German Riffonauts BLACK SPACE RIDERS will release new EP Amoretum Vol. 1 on January 26, 2018.The LP can be pre-ordered on all digital platforms, including Bandcamp, as well as at www.blackspaceriders.com/shop
The album flows from song to song as if from a single cast. The listener wonders after 45 minutes whether everything is really already over, and wants to go back to the beginning again immediately.
But of course everything is not over after 45 minutes in the world of BLACK SPACE RIDERS. The band also announces a second chapter for 2018 … Amoretum Vol. 2 is waiting for us, while we are looking forward to Amoretum Vol 1.
Track List: Lovely Lovelie
Another Sort of Homecoming
Soul Shelter (Inside of Me)
Come and Follow
Friends Are Falling
Fire! Fire! (Death of a Giant)
BLACK SPACE RIDERS are:
JE: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Piano, Electronics
SEB: Lead vocals, Keyboards, Electronics
C.RIP: Drums, Percussion, Didgeridoo
SAQ: Bass Guitar
MEI: Bass Guitar
Tracklist: God of the Sun (11:12)
Coming Home (4:23)
Signs of the Time (6:43)
Lost in Oblivion (4:28)
Figaro’s Whore (1:04)
Divine Addiction (4:42)
Opus Maximus (10:39)
American Rock Supergroup featuring:
Mike Portnoy – Drums
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – Guitar
Billy Sheehan – Bass
Jeff Scott Soto – Vocal
Former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy is a man with many hats. Granted, most of those hats are as a drummer, he has many hats nonetheless. His latest project, yet another Progressive Metal Supergroup called the Sons of Apollo, may actually be his strongest. Sons of Apollo, comprised of Portnoy, fellow Ex-Dream Theater bandmate Derek Sherinian on Keyboards, former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Mr. Big Bassist Billy Sheehan, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra vocalist Jeff Scott Soto.
Psychotic Symphony is essentially exactly what you would expect from a Portnoy excursion – it’s essentially a Dream Theater album with a harder edge. That’s not a bad thing, however. As long as you like this very distinct and often-imitated sound, you will be very pleased with this album. Solos galore, plenty of irregular time signatures, and top-notch musicianship abound.
As a slightly lesser-known name in the music business, one would expect Jeff Scott Soto to be something of a weak link in the band, but that is simply not true. Soto has a very muscular baritone that does the music plenty of justice and he is a welcome addition to the band. During the Sons of Apollo’s formative year, they sampled quite a few vocalists, such as Strapping Young Lad Virtuoso Devin Townsend and King’s X wailer Doug Pinnick, and Soto just happened to be the one to stick around.
The Production on this album is notable, being performed by band members Portnoy and Sherinian. The mix is very, very bassy, with a lot of priority being given to lower tones over higher ones. The bass is very audible and few keyboard lines go to very high pitches. Even the guitar is tuned as a baritone guitar, all the way down to B Standard tuning for any guitar players reading this. This grants the entire album significant edge and weight, allowing for a heavy groove in nearly every song. However, such a priority on lower sounds can occasionally result in the songs sounding muddled, especially in faster songs like the blistering “Lost in Oblivion”.
As usual with Progressive Metal, the longer tracks are easily the highlight — in this case, “God of the Sun” and the Instrumental “Opus Maximus”, but this whole album is a recommended listen for any and all fans of Progressive Metal. If musical self-indulgence and sheer showcases of talent is a turnoff for you, then this probably earns a skip, but if those things instead pique your interest, then you’ve probably already bought this album. Otherwise, go pick up Sons of Apollo’s “Psychotic Symphony”.
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.
Hey everyone this is Terry the Ancient One and I got some more kickin’ Doomaphonica for your Rocktober by Clouds Taste Satanic. Formed in 2013, Brooklyn’s instrumental Doom Quartet is made up of bassist Sean Bay, drummer Christy Davis, guitarist Steven Scavuzzo, and guitarist David Weintraub. While pretty close mouthed about themselves on their Facebook Page and just as mysterious in Encyclopedia Metallum, They have managed to amass a small army of followers which I think is due to the fact Clouds Taste Satanic is promoted mainly by their loyal and deeply devoted fans through word of mouth and social media outlets.
