[ Loud-Stuff.COM ] ~ Opening with The Last Ones Left, immediately there’s a strange sound going on, pounding drums and chanted lyrics echo around as the track seems to build into being. Adding in some raspy vocals which fade from left to right, there’s a really raw sound going on here, there’s very little to the track other than drums and vocals, but they’ve achieved a surprising amount of depth already. Kicking in with the bass, the vocals seem to bolster the deep sound, but then the guitars kick in and raise it all up. Catchy in a strange way, there’s something here which pulls you in, and I can’t work out what it is! The lead vocals are raw and powerful whilst the distorted guitar and bass add a sludgy backing track, the tambourine almost sounding out of place at times but further developing this into something which, although I don’t fully understand, works quite well!
22 follows on next, opening with some serious feedback before launching into a punky style mix of hammering guitars and bass heavy rhythms which is sure to send crowds mental on the live scene. There’s something disjointed about this track again, yet somehow the band have managed to craft it into something which works as a track and keeps you listening from start to finish. Keeping the elements basic throughout, there’s once again a surprising depth to things here, possibly because of the bass being kept heavy in the mix and allowing the vocals to elevate everything further, almost moving towards the realms of catchy but not quite allowing itself to reach it. What I really like though is how raw the sound these guys have got is, it’s basic but demonstrates how they work as a unit! Yellow Knife is further testament to this, opening in the punk style again and pushing the vocals to make the track take form, also adding in a guitar line which follows the vocal line. This track is quite possibly my personal favourite from the album, the chorus is awesome, and makes me want to begin jumping around the room like a nutter!
Lazy Lovers seems to be a step away from the raw power which has been found so far across this album, almost sounding laid back in the way it’s been produced, and having a real indie sound to the backing music. The track itself is once again well formed, and the contrast of the vocals over the softer backing music create a sound which is sure to engage you. The highlight of the track for me though has to be the part midway through where everything is broken down to drums and bass with chanting vocals, there’s a haunting sound which really makes this track something special. On the flip side, Nightcrawler opens with all of the raw power I’ve come to expect from these guys since beginning the album, launching straight in without allowing you a chance to kick back or take a breath. The track is once again catchy in its own right yet somehow sounds unique, kind of like this is something which hasn’t been done before. Again the vocals seem to contrast the backing music, something which seems to make this difficult to pigeon hole into a genre, but it works!
Final track Always/Never closes the album in the manner which you would expect, opening soft but dark, almost sounding haunting as the acoustic line leads the way into the tracks being. The vocals change here from raw screaming into soft sung vocals, adding further to the dark sound created by everything else going on. As the distortion button is pushed, everything seems to gear up a notch and take full form, once again creating a sound which is sure to have you sitting back and marvelling. The track itself seems a far cry from the earlier tracks on the album and almost suggests a new direction for the band, something which is almost confusing at this point of the album but achieves one key thing – I want to hear more!
[ AVIATOR ]
Mike Russo - guitar, vocals
TJ Copello - vocals
Mat Morin - guitar
Aviv Marotz - drums
Mike Moschetto - bass, vocals
[ SPIRIT FANGS ]
Diego Napoles - vocals
Nick Serrato - bass
AJ Salazar - drums
Adam Elramly - guitar
Chris Cabezudo - guitar
Let it be [ Spirit Fangs ] or [ Aviator ] they BOTH RULE beyond the valley of noise. Check out the above video, the below previews and by all means head right ahead and get the split. Especially if you into [ Sofy Major ] - [ Sen Deni ] ~ [ Abest ] ~ [ MOPA ] ~ [ Aussitôt Mort ] ~ [ Arms Of Ra ] ~ [ Nikki Louder ] then you definitely in for a super treat.
In Better/Worse, the San Bernardino rock band Spirit Fangs sinks their teeth into what may be the much-needed alteration they’ve unconsciously been looking for. With a helping hand from Silver Snakes‘ lead vocalist Alex Estrada, who produced the album, they steer away from their prior, more “upbeat,” records Read My Palm, Revenant and their self-titled EP Spirit Fangs as they rely on heavy vocals, strong guitar chords, and ear-molesting drum lines. The sound is somewhat original and even refreshing–though I swear lead vocalist Diego Napole borrowed Mewithoutyou front man Aaron Weiss’ delivery in the latter half of “Lazy Lovers.” And, in a little over 20 minutes, the group manages to effortlessly produce a fresher approach, yet maintain hints of the sound their fans are accustomed to.
Rhythmic claps, chants, tambourines, and strong drums open Better/Worse with “The Last One’s Left.” The band dresses your bucky naked imagination with animal cloth and fittingly garnishes you with tribal face paint as you are transported to an out-of-this-worldy place. Caution! You may feel the need to wildly perform a rain dance around a campfire during the opening build up. On second thought, maybe that’s just me. And Napole’s crafty transitions from coarse vocals, singing, and then to screaming appropriately set high standards for what’s to follow.
The band immediately strips you of your native dress in exchange for denim jeans, a t-shirt, and a tattered pair of sneakers in “.22.” I am reminded of Bleeding Kansas with a touch of Bane as the track takes you on an adrenaline-infused ride lead by ferocious wails and an equally harsh combination of drums and guitars. Better/Worse continues on an aggressive path of destruction until it reaches “Lazy Lovers,” a song that allows you to gasp for air—even if only for a moment. Though the track is enjoyable–after several listens at least–it may lose you midway as it painfully guides you through an overdone “Oh” chant followed by a forced and painful-to-hear vocal solo.
Spirit Fangs wraps up the record on a solemn note with “Always/Never,” a well-produced, yet out-of-place song. Something felt odd about wanting to two-step throughout the majority of the album only to feel melancholy as the seconds ticked away on the final piece. Do not, however, feel deterred from this track. The lyrics are strong, the delivery is effortless, and the transitions are seamless.
Better/Worse pries your ear holes wide open and fills them with an unfiltered angst that Spirit Fangs lacked before. The album is good, but not great for it feels like it is missing a piece or two from a puzzle that is nearly complete. In the end, the album is an enjoyable listen and just may be what Spirit Fangs needs to break them away from rock mediocrity. So don’t be a cheap Charlie! Their CD is only five bucks and it’s worth the listen.
Crafting a concept album is an incredibly difficult task. Tying together a cohesive narrative across a record’s worth of songs isn’t just daunting, it’s an endeavour that even some of the industry’s finest have failed to do memorably. This task, however, becomes notably more difficult when you’re dealing in the abstract via instrumental soundscapes. That is what Chronotope Project, the moniker of composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen, attempts to do with his latest project, ‘Ovum.’
NAAL is an eclectic music project led by Chicago composer Dave Mantel. This talented musician has a true passion for great melodies and haunting musical textures. His blend of ambient, shoegaze and experimental drone music feels personal and unique, echoing the work of artists such as Slowdive, Boards of Canada or Sigur Ros, just to mention a few.