Two of the biggest, most iconic bands from the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) movement are returning to North America together this fall. Following their hugely successful tour together in March and April, UFO and Saxon have announced more dates in the U.S., plus two in Canada, in September and October. Vocalists from both bands commented on the announcement saying:
UFO‘s Phil Mogg shares: “Seldom do you get the chance to have a tour with such great bands and great personalities. We have been offered such a chance and will be grabbing it with both hands. We are looking forward very much to our autumn tour with the lads from Saxon, Biff, Paul, Doug, Nigel, and Nibbs, Jared James, Eric and Dennis, just so you know every one. I hope you enjoy these gigs as much as we will, rocking/kicking, your proverbial arse/bottom. Love UFO.”
Biff Byford from Saxon adds: “It’s great to be coming back with UFO, we had such a great time on the last tour – it’s a great package with three great bands, what’s not to like BRING IT ON!!!!!”
UFO, featuring the long-running line up of Phil Mogg (Vocals), Paul Raymond (Keyboards / Guitar), Andy Parker (Drums), Vinnie Moore (Guitar) and Rob De Luca (Bass) are currently working on a studio cover album after the last studio release, A Conspiracy Of Stars, in 2015.
Saxon are touring on their latest release Battering Ram, together with the new live DVD Let Me Feel Your Power, both on the UDR Music label and are currently in the studio working on a new studio album for release early 2018. Saxon are: Biff Byford (Vocals), Paul Quinn (Guitar), Nigel Glockler (Drums), Doug Scarrett (Guitar) and Tim “Nibbs” Carter (Bass).
22 – Newton, NJ – Newton Theater
23 – Huntington, NY – Paramount Theater
24 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
26 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater Of The Living Arts
28 – Plymouth, NH – Flying Monkey
29 – Worcester, MA – Palladium
30 – Hartford, CT – Webster Theater
1 – Portland, ME – Aura
3 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theater
4 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theater
6 – Flint, MI – Machine Shop
7 – Traverse City, MI – Ground Zero
8 – Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall
9 – Akron, OH – Tangier CabaretRoom
11 – Pittsburgh, PA – Jergels
12 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts
13 – Merrillville, IN – Star Plaza
14 – Indianapolis, IN – The Egyptian
Tickets are available from all usual agents and outlets.
The past and the present, the old and the new, the hard and the heavy. A juxtaposition of variances would be embodied on the night of Friday, April 21st as the legendary Y&T, with support from Temptations Wings, came to Asheville, North Carolina. The setting would be The Grey Eagleand the broad spectrum of rock music to be presented would be impressive to say the least. So would merely making it to the show as I, and shotgun rider Tomm Huff, departed our home in Kentucky amid a battering hailstorm and torrential downpours. Three nerve-wracking hours of travel through non-stop inclement weather would not deter us though and eventually we arrived safe if not a little soaked.
My first trip to The Grey Eagle revealed a nice, well maintained older building of good size with a cool music hall, bar and kitchen/dining area. I had been eagerly awaiting this show for months now since learning that the current incarnation of the iconic Y&T were coming to the region. Not just that alone either as regional band Temptations Wings, who are riding high on their recently released album, ‘Skulthor Ebonblade‘, were on the bill as well. In fact, I conducted an A/V interview with those guys prior to the show, in the rain somewhat, that will be coming soon.
When it came time for Temptations Wings, aka Micah Nix (gtr./vox), Jason Gardner (drums) and Chad Barnwell (bass), to take the stage, the venue was quite packed. Guesstimating somewhere near 400 – 450 people had filed in to see these AVL hometowners unleash their heaviness. The trio recently released their critically-acclaimed conceptual album, the aforementioned ‘Skulthor Ebonblade‘, and have been in high demand ever since. The album weaves the tale of a mythical warrior who returns home to find his family slain and and village destroyed by an evil witch. To reap vengeance, he journeys to obtain a mystical sword and once acquired, goes to slay the witch herself. Quite an intriguing storyline, is it not? Truth is, the story is only but a small part of what makes this band so solidly kick-ass though..it is really more about the music.
