Black Heaven – Vinyl // CD // DD // Bundle Packages
Nuclear Blast Records – Released March 16th, 2018
Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler
A Journey into Black Heaven
Mario Rubalcaba (drums)
Isaiah Mitchell (guitars & VOX)
Mike Eginton (bass)
Greetings music heads this is that old sonic wave rider The Ancient One and I want to tell all of you about San Diego’s heavy psyche rock trio Earthless and their upcoming album Black Heaven. Originally signed to the independent record labels Gravity Records and then Tee Pee Records, Earthlesshas been Blowing minds since 2001 with their own brand of almost entirely instrumental heavy-psych rock that many of other great musicians/bands credit as inspiration in their own music. To date they have released a slew of split albums with the likes of Witch, Danava, Lecherous Gaze, Premonitions 13, Radio Moscow, and Harsh Toke. This is accompanied by2 live albums and 3 studio albums with their 4th“Black Heaven”, the subject of this review.
Released on March 16th, 2018 on the Nuclear Blast record label with songs that have more vocals than all their previous releases combined, Black Heaven is a leaner meaner Earthless album . Though I cannot be certain because I don’t have any contacts in Nuclear BlastRecords or Earthless I suspect the band’s association with the Rock Giant is why the bands latest album have significantly shorter songs. Is this a bad thing, absolutely not!! Isaiah has a fantastic bluesy voice that is also on display with his other band Golden Void.
While the 40 minute album is broken into six tracks, to me it all seem to blend together into two parts with interlude track “Voit Rush” acting as sort of a road sign telling me were I am at in the journey. What catches my attention most about Black Heaven is that more than half of the songs have guitarist Isaiah Mitchell also taking up the microphone as vocalist. Which I think he does a bang up job at. Yet for all that has changed Earthless has remained true to their original mind-bending blend of krautrock and Japanese heavy-blues rock with still some of the freshest and finest Riffs, meanest basslines and Cosmic Drumming on this great Universe!!
The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Omega – LP // CD // DD
Sulatron Records – Released: Jan 18th, 2018 on DD // CD & LP Feb. 23, 2018
Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt
Blake Fleming – drums
Jeremy White – bass, vox
Gordan Tomić – guitar, vox
Niko Potočnjak – guitar, synth
Review: Why are we here? Mankind has been asking this question for a very long time, with some interesting replies. But have you ever drilled the question down a little deeper? Why am I herehere? Like why am I here writing this on a Sunday morning? Why are you here reading it? WTF does this have to do with Seven That Spells? I promise, there is a point.
And as if a gift from the gods, here’s how Seven That Spells describe their answer on their Facebook page:
Beyond. We are the dogs of western Jazz society looking for dope.
Modern, aggressive psychedelic wall of sound incorporating poly-metrics and occasional Viking funeral rites; hailing from the 23rd century where rock is dead, Seven That Spells returned in time where its still possible to change the tragic course of the boring history.
LOL. I swear I didn’t know they had that up before I posed the question in the first paragraph. In fact, that wasn’t even the point I was going to make – but isn’t it just a little creepy since they claim to be from the future? Like they read this and responded. Perhaps what I was going to say was too boring?
Well now that the course of history is changed, let’s dive into the album. First and foremost, Omega is part 3 of a 3 part series. It started with “AUM” then “IO” and finally “Omega”. I mean, I assume it ends here.
Interestingly, each album follows the same structure. It begins with a track called “In”, which is numbered to identify which part it is in the series. It’s followed up by the title track, which pushes close to 20 mins in each case. That’s followed by 2 more tracks and each album closes with “Out” (simply “Out”, Out II, Out III). Despite only having 5 tracks, these are all full length albums. Though this review is meant to only focus on “Omega”, it’s hard to ignore the previous 2.
Seven That Spells Mastermind, Niko, with his Sword and Sonic Boom!!
