Domkraft “Flood” Album Review + Stream…

Domkraft

Flood – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Blues Funeral Recordings – releases October 19, 2018

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Location:
Stockholm, Sweden

Band Members:
Martin Widholm – Guitar
Martin Wegeland – Bass & Vocals
Anders Dahlgren – Drums

Previous Releases:
‘Domkraft’ EP (2015)

‘The End Of Electricity’ (2016)

 

 

Review:
OK, I’ll admit it… the first question I had was what does the name Domkraft mean?? Translated from Swedish to English, it simply means ‘screw-jack’ like what you would use on a larger vehicle or a house foundation. Hmmm… this can ONLY mean that this is going to be some ultra-heavy shit I am about to immerse myself into. I had not heard of this power-trio until I was handed the album and told to give it a listen. Little did I realize just what awaited me on this true-sophomore effort from this band that describes themselves as simply, “Organic, electric, hypnotic and loud.” And, engage………

Opener “Landslide” wastes no time in getting right down to the heavy riff that knocks you over, complete with the soaring vocals that cascade over the staggered tempos that keep your feet moving during the almost ten minutes.  “Landslide” sets the tone for the rest of the record to follow with a slow fade out, leading right into “The Watchers” with another lead you slowly follow along until the full body of stoner-might pops you in the jaw this time.  Making sure you feel the reeling as you spin in amazement at the sheer force pumping out of this three-man machine that keeps the slice-and-dice routine swirling around you, even as the last chord strings in sustain.

“Flood” is more even tempered and keeps the air shimmering with a bass tone that is ALL enveloping and shows zero sign that it will relent anytime soon, and why would you want it to??

Domkraft….The Calm before that Tsunami!!

Gear Picture

 

“They Appear To Be Alive” comes out nice and sedated and is the sole instrumental contained on this slab of intensity and then after a half second space, “Sandwalker” hits hard again, maintaining the stature of a giant that looms above and beyond as the musical winds whip the air around with a fury not witnessed since, well, the LAST Domkraft record!!

“Octopus” is one of the harder-hitting compositions with the bass-slides and power chords encasing a drum line that fits like a ‘magnum’ and serves ‘this ride’ well. The stand-out track, in MY opinion, “Dead Eyes Red Skies” wraps this masterful-morsel in the perfect foil of musical precision that in it’s HUGENESS of mix, towers above the rest of the album and promises so much yet to come from this triad of mega-power.

I believe this release will be making a lot of ‘best-of’ lists for 2018 and does indeed indicate that Domkraft is set to be in the leagues of their peers with bands like Monolord and Neurosis to name a few.  If you don’t believe me, get your copy, share it ALL around and see what those around you are saying.  Support / witness these guys in a live format if you are given the opportunity and above all else, keep it LOUD!!


JIRM “Surge Ex Monumentis” Album Review + Stream + Videos…

JIRM

Surge Ex Monumentis – Double Vinyl // CD // DD

Small Stone Recordings – released March 16, 2018 

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

Formed:
2004

Location:
Stockholm, Sweden

Lineup:
Karl Apelmo: vocals, guitars
Micke Pettersson: guitars
Viktor Källgren: Bass
Henke Persson: drums, percussions
Additional musician: Daniel Hägglund: organs

Previous Releases:
Elefanta (2009)
Bloom (2011)
Spirit Knife (2014)

 

 

Review:

First coming together in 2004 under the name of Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, this quartet have spent many days and nights sharpening their skill-sets, both as a collective and individually through endless gigs and three solid releases that have kept their name on the lips of the ever-widening fanbase.  They have been described previously as quote, “a driving mindmeld between psychedelia, classic metal, heavy rock, and individualized realms beyond” enquote. With this fourth release, they have shortened the moniker to an abbreviation of the  previous name to the shorter and more accessible JIRM and results contained in this 7-track opus will leave jaws dropped and eyes wide.

