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Friday, August 31, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: SEVERED DEMONS

HEAVY PLANET presents... SEVERED DEMONS!


















BAND BIO:

We are Severed Demons, a 4 piece stoner rock band from Australia.



THOUGHTS:
"As simple as their bio suggests, Australia's Severed Demons takes the straight and simple approach to rock 'n' roll. No fancy production tricks here. These gents play a mean and downright dirty brand of stoner rock. The band may tend to get a few Fu Manchu comparisons due to the vocal phrasing, but that is where the comparisons end. The band is not quite as heavy, is a bit more unpolished, a tad southern sleaze and a whole lotta rock and roll. Check out their killer video for the song "Trelucabeth" below."



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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Album Review: Triggerman - "Hail to the River Gods"



Hailing from Derry, Northern Ireland come a hard hitting, rock breaking, sledge hammer of a band that has one goal in mind when cranking out their seven splendid tunes on the new release, “Hail to the River Gods” and that’s to . . . well, to ROCK! Plain and simple. Their music is plain and simple, by design, but not at the expense of any detail for it is overflowing with energy and power, craft and material. The effort is there, in spades. The talent is there, they are a mightily gifted foursome. The skill is there, these guys have put in the time. They have very carefully, and whole-heartedly crafted a collection of tunes that play heavy on the loud, on a central theme of huge guitars, of granite splitting trap set ricochets, of the earthquake rumble of an all out battery of bass riffs, of a front man soliloquy surrounded by the blitzkrieg assault of fully loaded instrumentation, all wrapped up in a party atmosphere carefully crafted from painstaking care in songcraft and delivery.

Triggerman consist of:

Bap on Vocals and Guitar
Niall on Guitar
Rory on Drums
Dixie on Bass

These guys play hard and play well, with a fierceness and a joy that is the hallmark of great rock.

The album is huge, with seven meaty songs that will have you wearing a whiplash collar the following day. They start the album off with “Rage of the Goddess”, calling in all rubes with a promise of heavy riffs and fire inducing solos, slammed into a box of deep bass, and pounded shut with a thousand drumbeats.

“Rise of the Woodsman” is fast and fuzzy, led by huge guitars and Bap’s Carny Bark vocals that drive it all home.

The title track, “Hail to the River Gods” is third, picking up the same huge and heavy sound of its predecessors, this time delivering a gung ho melody of inspiration and adventure.

“Th’on Strange Brew” is tight and fun, a jab, jab, hook type of rhythm that delivers big on sound and enjoyment.

Next up is “The Flower of Life”, following the tried and true formula already established, just a fun and heavy construction of complex guitars and hard hitting drums, wrapped up in a thunder of bass riffage.

Time to deliver even louder, bigger, harder, faster because the outcome of number six is to “Wake the Dead”. Are they successful? Hell Yeah!! This hairy adventure is full of fury and fun.

The closer is a long slow build up of power and angst, building step by step to a huge, compelling climax of what Triggerman deliver best - straight up guitars as big as Hell, hard pounding drums, heavy granite busting bass, and a no frills vocal delivery.

This album is nothing but pure and unadulterated metal, delivering finely crafted rock that is rock as it should be. It is roaring thunder and crashing tidal waves, freight trains rolling across the night desert through a maelstrom of hail and crashing lightning. It is the constant staccato rhythm of big city construction pounding relentlessly away at concrete and steel. It is the spartan assault of 2 guitars, bass, drums, and unique vocal delivery that form the phalanx for a lean and brutal assault on the senses. It is music you can drink whiskey to, music you can pound your fist to, music you can party to, music you can fornicate to, raw and primal, with the pure essence and power of man in peak primordial form.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Zac's "Double Dose": Big Wheel Stunt Show / Nightosaur


Big Wheel Stunt Show: Wonderful LIFE 

Finally, another excellent concept album! I live for these, so without further ado Heavy Planet presents... Big Wheel Stunt Show and thier latest release Wonderful LIFE. Native to Tacoma, Washington this quartet combines the love for funk and traditional blues with a whole lotta soul. If you're looking for an operatic narrative that hits the lines with psychedelic rock, heavy blues, and a good dose of organ Big Wheel Stunt Show is your band and Wonderful LIFE is your album. The story is told from birth, beginning with the cry of our main character's infancy, through aging, alien abduction, and finally the after-life. Check out the video for Bad Thing below and get a copy here.

 

Members: 
Andy Basinger - Organ // Back-up Vocals 
Evan Nagle - Guitar // Vocals 
Jake Melius - Bass // Back-up Vocals 
Justin Gimse - Drums // Back-up // Lead Vocals

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


Nightosaur: Spaceaxers 

History states they've been extinct some 65 million years. Don't buy it, because there are a few roaming the terrain under the moon-lit sky of Minnesota and recently reared its ugly Tricera-head on Heavy Planet's Smoke Out Sunday. The beast I speak of is no other than Nightosaur who've come to crush your skull with their sophmore release Spaceaxers. The band desribes the sound as dino sludge and fossil rock, which is exactly what you're going to find... mammoth riffs, thunderous drums, and sharp hooks. Something about it all together feels very ancient. Check out my favorite track is Too Far South For Muntiny below... an angry and fast paced jam telling the story of a mutinous voyage to the south. The track There May Be Dragons, the single featured on Smoke Out Sunday, is available for free here and if that doesn't get you a fix the entire album can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, and all the expected online stores. 


**Andy Webber, lead guitarist, custom manufactures Nightosaur's guitars under the name Whale Hazard Unlimited, something completely awesome and should be noted**


Members: 
Andy Webber - Guitar // Vocals 
John Henry - Bass // Vocals 
Brad - Drums // Vocals


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: IRONBIRD

HEAVY PLANET presents... IRONBIRD!























