Conan are as heavy as interplanetary thunder amplified through the roaring black hole anus of Azathoth. A three piece, in the grand tradition of many amazing fabulous three pieces that hold a tight line and an iron-grip command over the uber-synchronised chord changes and tempo-shifts of the holy trio of bass, drums and guitar. Two men have the task of vocalising wretched thoughts over the turgid weight of Conan. They bear it well, for the task is immense.
Way back, in 2006, Conan formed as a two piece. The years dragged by, fellow warriors came and went, and now they are three – Jon Davis on guitar and vocals, Phil Coumbe on bass and vocals and Paul O’Neil on drums. Collectively their plans are clear: they seek nothing less than the crushing of a million skulls.
They have committed their filthy, ocean-sized sound to wax (and the slightly less cvlt compact disc) twice thus far- with more fetid output always on the horizon. First came the hulking mass of debut album Horseback Battle Hammer (Throne, Aurora Borealis), followed by a split with like-minded sludge-lords, Slomatics (Head of Crom, Burning World). In December 2011 Conan returned to the remote wilderness of Foel Studio, Wales and into the capable hands of producer Chris Fielding for their next album which is to be released on Burning World Records in Spring 2012.
Hear the roar of battle. Smell the stench of split blood. A thousand heads piled high like a grim mound of suffering- a blasphemy to nature. Hail Conan!
» Downfall Of Gaia (DE) (Post Metal / Crust)
Downfall of Gaia is a dark wall, moving forward relentlessly, enveloping the listener, absorbing one’s spirit to take one into the realm of the band’s potent sound. Founded in 2008 and having undergone several line up changes, the quartet is now comprised of the two founding members Dominik Goncalves dos Reis (guitar and vocals) and Anton Lisovoj (bass and vocals), Marco Mazzola (Guitar) and Michael Kadnar (drums), who are respectively located in Berlin, Hamburg, and New York City.
Although the group’s roots lie within the DIY / Crust scene, they have become more closely associated with a sound that rather corresponds to the impact of an avalanche made from black earth, rock, and dirty sludge, while their lyrics poetically describe the dark side of living In their early days, they released one demo, which was heavily influenced by d-beat, in addition to a split tape with French band Kazan in advance to a tour EP in 2009. Their debut album “Epos” followed in 2010, which was realized with the help of several DIY-labels.
The band’s connection to the DIY scenes also led to a split LP with In The Hearts Of Emperors on Alerta Antifascista Records, one of the most important underground/punk labels in Germany, as well as Moment Of Collapse and Shove Records.
The band never intended to stagnate, and naturally their sound underwent significant changes. Downfall of Gaia drifted away from fast crust punk, which influenced their early work, towards longer and more intense material that became the more massive with black metal, doom and sludge elements. In 2012, this new sound was heard on their second album, their first for legendary label Metal Blade Records, titled “Suffocating In The Swarm Of Cranes,” which more than satisfied what fans of infinite heaviness longed for, and made its appearance in annual end-of-the-year and best-of lists among critics and editors.
When Downfall of Gaia were not rehearsing or recording, they love to go on tour ever, which is something they’ve done since their humble beginnings: often and anywhere. They have travelled through almost every European country and played in most US states in 2011, as well as in 2013. In 2012, they even went to Russia, enthusing fans in Moscow. In 2013 alone, the group performed more than 100 concerts. In 2014, they gigged with Neurosis, Toxic Holocaust, Black Tusk and many more and also appeared at cult open air Hellfest in France.
Now in the same year, their excessive touring came to a halt to make time for their second release via Metal Blade. The band entered ’79 Sound Studio in Cologne and started working on new material. The results were mixed at renowned Atomic Garden Studio in the San Francisco Bay Area and mastered in Portland, Oregon, at notorious Audiosiege Studio. Finally, the new masterpiece was completed and is ready to ravage eager listeners. Once again, the band has developed a concept. The album addresses mankind’s most powerful enemy: time, which passes without mercy. Downfall of Gaia refrain from any calm moments, let alone pauses, and go full throttle immediately on “Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay,” released via Metal Blade Records on November 7th/10th, 2014 in Europe and November 11th, 2014 in North America followed by extended touring worldwide all over Europe, North America, Japan and Australia. “Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay” is being reviewed and well-discussed in major print- and webzines all over the world and one more time made its appearance in annual end-of-the-year and best-of lists.
