Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keep On Burning...

Karma To Burn - V (2011)

Thats right, Karma To Burn are back... It was a pleasant surprise for me too. Given that last years release  Appalachian Incantation kind of went under a lot of people's radars. Although that being said, despite being a great return by the guys it didn't seem to be quite on par with the bands earlier work. Not to take anything away from the album, but following Almost Heathen then a 7 year hiatus I think hopes may have been a little too high. None the less here's album number 5... 5 instrumental tracks, 2 songs and a Black Sabbath cover. 
Those instrumental roots are still well and truly there. They may not be quite at the same pace and fury as those found on Wild, Wonderful Purgatory but they have all re-found that certain punch that was so consistent on the first 3 albums. Even the tracks with vocals have that certain something thats kicked them up a gear despite being a widely different sound to their usual lyric driven songs. The whole album in fact has seemed to have taken off in a slightly different direction to all the previous works. Only very subtly though. Mildly less fuzzy and a little more polished is the most accurate way to describe it. Everything is well paced and its clear the guys haven't lost the ability to write a hell of a riff or two. If you're looking to be whisked back to the early 2000's here you're not going to find it. But take the album as what it is - a progression, and you definitely wont be left unsatisfied. 
Once again Napalm Records have pressed a limited number of the album on a choice of purple or red wax. Head on over and order yours now. I have! 

The guys are also doing the rounds in Europe over the next few months, hitting pretty much every festival in sight, so you've really got no excuse to go and see them if they're in a town near you.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Goatsnake, Alabama Thunder Pussy, Monster Magnet, Cathedral, Doomriders

Website • Myspace • iTunes

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How About A Brazilian?...

Monster Coyote - Stoner To The Boner (2011)

Finally! A cracking stoner outfit from Brazil. Now this is something I've been waiting on for a while.
Ok, Stoner to the Boner is short – just over 20 minutes in fact, but what it lacks in time, it more than makes up for with furious vocals and endless grooves and riffs, culminating in a truly balls-out, stoner-metal experience from the Brazilian trio.
The album itself starts out with the mellowed ‘When I Cross The River’, but quickly kicks in to the highly riff-orientated ‘Troublemaker’. However, you get the feeling with this album that everything is building up to the pinnacle - ‘Devilroad’ – an upbeat, aggressive effort which feel like it’s solely intended to be played whilst going 100mph down a highway.
There are only seven songs on the album, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the style that Monster Coyote utilize. They subsequently do a good job of not sounding repetitive, whilst still keeping the similar sound that you can really immerse yourself in. It may not be groundbreaking stuff, but it simply doesn’t claim to be.
It’s loud. It’s frenetic. It’s aggressive. It’s fun. Oh, and the album title speaks for itself.

~ Jon

For Fans Of; The Sword, Black Cobra, Monster Magnet, Alabama Thunder Pussy, Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Buds, Bongs & Brutal Beats...

Dopefight - Buds (2010)

Ok, ok, I dropped the ball slightly with this one. This was suppose to be one of the first albums I meant to review when I first started the blog but some how it slipped through the cracks. It was only when the track NOB.NOD.NOI came on my iPod while I was driving that my cock up suddenly dawned on me. So apologies there.
Anyway, on with the job in hand. 
I caught these guys live last year purely by fluke and was immediately impressed. I've seen the likes of Eyehategod, Soilent Green and Today Is The Day and Im pretty sure this brutal trio could easily hold there own against them. Needless to say I left that night with a cd, shirt and partial deafness. 
So what exactly are you in for? Well, 'enormous dirty weed laced doom' is really the best way to describe Dopefight. It sums them up to a tee, but Im sure you could probably guessed that by the cover artwork alone. Who says theres no truth in advertising anymore!? 
They have that rare quality shared by all the best stoner doom bands like Grief, Weedeater and Bongripper etc. Something you cant always quite explain, but something you're always aware of. Theres a ton of these kinda bands doing this kind of style all over the world, but very few of them doing it exceptionally well. Its all in the composition. You can down tune everything and crank the volume as much as you want but at the end of the day if you haven't got that underlying groove and epic riff writing skill then it just all falls short. Luckily these guys do have it, and have it in the bucket load. I can see them going far. It would be great if the likes of Southern Lord could spread their tentacles that little a bit further afield and take these fellas on. With the right backing, direction and a little bit of funding I'd put good money on these guys knocking together a genuinely classic stoner album on a par with Holy Mountain or Dope Sick. 
Buds is a blinding bit of DIY work, but if you really want to experience the band you have to see them live. If you're in the UK at the moment, keep an eye out for these guys in a town near you as they're current doing the rounds. Hit up their myspace for details. But in the meantime roll yourself a fat one and enjoy...
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Eyehategod, Buzzoven, Iron Monkey, Kamni, Black Cobra

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Riff Rockers Vinyl Revival...

