Earth Drive “Stellar Drone” Album Review + Stream…

Earth Drive

Stellar Drone – CD // DD

Raging Planet – released June 10, 2017 (DD) & October 20, 2017 (CD)

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

 

 

Lineup:
Hermano Marques – Vocals and guitar
Luis Silva – Bass
Luis Eustáquio – Drums
Sara Antunes – Vocals

 

Previous Releases:
2014 Known by the Ancients
2015 Planet Mantra

 

Tracklist:
Lactomeda 01:49
Known by the Ancients 07:01
Dead Blood for the Royal Weather 07:14
Two Temple Place 09:36
Stellar Drone 10:59
Are we Drowning in Digits 06:13
Magical Train 05:07

 

 

Review:
The band have their album described as an “Addictive cosmic journey, one entrancing hybrid embracing heavy psych riffs and sweet vocal harmonies.” The album does have those elements of that. When Hermano is singing it sounds like Jane’s Addiction but heavier and more distortion on the voice. The parts when Sara takes over it sounds like either Belly or Hole. When they sing together it sounds almost new, but still has those influences. So in shorter terms; they gave their album a good description.

Track-by-Track:

Lactomeda – Is a Spanish term for the Milky Way Collision with Andromeda. The cover even seems to be depicting it. The song is a collision of Noise Rock and Space Rock. It is almost sludgy for a noise song but in pace but it is also fast for a space song. It is a good intro for what the rest of the album holds.

Known by the Ancients – Here is where the Jane’s Addiction comes in (Especially in the 3 minute area). This song is more of noise than of space origin. This is a heavy rock song, Hermano comes in at the last two minutes and makes the song seem even heavier.

Dead Blood for the Royal Weather – This is one of the more radio friendly songs, even though it is eight minutes. It plays it safe and doesn’t do anything too crazy. It stays on the cusp of being space and noise.

Two Temple Place – This is the first true Space Rock sounding sounds and as it moves along it introduces some of the harmonies the description on bandcamp mentions. It is a slow song with slow vocals with stretched out chords with reverb and drum fill. That is until the 3 minute mark; more drums and distortion to the guitar is added and everything gets slightly faster. At around the four minute mark the tempo changes again and is like Known by the Ancients.

Stellar Drone (Favorite track) – This track is more spacey than the previous track but it is also faster and more distorted and changes tempo a few more times.

Are we Drowning in Digits – This song is almost like a continuation of Two Temple Place. It sounds very similar but has more “Normal” Rock influences.

Magical Train – This is the most radio friendly track and could have been released as a single to promote the album. It is also the song that reminds my the most of Hole (the first album.) Sara really goes in on this track and gives a great performance. It is like the previous track but stays on the heavy rock side of music.

Pro Band Pic

Review (Continued):
Musically, Earth Drive are bringing back the 90’s Noise Rock and helping to bring back Space Rock (in the more expansive tracks). During the mostly instrumental parts it sounds almost like a soundtrack to a late 80’s sci-fi movie. In some ways it sounds like it is two separate ideas for an album that were pieced together but it is done well so it doesn’t sound too different. To paraphrase the TV Series “Stranger Things” – ‘The Upside Down'”.

This is a very easy first listen and is also very accessible because the stretches of odyssey are in between more pop/rock radio-ish oriented tracks. If you have any interest in Space Rock or a modern take on it with influences with 90’s Noise Rock, you should take a listen.

 There are two choices either from the Raging Planet (For a physical and/or digital) Bandcamp HERE or the band’s HERE !!! (Where you can get the full digital discography)

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

Album Promo


Our Ceasing Voice “Free Like Tonight” Album Review + Stream + Music Video…

Our Ceasing Voice

Free Like Tonight – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Self Released: August 25, 2017

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

Austrian Ambient / Alt. Rockers Our Ceasing Voice have been at it awhile, though this is my first encounter with them.  Folks are always surprised when I haven’t heard of this band or that band, especially if it’s something that is well within the realm of what I usually find myself listening to.  The fact of the matter is just that there’s a whole slew of music out there, and there’s simply no way for me to keep up with it all.  Nearly everyone these days is in a band, or two, or three, or five.  With that kind of saturation, it’s easy for even really good bands to slip through the cracks.  That’s the case with Our Ceasing Voice, and I’m honestly surprised that these cats don’t have a bit more exposure.  Their sound is both unique and accessible, though perhaps the vocals are a bit of an acquired taste.  Also, Free Like Tonight was only released about a month ago, so this album hasn’t really had enough time to get out there and reach a wider audience. In truth, I’m not sure how their back catalog compares to their latest, so this album is my only point of reference.

