Electric Orange “EOXXV” Double Album Review + Stream + Video…

Electric Orange

EOXXV – Triple Vinyl // Double CD // DD

Self Released – September 18, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Electric Orange is:
Dirk Jan Müller
Tom Rückwald
Georg Monheim
Dirk Bittner

Tracklist:
CD #1
Continuum (22:59)
Under The Nun (16:01)
Gnosis (20:02)

CD #2
Misophonia IV (20:05)
Misophonia V (16:36)
Faint (22:01)
Residuum (16:51)

 

CD package

 

Review:
There’s an old adage that insists that patience is a virtue. Such a sentiment can seem laughable – after all, isn’t instant gratification almost always preferable? However, every now and then, that adage proves itself true: retaining one’s sanity whilst waiting in line at the secretary of state, not crumbling under the pressure of waiting to hear the results of a medical test, and most recently reaping the rewards of listening to an album like Electric Orange’s EOXXV.

 

 

Review:
If the above paragraph didn’t make it clear enough, EOXXV is a tough nut to crack! It is a 135-minute leviathan of relentless sonic experimentation, and such a beast could very easily prove insurmountable to the common listener. Many may find it meandering or even aimless, but those with a tremendous degree of musical patience will eventually come to a metaphorical clearing….one where everything opens up and even almost makes sense.

This is obviously not a very concise experience, but it is without question a fulfilling one. There is a point that one reaches when listening to this album at which the listener and the album achieve a sense of spiritual resonance and the listener enters a groove when you finally reach the point that you not only enjoy the music, but you are prepared to hear more: I reached this point during the gargantuan two-parter of “Misophonia IV” and “Misophonia V”.

It would be an out-and-out lie to say this release is for everyone though. I cannot recommend this album to listeners looking for an emotional experience – this is more an album of vibes and atmosphere than one of emotional release. This album simply doesn’t trifle very much in the realm of emotional release or scenarios one can relate to. That said, this is my experience.  You may have a completely different experience as this is the beauty of MUSIC…..Right??  With 25  years of blowing minds under their belt, Electric Orange once again serves up a platter of Sonic Sensations that transcend words.

Human nature seems foreign in the land of EOXXV. It is a totally alien experience, one that can’t be felt or heard anywhere else. To put it simply, if Michael Gira’s equally experimental work with Swans is the soundtrack to an indie horror film taking place in a cabin in the forest of the Pacific Northwest, than the catalog of Electric Orange is the soundtrack to a Science Fiction film taking place onboard an otherwise uninhabited space station, on which the only life forms are you and a hostile extraterrestrial.

It is expansive, yet isolated. You feel alone, yet somehow watched. Most importantly, you feel paranoid and perhaps even frightened, but you inexplicably want to continue. Maybe it’s out of curiosity, maybe it’s just longing for a sense of completion, but this bizarre and unique experience just begs to be finished, and you are more than happy to do so. Just make sure you are equipped with a preparedness to experience something new and plenty of patience.  Here’s to 25 years Electric Orange!!

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Nap “Villa” Album Review + Stream…

In Case You Missed It Series – Episode 7

Nap

Villa – CD // DD // Vinyl

Released July 28, 2016 and re-released February 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

Lineup:
Ruphus,
Hemme,
Pi

Other Releases:
August 28, 2017 – Nap Split E.P. with Black Lung Nap vs. Black Lung Split

Tracklist:
A1/1     Donnerwetter  05:12
A2/2     Sabacia            07:58
A3/3     Duna                05:49
A4/4     Larva               03:41
B1/5     Xurf                 04:48
B2/6     Shitzo             05:25
B3/7     Ungeheuer    05:05
B4/8     Autobahn      05:06

Review:

NAP are a Stoner/Progressive Rock band from Oldenburg, Germany. Here is how they describe themselves; “Nap plays as a classical 3-piece rock-formation, mostly instrumental with rather rare vocal parts. Psychedelic sounds, up-tempo beats, grooving Doom and Stoner-riffage plus some Noise and Surf influences with strong tendencies reminiscing the sound of the Hippie-Era and the origin of Metal. A combined musical paradox, of highs and lows, all to end into an excessive nightmare.”

Album Art:
Depending on which version of the album you get you either get a melt-y dreamscape (in black and white) or a cloudy sky at sunset.

Track-by-track Breakdown:

A1/1     Donnerwetter
Translates into Thunderstorm. This track goes in between a somewhat clean solo and a fuzzy riff. It is almost book-ended by drum fills. At some points it almost gives me the feeling that the end of “Side A” (Black Bombaim – Saturdays Space Travels) gives off.

A2/2     Sabacia          

It starts off very 1970’s Black Sabbath sounding but becomes less so as the song continues, until it gets to about six minutes into it then we get our first glimpse at vocals on this album. (Almost sounding The Atomic Bitchwax-y)

A3/3     Duna 
Duna is a preview is what is to come in Xurf. Here we have, for the most part, Clean guitar tones and an almost repetitive beat. Duna might be in reference to Duna Jam which is a “a mix between a picnic and a pilgrimage” in Italy that has been going since 2006.

A4/4     Larva   (favorite track)
This track is clearly a jam and it’s fuzzy guitar and strained vocals (once again at the end of the track) keep the track interesting. It is definitely an almost Karma to Burn like in its structure and amount of guitar.

 

Pro Band Pic

 

B1/5     Xurf
Is what the title of the song suggests, It is a Surfer Rock style song. (But with distortion) A reference would be Dick Dale. This would not be out of place basting on the beaches of California in the sixties.

B2/6     Shitzo 
Starts off slow, like a Sleep song but gains speed toward 3:54 and gains its speed again. It is almost a Sludge Metal song; if it wasn’t for the speed it gains toward the end. I could not find a translation for this word but it could be a clean mononym for for shit-show because it sounds like a mash-up of all of the references in the rest of the album.

B3/7     Ungeheuer      (Should be a single)
Translation: Monster. And, oh, is it one. The music stays loud throughout the whole track. This is the last track that has vocals, and it also has the most. “Shallow phrases come out of their mouths, With their shallow hearts they try to occupy your mind, Confusion spreads like the flu, Some day they may come over you, It all ends up in the eternal void anywhere you go.”

 

 

B4/8     Autobahn
Translation: Highway. This song stays constant and almost repetitive structure (like a highway) and in the end (4:15) it begins to differ from the beginning of the song. It is almost like a crash starting to happen, it slows, it gets faster and faster until it becomes an almost screech and then it ends.

—————————————————–

In Conclusion:

Nap are reminiscent of another Stoner band, Sleep, but faster, which is ironically what a nap is compared to sleep. The music, as well as being them jamming, it is like a journey. A journey like the ones most stoner albums give are best experienced on vinyl (Which sadly are sold out (unless you look at Discogs) or you can buy a CD directly from the band’s Bandcamp Page (link below or above).

The vocals remind me of Brocas Helm or The Atomic Bitchwax (Except they are used less in Nap’s songs). The instrumentals are similar to Black Sabbath in the 1970’s, especially during the “Vol. 4” & “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” years. The music is also very close to the jamming in some of Karma to Burn’s music. The songs that do have a little bit of organ have almost a Cheap Wine feel; the organ is just barely there but it is present. When the music gets faster and more distorted there is a clear relation to Black Bombaim.

You will not be disappointed with this album if you enjoy a good Stoner jam band (or a if you are a fan of Black Sabbath).

Stream the album HERE and buy the CD or DD

Additional Links:
https://napofficial.bandcamp.com/album/villa

https://www.discogs.com/Nap-Villa/release/9888070

https://www.discogs.com/Nap-Villa/release/9893932

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

https://napofficial.bandcamp.com/album/nap-vs-black-lung-split-12-white-vinyl-strictly-limited

http://dunajam.net/


Kadavar “Rough Times” Album Review + Music Videos + Tour Schedule…

Kadavar 

Rough Times – Vinyl // CD // DD

Nuclear Blast – Release Date: September 29th, 2017

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

Germany’s premiere retro-metal rockers Kadavar have long been a favorite of mine, since their first album dropped.  Their take on the heavy 70’s sound was surprisingly refreshing and convincing for a genre so hell bent on mimicking the past masters, and they had a killer fashion sense to boot.  Seriously, these guys dress to impress, and they’ve got some righteous hair and beard styles to match the bombast.  In a field that was rapidly becoming over-saturated, this three piece stood out as something special, and their second album still stands as a solid test to their legitimacy, not by treading any new ground, but rather by solidifying and consolidating their alchemist formula: one part Black Sabbath, one part Pentagram, and a heavy handed helping of Sir Lord Baltimore.

Record Release Party

It was Kadavar’s third album, Berlin, where we saw some real growth in the band.  Not only did they polish up, modernize and thicken the production a bit, they also wrote some songs that were more hook oriented and less blues based, while others took a slightly heavier approach.  It’s that heavy approach that’s carried over and is thrust up front on their latest record, Rough Times, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer….

