Tracklist: Another Plane (8:35)
Stellar Gate Drive (5:41)
The Tree and the Serpent (6:01)
B Oscillation (6:59)
Diesel Breath (7:35)
Priestess of Misery (6:24)
Half a Man (4:07)
Om Shaantih (6:00)
Sergeant Thunderhoof is a group of unsung metal heroes from England specializing in stoner metal. In May of 2018 following a successful kickstarter campaign, Sergeant Thunderhoof have graced us with their third full-length album Terra Solus and I am happy to say that it does not disappoint.
Stylistically, Terra Solus is about what would be expected of them, boasting a heavy yet melodic variety of stoner metal tinged with a healthy dosage of psychedelia. The album begins with tribal drums and a huge guitar riff in “Another Plane”. Eventually, the vocals enter, showing a marked improvement over their previous album, Ride of the Hoof. On Terra Solus, the melodic vocals of Dan Flitcroft are clearer, crisper, and more confident, showing great maturation of their band.
The production is also much cleaner, resulting in a great sound quality. Each instrument is heard with crystal clarity throughout the whole album and it is a joy to listen to. In addition, Terra Solus is sequenced fantastically- it’s almost as though the album has a complete story arc.
The album also has insane solos and riffs to spare. Guitarist Mark Sayer is really playing his instrument for all it’s worth. There are a ton of great guitar parts straight out of the gate, and the band’s rhythm section gives every song on the album a fantastic groundwork.
All in all, Terra Solus is an absolute killer of an album from beginning to end. It has groove and attitude to spare, and it’s a crime that three albums in Sergeant Thunderhoof still hasn’t gained a foothold. I highly recommend that you check out this album and Sergeant Thunderhoof’s entire backlog if you’re interested in Stoner Metal. Now if only there was a time machine in order to go back and “back” the Kickstarter project…
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.
Lineup: Russel Clark (Vocals)
Christos Athanasias (Guitar)
Nicolas Dumont (Bass)
Andy Alkemade (Drums)
Tracklist: Promised Land 04:53
Black Widow 03:53
Raging Bull 03:21
Killing Time 04:31
Love Enemy 03:56
You & Me 03:58
Little Birdy Told Me 04:10
The Fire 06:24
The Ugly Kings are a Rock band from Melbourne, Australia. I’ll let the band explain themselves further; “[we] offer a stripped down but powerful injection of energy and emotion to the modern rock scene [by] formulating what can only be described as ‘Power Blues’ [with] memorable beats, thunderous bass lines and an electrifying barrage of bluesy ‘grit’ riffs tied with raw and emotive vocals.”
Darkness Is My Home is the first full length album by the band. (The previous releases being a E.P. of sorts, Of Sins, and a single, Promised Land, which is the same as the version on this release but has a b-side that is not on this album.)
Overall the band’s sound is a mix of early Classic Rock and are heavily inspired by Blues Rock. The perfect descriptor tag for the album is Doom Blues with Rock flair. In a way this album sounds like you can chop up and mix it up and make different songs each time. At the same time I like that it sounds that it was recorded in one take in a converted garage to studio.
Promised Land: I found a quote from the band on the song; “‘Promised Land is about the false promises that are preached to us by the charlatans of our society (politicians, big business, etc…). It’s about the pipe dream they sell us to keep us in servitude to the 1%, to keep us slaves to the dollar and material things. There is nothing at the top of the ladder, except another ladder. The Promised Land isn’t the destination we get sold, it’s inside of us.”
The band also have a beautifully shot video for the track too.
Black Widow: This is the 2nd hardest rocking track on the album. There is a bunch of back and forth in the tempo. It is also what I imagine the cover art comes from. (That and for Love Enemy)
Raging Bull: This is the hardest rocking track on the album. The riffs on this song sounds so familiar and I can’t think of what it is from.
Killing Time: Watch the music video for this track HERE
Love Enemy: This is a slower and more blues filled track. They sit on the riff while Russell is delivering the vocals. This track also feels like it could be a 2nd part to Black Widow.
You & Me: This is where the title of the album comes from. This is another slow track.
Lazarus: This track is a cover of David Bowie’sLazarus from his swan song album “Blackstar” and the band manage to make it their own while keeping the original close at hand.
Little Birdy Told Me: Kind of feels like Love Enemy.
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.
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!!