When talking about this album, I think that it’s important to write about the vocals first and foremost, as they’re the center point; they’re what stands out and drives the music.  It’s the kind of style that’s going to be polarizing: a deep and tortured baritone, goth-inspired and pain-strickenly emotional.  For me personally, they work and totally make the album, and I can see how others may be turned off by them, especially as they veer towards the melodramatic more often than not.  Still, vocalist Dominik Dorfler delivers his poetic lyrics with both poise and power.

The songs themselves are fairly simple in structure and instrumentation.  They’re focused on texture and atmosphere rather than any form of musical pyrotechnics – layers of reverberated piano, subtle guitar parts echoed for emphasis, and airy washes of synthesizers float in and out of the mix, laying a backdrop for the vocals, and minimalist drums form the bedrock and foundation underneath.  It’s tough for me to tell if there’s an actual bass guitar playing, or if the low end is simply carried by the guitars and synths; if there is bass, once again, it’s subtle.  There’s no bassist credited on the album, so there very well may not be one.

Now, as much as I like this album, it’s not without faults, like most albums.  While I can appreciate the shifts in dynamics that break up monotony within the songs themselves, on a whole, there’s not a lot of diversity within the album.  Every song is extremely similar, and the tempos are all in the same ballpark.  There’s not a whole lot to differentiate them, and perhaps that’s why these guys have kept a relatively low profile.  This isn’t a deal breaker for me, and it shows a clear area for growth.  Moving forward, if they incorporated something different every third song or so, or even used some interludes to break things up a bit, I think that they could have a lot of success with future albums.  Their basic formula is solid – they just need a little bit of tweaking so that their albums really stand out and don’t start to feel tedious or repetitious halfway through.

Band Pic

I can see fans of ambient music, post-rock and goth rock getting into Our Ceasing Voice.  The vocals make their music fairly unique without being wildly experimental, and what they do, they do extremely well.  As I’ve noted above, I’m more concerned with what they don’t do.  Namely, they do need to fix things up a bit.  It’s tough for me to even identify a standout track because….well, they’re all pretty good, and they’re all pretty similar.

A band like this has all kinds of options – add some more experimental elements  and really abstract sounds, rev up the tempos for a tune or two, add some vocal harmonies, get some guest musicians.  Hell, even add some more traditional rock elements like a fitting guitar solo, adding more hooks in the vocals and instrumentation, or just some bridges.  Getting a bassist may help with this by beefing up the rhythms and offering opportunities for interplay between the bass and drums.  Like I’ve stated over and over – Our Ceasing Voice have developed a unique sound, and they’ve got a ton of potential.  If they can carry that approach over to the treatment of individual songs, so that each song on an album stands as its own individual statement, then I think they’ll really start to go places.

Our Ceasing Voice at The Great Wall of China during their last Tour!Our Ceasing Voice at The Great Wall in China!!


Murder Love God “The Negative” Album Review + Video + Stream…

MURDER LOVE GOD

The Negative EP – Digital Download

Self Released – July 11, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed 2007

Location –  Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

Line-Up
Medavon DeRaj’e – vocals, music, production and creation (Murder Love God / LOCKJAW)
Jeremy Gardipee – modular synth and keys (Insekt)

Previous Releases 

2007 “Sell Me Your soul”

2011 “Killing Time V2.0”

2013  “Alter of Evolution”

 

Review:

The first time I heard Murder Love God, was a few months after we had gone to see Milwaukee’s own LOCKJAW for the fourth or fifth time and Medavon had shared an advance with my wife of an album he was working on. While listening, the first thing we noticed was that the feel was even darker and deeper as Medavon was perfecting the blue print for the style known as “Hell Rock”, a mixture of all parts industrial/rock/electronica with a twist of trip-hop thrown in. When recently asked to describe the ethos behind Murder Love God, Medavon replied,

“Undefined and unexplained pieces of rotting parts floating down the sewer to a destination unknown. Excessive thoughts and complaints portrayed through music from a sometimes twisted perspective. These fragments are broken and often bitter but hopefully a few will find them comforting or entertaining.” Each previous release, including the remix’s have been pretty incredible in their own right and hinted at ‘something more’ looming in the shadows, and with this EP, that ‘more’ is finally revealed for the masses. Five tracks, 22+ minutes and this one was released as ‘parts’ over the course of the beginning of this year, coming together as an EP released on 7-4-17.

Live Band Pic

Opener ‘Bipolar’ comes right out of the gate with that familiar staggered tempo that grabs your attention and refuses to let go as the stark-dark twists around you immediately as you grasp onto the consuming keys that seem to linger just out of reach and still, right there as Medavon’s ethereal vocals seem to come at you from all directions as you grab every letter of every word that flows forth and as the body falls into disarray as the song itself, and everything else winds to… nothing.

