Saturday, May 31, 2014

Makers Of More Than Mischief...

Black Gremlin - Rock And Raw (2014)

Black Gremlin's debut studio album puts a lot of emphasis on the words they selected for the title: 'rock' and 'raw' are what the album's built around, from the recording process (knocking out the recording sessions in a single day, using an 8-track reel-to-reel recorder) to the music itself, which blasts forth with grit and mad energy. Over the course of the seven tracks (opening with the bloody-knuckled “The Lich” and rocketing on from there to the shred-packed “Bongoloid”) they tamp all the head-banging fuel they can into the half-hour or so of tunes on the album.
Rock And Raw has a gnarly attitude reminiscent of Municipal Waste's party thrash, but with a more overt influence from the hard rock groups of the '80s, cranking out crunchy riffs with a taste for power-chord-stomping solos. They've also slipped in a few fuzzed-out passages between the crashing drums and high-speed finger-work, though, showing they've got what it takes to pull in even the most thrash-averse stoner rock fans, as with “Optimism”, which you can find below. There's really no bloat or flab to the album, which really works to the music's style and strengths, giving it a freshness that lends itself well to repeated listenings. It's already out on CD and cassette, but if you have a preference for vinyl, you'll be happy to know that Retro Vox will be issuing Rock And Raw on wax sometime next month. Keep your ears open, and don't miss it when it arrives!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of: Black Label Society, Valient Thorr, English Dogs, Orchid, GWAR


Friday, May 30, 2014

Hate For Sale...

Dogmate - Hate (2014)

Over the course of Hate, Dogmate effectively evoke a swampier, doomier version of grunge's heyday. Gnarly riffs, crunchy break-downs, and rebel yells fill the album, with hints of death and thrash bubbling beneath the hard stoner rock surface, and the band keeps a wild-eyed intensity up through each of the songs. Though most of the songs blend into each other, some snappy guitar and drum flourishes help keep it jumping along. There are a few times when it veers dangerously close to the sound of nu-metal, but most of the times it seems as though they're about to fall into that trap, they swerve off into something else. Those with sensitive consitutions may wish to exercise caution in consumption (particularly with the rock ballad closing track), but if you're looking for some unabashed hard grooves, Dogmate does a respectable job of providing what you want.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Queens Of The Stone Age, Reflux, Woods Of Ypres, Kylesa, Helltrain


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Way Back in the Woods

Black Bear ~ Rock From the Woods (2014)

 On first listen it's not hard to imagine these guys being from the US, it would be even easier to believe that they're from the South, but that's not the case. Black Bear is, in fact, a five piece Hard Rock band from Italy. Belting out that classic sort of 70's Hard Rock that has seen such a resurgence in recent years, with everything from the raw, but well executed vocals to the guitar tones harkening back to that period in time.
The third track on the album is also the title track, "Rock From the Woods" opens with a classic Southern Rock riff, with the bass following suit and thumping along nicely. The vocals are clean and raw, but take on a bit of a gritty Blues tone once in a while during the track. Most of the time you just want to tap your foot to the rocking drum section, but just a little after halfway you're hit with a heavy Blues sort of guitar solo, and it rips, you're served up with a more traditional solo afterwards, but it didn't have that same punch as the previous one for me. Moving along to track five, "Never Easy", and it's the quintessential Southern Rock ballad, complete with acoustic guitar. It seems that the vocals take on a bit of a rawer edge during this one, the sort that cuts through the speaker cone and slaps you upon first listen. The music is simple on this one, as it should be, this isn't the track to be showy and loud on, but to project an emotion, and they succeeded, the message comes through clearly. The guitar solos at the end are excellent though, and perfectly time to leave the song on a loud, screaming high point. The very next song, "Don't Need You" is probably the most aggressive tracks on the album, moving away from that 70's Hard/Southern Rock vibe towards a heavier Stoner Rock sound. The guitars simply pummel you to death from the start of the track, and the vocals take on a more modern tone, but not losing that raw edge one bit, if anything it's amplified on this one.
While it would appear that Black Bear don't have their own bandcamp page, you can order the album on CD or just the digital files from their label Mother Fuzzer Records, or go check 'em out on Amazon, if that's more your speed.

For Fans Of; Mountain, Thin Lizzy, Throttlerod

Denmark is at it Again

The Hedgehogs ~ Make Me Wanna Cry 7" (2014)

 The Hedgehogs are another band from that great land of Stoner and Psychedelic Rock we call Denmark, and they're no exception to the rule. Playing a style of Psychedelic Garage Rock, it's nothing new, but still done excellently. They released their new single recently through Levitation Records, the two songs on the 7" are the title track "Make Me Wanna Cry" and "Can't Find Myself" is the B-side. "Make Me Wanna Cry" starts off with that classic sort of Psychedelic Rock guitar tone, the one that will have everyone grooving when it comes on, as one person puts it "It sounds like Baby Woodrose, so much so that I have to go see if this is a cover song". While the opening is very "Woodrose-esque", it's without a doubt a Hedgehogs song. When the song is near the halfway point though, the whole mood changes, and along with an electric organ and guitar change up, with the latter pumping out a super fuzzed out riff that really takes the whole song up a level, and makes sure it goes out like that. You can go pick up the tracks for whatever you choose to pay on their bandcamp, or pick up that 7" vinyl for just 7 bucks.

