Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Stellar Summons...

Space God Ritual - From Void To Ocean (2014)

With some appropriately pulpy cover art, Space God Ritual's latest album continues the Portland-based group's quest through the most menacing realms of cosmic doom.  After the symphonic-styled spoken-word intro of "Aeons Upon Aeons", it's off into some semi-traditional doom metal with a fuzzy edge on the massive bass, overseen by some dramatically-delivered vocals which tell of cursed crypts, buried creatures, and dream-like horrors.  The band has a clear relish for their subject matter, and their union of the lyrical and musical elements works to the advantage of both, producing a resonant and genuinely spacy atmosphere.
It's the title track that really stood out for me, though, as it launches out into soaring guitar-work, gliding along with a nasty growl to the notes, bringing together the sounds of untouchable stars and the dirty earth for a distinctive and powerful result that characterizes the whole album, rendered in some of its clearest form.  Though "From Void to Ocean" runs a good seven minutes, it's still over-shadowed by the closing track, "Yithian Overlords", a gargantuan stomper that provides a fine closing to the tales of madness.  If you've got a sweet tooth for the far-too-rare skyward-looking doom of a dramatic bent, don't miss out on Space God Ritual's latest, not to mention the rest of their catalog.  Iä!  Iä!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Crypt Trip, Windhand, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Below


Friday, November 28, 2014

Just One Word...

Attalla - Attalla (2014)

Though each of the six songs on Attalla's self-titled debut LP uses just a single word for its title, those songs all deliver an expansive sound drawn from roots in various regions of doom's domain.  Starting off with "LIGHT", the group merges some '80s tradition with slow blues underpinnings comparable to early Black Sabbath, then throws in some grittier near-thrash elements for a rousing finish.  From there, it's on into "HAZE", which shifts attention to one big dominating riff shared by the guitars and bass, and things just roll on from there, through the heavy-rock leaning "LUST", back to the early days for "THORN"'s fierce groove and lavish drums, then past the powerful pounding and serious shredding of "VEIL" into the sludgy finale of "DOOM".
All of the tracks offer their own solidly-grounded take on the variety of flavors available to doom metal, and Attalla's band members fully deserve to be proud of their debut.  It shows off their capabilities in a variety of areas (perhaps most strikingly in their deep-groove powers), while at the same time not taking the listener's attention for granted.  About the only thing missing is a few scattered horror movie samples, but then again, clearing those for usage can be a nightmare.  These guys are working hard to deliver stuff that's up to snuff, and that effort really pays off for both them and their audience.  Anyone with a fondness for doom metal (and I'd expect that would cover most of our regular readers) should do themselves a favor and check out Attalla.  Copies of the album are available for download and (for now) on vinyl, through their BandCamp, though I'd act fast on that if I were you.  Let them know you like how they play, and hopefully they'll deliver another release to the world in the near future.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Black Sabbath, Funeral Horse, Sleep, Ladybird, Church Of Misery


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

To Listen Quietly...

The Fateful Hour - An Everlasting Silence (2013)

It's been a while since I've come across a melodic doom album that really managed to hook me by the ears, but The Fateful Hour's new release provided me with a refreshing dip back into the side of doom that relies more on developing their tunes through shifting pieces and counter-points, and less on megalithic slabs of riffing.  That's not to say that The Fateful Hour aren't heavy; on the contrary, they've got some impressively weighty bass presence serving as the bedrock for much of their material here.  But there's also a fluidity to their music, in the sense that they never really feel tied down to a piece of the song past the point where its utility has been effectively established.  Instead, the music has a persistent sense of the unexpected, thanks to the deep bag of musical tricks from which they pull to assemble each song.  There might be a quick piano flourish here, a sudden drop into near-solo bass for some atmospheric embellishment, an abrupt use of contrasting vocal styles, or... well, you get the picture.
Best of all, the band is able to string together all these parts into something that's tight and effective in the final product, managing an organic (though rapid-fire) shifting from moment to moment.  While trying to think back over even a single song from An Everlasting Silence and recall every last piece of it is a daunting challenge, when it's in the flow, it all fits together in a way that just seems natural.  The result of all this is an album that demands more than a few listens to really dig past the surface, with considerable bounty waiting in the depths for those willing to take the time to journey down.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Baroness, Opeth (Blackwater Park era), Have A Nice Life, Ulver, Lake Of Blood


