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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Interview: The Chariot

The Chariot are touring the UK and, with so many stories of brutal past shows, you can almost sense Nottingham Rock City holding it’s breath. Holed up backstage in the semi-darkness, TNR finds Chariot bassist Jon Kinder, who we get introduced to simply as ‘Wolf’ by their enigmatic, cool-as-fuck front man, Josh Scogin. ‘Wolf’ seems somewhat preoccupied with his phone, possibly hacking his way into some secret government database… or texting his better half, but Josh is more than happy to field awkward questions whilst the support band do their damnedest to drown out his answers.

You’ve got a mad touring schedule this time around. How’s it going?
It’s going good. We actually did two full rotations of the US before we came over here so we’ve gone from, like, the 3rd of January, and we had like about three days off, but that’s why we’re in a band – to play shows.

That’s a heck of a schedule. And Australia next?
Yeah, Australia and then we’re gonna try and do Japan and China all back-to-back. We’re really excited.

Are you getting good reactions to the new songs?
Yeah, the kids seem to like it. The critics seem to be on board with this album as well which we’ve never really experienced before. We don’t really write music for them but it’s still kinda nice. I don’t know why but it’s good not to read negative stuff.

Have you got any favourite venues?
It’s difficult to answer that because I usually think of, like, the show. So the venue might be nitty and gritty but the show is so fun, you’ll be like “this place rules,” but if you just walked into it with no people there you’d be like “this place is wack.”

There must be some gigs where the fan-base always show up?
Definitely. Chain Reaction, Anaheim, California is definitely one of those. Atlanta, ‘cos it’s our hometown. Dallas, Texas, The Door – that place is always packed, always fun.

And tonight you appear to be in the same venue as a Viking metal band. Is that a first for you guys?
Josh: Not really. Where’s from? We’ve toured with them before. I guess they’re not Vikings but they dress up and everything.
Wolf (suddenly looks up): That same tour was with , so we’ve been… amongst… that… type. (Laughs)

You saw all the facepaint then?
Yeah, I saw the line and I thought I wish they were here for us!

You released your latest album, Long Live, a few months back – tons of feedback, polyrhythms aplenty. Was it the aim to make it as chaotic as that?
I don’t think it’s ever a pre-planned thing. It just happened as we were writing it. I think we all have A.D.D. or something. We get bored quick. So we move on. We don’t aim to chop it up or put in a pop song or put in a radio jingle. It’s just we have a riff and we play it and like it and then we get bored of it and then we throw in a radio jingle about Atlanta. Just different things to sort of shock the senses to keep us interested and hopefully keep the listener interested. Keep it fresh. No-one wants to hear me scream for 10 tracks. Even after we’ve recorded it we’ll chop songs in half for our live show or throw three different songs together to keep us on out toes.

The vocal aggression is pretty out there. It’s less gruff but more scathing. Was that the extreme effect you were going for – rough some skulls up?
I just kinda go with the music. I have a lot of cool lyrics floating around but, at the end of the day, it’s the music of that individual song that leads me to do what I do. The music speaks for itself and tells me how passionate or aggressive it needs to come. My screaming is a by-product. When I’m in the studio I just go for it. I don’t do punch-ins or anything, I usually just do one or two takes.

What kind of subject matter are you exploring on the album?
A lot of it ended up being like a ‘thank you’ record. It’s our fourth record and a lot of bands don’t make it that far, so it became like a grateful record, a very thankful record. Everyone who’s given us a place to stay, every person who’s taken care of us, everyone who’s come to a show, purchased a CD, whatever. And of course Long Live ties into that because it can be long live [insert name here] or whoever you wanna put at the end of that. We couldn’t do that without these people.

So the names on the album were there for that exact reason, hence the competition you ran?
Well we wanted to name five names that were real people who like our band, but how do you chose between them. So we literally had a small competition and whoever won they would be the ones that would represent. I mean, I wish we could have done a CD with a thousand titles and then we could name everybody.

So that begs the question how important you feel a song-title is and whether it should always marry to the lyrics?
Song-titles are very, very important to me. When I write lyrics that’s its own thing. I don’t necessarily need a title to cobble to that thing. I look at it as “here’s the lyrics – they can tell one story; here’s the title – that can tell another story.” On one of our previous albums, The Fiancée, all the song-titles go together to make a lyrical stanza – “Back To Back” “They Faced Each Other” “They Drew Their Swords” “And Shot Each Other.” It’s not like a pop record is with “here’s the chorus” and “here’s the title.” I really try to make those as important as the lyrics themselves.

