Abusement Park: Top 15 of 2016

This is one of my most favorite times of the year. It allows us to take a look at all the great releases that have come out this year, and this year there have certainly been a ton of them. What I look at the most in my end of the year list is albums that demanded repeat listens. The order is not the most important thing but I suppose they are ranked. I also think the best part about this list is, literally none of these bands created this music to make this list, or any list for that matter. However, these 15 albums made my list so lets see them.

starspawn15. Blood Incantation – Starspawn (Dark Descent Records)

Who doesn’t love some really weird sci-fi Death metal? From the buzz that this album created when it dropped, it would certainly seem like very few people do not. I think this is an excellent death metal album and garnered many repeat listens. It’s drenched in atmosphere and it will certainly leave you feeling like the stargate. Favorite Track: Virtrification of Blood (Part I)

sewercide14. Sewercide – Immortalized In Suffering (Unspeakable Axe Records)

It should be no surprise that early into this  list there is a release from Unspeakable Axe, they without a doubt were the best label this year. Sewercide are a disgusting Australian death metal band. I’m pretty sure the band members recorded this in the dankest of places. It’s filled to the brim with sweet riffage and the vocal delivery is just superb. Favorite Track: Megalithic Tomb

mizmor-yodh

13. Mizmor – Yodh (Gilead Media)

Yodh by Mizmor is like one part black metal and one part doom metal. It seeps emotion and bad feelings. It also literally screams feelings of catharsis. The one man behind Mizmor makes you feel with this one. There is so much to take in with this album.  It is so good instrumentally, but the vocals really steal the show. They bring so much to this album and it becomes apparent from that first scream in the first track. That scream quite literally put a smile on my face when I heard it. I just knew I was in for a treat with Yodh. Favorite Track: i – Woe Regains My Substance

ustalost12. Ustalost – The Spoor of Vipers (Sibir Records/Gilead Media)

Ustalost is a solo project for W. Skarstad of Yellow Eyes. I could probably leave it there and not have to explain how good of a black metal album this is, but I’ll elaborate a little bit. This is progressive black metal that goes all over the place. It has incredibly dark moments as well as some bright spots. It features the use of synths pretty heavily. The bass work on this also takes it to another level. Gilead Media will be releasing the vinyl next year as well so scoop that up when the time comes. Favorite Track: IV

21002 [Converted]11. CTHE’ILIST – Le Dernier Crepuscule (Profound Lore Records)

This is another one of those albums that made a buzz this year, and with good reason. It quite literally sounds like the source of all your fears got ahold of some instruments and created death metal that is not of this world. This album is incredibly unique and technically crafted. The vocals do not sound human at times. I’m still not certain that playing this album at the wrong time will not summon a Lovecraftian horror into your home that will drag you into the depths of the unknown to never see what you once loved ever again. You just have to hear it for yourself. Also the slap bass, I gotta mention that. Favorite Track: Voidspawn

chasms_150010. Lycus – Chasms (Relapse Records)

Alright! We’re in the top 10 and to start it off we have the most astounding funeral doom album of the year. Lycus really impressed me with their last album Tempest, and they have impressed me further with Chasms. This is slow dreadful doom at it’s finest. Chasms is surrounded in thick heavy atmosphere. If you aren’t careful this album could crush you under it’s weight. Favorite Track: Obsidian Eyes

khemmis9. Khemmis – Hunted (20 Buck Spin)

Hunted by Khemmis is what Decibel Magazine deemed to be their album of the year, and while it may not be our #1 it’s certainly one of our favorites. It has been a wonderful year for doom metal and this album is a big reason why. Khemmis released their debut Absolution last year and I personally think Hunted is an improvement. The vocals are more triumphant and the guitar melodies hit harder. Khemmis also added elements from funeral doom that I just love. They are present in tracks such as Candlelight. It’s hard not to feel victorious after listening to this one. Favorite Track: Hunted

gatecreeper-sonoran8. Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation (Relapse Records)

I have been following Gatecreeper since they dropped their four song demo tape back in 2014. After a handful of some great splits, the wait is finally over and we have the full length. I got exactly what I expected and exactly what I wanted out of this Gatecreeper full length. It’s filled to the brim with GED Riffs that get you hyped up. Honestly when I listen to this I want to punch holes in things. Gatecreeper play music that shouldn’t be trifled with. They wear their Swedish death metal influence on their sleeve proudly and they should. Favorite Track: Rotting As One

north light the way7. North – Light The Way (Prosthetic Records)

The first thing I want to say about this album is that it is beautiful. It has incredible atmosphere and it is just powerful. This album is completely immersive, and is a pleasant listening experience. It would be hard to find a more recent Post-metal album better than this one. I will also say this is one of my biggest surprises of the year. I had not even heard of North until I cam across Light the Way, but I’m glad I found it. This album has gotten many plays this year and I imagine I will keep returning to it. Favorite Track: Earthmind

nucleaus sentient6. Nucleus – Sentient (Unspeakable Axe Records)

If you have been reading everything I have written so far you may remember that I said everybody loves  really weird sci-fi death metal. Nucleus have made some really good, really weird sci-fi death metal with Sentient. The science fiction theme really works for the album since it sounds like it was brought here from the future, but also brought from the past. Nucleus have a brand of death metal that is very much old school and technical, but still very modern. I love the sideways riffs and the sporadic soloing. The subject matter of the songs are great too with subjects like the film Cube and Dan Simmons Hyperion. Favorite Track: Swarm

take over self title5. Take Over And Destroy – Take Over And Destroy (Prosthetic Records)

