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So, 29.04.

Converge

Crowbar, Grave Pleasure, Thou

Five years since their last release, Converge return with The Dusk In Us: a brutal but beautiful album that shows the band’s artistic evolution while still capturing their classic sound. The ninth full-length from the Boston-based heavy-music innovators—vocalist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Nate Newton, and drummer Ben Koller—The Dusk In Us proves to be both dark and hopeful, abrasive and melodic, devastating and powerfully cathartic.

In recording The Dusk In Us, Converge once again worked in Ballou’s renowned Godcity Studios in Salem, Massachusetts. Produced by the band and mixed by Ballou, the album matches its raw energy with a subculture-crossing inventiveness that’s earned Converge longtime reverence within the punk, metal, and hardcore scenes. One of Converge’s most dynamic and avant-garde albums to date, The Dusk In Us unfolds with an uncompromising honesty born from “writing about experiences in my life and working through the complexities of those things through song,” as Bannon explains.

On the album-opening “A Single Tear,” pummeling drums and caustic riffs form the backdrop to strikingly vulnerable lyrics like “When I held you for the first time/I knew I had to survive.” (“‘A Single Tear’ is about becoming a parent, and the perspective and strength it can give,” Bannon notes.) With its abrasive guitar work and menacing undertones, “Under Duress” brings a tortured howl to lyrics channeling what Bannon describes as “my emotional reaction to the complex world in which we live.” A frenzied blast of pure fury, “I Can Tell You About Pain” offers what NPR recently hailed as “hardcore-fueled extreme music that simultaneously elevates and destroys.” And on the seven-minute-plus title track to The Dusk in Us, Converge deliver a slow-building, quietly haunting epic of ethereal beauty.

Converge formed in Massachusetts in 1990, then made their debut with 1994’s Halo in a Haystack. Soon regarded as pioneers within the aggressive music arena, the band had a major breakthrough with their landmark album Jane Doe—a 2001 release praised as “iconic” by the A.V. Club (who also noted that Jane Doe “reaches canonical status with every re-listen”). The Dusk In Us arrives as the follow-up to 2012’s All We Love We Leave Behind, an album that Consequence Of Sound called “as skull-cleaving as it is beautiful” and that made its way onto Pitchfork’s Best New Music list.

While The Dusk In Us finds Converge defying boundaries and pushing into new sonic terrain, it’s also a natural progression for a band that’s long thrived on making music that both challenges and connects. “Our only goal is to create something that moves us and resonates with us emotionally,” says Bannon. “For us, it’s simply a new album about new chapters in our lives. We are a very ‘human’ band—always have been—and our songs are all rooted in our real-life experiences. The Dusk In Us is that new chapter, just as previous records were before that.”

https://www.convergecult.com/

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Crowbar

For nearly three decades, the name Crowbar has been synonymous with HEAVY. Since rising ominously from the swamplands of New Orleans in 1990, they’ve been hailed internationally as one of the world’s foremost purveyors of crushing, melodic sludge. Crowbar’s eleventh and latest album, The Serpent Only Lies, is both an affirmation of the band’s staying power and a nod to their legacy. “To me, it’s a fresh-sounding version of old-school Crowbar,” says vocalist, guitarist and mastermind Kirk Windstein. “I intentionally went back and listened to a lot of old Crowbar stuff, like the self-titled and Broken Glass albums, to get a feel for what my mindset was 20-plus years ago. I also went back and listened to the bands that influenced Crowbar in the beginning, like Trouble, Saint Vitus, Melvins, and the first Type O Negative record. So it was kinda me doing my homework.”

The result is an album that stands toe-to-toe with those early Crowbar classics while maintaining the lumbering hooks of mid-period standouts like 1998’s Odd Fellows Rest and 2000’s Equilibrium. Bolstered by massive riffage, new songs “I Am The Storm,” “Embrace The Light” and the title track explore the themes of life, loss and spirituality, respectively. “Even lyrically, the approach was a little more old-school,” Windstein offers. “Some of the songs have less lyrics to let the riffs breathe a little more, which I had kind of gotten away from over the years. It was a conscious thing to go back to that.”

The album’s bruising centerpiece “The Enemy Beside You” opens with the line “If you grow a set of balls, you might just change your life.” It’s a rallying call to woe-is-me types everywhere. “The song is not about anyone in particular—it’s about negative people in general,” Windstein explains. “People who bitch about everything, but don’t get up and do anything for themselves. I know a lot of people like that. If you need a job, get off your ass and get one. If you need to get off dope, go get help. Don’t just sit there and whine about it.”

The tour cycle for The Serpent Only Lies marks the return of original Crowbar bassist Todd “Sexy T” Strange, who left the band back in 1999 but now joins Windstein, drummer Tommy Buckley and guitarist Matt Brunson in forging Crowbar’s future. “Todd helped start the band, so having him back is important to me and, I think, the fans,” Windstein offers. “It’s a great feeling to be standing onstage next to him. It’s a breath of fresh air for the band and makes us stronger.”