Already known as a progressive force, dripping in the sweat of endless striving for those defining musical moments that set them apart from their peers, these four have taken that and have indeed redefined who they are and what they do as a unit and the result is this juggernaut that clocks in at just over an hour.

Recorded in their hometown of Stockholm, the record was mixed in Gothenburg, Sweden and then mastered in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the end result shows that JIRM remains stronger than ever and the proof is ‘in the pudding’ as it were with the sheer MIGHT that exudes from each song here. From the opening rolling chords of “Candle Eyes” that sets the pace before that high-scream hits hard at the 1-minute mark and has the hallmark tones of psychedelia melded into that hard rock/metal hybrid and is unrelenting in the delivery that grabs you by the arm and pulls you along to end solos that fade slowly into the opening organ sounds of “Dig”.

This track is fraught with that ‘space-rock’ feel, from the back and forth vocal fade in that sounds almost operatic in undertone. Being the longest of the seven songs contained, it is three minutes until we are given a bass line that gets your pulse matching the cadence and when the double guitar assault comes in, it is just as thick and churning as you could ask for. By the time the crescendos are at full gallop, there is no turning back and why would you want to go back anyway, right?? At the half-mark we are granted that clear voice again, soaring as high as you can possibly see and it seems almost too short as you take in the tale delivered with enough time-shifts and slight pauses to make the atmosphere around you shimmer as you surrender to every measure to the almost ghostly-solo that ends this time.

“Isle Of Solitude” fades in, even slower than it’s predecessor and at 11:26, it is the next-longest of the offerings and the name of the track tells the tale you will experience with this softer/slower parade that cascades by, showing the versatility of these guys in a manner most may not have expected, where “Nature Of The Damned” lets JIRM get even more complex in the weaving of bass, guitars, perfect cadences and that vocal that takes absolute control of you as it continues to reach even higher highs. “Giza” is another slower, softer track that does not fail to satisfy in its plush arrangement and is the perfect bookmark to take you into closer “Tombs Arise” that is as frantic and powerful as the opener and seems the absolute summation of the creature that stands before us in the guise of JIRM.

The one that really stood out for me here would have to be “The Cultist”. In MY opinion, this is the ultimate melding of the prowess of each musician here, comes at you out of the gate with a steady running tempo and power chord progressions to match, all served with that voice that truly IS the icing on the cake of this slab of wax that is guaranteed to satiate even the most fervent fan of progressive compositions.

I would have to put it out there that this WILL be one of the ‘must-have’ records released in 2018 and I encourage you to buy it and share it with all in your realm, support them live as they truly seem to never stop gigging, and spread the word about JIRM so nobody misses this juggernaut… and most importantly, keep it LOUD!!

Photograph by Sophia Hogman Myrbacka

Band Pic_Sophia Hogman Myrbacka

 


Cosmic Fall “In Search Of Outer Space” Album Review + Stream…

Cosmic Fall

In Search Of Outer Space – Vinyl // CD // DD

Reviewed by Terry ‘The Ancient’ Cuyler

“Cruisin’ Under The Stars…”

 

Tracklist:
Jabberwocky       (11:36)
Narcotic Vortex  (08:00)
Purification         (04:12)
Lumberjam         (06:56)
Spacejam             (07:44)
Icarus                   (04:50)

Lineup:
Drums: Daniel Sax
Bass & Vocals: Klaus Friedrich
Guitar: Marcin Morawski

 

 

Hello all, today I am feeling nice and mellow a feeling I enjoy, though it often evades me. But that’s okay. Good mellows are often fleeting things and should be enjoyed in the moment without worrying about getting back to the grind. For me the moment came on my morning commute to work as I tuned the world around me out with the music on my iPhone and took a 43 minute interstellar jaunt into the cosmos as I road the city bus with all the bleary eyed early morning commuters.

