Album Review: Hydromedusa – S/T LP

Hydromedusa so metal, they make Ozzy Osborne finally shit out that bat’s head that he swallowed 20 years ago! OOOOOHHHHH! Hydromedusa so metal, Lars Ulrich started his campaign against file sharing again just to spite them out of any cash they might earn! HEEEEEEEEEYYYOOOO! Hydromedusa so metal, Mike Myers decided to digitally remove Alice Cooper’s scene from ‘Wayne’s World’ and replace him with Hydromedusa! BOOOOOOOM!

I can keep doing these all fucking day man, honestly, it’s a non-issue. As long, as I’ve got Hydromedusa in my life, and their sludgy riffs are slushing around in mostly-empty cavern of a skull, then I’ll be dimwittedly repurposing Yo Mama jokes with metal references. Hydromedusa are sick, and attempting to get #Hydromedusasometal trending on the blogosphere is the least I could do. Actually, the least I could do would be to immediately stop making jokes and write a few doggamn words about how good they are. So, I’ll probably do that, hey.

Take your mind back to when Black Sabbath and Motorhead were at their most debauched and demented. When a dozen lines of speed and a sacrifice to an Aztec demi-god was considered an acceptable substitute for the morning coffee? Well, take that manic pose, and strike it in the middle of Adelaide. The City of Churches is well known for pumping out its fair share of darker material (Wireheads, Rule of Thirds, Danny Whitten’s Veins), but Hydromedusa take it to a more eccentric and obvious level. They play like it’s their mission to overcome Kyuss’ legacy, and they’re not afraid to show it either. The riffs Hydromedusa play are peeled from the residue of a cone-piece, and tendrils of smoke linger with menace. They’re deadly, pungent, decadent, dripping in a slow-grinding fervour that makes the butterflies in my stomach begin to thrash and headbang with almost the same zeal as my own fucking cranium.

An album of simple, plunging riffs is something that can quickly turn into Deep Purple territory, but Hydromedusa are careful to tread that line with interjections where it appears like the Dark Lord himself is making an appearance in the recording studio. The thundering opening of “Company Man” is as close to riding out of the gates of Hell as we’ll come. The maelstrom of “Bells” sears the flesh with the same flame that wrought Sleep and High On Fire. And “Wintertime Blues” whips and cracks with an unrelenting fury, an impeding force of metallic churning and guitar solos alight with embers stoked from Satan’s own coffee machine.

Hydromedusa may ape their idols, but that’s okay, because they’re bringing the same ball-crunching, spleen-splitting, eye-gouging, tongue-wrenching, soul-consuming, body-engulfing spirit that made their heroes deliver such good music. They’re metal, in a traditional sense, and Australia can occasionally feel sparse in that regard. If ever the time calls for some boiling sludge that occasionally explodes into vitriolic gashes of metal that looks over its shoulder, reach no further than this Hydromedusa record.

Grab it from Hydromedusa’s Bandcamp here, available now through Tym Records.

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New: God K – SUPERFORCE

The second release from new label EXXE Records is a creature dredged from a forgotten swamp where The Cramps and Kyuss spent one fateful night together. On the one hand, God K is as foreboding as anything taken from an EyeHateGod record, but the vocals are lathered in some fritzy camp, half-shouted, half-regurgitated for your ears to try and untangle.

God K work best when they are just completely unleashing their sonic depravity. Tracks like “Bionic Man”, “Copycat Killer” and “Superforce” are classic rock power chords wrapped in enough muscled reverb to kill the average Swervedriver nerd. They exist in a sludgy universe where everything is askew and thuggish, and God K are pretty much the only friend that you have. Hazy and demented, God K are like a version of The Cheshire Cat that’s gotten incredibly into Beat Happening’s “Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive”, and this EP exists as a token of their whirring, snarling brilliance.

God K are playing a kickass show at The Union Hotel in Newtown on March 19th, with Broadcasting Transmitter and Melon  Melon Melon.

Top 5 Records w/ Narrow Lands

Although from an outsider’s perspective Narrow Lands look like a couple normal dudes, their music is probaby the heaviest, most brutal and sludge-tastic shit this side of the Melvins’ in their heyday. Music does not come any more terrifically black and bubbly, as horrifying riffs implode over bass lines thicker than the biceps of Danzig.

