Rocket Freak (3:30)
I’m God (6:16)
Want Some (5:49)
All Day Midnight (3:59)
When The Hammer Comes Down (5:48)
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.
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.
By M. Andrew “Dinger” Beresky, Junior, Chief Rebel Angel
“You Can Have Your Sleep, I’ll Just Stay Up and Keep Watch, Because It Seems Like Somebody’s Gotta Do It.
i.e. How I Learned to Stop Caring About My Integrity and Love John Boehner, William Weld and Jack White.”
So….I couple of months ago, I told Taste Nation head honcho Matthew Thomas that I would no longer write music reviews. It’s true. I really don’t see the point. Countless people do that already, and they all do it a hell of a lot better than me. Or at least they do it less begrudgingly than me. I did tell Matthew that I wanted to be able to continue writing. I think that I’m a pretty darned good writer, and I at least enjoy it. I basically told him I’d keep writing for Taste Nation if I were allowed to write about whatever the fuck I want. For some odd reason, he agreed to this, and I hope that he doesn’t live to regret that decision. For the record, I did also agree to finish up the reviews that I’ve already agreed to write, and that’s not exactly going so well. I’m about two paragraphs into my review of the now not-so-new Quicksand album, and I don’t have a clue what to write about. I’ve been working on that review for nearly 9 months. I think that’s the thing, Mr. Thomas has seen how my creative process works, and sometimes I fall into funks. I tend to pick myself up at some point, and once again fart out my thoughts into the wonderful collective stench we call the World Wide Web. So I will finish those reviews, and I apologize to those who may be waiting. I will finish them, just not today.
Today, I’m going to set aside a bit of special time to publicly embarrass myself by going on one of my extended and probably unpopular diatribes. My first topic is marijuana. I’d like to go on the record saying that I despise almost everything about popular pot culture. I cannot stand 4:20 or 4/20, I find them incredibly annoying. When I go around randomly shouting “it’s a 4/20 miracle!!” at every little thing for the few days that surround this “holiday”, I’m doing it not only ironically and not only sarcastically. I’m doing it also to try to convey a bit of how annoyed I feel by being just a little bit annoying myself. I wish that I could be a lot more annoying about it, and I also don’t want to totally rain on some folks’ parade. Just a light drizzle, enough to snuff out a joint here and there.
The reason I don’t really care for 4/20 or popular pot culture is that it’s mostly about marketing and commercialism. It’s generally the worst aspects of popular pot culture that get cast in the biggest spotlight. I’m going to drop some really, really tough truth on you all. Some of you probably already realize this. It’s 2018, and marijuana and its surrounding culture are no longer subversive or liberating in the way that they once were. Pot culture is simply no longer counter-culture. It’s unfortunate that anything with the potential to liberate can also be turned around and utilized to oppress, and that’s what we’re starting to see the first inklings of when it comes to marijuana. I am someone who has lived through the draconian times of Massachusetts’ past drug laws. I’ve seen my friends bagged, tagged, and dragged around by the handcuffs, then held overnight against their will for possessing half a gram of reefer. They were then routinely paraded before a judge and given sentences of 6 months probation, despite the fact that the only crime they were guilty of was assaulting a half-eaten burrito and falling asleep in the sunshine with bong in hand. I’m sure you’ve all heard these stories, so I won’t bore you by waxing poetic on the subject any longer. I’m also sure that you’re aware that Mass drug laws were always pretty lax compared to other states in the U.S.
Here’s how you know that pot is not subversive in 2018 – currently some of pot’s biggest proponents are former Republican Speaker Of The House John Boehner and former Republican Governor of Massachusetts William Weld. These guys now lobby for the marijuana industry. So, just to let that sink in for a second. The very same guy who oversaw the implementation of those same laws that locked up so many of my friends, he now wants to turn around and sell us all reefer. Why the change of heart? Well, it’s very $imple. Very, very $imple. Follow the fucking money.
Now let’s get something abundantly clear; I’m not against marijuana or its usage. I strongly believe that people should be free to use it both medicinally and recreational, and that we should invest money into The Actual Sciences that further explore both the positive and negative aspects of pot usage. Yes, I said it, there are many, many downsides to marijuana usage, one of which is that it’s addictive. I know that’s going to be a contentious statement, and I’m not trying to harsh your mellow. It’s very, very true, and I also will never back down from this statement. Sure, it’s not addictive in the same way that say, Percocet, Xanax, Seroquel and Paxil are addictive. Sure, marijuana helps people in many ways, one of which is its ability to stand in as a less harmful substitute for the very, very addictive pharmaceuticals I’ve listed above. That doesn’t mean that it’s never addictive and never harmful. It has ruined some peoples’ lives. All I’m asking is that you bear that in mind. I know that it also makes some peoples’ lives bareable. I realize that it can be used as a harm reduction measure, and that does not mean that marijuana is not harmful in and of itself.
Marijuana never ruined MY life, and that could be because I live in a little liberal bubble, I’m white, I’m resourceful, I’m smart enough to keep my nose clean of TOO much trouble, and I have supportive family and friends to fall back on when my life does inevitably go to shit because I’ve made some incredibly bad choices. Not everyone is so lucky, and I’m the first to acknowledge that.
Well, now we’re seeing a much luckier class of marijuana “users”, and that’s those who are lucky enough to make fucking bank on it. Yes, yes, marijuana has always been a wildly profitable cash crop, and smart dealers have always made tons of money on it. Criminally. Not guys like Weld and Boehner. And not guys like Jack White either.