‘Can’t Look Away’ opens with a slightly faster tempo and Medavon busts right into a rapid-fire vocal that to my ears is a new twist that rides the cascades of ghostly guitar tones delivered with a  surgical precision that gives the body of this track the added feature of ‘plush’ that has never entered the MLG camp in such a manner and even the harmonics mixed with the pick-slides are an indulgence that fills the air to an even higher level of ‘completeness’ to make this one of the most concise songs to come from Medavon’s hand yet.

And then comes ‘Fire Walker’, the longest song contained on this offering and is the pick for the video teaser. This is the exact song to give a complete smattering of the flavors contained here in and shows the growth and purity that musically demonstrates a confidence earned and a maturity in the arrangements and running order that were there before, but not quite to the level that this release is burning with. ‘Cannibal’ is even more of the progressions that while natural, seem second nature here flavored expertly with the seasonings of the life-blood of…

Band Pic 2

Standout track on this one for ME, is the closer ‘Devil’s Favorite’. Shortest offering included, it has everything I look for and devour greedily from a Medavon composition; a relentless beat, full bodied and driving and that special lyrical twist given as only he can do with flair and rage all given with the roar of the master-purveyor of Hell-Rock, delivering with “To taste it, don’t waste it, just touch the sky and shake it…” and the tone is one of need as you have to run along to savor each drop of this glass of absinthe-stained tears to the very last.  If it doesn’t hit you between the eyes once you have traversed from first note to last, Medavon has a response for that as well…

“That is acceptable….my comfort is failed and my soul has been sacrificed by desire. Please enjoy my testimony.” Listen once, drink deep from his veins as he has poured them once more into his art and feel it flow through you… “A musical acid trip on the industrial tip.” he said.

If this is your first sample of, then by all means GET IT ALL like, YESTERDAY!! If you are already one of the ‘aware’, add this to your library and share it with ALL in your personal realm. Support them live if you are given the chance, and keep it LOUD!!

Links:
http://www.facebook.com/darkdrugrecords

http://www.facebook.com/mlgmusic

http://www.soundcloud.com/murderlovegod

http://www.reverbnation.com/murderlovegod


Screamfeeder “Pop Guilt” Album Review + Stream…

Screamfeeder

Pop Guilt – Vinyl // CD // DD

Rogue Wave Records – June 23rd 2017

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

Believe it or not, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I don’t particularly like reviewing stoner rock and doom metal.  Not all the time anyways.  The less I listen to that kind of material, the better, because it just makes it more memorable when I do reach for my old Kyuss albums.

That’s really the crux of the issue for me – those Kyuss albums are indeed old.  It’s hard to believe that I bought Blues For The Red Sun 25 years ago, based solely on an offhand comment that Nirvana’s Krist Novoselik made praising the band in an interview.  It’s even harder to believe that 25 years later, there are still bands that go out of there way to sound like Kyuss.  I can remember thinking that was cool around 1999-2000, when there were only a handful of bands going for that sort of sound, and it was truly exciting every time a new one popped up.  Ah, the Golden Age, it’ll never be the same….Okay, it’s 2017 now, and frankly, I can’t keep up with all the stoner/doom bands coming out, nor do I want to.  It’s like glam rock from the 80’s – there was only so much we could take of it before it was just formulaic, cliche, and ultimately passe.  It’s also simply a case of “too much of a good thing” at this point for me personally.  I like to be a LOT more selective and diverse about what I listen to nowadays.  I’m sure some of you have seen me go off on similar rants in other reviews, so I’ll cut this one short today.

Pro Band Shot

With that all being said, I still have quite the insatiable curiosity when it comes to new music, and I do love writing these here reviews.  So when Taste Nation LLC founder Matthew Thomas ran the idea of reviewing a band named Screamfeeder by me, at first I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.  That name could really suggest anything, any genre.  I listened to about 30 seconds of the first track, “Half Lies”, and immediately told him “I’ll take it!!  This sounds very 90’s indie guitar rock.”  Matthew was kind enough to inform me that this was probably because they were an indie guitar rock band from the 90’s, and they were from Australia, so lo and behold – here we are!!  I’m very fortunate that Matthew puts up with my nonsense, and seems to have good instincts about just how finicky I really am, and that we’ve also got a terrific writing staff here at Taste Nation who are passionate enough to compensate for my disillusionment with certain styles.

