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April 14, 2014
MAMMOTH STORMPlodding, tar-lathered metal-fed groove doom from Sweden.
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April 8, 2014
LADY FLINT Explosive stoner blues rock duo from Marselle, France.
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April 7, 2014
KING DEAD Doomy psyche-tinged spaghetti western sludge from PA.
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April 2, 2014
GROGGYBlues-obsessed fuzzy garage rock duo from Omsk, Russia.
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March 31, 2014
THE SILENT LOWMelodic, hard-hitting, attitude-driven stoner rock from Denmark.
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March 25, 2014
GRAILPsychedelic punk with a southern demonic desert groove out of Texas.
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March 24, 2014
LORD OF GIANTSincere, lumbering, 70's influenced heavy rock from Germany.
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March 19, 2014
WOVOKA Intense yet melodic, brutal gut-twisting post-metal sludge from LA.
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March 16, 2014
HEAVY VOODOO
Torpedo riffs, hazy grooves and cosmic stoner sleaze from Portland.
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March 13, 2014
SPIRITUAL VOID
Toxic, heavy southern groove metal attitude from Brazil.
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March 11, 2014
SOUTHERN STATE
Somber, shoegazing post-metal sludge from Columbus, Ohio.
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March 10, 2014
HYPERGIANT
Cosmic, gravity-defying stoner fuzziness from Sydney, Australia
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March 6, 2014
KHEMMIS
Fuzz-filled, snail-paced riff-praising doom from Denver, CO.
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March 5, 2014
BITCHCRAFT
Polish doom band with female vocals is a fuzz worshippers dream
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March 4, 2014
DRUG MOTHER
Sleazy, fat and dirty stoner metal riffs from down under.
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March 2, 2014
SPIRAL GURU
Newly formed 70's inspired stoner doom band from Brazil.
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Feb. 27, 2014
TIMESTONE
Expansive psychedelics and dusty grooves from Austria.
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Feb. 25, 2014
RHINO
Fuzzed-out heavy desert grooves from Catania, Italy.
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Feb. 24, 2014
SOLAIRE
Get stuck in some sludgey stoner groove from South Carolina. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 20, 2014
HADDOCK
Heavy lightning in a bottle stoner boogie groove from Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 19, 2014
VALFADER
Stirring progressive ambient doom from Bath, UK
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Feb. 17, 2014
BRUNT
Intense instrumental sludgefuzz from these Guernsey blokes. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 15, 2014
MATUSHKA
Swirling hypnotic heavy psychedelic rock from St. Petersburg, Russia. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 10, 2014
MOPE
Sultry and somber jazz-laden ambient doom from Genoa, Italy.
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Feb. 8, 2014
LANDSKAP
Late 60's early 70's influenced heavy psychedelic rock from London.
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Feb. 5, 2014
TOMBSEALER
Death/Doom/Thrash from the mean streets of Adelaide, Australia.
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Feb. 4, 2014
SLUG SALT LAVA
Doomy apocalyptic instrumental Sludge from Istanbul, Turkey.
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Feb. 2, 2014
MIST
Spell-binding all-female occult doom from Ljubljana,Slovenia.
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Feb. 1, 2014
GRIT
Heavy heartfelt psychedelic jams from Heidelberg, Germany.
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Jan. 30, 2014
9OZ OF NOTHING
Riff Heavy Stoner Doom with Southern grit from Athens, Greece
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Jan. 27, 2014
BRILLIANT MACHINE
Chest collapsing progressive heaviness from Ventura, CA
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Jan. 25, 2014
OUTWAILED
Genre-defying atmospheric mood music from Tampere, Finland. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 23, 2014
YURI GAGARIN
Freaked-out psychedelic space rock from Gothenburg, Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 22, 2014
BLACK SNAKE
Swamp-infested grooves and fuzzy desert riffs from Portland,Oregon.
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Jan. 21, 2014
BORDEL INFERNO Gritty heavy rock, solid riffs from Rio de Janiero.
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Jan. 20, 2014
OVERLORD Melodic groove-oriented Heavy Rock from Oxford.
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Jan. 19, 2014
A DAY AS WOLVES Garage-rock inspired bluesy fuzz and roll from Alberta, Canada. Eh! facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 18,2014
NAKED BROWN Hard-hitting Polish heavy rock in the vein of Clutch and Motorhead.
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Jan. 17, 2014
OMEGA SUN
Smoke obsessed Stoner Doom from Slovenia. Free demo.
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: GORGANTHERRON

HEAVY PLANET presents...GORGANTHERRON!


BAND BIO:

In 1968, a top secret military mission launched three chimpanzees into space. The goal was to test a new vessel designed for deep space exploration. Mookie, Yim-Yim & Steve were to be the first Earth creatures to travel to the end of the known galaxy and beyond. Few expected the animals to survive, but the data collected during the voyage would be invaluable for future expeditions. On August 25, 1968 their ship launched. Sold to the media as the launch of a weather satellite, it went unnoticed. For the next four years the vessel sent flight data and vital signs of the passengers, studied by only a few scientists with the highest security clearance. On January 19, 1972 the last communication was received. The ship had reached the edge of the galaxy and the passengers were still alive. Abruptly, all communications ended. Nevertheless, the scientists used the accumulated data to develop systems that would end up in the Space Shuttle, but the mission itself was forgotten.

Then in early 2010, radio telescopes picked up an unknown object traveling at remarkable speeds. Scientists tracked it until it fell to Earth, landing in rural Indiana. The military responded and were shocked to find wreckage of the ship that had launched in 1968, still blasting an endless loop of Black Sabbath's “Master of Reality” and the first two Iron Maiden albums. However, the ship was found to be empty with no sign of the three chimps. The occurrence was swept under the rug, and scientists were left scratching their heads.

Months later three men appeared claiming to be the very same chimps from the mission. They told of traveling to the Andromeda galaxy and being captured by a race of beings far more advanced than humans...the mighty Gorgantherron. They had been monitoring human progress for centuries and were appalled at humankind's behavior toward each other and their planet. The Gorgantherron used their superior technology to evolve the chimps into stunningly handsome men. They spent years listening to Doom and Black metal. The Gorgantherron considered metal to be one of the few things the miserable humans had gotten right. The three were educated in guitar, bass, and drums, then hurled back to their home planet to warn humankind of the dire consequences of continuing their petty, selfish ways.



THOUGHTS:
"Back in December 2011, The Soda Shop introduced this outlandish three-piece Stoner/Doom band from Evansville, Indiana. Since then, the band has recently released a remarkable self-titled EP. Packed full of heavy-footed doom stomping, earth-shaking riffs, and soaring guitar solos, the band crushes all things in their way with a masterful blend of Stoner, Doom and classic metal. Standouts on this EP include "Monthra", "Assimilate" and the defining title track "Gorgantherron". Listen loud! Listen Proud! All hail Gorgantherron!"
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Monday, July 30, 2012

New Band To Burn One To:TOMB STONE

Heavy Planet presents... TOMB STONE!


Band Bio:

Tombstone was founded in Paris in late MMXI by Alex, Johan and Clement.
Inspired by legends like Black Sabbath or Saint Vitus, they follow this tradition of heavy music and are also influenced by the likes of goatsnake, Electric Wizard, Kyuss, Sleep or even Celtic Frost.






Thoughts:
"With loose grooves and a warm fuzzy guitar sensation, Paris band Tomb Stone instantly satisfies your need for Doom. Feel the fuzz rattle your skull as the psychotic vocals waver and moan on Kyuss-inspired opening track "Fake Friend's Blues". The spooky riffs, snail's pace and ripping solos on the monumental Self-titled EP closer "Devil's Ride" will leave you stunned and dazed...DEVILLLL!!! You can download this amazing 4-song EP for free on the band's Bandcamp page."



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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Sludge - In The Company Of Serpents


Equal parts enlightening and embarrassing is when a band tells you something about yourself that you should've already known. Shit, I know what I like. At least I thought I did. I don't wanna get into a discussion on splitting hairs, but when a band uses your first listen to carve "Seth Loves So-And-So" into every picnic table in town, you tend to end up looking like an asshole to all your friends.

Great bands aren't afraid to immerse the riff in a simmering pan of fuzz, though there always exists the threat of drowning the listener in distortion. Denver's In the Company of Serpents exploit themselves and find a sludge-doom groove that's electric, misanthropic, and perfectly-timed. Their five-track, self-titled debut isn't just your Sunday Sludge. It's likely to linger and tug at your balls all week.

The band's driving force is Grant Netzorg, a self-proclaimed scratchy-throat, brown-note beer drinker. When he repeats "abandon all hope, ye who enter here" on Canto III Inferno, you can't help but think he's dead-wrong. I'm anxious for more of the band's clammy sludge, meaning I'll lock up in my attic, clutch my five-track cassette, and choke on the dust kicked up with every nod and hope-laden fist pump.

I've always appreciated a band who opens with a track entitled Intro. It's like saying "here... this is what we sound like." Not that I need it, but it tells me which direction the band plans on taking. ITCOS's Intro is grinding guitar sandpaper, entering a sludge groove and punishing eardrums with crunchy, metronomic riffs and pummeling puddle-piss skin-work. If the rest of the album sounds like this, we're gonna get along amazingly.

Leading straight into the slow dirge of Dirtnap, the down-tuned plod melds with Netzorg's withdrawn but enticing vocals. Burying licks under a canvas of fog has the track feeling like a stumble through a misty hamlet, buzzing and grinding like your old man's dusty table saw that he's too drunk to use. What's surprising for this sludge, however, is its groove. The palpable, nod-inducing rhythm is what sets apart ITCOS from their sludge-doom contemporaries. Under an electric blanket, the band's sludgy plod melts into a stoner groove, resulting in some pretty cool sounds.

Immolation is rife with slow doom riffs that echo your dad's favorite records from the 70's. Cave-dwelling vocals and splicing sludge make hairs stand on end, while the Sabbath and Vitus influences are greatly honored. We enter a steady, uptempo cruise of moss and exhaust that, short-lived as it may be, breaks expectation and demonstrates the band's proficiency. The plod returns, and you'll be lovingly lost once again. This track carries us out on an ogre's back without giving a shit that our skulls are slamming into hanging branches.

Screeching fuzz predates the slow, patient, and oozing haze of Malice. Unrelenting, the hanging vines smack your face as you plug your tin boat through the stickiest of bogs. The pace quickens, however, and the gradual flow gives way to an utter rampage of riffage and JJ Anselmi's cymbal-destruction. Netzorg's drowning pain is shaved into the track's fuzz as we tie in to the aforementioned Canto III Inferno. Loads of buzz are struck with patient, doom-riddled hover on this 9 minute-plus rollick. The track is steady, pauses are placed perfectly, and the crushing riffs arrive one after another. The rolls and ticks combine to craft an awesome closer, ultimately signaling more promise than despair.

Tomorrow morning, I'm gonna wake up and drink some coffee. I'm gonna go to work and enmesh myself in the mindless drone of data-entry and formulaic casework. And I'm really gonna miss In the Company of Serpents. I'm gonna sit at my desk, wait for their call, and watch the clock wondering if they're playing for some other fan somewhere else. I'll pick up the phone, dial the first nine digits, and ultimately terminate the operation in an attempt to avoid sounding desperate. But when the sludge is this good, you tend to get a little clingy.



Friday, July 27, 2012

BARONESS: The Heavy Planet Interview



You can compare your band's gold-nugget with their sub-par releases all you want. Fans fall in love with their favorites and expect Point A to meet Point Fuck in an encapsulation of everything the band never quite achieved. The standards aren't met, the fans aren't pumping fists, and the whispers drive you crazy.

Holy fucking hell. Enter Baroness: Sludge/Swamp/Progressive juggernauts that have cemented their status as stone-carved metal kings. Their new double album, Yellow & Green, is heavy enough for your fist-pumping uncle and accessible enough for your aunt Judy to say "I could listen to that." I'm not saying this is fishing music. I'm saying this is a gorgeous, expansive, and far-reaching double-serving of the best song-craft you'll hear in 2012.

Heavy Planet recently snagged Pete Adams for a coiled spell and discovered the band's connections to the new record, touring perspectives, and heavy music in the modern era.

Heavy Planet: Yellow & Green was released on July 17th. These songs are consistent with the Baroness sound and fit alongside the band's catalog, though listeners will detect a broadened scope. What was the approach to writing Yellow & Green and how does this approach compare to those of The Red Album and The Blue Record?

Pete Adams: We had a more streamlined approach on how the songs would be composed. In the past we would add as much as possible to create a technically progressive sounding song. We wanted to create songs that could be focused around vocals and have a broader range of dynamics.

HP: Yellow & Green contains noticeably more melody, more harmony, and an increased (and seemingly effortless) focus on song-writing. Is this the product of any deliberate shift or more the band's (and band members') natural trajectory?

PA: It is definitely a natural progression. We have grown a lot as songwriters since we started this band almost 10 years ago. You grow a lot as a person in that amount of time as well, which will change your creative process and outcome. We are not the type of band to just make the same record over and over. We will always shift and challenge ourselves to create something compelling.

HP: You guys brought back John Congleton to handle production and engineering on Yellow & Green. What separates him from his contemporaries and what drew you guys back to him?

PA: John has a great ear for authenticity. He is a producer that believes in the humanistic value of recording. He can capture the real essence of a musician down to their raw form. This was important for this album, since so much of the music on this album is very personal; it opens up a new side of Baroness.

HP: Every listener has favorites, tracks that immediately strike a personal, emotional chord. To which tracks from Yellow & Green do you have the strongest personal connection?

PA: There are a lot of different emotions happening on this album. Each song creates a different vibe. I think that ‘Back Where I Belong’ has always hit close to home for me. I remember the first time I heard the lyrics and I listened to the demo over and over, it really struck a chord with me.

HP: What experiences (be they personal, professional, even super-conscious) most heavily influenced and shaped the songs on Yellow & Green?

PA: We always try to push ourselves as musicians to create something that challenges us. We all have grown as songwriters and wanted to try and create something. Writing this album was a different process which needed different inspirations: from life or from other music that we had not taken influence from before. This is Baroness stretching its arms out and trying new paths to create a broader palette of music.

HP: Describe the band's connection to the city of Savannah. How does that compare to the connection to Lexington? Where on Yellow and Green (and in the band's entire catalog) are these connections most strongly evident?

PA: We all grew up as kids in Lexington, that’s where our roots are. This is where we started to learn about music and would go to great lengths to discover new bands. You had to work hard to get out and see live shows or even to buy albums. Savannah was the town where we started the band, so there was a lot of influence from the community there as well as the vibe of the city.

HP: You guys just began a tour of Europe. How's the new material being received by audiences?

PA: Most people know the singles that were released a few weeks before the album came out. We are throwing more and more songs into the set. It's interesting to see the reaction, and if people sing along you know they have listened to the whole album.

HP: What was it like playing between two unrelenting, undeniably brutal acts like Meshuggah and Decapitated?

PA: We were the light and fluffy cream filling in the middle of a brutal sandwich. It wasn’t easy to play in between such acts but I think some people who never had heard of us enjoyed our set.

HP: What have been some of the most rewarding tour experiences? What acts have you shared the stage with that you feel audiences shouldn't miss?

PA: I really like doing our own headlining tours. Mostly because our fan base is so diverse that we get to meet so many different types of people. Its very rewarding to connect with your own fan base. We just recently played some festivals with Red Fang. You should definately see them live. It’s a lot of fun.

HP: Describe what you believe to be the current state of metal/heavy music. In what directions do you see today's bands going and how do these compare to their forerunners and influences?

PA: There have been some really huge strides in heavy music from bands experimenting and going outside the boundaries. Metal can be a very conservative music style. The fans want it the way it always has been and it takes a while for people to latch on to a new way of looking at heavy music. I respect bands that push the limits and try new things. I think that newer influences are becoming more broad, alas shaping heavy music to be a more rounded experience than in the past, where at times was very one sided.

Many thanks to Pete for allowing Heavy Planet to interrupt his European touring schedule. Look for Yellow & Green in stores and online NOW!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Album Review - Ufomammut - Oro - Opus Primum


Weekends at music festivals are trying times, amidst the over-priced crap, the touristy families with parents who are clearly too old to still be doing it, and the people who are clearly there more to do drugs, than to listen to the music that they are meant to do drugs to (sweeping generalization, but you get jaded after a while.) Luckily i'm a music lover, so with that in mind I spent my previous weekend in the belly of the beast at a Grateful Dead inspired festival known as Gathering of the Vibes. I'm not one to sport the "Steal your Face" emblems to begin with, but there were some tremendous funk/prog acts playing- so I got to catch some amazing technical and experimental music aside from all the spaced out jamminess. Oh, and one little super-weirdo band called Primus played - new buttholes were torn. Inbetween the tremendous bass grooves, I could not help but notice their incorporation of ambient sounds into their music. Hippie fest aside, some wonky tripped out husamawhatsit noises were definitely out there in the context of the environment. It does make one think- if Primus can get away with such things- is it wholly impossible for other psychedelic groups to blow minds in the festival environment?

One such group could be Ufomammut. These Italian doom-manglers have been with us for over a decade and a couple months ago put out Oro - Opus Primum, the first 5 movements of a 10 movement double CD work. Since then, they've been touring, hitting up metal festivals and mothers alike in support of the record.

The 5 movements are as follows :
1. Imperium
2. Aureum
3. Infearnatural
4. Magickon
5. Mindomine

"Imperium" - The first work brings to light the ominous synth motif which is present in other parts of the record. This drones on for a good while, with spacey noise penetrating listeners until the underlying riff comes to full fruition around 8 minutes and plods for a while with continued indulgence into freaked out high pitched sci-fi synth effects.

"Aureum" is a big bombastic war-march into the depths, starting out with droned Dopesmoker-tinged riffage. This song is a demonstrator of what one could think of as the "riffball effect", having a riff that starts slow and grinding until it eventually gains more drive and punch till becoming a sludge bonanza - that's what's going on here. It goes on until around 8:10 wherein the bass echoes and the introduction is reintroduced.

"Infearnatural" - A slow droning tune. Stays the same pace for the entire song. The guitars grind and fluxuate with the bass- and there are a couple wild synth effects thrown on top (in the beginning they allude to vocals.) The synth provides a swirling set of modal images which are layered atop the drone. This isn't your yogi's tambura drone!

"Magickon"- The main theme is brought backOv and looped. Adjoined by synth swirls until the bass doubles the melody an octave lower at around 4:45. Minimalism and Doom - can't be bad for you!

"Mindomine"- The final track on the record evokes a sort of creeping doom - laden with eerie vocal squelches! The opening riff once again grows in intensity over the course of the song- beating out a 7/4 followed by a 4/4 rhythm. This tune kind of evokes the atmospheric density of Isis (sans the vocals of course) and continuously lurches forward. The guitar kicks in around 3:22 and adds textural support until unleashing a brazen sludge bridge until seaguing back into a drone. The theme is pounded out by all members with colossal intent until grinding to a ferent end tailed out by off-kilter reverberations.

Overall, the record is a must-listen to for any fan of the atmospheric, drone-doom, or funeral doom paradigms. It's much more enjoyable to listen to in a single sit-down, the songs are meant to segue into one another and create a world for you to stomp around in (and prevent the dead heads from getting to you)! Stay tuned for the final five movements on their September-bound release Oro - Opus Alter. 


Ufomammut is
Urlo - Bass, Synths, Vocals
Poia - Guitars, FX
Vita - Drums

((facebook l website l twitter l bandcamp ))

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Zac's "Double Dose": Shakhtyor / S:t Erik


Shakhtyor: S/T 


I wish I could pronounce the name of our first 'Dose' this week... Shakhtyor (Шахтёр) is a three piece from Hamburg, Germany who found a name in the Russian term for 'miner'. A name that seems fitting for this emotive instrumental doom that packs a drill heavy enough to devour its way through the crust and into the depths of the very mantle of your mind. The tracks have a hefty run time and a heaviness in instrumental music that I only recall in early Pelican. Check out the cool propaganda-esque art and jams over at bandcamp.

 

Members: 
Chris - Guitar 
Chrischan - Bass 
 Nils - Drums

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S:t Erik: From Under The Tarn 


Yes folks, Sweden delivers again.... delivers a spacey and doom laden buzz of progressive imagery that will certainly have your mind spinning for days. Allow me to introduce to you S:t Erik and their debut release From Under The Tarn. This album was actually released back in 2009, but the crew over at Spora Recordz decided it was a good time to re-release, and I am relieved they have because what we have here is an authentic sound that meshes the somber attitude of doom with the perfect ratio of synth and psychedelics. The forty five minute run time is a fine balancing act of earth shaking bass and percussion, intergalatic synths, and poetic vocals. You can check out my favorite track Your Highness below, slightly faster paced than the rest of the album and full of that sweet comic nectar. A record in clear vinyl can be had in the form of a twleve inch gatefold set at Spora Recordz web store. For twenty dollars, thats a steal.

 

Members: 
Erik Nordström - Bass // Vocals 
Mats Norman - Synth // Keys 
Tomas Eriksson - Guitar 
Fredrik Aspelin - Drums 
Magnus Wikmark - Guitar

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Band To Burn One To:BONG BREAKER

Heavy Planet presents...BONG BREAKER!


Band Bio:

From a trailer deep in the forest hails the sound of Bong Breaker, a three-piece stoner metal band from Holland. Droning guitar riffs with clean vocals as well as deep growls form their massive sound. On stage they propel themselves and their audience to a higher state of mind with an arsenal of ancient amps.




Thoughts:
"Plodding and pounding colossal Stoner grooves weigh heavy as the slow doomy rhythm feeds your soul. The band does a fine job mixing clean vocals with a hollow growl. Instead of riding one riff throughout each song the band changes pace with a few unique interludes and ripping guitar leads. The warm and penetrating riff on "The King" absolutely rules. This is truly a DIY project as the band uses their own gear and time to make one hell of a two-song demo. The Doom consumes!"
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Monday, July 23, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: WIS(H)KEY

Heavy Planet presents...WIS(H)KEY!



Band Bio:

WIS(H)KEY is a metal band born & raised in Barcelona, Spain. 5 long-time friends united their pasion for metal & rock ‘n roll and created this monster on 2011.

WIS(H)KEY it's not your tipical 'metal’, 'crossover', ‘sludge’ band, or whatever you want to call it. This band is just an idea, a project we kept in for a long time where we wanted to mix some very different styles, that due to the most stupid of the commercial dogmas are forced to disappear... faster and faster.

This finally comes together in a mixture of Hard-Rock, Metal, Blues or Country to serve as inspiration / instigation for all ages. When dreams die, heroes become alcoholics and you still feel the need to kick the ass of the problems.

Take a bottle and get lost.




Thoughts:
"Wis(h)key is a hard-rockin', whiskey swillin' group of dudes from Barcelona, Spain. The band's notorious sound will leave a boot print on your forehead and then drag you down an emblazened gravel road of harsh southern fried groove metal. From front porch easy rocker "Train to Pardon" to a hellbound date with the devil on "Diablo" the band shows their uncanny diversity. The sweet and sultry groove comes alive on the glorious and melodic "My Beautiful Fugitive". This album is chock full of hardened gems that reward and fulfill your need for a good southern ass-whoopin'. Throw your fist in the air as you chug along to the band's latest kick-ass single for "Words in Whiskey"."
The band has made their latest album available for free download. If you feel compelled to purchase the physical copy you may do so by going to this location.






Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Sludge: shEver - "Rituals"


Next time I volunteer for anything, I need to gather more details. Sure, I'll work the beer garden! The assumption is that I'll see familiar faces, get a free t-shirt, and throw back some swiped tall-boys. I didn't know some dickhead would be onstage with a sock in his pants, belting out Tim McGraw parodies. So of course, this morning's Sunday Sludge required some patient, atmospheric doom dusted with female aggression.

Switzerland's shEver aren't new to this. Eight years of the exhausting do-it-yourself approach is longer than most could endure. A little patience pays off, though. And Rituals, their first album on Jerusalem's TOTALRUST label, is a showcase of patient, gradually-constructed sludge/doom hatred. Filled with enough piss and vinegar to wither your black heart, these six tracks enter a trance and bulldoze rhythms until you're delirious with fatigue and giddy with malevolence.

From the onset of Ritual of Chaos, shEver's sound is one of haunting, unsettling grind. Slow guitar plucks challenge the pop and hiss of a nearby campfire until riffs enter and bully the backdrop. The doom slowly flows into your settlement, while whispers and growls create a formidable and captivating vocal tandem. It's a surprising enticement, like the Sirens beckoning Odysseus. Jessica's riffs chop to a steady gear of destructive restraint until this opener concludes with hollowed haunts barbing the muddy terrain.

Delirio is crafted in the vein of the classic sludge-doom crawl, complete with a hollow toilet-gurgle. Rolling and riffing through a tortoise cadence, there's a blood-trail being left behind. The quiet and lilted tempo is brief, giving way to grinding buzz-saw mystery shrouded in a canopy of trees. Nadine's low-end clubs beasts in a remarkably accessible drudge. Subdued but pained, the song draws out the demons. The ascent to crunchy grind burns through ritualistic chants of anguish, steadily snuffing out itself. This is nasty stuff.

Serenity allows for a cool, somber scarring of Sarah's drum taps to begin Je Suis Nee. Sludge drops and stuns the tranquility, swirling into doomed bliss. Slow, patient, and ominous, the repetitive "BONG" is cloaked in wool and utterly hypnotic. Tempos hover and scan the field for prey, while the mirrored vocal is gorgeously disturbing. shEver are just hitting their stride stomp.

The buzz leads right into Souls Colliding, a perfect follow-up to Je Suis Nee. Jessica hits a cool, shallow-wading strum while the band's timing and restraint are brilliantly married. We're slowly lulled into the cobblestone creep that every doom-o-phile falls in love with. Guitars carve through the wall of sound, while the pained growl is symptomatic of the track's awesome patience. A mid-tempo sludge roll emerges, Nadine's bass crashes to the cellar, and the marriage of melodic, drawn-out rhythms and riffs plunge southward. The slow, Persian collapse is one the album's brightest spots.

Persistent and unrelenting is (You Are) The Mirror, a sludgy doom stagger that shaves bone with an organized sustenance. The priestess vocal parallels the plodding rhythm until a tarred and feathered slow-motion sickness has listeners rocking back and forth. Pensive and boiled-down, the highs and lows are fully realized on this grinding shit-pit. The soggy buzz of approaching rain begins the album's closer, That He Na Te. The agonizing pacing and cultish hillside vocals employ an expanding thump with painstaking poise. The emerging back-scratching growls, choppy guitar stutter, and primal drums make for Rituals' fitting final chapter.

That a doom-metal band composed of four Swiss enchantresses can teach listeners a thing or two about taking their time is a marvel in its own right. That they make it sound so paradoxically soothing and evil is an exercise in mastery. There's a mythos doom bands strive for, at times coming off dark to the point of being unapproachable or majestic to the point of being campy. shEver strike a balance carved neatly into their own corner. Their craft didn't rely on trickery or sleight-of-hand. They simply let things simmer a while.



Friday, July 20, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: DER HUNDS

Heavy Planet presents...DER HUNDS!



Band Bio:

We are DER HUNDS, Bulgaria based quartet, Eastern Europe in fact.

Musically the band is influenced mainly from Kyuss, Soundgarden, Black Sabbath. We've come together around 2006 in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The first full-length record was released in 2009 - Blue Animals. After some line up changes the current members are:

Bobi - guitars/vocals
Pifa - drums
Martin - bass
Vili - guitars

With these four guys the second record was released on July the 12th - it's a 4-song EP, called "HOME".



