GORAM showcase their brand of progesssive stoner doom on new EP



Metal is one of those genres that never really goes out of fashion. This is partly because it’s never really in fashion. I don’t mean any offence here, so please don’t be offended my metal family, but due to the nature of the genre, heavy riffs, shouty vocals, soul crushing drums, it’s never really going to break into the mainstream and top the charts (Bring Me the Horizon have come closest to that honour with their last two albums hitting the peaks of # two and three in the album chart). Part of metals appeals is that its main elements can’t really be changed, so the genre hasn’t really moved on since its blueprint was worked out in the 1970’s and 1980’s.



Saying that one band that seem pretty happy to play around with the genre are Bristol’s GORAM. Taking the conventions of the doom/stoner genres and adding elements of progressive metal, plus some deep guttural screams, they have crafted a debut EP, Ashes, that is as rewarding and inventive as it is hard and heavy. On a first listen it might seem impenetrable due to the dense compositions and raspy hinterland vocals, but you’d be mistaken. Give it another listen and focus on the guitars, especially the lead.



Opening track ˈkarɪən they start off in the classic ‘metal’ mould, but about a quarter they start to soften and these massive hooks and melodies open up and there is your opening. It basically says “We’re loud, heavy and will run rampant through your head, but we also love classic rock and don’t these riffs remind you of anyone? Yes we like them too!” Second ˈmɑːsk wastes even less time before they start to show off their chops. From the opening salvo it’s just riff, after riff, after riff, after riff, before we are beaten into submission and awe! This pretty much carries on for the rest of the EP. Closing track ˈæʃɪz kicks off with the dirtiest bass riffs on the EP, until peels of feedback, and finally and maelstrom of sludge metal majesty envelopes us. Just when you expect everything to go up a notch it doesn’t and some slivery guitars slice some space in the claustrophobic soundscape. This gives you enough time to prepare for the next barrage of metal brutality.



At times GORAM sound like Mastodon going through a classic rock/metal phase, massive rhythm section and some of the best riffs you’ve ever heard. But the real kicker is the repetition, is the repetition, is the repetition, is the repetition, is the repetition, of the riffs. This helps cement the song into your head and psyche. This is a fantastic EP that not only show masses of promise for the future, but also plenty of subtle, and un-subtle, nods to the genre’s past.











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

What? You don’t know about Strange Cages? <insert you name> Strange Cages, Strange Cages <insert your name>, I’ll just leave you to get acquainted…



Do you like contemporary music with a retro feel? Yeah? Awesome! Strange Cages are for you then! Hailing from the south’s seaside pleasure centre Brighton, sorry Bournemouth and New Quay, this trio make songs that sound like your favourite bands of yesteryear, but all modern and 2016. “How do they do it thisyearinmusic?” I can hear you ask. Well true believer the answer is simple. They write amazing songs!



Right, imagine if the Sonics, Music Machine, The Cramps, the Lemon Pipers, Count Five and Jimmy Iovine produced it and gave it a delicious pop sheen. OK, ok, there is more to it than that, but this is the crux of it. Loads of organs, loads of wayward guitars, filthy bass, unrelenting drumming and quizzical lyrics and all doused with a shambolic spirit, so you’re on the end of your seat as to whether they’ll make it to the end of the song in one piece.



But this isn’t the best thing. Oh no. Strange Cages are due to release their debut EP. Ego Killer is set for an early August release, which suits everyone at thisyearinmusic fine, and given the sneak peek we’ve heard, it’s going to define our, and possibly your, summer! Lead single Bam Bam Boom is three and a half minutes of what we’ve come to expect, catchy neo-acid-pop fuelled hysteria. A massive bass riffs kicks things off, and is the driving force of this three and a half minute juggernaut, until the rest of the band joins in and its descents into an existential freakout. Yeah, we knew you’d like it…!











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Massa Confusa team up with the best vocalist you don’t know



Once upon a time there was a band call Retriever. They released some exceptional singles and EP’s and then, just when they looked set to release their long waited debut long player they called it a day. I’m not going to lie, it was a dark day. But now their lead singer, Jackie Purver, has teamed up with Massa Confusa to release a single that packs a musical and lyrical punch.



The opening sounds like a funky version of Kasabian’s 2009 single Underdog, but before it all kicks off like a night out in Wetherspoons, Massa Confusa bring things down a bit, thanks to some clever call and response vocals with Purver. Descension then follows this pattern until it’s gradually ends. The real star show however are the lyrics. “You’re a sceptic, I’m robotic”, “You’re neurotic, Yes You’ve got it” and “You’re hallucinate, Supersonic ” it’s an updated version of Spiritualized I Think I’m In Love, but you know, funnier and less lovey dovey.



Rumour has it that Massa Confusa should be releasing another album by the end of the year, which should be a high water mark of 2016. But let’s hope this gives Purver the impetuous and desire to get back in the studio and deliver another slice of forward thinking post-punk.











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Silver Waves do the unthinkable and out noise themselves



Silver Waves, AKA Dylan Mallett, is not for mass consumption. If Mallett was, he’d make inoffensive pop music that is catchy, but ultimately means nothing. But he doesn’t want to, so he’s chosen a different path. This patch is rather uneven and at time is covered with grass, pebbles and brambles. It’s the kind of path you’d only take if you have a curious mind and wanted to know where it went, and had the time to find out.



