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?


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

Bloodnut “St. Ranga” Album Review + Stream…

Bloodnut

St. Ranga – CD // DD

Self Released – Released August 1, 2017

Reviewed by Aaron “Red Beard” Wall

 

Bloodnut…the burly, bearded, ballistic, berserkers of fiery red have returned to pillage and destroy. St. Ranga, is the sophomore follow up to their acclaimed debut, Blues for the Red Sons.  This slab of concrete has progressed the Bloodnut accoutrement immensely. While some of the tongue in cheek humor remains, the ginger heavyweights have upped the seriousness factor. St. Ranga is still fun, but its definitely not funny. Heavy stoner, massive sludge, and raw punk rebellion. Normally a three piece, Bloodnut recorded the album as a four piece. Adding a second guitar to the fold, which lends extra girth and goodness. Doug McFarlane-Bass/Vox, Nick Smith-guitar, Kyle Wetton-guitar, and Ty Boniface-drums are here to viscerally eviscerate.

Opening salvo, ‘The Space Orangutan’ builds a force of fuzz. Slowly creeping, raising the cackles. Down tempo and enveloping distortion, as Doug raises his vocal game tremendously.  Oddly, but very intriguingly sounds like the Doors in mood…albeit much heavier. The drums pause to let the main riff show its head. The redheaded beasts then explode in full on stoner glory. The chugs begin as the groove runs full steam ahead. The vocals are gravel, but with soul you can feel. No doubt Bloodnut bring the heavy, but also have an excellent underlying melodious factor that grips. The second half ups the tempo and the dirt. The brood throws in a shredding solo, then beats you into submission until ‘The Space Orangutan’ has destroyed you.

Full Band Pic_8-6-2017

‘Mark of the Outcast’ is four minutes of straight up beast mode. Huge High of Fire-esque intro, into a mid-tempo sludge toe tapper. Tunes like this are the reason I am completely on board with the boys in Bloodnut. Heavy as gigantic balls, while always retaining a soulfulness that is undeniably felt throughout.

Next up is ‘That Fire Inside’  This song is straight up raw punk filth. Quick bass intro and cymbal grabs, prime the ears for a fury of fiery flames.  Gruff vocals, raw guitars, pounding drums of perfection. This jam is a sharp, powerful, quick punch to the gut. You will be doubled over, in glorious pain.

‘Burning Bush’ brings back the cheeky lyrics, but there is absolutely no joking going on instrumentally. Bringing some of the thickest riffs on St. Ranga, and multiple tempo changes keep the listener blissfully on their toes. The song is executed masterfully. The riffs are sweet, the rhythms are tasty and the vocals outshine anything previously in the Bloodnut catalog.

‘Red Dead Riders’ is a sing along song. Dirty and rough musically with huge choruses. This track is a journey across the desert, looking for blood, on the back of a mammoth steed. Kicking up dust and spit, only in death do we quit. Standout song on a stand alone album.

Closing St. Ranga is ‘Song of Fire and Ice.’ No explanation needed on this song. Best song on the record in my humble opinion.

Bloodnut have composed an album more crushing and weighty than an avalanche of boulders. The fire headed gang of badasses continually bruise and batter eardrums. St. Ranga is an escape into landscapes of flame. Visions of battle and triumph. A plethora of genres in relation to all things heavy. No pigeonholing Bloodnut. New Zealand has something to be extremely proud of in this band of gingered berserkers.  These redheads have definitively smashed the sophomore slump with a battle axe. A record filled with passion and soul, drums that roll, and riffs that are raw while still being in full control. Take a pilgrimage in St. Ranga, and prepare to shed blood. It is worth it.

Band Logo 2


IAH – “Self Titled” Album Review + Stream…

IAH

IAH – released January 20, 2017

Necio Records – CD // Kozmik Artifactz – Vinyl // DD

Album Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

 

LocationCórdoba, Argentina

Band Members Bass: Juan Pablo Lucco Borlera (Orighen) // Drums: José Landin (S.A.D.E. – Fahrenheit – It Will Be the End) //

Guitar: Mauricio Condon (Pieles)

This first offering from IAH, a three piece outfit brought together, each with a pedigree of previous bands, and they have created something that shines bright from first note to last. Four tracks of instrumental bliss that the band has tagged as a combination of ambient/post-rock/stoner/metal siphoned through an experimental filter. An intriguing descriptor for sure and these are 25 minutes of some of the most coherent meanderings yet to throw those tags together.

Opening track ‘Cabalgan Los Cielos’ (Ride The Skies) has an almost-hidden fade in the beginning three seconds before the band enters with a nice even paced walk of resonating clear notes carried by a lumbering-thick bass line and a cadence from the drum-kit that fits perfectly. By the time the first power chord rings out at 1:40, you are already hooked for the ride and the smile that creeps across your face is one of sonic satiation. The spaced out flow for the duration is seamless from clear notes to distorted screams and back again as you can feel the twists and turns through the atmospheric coursing painted.

Live Band Pic

The last section shows that they can get as fast and hammering as the next, and are not afraid to do it to the fullest extent possible and then shifting back to that doom-heavy slowness and over-modulated purity of power, a slow-fading digital echo taking us into ‘Ouroboros’ with an almost spaghetti-western tone and progression.  Taps of cymbal ringing softly until another hit of snare and we’re off for the next round of instrumental hypnosis that has as many twists and turns and fills that feed off of each time shift effortlessly punctuating that this band as a unit are exactly  the same page and give the same 200% lacking with too many.

‘Stolas’ (Clothing) has a nice jazz-tempo beginning, those clear notes with a slight reverb edge tickle your ears as the time signature makes your fingers tap along involuntarily as the sing-song/stop and go tempo becomes your pulse as you move right along with every note, each speaking every word, never said but still heard. Each member is as solid as stone and flex and flow perfectly, never dropping a second and still maintaining that ‘live-in-the-studio’ feel that lets IAH deliver the goods. Closer ‘Eclipsum’ hits hard and heavy, thick and heavy from the first second and shows even MORE of the syncopational unity these three represent.

This EP had been released in January 2017 and there are two extra tracks available via the band’s bandcamp page. ‘La piedra que sujeta el sol’ (The Stone That Holds The Sun) that listens as the perfect “next song” after the end of ‘Eclipsum’ and is even MORE raw and ‘live’ sounding giving a majesty to their soundscape and when ‘Nuboj’ begins with those harmonic muted tones ringing out followed by the clarity of that sound of brand-new strings permeates the air, you can almost smell the difference and the next seven plus minutes wrap the entire take together with the ultimate mix of heavy and harmonic. Get ALL six of these songs in your library the very second you find them and share out to each person you come in contact with as they NEED to hear this as badly as you do even now and support them live if you get the chance… keep it LOUD!!


Bloodnut “Blues from the Red Sons” Album Review & Stream…

Bloodnut 

Blues from the Red Sons – CD // DD 

Self Released:  September 10, 2016

Reviewed by Aaron “Red Beard” Wall

 

Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand Bloodnut (slang term for redhead) have come to pillage, with heads of fire, and hearts aflame. With bellies and barrels full of rum, buckets and flagons filled with mead, and with axes swinging for flesh with unbridled abandon. A filthy, swilling, sweaty, gang of gingers…Doug McFarlane on bass/vocals, Ty Boniface on drums, and Doug Robertson on guitar have come to party to prepare for Viking war. Legend has it that us gingers have no soul…legend, is all that it is. This band is pure grit, total grime, with a boogieing soul. Nuts and blood…That’s what Bloodnut has.

Band Logo

Opener ‘Agent Orange (In the Eyes of Thine Enemies)’ starts with a dobro slide guitar twang, then boom. Fuzzy, sludge tones hit you square in the kisser. Sounds like the cut up, younger cousin of Eyehategod. Massive repeating riffs meld with a bluesy stoner lead as the song builds up to the crescendo of thickness and whiskey soaked gravel throated vocals. Perfect little primer for whats to come on this slab of heavy.

Next three tracks, ‘Drop Dead Redhead,’ ‘Vitamin D,’ and the awesomely titled, ‘The Amber Reign Remains,’ are punk sludge barn-burners that get the carefree viking party vibe going with rawkus effect. The production is raw and powerful. Fits the aesthetic of the band and the songs to perfection. Energy level is high, beer and shots are flowing. We all know this is the preparation for war and the celebration of planned victory.

‘Witches Mountain’ is a cross breed of Queens of the Stone Age and old school Clutch. Neil Fallon with a mouthful of gravel. Thundering drums and liquor soaked riffage.  A boot stompin’ song of the highest degree.

‘Subtlety in the Street’ is a lumbering, leaning tower that could come down at any second. The fun is coming to an end and the battle plans are being nailed down.

The record takes a much different feel and emotion from ‘Fire Giant’ onward. Shit gets serious. Play time is over. The song starts with one of the many standout riffs of the record and then kicks it into a heavier gear. Very reminiscent of old Scissorfight.  The chorus is gruff yet catchy. ‘Fire Giant’ is an extremely well crafted song…as is the next jam, ‘The Red Face Blues’.

‘The Red Faced Blues’ is a cavalcade of sludged-out stoner with an emphasis on groove. Weaving and twisting with a heavy punk ethos.

This leads us to the main course ‘Blues from the Red Sons. ‘ The masterpiece of a trilogy entitled ‘The Battle of Bannockburn.’ Part one of the battle is titled Valhalla. The track begins with a palm muted riff that pummels as gang vocals shout ‘Valhalla rise, Valhalla we rise’ then the amazing refrain of “You die by an axe to the chest. On Valkyrie Way you’ll be taken to the halls of the slaves.” makes you wanna stand up,  grab your horned helmet and axe and start to visualize the war that is beginning. Redhead united we stand. Redhead united we fight. Redhead united shall destroy. Redhead united will prevail. Part 1-Valhalla is the battle cry.

Part 2 – Send in the Berzerkers. Stirling Castle is in their sights and nothing will stop the spilling of blood. Chomping at the bit the Berzerkers are released and let out the war cry as they form a Schiltron against the cavalry. Clever tactics must be implemented as the Berzerkers are outnumbered 2 to 1. ‘Bite the shield, drench the field, in your blood.” Riff upon riff, thunders of rhythm, and savage screams  push the warriors onward to the objective.

Part 3 – Beneath the Kilt ends this three part journey of medieval massacre. This is the triumph, the pride of a bloody battle. The exhilaration of victory. Bagpipes blaring in celebration.  ‘The Battle of Bannockburn’ is an amazing conclusion to this stellar record.

Bloodnut take you on an journey of another time. A time of brutality and strength. A story of sludge, punk, stoner, and noise. ‘Blues from the Red Sons’ slowly sucks you in with some fun and good time tunes on the first half, then take it up to a serious heartfelt, and extremely powerful level on the second half. From ‘Fire Giant’ to the end of the album, is a helluva gnarly ride. Strap on your kilt, grab your weapon and some bagpipes. All Hail Valhalla! From one Bloodnut to another…fantastic record.  Highly recommended for all heavy music fans.

***10% of All Album Sales to go to Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme***

Orangatang


Dö “Astral: Death / Birth” – Album Review & Stream…

A Two Song Masterpiece by: 

Astral: Death / Birth – CD // DD

Self Released:  May 26, 2017

Review By:  Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Hey Metal-heads this is The Ancient One here with some ear candy for everyone. And, today’s flavor is Döömer . Yes you read it correctly Döömer a term coined by to describe the music they play which they say is a blend of doom, sludge, stoner and a bit of death/black Metal.  states on its Facebook page that the bands origins go back to 2007 but  Döömer is only a recent musical avenue they have been developing for the the past few years.

From what I have gleaned about from their Facebook and Bandcamp pages the trio of  doomsters from Helsinki, Finland: Big Dog – Guitar, Deaf Hank – Vox & Bass, Joe E. Deliverance (‘E’ stands for ‘Epic’) (Drums & Vox) have gained a cult following, of what the band calls Döömernauts among doom fans. And after hearing their 3 previous releases I found my question “What makes their sound special?”  Well, it was answered with a resounding WoW!!

 

 

In their quest to keep the Rock Rollin’ on May 26th released it’s fourth EP Astral: Death / Birth  a 20 minute, 2 song masterpiece that was recorded live in the practice den. Beginning with the 7 min 46 sec Astral: Death begins with big slow and fuzzy sludge riffs accompanied by some terrifying vocals that left me feeling like a mouse trying to avoid getting stomped on. Arising like a Phoenix from the ashes of the first song Astral Birth seems like an homage to bands like Sleep, Om, Electric Wizard or a perfect example of what calls Döömer.  Get this EP give Dö  a like on Facebook and tell everyone on Bandcamp why you like them.  The End Result…to quote the band, “20 minutes of raging astral winds!!” Highly Recommend!!

How to pronounce “Dö”: http://www.forvo.com/word/d%C3%B6/

Line Up

Big Dog (Guitar)
Deaf Hank (Vox & Bass)
Joe E. Deliverance (‘E’ stands for ‘Epic’) (Drums & Vox)

Ex-members – May the RIFF be with you: Peat Rex (Drums)

Do_Astral_promo_band_PRINT_PhotobyJaakkoRinne

 

 


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….


GoatHawkBuffalo “Release The Beast” EP Review & Stream…

GoatHawkBuffalo

Release The Beast – DD // Band Shirt

Burning Tube Records – Released: April 21, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Founded – 2013

Home – Copenhagen, Denmark

Band Members – Vocals: Johan / Guitar: Jacob / Guitar: Asger / Bass: Michael / Drums: Poul

Self described as ‘Sludge Rock’ and citing that they are “Five guys playing heavy rock music. It might get dirty, and it definitely will be loud!” An apt description of this EP that appears to be the first release from this quintet and the four songs seem to represent exactly that; five guys slamming and jamming with hands DEEP in the ‘heavy’ and they are not afraid to use it.

Band Pic

“A split-second of feedback and ‘Love Song lullaby’ rips your face off from the get as the full force of the standard two guitar/bass/drums and a ripping vocal takes hold and MAKES you move with a pure rock-n-roll edict rolls forth setting the bar for this EP and as the fury grows towards the end of this first track, you have been primed and should be ready for more!!”  ‘Dirty Filthy Names’ opens with a staggered drum-line that leads right into the double staccato attack that opens and gets even ‘uglier’ in the best way possible as the darkness shines through with every stop/start that flows all the way through to the last section when the speed picks up and rips along to the end. ‘Mirror Queens’ has an even faster intro with clean guitar notes taking us along for the ride of power chords and slamming drums/bass before that voice tears through the dust to take control of this tale of rage. ‘Wanted Man’ opens with a slower, more relaxed beginning that belies that these guys are capable of much more than just a ‘party-band’ approach and the clean note intro serves up a tale of “Take it back…” that begins this story. Being the longest song on the release, it stands out to me as the one that they took the time to show off their skill-set and shines as the perfect book-end and when it gets thick and heavy again at 2:45 in, it is exactly the perfect shift and allows each member to show ‘what they have’.

If this is any indication of what these guys have waiting in the wings, then the world is in for a major treat!! Buy this EP right off, share it with everybody you know, support ’em live if they come anywhere near you and turn it up LOUD!!