“Having this be our eleventh record, we’re very fortunate because so many bands don’t last this long,” Windstein adds. “My whole outlook on music as a career is the Motörhead outlook, which is that slow and steady wins the race. If you continue to put out killer records, continue to kick ass onstage every night and continue to treat your fans with respect, that’s the stuff people will remember.”

http://www.crowbarnola.com/

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Grave Pleasures

There are still those rare bands out there in the world that have a unique ability to combine macabre, mystifying rock with a more pop-oriented flare, a la early Bowie or early The Cure. Grave Pleasures are such a band that is equally suited for playing on a stadium stage, or in some Lynchian nightmare. It’s that duality and electrifying contradiction that makes their music so exhilarating.

“I try to write songs about the unexplored human darkness, of the nightmares but also the joys inherent in it. It’s about accursed attractions and making love to your nihilism. Misery loves catharsis.” says Mat McNerney – singer/co-songwriter of Grave Pleasures, the most notorious modern day Finnish post-punk band.

“Our songs are about illumination through our deepest fears. Nuclear panic, the apocalypse and our eventual demise are intrinsic parts of our collective conscience. Within these obsessions we come to find the truth of who we are, and there is a certain magic and thrilling revelation in the horror of that discovery. Our music is a grinning dance of death.”

Grave Pleasures’ debut album Dreamcrash was released in 2015 in Europe/ROW on Sony Columbia and Metal Blade in North America to critical acclaim. Risen from the ashes of the short-lived underground sensation Beastmilk, the band’s new record reached out to a wide and diverse audience. In the album’s wake, they brought the sound of their atomic punk to such high profile festivals as Hellfest, Sweden Rock, Reverence Festival, Rockavaria, Rock Im Revier. They toured Europe extensively and recorded a BBC live session for Daniel P Carter’s Radio 1 Rock Show. They followed up in 2016 with the Funeral Party 7” to critics and fans delight alike, and which revved up the buzz and expectations behind a new full-length record from the band.

“Their songs serve up icy, dancey goth-tinged death rock, and temper it with an ominous apocalyptic obsession.” – Noisey

Lead guitarist Juho Vanhanen (Oranssi Pazuzu) steps up to write the majority of the songs together with British-born outcast McNerney (Hexvessel, ex- Beastmilk/DHG/Code). His screaming telecaster and unique interplay of discord and harmony has become a trademark of the band’s sound. Together with guitarist Aleksi Kiiskilä (ex – Kohu 63), their strings shimmer, hammer and howl out a web of sound which is distinctly Grave Pleasures. Fleshed out by the hypnotic signature rhythms of Valtteri Arino (ex- Beastmilk) on bass and Rainer Tuomikanto frenetically pounding the funeral drums (Ajattara, ex- Shining Swe), this group of well established punks have started to reach up to their zenith on their sordid new testament Motherblood.

Motherblood was recorded at Orgone Studios in the UK with Jaime Gomez Arellano (Ghost, Ulver, Paradise Lost) in March 2017. The studio was suitably situated on the site of an old WW2 coding bunker and brought with it the isolation of the bleak British countryside. The setting helped give the album an intense and smiling urgency that picks up where 80s UK bands such as Magazine, The Wire and Echo And The Bunnymen left off, but never stopping long enough to look back too much into the past. Featuring guest vocals from David Tibet from Current 93, the band sets the tone for their inspirations, from the esoteric underground of England’s hidden reverse to Manchester’s sound of misery. With their own metallic raw tone clashed with pop hooks, Motherblood is a furiously passionate and contemporary record, which re-defines post-punk as a “war-cry for the eternally doomed.”

Following the recording, they were asked to support their heroes Killing Joke on a short tour of Europe during June 2017. Debuting upcoming album songs to a newly captivated and eager audience, Motherblood’s fallout had begun. Come Fall 2017, the album will be out and detonated, let loose upon the world by Century Media Records.

“Aha, Duran Duran, David Bowie and even Billy Idol have all had a hand in this dark punky sound” – Newnoisemagazine.com

They have been described as “A post-punk wet dream,” or perhaps more honestly as “bat-shit lunatics,” and their music is in a funereal world of it’s own. Motherblood is a truly danceable, pop-feast of raw, banging pleasure – in all its primitive, gothic tribalism. Dance-floor death rock that brings with it an uncanny sense of inspired song craft that made Bowie’s Berlin era sound so fresh and revolutionary, Killing Joke’s tribal anthems so desperately ominous and dark throbbing melancholy of Depeche Mode’s atmospheric pop so damn sexy. Just about every part of this record bleeds menace, or emanates nuclear fumes. It’s unsafe territory which in turn makes it thrilling, sexy and most dangerously of all, catchy.

www.gravepleasures.com

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https://www.facebook.com/thouband/