Over the past few years Mallett has released a couple of EP’s, on a couple of labels, that showcase his brand of experimental symphonies. They’ve raged from full on gabba workouts, to delicate tone operas, all wrapped up in a blanket of feedback and distortion. Now he’s returned with his third EP, imaginatively titled EP3, which takes his ideas of how much is too much to another level. Consisting of just two song V and VI, EP3 opens to what sounds like Velcro being ripped apart then reverbed, manipulated and screamed over while droney electronics vie for your attention. Bass stabs and break beats pepper V, all the while an overriding feeling of unease permeates throughout, until its exquisite outro. VI opens with a barrage of blast beats and cut up vocals. It’s abrasive and lets you know that V wasn’t a one off! During its eight minute duration you are taken on a journey through avenues of dark lurid soundscapes and inescapable cacophonous maelstroms.



After a first listen it all just sounds like noise. Not even organised noise, but a load of sounds shoved together, compressed then a load more of unrelated beats thrust underneath. However after a few listens you realise that there is a method to the madness and everything carefully plays off each other with glorious counterpoints. Granted this isn’t an easy listen, and at times it’s not even that enjoyable, but that’s not the point. The point is that EP3 is about as experimental and visceral as you’re likely to find and when it does work it’s transfixing and fantastic. Oh the EP also contain remixes from Ossia and Giant Swan. And I’m sure you can guess how that goes… So what are you waiting for? Well go on then. Click the link and buy this slab of experimental majesty!



EP3 is available now through Howling Owl Records/Portals Editions











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Wax Machine announce new single and launch night



Brighton is a melting pot of music. Every day you read about a new band forming or a debut gig. Sadly there aren’t enough days in the week to check it all out, so you have to optimise time. Some of these new avenues for music lead you to dead-ends, others take you to places that you didn’t think were possible.



The Wax Machine are one of these bands. This quartet have slowly been making waves with their 60’s garage rock inspired freak-outs. Earlier in the year their track Shades of Orange was featured on The Active Listener’s Great British Psychedelic Trip Revisited. Not bad for a band just starting to find their creative feet. Their next single, Red Room, is another slab of psych fun dressed up in an indie garb. In the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”



While Wax Machine aren’t doing anything that ground breaking or original, at times their sound is reminiscent to that of the Zutons, shambolic indie-psych, idiosyncratic guitars, driving horns and syncopated drumming, all under a pop sheen, there is something primal there too, however they are doing it well! Through their brand of neo-psych you are transported to a time when all you really needed for a good night out was your mates and good house band. And why shouldn’t we want to go back to that place? Luckily through Wax Machine we can!



Wax Machine will be playing at BLEACH in Brighton on 3rd August for their Red Room release party












thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

HEYROCCO just brought it….



Coming out of the traps at 100 miles an hour, HEYROCCO’s new track Yeah sounds like the personification of the teenage dream. Fast guitars, illegible vocals and incendiary drumming makes this two and a half minute belter melt into you psyche, faster than a Cornetto on a sun drenched pavement.



Whilst listening to it you can pick out references points including a punk intensity, Beach Boys melodies, a smidge of garage rock circa 2000-2003 all under an indie pop umbrella. It’s almost like Anarchy in the UK was covered by The Distillers, which was then covered by The Parrots, at their most visceral and lo-fi, while your best mate sings long and makes new lyrics in the car after a day of being day drunk and reading Generation X. This all probably stems from it being produced by Brendan Benson, yeah, it all makes sense now right?



Despite all its bravado and teenage ferocity, Yeah is actually full of tender lyrics that blight growing up in a world where the youth are never really listened to, despite it’s their future that is being affected by decisions that people old enough to know better are making. The lyrics also manage to evoke Voltare, whilst being catchy as hell “It’s never gonna go away, but everything will be ok, When everything says the same, I go insane”.











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Milo’s Planes and Howling Owl Records team up. What’s not to love?



Last year Bristol’s Milo’s Planes released an album, Aural Palate Cleaning Exercises. I lot of people didn’t hear it, but the ones who did were changed. It was an album full of visceral guitars, shouty vocals and an incessant desire to combine discordant music with catchy melodies. Now they’ve returned and their next long player, Delivering Business Success, will be released on 26th August on Howling Owl Records. This is a no brainer…



This is Milo’s Planes first foray in recording in a studio and Matt Sampson was at the helm. Don’t worry, it’s still chocked full of Milo’s rhythm heavy hardcore sensibility. However to announce the event, instead of releasing a single from the album Milo’s Planes decided to releases a cover of The Velvet Underground’s classic Sister Ray. Just like the original its chocked full of chugging guitars, drone like vocals and a total disregard for conventional production techniques.



If you like your summer album full of airy compositions, lyrics about beaches and cocktails, this might not be the one for you. It’s a dense beast that at first sounds like a cacophony, but, like all great albums, the more you play it the more secrets it reveals.



Delivering Business Success is released on 26th August through Howling Owl Records











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs