Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jak Of All Trades

Jak Locke ~ Action Packed Self Destruction (2014)

 I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about taking on this review when Gabe first asked me to cover it, because it was pretty far out of my usual comfort zone. On the first listen I don't think I quite "got it", there was definitely something there, I just couldn't put my finger on what it was exactly. After going back and making myself relisten a couple of times, things started falling together some and I started to really dig some of the tracks by this one man band I'd never heard of until just a day or two ago. I'd love to tell you what sort of music he makes, but it's impossible to pigeon hole with a simple genre classification. When you're playing one song there are clear as day Jazz and Blues influences, another song may be a bit heavier and fall into the Hard Rock category, while another song has all the makings of a melodic Punk Rock track, it's all over the musical spectrum in term of influences and sounds. While it wasn't the first song to catch my attention, "Repeater" definitely became my favorite over the course of listening to "Action Packed Self Destruction". While pretty much every song is a departure from the previous, this one drops you off firmly in Blues territory and leaves your ass there for the duration. Opening up with a soft drum intro that slowly picks up steam and is joined by the rest of the instruments over the course of the first thirty seconds as the smokey Blues vocals come in, occasionally ramping up to gruff, shouted climaxes over the course of the track and dropping back down to nearly a whisper. When you get into the arrangement, the additions of an electric organ, harmonica, with the roaring Blues guitar solos that litter the latter half of the song all ooze of the eclectic New Orleans music culture that the man hails from. Even if this doesn't sound like your sort of thing from the start, it could still be worth it to give the album a listen, you could be pleasantely surprised by something you find on there like yours truly, or even the whole thing.

For Fans Of; Dax Riggs, Beck, Nine Inch Nails

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bane of the Hipster's Existence

Lint ~ Existence (2013)

This trio of guys who, by their own admission, aren't well liked by the hipsters that inhabit New South Wales, Australia. Apparently they aren't cool enough to play in a band, much less their brand of grungy, psyched-out Sludge Metal. I guess it's a good thing no one around these parts give a damn about a hipster's opinion. I find myself digging their second album, "Existence", a little more each time it gets played, always hearing something I missed before, it's almost like listening for the first time over and over again, always catching a new guitar part or drum beat that I missed the time before because I was so caught up in everything else. The whole things opens up with "The Clarion" and a guitar intro so fuzzed out that want to pet your speakers afterwards, and aside from the occasional drum blast nothing really kicks in until almost halfway through the fairly short 2:47 duration, but when that bass tone drops and the drums pound their way in the whole track takes on the shape of an instrumental behemoth. And at this point, you could almost be forgiven for thinking that they were another Stoner or Grunge Rock band just making the rounds, but upon introduction to the second track "Lotus" all of that is put to rest and the band displays their Sludge Metal prowess loud and proud. This is the first time that their airy, Grunge Rock sounding vocals make an appearance, in amongst the fat, rumbling bass tone and a screaming guitar solo. Next up on the album is the title track, and it's a nine and a half minute slab of Sludge Metal with a Stoner Rock groove. Never a group to be walled in by genres they really manage to really show off that mentality with this track in particular, transitioning between all of them at one point or another, and doing it so flawlessly that it sounds completely natural. From expansive psychedelic passages to crushing Sludge Metal inspired riffs, and most things in between, it's all in there somewhere. You can head over to their Bandcamp and stream it to your heart's content, or show them some love and kick out the five bucks Australian (4.69 American) for the album.

For Fans Of; Kylesa, Earthless, Serpent Throne


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

High As Hell...

Narcosatanicos - Narcosatanicos (2014)

Starting out with some buzz manipulation before sliding in some sludgy bass beneath it, “Salt” opens up Narcosatanicos' new album with a strong mix of styles that gives them a distinct sound right from the start. Sludge, acid rock, thrash, and 'piss-off' attitude seem to be the main ingredients (at least to my ears), with feedback being a common presence from song to song, while saxophone provides some excellent dissonance and piercing power. Distorted vocals add to the fever-dream impressions, with phasing of instruments getting your head to the point of reeling in short order, which they capitalize on by launching into heavy-end crescendos. There's a lot of spirit, energy, and inventiveness here, which holds well for their future.
Bad Afro Records has announced plans to release an EP by the group next year, but you can go ahead and nab this debut album for yourself from Mastermind right now. If you're not in Europe, shipping will cost you a pretty penny, but the tunes on this record make a very strong argument for ignoring that little fact; personally, I'll be hoping that some NA distro is sharp enough to get in touch with Bad Afro for the EP.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Painkiller, Wizard Rifle, Merlin, Fudge Tunnel, Elephant Rifle


Monday, July 28, 2014

The Price of Dirt

The Dallaz ~ Dirt Dealer (2014)

I've long been a fan of heavy, three piece bands. It's the bare essentials for a rock band, the stripped down skeleton, and when the right people get behind those three instruments, they have the ability churn out some of the most pulverizing, ear drum pleasing music to have ever been released. This particular trio hails from Bologna, Italy, The Dallaz lay down a super groovy yet hard edged and aggressive style of Stoner Rock that loves the influence of harder sounds like Punk and Metal in their unique concoction. In the opening track, "Eye of the Wolf", you're immediately struck by the punching drums and screaming guitar riffs, but underneath all of that the bass guitar is laying down a stellar groove and while it does take until about the half way point for the vocals to drop in, it's worth the wait. While the singer seems to switch up styles slightly throughout the course of the album, this one has a certain Doom Metal kind of quality in the performance, adding a slightly darker vibe to the track that I really dig. Then in just the very next track, "Travellin' Blend", the vocals switch to a grittier, Grunge styled sound, which is a bit more typical in the Stoner Rock game, but still executed exceptionally well. While that's happening, you have a twangy, Southern Rock riff burning it down in the mix, and even a harmonica break in there, just for good measure. Once you get deeper in the album you're never short on variety, while all the tracks fall loosely in the same category, all seem to have a different sound and tone to them. The fifth track "Ridin' In My Mind" adds a shot of what sounds like bluesy Garage Rock into their already exemplified and heavy Stoner Rock sound, by adding that slight uptick in tempo and some shouted vocals, it changes the overall sound of the band, using this like all of the other songs and really showing off their talents and giving insight to where they draw their influences.
By always switching things up, if only just a little, the group never seems content to play the same song twice, and in a time where some bands put out an album where every song sounds just like the previous one, it's refreshing that a band can find a way to work in so many different sounds without it sounding forced or overdone. If all of this has peaked your interest, you can head over to Ozium Records and order your physical copy of the album, or hit up their Bandcamp for the "name your price" affair, but however you go about it, you need to get in on this one.


