Nashville’s critically-acclaimed heavy psyche rock/doom band Season Of Arrows are premiering a new Official Video for their song ‘The Bridge‘. The track hails from the band’s recentArgonauta Records-released sophomore album, ‘Give It To The Mountain‘. The band recently commented on the cut over at Decibel Magazine saying:
“It’s the dark place in all of us. There are times in life where you are consumed with emptiness and despair and seems like there isn’t anything to grab a hold of. Within that deepest of darkness you can sometimes find a small beacon of hope, thus the bridge. It’s the unmistakable will that lives inside all of us, when exercised keeps us alive and brings us to a new outlook on life.”
‘The Bridge‘ is a bleakly hypnotic number that emits massively ethereal qualities amid the torrent of doomened hopelessness. It provide a nice glimpse at what sonic greatness is contained upon Season Of ArrowsGive It To The Mountain..available now from Argonauta Records.
BLACKTOP MOJO Burn The Ships – Vinyl//CD//DD Cuhmon Records – Released March 10th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Blacktop Mojoare a Texas-based band that are in their fifth year of sharing their heavily Southern-infused rock ‘n roll. That is despite their starting out on the music road that was trying to lead them into the country music realm originally. See, when the band first began gigging around their Tyler, TX. regional home, they were playing in mostly country music-themed venues and bars. By their own admission the band has revealed that they felt out of place, weren’t fitting in quite right and needed to make a change. Before long though opportunity came a’ knocking as it often does and soon Blacktop Mojo were sharing stages and tours with Sammy Hagar, Candlebox, Drowning Pool, Puddle Of Mudd, Smile Empty Soul, Audiotopsy and other similar bands.
Fast forward to now, in 2017 where Blacktop Mojo released their current full-length album, ‘Burn The Ships‘, back in March. The hype for the guys, singer Matt James, drummer Nathan Gillis, guitarist Ryan Kiefer, guitarist Kenneth Irwin and bassist Matt Curtis, has spilled over into the national spotlight and things are happening. One of those things is the fantastic hard Southern Rock heaviness of the aforementioned album, ‘Burn The Ships‘. With a thick backwoods groove anchoring things down, the music on the album is beyond incredible to say the least. Not to mention that producer Phillip Mosley (who also contributes a variety of instruments to select tracks) had assistance from the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound studios’ wizard, Jimmy Johnson and his right hand man, Steve Melton.
The ships ain’t the only thing burning here for ‘Burn The Ships‘ delivers thirteen tracks of boogie and blues-fused rock. With incendiary guitars permeating the airwaves along with super tight-knit rhythms, crafty drumming and abundant swagger, this is flat-out impressive music. From the swampy start to the first song ‘Where The Wind Blows‘, things explode in a flurry of heavy guitars and whiskey-drenched vocals. It is easy to understand why Blacktop Mojo were sticking out like a sore thumb at the country music spots, hell, just listen to the metallic edges of ‘End Of Days‘, title track ‘Burn The Ships‘ or the bruising intensity of ‘Sweat‘.
There’s a definite broad spectrum of styles and sounds explored on the album, ones where the band are as just as powerfully visceral albeit with melodic or lighter fare. Cuts like ‘Prodigal‘, ‘Shadows On The Wall‘, or the intriguing cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On‘ allow the guys to stretch their musical legs and show us what all they can actually do. There is so much diversity present, such an inferno of creativity and talent that something is bound to appeal to almost anyone on some level or another. Don’t just take my word for it either because you can stream Blacktop Mojo‘s ‘Burn The Ships‘ in full via the Bandcamp embed below…I suggest you do so now.
Recommended If You Like: Black Stone Cherry, Monster Truck, Saving Abel
It has now been a full three days since Ayreon and its brilliant musical mastermind, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, released the new album ‘The Source‘ (Music Theories Recordings). The album is the ninth opus from the brilliant Lucassen who once again enlisted an all-star cast of guest contributors, including singers James LaBrie (Dream Theater). Simone Simons (Epica), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia) and Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob) among others. Today we present The Source in all of its sonic glory via the full stream in its entirety below.