For Fans Of; Baby Woodrose, Hjortene, Get Your Gun

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Warriors Of Stone...

Monolith - Louder (2014)

Monolith's new EP lives up to its name, providing megalithic slabs of fuzz-swaddled, grungy, psychedelic-tinged heavy rock. Opening with “The Scarred”, which drops like a load of bricks and keeps raining mortar dust into your ears, Louder hits the ground running and keeps up that admirable pace until the finish line. “If!?”, the second of the three tracks, turns up the aggression without losing the groove, and the closer, “Smelly Desert” shifts smoothly into a full-grit desert rock mode, putting an excellent personal spin on the familiar sounds of that musical style. Crisp and high-impact drumming, guitar with real character to it, and vocals that rise up without shaking off the residual grime (I mean that in the best of ways) gives Monolith a very strong EP, and one worth snagging if you have fondness for heavy rock, desert rock, stoner rock, or basically any other type of rock with a rough edge that you can think up. This crew is solid.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Rhino, Brimstone Coven, Wizard Smoke, Celophys, Wicked Lady


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Stags (according to Google translate)

Hjortene ~ Hjortene (2014)

From the country of Denmark comes another Stoner Rock band that are bound for even greater things in the scene, having already released two critically acclaimed EPs, it seems they decided to go for a critically acclaimed full length album, and they succeeded. Hjortene have put out one hell of an album, classic Stoner Rock cooked to perfection, and almost more fuzz than one mere mortal can handle. I was only three songs in and could tell this was going to be another band I would listen to again and again, much like their compatriots Baby Woodrose and Gas Giant, the quality of Stoner Rock coming out Denmark has always been stellar looking back on it now, and these guys are absolutely no different.
Their first track "180.000km/t" features Valient Himself, from the group Valient Thorr, on vocal duties. It opens with chaotic, feedback fury and a rolling drum part, but when you get passed that and the real groove starts up, that's why this album became an instant like for me. This track gives you the impression of an even more raw version of early Fu Manchu, especially with those guest vocals, and the fuzz is so thick, you can just about cut it with a knife. When you get to the fifth track "Epic Indian", you're greeted with an epic, 7 minute instrumental Stoner Rock masterpiece. From the twangy, slightly fuzzed out opening riff that will have your foot tapping from the first seconds, all the way until you get in the heart of the song, then the riffs get a lot fuzzier, and exponentially heavier, with a rhythm section that sounds like they're absolutely jamming when they recorded this one. The last song on the album is probably my favorite of the whole thing, "Canada" features Lorenzo Woodrose, mastermind behind Baby Woodrose, performing a one and a half minute guitar solo on the track. This one is a bit different, with mellow vocals, and more of a Psychedelic Rock vibe than the rest of the songs by focusing more on creating an atmosphere with this one, rather just blowing your head off with fuzzed out riffs, but they still come, and in spades by the end of the almost ten minute track.
As it stands, I think this is going to be one of my top albums of the year, as a Stoner Rock album, it's perfect in numerous ways. But then again, I didn't really expect anything other than excellence from a Danish Stoner Rock band, they have a legacy to uphold anyway, and I'd say it was in safe hands. They have a limited number of vinyls out with the album, so head over to their bandcamp if that's your sort of thing, but there's always unlimited downloads, so don't miss out on this one.

For Fans Of; Baby Woodrose, Astroqueen, Gas Giant

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Stroll Down False Memory Lane

The Galileo 7 ~ False Memory Lane (2014)

 A couple weeks ago, I wrote a piece on the latest single from Graham Day and the Forefathers, it would appear their guitarist Allan Crockford has another group putting out music also, enter The Galileo 7. This four piece from the UK plays their own take on Psychedelic/Garage Rock, but with more than a little Pop sensibility. I don't think it's a stretch to say that if they were around in the 60's, they would of become one of those timeless names that everyone still praises to this day, some 50 years later. If you can't manage to find the vocals catchy, you're going to find something that gets stuck in your head, be it the riffs, melodies, the whole thing is catchier than herpes.
From the first moments of the opening track, "Don't Follow Me", you're greeted with a sound that could pass as an auditory hallucination, which is faded out by the addition of a fuzzy riff, and those Pop coated vocals, with the rest of the group dropping in piece by piece shortly after. The electric organ is always an instrument that I thought was pretty cool, and this group uses it to perfection, not having to hide it in the back of the mix, or lay it on top as an afterthought, it's weaved in seamlessly amongst the other instruments, not just on this track, but all of them. The fourth track, "False Memory Lane" sounds like it could pass as a long lost song from The Beatles'  "Magical Mystery Tour" at times, with that classic sort of British Psychedelic vibe that was prevalent at the time, but still managing to do their own thing and let the Garage Rock habits show through just a bit here and there. The next song "Nobody Told You" is the exact same way, except it would seem to fit more readily on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" during certain parts, but that harder edge definitely shines through on this one, with the loud and blistering guitar riffs that comes in during the middle of the song, perforating the Pop sounding foundation that's laid out so well by the keyboard.
This group takes a sound that has been replicated so many times, and by the best of 'em, yet still manage to put their own stamp on it, so even though the music seems to draw on the best tunes of those bygone days, it's unquestionably theirs at the same time. If you call yourself a fan of classic Psychedelic Rock, 60's Pop music, or Garage Rock you're going to get hooked on this album in someway. And right now, when you order the vinyl from their store, you get a 3 track EP to go along with it, two releases for one price is always cool. 

