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.

Pro Band Pic

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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Deaf Radio “Alarm” Album Review + Stream…

Deaf Radio

Alarm  – Vinyl // CD // DD

Self-released:  January 9, 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

 

Lineup:
Panos Gklinos (Vocals & Guitars)
Dimitris Sakellariou (Guitars & Vocals)
Antonis Mantakas (Bass & Backing Vocals)
George Diathesopoulos (Drums & Backings Vocals)
Honorary Member : Vassilis Petris

Previous Releases:
A two track E.P. from 2015 “Deaf Radio”, containing; “Down On Her Knees” & “No Hay Banda”

Tracklist:
Aggravation                                       03:25
Backseats                                           05:06
Vultures & Killers                            04:11
Anytime                                             05:03
Flowerhead                                       04:32
Revolving Doors                              04:32
Trapped                                             03:01
Oceanic Feeling                               04:23
…And We Just Pressed The Alarm Button 06:05

 

 

Review:

Deaf Radio are a Post-Punk/Alternative/Hard Rock band from Athens, Greece. On their Bandcamp they describe themselves as “a rock quartet inspired by the independent rock music scene.”

Track-by-track Breakdown:

Aggravation – This track launches us into what we will hear on and off for the rest of this of this album. Rockin’ riffs and lyrics that sound like they are from the late 90’s revival of Punk music.

Backseats – This song starts of slow with a repetitive strumming and builds up with quick little riffs interspersed between the delivery of lyrics. In the final two minutes it introduces some screaming in the background making the song harsh. It reminds me of a We Are Harlot song that I cannot remember the name of.

Vultures & Killers – Here we get another change where their Post-Punk influences come out again and we hear a mid tempo beat with some almost falsetto vocals.

Anytime – (Don’t get too mad at this analogy but) this is their Lana Del Rey song minus the orchestra. It is a slow drug filled atmospheric falsetto vocals (like the last track) until the last minute and the music picks up speed and returns back to the Hard Rock that we have heard so far.

Shot by Evan MaragkoudakisPro Shot

Flowerhead – This song is a lot like Vultures & Killers, almost like it is a continuation or sequel to it. They are structure similar and the vocals are sung in the same way. The exception is this one is heavier on the bass and heart monitor beeping in between bass notes.

Revolving Doors – Here we return to a style close to Aggravation, which reminds me of some of Rise Against’s music. A repeating structure with it being changed in the last minute or two.

Trapped – This song reminds me of a mix of Bush and Muse types of playing and singing. The guitar almost sounds surf like with it’s reverb. The tempo and rhythm change a bunch in this song the music goes back and forth between the types we have heard in the songs before it but it isn’t disorienting.

Oceanic Feeling – This song begins with a simple drum pattern that changes to signal the reverb guitar and bass to kick in. We return to backseats but a slower version of it.

…And We Just Pressed The Alarm Button (Favorite track) – Here we return to the Bush/Muse mix.

Photo: A Memory of Live of September 22nd, 2017
Live Band Pic

The band reminds me stylistically of early Rise Against and Queens of the Stone Age with a good mix of 90’s Hard Rock with Punk influences. Panos reminds me of a mix of the two singers as well. The main guitar reminds me of music that I used to listen to a lot but I cannot pinpoint from what. The bass is one of my favorite parts of the music, especially when it is alone, Antonis just goes at it without it going on too long, making me want more.

This album is good for playing in your car (on the verge of too loud) on your way to work or wherever (which is how I’ve listened to it). It is heavy but not too heavy to add to road rage and is chill enough to kind of zone out and relax to.  In essence, Deaf Radio have given us a 1-Stop-Shop with “Alarm”.  This band has a very bright future!!  Highly Recommend!!

 Download, stream; buy the CD, DD, and Vinyl here.

