Friday, October 31, 2014

Rock Hard Grooves...

Demonauta - Caminando en la Luna (2012)

While we usually try to stick to reviewing recent releases, when Demonauta sent us this album for some attention, we were pretty quickly convinced it would be worth sharing with our audience.  For one thing, the Chilean trio cranks out just the sort of fuzzy and dirty desert grooves that we love here at RWTD; for another, the album just got issued on CD by Tuneless Records, with a vinyl release from Kozmik Artifactz slated for the near-future.  While the band's DIY original release might have slipped under your radar, it's worth pricking up your ears for these reissues, what with their panache for heavy, bluesy rock doom.
The band works well together, delivering the punchy drum & guitar riffs with power while the bassist lays down a steady foundation of tasty crunch.  A lot of the usual stoner rock sound is there, with some adept effects thrown on the bass to give it a buzz-saw edge, but the guitarist balances out the shreddier moments (which do rock hard) by kicking back every now and then into a more stripped-down and bluesy mode.  They've got a nice range of vocals, with smoother approaches shifted into rougher fare, and right back out again, without any of it coming across as forced or beyond the singers' abilities.
What the band has put together is a very solid album of heavy rock, tightly executed but with enough wild spirit to bring the energy out in earnest.  If you've got any fondness for heavy/stoner/desert/doom/whatever rock (that should be most everyone reading this site), give these guys your ears.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Church Of Misery, Powered Wig Machine, Megasus, The Heavy Co., Manthrass


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Peace and Love, man.

The Wicked Whispers ~ Maps of the Mystic (2014)

From the UK, The Wicked Whispers brings that classic 60's Pop and Psychedelic Folk Rock sound to the modern day. Seeing as how they share a hometown with The Beatles, that was the first band that sprang to mind when their debut album started up, and not just for that little bit of trivia. The band's whole vibe screams "flower power". Gentle, melodic vocals being poured over that Psychedelic Folk Rock meets classic British Pop sound, and it sounds as good as it ever did back in the day. I dare say, these guys may of given everyone a run for their money if they had came out at the same time. After a few complete listens a couple of the songs really jumped out at me, the first was the album's single "Chronological Astronaut", which you can hear at the bottom of the page. The next to really grab my attention on that first complete listen was "I'd Follow You Anywhere". Opening up slowly and with the laughter of children (not kidding), after thirty seconds or so those golden, melodic vocals start on top of a soft guitar part, and some gentle drumming. After another minute or so the song picks up a little speed and the horns make their first appearance. As you move into the second half of the track you're greeted to a really understated Psychedelic guitar solo, it blends in with the mellow nature of the song perfectly, and pops up throughout the second half of the song. Luckily, Electone Records had the good taste to put this 1960's throwback album out on vinyl, along with issuing it on CD and as a download so everyone has an option, because if you're into the retro, poppy Psychedelic Rock, you're going to enjoy this one.

For Fans Of; The Beatles, The Galileo 7, Baby Woodrose

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

First Dose Is The Heaviest...

The Heavy Co. - Uno Dose (2014)

Uno Dose is the first release (classified as a “double EP”) from The Heavy Co. since their LP Midwest Electric last year; here, they offer up a mix of live performances and new studio tracks. It's all done in their down-and-dirty acid rock style, with blaring bass swirling against some sick fuzz and distortion on the guitar. On top of the big noisy presence conjured up by their pedals and production, they've got some blues roots showing through in their slow and steady grooves, which are kept trotting along by some firepower from the drummer's corner, even when they dive into a deep well of feedback.
Among all the other influences coming to life in their output, the band even throws some subtle doom into the edges of their riffs and chords, shaking it slow and low before ripping out into a mean and lean bridge. Imagine golden-era Black Sabbath doing loose covers of Led Zeppelin with a time-tumbled Gibby Haynes taking over vocals while Ozzy recovers from his latest intake, and you're somewhere in the vicinity of what this band delivers.
If you're a fan of lush and loud stoner blues rock, be sure to give these guys a listen. Cassette copies of the double EP are available on the group's BandCamp page, though shipping is currently on hold until they can get some stuff worked out; once that's cleared up, they'll make it known through their Facebook page, so you'll have plenty of time by then to scrounge up the $8 (or more, if you wanna be nice to the band) to get a copy in your hands. Or, if you can do digital, you've got less of an excuse for holding off. Personally, I'm hoping some sharp label will work out an arrangement with THC to get all of their releases out on vinyl, but until then, this tape will be doing regular duty in my car.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Butthole Surfers, 13th Floor Elevators, Fuzz Evil, Acid King, Merlin


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Like A Thousand Locusts...

Qualeaceans - Capture Of Ziz (2014)