Playing in my headphones was the music of a trio of Heavy Psyche rockers from Berlin, Germany called Cosmic Fall. Some of you may recall me reviewing their split album with  APHODYL called “Starsplit” last year that left me wanting to hear more of their music. Well seems I got my wish for more Cosmic Fall. On March 30th the Cosmic Fall released its 3rd album ‘In Search Of  Outer Space’ that is currently available as a digital download or CD, and soon to follow is The Vinyl which will be released May 30th and available for Preorder April 30th. Whew, now that I got all that out I can tell you you are in for amazing Heavy Psych music with this new release.

Filled with swinging bass grooves, and jazzy drumming done by bassist Klaus Friedrich and drummer Danial Sax Jabberwocky wows the listener as the new Cosmic Fall guitarist Marcin Morawski  begins lay down the space fuzz while Klaus surprises the listeners with some mellow vocals.

Though I ain’t into Narcotics the album’s 2nd track Narcotic Vortex feels like a good replacement for them. The guitar and bass have a real dirty feel that becomes real mellow before Dan begins his drum solo creating a bridge for Klaus and Martin to bring the music to its peak. Track 3 and 4 Purification and Lumberjam seem to be aptly named and are quite possibly my favorites from this album. Dan’s soft taping on the cymbals while Klaus gently noodles his bass and Martin does some soothing pick work that feels like a refreshing rain storm that cleans the city streets. Next is Lumberjam. Dan and Klaus set a rhythm as Martin saws out the leads like a buzz saw. Feeling like a musical version of the Voyager Satellite traveling through deep space, Dan and Klaus set a nice smooth rollin tempo while Martin picks and uses what I believe are effects peddles and the volume knobs to create the spaced out feeling to this song. Closing “In Search Of Outer Space” is Cosmic Fall’s retelling of the Greek tale of Icarus. Klaus really doesn’t have to sing a word. You can feel the tale with its lofty soaring guitar that finally comes crashing down.

“In Search Of Outer Space” is definitely worth owning on vinyl. Full of mind blowing Heavy Psych rock. The album artwork is by Klaus Friedrich  and layout by Daniel Sax.  The album was Mixed and Produced by Marcin Morawski & Co-produced Sax and Friedrich; making this a self produced gem!!  Highly recommend!

Blue Logo


Legend Of The Seagullmen “Self Titled” Album Review + Stream…

They Ain’t No Flock Of Seagulls

They are the

Legend of the Seagullmen

“Self Titled” – Vinyl // CD // DD

Dine Along Records – released February 9, 2018

By Terry ‘The Ancient One’ Cuyler

 

Legend of the Seagullmen are
Danny Carey – drums (Tool)
Brent Hinds – guitars (Mastodon)
Jimmy Hayward – guitar (Director – Jonah Hex)
David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer – vocals
Zappa Meets Zappa’s Peter Griffin – bass
Chris DiGiovanni – synth // keys

 

 

Hello friends this is the Ancient One and recently I found myself having a flashback to some of the crappy music that MTV tried to force feed music fans in the 1980’s. Specifically the music of A Flock of Seagulls.  Yes I hated that band. So when my friend “Matthew Thomas” Messaged me and said “Hey Ancient One you gotta listen to these guys called Legend of the Seagullmen. I had a name association flashback and like a punch drunk boxer that hears a distant bell, I flew off the handle and responded with a stream of profanity in all caps about how I despised that band. Thankfully I kept my cool and looked up their website…

When I eyeballed the Legend of the Seagullmen’s  website I was still a little hesitant but the Ancient One isn’t one to knock any music till he hears it first. While some may automatically look into who a band is before listening I try not to do that so I can keep any personal bias out of my listening experience so I skipped looking up the press release that was used to hype the band to the audience, and instead followed the link I was given by “Matthew” to the album. From the moment I hit play to the end of the album I found myself entertained by the Legend of the Seagullmen’s with some amazing, eclectic rock.