The first three songs are really in your face, with a huge, throbbing bass tone and gnarly guitars cranking out more modern riffs.  The title track leads off this album, and it starts with a bombast of hyper saturated guitars smashing through a chain of punctuated and syncopated power chords overlaid by a subtle, subdued lead.  This sounds like nothing that Kadavar have ever done before, and if I hadn’t known who this was, I would have probably never guessed, even though the vocals aren’t too different from their past releases.  They’ve still got that signature, shrill Ozzy-esque sneer, and “Lupus” still got a really great range.   A little past halfway through the song, there’s a groovy breakdown riff that straight up sounds like something that Rage Against The Machine might have played in their heyday.

The second track, “In The Wormhole” continues this approach with a more plodding but equally heavy guitar part that’s more typical of modern doom.  There’s also some cool organ on this one during the vocal parts, along with a low and fuzzy guitar solo that adds some dimension.  “Skeletal Blues” opens up with another big groovy riff that once again reminds me of RATM….maybe it’s the accentuated bass?  Anyways, the verse and chorus are a bit bluesier; perhaps it’s the strange production choice that gives these songs their more modern edge.

It’s not until the fourth song that there’s a shift in vibe and production towards what has come before. With “Die Baby Die”, that we hear anything remotely “retro” or resembling the first two albums, and even then, it’s a more busy, complicated take on that early sound.  The ultra-catchy “Vampires” opens with a 60’s inspired psych sound; fuzzy chords ring out, followed by a jovial, simple bassline and some bare bones atmospheric keyboards alongside the vocals.  The distortion kicks in for the second half of the verse and remains through the chorus, though it’s still one of the album’s catchier number.  “Tribulation Nation” showcases both the more psychedelic side of the band that reared its head on the first two albums and the more hook oriented songwriting from Berlin, and it’s an early album favorite for me.  It straight up sounds like a Hawkwind song, complete with the driving Lemmy-esque bassline, and that’s A-okay by me.

The next track “Words Of Evil” sounds a bit like Sin After Sin era Judas Priest with its palm muted power chords punctuated by bluesy runs and progressive flourishes.  “The Lost Child” is a more subdued song, with a sinister vibe that creeps into  Doors territory with its “riders on the storm” ready keyboard parts and lush guitars, though they do rev up the old distortion pedals for the chorus.  Fans of the softer, more acid-damaged Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats tunes will eat this up.  True to the album’s form, Kadavar changes gears again for the next song, “You Found The Best In Me”, a laid back, though upbeat, major key Southern rock ballad with some truly soaring vocals.  They end the album with the odd “L’Ombre Du Temps”, a more ambient affair with airy whispers of French poetry spoken over the music.  It’s interesting to note the contrast, how the last three songs decrease in both volume and distortion, and what a drastic difference this is from those first three songs.  In a strange way, it does offer at least some semblance of symmetry and balance to the album.

I don’t often do the whole track by track analysis in my reviews, as I feel like a lot of other reviewers already do that, and they do it much better than me.  This time around, it feels like the obvious and intuitive way to approach Rough Times, as it’s both a diverse and an uneven record.  There’s just not any other way for me to write about it that would make any sense.  There’s no overarching theme or trend in the album other than its variety.  I’m not sure if this album was recorded in different studios, though the drastic shifts in productions style certainly point that way.  I’ll tell it straight – I don’t really care for the first three songs, and I’m not exactly sure what they were going for.  I can appreciate that they tried to go there, did something different, and for me….it just doesn’t work.  It’s too jarring, too clunky a shift.  Are they trying to veer into the more extreme stylings of modern stoner doom bands like Electric Wizard?

I’m not sure.  I’m not entirely against them going for a heavier approach – they managed to do so, much more convincingly in my eyes, on Berlin.  “Last Living Dinosaur” was a good, solid heavy track that didn’t sound forced.  It sounded organic, natural, authentic, and these are all key ingredients of the sonic cocktail that’s made Kadavar so successful up to this point in time.  Those first three tracks just don’t sound like a natural progression to me at all, it sounds phony, and the shift after these tunes towards their more natural inclinations only drives this point home.

photo: Clemens MitscherLive Shot_Clemens Mitscher

Once the tone does shift, I rather enjoy the rest of the record, and I’m well aware that there will be those who enjoy and embrace the added heft of those first three songs.  Hell, I’m aware that there are also people out there who actually enjoy listening to Rage Against The Machine, as odd as that idea might be to me personally.  There are probably folks who aren’t going to like some of the other tracks very much, preferences always vary from person to person.  I still stand by my point that bands should experiment and vary their sound, they should take risks and try new things, regardless if these new directions align with mine or anyone else’s tastes and preferences.

