Sergeant Thunderhoof “Terra Solus” Album Review + Stream + Video…

Sergeant Thunderhoof

Terra Solus – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Released May 12, 2018

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Tracklist:
Another Plane (8:35)
Stellar Gate Drive (5:41)
The Tree and the Serpent (6:01)
B Oscillation (6:59)
Diesel Breath (7:35)
Priestess of Misery (6:24)
Half a Man (4:07)
Om Shaantih (6:00)

 

 

Review:

Sergeant Thunderhoof is a group of unsung metal heroes from England specializing in stoner metal.  In May of 2018 following a successful kickstarter campaign, Sergeant Thunderhoof have graced us with their third full-length album Terra Solus and I am happy to say that it does not disappoint.

Stylistically, Terra Solus is about what would be expected of them, boasting a heavy yet melodic variety of stoner metal tinged with a healthy dosage of psychedelia. The album begins with tribal drums and a huge guitar riff in “Another Plane”. Eventually, the vocals enter, showing a marked improvement over their previous album, Ride of the Hoof. On Terra Solus, the melodic vocals of Dan Flitcroft are clearer, crisper, and more confident, showing great maturation of their band.

Band Pic

The production is also much cleaner, resulting in a great sound quality. Each instrument is heard with crystal clarity throughout the whole album and it is a joy to listen to. In addition, Terra Solus is sequenced fantastically- it’s almost as though the album has a complete story arc.

The album also has insane solos and riffs to spare. Guitarist Mark Sayer is really playing his instrument for all it’s worth. There are a ton of great guitar parts straight out of the gate, and the band’s rhythm section gives every song on the album a fantastic groundwork.

All in all, Terra Solus is an absolute killer of an album from beginning to end. It has groove and attitude to spare, and it’s a crime that three albums in Sergeant Thunderhoof still hasn’t gained a foothold. I highly recommend that you check out this album and Sergeant Thunderhoof’s entire backlog if you’re interested in Stoner Metal. Now if only there was a time machine in order to go back and “back” the Kickstarter project…


JIRM “Surge Ex Monumentis” Album Review + Stream + Videos…

JIRM

Surge Ex Monumentis – Double Vinyl // CD // DD

Small Stone Recordings – released March 16, 2018 

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

Formed:
2004

Location:
Stockholm, Sweden

Lineup:
Karl Apelmo: vocals, guitars
Micke Pettersson: guitars
Viktor Källgren: Bass
Henke Persson: drums, percussions
Additional musician: Daniel Hägglund: organs

Previous Releases:
Elefanta (2009)
Bloom (2011)
Spirit Knife (2014)

 

 

Review:

First coming together in 2004 under the name of Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, this quartet have spent many days and nights sharpening their skill-sets, both as a collective and individually through endless gigs and three solid releases that have kept their name on the lips of the ever-widening fanbase.  They have been described previously as quote, “a driving mindmeld between psychedelia, classic metal, heavy rock, and individualized realms beyond” enquote. With this fourth release, they have shortened the moniker to an abbreviation of the  previous name to the shorter and more accessible JIRM and results contained in this 7-track opus will leave jaws dropped and eyes wide.

Already known as a progressive force, dripping in the sweat of endless striving for those defining musical moments that set them apart from their peers, these four have taken that and have indeed redefined who they are and what they do as a unit and the result is this juggernaut that clocks in at just over an hour.

Recorded in their hometown of Stockholm, the record was mixed in Gothenburg, Sweden and then mastered in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the end result shows that JIRM remains stronger than ever and the proof is ‘in the pudding’ as it were with the sheer MIGHT that exudes from each song here. From the opening rolling chords of “Candle Eyes” that sets the pace before that high-scream hits hard at the 1-minute mark and has the hallmark tones of psychedelia melded into that hard rock/metal hybrid and is unrelenting in the delivery that grabs you by the arm and pulls you along to end solos that fade slowly into the opening organ sounds of “Dig”.

This track is fraught with that ‘space-rock’ feel, from the back and forth vocal fade in that sounds almost operatic in undertone. Being the longest of the seven songs contained, it is three minutes until we are given a bass line that gets your pulse matching the cadence and when the double guitar assault comes in, it is just as thick and churning as you could ask for. By the time the crescendos are at full gallop, there is no turning back and why would you want to go back anyway, right?? At the half-mark we are granted that clear voice again, soaring as high as you can possibly see and it seems almost too short as you take in the tale delivered with enough time-shifts and slight pauses to make the atmosphere around you shimmer as you surrender to every measure to the almost ghostly-solo that ends this time.

“Isle Of Solitude” fades in, even slower than it’s predecessor and at 11:26, it is the next-longest of the offerings and the name of the track tells the tale you will experience with this softer/slower parade that cascades by, showing the versatility of these guys in a manner most may not have expected, where “Nature Of The Damned” lets JIRM get even more complex in the weaving of bass, guitars, perfect cadences and that vocal that takes absolute control of you as it continues to reach even higher highs. “Giza” is another slower, softer track that does not fail to satisfy in its plush arrangement and is the perfect bookmark to take you into closer “Tombs Arise” that is as frantic and powerful as the opener and seems the absolute summation of the creature that stands before us in the guise of JIRM.

The one that really stood out for me here would have to be “The Cultist”. In MY opinion, this is the ultimate melding of the prowess of each musician here, comes at you out of the gate with a steady running tempo and power chord progressions to match, all served with that voice that truly IS the icing on the cake of this slab of wax that is guaranteed to satiate even the most fervent fan of progressive compositions.