In the beginning, there was no “stoner rock.” Bands like Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Sleep, Fu Manchu, Clutch, they just did their thing, and there was no specific genre name. I’d listened to these bands since 1992, and I kind of lumped them in as an offshoot of the whole “grunge” thing, an underground “alternative” to the mainstream “alternative.” They did it for the love, not the money, because it didn’t initially seem like they’d see very much of the post-Nirvana money that major labels were throwing at any underground band that could write a catchy tune and work with a big time producer in a vain attempt to recapture that Nevermind magic. Against all odds, all of the bands I listed above did sign to major labels and had limited success, with the exception of Sleep, who smoked their chances of mainstream success away when they recorded Jerusalem/Dopesmoker, which is a rather legendary story at this point. I’m not going to get into it because it would take me a whole month to properly separate the facts from the fiction. The blurring of fact and fiction is often what makes something seem legendary in its scope.
When I first heard the term “stoner rock”, it was 1999, and the term was not used in a positive way. Music critics used the term to belittle bands – it was a way of saying that the music was “dumbed” down. The alternate term was “cloner rock”, meaning that the bands in the scene were too much under the influence of the other bands in the scene. I do not necessarily disagree with this criticism; there was a lot of truth in those two words, “cloner rock”, and there still is today. People did not like their music being called “stoner rock” in 1999. Not in the U.S. anyways. Some bands in other countries did like having their music called stoner rock, because it tied them into a bigger movement while they were trying to gain any form of recognition. That’s one of the points – this form of music historically struggled to attain legitimacy. Sleep were one of the bands that garnered the movement some legitimacy, through the iconic status of their albums within the larger context of metal.
People seem to really like the term “stoner rock” now. I still don’t, because I remember. For years, we were told that the “stoner rock” legends, Sleep, were writing a new album. There have been hints, omens and portents, tidbits leaked out here and there, and never anything really concrete. Now, usually if a band of such stature is to record and release a new album, it’s accompanied by a LOT of fanfare: in studio reports, interviews about the writing process, promotional teaser trailer videos, releasing singles, streaming the album on NPR, bells, whistles, trumpets, banners, the whole nine yards. There’s a whole long and extended marketing and promotional strategy that goes into any major release, like a new Sleep album. Certainly a lot more than just dropping a rumor here or there for the past few years, then suddenly announcing on Thursday 4/19 that a new album will hit stores on 4/20. No one does that.
Unless, of course, they’ve got a very deliberate strategy in mind. Unless they’ve made a very, very limited amount of vinyl copies available at select stores, and no CD copies on this 4/20 “release date.” Because that would cause chaos, and really, really drive up the digital sales from online downloads. Just imagine it, people who had the day off would wake and bake, arrive at the local record store full of anticipation, and either be lucky enough to get a vinyl copy of the brand new, hotly anticipated surprise 4/20 Sleep album, or they’d find out they couldn’t buy it there because it was either completely sold out or just was NEVER in stock. Those who are lucky enough to get a copy are going to go home, open it up, gaze in wonder at the amazing packaging and extras, and then immediately take pictures and post them to social media. Those who cannot get a copy are going to be extremely envious, and leave the stores feeling extreme desire to possess a copy, or at least HEAR IT. Everyone wanted to be be a part of the big 4/20 Sleep party. No one wants to feel like they’ve been left out, especially when something is made to FEEL BIG. In that sort of a panic, the hype would become all encompassing, and the music itself would cease to even matter. This is unfortunately how human behavior often works. Why would you need any form of traditional marketing if you had a strategy that was so deliberately manipulative, so devious, and that preyed so heavily on the baser instincts of humankind?
Well, on Thursday April 19th 2018, when I waltzed into the local record store to get the skinny on this new Sleep album, it was very quickly apparent that this is what Jack White had dreamed up for us all. The people who worked there did not know they had a new Sleep album packaged with the other new releases set to hit the shelves the very next day. They had something from Third Ear Records that just said “Jack White recommends you listen to this” for a title, although it had a stock number. I was the one who told them a new Sleep album was coming out, they had no idea. And when the guy working went back to check, sure enough, there was ONE copy of the vinyl packaged in the order for Friday. One vinyl, and zero CD’s. This seemed rather odd, as a release of this magnitude, one that was already seeing so much hype because people were downloading it in Australia, should have more than one copy in a major chain store. I mean, they could sell way more copies, they could have sold 20 copies of the vinyl from that store, why only have one? And no CD’s? That makes no sense. So they went and checked their computers with the aforementioned stock number. Their stores had five copies in all of New England. There were no CD copies anywhere. This is one of the biggest record store chains in all of the New Englands. My other friends who owned or worked at smaller stores reported the same thing – very, very scarce supply of LP’s only. There were LP’s available for pre-order on the Third Man website, for eighty dollars. $80.Jack White now claims that was a mistake, and the price has been lowered to 30 something. Knowing that Soundgarden’s vinyl release of “Superunknown” sold for $60, you kind of have to wonder if it really was a mistake at all.
When the record store told me about the limited supply of vinyl and zero CD’s, I realized what was actually going on. It was intended to “sell out” from the start, driving up demand so that people would go and buy it online. Jack White could always make sure that there would be plenty of copies in the stores later on. The most important thing was naturally the underlying message inherent in the hype – whatever you do, you NEED to hear the new Sleep record on 4/20. Simple supply and demand economics – control and limit the supply of physical copies in order to drive up the demand and force digital downloads. Brilliant and deeply manipulative marketing. At the same time, not really fair to the fans, though very few rightfully cried out about how they were being screwed over. Why would they? As long as they bought into the hype and enjoyed the music, the ends justified the means, correct? Did Jack White fire six shots, or only five? In all the confusion, I kind of lost track myself. Even fully realizing what was going on and that I was being royally screwed, I was seriously tempted to call in to work so that I could get to the store when they opened at 10am to buy this stupid record, without hearing a single note of it. And that’s the true power of manipulative marketing, folks. Do you feel lucky? Well….do you, punk?
