Contra: Band Photo

Contra Proves There’s No Stopping Midwest Heavy!

~Doomed & Stoned Debuts~

-By Billy Goate-

One look at that album cover and you know these guys definitely mean business. Meet CONTRA, a four-member powerhouse from Cleveland that battles its monsters through slaying stoner riffs and lumbering stomps of doom. Contra is the product of a thriving Midwestern scene that doesn’t often get the attention it deserves. As the heavy underground at large continues growing like weed on steroids in a Brazilian greenhouse, I’ve found it much more interesting to zero in on regional hotspots such as these.

When the decision was made to plant the first ever Doomed & Stoned Festival in Indianapolis, many (many) asked, “Sooo..why Indy?” Well, as fest goers discovered in that pair of November days at 5th Quarter Lounge, the Rust Belt is not shy on talent. Halfway through opening night, Melissa and I knew we’d tapped into something really special. The acts before us weren’t just competent; here were bands with remarkable insight into their medium, crafting their sound with care and their songs with pride.

Contra proves this to be more than just a passing observation on my part. Their brand of doom metal and stoner rock bears the marks of twisted barbed wire and the grease of abandoned factories. If Orange Goblin were to spend a week dining on Ohio sludge and wash it all down with a tall glass of gravel, you’d get something approaching the grittiness and groove of Contra. Just add a side of those delicious, bluesy southern riffs and, by god, you’ve got the feast of champions.

Quick segue. Remember that scene from the documentary ‘Hype!’ (1996), the one where photographer Charles Peterson pulls out a chart showing the complex ties between bands (this band left that one for this, the other folded and reformed as brand new one)? Well, I’ve been fascinated by the same cross-pollination going on in other scenes, too. It’s one way for me to wrap my mind around what’s been brewing in Cleveland and its nearby cousins Akron and Canton.

The Contra sound bears the influence of each member’s unique background, in ways that are both striking and subtle. Guitarist Chris Chiera comes to us by way of Sofa King Killer, drummer Aaron Brittain from Rue, baritone guitarist Adam Horwatt from So Long Albatross, and vocalist Larry Brent (Contra’s most recent addition) has roots in Hatchet Job and area hardcore staples Don Austin, The Unholy Three, and Splinter. If you enjoy following rabbit trails, take some time weekend to track down each of these bands (and the bands related to them). At the end of the trek, you just might pick up on some of the trace elements in Contra’s secret sauce.

After a robust year of 2016 releases, I honestly did not expect to be impressed by 2017; yet, I have been – over and over again. You can now add Contra’s Deny Everything to the list. If you picked up on a fascination with sci-fi/horror from that stunning album art, take a peek at the song titles. Contra relishes in the bizarre, but not, it seems, merely for effect. Tracks like “Altered Beast,” “Human Buzzsaw,” and “The Gorgon” are presented from the perspective of the people – or sub-human creatures – trapped in their own strange, tormented realities. (“I’ve spent too much time hiding in the corners/Living in the dark, consumed by my disease.”)

Today, Doomed & Stoned presents “Snake Goat,” one of my personal favorites from Contra’s forthcoming full-length, 'Deny Everything’ (2017) – out July 1st on Robustfellow Productions and Shifty Records. The band’s debut album was recorded in Cleveland at Bad Back Studios and mastered at Cauliflower Audio. After you’ve enjoyed this exclusive track debut, you can check out three more songs from the ten-tracker and pre-order the record here.

Link to Doomed And Stoned

Teeth of the Divine reviews Contra: Deny Everything

Ceveland’s finest purveyors of the riff, Contra, busted my nose up with brass knuckles in the form of 2015’s Son of Beast EP. A storm n’ swell of throttling blues riffs and homing missile rhythms, the instrumental trio comprising members of some of my favorite Ohio heavies were off to a greater than excellent start. Since that time they’ve added blown-lung vocalist Larry Bent from scrappy hardcore unit Don Austin and the result is their forthcoming vinyl LP Deny Everything. A few tracks are up as a preview on Bandcamp, but this lucky son of a fuck was given the opportunity to review the whole damn thing early. Fans of paint peeling, carpet staining, doom-y sludge blues are going to want to have this one on their radar for 2017.

