Saturday, October 31, 2015

Rejecting Royal Regality...

Throneless - Throneless (2015)

Making their debut with this album and its four big tracks, Throneless enter with bassed-out, lumbering monsters which play well to the stoner doom standards, whether slow-rolling along or moving at a faster clip.  There's a surprising amount of energy sunk into the tarry pits of the songs, which are spaced and paced just right for the vinyl release.  Aside from the energy levels, there's not too much change-up to be heard from track to track, but they commit themselves well to the task of delving into bass resonance and stretched-out riffs.
It's one of those debut albums which sets the stage for future expectations, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel first go.  As far as helping the band get their legs steady, it does a passable job, but the real treats are when they crank things up to a hotter and faster fury.  With Heavy Psych Sounds handling the release, fans of extended heavy doom groaning with some subtle psych touches will do well to give an ear to this group.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Ladybird, The Munsens, Sleep, Windhand, Wizard Smoke


Friday, October 30, 2015

Heavy As Gravity...

Earth Drive - Planet Mantra EP (2015)

Returning with another set of strong songs, Portugal's exquisitely-talented Earth Drive and their heavy fusion of psych, prog, and a few other tasty elements are again in fine form on this go-round, bringing sharp tones and sweet melodies together with excellent style and power.  If I seem to be gushing, it's only because I really do think they are that good.
Threading together dense riffs with bursts of energized extremes, Earth Drive have a steadier vibe going on this EP in comparison to their last one, but with no less finesse exhibited in its assembly.  They're still teasing listeners with a wide range of possibilities for their first LP, whenever it might manifest, but the fun of these songs makes them strong enough to stand on their own, anticipation of the full album aside.
These are the sounds of a band that will not settle for average, or even above average, aiming for greatness and hitting it dead-on.  Hunt down a copy if you have any fondness for heavy rock, and if it doesn't grab you with the first spin, just let it keep playing.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Gripe, Nelly Olsen, Olten, Persona (Argentina), Yamantaka/Sonic Titan


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Get Sloshed And Sail...

Robot Death Monkey - Booze Cruise EP (2015)

Making a triumphant return with their second EP, Robot Death Monkey (put it in all caps if you want the full experience) and their Scottish strain of sludgy stoner metal deliver four tracks of irreverent riffing and shredding with above-average energy helping them rocket along.  Track titles such as "Viking Bong" and "Bourbon Bowl" get the attitude across before the music even begins, and they do a good job of living up to the balls-out nuttiness promised by the names.  Similarly, "Honeyslide" is the most instrumentally-focused of the EP's offerings, and it's just as slick a ride as you'd imagine.  If you're looking for some unruly stoner rock with a heavy end, check in on these guys and see how they do for you.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Cave Head, Elephant Rifle, GURT, Milk Duct Tape, Wizard Rifle


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dark Slippery Descent...

Temple Steps - Temple Steps EP (2015)

Making their debut with this EP, the doom duo of Temple Steps keep things tuned low and slow, churning out a thick buzz of bass and thumping drums to please the ears of those who want things heavy and down-cast.  Each of the four tracks (the titles of which form a pair of couplets) have a nice heft, and as they plow through the songs, the sludgy despair and anger of their attitude get more and more of a voice.  
The usual themes of stoner doom aren't too evident, but there's a similar style to the low-end worship put on display by Temple Steps, so as long as you don't need pot-leaves and coughing in the tracks to enjoy the bass throbbing, go ahead and get on this.  Digital and a limited run of cassettes are available through their BandCamp, and they've got a split with Wreck on the way, so keep your ears open for more to come from this crew.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Attalla, Blind Samson, Fudge Tunnel, The Munsens, Toke


Monday, October 26, 2015

Goya Interview

If you're a fan of heavy stoner doom, and you haven't heard of Goya yet, go ahead and jump over to their BandCamp page to familiarize yourself with their tunes.  Once you get to Obelisk, their latest set of sticky musical slabs, hop back over here to read this interview with guitarist/vocalist Jeff Owens.

The Burning Beard: Hi there, and thanks very much for taking some time to answer our questions!  And another big thanks for sticking a quote from us right at the top of the praise for Obelisk on your BandCamp page, it's a truly fantastic album.  How are you and the rest of the guys in the band doing these days?