Qualeaceans' new album has been four years in the making, and the end result is a thoroughly impressive, complex, and ambitious arrangement of metal overdrive with a prog approach to crafting the rhythms, counter-point, and hundreds of intricate micro-shifts which make up the hour-plus single track, “In The Cavern Of The Flightless”.   Let's go ahead and acknowledge from the start that going for a track which fills a CD to capacity is a risky move at best; it asks some real devotion from the listener, for one thing, and too many bad or boring passages can sink the whole ship.
On the latter issue, at least, the band has nothing to worry about with Capture Of Ziz.  Prog metal fans are generally pretty patient and willing to see where a band's going with something not immediately obvious in its intentions, and Qualeaceans return a strong pay-off on that investment.  They have an amazingly fluid quality to their music, evident in the rippling echo of the drummer's cymbals, the sinuous guitar-work, their ability to jump from one time signature cleanly into another (or a few simultaneously), and the song's structure, which moves about like a snake that can't stop shedding its skin.  The bass is frequently the only 'concrete' part of the melody, keeping a powerful riff going on the mix's low end (sometimes slowly mutating as it goes along) as everything else around it flies into controlled chaos.
Settling on a vocal style to accompany this sort of wild song-writing couldn't have been an easy task, and fittingly, the singer switches through a number of styles to fit the music, though they're usually centered somewhere around a traditional metal growl.  They're also not a constant feature, which seems like a smart choice to keep from tearing his throat apart trying to match some of the more blistering passages.  Also worth noting is the strong production work, which adjusts acoustics and polish to fit the changing flavors of the album to good effect.
Altogether, I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed by the band's work.  The time they put into making their epic track really comes through in the final product, as the whole thing has a sense of immensity to it. Trying to imagine the cavern of the title based on the music brings to mind images of something like a termite hive the size of the Grand Canyon, with inhabitants of a size to match.  It's dizzyingly big, almost overwhelmingly dense with activity, and just plain powerful.  The band has expressed interest in a physical release, so kick some money their way for a digital copy to make that happen... if you can handle it.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Abstracter, Asilo, Gnaw Their Tongues, White Darkness, Behold... The Arctopus


Monday, October 27, 2014

"Hallucinated Journey"

OMSQ ~ Thrust/Parry (2014)

Even though this Belgian four piece have already offered up a few releases, including an EP and some split albums including the one our buddy Gabe reviewed with Vertigo last year. OMSQ have come roaring back to grace our blog with their first full length, entitled "Thrust/Parry", and it's a solid Atmospheric Sludge album from start to finish. The music seems to wander around in the soundscape that they create, sometimes treading the line between music and harmonic noise in the process. More often than not though, it's the tried and true formula of Sludge and Doom Metal with crushing, tar-like riffs and monstrous, hammering drums that pulverize the senses, or the slightly trippy and always groovy sounds of Space Rock that seeps into the album's pores like large doses of LSD. During the moments in between, and the haunting atmospheric passages, the noise and Post-Metal influences show through, mostly towards the end of the album, with the band creating a sound that could of materialized from the depths of the universe, the death rattle of some interstellar deity. The album undoubtedly has a little something for everyone in the crowd. Of the twelve tracks that make up "Thrust/Parry", my favorite would have to be "North Sea", with a seven and a half minute run time it takes one many shapes and forms over the duration, but it's all perfectly executed and feels completely seamless when you listen to it. Opening up with a soft and melodic guitar part, it continues on that path for a while, with the other instruments eventually falling into place as the track picks up steam. Even with being an instrumental band, some of the tracks have spoken word samples, including this one. And after one of those samples, around the three minute mark, the whole thing falls apart and a bruising Doom Metal inspired section comes marching along, only to be out done when the intensity kicks up yet again just before the six minute mark, leaving the song on a definite high point. With the album being a free download at bandcamp you can't lose by picking it up, but the band also has some limited run vinyl and CDs for you fine people to check out.

For Fans Of Kylesa, The Melvins, Russian Circles

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fuzz Evil Interview

If you've heard Wayne Rudell's name before, it's most likely been in connection with the heavy fuzz tones of Powered Wig Machine.  But that's not all he has to offer your ears, as he recently formed a new group to handle all the surplus fuzz rock ideas buzzing around in his brain.  Fuzz Evil just released a split 7" with CHIEFS, and we were able to ask Wayne a few questions about the band's past, present, and future.

Ride With The Devil:  How did Fuzz Evil come together?

Wayne Rudell:  Fuzz Evil came together in the summer of 2013.  We'd just come off a short mini-tour with Powered Wig Machine and were taking a break for a few months.  I started writing all this material that didn't really fit with PWM, and I was jamming a lot of The Stooges' Raw Power, a bunch of fuzz rock, and tons of psych.  Musically, the songs were a nice 'reset' for me.
The name came from my brother Joey.  When I have time, I love collecting and building fuzz pedals.  I'd just finished making my first commercial pedal, the Doom Treader.  Haha, I guess our Dewey Cox moment came after we fired it up when Joey said,"Man, that Fuzz is Evil," and Fuzz Evil was born.
(RWTD note: You can find a video for the Doom Treader at the end of the interview.)

RWTD:  Who all's in the band, and what are their musical backgrounds like?

Wayne:  The band consists of my brother Joey on bass and backing vocals, our long-time friend Marlin Tuttle on drums, and myself on lead guitar/lead vocals.
With Fuzz Evil we have an interesting mix of bands contributing to our sound.  We love the 'dirtiness' of The Stooges and MC5.  Fuzz!  Fuzz!  Fuzz!
Fu Manchu and Electric Wizard have always been some of my favorites for guitar tone.  We all love our psych.  A lot of the great current stoner/psych like Black Pussy, Mothership, Dead Meadow, The Truckfighters, and of course Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats have all had influence on us as musicians.

RWTD:  Since you've mentioned fuzz and dirtiness being the essential parts of Fuzz Evil (which the name does a great job of communicating), how does the band work towards achieving that sound?  Are there some specific pedals or amps which you feel help in making that happen?

Wayne:  We get our sound by mixing and matching various vintage gear.   Being a three-piece, one of the biggest challenges is to sound 'full.'  We hand-picked specific gear to give a very full live sound.  I use the Boss FZ-2 and a Big Muff Tone Wicker slammed through a 1973 Sunn 190l going into a full Marshall Stack.
Joey actually runs two separate bass rigs.  One for clean, one for fuzz.  The Clean Rig is a Galleon Gruger 1001rb running through a 8x10 Ampeg SVT.  The Dirty Rig runs a 1970 Big Muff, Sans Amp, and a custom fuzz I built simultaneously through a Sunn Concert bass into a 2x15 Cab.
We decided to go with acrylic drums for how loud they are.  Gear-wise Marlin uses a 1970 blue Ludwig Vistalite kit Downtuned to get that warm low-end punch.

RWTD:  And how do you usually approach putting a Fuzz Evil song together?

Wayne:  Song-writing is a very organic process with us.  It has to feel natural.  We try and create a lot of movement in the music.  We love big hooks and it has to groove.  Vocally, I tend to come up with melody first then place lyrics against the melody once the song is finished.

RWTD:  Has Fuzz Evil been doing any live shows yet?  If so, how does it compare to working in the studio?

Wayne:  We have done quite a few shows this year, and we have really lucked out on the shows we've played.  Our first seven shows we played with the Truckfighters, Crobot, Fu Manchu, Mothership, Black Pussy, Nik Turner's Hawkwind, Witch Mountain, and Lord Dying.
We are definitely a live band, since we tend to open things up a bit, playing extended parts and playing to our crowd.  The studio work is very clean and polished.  We record our music live so we can still get that organic feel.  The studio stuff is really Brian Gold, our sound engineer at Primose Studio in Sierra Vista, AZ.  He has a real love and ear for the genre, he's meticulous, and his attention to detail is the best I have ever seen or heard.  I have no doubt that you will be hearing a lot of great things coming out of his studio in the next few years.

RWTD:  What are Fuzz Evil's plans for the next few months?

Wayne:  Our immediate plans are to finish the New EP and try to get it out early 2015.  I imagine we will do a few mini- regional tours, work on a video, and possibly try to play a few festivals.

RWTD:  Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

Wayne:  One thing is that if your readers haven't already, they should check out Battleground Records.  They are a great new label and imprint based in the southwest US.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bones And Stones...

Fuzz Evil / CHIEFS - Glitterbones / Stone Bull (2014)

On the first side of this split, you get the debut track from the trouble-making trio of Fuzz Evil, as they make good on their name in the fuzzy morass of “Glitterbones”.  Sounding raw but rocking, they put a riff-centric spin on desert rock, serving up something heavier than the usual fare tagged under that genre.  With some fat and warm tube sound to the guitar and bass, solid head-pounding from the drums, and a vocalist who knows the best times to go big and when to let the instruments take over, “Glitterbones” is a strong entrance for the band from Arizona.
On the B-side (or, to be accurate to the label on the record, the G-side), CHIEFS provide “Stone Bull”, a slower and less cheerful track that's no less steeped in the sounds of canyons and desert landscapes.  The bass takes front and center position here, with the guitar adding sharp jabs and strong lead-lines over the deep-toned pulsations, while the vocalist's part is faded really well into the deeper end of the mix.
Copies of the 7” are still available from the bands' websites, so if you have a sweet tooth for desert rock candy, you might want to move fast and grab one of these grey-marbled slabs before they're all gone.  While you're at it, keep an ear out for any new stuff from these two; Fuzz Evil will soon be releasing an EP, while CHIEFS are in the studios developing their debut LP.  This is the place to introduce yourself to both of them, so get to it!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Dead Hand, Powered Wig Machine, Sons Of Tonatiuh, Acid Elephant, Orchid


Friday, October 24, 2014

A Glorious Torment...

Hijo de la Tormenta - Hijo de la Tormenta (2014)

Hijo de la Tormenta's self-titled debut album (following up on their 2012 EP) is my first exposure to the group, and I have to say, I'm impressed with what I've heard.  The band has an unusual blend of sounds, bringing together fuzzy guitar with a prog-like patience and approach to song construction, so while they're fully capable of grinding out some dirty rock sounds for your ears, they do so while keeping things unpredictable.
In the midst of their amazingly tuneful heaviness, the drums do a lot to keep things from getting over-saturated, with counter-point rhythms, inventive fills, and a crisp sound to the drum-hits generating some defiant liveliness beneath the down-tuned doom rock.  Unpredictable twists on the band's established sound come with each new track, whether it's cranking up the speed for a wild ride of feedback, throwing in some new effects to alter an instrument, or some other aspect altogether getting turned on its head.
The album is well-served by the band's willingness to twist their musical approach however they can to make something interesting, and as a result, it's a great album as a whole.  Instead of just being a collection of songs, there's a real sense of unity tying them all together, and leading from one into the next.  While not all of the songs make use of vocals, the changing character of the songs still comes across as a natural development, built around Hijo de la Tormenta's use of melody and mood.  Top-notch stuff, and well worth checking into, whatever your musical tastes may be.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Asilo, Rhino, Necronomicon (Brazil), Salem's Pot, From Deep Space


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Prowlin' Around

The Phuss ~ On the Prowl (2014)

The Phuss is a power trio from Texas that kick out raucous, feel good Garage Rock jams that are sure to keep you moving while they're on. Their latest release "On the Prowl" was released on Magnetic Eye Records earlier this month, and it is easily one of the best party albums I've heard all year, you know, if your party consists of a couple kegs, lots of smoke, and possibly a fight and/or structure fire. Which, by my standards, would be a damn good party. The catchy hooks makes sure each track gets stuck in your head, and the aggressive riffs and pounding drums make sure they stay there. There's really nothing fancy, no decoration or posturing, what you see is what you get with this album, and what you get is a flawless and melodic conglomeration of Garage, Stoner, and Punk Rock. It wasn't all that easy picking a favorite from the album's eight tracks, while the single "I Don't Feel Good" was my favorite initially, after a few more complete listens I started l leaning towards "Hammer and Nail". With it's rowdy atmosphere and supreme catchiness, it's a track that's hard to ignore. Aligning its self more towards the Garage and Stoner side of things than the other tracks, it cranks up with a torrent of sound that could easily be from Detroit circa. 1975, adding in some Punk influenced shouted vocals that kick in after just a few moments, and doesn't take long for the catchy vocals and grooving rhythms to infect you like a disease. After the halfway point, an extended little jam sequence, and some pretty gnarly vocal parts the tracks comes full circle, and gives you a double dose of infectious groove. You can get all of your fixes over on the Magnetic Eye Bancamp, with options for digital, CD, and vinyl.

For Fans Of; Fu Manchu, MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

If Walls Could Scream...

le bomje - Warehouse (2014)

Warehouse seems to be the first release from le bomje (yes, all lower-case), a crew from Kazakhstan who are fully capable of churning out some nasty sludge, as they demonstrate here.  The album consists of half an hour's worth of low-tone madness packed into three long tracks, and from the opening squeal of the notes in “Welder”, they establish their style with clear and grimy intent.
The music is free from vocals, allowing the reverb on the strings and the big sound of the drums fill your speakers.  It also lets the songs flow easily from one track into the next, so that if you're not being attentive, the change-over from “Welder” into “El Tetragon” (or from there into “Submarine”) can slip right by you, right up to the point at which they slam in their new main riff.
The band deserves credit for taking the slow tempos, the near-drone insistence of the bass, the absence of vocals, and the down-right repellent sound of sludge at its most potent, and stitching it all together into something compelling.  If you're looking for something with a tune that will end up stuck in your head so that you can hum along, look elsewhere.  What le bomje have poured into this album is stuff that calls for its listeners to surrender to the heavy waves.  If you can handle the weight, though, you'll find an impressively confident and capable debut.  While it's bad form to predict a band's future, I can't really imagine this group turning out anything done by half-measures, and with this big of a start, they're already well on their way.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Major Kong, Sunn O))), Bongripper, Skullflower, Ladybird


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Burning Out Of Control...

Nightosaur - Set Fire To The Mountain (2014)

On Set Fire To The Mountain, Nightosaur bring the title of their album to life, producing songs that would seem right at home played by a band of men with craggy faces by the light of a mountain-top bonfire. They've got grit, a good ear for riffs with the endurance to stick around for a while, and enough of a rough edge to their sound to keep it earthy without descending into lo-fi. In keeping with the days of early heavy metal, there's something of a Lovecraft or rugged sci-fi vibe to the songs, with titles such as “The Shocking Tale Of Wilson Pinnafore” side-by-side with “Old Gods” and “Bow Down To Thy Destroyer”, even as they stay rooted in slow bass grooves and interludes for sparser mourning.
Really, these guys just have a solid grip on what made early heavy metal so enticing, before it started getting into the theatrical aspect. They take some bluesy riffs, make it heavy, add some appropriately powerful drumming, and see where it takes the music. They strike a great balance between relaxed freedom and a definite plan with each of their songs, and I have to imagine that leaving themselves such room to improvise leads to some amazing live shows.
If you're still carrying a torch for the early days of Black Sabbath and Iron Butterfly's heavier moments, you'd be doing yourself a favor to pick up Nightosaur's new album. The name may be silly, but you won't be getting anything that's looking to capitalize on cheesier moments of metal, just an earnest tribute to the genre in its original form.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Magic Circle, Saint Vitus, Bitchcraft, Valkyrie, English Dogs


Monday, October 20, 2014

Harbingers of All Things Occult

The Hyle ~ Demo (2014)

Our next group is a four piece Doom Metal act from Denmark. The Hyle, which from their description is pretty much "infinite non-existence" in layman's terms, and they definitely have a surreal "floating in the nothingness" vibe present in their music. In appropriate Doom Metal fashion everything is played low and slow right from the outset of the opener "Lucifero", with each track having an expansive sound to encompass all of the heaviness. While the demo is only two tracks and thirty minutes long, it is actually four songs, of which the third "Spiritual Sacrifice" is probably my favorite. Opening up with a long, ambient passage, it takes a moment for the song to build up to a pounding drum into, that once it gets rolling there's no stopping it. The bass falls in line right after, really lending to the low end rumble with a nice, rounded tone, and the guitar drops in just after that, with a slow and howling riff. About a minute in, the haunting vocals make their grand appearance on the song, offering a bewitching contrast to the low tuned heaviness that makes up the rest of it. At around the five and a half minute mark the guitar kicks into overdrive and lays down a screaming guitar solo that closes out the seven minute song on a high note. Once again, this is another very promising band with one hell of a initial offering for all of us Doom fanatics, and while the market has become very saturated here lately, real talent and potential will always stand out comparatively. You can pick up their demo as a "name your price" deal over at their bandcamp page, but is definitely worth throwing them a couple bucks.

For Fans Of; Electric Wizard, Disenchanter, Pallbearer

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Total End Of The World...