Rise Above Records – (Re-Release / Remastered) October 13, 2017
Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler
Dancing in the Witches Garden
Hello Tasters today I’m gonna serve up some tasty music from a band called Uncle Acid & The deadbeats. Formed in Cambridge England in 2009 by Kevin Starrs, Uncle Acid & The deadbeats was originally: Mastermind & Frontman Kevin Starrs, on vocals and guitars, Kat on Bass, and Red on Drums. While Uncle Acid & The deadbeats transformed from a power trio into a quartet after Kat and Red left. It was with then that Uncle Acid & The deadbeats established it’s signature sound using elements of acid rock, British pop, and metal, with themes on occult, horror, drugs, murder and mayhem.
For those who are unfamiliar with them, until October this year a search on Amazon and iTunes would have only turned up Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats’ 2nd, 3rd, and 4th albums on CD and MP3 . Though it would be released as a limited edition vinyl in 2014 The album Vol. 1 was initially used like a demo. Marketed directly to the fans on MySpace & YouTube with a limited release of 30 albums on CD-R Vol.1 helped the band purchase better recording equipment for their 2nd self produced and recorded album Blood Lust. Which after a limited release of 100 on CD-R was picked up by Rise Above Records in 2011 and re-released introducing Uncle Acid’s signature sound to a wider audience.
While I can find no fault with Uncle Acids decision to initially only release Vol. 1 on vinyl, it was on the pricey side. Those who wanted to listen to it had to seek it out on YouTube and burn a copy from a friends album if they didn’t want to buy it on vinyl. Now that Vol. 1 has been reissued on CD, Vinyl, and MP3 fans can throw away and delete their bootleg copies and get the real deal. Although Blood Lust was the album that got myself and many other fans into Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats it all started with Vol.1.
What I enjoyed most about Vol. 1 is knowing that although it had to be done on a limited budget, Uncle Acid & The deadbeats still managed to create an auditory work of art. Opening with “Crystal Spiders,” I was immediately sucked into the album and still find myself having to fight the urge to dance around like a hippie on LSD when I listen to Vol. 1 in public. I like all of the songs on Vol. 1 but some of the best are “Witches Garden” and “Lonely And Strange.” Both tracks are sort of has The Doors does metal feel with some creepy electric organ and the latter having some stellar electric and acoustic guitar work by Kevin Starrs that boarders on the divine.
Then once again we get to listen to that amazing electric guitar and electric organ in “Vampire Circus.” “Do What Your Love Tells You” the album’s 6th track has just got some gnarly fuzzed out psychedelic riffs. Closing the album out is the creepy song ‘Wind Up Toys.” For those who intend to buy this album on vinyl if you get the band’s special edition it will include the bonus track of Uncle Acid’s cover of the Kinks song “Wicked Annabella”.
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.
Review: Psy:Code is a Danish modern hardcore / deathcore act who recently signed to Pavement Entertainment. Mørke is their 3rd independent release that’s created a stir of interest just before their recent signing. According to their website, it’s been a dream of Psy:Code’s to go to America and play their music and between signing with an American label and the scene’s current fascination with deathcore and grind core, the timing couldn’t be better for Psy:Code to realize their aspirations.
Starting with the cover, I’m not exactly sure what they’re going for with this one. The plant and the head and the skull… no clue. I was hoping translating the album title would shed some light on this. Ironically, Mørke is Danish for darkness. I guess that’s where I’m going to stay on this one for now. Maybe one of my readers can explain it to me? I love symbolism when I’m smart enough to get the reference.
Musically, this album starts with some slow guitars, slightly off-tune guitars for a few seconds before going hard and heavy. Schou growl-screams his way through the album Anselmo-style; though there are some periodical clean backing vocals for effect. How original that is? Well… I’d tend to say not very.
Where I think Psy:Code is going to garner most of their fans is from the technical guitar work from SteiN and/or JezpR. To be honest, there’s not much indication who’s playing the lead here so it could be one or the other or both. While the capitalization seems random the song structure tends to be more technical and progressive. This is an area where my expertise is extremely limited, though I can say that the guitar has six strings… except when it doesn’t.
Interestingly, to write and compose Mørke, Psy:Code recluded themselves to a cabin in the Swedish wilderness. If the story in their Riven video is truth, the plan was to make some awesome metal. Instead, they got drunk. I can’t say how many times this has happened to me. Not the part about the Swedish cabin or the part about making awesome metal… just the getting drunk part. Perhaps you can relate? Anyway, what came out doesn’t appear to be the work of drunken fools so I assume they were just kidding. That or I need to start writing shit down when I have a few beers in me. I can hardly operate a pen sober… so maybe not?
Lyrically speaking, I’m not sure what they’re singing. I scoured the internet for lyrics but the best I could find was a lyric video for Riven. They seem to like this song, as this is 2nd video I could find for it. Riven seems to be about being scarred by a vicious former lover or perhaps an over-bearing parent. I’m a little confused but the recurring line “I can’t receive”. I don’t know how this ties into the rest of the words.
In conclusion, Psy:Code is a hard hitting band and Mørke is a hard hitting album that’s going to appeal to those who enjoy a more technical sound. I believe some will criticize it for lacking variety, which might be a legitimate concern for those who like me who can’t follow the progression. In this case, I think you either get it or you don’t. Check them out and see what you think.
Austrian Ambient / Alt. Rockers Our Ceasing Voice have been at it awhile, though this is my first encounter with them. Folks are always surprised when I haven’t heard of this band or that band, especially if it’s something that is well within the realm of what I usually find myself listening to. The fact of the matter is just that there’s a whole slew of music out there, and there’s simply no way for me to keep up with it all. Nearly everyone these days is in a band, or two, or three, or five. With that kind of saturation, it’s easy for even really good bands to slip through the cracks. That’s the case with Our Ceasing Voice, and I’m honestly surprised that these cats don’t have a bit more exposure. Their sound is both unique and accessible, though perhaps the vocals are a bit of an acquired taste. Also, Free Like Tonight was only released about a month ago, so this album hasn’t really had enough time to get out there and reach a wider audience. In truth, I’m not sure how their back catalog compares to their latest, so this album is my only point of reference.
When talking about this album, I think that it’s important to write about the vocals first and foremost, as they’re the center point; they’re what stands out and drives the music. It’s the kind of style that’s going to be polarizing: a deep and tortured baritone, goth-inspired and pain-strickenly emotional. For me personally, they work and totally make the album, and I can see how others may be turned off by them, especially as they veer towards the melodramatic more often than not. Still, vocalist Dominik Dorfler delivers his poetic lyrics with both poise and power.
The songs themselves are fairly simple in structure and instrumentation. They’re focused on texture and atmosphere rather than any form of musical pyrotechnics – layers of reverberated piano, subtle guitar parts echoed for emphasis, and airy washes of synthesizers float in and out of the mix, laying a backdrop for the vocals, and minimalist drums form the bedrock and foundation underneath. It’s tough for me to tell if there’s an actual bass guitar playing, or if the low end is simply carried by the guitars and synths; if there is bass, once again, it’s subtle. There’s no bassist credited on the album, so there very well may not be one.
Now, as much as I like this album, it’s not without faults, like most albums. While I can appreciate the shifts in dynamics that break up monotony within the songs themselves, on a whole, there’s not a lot of diversity within the album. Every song is extremely similar, and the tempos are all in the same ballpark. There’s not a whole lot to differentiate them, and perhaps that’s why these guys have kept a relatively low profile. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, and it shows a clear area for growth. Moving forward, if they incorporated something different every third song or so, or even used some interludes to break things up a bit, I think that they could have a lot of success with future albums. Their basic formula is solid – they just need a little bit of tweaking so that their albums really stand out and don’t start to feel tedious or repetitious halfway through.
I can see fans of ambient music, post-rock and goth rock getting into Our Ceasing Voice. The vocals make their music fairly unique without being wildly experimental, and what they do, they do extremely well. As I’ve noted above, I’m more concerned with what they don’t do. Namely, they do need to fix things up a bit. It’s tough for me to even identify a standout track because….well, they’re all pretty good, and they’re all pretty similar.
A band like this has all kinds of options – add some more experimental elements and really abstract sounds, rev up the tempos for a tune or two, add some vocal harmonies, get some guest musicians. Hell, even add some more traditional rock elements like a fitting guitar solo, adding more hooks in the vocals and instrumentation, or just some bridges. Getting a bassist may help with this by beefing up the rhythms and offering opportunities for interplay between the bass and drums. Like I’ve stated over and over – Our Ceasing Voice have developed a unique sound, and they’ve got a ton of potential. If they can carry that approach over to the treatment of individual songs, so that each song on an album stands as its own individual statement, then I think they’ll really start to go places.
Our Ceasing Voice at The Great Wall of China during their last Tour!