Arcadian Child “Afterglow” Album Review + Stream…

Arcadian Child

Afterglow – CD // DD

Self-Released – October 29, 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

 

Lineup:
Vocals, Guitar – Panayiotis Georgiou
Backing Vocals – Mikaela Tsangari
Bass, Backing Vocals – Andreas Kerveros
Drums, Percussion – Christos Dimou
Lead Guitar – Stathis Hadjicharalambous

Tracklist:
She’s On My Mind 02:56
Little Late For Love 04:16
Rabbit Hole 03:54
Electric Red 02:51
Irresistible 03:15
Run 04:54
Afterglow 03:39
Used 03:47

 

 

Review:

Arcadian Child are a rock band from Limassol, Cyprus, Greece and this album is the debut release by the band.

This album is a great blend of Classic Rock influences, Modern Rock, and little sprinkles of psychedelia. Musically they remind me of Wolfmother and those other “modern classic” rock bands like The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, (1990s) Divinyls and many others that continued writing and performing music as if it were still the late 70s.

That “modern classic” style started in the early 90s and continued into the new millennium. (With some bands still carrying the torch, like Arcadian Child. Even the track-listing is set up for a vinyl release (if the right people get a hold of the rights. Which they totally should…)

Band Pic

Track-by-Track:

She’s On My Mind 02:56 – This is a great track to start the album with, and in my case, it is a track that will stick in your head for days afterwards. If it weren’t for the effects used on the tracks this track could be from the 70s. The music video is a trip as well.

Little Late For Love 04:16 – This track works great as a cool down from the first high energy track. It is more chill but it still is an experience though, there are spots were they compress and pan the music during instrumental parts. This track also has more of a groove than the first.

Rabbit Hole 03:54 (Favorite track) – Here they bring their psychedelic influences in a little more. They take their time to set up the world of the song with slow strumming of the guitar and after a few seconds they introduce the drums and vocals. The lyrics are especially in that vein; “How deep can you go? Can you trick your mind? Are you deep in the zone? Can you deceive your soul? Would you walk bare footed at the edge of the unknown?”

Electric Red 02:51 – In this song we go back to a harder rocking track, reminding me a little of King Crimson’s Red. I feel like this track is miss titled and should have been called Don’t Ask Me Why.

Irresistible 03:15 – This is a much darker track, lyrically, than the first four. With lyrics like; “Down the broken road, You will find us all, Don’t caress their hopes, Love our absent soul” and “Solemnly abide, To all that make you smile, All things in between, Burn in melting ice” Musically it is similar to Rabbit Hole.

Run 04:54 – This song has a very 90s alternative feel and I cannot quite place why. It might be the simple repeated riffs or the affects used of the vocals as flange-y sounding guitars.

Afterglow 03:39 – Back to a hard rocker but still holding on to that 90’s feel. Maybe because of how the lyrics are set up; “You make me feel like the only man alive, Loved and caressed by your controlling lies, Addicted and free, I’m certainly involved, You make me feel like an empty broken soul”

Used 03:47 – We are left on a slow burn of a song that rounds out the album well. It sounds like they mix together a good chunk of the aforementioned influences. There is Rock, psychedelic, modern rock and a good solo.

Live Band Pic

Final Thoughts:
For some reason it sounds like there are tracks missing or maybe it is just that I want more… I’ll be keeping my eye on this band. Hopefully they continue this trend on their next release.  If you are in the mood for some modern rock with that classic and psychedelic feel you should definitely pick this album up!

Stream and download from HERE

Links:
https://arcadianchildband.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.discogs.com/Arcadian-Child-Afterglow/release/11445794


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!!

