Sunday 5 February 2017

***SHAHMAN exclusive video interview and WEATHER LORE show***

Part 1 - SHAHMAN band review + interview
GenresPunk / Rock / Post-Rock / Post-Hardcore / Post-Metal / Doom / Ambient / Noise / Grunge / Experimental / Prog
Related artistsFond.
CountryToronto/Ottawa, Ontario CANADA
Years Active2011-present
Song: "Bruyere"
Album: "Fragments of a Distant Light"
Year: 2016
For fans ofHum, Roy, Nirvana, Jesu, Old Man Gloom, Pelican, Worst Gift, Time In Malta, Queens Of The Stone Age, Primus, Said Goner, Sonic Youth, Black Mountain, Pile, Hiera, Radiohead, Slow Mass, Tool, Small Brown Bike, New Wings, and The Mark Inside.
Label(s): Self Released / Art of the Uncarved Block / Revolution Winter / Dismal Niche
This post's artist is from the January 2017 Mix. This is track #12.
You can download: the January 2017 Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2017 Mix#2 here.

You want eclectic? Jesus h christ what other band can sound like Nirvana and then Old Man Gloom? Or Radiohead and then Small Brown Bike? SHAHMAN is your only bet, the 2011 Ottawa based guitar+vox/drums duo who also happen to be twins moved to Toronto in 2013. Their ridiculous blending of numerous genres give them a sound all their own. At their roots, the brothers have concocted a mixture of venom and violence balanced with noisy ambiance. However, partially in 2013 and fully in 2014 the sound shifted to an ambient indie rock approach with swells of post-hardcore/post-metal. With the conclusion of 2016 SHAHMAN released their most recent and cohesive venture, 'Fragments of a Distant Light' with a cassette release show on September 23rd that I was lucky enough to attend/play and I reviewed here.

The band's early material is much denser, brooding, loud and aggressive. The two 7"s released in 2011 and 2012 both showcased this early approach of sludgy and ambient post-hardcore, generally with a Time In Malta and The Catalyst feel to the vocals. Their debut 'Shahman' is mash of stuff that works but doesn't feel the most cohesive. That being said, "Homemade maps" is a beautiful and tranquil song that fully utilizes the soft/hard approach and "In feeling nothing" houses The Exploration style dreamy riffs that quickly descend into dark, Small Brown Bike driven hardcore. The second 7", 'Bored', follows the same trajectory in that it plays with atmospheric rock and grimey, screamy post-hardcore, but hits the two extremes in a more blatant fashion. These three songs are also recorded weird, as the track sound muffled. Regardless, The Catalyst-styled raging hardcore can be found on "What if everyone is wrong-Strange Love", "Pink" has a very interesting, awkward but fantastic intro followed by a heavier finale and "Ugly everywhere" encapsulates everything they do on this EP.

Sometime in 2012-2013 SHAHMAN began shifting away from the overly noisy and destructive arrangements in favour of chill vibes, as 'Sounds That Look Like Us' does continue their take on punk, hardcore and post-metal but injects much more space and melody that can remind me a lot of Primus and Tool at certain junctures. Opener "Public Strain" brings Primus to mind for the first minute, while "Spectator of your presence" also begins and ends like Primus but has a midsection much like Time In Malta. "Why have I set out to demean these things, these so called 'simple' pleasures?" is so The Catalyst and jarring that it might be my favourite SHAHMAN track, so be sure to check out a live video of them playing it right here. "Fur" is another unbalanced but amazing track.

In 2014 the band chilled out even harder. The songs on 'Demise of a Body' are epic and climactic but rarely reach metal or screaming levels. The LP was recorded as one long take so it is a split up into a 6-minute opening and then the 25-minute (i-vi) track. This is the record that showed a much further departure from screaming and heaviness, and is based on the death of their mother which may or may not explain much of said shift. With this collection of the songs SHAHMAN was entering new territory and really growing into themselves although they hadn't quite rounded the edges. I personally find that there are numerous patches of unnecessarily and lengthy tangents that dissolve my attention span, but overall the album is excellent. "act ii" sounds like Nine Inch Nails's "Hurt" with the subtle crooning and somber mood while the most engaging song follows with "act iii", even with that ambient and tribal torso that makes the song eclipse the 7-minute mark...I think, as I cut the 25-minute song into six tracks for this review and might have the timings wrong.

