Episode 134 of Gruesome Tunes now available for download!

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09/14/14 PLAYLIST

ASG – Children’s Music (Blood Drive) 4:41

Sin Dealer – Thoughts (Sell Your Soul) 4:33

Missiles of October – Addiction (Don’t Panic) 3:50

Corrosion of Conformity – Brand New Sleep (IX) 5:54

U.D.O. – Dr. Death (Rev-Raptor) 3:46

Juggernaught – Train (Bring the Meat Back) 3:24

Buddha Sentenza – Tzameti (Alpha) 3:45

 

Windhand – Evergreen (Soma) 6:57

High on Fire – Last (The Art of Self Defense) 6:36

Hail! Hornet – Gifted Horse (Disperse the Curse) 2:26

Beneath Oblivion – Barren Earth (From Man to Dust) 9:03

ÖfÖ Am – Lasserre Baltz (The Beast Within) 2:13

Oh How It Ended – Old Man Jenkins (Welcome to Brown Rock) 2:40

 

Orange Goblin – The Fog (A Eulogy for the Damned) 6:46

Cowards – The Old City (Hoarder EP) 6:19

Dread Sovereign – Pray to the Devil in Man (All Hell’s Martyrs) 5:58

Lumbar – Day One (The First and Last Days of Unwelcome) 5:02

Roadsaw – Long in the Tooth (self-titled) 4:36

 

Grime – Down by the River of Dreg (Deteriorate) 4:32

Argus – The Coward’s Path (Beyond the Martyrs) 7:17

Dukatalon – Gate of Mind (Saved by Fear) 6:09

Beastwars – Mihi (self-titled) 3:42

Suns of Thyme – One Song (Fortune, Shelter, Love and Cure) 4:43

Biipiigwan – Crimson Sword (God’s Hooks) 3:40

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AMATEUR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY HOUR: WINDHAND @ Coda, Toronto, September 14, 2014

While Windhand opened a few Canadian dates of High on Fire’s last (non-Converse sponsored) tour, they only played places west of Winnipeg, making this their first Toronto appearance.  Now, I wasn’t quite as enamoured as most critics were with Soma when it came out, and seeing ‘em live didn’t really change that.  I’d still say they’re pretty good, but not great.  However, for a sludge/doom band, they sure do a lotta headbanging on stage, which makes for some pretty decent pictures:

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Heeeey maaaan, sweet dog leaf shirt!

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Hmm, not every day that you see a topless girl tattoo…on a woman:

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CROWBAR REVISITED: Sever the Wicked Hand (E1 Metal, 2011)

Though I’ve been waiting a long time for a new Crowbar album, I wasn’t too sure I’d be pleased with the end result. Their last few recordings were somewhat lacklustre, and then there’s that whole Hatebreed influence, as heard on Kirk Windstein’s two releases with Kingdom of Sorrow. (I’ll never forget seeing Jamey Jasta—not Kirk—singing “Self-Inflicted” and “All I Had” the one time I saw KOS live. Ugh…)

Alas, there is some of that hardcore chugging to be found here, but it’s kept to a minimum. Opener “Isolation (Desperation)” has a great winding sludge riff, and a classic Crowbar breakdown, but the chorus is karate-choppable. The title track is almost the opposite—fast-paced, pounding verses with a killer slow chorus driving in the final nail. That Windstein signature tone sounds just as evil as ever on this record, and compliments his hoarse vocals perfectly. “Liquid Sky and Cold Black Earth” features both prominently; three songs in, and I’m not complaining…

“Let Me Mourn” and “The Cemetary Angels” are the so-called singles, released ahead of time on the internet. The former sees Windstein soar above a downtuned, mournful sludge barrage, while the latter is a barn-burning hardcore stomp that ends on a slow note. While not my favourite tunes on the album, both are pretty decent.

After a spiritual instrumental interlude, in the form of “A Farewell to Misery,” the album’s second half features more of the same, slow, meaty and heavy riffage serving as an anchor for Windstein’s anger, his words grounded in reality as always, with enough tempo changes to break up the monotony. Dude produced the record, too, which makes sense—it really sounds great.