For Fans Of; Artimus Pyledriver, Orange Goblin, Blind Dog

Facebook • Bandcamp

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Funeral Horse Interview

RWTD: I'm here with Funeral Horse!   Let's start by just having each of you guys introduce yourself, talk about what your favorite type of movie is, your favorite way to get fucked-up, just whatever comes to mind.

Paul: My name is Paul Bearer, and my favorite movie would be Seven Samurai.   And I get fucked up by getting into arguments with women with big tits.

Jason: My name is Jason Argonaut.  My favorite movie happens to be anything with George Romero.  I'm a zombie fan.  Older stuff is better.   I have been known to take just a little bit more vodka than I normally should have, and, you know, I try to keep it at a certain limit, but there have been times where I've gone over it. Quite a bit. [laughs]

Chris: My name is Chris Larmour.  My favorite movie is either North By Northwest or Cannibal Holocaust.

Paul: I love that!  With the dead turtle?

Chris: Yeah.  It's so fuckin' weird.  But I love North By Northwest because it's just an amazing story, of a normal person put into extraordinary circumstances and then just fucking killing it.  It's just amazing.   The auction scene?   One of my favorite scenes ever, in any movie.   My favorite way to get fucked-up is tap water.

RWTD: Alright.  Well, on the flyer you guys sent me, along with the record, it said that you just happened to sort of know each other.   Can you guys go into more detail on how you all got together?  Have you known each other for a while?

Jason: I initially put an ad out in Craig's List, and the first drummer, Kevin...  No longer with us, obviously.

Chris: He's since passed away.

Jason: Yes.   He died on someone else's vomit. [laughs]   Anyway, so, he responded to the ad [points at Chris], we started jamming out, and then OK, you know, let's find a guitar player, singer, and we had another guy prior to Paul.   You know, he was alright, but Paul responded, and he came out, and at first we were a bit taken aback, because he kind of didn't fit the look of the stoner guy.  'Cause that's what we're trying to go for, you know, stoner metal.  But, I mean, as soon as he plugged in and started playing, we're like, “Whoa, this guy's amazing.”  That's pretty much it.   We came up with a few songs and we did our first show at a skate-park...

Paul: Ballistic Skate Park?

Chris: Oh yeah, the skate park, yeah.

Jason: That's in Houston.

Paul: I kept making roller-skating jokes.

Jason: And it just, ever since that, people've just been fans, 'cause we have a very unique sound that's hard to classify.

RWTD: Yeah, I was thinking that.  It's like, you've got some doom to your sound, there's some thrash in there...

Jason: We've been called, what, 'doom punk'? [laughs]  But that's pretty much how it started, and we write the songs collectively.

RWTD: I was going to ask, what's the song-writing process like?

Jason:  Someone will come up with a riff, normally it's Paul, he'll come up with a riff, and then 'Hey, do you guys like this?'.  So it's very democratic.  It's not like, 'It's gonna be like this,' it's very democratic.  But that's why we work so well.

RWTD: You guys want to talk about some bands that you listened to growing up?  Anyone you'd say influences the sound of the band?

Chris: Probably one of my biggest influences is Fugazi.   I love Fugazi.  I was also kind of into a little bit of early punk.  But I was also very much into... I have a lot of eclectic musical influences.

Paul: You love Karen Carpenter!

Chris: I do.  Karen Carpenter is actually one of my drumming influences because she is an amazing drummer.   If you ever go on Youtube, check out “Karen Carpenter drum solos”.   She's fucking ridiculous, I mean, she'll pretty much put almost any metal drummer to shame.  It's amazing.  Her drumming...

Paul: You know what?  She could not make a sandwich to save her life.

Chris: I mean, you can't have it all. [Paul laughs]  But also, one of my other drumming influences is actually Mel Brooks, the director of comedies like Young Frankenstein.   He was a student of Buddy Rich, and if you ever get a chance to see him play drums, like he's seriously 90 years old, he will rock the shit out of a trap kit like no other, because he's one of these old-school cats that can just really nail it, really nail it down.  And then, uh, Animal from the fucking Muppets, because he could pretty much use telekinesis to play drums, because he didn't even really, he was like... the sticks are all over the place, and they're not even really hitting the right drum and it seems to work all the time.

Paul: He has that persona of drumming.

Chris: Oh yeah, I think he just plays with rage.  He uses rage to make the sticks do the sound he wants.   I think he's just screaming into the drums, and it hits the right frequency, and they resonate just right.  “DRUM ROLL, DRUM ROLL!”

Paul: OK, now I have the magic stick. (ed. note: microphone)

Chris: You have the conch.

Paul: I have the talking stick!

Chris: We're gonna kill you and use your glasses to survive.

Paul: OK, that's fine, I don't care, 'cause I'll be dead.  What do I say now?

Chris: Uh, musical influences.

Paul: Oh.  Uh, KISS.   You know, '70s, '80s, you know, KISS, big guys, make-up, and mythical creatures.

RWTD: Oh yeah, I was noticing you guys spit up blood...

Paul: Huh? Yeah, we spit blood...

Chris: Do we?

Paul: Yeah, remember?

RWTD: Maybe I just imagined it.

Paul: No, no.

Chris: It's the thing we gave him earlier!

Jason: Oh, OK. 'Cause I was gonna say, I do spit a lot in our sets.

Paul: You throw up occasionally!

Jason: I do throw up occasionally, too, not really on purpose, but it's the, eh...

