Against the Grain – Cheated Death

For many who explore the crevasses of extreme music, “rock” is a word that has some not-so-good connotations. Like, “this shit is guaranteed to be boring” connotations. Let’s take a quick look at what’s likely the two biggest offenders to the name of rock. There’s no question that the poor…

Fu Manchu – Clone of the Universe

Fu Manchu are one of the most reliable brands in rock’n’roll. Dependable, quality, and always there for all your fuzzed-the-hell-out riffing needs. After eleven albums over nearly 25 years, their staying power is proven and justified. You’ve done something right if you’ve survived this long. Pickier listeners might gripe about…

FULL ALBUM STREAM: Launch on a Psychedelic Journey from Mother Engine’s Hangar

The “jam” is one of those musical devices that walks a delicately drawn fine line. On one side are classics like Can’s “Halleluwah” or The Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray,” both of which are defined by an embrace of improvisation, interplay and gradual evolution that keep the song fresh throughout a roughly 20-minute run time. But on the other side, you have endless journeys of gratuitous musical masturbation that create a significant imbalance of enjoyment between the players and their audience. Walking this line is obviously difficult; though defined by higher tier musicianship, an effective jam band can’t venerate their abilities as musicians at the expense of songcraft, particularly in terms of defining the genres and styles from which the extended composition is being drawn out of. All of this makes it that much more impressive that Mother Engine have not only mastered the “jam” formula, but excelled at replicating that equation fourfold on their third full-length outing Hangar, which we’re stoked to be able to premiere for you in full.

Hey! Listen to Shepherd and Death By Fungi!

India is a place I wouldn’t really associate with extreme music. The limited exposure I’ve had with the culture comes primarily from Indian restaurants, vacation stories from friends, or movies. That being said, it feels like a really traditional kind of place. The limited amount of Indian music I’ve heard is immediately identifiable as such, and even the pop music feels like it follows in that convention, there’s a distinct “sound.” So when I caught wind of a split by hardcore bands from Bangalore and Mumbai, I was obviously surprised. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Why wouldn’t there be an underground scene in India? Beyond that, considering how “conventional” and “traditional” it seems to me as some ignorant dude from the states, it makes absolutely perfect sense that there would be some positively savage bands out there stickin’ it to the man.

Mutoid Man – War Moans

Talking about Mutoid Man is invigorating but tough, for a few reasons. Foremost is the pedigree of its members: vocalist/guitarist Stephen Brodsky is a past member of Converge as well as the mastermind behind alt-rock/post-hardcore genre-ignorers Cave In, drummer Ben Koller has been staking his claim as the drummer of Converge for quite some time now…

Elder – Reflections of a Floating World

Transportation is one of the biggest things that music can accomplish, to pick the listener up from where they sit and deposit them in some other place. The truly great albums in the short history of modern music all achieve this unbelievably elusive feat; something about their sound whisks away your attention and enraptures you within a world, of the band’s making. Not so long ago, we made the claim that Elder’s Lore does just that, encapsulating the fabled trope of “the hero’s journey”, launching its listeners into an epic journey through music and expression. How do you follow something like that up? A critically lauded album can often be a double edged sword, raising immense questions around potential, scarcity, and circumstance. More so when the album is such a transformative journey: do you have what it takes to create that sensation in your listeners again or will this album, however good, be fettered and miss the mark of greatness?

Summoner – Beyond The Realm of Light

Boston’s newest riff-appliance, Summoner, just dropped their third album, Beyond the Realm of Light. On the Metal Archives, they are listed as “Stoner/Doom Metal”, though, this seems a far cry from the content on this album. Every song on this record uses mid-paced to fast tempos, plenty of melody, and tons of upbeat energy. The band’s DNA consists of all the usual trappings and song ideas of traditional metal and NWOBHM but the band avoids the “vest metal” label by having an aesthetic closer to Baroness and later-Mastodon than Black Sabbath or Judas Priest. Unfortunately, this shift away from the norm is about 5 years too late and not enough to save the album from moments of sameness.

Elephant Tree – Elephant Tree

Elephant Tree released their newest self-titled album back in April of 2016 but it recently received a bigger retail release. All the more reason to talk about this tripped-out, fuzzfest. They’re not quite a metal band, but they certainly draw from metal influences. According to their Facebook page, their earlier endeavors were in London’s metal scene and it’s only recently that they’ve switched to their bluesy stoner rock sound. You can hear their metal past in the way they completely overdrive their guitarwork, using their riffs as a foundation for everything else in their songs.