Additional Links:
https://deafradio.bandcamp.com/

https://www.discogs.com/artist/4863064-Deaf-Radio

https://www.discogs.com/Deaf-Radio-Deaf-Radio/master/1175259

https://www.youtube.com/user/12gafs

https://www.discogs.com/Deaf-Radio-Alarm/release/9690126

https://www.facebook.com/deafradioband/

 


Cranely Gardens “House of Decay” Album Review + Stream…

CRANELY GARDENS

House of Decay – CD // Digital Download

Independent – Released – Aug 11 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Chaz Macklin / Vocals
Randy Mac / Guitars
Joe Fedele / Guitars
Alex Niszczak / Bass
Victor Figueroa / Drums

Review:
Cranely Gardens are a metalcore/deathcore 5 piece from New Jersey who has shared the stage with several well-known acts such as Carnifex and Whitechapel. House of Decay is Cranely Gardens’ 2nd EP. With 7 tracks House of Decay is only 27 minutes long. However, even though it’s short, the band managed to find space for five guest musicians on the album.

 

 

This is something I’ve seen recently; a small band getting someone a bit more famous to guest on their album. Of course, the fans of the more famous person find out and then they have to hear what their metal hero has been working on, which results in them finding the new band. In turn, fans of Cranely Gardens might also go out and find out who some of these folks are and check out their work as well. Unfortunately, Cranely Gardens picked a few people with pretty generic names plus a couple fairly obscure musicians but did not reference their guest’s previous work in the promo package, nor anywhere I could find on the internet. So for everyone’s benefit, I did some digging and here’s my best guess as to who these folks are. Pardon me if I’m not correct.

Chad Ruhlig – Vocalist – For the Fallen Dreams & LGND

Dan Watson – Vocalist – I have to guess this is the Dan Watson (Ex Infant Annihilator) of Enterprise Earth, Faith in Convergence, and Mire Lore. It could also be Dan Watson, vocalist & bassist of Bunk Dope, Hyborian Rage, & Truculence. Both seem to fit the interests of the Cranely but I’d lean towards the former vs the latter. Fans of either Dan should check out the album and see which Dan it is. I honestly can’t tell you. Maybe you can tell me?

Sims Cashion – Who the fuck is Sims Cashion? I guess CG decided to share the wealth and put a lesser known musician on their album as well to help him gain some interest. So for all my digging I could only find one Sims Cashion. ANYWHERE. He seems to be a guitarist and does some videos on YouTube. He also sells guitar lesson packs on Bandcamp.

Will Ramos – Another obscure name. My best searching came up with a Will Ramos who describes himself as “Former guy who yells at Secrets Don’t Sleep.” Tough his former band only has 1500 FB followers; this Will Ramos is from Jersey so he seems to fit.

Josh Frazier – They really made me dig deep on this one. There’s a Josh Frazier in Beyond the Shore from Kentucky who have an album out on Metal Blade Records. I’m leaning towards this Josh. In 2015, Beyond the Shore were auditioning for a new vocalist. They chose Josh and put his audition for the band up on YouTube for your inspection. I think I can hear him on Rapture.

Sorry for the aside, but it was necessary to adequately describe House of Decay.

Band Logo

The album opens with “Muswell Hill” which seems to be a news report about Muswell Hill killer, Dennis Nilsen ending with about 8 seconds of guitar that leads directly into “History of a Drowning Boy”, a track heavy in core screaming which features the aforementioned Will Ramos. Lyrically, there’s little doubt this track is about Nilsen. Slow paced with a low rhythm, periodic high notes are sprinkled through the track which speeds up through the chorus. I’ll admit here that at this point I was hoping House of Decay would turn out to be a concept album. Unfortunately, this appears to be the last reference to Nilsen on the album. Regardless, though I doubt the decision was made for the laughs. Conversely, I find the use of guest musicians on the album mildly comedic. See, Nilsen was lonely so he lured people to his house and killed them so they would stay. Maybe Cranely Gardens was lonely? Someone please check that these 5 guys are OK! Nilsen killed 6 before he was discovered.