Despite an intense band life and a successful touring history, guitarist Peter Wolff called it quits in early 2016 to focus on new projects, family and his private life. Downfall of Gaia was on the hunt for a new member and after a few auditions a choice was made. Marco Mazzola became the new face behind the guitar and replaced Peter Wolff in April 2016!
Right now Downfall of Gaia is preparing for their new record ‘Atrophy’ which will be released worldwide via Metal Blade Records in November 2016! Recorded in June 2016 at Hidden Planet Studio Berlin. Mixed and mastered at Atomic Garden Studio, San Francisco.
A record about the the absurdity of life and of human existence, an album about the constant dialog between life and death.
“What is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying.”
» HARK (UK) (Stoner Rock / Sludge / Rock)
Angular riffing, pounding rhythms, and dually melodic and his unrelentingly ferocious vocals lead to galloping passages that show the maturity of a band far more honed than expected from a debut. The Welsh did not leave any detail to chance, but carefully crafted music, lyrics and visuals into an all encompassing concept. This diligence includes having their first full-length mixed by Kurt Ballou of Converge fame, who added a powerful yet crystal clear production to HARK‘s unique sound.
The album was recorded at Monnow Valley Studios in Wales (BLACK SABBATH, RUSH, JUDAS PRIEST, PORTISHEAD), and mixed by CONVERGE guitarist Kurt Ballou (CONVERGE, HIGH ON FIRE, KVELERTAK, YOUNG WIDOWS),
» High Fighter (DE) (Heavy Rock / Stoner)
High Fighter formed in the Summer of 2014 and it started as a total new band project born by former band members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump and Pyogenesis. This band is a volatile cocktail of heavy as hell riffs fuelled by beer and the mighty weedian riffs. Add a heavy dose of the blues and these deadly schizophrenic vocals and High Fighter offer something new to the Sludge/Blues/Stoner Scene. If you're looking for a highly polished band then look elsewhere as High Fighter play mean and dirty Blues, Stoner & Sludgy riffs to fuel your appetite with.
Their debut EP – The Goat Ritual – floored me when I first listened to it when I was running The Sludgelord blog. I was blown away by the different styles of music that the band had to offer. Sludge, Blues, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Metal. Led by the ever versatile Mona Miluski and backed up by a brilliant line of musicians who bring their own talent to the table, High Fighter already impressed a lot of people back in 2014. They received high praise from The Sludgelord, Doomed & Stoned, Echoes And Dust, The Obelisk, Stoner Hive plus the entire rock & metal press in Europe and the UK. As well as from Doom Metal Overlord – Jon Paul Davis of CONAN and one of the defining voices in the Stoner Rock movement – John Garcia.
The Goat Ritual was recorded live and in one weekend. Most bands spend months and months to deliver an EP of that quality. Nope, not High Fighter. Their FUCK IT, LETS JUST DO IT Attitude still continues to do this day. Since the self-release of their acclaimed EP and in one band year only, High Fighter have performed numerous shows in 2015 with Ahab, Mammoth Storm, The Midnight Ghost Train, sunnata, Greenleaf, Corrosion of Conformity & many more. They've played festivals such as Stoned From The Underground, Sonic Blast in Portugal, Red Smoke Poland, Hamburg Metaldayz as well as an exclusive press show case live at Wacken Open Air 2015, to name just a few. This has seen them win acclaim and a whole legion of fans from their energetic live performances.
High Fighter have currently been at work on their soon to be released debut album, titled Scars & Crosses, and which is set to be released on June 10th 2016 via Svart Records as a 6-page CD Digi Pack, Digital Download & LP Gatefold. I've listened to the rough mixes of the album and it sounds intense. It's even heavier than The Goat Ritual. The riffs will simply crush your skull and Mona's vocals are perhaps the heaviest they have ever been. So watch out....
The album has been recorded live at RAMA Studio in Mannheim, Germany (Ahab, The Hirsch Effekt, Fjørt & many more) by Jens Siefert, and is mixed & mastered by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Big Business). You reading that. Their debut album is being mixed & mastered by Toshi Kasai. Now if that isn't a ringing endorsement for you to check out High Fighter then I don't know what it is.
High Fighter are going to surprise a lot of people when they released their new album. It has the potential to being one of the best debut albums of 2016. So if you're into Doom, Blues, Sludge, Stoner and Heavy Metal then look no further as HIGH FIGHTER have it all and are ready to KICK ASS to show the world what they can do.