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.
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!!
Greeting tasters this is Terry the Ancient One. For the last few days now I have been listening to Arcadea the new “S/T” debut album by the super trio made up of drummer // vocalist Brann Dailor (Mastodon), Keyboardist Core Atoms of (Zruda & Gaylord) and Keyboardist // Guitarist Raheem Amlani (Withered & Scarab). Having not even learned of Brann Dailor’s new band until recently, I had no clue what I was going to be listening to. The Result is a visionary, 10 song synth odyssey that was recorded at Orange Peel Studios in Atlanta, GA. The self-titled debut record will see its release via Relapse Records this June.
With song titles like ‘Army of Electrons’, and ‘Through The Eye of Pisces’ I figured this would be Space Rock or some kind of Heavy Psych. But what I heard took me completely by surprise when I realized this was not just Space Rock or Heavy Psych.
A concept album Arcadea has said envisions a future 5 billion years from now, where the impending collision of galaxies creates a new order of planets. Where cold, distant moons pledge alliance to new suns and expanding gas giants implode into black holes. Ancient drones, forever adrift, record toxic tales of love between dying stars. Where lifeforms in suspended animation, dream among the ice rings of Saturn and cosmic war wages among gods and planets. It is in this universe that Arcadea reign supreme as the last surviving space wizards since the final extinction.
While some power trio purists may be butt hurt there are no fuzzy guitars or ponderously slow and sludge laden bass lines. Rather, those who love progressive, heavy psychedelic rock, space rock, and electronica will love this album. Unlike some electronic driven rock music Arcadea does not sound plinky plonky or overly light and airy. Like The AlanParsons Project of aulde, Brann, Core, Raheem prodigiously weave a tapestry of sound . Listeners will feel like they are taking a ride through space and time through a tapestry of psychedelic soundscapes. To get the best effect I would recommend using a pair of headphones unless you have a kick ass stereo.
Kingnomad is a band out of northern Sweden, and they don’t really mention their actual hometown on any of their biographical information, only that they’re from a small village. I like that, a little mystery right off the bat, especially for a band with supposed occult leanings. I use the word “supposed” because it’s clear from this foursome’s bio that they’re a bunch of down-to-earth dudes in it for the ha-ha’s, not hardcore Satanists intent on destroying the universe by hurling curses from Ancient Grimoire of black magic. That’s fine and dandy, though I’m not sure how many of you caught the recent blog post from the fabulous Invisible Oranges author Joseph Shafer, entitled “Ten Metal Clichés We Can Do Without.” I’m going to doing something that I’ve never done, and link it here for posterity, because it really spoke to me: http://www.invisibleoranges.com/ten-metal-cliches-we-can-do-without/
Give it a read. Go ahead. You might hate the article, and you might hate me for agreeing with the vast majority of what the author has to say. Why do I bring this up within the context of this review? Well, that’s kind of my thing, isn’t it? No album or band exists within a bubble or a vacuum, and I firmly believe that context and relevancy are extremely important. I’m also a firm believer in the Zeitgeist, the “spirit of the age”, and if an album doesn’t in some way, shape or form speak to that spirit, then it’s simply not for me.
I may constantly chastise myself for my tangential reviews, though there’s a method to my madness. I have two diatribes to launch into for this review, and luckily, they flow pretty well from one to the other.
Firstly, did you read the Invisible Oranges article? If you’ve read some of my reviews, you’ll probably know by now that I’m highly critical of quite a number of these things listed. I remember seeing the title of this article and thinking “Man, they had better have Satan as the number one cliché or I’m going to be extremely disappointed in humanity.” Thank you, Invisible Oranges, for delivering the goods – I’ve had enough disappointments with the whole of humanity as of late.
