Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Intensely Eerie Italians...

Zippo - Maktub (2012)

I love a good 'guest appearance' on an album. Beastie Boys and Kerry King, The Prodigy and Tom Morello, hell even Ray Davis with Metallica. When it works its great, when it doesn't... Well then you just have a kinda of Soulfly and Fred Durst scenario on your hands and no one wants that. Again.
Fortunately for Italian 5 piece stoner doom outfit Zippo, they landed quite a power house of a name, within the stoner rock community at least - one Mr Ben Ward. Maybe not a house hold name but for all of you who are currently squinting at this with a quizzical look on your face he's the hairy tattooed chap who fronts the might Orange Goblin.
So they must have a fair bit of talent, or at least some good contacts to land a guest like that you'd think right? Well, yeah you'd be pretty accurate to be fair. Like bit of a mix of A Perfect Circle meets Machine Head, they admittedly wouldn't really be to my taste usually, but Zippo have kind of put a bit of a different spin on things. Like a reinvented industrial kind of sound with more melancholia and a distinct classic desert rock sort of mysticism intertwined within the riffs. Really sort of strange and eerie at times it doesn't quite slip into the label of 'prog' but it is none the less entirely unique. Or at least unique to me, being as I've on the whole never really ventured too deeply into the realms of the industrial scene. There are elements there that do ring clear of a touch of Maynard James Keenan, which does pain me to say as I personally can't stand the man, but alas I can somewhat recognise his talent within the aforementioned genre. Extremely well produced and polished the album is a blindingly good effort regardless of what style you want to label it. Definitely worth checking out even if on the face of things it may not sound like your cup of tea. But for anyone who even in the slightest bit a Tool or A Perfect Circle fan... Well I'd put money on it being a sure fire hit.

For Fans Of; Mastodon, Kyuss, Tool, Opeth, Machine Head

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Back Behind The Barrels...

XII BoarSplit Tongue, Cloven Hoof EP (2012)

Oh we love these guys and their very own style of classic heavy metal and crunching stoner groove. They tread that fine line of being ultimately unique yet able to adequately convey who their influences are through their sound without stepping on any toes. Thats pretty hard to do without planting yourself firmly within that cliché metal niche that usually results in bands trying too hard to be the next Pantera or such like. Very little really grates on me more to be honest. But XII Boar have nicely dodged that bullet from day one. Their 2011 full length album 'XII' was storming behemoth of a debut by anyones standards and thankfully they've returned with another contribution in the form of this 4 track EP Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof
So have they kept that edge and ferocity of the previous offering? Well... No. Truth be told, they've only gone one better and stepped it up a gear. I swear, press play and this EP bolts straight out the gates and just hoof's you square in the balls. The opening drum beat and riff combination of track 1, Smokin' Bones has got to be one of the best set openers I've heard since Dopefight's Nob.Nod.Noi and nothing lets up from then on. It maybe less than 20 minutes long but what the EP lacks for in length it more than makes up for in enthusiasm and shear dirty grooves. The whole thing is bathed in an such an eclectic range of tones - quintessential elements of metal, southern, heavy, classic and stoner rock, hardcore and even blues. But amazingly it does all this without becoming even in the slightest bit disjointed and muddled. I'd love to think if Clutch came from New Orleans and turned their hand to metal this is what they'd sound like. 
With twice as much energy as a toddler jacked up on Red Bull and with more blistering fret work than Kirk Windstein on pcp this one hell of a follow up release. If these boys can drop a full length studio album with the same formula I think the Great British stoner metal scene is gonna received one hell of a kick up the arse. Orange Goblin are going to be have to keep looking over the shoulder from now on...

~ Jay

For Fans Of;  Orange Goblin, Weedeater, The Sword, Red Fang, Thunder Horse

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let Em' Burn...

16 - Bridges To Burn (2010)

Back to 2010 today, damn that feels like so long ago now. Im afraid this will just be a bit of a quick one as I'm currently on some rather strong pain killers and as a result not entirely on this planet. So lets crack on.

Ever played an Agoraphobic Nosebleed 45 at 33 rpm? Well it kinda sounds like this. Ok, thats a little crude as far as descriptions go I know, but seriously, go try it. Chugging riffs, heavy kicks and the occasional shredding. That should satisfy y'all for today.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Sleep, Karma To Burn, Crowbar, Mastodon, Neurosis

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Down Toned Danes...

Doublestone - Set The World Ablaze EP (2011)

Nothing beats a little Scandinavian heavy rock and roll right? Damn right! So much kudos to Bo for hitting me up with his band Doublestone.
The guys got together in 2011 originally in the form of a two piece grunge band, setting out to explore the simple catchy sounds of the 90's most iconic genre. After their first release 'Really...' a pure grunge 7” the band decided to turn their style round some what. The sounds got heavier, tracks longer and the focus shifted to the early days of heavy metal. Now a trio, Doublestone are currently in the process of finishing off their first full length studio album, which should be with us in the very near future. So for the time being  check out the EP and get a taste of whats to come... That being a Danish rock trio it's obviously nothing short of classic 70's style whaling riffage and evocative vocals. It's all the definitive stoner elements and nuances with a certain Scandinavian twang to them. It's hard to put your finger on exactly whats different, but it's a little like Amorphis playing Kyuss songs. Fantastic guitar licks all with an slightly echoey tone which just falls perfectly shy of being classed 'fantasy metal' (thank god!).
It's such a great little EP, and rest assured that as soon as the full album's done and dusted we'll be slinging it your way... Can't wait!

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Graveyard, Black Sabbath, Wo Fat, Sungrazer, Danzig

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Waxing Lyrical - Vinyl Review...

Sonic Flower - Self Titled (2003/2011)

Back in about August/September of last year I got wind that after 8 years the powers that be were going to reissue Sonic Flower's classic instrumental one and only album. Now this little secret came to me from the same source that gave me the tip off of the Master of Brutality and Second Coming reissues, so I was pretty confident that the info was spot on. None the less, when the release was officially verified around November time last year by the guys from Church of Misery I was still pretty excited and began to check Emetic's website on a daily basis. 
So whats the big deal? Well, truth be told there hasn't been an modern album in the last decade more worthy of being pressed on vinyl, in my opinion at least. Originally released on cd, by the legendary Japanese label Leaf Hound, Sonic Flower was the brain child of Church of Misery's one man talent power house Tatsu Mikami. Fusing together all the very best elements of the classic western heavy rock, psych and southern rock bands of the last 40 or so years, what the album lacks in the form of vocals more than makes up for in the form of biblical guitar lead breaks and fuzzy foot stomping riffs. Like a homage to the likes of Band of Gypsys, Mountain and Captain Beyond, this little record is nothing short of bloody amazing. More to the point it's most likely one of the greatest stoner albums to be made in the last ten years and more than worthy of being played through a smoke filled haze between the likes of Electric Ladyland and Growers of Mushroom. That may sound a little bold, but trust me on this... Or don't and go and find out for yourself.
Yeah, actually go do that!

Pressing Info - 300 on yellow and red marble (sold out) / 500 on cd
Price - $10/£8 - $35/£25


For Fans Of; Jimi Hendrix, Lynryd Skynryd, Deep Purple, Cactus, Sir Lord Baltimore

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Beyond Chilled...

Mona De Bo - Nekavējies, Šīs Ir Spēles Ar Tevi (2010)

Ok, I'll break it to you now this is a bit of an odd entry for the blog today. It's flat out the most chilled stuff we've put up in a long time, maybe ever. So if you're looking for your heavy riff laden fix you may wanna just pop back in a couple of days.
All that being said, I for one am quite digging this little touch of mellowness. It's good to just crash out with something a little on the lighter side every now and again. I mean c'mon, you can't just listen to Carcass and Burzum day in and day out. But don't worry, I'll just keep this short and sweet because most of you, on the whole are just look for something you can crank to 11 and rock out too. So here it is in lamens terms - Creepy instrumental experimental post rock done by two guys from Latvia... Sure, it may not sound like it will float your boat, but if it does then check them out because they're bloody talented!


For Fans Of; Giants, Russian Circles, If These Trees Could Talk, Omega Massif

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hail To The Kings...

King HoboSelf Titled (2008)

Oh boy am I glad I re-found this album! Not only is it one of those sorta unheard about supergroup kind of projects but it also kicks all kinds of ass nine ways of sunday.
So sit tight, here's the back story... Back in 2005 at the short lived Sounds of the Underground festival kicked off its first year. Pretty quickly certain musicians, namely Per Wiberg (Opeth) and Jean-Paul Gaster (Clutch) decided the lack of bluesy funk to the tour was beginning to get to them. So they put out an open invitation to anyone like minded to come along and jam with them. It went well... and following the end of the tour Wiberg took bit of a leap of faith and got some friends around to a rented house in Sweden where they continued to jam. So with the addition of Thomas Juneor Andersson (Kamchatka), Ulf Rockis Ivarsson (Beat Under Control) and Eric Oblander (Five Horse Johnson) King Hobo was born!

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Clutch, ZZ Top, Seasick Steve, Grand Funk, The Bakerton Group

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

With A Little Help From Our Friends...

Grifter - Self Titled (2011)

Ok to start 2012 off it appears I deemed it prudent to drunkenly break my arm in several places. Well technically I did it in the last couple of days of 2011 but I didn't bother going to hospital until last week. Anyway, as you'd expect typing is currently a bit of a struggle, but fortunately Todd from Ripple Music has kindly stepped up to the plate and helped us out with some reviews and content. What a man!

