Boston’s heavy rock collective known as Summoner recently released their third studio recording, Beyond The Realm Of Light, via Magnetic Eye Records. The follow-up to 2013’s Atlantian and 2012’s Phoenix finds the band further exploring the intricacies of melodic, riff-driven progressive rock music. There is a swaggering sense of purpose and clearly defined intent with this latest outing, one that guitarist AJ Peters commented on saying:
“With Beyond The Realm Of Light we wanted a more sharply focused, hard hitting album while still exploring the thoughtful lyrical concepts and melodic voice of our past efforts. Our statement on the path humanity has taken and what lies ahead.“
Today, Taste Nation LLC is streaming the latest album from Summoner, Beyond The Realm Of Light, in its entirety below. It is out now and available for purchase here.
Castro Valley, California’sPower Of Pain have released a new single and official video for their track ‘Tastes Like H8‘, a song tackling the subject of teen bullying and features Exodus/Dublin Death Patrol/Tenet singer Steve “Zetro” Souza. The song itself is taken from the band’s newly released album, My Dark Secret, which was produced by Juan Urteaga (Testament, Exodus, Machine Head) at Trident Studios. Additional tracking was done at Green Day’s Jingle Town Studio while video production duties were handled by Wayne Marsala (Testament, Exodus).
Power Of Pain was formed by guitarist Mike Roberts in 2015 out of the ashes of his previous former act, Bleed The Freaks. Recruiting fellow Bleed The Freaks guitarist Josh Bailey, the two assembled a new band, completed by singer Chris Carlton, bassist Zack Brown, and drummer Steve Rubio, and went straight into the studio.
“Bleed The Freaks went through a bad break up,” reflects Roberts. “I felt that everyone had given up on me, but perseverance was my goal. Having a full CD of music ready to go, I just forged on,” he states. The result is My Dark Secret, a ten song slab of top shelf groove metal, rounded out by a cover of the UFO classic, “Natural Thing”.”
When asked about Souza’s involvement, Roberts comments: “Zet and I are childhood friends and long time Raiders fans together. I had written the song with him in mind. Zet is a true professional. He came in the studio and sang the song in one take. We filmed the video on his birthday. I’m very grateful that he is a part of it.”
My Dark Secret is available on iTunes and all major digital outlets now.
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
“My Dark Secret”
“Preachin To The Choir”
“Tastes Like H8” (featuring Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza)
“How Well I Know”
“Natural Thing” (UFO cover)
From the heart of Deventer, Netherlands comes the latest studio offering from the hazily fuzzened foursome Drive By Wire, ‘The Whole Shebang‘. Issued just yesterday (May 19th) through Argonauta Records comes this heady, wholesome opus of psychedelia-laden Desert/Stoner Rock. It’s one that is made that much more the powerful thanks to the full-on sultriness of singer Simone Holsbeek. Her vocals, merged with the magnificent musicality provided by Alwin Wubben, Jerome Miedendorp de Bie, Marcel Zerb and Rene Rutten, make this a record that is impossible to ignore.
Drive By Wire manages to distill their inspirations and influences into a warmly organic sound, but one with the urgency and dynamics of 90′s grunge (Soundgarden, Alice in Chains), the sensuality of PJ Harvey and the deliciously heavy psychedelic fuzz grooves of all the great 70′s bands. I am pretty confident in saying that once you start this album to playing, you won’t be able to turn itoff until the last song wraps up…and even then you will probably be inclined to hit Repeat again.
See if what I’m saying is true by giving Drive By Wire‘s ‘The Whole Shebang‘ a precursory spin via the Soundcloud embed below. In the meantime, don’t forget, the album is out right now from Argonauta Records!
HIGHER POWER Soul Structure – LP Flatspot Records & Venn Records – Release Date: May 19th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Leeds, UK-based band Higher Powerhave just released their debut LP, Soul Structure, through a cooperative release between Flatspot Records and Venn Recordsthis past Friday, May 19th. The album was recorded by Misha Hering at Holy Mountain, with vocals recorded by James Atkinson at Mutiny Studios. The album was mixed by Arthur Rizk at Salomons Gate (Power Trip, Mizery, War Hungry) and mastered by Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust). It features artwork by Sam Bailey but it is the music that I am here to talk about.
Many of you that are here reading this will probably be too young to have experienced much of the great music of the Nineties. Both the Hardcore and Alternative Rock scenes of that decade were thriving hotbeds of fantastic music, ones that pretty much had a sound and style all their own at the time. Let’s be honest, not many modern or current bands can successfully capture that era’s somewhat “signature” aural calling card..well, that is ’til now. Meet vocalist J Town (Jimmy Wizard), drummer Alex, guitarists Louis and Max and bassist Pete who together collectively are Higher Power. Before you listen to them via the full stream of Soul Structurebelow, let me ask you something: Were you around in those aforementioned 90’s?
