Black Heaven – Vinyl // CD // DD // Bundle Packages
Nuclear Blast Records – Released March 16th, 2018
Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler
A Journey into Black Heaven
Mario Rubalcaba (drums)
Isaiah Mitchell (guitars & VOX)
Mike Eginton (bass)
Greetings music heads this is that old sonic wave rider The Ancient One and I want to tell all of you about San Diego’s heavy psyche rock trio Earthless and their upcoming album Black Heaven. Originally signed to the independent record labels Gravity Records and then Tee Pee Records, Earthlesshas been Blowing minds since 2001 with their own brand of almost entirely instrumental heavy-psych rock that many of other great musicians/bands credit as inspiration in their own music. To date they have released a slew of split albums with the likes of Witch, Danava, Lecherous Gaze, Premonitions 13, Radio Moscow, and Harsh Toke. This is accompanied by2 live albums and 3 studio albums with their 4th“Black Heaven”, the subject of this review.
Released on March 16th, 2018 on the Nuclear Blast record label with songs that have more vocals than all their previous releases combined, Black Heaven is a leaner meaner Earthless album . Though I cannot be certain because I don’t have any contacts in Nuclear BlastRecords or Earthless I suspect the band’s association with the Rock Giant is why the bands latest album have significantly shorter songs. Is this a bad thing, absolutely not!! Isaiah has a fantastic bluesy voice that is also on display with his other band Golden Void.
While the 40 minute album is broken into six tracks, to me it all seem to blend together into two parts with interlude track “Voit Rush” acting as sort of a road sign telling me were I am at in the journey. What catches my attention most about Black Heaven is that more than half of the songs have guitarist Isaiah Mitchell also taking up the microphone as vocalist. Which I think he does a bang up job at. Yet for all that has changed Earthless has remained true to their original mind-bending blend of krautrock and Japanese heavy-blues rock with still some of the freshest and finest Riffs, meanest basslines and Cosmic Drumming on this great Universe!!
Rise Above Records – (Re-Release / Remastered) October 13, 2017
Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler
Dancing in the Witches Garden
Hello Tasters today I’m gonna serve up some tasty music from a band called Uncle Acid & The deadbeats. Formed in Cambridge England in 2009 by Kevin Starrs, Uncle Acid & The deadbeats was originally: Mastermind & Frontman Kevin Starrs, on vocals and guitars, Kat on Bass, and Red on Drums. While Uncle Acid & The deadbeats transformed from a power trio into a quartet after Kat and Red left. It was with then that Uncle Acid & The deadbeats established it’s signature sound using elements of acid rock, British pop, and metal, with themes on occult, horror, drugs, murder and mayhem.
For those who are unfamiliar with them, until October this year a search on Amazon and iTunes would have only turned up Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats’ 2nd, 3rd, and 4th albums on CD and MP3 . Though it would be released as a limited edition vinyl in 2014 The album Vol. 1 was initially used like a demo. Marketed directly to the fans on MySpace & YouTube with a limited release of 30 albums on CD-R Vol.1 helped the band purchase better recording equipment for their 2nd self produced and recorded album Blood Lust. Which after a limited release of 100 on CD-R was picked up by Rise Above Records in 2011 and re-released introducing Uncle Acid’s signature sound to a wider audience.
While I can find no fault with Uncle Acids decision to initially only release Vol. 1 on vinyl, it was on the pricey side. Those who wanted to listen to it had to seek it out on YouTube and burn a copy from a friends album if they didn’t want to buy it on vinyl. Now that Vol. 1 has been reissued on CD, Vinyl, and MP3 fans can throw away and delete their bootleg copies and get the real deal. Although Blood Lust was the album that got myself and many other fans into Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats it all started with Vol.1.
What I enjoyed most about Vol. 1 is knowing that although it had to be done on a limited budget, Uncle Acid & The deadbeats still managed to create an auditory work of art. Opening with “Crystal Spiders,” I was immediately sucked into the album and still find myself having to fight the urge to dance around like a hippie on LSD when I listen to Vol. 1 in public. I like all of the songs on Vol. 1 but some of the best are “Witches Garden” and “Lonely And Strange.” Both tracks are sort of has The Doors does metal feel with some creepy electric organ and the latter having some stellar electric and acoustic guitar work by Kevin Starrs that boarders on the divine.
