Monday, June 30, 2014

Story of the Spirit Knife

Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus ~ Spirit Knife (2014)

For those of you, like myself, that have never heard of this Swedish four piece, Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus plays their own type of super mellow, spaced-out Psychedelic Rock with a vintage vibe. Listening to "Spirit Knife" is more like taking a cosmic journey than simply listening to an album, the huge, soaring vocals that command your attention from their first utterance, but are never oppressive, always relying on dynamics and pitch to sound huge as opposed to sheer volume. With every change of the song you're greeted with a new, expansive soundscape, each like it's own separate universe, all are similar and all are unique in their own way. Like the track "Sworn Collision" has a mellow Grunge, SoundGarden kind of thing going on, while a track like "Once Levitated" strikes me as a song that probably would of gotten decent radio rotation back in the '70s. The sheer scope of the songs is one of the most common traits, they sound so much larger than what you'd associate with a four piece group, enveloping and even overwhelming the listener just a bit. The guitar tone is understated at times, but can become colossal, dominating the song and cracking down like a bolt of lightning without a moment of hesitation. The stand out track for me on the whole thing was the album's closing, and title track, they're all excellent selections of music, but that's the one that really got me hooked and made me hit repeat when I got through the first listen. "Spirit Knife" kicks off with a distorted guitar part that ramps up into a screaming guitar riff before dropping off into an ambient lull, where the singer starts to unleash his vocal performance in his usual melodic fashion, punctuated with huge highs and lows over the course of the track. The guitar is always trailing close behind, ready to breakout at a moments notice, and a rhythm section that is tight and always providing a subtle groove to get you moving. With the whole track seeming like a build up, until the very end where you're ferociously attacked with howling guitars, and raw vocals for a climatic end to an amazing album and song. You could probably spend a year engineering a machine that won't fit together as perfectly as all the parts of this band fall together to create a monumental wall of sound. While you can find their earlier releases on their own bandcamp, this  album is released through Small Stone Records, and can be purchased in any form through their bandcamp. With so many impressive albums coming out this year, and with so many more to go, this may not get all the deserved recognition, but don't be that guy, give it a spin.

For Fans Of; Pink Floyd, Dead Meadow, Led Zeppelin

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Three-Day Bender...

Zeppheroin - Methadone Jesus (2014)

From the first distorted notes, Zeppheroin's latest album drips grimy doom, like something you might find oozing from the walls of an asylum's basement. From the sound of things, that might be where they recorded the album, as there's a distinct rough edge to the production work, though it by no means blunts the band's efforts; on the contrary, it tends to add a claustrophobic feel to the echoing reverb and massive growls from the bass, while the percussion slides in on an almost subliminal level. I say band, but it should be noted that everything you'll hear on this album was the work of one man, Tony Maim, who gelled it all together with a sticky tar coating that works so well you'll want to scrub your ears clean after listening.
For all the 'tie it to a brick and toss it in the river' heaviness throughout the proceedings, Zeppheroin's more than capable of pulling out a ripping guitar passage when wanted, serving as a sort of analogue to psychotic breaks or something along those lines. Whatever it is, it's downright filthy, sludgy stuff with a low-nonsense approach to accepting doom in your life; as he notes in the notes, “no mention of the occult or burning witches – is it still Doom?” The answer is an definite yes, with hope audibly absent from the experience. Throw yourself down a flight of stairs, get a painkiller prescription, and then blare this as loud as your senses can stand; your neighbors might not appreciate it, but your ears should.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; EyeHateGod, Ramesses, Dopelord, Windhand, Uncle Acid


Friday, June 27, 2014

A Rare Beast...

Albinö Rhino - Albinö Rhino (2014)

Albinö Rhino's first full-length is a big old boy, with each of its four tracks averaging around the ~10-minute mark.  Kicking off with “The Forest Prevails”, they immediately sink into a groove at crushing depths, rolling along on growing momentum into heavier and choppier waters as the song continues; think something along the lines of “Dopesmoker”'s opening, but with more of an optimistic bent to things shining through in their tone and timbre.  The whole song plays the 'growing intensity' card to great effect, and it's almost jarring when it pulls to a close and finally unclenches the band's hold on the central riff.
Of course, then things are picked right back up by the second track, “Sanctification”, which snaps its own monster riff right into place, introduces their melancholy-minus-paralysis vocals, and tears off into the dark.  “Blue Mist” follows that up in a similar vein, though things are a little faster and sharper by that point, with the band breaking out moves more aggressive than on either of the preceding tracks, and basically pulling off the doom/stoner metal equivalent of a circle pit summoning.
The album wraps things up (to a degree) with “Uphold The Light, Pt. 1”, which lets them show off even more riff-crafting abilities as they roar into even wilder territory, snapping out rhythms and vocal deliveries without diminishing the impact of the roots-and-leaves grime of the song's animating melody.   Great stuff, and I'm personally very much looking forward to their next release, which will hopefully jump into “Uphold The Light, Pt. 2” right off the bat to continue their masterful groove.  If you're looking for something heavy and fuzzy, or a more summery sort of doom, be sure to catch this Rhino.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Sonora Ritual, Aleph Null, Rhino, Brimstone Coven, Celophys


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

No Bones About It...