Kingnomad manage to encapsulate and incorporate three of the items on the cliché list: Black Sabbath worship, Satan, and Cthulhu. I’d like to emphasize that the aforementioned article calls for moderation and thoughtfulness, a “less is more” approach rather than an outright abolition of some of metal’s most traditionally treasured golden calves and sacred cows. I could use plenty of examples from occultism and esoteric traditions to illustrate the validity of this argument, though I’ll instead drudge up one from contemporary popular culture. In the Star Wars mythos, one of the main ideological differences between the Jedi and the Sith is their interpretation of the Force, beyond the light and dark sides of it. The Jedi believe that the Force is like a candle, and that a bright burning flame can be used to light many more candles, while the Sith believe that the Force is more like venom, and to spread it out too thinly is to dilute its potency. When it comes to metal, I’d have to agree with the Sith on this one. The reason that lyrical subject matters that are traditionally held as taboo carry so much weight and power is their relative scarcity. It’s the fact that they’re not the norm that makes them so alluring. The ritualistic and artistic deconstruction of societal barriers releases a wave of liberating cultural energy that can be harnessed into transformative effects. That’s the basis for a whole system of esoteric practice that’s intrinsically linked to metal, The Left Hand Path (let’s save that particular can of worms for another review, though it is worth mentioning here). However, as these themes become overused and ubiquitous, they lose their ability to shock and awe; their potency is diluted. They cease to be the language of counterculture, heterodoxy and ultimately liberation, and instead become the manifestation of a mindless adherence to a tired and cliched orthodox blueprint. Anything that holds the potential for liberation also carries with it the threat of oppression when it transitions from the realms of the fantastic and abnormal into just another lame-and-tame inevitability of the mundane world.
In that regard, Kingnomad are not one of the more egregious offenders, as their references to Lovecraft and Lucifer His Dark Majesty are used sparingly and light-heartedly. The band openly admits that they’re in it for the fun, and that’s just fine with me. Ghost set the stage for the whole “Scooby Doom” school of metal, and it looks like the good times are here to roll. As far as the Black Sabbath worship, well…. if you’re playing metal and feel like you’re not indebted and influenced by The Sabs, then you’re doing it wrong. I’ve attempted to defy the unquestioned supremacy of Sabbath for many years now, to cast doubt on their reign in hopes of finding other worthy usurpers to the crown who’ve lurked in their shadows, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Black Sabbath are kings, lords and masters wherever The Heavy is concerned. This you can trust. Plenty of their contemporary proto-metal protégées from the late 60’s and early 70’s left their marks and signposts, though none blazed a trail the way that Ozzy and crew did from the moment that the iconic tri-tone of their title track was committed to tape.
On Mapping The Inner Void, Kingnomad mine the Sabbath treasure troves for what that they’re worth, though their incorporation of the more psychedelic elements of bands like Witch and Mammatus sets them in a place firmly above a mere Sabbath clone. They’ve got more of that indie rock vibe that started creeping in from the neo-psych movement that Dead Meadow brought to the forefront of the stoner scene. They’re able to use some of those fuzzy, major key riffs that Dead Meadow pulled off with such poise on their debut and also dive into some of the more nuanced, layered sounds that made Feathers such a breakthrough album. They’re also going for some of the pop hooks and harmonized vocals that turned Ghost and Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats songs into such mesmerizing ear candy.
Herein lies my second tangent, which is the continued resistance to the melding of the metal and indie worlds. I bring this up because Kingnomad wisely call themselves “doom rock”, rather than doom metal. This may seem like a small distinction, though it’s a very important detail to some. Metal carries with it a sense of tradition that lends itself to puritanism, while rock is more open ended. I’m a pragmatist who also doesn’t like to falsely advertise; if you’re a traditionalist or purist who is turned off by the bands that I’ve name dropped above, then this album very well may not be for you. I personally have never been turned off by indie rock getting its proverbial peanut butter mixed in with metal’s chocolate. I’m a steadfast believer in one of the central themes of the Russian dramatist Anton Chehkov’s continual literary themes: that art needs new forms.
With two tangents down, it’s time to get this review back on track and talk about the music itself. Kingnomad write slow to mid-paced fuzz-fests characterized by an overall ethereal vibe. All the songs have a delightful other-worldliness, from the juxtaposition of super saturated and squeaky clean guitar tones, to the wispy vocal delivery and the smidgens of choice samples from horror movies that the band laces into their songs. There’s some cool synth sounds too, which I’m always a sucker for. There are seven songs total; the entire album clocks in at just under 40 minutes, so it’s the perfect length for vinyl, and it won’t test either your attention span or your patience. All the songs are good, distinctive and memorable, making for a inclusive and cohesive listening experience that deepens with repeat listens. I don’t really have a favorite song, though ‘Nameless Cult’ certainly burrowed its way through the canals of my inner ear and lodged itself unwittingly into my memory with its haunting chords and major key dalliances. Similarly, the closing track, and the longest of the album, ‘The Waiting Game’ is also a highlight in its epic take on heavy psych rock freak-outs. Even the shortest track, the instrumental interlude ‘Whispers From R’Lyeth’ confidently stands on its own strengths. This is fine album in my eyes, especially for a debut.
In case you haven’t noticed, I also have a penchant for offering constructive criticism when I think that it’s pertinent. With that being said….guys, keep it fun and keep it fresh as you move forward with your musical career. This is an extremely imaginative release, and you’re going to have to up the ante on your next one to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. Look into all the weird fiction that’s out there beyond the wall of sleep. There are lots of great anti-heroes that you can draw upon for inspiration besides The Adverse One. Keep drinking your beer and writing your riffs, because you’re obviously onto something, and no one can take that away from you, not even me with my feeble pen and polished words.
From the deep South, southern Louisiana to be exact, the birthplace of sludge-metal, comes this hybrid of all things resonating traditional metal, elements of folk / blues / stoner / doom / progressive, and a pure rock dynamic to morph it all into this, the debut offering from this three piece named ELECTRIC AGE. While this is the first release from this line-up as a unit, I was informed directly that these seasoned players have decided to forgo sharing their collective pedigree to let this album stand on its own merits in the here and now. After taking it in, I believe they have created something amazing that can indeed stand tall as an accomplishment of songwriting, musicianship and something that has been so lacking as of late in American metal; the art of storytelling. Dripping with the archetypal concepts of good, evil and the divine throughout this sojourn, the band states that this is “A conceptual and mythological journey through the threshold of time and consciousness, into the heart of darkness and divinity, through death and redemption, and finally into the inexorable void.” So, not just another “Wankfest” but actually thinking-man’s metal?? The pulse quickens…
From the first notes of ‘The Threshold’ through to the acoustic fade out of ‘The Dreaming’, there is a precision of delivery from each member of this power-trio reminiscent of DEMONS & WIZARDS in the exacting musicality given with each track. ‘Shepard And The Raven’ comes on with a single snare-drum pop and a full-on power chord assault hits you before you know it, this chapter of the story unfolding with the might of the voice telling the tale of…
‘Robes Of Grey’ comes out of the gate with a gallop and you can’t help but to hold on as the freight train rolls on. Even when the tempo slows for a moment, you draw your breath slower until that next chord hits and you go again. Ultra thick bass serves as the intro to ‘Cold Witch’ before the hammering guitar takes you into the tale one more “Four long winters have past a ray upon the feet of cold offering…” and further into the mind of the king you are drawn as he asks her to carry him away. Soaring deep notes serve as the perfect accent to the vocal flowing forth. The bass line towards the end reminds you of just HOW deep and dark these guys have shown they can get.
‘Priestess Pt.1’ allows you to catch your breath for a minute through intricate overlaying guitar lines, as the main body of this song, and when ‘Black Galleons’ hits with a thundering drum-line steeped in reverb; it is right on time to keep you glued to this epic journey, time shifts galore that are indeed suiting this diatribe as we hear that “We would die for the Purity and Grace” as the solo lets you traverse onward back into the thunder as the song fades out. ‘Sleep Of Winter’ wastes no time, right back to full-on ‘rock-god’ phrasing on that Les Paul and the pace does not cease to push you along at full-charge. ‘Silent King’ enters with a clean guitar tone and a slower pace again but the majesty and multi-layers of the lush mix is never gone, letting you forget that this is a trio. Our king is in self reflection as the ‘Elders’ and his feelings of being “born of the dark and will leave the same.” ‘Priestess Pt 2’ shows more of the acoustic/folk side complete with violins in the background as “She spreads her black wings to fly”.
