Thursday, October 31, 2013

Return Of The Poles...

Palm Desert - Adayoff EP (2013)

I'm always looking for a fix on some good stoner rock, and I'm glad this got pushed my way (my hat's off to you boss man), what lay ahead is a one day recording session that yielded 6 tracks of stoner/desert rock goodness. Like a good dog, it's fuzzy and mellow, coming in and biting when it needs too. Truth be told, if I hadn't read that the group was from Poland, I would of argued that they came walking out of the California desert somewhere, guitars in hand, and a joint tucked behind their ear. 
Jumping right into it, the first track "Leave Me Alone" is all about peaks and valleys, you get lulled into a sense of security by this warm sounding (almost) blues song just chugging along here and there, the singer groaning out his chorus, to laying down some very nice, soulful verses. And about half way through, all hell breaks loose in a heavy jam session for almost a minute, and after that it slowly start tapering it's way back down to that (almost) blues song that you know and love. The second diddy "End of Certain" is a guitar being played along to a fairly simple little back beat, nothing fancy, no vocals, just a short, mellow jam and I think adding anything more would of actually taken away from it just a little. The third cut "Among The Stones" is a straight 2 minutes and 44 seconds of good ole' fashioned Rock, lots of fuzz and groove going on, it won't let you down. That same vibe takes a new guise in "First Scream", just straight up Stoner Rock with lots of groove to spare, lots of hard hitting percussion going on, and a guitar solo/jam towards the end that everyone should love. The closer "Overload" is one hell of a closer too, spacey jam rock in the vein of Earthless with some beautifully melodic female vocals laid on top. For me it's one of those songs that seems to end early every time, it has a 4 minutes runtime, but 14 probably wouldn't of bothered me a bit. Really, the whole EP is a textbook lesson in how to do stoner/desert rock right. This is up for digital download or CD purchase over at Palm Desert's Bandcamp, just 3 bucks for a digital copy, with a hardcopy CD and digital copy for 8, not a bad deal at all for this little slice of Rock.

For Fans Of; Gas Giant, Astroqueen, 1000 Mods, Kyuss, Artimus Pyledriver

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Voices From Beyond...

Hukkunud Hinged - Puhastustuli (2013)

Straight out of Estonia, Hukkunud Hinged have arrived with their new album, Puhastustuli, a hard-rocking cluster of toothy riffs, talented drumming, and a good sense of song structure. If you're not fluent in Estonian, you'll be out of the loop on the lyrics, but the two vocalists (Janek and Katrina) do a fine job of getting their emotional state across even for those who can't make out the words.  There's an enjoyable variety to the songs, from the cold open of creeping instrumental atmospherics with “Põhjast Lõunasse” into the semi-psychedelic hard rock of “Nullpunktis,” then right on into a spine-tinglingly deep doom groove in “Inimeseks Kõlbmatu.” And that's just the first three songs of the album; the rest of it moves about with plenty of flexibility, showing off influences from blues rock, fuzzy psychedelia, hard doom metal, desert rock, and more, all with the pride and joy of a band that's spread its wings and is ready to fly off into their own adventure. They're self-releasing the album, so if you like what you hear, swing by and help them out by picking up a copy!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Necronomicon (Brazil), Pentagram, Blue Cheer, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Valkyrie


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Makin' Waves...

Upcdownc ~ Black Sea (2013)

Tonight I had the chance to check out Kent's Upcdownc and their recent effort (Black Sea). From moment one on the track “Twilight Sleep” I am taken back with the wall ambient drone and marching drums that create some nice imagery of the ocean waves hitting the side of a ship in a storm at sea… I’d assume its a Black Sea as well. Moving on to “End Of Every Film” a track that is both beautiful & penitent in feel and mood. 3 tracks in and we meet the roaring track “Drive” which enters with a nice think sludge riff heading toward some well placed layers of echo and texture which through out the record holds true. its 4 tracks in before the vocals come to life and their pulsing hark is a pleasant addition to the walls of ambience that leads to brilliant placement of bit crushed drums. Did I mention texture? This band is spot on when it comes to creating a genuine feeling and tone to their songs. A fantastic showing in contrasts & song structure. The exiting track “Hunter/Gatherer” puts the guitars in the forefront driving you to a quiet and graceful midsection that is trance inducing in the best way possible. I must say I am impressed with this effort.
~ Stephen

For Fans Of; Red Sparowes, God Speed You! Black Emperor, Pelican, Explosions In The Sky, Grails


Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Winds Of Change...