You recorded it all live using magnetic analog tape. What was the thinking behind that?
Everything is just more natural that way. When we practice the songs we’re practicing them together, when we do them live we’re doing them all together, so when we do it in tracks it’s very… not natural, y’know? You’re trying to play guitar to this wave file. It’s fine but it’s just a lot easier to throw it all down together. You’re all looking at each other and we’re able to throw it down like that. It’s more natural, more organic, it’s just easier. Why would you practice the song, like, a 1000 times before you go in the studio and then separate everybody? Why did you do that? Now I’ve said that, we’ll probably never do it again. (Wry smile)

It’s actually pretty cool because there are all sorts of little oddities that pop up, like cleans and samples, in the mix. Was everything deliberate or were they things you only discovered afterwards?
Little bit of both. Certain things we wanted to make sure were in there and then other things happened by accident or in the middle of recording, like an idea. We were recording track four, “The City”… the whole ending was completely different when we were recording it and just out of nowhere someone said “I think we can make something better than that ending” and so we went in an fiddled around and within an hour we had a whole ending part. So we ended up tracking the song the next day and about 30/40 friends of ours gathered around a mic and when we got to that part they jumped into it. It’s kind of a one-way train – never look back. Very spontaneous, go with your gut instinct. I can’t even remember how the song used to go.

You talk about it being spontaneous but when you came to do the video for “David De La Hoz” you did it all in one shot. That must have taken a hell of a lot of planning. Hard to do?
It should have been really hard, but it wasn’t like a pre-conceived idea in the sense that we didn’t have a director come in with a budget or anything. We were literally sitting around one day eating and we were like, “well, we’re be recording the song live anyway so we should film it like that” – like “that’s the shot, that’s the one that we used.” So someone said “well it’s gonna be pretty boring watching us play live in one room so why don’t we put the drums in the kitchen?” and then someone said “oooh, well if we’re gonna do that, let’s do this and do this” and so it just ended up becoming it’s own entity. We were aware that at the end we could just hit delete and nobody would see it, so we weren’t worried or stressed or anything if it failed. So we got a friend in with a video camera and we walked him through it. An hour before we shot it we were still making monumental changes – “we should end outside”, “what we gonna do then?”, “well let’s have balloons” and then we changed the start so I say “release the balloons” and people are like “what’s that for?” and the reveal comes later. It was all very spontaneous. Somebody could have said “hit delete” at any time and we’d have done it and walked away. (Laughs) But ‘cos it was live, when we were done we could watch it immediately. It was like “this is awesome.” Even though the dude’s headphones fall off we were like “leave that, we don’t care about that.” It’s all part of it. It’s played by real humans, without robots, without ‘copy/paste’, without ProTools. It’s actually a very good representation of how the record came about and how we get bored and how we play live.

It is one thing I recommend to people, especially when we’re dicking about on YouTube – “You need to see this particular video. One take!”
Thank you. That’s awesome, man.

I’d love to know what kind of music you listened to growing up?
I was blessed with a father who listened to a lot of good music. He listened to a lot of classic rock, loved , . Not too trendy, but quality bands. I actually had a good palette to drive from. Because of that I listened to a lot of ‘performance’ bands – the James Browns, the ’s. Later, I got into some heavier stuff. Some , early . All the kind of bands you have to see live. Really, it just opened all the doors. Just because you recorded a record, doesn’t mean you have to sing those songs verbatim. When I looked to start a band, the roots that come from classic rock, even the motown stuff, the performances, that’s what I wanted to do. If you want to hear the record then go listen to that. It’ll be note for note perfect. That’s what a lot of the metal heads want. That’s not our band. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re trying to create a new moment, a new vibe, then and there.

And so because you are now in your own band where the performance is so key that people recommend you as a band you must catch live, does that make you proud?
Yeah, absolutely. Anytime anybody recommends what you do, it’s going to be humbling and flattering all at the same time.

Josh, thank you for talking to us.
Awesome. Thank you so much.

Also online @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/interviews/the-chariot

Gig Review = http://johnskibeat.blogspot.com/2011/03/gig-review-chariot-nottingham-rock-city.html

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gig Review: The Chariot - Rock City, Nottingham 19/3/11

Day three of the latest Chariot European tour, which itself is wedged in between their travails around North America and Australia. This is, clearly, one of the hardest working live acts out there so, although it’s still a privilege to witness them tear Rock City a new ass, the evening has this nagging air of inevitability about it. Me, them, bedlam. I’ll throw the horns at that.