I would have to put it out there that this WILL be one of the ‘must-have’ records released in 2018 and I encourage you to buy it and share it with all in your realm, support them live as they truly seem to never stop gigging, and spread the word about JIRM so nobody misses this juggernaut… and most importantly, keep it LOUD!!

Photograph by Sophia Hogman Myrbacka

Band Pic_Sophia Hogman Myrbacka

 


Monster Magnet “Mindfucker” Album Review + Videos

Monster Magnet

Mindfucker – Vinyl // CD // DD

Napalm Records – March 23, 2018

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Tracklist:
Rocket Freak (3:30)
Soul (5:27)
Mindfucker (5:00)
I’m God (6:16)
Drowning (7:21)
Ejection (3:27)
Want Some (5:49)
Brainwashed (3:22)
All Day Midnight (3:59)
When The Hammer Comes Down (5:48)

 

 

Review:

Despite this passage that would suggest the contrary, Monster Magnet is a band that needs no introduction. Dave Wyndorf’s masterful Stoner Metal Legend boasts a gargantuan overarching influence that stretches from Queens of the Stone Age to the undisputed emperor of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee himself. Well within the midst of a long and fruitful career, a more mature Monster Magnet have brought themselves into the modern era with a personal spin with the brand new Mindfucker.

While it is true that Monster Magnet is more mature, it cannot be said that their rage has been quelled. Dave Wyndorf and his cohorts are still ripe with fury, especially on the incredible “I’m God”, in which Vocalist Wyndorf takes on the role of a particularly vengeful Old Testament-era God, who has had more than enough of modern society, ready to remind Earth’s unknowing citizens of his power. This tune is very indicative of the direction Monster Magnet has taken with Mindfucker: Furious, Raw, and powerful, with a healthy dose of the strangeness that has defined Monster Magnet throughout their career. Therefore, if you’ve listened to Monster Magnet before, you likely know what you’re in for with this one.

Current Band Pic

With Mindfucker, Monster Magnet have progressed their sound while still staying familiar enough to be recognizable as a Monster Magnet album. It is heavy, melodic, and fun, with enough lyrical fire to make you believe that there’s a reason this album exists. Mindfucker definitely earns its in the lofty echelons of Monster Magnet’s oeuvre, making it a must purchase for Stoner Metal fans.


Legend Of The Seagullmen “Self Titled” Album Review + Stream…

They Ain’t No Flock Of Seagulls

They are the

Legend of the Seagullmen

“Self Titled” – Vinyl // CD // DD

Dine Along Records – released February 9, 2018

By Terry ‘The Ancient One’ Cuyler

 

Legend of the Seagullmen are
Danny Carey – drums (Tool)
Brent Hinds – guitars (Mastodon)
Jimmy Hayward – guitar (Director – Jonah Hex)
David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer – vocals
Zappa Meets Zappa’s Peter Griffin – bass
Chris DiGiovanni – synth // keys

 

 

Hello friends this is the Ancient One and recently I found myself having a flashback to some of the crappy music that MTV tried to force feed music fans in the 1980’s. Specifically the music of A Flock of Seagulls.  Yes I hated that band. So when my friend “Matthew Thomas” Messaged me and said “Hey Ancient One you gotta listen to these guys called Legend of the Seagullmen. I had a name association flashback and like a punch drunk boxer that hears a distant bell, I flew off the handle and responded with a stream of profanity in all caps about how I despised that band. Thankfully I kept my cool and looked up their website…

When I eyeballed the Legend of the Seagullmen’s  website I was still a little hesitant but the Ancient One isn’t one to knock any music till he hears it first. While some may automatically look into who a band is before listening I try not to do that so I can keep any personal bias out of my listening experience so I skipped looking up the press release that was used to hype the band to the audience, and instead followed the link I was given by “Matthew” to the album. From the moment I hit play to the end of the album I found myself entertained by the Legend of the Seagullmen’s with some amazing, eclectic rock.

Hooked like a fish, I had to know more about this band that calls themselves Legend of the Seagullmen. In their description on Bandcamp and their band page  Legend of the Seagullmen states “ Legend of the Seagullmen is a genre destroying super-group crafting conceptual rock ‘n’ roll hymns of epic proportions.”  What I managed to learn from their Bandcamp page is the band is made up of   Tool’s Danny Carey on drums, Mastodon’s Brent Hinds on guitar, the director of films such as Jonah Hex  Jimmy Hayward on guitar, Zappa Meets Zappa’s Peter Griffin on bass,  Chris DiGiovanni on synth/keys &  David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer on vocals. Seeking more info about the front man I searched the web until I came across an article in the  The mighty Rolling Stone Magazine that said “The Seagullmen concept is the brainchild of three brothers, Frank, Chris and David Dreyer, who have put on appropriately theatrical concerts and made movies about the band’s long-running legend in recent years”  Which is as far as I could seem to get with details about him. Well no matter I loved the music.

 

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I could easily heap praise upon Legend of the Seagullmen’s Danny Carey, Brent Hinds, and Peter Griffin because they are the three  most well known musicians but would be unfair to the band as a whole. They also have a guitar playing film director Jimmy Hayward, a keyboard playing Production Manager from Blue Sky Animation Studios Chris DiGiovanni and a mysterious vocalist David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer are able to take their place on stage and in the studio with them and not embarrass themselves is quite a feat in itself.

If I were to describe the music I’d say it’s a wonderfully cheesy Rock ‘N’ Roll meets, Spaghetti Western meets, Nautical Adventure movie. Some of my favorite tunes on this are…all of them!!  I recommend listening to this gem straight through like being at a Drive-In Movie Theater watching a double feature of kick ass B movie re-runs. This is definitely an album I’d recommend.