While “DOOMED & STONED” has been quoted as saying “one of the most remarkable and tragically unknown metal bands of our time continues to reach new creative heights.” in their review of latest album by Clouds Taste Satanic. I must say I disagree on the part about them being tragically unknown. If they are then tell me why I am seeing them all over Facebook’s various metal and doom pages and communities and in the big underground Webazines: Decibel Magazine , CVLT Nation, DOOMED & STONED, Outlaws of the Sun, The Sludgelord , Metal Bandcamp, Sleeping Shaman and these are just the big ones. DOOMED & STONED, as cool as I think you are I think you’ve smoked a bit much.
Now that I have probably pissed off the Rolling Stone of doom music I will tell you a little about Clouds Taste Satanic latest musical offering “The Glitter of Infinite Hell.” Scheduled to be released October 31st, 2017, this 4 song, 74 minute demonic masterpiece of doom backs one hell of a punch. It’s songs fell like an opium dream turned into nightmare. Quite possibly inspired by Old Scratch himself “The Glitter of Infinite Hell” seems to tell the story of Lucifer’s rebellion and fall with the songs Greed, Treachery, Violence, and Wrath.
Opening Track off “The Glitter of Infinite Hell”
The songs feel like an opium dream turned into nightmare. What’s really cool about this album is the songs sound like the titles they are given. Through a brilliant combination of Doom, Sludge, Psychedelic Rock and Stoner riffs; “The Glitter of Infinite Hell’s” tracks manage to convey the meaning of the songs titles. For instance, the opening track ‘Greed’ sounds like a hulking beast lumbering across the land it laid waste filling its maw in a vain attempt to satiate its endless hunger. I could continue about every track but I think you are going to have to listen for yourselves to fully understand. You now have your soundtrack for Halloween this Year compliments of CTS!!
Break out your headphones for this one boys and ghouls Clouds Taste Satanic has some amazing ear candy ready for you. In “The Glitter of Infinite Hell.” If you can’t afford this one, beg your mom, dad, wife, husband or don’t buy that $6.00 Cup of Coffee for One Day… and spend the $5.00 to get the digital download, or $7.00 for the CD. If that doesn’t work, sell blood, volunteer for an experiment, sell sperm/eggs or you could try to sell your soul to Satan. In the mean time here are some of their past videos and a Bandcamp link to the new album.
Lineup: Bill Wyant – Guitar, Vocals
Jed Guthrie – Bass
Dennis Flynn – Drums
Perversions of the Anti-Ego 03:59
On Pilot Wave 05:07
Nothing Is, But What is Not? 10:27
The Anatomy of Thera Macula 11:04
Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder 06:31
Neon Spiral Hydra 10:57
Glory Whole 05:46
Review: Bat Chain Puller are fuzzy Stoner Rock group from Bloomington, Illinois. I use the adjective fuzzy because; as they explain it themselves, [We are] “Specializing in fine handcrafted metal that is fuzzy […] even before you bake…” (From their Facebook page). Their name is likely in reference to the album(s) by Captain Beefheart. The band have two previous releases; the first being a studio album from 2012, “One Million Tomorrows” and the second being a single (that is the first track off of this album with an altered time from 2016,) “Perversions of the Anti-Ego”
I could not find any direct pictures that the cover is made of. I am guessing that it takes place in either World War II or after some nuclear fallout. I say WWII because of the gas mask the model is wearing and because the background looks European. (Which leads into…)
Track 1. “Perversions of the Anti-Ego” – This is the single that was released a year before the album came out. It is Black Label Society-ish sounding; slow, it keeps the same tempo for most of the song until the last few seconds where they pick it up barely and once they hit the last note it fades out.
Track 2. “On Pilot Wave” (Favorite track) – I will elaborate more below but I feel that this should have been the single they chose from the album. It is Bush-ish sounding; abstract sounding lyrics, changing tempos, pseudo-Grunge aggression and a good rhythm.
Track 3. “Ostrich” – This is the song where you hear the bass guitar the most and it is what makes me enjoy it. This track is more of a Black Sabbath/Bush hybrid; strange lyrics, the bass keeps the track moving (along with the drums of course)
Track 4. “Nothing Is, But What is Not?”/Track 5. “The Anatomy of Thera Macula”(Best tracks) – These tracks go back and forth between all of their influences. There are brief points of Metal throughout both with points of Progressive Rock and Stoner Rock. Thera Macula most likely refers to one of the dark spots on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Which just happens to relate back to the cover, because; “Thera Macula is a region of likely active chaos” and that is what the cover and even points of these songs include.