If you were then surely you recall great bands like Leeway, Ignorance, Helmet or perhaps the more obscure Stick? If you do and you liked those bands then this is something you are going to love. If you weren’t there but you can still appreciate unique sounding, energized, ass-kicking heavy music then you too are in luck, my friends. Higher Power bring the noise and a whole hell of a lot more on their stellar debut full-length outing here. With chunky guitars, rapid rhythmic pulses, and super tight, in the pocket drumming, their music will uplift you. Real life lyrical tales are woven into the sonic fabric and told with agression-tinged vocals that would make the mighty Cro-Mags themselves proud.
There’s no getting around it and why would you want to? Higher Power have been powerfully blessed with the skills needed to bring Soul Structure to life. From the energetic chug-along of intro cut ‘Can’t Relate‘ and its beefy guitars, ones that stop and start on a dime while keeping the energy levels high, things don’t let up. Other highlights include ‘Hole‘, ‘Four Walls Black‘ and the fantastic album-closing ‘You Ain’t Got Much‘ but truth is, there is not a bad track here. But don’t just take my word for it, do yourself a favor and go stream the Higher Power debut, Soul Structure, below now and I believe that you will discover that you too are a baller at the altar of groove.
FYI: My favorite track is ‘Reflect‘. – Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Catch Higher Power at the following live dates:
6/16/2017 Woody’s – Schleiz, DE w/ Trapped Under Ice
6/17/2017 Essigfabrik – Cologne, DE w/ Trapped Under Ice
8/13/2017 Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK w/ Turnstile, Insist
Vokonis is a stoner doom band from Sweden and this is their sophomore album. The second release is often-times paramount in a band’s development. There’s a widespread belief that a band has all the time in the world to write their first album, so that’s often why a band can release a stunning debut, but it’s the sophomore album that’s more telling of what a band is capable of in the long term. I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate – some bands write and record their debuts very quickly after coming together, though I do agree that a band’s second album is often indicative of their longevity and ability to thrive in a crowded music scene. There usually is more pressure on the band to deliver the goods, from fans, from their label contacts, as nothing spells success like a powerful follow-up to a promising debut.
I hadn’t heard of Vokonis before being assigned this review, so I went back and did some digging once I learned this wasn’t their first record. They formed out of the ashes of a former project called Creedsmen Arise, so you know where their loyalties lie. After a slight shift up in the lineup, they changed the name to its current moniker. The newer name is apparently taken from some legendary king, though I couldn’t find anything to verify whether King Vokonis actually existed outside of the band’s private mythology. In 2016, they released their debut on Ozium Records, entitled Olde One Ascending. It’s a fairly standard album that largely follows the template for the genre: a power trio with a Black Sabbath and Sleep inspired sound, fuzzed out and tuned down for maximum thumpitude. Long, meandering arrangements punctuated by guitar solos, slower passages, and trippy atmospheres. Gruff, monotone vocals that sit somewhere between Fu Manchu’s slacker spoken word and (16)’s screamed sludge abandon, dark psychedelic artwork and lyrical themes. If you’ve been into the genre for awhile, none of this should be particularly surprising or off-putting, well, other than that it’s been done to death. Vokonis obviously aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel or do anything too wildly experimental here, just six songs of old-fashioned, stoned-out doom.
Still, the debut apparently made enough of an impact to land the group a record deal with the prestigious Ripple Music, and that leads us right into their aforementioned sophomore album, The Sunken Djinn. Right away, from the very title, I already like it better than the debut. Sure, the Olde Ones and Lovecraft are super cool and creepy, though how many songs can I hear about Lovecraft inspired themes before they just lose their impact and become another tired cliche that’s plagued this genre for nearly a decade? Well, Muslim mythology and the story of the djinn is equally intriguing, a race that’s neither human nor angel. They’ve always held a unique place in the heart of Arabic culture, both classical and contemporary, this particular source material hasn’t been harvested to point of being completely fallow ground. It’s refreshing to see a band looking outside the tried and true.