Windhand ~ Soma (2013)

Yeah, we usually kinda shy away from whacking up major releases, so you can excuse the tardiness of this review. But it is for a good reason... Mainly because it results in a major pain in our ass. If we're not getting our shit taken down by Rise Above Records then we've gone and rubbed someone up the wrong way. Besides, we get sent so much from bands that actually need our help and support, it's more than enough to keep us busy. That being said, I am now going to throw caution to the wind (no pun intended) and address the pretty significant buzz around Windhand's second studio offering, Soma. I'm not one for just leaping on the bandwagon, but fuck it, here we go.
Now, I'm a big fan of the first record. I was over the other side of the globe when it was released but managed to grab a black first pressing, then later lucked out to find and subsequently stump up a pretty penny for the purple first press. Meh, what can I say, I'm a sucker. So much so, that when good ol' Steve over at STB Records dropped me a line (while I was on holiday in Spain) to tell me the pre-order for Soma had gone up, I actually paid 12 fucking euros for internet access to order it. As you can imagine, that went down like a lead balloon with my Mrs. As a result it did give me pause for thought, mostly thoughts along the lines of; "these bastards better knock out something bloody good, I'm in the dog house now." Well, to prematurely blow my wad, as it were, yeah they did pretty well...
The first thing you'll notice is the production. It's not not been ramped up and polished to be over the top. Hell, its not like comparing Sabbath's 13 to Paranoid here, thank god. But it doe's have that certain something that says, 'yeah, we got a nice big cheque from Relapse'. Not that I'm saying that's what happened, before y'all freak out. I'm just saying there's been more attention to detail and tidying up than the first outing. Sure, that sounds like a good thing on the face of it, and in most cases it is. But that first album had a certain chemistry, a sort of fuzzy dirtiness that gives a real character to recordings of this ilk. This is why 'those difficult second albums' are just that. The first release goes down a storm, the band receive a metric shit ton of praise and fandom, and inevitably the follow up gets a boat load more cash pumped into it. This seldom works in the band's favour. Although that being said, fortunately Windhand's second (if you're not including their split EP with Cough) foray into the studio didn't result in over indulgence. For the the best part. They've retained all that feedback addled melancholic atmosphere from the self titled release but just honed and refined their game some what. For the better? Well, that would ultimately be determined by your own taste. A part large part of me is still undecided, despite having listened to the album for the last month or so. I guess time will tell on that front. Eventually. Or until I go to catch them in Leicester next month (and again in Birmingham, hopefully). As the real testament is often how the tracks are received live. Something I'm a little dubious about when it comes to the final track Boleskine. Racking up a mind boggling track time of 30:30, if one too many tokes are taken pre show while the set list is being scrawled up and it's decided to add it to the set I imagine I'll be able to sulk off to do my tax returns or something and still be back in time to catch the final, albeit crushing, riffs. Maybe I need to be put on a dose of Ritalin, I don't know, but I just can't really hack that kind of length when it comes to song. I max out around the 12 minute mark then my mind just starts to wonder around dangerous territory. Last year I went to see Red Sparowes, and although they were good live, it dragged and I began to ponder about shit like, "I bet I could throw my shoe and knock that water bottle off his keyboard" and "that guy's hair in front looks well flammable...". See what I mean? So if you go to see them playing sometime in November and at some point someone in the audience appears to spontaneously combust, then look behind him for the irritable guy with a zippo. That'll be me.
Nonetheless, Soma is an absolute cracking piece of work, I honestly can't deny it that accolade, and in all honesty it would be more than deserving to stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of stoner rock behemoths such as Sleep or Acid King. Dark, fuzzy, somber, haunting and powerfully demonstrative, Soma ticks all the boxes. Go get it.
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Sleep, Uncle Acid, Belzebong, Acid King, Salem's Pot


Friday, October 25, 2013

Hell's Horsemen...

Horse Drawn Death Machine ~ No Light (2012)

Ohio has mostly been known for having a growing and fairly well documented metal scene spawning some of the current fair such as (The Devil Wears Prada & Miss May I) and the likes of (Chimaira, Mushroomhead & Skeletonwitch). Horse Drawn Death Machine add to the long running metal scene all the while doing something a bit more off the cuff and drawling more Black-Metal/Post-Rock roots not unlike (Deaf Heaven) in the sense of reaching between traditional BlackMetal mixed with ambient noise and drones. HDDM takes a more straight ahead ROCK vibe at times creating a pleasant and unexpected change of pace for a band of its genre this can be heard on the track "Disconnected" which also hits some almost bluesy and early 90's traditional metal guitar soloing. The track"Early Graves" takes the band in some more post-rock/metal directions there is a genuine sense of experimentation in this effort. Fans of all types of metal/rock should easily find something that speaks to their familiar side as well as some excellent twists and turns that bring some new color in to the fold. Over all this Ohio based outfit gets my stamp of approval as a listener and someone who is personally in the Ohio music scene. I think more bands need to be brave and take some of tips from these guys on musical risks. The EP cuts in at less than 20 minutes and doesn't disappoint! Do your self and HDDM a favour and check it out!
~ Stephen

For Fans Of; Deaf Haven, Amber


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Let the fuzz reign!...

