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.

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

Electric Orange

EOXXV – Triple Vinyl // Double CD // DD

Self Released – September 18, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

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

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

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

 

CD package

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Nap “Villa” Album Review + Stream…

In Case You Missed It Series – Episode 7

Nap

Villa – CD // DD // Vinyl

Released July 28, 2016 and re-released February 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

Lineup:
Ruphus,
Hemme,
Pi

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

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

Review:

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

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

Track-by-track Breakdown:

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

A2/2     Sabacia          

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

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

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

 

Pro Band Pic

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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In Conclusion:

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

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

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

Stream the album HERE and buy the CD or DD

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

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

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

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

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

http://dunajam.net/