Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Soundtrack To Whiskey Shots & Burnt Rubber...

Burning Full Throttle ~ No Man's Land (2013)

 Burning Full Throttle is a 4 piece Garage/Stoner Rock band straight out of a dirty garage in Hungary that formed in 2005, but went on hiatus shortly there after only to go back to work in 2010. Now in 2013 they've re-emerged with "No Man's Land", 8 tracks that bring to mind biker bars and muscle cars instantaneously.
The opening track, "The One to Blame", opens up like a Stoner Rock classic should, with shredding distorted guitars. The opening riff reminds me heavily of bands like Fu Manchu and Artimus Pyledriver, with the whole thing being ripe to be used in a cinematic car chase. The next track "No Man's Land" would seem to be the prefect title track, it fully encompasses the sound of the band and manages to fit all of that into a single song. Opening up with a slightly fuzzed Blues riff, which is quickly joined by a swinging rhythm section, and some oddly melodic, dirt-road vocals. This one is truly a headbanger all the way through. The third track on the album, and my favorite off the whole thing is entitled "The Flight". It opens up with a killer riff, that quickly escalates into a heavy Southern Rock song, with those same melodic, gravel filled vocals, belting out a catchy as hell chorus. Now, those are just the first three tracks, the rest are equally as good, even if some such as "Downtown Paradise" and "Why" take a different approach to the same formula, super fuzzy guitars, in the true spirit of Stone Rock, with cleaner vocals than the earliest parts of the album.
Now, according to the band there will be CDs available sometime, but until then you can check out their down and dirty album over on their Soundcloud, where it's streaming in full. You can also head over to their blog for any updates. This release should make a pretty good party album for all of those upcoming New Years get togethers, play it loud enough and you can even drown out all of those annoying drunks.

For Fans Of; Blind Dog, The Glasspack, Orange Goblin, Artimus Pyledriver, Behold! The Monolith, 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Creation And Destruction...

Shivas Nat - Hard To Breathe (2013)

There's a new album from Shivas Nat, and as the cover art might lead you to guess, psychedelia figures rather prominently in its flow. Hard To Breathe starts off slowly, with the 11-minute Shape Of My Soul, which slowly winds itself up before uncoiling into the rest of the tracks. After that introduction, there's I'm Alive, a fuzzed-out body-shaker that rips out some wild-eyed grooves before making way for the next song. Lullaby is probably the gentlest track (naturally), but even here, Shivas Nat allows the fuzzy, stretched-out guitar chords to remain dominant. Dragonodyssey revs the energy right back up to their previous levels, though the stoned sense of sedation lingers on, and the electric organ gets quite a workout over the course of the song. You starts throttling the engine back down to cruising levels, before the comparatively short Weight brings things to a close. If you like your psychedelic rock thick, fuzzy, and with plenty of audible blues influence, be sure to grab a copy of Hard To Breathe; you can find one (assuming the stock isn't sold out yet) over at Kozmic Artifactz
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Eternal Elysium, Blue Cheer, Brimstone Coven, Moon Curse, MC5

Bilocation Records FacebookBilocation Records BandCamp

Dragonodyssey (128 kbps)


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Awesome Mr. Powerwolf Rides Again!

Awesome Mr. Powerwolf ~ "Wake Up EP" (2013)

The Awesome Mr. Powerwolf is a 5 piece Retro/Blues Rock band from Copenhagen, Denmark. You may of heard of these guys way back in 2008, when they released a rough demo entitled "Let's Make it a Friday", but soon became inactive after that, but now they're back with a vengance, after adding three new members in 2012, with their first proper release of the four song EP "Wake Up".
The title track "Wake Up" is what starts us off, and it immediately kicks in with twin guitars going full steam ahead, '70s style. Everything about this track screams Classic Rock, but in a sleeker, newer packaging, and it's not a bad thing. The second track "Blackout" opens up with the same sort of trademark twin guitar attack, and toe tapping riff. This one has an almost Sabbath tinge to it though, just around the edges, which is more than enough to make a song killer. Probably my favorite of the four tracks, the next song "Love" starts off in a slightly more Southern Rock fashion than the first couple, with a much more Blues influenced riff and vocal delivery accompanied by a plodding bass and drum groove. This song is one of those that you don't mind listening to a few times in a row, from the awesome riffs, to intricate, distorted and clean solos, there's nothing to dislike about it.
All in all, it's a really solid EP and first release, with each song having it's own different sound, vibe if you will, and it leaves that taste in your mouth for more. Then with just 3/5 band members just joining last year, it really is amazing how tightly this band plays, excellent musicianship is a given, but it's hard to replace what seems like good group chemistry. Now, to sweeten the deal just a little, head over to their bandcamp and get the EP in a name your price deal, you have nothing to lose and a killer piece of music to gain.
For Fans Of; Witchcraft, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Zed


Monday, December 16, 2013

Puff, Puff, Stir...

BongCauldron - BongCauldron EP (2013)