It’s clear that Bent isn’t around to do good deeds and pretty things up on opener “Human Buzzsaw” where his rabies bitten, hardcore bark lends a new set of warts to the band’s infectious yet ugly sound. Chris Chiera’s signature riffs are in full-effect; Sabbath via ZZ-Top grooves welded to the thickness of Cavity, Eyehategod and Chiera’s own stellar work in Sofa King Killer. Chris is that perfect split of tone, swing and skill in terms of his guitarwork and his style always sticks out in a crowd. Brain-scrambling leads eventually culminate in a forest fire solo while Adam Horwatt’s bass maintains a stalker’s presence on a playground and Aaron Brittain hammers the skins with bone-dry snare whiplash (his usual mixture of hard-edged filling and pocket beats driving this beast onward through the swamps). The upbeat attack eventually breaks every axle on a mongering doom crawl which congeals seamlessly into the mangy molasses muck of “Snake Goat,” a returning title defender from the Son of Beast EP. Larry’s voice is sandblasted into oblivion with a raw meat scream equal parts throaty midrange and scratchy violence. He’s exactly what this song calls for in the vocal department and I’m glad Contra went for a dirty, ballsy singing approach instead of a straight crooner. It works without a hitch and gives added weight to this track’s maximum density, primordial ooze sludge that slithers at a raunchy mid-tempo that’ll be familiar to fans of Dopesick and Master of Brutality. I give extra props for the post-midsection’s channel changing, left-to-right panning guitar riffs throwing a call n’ response party with Aaron’s increasingly harrowing drumming. This is a future sludge classic right here but the limber rhythms and dynamic 70s soulfulness refines “Snake Goat” with more vintage boogie-woogie even though the tones and towering vocal roars make God look like a 2 lb pipsqueak.

“Altered Beast” is another newbie, comin’ at you like Karma to Burn on a moonshine bender. Plenty of cowbell peppers the busy, fill-plastered backbeat as Chiera’s riffage chews trees and drinks lakes for breakfast. Horwatt keeps things fluid and flowing with an overload of sinkhole bass lines which provide a canvas for Chris to paint on in brushstrokes of megaton blues riffs, dueling leads and solos. I’m pretty sure Adam plays guitar on a few of these tracks as well, so he might be involved in the Gorham/Robertson molded mania unfolding here. Either way there’s no downtime to be found in this pulverizing instrumental assault. Brittain sets the tone on “The Gorgon” with a cutthroat polyrhythm; a frenzied workout of lockstep tom/snare bulrushes the eardrums and beats you laugh happy while your eyes catch a riff billowing up in the distance. A lecherous groove milks a hooker’s tit and her street smarts for a punk rock curmudgeon full of wooly wah-solos, white-washed NYC noise guitar and bulldozing power chords. The aggressiveness of this jam further enforces the fact that Larry Bent was THE man to wrangle the mic that Contra needed. A revisited “Humanoid Therapy” benefits from squalid vocal squalor poured with pissed-off gusto over a hook-infested bluesy riff wallop that gets devoured by the rot-toothed mouth of doom…taking a page outta the Grief/Noothgrush tempo playbook in terms of sparse, agonizing sloth.

