Mother Mars “On Lunar Highlands” Album Review + Stream + Music Video…

Mother Mars

On Lunar Highlands – CD // DD

Pepper Shaker Records – Releases December 6, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

 

Lineup:
Frank Attard: Drums, percussion, Clavinet, synth, meandering chaos
Paul Attard: Guitars, bass, synth, banjo-mandolin, piano, organ, complications
Dave Schembri: Vocals, harmonica, mellow vibes
Matthew Slager: Lead guitar on ‘Never Fail’

Tracklist:
Wrecker’s Reunion Ball (5:00)
Lost Planet Airmen (4:34)
Bean Stalkin’ (0:28)
Thought It Best To Cut You Loose (5:33)
Soap Bar Pick-Up Joint (3:41)
The Stalwarts of Saltwort Castle (9:31)
The Working Mind of the Creator (3:44)
Woodhollow Green (12:55)
Bean Stalkin’ Again (0:56)
Never Fail (4:13)
Bigger Than Fear (5:44)
On Lunar Highlands (8:35)
The Heavy Hand Of The Destroyer (4:14)

 

 

Review:
Sludge Metal can go in any one of many directions, and one of the most interesting just may be the original: The variety of Sludge both invented and perfected by Black Sabbath. That particular brand of Sludge Metal is heavily Blues-influenced and totally unafraid to incorporate highly experimental elements like irregular time signatures, tempo changes, and long complicated instrumental sections in a manner that is almost progressive. This style of music has existed since the late 70s and one of its latest disciples is Australia’s Mother Mars, and they exemplify it fantastically in their newest release, On Lunar Highlands.

As a listener will easily pick up on while making their way through the album, Mother Mars makes no attempt to pigeonhole themselves. They open with some sludgey goodness on “Wrecker’s Reunion Ball”, but they weave their way through several different styles like early-era Queens of the Stone Age-style desert rock on “Lost Planet Airmen” Psychedelic Folk on several songs, most prevalent in the interlude “Bean Stalkin’” and its brother-in-arms “Bean Stalkin’ Again”, and expertly execute a song that sounds like a long-lost B-side from Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in album high point “The Stalwarts of Saltwort Castle” (stream below).

While Mother Mars is an extremely skilled band, they really show their true talent when their songs are heavier and longer. When Mother Mars give themselves room to breathe, their songs gain an organic energy that is nearly second to none, especially when they decide to allow themselves what is a particularly decadent instrumental section full of guitar solos, bass riffs, and plenty of interplay between the band’s members.

Additionally, there are only 3 members of Mother Mars, though you’d never guess it from listening to them. These Heavy Space Rockers are incredibly adept at filling a space with as much noise as it needs to sound full and heavy without making it sound unnecessarily chaotic. It is chaotic, to be fair, but as Mother Mars proves, chaos is not always directionless. As the band simulates what can only be described as the sonic equivalent of a Solar Storm, they always make sure to include a clearly understandable sense of direction, as the songs always make sense, as a band full of gentlemen this talented should. If you are interested in Bluesy, Spacey, Sonic-adventurous Sludge Metal, and you have 70 minutes to kill, look no further than Mother Mars’ “On Lunar Highlands”. It is skillful, it is eclectic, and most importantly: it is heavy.

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Frozen Planet…1969 “From The Center Of A Parallel Universe” Album Review + Stream…

FROZEN PLANET…1969

From The Centre Of A Parallel Universe – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Pepper Shaker Records – released August 30, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed:
Early 2012

Location:
Sydney / Canberra, Australia

Personnel:
Guitars – Paul Attard

Bass – Lachlan Paine

Drums – Frank Attard

Previous Releases:
“Frozen Planet….1969” (2012)

“Lost Traveller Chronicles, Volume 1” (2014)

“Lost Traveller Chronicles, Volume 2” (2015)

“Electric Smokehouse” EP (2017)

 

 

First, a bit of background:

When asked to describe how this band came to be, they collectively answered, quote “We are a band called Frozen Planet…1969. The emphasis is on improvisation. No vocals, just straight-out instrumental jamming.” Enquote.  It was basically a side-project for the three individuals as Paul and Frank had been playing in the stoner-doom band, Mother Mars while Lachlan was playing in the Canberra, Aussie heavy rock trio, Looking Glass. Having played their first show in February of 2014, the band has only played a handful of shows, each consisting of a 30-40 minute jam session. Each individual show is unique, no rehearsals needed. According to Frozen Planet…1969′s Facebook presence, quote “Every time the band gets together in the studio there will be two or three separate jams, with each jam usually clocking in at anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes. The editing and mixing process (done by drummer / producer Frank Attard) is very important for the band in order to capture the most effective and cohesive moments from the jam sessions.” Enquote. Certainly explains how they are seeming so prolific and that is NEVER a bad thing, especially with the caliber of music offered up here.

Band Shot

Five songs clocking in at just over 43 minutes, combined to give you the present needed to further melt your brain, opening with ‘Signals (Channeling….)’ and flowing into hyper-fuzzed, hyper tempoed, bass screaming in the thickest rumble heard as ‘Celestial Gambler’ races in front of you as you sprint to keep close, psychedelic ramblings encasing you in all of the Timothy Leary glory possible without the electric-Kool-Aid, jazz fills in tow and that lumbering bass line that commands you to follow during this 11 minute romp across that astral horizon looming ahead. Complete with an ending that sums up the tale of no words with an exclamation point that is absolute perfection and fades to a slow black.

