Earthless “Black Heaven” Album Review + Music Video + Links…

Earthless

Black Heaven – Vinyl // CD // DD // Bundle Packages

Nuclear Blast Records – Released March 16th, 2018

Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

A Journey into Black Heaven

Line Up:
Mario Rubalcaba (drums)
Isaiah Mitchell (guitars & VOX)
Mike Eginton (bass)

Review:
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, Earthless has 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 by 2 live albums and 3 studio albums with their 4th “Black Heaven”, the subject of this review.

Band Pic

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 Blast Records 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!!

Link to buy Album, Bundles and more…

http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd-digi-ts-xxl/earthless-black-heaven-baseball-shirt-cd-digi-poster.html

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Album Review – Crippled Black Phoenix “Bronze”

Crippled Black Phoenix

Bronze – Vinyl / CD / DD

Season of Mist – Released: April 11, 2016

 

So how often can a drummer for one(or two) already established and killer band break away and do something that is unexpected, something unique and able to stand on it’s own two feet? Not often. Hell I can’t think of anyone besides Dave Grohl or Phil Collins, who have pulled it off successfully. Well now we have Justin Greaves, skin beater for Electric Wizard and Iron Monkey, who with his project Crippled Black Phoenix, have created in their latest album ‘Bronze’ what can be considered a contemporary exploration of mood and atmosphere.

 

Cool Band Pic
This is no collection of 3 minute dittys designed for ass shaking, no, this is an album that demands your time and attention. An album not to be taken lightly, it makes you want to experience it as a whole, even though it works song to song as well. Hearkening back to some of the most relevant bands and albums of the early to mid seventies, this UK Octet, crafts some of the most passionate melancholic, psychedelic stoner-prog found this side of the moon. They succeed at pulling you in to their world, a world this is terminally overcast, and weary, but a world not without emotion and, dare I say love?  Listening to this I hear Pink Floyd, I hear The Cure, I hear Muse, I hear King Crimson, I hear Mogwai. And it works. All of it.

 

I especially love the places where they take musical chances, like on the album opener which is an orchestral instrumental track led off by a passage from the beginning of Genesis. Another chance was taken with the song ‘Scared and Alone’ employing a horn section to accentuate the tired and troubled lead vocals provided by Belinda Kordic, who shines in the singular track that she takes lead vocals on. All the other tracks are sung by Daniel Anghede who at times is reminiscent of 80’s post-rock goth progenitor Peter Murphy with his deep baritone voice and delivery.

 

LIVE Band Shot_Cool

 

My favorite track on the album comes in the 7th slot titled ‘Turn to Stone’. It is a paean to every great rock song written in the Seventies, with it’s mid to slow tempo march, infectious main riff that makes you bob your head, and it’s psychedelic guitar nuances, emphasized by a vocal delivery that’s half Robert Plant half Neil young. The later part of the song is a ride out on the bridge riff, proving that there is beauty in repetition.

Elsewhere throughout the album you will find hints of organ, synthesizer and other non-standard instruments placed tastefully for maximum affect, enhancing and emphasizing the masterful songwriting.  The end result being an artful, moody collection of contemporary prog-rock songs with heart that shines brightly in a musical landscape that is all too often more of the same.

Words by Mark Aceves