Review: Some four years have passed since Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley last donned the Sunn O))) alias. Given that the Seattle duo is also approaching 20 years as a working partnership, "Life Metal" - which also includes significant contributions from bassist Tim Midyett and Icelandic composer (and former Pan Sonic member) Hildur Gudnadottir - seems like a timely release. An epic track given to each side of vinyl, this album acts as a precursor to a sister album called Pyroclasts that will be released later in 2019. The ensemble cast brilliant layers up fuzzy, elongated guitar riffs, droning, effects-laden feedback, clandestine ambient textures, electric cello and occasional spoken word vocals. The album peaks via a 25-minute closing track of breathtaking intensity and mind-altering execution, but the journey to get there is equally as impressive. It's a wall of sound that only the safe ears of Steve Albini, produced entirely using analog tape, could deliver. An eighth studio album that's a beast of nebulous lustre.
Review: These Finnish titans have made a terrifying total of around fifty-six records in their twenty years of existence, extending across a parade of styles from krautrock to metal to psychedelia and wherever they damn well please. 'Terminal' however, might just be their greatest yet - a foolhardy and ferociously audacious melange of Stoogian guitar infernos, motorik magnificence and prog pomposity which still manages to ultimately sound like no-one else but this band in all their theatrical and bombastic glory. It's already been proven as scientifically impossible not to play air guitar to the title track herein, whose demonic riffola and pulverising rhythmic drive are unlikely to be bettered this year, and it's only one highlight on a wild ride of rock dementia that's almost indecently invigorating to behold.
Review: The THC-abusing hordes who comprise Sleep's fanbase will be relieved to note that this single-sided 12" is very much on the same interstellar wavelength as their previous work in the '90s, in which they gave birth to a metaphysically magnificent stoner sound that followed on from Black Sabbath's lead to spawn a legion of imitators, and absolutely none the worse for that. The colossal riffage of Matt Pike, the devotional chant of Al Cisneros. the rock-solid percussion of Neurosis man and relative new guy Jason Roeder - all add up to a sound not unlike a radio transmission from a planet hurtling to meets its doom in the gravity of an enormous flaming star. Turn on, tune in, burn out.