Tonight, we are invaded by painted Vikings with plastic swords as the venue pits two tours against each other. Upstairs in the larger room we have and , the latter sounding oddly lacklustre without accordion-player Netta Skog but still well supported. Down in the dirty basement lurk the fiery hardcore kids who’ve come to see and . The former were certainly sounding pretty fucking heavy as I sat and tried to interview Chariot vocalist Josh Scogin over the mayhem, but now it’s later and we’re both stage-side watching bassist Jon ‘Wolf’ Kindler and drummer David Kennedy go through a series of warm-up exercises.

It’s the very first note in anger that we truly realise what we’re in for here. With stunned faces all around me, I watch as ‘Wolf’ turns and hurls his bass into the crowd, following it in to retrieve it just moments later. In all my years of gig-going, I’ve never seen someone do that on the first note. There wasn’t even a proper pit formed yet! From that point on, anything goes. The show becomes an absolute free-for-all and that’s just the way like it.

Describing this quintet’s music to a casual observer would be tough but (and please excuse my inexact grasp on the subject) I’d go for the words: Chaos theory. It’s exactly that. Sonically, on occasions, everything all hooks up and you can get a good neck workout, but the component parts (the periodic orbits if you will) all immediately split and go there separate ways just as quickly as they all came together and chaos ensues again. Visually, it’s exactly the same. There are moments when they are all face-front, hammering out their destructively cantankerous hardcore as a unit, but then one-by-one they all turn and start scaling furniture, jumping up wildly, yanking at their respective instruments, falling over. Chaos.

Two minutes later and the first mic has gone – torn from its lead and discarded. Scogin grabs hold of the backing mic, screams bloody murder into it until the drums cave and the guitars dig in, at which point he lobs it to the ground like it’s wronged him in a past life. “David De La Hoz” fires up and he frantically retrieves it only to loft it over the metal ducting above and swing it back and forth whilst he bellows into it with each pass. All around him, the rest of the band show similar disdain for their beloved equipment. More evidence of a life spent on the road. ‘Wolf’s bass, in particular, looks like it’s been stripped of its paint which, considering how often it goes over the barrier, is no surprise.

Kennedy is suddenly up and kneeling on his drumstool; his adjusted action bringing his elbows up high around his ears. A glance to the right and the seemingly omnipresent ‘Wolf’ has mounted the bar whilst below him Brandon Henderson is yanking his guitar up and down, back and forth; hurling himself into impossible shapes. Out front, the pit is small but violent, encouraged by Scogin’s exhortations that “tonight is all about being free” and how their new album, Long Live, is “a tribute to them”. Every now and then fans, some with cameras, begin to find the courage to join the band on stage, one lingering too long before an utterly overwhelmed member of security takes a small, pensive step forwards.

With an Orange amp either side of the drumkit (the bass sound tonight is mighty) there are several moments when it feels like the shockwaves may lift you off your feet. ‘Wolf’ is certainly enjoying it from his lofty perch on top of the speakers, freaking us out as he considers dangling from the glitterball overhead. A brief pause gives Scogin the chance to step front and centre and stare us down. “This has been my favourite show of the tour so far”, he says with a wry smile knowing that it’s only their third date. And with the line “from the first day of the tour people have been shouting for this song” we are thrust into the spasmodic heart of “Yanni Depp” – “NOVOCAINE!” we yell in unison and the huge, heaving breakdown is met by punching fists and flying feet.

By the end, the venue is laid to waste, the audience are ashen-faced and sweat-slicked from their efforts, the floor is littered with broken items, parts of the roof hang loose, an expensive-looking camera has taken a battering, clothing has been discarded at the corners and there, in the centre of the stage lies a mangled and lifeless microphone. All are symbolic of tonight’s wonderful, joyous, brilliant chaos.

Also online @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/show-reviews/the-chariot-nottingham-uk

Friday, March 25, 2011

Album Review: Cavalera Conspiracy – Blunt Force Trauma

Is it me or are and albums slowly morphing into one another, becoming indistinguishable, both absorbing that old output of clichéd lyrics loaded with call-and-response chorus keywords, pedal-to-the-metal groove, death-edged vocals and blistering stringwork? I know about the odd differences in personnel and equipment, as well as CC’s thrash gearing compared to ’s tendency to get all conceptual on us, but if you blindly play any Cavalera album these days, like Omen, like Arise (yes, I really am dragging in here) and now, this, Blunt Force Trauma you’d probably have a job working out which band’s disc is spinning.

