Saturday, 11 February 2017

Rivette – In Vertigo (2016) / 85%

NWOFHM #10: Uno, dos, tres... catorce

I'm at a place called Vertigo! It’s everything I wish I didn’t know

This power trio from Finland plays an addictive form of heavy metal combining extraneous rock elements and it was one of my highlights of late 2016. I’m not totally sure this is an accurate portrayal but the first thought I had during my initial listening session was that Rivette was a heavy metal version of Dire Straits. This was perhaps due to the pop hooks combined with heavy guitar acrobatics but I still think this is a funny summary of their sound.

Their style of riffing is peculiar and it’s hard to compare them to contemporary metal bands since they don’t really fit within any scenes. Perhaps they could fit in the made up and weird as fuck New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal and that’s why Jussi Lehtisalo, owner of Ektro Records and creator of this scene signed them. Rivette are able to mix the uplifting feel of early NWOBHM (see the likes of Trespass) with a bunch of other influences like AOR, classic rock, 80s alternative rock and even 70s progressive rock. Esa (guitar, vocals) reminds me a lot of Peter Gabriel/Phish (I believe they’re the same person) and it’s super interesting to hear those sort of vocals in a heavy metal/hard rock setting. Listen to the final track of the record to hear this vocal approach, it's awesome.

While there’s certainly metal riffs in there, it doesn’t really feel metal most of the time. The EP has this smooth, lush feel and it’s quite impressive considering there’s no keyboards and it’s just three dudes trying their best to beat Rush at their own game (hint: nobody can.) The best quality the trio has is their ear for emotional and super catchy melodies. Just with the first minute of “Outrun the Night”, I was hooked and pleased. While their songs aren’t quite long (the longest is 6 minutes), they use some instrumental passages to their advantage and they do it well. They let the songs breathe and only “Arms of Lightning” is a straight up bulldozing rocker. Fun guitar leads, thick but pleasing bass licks and speedy drums is what you get with Rivette.

They’re at their best when they focus on their introspective side (like the title track) and go beyond heavy metal and I think their potential is tremendous. This is a rock solid debut extended play that I’ve been spinning a lot since early December and if you want originality in your traditional metal, they would certainly work for you.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The Snack Series - Kettle Brand Potato Chips / Honey Dijon

Price: The chips bags of Kettle are always less expensive than Miss Vickies' stuff so that's a good reason to check them out. I think it was $3.50 Canadian so like 10 cents for my American readers.

Packaging/extra information : Frankly, the bag was too hard to open, it's not quite cool when you're drunk or high and in need of a snack. The colour is bright though so it's easy to spot if you forgot where the light switches are. It's those sort of plastic-y bags that, I guess, can keep the chips fresh for a while.

Texture: Their chips are super crispy and cooked more naturally than most brands. They're the regular size of what you can expect from a normal chip and that's totally fine with me. Originality is overrated!

Taste: The taste is precise. The mix of the sugary and idiosyncratic feel of honey with the bitter and strong dijon mustard element brings a bold approach but not one that you get tired of after like ten chips (I ate the bag in one sitting, of course.) They're perhaps not as excellent as the aforementioned Vickies but they're a good alternative as they have a bunch of different flavors. I'll try the blue cheese one next time

All, in all, this is a decent choice while you watch the hockey game. The Habs still managed to lose though.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Haggatha – V (2017) / 87%

Death on the Fraser River

This quartet from Vancouver evolves in the depressive side of loud metal and they're excellent at making you feel uneasy in a totally enjoyable way. V, their third full length (but 5This quartet from Vancouver evolves in the depressive side of loud metal and they're excellent at making you feel uneasy in a totally enjoyable way. V, their third full length (but 5th release) hits all the right notes with its six numbers full of dread and hatred.

Haggatha is a band with an impressive songwriting who manages to fill their tracks with a wide array of super loud and roaring riffs. Unlike some sludge/doom bands that we can encounter in the scene right now, they don't waste any time and they deliver a relatively brief but rewarding album. A lack of edition and a tendency to fill the hardware (see Windhand and their seventy minutes records) are too common and it's refreshing to hear a band not interested in filling their material with filler. Their previous album had a long seventeen minutes track as its second side but V is more balanced with tracks between four and eight minutes. Let's just say that there's no disposable moments to be found here! I discovered the band with their new album but their formula was clearly established in the past and they're just working on the details to push their songs to the next level. What I can say, is despite not being an audiophile connoisseur, the mix and production of V is stronger and fits the sound of the band like a bloody glove.

Sure, Haggatha are not pushing the boundaries of sludge into unknown territories like Cult of Luna or Kylesa did but that's perfectly fine. Being original for the sake of getting a "best new music" review on Pitchfork is trying too hard anyway. They're instead going for an Eyehategod sound but rather than taking too much heroin, they prefer bong hits. This makes them slower and heavier! Outside of the riffs, their main distinctive characteristic would be the two vocalists, they both do harsh vocals but one prefers the high pitched ones and the other the deeper sort. The two approaches are adding a cool and versatile side to the band. Rest assured, there's no happy sides to Haggatha, it's all about being miserable and broken and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Bone chilling and tremendous riffy as fuck sludge/doom is what you're getting with Haggatha. It's a fitting start to 2017, it will not help you in these dire times but it certainly fits the new world atmosphere.
th release) hits all the right notes with its six numbers full of dread and misery.