Rise Above Records – (Re-Release / Remastered) October 13, 2017
Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler
Dancing in the Witches Garden
Hello Tasters today I’m gonna serve up some tasty music from a band called Uncle Acid & The deadbeats. Formed in Cambridge England in 2009 by Kevin Starrs, Uncle Acid & The deadbeats was originally: Mastermind & Frontman Kevin Starrs, on vocals and guitars, Kat on Bass, and Red on Drums. While Uncle Acid & The deadbeats transformed from a power trio into a quartet after Kat and Red left. It was with then that Uncle Acid & The deadbeats established it’s signature sound using elements of acid rock, British pop, and metal, with themes on occult, horror, drugs, murder and mayhem.
For those who are unfamiliar with them, until October this year a search on Amazon and iTunes would have only turned up Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats’ 2nd, 3rd, and 4th albums on CD and MP3 . Though it would be released as a limited edition vinyl in 2014 The album Vol. 1 was initially used like a demo. Marketed directly to the fans on MySpace & YouTube with a limited release of 30 albums on CD-R Vol.1 helped the band purchase better recording equipment for their 2nd self produced and recorded album Blood Lust. Which after a limited release of 100 on CD-R was picked up by Rise Above Records in 2011 and re-released introducing Uncle Acid’s signature sound to a wider audience.
While I can find no fault with Uncle Acids decision to initially only release Vol. 1 on vinyl, it was on the pricey side. Those who wanted to listen to it had to seek it out on YouTube and burn a copy from a friends album if they didn’t want to buy it on vinyl. Now that Vol. 1 has been reissued on CD, Vinyl, and MP3 fans can throw away and delete their bootleg copies and get the real deal. Although Blood Lust was the album that got myself and many other fans into Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats it all started with Vol.1.
What I enjoyed most about Vol. 1 is knowing that although it had to be done on a limited budget, Uncle Acid & The deadbeats still managed to create an auditory work of art. Opening with “Crystal Spiders,” I was immediately sucked into the album and still find myself having to fight the urge to dance around like a hippie on LSD when I listen to Vol. 1 in public. I like all of the songs on Vol. 1 but some of the best are “Witches Garden” and “Lonely And Strange.” Both tracks are sort of has The Doors does metal feel with some creepy electric organ and the latter having some stellar electric and acoustic guitar work by Kevin Starrs that boarders on the divine.
Then once again we get to listen to that amazing electric guitar and electric organ in “Vampire Circus.” “Do What Your Love Tells You” the album’s 6th track has just got some gnarly fuzzed out psychedelic riffs. Closing the album out is the creepy song ‘Wind Up Toys.” For those who intend to buy this album on vinyl if you get the band’s special edition it will include the bonus track of Uncle Acid’s cover of the Kinks song “Wicked Annabella”.
“Do you believe that someone out of the past – someone dead – can enter and take possession of a living being?” This is certainly an intriguing question asked by the character of Gavin in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Vertigo. When pertaining to Beastmaker, the answer is a wholehearted YES! Beastmaker seem possessed by early Black Sabbath and other similar vintage doom rock from the past. These Californians have invoked those spirits to produce, what is in my book, a top ten contender for 2017.
Beastmaker recorded Inside the Skull in three days. Andres Alejandro Saldate (drums) mixed and mastered while Trevor William Church (guitars/vocals) engineered. The band is rounded off by John Tucker (bass). Johanna Sadonis from Lucifer lends her unmistakable voice to “Heaven to Hell” and “Now Howls the Beast”. Knate from Salem’s Pot also makes a guest appearance. His contribution seamless given his track record with Salem’s Pot.
Church relates that the album was inspired by a myriad of topics. The base of the inspiration coming from horror movies such as Tomb of the Blind Dead. Thriller and suspense literature and movies such as the previously mentioned Vertigo by Hitchcock, and a distaste for organized religion were also cited as influences. The simple, yet effective, album cover was rendered by Branca Studios and perfectly conveys the contents therein. All ten tracks purveying a hauntingly doomy background to their style of old vintage metal.
Opening number “Evil One” initiates the proceedings with a wonderful doomy riff that drives the song along at a brisk pace. Album closer “Sick Sick Demon” bookending the album in much the same way. “Heaven to Hell” is a more varied track that ebbs and flows with its tempos. “Now Howls the Beast” and “Inside the Skull” feature some impressive solos. “Nature of the Damned” and “Psychic Visions” providing a mid-tempo that keeps things varied enough to create a dynamic album.
Beastmaker has created a memorable doom rock album with vintage overtones that does not disappoint. Inside the Skull is due to release on May 19th via Rise Above Records. Yes, Rise Above, so you pretty much know what is in store. It’s the perfect label for this band. They will be touring in May and June with Zakk Sabbath, so catch them live if you can. Now, in the words of the character Madeleine from Vertigo, “there is something I must do.” So, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll take another listen (or two) to this one.
Fresno, California’s occult doom trio Beastmakerwill bring their macabre sonic arts to the music loving masses via their new album, ‘Inside The Skull‘, on May 19th. The Rise Above Records release promises to revive the halcyon days of proto-doom and early vintage rock. Today the artwork and track listing for the album have been revealed along with an official video, ‘Nature Of The Damned‘. Recorded and produced by the band themselves, in their own self-built studio, this promises to be an album of fundamental heaviness.
Once Inside The Skull is released, the band will be hitting the road in the US with Zakk Wylde‘s Black Sabbath tribute act, Zakk Sabbath. Tour dates can be found below.
“Heaven To Hell”
“Now Howls The Beast”
“Of God’s Creation”
“Give Me A Sign”
“Nature Of The Damned”
“Inside The Skull”
“Sick Sick Demon”
“Nature Of The Damned” video:
Beastmaker on tour:
May (with Zakk Sabbath)
17 – Morgantown, WV – 123 Pleasant St*
18 – New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
19 – New York, NY – The Gramercy Theatre
20 – Philadelphia, PA – Voltage Theatre*
21 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter*
22 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall*
23 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
24 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia Nola*
25 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Studio
26 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
28 – St. Louis, MO – Fubar
30 – Nashville, TN – Exit/In
31 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
June (with Zakk Sabbath)
2 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
3 – Indianapolis, IN – Black Circle Brewing*
4 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
6 – Spokane, WA – The Pin
7 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
8 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
10 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
17 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theater
Band Members: Sera Timms, J. Bennett, Scott Batiste, Adam Murray
Previous Releases: Old World New Wave (Neurot September 2014) / Hexagram 45 7″ (Magic Bullet, April 2013) / Constantinople (Neurot, May 2012) / Ides Of Gemini / Vermapyre split (Magic Bullet, February 2012) / The Disruption Writ EP (November 2010)
What started as a two member project at some point in 2010 (or before), has since become a four member force. Core members Sera and J. began this journey as a cult/Slavic revival type of project using all things dark and ethereal and forging their own sound of plush harmonies and foreboding imagery in their compositions that keep fans coming back for more and dragging their friends along for the ride. With this new line-up and fifth release, IDES OF GEMINI are ready to take us to the next-level as they serve up 10 tracks, each about a woman as the title implies.
‘Mother Kiev’ comes out of the gate fast and strong showing this new line-up is serious and ready to prove it. Power chords running amock and a drumline that takes full control of the body and that bass line, the perfect accent. Sera’s voice has never sounded better and J.’s chops are as biting as you could expect. ‘The Rose’ has a more tempered pace and Sera’s voice writhes around your head with her signature crescendo and lilt all the way through the slide out ending. ‘The Dancer’ is more staccato in pace and the choppy guitar lines flow seamlessly. ‘Raft Of Medusa’ has a lone guitar intro and then the band jumps up and rolls through this tale, not afraid to go all out with this pace that pulls you forth without resistance. ‘Heroine’s descent’ is slower and darker than we have been to this point on the record and lets the IDES OF GEMINI legacy of plush vocals shrouded in shadows continue with an even bigger sound than we have witnessed on any previous release while keeping that thicker guitar presence brought to this album permeate with an intensity that completes the recipe that J. and Sera have been perfection for the last seven years plus. ‘Swan Diver’ / ‘Zohra’ / ‘She Has A Secret’ and’Queen Of New Orleans’ are each strong compositions on their own and continue the stellar performance from EACH member to make this record the best to come yet from the IDES OF GEMINI camp and whether intentional as a concept or not, they fit perfectly together as a whole and show what focus and perseverance can achieve.
Standout track on this record, for ME, is ‘The Last Siren’. From the slow fade in of the thundering drum/bass combo to the jangly yet biting guitar line, complete with staggered fills, I found myself moving with involuntarily and turning it up louder and louder while feeling wrapped in that soaring voice and welcoming and savoring each high note and low alike.
This could and SHOULD be the one to break them out to the rest of the world and I encourage to do your part; BUY the record, support them when they make it to your part of the world and tell anybody you know to do the same. Once they hear this, they will have to agree it is a must-have for 2017!!
The fantastic retro-vibe rock band Ides Of Gemini will release their new album, ‘Women‘, through Rise Above Records on April 28th. Today, Taste Nation LLC is excited to be able to share Cult Nation‘s premiere of one of the tracks off the stunning new LP, “The Rose“. The song’s slow-revolving style and ethereal heaviness are exactly the type of traits we’ve all come to love within the music of Ides Of Gemini. – Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker