A quick foray into the latest Argonauta Records productions from Arenzano.
The Crotals come from Switzerland and ‘Conjure’ is their third album, released by Argonauta Records.
The band offers stoner doom influenced by indie rock and a great sense of melody that characterises the record, with very distinctive and poetic singing in French and English, which goes well with the abrasive music. The tracks are all very incisive, the band moves to the assault of the listeners with sure effectiveness, thanks also to the twenty years of music that each member can boast, spent in underground bands, and made the most of here.
The Crotals do not miss a step, creating a claustrophobic and powerful atmosphere, with imperious distortions, acceleration and slowdowns that make listening very pleasant and always energetic. The two voices always balance each other very well and the total amalgam is remarkable, giving a distinct impression of solidity and power that is very well controlled and never an end in itself.
Creating a particular atmosphere, even with the use of horns as in ‘Silver Lakes’, is no easy feat, and doing it organically even more so, but The Crotals succeed fully, making their third record an impressive test of means and poetics. An original record for a band that is never obvious or predictable.
The very interesting Irishmen Fraught with their debut “Transfixed on Dying Light” on Argonauta Records revive the British tradition of black-tinged doom sludge, fast rotten and deep. The band is made up of musicians from bands in the Irish extreme music underground, and began their activity in 2019 releasing an ep entitled “MMXIX” under the name Drought, becoming Fraught shortly after to avoid confusion with other bands with the same name. Having overcome the pandemic, the group comes out with another live-recorded ep ‘Splitting tongues’, four tracks that make their musical direction very clear.
The album took them to perform in Ireland with big names in the extreme scene, and so they arrive at this long-distance debut. Their blackened sludge is truly remarkable, a magmatic mixture of roaring, low-pitched guitars, abrasive vocals that break ties with melody and a lot of remarkable ideas. Fraught is a band that aspires to and succeeds in making extreme and interesting music, proposing in an original and incisive manner a genre that we know well, but which when done in this manner is truly a joy to listen to.
It is certainly not music for everyone, but for a niche of extreme heads, convinced that noise is light, or darkness depends on what you want to see.
Just when you think, and you are wrong, that you can no longer surprise yourself with music, here comes something that disproves you, and this something is called Almost Honest and comes from Pennsylvania. Four guys who have been together since 2012 and who, with this third album on Argonauta Records, ‘The Hex of Penn’s Woods’, produce an astounding record of rock, stoner, prog, funk and more, as clear and thirst-quenching as water from a stream in the woods.
The American band puts together an original formula starting with the stoner rock of Clutch and Red Fang and arriving at a very pleasant personal synthesis that will make your head move a lot. Almost Honest are one of those few bands that never make you realise how a song of theirs can unfold, as they have a great variety of solutions and that natural rock pull with melodies and lyrics that stick with you for a long time. Already featured in one of Weedian’s marvellous ‘Trip to Pennsylvania’ collections, they have established themselves as one of the most remarkable bands on the stars and stripes scene and hit the mark perfectly with a video like ‘Amish hex’.
Originally formed as an instrumental song group, Planet Ego are an American band making their debut on Argonauta Records with their self-titled album.
Their music is highly emotional, with many references to many different genres, all with a truly alternative and valid idea of hard rock. It starts off with hard rock and then goes into stoner, doom, and even something typical of heavy metal, even for epicness as in ‘Entertainment’, a very fresh and modern piece that gives a good idea of how the trio wants to do something old in a very modern way.
Planet Ego have the pace of the hard rock band of superior calibre, always varied and never obvious, with a musical palette of many colours that will appeal to listeners and lovers of very different genres. Very important is the sound rendering that Kevin Antreassian managed to give them in the studio, and that is an active part of the enjoyment of this album, with explosive melodies that will work very well live.
A new and at the same time old concept of hard rock very different from the common one for an album that listens very well and enlightens our ears.