Lazy Monday mornings call for some intense stoner metal, is what I always said. This week's fine offering comes from the fine fellows in BongCauldron, a trio from Leeds who will unleash their killer EP on the world next month. A speed bag-paced trip mastered by the band in what I imagine was a hazy dungeon of six-foot-tall standing bongs and naked women, BongCauldron possess the sound of veteran acts that have put the genre on the map, but add a bit of toughness that blends with the music well.
Right from the get go, you are brought into familiar stoner territory with "Tree Wizard." A long tone of feedback opens the track and quickly lends itself over to heavy riffs and noisy drums. However, once the vocals of bassist and guitarist Corky and Biscuit kick in, the sound jumps into another realm. The gruff, raspy barks and equally harsh backing vocals work perfectly around the lyricism of the song, as well as serve as a nice dichotomy with the hellacious and blistering solos sprinkled throughout the track.
"Pissed Up," presented as somewhat of a single off of the EP, clearly wears the pants on the album, smashing through your speakers like a battering ram against a door in a drug raid (the humanity!). Breakdowns and booming chords are the norm here and are unrelenting. Staying away from the chug-a-lug formula that would serve so simply on such a song, the band instead adds moments of slow build-ups and sludgy segues that hit your chest and rattle around your ribcage for a while.
Blast metal elements pop up in tracks "Vehemence" and "Gauze Rite," creating thrash masterpieces on either side of the lengthy "Gimp Jig." Probably paying the most homage to classic stoner metal stylings, "Gimp Jig" transitions between thick guitar and amp pops as slowly as rising smoke. The vocals scale back just a little here and see a bit more of a sing-song pattern, albeit with a hardened exterior. Not failing to show off their talents as musicians, the band also puts their best solo efforts and chord progression to the forefront at various points, sometimes overlapping and never taking their foot off the accelerator.
Seeing as 2013 is just about over, do yourself a favor and make BongCauldron the first great stoner opus you listen to in 2014. Those interested in a physical manifestation of the EP (gatefold CD) can pre-order it here. Those who pre-order will also receive an immediate and free download of "Pissed Up." Those wishing to just check it out right this fucking minute can head over to Terrorizer for a full, exclusive stream.

For Fans Of; Bongzilla, High On Fire, Unpersons, Salem's Pot

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hail the Uberlith!...

Menhir ~ Uberlith II (2013)

 Hailing from under a monolith in The Netherlands, Menhir brings us their second offering of "Uberlith II EP", which is slated to be released tomorrow (12/13/13). Now, this isn't your typical Stoner Rock band, with double the bass players, they're just as fuzzy and heavy as your mother, but a lot cooler. These guys take the formula for Stoner Rock, then start adding in some Southern flavouring on top of the gravel filled vocals that sporadically come in some songs, while others are simply awesome stoner riffs with audio samples put on top. Comparisons with Stoner Rock heavyweights like the Truckfighters and Kyuss come to mind quickly once the EP starts up.
It opens up with "Mt. Aloha" and after about 45 seconds, you're assaulted with the twin attacks of absolutely blistering drums and fuzz bass riffs. Aside from the super heavy Stoner Rock jam, the audio clip accompanying all of this fuzz filled heaviness seems to meld very well, not something I'm always a fan of, especially not the midsts of a song. They use the samples almost as vocals, interlacing them throughout the entire track, and for one reason or another, it seems to work flawlessly for me. The next track "Buttcake" is a super heavy anthem of sorts, it starts with a solitary bass riff and then blasts into the same sonic assault as the first track, and more audio clips but this time with a howling chorus to accompany them. The bass groove in this one is absolutely killer, especially the solo towards the end of the track. My only real complain about this whole release is that it's just too short, I was left wanting even more.
Now, it isn't out yet, but I'm sure you'll be able to pick it up over at the group's bandcamp page where you can stream the first track "Mt. Aloha", also have one of the best, proper Stoner Rock videos of the year up over at youtube, so go give that a view or two while you're waiting for tomorrow to roll around.

For Fans Of; Truckfighters, Kyuss, 1000 Mods, Fu Manchu, Lowrider


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Space On Earth...

The Mighty Progerians / OMSQ - Vertigo (2013)

This split EP is the third release from Belgium's Antée Records, and it brings quite a mix of styles into play between the two bands present. The Mighty Progerians have the A-side, with a three-part track (The Earth Is Flat / M.O.R.E. / Vertigo) that glides from one musical style to the next, blending elements selectively from sludge, post-core, desert rock, and a dash of jazz. OMSQ go with the 'one long song' approach, presenting Glass Eye Contact as their representative piece, with all of its glimmering keyboard noises, thrumming strings, and carefully-controlled build-up of energy; there's a fairly heady prog approach to the way they set up looping alterations of riffs and rhythms, and it pays off with a big finish. Definitely worth snagging if you're a fan of genre-melting prog/post/desert rock; copies are available at Mandai Distribution!
~ Gabriel 

For Fans Of; Kyuss, Baroness, Tool, Porcupine Tree, Kylesa


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Heavenly Bodies...

Solar Halos ~ Self Titled (2013)

As 2013 nears it’s end and 2014 is on the horizon it seems only fitting to prepare you for the greatness that is Solar Halos self titled debut album, which will see the light of day January 20th next year, in multiple formats via Devouter Records. For those of you who are doom/sludge enthusiasts Solar Halos feature some former members of Horseback and Fin Fang Foom so you know going into this that expectation is high! You will not be let down, this is a monumental piece of art! So, with that in mind, lets get on to the songs, because they are HUGE!
We start off with the massive The Vast White Plains, a sludge/doom delight. The drum work beautifully pulls you in to Nora's vocals which are equally perfect and utterly haunting. Moving through the release the bar keeps getting raised, for instance, on Tunnels the rhythms become more driving and pull the listener into the song. The play between the instruments is flawless both tonally and atmospherically. I often find sludge and doom lyrical material to lack some genuine heart and soul but Solar Halos is one of the few in recent years I have heard that is not just believable but tugs at your heart strings in an unexplainable way. Honestly every track on this effort has something special to offer both in mood and colour. Wilderness for example sits as a calm dark bridge between the albums moods and is at time reminiscent of Panopticon era Isis, which lets face it, is a compliment and a half. You sway and move with the flow right into the albums closing track Resonance which is a massive wall of throbbing feedback, noise and rhythm driven by the snare and dirty bass lines. This song marches and chants full boar into an explosion of brilliance!
This is by far the best record I have had the privilege of being sent since starting here, and one that certainly will remain in heavy rotation for quite some time! FANTASTIC!
The whole album isn't available until late January, but until then treat your ears to the bands 2012 demo...
~ Stephen

For Fans Of; Isis, Royal Thunder, Kylesa, Horseback, Shroud Eater



Friday, December 06, 2013

Way Out West...

Shit The Cow ~ Salt Of The Earth (2013)

We've seen our fair share of, lets say 'unique' band names over the years. Undead Viking Mafia, Vintage Cucumber, Dickkicker, Battle Pope... The list goes on. But few have made me choke on my whiskey quite as much as Sweden's Shit The Cow. I've not delved into the origins of the name and don't really intend to, solely because I quite like retaining the mystique. But try as many have, a band can't travel on a name alone. That being said, I have had a long burning desire to start a band called Mongoloid Porn Inferno, without giving much thought to any kind of material or genre. Anyway, Shit The Cow and their Salt Of The Earth EP. It's just a short one at a total of four tracks, but goddamn they've made good use of 10 minutes. Diversity alone, these guys have really gone to town. Opening track The Decline Of Western Civilisation bursts and churns with a heavy southern rock fury right from the opening bars. It's truly one of the best opening tracks I've heard all year and instantly grabs you by the fluff of the scroat. Sadly it's a little shorted lived, but as the EP progresses it twists and turns picking up more and more influences with everything passing minute. The backbone of the whole recording falls very much within the garage rock side of things. The LO-FI tone playing a forever present part throughout all 4 tracks, dipping in and out of grunge and even a distinct hint of punk, predominately the west coast variety, to which, by my own admission, I'm not a authority on. But, to me at least it does feel like it plays out a bit like a 90's road trip up and down the US's Pacific side. Picking up subtle inspiration and nuances from the likes of Nirvana, The Melvins, Suicidal Tendencies, Fu Manchu, Black Flag and Mudhoney. It works really damn well, but I can't help but feel the guys have a real knack for the heavier, riff orientated side of things. Fingers crossed the next time they find themselves heading towards the studio they'll have this in mind.
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Suicide Machines, Switchblade Jesus, Blowback, Emanuel, The Grand Astoria


Thursday, December 05, 2013

Blackened Doom for the Soul...

Fuoco Fatuo ~ Two EPs in One Tape (2013)

Fuoco Fatuo is a Blackened Doom Metal band from Varese, Italy. Their release "2 EP's in One Tape" is exactly what it sounds like. They recorded two separate EPs back in 2012 and have gotten around to putting them both on cassette. They play a type of Doom Metal where their Black Metal influence is at the fore front of their sound. From their raw, harsh, guttural vocals, to the passages of blast beats and speed guitar. I would imagine if you're a fan of Black Metal, you're going to feel right at home here, even when the Doom takes over for extended periods of time.
The first of the EPs is called "EP 33 Colpi Di Schizophrenia Astralle Nell'Abisso Nero", but we're going to call it "Numero Uno" for short, and it starts off the tape lasting 5 tracks from "Alpha" to "Omega" (clever, right?), and it could almost pass for a straight up Funeral Doom EP, even with the bits of Black Metal snuck in all over the place. After the intro track of "Alpha" you're dropped right into the thick of things with "Vuoto Nero", and an avalanche of cymbals before things start to slow down into a feedback laden drone sound, after a few seconds things take another turn into fun filled blast beat section before finally settling down into a slow moving Doom sound that we all know and love, just with those Black Metal-esque vocals on top of it all. The outro for this EP "Omega" is a cool little acoustic piece, definitely a good closing track for the EP, or in this case more like an intermission.
The next EP, which is self-titled, starts off with the track "Dentro L'inferno" and it's almost nothing like the "Numero Uno". Where that one had Funeral Doom and Black Metal written all over it, with this one someone spray painted Black Sabbath all over that. From the very beginning it's all Doom Metal, up front and center, with Sabbath-esque riffs running the show and about all the Black Metal you get are in the vocals and the occasional, break-away, raw Black Metal part in a track. The next track "Ley Nera" almost starts off in a Stoner Doom Metal fashion, with drums blazing. When the riffs and vocals drop, they bring to mind earlier Church of Misery, and it's awesome, of course this only last so long before their Black Metal starts showing through again. This was my favorite part of the whole tape, and would make it well worth buying the whole tape just for the last four songs.
Now, you can stream the tape, in it's entirity, to your heart's content over at the Caligari Records bandcamp, who also have the tape for sale in their store here. Now, to get news from the band Fuoco Fatuo and their unique styling of Blackened Doom Metal, head over to their facebook page.

For Fans Of; Evoken, Pallbearer, Ruins of Beverast, Forgotten Tomb, Church of Misery


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Sleep When You're Dead...

Deville - Come Heavy Sleep (2007)

Come Heavy Sleep is the first album from Deville (originally released in 2007 by Buzzville Records, and newly reissued this year by Heavy Psych Sounds), and it kicks off with guitar strained through a filter of fuzz, hard rock drums, and desert rock vocals. Over the course of the album's ten tracks, they ramp up to a big finish, showing off their chops and a deep fondness for the desert rock that rose to prominence in the late '90s as they plow their way through the songs. It's dry, rocky, and gritty, and the singer sounds like he chews cigarettes instead of smoking them. While the Penrose triangle and spirograph art of the cover would have you think otherwise, there's not really any traces of prog to be found, aside from the standard light leanings towards psychedelic traces that marks most desert rock; these guys have more interest in getting just the right tone out of their amps and building up big, crunchy riffs than messing about with polyrhythms and time signature shifting. If you've just about worn out your copy of Kyuss' Welcome To Sky Valley, you might want to consider picking up a copy of Come Heavy Sleep to help take the load off. 
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Clutch, Kyuss, Black Rainbows, Black Stone Cherry, Monster Magnet

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Join The Dark Side...