BAND BIO:

From over a decade of playing metal in Cardiff under various guises including Diabolo and The Devil's Hand, Ironbird delivers lowdown, thunderous tales of assassins, curses and false messiahs.



THOUGHTS:
"For a stripped-down, vociferous and unpretentious fuzzfest, I suggest you check out the latest release "Songs of Spite and Ire" from UK stoner metallers Ironbird. The tunes represented on this album harken back to the early nineties when grunge and stoner rock were in coexistence. Utilizing the warm and fuzzy tones of stoner/desert rock and the raw punkish feel of grunge, each song is remarkably played with precision and passion. Where the band truly shines is when they layer in unassuming melody, shredding solos and a classic metal crunch to an already appeasing sound. Standout tracks such as "Black Sunrise", "Count the Curses" and "Ghost Prayer" will surely leave an eternal buzz ringing in your ears for daze. And oh yeah, you can get all this glorious fuzzy mayhem for free. Love this shit!"
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Monday, August 27, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: SCISSORJACK

HEAVY PLANET presents... SCISSORJACK!






















BAND BIO:

Scissorjack is a four piece heavy rock band from San Antonio, Tx. Scissorjack fuses heavy rock, the vintage sounds of classic rock, some aspects of modern rock , all the while keeping the music catchy and memorable. The band is influenced by many types of music but tips their hats to major influences like Black Sabbath, Life of Agony, Down, Alice in Chains, just to name a few.



THOUGHTS:
"Scissorjack is a band that means serious business. No glitz and glamour here people, just serious heavy rock and fuckin' roll. With a brimful of badass, and a boot to your ribcage, this band lays down 4 songs filled with bar-brawling riffs, powerful groove and passionate vocals. The highlight of this EP is the track "Vain". This is an aural ass-whoopin' the size of Texas. Check them out today!"
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Sludge: Serial Hawk - "Buried In The Gray" (EP)


There's a storm rolling in, they'll tell us. Those assholes in suits love bringing dark news almost as much as my crazy fucking mother. So I'm inclined to stop listening to the cock-knock local weatherman and let my bones tell me what's going on. You'll feel it. At my age you will, anyway. Sit and wait long enough for that dull ache to settle and peer west. Dark clouds never brought me anything but tranquil composure on a day I would normally reserve for neurotic ramblings and Lexapro considerations.

Seattle's gold medal for HEAVY today goes to Serial Hawk, a trio we can't narrowly categorize as sludge but will certainly highlight regardless of where they belong on any critic's piss-stained continuum of labels. The sludge is there, no doubt. But so is an aggregate of murmur, flow, and atmosphere ribboned through eyelets of relentless gravity. June saw the release of the band's four-track Buried In The Gray, a plodding but incredibly centered EP that tells us the Pacific Northwest's relevance didn't diminish in 1997.

Blame Collective Soul and Brother Cane all you want; the truth is you simply stopped digging. But wasn't that the point in the first place? If something was great, you called it your own. Did you really want your best friend's hot sister listening to Melvins? Fuck no, you didn't! You wanted to play it loud enough for her to ask, long enough for her to be turned off by it, and confidently enough for her to wanna juggle your nuts because you "weren't like the other guys." So perhaps we've now evolved from our selfish interests and recognized no band is gonna progress without a push. "So get to the POINT, Seth!"

Matted, fuzzy riffs open A Fraction of Light. Bouncing like the best sludge always does, we're dragged thick and subterranean on the elements. The stop/start dynamic isn't normally reserved for the drowned and blanketed sludge lag, but Serial Hawk stretch an arm further than Page Hamilton and pull it off brilliantly. Buoyant and evolved, the stomps and spits here lay a precedent that's not only met by the album's three remaining bricks, but surpassed.

My Last Days strums and hovers with an echo that questions everything. Slow and morose but never maudlin, Adam Holbrook's bass underbelly receives a challenge of dominance from the somber riffs. This was never meant to last long, though, and when the riffage goes full-boner monstrous, listeners enjoy a Goddamn electric catastrophe. The tempo is cleverly misleading and patience seems veiled as doom elements induce a trance rather than urgency. Ultimately, a track with this much gravity can't help but stagger the weak. Here we are, wise-ass. Good luck faking it now.

A slow bounce, Justin Rodda's tip-tap drums, and an awesomely-numbing reverb peg Watch It Burn. Steady and heady, smoky with conspiracy, and stuttered with impatient notes, the track rips at itself and instruments separate into a tripped-out sprawl. Slower and heavier than any previous moment on the EP, vengeance is fully executed as warble carries out that gorgeously remorseful fuzz.

Ah, we went non-linear on this Sunday. There was no way around it, simply because the EP's second track, Silence Means Nothing, is one of 2012's best songs. Mountaintop drone smacks the doom-reverb lead-in and Will Bassin's somber tones allow for a steady haze to grow. "Hands and feet are tied," he breathes and later screams. This shaky, paranoid clamor is gradually developed through a wooded nightmare. A tandem of drifting licks and incessant hum is UNMATCHED, with the coup proving even more crushing. The vocal whisper-to-a-scream approach is nothing new, but placed atop a bed of ominous distractions? Whew. Walk through this corridor of atmospheric drone laden with titanic riffs and you'll question your own faith. Melodies claw the backs of bruised moods and Bassin's vocals grip at a doorway with both hands at the last glimpse of light. I can't believe I just heard this. You're gonna listen to this track for weeks.

As cooler months and wet weather loom, sounds like these begin making much more sense. That doesn't mean I'm warning you to brace for the worst, however. With undying riffs and thumps, Buried In The Gray fits neatly into your sludge/doom collection. Inject stoner and grunge elements and things get tastier with each note. That fire in your belly isn't dread of the shifting front; it's hunger pangs. Give this stellar EP a shot and realize it. Soothe that savage beast.