While I await your wrath at even daring to suggest such a thought, can I just point out that it doesn’t really matter who the band is. It’s that patented Cavalera sound and I can’t think of many finer things to be listening to than that. It may sometimes feel like a conveyor belt of clones but it’s Max fucking Cavalera, plus either the guitar god Marc Rizzo and/or drumming fiend Iggor “Two G’s, please” Cavalera too, so who gives a shit? You are holding a blueprint that hasn’t only proved successful once, it’s hit the jackpot three fucking times – and that’s not including !

Interestingly, Max himself, in wanting to make a really intense album, sees this not as a pooling of his own bands but one that draws on the hardcore angst of and the dastardly thrash of – a move that he thinks will make their debut album Inflikted “sound like pop music” (has he forgotten about Joe Duplantier’s ear-mashing role on that one already?). It does, though, lead me to excitedly gesticulate at the fact that Roger Miret () opens up his lungs on “Lynch Mob” – the first halved-beat chorus being the exact point when this album really takes off. Along with “Killing Inside” these form full-blown thrashcore tracks that sound more like does with all the associated beatdowns, chugs, industrial elements and mind-blowing string-bends. Both have astonishing, suckerpunch choruses that will shatter your perceptions of what this band are capable of when they really let loose.

Also consider the moments of pure meets adrenaline where the sick speed-shred utterly dominates tracks like “Thrasher”, “Rasputin” and “Target” which rip a path of chaos through the whole album. Having said that, there’s probably still one too many moments where that Cavalera blueprint is in use – the still catchy-as-hell “Warlord”, the expletive-loaded “Torture” and the bruising title-track for instance. They are heavy enough but, sadly, sound all too familiar with Max’s stylized, staccato delivery and Rizzo’s armpit guitar shreds dominating everything. If you look closely enough I reckon you could spot the edges of the molds they’ve been cut from.

Basically, what we have here is heavy metal fine-tuned to fuck you up. The glorious, loin-curdling battery of the instruments will draw you into the pit and the primitive vocal will easily get you wailing. It’s got a little bit of everything thrown in – standard metal clichés for the mindless (“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I feel no fear”, “eye for an eye” and, best of all, a whole string of them together for “blunt force trauma, violence disorder, suicide bomber, now you in a coma”) and war-chants for the angry to get their pump on to (“Torture, motherfucking torture” and “I speak hate, do you understand?, I speak hate”). On top of all this carnage, Rizzo has some mind-blowingly cool stuff to play to you, from those key (yet suddenly generic) faux-feedback whips, fingerboard-taps and echoing, proggy sections, right up to technical and neo-classical riffs and solos that simply defy belief.

There are some tracks here that are already my absolute Cavalera favorites but, if you consider the aforementioned regurgitated / material and the actual album’s full running time of 34 minutes, I can’t hand-on-heart demand that you splash the cash on this. Due to the panic-stricken pace of what’s on show, that half-hour goes by in a flash. There are definitely little glimpses of genius here but we are aching now to see more of thinking outside the box, and not just when they draft in a guest or go apeshit with a Flag or Sabbath cover (Extended Edition? – get some).

Also online (with 30-sec samples) @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/cavalera-conspiracy-blunt-force-trauma

Friday, March 18, 2011

Article: Tips For New Bands

This article may be a straight-shooter but it's an absolute godsend for helping small bands survive, thrive and succeed.

It finally cuts through all the bullshit and tells you what you needed to hear all along. Live by it.

Article link = http://thenewreview.net/blog/tips-for-new-bands-or-how-to-impress-us

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Album Review: Funeral For A Friend - Welcome Home Armageddon

It’s 2005 and Funeral For A Friend are a band on top of their game. They’ve crept up and stunned us with their debut album and followed it up with a wodge of incredible live shows and a, supposedly difficult, second album that, if anything, makes our hearts beat even more rapidly. Fast-forward to the present day and, following the double cardiac arrests that two uninspiring, sterile album releases represent, and with guitarist Darran Smith following bassist Gareth Davies out the door, they now appear to be a band on the critical list. There is but one glimmer of hope, a faint pulse, that I, personally, clung onto before I span this latest effort, and that was that last year’s fan-funded EP definitely felt more urgent, passionate, grittier. To see a couple of tracks from it lurking on Welcome Home Armageddon is not necessarily a bad thing then.