As far as the music itself, I like it a lot. It takes everything that they did well on the first album and simply trims the fat. It’s super meat and potatoes, not just in terms of the previous output, but in comparison to the stoner doom scene as a whole. While this genre is often rife with excess, for better or for worse, Vokonis’s stripped down approach is a breath of fresh air. My earlier comparison to Fu Manchu works well; just as the Fu’s stripped stoner rock to its essential bare-bones elements, Vokonis have done the same with doom (yes, I’m aware that Fu Manchu have been around much longer than the questionable term “stoner rock” has been in usage). The songs are shorter, though still fully realized and revolve around a couple key riffs and musical motifs. There’s still enough atmosphere, dynamics and variation to keep it all from getting too stale and one dimensional. There’s some usage of odd, dissonant chords and phrasing to keep it from sounding too generic and regurgitated. Although The Sunken Djinn still owes a heavy debt to all things Sleep and Sabbath, nothing sounds like complete cookie cutter cloner rock. On top of that, the album has a great coherency and flow.
The production is a bit tighter and cleaner than its predecessor, allowing for more breathing room and space within the songs. This has the effect of making the material sound heavier and darker, with more menace and bombast. Even the artwork is more nuanced and ominous, as much as I like the cover of the debut. In 2017, when we’re talking doom, it’s somewhat of an innovation to just keep it simple and straight to the point. Vokonis have essentially emphasized everything that I love about classic stoner doom, while cutting out the elements that have largely become redundant and cliche.
That’s not to say that Vokonis is totally free from some of the more irksome elements of stoner rock and doom. I told you that I researched them a bit, and I did see pretty gratuitous displays of amplifier pornography on their Facebook page. Maybe that floats some people’s proverbial “boats.” For me, if you’ve seen one Orange amp, you’ve seen them all, and we all know what they say about people with big amps. I know that I’m generally inclined to extended rants and digressions, though I also like to tailor the format of my reviews to suit the album in discussion, so I’m going to take a page from the band’s playbook and keep today’s diatribe to a mere and brief five sentences.
I foresee pretty big things on the horizon for Vokonis. They’re building a good deal of momentum for themselves in a short period of time, with a compelling and buzz-worthy debut, a hot off the presses 7″ showcasing a song from the new album, and the backing of a label that’s known to be extremely artist friendly and supportive. This could very easily be their breakthrough album, it’s well crafted and immediate. By all accounts they seem to be ambitious, hungry, and upwardly mobile. Once this album drops and Vokonis take the show on the road, barring any unforeseen circumstances, they’re going to make quite the impact and leave a good sized crater of charred audiences in their wake….
IAMFIRE From Ashes – CD//DD//Vinyl Released April 14th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Let me start by saying that I am a huge Peter Dolving fan..from Mary Beats Jane to his time in The Haunted, solo efforts and even his short stint in the recent Dress The Dead project. Peter always provides intense vocals to whatever he’s contributing to and I was excited to learn awhile back there was a new endeavor claiming his presence. That is IAMFIRE of course and where earlier bands explored punk and alternative rock, as well as metal and such, it is safe to say that IAMFIRE is a stoner rock band in about every sense of the words. Joining Dolving in the band are guitarist Peter Ahlers Olsen, bassist/vocalist Mikael Ehlert and drummer Ulf Scott and I make that previous claim based on the variety of styles explored here.
“Here” is the IAMFIRE debut full-length ‘From Ashes‘ of course and what we have here is a potent blend of all the stoner sub-genres from desert to fuzz, doom, psychedelia, sludge and much more. But I almost hesitate to share that labeling due to the possibility that more close-minded types will immediately refuse to give the record a chance. If so then that is their loss, a great, grand loss at that because aside from Peter’s usual falsettos and somewhat wailing vocalizations there is the music. The oh-so fantastic music in this case, music that alternates from densely heavy rock that’s propelled by the power of the riff to the hypnotically melodic tunes administered with a slightly lysergic lull.
It is the former that provides our introduction to the album with ‘Magpies And Crows‘, a cut that unfurls with a riff so huge that it results in opiate-like head nodding. The rhythms are as equally monstrous while the drums detonate about you like bursts of hand grenades. The heavy side of IAMFIRE is on fine display in other superb selections such as ‘Burn Your Halo‘, ‘For What It’s Worth‘ and ‘Compliments‘. Inevitably, there are going to be comparisons made to Tool and perhaps Alice In Chains, derived from nuances within the music and vocals both here. To be honest, those comparisons may be considered absolutely valid too because there are moments where the vocals and progressive elements of the music itself do remind one of Tool.
‘Did You Find Your Name‘ is one of those songs, one where the box is obliterated and experimental applications govern the track. Dolving himself is the primary source for many of it on this particular cut as he alternates between three differing vocal approaches. Much like flipping an invisible switch with ease, Peter runs across the spectrum from a sedate, light and airy voice to a wailing howl and eventually an aggro-intensified bellow. As for the more proggy styled songs, just give ones like ‘Eyes Wide Open‘ or ‘Beamer‘ a spin and you’ll find yourself outside the norm as well.
That leaves us with my two favorite songs, the one-two impact of the back to back ‘My Mistake‘ and ‘Inside‘. The former is a full-on face down dive into trippy, Kyuss-ian desert rock where sound effects pepper a super fucking cool, fluid track. Hazy, atmospheric hooks sink into your ear canals and embed themselves ever deeper with each note while massive riffs rumble and reverberate. ‘Inside‘ keeps the desert rock vibe alive as it rolls out with a robust, rippling riff ‘n rhythm road map. Tightly-wound, in the pocket drumming and navigating bass lines drive the track ever onward, inviting you deep inside its inner machinations.
Overall, the entire IAMFIRE debut, ‘From Ashes‘, is an album that you can immerse yourself within. An alluring, captivating aural experience that deserves ones undivided listening attention because it is so multifaceted and layered. One misstep on your part and you will quite likely miss an incredible moment taking place on the record so do yourself a favor, stream it below. Ignore the tags, labels, and pigeonholing, my own or anyone else’s and come listen to an amazing album, pure and simple.
Pacific Northwest rockers Red Fang, who are playing atRock On The Rangetoday coincidentally, are debuting their latest Official Video, ‘Cut It Short‘. Yet another visually comedic clip as par for the course from the band, the song hails from Red Fang‘s latest release, 2016’s Only Ghosts. The Relapse Records-issued band’s fourth album was produced by the famed Ross Robinson (Sepultura, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot) and reached #143 on the US Billboard 200. Whitey McConnaughy directed the clip, continuing the partnership that birthed previous videos for “Wires”, “Prehistoric Dog”, “Hank Is Dead” and most recently “Shadows”.
Alongside Red Fang‘s ROTR date today, the band plays one more additional North American date (May 26th at the Modified Ghost Festival II) before heading to Europe for a month of shows. Then they’ll resurface in the US for September’s Bumbershoot and Crucial Fest dates, here’s all of their planned upcoming appearances:
19 – Columbus, OH – Rock on the Range
26 – Vancouver, BC – Modified Ghost Festival II
10 – Guilford, UK – Boileroom
11 – Donnington, UK – Download Festival
12 – Lille, France – L’Aeronef
14 – Orleans, France – Astrolabe
15 – Lyon, France – Epicerie Moderne
16 – Clisson, France – Hellfest
17 – Dessel, Belgium – Graspop
19 – Berlin, Germany – Lido
20 – Vienna, Austria – Flex
21 – Orfu, Hungary – Fishing on Orfu
23 – Saarwellingen, Germany – Saarmageddon Festival
24 – Scheessel, Germany – Hurricane Festival
25 – Neuhausen, Germany – Southside Festival
28 – Roskilde, Denmark – Roskilde
29 – Nimjegen, Netherlands – Doornroosje
1 – Pratteln, Switzerland – Fuzz Jam Festival
5 – Biarritz, France – Atabel
6 – Viverio, Spain – Resurrection Festival
8 – Barcelona, Spain – Razzamatazz 2
9 – Ile du Gaou, France – Pointu Festival
1 – Seattle, WA – Bumbershoot
2 – Salt Lake City, UT – Crucial Fest
Pioneering female metal musician Doro Pesch achieved massive success with her band Warlock‘s fourth studio album, Triumph And Agony. Released in 1987, the breakthrough effort delivered withhitsingles and MTV’sHeadbangers Ball favorites “All We Are” and “Für immer” amongothernow-pinnacleanthems like “East Meets West“, “Metal Tango“, “I Rule The Ruins” and “Touch OfEvil“. Triumph And Agonystandsamong heavy metal’struecultclassics and now it is reaching a milestone of its 30th Anniversary this September. To mark that fantastic factoid, Doro Pesch, the voice of Warlock and heavy metal worldwide will, for the first time ever, perform the fist-raisingfull-length in itsentirety on two European festivaldatesthis Summer and a specialrunof U.S. live performances. She will be joined by original Triumph And Agony guitarist Tommy Bolan alongside bassist Nick Douglas, drummer Johnny Dee, guitarist Bas Maas and guitarist/keyboardist Luca Princiotta.
Doro shared her excitement about the announcements by adding: “Triumph And Agonywas ourbreakthroughalbum in America and it’s still oneofmy absolute favorites! I’m so excitedtoplaysomeofthesesongsfor the first time and I’m so much lookingforwardtoplaywith Tommy again. I’msureit’sgonnasoundgreat and we’llput on a killer show.”
At press time, there are 2 European festival dates and five U.S. concerts planned and listed below. Hopefully there will be more dates added to the itinerary so more people can experience what promises to be a powerful display of this legendary album and band.
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Doro Pesch: The Voice Of WARLOCK…Live!
6/08/2017 Sweden Rock – Norje, SE
7/07/2017 Norway Rock Live – Kvinesdal, NO
U.S. dates – 9/08/2017 Palladium – Worcester, MA [tickets]
LOSS Horizonless – CD//2xLP//Digital Profound Lore – May 19, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
We are now just a day away from what is expected to be one of the most crushingly depressive releases of the year being set loose upon all. That’s right, the long awaited and oft-doubted return of the Nashville, Tennessee-based Lossis finally at hand. The unholy event would provide ample cause for celebration were it not for the sullen, bleakly depressive hopelessness the unit is so well known for providing. The lividly aural obtuseness that is brought to life, then near death, in the music of Loss is of the utmost cause for alarm. Not is it merely a semi-hellish soundtrack of bereaved emanations but it may very well be the actual house music within a damnable Hades itself.
Six years since the debut ‘Despond‘ was unleashed upon the denizens of the Earth, Loss return with the Billy Anderson-produced Horizonless via Profound Lore on May 19th. All of the prerequisite attachments are still here, ones ranging from atmospheric to funeral doom and more. But there is also a palpable, overwhelming sense of despondency reverberating through every note, Drawn out, sustained death marches into the deepest chasms of soulless emptiness, where each forcible step is one nearer to the point of no return.
Haunting, harrowing and truly horizonless for there is no light at the end of this tunnel’s descent, no momentary glimpse of anything to inspire hope. Much like a Death Row inmate’s last moments, you feel surreally out of body as your physical husk moves slowly toward its inevitable end. And this is the music most ideally meant to accompany you on that journey, on both planes as your last steps on Earth become your first taken into Eternity. The title track’s last few spoken moments perhaps put it best, put it all into perspective: “Something Is Lost..Nothing Is Gained“.
FOTOCRIME Always Hell – Vinyl 7″//DD Self Release – Released May 12, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Once upon a time there was a man named Ryan Patterson from Louisville, Kentucky that played in a sludge-ish, albeit punk-infused, post-hardcore band named Coliseum. As an integral component of Coliseum, he participated in the release of five studio albums and numerous EPs and Splits with the band. In 2015, that project would release their final studio record, the critically acclaimed Anxiety’s Kiss, and from there eventually disband. In the months and eventual years since then, Ryan would adopt a pseudonym, R. Pattern, and undergo an intriguing musical metamorphosis.
In more recent times, Pattern has resurfaced with a new musical endeavor named Fotocrime, one where he alone has been the sole member thus far. The story goes that he holed himself up within a home studio and went to work on giving Fotocrime its very own aural identity. Now be forewarned, if you are seeking sonic output similar to that of this man’s previous project then you may as well turn around and leave as quietly as you came in. I bequeath that advice to you based upon the reality that Fotocrime is nothing like Coliseum in any way of substance or similitude. Inspired by more minimalist musings and armed with a seemingly stripped down arsenal of riffs, synths, and drum machines, Fotocrime emanates a fatalistic fever of darkly gothic music. It’s a staunchly haunting, musical menagerie of stark, shadowy overtones and post-apocalyptic new wave.
Captured in conjunction with longtime collaborator and producer J. Robbins at Robbins’ Magpie Cage Studio, Fotocrime‘s 3-song EP debut, ‘Always Hell‘, was just released on May 12th. It contains the ‘Always Hell’ title track (and official video below) along with ‘Plate Glass Eyes‘ and ‘Tectonic Shift‘, a trio of hellishly deep cloak and dagger cuts. Spellbinding and all-consuming, the tracks are a refreshing lungful of enthralling, atmospheric-laden opposition to the stagnant norm of moden music. If it is different you seek, that you want and ultimately must have, then Fotocrime has come to deliver you from the mundane sameness that assaults us daily.
Alongside R. Pattern in the live version of Fotocrime are Shelley Anderson andNick Thieneman. The trio have a series of live performances scheduled to begin in late June and they are listed below.
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
FOTOCRIME On Tour:
Jun. 27 — Chicago, IL @ Gman Tavern
Jun. 29 — Toronto, ON @ Baby G
Jun. 30 — Ottawa, ON @ Pressed
Jul. 1 — Montreal, QC @ Turbohaus
Jul. 2 — Boston, MA @ O’Briens Pub
Jul. 3 — Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Jul. 6 — Philadelphia, PA @ Boot and Saddle
Jul. 8 — Columbus, OH @ Café Bourbon Street