The music of Temptations Wings can only be described as Appalachian Power Doom for that does suit it rather well. Comprised of chunky, thick riffs, pulsating rhythms and thunderous drumming, the music is heavy and engaging. And it was clear the guys have a large, loyal support base here in their home region. After a taped intro segment, they delivered the barrage of songs that included ‘I, Destroyer‘, ‘Treachery Of The Blind Raven‘, ‘Lair Of The Gorgon Queen‘, ‘Into The Maelstrom‘ and ‘Crush The Weak‘. Each was well received and it was clear that many of those in attendance were already familiar with the tracks. The guys provided a fantastic set that went over really well with such a diversified crowd, one where all ages from the younger to the elder, were well represented.
An interlude and then the stage was commandeered by the legendary Y&T! Y&T 2017 sees the only surviving band founder, guitarist/vocalist Dave Meniketti, joined currently by guitarist John Nymann, bassist Aaron Leigh and drummer Mike Vanderhule. Many of the bands that got their start several decades ago, and are still around, exist solely to relive their glory days by rehashing their earlier material. Such is not the case with this band as they continue to record and release new material, like they did with 2010’s Facemelter album. The repertoire of material that Y&T has available in their discography to select from was well plundered on this night too.
The origins of Y&T date back as early as 1974 and the band began officially releasing studio albums in 1976. Some of their albums have achieved both commercial notoriety as well as cult status amid massive reverence. One of their most beloved records, In Rock We Trust (1984), would provide the one-two punch to start their set this night with the fantastic ‘Lipstick And Leather‘ and ‘Don’t Stop Runnin’‘. The place was roaring with excitement as the band followed up with another classic, ‘Hurricane‘, before visiting material from another landmark album, 1981’s Earthshaker. ‘Shine On‘ and clear crowd favorite ‘Dirty Girl‘ had the place erupting with sing-along choruses and crowd enthusiasm. Then Meniketti & Co. unleashed one of their most well known songs, the scorching title cut from 1983’s Mean Streak and the audience went haywire. In case you don’t know it, Dave is one hell of a damn good guitarist too and he himself scorched the frets on the song’s solo while Nymann too delivered his own axe wizardry.
Things would wind down to the lighter side of the band’s music as they delivered a great version of ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark‘ from 1990’s Ten. What came next was the most touching period of the night as Dave spoke about the now deceased longrunning Y&T members Phil Kennemore, Leonard Haze and Joey Alves. He dedicated the next song, ‘Winds Of Change‘, to them and then delivered a powerfully stirring delivery of the song which clearly moved all present. Before anyone could dwell on the touching significance of that moment the guys launched into the high energy of ‘Blind Patriot‘ from their most recent studio effort, Facemelter. The uptempo track is a hard rocking number that rolls out at a frenetic pace from the start and it sure got everyone’s blood pumping again including Y&T‘s. Not to mention some fiery guitar pyrotechnics from Dave and John both throughout the song.
The next block of cuts would touch upon all the bases, i.e. hit albums, first with the stellar rendition of the melodic rocker ‘I’ll Keep On Believin’ (Do You Know)‘. Then came the lively title track of one of my personal faves, ‘Black Tiger‘, and they toned things down again with ‘Midnight In Tokyo‘. Keeping the formula going of tapping into some of their best, well-known albums, Meniketti and the mob delivered up rousing cuts like ‘Let Me Go‘, ‘Hang’em High‘ and ‘I Believe You‘. Then came the inevitable title track of the band’s 1987 album, one of their most well known records and songs both, ‘Contagious‘. Needless to say, the packed house clearly knew the song by heart, inside and out, upside and down as they involved themselves in some way or another. Women of all ages, makes and models were dancing around the auditorium and before the song was finished, Mike Vanderhule delivered a jaw-dropping drum solo. It was the perfect segue into one of Y&T‘s most upbeat, metallic-tinged tracks ever, ‘Open Fire‘, and that is exactly what the quartet did with the track. Now had come the time that everyone knew was inevitable, the delivery of Y&T‘s most well known, biggest commercial hit song of their legacy, ‘Summertime Girls‘. The beloved MTV / Billboard Hot 100 hit song that hails from the ’85 LP Down For The Count is the sole song that many people know Y&T for. That’s really a shame too because the band truly has such a remarkable body of work built up throughout the years that some people are tragically missing out on. A trip back to 2010’s Facemelter record came in the form of the anthemic set-ending “I’m Coming Home‘, another song that elicited sing along choruses and intensified audience participation.
