First Band From Outer Space “We’re Only In It For The Spacerock” Album Review + Stream…

First Band From Outer Space

We’re Only In It For The Spacerock – CD // DD

TRANSUBSTANS Records – Originally Released In 2005 (with a bonus video)

Re-released: digital Download February 14, 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

 

Lineup:
– JohanFromSpace / Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars
– SpaceAce Frippe / Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Synths, Bells and Voice
– Starfighter Carl / Drums, Percussion and Voice
– Moon Beam Josue / Silver Flute

Previous Releases:
This was the band’s first full length album. The two previous releases were two demo CDr’s; the first “Further Magic” and “Aboard The Mothership Of Cosmic Sound Creation” both released in 2003 and none of the tracks have been re-released. Their second full length release “Impressionable Sounds Of The Subsonic” was released in 2006. The most recent release, from 2009, is “The Guitar Is Mightier Than The Gun”… Two bonus tracks that were on their MySpace: “Mellow Yellow” and “You Will Be Freed”…

Tracklist:

  1. Begin to Float (Intro) (4:44)
    2. Sannraijz (9:58)
    3. Sometimes Going Too Far is the Only Way To Go (7:13)
    4. Sannraijz 2 (4:43)
    5. We’re Only In it for the Spacerock (20:28)
    6. Make Yourself Heard for the Sake of the World (10:47)

Review:

The Band:

First Band From Outer Space are a Aleatoric/Psychedelic/Space Rock band from Gotenborg, Sweden. Their label describes them as  being “Swedish intergalactical starfighters on their eternal quest for infiltrating the human race with their alien psychic powers of enslaving the neanderthals by brainwashing [them] with the finest space rock ever done in Sweden!”

Album Art:

There are two variations of this cover. The one for the original release give you a better idea of what you are getting into once you get into the music. (Meaning it is more atmospheric) There is a person in a spacesuit on the right and there is a light coming from over their shoulder. The second cover is the one for the digital release it is black with a starfield and two light spots similar to CD, but instead of a astronaut there is a small module with the band’s name filling up most of the screen with the album title smaller on the bottom. (Both in the NASA font)

Original Artwork of “We Are Only In It For The Spacerock in 2005Only in it for the Spacerock_Original Cover

Track-by-track Breakdown:

  1. Begin to Float (Intro) – This track whirls in with a slow strumming of the guitar leading us into the First Band From Outer Space version of space. It is similar to “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” (Pink Floyd) in the way it builds and builds on itself. More bloops and bleeps are added and the music starts to pick up in the 2 minute area. Here we get our first clip; “All of my most sensitive areas were inflamed. My extremities pulsing and tingling sensation. …Floating higher and higher. A wonderful feeling! I began to float. Up, away from my body… My brain seemed to be held in a giant vice. Swaying back and forth. A beautiful thing taking me away. My head is spinning. It was a bell… a bell…” now we get fast beat of the drum. Building the tension. The guitar strumming along calmly.. and then
  1. Sannraijz – Now we are in a slightly different area. We are speeding through their space. The track slows at four minutes and then speeds back to it’s normal pace. At five minutes we get vocals. At the end of a comparatively quick singing passage we are told, by Johan that; “The end is always the start of something new” as we continue on our way through the rest of the track. Until it starts to slow in the last 20 or so seconds and our next clip; “No one had a bad trip. It was all very good.” as the next track cuts it off.   I could not find a translation of what the title means.
  1. Sometimes Going Too Far is the Only Way To Go – Here is where (more of) the 70’s rock comes in. A cowbell is counting in our next jam. Six minutes in we get our 90’s influence. A layered vocal not quite shouting at us. This is another short bit of lyrics. We are counted out by the cowbell as well.

      4. Sannraijz II – Here is an almost Mike Oldfield type of track, there are birds chirping. We have now landed on a strange desert planet.           This is the most radio friendly song; it is acoustic and has lyrics throughout. It serves as an intro to the next track.

      5. We’re Only In It for the Spacerock – This track is an experience. It is a slow jam calling back to the first track. It is similar to a                 song by Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno called “Anthem of the Space.” Just a very spacey sounding with heavier guitar. There is another sound clip at the end but I cannot quite make it out.   The title is likely in reference to the Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention album We’re Only In It for the Money.

6. Make Yourself Heard for the Sake of the World – This track has a Jethro Tull flute part in it. We get our space or eastern                      sounding intro then we get a rocking riff and MoonBeamJosue is bringing us home with his flute. Two minutes in we get our 80’s/90’s            sounding vocal style again. The track ends how it begins. The tracks are all faded into another so it is a continuous piece.

Band Pic

The synth parts of the music are like a 50’s or 60’s look at what music from aliens, (meaning the bloops and bleeps) that was depicted in the old sci-fi movies/shows with guitar and rhythms from 70’s (and at some points the late 90’s) Rock. This album is a mix of Budgie and Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno that I didn’t know that I needed until now. The band show their influences well while making their own brand of Spacerock.

If you like 70’s style Rock with some space synths added in you should definitely pick this release up.

Stream and download the album here.   “No one had a bad trip. It was all very good.

Extra links:

http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=9483

https://www.discogs.com/First-Band-From-Outer-Space-Were-Only-In-It-For-The-Spacerock/release/1166182

https://transubstansrecords.bandcamp.com/album/were-only-in-it-for-the-spacerock

http://www.transubstans.com/

https://myspace.com/firstbandfromouterspace

https://www.discogs.com/First-Band-From-Outer-Space-Further-Magic/release/5373943

https://myspace.com/firstbandfromouterspace/music/song/mellow-yellow-37764068-39871988

https://www.discogs.com/First-Band-From-Outer-Space-Further-Magic/release/5373943

https://www.discogs.com/First-Band-From-Outer-Space-Aboard-The-Mothership-Of-Cosmic-Sound-Creation/release/5373935

https://www.discogs.com/First-Band-From-Outer-Space-Impressionable-Sounds-Of-The-Subsonic/release/1759512

https://www.discogs.com/First-Band-From-Outer-Space-The-Guitar-Is-Mightier-Than-The-Gun/master/377219

https://www.facebook.com/firstbandfromouterspace/?ref=br_rs


The Flying Eyes “Burning Of The Season” Album Review + Stream…

The Flying Eyes

Burning Of The Season – Vinyl // CD // DD

Ripple Music // Noisolution (Europe) – released September 22nd, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

The Flying Eyes:
Adam Bufano – Guitar, Lap Steel
Mac Hewitt – Bass
Will Kelly – Vocals, Guitar
Elias Schutzman – Percussion, Vocals

Tracks:

  1. Sing Praise (4:17)
  2. Come Round (3:26)
  3. Drain (4:41)
  4. Circle of Stone (7:29)
  5. Fade Away (5:18)
  6. Farewell (4:29)
  7. Rest Easy (4:56)
  8. Oh Sister (8:09)

 

 

Review:
The Flying Eyes know exactly what kind of band they are: A riff or two, some vocals, a solo, and a heaping tablespoon of Black Sabbath worship- that’s all they want, and to be frank, that’s all they really need.

Despite it being reminiscent of “the good ol’ days”, it’s always refreshing to hear a band that knows that all they need are guitars, bass, drums, with quality guest keyboards from Trevor Shipley, and a good, solid overall composition.  That’s precisely what Maryland natives The Flying Eyes deliver.

Pro Band Shot 2

Opening track “Sing Praise” bursts out of the gates with an astonishingly memorable bass riff. “Drain” opens with reverb guitars that one would be forgiven to expect out of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” before taking a left turn into Sludge and Doom territory with an absolutely blistering guitar solo. Even though the music is well-composed and performed even better, the vocals of guitarist Will Kelly are the real standout here. They won’t be fronting an opera or performing a Tenor aria anytime soon, but they are absolutely perfect for the music that is focused on here. When this music is coming out of a sound system, images of cruising through the desert in a 1970’s muscle car are sure to follow. This is the type of music that should accompany a vision quest or a protest montage of the Vietnam War and The Flying Eyes seem all too aware of this, owning that image with all the confidence in the world.

However, this album wears its influences (or “influence” in this case) on its sleeves perhaps a little too proudly. The Flying Eyes seem to have listened to Black Sabbath’s “Master of Reality” many, many times and that particular influence seems to show itself quite a bit. That’s not to say it’s their only influence, as by the time the 7th track, “Rest Easy”, begins, some sections are reminiscent of Pink Floyd rear their heads. but by the time the listener gets there, they may have already gotten used to the already strongly-established vibe, giving them something of a case of stylistic whiplash. The riff-verse-riff-verse-solo-riff structure permeating throughout this release gets a little old after a while, and a listener would be excused for needing a couple of listening sessions to really get the intended effect from Burning of the Season, and it takes a little bit of patience despite being a fairly short album at a very digestible 43 minutes. Make no mistake, this is a high quality and highly recommended album.