Black Space Riders “Amoretum Vol. 1” Album Review + Stream + Videos + Lyrics

BLACK SPACE RIDERS

AMORETUM Vol.1 – Vinyl // CD // DD

Self Released – January 26, 2018

Reviewed By Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

***The Riders Mount Up Again***

 

Line Up:
JE (VOX, Guitars)
SLI (Guitars)
MEI (Bass)
C.RIP (Drums)
SEB (VOX)

Previous Releases:
2010 – S/T Black Space Riders,
2012 – Lights In the New Black,
2014 – D:REI,
2015 – Refugeeum
2016 – Beyond Refugeem

Musical Influences:
Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy, The Chameleons, David Bowie, Bauhaus, Tom Waits, Slayer, Motorpsycho

Hello once again friends, this is The Ancient One and today I’d like to tell you about some out of this world music by a Quintet of space rockers from Münster, Germany called the Black Space Riders. In 2008 founding members JE, SLI, SAQ and C.RIP sought to give the music world music that could truly be called PSYCHEDELIC SPACE ROCK and created what they call a “NEW WAVE of HEAVY PSYCHEDELIC SPACE ROCK”. After listening to their current Album AMORETUM Vol. 1 released January 26th, 2018 and  with their past releases I gotta say the band and their style of rock are aptly named.

What I enjoy most about the music is the detached far away sound. To create their take on the psychedelic space rock sound Black Space Riders seems to have combined desert rock, electronic music, a bit of 80’s new wave and some Post Punk with powerful vocals with anthem-like lyrics on the 2 most recent albums. If I were to compare them to anyone I’d say that I’m often reminded of Pink Floyd, and David Bowie with a harder edge.

Live Band Pic

When I first gave AMORETUM Vol. 1 a spin I was really not impressed with the first song however what followed changed my mind as I quickly realized Lovely Lovelie was a cornerstone for the rest of the album to be built on to give the listener a good starting point. It’s also a play on words.  Lovely Lovelie – Lovely Love Lie get it. I didn’t because maybe I am a Doofus. Also its not a single song in a collection of songs that are put together simply because the sound fits with the occasional filler song to make the album longer. Rather its part of an album with a theme created by Black Space Riders. Although theme albums are nothing new to me, Black Space Riders may quite possibly have delivered a Magnum Opus with this one!

Refusing to be swallowed by the darkness AMORETUM  Vol. 1 is the  follow up to their July 2015 album “REFUGEEUM” that came out when it seemed the world had gone mad with fear and hate in Europe. Continuing to rage against that darkness  with in us all Black Space Riders have mounted up and released AMORETUM  Vol. 1 which is about conflict and seeks to inspire us to overcome our dark side. Specifically the conflicts between fear, hate, and rejection, darkness on the one hand, and love, empathy, and care light on the other. This album and band seem to be very relevant with acute razor-like lyrics that seek for positivity and rejecting hate…universally!!  The superb musicianship by these veteran rockers shine with each new release and is again evident with Amoretum Vol. 1

Rather than bore you all to death with a track by track description of all the songs I am going to provide you links to my favorites on YouTube and  Bandcamp and let you decide for yourselves.

 

Track Listing with Lyrics

 

LOVELY LOVELIE

Get back to your beds, hide in your hole

You lovers collapse while facing your fall

A paradise will no longer exist,

peace and love can no longer resist

Erupting fear breaking the wall

Lovely lovelie

Our garden, destroyed, taken by storm

We‘re bringing the harm, the hideous swarm

A love so deep, now determined to die,

wrapped and muffled by hate

Get back to your beds, here comes the storm

Lovely lovelie

Get back to your beds, hide in your hole

A love so deep, now determined to fall

Get back to your beds, facing your fall

Erupting fear tearing down every wall

Get back to your beds, hide in your …

Lovely lovelie

Lovely, lovely lie …

Another Sort of Homecoming

The times were terrifying

and coldness wrapped me up

I‘d been sent to see, to seek, to save

A long way to the top

How they turned their lives

into a mellow mass:

how they shed their feelings and their souls

forgot about the past

So, day by day

I denied my moaning heart

and repelled temptation, brave and strong,

to join and fall apart

Now it‘s time to change

My longing growing strong

Leave this place and coming home again

is what I really want

GO! Time to return to my ground

GO! I have to leave these souls I found

GO! Time to rest under the shield

GO! Energy!

Another sort of coming home

 

Live Band Pic 2

SOUL SHELTER (Inside Of Me)

Bringing back the sunshine

Remembering the light

A place attacked from outside

I keep this place inside

Inside of me, inside of me

Garden of completeness

A warm and tender light

A place attacked by darkness

Don‘t hide this place inside

Soul Shelter – Inside of me, inside of me

Soul Shelter – Inside of me, inside of you

Silent is the inside

All quiet now and clear

Knocking from the outside:

denial, hate and fear

Soul Shelter – Inside of me, inside of me

Soul Shelter – Inside of me, inside of you

 

