Saturday, June 16, 2018

Handshakes And Heartaches...

Gray Dog - The Deal (2017)


While this may have been released last year, the efforts the band went to in order to get a physical copy to me (intercontinentally, and relayed from one old address to the next) were enough to win me over into doing a review for it anyway.
So, this is the first EP from the Belarusian duo of Gray Dog, who are currently operating out of Poland (good company there). The EP's five tracks unearth some blues of the dirty and heavy variety, with twanging strings and wounded yells forming the main thrust of the music. Regret and pain are the main themes, as is commonly the case with blues, and the fretwork is nimble, sparing, and stylish. The production is likewise kept uncluttered, though the grimy tint comes through undimmed, and the growls and strings both get their full register across in fine clarity. Percussion is limited to thumps on the guitar's body (and a couple slaps of a background tambourine), which helps keep the sense of physical immediacy strong. There's a real sense of life to it (especially when they start baying like coyotes), and it's a welcome change-up from the dense posturing all too common in heavy rock. If you've been looking for something off the beaten path, but still truly heavy, here's your prescription.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; The Barnburners, Cebo))), The Midnight Ghost Train, Muddy Moonshine, T.K. Bollinger & That Sinking Feeling




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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Purge And Binge...

Ancient Altar - Cosmic Purge / Foie Gras (2018)


Over the course of the two songs on this EP, the LA-based outfit of Ancient Altar unpack about 24 minutes of stern doom metal, building from firm bass and drum foundations up through growls, toothy guitar-work, and clear but imposing singing. The first half, “Cosmic Purge”, works up to a powerful momentum, with a few breaks scattered in among the otherwise unrelentingly heavy roll-along. There's tunefulness threaded in, though the aggressive weightiness stays at the fore-front, and it carries itself well for its ~11-minute size. “Foie Gras”, the second and longer track, picks up from it with a little more emphasis on the riffs, and a little more speed to its crashing impacts. It's a nice twist from the atmosphere set by the first, and its faint touches of psychedelic exoticism on the guitar's solos lend things an appreciable expansiveness. Between the two tracks, it's a solid and enjoyable release, one which bodes well for the subsequent album on their own Transcendental Void Records label. Hopefully that'll arrive before too long, but in the meantime, get yourself acquainted well with this EP, and soak up the menace.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Abstracter, Bell Witch, The Munsens, Raedon Kong, Wounded Giant




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Saturday, June 02, 2018

Stars And Bars...

Black Elephant - Cosmic Blues (2018)


Back with their third album since debuting with 2012's Spaghetti Cowboy, the Italian quartet of Black Elephant have spent the four years since their last LP honing their heavy stoner rock hooks, and it certainly shows in the seven tracks of Cosmic Blues. Hot guitar grooves, echoing slides, mellowed-out bass that swings in for kicks, and drums that firmly lay down the beat are all at play, showing the fusion of blues, rock, and consumption-tuned psychedelic flavors in fine form. Once the band launches into a riff, it leads to a slew of others, slipping and sliding out to a finish until the momentum carries them right into another riff train. It's heavy but fast-moving, a little bit funky in the right places, and the guitar tones have such a nice seasoning to their twang, it's nice that the band lets them hold sway over a good stretch of instrumental passages. Grab this one if you've been hungering for some solid stoner rock with an emphasis on big riffs and tuneful cruising.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Daily Thompson, Farflung, Fatso Jetson, Mos Generator, Stone Machine Electric


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