Paul: Yeah, but you wait 'til the end of the set before you throw up.

Jason: I really try to wait 'til the end.

RWTD: Taking some influence from Bongzilla?

Jason: Yeah, a little bit.

Paul: Yeah, lunch is usually better the second time around anyway.

Jason: Uh, true.  Yeah, sometimes.   Depending on what it is.

RWTD: In smoothie form.

Chris: Dr. Pepper is actually kind of still tasty, when you vomit it.

Paul: [Groans and laughs] Oooookay.

Chris: I discovered that as a child, it was very weird.  I remember just puking Dr. Pepper and being like, “This is really not that bAAAAA-!” [everybody laughs]

Paul: Alright, haha.   So, um...  KISS, uh...  Into Thin Lizzy, really admire their guitar-work.  But then, more recently, Matt Pike.   I mean, I can't deny that.  Just the brutality of the way he constructs his riffs and his solos.  And the god himself, Iommi.

RWTD: Gotta pay tribute.

Paul: Yeah.  His solos are just amazing, and... those riffs.  It just pulls everything together, and it's wonderful to listen to.   Mr. Argonaut?

Jason: Mine is Sabbath, you know, for Geezer.   I'm a huge Geezer fan.  Metallica, the early years, with Cliff Burton.   And Jaco Pastorius...  You know, I like a lot of jazz.

Paul: You have a Jaco bass, right?

Jason: I have a Jaco bass.  I like it very diverse, anything from Joplin to Cannibal Corpse.  Things I really can't pin-point, but there's certain...  Like I said, Geezer Butler, Cliff Burton, you know, those two primary.  And then Al Cisneros.  Those three, I kind of base my structure around.

Paul: Your bass?

Jason: Yes.

Paul: Based around those bass players.

Jason: Yeah. [chuckles]

RWTD: So, pretty extensive King In Yellow reference in the liner notes of the most recent album.  Whose idea was that?

Chris: [laughing] Oh, that's me.

RWTD: Robert Chambers fan?

Paul: Good catch!

RWTD: Well, I mean, Carcossa, it's all over that.

Chris: I honestly just heard about Carcossa, like in the last couple of years, and I just find it fascinating.

RWTD: Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

Chris: No, I haven't.

RWTD: Well, that's probably a good thing.

Chris: Oh, OK.  I'm a bit of a writer, and we needed space to fill up... [laughs]

RWTD: So, the KISS cover, is that upcoming?

Paul: Yes!  Yes, thank you.

Jason: So, Artificial Head Records, who released our vinyl for our latest album, they also will be having a compilation coming out at the beginning of September, of all these other Houston-area bands doing covers of KISS songs, and our song is called “Almost Human”, which is from the Love Gun album.

RWTD: Gotta admit, I'm not too up on KISS.  I mean, I know a few songs, but not a lot.

Paul: You know what, you're not alone!   Neither was this guy! [points at Chris]

Chris: Yeah, well, actually, when we recorded the song, I didn't even know what KISS song it was, I'd never heard it before.  Paul just pretty much said, “Don't worry about it! It's KISS, it's super-easy, just play the song.”   You know, in the studio, and I was just like “What do you want?”

Paul: We listened to it once, at rehearsal, over the phone.

Chris: That was terrible.  And I was like, “This is the song you wanna do?”

RWTD: So do you guys do a version where you just shred it to pieces, or is it kind of faithful?

Paul: It's pretty close, actually.

Chris: It's definitely Funeral Horse doing it.

Paul: It's more Funeral Horse style, but the song isn't that hard.

Jason: It's really not.

Paul: It's the latter part of the classic era, so they were kind of just busy cranking out these bubble-gum hits.

RWTD: Gotta fill those arenas.

Paul: Yeah.  Ace was playing cards, being like, 'I don't give a shit,' I mean, he wasn't caring.  So it's not that hard to play.  You know, we recorded our album, and the producer was like “Do you guys just wanna knock out that KISS song? We've got plenty of time. You've already got everything else done.”  And we're like, “Well... OK.” And I look at him, and I look at him, and we're like “Let's just try it.”   So, he was quiet [points at Jason], so he sat there and was like, “Oh, okay, so let's just try it.”  We went through it once, nailed it, and then [Chris] went back and listened to it, and the next day, he recorded his drum track, and then we recorded the bass track over the top of that.  Then we recorded vocals on top of that.

Paul: Kinda got it done beautifully.   So yeah, we're very happy with it.

Chris: And honestly, I thought it was like one of the best tracks that we ever did during that session, was this ridiculous KISS cover that I'd never heard before.  I was flabbergasted that it just turned out amazing.  I was like, “This is fucking weird.”

Paul: And you weren't under the influence of anything.

Chris: Oh, I was super-high, what are you talking about? [laughter]   I was so baked for that entire recording session.   I'm not gonna do that again, that was a bad idea.

RWTD: So theoretically, assuming licensing fees were a thing that didn't exist, are there any bands or particular songs that you'd want to cover in the future?

Paul: Ooh-hoo!  You guys go first, though. [laughter]

Jason: We are currently working on a Flipper cover.

Chris: What?

Paul: We did it that day you threw out your back.

Chris: Ohhhhh.

Paul: Way of the world.

Jason: So we're trying to do Flipper...  What'd we do the other day, we did “Come Together”, by the Beatles?

RWTD: Damn, I wanna hear that.

Paul: That was loud.

Jason: It was loud, and it...  That just fell together, it was amazing.

RWTD: Ever heard Type O Negative's “Day Tripper” medley?

Paul: Nooo?! [Jason laughs]

Jason: Ah, what else...  “Mob Rules”.

Paul: Yeah, we did “Mob Rules” the other day.

Jason: I think that's pretty much it.

Paul: We're gonna try to do maybe a Samhain cover.   But then we started doing these other things, and we're trying to write new material at the same time.

RWTD: So, those are mostly gonna be stuff that you pull out at live shows, just to surprise the audience?

Jason: Pretty much, yeah.

Paul: Like, tonight we did “Angel”.

