The Midnight Ghost Train “Cypress Ave.” Album Review + Tracks Stream + Video…

THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN 

Cypress Ave. – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Napalm Records – released July 28, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

FormedAugust 1, 2007

LocationTopeka, KS USA

Band Members
Steve Moss – Guitar / Vocals
Brandon Burghart – Drums
Mike Boyne – Bass

Previous Releases
“The Johnny Boy” EP (2008)

“TMGT-S/T” (2009)

“Buffalo” (2012)

“Live At Roadburn” (2013)

“Cold Was The Ground” (2015)

 

Review:

Almost ten years in the making. Steve enters the arena with long-time friend and drummer (and one time bass player of TMGT) Brandon alongside and featuring a solidified line-up, now anchored by Mike who now shows a tenure of over 4 years on bass (not an easy feat for this band). Some of the BEST yet from this powerhouse three piece is what this record, the fourth full-length release from The Midnight Ghost Train, represents. 10 songs that clock in at just under 45 mins and this time out, The Midnight Ghost Train has decided to run the complete gamut of musical styles, not limiting themselves to anything in particular. Usually thought of for their blues-heavy/stoner/doom groove they established more and more with each previous release, with this album we have it all and then some as you may not have expected.

Opener and lead-off single ‘Tonight’ is a great example of the focus being used with it’s soft guitar opening before the power chords hit you right at 30 seconds and we hear Steve’s voice with “I got some time to kill, and you’ve got someone to bring my head down, ’cause I’ve been spinnin’ round'” and we’re off on what could very well be the most cohesive and coherent offering to come from this unit. The frenetic bass line that starts off “Red-Eyed Junkie Queen” belies the pace that this tale sets off on and the staccato bends are the perfect backdrop for this romp-fest of hammering drums, pummeling bass and enough distortion to scrap your knuckle son as this tale of rolls on, where ‘Glenn’s Promise’ hits with a muted tempo that lures you in with equally muted chords until at 26 seconds in, the fullness returns, thick enough to knock you down as Steve’s gruff vocals tell of ‘Promises, promises, you’re taking….” and the galloping drumline grabs you by the arm and guides you along the way and the fury keeps building with the pace and by the time the solo section hits, you are already in full-force headbanging mode and there is no escape wanted. The sheer structure of on the foundation TMGT has built with their previous outings is solidified and as each brick is placed with each note, the resulting structure is stronger than before.

‘Bury Me Deep’, opening with a lone guitar progression, further exemplifies that these songs seem more rooted in a depth that while not missing before, has now been brought to the forefront to let us see that these three are beyond ready to take their place in the lexicon of pure ROCK-N-ROLL bands that refuse to be pigeon-holed into any one genre, preferring to show their muscle tackling many song-styles with the strongest songwriting to come from this camp yet.  ‘The Watcher’s Nest’ has one of the softest, almost soothing intro’s and the tempo is awash with ride cymbals before we get told that ‘We’re going down, down into the light’ and you are moving again and then another quick pause… and back to the slow even shuffle before another blast of the chorus that lead to an astral wah’d solo burst that adds even more to what is already so manner layers of flavors that each permeate through yet meld together in the most cohesive amalgam possible.

The next thing you know, it is a complete 180 to what is almost a LEON REDBONE meets TOM WAITS salute with a love song that is pure TMGT is essence and delivery and you can’t help but smile as this tale of passion unfolds. ‘Lemon Trees’ is a more familiar flow with a seemingly softer jangly approach that is equal parts hart and soul that moves you through, following this tale of pressure that holds attention tight, following each word to get the whole picture.