Promo Image


Fire Down Below “Viper, Vixen, Goddess, Saint” Re-Issue Album Review & Stream…

FIRE DOWN BELOW 

Viper, Vixen, Goddess, Saint – Vinyl // CD // DD

Ripple Music – Release Date:  June 23rd, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Location – Ghent, Belgium

Band Members – Sam Nuytens drums // Jeroen Van Troyenrhythm guitar and vocals // Kevin Gernaey – lead guitar // Bert Wynsberghe – bass guitar

When asked to describe themselves, FIRE DOWN BELOW says, quote “We are amp-hugging, hard-hitting, fuzz-loving, ear-splitting, riff-worshiping rock ‘n rollers.” En-quote.  And they aren’t kidding!!  This album being the first offering from this four-piece, they present 39 minutes of pure stoner/doom/psych/unadulterated rock-n-fucking-roll wrapped into seven tracks that will melt your brain like the smoke of an opium-den.  You are instantly consumed with all of the bass rumbling, drum skin splitting, power chord ripping slathered in lead crescendos that shake your core in the essence of what HEAVY music is defined as, and then taking you further down that road  than you have ever been before.

Pro Band Pic

Listing their influences from TOOL to ELDER, as well as from THE BEATLES to DEFTONES, there is little doubt as to the intent here. Instrumental opener ‘El Viento Del Desierto’, translated as ‘The Wind Of The Desert’, sets the tone as you settle in for this trip and you are greeted with the sounds of including crickets and the ‘cracking’ of a beverage as a loopy acoustic slide guitar permeates the air around you until ‘Through Dust And Smoke’ hits you in the chest with both barrels from a muted chord progression to full-on power chords rip it up with the body as plush and that vocal steps tall letting you know his stand stating “I don’t want to hear the news, shut your mouth before you speak.” and with a rolling snare, the real ride has begun because “The less you know, the less you feel.” Thick bass pulsing flowing in absolute symmetry with the thundering time-sigs and the spell has been cast as you grab onto each echo of “Shut up” at the end until ‘Roadburner’ cracks the sky with an almost tribal tempo until the harmonic dissonance takes control again with this faster paced romp that is indeed a perfect road-trip track that would probably induce a need to get it hammer-down with this tempo, album title right in the verse of, around the middle. The last half of this opus is a guitar lover’s wet dream filled with all the meandering you could want amidst time shifts galore.

Gears shift dramatically as ‘Universe Crumble’ comes on with a haunting single note that warbles slightly until 25 seconds in when an ultra-fuzzed up/phased out bass line joins in with an air of calm as the hand-drum presence and a ringing guitar tone take hold with an almost GODSMACK feel until the two minute mark when the body shifts.  Rising out of the mist that had been lingering at your feet and the cadence is one that forces you to move in time, matching the tempo as your heart races to keep pace.  When the ethereal sounding vocal finally enters at the four minute mark, the dream-like feel takes a turn to the heavy with a bombastic resonance not expected but perfectly suiting this opus, carrying you along until the softness fades back in with all the glory so befitting this song.

‘Resurreccion’ is another instrumental that is absolution perfection in it’s passion-filled purity and flows as smooth as glass right into closing tome ‘The Mammoth’ that is as majestic as the whole of this record and clocks in over 11 minutes itself and is the embodiment of the sum of the rest of this album, letting each member showcase themselves while fitting in seamlessly with each other creating what can only be described as a force to be reckoned with. Standout track for me, difficult as it is to select just ONE, but the one I kept going back to was ‘Dashboard Jesus’. With the wind in the background as that drumline starts your feet to instantly tapping or in my case, my fingertips keeping time along, that jangly guitar line that rolls on for several measures before the tale of the road takes off from the line and I found myself reaching for the volume every time to try to get it loud enough!!

For a debut effort, I am blown away beyond and hope this a sign of what is to come from these guys, the album will be re-released via their new distributor Ripple Records after they worked out a deal in January 2017 and let’s hope they make it to our shores to afford to witness this band in the glory of LIVE!! Buy the record as soon as you see it, share it with every set of ears you know and support them if they come anywhere close… keep it LOUD!!