Chris: Tonight we did “Angel”, by Massive Attack.  The other ones we were talking about were “Venus In Furs”, by Velvet Underground.  I also, uh, I haven't brought this up in a while, but I still kind of want to do “Tales of Brave Ulysses” by Cream.   Because that is an awesome song, and I think we could knock that out of the park.  And then, oh, that Doors song that you like. [nods to Jason]

Jason: Oh, uh, “Not To Touch The Earth”.

Chris: “Not To Touch The Earth”. That would be awesome too.

Paul: The 'Lizard King' here. [nods to Jason]

Chris: And Paul and I both play keys and organs, stuff like that, so we'd be able to definitely do that.

Paul: I play a different kind of organ than you.

Chris: I play the meat organ.

Paul: Ohh my god!

Chris: Ba-da-tss.

RWTD: So how did Artificial Head get in touch with you guys?

Paul: That would be through me.

Chris: Paul is Artificial Head, for the most part. Paul, pretty much, it's his label.

RWTD: You just called yourself up on the phone one day...

Paul: Yeah, like “Why is my line busy?! This sucks!” [laughter]

Chris: “This guy's always fucking busy! Fuck Artificial Head!”  Nah, it's Paul's label, Paul started it, and it's all him.  He's knocking it out of the park, he's doing a really good job running an independent label, and it's pretty much just him, you know?   He's got one assistant that I know of, and that's pretty much it.   He does everything all on his own, you know, and it's pretty amazing.  It's like Dischord, the origins of Dischord Records, which is probably one of the most famous independent labels ever.

Paul: And Atlantic!

Chris: Was Atlantic independent at one point?

Paul: Yeah!

Chris: Shut up, I hate you.

RWTD: So are you guys looking to sign any new bands, or do you have your hands pretty much full at this point?

Paul: We've got the KISS compilation...  You know, I'm kind of slowly scouting other bands.  There's a group from England called Terminal Cheesecake, I've been talking to them.   They're from the '90s, really psychedelic, heavy, heavy into drugs, heavy, noisy...  They were really big, they were on Earache at one point, Pathological, they were all over the place.  Very interesting guys, they just got back together, they're still kind of feeling out their reunion right now.   And I've been talking to Greg Scott, who was the artist for Blue Öyster Cult, back in the '70s. He did Fire Of Unknown Origin, Extraterrestrial Live, and the one after that [The Revölution By Night], with the black and pink cover.  Before Club Ninja, which has an atrocious cover.  But he did three of their covers.  Then he stopped doing artwork for a while, now he's back into doing artwork.  So I contacted him and Terminal Cheesecake, and Artificial Head...  I like to pair really good bands with really well-known artists.  'Cause this is a labor of love.  So there's a band we had on the label a while ago called Art Institute, was a new-wave post-punk band, we had Raymond Pettibon do that artwork.  Jody Seabody and the Whirls, that's a 7” that's coming out soon on the label.  I've got Jeffrey Lamm, who's really famous in Japan, he does comic-book art.  Ray Ahn, from the Hard-Ons, he's doing the cover for the Hell City Kings that we're releasing.   And then we had a well-known Houston tattoo artist, Amanda Bell, do the cover [for our latest album], and Shepard Hall did the back cover.

Chris: Dude, tattoo artists are where to go now, they're some of the best artists around, hands down.

Paul: So, I mean, that's the whole idea.   So the Terminal Cheesecake record will hopefully have Greg Scott on it.  Greg Scott's not gonna be cheap, but to have the artist who did Blue Öyster Cult's covers...

Jason: It's awesome.  It's a selling-point, and it's amazing.

Paul: That's the whole goal, is to put the two together.   Great artwork and great music, together.

RWTD: So, as I understand it, you guys took separate cars for this tour, but as you head to California soon, you're gonna be all in one van.   How's that driving situation going to work out, how do the shifts rotate, and who gets to pick the music that you listen to on the drive? [laughter]

Chris: Normally, I guess it's whoever's driving gets to pick the music.  Unless it's Firesign Theatre, in which case we just listen to Firesign Theatre forever on rotate.

RWTD: Favorite album?

Chris: Oh, I don't have one, I don't really know it that well.  I heard about it when I was in high school, and then fucking Paul busted it out one day, and I was like, “God, this is ridiculous, this is so funny.”

Paul: Yeah, we have a best-of compilation on the player.   “Nick Danger”, that one's really good, and then what was the one with...

RWTD: How Can You Be In Two Places At Once...

Paul: How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All.

RWTD: One of the best covers they've got, I think, with the posters of Lenin and Marx, except it's John Lennon and Groucho Marx.

Paul: Yeah.  Clever, clever, clever people.   I admire the shit out of them.   Listening to stuff like that really makes the time go by.

RWTD: I've also got to ask, where'd the name Funeral Horse come from?

Jason: Oh, that's Paul.

Paul: Yeah, so I was casually watching the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.  I had it on the TV, just kind of casually, it's on, and I heard the announcer say “Oh, they're now preparing the funeral horse...”  I love that name!  But what is that?!   And it's the horses that pull the carriage that the casket's in.  And it was before the band had started, so I just wrote it down one day, like 'That would be a great song name.'  And I just kept it there, and then I responded to Jason's ad about a band, and I don't know what name you guys had at the time, but it was Japanese, I think.

RWTD: Do you recall?

Jason: Oh, god, what was it...   It was 'dead' in Japanese.

Paul: I think he said it, I was like 'Yeah, that's OK.'   I have a thing against American bands using Japanese names.  Just because you really don't know what you're saying, unless you're fluent in Japanese.  Those Japanese tattoos, do you really know what that says?   So I proposed Funeral Horse, and they're like 'Oh, OK, I like it, it's a heavy name.'  And that's where it came from.

Chris: What are the other names we were holding onto?  There was Snotfaucet.

Paul: Oh yeah, later on we came up with Snotfaucet, 'cause you had a runny nose.

Chris: I think I was sick, it was just... [laughs]  I think I said it one night, 'My nose is like a faucet... Snotfaucet!'