Track 6. “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” (Heaviest song) – This is a close second favorite song. It goes between Bush style lyrics and modern (1990’s-2000’s) radio metal music. The repeating riff and how the guitar is the fade out at the end.
Track 7. “Neon Spiral Hydra” – This is a close relative of tracks 4 and 5 but different enough to where it doesn’t fit into the one song scheme. The song is very close to newer Alice in Chains.
Track 8. “Glory Whole” – Very Alice in Chains with hints of Layne Staley vocals. The way the vocals are layered is reminiscent of how AIC do theirs.
Bill Wyant’s vocals remind me of a strange mix between Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne) and Gavin Rossdale (Bush). The music itself is a strange mix of newer Black Sabbath, the William DuVall lead Alice in Chains, Black Label Society and Bush and often the music styles come together and move apart song to song.
The drumming is the highlight of the album to me. Strangely enough; this album reminds me of Bless the Martyr Kiss the Child by Norma Jean, but a softer Rock version. Even though I feel the album has more of a Metal feel than a Rock feel. Tracks 4 and 5 serve best as one track. In these two the band creates a world that showcases their influences and shows the talent that they have as composers. Other than the 10 minute plus tracks this is a good biker album. Tracks 4, 5, 6, and 8 are the highlights.
If there is anything to complain about it is that it’s not heavy enough! At some points when they are building the soundscapes, I kept expecting some rapid fire drums or a speedy guitar solo, they teased it a little bit. Also “On a Pilot Wave” should have been the single, even if it would have to be shortened for radio play. (But these are personal gripes, not a musical one.)
Overall, Bat Chain Puller puts on a stellar performance with “The Anatomy of Thera Macula.” Definitely get a copy of it! Take a listen here and buy the DD or CD
Nuclear Blast – Release Date: September 29th, 2017
Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky
Germany’s premiere retro-metal rockers Kadavar have long been a favorite of mine, since their first album dropped. Their take on the heavy 70’s sound was surprisingly refreshing and convincing for a genre so hell bent on mimicking the past masters, and they had a killer fashion sense to boot. Seriously, these guys dress to impress, and they’ve got some righteous hair and beard styles to match the bombast. In a field that was rapidly becoming over-saturated, this three piece stood out as something special, and their second album still stands as a solid test to their legitimacy, not by treading any new ground, but rather by solidifying and consolidating their alchemist formula: one part Black Sabbath, one part Pentagram, and a heavy handed helping of Sir Lord Baltimore.
It was Kadavar’s third album, Berlin, where we saw some real growth in the band. Not only did they polish up, modernize and thicken the production a bit, they also wrote some songs that were more hook oriented and less blues based, while others took a slightly heavier approach. It’s that heavy approach that’s carried over and is thrust up front on their latest record, Rough Times, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer….
The first three songs are really in your face, with a huge, throbbing bass tone and gnarly guitars cranking out more modern riffs. The title track leads off this album, and it starts with a bombast of hyper saturated guitars smashing through a chain of punctuated and syncopated power chords overlaid by a subtle, subdued lead. This sounds like nothing that Kadavar have ever done before, and if I hadn’t known who this was, I would have probably never guessed, even though the vocals aren’t too different from their past releases. They’ve still got that signature, shrill Ozzy-esque sneer, and “Lupus” still got a really great range. A little past halfway through the song, there’s a groovy breakdown riff that straight up sounds like something that Rage Against The Machine might have played in their heyday.
The second track, “In The Wormhole” continues this approach with a more plodding but equally heavy guitar part that’s more typical of modern doom. There’s also some cool organ on this one during the vocal parts, along with a low and fuzzy guitar solo that adds some dimension. “Skeletal Blues” opens up with another big groovy riff that once again reminds me of RATM….maybe it’s the accentuated bass? Anyways, the verse and chorus are a bit bluesier; perhaps it’s the strange production choice that gives these songs their more modern edge.