¡PENDEJO! - Atacames (2014)

Though ¡PENDEJO! hails from Holland, they've managed to channel a significant amount of influence from the southern desert rock of the States, delivering it in a passionate Spanish outpouring over hard-chugging guitar and bass and some inspired drums. Something I wouldn't have minded hearing put to a little more use on the album was the occasional breaking-out of horns, as deployed to snazzy effect in “Amor Y Pereza”. Their brassy appearance is kept infrequent enough to surprise and deliver some real impact when needed, and while most of the album is in high-energy rock-out-with-your-balls-out mode, the group does switch things up and slows it down once or twice. “Amiyano” really stands out in this sense, but there's also a spectacular slow-grind bridge in “Camarón”, shortly before another sharp horn interlude, that really demands and rewards some close listening. Add on some near-sludgy (minus the misanthropy) slow-swing grooves in most of the other songs, and they shine right across the speed spectrum.
Ear-hooks of melody aside, these moments of relative calm work something like the popping bursts of horns in the way they provide a quick spritz of fresh air before the band throws itself back into the grit and beats, while also being fantastic grooves in their own right. There's also a great sense of flow from song to song, with the band neatly managing the momentum of things, enough to almost sound as though it was recorded in one long and amazing afternoon. As I hear it, the album pulls all its diverse sounds together for a great finish in the final track, which you can find below. Not one to miss if you're a fan of inventive and heavy stoner rock, Atacames is currently available in digital, CD, and vinyl copies (though I expect the LPs will soon disappear as word off mouth spreads about this band). Two thumbs up from RWTD.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Acid Elephant, Powered Wig Machine, Buzzov•en, Olde Growth, Fear Itself


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Conjuring the Riff Demons

Wo Fat ~ The Conjuring (2014)

The fuzzy riff masters out of Texas, Wo Fat, are back with their latest speaker cone destroying album, "The Conjuring" their second album on Small Stone Records. The formula hasn't changed a great deal from their last effort, or even their earlier releases, you're still repeatedly smacked around by the torrential Stoner Rock assault that you've come to expect from this band. Sure, it's only a five track album, but with none coming in under a six minute duration you'll be hard pressed to find five heavier tracks this year. From the ten minute opening track, all the way to the seventeen minute closer, you'll be completely enthralled in all of the groovy and fuzzy goodness that these guys lay down from the first moments until the last, jam after jam, never missing a beat. As excellent as the whole album sounds, top to bottom, my personal standout track is "Read the Omens". Opening up with unrelenting fuzz, the track doesn't take long to blast off into full swing. The "tighter than a virgin on prom night" rhythm section create a wall of sonic obliteration so massive that mortal man can barely stand in it's shadow, with that phenomenal guitar tone taking center stage at certain points, managing to inject an even heavier groove than what was provided. The course, gravel road vocals keep a melodic quality all the way through, using that to fade a little of the vocal edge off, even taking on a little bit of a chant-like vibe at a couple of points. When the vocalist isnt' howling, his guitar is, putting down the thick, gnarly riffs and solos one has come to expect from the band. Towards the end of the track, it all devolves into a full on auditory jackhammer, with the band's entire groove slamming it's way home into your brain. This is but a taste of everything this album has to offer. As this album picks up even more steam since it's release more and more people will be picking it up, so whether you just need the digital version to blast at top volume and piss off all your neighbors, or you're a more serious music collector and are balls deep into a vinyl collection, and even all of you fine people that still buy cds, you can find something to fit any of your musical needs at Small Stone's bandcamp, and you will need this in your collection, no Stoner Rock collection would be complete without it.

For Fans Of; Rainbows Are Free, Artimus Pyledriver, Dozer

Monday, June 23, 2014

Out After Dark

Tumbleweed Dealer ~ Western Horror (2014)

Our friends at Tumbleweed Dealer have returned to us once again, bearing new gifts as always. This time in the form of their latest full length album, "Western Horror". What they've put down is a spooky instrumental Stoner Rock journey through the old west, where the cloudy mist hugging the ground at night is pot smoke. The guys in Tumbleweed Dealer have always been great at playing instrumental stuff, not something every band can pull off, at least not for it's entire catalog of songs. But the Dealer keeps you on your toes, and now with this instrumental concept album they've put out, it's down right intriguing. They combine the influences of the old spaghetti western scores with spacey, groove heavy Stoner Rock to create more than just an atmosphere or soundscape, they paint an entire picture in sound. From the lonely, howling guitar parts to the upbeat, to the slightly folk influenced jams that are sprinkled throughout the album they've managed to put a new, unique spin on their already stellar sound for this album.
Since this is a concept album, it really should be listened to in it's entirety, and not picked apart track by track in order to get the full effect. From the very first notes on the opening "Bluntlust" you know you've stumbled into something different from anything you've really experienced before, with the lonely guitar opening like a stoned version of that same music you've heard in westerns so many times as the good guy starts out on his noble quest. It doesn't take long for the drums and bass to get in on the jam, kicking the song off with a bang. This is the start of our unsuspecting victim's journey, a pretty mellow send off into what will probably be the worst time of his life, with the tempo falling off around halfway through it's a pretty ominous sign of things to come. The next track "Slow Walk Through a Ghost Town" continues the story of our high seeking friend, with a suspense building guitar opening that does nothing but become more foreboding as the four minute tracks winds on. This opens more like a Doom Metal track than Stoner Rock, with the beat dragging its self along by the fat bass tone that's put down so nicely and cracking drums that sound nice and tight. The third track, Riding Upon a Skeletal Steed", opens with a bass and drum jam, bringing to mind images of someone racing across the landscape at night, doing their best to outrun the evil nipping at their heels. The guitar drops in after a short time and really lends to that feeling of unknowing as the song continues on and the suspense builds even further.
Not to give much more of this awesome album's secrets away, and blow all of the gems hidden within, but the five tracks that follow these are of epic proportions and round out the journey of our hero perfectly. While there is talk of a vinyl release in the works, even if it is a bit far away, you can get in on the digital version of this album over at the group's bandcamp starting today. If you don't check it out, you will be missing out on one of the coolest albums to hit the scene this year

For Fans Of; Serpent Throne, Tuber, Earth

Saturday, June 21, 2014

To Be Consumed...

