When you visit the Heavy Planet main page it says, right there underneath that awesome logo, "Purveyors of the finest Stoner Rock / Doom / Psychedelic / Sludge since 2008." We bring to you, dear reader the latest albums, fresh off the press, for music that falls into those categories, and last year was especially a banner year for Stoner Rock music. But one album seemed to escape notice by everyone, Beam Orchestra's "Cosmic Spoof", released back in June of 2012. That's okay, though, because today we get to discover it's fuzzy goodness. I mean this album kicks some serious Stoner Rock butt. Supermachine, on the other hand, are basically hot off the presses, kicking major Stoner rock ass of their own, of which there had been much anticipation preceding its release and much satisfaction to the number of bootprints left in the backsides of millions of Stoner Rock enthusiasts afterward.
BEAM ORCHESTRA - "COSMIC SPOOF"
Beam Orchestra is a three piece ensemble from Freiberg, Germany, together since 2008, who had the good fortune of releasing the album "Cosmic Spoof" last summer, before then having the misfortune of having all their equipment stolen during the release party for the album. They are still without their equipment 8 months later, believe it or not. This is the main reason why we didn't hear of "Cosmic Spoof". The band couldn't perform. They couldn't tour. They couldn't promote. They couldn't do anything that normally would be done after releasing one of stoner rock's finest albums of 2012, one that could quite possibly be thrown into the same basket as some of stoner rock's finest albums of all time if only it had gotten proper recognition and attention. Hopefully it's not too late.
Being a selfish person I feel a huge pang of regret this album was unknown at the time it was released and later that year, as it would most certainly have made my top ten list for 2012. It'll make your belated list as well, I'd be willing to bet, once you give it a listen.
Being as empathetic as I can, I feel absolutely horrible for Beam Orchestra, whose members are comprised of:
Franz-Julius Pelz, or F-J
Nicky Dietze, or Ykcin
Eric Fejfar, or Eric
I have been able to converse a tiny bit with them via Facebook, but not enough to know their plans and such, so I have no idea if they have a strategy to recover from this devastation. I'm hoping the Heavy Planet community can help in some small way, if help is indeed what these Herren want.
But back to the business at hand. "Cosmic Spoof" is certainly no spoof. It's some serious music that is 100% Grade A Stoner Rock Fuzz. This is the finest stoner rock music I've heard since Sasquatch's "III". It fits right in with the first two from Freedom Hawk, the Firestone side of "Fuzzsplit of the Century", the best Dozer and Truckfighters stuff, and the fine fuzz of Astroqueen, not to mention the untouchable . . . yes . . . Kyuss.
Perhaps the song writing isn't quite as eloquent as that of much of Kyuss' body of work, and it would be hard to beat the writing prowess of Keith Gibbs of Sasquatch, but Beam Orchestra have memorable melodies, quality lyrics, hooks aplenty, and do so whether laying down a rug burning jam or kicking off the oxygen and hydrogen tanks for a cosmic trip through space and time.
Eleven fuzzy, warm, meaty, juicy, joyous, belly button lint filled truffles are packaged neatly inside a German Stein, wrapped tightly with a bow of high desert cactus needles.
The party starts with "Tabula Rasa", a fine, up tempo, distortion exhibition that lacks not at all for joyous and warm guitar, deep rumbling bass, and unflagging, energetic stick work. It's interesting that the kick-off is an instrumental, giving the listener full access on what to expect on the rest of the album, fuzz-wise. Beautifully written and equally as exquisite in execution, this is a fine selection to start things off.
"Murmel" has a similar tempo as its predecessor, and begins with a more specific, less fuzzed riff, but then the stanza starts and distortion is the overriding sound as we are introduced to the lyrics for the first time. The vocals on "Cosmic Spoof" are not earth shattering, not necessarily on a par with Garcia or Gibbs, but certainly worthy of the fine instrumentation of this album.
"Kasumatra" starts off big and slow, low tuned and heavy, driving piles deep into the earth, awakening creatures of yore who have perhaps hybernated for centuries, and once awakened scream in sounds not quite familiar, increasing the urgency of the situation. The creatures are not left to their own devices, however, as Beam Orchestra send the mortal vocalist to confront and overpower them, which he does in mighty fashion.
"Three Sea Sons" has a sort of medieval feel to it. The vocals are combined between more than just one band member, perhaps representing the sons named in the title. The tempo is deliberate and forceful in places, faster and more urgent in others. Drumwork on this song isn't relegated to just the traditional trap set, but bongos of some sort are brought in to wonderful effect as only one son, presumably, finishes the tale, wraps up the adventure, and closes down this fine, fuzzy chapter.
The fuzz kicks in high gear on "Lumatra", with the vocals following suit, where there's an edge and a bit of a rasp that fits very well to this style of music. This could be the lead singer, or the style of singing, on all the songs if it were left up to me, but alas they neither asked my opinion on how to handle the vocals or how much fuzz to use. They seem to have followed the advice I would've given on the fuzz, though. ALL OF IT! "Lumatra" is a beautiful piece of music, with haunting, distorted guitar, edgy vocals already mentioned, deep, delicious bass, and drums of power and grace.
"Smoke Doper" is classic. Lots of big, edgy guitars, that are earth moving mighty machines with the signature stoner riff interlaced in key places, vocals deliberate and edgy, fitting now with the music naturally and satisfactorily, the tempo deliberate and hookish.