To be honest, things could have just ended at this point and I would have been more than satisfied with what I had just experienced. Seriously, I had just seen a band truly perform their very heart and souls out for the house attendance and it was utterly incredible to put it mildly. Yet the show was not quite over as the quartet returned and served up two more remarkably rousing renditions of great older songs: ‘Rescue Me‘ and ‘Forever‘. The latter was quite the appropriate finale for the night too because rock ‘n roll is forever and for me, the experience of seeing Y&T will remain with me forever as well. But not just Y&T of course as I got to see my good friends in Temptations Wings open for the legendary act and thus share their own killer music with a wider audience. Between the two bands they had the spectrum well covered, just as I eluded to at the start of this recap. The Grey Eagle in the mountains of Asheville, N.C. served as ground zero for this spectacular night of Rock ‘N Roll where both the Old School and the New were well represented.
Dark Matter is “heavily influenced by 70s downer rock and obscure prog.” That’s the description on their Bandcamp page. Apt summary for sure, but there is much more going on here than just 70s prog. Once you scratch that surface, you will find their sound also borrows from the doom, space, and psych/acid genres as well. Think Black Sabbath and Hawkwind to go along with that 70s downer rock tag, and you’re in the ballpark as far as pinning down their sound.
Wood Lane is Dark Matter’s second effort. Whereas their debut was completely recorded by Dave Gilbert, he has enlisted the services of Gandalf’s Fist’s drummer, Stefan Hepe on this one. The addition of Hepe has only served to enhance the overall sound and atmosphere Dave is attempting to create with his compositions. Thematically, this album runs the gamut of religion (‘The Truth is Out There’ and ‘March Out to the Sun’), technology (‘Four Walled World’), Witches (‘Down in the Valley’), and loss (“Wood Lane”). Unquestionably, a diverse lyrical tapestry is woven throughout.
‘King of Colours’ and ‘The Truth is Out There’ open the album with a space rock/acid feel. ‘Four Walled World’ touches upon the dangers of letting technology take over your life. This is the third track on the album and the first where you truly start to see that early Black Sabbath influence—especially towards the tail end of the song. “Wood Lane” is well placed midway through the record and serves the purpose of giving the album a welcomed change of pace with its laid back psychedelic sounds. Lyrically, this song will make you contemplate life as you know it with its deep and emotional theme. As the song suggests, “it’s a lonely place.” The Sabbath influence makes a more obvious return on ‘Down in the Valley’, and the final track, ‘March Out to the Sun,’ boasts a riff that would be more than comfortable fitting in on any doom record.
This is a strong second effort from Dark Matter. The album is cohesive and dynamic and the songs are structured in a way that make them memorable. Gilbert’s vocals fit the overall mood of the record, however, a more varied vocal delivery may have made some of these songs that much more memorable. Minor gripe when considering how well this album embraces the feel of classic 70s proto doom and space rock. Looking forward to what they come up with next.
This is the second time in recent weeks that I’ve had to be extremely critical of a band that I truly like. If you read my review of Ecstatic Vision’s debut, you’ll remember that I really liked their sound, thought it was a really promising debut, and was fairly nonplussed by the banality of the lyrics. They were for the most part extremely pot-centric, and lacked any real depth or sense of subversion. I like subversion in art, I think it’s a really vital and overlooked element to a successful artistic statement.
At this point in time, I feel like there are two distinct schools on how to be a band: one school just gets their asses on the road, plays as killer of a live show as they can day in and day out, and sells as much merchandise as humanly possible to support their efforts. They put all of their energy into the stage each night. Their records are made in an effort to capture some of that live show and establish an ongoing connection with the fans who have experienced them live. Ecstatic Vision seems to fall firmly into this first camp.
