Spider Kitten – Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before

Spider Kitten

Claimed as an album which was never supposed to exist, Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before definitely belies the spontaneous and undetermined emergence that the statement suggests. The three track release from UK doomsters Spider Kitten, in their words “was always meant as a filler for themselves and the ‘fans’ before the next full album.” What they have created is a masterful captivation of sound and invention which pushes their horizons and suggests that ultimately its birth was not as laid back as assumed, though equally it holds a freedom and flow to it which is organically spontaneous. It is a gripping and unpredictable slab of stoner flamed doom exploration, something which the Welsh band excels in, which for newcomers and fans alike reinforces the stature of Spider Kitten and more.

Formed in 2001, the Newport band is centred round vocalist/guitarist Chi Lameo and bassist/vocalist Alex White. Emerging as a duo, the band as years and releases came and went, has been a full septet and as now, an imagination sparking quartet featuring drummer/vocalist Chris West and guitarist Rob Davies alongside the founding pair. The band has numerous impressive releases under their belt but strangely and almost inexplicably Spider Kitten is still a treat within the shadows when it comes to breaching the fullest spotlight within British rock. Maybe the new encounter will be the catalyst to broader attention and recognition, time will tell but it is certainly a striking and exciting incitement from the band which is sure to whip up a storm of acclaim somewhere.SKDigiPromoCover

Lyrically and musically inspired by Norse Sagas and Eddas, the release also features guests in the shape of guitarist Stuart ‘O.F.D.’ O’Hara (Acrimony, Iron Monkey, Blackeyeriot, Sigiriya) on opener Lindisfarena, and Charlotte Nichols (ex – Crippled Black Phoenix) who provides the heavy provocation of cello gracing final song Gore Swan. The first track launches on a gripping parade of predatory rhythms swiftly smothered in sonic causticity as guitars spray their endeavour. It is a tribal call to arms which instantly enslaves ears and imagination before suddenly relaxing into a just as tempestuous terrain of thick stoner enterprise and doom loaded predation. Vocals add their raw persuasion and colour next as the track spreads with almost toxic infectiousness across the senses, Lindisfarena insatiably swallowing thoughts and emotions with its riveting expanse of bass intimidation and sonic tenacity. Slow and lumbering but nimble on its feet in certain aggressive and inventive moments, the track is seven minutes plus of enthralling, bordering on visceral exploration.

The following Bearded Axe consumes ears with lowly slung grooves and stalking rhythms as vocal harmonies converge on the song’s corrosive ambience. It is a mesmeric assault, the track a ponderous beauty of bestial intensity and weight aligned to perversely radiant colour and temptation. For three minutes or so the track prowls and intimidates to fine effect but it is once sonic scythes split the body of the track, to be matched by carnivorous beats, that it grips an even greater plateau. Thick Kyuss like essences seduce in its maelstrom before a gentle caress of folkish charm leads the track towards the closing epic of Gore Swan. It is a transfixing bruising enticement which is surpassed by the journey, musically and lyrically, coming in the three parts of the last track. With ‘chapters’ Of the Land, Of the Sea, and Of the Sky uniting, the song is an evolving landscape of melodic scenery, ferocious confrontation, and imposing intensity. It never rests too long in one particular climate, each movement no matter its length a restless and fascinating tapestry of textures and sonically fuelled imagination. There is something of KingBathmat to the encounter, especially in its weave of evocative sounds and almost devilish ingenuity. The cello of Nichols is gorgeous as it crafts melancholic and bewitching shadowed tones as backdrop to hostile and calmer twists in the tale.

The track alone makes the album a must investigation, and locked in union with its companions helps provide another sensational proposition from Spider Kitten, a band which surely will eventually stand to the fore of doom bred, progressive caressed, sludge rich adventure.

Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before is available now via Undergroove Records

http://www.spiderkitten.co.uk

RingMaster 28/10/2014

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Fuck Hammer: Hammered To Fuck

As subtle as a house brick between the eyes and at times just as painful, Fuck Hammer is a quartet from Northern Ireland who twist their brand of death metal into a grind, crust, and sludge veined corruption. It takes no prisoners nor wants to make friends, but just consumes and blasts every atom, with venom and festering intensity.

Hammered To Fuck is the first EP from Fuckhammer and was originally self released as a limited quantity CDR. The release found a great response and reviews within the local scene and caught the attention of the young Northern Ireland death metal label, Grindscene Records who has now given it a professional re-release. Musically it is a pit of noise with flavours from the likes of Crowbar, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, and Carcass. The production is not the best it could have been but offers a rawness which adds to the violating tempest which assaults from every angle whilst the sound, as well as the vocals, brings an abrasive consumption with no respite.

The opening Born Of The Ass immediately goes to work on the senses with a delicious greedy groove which winds and grinds its way deeper and deeper.  As the bile spewing serpentine vocals come in the riffs flare up before returning to that persistent destructive groove. The song in many ways is repetitive but it works great and to be honest when the track does venture slightly away from its sonic shaft one wants that irresistible groove back to rub the wounds it caused even more. The track, like the whole release, does not have any designs to restyle or invent its core sounds but just unleashes the intent to wring every essence from them for the best results.

The following Drone mixes things up with flurries of tempos, beats, and crunching riffs. The twists and turns all brought with the fullest intensity make for two minutes which do not reflect the title at all but still offer a thick sludge oppression to admire. The guitars and drums crush and dispose of any obstacles within the senses with undeniable strength and craft so for even in its brief assault the song is a thunderous enjoyable confrontation.

The remaining Hillbillies and Abortion Addict vary things again, the first with a stoner swagger to its death spawn vocals and conspiracy of insatiable grooves and thrash tinted riffage, whilst the second is a grindcore/death metal avalanche of towering riffs and abusive rhythms. Their hunger is different in intensity too with Hillbillies chewing on the senses with a southern greed and incestuous appetite whilst its successor gnaws and consumes with a rabid vehemence, the release again creating a varied violation to be endured and ultimately enjoyed.

Fuck Hammer is a band still in its informative years musically one feels and as such Hammered To Fuck is not drenched in any really distinct originality, its sounds heard elsewhere though dished up in a different and energized way. Vocally too some diversity would have been a good additive. The delivery and spiteful aggression works well for the most part but do diminish and distract from the effect of some aspects of sound like the tighter grooved parts without a complimentary variation.

For all that though the EP is an enjoyable release giving plenty of promise for the band and an anticipation of what will emerge when they are given access to a proper studio and production set up.

www.myspace.com/fuckkhammer

RingMaster 30/08/2012

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