Hooked like a fish, I had to know more about this band that calls themselves Legend of the Seagullmen. In their description on Bandcamp and their band page  Legend of the Seagullmen states “ Legend of the Seagullmen is a genre destroying super-group crafting conceptual rock ‘n’ roll hymns of epic proportions.”  What I managed to learn from their Bandcamp page is the band is made up of   Tool’s Danny Carey on drums, Mastodon’s Brent Hinds on guitar, the director of films such as Jonah Hex  Jimmy Hayward on guitar, Zappa Meets Zappa’s Peter Griffin on bass,  Chris DiGiovanni on synth/keys &  David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer on vocals. Seeking more info about the front man I searched the web until I came across an article in the  The mighty Rolling Stone Magazine that said “The Seagullmen concept is the brainchild of three brothers, Frank, Chris and David Dreyer, who have put on appropriately theatrical concerts and made movies about the band’s long-running legend in recent years”  Which is as far as I could seem to get with details about him. Well no matter I loved the music.

 

0011988516_10

 

I could easily heap praise upon Legend of the Seagullmen’s Danny Carey, Brent Hinds, and Peter Griffin because they are the three  most well known musicians but would be unfair to the band as a whole. They also have a guitar playing film director Jimmy Hayward, a keyboard playing Production Manager from Blue Sky Animation Studios Chris DiGiovanni and a mysterious vocalist David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer are able to take their place on stage and in the studio with them and not embarrass themselves is quite a feat in itself.

If I were to describe the music I’d say it’s a wonderfully cheesy Rock ‘N’ Roll meets, Spaghetti Western meets, Nautical Adventure movie. Some of my favorite tunes on this are…all of them!!  I recommend listening to this gem straight through like being at a Drive-In Movie Theater watching a double feature of kick ass B movie re-runs. This is definitely an album I’d recommend.


Seven That Spells “The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Omega” Album Review + Stream…

SEVEN THAT SPELLS

The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Omega  – LP // CD // DD

Sulatron Records – Released: Jan 18th, 2018 on DD // CD & LP Feb. 23, 2018

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Blake Fleming – drums
Jeremy White – bass, vox
Gordan Tomić – guitar, vox
Niko Potočnjak – guitar, synth


Review:
Why are we here? Mankind has been asking this question for a very long time, with some interesting replies. But have you ever drilled the question down a little deeper? Why am I here here? Like why am I here writing this on a Sunday morning? Why are you here reading it? WTF does this have to do with Seven That Spells? I promise, there is a point.

And as if a gift from the gods, here’s how Seven That Spells describe their answer on their Facebook page:

Beyond. We are the dogs of western Jazz society looking for dope.
Modern, aggressive psychedelic wall of sound incorporating poly-metrics and occasional Viking funeral rites; hailing from the 23rd century where rock is dead, Seven That Spells returned in time where its still possible to change the tragic course of the boring history
.

LOL. I swear I didn’t know they had that up before I posed the question in the first paragraph. In fact, that wasn’t even the point I was going to make – but isn’t it just a little creepy since they claim to be from the future? Like they read this and responded. Perhaps what I was going to say was too boring?

Well now that the course of history is changed, let’s dive into the album. First and foremost, Omega is part 3 of a 3 part series. It started with “AUM” then “IO” and finally “Omega”. I mean, I assume it ends here.

Interestingly, each album follows the same structure. It begins with a track called “In”, which is numbered to identify which part it is in the series. It’s followed up by the title track, which pushes close to 20 mins in each case. That’s followed by 2 more tracks and each album closes with “Out” (simply “Out”, Out II, Out III). Despite only having 5 tracks, these are all full length albums. Though this review is meant to only focus on “Omega”, it’s hard to ignore the previous 2.

Seven That Spells Mastermind, Niko, with his Sword and Sonic Boom!!