Saturday, August 25, 2012

Heavy Planet CMJ Showcase - October 18th, 2012 Fontana's NYC


Heads up people!  Heavy Planet is taking over Gotham.  That's right folks, as part of the annual CMJ Music Marathon, which takes place October 16 - 20 in various venues throughout New York City, Heavy Planet will be hosting a showcase of the finest that heavy music has to offer.  If you're anywhere near the Big Apple on Thursday, October 18th, I promise this is a show you do not want to miss.

Kicking off the event will be the experimental stoner rock of NYC locals Shock Radar, followed by the riff slinging of Boston's Summoner (no wonder they used to call themselves Riff Cannon).  And sure to keep things heavy, Brooklyn's Eggnogg will be bringing their blend of ambient, bluesy, stoner, psych-rock to the lower east side.  In need of a fuzz fix?  No worries...Cincinnati's Valley of the Sun will scorch your soul with enough decibels to fill 10,000 deserts.  And finally, hot off their performance at this year's Stoner Hands of Doom Festival, Washington DC's very own Borracho will bring their massive groove to the stage to lay waste to whatever's left of Fontana's.

Where: Fontana's - 105 Eldridge St, New York City
When: 8:00 pm, October 18th, 2012
What: An evening with Heavy Planet and friends

Heavy Planet CMJ Showcase featuring:

8:00 PM - Shock Radar
9:00 PM - Summoner
10:00 PM - Eggnogg
11:00 PM - Valley of the Sun
12:00 AM - Borracho

FEUERZEUG: The Heavy Planet Interview



Last week on HeavyPlanet.net I had the pleasure of reviewing the album “Dead Wahines and Tsunamis” from the Swiss band Feuerzeug. It is an album I find refreshing, exciting, intriguing, satisfying, and singular. In a musical genre that is inundated with hundreds of artists worldwide producing music almost daily, much of it quite good, and a large amount of it damn tasty, as can be witnessed every single day on HeavyPlanet, Feuerzeug have managed to create something that rises quickly to the top of the pile, if you will, offering up an album bursting to the brim with songs of the highest quality. Not to mention, this album has 13 separate tracks, each and every one a small masterpiece in and of itself, not one of which could be considered filler. This is a feat rare in achievement throughout the history of rock, and this little known 4 piece band from Switzerland have managed to pull it off . . . twice. Yes, so, even though their first album, “Drive Fast and Crash!” didn’t make the review list back in 2009, it, like its successor, is a large album with a large sound, ambitious in scope and magnificent in delivery.

As you’ll see in the interview, Feuerzeug tend to go beyond the standard blues, metal, grunge, and high desert influences commonly heard with many underground metal acts. This, combined with an incredible talent for song structure, and of course the underpinnings of stoner/doom/psych rock that make this style of music so satisfying in the first place are what make these four musicians from the center of Europe interesting and unique. They were gracious enough to answer my questions and were quite enthusiastic about the whole process. After you learn a little bit about these guys, please don’t hesistate to check out their latest masterpiece, “Dead Wahines and Tsunamis” available from the link at the end of this review.

Band members are listed as:

David Denega (David Van Neeg) - guitar, lead vocals
Marc Cappalletti - drums, backing vocals
Esteban (Steve) Wolfensberger (von Wolfsburg) - guitars, effects
Terry Pinhard - bass
 
David was gracious enough to provide the responses.

HP: Are you guys currently on the road?

David: Well, honestly...no, because producing this album took so much time due to several external factors that we're now concentrating on promoting it the best we can.

HP: What is the touring situation for Feuerzeug now that the album has been released?

David: We're working on a European tour for 2013. For sure we will play in Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Germany because we have friends in several stoner bands there and the audience was awesome! The next step is to play in Eastern European countries such as Poland (where my roots are), Hungary, Slovakia and so on because the concert audience goes completely crazy when international bands play there and we like intense concerts and electric audiences.

HP: Describe some of the crowds you have played in front of?

David: We always have a crazy man coming on stage and stage-diving at each concert, which I think means that the crowd likes us. Seriously, there are two kinds of audience at our concerts. Those who are there to po-go and are completely drunk because they heard that our music is energetic and they want to expulse their "one-week-shitty-work-frustrations", and those who are there because they are more interested in the mix we've managed to create between our different musical influences.

HP: What was your favorite venue?

David: I think that it was in Bilbao, Spain. We played in a very small bar there and the stage had been removed to have more place for concert goers... so we pushed everything against the wall and played in the middle of the crowd. This became such an intense concert, everybody was screaming, jumping, and touching us during the whole concert, it was like the end of the video-clip of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". A great moment!!!

HP: Any plans or opportunities to come to the U.S. and play?

David: In fact we would like to find a serious record label to release our album in the US but there are so many suckers in this movement that it's difficult to find someone we can trust. In Europe it's ok because I have my own label/booking agency, but for the US and Japan there is hard work we still have to do yet! So, if someone's interested in releasing our album, contact us! We could play in California via our contacts there but it won't have any serious effects on the future of the band.

HP: There is a huge stoner/doom presence in Europe, with dozens of high quality groups creating a LOT of great music. Do you find this an advantage? Or, is it perhaps daunting due to so much competition?

David: Well, as I entered in the stoner movement I was astonished that a lot of bands I loved were European, and that made a snap in my head. I understood that due to many different cultures in Europe we maybe had an adantage by mixing our origins and languages in a style of music that I find is one of the most open, musically speaking. We speak French, have a German bandname, and we sing in English. We have played with bands such as Truckfighters from Sweden or Monkey3 from Switzerland, both of which are good friends of ours, and even bands coming from Serbia that have an oriental touch to their music. All of them inspire us everytime we create a new song, so it's an advantage for sure.

HP: In the bio on Reverbnation it states the unlikeliness of these 4 guys coming together to form a band, much less a stoner band, due to the disparity in musical backgrounds of each of the members. Can you give us an idea of the varying backgrounds of each member?