House of Decay continues with “Seven Faces” (featuring Chad Ruhlig) and “Savages” (featuring Dan Watson). Both are heavy tracks with relatively well-known names picking up the helper on the vocals. There’s something about Savages that just stands out for me. Regardless, both tracks adequately display Cranely Gardens’ influences, which they list as “deathcore, metalcore, the new wave of American heavy metal, black, death, thrash and nu-metal” on their Facebook page.

“Rapture”, I think, is where they get the most out of any of their guests. I like the way the vocals come together in a manner that could not be done with one person. Sure, this makes Rapture more difficult to play live, since Frazier will rarely be there with them. However, for the album it’s a great piece.

House of Decay is closed out by “Carry the Earth” and “The Challenger”. These appear to have no guest musicians but there’s no indication that I can find about which track(s) the one, the only, Sims Cashion contributes on. Maybe he’s on one of these two, no clue. “The Challenger” has a doomish feel to it without losing the core. It’s kind of an interesting clash of styles worth hearing. Lyrically, this piece matches both so I suspect a lot of thought was put into this one.

Band Pic

In closing, House of Decay is a hard and heavy blend of several different genres with a mix of lyrical themes. To someone casually stopping by, House of Decay might seem to lack variety from track to track. In this respect, I feel this piece is something that requires more time and attention in order to appreciate. In 2017, finding fans with the time and mental & concentration abilities to appreciate this style could turn out to be Cranely Gardens’ biggest challenge. Even I, an avid reviewer of music guiltily lumped a few tracks together for expedience.  If you’re up for the challenge, dig in and find all the subtleties I missed or didn’t list.


Ethereal Riffian – “Afterlight” Live DVD Review + Stream + Video…

Ethereal Riffian

Afterlight – Limited DVD Packaging // CD // DD

Self Released – released August 17, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Tracklist:
Whispering of the Ancients (1:39)
Beyond (7:04)
Transoma (9:05)
Wakan Tanka (12:02)
Thugdam (8:52)
March of Spiritu (10:55)
Anatman (12:24)
Drum of the Deathless (7:29)
Sword of the Deathless (9:29)
Light of Self (7:28)

Ethereal Riffian is:
Val Korniev – guitar/vocal/didgeridoo
Olexander Korniev – bass
Max Yuhimenko – lead guitar
Nikita Shipovskoi – drums

Guest Musicians: 
Makha Tretyakova – djembe
Sergey «Bookvarique» – djembe
Yaroslaw Kaminskiy – didgeridoo

 

 

Live albums are a risky endeavor: If a band has not yet achieved worldwide success, then releasing such material is a gamble on its potential success, and essentially risking a good deal of money on the production, recording, and packaging of a single concert with the hopes that enough people will want to experience that singular show. Thankfully, Ethereal Riffian is not a band that seems to care about gambling.

Ethereal Riffian are a Rock band from Kiev, Ukraine. I simply say “Rock” in such a sub genre-obsessed genre because Ethereal Riffian is sort of their own thing- Somewhere between Progressive Rock, Doom Rock, Spiritual Rock, Stoner and Psychedelic Rock. It might paint a clearer picture to call them something along the lines of “Meditative Rock”. Their drum-based composition and vocals reminiscent of Gregorian or Tibetan Chanting are extremely conducive to sitting down on the floor, crossing legs, entering a groove (which there are many), and just listening and enjoying.

“Since 2013 I wanted to have a single release that can give a versatile overview of the band’s creative work – its music, philosophy, approach to limited editions and live potential. And now we have it,” says Val Kornev, the frontman of the band. “With this release we, on one hand, aim to crystallize all our work and ideas since the inception of the band, and on the other hand, we want to show the quintessential component which unites all spiritual paths. For the band this release marks the end of the first chapter in its history and the beginning of the new one.”