Take Over And Destroy have always had a sound that is hard to pin down. This album makes it even harder to pin down. They have influences from all over the place and it shows in the music. The one thing I know for certain is this is the catchiest metal album released this year. Every single one of these songs has the ability to stay with you. Each song is pretty unique from one another as well, but the whole package works as an incredible listen. The heavy riffing John Carpenter soundtrack band have delivered once again. Favorite Track: changes day to day but lets go with Bring Me the Rope

scorched-echoes4. Scorched – Echoes of Dismemberment (Unspeakable Axe Records)

Oh yes Echoes of Dismemberment, the album that has as many riffs as a Hallmark store has greeting cards. I love this album, it’s my favorite death metal album of the year without a doubt. I just keep going back to it. Much like Gatecreeper I’ve been following Scorched from demo to splits and have been anxiously awaiting a proper full length. When the full length arrived I got what I wanted. This album features flawless drumming, and groovy riffs. Steve Fuchs and Nick Carucci assault the whammy bar like it wronged their families and I love it.  The horror movie theme is done so well with the album cover, the synth music, and lyrical content. Listen to Scorched. Favorite Track: Dealings of A Gruesome Kind

spirit adrift chained to ob3. Spirit Adrift – Chained to Oblivion (Prosthetic Records/War Crime Recordings)

Nate Garrett appears to have been the bringer of Riffs and Doom this year, having released an incredible EP as well as full length this year. Spirit Adrift bring top tier emotional doom that feels and sounds like a cathartic release. There are guitar melodies that sing, heavy riffs, and vocals that work with the music to perferction. The improvement from the EP Behind – Beyond  to Chained to Oblivion, make this album worthy of spot alone. The entire album creates a cohesive experience. There is not a single track that should go unheard, in fact its best to listen to it all in one go. The resurgence of doom metal lately has been incredible and Spirit Adrift have added to that with this one. I hope the bringer of doom and riffs brings more of both soon. Favorite Track: Chained to Oblivion

haunter2. Haunter – Thrinodia (Unsigned)

This is what I personally believe is the best black metal album released this year and if you have a label you need to listen to this album and sign Haunter. This album has incredible atmosphere. The production is polished at times but still incredibly raw. It’s hard to ask more out of black metal. Most U.S. Black metal is rooted somewhere in New York, but Haunter reside in San Antonio, Texas. They put a unique spin on their brand of black metal. There are plenty of riffs to go around, and very impressive bass lines that can be heard. It’s exceptional black metal and you just need to give it a listen. Favorite Track: Apnoeic (Polarized in Retrospective Contempt)

inter arma paradise1. Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows (Relapse Records)

Here it is the Abusement Park album of the year. Paradise Gallows was my most anticipated release of 2016 and it delivered. It not only delivered, it exceeded my expectations. Inter Arma have a spotless history of releases, and just when you think they couldn’t possibly get better they do just that. This album is about as heavy as holding onto a boulder while sinking into the ocean at times. Then at other it manages to be as beautiful as a cloudless night, sometimes both at the same time. There are amazing riffs at every turn. Inter Arma manage to bring a plethora of styles from doom, sludge, and post-metal. They then put their own progressive spin on it and have composed a modern day masterpiece and I really mean that. They try a lot of new things on this and they all worked. It’s almost unfair, but I’m thankful for this album. Favorite Track: An Archer in the Emptiness

I’ve had a great year running this blog for the first time, and have had some incredible guests on here as well as support. So as a bonus here are some #1 picks by people I interviewed, celebrities, Abusement Park season pass holders… whatever you want to call them!

Andy Leemont (Take Over And Destroy): Grave Pleasures – Funeral Party 7″

Stoney Bass (Anvil Eater Records): Vermin Womb- Decline, and Blood Incantation –  Starspawn

Young Cubs/Night Rambler Records: Downfall of Gaia – Atrophy

Steve Fuchs & Matt Kapa (Scorched): Blood Incantation – Starspawn

Dave Muntean (Nucleus): CTHE’ILIST – Le Dernier Crepuscule

Slade Williams (Pavel Chekov/Celestial Corrosion): Death Fetishist – Clandestine Sacrament

Brandon Kellum (American Standards): The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation, and Oathbreaker – Rheia

A.L.W. (our editor): Brujeria – Pocho Aztlan

Jeff Owens (Goya/Spirit Adrift): Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker (as Jeff put it “heaviest album of the year, in one way, if not another”)

Nate Garrett (Spirit Adrift/Gatecreeper): Vektor – Terminal Redux, and Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows. (It also just occurred to me that Nate had something to do with 3 albums on our list. If we gave out awards he’d be our dude of the year or something what a year for that guy am I right?)

Now time to look forward to 2017

-REH

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Abusement Park: Top 15 of 2016

Night Work Begins

take over self titleTake Over And Destroy – Self titled (Prosthetic Records 2016)

I guess first thing to say about this album is if you think all heavy music should fit perfectly into a little box, then stop right here and use your time for something better. Take Over And Destroy draw influences from all over the spectrum. I have heard them referred to as sludge and “black n roll”.  The point is with this new self-titled full length, it’s hard to pin down one easy way to describe it. I for one find this to be a good thing. It is always great to see bands pushing boundaries, as well as themselves musically. For those familiar with Take Over And Destroy this is undeniably them.