David: Steve loves music in general, so he has played in several different bands, even a tropical music band. Terry is a big metal fan, and he also loves Rage Against the Machine. Marc is a basic punk fan. He still plays in a ska-punk band called Huge Puppies. I'm a big grunge fan, so that's why sometimes you can hear a Kurt like voice on some of the songs. We all love music in general, I mean we will never refuse to listen to a song because it's not a metal song, or because it's a minimal electro song. We're all really open about music, with that same point of view in creating a song. On the next album, for example, we put some Hammond keybord on one song. We want to explore and play with unusual sonorities on our music. We hate bands who take no fucking risks with their music.

HP: Who handles song writing duties? How about lyrics? Can you describe the typical process for writing a song?

David: Steve and I always have a good combination. I mean one of us will bring a part of a song and the other one will easily stick what he may have been working on in his pocket for later. Everything at the beginning is very spontaneous. It must be energetic and make you want to crush your guitar. If it has that type of energy and vibe then we begin to rearrange things and work on details. After that we have a huge advantage with our excellent bass player, Terry, who always has a sort of naive approach when it comes to our music and our band. He always does the right thing at the right moment to push the band forward. Finally, Marc is a virtuous drummer, not selfish at all. I mean, Steve and I will say "Hey let's try this" and Marc does it. If it sounds good then it's approved and he plays it, if not we continue to search for a good groove together.


HP: I understand there have been some big life changes for a band member or two, such as babies?

David: Yep, Steve and I got married and he has a beautiful boy he named Darrell, in memory to Pantera's Dimebag.

HP: Tell me about the name of the band, Feuerzeug. What does it mean, both literally and figuratively/symbolically? Why was it chosen?

David: Feuerzeug means ‘the lighter’ in German. We chose this name after deciding to look for a new one from our previous band name, Tesla Intoxicates, which was too long and meaningless. But with Feuerzeug we loved the idea of burning every limit we had. By this I mean, musically by mixing different influences, and pschycologically by believing that even if we are a small country in the world we have our place in the international stoner community.

HP: Tell me about the status of employment of everyone. Who works second and third jobs to support their families, who is able to live off the proceeds from album sales and tour profits? Do you rely upon merch at your venues to bring in extra income, or does it cost more than you make, typically?

David: We all have jobs because we would have to tour 7 months a year to be able to live on just our music. In addition to our regular jobs we produce, mix and masterize the music ourselves in order to have total control on what we do, how we do it, and when we do it. With no producer nor manager the first european tour was entirely booked by myself via my label Ishii Kamikazi, which has been renamed SuperChevelle.B.A. We need freedom and we only use trusted friends in different labels to distribute our records.

HP: What does the future hold for Feuerzeug? Will you be able to make more records in the future? Do you ever foresee the band becoming successful in such a way that no one has to sustain a day job?

David: We're working on a third album which is going to be even more ambitious than the previous one. We'll see what will happen. If success is here, ok. For us, we of course always want to live with and for our music. If not, we don't care so much because we have so many different projects we are working on (graphic designs, other bands, families and friends) that we already love our lives. To be professional musicians would only be a kind of utopia we have had since we were kids.

There you have it, folks. They’re young, they love life, they love music, but more importantly, they know how to make it. Here’s to hoping to make a lot of it for years to come, something with which we can help by purchasing their sweet new album at:


||| Facebook || MySpace |||

Plus, check out this killer video with an alternative version to the song “Evel Knievel Has Kissed the Devil”



Friday, August 24, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: TOMBSTONE HIGHWAY

HEAVY PLANET presents...TOMBSTONE HIGHWAY!


BAND BIO:

Tombstone Highway was originally shaped on the muddy banks of the mighty Po'/Padus river (the longest river in Italy) in Piacenza. These rural places and their folklore surely have influenced the creation and the mood of the band; Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Doom Metal, Southern Rock and traditional Blues and Bluegrass (with the added heaviness of low-tuned guitars and bass) provided the musical inspiration! The band was born in the summer of 1999 under the monicker of Leaf Season Death (L.S.D.), from the will of HM OUTLAW and S.O.B. . They practiced for several months as a 2-people outfit, but due to the lack of other members to complete the line-up, the 2 guys grew bored and respectively joined forces with other bands, to pursue different musical ventures. In 2006 the 2 guys decided to work again together on the band and they started writing new material and to practice again, then shortly after Mike B. (from the Post-Grindcore band Viscera///) joined on Bass, and the band's monicker was definitively changed and set to TOMBSTONE HIGHWAY. After some rehearsals in their barn near the Padus river, the guys entered the studio (in November 2007) to record the first official EP, appropriately titled "Padus River Graveyard Blues". The EP is spread around in a few copies and used as a promo-CD only for labels, as well as a gift for a restricted circle of friends. After a hiatus due to commitments of the members with their other respective bands, as well as the departure of Mike B., HM Outlaw and S.O.B. started again to write new songs and rehearse as a 2-people outfit. They currently recorded the first full length album, titled "Ruralizer", and they're searching for a suitable label to release the album internationally. Some session-members on guitar and bass will be added subsequently to play live-shows.



THOUGHTS:
"While technically speaking, Tombstone Highway is not exactly a "new band". The band has been toying around with their gritty southern metal influenced sound since 1999. Only recently (2006) has the band gotten fixated on a name change to go along with their down-home aural bludgeoning. The foot-stomping madness ensues as soon as the play button is pushed. Scorching fuel-fired riffs, whiskey-soaked vocals and a banjo, yes I said a banjo, are used to promptly kick ones collective ass. Crack open a cold one and crank up this sum bitch !"
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Zac's "Double Dose": Auroboros / Daggers Mid Flight


Auroboros: S/T 

Auroboros are causing quite the stir in the D.C. area and will be preforming along side some Heavy Planet favorites (Borracho and One Inch Giant) at DC 9 on August 30th. So what better time than now to give the people of Heavy Planet an Auroboros blast? This four-some have a hefty resume that is sure to seal some fans instantly. Musicians here have shaped their sounds with Baroness, Gnarwolf, and Salome... dabbling in doom, sludge, and everything in between. This self-titled effort leans away from doom and finds a Tool-esque sound. The harmonies are expansive, for short five minute songs, creating a climactic and volitile environment. [Brian] Bickle's vocals are gruff and throaty. Check out my favorite track Tired Grip below and if you're in the D.C. area next Thursday, be sure to catch the show!