Exporting White Elephants ~ Organic Raw (2013)

Exporting White Elephants, what a name, but don't let the name mislead you either, some of these songs are almost that heavy. This is a two piece band from Santiago, Chile, with Tomas Frothingham on bass and vocal duties, and Tomas Sanchez on drums. Now when I think of two piece groups, Om is usually one of the first to come to mind, this would be Om's Stoner Rock love child if there ever was one. It doesn't take one long to start finding things to love about this album, from the different bass tones that change on a dime, to some of the rocking jam sequences, to how the vocals take on a very strong Blues sound, but can fade to Grunge screams throughout the tracks. They list some of their influences as "grunge, stoner rock, classic rock, psychedelic, heavy metal", and you have to be blind to not see every one of these well represented somewhere on the album, maybe even a couple well executed examples of their influences in the span of two or three minutes on a single track. I believe out of the whole thing, the stand out track for me was "Hey Papo", it's a fine example of Blues tinged Heavy Rock, and how well the two can co-exist beautifully in one song (and without a guitar in sight no less). It's just something about that heavy Blues sound of this song, I loved it immediately. Another one of the tracks I enjoyed immensly was "Nasty Lips", a good ole' fashioned, Stoner Rock song reminiscent of bands like Gas Giant or Mongrel. Those Bluesy vocals are great, this time with a clean(ish) bass line, and some straight forward, toe tapping, drum playing that anyone can appreciate. The following track "Koukeing" shows off some of their Seattle prowess, as it opens up from a cool solo drum beat to a full on a Grunge-fest, even reminding me of older Seether in places. This one is in fuzzy overdrive from beginning to end, and it doesn't let up. I've never seen these guys a day in my life, but when I listen I can almost picture two Chilean guys in a garage somewhere playing loud as hell, and one of two things happening: they either piss off the entire neighborhood, or end up with an impromptu house party, and if either one happens, you know you're doing something right. At the end, these are some straight forward guys when it comes to their music, no frills, nothing special to throw on top, just great, viscieral, Stoner Rock, the whole album is a good listen.
~ Skip

For Fans Of; Acid King, Lo-Pan, Ufesas, Stoned Jesus, Doctor Smoke


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Filthy Animals...

Clagg ~ Gather Your Beasts (2013)

From the sun-baked landscape of Australia comes the resolutely sludgy fourth album from Clagg, Gather Your Beasts. From the first sight of the cover art, attack dogs held back by suspicious villagers, it's clear that there's doom afoot. Once the music hits, Clagg make it clear that they intend to deliver on that, with an extra helping to make sure that no one leaves feeling unfilled. There's five tracks on the new album, and the first of these, Five Curses, is a ten-minute-plus excursion into thick rumbles of bass, drums that seem ready to signal a war party, and a nasty growl from the vocalist that'll make your own throat hurt just to hear it. It does a great job setting the stage for the other four songs, which include the title track, which rides in on a riff that sounds ready to go for the throat, and just gets meaner and harsher from there (though there is a calmer bridge about six minutes in, for breathing room, before it swings back into ripping mode). Then it's into The Great Mortality, which starts off with a bluesy riff that gets heads bobbing before unleashing havoc with wailing feedback and crushing rhythms, and gradually shifting into a slow groove of doom (imagine the audio equivalent of walking into a tar pit). The Dream Is Dead signals a time for brooding on the album's inevitable end, but instead of letting themselves sink deeper, they summon up some energy to fight their way out, and kick anything in reach in the process as it howls out to the end. Finally, Pathways To Oblivion makes good on its name by ushering the album off of its coil in fine fashion by dissolving into a slick psychedelic fuzz. Truly great stuff, grab a copy to find out for yourself once it hits the stores.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Meth Drinker, Church Of Misery, Fudge Tunnel, Stoneburner, Acid King


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fuzzin' In Memphis...

WerWulf ~ Casanova (2013)

In film there are great moments of group strutting, think the group scene from Reservoir Dogs where Mr. Pink and Company are walking into the bank then swap the original sound track with Casanova or "Prowlin" by the Memphis,TN outfit Werwulf which has dropped just in time for the fitting Halloween season. This 2 song EP is short & sweet but leaves nothing lacking. High energy garage rock reminiscent of The Eagles Of Death Metal and a hint of Iggy Pop WerWulf was oddly born from more metal roots featuring members of Memphis based Heavy Eyes and honestly sounding nothing like them or even remotely touching on metal at all. Memphis doesn't seem like to me a place that is known for rock or metal of any sort however I was certainly corrected and left wanting to know more about the Memphis scene. All in all Werwulf proves thinking outside of the box is a good thing and often times exactly whats missing from the rock genre. There is far too much of the "I'm only into ____ style music" going around & its pleasant to hear some genuine diversity and bravery for a lack of a better term!
~ Stephen

For Fans Of; The Datsuns, The Subways, The Black Keys, Hanni El Khatib, Kram


Monday, October 21, 2013

Make No Mistake About That Noise You're Hearing...

