Saturday, December 24, 2016

Awesome Freak Party...

The Freeks - Shattered (2016)

Here for our enjoyment this week is the latest album from the five-piece group of The Freeks, and as it's the band's third album in almost a decade of tenure, you can't accuse them of rushing things.  So what are they up to on Shattered?  Punky psychedelic rock, that's what, with plenty of feedback, neck-popping drum rhythms, growl/howl vocals, thick riffs, and balls-out energy.
Right from the first track, "Tiny Pieces", The Freeks are bouncing and shaking, though they settle down into more of an acid blues groove in the follow-up of "Where Did You Go", and keep their style moving and shifting like that for the rest of the songs.  There's something to be had for fans of '70s psych rock, something for those who prefer the faster stuff of today, something for blues rockers, hard rockers, and deconstructed punks.  And who knows, each of those might find enough to groove on in the other songs to pull them into trying out some genre they haven't explored before.
Put short, it's a fun album.  Put a bit longer, it's an album which wears its energy and enthusiasm not just on its sleeve, but all over its clothes, face, and hair.  And while they fit in enough slower trips to not wear themselves and the listeners out too quickly, that energy is so pervasive, it's hard to come away from listening to the songs without having that liveliness dominate your impressions.  Check it out if you have a taste for rock that rocks without limiting itself to painting by the traditional numbers.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Blue Cheer, The GTVs, The Heavy Co., The Human Instinct, JPT Scare Band


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Filled With Sparkles...

Glitter Wizard - Hollow Earth Tour (2016)

With this latest album, Glitter Wizard and their glammy strain of hard rock are back with songs of reptilian creatures, UFOs, magical mushrooms, and other oddities well-suited to a hollow-earth setting.  The five-piece band has their groove together in fine form, managing to fit jammy bits into the more regularly-structured stretches of song, and the '70s-flavored noodles of keyboard and guitar are mixed in without stealing momentum from the main riffs.
There's also a nice variety of moods to the album, from chilled-out pieces to harder-rocking beats, and the band flows from one side to the other without any of it feeling fake or forced.  Having a good time is the album's main vibe, and it follows that edict with a faithful liveliness that helps keep things moving smoothly, even through the trickiest spots.
Despite boasting a three-part song towards the middle ("Stoned Odyssey", split into "Spreading the Spores", "Delivering the Monolith", and "Fungal Visions"), the album moves along quickly, not letting itself get bogged down by over-indulgence or major misfires.  Something that should hold up to steady listening, and worth checking out if you've been in the mood for some modern hard rock that does more than just imitate ye olden days.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Banquet, La Chinga, Lizzard, Queen Chief, Teacher


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Coming Out Swinging...

Monsternaut - Monsternaut (2016)

Coming to us from the ever-solid Heavy Psych Sounds label, Monsternaut's self-titled debut album introduces this Finnish group with a collection of two recording batchess, spanning back to 2012, and each self-released by the band with the title Monsternaut.  Working as a three-piece (b,g&v,d), they've got an easy-going hard rock style spruced up with some stoner rock touches.
That adds up to nicely dirty-sounding guitar with a little rough buzz on its edges, thick bass that doesn't get tied down into slower tempos, solid backing from the drums, and vocals with a little sneer to them when not yelling out for action.  On the down-side (and this may just be due to the bunching up recording in the two years that was handled), it's kind of striking how similar the songs are to each other, with one practically picking up the same riffing rhythm that the last one just finished using.
That streak of similarity kind of gets shaken off by the time they hit the fifth track, "Black Horizon", but as that's already halfway through the album, it's not enough to lift the average back up to where it should be.  Oddly, the newer batch of stuff comes first on the album, so it's the lder tuff that shows more flexibility in stle and playing.
Taken as a (very well-produced) demo collection, rather than a full-fledged LP, you can still have some fun with this, to be sure.  Just don't head into it expecting to hear a band at the top of their game; instead, take it as the band trying to entice you to stick around and hear what else they've got in store.  Given that they do show some nice chops, interplay of instruments, and a firm grasp of where to find the fun in retro rock, you've got a pretty good chance of wanting to hear those oncoming tunes yourself, and having heard this one, you'll have a better sense of how they developed.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Blackout, Hossferatu, Jussipussi, La Chinga, Teacher


Saturday, December 03, 2016

Shrouded Hands of Doom...

Shroud Eater / Dead Hand - Split (2016)

While Shroud Eater has been on our radar, this is the first of their releases we've reviewed, so it's a pleasure to encounter them teamed up with Dead Hand (whom we've covered before, and always enjoyed).  For this split, it's a fairly straight-forward affair, each band getting half a 7" for their song, but they don't put a moment of the format to waste.
Shroud Eater open things up with a thick, rough-edged wave of bass, soon joined by the slow-howl vocals and a big, rolling beat.  Things are kept swampy, teetering somewhere in the overlap of doom metal and sludge, and though it feels a little short for their style at just six minutes, the band manages to pack a sense of extra size into it with the reverb and aggressive chording.
Dead Hand pick up from there, launching into a faster, more venomous brand of doom.  There's touches of both black and death to be heard, but those work more as fuel additives in the doom engine they're running as they roar through the song's valleys and tangles.
Very solid stuff from each band, making this split a great spot to jump in if you're unfamiliar with either band, or both of 'em.  Check it out the next time you're in the mood for a quick shot of doom with nice variety to it.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Blind Samson, The Munsens, Reptensol, Trees, Wounded Giant