For Fans Of; The Zombies, The Beatles, The Kinks

Sunday, May 25, 2014

From the Darkest Place in Space

 Melmak ~ The Only Vision of All Gods (2014)

Hailing from the Basque Country of Spain, the duo of Melmak form a hellacious  Sludge band, playing their own species of Atmospheric Sludgecore that's as chaotic and aggressive as it is heavy and groove laden. Between the thick, disgusting riffs and slamming, abusive drum sequences. You're left with the impression that if Crowbar and Black Flag took turns date raping EyeHateGod's comatose body, Melmak would be that bastardized offspring. from the slow, droning Sludge riffs that produce their own vibe of despair and loathing, to the mid-tempo, mind obliterating riffs, all the way to the breakneck heavily Hardcore influenced sections.
Like the majority of the songs on the album, the first track "Terroristing", is short, to the point, and gnarly sounding. Opening with a slow, thicker than congealed blood guitar riff, which gives way pounding drum lines, and vocals that sound more like they're being ripped out as opposed to being sung. This one sounds more like a traditional Sludgecore track, but when you move along to the very next song and you're hit with "Collective Suicide", while opening up in a traditional manner, Hardcore-esque riffs and all, but before long you're dropped off in quicksand, with everything crawling to a near standstill. That is, until the song's final reprise and that Hardcore attitude comes back for one last blast. The fifth track is one of the longer songs on the album, clocking in almost six and a half minutes, "Escape or Die" opens up with a agonizingly slow guitar and drum piece, droning on at just about the same tempo as Funeral Doom Metal. As it goes on and starts to create this immensely heavy atmosphere, then in the last minutes, the heavy droning lifts and you're smacked around with an ultra groovy riff that just pummels.
You can pick this brutal auditory dreadnought of an album up for whatever you price you feel is appropriate on their bandcamp, but if you have a couple bucks to spare, throw it there way, the album is more than worth it. You can always pick up the CD for a few bucks/Euros too, I'm sure your collection will appreciate it.

 For Fans Of; EyeHateGod, Soilent Green, In the Company of Serpents

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Red In Color...

1000mods - Vultures (2014)

The latest album from 1000 Mods starts out in a generally desert rock key, but before the opening song (“Claws”) is through, they've cranked up the fuzz and psychedelic guitar-tone smears to a level of red-eyed unruliness that threatens to liquify your speakers, or at least leave them sand-blasted. With shag carpeting for your ears in the form of their reverbed-out feedback solos and drums to shake your wax clean, the album cruises along through desert landscapes and starry skies, cranking tunes and shredding notes for the entire trip, roaring through rough winds and high speeds without a care. As they roll along, the songs cycle through riff after weighty riff, letting the grit and grime accumulate like a dust storm, and pulling things to a close with the hefty “Reverb Of The New World”.
The album has an impressive flow and momentum to it, carrying energy from one song to the next to great effect, and the way the band tears into the songs suggests countless hours spent in the studio getting to know the songs inside and out.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Kadavar, Black Rainbows, Salem's Pot, Kyuss, Moon Curse


Friday, May 23, 2014

Juicy And Sweet...

Dwellers - Pagan Fruit (2014)

Dwellers' second album starts things off with a slow and mellow cruiser of a song, and “Creature Comfort” does a good job of establishing the band's sound for those who haven't had a chance to hear them before now.   With slithering guitar-work and on-point percussion, the melody starts out subdued, but builds up bulk and a little menace as it grow heavier and trippier.  By the end of the track, the fuzz and drums have roared into an ear-rattling crescendo before diminishing into the distance to make room for the next song.
And so the album goes, keeping things from getting frenzied, but keeping enough raw energy under their belts to keep things shaking loose.  Between the lurking bass, acid-edged guitar solos, and the percussion, which adds in enough flourishes to spice things up without going overboard, the songs twist and turn through some gnarly bends, heating up and cooling down in smooth transitions.   The '70s-influenced vocals provide a tasty frosting to an already toothsome stoner rock delight, so if you've got a sweet tooth for that sort of music, chow down on some Pagan Fruit.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Vanilla Trainwreck, Brimstone Coven, Danzig, Sasquatch, Black Rainbows