MOVEMENTS

Just a glimpse of something lost,

flickering in my mind

Like a memory from the past, echoing

Ground control, lost control, no control

In a place where I belonged:

echoes from the past

In a time I called my home, wandering

Ground control, lost control, no control

How I missed the ones I loved,

moments passing by

Still I‘m waiting for the call, remembering

Ground control, lost control, no control

Movements

Comes a time, comes a time of reunion

Comes a place, comes a place of communion

Comes a time, comes a time of affection

Comes a place, comes a place of attraction

Comes a time, comes a time when we meet again

Comes a place, comes a place where we meet again

Comes a time, comes a time when we love again

Comes a place, comes a place where we live again

Stop and rest – consider and remember

Stop the quest – rethink and now remember

Rest, remain – and realize amazing

grace, retain – the echoes of your living

Go and see – now realize the beauty

Go and turn – now realize the grace

Go, return – get hold of all the beauty

Go and feel – compassion to embrace

Movements

Comes a time, comes a time when we meet again

Comes a time of reunion

Comes a place, comes a place where we meet again

Comes a place of communion

Comes a time, comes a time when we love again

Comes a time of affection

Comes a place, comes a place where we live again

Comes a place of attraction

Realize the grace

Realize the beauty now

Echoes from the past

Passion to embrace

Movements

 

COME AND FOLLOW

Follow me, take my hand

Don‘t look back, just trust my way

Follow me, leave this place

I will take you far away

Watch my shades: familiar shape

with sweetest taste of the unknown

Bite into tender doom

Worship and adore my throne

Beautiful but treacherous

Rotten to the bone

Serpentine but sensual

A queen of hearts dethroned

Now you love, now you know:

adoration brings the light

Idolize, now you‘re lost

I take you to the other side

Beautiful but treacherous

Rotten to the bone

Serpentine but sensual

A queen of hearts dethroned

Come on follow me into the darkness

Come and follow me, follow my love

Come on follow me, beauty is transforming

Come on follow me into the dark

 

FRIENDS ARE FALLING 

Open your arms after closing your thinking for ages

Missing the trust that you lost on your way to the stars

Fighting the hating has taught you to hate for ages

Remind you your mission was based on a vision of love

Open your mind to the memory of love and affection

Missing your friends who vanished while you‘ve been

away

Yearning for turning to someone so close and familiar

Remind you your mission was based on a vision of faith

Falling, friends are falling

Falling and lost in a vision of trust

Falling but lost in my vision of trust

Open your heart to some gratitude,

kindness and friendship

Empathy melting the ice that‘s enclosing your soul

Yearning for turning to someone so close and devoted

Remind you your mission was based on a vision of trust

Falling, friends are falling

Falling and lost in a vision of trust

A vision of love and a vision of trust

Open your heart after closing your spirit for ages

Missing the feelings you lost on your way to the stars

Fighting the hating has taught you to hate for ages

Remind you your mission was based on a vision of love

Falling, friends are falling

Falling but lost in a vision of trust

My vision of faith and my vision of trust

Falling but lost in my vision of trust

Falling for ages, falling from the stars

 

FIRE! FIRE! (Death Of A Giant)

Facing the past, deeply crooked for ages

Annual rings of a life, witnessing hope

Murder and death, lovers and birth, closely entwined

The battle of darkness and light, observer of life

Here on the hill, bound in hostile surroundings

Cracks in the bleeding wood: scars and remains

Here all alone, shelter and symbol of freedom:

a giant, so massive and old: gentle but strong

Tearing down to the ground

Burning heat, smoking coal

Fire! Fire!

Burning down to the ground

Timber heart, holy wood

Fire! Fire!

Facing the day, changing the soul of perception

Father of life, father of fire and death

Cold is the night , warm is the shine of the torch

Now and forever: deep is the heart of the flame

Tearing down to the ground

Burning heat, smoking coal

Fire! Fire!

Burning down to the ground

Timber heart, holy wood

Fire! Fire!

 

FELLOW PEACEMAKERS

 Will she find, will she find, will she find?

Withered blossoms falling down to earth

All she left alone

Nothing else than footprints of the years

before they reached her home

Will she find, will she find, will she find?

Looking back: she missed her final choice

Mandatory hate

Where’s the place? Now listening to her heart

Hope it‘s not too late

Start a new world, so far up above

Waiting to return

Gathering the troops of heart and soul

Sowing seeds of love

And she will find her way!

Will she find, will she find, will she find?

Will she find, will she find, will she find:

fellow peacemakers?

She will find, she will find, she will find:

fellow peacemakers!

We will find, we will find, we will find:

fellow peacemakers!

Black Space Riders Live

Live Band Pic 3


Ward XVI “The Art of Manipulation” Album Review + Stream…

WARD XVI

The Art Of Manipulation – CD // DD

Self Released: July 1, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

 

Formed:
Summer 2013 in Preston, England

Alleged Psychopaths:
Vocals – Psychoberrie

Bass / Vocals – Beardy McStumble

Accordion/Keys – Min

Guitar – Dr. Von Stottenstein

Guitar / Vocals – Lex Whittingham

Drums – Jake Lawrenson (on the album)

              Chris Manslaughter (as of Dec. 2017)

 

Further Releases:
Ward XVI EP  – Jan 2015

“Crystal Ball” single – June 2017

“Cry Of The Siren” single – Feb 2018

 

 

Review:
In a world filled with an overload of bands out of nowhere, most as forgettable as their music, it is always amazing to me when a gathering of forces manages to coalesce into a force to be reckoned with and have the means combined to put their vision forth with a barrage of what has been described by this band themselves as “a genre defying mix of hard-hitting metal riffs, off-beat ska rhythms, melancholic piano, accordion, catchy female vocals, with a hint of electro” enquote. They further describe their influences as ranging all the way from Alice Cooper to Alter Bridge, from Diablo Swing Orchestra to Living Colour and even as far as Jason Becker to Lordi. Quite the range of sources to pull inspiration from and with this first full length release, they have it all and THEN SOME in the mix. Quite the build-up before I heard note one and as I was researching Ward XVI, I came across this descriptor of what I was just getting ready to devour. And it read…