To my memory “Son of Beast” didn’t appear on its namesake EP but here it rears its venomous fangs to the ill will of man. Crippled n’ crusty like a walker wielding great grandfather overloaded on liquor, the bluesy riffs are hobbled to fit the spine curvature of 16, Crowbar and Cruevo…hardcore, strychnine swilling sludge is the name of the game and the players are more than up to the task of giving it the authenticity which I find to be the calling card of the style’s best bands. Aaron’s swooping snare fills yield this shambling nightmare tons of movement and a slinky liveliness while Chiera’s riffs change on a dime from stuttering, stop/start Sabbath grooves to heady hardcore sent through a filthy sludge filtration system. Bent’s Marlboro cooked voice sends “Bottom Feeder” spiraling into the abyss alongside the Red Baron’s victims; sharpshooter riffs and demonically possessed rhythms intertwining in a breathtaking mesh of grit and groove that keeps its audience in the crosshairs ducking for cover. It was one of my favorites off of Son of Beast and now feels fully fleshed. “100 Hand Slap” is also back from the grave and they decided to keep this southern-fried stomper instrumental. With a band this airtight in every area, there are no complaints to be had and the tune had me fondly recalling how Sofa King Killer’s mighty Midnight Magic took a smooth, wordless breather from time to time by throwing the blues on electric overdrive.

Deny Everything closes with fresh material. “Dr. Goldfoot’s” introductory blues-rock riff is severed with a piercing screech of feedback before dreg combing sludge and detuned, staccato hardcore tear your brainstem in half. The licks n’ solos are hotter than Hell and the doubled-up leads again reek of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden drowning in a fetid Louisiana marsh. At 7:41 in length, closer “Shrimp Cocktail” is easily the album’s heaviest offering. With a mid-tempo riff repeating like an acid mantra, HUGE rotten sludge breaks bolstered by palm-muted sleaze and droning wah, drop out on life solos, some of Brittain’s most dogged and sloth-y timekeeping, putrid low-end and a blood-drooling spray of spiteful screaming there is no doubt sludge purists will be pleased. It’s a massive display of tonnage all around and one the band wisely decided to place at the album’s end.

There is no bullshit on Deny Everything’s 10 tracks of diseased disaster. The balance between groove and grime is masterfully handled by a quartet who couldn’t be better suited to play together. This record is nasty and gnarly enough to be lapped up by sludge fans who are sworn to the genre’s fuck you coda but with an open, arid approach to blues and classic rock n’ roll that’s associated with the stoner rock n’ rollers that stick by the 70s style. It’s a deranged blending of the two that hits right between the eyes, creating a very complete listen devoid of fluff and filler.

Link to Teeth Of The Divine

Back to Reviews

Supercorrupter reviews Contra: Deny Everything

Full disclosure, Contra are our buds and they recorded this slab of thunder at the same studio where we’ve laid down our deput EP (Bad Back Studios, Cleveland OH). Some of the tunes on this album were previously recorded and released on an earlier, instrumental demo that Contra put out earlier last year. With the addition of Larry Gargus (Don Austin, Hatchet Job, etc.) on vocals, Contra went back into the studio to record their catalog as it stands today. Three of the four demos were re-recorded with vocals while the other was left as an instrumental. Long story longer, this album features some songs that are new, some songs that were old but are now new again (with vocals), and an older song that was given fresh new life with a killer new recording.

Gargus sounds like he hasn’t before; a deeper bellow guides these songs and he sounds pissed – I’m hearing something like the cross of early-Clutch Neil Fallon and the better moments of Iron Lung from Scissorfight. Contra has an interesting line-up, with Chris Chiera (Sofa King Killer, Abdullah, etc.) on lead guitar and Adam Horwatt (The Slow Blade, So Long Albatross) on a reduced-string count rhythm guitar that’s passed through a poly octave generator into some killer bass amps. This album might also feature an actual bass track, it’s tough to say, because the low end is thick and meaty. Chiera’s leads are dumped all over the place and the drums of Aaron Brittain (Fistula, Unclean, etc.) are heavy and bring the thunderous, molasses-thick grooves.

Check it out when you get the chance! – Jason

Human Buzzsaw – This one hits hard behind a Leslie West style riff and a great feedback intro, plus more guitar leads than you can shake a stick at. It sounds pretty huge. Brittain’s drums sound gigantic, the kick drum easily cutting through the din and firmly establishing the groove. The chorus is reminding me of a heavier Clutch tune, and I like the slow-down starting around 2 and half minutes in.