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Crushing Riffs From Above

HawkMoth ~ Calamitas (2014)

 Normally, I steer clear of any genre that has the word "Post" at the beginning, in my past experience the music deemed Post Rock or Post Metal has always rubbed me the wrong way for one reason or another. I find it either boring, or self-indulgent, or a pretentious mix of both. In the past Isis was really the only group I found myself able to enjoy when it came to Post Metal, Sludge or otherwise. I do believe I've found my second exception though, in the form of an instrumental Post Metal/Sludge four piece from Sydney, Australia named Hawkmoth. Their latest album "Calamitas" is their second full length, and a follow up to their 2011 self-titled album, and it's a current of devastation, with some bends and shallows, but mostly just huge, crushing riffs.
It opens up with the track "Exsanguinating in the Overflowing Bath", a slow, blissful soundscape that suddenly turns into a ferocious storm of twelve ton riffs and a thundering drum line. This is one of the songs that really gives off a Kylesa vibe for me, and Hawkmoth completely kill it with this one. A little after halfway the sludgy riffs give way to a lone, airy guitar part that lulls you into sense of peace, only to let you get crushed one final time before the track comes to an end. The next track is titled "Hitler's Dogs", not entirely sure why, but I'm going to go with it. With a rolling drum intro, the Sludge riffs drop in once again and put up a wall of sound, but that pattern of bends and shallows is never far from hand, and after a while the songs takes a turn and starts up with another, even heavier riff. You can tell how much planning goes into one of these tracks when you come across a shorter one, like the 3:49 duration on this one, and hear how seamless some of the transitions are, this is where all of those hours of rehearsal and practice time I'm sure they put in really shines through. The fifth track "Don't Speak of the Sun" opens up with that same heavier than hell guitar attack that you come to know so well over the course of this almost hour long album. Taking an even slower and lower approach, you're slapped with chest rattling bass and those thick, Sludge riffs. And when I say the drummer sounds like an animal at times, I'm not talking about that fuzzy bastard from the Muppets, more along the lines of a gorilla beating his chest, or more likely the chest of a dead rival.
If you're a fan of Post Metal, even just down and dirty Sludge Metal, anything like that, you should check out this album, you'll be sure to find something worthwhile. For all of you burgeoning artists in instrumental bands, take note, this is how you do it and constantly keep the listener stuck in your music, and not just have it become background noise. If you like what you hear, go on over to their bandcamp, and get in on the action. 

For Fans Of; Kylesa, Melvins, Neurosis

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grey Skies Ahead...

Saṃsāra - Dystopia (2014)

This EP from one-man band Samsara kicks off with a series of bangs, thunderous percussion threatening to burst your eardrums if you have the volume too high. Musician Guille Abdicacion builds up the atmosphere, adding and effectively layering a number of gritty details, and assembling a nightmare in the process. Each of the songs (“They Live”, “Emptiness”, “Monitored Minds”, and the title track) tackle dystopian doom in a different way, with success all around. Though the distorted vocals make it difficult to discern individual words, the attitude behind them comes through with all the violence needed to get its point across.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Trees (USA), Gnaw Their Tongues, Hesperian Death Horse, Ramesses, Meth Drinker


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Out of the Shadows

 BlueRose ~ Darkness and Light (2013)

What started as a cover band is now a Heavy Rock band from Italy, BlueRose could just about pass as a Doom Metal band at times, taking subtle cues from greats like Paradise Lost and Candlemass, but it's not hard to hear all of the modern influence that pours through along with the classic, with shades of bands like Lacuna Coil, and Symphonic Metal like passages on a couple songs, all the way to huge vocal dynamics and guitar tones that you find in so much Classic Rock, like Zeppelin and Queen. You might of guessed it's not a new sound they're pushing, far from it, but that fact can be overlooked when you play well enough to make the stale sound reasonably fresh, with seemingly endless catchy riffs and melodies.
The title track kicks things off, opening with a blast, this is one of the "almost Doom" songs that I mentioned before, with hammering drums and heavy, distorted riffs, the beat and melodies in the song are supremely catchy and will have you either nodding your head, or tapping your toe in time with the song, maybe even both. Even with the heavier Doom influences in the song, with the guitar solo towards the end of the track, it still very much has that classic Hard Rock vibe to the song, much like the entire album. The album's fourth track "On My Way" opens with up a classic 70's sounding Heavy Rock riff, reminding me a little bit of Orange Goblin, which can only be considered a good thing. Each song seems to have it's own, slightly different guitar tone, and this one is probably my favorite by far in that category. A couple songs after that you have the track "Leaving You", another one of the heavier, "Doom-ier" sounding songs, the crunchy, distorted riffs, heavy drums, and that wailing vocal performance, while it's clean overall, still has a bit of a raw edge to it, where the grit shines through just a touch. Towards the end, the songs turns into a chaotic whirlwind of guitar solos and a throbbing drum beat, but even through all of it, the melody in the song is still as evident as ever.
If you're a fan of classic rock and heavy metal, this is probably just your speed. Seeing these guys on a bill with Motorhead, Ozzy Osborne, Queensryche, or any of the older, well loved bands isn't difficult at all, and their sound would fit in perfectly, some would consider it timeless. If you like what you hear from these guys, you can pick up the album over at IBS and at the Andromeda Rocks website on CD, or you can get a digital copy over on iTunes.

