Released some twenty-five years into a career that saw them burst out of the east-coast hardcore scene in the mid nineties, Heavy Pendulum (Relapse Records) is Cave In’s seventh album, and is a landmark release for the band who sadly lost their bass player Caleb Schofield to a car accident in 2018. Schofield also provided many of Cave In’s heavier vocals, and his role in the band is assumed by close friend Nate Newton (Converge, Deathriders), and who also has a mean voice himself.
After the four-year gap since their last studio album, Massachusetts hardcore/metalcore act Converge return with something quite different. A collaborative effort, Bloodmoon: I (Epitaph Records) sees the band joining forces with Chelsea Wolfe, Ben Chisholm plus Cave In singer/guitarist Stephen Brodsky, the seven individuals all contributing to something a little out of their usual comfort zones.
Following the news that former Entombed and current Entombed AD vocalist Lars-Goran Petrov was diagnosed with incurable cancer, Converge announced they would be donating 100% of the earnings from their 2013 guest-filled Entombed covers EP to Petrov’s GoFundMe. The EP includes five covers of Entombed’s “Wolverine Blues” with a different vocalist on each one. The covers were originally recorded to be spliced together as one track on Converge’s 2012 split with Napalm Death, but the following year, Converge released each vocalist’s take as its own track on this EP. In addition to Converge’s own Jacob Bannon, Nate Newton, and Kurt Ballou, the vocalists include Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac, Old Man Gloom), Kevin Baker (All Pigs Must Die, The Hope Conspiracy), and Tomas “Tompa” Lindberg (At The Gates, Disfear).Continue reading
We now know that our version of The Ape of God (Profound Lore) – the one that was released to the press – is a compilation of parts of the two new albums issued by Old Man Gloom only and not full version(s) of the pair, both released with the same title. On their Facebook page the L.A. super-group claim they would stand by the truncated compilation as an album in its own right, and indeed it would serve as such.
The sludge-drenched hostility of ‘Fist of Fury’ and ‘The Lash’ collides with fuzzed-out riffs and post leads underpinning the titanic crunch, fully embracing Aaron Turner‘s Isis background. That lead is a howling current through the intense roar of ‘Predators’, an ominously building ambient crescendo falling to eerie wails; the angry Neurosis vibe screaming from every pore and indicating a deeper sense of gravity. This segues into the savage, visceral pummel of the monstrous ‘Shoulder Meat’, the deep lead underpin almost sorrowful whilst crashing thunder is eclipsed by a stone breaking, torturous riff. As these two tracks don’t follow each other on the albums proper, the organic melding of the join displays the length OMG went to fool the media.
The breakneck aggression of Nate Newton‘s Converge is evident in the sequencer-filled bruising battery of ‘Never Enter’, while eerie atmospherics cede to the mutilating slash and oscillating crunch of ‘Promise’. The weight and hiss of the rhythms are as oppressive as the consumptive vocal roars, Santos Montano‘s drums and Caleb Scofield‘s bass pounding and throbbing through the Gregorian psychedelic drift of ‘Simia Die’ before the soaring riff carries the coda to tumultuous skies. Closer ‘Aarows [their spelling] to Our Hearts’, which also closes the second album proper, is a fourteen-minute epic displaying the full gamut of creativity with a slow build through ambient samples, a maudlin drum march and picked riff graced by gentle vocal intonations. As the fuzzing noise gradually swells through the seeping gloom into an agonised, pulsing horror, so does the unbearable tension. It’s the kind of track Cult of Luna have it in their power to make, but haven’t appeared angry enough for years to execute.
With our review copy of the albums being four tracks shy of the full complement, this is still representative of a mighty effort from a band totally at the top of their game, dwarfing last album No (Hydra Head) and destined to rattle many ‘top ten’ lists of 2014.
Best known for his work rumbling the 4-string for hardcore heroes Converge, Nate Newton is also the mastermind of Doomriders. Here, Newton swaps the bass for a guitar and his voice. Joining him on this adventure of sonic belligerence is guitarist Chris Pupecki and bassist Jebb Riley. For new album Grand Blood (Deathwish), drummer Q joins the fray.
As I recall, it took me some time to really get into their last album and truth be told, it did here too. Track three to be exact. ‘Mankind’ is actually the the shortest track on the album (save the intro) but it packs a wallop. A techy riff opens things before introducing a powerful sludgy riff and ample swing. Riley’s bass forces its way through the mix to growl and snarl away beneath a soaring solo. Following a couple tracks later, that energy is picked up again on ‘Bad Vibes’. The relentless rhythm bounces and rolls through your brain. Newton’s screams here get full on, matching the solo that caps off this punk and roll juggernaut of a track.
Doomriders can bring the doom as well. ‘Father Midnight’, periods during ‘Dead Friends’, and ‘Death in Heat’ exhibit this tendency. The former rolls over the listener like a vindictive steamroller while still holding onto some groove and moodiness. The latter carries a heavy stoner vibe, weighed down by a sort of humidity and dirty, dirty tone. And ‘Dead Friends’ balances sludge with a Cancer Bats-like energy. Given the title you can guess how heavy the subject matter is.
From the elastic title track to the smoky ‘Gone to Hell’ and the gruff ‘New Pyramids’ to the Danko Jones-in fun of ‘Back Taxes’, Doomriders have compiled a series of tracks with enough stylistic variation to keep things interesting. Whether dragging through the mud or hot-roddin’ with style, Grand Blood nails whatever vibe they’re looking for.
Bottom line here is a fun album. It sounds incredible and would make for a great live spectacle. It’s great to see artists branch out from the projects they’re best known for and still produce something fans of those bands will enjoy.
by Matt Hinch
Nate Newton is a busy man. Besides playing bass in Converge and being a guitarist in Old Man Gloom he also fronts his own band, called Doomriders. Ghost Cult caught up with him to discuss Grand Blood (Deathwish), the new Doomriders album. He was also keen to tell more about the personal nature of some of the songs, working with producer Kurt Ballou and the upcoming tour schedule.Continue reading