Thoughts:
"The immediate comparisons to the band are that of Soundgarden, primarily the uncanny vocal similarity to Chris Cornell. Let's stop right there and give this band their due diligence. The EP starts off with the chugging anthem "Homesick" then shit kicks you with the off-beat riffage of "Too Much" a mid-tempo rocker that recalls the glory days of 90's grunge goodness. The jangly guitar intro of "Silver Sun" is quickly erased by the sun-kissed bass line that guides the song throughout and leads us to the pinnacle of this EP final track "Waterfall". This emotionally charged "ballad" is filled with remarkable soaring vocals and rewarding inner song dynamics. This EP is very well crafted and each song feeds into each other creating a nice ebb and flow amongst the four tracks. Over the years, there have been so many bands that have had the unfortunate labeling as sounding like someone else. To be honest, there are very few that sound different. These dudes rock, enough said."

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

ALBUM REVIEW: KADAVAR




Crisp. Clean. Clear. Words not usually associated with the music of the stoner psych/rock genre where noise and distortion are badges of pride and identity, but I feel compelled to use them nonetheless when describing this latest addition to stoner rock greatness, Kadavar, on their self-titled initial album offering, simply because the music is crystal clear in delivery, whether it be the photon-beam guitar riffs of the album’s exquisite solos, the hard-thumping rock n’ roll engine of the bass guitar, or the pitch perfect punch of the drums. The sound is immaculate, clean as cotton, lending itself perfectly to artistry at its best from this band of Berlin rockers.

Kadavar’s music is descendent from strong rock lineage, with genealogy lines snaking their way through the past four plus decades of the world’s best music, including early pioneers of heavier tones, quality purveyors of grunge and metal, as well as recognized leaders of stoner/psych rock past and present. What these Teutonic trip meisters have accomplished on their debut offering is nothing short of phenomenal. The music is clear and crisp while still delivering truckloads of loud and low that blends perfectly with razor sharp solos that slice right through your brain before you know you’ve been musically assaulted. In addition they’ve managed to deliver music at once familiar in its stylings of psychedelic rock gone over to the dark side of doom and fuzz, but unique in its own very clever and superbly crafted wielding of the weapons of heavy metal. In short, Kadavar know how to make a song, know how to produce a song, and know how to execute a song so that it is effortless for the listener to enjoy the dissection of their minds with slices from Kadavar’s debut.

The members of Kadavar are:

Wolf Lindemann - Vocals, Guitar
Mamut - Rivoli Bass
Tiger - Drums

The album opens with “All Our Thoughts”, demonstrating both the crispness of the instrumentation and some signature stoner/fuzz sounds on a scorching intro. When Wolf’s vocals come in it becomes quickly apparent that the music is of the highest quality, something unique and rare. ‘Thoughts’ delivers a steady jam of low, slow fuzz until the point in the procedure where the scalpel-sharp solos of Wolf’s guitar slices through with a clean, clear cut of sonic fury.

“Black Sun” is six minutes of fun, funky riffs overlaying an extended display of measured musical muscle. The refrain is subdued but powerful in its relentless delivery, while the solo guitar work again delivers a powerful slice of electrical discharge as if it had been stored in a flux capacitor of fuzz.

Kadavar continues the trend set on the first two tracks by deliberately delivering a steady dose of stoner brilliance on “Forgotten Past”, which is a long, tenacious exhibition of the threesome’s inspiration in executing their four instruments with inventive dexterity.

The opening riffs on “Goddess of Dawn” are beautiful stoner classic sounds used to encompass a psychedelic tale of magic and mist that in the end delivers on exquisite music in the guitar solos as well as a display of muscular authority from the Rivoli bass.

The pace picks up for “Creature of the Demon” as the Rivoli again gets exercised and again delivers beautiful tone and quality sound. This time Tiger gets to let loose in sections with rapid and agile tattoos that are strident and tribal in delivery. This song moves through a multitude of variation in the structure and delivery of its various parts, creating a wonderful patchwork of brilliant song playing.

The album closes out with “Purple Sage”, whose intro is certainly psychedelic in nature, leading into eight plus minutes of sheer fun and adventure. There’s a lot going on in this one, all of it wonderful to behold, none of it fully gleaned upon first try. It’s an epic way to close out an album with a truly epic track.

Overall this album is a worthy addition to any stoner rock library, demonstrating great skill in concept, in design, and in delivery. Kadavar are quality musicians and gifted artists whose entry into the arena of rock in the corner of stoner/psych music is more than a welcome addition, but a much appreciated shot of pure cosmic adrenaline.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Zac's "Double Dose": Bang OK Bang / Whalerider


Bang OK Bang: Chemicals 


Bang OK Bang have created the most intoxicating groove I've heard yet this summer, and all you have to do is push play below to hear it. The song is entitled Above the Surface, available on their debut EP, Chemicals. Although rough around the edges Above the Surface is stellar in songwriting and sludgy exectuion and has this listener hooked. This Nashville, Tennessee duo have combined what they call "dirty noise and bone grinding rhythm" with some southern soul that's sure to please all of the Heavy Planet family. Be sure to get a digital copy for yourself over bandcamp, its free and so far my favorite EP of 2012!

 

Members: 
Abby Hairston - Drums 
Ben Lowry - Guitars // Vocals


 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Whalerider: Was it Only a Dream? 


Whalerider is a four-piece from Nürnberg, Germany. Their debut release "Was it Only a Dream?" combines bass heavy and groovy riffs with droning psychedelia. The EP has a somewhat polarizing structure, beginning with a deviously catchy, grunge influenced anthem and slowing fading into a blue abyss of atmosphere and finally to a watery grave. As the record progesses the music takes an introspective look, relying more and more on an airless melancholy... very much resemblant of the world only whales know. And all of this is portrayed in a matter of twenty mintues... Take a dive with Whalerider and "...ease the pain of waiting for a new Soundgarden album". Was it Only a Dream? is currently streaming over at bandcamp, get over there and download your copy today.

 

Members: 
Daniel Schwarz - Drums 
Max Feibel - Vocals // Bass // Drones 
Patrick Auch - Rythm Guitars // Backing Vocals 
Sahba Yadegar - Lead/Rythm Guitars // Art Work

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

EYEHATEGOD: The Heavy Planet Interview


If you've paid attention to what comes up in your Google searches, then you're completely misinformed. EYEHATEGOD have spent nearly a quarter-century defying categorization, spreading their misanthropy, and doing whatever the fuck they felt like doing. Yet despite their catalog, their accolades, and their ever-growing and evolving fan-base, they still need to clarify a few things.

The band's European tour kicks off July 23rd in Germany. Heavy Planet caught up with EYEHATEGOD frontman Mike IX Williams to discuss the tour, new material, the state of New Orleans, and some asshole sitting at home who's got nothin' better to do than start rumors.


Heavy Planet: Pretty soon you guys have the Europe Is The New Vietnam tour starting. Who's going along with you on that?

Mike IX Williams: "So far we're headlinin' and it's gonna be just local acts, I'm pretty sure. In the UK there'll probably be a certain band that plays a couple shows with us and then... on and on, through Germany and all that, y'know. We're not goin' over there specifically... like, last time we went over with Church of Misery, we hooked up with them... guys from Japan, y'know. This time there's been no talk of us meetin' anybody or followin' another band or anything. We're headlining... I mean, we headline that tour anyway, but we'll see what happens. Mostly local support, I'm sure."