After seeing them a little over a week ago, and having my ears begging for mercy yet again, I had to ask their guitarist Alan Power about his favourite brutal records. Here they are, in all their glory:

Theme: Top 5 Most Intense Records

Preface: I could have cheated and gone for the black metal and hardcore stuff in my iTunes library that I never listen to but have tried to keep it real and only list stuff I actually listen or listened to regularly that’s had a vague influence on Narrow Lands. Ivan and Lee are probably better placed for this kinda list because they’re into way heavier fucked up shit than I am but Lee’s moving overseas and Ivan’s already programmed Rage so fuck those guys! My list!

WHORES – MOB REALITY The reason we have a song called Whores Rule. This 7″ is such an ugly, mongrel grind of a thing, I love it. Shitted that I never got to see them live, by the time I realised they were a thing they’d already pretty much petered out. Shaun Prescott said: “There are many bands that try their very hardest to be ugly, and horrible, and confronting, but Whores just kinda effortlessly are.”

 

ZOND – S/T This record is so dense and relentless, it kinda sounds like two or thee bands playing over the top of each other most of the time. This was my favourite record for about 2 years. Saw them at the Opera House for that Lou Reed noise night thing a few years back, they filled that place with the best sound I’ll ever hear at the Opera House. I didn’t even stick around for Lou Reed, figured that nothing was likely to top ZOND. Probably should have stuck around for Lou, really. Meh.

 

GIRLS PISSING ON GIRLS PISSING – EELING Man this record is depressing, I only ever listen to it when nobody’s in the house and I’m doing the dishes. It’s got all these heavy, droning horns, droning group vocals and a constant minor key weirdness, like Lakes meets Bathory meets a bunch of hypnotised satanists.

 

SWANS – NOT HERE NOT NOW We all saw Swans down at ATP in 2013 and it fucked me up forever. Half way through I pretty much had my head on Andrew’s shoulder, sobbing, thinking “fuck my band sucks! we’re hacks!” in the same voice as Wayne and Garth doing “We’re not worthy!” for Alice Cooper. It was about 50 degrees in that horrible big sports shed and Swans were the most immersive, intense thing I’ve ever seen or heard. Every band after them sucked that day, including Godspeed and MBV. ESPECIALLY Godspeed and MBV. In ‘Coward’, where he sings “stick your knife in me” I thought he was singing “stick around for a while” which seemed like a creepy thing to repeat in a song. Then when I realised that’s not what the words are, I semi-plagiarised my mis-heard version and used it in one of our songs. And that’s the way you write songs, kids.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e7eL3MT9Ng

SNAKEFACE – OBERON I went to high school in Blayney NSW, which isn’t far from Oberon. Both towns seemingly locked into an unofficial arm-wrestle over the prize for bleakest, coldest shit-hole every winter. I went to a “Maths Olympiad” day in Oberon where we were in this freezing school hall all day and I kept on going over to the urn to get free cups of International Roast coffee to try and warm up but it just made me need to piss all day and then my feet got so cold I couldn’t really feel them and by the end of the day I was twitching, shivering, numb, dehydrated and full of hate for Oberon. This album reminds me of that day.

Album Review: Narrow Lands-Popuar Music That Will Live Forever

a2557447284_2 Okay, so type Popular Music into your little Google Search bar, and it’ll probably come up with Rihanna and Drake and all that other shit. Type Popular Music Of All Time, you’ll get something like Elvis and Madonna and The Rolling Stones. Now, type Popular Music That Will Live Forever into the search bar, and you’ll stumble upon a little known sludge band from Sydney called Narrow Lands. Their debut 8-track LP is more brutal than being fucked with scissors, and their sound is like Cancer Bats x EyeHateGod, or Refused getting tied down in a torture chamber by The Jesus Lizard.

Although those are some pretty damned dark descriptions, Narrow Lands are fucking fun to listen to. Going through ‘Popular Music That Will Live Forever’, you’re jaw will drop multiple times until its a useless item of skin and teeth crawling along the floor. The album is unbelievably brutal, scathing in every sound and scorching in every riff.

 

For those that have been skipping daintily along to the likes of Maroon 5, probably not a good idea to listen to this album. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to sludge, because that is way fucking better than whatever audible sewage is being pumped throughout your ear vessels. But start with Kyuss or something. However, for those initiated in the ways of the mud-lined oozing hardcore, Narrow Lands couldn’t be more perfect.