Pro Band Pic

The final four tracks each lend themselves to show even more virtuosity and flexibility in flavors they can pull off seamlessly at whim. ‘The Boogie Down (featuring Sonny)’ is almost CAKE meets The BOSSTONES and the result is upbeat, where ‘Black Wave’ opens in pure spaced-out stoner bliss complete with a bass line that is soft as a feather pillow and massive in presence at the same time with this introspective analysis that is as enveloping as any other track on here. ‘The Echo’ is almost a cowboy-western song with the galloping pace of the drumline, the perfect progression that make up the body in a KARMA TO BURN structure that punches hard to the chest before the pace shifts back in a hypnotic use of sustain and lingering chords that wrap all the way around your brain stem and no restraint given.

As the fuzzed out bass fades, it is perfection indeed before we hear what can only be an almost ED GEIN voicing in this dark closer that stands out for ME as pure brilliance.  It showcases just how maniacal in tone and darkness of delivery as you can almost see his smile asking these sardonic questions pushing you to the edge of your seat, waiting for the next as this collection of three spirits shows that they have reached a new depth in composition and arrangement. They are tighter than ever before and with the newest production values that have been used in abundance, it is clear that the rest of the world needs to catch up and jump onboard with the pinnacle to this point that these guys show they are at.

Buy it YESTERDAY, play it for every pair of ears you encounter, support them LIVE if they come anywhere close and keep it LOUD!!


VULPTURE “Self Titled” Album Review + Stream…

VULPTURE

Vulpture (“S/T”) – Digital Download

Self Released – April 20, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed2015

LocationMadrid, SPAIN

Members
Diego
Maud
Vicente

This “Self Titled” EP is the first outing for this three piece outfit and is made up of 4 tracks clocking in at 26+ minutes and from front to back. VULPTURE has put together some of the most raucous guitar progressions, thunderous bass lines and hammering drums keeping absolute syncopation in place combined with a vocal split between drummer and guitarist that works pretty well; already demonstrating a flexibility that a lot of their counter-parts do not possess yet. When asked to describe themselves, the collective answer was, Quote “After attempting to play with different musicians, Diego Maud and Vicente met up for practice for the very first time at the end of 2014. After slowly narrowing it down to 5, and then 4, until finally this power-trio locked in and so was the birth of Vulpture, a rock and roll mixture of doom spirit, walking in the desert of stoner, looking towards the heavy psych skies.” Enquote. Referencing those that did not quite make the cut, it has been said that, “On the other side of that universe, the ex members just decided to set up a cheap clothes shop.”

A ‘fitting’ fate seems the obvious response…

 

Live Band Shot

 

Opener ‘Wasteland’ opens with all the ghostly doomish power chords you could want before 30 seconds in, a light hammering tap on a ride and open notes rattling ribs enter before at the minute mark, all three jump in and we’re off for this ride across the aforementioned psych-skies in a 70’s style jam that sets the stage for this record that churns along until the first word hits at 2:49 in with an attention-grabbing snap-vocal, gruff as can be and by the time the last section opens with a screaming solo, it is clear they are firing on ALL cylinders.

‘The Oath’ comes on at a slower pace but twice as thick and even heavier in tone and the swarming bees of staccato guitar notes is mesmerizing leading to the vocal break and the time shifts and fills being held high by the precision bass playing that gives support in spades. This allows the other two members to take this, and really EACH song here, to the highest plateaus of clarity in expression and delivery of their individual parts and the collective result is full-on rock-n-roll purity.

‘Fuzz Cloud’ is even more of the same with an added sneer in the speed and fury that keeps you moving along in pace, even after the two-minute mark when the tempo slows, bass steps to the front over drum fills that are the perfect punctuation before the power chords are back punching the air full of holes, leading the the last section that gets as dark as night and ugly in the best sense of with the meanderings of each member and it is stoner-bliss all the way to the end as they crank it back up to full speed.

Closer ‘Rocky Road’ has this lower tempo opening filled with harmonic bends and swithing to that churning heaviness and back with the underlying rhythm section giving all the room needed to keep your head moving in perfect time before the vocal explodes across the front. Maniacal laughter and all, further proving the versatility of each member.  They fit together as so many puzzle pieces and if this is any indication of what we can expect from Vulpture, I can hardly wait for more!! The production is that ‘live in the studio’ feel and is perfect for this serving as it were.