 

Members: 
Brian Blickle - Vocals // Guitar (Ex-Baroness) 
Jake Smith - Guitar (Ex- Gnarwolf) 
Rob Moore - Bass (Ex- Salome) 
Tommy Parry - Drums

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


Daggers Mid Flight - Leap of Fangorn 

Austrailian's seem to know their way around experimental metal. Daggers Mid Flight, much like Serious Beak (another favorite of mine), have taken their experimental approach to music and combined it with their love of sludge and heavy psychadelia. Daggers Mid Flight however take a much more obscure path, occupying the quiet as much as the chaos. Take my favorite track for a spin, the self-titled, Leap of Fangorn with its quiet and uneasy build steadily transforming into a calculated colossus of percussion. The music only gets more experimental from here. Check out the rest of Daggers at bandcamp.


Members: 
Ben - Drums // Percussion 
Deryck - Drums // Percussion 
Josh - Bass 
Toby - Guitar


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: MAETH

HEAVY PLANET  presents... MAETH!






















BAND BIO:

Maeth are four young friends who met as undergraduate students in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Through a shared love of diverse sounds such as progressive rock and doom metal, they've developed a unique musical aesthetic. Maeth eschews genre labels in favor of the adjectives heavy, progressive, and psychedelic.


THOUGHTS:

"The latest five-song EP by these four Minnesotans is quite the impressive feat. The band charges head first into the slow and crushing dirge of "Horse Funeral". Filled with a plethora of different guitar acrobatics, the overall sound is murky and darkened but eventually gets playful with a psychedelic flute/bass interlude which segues into the trippy and meandering instrumental "Ganges". Primarily instrumental with a few shouts and screams scattered about, Maeth engulf the listener in a remarkable journey filled with a very diverse and ear-pleasing EP that keeps you guessing as to what lurks around the corner. The EP is available for FREE on Bandcamp, go listen and see for yourself."

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Monday, August 20, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: LASER FLAMES ON THE GREAT BIG NEWS

HEAVY PLANET presents... LASER FLAMES ON THE GREAT BIG NEWS!























BAND BIO:

Gang vocals, viola, blast-beats, dive-bombs and galloping guitars galore accented by some of the sweetest vocal harmonies ever to drip down from the south side of the Mason Dixon. “Lambs” the first release by Tennessee’s “Laser Flames on the Great Big News,” features four catchy-as-hell, southern-rock songs bursting at the seams with beauty, power and ache. With all the groove, soul and killer riffs of a Hendrix tune mixed wtih the heaviness of Sabbath, “Lambs” could be the imagined outcome of ‘Masters’ era Metallica playing the stolen backline of Lynyrd Skynyrd til fingers, feet and vocal chords bleed.

“Lambs” genre hops a thousand hyphens and stylistically traverses much of the rock and extreme music universe, but doesn’t get lost in gimmicks or novelty games. This is music that’s real, played for therapy and release by four hard rock soldiers. Sung to hell and back with alternating male and female vocals, "Lambs" is like L'autrichine era Jucifer, Cat Power before she cleaned up and (the) Melvins doing their best T Rex impression.

Featuring John Judkins, current bassist of Rwake, and formerly of Today is the Day and Christine; Laser Flames on the Great Big News is a band that plays rock songs for metal heads, country ballads for crust-punks and classic rock for black metal maniacs. Such fine melody made evil through heartache and the devil’s electric guitar. If Led Zeppelin, Sabbath and Thin Lizzy find time on your turntable next to Slayer, Melvins and Mayhem, Laser Flame on the Great Big News have something you should hear.

Play it loud!!!



THOUGHTS:

"Wow! What is there left to say that the bio hasn't already said. I am going to try and describe what the hell I just listened to. Laser Flames on the Great Big News is not only the most unique band names I've ever heard  but is pretty fitting for the abstract music that the band plays. The band has a huge southern rock influence but throw in some grind and crusty punk and that is where the fun begins. The classic angel vs. devil emerges as the angelic vocals matchup in a battle royale against the muddied guitar licks. This music goes from here to there without missing a beat, and even though the band crosses genres frequently throughout each song, the melody is never sacrificed. This is a gratifying experience for anyone that likes to go outside of their comfort zone when listening to music. You can grab this latest EP for free on their Bandcamp page. Yep, I said FREE!"

Laser Flames on the Great Big news is from Nashville, Tennessee and will be appearing at the "Mutants of the Monster II" festival, in Little Rock, Arkansas during the last weekend of August. The festival features Yakuza, Pallbearer, Rwake, Deadbird and other Handshake Inc bands Biipiigwan, and ((Thorlock)).

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Sludge: haarp - "Husks"


Sludge is inherently messy. Relentless and unapologetic, sludge-o-philes want our sounds low, loose, thick, and absolutely fucking filthy. What we don't always get, however, is a release that's focused, well-realized, brilliantly-produced, and free of the metallic aftertaste that results from the absence of proper channels. It makes sense, I suppose. Fanning out to a broader base can get tricky when the music itself is as characteristically abrasive as some of metal's sub-genres are.