RWTD: Almost sounds like a Garbage Pail Kids tribute band.

Chris: Yeah, pretty much.  We were playing some fucking awful bro metal bar, and no one gave a shit about anything we were doing, and my nose was just running like crazy.   It was such a bad show, 'cause like every other band sounded like fuckin' Hoobastank.  All the bands sounded like Puddle of Mudd and shit like that, these whiny fuckin' piece-of-shit entitled mother-fuckers.

Paul: You know, that's part of our problem.  We're the metal band at punk shows, and we're the punk band at metal shows, you know what I mean?  It's hard for us to figure out where to fit in locally.

Jason: So we're just gonna play folk venues.

Paul: Puppet shows, children's theaters...

Jason: Yeah, children's theatre for the most part.  Elderly homes is another place we really like to play.   Prison garages.

Paul: When we hit the road, it's a different story.  We tend to find our niche everywhere we go outside of Houston.   But in Houston, it's not tough for us to get gigs, it's tough for us to get into the gigs we think we fit better.  It's like 'Oh you guys are too metal for us!' and then we show up and they're like 'Aw yeah they're great!'.  But it's a good scene after that.  So we end up getting stuck with a lot of bro metal bands.   A lot of bro metal bands.

Chris: Especially in Houston, because they're like 'Oh, well you're obviously metal, you'll fit right in with these guys.'

Paul: We get put in at venues where they're focusing on, like, Dimebag Darrell.  We played a Dimebag Darrell tribute show.  We were like, 'Why are we here?! I don't know shit about Dimebag, except I know I can't play halfway as good as the guy.'  We were just obviously the left-field band.

RWTD: I was kind of thinking, doom, punk, kind of lends itself more to the sludge scene, which, as far as I recognize, isn't too big in Texas, everybody's leaning more towards desert rock, maybe.

Paul: Here's the funny thing, we're gonna be going through that area on our August tour, we got in touch with the guy from Tee Pee Records, so he's trying to set us up with something in southern California.   Just didn't work out because of the dates, the days that we were going through southern California.  But somebody involved in all that, they're trying to help us out, and they've got our records over there, so we'll see what happens.

Jason: We will be playing San Jose, which is the home of Sleep, so that's gonna be cool.

RWTD: You guys think you'll play a segment from Dopesmoker, anything like that?  Just a little chunk of it?

Paul: We're not worthy.  We're not worthy, man.

Jason: We will be playing in my home-town, San Bernardino, California.

Chris: I grew up in California as well, I'm from San Luis Obispo.

RWTD: And you guys just sort of found yourselves in Houston?

Chris: My story's a bit complicated, how I wound up in Texas.  Nothing to do with rock.

RWTD: Is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans, or to the people who fucked up and failed to come to your shows?

Jason: I mean to get you!

Chris: Honestly, I have a bit of a serious thing I'd like to say.   We have a lot of fans from the Netherlands, and there was the [Malaysian Airlines] plane tragedy that happened, about half of the people on the plane were from the Netherlands, and on behalf of Funeral Horse, I would just like to say that we're thinking of them, and it's terrible what happened.  We're actually going to be going to the Netherlands next year, and it's terrible that something like that happened.   So I'd just like to say that, to end on a bit of a serious note for myself.

Paul: We really appreciate the opportunity, we like hitting the road...  We're just very happy with everything so far, and we're looking forward to bigger and better things, I guess.

Jason: I'd like to say one more thing.   I guess that the momentous part of this whole Funeral Horse thing, what really blew my mind, is there's a concert venue in Houston called Fitz, Fitzgerald's, and I've been there many times as a spectator.  I remember the first time we played there, I was taken aback because I was standing on the same stage that Red Fang played on, Mastodon, so that was like a mile-stone for me.   It was like, I couldn't believe this was happening.  So, this whole Funeral Horse thing itself, it's amazing how everyone loves us, they love our sound, they love our energy.  But that's the mile-stone for me, actually.  Going to Europe, that's cool, but to stand on the same stage that some of the people that I look up to in music...  It was amazing.  It was really amazing.

Funeral Horse plays a hell of a show, so do not miss these guys.  Run, steal a bus if you have to, but don't miss them if they're playing a show anywhere near you.  Copies of their latest album, Sinister Rites Of The Master, are still available through their BandCamp page, so if you don't have one already, snag it now!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Fiery Light...

Mind (((O))) Reader / Ksyatriya - TRUTH (2014)

This split brings together the Australian doom duo of brothers Rahul and Trishay Trada as Ksyatriya, and the more drone-inclined and mysterious duo Mind (((O))) Reader, from Kuala Lampur, which also features Trishay as half of the creative team, alongside an individual named eXile.  Together, they provide one serious space trip.
Mind (((O))) Reader's dronier side starts off the journey with a strong cosmic sample, and lays down a few more in the slow and massive stretches of feedback and resonance which follow it, all of them integrated fantastically into the structures of the songs.  Excellent tonality and wave-shaping reinforce the psychedelic imagery of the artwork and song titles, while the addition of some thunderous drums really galvanizes the proceedings and brings a titanic sensation of power and force pouring out of the speakers.  As their half of the split continues further, some of the buzz to the guitar is burned away, while the tunes get tightened up and generally faster, adding to the sense of progression towards some higher plane.  Though that spine-tingling humming edge to the strings is never fully lost, everything grows to feel sharper and more direct.
As Ksyatriya pick up things on the second half, with an approximation of a deep-space vacuum, they build on the momentum generated by Mind (((O))) Reader, using the pre-developed tension to underline the menace of the leading guitar-work before the bass slams into place.  That menace is held onto as they carry out the rest of their songs, with a hard and low-pitched sonic edge that digs in deeper and deeper.  They also make use of some excellent audio samples, mixed in organically and very effectively.  After some high-power musical violence, the cosmic hum resurfaces towards the end, washing over everything and draining everything into a black hole of sound to close out the voyage.
The split in its entirety is a fairly large undertaking, adding up to one and a half hours of heavy reverb and transformation, but it's also an incredibly rewarding one.  There's an enjoyable sense of structure to the whole thing, something rarely found on splits, and the degree to which they develop it puts most concept albums to shame.  The band has mentioned that a physical release might be in the works, so we'll be keeping an ear tuned for more on that.  Until then, you can pick up each part at the bands' respective BandCamp pages.  Do it!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Ufomammut, Major Kong, Bell Witch, Ulver, Thergothon