Well I’m happy to report our patient is out and about and doing well. It’s softer and more subtle, but the 44-second guitar intro ‘This Side Of Brightness’ evokes the opening to the magnificent ‘History’ from their 2005 album Hours. Thinking about it, it’s a little stroke of genius and it sets you up for reminiscing fondly on times when FFAF albums used to weld themselves to our souls with triumphant melodics, containing both smooth and rough edges, and addictive lyrics delivered with feeling. The following track here, ‘Old Hymns’ disconcertingly speaks those thoughts back at us – “I used to mean something to you, but I turned and left you in the cold”. Spooky, no?

There’s no doubting there are instant big-hitters here but what marks this album out as a giant step up is the switch of anaemic filler for angry, slow-growers; complex song structures that worm their way slowly into your brain and end up surpassing the instantaneous high of the single releases. In the former camp, you have tracks like ‘Sixteen’, a soaring pop-laced anthem with plenty of top-end guitar noodling, ‘Front Row Seats To The End Of The World’, a glorious marriage of screams and cleans, and the rock punch of ‘Aftertaste’. Opposite them, you’ve got the intricate webs that are weaved by the spasming ballad ‘Owls (Are Watching)’, ‘Spinning Over The Island’s threaded grunt and the superlative 5-minute title-track with its multiple personalities.

Yes, the god-awful, faux-American drawl of Matt Davies-Kreye pops up every now and again and goads the guitars into riding roughshod over the softer tracks, but those moments are few and far between. It was probably inevitable when you consider the amount of aggression that the band have thrown at this album. Thankfully, with added angst comes added variety and this is exemplified by the skidding metal bursts lurking in ‘Spinning Over The Island’ and the speed-demon ‘Broken Foundation’ with its explosive guitar solo. If you also take into consideration the fact that Funeral For A Friend are already the undisputed kings of vocal harmonies and suddenly you’re talking about a band that can, again, not only look their peers in the eyes but can once more inspire them. Yes, it’s just one album but, put into context, it’s going to mean the world to a whole lot of people. Welcome home, FFAF.

Also online @ The Line Of Best Fit = http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/2011/03/funeral-for-a-friend-welcome-home-armageddon/

Monday, March 14, 2011

Album Review: Weedeater – Jason…The Dragon

Here we have a band that literally shot themselves in the foot. Okay, it was a whole year ago and it was just vocalist/bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins who pointed his shotgun in the wrong direction when cleaning it, but it’s such a brilliant anecdote I can’t help but compulsively titter when I think of ol’ Nine-Toes “Dixie”.

More of a shot in the arm than a shot in the foot, Jason…The Dragon is the North Carolina sludge-monster’s fourth album and it pretty much picks up where their last release, God Speed And Good Luck, left off. Like its predecessor, its core is composed of the heaviest, brain-crushing dissonance. Fat bass collides with guitar strikes that seem to decompose the millisecond they are released. If you were being unfair, you’d say it sounded like a never-ending row of farting cows; you can almost picture their wet pats hitting and sliding down the walls in great thick clumps. Then, as before, amongst doom-laden rock plods like “Hammerhandle”, “Long Gone” or “Turkey Warlock” you’ll suddenly come across gentle, acoustic country-boy numbers like “Whiskey Creek” bloated with plucking banjo and the sound of pouring rain or the abhorrent needle clicks and insanely burbling vocal of the repetitious “Palms of Opium”; tracks that seem diametrically opposed to their neighbors. This isn’t so much sludge as it is stoner rock blasted through with noise, as much country as it is doom-infected Americana.

“Mancoon” is definitely a highlight, rich with rumbling drums and gurgling riffage; the tone may be disconcertingly unvarying, but the chorus will be enough to get even the coldest of souls nodding gently along. That and the false-starting slow build of the thundering title-track with its scathing vocal delivering comedically blunt lyrics (“I’m right behind you, you smell like fuck”) are enough to make this an album worth holding onto.

Having said that, you’ll find as you progress through, that it all appears very difficult to get to grips with, like they’ve been smoking one of their song-titles, and yet the full extent of its eccentricities (don’t even get me started on the befuddling hidden track) only become apparent once the final piece locks into place. Even without this filler material (ahem) shooting itself in the foot, the running-time would be a little mean. It may not be the prettiest of albums then but, trust me, it’ll grow on you. That’s not to say you’ll end up loving it like one of your own. Jason…The Dragon is quite possibly the redneck second cousin you think is quite cool, but are never allowed to speak of.