Then once again we get to listen to that amazing electric guitar and electric organ in “Vampire Circus.” “Do What Your Love Tells You” the album’s 6th track has just got some gnarly fuzzed out psychedelic riffs. Closing the album out is the creepy song ‘Wind Up Toys.” For those who intend to buy this album on vinyl if you get the band’s special edition it will include the bonus track of Uncle Acid’s cover of the Kinks song “Wicked Annabella”.
Begin to Float (Intro) (4:44) 2. Sannraijz (9:58) 3. Sometimes Going Too Far is the Only Way To Go (7:13) 4. Sannraijz 2 (4:43) 5. We’re Only In it for the Spacerock (20:28) 6. Make Yourself Heard for the Sake of the World (10:47)
First Band From Outer Space are a Aleatoric/Psychedelic/Space Rock band from Gotenborg, Sweden. Their label describes them as being “Swedish intergalactical starfighters on their eternal quest for infiltrating the human race with their alien psychic powers of enslaving the neanderthals by brainwashing [them] with the finest space rock ever done in Sweden!”
There are two variations of this cover. The one for the original release give you a better idea of what you are getting into once you get into the music. (Meaning it is more atmospheric) There is a person in a spacesuit on the right and there is a light coming from over their shoulder. The second cover is the one for the digital release it is black with a starfield and two light spots similar to CD, but instead of a astronaut there is a small module with the band’s name filling up most of the screen with the album title smaller on the bottom. (Both in the NASA font)
Original Artwork of “We Are Only In It For The Spacerock in 2005
Begin to Float (Intro) – This track whirls in with a slow strumming of the guitar leading us into the First Band From Outer Space version of space. It is similar to “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” (Pink Floyd) in the way it builds and builds on itself. More bloops and bleeps are added and the music starts to pick up in the 2 minute area. Here we get our first clip; “All of my most sensitive areas were inflamed. My extremities pulsing and tingling sensation. …Floating higher and higher. A wonderful feeling! I began to float. Up, away from my body… My brain seemed to be held in a giant vice. Swaying back and forth. A beautiful thing taking me away. My head is spinning. It was a bell… a bell…” now we get fast beat of the drum. Building the tension. The guitar strumming along calmly.. and then
Sannraijz – Now we are in a slightly different area. We are speeding through their space. The track slows at four minutes and then speeds back to it’s normal pace. At five minutes we get vocals. At the end of a comparatively quick singing passage we are told, by Johan that; “The end is always the start of something new” as we continue on our way through the rest of the track. Until it starts to slow in the last 20 or so seconds and our next clip; “No one had a bad trip. It was all very good.” as the next track cuts it off. I could not find a translation of what the title means.
Sometimes Going Too Far is the Only Way To Go – Here is where (more of) the 70’s rock comes in. A cowbell is counting in our next jam. Six minutes in we get our 90’s influence. A layered vocal not quite shouting at us. This is another short bit of lyrics. We are counted out by the cowbell as well.
4. Sannraijz II – Here is an almost Mike Oldfield type of track, there are birds chirping. We have now landed on a strange desert planet. This is the most radio friendly song; it is acoustic and has lyrics throughout. It serves as an intro to the next track.
5. We’re Only In It for the Spacerock – This track is an experience. It is a slow jam calling back to the first track. It is similar to a song by Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno called “Anthem of the Space.” Just a very spacey sounding with heavier guitar. There is another sound clip at the end but I cannot quite make it out. The title is likely in reference to the Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention album We’re Only In It for the Money.
6. Make Yourself Heard for the Sake of the World – This track has a Jethro Tull flute part in it. We get our space or eastern sounding intro then we get a rocking riff and MoonBeamJosue is bringing us home with his flute. Two minutes in we get our 80’s/90’s sounding vocal style again. The track ends how it begins. The tracks are all faded into another so it is a continuous piece.