Jeff Owens: Thanks for taking the time to interview me! Things are going well with us. Keeping as busier with the band than ever, which is great. There isn't anything in life more satisfying than playing music.

TBB: Any albums that have really caught your attention lately?

Jeff: Too many. It's been a great year, and so many bands released killer albums. Amigo The Devil, Iron Maiden, High on Fire, and so many others. I'm very eager to hear Baroness' new album. The first single from it is phenomenal, not surprisingly.
TBB: Anything you've picked up lately (movie, book, album, etc.) that you had high hopes for, but it ended up disappointing you?

Jeff: Honestly, not really. Over the years, I've learned to keep my expectations low so that I'm not disappointed. One movie that did not disappoint at all though: The Green Inferno.

TBB: Given how well your split with Wounded Giant was received, how would you feel about doing another split?  Are there any bands in particular you'd like to team up with for that?

Jeff: I think we would be happy to do one, if it made sense. If we could get someone to put out a Dead Canyon/Goya split or an In The Company Of Serpents/Goya split, that would be awesome. There are a lot of bands we would be happy to do a split with.

TBB: In one of your interviews with The Sludgelord, you mentioned Alan Moore's graphic novel From Hell, AC/DC's Highway to Hell, and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" as influences on the writing and mood of Obelisk.  Was there anything you switched over to as a sort of breather or refreshment in between finishing the recording and getting ready to head back to live shows?

Jeff: Of the influences you mentioned, From Hell was the most prominent one. As far as having time to read anything since then, I sadly really haven't, as there is just a lot to occupy my free time right now. I keep thinking about disappearing for a few years to catch up on reading!

TBB: Any stand-out memories from live shows you'd care to share with us?

Jeff: Haha. The first one that comes to mind is when we played Carlsbad. We were the headliner that night, and about two songs in, we got asked to turn down by the sound guy because people were trying to play pool and hang out. Without even thinking about what I was saying, I asked him, "Turn down for what?" It's almost 9 months later and we're still laughing about that one. We ended up turning off and stopping because they wouldn't let us play at the same volume we practice at. 
I saw that Black Pussy played the same venue recently and seemed to have a good time. I guess if you're not singing, "Fuck you, I know you're gonna die," and if you have a bunch of really cool gear, and aren't a no-name band from Arizona, people are a little more tolerant of you, which is understandable.

TBB: How have you felt about the album's reception since its release?

Jeff: Man, it's been great. So many flattering reviews coming in. When you're so close to something, it can be difficult to get an objective perspective on it, so I know I was really curious about what people would think of this album, though we were all very proud of it. We are all really stoked that people like it!

TBB: Have you started pulling together ideas for the next album yet?  If so, can you share some vague hints about what direction you're feeling at this point?

Jeff: We have actually started putting together ideas for the album after the next one already! Things seem to be getting a bit more Sabbath heavy, with more of a rock and roll vibe, but we all consider it important to retain the darkness that Goya has had up to this point. We hope to make things darker, as they progress, but that could manifest in a lot of different ways. The first of the two albums we're working on right now is called Harvester Of Bongloads. The lyrics aren't quite done yet, and it may or may not be a concept record, like Obelisk is. After Obelisk, I would really love to just step back and do what comes naturally. But it turns out that what comes naturally is making things complex. I think HOB is going to be somewhere between the Satan's Fire EP and Obelisk.

TBB: What are Goya's plans for the near future?

Jeff: We're really focused on new material, at the moment. At the time of this writing, we have 2 shows left in 2015, then we are taking a break to get the next album completely fleshed out. We also are finally wrapping up our tune for the Planet of Doom film, and we have a 7" at the presses right now.
TBB: Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

Jeff: Thanks for taking the time to read this!

TBB: Thanks again for your time and the music!

Jeff: Thank you!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Profane Reflections...

Chariot Throne - The Unholy Design (2015)

Making their debut with this album (which runs just the right size for a vinyl pressing to pop up at some point), the German quartet of Chariot Throne aim high and do a reliable job of hitting that mark.  Clean vocals lead the tone-focused tunes, with melodies and atmosphere that strike a nice balance between traditional doom and a livelier, more modern style, and there's a restrained use of what sounds like horror movie samples as a bonus.
Cool switches from dirge-speed wallowings to fuzzier, near-stony deployments provides some extra variety, levered in with enough presence to make a mark, without going so upbeat as to rob the essential gloominess of its power.  There's enough evident work put into the album to command respect for their dedication, and the build-up over the course of the songs gives them another point of pride.  Definitely a strong start for the band, this one should earn them a strong foothold in the deep doom fanbase.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Goya, King Heavy, Mist (Slovenia), Pilgrim, The Wiz'ard


Friday, October 23, 2015

You're Not In Kansas Now...