Monday, November 24, 2014

Weed and Whiskey

Leather Lung ~ Reap What You Sow (2014)

 Leather Lung is a Stoner Metal band from Massachusetts, and being from that area, it's not much of surprise that they work in a few Hardcore and Punk influences into a heavy, Stoner Metal sound. The five songs on their release "Reap What You Sow" are full of piss and vinegar, with each track an aggressive bout of brutality and groove. After losing count of how many times I've listened to this EP before I even started writing the review, I can confidently claim that it's one of the rawest Stoner Metal releases I've heard all year, and the track "Moth to the Flame" is testament to that fact. Opening up with a long bass part, it doesn't take very long for a bombastic flurry of drum notes to come crashing their way in, followed shortly by some of the only melodic vocals on the recording, but that quickly gives way to the rough, dirt road styled vocals that dominate most tracks. While the low end groove is present and accounted for in droves, that fuzz saturated guitar tone drops, and blows the song out of the water. When the tracks reaches the half way point the guitar solo kicks in and it temporarily becomes the heaviest Truckfighters song you'll ever hear. After the vocals return the tracks starts to slow down a little bit, delving into a little bit of a Sludge Metal jam session before coming to an end. With it being one of those always cool "Name Your Price" deals on their bandcamp, you can't go wrong with giving it a listen and picking up a copy.

For Fans Of; Orange Goblin, XII Boar, Thieving Coyote

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Monster Rides Again...

Hibagon - Hibagon and the Quest for the Creature Previously Known as Moughra the Guardian (2014)

Hibagon are a tough band to pin down.  There's so many flavors and styles blended together over the course of their new EP that picking any of them to define their musical output just doesn't seem to be doing it justice.  They rock out, they rain down metal thunder, they show off precise technicality, they get down and dirty with the music… it's just a roller-coaster through their music for mutants, and it's a damn fine ride.
The band keeps up their drive-in sci-fi/psychedelic flavor in their approach to song-titling, from the opening track of "Odyssey in a Maze of Premonitions", past the "Challenge of the Doppleganger" and a couple of other hazards, all the way to "The Seven Faces of Moughra".  It's nice to come across a group which is so earnestly packing in so much character around the music. and almost makes it seem like there's a coherent narrative behind the walls of sound.
Really, though, the band identifies the music best with their own description of "heavy and loud".  Making things too concrete just doesn't fit with their style, so instead, you'll need to form your own impressions beyond those two words.  Grab a copy (CDs and downloads are available from the BandCamp page, along with some fine T-shirts), take the time to appreciate the wild cover art, then plug the music into your ears and enjoy the trip.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Qualeaceans, Narcosatanicos, Broughton's Rules, Art Institute, Elephant Rifle


Friday, November 21, 2014

Tear Up The Skies...

The Hunted Crows - The Hunted Crows EP (2014)

Following up on a single they'd released a month earlier, this self-titled EP forms the bulk of The Hunted Crows' arrival on Australia's fuzz rock scene, and their entrance is done with plenty of style.  Making use of some sick and slippery effects on guitar while the drummer/lead vocalist (hell of a combo, that) belts loose with his voice and kit, the duo generates a surprising amount of noise and grooves, kicking ass in the process.  What boils up from their storm of activity is some deliciously dirty rock 'n' roll, and while there's some of that great bar-band flavor influencing the bluesy undertones, they rev things up with a slick glob of motor oil sound to the production and heavier riff assaults.
It's the type of music that would be perfect blaring out the open door of a mechanic's shop, with a lit cheroot ashing away under a welding mask while sparks fill the air, but that's just the first situation that came to my mind while listening; really, as long as you can get away with playing it as loudly as you should be, the music on this EP would be a nice addition to most of life's scenes.  Grab a copy, crank your speakers, and let your ears have some grit.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Manthrass, Demon Head, Wizard Rifle, Wicked Lady, Celophys


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fill Your Bones...