Friday, July 25, 2014

Demands Being Met

Curse the Son ~ Psychache (2013)

I was told to check these guys out over a year ago. Not asked mind you, told. It was a damn good demand too because thanks to iTunes, they've seldom left my daily playlist. Always handy with a brain damaging riff, the band just slams it home each and every track, no matter how groove adorned or slow and maniacal the song happens to be. To my point, the title track doesn't have any of those smooth, early doom styled vocals that are so prominent and welcomed at times, but between the unadulterated groove and heavy, heavy riffing you nearly forget that there was a vocalist in the first place. It's not that the haunting voice of the band is bad by any means, quite the opposite, just that the instrumental competency of the group is simply that good. Like Nebula had thrown the in the towel with the whole Space Rock scene and took up a sudden interest in the occult. 
Out tomorrow (noon EST) on the always wonderful STB Records, once again the wax in question has been given all the pomp and ceremony it deserves. Available in three versions, you have your standard available in tri-coloured vinyl, OBI version on clear with red splatter and an absolutely gorgeous Diehard edition with alternate unique screen printed artwork and beautiful bone, black and red splatter wax. Snooze on this one and we're no longer friends!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Witchfinder General, Black Sabbath, Sleep

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dirt And Dreams...

The Hissy Fits - No Way Out (2014)

Blending some grungy garage rock sounds with some fuzzy mock-pop sensibilities, The Hissy Fits' first EP has a distinct character to its quick and dirty songs, which slip and slide around and out.  There's a little taste of dreaminess to the songs, though they're all grounded by the earthy sound of the instruments and production, while feedback blares and drum assaults in the background add to the semi-chaotic vibes, with a trace of '80s NYC punk attitude leaking steadily out of the edges.   Probably best enjoyed with some level of intoxication in your system, so that you'll be as open to their raunchy sound as possible, and as close to their influences as you can get without ODing.  They'll be playing a show tonight in North Carolina, so if you're in that general area, try not to miss their performance, where they'll have the chance to really ratchet up their improvisation and wildness.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; The Chubbies, Daisy Chainsaw, Supersnazz, early PJ Harvey, Stinkerbell


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Heavyweight Throwdown

Irata & Solar Halos ~ Split 10" (2014)

It always makes me proud to see great, heavy music coming out of my neck of the woods, especially considering the kind of dead zone it seemed like 9 or 10 years ago. With both Irata and Solar Halos being from North Carolina, it's good to see more and more of these bands making noise on more than a local level. The first track on the album is Irata's "Semjase", produced by Kylesa's Philip Cope, you can already rest assured it's going to be one hell of a heavy track. Opening with an ambient guitar part, it lulls you into a sense of peace before the band crashes down on you with all of their might in a blast of sound. With plenty of peaks and valleys over the 9 minute course of the track, the band really gets to show off how talented they are, between serene valleys of spaced out Psych to the behemoth peaks of crushing Sludge Metal riffs that delightfully interrupt every so often, the single track has just about anything a listener could want. On the flip side of the split, you have the group Solar Halo's contribution "Of the Spheres/Mountains of Creation", and already being a fan of their self-titled release from earlier in the year I could be a bit biased, but this track is magnificent. With the methodical build up, the track opens up into an expansive sounding Heavy Psychedelic tinged Doom Metal song, especially when the female vocalist starts up with her beautifully resonant performance, which is counter balanced perfectly by the harder edged male voice that breaks in periodically. While their track has it's own sonic path that you must weave your way through, you're never lacking in the sound department, always plodding along, the immensity of that wall of sound they put out keeps you floored. The crisp and airy guitar tone, mixed with the way the drummer punches out his notes and the chunky bass parts that really fleshes the mix out and ties the whole song together neatly. This split will be the first release by NC based CrimsonEye Records, they're offering it on two kinds of 10" vinyl over at their bandcamp for all you collectors out there, and anyone just plain ole' into good, heavy tunes.

 For Fans Of; Kylesa, Royal Thunder, Torche

Monday, July 21, 2014

Yester-year Calling

 Radio Moscow ~ Magical Dirt (2014)

Once from Iowa, the now California living three piece, Radio Moscow, are back with their latest album "Magical Dirt", and it's ace. With heavy, fuzzy guitar tones they put down track after track of Heavy Psychedelic Rock the way it was meant to be. Taking cues from the greats of the 60's and 70's they excel at taking that tried and true formula and making it work overtime for them by adding subtle influences here and there. The rhythm section always sounds exemplary on the album, with the snappy snare drum and rumbling bass notes complimenting each other over the course of it. The guitarist puts down his riffs, but constantly changes things up just a bit, going from Blues playing, to Heavy Rock, to a fuzz drenched Psych riff over the course of just a couple tracks all the while punctuating the songs with a weathered and raw vocal performance, but always keeping melody tucked in there nicely. For instance, in the opening track "So Alone", the vocals have the perfect amount of grit in them, but pairing that edge with the harmony is what really seals the deal. Of course that high level of instrumental prowess is ever present, the song being littered with howling guitar solos, a funky bass tone, and blistering drum lines. One of the songs that I really dig on the album that isn't quite in keeping with their usual sound is "Sweet Lil Thing", because sometimes you just need a good Delta Blues inspired jam to mix things up a bit, and these guys perform it flawlessly, complete with slide guitar. If you're into that 70's Heavy Rock sound like so many of us, you'll be mad at yourself later for letting this one pass by. All of the CD and vinyl options, which are pretty sweet, are available at the Bomp Store and have plenty of different styles to choose from, with everyone else being able to get their digital fix over at Amazon

For Fans Of; The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Kamchatka

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Some Wild Rushes...

