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


The Judge “Tell It To The Judge” Album Review + More…

The Judge

Tell it to the Judge – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD 

Ripple Music – Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

 
The Judge:
Kevin Jones – Bass
Dylan Jarrett – Guitar,
Evan Anderson – Drums,
Tyler Swope – Vocals

 

Gather round everyone Terry “The Ancient One” has a tale to tell about 4 young rock ‘n rollers from a place called Granite City, Illinois named: Kevin Jones, Dylan Jarrett, Evan Anderson, and Tyler Swope. Known as The Judge. Founded in 2006 by Dylan Jarrett, and Evan Anderson with mutual friend Zack Revelle the bands first incarnation was known as Unfallen which lasted less than a month. But that  did not stop Dylan and Evan who had dreams of one day taking the stage and rocking the house down. Determined to make things happen . Dylan started The Jude as a side project with his friend Evan while playing for Ripper(named after the Judas Priest song) started by Andrew Pashea, cousin of Zack Revelle, and drummer Darren Williams.

With some material written and promo videos recorded using home studio software when Ripper split Dylan and Evans dream began taking shape when Evan found the drums they needed to begin rehearsing in Dylan’s home. With Bassist Kevin Jones complimenting Evan Anderson’s hard hitting drum style. The Judge found the heavy sound they were seeking to mix with Dylan Jarrett’s progressive guitar style and soon after Tyler Swope adding his vocal versatility that allowed him to hit the highs of musicians like Robert Plant and lows of Jim Morrison to complete the mix.

 

 

After recording their Demo which would later be called The Judge EP released on October 30th 2014 as a free download on Bandcamp The Judge began working in earnest to get its name out by doing more gigs. Compared by fans to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath at some point The Judge gained the attention of Ripple Record.  They signed with the label and put out a “Self Titled” debut album that combined 4 tracks from their EP and 5 new tracks. Which is about the time I became aware of The Judge.

 

Live Band Shot

 

Like their first EP and debut LP, The Judge puts their all into their latest album “Tell it to the Judge.” Some compare them to the above aforementioned because The Judge has a hard rockin’ blue collar feel but I could hear other influences in their music. Though it took me several sessions of listening to Tell it to The Judge and the bands other albums to pin it down before I realized I was hearing elements of The Doors, Cream , and The Guess Who in the bands music.

Some of the best songs on this album are ‘Changing World,’ ‘Islands’, ‘High Flyin’ and ‘Parade of Sin.’ If you like hard rockin blues music with a psychedelic feel give Tell it to the Judge a listen. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to share this with your friends also be sure to give us a like on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.


POSEIDON “Prologue” Album Review + Teaser Video…

POSEIDON

Prologue – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Ripple Music – Release Date:  JULY 21st, 2017

Reviewed by Aaron “Red Beard” Wall

 

Poseidon…crushing, destructive, monolithic. Juxtaposed with melodies of melancholy and the starkest and darkest of beauty. Poseidon…volume, monster thickness of tone. Rhythms with a pulse that can go from subtle to leveling pulverization. Emotional atmospheres of foggy desolation. Based out of East London these four blokes bring the smoke and the ash. Raza Khan-Drums // Matt Norris-Guitar // Matthew Bunkell-Bass/Vocals // Jaime Starke-Guitar hurl fire and smog. They bring a weight down on you that hits the soul. Prologue  is Poseidon’s Ripple Music debut. Ripple most definitely know what they are doing. The label is the leader of heavy in North America and expanding. Signings such as Poseidon and this concrete slab of a record will keep Ripple’s reputation held in extremely high regard.

 

Band Pic

 

Prologue begins with ‘The Beginning The End The Colony.’ Our journey starts with a slow build of epic proportions. Feedback and tension swirl around your brain. The thickness pushing and putting pressure on the mood. As the monolithic and devastating riff drops, the drums of thunder kick in heaviness and groove that suffocates, and simultaneously exhilarates. Slow, meaty, weighty, emotionally charged sludgy doom. Midway through, the flawless vocals come in as Poseidon proceed to drop the sledge. The band transitions into an atmospheric and dissonant short reprise. Complete with swirling and weaving leads. You are able to catch your breath…if only for a minute. Savor that breath, because the last four minutes of this jam, the band will crush your lungs, your mind, your heart, and your soul. All has gone black.