PIGS - Gaffe (2013)

One of the most vivid memories I have of first hearing really loud, fast rock was the first time I saw UNSANE's music video for the song "Scrape." The video is little more than a few short clips of the band playing the song mixed in with clips of skateboarders eating shit and getting annihilated by handrails, but it's always the rhythm in that song that takes me back to the noise rock sound that has become such a driving force in influential rock and metal acts that are still around today. Keeping that sound alive (in arguably its best form) is PIGS, a three-piece consisting of UNSANE bassist David Curran (handling guitars on this project), drummer Jim Paradise (Player's Club, Freshkills, Hellno) and Slughog bassist Andrew Schneider (also a noted producer for Cave In, Converge, Keelhaul, etc.). Following up their 2012 full-length, "You Ruin Everything," PIGS has created a ballsy and gritty EP full of sludgy bass lines and raw guitars that pay homage to each members' past endeavors, but drive the noise rock sound with such passion that you would be hard-pressed to find an equal.
Interestingly enough, Gaffe consists of three tracks that all present a similar sound, but also seem to each possess different speeds to make for a diverse record full of welcome surprises. Downright dirty and loud, the EP's title track transitions quickly from a bass-heavy crush to buzzing guitar, all backed by raspy, barking vocals, which maintain a tough exterior, even when venturing into sing-song territory. On "Elo Kiddies," the band presents more of a structured style with a catchy chorus and group chants that don't necessarily spark the idea of gang vocals, but, rather, a larger band presence (think group vocal transitioning like that of Dropkick Murphys). Slowing way down on "If I'm In Luck," the band rounds out the effort with a doom-esque goodness that really lends itself to the talented guitar work displayed on the album. Vocal effects also venture into the spotlight here, creating a spacey vibe, but one that adds to the atmospheric feel of the finale.
Having warmed up a little here in the states with select shows in the New York area, PIGS are currently tearing it up in Europe through early November. Dates for that can be found over at the band's website Those interested in the vinyl version of the EP will be happy to know it comes in a solid red and can be purchased over at Solar Flare Records for our European friends and Robotic Empire Records for those of us stateside.

For Fans Of; Red Fang, Melvins, Drive Like Jehu, Pissed Jeans


Saturday, October 19, 2013

In The Shade Of The Swarm...

Swarm Of Spheres ~ Invest In Your Death (2013)

I know it's Saturday and it should be a news day, but bollocks to that, it can go up tomorrow, this is far more important. I had to break convention and make an exception today, because, quite frankly, one of my favourite bands I've discovered over the last few years have just released their brand spanking new album.
To say I've been eagerly waiting for these bastards to get into the studio and knock out a new album would be a massive understatement. Since stumbling upon this Canadian trio just over a year ago their self titled debut has seldom left my iTunes playlist. It had everything I could ever have possible asked for; groove, anger, fuzz, balls, fuzzy balls(?) and pure genius song titles, such as; Ham Smuggler Vs. The Vegan and Thunder Chunky. It crushed. It's just that simple.
So having longed for a new album for so long I'd naturally build it all up in my head. Obviously I don't have to address the ins and outs of this rookie mistake and cliché pitfall. I hadn't really given the alternative much thought until hearing the guys where heading into the studio for a second time. In fact, the option of crushing heartbreak only dawned upon me about 30 minutes ago when Jay hit me up to tell me it had just gone live. Trepidation welled up for all of about 10 seconds, until I read the track list and noticed the opening song; Shoot First, Ask Christian Slater. That set me at ease, and just like that I knew everything was going to be alright. You can't possibly have a title like that, or Fuck You And The Fixed Gear You Rode In On and not cement its awesomeness in barrage of churning argo fuzz and beautifully catchy sludge based riffage? As it turns out.... No, no you can't. How could I ever possibly have doubted them? Right from the opening yawn of feedback you're grabbed by the nuts and held in for the duration. As the album churns onwards it meanders and throws curve balls at you from all angles. Beginning with a slow typical sludge tone and pace it rumbles along, then a little under a minute into Get Some Or Run Some, without warning, it erupts like bulldozer hit with a burst of nitros. It's a formula that worked on the first album and it still works now, to devastating effect. Where a good sludge track will get your head bobbing a good stoner rock track will get your foot stomping, Well Invest In Your Death will have you going hell for leather at both. Not at the same time, obviously. It wont leave you looking like a stroke victim. It's a remarkable collaborations of genres though. The ethos of grindcore, a mix of sludge tone and stoner rock fury and a slightly punk approach.
It's up to download for a price of your choosing, but as always, please consider thrown these guys a few bucks, even if you download it then go back at a later date to do so. It'll be money well spent too, because I'm not eagerly wanting a follow up! What can I say, the Swarm's infectious!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Old Man Gloom, Switchblade Jesus, Olde Growth, Dopefight, Grizzly


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Dirty Bastards!...