SautruS - Reed: Chapter One (2014)

SautruS' first full album (following up 2012's Kuelmaggah Mysticism: The Prologue) continues both their fondness for subtitles and their hard 'n' fuzzy stoner rock stompage with flying colors; they even have Part 2 of a song they began on that introductory EP, which is a very good sign that they'll be taking their work on things to come quite seriously. Who knows how they'll connect this album to the next one?
Take distinctive drumming, guitar-work that manages both the noodly and heavy-slab side of things, vocals that sound as though they're being channeled from restless spirits, and bass with the power to make your walls hum, and you've got yourself the primary elements of Reed. About the only thing likely to make stoner rockers uneasy on the album is the presence of a track titled “Dumbledore”; just tell yourself something like 'It might mean something in Polish,' and it'll slip by easy, since it's just under a minute-and-a-half of instrumental atmospherics.
Right after that one, though, they launch into “Iomi Iomi”, and while that almost certainly actually does translate to a non-wizardy wording in the band's native tongue, it's also something to make staunch Sabbath-worshippers smile (something that's true of the whole album, come to think of it). They've got their own character, mixing influences from doom, desert, and straight-up stoner rock, with the groove riffs landing heavy and true when they're deployed. Just as often as they let those riffs growl, though, they've got some sufficiently-gritty moments of sweeter melody, and SautruS' balancing of the two lets them get to some tricky and complex places in their songs.
It's a strong album, with plenty of stuff that'll stick in your head for days after hearing it, and the right kind of energy to be played over and over again as you get familiar with its ins and outs. The group is planning a vinyl release in September (though as with every release, there's some wiggle room for unexpected pressing issues), so keep your ears tuned for further developments on that front. Of course, you could also go ahead and pick up a digital download over at their BandCamp, if you happen to be the impatient type. Either way, give these guys a listen, and expect big things from them.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Jess And The Ancient Ones, Blood Ceremony, Funeral Horse, Wicked Lady, Saint Vitus


Friday, July 18, 2014

Back To Hell...

Major Kong - Doom For The Black Sun (2012)

The doom-bringers of Major Kong are back again, with a vinyl reissue of 2012's Doom For The Black Sun.  We gave it a glowing review back when it first came out, but since it never hurts to revisit a classic, we're giving it another spin.  They've adjusted the track order and omitted "Demolition Whale", making for a somewhat different experience, so if you haven't heard it before, now's a great time to get yourself acquainted with this group of trouble-makers.
Witches On My Land” begins the album with a feverish bit of audio sliced from some horror film to which I can't put a name, but which has a pretty strong sense of Hammer hanging around it as a woman goes mad and sets the stage for the band to slide right in with massive crushing tones.  From the heavy, grinding chorus riff to the wild tears of free-reign chord-ripping, it's a beast and a half... and it's just the start.
Something that stands out to me as I listen to this album after having heard their follow-up, Doom Machine, is how damn good these guys are at crafting their stuff to build in intensity to the final song.  While the songs do get heavier and heavier as each one goes on, they also work in some spots where the suffocating doom is pulled back, you get a chance to breathe, and then they pull it right back over you with an extra layer added.   The clearest examples of this down-right evil technique are possibly found in “The Swamp Altar”, which goes through so many terrain changes that you won't even be able to remember how you came in at the start.  Then Major Kong sweeps you right into “Acid Transmission”, heralded by a choice exploitation film sample, and you're off on another wild trip as they pour out enough bassy reverb to make your skull rattle.  Some credit should also be recognized to their drummer, who does a masterful job of subtly mutating the rhythms while keeping to the pulse throughout the reeling doom.
The last songs, “Iddqd” and “Primordial Gas Clouds”, are where the band tosses away any sense of mercy, devoting a third of an hour between the two to monstrous riffing, wild and expressive guitar, and even more pressurized bass depths.  It's enough to melt the wax and brains out of your ears, assuming you have it turned up as loud as it deserves, so by the end of the album, don't be surprised if you have difficulty moving.  Copies are available for pre-order from Record Heaven.  What more do I have to say?
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Electric Wizard, Sleep, Cough, Bongripper, Dopelord


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Shocking Experience

Electric Citizen ~ Sateen (2014)

For those of you who haven't heard of them already, Electric Citizen is the classic sounding Heavy Psychedelic Rock quartet from Ohio(US). Playing in the vein of the 60's Psychedelic movement, at times they could just about pass as Jefferson Airplane Jr., which is far from a bad thing. After two well received EPs, "Sateen" is their debut full length on Riding Easy Records, and it has been just as well received. The whole album is nine tracks of gnarly guitar solos, spacey sounds, tight drum rhythms, groovy bass lines, and clean, airy vocals. When combined, they create a sound that isn't new, but is uniquely their own in many respects.
My pick for top track of the album would probably have to be "Savage" with it's fast and hard outset, it's a heavy jam from start to finish. The supremely melodic vocals take on more of a bluesy edge this time around, while the guitar is fuzzed out and grooving, and remember those gnarly guitar solos I mentioned? Well, it's present and accounted for in the second half, blowing the thing apart just after the midway point, the only downside is that it's one of the shorter tracks on the album, so it flies by. Another track that grabbed my attention early was "Shallow Water", the song starts off with the bass and drums ramping up before it all levels off and while the drums roll on, a flute sound drops in to create a melody that the vocalist builds on even further. Towards the end it all really turns into a jam session, with the guitar solo taking center stage once again, and ripping it.
There are numerous ways that you can get in on some of the Electric Citizen goodness, our personal favorite (if you're in the US at least) is ordering a copy through a buddies over at Riding Easy Records, but not forgetting you good Europeans, Hevisike is your go to place for a good ole' fashioned physical copy of the album. The other option is going to iTunes and picking yourself up a digital copy with a bonus track.
For Fans Of; Mount Salem, Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sirius Space Sounds...


