Purveyors of the Finest Stoner Rock/Doom/Psychedelic/Sludge Since 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Heavy Planet's Reader Takeover V2

Welcome to the second edition of Heavy Planet's Reader Takeover. The amount of submissions have been a bit underwhelming so far (only two), but since another reader took some time to send in his bands we decided to give it another go. This round of bands comes from Daniel. He has chosen to feature some bands from his home state of Colorado as well as a bonus band from Germany. If you are interested in submitting some bands for this feature please click here. Now, on with the show!

ABRAMS – riff heavy rock.

Black Lamb – singer Brian Hagman is one of the most dynamic frontmen ever.

Cloud Catcher – 70’s psychedelic heavy rock.

The Worth – straight up stoner rock.

Wovenhand “Refactory Obdurate” – read someone else’s review. genre defying. all around good people and Chuck is one of the nicest, coolest people I know (features Chuck and Neil from Git Some, PMFS)

Bonus band from Germany:

Giant Sleep – proggy psychedelic desert stoner rock.

Thanks for checking out Daniel's Reader Takeover selections.

Monday, July 28, 2014

LP Review: 'Hjortene' by Hjortene

Ahh genre labels, where would we be without them? What better ways are there to not just include bands into your listening circles by labelling them under the same genre or sub-genre as your listening tastes, but also to exclude any bands from ever giving them a listen? It seems a long time ago when there were merely just pop/rock categories down your local music store, now everything has its own sub-sub-sub-grouping, just to narrow your tastes down even further. And just when you thought there were no more categories to explore, we are given stoner-punk!

None of the genre ranting has anything to do with Denmark’s finest purveyors of “stoner-punk” music however, and it’d be a shame to take the attention away from the music, as their self-titled record is pretty special. Hjortene  opens with ‘180,000 km/t’, a blistering three minute blast of punk rock fury, with vocals from Valiant Thorr’s Valiant Himself. Where the overtly punk aesthetic is clearly there, the attitude is layered with thick and fast stoner riffs which make the band standout as genre groundbreakers. It’s a sound which carries a nuance of surprise as you never can settle with the sound, not knowing if the angry punk or the soothing stoner is going to berate you next. Palle Hjort’s vocals throw the band back straight into stoner territory with ‘Igennem H├írde Tider’, a slightly subdued voice guiding the guitars into their layers of pulverising riffs.

Singing in their national tongue doesn’t affect the sound of the band to those not fluent in Danish, as the lyrics become simply another instrument to rock your fists to. Whether it’s the grooves of ‘Classic Rock FM’ or the instrumental onslaught of ‘Epic Indian’, Hjortene is a record which dresses to impress with thick waves of heavy riffage matched by a youthful urgency many try to imitate, but few address naturally. A track such as ‘James Brown’ featuring vocals from fellow Danish punk band President Fetch, sung in English, is like a wake up call to those stagnant bands on the stoner scene, to basically get there shit together and step up their game.

Forget everything. Forget labels, forget what you think you know about a sound, a genre, a style, a foreign language. Hjortene is a record which needs to be explored and divulged into completely (and with the other band members going under the names of Claus Doomhammer Hjort, and Kim of Death Hjort, how can you possibly not get on board this?).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Sludge: Bridegeist

So that digital age of music is waning, eh? Whatever trends these assholes come up with, upward or downward, I'm likely to hunch back and observe before making encompassing statements about the industry. Vinyl is expensive and cumbersome, compact discs have a short shelf life (get 'em outta your car, dumbfuck), mp3's and their compression are compromising quality. I have my own take: digital files are great for sharing, and for an undiscovered band to send me a link or download not only saves them money, it also makes it portable and convenient.

But my biggest reservation with digital music is the lost romance, the impersonal and cold click of a link over the "sssfffttt" of removing a new (or beaten) record from its crisp (or dog-eared) jacket. Music doesn't need to be as one-dimensional as strapping on headphones and walking to school. I need to know what these artists are about, I need to spread open the gatefold and scan the artwork, and sometimes I simply WANT visual movement to parallel a band's best riffs and progressions. Fuck it, blame MTV.

Welcome Wichita's Bridegeist, a psychedelic sludge-doom trio of seasoned heavy hitters specializing not only in devastating audio atmospherics, but also incorporating that oft-neglected visual element. Promising a debut 10" by October's dawn, the band's meld of the ethereal with the staggering is unique and promising. Add Ian Stewart's trippy, warbled visual accompaniments and Bridegeist make their case as the next act you can't miss.

Though the slow-smoked Wolves At Dusk offers no visual sidecar, it's no less worthy of attention. Resonating on goddamn electric riff-clouds and coated in peeling fuzz, you'll numb second-handedly just from the track's drippings. Hand-wrought woodshed guitars have trampled the cautious drums, but this rhythm section also has a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome. From every corner, Bridegeist trim fat in slow-motion and lace up with eerie psychedelia, glazing your throat with cosmic whispers among the sludge. The deliciously slow and sticky course meets its fallen bridge with split neuroses via swirling guitar licks, guiding this towering heaviness from overpass mischief toward red-rocket atmospheric ambition. You'll be weak at the knees succumbing to these wolves, friend.

But the looped, echoed warbles are made all the more haunting by Fellini-esque Sex-'N-Satan projections, full realizations of the profane. Storms of static are guided by waves and bursts of strange light. Cavernous whispers are all the more enticing paired with swinging hips. Short of dangling contortionists from rusty chandeliers, Bridegeist offer a full spread of visual stimulation commonly absent from bands' live shows.

For a band dipping their toes in the teeming, fly-laden sludge/doom abyss, Bridegeist have found more than one way to set apart themselves. If their upcoming release offers as much gut-rotted heaviness as Wolves At Dusk, we'll all have a reason to flush our expired prescriptions. Whatever images the sounds evoke in our minds certainly won't hold a black candle to Ian Stewart's live projections, however. You never thought a road trip to Wichita was in your future. Well...

For fans of: Ufomammut, Bongripper, Neurosis
Pair with: RuinTen IPA, Stone Brewing Co.

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