Lightsabres ~ Demons (2013)

Another week is upon us and as usual we've been blessed with some more sweet stoner doom jams. This week we have north Sweden’s very own Lightsabres with their recent effort Demons.
I will start by saying I am very surprised to hear such genuine West Coast style rock meets East Coast punk coming from Sweden but what a pleasant thing it is. Demons is full of trippy dirt, fuzz, attitude and heart to boot. Each track holds a different and unique feel, like Red Light, an instrumental track that boasts a distinct psychedelic guitar flourish, leading into the subsequent Teeth, a wholly post rock ambient affair for its 40 second entirety. Although a little out of place, the two tracks do serve to break up the fuzz and leave you feeling slightly melancholic, like the come down of short acid binge.
The old desert rock genre also fleets in from time to time, predominately in the form of some early QOTSA style riffage, most notably on tracks Black Hash and Born To Die. If I didn’t know better I would easily be convinced the record was done at Rancho De La Luna with Josh Homme manning the mixing board. Caesar takes you for one hell of a trip, beginning with a pure west coast style fury before effectively veering right off the road and taking you on a journey down a dirt road of psychedelia. It's slightly disorientating but before you know it you're cascading nicely into the honestly beautiful title track Demons, which could easily find itself on the soundtrack of any sad film as it drifts and pulls a heavy weight from your heart. Lightsabres bring a hell of a unique mix of desert, punk, grunge and post rock together in a way I've never before experienced. A great piece of art drenched in emotion both dark and light. Well Done Fellas!
~ Stephen

For Fans Of; Queens Of The Stone Age, Kyuss, Desert Sessions, Giants, If These Trees Could Talk



Monday, December 02, 2013

Tossed Into The Deep End...

The Lion's Daughter & Indian Blanket - A Black Sea (2013)

When it comes to splits, originality has pretty much been abandoned. You either have the two groups offering up not-so-rare b-sides or each group covering a song written by the other. In the end, there isn't anything too special about the split except for the fact that it (hopefully) comes on some nice splattered vinyl.
Enter "A Black Sea," not so much a split as it is a collaboration between two of St. Louis, Missouri's premier bands, thrash metal crushers The Lion's Daughter and folk rockers Indian Blanket. Although an odd-sounding idea on paper, "A Black Sea" is a beautiful and crushing album all in the same instance, bringing together two completely opposite ends of the musical spectrum and forming a juggernaut of talent.
Early on, tracks such as "Wolves" and "God's Much More Terrible" reflect the collaborative aspect more literally, incorporating softly strummed acoustic chords and smooth vocals that soon give way to booming guitars, bass and raspy screams. While the harmony changes are quite obvious in the tracks, the overall effect leaves a lasting impression. The initial back-and-forth of the musical styles is not a push and shove for dominance auditorily, but a sort of flowing presence that sounds so effortless it's haunting.
Later songs "Song For The Devil" and "Sea Of Trees" hold a bit more consistency in their sounds, but still possess a feeling of mixed genres. With heavier elements of acoustic bass incorporated into the folkier territory and woodwind instruments popping up throughout, the album continues to develop and morph, never settling on one area too long. Even when winding down on a softer note, "A Black Sea"maintains a sense of darkness and sorrow, the guitars turning bluesy and the lyricism remaining serious and somewhat dejected.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the record is that it is currently incomparable in its existence. It could be argued that influences may have motivated certain parts of the effort, but the final result sods unlike anything else I have heard in several years. A truly remarkable piece of work, both bands should be proud of what has made its way to the masses and will surely be enjoyed by many for years to come. Creativity is lacking in almost every facet of society these days, so to the parties involved n the creation of "A Black Sea," I say thank you.
With only 250 versions of the album pressed (50 of which were on limited white vinyl that are LONG gone), remaining copies are limited. Those interested in snagging one of the last few copies may be in luck if they check out Good Die Young Music. Those heathens who prefer digital only may also find the album on iTunes.

For Fans Of; Darkest Hour, Bowerbirds, Woodpigeon, Tombs

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Freezing Mist...

Mist - Demo (2013)

The Slovenian doom band Mist makes its debut with this demo, which includes the tracks Phobia and The Living Dead, nicely concreting their sense of history as they step into the ring. It's a five-member band, with Nina Spruk on vocals, Ema Babošek providing rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Nina Grizonič handling lead guitar, Neža Pečan on bass, and Mihaela Žitko working the drums. The five doomers do a great job of blending early heavy metal with some of modern doom metal's sensibilities, providing a nice atmosphere of creeping occult dangers while tasty riffs are pulled out left and right, and they also have some excellent chemistry between their individual parts. Though it's a demo, they've gone to the effort of cleaning out any crackles, and there's a pleasingly warm tone to the overall sound, as though their amps have had plenty of chords poured through them before these sessions. If this is their rough draft, their full album will be something mighty indeed. Keep your ears tuned to Slovenia (and us!) for further heaviness from these five points of darkened light.
~ Gabriel

 For Fans Of; Pentagram, Acid King, Salem's Pot, Necronomicon (Brazil), Black Sabbath

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Phobia (320 kbps)


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Yes, That's Sludge Oozing From Your Speaker...