Dorothy ~ S/T (2014)

I've been listening to this EP for nearly a year now and anyone who knows me can testify that I've not bloody shut up about it, or relented in sharing tracks throughout my social circle. I've never been too sure whether or not to post it on here though, having been in two minds as to whether or not they fit in to our general demographic. That being said, having recently noticed that most of the EP was quickly encroaching on Dr Colossus's top spot of most plays on my iTunes, I figured that it was well worth a mention. Besides, I don't really care if they do or not... Y'all should own this release regardless.
Straight in at the joint-top of my list for best EP of last year, alongside the aforementioned Dr Colossus, Dorothy have kind of shot on to the scene like a bolt out of the blue. Having gained a positive shit ton of momentum they've managed to have been picked up for variety of adverts and promo's including Amy Schumer's latest stand up special and most recently the soundtrack for DC's Super Girl tv spot. Thats not too shabby, solely off the back of a five track EP. To say fame was surely on the cards for this quartet, wouldn't be too much of an assumption.
So, it's just dawned on me that I've just created something of a pedestal for them here, but just bare with me... Having been introduced to them off the back of the video for After Midnight, it's safe to say I was entirely hooked on my first listen. Sure, it in now way hinders them that lead singer Dorothy, has the ability to make grown-ass-men (or at least me) go weak at the knees (I'll post said video below and you'll see exactly what I mean). But in no way is it a case of style over substance. It may not be the riff heavy fuzz a lot of you are akin to, but if you've ever had even a fleeting interest in the blues or early garage rock then this will no doubt spark some interest.
Beginning life after guitarist and producer Mark felt compelled to back Dorothy's insanely awesome voice to some old school metal licks (and seriously, who can blame him), the band quickly took shape and Zac and Gregg soon joined the fray. Lets face it, the results pretty much speak for themselves. Like an outstanding merge of Hanni El Khatib's gritty take on the blues and Nico Vega's dirty vocals, Dorothy extrude a flawlessly formulated mixture genres. That perfectly honed blend of lofi rock and blues influence prove to be not just mind-blowingly satisfying to listen to, but intoxicatingly catchy. Of the five tracks offered up not a single one will fail to leave a lasting impression and have you tapping your foot for a good hour after. Be it slow air drumming along with Zac on Gun In My Hand, air guitaring to Marks solo on Wicked Ones or just singing along to After Midnight, the EP leaves one hell of a mark. I really hope and pray that the band are able to resist that siren like call of the major record label and inevitable neutering of the music that so often seems to coincide. The formula they have going here is so damn spot on, it would be an utter sacrilege if some suited record exec decided to reign it in to mark it more marketable. But, and it's damn rare you'll ever hear me say this, I genuinely have faith. With their combined talent, experience and connections there is no way in hell Dorothy could possibly just fade into the ether should they decide to avoid the backing of some goliath label. This lot are gonna be huge no matter what... Mark my words.
~ Jay

For Fans Of; The Dead Weather, Nico Vega, The Heavy, The Subways, Mr Airplane Man


Loose Bills And Hurried Kills...

Cebo - Jerry EP (2015)

Built around "the life of hit songwriter/bank robber Jerry McGill (a.k.a. Curtis Buck)", this three-track debut EP from Cebo (or CEBO))), as it appears on some of the artwork) is a quick quarter-hour affair trading in melodic sludge with a sprinkling of samples for extra flavor.  There's also some blues in the mix, with inspiration taken from R.L. Burnside and Memphis Slim for a couple of tunes, making for an extra uncommon blend.  
While there's an emphasis on the instrumental side of the music, the vocals are no slouch when they get put to use, working a low gurgling growl (with a flange or phaser effect in a couple of spots) against the slow-beat drums and thick-buzzed strings.  Giving itself over pretty fully to the grooves, the music hits a thick, swampy atmosphere with style while keeping a mean edge present.  The narrative may be consumed past the point of recognizability by the style, but there's still a strong energy carrying things forward.  All around, a respectable first effort, worth checking in on for fans of honest sludge.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Hypnochron, Legalize Crime, Lightsucker, Olmeg, Slug Salt Lava


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Knowledge From Wolves...

Matalobos - Matalobos EP (2015)

This three-track EP marks the debut of Matalobos, and with its furious mix of a melodeath engine and doom trimmings, the quartet makes a good first impression.  Each of the tracks are at least seven minutes long, giving them room to play with the ideas and take some side-trips into unexpected territory, and each of the songs is fleshed out to a pleasing degree.  Rough howling vocals go well with the snarl of the guitar, the drummer switches quickly from backing beat to dominant thrashings, and the bassist lays it down firm and tasty.  There's plenty here of which the group should be proud, and it should hook the ears of those looking for some darker- and heavier-than-usual melodic death metal.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Apoapsis, Bleeth, Hands of Orlac, Necrophobic, Shrine of the Serpent


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Revitalizing Old Growth...

Paleo - Spring Rains EP (2015)

Following up on their debut EP from last year, the Austin-based crew of Paleo are back again to deliver some mellow stoner rock refreshment in the form of this new EP.  Meandering melodies and heaviness loaded in where it's needed give the music plenty of bite, and as they go for an instrumental groove throughout the EP, it's easy to get picked up in the tow of their enthusiastic riffing.
An interesting flange effect on the guitar of the opening title track continues with the following tracks, though in most of these it doesn't have such a pronounced presence.  In their heavier cruises ("Herpules", for instance) they get a heavy grinding weight going on, to very nice effect, though they're careful not to let the trick wear out its novelty, thankfully.  In other places (e.g., "Nameless Cave"), there's a switch to building up atmosphere, to make the big slams like "Tale of Hell Creek" hit all the harder.  It all makes for a strong EP with lots of neat nooks and crannies to get lost in and return to every time you get hungry for more of Paleo's spread.  In short, if deep and heavy grooves are what you crave, give this band a go.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Red Scalp, Reptensol, RHINO, Sumokem, Warrior Pope


Friday, October 16, 2015

Doom And Downpour...

HellLight - Journey Through Endless Storm (2015)

With a run-time to fill a CD's capacity right up to the brim, and each of the first four songs rolling past the ten-minute mark, this latest album from the Brazilian funeral doom specialists of HellLight wears its immensity for all to see from the start. An emphasis on clear melodies and rising grandeur over the course of each song strengthens the band's melancholic majesty, as does the occasional use of harmonized vocals for the drawn-out deliveries of despairing verses.  While they mostly rely on reverberant bass chords for setting the mood, there's a vaguely pagan twist to the melodies that puts me in mind of a mist-shrouded forest, as though the band trucked their gear and a generator out into the wilderness to get just the right vibe for recording.
There is some floweriness to the music at times, but it's not used to a point of obscuring the music's essential drive.  Some may find the music going on too long for their tastes, but those looking for some sizable funeral doom should get good mileage out of these tracks.  A trickle of cosmic doom flavoring comes in towards the end ("Beyond Stars" in particular), bringing battering drum-beats with it, but this gets crushed back into form by the heavy resurgence of slow tempos as things draw to a close.  All in all, a very solid release with lots of care put into its creation, and impressive results from the work put in by the band.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Abysmal Grief, Below, Jupiterian, Ksyatriya, Obsidian Sea


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wet Drip Trip...

Sweaty Palms - Hollywood Wax EP (2015)

This new EP, presumably the debut from this Glasgow-based band, goes for surfy garage rock with a dark sheen, a little bit like a slowed-down Ramones record.  Touches like tambourine and background howling make for an odd dog, but there's a sense of fun throughout the four tracks, and the playing is casually cool enough to slip into your memory and hang out until you've got to hear it again just to get the melodies and attitude in full.  One of the stand-out tracks is "The Tube", which eschews standard singing and structure for an amorphous song that bubbles along.  Since it looks like Sweaty Palms' BandCamp page has expired, you'll want to head over to Fuzzkill Records' SoundCloud to check this crew out.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    The Heavy Co., Iron Butterfly, Milk Duct Tape, Sedated Angel, Los Trasgos Muertos


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Worship the Warbird

Tertorn ~ Warbird (2015)