For Fans Of; Heaven and Hell, Motorhead, Black Label Society

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Crusty Gem...

Black Emerald - B.O.D. (2014)

This EP from the UK-based Black Emerald finds them full of vinegar (and probably a few other substances) as they channel some blackened thrash into a base of sludge. Grimy and aggressive, the group's members are more than capable of pulling out some clean melodies, but as they make clear, they're much more interested in spine-snapping, body-shaking, foaming-at-the-mouth energy cut loose. Listening to it, I have to imagine that fights breaking out in the pit are a common event at Black Emerald's shows, as the violence of the music comes across as honest and un-manufactured. Sure, they're easy-going enough to let a groove riff slip in here and there, but when the time comes to unleash, they don't hold back. Good stuff, worth keeping an ear on this band to find out how they'll develop from here.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; EyeHateGod, Fister, Open Tomb, Acid Witch, Acid King


Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Cool Kids

Cutty's Gym ~ Sick Glass (2014)

Cutty's Gym is a bit of an anomaly around these parts, in the sea of emails we get, all filled with Psychedelic, Doom, Stoner, and Sludge riffs there comes along a two piece from Scotland that decide they are going to explore the heavy side of Jazz-Rock. I've always appreciated the complexity and sound of Jazz music, but somewhere along the way it missed me, maybe I'm just a sucker for the Blues instead. I'm always willing to make an exception though, if something catches my ear, then I'm going to listen to it, and these two caught my ear. With those interwoven Jazz rhythms, but a Heavy Rock tone, they lay down four tracks of their own heavy, and trippy Jazz-Rock with their EP "Sick Glass". While the guitar is bordering on full on Psychedelic at times it seems, keeping those entrancing riffs coming, the drums are on their own equally thrilling adventure, beating in time with its counterpart, syncing up perfectly, the way things seem to do when you're tripping on hallucinogens, lending even further to that hypnotic sense you get from the music. Of the four tracks on this release, the second is probably my favorite this time around, the track "Dudeman" takes their sound and adds a certain Stoner Rock guitar swagger to it, and it absolutely slays. Opening with a deep, rolling drums, the guitar drops with a short but catchy little riff, vaguely reminiscent of the Truckfighters, with the underlying bass track being so fat and rounded, it gives the song a nice, full sounding mix and would definitely be lacking severely without it. "Sick Glass" is a "name your price" deal over on their bandcamp, so go check it out and give the Psychedelic Stoner Jazz Rock EP of the year a download, if it grabs your attention too.

For Fans Of; Shrine, Battles, Electric Electric

Saturday, May 17, 2014

As The Nova Flares...

Acid Elephant - Star Collider (2013)

Star Collider is Acid Elephant's second full album, and though there's only five songs to it, the album clocks in at over an hour of wild and wooly psychedelic shakes. Things start out rather innocently, with the desert-rocky “Las Noches del Desierto”, but things only get heavier, madder, and more doomed from there, culminating in the almost half-hour of sinking provided by “bog”. En route to that swampy fate, the intensity is masterfully developed, with moments, as in “7th Stone”, in which the guitar's slow pace gobbles everything else right up, until the percussion and synthesizer can recover and grow back into place. At other times, they'll erupt into volcanic bursts of white-hot activity, or let the sludgy bass pour over the rest and out of your speakers.
As “bog” settles into place to draw the album to a close, one riff emerges to dominate the music, and the band throws themselves under its sway, letting that riff bend everything to its will, from the rumbling grind of subterranean synth-work to the earthquake-threatening hum of the bass. When the end finally comes, if you've listened to the album front-to-back, it's a little like coming out of a trance; you have to shake yourself a little to make sure everything's intact. Damn good stuff, and quite a treat.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Salem's Pot, Olde Growth, Tons, Sleep, Eternal Elysium


Friday, May 16, 2014

Party In R'lyeh...

King Bong - PINNG (2014)

If a band is going to invoke the name of Cthulhu, they're setting themselves up for some gargantuan shoes to fill, so to speak. It calls for doom on an apocalyptic level, and swirls so psychedelic as to make you genuinely worry about the musicians' mental health. On King Bong's latest outing, PINNG, Or, The Underwater Adventures Of A Young Cthulhu, they bring the doom in first, and in a respectful volume: the whole album is one 36-minute elephant of a track, one which starts out slow but builds more and more momentum, picking up speed so it can run you over and into the ground.
They take their time getting to the psychotic side of things, making sure to lay down a recognizable foundation while leaks of guitar overload creep in around the edges of the measures. Like the intensity of the doom, these traces are developed into big, sinister flares of feedback, galvanizing the rest of the song into wilder animation.
It's not quite brain-melting madness, but as the title says, these are the adventures of a young Cthulhu, not an old one with the fun drained out of his system by aeons under the waves. If you're in the mood for a toothsome, tentacular head-trip, do yourself a favor and give PINNG a listen ASAP; the stars are right!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Dopethrone, Machine Head, Celophys, Bongripper, Fleshpress


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Demon's Egg...

NAGA - HĒN (2014)

NAGA's debut album, HĒN, is a nasty, sludgy piece of blackened doom metal. From the dark, brooding majesty of the 13-minute opening track, “Naas”, on through the rest of the album, the group maintains a serious approach to dredging up music from the deepest, stickiest, and most skeleton-filled pits of tar and Tartarus. From storming, thunderous aggression to passages which cling to life's energy by just a thread, the album allows the band to display their talents at evoking a range of Hellish atmospheres and swirling clouds of demonic activity.
The trio responsible for these songs of aches and pains hails from Italy, so while you might have to wait a while before they bring their brand of doom near your home-town, the work they put in on this album makes it clear that they've got the skills and dedication to keep raging along until the apocalypse. Lay Bare Recordings and Burning World Records handled the album's release on vinyl at the end of March, while FalloDischi, LaFine, and Shove Records handled the CD release, so if you have a sweet tooth for doom soaked in black essence, be sure to snag a copy before they're all eaten by the void.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Grime, Noothgrush, Hate, Tons, Lake Of Blood


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You Shall Pass!...

Ancient Warlocks - Self Titled (2013)

You may think you know all there is to know about stoner rock. You may well be an authority on the matter, or maybe just an enthusiast. You may even, as I've noticed more and more recently, be one of these tossers that act completely nonplussed at a new sound because your knowledge is just so extensive that you've heard it all before. Well this is Ancient fuckin' Warlocks, and they will blow your mind.
Now, I do get sent a whole lotta stuff on a daily basis, but it's been quite some time since an album has hooked and reeled me in quite like this beauty. Some albums take a few listens to get into. Some catch you straight away then peter out, but this... Well this is a whole different animal.
Summoning a sound that sits somewhere equidistantly between early Queens Of The Stone Age and Orange Goblin, the Warlocks have cranked out what I can, without any doubt, see as being one of the best albums of the last 12 months. It's got absolutely everything you could possibly ask for in a solid stoner rock album. More blissfully gratifying riffs than you can shake a stick at, beats that will have you reaching for your air drum sticks and a shear unadulterated groove that completely takes over and leaves you about as still and calm as child with A.D.D and a can of Mountain Dew. Theres just something so utterly intoxicating about this album from start to finish. I mean, I got home about two hours ago upon which I found it on my doorstep, since then its had no less than four or five spins on my turntable. Given my currently lethargic state, the usual chore of having to get up to flip the LP over every 15 mins or so has been met with a surprising sprightliness. If that doesn't speak volumes nothing does!
Given its first pressing late last year, all 300 copies practically vanished, and rightly so, it's a truly essential purchase. So whether you head on over to their Bandcamp page for a download, hit the band up for a cd or, and this is my personal preference, head on over to our good friends at STB Records who have worked their magic on a beautiful reissue and an array of choices of wax. Thats right, the elves have been busying away of recent and created no less than three gorgeous limited editions to grace your eyes and ears with. There's just a few finalisations going on, but it should be up for preorder soon, so keep an eye out!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; All Them Witches, The Heavy Eyes


Monday, May 12, 2014

Calling Top Gun...

MACH22 - Sweet Talk Intervention (2014)

MACH22's debut album dives into the 1980s for its sound, pulling from groups like Quiet Riot, Ratt, and Def Leppard for power chords, steady drum backing, and an abundance of quick guitar solos. The singer has that same sort of energy, shaking and playing with his delivery to max out his dramatics and invite listeners to sing along with him on the choruses. There's little feedback or fuzz, as the production is extremely clean, though the guitar does keep a little buzz for special moments. I was half-surprised that there wasn't a power ballad buried somewhere on the album, but maybe they're saving it for their second outing; they're going to need something for the ladies, after all. Instead, there's a couple of Aerosmith/Run-DMC-speed line deliveries, with the singer adopting an uncannily-good Steven Tyler impression.
Is MACH22 part of an upswing/revival for '80s-styled hard rock? Will the '70s-themed heavy rock resurgence flare out to make room for it, just in time for metal with a splash of '90s grunge to take over from there? Or is there room for nostalgia acts from every decade these days? Of course, it'll be up to the people who buy the albums and listen to them to decide that, no matter how many groups are pulled together around a starry-eyed idea of 'the old days', so give it a listen and make your own choice.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Quiet Riot, Guns 'n' Roses, High Spirits, Aerosmith, Night Ranger

MACH22 - I'm Just A Man


Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Cult Rises...