Once again like previous Ayreon albums, The Source is another conceptual double album, one set six billion years in the past, according to Earth time. Taking place on Planet Alpha, a world where computer intelligence has extended beyond human kind’s, ecological and political catastrophe threaten to exterminate all of humanity. The planet’s inhabitants, the Alphans, leave their fate in the hands of the ‘Frame,’ a global computer mainframe that ultimately discovers humans are the problem and must be eradicated. The Alphans plot escape and the story full unfolds outward over the duration of the album.
ELECTRIC JAGUAR BABY Moonshiner EP – Ltd. Ed. CD//Cassette El Diablo Records – Release Date March 24th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Let’s be honest, one does not usually associate moonshine with Paris, France. That is especially true when you reside in the mountains of Appalachian Kentucky like I do, a place that’s pretty much the home of moonshine. But none the less, we are indeed here to talk about moonshine albeit a much different kind than what you are probably thinking of. See, in this case the moonshine in question is the newly distilled 3-song ‘Moonshiner‘ EP from the Parisians in Electric Jaguar Baby. Oh, and the duo at the heart of this blend, Frank D. and Antonio D., have concocted quite an inebriating mash on this run.
Things get fired up here with the blisteringly high energy, fuzz-fattened riffs of ‘The One“. With a cadence-like fury that propels the song ever forward while dense, bottom heavy low end rumbles beneath, the song pulsates. All of this while some hazy vocals narrate things amid the intensely relentless drumming and unhesitant sense of urgency. With a similar format but a much more wide open delivery comes the unforgiving ‘Holly Vally‘. A dizzying flurry of music seems to send things spiraling about as a solid punk rock vibe permeates the track. The drumming on this one gets into a realm that seems almost inhuman at times, incessantly pummeling you with a barrage of pure garage rock goodness. Those fantastic drums introduce us to the title track, ‘Moonshiner‘, too as their chunky chuggery keeps time on this final song. The guys quickly find an infectious groove that you cannot ignore, keeping things moving and tight knit with fantastic finesse. The upbeat feeling to the bouncy, happy go lucky guitar licks are perfectly suited for the different vocal approach here too and add a whole new aspect to things.
This is as DIY as things get, same as an actual moonshine still itself except in this case the former is perfectly legal no matter how blind off your ass you may get from repeated listenings to it. Recorded live in a cellar and then issued on “handmade limited CDs and cassette tapes” via the duo’s own label El Diablo Records, Electric Jaguar Baby‘s ‘Moonshiner‘ EP is as potent a home brew anyone could hope for. Here’s your chance to immerse yourself, to saturate your very soul with the equally soulful psyche-fuzza-delicious swill via the Bandcamp embed below. Sip it, guzzle it, whatever just as long as you are fully imbibing in this tasty beverage!
EVOKE THY LORDS Lifestories – CD//DD Solitude Productions – Released April 24th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Imagine if you will a band that melds a magical blend of psychedelia with traditional doom vibes, groove-fueled heavy rock and death metal-ish vocals. Oh, and they do it all from Russia with love and lysergic lividity. Well, thanks to Steve Woodier and Frazer Jones, I too have now discovered a band that does all of that and more, Evoke Thy Lords. Their latest offering, the 5-song ‘Lifestories‘, was dropped this week and now here we are experiencing this amazing aural ride for ourselves.
And what a ride it is, my friends! With fuzzened riffs that reverberate for miles, the fantastic trek begins with the stoner-fied rumbles of ‘Regressed‘. A hypnotic rhythmic pattern keeps you anchored in place while periodic flutes and trippy effect-laden vocals swirl about. The doom is undoubtedly doubled down upon with a southern slant on the superb ‘Still Old‘ and its follow-up, ‘Life Is A Trick‘. The latter’s music evoking a classic Trouble feel for the most part and takes on a much different approach vocally compared to the other cuts. With ‘Heavy Weather‘ comes a palpably more gloomy, somber tone as it encircles you with trance-inducing rhythms and minimalist drums at first. It all soon gives away to some increased tempos that eventually yield themselves to some hazy, ethereally enhanced music. I cannot help but have comparative memories of Cathedral’s ‘Forest Of Equilibrium‘ during this song and times during others as well. At nearly twelve minutes in length, it covers a lot of territory and contains some interesting tones or effects, like the springy or “boingy” sounding licks around the 8:15 mark. Things end with the scorching delivery of the last song ‘Stuff It‘, an uptempo, heavy hitter containing some killer guitar work. Yep, what is stuffed is opiate-like riffs drenching the cut, more airy flutes, and some true to form, tight knit drumming.
