simple percussive beat to accompany the guitar. It isn’t how you’d expect the album to end but it is pleasant and quite possibly the most honest expression of some of the feelings in the band.

Between introducing a flute on Pray, flirting with new genres and taking a lighter approach to their own style Gojira are still far from a full-on metamorphosis like some bands have undergone. For this reason there is plenty here to appease the core fans while still being able to cast a wider net without overtly changing. Only time will tell if the band embraces these new characteristics or reverts back to their traditional sound.

Performers:

Joe Duplantier: Vocals, guitar, flute
Christian Andreu: Guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie: Bass
Mario Duplantier: Drums

External Links:

Gojira Homepage
Gojira on Wikipedia
Magma on Wikipedia

* http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/gojiras-joseph-duplantier-says-next-album-will-feature-some-pantera-ish-kind-of-riffs/ “We want [the riffs] to be a little punchier sometimes”

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Nails You Will Never Be One of Us Review

General Information:

Artist: Nails
Album: You Will Never Be One of Us
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Grindcore
Released: 2016
Length: 22 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Nuclear Blast

Track List:

01. You Will Never Be One of Us
02. Friend to All
03. Made to Make You Fail
04. Life is a Death Sentence
05. Violence is Forever
06. Savage Intolerance
07. In Pain
08. Parasite
09. Into Quietus
10. They Come Crawling Back

Nails You Will Never Be One of Us Cover

Nails You Will Never Be One of Us Cover

Nails You Will Never Be One of Us Review

You Will Never Be One of Us is the third album by American grindcore band Nails. The band has remained largely consistent with all of the common threads running through their previous albums still being present here. For anyone unfamiliar with Nails, their template is along the lines of:

• 10 songs per album
• Angry and/or pessimistic lyrics
• Incorporating elements of sludge metal and noise into their grindcore sound
• Chaotic micro-songs
• Ending the album with a noticeably longer and more experimental song
• Masterful tempo shifts

The Nails sound can still be summed up as “utter chaos” or that “it’s almost entirely forgettable because it is over before it starts” in reference to aforementioned micro-songs playing at breakneck tempos.

You Will Never Be One of Us received the customary testosterone injection to ensure that fans can rejoice at the unrepentant ferocity that Nails are known for. Vocalist Todd Jones, who had a throaty shout on their previous two albums, has now adopted a more guttural style that also appears to have been altered in the studio at the same time.

Friend to All and Life is a Death Sentence both feature the masterful tempo shifts that see Nails instantly drop the suffocating blast beats to switch to the bridge of the song or a slower guitar riff respectively because despite rushing through songs, they always manage to find time to throw this impressive feat into the mix.

There is some change to be found in the title track and Violence is Forever. Both are fairly accessible, at least by Nails standards, with the former having the mantra “you will never be one of us” far more distinguishable from the other lines to give it something resembling a hook (albeit loosely) and the latter focuses on memorable riffs while playing for a reasonable three and a half minutes. Some noise is then thrown in at the end just in case you thought Nails might go easy on your ears.

As Nails tradition has it, the final song is longer and more experimental than the rest and They Come Crawling Back does not disappoint. At 8 minutes long it takes up a little over 1/3 of the album and is by far the longest song Nails have recorded by about 3 minutes. It starts out with a slow, desolate black metal guitar riff accompanied by the lo-fi distortion you’d expect from an early 90s album before thundering into life. Starting with lots of momentum, the song slows down and eventually enters into sludge metal territory that is spliced up with some guitar screeching to disorientate the listener and a few of the words are quietly spoken too.

If you are already a fan of Nails then You Will Never Be One of Us will not disappoint. For those wondering where to start with Nails then the longer playing time and improved song writing will make this album an ideal starting point. Nails haven’t changed that much so for the minor differences to add up to something significant it will be over the course of a few albums.

Performers:

Todd Jones: Vocals, guitars
John Gianelli : Bass guitar
Taylor Young: Drums

External Links:

Nails Homepage
Nails on Wikipedia
You Will Never Be One of Us on Wikipedia

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Nails Abandon All Life Review

General Information:

Artist: Nails
Album: Abandon All Life
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Grindcore
Released: 2013
Length: 17 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Southern Lord

Track List:

01. In Exodus
02. Tyrant
03. Absolute Control
04. God’s Cold Hands
05. Wide Open Wound
06. Abandon All Life
07. No Surrender
08. Pariah
09. Cry Wolf
10. Suum Cuique

Nails Abandon All Life Cover

Nails Abandon All Life Cover

Nails Abandon All Life Review

Abandon All Life is the second album by American grindcore band Nails. Three years on from their debut and Nails show no signs of slowing down as they ferociously hammer through another uncompromising batch of micro-songs.

There’s barely a moment to breathe and at 17 minutes long Abandon All Life is somehow as long as it needs to be. To demonstrate the direct and uncompromising mission statement from Nail you need not look any further than the 23 second vignette that is Cry Wolf. It is nothing but sheer auditory terror that also leads to the crux of the problem with this kind of song writing: it’s almost entirely forgettable because it is over before it starts.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t any talent here; it’s simply a case of beyond the raw intensity of their performance you will be hard-pressed to find much else.

With their intense anger, short blasts of chaos and lack of anything even remotely nuanced Nails are squarely on the caveman side of extreme music which will make Abandon All Life a welcome addition to any grindcore collection but for anyone anticipating an expansion on their foundation will be left to look elsewhere.

Performers:

Todd Jones: Vocals, guitars
John Gianelli : Bass guitar
Taylor Young: Drums
Andy Saba: Lead guitar

External Links:

Nails Homepage
Nails on Wikipedia
Abandon All Life on Wikipedia