Thursday, January 30, 2014

For the hippies that time forgot, Baby Woodrose didn't forget

Baby Woodrose ~ Kicking Ass and Taking Names (2014)

Unless you're new to the Stoner and Psychedelic Rock scene, you've undoubtedly heard of Baby Woodrose, and the group's extremely talented founder Lorenzo Woodrose. For those new people, a quick introduction, Baby Woodrose is a Psychedelic/Garage Rock band that was started in Copenhagen, Denmark back in 2001. They've seen not only a lot of success in the Psychedelic Rock community, but much national acclaim in their home country.
This compilation is comprised entirely of rare and B-side tracks from the group's hard to find, and usually fairly expensive 7" singles. The album pulls from across the Baby Woodrose timeline, from "6654321" and "That's How Strong My Love Is" which was recorded during their first recording session as a band, only a few months after the release of the classic "Blows Your Mind". All the way to the tracks "Light Up Your Mind" and "Bubblegum" which were released as a 7" in April of 2013. You can stream the songs "I Feel High" and "Good Day To Die", both text book perfect examples of that awesome '60s Psychedelic/Garage Rock sound, along with a large portion of the compilation over on their SoundCloud page. Of the songs exclusive to this compilation, I think my favorite is "Live Wire", with it's catchy riffs, and supreme vocal performance, this is classic Baby Woodrose in every bit of it's glory. 
This compilation will be available on vinyl in a first run of 1,000 copies, and I was told that pre-order would happen sometime around the beginning of March, so be sure to keep an eye out for that over on Bad Afro Record's Facebook page. I'll personally be spending some money on this album, and if you're a Baby Woodrose fan that's missing some of that early stuff, especially on vinyl, this could be your best chance to get it.
1. Information Overload
2. Good Day to Die
3. Coming Around Again
4. I Feel High
5. Making My Time
6. Long Way Down
7. 6654321
8. Light Up Your Mind
9. Bubblegum
10. Too Far Gone
11. Beat City (Ravenettes Cover)
12. Here Today Gone Tomorrow
13. Live Wire
14. That's How Strong My Love Is

For Fans Of; The Doors, Brant Bjork, Cream, Monster Magnet, Jefferson Airplane

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rituals Of Consumption...

Space God Ritual - Eldritch Tales (2013)

From the first glance at the track-list of Space God Ritual's new album, Eldritch Tales, there's a sense that this crew has a deep fondness for both H.P. Lovecraft and Black Sabbath. Song names like “Mad Alhazred”, “Necromantic Woman”, and “The Doom Of Sarnath” set a tasty, horror-packed tone before the music even kicks in; but once it does, with the opening track “The Elder Door”, the implicit demonic tones take full flight. There's some suggestions of Pentagram or Candlemass to the vocals, while the instrumental side of the songs has so much variety it's difficult to pin them to any single influence, though there's more than a few overt nods to the styles of the '70s. It all comes together for a doom-soaked experience with plenty of kick to the drums and dark, groovy riffs that slide right into place. Pick it up if you're looking for someone worthy of carrying the torch from the big names of heavy doom metal; this is excellent stuff.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Magic Circle, Moon Curse


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Welcome To The Coven...

Moon Coven ~ Amanita Kingdom (2013)