Mother Mary Son of Scorn follows. A poignant acoustic dirge that lets the sparks and ashes fall and settle, on the smoldering landscape of desperation. Beautiful and dark, lamented and empty. This song makes you feel. Feel deep.

Chainbreaker  breaks the chains. The beast is rising. Slogging across a swamp of mud and guts. Angry and agitated, the creature destroys the tethers of persecution, and is coming for the black tower. Tribal rhythmic drums mimicking the heartbeat, guitars raining molten lava. Waves of noise suffocate, as passionate and desperate vocals send shivers up the spine.

 

 

Closing track Omega opens with a biblical sermon on top of clean guitars with some reverb. The mood it sets is  immediate and intensely felt. Poseidon smash the psyche and the face until the final note.

On Prologue, Poseidon lay the wood. This record takes you on a dank and darkened  journey of diabolical sludge and doom. Neurosis noise, ethereal Yob vibes, Conan crushing tones. From the opening feedback, to the feedback at albums end, Prologue has everything. Heavier than one hundred heavy things. Emotional with weight and eerie underlying melodies throughout that are amazingly beautiful. Poseidon will be making waves, or should I say…Poseidon will be making tsunamis. We are all going under, and we are all going to be swept away.


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


Steak “No God To Save” Album Review & Stream

Steak

No God to Save – Vinyl // CD // DD 

Ripple Music – Released May 19, 2017

Reviewed by Aaron “Red Beard” Wall

 

Next up on the menu, is Steak. Not choice, not select, but prime. Meaty and juicy. Based out of London, this four piece of anthemic rock n roll goodness is marbled to perfection. Sprinkled with spices of fuzzy stoner tones, pounding rhythms and grungy vocals. The band consists of, Sammy on drums, and Cam on bass to fill out the massive rhythm section. Reece handles guitar and Kip is on vocals. Releasing two EP’s in 2012 and 2013 respectively, and the buzz building debut LP “Slab City”, Steak now is ready to sear the listener. New record “No God to Save” is out now on Ripple Music. The benchmark label of all heavy independents.

The record begins with the awesome ‘Overthrow.’  It starts with a completely fantastic riff, that is melodic, fuzzy, stoned out, and powerfully emotive. An extremely memorable riff that Steak let build until the thunderous rhythm section kicks in the groove. A really killer intro to this album. The main riff comes on like an avalanche as the band takes the energy up another notch. The vocals triumphantly come in and to me are very reminiscent of an old favorite band, Kilgore from the mid to late 90’s. Grunge-esque and executed very nicely. In my humble opinion, ‘Overthrow’ is the best track on the record…but don’t fret…this song may be the porterhouse, but the rest of the record has prime cuts all over it.

Live Shot

‘Coke Dick’ is next and starts with a slower paced groove that heavily lulls you into a slow head bob. Then the next second, Steak takes the tempo up more to the middle and smacks you right in the chops. A pure rock n roll jam.

‘Clones’ kicks off with a fuzzed out bassline from the desert. A weaving lead over the fuzzy low end, gives the song a lonesome feel. A journey to find oneself. Another anthem that could fill an arena just as comfortably as a dirty dingy UK club. Steak is at home in either, and anywhere in between.

‘King Lizard’ is a journey across an atmosphere thick with heaviness and spectacle. The energy throughout the first half of the record stays interesting and very high.

‘Living Like a Rat’ hits hard as hell from the jump, and pummels until a small reprise halfway through, that leads in to the heaviest part of the ‘No God to Save.’ The second half of this standout track beats you down and tenderizes your brain, in the best possible way.

‘Mountain,’ Rough House,’ and ‘Creeper,’ keep the emotion level to a peak that ‘No God to Save’ maintains from front to back. Powerful and stunning riffs, along with amazing bass and drum work. Vocal that never fail to soar on the choruses and verses that retain grit.

The final two tracks wind the record down. ‘Wickerman’ reminds me of a very heavy Pearl Jam. Steak has  a little bit of everything on this album. Fuzzy and stoner, with a grungy aesthetic. Triumphant rock n roll. Pure and simple.

Closing track ‘The Ebb’ is an acoustic instrumental that lets the listener down easy after an album full of rocker after rocker, jam after jam.

Steak are like I said previously, prime beef. Fatty, thick, juicy, sizzling, and with the bone in. ‘No God to Save is chock full of animal protein. If you like you meat cooked rare and a little bloody, then give Steak a taste…and enjoy the flavor.

My sincerest apologies for all the clichés…not really though. All Hail!

Pro Band Shot


Vokonis – “The Sunken Djinn” Album Review & Track Stream…

Vokonis

The Sunken Djinn – Vinyl // CD // DD

Ripple Music – June 9th, 2017

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

Vokonis is a stoner doom band from Sweden and this is their sophomore album.  The second release is often-times paramount in a band’s development.  There’s a widespread belief that a band has all the time in the world to write their first album, so that’s often why a band can release a stunning debut, but it’s the sophomore album that’s more telling of what a band is capable of in the long term.  I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate – some bands write and record their debuts very quickly after coming together, though I do agree that a band’s second album is often indicative of their longevity and ability to thrive in a crowded music scene.  There usually is more pressure on the band to deliver the goods, from fans, from their label contacts, as nothing spells success like a powerful follow-up to a promising debut.

I hadn’t heard of Vokonis before being assigned this review, so I went back and did some digging once I learned this wasn’t their first record.  They formed out of the ashes of a former project called Creedsmen Arise, so you know where their loyalties lie.  After a slight shift up in the lineup, they changed the name to its current moniker.  The newer name is apparently taken from some legendary king, though I couldn’t find anything to verify whether King Vokonis actually existed outside of the band’s private mythology.   In 2016, they released their debut on Ozium Records, entitled Olde One Ascending.  It’s a fairly standard album that largely follows the template for the genre: a power trio with a Black Sabbath and Sleep inspired sound, fuzzed out and tuned down for maximum thumpitude. Long, meandering arrangements punctuated by guitar solos, slower passages, and trippy atmospheres. Gruff, monotone vocals that sit somewhere between Fu Manchu’s slacker spoken word and (16)’s screamed sludge abandon, dark psychedelic artwork and lyrical themes.  If you’ve been into the genre for awhile, none of this should be particularly surprising or off-putting, well, other than that it’s been done to death.  Vokonis obviously aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel or do anything too wildly experimental here, just six songs of old-fashioned, stoned-out doom.

 

Band Pic

 

Still, the debut apparently made enough of an impact to land the group a record deal with the prestigious Ripple Music, and that leads us right into their aforementioned sophomore album, The Sunken Djinn.  Right away, from the very title, I already like it better than the debut.  Sure, the Olde Ones and Lovecraft are super cool and creepy, though how many songs can I hear about Lovecraft inspired themes before they just lose their impact and become another tired cliche that’s plagued this genre for nearly a decade?  Well, Muslim mythology and the story of the djinn is equally intriguing, a race that’s neither human nor angel.  They’ve always held a unique place in the heart of Arabic culture, both classical and contemporary,  this particular source material hasn’t been harvested to point of being completely fallow ground.  It’s refreshing to see a band looking outside the tried and true.

As far as the music itself, I like it a lot.  It takes everything that they did well on the first album and simply trims the fat.  It’s super meat and potatoes, not just in terms of the previous output, but in comparison to the stoner doom scene as a whole.  While this genre is often rife with excess, for better or for worse, Vokonis’s stripped down approach is a breath of fresh air.  My earlier comparison to Fu Manchu works well; just as the Fu’s stripped stoner rock to its essential bare-bones elements, Vokonis have done the same with doom (yes, I’m aware that Fu Manchu have been around much longer than the questionable term “stoner rock” has been in usage).  The songs are shorter, though still fully realized and revolve around a couple key riffs and musical motifs.  There’s still enough atmosphere, dynamics and variation to keep it all from getting too stale and one dimensional.  There’s some usage of odd, dissonant chords and phrasing to keep it from sounding too generic and regurgitated.  Although The Sunken Djinn still owes a heavy debt to all things Sleep and Sabbath, nothing sounds like complete cookie cutter cloner rock. On top of that, the album has a great coherency and flow.