HP: Where'd you get the name for the tour? I know you guys have a new song called New Orleans is the new Vietnam, is that right?

Williams: "Yeah, that's where we got it from."

HP: How bad are things in New Orleans? That makes it sound...

Williams: "Well, of course it's an exaggeration. It's just trying to concoct an image, y'know. I mean, we are a band. But since Katrina happened there's just a lot of abandoned properties, y'know, a lot of places that have still not built up and things are still kind of in ruins in a lot of places. It seems like the cops and the local government don't really care too much about it. A lot of these abandoned buildings are just havens for drug dealers and drug dens and stuff... more crime, y'know. So that's one thing; the crime rate kinda went up after Katrina. It was always pretty bad, but..."

HP: What's your relationship with New Orleans right now? That seems like the place where so much started. What's that music community like with bands like you guys, Crowbar, Soilent Green, all that stuff?

Williams: "Oh, it's amazing! It's awesome, y'know. We play like twice a year locally. Crowbar plays every now and then. Soilent Green hasn't played live in a while, not down here. But there's a ton o' new bands, man. Like, after Katrina the scene kind of exploded 'cause I think people wanted to prove to the world... I mean, in every type of music, too. Like Jazz, Blues, and all that stuff. Everything just got bigger and better. There's more clubs to play now, there's more bands. It seems like everything blew up after that 'cause we weren't gonna be kicked down. I mean, you read an article and it's like "New Orleans is destroyed. There's nothin' there." But that's bullshit! You can't kill the culture here, y'know. So that's better than ever. There's more bands, more places to play. It's just a good all-around place. It's still ghetto as fuck, but it's always been like that and it's probably gonna be like that. The cops are corrupt as hell. It's typical, it's like a lot of cities. It's a big city, one of the bigger ones in the South, on the Gulf Coast..."

HP: I caught a live take of Medicine Noose online. What's some of the other stuff you guys are gonna road-test in Europe this summer?

Williams: "I don't know, we haven't really thought of a set-list or anything yet. And we usually don't use a set-list. We pretty much wing it, y'know? Even playing Hellfest or Roskilde or some big festival, we'll look at each other and go 'What do you wanna play?' We still just have that down-to-earth kind o' way about bein' on stage. I talked to Jimmy (Bower) about doin' more of the newer songs. We have like 12 new songs, y'know? A lot of 'em aren't broken-in yet, a lot of 'em don't have the lyrics yet. But I was tryin' to say maybe we could do some of the ones that we have more structured and more together. 'Cause I would like to come home from that tour and go straight into the studio, hopefully. That's the plan, if we can get out shit together with this record-label thing, y'know?"

HP: You guys don't have a label now, right?

Williams: "No, we're not on a label at all. We're trying to decide... we've narrowed it down to a couple different ones. I know there are always rumors online that say 'We've signed to this person, we've signed to that person.' But that's the internet, y'know? They make up so many rumors. Like this one rumor I've gotta dispel quickly: I don't know what asshole is goin' around sayin' that our new album is called 'Whiskey Drink'!"

HP: Y'know what, I saw that and I wasn't even gonna mention it! It was on Wikipedia.

Williams: "I can't believe it's on Wikipedia! I mean, who took the time... It's not true! That's what blows my mind about the internet. Someone just made that up, sittin' at their house. They've never heard any of us say that, at all! If they did hear us say that, we were joking. Y'know, it was probably some stupid joke, but I don't even think THAT happened. Some idiot was sittin' home and decided just to go put that on the internet, it's pretty weird, man. Like, why would they do that? It's no big deal, it'll go away when the album's out. But I just wanted to dispel that rumor. You're the first interview I've done in the past couple days that didn't ask me 'So your album's called Whiskey Drink, right?' and I'm like 'FUCK NO!' That's cool that you kinda figured it was bullshit."

HP: I thought it sounded like a dumb title, anyway.

Williams: "It's stupid! We have a song called Dixie Whiskey we've been doin' for twenty-somethin' years live from Dopesick, but it's ridiculous."

HP: You mentioned some of the festivals you guys have played... Hellfest, Roskilde. How was Maryland Death Fest this year?

Williams: "Oh, it was great! It was really good, it's always a lot of fun. The first year we played we were outdoors in the afternoon and it was kinda hot outside, but it was still a great show. There were tons of people watchin' us, probably a couple thousand people, like as far as you could see. But this time we played indoors on the inside stage and it was incredible, man. A lot o' people said that's the best show they've ever seen us do, and I was like 'Wow, really?' We were just puttin' on our normal gig, y'know? But a lot o' people said it was really good. I don't know, we're gettin' the new songs tighter and stuff, so hopefully we're blowin' people away. It was great, though!"

HP: How did they respond to some of the new stuff?

Williams: "People love it! People were already yellin' out the titles and stuff. A lot o' people wanna hear the new stuff. I mean, we've been gettin' by, somehow. Bein' a cult-band is why, that's the answer. We're a cult-band, y'know? Not OCCULT, but A CULT, y'know? We haven't had an album out in years, but we're still tourin' and sometimes we do the same songs in a set, but it's always gonna be a fun show. We're always gonna put 1000% energy into it. So I think they respond greatly to it."

HP: You guys have been doin' this for 25 years or so...

Williams: "Yeah, it's almost 25 years. 1988 is when the band started."

HP: You guys have your fans, you always have. But what's it like to see a new fan respond to stuff written before he was even born?

Williams: "I love it, man! It's cool to see somebody come out, like an old fan of ours that we see every time we come to that city. Like some dude we know, or some girl... the next thing you know, they're bringin' their kids out and their kid is this huge EYEHATEGOD fan. It's just really cool. And a lot of these kids are starting bands, I think that's just what it's all about. That's how it was for me, I started out this little punk-rock kid just bein' a fan of music and still am. So I love to see the kids get into it just like I did when I was a kid. So I hope it just continues on, I guess until we're old, OLDER."

HP: You guys have obviously inspired so many young bands, so many musicians. Some of them talented, some of them just totally unlistenable. But how do you respond to being considered, like or not, a pioneer of heavy music, of metal, of anything like that?

Williams: "We don't really like to label it metal or punk. We especially hate the 'sludge' label, just because... I mean, it's not a bad word. I use the same thing when I say 'punk-rock,' that's a label, too. Or 'thrash-metal.' It's the same thing. It's just somethin' that we don't wanna... We're not sludge, how could we be? 'Cause when we started that term didn't even exist. It got made up later on to call bands like us a certain thing like 'grunge' or whatever. But yeah, it's a good title now that kinda encompasses a whole little umbrella group that has that sound. And I've written before, doin' journalism for websites and magazines so I know sometimes you have to use a label like that. But as far as the pioneer thing, I think that's awesome! It makes me really proud that we could... when I was a kid, goin' back to that, I always thought it'd be great if we did somethin' that people really recognized and really respected us for and it kinda happened, y'know? So we're all happy about that."

