Mother Mars “On Lunar Highlands” Album Review + Stream + Music Video…

Mother Mars

On Lunar Highlands – CD // DD

Pepper Shaker Records – Releases December 6, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

 

Lineup:
Frank Attard: Drums, percussion, Clavinet, synth, meandering chaos
Paul Attard: Guitars, bass, synth, banjo-mandolin, piano, organ, complications
Dave Schembri: Vocals, harmonica, mellow vibes
Matthew Slager: Lead guitar on ‘Never Fail’

Tracklist:
Wrecker’s Reunion Ball (5:00)
Lost Planet Airmen (4:34)
Bean Stalkin’ (0:28)
Thought It Best To Cut You Loose (5:33)
Soap Bar Pick-Up Joint (3:41)
The Stalwarts of Saltwort Castle (9:31)
The Working Mind of the Creator (3:44)
Woodhollow Green (12:55)
Bean Stalkin’ Again (0:56)
Never Fail (4:13)
Bigger Than Fear (5:44)
On Lunar Highlands (8:35)
The Heavy Hand Of The Destroyer (4:14)

 

 

Review:
Sludge Metal can go in any one of many directions, and one of the most interesting just may be the original: The variety of Sludge both invented and perfected by Black Sabbath. That particular brand of Sludge Metal is heavily Blues-influenced and totally unafraid to incorporate highly experimental elements like irregular time signatures, tempo changes, and long complicated instrumental sections in a manner that is almost progressive. This style of music has existed since the late 70s and one of its latest disciples is Australia’s Mother Mars, and they exemplify it fantastically in their newest release, On Lunar Highlands.

As a listener will easily pick up on while making their way through the album, Mother Mars makes no attempt to pigeonhole themselves. They open with some sludgey goodness on “Wrecker’s Reunion Ball”, but they weave their way through several different styles like early-era Queens of the Stone Age-style desert rock on “Lost Planet Airmen” Psychedelic Folk on several songs, most prevalent in the interlude “Bean Stalkin’” and its brother-in-arms “Bean Stalkin’ Again”, and expertly execute a song that sounds like a long-lost B-side from Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in album high point “The Stalwarts of Saltwort Castle” (stream below).

While Mother Mars is an extremely skilled band, they really show their true talent when their songs are heavier and longer. When Mother Mars give themselves room to breathe, their songs gain an organic energy that is nearly second to none, especially when they decide to allow themselves what is a particularly decadent instrumental section full of guitar solos, bass riffs, and plenty of interplay between the band’s members.

Additionally, there are only 3 members of Mother Mars, though you’d never guess it from listening to them. These Heavy Space Rockers are incredibly adept at filling a space with as much noise as it needs to sound full and heavy without making it sound unnecessarily chaotic. It is chaotic, to be fair, but as Mother Mars proves, chaos is not always directionless. As the band simulates what can only be described as the sonic equivalent of a Solar Storm, they always make sure to include a clearly understandable sense of direction, as the songs always make sense, as a band full of gentlemen this talented should. If you are interested in Bluesy, Spacey, Sonic-adventurous Sludge Metal, and you have 70 minutes to kill, look no further than Mother Mars’ “On Lunar Highlands”. It is skillful, it is eclectic, and most importantly: it is heavy.

Album Logo


Kal-El “Astrodoomeda” Album Review + Music Video + Stream…

Kal-El

ASTRODOOMEDA – CD // DD

Argonauta Records – Released August 25th, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

Lineup:
Cpt Ulven – Vocals
Roffe – Guitars
Liz – Bass
Bjudas – Drums

Prepare to Rock ‘N’ Roll Earthling

Review:
Hey Tasters this is your old friend “The Ancient One” and today’s flavor is psychedelic space rock from Kal-El, the fuzzed-out step children of hard rock and heavy metal. Founded in Norway in 2012 by members of Theatre of Tragedy, Six Eyes Lost and Desspo, the band Kal-El quickly got to work rehearsing for its debut and formed a sort of family / domestic following doing gigs throughout their native country Norway’s many venues. On November, 28th, 2012  Kal-El self-released it’s 1st single called “Dark Moon Voyage”, quickly followed by their debut full length album “Pakel” released May 26th, 2014 on Wyrmhole of Death Records which was followed by “Ecosphere,” released on Setalite Records on August, 22nd, 2015.  And now after two years of hard work Kal-El is preparing to release it’s 3rd album “Astrodoomeda” on Aug 25th, 2017 Argonauta records.