On the whole, Burning of the Season is an album that knows what it wants to be.  If you are looking for an album that provides what is promised very effectively despite putting nothing particularly new on the table, then you should look no further than The Flying Eyes’ excellent new release.

Live Band Shot


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


Monolord “Rust” Album Review + Tracks Stream…

Monolord

Rust – Vinyl // CD // DD

Riding Easy Records – Release Date September 29th 2017

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

Lineup:
Thomas V Jäger – Guitars & vocals
Esben Willems – Drums
Mika Häkki – Bass

Born:
2013

Review:

I don’t write many reviews of actual doom albums, for good reason.  It’s a surprisingly complicated subject, not to mention a very personal one.  The whole stoner doom “genre” has a rather rich history, which through inexplicable luck, I’ve been privileged enough to play a small part in.  Like any other “genre” (and I use the word very loosely), it’s tough to pinpoint its exact birth, the point where it all started.  There are obviously precursors, though for me, the first real groundbreaking record of the genre was Sleep’s Holy Mountain.  And what exactly made it so groundbreaking?  It was such a convincing replica of the Black Sabbath model, condensed into a power trio, that even Black Sabbath said that Sleep did it best.  Perhaps you’ll already see where I’m going with this.  Stoner doom isn’t generally about innovation and originality, unless you’re YOB.  It’s more about the VIBE, man….

Sleep once again pulled off a landmark album with Jerusalem/Dopesmoker, which was innovative only in that it pushed the limits of length and repetition to their logical extreme, eschewing traditional songwriting structures in favor of elements from classical composition and Eastern motifs.  Perhaps most importantly, it established the importance of unique tones and massive low end above all else.  It’s largely unimportant from a critical perspective that the album is so monotonous – the repetition actually works in its favor, whereas with other genres, it would not.  Dopesmoker simply punishes, relenting only in shorter, quieter sections.

Other groundbreaking albums in the genre followed suit – Acid King pretty much perfected the combination of fuzzed out post-Sabbath riffs and ethereal vocals on Busse Woods.    Electric Wizard’s Dopethrone pushed the limits of production to the very extreme, with spaced, blown out vocals, hyper fuzzed guitar, unearthly effects and massively distorted bass.  I often deride this album as my least favorite of the Electric Wizard catalog, sheerly because it doesn’t sound GOOD.  However, that was never the point.  It doesn’t sound like anything else that came before it, and that’s why it’s so important.  I remember the first time I heard that bass burst in with that massive riff from “Vinum Sabbathi”, and my jaw literally dropping in disbelief.  Nothing had ever sounded like this up to that point.  Nothing.  Sure, Witchcult  Today sounds much better, Black Masses has much better songs….and Dopethrone will always hold a special place in my heart.  When you get into these groups, there’s only a couple ways you can get out….

Tour Schedule

There’s a few other landmark albums I’ll reference for context – Warhorse released As Heaven Turns To Ash, offering a sound that branched into death metal territory, utilized more dynamics and pushed the extremes to which a guitar can be downtuned.  Despite their sole album, they’re always going to be fondly remembered as the band that blew Electric Wizard off the stage when they ventured to our lovely continent on their first American tour.  Around the same time, Sloth borrowed Electric Wizard‘s gear and somehow unveiled a real corker of an album that seemed to stop both time and space in the wake of its gravitational field.  Goatsnake dropped a couple key albums around the turn of the millennium, matching big tone with accomplished vocals and making Sunn 0))) amps a household name and a much valued commodity.  A little later down the line, The Sword’s main achievement was in marketing and promotion, though they did introduce faster tempos and broke away from the established power trio format, utilizing NWOBHM inspired harmonies.  Conan pushed the limits of volume and heaviness with their first release, issuing forth a single-minded and monolithic statement of intent.  Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats injected sugar coated Beatles-eque harmonies into their psych-doom, and frankly, also changed the face of marketing by deliberately cultivating an air of mystery, concocting a lovely yet bogus legend around their origins, and then initially refusing to play live.  This combination resulted in massive hype.

Of course, there’s also the first Black Pyramid album (full disclosure: I am a member of), which for some inexplicable reason made quite a splash at the time.  I don’t know – I just tried to draw influence from these bands, and I also tried to write good, brutal songs that mix things up in terms of tempo and style.  I wrote the lyrics to be evil in a way that I didn’t think evil was fully explored in the genre.  That’s it.  It wasn’t rocket science or anything, and I’ve honestly never fully understood the appeal.  I guess it just hit the right spots at the right time.

Band Pic

Enough ruminating on the past, let’s fast forward to the present.  It’s 2017, stoner doom is somehow still a thing, and Monolord is the band of the movement.  They are a Swedish trio and their bassist was previously in the grind outfit Rotten Sound, whom I rather like.  The other two were previously in Marulk, whom I’ve never heard.  I suppose that doesn’t matter all that much, as they’re in Monolord now, and I’m writing about them.

What can I say about Monolord?  How do they contribute to the landscape of the genre?  Well, first off, their name is an excellent description of their sound.  Secondly,  they’re very obviously influenced by most of the bands I’ve listed above, with the obvious exception of The Sword.  There’s some serious Sleep, Electric Wizard, and Acid King worship going on, so if you dig those bands, I don’t see any reason you’d write this off.  Thirdly, they’re a relatively young band, though not green by any means.  Their first album was released in 2014, and they’ve had an impressive array of releases since.  A single here, an EP there, a sophomore album in 2015; they’re certainly staying busy and making a name for themselves.  Their sound has stayed pretty consistent from their first release, and it’s everything that you’d want and expect from a good stoner doom band – downtuned, fuzzy guitar interspersed with trippy effects and bursts of feedback, huge bass tones, spaced out vocals, and a rock-solid drummer holding it down underneath all that precious noise.  They tend to stretch song lengths upwards of ten minutes at times, though I’d be hard pressed to define what criteria differentiates their decision to keep a song shorter or to extend it.  If I had to venture a guess, I’d say they just ride out the riffs that they really, really like to play, and this lends an authentic, organic vibe to what they’re all about.  That’s vitally important in a genre that’s so inherently derivative.

pics and patches

If anything, I’d say that the consistency has been Monolord’s strongest suit up to this point.  They haven’t made many efforts to tread new ground, and up until, they haven’t really felt the need to.  Their second album, Vaenir, is a little more polished than the debut, and this was exactly what they needed to do – double down on what’s obviously working.  The Lord of Suffering 10″ showcased a little more maturity in the songwriting department, and it’s still exactly what you’d expect.  This brings us up to Rust, where they’ve thrown out everything that’s come before, re-written the proverbial book and drastically redefined who they are as a band.

….

I’m just kidding, none of that is true.  Any one of the songs on Rust could have comfortably fit on a prior release.  That’s by no means a bad thing – I’ve already touted the consistency of their artistic vision.  The subtle though obvious shift this time around is that they’re beginning to make more use of the studio to explore more textures and sounds, and it makes for delicious little surprises interspersed between gargantuan riffs.  After opening the album with two pretty straight forward songs, the title track initiates with a haunting organ intro that drives the catchiness of the vocal hook home.  Once the riffs do actually drop, it makes for an extremely effective counterpoint.  It’s a seemingly little thing, and it makes a whole world of difference.  This is my favorite track on the album, and I think it’s the best song they’ve written to date.

They follow this up with “Wormland”, an instrumental with slower, more deliberate riffing that takes a stark turn once again into more melodic territory, with a most triumphant, transcendent lead guitar line once again surprises by finishing up with a violin echoing the same melody.  “Forgotten Lands” once again surprises us by making ample usage of its near 13 minute run time, detouring into a full-blown psychedelic breakdown mid song, with a delightfully wonky guitar solo and more exotic, modal guitar work.  The final song, “At Niceae”, basically utilizes a false ending.  It’s an otherwise standard track for Monolord, except that the riffs fade out, leaving us with feedback.  I thought the album was over, and then an acoustic guitar kicked in, overlaid with some heavily echoed vocals and a sorrowful melody.  It’s a great conclusion to a well executed album.