HP: I know you're pretty prolific as a writer, whether it's music or journalism or...poetry. I saw something about an EYEHATEGOD biography. Is that gonna happen?

Williams: "We can't do it by ourselves, we need somebody to help us do the interviews, somebody's gonna have to interview us, y'know? 'Cause we've got TONS of stories, 25 years worth of crazy tour stories and everything crazy that's happened to us. And then we wanna interview the guys who drove our vans and the roadies and people like that. Friends, all the other bands we've toured with, stuff like that. It's a lot of work. I'm the only one in the band that lost everything in Katrina, but Jimmy and those guys, Gary and Joey still have a lot of photos and fliers and things like that. We just wanna do like a coffee-table, bio type o' thing, y'know? I think it'd be fun, mostly pictures and stuff. It's just hard gettin' somebody to stay on board. We've had a few people that were like 'yeah, yeah I'll do it' and then they see how much work it is and they drop out. It's just a lot o' work and we need somebody to stick with it and help us. Maybe they'll read it here and contact us about doin' it, y'know?"

HP: You guys all have your hands in other stuff, other bands and stuff. You've got Arson Anthem, Jimmy's in Down... How difficult is it for the five of you guys to even be in the same place, let alone find time to record or tour or stuff like that?

Williams: "It's hard sometimes, y'know? Sometimes it gets really hard. We just make it work, that's all you can really do, is just make it work. There's been times we were pissed-off at Jimmy because he had to go tour... I mean, that's how Outlaw Order started. We had a tour or somethin' and he had to go so we're like 'Well, fuck it. Let's go play.' It came out how it did, but that's just the type of things that happen. We usually work it out. Everybody tries to stay busy and respect the other bands everybody's in or whatever."

HP: With Outlaw Order, you guys were all on probation at one point. Where are you at now with the legal shit?

Williams: "I'm finished with everything, man. I'm done! I mean, I can't own a firearm and stuff like that. I'm not on probation anymore, but I just gotta stay outta trouble forever. Which I do plan to do. I'm older now, shit happens when you're younger. It's just a fact o' life, y'know? You're stupider when you're younger. People do stupid things, you get caught up in things you don't wanna get caught up in. You don't mean to, y'know? You just figure you're indestructible sometimes when you're younger. As you get older you get a little wiser and realize like 'Damn, why did I do that?' But I still drink a little, stuff like that. Nothin' crazy, y'know?

HP: You're clean now, right?

Williams: "Yeah, like I said I just drink a little bit. That's pretty much it. I'm not ashamed of anything. Some people are afraid to ask that stuff and I'm just like 'I don't care, man.' That's my life. People wanna know about my life so I'm not gonna lie or make somethin' up."

HP: From the name to the music and everything about you guys, everything about EYEHATEGOD has been never conforming, never givin' a shit what other people say...

Williams: "Right!"

HP: How crucial has that been to your success, your longevity? You guys have always stuck to your guns when a lot of other bands follow trends...

Williams: "But that's also hurt us, too. A lot o' bands break down and they just conform to what the label's tellin' them. Y'know, the record label's like 'Well, you can't do that' and we've always been like 'Fuck you, we're gonna do it anyway.' So it's hurt us before, too. But at the same time I think we've earned people's respect. It's just one of those things... people really respect the band that does that. Nothin's fake about this band, it's all true and everything's reality. So I think we've just earned people's respect that way. That's kept us goin, y'know?"

HP: You guys got a few US dates set up when you return from Europe, right?

Williams: "Yeah, we're goin' out to the West Coast. San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, I think Colorado, I'm not sure where else. Yeah, doin' some stuff like that as soon as we get home. And then hopin' to get in the studio immediately. We wanna get the record out, y'know? This European tour was just somethin'... We thought we'd already have the album out by now but it's takin' a long time decidin'... y'know, this record label stuff sucks, to be honest with you. It's all business and crap. I just hate all that. I just wanna play music and go in the studio. Workin' out all the details sucks."

HP: Who handles all that stuff for you guys?

Williams: "We all do our share. We also have people that help us out, too. We have a lawyer and stuff. Just because we hate it... We have to do it. We don't have a manager, though. We kinda manage ourselves. We do have a TOUR manager when we go on the road, we have a lawyer and people like that who can help us."

HP: There's a distinct sound you guys have. We recognize it, we know it's you guys. We know you guys aren't gonna change. So what can fans really expect from the new material you guys are gonna lay down?

Williams: "EYEHATEGOD! I mean, we just do what we know how to do. There might be somethin' different... maybe some blues-ier parts to the songs. There may be some faster parts, maybe more Black Flag kind o' stuff. But for the most part, it's EYEHATEGOD. It's like AC/DC or Motorhead. We don't really go far from the formula. There's no reason to, y'know?"

HP: You guys have a fan-base with a certain expectation and they just expect you to sound like yourselves and you guys have always fuckin' hit the nail on the head.

Williams: "Yeah, but we do it for ourselves anyway. Even if we wanted to go completely experimental or somethin' we would, but we don't want to. We're all just down-to-earth rock and roll fans, y'know? We all like weird music and different kinds o' strange stuff. That's why we have other bands. We do different types of stuff with our different bands, y'know? I have an experimental, industrial-type thing I do. Like a noise-type o' band that helps me get that outta my system, y'know? Stuff that I enjoy."

HP: Anything else you wanna share with our readers?

Williams: "Just that I hope people come out to the shows, y'know? I hope we can get this record out because I know people have been askin' forever about a new EYEHATEGOD record. I hope people love it. We're playin' some o' the songs live. And I wanted to mention my book, it's called Cancer As A Social Activity."

HP: That's your poetry book, right?"

Williams: "Yeah. And that's like dark, negative poetry. And on the EYEHATEGOD page there's a scroll at the bottom, it just shows all the shows... I'll look at it sometimes and be like 'I can't believe we've played that many shows.'

HP: All the posters, all the gig posters, right?

Williams: "Yeah, it's like thousands of flyers! Posters, flyers just through the years. There are a ton of 'em that are missing, too. We just can't find 'em. That just shows how long... 25 years is a long time. And it's basically the same lineup except for bass players. We've only switched bass players maybe three times. But everyone else, we're the same people."

HP: Thanks for takin' the time to talk with us. Good luck in Europe!

Williams: "Thanks, man! I appreciate the interview!"

HP: We're lookin' forward to that record, too!

Williams: "Sure, man! We're gettin' to it! (laughs)."

Until then...


Monday, July 16, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: FiNSKA

Heavy Planet presents...FiNSKA 

Today's "New Band To Burn One To" is from Bjelovar, Croatia.


Band Bio: 


"FiNSKA is an instrumental trio from Bjelovar, Croatia. The creative process started in June 2011. when the band began with instrumental sessions to see what kind of music would satisfy all band members. The basic philosophy behind FiNSKA's music is that songs should be relatively short, unusually structured and with enough groove."



Thoughts: 


In a matter of fifteen minutes Croatia's FiNSKA manage to travel through multiple states of being, leaving the listener with one option.. to spin the tracks again and decode what has just been experienced. The artists music is unstructured, proving their creative cortex. If you are looking for moments of haunting terror, industrial chaos, and anything to let your imagination run wild check out their EP Perverted Lollipops at bandcamp.


