Bass: Chris Cappiello
Drums: Kevin Flynn
Vocals: Ed Grabianowski
Guitar: Richard Root
Five Days in a Hole (5:34)
That Witch Rises (6:56)
Warlike Prelude (1:16)
Hollow Moon (4:11)
The Old Road (3:09)
Black Sword (4:28)
Review: Monster Magnet is a band whose far-reaching influence on the world of Rock music is not always properly appreciated. Without them, such Hard Rock giants such as Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal may have never seen the light of day, and yet Monster Magnet has never become the household name that they probably should be. After all, the school of Monster Magnet is a deceptively large one, and an excellent recent graduate of that school has recently surfaced with the name of Spacelord.
There are Monster Magnet followers of two basic varieties: Desert Rockers a laQueens of the Stone Age, Brant Bjork and Kyuss; and Stoner/Sludge Metallers a laSoundgarden and Red Fang. Spacelord straddles this line a bit, but tends to adhere a bit more to the Stoner Metal side of things. As a matter of fact, Spacelord’s self-titled debut is quite reminiscent of the early days, sounding like they’d be right at home among the track-list of Louder than Love, especially tracks like the 6-minute sludgey atom bomb “Warlike”, which opens with lots of reverb and closes with sinewy guitar lines that Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil would be proud of.
Spacelord is first and foremost a very genuine affair. There’s nothing absolutely perfect here. It is perfect in its imperfection. That’s not to say the music is bad – in fact, it’s very much the opposite – But a huge amount of personality is found in those little moments where a backing vocal is a little flat, or a guitar comes in the tiniest bit late. This is not a tightly-composed Progressive Rock opus, and it shouldn’t be. This is an intentionally organic album. The performance here is not done by robots programmed to hit every note with surgical precision, it is done by humans – real living humans, and the interplay and charm associated with such a work breaths through this album impeccably.
Spacelord is the album that it needs to be and not an iota less. With their very first record, Spacelord has asserted a very real identity for themselves. It is one that regales you with the feeling of the early 90’s, when Stoner Metal was at its absolute finest. It gives you hope for another golden era that Monster Magnet and Kyuss would likely welcome with open arms.
Previous Releases: A two track E.P. from 2015 “Deaf Radio”, containing; “Down On Her Knees” & “No Hay Banda”
Tracklist: Aggravation 03:25
Vultures & Killers 04:11
Revolving Doors 04:32
Oceanic Feeling 04:23
…And We Just Pressed The Alarm Button 06:05
Deaf Radio are a Post-Punk/Alternative/Hard Rock band from Athens, Greece. On their Bandcamp they describe themselves as “a rock quartet inspired by the independent rock music scene.”
Aggravation – This track launches us into what we will hear on and off for the rest of this of this album. Rockin’ riffs and lyrics that sound like they are from the late 90’s revival of Punk music.
Backseats – This song starts of slow with a repetitive strumming and builds up with quick little riffs interspersed between the delivery of lyrics. In the final two minutes it introduces some screaming in the background making the song harsh. It reminds me of a We Are Harlot song that I cannot remember the name of.
Vultures & Killers – Here we get another change where their Post-Punk influences come out again and we hear a mid tempo beat with some almost falsetto vocals.
Anytime – (Don’t get too mad at this analogy but) this is their Lana Del Rey song minus the orchestra. It is a slow drug filled atmospheric falsetto vocals (like the last track) until the last minute and the music picks up speed and returns back to the Hard Rock that we have heard so far.
Flowerhead – This song is a lot like Vultures & Killers, almost like it is a continuation or sequel to it. They are structure similar and the vocals are sung in the same way. The exception is this one is heavier on the bass and heart monitor beeping in between bass notes.
Revolving Doors – Here we return to a style close to Aggravation, which reminds me of some of Rise Against’s music. A repeating structure with it being changed in the last minute or two.
Trapped – This song reminds me of a mix of Bush and Muse types of playing and singing. The guitar almost sounds surf like with it’s reverb. The tempo and rhythm change a bunch in this song the music goes back and forth between the types we have heard in the songs before it but it isn’t disorienting.
Oceanic Feeling – This song begins with a simple drum pattern that changes to signal the reverb guitar and bass to kick in. We return to backseats but a slower version of it.
…And We Just Pressed The Alarm Button (Favorite track) – Here we return to the Bush/Muse mix.
The band reminds me stylistically of early Rise Against and Queens of the Stone Age with a good mix of 90’s Hard Rock with Punk influences. Panos reminds me of a mix of the two singers as well. The main guitar reminds me of music that I used to listen to a lot but I cannot pinpoint from what. The bass is one of my favorite parts of the music, especially when it is alone, Antonis just goes at it without it going on too long, making me want more.
This album is good for playing in your car (on the verge of too loud) on your way to work or wherever (which is how I’ve listened to it). It is heavy but not too heavy to add to road rage and is chill enough to kind of zone out and relax to. In essence, Deaf Radio have given us a 1-Stop-Shop with “Alarm”. This band has a very bright future!! Highly Recommend!!
Line-Up: Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals Roger Marks – Bass and Vocals Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals
Drew Harakal – ‘Guest’ Organ/Synths
Additional vocals on ‘Mothership’ provided by Kim Auch and Kevin Dempsey
“Howling Giant-s/t” EP (January 2015)
It didn’t make sense to review these as separate releases as you have to hear the opus in it’s ENTIRETY to get the full impact of the complete tale of the “Black Hole Space Wizard” and seeing as ‘Part 2’ has just been unleashed, following ‘Part 1’ that was launched August 16th, 2016.
After hearing Howling Giant’s first EP, I was floored and hoped for more that would be as heavy, if not even MORE so as the last notes of ‘Camel Crusher’ had hinted at. As I am before you, this pair of releases deliver even more than previously hoped for, heaped in macro-bass, slamming riffs, splitting cymbals and strong, clear vocals that will guide you throughout this journey, into the deepest outreach of the infinite cosmos of “Part 1” and back into the forgotten realms of the Earth Goddess of “Part 2”. We are advised by Howling Giant that “For greater riff-sensation, listen to these songs at maximum volume.” Smoke ’em if ya got ’em, crank it up and hit ‘play’…
‘Mothership’ opens with a strong riff amid cymbal washed before the full body hits 20 seconds in and already the power is palpable before we hear “She’s our Mother…” and we are truly off and running as we hear that “The life we’ve built has come undone” and are beckoned to open up our mind… this is not the end. Loopy and soaring to the last staggered, fading note that leads directly into ‘Exodus:Earth’ with it’s slower tempo intro as “We rise into the black skies…” in this tale of traversing the atmosphere and beyond. Breathe deep and hold it in as riding the crescendo of true stoner/doom/sludge filled measures of headrush inducing guitar outbursts that take you even further into the expanses before your mind’s eye, even as the ghost of War Of The Worlds echoes in your mind, soaring further and further into the blackness and the when the needle sharp frenetic notes of ‘Dirtmouth’ hit, it is the perfect wake-up from. Hyper-speed and crushing in weight is the only way to describe this four-minute plus outburst, complete with time-shifts galore to make even the strongest necks snap along in tempo, and when you hear the scream that “The Wizard Lives!!”, you know it’s true, and then, sudden dead stop.
The silence seemed immense until the sound of a screaming wind fades in as if to mirror the return of consciousness as whispered breathing gives way to a footstep close as the power chords permeate the air as ‘clouds Of Smoke’ rumbles in, “Stranded here in this ocean of sin…” and the desolation seems to loom beyond the horizon before you, languishing in the fact that you would “Rather be anywhere but here…” as the solo rips your heart from your chest before your eyes, even as “Up in clouds of smoke, let it go, just let it go…” and as you take all of this in, even as the notes climb beyond sight as the keys fade slow as your eyes close once more.
‘Henry Tate’ comes on full gallop, complete with the spoken meanderings of Kublai Khan wafting in and out through the plethora of musical might being flexed here as the mix is even MORE lush and thick through what is an insane instrumental stroll. ‘The Pioneer’ opens with the plush bass line suiting a tome of this strength, as “My mind begins to melt, my soul strives to break free…” and another soft fade out greets you. ‘Visions’ opens, slow and blues-filled in tone and progression, and when the opening solo progression rises up, it is as haunting as ever as the body of the song gels over “Besides the embers of my fire…” and we are cast into another dream of “whipping winds that fortel a storm” that can be smelled in the air.