 After their well received first effort, Teratorn are back this time with a debut full length record called "Warbird". Melding stoner rock grooves with the heaviness and crushing melodies of doom metal, you even have a little of that grittiness that's so loved in sludge  working its way into the gears of the machine at times. The entire album has a gigantic feel to it, like the difference between looking at a mountain range on the horizon, instead of just a mountain. Having heard the band play the album's title track a while back, I had an idea of what to expect going into it. I was thoroughly impressed when I got to hear the entire record though, because as good as it is, the title track is just the tip of the iceberg. Go a few track past "Warbird" and you'll find yourself at the start of a song called "Marauder", it kicks off a slightly southern tinged stoner rock riff. It doesn't take long for the clean, melodic vocals to kick in and take things over, offering up a nice contrast to the rather crunchy guitar tones on this one, even in the spots where there are some guttural backing vocals. "Marauder" has a couple of different sections by the time it winds down, from hammering sections that drive forward, to the more open and lighter ones that are underpinned with some stoner rock vibes. With that kind of variation, fans of just about any heavy music should find something to like when this album is finally released at the end of the month. There are two tracks up for streaming on bandcamp for you to check out right now though.

For Fans Of; Baroness, Half Gramme of Soma, Shellfin

Monday, October 12, 2015

Music To Oden's Ears...

Bedroom Rehab Corporation ~ Fortunate Some (2015)

Here's another monster of a find deep from the Bandcamp vaults!
I've been itching to get this down-tuned duo up since I preordered the vinyl some time back, but was reluctant to grade the whole EP on the strength of just one track. Alas, today the postman came through and finally delivered this huge monster of sombre doom.
So, I happened to stumble upon BRC late one night while drunkenly perusing bandcamp's deepest, darkest depths, and straight away this slightly unassuming couple had me hooked. The only streamable song at the time 'When All You've Got Is A Hammer' promptly received about 8 consecutive plays, firmly lodging itself deeply into my subconscious (I defy anyone to be able to play it just once!) and caused me to have that night what I can only describe as 'viking battle dreams' that would make Thor himself weep with joy.
Much like all my current favourite two piece acts currently kicking the scene up the arse (namely Dr Colossus) BRC are simplicity incarnate, and living proof that you don't have to over complicate things in order to create something absolutely bone shakingly stellar.
Somewhat reminiscent of early Sleep, the slow, thundering waves of riffs, intoxicating drum beats and vocals that sound like they were recorded by being bellowed into a Nordic valley all cumulate into, for my money, the best EP I've heard this year... by quite a margin! Heavy and haunting in equal measure, Fortunate Some may only be 4 tracks in length but it still manages to take you on an unprecedented trip through a number of genres. Flexing their artistic muscles Adam and Meghan are able to amalgamate doom, stoner rock, psych, acid rock and even a touch of space rock into one place before promptly stomping them all into one bloody, speaker destroying slab of beauty. It's seldom a predominantly doom album is particularly catchy in nature, but somehow BRC have managed to hit this nail square on the head. If you don't find yourself driving along listening to this EP at some point roaring the lyrics "When all you've got is a hammer!" at the top of your lungs while thumping your steering wheel, then, well you're pretty much dead inside.
Go over to their bandcamp page and pick up a copy of the EP now! It's an absolute beast of a recording, and is guaranteed to push your rig to near breaking point!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Sleep, Conan, Moss, Moon Curse, Bong

Website • FacebookReverbNation • Bandcamp


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Caught in the Explosion

Solaire ~ Magic Witch Bomb (2015)

After being at it for a couple years now and becoming a three man project, Solaire has come out with a new effort, their debut LP "Magic Witch Bomb". Using a mid-tempo paced stoner rock groove most of the time on the album, they layer it nicely with a melodic vocal performance that has a bit of a punk rock quality. The whole affair kicks off on "First Day with the Hook", and after a plodding intro the song seems to start out of nowhere, launching into a massive groove laden section, complete with a rounded out bass tone that really cuts through the mix, and the section encapsulates everything people should love about stoner rock. Things settle into themselves after a bit, with the vocals taking over center stage. This is the heart of the song, beating for as long as it can before slowing back down to the slow, plodding pace that the track started off with. Digging farther into the album, getting to tracks like "The Stones", where they change the tried and true Solaire formula just a bit. This time you have more atmosphere to compliment the slightly slower vibe in the song, they rely on the psychedelic side of things a bit more than the stoner side. In doing this, they open up a whole new direction for the track to go into, and it's pretty thoroughly explored over the course of the six and half minutes that "The Stones" lasts. You can check these out for yourself over at the group's bandcamp, along with all of the other tracks, and pick up your digital or CD versions.