The dawn of the digital format really heralded the way quick access to great music (and some shit), but its been, to me at least, somewhat of a double edged sword. Aside from the fact it's this sites bread and butter, it's given me countless hours worth of enjoyment and bands that I'll love until the day I die. But on the flip side it does diminish something that in retrospect I really do miss - that initial exciting build up to the release of an album and that joy of finally get your hands on a physical copy when that release date eventually comes around. These days things get leaked and albums can get an impromptu release at the drop of a hat. Well, Moon Coven (and Transubstans Records) have just managed to cast me back a decade or so, because for the last 24 hours since I was emailed Amanita Kingdom I've been itching, like a child on Christmas Eve, to get my hands on a vinyl copy. Don't get me wrong, what's currently being blasted from my iTunes is bloody great, but I just can't help but think it just ache's to be given the wax treatment. Something about Moon Coven's tone just longs to resonate through a needle. Trust me, when you get listening, you'll hear exactly why. They join my ever increasing list that includes (but is not limited to) All Them Witches, Mountain Witch, Goya, Witchsorrow, Owl, and the uncannily named Moon Curse who were just born to be pressed onto vinyl. In this case it's in no small part in the Coven's ability to cultivate an amazingly balanced mix of doom and retro psych. Although the psych does slightly out weigh the doom aspect, David's vocals that resonate throughout every track give it a brilliantly haunting and melancholy edge. It's not all doom and gloom though, as even the most ravenous riff devouring stoner rock enthusiast will find his or her fix here. Be your persuasion slow and looming, fuzzy and dirty or 70's inspired low-on-the-fret mashing, rest assured you'll be catered for. You're also well looked after on the time front too, with every track pushing, or in most cases exceeding the six minute mark you can be sure that you wont be left feeling short changed. Sure, we're barely to the end of January but we've had a fair amount sent over to us already and I'd have to say, Moon Coven are currently topping my list. I bloody love this album. From start to finish it oozes with with an eclectic flow of riffs and licks, all captured in one of the best acid/garage rock tones I've heard in a long long time. You need Moon Coven in your life.
You can pick up a physical through Transubstans Records, and I can't really urge you enough to do so. Head on over now and you'll be able to pre-order the vinyl. Oooh yes!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Uncle Acid, All Them Witches, Moon Curse, Black Prism, Throne


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Maiden voyage of the Omega Sun

Omega Sun - Rehearsal Demo 2013
I'd like to introduce you to a little trio of musicians from Slovenia who go by the name Omega Sun. This is a straight up Stoner Rock band, no frills, no niceities, just fuzz and groove. They spent a night in December recording a two song demo, most fittingly titled "Rehearsal Demo 2013", and in those two songs they lay the ground work for a great band, and hopefully, a great album or EP to follow.
The demo consists of the songs "III" and "IV", and both are instrumental works of art. Nothing ground breaking, but excellently played Stoner Rock in the vein of bands like Earthless and The Truckfighters. From the super fuzzy guitar tone and killer riffs, to the absolutely monsterous wall of drums and bass you get slammed against from the very start, every member sounds like a seasoned musician. You can hear an example of everything I just talked about in the track "III" alone, a super heavy opening riff that carries you all the way to the mid point of the song and you just get sent off into a bass solo with a seriously spacey vibe, then come crashing back down with that same epic heaviness.
Their demo is up for free on the group's bandcamp page, so feel free to give it a listen and a download. I'm sure the next we hear of these guys their sound will be at least slightly different, as they've found a vocalist since the recording of their demo. I wouldn't really say it was a necessity from hearing this, but it will be interesting to see what they come out with next.
For Fans Of; Truckfighters, Astroqueen, Kyuss, Slo Burn, Earthless

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ready To Rise...

Mammoth Storm - Rite Of Ascension (2014)

On their new two-track album, Mammoth Storm bring things down to a crushing level of submersion. Thick rumbling bass, tense growls of vocals, and well-developed heavy melodies keep things moving along, beginning with “Rite Of Ascension” and ending with “Obscure Horizon”. Really, it sounds like the soundtrack to a horde of bikers pouring out of the gates of Hell, as seen from a nearby mountain. For their first non-demo release, Rite Of Ascension shows plenty of promise; let's hope that this crew keeps at it, and releases more material quite soon.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Megasus, Tons, Cough, The Wizar'd, Windhand


Monday, January 20, 2014

Sombre Beasts...

