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:
- MoshOff enjoyed the “gothic/depressive-ish and dark side of rock” on Publicist UK‘s self-titled album back in 2015.
- Link Leonhart spoke of the “competent black metal tribute to the penumbra work of Robert Smith & friends” by Curezom (also 2015).
- Spear recently declared Noire‘s The Tracks of the Hunted “a great listen if you’re in the mood for something quieter” on a recent mini round up.
- Mr. Thrashnkill exclusively premiered Lucis Absentia‘s To the Depths for us in June of 2016.
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.
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 Weapons, The 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.