The album starts out with “By Knife” which is also the first single released for this album. It was a good choice for first song as well as single. For a band with such diverse sound this is a track that has a bit of it all. It has the heavy riffs and vocals as well as some softer diabolical crooning vocals by vocalist Andrew Leemont. There is also an excellent guitar solo shared by both guitarist on this album Alex Bank Rollins and Nate Garrett. The next song we want to talk about is “Let Me Grieve” which also happens to be my personal favorite. It just has the catchiest opening guitar licks I have heard in a long time. The vocal performance in this is fantastic. This album is without a doubt the best vocal performance on any TOAD album in my opinion. The harsh vocals are excellent as well as the cleaner ones. I find there to be a perfect balance between the two. The one thing I can guarantee on this album is you have not heard an album like this, this year, or most likely ever. Take Over And Destroy isn’t without its hooks songs like “Separate from the Shadows”, “Job Coffins”, and “Bring me the Rope” will demand repeat listens as well as work their way inside of your brain. The song “Out of Frame” is also quite interesting with keyboard parts that sound like they were taken straight out of John Carpenters Christine. The last two tracks have incredible instrumental sections. The track “Love Among The Ruins” has some riff worship with nods to doom metal. Then of course one thing that can always be expected out of TOAD is a good album closer. The final track “Night Work Begins” continues this trend.

This is heavy music with hooks, riffs, guitar harmonies, and catchy choruses. The bands intentions were to release an album that was a collection of singles and I think they achieved it. Fans of this release are bound to have differing favorite songs that may change like the weather. Take Over And Destroy are one of a kind and I hope they continue to stay that way.

-REH

Give it a listen here

Order here

Night Work Begins

Take Over And Destroy at the Park

take-over-logo

I would like to welcome Alex Bank Rollins and Andrew Leemont of Take Over And Destroy to Abusement Park. In 2014 they released our personal album of the year Vacant Face. They are currently on the cusp of the release of their self-titled full length album. Which is due out on Prosthetic Records October 7th. Let’s get this thing started!

 

The first thing I want to ask about is the history of Take Over And Destroy. I have been listening to you guys for a while and do not know a whole lot about how you started. How did it go from Drone Throne to TOAD? 

 Alex – They were two separate projects that started around the same time. In 2006 Andy and I were playing in a band together. I started playing drums in Drone Throne as a side project. Andy wanted to branch out from the band we were currently doing, and started recording his own material in his bedroom under the moniker TOAD. It started out as a gloomy punk band. Once he recruited members for live performances, the sound changed and morphed into something different.

 What are your major influences musically or even non-musically? 

Alex – We are influenced by people who create their own sound. We want to be a band that when you hear us, you immediately know it’s us. Bands that have their own identity are inspiring to us. From Queen, to Queens of the Stone Age. From The Ramones to Rocket from the Crypt. From Nirvana to Nick Cave. From Danzig to Devo. 

It’s inevitable that we’re always inspired by the films that we watch.

Not too long ago you guys announced the new LP was going to be self-titled, what made you guys decide that this one was going to be self-titled?

Andy – The concept of the album is that it’s a collection of singles. We thought it would be appropriate to play the self-titled card at this point in our discography.

 

Before the new material was even recorded you guys hit the road with Lament Cityscape to get the songs ready, did the songs change at all from road to studio? 

Alex – Not really. We just got tighter as a band playing these songs. The structure of the songs never changed.

Andy – It’s a perfect thing for a band to tour right before recording. Especially since we recorded it live.

 

Are there any songs on the album that were not played on the road? 

Alex – No, we played every song on tour at least once before we returned home and entered the studio.

Andy – We always switch the sets up live from night to night. We’ve always done that, but we made sure to integrate every song from the new album.

 

When I saw you guys, y’all played a cover of “Tired of Being Alive” by Danzig, which was awesome. At any point did you think about recording a version of that?

Alex – Thanks! It’s always fun to play, and having CT from Rwake join us on stage for the cover in Little Rock was a real pleasure.

Andy – We planned on recording it for a 7″, but those plans fell through.

Check out the cover

 

Once again you guys recorded with Bob Hoag, how would you describe y’alls relationship?

Alex – Andy and I have known Bob since 2006. We’ve been working with him ever since. We all have similar interests, so we’re always talking about current and past pop culture stuff. While working in the studio together, we can easily get distracted and go down the rabbit hole, but we try and stay on schedule. There’s been plenty of overnight shifts where we’re making up for time and finish up while the sun is rising.

 

Andy – He’s like an older brother, and another member. He’s very generous with his creativity. We love Bob.

 

On Vacant Face he wrote and performed “The Fly Is Awake” did he contribute in any similar ways for the new LP?

Alex – He played virtually all of the organ and keyboard on the new album. Aside from myself playing the keys on Out of Frame, Bob played the rest. Andy wrote keyboard parts for the album and presented them to Bob, who then enhanced, altered, and executed them. Getting the right sound and tone for each keyboard part was a joint effort.

Andy – We hope to take him on tour with us one day.

 bob-twin-peaks-toad

This is the third time you have worked with Branca Studios, first being a t-shirt and then the cover for the split with Gatecreeper. What is it like working with him? How did the album cover for this one come about, especially the reversible cover? I think it’s a very cool idea and looks freaking sweet.  

Alex – Thanks Eli! It’s great working with him. We speak the same language (well, not really… he’s from Barcelona and English is his second language.) But he gets where we’re coming from. Working with him is easy because we can reference something and he immediately gets it. We’re happy to see him getting the recognition he deserves.

While discussing ideas and concepts for imagery to represent the new album, we were in our practice space. I have a framed poster of The Shining hanging up, and it hit me; we need an album cover that when flipped upside down, new images emerge. Much like the album you see certain things at first glance, then when looking closer more is revealed. While discussing it with him we referenced the collage style of The Beatles “Revolver” and Roky Erickson “The Evil One.”  The back side of the album is another reversible collage.

Andy – We gave him the pitch that this album is a collection of singles. We wanted it to look like a collage with the color scheme of the Misfits “Earth AD”

take over self title

 

Did you guys try anything crazy new on this one? The last album Vacant Face was insane. It had the gothic vibe as well as a song featuring a literal axe.

Also specifically for Andy, did you do anything different vocally? Because the “cleans” in “By Knife” sound gnarly.