 

 

The production is a bit tighter and cleaner than its predecessor, allowing for more breathing room and space within the songs.  This has the effect of making the material sound heavier and darker, with more menace and bombast. Even the artwork is more nuanced and ominous, as much as I like the cover of the debut.  In 2017, when we’re talking doom, it’s somewhat of an innovation to just keep it simple and straight to the point. Vokonis have essentially emphasized everything that I love about classic stoner doom, while cutting out the elements that have largely become redundant and cliche.

That’s not to say that Vokonis is totally free from some of the more irksome elements of stoner rock and doom.  I told you that I researched them a bit, and I did see pretty gratuitous displays of amplifier pornography on their Facebook page.  Maybe that floats some people’s proverbial “boats.” For me, if you’ve seen one Orange amp, you’ve seen them all, and we all know what they say about people with big amps.  I know that I’m generally inclined to extended rants and digressions, though I also like to tailor the format of my reviews to suit the album in discussion, so I’m going to take a page from the band’s playbook and keep today’s diatribe to a mere and brief five sentences.

 

7inch Single_Album Cover

 

I foresee pretty big things on the horizon for Vokonis.  They’re building a good deal of momentum for themselves in a short period of time, with a compelling and buzz-worthy debut, a hot off the presses 7″ showcasing a song from the new album, and the backing of a label that’s known to be extremely artist friendly and supportive.  This could very easily be their breakthrough album, it’s well crafted and immediate.  By all accounts they seem to be ambitious, hungry, and upwardly mobile.  Once this album drops and Vokonis take the show on the road, barring any unforeseen circumstances, they’re going to make quite the impact and leave a good sized crater of charred audiences in their wake….


DOUBLESTONE ‘Devils Own/Djævlens Egn’ Review & Album Stream

DOUBLESTONE
Devils Own/Djævlens Egn – Vinyl//CD//DD
Ripple Music – Release Date: May 5th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

 

The Copenhagen-based Doublestone are back with their Ripple Music debut, ‘Devils Own/Djævlens Egn‘ on May 5th (today). Once again the band utilized the talents of Tony Reed (Mos Generator, Stone Axe) to master the new effort, one produced by the band themselves and Andreas Krohn at Wolf Ram Studios. With today’s release, guitarist/vocalist Bo Blond, bassist/vocalist Kristian Blond and drummer Mike James B. further explore the vintage-tinged sound that permeated earlier releases Set The World Ablaze (2013 EP), Doublestone (2013 self-titled) and the Wingmakers full-length.

On Devils Own/Djævlens Egn, the guys devise a seeming time machine and use it to return to an age of traditional, early rock music. In doing so, they keep the retroactive vibes and consistently rocking on such superb stand-out songs like ‘War Machine‘ (streaming below), ‘Man On The Hill‘, ‘I Natten‘ and ‘Solen Sover‘. Meanwhile, other cuts incorporate some nods toward a bit of psychedelia and more melodic influences. The partial title track ‘Devil’s Own‘ is a bit lighter fare that has an almost sea shanty-like quality to it while the other partial number, ‘Djævlens Egn‘, is a definite blues track.

Of the eight songs here, my personal favorite has to be ‘Here Comes The Serpent‘, an upbeat but doomy selection that weaves a mythical tale amid thick grooves and infectious rhythms. It rides along a direct trail of much heavier content and possesses some amazing guitar work as well. When taken in stride with the other songs, they all work together collectively to yield yet another incredible outing from this trio.

Once again, Ripple Music will release the new Doublestone album, ‘Devils Own/Djævlens Egn‘ worldwide today, Friday, May 5th. It will be available in the following formats: Vinyl, limited-edition/multi-colored Vinyl, CD and digital download.


