Category Archives: Riffs

Dank Tones: Steinsopp – “Steinsopp”

Steinsopp are a psychedelic rock band from Norway. I think their name is the Norwegian word for the Boletus edulis mushroom but I could be wrong. They write some dank fuckin’ riffs.

One might ask, “But what are dank riffs?” and one might answer, “I have no fucking idea, its just a word that sounds cool”. Or you might say that these dank riffs are like huffing from a bag of high-grade greenery, filling up your senses with that sweet, cloying, godly smell of sticky green bundles.

This is old-school riff worship, with huge guitarss, laid-back drums and gallons of distortion. King-ranch riffs, wafting their way out like so many heavy clouds of smoke. A lot of bands try to sound like they have patina and don’t quite make it all the way, these guys sound genuinely crunchy, like they were actually pressed in the 70’s, not just digitally altered to try and sound that way.

This whole album sounds goddamn amazing. It strikes the perfect balance of distortion and clarity, with some of the best vintage tones for miles around. These songs are textured like the best of 70’s fashion. No polyester or pleather, just rough-spun denim, heavy cotton and corduroy.

Listen below and find your own copy on Bandcamp.

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Mystery Meat: Ninjaspy – “Spüken”

Ninjaspy is a three-piece hybrid metal band from British Colombia that I was jocking in high school but had kinda faded from my memory in years past. I remember getting hooked on their music from the quick-stepping genre changes, brutal (at the time) grooves and bombastic energy filling every track. However, as my tastes changed and attentions shifted, I found them getting in the rotation less and less.

To a “traditional” listener of heavy music, these guys probably come across as odd or gimmicky. Their style borrows heavily from System of a Down and Dillinger Escape Plan, blending crazy style changes mid-song with deep breakdowns and sometimes random sounds. It’s a big ol’ pot of mystery gumbo, odd looking from afar but more than capable of taking your taste buds on a pleasant, if strange, journey.

This was their sound on the album I discovered, 2007’s “Pi Nature” and is more or less the same kind of sound you’ll find on their newest album, “Spüken”. The tap-dancing genres and nomadic grooves have become both more abstract and more polished at the same time. Stepping back and looking at the different parts of the song individually, you might think that the combination will be distasteful but once you get into the meat of the track, you can’t help but have a smile on your face through the whole song.

Tracks like “Shuriken Dance” and “What!?!?” show the band plowing through some pretty audacious combos that I can’t help but slam dance in my chair to. Purists might cringe but to an average dirt-worshipper such as myself, “Spüken” is a refreshing blast of fun and creativity.

You can find “Spüken” on Bandcamp. Listen below and see what you think.

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Cheap Shots: Lies – “Abuse/Plague”

I’ve had this bookmarked for so long I forgot where I found it. So here’s a quick, dirty dump of some healthy d-beat thrash.

Lies are the band, “Abuse” and “Plague” are the albums. This collection was released in July of 2016 and is split with their newest album, “Plague”, which runs from tracks 8 to 15 and their debut album, “Abuse”, which runs from track 1 to 7. None of these tracks stray past the 2 minute mark, making this a furious but concise listen.

Both are vile fucking circle pits of harsh noise, reptilian d-beats and violent grooves. Short, skinny and mean, a mangy-riddled mongrel with snaggled teeth and antisocial tendencies. Play loud, get fucked.

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Didn’t Miss a Thing: New Norska Track

With my continued sabbaticals from this blog, I’ve been missing out on plenty of releases from bands I would usually be following pretty closely. Part of this may be due to not having Facebook anymore but part of it is definitely laziness. However, this week I got lucky.

Norska is a killer sludge band from Oregon who I wrote about in 2012. They just released a new track from their upcoming album, “Too Many Winters”, their first since 2012. The track in question is “Samhain” and it takes the sounds that Norska started with and starts to weave them in a new direction.

Their previous outputs had them firmly sloshing through the deeper waters of doom, with long, ominous interludes and barrages of demonic vocals, laced over some truly nasty riffs. It was slow, deliberate and evil.

“Samhain” on the other hand, opens up with a hard charge and clean vocals, before getting down into some neck snapping grooves and underworld bellowing. Then, things get weird. A looping guitar line comes out of the murk and starts running circles inside your head only to get snapped down into some jazzy noodling and then slapped right out again into some almost mathematical territory.

I like this.