Also online @ The NewReview (with track samples) = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/weedeater-jason-the-dragon

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Free Album Stream: Funeral For A Friend - Welcome Home Armageddon

Funeral For A Friend are set to release their fifth studio album ‘Welcome Home Armageddon’ on 14th March It's an album that vocalist Matt Davies-Kreye has described as “a fist in the face followed by a kiss on the cheek” and it is now streaming in its entirety pre-release at www.facebook.com/funeralforafriend. Produced by previous collaborator Romesh Dodangoda, the band homed in on the essence of their new material in a way which would present the new tracks as being as true to their live show as possible. The result of this approach will no doubt send shivers down the spine of many a FFAF fan.

Keep an eye out for my full review on this blog... it's due any day now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Album Review: Kvelertak - Kvelertak

’s debut album has been kicking up a storm in Europe since the middle of last year, with U.S. fans catching only a faint backdraft of hearsay about these killer Norwegian punks every now and then. Finally, this month, it gets a proper North American release (and accompanying tour) and, for those of you who like big, brash, abrasive music and haven’t yet heard it, this is going to blow you away.

What this all means is I get another chance to big up one of the surprise debut albums of last year. I could start by using this space to remind you of all the other newbies you may have missed around the same time; folks like England’s or Sweden’s or even the stunning shot in the arm that Quebec’s presented us with, but that would be remiss of me.

This is all about six different blokes, with six different music tastes, making incredibly bruising punk and hardcore music, riddled with rock n’ roll affectations, that will have you name-checking straight-up noisy bastards like and one minute, and Bison B.C. the next, before you move on to, say, and , then and . To be honest the list of bands that this lot remind me of, in turns, is endless.

One thing is for sure – the album benefits from being dialed up until you can feel the bass rattling your brain (at which point the old dude downstairs will start using his broom-handle to redecorate his ceiling). Don’t stop, keep turning it up until the drums start to make your teeth chatter (the dogs in the neighborhood should now be barking in unison). Basically you want it up where the scorched vocals of Erlend Hjelvik start to peel the wallpaper from the walls and the cops start hammering down your door. If you can hear it cave-in as the battering ram connects, it ain’t loud enough.

Put simply, Kvelertak, an apt Norwegian word meaning stranglehold, has thick meaty grooves, is ripped through with buzzing power chords and is bathed in an all-encompassing, scathing screamo. Within the melee, you’ll catch hints of something else, maybe stoner or black metal (“Liktorn”, I’m looking at you) and this leads to the album stretching out, getting steadily more epic as it progresses. The lyrics, all in their native language, generally explore the subjects of Norse folklore, tradition and mythology that are specifically related, playfully, back to members of the band. Hell, you won’t understand them anyway and you won’t care a jot. When they sing about the time when Bjarte forgot to pick Erlend up from band practice, you’ll be kicking seven shades of shit out of your own bedroom wall.

As they did with their early demos, they’ve again rounded up a few friends to help out, dragging in guest appearances from Andreas Tylden (JR Ewing), Hoest (Taake) and Ryan McKenney (). You’ll get to hear Nattefrost () spitting blackened venom into “Fossegrim” as the band behind him spew out a volley of rock n’ roll, all bent up with wickedly catchy, riffed licks. You’ll marvel as Ivar Nikolaisen (Silver) roars bloody murder at “Blodtørst” and listen in stunned silence as the band proceed to pound him into submission with a bass-driven force that magically splits open to reveal some warping, acoustic stringwork that tips its stained hat at . And yet they are so much more. “Sultans Of Satan” is just one example – it’s a harum-scarum gang-chanted plod that flowers into a transparently melodic and fantastically addictive chorus, yet has a whole, brazenly psychedelic, nakedly old-school, cavalcade of material to follow that fleshes it out to bursting point.

This is live music bottled – I’d swear you can actually smell the smoke pouring from the cabs. You get this sense that every single band member is bouncing off the walls, and each other, as they play. It may be that bit too raw or too base for some but, for those with a strong constitution, you’ll be aping the band’s energy levels and, by the end of the relatively-reserved nod-a-thon that is final track “Utrydd Dei Svake”, you’ll be staring in awe at Baroness’ John Dyer Baizley’s superb artwork, frantically flipping it over in a fruitless search for lyrics to join in with, and panting and sweating just as vehemently. And that won’t even be the end; both a blessing and a curse – value for money generally adds on a pair of love-handles. All the same, this new release features a heap of, even-more unhinged and somewhat swarthier, BBC session and demo versions of the tracks within. Oh boy, are you in for a treat, America.

Also online with samples @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/kvelertak-kvelertak