It takes a minute and a half of a nearly 4 minute song for "Space Eggs" to get past the intro and into the song proper, but once it does, it's a kick ass delight, propelling the song along at breakneck speed on a claptrap deathrattle cosmic vehicle that zooms through the finest space fuzz of the solar system.
"Outro" is the aptly named closer. It changes the pace up just a bit, bidding a fond adieu to whomever took the journey with the band on the cosmic trip through space fuzz of epic dimensions, disproving the old adage that in space no one can hear you riff, because as the three young gentlemen of Beam Orchestra zoomed through the solar system on their instruments of distortion, propelled by heart and hydrogen, sonic booms and cosmic blasts were heard throughout the orbiting receivers of Sol, likely causing much ado on at least the third rock orbiting its fuzzy, flaring, fury. Let's hope so, at least.
"Cosmic Spoof" is available on bandcamp for just €5, where you will also find opportunities to purchase some cool looking tees and other artwork.
For a list of the instruments Beam Orchestra are missing visit their Facebook page. Engage them in conversation via that medium if you think you can help them in any way, whether it's to offer an old amp or some other piece of equipment that can get them going again. These guys are too good to not be playing, to not now be working on a follow up to "Cosmic Spoof"
SUPERMACHINE - "SUPERMACHINE"
From the ashes of one kick ass rock band comes another, the long anticipated debut of Supermachine, whose members comprise much of what was once Scissorfight and is now one of the newest incarnations in an ever growing stable of ridiculously awesome rock music from Small Stone Records.
Hailing from New Hampshire, Scissorfight founding members Paul Jarvis and Jay Fortin team up with Mike McNeill, an old friend from the band Hemicuda, a Scissorfight precursor, to make the beginnings of Supermachine. With Jarvis on bass, Fortin on guitar, and McNeill on drums, all that was needed was the frontman, and through an unusual twist of fate involving emails and leather cuffs Dave Nebbia brings his defining rock vocals to the mix in a fashion that matches the band's music to a tee.
"Supermachine"is one of those albums you instantly like because, well, because it's good, and it's instantly, obviously good. It's also one of those albums that when you listen to it again, and then again, and having listened to it dozens of times over the course of several days, you begin to realize it's better than good, it's better than melt the face flesh off your lily white skull, it is chock full of layerings and segues, interludes and expertise that only comes from musicians that have put a lot of time into their craft, are gifted at what they do, love what they do, and have now created something new that blends all that awesomeness together
Along with the monstrous instrumentation on this album comes quality song writing that includes plenty of hooks and memorable melodies, songs that get stuck in your head and make you want to learn them yourself so you can play and sing along, in the shower, in the car, or in the cubicle next to the beeber loving asshole that drives you nuts.
Eleven gargantuan tunes have been laid down on "Supermachine", each of them full of intrigue and satisfaction, each of them weighty with the metal of ages, and adeptness of true professionals, each of them brimming with anticipation for the coming experience and thrill as the dozens of musical strands sewn together from four gifted and talented musicians gets the juices flowing and the tribal soul humming.
The opener, "Solution", is a perfect representation of what this album has to offer. Fortin's guitars are cosmic in scale, thunderous in delivery, and jam packed with riffs of intrigue and quality. McNeill's drum work on this song is exceptional, bone crushing, and just as full of nuance as the guitar work. Jarvis leads the way with monstrous earth shattering, boulder crumbling bass that could change the rhythm of your heartbeat if played too loudly. All of it brought together by Nebbia's vocals, rough, raw, edgy, and adept, hitting any and all ranges. There is no yelling vocals here, only genetically superior delivery that completes the overall quality of this song, and all those to follow.
You gotta love a song with the title "Josey Wales". For anyone not familiar, it was one of Clint Eastwood's finest movies, certainly one of my favorites. Supermachine obviously are fans as well, as they as put the story to song, and not just song, but stoner rock song. You just gotta love it! There is some fine guitar work on this one, both heavy, low, and menacing, as well as fun little ditties interspersed throughout. The solo has just a bit of a country tinge to it to go along with the mega low, ultra loud down tuned segments.
"Flesh Farm" is a beauty of a track, simple and sweet, precursor to the rumble and might of the main delivery. The song goes back and forth a few times between sugar and C-4 before the blinding white flash of laser beam guitar solos accompany the cosmic rumble of black hole bass riffs.
One of the most interesting, fun, and unique songs on the album is "Crutch", where the guitar kicks off with a unique, echoey riff that catches your attention right away, locks it up in a heavy metal cage, and holds it there until it's had its way, which could be awhile as this is the kind of song that stays with you long after you've run down the batteries on your portable music player.
The closer is "Warlord" where Supermachine strap on their very best instruments and wield them with the intensity of the final battle, unleashing strokes of unyielding might, and overpowering all before them with their combination of battle-hardened experience, born and bred agility, and unyielding heart. It is, just as its predecessors, a mighty song to close out an equally potent and indomitable album.
"Supermachine" is available for download through bandcamp, Amazon, or iTunes, or as a CD from Small Stone Records, soon to be available as vinyl from Small Stone or Amazon as well. They have artwork from Alex von Wieding ready for super cool t-shirts that should be available to order in the very near future. Alex is the same artist that did the incredible cover art you see at the beginning of the Supermachine review.