Get it NOW, share it with ALL in your personal realm and go support them live if you are given the chance… keep it LOUD!!

Band Logo


Alone In The Moon “Glamour Grunge” Album Review + Stream…

ALONE IN THE MOON

Glamour Grunge – Digital Download

Self Released – released June 26, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed2012

LocationBudapest, Hungary

Line-up
Adrian von Castlebridge: Vocal // Guitar
Simon Zoltán: Bass
Menyhárth Balázs: Drums

Previous Releases
“Collection Of Great Generational Anthems” May 2015
“Collection of Generational Anthems” “Digital Deluxe version – March 2016

When asked to describe themselves, the band said quote “Alone in the Moon” is a rock metal trio from the exotic Budapest that mixes the rawness of punk with the seducing cliches of hard rock  and the music of the 90’s and early 00’s: from Nirvana to Deftones, from Radiohead to Kyuss, from Korn to Tool.” Enquote. With this sophomore effort, it would seem the ‘punk’ tag has been lost and it is to no detriment in this case. With the first release, ALONE IN THE MOON set the bar particularly high and the demand was such that the “Deluxe” version contained an additional 30 tracks, from instrumental versions of various songs to demo versions to everything in between.

 

Band Pic

 

With this record, they have foregone that paradigm to concentrate on the HEAVY side of things and bring forth this 26 minute opus that is SONIC in the hard-rock trappings and are even more precise in delivery and content. From opener ’27’, with the fade in guitar chord before the bass and drums hit in this almost stoner-tempo.  The sheer plush POWER rumbling out of your speakers for the first minute plus takes the bar and raises it even higher than the last release as we listen to this tale of “a beautiful anger”. The loopy soloing and non-stop pummeling your ear drums are taking in from this power-trio takes you along at a clip that is comfortable and static at the same time. ‘The Jury’ is a faster pace and equally punishing with the bass guitar combo that is driven even further with that drumline that keeps everything moving hard and fast compelling you to keep pace as you hear the extra clicks and sticks flowing back and forth over that chunky guitar/bass progressions, moving along in response.

‘#MyLifeIsBetterThanYours’ opens with an ultra-fuzzed out bass line, accompanied by a closed-hit hat tick before that vocal begins the diatribe here about “Beautiful People” that is almost tongue-in-cheek. There is a sneer that follows that bass-hook that never stops in it’s gravitas pull, where ‘Be A Woman’ is even faster in pace and has that almost-punk attitude in delivery and content, heavy and fast chord progressions driving this one right to the edge. ‘Body Police’ is one of those songs that will be an ‘earworm’ as it gets instantly stuck in your brain with it’s chugging engine that screams like a V-8 with the power of nitro fully activated.

Then there are the between-track insertions that are all named, no seeming correlation between the inserts and the songs prev/after and the relevance of each is unique and makes you pay attention, even if just to say “What the fuck was that?” from ‘Office Rockstar’ to ‘Daily Private Minutes’ and they all suit this album perfectly.

The stand-out track on this one for ME, is closing song ‘Recluse’. Opening with a solo guitar, before this tome of ‘pulling away from people” gets rolling and the solo section alone has enough bravado that you can’t help but smile as the notes soar and dive all around you.

Rarely is a second record anywhere close to being as good as the first release and with “Glamour Grunge”, ALONE IN THE MOON has completely surpassed what the first album established. Get it as soon as you can, share with every person in your plane of existence, support them ‘live’ if you get the chance and keep it LOUD!!

Picture Collage


Devil Electric “Self Titled” Album Review + Stream + Tour Schedule…

Devil Electric

Devil Electric – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Kozmik Artifactz – releases August 11th, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Standing at the cross roads of blue, rock, and psychedelic is the  Melbourne rock quartet Devil Electric. The band first debuted in 2016 and gained a sizable following among stoner, psych, a doom fans with “The Gods Below.” This 4 track fuzzedelic blues EP full was of bluesy vocals done by Pierina O’Brien and heavy riffs laid down by Christos Athanasias- Guitars, Tom Hulse -Bass, Vocals, and Mark Van De Beek- Drums. Encouraged by the fans response Melbourne’s Devil Electric is preparing to release its 2nd release; their debut “Self Titled” Full Length on Germany’s Kozmik Artifactz Records.

Tour Schedule

 

When describing the bands 2nd album Tom Hulse, the bands bassist, backing vocalist and co writer said in the album press release “Lady Velvet” was written with the idea of painting a picture at the forefront. I wanted to create images and draw a theme in the listeners mind within the first few lines, touching on opposing forces and building a character. The song is about the push and shove of relationships we experience with the world both on a human level and a fictional/dramatized one. There’s always light and shade in life and when you run your hand across velvet you can see it change in color and form, reflecting just that in a material form.” 

After listening to this album several times now I’d say Tom Hulse did a pretty good job describing both the song Lady Velvet and the entire album both lyrically and musically. While the band is most definitely rock they take a different approach to heavy rock than some bands. Throughout Devil Electric, Pierina’s bluesy vocal style adds a dark element to the music as Tom,  Christos, and Mark lay down the psychedelic heavy blues rock. This are showcased especially in the instrumentals ‘Monolith’ and ‘Lilith.’ The songs I like most from the Devil Electric album are ‘Lady Velvet,’ ‘Acidic Fire,’ ‘The Sacred Machine’ and most of all ‘Hypnotica’ as Pierina vocals really cuts loose.

 

Devil Electric will be released digitally, on CD and vinyl on August, 11th, 2017 and is available for per-order right NOW. If you are a fan of Graveyard, Kadavar, The Dead Weather, Blues Pills, The Well, Electric Citizen, Black Sabbath you may like this band. Don’t be afraid to comment and share our posts with your friends.  Strongly Recommend!!


Swamp Devil “Pioneers” Album Review + Stream…

Swamp Devil

Pioneers – CD // DD

Self Released – released February 28, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

For about 7 years now Portland Oregon’s Swamp Devil has been rocking the it’s fans with their unholy blend of  contemporary and classic heavy metal that produces them doom riffs that make you shout “Woo Goddamn!!” Released February, 2017 the bands 3rd album Pioneers about the Gold Rush and it takes us on a journey into Americas past. In the grooves of the album Swamp Devil tells the listener how the American Dream can become the American Nightmare.

While I think all stoner/doom metal bands have a Black Sabbath influence some never seem to get beyond Black Sabbath worship. Yes Black Sabbath are metal gods but they only wrote the 1st chapter of the metal play book it is all the other bands that followed them that have written and are continuing to write the next chapters. Which I think bands like Swamp Devil are doing. Listening to “Pioneers” I could hear influences of younger bands like The Sword and older ones like The Misfits. Besides getting the  overall stoner/doom metal sound I loved in Pioneers I like how the band delivered a profound message didn’t confuse the message without a bunch of cosmic in an attempt to sound profound.

Swamp Devil  mixes well with The Sword, Clutch, Classic Heavy Metal, and of course Black Sabbath. Pioneers is an album you will want to listen to from beginning to end and at Volume 11.  If you like it you can also buy the bands full digital discography at a 25% discount for $14.99 on Bandcamp.

Swamp Devil:

Jesse Darling-Bass, Vocals
Steve Early-Lead Guitar, Vocals
Chris Bowden-Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Steve Nobles-Drums