Don’t get me wrong – all marketing is deeply manipulative. That’s the nature of the beast. Better the beast you know then….I don’t know. Bands are generally pretty good at manipulation, at least the good ones are. Their job is basically to manipulate us into thinking they are the coolest thing ever, so that we talk them up, play their records for our friends, and most importantly, advertise their brand. That’s what you’re actually doing when you wear a band’s t-shirt – they’ve manipulated you into paying them so that you can advertise for them. That’s a really sweet deal if you’re a musician, and I guess an alright deal if you’re a fan who doesn’t really know any better. My bands do this same thing. Being in a band has been a breezy grift for a long time, since The Grateful Dead and KISS innovated merchandising and taught their fans that being a walking signboard was super cool. Most bands and fans are so embedded in the culture that they don’t stop to see it for what it really is, they just go on autopilot and BUY, then proselytize. Music fans are consumers, plain and simple. That’s the name of the game; consumerism. We’re all puppets in this game, it’s just that some of us can see our own strings, to borrow a metaphor from Alan Moore. Bands market to fans, fans in turn market for bands.
Jack White and Sleep just took it to a whole other level, they created a void within the traditional marketing scheme, an empty space where the fans who are used to being overly informed about a new release were given almost no information at all, therefore creating a feeding frenzy that would do 99% of the marketing on its own. They let loose the beast that none of us can ever truly knew. It’s brilliant, it’s bloody, and it’s also deeply troubling for the future of the scene. Those in the industry have struggled to fully capitalize on the sales potential of digital downloads. The internet was a game-changer. How Jack White found a simple, counter-intuitive way to market digital downloads to starved Sleep fans is also a game-changer.
So what about the actual music? If a band and label are willing to utilize this kind of marketing strategy, the music needs to at least live up to the hype, doesn’t it? No, actually it doesn’t. It only had to be close enough. Close doesn’t just count in horseshoes and hand grenades anymore. Close counts in carefully constructed hype as well. That’s the whole point. It’s not really about the music anymore, not at this level anyways. It’s about the cash grab.
I was just at the same record store. They finally got “The Sciences” CD’s in for this past Friday, one week past the 4/20 release date, and they’ve have been able to get a couple more vinyl copies since this whole debacle started. It’s sold out, and they have more on order. I talked to a friend of mine who works there, who thought I was looking to buy a copy of the vinyl. No, actually I was just doing research for this article. I asked him if he’d heard the record, he said that he’d heard it once, that it was fine and that it sounded like Sleep. He also said that some of the songs sounded a lot like Dopesmoker for a record that wasn’t trying to be Dopesmoker. Now, this was pretty much my initial reaction to the record as well, as many who saw me post about it on social media will attest. I rated it a 7/10, and I think that was being rather generous. The production is massive, the individual performances are at times spectacular, there are some quieter moments that are really well done, I liked how they broke the mold a bit at the end with “The Botanist.” Jason’s drumming is top notch throughout, and when Al or Matt break out and go for a bass break or a guitar solo, it’s pretty mind-melting. They obviously played their asses off. That’s about all the good things I can say about the record, quite honestly.
The end of the conversation with my acquaintance at the record store went something like this – after we talked about it being “fine” and such, I told him how some people were going ape-shit about it, like it was the second coming and some rough beast had slouched back to Bethlehem to be born. And he told me, “Well, people are dumb. They go ape-shit about things like this; things that they think they’re supposed to go ape-shit over, because a lot of people have told them that they should be going ape-shit over things like this.” I’m paraphrasing, and that to me is pretty spot on because it’s the exact thing that Jack White capitalized on. He has always capitalized on that, I mean, I’ve heard The White Stripes. To my ears, no one really capitalized on the music itself. It’s completely style over substance, with both The White Stripes and “The Sciences”.
The writing is not so hot for a Sleep record. It’s just not, I’m sorry. Listen to how some of these songs end abruptly, with no real resolution, just a screeching halt. That’s a sign of sloppy, hasty writing. Sure, it’s “fine”, as mentioned above, and Sleep never really did that before. And we’re talking about three guys who play in three really cutting edge bands when they’re not doing the whole Sleep thing. We’re talking about a band that are widely regarded as innovators and masters of this style. They’ve had all the time in the world to write this record, and this is the best they could come up with? Really?? I’m pretty disappointed, in case you can’t tell. Maybe you should also feel a bit of disappointment, at least on some level.
Sure, Dopesmoker was very goofy. I know some people love that goofy lyric “Drop out of life with bong in hand.” I personally find it pretty laughable, and I don’t like the overall lyrical themes on Dopesmoker very much. I get that for many this is an anthemic call to embrace a counter culture that existed at the time of the recording and has since gone extinct. I was always willing to give them a pass because even though I like Volume 1 and Holy Mountain much better, I realize that Jerusalem was quite groundbreaking and creative. Plus, they were very young. I will not give them a pass on this new record, because it is just dumb and they are supposedly older and wiser. Sorry, there’s no other way for me to candy coat it. It all seems really phoned in to me. Whereas Dopesmoker at least seemed to be channeling a higher creative power, The Sciences simply sounds completely half-baked, like the proverbial leftover half-eaten burrito that Sleep froze during the Dopesmoker recording sessions and now decided to defrost 20 odd years later in a crusty old microwave. Sure, that sounds kind of tasty if you’re ravished and there’s nothing else available, and do you really want to go there when there are plenty of other viable options? Shit man, Om in comparison is like the fresh all-you-can eat Indian buffet right down the street.
It’s great to finally have studio quality recordings of “Sonic Titan” and “Antarticans Thawed.” I enjoyed those. “Marijuanaut’s Theme” and “Giza Butler”? Not so much. Those two songs sound like really dumb Dopesmoker outtakes, with even dumber lyrics. Some of these lines are downright cringe-worthy. For most bands, I wouldn’t care, except you’re talking about a band with at least two guys who can write fantastical, mystical, deeply imaginative lyrics. High On Fire wrote a concept album about Jesus’s time travelling stillborn twin brother who was magically transported into an alternate universe. He then drove around in a van with his friends and a talking dog solving mysteries, or something like that. It’s also goofy, and it’s at least imaginative. Om writes about complex metaphysical constructs in a compelling way, and Al’s usage of language alone is pretty remarkable. It’s sometimes goofy, and sometimes profound. I’m not really sure if Jason writes any of Neurosis‘s lyrics, and I’m pretty sure he could write some that are better than the junior high school bullshit on full display in these so-called “songs” on “The Sciences”. I swear that they must have compiled these lyrics from some junkyard full of old wooden desks from the middle school I was imprisoned in during the year 1988, all engraved with the sage anecdotes and immortal poetry of wise “old soul” thirteen year olds who took out their teenage angst on those old oaken slabs that represented the prison bars of an adolescent mind yearning for freedom and autonomy. I matured slowly, so I probably wasn’t carving this kind of drivel into my desk until I was at least 16. Maybe this would be cool if Sleep were a band of 16 year old kids. They’re all older than me, which means they’re also old enough to know better. This doesn’t smell like teen spirit, it smells like middle aged diarrhea.
“Through the hashteroid fields”, “Marijuanaut loads a new bowl”, “Inhaler of a rifftree”, “Admixture sustains smokesuit as home”, “Planet Iommia nearing”. I’m embarrassed to be typing these lyrics. Those are BAD, and it gets even worse. “The Kiefsatz Hasherach now takes the Bong Jabbar. Marijuana is his light and his salvation. The CBDeacon. Bong Water of Life anoints the Muad Doob messiah”…..holy shit just kill me now. Fuck, you guys know I’m a huge Dune fan, right??? PLEASE. MAKE IT STOP. That’s just so fucking atrocious and needs to go away. Far away, right now. How the fuck am I ever supposed to enjoy my Dune books again after you’ve gone and done this? I have three Dune t-shirts that I now have to go and burn. Who thought this was a good idea?? It’s so stupid I’m actually embarrassed for Al, that he now has to sing this nonsense on a nightly basis. We get it, you like to listen to Black Sabbath, smoke pot and murder my favorite literature. That’s cute and all, why don’t you go write a song about….oh wait, you did. Nevermind. I don’t want to hear it ever again. Remember how most of you hated Star Wars – The Phantom Menace when it came out, and thought that George Lucas’s children must have written it because it was so juvenile at times? Or that he really needed to get his shit together after taking such a long time off from the Star Wars saga? Pot, meet kettle, you’re both blacker than the cover of a Spinal Tap album. These lyrics are juvenile and lame as fuck. You want to write about marijuana? How ’bout you write a concept album about a bunch of kids who are jailed by an evil overseer who locks them up for smoking the reefer, and then years later, when they’re all grown up, they suddenly realize that this same evil overseer is trying to monopolize on the marijuana market. I’d buy that. Just don’t tell Jack White that I’ll buy that.
Before I wrote this article, I was out wandering in the woods, listening to Traffic on my headphones, as I often do. I’ll let you in on a big secret – I’m more into psychedelic rock and punk/hardcore than anything else. Sure, I have a real soft spot for metal, particularly “stoner metal”, as it tends to have a large overlap with both psychedelic and punk rock. My point here is that shit, Traffic could write damn good lyrics that were overtly “druggy” without resorting to lame cliches and cheesy drug puns.
“Don’t look around to find the sound that’s right beneath your feet / The hermit sits inside his cave and seeks to know his mind / Staring into empty space and seeing into peoples’ faces / Others cannot find / Don’t look around to find the sound that’s right beneath your feet.”
Sure, it’s not William fucking Wordsworth. Traffic’s lyrics are sometimes self-consciously goofy, and for me they never cross that line into pure Dumb. This is largely because they talk about insights attained from the drug experience, rather than just repeating cliches about the drugs themselves. There is nothing insightful about the drug oriented nonsense that Sleep regurgitated on “The Sciences”. They’re pretty much a self mockery, like Sleep has subconsciously tried to parody their own surprising success. If Sleep had any insight whatsoever when they were writing these words, they would have realized just how fucking cheesy and dumb they were coming across as. Maybe I’m wrong and they’ll start giving interviews where they’re candid and admit, “Yeah, we wrote some really dumb shit about pot. It was fun at the time, and in retrospect we guess that it was also kind of a cash in. We’re not going to do that on the next album, we’ve gotten that out of our systems and we apologize for our regression into an infantile state.” I don’t see that happening though, unless enough people rightfully call them out on their bullshit.