So, to summarize, Evoke Thy Lords‘ Lifestories tells a tale of unique woe but woe with a lot of go and energy really. Tagged with being Stoner Doom is really quite fitting and to be sure, the band has a rather unique sound and style of their own going on. If you’re open to hearing something different then by all means, perform your very own evocation via the Bandcamp embed below.
A name like Green Slumbermight inspire certain stereotypical expectations in most folks merely upon just hearing the name alone. In today’s heavily pro-marijuana music culture, there has been a grandiose movement within the aptly related genre moniker Stoner Rock that celebrates weed culture. And with that aforementioned name, Green Slumber, some might expect music of a more melodic style with laid back atmospherics and prevalent trippy content. Nothing could be more wrong or further from the truth here with Green Slumber‘s 4-song debut, the ‘Soulfuzz‘ EP. Sure, there’s references to the herb but the music is not at all inclined toward ethereal headiness or otherworldly escapism. No, not at all because this is flat-out fuzzed-up, groove-fueled Stoner Rock inspired by early progenitors such as Fu Manchu or Nebula.
Deeply drenched in Desert Rock inspirations, the tracks ‘Still Floatin’…‘, ‘GoGoGo‘, ‘Soulfuzz‘ and ‘Diagnostic: Brain Death‘ are rich with fat-ass riffs and sticky rhythms. Green Slumber may be based in Traunstein, Germany but it sure sounds like gtrst/vox Done, bassist Maxi and drummer Bene have had more than their fare share of fuzzened Americana feeding them. They put it all on full aural display here too as they navigate along to some highly infectious, utterly fantastic hard rock. You can check it out via the Bandcamp embed below and get your own smoke on to the solid sounds of ‘Soulfuzz‘, my friends.
From Santa Cruz De Tenerife, Spain we recently received the introductory debut from A Red Dead Eaglehere at TNHQ. To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot about the band itself really, other than there’s a member named Mijaíl Komang. I know that because he happens to be the one that brought the band’s new offering, ‘Ovum Exclusum Est‘, to our attention. And man, I am glad he did too! A Red Dead Eagle have crafted an intriguing, multi-textured aural display here, one that’s primarily rooted in atmospherically-enhanced music. That music itself is instrumental and quite powerful though it isn’t what you’d call overtly “heavy” in any sense. No, instead this music is “heady” because it is so aurally vast and exploratory that it takes you places.
Those places are way, way out there in the realm of the infinite cosmos and there is no rush, no hurry or hustle bustle taking place to get there. Instead, once launched..the music looses your restraints from this mortal coil and allows your mind to free-float along with the journey undertaken. Ethereal expanses are mapped out and then moved into on such rides as the amazing opener, ‘Hundred Oxen‘, or the beautifully tranquil ‘New Reverie‘. With a massive aura of carefree vibrations permeating their overall feel, cuts like ‘Silver Swan‘ and ‘Chasing The Great Water Snake‘ provide near perfect escapes. The latter track is especially outstanding and definitely one of the album’s more stellar songs.
If you are a regular partaker of ambient-fueled music, especially the type that is instrumental and seems almost free-form at times, this is for you. Call it Progressive, Space Rock, Post-Rock or what have you, it is irrelevant just as long as you give this a listen. In fact, you can now do exactly that via the Bandcamp embedded stream of A Red Dead Eagle‘s debut, ‘Ovum Exclusum Est‘, below. Then, if you’re just absolutely head over heels smitten with the record, you can acquire it as an NYP (Name Your Price) item if you must. I suggest you throw some coin in for it if you have the means too as we all know how bands struggle to survive but do what you must…for you MUST own this album if you dig psychedelia.
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 Musicon 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‘.
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.
RUFF MAJIK The Swan: CD//DD Bobbejaan Records Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
My friends from Pretoria, South Africa garage rock band Ruff Majik are back with the third installment of their planned EP trilogy. The 6-song ‘The Swan‘ is the end piece that follows previous offerings, The Bear and The Fox. If you have followed the progression of these releases then you already know what Johni Holliday (gtrst./vox/organist), Jimmy Glass (bass) and Benni Manchino (drums, percussion), aka Ruff Majik, are all about. Raw, blues-infused, psyche-tinted, fuzzened Stoner Rock with the emphasis on raw, stoner and rock, true believers. It seems as if the earlier releases were mere glimpses into the overall intention of these EPs and with ‘The Swan‘, it feels as if everything has now come full circle.
Allow me to inform you that Ruff Majik are as real as it gets on recordings, they don’t utilize any studio trickery like overdubs and countless takes. There’s no attention-stealing bells and whistles meant to distract you away from mediocre music like so many other bands incorporate into their releases. No sirree, not here for this trio does not need smoke and mirrors to discombobulate your senses. Instead, they deliver their sonic wares with boisterous musicality and it all begins with the retro rager, ‘Horse Drawn Wrath Spawn‘. Thick floppy riffs, amazing bass-driven rhythms and a slurry swagger exude from the speakers transmitting the tune. The guys immediately change musical gears with the doomy desert/fuzz rock of ‘Cloak Full Of Serpents‘. Bottom heavy psychedelia swirls around you while the kit-shattering drums drive things to and fro. It sets things up rather nicely for the next cut, ‘Canabasis‘, and its more energetically defined direction. A flurry of music possessing raw, unfiltered fierceness exudes into the room around you and the blistering guitar work will hold you in place as it does.
The end of of the previous track actually leads us headlong into the atmospherically-enhanced, melodic psyche of ‘Honey In A Lion Corpse‘. Rippling with desert rock traits and some really hypnotic tones, this throwback to the age of Kyuss is my favorite track by far. The grooves are magnetic and I swear you can feel sweat beads breaking on your brow from the energy being exerted here. Before you can catch your breath the dense, deep ruts of ‘Monarch Of The Hills‘ break like dawn on the mountaintop. Once again, the power of the rhythm section keep this song anchored in place, especially those massive bass lines. Things ratchet up into the red with the EP ending ‘Scalp Chiseler‘, a full-on foray into doomened blues. Bolstering things with ample enhancements are the subtle organs bubbling beneath the surface of the song, one which hits some dizzying moments at times before cooling down at others.
I have walked the walk with Ruff Majik through each of this trilogy’s EP releases and dare say that ‘The Swan‘ is the icing on the cake so to speak. It ties everything together in a way that should appeal to fans of undiluted garage rock that isn’t afraid to keep it true and to the point. You can listen to ‘The Swan‘ in the Bandcamp embed below and I highly recommend that you do, as well as check out its’ predecessors so that you can get the full intention of the trilogy.
Yesterday, Friday, April 14 saw the release of ‘Hamartia‘, the new album from long running Chicago heavyweights Novembers Doom. The album was produced by Chris Djuricic (Jungle Rot, Malevolence), mixed by Dan Swano (Opeth, Dissection, Katatonia) and released through The End Records. The tenth studio album overall from this atmospheric entity of despair-laden music, Novembers Doom, does well in furthering the band’s legacy. You can hear the album presented in all of its full sonic glory in the embedded You Tube stream below.
Singer Paul Kuhr commented on the new opus saying: “For the first time in this band’s existence, we have the same line up on two consecutive albums. Without the need to focus on a new element, we could concentrate on the writing process more clearly, and the synergy between the group is apparent in the end result. I actually mean it, when I say in my own humble opinion, I truly feel Novembers Doom have created our very best work to date. From the writing, to the captured performances, to the overall mix and sound of this album. ‘Hamartia’ is a logical evolution from ‘Bled White’ but adds some of the darker elements from ‘The Pale Haunt Departure’. It’s a Novembers Doom album, through and through, and hopefully others will share my enthusiasm once they get a chance to hear it.”
01. “Devils Light”
02. “Plague Bird”
04. “Ever After”
09. “Waves in the Red Cloth”