Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Second Coming...

Ufesas - Self Titled LP (2011)

Firstly I should say a massive thank you to the anonymous tip off that I got about this new release from Ufesas.
I loved the self titled EP they released last year when I stuck on here a few months back so needless to say I was pretty excited to hear that more brand new material was up for grabs. Especially as that trying to find info about the band them selves has been about as fruitful as my search for rocking horse shit. None the less, its here so lets just be thankful for that.
So can you expect an extension from the EP of sorts? Well, yes and no. There aren't quite as many driving moments in the same ilk as previous tracks like The Destroyer or Goin' To The Mountain. Those sort of frantic moments have been reigned in a little to give way to a more sombre post rock kind of affair. Everything's taken on a darker, slightly sinister tone that the guys have really made work and captured in they're on way. It's quite a bold move, straying away from such an aggressive well executed pace to something entirely moody and down beat in comparison. The more I listen to it the more I feel that it really sits equidistant between prog and psych - distant and ambient yet equally trippy at the same time. That may sound like a bit of a handful but fear not, it works. Besides the main thing is that you can really hear a real growth from the band. It's clear that it wasn't a spur of the moment decision to alter they're style, it's obviously been heavily worked on and perfected.
If you loved the EP like I did you should really dig this second offering, even if it doesn't initially grab you stick with it and give it a couple of listens... I guarantee it will get you hooked.
I may be way off the mark but I think there maybe a possibility that the album will be coming out on vinyl through german label Droehnhaus. The only reason I'm assuming this is because they were good enough to press the bands two track 7" and on the art work supplied when you actually download this album the labels logo appears in the top corner as well as the tracks being listed as sided A and side B. Lets keep our fingers crossed because I'd love to be chucking this onto my turntable in the near future.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Deepseagreen, Free, The Black Velvets, The Desert Sessions

Friday, October 28, 2011

Retro Esque Stoners (Part 2)...

Orchid - Capricorn (2011)

Now this is a prime example of how to step up your game!
Orchids first EP Through The Devil's Doorway was pretty tight, but this follow up well and truly blows it out of the water. Right from the opening track Eyes Behind The Wall you can clearly hear that the guys have carried on pushing toward that dark 70's sort of sound. Like a bastard child of Sabbath and Judas Priest thats been brought up on Led Zeppelin.

Look, enough of my rambling on though, just go and listen!

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Elf, Iron Maiden, Electric Wizard, Mountain Witch

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Retro Esque Stoners (Part 1)...

Orchid - Through the Devil's Doorway (2010)

Right ladies and gents. Mostly gents I'm guessing actually. But still, shut up and listen. This will be the first of a bit of a two parter, so remember to check back...

While trawling bandcamp this week I stumbled upon these guys listed under 'traditional doom'. I'd seen their artwork before but had never got around to really checking them out. But being the ever the inquisitive fellow I just had to hear what actually constituted 'traditional doom', so I downloaded the first release by this San Franciscan quintet.
Straight out the gates you can hear that Orchid clearly rate Sabbath as one of their main influences. So much so that the opening riff to Into The Sun that just resonates of Symptom Of The Universe to the point where it totally feels like a homage. Nothing wrong with that. Hell, without Sabbath I'm sure half the our favourite bands and this very blog wouldn't exist. So kudos on that front.
As for the rest of the album, well it positively oozes of classic retro rock with smatterings of 80's garage. It's only 4 tracks, but they're all blinding! Check back on Friday for the guys follow up album that they released at the start of the year...

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Graveyard, Black Spiders, Thunder Horse

Monday, October 24, 2011

Drone With Groove...

Le Scimmie - Dromomania (2011)

I'll openly admit I'm not a massive fan of 'drone'. I often feel perplexed and annoyed that I've just spent £20+ for an album that consists of little more that fuzz and feedback. Yeah I dig a lot of Sunn O))), Jesu and the Boris stuff but its not really my 'go to' choice. Still, when I put this EP on my heart initially sank. The fuzz and ambiance made me feel like I was about to torment myself with mindless noise for god knows how long.
I was wrong.
Yeah the EP opens with a mellow tone and spaced out feel, but as soon as that passes the super down tuned space sludge begins. Like an early Crowbar sans Kirk Windstein, the riffs roll over and over in a nothing short of crushing way. They're the kind of tunes that you stereotypically expect from angry looking men with beards and tattoos. Which is kind of weird as Angelo (guitar) or Mario (drums) really fit into neither category. Looking more like a hipster Black Keys than a trippy ambient doom outfit. But appearances can be, and sure are in this case, deceiving. Besides thats doesn't matter in the slightest. It's all about the final product not image. That being said you really must also check out the video for the album's title track... It's creepy, weird and perfectly fitting. Like an odd 4 minute art house doom kinda project. To be honest you don't really even need the music playing to appreciate it. So strange, yet totally apt.

