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Australasia – Sin4tr4

Out of Italy, rarely known for black metal activities, well at least to my knowledge, comes this very interesting piece of music. The name is AUSTRALASIA and they’ve come to take you on a different ride than you used to. You thought that black couldn’t be beautiful and interesting. You were dead wrong. This interesting two-piece formation proved it with their first record ”Sin4tr4”. Golden Morning Sounds released this fine debut.  I don’t even know what does it mean but that’s irrelevant. They are not your typical black metal band [duo]. There is more post rock/soundscapes/shoegaze moments mixed up with blast beats and killer riffing than one can predict. Also being an instrumental band, this would be very interesting to see live on stage. Interesting mix of music melt into pot of ethereal guitars, occasional woman chant, dreamlike synths and an atmosphere as you were in some kind of western movie taking place on an ancient planet in Space.

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The production is very clean , especially on the mellow parts, but there is the lack of the same when riffs themselves start to plunder. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing though, it’s only a matter of taste. Clearly these boys are very talented and not afraid to experiment with other genres. Influenced by Red Sparowes, Pelican, Mono, Isis and 35007, the Italians also show on display a soft spot for Ennio Morricone’s music which sways throughout the whole album. I think 7 songs, cranking in little over 20 minutes cannot be called an EP release. AUSTRALASIA have managed to carve the path and are on the verge of creating something of their own. Post/black/gaze anyone?!

TRACK LIST:

1. Antenna
2. Spine
3. Apnea
4. Scenario
5. Satellite
6. Retina
7. Fragile

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D[ust] S[torm] W[arning] – debut album

DUST STORM WARNING is a four piece,  fuzzy/desert/heavy  rock outfit, formed in 2010. Hailing from Lecce, the South of Italy.  They are the part of the flourishing italian and european,  let’s called it the ‘stoner’ scene [God, I hate that term]. Side by side with many bands from Italy, Greece, Germany etc., they want to find piece of their own space. With the support of Acid Cosmonaut Records we wish them to make it happen.

Their debut delivers songs about coyotes, spaceships and sand dunes. Something we could expect from the desert/stoner rock band. Packaged in a beautiful digipack and some serious production, DUST STORM WARNING is on the way of self exploration through their own anthems. As a relatively young band sometimes it can be a cliché for them of songs going to a direction that has been pawned before. On the verge of influences such as UNIDA, KYUSS, FU MANCHU, SIXTY WATT SHAMAN, LOS NATAS and similar warriors.

But, still they maintain to put their own signature on top of it. ”Outrun” opens the album in a way it should be. Groovy, heavy and with an upbeat which makes you wanna go and drive your motorcycle as fast as you can. Vocals are really reminiscent to those of John Garcia but with more gruff attitude to it. Oh, and there’s that ending riff in the song which  is so addictive [and short] that you’ll repeat it back and forth. Even though the album is 11 songs long, there are 3 instrumentals which prove these boys are capable of further development of their sonic and playing possibilities.

Pay attention to “Dune,” “Sherpa” and “Wasteland.” There’s enough blues inflicted melodies that’s gonna make you visit the crossroads yourself. Whole lotta going on as same as South American brothers in music arms are going for [referring to a flood of awesome bands]. Vast and endless spaced out searching and soul questioning. They have a good start. Fine record with deep and nice production to it. Professional from any angle looked at. There’s no doubt DUST STORM WARNING are pretendors for the fuzz heavy desert rock throne. If they maintain the path chosen , I think the next one will be the BOMB!

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.