It’s not until the fourth song that there’s a shift in vibe and production towards what has come before. With “Die Baby Die”, that we hear anything remotely “retro” or resembling the first two albums, and even then, it’s a more busy, complicated take on that early sound. The ultra-catchy “Vampires” opens with a 60’s inspired psych sound; fuzzy chords ring out, followed by a jovial, simple bassline and some bare bones atmospheric keyboards alongside the vocals. The distortion kicks in for the second half of the verse and remains through the chorus, though it’s still one of the album’s catchier number. “Tribulation Nation” showcases both the more psychedelic side of the band that reared its head on the first two albums and the more hook oriented songwriting from Berlin, and it’s an early album favorite for me. It straight up sounds like a Hawkwind song, complete with the driving Lemmy-esque bassline, and that’s A-okay by me.
The next track “Words Of Evil” sounds a bit like Sin After Sin era Judas Priest with its palm muted power chords punctuated by bluesy runs and progressive flourishes. “The Lost Child” is a more subdued song, with a sinister vibe that creeps into Doors territory with its “riders on the storm” ready keyboard parts and lush guitars, though they do rev up the old distortion pedals for the chorus. Fans of the softer, more acid-damaged Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats tunes will eat this up. True to the album’s form, Kadavar changes gears again for the next song, “You Found The Best In Me”, a laid back, though upbeat, major key Southern rock ballad with some truly soaring vocals. They end the album with the odd “L’Ombre Du Temps”, a more ambient affair with airy whispers of French poetry spoken over the music. It’s interesting to note the contrast, how the last three songs decrease in both volume and distortion, and what a drastic difference this is from those first three songs. In a strange way, it does offer at least some semblance of symmetry and balance to the album.
I don’t often do the whole track by track analysis in my reviews, as I feel like a lot of other reviewers already do that, and they do it much better than me. This time around, it feels like the obvious and intuitive way to approach Rough Times, as it’s both a diverse and an uneven record. There’s just not any other way for me to write about it that would make any sense. There’s no overarching theme or trend in the album other than its variety. I’m not sure if this album was recorded in different studios, though the drastic shifts in productions style certainly point that way. I’ll tell it straight – I don’t really care for the first three songs, and I’m not exactly sure what they were going for. I can appreciate that they tried to go there, did something different, and for me….it just doesn’t work. It’s too jarring, too clunky a shift. Are they trying to veer into the more extreme stylings of modern stoner doom bands like Electric Wizard?
I’m not sure. I’m not entirely against them going for a heavier approach – they managed to do so, much more convincingly in my eyes, on Berlin. “Last Living Dinosaur” was a good, solid heavy track that didn’t sound forced. It sounded organic, natural, authentic, and these are all key ingredients of the sonic cocktail that’s made Kadavar so successful up to this point in time. Those first three tracks just don’t sound like a natural progression to me at all, it sounds phony, and the shift after these tunes towards their more natural inclinations only drives this point home.
photo: Clemens Mitscher
Once the tone does shift, I rather enjoy the rest of the record, and I’m well aware that there will be those who enjoy and embrace the added heft of those first three songs. Hell, I’m aware that there are also people out there who actually enjoy listening to Rage Against The Machine, as odd as that idea might be to me personally. There are probably folks who aren’t going to like some of the other tracks very much, preferences always vary from person to person. I still stand by my point that bands should experiment and vary their sound, they should take risks and try new things, regardless if these new directions align with mine or anyone else’s tastes and preferences.
With that in mind, I’d highly recommend checking out this album, as it does try out a lot of different things – it seems to me that there’s at least something for everyone to like. It feels a bit like a transitional record, where Kadavar are branching out and seeing what works, and I for one am hoping that it leads to greater things down the pipeline. I’d love to see them trim the fat on the next release and really up the bar in terms of their consistency. All in all, the uneven nature of this record isn’t enough to tip the scales and dethrone Kadavar as my personal leaders of the proto-metal pack.
Lineup: DANIEL WIELAND – Bass & Vocals
FELIX SCHMIDT – Guitars & Effects
MARTIN WIELAND – Drums & Percussion
1/A1 Deli Bal 8:32
2/A2 Amida 12:48
3/B1 Quarantania 7:51
4/B2 Harmonia 17:15
5/CD/Digital BONUS Trimenon 09:41
ELARA or, as it is stylized on the record, [Elara Sunstreak Band] are a modern “power trio” from Germany. This is how the band describes themselves; [the band] “is the psychedelic journey of three friends for whom music isn’t a quick commodity but the expression of a positive attitude of life. Here, pressure encounters hypnotic sounds and lyrical depth.” Which is from their Bandcamp and the psyka-records.com shop.
The album art is very reminiscent of a bunch of band posters and album art from the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Track 1/A1: ‘Deli Bal’
A quick Google search will give you a translation of the album’s Turkish title; “Mad Honey,” which is a hallucinogenic type of honey found in the rhododendron flower. (Which is shown on the cover)
The title track is the heaviest out of the bunch and the structure shows you how the rest of the album will be. It starts off with a sample (after the buzzing from the amps) we get the slow beginning of our journey through our music induced trip. The music slowly builds until 2:18 then the drums bring us into one of the heaviest parts of the album. We get a few shredding’s of the guitar interspersed with words until we get to around 7:50; wind is introduced and the music begins to slow down again the guitar drones out and we move into…
Track 2/A2 ‘Amida’
This track is a back and forth track, it starts off slow, then speeds up, then slows, then speeds up. It is slow in doing it so it is not jarring when it does but it is a constant tug and pull of speed and tempo. This track is also where the organ comes in, really giving me a feeling of the Acid Mothers Temple Collective. As this song is wrapping up, it does the same as the last track (But with the organ this time.) Amida is also in Turkey (it is called Diyarbakır now) I think this is where the face on the cover comes from. It is very similar to the Amitābha sculptures. Amidah is a Jewish Prayer.
Track 3/B1 ‘Quarantania’
This song’s structure is close to the first, with less shredding, and ends with an effect that sounds like a tape being slowed. Quarantania is also called The Mount of Temptation (it said that is where Jesus was tempted by the Devil.) I think that this is what the mountains and rocks are on the album cover.
Track 4/B2 ‘Harmonia’ (My favorite track)
This song is steadier in its tempo and speed and uses the influence of psychedelic rock. The ending sounds like it could loop around and be the beginning of the first track. There isn’t much that I could find that relates to this track on the internet or the album cover.
Track 5 ‘Trimenon’ (Bonus Track)
Musically it is like Harmonia but in a condensed time. The guitar reminds me of some Middle Eastern music. A direct translation from German is Trimester. In Greek it can either mean 1) of three months or 2) a space of three months.
ELARA are toeing the line of being Metal on the shorter songs and more Progressive and Psychedelic on the longer tracks. The album gives me a very 90’s feel but as of writing this I cannot name the reason. The music itself is very similar to Sludge metal with a focus on more of a Classic/Progressive Rock feel (‘Harmonia’ showcasing that). In the heavier songs the music is very Tool-like. That focus on Rock during the slower passages is what (in my opinion) keeps the album from being metal. At points the music reminds me of some of the music from Acid Mothers Temple Collective. Vocally Daniel Wieland reminds me a lot of Scott Kelly (from Neurosis) or the guys from Mastodon. Yes, the music sounds stoner-y but it is more progressive as they even give a nod of their collective cap to Pink Floyd.
My only complaint about this album is the lack of a lyric sheet or lyrics available on the internet. If you are a novice and just starting in the field of progressive music this should not be your first stop but wouldn’t be a terrible choice for a fourth or fifth experience as their music lends itself to a more sophisticated ear. If you consider yourself an Audio Aficionado – “Deli Bal” is a MUST BUY!!!!
Take a listen here and buy a copy; CD and/or VINYL
Line-Up: Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals Roger Marks – Bass and Vocals Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals
Drew Harakal – ‘Guest’ Organ/Synths
Additional vocals on ‘Mothership’ provided by Kim Auch and Kevin Dempsey
“Howling Giant-s/t” EP (January 2015)
It didn’t make sense to review these as separate releases as you have to hear the opus in it’s ENTIRETY to get the full impact of the complete tale of the “Black Hole Space Wizard” and seeing as ‘Part 2’ has just been unleashed, following ‘Part 1’ that was launched August 16th, 2016.