The acoustic track ‘The Forest Speaks’, is a soothing composition complete with soft horn sounds that permeate the air in a ‘softness’ not present before this is the ultimate precursor into ‘Circle Of Druids’ where we are told we have gone too far before the power chords hit again, giving even more of the lush heaviness I have come to expect over the course of these songs that have lead me here knowing “You must ascend…” and rise indeed on the hooks and time shifts.
‘Earth Wizard’ is the absolute culmination of all points traversed up to this moment and serves as the bookend to tie it all together and does it incredibly well. Over seven minutes long, Polzine, Marks, Wheeler and ‘guest’ Harakal put 200% into this song, as they have seemingly done with every other song included in this opus and does not disappoint in any manner.
Switching studios between Part I and Part II helped Howling Giant bring the process closer to home for these guys but the continuity between is flawless and if I have to say this record has done one thing for sure… left me wanting, no, scratch that, NEEDING more!! Grab these two, listen to them as a single release and climb aboard for a journey you have not experienced before. Share it with every mind you encounter and support them live if you get the opportunity… keep it LOUD!!
Bloodnut…the burly, bearded, ballistic, berserkers of fiery red have returned to pillage and destroy. St. Ranga, is the sophomore follow up to their acclaimed debut, Blues for the Red Sons. This slab of concrete has progressed the Bloodnut accoutrement immensely. While some of the tongue in cheek humor remains, the ginger heavyweights have upped the seriousness factor. St. Ranga is still fun, but its definitely not funny. Heavy stoner, massive sludge, and raw punk rebellion. Normally a three piece, Bloodnut recorded the album as a four piece. Adding a second guitar to the fold, which lends extra girth and goodness. Doug McFarlane-Bass/Vox, Nick Smith-guitar, Kyle Wetton-guitar, and Ty Boniface-drums are here to viscerally eviscerate.
Opening salvo, ‘The Space Orangutan’ builds a force of fuzz. Slowly creeping, raising the cackles. Down tempo and enveloping distortion, as Doug raises his vocal game tremendously. Oddly, but very intriguingly sounds like the Doors in mood…albeit much heavier. The drums pause to let the main riff show its head. The redheaded beasts then explode in full on stoner glory. The chugs begin as the groove runs full steam ahead. The vocals are gravel, but with soul you can feel. No doubt Bloodnut bring the heavy, but also have an excellent underlying melodious factor that grips. The second half ups the tempo and the dirt. The brood throws in a shredding solo, then beats you into submission until ‘The Space Orangutan’ has destroyed you.
‘Mark of the Outcast’ is four minutes of straight up beast mode. Huge High of Fire-esque intro, into a mid-tempo sludge toe tapper. Tunes like this are the reason I am completely on board with the boys in Bloodnut. Heavy as gigantic balls, while always retaining a soulfulness that is undeniably felt throughout.
Next up is ‘That Fire Inside’ This song is straight up raw punk filth. Quick bass intro and cymbal grabs, prime the ears for a fury of fiery flames. Gruff vocals, raw guitars, pounding drums of perfection. This jam is a sharp, powerful, quick punch to the gut. You will be doubled over, in glorious pain.
‘Burning Bush’ brings back the cheeky lyrics, but there is absolutely no joking going on instrumentally. Bringing some of the thickest riffs on St. Ranga, and multiple tempo changes keep the listener blissfully on their toes. The song is executed masterfully. The riffs are sweet, the rhythms are tasty and the vocals outshine anything previously in the Bloodnut catalog.
‘Red Dead Riders’ is a sing along song. Dirty and rough musically with huge choruses. This track is a journey across the desert, looking for blood, on the back of a mammoth steed. Kicking up dust and spit, only in death do we quit. Standout song on a stand alone album.
Closing St. Ranga is ‘Song of Fire and Ice.’ No explanation needed on this song. Best song on the record in my humble opinion.
Bloodnut have composed an album more crushing and weighty than an avalanche of boulders. The fire headed gang of badasses continually bruise and batter eardrums. St. Ranga is an escape into landscapes of flame. Visions of battle and triumph. A plethora of genres in relation to all things heavy. No pigeonholing Bloodnut. New Zealand has something to be extremely proud of in this band of gingered berserkers. These redheads have definitively smashed the sophomore slump with a battle axe. A record filled with passion and soul, drums that roll, and riffs that are raw while still being in full control. Take a pilgrimage in St. Ranga, and prepare to shed blood. It is worth it.
Aaron Esterby – Bass/Vocals
Chad Heille – Drums
Ryan Grahn – Guitar (MK I)
Neal Stein – Guitar (MK II)
Previous Releases –
“S/T” EP (2009) / “Become The Sun” (2013) / “Cyclopeans Riffs” single (2013) / “Elsupremo” (2013) / “Endless Flight” EP (2015)
The story of EGYPT, as told by the band is as follows…
Quote “Back in 2005, an unknown heavy rock trio from Fargo, North Dakota, released a self-titled demo on a CD-R, and it turned out to be a record that just wouldn’t go away. Egypt’s “Egypt” smoldered for the next several years on the basis of underground word-of-mouth, to the point that Lyderhorn Records put it out on vinyl in 2007 and cult stoner imprint MeteorCity picked it up for a CD release in 2009. By then, it had outlasted the band – bassist/vocalist Aaron Esterby, guitarist Ryan Grahn and drummer Chad Heille – who called it quits in 2006. They reunited for a one-off hometown gig in May 2010, and it wasn’t long after that rumors started circulating of new material in the works. Grahn would leave the band before “Become the Sun” was finished and be replaced by Neal Stein, who also recorded the album. When they were done, ten years and one breakup later, they finally had a proper full-length debut, selling out initial pressings of both formats, CD and vinyl. Later 2013 brought the “Cyclopean Riffs” single, and in 2014, Doomentia repressed “Become the Sun” on vinyl. The “Self-Titled” also got yet another reissue, this time on vinyl and in time for Egypt to embark on a Midwest tour with a slot at Wisconsin’s ‘Days of the Doomed’ fest at its center. More than a decade after starting out, Egypt were more active and more widely known than they’d ever been. There’s nothing happenstance about it, in an age where word can travel faster than it ever has, Egypt have slow-burned their way to the fore of the American stoner rock… for a band who regrouped by popular demand, and have only gathered momentum since, Egypt are just beginning to shape their empire.” enquote.
With this latest Album, “Cracks and Lines,” there is no question that this power trio is ready to take their place in the hierarchy of doom/stoner metal elite and have delivered the heaviest, most cohesive record to date. Five tracks and 39+ minutes of sonic bass lines supported by a drumline that could blow your speakers with the brutality of attack and a guitar line that is slathered on with abandon covered with vocals that is the quintessential ‘gravy on the potatoes’ for this masterpiece.
From opener ‘Final Heist’ with the lone guitar opening, to title track ‘Cracks And Lines’ with the full-on band rolling over a snare blast to ‘Dirge’ with the slow-fade intro that stays ‘slow and low’ throughout, there is no wonder why Egypt is still gathering momentum with such precisely executed compositions that show they are still true to their roots, especially as demonstrated by the updated KISS classic ‘Watching You’ that is an absolute salute in delivery and are yet able to spread their wings even further than before with the closing track and any stoner’s ‘wet-dream’, ‘What Lights This Ocean’. Opening with a guitar line that could be from any Robin Trower session complete with spaced out soloing and an almost whispered vocal delivery to guest Andrew Steinberg‘s Hammond organ giving even more body to this thirteen minute tome of absolute satiation, that is still not enough…
An absolute MUST-HAVE, go get it RIGHT NOW if you haven’t already, make SURE to see them in a live-setting if given the chance and share it with anyone and everyone as music of this caliber DESERVES the be heard, and as always, keep it LOUD!!
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Dead Acid People is a stoner rock band formed in 2014. In February, Guillaume (d) had posted an announcement to recruit musicians and Stéphane (g) responds to the call, and after a conclusive test, proposes to Alain (b), his friend, to join them. The trio works assiduously to consolidate the basis of a blend of rock embodying the sounds from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, all the while injecting their own flavor into these dynamics, and by the end of the year, the group decides to recruit a singer. Several unsuccessful attempts later, in August 2015, with the arrival of Mathieu (v), the “training” is finally complete.