Vodun - Loa's Kingdom (2014)

Ever since coming across Acid Bath about a decade ago, I've been looking for full-on voodoo metal.  There've been some close calls (Nunslaughter's Hex comes to mind) but at long last, Vodun seem ready to serve up the treasure I've been seeking.  That they're from the UK is something of a puzzler, but nonetheless, their new single (getting things warmed up for their first LP, Possession, which is slated for release sometime next year) has enough wild energy roiling beneath its surface groove to let them lay claim to channeling some spirits into their performance.
While "Loa's Kingdom" is just short of three minutes, the trio of Vodun make a strong impression in that time, showing off their liveliness on guitar, Caribbean-flavored drum rhythms, and vocals which pull off an edge of ethereality even while dwelling in the bluesy roots of doom metal.  It's enough to have me eager for their first full-length release, and curious as to how many different styles they'll incorporate through its run.  Hopefully that won't be too long in the making, but until then, you've got time to get a tantalizing taste for yourself.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Olde Growth, Necronomicon (Brazil), Windhand, Jess And The Ancient Ones, Moon Curse


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Or...No Voices

Slow Order ~ Hidden Voices (2014)

Next up are Slow Order, a three piece from Italy that bang out heavy and ferocious instrumental jams that will leave you beaten and exhausted but completely enamored, like sex with a crazy chick. It's always a bit more of a challenge to review instrumental bands for some reason, like the lack of a vocalist suddenly makes the music harder to describe than it would be in the first place. With most of the tracks being in the three to five minute range, these guys aren't prone to long bouts of experimentation and random psychedelic noises, instead it's just full speed ahead, raw and visceral Stoner Metal.The second track of "Hidden Voices" is called "Crusade of Visigoth", opening up with a distorted and dark riff, it only takes a few moments for the bass and drums to join in, with the song bring to mind Primus at times, probably just the bass tone in certain parts that's doing it. With the whole band creating laying down a chest stomping groove, and the guitar putting down howling lead parts, they decided it was time for a change and slow the whole thing up just a bit around the half way point, which gives way to a full blown drum solo that rolls in thundering like the storm of the century, and before their three minutes are up, they're right back to the headbanging riff and sound that they're becoming known for. You can stream the album to your heart's content over at their bandcamp, and pick up a CD or digital copy for a few bucks. 

 For Fans Of; Serpent Throne, Black Sabbath, Tumbleweed Dealer

Monday, November 17, 2014

Half Is All You Need

Half Gramme of Soma ~ Marche au Noir (2014)

After their self-titled release from last year, they shouldn't need much of an introduction as that should have done all the talking for them, but the five piece Half Gramme of Soma are a heart liquifying Stoner Rock strike to the chest for those of you who aren't familiar. While those of you that know who this band is are probably collectively rolling your eyes at my simplistic labeling of them, they are a whole hell of a lot more than your fly by night, Kyuss clone of a Stoner Rock band. Pulling from Grunge, Sludge, Stoner Rock, and Doom Metal they kind of throw it all together, and the resulting concoction is a new but comfortably familiar sound that is hard to pull yourself away from, and like a good whiskey, it hits all the right marks going down. While the first of the five tracks "Marche" is pretty much a straight forward Stoner Rock track that is full of groove, but not exactly anything new. When you get to the second track, "Seeking Shelter" you're presented with a completely different animal. This track is dark, heavy, and mired in more sludge than a swamp. After opening with a slow guitar part, the vocals come in and create a sort of spectral veil over the guitar for a bit before the rest of the band drops in. This is really the point that it becomes a dark, sludgy beast of a song, reminding me of Hangman's Chair a good bit. The guitars with their distorted, foreboding tone attempting to gnaw its way out of the speaker, the bass rumbling along with its rounded, punchy tone, the drums sounding like not-so distant cannon fire, and finally the vocal performance is powerful and melodic, but often edged with a certain rawness, and it all comes together to create one of the heaviest and sludgiest Stoner Rock songs I've ever heard, a work of art. While all five tracks are top notch tunes, this is the one that had me constantly hitting repeat, but you can check it, and all of the others out on their bandcamp, where it's "name your price", and a deal you can't pass up.