The synth parts of the music are like a 50’s or 60’s look at what music from aliens, (meaning the bloops and bleeps) that was depicted in the old sci-fi movies/shows with guitar and rhythms from 70’s (and at some points the late 90’s) Rock. This album is a mix of Budgie and Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno that I didn’t know that I needed until now. The band show their influences well while making their own brand of Spacerock.
If you like 70’s style Rock with some space synths added in you should definitely pick this release up.
Stream and download the album here. “No one had a bad trip. It was all very good.”
From The Centre of a Parallel Universe – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD
Headspin Records // Pepper Shaker Records – August 30th, 2017
Frozen Planet…1969 have a new album being released on The 30th of August. “From The Centre Of A Parallel Universe” will be available on 12 inch vinyl through Headspin Records. Available in Black and Orange Splatter Vinyl and black vinyl at Shiny Beast Music Mail-Order in Europe. The digital, compact disc and vinyl will also be available through the band’s own Pepper Shaker Records Bandcamp Page.
Frozen Planet…1969 has returned from their Space travels of an unknown universe somewhere between Saturn and Mars. They have returned and reported back their findings through their new release “From The Centre of a Parallel Universe. Their findings are nothing less than than stellar. Enjoy the first of their Chronicles……
Line up: ED MUNDELL / Guitar (MONSTER MAGNET / THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX) COLLYN MCCOY / Bass (TRASH TITAN / OTEP) RICK FERRANTE /Drums (SASQUATCH)
Pending release 2017
To call this a super group is to over-simplify. When Ed’s main focus with Monster Magnet went on hiatus, he needed something to do and in their own words, created and morphed into “a no nonsense, psychedelic, space rock orgy built on riffs and classic 70’s guitar rock. Not having to cater to the masses and with absolute disregard to mainstream commercial music industry dictate, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic came forth like an acid-trip super nova.” And having tripped out, jangly guitar heroes like Tomy Bolin listed with the likes of Captain Beyond and the trippiness of Hawkwind referenced, the end result is even MORE than you could have expected.
Five tracks clocking at just over 25 minutes, from the first notes of ‘Small Magnetic cloud’ all the way to the ending of ‘Large Magnetic Cloud’, each possible facet and cloud has been explored, from the headiness of title track ‘Through The Dark Matter’ to the expanses of ‘Day Of The Comet’, the enormity of each player here is in full-force. It shines in the purity of expression the freedom allotted has given them the power to wield in all it’s mushroom tinged might and the suns and moons change trajectory to glimpse a piece of this vortex that swirls effortlessly. Even with the one song to have lyrics ‘Spoonful’ as the intro drumline delivers with the panache of a legend as easily as casting a glance.
If you haven’t bought this one yet, do yourself the favor and get them both if you can. Then share it out to anybody you think would appreciate it. “Through The Dark Matter,” hell both Albums, are perfect for headphones turned to 11 to capture each note you may have missed from the last listen. There is talk directly on their website of a 2017 release and I know I will be keeping my eyes peeled for that as I recommend should you, support these guys in a live format if the come to your area and keep it LOUD!!
‘Rockets Aren’t Cheap Enough’ Live at Desert Fest in 2014 off their “S/T” Debut Album
Band Members – Gaston Lainé · Guitar & Vocals / Pol Ventura · Bass & Vocals / Alejandro Carmona · Drums
This three man-band is steeped DEEP in the 70’s acid-head/stoner fuzzed out and wah’d up rock-n-roll sounds of guitar driven spaced out soloing and insane twists and turns in tempo as any progressive maniac lives for. They list their influences from “the hard blues bands, fuzz sounds and wah wah of the 70s, with some space rock spirit” and wave that flag proudly as these five songs show.
Don’t let the name fool ya, translating as Cashmere, there is nothing soft about CACHEMIRA. Songs like ‘Sail Away’, tell a tale full of multi layered guitars and keyboard overtones with that driving shuffle tempo of “When the sirens….”, instrumental ‘Oeverture’ with the stoned out bliss-filled meanderings of a good mushroom-flashback.