Niko in front of Speakers

Stylistically speaking this is Krautrock. If you’re like me and never even heard the word, I’m not going to explain what it is. Someone has already done this on Wikipedia so I’m just going to hyperlink. And despite STS’s best efforts to railroad me in another direction, I’m going to share why I’m here here. See, I’m into metal – not necessarily mainstream but let’s say the better known genres like black, symphonic, death etc. And here on Taste Nation LLC, we tend to dig a little deeper. Matt Thomas keeps throwing me these strange, lessen known acts from sub-genres I’ve never heard of that stretch my knowledge and more importantly, my comfort zone. I’m forced to think: not outside the box; there is no box. The answer of why am I here here is essentially Seven That Spells. This is my theory on what it’s all about… and I could be wrong, there’s always that possibility too. But here goes…

Traditional music is meant to take you out of your head. The idea is the catchy beat and rhythm take over your brain waves connecting neurons associated with emotion making you feel happy, sad, angry etc. Once overcome with emotion, thought is no longer prevalent. We dance and sing or jump and mosh and just have a crazy good time without really thinking too too much about our troubles at home or work… frustrations with the significant other… kids struggling in school… fuck I think I need to get the brakes done… my boss wants me to do all the work while Dave jerks off in the corner… etc. Music is supposed to wipe all that away. If it’s any good, that’s what it does. But this Krautrock (at least I believe) is intended to do something different.

Band Pic

Instead of taking us out of our heads, it’s my belief that The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock trilogy intends to instead drive us back in. We’re not supposed to dance and sing (not yet). Hell, when there are lyrics it’s hard to decipher what’s being said. But we’re not supposed to dwell on our troubles either. To me, this is a guided tour of the vastness of our insides. We get brought “In”. The music takes us on a tour with a spacey, psychedelic vibe. Where it takes you, exactly, I believe is personal. I end up in space marveling at the wonders of gravity, light and time awed by the immensity of what we don’t know. It’s easy to get dragged in and not realize how much time has passed. Track 4 – “Future Lords” breaks things up a bit with a catchy little beat. If you’re deep enough in, as you should be by now – the urge to dance in your new found plane may overcome you. The mood shift is grounding but the atmosphere is still spacey; we’re still on the inside.

Finally, we’re guided “Out”. It’s a nice smooth journey, nothing too jerking or jarring, just a gentle guide from the inner recesses of our minds back to the land of the living, the plane of the physical where we can perhaps spend a prolonged period of time out of our heads, worry and care free.

Additional Links:
https://seventhatspells.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/STS777/
https://www.sulatron.com/xoshop/lng/en/seven-that-spells-the-death-and-resurrection-of-krautrock-omega-lp.html


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


The Quartet of Woah “Self Titled” Album Review + Stream…

The Quartet of Woah

The Quartet of Woah! – Double Vinyl // CD // DD

Raging Planet – released November 25, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Tracklist:
As In Life (13:26)
Forth By Light (10:46)
A Flock Of Leaves (17:18)
Days Of Wrath (13:30)

 

 

Review:

True uniqueness in music is hard to come by, especially in this day and age. It almost feels as though everything’s already been done and nothing is truly original anymore. Once in a blue moon, though, a band like The Quartet of Woah comes along and re-instills something of a sense of wonder – perhaps we haven’t reached the bottom of the barrel just yet.

The Quartet of Woah are a Heavy Progressive Rock band from Portugal; in case the song titles and lengths didn’t already give that away. Their individual songs, though, reach everywhere from Prog to Psychedelia to Folk to Blues and everywhere in between. Every song is crafted with artisan skill and precision and every note is crisp, clear, and audible. Each song brings a sense of energy and soul that is never wasted – it’s almost like a perpetual motion machine, never slowing down, never ceasing until its message is conveyed.

Live band pic

This album is not without its left turns into oddity land, though. Opener “As In Life” contains a drum solo and a flute outro and personal favorite “Forth By Light” veers off into some positively bizarre chromatic riffing and noodley organs that work far better than one would expect. What does remain constant, though, is the groove. The Quartet of Woah are experts in the art of groove and are ready and willing to show it off. It’s not exactly dancey, but don’t be surprised if you end up bobbing your head several times.

The Quartet of Woah are a band that set out to do what no one else had, to chart uncharted territory, and have done exactly that with their stellar debut. If you love heavy music with progressive tendencies and lack an aversion to really, really long and strange compositions, then do yourself a favor and listen and support this wonderful indie release and a band with a very bright future!


Black Space Riders Releases New EP “Amoretum Vol. 1” – New Video + Links!!

Black Space Riders

Video Feature:   Another Sort of Homecoming

Amoretum Vol. 1 – Vinyl // CD // DD

Release Date: January 26, 2018

 

 

Amoretum_Album Cover

 

 

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)
Movements
Come and Follow
Friends Are Falling
Fire! Fire! (Death of a Giant)
Fellow Peacemakers

BLACK SPACE RIDERS are:
JE: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Piano, Electronics
SEB: Lead vocals, Keyboards, Electronics
C.RIP: Drums, Percussion, Didgeridoo
SLI: Guitars
SAQ: Bass Guitar
MEI: Bass Guitar

http://www.blackspaceriders.com/

Distribution partners:
Germany/Austria/Switzerland: Cargo Records

USA/ Canada:  MVD Entertainment

UK:  PHD (plastichead distribution)

BeNeLux:  Suburban records

Scandinavia: Border Music

Italy: Goodfellas


Container “Mountains of Gaia” Album Review + Stream…

 

CONTAINER

Mountains of Gaia – Limited Edition 12” Vinyl // Digital Download 

Independent: Released – March 26, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Daan – vocals
Boudewijn – bass
Rutger – guitar
Erwin – drums

Location:
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Review:
One might expect and album that opens with a piano excerpt from “Entry of the Gladiators”, more commonly known as the song they play at the circus as the clowns pile out of their tiny car and climb on their unicycles to juggle bowling pins, or break into a tumbling routine or whatever else clowns do… well you might expect an album that opens with this to be a bit of a joke.

 

 

But you’re not quite right. While Mountains of Gaia does have its fun moments, most are relegated to the opening track which is appropriately named “Circus”. Once the piano fades behind the percussion, the bass takes over, carrying the tune while distorted screams point us in a different direction. Thankfully, the screams give way to more melodic, though still filtered, singing. Really, this is where the lightheartedness goes out the window and we begin a musical adventure.

“Backstabber” takes us to a completely different locale of Container’s sound with a little 70’s Black Sabbath worship and an edge all their own. It’s a bit stoner and a bit “garage”, as they put it. It’s clear listening to the band that this was recorded in a studio, but I still think garage is a very apt term to describe a certain rawness or lack of refinement in Container’s style.

 

Band Pic

 

“Challenger” is an 8 minute, long, slow piece that musically reminds me of the Doors. Maybe Riders on the Storm or LA Woman, but then there’s some spoken word reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine, if you can imagine these two together. That’s only the first couple of minutes. It picks up with more of a Vol. 4 ambiance before slowing again to that Doors-y, wandering-through-the-dessert-on-peyote feeling with one last increase in pace to close it out.

Even though we’re only about halfway through, it’s hard now to look back and remember the silliness Mountains of Gaia opened with. The album leads us down a path of variety with different tracks blending the (aforementioned) base elements, stoner rock & “garage rock”, with a touch of post-rock, punk and hardcore. The result is an eclectic adventure that might seem to stray yet is uniquely Container. It’s almost surreal how after the 8th and final, the title track, another 8 minute opus taking us through the Mountains of Gaia until the music ends. Surreal, I mean if we decide to press play and take the trip again. We realize we’re started back at Circus. Is it a metaphor?

 

Live Band Pic

 


Sons of Apollo “Psychotic Symphony” Album Review + Music Videos

Sons of Apollo

Psychotic Symphony – Vinyl // CD // DD

Inside Out Music – Released: October 20, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Tracklist:
God of the Sun (11:12)
Coming Home (4:23)
Signs of the Time (6:43)
Labyrinth (9:23)
Alive (5:06)
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

 

Pro Band Pic

 

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”.