 For Fans Of; The Phuss, Fu Manchu, Queens of the Stone Age

Friday, October 09, 2015

From Ebon Flames...

Heavydeath - Dark Phoenix Rising (2015)

Heavydeath's latest offering (as of this review's writing, at least; give 'em another two months and they'll probably have another one out) is Dark Phoenix Rising, a ~40-minute pack of five songs done in Heavydeath's heavy & deathly style.  Strong riffs, big recording acoustics, powerful bass presence, and bone-thumping drums are the focus here, though there's also some sparingly-used deep growls worked in to good effect.  The band takes the music seriously while still finding some fun with surprisingly psych-y stretchings of the riffs, and you should be prepared for those lengthy rides, as the first two songs each take ten minutes to get their point across, building up walls of sound that will push your pulse higher before you realize it.
If you're in the mood for it, that sustained tone-soaking can be a damn nice dip.  Although they do get into it with "The Ember of the End", if you want something with the persistent speed of thrash or typical death metal to it, you'll want to look elsewhere.  Assuming you are down with high aggression at slow speeds, Heavydeath have you thoroughly covered, and while the title track, doubling as the closer, is only four minutes (a real quickie after everything else), it blends the elements of the other songs together in an effective coda of hot-blooded doom.  Another very solid release from Heavydeath, the last of the tape run inventory from Caligari Records is quickly headed towards unavailable, so jump on it if you need a physical copy, or snag a digital one from HD's BandCamp.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Forgotten Tomb, Gallileous, The Munsens, Norska, Velvet Cacoon


Thursday, October 08, 2015

Necrotic Ape Visions...

Dead Sea Apes - Spectral Domain (2015)

Hitting their third album with this release, the Manchester-based squad of Dead Sea Apes cruises through a heavy psych storm with enough control to keep it rooted to interesting material, and enough looseness that you'll have little idea where they're headed next.  From the dead night highway sounds of "Universal Interrogator" at the start of the album, all the way through to "Sixth Side of the Pentagon", Dead Sea Apes maintain a shifting wash of sounds called up from their strings, pedals, and drum-kit, varying the experimentation while keeping solid grooves going.  It hits the 'dunk your head in this and see how you feel' sort of metallic heavy psych extremely well, and you can tell that they're having a good time with the material (although practice for getting the spacy rhythms together just right could easily have seen some wear on the nerves).  All around, damn good stuff, and a strong contender for this year's Top 20.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Headless Kross, Nelly Olsen, Norska, Terminal Cheesecake, Venus Sleeps


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Down In The Valley...

Valley - Sunburst EP (2015)

For their debut EP, the Swedish quintet of Valley has assembled four tracks blending influences from jazz and sweet-toned '70s rock, and while some '00s-styled poppiness does creep in with the guitar licks, it's mostly balanced out by some light psych fuzziness.  Keeping things in the instrumental realm (apart from a spoken-word sample in the last song, "Picture Puzzle Pattern Door") and fairly sedate, Valley's focus is mainly on the melodies as they dip and weave through the notes.  The drummer gets plenty of room to shine, showing off a fluid style while playing to the rest of the band, with touches of blues coming up in the slower grooves.  While it may not have the energy for which some listeners will be looking, there's enough talent on display here to make for an interesting test session.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Honeysuckle Mantra, Kayo Dot, Planes of Satori, Porcupine Tree, Shandalar


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Far From Extinction

We Hunt Buffalo ~ Living Ghosts (2015)

After building a reputation with their first two efforts, Fuzzorama Records picked up the Canadian stoner rock band We Hunt Buffalo for their latest full length "Living Ghosts". If you've been following them for any length of time, then you pretty well know to expect excellence across the board. For the newcomers, expect world class stoner rock with a melodic, almost atmospheric edge at times. Leading off with swinging rock tracks like "Prairie Oyster", slamming, fuzzed out guitar riffs that will get your head banging. The further you dig into the album though, the more mellow qualities come out, offering up a lighter take on what stoner rock can be with tracks like "Fear", where the emphasis is more on vibe and tone than using brute force to get their point across. These guys will be another stand out in a year already packed with excellent releases. Even though the album has been out a couple weeks, there are still physical copies to be had over at the Fuzzorama Records site, grab the digital version from bandcamp.