‘Goddess’ rips from the gate in fuzzed out full force for the first minute, slowly fade out to guitar warbling and wash cymbals galore and a jazz runs fill the air as we are given the tale of one as “She has been since the beginnings of time…” over the course of 8-minutes plus for this opus. The advanced single (released in January 2017) ‘Overpopulation’ has that almost MOXY 70’s feel with the frenetic opening that has that roll that players like JOE WALSH loves to use still that seemed to have been perfected “back when” before the story unfolds about how we, i.e. mankind, is “Out of control…”
The “stand-out” track on this one for me is the title track ‘Jungla’ with it’s glorious fast-paced beginning that jumps right into gear with all the virtuosity from each member cranked beyond maximum to give one of those songs that just consumes you from the inside and you want more and more. If any of them get a video treatment, I would vote for this one to be the single for. Get it NOW, share it with every body and see ’em live if they come to your shores as I have a feeling they are one of ‘those bands’ that make each show a party to be remembered… and as always, keep it LOUD!!
Christian Bland – vocals, guitar, drone machine/organ
Kyle Hunt – keyboards, percussion, bass, guitar
Alex Maas – vocals, bass, drone machine/organ
Jake Garcia – guitar
“Clear Lake Forest” EP / “Indigo Meadow” / “Directions To See A Ghost” / “Phosphene Dream” / “Passover” / “The Black Angels & Roky Erikson” 7″ vinyl
THE BLACK ANGELS – “Death Song” / 11 items, 48 minutes… this is what I knew of this ‘gathering of 5 individuals’ as I pushed play for the first time. Had not heard anything previously. Wide open with a clean palette. No expectations, nothing preconceived.
For the next 48 minutes, I sat, transfixed on every note, every beat, each word that was delivered in the purest expressions of control, dissonance, commitment, greed, desperation and the ultimate loss. I had no urge to rise, no need to leave, and dropped below the surface in the echoing timbre of Christian’s vocals, Stephanie’s perfect mix of body and fill as Kyle, Jake and Alex flex their individual AND collective muscle to offer one of the most original releases I have heard yet this year. Showing their influences and sounding like no one else in particular, this collection of compositions is nothing short of stellar.
From the lumbering, quick fade in droning and then power punch pace of ‘Currency’ through the almost surf-punk guitar tone of ‘I’d Kill For Her’, to ‘Half Believing’ with the soft-touch intro as Christian tells of ‘half believing, half suspicious’ show that this disc is full of the things we have come to expect and so much MORE than imagined. ‘Comanche Moon’ opens with a ferocity not implied by the name of the song while ‘Grab As Much (As You Can)’ has this ‘happy’ bouncing bass line that belies the real feel of, just as ‘Estimate’ could be a dirge by the beginning measures and ‘I Dreamt’, ‘Hunt Me Down’ and ‘Medicine’ are even more expressions of the multiple directions that THE BLACK ANGELS show they are more than capable of and are happy to lead us to.
The last two tracks on this opus, ‘Death March’ and ‘Life Song’ fit the flow of this track order and help define the title of this record and, in MY opinion, should be played one after the other in a live format as they compliment each other and again seem to offer the defining moments of this album serving as the bookend. If you are familiar with this band, you will be thrilled beyond what you may have been thinking you could expect. If you have never heard of them, this is a great place to start and then the previous releases will serve as the ultimate “pre-quels” for you. Grab the record IMMEDIATELY and support them by going to see them if they come to your area, tell everybody you know about them and turn it UP!!
Band Members: Paul – Drums + Vox, Pat – Bass, Nils – Guitar, Bene – Guitar + Vox
From: Graz, Austria
Formed: Autumn 2013
Previous Releases: “Aquanautic Smoke Live Session” (Sept 2015) / “Surrealistic Pillow EP” (July 2016) / “Helsinki Live Session” (March 2017)
This record is High Brian’s first full-length outing for this quartet that represents an amalgamation from all over Europe that came together in Austria and realized they needed to create music together and went about that by spending many days and nights in lava-lamp infused light, weaving their tapestry of ultra-delay and phase-shifted distortion-saturated meanderings of musical madness, tempered in that glow of green haze that true psych/stoner bands just seem to flourish in. Tracks like opener ‘Liquid Sweet’ with the slow fading keys that lead right to the double guitar hit at 11 seconds in, show the 70’s psychedelic roots these guys wear proudly on their sleeves and there is the added clarity of in-studio production values that let EACH note ring out and every word be able to be heard. Each track on here has been previously included on one of the live releases and the one single for ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ b/w ‘Time’ – (see Video of ‘Time’ Below).