Valley Of The Sun - New EP (coming 2011)

Right, it may look like I'm late for the party with this one, but this isn't just another review, its a request for help... and you lot only have until the 25th of May to act! Hence why I've put it up prematurely.

The fella's from Valley Of The Sun have been busy as sin in the recording studio laying down the new EP. Luckily for me, they've been kind enough to throw a preview my way and good god its an absolute screamer! But I will get to that in a minute. Right now, the chaps are trying to raise enough funds to get the new release pressed on vinyl. A worthy cause if ever I heard one! Now you lovely people out there have a few choices... $5 - $11 donation will get you a free download of one of the new songs plus a limited edition sticker. $12 - $24 and you will get the afore mentioned plus the vinyl itself. $25 - $34 will get you that lot plus a limited shirt, and $35+ will land you everything plus a limited screen print of the bands very first gig poster. If you're willing to part with more than $35 theres some awesome opportunities to be had. You'd have to be dumb as sin to pass this up! But need more convincing? Well shoot your ass over to their Myspace and have an exclusive listen to track 2 off the new EP, Deep-Light-Burns and prepare to have your socks well and truly knocked off. 
I really cant stress how awesome the new EP is. Ive had it on repeat constantly for the last hour. Right out the gates its oozes more groove than you can shake a stick at. The opening track Hearts Aflame tears forth with some outstanding ferocity that doesn't let up for the entire 6 mins. Everything sounds so tight and the production is second to none. Where as the 2010 EP was a fantastic first outing, the guys have seriously upped the ante on this one. The storming desert rock style riffage backs some cracking vocals which echo of early Eddie Vedder. Everyone's worked their nuts off writing and recording  this one and it really shine through. I only have one gripe with this band... They're too goddamn far away for me to catch live!

So guys, please help out an awesome band and get something epic in return. They were good enough to release their brilliant 2010 EP totally free of charge so c'mon, show some love. Speaking of which, while you're waiting for the new material to be officially released go download their first offering and get a taste of whats to come. If you haven't already that is.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nebula, Pearl Jam, The Sword 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Waxing Lyrical - Vinyl Review...

Arenna - Beats Of Olarizu (2011)

I had written up a different entry for today, just something a bit heavier being as the last few reviews had been quite mellow in the grand scheme of things. But no but 5 minutes ago I was woken by the postman knocking at my door and bless him he came baring gifts not bills. Something I've spent weeks tracking down and waiting for. I had wanted to get this review up a lot earlier, ideally about a day after the album was actually released, but I wanted to hold out and get good vinyl review up for it. 
So here we are, Arenna - grimy stoner space rock quartet from sunny old Spain. Not including their 2007 demo this it the guys first true release and good god they've done it in style. Gorgeous gatefold art work and lovely orange wax. But to be fair what else would you expect from Nasoni Records, the fellas who gave us, Electric Moon, The :Egocentrics, The Machine, Sula Bassana and the mighty Wo Fat. All of which had amazing vinyl renditions of their albums courtesy of this company.
From the outset this album strikes of being mostly ambient and psychedelic, a pure space rock style affair but that would only be half right. All those elements are present sure, but these chaps sure can write a huge doomy riff or two. The opening track Morning Light takes just a matter of seconds to storm into the album with a slow gritty churning guitar noise worthy of being compared to the likes of Sleep or Grief. Its a brave and bold clash of genres that Im sure you happy what ever your prefer style of music. Theres really something there for everyone, so much so that Im desperately trying to whittle down the 'For Fans Of' selections from about 50 to 5. I could easily drop bands like Down, Orange Goblin, Dozer, Sungrazer, Elder, Nebula and Black Pyramid into here. 
Its like The Sword, White Hills and Yawning Man all got together a in a Desert Sessions style outfit and threw down an hours worth of material. A truly blinding debut album from a bunch of extremely talented guys, and when you throw in mixing duties by the sludge messiah Billy Anderson (who's worked with the likes of Eyehategod, Neurosis, Alabama Thunderpussy and Weedeater to name just a few), well something special was always going to be on the cards. 
If you've liked even just one band that I've reviewed on here over the last 5 months or so you must check this album out! 

• Label: Nasoni Records

• Pressing Info: Limited to 500 copies - 100 Translucent Orange / 400 Black

• Price: £18 - £28

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Sleep, Kyuss, Wo Fat, Pelican, Electric Moon

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good Moon Rising...