Promo Image

As a lover of heavy metal, hard rock, doom, psychedelia, and space rock I refuse to review stuff if I am not feeling it. So rather than saying oh what a great album I researched Kal-El’s past music before I even listened to the advanced copy of “Astrodoomeda.” What I discovered through their music videos and overall band concept is they put on one hell of a show.

Listening to the album “Astrodoomeda” was like smoking a bowl and watching the old black and white episodes of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordan, or the animated movie Heavy Metal. Musically this band is tight!! Liz lays down some gnarly bass grooves that blend with drummer  Bjudas’s beats that create smooth rolling rhythms, and other times rolling thunder as Roffe plays fuzzed out psychedelic leads that Cpt. Ulver uses to give his vocals an even more spaced out sound.

Besides the title track, ‘Astrodoomeda’, some of my favorite tracks ‘MOTHERSHIP’ in which you see the sonic blast coming from Bjudas’s drums in the band’s video. I also enjoyed ‘LUNA’, ‘STARLIGHT SHADE’ and the band’s cover of the Kyuss song ‘GREEN MACHINE’. While I think lovers of Black Sabbath, Monster Magnet, Nebula, and Kyuss are naturally going to love this album, fans of Greenleaf and Horisont might want to check this out too .

Additional Links:

http://www.kal-el.no

http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/music-/214-kal-el-astrodoomeda-cd.html

                                                         

 

                                                                                                                                     


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


Arteaga “Vol II. Dios Sol” Album Review + Stream…

Arteaga

Vol II. Dios Sol – CD – releases July 16, 2017  // DD – released February 7, 2017

Forbidden Place Records – USA // South American Sludge Records – R.O.T.W.

Reviewed by Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez

 

The first notes of ‘Cuicodelia’ may seem like an homage to Electric Wizard, however, if you keep listening, you will start to unravel what makes Arteaga stand out from most Electric Wizard clones. To their advantage, Arteaga put their South American (Chile, to be precise) stamp all over this release. Yes, this album has the trademark stoner/doom/sludge touches. The drawn-out riffs, the thick rhythms, the slow trampling drums are certainly all there. However, the crepuscular vocals (sung in their native tongue) is what sets them apart, used almost as a fourth instrument to enhance the overall mystical horror vibe of the record.

While their first EP, Vol I. Agradable, “added sludge and stoner riffs, desperate voices and constant beats” to the established sound of their debut demo, Vol II. Dios Sol “dragged guitars down a little bit more, they expanded their horizon turning themselves to the darkness of 20th Century Italian Giallo and Grindhouse dirt, genres that influence both their lyrics and aesthetic.”

 

Promo Pic

 

‘Cuicodelia’ and ‘Chapultepec’ open the album with pure, straight up sludgy/stoner grooves, at times recalling a mid-90’s desert sessions sound. Both songs have accompanying videos on YouTube worth checking out that capture the previously mentioned Giallo and grindhouse aesthetic with elements of mystery, slasher, exploitation, and supernatural horror. ‘Daga’ and ‘Ruta’ follow up with a slightly different take on the genre. At times having a late 80’s early 90’s alternative/punk sound not unlike you would find with certain bands on a label such as Alternative Tentacles or Touch and Go.  Final track, ‘Dios Sol’, briefly follows a similar style before shifting gears into a long droned out acid-fest. Expertly using crawling atmospheres and crafty grooves within the canvas of the 20+ minute song.

Francisco Gonzalez (bass/vocals), Sebastian Morales Munita (guitar), and Domingo Lovera Parmo (drums) have gradually begun to refine their sound with each release. If this LP is anything to go by, I’m sure they will come back even stronger with their next effort. Vol II. Dios Sol is out now on Forbidden Place Records – USA and South American Sludge Records – Rest of the World.  You can also find it on their Bandcamp page. Give it a listen and take the trip!!