Stylistically speaking this is Krautrock. If you’re like me and never even heard the word, I’m not going to explain what it is. Someone has already done this on Wikipedia so I’m just going to hyperlink. And despite STS’s best efforts to railroad me in another direction, I’m going to share why I’m here here. See, I’m into metal – not necessarily mainstream but let’s say the better known genres like black, symphonic, death etc. And here on Taste Nation LLC, we tend to dig a little deeper. Matt Thomas keeps throwing me these strange, lessen known acts from sub-genres I’ve never heard of that stretch my knowledge and more importantly, my comfort zone. I’m forced to think: not outside the box; there is no box. The answer of why am I here here is essentially Seven That Spells. This is my theory on what it’s all about… and I could be wrong, there’s always that possibility too. But here goes…
Traditional music is meant to take you out of your head. The idea is the catchy beat and rhythm take over your brain waves connecting neurons associated with emotion making you feel happy, sad, angry etc. Once overcome with emotion, thought is no longer prevalent. We dance and sing or jump and mosh and just have a crazy good time without really thinking too too much about our troubles at home or work… frustrations with the significant other… kids struggling in school… fuck I think I need to get the brakes done… my boss wants me to do all the work while Dave jerks off in the corner… etc. Music is supposed to wipe all that away. If it’s any good, that’s what it does. But this Krautrock (at least I believe) is intended to do something different.
Instead of taking us out of our heads, it’s my belief that The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock trilogy intends to instead drive us back in. We’re not supposed to dance and sing (not yet). Hell, when there are lyrics it’s hard to decipher what’s being said. But we’re not supposed to dwell on our troubles either. To me, this is a guided tour of the vastness of our insides. We get brought “In”. The music takes us on a tour with a spacey, psychedelic vibe. Where it takes you, exactly, I believe is personal. I end up in space marveling at the wonders of gravity, light and time awed by the immensity of what we don’t know. It’s easy to get dragged in and not realize how much time has passed. Track 4 – “Future Lords” breaks things up a bit with a catchy little beat. If you’re deep enough in, as you should be by now – the urge to dance in your new found plane may overcome you. The mood shift is grounding but the atmosphere is still spacey; we’re still on the inside.
Finally, we’re guided “Out”. It’s a nice smooth journey, nothing too jerking or jarring, just a gentle guide from the inner recesses of our minds back to the land of the living, the plane of the physical where we can perhaps spend a prolonged period of time out of our heads, worry and care free.
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’
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.
Electric Orange is:
Dirk Jan Müller
Tracklist: CD #1
Under The Nun (16:01)
Misophonia IV (20:05)
Misophonia V (16:36)
There’s an old adage that insists that patience is a virtue. Such a sentiment can seem laughable – after all, isn’t instant gratification almost always preferable? However, every now and then, that adage proves itself true: retaining one’s sanity whilst waiting in line at the secretary of state, not crumbling under the pressure of waiting to hear the results of a medical test, and most recently reaping the rewards of listening to an album like Electric Orange’s EOXXV.
Review: If the above paragraph didn’t make it clear enough, EOXXV is a tough nut to crack! It is a 135-minute leviathan of relentless sonic experimentation, and such a beast could very easily prove insurmountable to the common listener. Many may find it meandering or even aimless, but those with a tremendous degree of musical patience will eventually come to a metaphorical clearing….one where everything opens up and even almost makes sense.
This is obviously not a very concise experience, but it is without question a fulfilling one. There is a point that one reaches when listening to this album at which the listener and the album achieve a sense of spiritual resonance and the listener enters a groove when you finally reach the point that you not only enjoy the music, but you are prepared to hear more: I reached this point during the gargantuan two-parter of “Misophonia IV” and “Misophonia V”.
It would be an out-and-out lie to say this release is for everyone though. I cannot recommend this album to listeners looking for an emotional experience – this is more an album of vibes and atmosphere than one of emotional release. This album simply doesn’t trifle very much in the realm of emotional release or scenarios one can relate to. That said, this is my experience. You may have a completely different experience as this is the beauty of MUSIC…..Right?? With 25 years of blowing minds under their belt, Electric Orange once again serves up a platter of Sonic Sensations that transcend words.
Human nature seems foreign in the land of EOXXV. It is a totally alien experience, one that can’t be felt or heard anywhere else. To put it simply, if Michael Gira’s equally experimental work with Swans is the soundtrack to an indie horror film taking place in a cabin in the forest of the Pacific Northwest, than the catalog of Electric Orange is the soundtrack to a Science Fiction film taking place onboard an otherwise uninhabited space station, on which the only life forms are you and a hostile extraterrestrial.
It is expansive, yet isolated. You feel alone, yet somehow watched. Most importantly, you feel paranoid and perhaps even frightened, but you inexplicably want to continue. Maybe it’s out of curiosity, maybe it’s just longing for a sense of completion, but this bizarre and unique experience just begs to be finished, and you are more than happy to do so. Just make sure you are equipped with a preparedness to experience something new and plenty of patience. Here’s to 25 years Electric Orange!!
NAP are a Stoner/Progressive Rock band from Oldenburg, Germany. Here is how they describe themselves; “Nap plays as a classical 3-piece rock-formation, mostly instrumental with rather rare vocal parts. Psychedelic sounds, up-tempo beats, grooving Doom and Stoner-riffage plus some Noise and Surf influences with strong tendencies reminiscing the sound of the Hippie-Era and the origin of Metal. A combined musical paradox, of highs and lows, all to end into an excessive nightmare.”
Album Art: Depending on which version of the album you get you either get a melt-y dreamscape (in black and white) or a cloudy sky at sunset.
Translates into Thunderstorm. This track goes in between a somewhat clean solo and a fuzzy riff. It is almost book-ended by drum fills. At some points it almost gives me the feeling that the end of “Side A” (Black Bombaim – Saturdays Space Travels) gives off.
It starts off very 1970’s Black Sabbath sounding but becomes less so as the song continues, until it gets to about six minutes into it then we get our first glimpse at vocals on this album. (Almost sounding The Atomic Bitchwax-y)
Duna is a preview is what is to come in Xurf. Here we have, for the most part, Clean guitar tones and an almost repetitive beat. Duna might be in reference to Duna Jam which is a “a mix between a picnic and a pilgrimage” in Italy that has been going since 2006.
A4/4 Larva (favorite track)
This track is clearly a jam and it’s fuzzy guitar and strained vocals (once again at the end of the track) keep the track interesting. It is definitely an almost Karma to Burn like in its structure and amount of guitar.
Is what the title of the song suggests, It is a Surfer Rock style song. (But with distortion) A reference would be Dick Dale. This would not be out of place basting on the beaches of California in the sixties.
Starts off slow, like a Sleep song but gains speed toward 3:54 and gains its speed again. It is almost a Sludge Metal song; if it wasn’t for the speed it gains toward the end. I could not find a translation for this word but it could be a clean mononym for for shit-show because it sounds like a mash-up of all of the references in the rest of the album.
B3/7 Ungeheuer (Should be a single)
Translation: Monster. And, oh, is it one. The music stays loud throughout the whole track. This is the last track that has vocals, and it also has the most. “Shallow phrases come out of their mouths, With their shallow hearts they try to occupy your mind, Confusion spreads like the flu, Some day they may come over you, It all ends up in the eternal void anywhere you go.”
Translation: Highway. This song stays constant and almost repetitive structure (like a highway) and in the end (4:15) it begins to differ from the beginning of the song. It is almost like a crash starting to happen, it slows, it gets faster and faster until it becomes an almost screech and then it ends.
Nap are reminiscent of another Stoner band, Sleep, but faster, which is ironically what a nap is compared to sleep. The music, as well as being them jamming, it is like a journey. A journey like the ones most stoner albums give are best experienced on vinyl (Which sadly are sold out (unless you look at Discogs) or you can buy a CD directly from the band’s Bandcamp Page (link below or above).
The vocals remind me of Brocas Helm or The Atomic Bitchwax (Except they are used less in Nap’s songs). The instrumentals are similar to Black Sabbath in the 1970’s, especially during the “Vol. 4” & “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” years. The music is also very close to the jamming in some of Karma to Burn’s music. The songs that do have a little bit of organ have almost a Cheap Wine feel; the organ is just barely there but it is present. When the music gets faster and more distorted there is a clear relation to Black Bombaim.
You will not be disappointed with this album if you enjoy a good Stoner jam band (or a if you are a fan of Black Sabbath).