Sea Bastard ~ Self Titled (2012)

Yeah, just a head up... This is gonna be somewhat of a loaded entry today, but I don't care to be quite honest. They're my mates, so y'all can just go screw yourselves. Beside's, it does kinda help that they're bloody awesome.
It's a real blessing and a burden sometimes, this site. On one hand I get sent an absolute metric shit ton of great bands, but on the other I end up struggling to get round to hitting up friends bands and projects just because of the shear work load. Still, better late than never, and good timing too because I actually finally got to see the chaps live for the first time last week. I should disclose that at the time I was sort of bobbing along the celling, high as a kite on shrooms. But I maintain that that just added to the spectacle. Ian took on the form of a howling Kraken and Olly resembled the bastard child of Gandolf and Bigfoot wielding an axe. That's pretty much all I can really recall, and even sober that description of Olly is wholly accurate. Nonetheless, these guys slay, big time. Every track smashed into you like huge waves of evil sludge. It's merciless and unrelenting hardcore doom at its finest, and I say that irregardless of friendship. For any of you reading, that revelled in the UK's late 90's/early 2000's hardcore/sludge scene this album will trawl up a whole load of nostalgia. It seems to echo with all the brutality and fuzzy-groove-laden-agro that was so prevalent in the bands formed from the ashes of the likes of Iron Monkey. Maybe it's just me looking back through rose tinted glasses, I don't know. But I wont harp on about days gone by, I know we have a whole bunch of followers from all over the world who wont relate to my ramblings one iota. So for them I say this... take Carcass and Eagle Twin, lock them in a room with nothing but instruments, whiskey and meth and this is the kind of sound you'd expect to be summoned through the carnage.
But why believe me? Go treat yourself to a big slab of bowel rumbling, gut wrenching, demonic sludge...Where you can name your own price too! Yeah, doesn't get much better than that does it!?
~ Jay
For Fans Of; Soilent Green, Eagle Twin, Sourvein, Iron Witch, Grime


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Big & Fuzzy...

Sasquatch ~ IV (2013)

On their fourth album (appropriately titled IV), Sasquatch aren't shy in the least about exposing their fondness for older rock and roll along with the stylings of newer hard rock. Fuzzy guitar licks with hints of blues merge with power-chord outlines for something that evokes the post-grunge desert rock of the mid-to-late '90s, or a trimmer, more concise version of flat-out swamp rock. After the comparatively straight-laced introduction by the first pair of songs, The Message and Eye Of The Storm, Sasquatch seems to loosen up and feel more at ease with unfurling the psychedelic tendencies; Sweet Lady features some positively Hendrix-like guitar expression that savours the notes even as it shreds them to pieces, with the vocals worked into the low-end for great effect. Smoke Signal, a later track, takes the psychedelic freak-out even further, with rolling drums and crazed guitar feedback that builds and builds until it seems to be riding itself in a circle. The guitar keeps finding more opportunities to let loose through the rest of the album, which makes it almost disappointing when they seem to sober back up as they bring the album to a close. But that's just to leave room for the seven minutes of the last song, Drawing Flies, which starts out slow but works up to a locomotive-like chugging as it heads towards the sunset, making for a perfect end to a solid album. With some memorable riffing and great interplay from the band-members, IV leaves a sizeable footprint from the mighty Sasquatch. Recommended!
There doesn't appear to be any plans to follow in the footprints of their earlier work and get this out on vinyl, at the moment at a least. But keep checking our friends over at Small Stone Records, because I'm sure they'll be getting around to it at some point...
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of: Kyuss, Goatsnake, Crowskin, High Spirits, Magic Circle


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spanish Stoner Sludge Supremos...

Garüda ~ Labyrinths of Stone EP (2012)

Let me introduce you to a little 4 piece from Spain, and it's definitely in the heavy category. They call it stoner-sludge rock (not something I've ever seen put together quite like that), but that's exactly what it is, inside of a single song it can go from crushing sludge to a stoner rock riff-o-rama, so you can imagine how this EP bends and meanders through the two similar, but different styles. It might also make an interesting note that the man Billy Anderson (the engineer and mixer behind the original Dopesmoker album for Sleep) mixed and mastered this little guy. First up is "Labyrinths of Stone", the title track, and it's what's a title track should be, from start to end it'll give you a good idea of what's ahead. It starts off as a heavy as shit Sludge track, and then gets confused and goes into stoner rock mode after a few minutes, and pretty well gets stuck there, somewhere between the likes of Crowbar and Fu Manchu, just getting kicked around (and the same could pretty much be said for the entire EP). After that is Colossus, and certain parts of this conjures up images of just that, some stone colossus treading it's way across a green landscape, and completely flattening and destroying everything in it's path. The next song tends to stick to the stoner rock side of things a bit more, but the Sludge is there, just not quite front and center as the first two tracks, for Charm and Fall, the singer even loses a little of that gravel in his voice for a few parts, this one is a lot more drawn out, spacey and melodic, than the first two though, this is probably "the" stoner rock song on the EP. The next one, it starts out real "twangy", almost like an electrified folk song, but after about a minute, a sludge riff drops, and all is changed forever. I'm always a fan of a good closing track, it's the last song, it should make that kind of statement. This one doesn't fail to disappoint, Ooze is hard and heavy, and will leave with a grin on your face when it's all over. If you dig it, then go check them out on their bandcamp, it's a name your price deal, but this is definitely worth throwing the band a few bucks. And if you're a vinyl person, check out their label NoizeLand Records. If you like the group Louded, they have the vinyl for Satanic Boogie Woogie, which was reviewed here previously.
~ Skip


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

On The Road Again...

88 Mile Trip ~ Self Titled EP (2013) 

This being my first review for the blog, I thought it appropriate to choose a group that has really made an impression on me since I was introduced to them a couple months back, so enjoy the trip. The artwork may be a bit bland by some standards (I'm a fan of simplicity in some cases), but what's inside is all that matters. The "Back to the Future" sample in the first track pretty much sets the tone for the whole EP. What begins next is 30 minutes of some heavy as hell Stoner Rock, and I love every second of it. The fuzz in this EP is enough to make anyone sit up and take notice, the guitar sound is absolutely drenched in it, save for certain parts, but then you have the addition of a super heavy, yet groovy bass line in every song it would seem, and when the drums and bass aren't doing their own thing, they hook up and burnout like a good pair of drag slicks. And all of this fuzzy, heaviness is interlaced with vocals that aren't expected, but welcomed nonetheless. The vocal performance tends to remind me of Witchfinder General in spots, which can't be a bad thing, right? Now, while this is going on, you have some guy on a drum set banging the shit out of it in perfect time, it's like a puzzle and all the pieces fall together perfectly. I had wanted to get into some of the individual songs, but I think that would prove way too long of an endeavour, instead you get an overall description of the band's individual sound. I will say that "Swamp Disco" is probably one of the grooviest songs I've heard in a very long time, it's an epic closing track, you can easily get lost in the hypnotic drum and bass rhythms in this one. But you don't have to take my word for it, go find yourself a fat sack of some good grass, smoke up and go HERE, and make your own judgement.
~ Skip

For Fans Of: Kyuss, Orange Goblin, Switchblade Jesus, Red River Revival, Top Dead Celebrity


Monday, October 14, 2013

Breaking The Mold...

Liquid Casing ~ A Separate/Divide (2013)

As leaves drop and the air takes on that East Coast fall smell it is nice to be graced with an intriguing soundtrack to accompany the sensory onslaught of a Dayton, OH autumn evening. And it is my fortune to have A Separate/Divide by Liquid Casing from a much warmer (I'd imagine) Houston, TX on my review list.
The record opens with the almost Queens Of The Stone Age feeling A Path Of Footprints Forged in the Midnight Sun. The dynamic shifts on this record are unlike anything I have heard in anything since Frank Zappa, especially with the addition of Sax which in many ways really separates the band's sound and feel from many. There is overall some flat out brilliant layering and mood setting that takes place through out the record's entirety. Checkpoints & Borders stands out as a very passionate and almost symphonic piece that brings in a talented vocal display that is different from the rest of the records tracks but a very well done and welcome change! The closing track Riot Path has some nice electric piano under a mesmerising guitar line that keeps you in its web as it drifts in crowing closer and closer to climax that doesn't disappoint! The piano is placed brilliantly with in the song's groove! This is a record that even after several listens I feel I would still hear something new each time. It is a rare but beautiful thing to still be able to find a band that you can put a record on and close your eyes and kinda of just go on a journey and these guys have that! This being my first time hearing Liquid Casing and my first review on this blog I'd like to close by saying I am now a fan of this band's work & look forward to hearing more from them & being apart of the Ride With The Devil Blog crew!
~ Stephen

For Fans Of; Russian Circles, God Speed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Mars Volta, Grails


Friday, October 11, 2013

Bombs Away!...

Missiles Of October ~ Hangover EP (2012)

On their Hangover EP, Missiles Of October have a good block of crunchy, grimy thrash, some doom-soaked sludge, crusty death metal, and a dose of punk attitude. Thanks to feedback, strong instrumental chemistry, and a willingness to let the music get out of control when it needs to let loose, Hangover is a great show-casing of what the band might have up their sleeves as they continue to sweat it out. With a guitar that can manage either cranked-up snapping or a more restrained dark groove, drums that can snap out crackling speed or provide a solid backbone, and a bass that thrums with character, Missiles Of October manage to bring it all together without losing their aggressive edge. The vocalist sounds ready and willing to shout out his lungs, but also ready to back off and let a riff or bridge have its time in the spotlight. There's four tracks, Addictions, Music For Hangover, Dreadful Crash, and Wanna Be, and while the EP tops out around 18 minutes, the guys in Missiles Of October pack quite a bit of variety into that block. Whether grinding out some hard and fast chops or throttling it back to develop some heavy metal atmosphere, the band's members do a great job of building off of each other's strengths. As long as they keep the fire of their confrontational spirits going, they should have some bright days in their future. Missiles Of October is currently touring in and around their home nation of Belgium, so European fans of dirty rock with a nasty attitude should check whether they can make it to a gig, here.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of: Corrosion Of Conformity, Toxic Holocaust, Nations On Fire, Night Birds, Step Dads


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ask Me No Questions...

Wicked Inquisition - Silence Thereafter (2013)

As fall sweeps across the U.S., I am looking forward to some more stoner grooves to keep me warm through the treacherous winter ahead. The first of its kind has found its way to us this week in the form of Minneapolis, Minnesota quartet Wicked Inquisition, a blues/stoner hybrid rocking a solid 4-song EP that grooves and hits hard in all the right places.
Pulling a lot of inspiration from the classic rock and metal sound of the 1970's, Wicked Inquisition impress on the well-mastered album, showing chops in a sound that is rather common today and could easily get passed up given the copious amounts of bands producing similar material. Along with clean solos and genuinely fun instrumentation, the band's frontman Nate Towle's croons stand out as the highlight of the group. Equipped with a classic vocal range akin to Black Sabbath or Dokken, Towle sings forth every word with such bravado that every syllable grabs the listener as though they are the most important words ever spoken by a man.
On opening track "The Jester's Clown," the band jumps into a pure rock sound interspersed with great riffs and fast breaks that lend openings to a plethora of solos and note delays that work on so many levels. Similar structures are seen on "Brainstorm" and "Radius Of Fear," each switching it up slightly with harder guitar rhythms and faster drumming. Instrumental "Blue Nightshade" serves as a nice mid-album track, showcasing the band's musical talents and affinity for moody, atmospheric classic rock.
If you're looking to slow it down a little lately and listen to something not so murder-inducing for those cooped-up, chilly nights, look no further.

For Fans Of; Tesla, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Crippled Black Phoenix, Slo Burn

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Get Ya Organ Out!...

Manthra Dei ~ Self Titled (2013)

I'm sick. Not, like, in the head. Well partly in the head. No, I have man flu and I'm dying, so I apologise for the lack of reviews this week. I'm also a little delirious, so if I swing off on any tangents and none of this makes sense, it's the raging fever and drugs. Right, so now I've announced my inevitable death and got that out the way I can now tell y'all about the latest from our pal's over at Acid Cosmonaut. Thankfully, they sent me something a bit more mellow and chilled out as many of the band we've received over the last week or so have been real face melters, and my head just can't comprehend or process anything that's too full on right now. Because I'm dying.
Anyway. Manthra Dei. They're from Italy and they play (predominantly) instrumental psycho stoner prog rock. Whats more, they play it bloody well! Think Jethro Tull meets Causa Sui meets Tool. Sure, I've expressed my dislike for Tool in the past, and even as I lie here on my death bed I shall not be retracting that statement. But what Manthra Dei do here is truly awesome. They've seemingly mashed together all of their influences in one easy to swallow pill. All the sombre ambience of modern post rock crash like waves over whats fundamentally an early 70's prog rock foundation. Despite growing up with my dad almost force feeding me this surreal drug addled genre, it never quite grabbed me. Well, not until later life, and now hearing this, you really can appreciate all the trailblazers hard work and graft. Listen to the whole album and you'll catch snippets and nuances from the likes of Yes, Focus, Pink Floyd, Tull, King Crimson, Emerson Lake & Palmer and even Jean Michel Jarre. But along with the good old nostalgia trip Manthra Dei also bring their own honed touch to proceedings in the form of a slightly more aggressive approach and riff dominated breaks and bridges, which lets face it, are pretty unorthodox when it comes to prog. So with catchy stoner riffs laid over the top of a organ, what more could you possibly need?
Oh yeah, the vinyl!
~ Jay

For Fans Of: Pink Floyd, Causa Sui, King Crimson, Grails, Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble


Friday, October 04, 2013

No One Expects The Spanish Inquisition...