King Buffalo ~ Demo (2013)

I've been on quite an angry and heavy musical binge over the last week. Mostly sat at the wheel, punching it and roaring furious Iron Monkey or GG Allin verses at passing motorists. Quite a sight to behold I assure you. Nevertheless, the weekend finally rolled around and it was time to unwind with a little help from this New York four-some.
It may only be a demo, but King Buffalo smack with a real and tangible promise. Right from the opening bars you tell that they've not skimped on the effort when it came to hitting the studio. So often is the case with many a band we receive. It's almost like some have just gone "Screw it. We'll record it in this public toilet on our phones". Not here. Either the chaps stumped up some cash or one of them really knows his way around a mixing desk. Not that thats the only redeeming feature of this recording! Don't get me wrong. Every element of it's 22 minute run time ebbs and flows with exceptional grace and execution. From its amalgamation of stoner rock and folk (we'll get to that in a moment) to its eerie melancholy that manages to simultaneously ooze buckets of psychedelica. I've lost count of just how many times I've played this demo from start to finish but the more I listen the more I hear elements of The Doors. It's apparent in just some many little nuances. The aforementioned psych is the most obvious, but what really hit me was the caparisons to folky style of Jim Morrisons voice to (I think) Randal's and the dark sombreness that washes over each track and does a perfect job to set the mood. It's not so apparent if you're only familiar with The Doors studio recordings, but go and dig out some latter day live footage and you'll see exactly what I mean. The first half of the final track Providence Eye is a prime example. Executed with a haunting blissfulness it serves as the ideal showcase of just how good these guys work together and just how well they're able to mix things up. Pushing the seven minute mark they're able to crank up the tempo and unleash a true stoner rock fury. Transgressing the boundaries of the initial progressive fuzz it turns towards a riff heavy chug before finally settling for wholly joy inducing slow, classic rock inspired outro. It's the perfect way to end an absolutely killer little demo. Keep a close eye on this lot, I think they may just have what it takes...
~ Jay


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sounds From the Spanish Desert...

Aneurisma Records ~ "Desert Sounds Compilation Vol. 1" (2013)

Aneurisma Records released a 15 track compilation album at the end of last year, to showcase some of the best in Stoner, Heavy, and Underground Rock exclusively from Spain. The result of their effort is a 15 track shot to the ass of rock and roll ferocity. From the beginning to the end this compilation shows 15 examples of the very best things going on right now in contemporary Rock music, not just in Spain, but the world, from the Stoner Rock sounds of The Shooters and Arenna, to the slightly more Alternative and Grungy Rock sounds of bands like Mother Gun and Angry Dogs, and everything in between.
Jumping right into it, the first track "RR en RF" by The Dry Mouths starts the album off with a very high energy song, with an intro reminiscent of early Godsmack. It quickly evolves into a fast and heavy guitar riff with pounding drum beats and anthemic type vocals though. It's hard not to move while it plays, even during the slower, bass and drum parts it's hard to keep your toe from tapping or your head from nodding.
The next song I'm going to talk about some is "Against the Storms" by The Shooters, this one immediately caught my eye when I was first going over the track list. I just picked up their 2012 album "Planet of the Black Sun" last year, and already knew it was a killer, so this track wasn't anything new for me, but immediately let me know the caliber of bands on this compilation, and it was high. For those of you unfortunate enough to not know who these guys are, the song they used for this compilation is a perfect example of Stoner Rock done at it's absolute finest. It starts off slow and builds up into a fuzzy riff-o-rama, complete with gruff, but well executed and powerful vocal performance.
After a few other songs including a Heavy Blues/Rock song "Betrayal" by Innermove, and the energetic "Our Head and Your Heads" by Otto the Pilot, you come to "Living a Lie" by Fungus. This one starts off with what sounds like an audio sample from the movie "Full Metal Jacket" (could be mistaken on that), which is quickly drowned out by a solo fuzz riff that picks up into a full fledged Stoner Rock song, a swinging drum beat comes in, takes control, and runs rampant through the rest of the song, only stopping long enough to let a guitar solo start up around mid-track. The vocals remind me a bit of something you'd hear in a Traditional Doom Metal song as opposed to a Stoner Rock song, more dynamics than you usually hear in this sort of music, but the styling translates perfectly. This is being one of my favorite songs on this album, I would be remiss in not telling you to check it out if you consider yourself a Stoner Rock fan.
The closing track "She's Electric" is by Pura Muerte, and it's a spacey jam for sure, from the heavy guitar part and thundering drums and bass all the way to the intermittent, spacey sound effects. After about a minute of instrumentals you're hit with a Bluesy female voice, and the song is never quite the same again. After the first verse, the band picks up the temp and never slows down, pounding it's way through another few minutes of song with that soulful voice wailing her lungs out on top, and it's truly a piece of art. It would seem she has that same kind of edge to her voice that Janis Joplin possessed and served her so well musically. In my opinion this spacey Heavy Rock jam is the best track on the whole thing, a perfect closer for the compilation.
Now, this compilation is free to hear over on the bandcamp, and you can also order the CD edition of the compilation there, but it's limited to 1000 copies, so I'd suggest hopping on that as soon as you get the chance. If you haven't already been sold on how good Spaniards can be at making absolutely kick ass Rock music, then this compilation should make a believer out of you.

