Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kings Destroy - Kings Destroy EP (self-released, 2010)

Stoner metal should be played by ugly dudes for ugly dudes. I'm not saying that heterosex can never come into it -- gettin' down to Sky Valley is one of life's great pleasures, and I suppose Electric Wizard's smoking hot second guitarist Liz Buckingham must have found something seductive about the genre when she married bandmate Jus Oborn. Point is, the almighty fuzz riff is best pursued and appreciated when sex is a non-issue, and bliss is the main objective.

Brooklyn's Kings Destroy aren't anything much to look at, and the two songs on their debut 7" aren't much prettier, just a bunch plodding rhythms, Obsessed riffs and Steve Murphy's adenoidal singing voice. There's something really satisfying about how these dual guitars lock so tightly, maybe more tightly than is ideal for music this bong-tastic. Come to think of it, other than the chanted note halfway through "Medusa," the music here isn't all too weedy. Murphy sounds like he's toking the same weed as 1967 Ozzy. The others sound like they gave up drugs years ago. Totally pro performances, and a bright mix from Mike Moebius.

"Old Yeller"

Then again, maybe the riffage is so economical and precisely played because a lot of these guys used to play meaty music in hardcore bands. Guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski were in NYHC legends Killing Time, Murphy was in Uppercut, and the rhythm section did time in Electric Frankenstein and Stanley. Listen hard, and you'll hear hardcore energy, shoehorned into stoner metal strictures. It's a little clean to connect, but these are just Kings Destroy's first two songs. Soak the band in bong resin for a millennium and they'll be considered classic. Or, just give the knobs over to Sanford Parker, as Kings Destroy are doing for their upcoming full-length debut. Same difference.


Kings Destroy donate a portion of all proceeds to the Brooklyn-based youth basketball team, the On Point Cyclones.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

R.I.P. National Sunday Law. Much respect.

National Sunday Law scream goodbye

Sad news today from Darin Tambascio, the guitarist/vocalist/everything-but-drums-ist of Los Angeles metal duo National Sunday Law:

After playing over 50 shows with some of our favorite bands (Intronaut, Mouth of the Architect, Irepress, Behold...The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Exhausted Prayer, Solar Wimp, Hurt Model, Fight Amp and so many more), we are taking a break from National Sunday Law. Due to a dire financial situation and ongoing employment issues, Darin will be moving back to his home state of Maryland in late June. Therefore, the band will be on an indefinite hiatus after two more shows.

This is a major bummer. National Sunday Law were one of my favorite L.A. bands of any stripe. They filled a pretty vital function out here -- heavy enough for the metal crowd, arty enough for the noiseniks, tricksy enough for the prog-heads, NSL could play on almost any bill. And with just two dudes covering a vast sonic spectrum, their shows were always a minor spectacle. Both Darin and drummer Derek Donley were faithful supporters of the scene on both sides of the band/audience divide.

NSL's disbandment is especially disappointing given that they just released a killer new EP, The Fifth Ape, which you can download here for free. The EP showcases the band's balance of meditative mood and eye-bugging heaviness way better than their debut album, La Storia di Cannibali (reviewed here). "Joshua the Anchor" sets washes of analog keyboards buzzing against a ten-ton waltz; "The Darwinian Heart of Darkness" recalls early Isis in the planetary bigness of its riffs; "Last Flight of the Dodo Bird" seems aimed at new vistas, with melodic vocals and elastic bass (courtesy of Intronaut's Joe Lester) striating Tambascio's spidery guitar and Donley's totally money drumming. These guys were going places.

A glimmer of hope amidst the gloominess:

In other news, we're excited to announce that Graviton (our new side project with Sacha Dunable of Intronaut) has finished recording a full length album. We hope to have it available by the fall, around the same time as the new Intronaut record!

Here are some promising snippets of the Graviton recording sessions:

While we all wait for Darin to win a lucrative government oil contract so that National Sunday Law might tour and record again, download the The Fifth Ape EP, hold your breath for the Graviton release, and if you're in the LA area, come out to one of their last two shows. It's been a good run, boys.

Pay Your Respects at National Sunday Law's Final Two Shows (For Now):

June 3rd @ Relax Bar with Salvador, Of The Horizon, Nameless Lights. NSL is on at 9:55pm.

June 7th @ Vacation Vinyl in-store with free Colt 45. 7pm sharp.

National Sunday Law Merch Procurement:

CHAINMAIL: Huntress - Off With Her Head (self-released, 2010)

The CHAINMAIL section reviews bands that contacted me directly. Here at Cerebral Metalhead, initiative is rewarded.

As soon as I read about this band on Invisible Oranges, I started encountering them everywhere. They e-mailed me about coverage. They showed up together at a Black Math Horseman gig. They were in line at the free Dark Angel/Arsis show. All of a sudden they're on every backwards-looking metal bill and local blog that we've got. The L.A. metal scene is a concentrated one, and it's easy to make your presence known, especially when you've got an obscenely great-looking lead singer named Tuesdae and the other 4/5 of your band is recognizable from another regularly gigging band (the ripping Professor). Still, the short amount of time it's taken these folks to become regulars on the L.A. metal circuit is pretty impressive.

Listening to Huntress's debut EP Off With Her Head, it's not hard to understand why Huntress would want to hurry the fuck up and get out there. This shit is almost too easy to love. Time-tested NWOBHM riffs with the amber melted away by sparking electricity. Witchy themes and hooks-a-plenty. Galloping rhythms and harmonized Maiden leads, and Tuesdae's double-tracked caterwauling -- not nearly as theatrical as her opera training would suggest, and way more solid than the cynical metal fan might expect given her Playboy pedigree. This is just three tracks, of course, but it shows great portent. It's probably a good thing that Professor went on hiatus a couple weeks ago and Tuesdae's all-star covers band, Chelsea Girls, officially disbanded in April. These five need to shoot for the moon or shoot for nothing. All eyes on Huntress.

June 2 @ King King: with Slough Feg (reviewed here), Gates of Slumber and The Czars Dogs
June 19 @ Echo Curio: with Gypsyhawk
July 3 @ Mountain Bar

Download Huntress's Off With Her Head EP right here.
Download Professor's two tour EPs right here.