The gates of Whittingham Asylum have been struck open and for the first time in history the high security Ward XVI invites members of the public to meet face to face with the UK’s most violent serial killers. The ward’s longest-standing resident Psychoberrie, listed as the UK’S most dangerous criminal, will give an insight into her life prior to her incarceration. With assistance from medical staff Lex Whittingham and Dr. Von Stottenstein and fellow inmates Min and Jake she will tell the story of the reckless life led by herself and former partner Beardy McStumble and the narcotic induced murders that took place prior to his own decapitation. This is a sordid tale of deceit and manipulation…”

Logo Image

Needless to say, I was intrigued beyond description by this point and I pushed play and cranked it up, ready for what the next 63 minutes held in store and 16 tracks later…

Complete with interludes interspersed between to give further info into the tales spun as Psychoberrie regales us with a clear carry that is her weapon of vocal delivery, each song is the chapter of another as we follow Psychoberry on her road of darkness, told as only she could tell it. Opening with the sound of an old cassette recorder loaded, tape rewound, and it starts with a discussion where in we find out she has been in ‘treatment’ for two years states clearly, she is not insane with a laugh and the story begins with a progression sounding dreamlike as she tells us to ‘take her hand’ as she reminds you that she is more than you can dream along this medium tempo walk and then exactly 1 minute 10 seconds in, pace doubles as the twin guitars punch in over a twisting bass line and key flow that melts perfectly into the hyper-speed drumline as Psychoberrie bids us ‘Welcome to the show!!’ As a fast fade leads right into an almost spacey sound with cymbal washes and that ever present bass rumble gives the body underneath as the keys come up during this build-up before the pick-slide brings in the might behind ‘The Art Of Manipulation” that is an even quicker tempo than the previous and gives the perfect example of what is to be expected from this gathering of six that has created something beyond merely ‘spectacular’ here. “The Flight” is a fast-track that took me immediately to Lords Of Acid with the key-line between verses and this is done in such a manner that Praga Khan himself would be smiling ear-to-ear as Psychoberrie describes being ‘So high, so high’.

“Crystal Ball” carries an almost circus feel with the accordion progression that flows in unity with the tale that seems to be a warning from a fortuneteller, letting us know of Psychoberrie’s tactics that will take you down if you don’t pay attention. Another hyper-speed time shift just past halfway and it is seamless in execution, where ‘Hold Me’ open with a melancholy straight piano jag that let’s the soaring guitar notes and cymbal taps draw you even deeper within to catch her every word as she will ‘suffocate your soul’ and asks to hold her, because she can’t hold herself and the last minute and a half is where the rest of the band get to shine bright with the complexity and intricate weaving in and out and back and forth of each solidifies the way they fit exactly together as a band, even as the song fades out. “Blackened Heart”, “Run For Your Lives” and “Adrenochromania” further showcase the virtuosity of each band member and utilize even further their penchant of mixing as many musical ingredients together to deliver the utmost with each track, and even ‘Inner Demon’ that starts off with sole bass notes quickly coalesces into another instant classic that can stand alone apart from the story of the album, much like each track can and DOES!!

WARD-XVI

Stand-out tracks for me from this opus would have to be “Toy Box” with the accordion intro and carnival-feel and when the bridge of the songs hits with keys, guitar and vocal harmonizing, it gave me chills of the best kind. “Cry Of The Siren” is another with a touch of electro that is thick and brutal in progressions and time shift and is easily the MOST intricate composition here. And then there is the final track, seemingly the descriptor of where the name of this powerhouse configuration of souls came from and is as haunting as anything I have heard and is the absolute book-end to wrap what is a prelude of what is yet to come. Remember, this is the tale that brought us to the point of ‘two years later when Psychoberry began this diatribe. Whittingham has corroded remember??

From the gauge of this record, there is nothing but amazing things ahead for WARD XVI and I demand you help get the word out, play it for ALL around you and support them if you are granted the chance to witness this live…. Another one of those rare moments when I get to use the ‘I-X’ scale and this is one that blows off the chart with a……what else, XVI!!

As always, keep it LOUD!!

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The Quartet of Woah “Self Titled” Album Review + Stream…

The Quartet of Woah

The Quartet of Woah! – Double Vinyl // CD // DD

Raging Planet – released November 25, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Tracklist:
As In Life (13:26)
Forth By Light (10:46)
A Flock Of Leaves (17:18)
Days Of Wrath (13:30)

 

 

Review:

True uniqueness in music is hard to come by, especially in this day and age. It almost feels as though everything’s already been done and nothing is truly original anymore. Once in a blue moon, though, a band like The Quartet of Woah comes along and re-instills something of a sense of wonder – perhaps we haven’t reached the bottom of the barrel just yet.

The Quartet of Woah are a Heavy Progressive Rock band from Portugal; in case the song titles and lengths didn’t already give that away. Their individual songs, though, reach everywhere from Prog to Psychedelia to Folk to Blues and everywhere in between. Every song is crafted with artisan skill and precision and every note is crisp, clear, and audible. Each song brings a sense of energy and soul that is never wasted – it’s almost like a perpetual motion machine, never slowing down, never ceasing until its message is conveyed.

Live band pic

This album is not without its left turns into oddity land, though. Opener “As In Life” contains a drum solo and a flute outro and personal favorite “Forth By Light” veers off into some positively bizarre chromatic riffing and noodley organs that work far better than one would expect. What does remain constant, though, is the groove. The Quartet of Woah are experts in the art of groove and are ready and willing to show it off. It’s not exactly dancey, but don’t be surprised if you end up bobbing your head several times.