Dopelord - Black Arts, Riff Worship & Weed Cult (2014)

The latest album from Poland's own Dopelord is a very solid offering of occult doom with some love of '70s ephemera swirled in alongside the mighty riffs and mega-heavy grooves. More than solid, the album packs a high amount of content that will sound familiar to those acquainted with what the band refers to as 'magical herbs', though clearly imprinted with the band's own sense of things. They find a more-than-happy medium between the blueprints of Black Sabbath and the more aggressive edge of modern fuzz-and-film-samples storms from groups like Electric Wizard and Dopethrone, then dive in head-first, kicking up splashes of psychedelic doom with enough black-light energy infused to make your speakers start to glow.
As the album goes on, things start getting a bit more sinister, with the middle track, “Acid Trippin'”, serving as the catalyst for things to start going into unbridled madness. The second-to-last track, “Green Plague”, sinks deeper and deeper into psychedelic cascades of guitar-tone feedback reverbing into and over itself, with loops squealing and cycling in and out of existence. Finally, it comes down to “Pass The Bong”, the longest track on the album, which measures in at a knee-wobbling 11-and-a-half minutes, but makes use of every last second in that run to make the most of turning the wildness up even higher.
As the band's second album, it's extremely impressive; they've got their feet planted firmly where they want them, and a strong personality shaping the various influences from which they draw. Don't miss out on hearing this one, as you'll be seeing it in plenty of '2014 Album Of The Year' lists in the months to come. Just get yourself a copy, kick back, and let the weed cult take you away.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath, Dopethrone, Tons, Megasus


Friday, May 09, 2014

Toke Has Arrived...

Toke - Demo (2014)

This two-track demo from North Carolina's fledgling Toke allows the band to show off their skills in a way that's quick without cutting down on content. Their self-titled track is a fine balance between traditional doom and stoner metal, with some harshness evocative of Cough or EyeHateGod's attitude once the vocals kick their way into the mix. The drums are on-point, the guitar does a great job of flipping between hazy feedback and sharp (for stoner metal, that is) precision, while the bass provides an almost subliminal foundation.
The second track, “Winter Wizard”, has kind of a Pentagram-meets-Deep Purple feel to it, with some snazzy finger-work on the guitar as the song plows itself into a momentum that builds and builds; for some reason, it was easy to imagine the band performing this one while on top of a train speeding over frozen rails. There's some sense of unrelenting force providing the push behind the bleary-eyed grooves, and both songs have a great sense of the band plotting out the structures, then adding their own extra touches to it during the recording process. If this is their starting point, then Toke seems destined for some major riffage, legendary albums, and memorable song names.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Cough, Black Sabbath, Church Of Misery, Olde Growth, Acid King


Mantras And Mandalas...

Domadora - Tibetan Monk (2013)

From the cover art by Rubens to the lush arrangements of the instruments, Domadora's Tibetan Monk is an impressive and extremely ambitious work. For most of the album, they seem to be flying by the seat of their pants, just barely holding together the chaotic cacophony; but somehow, they pull it off, and with flying colors. The psychedelic reeling of the guitar is nicely balanced against the harder elements (namely, the sheer speed with which they rampage through most of the songs, and the mad drumming that pushes it even further and faster), and they really know how to put together a song that's long without wearing out its welcome.
They also know how to slow it down and luxuriate in some smoky stoner blues with a technical touch, as in the excellent “Chased And Caught”. With some quick tracks to open and end the album, Tibetan Monk is an album that leaves a great impression, though you might find yourself a little overwhelmed by the psychedelia when you try to think back to specific moments. The French trio recently signed with Bilocation Records, so if vinyl is your format of choice, keep an eye out for that version of Tibetan Monk to arrive later this year; if you prefer digital, you can swing by Domadora's BandCamp page to snag it as a CD or a download. Either way, give this crew a try, and prepare to have your mind shredded.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Deep Purple, Blue Cheer, Don Caballero, Salem's Pot, Wicked Lady


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

All Roads Ahead...

Karhide - Colossus EP (2014)

Karhide's Colossus EP is a technically-inclined blend of doom and post-rock, surging with break-neck drumming and tension-wire guitar-work past the average bands in the post-metal grouping. Here, Karhide refuses to settle down or to sit still for a moment, remaining completely focused on unleashing as much raw energy and speed as it can in the four tracks they picked for inclusion. Despite being less than 20 minutes of material in all, the EP is surprisingly exhausting by the end of its run, with the non-stop excitation of the musicians daring the listener to keep up or eat dust. Personally, I just don't have the stamina to keep keep pace with the mad rush of their performance, but if you can, my hat is off to you.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Artension, Goon Moon, Destrage, Telepathy, Wizard Rifle


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Sound of HEAVYDEATH Approaching

HEAVYDEATH ~ Demo I - Post Mortem in Aeternum Tenebrarum (2014)