Monolord_Band Pic

As I stated earlier, there has been a maturity inherent in the development of the band, and it’s firmly showcased on Rust.  It’s not like they’ve gone full prog or anything – they still do what they do best, which is just heavy, zonked to the nipples doomliciousness.  There is simply an increased emphasis on melody within the songwriting itself, while retaining the heavy, trippy sound that’s made a name for them.  As far as how it fits into the continuum and tradition of the genre?  Well, they’re currently on top of the game.  Electric Wizard’s last album was far from their best work; it’s most likely their weakest.  Veterans like Acid King and Goatsnake are only sporadically active.  The Sword have a full-blown musical identity crisis on each album.  If Sleep actually drops a new album, that will be a game changer based on the strength of the one song they’ve recorded since their reunion.  Since for some inexplicable reason, there’s still a lot of interest in this sound, it leaves a lot of room at the top for more established bands that aren’t quite stoner royalty yet,  like Windhand and Cough, as well as newcomers who are able to make a name and get some momentum behind them, like Monolord and Vokonis.

In closing, I’m continually perplexed at the longevity of stoner doom.  Other genres that are so pigeonholed and overspecialized have only occupied a single moment in musical history before they’ve been forced to evolve or become redundant and obsolete.  You can’t really call it a trend – trends quickly rise and fall within the realm of heavy music, though doom’s rise in prominence has been slow, steady, and continual.  Indeed, there are those who have already evolved beyond their humble roots, bands like High On Fire, Elder and YOB.   What is it about turning up really loud, tuning down really low, and aping Black Sabbath that’s had such a lasting, overarching appeal?    Is it that musically, it digs right to the very roots of metal, the birthplace of all things heavy? Is it some primal, ritualistic element buried deep within the collective human subconscious?  Is it an attempt to identify with, and thereby transcend the darker aspects of human nature?  Some kind of catharsis for our more socially unacceptable emotions and fantasies? Once again, I don’t really know.  I can tell you that even I’m not immune to its perpetual pull – even though I’m bored with the more common cliches associated with the genre, I’m such a sucker for a huge, over-amplified Sabbath riff.  In that regard, Monolord has delivered the goods in spades.  As always, my brain jumps right head to “what are they doing to do next?”  It’s a fair question even now.  Will they continue down the path of predictable consistency, with a pragmatic and gradual approach to change, or will they choose to truly branch off into the outer limits, returning to us with some unique permutation of psychedelic doom-inspired mayhem that will blow our minds like the forebearers of the genre did before them?


ELARA “Deli Bal” Album Review + Stream…

ELARA

Deli Bal – Vinyl // CD // DD

PysKA Records – released May 1, 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner 

 

Lineup:
DANIEL WIELAND – Bass & Vocals
FELIX SCHMIDT – Guitars & Effects
MARTIN WIELAND – Drums & Percussion

Tracklist:
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

Review:

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.

Live Band Pic

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

Band Logo


Black Mare “Death Magick Mother” Album Review + Stream…

BLACK MARE 

Death Magick Mother – Vinyl (coming soon) // DD

Magic Bullet Records – Release Date September 15th, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

 

Location:
Los Angeles, California

Previous Releases:
“Field Of The Host” (2013)

“Iseult” single (2014)

“BLACK MARE / Syndrome” split LP (2014)

“Low Crimes” single (2015)

 

Review:
Black Mare, the solo project of Sera Timms (Ides of the Gemini, ex-Black Math Horseman), and focuses on conveying a world of meaning with a minimalistic vocabulary. With a focus on rhythmic repetition and atmospheric simplicity, Black Mare steps outside the collaborative dynamic to reveal a creative process that is all Sera’s. Black Mare immerses the listener into her own mythical world, an aurally lush, yet glacially-paced cruise through Timms’ frozen world wherein she encourages the mind’s eye to notice relics like the feathers of fallen angels scattered about the snow.

This latest release goes further into the shadowed realms of contemplation and darkened spheres that exists between the here and there, the now and the then and all hidden points between. Sera masterfully guides us along, showing the landmarks of her mindscape along the way.

 

 

From opener ‘Ingress To Form’ through ‘Femme Couverte’ to ‘Death By Desire’, the ringing clarity of the vocal layers haunting every shadow along the journey. As her ringing bass notes lead us into the ‘Coral Vaults’ that are seemingly filled with ethereal guitar notes that wrap themselves through the cadence set, flowing into ‘Babylon’s Fold’, hypnotic and morose in tone, unrelenting even as the soft cymbal washes back and forth.