I’d heard through the grapevine that Ripple Music owner Todd Severin was going to be starting up a second label, one that focused more on indie rock and shoegaze, and I was really excited to hear this news.  Actually, I’m pretty sure that Todd and I discussed this briefly at one point, in full disclosure.  I listened to a lot of that stuff in the 90’s.  I was a huge fan of Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, The Pixies, The Replacements, The Breeders, Guided By Voices, The Posies and Sugar.  There was something special about these bands that could write a totally sugar-coated melody, and just juxtapose it with over amplified guitar, brash fuzz, and abrasive noise.  I mention this because A) this Screamfeeder album is the first release from Todd’s new label, Rogue Waves, and B) they are definitely cut from the same mold as those bands I so adored in my youth, while they don’t directly sound like any of them.

Screamfeeder formed in Brisbane, Australia in 1991.  They’re were originally a three piece, though their current lineup is composed of Tim Steward on guitar and vocals, Kellie Lloyd on bass and vocals, Dean Shwereb on drums and Darek Mudge on second guitar.  This is the first  that I’ve ever heard of them, which is a real crying shame, because they’ve got quite the back catalog going for them and I would have eaten this up back in the day.  Well….I guess that gives me something to do with all my copious amounts of free time.  Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1992!

Pop Guilt proper is 13 songs, which is a very lucky number, because that’s how many people were seated at the last supper, and it’s also the name of the LP that Fugazi released which combined their first two EP’s.  However, I’ve got two bonus tracks (NOT on the Fugazi record) included in my promo package, which is pretty sweet, especially considering that they’re both just as good as any of the album tracks.  This really isn’t surprising, considering there isn’t a clunker to be found on here, so I’m really not sure what these cats are feeling so guilty about.  My favorite of the bunch is “Got A Feeling.” It’s a driving number written around an upbeat two chord progression which reminds me of Pearl Jam’s “State Of Love And Trust”,  which is my favorite PJ song. (don’t worry haters, they otherwise sound nothing like Pearl Jam whatsoever, and Tim doesn’t sing like Eddie Vedder at all)  Another track that I really love is “Alone In A Crowd”.  It features a more jagged, abrasive main guitar riff, though once Kelly’s dreamy vocals drift in and the beautiful swirls of layered guitars take over, it’s overwhelming. “Sonic Souvenirs” starts off eerily reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr’s MTV classic,  “Out There”, with its blown-out lead guitars and fragments of distorted chords before Kelly’s distinctive vocal style sets the tone. “Karen Trust Me” has a really strange, off kilter ending that even gets a bit on the heavy side.  “I May Have Some Regrets” is the best song that Paul Westerberg never wrote. “Sciatic Heart”, the closing track, is also an early favorite, due to the quirky lyrics and Kelly’s more energetic vocal delivery.  Really, the whole album is ear candy, with no two tracks sounding the same.  Every track stands on its own and has something unique to offer.  I’m not sure who’s written what, though it seems like I generally like the tunes that Kelly sings just a little bit better.

Live Band Shot

If you’re like me and missed out on these guys and gal the first time around, do yourself a favor and check out Pop Guilt if my description sounds at all intriguing.  It’s such a fun listen, and I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those classic summertime records for me, the kind of record that reminds me of cruising around the back-roads with the windows down, meeting up with my friends, lying around soaking up the summer sun and sensing the sweet smell of the newly mowed grass with just nothing particular to do whatsoever but enjoy each other’s company and whatever happened to be playing on the stereo at the time; that magical time in one’s life when we were all still so bright eyed and bushy tailed; every crush is just like first love and every new record just like heaven in our ears.  That’s the kind of mood this music puts me in, and it’s not just nostalgia.  This is something special, a bygone relic from a lost age, fully actualized in our present day.


Bloodnut “Blues from the Red Sons” Album Review & Stream…

Bloodnut 

Blues from the Red Sons – CD // DD 

Self Released:  September 10, 2016

Reviewed by Aaron “Red Beard” Wall

 

Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand Bloodnut (slang term for redhead) have come to pillage, with heads of fire, and hearts aflame. With bellies and barrels full of rum, buckets and flagons filled with mead, and with axes swinging for flesh with unbridled abandon. A filthy, swilling, sweaty, gang of gingers…Doug McFarlane on bass/vocals, Ty Boniface on drums, and Doug Robertson on guitar have come to party to prepare for Viking war. Legend has it that us gingers have no soul…legend, is all that it is. This band is pure grit, total grime, with a boogieing soul. Nuts and blood…That’s what Bloodnut has.