VOKONIS Stream Title Track Of Upcoming ‘The Sunken Djinn’ Record; Album Details

Swedish psyche/doom trio Vokonis are sharing a stream of the title track from their upcoming Ripple Music release, ‘The Sunken Djinn‘ today. The band, guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, drummer Emil Larsson and bassist Jonte Johansson, will release the new album on June 9th. The eagerly anticipated new effort is the follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed Olde Ones Ascending and today’s song share provides ample reason to fuel clamoring for the new record.

As the press release puts it: “Following countless appearances in the underground’s essential heavy directory The Doom Charts and frequent “Next Big Thing” mentions in end of year lists, Vokonis’ The Sunken Djinn will undoubtedly mark the arrival of Sweden’s next great hard rock and heavy metal export.”

A vinyl 7″ of today’s Single, ‘The Sunken Djinn’ (top image), will be released on May 13th from Ripple Music and the full-length album itself on June 9th.

The Taste Nation LLC review of ‘The Sunken Djinn‘ is coming to the site soon.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

Tracklist:

Tracklist:
1. The Sunken Djinn
2. Calling From The Core
3. The Coldest Night
4. Blood Vortex
5. Architect Of Despair
6. Rapturous
7. Maelstroem


MOONBOW ‘War Bear’ Review & Full Album Stream

MOONBOW
War Bear: CD//DD
Ripple Music
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

 

Kentucky’s Moonbow are a rather appropriately named band for sure. To understand that, first you must know about the Kentucky Moonbow, a naturally occurring wonder taking place at Cumberland Falls, KY. It is not an everyday sight but when conditions are right, within a few days of a full moon on a clear night, you can see it. A faint arc of multicolored lights that stretches from the base of the falls downstream to the boulders adorning the banks of the Cumberland River. The unforgettable experience of witnessing this event draws untold numbers of visitors to the region annually as they hope to witness this incredible event.

Another incredible event upon the horizon is the Kentucky-based band Moonbow issuing their third studio recording, ‘War Bear‘, via Ripple Music on April 21st. Much like their namesake, the band provides an enlightening experience that bursts out from the darkness of mediocre music that permeates the rock realm at any given time. Once again comprised of vocalist Matt Bischoff, guitarist David McElfresh, bassist Ryan McAllister and drummer Steve Earle, the guys deliver a grizzly behemoth of hard rock with ‘War Bear‘.

Moonbow

The undeniable influence of Appalachian life and music both manifest themselves repeatedly throughout this new effort. Gargantuan, dense riffs reinforce songs such as the title track ‘War Bear‘, ‘Death Of Giants‘ and the backwoods blues of ‘Son Of Moses‘. One might state that this is something all to itself, perhaps Southern Grunge or Bluegrass Blues Rock or another moniker of minimal imagination. And yes, the music here most definitely is that but it is also much, much more. For instance, the groove-laden stomp of ‘Sword In The Storm‘ and its infectious sonics have “hit Single” written all it. With a bit of laid back swagger within its fantastic impact, the song features the boys’ grittiest, tight-knit playing.

There’s also moments of haunting psychedelia influencing cuts like ‘Bloodwash‘ but it is alternated with spans of powerful intensity. Earl’s drum work on the track is exceptionally tight and impressive on it, along with everyone’s fluid interaction within ‘Alone Eyes Roam‘. The quartet really ratchets up the energy and flow on ‘California King‘ along with a returning guest from their 2013 debut, The End Of Time, mister John Garcia himself. One of the strongest songs is the album closing ‘Toward The Sun‘, a heavy handed excursion that gave me some tingling sensations like those I rarely get from most music anymore. They’re the same visceral vibes that I acquired from hearing the aforementioned Moonbow debut and acoustic follow up, Volto del Demone in 2015.

I am beaming with pride (see what I did there) that my fellow Kentuckians, Moonbow, who are also one of the most refreshing, unique musical entities out there currently, are back. They are more than merely back really as they are back with something to say and something to play and it is a monolith of massive heavy rock. ‘War Bear‘ is a hungry animal ready for fierce action but it is my opinion that Moonbow have already won the day, and the battle too, with yet another magnificent display of Appalachian force.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

 


CURSE THE SON ‘Isolater’ Review, Stream & Title Track Official Video

Curse The Son

Isolator – Vinyl // CD // DD

Ripple Music – Release Date: April 7th, 2017

 

Connecticut’s Curse The Son return with their Ripple Music debut, “Isolator“, on April 7th and it might just be their best release yet. That’s a bold statement when you think how critically well-received earlier releases like the Globus Hystericus EP, Klonopain and Psychache were. But, as the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding and Isolator is a tasty blend of doomy, riff-driven music and somewhat tortured vocals. The latest incarnation of Curse The Son sees founding guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore alongside returning drummer Michael Petrucci and newest bassist Brendan Keefe. Together the trio wield elements of hard Stoner Rock and pepper it with variances of Psychedelia and touches of Sludge occasionally. In fact, multifaceted aural textures permeate everything present here, it’s what Isolator is all about really and the idea seems to be to push the envelope as far as the band can.

That push begins with the thick riffs and rhythmic rumbles of the album opening title track, ‘Isolator‘, as it gains forward ground with a slower but assured advancement. Chugging guitars and the tight knit rhythm section deliver a hypnotic behemoth as is evidenced in the official video above. That’s followed by the full-on doom heaviness of ‘Callous Unemotional Traits‘ and its seeming Black Sabbath ‘Who Are You‘ inspired formatting. Riffery resonates amid the din of crushing content and the airy elements within parts of the vocal presentation. My current favorite is up next as ‘Sleepwalker Wakes‘ unfurls yet another exercise in downtrodden doom but such is augmented with some killer, airy nods in the verses. Those nuances are ratcheted up rather nicely on ‘Hull Crush Depth‘, another heady foray into slow-grooving, semi-blues territory with tinges of psychedelia. The burly isolated bass lines provide the real fuel here, keeping everything locked down with some teeth-rattling bottom end. The rumble and rattle returns with ‘Gaslighter‘ where the guys revel in the song’s choppier chunks and trippy vocals. ‘Aislamiento‘ soon busts in with some monstrous riffs before relenting to some hazy tones and one of the album’s best vocal performances in my opinion. The song’s take on stoner-fied Fuzz Rock is great stuff while the song’s drum work is stellar on so many different levels too. The battering bass lines return in the intro to the album-ending ‘Side Effects May Include…‘ but soon they are rolling right along with the song’s sludgened undertones and bleak vibes. One could say this is grunge for those poor souls of the hopelessly damned and sure, the tempos may increase at times but perhaps the ending commentary says it all as one voice states: “That’s fucking ridiculous,” and then is answered by, “That’s fucking rock and roll, right there.”  Indeed it is, indeed it is.

On a related note, Curse The Son has rarely ever played outside their home vicinity of Connecticut, if at all. That will soon change as the band will undertake some periodic live excursions starting in early May, ones that will see shared performances alongside acts like Pale Grey Lore, Brimstone Coven, The Obsessed, Lo-Pan, Eternal Black, Clouds Taste Satanic, Wasted Theory and more on the following dates:

May 4th – Buzzbin Shop, Canton OH (w. Pale Grey Lore & Goosed)
May 5th – Howlers, Pittsburgh, PA (w. Brimstone Coven)
May 6th – TBA
May 19th – The Outerspace Ballroom, Hamden, CT (w. The Obsessed, Karma To Burn and Lo Pan)
June 1st – Ralph’s Rock Diner, Worcester, MA
June 2nd– Shakeen, Manchester, NF (w. Thunderhawk and more TBA)
June 3rd – TBA
July 20th – Lucky 13, Brooklyn, NY (w. Eternal Black, Clouds Taste Satanic and Mantis Mass)
July 21st – Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA (w. Wasted Theory, The Age of Truth and Goat Wizard)
July 22nd – Guido’s Speakeasy, Frederick, MD (Sludgement Day Festival)
August 25th– Cherry St. Station, Wallingford, CT (w. Sea Of Bones and Come To Grief)

Words by Patrick “Riot” Whitaker