La Fin Absolute Du Monde - Black Sheep: Remixed (2014)

Black Sheep: Remixed is the lengthiest release yet from the duo of La Fin Absolute Du Monde, who are in the process of an exhaustive tour in support of its release.  Making use of dark tonalities, guitar which just as capably handles grimy or clean output, and sweet notes coaxed from piano/keyboard to create a characteristically complex and understatedly neurotic melding of each performer's personality, the duo's first full-length lets you hear the sweat and pains they've endured and invested in the creation of their music.
The first half of the album features remixes done by outside allies, most notably Justin K. Broadrick (of Godflesh and Jesu, and a dozen other groups) and the band's recently-acquired production team of Social Security, while the second half features songs from the band's back catalog, updated and released on vinyl for the first time.  Both sides maintain the neo-noir flavoring for which the group named their personal label, making use of sultry rhythms and slinky synth-lines to establish a haunted sound which shies away from easy satisfaction.  The vocals, provided by the keyboardist, insinuate themselves around the feedback and percussion, shading them in with a sense of someone waiting and meditating within the growing shadows just before trouble breaks out.
Having been lucky enough to catch one of their live performances in an intimate venue, I feel obliged to call upon our readers to recognize the efforts of La Fin Absolute Du Monde.  It may fall a little outside our usual circle of coverage, but the low tones and heavy vibes you usually expect to hear in our recommendations can just as easily be drawn from the grooves of this new record.  Some genuine passion went into the crafting of this music, and while they're not in it for the money, having some makes it a lot easier to continue making music.  So head over to their BandCamp, pick yourself up a digital or vinyl copy (the latter version is limited to 250 copies), maybe one of their fine T-shirts (suitable for scaring the squares), and then dig into the depths of La Fin Absolute Du Monde's distinctive sound.  And if they come through your region, be sure to catch their show for a one-of-a-kind experience.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Sunwølf, Factrix, Jesu, Diamanda Galás, Ulver


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sounds Painful...

Lightsucker - Carved In Cockstone (2014)

On their debut EP, Lightsucker offer up four songs in the style of hot-boiling sludge. Kicking off with the bash-heavy “Vermin”, the Finnish quartet rides hard and fast on a blazing assault of drums and gritty bass. After making their initial attack, they slow down a bit, going for a long-haul riff and a more traditional doom sound on the following track, “Claustrophobia”, which draws to a close with a nice howl on the strings. “Misfit” follows, as both the EP's longest track and its most desert rock styled, blending some nimble riffs with a big amp sound and some expansive bass cooking underneath the rest, though the vocalist keeps his rough sludge style intact. Lastly, “Age Of Decadence” brings the aggression of the first track back into play, letting the drummer pound out some fast thrash to break things open and hold them together while the others jump into turbo mode.
It's a strong first release, with the band showing how they can capably handle a range of styles and bring them together in interesting ways. They've certainly got the energy to make some high-speed and high-quality sludge happen, though personally, I was happiest when they'd slow it down to a tarry doom slog. Whichever way they develop, this crew will do Finland's heavy music scene proud.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Funeral Horse, Halo Of Flies, EyeHateGod, Open Tomb, Fister


Friday, October 17, 2014

Uncommon Creations...

Rat King - 1564 (2014)

The debut EP from Seattle's Rat King is a quick but effective 3-song affair, one in which the trio neatly establishes their personal approach to instrumental metal.  They have an interesting style, one which is difficult to pin down; there's plenty of heavy crunch, but also an unabashed technical proficiency, and the two are brought together smoothly even as the band keeps stretching to incorporate new things.  While they do keep their release lean and mean, the trio also finds the time to dip into some quick atmospheric touches, along with some inspired and tricky break-downs.
For a first release, the band deserves to feel proud of what they've accomplished.  Everything hits just the right level of cleanliness for tone and grit, the drums are punchy without being over-blown, and the guitar and bass come together in some remarkably creative ways without losing their hard groove connection.  Even so, the band sounds like it still has plenty of room to grow, and it will be worth keeping an ear on this crew to find out how they develop from here.  But until their next release arrives, you'd do well to nab yourself a copy of 1564 from the group's BandCamp page
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Indukti, Ulver, Kalamata, Domadora, Celophys


Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Buzzmutt Rises

Buzzmutt ~ Strange Planes of Surveillance (2014) 

This latest five piece from California goes by the moniker Buzzmutt, and while some band names are outrageous or just leave you scratching your head a little bit, this one seems strangely appropriate, not that I could tell you why, exactly. It could have something to do with the mellow junkyard dog demeanor of some tracks, or maybe the fact that some songs are kind of buzzy in spots, some may see this as a result of shoddy equipment or bad production, but maybe it just lends to the overall atmosphere, a little perfect imperfection in a world of over-polished sounds. It's hard to pin down there sound in all honesty, the best description I could come up is if you water boarded a Noise Rock band with buckets of LSD until they try to become a Psychedelic Rock group, you'd be getting close to the sound that Buzzmutt makes. My immediate favorite of the six tracks is "Machine Death Squad", opening up with a Psych riff for the ages, and a punchy drum tone that resounds throughout pretty much the whole three and a half minutes of music. Once it gets rolling the mellow, reverb saturated vocals drop in after only about thirty seconds, and leave their mark on the track, with a trippy noise interlude just after halfway, this is probably one of the more "by the books" Psychedelic Rock songs, but every song on the release has that very same influence written all over it. You can pick up this album, along with their earlier release "Static in the Mind's Eye: Chapter One" for a "name your price" deal over at their bandcamp.

For Fans Of; The Electric Mess, The Janitors, The Flaming Lips

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Simp-ly Awesome...