Band Logo

Opener ‘Agent Orange (In the Eyes of Thine Enemies)’ starts with a dobro slide guitar twang, then boom. Fuzzy, sludge tones hit you square in the kisser. Sounds like the cut up, younger cousin of Eyehategod. Massive repeating riffs meld with a bluesy stoner lead as the song builds up to the crescendo of thickness and whiskey soaked gravel throated vocals. Perfect little primer for whats to come on this slab of heavy.

Next three tracks, ‘Drop Dead Redhead,’ ‘Vitamin D,’ and the awesomely titled, ‘The Amber Reign Remains,’ are punk sludge barn-burners that get the carefree viking party vibe going with rawkus effect. The production is raw and powerful. Fits the aesthetic of the band and the songs to perfection. Energy level is high, beer and shots are flowing. We all know this is the preparation for war and the celebration of planned victory.

‘Witches Mountain’ is a cross breed of Queens of the Stone Age and old school Clutch. Neil Fallon with a mouthful of gravel. Thundering drums and liquor soaked riffage.  A boot stompin’ song of the highest degree.

‘Subtlety in the Street’ is a lumbering, leaning tower that could come down at any second. The fun is coming to an end and the battle plans are being nailed down.

The record takes a much different feel and emotion from ‘Fire Giant’ onward. Shit gets serious. Play time is over. The song starts with one of the many standout riffs of the record and then kicks it into a heavier gear. Very reminiscent of old Scissorfight.  The chorus is gruff yet catchy. ‘Fire Giant’ is an extremely well crafted song…as is the next jam, ‘The Red Face Blues’.

‘The Red Faced Blues’ is a cavalcade of sludged-out stoner with an emphasis on groove. Weaving and twisting with a heavy punk ethos.

This leads us to the main course ‘Blues from the Red Sons. ‘ The masterpiece of a trilogy entitled ‘The Battle of Bannockburn.’ Part one of the battle is titled Valhalla. The track begins with a palm muted riff that pummels as gang vocals shout ‘Valhalla rise, Valhalla we rise’ then the amazing refrain of “You die by an axe to the chest. On Valkyrie Way you’ll be taken to the halls of the slaves.” makes you wanna stand up,  grab your horned helmet and axe and start to visualize the war that is beginning. Redhead united we stand. Redhead united we fight. Redhead united shall destroy. Redhead united will prevail. Part 1-Valhalla is the battle cry.

Part 2 – Send in the Berzerkers. Stirling Castle is in their sights and nothing will stop the spilling of blood. Chomping at the bit the Berzerkers are released and let out the war cry as they form a Schiltron against the cavalry. Clever tactics must be implemented as the Berzerkers are outnumbered 2 to 1. ‘Bite the shield, drench the field, in your blood.” Riff upon riff, thunders of rhythm, and savage screams  push the warriors onward to the objective.

Part 3 – Beneath the Kilt ends this three part journey of medieval massacre. This is the triumph, the pride of a bloody battle. The exhilaration of victory. Bagpipes blaring in celebration.  ‘The Battle of Bannockburn’ is an amazing conclusion to this stellar record.

Bloodnut take you on an journey of another time. A time of brutality and strength. A story of sludge, punk, stoner, and noise. ‘Blues from the Red Sons’ slowly sucks you in with some fun and good time tunes on the first half, then take it up to a serious heartfelt, and extremely powerful level on the second half. From ‘Fire Giant’ to the end of the album, is a helluva gnarly ride. Strap on your kilt, grab your weapon and some bagpipes. All Hail Valhalla! From one Bloodnut to another…fantastic record.  Highly recommended for all heavy music fans.

***10% of All Album Sales to go to Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme***

Orangatang


Fire Down Below “Viper, Vixen, Goddess, Saint” Re-Issue Album Review & Stream…

FIRE DOWN BELOW 

Viper, Vixen, Goddess, Saint – Vinyl // CD // DD

Ripple Music – Release Date:  June 23rd, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Location – Ghent, Belgium

Band Members – Sam Nuytens drums // Jeroen Van Troyenrhythm guitar and vocals // Kevin Gernaey – lead guitar // Bert Wynsberghe – bass guitar

When asked to describe themselves, FIRE DOWN BELOW says, quote “We are amp-hugging, hard-hitting, fuzz-loving, ear-splitting, riff-worshiping rock ‘n rollers.” En-quote.  And they aren’t kidding!!  This album being the first offering from this four-piece, they present 39 minutes of pure stoner/doom/psych/unadulterated rock-n-fucking-roll wrapped into seven tracks that will melt your brain like the smoke of an opium-den.  You are instantly consumed with all of the bass rumbling, drum skin splitting, power chord ripping slathered in lead crescendos that shake your core in the essence of what HEAVY music is defined as, and then taking you further down that road  than you have ever been before.

Pro Band Pic

Listing their influences from TOOL to ELDER, as well as from THE BEATLES to DEFTONES, there is little doubt as to the intent here. Instrumental opener ‘El Viento Del Desierto’, translated as ‘The Wind Of The Desert’, sets the tone as you settle in for this trip and you are greeted with the sounds of including crickets and the ‘cracking’ of a beverage as a loopy acoustic slide guitar permeates the air around you until ‘Through Dust And Smoke’ hits you in the chest with both barrels from a muted chord progression to full-on power chords rip it up with the body as plush and that vocal steps tall letting you know his stand stating “I don’t want to hear the news, shut your mouth before you speak.” and with a rolling snare, the real ride has begun because “The less you know, the less you feel.” Thick bass pulsing flowing in absolute symmetry with the thundering time-sigs and the spell has been cast as you grab onto each echo of “Shut up” at the end until ‘Roadburner’ cracks the sky with an almost tribal tempo until the harmonic dissonance takes control again with this faster paced romp that is indeed a perfect road-trip track that would probably induce a need to get it hammer-down with this tempo, album title right in the verse of, around the middle. The last half of this opus is a guitar lover’s wet dream filled with all the meandering you could want amidst time shifts galore.

Gears shift dramatically as ‘Universe Crumble’ comes on with a haunting single note that warbles slightly until 25 seconds in when an ultra-fuzzed up/phased out bass line joins in with an air of calm as the hand-drum presence and a ringing guitar tone take hold with an almost GODSMACK feel until the two minute mark when the body shifts.  Rising out of the mist that had been lingering at your feet and the cadence is one that forces you to move in time, matching the tempo as your heart races to keep pace.  When the ethereal sounding vocal finally enters at the four minute mark, the dream-like feel takes a turn to the heavy with a bombastic resonance not expected but perfectly suiting this opus, carrying you along until the softness fades back in with all the glory so befitting this song.

‘Resurreccion’ is another instrumental that is absolution perfection in it’s passion-filled purity and flows as smooth as glass right into closing tome ‘The Mammoth’ that is as majestic as the whole of this record and clocks in over 11 minutes itself and is the embodiment of the sum of the rest of this album, letting each member showcase themselves while fitting in seamlessly with each other creating what can only be described as a force to be reckoned with. Standout track for me, difficult as it is to select just ONE, but the one I kept going back to was ‘Dashboard Jesus’. With the wind in the background as that drumline starts your feet to instantly tapping or in my case, my fingertips keeping time along, that jangly guitar line that rolls on for several measures before the tale of the road takes off from the line and I found myself reaching for the volume every time to try to get it loud enough!!

For a debut effort, I am blown away beyond and hope this a sign of what is to come from these guys, the album will be re-released via their new distributor Ripple Records after they worked out a deal in January 2017 and let’s hope they make it to our shores to afford to witness this band in the glory of LIVE!! Buy the record as soon as you see it, share it with every set of ears you know and support them if they come anywhere close… keep it LOUD!!

Band Logo


EL COLOSSO “Pathways” – Album Review, Music Video & Album Stream…

EL COLOSSO

Pathways – Vinyl // CD // DD

Self Released – released March 14, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

Straight out of Melbourne, Australia comes EL COLOSSO, featuring the talents of vocalist Matt Cooper (Bring On The Junta), guitar of Benny James (Dirty York / King Wolf), bass guitar of Craig Fryers (Mushroom Giant / Dive Into Ruin) and drums from  Peter Hayden (Free To Run / The Hybernators). There have been two previous releases from this band, April 2016’s EP “Cannonball” and the advance single ‘Leatherhead’, the first advance from, released March 2017.

Seven tracks and 39 minutes of absolute rock-and-fucking-roll madness is what this record delivers. Listing their influences with all of the usual suspects from Hendrix to HELMET, from THIN LIZZY to LED ZEPPELIN and even fellow countrymen AC/DC and from the first sputtering guitar notes of opener ‘Doom Boogie’ of swelling feedback pummeling with a sonic FORCE of power chords, bass rumble run amok and almost break the skins heaviness of drumheads and cymbals, all within the first minute plus before the REAL body of the song kicks in.

 

Pro Band Pic

 

You can tell this is not going to be your typical 70’s revamped regurgitation but something meaner, louder and hungrier than anything to grace your ears in some time. Halfway through, the pace evens out as we are told that “You are, you are what I wanted” and then back to the running pace that stops for but a split second before that churning guitar and race-fast drumline jump on the bass-punches of ‘Leatherhead’ makes you instantly acknowledge that this was the perfect choice as the lead off to get this record out there. ‘King Ink’ comes in with an almost SOUNDGARDEN stop/start technique and that could almost be CHRIS CORNELL at the mic, the delivery as fierce and powerful as any AUDIOSLAVE song.  It is the absolute perfect touch for this track carrying all the way through to the screaming solo break at the end.