Snake Goat – This track was included on the Son Of Beast EP as an instrumental, but is presented here with vocals. Gargus’ screaming is beefy, and the hook is pretty catchy even if I can’t quite tell what he’s yelling at me. Again, this feels like authentic 1970s riffage, with great tones and thick grooves. This is a slick tune with plenty of heavy and head-bobbing to make me happy. …and check out the sweet Fu Manchu-esque riff they dish out in the last half of the song. Ah yeah!

Altered Beast – I can’t get Mountain and Fu Manchu out of my head. This instrumental rides a great number of killer riffs with efficiency, moving along nicely for the entire 3 minutes and 19 seconds, thanks in large part to tasteful guitar leads dropped in throughout the tune. It’s a fun, thick, slab or rock and roll.

The Gorgon – This one is a brute, getting out of the gate with a pounding drum intro before the band comes with a driving, twisting riff. Again, a bunch of sweet riffs to be heard here, and the song is a ripper. It’s under 2 and half minutes long, so it leaves me wanting more. Thumbs way up. In a way, it reminds me of Red Fang. C’mon guys, where’s the hilarious music video for this one to get you viral exposure?!

Humanoid Therapy – Another track from the Son Of Beast EP given vocals and a second lease on life. I like how the faster, twisting riffs are pierced by the slower verses, and then the super-slow down a minute in where the band starts slogging through sludge-metal territory. The track covers a lot of ground over 6 minutes. The super-slow riff is so heavy. Love it. The all out guitar-waterfall near the end makes the song get more and more full-sounding. Nice.

Son Of Beast – Another, dirty bit of super-heaviness; the verse riff is a real monster. My neck and foot are both slamming in unison. The vocals have a real chaotic feel to them at times during the verse, and I’m digging it. So tough! Gargus’s voice takes on a strange timbre near the end of this one that is nothing like anything I’ve heard him do before, so that’s cool. Thumbs way up on this one, as well.

Bottom Feeder – I remembered this one from the Son of Beast EP, but again, this time it’s got the added benefit of fresh vocals on top. The chorus is strangely poppy in the context of the heavy, relentless chugging of the verses. Good stuff! The bounce of the main riff is cool.

One Hundred Hand Slap – Another redux from the Son Of Beast EP. This tune is still instrumental and still a funky jam, launching out of a cascade of guitar feedback. This is essentially a foundation for Chiera to solo over. This one feels a lot like Karma To Burn, and not just because it’s instrumental riff rock. The vibe, the phrasing, it just brings to mind my favorite WV rockers.

Dr. Goldfoot – Woah, another set of killer riffs makes up this tune and my foot is pounding away. The slowdown near 3 minutes is awesome. More leads ensue and my neck is getting sore from all this head bobbing. Another A+ track. Rocker.

Shrimp Cocktail – The longest track on the album, Shrimp Cocktail opens with a slow, meaty riff and a vocal berating. Heavy. Large swaths of the song are left to Chiera’s lead and trusty wah pedal, while the rest of the band riffs away on a killer groove.

Link to Supercorrupter

Hellbound reviews Contra: Deny Everything

When I get something from a band I’ve never heard of, I usually give it two or three songs to grab me. In this case, Contra grabbed me right away, reminding me of now-defunct local outfit AF Analog (who have since given way to the excellent Warsnake). Like the AF Analog dudes, the guys in Contra played in a buncha hardcore bands in their younger days—likely not any names you’d know if you weren’t from around Cleveland—and in their slightly older age, have slowed things down somewhat, setting the dial to mid-paced tough-guy sludge. If you were to take Crowbar and Clutch’s respective self-titled records and throw ‘em in the ring together, the end result would sound a little something like this.