Band Logo


New Album Review – Wheel of Smoke “Mindless Mass”

WHEEL OF SMOKE

Mindless Mass

Release date: July 09th 2016. Label: Self Released. Format: DD/Vinyl

 

Leuven, Belgium’s Wheel Of Smoke play 70s tinted prog covering metallic space/psych/stoner territory, as well as calmer and more melodic songs. There might be a mix of Opeth, Ozric Tentacles, King Crimson, Agalloch and Pink Floyd as well as some elements of pure underground America flavorings reminiscent of the likes of Lone Star (not the country band) and Roy Buchanon and the like with soulful bluesy progressions. Founded June 7 2005, this marks the third full length release and does not depart much from what has become their own signature approach. The band cites their interest as “Providing our fans and public with a memorable experience at our live shows.” and state that they are influenced by “good music, everyday life, knowledge and ritual, and the anthropology of perception” but extend further that Wheel Of Smoke has NO affiliation or affinity with any religious/political beliefs whatsoever. So nothing too esoteric or any social-commentary based fronts. Not a bad thing by any means, particularly when that is the approach of seasoned musicians such as these four show they are with this latest release.

 

Band Pic

 

‘Degeneration’ is the first off and wastes no time with that 3/4 time sig, slight fill every 7th measure approach into the gravel-laced vocal that we can always expect from Filip (guitar/vox) / Erik (guitar/vox)  / Jouk (drums) / Tristan (bass/vox) and this has an inherent heaviness that grabs you by your shirt with no sign of letting go as the lunar-guitar assault screams higher and higher until the song fades among that bass rumble and you breathe deep. ‘Ruins’ has a quicker pace and shows of those KING CRIMSON razor sharp time shifts with guitar breaks to match showing that they are indeed happy to keep pushing the envelope with the timeless mix of fills and outbursts of tweaked wah-pedal glory flying in and out of each verse until the second the song just stops, no warning. ‘Bad Shepard’ hits next with pure 70’s almost dance-hall twang over the fuzzed out base line bouncing behind the rhythm section, sounding almost happy in progression until, just past two minutes when the tone turns noticeably darker and that trademark growl screams out again. ‘Unnamed’ enters with a soft guitar line, ghostly vocal climbing into the picture behind as the crescendo breaks into a trot then a slow-run, while ‘Synchronicity’ has a ‘jig’ tilt to the progression of the body of this song to the point this could be one of those ‘audience participation’ songs with lines like “We all know what it feels like” before the snap-pop tempo shift back into the next verse. I can almost see it in my mind’s eye when we hear “Hey” before the chorus rains again into your ears. ‘No More TV’ has a softer intro but breaks right into full unrelenting gallop as we hear of the fucked-up dream leading to a scream and then we are told “Let’s go drinking…” and the fuzzed out bass leads to an even faster run through as we run right along through the entire six minutes plus of this crowd-rouser type of song, executed with a surgical precision of solo attacks left and right, perfectly punctuating this track.

‘Feral’ is the last offering on here, and in my opinion, is the strongest composition recorded utilizing all the tools in their collection from a multi-layered vocal mix giving more substance and body as well as even using harmonic bends at the end of the solo-runs giving even more flavor to what has already been a feast for the mind and the bass/drum line could not be tighter or more precise than what is captured in this opus that clocks in at one second short of eight minutes. The shift to the spaced-out runs littered with revered and slight delay galore will make you feel the ground leave the bottom of your shoes in that stoner-rock way.  As you are rising along with the note-scales searing your veins as your pulse quickens to match the tempo for the last half of this final chapter that grows more and more complex and intricate driving madly towards that final three chord burst that ends with a dead-stop. My ears were almost ringing with the silence.

 

Band Logo

 

Amazing production, levels above each previous release and shows they are ready to rise out of the underground. If you are a fan, this is a must have, if you are new to the camp, great introduction and will make you appreciate the ‘precursors’ to this release as you witness the growth of each part of the machine that makes up Wheel Of Smoke. Based on the ‘live’ vibe they profess, I recommend going to see them if you get the chance!! \m/

Words by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr


Album Review – Crippled Black Phoenix “Bronze”

Crippled Black Phoenix

Bronze – Vinyl / CD / DD

Season of Mist – Released: April 11, 2016

 

So how often can a drummer for one(or two) already established and killer band break away and do something that is unexpected, something unique and able to stand on it’s own two feet? Not often. Hell I can’t think of anyone besides Dave Grohl or Phil Collins, who have pulled it off successfully. Well now we have Justin Greaves, skin beater for Electric Wizard and Iron Monkey, who with his project Crippled Black Phoenix, have created in their latest album ‘Bronze’ what can be considered a contemporary exploration of mood and atmosphere.

 

Cool Band Pic
This is no collection of 3 minute dittys designed for ass shaking, no, this is an album that demands your time and attention. An album not to be taken lightly, it makes you want to experience it as a whole, even though it works song to song as well. Hearkening back to some of the most relevant bands and albums of the early to mid seventies, this UK Octet, crafts some of the most passionate melancholic, psychedelic stoner-prog found this side of the moon. They succeed at pulling you in to their world, a world this is terminally overcast, and weary, but a world not without emotion and, dare I say love?  Listening to this I hear Pink Floyd, I hear The Cure, I hear Muse, I hear King Crimson, I hear Mogwai. And it works. All of it.

 

I especially love the places where they take musical chances, like on the album opener which is an orchestral instrumental track led off by a passage from the beginning of Genesis. Another chance was taken with the song ‘Scared and Alone’ employing a horn section to accentuate the tired and troubled lead vocals provided by Belinda Kordic, who shines in the singular track that she takes lead vocals on. All the other tracks are sung by Daniel Anghede who at times is reminiscent of 80’s post-rock goth progenitor Peter Murphy with his deep baritone voice and delivery.

 

LIVE Band Shot_Cool

 

My favorite track on the album comes in the 7th slot titled ‘Turn to Stone’. It is a paean to every great rock song written in the Seventies, with it’s mid to slow tempo march, infectious main riff that makes you bob your head, and it’s psychedelic guitar nuances, emphasized by a vocal delivery that’s half Robert Plant half Neil young. The later part of the song is a ride out on the bridge riff, proving that there is beauty in repetition.

Elsewhere throughout the album you will find hints of organ, synthesizer and other non-standard instruments placed tastefully for maximum affect, enhancing and emphasizing the masterful songwriting.  The end result being an artful, moody collection of contemporary prog-rock songs with heart that shines brightly in a musical landscape that is all too often more of the same.

Words by Mark Aceves


Album Review – House Of Lightning – “Self Titled”

House Of Lightning – Self Titled

Self Released – Released:  December 1st 2016

 

 

First things first: let’s get Henry Wilson’s impressive resume out of the way, shall we?

Yes, he fronts House Of Lightning with his distinctive guitar and vocal stylings.  He’s drummed in legendary Florida sludge outfits Cavity and Floor, and this isn’t the first band that he’s fronted.  His previous project, Dove, put on one of the most impressive displays of live prowess that I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing.  They played on the floor at an arts space in Lowell Massachusetts, and they absolutely killed it, laying down a non-stop barrage of chunky stop-start riffs and aggressive rhythms, mixing the groove of stoner rock, the urgency and immediacy of hardcore, and topping it off with High On Fire’s undisputed desire to punish.  I will always remember that as one of the greatest live experiences of my brief and uneventful life, especially since it just came out of nowhere, these three guys playing in a relatively unknown band setting up and laying it down like their very lives depended on it, and in the process winning over a crowd that previously had very little exposure to them.  That’s how it’s done.  If you don’t have their solitary self titled release, I’d recommend at least checking it out, especially as it will give a bit of context to this review.  There are certain similarities between Dove and House Of Lightning, besides that they share a frontman, though House Of Lightning brings some rather distinctive influences and attitudes to the forefront.

 

Nuclear Image

 

I mentioned Dove’s penchant for hardcore punk, and that’s the obvious jumping off point.  Their songwriting was punctuated by stop-start rhythms, syncopation, and unexpected twists and turns in the song structures.  These are all things that are still incorporated to great effect with House Of Lightning, though there’s more of a focus on melody, particularly with the vocals.  While Dove utilized a lot of shouted and screamed vocals, all of the vocals on House Of Lightning’s second album are cleanly song, with a laid back delivery and lyrics focused on positivity, peace, and unity.  The vocals have a deliberate reggae vibe to them, as evidenced by their choice to end the liner notes of their debut record with “Thanks and praise to Jah.”  That factor combined with the rapid, thrash-inspired riffs lead me to point to The Bad Brains as the strongest and most consistent influence throughout.  Overall, the six songs on this album are even more melodic than on the debut, Lightbringer, though they’re also a bit more same-y.  There’s often not much distinguishing one song from the next, which they can get away with since the album runs just a hair over 36 minutes.  The one noticeable change of pace comes in the form of the fourth song, “Small Hours”; it’s a slower tune with guest vocals provided by Melissa Hope Friedman, who also contributes backing vocals on a couple tracks.

