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Album Reviews Beneath the Vault Reviews

Beneath the Vault #3: Riffs…So Many Riffs

Towards the back of the Vault, just past Reese’s cell, there’s a small staircase that leads to a hidden subterranean chamber where we keep the real underground shit. These are the obscure releases and rare finds that will get you points with the cool kids.

Welcome to Beneath the Vault, a column in which we take a brief look at the many review requests we get from bands that aren’t always fortunate enough to afford a promotional campaign or the backing of a big record label. Whether you like your music like you like your coffee or prefer listening to groovy tunes with headphones and some smoke, we’ve got you covered with these underground treasures. If you’re a band and would like a review or a spot in this column, click here to put in a request.

Named by the Sun
Genre: Instrumental/Heavy Blues/Psychedelic Stoner Rock
Released on April 27th, 2018

I’m not usually a big fan of instrumental albums; my musical ADD usually gets the better of me, and I get bored about half way through. But I honestly didn’t notice the lack of vocals on Named by the Sun’s debut until I was finished with the second track. This is probably some of the best blues music that I’ve heard all year, produced by some really outstanding musicians.They’re not just wanking off their guitars with endless jams and solos either. There’s a lot of thought that went into how long to let a riff play out or when to rein it in. They also change up the heavy blues formula with some nice harmonized guitar licks on the track “Dogfight” and some acoustic guitar on “Solar Grain,” with the latter also containing some excellent slide work. People might complain that it’s a short listen, but the length is perfect for me – short and sweet. (Bryan)

Genre: Grunge/Stoner Rock
Released on March 5th, 2018

Keelrider’s North took me a few listens for me to get into, but I’m glad I stuck with it. The five-piece Iceland outfit plays heavy stoner rock music that goes down super smooth like a big piece of red velvet cake. The down-tuned riffs are dense, the bass and drums are warm and synced perfectly, and vocalist Björn Birnir ices it over with a bluesy baritone drone. Altogether, it’s a really satisfying listen and recommended for fans of 90s alternative music and stoner rock. If you’re hungry for more, I recommend checking out their eerily haunting video for the song “Stay” on YouTube as well. (Bryan)

Natural 20
Genre: Heavy/Doom Metal, Hard Rock
Released on March 10th, 2018

Next up we have Detroit’s Enchantelope with their gnarly version of Dungeons and Dragons themed hard rock. Tabletop gamers will love the D&D references in songs like “Cone of Cold” and “The Necromancer.” Old school heavy music fans will love the music that sounds like doomy Appetite for Destruction era Gun N Roses paired with vocals that are a cross between Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty and Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. Normally this is the part where I say that this album rips from beginning to end, but the band threw in a quiet instrumental track at the end that derails that statement. It does allow you to catch your breath, though. Anyway, if you’re looking for a rocker with some serious fucking grit, you can’t go wrong with this one. +3 WIS if you buy it right now. (Bryan)

Magister DixitMagister Dixit
Their Blood, Their Sweat, Their Tears
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Released on April 25, 2018

On their sixth album,this melodic black metal powerhouse offer us 50 minutes of war-themed black metal, enhanced by symphonic elements that add a real epic side to their sharp assault. There’s a lot to enjoy on this release, with some wonderfully atypical orchestration peppered around the album here and there, alongside the more traditional deliveries that you would expect. I find that this album grows on you like a creeping ague; the more you listen to it the more it infects you with its blackened ailment. (Nigel)

Genre: Industrial Metal
Released on April 25, 2018

The ghost of Rammstein hovers around Gottwut with a strong presence, reminding you firmly of the band’s weighty influence. I feel it would be churlish to focus too much on this though, (it’s hard to completely ignore, of course), as although Rammstein are obviously a prime influence on Gottwut, this Russian band have more than enough skill and talent at what they do to justify their own existence. Filled with good songs, plenty of charisma, and professionally recorded music, Konglomerat is an enjoyable collection of pounding industrial metal tunes. Yep, I like this. (Nigel)

Clawing OfferbeestClawing/Offerbeest
Genre: Noise/Experimental/Drone/Ambient
Released on June 1, 2018

A 41-minute split between US noise band Clawing and Gnaw Their Tongues side project Offerbeest was never going to be easy listening. Well, not unless you have a penchant for listening to harrowing noises and nightmare soundscapes. I confess that normally I don’t get on with this sort of thing, as I find my attention wanes quickly and I start yearning for guitars and drums, etc. However, Clawing are one of the few bands worth listening to in this style, and their content is always well-constructed and pieced-together. Offerbeest’s side is a noisier, harsher affair, yet still strangely compelling despite how inhuman and malignant it sounds. (Nigel)

Genre: Black Metal
Released on July 17th, 2018

Sometimes only traditional Scandinavian second wave black metal will do, right? This really does appeal to me in a way that only old-school black metal does. You can easily picture this slowly crawling out of some long forgotten crypt in a densely forested part of the old world, glinting with malevolent frost and bristling with spines made of pure hatred. As well as the icy aggression you’ll find on Gronspech though, you’ll also be treated to cold melancholic atmosphere and a comprehensive concept that’s perpetuated by the not only the music, but the band’s dual vocalists too. Also, you can even hear the bass guitar! Bonus. (Nigel)

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1 comment

Gottwut May 31, 2018 at 11:14 am

Great review! Thank you, Nigel. ?


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