Alex – We still have the same mindset that we’ve always had. We still believe that song structure is the most important thing. When we write it’s crucial for us that everything is fluid and flows as one. If it sounds good, and feels good to us, we hope that it will translate to the listener.

 

Andy – I did more crooning, weirdo clean vocals. I was more comfortable doing that on this album. It’s easy for me to scream and growl, I feel like our listeners deserve more than that. We implemented more rock and roll vocal harmonies on this album. Our producer Bob, and guitarist Nate [Garrett] did some layered harmonies on a few of the singing parts I wrote.

There’s a part in our song “Love Among the Ruins” where we did group vocals and we all shouted in key. That was a new thing for us, and is definitely a favorite moment on the album for everyone. Looking back, we wish we did more of that.

 

I remember hearing some pretty sweet guitar work in the new songs live. I also love the final result in the solo for “By Knife”. Are there any solos that you’re extra proud of, and what was your approach to them?

 

Alex -Thank you very much. The solo in By Knife is a double header. I play the first half, and Nate plays the second half. I tend to play more bluesy, melodic solos. At a really early age my Dad showed me Black Sabbath, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Moody Blues, Iron Butterfly, and the list goes on. For me it was never about how many notes you can cram into a solo, it’s more about the feel and emotion of it. In my opinion playing less notes, and the spaces in between notes can be more effective than shredding scales up and down the neck.

It’s not exactly a solo, but my favorite moment of guitar playing comes at the finale of the album. We close everything out with our song “Night Work Begins.” There’s an instrumental section at the end that has a real magic to it. I remember playing it in the studio and having chills sent down my spine. All the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, and afterwards it was hard for me to talk. I was just kind of silent, shaking my head.

 

I have to say these boys know how to close an album.

 

So as mentioned above you guys toured before the album was recorded, what are the plans for after the album releases?

Along with that I have to ask, will there be a new guitarist to replace Nate Garrett who has quietly departed the band?

Alex – We are doing a few out of town dates in November. A double feature showcase in California. We’re playing in Los Angeles on November 19th, and San Diego November 20th. There will be more to come.

This is a transitional phase, and we will be playing with a new guitarist.

 

Take Over And Destroy are recent signees to Prosthetic Records. I have to know how that came about because you’ve been basically DIY for so long.

 Alex – We were approached by Steve Joh who is currently working A&R for Prosthetic Records. Steve is well respected in the music industry and we hit it off with him right away. We were in talks with him for some time and decided it was the right move.

 

Fellow Arizona heavy hitters Gatecreeper are also releasing an album on October 7th but through Relapse Records, the same day the new Take Over album drops, was that planned?

 Seriously though the Arizona heavy scene has to be one of my favorites. Who are some other bands you guys think needed to be signed pronto?

 

Alex- It was not planned. Complete coincidence. After we announced the release date for our new album we received a text from one of the Gatecreeper guys saying theirs was coming out the same day.

Woundvac is a great band playing in Arizona right now. They play heavy and tight grind that has brutally catchy riffs.

Our friends in Spoiled play some wild tunes that are punk in nature. It’s fast, short, and to the point. They have the attitude of the 90’s. Arizona is a better place with Spoiled.

Warhead are a bunch of speed punks that will punch you in the face with their fast riffing. They’re young guys that are tight and determined. They rehearse at our space a few units down from us in Tempe and we like hanging out and headbanging with them in between jams

 

And finally you guys have been described as “An American rock & roll band from the 1970’s trapped inside of a Scandinavian metal band from the early 1990’s, scoring a John Carpenter film.” If you were going to be cast in a John Carpenter movie what role would you want in which movie?

 

Alex – I’ve always had an affinity for Kurt Russell’s character R.J. MacReady in The Thing. Cold, isolated, self sufficient, and lacking trust with an unsure fate.

Andy – I’d want to be Arnie Cunningham in Christine. Harry Dean Stanton breathing down my neck about a car that I love more than anything in my life. Love has a veracious appetite.  …or Jeff Bridges in Starman. Being an alien in a dead man’s body, and ultimately ending up in Arizona.

I would definitely be Nada in They Live. I am always in need of bubblegum.

Once again the new Take Over And Destroy LP arrives on October 7th out on Prosthetic Records. It’s going to be one groovy album for fans of catchy riffs and interesting songs. Do not sleep on it!

-REH

Pre-order CD and Vinyl here on Prosthetic Records!

Give the new songs a listen here! The nightwork officially begins October 7th!

Brought to you by Take Over And Destroy and Abusement Park

Take Over And Destroy at the Park

Demos and Singles

I have recently came across a whole bunch of great demos lately that have me excited for some new bands. I have also heard two singles for two different bands putting out new albums later this year that I cannot wait to hear.

The first band I want to talk about is an atmospheric black metal band called Embra they are from Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is already full of amazing bands so it should come to no surprise that this band would come from there. This demo features two songs titled “I” and “II” very simple names for not so simple songs. “I” features a build up that goes into some pummeling riffs which is exactly what I look for in atmospheric black metal. “II” is more straight forward but just as good with a really melodic middle section. I find this demo to be fantastic. The vocals come out quite nicely and the demo has really good production with the rawness everybody likes to have in their black metal. Embra released this in July and from here on out will be focusing their efforts on a full length. https://embraofficial.bandcamp.com/ (available for pay your own price as well)

embra demo                                                               Embra – Demo 2016