The second school is composed of musicians who take their time with songwriting and recording, and are more concerned with making records that actualize their artistic impulses. They play live sporadically, when they can, though it’s not really their focus. The album itself is the ultimate art form and personal statement. I’m someone who falls firmly into this second camp.
It’s worth saying that most of the best bands of past and present can do both, though it’s a rare commodity in this day and age, with the way that the modern music industry works. I think that it’s vitally important for bands to attempt to bridge the gap – bands that make amazing studio albums should make an attempt to translate that into a live setting, and bands that that are awesome live need to learn the nuances of songwriting and the studio. There are obviously some serious growing pains involved in this process, and part of that process involves the ability to take criticism and evolve accordingly. The responsibility to offer this criticism lies mostly with the fans, though there are those of us who are fortunate enough to have our thoughts published. I happen to find myself in this position, and we do bands and fans a disservice by not offering up our most authentic selves in succumbing to hype and the pressure of PR companies.
You want to talk about fake news?? The music industry is 90% fake news, maybe more. Putting forth our honest, authentic and thoughtful reflections on an album is largely a lost art. You’ll see reviewers saying things like “If you haven’t heard this album, you’re living under a rock, people.” No. Fuck you. That’s blatantly manipulative. Lots of people cannot hear or not like a release for a wide variety of reasons, and they are entitled to their opinions and their dismissiveness. Those of us who have some sort of audience for our opinions, given our positions of power, it’s up to us to respect the tastes and opinions of others. If you think that I live under a rock because I don’t worship an album that you do, fuck you. Seriously, fuck you. Own your fucking opinion as just that – you’re not the do all and end all. You’re one small person with questionable tastes and an asserted opinion, in a veritable ocean of people with tastes and opinions. What I say about Raw Rock Fury is simply my opinion, take it or leave it. Any reviewer who asserts otherwise, you should rightly tell them to fuck off. Your opinion is just as important as mine, if not more so. People just publish my opinion, because I feel empowered to speak it. You should feel equally empowered. Seriously. If you’re passionate and articulate enough, someone will publish you. That’s my high dream, that every one of you that reads this review goes out and writes their own. Your opinion is vitally important, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a shitbag.
With all that said….
From my perspective, when a band releases a promising debut, the natural next step is to write a stellar sophomore album. That’s the make or break point for me. From where I stand, Ecstatic Vision have not delivered a knockout punch with their second album. Quite the opposite. I’m trying to think about how I can best express this.
I went to the movies with a good friend yesterday. We were both making comments about action movies and how banal they’ve become, how they lack substance, how directors have forsaken the art of pacing, and how these movies just rely on special effects and vapid over stimulation. Then we talked about how Hollywood science fiction movies are now basically constructed around a decent sci-fi concept that rapidly descends into a mindless action movie. See above for how that turns out. Still, people love that shit. It’s not for me. Have you ever seen 2001: A Spacey Oddity?? Do you still even have the attention span to watch it again? Do it, as a personal favor to me, not that I’m deserving. Do it for yourself then. It can’t hurt. Maybe you can’t do it. That’s sad.
Watch how there’s just a goddamn blank black screen with some of the most iconic film scoring of all time for the first five minutes. That’s it. Watch how slow and deliberate every single scene is revealed to us. It gives you time to think about what’s really happening, and more importantly, about the implications of what’s really happening, and what’s going to happen next. Then think about the conclusion, how ridiculous of a psychedelic, sensuous delight that we’re treated to!! Think about how climactic of an ending that is, and how it contrasts with the deliberate pacing of the beginning.
It’s like sex; all good art should be like good sex. Seriously. That’s why sex is so awesome. Great songs should be like great sex. Granted, there’s different kinds of songs, and different kinds of sex. Some sex is extremely one dimensional. This album is extremely one dimensional.
Ecstatic Vision’s music certainly has a primal, sexual appeal. That’s what I liked about their debut. It’s like that first time you hook up with someone, and you’re thinking, “Damn….that was pretty good, things are just going to get better from here.” After you hang out with this particularly special person and discuss it a bit, the next time y’all are together, they just bombard you with the most climactic techniques of your last encounter, rather than exploring the subtleties. The sex doesn’t turn out better; they’ve forgotten about the pacing and dynamics that made your first encounter so special, yet they think that they’re the shit when it comes to matters that happen between the sheets. They’re missing the point. I’m not going to expound on what that point is, because I trust that every one of you reading this has had a similar experience. Perhaps I’m wrong. I’m often wrong. If you haven’t experienced this, seriously….get yourself out more.
This is what their record company says about the album: “ ‘Raw Rock Fury’ is a raucous mix of troglodyte Detroit rock, soothing Krautian moto, filthy Beefheartian blues, and Hawkwindian primal world heavy psych!” I’m not going to disagree with any of this, it’s all true. It’s true in the same sense that Obi-Wan tells Luke that he didn’t lie to him because his spin on the whole Anakin/Vader situation was that he’d told him the truth, from a certain point of view. A record company’s point of view is based around selling records. I’ve told you what my point of view is, and I’m not even completely sure what it’s based around. Reconcile the two accounts of the album. Then, most importantly, take it in from your own point of view, and form your own conclusions.
In June of 2016, legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore made his much-anticipated return to rock music with the revitalized Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Delivering three powerhouse concerts in Europe, two in Germany and one in England, Blackmore yet again proved why he is such an integral icon of rock and roll.
On June 9th, Eagle Rock Entertainment will issue the ‘Live In Birmingham 2016‘ 2CD and Digital Audio, the first release of the audio from the 2016 British show. Packed with a set list combining classic tracks from both Deep Purple and Rainbow, the 2CD release boasts such classics as “Catch The Rainbow”, “Mistreated”, “Since You Been Gone”, “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Black Night”, “Spotlight Kid”, “Smoke On The Water”, “Stargazer”, “Perfect Strangers”, and many more. Continue reading…
Born Feb 12 2010, Dallas Texas, Consisting of brothers Kyle Juett on bass/lead vocals, Kelley Juett on guitar/vocals, and Judge Smith on drums, these guys have a unique sound that demonstrates that Mothership’s goal from the beginning has been to carry on the tradition of classic rock stylings of the ’70′s, updated and re-calibrated and amped up for the modern day fan of thick lumbering tone maxed out with all the distortion there is to be found.
Eight tracks make up this 33+ minute offering and this represents the third studio album of four releases (based on what I could track down) and in my opinion is the most solid outing from the Juett brothers and Judge Smith together, showing a musicianship that comes from lots of time playing together to become the cohesive unit that MOTHERSHIP shows themselves to be with this outing.
Opener and title track ‘High Strangeness’ is a nice slower even-keel instrumental that will suit the biggest stoner-fan with all of the elements in place to take you back in time to the days of MAHOGANY RUSH with the spaced out guitar solos that fly in and out over the even bass line that carries the melody of this track all the way to the left/right bouncing of some faraway sounding signal that slowly fades out. ‘Ride The Sun’ follows with a faster tempo than the previous and again, shows that virtuoso type of riff that dominated the underground rock world of later 70’s bands including the tone of the likes of UFO and MAX WEBSTER and THE GODZ with the stop/start soloing and phrasing and does not relent during the entire 4 minutes. ‘Midnight Express’ wastes no time with a double-measure drum intro before the brothers kick it in together with a heaviness to the tone that will hit you between the eyes and Judge does his all to be right out in front, hitting his drums as hard as it sounds, and then the last minute of, the pace almost doubles and there is no hesitation to run along with.
‘Crown Of Lies’ has a pace that could almost be a tip of the hat to HEART’s anthem ‘Barracuda’ w/ the double palm-muted gallop picking and is one of the stronger lyrical tracks on this album and is filled with more twists rhythmically than any other track contained, invoking the 70’s gods of jam-bands as the multi-layered solo’s sear your brain with the fury of each note. ‘Helter Skelter’ is NOT a BEATLES cover but instead sounds more like THE HUNT meets DIAMOND HEAD in pace and progressions and tells Mothership’s tale of their own dealings that garnered this moniker. ‘Eternal Trip’ is a pure guitar piece that allows Kelley to shine in his own spotlight with a piece that is hauntingly beautiful in its saturated state of reverb with a clear guitar tone that you can feel rolling across your tongue as you take it in.
