Welington Irish Black Warrior – Vafancuneo

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Welcome to this year’s most rigorously exciting and insatiably compelling release, Vafancuneo. Ok it is probably too early to truly give the title to Welington Irish Black Warrior, the creators of the extraordinary release but there are no doubts it will be in the top handful of nominees come judgement time. Brewing a unique sound most closely described as post punk meets psyche rock with a veining of noise and experimental industry, the Swiss band has sculpted a new template for emerging noise driven bands. Their EP is sensational, a riveting and breath-taking, almost tribal incendiary device for imagination and passions to explode over, and certainly one of the essential releases of 2014.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Brynjar Thorsson, bassist Léon Jodry, and drummer Steven Doutaz, the Neuchâtel based trio came together in 2005, three music loving men who supposedly came together as a band to stop working in a watch making factory. Since that entrance Welington Irish Black Warrior has been on an upward spiral, notably releasing a self-titled debut album in 2012, collaborating with Kunz on the five track KUNZWIBW of last year, and spending a whole year writing music based on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s movie Holy Mountain, which they performed live in a church in front of the screen during a projection of the 2 hours movie. With a flood of shows, European tours, and festival appearances only increasing their stock, time is ripe for the band to draw the strongest spotlight, something Vafancuneo is potent bait for.

Recorded live by Alberto Dutto (Movie Star Junkies), mixed by Mano Moccia, and mastered by Louis Jucker (Coilguns, Kunz, The Fawn), 02_Front CoverVafancuneo is a virulent infestation of senses and mind from the opening minute of first track Hand on Stomach. The beginning to the song is a scattering of noises and splattering of rhythms but a mix brewing and merging into a united probing as it all comes into potent focus. A resonating throat calls out from the bass as the rhythms of Doutaz roam with a rampant appetite, both prowling and seducing the senses as distorted flames of guitar wind their riveting toxicity around thoughts. It is a thrilling provocation even before the joining expressive almost psychotic vocals tones of Thorsson complete the scintillating package, every aspect of the song a stark yet endearing poison writhing under the skin and into the passions.

The post punk conspiracy of the track is just as intensive in the following Jahzz, reinforcing thoughts of Wire and early Gang of Four hinted at for varying reasons in its predecessor. Jodry’s bass lies down the first delicious lure, its hypnotic suasion a predacious instigator to striding rhythms and sonic scythes of guitar. To those previously mentioned references you can also add Kabul Golf Club and unavoidably Joy Division as the track courts imagination and ears with its unpredictable and unrelenting web of sound and invention. There is also a sinister air to its aural narrative, a noir kissed ambience which colours the intriguing canvas and persistent single minded gait of song and hook.

It is already an irresistible encounter by this point but the album opens an even richer vat of temptation and tempting with Lac Orbu. The initial clutch of short grooves is once again an instant capture of a raging appetite for the EP before the track stirs up an agitated blanket of rhythms with stabbing guitar as the bass groans hungrily by their side. Vocals bring their distinct enticement to the psychotic dance next; a canter pungent with a contagion of repetition and rhythmic disorientation. Thoughts of The Fire Engines add to the suggestive spicery of the romp before everything is smothering in a sonic squall. Lines are blurred and air infused with raw ambience as the song moves towards its departure, the band again leaving assumptions as pointless as warm melodies trying to encroach into the creeping soundscape.

A pulsating distortion of sonic psyching draws the next up Fascination into view, its strobing soon matched by whipping rhythms and the anthemic vocals. The bass brings a stable shadow to the light show, its premeditated drawl holding the scattered bait for one massive and intrusive seducing. The jagged breath of the track scars the senses beautifully, seizing their allegiance automatically as the acidic flight of guitar winds enticingly almost wantonly around the imagination and emotions. A strong whisper of The Gaa Gaas also permeates the scaring of sonics and rhythms but as throughout thoughts of Wire come the closest to describing a little of the brilliant brew the band conjures.

A schizophrenic character grins from within Bankal 10/15; a fruity discordant twang casting its spell over the guitars as the bass again adds the more even gaited poise to the cacophonous exploits littering ears with scarring beauty. The breaking swagger and addictive swerve of guitar and song simply ignite another wave of lustful ardour in mind and heart, inspiring the return of feelings and bewildered yet hungry thoughts arguably not felt since the late seventies when many of the comparisons mentioned reigned. There is a definite nostalgic feel to the release but only as rich hue to something unique and of the corrosive now.

Vafancuneo closes with the just as tremendous Samba Suicide, a hive of waspish sonics making the first play for the passions before an infectious grinding of riffs and sharp hooks pounce with a pop intent. Probably the most accessible song on the EP, certainly the most danceable, the track evolves into a disorderly, unsynchronised adrenaline fuelled waltz, an atonal stomp which exhausts and exhilarates with equal success. It is a dynamic and masterful finale to a quite brilliant encounter. Welington Irish Black Warrior takes noise and discord and weaves them into the most insatiably gripping and antagonistically seducing pleasure possible. Their songs are genius and wickedly captivating, and once they worm under the surface impossible to shake off.

Vafancuneo is available now @ http://hummusrecords.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/welingtonirishblackwarrior

10/10

RingMaster 01/05/2014

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Holy Mountain – Ancient Astronauts

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Binding the senses in grooves which show no restrain or mercy in their insatiable temptation and plying that slavery with riffs which voraciously gnaw and smother all before them, Ancient Astronauts the new album from Scottish metallers Holy Mountain, is an unstoppable juggernaut of sound and intensity. It is a heavyweight antagonist merging stoner and doom metal into a suffocating tsunami of intense and exhaustive sounds, but one which veins and sears it all with at times corrosive but always incendiary magnetic grooves and melodic causticity. It is quite simply an encounter which lovers of the riff will devour with greed.

Holy Mountain, its name taken from the Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 movie La Montana Sagrada, was formed in 2009 as an improvisational duo by guitarist/vocalist Andy McGlone and drummer Pete Flett. Two years after emerging, the Glasgow band enlisted bassist Allan Stewart and went almost straight into the creation of debut release Earth Measures. The mini album found its release in the May of 2012 welcomed by strong responses and acclaim, a reaction sure to be replicated and taken to greater levels by its impressive successor. Recorded with producer Paul Savage (Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand), Ancient Astronauts is a giant leap if not for mankind certainly for Holy Mountain as they explore all the qualities unveiled on their previous release far more intensively and inventively whilst casting new wild and expansive endeavours.

LV-42666 brings the journey into view, cruising in on a sonic breeze before stroking the imagination rigorously with thrashing rhythms, Holy-Mountain-Ancient-Astronauts-300x288rapacious riffs, and addictive grooves; rogue vocals adding to the celestial mystery and adventure. As urgent as it is heavy, the track strides boldly as sinews bare their muscular appetite and melodies seduce ears with the guile and irresistible lures of a wanton temptress. There is also an unmistakable psychedelic pop romp to the encounter which only accelerates its submission of the senses and passions.

The following Luftwizard instantly brings a darker and heavier suasion but again it is lit by scorching melodies and also this time vocal harmonies which flirt and tempt the imagination as potently as the sounds. The voice of McGlone is fed through a Roland Space Chorus across the album bringing a spatial quality to his tones and the general air of songs, something equally inspired by the majestic pungency of accompanying keys. The thick imposing riffs of the song provide a deep texture to the affair which almost groans in its intensity and rapacious wrapping of the sonic maelstrom within. It is a masterful adventure guiding the listener through a union of dark and light, a mutual rather than combative merger but one with plenty of imposing shadows to its exultant fire.

The title track comes up next exploring cavernous sceneries with doom bred prowling riffery and rhythmic provocation whilst short but virulent grooves lance the thick smothering air, their strikes beacons through the appealing murkiness as the song heads into an explosive contagion which bursts out with urgency and sonic radiance. The track touches the darkest depths and brightest highs in tone leaving the senses exhausted and rewarded by the riveting ascent, their recovery given no respite as Star Kings from a rhythmic draw swiftly courted by a highly tempting bass stroll, feeds another strenuous passage of ravenous riffs and fuzz surfaced enterprise. The vocals are a little further forward and carry stronger clarity within the tempest of sound, though they still feel pleasingly immersed in the overall flood of the experience rather than being an overlying presence riding the waves. It is an aspect which is as potent and important as the riffs and rhythms in making the album the immense proposition it is, they and the ridiculously contagious toxins which the band also casts into the creative rabidity.

Not necessarily the best track, so hard to choose one, but a definite favourite here is Tokyo which comes next. A bestial vicious voice and growl to the riffs drives the track initially whilst the bass with its throaty appeal makes the good guy in the confrontation, its smiling grooves the temper to the predacious guitar grizzle and the trigger to the flirtatious sonic temptation and boisterous vocals which revel in the overwhelming devilry of the track. It is a siren of a song which is matched by Gift Giver, the danger which usually accompanies such a tempting and arguably missing in its predecessor, an open stalking at the start of the song. Its slow pacing is soon ignited as riffs escape their shackles, a punkish urgency taking over whilst the drums hold a little restraint in attack if not power. It continues to switch between extremes bringing a scintillating and unpredictable soundscape to play with and explore, a post punk severity adding its taunts from time to time in the lulls between unbridled sonic blazes. The instrumental is riff heaven and groove manna thrown into an aural alchemy and corruption to bask in.

The album is completed by firstly the seventies seeded psychedelically enhanced 100 Years A Day and lastly the smouldering expanse of Hollow Hill which alone encapsulates all you need to know about Holy Mountain in sound, skill, and imagination, as well as influences with a range of twists and enterprise which pull up references to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Electric Wizard, ones you can apply to the whole of the album even with its distinct presence. Ancient Astronauts is a magisterial slab of psychedelic rock/metal and Holy Mountain a band poised to stake their claim for a seat on the top table of the genre we suggest.

Ancient Astronauts is available now through Chemikal Underground digitally and on limited edition vinyl.

http://www.holymountainband.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 17/04/2014

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