Frozen Planet…1969 “From The Center Of A Parallel Universe” Album Review + Stream…

FROZEN PLANET…1969

From The Centre Of A Parallel Universe – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Pepper Shaker Records – released August 30, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed:
Early 2012

Location:
Sydney / Canberra, Australia

Personnel:
Guitars – Paul Attard

Bass – Lachlan Paine

Drums – Frank Attard

Previous Releases:
“Frozen Planet….1969” (2012)

“Lost Traveller Chronicles, Volume 1” (2014)

“Lost Traveller Chronicles, Volume 2” (2015)

“Electric Smokehouse” EP (2017)

 

 

First, a bit of background:

When asked to describe how this band came to be, they collectively answered, quote “We are a band called Frozen Planet…1969. The emphasis is on improvisation. No vocals, just straight-out instrumental jamming.” Enquote.  It was basically a side-project for the three individuals as Paul and Frank had been playing in the stoner-doom band, Mother Mars while Lachlan was playing in the Canberra, Aussie heavy rock trio, Looking Glass. Having played their first show in February of 2014, the band has only played a handful of shows, each consisting of a 30-40 minute jam session. Each individual show is unique, no rehearsals needed. According to Frozen Planet…1969′s Facebook presence, quote “Every time the band gets together in the studio there will be two or three separate jams, with each jam usually clocking in at anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes. The editing and mixing process (done by drummer / producer Frank Attard) is very important for the band in order to capture the most effective and cohesive moments from the jam sessions.” Enquote. Certainly explains how they are seeming so prolific and that is NEVER a bad thing, especially with the caliber of music offered up here.

Band Shot

Five songs clocking in at just over 43 minutes, combined to give you the present needed to further melt your brain, opening with ‘Signals (Channeling….)’ and flowing into hyper-fuzzed, hyper tempoed, bass screaming in the thickest rumble heard as ‘Celestial Gambler’ races in front of you as you sprint to keep close, psychedelic ramblings encasing you in all of the Timothy Leary glory possible without the electric-Kool-Aid, jazz fills in tow and that lumbering bass line that commands you to follow during this 11 minute romp across that astral horizon looming ahead. Complete with an ending that sums up the tale of no words with an exclamation point that is absolute perfection and fades to a slow black.

‘Through Hell’s Kaleidoscope, Parts I & II’ is a quick fade in with a jangly, bouncy bass line and what can only be described as the ultra-spaced out panache of synchronicity divine as these three weave complete visual tapestries with not a word uttered, only mood and atmosphere to give your mind the things necessary to see what they are saying with each note and flick of the wrist. As the warbling chords of ‘The Lady And The Archer’ come forth with a more even handed pace than previous. That presence of emotional purity is still flowing right from the fingertips directly into the sub-conscious as you can’t help but ride the ripples in the air that circles you as you take this all in.

Vinyl Shot

Closer, ‘Ancient Wings Taking Flight’ brings back the frenetic tempos blended with the spaced-out string bending that leads to the perfect summation of not only this record, but of the precision musicality delivered under the guise of a jam-band that delivers EVERY time.

Get this record NOW, grab everything else you can find by these guys and play it to the Heavens and beyond!! Support them live if they come anywhere close and keep it LOUD!!

Promo Image


Frozen Planet…1969 – Featured Video Teaser + 1st Single – New Album…

Frozen Planet…1969

From The Centre of a Parallel Universe – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Headspin Records // Pepper Shaker Records – August 30th, 2017

 

From the Centre of a Parallel Universe_Album Cover

 

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……

 


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!!


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.


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!!


Album Review – Frozen Planet…1969 “Electric Smokehouse”

Frozen Planet….1969

Electric Smokehouse – Release January 11th, 2017

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.

 

Electric Smokehouse_Album Cover

 

 

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.

 

Band Shot

 

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….

By Andy “Dingo Ate My Baby” Beresky


Album Review – Child “Blueside”

Child

Blueside

Kozmik Artifactz Records – DD/Vinyl/CD – December 2nd!

 

Logo and Album Image

 

A lot of times I don’t particularly like a band’s name.  I like the name Child for these guys.  They play unabashed, slow-burning, soulful blues.  Blues is really the birthplace of rock, so to think of this Australian three piece as the child of the blues….yeah, that works for me.  What I think totally doesn’t work is their biography, which is something I also often have problems with.  I understand that it’s a PR person’s job to try to hit to all fields, to try to cross promote, though there’s also crossing a line that just doesn’t fit or feel right.  In this case, it’s calling Child a mixture of doom and blues.  There’s no doom to be found here. Zero. None.  These guy have more in common with Jimi Hendrix, Free, Firebird and Gov’t Mule than they do Black Sabbath or Saint Vitus.  Just tell it like it is – no seasoned listener or reviewer is going to listen to this album and think, “Oh wow, this is really doomy!!” I’ll admit that there are a couple heavier parts thrown in for variety, though that isn’t the focus, and it just doesn’t have the feel of doom.  Heaviness and doom aren’t mutually inclusive.  I know “doom” is hot right now, though it’s okay not to be a doom band in this day and age.  Blueside is a great album for exactly what it is, though to connect it with doom is extremely misleading, and I’d never want to intentionally mislead whoever happens to read these reviews.

Child’s sound is primal, thick, fat and full.  There’s a laid back, deep and ever-present groove to the five tracks on this album.  The vocals of Mathias Northway are soaring and soulful, flying above his guitar’s classic blues licks and the rhythm section’s relentless roar.  And man….can this dude rip it up on guitar when it’s time to solo – his leads are like liquid, super fluid and thoroughly expressive.  Drummer Michael Lowe and bassist Danny Smith are equally impressive, providing a swinging backdrop for the songs.  Each member of this trio really knows when to step up when it’s time to stand out, and more importantly, when to just stay in the pocket of the relentless groove.

 

Cool Band Shot_Logo

 

The first track, “Nailed To The Ceiling”, starts out pretty mellow, emphasizing the strength of the vocals.  It slowly building momentum before exploding into a bubbling climax of wah wah guitar and thick riffs.  There’s some swirling organs in the background that reinforce the soulful side of the song.  This track pretty much sets the pace and template for the album, and Child don’t really deviate from that formula, which is a good thing.  Why fix it if it ain’t broken, right??  Sure, the second song, “It’s Cruel To Be Kind” brings the heavier guitar parts to the forefront early in the song, though it quickly breaks down into some clean, Hendrix inspired hooks before kicking the dirt back in for a killer chorus.  What makes this track are the constant shifts in dynamics and intensity, which are really Child’s strong suit.  While the songs are all well arranged, they’re relatively simple blues rock numbers, and they rely heavily on the band’s performances to breath life into them.  They pick up the pace a bit at the end of this one, and cap things off with an extended fuzzed out jam.

“Blue Side Of The Collar” is the shortest track on the album, clocking in at around six minutes.  As you’d probably expect by now, it starts off with laid back, with classic and clean blues licks, and builds up to a wall of distorted guitars on top of the throbbing, pulsing rhythm section.  The vocals really shine on this one, especially in the way that the guitar plays off of and echoes their sentiments.  “Dirty Woman” breaks the mold a bit by starting things off nice and heavy from the start, and has some really cool female backing vocals that make for a different feel.  Child also punctuate some parts of the song with little organ breaks that add a lot also. It’s my favorite track on the album, because it rocks a bit harder than the others, and the intro riff that rears its head from time to time throughout the song doesn’t just sound like a standard from the established blues canon.  Naturally, they break it down for a nice jam in the middle, with a sweet clean guitar solo that allows the rhythm section and the organ to shine through a bit more.  This builds once again into a momentous crescendo of full throttle riffs and leads, ending in some spaced out effects that lead into the final track, “The Man.”  This is the longest track, and by now, you should pretty much know what to expect.  It’s a slow, swinging blues rock track with all the elements I’ve already listed numerous times, so I’ll spare you the repetition at this point.  What I can say is that about three quarters of the way through the song, the drop the album’s heaviest riff followed by some of its most intense soloing.  By the end of the track, all three of these dudes are just going nuts on their instruments, and it’s fine conclusion to the album.

If you’re a blues or classic rock aficionado, I don’t see why you wouldn’t love this album, and while I can see how this may not appeal at all to fans of extreme metal, there’s an intensity and immediacy to Blueside that could easily win over those who are more inclined to heavier fare.  My one critique is that I’d like to see them break away from simple blues rock, and perhaps add in some more progressive elements or quirky songwriting, though that’s really a minor complaint.  Child do what they do, and they do it very well.  This is only their second album, so it’s going to be very interesting to see where they take things from here on in.