All in all it's a short but sweet affair, as the EP is spread over 4 tracks and lasts a total of about 12 minutes. But its 12 minutes well worth a listen. For a physical copy and one of their great looking shirts head over to their merch page.
I'll hopefully be bringing more from these guys to you soon, so watch this space.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Sunn O))), Eyehategod, Crowbar, Karma To Burn, Old Man Gloom

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Son Of A...

Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster - IV (2011)

Unarguably one of the quintessential southern rock bands of the last few years, Maylene carved their way out of a sort of niche that some people who'd heard Underoath kind of placed them in. How exactly did they do that? Well, dirty groove filled deep south style riffs is the answer to that question. Now I love Maylene but the one thing that kind of gets to me about them is exactly the same thing that goes for Foo Fighters and The Subways. They just don't do 'heavy' enough. Don't get me wrong, all of those bands can do 'heavy', but thats just my point, they can do it, and when they do they do it epicly! Hell, just listen to tracks like Young For Eternity or the opening riff of Girls & Boys by The Subways. The Pretender by the Foo's or Bang, The Witch Is Dead by these guys. They have that awesome ability to create pure ferocity but it kind of seems that when they bring out an album half sounds like it was forged in the depths of hell, and oozes with phenomenal stomping riffs that could make a nun start air guitaring. But the other half is made up of slow ballad type offerings which just grind to a haul the entire pace of the album. What's worse is when they do this mid song. The best example of this here is probably the track Never Enough that starts of with such a vexed pace that you could imagine it being the soundtrack to you barreling down the freeway towards Alabama's state line in an old Dodge Charger being chased by the police. But then it quickly slows and kind of kills your buzz.
It's a shame really because with the opening track In Dead We Dream the album does start strong and like where III left off, gritty and angry. But then it just begins to feel like the whole thing has been over produced. Yeah you can here that the guys have progressed technically and even in the vocal department. But I don't know about you guys but thats not what I'm looking for from my southern rocks bands. Especially not with the track Open Your Eyes that sounds like 30 Seconds From Mars (or such like) trying their hand at a stoner rock tune. It's kind of embarrassing, to be honest.
All in all, there are some good tracks, but if you're expecting a Maylene of old you'll be bitterly disappointed. Sorry.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Foo Fighters, Guns N Roses, Karma To Burn, Cky, The Damned Things

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Dream Like State...

Ivy Garden Of The Desert - Docile (2011)

Diego from the band himself hit me up with this little gem, and damn I'm happy he did!
Hailing from Italy this post rock trio instantly make it clear that they have mastered the art of producing churning soundscapes. Thats no mean feat either. Trying to keep the listener hooked with predominently  instrumental tracks for nigh on 40 minutes is not as easy as it may seem. Few up and coming bands often fail to hit the nail on the head. Luckily Ivy Garden Of The Desert are not one of those bands.
Starting of at a mellow pace the album almost lulls you into a false sense of security, the slow beat and gentle guitars yearn of an early Yawning Man kind of feel. But once you hit you hit the 3:30 minute mark the tide turns and the tempo picks up. Now this is often where many bands mess up, trying to hit you with a barrage of unpredictable riffs and up beat drums that either just don't quite cut the mustard or sound massively out of place. Not here though. The build up is perfectly timed and executed.
In terms of vocals, the album is a little sparse, but not in a bad way. You don't here a voice for way past the first 10 minutes of the record but when you do it works and fits in well. Sounding somewhat Eddie Vedder-ish, you can easily tell as much time has gone into telling a story through the music as it has with the lyrics, quite a rare quality these days really. The contrast between the two sections is ideally balanced too, this is in no small part down to Diego's fantastic vocal tone that treads a fine line between moving and haunting, complimenting every other aspect of the album and bringing it all together. It swims through a variety of genres too, taking a little something away each time. You can quite easily pick out elements of psych, blues, doom, drone, classic prog and desert rock throughout the whole record almost like they're all patch worked together. Yet despite this nothing seems to throw the album of course. Kudos!