Standout track on this one for me, oddly enough, is the last song ‘Speed Dealer’ and for the first couple of measures, I felt the need to crank it up to ’11’ for the full impact of this juggernaut of heavy riffs and wash cymbal and was happy as fuck that I did with the power that screamed from the 14’s that were jumping to the quick fade.
They are indeed touring this one RIGHT NOW and it would be in your very best interest to support these guys in the LIVE format for the effect I just got from my measly speakers. Get the album and catch ’em when they show up in your town!!
Argonauta Records – Release Date: February 13th, 2017
Two men brought together in the bands UNWELCOME and KESSLER decided in 2014 that they need to play their own flavor of music, saying they “designed it to be an undeniable source of power.” As the 11 tracks demonstrate, they aren’t kidding.
Andrea (guitar / vocals) and Maxim (drums) decided to say YES to stirring up a writhing pit of sweaty bodies, YES to heavy-music and want to remind each of us that “This is not a dress-rehearsal, this is the BIG SHOW!!” With an agreed vision that what they can do together should not be denied, this ‘collision of two different people collaborating as was always the intention’, have given this shape shifting revelation that has taken form in “Labbrador.”
Opener ‘Evil Sky’ comes out of the gate at full speed leaving no doubt that this is not going to be anything less than an assault with a relentless pummeling from Maxim while Andrea takes you along, making you want to ‘touch the sky’ with him. The multi layered backing vocals mixed with the ethereal guitar lines give all the body you need to not notice that there are no bass lines here.
‘Going Home’ / ‘Hey You’ and title track ‘Labbrador’ are further examples of what can be done with the swirling mixture of hard rock/stoner/post-punk can become when mixed in equal parts and then seasoned with some hardcore kicks and licks thrown in for good measure. ‘Blind’ shows that Andrea is not afraid to poke fun at some of his peer-group with the high-pitch tone he takes with alternating passages through the lyrics, sounding almost like some Bieber-prepubescent kid before he drops back to his regular growl into his mic emphasizing ‘it’s easy when you know’ as he spits over piercing notes from his Les Paul.
‘Perfect Black’ begins with a clean tone, something you wouldn’t expect from based on what has been heard to this point, but when Andrea’s voice hits 30 seconds in, it makes perfect sense. When the first solo break hits, that clean tone serves the song perfectly. There are three tracks listing a guest performance from Xavier Iriondo, ‘Sixty-Two’ / ‘Think’ and ‘SheMale’ that show an even blacker depth to THEBUCKLE. ‘Think’ starts of with the thick distorted chords accented by a nice combo of snare and rim shots, establishing an almost galloping pace that smooths into a sweet flex-closing ride cymbal going wide open through the pauses between measures, Maxim showing his true prowess behind the kit as beat-master while Andrea and Xabier deliver supremely, making this sound HUGE without losing the identity of what THEBUCKLE is. ‘SheMale’ is another one to show their twisted sense of humor as Andrea says he wanted ‘more’ but ‘can not make it work’… cracked me up.
‘On My Own’ takes me back to ‘Portrait Of An American Family’-era MARILYN MANSON with the vocal delivery so MM in attack and intent and a deep-dark HEAVINESS in the body of the song. It is obvious this is no joke ripping through your speakers. Disc closer ’12 Seconds’ is another facet to this gem of a band telling a tale wrapped around an Apollo mission, complete with injected radio communications, the last being the statement that “The heavens have become a part of Man’s world.” Started off with the sky and ended with it as well through the journey of this record.