This Death/Doom Metal duo from Sweden play a spaced out sort of Death/Doom Metal, spaced out but still fucking crushing. This is their first demo, it's four songs coming in at around twenty-three minutes, put out on cassette through Caligari Records. This may be the group's first demo, but the musicians are seasoned, having been in bands like Runemagick, Necrocurse, and The Funeral Orchestra. Slowly building up from the start, it turns into a two ton slab of granite, being dragged along, and obliterating everything it comes across. With the droning on of the opening sequence, the drums slowly build into a death march rhythm, and the massive guitar riff adds an extra dose of heaviness to the formula. The standout track on this one, for me, was "Into the Heavy Death". With the skull crushing opening Doom Metal riff, and quaking bass lines that develop, all three instruments come together to create a dense wall of sound, one that you can feel in your chest when played at appropriate levels. This lends to the feeling of devastation that the band puts out in their music. The vocals come in after a time, but almost sounding like a chant, but begin to turn into the guttural screams you've come to expect from any genre with Death Metal influence. You can pick up their first demo on cassette over at the Caligari Records Store, and check out the rest of their demos over on their own bandcamp.
For Fans Of; Winter, (early) Paradise Lost, Hooded Menace

Garage Rock Goodness

Graham Day and the Forefathers ~ Love Me Lies [single] (2014)

Graham Day, Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard, the three guys to bring you the bands The Prime Movers, and The Solarflares are back with their latest incarnation, Graham Day and the Forefathers. While they don't plan on writing any new material, they are going back through Graham Day's catalog and playing their "best of", considering these guys have been laying down jams longer than I've been alive, I'd say they have a pretty wide selection to choose from. This single is basically a two track teaser for a sort of "live" album they plan on releasing. The A side is "Love Me Lies", a cover of The Prisoners. With a raw and catchy Garage Rock riff, rolling drums, and a running bass line, the track really swings. One of the best things about Garage Rock is the rawness of it all, the unpolished surface. The vocals follow that same pattern, with a raw, untouched tone saturating the whole performance, and it's done perfectly. The flip side is the song "30-60-90" is an instrumental piece, with lots of fuzz and a fast pace, it only clocks in at just over two minutes, but they are an intense two minutes. With an electric organ opening up, and then it and the guitar going back forth over the whole track, it has a very retro feel, especially with the guitar belting out a sort of heavy Surf Rock riff. If you're hoping to get a copy of this vinyl single, then you've already missed the first pressing which sold out during pre-order, but there is another pre-order up for a second pressing that is planned to be released June 9th going on over here.

For Fans Of; Baby Woodrose, MC5, The Doors
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Monday, May 05, 2014

Startruckers are Space Bound and Down

Startruckers ~ The Southern Sessions #4 (2014)

Startruckers are a five piece Stoner Rock band from France, San Rafael to be specific. With three EPs under their belts already, they've found their way back to us with "Southern Sessions #4" and it's more of the tasty riffs, and heavy, heavy grooves. The nice and thick bass sounds fit perfectly with the with the hard hits delivered by the drummer. With two guitars laying down over-driven Stoner Rock riffs, and fuzz galore, the only thing that's left to top off the mix is a soaring, grungy vocal performance.
With the EP only being three tracks, and clocking in at around seventeen minutes, you're definitely left wanting to hear more when it inevitably ends. The track I gravitated towards most was "Deserter", with a long and mellow bass intro, the other instruments slowly trickling in until it forms a crescendo of Stoner Rock groove devastation, with that fat bass tone leading the way. The two guitar attack is thick and fuzzy on this one, with those very 90's Grunge Rock vocals on top of everything, with all their dynamics and raw power, it's the icing on the already delicious cake.
This is another awesome freebie over on bandcamp, so be sure to go check it out, if you're into the Stoner Rock scene, you won't be disappointed.

For Fans Of; Kyuss, Astroqueen, SoundGarden


Sunday, May 04, 2014

Chasing The Dream...

Telepathy - 12 Areas (2014)

On their first full album, Telepathy have a distinct focus on developing a near-palpable atmosphere, one with rumbling mechanisms, fading echoes, and distant wails of trailing notes. Of course, they also have room for high-speed drum tricks, wild time-signature shifting, and a sharp electrical edge to the guitar as it slices through the murkiness surrounding it, so the album's tension never reaches an oppressive level. Telepathy, in keeping with their name, prefer not to use vocals, putting all of the pressure on their ability to communicate via the instruments.
Truth be told, their technique and skills, along with the synergy of the band, is genuinely impressive.  Listening to the album, it's easy to imagine the many grueling practice sessions behind the final product, and it's hard not to respect their dedication.   The trouble is, the songs are a little too hyper-kinetic and abrupt in their shifting between drastically different moods, so for a significant chunk of the album, whatever ideas they're trying to get across or story they're trying to tell ends up obscured by the audio pyrotechnics they've chosen to use.  Admittedly, in the second half of the album, a lot of that over-the-top freneticism is resolved into more linear progressions, so it there is a working story arc to the album, one that likely improves the more times you follow along with your ears.  Maybe it just takes a telepath to appreciate another telepath's idiomatic expression, so if you dig on complex arrangements and high-speed bombastics, dig into this and let your mind drift.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Between The Buried And Me, Behold... The Arctopus, Mastodon, Biomechanical, Meshuggah