With that in mind, I’d highly recommend checking out this album, as it does try out a lot of different things – it seems to me that there’s at least something for everyone to like.  It feels a bit like a transitional record, where Kadavar are branching out and seeing what works, and I for one am hoping that it leads to greater things down the pipeline.  I’d love to see them trim the fat on the next release and really up the bar in terms of their consistency.  All in all, the uneven nature of this record isn’t enough to tip the scales and dethrone Kadavar as my personal leaders of the proto-metal pack.

Tour Schedule


ELARA “Deli Bal” Album Review + Stream…

ELARA

Deli Bal – Vinyl // CD // DD

PysKA Records – released May 1, 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner 

 

Lineup:
DANIEL WIELAND – Bass & Vocals
FELIX SCHMIDT – Guitars & Effects
MARTIN WIELAND – Drums & Percussion

Tracklist:
1/A1                Deli Bal 8:32
2/A2                Amida 12:48
3/B1                Quarantania 7:51
4/B2                Harmonia 17:15
5/CD/Digital BONUS  Trimenon 09:41

Review:

ELARA or, as it is stylized on the record, [Elara Sunstreak Band] are a modern “power trio” from Germany. This is how the band describes themselves; [the band] “is the psychedelic journey of three friends for whom music isn’t a quick commodity but the expression of a positive attitude of life. Here, pressure encounters hypnotic sounds and lyrical depth.” Which is from their Bandcamp and the psyka-records.com shop.

 

 

The album art is very reminiscent of a bunch of band posters and album art from the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Track 1/A1: ‘Deli Bal’
A quick Google search will give you a translation of the album’s Turkish title; “Mad Honey,” which is a hallucinogenic type of honey found in the rhododendron flower. (Which is shown on the cover)

The title track is the heaviest out of the bunch and the structure shows you how the rest of the album will be. It starts off with a sample (after the buzzing from the amps) we get the slow beginning of our journey through our music induced trip. The music slowly builds until 2:18 then the drums bring us into one of the heaviest parts of the album. We get a few shredding’s of the guitar interspersed with words until we get to around 7:50; wind is introduced and the music begins to slow down again the guitar drones out and we move into…

Track 2/A2 ‘Amida’
This track is a back and forth track, it starts off slow, then speeds up, then slows, then speeds up. It is slow in doing it so it is not jarring when it does but it is a constant tug and pull of speed and tempo. This track is also where the organ comes in, really giving me a feeling of the Acid Mothers Temple Collective. As this song is wrapping up, it does the same as the last track (But with the organ this time.)  Amida is also in Turkey (it is called Diyarbakır now) I think this is where the face on the cover comes from. It is very similar to the Amitābha sculptures. Amidah is a Jewish Prayer.

Track 3/B1 ‘Quarantania’
This song’s structure is close to the first, with less shredding, and ends with an effect that sounds like a tape being slowed.  Quarantania is also called The Mount of Temptation (it said that is where Jesus was tempted by the Devil.) I think that this is what the mountains and rocks are on the album cover.

Track 4/B2 ‘Harmonia’ (My favorite track)
This song is steadier in its tempo and speed and uses the influence of psychedelic rock. The ending sounds like it could loop around and be the beginning of the first track.   There isn’t much that I could find that relates to this track on the internet or the album cover.

Track 5 ‘Trimenon’ (Bonus Track)
Musically it is like Harmonia but in a condensed time. The guitar reminds me of some Middle Eastern music. A direct translation from German is Trimester. In Greek it can either mean 1) of three months or 2) a space of three months.

Live Band Pic

ELARA are toeing the line of being Metal on the shorter songs and more Progressive and Psychedelic on the longer tracks. The album gives me a very 90’s feel but as of writing this I cannot name the reason. The music itself is very similar to Sludge metal with a focus on more of a Classic/Progressive Rock feel (‘Harmonia’ showcasing that). In the heavier songs the music is very Tool-like. That focus on Rock during the slower passages is what (in my opinion) keeps the album from being metal. At points the music reminds me of some of the music from Acid Mothers Temple Collective. Vocally Daniel Wieland reminds me a lot of Scott Kelly (from Neurosis) or the guys from Mastodon. Yes, the music sounds stoner-y but it is more progressive as they even give a nod of their collective cap to Pink Floyd.

My only complaint about this album is the lack of a lyric sheet or lyrics available on the internet.  If you are a novice and just starting in the field of progressive music this should not be your first stop but wouldn’t be a terrible choice for a fourth or fifth experience as their music lends itself to a more sophisticated ear.  If you consider yourself an Audio Aficionado – “Deli Bal” is a MUST BUY!!!!

Take a listen here and buy a copy; CD and/or VINYL

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Cosmic Fall // Aphodyl “Starsplit” Album Review + Stream…

Cosmic Fall and Aphodyl

Starsplit – Vinyl // CD // DD

PsyKA Records – released July 27, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

The Starsplit Enterprise

 

 

Star date: 8/30/17 – Space, time, … as everyone even somewhat familiar with Albert Einstein theory of relativity knows  one’s perception of them changes when traveling at the speed of light. Music strangely enough has a similar effect which I was reminded of while listening to the “Starsplit” album last night. An endeavor by two stoner rock bands from Berlin who decided to share some vinyl Cosmic Fall and Aphodyl released a split aptly named “Starsplit” on PsyKA Records, a small underground label from Karlsruhe, Germany. This epic journey has a total run time of 6 tracks lasting 1 hour and 17 minutes on their CD release and 4 tracks lasting about 47 minutes on their Vinyl Release. I found I really didn’t care about time and just enjoyed the moment on each song, which is what good psychedelic/stoner rock is about. Normally I don’t talk about each song on an album but I feel I would be doing these guys an injustice if I didn’t explain why I liked each of their songs.

 

Cosmic Fall Logo

On the A-Side of “Starsplit” is Cosmic Fall. Founded in June 2016 by Bassist Klaus Friedrich, and drummer Daniel Sax.  With 2 impressive self produced Heavy Psyche albums “Cosmic Fall” has returned from the  stars to lay down some more of their otherworldly instrumental space rock with an urban feel to it for us.

Galactic desert rock is what I like to call the albums 1st track ‘Overhead Intelligence.’ It begins with a slow bluesy guitar jam  done by Mathias Rosmann accompanied by Klaus Friedrich’s mellow bass notes emphasis by a few well timed drum beats. Then drummer Daniel Sax helps to kick the song into warp drive allowing Mathias and Klaus to amaze the listener with a stellar guitar performance. ‘Blues at CME’ is pure  ZZ Top instrumental worship that feels like a late night cruise on the back roads of Texas in my cheap sun glasses where a UFO lands and some hot space chicks abduct me to take me on a cruise through the stars. Closing out the Cosmic Fall side of the album is the Bonus Track  ‘Sleeping Pandora.’ Beginning with a Bass and Drum lead by Klaus and Daniel while Mathias plays a far away psychedelic guitar that seems to ebb and flow like the ocean tides. A superb track to close out Cosmic Fall’s 39+ minutes of Cosmic Traveling!!  Up next on Side B…..

APHODYL
Aphodyl_Album Cover

On the B-Side APHODYL!! – No matter the medium I have found Germans have always seemed to have a big Avante Garde art scene that challenges people’s perceptions. Biene, Holli, André & Arno are no exception. Playing music that comes from their minds with much influence from the psychedelic and Krautrock realms, (Pink Floyd, UFO, Hawkwind, Jane etc.) APHODYL fearlessly experiments with sound. On the  APHODYL side of “Starsplit” is what I consider to be 1 long song that has been separated into  3 movements simply titled  ‘Part I, II and III(bonus).’

‘Part I’ begins  with what sounds like a bluesy heavy psych guitar lead by André with some jazz style percussion and bass by Hollie and Arno. As the band starts getting into the song they start working in the strange psychedelic sounds. In the second movement  you feel like you are under a desert sky riding along on a caravan under the stars watching flying saucers through the combination of  instrumental sound effects by Biene, Middle Eastern style guitar playing and that chugging bass. Then at the mid point the lead starts taking off all the while the band is adding sounds from their synth and the bass by Arno begins to feel like its speaking a strange mantra. Then the third bonus movement begins with sounds of a sultry night with a cool bass and drum lead in then the electric blues guitar starts playing music you can actually feel. I’d love to hear more by APHODYL and will be scouring the internet to see what they have available.

While you can still buy Merchandise this album is no longer available for purchase on Bandcamp but fear not you can still get CD’s and Vinyl direct from the band, Cosmic Fall.  Simply drop them a line at their email cosmicfallband@gmail.com.

Additional Links:
http://www.clostridiumrecords.com/

https://cosmicfallband.tumblr.com/

http://www.aphodyl.com/

http://www.allthatisheavy.com/Cosmic_Fall_Aphodyl_Star_Split_Marble_IMPORT_LP_p/ath-12273.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJkOD9CM6U0


Bone Man “III” – Album Review & Track Streaming…

Bone Man

III – Vinyl // CD // DD

Pink Tank Records – released April 21, 2017

Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

I was listening to an album simply titled III by a band called Bone Man just a little while ago and found my thoughts drifting as they sometimes do when I listen to good music. As my mind wandered I recalled a conversation with a friend about which sense, hearing or vision would hurt the most to lose. My friend figured vision would be the hardest and said he’d rather go deaf before going blind. However I was of the opposite opinion because while blindness would present huge challenges, the very thought of losing my ability to hear and enjoy music would be like a curse and this album really made me appreciate my  ability to hear music.

 

Pro Band Shot

 

If I were to describe this trio of Deuschlanders from Kiel, Germany known as Bone Man with one word I’d say sublime.  Described by fans reviews I’ve read as Heavy Psych Fuzz and Grunge.  I can definitely hear the influences of Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, and Eric Clapton in Bone Man’s music. Although not nearly as fuzzed out as II, Bone Man III seems to have upped the fuzz and sharpened Arne’s bass guitar a bit more to accent front-man Marian’s guitar leads and vocals. When I gave III a spin for the 1st time I found myself letting the bass and drums played by Ötzi lead me into the guitar leads and vocals. Lyrically the album’s songs have a bluesy feel to them.  Among my favorites were: ‘AMNESI’, ‘COLD ECHO’ and ‘FALSE AMBITION’.

Bone Man Tour Schedule

What I really find most interesting about III is how it messed with my perception of time. It’s a tight album with songs that are all under 6 minutes, yet when I listened to it I felt like I was listening to an AOR Rock classic full of 7 to 10 minute songs. I don’t know how the band does this but it’s pure genius. If you like the 90’s grunge movement, fuzz, or Eric Clapton then you will like Bone Mathis album. Bone Man’s III is an album I can easily see in a cliquish music heads’ collections as well as hitting the rock charts. Leading me to ask “When are you coming to The United States Bone Man?


Samsara Blues Experiment “One With The Universe” Review & Stream…

Samsara Blues Experiment

One With The Universe – LP // CD // DD

Electric Magic Records in Cooperation with World in Sound Records

Release Date:  Digital Download – April 10th, 2017 // LP & CD Release Date – Mid May 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

Founded: 2007

Band Members:

Christian Peters (guitar, vocal, synth etc.), Hans Eiselt (bass), Thomas Vedder (drums)

Hailing from Germany, or Akasha (Third stone from the Sun) per their FB page, SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT is a three piece band that incorporates a mixture of varying types of musical forms  from stoner rock to psychedelic blues, Indian raga to folk, using this swirling format to create something individual and unique in a world of music that seems littered with so many bands regurgitating so much drivel. SBE has chosen the be the exception and they do not disappoint based on the countless festivals / tours they have undertaken in their almost 10-year history as an entity as well as a plethora of releases that continue to expand on the visions that SBE put forth. Be it studio or live, there is a feeling of ethereal consciousness that begins with the first note and does not waiver until the last note. Spending their time on extensive touring from early in their career, they first hit American shores as early as 2009 and have no plans on changing that edict any time soon. By 2013, SBE released their third album and did it in a big way; their OWN label, Electric Magic. This pending May 2017 release will be offered through this same outlet and the anticipation is staggering with the buzz and sharing around of their previous releases letting more and more know what is looming near for the new fans and dedicated fans alike around the world.

 

Pro Band Pic_B&W

 

Comprised of five new songs with an average run time of just under 10 minutes, not a second seems wasted here from the opening notes of ‘Vipassana’ with all of the cascading notes, the swelling and full bass line to the endless fills and flow of tempo that these three combine in a manner that can only be described as ‘hypnotic and mesmerizing’ at the same time. ‘Sad Guru Returns’ is a track that lets Samsara Blues Experiment build to the pummeling pace that is the body of this track up to just after three minutes in when there is a pause of soft until the pick slides back down Chris’ guitar neck and the pummeling power-chords are back in your face and it is perfection in arrangement for this instrumental offering, the only voices being the inserted excerpts speaking of this generation at the beginning and meditation at the end of… again, perfect in the context of this composition. ‘Glorious Daze’ comes in with a slow fade of a single guitar note followed by Hans’s bassline and a soft-wash cymbal edge from Thomas’ hands continuing with that feel of esoteric awakening as Chris’ voice comes in, describing in his signature timbre this tale of not knowing “What I miss the most about you…” to the muse behind the lyrics that are better heard with your own ears than described further here for the full-effect and immersion into your own perception.

 

Samsara Blues Experiment_Banner

 

Title track, and personal favorite from this album ‘One With The Universe’ clocks in at just over 15 minutes and stands out as the jewel on the crown that this record represents for SBE. A lone guitar and more cymbal washes cascade down the sides of my face as so much mist in a breeze and the urge to close your eyes and float along with the soloing is overpowering as you allow your mind’s eye to truly ‘see’ every word not spoken with a clarity not imagined as possible. The first appearance of any vocal comes at nine minutes in as Chris echoes his guitar progression in a call-and-response manner until Chris’ voice tells us ” I said I want to see you everyday…” and we traverse across time and space in this tale of “All the promises you made…”. The time shift at 10 minutes shifts the pace to a more ‘jazz-filled’ segment complete with what could very well be a mellotron keyboard further filling the lush tapestry as a solo winds out and around as so many branches growing and wrapping around you as the musicianship allows this trio to flex their ever-powerful muscle of mastery that keeps building in intensity to the drum rolling end.

 

 

Closing track ‘Eastern Sun & Western Moon’ is the absolute epitome of what SBE represents themselves to be in that while slower in tempo than the majority of this record, there is still that inherent ‘HEAVY” with the languishing pace that allows for us to breathe deeply and savor each second of the staggering loopy melody that makes up the body of this song. The running order and stellar production values make this truly the BEST offering SO FAR from SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT and helps to further solidify this band as one of the MUST-SEE acts out there and you need to do yourself the favor of diving DEEP into this ‘experiment’ with all of their previous releases as we wait the official release.  Buy the record ASAP and support them live if you get the chance to witness this mastery of sound and story combined!!


New Album Review – Kreator “Gods of Violence” (Japanese Edition)

Kreator

Gods Of Violence (Japanese Edition) – Vinyl / CD / DD

Nuclear Blast Records – German Thrash Metal

Release Date: January 27, 2017

 

“The Big 4 Of Thrash” has never been a term I give any merit into. None. It’s based on record sales/public acceptance far more than overall quality of output and integrity. If that wasn’t the case, so many bands are realistically more deserving and would get their due, and Germany’s Kreator ranks extremely high on the list for proper candidates. Don’t think so? Then you must not have heard their latest, “Gods Of Violence”.

 

Gods of Violence_Release Info

 

Quite simply, “Gods” may just be the band’s best work in their 35 years of existence. The previous three albums to it have been really excellent, but this trip around actually manages to surpass them in terms of intensity and musicianship. Grandiose intro “Apocalypticon”, complete with choirs, marching drums, orchestration and melodic guitar overlays, strong implicates something epic is soon to come. And does it ever! Starting with “World War Now” and completing with bonus closer “Earth Under The Sun”, the listener is thrown back in a sonic blast that is amazing in its heaviness, songwriting and versatility. While smoothly executed speed with snarling, intense vocals is the overall order of the day,  all tracks have plenty of dynamics, be it an acoustic intro/section, flawless time/tempo shifts, or devastating guitar leads and solos of impeccable melody. Every track, without exception, has a clear identity of it’s own, yet taken as complete work, each fits together nicely to create a unified package. Accomplishing that in any genre is an admirable task, and rightfully so.

Dare I say that Mille, Ventor and company have created a bona fide thrashterpiece? Damn right I do. If I had 10 thumbs, they’d all be up. Either get this into your collection or just admit you aren’t really a metal fan after all.  A bold statement for an equally bold platter.

Words by David “The Lovely” LaMay


New Album Review – My Sleeping Karma “Mela Ananda – Live”

MY SLEEPING KARMA 

Mela Ananda – Live – Vinyl / DVD / CD / DD

Napalm Records – Release Date: 2/24/2017 

 

Aschaffenburg, Germany is home to the four men that make up MY SLEEPING KARMA. The town is located in the southwest part of Germany, 41 kilometers (25 mi) southeast of Frankfurt, Aschaffenburg lies in the far northwest of the state of Bavaria. This is referenced only to give you an idea of where they hail from and give some perspective into these master musicians that proclaim they are “Not beginners or amateurs and when they take the stage, you will forget everything around you as they take you by the hand into the deepest, hidden corners of your soul” enquote. Tough to imagine from a band that has potato chips showing as the band interest and list SLAYER as another band they love…

 

Band Live Pic

 