‘Through Hell’s Kaleidoscope, Parts I & II’ is a quick fade in with a jangly, bouncy bass line and what can only be described as the ultra-spaced out panache of synchronicity divine as these three weave complete visual tapestries with not a word uttered, only mood and atmosphere to give your mind the things necessary to see what they are saying with each note and flick of the wrist. As the warbling chords of ‘The Lady And The Archer’ come forth with a more even handed pace than previous. That presence of emotional purity is still flowing right from the fingertips directly into the sub-conscious as you can’t help but ride the ripples in the air that circles you as you take this all in.

Vinyl Shot

Closer, ‘Ancient Wings Taking Flight’ brings back the frenetic tempos blended with the spaced-out string bending that leads to the perfect summation of not only this record, but of the precision musicality delivered under the guise of a jam-band that delivers EVERY time.

Get this record NOW, grab everything else you can find by these guys and play it to the Heavens and beyond!! Support them live if they come anywhere close and keep it LOUD!!

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Album Review – Frozen Planet…1969 “Electric Smokehouse”

Frozen Planet….1969

Electric Smokehouse – Release January 11th, 2017

Headspin Records & Pepper Shaker Records – Vinyl / CD / DD

 

 

You awaken from your artificial sleep, roused by the pulsings and rumblings within your starship’s harmonic hull.  Taking the helm, you notice you’ve just exited the wormhole, and you’re approaching your ultimate destination.  You’ve traveled both time and space to experience this place, said to be unlike any other in the known universe.  The light of this foreign galaxy burns the last semblance  of slumber from your eyes.  You slowly see the first light glisten and sparkle off it for the first time, the Frozen Planet….1969.

 

Electric Smokehouse_Album Cover

 

 

You’ve brought no crew – this is a solo trip.  You alone can see the stars shimmer off the planet’s icy ionosphere, you alone will hear the starship sing as its encounters the gaseous upper atmosphere.  You alone will feel the heat of the ship’s hull as it dares its delicate descent towards the frozen field below.  Slamming on the retro thrusters, you carefully calculate the angle of entry and brac for landing.  The impact is minimal, and you quickly gather up your supplies and lower the stairs towards the icy ground below.  Bracing yourself for the frigid cold and chill winds, you grab a fur-lined overcoat and pull the hood over your long hair.  The oxygen is rich here, though it will become thinner as you climb the frost covered mountains towards the ominous Electric Smokehouse.

You wander past a frozen lake, and see Barbarella’s starship, desperately in need of repairs.  You know that she’s about to be attacked by a gang of children bearing dolls with snapping metal teeth, and if you were to take the time to simply rescue her, you could make sweet, sweet love to her on a featherbed inside a giant sled propelled by a sail.  Alas, you also know that there’s no time for such diversions, and another will be along shortly to ensure her safety.  Your pace quickens, and you begin the steep ascent up the sacred mountain, on top of which lies the Electric Smokehouse, an elusive place chock full of sonic daydreams and mystical soundscapes.  As you climb, placing hand over hand and foot over foot, you gaze up in wonder at the small shack resting stoically at the top of the mountain.  It approaches faster and faster, and soon you catch the first wisps of rhythm echoing from within the smokehouse’s wooden walls.  Soon the frantic pounding of the drums is joined by the throbbing undulation of bass guitar deeply digging into a hypnotic groove.  The higher the climb, the more apparent it becomes that the strange noises your heard in the background are from a single six string guitar which speaks in sonic tongues, repeating what seem like mind-warping mantras over and over in some strange electric language that penetrates straight into the inner depths of your psyche.

 

Band Shot

 

Finally reaching the summit, you set off down the path towards the small smokehouse, taking in the sights of the planet’s three suns reflecting off the snowy peaks and frozen valleys.  The music from within continues to intensify as you open the front door.  You’re greeted by three men, who introduce themselves simply as Paul on guitar, Lachian on bass, and Frank on drums.  They speak to you without missing a beat or even a single note, and somehow their soft voices are briefly projected above the heavy jams emanating from their instruments.  The guitar seamlessly shifts from searing leads to heavy riffs, shimmering chords to strange echoed oscillations.  The bass works the groove, while every once in awhile adding in a slice of melody or jammy leads, and the drums alternate between busy rhythms and stoic understatement.  Your ears are treated to all manner of otherwordly sounds as the trio jams on endlessly, for what seems like hours, days even week.  All too soon, your supplies are deplete and it’s time to make the long return trek to your planet of origin.

As you head back to your spacecraft, you can’t help but think that fans of Earthless may also find a trip to  the Frozen Planet….1969 to be quite a worthwhile venture.  You climb back aboard your ship, engage the autopilot, open up a fresh wormhole and prepare to enter your cryogenic sleep, with all heavy jams you’ve just taken in still bouncing around in your cerebellum.  You smile as the gentle psychedelic slumber overtakes you, and you ponder what new grand adventure will await you when you awaken….

By Andy “Dingo Ate My Baby” Beresky