Even as ‘Kala’ comes in, once the muted chords lead directly into Sera‘s vocal, commanding and demanding in her beckoning execution, further summoning the roar of her vision of deafening inevitability. Closer ‘Inverted Tower’ begins with that signature vocal layering that is the signature mark and this tale is the exacting summation of where we have traveled so far and nothing is left on the table.  All ingredients and flavors swirled together to give us this opus to satiate the mind and heart in the secrets and shadows that are revealed throughout.

36 minutes made up of a cohesive gathering of seven saga’s that flow from and to each other effortlessly. Grab this one immediately, share the wonder with every ear you come in contact with and support them live if you are granted the chance to and keep it LOUD!!

 

Promo Image

Red Mountains “Slow Wander” Album Review + Stream…

RED MOUNTAINS

Slow Wander – Vinyl // Digital Download

All Good Clean Records – Released – September 1, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Simen Mathiassen – Drums
Sverre Dalen – Bass
Jostein Wigenstad – Guitar
Magnus Riise – Guitar / Vocal
 

Review:

Red Mountains is a Psychedelic stoner rock band out of Trondheim Norway. “Slow Wander” is their sophomore offering following the 2015 release of “Down with the Sun.” Their Facebook page lists their influences to include Dead Meadow, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Sleep, Brant Bjork and Fuzz. I’m not familiar with all those acts but I can hear the Sabbath for sure. They especially remind me of “Vol. 4” – Tomorrow’s Dream, Cornucopia and Snowblind but not Supernaught.

Let me tell you now this album is chill as fuck. My first taste of Slow Wander was when I was driving. I happened to be in a hurry, realized I had forgotten something at my place and had to turn back. I’m already late and waiting at a light to do a U turn when I hit play. The opening track, ironically named Home has a slow, smooth wane to it, as if it’s recorded on the wrong speed. It’s almost hypnotic how the high notes are placed just so, contrasting the doomish rhythm. I find myself getting sucked into the music and I soon forget I’m in a hurry. I come to and look down at my speedometer because the last thing I need now is to get pulled over. Normally I’ll go 10 over the limit but I’ve got a lead foot so I have to be careful as my speed creeps up. When I look down, I realize I’m doing the speed limit.

Now I know this particular style of music is meant to be enjoyed under the influence. I happened to not partake in said activities on the regular, especially while I’m driving but I can say if you let ‘Home’ take you you’ll get a very similar chill feeling.

‘Endless Ocean’, track 4, sounds like it should be on the soundtrack to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or maybe Trainspotting. If I relax and close my eyes, images of lava lamps and the feeling of floating is induced. Faces distort, patterns can be seen in the windows and one must stop to have a closer look at the wares of the shop we’ve walked past uninterested so many times before. We head down the stairs to the local metal bar, only to find it’s zombie night. We’re not entirely sure if we can be so lucky or perhaps it’s not really happening and just an unexpected effect. It’s troubling and fun at the same time.

Blue Wax

Upon returning to reality, I come to realize that it’s now track 8 and I’ve zoned out pretty hard. ‘Acid Wedding’ is a clever metaphor. I find the verbiage in the lyrics come to life as the music sets the scene. I imagine the events are taking place in the badlands mountainous region from the album cover. Assuming in the valley area but then who knows where a trip will take you? That butte looks incredibly interesting, after all. Slow Wander indeed.

The album closes out with ‘Returning,’ a Sabbath inspired track with the similar slow, hypnotic style that frames the album. I think by now you’re starting to get a clear picture of Red Mountains and “Slow Wander.” Normally I’m much wordier in my reviews but for whatever reason I’m now feeling kind of lazy and just want a Twinkie so I’m going to close it up here.

Links:
https://redmountains.bandcamp.com/album/slow-wander

https://www.facebook.com/redmountainsband


Cosmic Fall // Aphodyl “Starsplit” Album Review + Stream…

Cosmic Fall and Aphodyl

Starsplit – Vinyl // CD // DD

PsyKA Records – released July 27, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

The Starsplit Enterprise

 

 

Star date: 8/30/17 – Space, time, … as everyone even somewhat familiar with Albert Einstein theory of relativity knows  one’s perception of them changes when traveling at the speed of light. Music strangely enough has a similar effect which I was reminded of while listening to the “Starsplit” album last night. An endeavor by two stoner rock bands from Berlin who decided to share some vinyl Cosmic Fall and Aphodyl released a split aptly named “Starsplit” on PsyKA Records, a small underground label from Karlsruhe, Germany. This epic journey has a total run time of 6 tracks lasting 1 hour and 17 minutes on their CD release and 4 tracks lasting about 47 minutes on their Vinyl Release. I found I really didn’t care about time and just enjoyed the moment on each song, which is what good psychedelic/stoner rock is about. Normally I don’t talk about each song on an album but I feel I would be doing these guys an injustice if I didn’t explain why I liked each of their songs.

