Lair Of The White Worm – EP1

Lair Of The White Worm EP1 Cover Art

Lair Of The White Worm – EP1
APF Records / Trepanation Recordings
Release Date: 15.10.21
Running Time: 21:25
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
10/10

Alright, my lovelies? It is Dark Juan here, and as I write this, I am being stared at by two moon-eyed, transforming witch-hares, who are in their turn surrounded by a taxidermied crow, and a goat skull. These are still in the house after I cheerfully conveyed Mrs Dark Juan, a cat familiar call Rutterkin, Black Shuck (that hound just don’t give a fuck! Yes, I know it is a lyric from The Darkness, and no, I couldn’t give a fuck either), and yet another mid-transformation witch hare, (Mrs Dark Juan appears to have found an untapped worldwide gap in the market for disturbing, bouncy, possessed animals) to the populous and august conurbation that is known as Scunthorpe! It will be accompanying us on our jollies to lovely old Whitby, to be given to the nice people who have permitted us to take the Smellhounds to the cottage we are renting from them for a week. They will probably regret this mightily after we depart. In the meantime, I am quite unwell (and am writing this while ensconced upon my sofa of abject agony, and probably death) and have managed to successfully not utter the cry frequently heard from Grimsby, “Who put the cunt in Scunthorpe?”

Obviously, this is a disgraceful state of affairs, and one that is not condoned by Dark Juan AT ALL. Even when the good burghers of Bury, Lancashire have historically referred to the town I grew up in, being Radcliffe, as “Dog Shit Valley”. Even though it is depressingly accurate. Thank whichever deity of you choose for Yorkshire, I say. Anyway, Mrs Dark Juan has pieces being displayed in an exhibition of Lincolnshire folklore and witchcraft at the North Lincolnshire Museum in Scunthorpe at the end of October until March 2022 and I really think if you’re nearby you should possibly attend. You can gain entrance for free, gratis, and for nothing, to quote Terry “The Metal Bastard” Wogan. Gratuitous plug over…

As you have no doubt deduced from the title of this thing I laughingly call a journalistic article, I am listening to the thoughtfully named “EP1” from Lair Of The White Worm, being the musical project of Napalm Death’s (as well as Malevolent Creation, Corrupt Moral Altar, and Venomous Concept) John Cooke. Clearly, this is a man who does not like sitting still and being quiet, as he has created a work of superior industrial malevolence. The mix and production of the record backs this up, being not so much a production job as a head-mashing maschinenklang of hyperbolic proportions. There are times when roaring, greasy metallic noise overwhelms everything else, but this EP is an object lesson of music being power, and power being delivered rather more like a steam-powered jackhammer breaking up concrete, as opposed to a seamless application of precision like a lathe. Precise this record isn’t. It’s the musical equivalent of smoke belching diesel engines, groaning and clanking tank tracks, and field guns lobbing 40-pound shells over your head.

Imagine, if you will, a machine composed of parts of Godflesh, P.H.O.B.O.S, Lament Cityscape, early Pitch Shifter (when they were good and when they weren’t trying to turn themselves into a shitty version of the already shitty Spineshank), Pigface, The Berzerker, Meathook Seed, and Killing Joke. Now imagine the unholy racket that combination would produce. Congratulations! You are now traumatised! And probably in need of psychological help! But you also now know what Lair Of The White Worm sound like. 

The opening track, ‘Virtu’, actually hurts to listen to loud, such is the puissance of the blackened industrial music it employs, and especially the vocal of Corrupt Moral Altar’s Chris Reese (John Cooke is a band mate) which shriek and howl above the sonic corruption like some kind of demented banshee overseer in a Satanic steel mill. The music throughout the EP encompasses every guitar effect known to man, e-bows being used on ultrafuzzy bass guitar, samples of insane gabbling, Presidential addresses and news reports, and everything in between.

The music is all downtuned to B, and is soupy and cloying and oily and greasy. It is the antithesis of the super polished American sounds of Ministry, Fear Factory and their ilk. Lair Of The White Worm are the matt black, rusty, and noisy equivalent to the shiny, streamlined, and chromed American industrial blueprint, and are far better for it. There is a palpable sense of menace and sheer mechanical murder around Lair Of The White Worm that I haven’t heard in the British music since The Machinist, and have never heard in American Industrial at all.

The whole record is an aural assault on the senses. Played in a live setting, Lair Of The White Worm’s music would plaster the entire audience against the back wall, to collapse bonelessly on the floor, weeping and broken. This doesn’t mean there aren’t changes of dynamic on the record, however. The last song on the EP (‘Waster’) is a chimeric mix of Killing Joke style dynamics, and P.H.O.B.O.S’ lo-fi, ultra-percussive assault, and is absolutely fucking superb. An echoey vocal gives way to a primal roar and the music switches from “gentle”, lazy chords to comprehensive sonic destruction. I listened to this with cans on, and Mrs Dark Juan had to ask what I was listening to, and to turn it down because she could hear it across the room. She is not a fan…

Based on my listening over the past few weeks, pandemic isolation has brought us a fucking colossal seam of magnificent metal music. There simply is no excuse, based on the quality of the releases I have chosen to review recently, for ANYONE to be releasing an average or sub-par record. The bar has been lifted impossibly high and it’s up to everyone to keep fucking pushing. Metal, in all its myriad forms, has never been so healthy or vibrant or interesting, and Lair Of The White Worm have released a fucking industrial classic!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has been sitting quietly for around 20 minutes now, trying to unpick bits of his brain matter from the tapestry behind him. It is yet another 10/10 for Lair Of The White Worm and their unadulterated aural Armageddon. I’m getting bored of having to be nice to everyone. Is it time for a Warrior Soul release yet?!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Virtu
02. Isolation
03. Bankrupt Morality
04. Into Ludes
05. Misery Box
06. Waster

LINE-UP:
John Cooke 

With help from:
Tom Dring 
Chris Reese

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Callus – A Breath Of Flesh Air

A Breath Of Flesh Air Album Cover Art

Callus – A Breath Of Flesh Air
Trepanation Recordings
Release Date: 29/10/2021
Running Time: 30:44
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

I always feel proud when a band we’ve seen grow put out a new release, and even prouder when that release is damn fine. And today’s subject doesn’t buck that trend. We first came across Callus a few years back, and were absolutely blown away by their massive sound, and their superior stage presence, and that was the start of a beautiful friendship. Now, after a small line-up change, and a bit of a shift in direction in terms of sound, they’re back with a new album, “A Breath Of Flesh Air”. And you should definitely get your big boy pants ready for this one, because it’s an absolute feast of Sludgy, Fuzzy, Stoner/Thrash proportions!

Opening with ‘Molar Crown’, the new direction is apparent from the get-go. Gravelly growling vocals provided by bassist Ben Wormwell, downtuned, fuzzed out guitars and bass, and riffs chunkier than a KitKat Chunky factory, are now the name of the game. The sound has got down and dirty, and then some.

‘Ka-tet’ follows suit, and then we get our heads smashed in by ‘Cinderstella’, which is predominantly Thrash, but has a hellish, sludgy sound to it. Imagine Metallica and Cannibal Corpse had a baby band, taught them to play fuzzy things, and then got them completely fucked up on booze, fags, and weed, and kicked them out on stage, and you’re somewhere near the sound of this song.

‘Sorrow Bane’ has a fair amount of groove going on, as does ‘Toadfish’, although they’re both still hellishly sludgy, and fairly doomy, too. We’re then thrown into a 10-minute behemoth next, in the shape of ‘Fatberg’. I won’t say too much about it, but I will say it’s groovy as hell, and full of some massively phat bass and licks, and some serious druuuuuuuums – Sam Kelly has done a brilliant job of stepping into previous drummer, Ryan’s, shoes. I think this is my favourite track on the album, because there’s just so much in it, and so much of it!

‘Sludge Guzzler’ closes the album, and by Jove does it guzzle some sludge, chew it around a bit, then vomit it back out at you in brilliant fashion! Another stonking album from one of the most exciting young bands around. Cannot wait to see them live again, and would highly recommend this album to anyone who fancies a dirty, sludgy aural pummelling!!

TRACKLISING:
01. Molar Crown
02. Ka-tet
03. Cinderstella
04. Sorrows Bane
05. Toadfish
06. Fatberg
07. Sludge Guzzler

LINE-UP:
Louis Clark – Vocals/Guitar
Ben Wormwell – Vocals/Bass
Sam Kelly – Drums

Guest backing vocals on Molar Crown – Chris Fielding

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

WaxWorm – Mea Kulpa

Mea Kulpa Cover

WaxWorm – Mea Kulpa
Trepanation Recordings
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 39:20
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Bonjour, mes amis! It is I, Dark Juan, and I am taking refuge from the big shiny fireball in the sky. Hiding within the curtain walls in the main keep of Dark Juan Terrace, trembling and tremulous, a feared of a puissance, a power greater than mine, while the smellhounds bake themselves to a furry crisp upon the stone flags outside, and Mrs. Dark Juan sits embroidering another twisted, yet beautiful creation whilst basking in the frankly terrifying radiation from an angry and vengeful star. Actually, to be fair she’s come back indoors now and is busily designing tattoos for tomorrow for she is a rather talented and excellent artiste de tatouage…There are however advantages to this – the Pimms and lemonade is freely flowing and I have achieved a state of grace and bonhomie by 1pm which is not normally attainable until the late evening at least. Seeing as I am in a state of grace and bonhomie (my liege lord and all-round good egg Admiral Of The Fleet Richard ”Aren’t you bored of these long winded introductions yet, you pompous Northern twatmonkey?” Tilley has not had to threaten me with violence to actually fucking write something this time. He just sent a photograph of himself, smiling benignly, whilst wielding a claymore which appears to be in perfect repair and VERY sharp) I have taken it upon myself to write about another record for you. Aren’t you all so extremely FORTUNATE?!?

YOU THERE! Stop your sniggering! I don’t care whether you all think I am as funny as corduroy trousers or not, but I do have an overweening sense of self-importance and I will not be denied. At least the preamble is under three hundred words this time…

WaxWorm is the creation of Antipodean Arthur Brown (no, he is not the god of hellfire, and he won’t be bringing you any either) and (considerably less exotic) Duncan Evans of Leeds (ex-A Forest Of Stars), in God’s own County (that being West Yorkshire. My being there also is neither here nor there) in jolly old Blighty. They describe their music as “dark electro-chaos” and an attempt to create something heavy without guitars and this album is the culmination of both face-to-face and remote meetings over a period of several years, where the project was shelved and revisited a number of times. To their eternal credit, they displayed much more patience than I ever could and actually finished the bloody thing so they have earned my approbation for being more driven individuals than I will ever be.

The album opens with ‘Mutus Liber’ (Latin for “Silent Book” and being an alchemical grimoire from the 17th Century, fact fans!) and it is clear that we are going to be roaming the realms of electronica and EBM. A slowly building synth wall of sound, played like Type O Negative at their most miserable speeds (or lack thereof), continues to an overlaid drone vocal and then there is a notable step change in tempo on ‘Eschaton’, the second song. Remember when Earache went a bit wrong in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, signed a load of techno artists and they did a compilation record called “Corporate Rock Wars” in 1995 and tried to tell us all that Misery Loves Co were an extreme metal band? There was a band with two tracks on that record called Scorn. They were an electronic duo and WaxWorm sound quite similar to them on ‘Eschaton’. This is not a bad thing, because Scorn were actually incredibly good, if painfully misunderstood by us metal kids at the time. ‘The Waif And Its Gun’ is much more dark ambient, sliding balefully into your subconscious and squatting there, laughing evilly while it beguiles you with images of just what horrors it plans on you perpetrating upon your significant other while you are under its control.

Vocals are sparingly employed throughout the album, most notably on ‘Raptus’ where the strained, emotional quality of the singing adds a dimension of raw emotion that can sometimes be missing from electronic industrial music and the whole song is a heart-ripping emotional hellride through your darkest fears and just why your significant other is lying silent in a pool of claret and you stand, mutely screaming with a bloodied knife in your red right hand and they are unmoving on the floor not answering your entreaties…

The record closes with ‘Klexos’, (otherwise known as the art of dwelling on the past and revisiting and reinterpreting memories the longer you look at them) which is a drippy, trippy piece of music that utilizes triphop beats and the kind of synth work that graces Trent Reznor’s less intense moments with Nine Inch Nails and is a fitting closer to the album, relaxing you down into a sense of deep dark melancholy as it fades away.

