Mother Mars “On Lunar Highlands” Album Review + Stream + Music Video…

Mother Mars

On Lunar Highlands – CD // DD

Pepper Shaker Records – Releases December 6, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

 

Lineup:
Frank Attard: Drums, percussion, Clavinet, synth, meandering chaos
Paul Attard: Guitars, bass, synth, banjo-mandolin, piano, organ, complications
Dave Schembri: Vocals, harmonica, mellow vibes
Matthew Slager: Lead guitar on ‘Never Fail’

Tracklist:
Wrecker’s Reunion Ball (5:00)
Lost Planet Airmen (4:34)
Bean Stalkin’ (0:28)
Thought It Best To Cut You Loose (5:33)
Soap Bar Pick-Up Joint (3:41)
The Stalwarts of Saltwort Castle (9:31)
The Working Mind of the Creator (3:44)
Woodhollow Green (12:55)
Bean Stalkin’ Again (0:56)
Never Fail (4:13)
Bigger Than Fear (5:44)
On Lunar Highlands (8:35)
The Heavy Hand Of The Destroyer (4:14)

 

 

Review:
Sludge Metal can go in any one of many directions, and one of the most interesting just may be the original: The variety of Sludge both invented and perfected by Black Sabbath. That particular brand of Sludge Metal is heavily Blues-influenced and totally unafraid to incorporate highly experimental elements like irregular time signatures, tempo changes, and long complicated instrumental sections in a manner that is almost progressive. This style of music has existed since the late 70s and one of its latest disciples is Australia’s Mother Mars, and they exemplify it fantastically in their newest release, On Lunar Highlands.

As a listener will easily pick up on while making their way through the album, Mother Mars makes no attempt to pigeonhole themselves. They open with some sludgey goodness on “Wrecker’s Reunion Ball”, but they weave their way through several different styles like early-era Queens of the Stone Age-style desert rock on “Lost Planet Airmen” Psychedelic Folk on several songs, most prevalent in the interlude “Bean Stalkin’” and its brother-in-arms “Bean Stalkin’ Again”, and expertly execute a song that sounds like a long-lost B-side from Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in album high point “The Stalwarts of Saltwort Castle” (stream below).

While Mother Mars is an extremely skilled band, they really show their true talent when their songs are heavier and longer. When Mother Mars give themselves room to breathe, their songs gain an organic energy that is nearly second to none, especially when they decide to allow themselves what is a particularly decadent instrumental section full of guitar solos, bass riffs, and plenty of interplay between the band’s members.

Additionally, there are only 3 members of Mother Mars, though you’d never guess it from listening to them. These Heavy Space Rockers are incredibly adept at filling a space with as much noise as it needs to sound full and heavy without making it sound unnecessarily chaotic. It is chaotic, to be fair, but as Mother Mars proves, chaos is not always directionless. As the band simulates what can only be described as the sonic equivalent of a Solar Storm, they always make sure to include a clearly understandable sense of direction, as the songs always make sense, as a band full of gentlemen this talented should. If you are interested in Bluesy, Spacey, Sonic-adventurous Sludge Metal, and you have 70 minutes to kill, look no further than Mother Mars’ “On Lunar Highlands”. It is skillful, it is eclectic, and most importantly: it is heavy.

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Electric Orange “EOXXV” Double Album Review + Stream + Video…

Electric Orange

EOXXV – Triple Vinyl // Double CD // DD

Self Released – September 18, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Electric Orange is:
Dirk Jan Müller
Tom Rückwald
Georg Monheim
Dirk Bittner

Tracklist:
CD #1
Continuum (22:59)
Under The Nun (16:01)
Gnosis (20:02)

CD #2
Misophonia IV (20:05)
Misophonia V (16:36)
Faint (22:01)
Residuum (16:51)

 

CD package

 

Review:
There’s an old adage that insists that patience is a virtue. Such a sentiment can seem laughable – after all, isn’t instant gratification almost always preferable? However, every now and then, that adage proves itself true: retaining one’s sanity whilst waiting in line at the secretary of state, not crumbling under the pressure of waiting to hear the results of a medical test, and most recently reaping the rewards of listening to an album like Electric Orange’s EOXXV.

 

 

Review:
If the above paragraph didn’t make it clear enough, EOXXV is a tough nut to crack! It is a 135-minute leviathan of relentless sonic experimentation, and such a beast could very easily prove insurmountable to the common listener. Many may find it meandering or even aimless, but those with a tremendous degree of musical patience will eventually come to a metaphorical clearing….one where everything opens up and even almost makes sense.

This is obviously not a very concise experience, but it is without question a fulfilling one. There is a point that one reaches when listening to this album at which the listener and the album achieve a sense of spiritual resonance and the listener enters a groove when you finally reach the point that you not only enjoy the music, but you are prepared to hear more: I reached this point during the gargantuan two-parter of “Misophonia IV” and “Misophonia V”.

It would be an out-and-out lie to say this release is for everyone though. I cannot recommend this album to listeners looking for an emotional experience – this is more an album of vibes and atmosphere than one of emotional release. This album simply doesn’t trifle very much in the realm of emotional release or scenarios one can relate to. That said, this is my experience.  You may have a completely different experience as this is the beauty of MUSIC…..Right??  With 25  years of blowing minds under their belt, Electric Orange once again serves up a platter of Sonic Sensations that transcend words.

Human nature seems foreign in the land of EOXXV. It is a totally alien experience, one that can’t be felt or heard anywhere else. To put it simply, if Michael Gira’s equally experimental work with Swans is the soundtrack to an indie horror film taking place in a cabin in the forest of the Pacific Northwest, than the catalog of Electric Orange is the soundtrack to a Science Fiction film taking place onboard an otherwise uninhabited space station, on which the only life forms are you and a hostile extraterrestrial.

It is expansive, yet isolated. You feel alone, yet somehow watched. Most importantly, you feel paranoid and perhaps even frightened, but you inexplicably want to continue. Maybe it’s out of curiosity, maybe it’s just longing for a sense of completion, but this bizarre and unique experience just begs to be finished, and you are more than happy to do so. Just make sure you are equipped with a preparedness to experience something new and plenty of patience.  Here’s to 25 years Electric Orange!!

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Psy:Code “MØRKE” Album Review + Stream + 360degree Video…

Psy:Code

MØRKE – Vinyl // Digital Download

Independent – Released – July 29th, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Lineup:
Schou/ Vocals
SteiN / Guitar
JezpR / Guitar
Dag / Bass
Gøtsche / Drums

 

 

Review:
Psy:Code is a Danish modern hardcore / deathcore act who recently signed to Pavement Entertainment. Mørke is their 3rd independent release that’s created a stir of interest just before their recent signing. According to their website, it’s been a dream of Psy:Code’s to go to America and play their music and between signing with an American label and the scene’s current fascination with deathcore and grind core, the timing couldn’t be better for Psy:Code to realize their aspirations.

Starting with the cover, I’m not exactly sure what they’re going for with this one. The plant and the head and the skull… no clue. I was hoping translating the album title would shed some light on this. Ironically, Mørke is Danish for darkness. I guess that’s where I’m going to stay on this one for now. Maybe one of my readers can explain it to me? I love symbolism when I’m smart enough to get the reference.

Musically, this album starts with some slow guitars, slightly off-tune guitars for a few seconds before going hard and heavy. Schou growl-screams his way through the album Anselmo-style; though there are some periodical clean backing vocals for effect. How original that is? Well… I’d tend to say not very.

Where I think Psy:Code is going to garner most of their fans is from the technical guitar work from SteiN and/or JezpR. To be honest, there’s not much indication who’s playing the lead here so it could be one or the other or both. While the capitalization seems random the song structure tends to be more technical and progressive. This is an area where my expertise is extremely limited, though I can say that the guitar has six strings… except when it doesn’t.

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Interestingly, to write and compose Mørke, Psy:Code recluded themselves to a cabin in the Swedish wilderness. If the story in their Riven video is truth, the plan was to make some awesome metal. Instead, they got drunk. I can’t say how many times this has happened to me. Not the part about the Swedish cabin or the part about making awesome metal… just the getting drunk part. Perhaps you can relate? Anyway, what came out doesn’t appear to be the work of drunken fools so I assume they were just kidding. That or I need to start writing shit down when I have a few beers in me. I can hardly operate a pen sober… so maybe not?

Lyrically speaking, I’m not sure what they’re singing. I scoured the internet for lyrics but the best I could find was a lyric video for Riven. They seem to like this song, as this is 2nd video I could find for it. Riven seems to be about being scarred by a vicious former lover or perhaps an over-bearing parent. I’m a little confused but the recurring line “I can’t receive”. I don’t know how this ties into the rest of the words.

In conclusion, Psy:Code is a hard hitting band and  Mørke is a hard hitting album that’s going to appeal to those who enjoy a more technical sound. I believe some will criticize it for lacking variety, which might be a legitimate concern for those who like me who can’t follow the progression. In this case, I think you either get it or you don’t. Check them out and see what you think.

Additional Links:
http://www.psycode.info/

https://psycode.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/psycodedk/

https://www.youtube.com/user/PsycodeDK


Ours “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy” Album Review + Videos…

In Case You Missed It Series: Episode 8

Ours

Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy – CD // DD

American Recordings – released April 15, 2008

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

 

Lineup for Mercy…Dancing…:
Jimmy Gnecco – Vocals, Electric Guitars, Bass, Drum outro, Percussion
Static – Space Guitar, Loops
Locke – Electric Guitar in instrumental, Piano, Keyboard
Anthony DeMarco – Piano
Michael Jerome – Drums, Percussion

Previous Releases:
1994 Demo “Sour”
2001 “Distorted Lullabies”
2002 “Precious”
2008 “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy”
2013 “Ballet the Boxer 1”
2017 ***upcoming “Spectacular Sight”

Tracklist:
“Mercy” 6:41
“The Worst Things Beautiful” 4:21
“Ran Away to Tell the World” 5:00
“Black” 4:51
“Moth” 4:34
“Murder” 5:35
“God Only Wants You” 4:23
“Live Again” 4:27
“Willing” 4:41
“Saint” 5:06
“Lost” 5:18
“Get Up” 4:50

                               Video of Title Track “Mercy”

 

The Band:  Ours is an Alternative Rock band from New Jersey.

Album Art:  “Ghost Girl” was made by James Gnecco IV.

Review:  In 2004, Ours relocated from New Jersey to Los Angeles to work with Producer / Engineer Rick Rubin. The resulting album, Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy was released on April 15, 2008.  If you are not familiar with Mr. Rubin, he is one of the most famous producers of modern music. He has produced music from genres like: Hip Hop, Rock, Heavy Metal and even Country.

Musically this album is very similar to the other music from the late 90’s and early 2000’s like heavy hitters like H.I.M., U2, Sixx A.M., and at some points have a Muse flair. Some more accurate (meaning more recent) comparisons are 10 years and Evans Blue. There is a heaviness in the music but not enough to change the genre from Rock to Metal.

800px-Jimmy_Gnecco_-_Rockwood_Music_Hall

This album is a family affair, in between the album art, the singing (track 12) and the lyrics themselves are focused on Jimmy’s family. It is also a heavy album because of the emotion that is delivered through the singing and with some string arrangements that are present, but not overpowering. Ours’ “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy” could be considered a sulky emo record; while it is a more downtempo album, it isn’t wallowing in its own sadness. It is just poppy enough to be played on the radio and even in some TV shows like NCIS and CSI.

While looking around for info on this album I found that there is hardly any reviews, so in turn, not much open love for it by “The Powers….”. This is a really solid album that (if you like any of the bands above) you should take a listen to. Ours mix their first two albums together perfectly; the great production that was used in their first album, and a rough (while still polished) vocals. The personal lyrics from all of the band’s releases are fueled by meaningful, personal and often times heavy in weight that only frontman Jimmy can deliver.

There isn’t a dull song in the album (and after 20 months) that shows how good Ours are as musicians, as well as arrangers. If I were to choose a favorite track, it would be the title track. It is one of the most powerful vocal performances by Jimmy Gnecco; along with “Live Again”. Give “Mercy…Dancing…” a listen as I cannot recommend

Stream, download, and buy the album HERE

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Extra Links:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/oursmusic/about/?ref=page_internal

http://www.ours.net/ourspages/

https://www.discogs.com/artist/473602-Ours

https://www.amazon.com/Mercy-Dancing-Death-Imaginary-Enemy/dp/B00133KDWS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_for_the_Death_of_an_Imaginary_Enemy


Moon Mother “Riffcraft” Album Review + Stream…

Moon Mother

Riffcraft – Digital Download

Self Released: September 22, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Review:
When people think of magic, many put it in the realm of superstition, or think of illusionist. I think of music!!! Just like the moon affects the tides, music has a strange power that affects our minds. Stating on their Facebook and Bandcamp pages “Channeling the frustration of a modern world, through mighty sounds of our crying Earth we’re reborn in the arms of the Moon Mother.”   It seems Moon Mother is well aware of this fact.

Hailing from the the Western Woods of Sweden, Moon Mother seemed to appear out of nowhere with their 2016 “Moon Mother Demo” followed by their 2017 “Riffcraft” EP. Like many newcomers Moon Mother  has experienced some difficulties getting their band off the ground as they are in need of a permanent bassist. Thankfully Monolord’s Thomas V Jäger doesn’t like to see talent wasted, and has lent his bass playing skills to Moon Mother’s Vocalist Sara Trollpacka,  Guitarist Pat Ahlström, and Drummer Jesper Wallin have managed to give listeners two solid releases.  Thomas V Jäger also Produced and Engineered both of Moon Mother’s releases.  The band is smart to associate themselves with other great musicians as they build and grow their fanbase.

I had the joy of speaking with Frontwoman Sara to find more information about this great up and coming band.   In a private conversation, Sara of  Moon Mother stated, “I would say we are influenced by all music that reaches us and everyone has different taste when it comes to it. But if I would name one band that woke up the moon mama I would say everyone’s favorite swing band Black Sabbath. I think it was the swing combined with melancholy big sounds that started everything.”

In a follow up statement Sara added: “Hi again! I just wanted to make sure I got your question right yesterday I was in a hurry and have been overthinking it so I better get it off my chest. If you meant other bands that has influenced us my answer is correct Black Sabbath haha but if you meant musically overall I would also wanna say that all blues from delta to rock n roll are a big influence too. Hope it’s okay haha.” ~Sara. Two statements that I believe says quite a lot about Moon Mother’s sound.

Pro Band Pic

In both the “Demo” and “Riffcraft” the names Moon Mother’s statement explained why names like Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, CCR, John Lee Hooker, and a dash of Jefferson Airplane have all been influences that help shape their sound. What I enjoy most about the music on both releases is the dark psychedelic, blues rock sound. It sort of makes me feel like I am watching them live.

In Riffcraft, Sara Trollpacka’s brassy alto vocals, Pat Ahlström dark guitar leads, Jesper Wallin steady drum beats along with Thomas V Jäger giant bass  remind me of a dirge, like in the song “Vast Blues”. Beginning with a bass groove reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s “NIB”  the song “Black Hole Demons” is full of monster bass and really takes off with Pat Ahlström’s wicked guitar solo. “Mountain Of Lies” has a 60’s psychedelic sound. My favorite is the closing song ‘The Wizards Of Earth I love that swinging sound with  Jesper Wallin’s drums and how Pat Ahlström has cranked the mids up on his guitar near the end of the song giving it that tinny sound.

If your looking for some truly epic underground psychedelic stoner doom I highly recommend you give Moon Mother’s Riffcraft EP and their Moon Mother Demo a listen. They will Put A Spell On You. The band is also looking for a permanent bass player so if you know what your doing with a bass send them a message on Facebook.  It will be of great benefit to live in Sweden when Team Moon Mother reside!!

Album Logo

 

Additional Links:
https://moonmother.bandcamp.com/album/riffcraft

https://moonmother.bandcamp.com/album/moon-mother-demo

http://facebook.com/moonmotherband


Spacelord “Spacelord” Album Review + Stream…

Spacelord

Spacelord – Digital Download

Self released:  October 10, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Lineup:
Bass: Chris Cappiello
Drums: Kevin Flynn
Vocals: Ed Grabianowski
Guitar: Richard Root

 Tracklist:
Five Days in a Hole (5:34)
That Witch Rises (6:56)
Livewire (4:11)
Warlike Prelude (1:16)
Warlike (6:15)
Hollow Moon (4:11)
The Old Road (3:09)
Black Sword (4:28)

 

 

Review:
Monster Magnet is a band whose far-reaching influence on the world of Rock music is not always properly appreciated. Without them, such Hard Rock giants such as Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal may have never seen the light of day, and yet Monster Magnet has never become the household name that they probably should be. After all, the school of Monster Magnet is a deceptively large one, and an excellent recent graduate of that school has recently surfaced with the name of Spacelord.

There are Monster Magnet followers of two basic varieties: Desert Rockers a la Queens of the Stone Age, Brant Bjork and Kyuss; and Stoner/Sludge Metallers a la Soundgarden and Red Fang. Spacelord straddles this line a bit, but tends to adhere a bit more to the Stoner Metal side of things. As a matter of fact, Spacelord’s self-titled debut is quite reminiscent of the early days, sounding like they’d be right at home among the track-list of Louder than Love, especially tracks like the 6-minute sludgey atom bomb “Warlike”, which opens with lots of reverb and closes with sinewy guitar lines that Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil would be proud of.

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Spacelord is first and foremost a very genuine affair. There’s nothing absolutely perfect here. It is perfect in its imperfection. That’s not to say the music is bad – in fact, it’s very much the opposite – But a huge amount of personality is found in those little moments where a backing vocal is a little flat, or a guitar comes in the tiniest bit late. This is not a tightly-composed Progressive Rock opus, and it shouldn’t be. This is an intentionally organic album. The performance here is not done by robots programmed to hit every note with surgical precision, it is done by humans – real living humans, and the interplay and charm associated with such a work breaths through this album impeccably.

Spacelord is the album that it needs to be and not an iota less. With their very first record, Spacelord has asserted a very real identity for themselves.  It is one that regales you with the feeling of the early 90’s, when Stoner Metal was at its absolute finest.  It gives you hope for another golden era that Monster Magnet and Kyuss would likely welcome with open arms.

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