The Quartet of Woah are a band that set out to do what no one else had, to chart uncharted territory, and have done exactly that with their stellar debut. If you love heavy music with progressive tendencies and lack an aversion to really, really long and strange compositions, then do yourself a favor and listen and support this wonderful indie release and a band with a very bright future!


Music From The Labyrinth: Part One – Minotauro Records…

Music From The Labyrinth: Part One

By Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

 So….I was record shopping in lovely downtown Northampton one fateful afternoon, and ran into this dude Glenn, who works for the Italian label Minotauro Records.  I’m not sure exactly how his collaboration with the label came to pass, though we got to talking music: cool bands from New England we’d both been big on, such as Ogre, whose back catalog was re-released by Minotauro Records, incidentally.  At any rate, all good things come to an end, and when Glenn and I parted ways, we planned on staying in touch, and he said he’d send me some stuff to review over at Taste Nation LLC.  Well, as it turned out, he sent me quite a bit of material to review!!  I was thinking of different ways to approach this, maybe figure out what the priorities are, see if any of the writers wanted to take on some of the work.  It seems that everyone else here at Taste Nation always has a ton on their plate, and this was kind of my pet project, so I decided that I’d just forge ahead and do a feature on Minotauro, and basically write mini-reviews of each of the albums that Glenn sent me.

Now, that’s STILL a lot for me to take in and process, and like a lot of my creative endeavors, it really took on a life of its own.  With that being said, I’ve decided that I’m going to break down the feature into two parts, with a longer biographical element on Minotauro in the second part of the feature.

Without further adieu, strap on your shields folks, as we take a trip into the labyrinth, the lair of the Minotaur, in search of our proverbial Daedalus within the dark depths of Italian underground doom and metal….

Where the Sun Comes Down_Album Cover

 

Where The Sun Comes Down – Welcome

Minotauro  – 2017

This collaboration between Death SS founding member Thomas Hand Chaste and Alex Scardavian, who played with Paul Chain, has some of the more interesting cover art I’ve seen of late.  It looks like a child’s drawing done with magic markers, though it’s none-the-less intriguing, especially given the reputation of the folks involved.  This led me to reach for this album first and foremost.  What I really liked about it was that it bucked all cliches of metal and doom in general, and I had no idea what to expect when I pressed play on the album.  Would it be similar to Paul Chain’s material post Death SS?  Even then, Chain’s projects and various solo albums haven’t all sounded the same, and have explored various styles and aspects of his personality.   Would Where The Sun Comes Down opt for a more psychedelic or space rock sound?

It’s actually pretty close to what I’d initially expected: ultra raw cult doom with dramatic, emotional, over-the-top vocals, noisy, blown out Sabbathian riffing, off the cuff guitar and saxophone solos, a sparse yet powerful rhythm section, and haunting keyboards, all delivered with a heavy emphasis on atmosphere, theatrics and the bizarre.  I don’t pull any punches and I’m not going to do so here either: it’s called “cult doom” for a reason.  It’s not going to appeal to everyone, and it’s not meant to.  The vocals alone are a hard sell, as they’re all over the place and quite frequently strained and/or out of tune.  That’s not a deal breaker for me personally, as they have moments when they really shine, and they’re a vital part of the whole experience.  They add a flair for the avante garde, and they make me feel like I’m living in a horror movie for the duration of the album.  This is the perfect soundtrack for October….

Grand Delusion_Supreme Machine

Grand Delusion – Supreme Machine

Minotauro – 2017

Sweden’s The Grand Delusion play pretty traditional doom metal with a focus on the metal.  Blending Black Sabbath, NWOBHM and 80’s metal influences with Wino inspired biker blues licks, big stoner tones,  and just enough experimentation with psychedelic sections and additional instrumentation to keep things interesting.  The vocals also offer up a nice cross-section of influence and variety, from the full throated bellows of the first two tracks, to the Iron Maiden-esque epicness of the two-part “Trail Of The Seven Scorpions” and the operatic choir chants of “Imperator.”

This is a really solid release.  I like the production a lot – it’s fairly clean and polished, and the sheer variety of cool guitar tones and well written compositions benefit from this approach.  There’s a lot of more mid to uptempo sections, which keeps it from feeling like a slog.  They’re not reinventing the wheel by any means, as that’s a tough feet with doom.  However, if you’re bored of the same monotonous stoner doom fare, this is both a bit more nuanced and upbeat.  It wears its influences well, giving them all a chance to shine and never sounding merely derivative.

Kroh_Altars

Kroh – Altars

Minotauro – 2017

 

Birmingham UK occult doom crew Kroh also bring a refreshing take to the table with their second album.  With a new lineup and new vocalist, Polish born Oliwia Sobieszek, they craft a captivating, dark and mesmerizing take on traditional doom metal.  This sound revolves heavily around the powerful and ever prominent vocals and slim song arrangements.  None of the tunes overstay their welcome, all clocking in at under the five minute mark or so, which is a mixed blessing.  In one sense, it makes the album stand out, a concise statement trimmed of all excess.  On the other hand, sometimes the lack of expansive parts makes the songs feel stifled and abrupt.  There’s also the impending sense of predictability when all the songs follow a similar format.  I personally like a bit of decadence here and there, and I certainly like variety.  It’s the spice of life, as a wise woman once sagely stated.  With all that being said, this is a great record, and makes ample space for improvement on future albums.