The stand-out track on this one for me is ‘Sixty-Two.’ It with an even tempo that is immediately slower than the rest in true stoner fashion, and the loopy melody of the song will keep your attention as it curls around the tendrils of your brain, the vocal line bringing a DEFTONES flavor along as the perfect garnishment. While each song is well structured and written, this particular track brings a coherence that is at its strongest here. If there is one to be released as the lead-off from this record, this should be the one in MY opinion. Awesome stuff here, front to back and I would love to see them do it live and witness the ‘undeniable’ of this duo as they weave their visions of what they have described as “Dark and gloomy atmospheres tempered with obtundent, memorable melodies”. The world awaits gentlemen… \m/
Catania, Italy is home to this five-man doom/stoner metal machine who’s latest release “The Law Of Purity” is set to be unleashed this February worldwide; let me help get you ready for this one…
Starting out in 2012 when Frank The Door (Marco-bass) and Red Frank (Seby-rhythm guitar) shared a passion for stoner-rock citing bands like BLACK SABBATH and KYUSS as favorites and influences. Lord J. Frank (Alfredo-drums) and Frank Sinutre (Francesco-lead guitar/vocals) completed the line up with that familiar recipe of old style whiskey, enough bass-fuzz to pull the hair off of your cat, quick shifting tempos and the aggro-gruff vocals that all lend to their psych-stoner spirited compositions. RHINO did their time playing biker festivals and the club/bar circuits tallying up a fan-base that pushed them along, allowing them to hone their craft to a razor sharp level. When asked to describe themselves, the response was “You in the desert, dust in your eyes and lovely mirages.” You could almost hear the Bongwater bubbling with that answer. Releasing their first 4-track EP in 2013, they kept hammering away and in late 2015 based in what I could glean, they cemented the five piece arrangement with the departure of Frank Sinutre, replacing him with Frank Real Tube (Luca-lead guitar) and Frank The Doc (Niko-lead vocal). The end result is PURE Sicilian stoner/hard rock as this release will demonstrate.
Lead-off single and title track ‘Law Of Purity’ begins with a pulsing back noise littered with birdsong that suddenly become the sound of tape running backward, high-speed until the guitar line begins, complete with muted cymbal tapping and then 30 seconds in, the rest of the band kick in as Niko’s voice rips your eardrums open with his growling delivery. Proving their might from the onset, it is obvious that RHINO is ready to dominate as the track rolls through with their signature pounding fuzzed out bass, time-shifts from hell and guitars working in perfect tandem letting the tale of this “New Messiah” unfold. The same guitar tone takes you into ‘Bursting Out’ as seamlessly as sugar folding into coffee, leveling out into a slow gallop as Niko starts out, “Sometimes, I feel…” leading you along this tale of “something hidden”, wondering what lies behind the “sleepless”…
‘Grey’ opens with two measures of measured snare and cymbal before the spaced out guitars take your arm and push you along this faster paced tempo taking you over through the twists and turns of time-shifts and bass runs quick enough to get you dizzy before the psych-solo rips into your brain at the midpoint, cascading through your bloodstream until Niko’s voice comes back, relaying the remainder of this tale to your waiting brain until it fades to silence.
‘Nuclear Space’ starts out with this funky bass line that goes on for about two and a half measures until the rest of the band comes in full-force, distortion boxes screaming all around. Fulfilling the need to give their take on what lies behind our very own atmosphere, this track is like the proverbial train dragging you along until the track just stops cold. Enter immediately ‘Eat My Dust’, a slower romp as unrelenting as ever in all it’s distorted majesty, VERY reminiscent of WARRIOR SOUL in it’s ‘simplistic-complexity’ of spinning guitar lines with a KORY CLARKE like vocal-delivery that has you grabbing to savor each syllable being belted out. ‘Nine Months’/’A & B Brown’ and ‘Cock Of Dog’ could easily be a 15 minute ‘jam piece’ for their live set as all run so smoothly together, one after the other as if they were intended to be a three piece opus.
For whatever reason, it seems to be a tendency for the last track of most stoner bands to be the perfect book-end and a precursor of what looms next and RHINO seems to be no exception here. ‘I See Monsters’ has so many elements mixed together saluting their aforementioned influences in power and might with the SABBATH-style window rattling thickness of guitar/bass and that MONOLITH vocal sneer describing the “monsters in your mind.” 48 minutes later, I had to pick my jaw up to close my mouth in my astonishment and appreciation for what I had just took in and if you know what is good for YOU, you will grab this one the second it is released!!