For Fans Of; Bask, Greenleaf, Arenna

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Strange Silvery Streaks...

Snail - Feral (2015)

Originally formed in 1992 but disbanded the following year, Snail reincarnated in 2008 and has been crawling steadily along since then.  Feral marks their fourth album, and with its eight songs, Snail show off a tangled web of fuzz, stoned-out riffs, relaxed grunginess, and heavy-loaded momentum.  Brash energy and a cheeky sense of humor run under the surface of the music, adding liveliness to the tracks beyond the clattering drums and reverbed strings, subdued enough to enhance what's already working instead of trying to override it.  When they do switch into high gear, Snail rocket along on a sooty trail of stardust and amplifier endangerment, pulling your ears along in the wake.
While there's some mellow head-space explorations tucked away in the album's run, they never fully lose the momentum carried from the more manic tracks, but channel it into a quiet intensity that might carry even more punch with its focus.  The melodies are catchy without getting poppy, there's good flow from track to track while keeping things varied, and the songs are hypnotic enough to keep some surprises in store for multiple listenings, so fans of fun heavy psych should do themselves a favor and check this one out.  Small Stone Records has CD copies available, though unfortunately the vinyl version sold out during pre-orders; hopefully they'll take that as enough of a sign of interest to do a second run in the near future.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    JPT Scare Band, Sleep, Telstar Sound Drone, Terminal Cheesecake, Wizard Cult


Friday, October 02, 2015

Invitation To Love...

Grim Van Doom - Grim Love (2015)

Pairing sludgy vocals, attitude, and rhythmic style with doom metal grounding in bass and guitar riffs, Grim Van Doom's latest release (their first full album) doesn't do much to explore new territory, but they play with enough earnestness and commitment to the style to earn some respect points.  Some nice mixing and production helps bring the metal into sharper focus, and the vocalist's grunts and howls have enough belt behind them to fit with the music instead of going overboard or getting over-powered by the instruments.
The biggest issue with the songs (as I heard it, at least) is that they're too compacted and organized for the vivacity of memorable sludge to really come through.  The antagonism with which they start the album is the level at which the end it, and they never really get to be let off of the leash, so to speak.  While that might make for a reliable experience for fans of the band who just want to dig into more of the same, it doesn't seem like it will do much to draw in people coming across the band for the first time.  More than decent performances across the board, but so far, it feels like they could stand to give the core melodies a little more room to breathe between hammering down with drums.  Still, they hit some good grooves and show some promise for future developments, so if you're down with the doom sludge, you might wanna check these guys out.  Copies are available on vinyl (161 marbled red & black copies, 372 on standard black), CD (1000 copy run, patch and poster included), and cassette (100 copy run, white shells) as part of a three-way effort by Wooaaargh Records, Aural Attack, and Vinylaceton, with digital downloads from Grim Van Doom's BandCamp page.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Dogmate, Noothgrush, Olmeg, Plaguewielder, Yellowtooth


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Man The Battlements...

Barbarian Fist - The Whorelord Cometh (2015)

With four beefy tracks, this debut LP from Norway's own Barbarian Fist expands on the promise of the group's 2013 demo, opening up with the immortal words of Conan (the barbarian, not the band) before moving into haze-shrouded but powerful stoner metal with a mean edge and some silly lyrics/titles.  Fuzz-toned guitar with some hidden bite leads the way, though the drums and bass deliver their own powerful punches, and with a mostly-instrumental approach to the song-writing, they get to take the music on psych-tinged excursions with steel in hand, rampaging through the riffs before making their triumphant exit.  
Some of it will make you nod your head along, some will get you to just sit back and take it in, and still more will pull the trick of leaving you unsure what just happened, but digging it all the same.  It's a damn fine debut album, and if you'd like to get a vinyl, CD, or digital copy, you can do so through Barbarian Fist's BandCamp page (linked below, as always).  Soak it up, and keep your ears open for more to come from this bad-ass band.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Behold! The Monolith, Druglord, Meanderthal, Megasus, Nelly Olsen