Mothership – High Strangeness

Mothership, out of Dallas, TX, claim a lot of ‘70s hard rock as influences while making one of the more interesting styles of stoner-space rock. The opening and title track of the album sounds more like a mashup of Monster Magnet and Explosions in the Sky than it does, say UFO or Black Sabbath. That said, the second track, “Ride the Sun”, on their third album, High Strangeness, lands squarely in that wheelhouse. One can also hear elements of Kyuss in the noise Mothership bring and it’s easy to see why they have become a favorite in their local scene and are now getting out on their own headlining tour. Just two songs in and they show a surprising range when they create a positively Iron Maiden-esque break around the 2:45 mark before locking down into a half-time groove to wind down the song.

Lock Up – Demonization

Whenever your band starts with the longtime bassist of Napalm Death (Shane Embury) and the vocalist from Brutal Truth (Kevin Sharp) it’s a fairly safe bet that you’re in for some serious grindcore. Add a drummer who has worked with Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir (Nick Barker), stir with a heaping helping of guitar from Chile’s Pentagram and Criminal (Anton Reisenegger) and you have the latest incarnation of grind supergroup, Lock Up. This crew brings us their latest onslaught, Demonization.

IDLES – Brutalism

Angry “post”punks from Bristol, IDLES' new album Brutalism starts with someone being called a bastard before laucnhing headlong into a pulsing drumbeat and sinewy guitar line. Then that voice. Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten, Crass. Rarely do we get a band that actually lives up to the praise and connotation of being linked to the actual classic lineage of punk but then there's these guys. Fuck and you.

Always Riled Up: Protest Music For A New Era, Part 2 – the Thor Harris Interview

Known internationally for his work with Shearwater, Smog/Bill Callahan, the Angels of Light, Swans, and Devendra Banhart, Thor Harris is also a legendary craftsman whose woodworking skills are apparent in the handcrafted percussive instruments he employs - Monofonus Press. Our latest piece in this series on protest music and art is an interview with Thor Harris, he of the crushing soothing percussive sounds behind Blog faves, Swans, and lately more notorious for having been banned from Twitter for either a video on how to punch a Nazi (don’t do it unless you have to) or for images used on his profile. YMMV.

Fight the Fight – Fight the Fight

Fight the Fight are still in the earliest stages of defining their own sound, despite many years of playing together under another moniker, but they've certainly nailed something here that is a combination of metal and emocore style punk (think At the Gates meets A Day to Remember). There are some really sweet melodic hooks in the choruses especially in the lead track.

Iron Reagan – Crossover Ministry

Iron Reagan is made up of the singer and bassist from Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour's old drummer, and DRI's Crossover DNA. Then again, if you're at all familiar with the thrash revival scene then you probably already know that about this band. And you can probably take a healthy guess about what their latest album on Relapse, Crossover Ministry, sounds like. All hints of predictability aside this is a rollicking throwback to the heyday of thrash when bands like Testament, Exodus, Forbidden, and so many others were as likely to be found shredding guitars and skateboards as digging themselves out of the pit.

Always Riled Up: Protest Music For A New Era, Part 1

This is part one in what will be an ongoing series of takes from artists across several genres as we explore what effect the changing political landscape in the US and abroad will have on music; the way we listen to it, how we listen to it, and who we look to for guidance, solace, or simple release in what is already proving to be a deeply challenging time, as well as how it relates in the larger context of society and history.

Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me

It strikes me as somehow appropriate in a year that’s killed off Prince and David Bowie, given us marriage equality, bathroom laws in North Carolina, and ultimately a Trump Presidency that we have someone to look to in the musical world as a relatively unfiltered voice of rage. Not at the machine. At everything. That voice belongs to Laura Jane Grace.

Undrask – Battle Through Time

One of the things I love about having the opportunity to review albums is checking out bands that are just gaining a foothold beyond their local scene. Greensboro, NC metalheads, Undrask, are one of those bands I probably wouldn't have learned about if not for having a copy of this album slid over to me by the Heavy Blog editors—but I'm glad it did.