Nap “Villa” Album Review + Stream…

In Case You Missed It Series – Episode 7

Nap

Villa – CD // DD // Vinyl

Released July 28, 2016 and re-released February 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

Lineup:
Ruphus,
Hemme,
Pi

Other Releases:
August 28, 2017 – Nap Split E.P. with Black Lung Nap vs. Black Lung Split

Tracklist:
A1/1     Donnerwetter  05:12
A2/2     Sabacia            07:58
A3/3     Duna                05:49
A4/4     Larva               03:41
B1/5     Xurf                 04:48
B2/6     Shitzo             05:25
B3/7     Ungeheuer    05:05
B4/8     Autobahn      05:06

Review:

NAP are a Stoner/Progressive Rock band from Oldenburg, Germany. Here is how they describe themselves; “Nap plays as a classical 3-piece rock-formation, mostly instrumental with rather rare vocal parts. Psychedelic sounds, up-tempo beats, grooving Doom and Stoner-riffage plus some Noise and Surf influences with strong tendencies reminiscing the sound of the Hippie-Era and the origin of Metal. A combined musical paradox, of highs and lows, all to end into an excessive nightmare.”

Album Art:
Depending on which version of the album you get you either get a melt-y dreamscape (in black and white) or a cloudy sky at sunset.

Track-by-track Breakdown:

A1/1     Donnerwetter
Translates into Thunderstorm. This track goes in between a somewhat clean solo and a fuzzy riff. It is almost book-ended by drum fills. At some points it almost gives me the feeling that the end of “Side A” (Black Bombaim – Saturdays Space Travels) gives off.

A2/2     Sabacia          

It starts off very 1970’s Black Sabbath sounding but becomes less so as the song continues, until it gets to about six minutes into it then we get our first glimpse at vocals on this album. (Almost sounding The Atomic Bitchwax-y)

A3/3     Duna 
Duna is a preview is what is to come in Xurf. Here we have, for the most part, Clean guitar tones and an almost repetitive beat. Duna might be in reference to Duna Jam which is a “a mix between a picnic and a pilgrimage” in Italy that has been going since 2006.

A4/4     Larva   (favorite track)
This track is clearly a jam and it’s fuzzy guitar and strained vocals (once again at the end of the track) keep the track interesting. It is definitely an almost Karma to Burn like in its structure and amount of guitar.

 

Pro Band Pic

 

B1/5     Xurf
Is what the title of the song suggests, It is a Surfer Rock style song. (But with distortion) A reference would be Dick Dale. This would not be out of place basting on the beaches of California in the sixties.

B2/6     Shitzo 
Starts off slow, like a Sleep song but gains speed toward 3:54 and gains its speed again. It is almost a Sludge Metal song; if it wasn’t for the speed it gains toward the end. I could not find a translation for this word but it could be a clean mononym for for shit-show because it sounds like a mash-up of all of the references in the rest of the album.

B3/7     Ungeheuer      (Should be a single)
Translation: Monster. And, oh, is it one. The music stays loud throughout the whole track. This is the last track that has vocals, and it also has the most. “Shallow phrases come out of their mouths, With their shallow hearts they try to occupy your mind, Confusion spreads like the flu, Some day they may come over you, It all ends up in the eternal void anywhere you go.”

 

 

B4/8     Autobahn
Translation: Highway. This song stays constant and almost repetitive structure (like a highway) and in the end (4:15) it begins to differ from the beginning of the song. It is almost like a crash starting to happen, it slows, it gets faster and faster until it becomes an almost screech and then it ends.

—————————————————–

In Conclusion:

Nap are reminiscent of another Stoner band, Sleep, but faster, which is ironically what a nap is compared to sleep. The music, as well as being them jamming, it is like a journey. A journey like the ones most stoner albums give are best experienced on vinyl (Which sadly are sold out (unless you look at Discogs) or you can buy a CD directly from the band’s Bandcamp Page (link below or above).