Sunwølf - Beholden To Nothing And No One (2014)

The third and latest album from UK-based outfit Sunwølf is an intimidatingly sizable affair, clocking in at two discs and ~90 minutes of epic-minded doom with wide vistas of resonance. For the first quarter or so of the first disc album, it's almost like a traditional doom version of post-rock, with attention to developing the details and building up into grandiose crescendos, even as dark, subtle shadows are growing beneath the brighter and more overt elements, with aching vocals and slow strums of instrumentation and soft touches of piano to paint the scenes.
Then the full-on metal vocals erupt from the sedation, the guitar swings into action with a grimy buzz, and they rumble into life like a long-buried war machine reactivated after decades of decay; after a few more songs, the rust has been rattled away, and a cleaner, sharper form emerges, rolling relentlessly on into crushing terrain, until all the concrete forms have been wiped away, leaving them back where they began, with only themselves still around to destroy.
On the second disc, the subdued style returns, with slow passages highlighted by judicious use of audio samples drifting along into sonic hypnosis with gleaming synth and sax tones and spine-tingling bass groans. There's so much to this album that I don't feel I can do it anywhere near the justice it deserves; it's something you just have to hear. Similarly, just one track can't represent all the different moods and wild moments of the album, but until June 30th, the one down below is all you can get. CDs will be extremely limited (personally, I'm hoping like crazy that some sharp label will license it for a wider release), so be sure to snap one up fast if you have any intention of getting one. Hats off to this group for some truly magnificent work.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Godspeed You! Black Emperor, White Darkness, Jesu, Windhand, Wolves In The Throne Room


Friday, June 20, 2014

Riding To The Graveyard...

Funeral Horse - Sinister Rites Of The Master (2014)

Funeral Horse's latest release is a fine slab of fuzzier-than-thou stoner rock, perfect for blasting out of your car's windows on a muggy night.  While the distortion on the vocals can sometimes make the words a bit tricky to properly hear, that fits right in with the buzzsaw guitar and drums that thump like a neighbor who thinks you've got the music turned up too loud.  The record keeps things lean and trim at approximately a half-hour's worth of material, with all of the songs flexed out to a pleasing level of gritty sound and grooves that will get some part of your body moving in time to the rhythm before you realize it's happening.  With some unexpected developments along the way (as with the actually bluesy break-out of “Communist's Blues”, or the startlingly sweet'n'quick “I Hear The Devil Calling Me”), the desert blues stay fresh and varied, though the fuzzy grooves are never abandoned.
The band currently has a few copies of the album on vinyl still available to pick up (which you can find on their BandCamp page, as linked below), but with only 333 originally pressed, you'll want to act fast if you intend to grab a copy.   Don't fret, though, since the album's also available digitally for the fine price of $4.20. And if you're really lucky (and happen to be in the States at the time), you might be able to catch the band on a tour date in the near future.  Here's to Funeral Horse!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Powered Wig Machine, Wizard Rifle, Wizard Smoke, Sonora Ritual, Acid Elephant


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dreamt of the Dead

Silence the Father ~ Memories of Dying (2014)

There seems to be no shortage of unique and heavy bands to find their way out of Portland, Oregon. Bands like Blackwitch Pudding, Sons of Huns, and Disenchanter all call the city home. The thing to separate this Doom Metal band from the local competition out there is that their two piece set up is lacking in the guitar area completely, just a chest rattling bass and pounding drums to forge their sound. This set up really gives people a chance to hear exactly how expansive a bass guitar can sound when put in the hands of a well versed musician. Their debut effort, "Memories of Dying" is three tracks and around thirty minutes of down tuned, mind shattering Doom Metal. The opening track, "The Night", clocks in at just under ten minutes, starting off with slow, droning bass notes the song has a long build up to a funeral march tempo. After the drums join the agonizingly slow bludgeoning it dawns on you, this is the soundtrack for your trip to hell. After settling down for just a moment, the drums start back up and the track is invigorated with a sudden groove and stripped down vocals that have an early Doom sort of vibe to them. The song lumbers along like a prehistoric beast, causing the ground to shake beneath your feet as it proceeds, with those huge, dynamic vocals piercing the mix. You can pick this fine, sixty ton slab of Doom up for the extra fine price of whatever you feel like paying over at the group's bandcamp.

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Cathedral,Om

Facebook Bandcamp

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

From The Rocky Depths...

Canyon - Canyon (2014)

From the first opening chords of Canyon's self-titled debut, there's a sense of familiarity to their sound; they've got a direct line-in to hard rock with psychedelic grooves from the late '60s/early '70s, performed with an admirable soulfulness and a sense of the group's members throwing themselves headlong into their work. They've got enough of a dirty edge to their sound to make the desert rock fans grin when they hear it, while channeling some complex arrangements through some psychedelic-filtered prog gives their riffs an unpredictable toothiness that catches in all the right ways.
And really, when it comes to the riffs, this group just sizzles away, throwing twist after twist into things, maintaining an ever-rising tension with tighter and faster jumps coming at you every few seconds, and pulling a cohesive melody together even as the individual instruments break off on their own path. Some pretty phenomenal musicianship, already showing a great range of skill and ingenuity, great energy and tunes that'll be popping up in your ears for days after listening. All around, damn good stuff.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Camel, early Black Sabbath, Salem Mass, Santana, Necronomicon (Brazil)


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Don't Bother Cleaning Up

The Electric Mess ~ House on Fire (2014)

From the state of New York, The Electric Mess is a Garage Rock band that sounds like they could easily be transplanted from 1965 Detroit. From the howling electric organ groove that is always fun, to the shouted, uncompromising vocal performance, and swinging guitar riffs the entire album is like a trip to the past, and while the original Garage Rock movement was relatively short lived, the effect it had on Rock was undeniable, being a precursor to Punk Rock. That same sort of intensity and straight-forwardness is ever present on this album. 
The opener, "Better to Be Lucky Than Good", is the perfect example of what Garage Rock is supposed to be. Opening with a roar from the whole group, the vocals are raw and melodic, with a rolling drum groove behind it. Already screaming from start to finishing,  when the guitar cranks up for its solo the Blues vibe almost starts dripping from the speakers. The next song is the title track, clocking in at just over two minutes, "House on Fire" is fast paced and in your face, with those trademark vocals and seemingly intertwined guitar and organ sound that pound the song home, with the bass and drums keeping the whole crew reigned in as best they can, and a guitar solo that had me hooked on first listen.
The chemistry and skill of all these musicians is immediately apparent to the person listening, fitting together and operating like a fine tuned race engine, almost as loud too. Having been together as a group for 7 years now, I'm sure that sort of familiarity plays into their cohesion, but sometimes nothing can replace sheer talent. While the record is out on Sound Flat Records, you can pick up physical copies here on their website, and take care of all your digital needs on bandcamp.

For Fans Of; The Kinks, MC5, The Ramones

Monday, June 16, 2014

Electric Pigs? Prehistoric Taurus?

Electric Taurus/Prehistoric Pigs ~ 12" Split (2014)

What we have here is, two bands, three tracks, and almost forty minutes of fuzzy, psychedelic goodness. The first track, "Behind the Sun" is Ireland's Electric Taurus' part of the split, an epic sixteen minute Psychedelic Rock jam with heavy riffs, rolling drum lines, and long stretches of trip enhancing psychedelic sounds. Opening with those aforementioned sounds, it's not long before those stampeding drums drop in and you begin to hear a grunge drenched 70's style riff playing behind that wall of drums. Things begin to settle a bit again, slowing down only to be cranked back up by a fuzz soaked riff coming in, and not long after that you're hit with the Bluesy voice of Barbara "Babz" Allen of Crafty Fuzz, for the first time, with a raw, enchanting sort of Occult Rock vocal delivery. Before long you're on another comic voyage courtesy of the band, utilizing every tool in their repertoire they switch between entrancing, spacey jams and massive, Sabbath style riff fest interludes, and they're so good at what they're doing the song ends and it doesn't seem like sixteen minutes is long enough.
The next two tracks, "The Perfection of Wisdom" and "79360 Sila-Nunam", come from Italy's very own Prehistoric Pigs. The 10 minute opus to start it off is "The Perfection of Wisdom" and it's a Stoner Rock jam heavier than a fat chick in a lead bikini. With a slow, reverb saturated spoken word intro an agonizingly slow build up starts, first with a bass line, with the guitar and drums joining in slowly but surely, picking up the tempo little by little. By the time it hits the 4 minute mark things are in full swing, fuzzed out guitar lines, banging drums, and fat bass riffs. After a few minute it slows back down, with a clean guitar tone, and a low, chugging bass line, but it all starts building back up for a last hurrah, then the fuzz drops and kicks the track into overdrive. One of the heaviest riffs on the split just bludgeoning and crushing your skull to dust, it's one of the best sounds ever. The closer, "79360 Sila-Nunam" is a classic Stoner Rock song all the way through, like a long lost Kyuss jam session recording. Fuzzy guitar tones from beginning to end, and groove to spare, this is a nine minute instrumental Stoner Rock work of art, the best way to for you to find out about it is to go listen, Terrorizer is streaming the whole thing right now, and head over to Go Down Records to get your pre-order on before June 20th.

 For Fans Of; Kyuss, Serpent Throne, Tumbleweed Dealer

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sinners Rejoice!

Countress - Ov Sin (2013)

With some blackened thrash, a splash of death metal, and some solid grooves running underneath the fury, Countress make their full-length debut with Ov Sin, and prove that there's more than one way to approach the spirit of doom. Take the occult focus and preoccupation with serial killers that marks bands such as Church Of Misery and Bongripper, crank the speed and aggression up on the dial for the music and vocals, give the drummer some unforgiving passages to play, some blistering riffs for the guitarist, and you're pretty close to the 'dangerous after dark' neighborhood of Countress.
The music rarely slows down, but every now and then the band will throw in a scraping slide on guitar, a particularly complex drum fill, or a nicely atmospheric intro/bridge to a song that suggests they could easily put together a devastating straight black doom album from the materials hidden up their sleeves, if they could just tear themselves away from their commitment to speed and sound barrages. “Hell Is Here” is probably their most restrained track in that respect, slowing the guitar-work down to a grim and gritty growl for most of the song, which makes their release of that throttle for the rest of the songs even more striking, but they bring it into play elsewhere as well.
If you're not averse to injecting the spirit of doom into other styles that have traditionally had some serious friction, give Countress a fair try. It may be a little out of the ordinary for our offerings, but they've got the same madness in their hearts as the most dyed-purple-in-the-wool doomers; they just want to pick some fights to go along with it.  We've also got an interview with them popping up today, so give it a read and let them win you over already!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Open Tomb, Satan's Satyrs, Acid King, Weapon, Contagium


Interview with Countress

Countress have just released their debut full-length, and we got a chance to talk to their guitarist, Ry, who filled us in a bit on the band's history, inspirations, and favorite ways to burn off a Friday night.  Take a look at what he had to say, and be sure to give Ov Sin a shot!