This next bit is for a single by a band that some of you may have become familiar with last year when Absolution came out, that’s right the new Khemmis song “Candlelight”. Upon first listen I heard exactly what I was anticipating, heavy riffs, triumphant vocals and guitar harmonies. The vocals have been stepped up ever so slightly and sound more crisp than on the previous release. Then I heard the harsh vocals used in this song which are much different than the ones used on the last album. This sounds like some straight up funeral doom type stuff that would be used by Lycus or Usnea. I absolutely love them in this song as if vocalist Ben and Phil are battling it out (assuming that its one of them doing the deep growls). The song ends with a great doom guitar solo and a return to the clean triumphant vocals. I love this song and cannot wait for October 21st when we will get to hear all of Hunted the new Khemmis album coming out on 20 Buck Spin. http://listen.20buckspin.com/album/hunted-2

khemmis                                    Khemmis – Hunted (track featured is Candlelight)

Alright this next one isn’t a single or a demo its actually an EP but I really dig it so I’m including it. It is Voidspawn – Pyrrhic which you may notice that the name of the band is also the name of a Chthe’ilist song. If you pick up on that you may wonder if Voidspawn also play incredibly weird super sick death metal, and you would be correct in thinking so. Pyrrhic features three tracks of out worldly death metal. Decibel Magazine had this to say about it: “These three songs will change the way you hear death metal from here on out.”  It is a very bold statement but I cannot say I disagree with it. I whole heartedly recommend this to fans of Gorguts, Nucleus, and  Chthe’ilist. Pyrrhic will be released on cd September 1st on Unspeakable Axe Records as well as cassette on a different label so stay tuned! https://voidspawn.bandcamp.com/

voidspawn                                                                  Voidspawn – Pyrrhic

I strongly urge you to hold up because there is even more weird death metal to talk about. Ossuary appear to be authentic death metal at first glance, which they still are completely authentic. They have thick riffs that really grab your attention, but the vocals are truly unique. They almost sound like they are being done from some kind of cave dwelling creature from within the walls of the cave they dwell in. The combined package of the riffs and inhuman vocals make something interesting that resembles something creeping in your backyard. Cremation Ritual is indeed a demo and a fantastic one at that featuring three tracks. If you like filthy death metal this is for you. https://ossuary-death.bandcamp.com/album/cremation-ritual

ossuary                                                      Ossuary – Cremation Ritual

A few years before Abusment Park was a thing Take Over And Destroy released Vacant Face which ended up being my album of the year for 2014. Now we are in 2016 and Take Over And Destroy have been signed to Prosthetic Records and will be releasing a new self-titled album on October 7th. The first single for this is “By Knife” which for those of you who have never heard this band, this track isn’t a bad place to start. Take Over And Destroy are a band of many different sounds from 70’s rock, death metal, sludge metal, and then some. “By Knife” features showcases their sound and has all the riffs with all the hooks as well as the twin guitar leads, and a really sweet guitar solo. If catchy and heavy music interest you than Take Over And Destroy are worth checking out. I can honestly say I’m incredibly pumped to hear the whole album and there aren’t many bands that sound like this one. https://takeoveranddestroy.bandcamp.com/

Bonus music video for By Knife:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41bGyyR9OzE

take over self title                         Take Over And Destroy – self titled album song is “By Knife”

Demos and Singles

Salvation lies within

spirit adrift chained to obSpirit AdriftChained to Oblivion (Prosthetic Records/ War Crime Recordings)

It has not been too terribly long since we’ve talked about this band. Spirit Adrift unknowingly got a season pass to the Abusement Park when the EP Behind – Beyond was released earlier this year which was two songs of incredible doom. Then we had the man of the one man band, Nate Garrett, on here for an interview. Now at long last the full length is here which is five songs of even more incredible doom metal.

When we spoke to Nate he mentioned that he stepped up everything for this recording especially on vocals and on drums. With the first song “Psychic Tide” I find it really fitting that the first thing that is heard is indeed drums, as if to say “check this out”.  Then we are introduced to a nasty riff that would make Matt Pike smile, as well as some stepped up vocals. Upon first listen it is clear that Nate Garrett has put in some work improving his voice as well as drumming. First step into this album and the increased confidence is shown. The ending section to this song with the dual guitar harmonies is incredibly melodic with drum build up, it’s almost Maiden like. This song makes it incredibly easy to forget that this is all one guy creating this thickness.

The second track “Marzanna” is incredibly heavy with nods to post-metal. I personally think this track is very Yob like as well as very melodic. The shortest and most straight forward song is right in the middle, “Form and Force” this song is perfectly placed on the album. It’s more bare bones but doesn’t lose the melody and just focuses on the groove. I think what I like most about this track is the old school style guitar solo in it. It’s more of something you would be used to hearing in an classic rock song which is a reminder you do not always have to be incredibly flashy in order to be effective. The title track is a beast of a track with its quiet intro followed by an assault by riffs. This is also a more angry sounding song for Spirit Adrift, once again featuring an excellent guitar solo. I find this song perfect in every way and while listening to this song I wondered why it wasn’t used as the album closer. The answer to that question is a simple one, if you have a weird song that features “crazy Ayahuasca-tripping Cannibal tribe percussion” you close the album with that song, which is called “Hum of Our Existence” and it proves to be a very good closer. The intro riff is some funky stuff but only in the best ways. It also features some of the best vocal parts I easily connect with the “how many times can one thing die” section. I was singing along to it by my third listen. Towards the end of this there is some straight up Mastodonesque sludge riffs and vocals that makes up what was certainly the best way to close this album out.

A lot of people seemed to think that the songs on the EP were a bit too long, all of that should be laid to rest on this one. The songs are all as long as they need to be and hold your attention the entire time. I find this album to be very cathartic and that is heard in the voice of Garrett, whatever inspired these songs can be felt and heard within them. We may never fully understand what inspired this but they are very open to ones own meanings. On the subject of inspiration, Nate clearly shows some of his influences throughout the album especially with bands like High on Fire, Yob, Pallbearer, and Warning (especially in the voice department on the latter two). Stephen King once said something on his influences for his writing. If he was reading McCarthy he would write similar to McCarthy or Lovecraft and etc. However once you find your own voice it eventually comes thorugh more than your influences.  That can certainly be said about Nate Garrett on this release. He has a voice and he uses it, at the end of the day this is Spirit Adrift, this is Nate Garrett. Last years best new comers to doom metal was Khemmis, with Absolution. This year it is clearly Spirit Adrift with Chained to Oblivion. This album doesn’t just deserve multiple listens, it requires it.