Fast Forward to March 2016 and we are presented with 35 minutes of this hybrid-stoner/punk meshing that contains 8 tracks that run the rails from the opening progression of ‘Ashes’ that has a single bass progression for two measures before being joined by the six-string as the drumline fast-fades in and we’re off and running with Guillaume, Stéphane and Alainshowing time spent honing their edge as a unit over the last almost two years and when Mathieu’e voice enters at 40 seconds with the words “Everything can burn, everyone must die, everyone, until the crimson sky” the stage is set for the tale of darkness, full of hooks and distortion and a vocal clarity lacking in a lot of first-time releases any more; no pro-tools sounding anything here.
‘Sell Me To The Dust’ hits harder from the first and the staccato drumline is the perfect cadence for the body of, where ‘Happiness’ comes out with bass solo with the minor cymbal-kiss before the rest of the band join in and then we hear “Looking for some happiness, acting like I’m someone else” in a somber almost-monotone before the power chords jump back out and your head is moving again.
‘Blood Red Tide’ is another bass-opened track but is faster and fuller and including some cowbell that fits right in as “Now we dance together, now we dance forever, me myself and I, we all die under a blood-red tide” before settling into a medium tempo for the first section. ‘Burn Out’ opens with a staggering guitar-swagger before the thunder returns to pummel everything in it’s wake, especially pounding mid-track, before the spaced out solo takes over before that opening stagger hits again to lead through to the end.
‘Let’s Go’ and Burning Man’ each open with a drumline hitting hard before that defining punch in the face from the rest of the band that allows the eerily clear vocal line to deliver the tale of each that keeps you locked down, drinking each nuance in. Standout track for ME, absolutely has to be closer ‘Weird Jimmy’, a rocker with an edge that simply stated “This is a story of Crazy Jimmy. This is the story of a weirdy man” that slams and jams with the power of time shift and winding guitar notes to satiate the masses including a chugging solo that is short enough to not dull the senses but season to taste.
Well worth your time if you don’t have it already, share it with every set of ears you encounter and support them live if they come near you!!
PHE S/T – DD Self-Release – Release Date: June 2, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
From Helmond, Netherlands we have the arrival of a hereunto somewhat secret trio Phe and their just-issued 5-song self-titled album. Secret or not, the cat (or PHEline) is out of the bag with this debut and whatta cat this is! Constructed upon all of the prerequisite fundamentals and components that make Stoner Rock the substantive treasure it is, the musical realms explored on Phe are quite diverse. Sure, it is all deeply rooted in the basics of heavy rock but the boys add in ample amounts of blues, fuzz, alternative and more into this stunning effort.
Things roll out off the line with the heavy stomp of ‘Heaven’s Hell‘, immediately finding an open-ended groove while a tight-knit rhythm section anchors things into place. Fuzzy riffs reverberate as a bit of husky, well-graveled vocals join the movement. We all ride this circuit together until things power down some toward the mid-section for a bit of stripped down vocals with bass and drum accompaniment. ‘Hide‘ begins with a much doomier introduction, a slow churn of guitar, bass and drums before yielding to to a minimalist amount of music during the verses. Reaching an almost hypnotic pattern at times while the vocals switch from melodic and airy to angst-y and intense.
Effect-laden guitars unfurl the middle-marking point of this album, ‘Grow Old‘, before they merge with the others for another intoxicating rhythmic ride. It pulsates and ripples before going off the rails during the amped up choruses while heady vocals do their thing. Those choruses become huge walls of sound where a frenzied delivery rages ever so briefly before powering down back to the melodic verses. In fact, the fourth song’s title sort of describes this best, ‘Rage Down‘. Ethereal bass lines reverberate as an equally airy type of vocal combine with its desert rock music for a bit of a progressive feel to the track itself. Then we arrive at my favorite song of the five, the album-closing ‘Up On The Mountain‘, a track chock full of stoner grit. It combines that grit with a bit of a gothic doom feel while providing some of the burliest riffs yet. A brief pause in the music becomes the shove off point for a fantastic jam session that ultimately ends this fine song and PHEnomenal outing.
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.