This is actually a damned fine record. It has moments of emotional power (‘Raptus’), complexity (the musicianship on the whole thing is fucking top notch, mixing synth with recordings of live instrumentation, and fucked up samples of everyday household items up to and including the kitchen sink a la Throbbing Gristle) and inventiveness (I hear bits of Whitehouse in the dissonance of power electronics, Suicide in the simplistic tempos which belie the complexity of the actual music, and Cabaret Voltaire in the emotional content of the record) and the occasional bout of Skinny Puppy-esque industrial power among the ambient grooves not unreminiscent of The Orb. A diverse set of influences, then, but ones that complement each other rather than clash. Machines and gears meshing in perfect harmony rather than the spatter of lead against armour plate.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (g’day, Aussie fans) awards WaxWorm a stonking 9/10 for a fine, predominantly instrumental industrial album with plenty to keep the listener occupied. It has a mark deducted because it MAY be of limited interest to the metal fan, but it is still heavy enough to please the more exploratory heavy metal listener as far as I am concerned. I’ll be playing this record to death. It’s fucking brilliant.

‘Klexos’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Mutus Liber
02. Eschaton
03. Rosarius
04. The Waif And Its Gun
05. Azoth
06. Raptus
07. Klexos

LINE-UP:
Arthur Brown – Fucking everything because he is a talented Australian bastard.
Duncan Evans – Fucking everything because he is a talented Yorkshire bastard.

LINKS:

WaxWorm Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s with MOONLOW

EMQ’s with MOONLOW

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with UK based Synth/Noise Metal project, Moonlow. Huge thanks to Dust for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I am Dust. The band is Moonlow. The debut album, “Who Are You?” will be out in October 2020 on Trepanation Recordings. I play everything. Mostly synthesizers / noise and vocals, but there is also some bass guitar and acoustic guitar on the album. Moonlow has very little history so far.

How did you come up with your band name?

I thought about the lyrical themes and the feelings I had been experiencing during the album’s conception. The moon and its associations and connotations were important, so I fired out lots of related ideas and eventually settled on the portmanteau of “Moonlow”.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I am from the north of England in the UK. The scene is in many ways very healthy, although it is not without problems. The medium-sized venues have largely closed down. But we have a network of smaller DIY venues who do a lot to support the underground scenes.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

“Who Are You?” will be the first album release from Moonlow. Before that, we will be premiering at least two songs. One will be on a Trepanation label compilation to be released very soon.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Influences include Current 93, Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson, Alcest, Crowhurst, Einstürzende Neubauten, Darkthrone, Suicide.

What first got you into music?

I have been interested in music since my parents introduced me to classic rock groups at a young age. I gradually became more and more interested in underground and esoteric music styles through reading metal magazines and getting involved in heavy music communities and being exposed to new and interesting sounds. I get bored by listening to the same styles too often. Experimentation is of great interest.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Possibly David Tibet from Current 93. I’m here if he’s interested.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I have always enjoyed Prophecy Fest, which takes place in a cave in the German countryside. There are no current plans for Moonlow live shows, but that sort of environment would probably work well if the Moonlow experience were to be transferred to a live setting, which could happen in future.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

With other bands and projects, I have had pets named after my songs.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you. Who Are You?

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

I’m not really interested in doing this, but it’s a shame that Alan Vega and Scott Walker are no longer with us.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I enjoy creating freely. I don’t hate anything, but money is always an issue.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I think we need to keep working towards new and superior model for supporting artists financially.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Push The Sky Away” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I like vinyl for the tactile experience and for the interesting analogue imprecisions. CD’s are great for sound quality and to still get decent arty packaging. Downloads are best for convenience and portability. “Who Are You?” will also be released on cassette – a first for me.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Moonlow has not played live yet, but I played Ragnarok Festival in Germany to about 5000 people. That was pretty good.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Writing. Reading. Creating art of some description.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Five friends whom I wanted to eat with.

What’s next for the band?

The PR campaign starts now. I will be taking interview questions and seeking press coverage. We will be premiering at least two songs in the coming months, and the release will be in October 2020.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

My website and links to pre-order have not yet gone live but this will happen soon. Watch this space and Google “Moonlow”.
www.facebook.com/Moonlowband

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Biscakes.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for the questions!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.