Afterlight Packaging

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that this is a live album. This was indeed recorded live, and I wouldn’t believe it had it not been accompanied by the occasional applause of the probably all too small audience. Ethereal Riffian does an excellent job of bringing their intricate and lengthy compositions to the stage, to the point of getting the listener to almost smell burning incense and experience visions of what must be the most intense temple experience one could ever feel.

One thing that must be emphasized is that if you can afford their unbelievably extravagant limited edition packages, certainly do. Almost all of Ethereal Riffian’s releases have an absolutely beautiful package that is hand-crafted with a degree of dedication and love for the craft that is practically never seen elsewhere, and naturally, the best way to ensure that these packages to continue to be made is by buying them. The band’s many releases are worth buying for the package alone. For example, their album “Æonian” is packaged with a full-length original hardcover novel.

Artifactz

All in all, “Afterlight” is a fantastic release by a band that obviously has an unparalleled passion for all things artistic and this passion reflects in all aspects of the release- composition, performance, and packaging. If you are not averse to live albums, I would highly recommend you purchase this album. Finally, if you do: please, please get the limited edition version. You won’t regret it.

Additional Links:
https://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/etherealriffian/
https://www.instagram.com/etherealriffian/
https://twitter.com/EtherealRiffian
https://vk.com/etherealriffian


A Comprehensive Look into How Ethereal Riffian Packages their releases…


Iron Monkey “9-13” Album Review + Stream…

Iron Monkey

“9-13” – Vinyl // CD // DD

Relapse Records – Released October 20th, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

The Simian Rage Has Returned!!

 

Hey all you doom freaks this is The Ancient One and I have just learned of the return of Nottingham, England’s IRON MONKEY. Their original line up was: Justin, Greaves, Johnny Morrow, Jim Rushby, Doug Dalziel, and Steve Watson . Formed in 1994 this band of misanthropes sole purpose in life was to irritate and piss as many people off as they could. Spewing forth an  auditory assault of bellicose, nihilistic vocals IRON MONKEY then fronted by Johnny Morrow was doing a hell of a job. But, like the notorious  G.G. Allin they developed a cult of Misanthropic followers who liked what they were doing and so began IRON MONKEY’s then 3 year recording career that produced 2 albums and a split album with Japan’s Church of Misery.

Rumored by its cult of follower to have been playing when Pantera’s frontman Phil Anselmo had a near fatal heroine overdose the  IRON MONKEY S/T debut album  was first released on the Union Mills label. The release generated a stir that when combined with their insane live performances lead them to being signed on with Earache Records who re-released the album in 1997. Soon after its defection to Earache Records, IRON MONKEY released their  masterpiece of negative rock “Our Problem” in 1998. Then in the following year they released their IRON MONKEY/Church of Misery Split album. Following their split album the band members got involved in side projects and with the death of their unholy vocal terror  Johnny Morrow in 2002 it seemed IRON MONKEY was to be a legend relegated to compilations and box sets that old SLUDGE-CORE / PSYCHO-DOOM fans told the young’uns about. But the Fat Lady hasn’t sang yet.

Rather than call IRON MONKEY a memory,  Steve Watson and Jim Rushby with addition of current Chaos UK drummer Brigga have returned once again, this time on Relapse Records with their album “9-13″. So get yourself ready for this psychotic power trio to unleash their simian rage. While Johnny is no longer on this earth to assault us with his beastly vocals Jim Rushby who has taken up the mantle is a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the 9 original tracks and 48 minute album, Jim Rushby  assaults us with bellicose hate filled  rants as  Steve Watson lays monstrous fuzzed out sludge laden riffs with Brigga pounding out warlike drum beats.

Band Shot

While I had a great time listening to 9-13 it really seems to take off with the album’s 4th track “Toadcrucifier – R.I.P.P.E.R.” It is the point were I start hearing some ass kicking guitar leads to go along with the breakdowns. With Five short verses THE ROPE, NO HOPE, NO HOPE, THE ROPE, THE ROPE… The 7th track “The Rope” is a breakdown that prepares you and flows into “Doomsday Impulse Multiplier”. Listening to this album has truly damaged me!! Listening was like being attacked by a baboon in the throws of a PCP induced rage. Available on Relapse Records  “9-13” is set for release on October 20th, 2017!!

Additional Links:

http://ironmonkey.bandcamp.com/album/9-13

https://youtu.be/5Bc1vnGpu_M?list=PLq6NULtuhFumlE6qykJxcStiDhhYfJzpv

https://youtu.be/L-S-LsLJqIc?list=PLq6NULtuhFumlE6qykJxcStiDhhYfJzpv

https://youtu.be/_JH0os_xukQ?list=PLq6NULtuhFumlE6qykJxcStiDhhYfJzp


Marilyn Manson “Heaven Upside Down” Album Review + Videos…

Marilyn Manson

Heaven Upside Down – CD // DD // Vinyl

Loma Vista/Caroline – released on October 6, 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

The Unofficial Return of Omēga and the Superstar 

 

Lineup:
Marilyn Manson – vocals
Tyler Bates – instrumentation, engineering, recording, production, mixing
Gil Sharone – drums
Additional musicians:
Dana Dentata – backing vocals (on track 9)
Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. – Clavinet (on track 10)

Album Art:
The cover is similar to his previous album without distortion. It’s a black and white side profile shot with an upside down cross with an extra horizontal line.

Tracklist:

  1. “Revelation #12” 4:42
    2. “Tattooed in Reverse” 4:24
    3.         “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE” 4:32
    4.         “SAY10” 4:18
    5.         “KILL4ME” 3:59
    6.         “Saturnalia” 7:59
    7.         “JE$U$ CRI$I$” 3:59
    8.         “Blood Honey” 4:10
    9.         “Heaven Upside Down” 4:49
    10.       “Threats of Romance” 4:37
  2. “Stigmata” (Ministry Cover) 5:29
  3. “Kill4Me” (Mystery Skulls Remix) 3:39

 

 

History:
In late 2016 and early 2017 Manson announced and released a working title for the album named Say10. He also said that the projected release date would be Valentine’s Day 2017, needless to say, it was put off until a further date because he had a couple more ideas for the album and needed time to produce them. These songs being “Revelation #12”, “Saturnalia” and “Heaven Upside Down”. In an interview with Loudwire he stated: “Those three songs take place where, if [the album] were a film, it’s the opening, the middle and the ending. Then there’s the song after ‘Heaven Upside Down’, it’s sort of the end title credits where it’s really surmising the story of the record, which is to be interpreted by the listener.”

This album was produced by film/video game composer Tyler Bates. (He also produced The Pale Emperor) During the time that this album was being made; Manson produced a song for a movie that Bates was working on, Atomic Blonde. The song is a cover of a Ministry song “Stigmata.” (Which I have included here because it fits in this album as a bonus track, (along with the Mystery Skulls remix of “Kill4Me”) The last two tracks are a throwback to the Mechanical Animals period of his career.

Marilyn Manson as a band has gone through many lineup and personnel changes since its inception as Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids in 1989. As Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids there are seven official releases, they are mostly demo versions of tracks later remade for the Marilyn Manson album “Portrait of an American Family”. As just Marilyn Manson there are ten albums, one live album, three compilation albums, and 37 E.P.s and singles. So, suffice to say he has had a prolific musical career since the 1990s.

Review:
Unlike his previous releases from this decade this album has a more of a “throwback” sound of his heyday of the 90’s. He also keeps some of the changes he has made in the aforementioned albums. There is a meme that describes it perfectly: it has the cover of Born Villain with the words “Who are you” and then it has this albums cover saying “I’m you, but stronger.” This album has more of a dirty sound; in terms of more distortion, not lyric content, it sounds like whoever mixed/mastered the album let the sound go into the max.