The last two tracks are the ones I kept going back to time and again. ‘Electric Age’ is one of those songs with enough hooks to catch a bushel of fish out of the air with and could definitely be the story behind the name of this power-trio. The slow doom fade out into ‘The Dreaming’ is the perfect segue into the song that sums up what we have traversed over the last hour plus and offers final insight into the king’s mind in reflection and attempted remembrance. Is he awake or still in a dream or somewhere in between or… as the ‘pick-birds’ chirp randomly, are we are all dreaming??
I have told my kids as I put them to bed to ‘dream the dreams of royalty’. I now wonder if any of their own nights were filled with tales such as this…
Each of these songs stand tall on their own, just as I was told was the intention and together, they represent a near-masterpiece. For a first debut album, gotta give it an ’11’ on a 1-10… get it the second you can!!
Hey Satan is a three piece rock outfit hailing from Lausanne, Switzerland. This is their debut, self titled album, so I’m going to be nice. There’s a couple glaring reasons that I’d hold an initial bias: firstly, if you’ve read my prior reviews, you’d probably know by now that I find overt “Satanic” references to be a bit cliché and lame in this day and age. Not very metal of me, I know, but I really don’t care. What does talking about Satan in 2017 actually mean?? It’s not edgy or dangerous anymore, and it’s so ubiquitous as to be essentially meaningless. It’s not even really that funny or goofy anymore, like it was in the bygone age of Black Widow, or in the early days of Venom. Satan is just extremely tame, and I am not a tame lion. Whatever, I’m just going to let it slide, because every band needs a name and they could do far, far worse. However, Hey Satan also name check Rage Against The Machine as an influence, who are one of my least favorite bands of all time. Really, I can’t stand them. Let’s just not get into it right now, because thankfully there are no badly rapped vocals or pseudo-political lyrics on this album, so it’s kind of a moot point anyway. I’m now being both tangential and unduly negative, so let’s change the subject to the music itself rather than discuss my personal hang-ups, shall we??
What you are going to hear on this album is basically a bunch of well executed, straight up, bluesy riff-rock tunes, with a heavy 90’s grunge influence and a dash of thee old stoner rock thrown in for flavor. You’re not going to hear much in the way of spacey sounds or “lava lamp moments”, as I like to refer to psych sections, though there’s definitely some tasteful usage of the wah-wah pedal and those big, fuzzy guitar tones that have come to define the stoner metal genre. Otherwise, this stew is strictly meat and potatoes. There’s ten songs on here, clocking in at a whopping 36 minutes, so let’s do the math – most of the songs are around the 3-4 minute mark. I can definitively say that Hey Satan have trimmed all the fat from these tunes and left us with the tastiest morsels.
Do you remember the main riff that Monster Magnet busted out on their rendition of the classic Howlin’ Wolf tune, “Evil (Is Going On)”, from their now seminal Superjudge album? It had that ultra-cool vibe, the stop/start chord followed by that rapid, slightly sinister sounding blues walk that used to slay me when I was just a teenage dirtbag, baby. Well, the verse riff from Hey Satan’s first tune, “Fallon City Messiah” sounds remarkably similar, and that’s not a bad thing in my eyes. Not a bad thing at all, it’s a catchy riff, and there are many more memorable riffs to follow. These guys also name drop Led Zeppelin as a main influence, and that’s readily apparent in both the blues-based writing and the lyrics. They’re singing about levees breaking during “Song For A Lost Mariner”, and there’s even a direct lift of a line from “Black Dog” thrown into a song for no good reason at all, other than that it rules. Otherwise, the lyrics are dark and ominous, and they play with some of those taunting hero/anti-hero dichotomies that the above mentioned Monster Magnet have pulled off so well over the years. Stylistically, the vocals are delivered a tad bit differently; they’re smoother overall, less gruff or over the top, and they’ve got that mid-90’s Seattle swagger. The rhythm section sounds HUGE, big drums and bass that sit right in that sweet spot of the pocket like a well-worn leather wallet. I’m digging the production on this one a lot, it really suits their sound.
The songs are mostly straight forward riff driven rockers with varying levels of aggression and big, catchy hooks. They make excellent usage of dynamics and subtle variations, and none of songs overstays its welcome. Later in the album, tunes like “Bastardizer” and “Black Flags Down” definitely demonstrate a more in your face vocal approach, as well as a more punk/hardcore urgency, so although Hey Satan aren’t exactly reinventing the proverbial wheel, they’re not a one trick pony either. The mixture of punk immediacy and dirty blues riffs reminded me of Orange Goblin more than a couple times. It’s pretty obvious that these guys love music and have far more influences than the few that they’ve listed and that I’ve written about. I’m hoping on future releases, they can bring more influences to the fold. There was a reason that music like this was referred to as “cloner rock” in the early 2000’s, because European bands that sounded similar to this were popping up left and right. It’s worth noting that Hey Satan also list Kyuss as an influence. If you recall a bit of rock history, Josh Homme of Kyuss/Queens Of The Stone Age publicly distanced himself from the whole “stoner rock” scene because he thought that too many of the bands were too under the influence of one another. I’d have to agree with him on that point.
Like I mentioned above, this is a debut album, and it’s super solid; it soundly follows in the tradition and heritage of heavy rock. In full disclosure, I’ll take innovation over tradition any day, but hey – that’s just me, and my opinion is hardly the do-all or end-all. I’m just one dude with a pen and a pair of speakers. Ultimately, it’s up to each listener to decide what music works for them. Plenty of folks I know will eat this album up (heck, I’m going to recommend it to some folks I know as soon as I finish writing this), though I personally would like to see a bit more variation and experimentation on their future releases. For me, that’s what ultimately distinguishes one band from all the myriad others that can also nail this kind of sound like it’s second nature. Solid songwriting helps, and Hey Satan have definitely achieved the rare feat of releasing an entire album without a clear clunker. If they can continue in that vein, hey….I’ll gladly take it.
Words by Andy “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” Beresky
Described as a cocktail of metal/punk/grunge/rock-n-roll, Dealer is a trio out of Oakland that is certainly not lacking in discordant rock solos steeped in crazed post-a-punk-a-lyptica with grunge sprinkled on for “color”… well then. Not my usual taste, but somebody said they really liked these guys so, I better check it out, right??
Opener ‘AM Gold’ is pummeling and thick from the first chord, showing this unit is a machine as opposed to some three chord wankfest, complete with vocals as snarling as the leads. ‘Slur’ comes out of the gate even faster and spares no one from the flying fingers ripping up the guitar in your face, taking me back to the days of bands like Quicksand, full of multi-tone harmonics screaming like so many insects swarming. ‘Total Horse’ / ‘Stone Freak’ / ‘Fester’ / ‘Solar Dominion’ and ‘Cake Walk’ all demonstrate the confidence to shift tempo on a split second and not drop a step marching through nonstop.
Two tracks stood out to me in particular, the first being ‘In The Flesh’ which starts out slower than the rest with a loopy guitar intro, shifts into a faster jaunt before settling in on a lurching pace that pulls you forward without resistance. Longest song on this release, the frantic staccato soloing will not let you get bored but keeps you moving. This is the second best vocal delivery on this record in my opinion. The second standout is the rather lucid cover of ‘She’s As Beautiful As A Foot’ originally done by legends Blue Öyster Cult. Not straying very far from the original, they still manage to put their own signature and feel throughout while still paying homage to the song itself, definitely the clearest vocal performance on here. Hailz for the effort gentlemen!! Great band to watch in 2017………