After hearing Howling Giant’s first EP, I was floored and hoped for more that would be as heavy, if not even MORE so as the last notes of ‘Camel Crusher’ had hinted at. As I am before you, this pair of releases deliver even more than previously hoped for, heaped in macro-bass, slamming riffs, splitting cymbals and strong, clear vocals that will guide you throughout this journey, into the deepest outreach of the infinite cosmos of “Part 1” and back into the forgotten realms of the Earth Goddess of “Part 2”. We are advised by Howling Giant that “For greater riff-sensation, listen to these songs at maximum volume.” Smoke ’em if ya got ’em, crank it up and hit ‘play’…
‘Mothership’ opens with a strong riff amid cymbal washed before the full body hits 20 seconds in and already the power is palpable before we hear “She’s our Mother…” and we are truly off and running as we hear that “The life we’ve built has come undone” and are beckoned to open up our mind… this is not the end. Loopy and soaring to the last staggered, fading note that leads directly into ‘Exodus:Earth’ with it’s slower tempo intro as “We rise into the black skies…” in this tale of traversing the atmosphere and beyond. Breathe deep and hold it in as riding the crescendo of true stoner/doom/sludge filled measures of headrush inducing guitar outbursts that take you even further into the expanses before your mind’s eye, even as the ghost of War Of The Worlds echoes in your mind, soaring further and further into the blackness and the when the needle sharp frenetic notes of ‘Dirtmouth’ hit, it is the perfect wake-up from. Hyper-speed and crushing in weight is the only way to describe this four-minute plus outburst, complete with time-shifts galore to make even the strongest necks snap along in tempo, and when you hear the scream that “The Wizard Lives!!”, you know it’s true, and then, sudden dead stop.
The silence seemed immense until the sound of a screaming wind fades in as if to mirror the return of consciousness as whispered breathing gives way to a footstep close as the power chords permeate the air as ‘clouds Of Smoke’ rumbles in, “Stranded here in this ocean of sin…” and the desolation seems to loom beyond the horizon before you, languishing in the fact that you would “Rather be anywhere but here…” as the solo rips your heart from your chest before your eyes, even as “Up in clouds of smoke, let it go, just let it go…” and as you take all of this in, even as the notes climb beyond sight as the keys fade slow as your eyes close once more.
‘Henry Tate’ comes on full gallop, complete with the spoken meanderings of Kublai Khan wafting in and out through the plethora of musical might being flexed here as the mix is even MORE lush and thick through what is an insane instrumental stroll. ‘The Pioneer’ opens with the plush bass line suiting a tome of this strength, as “My mind begins to melt, my soul strives to break free…” and another soft fade out greets you. ‘Visions’ opens, slow and blues-filled in tone and progression, and when the opening solo progression rises up, it is as haunting as ever as the body of the song gels over “Besides the embers of my fire…” and we are cast into another dream of “whipping winds that fortel a storm” that can be smelled in the air.
The acoustic track ‘The Forest Speaks’, is a soothing composition complete with soft horn sounds that permeate the air in a ‘softness’ not present before this is the ultimate precursor into ‘Circle Of Druids’ where we are told we have gone too far before the power chords hit again, giving even more of the lush heaviness I have come to expect over the course of these songs that have lead me here knowing “You must ascend…” and rise indeed on the hooks and time shifts.
‘Earth Wizard’ is the absolute culmination of all points traversed up to this moment and serves as the bookend to tie it all together and does it incredibly well. Over seven minutes long, Polzine, Marks, Wheeler and ‘guest’ Harakal put 200% into this song, as they have seemingly done with every other song included in this opus and does not disappoint in any manner.
Switching studios between Part I and Part II helped Howling Giant bring the process closer to home for these guys but the continuity between is flawless and if I have to say this record has done one thing for sure… left me wanting, no, scratch that, NEEDING more!! Grab these two, listen to them as a single release and climb aboard for a journey you have not experienced before. Share it with every mind you encounter and support them live if you get the opportunity… keep it LOUD!!
I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the Akron, Ohio band Mockingbird. I’m fairly familiar with them, as I was privileged enough to be able to share the stage with them on multiple occasions. Their sound was a progressive and melodic take on sludge/doom metal, in the vein of early Mastodon and Baroness, yet there was something so PURE about them. They were completely removed from any of the mainstream trappings that the aforementioned bands eventually came to embrace.