Don’t get me wrong, the days of Time Heals Nothing and the self-titled are long gone, but if  Sever the Wicked Hand sparks a Crowbar revival, I’m all for it. In fact, I’ve already got my ticket to see ‘em with Saint Vitus, Helmet et al in Cleveland next month…

(Originally written for Hellbound.ca)

CROWBAR REVISITED: Lifesblood for the Downtrodden (Candlelight, 2005)

Lifesblood, being that it came out some four years after its predecessor—and almost six before their next album—is somewhat of a forgotten record. Like Sonic Excess, great title, but the tracks on here are a little less memorable.

“New Dawn” is fairly standard sludge fare, Kirk’s vocals barely a cut above a bit of a tribal beat. “Slave No More” picks up the pace with a winding riff that contains just a touch of chug. “Angel’s Wings” flies by in less than three minutes, combining some mid-paced thrash and super-slow-mo grooves. “Coming Down” moves along at a much slower pace, with some decent head-nodding action on a solid doom riff.

“Fall Back to Zero” is one of those odd ballads that occasionally makes its way into the Crowbar back catalogue. Sure, it’s all slow and spooky ‘n shit, but also a tad too long at six-and-a-half minutes. At least they toss in a heavy riff or two. “Underworld” brings back the breakdowns, while “Dead Sun” contains just a little more chug. “Holding Something” sounds pretty much like your traditional Crowbar tune, well maybe turn-of-the-century Crowbar, anyways.

“Moon” has a slightly lighter touch as far as sludge is concerned, with some gently-ringing notes begetting the breakdowns. “The Violent Reaction” lives up to its name with some fast-paced punk beats amidst a sea of hardcore breakdowns. The title track ends things on another lighter note. I even think I hear a piano or a pedal steel or something. That’s right, of the 50 minutes of music on here, we’ve got just about 14 minutes worth of ballads. Ugh.

CROWBAR REVISITED: Sonic Excess in its Purest Form (Spitfire, 2001)

Not just a great album title; it’s a pretty terrific record, as well. By now, Crowbar had honed its craft to the point where their signature style of sludge was finely (down)tuned and pretty potent, jam-packed with classic tracks, most notably opening number “The Lasting Dose,” which remains a live-set staple to this day.

“The Lasting Dose” starts off all slow ‘n doomy, caking on layer after layer of distorted riffage beneath perhaps the closest Kirk has come to death growls, though it’s still his signature voice. The chorus certainly isn’t cheerful, but when it comes to pain, Windstein knows what he’s talking about. “To Build a Mountain” is built up by chugging breakdowns, before planting a stoner/doom flag at the summit. “Thru the Ashes (I’ve Watched You Burn)” is about as pleasant as its song title suggests, a slow, mournful hymn to…well, sonic excess, I suppose. Hey, that’s what this record’s all about, right?

“Awakening” is another slow, sludgy stomper, Crowbar style, with riffs than weigh a ton and vocals that certainly spit a lot. “Repulsive in its Splendid Beauty” delivers more darkened doomy downstrokes, a slow-to-mid-paced stomper that oozes pure sludge. “Counting Daze” has an eerie, creeping riff leading into a windmill-headbangable chorus, nice ‘n slow ‘n heavy. After mellow instrumental “In Times of Sorrow” provides a not-so-much-needed break just past the midway mark, “It Pours from Me” rains down riffage like a volcanic sludge-ruption, with some super-slow-mo breakdowns mixed in for good measure.

“Suffering Brings Wisdom” displays no defter a touch, doubling down on the downtuned despondency with a crashing cascade of crushing riffage. (Try saying that sentence five times slow!) By contrast, “Failure to Delay Gratification” is pure punk rock fury from the get-go, d-beats aplenty, albeit not without those signature slow ‘n heavy breakdowns. “Empty Room” leaves listeners feeling no more than empty with its plodding pace, stark rhythmic patterns and typically cheery Windstein delivery. But hey, that’s what you’d expect after spinning Crowbar for 45 minutes, right?

CROWBAR REVISITED: Equilibrium (Spitfire, 2000)

Equilibrium might actually be the Crowbar record I revisit most often. Not that I can recall all of these tunes offhand, but I just love their crazy cover of Gary Wright’s 70’s soft-rocker “Dream Weaver” that closes this one out. They take a tune that’s super cheesy and make it all slow, heavy and depressing. I guess that sorta sums up what I like about the band in the first place…

“I Feel the Burning Sun” kicks ‘er off with some chunky, chuggy, sludgy riffage, this new-millennium issuing sounding fuller and more bass-heavy than their earlier recordings. The title track follows, another slice of bottom-heavy groove metal that still slows things down to a trademark doomy crawl with Windstein wailing overhead and some great breakdowns at the end. “Glass Full of Liquid Pain” leans more towards true doom with its winding, lugubrious riffage, while “Command of Myself” makes heavy use of the wah pedal for a downtrodden, slow-mo stomp.

“Down into the Rotting Earth” carries on in a similar style, with Kirk punctuating some pounding percussion with his mournful cries. “To Touch the Hand of God” actually begins with piano, adding an air of melancholy to the proceedings. In fact, it’s pretty much a piano ballad, yet it doesn’t sound out of place with the rest of the sombre tunes on the album. “Uncovering” brings back the sludge in a big way, with some aggressive chugs that stop on a dime, leading to a breakdown that wouldn’t be outta place on either Down IV EP.

“Buried Once Again” is another downtuned stomper, maybe a little bit of Down in here, too. “Things You Can’t Understand” is a pretty decent mid-paced basher with a refrain about mind-fucking, while “Euphoria Minus One” has some solid slow parts and vicious breakdowns. But really, man, it’s all about “Dream Weaver.”

2014 CFL POWER RANKINGS: Week 12

Well, we finally got our East-West upset, although it really wasn’t much of one.  With Darian Durant out for the season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders looked to be offensively inept as backup Tino Sunseri only completed 9 of 21 passes in a 28-3 loss to Hamilton–Hamilton!–last week.  But the biggest game was the near-upset that wasn’t, as the Calgary Stampeders erased a 29-10 halftime deficit to beat the Boatmen, 40-33.  And unlike the Riders, the Stamps didn’t miss a beat when their backup went in.  All Drew Tate did was go 6-for-6 with 74 yards and two scores, although it remains to be seen how much time Bo Levi Mitchell might miss–and how much he’ll be missed, for that matter.

Preseason Predictions

Last Week’s Rankings

Rankings Archive

1. Calgary Stampeders (10-1) Last Week: 1.  For 30 minutes of football, it looked like the Stamps would be slipping in the rankings, but an impressive second-half outburst, in which they outscored Toronto 30-4, led to one of the most impressive CFL comebacks in recent memory.  Bo Levi’s injury might be a bit of a concern, but hey, who can complain about the way Drew Tate played last Saturday!?

2. Edmonton Eskimos (8-3) Last Week: 3.  Although there wasn’t anything incredibly impressive about the Esks’ win over Montreal–their own fourth-quarter outburst aside–with a few teams around them in the rankings slipping, Edmonton moves back into second place.

3. B.C. Lions (7-4) Last Week: 5.  With Winnipeg and Saskatchewan on the decline, the Lions move up to third place.  To their credit, they did beat the Bombers pretty bad last week.

4. Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-3) Last Week: 2.  There were really no positives to take home from the Riders’ loss to Hamilton, but hey, at least they’re 3-0 over Winnipeg…

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-7) Last Week: 7.  I dunno guy, but I think even Hamilton could beat the Bombers right now.

6. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-6) Last Week: 4.  After three straight losses, it almost feels like the Bombers are back in the Least Division.  But while their 6-6 record would put them ahead out East, right now they appear to be in danger of missing the playoffs.

7. Toronto Argonauts (3-8) Last Week: 8.  Hey man, if football games were only 30 minutes long, the Argos would be first in the East right now.  I’ll give ‘em one spot up for effort, but they’ll need to play a full 60 minutes next time.

8. Montreal Alouettes (3-8) Last Week: 6.  In the CFL Least Division, the difference between sixth and eighth in the power rankings is all about how badly you lost last week.

9. Ottawa REDBLACKS!!!!! (1-9) Last Week: 9.  The REDBLACKS!!!! didn’t even need to play last week; they’re still the worst team in the league.