Taste Nation’s Swamp Devil Physical Collection:
Personal Shipment


Monster Magnet Monday “Mastermind” Limited Edition + Videos + Review…

Monster Magnet

Mastermind Limited Edition + 2 Bonus Tracks – Released October 25th, 2010

Napalm Records – Vinyl // CD // DD

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Space Rock Voodoo

In the years leading up to “Mastermind” “Monster Magnet” had transformed into a 5 member outfit with the addition of Phil Caivano on guitar to give the band a more dynamic range in sound. They also went from  Atpeek Music to A&M Records where they went Gold in the US with their 1998 album “Powertrip”,  moved to “SPV” then in 2009 signed with “Napalm Records” then released “Mastermind”  in 2010.  Lead guitarist Ed Mundell parted ways after 18 years with the band “to collaborate with other musicians and Producers”, forming The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic. Following their European tour replacing him was Garrett Sweeny.

monstermagnet band pic_Mastermind

For some a review of  Monster Magnets 8th album “Mastermind” might be kinda old hat. But for me and anyone else who has never listened to it, “Mastermind” is brand new. Having never heard it I chose to do this review just so I could have an excuse to listen to it when we came up with our nifty Monster Magnetic Monday Idea.

What came to my mind when I first listened to this is when it had been made Monster Magnet had been together for 20 years when most bands are lucky if they manage two albums. Like many bands that last that long they have managed to keep their core sound that makes them the band they are but change with the times. Unlike Superjudge and earlier albums “Mastermind” has a bluesy feel to it musically and lyrically with more mature subject matter. All in all a solid album. Some the songs I like most are ‘Bored with Sorcery’, ‘Gods and Punks,’ ‘Mastermind,’ ‘100 Million Miles,’ ‘Time Machine’ and ‘Ghost Story.’

Limited Edition Track Listing:

  1. “Hallucination Bomb” – 5:27
  2. “Bored with Sorcery” – 4:02
  3. “Dig That Hole” (Wyndorf, Phil Caivano) – 5:34
  4. “Gods and Punks” – 5:32
  5. “The Titan Who Cried Like a Baby” – 3:36
  6. “Mastermind” – 5:08
  7. “100 Million Miles” – 5:01
  8. “Perish in Fire” – 4:42
  9. “Time Machine” – 5:30
  10. “When the Planes Fall from the Sky” – 5:46
  11. “Ghost Story” – 5:20
  12. “All Outta Nothin'” – 4:29
  13. “Watch Me Fade” (Bonus Track) – 3:05
  14. “Fuzz Pig” (Bonus Track) – 3:13

Line Up for Mastermind:
Dave Wyndorf- Guitar, Vocals
Philip Caivano – Guitar
Ed Mundell-Guitar
Bob Pantella – Drums
Jim Baglino – Bass

For Fans of:  Fu Manchu, White Zombie, Masters of Reality, VAST, Queens of the Stone Age, Rob Zombie, Biohazard, Trouble, Danzig, Burning Brides


KNEI “Juventud de la Gran Ciudad” Album Review + Stream…

KNEI

Juventud de la Gran Ciudad – CD (available May 13th, 2017) //

DD (released December 2, 2016)

Necio Records – CD released May 13, 2017

Reviewed By Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez

 

KNEI comes to us from Argentina, a country that has recently seen a resurgence in its music scene. Juventud de la Gran Ciudad comes courtesy of power trio Nicolas Lippoli (guitar/vocals), Mauro Lopez (bass), and Roberto Figueroa (drums). On just their second full length (La Puera del Sol being their debut back in 2011) they have already established a rather unique sound. What you get here is 70’s inspired classic rock that incorporates a well balance of psychedelic, blues and jazz-like touches.

 

Band Pic in the Studio

 

Their musical prowess shines through on first track, “Juventud de la Gran Ciudad.” Clocking in at over eleven minutes, it showcases their full arsenal of writing skills. It centers, as most good rock songs do, on a powerful riff and adds time changes, experimentation, varied rhythms, and a feel of improvisation. “Vidas Pesadas” follows suit with an unmistakable 70s/psych touch that turns into a fantastic jam session. “Rock de la Mujer” incorporates a bluesy touch, yet ends in wonderful fashion as KNEI playfully interact with their musical ideas. Three tacks in and the listener is already getting lost in the arrangements KNEI has on offer.