I don’t typically like to define artists in terms of their former bands or other projects. All the same, it’s hard to talk about High On Fire or Om if we don’t also talk about Sleep, isn’t it?? Drummer Chad Beverlin from Enhailer also plays with the criminally underrated Mockingbird, and there are enough similarities in their sound that it’s worth bringing them into the conversation.
Enhailer have a slightly goofy name, which is both endearing and problematic for me personally. I like the name, though I know how using puny names can sometimes come with a stigma or turn people off unnecessarily. Yes, I play in a band called Palace In Thunderland. People tend to either love it or hate it. It’s goofy, and funny, and fun….we hope. That’s really up to you, not us. It’s also meant to be a bit artsy, and that’s the same vibe I get from Enhailer. They’re instrumental, so we know that they’re artsy. However, this is not the more stripped down minimalism incorporated by fellow instrumentalists Karma To Burn, nor is it the hip neo-melodicism of Pelican. This is something far darker and dirtier, like if we truly pushed Mogwai into the depths of despair that they’ve always mildly flirted with.
There’s nothing demure about Enhailer. They encompass everything that I love about the American Midwest. If you’ve never been, I’d highly suggest that you spend some time there.
While Mockingbird tended to write more songs with a more traditional vocal-driven structure, the lack of vocals allows Enhailer to work more with a classical, theme and variation motif. The six songs tend to build, evolve, and intensify organically, which is what prompts me to compare them to Mogwai. The major difference is in the atmosphere itself, which is bleak, heavy and haunting, due largely in part to the guest keyboards, which loom and pulse in the background. Technically Enhailer are a trio, though it’s hard to talk about this album without bringing in the keyboards, as they truly add a nice touch. It’s also worth noting that their seem to be some form of growls in the background of a couple songs, though I think this is just for effect, and to add to the atmosphere. I don’t think there are any discernible lyrics.
I really dig the production, which manages to sound both full and never excessive. The songs themselves usually lurk at a comfortable, mid-paced tempo, and combine quieter, more introspective sections with full on dirgy doom riffs. It’s a nice blend with a unique take that firmly separates them from the rest of the post-metal pack. I get the feeling that this is really just a sampling of what Enhailer have to offer. These six songs clock in at just over 30 minutes. I’m thinking that they’ve got a lot more to say, in their typical manner of not speaking or singing a single word.
Greeting tasters this is Terry the Ancient One. For the last few days now I have been listening to Arcadea the new “S/T” debut album by the super trio made up of drummer // vocalist Brann Dailor (Mastodon), Keyboardist Core Atoms of (Zruda & Gaylord) and Keyboardist // Guitarist Raheem Amlani (Withered & Scarab). Having not even learned of Brann Dailor’s new band until recently, I had no clue what I was going to be listening to. The Result is a visionary, 10 song synth odyssey that was recorded at Orange Peel Studios in Atlanta, GA. The self-titled debut record will see its release via Relapse Records this June.
With song titles like ‘Army of Electrons’, and ‘Through The Eye of Pisces’ I figured this would be Space Rock or some kind of Heavy Psych. But what I heard took me completely by surprise when I realized this was not just Space Rock or Heavy Psych.
A concept album Arcadea has said envisions a future 5 billion years from now, where the impending collision of galaxies creates a new order of planets. Where cold, distant moons pledge alliance to new suns and expanding gas giants implode into black holes. Ancient drones, forever adrift, record toxic tales of love between dying stars. Where lifeforms in suspended animation, dream among the ice rings of Saturn and cosmic war wages among gods and planets. It is in this universe that Arcadea reign supreme as the last surviving space wizards since the final extinction.
While some power trio purists may be butt hurt there are no fuzzy guitars or ponderously slow and sludge laden bass lines. Rather, those who love progressive, heavy psychedelic rock, space rock, and electronica will love this album. Unlike some electronic driven rock music Arcadea does not sound plinky plonky or overly light and airy. Like The AlanParsons Project of aulde, Brann, Core, Raheem prodigiously weave a tapestry of sound . Listeners will feel like they are taking a ride through space and time through a tapestry of psychedelic soundscapes. To get the best effect I would recommend using a pair of headphones unless you have a kick ass stereo.