There’s a lot going on in this track, from the algebraic noodling and sticky sludge riffs, to almost NWOBHM sounding melodies and clean vocals. This has gotten me real excited to see what the whole album will hold.

“Too Many Winters” will be released on May 26th through Brutal Panda Records.

Fuck, that’s heavy: God Syndrome and WOUNDVAC

Work trips suck. LETS. GET. BROOOOOOOOTALLLLLL!

God Syndrome

The second Russian band to contact me this year, God Syndrome are a melodic death metal band from Samara, Russia. While some bands can be hard to pin down to a certain genre, God Syndrome are very clearly at home in the halls gouged out by such notaries as Hypocrisy and Carcass, which is not a bad thing by any metric.

Thunderous, rhythmic attacks hammered out with double kicks and distorted guitars, God Syndrome are fucking dynamic and heavy, with loads of the aggressive melodies key to their genre. Plenty of dope riffage to be found as well, like on “Five Acts of Deception” and “Fire”

Their newest album, “Controverse” was released in February of 2016 and you can stream that below. You will also find a video for their newest single, “The Den”, that was released in December 2016.

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WOUNDVAC – INFAMY

I wrote about this Arizona-based hardcore band a couple months ago after they were gracious enough to send me a free flexi disc and a sticker (I love stickers). Since then they have a new release under their belts, the “INFAMY” 7″.

WOUNDVAC have put together another vicious collection of utterly efficient hardcore and grind. There’s no wasted expositions, just some fuckin’ gnarly blast beats and chugs, laced together with brutish howling and neolithic grooves. The soundtrack to a thousand dingy basement shows and frothing piles of sweaty human meat. When all you have is a sledgehammer, everything looks like rubble.

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Ominous Omens: Blood Mist S/T EP

Folks, the music in this post? It’s good shitReal Good Shit. Schedule I federal life sentence good shit. Just had to get that out of the way.

Blood Mist are a newly minted 5 piece band from Baltimore USA. Their self-titled debut EP will be coming out on February 10th through the always excellent Grimoire Records. A self-professed stoner metal band, this fresh quintet brings the bad business to a rapidly expanding and somewhat stagnated genre with 5 tracks of goddamn righteous rock n roll. As Islander would say, this is fucking good pancake.

A slow build opens up “Burn the Trees” leading to a full-pull-cough-your-eyes-red-suck-too-much-resin, exhale and…headbang. Goddamn man, like I’m gonna be biased since I run this shithole called Church of the Riff, but these riffs are the AAA ‘berta beef of riffs. Doesn’t matter if you salt, pepper and flip once or twice, this shit is premium grade.

It has a little bit of a desert rock feel, with the cyclic, droning background riffs but hits way harder with some heavy metal thunder. Think of it like the mountains at the edge of the desert, with the fuzzed-out sandy drones getting tossed up onto the prehistoric stones. It kinda reminds me of the now-defunct Velvet Elvis melted down with a solid helping of High on Fire.

Aside from all 5 tracks being bangers, this EP sounds fucking great to boot. The mix is on point, the vocals in just the right spot and the balance between the two guitars as true as can be. That’s without getting me started on the succulent guitar tones, not too clean or too rough, savoury all the way down.

So yeah, I really fucking dig these guys and can’t wait to see what they produce in the future. You can play “Goblin Overload” from Bandcamp down below or you can head on over to The Ripple Effect to check out the full album stream. As mentioned at the top, you can pick up “Blood Mist” on February 10th through Grimoire Records and I highly suggest you go give them a listen.

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Demo-litions: Worse

Fun fact, I’ve never actually heard 3 Inches of Blood. I know they’re an OG Canadian metal band that disbanded a couple years past but that’s as far as I go. Burn me at that cross if you wish but that’s just the way it is. So when MetalSucks tells me that three of the former members have gone on to form a new band called Worse, none of their history was driving my expectations of what a new project would sound like.

Blathering aside, this newly minted trio released a triplet of tracks as a demo and I’ll be one of Peter’s pickled peppers if these tracks aren’t some damn fine rippers. The opener – “Beds are Burning the Midnight Oil” – is real strong, digging in with some solid oak riffs and a equally earthen groove. MANLY MAN MOUNTAIN RAWK OH YES, YES INDEED.

But really – that entire opening cut? – drone, feedback, baaaaaawwwsss, feeeedback, RIFF YOU FUCK, RIFF. Ohhhh, sooo goooooooood.

