Those of you that read IG on the regular or follow me on social media know that I’m always up for some good noise rock. As such, White Spot’s Father Songs proved to be one of 2015’s most pleasant surprises so far, a noise rock album that showcased mainman/madman Marcus Lemoine’s knack for concise yet devastating songwriting and an attention to craftsmanship not often seen within the genre.
It’s been a few weeks since I saw Melt-Banana at Harlow’s, and for some reason I just can’t get their set out of my mind. Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that I actually got to see Melt-Banana; sure, they’ve toured the states many times, but keep in mind that I was living in the middle of Iowa up until a year ago, not exactly a hotbed for extreme and/or experimental music. Since we’ve moved to Sacramento, I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing a handful of bands I never imagined I’d get the opportunity to see without traveling great distances (Sargeist and Ufomammut immediately spring to mind), and the Japanese duo are probably number one on the “holy shit, I can’t believe they’re actually playing where I live” list so far.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Sacramento in the ten months I’ve lived here, it’s that this city loves its doom and sludge. I’m sure as hell not complaining, especially when we get shows of this caliber; long-running LA sludge godfathers -(16)- descending upon the Starlite Lounge along with Oakland sludge/punk legends Brainoil, SF noise rockers Kowloon Walled City and hometown doom-lords-in-the-making Church was indeed a dream show for fans of all things slow ‘n’ low.
I admit it, I fucked up. When Irk contacted me during the summer of last year about reviewing their Bread and Honey EP, I was thoroughly impressed with their noise rock assault and told the band that I’d be all about giving it a write-up. But as I continued to drown in a never-ending flood of new music in the ensuing weeks and months, I got in over my head, and as a result the promised review never materialized. So when the band graciously contacted me again regarding their split with fellow UK noise-makers Wren, I immediately felt like total crap when I realized I had allowed their previous release to slip through my fingers.
I’ve been listening to various forms of heavy music for a long time, and as the years go on, my attention span gets shorter and shorter, especially when it comes to choosing bands to write about. Basically, if your band can’t pique my interest within the first thirty seconds of the first song (excluding intros), consider yourselves SOL. This has made it increasingly difficult to discover new acts to cover, as it seems that much of the scene is currently plagued by a complete and total lack of ability to self-edit.
Brooklyn, New York’s Spü is a multi-headed beast; part molten sludge, part scuzzy black metal and part even scuzzier noise rock. The trio recently self-released Deluge, a genre-blending maelstrom of filth that’s one of the most intriguing debut albums I’ve heard in 2014. It’s rare that a young band emerges with their sound fully formed, but Spü appear to have done just that with this killer tape.
I’ve been meaning to check out New Zealand’s Beastwars for quite some time, but I’m ashamed to admit that the band somehow got lost in the disheveled and disorganized avalanche that is my “bands to check out” list when their self-titled debut was released back in 2011. In spite of this grievous error, it would appear the metal gods chose to smile upon me anyway, as my colleague Craig Hayes recently hooked me up with a promo of the band’s second album Blood Becomes Fire on the band’s behalf. Just one spin of the quartet’s sophomore opus had me cursing myself for a goddamn fool for not getting ’round to them sooner, because not only is this bad mama-jama right up my alley, it’s one of the all-around best metal albums I’ve heard so far in 2013.
Roughly 5 months ago, Brandon Duncan (whom you may know from The Sequence of Prime) contacted me with an idea; let’s start a new online metal zine. Typically I prefer to work alone, but Brandon’s enthusiasm is contagious and I’m proud to call him my friend, so there was absolutely no way I could refuse. Brandon gathered an ace design team while I hand-picked some of my favorite writers from internet metal land with the express purpose of creating something new and unique, to drag the old school metal zine into the future, come Hell or high water with an emphasis on good old-fashioned writing and design.
After 5 months of hard work, I’m proud to present to all of you the fruits of our labors in the form of Backlit #0; fifteen pages of mind-melting music, art and literature.
Backlit / 0
Now available at backlitzine.com
Cover Art by Dan Harding
Raping Angels in America #1 / Joshua Haun
Angry Old Men / Jordan Campbell
Helpless Child / Dan Obstkrieg
Fucking The Future / Joshua Haun
Libations in the Labyrinth Vol. 1 / Dan Obstkrieg
Words That Wound / Dan Obstkrieg
Doomsday Device / Joshua Haun
Interview With Jester King Brewery / The Dragon of M87
Interview With Ashencult / Jordan Campbell
Art & Fiction:
Succubus in the Attic / Nikki Guerlain
Dan Harding: The Fine Art of Horror / Brandon Duncan
The Dragon of M87
I hope that you will all enjoy reading the first issue of Backlit as much as we enjoyed crafting it. This is only the beginning!
Helmet’s Meantime was an odd bird when it was released in 1992. Straddling the line between heavy metal and the alternative rock explosion that Nirvana had ushered in a year earlier, Helmet was probably the only band capable of getting airtime on both Headbanger’s Ball and 120 Minutes. That’s how I discovered Helmet; I was thirteen years old and just beginning my headlong dive into the world of heavy music. I remember seeing the video for “Unsung” and being struck by several things: 1) the riffage was absolutely crushing 2) no one in the band had long hair 3) was that a fucking pink ESP?! Helmet looked and most importantly sounded like no other band I had encountered up to that point.
The music of Bloomington, Indiana’s Racebannon falls somewhere between the demented sludge metal of the Melvins and the lurching, discordant pig-fuck of the Jesus Lizard, as if those two bands got together to do a fuckload of coke and orchestrate the ultimate noise rock jam session, but ended up getting slaughtered in a standoff with DEA agents while their rehearsal space burned to the ground. Their latest album, Six Sik Sisters, is a truly unsettling listen, a chronicle of monumental musical depravity that sounds like it could come unglued at any given moment.