Opener ‘Triple J Drive Time Hit’ sets the tone perfectly, blood-curdling bass and guitar screaming intermittently over a simple snare, until the growling turns into a gargantuan ape-squeal, more soul-crushing in nature than being rejected by (shock, horror!) a woman. However, things only get better on the following track ‘Whores Rule’, a belter that doesn’t stop pulverising your mind. Both a nod of respect to local heroes Whores and a savage takedown on corporate fuckery.

Oh no, the beat-down doesn’t stop there, lyrically or musically. ‘Blue Blood’ turns things up to 11, a fucking mental sweating song that vomits noise everywhere like that douchebag that invited himself to your 18th birthday party. This song caresses harrowing viciousness like I cradle a bundle of newly heated nachos, and the bloodshot guitar really shows itself off int this track to a truly magnificent extent. And you couldn’t forget the eight-minute closer ‘Invitation’, which, funnily enough, welcomes you into a swarming cloud of Swans-like content that will swallow you up, and burn all your other favourite artists to the ground.

Maybe its because I listened to this album right as I started going through a massive sludge/hardcore phase again (thanks to Batpiss and METZ last night for that), but Narrow Lands especially stick out in my mind as something that every self-respecting hardcore punk fan should own. Their music is dirty and vile, and just the way we shitheads like it. But ‘Popular Music…’ also manages to be diverse, switching between full-fledged brutality and self-assured noise meanderings. When you can listen to all of that without even the concept of being bored crossing your mind, you know you’ve found one hell of a band.

You can score the record at the Tenzenmen Bandcamp here, for $20 or $5. Isn’t the guise of choice wonderful?

Album Review: Milkmaids-Heavy Sleeper

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Warning: Play this loud, or shut the fuck up about how you’re so into Metal. Go put on ‘Lulu’ by Metallica, and cry yourself to sleep. If you’ve ever found yourself saying, ‘I don’t know, I think ABBA were a better 70’s band than Motorhead’, then first of all, who the fuck are you, and secondly, this album is not for you.

Alright, so the get to boring shit out of the way so I can get stuck into how fucking great this record is. Milkmaids are from Sydney, they play something like if The Melvins were fucking He-Man’s biceps (aka just a huge fucking sludge metal sound) and not much else is known about them. In that regard, Milkmaids are like the Batman of Sydney’s underground scene: mysterious, covered in black shit and more frightening  than a a blowjob from Jaws.

Literally, ‘Heavy Sleeper’ is one of the finest heavy records I’ve heard all year, and I’ve been listening to Converge and Kvlertak like those bands are about to be wiped from the Earth’s memory. Of course, this seems like a weird statement to make in lieu of all the fantastically bombastic releases the world has unleashed upon our timid minds. Deafheaven? A new one from Black Sabbath? ‘Pools’ from locals Zeahorse? Surely, this can’t top them all? But like the last 10 minutes of every sports movie ever, Milkmaids come in at the final moment, pumped full of steroids and juicing to tear off the opposing teams ligaments, to win the game.

‘Monolith’ is the first taste in the record that shows what kind of onslaught the listener is in for. Although it is the second track, and the opener did a fine job of introducing the concept of Milkmaids, it is ‘Monolith’ that carries the torch of gargantuan riffs and a devilish good time. Unlike the aforementioned Zeahorse, (who I’ll admit have the tied first best Australian heavy release of 2013), Milkmaids show they do like to get a little loose on the classic metal side of things instead of experimentingand finding failures. Atom-splitting shredding is introduced are whilst the thickets slabs of meaty bass riffs this side of Sabbath continue to pound away at the mind with unrelenting fervour.

This sort of unhinged badassery that makes you want to start a motorcycle club called ‘The Bad MotherFuckers’ continues throughout the record with unapologetic exuberance. Seriously, listening to songs like ‘Forgot to Think’ and ‘Up In Smoke’ will make you want to hijack a red Corvette, and rip across the middle of nowhere with a Cancer Bats record thrashing and Lemmy Kilmister actually throwing up into your ear, hair mole scratching your eyelids and all. And shorter tracks like ‘Garden’ and ‘Caveman’, well, if you thought those were let-ups on the onslaught, think again as its like a combination of QOTSA’s first record being given a re-work by Rob Zombie and chewed up by the finest fiends of hell.