Electric Moon - Lunatics (2010)

Lets face it, the Germans are damn great at, well... pretty much everything really. Granted they have a pretty unorthodox fascination with David Hasstlehoff, but when it comes to cars, football, audio equipment and most importantly good old psychedelic/prog rock they're pretty hard to beat. But this is just common knowledge right? So when they produce a band that comes up with an album composed of 10 min+ tracks of trippy spaced out jams you're standards are naturally going to be pretty high. Well, not being one to disappoint you, here's Electric Moon.
Now despite not being around for all that long the band almost instantly made a bit of a name for themselves. This being their first full studio album from last year. But for those of you who missed out,I'll bring you up to speed... Think - epic space rock ballads akin to the best bits of early Pink Floyd, a touch of 60's esque composition complete with organ and the occasional dulcet tones of hypnotic vocals. Thats really Electric Moon in a nutshell.
I cant help but feel if there was to be a remake of Live at Pompeii, I honestly couldn't think of a single other band suited to pull it off. From beginning to end the album is as trippy as trippy comes. Everything about it is eerie and haunting, wether its the slow distant guitars or the whispering echoed vocals that blow across each track like wind in the trees. Its all done with pin point precision and timing, much like Red Sparowes but an much more impressive feat given they have half the amount of members and only been around for I think just over a year. These guys are a Pink Floyd for a new generation, modern day stoner prog rock at its very best. 

So if you're looking for some chilled out psychedelic ballads head over to Sulatron Records and pick up this album. While you're there, I strongly suggest you also treat yourself to the latest release Lunatics Revenge which is equally epic. But worry not, if you're a vinyl junkie like me an prefer your tunes on wax Nasoni Records have pressed 500 copies - 400 on black and 100 on purple marble. Unfortunately the latter being sold out. Much to my bitter disappointment. 

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Red Sparowes, Giants, Serpentina Satelite, Samsara Blue Experiment, Pink Floyd 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Quick Trip Down Under...

Aver - Self Titled (2011)

Holy crap I've been itching to get my hands on a full recording by these guys since I haphazardly stumbled upon their myspace page a while back. I had a good listen to what they put up and checked back regularly for info on anything upcoming and god bless them they finally offered up some material for download... Free! I just wish I hadn't committed to other reviews and got this up straight away, as its not been off my iPod since I downloaded it. The last few months have really been a gold mine when its come to free downloads and this has, for me at least, shot straight to the top of the table.
Your introduction to Aver starts with a the track 'Anti-Matter' and it resembles a pretty much spot on taste of whats to come - A slow melodic build up coupled with a soft hypnotic vocals before kicking into overdrive and pounding you with a huge stoner riff. The perfect way to grab your attention and keep you listening. The entire album keeps this up for nigh on 50 mins, pulling you along as it paints a psychedelic picture of floating through space before abruptly rearing up and smacking you repeatedly around the head with massive thumping bass licks, trippy desert rock breaks and screaming vocals then once again sobering out like nothing happened and you've woke from a bad dream. Its stunningly compelling and the epitome of this you'll find with the track 'Acid Rain' which manages to hit the nail squarely on the head and perfectly balance everything thats great about this band. 
Need more convincing? Well, think of the awesome distant vocals of Electric Wizard, the desert rock wizardry of Brant Bjork, spaced out ambiance of Isis and the best crushing grooves from Sleep, now whack that all together with a few cans of Fosters and you've got Aver.

For crying out loud don't let this album pass you by!

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Nebula, Dozer, Sungrazer, Sleep, White Hills

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Space Doom Duo...

The :Egocentrics - Center Of The Cyclone (2011)

Here's a first for the blog, a band from Romania, and if these guys are a testament to what's coming from the place, they won't be the last up here either. But just a heads up, for the best part the album is instrumental. For some reason this bothers some people no end. I can't say I understand why, there's some epic instrumental bands out there - Karma to Burn, Yawning Man and Taiga to name just a few. But each to their own, and anyway I digress. 
Being as I've not reviewed, or to the best of my knowledge, even heard any other bands from Romania I can't really compare them to anyone else from the region. That being said, these guys may not be known particularly well but they're fusing genres and creating material easily on par with the more established bands of a similar ilk such as Pelican or Red Sparowes. Thats not too bad a feat for a band thats only been around for less than half the amount of time and only have two members. Their debut was understandably met with great critical acclaim and they certainly haven't failed stepping it up a gear with this new material. So what can you expect from this Romanian psychedelic duo this time around? Well, nothing less than huge slow cosmic waves of ambient blues mixed with desert rock riffs and the occasional sampling of vocals. A epic soundtrack to an imminent apocalypse - dark, brooding and yet achingly catchy all at the same time. Something that many bands aim for but rarely ever end up hitting the mark with. An album of absolute brilliance from start to finish and one heading straight into my selection of the best of 2011. 