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***
PUTA VOLCANO Harmony Of Spheres – CD//DD//Vinyl iota5 Records – Release Date: April 28th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
I have long said that there is some incredible music happening in the nation of Greece and this band, Puta Volcano, are the latest example of what I am talking about. Clearly, I am not alone in that belief either seeing as how Athens’ Puta Volcano is set to play at DesertFest Athens 2017 alongside acts like Saint Vitus, Orange Goblin, Colour Haze and Graveyard, among others. It has now been close to a month since the band, vocalist Luna Stoner (aka Anna Papathanasiou), guitarist Alex Pi, bassist Bookies and drummer Steven S., released their latest album, the stellar ‘Harmony Of Spheres‘. The 8-song offering is the eagerly awaited follow-up to the band’s earlier releases, The Sun (2015) and Represent Victory Below Eye (2011) and let me tell you, the wait was worth it.
Much like their namesake, Puta Volcano and their music are an explosive eruption of lava hot Desert Rock, but such that has elements of Stoner, Psyche, Grunge and Progressive Rock augmenting it. The quartet craft intensely enthralling riff-driven hard rock that just flows with rhythmic propulsion, they keep it tight knit and cohesive thanks to their solid deliveries. It simply astounds me that the band is not a widely known commercial success, a well-recognized household name uttered upon the lips of countless music fans. But then like I said, this record is a freshly out of the oven, piping hot slab of molten musicality so who knows what may be lurking around the bend?
Speaking of bends, things kick off here with the winding rollercoaster that is the aptly-titled introductory song, ‘Dune‘. Huge grooves, thunderous rhythms and impressive drumming drive the song’s swaggering, laid back flow but without question, something gets revealed. A sultry sounding, raspy-throated and utterly incredible vocal powerhouse that is Luna! Don’t get me wrong, the guys are as equally fantastic as well but we all know that without the proper singer, even the best music can fall short. There seems to be no chance in hell of that happening here though thankfully.
Once you’ve regained your senses, there’s a whole range of multifaceted music explored in subsequent songs like the beautiful ‘Bird‘, jumpin’ ‘Jovian Wind‘ or radiant ‘Afterglow‘. For me personally, things really landed well during the middle segment of the record, particularly ‘Zeroth Law‘, ‘Neon‘ and ‘Moebius‘. All three tracks are just incredible, the hypnotic haziness of ‘Zeroth Law‘ with a structured, pattern-like vocal delivery where Luna once again struts her stuff. From there, ‘Neon‘ ratchets up both the tempo and intensity like a driving, pumping engine as a tempest of energized music swirls about. Meanwhile, I believe ‘Moebius‘ may actually be my favorite cut on the record with its own trippier nuances. Things eventually careen headlong into some truly powerful Alt. Rock, the band itself in unison and rolling out a truly stand-out performance. I will let ‘Infinity‘ just surprise and impress you all on its own.
Yet when all is said, done and played, Puta Volcano‘s ‘Harmony Of Spheres‘ is a veritably stand alone musical statement itself. Simply put, it is a fantastic album and I feel that life is better with it than without it but you will have to be the judge of that for yourself. You can do exactly that by streaming it via the Bandcamp embedded player below.
From the heart of Deventer, Netherlands comes the latest studio offering from the hazily fuzzened foursome Drive By Wire, ‘The Whole Shebang‘. Issued just yesterday (May 19th) through Argonauta Records comes this heady, wholesome opus of psychedelia-laden Desert/Stoner Rock. It’s one that is made that much more the powerful thanks to the full-on sultriness of singer Simone Holsbeek. Her vocals, merged with the magnificent musicality provided by Alwin Wubben, Jerome Miedendorp de Bie, Marcel Zerb and Rene Rutten, make this a record that is impossible to ignore.
Drive By Wire manages to distill their inspirations and influences into a warmly organic sound, but one with the urgency and dynamics of 90′s grunge (Soundgarden, Alice in Chains), the sensuality of PJ Harvey and the deliciously heavy psychedelic fuzz grooves of all the great 70′s bands. I am pretty confident in saying that once you start this album to playing, you won’t be able to turn itoff until the last song wraps up…and even then you will probably be inclined to hit Repeat again.
See if what I’m saying is true by giving Drive By Wire‘s ‘The Whole Shebang‘ a precursory spin via the Soundcloud embed below. In the meantime, don’t forget, the album is out right now from Argonauta Records!