-REH

Listen to Chained to Oblivion: https://spiritadrift.bandcamp.com/album/chained-to-oblivion

Spirit Adrift: https://www.facebook.com/SpiritAdrift/

Order: http://warcrimerecordings.bigcartel.com/artist/spirit-adrift

http://store.prostheticrecords.com/search?q=spirit+adrift

Our interview with Nate: https://abusementparkblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/a-fire-side-chat-with-spirit-adrift/

Abusement Park: https://www.facebook.com/abusementparkblog/?fref=ts 

Salvation lies within

A fire side chat with Spirit Adrift

spirit adrift bannerWe are here  with Nate Garrett, the big kahuna of doom metal outfit Spirit Adrift.  You may remember Spirit Adrift from when we reviewed the EP Behind – Beyond. We will be talking about the debut full length Chained to Oblivion (due out August 12 on Prosthetic Records), as well as the man himself and whatever else we see fit.

 Okay well thanks for agreeing to do this with me. I guess we’ll just jump right into it… The question that everybody has been wanting the answer to is, do you dip your French fries or cover them?

 SA: I dip everything. When I can, I even dip salad. I forget where I heard this, but somebody that does a podcast or something said it. Maybe it was a movie. But if you get your salad dressing on the side, you can get whatever part of the salad you want on your fork, and then control exactly how much dressing is on it. You have total control over the flavor of each bite. So I’m a dipper.

I haven’t thought about dipping salad that’s genius. Anyways the last time I did some Spirit Adrift related stuff I had to pretend I didn’t know you. What made you keep the identity secret and what made you reveal it when you did?

SA: There’s a complex answer there that I’m not even sure I fully understand. The short answer is insecurity. Particularly at the time I did the EP, I was newly sober. I had been drunk basically every day for 5 years or so, and drinking hard for almost a decade before that. I just wanted to do the album for me. I didn’t want it to be seen as a “solo project” because I find that to be pretty pretentious. I really didn’t want any attention. I didn’t want to talk to anybody about it. Unless you were in Black Sabbath or Judas Priest nobody should give a shit about your “solo project.” I like stuff like Wovenhand, Dawnbringer, Horseback, Leviathan, and Panopticon. Situations where yeah, it is one guy, but there’s a band name and it’s approached as just a project or a band rather than a “solo project.” I took it a step further and just made up some initials of nonexistent band members. I think what happened is that when I realized it was actually going to come out on a label and get reviewed, I wanted to see what kind of reviews it would get if people thought it was a full band. I’m not really a drummer, so I wanted to see some totally unbiased, honest feedback. Maybe so I could see what I needed to work on for the full-length. Out of all the reviews I’ve gotten to date, nobody has criticized the drumming, specifically, so my plan didn’t really work.

I revealed my identity because I was just kind of over it. I never planned on it being a big deal or some big secret.

I think I read somewhere that one of your favorite things about being in Gatecreeper is that you love death metal but before now have never played in an actual death metal band. Is that how you were with doom until now with Spirit Adrift as well?

SA: That is correct regarding death metal. I’ve played in a band or two that had some parts that resembled death metal. Doom metal and death metal were the first two subgenres that I fell in love with. Black Sabbath – Sabotage and Death – Spiritual Healing are what did it. I have played in doom and sludge bands before. The very first band I was ever in was kind of punk rocky with a bit of metal influence, my very next band was total Black Sabbath and Clutch worship. We covered EYEHATEGOD, Slayer, Sabbath, and High on Fire. So I’ve been playing doom type stuff since I was about 16. I’ve been in every kind of band you could imagine, just not a death metal band, until I started playing with Gatecreeper. (fun fact: we had this conversation on the 41st birthday for Sabotage)

It’s crazy how close the EP and the LP are being released together. It’s also crazy how much progress can be heard between the two. How much time was there between writing and recording them?

SA: Thanks man. For the EP, I spoke to Bob Hoag in May of 2015. He twisted my arm to record with him, but the only opening he had was, like 3 weeks from then or something. I only had one song that wasn’t even really done. So I wrote most of the first song and the entire second song in a couple of weeks, then recorded them in 3 days. Then for the full-length, we booked time in October. So I wrote all that stuff between June and October. We recorded the full length in a couple of weeks in October. Fortunately I had some money saved up, and my fiancé was cool with me being a ghost for that entire time. Even when I was home, I wasn’t there. I was fully absorbed in it. My hands were annihilated 24/7 from the 10+ hour drum sessions and whatnot. I would re-record every instrument on the demos basically every day or every other day. I averaged about 3 hours of sleep for a few months there.

Oh yeah man definitely!

Is this the first time a band has been solely your project? I don’t mean like you playing and writing everything but like it being your brain child and you being the big kahuna.

SA: Not really. I’ve been pretty active in every band I’ve been in. I would say that there’s only been a couple of bands that would classify as my brain children though. One of which was Queen Beast in Arkansas. Don’t get me wrong, it was a collaborative effort for sure, but I wrote the vast majority of the music and even a few lyrics and stuff here and there. That band actually recorded with Sanford Parker in Chicago. Sanford and I are labelmates now (War Crime Recordings) so that’s pretty cool. Sanford is one of a kind. He’s a fascinating and extraordinary human specimen in a lot of different ways. But yeah, I’ve been in more bands than I can count. I would say 2 or 3 of them were my brainchild, and the rest I was a contributor in some way.

