Label Roundup: Static Tension Recordings


Static Tension Recordings, a smaller label housed in the steamy city of Portland, is home to some absolutely killer metal. Although the Toilet is no stranger to the label, many of our less eagle-eyed readers have likely missed some killer releases from STR. Allow me to remedy that.

In case you missed some of the excellent STR releases we’ve covered, allow me to jog your memory:

Good, right? Let’s move on to some new stuff.

War Curse – Final Days


Do you remember the “re-thrash” period of heavy metal we had to endure about a decade ago, when every band wanted to sound exactly like a hybrid of Metallica‘s Ride the Lightning and Megadeth‘s Countdown to Extinction? Yeah, I too tried to block those memories, but there are a few re-thrash bands that aspired to more than mediocrity, namely Evile and Warbringer. If any of the aforementioned four bands appeal to you, there’s a chance you’ll enjoy War Curse.  “Blue Line of Injustice” features a foreboding intro with some loose low end work and melodic guitar leads before launching into a mid-paced rocker, reminding me of classic cuts like “Five Magicks” or “Poison Was the Cure.” War Curse also includes plenty of guitar solos (and let’s face it this wouldn’t be thrash without them!) Dust off the bullet belt and lace up your high-tops; it’s about to get thrashy in here.

Sharp Weapons – Sharp Weapons


Prior to discovering Sharp Weapons, I did not know that I would enjoy “posthardcore” (I’m not a huge fan of hardcore or post- anything), but damn does this scratch an itch I did not know I had. There are certainly elements of hardcore present, like harsh barked vocals and that distinclty heavy tone, but it’s all arranged in a manner that’s easily digestible to a non-hardcore person. Each song has a great sense of flow throughout, yet surprises do lurk around each corner for the attentive listener. You’ll be grooving along nicely, confident that you’ve finally nailed that last bizarre beat, when the guitar players launch into a punk-infused guitar riff similar to bands like High on Fire! This album is not a predictable listen, and that is a humongous benefit for this style of music. It could have easily been track after track of interchangeable tough-guy bravado, but it’s not. It’s clear a lot of thought went into the construction of these songs and the flow of the overall album. Check out “Acid.F–K” below and hit me up with recommendations for similar artists.

The Wolf Council – TWC


It’s nearly impossible to find good hard rock bands these days. Aside from the always-reliable Clutch and a few rockin’ albums from The Sword, there aren’t a lot of bands that satisfy that curious craving metalheads get for non-metal sometimes. Enter The Wolf Council from St. Paul, Minnesota. Immediate comparisons to stoner-rockers ASG – specifically the album Win Us Over – are apt, but there’s a good amount of Red Fang on display too. Every riff is delivered with urgency, and except for the occasional, tasteful ballad, there is very little loss of inertia throughout the entire record. The vocalists are especially confident in their delivery, strained yet articulate, often paired up for some amazing harmonies. A catchy hard rocker like “Victims” is always welcome, especially to those who appreciate extra sensual basswork.

Curse of the North – I

I by Curse of the North is yet another album that will satisfy your hard rock sweet-tooth, especially those who enjoy things of the “stoner” variety. Just The Wolf Council, these fellas inject an amount of soul and melody into the vocals that we don’t hear too often in the extreme metal we usually peddle around here (what’s this, do I hear a little Danzig in his voice?). Throw in a few Baroness or lighter High on Fire riffs and we have a recipe for controlled headbanging that won’t annoy the co-workers. Their Bandcamp also accounts for any comparisons you may notice to their 70’s rock influences like Black Sabbath and The Scorpions. Stab “Oceans Rise” below for one catchy-ass heavy metal chorus interspersed with psychadelic instrumental jams that eventually speed up into… I’ll stop and let you listen.


Make sure you check War Curse, Sharp WeaponsThe Wolf Council, and Curse of the North out at their respective Bandcamp pages. Also, let me know in the comments if you’ve heard anything else of note from Static Tension Recordings.

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  • Unholy cow, I can read all of these band names.

  • RustyShackleford

    McNulty is delivering the GOODS right here!! The Wolf Council and Curse of the North are my jams so far. I like how, as you point out, they can sort of pay homage to classic 70s riffs without just being straight rip offs who sound like the local bums who play at the bar. Much more interesting stuff here. Yep!

  • Howard Dean

    A little seasonally-appropriate Danzig for that Danzig mention in the article. The main riff in this track should win a Riff ov the Week.

    • Howard Dean

      And a little something for the Danzig haters. I didn’t forget you! I’m tryna keep everyone happy.

      • A personal knockout favorite of mine.

        • Owlswald

          What was he trying to do here? Use the que as a cane?

        • Howard Dean

          I’ve always been curious about what is actually going on in this and/or if it’s real.

          • It seems too fucking dumb to be real. But I want to believe.

          • Dubbbz

            I’ve always thought the dude accidentally hit a nerve in his knee that caused him to buckle and that the pool table is actually what KOs him.

        • I don’t know many things in this crazy world, but I certainly know this: he ded.

    • Waynecro

      Back in the day, my mom heard this song in the car, and she thought Danzig was singing “dirty black sausage.”

  • Sharp Weapons has a multitude of influences Jimmy – DEP is the obvious one but there’s shades of Botch and a little bit of the style Norma Jean has been showing on their past few albums. That’s my expert hardcore take on these guys.

    • Owlswald

      I heard a little Snapcase as well. edit- and they’re from PDX. Sweet!

      • Good catch and everyone should listen to Progression Through Unlearning by them because it’s damn near flawless.

        • Owlswald

          My entry was Designs for Automation which still gets me jacked to the tits every time I hear it but Progression was also great.

          • Waynecro

            “Jacked to the tits.” This is great. I’m going to start using this phrase.

    • I didn’t hear the DEP influence….yet. Next listen through I’ll keep that one in mind.
      Honestly I was hoping you (our local hardcore sage) would be weighing in on this. Yusssss

  • Waynecro

    Nice write-up, McNults. I can dig Sharp Weapons. Thanks for the heads-up about these sweet, sweet jams.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Wait, wait, wait… Evile aspiring to more than mediocrity?
    What have you been drinking?

  • Maik Beninton™

    My picks on this are War Curse and Sharp Weapon.

  • Eliza

    Great post! I’m digging all the tracks here, especially the ones by Curse of the North and The Wolf Council.

    • It was tough picking tracks. I seemed to have a new favorite each listening

      • Eliza

        These are really good, you have chosen well.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Good work JM. I like the bottom three quite a bit, oldish thrash never did anything for me. I shall keep a loose but present bond with Static Tension. (huehuehue)

  • Guppusmaximus

    Had to put this somewhere. Sorry for hijacking 😛

  • CT-12

    Hell yeah Jimmy, cool writeup, and Curse of the North rules! Seen those guys live a few times, always good stuff; really enjoyed their new album.