We get spoon fed a lot of “Dumb” these days. A lot of Dumb, look at our so-called president. All this Dumb usually comes in two forms: Free Dumb, and Big Money Dumb. There’s usually an insidious connection between those two forms, and I’ll leave it to you to figure that all out. Let’s just say that the ideas behind Free Dumb are usually used to push Big Money Dumb, and Big Money Dumb is usually used in turn to promote the ideas behind Free Dumb. So I guess that’s what is perhaps the most disappointing thing about the new Sleep album to me personally – that it’s not only Dumb, it’s Big Money Dumb. For Jack White, this IS literally a 4/20 miracle. Think of the ca$h that this clown$hoe has made off of this giant, well polished turd $andwich that he’s been $poonfeeding us all for the past couple weeks. He has capitalized off $leep’s current pot-centric pop culture image, and the 4/20 $toner cliche holiday as well. And many of you are more than willing to eat this dude’s poop, with a very real shit eating grin on your faces the whole time. Don’t expect me to kiss any of you anytime soon, at least not with an open mouth. Pucker up, buttercup.
There’s a reason that I don’t want to write reviews, and would rather have the freedom to just write about whatever I want. If I were a reviewer, I wouldn’t be able to say a lot of these things, because record labels would not want to work with me or give me promos. Do you want to work with me? I certainly hope not. Do you think Jack White is going to be very happy about what I’ve said here? I certainly hope not.
Do you think Sleep would enjoy reading this? No, they shouldn’t. The problem is that this all really needs to be addressed. Reviews should be CRITICISM, the reviewers should be critics, and listen critically. That is rarely the case. Reviewing is usually just another form of marketing, a quid pro quo relationship where the labels and bands give the reviewers free copies and advanced listening IF they write glowing, hyperbolic things about the music and the labels. “This is the heaviest thing ever and the most important release of the year, possibly of all time. If you haven’t heard it, you must be living under a rock!” I could have written that about the new Sleep, or just about any other release that comes out, with a glib tongue romanticizing slower than molasses riffing and a gargantuan rhythm section that will pound you like a behemoth in heat. How many times can you all hear that before you realize it’s just a load of shit, empty words that are essentially bought and paid for? These “activities” run rampant within the current Scene.
If you’re really good to the labels and can consistently spin these same themes in different ways, you can go to shows for free with a press pass, free merch gets thrown your way, labels may pay for your transportation and lodging when you cover their showcases, they’ll buy you a van to travel around and solve mysteries in, you get the picture. The whole quid pro quo, this-for-that mentality is naturally toxic, and it’s going to slowly erode both your credibility and your ability to be critical about the music that you’re supposed to be reviewing critically. When that all goes away, the integrity of a scene and its music are also at risk. With no one around to hold bands and labels accountable, they can get lazy and complacent, and then so can the fans. Reviewers are usually glorified taste-makers at best, bought and paid for cheerleaders at worst. That needs to change. Reviewers need to find their own voice and challenge the bands and the labels alike. That’s their job, not sucking up for fucking freebies, folks.
I hope that Jack Whiteand Sleep do read this article. That’s the whole point, someone like me, I can speak to hard truths because I don’t give a fuck about the freebies. I don’t care about the social stature of being a glorified cheerleader for the scene, so I can say things that I know people will not initially like. I am basically a hermit who sits in his cave. I don’t want glory, I don’t even want you to like me, I only want self respect. I want to look in the mirror every morning and say, “Well, at least I’m trying to be a straight shooter rather than a bullshit artist, even though everything about our society tells me that being a bullshit artist is how you get places in life. Just look at our so-called president. At least I’m not like him. And at least I’m not like Jack Whiteor William Weld.”
I wouldn’t want Sleep to take away from this that I’m no longer a fan or that I hate “The Sciences”. Sure, I have very strong feelings on the subject, and the thing that I actually want them to take away from this diatribe is that I personally feel that they can do a lot better than this. They were once groundbreaking, and I’m willing to write this off as a one-time “we’re finding our way around the studio again” type of thing. I know some people have said “Who cares if it doesn’t break any new ground? I just want to be complacent and go along with the status quo!! New Sleep is awesome, I’m a cheerleader, 4/20 forever!!!”
Well, obviously I fucking care, kiddies, and I ain’t your cheerleader. I’m the guy who pisses in your punchbowl at prom. I’m all for hedonism and chasing the halcyon glow of the drug experience, and Sleep do an admirable job of attempting to capture that proverbial lightning in the bottle. They tried. Tried and failed – not tried and died. Luckily, the stakes aren’t that high yet. You’re lucky, Sleep. I am currently acting as your judge, and I refuse to be your executioner. Someone like my musically inclined buddy Patrick Bateman would probably kill you and play with your blood, because he’s just that kind of guy. You’re certainly lucky that you get to utilize Dune references in such an odious way without subjection to the actual deadly consequences laid out in those novels, but I digress as usual. The point is that we can’t stay high forever, we can’t just live with our head perpetually up our asses, or we’re all going to crash very, very hard. The point is that there are very harsh realities that we must all face at some point in our lives. Sleep need to face the natural consequences of their actions. The Sciences is not a thinking person’s album – it’s a call to stop thinking and to embrace The Dumb. It’s a call to be an avid consumer of vapid popular pot culture.
Rick famously tells Morty that school is not a place for smart people, and illustrates that with the obvious example that they give you a piece of paper telling you when you can take a dump. I agree with Rick. I think that Rick would agree with me, that The Sciences is not an album for smart people, and Jack White told you when and where he was going to take a massive steaming dump. On 4/20. On top of us all.
I assured Matthew Thomas that this is not a hit piece. It can’t be, there’s no hit here. Jack White, Bill Weld, and John Boehner are all on base, only because they walked there when no one was keeping score, and I’m not sure who’s on first anymore. Sleep certainly struck out, even though their coach slow-pitched them the ball underhand after they knocked over the tee five times (baseball fans??). Then everyone told us “alternative facts”, that Sleep hit the biggest home run of all time, the heaviest home run, if you missed it you live under a rock inside a cave, it was like a behemoth mounting a tyrannosaurus, etc etc. That’s just a ploy so that White, Weld and Boehner can steal home while we’re all staring at the sun.
I firmly believe that Sleep are still capable of doing more albums that are literal game changers. Albums that push back and force the scene to think, to grow and to evolve. If everyone just lines up to kiss their asses, reviewers and fans alike, they have no impetus to grow and evolve. Why do anything differently if everyone says what you just did was the greatest thing ever, 10/10, perfect? Fuck that noise, nothing is perfect and artists need to strive to outdo themselves with every new project, to set the bar for themselves continually higher. You get an overly generous 7 out of 10, $leep, and that’s only because I like you. And if this is “liking”, you don’t want to see what it looks like when I no longer like you. Please don’t put me in that position, I implore you. Sleep, if you can read these words, do better. You are fucking getting PAID now guys, which is fine and dandy. Earn your motherlickin’ keep. That’s all I’m asking. Do better. You’re one of my biggest influences. This new album, it does not inspire me like your others, and that saddens me. Quit capitalizing on commercial pot culture, because it’s fucking lame, guys, and you can do better. I’ll get over it, and I’d just like you to know that I believe in you. This all comes from a place of love, and the hope that my “blunt” honesty (See, I can make cheesy pot puns too guys! Can I sit with the cool kids now?) will be an impetus for self-reflection and ultimately for change. Blow my mind with your next album. I dare you. You get the “Nice Swing” award for The Sciences, even though you struck out. Big time. But you sure looked impressive in the on deck circle, practicing that big swing. Learn from that, and next time, step up to the plate and knock it out of the park. Either way, I’ll buy you ice cream after the game. And I’ll still feed Matt Pike leftover French Onion soup and put on the Raiders game for him if he stumbles into my place of business all blurry eyed and hung over (true story).
Fans – demand better from the bands that you’re fans of, in both content and delivery. When you don’t like how they deliver your product to you, when they use sketchy marketing tactics and fuck with your expectations, let them know that it’s not okay. Take the five minutes to write an email to the band and the label, and share with them a piece of your mind. That’s what knocked the price down from $80 for the vinyl, which was apparently a “mistake.” We’re all so groomed for distraction and instant gratification that we’re now also ripe for exploitation. We don’t have to put up with either “mistakes” or purposely limited distribution on a seemingly crucial release. We deserve better.
Reviewers, do your fucking job, and call shit when you smell it. Don’t be afraid to be critical, and to rock the boat a bit. It’s your job. Go do it. Or else the next $leep album might be even more of a $nore.
For those who legitimately love this new Sleep album, fans and reviewers alike, kudos to you. It’s a dirty job, and someone has to do it. In many ways I envy you. I wish I could love it, I really do. I just can’t. There’s a reason that Judas Priest’s “Never Satisfied” is a favorite of mine.
So in conclusion, thanks for tuning in to my first edition of “Andy does not give very many fucks anymore about appeasing anyone.” Maybe next time I’ll write about how some of the latest from The Sword album reminds me of Phish. Then again, maybe not. I’m really looking forward to writing about the new music from ABBA, who are one of my favorite bands of all time, and who are much more important and profitable than $leep in The Grand $cheme. I also really hope that you all enjoy your nap time, and your dreams are sweet and such. I’ll still be drinking black coffee and staring at the walls when you all decide to wake up from your precious little $leep.
Transcending Obscurity Records – releases June 22, 2018
Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler
“Lending an Ear to the Mouth of Madness”
Not very long ago I was feeling a nice mellow after listening to some outstanding stoner rock however that soon changed after I received and listened to a pre-release of a debut album by Portugal’s black metal band GAEREA called “Unsettling Whispers”. Though they conceal their identities from the world at large behind black masks with occult symbols, GAEREA do not fail in making their intentions known. In the statement on their Bandcamp page they say to their audience: “Let’s make one thing clear. We need to stress the fact that our era is lost in a huge void of numbness. We are here to bring and present you what your system could not solve by itself. We’ll cover the daylight with ashes and smash the massive skull that’s blocking your brain and will to evolve.” – We’re GAEREA –
I can’t say with certainty when GAEREA began their quest to lead our world that is lost in a void of numbness to its ultimate destruction or evolution. But after a bit of research I learned many in the black metal underground began taking notice of GAEREA after the released it’s S/T debut EP on the Italian label Everlasting Spew Records in 2016 earning a small but loyal cult following and positive reviews in the black metal web-a-zines and blogs. Presenting themselves as a musical adversary GAEREA spits Narcissism, Self Destruction, Misanthropy, Mental Numbness creating an image of humanity at its worst through their music which it’s audience will hopefully be inspired to NOT become.
With a “Self Titled” debut EP out in MP3, CD, and Vinyl format, appearances around Portugal, and Spain and a boatload of reviews, GAEREA signed on with Transcending Obscurity Records and began work on their debut Full Length which is set for release June 22, 2018. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Miguel Tereso. With much better production, GAEREA has managed to put more focus into the artistic aspect their music deserves. While I felt the angst and venomous bile in their “S/T” EP, pushing the play button and listening to Unsettling Whispers was like lending an ear to the mouth of madness. Though I could only pick out a few of the words because the vocalist uses some hardcore vocal techniques that are spat out in a feral growl, I could definitely feel the musics intent and emotion he is trying to convey which I think were best represented in these “SELECT” standouts!
Svn– Beginning with an eerie oscillating sound that moves into pained ghostly whispers, ‘Svn’ feels like walking up to the very gates of hell and seeing a glimpse of what is in store as the build up begins and then let loose with a maelstrom of melodies, blast beats, and bellicose harsh vocals that lead into ‘Absent’.
Absent – What I managed to pick up from this is its about a person that discovers a loved one dead by their own hand. Throughout the song I hear the guitarist playing with a melodic tremolo picking technique and the drummers blast beats lending the bitter disrepair in the vocals creating a vision of somebody smashing their house up and setting themselves ablaze.
Whispers – What impressed me most about this song were the buzz saw riff, and jackrabbit fast blast beats that fooled me into thinking the song was nearly over as the tempo slowed only to pick right back up again before ending in a furious crescendo.
Lifeless Immortality – While GAEREA definitely uses some Hardcore elements in their music. They also have a melodic feel that shows up in ‘Lifeless Immortality’ using techniques on the guitar and bass that would work just as well on a violin or cello.
“Unsettling Whispers” will be available on Jun 22 in MP3, Vinyl, and CD on June 22. This is definitely an album to pick up. You can pre-order it on Bandcamp at the above link and buy a T-Shirt.
Tracklist: Rise Of Beesus 07:31
6ft Under Box 03:55
Sonic Doom/Stoner Youth 06:21
Mata La Vergüenza 04:41
Beesus In Dope 07:40
Earlier this year the band made a Pledge Music page to promote and raise money for there second album. It is now closed (of course) and, luckily, reached 101% of its goal. It had some interesting options like, a cover song of your choice, a in your house performance, and an executive producer credit. Sadly the website doesn’t tell you how much of each option was bought so I can’t tell you what got bought the most. But anyway to the review…
Beesus’ second album has more of a venom and late 80s grunge, noise rock feel. The production and playing on this album has tightened up. There is also a more punk feel and the fuzz is still present but is toned down.
For a couple of songs the band have introduced a vocoder. It makes it’s entrance in “I Don’t Wanna Be” and it’s exit is “Beaux”.
The “Intro” and “Outro” are a strange mix of keys and maybe a garage door opening.
“El Dude” starts with a lot of noise and a solid bass riff. It also sounds like it could be the first part to a later track (I Don’t Wanna Be).
“Dubblegum Boom Metla” has four movements the first part which is medium passed and has a repeating riff and speeds up as it gets to the the second which is faster and then it speeds up and suddenly slows to the background screaming and slow churning fuzzy guitars. It then speeds up again, back to the second pace, but only briefly and then it fades out.
“Nuña y Freña” is somewhat of a throwback to their first album kind of like “Kusa”.
“Reichl” is the roughest and noisiest of the main tracks. “Take the cure, my man” is repeated many times throughout the song. Sonic Youth will definitely approve!
“I Don’t Wanna” be is a mix of stoner, punk, and a few moments of rapid, almost rapped vocals. This is the first track with the vocoder. It is in the background emphasizing some of the vocals.
“Junk Around” has the most affects added to it. Strangely enough it is also the most punk of the tracks. There is “You’ll succumb to me.” and “On your knees” are the phrases for this song.
In “Beaux”, the vocoder returns. It is more prominent. This song is also the slowest, and longest, on the album. Has a well executed sludgy feel to it.
“Sgt. Beesus and the lonely ass Gangbang!” is definitely an improvement on their first album and I am excited to hear some of those cover songs if anyone bought that perk.
Original Tracklist: Intro 00:32
Down And Outer 03:36
Trip Down Memory Lane 01:11
Drugged Up Dolls 02:19
Sex Devil 05:50
The Doped Up Devil 04:05
Perversion For Profit 03:28
You Are The Prettiest Pill 04:06
Did You Know? 03:11
You Had This Coming 03:49
Nothing Song (Bonus Track) 03:30
Re-release Tracklist: Intro 00:33
Down And Outer 03:19
Drugged Up Dolls 04:40
Sex Devil 06:01
Perversion For Profit 03:19
Nothing Song 03:29
You Are The Prettiest Pill 06:53
Did You Know? 03:08
Devil’s Advocate 03:16
The Doped Up Devil’s with Sexual Grooves (Re-Release)
I’ll let his Facebook bio explain: “Bad Monster Black is a project formed by King Jeremy The Wicked (Jeremy Vibbert). “Bad Monster Black: The Doped Up Devils With Sexual Grooves” EP was released late 2014 and did not fit the KJTW catalog, it was something different, it had swing, punch, and an undeniable groove that broke away from the thrash metal criteria. So shortly after releasing the EP, it was re-released under the name Bad Monster Black, and eventually taken off of the KJTW Discography. Thus, making Bad Monster Black the new home of the experimentation with swinging riffs, overloaded guitars, and a tongue in cheek attitude that makes the music even more fun to listen to. This isn’t music you’d take home for your family to listen to, and that’s how it’s intended.”
The sound of Bad Monster Black’s music is very 90’s; it is very reminiscent of the music of Puscifer, Marilyn Manson,White Zombie and even Rob Zombie’s solo work. Even though those influences are very prevalent Jeremy found a way to make it not sound too dated. Both releases have different track-listings and have a couple of different songs on each.
That being said I’ll make a somewhat in depth look on the tracks that are same (and what has changed on the remaster.) On the tracks that are different I’ll say what each of them do to make the release different.
Almost all of the tracks stay except; Trip Down Memory Lane, The Doped Up Devil, Control, You Had This Coming, and Outro (on the original release) and on the re-release; Intermission, Devil’s Advocate, and Stoned. These tracks are either new (in the case of the re-release) or taken out (original) the only track is the Intermission which is a shorter version of The Doped Up Devil.
The tracks that stay almost the same; Intro, Drugged Up Dolls, Sex Devil, Satanola, Nothing Song, You Are The Prettiest Pill, Did You Know, Low. What did change was samples and some of the production. Overall there was less use of samples in the remaster and, in a way, that makes sense for the update to fit the Bad Monster Black catalog since the focus changed to more sleazy Rock. Intro, Did You Know and Low did not change at all, or not enough that change the experience. Satanola is a standout that would fit nicely into any Puscifer album.
There are only two original tracks that are different, Down and Outer and Perversion for Profit. For the remaster the guitar solos were replaced by slower guitar parts and dirtier production.
“The Doped Up Devils with Sexual Grooves” – (Original 2014)
The original release is more of a current sounding album than the remaster and is a heavier/more metal than it as well. As I stated before; the main differences between them is that on the remaster the recording is less clean and more fuzzed out for that dirty 90s feel and the guitar solos that are in the original are changed to fit the dirty sound so the sound isn’t as muddy and has less of a touch of Metal. The sleaze is upgraded for a more solid Sleaze Rock feel. If you like music that is dark, sleazy, has hints of blues, lots of fuzz, Rob Zombie-ish (and at times Tonetta-ish in the remaster) this band and its’ albums are for you.
Bad Monster Black (King Jeremy The Wicked) is a prolific writer and pumps out high quality music on a regular basis. To use Mr. Wicked’s own words about this album and his process, “This is a re-release from the 2014 version. The reason? This band is all DIY, Which means about 90% of the time it’s all trial and error.” So Support!!!
Download the original HERE and the Re-release HERE
P.S. to King Jeremy the Wicked, if you would like to do an interview about this album please contact me.
Physical CD available on March 5th, 2018 on Blackseed Records
Limited & Standard 180gr Vinyl available April 20th, 2018 through Cursed Tongue Records
Reviewed by Eric Layhe
Blackbirds Call (5:41)
Sword of my Father (3:55)
White Mountain (4:31)
Frost Lord (4:18)
The Huntress (6:06)
Forged in Fire (6:14)
Season of the Witch (6:07)
Review: Stoner Metal has a very storied history. Debatably beginning with Black Sabbath and Hawkwind and surviving through Monster Magnet, the bandcamp era has created something of a golden era of Stoner Metal and one of the beneficiaries of this golden age is Indiana’s Wolftooth.
Wolftooth is a classic Stoner Metal band through and through, albeit one with a little extra heft added for good taste. Their self-titled album is chock-full of great riffs and much better vocals than the genre usually calls for and even features a few twists and turns as well – album opener “Blackbirds Call” opens with an atmospheric intro that is almost symphonic in nature. “Sword of my Father” is (fittingly) extremely reminiscent of the Apocryphon-era of The Sword, with Kentucky-fried grooves and lots of southern twang. Through its raw production, Wolftooth’s “Self-titled” album does a great job of emulating a live show. If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine that Wolftooth is right there playing for you.
It’s not a perfect album, though. In terms of the genre of Stoner Metal, Wolftooth doesn’t bring a whole lot of new material to the table. If you’re a member of the fairly sizable group that feels as though Stoner Metal is a tad tired and needs a major mix-up in order to be truly rejuvenated, then you probably won’t find a whole lot to enjoy here. It really is a faithful recreation of the genre and therefore won’t be much of a treat if you’re not a fan of that particular style.
With their self-titled album, Wolftooth has created a very faithful recreation of Stoner Rock with a modern edge. Fans of the genre will love it, whereas those that aren’t simply won’t. While it really is as simple as that, I cannot emphasize how good of a job Wolftooth has done. If you enjoy Stoner Metal, I absolutely recommend you check out this excellent release.
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.
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.
Line Up: JE (VOX, Guitars)
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.
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
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
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
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, 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
Another sort of coming home
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
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
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
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
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
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
Burning down to the ground
Timber heart, holy wood
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
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…”
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!!
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!!
Tracklist: Moon Curser 08:26
Blood Lovers 06:37
Corpse Revival 08:26
Fucking Oath 06:12
Dear Demon 08:10
Old Hopeless 06:37
Spiritual Abuse 05:02
Grand Rites 08:48
On bandcamp the band describe their sound as, “…influences ranging from doom metal to classic rock, Dead Quiet seeks to meld melody with catastrophe as they weave through a dissonant landscape of crushing metallic riffs and somber choral musings.” Dead Quiet masterfully delivers this is high fashion with “Grand Rites”. If you recognize some of the members’ names above that is because Dead Quiet are the closest thing to a modern day “Supergroup”.
As a follow up to their first album it fits in well. They have improved sonically and sound as if they are maximizing the talents of each member while making it a cohesive and flawlessly executed throughout the 64+ minutes and 9 tracks that comprises “Grand Rites”. With their roster set, there truly isn’t a dud in this second album. Like I said before this album is an improvement over the first, they went from a good first album to a great second and sadly, more times than not, bands do the opposite due to a myriad of reasons; time constraints, label demands and just the overall pressure of the “Follow Up” from the “Big Debut”.
Keegan’s vocal delivery is certainly worth noting. The songs are packed with acid laced lyrics ranging from Politics to Religion to The Thrill of the 1st kill in closer “Grand Rites” that name a few subject matters. Keegan preaches to the listener; the concert goer. He draws the listener in to pay closer attention as it is impactful, powerful, meaningful, genuine and most important…..it fits perfectly with the band’s overall sound – a melting pot of Rock, Sludge and Metal. We are only at the beginning of 2018 and we may already have a top 3 contender!!