It’s worth noting that the guitar sound on this album is one of the meanest and most distinctive I’ve heard in recent years.  It’s got that massively distorted, “swarm of bees” hyper-fuzz going on, and it  also retains much of the notes clarity rather than just becoming a blur of notes.  This alone makes this one worth a listen,  just hearing those righteous, crushingly oppressive guitar riffs coupled with the haunting vocals.

Ufosonic Generator_The Evil Smoke Possession

Ufosonic Generator – The Evil Smoke Possession

 Well, once again, this is totally not what I was expecting based on the name, illustrating the old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  I was expecting something a little more space-y, of the more cosmic doom variety, and that’s simply not the case. Ufosonic Generator play pretty straightforward stoner metal, complete with Garcia inspired vocals, uptempo songs with righteous boogie breakdowns, a rock solid rhythm section, and scorching guitar solos.  The songs are a bit paint by numbers – you’re not going to get many surprises, and the influences are the usual suspects: Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Dozer.  You get the idea; it’s a tried and true one.

I dig what Ufosonic Generator are doing on this album.  Its approach is both charming and disarming, just four peeps really going for that proverbial “it”, with songs served meat and potatoes style, lean and mean.  There’s certainly some standout tracks with killer riffs going on throughout.  I’m not going to spoil the magic by giving you the play-by-play, song-by-song analysis.  You’re going to have to do the heavy lifting and figure out for yourself which songs make your mind soar and your booty shake.

Funeral Marmoori_The Deer Woman

Funeral Marmoori – The Deer Woman

Italy’s Funeral Marmoori have a classic doom sound with a 70’s horror tinged vibe, thanks largely to the excellent usage of Farfisa organs, which make them sound like a more evil version of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep at times.  It’s cool to hear a band that has such an intense interplay between the guitars and keyboards, just like the days of old.  They wear some of their other influences on their sleeves, a bit of Saint Vitus styled gonzo guitar solos, some vocal mannerisms reminiscent of Lee Dorrian’s work in Cathedral, and of course a heavy debt to all things Paul Chain.  Hell, they even cover a Death SS song, “Profanation.”

One of the things I really like about this album is the way that the vocals alternate between sounding more theatrical and more psychedelic.  Similarly, there’s excellent variation in the guitar parts: sometimes we’re treated to righteous Sabbath-inspired riffs, other times more otherworldly explorations and introspective moments.  The thing that really makes this one work for me is the rhythm section – the busy bass and drum work keep things moving forward.  The Deer Woman never gets dragged down into the gloomy realms of excessively downtempo dirges, while the music always retains its evil edge.  Highly recommended for fans of cult and traditional doom metal.

Ancient Spell_Forever in Hell

Ancient Spell – Forever In Hell

Los Angeles’ Ancient Spell bring something much different to the table, with a decidedly more modern take on doom metal.  It’s really telling that they list Death, Slayer and Lamb Of God as influences, because they bear more resemblance to these bands than Black Sabbath or Saint Vitus.  The vocals in particular are more on the death metal end of the spectrum, harsh growls and drastic screams with dark and misanthropic themes.  The guitars definitely utilize those chromatic style intervals that Slayer famously made into their trademark, and alternate between a thrash chug and a doom groove.  Though the tempos can get pretty quick for a more doom influenced band, they never approach anything near the breakneck tempos associated with either thrash or death metal.

in keeping with the thrash tradition, this is a pretty short and sweet album, clocking in at under 40 minutes.  That’s a good thing, as there’s not a ton of variety.  It’s interesting to see a band bring together such diverse influences, and this feels like an album where they’re trying to figure out how to make all of those influences come together into something coherent.  While it certainly never lacks in that department (their sound is fluid and polished, and never sounds forced), I think they have a lot of room to grow and try other things.  I’d love to see them incorporate some of the aforementioned faster parts, some death or black metal styled tremolo picking, some super slow doom bridges and breakdowns.  Forever In Hell seems like a great jumping off point for a band that has lots of room to grow and develop.

 

Tony-Tears-Follow-the-signs

Tony Tears – Follow The Signs of The Times

Wow, what an opening to an album!!  This one starts off with a brief intro that could straight up be a Goblin track that’s part of a D’Argento soundtrack.  It nails that sound with a combination of synth washes, blurps and appergiated chords, overlaid with creepy, demonic voices.  From there, we’re treated to more cult, esoteric doom in the traditional Italian style – darkly dramatic vocals reminiscent of King Diamond, 70’s metal riffs, ever present keyboards and a battering ram rhythm section of bass and drums.  True to form, they even cover a Paul Chain song.

I really dig on the production job here.  For me personally, cult doom has to have just the right production: grimy and cavernous, yet with enough clarity to let each individual instrument shine.  Follow The Signs of The times showcases exactly how this is pulled off.  I also really enjoyed the three shorter tracks (intro, an interlude, and an outro) that pull off that Italian horror soundtrack vibe so convincingly.  It’s always great to hear a band so refined in their craft!  Apparently Tony Tears started off as a solo outlet for Antonio Polidori, though he has since added a full band of backing and touring musicians, and I must say that I’m impressed with the results.

My Silent Wake_Damnatio Memoriae

My Silent Wake – Damnatio Memoriae

 Hailing from England, My Silent Wake are another band in the world of doom with decidedly modern influences, most noticeably of the death metal/goth metal variety.  However, that ain’t the end of the story.  There’s also a modern progressive slant to the songwriting and arrangements that keeps things fresh and dare I say, lively?  Take the intro to the song “Highwire” for example, with its bouncing bassline and bursts of jazzy, dissonant chords.  The album is loaded with tons of tempting little musical moments like this, and it makes for a rather refreshing listen.