This is quality little release from a band that clearly have bucket loads of potential. Whats more, its also available through our friends Nasoni Records on lovely vinyl, though limited to just 500 copies. Im getting mine, you should too!

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Giants, Pelican, Crippled Black Phoenix, Red Sparowes, iO

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From The Deep South... Of Where!?...

Startruckers - The Southern Sessions #3 (2011)

So I was scrolling through my iTunes and searching for bands to check back on as it were. Bands who's albums, EP's and demos I had at some point acquired a long time back and had some what failed to keep up with. Regrettably this was one of them. I'ld been sat on their second release The Southern Sessions #2 since shortly after it was first put up but just never got around to throwing it up here. Not to worry though, as they are back with this brand new offering, the aptly named The Southern Sessions #3. 
So if you've already skipped ahead and let rip the track at the bottom you may well be surprised to here that these guys ain't from Alabama. Nope, not California, Texas, or Kentucky either. This motley crew of southern rockers are from... France. Yup, I was a shocked as you.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Kyuss, Artimus Pyledriver, Queens Of The Stone Age, He Is Legend, Dust Bowl

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dead To Rights...

Dead Existence - Born Into The Planet's Scars (2011)

Not to blow our own trumpets, but here in the UK we know how to do heavy. We started in the late 60's/early 70's with Sabbath and never looked back. Coughing up Napalm Death in the 80's, Iron Monkey in the 90's then in just the last couple of years amid the forever waining industry the amount of self financed thunderous acts that have seeped out the wood work has never been higher. Bands like Gurt, Iron Witch, Sigiriya, Hang The Bastard and our good friends Thunder Horse and Dopefight to name just a few. We're sure as hell not short of talent over here, and that statement can be extended with this London based post hardcore, sludge, stoner crew.
I'll admit, I've meant to get these guys on here for a while, ever since Ant from Dopefight gave me a copy of the two bands split EP. For some reason I never actually got round to it. My bad.
Nevertheless, this brand new release is the perfect excuse to bring some awesome down tuned grooves straight to your ears! Imagine a slower incarnation of Buzz•oven merged with High On Fire... with tracks in excess of 10 minutes. Each of which drag you through a myriad of fused genres - Hardcore meeting sludge, creeping into doom and occasionally fading into drone, and all aptly playing the backdrop for some of the best tortured vocal stylings I've heard this year. It's truly brutal and goddamn does it paint a picture. I swear, if Dante's Inferno had a sound track this would be it. But don't listen to me, check the sample track below and hear for yourself...

Now the guys have put this up and album available from their bandcamp in digital and cd form for a rock bottom price. So fair's fair, I've just supplied a link below to download the opening track Down The Crooked Path. If you dig it, show the guys some charity and drop them some cash. C'mon, you know it's worth it!

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Crowbar, Soilent Green, Weedeater, Bongripper, Dopefight

Website • Myspace • Facebook • Bandcamp

Friday, October 14, 2011

Eerie Italians...

Otehi - Noisy Spirit (2011)

These chaps dropped me an email requesting a review while I was away, and I'm really glad they did. Not only because they're followers of the blog but because this trio produce some of the best trippy experimental stoner rock this side of the western hemisphere. Like prog infused with an underlying funk, the best description in terms of a suitable genre would have to be 'post desert rock', which I'm quite digging to tell the truth. But to be honest, I've racked my brains and I can't really figure out any other suitable description. The copious amounts of fuzz that bathe the equally copious amounts of distorted and echoey riffs really deserve nothing less than being compared to a mix of Nebula and Tool. Lyrics wise, it's all a little sparse, but this is totally forgiving when the tactile delivery of each instrument combine to paint such a vivid acoustic picture. A picture that twists and turns, beginning with the opening track Monolith e Monolith - a furious opening filled with distorted guitars, prominent crashes and echoed vocals before winding down to an ambient fuzz that sort of prologues the middle of the album through a slower, somber and darker tone. The pace soon picks back up with the second from last track Savage Land which throughout erupts with a haunting stereotypical stoner riff that will be guaranteed to still in your head for the rest of the day upon hearing it.
The guys have managed to perfectly capture in equal measure all those nuances so prominent in mainstream ambient post rock and successfully intertwine them with and widely balanced stoner rock tone and furiously. It's cracking!