Dr. Colossus ~ IV (2014)

It's a pretty good rule of thumb that it's hard to accurately gauge a bands true caliber by just a short EP alone... but fuck it, I'm gonna go out on a limb and do it anyway.
Dr. Colossus may just ruffle the feathers of a fair few stoner, doom and metal acts doing the rounds out there at the moment. Why? Well to begin with they're a two piece. Sure, not exactly a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. But when you consider the doom genre as a whole, you'll be hard pressed to recall all that many duos. So to sack off the additional guitarist and bass player and retain a truly immense and resonant sound is a feat in itself. Their other potentially painfully irritative features lie in their sheer talent. Not only are both in a number of other bands of assorted ilk, and guitarist/vocalist Jon currently half way through a world tour playing bass for Vance Joy but these guys seriously know how to craft one hell of a riff! With ease, they can join the ranks alongside the likes of AC/DC (yeah, I know they're mostly Brits, but we'll let em' have that), Wolfmother, The Vines and of course Men At Work, when it comes to harnessing that all-encompassing lick. But when all's said and done, the duo's real key is their ability when it comes to lyrical content. Many bands have slaved away for weeks, months even years trying to nail their lyrics and hone their subject matter. So there's no easy way to say this, but Dr. Colossus base all their tracks on Simpsons episodes. Yup. I shit you not. Now right now I'd bet my bollocks to a barn dance theres a number of you reading this that have just turned your nose up solely because of that announcement. But please, PLEASE think twice. You honestly will not be disappointed with what this pair can do with this EP's mere 15 minute runtime. Besides, the real kicker here is that it took me a good few listens before the penny dropped. Going into them somewhat blind, having not checked out their Facebook page, it wasn't until I caught the lyric "I choo choo choose you" in the final track Son Of A Pig. Casually overlooking the blatant obviousness of the opening line of track two; "So I went to Shelbyville"... Doh! But lyrical content aside and taking into consideration the chap's unlikely sound within their other projects, Dr. Colossus genuinely produce some of the best stoner rock and doom I've ever heard. Opening track Mono could not be a better opening to any recording, and the fact that it's already racked up a total of 35 plays on my iTunes serves as testament to that. Slow, heavy and packed to the gunnels with groove, fuzz and reverb. What more do you need? But it doesn't live and die at that. As the EP progresses the pace varies. From your textbook down tuned doom chugging to whats pretty damn close to desert rock territory on track two, Because Of The War. The high octane changes of pace do absolutely nothing to throw these guys off their game though. Everything sounds effortless and tight. With the end product big, sporadic, dirty and relentlessly both fun and brutal all at the same time. For all intense and purpose Dr. Colossus are the Mark 'Chopper' Read's of stoner doom world, and fair dinkum, they should be bloody proud of that!
So there you have it in a nut shell - an Australian duo playing top notch stoner doom about individual Simpsons episodes. It's really this kind shit that makes it pretty much impossible to dislike the Aussies. Yeah, they're predominantly descended from thieves, murderers and rapists, and sure, many of them have a penchant for casual racism. But goddamn, when they hit the mark, they really hit the mark. So if you're in the market for something essentially lighthearted but under the guise of ferociously monolithic doom, look no further. I urge you to hit up their Bandcamp page and pick up this beauty of an EP. It's a scant $5, which is made even more appealing when you realise that thats Australian dollars! I'm not sure what that is in real money, but I'm pretty sure when converted that's like minus figures in every other currency. I have no idea what the current exchange rate is.
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Electric Wizard, Planet Of Zeus, Mountain Witch, Elder, Heavy Blanket


A Trip Through Time...

Syreregn - Skabt Vaerk Består (2014)

With roots firmly planted in the psychedelic rock of the '60s, Denmark's dynamic Syreregn power things up on their latest album, Skabt Vaerk Består.  They play things big, with nearly all of the six songs breaking the 5-minute mark, with one, the stunningly-beautiful “Marana Tha”, clocking in at more than 12 minutes of psychoactive sweetness.  Groovy melodies are complemented by vocals that assert the swagger of yesteryear's rock giants without letting themselves fall into the dangerous waters of falsetto, and they know when to step it back so that their skills on the instruments can shine on through without any barriers.
While the guitar and keyboard are the most prominently-featured parts of the songs, kicking out jams with some slick style keeping them fluid, the bassist and drummer keep right up with the higher-pitched parts, providing a solid foundation for the group's full-bodied sound to tune in and blow up.  The band has a great handle on the blues which so overtly influenced the early psychedelic groups, though they're unafraid to let loose with some wonderfully wild solos and seat-of-their-pants tempo escalation.  If you have a taste for those early days of the genre, before it got into contests over who could fill the biggest venue, then Syreregn will gladly provide you with a big helping of psychedelic rock that's simply energized by getting to play their music and experiment with it as they please.  The album received a limited vinyl release from the excellent folks over at Kozmik Artifactz and Bilocation Records at the start of this month, so if you haven't already acquired a copy for your listening pleasure, do yourself a favor and hustle on over before they're all sold out.  And if you're lucky enough to reside in Denmark, for heaven's sake, keep your eyes peeled for chances to let this group melt your mind with a live performance!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Cream, Blue Cheer, 13th Floor Elevators, Ten Years After, Santana


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sleeping It Off...