It's hard to resist an album that makes a Sun Ra reference right there in the title, but luckily, the latest album from Jetdog (or JETDOG, since they're fond of the caps lock key) is fun enough to earn its name drop, even if this cosmic canine doesn't necessarily hail from Saturn. One of the first things you'll notice once you plug this stuff into your ears is how massively fuzzy it is; going with the name, it works as either a dog-fur-lined wall of amps, or the rumbling radiation of a cruiser burning through the cosmos. Either way, it growls and rattles your woofers without mercy, forming a nice foundation for the subdued vocals to intone their message of star-bound psychedelia.
While I would have liked a bit more meat on the bones (as the album clocks in at just a half-hour), what's offered in these tracks is done exceptionally well, absolutely nailing the cosmic hum for which Jetdog seems to be aiming. There's something of the shoegaze to the walls of fuzzy feedback, but with enough propulsion behind it to keep it from falling into the navel-gazing absence of ambition which can sometimes eat up the best efforts of those sorts of bands. Instead, by keeping the tracks relatively short and sweet, Jetdog get their point across in concentrated riff saturations. And while there is more than a little similarity from track to track (once they get that cosmic hum going, it's hard to stop), the bass-heavy emphasis means it's nothing which fans of doom and other heavy music should be waving aside.
Though the lyrics are nearly overpowered by the resonance of the instrumental side of things, they do manage to get across some sly humor between the lyrics and the song-titles. For one thing, they've got a song named for the classic piece of sleazoid cinema, “Femalien”, which makes for a pairing Sun Ra likely never imagined. And who knows how many other references are buried in the buzz? You'll have to give it your own listen to make heads or tails of it, so for fuzzy astro-sludge, make yours JETDOG.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Skullflower, Godflesh, A Place To Bury Strangers, Fleshpress, Sunn O)))


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Welcome to the Smoking Section

Sadhus (The Smoking Community) ~ Sadhus (The Smoking Community) (2014)

Are you a connoisseur of bleak, disgusting Sludge Metal much like myself? Then I just found something new for your ears to appreciate. Sadhus (The Smoking Community), a five piece band from the land of Greece, released their self-titled debut just today. It's a heaping slab of brutal Sludge Metal that just savagely beats you into submission from start to finish. The whole thing is thick with slow and chunky riffs, monolithic bass lines, crisp drumming, and a seemingly Black Metal influenced vocal performance, which works for them, just adds a bit more atmosphere to the music, lending even further to the dark aggression of their music. 
The whole thing opens up with the massive "Burned By Hand" which showcases their main style of music, the sludgy erosion of the mind they seem so good at laying down. Starting up with a lethal dose of feedback, droning guitars, and bong hits the song builds up to its crushing crescendo where the snarling vocals drop in and the drums pick up to a crawl. The rest of the track alternates between chaotic riffing and heavy, mellow interludes. The standout track for me however was the almost nine minute opus, "The Smoking Community", opening up with a long, spacey jam the heaviness begins when the riff and vocals drop in at the 2 minute mark. That's when you get hit with the ten ton riff that starts bashing your brains in. Taking on a Stoner Doom Metal sound, the track drags along in appropriate fashion, the same way you watch a large cloud of smoke slowly drift and tumble to the other side of the room. 
While the album has been up for a while, for streaming, it's going up for download and consumption today over on their bandcamp. If you're a fan of low and slow music, don't hesitate jumping on this one, it's a killer slab of Sludge.

For Fans Of; Bongzilla, EyeHateGod, In the Company of Serpents

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Return of Flower Power

CHILD ~ Demo (2014)

While California has always been a place to put out great music, especially when it comes to genres like Psychedelic and Stoner Rock, it's good to see up and coming bands like this putting out Heavy Psychedelic music, mixing the old days of free love and Jimi Hendrix with more modern heavy influences, it's a combination that one could almost overdose on. The newcomers of CHILD have nailed the old/new formula perfectly, putting down spacey, 70's influenced Psych jams on top of a groove heavy Stoner Rock foundation, with an emphasis on the instrumentals. Of the three tracks that make up their demo, all have a slightly different sound, but never straying far from that Stoner/Psych base. With the first track "Drag" you're introduced to the group through a spacey Psych jam, with slower tempos, droning guitars, and vocals that are soaked in reverb. By the time you get to the second song, "Trials" you're hit with a Psychedelic Rock jam that has a serious 70's Hard Rock vibe going on once the song progresses some. Opening up with a simple drum beat and riff, it's not long before the track picks up and you're entralled in howling 70's style guitar solos. This one is probably my favorite from the entire release, thanks mostly to those guitar parts, they're stellar. With this being a demo, no one should expect a crystal clear production job on it anyway, but the rough and raw tone is fitting, very reminiscent of how rock bands sounded back in the late 60's, early 70's. You can go on over to their bandcamp and get in on their debut release for free, and it's a promising sign of things to come from these guys.

For Fans Of; Jimi Hendrix, Dead Meadow, Pink Floyd

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sand, Surf, and Soul...

The GTVs - Sh'Bang! (2014)

The GTVs describe themselves as heavily influenced by '60s garage rock and soul music, which was enough to make ears start wiggling in interest at RWTD, even if the second part doesn't get too much coverage here. That interest was well-rewarded once I had a chance to sit down with the album, which really does do justice to their stated love for that era; aside from the essential electric piano, which adds some serious dazzle to the affair, the personable vocals, hip-shaking riffs, and unabashed attitude all blaze with a liveliness channeled from the likes of the MC5, Mitch Ryder, and Dick Dale, but with a slight layer of ear-pleasing grime on top of it all, as though the recordings have been rescued from the back stacks of some negligent record label.
Apart from the usual garage rock sound of that day, they also throw more than a few bones to surf rock, blues rock, and psychedelia, all of it gelled together smoother than Brylcreem. The GTVs have decided to make this a vinyl-only release (fitting, yeah?) so if you want some sweet and crispy tones for this summer, make a bee-line to order yourself a copy from Teen Sound Records; copies are extremely limited, so don't hold off on this one.  Their record release show is tonight, so if you happen to be in Pennsylvania, don't miss out!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; MC5, The Tornadoes, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Fraternity of Man, Rotary Connection