Captain Zen Beyond has called them “the best classic rock band around” and the album “brilliant without any weak points.” The Obelisk says they “sound like fans of 70′s rock creating their own riffs and grooves to universal appeal.” Classic Rock Magazine has seen their brand of irreverent rock to be fitting enough for one of their cover-mounted compilation CD’s. Grifter has taken the world by storm with their new self-titled album of gritty, blues-based biker rock and you need to know what the fuss is all about! Available now through the Ripple Music Store and available world-wide on October 3rd through Clearspot International in Europe and Code 7 Distribution in the UK, Grifteris the album that will fuel every high-octane weekend party and chase away the doldrums of everyday life!
This eleven track album is the band’s first full-length effort with indie rock label Ripple Music, however, Grifter’s unique one-foot-in-the-gutter, sleaze rock sound first appeared on the Ripple roster with their dual contribution to the Heavy Ripples, Vol. 1compilation released earlier this year. To fill out 2011, Grifter will be performing numerous shows throughout England, as well as preparing for a tour of UK and parts of Europe for 2012.

Ripple Music

For Fans Of; Mountain, Cactus, Scissorfight, Clutch, The Sword

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Scream If You Want Hardcore...

OkkotoChildhood/Brotherhood (2011)

Oh the joys of Bandcamp and the little gems they behold!

Here we have ambient hardcore mix courtesy of four chaps from the deep dark depths of Missouri. In fact Okkoto do almost stray into the realms of grindcore throughout this little offering, with tracks like 'Mathlete' and 'Global Warming Killed My Mom and Dad' echoing of elements of the genres legends Discordance Axis. However, the brutal and furious off kilter drum beats matched with equally enthusiastic mashing of the low end of the fret board all but secure this record into the more hardcore niche of things. Actually the guys themselves describe their sound as schizophrenic hardcore, which is fantastically apt when you actually sit down and listen to a few of their tracks back to back. This may initially turn a few of our readers off and yeah it's a change from the norm for the blog but I for one do occasionally enjoy the likes of Rorschach and Posion The Well - bands of which Okkoto would not look out of place being on the same bill as.
As for the aforementioned ambience, well that comes in the form of post rock esque intros and bridges that act as a precursor to Iain's bouts of fantastically savage growling vocals. Vocals which I must add, are absolutely spot on. Treading that fine line between tortured and disjointed, they really do make all the (what would usually be classed as sporadic) elements gel together nicely.
If you like your hardcore or mathcore (God, I hate that term) you'll undoubtedly really dig Okkoto, and if it's not your usual 'go to' genre, then just give it a go, they may just sway you...


For Fans Of; Norma Jean, Converge, The Chariot, The End, 3 Stages Of Pain 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Post Apocalyptic... Country?...

B-Toon - Wasteland (2011)

There's a few thinks that you don't necessarily expect to come out of Poland and be top notch. Super cars?.. Fine cuisine?.. Southern metal?
Yup, thats right baby. Dirty southern metal... But with a twist! A dark, chugging post rock influenced twist at that. Maybe experimental county would be more accurate, but lets not get bogged down in semantics. Sure it sounds a little be unorthodox, but it surprisingly works in a morbid, haunting kinda way. A bit like if Crowbar were to do nothing but Radiohead covers. I'm not sure it'll be to all your tastes but it's something a little different but not too far out there that you'll slam your head phones down in disgust and confusion. I really dug it, I think a lot of you will too.

~ Jay

For Fans Of; Down, Hank III, Crowbar, Elder, Le Scimmie

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Oh, That's Genius!...

Undead Viking Mafia - Resurgens (2011)
Call me shallow but if you've got an awesome name for you're band then rest assured you're gonna get my attention. It's only natural surely? So when it came to Atlanta four piece Undead Viking Mafia, I may well have just gone and shouted out load "Holy fuck thats an awesome name for a band!"... Hell, thats an awesome name for just about anything, just imagine going up against a football team called that! God, I'm jealous that I didn't come up with it.
So fine, I hear you say. They've got a cool name but are they all really all that? Well 'yes they are' answers that question. With a quintessential southern rock twang, hardcore vocals and smattering of 80's punk influence immediately evident, the whole album is kinda bathed in a pretty eclectic taste of genres. Just listening to the first track of the album you'll be able to pin point guitar licks similar to that of Zakk Wilde and Deron Miller (cKy), drumming akin to early Chris Lombardo and vocals that seamlessly flow between that like Ben Falgoust (Soilent Green) and Henry Rollins. Not to put too finer point on it, its pretty bloody astounding. I've not heard anything this varied and yet so tight in a long long time.
You've gotta hear these guys. No matter what your preferred genre maybe I can pretty much guarantee that you're gonna love em'.

For Fans Of; Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, Unsane, Hatebreed, Suicidal Tendencies, Refused

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Happy new year you little devils!

As you will more than likely have noticed, we've got a new look. It took me days, so don't moan! Everything is still here in one way or another. You can still look for individual bands, genres, and countries via the tabs above. It's is still all a bit of a work in progress and not everything is entirely polished yet, so please let me know if there are any broken links etc etc.

Big apology to all the bands that contacted me over the last month. If I haven't got back to you please drop me another email and I'll get right on it!

Right, now to kick start 2012...

~ Jay