RWTD: Listening to your album, there's a pretty loud sense of occult atmosphere that jumps out at the listener. Just in the first track, “Haellions”, you launch into a big rip at the end with a refrain of “virgin sacrifices” and “black masses”, while psychopaths and violence are fairly popular through much of the rest of the album. Where does the inspiration for the occult and violent sides of your music come from?
Ry: Well first off, I wanna say thank you for listening to our album, and thanks for giving me a chance to speak for our band. When we started this band the biggest 'idea' or 'theme' we wanted to touch on was horror. Horror and true crime are topics that seem to inspire and fascinate us. Our singer Miles, for instance, is very much interested the "Heaven's Gate" saga, which inspired the lyrics for "Black Cloth". It seems he and myself have always kinda bonded over a love of cults just as much as occult imagery. We realise that's nothing new in heavy metal, but a twist we've been pounding out in our music is true crime legends thriving in our back yard, there's a lot of fucked up history here in Reno, and we live to write songs about it.  
Speaking solely for myself and myself only, I'd like to say as for most of the people who have been labeled "psychopaths," I personally have a spot in my heart for a handful of them... People like Charles Manson and Chris Dorner who have been labeled by media as "crazy" for being outspoken and active against a system built and run by people who are far more destructive to the human spirit and species than any serial-killers list combined, they just make more sense to me. Anyone who fights back is targeted as a threat and therefore targeted further as a "psychopath"... haha, I can't really go any further on that aspect without an O.K. from the rest of the dudes in the band... that's my opinion and my opinion only.

RWTD: Are there any specific bands Countress' members grew up listening to that you would point to as being influential on the music you're making these days?
Ry: Totally. For me, Metallica made me pick up a guitar. I know our bass player Joe loves thrash metal, and Testament is his biggest influence when writing, that's his shit. Miles loves old school country and that shines through in his lyrics, he loves to tell a story when he writes, I fuckin' love that. Jesse's style comes a lot from Bill Ward, we're all big Sabbath fans so he knows how to make shit heavy when we have a groovin' riff. Alex and I both love Nirvana, Pantera, and a lot of black metal, so all that shit kinda comes through when we write, or at least we try for that, haha.

RWTD: How did the members of your band first get together and decide to make some music? Have there been any line-up changes since first deciding to put Countress together?
Ry: Miles and myself have been jamming together for about ten years now, and he and Jesse, our drummer, had a band that had just broken up. At the time I was working at a funeral home south of town and they asked me to start a band... I moved back up to Reno, we started jamming and asked Alex to jump on second guitar as he had filled in on a tour with mine and Miles' old band... He introduced us to Joe and it's been workin' out ever since. No member changes. When you're in a band that universally enjoys getting fucked up with each other and shares a common goal of writing heavy shit and pushing your name shit just clicks i guess. I feel very fortunate for that and for having them in this ride with me.

RWTD: How did you decide on the band name? Are there any names you almost went with instead that you can remember?
Ry: Haha, I love this question. Funny story, so it comes from the Hammer Horror film "Countess Dracula," but I was watching it drunk and read it as "Countress"... I mentioned it to Miles and he said the word was "Countess." "There's no R, dipshit but fuck it it sounds cool," and that was that!

RWTD: Does Countress do live shows/touring? If so, what are some of the most memorable moments on stage (or back-stage) from your time so far?
Ry: Well, we play pretty fucked-up so I honestly don't remember a lot of it, haha. It seemed like the first 5 shows we played someone or something was trying to tell us to give it up because our shit just kept breaking. Every fucking time we played the first song a kick pedal would snap or a head would fry out. It was a nightmare man but I'm holdin' out for when we start seein' some tits in the crowd, right now its just drunk dudes yelling "Fuck yea motherfuckers!!" after our songs which is still pretty bitchin', haha.

RWTD: Any nutty fans so far?
Ry: Well, we played a biker bar a couple months ago... There was this old dude standing right up front, literally on the other side of my microphone, staring right at me the entire set... He had a big beard and his face was covered in tattoos... He looked just like the bass player of Electric Wizard... He looked pissed, standing there still as a stone... I'm 25 now, I've been in my fair share of sketchy situations, so I kinda thought to myself it was sorta weird I hadn't been stabbed yet, and figured this was time catching up with me... He stared right at me the entire set and when we were done he walked up to me strong and determined, grabbed and crushed my hand and screamed "You motherfuckers are down with the fucking sickness, fuck yea!" and he went to the bar. It was fucking incredible man.

RWTD: What do each of the band's members like to get up to in their spare time? Do you tend to hang out together when you're not working on music, do you tend to need some solo down-time in which to unwind?
Ry: Drugs. We all party together. There really isn't much time when were not writing but during those times Alex and I both do art, Joe drinks a lot of Rolling Rock. Miles collects horror memorabilia and is usually stoned/hammered watching something from his collection. Mijo skates. We all have day jobs, too.

RWTD: How do you usually prepare yourselves for some time on-stage/in the studio? Any intoxicants you'd like to endorse?
Ry: I like a little bit of pills weed and whisky before we play, everyone digs the leaf in this band so that's in heavy rotation as well as Budweisers. Same goes for studio as it does on the stage.

RWTD: What would be your ideal set of bands to tour with cross-country?
Ry: Me personally, I'd like to party with Saviours, High On Fire, Black Breath, Electric Wizard. That would fuckin' rule.

RWTD: What are Countress' plans for the immediate future?
Ry: Were are currently writing the next full length, gonna drop that early '15. We will be releasing Crawling From The Grave, parts 1, 2, and 3 this Halloween on cassette tape, and we're hittin' California dates starting this month in Tahoe.

RWTD: Is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans out there?
Ry: I'd like to extend an appreciation to anyone and everyone that so much as listens to our band or reads this interview, and I'd also like to thank you again for giving us a shot. Haellions Ride!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wielding The Doom...

