Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Oncoming Traffic

Left Lane Cruiser ~ Dirty Spliff Blues (2015)

 Indiana's Left Lane Cruiser is back on the road, this time with the new album "Dirty Spliff Blues", and as you could of guessed, smoking copious amounts of grass is encouraged.  This isn't your typical blues or stoner rock record, rather a fine mix of the two styles, towing that line over the entire record. Steel guitars and dirt road vocals give way to roaring bouts of guitar distortion and even some fuzz here and there, making for some damn fine, swamptastic tunes. Of the ten tracks on this stomper of an album, my favorite is the middle child. With a title like "Heavy Honey", it doesn't take much to figure out the lyrical subject matter, but that doesn't make the song any less great. Opening up with a twangy, distorted riff, you're immediately infected with the sort of boogie these guys lay down consistently. Seriously, the riff is catchier than herpes. It takes about thirty seconds for the dirty and raw vocals to kick in, adding their own sort of country twang to the mix. Around the halfway point a guitar solo starts up just before the whole thing takes off, launching into a blistering stoner rock tangent before things slow back down and come full circle, with the song trailing off much the same way it started up.
While the album was released on June 16th, there are still plenty of vinyl options to get your pick of, including classic black, and some limited orange (100) and starburst (150) vinyls. And for all of you folks not addicted to vinyl, you can still grab CDs or the digital copy from iTunes.

For Fans Of; Midnight Ghost Train, Fatso Jetson, Scott H. Biram

Monday, June 29, 2015

Eloquent Music for Lovers

Nightslug ~ Loathe (2015)

Mixing bouts of feedback and brutally heavy sludge riffs, Germany's Nightslug treads that line between noise and music at times. At points, melding the two into a sonic monstrosity that completely pummels the listener.  Their sophomore album "Loathe" kicks off with the track "Vile Pigs", and within seconds you're accosted by piercing feedback and a solitary bass part, while Otis from "House of 1,000 Corpses" rants in the background. After about thirty seconds the drums crash their way in, followed quickly by a crushing guitar riff. The snarled vocal performance comes up after that, falling in perfectly with the bass heavy swamp groove that permeates the entire track, and album really. Around the three minute mark things begin to slow up just a little, with some spacey and slightly psychedelic feedback pitches. It doesn't last all that long though before the guitar and growling vocals stop all of that in its tracks. The main riff reprises for just a short period before things winds down with a long bout of feedback before leading off into the next song. And all of that goes down in less than five minutes, four and a half to be precise. With the longest of the seven tracks only coming in at just under eight minutes, all the songs have quick durations, probably a result of the band's punk and hardcore background. That keeps things moving at a steady pace though, it never gets bogged down in anything, and nothing feels unnecessary in the music. This is definitely an "all thriller, no filler" kind of sludge metal album. And to make things as easy as possible for you to get your hands on the vinyl copies of this gnarly slab of sludge, it's been co-released by three labels, Broken Limbs Records(US), Lost Pilgrims Records (FRA), and Dry Cough Records (UK). You can't go wrong with that many options, or just grab a digital copy from bandcamp if that's more your speed.

 For Fans Of; EyeHateGod, Cough, Fister

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Burst Loose From Hell...

No Trust - The Cycle (2015)

After the late-2013 release of their first LP, Unfound, the sludgy duo of No Trust buckled down to work out some new material, and this resulting album will be released in just two more days.  What you'll hear once you get the chance to grab your own copy and fire it up is a highly aggressive blending of metal styles, with an emphasis on sludgy death underscored by doom-accepting pushes of (very) heavy melody and big bass presence (and to my ears, some blackened harshness also joins the fray).  For a two-piece band, No Trust generate an impressive amount of noisy belligerence, with cascades of percussion and grimy guitar serrations tearing away almost as soon as you hit play.  Meanwhile, the vocals come in with a savage assault, though the band has a good ear for when to back off, ensuring enough restraint to keep the impact of their vicious guttural nature landing firm.
No Trust show a strong command of their music in all of the different ratios into which their genre-mixing fury is distilled, covering the 'seize you by the neck and shake you' blitzes, the 'let's fuse your spinal segments' slow sludge grinds, and the 'gnash your teeth to bloody pegs' abandonment with damn good commitment to pushing each form out to well-deserved extremes.  There's very little of that inadequacy you can get when a band too firmly rooted in one style tries to throw in an failed experiment past their ability/familiarity to land; No Trust pull off all the varieties with fire in their veins and a death-grip on the execution.  In short, if you like your sludge with a big splash of death (or if you don't, but have any amount of curiosity about that combo), get yourself a copy of The Cycle.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Weapon, Trees, Earthling, Uroboros, Hesperian Death Horse


Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Comeback Kids

Arenna ~ Given to Emptiness (2015)

 This being the band's newest release since 2011, "Given to Emptiness" is more of a thinking man's stoner rock album. Given to spaced out, hypnotic jams instead of loud and brash party songs. While both styles have their high points, this is the route they chose, and it was the right one for them. Arenna's latest effort is forty-seven minutes of pure stoner bliss, and while the ten minute opener is a pretty long track to kick things off, I don't think it really would of worked as well anywhere else. With the band moving in between crushing stoner rock, and a more mellow, psychedelic styling so seamlessly, the album can almost feel like one long song, or maybe that's just how lost you find yourself once you really let the sound envelop you. When that happens, those forty-seven minutes seem like seven minutes, time becomes a foreign concept. Some press I've seen about this album have praised "Drums for Sitting Bull", praise it does deserve as it's a great song, it just wasn't my pick of the litter. For my personal taste, "The Pursuer" tended to push all the right buttons. With the first half of the track focusing on the small nuances of the soundscape they're trying to immerse you in, and creating atmosphere. They use the second half to fill that atmosphere up with powerful riffs and a massive vocal performance, in a huge crescendo on top of stellar bass and drum rhythms that are a powerful underlying current over the course of the whole album. The album made it's official release May 7th on Nasoni Records, so it's already been out for a little while, but you can still pick up vinyl and cds directly from the band's webstore.

