Archive for the Riffs Category

Pick One: Blazing Eye – “Ways To Die”

Posted in Riffs with tags , on January 12, 2018 by Ben

LA-based hardcore punk. Vocals sound like Lemmy. Guitars rip, drums pummel, bass rattles. Y’all don’t need a dissertation.


Corpse Fungus: Tomb Mold – “Cryptic Transmissions”

Posted in Riffs with tags , on January 9, 2018 by Ben

Sometimes there is an itch that can’t just be scratched by traditional methods. The kind of itch that doesn’t require mild skin irritation, but gaping tears in your flesh and a carpet matted with blood. That itch is death metal and I’ve been gouging it out with Toronto’s own Tomb Mold.

Usually I don’t fall head over heels for any death metal band but Cryptic Transmissions has got me stumbling down the steps to my doom. Tomb Mold strike the perfect blend of horrific ambience, technical bravado and neolithic groove. It’s a gnarly, old-school feel that is further enhanced by the generous coating of scuzz on the mix that adds all of the requisite flavour but keeps the equally important fidelity intact.

These two tracks are great examples of how vibrant death metal can be. Songs that stretch out into the 6 or 7 minute run time but still manage to be captivating for the duration and don’t leave you with a headache from the blast beats and drum triggers. Packed full of stunning moments like the breakdown and distorted solo starting at 3:00 in “Blood Mirror” or the entire opening of “Chamber of Sacred Ootheca”.

Ultimately, this is a fucking excellent release from a fucking excellent band. Get it.


Rose-tinted Rearview: Celtic Frost – “Monotheist”

Posted in Riffs, Rose-tinted Rearview with tags , , , , , on January 4, 2018 by Ben

For this segment I’ll be going back over some albums that I consider to be influential in my evolution to a half-assed scumbag. I’ll give a little background and then see if they still hold up to more jaded ears.

Anyone who has been around heavy music for any length of time knows who Celtic Frost are. The legendary Swiss grandfathers of extreme metal have reached their influential tentacles deep into the minds of thousands of different musicians over their more than 30-year run.

My personal exposure to Celtic Frost came at the end of their run, with the last album to be released before the band finally called it quits. Monotheist was released in 2006 and was their first new album in 16 years. Not only had I never had any experience with Celtic Frost before this album, I hadn’t had any exposure to heavy music at all.

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Bloody Tides of Chaos: Tombstalker – “Black Crusades”

Posted in Riffs with tags on January 4, 2018 by Ben

Heavy metal and sci-fi/fantasy have long enjoyed the fruits of a mutual friendship, from the early influences of Tolkien on legendary rockers, to the sci-fi and fantasy zine literally called Heavy Metal. This is especially apparent in the numerous cosmic and demonic forces influencing a litany of various extreme metal groups, such as Kentucky’s own Tombstalker.

Released in 2015, Black Crusades chronicles a heretics path to glory with the dulcet tones of some burly fucking death metal. Confused? Let us refer to the Warhammer 40,000 Wiki for clarification on what exactly defines a Black Crusade;

A Black Crusade is a military campaign unleashed upon the Milky Way Galaxy when the Forces of Chaos manage to unite under the leadership of a powerful Champion of Chaos. They then proceed to launch a massive offensive from their base within the great Warp rift called the Eye of Terror against the worlds of the Imperium of Man.

You could write concept albums about Warhammer 40K for the rest of your life and not run out of material. While the 40K universe might get some flack for being exceptionally campy, I love the bloody and far reaching insanity that they throw together.

Tombstalker lean heavily into the faded black t-shirts of their Nordic forebearers, with a blast of trend-shucking brutality that will leave a kink in your neck and the seeds of destruction in your wake. Buzzsaw riffs, methodical mid-tempo pummelling and of course, some hair flailing solos are wrapped up into a neat package, wrapped with a bow of human bowel.

You can check out Black Crusades along with their earliest and newest EP’s at their Bandcamp below.


Or just headbang a bit and call it an early night, your call.

Tuesday Twofer: Jean Daddy & BEEF BOYS

Posted in Riffs with tags , , , on January 3, 2018 by Ben

It’s not Tuesday? Fuck off.

I’ve had these two bands slouching in my bookmarks for a while and decided to lump them into the same post based on geographic locations and the fact they both released new albums last November.

Jean Daddy – “Lets Ride, Boys!”

The man, the mystery, the messiah, Jean Daddy has bequeathed us their sophmore release, “Lets Ride, Boys!”. Eight new tracks of wailing guitars and lean grooves, conducted by the screeching charisma of the rock messiah himself.

Oddball punk rock that stutters left when you expect a right, smacking you around with an expired phonebook while taunting you out of reach. The tracks are brawny and mean, with no wasted space and plenty of dirt-nasty riffs, like the juicy midsection on “Bloody Mary”. A tightly-wound cohesive effort that will leave your neck sore by the closing.

$10 on Bandcamp.

You can catch them at The Horseshoe tomorrow night with Red LinesCosmic Death Ray and The Killer Wails.


BEEF BOYS – Melted Like a Witch

The garage/psych/punk revival is alive and well in this Peterborough-based trio’s debut LP, Melted Like a Witch. A collection of sweaty and raw bangers, showcasing a band with an excellent grasp of the illusive party groove.

Equally capable of shredding through the beers with punk rippers like “Motorcycle” or “Evil of Horses” as they are of leaning into the pedals and letting the riffs breathe like on “Golden Arches”, BEEF BOYS have birthed themselves a worthy entry into the growing renaissance of sleaze.

$10 on Bandcamp.

Catch them at Smiling Buddha this Friday with Heart Attack Kids, Not for Function and Substrata.

Tossin’ Back the Sherry: Drunk Mums – “Leather” / “Denim”

Posted in Riffs with tags on January 2, 2018 by Ben

Ever since finding Clowns last summer, I’ve been steadily uncovering new (to me) gems from the land down under. A whole world of raucous bangers has been fermenting under the blistering sun, giving me a solid stream of new material, like today’s example; Drunk Mums.

Rough ‘n’ tumble garage punk with deep hooks and raw choruses. You don’t over-analyse, you drink too much and spill a strangers drink. Down below you can find all of 2016’s Leather and two tracks from the upcoming Denim, which will be dropping on January 8th.


Two Pounds and a Pint: Wild Wing – “Doomed II Repeat”

Posted in Riffs with tags on December 28, 2017 by Ben

In the years I’ve been writing about music, I’ve come across a variety of genre mash-ups that had me scratching my head on paper but nodding it between headphones. Los Angeles’ Wild Wing is the newest addition to that and one of the odder combinations to boot.

“Doomed II Repeat” is the bands newest album that was released in March of this year. Across these seven tracks they weave together an esoteric mix of 80’s synth-punk, lo-fi garage rock and country. It’s a fluid blend, that defies straight categorisation and instead triggers gut feelings and subtle recognition.

It’s an addictive mix that makes the album fly by and has left me curious and wanting for more. I would have never expected a band to throw together these disparate influences in such a addictive way, it’s awesome.

Bile, Faeces, Phlegm: Xylitol – “…Is Toxic to Pigs??”

Posted in Riffs with tags , on December 23, 2017 by Ben

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener in many food and beverage products. It’s also the name of a nasty fucking gang of goblins that make a violent clattering and commit it to records.

Based in Olympia, Xylitol is a band who takes the old-school approach to heart, with no online presence and a Bandcamp description that’s a phone number for gig listings in the Pacific Northwest. That’s fucking legit man.

Their newest album, “…Is Toxic to Pigs??” was released in May of this year and is a gnarly montage of guttural shrieking and wailing guitar, nasty fucking goblin rock with human sinew in lieu of strings and literal skin on the drums.

Six tracks of nasty gutter punk, a soundtrack to innumerable spit-soaked mics and glass covered floors. It’s becoming more of a rarity to hear a punk vocalist who you wouldn’t want to fuck with just based on their voice but I would lump Xylitol into that cellblock in a heartbeat.

Loud, vicious, DIY bangers. If you’re close enough, go see them live. If not, get their shit on Bandcamp below.

The Canonization of…CLUTCH

Posted in Riffs, Saints of the Riff with tags on December 21, 2017 by Ben

Seeing as I run a half-assed hostel of worship, it stands to reason that there should be some Saints up there on the wall. So by the powers vested in myself, lets canonize some fuckers!

I almost don’t need to write anything for this. Clutch are the legendary grandpappies of stoner rock are still releasing some of the tightest rock albums out there after 20-odd years in the game. From their early macho shout-rock to drawn-out drunken jams to lean-cut hard rock, they are masters of the foot tapping, hoot-n-hollering GERDAMN ROCKNROLL!

Don’t believe me? Lets start digging.

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Posted in Riffs with tags , , , , , on December 10, 2017 by Ben

Another fucking year in the bag. Another turbulent, violent, distressing shitbag of a fucking downward spiral.

But hey, there were some solid bangers released this year, so lets get to those.

In one sentence or less.

Annnnnnnd contact.

Clowns – Lucid Again

A high-energy ripper that makes me feel like a damn teenager and gets me waxing nostalgic for fun summers at Warped Tour.

Pile – A Hairshirt of Purpose

An emotional gut punch of deceptive calms and cathartic swells.

Sheer Mag – Need to Feel Your Love

Big 70’s shred and contemporary ideals; every riff is crisp, every lyric sharp.

Wayfaring Strangers – Acid Nightmares

The historical masterpiece for mangy heshers and dirtbag thrashers the world over.

Cormorant – Diaspora

A masterful composition of bleak Nordic howls and progressive soundscapes.