The other two tracks of this little taster rank in at a strong “flannel” on the now patented Textiles Scale for Heavy Music. Nothing groundbreaking, just really fucking badass riff-driven, heavy metal.

So consider me well intrigued for what the future holds. Get some below!

 

 

The Final Frontier: Hashed Out – Cosmic Pessimism

Ever heard the joke about the nihilist clown? Nevermind, it doesn’t matter.

Hashed Out are a hardcore punk band from Montreal whose debut EP I have jammed for the last two years. Late nights, tired, mad, cold – those 6 tracks cranked to the threshold of pain always woke me up and cleared my sinuses.

“Cosmic Pessimism” was released in October and is their first full length. First impressions? Dirty. Real fuckin’ dirrrrty. You come up to a certain kind of person and play them this album, they’re gonna look at you cross-eyed and spit on your Walkman. This shit sounds crusty and piss nasty, all rough tones and filthy mix. This gives it the strange characteristic of sounding like shit at low volumes, but get that up loud and yousa in for a gooood time.

Slipping and sliding their way between grindcore, d-beat, crust punk and straight up noise, these guys don’t stop for breath, like not even a smoke break. Just punch, kick, grind, rend and tear into the teddy bears.

Shit like “The Law Down Here” – rips its shirt off flying through the caustic intro only to slam down some fuckin’ vile chug riffs, culminating into a donkey-punching breakdown. SO FILTHY. Everything in one song, grind, d-beat punkers, elephant-marching breakdown. Mix it up and chug ‘er down.

Or the feedback that opens “Bad Dreams”. That shit ain’t no artsy feedback, pulled away just in time before the dB’s getcha. Nah, this shit stabs those eardrums like a rusty steel wire, then dumps your ass in one hell of a circle pit.

I love this album. It’s rough as fuck and gets me stoked to see them live, something you can’t always say. $7 on Bandcamp.

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Precious Metals: WHORES – Gold

Whores have been one of my top bands since I discovered “Ruiner” several years ago and their 2013 release, “Clean”, was my album of the year. Since then I’ve been waiting by the mailbox for more pummelling vitriol from this Atlanta-based band.

“Gold” was released in late October of this year and after my first listen, I was left feeling surprised and a little bit miffed. Their sound had changed! My fickle heart was broken, my emotions left pooling on the carpet like fresh vomit from the dog…

But then I got over myself and spun the album twice more.

For me, “Gold”, is a substantial departure from the sound they had perfected in “Clean”. Their previous output always sounded precise and deliberate. It was crushing, yeah, but everything had its place and never felt rushed for time. You were still getting your skull pounded in but with careful consideration to where the hammer was going to fall.

Ripping open this new release, the pace is upped, the consideration gone and your grey matter spewed on the wall with nary a thought to the cleaning crew. It’s a push into faster territories of punk than they had previously occupied and a switch from measured violence to reckless disregard.

Once I had mentally registered this change of pace, “Gold” quickly became a frequently played album in the weeks that followed. It’s a fucking ripper. Deep hooks, faster grooves, filthy pools of distortion and howling grey-haired angst.

I can’t find a Bandcamp stream (Boo!) but you can check out this stream on Noisey along with an excellent interview with the band’s frontman. Also check out the video for “I See You Are Also Wearing a Black T Shirt” below.

“Tiny little man, tiny little town, tiny little footsteps and a hole in the ground.” Deep cuts.

Brothers in Brutal: No Trust – “Heavy Hand”

I love getting emails from bands to bring music to my attention even with my corpse of a blog and half-assed writing schedule. Case in point, the brotherly brutality of No Trust from San-Diego and their newest EP, “Heavy Hand”.

Sometimes I’ve listened to two-piece bands that put on a good show but have always left me feeling that they were one instrument short of a full stew. Very few duos have knocked my teeth in on the first riff like the album opener “Lift” does. Fuckin’ heavy, real fuckin’ heavy boys. Snare crash and head bash – beautiful.

And no one-trick pony are these guys either, with the rest of this 5-track EP blowing me out of the water. Vocals are on-friggin-point, the mix sounds great, the riffs are bone-breakers and the song structures kept me interested right through to the end. I know there’s probably a little trickery thrown in the recording process to flesh out the sound but this pair puts bands twice their size in the dirt.

Like they say, it’s not the size of the mast…

Get it on Bandcamp and don’t just punch in $0.

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Also gotta say I really dig the album art, done by a Mamat Ahee. You can find some more evil visuals over on their Instagram.