The vocals remind me of Brocas Helm or The Atomic Bitchwax (Except they are used less in Nap’s songs). The instrumentals are similar to Black Sabbath in the 1970’s, especially during the “Vol. 4” & “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” years. The music is also very close to the jamming in some of Karma to Burn’s music. The songs that do have a little bit of organ have almost a Cheap Wine feel; the organ is just barely there but it is present. When the music gets faster and more distorted there is a clear relation to Black Bombaim.

You will not be disappointed with this album if you enjoy a good Stoner jam band (or a if you are a fan of Black Sabbath).

Stream the album HERE and buy the CD or DD

Additional Links:
https://napofficial.bandcamp.com/album/villa

https://www.discogs.com/Nap-Villa/release/9888070

https://www.discogs.com/Nap-Villa/release/9893932

https://www.facebook.com/pg/napband/about/?ref=page_internal

https://napofficial.bandcamp.com/album/nap-vs-black-lung-split-12-white-vinyl-strictly-limited

http://dunajam.net/


Kadavar “Rough Times” Album Review + Music Videos + Tour Schedule…

Kadavar 

Rough Times – Vinyl // CD // DD

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.

Record Release Party

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 MitscherLive Shot_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.

Tour Schedule


Blues Funeral “Awakening” Album Review + Video…

 

Blues Funeral

Awakening – CD // DD

Self Released – August 25th, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Line-up:
Jan Kimmel (El Janni) – Guitar, Nord, Vocals
Maurice Eggenschwiler – Guitar, Vocals
Cory Cousins – Drums
Gabriel Katz – Bass

Right now I’m sitting here at my laptop struggling put words together to describe what I just heard, and come right to the point rather than lose you in the lines of a long rambling review. Doing so will be difficult but I must try. Not too long ago I got a promo release of the new album “Awakening” by Blues Funeral, the band’s sophomore album.

Live Band Montage

 

As one who feels music rather than just hears it, playing what’s described by Blues Funeral as music influenced by “Early rock, proto-metal, jazz, classical, and things that make your skin crawl”  this is definitely the kind of music that speaks to me. What impressed me most about “Awakening” was the whole package. The harmonious vocals, the lofty guitar leads with earthy rhythms and the drums that gives the music a heart. This music took me back to listening to the late nights listening rebroadcasts of “The King Biscuit Flower Hour” on the local Classic Rock station were I was schooled on rock as a teen.

“Awakening” is what I would call a new AOR (Album Oriented Record) classic.  If you dig bands like “Deep Purple”, “Cream”, Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers then you are sure to dig this. The flow of the album renders you to listen to it in its entirety to let the sonic glory shower down and permeate into your being. These are the songs that stood out most for me:

‘Awakening,’ the albums title track sounds like kickass hybrid of a 60’s proto metal and classic 80’s metal song and establishes the band’s sound for the listener. Taking the lead guitarist and vocalist Maurice Eggenschwiler opens playing a soaring guitar lead in and is then followed by a soulful organ lead by electric organist, guitarist, and vocalist Jan Kimmel (El Janni). Throughout the song El Janni and Eggenschwiler play both competing and complimentary sounds that kept me waiting to hear what was next.

Track 4 ‘Firedrake’ blew me away. Featuring the vocals of Ms. Kelly Cousins with Lyrics by: Jan Kimmel.   This song is inspired by “Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road” and speaks of hopes and aspirations in a post apocalyptic world. Full of organ, bluesy guitar riffs and leads;  Eggenschwiler,  El Janni, and Ms. Cousins are simply amazing.  Refusing to let up Track 5 “Casimir” grabs the listener with lofty guitar and vocal leads, melodies, harmonies and rhythms.  While Eggenschwiler and El Janni are as amazing in The closing track ‘The Gathering Dust’ drummer Cory Cousins, and bassist Gabriel Katz shine through.  The riffs are sublime and hard hitting.  A perfect way to finish this release in proper form…EXCEPTIONAL!!

Blues Funeral will be playing a CD release show on August 25th at White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas alongside DoomstressFiddle Witch and the Demons of Doom.