For Fans Of; Kyuss, Hangman's Chair, Blind Dog

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Green Girls And More...

Thieves By The Code ~ Tales From The Green Muse... And Beyond (2014)

We've got some good friends down in Brighton, (no, that's not a homosexual euphemism), so it's weird that Thieves By The Code haven't made their way onto our radar sooner.  Still, it's been worth the wait, as Tales From The Green Muse... is an absolute belter of a hard rock debut.  I say hard rock, but that's really doing it some injustice because what this trio do with the 44 minute runtime is nothing if not eclectic.  Opening bass heavy, track one, So Slick reeks of whiskey-fuelled stoner rock, but no sooner do its closing bars reverb away, they move onto blissfully melodic psych bordering on post rock, then a little dabbling with space rock before winding up at the album's mid-point Turbominchia (Part Deux) which has all the hallmarks of Woodstock-era classic rock.
In fact, this is where the guys seem most heavily rooted, as for the best part the majority of the album plays out like a pretty broad spectrum of acts from about 1968 to 1973.  At every turn you can hear little touches and nuances previously honed to perfection by the greats of the day.  Listen carefully and you'll catch moments of Jethro Tull, Budgie, Zeppelin, Bowie and early Genesis to name just a few.  Don't fret though, if you didn't grow up on your old man's record collection though, it's not without its modern flourishes by any means.  The trio aren't shy when it comes to using the odd sample and effect here and there.  Just enough to remain balanced.  Enough to separate them from from being labelled 'stuck in the past' but not so much that it just sounds utterly ludicrous and like an annoying kid with a noise box.
Their adeptness doesn't begin and end with latter day homages and the use of modern editing though.  No, when these chaps want to crank it up and bring the fuzz they know exactly what buttons to hit.  Although they're slightly few and far between, the heavier elements of this offering, for me at least, steal the show.  The afore-mentioned opening track So Slick and Must Free Desire are the real highlights, if for nothing more than their balls to the wall aggression.  Sitting somewhere between Queens of the Stone Age and Alabama Thunderpussy, it's quite a clash of sound compared to the rest of the recording, to the point where you could easily pass them off as being two entirely separate bands, which is somewhat strange because neither track sounds particularly out of place.  I really can't get my head round how they've managed to pull it off, but credit to them for doing just that.
I have a feeling that we're gonna be hearing a lot more from Thieves By The Code, and I for one can't bloody wait for a follow up!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Jethro Tull, Turbowolf, Cactus, Drenge, Donovan


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beneath The Waves...

Telstar Sound Drone - Comedown (2013)

Comedown originally came out last year, and in the time since then, the album's built up enough surrounding buzz for Bad Afro Records to justify putting out a second pressing.  In case you didn't catch the original release, and you want to know why you should be interested, we'll begin with the question of how much you enjoy psychedelic rock.  If the answer to that question is positive, however you want to qualify it, then you'd do well to check into Telstar Sound Drone's musical output, which seethes with the tune-tied feedback of the most infamous '60s psych acts.  The songs don't so much play as drift into deep valleys, pushed whichever way the resonating tones want them, until the next track rises up into audibility and asserts its own groove.
It's really beyond me to try and describe just how fluid they make their music as the album moves through its paces, but touches used in addition to ~99% feedback settings on their pedals include a high-distortion rain-stick, persistent-echo vocals, and strangely-powerful background drifts of synths, while trying to figure out how they approached composing the songs just leads to one of those moments in which you shake your head in impressed disbelief.  They've put together a powerful and incredibly cohesive chunk of psychedelic digression, one which will cement the Telstar Sound Drone name in the minds of any open-minded psychedelic rock fan who takes the time to listen.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Earth, Salem's Pot, Wicked Lady, The Maze, 13th Floor Elevators


Friday, November 14, 2014

Join The Hunt...

