Cellist Alison Chesley, a.k.a. Helen Money, imparts a startling amount of raw emotion to her work. The songs aren’t just listened to; they register in your chest cavity, squeezing your heart with profound, intense bass lines.
Borne from the rhythm section of stoner-metal trio Sleep, Om has spent nearly 10 years combining drone and sludge with chant cadences and Eastern motifs and philosophy. Advaitic Songs is the duo’s fifth full-length and second with new drummer and coconspirator Emil Amos of Grails, whose work with bassist/singer Al Cisneros has pushed the material to even greater heights.
This content appears in the July/August iPad edition of ALARM Magazine. Download it for free and keep reading!
Oakland sludge trio High on Fire has kept the heavy-metal flame alive and burning for 14 years, having formed following guitarist/singer Matt Pike’s time in doom/stoner group Sleep. And with each new chapter in the band’s scorching legacy, Pike, drummer Des Kensel, and bassist Jeff Matz further challenge what a power trio can do. Somehow, over time, they’ve managed to grow louder, more epic, and even catchier.
The band’s sixth album, De Vermis Mysteriis, in many ways is classic High on Fire. Recorded with Converge’s Kurt Ballou, it balances punishing sludge riffs with epic solos and high-octane tempos. The first half alone is an exercise in ferocity: “Bloody Knuckles” pounds out a hook-laden variation of the band’s classic churn; “Fertile Green” lunges into an ultra-menacing stomp; “Madness of an Architect” taps into its Sabbath-y roots for old-fashioned doom.
Here Kensel speaks about going back to basics, writing in the studio, and “Eureka!” moments.
“Dopesmoker” (excerpt)[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Sleep_Dopesmoker_excerpt.mp3|titles=Sleep: “Dopesmoker” (excerpt)]
Since its adulterated release and subsequent reissue in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Sleep’s Dopesmoker (also released as Jerusalem) has stood as a monolith of metal. With its weighty, repetitive, hour-long opus, the stoner/doom-metal trio played a pivotal role in the evolution of metal by pushing conventions, well, higher. But under the weight of contractual issues pertaining to its epically lethargic piece, the band broke up before seeing a complete version of Dopesmoker available to the public.
Holland’s annual Roadburn Festival begins today, featuring some of the most adventurous names in metal (and beyond) from across the globe over four days of festivities. This year’s ALARM favorites include: Ancestors, Michael Gira (of Swans), Killing Joke, Om, Sleep, Pelican, Manorexia (JG Thirlwell), Nachtmystium, Barn Owl, Jucifer, La Otracina, Justin K. Broadrick, Saviours, Tombs, and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation.
See the complete schedule here. Though the festival is sold out, it’s never too early to plan for 2013!
Location: Chicago, IL
Year founded: 2009
Releases to date: 8
Joe Beats: “Spring”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/09-Spring1.mp3|titles=Joe Beats: “Spring”]
Maker: “Owner”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/03-Owner.mp3|titles=Maker: “Owner”]
David Humphries had only one goal in mind when he moved to Chicago from South Carolina: to start a record label. Specializing in instrumental hip hop, Fieldwerk Recordings was born in June of 2009 when Humphries (a.k.a. Crushcon7) produced his own tracks on the label. This connected him with other like-minded musicians with roots in Chicago, and now the modest label is celebrating its second anniversary.
Fieldwerk’s roster includes notable producers such as Joe Beats, Maker, Void Pedal, and Zavala, whose collaborative credits include Onry Ozzborn (Dark Time Sunshine/Grayskul), JFK (Grayskul), Qwel, and I Self Divine. Recently, the label has garnered attention in local publications such as the Chicago Reader, Centerstage Chicago, and even the Chicago Tribune, and the rest of the US is starting to catch up with what Fieldwerk has to offer. We spoke with Humphries to get the scoop on pending projects and the future of the label.
What was the impetus for launching Fieldwerk?
I’ve always been a beat-maker, and one of the things I’ve always wanted to do is start a record label. I moved [to Chicago on] January 1, 2003, and the whole time I was making beats. I worked on a project or two that never came out, and then eventually, I just to a point where I was ready to put some things out. I did a couple of songs and did a seven-inch, and that’s kind of how it started.
Several years before, I met Zavala, and we became really good friends and would go digging for records and stuff. Through Alex (Zavala), I met Void Pedal like a week later and started to build some really good relationships with those guys — good friendships. We’re all beat-makers, and we just kind of bounced ideas off of each other. At the time, Alex was working on a project with Sleep from Old Dominion, and Void Pedal was just workin’ on beats just like I was workin’ on beats, and we all just kind of came together. I was surrounded by a lot of talented guys. We’re all in it together; we’re a crew, and those guys motivate me a lot.
More details emerge about the upcoming Supermachiner release; the Shrinebuilder super-group begins recording; Mono announces a new album; Orange Tulip Conspiracy announces a full US tour for May. Get these and 10 other news bit after the jump.