Basically, if you’re into The Peaceville Three….you’re going to like this.  I’m generally not into the more goth doom bands like Paradise Lost, Anathema, and My Dying Bride.  I do like this album by My Silent Wake, as it’s got a lot of variation, tons of twists and turns.  The keyboards add a nice texture, it ‘s got a clear production, some strategic usage of guest musicians, and they’ve clearly got the chops.  Fans of the bands I’ve mentioned should give this a swing, it’s rather righteous in its ambition and scope of vision.

Misantropus_The Gnomes

Misantropus – The Gnomes

 Oh cool, another album with some truly bizarre and iconoclastic cover art, this one a simple cartoon looking drawing of what I’d assume to be a trio of green gnomes.   I’ve talked earlier about the lack of longer numbers in discussing the other albums, and although this Misantropus album is rather short on the whole, tracking in at just above 35 minutes, it’s only four songs.  So….we’re treated to a 9 and a half minute opening track and closer pushing the 13 minute mark.

http://www.minotaurorecords.com/shop/cd/misantropus-the-gnomes-copy/

These guys are obviously into the occult, as the song titles indicate. “The Gnomes (Ariel)”, “The Salamander (Mikhael)”, “Undines (Gabriel)” and “Elis (Raphael)” all connect an  elemental spirit to the corresponding archangel for each of the Greek elements: earth, fire, water, and air.  It’s obviously some kind of concept album, or ritual invocation – only the creators, an Italian duo, would know for certain.  It definitely creates an air of mystery and intrigue.  Musically, it’s an equally odd piece, consisting mainly of a variations on one stripped down guitar and bass riff with a trance-like drum beat.  There’s a guest guitar solo on the second track, and some cool ambient synth passages that bookmark the beginning and end of the album, and zero vocals.  Their stripped down instrumental approach levies them in my eyes as the Karma To Burn of Italian cult doom.

Once again, this is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  It’s extremely monotonous, with very few changes, even from song to song.  And while this may sound boring to some, and honestly left me pretty non-plussed initially, I found myself out humming those riffs in my head as I went out and ran my errands today.  There’s something rather captivating and enchanting about them.  If this sounds like your kind of jams, hey….I’d encourage you to give it a listen.

Additional Links to Minotauro Records:
http://www.minotaurorecords.com/https://
www.facebook.com/minotaurorecords/
https://minotaurorecords.bandcamp.com/

Label Logo 2


Sumokem “The Guardian of Yosemite” Album Review + Stream + Vinyl Release…

Sumokem

The Guardian of Yosemite – CD // DD (released October 6, 2017)

Cursed Tongue Records – Limited Vinyl (100) // TP Edition Vinyl w/ 7″ (20)

// Jet Black Vinyl (200)

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

 

Tracklist:
Attack of the Mammoth (7:52)
Warning (6:44)
War Pipe / Rite of the Calumet (7:38)
Ogama (8:43)
Tisayac (9:34)
Mescalito/Meeting of the Half Moon (7:02)
Nantucket (10:05)
Emerald [digital-only bonus track] (4:05)

Band Members:
Present:
Jacob Sawrie – Vox/Rhythm
Drew Skarda – Percussion
Tyler Weaver – Lead
Dustin Weddle – Bass

Past:
Josh Ingram (RIP) – Lead
Alan Wells – Bass

 

 

To say the least, 2017 has been a huge year for heavy music. The year has granted us several new releases, most notably Mastodon’s Emperor of Sand. However, the music world often functions like archaeology – The deeper you dig, the more treasures you will find such as the gargantuan slab of Doom that is Sumokem’s “The Guardian of Yosemite”.

When I say gargantuan, I mean it. Each tune on this release is not only long, but feels like it has been custom-tailored to be as gigantic as possible, from the performance to the production to the composition. Every riff hits like a Warhammer to the temple and it wouldn’t feel right any other way. Each member is extremely in tune with one another and they really feel like a single living and breathing organism.

Sumokem’s Special Vinyl Release Date – Friday, January 12th, 2018

Limited Red_Gold_Wax_100

http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/product/sumokem-the-guardian-of-yosemite-2lp-ltd-blood-gold-edition

Special credit, though, goes to their lead guitarist. Every member is excellent at their instrument, but the guitar goes above and beyond to ensure that each and every solo is searing and quick, keeping the listener’s attention while still progressing the song further and further down into heavier and heavier territory as the album goes on.

It’s unbelievable just how heavy this album can be. It opens like a freight train, but by the time the epic-length dirge and album high point “Nantucket” begins, you can only be floored by how well Sumokem brings music back to its primordial roots. There is no feeling greater than finding a band that is both classic and novel – one that both pushes the boundaries of music while reminding us why we love it in the first place, and with its ultra-heavy prehistoric jams, Sumokem’s “The Guardian of Yosemite” has given us just that.

Band Pic


Music Video Premier!! Electric Age’s “Silent King” Lyric Video…

Music Video World Premier!!

Taste Nation is Honored to Premier Louisiana’s Electric Age’s New Lyric Video “Silent King” from their Acclaimed Debut Album “Sleep of the Silent King” on Italy’s Argonauta Records. 

The Video was edited & mixed by Gryphus Visual!!  

 

Sleep of the Silent King_album cover

 

Additional Information and Links:
Electric Age – “Silent King” From Album “Sleep of the Silent King”

Electric Age:
https://www.facebook.com/electricagela/
https://electricagela.bandcamp.com/

 

Argonauta Records:
http://www.argonautarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRec…