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.
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.
For Fans Of; EyeHateGod,
Ramesses, Dopelord, Windhand, Uncle Acid
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
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
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.
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
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.
For Fans Of; Acid
Elephant, Powered Wig Machine, Buzzov•en, Olde Growth, Fear Itself
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
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
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
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.
For Fans Of; Godspeed You!
Black Emperor, White Darkness, Jesu, Windhand, Wolves In The Throne
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!
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.
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
For Fans Of; Camel, early
Black Sabbath, Salem Mass, Santana, Necronomicon (Brazil)
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Fans Of; Open Tomb, Satan's Satyrs, Acid King, Weapon, Contagium
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.
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,
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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.
For Fans Of; Ramesses,
Stoneburner, Tombstones, Celophys, Alice In Chains
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
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. ~Skip
For Fans Of; Gov't Mule, Clutch, Five Horse Johnson
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
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.
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.
For Fans Of; Teenage Jesus
& The Jerks, Sonic Youth, Gauze, The Stooges, early Butthole
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
Fans Of; Groggy, early Black Sabbath, 13th
Floor Elevators, Blue Cheer, Ten Years After
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.
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.
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".
For Fans Of: Motorhead, Brimstone
Coven, Kyuss, Wizard Smoke, Iron Butterfly