Oh! About the recording process! I’m super stoked that you’re working with Bob Hoag on this. I’ve heard you speak highly of him on many occasions. Has he performed on any of the Spirit Adrift songs? Also I know he has tons of vintage gear have you used any of that to record with as far as guitars and amps?

SA: Bob is my family at this point. He’s probably one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and he’s operating on a level that few ever reach. He’s the man. He didn’t perform on the EP at all because I wouldn’t let him. He was super understanding of that. He did perform on the full-length. He does some super high harmony vocals, and the crazy Ayahuasca-tripping Cannibal tribe percussion at the beginning of the last track. You’ll see. We always use a combination of things, but yes. Vintage amps, guitars, recording console, compressors, EQs… basically vintage everything was used at some point. He even has an old Echoplex box. A real one. Jimmy Page style.

That’s awesome I love his ability to record so many different styles with the Take Over And Destroy, Spirit Adrift, Spoiled and who knows what else goes down at the Flying Blanket. What about the live members, how did you go about choosing those guys? What is a job interview for Spirit Adrift like?

SA: Yeah, the funny thing is Bob doesn’t even specialize in heavy stuff. At all. That’s just how good he is. Something I just realized is that Bob and Sanford (the two most pro guys I’ve ever recorded with) both possess the old-school mindset, they just have slightly different angles. Their approaches are more like back in the day when audio engineers were ex-Navy guys, mad scientists, and hard ass 9 to 5 type dudes. Back then, it was just as much hard work as it was artistic expression. Bob takes the entire process very seriously.

There was no job interview for Spirit Adrift. I’ve seen the other guys’ bands, heard their albums, come to understand their character and work ethic. What was really important to me is that I find guys who share the same philosophies and mindset as me, and dudes who have been through some shit. In life and in bands. In the past, I’ve been in bands with great players, but a lot of times the downfall of a band will stem from differences in motivation, work ethic, or attitude. Those sort of things. It was important to me that I found guys who could do the music justice, who were also down to work their asses off, stay humble, and never fall prey to the delusion that we’re going to be rock stars one day. Music means everything to these guys, and everything else is secondary. Same with me.

(Spirit Adrift will be performing live sooner than later with: Jeff Owens of Goya on Guitar/vocals, Christopher Coons of Sorxe on bass, and Marcus Bryant of Gale on drums. All of which do an exceptional job in their own respected bands, so this is quite the live line-up Nate Garrett will be surrounding himself with).

Speaking of working your ass off, how is it different with this band basically getting label support from Prosthetic immediately? Is there less DIY involved?

SA: I paid for everything involving the EP out of pocket, other than pressing vinyl and CDs. So there wasn’t a huge difference there. I think there’s a misconception out there that once you get signed, things change. They don’t, not really. I knew that going in. Prosthetic paid for a good chunk of recording fees and CD manufacturing on the full-length, and I’m grateful for that. Steve Joh, the A&R guy at Prosthetic, and head of War Crime Recordings has been a major benefactor of Spirit Adrift. He’s facilitated so much of it, and I’m thankful to know such a great person and have him in my corner. He literally single handedly made the vinyl release happen. As far as artwork, mastering, music videos, and other things, I paid for or did those things myself. I would say, if anything, I have more work to do at this point than I ever have before, actually. Kelly at Prosthetic US and Duncan at Prosthetic Europe have killed it with the PR. That’s definitely something I’m not used to. So yeah, in this day and age the best situation you can have with a label is a symbiotic relationship. You’re not going to just sit there and leech off of them, and you can’t let them do the same. I still work my ass off every day, and now so do a few other people.

I have actually always wondered about that. You mentioned the artwork, which I love what other Nate has been doing in that department. How close do you work with him in the creation process, also who is “Brenda” can we consider her the mascot similar to Agatha with Black Tusk? (Other Nate being Nate Burns the cover artist for both Spirit Adrift releases)

SA: Nate is incredible. I was drawn to him by complete accident, actually. He doesn’t even know the full story but I realized recently that I thought I knew him before and I did not. I had the wrong Nate. But, like everything else Spirit Adrift related, it somehow worked out perfectly. That work ethic and attitude I’ve been talking about, he has it in spades. He knocked out that art so fast. We worked somewhat closely. There was a ton of communication. I told him as specifically as I could what I wanted, provided a ton of references, and he did his own thing with it. I laughed watching Stranger Things because the X-Men comic they talk about in the first episode is the same one I sent Nate as a reference. The Phoenix. Everything he’s done for me has been perfect, first time. He’s awesome.

You are correct, Brenda is the mascot of Spirit Adrift. Man you’re paying attention! I feel like she’s a nod to Iron Maiden, Megadeth and other bands like that. I might try and get her looking gnarlier and more metal on future releases. Maybe not. Brenda is my mother’s name. She died when I was about 4 months old. The older I get, especially after becoming sober, the more fascinated I become with my bloodline, my relationship to her home state of Kentucky, and my ties to Ireland and Scotland. I think there’s a lot of traditional Gaelic influence in some of the melodies and harmonies in Spirit Adrift, and that was not a conscious decision. Back in the day, the native music of Ireland and Scotland ended up becoming gospel and bluegrass in the Appalachians, which would explain why I’m just genetically predisposed to go ape shit when I hear that kind of stuff. I can’t hear a bad ass fiddle part without wanting to holler and put my fist through something. In a good way. Things got really interesting when I started researching the name Brenda. When I was speaking to Nate about the appearance of our female mascot, I mentioned that I wanted her to be feminine, but also very strong and tough looking. Come to find out, Brenda actually comes from Brendr, which was a male name meaning either “torch” or “sword.” Obviously a strong name. So it couldn’t be more perfect. That’s how everything has been with this project. It just falls into place.

spirit adrift chained to obThe artwork to Chained to Oblivion done by Nate Burns featuring Spirit Adrift mascot Brenda

Damn dude it’s the craziest thing when stuff works out like that especially artistically. I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason.