In the Company of Serpents ~ Of the Flock (2013)

If you're looking for some thoroughly miserable sounding Doom Metal, man, this sounds good. Hailing from Denver, Colorado this ridiculously heavy, two piece group known as "In the Company of Serpents" have put forth their second album in as many years, "Of The Flock", and it doesn't disappoint, sonically crushing all the way through. Although, the intro track "Ash Swamp" may not give that impression as it's pretty mellow sounding, but it shouldn't stop you from hearing what else the album has to offer.
The heaviness really starts with the second track "Craven", it opens in a chaotic flurry of drums and hardcore style riffs, but levels off after just a few moments into a immensly heavy Doom/Sludge track. After about 30 seconds, you'll have no choice but to nod your head with the riffs being laid down and the gravel filled vocals are reminiscent of Crowbar right from the start. Probably my favorite track, off an album of great tracks, is "Of The Flock", opening up with a slow drum beat, then a crushing riff just pummels you for the entire duration, further and further down. This is one of those tracks that gets put on your favorite system and cranked all the way up until shit starts shaking off the walls and windows shatter. 
In the end, this whole album is heavier than damn near anything you've ever heard, with influence sounding like it comes from the heaviest of places. Passages on songs going from Sludge to down right Funeral Doom, with another song having the vibe of any Bongzilla, Stoner Doom classic. When you have a melding of that much heavy music, you know the creation yielded is going to be one heavy as hell, monolithic bastard, and that's exactly what this album and band is. And if you needed any more incentive to check them out, this release was mixed and mastered by the man Billy Anderson, his is always a good stamp of approval in my book. So, head on over to their bandcamp, and give the album a listen.

For Fans Of; Bongzilla, Crowbar, EyeHateGod, Black Tusk, Primitive Man, Evoken


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Slaves To No One...

No Gods No Masters - Demo EP (2013)

Ever wondered what it would be like if the muppets from Fraggle Rock got stoned and became rabid? Me either until now but if they did this would be the soundtrack to their fuzzy brand of world domination via rabies! Netherlands based No Gods No Masters Demo EP is blasting through my speakers today. Fuzz and Sludge and plenty of it! This 4 track EP is wall to wall aggression and doom...
Track two Lost For Words has a nice WeedEater meets Fu Manchu vibe. The band seems to take inspiration from the stoner doom scene of the New Orleans variety. Much like the NOLA based Down and Crowbar but more up paced and evidently, more angry. On the track Lie To Me the latter becomes even more apparent as the sludge continues. The guitar tone through out the record is huge and did I mention, FUZZY!? Yeah its that fuzzy! Combine that fuzz with a solid rhythm section & screaming low/high vocals you have one badass doom machine. The closing track, Retired, is the most NOLA inspired of the lot and by far the most hefty of the tunes on the short collection. Over all this is an impressive sludge/doom effort that stands on it’s own amidst tons of great music in its genre! Before I go do yourself a favour, Get fuzzy, get high and turn on Fraggle Rock (if you can find it), mute the TV then replace the sound with No Gods No Master and enjoy!
~ Stephen

For Fans Of; NOLA, Down, Electric Wizard, Weed Eater, Crowbar


Going... Going... KHAN!

Astrakhan - The Pillarist (2013)

The new EP from Astrakhan melds hard rock guitar and attitude with proggy rhythms and heavy bass, condensed in the form of Rest In Depths and The Pillarist. The two-track EP takes its title from the second song, but you'll notice some distinct compositional similarities between the two when listening; no B-sides here! The drummer's confident handling of the off-beats lends some professional flair to a band which, for the most part, seems otherwise happy to sound dirty. On the other hand, sludge purists will likely find the 'clean' tone of the vocals off-putting, but those who are willing to entertain the band's experiments in stringing together disparate styles and sections will find something that fits nicely in the post-core soup of genres.  Grab a Molson and give it a listen.

For Fans Of; Kylesa, Baroness, Between The Buried And Me, Rwake, Integrity

Rest In Depths (320 kbps)


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Swish Sludge...

Ølten ~ Self Titled (2013)

Hands down one of the best records in it's genre this year!...
About a week ago I had the privilege of stumbling across a fantastic band from Watch Valley, Switzerland and falling in love with their unique brand of post-rock/sludge inspired instrumental art. That band is “Ø L T E N “ and their current release (Ø L T E N - s/t) This 4 song EP grabbed me from the first 2 minutes and held me to the speakers for the remaining 23 minutes! (Peplum) opens the release with one of those ambient swells that you could just space out on for an hour on its own it so entrancing. This is just the prelude to a pulling march that leads into stop/start sludge riffs. There is a sadness and eventual sense of resolve emoted in the track. It is just my opinion of coarse but any band who can make you feel something profound with out speaking a word is on another level. From there we head into (KÀpoÉ) exploding with sludge and grime then cascading into a trance like state. This track is really about building the wall of sound and the march to the wall! I image waves crashing against a literal wall nearing the track’s end and finally the wall collapsing. (Tallülar) the metallic clang of the guitars had me at hello so to speak! This track just moves with a sense of purpose and power.The bass grinds away on the left with the guitars both crunching and chiming in the right. At this point if the wall fell in the prior song this is the town being taken over by brute force and flame! On the climax of the EP (Blöm) which I can say is my favorite on the release calm enters only to be followed with the resurrection of force and movement present in the previous tracks but certainly feeling more triumphant! Half way through the track the hair on my arm stood up. Anyone who has had one of those moments with music can relate I hope..It just struck a chord with me that make me have goose bumps! Having listened to a ton of music this past year and the majority of it being post-rock/post-metal sludge I can with out a doubt say “Ø L T E N” is hands down in my top ten records of the year for 2013
~ Stephen

For Fans Of; Isis, Cult Of Luna, Red Sparrows, Kowloon Walled City, Caliban


Friday, November 22, 2013

Under A Spell...

Brimstone Coven
 ~ II (2013)

There's a fair bit of buzz around these guys at the moment and it'll only take you about a minute of listening to figure out exactly why. Prepare to be cast back to the true heyday of true classic rock, because Brimstone Coven absolutely ooze the stuff form every pour. In fact I've had II on rotation in my car along with about 15 other albums I've been sent this month, and every time one of their tracks kicks in I find myself checking my iPod thinking that I've accidentally dragged a big chunk of 70's rock into the playlist at some point. They've just managed to capture that whole atmosphere and feel down to a tee, to the point where they have more in common with Sir Lord Baltimore's Kingdom Come or Dust's Hard Attack, than any other album I can name from the last 30 odd years. Judging the book by its cover as it were and just going from the artwork alone, your first impressions would be that they're heavily weighted towards the whole occult rock side of things. But having listened to the whole thing a good 15 times or so now, its seldom truth. There's the odd moment when tone does stray towards a Sabbath influence, and there is an evident touch of the early days of doom subtly laid in there, most notably on Lord and Master and The Folly of Faust, but on the whole its too bright to really hold too much of a comparison. It does however hit a sort of uncharted territory in many ways; a sweet spot between Grand Funk Railroad and Pentagram. I know thats a pretty weird middle ground to land on, but I guarantee that when you get to track 5, The Grave, you'll see just what I mean. It's a little eerie, its quite up beat, its pretty surprising and its utterly catchy.
The whole album is an absolute corker, I bloody love it, and if you're like me and grew up on your old man's record collection I'd put damn good money on you really digging it too. You'll be able to satisfy you lust for wax too because our good friends STB Records are dropping this gem at midday (Eastern time) tomorrow! Thats about 5pm GMT, 9am Western, and god knows when, else where in the world.
In their usual awesome style, you've got two beautiful copies to choose from. The Die Hard edition, limited to 50 copied and housed in a gorgeous Egyptian cotton card sleeve with gold leaf print, oh yeah they've seriously pushed the boat out for this one! Or the Sorcerer edition, limited to 125 on cyan vinyl and in a hand screen printed cover. Both versions are absolutely stunning, which ever you decide on you're a winner.
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Sir Lord Baltimore, Elf, All Them Witches, Dust, Doctor Smoke


Thursday, November 21, 2013

So, How Do You Like Your Steak?...

Steak ~ Corned Beef Colossus(2013)

Let me start by saying that "Corned Beef Colossus" is one hell of a title, now that we have that out of the way. Steak is a by the numbers Stoner Rock band out of the UK, home to so many great Stoner bands, and if this EP is an indication of things to come, be ready to add another. From their sound, you could make an argument that Steak is a bastard love child conceived during a drunken one night stand between Fu Manchu and Orange Goblin. Now, how can that be anything but a good thing?
The opening track "Black Milk" is like the heaviest Blues song you've never heard. It starts off with a relentless bass groove which is joined by a fuzzed out guitar shortly, but that bass groove absolutely carries the song. Even the singer is belting out what could pass for a Blues song, just through a more modern filter. After hearing this one, I was sold on the rest of it without even hearing it. Following that is "Liquid Gold", which is quite possibly my favorite track of the release. More distorted guitars, and the vocals are awesome, going from soft to huge dynamically along with the instruments. This one starts up and immediately brings to mind Astroqueen for me, it's heavy in all the right ways and goes perfectly with any of the usual mind altering goodies. The closer "Acid Dave" is another prime example of Stoner/Desert Rock at it's finest, they're not re-writing history or anything, but they're better than your run of the mill stoner band by a long shot. If you've been feeling that the Stoner Rock genre is a little stale as of late, some Steak is just what you need.
Now, to get your hands on this stuff, just go to their bandcamp. You can grab up a digital copy or your CD and vinyl versions, even your merch needs.
And from the looks of their videos they put on one hell of a party, so if you get the chance, they'll be playing some gigs coming up:
Nov. 28  -  Blizzard Mountain Fest, Grenoble (Fr)
Jan. 28  -  ISPO, Munich (Ger)
Feb. 5  -  w/ Monster Magnet, Barcelona (Sp)
Feb. 6  -  w/ Monster Magnet, Madrid (Sp)
Feb. 8  -  w/ Dozer & Lowrider, London (UK)

For Fans Of; Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu, Astroqueen, Kyuss, Truckfighters, Cowboys and Aliens 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shake, Battle, and Bowl...

Ladybird - Tombstoned (2013)

I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting to hear on this album, as the only other thing I've heard from Ladybird (so far) is their gargantuan Spliff & Wesson, but there's certainly a change of pace on Tombstoned.  For one thing, they've doubled the number of songs (bringing it up to four), with Intro, Papers, No Reason, and Marble Orchard; Marble Orchard steals the show with its big finish (clocking 22 minutes), but the journey up to it holds plenty of surprises.  That's a relief, considering how little variance there usually is when a band releases two albums in the same month, as the industrious lads in Ladybird did with Tombstoned and Spliff & Wesson back in August.
Intro is a sedate steel-guitar rambler, picking along with occasional dusty back-roads noises making their presence known, and bringing some of the desert isolation from their home in Arizona to life, before Papers steps quickly into a doomy sludge assault, making strings and feedback hum as if both are about to snap; No Reason slides smoothly in on a snail-trail of fuzzy rumbling before breaking out the bleary-eyed psychedelic wavering of the guitar; and Marble Orchard begins with a sinister old-timey movie sample, then moves back into the malignant desert feel of the previous songs, blown up to a size where all you can really do is surrender and let it wash through your ears. Altogether, it's a very respectable and palatable compromise between the Stonehenge-sized sludge of Spliff & Wesson, and something that shakes listeners by the throat a little less insistently. Go on, try it! The first one's free!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;  Sleep, Electric Wizard, Windhand, Acid King, Meth Drinker


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sleep With The Lights On...

Okkotonushi - Sleep/Talk (2013)

It is a cold day here in Dayton, OH but the brilliant Okkotonushi’s Sleep/Talk is helping to warm things up. This Aurora, Missouri act touches on many musical influences. The schizophrenic track Forchids opens the record with some chaotic spoken word work leading into an equally insane fury of noise! Moving on to Shimmer we get to hear some well done time shifts break neck changes that all come to a wonderful cascade at about 5 minutes in. Reminiscent of Fugazi at times mixed with touch of At The Drive In's early days. Which can only be good thing! The majority of the record is poetic lyrically and touching on some poignant social commentary with out being too preachy. There are some longer tracks on the record as you’d come to expect from any post-rock/metal/hardcore acts if you fall prey to such tags. Spindles finds us putting our ear up to the aforementioned length but with creative use of swells and ambiance it keeps you on edge, waiting for the explosion and once it does it doesn’t disappoint. Sleep/Talk is a conceptual piece about the journey through the sleep cycle. As the band puts it “The listener plays the part of the dreamer, while the music represents brainwaves and dreamscapes, the words being the minds conversation with itself.” If you combine this concept with some love story type thematics you have just touched the surface of this brilliant recording.
It has been my absolute pleasure to have found this band, been given the chance to review and engulf myself in such an honest and interesting approach on some familiar territory combined with some new life!

For Fans Of; Refused, At The Drive In, Pink Floyd, Fugazi, Explosions In The Sky


Monday, November 18, 2013

I'd Buy That For A Dollar...

Mutoid Man ~ Helium Head (2013)

The first time I ever heard Cave In was with the release of their 2003 album Antenna, and, for the life of me, I couldn't understand the hype my friends were giving them based on what I was hearing on that record. The album was fine in its own right, but people had only ever spewed to me about how "hard" the band rocked and how Stephen Brodsky's musical style and lyricism was better than most of the metal/hardcore acts of the early 2000's. Anyone familiar with Antenna will raise their eyebrows right there. This wasn't a metal or hardcore album. It was pure rock with moments of post-hardcore melodies all wrapped up nicely by Brodsky's croons. Then I educated myself on the past offerings by Cave In and immediately saw why their had been so much anticipation for a new record. After that, I paid close attention to Cave In and Brodsky's various side projects, all of which usually gravitated toward his affinity for faster, louder music.
Oddly enough, the first time I ever heard Converge was the same year, but that album just happened to be their breakout 2001 release, Jane Doe. I had never heard anything so frantic, so angry, so sad and so fast in my life. It wasn't my cup of tea at first, but, now, I couldn't imagine where'd I'd be or what god awful dribble I'd be listening to if it weren't for that album.
While Brodsky and Converge's drumming war machine Ben Koller have worked together on multiple endeavors in the past, I can honestly say that today's release of Helium Head (their first and possibly only release) by their supergroup-of-sorts Mutoid Man (a reference to the oldie but goodie Super Smash TV on Super Nintendo) is their most fun and brutal work to date. A mere seven tracks, totaling less than a 20-minute run time, Helium Head is an eclectic record full of great drumming and guitar work (yeah, no shit, I know) with a few surprises here and there and really make for a rich hard rock effort that creates the argument that the best album of 2013 may have just dropped.
Although a considerably short album, the effort seems to have a halfway point, so let's talk about the first three rippers on this gem, entitled "Gnarcissist,""Scavengers," and "Scrape The Walls," respectively. "Gnarcissist," the first track I ever heard from Mutoid Man, kicks it off like Evil Knievel ramping 30 school buses. Brodsky's signature voice is apparent from the get-go, but some spacey riffs and unique time signatures impress and generate instant evidence of how punk and rock continue to evolve. Thrashing solos and primal screams round out the track, serving as a perfect segue into "Scavengers," an ass-kicking of a song chocked full of finger-tapping note craziness and unrelenting blast beats (Koller really outdoes himself here). Completing the trifecta of this musical knuckle sandwich is "Scrape The Walls," another spastic and break-neck song that begins the transition in Brodsky's vocals, a switch from the harsh screams and growls that fuel the early going to the effortless ranging heard on the back half.
In the latter parts of the record, Brodsky remains a vocal powerhouse, but Mutoid Man's real talent for ripping and roaring instrumentation is on full display. "Friday the 13/8" speaks volumes of how prolonged chords and subtle pedal effects can always sound fresh and innovative. "Sacriledge" and "Lost In The Hive" follow with meatier chugs and double-bass tempos, reminding of 90's metal and how fun "slam dancing" used to be before crowd surfing became the new taboo.
Mutoid Man sounds as though they will wear themselves out at any minute, but that minute never comes, leaving the listener frozen in place with little else to do but strap in for the rocket of a ride that Helium Head truly is. Brodksy and Koller have truly captured a great collaborative idea with the release and should be commended for bringing something so solid to the table this last in the year. Still not convinced that it could possibly be your favorite album of 2013? Go get this shit right now and turn it all the way up.
Helium Head is available now on iTunes and will receive the glorious vinyl treatment on Nov. 29 via Magic Bullet Records/Svart Records with first pressings headed out on clear, green and red wax.

For Fans Of; Clouds, Unsane, Big Business, Helms Alee


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Retro Rockin' Spaniards...