Killed A Fox - Spring Of Sloth And Haze (2013)

Spring Of Sloth And Haze marks the latest release (and the second LP) from the Croatian quartet of Killed A Fox (performing with one less guitarist after 2009's Fluorescence).  From the opening track of "Hive", they establish an off-beat style, letting rolling rhythms and unrestrained vocals take hold of the music and animate them beyond the basics of garage-flavored psychedelic rock from which they build.
Part of the extra seasoning they add to their mix of influences comes in the form of an almost grungy fondness for clean production without skimping on the fuzz for stringed instruments, which meshes with their inclination for clear melodies and sustained bridges in quite a pleasing way.  In a sense, at times, it sounds like desert rock that remembered to apply sunscreen before heading into the studio, so while things aren't as craggy and dry as usually sported by that genre's representatives, there's a similar fondness for creative uses of time signatures, sizable riff grooving, and some strong presence from the drums.  But the main quality of the music, at least as I hear it, is the sheer enthusiasm the musicians have for their work.  The songs sound as though they underwent innumerable changes while being refined by the group, resulting in a record jam-packed with unpredictable but organic twists throughout its run-time; just as you think you've figured out their plans for a riff, they take it in a new direction, pulse intact.
As long as you don't demand your music in overwhelmingly-fuzzed doses of at least 10 minutes a pop, there'll be something to tantalize your ears somewhere on this record.  There will be plenty of unexpected things popping up along the way, so once you've prepared yourself, pick up a copy and enjoy the surprises.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Spiral Shades, Alice In Chains, The Heavy Co., Seed, Acid Kola Turbo


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Where It All Began

Le Mur ~ In Tenebris (2014)

The fine folks from Le Mur are back with their long lost debut album "In Tenebris", after having to be shelved back in 2011 it's finally getting to see the light of day in all of it's glorious weirdness. Back in April I reviewed what was actually their second album "Silentia Nova", and touched on how they've coined the name "heavy dark trip rock" for their sound, and while I've always said it was a spot on description, we all finally get to hear what spawned the title. While it seems like some of the songs are more straight forward on this, their first go around, there are still plenty of trippy sounds, heavy riffs, and psychedelic jam interludes in the (mostly) instrumental tracks.
After the creepy organ intro that sounds like it could be lifted from a horror movie, the album really gets moving with the second track "Cage", at eleven and a half minutes it's the longest track, but probably also one of the most straight forward in terms of structure and timing. Out of all of them though, I think "One Way Tick to Space" is my favorite, when it opens up with a drum beat and a whirring of buzz it only takes a few moments for it to melt into a simple, fuzzed soaked riff that meanders along until it runs dry and a new, more Sabbath like riff kicks off and runs along for a few moments before some howling, 70's styled rock vocals drop into the mix and really bring out another side of the band that you only catch glimpses of at other times. As it keeps rolling, the vocals fade away again and the jamming continues, with the swinging guitar leading the way through the last three or four minutes of the track. It really goes to show the group's range on a whole, moving away from the experimental sounds that drive a lot of their songs, and dropping back down to a Heavy Rock song that could almost be titled "Sabbath in Space". The rest of the album has plenty of the experimentation and rampant psychedelia that most people have probably come to expect from Le Mur, with "Die Nacht der Lemuren's" rousing saxophone fills or the title track's symphonic violin part that fits in perfectly with the galloping bass line that comes to a rather abrupt stop, just to be taken over by a chanting monk, that only lasts so long before a heavy guitar riff banishes all that stuff to another dimension and makes heaviness the law of the land. As you should be able to tell there is no shortage of weirdness, experimental thought, or good music.
You can pick up this one on some limited white vinyl from Sireena Music, JPC, in Europe, MVD entertainment in North America, or directly from the band at (, or if a digital file is more fitting for your lifestyle, there is always iTunes or Amazon.

For Fans Of; Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Black Sabbath

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Watch Your Step...

Serial Hawk - Lying In Wait (2014)

While Serial Hawk's new 7" hasn't yet been officially released, you'll have a chance to snag one if you catch one of the shows on their currently-running tour across the US.  If you're a fan of music so heavy that the reverb through your body lets you know which parts you should be exercising more, then by all means, get to one of those shows!
On to the release itself, which begins, as you might expect, with the title track.  "Lying In Wait" sets up low tones and intricate drum-work with slithering time signature changes and a potent dose of sludge, working the main riff thoroughly.  Despite the relatively short run-time, the band does a great job of filling the available space with a real sense of weighted doom.
The B-side is technically untitled, with just a nebula of stars covering its label; according to the band, this is something of a teaser for their next LP release, currently in development.  It consists of some very effective atmospherics, sounding just as vast and mysterious as the image used to represent it, and while it too is over far earlier than I'd have liked, Serial Hawk shows an excellent talent for channeling the more cosmic side of doom.
Between the two tracks, there's more than enough here to get buzz for the upcoming album stoked and ready; they've got creativity, technical prowess, patience, and a good ear for what works in their experimentation.  Tune into the band now, and be ready for things to come.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Bell Witch, Thergothon, MotherSloth, Funeral Horse, Disenchanter


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

We Own These Mountains

Slow Season ~ Mountains (2014)

Slow Season are a four piece Hard Rock band from California, and if you're a fan of Rock music that came out between 1960 and 1980, then you're pretty much guaranteed to like these guys. With shredding guitar riffs, thundering drums, and a melodic vocal performance that soars from the very beginning, the guys set about recording everything on tape, opting for the warm, nostalgic undertone it provides. Aside from taking obvious cues from bands like Led Zeppelin, I noticed some even more subtle influences in the album like The Doors, Mountain, and even some Cream. Playing off the retro sound is the cool thing to do nowadays, but doing it and doing it well are two different animals. Lucky for us, Slow Season sound like they have the chops to of headlined their own world tour back in '73 . With a full album of ten tracks, it wasn't easy to pick a favorite, and I still haven't really. On my first listen I was pretty captivated by the second track "Synanon", about a mountain cult that lived not far from the band at one time. It opens up with a mellow, acoustic guitar part, with the haunting, reverb saturated vocals dropping in, and a distorted guitar part that only lasts a few seconds before going back to the acoustic part, just to roaring back after that. Around the halfway mark a fuzzy riff drops in and you start to see the sort of heaviness the band can put forth, with the vocals taking on a harsher tone than at the beginning. Amazingly, the album seems to only pick up speed form here, with none of the tracks after it lacking in the soul or groove departments. While the album is officially released today through Riding Easy Records, the vinyl version will be on preorder for another week or two so you still have some time to get those in, or you can pick it up on CD here. If you're just wanting a digital version, iTunes has you covered.

For Fans Of; Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Who

Saturday, November 08, 2014

A Solar Decay...

MotherSloth - Moribund Star (2014)

Capitalizing on their excellent album title, MotherSloth's second LP release takes traditional doom metal and applies a thick layer of fuzz to things.  They know how to work a groove, as testified by the opening track, "Hazy Blur Of Life", in which they get a roomy bass riff going, backed up admirably by the drummer, before launching some loose and limber guitar and making everything spark, then just fanning that flame as it burns through the rest of the song and into harder territory.
The rest of the album takes the blood-shot colossus sound of the first song and gives it tweaks here and there, working it into new forms without losing that primal groove connection.  "Holy Wall", for instance, as the first song following the massive entrance of "Hazy Blur Of Life", takes that sweet-spot fuzzy bass and plugs it into a slow-cruiser missile of a song, detonating on impact into a cloud of fuzz and doom to obscure the sun; "Dead Flower" and "Dry Tears", the other two major players on the album, put their own twists on the formula, with the band emerging strong and triumphant from each after diving into the darkest tones they can uncover.
If you've been hungering for some big doomed-to-the-roots sounds towards the end of 2014, or a surprise contender for album of the year, get yourself a copy of Moribund Star without delay, then let it liquefy you from the eardrums out.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Major Kong, Disenchanter, Demon Head, Dopelord, Sleep


Friday, November 07, 2014

Hear It Grow...