For Fans Of; Abrahma, Greenleaf, Electric Moon

Promising Rough Drafts

Stone Chief ~ High Noon at the Saloon (single) (2015)

 This is pre-production song from one of the latest North Carolina start ups, Stone Chief. "High Noon at the Saloon" is a psych rock track, with plenty of heavy. Like I said, it's pre-production stuff and a little rough around the edges by the nature of things, but all the ideas are there, and they're solid in the execution. With an almost ten minute run time, the song is in no hurry to get where it's going. Opening up with some ringing guitar notes and cymbal taps, it takes a minute for a the riff to really fill out and some more drums to drop in. After a guitar solo and some vocals moving between clean and guttural, things start falling into a riff and moving along at a steady clip. That is, until things start slowing back down within the last three or four minutes, treading the line with psychedelic doom metal for a couple of minutes there before things wind down. You can actually pick this up along with a couple of other pre-production songs off of their bandcamp. After listening to the other two songs, I'm definitely interested in hearing this complete first effort when it's done.

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Funeral Horse

Friday, June 26, 2015

See You On The Other Side

Grusom ~ Grusom (2015)

 I discovered Denmark's Grusom early this year with their "DIY Demo", and even though the production on there is a little rough, it made a big impression and got more than a few listens. I wasn't the only one though, about a month after the demo's release the always excellent Kozmik Artifactz signed the band to put out their first album. This debut full length from them made an even bigger impression on me though, taking all the great ideas and songs from the demo, building on them and adding more tracks in the studio to drop one of the best albums this year. With swinging guitar and keyboard rhythms, it brings to mind The Doors from the very beginning of things, but they go even darker and heavier. Like if Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek decided to join Black Sabbath instead of starting their own band. Once things get started the swinging keyboard rhythms make every song jump out, and the dual guitars can go from mellow into a headbanging riff at the drop of a hat, keeping the listener on their toes from track to track. In addition to that, the singer's raw, melodic wailing on top of the music will draw you in if nothing else does. With nine songs that can stand on their own from top to bottom, it's almost impossible to pick a favorite. Some rank a little higher than others, but they're all so damn good. I will say that the first single "The Journey", and the preceding track on the album "Cold Stone" did get quite a bit of repeat play. The two flow so well together, it could almost be one epic song. Like a river, the whole thing ebbs and flows, with calm sections broken up by rolling rapids that make toes tap and heads bang. If you like your heavy rock bluesy, grim, and not just like anything else, this is the band for you. If you like heavy rock, this is the band for you. If you simply like music, this is the band for you. All you fine folks can really hear right now is the single, but pre-orders start July 5th at the Kozmik Artifactz store for the July 31st release date. This is one of those records that is not to be missed this year.

For Fans Of; Dax Riggs, Groggy, Danzig, Lucifer, Orchid

The Rising Sun

Red Mountains ~ Sun (single) (2015)

Red Mountains has given us a glimpse of their debut album that's coming out in September on Nasoni Records. The first single, called "Sun". The sound is somewhere in the neighborhood of stoner/psych/desert rock, but judging from this track, there's definitely some doom overtones there too. Kicking off with a slow and stomping riff that sounds like it's off of a Saint Vitus album, it takes a couple of minutes but things heat up and turn into a stoner rock fuzz fest for a minute there. Kind of like the difference between wandering the wilderness in the middle of snow storm, and being in a convertible, blasting down a desert highway at a hundred miles an hour. It probably seems like they have a lot going on, and they do. Not in such a way to make the song feel over-crowded, though, rather moving in between all of the different tones instead of trying to pile them all on at once, and doing all of them well. It didn't stay in one place too long though, so the track is a big tease, but I'm betting the album will be the easy older sister.

For Fans Of; Fuzz, Black Sabbath, Sleep


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Smell The Stickiness...

SKUNK - Heavy Rock From Elder Times (2015)

With a dedication to throwback metal so committed that the back of the CD case is done up like a sketch-covered high school notebook, and half the track titles dealing with one way or another of getting intoxicated, the new demo from SKUNK throws its cards onto the table with a grin and a bang of the head.  Classic-sounding riffs, bass and guitars that're chunky without getting too sloppy, and plenty of enthusiastic extra touches from the vocalist and drummer melt together for homage so earnest it feels like the disc-case should have smoke-stained wood paneling.
While old-schooled heavy metal is the main thing going on in this demo, the band also splashes in a fair amount of hard rock, and once in a while (as in the slow-grooving "Wizard Bong") some doom-like down-tuned devilishness rears its head as well.  The band plays well with all of its pieces, and they sound to be having good fun with each song, bouncing around when they can get away with it and buckling down when that works better.  It's also very nicely produced for something the band has branded as a demo, with enough grit left in to make the heavy rock feel even more genuine with its dirty attitude.  Fans of modern bands who draw almost all of their inspiration from the '70s (to the point where the main riff of closing track "Badwater" sounds like it was pulled right from Alice Bowie's "Earache My Eye") will want to check in on this one.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Orchid, Wo Fat, The Hunted Crows, Devil To Pay, Uncle Van & The Buzzards of Fuzz


Under Death's Dominion...

SaturninE - Mors Vocat (2015)

This first album from the Italian quintet of SaturninE drops in with seven heavy tracks; if you're asking 'why not nine?', the answer is that they're already at the limits of how much music an LP can hold, so just enjoy what's here, you number-obsessed person, you.  The album kicks off with the title track (the title, incidentally, taken from a line of poetry by the classical Roman poet Ovid, which is hissed in by voices during the intro, and which translates as 'The obscure death calls everything under its laws,' to give you an idea of the moods at play).  The slow but dramatic setting gives way to more animated doom with "Moloch", as the drums pick up, the guitar keens meaner, and a rasping growl comes in with feverish anger.  There's more than a little death metal influence on the music, but it's kept with its feet in the grave by the resolute commitment to a doomed attitude, bolstered by the strong bass riffs, the seething guitar, and the creative drumming.
Things slow down a bit towards the middle, but by and large, the album is a fine first full effort (you can check their demo from 2012 to see how they've grown), with plenty of sharpness to complement the grim morbidity.  The album is getting a release through Terror From Hell Records, on vinyl and CD (and BandCamp downloads), so give this emergent group a go if doom with a mean streak is something for which you've been looking.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Blind Samson, Coffins, Corpse Light, HEAVYDEATH, Pedestal for Leviathan


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Foreboding Omens...

Battle Hag - Battle Hag (2015)

With five big tracks of staunch doom metal to its name, the debut album from California-based Battle Hag makes a strong beginning for the band, heavy and stylish.  First of the five is "Necronomichron", which, while not quite sanity-shattering, makes for a fine smoky entrance, and the main riff works well enough that the ~9 minutes flow by in fine form, liquidating your resistance.  "Never Turn Your Back on the Sea" picks up from there with a toothy buzz of distortion, and the singer takes a more prominent role in warning listeners of the watery dangers that lurk in wait as the mean main rolls on into darkness.
"The Book of Thoth" delves further into their monolithic style, letting the guitar get in some more lively licks as the bass hums along with titanic presence.  "Endless Fall" continues the form, with grim growls and a lush bridge from the guitar towards the mid-section providing extra momentum towards the close.  "Obsidian" steps up with that finish, opening up with a relatively restrained and disarmingly melodic piece from the guitar.  As the song continues, it gives way to deeper and more doom-drenched vibes, bleeding out with a low howl from the guitar and a death-rattle of cymbals.
The five tracks fit well together, staying faithful to the slow'n'heavy formula while tweking it here and there, and on the whole, the album makes a solid start for Battle Hag.  The band will be playing at the Press Club in Sacramento on July 21st, so if you're in that part of the world at the time and want to get your body worked over by some serious bassy riffs, get on over and catch the show; everyone else with a taste for that can get their fix through Battle Hag's BandCamp.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Electric Wizard, Mares of Diomedes, Eibon, Coffins, Bongripper


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Flapping Up A Storm...

Uncle Van & The Buzzards Of Fuzz - The Buzzard Custard EP (2015)

This debut EP from the American band of Uncle Van & The Buzzards Of Fuzz show-cases the band setting out with a blend of hard and stoner rock, gritty guitar riffs cushioned by the rich bass tones as the drummer pops out a solid set of punchy rhythm arrangements.  The four tracks map out a sand-blasted stretch of empty highways and craggy landmarks, and while the band gives a few hints of their power to blast right through the songs, they're usually happier to kick back and take a slow cruise with the motor at low rumble.
It's a nice start for UV & The Buzzards, enticing enough to draw in listeners looking for sun-baked tunes, deep enough with the song-writing to give them something to dig into with multiple plays of the EP, and fun enough to make its mark on the summer.  Tooth Monster Records are handling the release, so if you're on the prowl for some hard stoner rock (or stoner hard rock, whichever), load up this Buzzard Custard and chow down.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Powered Wig Machine, RHINO, Acid Kola Turbo, Deep Purple, Queen Chief


Writhing Madness...

Uroboros - Deiphagomega (2015)

Up 'til this point, Uroboros have put out a couple of EPs, a live session, and a split to keep listeners sated with their sludge, but the Argentinian duo has finally let loose a full album, clocking in at exactly 45 minutes of smashing drums, saw-blade guitar, and their voices (with guests on a few tracks to throw in some curve-balls).  The music shifts between heated assaults and wintry atmospherics, putting black metal rawness and spine-twitching thrashiness to work in near-equal measure, jabbing with the chords and stabbing with percussion before slipping in something down-tempo for a moment's peace.  The band's fluidity in sliding from one sort of crusty carver into another is impressive, and the incorporation of various musical modes (even if just for a quick switch-up) gives the album a well-rounded set of grooves on which to roll.
On top of that, there's clear care in making sure that the songs flow well from one into the next, no matter how drastically different their energies may be.  That fusion comes to fullest fruition with the closing track, "Mecanismo de Antikythera", in which rattling beats, subdued synths, spoken-word samples, and more come together in a twisting cornucopia to provide conclusion. Altogether, Deiphagomega is a fine album, worthy of the high standards set by Uroboros' earlier releases, with plenty of meat on its gnarled bones.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Narcosatanicos, Deuil, Rorcal, O.D.R.A., Joan's Diary


Monday, June 22, 2015

Keeps On Running...

Suiciety - Crawling Machine Edition EP (2015)

Suiciety is one of Australia's long-established metal bands, despite having taken a break starting around '96, and now that they've reunited, they're pulling some old treasures out of storage.  That unearthing begins with this EP, recorded in 1996 but unreleased until now, and even if you didn't know its back-story, that '90s styles evidenced in it would make it clear where their roots lay.  A little punk, a little thrash, a heavy dash of alternative rock, and a slopping of grungy firmament come together around a tight variety of riffs and energy, and bashes its way off from there.  The six tracks run hot, and while it is functioning essentially as a time capsule, it's a good reminder of the band's capabilities, and should help revive interest in them now that they're operating again.  Desert Highways will be handling the release of the EP on CD and online distribution, so old fans and new ones alike will have a good opportunity to refresh their fondness for Suiciety.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Milk Duct Tape, Mudhoney, Ramones, Collective Soul, Catherine


Inheritance Of War...