The Dry Mouths - RR en RF 
Allfits - Renoceronte
Mother Gun - In The Storm
La Parade - Diez Mil Rostros
The Shooters - Against The Storms
Moonich - Chasing You 
Angry Dogs - Sweet Summer
Betrayal - Innermove
 Otto The Pilot - Our Head and Your Heads
Inertia - Hidden Agenda
Fungus - Living a Lie
Buey - The Clod and The Pebble
Noise Box - Newcomer
Arenna - Receiving The Liquid Writings
Pura Muerte - She's Electric

For Fans Of; Godsmack, Alice In Chains, Fu Manchu, Orange Goblin, Kyuss



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Move To The Beatdown...

Bad People - Movement (2013)

On Movement, Bad People offer a twist on hardcore punk styles of drumming and guitar-lines, bringing down the tempo to heavy rock ranges, but concentrating the intensity for a solid punch. Like the soundtrack to an epic pub brawl, the band combines tasty riffs with merciless beat-downs, eschewing vocals in favor of letting the instruments say everything that needs to be said. That's echoed in the composition of the songs, which rarely break the five-minute mark, but successfully pack distinct attitudes into each track, even as they flow smoothly from one to the next. If you dig on heavy rock with some aggressive attitude worked into it, be sure to give this lot a listen; that's easy to do, because they've been kind enough to let us put up "At The Bottom Of The World" for you to download, there at the bottom, so that you can check it out for yourself!
~ Gabriel 

For Fans Of; Sasquatch, Moon Curse, Black Rainbows, Clutch, Baroness


Monday, January 13, 2014

Rotten To The Core…

Omotai - Fresh Hell (2014)

I have emerged on the other side of the frozen tundra that was most of the U.S. last week and am feeling like something a bit more upbeat. Thankfully, I stumbled across the fellas in Omotai a few days ago and have been giving their most recent release a fair number of listens. Falling somewhere between hard thrash and sludge, the group are an interesting listen that is bound to attract those enjoying the more technical aspects of metal as well as those who just brutal riffs and solid musicianship. Nothing short of impressive and well-orchestrated, Fresh Hell is an album that loves to play with noise and unique tempo shifts that serve as an equal part to the metal elements as opposed to filler or background distortion that masquerades as music.
Right out of the gate, "Get Your Dead Straight" engulfs the listener in a haze of sludgy bass lines, chuggy guitars and yelling that screams all-to-familiar auritory territory; however, as things progress, Omotai delves deeper into a bag of tricks that really opens up the remainder of the record. "Back Office" serves as perhaps one of the best examples, following as the second track and blasting through the speakers with a breakneck drum roll and prolonged chords, more a punk vibe than metal. A few noticeable vocal audibles, including a quick but effective "whoop" at the end of the first verse, add some fun to the whole sound, which eventually transitions back into an ethereal drag of fantastic guitar solos and precision drumming.
Throughout the remaining meat-and-potatoes of Fresh Hell, the group keep up a solid pace, but opt for a switch to sing-song vocals that seem to ooze from beneath the music, whether it be fast or slow. Interesting note-tapping and chords play a huge part in the back half as well, showing a lot of diversity that helps the album move along where one would traditionally expect an album to waver.
As always, the best things in life are put on vinyl. Fresh Hell is no exception, but is limited to 500 pressings on either classic black, clear orange with black haze or solid white. Those interested in the color variations can check them out here. Further offerings from Omotai can also be checked out at The Treaty Oak Collective.