Saturna ~ IGNIS (2013)

Saturna is a heavy rock band from Spain, a 5 piece that plays loud, ass kicking rock and roll straight out of the '70s, part of that Retro Rock movement we're all so fond of. This is their second offering for us, and every track is heavy as hell straight up rock. There's a ton of good ole' fashioned Sabbath worship going on here, and it's a good thing, no, a great thing. And it would seem just as you're really digging the Sabbath vibe, you're hit with a dose of Southern Rock, fried, dyed, and laid to the side.
The first of the standout tracks for me is "Sonic Keys", it starts off as a straight up rock and roll song, a real crunchy kind of riff and a real deep rooted Southern Rock tinge in the second half of the track, you don't even expect the change, but it works perfectly. The next track to really catch my attention is called "Beside a Dying Star", and it's nothing like the first song I mentioned. This is much slower, in the vein of early Doom Metal, between the guitar tone and the way some of the vocals are belted out, it reminded me of Pentagram quite a bit. One of the last tracks on the album is called "Science and Transformation", it pretty much hit every mark for what a great rock song should be, awesome guitar tone, pounding drums, a real groovy bass line wedged back in there with the drums, even has some shouted, hardcore style vocals towards the end.
This being my first run in with this group, I have to say they've made a brand new fan. From beginning to end, the whole album is just an awesome rock record, well worth running on over to their Bandcamp and checking out. It says that it was released on Nov. 25th, and there's no buy option yet (except track by track it looks like), but you can give the whole album a listen right there on their page. I'll be heading that way to pick up their first release "The Kingdom of Spirit".

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Orchid, Pentagram, Witchcraft, Graveyard


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Doom And Back Again...

Ladybird - Spliff & Wesson (2013)

The first of two albums released by Ladybird this August (stay tuned to find out about the other in a few days), Spliff & Wesson is, to put it simply, massive. There's only two tracks, but the titles alone give an idea of what's in store; there's Spliff & Wesson, then Nossew & Ffilps, both of them hovering around the 24-minute mark. The first pulls the listener to the middle of the album with a dangerous undertow of bass with enough reverb to make your speakers rumble across the floor, sun-cooked desert rock guitar soup with big doomy production, and enough undulating harmonics to get your head good and properly reeling before it's spooled out across the floor. The B-side (Spliff & Wesson is currently only on CD and cassette, but keep your fingers crossed for a vinyl release!), Nossew & Ffilps, takes everything from the first track and straight-up plays it in reverse! And it works! For 24 more minutes! Pardon me if I seem over-excited, but such a bold move, fixing the success of the album on an ability to compose not only normally, but in reverse, is infrequent enough that having it actually roll its heavy way backwards across that duration (with some fine doom pay-off) makes it almost auto-legendary. Personal prediction: This one will be listed alongside Sleep's Dopesmoker in years to come, for reasons of swirling, riff-loving technique, being colossal, and being a challenging but highly rewarding experience. Beat the rush while you can, get a copy now, listen to it in a dark room, and dig it.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Sleep, Bongripper, Ufomammut, Tons, Wicked Lady


Spliff & Wesson (320 kbps)


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mother Trucking Excellent...

Mothertrucker ~ The Power Of Independent Trucking (2013)

Well another week is upon us and today I am reviewing the instrumental Birmingham/London UK act Mothertrucker's recent release entitled The Power of Independent Trucking I am immediately struck by a Kyuss style vibe painting a picture with driving and sludgy guitar riffs with a weight and heft you’d expect from a band with such a bold moniker. The second track Reef Do All The Work, The Beatles Get Al The Credit is far more sludge and building up to some monster riffs only to trail into Vigo The Carpathian which has a wonderful Dark Water Transit style feel, mixed with elements of later day Isis. Washing waves of reverberated guitars melting into the pushing rhythms of the drummer’s snare hits. This leads into what may be my favourite song title in a long time Duff McKagen’s Kagon Wagon which is a doom/stoner rock jam any fan of Sabbath could get their head bobbing to. After my forth solid listen to this record today I find my self wanting to hear more from and know more about the band. They're guys are a mixing some familiar territory with a whole new vision. Do your self a favour stoner doom fans, head on over to their bandcamp page, part with a mere 10 bucks and pick this record, it's mother trucking excellent!
~ Stephen

For Fans Of; Red Sparowes, Grails, Isis, These Snakes Have Arms, Slint  


Monday, November 11, 2013

It Does A Body Good...

BEASTMILK - Use Your Deluge (2012)

I may be a little slow to hearing Finland's BEASTMILK, but I'm glad I stumbled upon it just this very morning. After last week's journey into the realm of prog glory and instrumental dominance, I felt like I needed a little more dirty rock n' roll and darkness in my life. With a new album on the horizon, I thought I would jump into the band's offering from last year, a four-song EP full of moody tones and stripped down, fuzzy guitars. A short and sweet offering, Use Your Deluge is the musical equivalent to a gray, dreary morning with no chance of sunlight; a garage punk record that sounds as raw as the emotion that is the driving force behind the effort.
From front to back, the album is a compilation of fast-paced and cryptic tracks that echo the darker side of early stoner rock and new wave. Simple drumming and shoe-gazing melodies set the tone early and provide an immediate taste of what the listener can expect throughout. Never venturing too far past the 3- to 4-minute mark, each track is quick to present its catch and memorable riffs, making the entire album seamless and polished.
"Void Mother" and "Children Of The Atom Bomb" sound akin to a Joy Division/Blue Oyster Cult love child emerging from the blackest of caves, hitting hard where necessary, but letting the garage sound dominate for a majority of each song. On the back half, "Forever Animal" and "Red Majesty" slow down the pace, allowing for a more epic sound that feels extremely huge in the small space its given on the tail end of the album.
The vocals are an element that immediately catches the ear, nearly monotone in parts, but shadowed by perfectly harmonized backing vocals. Singer Kvohst, an immensely captivating frontman given his recognizable croon and sultry tone, makes the album sound flawless in terms of direction. Seeming to know exactly what to say and how to say it serves as one of the strongest attributes for BEASTMILK.
BEASTMILK'S full-length debut, Climax, will see an international release November 29 on both Svart Records and Magic Bullet Records. A new track from the album, "Fear Your Mind," can be heard here. Finally, for any readers we may have in Finland, BEASTMILK will play their record release show in Helsinki on December 5 with tickets available here.

For Fans Of; Danzig, 69 Eyes, Echo & The Bunnymen, Ride

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