Deny Everything gets off to a jagged start with “Human Buzzsaw” displaying some classic Maryland-style doom riffage, dropping down to a slow, heavy crawl toward the end. Vocals are deep, hoarse and rumbling, sounding almost exactly like the guy from AF Analog. “Snake Goat” has another great sludge/doom riff that reminds me of NOLA’s underrated Suplecs, while the more up-tempo “Altered Beast” comes off as a cross between Clutch and The Obsessed. This one even has a cowbell!

The six-minute “Humanoid Therapy” takes things down to super-slow-mo sludge/doom territory (think Noothgrush), albeit not without a couple time changes. After a few solid slices of mostly mid-tempo fare, “Dr. Goldfoot” brings the riffs in low ‘n slow in a way that would make Weinstein proud. The eight-minute “Shrimp Cocktail” is a dish best served cold, with a whole buncha heavy breakdowns. Trust me, you’ll want a second helping...

Link to Hellbound

Outlaws of the Sun reviews Contra: Deny Everything

Contra are a Sludge/Stoner Metal band who create heavy slabs of Punk Rock infused carnage with a dash of classic Rock and Roll. Their debut album – Deny Everything - promises one wild ride of heavy riffs. Contra isn’t playing anything new but they do have a talent for writing highly infections Sludge/Stoner Rock anthems with a sly playful attitude.

The vocals are what you expect from an album such as this. Not too polished but not sloppy either. They have the right amount of hard-rocking vibes with a subtle style of their own. The lyrics could have done with more work but that shouldn’t stop you enjoying this record as it includes ten superb songs to fully enjoy time and time again.

Contra has delivered an album that is built on riffs and BOY do they deliver with conviction. The songs all follow the same structure, heavy sludge/stoner riffs built around a hardcore punk groove with intense vocals. From the opening moments of first track – Human Buzzsaw – Contra create riffs with a NOLA vibe running through out and the songs that follow the opening track carry on the same style of heavy fast paced atmosphere.

Contra slow things right down on the excellent fifth track – Humanoid Therapy – which has a cool Thin Lizzy vibe running through out. It’s perhaps where Contra impress the most on the album as it allows them to show off their musical skills with both vocals and instrumental work.

From this point forward, Contra carry on the same style of heavy sludge/stoner rock with other great songs to check out such as Son Of Beast, One Hundred Hard Slap, Dr Goldfoot and the excellent final track – Shrimp Cocktail. All in all, Contra have delivered a superb and exciting debut album. Check it out as Contra are definitely worth your time. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Contra for the promo. Deny Everything will be released later this year. Details will be announced at a later date. Though it will be well worth the wait.

Link to Outlaws Of The Sun

The Obelisk reviews Contra: Deny Everything

If their moniker doesn’t have you immediately running through the most legendary of cheat codes, congratulations on being born after 1990. Cleveland burl-sludge metallers Contra make their full-length debut on respected purveyor Robustfellow with the 10-track/41-minute Deny Everything, and if it sounds like they have their shit together – at least sound-wise – it should make sense given the pedigree of drummer Aaron Brittain (ex-Rue), bassist/guitarist Adam Horwatt (So Long Albatross), guitarist Chris Chiera (ex-Sofa King Killer) and vocalist Larry Bent (ex-Don Austin). Be it established that songs like “Snake Goat” and “Son of Beast” are nobody’s first time at the sludge rodeo. Fair enough. Doesn’t mean Contra don’t establish their own personality in the overarching fuckall and total lack of pretense throughout Deny Everything – hell, seven-minute closer “Shrimp Cocktail” proves that on its own – just that that personality has roots. What Contra wants to do with them still kind of seems up in the air, but something about these tracks makes me think the band likes it that way. See the aforementioned “fuckall.”