Grindhouse - Sleeping At The Peeps (2014)

With a name like “Grindhouse”, this band was everything I was hoping it to be.
Straightforward, cheaply indulgent, yet still well-crafted and catchy, Sleeping At The Peeps digests much like a slice of greasy, decadent rock-n-roll gluttony.  I couldn’t wait to tear through this teeth-rotting treat when I saw the obnoxious Christmas-colored album art.  Chock-full of beer bellies, Pabst, and cowboy hats, and raunchy in all the right ways, I found every song to entertaining as the cover.
I am especially a fan of albums that move seamlessly from song to song,  and much like a good book, Sleeping At The Peeps subjugates the senses in such a way that you almost forget you are listening to eight separate tunes.  Don’t mistake this for a boring, singular sound, however.  Although this band labels themselves as garage rock, their music subtly glides in and out of various styles; but remains even-keeled.  “Dapto Dazzler” kicks off the album with energetic guitar riffs, and raucous, tube-y vocals.  “Wild Sex And Machine Guns”  has more of a rockabilly vibe, while “If You Say So” errs on the side of straight-forward punk, and “High On The Side Of The Road” slows it down a bit, alluding to a classic blues rock kind of feel.  The album wraps on a high note with “Mutha Fuckin Punk Rock Power,” ensuring that you will hit  'replay' to keep the stamina of the album going just a bit more.
~ Allie

For Fans Of; The Vines, Turbo Negro, The Hives, Ramones, The Strokes


Friday, October 10, 2014

"I Am the Devil, and I Am Here To Do the Devil's Work."

Occvlt Hand ~ Devil's Work (2014)

 These four Canadians had me pretty much sold on their release the moment it opened up, sampling Rob Zombie's "Devil's Rejects", and more over the scene they chose that includes Otis Driftwood and his famous line, a favorite of mine. It does perfectly set the tone for the remainder of the songs, with visceral energy and brutalizing Metal starting up as soon as the clip is finished. Mostly of the Sludge variety, but it's clear that they pull influences from Black Metal and Doom Metal all the way down to Hardcore. As much as I enjoyed all four tracks on "Devil's Work", the second song "Midnight Creatures" really caught my attention, opening with a soft riff amidst a storm of feedback that hastily gets louder until the unadulterated groove drops in hard, and you've witnessed the beginnings of a Sludge Metal track that savagely attacks the listener's brain like a hot dose, between the snarled, guttural vocal performance, getting beat down by the drum rhythms, and hammering guitar and bass riffs, it's not hard to see how it could leave even a strong minded person drooling and slightly catatonic. With around a minute left the song takes a sudden left turn, and it's almost like a whole new song starts, with a pummeling groove, like the stride of some gargantuan beast as he walks across the landscape. This is an outstanding effort for a first release from a relatively young group, who I think have plenty of cool stuff up their collective sleeves. They're practically giving this away on their bandcamp with a "name your price" deal, so go give them a listen and decide for yourself.

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

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Heading On Down...

T.K. Bollinger & That Sinking Feeling - A Catalogue Of Woe (2014)

A Catalogue Of Woe comes to us courtesy of Australia's doom blues underground, featuring a stripped-down but effective arrangement of guitar, drums, bass, and the guitarist's vocals. Sounding weary but willing to endure more troubles, the trio does right by the blues, while at the same time sounding as baked by the sun as non-Australians usually imagine the country to be.
Unlike the small-room acoustics of typical delta blues, That Sinking Feeling gives their instruments a little touch of echo, giving the album a sense of bigger things going on in the background while keeping the songs' stories focused on the person going through them. It works well, allowing them to keep the melodies grounded in simple, slow-moving musical pleasures without losing energy or momentum, and they flow smoothly from one song into the next while relishing each for what it is.
There's not much in the way of bloat on the album, so things move along at a steady clip, taking just as much time as called for by the songs and their moods. The music targets an itch not many bands try to scratch, so if you've been looking for more doom-soaked blues to add to your collection, turn your ears to Australia and let That Sinking Feeling fill them.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Danzig, Deadboy & The Elephantmen, Jak Locke, Blue In The Face, Occultation


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Branches And Light Overhead...

Canopy - E P 2 0 1 4 (2014)

On their first EP, the band called Canopy storms through four tracks of instrumental metal.  For some of it, they're aggressively fast and sludgy, while other moments find them slowing down to funeral doom tempos and atmospherics. In between, the band fluidly mixes a number of other styles, turning in a very respectable job of experimentation grounded in heaviness.
In addition to shifting musical styles, the band gets a good amount of mileage out of adjusting the tone of the stringed instruments, and from making use of some interesting production work to really give things an expansive sound.  The drums rumble clearly, the guitar sounds like it would have the power to knock crowds back from the amps at a live show, and to tell it simply, things just sound big.  All of the pieces come together for a very strong debut release, so keep your ears out for more as this crew gets things rolling.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Weedeater, Celophys, Brimstone Coven, Wolf Blood, Albino Rhino


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Sonic Crack

The Picturebooks ~ Imaginary Horse (2014)