The Mound Builders - Wabash War Machine (2014)

The new EP from The Mound Builders features four songs of hard and fast heavy stoner rock, with the first shot fired being the title track, featuring vocals that seem drawn from sludgier roots than the rest of the music.  The strained yelling is backed off on in the second song, "Sport of Crows", which slides into a more groove-focused, desert rock-like tempo and vibe, though they keep the bass wet and weighty.  "Bar Room Queen" follows that and continues the trend towards mellowness, even while they keep throwing around mean hooks and unrelenting drum-work.
On the other hand, "The Mound" completely reverses that trend, switching back into mean, growl-filled territory to close out the EP.  Even while sliding into the sludge, they keep a clear bluesy melody alive at the core, finding a balance between the two styles without sacrificing impact for either.  Pre-orders for the EP are up over at Failure Records & Tapes (if you act fast, you'll get one of the packs with a sticker, a patch, a button, and a comic book which brings the songs to life before your eyes), with an official release date set for December 5th.  If you're looking for something to keep you from freezing as the year moves into winter, pick one of these up for yourself and let their warm rumbles heat your bones.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Electric Citizen, Stone Titan, Chronic Ritual, Fuzz Evil, CHIEFS

The Mound Builders - Sport Of Crows (320 kbps)


Rise And Shake...

Return To Zero - The Atavist Awakes (2014)

On their debut EP, the quintet of Return To Zero make their entrance with some rough-edged heavy metal channeled through fuzz and grit.  The first of the three songs on The Atavist Awakes, "Crescent Step", takes listeners back to the days of yore, with castles, dragons, and barbarian invaders, but caps it off with a sample from W.S. Burroughs, showing that they've got the inspiration and inclination to work some surprises into their songs.
"Venom" goes more direct with the heavy metal, thrumming along on tasty bass riffs and some appropriately loose drums as the melody carries the song along into the darkness, and generally fulfilling the role of the song that comes on over the speakers at the bar, driving you to start moving your head up and down before you realize it.  Last but not least, "Wicked World" begins with some literal explosions bursting out of the speakers, before the group breaks out some instrumental accompaniment over howling sirens, and on into a fast-beat rampage.  The sheer din of destruction helps this one steal the spotlight, at least to my ears, and makes for a slamming close to the EP.
If you like your heavy metal with some open love for the traditional stuff (I just wish they'd throw in an extra guitar solo or two), as well as some real sand to its sound, give these five desert-dwellers some time and evaluation, so that you'll be fully familiar with them by the time their next release rolls out of Arizona.  As demonstrated here, they've got some chops and potential, so just give them an audience and let them sort out the rest.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Iron Man, Saint Vitus, Buzzov*en, Valkyrie, Merlin


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A Wild Clone Appears...

Mother Mars - Claimed By The Cloner (2014)

This new EP from Mother Mars finds the boys back in their gritty rock swing, starting off with “The Cloner” as it will appear on their 7” split with The Grand Astoria (release date to be announced). The song takes them into some blues rock territory, with some slow and low harmonica weaving in and out of their big bass chunks and spidery guitar-work. There's a good driving riff, the drums keep things moving, and the hard rock wails of the vocalist fit right in with the rest of the atmosphere.
After that, the band finds themselves with “Another Flat Spare Tyre”, and they make the best of the situation by riding along on a stompy fuzz riff, tightening up and letting loose in alternation. It's a fully instrumental trip for this track, and they pull that riff through some strange surroundings, lavishing it up with some feedback/synths as the drummer gets down on in the groove, sounding like he's using his sticks to dig through the earth as everything gets deeper and deeper.
For the closer, there's the full version of the opening track, which nearly doubles its run-time with more fuzz, more blues, and some killer break-downs. Between the two full tracks, there's a strong EP's worth of sounds; the included 7” edit works well if you want to just kick back and listen to some heavy rock without messing about changing albums for a little longer. Stay tuned to RWTD for more news when the split arrives, and 'til then, get this coming out of your speakers ASAP.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Groggy, Merlin, Celophys, Olde Growth, Albino Rhino


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Southern Doom Metal a.k.a Sludge

Grüzer ~ Path of Buzzards EP (2014)