The Opening: In “Revelation #12” there is a call back to one of the chants in “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” and “The Reflecting God” (from Antichrist Superstar). It is also a sort of sequel to the soundscape they put out in 1994 on the Get Your Gunn single. (i.e. The repetition and some of the samples in the background.) “Tattooed in Reverse” is closer to his work in the early 2000s, Holy Wood/The High End of Low. The sound itself is more industrial than the music at that period (with the use of samples and drum pattern).

“WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE” is a mix of “The Beautiful People” and “Mister Superstar” the fast and then the quieter parts being interchanged with the shout/yelling. It ends with him whispering the beginning of the track; which helps introduce us to “SAY10” which is a lot like some of the songs from Holy Wood with the electronic sound of Mechanical Animals. “KILL4ME” sounds like it was a song that could’ve been recorded during the Mechanical Animals session with a hint of “If I Was Your Vampire” style lyrics.

The Middle: “Saturnalia” is the longest track on the album, but, in a way it feels like it is about the same as the others. The repeated drum pattern works as a way to get you in a sort of trance as you hear the back-masked sounding words in between delivery of vocals. The song also works as a part one to the Ministry cover, even though I highly doubt he planned it that way. This song ends like “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE.” “JE$U$ CRI$I$” sounds like either a song from Born Villain or The Golden Age of Grotesque. The song is like two different songs, with the second song being put in the middle of the first. It is almost a breakdown, maybe that is what he wanted the song to be like. “Blood Honey” is the first of the slower more mellow tracks. It sounds like, once again, a song from The High End of Low.

The Ending: “Heaven Upside Down” the title track is the second of the slower tracks and is almost a continuation of the previous track. It has almost the same structure and tempo and lyrical content, but it isn’t quite the same song. “Threats of Romance” is the most traditional rock song on the album. It is just has the Manson mix on it like a distorted vocals and the way the Clavinet in the background. I included “Stigmata” (Ministry Cover) here because it fits the album. I don’t know why it wasn’t included but it brings the beat back up from the previous three tracks. “Kill4Me” (Mystery Skulls Remix) is a Japanese bonus track that I included here because it is another track that is an example of the Mechanical Animals being brought into the “modern” version of electronic music and is a good song to bring you down from “Stigmata” as it (in a way) takes you out of the album.

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This album is an excellent example of Manson showing his ability to reflect on his past but make it new in a way. Like Alice Cooper with Welcome 2 My Nightmare or like David Bowie with The Next Day. In a way Marilyn Manson is a Alice Cooper/David Bowie 2.0 taking his influences and putting his spin on it, even from his early days as a leader of the Spooky Kids. If you are a fan our just like his music but have stayed away since the 90s, this would be a good time to come back.

 Stream the album here.
Download or buy (from Amazon) here.
Buy album and/or merch from Loma Vista Recordings here.

 Additional Links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM13xSW3ggo

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

http://www.marilynmanson.com/home.php

https://bodega.lomavistarecordings.com/collections/marilyn-manson/products/marilyn-manson-heaven-upside-down-180g-red-vinyl-pale-emperor-box-set-bundle

https://bodega.lomavistarecordings.com/collections/marilyn-manson/products/marilyn-manson-heaven-upside-down-180g-red-vinyl-pale-emperor-white-vinyl-bundle

http://www.spookykids.net/indexxx.html

https://www.discogs.com/artist/229973-Marilyn-Manson-The-Spooky-Kids

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj35NqGx_vWAhWHr1QKHZzwCDIQFghHMAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fopen.spotify.com%2Falbum%2F6kbfR3NJmBGlgsTPAYmezz&usg=AOvVaw11zUAq8dEdXU_1CV84psQk

https://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Upside-Explicit-Marilyn-Manson/dp/B0757CYN8Q

https://bodega.lomavistarecordings.com/collections/marilyn-manson