Link to The Obelisk

Battlehelm reviews Contra: Deny Everything

A long and intricate band name can be cool but is most often just a pain in the butt to remember. Like the Japanese grindcore band Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation. The name is cool as fuck but try to remember it. It ain’t that easy. CONTRA on the other hand is short and to the point. It is easy to remember. Robust Fellow is a label that I have only recently discovered but the stuff I have heard has all been top notch. CONTRA are no exceptions. This is stoner rock with a punky edge. Not the usually laid back, take the day as it comes kinda stuff you come to expect from stoner. This is cool in its fuzzed out way. Along with Twin Earth, Robust Fellow has become my go to labels for some the cool stuff. Anders Ekdahl

Link to Battlehelm

Contra/Deny Everything/Robustfellow Productions/Shifty Records/2017 CD Review

Contra are a band f rom Cleveland, Ohio that plays a mixture of stoner, sludge and doom metal and this is a review of their 2017 album "Deny Everything" which was released as a joint effort between Robustfellow Productions and Shifty Records.

Distorted amp sounds start off the album along with some heavy and melodic retro metal style riffing and the solos andleads also add in a touch of blues and stoner rock while the vocals are done in an aggressive hardcore and sludge mixture style and a great amount of doom metal elements can be heard.

While the music does have a lot of old school influences it still sounds very modern at the same time while the riffs and leads also utilize a decent amount of melody anda couple of tracksare all instrumental anda couple of the songs are very long and epic in length and all of themusic stick to either a slow or mid paced direction.

Contra plays a musical style that takes 70's blues rock and proto metal and mixes it in with the heaviness of modern stoner, sludge and doom metal and mixes them together to create a sound of their own, the production sounds very professional while the lyrics cover dark and mythological themes.

In my opinion Contra are a very great sounding mixture of stoner, sludge and doom metal and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Human Buzzsaw" "The Gorgon" "Son Of Beast" and "Shrimp Cocktail". 8 out of 10.

Link to Dark Underground

New review in English from Franconia Metallum

On "Deny Everything" are ten compositions of pure melancholy and passion. They create impressions that hover somewhere between icy coldness and sensual melancholy . With a lot of pressure, melodic arches full of beauty, hypnotic doom riffs, you can captivate the listener and keep a constant tension throughout the entire album . The songs gain additional expressive power and variety through the vocals presented by Larry Brent in a quite diverse form. On this album you will find many metallic eruptions that emanate a lot of power and anger, but also always calm moments. A work full of contrasts, yet it embodies the perfect harmony of harshness and melody, of beauty and darkness. Already the following opener "Human Buzzsaw" strikes completely different strings and groovt with its catchy Chorus almost impertinently horny from the boxes. Very similar are also "Altered Beast" and "Bottomfeeder". The first tracks show doubtless that CONTRA know exactly how to combine hardness, groove and catchiness, so that archtighte killer come out. But even the faster songs do not just share, but show through more relaxing, quiet breaks that there is more in them than the furious ax in the forest. In addition to such demolition bulbs, which are found on the album, Give the thoughtful, doomy tracks a special depth. These differences are what Deny Everything owes its charm, and which ensure that the disc is still able to capture and surprise even after the xth run. Carry on! Super thing, buy!

Link to Franconia Metallum

Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

On July 1st 2017 Robustfellow Productions/Shifty Records will release the debut album, Deny Everything, from the video-game inspired sludge/doom metal band, Contra.

With tracks like Altered Beast & One Hundred Hand Slap, the influences are clear to see but Deny Everything has much more then clever references going on. Mixing the doomy vibe of early Black Sabbath with the harder & rougher vocal style of the likes of Crowbar. Deny Everything is 10 tracks of crushing & brilliant sludge metal.

Riff heavy tracks like Human Buzzsaw, Snake Goat & Altered Beast really get the blood pumping. As well as being very heavy tracks they have great hooks & rhythm. It’s appealing stuff, drawing you in & sucking you down, like a swamp.

Perhaps the best track on the album though is the slow & moody beat of Humanoid Therapy. It’s dark & dripping with atmosphere. The increase in pace & high guitar riffing near the end really finishes it off in style. A fantastic song & one that shows off the talent within Contra.