 Another of the groups I mentioned in my Rising Sons article was Grüzer, with their own brand of triple guitar attack Sludge Metal. Their EP "Path of Buzzards" was highly anticipated the moment I found out it was getting recorded, now after a couple weeks of getting a copy, and I don't know how many listens (suffice it to say, quite a few) it hasn't disappointed in the least and already earned a solid spot on my end of the year list. The production and recording are excellent, as I wouldn't expect anything less from Jay at the Jam Room, all of the songs are solid from start to finish, I couldn't find a bad one in the bunch, hell, I couldn't find anything to dislike and that almost never happens. My biggest issue with it was trying to pick a favorite song out of the six that grace the EP, sounds simple enough, but it speaks volumes about the caliber of the band's first release that it is such a task. Ultimately, I settled on the closing track "As the Maelstrom Turns", it opens with a thick, snarling riff that creates that essential "barrage of sound" that Sludge Metal requires, then it turns into the Somme circa 1916 when the guitars fall into place with everything else and lay waste to everything in their path, with the harsh, shouted vocals falling into place right behind, like the brutal advance through no man's land. Just after the minute and a half mark the track shifts gears in the form of a bass part, thinly veiled in feedback, that rumbles into the second part of the song that's a bit slower, and more melodic with a thundering drum part that rolls in just behind it. The guitars start to take on a little warmer tone in the second half of the track, howling instead of snarling, and tearing their way out of the speaker. The group seems to take some subtle cues from Acid Bath on how to meld the two sounds perfectly, and they're just as good at it, with the vocalist staying in the harsher vocals for the majority of the time, but when he does change it up, the result speaks for its self. With the album going live pretty much everywhere today including Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, and having been up on their bandcamp for a week or so now, and a release show set for this Saturday with a ridiculously heavy line up including Black Hand Throne, Space Coke, and Fall of an Empire, the guys in Grüzer are busy spreading the word of the riff, and if you're a Sludge Metal fan and reading this blog, then you would be a fool for overlooking these guys, and that's a promise.

If you find yourself in Columbia, SC this Saturday, whether because you live here or you're trapped here, make your way to the Art Bar downtown and get in on what's sure to be one of the loudest parties this year.

For Fans Of; Acid Bath, Down, Crowbar, 16, Beaten Back to Pure

Monday, November 03, 2014

It Came From Below

Watchtower ~ Watchtower II: Absinthism

 From the land of Kangaroos and giant spiders (Australia, just so everyone is clear) is an up and coming Stoner Doom Metal band that has already been on some killer shows in that part of the world, including opening for Conan and Windhand. They've recently gotten in touch with us to help put the word about about their live single that was released earlier this year, and it's just over eleven minutes of superb heaviness that follows in the footsteps of the most adored Stoner Doom bands. With it's long, droning opening the track "Absinthism" takes a couple minutes to really warm up before it launches into an all out frontal assault on your hearing with pulverizing, behemoth riffs that just pummel you from the moment they start up. About that same time the gritty, shouted vocals make their grand entrance behind the wall of sound that dominates the first half of the track. At the halfway mark the song changes entirely to a high energy riff that manages to even cast a shadow on the previous one. As you find yourself sinking further into the second half it becomes an instrumental sabbath worship jam for the record books, complete with heavy low end grooves, and howling guitar parts that force head banging like it was under threat of firing squad. You can pick up this track, along with the three from last year's demo tape as "name your price" deals over at their bandcamp.

 For Fans Of; Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath, Sleep

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Hang On To Youth...

The Youth - I'll Call Your Bluff / You've Done Me Wrong (2014)

The Youth are a four-piece outfit from Denmark, specializing in enthusiastic garage rock with some traditional leanings, manifested in song structuring, tone, and the fuzzed-just-right production work which provides them with their shaggy but slick sheen. Guitar, bass, drums, and vocals are all punched-up and just raw enough, with some extra rip packed in here and there by the singer. The two tracks come off as honestly dedicated to the rock (unless things are drastically different in Denmark, garage rock is hardly a shortcut to the charts) and that genuine fondness for what they're playing serves the band quite well.
The 7" is available through State Records (and limited to 500 copies, the first 250 of which come with a post-card from the band), so if you're one of those dedicated seekers who can't be satisfied by pale imitations, go ahead and pick yourself up a copy of the single to show The Youth it's worth their efforts to continue. You'll be snapping your fingers and trying to dig these earworms out in no time.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Baby Woodrose, The Wicked Whispers, The Galileo 7, Syreregn, My Sick Friends