‘The Hunted’ is more of that stoner approach of a slower tempo with fills galore and WAY-fuzzed bass line that is never predictable but holds the band like the thickest icing holds the layers of cake together creating the most delicious sensation as we swallow each crumb eagerly.

The last three in particular really stand out as the high points of this album, are in the perfect running order as a three piece and I would love to see them performed live one after the other. Title track ‘Pathways’ has a rollicking straight ahead pace that made me think of Aussie powerhouse MANTISSA with the alternating phrasing and multi-layered back vox thrown in with an over modulated out-wah pedaled fury that rips right along with the chorus, note for note, beat for beat. Followed by an electrified version of ‘Caught In Limbo’ with the title as just ‘Limbo’ for this album that is the same song but polished and even more emotive than the original, showing that this outfit is serious and ready to take it to the next level with a confidence that rings LOUD from this reworking.

Closing track ‘Moving Mountains’ is the masterpiece of this outing and is the ultimate ‘jam’ track filled with all of the pieces of that puzzle, each note flowing into the next drum beat through the lumbering ever present low end allowing each member to stand tall in their individual roles, stronger as one unit and the sheer passion and strength in the vocal delivery that comes from deep in the bones rises high and clear as crystal in this tome that has all of the heart ripping guitar soloing that screams a millions words never spoken, slicing to the core with each rise and fall of this almost 10 minute bookend to a release that is sure to be one talked about in the annals of this year.

If you have ANY love for music, you need to own this IMMEDIATELY and absolutely MUST  get it into the ears of all around you… catch them live if you are given the opportunity and let’s help them blow this one UP to get them on distant shores… the rest of the world DESERVES to witness the pure glory that IS EL COLOSSO… keep it LOUD!!


LIFE OF AGONY Premieres ‘World Gone Mad’ Official Video; Tour Dates

One of 2017’s most anticipated album releases is the long awaited return of NYC’s Life Of Agony who will drop ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain‘ via Napalm Records on April 28. Their first new studio offering in twelve years sees the iconic hardcore/alt. rock band returning with the next step in their musical evolution. Early release material, such as this new Official Video from the band for the song ‘World Gone Mad‘, sees them continuing the same melodic-tinged hard rock of earlier releases like Ugly (1995) and Soul Searching Sun (1997).

Returning on the new record are longtime members Alan Robert (bass), Joey Z (guitar), and Sal Abruscato (drums). One of the perhaps more obvious differences in Life Of Agony is vocalist Mina Caputo, the name taken by vocalist Keith Caputo who announced being Transgender in 2011. Mina’s vocals are as spot on as they have ever been and with the new era of L.O.A. burgeoning now in 2017, will definitely appeal to longtime fans of the bands’ as well as new ones.

Life Of Agony will embark an a round of tour dates beginning near the end of this month. Upcoming dates and locations are listed below along with the band’s earlier video for the title track of the new album, ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain‘.

4/27: Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
4/28: New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
4/29: Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
5/12: Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theatre
5/13: Wantagh, NY  @ Mulcahy’s
5/19: Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon
5/20: Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom

– Pat ‘Riot Whitaker


NARCS “A Thinking Animal” – Album Review & Stream…

NARCS

A Thinking Animal – Vinyl // CD // DD // Merch

Clue Records – July 8th, 2016

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

It may come as a surprise to some people given my pedigree, but I’ve got a real soft spot for the guitar driven indie/alternative rock of the 90’s.  My favorite band and biggest influence in high school was The Smashing Pumpkins. When you really think about it, it’s not that surprising at all.  Growing up in Western Mass, some of our most prominent local bands were The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, and Sebadoh.  Also, growing up in a small town with no music scene whatsoever, none of us realized that it wasn’t cool to like both Metallica and R.E.M.  Our musical tastes were allowed to develop organically, outside of the confines of the types of local scenes that often promote purism, elitism, and insularity, a hive mind whose tastes are established by a few strong personalities within the group who have a strong influence over what’s defined as “cool”, and what’s musical taboo.