Although one can go on and on about the vicious delectableness of ‘Heavy Sleeper’, the gargling concoction of bottomed out stoner rock with blacker-than-black bubbling sludge gives Milkmaids the advantage of satisfying the listener within the first few minutes of the record. Now, the ability to continue and maintain such a bastian of hellish and delightful sounds for nearly 40 minutes…that’s a feat that one can only look at with slack-jawed admiration. Final bit of advice: listen to this record. Fucking. Loud.

You can grab Milkmaids record for $8 off their Bandcamp here. The only reason you wouldn’t do this is if you like Fleet Foxes, in which case, how the fuck did you make it to the end of this article? Finally, Milkmaids are playing their final show of 2013 at The Square. GO TO IT! Unless you’re not the sort of person into having their mind blown. In which case, fuck you.

Gig Review: Zeahorse

artworks-000058413166-or9bxs-t500x500Friday 1st November @ Club 77

Zeahorse are the kind of band you would never take your Mum to. Their sound is unique as fuck, a brutal amalgamation of punk, hardcore, sludge and metal.They’re loud, noisy and sound as though Violent Soho’s corpse was taken through a wood-chipper operated by Kyuss. Their sound is unique as fuck, a brutal amalgamation of punk, hardcore, sludge and metal. If Eyehategod had a baby, its best mate would be Zeahorse. If Tom Morello, Henry Rollins and Geezer Butler started a band, they’d probably sound exactly like Zeahorse. Do you understand what I’m trying to say here? Zeahorse are really fucking great. And they’re at their best when they’re playing live.

Which is precisely what I found myself doing on that Friday night. Whilst my compatriots made their way to Soho Bar to dance to Lil’ Wayne and co., I headed out to Club 77. Now, if you haven’t been to Club 77 before, you’re in for a real treat. This place is about as authentic as one can go. Buried in a basement on Williams Street, between the Cross and the City, Club 77 is like those biker clubs from the 70’s that you always heard about but never went to. It is like an oasis, crowded between two of the busiest sections of nightlife that Sydney has to offer. Everything is dark and dingy, bathed in a devilish red light. When you walk in, a pungent smell, (not a bad smell, just strong) hits your nose like the gasoline fumes from a Chopper. I felt like I would run into Bruce Willis or Lemmy. This place was the genuine badass article. And it’s where Zeahorse were playing.

Now, although I missed Narrow Lands (a very regrettable decision on my part), I did manage to catch the brilliant No Art, a band that has the unique ability to always be playing live whenever I have absolutely no chance of seeing them, like some sort of drone-y leprechaun. However I caught the fucker this time round, and shower me with gold they did. Their music is swirling and disturbing on record, but in a live setting, you can’t help but feel a certain affinity with their music. Don’t worry, it doesn’t lose any of its nihilistic steel and splintering edginess, but it feels more like that cool goth chick at school who you always wanted to hang out with, rather than this super-cool entity of post-punk genius waaaaayy out of your league. If you’re keen for some overloads of musical goodness, check out ‘Dead Arm’, you won’t regret it.

After No Art had performed their duties of wowing us into silence and gratitude, Zeahorse came on to alight the stage with a noxious intensity. From that opening chord of the set, the unmistakeable clang of ‘Pool’, the audience’s brains were torn apart. Listening to Zeahorse in their natural environment was like being earfucked by a hellbeast. I felt like David Attenborough watching some lions, admiring the predatorial beauty of a band that could dole out killer riffs that would slash you apart in equal lengths with encouraging, amiable spaces of music.

Don’t get me wrong, the whole set from start to finish was a fucking onslaught of the senses, like dipping your mind in a vat of the bubonic plague, and watching in fascination as it turned into something ethereal and otherworldly, brought on by something that probably shouldn’t exist. Except the bubonic plague killed a fuckload of people, and everyone that crowded into Club 77 that night had their jaw on the floor, simply gobsmacked at the sounds and intensity of the sounds that pulverised our ears. I’ll say it again, one minute your headbanging like a rocking horse taking its first hit of heroin on ‘Onion’, next thing you know, you’re slowly grooving your hips to ‘Kathie’s Makeover’. The closer of ‘Career’, with its ‘One Inch Man’-ish bass-line and furious energy, was a particular blistering part of the set, shaking the crowd’s heads into a frothing mass of ecstasy.

To conclude, if you are any sort of self-respecting fan of the heavier stuff, you should already know and love Zeahorse as much as I do. If you’re ever in the need to be overwhelmingly entertained, and Zeahorse are in town, fucking go. Zeahorse are more insanely good that butter on toast at 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning, and that is a fucking fact.