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‘For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages’


“Isn’t it good to be acquainted with darkess? To caress it gently, to slit its throat?”, sings Rebecca Vernon, gently, almost a capella, at the beginning of ‘For This…’s third song, the aptly titled ‘Black Majesty’, and the existence of this record is in itself the answer to that question. Becoming acquainted with darkness is precisely what SubRosa have been doing throughout their decade-long career, each record a more intimate, prolongued dialogue with it, each step a more confident one in dealing with the shadows that surround their music. This, their fourth full-length, is where mastery of that particular art is finally achieved. 2013’s already memorable

‘More Constant Than The Gods’ hinted strongly that something unusually amazing might follow, and this is where all the many elements of the quintet’s sound seem to finally become one. That their previous records have all been great already speaks volumes about ‘For This…’ and its ability to still stand out naturally – and it is difficult to pinpoint a specific reason why it does. In a constant emotional whirlwind, Sarah Pendleton and Kim Pack’s violins come across as an unpredictable, labyrinthine driving force, while the luxurious rhythm section of Levi Hanna and Andy Patterson (the drumming latter also deserving accolades for his terrific engineering and mixing job – this music needs to sound huge to really work, and it does) lay down the amount of foundation necessary for each part, from crushing doom grooves to a gentle accompanying rumble. The dynamics are faultless – the long songs flow, soar, crawl and/or stomp seamlessly, each passage truly conveying the meaning intended by the underlying concept. As much creeping chamber music as dramatic gothic americana, as much doom as pastoral folk, the employed styles merge and segue into each other seemingly at will, with the listener constantly lost on a troubling yet soothing voyage. Throughout all this, Rebecca Vernon emerges as the true star of a remarkable record – her siren-like chanting never becomes tiresome (and she even embarks on brave adventures such as the sparse Italian-worded ‘Il Cappio’, a luminous piece where darkness’ throat is indeed slit by the power of grace), as it takes control of the musical narrative with poignant, often terrifying lyrics, and her textural guitarwork gives the whole ensemble the final brushstroke of class. The world is rarely fair, but it would be only fitting for SubRosa to acquire the dimension they so deserve on the strength of this record and the announced heavy touring that will support it. Few other bands offer such rich rewards, such well-crafted sounds and such unique approaches to the art of songwriting right now.



‘Command Your Weather’


Given the Melvins’ prodigious touring and recording workload, you’d be forgiven for wondering if Jared Warren and Coady Willis would ever be returning to their day job as the thundering Big Bu siness after a decade as official members of the Melvins. Happily enough, and this time after just a three year absence between this and ‘Battlefields Forever’, they are back and ‘Command Your Weather’ is just as maddeningly unclassifiable as ever. Is it sludge? Is it noise-rock? Is it fuck. Still built around the thunderous bass lines that are too lively to be called sludge and cantankerous tribal drumlines, tunes like ‘Father’s Day’ are catchy as hell and wrap themselves round the brain. Whatever they do, from pirouetting from the buzzsaw ‘Popular Demand’ to ‘Own Throats’ repetitious hypnotic poundings, they remain absorbing and intriguing thanks to a healthy dose of visceral songwriting excitement and knowing humour that characterises their work with their Melvins compatriots. It also helps Jared is a better singer, so can carry ‘Send Help’s low key tinklings along a bass line that sounds like a giant’s wet finger sliding along telephone wires. Closer ‘Horses’ could well be considered an aberration in that whatever mood it’s trying to create is dragged out to near breaking point over the course of three drawn out acts, but it’s still an enjoyable way to lose your hearing. Best not to classify this as anything, just enjoy Big Business for that they are: a thunderous heavyweight rock duo that write fucking good tunes.



“We had a great time making this record out in the Mojave desert. It’s been fun and challenging working on these new songs with the idea that they would all be playable live as a two piece band. We hoped we would make a good record for ourselves, but we were surprised that we made one of the greatest records in the history of recordings, ever. We’ll be VERY surprised if it doesn’t outsell Meatloaf’s ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ in the first week or so. It’s like the ‘Thriller’ that Michael Jackson wanted to make!”


‘Lifespan Of A Moth’


Can you sense the malignancy? No one seems immune to the anger, bigotry, cruelty, dishonesty, greed, hatred, jealousy, intolerance, pain, pessimism and suffering that sadly, tragically, define the current world climate. Have we reached a point of no return? Re-energised and revamped Los Angeles-based sludge quartet –(16)– provide us with a beautifully unflinching commentary concerning such matters on this, their latest and third full-length since reforming in 2007. ‘Lifespan…’ features greater compositional creativity, depth and focus, and ultimately, quality, something their two previous reformed efforts lacked. It’s dark and ugly, but ‘Lifespan…’ resonates, and signals a welcome return to their early unapologetically bruising style.


‘Hostis Universi Generis’


Spreading further anticosmic terrorism from Canada, A.M.S.G. certainly like their pitch black sound to sprawl. With an average ten minute track running time there’s plenty going on here, making for a challenging listen. Glimmering and grandiose chords, rapid burgeoning flurries, samples from Jim Jones and The Great Beast and throat shredding rasps come thick and fast – there’s even time to throw in some moody saxophone and a burst of didgeridoo. Nothing stands still for a second as various speeds and atmospheres are explored. Overall, this makes for a real Satanic-panic and the dense album’s convoluted nature means it is going to need dedication to even scratch the surface.




‘Exegeses’ was recorded, mixed and mastered by Colin Marston, and that alone should give a good idea of what to expect: great sweeping sonic landscapes built of furious tremolo and charging leads, put together with unusual delicacy and finesse despite the overwhelming intensity. It’s an album that constantly moves forward, with boundless vitality, but never out of control and never without losing the aim of each part, be it beauty, savagery or grandeur. It’s no surprise to find Krallice’s drummer Lev Windstein and Yellow Eyes live bassist Alexander DeMaria, but ‘Exegeses’ is a whole much bigger than the sum of its parts, and one that reinforces the incredible quality of the New York technical/atmospheric black metal scene.

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About Terrorizer Magazine

I know I am not alone when I say I’m a sucker for being nostalgic. The thing about loving music is that because it plays such a massive part in my life, when I listen to things, it invokes so many memories. I always find myself taking myself back to when I first heard said record, who I was with, what I was doing and so on. Right now as I write this, I’m listening to Prong’s ‘Force Fed’ album, recounting all the shows I saw Tommy and co in at the now defunct Birmingham Edwards No.8 club during my teens. Those shows were immense, even if the number of punters wasn’t! I’ve seen them in more recent years and still enjoy their musical output, but those early days to me, personally, were special. What has this got to do with anything, I hear you say? Well really, it’s the same reason as why I wanted to put Mastodon on the cover of this month’s issue ahead of their headline performance at Bloodstock. You see, Mastodon are one of those seriously special bands, who have not only etched themselves in my own nostalgia bank (hey, anyone who witnessed their debut capital gig at London’s Underworld supporting High On Fire will always remember that show) but more importantly, into the wider scheme of metal’s rich history. Never once have they repeated themselves musically and consequently they have successfully created a stunning discography that continues to remain vital as the years go by. Mastodon were a game changer and their Bloodstock show allows us a chance to remind ourselves just why we love them so much. In their own words, our cover feature allows the quartet look back at their career to date and look forward to the future too. Crack open a bottle, stick any of their albums on the stereo, flip to the interview and enjoy some nostalgia yourselves! Darren Sadler, Editor