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Pelican, Red Sparowes, Windmills In The Ocean, Domo, Sungrazer

Monday, May 09, 2011

Banned From Brooklyn...

My Uncle The Wolf - Flush (2011)

Strangely the first I heard about this band was from Jimmy Bower himself. Following an Eyehategod gig last year I got chatting to the man over a beer and he told me to check them out. So heeding his advice I scoured out their first self titled album and gave it a listen. I must confess that at first listen nothing initially 'wowed' me, but the more I listened to it the more it grew on me. Awesomely heavy with a really nice mix of huge riffs and mellow ambient jams, it seemed almost unorthodox for Jimmy to be associated with it, given his past projects and ventures. Nonetheless it was a great recommendation and a great debut album. 
Now two years down the line, the guys give us this, their second full length release Flush. Two years may seem like quite a gap, but rest assured they haven't been slacking off. With their first EP coming out last year and this new record totalling 14 tracks, its clear they've been focusing on new material. So what should you expect, same old thing as last time? Well, yes and no. Where some bands often try to progress by cleaning up their sound these fellas have sort of gone in the opposite direction, but don't worry, thats certainly not a bad thing. Just this time round theres more fuzz... A whole lot more fuzz. Everything comes over way more darker, distorted and even slightly creepy. A bit more metal orientated than before, all the thumping build ups and crushing riffs are still there in the bucket load so fear not. If you enjoyed their first offering and would like something a little more sludgy and gritty but equally heavy I cant recommend this album enough.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Stonebride, Helmet, Monobrow, Solace, The Sign Of The Southern Cross  

Friday, May 06, 2011

Waxing Lyrical - Vinyl Review...

Red Fang - Murder The Mountians (2011)

Its always great to hear a band progress and improve with every new recording and Red Fang have done just that. Mind you, I did love their self titled debut. The no bullshit southern style stoner metal was awesome and with the addition of quite possibly the greatest low budget music video of all time for the opening track 'Prehistoric Dog'. But sometimes progression can be somewhat faked, some times bands can try to just get away with wangling a good producer, so with the right tweeks here and there the illusion of a good record can be passed off to the masses. Hell, you only have to look at Metallica in recent years to get the idea. Fortunately thats not the case with these guys. Yeah, someone somewhere has clearly forked out a fair whack for a decent studio and mixer, but it doesn't stop there. You can really tell the band have worked hard on their new material and improving their sound. 
For the most part they have slightly shied away from their original southern groovy style riffs, going for a more somber slower style. But when you listen to the tracks Number Thirteen and Hank Is Dead you can tell they haven't completely lost touch with their roots.
Everything sounds bigger and more layered than before. Almost like the guys have grown up and lost their tongue in cheek side. That may sound like a complaint but its really not. Swaying towards a more metal than stoner side, its a great album from start to finish, but it may not appeal to everyone who loved their first record.

• Label: Relapse Records

• Pressing Info: Limited to 1081 copies - 81 Transparent Maroon, 100 Clear (not availiable to the public), 300 Purple Marble, 300 Green Marble, 300 Black

• Price: £10 - £16

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Doomriders, Mastodon, Red River Revival, My Unkle The Wolf, Elder

Website  Myspace  iTunes

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

It's Whiskey Business...

Winnebago Deal - Plata O Plomo (2003)

Im kicking myself that its taken me nigh on 5 months to get these guys on here. I've got all their stuff, regularly wear one of their shirt and theres even a huge poster of theirs hung above my TV. I've really had no excuse... Shame on me!

Anywho. I first caught this epic duo playing in a dingy little club in my home town. The gig was free, pretty empty and they'd not long been together but from walking in mid song I'd have sworn they'd been at it for years. Frantic drumming and furious guitars coupled with a screaming guy in a Black Flag shirt. I stood at the back with a beer in awe. Once the set was finished I spent the rest of the night chatting and drinking with them. Not too long after I went to see them again, this time in their home town of Oxford and following the show I managed to wangle a shirt and demo cd. It wasn't long after that this, their first release hit the shelves, albeit not to the roaring acclaim I think it deserves. 
A perfect mix of punk and good ol' hard rock. Basically its all the punk ferocity but with classic catchy riffs and gritty vocals. 

Im glad to say the guys have gone from strength to strength. Touring the world and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brant Bjork, Nebula, High on Fire, Queens of the Stone Age and Motorhead. They've even been joined on stage with Nick Olivari. 
You've gotta check these guys out, duo's don't get much more awesome than this.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Mondo Generator, Dukes of Nothing, Nebula, Black Flag, The Desert Sessions, 

Website  Myspace  iTunes