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.
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.
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.
‘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!
Born Feb 12 2010, Dallas Texas, Consisting of brothers Kyle Juett on bass/lead vocals, Kelley Juett on guitar/vocals, and Judge Smith on drums, these guys have a unique sound that demonstrates that Mothership’s goal from the beginning has been to carry on the tradition of classic rock stylings of the ’70′s, updated and re-calibrated and amped up for the modern day fan of thick lumbering tone maxed out with all the distortion there is to be found.
Eight tracks make up this 33+ minute offering and this represents the third studio album of four releases (based on what I could track down) and in my opinion is the most solid outing from the Juett brothers and Judge Smith together, showing a musicianship that comes from lots of time playing together to become the cohesive unit that MOTHERSHIP shows themselves to be with this outing.
Opener and title track ‘High Strangeness’ is a nice slower even-keel instrumental that will suit the biggest stoner-fan with all of the elements in place to take you back in time to the days of MAHOGANY RUSH with the spaced out guitar solos that fly in and out over the even bass line that carries the melody of this track all the way to the left/right bouncing of some faraway sounding signal that slowly fades out. ‘Ride The Sun’ follows with a faster tempo than the previous and again, shows that virtuoso type of riff that dominated the underground rock world of later 70’s bands including the tone of the likes of UFO and MAX WEBSTER and THE GODZ with the stop/start soloing and phrasing and does not relent during the entire 4 minutes. ‘Midnight Express’ wastes no time with a double-measure drum intro before the brothers kick it in together with a heaviness to the tone that will hit you between the eyes and Judge does his all to be right out in front, hitting his drums as hard as it sounds, and then the last minute of, the pace almost doubles and there is no hesitation to run along with.
‘Crown Of Lies’ has a pace that could almost be a tip of the hat to HEART’s anthem ‘Barracuda’ w/ the double palm-muted gallop picking and is one of the stronger lyrical tracks on this album and is filled with more twists rhythmically than any other track contained, invoking the 70’s gods of jam-bands as the multi-layered solo’s sear your brain with the fury of each note. ‘Helter Skelter’ is NOT a BEATLES cover but instead sounds more like THE HUNT meets DIAMOND HEAD in pace and progressions and tells Mothership’s tale of their own dealings that garnered this moniker. ‘Eternal Trip’ is a pure guitar piece that allows Kelley to shine in his own spotlight with a piece that is hauntingly beautiful in its saturated state of reverb with a clear guitar tone that you can feel rolling across your tongue as you take it in.
Standout track on this one for me, oddly enough, is the last song ‘Speed Dealer’ and for the first couple of measures, I felt the need to crank it up to ’11’ for the full impact of this juggernaut of heavy riffs and wash cymbal and was happy as fuck that I did with the power that screamed from the 14’s that were jumping to the quick fade.
They are indeed touring this one RIGHT NOW and it would be in your very best interest to support these guys in the LIVE format for the effect I just got from my measly speakers. Get the album and catch ’em when they show up in your town!!
Kingnomad is a band out of northern Sweden, and they don’t really mention their actual hometown on any of their biographical information, only that they’re from a small village. I like that, a little mystery right off the bat, especially for a band with supposed occult leanings. I use the word “supposed” because it’s clear from this foursome’s bio that they’re a bunch of down-to-earth dudes in it for the ha-ha’s, not hardcore Satanists intent on destroying the universe by hurling curses from Ancient Grimoire of black magic. That’s fine and dandy, though I’m not sure how many of you caught the recent blog post from the fabulous Invisible Oranges author Joseph Shafer, entitled “Ten Metal Clichés We Can Do Without.” I’m going to doing something that I’ve never done, and link it here for posterity, because it really spoke to me: http://www.invisibleoranges.com/ten-metal-cliches-we-can-do-without/
Give it a read. Go ahead. You might hate the article, and you might hate me for agreeing with the vast majority of what the author has to say. Why do I bring this up within the context of this review? Well, that’s kind of my thing, isn’t it? No album or band exists within a bubble or a vacuum, and I firmly believe that context and relevancy are extremely important. I’m also a firm believer in the Zeitgeist, the “spirit of the age”, and if an album doesn’t in some way, shape or form speak to that spirit, then it’s simply not for me.
I may constantly chastise myself for my tangential reviews, though there’s a method to my madness. I have two diatribes to launch into for this review, and luckily, they flow pretty well from one to the other.
Firstly, did you read the Invisible Oranges article? If you’ve read some of my reviews, you’ll probably know by now that I’m highly critical of quite a number of these things listed. I remember seeing the title of this article and thinking “Man, they had better have Satan as the number one cliché or I’m going to be extremely disappointed in humanity.” Thank you, Invisible Oranges, for delivering the goods – I’ve had enough disappointments with the whole of humanity as of late.
Kingnomad manage to encapsulate and incorporate three of the items on the cliché list: Black Sabbath worship, Satan, and Cthulhu. I’d like to emphasize that the aforementioned article calls for moderation and thoughtfulness, a “less is more” approach rather than an outright abolition of some of metal’s most traditionally treasured golden calves and sacred cows. I could use plenty of examples from occultism and esoteric traditions to illustrate the validity of this argument, though I’ll instead drudge up one from contemporary popular culture. In the Star Wars mythos, one of the main ideological differences between the Jedi and the Sith is their interpretation of the Force, beyond the light and dark sides of it. The Jedi believe that the Force is like a candle, and that a bright burning flame can be used to light many more candles, while the Sith believe that the Force is more like venom, and to spread it out too thinly is to dilute its potency. When it comes to metal, I’d have to agree with the Sith on this one. The reason that lyrical subject matters that are traditionally held as taboo carry so much weight and power is their relative scarcity. It’s the fact that they’re not the norm that makes them so alluring. The ritualistic and artistic deconstruction of societal barriers releases a wave of liberating cultural energy that can be harnessed into transformative effects. That’s the basis for a whole system of esoteric practice that’s intrinsically linked to metal, The Left Hand Path (let’s save that particular can of worms for another review, though it is worth mentioning here). However, as these themes become overused and ubiquitous, they lose their ability to shock and awe; their potency is diluted. They cease to be the language of counterculture, heterodoxy and ultimately liberation, and instead become the manifestation of a mindless adherence to a tired and cliched orthodox blueprint. Anything that holds the potential for liberation also carries with it the threat of oppression when it transitions from the realms of the fantastic and abnormal into just another lame-and-tame inevitability of the mundane world.
In that regard, Kingnomad are not one of the more egregious offenders, as their references to Lovecraft and Lucifer His Dark Majesty are used sparingly and light-heartedly. The band openly admits that they’re in it for the fun, and that’s just fine with me. Ghost set the stage for the whole “Scooby Doom” school of metal, and it looks like the good times are here to roll. As far as the Black Sabbath worship, well…. if you’re playing metal and feel like you’re not indebted and influenced by The Sabs, then you’re doing it wrong. I’ve attempted to defy the unquestioned supremacy of Sabbath for many years now, to cast doubt on their reign in hopes of finding other worthy usurpers to the crown who’ve lurked in their shadows, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Black Sabbath are kings, lords and masters wherever The Heavy is concerned. This you can trust. Plenty of their contemporary proto-metal protégées from the late 60’s and early 70’s left their marks and signposts, though none blazed a trail the way that Ozzy and crew did from the moment that the iconic tri-tone of their title track was committed to tape.
On Mapping The Inner Void, Kingnomad mine the Sabbath treasure troves for what that they’re worth, though their incorporation of the more psychedelic elements of bands like Witch and Mammatus sets them in a place firmly above a mere Sabbath clone. They’ve got more of that indie rock vibe that started creeping in from the neo-psych movement that Dead Meadow brought to the forefront of the stoner scene. They’re able to use some of those fuzzy, major key riffs that Dead Meadow pulled off with such poise on their debut and also dive into some of the more nuanced, layered sounds that made Feathers such a breakthrough album. They’re also going for some of the pop hooks and harmonized vocals that turned Ghost and Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats songs into such mesmerizing ear candy.
Herein lies my second tangent, which is the continued resistance to the melding of the metal and indie worlds. I bring this up because Kingnomad wisely call themselves “doom rock”, rather than doom metal. This may seem like a small distinction, though it’s a very important detail to some. Metal carries with it a sense of tradition that lends itself to puritanism, while rock is more open ended. I’m a pragmatist who also doesn’t like to falsely advertise; if you’re a traditionalist or purist who is turned off by the bands that I’ve name dropped above, then this album very well may not be for you. I personally have never been turned off by indie rock getting its proverbial peanut butter mixed in with metal’s chocolate. I’m a steadfast believer in one of the central themes of the Russian dramatist Anton Chehkov’s continual literary themes: that art needs new forms.
With two tangents down, it’s time to get this review back on track and talk about the music itself. Kingnomad write slow to mid-paced fuzz-fests characterized by an overall ethereal vibe. All the songs have a delightful other-worldliness, from the juxtaposition of super saturated and squeaky clean guitar tones, to the wispy vocal delivery and the smidgens of choice samples from horror movies that the band laces into their songs. There’s some cool synth sounds too, which I’m always a sucker for. There are seven songs total; the entire album clocks in at just under 40 minutes, so it’s the perfect length for vinyl, and it won’t test either your attention span or your patience. All the songs are good, distinctive and memorable, making for a inclusive and cohesive listening experience that deepens with repeat listens. I don’t really have a favorite song, though ‘Nameless Cult’ certainly burrowed its way through the canals of my inner ear and lodged itself unwittingly into my memory with its haunting chords and major key dalliances. Similarly, the closing track, and the longest of the album, ‘The Waiting Game’ is also a highlight in its epic take on heavy psych rock freak-outs. Even the shortest track, the instrumental interlude ‘Whispers From R’Lyeth’ confidently stands on its own strengths. This is fine album in my eyes, especially for a debut.
In case you haven’t noticed, I also have a penchant for offering constructive criticism when I think that it’s pertinent. With that being said….guys, keep it fun and keep it fresh as you move forward with your musical career. This is an extremely imaginative release, and you’re going to have to up the ante on your next one to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. Look into all the weird fiction that’s out there beyond the wall of sleep. There are lots of great anti-heroes that you can draw upon for inspiration besides The Adverse One. Keep drinking your beer and writing your riffs, because you’re obviously onto something, and no one can take that away from you, not even me with my feeble pen and polished words.
If you think you may have heard of this release before, well, it’s because you have… BUT there is a double-vinyl release slated for February 2017 of this opus including one side of four that is exclusive bonus material!! If the weight of this release (nearly one pound) doesn’t hit you, the music within certainly will.
Using their self-described recipe of ‘Earth rockin’ drums’, ‘beard growth inducing bass’, ‘fuzzomental guitars’ and the ‘roar of a wolfman’ and a whole lotta beer to hammer out each of these songs into the forms offered here, Plainride classify themselves as ‘Kick-ass stoner rock and roll’ and state that this is something to ‘shake the Earth like a ravaging hurricane filling skies with thundering riffs’ as they push through what many consider to be one of the finest genres to rise from the ashes of the 70’s.
Opening up with “Challenger ’69” there is no doubt this ride is going to be one to remember. One of the shorter tracks here, it is indeed the perfect set-up of what’s to come with the rest of the 13 total songs. “Salt River” is next, starts out with just guitar for two measures, then bass drum for another two, standard back in the 70’s but when you hear “Killed my father with a shovel and a shotgun…” you know it’s about to get deep. That ‘growl of a werewolf’ is a pretty apt description and it suits this band perfectly with tales of such as this. “(The Tale Of) Private John Colter” offers some insight into how the Jackalope entered the fray… less than two minutes long, we are given the back-story of and told that “No body was ever found” leading perfectly into the title track. The chorus belies this tale with the words “Roll on by me, don’t ya roll so slow, use your guns and watch me go”, seemingly speaking from the Jackalope’s perspective. One of the standouts on this is “(The Beards Upon) Mt. Rushmore”. FULL of fuzzy guitar tone and solo’s with a rock-solid rhythm section rolling along, you can’t help but to move and groove along to the end. “The Grailknights” follows this formula taking over your mind as you trudge along keeping pace with these guys, wanting to devour it all. “Beermachine” shows the fuel behind the fire as Plainride describes a major component of who they are, with this pace set to incite your thirst and have you drinking deep to slake the thirst that is now consuming. “Devil At Your Heels” comes out of the gate at full force before slowing to a tempo that pulls you forward into this tale of the ‘very influential’ that seems looming. “Warpdrive” is the last track, but not one that you will leave behind. More than likely, you will want to ‘spark up’ for this 15 minute tune and enjoy the ride as it courses you along.
A ‘must-have’ for 2017 and this repackaging is the pinnacle especially considering the gram weight and will seem like a whole new record with the extra’s and clarity that only vinyl can deliver. I look forward to what Plainride next sonic release as they have raised a very high bar with this epic Debut. Kudos to Ripple Music for putting this album on must needed Wax!