The Scimitar ~ Doomsayer (2014)

The Scimitar's Facebook page 'about' section simply states "Crush all". Now call me a cynic, but more often than not, statements such as this can be found adorning the pages of lame backyard metal bands, that on closer inspection almost always reveal a member un-ironically sporting an Avenged Sevenfold, or (arguably worse) Five Finger Death Punch shirt, and lets face it, thats kinda like sharting yourself on a date and still expecting to get laid. All credibility just goes out the window. But luckily enough, the Scimitar guy's collective back catalog of work would allow them to rock up dressed as Juggalos and still tear the roof off any given venue. That's because two of these chaps, namely Darryl and Dave just happened to be in (amongst other acts) Black Pyramid. Yup, so if it happened to have slipped your mind that the aforementioned had disbanded, as it did with me, and you were wondering what the hell had become of them... then this is it.
Based on the solid foundation that was formed throughout their years in Black Pyramid, Doomsayer almost picks up where Adversarial left off. Like a natural progression of sorts yet a missing piece in the anthology. It's main differences lie in it sheer relentlessness and aggression that have been cooked up this time around. Where before, Black Pyramid would often experiment and call upon almost folk like interludes and sometimes (bordering on) baffling tangents, Scimitar are way more focused and all in all, well, crushing. So, credit where credits due, they weren't lying. There is however something of the experimental aspect still creeping around in those doomy shadows, just little nuances and touches that were so prevalent before but now sparingly dosed solely to aid the build up and emphasise the big doom laden crescendos. It's undeniably excellent from start to finish, well planned out and even better executed. Providing the chaps can hold it together, I can totally see The Scimitar entirely eclipsing all their previous projects within a matter of time. It just has that certain something, a catchiness yet a subtle air of disjointedness that keeps it fresh and leaves you wanting more. While it is more dark, gloomy and quintessentially stoner than a depressed Satan hitting a bong in his basement, there does seem to be a little nod to the early days of metal's pioneers. Listen closely and you can almost hear Pentagram and Saint Vitus resonating through every chord.
So what better way than to kick off Friday 13th than with some brand spanking new doom eh? I'll tell ya... Vinyl! Yes, praise lucifer himself, this epic slab of crushing stoner doom is up for pre order as of today! So act bloody fast, because this will surely disappear! With just 100 pressed on white/black and 200 on clear/white, theres little time to snooze. Hit up the awesome Hydrophonic Records, part with a few bucks and bloody treat yourself! You'll only regret it if you dont!

For Fans Of; Black Pyramid, The Sword, Elder, High On Fire, Yob


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Low, Slow, and Heavy

HEAVYDEATH ~ Demo II: Darkness of No Return & Demo III: A Long Obscure Trip (2014)

Sweden's HEAVYDEATH and the US's Caligari Records have teamed up again, this time to release their second and third demos on a limited run cassette which is already about to sell out as I write this. It picks up pretty much right where their first demo ended, carrying on like a funeral procession through the abyss. The "Demo II: Darkness of No Return" side of the tape opens with an slow build up to a crushing riff that would seem perfectly fitting for a quest through cyclopean ruins, slaughtering anything that stood in your path. As you get through "Darkness of No Return", you come to the song "Eternal Sleepwalker", and after a short droning opening with lots of guitar noise, and slow plodding drums, the brutal riff sets in, slow and colossal, with the guttural vocals sounding like their being bellowed from the darkest pit of hell, after a short build up your hit with a mid-tempo, sludgy riff fest, with the drums kicking it up a notch to keep up its' march forward. As the tape flips and you make it to "Demo III: A Long Obscure Trip" and when the opener "Desolation" starts up you're immediately accosted with guitar feedback and a rolling drum intro, then with almost no hesitation the riff comes in and gives the track an immediate spacey vibe, with the drums blasting behind it, lending to the enormity of the sound they're working with. After the tempo drops off again, the music takes on an even slow Funeral Doom vibe, but like all of their music so far, nothing stays the same for very long and you're brought back up to mid-tempo with wailing guitars and furious drumming. The next song on this side is the title track "A Long Obscure Trip", it opens up with that same gigantic wall of sound this band has trademarked, enormous, crushing, and atmospheric all at the same time. The drummer keeps a serious groove on this song, overall it slows and speeds up, but always makes sure to come full circle and end on a heavy note, droning out slowly to the next track. After that you're hit with my favorite probably, "All I See is Decay", sounding more like a Sludge Metal song than the rest of their catalog, it opens up with a screaming guitar part, with the drummer slowly building his sound until it's at full swing behind the distorted riff and ominous vocals that sound almost more chanted than sang, but it all slows down after a few moments and takes on an even darker atmosphere this go 'round. This is the sound of Death Metal after being force fed a bottle of Vicodin, and you should be able to find everything you need at either the Caligari Store or HEAVYDEATH bandcamp to get your 50 minute fix of Death/Doom goodness.

For Fans Of; Hooded Menace, (early) Sentenced, My Dying Bride

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Speakers For The Silent...

Tsar Bomba - Silent Queen (2013)

Tsar Bomba's debut is a well-grounded piece of work that does a great job blending a wide spread of influences into a sound of their own, with quite a few riffs and tunes that will linger in your head long after hearing. If I had to point to a single style as their root influence, I'd go with a sort of Pantera-flavored doom; the sludginess of the bass is nicely matched by the sharp (but still essentially fuzzy) buzz of the guitar, while the vocalist finds a nice spot between rough and clean vocals, keeping the words understandable without losing the metal edge, while they're always ready to let loose a slamming assault from the drums to shake things up.
The songs (right down to their titles) keep that swirl of influences going strong throughout the album, with hard rock, a little grunge, some desert rock, and some psychedelic looseness adding some savory nuances to the doom proceedings. The band does a great job of giving listeners an idea of just how wide they'll be able to spread their wings on follow-up albums, though they also manage to tie all the pieces together into a full-fledged album in its own right, not just a taste of things to come.
While I wouldn't have minded a few more high-speed breakouts, the band's knack with slow grooves brings Sabbath to mind quite a bit, and it's hard to say no to that sort of temptation. For their debut effort, Silent Queen is extremely promising, and I hope that these French lads go quite far in pursuing those mind-bending grooves, wherever they may lead.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Ramesses, Stoneburner, Tombstones, Celophys, Alice In Chains


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fights and Beats...

Missiles Of October - Don't Panic (2014)

Don’t Panic invites you to tuck and roll into a musical tide of dirty hardcore/punk/noise-rock that ebbs into a dark groove at exactly the right moments. The 3-piece formula invitingly lures the listener into a sonic drunken sailor stumble of noise and aggression, but will offer you a chair to kick your feet up with its intermittent sludge.  The first track hooks with satisfyingly wretched vocals repeating “Don’t panic!”, contradicting the feeling of a quickening heartbeat and an ensuing chaos.  Perpetuating a steadfast pace to comfortably ride out, the album is anchored by dark undulating melody, synchronized with an appropriate amount of ugent disorder.  Listening to this album was like getting into a drunken fight with a burnout–crude, aggressive, maybe even slight irony–and just the right amount of danger without breaking a sweat.  There’s a track in this album for any metal head to get into; even sludge and stoner fans may find what they’re looking for if they want to wake the fuck up but not feel beat in the face by a hammer.  Although these guys manage to perpetuate a feeling of “I wanna break shit and piss on the ground,” I would suggest that the melodic sediment never fully settles to the bottom and impacts the album more than most traditional hardcore projects would feel comfortable to allow taking on such a predominant role.  
~ Allie Nickel

For Fans Of;   Black Flag, Unsane, The Jesus Lizard, Unwound


Monday, June 09, 2014

Better Late Than Never

Kamchatka ~ The Search Goes On (2014)

With a long run of memorable albums, Sweden's own Kamchatka is back with their follow up to 2011's "Bury Your Roots". They've seemed to of changed the sound up just a bit with "The Search Goes On", adding more edge to their already well established Stoner/Blues Rock sound that has always encompassed an array of influences from all over the musical spectrum. The quality of riffs remains the same of course, and they're always front and center, the star of the track. When you're not swept up in the raw, soulful vocals or one of those riffs, you get to what makes any great band, a rhythm section that performs their job flawlessly, always keeping the groove tight.
The opening track, "Somedays" opens up with a bit of feedback that kicks off a wailing guitar intro, as it goes on and the rest of the band drops in, the track hits full swing and you're given a galloping bass line and rolling drums to back up the main riff. The vocals on this one is soaring, the whole thing screams 70's Hard Rock, all the way up to the jamming Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque solos at the end of it. The next track, "Tango Decadence" is the album's single, and it's a no frills Heavy Blues Rock song from the opening notes, blasting out of the gate with a crunchy riff and slamming drum part, shortly joined by the thick bass riff to fill out the mix. The vocals take on more of an edge, belting out those raw, clean Blues vocals that are full of soul. That foot stomping riff keeps the jam going while the song moves along, until the final reprise, after which it delves into a short acoustic solo and fades away. The title track, "The Search Goes On" is what finishes out the album, and it's a Stoner Rock jam straight from outer space. The track builds from two echoing notes all the way to an arpeggio riff, with the whole thing subtly being laced with spacey sound effects in the background. As it goes on and nears the halfway mark, everything slows down just to build back up behind an electric organ and the mighty guitar leads being put down. The whole thing starts to dwindle down after that, like a volcano going dormant after laying waste to everything around it.
"The Search Goes On" is sure to be mentioned in many year end lists, as well it should be, with heavy, catchy music, and artistic, intelligent lyrics, it's definitely worthy of praise. If you're a fan of their older albums, even though it's not quite the same sound, you'll still be in for a great Heavy Rock album with tons of character. You can get in on it through their label Despotz Records.

For Fans Of; Gov't Mule, Clutch, Five Horse Johnson

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Lighting The Ages...

Eternal Candle - Single (2014)

Iranian doom metal crew Eternal Candle recently got in touch with us at RWTD, and while they don't have a full release to their name yet (they're releasing their debut LP later this year), they had three loose tracks they wanted to share, and in our opinion, the tracks have enough punch and panache to them to put out for wider availability. “Blossom Of Old Scars” is a funereal dirge with an impressive range of vocals and a strong sense of melody carrying the doom along, with some fantastically on-point drums giving it a healthy kick of propulsion so as not to get too bogged down by the despair. “The Silent Forest” brings in some quiet piano against some blackened vocals and guitar wails, and pulls off the combo with some unexpected twists that really help elevate it.
Lastly, there's “Autumn Reflection”, which is their tribute cover of a November's Doom track, and which shifts the vocals back towards cleanness while switching between distorted acoustic and growling electric guitar riffs, doing some interesting mixing of the moods and melodies. All of the songs show an admirable interest in experimenting, stretching genre constraints, and blurring together a number of styles for the best results they can distill, and for a group that hasn't even put out their first release yet, they're remarkably skilled on both the technical and inventive sides of song-writing. Keep an ear out for further developments from Eternal Candle, and be sure to investigate their full-length when it arrives.
If you're looking for a place to get the tracks and hear this group for yourself, here's a band-approved torrent collecting all three.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bell Witch, Earthling, Black Magician, November's Doom, Amort


Dirty And Dank...

Sex Scheme - 7" (2014)

Sex Scheme's new EP is a noisy, crusty, and defiant crunch of clanging guitars, throbbing bass, stomped-out drums, and vocals that let you know without a doubt that the singer's sneering right at you. The rough and tumble style owes more than a little influence to the no-wave of New York (since they're situated in Brooklyn, this makes a lot of sense), and the EP sounds like it was rolled along one of their sidewalks for its gravel-and-cigarette-butts coating of sound. The best part is, they succeed in making their history-lesson take on no-wave sound entirely organic, with a good sense of their own personality coming through the tarred-up cracks. If you like your music sounding like it's been spending the better part of the week kicking through the streets, 7” will give you a deep (though quick) scratching of that itch.  You can grab a copy on vinyl from their BandCamp, but be quick about it, as they probably won't be available for long.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, Sonic Youth, Gauze, The Stooges, early Butthole Surfers


Friday, June 06, 2014

Summer Of Light...

Three Days Dark - Three Days Dark (2013)

Three Days Dark is the solo project of Trent Halliday, who, in addition to performing everything on this self-titled debut album, also handled recording and production work, all of it taking place in his living room over the summer of 2013. As a result, there's a little lo-fi sound to the material, but it gives the music a nice sense of character, meshing nicely with the stone-groove guitar, drums with a little grit to their skins, and Mr. Halliday's vocals, with which he takes care to provide some point and counter-point to the instruments' rhythms and cadences with an almost immediately-familiar vocal style.
The psychedelic flavors are in effect from the moment the album begins, but things start off with enough room to twist around into some wild shapes along the way, though it never loses that sense of cool laid-back summer-time contentment; there's also a strong (though not over-played) sense of bluesiness to the music, with chords scratching along in their own time and occasionally slipping off into strains of nostalgia or wistfulness.  There's a lot here for your ears to chew on, with some excellent use of pedals to bring to guitar to the fore in a number of ways, warbling, phasing, or giving it some toothsome buzz, and then making a solid brain-reeling groove out of it.
You can pick the album up for 'name your own price,' but for those who prefer a physical copy of their musical acquisitions, you're in luck; Three Days Dark is also available on CD, though in limited quantities of its limited edition. You can find both versions of the music over at Three Days Dark's BandCamp page, so if you need some tasty mellow psychedelia to season your summer, swing on by and snag yourself a copy for high times.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Groggy, early Black Sabbath, 13th Floor Elevators, Blue Cheer, Ten Years After


Thursday, June 05, 2014

Call of the Demon Head

Demon Head ~ Winterland 7" (2014)

Relative new comers to the Doom Metal game, Denmark's own Demon Head are keeping it old school, playing their own version of early Doom Metal, paying homage to the greats that cleared the "path of doom" so long ago. Having already made a splash with their "Demo 2014", they're back with their first vinyl release, the 7" single "Winterland", available here through Levitation Records. The first track is a reworking of their song "Demon Head", opening like a funeral march, with a heavy riff and plodding drums, the vocals kick in and just furthers the nostalgic feeling, sounding a bit like Pentagram. The fuzzed out guitar solo that drops just after the one minute mark and seems to surface some towards the end of the track, blows the song into another dimension, the indescribably dark and foreboding kind of dimension, the likes of which H.P. Lovecraft could base a novel around, where madness reigns supreme. The second track is actually the title track, "Winterland" opens with a couple of slow and heavy notes, but soon turns into a grooving Doom Metal song, with a thumping bass line and slamming drum part holding everything together nicely. The guitar makes you want to tap your foot and nod your head, it's a great riff, the sort that gets stuck in your head for a couple days afterward and you don't mind a bit. The vocals keep that retro sound in them, raw and unadulterated for the most part, without a ton of production effects. Towards the end of the track you're greeted with gnarly guitar solos, and it's the perfect way to end such a beastly track. Check it out over on their bandcamp, and pay whatever you want for the download.

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Candlemass

Facebook Bandcamp

A Deal With The Dealer

Tumbleweed Dealer ~ "Resurrected Yet Again" [single] (2014)

Tumbleweed Dealer probably don't need much of an introduction, but they're an instrumental Stoner Rock band from Canada, and have been making some noise for the last couple years, but with an album due out later on this year, they decided to re-record a song that was written in the group's infancy, with the new line up, and put it out with some killer accompanying artwork. The song kicks off with a hypnotic guitar riff, and as the other instruments drop in, it all starts to make sense and fill out nicely. After a few moments the whole thing takes on a very Bluesy tone, always keeping the groove firm however, and keeping those awesome guitar tones front and center. The bass keeps thumping right along with drums, finishing off the huge, entrancing atmosphere of the song, the sort that will have you hitting repeat more times than you'd care to admit. Seeing as how the track only lasts, an appropriate, four minutes and twenty seconds, it's relatively short for an instrumental Stoner Rock song. They make every minute count though, always coming at you with heavy riffs that force you to sit back and take notice, and inevitably get stuck in your head. You too, can get in on all the instrumental goodness, and that kill art work over at their bandcamp.

For Fans Of; Serpent Throne, 35007, Earth

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Burning Rubber And Bodies...

Iron Hearse - Deal With It (2014)

Iron Hearse's new album kicks off with the quick blitz of the title track, then keeps that momentum (and some tasty film samples) going for the rest of the 30 minutes or so that make up the album. There's a good amount of garage rock atmosphere to the music, but the band has enough skills to make the lo-fi-coated music work, bringing a nice blend of desert and stoner rock to the table, giving it a coat of doom and Lovecraftian allusions, and striking a groove-friendly balance between groaning chords and fiery energy.  None of the songs drag on too long (rather, I found myself wishing they'd extend a riff stretch or tear away more on a groove several times while listening), and the album as a whole goes down a treat, hitting all the bases without any time wasted. If you're looking for some solid tunes to use as a personal soundtrack this summer, jump into some Iron Hearse and hit the road, and don't be surprised if some label picks this up for a cassette and vinyl release in the near future.  Oh, and see if you can recognize the big-chinned hero who starts off this track, "Cemetery Beast".
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of: Motorhead, Brimstone Coven, Kyuss, Wizard Smoke, Iron Butterfly