What song off of Chained to Oblivion are you most excited for everybody to hear?

SA: Yeah the whole thing has been such a trip. Really just a life-changing experience. I’m a better person because of what I’ve experienced through this music. My views on life in general have improved significantly and I think I’m much more positive than I used to be. It’s surreal and I’m grateful for every second of it.

Psychic Tide was the song I was most worried about. It was the least finished when we recorded, and I remember being so worried that song in particular was going to be a disaster. I had to rework the bass after I recorded drums. Then I had to rework guitar after I recorded bass. Then I had to rework vocals. It was terrifying. It’s probably my favorite song on the album now. The cool thing is that people’s favorite songs seem to be pretty evenly divided. I’ve been hearing a lot of praise regarding the title track. Marzanna is another favorite of mine, it’s definitely the “hit” I think. I’m proud of all of them, truly. I set out to ensure that there wasn’t a single lackluster moment on the album, and I think we did it. I want to thank Bob Hoag for putting up with that insanity… haha

I love Psychic Tide! I cannot wait to hear the rest, just comparing Psychic Tide with Form and Force and how individual both of those songs from one another are has me hyped through the roof.

I guess that was the last of the “serious” questions. Now I have a good friend of mine/reader who got wind that I was going to do this, and she has a question. She of all things wants to know what your favorite book is. Also recommend us a movie and we’re done. (Thanks for the question Autumn)

SA: Oh man, great interview, and that’s a great question to end it!

My favorite book I’ve ever read is Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Some others are anything by Charles Bukowski, Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson, and anything by Alan Moore.

The worst book ever written is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

Y’all are from Arkansas. Sit down and SERIOUSLY watch Slingblade because it’s my favorite movie of all time. It’s easy to clown on, but if you take it seriously it’s one of the most powerful cinematic experiences there is. Billy Bob Thornton also did one right after that called Daddy and Them that’s just as good. Between those two movies, that’s the spirit of Arkansas summarized right there.

Once again be sure to check out Chained to Oblivion by Spirit Adrift when it drops on August 12th. We Promise it’s going to be one of the best doom metal albums this year. This also won’t be the last time you hear about Spirit Adrift from us.

-REH

Bandcamp: https://spiritadrift.bandcamp.com/album/chained-to-oblivion

Physical Pre-orders: http://prostheticrecords.limitedrun.com/products/search?q=spirit+adrift

http://warcrimerecordings.bigcartel.com/artist/spirit-adrift

Spirit Adrift Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpiritAdrift/

@spiritadrift on Instagram and twitter

Find Abusement Park here: https://www.facebook.com/abusementparkblog/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf&qsefr=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fire side chat with Spirit Adrift

Nothing Remains, Take it Away.

spirit adrift                                                       Spirit Adrift- Behind – Beyond (2016)

Spirit Adrift seemingly came out of nowhere this year. Mike Scheidt of Yob shared them on Facebook so I instantly checked them out.  Not much is known about Spirit Adrift, their facebook page doesn’t offer much other than that they are on Prosthetic Records, and a simple genre tag of “Pyschedelic doom”. However, if you dig into Behind – Beyond, it goes beyond such a simple tag.

This EP only features two songs “Specter of Ruin” and “Perpetual Passage”. These two songs are really two sides of the coin. “Specter of Ruin” starts out slow with a simple but yet effective guitar lick. It’s the build up to what’s to come. When the heavier guitar starts the transition is seamless. The vocals for this song come in with the simple lyrics “Nothing Remains, take it away”. I instantly dug this song as soon as the vocals hit. For this particular song the vocals are reminiscent of something from Warning’s Watching from a Distance, or Pallbearer’s Sorrow & Extinction. This song is crafted very well, and you can connect with the musicians and feel where they are coming from. There is also a brighter spot in this track at about the 7 minute mark, that signals a mood change. This is once again very well done. I imagine if this song were to be performed live this is the part that would without a doubt win the crowd over if they had not been won over already. “Specter of Ruin” is the simpler of the two tracks on this EP, but Simple is not a bad thing. “Perpetual Passage” starts out in a similar sense but jumps into the vocals much quicker with very interesting and well written lyrics. The words for this release are credited to Anonymous, well Anonymous if you see this fantastic job on the lyrics to “Perpetual Passage”. Now at the 3:40 mark if you’re a fan of riffs you’re in for a treat. I’ve seen where this band has been compared to Neurosis, this is where that comparison comes from. This song provides a totally different flavor than “Specter of Ruin”. It offers rougher vocals and heavier riffs. My personal favorite part of this song  comes at about the 11 minute mark where the tempo speeds up and the band starts grooving, and then slow back down. My word’s will not accurately describes this section but it’s sicker than the dude on the board game operation. The whole EP is sicker than the dude on the board game operation.

Behind – Beyond is fantastically done it only has two songs but shows two sides of a band. Spirit Adrift are capable of having emotionally driven atmospheric songs, as well as sick riffs and just absolute heaviness. If I’m not mistaken this band will be releasing a full length sooner than later. If that is the case I will be getting it, and cannot wait to see what else this band is capable of. Until then I urge you to check this EP out its one of my favorite surprises of the year and a seriously good debut.

Good on Prosthetic Records for finding this band, I believe they picked up a steal.

-REH

Check it out here: https://spiritadrift.bandcamp.com/releases

Drop Spirit Adrift a like here: https://www.facebook.com/SpiritAdrift/timeline?ref=page_internal

Nothing Remains, Take it Away.