New Orleans-based haarp are spitting a nasty claim to the petulant throne with their first release since 2010's The Filth.  The three-track Husks (Housecore), due September 18th, is a thematic stagger through death-rattled woods, loaded with shifts and transitions that go down easier than barrel-aged bourbon. Heavy with gravity and shit-caked boot heels, the Phil Anselmo-produced Husks is never over-saturated and never grows dull. Nearly thirty-nine ticks from onset to close, each moment on the album is one you'll surely revisit.

Immediately captivating is the track list; titles of deadman/rabbit, bear, and fox summon images of dense forest and placid wind-whispered timber. These images are shredded at the onset of deadman, however, with a violent stutter of riffs atop a bevy of thunderous drums. Vocalist Shaun Emmons barks with confident disdain, a bellow so seasoned and gut-wrenched that you can't imagine how he must sound off-record. The rhythm relaxes and sinks under wispy licks, plodding through echoes of Rwake. Patient, brutal, versatile... the mood is thoroughly troubling. Churn and grind are never out of reach, though, as we complete the life cycle and crawl home to die. Sure, metal can breed a catharsis. But listeners are scrubbed raw on this 18-minute opus.

An immediate onslaught of sludge introduces bear, the album's lumbering, bipolar thorax. Grant Tom's clash of riffs and licks is eye-opening, hinting at melody but ultimately fraught with melancholic realism. At times, bear is driven more by brute strength than speed or cunning, and being stunned with haarp's stiff cudgel is a strangely welcome nightmare of thick disorientation. Twisting and churning, bear furls home on a true sludge trample, more soiled with each labored stroke. I'm often leery of pointing out any absence of faults, but haarp display NONE.

fox's doomy mist is pensive, patient, and quixotic. Husk's slowest, most plodding moments occur here in a fog of questioned existence. You knew this would break, but you didn't anticipate how seamlessly haarp would transition to an agonizingly awesome stomp. Emmons has incredible vocal range, symptomatic of what his eyes have seen. "Weeping women gather under shadows to eek out a false fate," he barks. Seeking answers, only more ("Hollow explanations") questions arise. A hell-bent bounce emerges, strung through Bret Davis' bass plugs. Tempos hold steady, kissed with blistered groove and growing disenchantment. "Save your two-bit dreams," Emmons warns. Sludge barges back, peppered with fading machine-gun drums; Keith Sierra is given marquee-billing as the album enters its unsettling flat-line. Hollow, simple, and emphatic, fox's coup de grâce is Husks' brilliant, prolonged exit.

Planting their feet as sludge metal gods, haarp take their time trimming the fat and let the truth simmer. Between the sludge barrages and atmospheric back roads is tempered, expertly-timed black gold. The band's proficient but patient approach is lined with beautifully rich and vile vision. Husks isn't merely another NOLA sludge-metal record; it's a sonic catapult for a band wholly deserving of every accolade they accrue. Take a walk through these rotting woods and sink with your sorrow. When the animals finally smell your stink, haarp will be waiting.


Lineup:
Grant Tom - Guitars
Keith Sierra - Drums
Bret Davis - Bass
Shaun Emmons - Vocals


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Album Review - Feuerzeug: Dead Wahines and Tsunamis


13 songs. That’s a lot of songs. That’s how many there are on Feuerzeug’s latest album, the May release of “Dead Wahines & Tsunamis”. How many of those 13 songs would you think, coming from a presently little known 4 piece rock band from Switzerland, would be worth listening to more than one time through? For those songs that happen to pass the initial audible audit, how many do you think would be worthy of additional playtime because they were enjoyable enough, intriguing enough, to warrant it? How many would you expect to then be listened to over and over again so as to catch all the nuanced, clever riffs, rolls, and solos that are tightly packed throughout each individual contribution? How about the intelligent and in depth lyrics, do they engender infinite rewinds in an effort to understand what the singer’s lush and full bodied vocals are dispensing? How many of these baker’s dozen would you think are a cut above your ordinary run of the mill stoner/doom tunes, perhaps offering influences and additions from other musical styles and genres that embellish the great low fuzz instead of detract from it? What percentage of this sizeable amalgamation of stoner/psych formulations truly belong in the LP collection of “Dead Wahines & Tsunamis”, available on iTunes, Amazon, and online? The complete and immutable answer is 100%, every goddamned one of them. Each and every one of these thirteen offerings are songs within the pale, so to speak. They are songs that are instantly recognizable as a cut above, as top shelf. They are the type of songs that only get better, more appreciated with each listen. You find yourself discovering something new on subsequent listens, whether it be the first week after you’ve purchased it, 6 months down the road, or, I’ll warrant, 10 years hence, placing this particular album collection alongside the likes of such standards as . . . yes, I’m going to trot it out . . . Kyuss’ “Blues for the Red Sun”, Aerosmith’s first four, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”, Black Sabbath’s “Master of Reality”, Egypt’s self-titled EP . . . pick your favorite all time albums, slide them to the right a notch, and place a copy of this most excellent edition beside that esteemed group.

Man, the pressure to produce 13 songs of substance had to be somewhat daunting, but these guys seem to take it in stride. It’s a little like Messi or Kobe needing to bring their A game each time out because they know the opposition has brought theirs, but it turns out not to be a problem because the combination of skill and talent, honed from years of finger blistering work and an imagination of clarity and insight. Somehow this collection of Swiss rockers are able to hone in on such high quality sound, over and over again, providing tunes that are bursting at the seams with fun, soul, and sheer listenable joy. Even if you go back an album, to their first LP, “Drive Fast & Crash”, you’ll experience the same phenomena, except with a miserly 12, not 13, beautifully rendered, fully crafted melodies that rock your face off!