Members: 
Bojan Gatalica - Guitar 
Davor Stojan - Drums 
Miran Kapelac - Bass 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Sludge: Earthrise - "Eras Lost"


How many of you really think Earth is in trouble come December?  The Mayan calendar is reaching its end, but does that necessarily equate to clutching one another, praying, and confessing our deepest secrets on the eve of what would normally be just another day?  I can't say I buy it.  Four dudes from Minneapolis, however, may make you doubt everything you thought you knew about chaos, Armageddon, and any apocalypse.

Driven by science, technology, and humanity's lack of progress, Earthrise's debut album, Eras Lost, is as damning and (perhaps) prophetic as any scroll or scripture.  The audio settings won't matter; the band provides far more volume than you're capable of handling this morning.  And the post-metal sludge is only half the appeal here. These eleven tracks drag you under fault lines and bludgeon your dogma until you accept the demise of everything you knew.

The fuzzy history-class sample of Challenger Deep buzzes through static to break into a massive doom-drone slug to the temple.  Peppered with faint hope, this solid concrete block of an opener uses agonized vocals and drifting licks to create a beautiful duality.  Mood and atmosphere are somehow detectable amid a crumbling, decrepit landscape of decay.  The grinding sludge is brutal, scraping death from pavement as a cloud of choppy smoke splits bone. Lock your doors.

Mass devastation strikes hard on Titan, rife with nervous, acid-rain ticks and steamroll purrs.  The avalanche of concaved despair burns at your skin and stomps like an angry, drunken giant.  When they assert "the end is fucking nigh," you can't help but cautiously nod.  Former Worlds, however, is far more technical and methodical.  The track sounds like science until sludge-doom crashes and vocals ache for what once was.  The sonic tautology is layered with buzzes, pushes, and third-degree burns.  A break allows for reflection on honor and an otherworldly perspective is twisted through a bass tone of yielded aggression.  Oh, but the chaos is never far; glass shards pelt your skin and a bleak future re-emerges.

The immediate precision of Polar Low shrugs off Mastodon and Baroness comparisons and creeps to a brief crawl before buzz-saw tempo returns.  The track builds, tightens its choke, and let's wrath grab the wheel.  The death knell is merely a realization of the unbearable but unavoidable, carried out on slow Taps.

Relentless marks a turning point on the album, but not for the false hope the bass roll directs.  Sure, it's a bright spot smacked into the album's overt darkness, but the honest vocals and pleasant melodies simply lull us into the fuzzy fadeout and ungodly crunch lean-in to Mirovia, where the thinking man's return to gravity is fully realized.  Plunging to the ocean floor, never allowing for a gasp, listeners are buried under a bed of bones as the planet's constant evolution/devolution is lauded and loathed.

Grinding plod on Eighteen Hundred is perhaps the album's most befitting sludge-tag.  Drums are picked-up and brutalized here, while the message is blatant.  Thick, unyielding, unsettling... Earthrise see themselves as truthsayers, prophets of doom.  "Mass destruction on an apocalyptic scale," they assure us.  Breaking, buzzing, hovering, looming... this calm before the buzz waits for guitars to burn through hope until we're assured: "The sun will not share its light again."

Transmission is an intermission of sorts, but I'll never argue with a doom tie-in that boasts settling ash and slowly descending clouds of chaos.  The technological meltdown is as ominous and unnerving as it is calming and cathartic.  The tandem with Exhale is blanketed darkness in the continued vein of the end times.  The grind and chop creates a chaotic trot via guitar pullback and a wall of congested filth.  The message here, and everywhere on the disc, is a heavy one: "...as the oceans flow upward in protest, with nothing to hold them down."  Well, fuck.  Let's just enter this foggy creep of a misty morning and look at what the night left behind. Your ears are ringing, your skin is burning, and you've already realized that it doesn't matter.

The clean "save us" lyric can't help Frame Dragging from serving as the album's thick, grating aggressor.  Flames surround as we're dragged by the ankles into a pit of insanity.  This murky rumble is beyond fitting as a closer. Your house is gonna shake, while the choppy, intermittent, and unpredictable elements slowly crawl into your pained acceptance.  "Devour me"? Ugh, go ahead!  I don't even know where the fuck I am right now.

Earthrise aren't trying to confuse you, scare you, or justify your warped tenets. But they take no issue with calling bullshit on humanity's failures and bracing for a stern fucking lashing.  The topple won't simply include tangible structure and outlined process, but also the fundamental ethic adopted by society, community, family, and individual that an established operative path is safe from greater swells of power that are limitless and unmerciful. Eras Lost is committed to a broader context, one that allows for acceptance and patience. But somehow we're still licking syrup from the corners of our mouths and hoping Earthrise never succumb to complacency.

Members:
Mike Britson
Tom Hillmann
Jimmy Neumann
Andy Rutledge



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Album Review: The Ocular Audio Experiment - The Witch's Whispering Tomes


Remember that scene in the movie Dig! when Anton Newcombe says- “How many people are imitating Pearl Jam right now? Not that many... How many imitators do I have?”

Anton Newcombe, as conceited as he turned out to be, did not live up to his self-imposed Godlike stature in that movie, and no, he is not imitated more than Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam spawned an arsenal of mediocre grunge bands with marble-mouthed singers trying to be the next Eddie Vedder. The Brian Jonestown Massacre are harder to imitate, since their records are essentially amalgams of old psychedelic bands and brit pop shoegazer. But that’s not to say either Pearl Jam or The Brian Jonestown Massacre are mediocre bands. It’s not their fault millions of next-generation songwriters aspire to their success. The originals are usually the best though.

The Ocular Audio Experiment, brainchild of Alex Pollock of Somerville, Massachusetts, just released two versions of the same album: “The Witch’s Whispering Tomes”. The sound falls into the BJM category, but he is an exception to the idea that 1st is always the best. The sound is more focused and consistent than any BJM record. It’s kaleidoscopic, mind-bending, hallucinatory, and sincere. Whereas Anton and co. sometimes feel contrived and to the point of plagiarizing, Pollock sticks to his own guidelines, keeping the pulse of the album stable and fresh. It’s better than BJM in many ways and more original in my opinion. The album goes directly to the sources. I hear influences of the Velvet Underground to Spacemen 3 to The Byrds. I don’t feel this is just a new psychedelic revival band. There’s a vision to this music, that the core of the material is based around hypnosis by repetition. There is style between the hymn-like vocal chanting and thud constant percussion. Pollock has one clear vision he is going after. If every song sounded like a different band, it wouldn’t feel like a new sound. His idea of modern psychedelia is spiritual and thought-provoking from track to track.

Some might call this mood-music, like it’s one long song with 100 different turns. There’s nothing wrong with that if it’s done with a twist. The Ocular Audio Experiment is enchanting with a sonic color palette of wide variety. The record defines a sound that can develop in so many different directions, but for now, listen to the new album and get familiar with The Ocular Audio Experiment. I feel it's exploring new territory and confounding the most experimental groups of today.



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