It’s also worth noting that House Of Lightning have added a bassist for this one – on their debut, Wilson used synthesized bass.  Fellow Floridian Eric Hernandez of the band Wrong now holds down the low end.  Drummer Rick Smith is also a new edition, hailing from the band Torche.  It seems like there’s a lot of cross-pollination going on within the Florida scene, as Jonathan Nunez, bassist for Torche, recorded this album, and it sounds terrific.  The guitars are big and beefy, yet they’ve got enough crunch to cut even when they’re chugging along at maximum velocity.  The drums are constantly in your face, and the bass has enough high end bite to accentuate some of the funkier melody lines going on underneath the mayhem.

 

Band Logo

 

I’m going to end this review by pointing out that House Of Lighning have chosen to finance and release this album by their lonesome rather than work with a label.  Self releasing is a bold move from a band whose resume sports such pedigree.  Their previous debut was released on Translation Loss Records, and I’m not sure what prompted their split with that label, or their decision to release this album themselves, when I’m sure another label would have jumped at the opportunity.  It’s a gutsy decision, though one that’s often pragmatic given our state of the music scene and economic makeup in this country.  By releasing a record themselves, artists cut out the label and directly reap the profits of their labors, though a label usually has more resources at their disposal in terms of promotion and distribution.  I bring this up because I personally think it’s important that bands put a lot of thought into their choices to work with like-minded labels when they record an album, or whether to self finance and self release their music.  Many younger bands put all of their cards into the same hat, hoping to get on the label of their dreams and sometimes subsequently taking deals that aren’t particularly in their best interests.  It’s good to see a bunch of veterans like House Of Lightning demonstrating that a truly independent release is still a viable option for any band.

Reviewed By Andy “Rama Llama Ding Dong” Beresky

 

 


Album Review – Heavy Traffic “Plastic Surgery”

Heavy Traffic

Plastic Surgery

Twin Earth Records

Released December 17, 2016 – Cassette / DD

 

Twin Earth Records brings us their offering from Heavy Traffic that was purportedly recorded “live to tape” over the course of a March 2016 weekend. Ian Caddick and Tav Palumbo had recorded five albums of material in the two years previous to moving to Brooklyn, New York in 2015, intent on putting a band together to focus on playing live. Two months later this was the result.

First thing I gotta say is the vocal mix is a little too over-saturated and echoplexed to be able catch most of the lyric content on first listen. Leaning heavy on psych rock, combining elements of noise, doom, punk, and shoegaze, most of the songs move along at a tempered slower pace until “Three Stigmata” when the staccato mixes with fills galore lending to a faster pace and listenability that has been missing until. “Medicated Bed” also has a faster pace complete with guitar solos brought into the forefront making this the one I kept going back to as the standout. The bonus song with the release seemingly reflects on two members referred to as White and Green on the band’s Facebook page, presumably Ian and Tav, clocking in as one of the longest songs offered and goes back to the slower tempoed stoner tromp of the first half of this record. The track listing needs to have a smoother flow in and out as they demonstrated they could do with “Acid Sweater” running smooth as glass into “Broth Drain”. We’ll see with the progression of these guys. If they are as prolific as reported, this should be the first of much to come and I hope the polishing continues until it is refined as they find the balance in the vocal mix so the words conveyed are easier grabbed. Seeing Heavy Traffic Live would be the venue to get the full affect in my opinion of this solid debut on Twin Earth Records.   If you like your Traffic “Heavy,” this is release is for you!

 

Band Pic

 

Band Members:
Ian Caddick
Tav Palumbo
David Grzedzinski
Dan Bradica

Words by Ric “Sui-Syko” Dorr