There’s little to complain about here. It’s banging song after banging song. Son of Beast, Bottom Feeder, One Hundred Hand Slap, Dr Goldfoot…all filled with hard & heavy riffs. Drenched in a doom & sludge vibe.

The excellent, Deny Everything ends on the lengthy & moody beat of Shrimp Cocktail. It’s one final flurry of furious sounding doom, dark & extremely heavy. It’s such a satisfying finish to an album that is filled with satisfying tracks.

Link to Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

Ramzine reviews: "Deny Everything" by CONTRA

Ohio-spawned Contra are a sludge-drenched doom four-piece who pack a groove-fuelled punch and, with the release of their new album, have proven they are hefty contenders within their field not to be messed with. Contra originally started life as a three-piece instrumental outfit comprising of guitarist Chris Chiera (Sofa King Killer), drummer Aaron Brittain (Rue), and Adam Horwatt (So Long Albatross) on a 4-string baritone guitar instead of having a traditional bass player. This incarnation of the band released their debut EP Son Of A Beast as an instrumental EP before enlisting the powerful lungs of vocalist Larry Brent, adding vocals to previously-penned songs and writing new material for this debut album Deny Everything, which is released on July 1st on Robustfellow Productions/Shifty Records.

"Human Buzzsaw" is the opening track, and gets off to a no-nonsense start, kicking straight in with 70s-vibe hard rock riffage. Chiera wastes no time in delivering wailing guitar leads which in places are reminiscent of modern-day anthems by scene greats such as the late Hang The Bastard, and Brent's vocals add a bellowing, gravelly, undeniable Brian Fallon likeness to what is a pounding opening track. There's naturally going to be a comparison to Bongcouldron by the British stoner fan club, and hell, that's no bad thing. The album's namesake is derived from a line in this track which is thumping and groovy for the most part, slowing down in the final throws until it's a thick swamp of sludge for the closing 30 seconds. Pursuing the battering ram of the opening track is "Snake Goat; perhaps a slightly cliche title for a doom track, but this guaranteed hit has earned the right to bare that title. It's a groove-laden sludge smash hit, with powerful riffs you can"t help but nod your head to. Brittain drives this encumbered force while Chiera's sleek guitar hooks give the track some air guitar-ring material, and there"s a saucy breakdown just crying out for some air-punch hand gesturing.

"Altered Beast" has remained an instrumental and is a serious foot-tapper, boasting groovy riffs and even featuring a fitting appearance from a cowbell, a track that clearly didn't need much tampering with since the original EP. The track ebbs and flows through a few different riff ideas and the main hook is excellent. Chiera finds ample opportunities to solo over the varying riffs that drive this chugging tune, which changes its feel at the midway point; once Brittain switches to the ride symbol the track consequently could be mistaken for the outro to an epic. But before you get too comfortable, that first riff rolls back around and carries you to the end of a monumental track.

"One Hundred Hand Slap" is another potential single. Within the first ten seconds you're hailing the riff. It's slick and simultaneously meaty. The rest of the album continues handing out the heavy, dealing polished, monolithic riffage, before coming to the monumental closer "Shrimp Cocktail": mighty guitar and thumping breakdowns trudging relentlessly for eight sinister anticipatory minutes. The pinnacle of this track is the stoner middle portion. A steady repetitive riff drives the section with an imperturbable persistent rhythm section hammering the snare, characteristic of the heavy stoner sound. Vocals return, Chiera sprinkles the odd solo, and the band gradually returns us from the desert to the swamp.

When you've got an album cover as bad ass as two muscular gorillas fighting mythical sea monsters and werewolves with guns, you need the soundtrack to match, and Deny Everything certainly delivers. You might not have heard of Contra, but one listen to this album of stoned doom dripping in sludge, and it's clear they're ready to take a rightful place beside other acclaimed contributors of the current scene.

Link to Ramzine