Five studio albums later, beginning in 2006, sporting two singles and an appearance on Napalm Record’s Christmas compilation, MY SLEEPING KARMA has put together a ‘Greatest Hits’ of sorts ranging from the first self-titled 6-track record all the way through to 2015’s release “Moksha” and the result – “Mela Ananda Live,” is simply stellar!!  Classifying their musical style as a conglomeration of Psychedelic / Stoner / Instrumental / Space / Progressive Rock, it is awe-inspiring how they move between lush almost-jazz tempered cool into near metal-thundering riffs ripping through you, never dropping a beat throughout this 68-minute beast, traversing of what can best be described as inner catacombs.  Each track exposing its own light across the shifting shadows of drums / bass / keyboards and guitar, keeping your attention as you hear every word that is never spoken by the voices of this quartet, each voice offering its own color.  I barely noticed the audience between songs with the flow of the performance being as smooth as tempered glass.

 

Touring Schedule with Images

 

Each of the ten tracks included would have been the ones I would have selected from their extensive library if I had been asked to design the set-list, personal favorite ‘Psilocybe’ especially and the running order lends to that smooth-as-glass tempering making this offering almost as good as being there yourself!!  Great introduction to a veteran band that seems to tour nonstop as their schedule for March 2017 they have posted shows; every day booked from 3-16 to 4-1-17. If you get the chance, go and reward yourself to this near-transcendental experience offered to you. If you cannot, immediately add this album to your library and enjoy the inner-ride. As they further state, “My Sleeping Karma offers the perfect movie soundtrack to everybody’s own inner journey. Just be warned, you may never want to leave again!!” enquote. Nothing better than ‘truth in advertising’ and this record is exactly that. OUTSTANDING accomplishment!!

Words by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 


Album Review – Dread Sovereign “For Doom The Bell Tolls”

DREAD SOVEREIGN

For Doom The Bell Tolls – Vinyl / CD / DD

Ván Records – RELEASE DATE: 3rd of March 2017

 

From the dark catacombs of Ireland and what could seemingly be the ashes of the doom/ black metal legends PRIMORDIAL,

A.A. Nemtheanga//Bones//Johnny King have come together delivering the self-described ‘born-dead brainchild’ of Nemtheanga, named DREAD SOVEREIGN. Using his years of slaying & slashing on guitar, the blueprint presented is old-school doom/black metal, much in the vein of pioneers VENOM and BULLDOZER, loaded with everything we expect from a band with the time spent honing and perfecting this latest configuration is what keeps us coming back for more.

 

Band Shot

 

Opener and title track ‘For Doom The Bell Tolls’ is the perfect set-up for the rest of the record complete with the vortex of white noise and tolling bells as well as an undefined ominous presence that lurks just out of reach. Until you hear the pick-slide at the beginning of ‘Twelve Bells Toll In Salem’ you are just waiting for some sign of what lurks in the shadows from a distance. Nemtheana’s vocal piercing tells of the DREAD SOVEREIGN’s entrance to our world as commanded to embrace the UnderLord. All the elements of evil rising and the swirling mists of darkness permeate here and take you to the edge of the brimstone glowing from below the surface of this world. Clocking in at 13 minutes, this is the longest track but gives the listener ALL you need to know to grasp the story offered.

‘This World Is Doomed’ follows immediately after as the last of the twelve bells has faded off into the fog. Three measures of crunching chords are broken only by the call “Let’s GO” as the rhythm section belies the real intent to call out the disbelievers to ‘rack up another lie’ and ‘take another pill’ denying the impending as described by Nemtheana’s lyrical tale.

‘Draped In A Sepulchral Fog’ revisits the swirling, menacing white noise and tolling bells of the opener, leading you into ‘The Spines Of Saturn,’ a track that is reminiscent of 70’s space-rock with enough phase-shift used to make you think there is an orchestra of guitar pushing you directly into the halo of rings that surround this ominous planet. In MY opinion, this song could stand alone and is even stronger as surrounded by the rest of this album.

 

Live Shot of Band

 

Closing track ‘Live Like An Angel, Die Like A Devil’ is the perfect tribute to the band many say brought us TRUE Black Metal back when, VENOM. They don’t miss a note in a cover that would make Cronos proud!! While this may not signal the end of PRIMORDIAL, they did just release a live album in 2016, it is something welcomed and NEEDED in this market. DREAD SOVEREIGN have done exactly what they set out to do in their own words; “We have not intended to re-invent the wheel just to give it a good kicking in the true old evil metal fashion.” Mission accomplished boys…

Words by Ric “Sui-Syko” Dorr