“El Inentendido” is yet another blues infused track with great progressions throughout that continue to showcase the bands ability to guide the listener through the architecture of their arrangements. “Los Demonios” follows with a straight-ahead rock approach that incorporates a galloping bass line bordering on doom. Progressive tendencies show up again on “No Te Asustes Ya Mas, Loco”, each member having a chance to shine at different points throughout the track. You can sense how the members have an almost telepathic relationship as they playfully seem to bounce ideas off one another.  “La Tumba” closes the album in glorious fashion, KNEI proving they undoubtedly belong among the higher echelon of current rock bands.

Every track on this record is egregious, KNEI having a knack for taking astounding musical ideas and yet achieving a smooth listening experience. Sung entirely in Spanish, this is still well worth checking out if Spanish is not among your linguistic skills. Lippoli providing an apt vocal style that fits in perfectly with what is going on musically. And what a musical journey it is. If this wasn’t released digitally at the tail end of 2016, it easily would be on my current 2017 “best of” list. ¡Provecho!


Enhailer “Grisaille” Album Review + Stream…

In Case You Missed It Series – Episode 4

Enhailer

Grisaille – CD // DD

Blackseed Records – Released June 2, 2016

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the Akron, Ohio band Mockingbird. I’m fairly familiar with them, as I was privileged enough to be able to share the stage with them on multiple occasions.  Their sound was a progressive and melodic take on sludge/doom metal, in the vein of early Mastodon and Baroness, yet there was something so PURE about them.  They were completely removed from any of the mainstream trappings that the aforementioned bands eventually came to embrace.

I don’t typically like to define artists in terms of their former bands or other projects.  All the same, it’s hard to talk about High On Fire or Om if we don’t also talk about Sleep, isn’t it??  Drummer Chad Beverlin from Enhailer also plays with the criminally underrated Mockingbird, and there are enough similarities in their sound that it’s worth bringing them into the conversation.

 

Enhailer have a slightly goofy name, which is both endearing and problematic for me personally.  I like the name, though I know how using puny names can sometimes come with a stigma or turn people off unnecessarily.  Yes, I play in a band called Palace In Thunderland.  People tend to either love it or hate it. It’s goofy, and funny, and fun….we hope.  That’s really up to you, not us.  It’s also meant to be a bit artsy, and that’s the same vibe I get from Enhailer.  They’re instrumental, so we know that they’re artsy.  However, this is not the more stripped down minimalism incorporated by fellow instrumentalists Karma To Burn, nor is it the hip neo-melodicism of Pelican. This is something far darker and dirtier, like if we truly pushed Mogwai into the depths of despair that they’ve always mildly flirted with.

There’s nothing demure about Enhailer.   They encompass everything that I love about the American Midwest.  If you’ve never been, I’d highly suggest that you spend some time there.

While Mockingbird tended to write more songs with a more traditional vocal-driven structure, the lack of vocals allows Enhailer to work more with a classical, theme and variation motif.  The six songs tend to build, evolve, and intensify organically, which is what prompts me to compare them to Mogwai. The major difference is in the atmosphere itself, which is bleak, heavy and haunting, due largely in part to the guest keyboards, which loom and pulse in the background.  Technically Enhailer are a trio, though it’s hard to talk about this album without bringing in the keyboards, as they truly add a nice touch.  It’s also worth noting that their seem to be some form of growls in the background of a couple songs, though I think this is just for effect, and to add to the atmosphere.  I don’t think there are any discernible lyrics.

 

Band Logo

 

I really dig the production, which manages to sound both full and never excessive.  The songs themselves usually lurk at a comfortable, mid-paced tempo, and combine quieter, more introspective sections with full on dirgy doom riffs.  It’s a nice blend with a unique take that firmly separates them from the rest of the post-metal pack.  I get the feeling that this is really just a sampling of what Enhailer have to offer.  These six songs clock in at just over 30 minutes.  I’m thinking that they’ve got a lot more to say, in their typical manner of not speaking or singing a single word.