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NEWS: Ex-Savage Messiah member joins Ashen Crown

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Midlands Extreme Metallers  Ashen Crown have announced a change in their ranks.  After the departure of guitarist Jay Rogers , they faced a huge task in finding a replacement who was a good fit both musically and in personality and immediately got to work on finding a guitarist to cover upcoming shows. Sy Taplin ( Wired THC , Ex- Savage Messiah , Ex- L-Sol-Tace ) was approached by the band, having performed with him previously and being well aware of his playing ability and pedigree, to initially stand in temporarily. After a successful headline set at Beermageddon Metal Festival , Sy and the band agreed that they would like to make it a permanent fixture.  Ste Fowkes , guitarist of Ashen Crown said “ In one rehearsal, we instantly realised he was a perfect fit musically, the vibe was right and the collective decision to offer him the spot full time was unanimous - We are massively excited to begin injecting Sy's creativity into AC and working to deliver a strong follow up f

Pelugion - Demon In The Sky

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Pelugion, who have been active for around ten years, have impressed with their first couple of releases. The heavy rocking '1' preceded the darker, doomier '2' from just short of two years ago, which I lent my thoughts to in this review . Over the last decade, they've built their reputation steadily but surely, with convincing and reliable live performances. A tight unit of hard-hitting drums, dense sludge-grunge riffing and Chris Cornell-reminiscent vocals that make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, you don't just forget about Pelugion after you come across them. Most notably, they appeared on Bloodstock's New Blood Stage as Coventry Metal 2 The Masses winners in 2018. They're coming back for more on Sunday morning. Pelugion interview outside Scruffy Murphy's in 2019. Yes, I'm interviewing them in the back of a car. In what will promise to be a big week for the Coventry-based trio, they're also releasing the tantalising new singl

Creature - Haunt

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Following two EPs in 2019, Birmingham hardcore trio Creature have returned with ten minutes of aural assault to deliver  Haunt . With stark lyricism dealing with austerity, complicity, and the state of the nation, the band accompanies this with filthy, to-the-point, in-your-face metallic hardcore. It's not for the  faint-hearted, nor is it meant to be. All four songs whizz by in less than three minutes each, though there's a lot going on in a short time. Musically, it's a really interesting listen, with unconventional structures and off-time rhythms for starters. Each member has time to shine; take the interesting bass work in the 'Grey Ghosts' chorus, or t he sludgy guitar bends around the halfway mark of 'All', the dynamic drum performance over 'Creeping', just to name a few moments. 'Lines' starts off math-y and frenetic before unexpectedly launching into some of the catchiest vocal hooks across the whole EP.  It's a huge musical state

Phon - Cat Zen Jamma

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Phon have been going for less than a year, but the future looks bright for the Worcester trio, based on the strength of their debut EP. Their live shows are energetic, pretty sweaty in my own experience, and risk moderate short-term hearing loss - but are very good. They bring the sounds of the alternative rock greats of the 90s in with a stoned-out, hardcore-infused context - meaning that the likes of Sonic Youth and the Melvins are just as sonically important to Phon as Nirvana or Soundgarden.  Cat Zen Jamma bursts with jaunty basslines, pounding drums and catchy vocal hooks throughout its runtime, which feels all too short by the time it's over. I'm particularly keen on the bass guitar riffs over 'Julia Roberts (Stars In Eat Pray Love)' or 'Fade', which use open strings in conjunction with frets high up the neck to create quite a specific sound, locking in really well with the laid-back drum grooves. At times, the guitar seems to act as a second bass - with

Sergeant Thunderhoof - This Sceptred Veil

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My introduction to Sergeant Thunderhoof seems, in hindsight, relatively late - it's not a band name you forget easily after hearing it for the first time, but I only really began taking note after hearing their cover of Alice Cooper's 'Halo of Flies' around the tail end of last year. Leading up to that point, they'd released a few full-length albums through their own label after forming as a band in 2013. Playing trippy, groovy heavy rock around the UK in the decade or so since, most enthusiasts of underground doom or stoner in this country will be well-acquainted with The Hoof  by now - and frankly, after the release of This Sceptred Veil , their monumental album number four, there's no excuse not to be. Recorded with Josh Gallop (Phoxjaw) at Stage 2 Studios in Bath and mastered by Tony Reed of Mos Generator fame, This Sceptred Veil is noticeably darker and heavier than anything they've released before. All the stoner, progressive and psychedelic-tinged ele

Puresonic Outcasts - Endless Contemplation

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Puresonic Outcasts have finally dropped their long-awaited second EP. The heavy/stoner metallers turn up their amps, downtune their axes and introduce a much heavier era for the band with Endless Contemplation , a six-song selection of some of the finest riffs in Northern Ireland. Indeed, this is a release that worships the power of The Riff™. In a similar vein to 2020's Reflections Upon This Present Condition , they've got stoned-out jams and fuzz-heavy guitar passages that tread the path first laid out by Black Sabbath over fifty years ago. Two of the six are solely instrumental tracks, with their riff worship and creation of atmosphere leading these songs. For example, 'Mudlarker' has an Orion-style, psychedelic bass intro, with a buildup in intensity and atmosphere that reminds me a little of 'Chasing Shadows' from eighteen months ago ( more about that here ), culminating into a Candlemass-like doom metal finish. I've said it before - PSO are absolute m

Diaries of Desertfest: Part 2

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  The last day of the festival runs around all too quickly, but there are still a few tales to be told before the proceedings are through. Dvne open up the Roundhouse on Sunday afternoon, with a set exclusively drawing from the earth-shattering  Etemen Ænka from last year. Towers sounds, well, as towering as it does on record. Their epic, melodic, progressive sludge seems to have reached increasingly new and bigger audiences recently and their spot on such a big stage, though announced at short notice, is thoroughly well deserved and you can see from Dan's big grin how much they're enjoying their moment in the spotlight. They're full of technical wizardry, but have enough big grooves to get the crowd moving and headbanging - such as the end of Mleccha or the titanic riffs in Satuya. The drum fills are nothing short of crazy at times and both vocalists only seem to improve with every passing year. Their interludes between songs are worth a mention, too - bridging the songs,