For Fans Of; Kowloon Walled City; All Pigs Must Die; Deafheaven; City Of Ships

Friday, January 10, 2014

Heavy Bubblegum Rock

The Fleet Street - "Chaos From My Mind Demo" (2013)
The Fleet Street started in Hungary, back in 2011, and released their first demo "Chaos From My Mind" to the world at the end of last year. This one is a little different than the previous stuff I've been forwarded for review, and it's not the female singer, or even the covers of pop songs, though I think that is a first. It's the fact that this whole demo is catchier than VD in a whorehouse, from the opening guitar riff to the closing vocal notes.
The track "Inside" starts us out in a Grunge direction, a bit like Alice In Chains, but with intense, female vocals. This track is a pretty good introduction to the band as a whole, showcasing their strengths, from mellow and more Bluesy vocals to long, soaring notes. The guitar is what brings this song full circle though, from the aggressive, distorted opening riff that switches on a dime and changes into a pounding Hard Rock riff into a blistering, well executed solo to finish the song out. The last of their original songs on the demo is titled "I'm Alive", and has all the symptoms of a really melodic Punk Rock song, fast and loud guitar attack, simple but groovy and fun bass line, whirlwind type drumming, and a good, catchy chorus that takes center stage of the song.
Now, the last two tracks are covers of Pop songs, but with their own sort of rock flair laid thickly on top. As a rule of thumb, I'm skeptical of covers, rarely do they offer anything better than the original inside of a genre, but when you go genre swapping, well that opens up possibilities some. The first is a cover of a Hungarian Pop song by Noend & Metzker featuring Dukai Regina titled "Don't Let Me Know", the second is a cover of "Where Have You Been" by Rihanna. With both of these, that Pop catchiness is definitely retained and will more than likely have you humming or toe tapping one of them at some point in the day, speaking from experience here. Overall, this is a pretty damn good first effort for a young band, especially when you take into consideration that they had no recording budget, and basically got a friend to track the entire thing for free, should be interesting to see what they can do given an opportunity.

You can grab their demo for free over here at their website.
For Fans Of; Alice In Chains, Nirvana, QotSA

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Deeper, Deeper, Doom...

Major Kong ~ Doom Machine (2014)

Major Kong's Doom Machine rattles into life with a creaking and metallic strains, before a man announces the emergence of “The mightiest weapon... The Doom Machine!” It's a perfect start to an album which lives up to its name, rumbling out buzzy chords and slamming percussion as it shifts into high gear. The guitar sounds like something out of a sci-fi film (I mean that in the best sense), the drums feel like they should be leading a hooded procession through subterranean chambers, and the bass just swells up and out, filling the room. That cave-like feeling is further enhanced by the almost-complete absence of vocals, aside from the opening sample, so that you can just sit back and let it engulf you.
Listeners will be guided through five lengthy songs in all, progressing through the opening title track, Tractor Beam, Planets & Suns Consumed, Voidwagon, and Skull Of The Titan, with the sense of sliding into a deep, dark pit becoming more and more pronounced as they proceed. By the time Skull Of The Titan hits, you'll be well and truly lost in the depths, spun around by massive riffs groaning past you, with no exit in sight. How does it end? Get a copy of the album (which will be coming out on January 20th) and find out!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bongripper, Sleep, Ufomammut, Celophys, Ladybird


Monday, January 06, 2014

Dark Guidance Along The Path...

UPYR - Altars/Tunnels (2013)

I'm snowed in, the temperatures have dropped below zero and I'm starting 2014 off with some Bulgarian sludge doom that just seems appropriate given the conditions. As the cold creeps in around my window sills and door jams, I am sitting here, chilled to the core by the haunting sounds of Altars/Tunnels, the latest demo offerings from UPYR. Comparable to sheer nightmares-turned-music, the album is a lengthy, four-track cassette that sounds as raw and gritty as the songs themselves, primarily dominated by altering vocal pitches and extended periods of hummed-out guitars and reverb. As dark an album structurally as it is visually (note the artwork), Altars/Tunnels doesn't so much present itself as a sludge record as it does a blunt thought, a strongly crafted piece of work that is nothing short of pure passion.
With everything heard here clocking in at around the 9- to 10-minute mark, UPYR takes their time setting up crescendos and breaks that soon develop into the focal points of each track. Smashing cymbals and thudding drums make the pace feel even slower, reaching serious levels of sludge noise that put many other acts in the genre to shame. Loud-to-quiet-to-shreeking vocals almost play tricks in the listener's ears, making it hard to discern if anyone is actually speaking amongst the ambient sounds of the eerie instrumentals.
The most produced track, opener "Before the Altars of Necrotic Karma," is a strong sampling of what UPYR does best and what will surely guide the direction of a future full-length. Long segments of drop-tuning and cult like chanting set the tone, but also work on a much higher level, never becoming just a "once-on-the-album" effect. Later portions of the song open up a bit more musically, showcasing an array of technical drumming and chord progressions.
"Into the Tunnels of My Sleep" and "Hymn To Pan" are very different tracks from the opener, serving as middle ground and somewhat of a segue in to the fiercest and bleakest of UPYR's work. Prolonged chords and deafening bass are the tour guides along the pitch-black paths that are these tracks, realms of horror and anxiety manifested into something all too tangible.
It takes a special talent to create something so moody and gut-wrenching in this day and age, but UPYR has created a whole demo full in one of their first efforts. Call it beginner's luck, but I think we may have a real solid doom band on our hands here.

For Fans Of; Khanate, Amenra, OLD, Burning Witch

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Deep, Dark, Doomy Wails...

Haast's Eagled ~ Self Titled (2013)

Wales isn't exactly renowned for its gritty down trodden doom. I mean, I once spent a weekend in Rhyl, which was a dull, murky shit hole. It was pretty grim, but thats about close as I think they've come. Thats until now. I present to you, Haast's Eagled.
I say doom, strictly speaking the lads really sit on the fence between good old stoner rock and doom, blurring that line between the two like many have before them. But worry not, what they bring to table will more than satisfy your fuzzy weed addled ears. The crushing riffs and crunching drums provide a backdrop somewhat akin to that Sleep's Dopesmoker. It's gives off that same dirty vibe while still retaining a wholly groovy feel. The fundamental difference being just two things; the occasional slow, melodic, almost folky break downs and variety of vocals provided, ranging from genuine singing to borderline black metal growls. I realise just there I've hit you with both folk and black metal, but trust me when I say it actually works. Obviously, the two don't exactly cross over, that would go beyond the boundaries of 'progressive' into, well,  just plain fucking weird. But they do manage to progress from one to the other seamlessly. I know that seems hard to imagine, and yeah, if someone said to me "it goes from a post rock kind of sound to Norwegian black metal being sung with a mouthful of tar and glass", then I would probably spit on their back. But don't just take my word for it, go check them for christ sake.
~ Jay


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Explosive Elements...

The Black Explosion - Elements Of Doom (2013)

The Black Explosion's second album, Elements Of Doom, opens with the sound of wind on a lonely mountain-top, before some old-school heavy metal guitar and drums kicks in, setting the stage for some Ozzy-like vocals and energy. Blue Cheer and Deep Purple are just a couple of the other bands that might come to mind while listening to this album; it has that '70s heavy kick to it, without letting itself get bogged down too deeply in that swampiness into which so many modern doom metal bands throw themselves. At the same time, they seem intent on throwing the switches and energy up higher than other contemporary heavy rock revival acts. 
The bluesy psychedelic taste of classic heavy metal runs the show here, and The Black Explosion's willingness to get swept up in the spirit of things does a lot to help them stand apart from the crowd. At the same time, there's a really nice sense of balance between all of the performers; nobody gets left behind or buried in the mixing, and everybody's pushing each other to blast harder. Snag yourself a copy of Elements Of Doom if you've been digging recent heavy rock bands like Kadavar, but find yourself wanting something that shakes looser, with fewer inhibitions, and with some space-age rocket fuel swirled into the mixture. Tasty stuff. 
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Moon Curse, Deep Purple, Sasquatch, Iron Man, Brimstone Coven