At first listen a couple of things jump out at you: these . . . songs . . . ROCK . . . HARD . . and the vocals are nothing short of tremendous. For me, the vocals play a key role in the overall quality of the music. Vocals don’t have to be genetically superior, or of broadway musical quality, but when they are, it tends to place the music on an upper shelf. Who can discount the athletic, driving vocals of Kyuss’ John Garcia, Ozzy’s unique and incredible sound on those early albums, Keith Gibbs’ throaty, hefty, brutal vocals for Sasquatch, Dave Wyndorf’s beautifully adept timbre on Monster Magnet’s monster tunes? David van Neeg provides more than simple serviceable singing on this album, he belts them out with force and fury, finesse and panache, striking chords and notes in perfect execution and timbre, matching the quality of his output to that of the music upon which it rides. He never struggles, never strays from the essence of a song, always delivering exactly what fits, what matches, what’s required. Hell, the guy can flat out sing - high, low, fast, slow, clear, meaty, beefy, big, and / or bouncy.    

Listed as the band members who are assigned the guitar are the heretofore mentioned David van Neeg and Esteban (Steve) Wolfensberger. Hah. These two do more than just play the guitar on these . . . did I mention there are 13 . . . songs. What they have laid down is magic, pure and simple. There is definitely a display of inestimable talent, deftness, and athleticism, on each song, not to mention perhaps tens of thousands of hours of practice, because regardless of talent level, skill comes only from rote execution, and the skill level on display with “Dead Wahines & Tsunamis” is as inestimable as the talent level. In essence, these 2 guitarists play music that provides instant gratification as well as continual and sustained pay off.

Lest we forget, Terry Pinhard, on bass, is not to be outdone by his counterparts. Skill, talent, imagination, all there, evident in the ferocious thumping and driving of his heavy strings, interspersed with imaginative rolls of funkalisciousness. Marc Cappaletti brings it all home with his assignment on drums. Some assignment; Mr. Cappaletti plays with relish and flare, with an adroit execution of imagination to match anything his frontmen can produce

“Cyclops Will Be Beheaded” kicks off the lucky set of 13. Fast and loud, heavy on skillful drums, it will have you stomping the floor at breath stealing pace. Low and fast guitar riding on top of driving, thumping bass, punctuated by a distortion in vocal delivery, all of it punching its way through to a closing flourish of guitar riffage.

“Landkreuzer” is another up tempo piece that displays the signature stoner guitar sound at the outset in a unique and imaginative rendition of guitar virtuosity, wrapped up in a blistering drum production and concrete busting bass rhythms. This song smoothly glides into its successor, “Evel Knievel Has Kissed the Devil” where the funkiest riffs on the album are on full display, riding right along with heavy, low, and loud guitar chords of stoner characteristic, as well as some truly blistering guitar solos that are worth the price of admission, to say the least. This is one of my favorite songs on an album full of favorites.

“I’ll Scratch Until I Bleed a Flood”, with its super cool title, is a super cool song, again infusing a little funk into the stoner signature sound, somehow fusing the familiar with the foreign and making it truly interesting and enjoyable. Another favorite. It’s just deliciously funky and fuzzy.

“Nightroghostcar” is up next. Up tempo and brutal, pounding its way along a concrete seam that is loosened and demolished along the way by the non stop attack from heavy stoner sledgehammering along with laserbeam solos of pure heat.

“Fusion Van” is loud, heavy, distorted and fuzzy, rolling up into a freight train tempo that barrels its way down the tracks at breakneck speed, leaving no prisoners behind.

“Cruising the Desert”, Part 1 & Part 2 provides a haunting rendition that initially is delivered in a similarl heavy and breathtaking style already displayed on previous songs, and segues into a nice, melancholy guitar solo rendition.

“Release the Kraken” starts deceptively slow, deliberate in delivery, heavy on distortion and left jab punctuation from the drums, slowly building to a magnificent crescendo.

“Kometa” is deliberate and measured in delivery, moving along at a steady pace through standard stoner sounds that are somehow new and fresh, before winding up slowly into a resounding and thunderous crash.

“Lieuplorodon VS Giant Orthocone” moves through many imaginative riffs and renditions, delivering an impressive array of solos, vocals, segues, and stoner standards. This song is imagination at its best, coupled with a fresh execution of the familiar.

“Magma, Lava, and Burned Karma”, another favorite, uses a somewhat familiar style with slow, slow, fast in execution for much of the song, but not strictly adhering to any preset method for delivery, instead seeking out its own path through comfortable territory.

The closer is the title track, “Dead Wahines and Tsunamis” and could be considered the highlight of the album. The delivery here is more insistent, perhaps a shade more serious while never losing its ability for fun and ferocious joy. The vocals on display here are exquisite, as are all the guitar renditions within solos as well as high octane riff delivery throughout. The drumwork is never muted, nor out of control, and the bass provides a huge warm blanket of low fuzz to wrap it all up. Skill and imagination are on full display on this track, closing out a wonderful album in wonderful style.
These little known gentlemen from Switzerland may never get the instant recognition that comes to some, never to all, but they most assuredly will gain boatloads of accolades from anyone or any entity that has the privilege and the pleasure of listening through these thirteen exquisite songs at least once. But the challenge is stopping at only once because they are so incredibly compelling, so incredibly well done that they, and you, will find that several subsequent playbacks are required to satiate the appetite generated from the initial listening.


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Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Band To Burn One To: HOGG


BAND BIO:

Other than their lineup, Hogg must allow the tunes to speak for themselves. No fucking bio anywhere, which only adds to their allure. This four-piece from Salonika, Greece clearly loves their beer. It's safe to say, judging by their track titles, they also hit the green. Lucky for us, they also love crunchy stoner jams.




THOUGHTS:

It's not gonna take you long to fall in love with HOGG. Loaded with thick, flowing jams nodding due East to acts like Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu, and Kyuss, you're sure to twist your chin-pubes and bob your buzzing skull to these ten tracks. I stumbled upon these guys and immediately choked on fuzz, nonchalance, and groove woven within the album's endless forest of rhythm and flattened enchantment. Loaded Dice is straight-up Fu Manchu style, while the thick Orange Goblin-esque Forest of Despair oozes Coup de Grace rhythms and channels an inner cloud-jumper. Sounding campy when they want and pensive when they need, Hogg churn and roll like yesterday's bad decision. Put these Greeks on your radar. There's an expectation stoner-rock carries, and Hogg crumple the expectation and beat-off with it. We love a band that isn't in any hurry. And these dudes, as evidenced on jams like Catapult, are clearly in no rush to slow the fuck down and take it all in. Thank fucking Hogg for bands like this. That "Name Your Price" invitation means you should stop being a cheap cunt and buck up on the props. I want Hogg playing in my backyard.

Lineup:

Cobas G: Vox & Donkey Farts
Snail B: Guitars & Incoherent Behavior
Panos: Bass & Fluid Excretions
Dead M: Drums & Mule Kicks


Album Review : High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis


From the plains of the deepest hash-induced journey to the unseen, to the unsightly poison of ancient and forbidden battlefields, the band treading deepest into the true guts of hazy mind-wrenching sludgei-ness since the late 90s, High on fire returned this year with followup to their stunning 2010 affair Snakes For the Divine. The record that rose from the ashes of the people crippled by the afformentioned riff-fest was built for those not pleased with its predecessor's cleaner production. De Vermis Mysteriis, is the newest effort in HoF's warpath of barrel chested riff affairs. Sporting a titular reference to H.P Lovecraft, and a back story regarding Jesus' hypothetical twin brother / time travel, as well as production values courtesy of metal juggernaut Kurt Ballou- this record takes on more of Blessed Black Wings' territory with ferocious uptempo monstrosities and a bare bass heavy production style. And it's freaking LOUD. I know. I blasted it out my 600w PA system in my old apartment complex. Needless to say I'm no longer allowed residence there ... Thats what I call METAL!

1. "Serums of Liao" - Right off the bat with the Lovecraft references, the album opens on a twisting surreal tirade of classic HoF riffs and battering-ram status drums. The vicious throbbing verse riffs are adorned by a major sounding chorus with Matt Pike roaring out deranged throaty beastliness all the way through. A quick triplet feel dominates the tune. Spicy!


2. "Bloody Knuckles" - This is the track bleeds upfront with spaced out well placed burning before launching into the fury that evokes some of the energy captured on Snakes. It's dirty, it's mean sounding, and its percussive. The song romps on before getting to a frantic-solo. Than comes the thrash, the band is showing their Slaytanic colors here- and it's damn good - Des Kensel's drums are tight as the anus of a pissed off monkey. Brutality!


3."Fertile Green" - The first sigle released. Tribal war drums herald the of pillaging your town, your home, and your females. Than it gets angry - pounding out snare hits on all 4 beats hardcore style with swirling cavities where the lyrics reside. The most violent tribute to the pot plant you've heard in a long while- this one pounds out before coming to an anthemic pulsing bridge instructing the sacred rituals of cannabis to commence. It continues with aggressive thrash style rhythms until the end.

4. "Madness of An Architect"- A lurking doom tribulation - this one evokes the really early stuff with lo-fi guitar squeeling to summon the beast from under Pike's nails. Remember The Art of Self-Defense? So do I and so do they. This one screams till the end with slow pungent exercises that are sure to keep that head bobbing in place. 

5. "Samsara"- The oddball instrumental. A bit of wailing with help from Kurt. Fun, short and intriguing but it's on the filler end of things compared to the instrumentals we were handed on Death is this Communion.

6. "Spiritual Rites" - Deathy and assertive - This one compares to other pounding HoF tunes. Quick and terrifying - tremolo picked lines are this song. One of the faster tunes on the record, definitely for you Slayer fans reading.

7. "King of Days" - This is where i'm biased. MY FAVORITE TUNE on this record. Matt's terrifying melodic vocals fit in perfectly over a destructive and bewildering doom riff. Hallowing howls and reverb'd guitars act as hooks in-between lines and evoke the death march. The Chorus uses tense low end to round it out and interspliced easily-hummed guitar lines hit before going back into the main riff. This tune features a ferocious bass solo from Jeff Matz by the end before roaring into a tribal harmonized guitar finale. A meteoric and awesome display of the band's songwriting prowess- evoking the likes of "Bastard Samurai" and "10,000 years."

8."De Vermis Mysteriis" - The namesake and another more focused sludge tune. This one is another where Des shines and just pours syncopated tribal drumbeats over everything. Pay close attention to the rhythmic exchanges between instrumentalists in this one.

9. "Romulus and Remus"- A hefty war elephant. A poisonous riff fills this tune with Rome's founding referenced lyrically - also sporting one of Matt's more melodic and well-phrased solos. He experiments with his toggle switch as well as his general Iommi-inspired wailing and keeps the pace of the solo till the end.

10."Warhorn" - A stark depiction of the Civil war complete with dissonatant haunting wallops to the mouth. This one experiments with more space as Pike plays sparsely through choruses. Still writhing with slow almost bongzilla-inspired clout, HoF trudges out with a clean and slow ending.

This album is a mixed bag. It's got that same vivacious production quality we've seen them gravitate towards in the past as well as some new tricks. It approaches sludgier territory with some of the tracks, fast paced, whirring, and jarring tunes that just mess with your senses. Personally I love the more doom influenced tracks, but this band definitely has something for everyone. Damn shame they were out of commission do to rehabilitation this summer- but i'm sure the minute Pike gets out, some serious face-ripping will occur.

Top albums of 2012? Most likely!

Instruction Manual for the Apocalypse? Possibly

Guaranteed to make your unaccustomed-to-metal-girlfriend shit bricks? 100 Percent.

High on Fire is 
Matthew Pike - Guitars/Vocals
Jeff Matz - Bass
Des Kencel - Drums

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