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!
Finnish alternative metal quintet SKEIN released a first single ‘BOUND’ from their upcoming second album named ‘DEADWEIGHT’
Assembled with the invaluable help of producer Tuomas Kokko (Ghost Brigade, Swallow the Sun etc.), the album moves dynamically across different soundscapes, reaching from crushingly heavy guitar riffs to more ethereal , atmospheric parts.
Unlike their debut album ‘Of Wings Unfolding’, which was a concept album with a strong narrative and a story-line (strengthened by a novel published alongside the physical copy) the songs on ‘Deadweight’ stand on their own. Delivered with both screaming and clean vocals, the songs explore issues from misuse of power and societal responsibility to basic human characteristics, with very personal experiences. Due the rawness and personal approach, the album is the strongest emotional outburst of Skein’s career.
The new album seems more genre bending, melding slower Post Rock elements to faster tempo Heavy Emotional Hardcore done with beautiful dexterity. Pre-order links are below along with links to the SKEIN’s various outlets as well. This is a band to keep an eye on as their future is very bright!!
Sami Silvennoinen – vocals
Jarno Ojala – guitar
Hiski Marstio – guitar
Kari Ruissalo – drums
Juha Höyssä – bass
Music video by Mikko Henrik Huotari
Actress: Merja Koski-Sipilä
Music by Skein
Lyrics by Juha Höyssä
Produced by Tuomas Kokko
Recorded and mixed at Electric Fox Studios by Tuomas Kokko
Background vocals by Iina Kyttänen and Iina Souru
Mastered by Svante Forsbäck at Chartmakers
WASTED THEORY ANNOUNCES DEFENDERS OF THE RIFF TOUR 2017
American Weed Rockers Wasted Theory are about to hit the road and have announced a North American tour for the Spring of 2017, with several heavy rock masters in alliance such as Wo Fat, Freedom Hawk, and ZED for select dates, as well as local support acts. In promotion of their second full length album Defenders Of The Riff (released 10/2016 on No Slip Records), Wasted Theory’s tour kicks off on April 14th in Wilmington, DE at the Oddity Bar.
Playing select dates from April to June, they’ll trek through 14 states, from Texas to Michigan, coming back around to the current final date in the federal capital Washington, DC on June 10th.
In addition, Wasted Theory recently world-premiered via Facebook their first video from the ‘Defenders of the Riff’ album, for the song “Black Witch Blues“. Self-produced and even filmed by the band themselves, it was shot entirely on an iPhone and created for less than 20 bucks. If you dig dirty rock n’ roll, bikers, black magic, and devil women then you’ll dig this: https://www.facebook.com/wastedtheoryband/videos/1081054325354080/
(w/Kingsnake, Backwoods Payback, 91’s)
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ
(w/Kingsnake, Solace, Backwoods Payback)
(w/Foghound, Serpents Of Secrecy, Horseburner, King Giant)
Wasted Theory was born in July 2012, and raised in the Northern Mid-Atlantic salty air states of Delaware and Maryland. Fronted by Larry Jackson, Jr. on vocals and lead guitar, Brendan Burns on drums, bassist Rob Michael, and rhythm guitarist Dave McMahon, this heavy rock outfit conjures inspiration from several of the most hard hitting, dirty blue collar, beefed up rock n’ roll acts of the past 40 years. With influences like Artimus Pyledriver, Corrosion of Conformity, and Nazareth, the result is a guaranteed truck-ton of boot stomping heavy music.
Released in October 2016, “Defenders of the Riff” is a behemoth of testosterone-driven, southern fuzzed biker rock. With accolades pouring in from every heavy rock and metal music enthusiast to catch whiff of Wasted Theory’s riffs, they’re wasting no time in getting back on the road. Catch Wasted Theory on tour in 2017, and get your metal hordes ready for American weed rock’s Defenders of the Riff.
Experience the Dark, Atmospheric Progressive Musical journey that Italian Post/Doom Metallers WOWS from the Epic Album “AION!” via Argonauta Records. Buy the album via Argonauta’s website – http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/music-/80-wows-aion-cd.html