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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Honor indeed found

NEUROSIS came a long and hard road since their hardcore  metallic punk beginnings 27 years ago. They changed, evolved and slowly but surely made their own style, sound and rules of doing it. Often a battle aginst the odds. The path many tried to follow but failed. Many tried to copy but couldn’t deliver. But still, many cited and praised them as a major influence. The whole genre(s) were named after what Neurosis put foundations to but they never accepted it as something of their own. They always opened up to the maximum and gave the last piece of themselves. The blood, sweat and soul to the stages and to the masses.

As an entity, musicians, creative force, collective and what not else Neurosis waited 5 years, since ‘Given To The Rising‘ was released. That puts them almost to the TOOL album waiting period category. Individuals haven’t kept quiet though.  Jason Roeder bashed the drums with legends reunited of  SLEEP fame, Josh Graham kept his A Storm Of Light up and running like a well oiled machine. Scot Kelly, one of the two bands axemen and founding member has been touring solo and released 2 albums already this year [The Forgiven Ghost In Me & Songs of Townes van Zandt]. The first one with accompanied band called The Road Home and second is a collaboration with fellow Neurot guitar grinder Steve Von Till, including also the ‘dad of doom’ himself, mr. Scot ‘Wino’ Weinrich. This joint venture resulted in giving honor and tribute to the legacy of Townes Van Zandt, whose songs these cats interpreted and made them their own.

It was the right timing to again hire their long time album sound engineer  Steve Albini. This adventure dates back from their ‘Times Of Grace‘ album and continues to deliver the bands true, sonic form to tape. ‘Honor Found In Decay‘ is their sixth in a row collaboration. Albini managed to give the band whole new aesthetics when he started working with them 13 years ago. New approach which Neurosis embraced and again put them ahead of the game. In the last trilogy of albums, ‘A Sun That Never Sets‘ for me personally still stands out as an album that changed most of the underground music affiliated with Neurosis and their contemporaries. The musical direction itself took the parts of doomy folk, ‘wall of sound’ rock trembling structures, as well as some of the best lyrics written to date.

‘Honor’ starts with an easy, melancholic guitar melody mixed with some background synth sounds directed by Noah Landis. An upbeat tempo kicks in and ”We All Rage In Blood” begins to unshape. All the way through the middle of the song Von Till is grasp howling over the top of it, just to be replaced with their signature down beat sludgy riff right after a slow build up in between. Great opener!

Next two ‘At The Well’ and ‘My Heart For Deliverance‘ are the longest tracks on the album. Clocking over ten minutes brings out in Neurosis ‘The Eye Of Every Storm” and ”Given To The Rising” albums kind of deliverance and feel. Pulls you in and holds by the throat in order to fully concentrate on what’s coming through the speakers.  ‘Bleeding the Pigs’ is next on the menu. If they were ever to write a ‘balad’ based on how would Swans have done it feeling like Neurosis, than this song is definitely it. Double singing of both fine gentlemen Kelly/Till, awesome tribal drumming and a wall of heavy, occasionally dissonant guitars in the background. At least on the loudest part of the song. Let the apocalypse come in! Oh, there’s also a speech at the end, a sample of some weird woman voice, I think. Couldn’t quite understand what’s she saying.

Finally, we come to ‘The Casting Of The Ages‘. The finest and best song of the entire album. Neurosis managed somehow to put into their opus another immortal song. This one goes shoulder to shoulder with ‘The Doorway‘ , ‘Locust Star‘, ‘Stones From The Sky’, ‘A Sun That Never Sets‘, ‘Season In The Sky‘ and couple more. If there were any vikings still left and about to be buried, followed by a band to mark the occasion, it would be Neurosis playing this song. Absolutely perfect!

Before us lays veils of water
Behind us sets the sun
We’ll sleep with no dreams tonight
Tomorrow leave as one

“All Is Found…In Time” brings back some tension in.  Jason maintains heavy cruising on the tom-toms that lead the way into the  half-time passage. Killer mid tempo riff! Again, Landis creates that dark atmosphere on the verge of best Floyd-ian textures, just to be ascended back to the intro and out of this realm. Closing track ‘Raise The Dawn’ keeps you on toes as Von Till slowly sings. You can feel something heavy is about to happen and it does. Crushing, doom coloured riff that shakes the grounds of Earth. Spiced in the background with synth sounds to create the mood of walls coming down.

