Friday, May 31, 2013

In Case You Missed It: White Widows Pact - Self Titled


Alright kids, you know I love the slow and low as much as anyone, but there comes a time when you just gotta strap on your shit-kickin’ boots, pick up the pace and let loose the dogs of war. Now don’t get me wrong, you’re not likely to see me in the pit doing windmill kicks or pickin’ up change anytime soon. I’m just saying that now and again, there’s nothing wrong with mixing a little hardcore into your daily dose of the heavy. So with that, I’d like to offer you a taste of something a bit different than my usual prescription of frenetic fuzz or lethargic doom. This week’s volume of “In Case You Missed It” is a rousing debut EP from Brooklyn’s latest addition to the New York hardcore scene. So from the pages of Heavy Planet to your ringing ears, allow me to introduce White Widows Pact (formerly…and briefly…known as White Widows).

Roaring out of the gates like a pissed off rodeo bull saddled with the world's biggest asshole, these guys pull no punches…not one. In fact, the bludgeoning riffs from guitarists Travis Bacon (Grudges) and Nick Emde (The Destro) and the raw throated howl of vocalist David Castillo (Primitive Weapons) on the opening track "Ace Rothstein" (nice Casino reference fellas) will undoubtedly give you an idea within the first 30 seconds whether or not this is gonna be your bag. And if it's not…well hey bud, I'll see you next week. But if it is…how's about you go ahead and check out "El Marrano" (Spanish for "the pig") where White Widows Pact continue their onslaught, only letting up somewhat during an interesting de la Rocha style interlude that flows into a sick guitar solo and more throat shredding from Castillo.

But "Slow Burn" has to be my pick of this litter if you're just looking to dabble in the insanity. Like listening to Madball on downers, or in other words, early Crowbar, this bit of filth could easily find a home over at Seth's Sunday Sludge. And I guess now's as good a time as any to mention the band's rhythm section of bassist Brian Ponto and drummer Kenny Appell (Goes Cube, CleanTeeth) who carry this chaos like a cross. Just give a listen to "New Pollution Group," which is quite simply brutality with a beat. "Sin Taxes" (another fave) carries some semblance of melody…barely…with its combination of air raid guitars, a la early Sepultura, visceral vocals…"the ringing in my ears, sings me the songs"…and steady, militaristic percussion. And then this self-titled EP is over as quickly as it began with "Collateral Damage," an aural bruiser that brings to mind other NYC stalwarts like Merauder and Pro-Pain with its harsh vocals, grinding guitars and relentless groove.

Look, I make no bones about it, this ain't pretty music. Hell, my understanding is that the band's name is taken from an Italian group of widows (Vedove Bianche) whose husbands committed suicide due to the economic crisis in Europe. But sometimes discontent breeds inspiration and in inspiration lies true, unbridled expression. This is the sound of the White Widows Pact. Join their plight…I guarantee, you will be pummeled.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Album Review: Desperate Souls of Tortured Times by Age of Taurus


If you're like me, the album cover of Desperate Souls of Tortured Times by Age of Taurus will trigger something in your leathered brain.Your Candlemass sector will light up, you'll start to think of all those early albums, and salivate. You might not even notice till a half minute later that the name of the band on this album is different and this thing came out in 2013.

Said album is the debut from Age of Taurus, and it was meant to be a studio exercise. But I'm sure that when the band heard the dark magic they were making they decided to get this behemoth out of the studio and into the real world, where they can stand on stage and let the music roll over audiences like a tidal wave of tar.

A Rush of Power kicks the album off with drums, but the poor things are quickly set upon by the baying guitars of Toby Wright and Alastair Riddell. Their six stringers wail for a bit before they lock into a groove that can't scare away the bass guitar of Richard Bruce, who gallops along his slender brothers into the muck and mire. Sinking City is next up, and it manages to be heavier and slower than the track that came before. The vocals are clean, like the NWOBHM bands, (but not operatic) and two songs in you know you're listening to a classic record in the best possible sense. This isn't a derivative album, this isn't simply a slightly altered copy of the classics you have in your collection; this the rare new album that can stand next to them and not be nervous.

I've included Embrace the Stone at the bottom of this page, which is a stand out track. Coming in at a little over eight minutes, the tune walks a slinky baseline and boasts monkish chanted vocals. There is a choir in there too, who float upon the riffs when the mad monk isn't doing his thing.

This is a great headphone album and the fact that the album was intended as a studio project is evident in the choirs and the spoken word pieces that pop up from song to song. Those of a psychedelic bent or who enjoy a bit of prog now and again will appreciate the clear sounding but complex lyrics and the simple flourishes added to the voices. There's a story in here somewhere, like the concept records of yore, but I'm in no shape to go down that path. Check 'em out. ---And because I didn't mention him elsewhere, Daurius Claydon on drums! Well done!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Zac's "Double Dose": Herder / Temple

 

Herder: Horror Vacui 

A soundtrack of horrors with ample listen-ability? That seems like a paradox if I've ever heard one. But really that is the only way to describe what Westereen (Netherlands) based sextet Herder are spewing, and yes this sludge is spewed forth with a passion and intensity so thick that it will coat your ear canals for days. Horror Vacui is the title of Herder's 2012 release and with-holds the very meaning of the music that awaits within. Horror vacui, in relation to art, means a fear of empty space. Guess what the one thing you will find very little of here on Horror Vacui is? Empty space. You won't have a moment of airy clarity here, just incessant murky energy that will leave your mind a bit more claustrophobic than it was before you pressed play. This doom and sludge bred bastard is so dense with sound that you will certainly sink in it. However, there is an un-suppressed amount of melody that contains the sullied and contaminated sludge that flows so freely here, bringing ties to the southern groove pioneers like Pantera and Crowbar. Even more potent than the melodic nature of Herder is their signature three way guitar onslaught. While the rhythm section certainly set the momentum and drive each song its these three separate guitars groovin' and thrashin' in unison that set Herder apart from other sludge and doom focused musicians. Check out their terrifying artwork and albums name-sake Horror Vacui below or head over to Reflection Records web-store to order a copy.


Members: 
BLITZER - Bass // Booze 
JB - Guitar // Sunn 
JEROEN - Guitar // Blaze 
MARC - Guitar // Doom 
NICO - Vocals // Smokes 
TOM - Drums // Fashion


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Temple: On The Steps Of The Temple 

A church, a mosque, a synagogue, a temple. These places we, as humans, call holy come in many different names and forms. Universally, though, we find ourselves in these areas for one reason. To dig, to reflect, and to discover more about ourselves and the world around us. Music can also be a tool used to enhance this search, whether it is heard at one of these sites in the form of sacred music, chanting, or even in a place as comfortable as your own living room. Today's second 'Dose uses the idea of a temple in and throughout their debut release On The Steps Of The Temple, even to the point of naming of the band, Temple. This creates a hugely conceptual nature to the overall package (I mean... look at that killer album art!), begging to be explored, just like a temple should. What Temple have done here with On The Steps Of The Temple is combined the atmosphere of post-metal with the intensity and aggression of the most extreme forms of metal. Here, On The Steps Of The Temple your minds eye will be clobbered by an onslaught of percussion via blast beats and good old fashioned heavy drumming. The guitars follow up Temple's percussive drive with introspective passages, sludge-laden RIFF-AGE, and haunting solos. So, take the first stride onto ...The Steps... and patiently listen to what Temple will unravel. Who knows, you may find some answers...


Members: 
Rich - Drums // Producer 
Ryan - Guitars // Bass // Keys // Engineer


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: VALFADER

HEAVY PLANET presents... VALFADER!


BAND BIO:

Valfader was born in the summer of 2010 at a local drinking hole in Bath and at stage two studios.

Valfader are:

Dean Gaylard - Vocals/lead guitar
Matt Jones - Bass
Gareth Jones - Drums/backup vocals

We're three guys with valved amps, big drums, heavy riffs and appreciate of all things heavy and doomy. We know what we like and we hope that you (the listener) like and enjoy the music too.


THOUGHTS:

"As I return from my vacation and go through an astonishing amount of e-mails, I came across this trio of musicians from Bath, UK. Two e-mails actually. And man am I glad I took the time to listen to this band.  The four songs contained within Valfader's latest album "Whispers of Chaos" is filled with tortured and mystic landscapes which encompass the doom-laden undertones guiding the listener through an ear-thrashing abundance of sonic amazement. The album runs nearly forty minutes, gnawing and twisting through harrowing riffing, seismic drum bashing, and growling vocals all held together by the ominous bass. Even though the music is heavy and aggressive, it has a subtle softness that makes the entire album hypnotic and intriguing. You will not be disappointed after listening to the album closer "Sacred Spiral". Splendid Ambient Doom Metal from these 3 guys from Bath! 


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Black Sheep Wall - "It Begins Again" (EP)


Those ghost-hunting programs on television can't be real, right? Capturing enough footage in single visits to hotbeds of paranormal interference seems too hit-or-miss to carry a series through multiple episodes, let alone multiple seasons. I still watch them, they still make me walk sideways up a flight of stairs, and I still have a strong belief that ghosts walk by us. But the curiosities don't end at whether or not spirits exist. If I'm feeling this uneasy, what are the dead actually feeling?

If there's a medium between myself (the observer) and the dead (the observed), I'd argue that Black Sheep Wall have laid it to tape. 2012's No Matter Where It Ends was a thunderous chug of thick serum that, for all the abrasion it caused, still managed to coat the throat and numb the pain. What follows on 2013's EP It Begins Again is an icy sheet of nightmarish sludge, stumbling in limbo with one hand in the mist and the other in the soil. All at once even more crushing and holding more beauty than its predecessor, Black Sheep Wall marry the tangible with the fleeting.

Immediately lonely and cavernous, the EP opens with Ancient Fvck, an ill-willed hunt entwined in laughter and panning predation. Quite ominous, not quite pretentious for all its post-blackened elements, the canvas of grief and gray acceptance is haunting and exhausting. It's been ages since I've heard anything so heavy in BOTH sound and theme. Black Sheep Wall find a Clockwork Orange-balance of the synthetic, the organic, and the unsettling, employing vocals both robotic and tortured (inviting along original vocalist Jeff Ventimiglia). The rhythms never sink, but they don't dare try and keep afloat either. The choral accompaniment is utterly chilling, and Ancient Fvck is an early candidate for the most complete sludge track of 2013. Oh, what a bold statement, Seth!

Provider follows with a more subdued vibe, lulled by cavernous chants and lilting, tinny licks. But when that sticky sludge storms in, BSW have us right where they want us. Matted fur is merely collateral damage; bass hits below the belt and the hope-laden licks are knocked down with strong structures and incredible control over instruments. Drums are the backbone, but Black Sheep Wall as a whole are beginning to contemplate life as thick repetition wails and wanes. These pockets of dense, jolting buzz punctuate a black tapestry of fractured of existence. Trust the smack across your lips; it may be the last human contact you'll know.

Screening and analyzing Evangelic Exorcism would be like giving thumbs-up to a funeral. Jesus Christ, these somber keys and empty air lose comfort and succeed admirably in their bid to discover an unsettling tone. But when the clicks greet the wind and offer an inhaled, encompassing warmth, the band's confidence shines and listeners are thrown back. It's wild, considering most bands have to shake and stomp to earn your attention. When the piano relents, thank the white noise for its haunt and comfort. And when your stomach sits warm with smooth reflection, thank the old neighbor lady who spent hours in your living room minimizing the distraction of teenage sex. It's not sludge. In fact, it's quite the opposite. And it's fucking gorgeous from brim to barrel.

This is a step forward. Oh, I love those bands who never change lineups or ideologies or simple sound, but when a band's spark can grow to a steady, glowing ember is when their impact becomes fully realized. Bristling, alive, and eerily adrift, It Begins Again holds all you'd want in a record. Crushing at points, completely somber at others, you'd struggle to find a weak corner. If the wandering dead had a playlist, these three tracks would be on it. You won't say it spans the human experience because half of the human experience is unknown. Perhaps, though, this is what the other side sounds like. Goddamn, THAT'S heavy.




Saturday, May 25, 2013

Nuclear Dog's Atomic Split: Scattered Hamlet - "Skeleton Dixie" / The Blackwater Fever - "The Depths"

This week my state suffered a major catastrophe brought on by something as innocuous and terrible as weather. It is sheer coincidence that for this week I had queued up for review the tremendous "Skeleton Dixie" by Scattered Hamlet . . . scattered hamlets . . . de rigueur for central Oklahoma for two days straight this past week. As I'm listening through this ass kicking album, as well as the equally awesome "The Depths" from The Blackwater Fever throughout the week in attempts to not only prepare for the review but to escape from the horrors of the Fujita Scale, even if only for the drive to work and back each day, I was struck by some of the lyrics in Scattered Hamlet's stirring "Warning":

We all make our choice
And choose our destiny.
Through all the pain and loss
Nothin's clear to me

Too young to die,
Heed my warning.

Just snatches of a lyric embedded within gargantuan music and a personality as big and powerful as a wall cloud, but it jumped out at me. Those lyrics and their accompanying music were a powerful analgesic against heartbreak. The troubling thing, though, is the effect of the storm on me is minimal because it missed my neighborhood on both days, even if just barely. The poor folks in the paths on Sunday and Monday need strong analgesics of every sort, now and perhaps for evermore. I can only hope some of those folks will find such in the power of all the great music found on Heavy Planet. I know I do.
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SCATTERED HAMLET - "SKELETON DIXIE"

Hailing from all over the damn place and calling no place home, Scattered Hamlet are a big personality, but they don't use that mammoth projection as a cover up for little to no talent as some loud, obnoxious bands do because it could be easily argued the music behind Scattered Hamlet's persona is larger by a magnitude of significant proportions. Meaning the music is huge and hairy, filled with the dust and grit of dried wheat stacks searing in a white hot southern sun as guitars grind and clang with force and daft deft skill, bass rumbles and roars like pitted, bygone bulldozers plowing cracked ruts out of red clay, an uncanny cadence of drumbeats echoing off cliffs of sun scorched strata, and the crackle and spark of distorted amplification carrying the power and presence of overriding, dominating vocals.

Scattered Hamlet consist of:
Adam Joad - The Appalachian Apostle - vocals, guitar, harmonica, banjo
Redd Yoachum - The Texan - guitar, slide
Rich Erwin - The Kentucky Assassin - bass, vocals
Jake Delling le Bas - The Irish Thunder - drums

"Skeleton Dixie" consists of eleven songs crafted with raunchy attitude, a fervent disregard for convention, and a freight car full of retrospect and reflection on legends past and dear. Every big southern rock band you've ever heard has made a small space in the swirling vortex of Scattered Hamlet's pulse pounding melodies.

This band nails all the major points of great rock and roll. Guitars are, simply put, always engaging with riff and solo alike. Always. Bass and drums step out of bounds on several occasions, adding spice and flavor to an already gritty stew of metal shavings and discarded weldings. Vocals are powerful and fierce, able and adept in fulfilling requirements on all songs. And through it all, melodies engage and entwine lickety split, delivering memorable riffs and hooks not soon discarded.

As with the opening monster, "Shelter", where a primal, engaging rhythm of power and heat accompanies the initial experience of Joad's prodigious personna, "Falling Off the Wagon" is immense in every facet of the song, expansive in scope, gargantuan in delivery, a momentous melody of lasting forcefullness.

The winning title on the album is "Powder Kegs and Gasoline" and the accompanying music does not disappoint. This is raunch in the mud and roll in the grime fun. The closer, which happens to be the title track,  is a clever and apt choice to end a perfectly blissful listening experience with a peal and roar tempered by athletic deftness in rapid fire rifling riffs of deep, low thumping distortion.

This album is fun, plain and simple, delivering brightness and cheer through power, grace, and fury, easily lifting spirits no matter how low and black they may be.





In 2012 Scattered Hamlet attended the humongous rock n roll show held in Pryor, Oklahoma. Today they are my signature band for the events of May 19th & 20th, 2013 in Edmond, Shawnee, and Moore, Oklahoma, bringing a fury and power of their own, but not tearing down, instead building up as do all the great stoner, retro, psychedelic, doom, and sludge bands offered by Heavy Planet on a daily basis. Hail! Hail!



facebook || reverbnation || twitter || website

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THE BLACKWATER FEVER - "THE DEPTHS"

Endearing, searing, soaring, roaring melodies of melancholic pain and astonishing depth have been indelibly etched onto the amalgamation of blues rock songs captured in atmospheric majesty on The Blackwater Fever's monolithic "The Depths".

This three piece band from Brisbane, Australia recorded and produced this album entirely on their own in their home studio, and while it's their third album, it's the first self produced release. There is certainly no signs of home grown amateurism on the sounds captured within this 14 song bundle of piercing energy and soul stabbing clarity.

Band members include:
Shane Hicks - guitar, vocals
Andrew Walter - drums
Jed A. Walters - organ, bass, synthesizer

The uniqueness of each of the fourteen tracks is matched in entirety by the signature sound of the band on each song. That is a fait accompli of enormous proportions, stamping both uniqueness and signature on a baker's dozen plus one.

Deep abiding fuzz is meted out in massive portions on "Can't Help Yourself", carried along on a bed of raspy, rusty riffs like a nailbed in a hailstorm, inexorably fascinating, haunting, long carved into consciousness and memory.

Hicks' is gifted in both vocal and riff, while Walter delivers power and guile with his stickwork, and Walters is inexorably reliable in volume and depth with bass that does more than simply blend into the woodwork.

A great example of uniqueness and signature is "Don't Fuck With Joe", a song that at first listen seems like a bit of a colloquial anomaly with its Americana stamp, but familiarity breeds recognition and admiration on a melody that takes you down a back alley of sleazy pleasure that is still carpeted in deep pile fuzz and filled with blues rock components on a journey that hearkens intrinsically to Jim Croce with spiking voltage and well developed sinew.

"Now She's Gone" is a blistering, haunting, scorching horse race through deep dark mud on a background of bright, searing sunlight, immensely enjoyable and deeply memorable, while "End of Time" provides a similar, but unique experience of stirring, soaring melodies and hooks.

"Won't Cry Over You" is thick with distortion, low tuned, metronomic and masterful, split by white heat solos bridging the distance between mountains of gargantuan gravel. "Running of the Wildebeest" is an instrumental tour de force, showcasing the skillsets of each of the three band members without attention grabbing vocals in distraction. It's brutal and majestic, complex and clear, offering up an accessible platform on which to ride strands of vibration through clear and jagged streams of blues rock.

This album is superb in every way, deeply satisfying, and deserving of immediate attention, and at the end of the year when accolades are meted, as well as forevermore in a fine, riff fueled buzz bomb of extraordinarily beefy blues tunes.







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Friday, May 24, 2013

In Case You Missed It: Silver Devil - Self-Titled


Two years ago I named Äppelträdet by Sweden’s Skraeckoedlan as my top album of 2011.  It goes without saying that I became a huge fan of the band after hearing that record, so when I read last month that they’d be taking their fellow Swedes, Silver Devil out on tour with them, it was a no brainer for me to check out this opening act for myself.  Of course, given that the Atlantic Ocean presents a bit of an obstacle in terms of me actually attending this tour in person, I did the next best thing and went in search of Silver Devil on the interwebs.  To my surprise I discovered that we had already featured these guys as a "New Band To Burn One To" way back in February 2010, but then somehow overlooked their beast of a debut album, which was released a year later in May 2011.  Given that I couldn’t exactly just show up early to see Silver Devil as they opened for Skraeckoedlan, I figured I could at least spread the word and shed some light on their phenomenal, yet unsung debut record to all of you good people.  So in case you missed it like I did, I’d like to introduce you to Silver Devil.

Now the first thing you’ll notice is the dual guitar attack of Jonas Hamqvist and Otto Molin as the two combine punishing riffs with melodic hooks and solos that add more depth to these songs than you’re likely to hear from your typical stoner rock band.  And that’s a common thread throughout the album; making this debut as memorable as it is heavy by ensuring that each song finds a place to bury itself inside your head.  “Cactus Kicker” (best song title ever) is a perfect example of this, with its rumbling riffs accompanied by slick fretwork that slices right through the wall of fuzz.  Throw in the ultra-chill, slacker style vocals of Anders Löfstrand, the low end rumble from bassist Erik Bergkvist and the thunderous beats and consistent crash from drummer Marcus Ström and you’ve got yourself the musical equivalent of a V8 saddled hot rod burning down the highway.  The entire album is a highlight, but if you dig recommendations, take “7.8” for a spin and then check out “In Space.”  Man, you couldn't find more fuzz if you shoved your head up the ass of a stuffed bear named Fu Manchu.  But just as a reminder, this one’s already two years old, so don’t waste any more time.  Put the top down, roll up your sleeves and take a ride with Silver Devil…this shit is cherry. 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

LP Review - Monachus "Below"




"MONACHUS. capturing an organic timbre that invokes images of these swedes toiling over beloved instruments... Deep down... BELOW."

Formally of Icos, the 3 Swedes that make up Monachus have been true stalwarts of the Euro Doom scene since 2001. Every release by these guys, either as Icos or as Monachus has been some of the best Sludge and Doom with roots firmly laid in Hardcore and Crust, that I have heard yet. Coming from the same Doom-Crust directions as Neurosis, Amenra and Fall of Efrafa, their Sludge is of a melancholy type played with honor and from passionate hearts and with their latest, "Below" released back in March on Alerta Antifascista Records, Monachus have outdone themselves.

Slothenly dirge-drenched riffs, introspective twangs and droning atmospherics, interspersed with ultra-bluesy word delivery and earth shattering drum work, as can be heard in track 2, "Curse", typify Monachus' sound. Make no mistake, Monachus are heavy but they do not fall into the trap of playing heavy for heavy's sake and leaving out excellent song writing. The albums closer, "Onward" shows this in a blazing glory of encouraging voices that had me imagining all my buddies stood behind me shouting "Onward! Forward my friend!" while I walked away well armed to battle my demons. There are samples of what I think is John Hurt from the film version of V for Vendetta, which are placed well in the track and avoid any easy distractions, making it my favorite on the album but not only for that reason. The opener that is "Waves" carries a spurring tone with tumbling pounding riffs and a haunted chant to shouted incantations leading to upraising Post-metal style echoed licks. Towering repetitive riffs return building upon what came before as the Monachus ship sails proudly and defiantly towards a doomed Sun until their vessel is tossed into a huge swell of Neurosis-like noise-out only for the Monachus ship to burst forth into a triumph of melody that drives the track to its ending in minimal ambiance. In track 3 "Circles" begins an atmospheric drone that carries the track into a maudlin and quiet tone that drifts around the head and setting you up for the onslaught of driving heavy sludge that eventually collapses on you, bringing you out of your mind wandering like a brick to the head when sleeping. Arm raising and airy calls are brought in to lift you out of the sludge only for you to be dropped back in again to have your head pounded by galaxy sized riffs. The track shift-shapes into melancholy meanderings until a heavy thrust of sludge surges forward in triumphant celebration and thus ends yet another mighty fine album from Monachus.

"Below" is available now from Alert Anitfascista Records and from their Bandcamp.


BANDCAMP  // FACEBOOK


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Zac's "Double Dose": KATLA / New Keepers of the Water Towers

 

KATLA: "I Will Hunt You / Foaming Waters" 

Surprise, surprise, surprise... More excellent tunes from Sweden. Here at the 'Dose this Wednesday we have a shot from Sweden, Stockholm centered and swelling with dark psych, acid blues, and a touch of folk inspiration. This is KATLA, a quartet layered with distortion, fuzz, loads of melody, and topped off with a gorgeous set of female vocals. The group describe their sound as, "...like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick". Although I do agree with the gold and the lemon, I do not get the "smashed out" sensation after jammin' to their latest 7" release entitled I Will Hunt You / Foaming Waters. Here KATLA's attack is covert and clandestine. This isn't your smash and grab, get pummeled style of rock. Within moments of spinning side one,the I Will Hunt You single side, your ears are quickly aware of this dragon's cunning intellect. KATLA aren't here to overpower you and take you against your will, (no smashing necessary) they are here with a sonic lure that will have you freely walking into their lair. This attraction, through seduction, begins with a beautifully toned blues guitar measure. There is a slight surf rock vibe coming from the electric guitar once the enticement has initiated and before you know it you've been struck powerless in the sonic field reverberating from the vocals. Flip the 7" to the opposite side and you will immediately notice more of that appealing guitar tone. This mated to the perfect lo-fi, analog style production bring an authenticity to KATLA's sound. Here we are now fully immersed in Foaming Waters, and that rich guitar tone is really what drive KATLA's fruit deep into my conscious. The track is elevated in grandeur as the dark and reminiscent strings of a violin enter the room and graze your mind. This classy and tasteful addition to Foaming Waters soon disappears as that tonal guitar steps to the fore-front with what is quickly becoming my favorite guitar solo of 2013. The violin appears again only this time joining the guitar for a rich, indulgent outro. Awaking now in silence you are fully aware that KATLA have vanished leaving you with little but a memory, just enough to hold onto until you meet again. So, in the end we return to KATLA's own description... the sound is gold, priceless and the lemon (fruit) we can only hope will multiply in the form of a full-length album in the near future. Get your copy from Who can you trust? Records... NOW!


Members: 
John 
Lisa 
Nils 
Nils


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New Keepers of the Water Towers: Cosmic Child 

New Keepers of the Water Towers aren't new to the 'Planet. I reviewed their sophomore release The Calydonian Hunt back in the summer of 2011. There we found a young band, full of aggression and spewing some heavy stoner-focused sludge metal. With this latest release, entitled Cosmic Child, New Keepers... have dropped the sludge moniker almost entirely, all while opening the gate-way for their music to drift into a psychedelic and much more progressive spectrum. It is truly magnificent to see a group of musicians grow so much over the course of a few years. Here Cosmic Child has taken what was good song writing and arrangements within the confines of The Calydonian Hunt and transformed those basic characteristics into genuine brilliance through more concentrated song writing and a spacey atmosphere. 

Cosmic Child begins with opening song, and the albums first single, The Great Leveller. This opener acclimates previous listeners gradually into the Keepers... new sound. All you first time listeners out there, just enjoy the ride. The Great Leveller sounds most like its predecessor through the thunderous and tribal stomp of the percussion and the shear mass of the rhythm section. The chanting styled vocalization brings an eerie sensation upon you while the guitars taunt you to come just a step closer. The Great Leveller disperses abruptly through a swirling flush and is soon all but a memory. Here the music doesn't only transform, it is revolutionized with the entrance of track two, Visions of Death. Greeting our ears is a much softer and lighter side of Keepers... The band chose to deceive us through the inviting sound of an acoustic, or possibly even classical, guitar. This very European inspired, medieval folk touch erodes away with the build of a dominant electric ether. That heavy RIFFING clashes with the cleanly sung lyrics creating a beautiful emission, something that reminds me of Alcest, although by a completely different musical path. With the close of Visions of Death we find ourselves evolving with the band once again. Now, in a very melancholy and retrospective state the Keepers... carry us through the dark by careful acoustic plucking and some murky notes played on a piano. Welcome to Pyre for the Red Sage. Full of some of the most textured Pink Floyd style soundscapes Pyre for the Red Sage further unfolds by the wailing of a pained guitar. The final twenty minutes will transport you higher into Cosmic Child's astral plane and leave us return listeners bewildered at the fact that this was the same band that crushed us with the weight of The Calydonian Hunt. Be sure to check out the full album stream of Cosmic Child over of at Metal Hammer and if you dig it a CD copy can be ordered from Listenable Records.

  

Members: 
Adam Forsgren - Live Synthesizers 
Björn Andersson - Bass // Vocals 
Rasmus Booberg - Vocals // Guitar // Moog 
Tor Sjödén - Drums 
Victor Berg - Guitar


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: Cromlech

HEAVY PLANET PRESENTS...CROMLECH



BAND BIO:

Slow, loud music from Middlesbrough UK. For fans of large structures.

Members:

James Morrison - Bass/Vocals
Ben Goodwill - Guitar
Gordon Archer - Drums





THOUGHTS:

Cromlech, from the UK, come with a 2 track demo of stripped down and low down doom metal. Like a massive be-denimed and leathered sloth, dragging it's knuckles and swollen belly and shaking the ground as it hulks onward, the 2 tracks on here lurch with huge gritty riffs, devastating drum avalanches and Jus Oborn style guitar + wha freakouts. There is an effective melancholy edge to their sound which reminds me of "We Live" era Electric Wizard but Cromlech manage to forge their very own heavy homunculus which keeps their take on Doom Metal monolithic, saturnine and bewitching all at once.
Their demo EP was released as a free download at their bandcamp earlier this month so head over there and pick up some satisfyingly heavy Doom Metal for free. I'll be keeping an eye on Cromlech for future releases as I'm sure they have plenty more riffs to unleash upon the world of doom.

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: FUZZLY

HEAVY PLANET presents...FUZZLY!

   

 BAND BIO: 

"Banda de Rock'n'roll formada em agosto de 2001 na cidade de Cuiabá - MT Brasil"

Biografia em Inglês, amigo: 

 "Rock'n'roll band formed in August 2001 in the city of Cuiaba - MT Brazil"

Members: 
Dark Jordão - Guitar // Vocals 
Rafael Arruda - Drums 
Michael Ojeda - Bass 


THOUGHTS:

How about a quick drag? Today's New Band To Burn One To is a three minute blaze entitled Void from Cuiaba, Brazil based trio Fuzzly. If the name isn't enough of a hint, listeners can expect a head full of fuzz within seconds of that first breath of Void. The band have been creating some excellent stoner and desert rock for some twelve years now and the static emission from this single shows no signs of Fuzzly lettin' up. Interested in another hit? The band lay it on thick with a lot of distorted bass and percussion taking up a hefty share of the mix, burying the vocals in the Void. Check it out over at bandcamp, along with a plethora of other studio and live recordings.  Check 'em out now!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Sioux


Growing up, I'd cringe when my mother would say "Seth, you look so much like your grandfather." Maybe I wondered how it made my dad feel. Or maybe I couldn't appreciate the genetic link between myself and an abusive drunk who abandoned thirteen kids in favor of pissing away the family business at local bars. On a slightly different but slightly similar note, I don't like saying bands sound like other bands. Many do. Most do, in fact. But I try to reach for what sets them apart from either their influences or their contemporaries.

We're products of our environment, which doesn't help explain how Portland's Sioux squeezes snugly between bands from more than 2,000 miles away. Where many acts rehash ideas or steal riffs from their predecessors, Sioux manage to spread their swampy toes and sink into the mire with a sticky nod that would make John Baizley proud. You'll detect whispers of Georgia (or Voices of Omens), but you won't be distracted. On their four-track self-titled EP, Sioux showcase their musicianship and jump in with both feet, doing more to expand on metal's finest niche rather than put a cap on it.

From the onset of Bezoar, of course, the rhythms are thick and the guitars are jagged screeches dodging between Bald Cypress moss factories. Churning and scorching, intermittent with buzz and wail, the sound moves on all fours, never willing to fully pull away from the soggy filth. Kirk Evans growls with the seasoned dissonance toward cheerful tones and buries himself between low-slung bass plucks. All the while, guitars bake in the heat, never escaping the light slivered among the timber.

Countering with a slow-motion plod is Rheap, where you can leave the bog but the bog can't leave you. Ryan McPhaill's drums are just plain fucking nasty here, despite pacing a rhythm that finds a shamed melodic cadence. Dusty plucks and layered vocals hardly keep the grind from poking back. You'll start to notice the awesome electricity dancing off the strings as Sioux trail into skyshots toward fading constellations. Is night falling or are they just happy to see us?

Following suit, Aegeless bounces with fuzz coating, swinging a rusty stoner pendulum via the steadiest of churns. Matt Pike must've snuck up from behind and bitten these dudes, but the poison is more inoculative than toxic. Oh, the soft rain breaking the furry storm of mud and shit is a perfect reprieve, brief as it is. These dudes work perfectly together (two-thirds of them played in Salvador, bro!) on every thump and every skullsplit as the track unravels and expectations are tossed at concrete walls.

Sioux find a gentler, cleaner moment on In Tongues. Wait, nevermind. Somber tones give in to a flurry of drums and the rhythm knocks you on your sweaty ass. Evans' vocal here steps into a distant fog, demonstrating a range we hadn't previously heard. When Juan Carlos Caceres spits fire and the track shakes its head, the ritualistic deception is unmasked, crafting a delicious and captivating sound. The plateaus of sullen musings, with no foothold to stop the sinking, set apart this closer. Whew.

What traps many bands is derivation, being so enmeshed in the sounds crafted by fore-bearers that it's inescapable. Sioux shed a new skin and crash a party that's unforgiving and relentless. Add to this the accomplished musicianship soaking these sounds and you've got a prescription of promise. While boxing ears and shredding speakers isn't enough these days, it's also annoying to find bands attempting something they don't understand. Luckily, Sioux know a thing or two about crafting heavy stumps of sticky sludge with a straightforward, varied approach. Trust me, you'll dig it.





Saturday, May 18, 2013

Album Review: Mojave Desert Rebels - "High Class Clown"

As a listener, as a fan, what is the epitome of rock n' roll? What does a band have to possess, develop, or deliver to be at the height of . . . not greatness in the sense of fame and fortune, but greatness in terms of music recorded. Kyuss reached that level without ever achieving the fame and subsequent fortune they so richly deserved, and the stoner/doom world is littered with similar examples - Dozer, Truckfighters, Fu Manchu, Sasquatch, Brain Police - many that will jump instantly to your mind if not to mine. So, what is it these underground, unsung rock n' roll heroes deliver that makes them so special? Simply put, great music, but great music consisting of parts that stand alone as crafted impeccably, and that then come together as a phenomenal experience. Parts that are made up of agile, athletic drumwork, pulse pounding bass guitar, vocals of devilish delight, melodies that hook you so hard you nearly bleed, and above all, guitar made with the stuff of the cosmos, pure and brilliant and intrinsic to our very soul. Today's band, on their debut EP release, have managed to not only manufacture music in a similar fashion, with superlative individual performances playing masterful melodies blended into what will surely be for many fans of this pure form of rock a memorable and monumental experience to be cherished for years to come, but to add one more component to the mix that sends it over the top in pure reverberated bliss - excitement. Mojave Desert Rebels, to benignly state what will become obvious after listening to their album, enjoy what they do to a very high degree. This makes for a total rock experience that can only be surpassed in a live environment. Put on your tennies and keep your whiplash brace handy as you plug this hi test music in and spin all dials as far to the right as they will go. (Settle down, it's just a poor metaphor, not meant to be taken literally).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MOJAVE DESERT REBELS - "HIGH CLASS CLOWN"

Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, and having only been together since 2011, the foursome of Mojave Desert Rebels have managed to leapfrog to the forefront of enjoyable rock music with their initial studio release of the EP "High Class Clown"

The members are:

Martin Bentø - Vocals
Morten Bernstorf Hansen - Guitar
Andreas Bütow Pröll - Drums
Guillaume Blanjean - Bass


These guys take their cues from classic heavy hitters such as Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top as well as genre giants Kyuss, implicit in the name of their band. While the influences certainly exist, they have taken the tools learned and developed their own unique method of carving up the ether with distortion and fuzz, slicing through with a fierceness and joy rarely noticed in a band. "High Class Clown" is the home to four raunchy, rockin', four minute forays where excitement and ability blend for an unforgettable experience.

The EP kicks off with "Village in the Sands", a seemingly pleasant ditty that opens with an enjoyable melody of agreeable delivery that has a slight smolder at first perhaps going unnoticed in the totality of the music and not becoming immediately or fully apparent, never having a true switch, instead simply building in intensity until by the time the solo is unleashed, almost 2 minutes in, an all out blitz of emotion, volume, and distortion is in full bore ear plug mode. This is the introduction to Bentø's vocals, a powerful tool in the massive instrumental battery of these proxy desert rockers.

The title track is next up and unlike its predecessor starts off with a show of might. Hansen and Bentø showcase their muscle in slow flexion while Blanjean and Pröll drive it all forward in measured and powerful deliveries of rhythmic domination throughout the first half, all brilliantly in control of a tapestry of hot burning fuses that eventually reach the payload where a big bang of brilliance and expanding magnitude is unleashed. The payoff is a second half that evolves into an exquisite display of interwined brilliance and monstrous musicianship.

"Enemies on Fire" exquisitely opens with Bentø's plaintive wail of aching beauty that is soon taken up by riff, lick, hook, and fill from dynamic deliveries of deep instrumental distortion running through an escalating atmospheric ascension toward an incomparable crescendo of brilliance and domination.

"Towers of the Skies" rolls out heavy machinery topped by napalm delivery systems. Blanjean's basswork here is incredible - deep, nimble, and unyielding as the stanchion upon which Bentø and Hansen propel heat seeking missiles in a spreading arc of white hot brilliance and Pröll maintains a radius of staccato discharge. As this fuzz destroyer advances the intensity increases in a slow burning buildup of ferocity and proficiency until maximum output is reached at climax.

Not listed on the album but included as a YouTube video below is "The Desert Song", a slightly different, bluesier, equally intense and brilliant song. Check it out along with the EP on Bandcamp, Reverbnation, or Soundcloud.

I think you will be hard pressed to find much in the world of rock this year that delivers on as many musical levels as "High Class Clown" while also demonstrating  sheer pleasure and enjoyment in delivery. It is a brilliant debut from a band that is likely destined for some level of notoriety if longevity can become one more hallmark of the band.







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Friday, May 17, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: MOTHER ENGINE

HEAVY PLANET presents...MOTHER ENGINE!


BAND BIO:

 Napoleon Dynamite - The Sound of The Engine
Cory Nelious - The Rhythm of The Engine
Wyatt Wrestle - The Power of The Engine
Katrin Lehmann - The Sex of the Engine

THOUGHTS:

"One thing about instrumental bands is that they can be either really boring or simply amazing. I began listening to Plauen, Germany 4-piece Mother Engine while I was doing some pre-vacation activities and it caught my attention enough to make it today's NBTBOT. When you think instrumental Stoner Rock the obvious comes to mind, Karma To Burn. Well this band sounds nothing like that. There is a trippy far-out vibe to this music that flows throughout the album without feeling forced. While there are your standard stoner rock riffing and groove, you are also rewarded with a mind-altering and climactic journey complimented by a suave and fantastic funkiness. This is chill-out music to the max, music that touches your soul, and an album that makes you get lost in the music. Interesting and complex rhythms are added to this album to keep you guessing where it will take you next. Check out the epic album closer "Weltraumwolf", it slays!!

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

LP Review - "Scaled" by Talbot



The heaviest duo on planet earth known as Talbot, come with their second full length release in the form of "Scaled" consisting of 7 mighty slabs of Sludge with thick lashings of Doom, Death, Stoner, psychedelia and post-metal.

Estonian's Magnus Andre on bass guitar, synths, vocals and Jarmo Nuutre on drums & vocals, Talbot are a very focused and hardworking couple of heavyman having toured consistently throughout Europe and worldwide since their first full length "EOS" and in that time have built a solid and dedicated following. They can count me as one of them as when I first picked up "EOS" I had it on near repeat for a week or so and it has now taken pride of place on my regular playlist ever since.

With "Scaled" Talbot have taken their already huge sound and have risen it to new far away dimensions of brilliance! What's on offer here are 7 tracks of deliciously psychedelic doomy sludge jammed out like they're Om's evil twin. From the outset of "Spectral Express" we are treated to captivatingly filthy riffs complimented by bashed out drums of perfection, soaring and uplifting vocals against death metal grunts and phlegmy growls and twisted electronic psychedelia that mangles Talbot's sound into a stunning sonic art work of brightly colored soundscapes.

The foundations are firmly laid by this track and by the end of the opener things are nicely settled setting you up for the following 6 tracks that continue in the same vein but explore the infinite levels of sludge metal with a craftsmanship that can only come from many long hours of constant bashing away at instruments.

Jaw dropping moments for me are "ShadowBird", a 12 minute journey through windy psychedelia, intuitive nodding riffs and tumbling percussion that builds to dirgy down-beat Death Metal sections until the track then lifts up to the spirit raising heights of Post-metal lusciousness and "Hallelucinogen", the albums closer is almost psychedelic Death Metal that lurches towards solemn church organs and shows Talbot at their most experimental.

Indeed "Scaled" is an experimental album which explores the myriad levels of Doom and Sludge without leaving behind most excellent bass riffs and precision drumming. The meat and potatoes are forever at the forefront whilst the heavy effects and psychedelic explorations are deftly inserted into the mix of Doom, Death, Sludge and Post-metal to leave Talbot as one of the most interesting bands currently of those genres.




Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Zac's "Double Dose": Cavern / Vintage Cucumber


 

Cavern: Cavern S/T 

Can you recall the sound of authenticity? For example, the first time you listened to a cassette recording of an early thrash metal band. That raw, very real life sensation that overcame you? Or, for those more contemporary listeners, the initial feeling induced by the grimey sludge growing in Georgia in the early 2000's. That strange progressive combination of swampy grooves and violent thrashing? Well, if you can't then today is going to be a good day for you, because you get another chance to relive that rare moment. This is were we find the beauty of music and its ever evolving, progressing nature which the sonic being cycles, and finally what keeps us coming back for more. What we have here is a Maryland based trio that have hybridized punk, sludge and thrash metal. The band call themselves Cavern and have released their self-titled debut record on February 26th, via Grimoire Records. The opening thunder of the bass and drums on Far Beyond Fields and Evergreens will leave your senses unprepared from the RIFF lashing you are about to endure. Yes, Cavern's RIFFING here is just plain vulgar. If this doesn't remind you of that 1980's thrash vitality, you may very well be hopeless. But then, if you're hopeless this may be the record for you. Now that Cavern has dragged you through their coarse and gritty dirt and your skin is a little tougher, you are weathered and prepared for the storm, and believe me these tracks truly storm the senses. The record is full of relentless RIFFING, a mix of witty percussion and ravaging drum lines, and a three-fold vocal attack. The vocal approach of Cavern is a characteristic worth praising. By employing all three voices, either at the same time or separate times, the songs have an energized and original sound. I really enjoy the muted and buried sound of the vocals in the production, as if the voice is shouting for life through the walls of a sealed room a few doors down. There's a lot to experience here on Cavern's self-titled debut. So, don't be surprised if this one stands the test of time and rears its ugly head come the closing of 2013.


**CDs are available for a limited time at Grimoire Records bandcamp page.**


Members: 
Nick - Bass // Vocals 
Steve - Drums // Vocals 
Zach - Guitar // Vocals


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Vintage Cucumber: Jup's Chillout Lounge Style 

Guten Morgen... or Good Morning. I think it's time to change the pace here at the Double Dose. So, lets cut the head banging, stretch out and forget we have limbs. This second shot is a sole-devised sonic experiment full of fuzzy and warm psychedelia sure enough to leave you levitating. Our maestro and master of ceremonies is Johannes Schulz, the lone mind that conveys the Vintage Cucumber cosmic orchestra. This one man extravaganza has released a handful of albums within the past year, but today we are going to focus on one particular release entitled Jup's Chillout Lounge Style. So remember, this half of the 'Dose is for quiet and peaceful reflection. Let's lose track of time. Jup's... begins with a with a repetitive female spoken line wishing us all a Good Morning in German. The track flows into an elegantly strummed Eastern sounding instrumental, similar to a sitar, while a crash of a gong is buried deep in the back of the mix. This sounds as though it would cause chaos, but in actuality the depth that the sound is buried makes for a comforting heart-beat. If you're looking for a good way to zone out, Guten Morgen is the ideal way to start. The albums sways in and out of a this shoegaze style of drone and psychedelia for approximately fifty minutes. Here and there you will find snippets of vocal passages or laughter, but for the most part Vintage Cucumber's music will obscure you in a warm haze. Sound like a trip you're interested in taking? Great! Just head over to the Vintage Cucumber bandcamp page for Jup's Chillout Lounge Style along with a plethora of other releases.


Members: 
Johannes Schulz - Guitar // Bass // Drums // Synth // Fiddle // Effects


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: PAISSANO

HEAVY PLANET presents...PAISSANO!


BAND BIO:

Paissano es una banda de Ituzaingó zona Oeste de Bs. As, Argentina.
Formada en 2009 por Pablo, Mariano, Lucas, y Gustavo. Con un Rock pesado, stoner, psicodélico y unos toques grunge, fueron mezclando bases sólidas, con riff potentes, violentos y sumamente efectivos.

Biografía en Inglés, amigo:

Paissano is a band from Ituzaingó, West area of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Formed in 2009 by Pablo, Mariano, Lucas, and Gustavo. With heavy rock, stoner, psychedelic, and grunge touches we're mixing solid foundations with powerful riffs; violent and highly effective.



THOUGHTS:

"How 'bout a little fuzz, Scarecrow? These four Argentinians slap it on thick and immerse listeners in layers of desert sand and cinquefoil clouds of smoke via riffs, repetition, and long-drawn grooves. Stoner sensibilities evolve into trippy guitar tautologies and swampy stompers with the smoothest of transitions and the haziest of influences. Opening on the quick-footed dune bugger La Previa Imaginacion a la Explosion, Paissano keep tight hold on the stick shift as Cerveza Quilmes saturates the backseat. The buzz balances the smooth crunch from start to finish, while tracks like Ali Baba and the sludge-soaked Vienen Marchando hold as much stomp as they do swagger. These ten songs spit enough dusty clout to make you forget that you don't know a lick o' Spanish. Check out Paissano's bandcamp page and set the dial to eleven. Oh, and this self-titled is hardly their first rodeo. Dig back into their catalog and hit the road. ¡Este sonido es sabroso!"

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: Buddha Sentenza


Band Bio:
After a seemingly random sonic collision over the city of Heidelberg in late 2008, the constellation of *Buddha Sentenza* began to form during the darkest hours of that cold and silent winter. Deep under the earth, in the hidden bowels of the Klonlabor tunnel complex, the searing strings and pounding drums condensed rapidly to form a nebulous cloud of loosely jammed, spaced-out, rocking riffs. Rotating freely around some of the most ancient soundscapes - from the astral end of the Pink Floyd to the depths of galaxies such as Black Sabbath - Buddha Sentenza has continued to expand, drawing energy from contemporary constellations as well. Thus, its elements follow the trail of early rock psychonauts and modern riffrockers alike, fusing droning riffs, screaming solos and cosmic harmonies into an instrumental sound experience that defies any strict genre boundaries. The result is a texture that combines the raw massiveness of rock with the infinite possibilities of outer space.




THOUGHTS:
"Heidelberg, Germany’s Buddha Sentenza: “South Western Lower Valley Rock” is a hard hitting rollercoaster of riffs and heavy experimentation. The instrumental quintet sounds like a mesh of Black Sabbath and The Soft Machine’s post-Robert Wyatt albums. Using everything from spoken word samples to vintage synth movements over a sludgy rhythm section, the band explores new ground, some of it feeling like a vividly designed horror movie soundtrack. It’s all well composed and performed to perfection. They have a great vintage sound and a masterful way with dynamics. The ambient portions are mind-blowing and when they go full out 70’s prog (e.g. “Monkey stealing the peaches”, "Tzameti"), they sound like The Mahavishnu Orchestra on steroids. Well done, some ambitiously impressive music happening here."

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