Louded ~ Satanic Boogie Woogie (2013)

I've never given much thought to the Spanish's take on sludge, but as you can imagine, one glimps of Louded's artwork was more than enough to set my mind into ponder mode. Look at it, it's amazing! It's like a visual representation of the inside of my mind after a day of drinking nothing but absinthe and listening to White Zombie. But the artwork is nothing compared to what awaits inside. Just imagine locking Soilent Green and Karma To Burn in a room with nothing but whiskey and PCP and not letting them out until they've produced 30 minutes of face melting music. Yup, 'brutal' is really the only way you can adequately describe Louded. Well, 'fucking brutal' would really be more apt I guess, because this album doesn't let up for a bloody second. Right from the opening riff you're met head on with an audible blitzkrieg that not only roars and screams it's way towards you but pleasures your senses with a dazzling array of head bobbingly catchy riffs and foot stomping bass licks. It's got that certain something that, for me at least, was born with Iron Monkey. The fundamental all round sludge feel but with a surprising amount of groove, although their own niche here incorporates a nice subtle element of post metal. Not enough to distract you or lead the flow of the album away from it's true roots but enough to give it it's own unique flourish.
But enough talking, go find out for yourself, and head on over to Noizeland Records, part with a mere 10 bucks and get the thing on wax! I'm gonna!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Soilent Green, Dopefight, Swarm Of Spheres, Grizzly, Sea Bastard


Thursday, October 03, 2013

Fear The Beast

Öfö Am ~ The Beast Within (2011)

This has been wallowing away in the depths of my iTunes for two years, and I have genuinely no idea where I acquired the thing from. But this instrumental fuzzy little gem is not entirely the focus of todays post. The main story actually involved old friends Lihius, who we covered last year. See, the guys have decided to join forces and have laid down plans to press a split 10", and being as they share two members in the forms of Guillaume (drums) and Antoine (guitars), it really does make sense. All the plans, details and most importantly, rewards can all be found here. Oh, and I forgot to mention, they're getting Godmachine to do the artwork. Seriously, you need to check this guys work out. Mind. Blowing!
So head on over, part with a few bucks and get some really cool shit in the process! But while you're waiting on the vinyl go give your ears a treat and pick up both The Beast Within and Lahius for low low price of absolutely nothing!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Karma To Burn, Black Rainbows, Causa Sui, Ten Foot Wizard, Beast

Öfö Am ~ FacebookBandcamp

Lahius ~ FacebookMyspace • Bandcamp


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Come On In, The Water's Fine...

Blood Red Water - All The Ills Of Mankind (2013)

Don't clean out your ears, that's just the hum and fuzz blasting off of Blood Red Water's guitars. Finding their way to our emails once again, Blood Red Water are back with their sophomore effort, All The Ills Of Mankind, which seems to encapsulate the best parts of their earlier work without sounding too redundant. More and more, Italy is finding itself at the forefront of the sludge movement these days, and Blood Red Water is quickly claiming their stake as kings of the scene.
On their second album, the band sticks to a similar vocal structure, stressing growls and barks spliced with animalistic force that really gets the message across: this band is tough as nails. Musically, cleanliness has gone right out the window, which is for the better. From start to finish, All The Ills Of Mankind, is a mix of reverb and distortion, blips and pops that generate a dark atmosphere and hold a heavier tone than the more bluesy, stoner sound the band once presented.
Opening track "A Ride In The Funhouse" starts out a little sluggish, but, once it gets going, there is no stopping the ferocity. Drop chords boom and dirty drums crash forth over and over, unrelenting yet surprisingly rhythmic given the nature of the music. Strained vocals and a mild guitar slide round out the track and lead the album into the slower, methodical sound that serves as the more common element throughout the remainder of the effort.
The meat of the record is perhaps the most fun part of the listening experience, even seeing an audio sample from the film Mulholland Drive (a David Lynch joint that is weirder than shit), and a bit more peddle effect and string arrangement experimentation. "The Outstanding Loss" and "Bad Trip In A Toxic Mind" are placed back-to-back perfectly, creating the strongest 11 minutes of the album. Full of muscle and passion, both tracks stand out as the true highlights.
With no sign of slowing down anytime soon, Blood Red Water is sure to keep fans of sludge well-stocked for the foreseeable future. Here's hoping it will be even more fantastic than what we'v eheard so far.

For Fans Of; Eyehategod, Saint Vitus, Trenches, Grief