 

Reviewed by Andy “Dinkweed” Beresky

 


Review – The Balls ‘Self Tilted’ Album

The Balls
‘The Balls’
Self Released – CD/DD

 

Band Logo

 

In the last review I wrote, I essentially defended a band’s decision to name themselves something silly and/or generic. I’m not going to do that here. I’m going to break character here a bit, because this part isn’t exactly a review, it’s friendly advice: change your fucking name. Immediately, while you’re not branded with it yet. This is your opportunity to do so with the minimum of consequences. It’s not only a stupid name, it not only lacks any descriptive quality to reference the band’s sound, it’s not only completely ubiquitous to the point of rendering any Google search to find any info on your band completely pointless, there are also other, more established bands named The Balls….for some odd reason. One is some self-proclaimed old guys playing instrumental biker prog surf rock, whatever that is, and they’ve been around awhile. One of them is from Worcester Mass, pretty close to home for me, and they’re some kind of juvenile sex joke punk band, for which the name is actually fitting. My 2 cents – let them have it, you’re better off without it. You’re risking the potential to be confused with, lumped in with, or even sued by one of these existing acts. See the bands Middian And Husky for details on that last bit….

With that out of the way, I can take off my asshole hat, and dawn my reviewer hat. As indicated above, I had a bit of a hard time tracking down any actual information on The Balls, though I believe that they’re a power trio from Melbourne Australia. I have no idea who is in the band, or who plays what. They sound like a meat and potatoes rock band coming from the old school stoner rock tradition, with the post-Kyuss style of vocals, down-tuned guitars, and a big rhythm section. The singer reminds me a bit of the guy from Dozer. I’m not a huge fan of that style of vocals, though I tolerate them because they’re also ubiquitous when it comes to this style. That being said, the vocals on this debut album are The Balls strongest suit.

Pic of Band

 

The album kicks things off with “4th Of July”, a ripping riff-fest with some dark, heavy vibes racing through the melodies. It’s got a propulsive groove that’s set in motion by a bass intro before the guitar goes full throttle. We’re talking about that kind of up-tempo biker rock that Orange Goblin so effectively harnessed with their breakthrough album, The Big Black. In my mind, this is the territory where these guys are at their best. Throughout the course of the album, they definitely try a few different approaches stylistically. The second tune, “Not A Word”, is a bit more mid-tempo, though it retains the dark melodic senses and highlights the soaring vocals. They lose me a bit with the third song, “Runaway”, as it’s a bit more plodding during the verses and a bit more buttrock in the chorus. It’s a partying, AC/DC kind of tune that reminds me of the first Bad Wizard album, bare-bones, bluesy and mean, though I for one miss the darker overtones.

Things slow down and get a bit more atmospheric and slow with “I Forget”, which showcases a bit of the singer’s range and versatility in the lower registers as he croons through the first portion of the tune. They follow that up with another slow burning ballad, “Tragedy”, which once again features some most triumphant vocals in the chorus and a decent yet minimalistic guitar solo, one of the album’s few, and an addictive, groove-laced ending. They bring things back to the quicker tempos with the last songs, a one-two punch of “The Easy Truth”, which is easily the album’s heaviest (and shortest) track, and then “Alibi”, the album’s longest track. “The Easy Truth” is my easily favorite track on the album, as the guitar work is the most distinctive and original, the singing is really over the top in that blown out, shredding your vocal chords kind of way, and the arrangements aren’t predictable. It covers a lot of ground for such a short tune. “Alibi” is pretty much in the same vein as “4th Of July” stylistically, although more drawn out and dramatic in the spacious ending.

This is a solid debut from an up and coming band that has a lot going for them. It’s obvious that they’re a newer band trying to figure out what works for them, and I’d personally like to hear a bit more fretboard pyrotechnics from the guitar department. Adding a second lead guitarist could be a smart move, adding oomph to the overall sound while allowing for some more fiery, energetic solos and clever arrangements. That’s just me though, as what they’re doing now is working well enough to expand upon. If you’re into any of the bands that I’ve name dropped throughout the review, do yourself a solid and give these guys a listen.

Reviewed By Andy “Dylan Thomas” Beresky
Editor – Taste Nation LLC