For Fans Of; Crippled Black Phoenix, Causa Sui, Sungrazer, Lo-Pan, Blackland

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dirty Bastards...

At Devil Dirt - Self Titled (2011)

Holy crap this is one hell of a dirty, fuzzed out monolith of an album! Don't misinterpret that as this being an ambient/drone kind of offering though, because you'd really be miles from the truth. It's got all that biblically monstrous fuzz akin to the kings of drone Sunn O))), but its also dripping in style and groove. It's like desert rock, played to a sludge tone with vocals somewhat reminiscent to that of some 90's psychedelic rock. The more I listen to this album the more it's strikes me as being utterly remarkable. The guys have managed to adopt a tone and tuning that Eyehategod would be envious of, command slow chugging riffs on a par with Sleep and tripped out hallowed vocal sound much like a bleak Alice In Chains. Oh, and when I say 'guys' I mean that in it's simplest of terms, because all this remarkable work and talent is the product of just two guys! It's almost beyond comprehension. Everything feels so layered, full and perfected despite there only being drums and one guitar, it's hard to believe there's just two of them.
If you don't mind the majority of the vocals being in Spanish (unless that does happen to be your native tongue) you should really dig this album. Hell, even if you are bothered by not being able to understand all the lyrics I guarantee that this album with still make your jaw drop. I barely understand a word of whats being sang but the pure furiously and aching groove that seeps out of every single second of this record is more than enough for me to whack it straight into our top 10 of 2011!

I urge you to not waste anymore time and head over to Corvus Distro and pick up a copy of the album on cd, not only because it's fantastically awesome but it's also limited to just 500 copies!

~ Jay

For Fans Of; White Hills, Kyuss, Sleep, Mountain Witch, Black Pyramid

Monday, October 10, 2011

No Pain No Gain...

3 Stages Of Pain - With Chaos In Her Wake (2002)

Not so much of a retro entry here, just going back a few years. Well, nearly 10 to be precise. But still, it's worth it. You'll see...

Right, lets set the scene a little. It's 2002, and the UK metal scene is in full swing. Sadly the sun had set on the mighty Iron Monkey but their inspiration lived on in a variety of new and aspiring acts including (but not only); Johnny Truant, Charger, Raging Speedhorn and these guys. Hailing from Doncaster, England (for those of you not in the UK, thats up north) the 5 piece firmly straddled the stoner and hardcore genres. Fusing frantic screamed and roared vocals and a slightly faster paced stoner influenced metal composition the end product was truly brutal. A brutality which they also brought to every single live show I witnessed them at. Like a clash between Refused and Unsane - Manic and heavy yet nicely veering away from all the off beat discordant technical bull. The best way to picture it is if you were to imagine if Converge has just taken their influences from the likes of Sabbath, Motörhead, Metallica etc etc. Or in other words an English Doomriders.

You'll love them. Trust me.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Doomriders, Norma Jean, Iron Monkey, Raging Speedhorn, Coalesce

Saturday, October 08, 2011

All Eyes On You...

The Heavy Eyes - Promo EP (2011)

The Heavy Eyes were one of the very first bands I put up on here, and I loved their first EP. So needless to say I'm glad to be hearing new stuff from the Memphis blues trio. Not only that, they've clearly gone from strength to strength. Which is great to hear, especially as this is just a preamble to their forthcoming full length release. The drop date of which has not yet been announced but they better make it soon because once again these guys have left me wanting a whole lot more.
Just like last time they return with dirty fuzz blues at it's best. You don't wanna miss out on this one. Watch this space for more info on the album coming soon...

For Fans Of; Radio Moscow, Black Mountain, The Black Keys, Chicago Stone Lightning Band, The Dust Bowl

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fuzz Down Under...

Kaleidoscope - Self Titled EP (2011)

I first caught wind of this trio via our old favourites No Anchor and right out the gates I was impressed.
Furious stoner lead breaks with a hint of desert rock yearnings mixed with Anthony's stirring vocals make for a fantastic result. It doesn't matter what genre you opt to fit this outfit into, what matters is that they're rocking' more fuzz than a Wookies crotch.

For Fans Of; The Desert Sessions, Spiritual Beggers, Yawning Man, Wo Fat, Aver

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Blast From The Past...

Black Sabbath – Master of Reality (1971)

The early 70’s were a busy period for Black Sabbath. In the space of five months from February 1970, they released two of the most influential records in the history of heavy metal, in the form of their self-titled debut and Paranoid. The latter spawned the instantly recognisable ‘Iron Man’, ‘Paranoid’, ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Planet Caravan’, and in the process seemed to be blazing a trail for other metal bands, even to this day.
However, Master of Reality – released in July 1971 – showed that Sabbath were not content with churning out the same riffs album after album, as it’s an altogether darker, slower and sludgier experience. The opening coughing loop in the intro to the fantastic opening track ‘Sweet Leaf’ sets the eerie precedent for the entirety of the rest of the album. ‘Lord of This World’ follows in a similar vein, with a typically sludgy, patient build-up, before breaking into driving riffs and breakdowns that almost became a trademark for Sabbath in their first two offerings in the previous year.
Whilst Sabbath also show their versatility with ‘Solitude’ – in which Tony Iommi swaps his guitar for the flute, and ends up creating eight minutes of music that Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson would be proud of. However the jewel in the crown of Master of Reality is the sensational ‘Children of the Grave’, a masterpiece which can do nothing but lure you in within the opening chords. Add Bill Ward’s unconventional drumming, Geezer Butler’s doom-laden bassline to the mix and Ozzy’s shrill vocals, and you have a definitive stand-out track from the album.
The album finishes on ‘Into the Void’, which has shades of ‘War Pigs’ about it, but nevertheless displays their talents with a plethora of slow and heavy riffs early on, before the wonderful switch of tempo and the guitars soon come crashing in. It’s also worth noting Kyuss’ superb cover of ‘Into the Void’ – solely for John Garcia’s alternate lazy, stoner-influenced vocals.
Master of Reality received a huge amount of criticism when it first came out, as American journalist Lester Bangs proclaimed the album to be: ‘’naive, simplistic, repetitive, absolute doggerel.’’ – although it is hard to look past the fact nobody had attempted the sludge, stoner sound that Sabbath were producing and they were essentially ahead of their time. The subsequent influence of Sabbath’s sound in Master of Reality is almost consistently present in the genres of doom, stoner and sludge metal in the 40 years since the album was released. The likes of stoner and sludge artists such as Kyuss, Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard and Eyehategod amongst many, many others have taken elements from Master of Reality and built on it, which simply pays tribute to the legacy of Black Sabbath.

~ Jon

For Fans Of; (Any good music, ever)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Heavier Than A Death In The Family...

Raise The Red Lantern - Breath Fire (2005)

Damn this is one hell of a crushing album! Just picture a cross between Baroness's Red Album and High On Fire's Death Is This Communion and you'll be beginning to realise what you'll be expecting when you listen to Raise The Red Lantern. They've got that big fat pulverising neanderthal like tone that spews wave after wave of furious lead breaks and storming choruses right down on top of you. Anyone who's seen the likes of The Sword or Doomriders live will know exactly what I'm getting at. Like pure unadulterated groove filled relentless carnage.
But its not all thrash and no trousers. Sure the guys can crank out some awesome guitar solos but they don't, like so many other bands, take it that step too far and labour the point. Where so many acts just plough through and just seem to try and play as fast as possible for as long as possible (and inevitably bore the arse of you) RTRL get straight to the point. There's techy riffs left right and centre but they manage to keep them punchy and well balanced. They're not a blink and you'll miss it affair, but they're also not a "jesus, this solo's been going on for 5 minutes!" kinda deal. That pleases me not end.
I really can't help but feel labels such as Relapse or Southern Lord really dropped the ball somewhere down the like by not signing these guys. Even if it was just to press this one record. Nonetheless, it's angry, it's fast and it's chock full of groove. Go get it!

Oh, and be sure to also check out Seventh Rule Records, as these chaps are backing some other great bands.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; High On Fire, The Sword, Black Cobra, Baroness, Mastodon