This dynamic duo of Germans that signed to the always cool Riding Easy Records just last year are ready unleash their latest album, "Imaginary Horses", on the world and it is some of the finest straight up Blues Rock I've came across in quite some time. From the very opening minute long track of the album you get the feeling it's something unique in its own right. Maybe it's just the acoustics in that old garage/studio that they rebuild and customize motorcycles in, it could always be some of the improvised instruments they use, whatever it is, I'm a fan. The second track is what could be considered the single I suppose, "Your Kisses Burn Like Fire", opening with a slow and bellowing drum part, it doesn't take long for the powerful and weathered vocal performance to start, along with the drums picking up steam, and before long you have a howling riff dropping in to really gets things rolling. While the singing starts off pretty low and mellow, after a while they really get put out there, with the chorus being bellowed at the top of his lungs in between bits of harmonizing, but always keeping the balance between mellow and shouted vocals in the track. And with all of the tracks being fairly short, nothing being over five minutes, they're all as straightforward as possible, no artsy soundscape passages or long bouts of random noise, it's all head on Blues Rock from start to finish. Then with other tracks like "The Rabbit and The Wolf", and "These Bridges I Must Burn", you're not in short supply of Blues Rock jams that really swing, but with all of your traditional Blues trappings. These two guys always seem handy with a catchy riff and drum beat, with a hook, vocal performance, and creative harmonizing to match, it will be a challenge for each song not to get stuck in your head for days on end. Since today is the street date for the album, you should be able to get all of your physical format needs met over at the Riding Easy Records Store, and if all you need is a digital tracks, you can pick up all thirteen tracks for just eight bucks from the iTunes store.

For Fans Of; Dax Riggs, Jackson Firebird, Kamchatka

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Not A One Man Band

Heathen Bastard ~ Heathen Bastard (2013)

 With a name like Heathen Bastard, the listener would expect some heavy, gnarly metal, regardless of what sort it is, and anything less would be false advertising. Luckily for all of us, this is some heavy, gnarly, bludgeoning Sludge Metal, the kind that makes you want to drink copious amounts of hard liquor and possibly start a fight for absolutely no reason. Sharing a drummer with the Stoner Metal band Thieving Coyote, both bands like the groove, but that's where most of the similarities end. Laying down a monster drum part, the sort that pierces ear drums with each hit and pulverizes minds into fine powder with the overbearing bass riffs, put that with the crunchy, thick guitar riffs and snarled vocals emanating from each track, and you have the official recipe for Sludge. While it is hard to pick a favorite from the five tracks that grace their self-titled release, if I had to give one song the crown, it'd probably be "Buzzard in the Tree". Opening with some feedback and a couple of cymbal crashes it takes almost no time for a plodding bass riff to come hurling down from above and lay waste to the landscape on impact, like some asteroid. With the guitar riff marching along the same path, the vocal performance starts out snarled and guttural, then proceeds to stay that way while the ground shaking music gives way to short interludes of feedback and noise in true EyeHateGod fashion. The track never stays down for long though, and comes right back to continue its slow, brutal death march, all the way to the end. With the price tag of only a few bucks on Bandcamp, that's your only way to their music really, but streaming is always free, and these guys are definitely worth a spin, out of morbid curiosity if nothing else.

For Fans Of; Bongzilla, EyeHateGod, Electric Wizard

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Changed Before Your Ears...

Close The Hatch - To Collapse In Absentia :Green (2014)

Following up on 2013's To Collapse In Absentia:RED, Close The Hatch have shifted on to another shade for their recent release in the key of green. Making use of both growling and melodic death metal vocals over some technical guitar crunch and intricate drum-work, the music on this five-song EP almost seems to experience bouts of manic-depressive mood swings, flying from high-energy riffing into slow melancholia with little advance warning. The melodic parts stand a bit stronger than the more aggressive sections, with the stripped-down sound forcing attention and calling on the band to squeeze as much emotion out of sparsely-strummed strings as they can manage.
The band does seem to push itself throughout the EP, and while it doesn't always land firmly, their willingness to step outside the usual conventions does them credit. If you're partial to harsh and melodic metal coming together, give this band a shot and see how it treats you.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Black Freighter, Integrity, Light Bearer, Woods Of Ypres, Telepathy


Saturday, October 04, 2014

A Wild-Eyed Journey...

The Grand Astoria / Montenegro - The Body Limits / El Matadero (2014)

This split brings together the bands The Grand Astoria (who hail from St. Petersburg, Russia) and the Argentinian outfit of Montenegro. And what a split! Between the two tracks, there's more than 45 minutes of material to be heard (though it can also be watched, via Montenegro's music video, which you'll find below).
The Grand Astoria start things off slowly in “The Body Limits”, with acoustic guitar being picked carefully as woodland animals make their presence known in an ambient environment that's gradually overwhelmed by the force of the band. The group makes use of an interesting electric guitar method, with the right and left channels each sporting a separate guitar input, making for some stimulating layering of the strings. In addition to that, there's bass, drums, samples, vocals, and electronics, all coming together in fine form. Though the music makes plenty of detours into experimentation, the threads of cool psychedelic rock power hold it together as it shifts from one wiggy groove to the next, never letting itself settle down for too long.
As hard as it would be to follow that up, Montenegro put forth a strong showing in their track, “El Matadero”, which translates to 'the slaughterhouse'. They go for a heavier, more doom/blues-styled approach, though the psychedelic influence remains a significant part of the music. After setting the mood with some leisurely bass grooving, they add the vocals, which create a very nice harmonization with the string tones and each other. Most of the track is instrumental, though, with slippery rhythms and precise drum snapping filling the song with a colorful sense of fun.
Both bands bring a lot to the table, and manage to pull off that most rewarding part of a split, working well with each other's style while organically showing off their own take on things. While the length of The Grand Astoria's song precludes this release from popping up on vinyl, it's still worth grabbing a copy for yourself, sitting down with it, and letting the music have its way with your ears for the better part of an hour. Not to be consumed while operating heavy machinery.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; From Deep Space, Chord, Wicked Lady, Lenny White, Salem's Pot