Just who are this trio of blokes? Dumbsaint are a Sydney-based group that combine elements of post-metal, post-rock and progressive music genres. They are unique in that they give equal weighting to the visual aspect of their live performances. Two of the three members are film students, so each song they create will have a visual accompaniment that is usually projected on-stage with the band.
While Dumbsaint have been around and playing in Sydney for a long time, this is their debut album.
So, what of it? Well, let's start off with the production. Simply put, the production is GORGEOUS. I've long been a fan of the production work that Tim Carr does over at Studios 301, but I think this might be the nicest thing I've heard from him. He's done a magnificent job. His incredible ability to capture the vibe of whatever music he is engineering, his work ethic, and his tireless attention to detail really shine through on this album.
The production maxim of the band seems to be a focus on organic, dynamic and natural sounds. Nick's drum sound is the most open I think I've heard. There's just so much room to breathe, and it really lets Nick's outstanding dynamic playing shine through the mix rather.
The guitar and bass tones show a similar merticulous attention to detail and texture. The guitar is crisp, clean and clear when it needs to be, and explodes into a wall of monolithic fat fuzz when tracks peak.
The first track 'Rivers Will Be Crossed' perfectly presents what I love about this band. The song-writing is outstanding. The musicianship of each individual is stellar - and as a trio they really know when to pull-back what they're playing to let other instruments ebb, flow and take the centre point when they need to. The song just continues to builds and weaves beautifully. The structure is just really engaging and very intelligent compiled.
And yet, as I finish listening to the entire album for perhaps the 30th time, I still feel like something is missing to make this an incredible, coherent album. Most of the tracks are great - if not awesome - but occasionally a track or section emerges the reminds me perhaps a little too much of the premordial slime and eggshells Dumbsaint have brought with them from the beginning - the stamp of some of influences perhaps being a little too great in a few select moments.
After speaking to the band I think I can pinpoint why this is. These songs were not written as 'an album'. They are essentially a collection of songs written over the last 8+ years that have happened to be on an album together, and I think the coherent concept of an album suffers as a result of that.
Now, for the mostpart the band really manages to hide this fact from the listener with some very smart song ordering -- but every time I reach the final movement of the final track off the album, I can't help but feel the lack of a final penultimate moment, a clear album closer to end the listening experience coherently. I keep expecting the next song to kick in any second. The last track 'I am an image' really fails to properly bookend the journey, and I'm just left hanging, a little confused as to why the music has stopped coming from my headphones.
Now these criticisms should be taken into context. This album is still incredible. What Dumbsaint have achieved has personally made me very jealous - and I think there should be clear recognition of this. However, that said, I do believe that the bands best compositions are ahead of them. Now that they have a solid, consistent line-up they can focus on constructing new material for the format, rather than having to select an albums worth of songs from a back-catalog amassed over many years.
It is Dumbsaint's mature songwriting, precise, dynamic musicianship, and attention to detail that puts this trio far beyond another cookie-cutter post-rock or post-metal offering. Fans of ISIS, Red Sparrowes, Mogwai, Russian Circles, sleepmakeswaves, Pelican and Tool should love this album. Infact, I would be willing to say that 'Something that you feel will find its own form' might just surpass, say, the latest Russian Circles album.
This is an extremely impressive album and I can't see where these guys take their music next. It has replaced Helm's debut album 'Keehaul... Volume 1' as my favourite Australian release within the style. I foresee a bright future for Dumbsaint, and I would implore you to go and check out their debut album over at Birds Robe Records.
Australia’s best grindcore band?
Define Grindcore? Im pretty tuned out of "Genres". I did like Beyond Terror Beyond Grace, but that is in large, heavily biased by a working relationship. Bart is one of my favorite vocalists ever, regardless of genre or relationships. Don't grind bands hate being tagged grind bands? I used to love Blood Duster, but have never really invested too heavily in the grind scene.
I do love the names though;
"ANAL DISCHARGE" (fucking best name ever)
Does facial hair have an influence when signing a band?
I want to say yes, I mean wizards are the shit and name one beardless wizard, but seriously no!
What is your aim behind your label? What is your motivation?
Our label is basically just a way of sharing things we love with a (hopefully) larger spectrum of like-minded people. We don't really care about money but If anyone want's to invest???? We are all enthusiasts of music at soviet records, and instead of complaining about how crap music is, we help pump out crap so you can complain. I just like to think that I got behind bands I like, regardless of how popular or commercially viable it was.
Do you have any pet hates?
Hate, that's my jam yo! I hate when people read over my shoulder, I hate when my girlfriend cleans up and I can't find the scissors. I hate that modern media dictates standards in creative arts, and how that spurs a lack of originality.I hate everything, I can't lie! Everything is pretty fucked.
Music has shaped a lot of history in the past, what do you think we will be remembered for in our time? or are we another drop in the ocean?
Fuck hey? Another drop in the ocean seems really noble to me!
I think "we" (I'm 30 so I don't know where that lands me in the royal we) will be remembered as the generation who raped and pillaged music on our internet longboats, at least that's what the corporate sector wants us to believe. Obviously, our time will be synonymous with the digital/online revolution that made lazy suits terrified of losing money they never really worked for, which is/was a major turning point in music.
I for one am happy for that factor.
Not so much that great bands can have their music stolen or undervalued, but more so that labels realised artists can promote themselves with moderate success, and that often, major labels bloated campaigns held no merit over a simple, cheap and creatively executed concept!
How do you manage your distribution?
When it comes to physical units, we have branched out to some bigger distro companies and found it pointless, considering the condensed market for our releases and the fee they expect you to pay them to be included in an irrelevant catalog. I see a giant warehouse filled with millions of CD's and ours are at the bottom of the pile.
Mail order is OK, and personally servicing trusted independent stores is good. Poison City helped us a bit and they were good. I used to hate mp3s and whatnot, but now as a label, iTunes and it's online distribution cohorts seem to be our mainstay, and it instantly creates an accessibility worldwide, I like that a lot, and the cost of digital distro is low, which means people can sample new music for a more attractive price, and we get to pay artists and not lose money.
What place does money have in music?
Well, I am a producer/engineer by trade, and I feel what I do is worth some kind of fiduciary trade-off. I think though, music in it's essence is beyond money. Most people love bands/artists for their songs and art, not for the production costs or bullshit aspects that labels or jaded A&R jerk offs want to attach. I have made killer records for next to nothing, and shit records for thousands! I believe that if your first thought is $$$$$ than your artistic direction is somewhat limited, and 9 times out of 10 that seems to be the formula, and the reason I hate most of what I hear. Occasionally you get that 1 time out of 10, where something comes along and defies all odds and concepts, and money can go fuck it'self when passion and originality is driving the bus.
The Australian grindcore 4-piece Beyond Terror Beyond Grace have announced a release date of February the 4th, 2010 for their new album "Our Ashes Built Mountains".
No details as to who will be releasing or distribution the album have yet come to light, but they have a pre-order available at their online store (you can secure a copy for $20 AUD, or a CD and T-Shirt combo for $40, and both come with 2 BTBG stickers).
"Our Ashes Built Mountains" was recorded, mixed and mastered by the incredible Tim Carr of Tim Carr-Theta Laboratories and 301 Studios Sydney, and features artwork by Colin Marks (Strapping Young Lad, Whitechapel, Aborted, Suicide Silence). There is also a long list of guest vocalists, including Jason Peppiatt (Psycroptic), Jarrod Krafcyk (ex-The Amenta/The Riot and the Trauma/Anchored Awake), Alex Pope (Ruins), Anna Vo (Crux), Blake Simpson (Gallows for Grace) and Tim Pope (The Amenta).
As you'd expect, two (heavily-compressed MP3 quality, MySpace-raped) cuts of the new album are listenable on their MySpace page. The amount which MySpace has clearly degraded the sound quality in its compression upsets me. As such I'm not going to make any judgements based on two low-quality MySpace sample tracks, so let me just say I am very curious and excited to see what the guys have come up with.
To support the new album, Beyond Terror Beyond Grace will take off on a 6-date national tour alongside New Zealand death metallers Ulcerate. It looks like Portal are also involved in at least the Sydney date, which is fucking awesome. Unforunately it doesnt look like Perth or Hobart are on that list.
The guys had this to say about the album:
"We are beyond happy with the results, and we feel that to say that this CD is an enormous step up musically, in production, lyrically and conceptually from the last album is a bit of an understatement. We have really made an effort to craft a complete album rather than just throwing a bunch of songs together - there are lyrical concepts, samples, ideas and motifs that thematically link throughout the whole CD. We are very much looking forward to getting it out there. More news soon, including labels, and international shows."
Beyond Terror Beyond Grace - Our Ashes Built Mountains Promo Video
Blue Mountains grinders Beyond Terror Beyond Grace are a band that always likes to keep themselves busy. If they're not supporting international extreme metal acts like Grave or Carcass, they're either relentlessly touring or practicing obsessively at their home studio.
This Sunday, Beyond Terror Beyond Grace head to the studio to record their follow-up to Extinction | Salvation with the awesome Tim Carr (who just completed Hospital the Musical's new album). They promise pictures, updates and some recording footage in the near future.
A split CD featuring Brainwash, Ebolie and Beyond Terror Beyond Grace is currently slated for release through Grindhead Records early May, 2009. On Saturday the 9th of May, Ebolie and Beyond Terror Beyond Grace are playing at The Bald Faced Stag to launch the split CD.
Hospital the Musical have to be one of the most uniquely talented groups of musicians in Australia. I've seen them a handful of times in the last year and have been absolutely floored by their musicianship, diversity and live energy. Really, these guys are one of those bands like The Rivalry that are just heads about the rest. They blend elements of Botch, Converge, Meshuggah and fuck knows what else, but it kills it.
They've been recording a new album (dubbed REDorphan) with the brilliant Tim Carr of Soviet Records and Tim Carr Audio (who Ebolie and Kill A Celebrity both worked with in 2008; and who also mastered Beyond Terror Beyond Grace's Extinction|Salvation). Their recording process sounds immensely fun and experimental; the guys even went to some fucked up grim cave to record some layers that "may or may not be used" in the final product. I can tell you, I'm really, really hanging out for this album and to catch them live again.
Here is the first episode of their REDorphan Studio Sessions featuring Mike (Drums).