I generally like bands' heavy and screamy music over their melodic stuff, for two reasons. First, I like screamy stuff. Second, I'm very picky when it comes to music with straight-up singing. Luckily, SHAHMAN kills it, especially on the new album 'Fragments of a Distant Light', with Peter's soaring vocals complimenting the head -bobbing guitars and (what I label as) tribal drums. I also love how the songs never overstay their welcome, as this style of music tends to breed unnecessary tangents and SHAHMAN cap most songs before the three-minute mark. Notable songs include "Before the sun rose, she would strike a chord" (with its sitar-sounding riffs and soft, comforting crooning ), "As I sit my roots begin to deepen" (boasts a sick instrumental groove just before the one-minute mark and some very Chris Levoire sounding singing), "Bruyere" (has the heaviest and most epic sound, with crashing drums and a seething, pulsating wall of guitar) and the heart-wrenching final recording of "Come to me in everything" (formerly titled "Park"). Also worth nothing is "Stained skin, cast into leaves", the post-hardcore equivalent of the Conan: The Barbarian song when Arnold is in James Earl Jones' snake palace. This entire album is breathtaking, ambient, organic and feels like it stems from nature. There are strong resemblances to the The Mark Inside and Worst Gift but in a much more experimental and eclectic sense.

In the video interview I did with SHAHMAN on November 30th, 2016 the brothers indicated that the band would be shedding its skin and adopting a new moniker as well as sound. I have no idea what 2017 will bring for SHAHMAN but as long as they gimme something I'll be pretty goddamned stoked.


2011 - Shahman 7"EP (stream/download here)

2012 - Bored 7"EP (stream/download here)

2013 - Sounds That Look Like Us 12"LP (stream/buy here) [buy 12" here]

2014 - Demise of a Body cassette/12"LP (stream/buy here) [buy 12" here]

2016 - Fragments of a Distant Light cassetteLP (stream/buy here) [buy tape here]
2016 - Family Force 4 split  (w/Nouveau, Radradriot and Davega Bike) cassetteLP  (stream/donate/download here) [buy tape here]


(2016) SHAHMAN - OMSB video interview

(2016) SHAHMAN - "Bruyere" (from 'Fragments of a Distant Light')

(2016) SHAHMAN - "As my roots begin to deepen" (from 'Fragments of a Distant Light')

(2016) SHAHMAN - "Come to me in everything" (from 'Fragments of a Distant Light')

(2014) SHAHMAN - "iii" (from 'Demise of a Body')

(2014) SHAHMAN - "ii" (from 'Demise of a Body')

(2013) SHAHMAN - "Why have I set out to demean these things, these so called 'simple' pleasures?" (from 'Sounds That Look Like Us')

(2013) SHAHMAN - "Spectator of your presence" (from 'Sounds That Look Like Us')

(2012) SHAHMAN - "Pink" (from 'Bored')

(2011) SHAHMAN - "In feeling nothing" (from 'Shahman')


SHAHMAN additional links


Part 2 - Concert review

ffo: Reggie And The Full Effect and Alkaline Trio
As per usual my boy Jesse played some cover songs that I hold dear to my heart, such as early/good Alkaline Trio "As You Were" and Osker's "Animal". His solo act involved him singing and playing guitar over bass and drum tracks.
Links to songs: *2* / *3*

ffo: Animal Faces and Worst Gift
With two-thirds of FOND being comprised of the vocalists/stringed instruments from Animal Faces and the drummer from Shahman it's no wonder the band already sounds really fucking awesome. The band told me that they sounded too loud but I think the blown-out sound really suits the blasting, post-hardcore, garage rock and shoegaze blend the mixes seamlessly together.

ffo: Nirvana and Hum
These two brothers have been wowing me with their ever-evolving style of post-hardcore and dreamy, experimental rock music. So much so, in fact, that I asked the twins for a video interview in between sets at Doors and they more than graciously obliged. They played a passionate, engaging and stunning set that makes me feel connected to them whenever I see them live, which is a strange and amazing feeling seldom felt. Rob's drumming is mesmerizing while Pete's ability to play the guitar as a guitar as well as a bass and sing is uncanny. Be sure to check them out and support the label and the band.
Link to song: *2* / *3*
Interview from this show

ffo: Fucking Invincible and Thick Piss
The vicious and unrelenting noise that is WEATHER LORE is astounding. Playing as a three-piece while on tour instead of a quartet due to passport issues, these fellas floored everyone there with the explosion of anger and rage that was almost uncomfortably intense. Vocalist GG took over the guitar duties as well and I would never have guessed that was not the norm. The band violently blazed through their set in a mere 10 minutes, and just like that, the band disintegrated in January of 2017 and is now officially broken up. Very sad in times when we need politically driven and socially conscious bands made up of amazing people.
Links to songs: *2* / *3* / *4* / *5* / *6* / *7*


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