Desolate Pathway - Valley of the King (2014)

With the prelude of a medieval fantasy written on the back cover, Desolate Pathway's debut album (self-released last November) wraps itself up in sword & sorcery garb, brought to life in the music from the opening moments, with the rustle and clink of armor and weaponry underpinning the call to arms by the story's Prince Palidor.  Those of you who are already feeling your dragon metal senses tingle aren't too far off, though Desolate Pathway keep things grounded with a clear fondness for the somber but ambitious epic doom of the '80s rather than the flute and arpeggio-abusing sort of power metal that rolled in with the new millennium.  Accordingly, some of the riffs and lyrics can come off as a little too simplistic to modern audiences, but the moments of more fired-up excitement cut through the stoicism to deliver some sharp jolts of energy once your ears have let down their guard.
There's a pleasing sense of self-contained completion to the album, with (spoiler alert) the prince regaining his throne after the quest's tribulations, and the music giving a matching sort of ascension as the conclusion arrives in triumphant head-banging fashion.  Fans of traditional heavy metal with an epic aim and a story into which they can dive will find something tailor-made for them in the Valley of the King.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Evoken, Pilgrim, Below, Paul Chain, Saint Vitus


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Denizen Interview

If you're a regular reader of RWTD, you probably caught our recent review of the new Denizen album, Troubled Waters (and if not, you can click that link to catch up).  We liked what we heard from the French group, and they were willing to share some time with us for some questions; the following interview is the result.

Ride With The Devil: Hi, thanks for giving us the time to ask you a few questions about the band!  First off, why don't you tell us how Denizen came together, along with who all is in the band and what role they play?

Colin: Hi.  Denizen is a band of friends above all.  I've known Fabien (vocals) since primary school and Ludovic (guitars) since high school.  We met Andréas (drums) when he played in a band we knew before starting Denizen.  We started playing together in 2003, as a cover band, like many others!

RWTD: So your first album, at least as far as I can tell from BandCamp, was Whispering Wild Stories back in 2011.  Did you have the same line-up then as now, and what was the process of making WWS like?

Colin: We released two demos and an album on CD-R before Whispering Wild Stories, but we consider it as our first 'real' album.  It was the first professionally pressed by a label and we are still proud of it.  The line-up has been the same for a long time now, we only changed our drummer and the second guitarist left, both after our first demo.

RWTD: What was Denizen up to in the four years between WWS' release and the making of Troubled Waters?

Fabien: We tried to promote ‘WWS’ with gigs in France and by doing a tour in Spain and Portugal.  After 10 years jamming together, we needed to be on a hiatus and thinking about our future. We finally decided to play again because most of all, we are friends who like spending time together.  To me, it’s definitely impossible to play music without these guys!

RWTD: How did the making of Troubled Waters compare to making the first album?

Colin: I think we worked just about the same way.  I recorded and mixed it.  It was done the same way as WWS (mastering by Nick Zampiello and Rob Gonella).  We just tried to remember the critics and flaws which bothered us on our previous material and tried to improve the songs and their arrangements.  For example, we have worked harder on the effects on the vocals.  After all this time playing together, I think we have more confidence and we took more risks on our music.  We tried to experiment with different tones and to integrate more diversity between the songs.

RWTD: There's a big variety of styles coming across in Troubled Waters, were there any albums or bands you can point to that might have had some of their flavor leak into the final product?  On the other side of that, was there anything specific that you tried to avoid getting into the music?

Fabien: I think Denizen has always showed what we were listening to.  At the beginning, we played Hardcore Noise.  That’s what you can hear in our former demos.  But when we started listening to Heavy Rock or Stoner Rock, bluesy and 70’s influences appeared spontaneously in our tracks.  That’s why people can feel this variety of styles you are talking about.  I can say we are interested by riffs in music, whatever the styles.

Colin: I think everything is a natural process.  Like Fabien said, we make songs with our current desires.  We never say: “Let’s do a song like this band!”.  One of us brings some riffs and we jam until it sounds good for everybody!  Above all, we try to keep catchy and in-your-face tunes with some subtleties which avoid monotony.

RWTD: Were there any tracks in particular that you had a great time putting together?

Fabien: I like “Whoresmoker” and “Teddy Bear”.  I think these tracks sum up how Denizen sounds today.  Even if it was difficult to record it, especially because it was a short acoustic track, “Time To Leave” was a challenge for me, but people seem to like this track.  So it will probably help me take more risks as a singer. 

Colin: I like each song on the album, obviously some more than others.  I had a very great time writing and recording “Enter Truckman”, mainly due to the bottleneck parts.

RWTD: What's in the future for Denizen and everyone in it?

Colin: Troubled Waters has just been released on CD by Argonauta Records and the LP is coming soon on Stone Stallion Rex.  We can’t wait to have the vinyl in hand, it will be our first one!  We are currently booking gigs for September. We will tour in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany at the end of October, with our mates of Beardmore from England.

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

Fabien: First of all, thank you Gabriel for your support! Hope you people will enjoy Troubled Waters and can’t wait to see you at the gigs!

Colin: Thanks a lot for the interview and long live Ride With The Devil!

RWTD: Thanks you, Denizen, for your time and for sharing your great music with us!

~ Gabriel

Burst Down Doors...

Angakok - Angakok (2015)

The ten songs packed by Angakok into their new album pop out swinging hard and aiming low, slapping sludgy anger into doomy riffs with a few samples thrown in for extra crunch.  Hitting both slow and fast movements of this mix, Angakok sizzle through the feedback, reverb, and clangor of their music with solid melodies grounding the madness.  While there's a couple of short tracks, that's balanced out by the ~12-minute "Samsara", which comes in around the mid-point to show the band's handiness with extensive destruction, and likewise, "Sivudlit Nertorpok" drops in at the end with a sharp-contrast meditative vibe to help your nerves feel less savaged.  Something worth checking in on for those who like their sludge to hold some dirty surprises.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    O.D.R.A., Legalize Crime, Coffin Torture, Fange, Keeper


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Doom Cracks Ice...

Count Absurdo - Blizzard Over St. Absurdo EP (2015)

The trio of Count Absurdo released their first EP a little over half a year ago, and now they've resurfaced with another four tracks for the sequel, ready to further their reign of traditional doom with a modern spin.  "The Wolf of St. Absurdo" starts things off with lycanthropic terror, pounding drums and shredding guitar joining the bass licks and untethered vocals to get it moving quick right from the start, with "Thunderbringer" picking up where the first leaves off by channeling that energy into slower intensity as the Thunderbringer's arrival is celebrated.  "Dr. Absurdstein" gets a stomp-along beat and chorus refrains going, pulling off something not too far from 'party doom' without sacrificing respectability while gearing up for the finale.  "The Ghost of Black Night" shows up with that finish by sliding back to its '80s metal roots with more clarity, letting a powerful main riff pull things to the conclusion as the title is intoned and wailed.
It makes for a nice batch of follow-up songs, revisiting and refining the band's established style while reaching out to some new interpretations.  There's also a clearer demonstration of the band's way with putting together crowd-friendly choruses, as most of the songs here have a section that practically calls out for fans to chant along.  It will be interesting to see which aspects of their two (or possibly more) EPs Count Absurdo decide to hold onto when the time comes for their first LP, but judging from how they've developed in this short a span of time, that prospective LP will be a doozy.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Halloween, The Munsens, Wolf Blood, King Diamond, DoomLord


The Friendliest Demons...

DATURA4 - Demon Blues (2015)

On their new album, DATURA4 deliver a blast of old-fashioned rock, fuzzed up with some desert rock elements for today's audiences and made easily digestible with clean-cut riffs.  Light touches of blues give it an earthy tone, though the band seems too easily drawn into poppy chant-along choruses (it's hard to say into which side the hand-claps fall), and as the album continues, that pop patina really stacks high, so if your tolerance for that sort of thing isn't too high, beware.  Less frequently used are the psychedelic cuts, of which "Journey Home" stands out as the best representative.  Here, the band shows that they can really deliver the heavy rock, and the vocalist steps back to let the sprawling guitar squiggling and thrumming bass take over to pleasing effect.  Meanwhile, tracks like "Hoonsville", with its race-track rattle and rich production adding to the setting, and "Pissin' Up The Wall" with its slow-stomp groove, gives the group more dirt in which to play, helping cover up the aftertaste of the more sickly-sweet stuff.  The clean and dirty come together in smooth synthesis for "Gravedigger Man", with its spidery guitar-work and clear chorus, before "Love to Burn" closes things out with its ~7 minutes of desert pop, showing DATURA4's ability to build extensively from a simple base.  While the album as a whole has some odd balancing going on, most of the songs lend themselves well to simple enjoyment, with a few offering a little something extra to fill your ears; not half bad.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Stonefox, Acid Western, Father Sky, Teacher, Black Stone Cherry


Friday, June 19, 2015

Product Review ~


When it comes to those more established names in the audio you can't usually go too wrong. Denon being a prime example of this, and for good reason. They may have taken a step or two away from the analogue side of the hifi world in recent years, to focus on all that is digital, but they still offer a nice array of products that still give you plenty of bang for your buck.
So, some years back I was searching for a compact system that could, in essence, do it all... but on a budget - queue the F107DAB. This was the first decent system I bought and admittedly it was a bit of an impulse buy as my 30 year old handed down Aiwa amp bit the dust. Despite that, it was certainly ranks as one of my best impromptu purchases ever.

Relatively inexpensive for a quality (albeit) little system, the F107 ticked all the right boxes on paper at least - CD player, DAB radio, USB input, a couple of aux inputs and most importantly of all, an earthed moving magnet phono input. Not only is that a bit of a rarity to find on a modern system nowadays but its also a hell of a blessing if you're trying to stick to a budget and don't really want to fork out yet more cash 
for a phono preamp. So on top of the well renowned Denon name and a pretty sound list of features what else can you expect from this mini system? Well cracking build quality for a start. Yeah this should go without saying, but shopping around I have been unpleasantly surprised in the past. But rest assured you won't find any cheap shoddy plastic here. In fact it's all solid aluminium, from the casing to the knobs - all quality. Thats doesn't sound like too much of a compliment but it really should be. When sticking to a budget it's easy to start straying into your local electrical superstore and perusing the shelves and contemplating the purchase of something shoddy and predominantly manufactured from cheap plastic, it's just a false economy. Fork out just a few bucks more for something far and away better made, sounding and longer lasting and you will never regret it.

Sadly I don't believe this particular model is available in the US, but if you live in the EU and are in the market for a top notch quality little system for a fantastic price don't even contemplate looking else where! I really can't recommend a better or more versatile mini system. Plenty of punch and clarity of bass and all for a price that won't break the bank!


Built On Time...

Mazur - Master's Mask / Buried In Snow (2015)

The new LP from Mazur combines two separate EPs from the German band; the first of these is Master's Mask, recorded back in 2004 and held back from release by the departure of the band's original vocalist, while Buried In Snow serves as the B-side, recorded in 2014 as an instrumental live session with vocals dubbed in afterwards.  The four tracks on the A-side come off with a generally more light-hearted vibe (it's hard to play tough when you've got a track called "Beanie Baby Buying Club"), and for those songs, the band ripples with a heady heavy rock approach, letting chunky bass riffs and a charmingly honest enthusiasm for the head-banging emphasized by the killer drum-work carry them far.  The music is sunny and cooked to the bone, pulling you closer by the ears even as they twitch themselves into clouds of swinging long hair and blistered fingers, and the closing title track rides that energy to a very satisfying crescendo.
With Buried In Snow's recording coming a decade later, it's neat being able to clearly trace how Mazur kept their earlier style, but grew it out heavier and meaner over the years.  The tasty riffs are still there, but with extra coats of fuzz and amplification enhancing their already solid impact, and more interest in letting the feedback swing harder and bleed a further edge when it hits.  As a counter-part to the friendlier early work, it fits in quite nicely, and the two halves show the band in a complimentary range of moods and accompanying techniques.  Solid all the way through, the two EPs will have you glad Mazur stuck it out, even if it's your first time hearing them.  300 copies of the compilation have been pressed on crisp clear vinyl, through Freezer Records, so give it a listen and a snag if it strikes your fancy.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Mos Generator, Fatso Jetson, JPT Scare Band, Weedpecker, Farflung


Isolated For Safety...

Groggy - Deep Siberian Session (2015)

The Siberian duo of Groggy have been turning out top-quality stoner blues rock for a good few years now, and if you haven't already heard them (and that combo gets your ears at attention), their latest release is a prime option for digging into their catalog, though the blues get mostly drowned out by the other elements this time around.  Consisting of two tracks, with 45 minutes or so of jammy improv between them, Deep Siberian Session shows Groggy firing themselves up for a long-burning go of it, playing off of each other's creative heaviness with a sense of real pleasure to the live crafting as they let the low-end psychedelia toss them about.  Maxim Ryabikov handles guitar, Vitaly Dorofeichik is on drums, but they generate enough noise for a band with three times the personnel, and while the guitar dives down into territory usually staked out just for bass (doing some very cool double-up effects at times to provide extra hallucinatory kick), the drums are keeping right up with the experimentation, going hard-edged or chill as the mood moves them.
Separating the two tracks from each other can be more than a little difficult, given the jumbo assortment of changes and mutations each one packs into its time, but there's a little more grounding to the opening grooves of the second one, which provides a nice 'back to Earth' moment after the spacy explorations reached in the later part of the first round, and that style of reaching out to grab the listener and pull them along with clear riffs persists through the rest of it, instrumental freak-outs included.  As said before, it's a great introduction to the band for those who haven't heard them before, and a fine continuation of previous work for the fans.  Whichever camp you fall into, as long as you like heavy psychedelic music, this one's for you.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Bomg, Celophys, Acid King, Weedpecker, Fatso Jetson


Thursday, June 18, 2015

From Silted Waters...

Downlouders - Demo (2015)

The four tracks on the recent demo from Downlouders are intended to give an auditory glimpse of what their upcoming album Arca will be like, and from what can be heard so far, bluesy heavy desert rock will be the way of it.  Slow-rolling riffs with haunting levels of reverb and unusual effects trickling in make for melodic developments so carefully constructed that you may find yourself breaking out in goosebumps, while the infusion of synthesizer underlays is done just as painstakingly, coming together in a very sweet spot between grace and heaviness.  Of course, four tracks from a full album is no guarantee of how the final product will behave, but assuming the rest of Arca is in the same neighborhood, it promises to be a more-than-decent arrival for fans of jumbo-sized desert rock willing to put its soulfulness right out there to be enjoyed.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Powered Wig Machine, Mother Mars, Tumbleweed Dealer, Merlin, Hellenica


Surrender And Live...

Ksyatriya - The Arduous Search for Freedom (2015)

The Australian duo of Ksyatriya got their ball rolling last year with the release of a split EP, featuring themselves and the Malaysia-based Mind (((O))) Reader), titled TRUTH (you can check our thoughts on it right here).  This year, they're back with their first full-length, and as you might guess from the title, it's got more than a slight cosmic bent to the music.  While the songs tend towards lengthiness, Ksyatriya shows some mercy to listeners by splitting the final track, "The Human Ego Must be Obliterated for its Arrogant Reign of Tyranny", into two parts to go down easier (or make for some shuffle-play surprises).
Things start out relatively subdued, though, with the title track slowly humming its way into being with emergent vibrations and melodies weaving themselves together, mostly driven by down-tuned guitar with synth touches bubbling underneath.  By the arrival of the second track, "Hazchem", there's a well-established mood of subtle doom, though the band is quick to overturn any dogmatic preservation of the gloom for its own sake.  Livelier percussion and sharper guitar comes in to break things up, shifting into crushing bass-waves on its way to more transformations.
"Swimming in a Sea of Samsara" prepares the way for the finishing track by going even heavier, letting the bass ring out with reverb to get your bones resonating, and bringing in some higher pitches to contrast once you're well and truly cemented in place.  As the first section of the two-part closer hits, Ksyatriya shakes off the slowness and sets themselves on fire, coming apart quickly at first, but settling back into a smoldering pace of immolation that pulls the album to a close with mind-melting determination.
It's one of those albums that calls for sitting down and really giving it full attention, and while the CD release hasn't yet arrived from the factory, you can get a jump on it with a download from Ksyatriya's BandCamp page.  Save it for a time when you won't be interrupted, let it wash over you, and let yourself go.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Mamaleek, Have A Nice Life, Bell Witch, White Darkness, Abstracter


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dirty And Angry...

Prisons - EP (2015)

After putting out the single track of "Sun Factory" back in March, the Swedish group of Prisons have now released their first full EP, consisting of four tracks of sludgy metal with touches of post-rock in its DNA.  Unafraid to scream while turning up the feedback, Prisons make use of dissonance to good effect, though the layered arrangements of the instruments generally do more to benefit the group's music than the howling aspect, at least until the points where all the parts hit that volume level.
The EP does a solid job of establishing Prisons' style, and while they stay true to the basic thrust of it, the band is clearly taking pains to approach it from a number of angles, seeing what works for them and what doesn't.  Melodic strains drift in after rattling crescendos, the vocalist is willing to step back at times and let the other members carry the weight, and the number of subtle touches going on underneath the crunchy forefront speaks quite well to their willingness to keep tweaking and adjusting the tracks until satisfaction is met.  A solid step after their first single, the EP suggests good things will continue to come from Prisons.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Kylesa, Between the Buried and Me, fubear., V A I L S, Scindite


Shifting And Scattering...

Joan's Diary - Tsuchigumo (2015)

With 18 tracks making up the fourth album from Joan's Diary, the hits come quick, hard, and varied on Tsuchigumo, which takes its name from a mythical Japanese spider-monster (though they use Gustave Dore's woodcut of the Greek Arachne for the cover art, oddly enough).  With "La Morte" as an intro to the album, providing the first of several pieces under the 2-minute mark, what seems to be a sample from an Italian horror film is spiced up with synthetic effects, pushing the listener with a witch's laugh ringing in their ears into the rest of the songs.
The experimentation and alteration continues from there, with drums both manned and mechanical blurring together under distorted vocals, subtle but strong bass-lines, and surprises around every audio corner.  The industrial elements have much more of that original '70s 'let's trash these sounds' attitude to them than the deadened 'we've got a drum machine and three guitar chords' of '90s industrial rock, and the destructive energy they carry combines quite well with the sludgy metal base from which those synthetic edges are grown in JD's arrangements.  The band also handles slower (though not much calmer) material, letting the gloom overwhelm the anger with creeping sinister settings.  It's an impressively diverse and committed batch of noisy moods, asking more than the usual level of attention for all of its charms to be appreciated.  Copies are limited to 50 CDs, so give it a listen and a snag if it sounds to your liking.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Santo Rostro, Alien Sex Fiend, Throbbing Gristle, Runes Order, Hypnochron


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hell Hound From Space

Hyperwülff ~ Volume One: Erion Speaks [2015]

 The guys in Hyperwülff have come back this year with a debut full length, and took it a step even further with that debut being a concept album. Oh, but any concept album would be far too simple, this one is about The Hyperwülff battling Robogoat, a destroyer of worlds, for a planet called Erion IX. If you like science fiction, this should already have your curiosity piqued. Coming out the gate with a concept album like this is a pretty ambitious step for a band, but the end result pays off. Even though the album is best taken in as a whole, from start to finish, I couldn't help but gravitate a bit more to the third track "Robogoat", it's a conglomeration of all kinds of different influences and sounds. Not exactly like anything I've heard before, but it was definitely interesting. Starting out with just a gritty guitar intro, it only takes a few seconds for the drums to fall in place, and the growled vocals to kick in. This hammers on for the next couple of minutes in true sludge metal form, growling and thrashing about like a caged animal. What happens next is at a bit before the two and half minute mark, things take a turn, with an overdrive guitar solo gradually churning into a face-melter that sounds could be straight from a Chuck Berry album. Things never fully recover from that blast of sound until the end, droning along and trying to gain some momentum for the reprise of that main, bludgeoning riff at the end. With the album being a bit over half an hour, it's not some overwhelming, grandiose art project that you'll get bored with ten minutes in. Chances are when you listen to it once, you're going to listen a few more times, at least. Give it a couple spins, and if you still feel the same way, go pick up the CD from Taxi Driver Records.

For Fans Of; In the Company of Serpents, EyeHateGod, Electric Wizard

Monday, June 15, 2015

Misery Melodies

Mother Misery ~ Deadication EP (2015)

 Having been around in some form or fashion since the late 90's, Mother Misery has a long list of albums to stand on top of when putting out this latest EP "Deadication" on Transubstans Records. And as with any Swedish band that seem to make it's way across this blog, they're some of the best at what they do, which is melodic and heavy hitting rock and roll. The gigantic and powerful vocals are one of the first things to make you take notice when the album starts to play, but digging past them a bit shows off crunchy guitar riffs, and solos that scream out to be heard. This effort is a quick six track blast, but those six tracks can be played again and again without wearing thin. You'll find something different each time once you start digging into the melodic and heavy layers that make up each song. Opening up with the track "Scars", it serves to launch the listener directly into a high octane rock song, and makes quite the impression. After starting off with a little industrial noise, things get rolling after just a few seconds with a howling guitar riff and pounding drum rhythms. The vocals make their grand debut just a little bit after that, making their presence known immediately. This is an excellent opener for the other five tracks, and while it gives you an idea of what's about to come, it doesn't prepare you for it. "Deadication" isn't out until June 26, but you can grab a pre-order CD from Record Heaven.

For Fans Of; Rival Sons, Buried Voices, Mustach

Experimental Experience

MOLARBEAR ~ Highclops (2015)

 These fellows from Ireland got in touch with us about their new track "Highclops". Kicking things off are sounds that are like opposing sonic forces, bouncing off of each other at first, and only after a minute or so of repelling each other do things begin to flow together more. After a minute or so of plodding heaviness and dueling vocals between guttural and clean, things take a hard left turn onto a smoother, more mellow pathway in the form of interlude that has some of the lighter qualities of country or folk music. Like the eye of a hurricane though, things are only calm for a brief window of time. After this slight reprieve from the auditory onslaught, things ramp back up quickly, this time melding everything together for the big conclusion. Clocking in at just over five and a half minutes, it's not overbearing, and it doesn't feel rushed, working out just perfectly. This is definitely one for all of you fans of experimentation and chest rattling heaviness. And to top it off, this along with their two earlier tracks are free over at bandcamp.

For Fans Of; Neurosis, Isis, Bask

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Green Druid Interview

Green Druid are a stoner doom quartet based in Denver, Colorado, who recently released their first EP, simply titled EP (you can read our review of that slammer right here)The band was kind enough to give us some words with their vocalist, who gave us the straight skinny on the band's history and their plans for the future.

Ride With The Devil: Hey there, after getting to hear your EP, I'm very pleased to have a chance to shoot some questions your way, so thanks for giving us some of your time. 

First of all, could you give us a run-down of everybody in the band and their backgrounds, covering what they play, any past bands in which they've played (or current side-bands), and some of their favorite music?

Green Druid: Ryan Sims is our drummer.  He has been playing various instruments since about 8 years old.  He's been in a few bands since high school and has been playing guitar in a band called Solterra for about 3 years now.  He's taken roughly 6 months of drum lessons, but other than that, is self-taught and doing a pretty kick ass job of it in Green Druid.  His drumming is heavily influenced by people like Josh Garza of Secret Machines and Michael Martens of O’Brother.

Ryan Skates is our bass player.  He's been playing guitar since he was 12, and just recently picked up a bass to be in Green Druid.  He was enrolled in a music program in college for a short period of time, but the place he was attending really sucked at that kind of stuff so it didn't last long.  He plays/has played a variety of different styles such as rock, funk, blues and jazz.  Ryan's a disciple of Black Sabbath (as are we all), Thin Lizzy, Sleep, and Led Zeppelin.

Graham Zander's the axe man.  He's been playing for a stupidly long time and knows more about guitar and everything that goes along with it than I probably ever will.  He too was enrolled in a music program in college for almost 4 years, and now teaches guitar to little kids, teenagers, and a few adults.  He's also been in a bunch of different bands over the years and now plays guitar in Solterra alongside Ryan Sims.  Some of his major influences include Mastodon, Electric Wizard, Nels Cline, and Russian Circles.

And I'm Chris McLaughlin, the 2nd guitarist and vocalist.  Until Green Druid I hadn't really been in any bands and just played guitar off and on.  I haven't had any formal training and at this point I'm just trying to learn all I can about being in a band and being a musician.  I've always loved music and constantly had ideas about what I would do if I were to make it, but now is really the first time I'm seeing that come into fruition.  Bands like Swans, Sunn O))), Bongripper, Old Man Gloom, and Sleep are all very big influences on me as a musician.

RWTD: What's it like being a stoner doom band in Denver?

GD: It's pretty fuckin' dope, actually.  I feel like we have a very open and accepting scene amongst bands in Denver.  Most of our first shows were with bands that we just asked to play with and they brought us on board.  We’re not big enough yet to be bringing in any kind of big crowds, but we have no trouble finding places to play.  Denver has always had a good metal scene and it’s only spreading further and reaching more people.  It’s great seeing bands like Primitive Man, In the Company of Serpents, Cult of the Lost Cause and Native Daughters getting the kind of recognition they deserve.

RWTD: How did Green Druid get together, and how many line-up changes did you go through before settling on the current one?

GD: It’s a pretty standard story really.  Graham had been talking about wanting to start a sludge band for a long time and we were both really getting into stoner/doom metal.  I didn’t originally intend to be in Green Druid, but he convinced me to try it out with him, and we sat down and wrote most of “Ritual Sacrifice” right then and there.  We called up Ryan Sims cause had said something about wanting to play more drums, and him and Graham were already playing together in Solterra.  And we were friends with Ryan Skates in high school and knew he was a good guitarist so we asked if he wanted to try playing bass and he jumped on immediately.  I remember as soon as we played “Ritual Sacrifice” as a full band this grin spread across all our faces and we knew it was all gonna work just fine.

RWTD: How long have you guys been playing live shows together as Green Druid?  Have there been any really unusual events at those shows so far that stand out in memory?

GD: It’s been like… 7, maybe 8 months.  I can’t recall any particularly unusual events at one of our shows, but we do all have fond memories of a show we played at this place called the Deer Pile.  It’s this dinky little place above a bar downtown.  All the windows were open and that was probably the loudest we’ve ever sounded; I can’t help but wonder what it must’ve sounded like from the street below.

RWTD: Could you give us your thoughts, song-by-song, on what making each track was like?  First up would be your intro, "Nightfall".

GD: This song was actually written/recorded last.  It was pretty easy actually, everything was done with guitar pedal effects -- minus the knife and samples that were added in afterwards.  We knew we wanted to do a drone before going into “Ritual Sacrifice” because that track hits really hard when it first comes on.  We had done a little research on druids beforehand and found out they would perform ritual sacrifices as a way to appease the old Celtic gods – which is a pretty metal idea if you ask me, so we made this and the next track with that in mind.  Picture yourself slowly regaining consciousness and finding your arms and legs have been tied down, and all you can hear as you come to is the sound of a knife sharpening.

RWTD: And "Ritual Sacrifice"?

GD: We wanted to keep things simple and huge; something that would blow people back at the start and then release a lot of tension at the end.  It was also the first song we wrote together so we didn’t feel the need to experiment with it too much.  Heavy and doomy – that’s all we needed.

RWTD: How about "Rebirth"?

GD: We definitely experimented more with the riff writing in the first part of this song, but the long jam section at the end came organically at practice one day.  We weren’t really sure what to do with it yet, but we had the last riff and just kept hammering on it till we found a groove we were able to ride out for the rest of the song.  The first time we played it in practice is still the most satisfying it’s ever been for me.

RWTD: And lastly, that monster "Cursed Blood"?

GD: We spent a lot of time crafting riffs in this song, making sure everything flowed together well and that each part was as strong as all the others.  Green Druid likes repetition; personally, I like how things can become more hypnotic and trance-like as you repeat them, and this is certainly enhanced by the effects of grass.  We wanted to exhaust the listener and make them forget everything but that last riff.  All the crazy guitar noise that swallows it up at the end was just a given – I love it when things dissolve into chaos.

RWTD: Is Green Druid putting together new stuff already, or are you taking some time to just enjoy getting the EP finished and out there?

GD: Oh we’re definitely writing new stuff now.  We’ve nearly completed a new song and are working on a bunch of others and I’m quite happy with all of it.  I feel like we’re really starting to hone in on our own particular sound and I think this new batch of songs will be more representative of Green Druid as a band.  Not that I think the songs on the EP aren’t, but we wrote a lot of that stuff when we were still figuring out what kind of band we wanted to be.  Now, we know it all works, we know what kind of band we are and we know our songwriting potential, so I am very much looking forward to what’s next.

RWTD: What are the band's plans for the near future?

GD: Print CDs, get some kickass merch going, and write some new material for a new set-list.  And probably another EP somewhere down the line.

RWTD: Anything else you'd like to mention?

GD: Thanks so much to you guys, Ride With The Devil, for spreading our music and all the kind words you had for the EP.  It’s blogs like yours that make me love doom metal.  And of course, thanks to everyone who listened to and/or paid for the EP – we appreciate every one of you.

RWTD: Thanks very much for the kind words and the time you've given us, and keep up that high-quality music!

~ Gabriel