Monday, August 11, 2014

Godhunter/Anakim: Vulture's Wake/The Whimper of Whipped Dogs (2013)

Originally reviewed here.
Godhunter was covered here fairly recently and I discussed how it was nice to hear some real sludge metal again. Here we have the same Godhunter paired with fellow Tucson, AZ sludge metal group Anakim. This is an incredibly short split, presented in physical form on a 7" vinyl. Each band has just one song on the split, so it is a very quick introduction to the bands.

I covered Godhunter recently and came away very impressed. This track by the group is a bit more of a stoner doom-styled track with heavier riffs and a generally much more rock-oriented sound. "Vulture's Wake" is a surprisingly catchy track though the vocals are still a little bit too one-note. On just one song though that can be overlooked.

Anakim is a band that I was unfamiliar with prior to hearing this. They are significantly softer and less-aggressive than their colleagues. Anakim's sound is much more ethereal and abstract than the much more straightforward Godhunter, at least for the first half of the song. The second part kicks off with a Sabbathian crunchy riff, similar to "Black Sabbath". The vocals are impressive, done with double track. One voice shouts while the other growls in the background. It adds to the dreamlike texture of the track. I found myself very impressed with Anakim's addition to this split.

It is unfortunate that there are only two songs here. Of course I have heard the entire album for Godhunter, but I am anxious to hear more from Anakim.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cannabis Corpse/Ghoul: Splatterhash (2014)

Originally reviewed here.
Oh boy, this is quite the combination of bands to share a split. To be fair, I am actually not very familiar with Cannabis Corpse, but I am a big fan of Ghoul. Both bands are known for their outlandish lyrical content and their obsession with gore. The name of the split is a play on the album Splatterthrash by Ghoul. It of course references Cannabis Corpse's obsession with marijuana.

Cannabis Corpse kicks things off on the split. The band is a marijuana-based parody of Cannibal Corpse, which can probably be ascertained by the band's name. The band was created by Land Phil of crossover/thrash metal band Municipal Waste. He does do a fairly competent impression of Corpsegrinder Fisher. Many of the band's song names are direct knockoffs of Cannibal Corpse songs, such as "Inhalation Plague" from "Evisceration Plague". The references to Cannibal Corpse are pretty clear, though Cannabis Corpse does a pretty solid job of presenting their own style. The dual vocals are an impressive addition that is apparently new to the group these days. I have been previously reluctant to check out Cannabis Corpse. The fact that they were originally a parody band and their obsession with marijuana were turnoffs. However, the music is very strong death metal. I would be willing to give them another chance based on this.

Ghoul is a band that I am familiar with and like quite a bit. Their manic, horror movie thrash/death metal is a unique style that no other band has quite been able to replicate. Ghoul unfortunately is not very prolific with releasing music. It is likely that Ghoul is a side project for various members. They also add some different vocal styles, catching listeners off-guard with some black metal-style shrieking to go along with the typical gruff vocals. The two tracks here are a very good representation of Ghoul's sound. It is gory, intense, and surprisingly catchy, with the occasional oddball moment thrown in for good measure.

I still hate how short these splits are on occasion. Particularly with an inspired pairing such as this. There are only four songs on the whole thing with each band having just two tracks. Nevertheless, this is a good sampling of what to expect from both groups.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Godhunter: City of Dust (2014)

Originally reviewed here.
It seems like I have been reviewing an awful lot of sludge lately. That is fine with me. When sludge is done right, it sounds incredible. The heavy riffs, gruff vocals, and angry lyrics are a combination that speaks to me, particularly after a long day at work dealing with clients. Unfortunately, over the years sludge has become bastardized into an almost radio-friendly style by the likes of Mastodon and Baroness. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy Mastodon and Baroness at times, however their effect on the style has continued to be felt to this day and few bands play the style the way Crowbar, Acid Bath, and others played it. But we seem to be seeing a resurgence of sorts very recently with groups like Lord Dying and Godhunter.

Godhunter are a Tucson, AZ-based band that plays a style of sludge similar to that of Crowbar. The songs are frequently moderately-paced, with thundering riffs and angry, shouted vocals from singer David Rodgers. The songs do possess some progressive structures keeping things varied and interesting. Godhunter is not concerned with making things simplistic, but at the same time, the songs do not linger longer than they should. There is something to be said for that.

The band kicks things off with "Despite All" which starts off with a spoken word segment explaining a lot of the ills of the world, including lawyers destroying justice, which I take a little offense to. It is a common complaint about my chosen field however and I certainly understand that. "Snake Oil Dealer" is clearly the best song on this release with the terrific guitar work and crawling riffs. The vocals work much better on this track as well. "Shooting Down the Sun" stands out as well due to the acoustic guitar melodies and generally somber tone. The non-spoken vocals are incredible on this track with a lot more emotion than the rest of the album. I could have done without the spoken parts though which tend to detract from the rest of the song.

The only real issue I have with this album is a small one. Apart from "Shooting Down the Sun", there is almost no variation in the vocals. Occasionally the backing vocals kick in, keeping things interesting for awhile, but for the most part, Rodgers is a fairly one-note vocalist. That is not unusual in sludge metal, or a lot of metal in general, but for some reason it seems much more pronounced on this album.

Apart from that one minor squabble, this album does a lot to recapture the feel and style of old sludge metal. And that is definitely a good thing.