Overall, this album offers the kind of Neurosis you are used to. It sounds new, fresh and challenging. If the world is slowly decaying, they indeed managed to found honor to write the soundtrack for it. Music for the soul and feast for the ears. Just go out and see them live [even though they rarely tour as much as they use to] and buy the album, support the band.

S.

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You better Junior

Since the dawn of mankind, there were people, events and traditions that ignited the spark to inspire others.  If you were humble enough, you could have easily been pulled into a state of trance, trust and liberation of a certain moment. The feeling of freedom which could not be stained from an outside influence. The story of one blues man is one of those.

Welcome to the sad days and lonely nights of  DAVID ‘JUNIOR’ KIMBROUGH!

David ‘Junior’ Kimbrough was born July 28, 1930 in Hudsonville, Mississippi. As a little kid, he was learning the music from regional stars such as Eli Green, Bud Lee Jenkins, and Kimbrough’s brother, Peter. He also played house parties. The main early influence on Junior was left by Lightnin’ Hopkins. In the late ’50-es he started developing his style and slowly reinventing the kind of playing not similar to any other of his contemporaries. On of his closest friends (and rivals) was a fellow north hill bluesman R.L.Burnside. Kimbrough ran own parties and jukejoints, developing distinctive style through long nightly jams. Mid-tempo rhythms and steady drone (played by his thumb on a bass string of a guitar) characterized by the tricky syncopation, made his sound more bit trance like, repetitive and hypnotic. Not very common in typical, overall ‘blues’ setting. Sometimes polyrhythmic, it could be easily directed to the feeling and music of Africa.

Deep under those tones the similarity between him and Ali Farka Toure can’t be overlooked. In an interview from the 1990. which was later published in Guitar Player magazine, Junior said : “I have a different type of music from other peoples. They playing the other kind of blues, and I’m playing cotton-patch blues… Ain’t nobody now can play the blues that I play.”

In his natural environment, Junior would spend most of his life/career. To be more closer to people and never to abandon his roots, a house called ”Juniors’ Place” became the foundation for the live music rituals. People all over the world made pilgrimage to witness the power of something unconventional.  The word of this blues wizard traveled to the eyes and ears of some of the biggest entertainers in the music industry who went to see him play. To name a few:  Sonic Youth, Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and U2. On every given Sunday you could go and see for yourself what was going on in there. Accompanied by his son Kenny Malone on drums and R.L. Burnside‘s son Gary on bass. Extensive sets, long jams and never ending party for all the souls needed to be purified. The church for all the broken, tired, worn out and outcast. Even though he was discovered fairly late in his life,  in the early’90-es the mission for granting the world with some of the best blues music known to man goes  to Fat Possum record label and the late, great Robert Palmer. In the late 1980s, Palmer visited Kimbrough while searching for material for a blues documentary, Deep Blues. Palmer wound up recording several of Kimbrough’s tracks for the soundtrack album. It circulated through the underground and became incredibly influential. Fat Possum Records went a step further and introduced Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, T-Model Ford and Asie Payton to national record stores. Job well done , cards well played!

During his lifetime, Junior managed to record and release couple of albums. Each and every one a piece of unique texture, story and haunted lyrics. Well, except all those ‘baby’,  ‘gonna leave you’ , ‘love’ songs. He shortly toured several times with the Fat Possum Circus and did some dates with Iggy Pop. Never was too comfortable with going out from his north hill surroundings. One band owes more to Junior than any other. From Akron, Ohio the preachers of  the ’21st century blues’ The Black Keys. He left so much influence and marked the sound and expression on several of their albums. They even recorded a full tribute album [Chulahoma:The Songs Of Junior Kimbrough], made of previously written Kimbroughs’ songs. The played it on their own terms and put themselves on the international music scene.

 In addition to the 36 children he claimed, Junior put his brand on music. He died of heart failure at the age of 67 and left the Earth on January 17, 1998.  He still kept a one-room bachelor’s apartment at the time of his death: clean, with nothing on the walls or tables, no pictures, no tour posters. Junior knew what he had accomplished, and didn’t need any souvenirs.

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THE MEMORIALS [usa] attacking Zagreb with full force!

Afire B&T and Loud Life Concerts present : THE MEMORIALS [usa]

Thomas Pridgen (ex-The Mars Volta) and The Memorials will be visiting these parts for the first time. The date is November 30th 2012. This drummer extraordinaire will crush walls with his new outfit at the club MOCVARA in Zagreb, Croatia. Known for his already legendary skills, Pridgen is mostly famed right after he joined the progressive rock collective THE MARS VOLTA. Read the rest of this entry