What I liked about these indie bands were that they were distinctively guitar-centric bands, and they were distinctively rock bands, with an emphasis on distortion, volume, big rhythm sections to back up the guitars, and elements of anger mixed with other various emotions within the songwriting.  Which transitions us right into NARCS, the little Leeds U.K. band that could.  Wow, that was a rather short tangent for me, I may have to drudge up another one later in the review!!  The first sentence of this paragraph accurately describes their sound, though I’d obviously like to get into it a lot more.  I’m not much of a fan of one sentence reviews, although I do believe the review I wrote for Metallica’s new record was right on the money, and distinctively wrapped up everything I had to say on the matter in a single sentence: “Wow, Metallica tries really, really hard….”  I’m just quoting it here for posterity, and to also start my second tangent, which is basically to say that more and more, I’m realizing I don’t want to fall into any kind of formula when I review records.  I used to talk a little about each individual song, because a lot of other reviews do that and it seems impressive.  It also makes the reviews lengthy, and maybe too much so for a society that’s been conditioned to have such short attention spans.  I’m largely going to start avoiding this practice, because it is formulaic, and it’s redundant.  Plenty of other reviewers do it, and I’ve said time and time again that their opinions are just as valid as my own.  Read their reviews.  I’m not taking it totally off the books, as it may make sense at times, just like my Metallica review makes perfect sense for me in the context of that record.

 

Pro Band Shot

 

What I’d like to really get into during this review is a point of contention: I do read other reviews because I’m insatiable curious about the thoughts and opinions of others, and what keeps reoccurring is this tendency to refer to NARCS as a grunge band.  And I don’t really like that, perhaps because for me, grunge pretty much died with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind.  Seriously, from my perspective that’s the nail in grunge’s coffin.  To me, grunge was the sound of early Soundgarden, Melvins, Green River, Mudhoney, and TAD. These bands initially recorded their records loudly and cheaply, often with Jack Endino, and often releasing them with Sub Pop.  They tended to mix elements of punk and metal in a way that differed vastly from crossover thrash. These records came out in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and yes, I’d include Nirvana’s Bleach as a prime example of an actual grunge record.  Later on, the term became applied to just about ANY band that came out of Seattle in the record industry’s attempt to figure out what in the fuck had actually happened with Nevermind, to replicate that magical yet allusive formula, and most of the aforementioned bands got major label contracts and mainstream-ized their sounds.  Of course, this also led labels to sign just about any band with “alternative”/underground credibility, which led to the term “grunge” also being applied to bands like The Meat Puppets, Cell, The Screaming Trees, and Nudeswirl.  I can accept that, and in this terms, I can also accept that NARCS are a “grunge” band.  They’re loud, swanky, aggressive, quirky, catchy, noisy, and draw from a wide variety of influences.  However, another part of me thinks that it’s really a disservice and a bit lazy to call them a “grunge” band.  They certainly draw influence from almost all of the bands that I’ve listed, and their sound is extremely 90’s centric.  With that being said, I can hear also hear elements of The Jesus Lizard, Unwound, and Fugazi in certain songs, and none of those bands fit very neatly into the grunge category.  There’s also a lot of shoegazing going on in terms of the production and the way that the guitars are layered.  Some of the stereo panning is quite lovely.

The vocals are also quite lovely and subdued at times, though at other times, they’re snarling, over-the-top blasts of bile and vinegar.  For me, they’re one of the high points, and frontman Wilko (not to be confused with the critically acclaimed band that I do not really care for) is to be commended for his performances.  The juxtaposition of his soft, lulling indie adulation and roaring punk sneer is one of the  main things that makes this record sound so vital and so immediate, and his performances always mirror the instrumentation. Wilko should also be commended for the passion of his lyrics, and their political relevancy.  England needs more bands like this right now, hell….we all need more bands like this right now.

Live Band Shot

Despite that no two songs sound all that much alike, there’s a strange coherency to the record, largely in part due to how eerily the guitars, vocals, bass and drums are always clearly on the same page stylistically.  It’s rather magical to listen to.  At 11 songs in 43 minutes, NARCS don’t overstay their welcome, and it’s the perfect length for vinyl.  I feel like the supremacy of the CD in the 90’s often led to albums that were overlong, had filler, weird “hidden” tracks that were ultimately annoying, etc.  You’re not going to find any of that on A Thinking Animal, just another demonstration that these definitely were using their heads when they made this record.  It’s aptly named.  Do yourself a favor and check out the single “Pigs”, which I’m sure is up on YouTube.  It’s a pretty accessible place to start.  If you really want to hear something wild, see if you can find some of the more acetic tracks like “Mile Die” or “Empathy The Dog.”  Everything is on YouTube these days, so you can make up your mind if this is an album that’s worth your continued attentions beyond reading this review.  For me, I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t hear this last year when it came out, though they were largely off my radar.  I’m seeing an extremely bright future for these Leeds lads, as long as they can keep thinking like animals.