 

Cosmic Fall Logo

On the A-Side of “Starsplit” is Cosmic Fall. Founded in June 2016 by Bassist Klaus Friedrich, and drummer Daniel Sax.  With 2 impressive self produced Heavy Psyche albums “Cosmic Fall” has returned from the  stars to lay down some more of their otherworldly instrumental space rock with an urban feel to it for us.

Galactic desert rock is what I like to call the albums 1st track ‘Overhead Intelligence.’ It begins with a slow bluesy guitar jam  done by Mathias Rosmann accompanied by Klaus Friedrich’s mellow bass notes emphasis by a few well timed drum beats. Then drummer Daniel Sax helps to kick the song into warp drive allowing Mathias and Klaus to amaze the listener with a stellar guitar performance. ‘Blues at CME’ is pure  ZZ Top instrumental worship that feels like a late night cruise on the back roads of Texas in my cheap sun glasses where a UFO lands and some hot space chicks abduct me to take me on a cruise through the stars. Closing out the Cosmic Fall side of the album is the Bonus Track  ‘Sleeping Pandora.’ Beginning with a Bass and Drum lead by Klaus and Daniel while Mathias plays a far away psychedelic guitar that seems to ebb and flow like the ocean tides. A superb track to close out Cosmic Fall’s 39+ minutes of Cosmic Traveling!!  Up next on Side B…..

APHODYL
Aphodyl_Album Cover

On the B-Side APHODYL!! – No matter the medium I have found Germans have always seemed to have a big Avante Garde art scene that challenges people’s perceptions. Biene, Holli, André & Arno are no exception. Playing music that comes from their minds with much influence from the psychedelic and Krautrock realms, (Pink Floyd, UFO, Hawkwind, Jane etc.) APHODYL fearlessly experiments with sound. On the  APHODYL side of “Starsplit” is what I consider to be 1 long song that has been separated into  3 movements simply titled  ‘Part I, II and III(bonus).’

‘Part I’ begins  with what sounds like a bluesy heavy psych guitar lead by André with some jazz style percussion and bass by Hollie and Arno. As the band starts getting into the song they start working in the strange psychedelic sounds. In the second movement  you feel like you are under a desert sky riding along on a caravan under the stars watching flying saucers through the combination of  instrumental sound effects by Biene, Middle Eastern style guitar playing and that chugging bass. Then at the mid point the lead starts taking off all the while the band is adding sounds from their synth and the bass by Arno begins to feel like its speaking a strange mantra. Then the third bonus movement begins with sounds of a sultry night with a cool bass and drum lead in then the electric blues guitar starts playing music you can actually feel. I’d love to hear more by APHODYL and will be scouring the internet to see what they have available.

While you can still buy Merchandise this album is no longer available for purchase on Bandcamp but fear not you can still get CD’s and Vinyl direct from the band, Cosmic Fall.  Simply drop them a line at their email cosmicfallband@gmail.com.

Additional Links:
http://www.clostridiumrecords.com/

https://cosmicfallband.tumblr.com/

http://www.aphodyl.com/

http://www.allthatisheavy.com/Cosmic_Fall_Aphodyl_Star_Split_Marble_IMPORT_LP_p/ath-12273.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJkOD9CM6U0


Howling Giant “Black Hole Space Wizard” (Parts I & II) Review + Stream…

HOWLING GIANT

Black Hole Space Wizard (Parts 1 & 2) – CD // DD

Self Released – August 25th, 2017 

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Location:  Nashville, Tennessee USA

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

 

Previous Releases:

“Howling Giant-s/t” EP (January 2015)

 



 

Review:
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’…

“Part 1”

Black Hole Space Wizard_Part 1_Album Cover

 

‘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.

 

“Part 2”
Black Hole Space Wizard_Part II_Album Cover

 

‘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.

 

Band Pic

 

‘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!!

 

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.