“Free like a stone, and far away from home” is how we are welcomed into ‘All But Certainty’ after an opening section showing the prowess of each member as they instantly gel with the staggering tempo that never falters. From the sky-high leads that fade off into the plucky notes opening ‘The Sun & I’ that build and build into a crescendo of fuzz and wah before another galloping pace is set. The flow from one song to the next is truly smooth as glass. The over-pumped 70’s wah-pedal gives that retro-warmth that High BRIAN, as they themselves refer to the aggregate, use to their advantage. The revamped ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ is tightened up and the guitar-edge is even sharper than the original release letting this song shine brighter.
‘All The Other Faces’ instantly made me think FRANK MARINO (Mahogany Rush) had entered the building with the spaced-out first minute plus that seriously felt like a time-shift back the 1970’s and permeates the entire five minutes plus with a lavish dose of heavy slathered on midway through. ‘Aquanautic Smoke’ is truly another slice of the unique visions that High BRIAN love to weave, asking you to “light up with them” as they traverse the billowing presence that surrounds. ‘The Conversion’ comes out of the gate with backwards drums/cymbals for the first four measures and the band hits hard with enough fuzz to make the air hum and as always, deep bass rumbles dark and pounding. ‘Blood Money’ is a more blues based track this studio treatment is as stellar as either of the other versions and gives the added benefit of that clarity mentioned earlier. The nuances of the guitar lines, including soft touches and hearing the keys haunting the background are things that may get lost in the mix live but are present to take in and allow for the full flavors to be enjoyed like the funked-out bass tone entering the last segment before the mini drum spotlight. The tempo keeps increasing from this point until it just… stops.
‘Time’ is the perfect bookend for this album as it allows High BRIAN to show how much, as a collective, they have grown together during the last four years. This version is the personification of a band that has pushed themselves hard to get to this level and it shows. The more you listen, the more it grows on you and sticks in your head. So go get it NOW and support them if/when they come to your town!! Highly Recommend!!!
Dark Matter is “heavily influenced by 70s downer rock and obscure prog.” That’s the description on their Bandcamp page. Apt summary for sure, but there is much more going on here than just 70s prog. Once you scratch that surface, you will find their sound also borrows from the doom, space, and psych/acid genres as well. Think Black Sabbath and Hawkwind to go along with that 70s downer rock tag, and you’re in the ballpark as far as pinning down their sound.
Wood Lane is Dark Matter’s second effort. Whereas their debut was completely recorded by Dave Gilbert, he has enlisted the services of Gandalf’s Fist’s drummer, Stefan Hepe on this one. The addition of Hepe has only served to enhance the overall sound and atmosphere Dave is attempting to create with his compositions. Thematically, this album runs the gamut of religion (‘The Truth is Out There’ and ‘March Out to the Sun’), technology (‘Four Walled World’), Witches (‘Down in the Valley’), and loss (“Wood Lane”). Unquestionably, a diverse lyrical tapestry is woven throughout.
‘King of Colours’ and ‘The Truth is Out There’ open the album with a space rock/acid feel. ‘Four Walled World’ touches upon the dangers of letting technology take over your life. This is the third track on the album and the first where you truly start to see that early Black Sabbath influence—especially towards the tail end of the song. “Wood Lane” is well placed midway through the record and serves the purpose of giving the album a welcomed change of pace with its laid back psychedelic sounds. Lyrically, this song will make you contemplate life as you know it with its deep and emotional theme. As the song suggests, “it’s a lonely place.” The Sabbath influence makes a more obvious return on ‘Down in the Valley’, and the final track, ‘March Out to the Sun,’ boasts a riff that would be more than comfortable fitting in on any doom record.
This is a strong second effort from Dark Matter. The album is cohesive and dynamic and the songs are structured in a way that make them memorable. Gilbert’s vocals fit the overall mood of the record, however, a more varied vocal delivery may have made some of these songs that much more memorable. Minor gripe when considering how well this album embraces the feel of classic 70s proto doom and space rock. Looking forward to what they come up with next.
Headspin Records & Pepper Shaker Records – Vinyl / CD / DD
You awaken from your artificial sleep, roused by the pulsings and rumblings within your starship’s harmonic hull. Taking the helm, you notice you’ve just exited the wormhole, and you’re approaching your ultimate destination. You’ve traveled both time and space to experience this place, said to be unlike any other in the known universe. The light of this foreign galaxy burns the last semblance of slumber from your eyes. You slowly see the first light glisten and sparkle off it for the first time, the Frozen Planet….1969.
You’ve brought no crew – this is a solo trip. You alone can see the stars shimmer off the planet’s icy ionosphere, you alone will hear the starship sing as its encounters the gaseous upper atmosphere. You alone will feel the heat of the ship’s hull as it dares its delicate descent towards the frozen field below. Slamming on the retro thrusters, you carefully calculate the angle of entry and brac for landing. The impact is minimal, and you quickly gather up your supplies and lower the stairs towards the icy ground below. Bracing yourself for the frigid cold and chill winds, you grab a fur-lined overcoat and pull the hood over your long hair. The oxygen is rich here, though it will become thinner as you climb the frost covered mountains towards the ominous Electric Smokehouse.
You wander past a frozen lake, and see Barbarella’s starship, desperately in need of repairs. You know that she’s about to be attacked by a gang of children bearing dolls with snapping metal teeth, and if you were to take the time to simply rescue her, you could make sweet, sweet love to her on a featherbed inside a giant sled propelled by a sail. Alas, you also know that there’s no time for such diversions, and another will be along shortly to ensure her safety. Your pace quickens, and you begin the steep ascent up the sacred mountain, on top of which lies the Electric Smokehouse, an elusive place chock full of sonic daydreams and mystical soundscapes. As you climb, placing hand over hand and foot over foot, you gaze up in wonder at the small shack resting stoically at the top of the mountain. It approaches faster and faster, and soon you catch the first wisps of rhythm echoing from within the smokehouse’s wooden walls. Soon the frantic pounding of the drums is joined by the throbbing undulation of bass guitar deeply digging into a hypnotic groove. The higher the climb, the more apparent it becomes that the strange noises your heard in the background are from a single six string guitar which speaks in sonic tongues, repeating what seem like mind-warping mantras over and over in some strange electric language that penetrates straight into the inner depths of your psyche.
Finally reaching the summit, you set off down the path towards the small smokehouse, taking in the sights of the planet’s three suns reflecting off the snowy peaks and frozen valleys. The music from within continues to intensify as you open the front door. You’re greeted by three men, who introduce themselves simply as Paul on guitar, Lachian on bass, and Frank on drums. They speak to you without missing a beat or even a single note, and somehow their soft voices are briefly projected above the heavy jams emanating from their instruments. The guitar seamlessly shifts from searing leads to heavy riffs, shimmering chords to strange echoed oscillations. The bass works the groove, while every once in awhile adding in a slice of melody or jammy leads, and the drums alternate between busy rhythms and stoic understatement. Your ears are treated to all manner of otherwordly sounds as the trio jams on endlessly, for what seems like hours, days even week. All too soon, your supplies are deplete and it’s time to make the long return trek to your planet of origin.
As you head back to your spacecraft, you can’t help but think that fans of Earthless may also find a trip to the Frozen Planet….1969 to be quite a worthwhile venture. You climb back aboard your ship, engage the autopilot, open up a fresh wormhole and prepare to enter your cryogenic sleep, with all heavy jams you’ve just taken in still bouncing around in your cerebellum. You smile as the gentle psychedelic slumber overtakes you, and you ponder what new grand adventure will await you when you awaken….