Saturday, November 18, 2017

Stellar Strolls And Stompdowns...

Mother Mars - On Lunar Highlands (2017)

Like the rest of Pepper Shaker Records' line-up, we're big fans of Mother Mars here at The Burning Beard, even if their Australian location does preclude us from catching them live.  So it was a jolt and a thrill to hear that the heavy psych group has another album coming up, and we jumped at the chance to give it an early listen.  And while it's been a couple of years since their last full release, the very fine Black Coffee and Good Advice EP (and four years since their last album, Steam Machine Museum), there's no rust to be heard in the quartet's jammy performance as they launch right into a groovy roller with “Wrecker's Reunion Ball”, getting down and turning it out.
And as they ride on, Mother Mars show that they've been brewing up plenty of new tastes for their fans, while staying true to the fuzzy funkiness and bluesy bent (not to mention a strong shot of spaciness) that makes their heaviness so damn enjoyable. Whether cruising along on a steady riff or blowing it up into expanding madness, the band keeps a through-line of deep-toned rock going, balanced with enough exotic elements to help them stand out even more from similar acts. There's chill material, fiery stuff, goofy fun, and serious rock. Whether you're new to the band or a long-time listener, you're gonna have a good time with this album. Don't miss it, you hear?
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Crown Larks, Frozen Planet....1969, JPT Scare Band, Mondo Drag, Weedeater


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ruptures, Spires, And Sky...

Jupiterian - Terraforming (2017)

Jupiterian made quite an impression on us back in 2015 with their first LP, Aphotic, so it's with great delight that I dug into this, their latest album, and found their doom just as potent as before, but with an even more expansive scope to the music and production.   The songs sound big, and not just because most of them are about seven minutes long; resonance, timbre, and reverb combine to rattle your teeth while still coming out of your speakers with deceptive smoothness, while the riffs and roamings come down with all the force of mausoleum doors into rain-soaked earth.
Little touches here and there, like the ringing of distant bells or crashes of muffled thunder, help build a more powerful atmosphere, and give a sense of the band trying to make the album a full experience, something more than just a series of songs.  There's enough fury behind the vocals and lead shreddings to suggest black, death, or sludge influence, but doom pretty handily holds sway over all of it.  From the forceful rhythms to the seeping anguish, Terraforming shows the band with incredible command over their material, high skill at building moods, and a way with building understated melodies that can rear up and swallow you whole.  Goddamn good stuff, don't miss out on this if doom is a musical flavor you even slightly enjoy.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bell Witch, Goya, Heavydeath, Ksyatriya, Nelly Olsen


Saturday, November 04, 2017

Tracking Live Eruptions...

Acid Elephant - Solar Caravan (2017)

It's been a while since we've checked in on Acid Elephant, but in the years since their last studio album, Star Collider, they've continued outputting live material at a fairly steady rate. Solar Caravan is the latest recording to capture the group in their live setting, and over the course of its three tracks, they show that they've been hard at work growing their heavy psych power. Massive riffs, rumbling bass, crashing drums, tight grooves, and enough distortion to make your head swim; they've got them all, with the grit and grime to tar your speakers into suitable earthiness. While all the songs are great, the show-stealer is undoubtedly “Radien”, a ~22-minute burner that smokes its way through a few dozen turns in structure, developing a sinister but still psychedelic haze of resonance and tone. As one big EP, it's a fun trip, and Acid Elephant's continued workshopping of their material should keep fans eager for the next full studio effort to arrive.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bitchcraft, Merlin, Mondo Drag, Salem's Pot, Tons


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Old Waters Run Deep...

Tuna de Tierra - Tuna de Tierra (2017)

For their first full-length album, emerging two years after their debut EP, the Italians of Tuna de Tierra have put together a batch of seven new songs, and their warm desert rock is even more enticing in long form. Strolling through riffs in songs both short (like the tasty intro track “Slow Burn”) and sprawling (the ten-minute-plus “Out of Time”), the band projects an air of casual coolness that doesn't sweat even when ripping into their most heated shredding.
Much of the music focuses on simply building up solid riffs and melodies, fanning out measures of chill noodling and mellow grooving, and in doing so, TdT make some of the friendliest and most natural-sounding music I've heard in quite a while. There's nods to the blues roots of early heavy metal, and to the grunginess of '90s desert rock, but it's blended with their own style in a way that brings out the best of each, and leads to some very strong rocking that doesn't overplay its hand.
As welcoming as the music is, it holds onto powerful writing throughout the album's run, always ready to give it that shade of extra intensity that ramps things up to attack mode. With these seven tracks, Tuna de Tierra amply demonstrate how you don't have to lean on loud bass fuzz to be heavy as Hell.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; early Black Sabbath, Desert Suns, Kyuss, Merlin, Mondo Drag


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Slamming Into Place...

Marmora - Criterion EP (2017)

With this debut EP, the Chicago-based quartet of Marmora introduce themselves to the world in high style, with the three brothers Salazar (Alejandro on bass, Ulysses on drums, and Zaid on guitar) joined by Allen Cardenas on vocals/synth/guitar. Leading with the title track, the music strides out into a rich blend of '70s heavy metal and modern heavy rock, working tasty licks and solid riffs, with bridges that ramp up the energy and quickly kick ass. “Apathy” follows, quickly putting lie to the name by busting out some hard, near-punk raucousness, and barreling along on a drum-bass combo chugger that belts along with building power into a crashing finish. And lastly, “Flowers in Your Garden” twists back into the heavy rock/metal terrain, growling out another beastly riff dabbed up with some bluesy sighs from the guitars, and coming to an end with pizzazz.
As the group's first record, it shows off a lot of strengths, and hardly any weaknesses. Part of that can be chalked up to coming in under a quarter of an hour (angling for a possible 7” release?), but that trimness also means that anyone with an ear for heavy music should be able to squeeze this into their tight schedules and enjoy it. It's also likely to leave listeners eager for more, and (if they're like me) wondering how the group handles their stuff live. For the answer to the last part, readers near Chicago can catch a show on the 4th of November, over at The Drunken Donut in Joliet. See 'em for those who can't, and keep your fingers crossed for more Marmora in the near future.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Fatso Jetson, Funeral Horse, Fuzz Evil, Lords of Beacon House, Mondo Drag


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Composure Flowing Away...

Odradek Room - A Man of Silt (2017)

Coming to us from Ukraine, the group of Odradek Room have readied their sophomore album, and A Man of Silt shows the band delving into a compelling mixture of prog, doom, post-rock, and sludge, with a variety of ways to blend those styles flowing out of every track. Flexing their musical muscles in a range covering slow and melodic introspection up through snarling, dissonant rage, OR continually shift from one blend to the next without making the changes feel anything but natural. The number of instruments they put to use is just as impressive, and like the styles, they're brought together in such an organic way that their diversity can fly right past the ears. The vocals aren't quite as fluid with their changes, both both clean and dirty singing is put to solid effect, with enough time spent in instrumental passages to help smooth their presence.
It's an impressive and ambitious album, and as a sophomore release, all the more staggering for the range OR are able to pull off with few hitches, with a level of depth that issues a siren's call for listeners to return to it again and again. Give it a go if you've been in want of expansive, experimental, and extremely good metal.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Animi Vultus, Bell Witch, Hesperian Death Horse, Indukti, Mamaleek