Sunday, September 29, 2013
If you're gonna do it, do it. Some cosmic drug-addict once lamented "moderation is masturbation," and shouldn't we know? Sunday mornings leave little room for much other than coffee, questions, and broadband-speed internet tuggings. We simply don't have the motivation. We overdid it last night and we've missed more than a few phone calls from friends. Some asshole suggested we go to breakfast. I'll be lucky to make it to my back door.
When Brooklyn trio Blackout formed in 2011, excess became less an experience and more a lifestyle; a pre-requisite. A cold, sooty floor suits these bruisers just fine when it comes time to call it a night. Luckily, they'll first leave behind a slick trail of gargantuan stickiness, a thorny half-hour of trippy black riffs wrapped with swirling sludge. Their debut album We Are Here is slated for release on October 25th, leaving you four weeks to cruise curbside bins for empty cans.
Loaded with screeches, twitches, and six hits of heady fuzz, We Are Here moves between massive sludge rhythms, ashy stoner passages, and sparse pockets of simplified doom. Present throughout is a rubbery weirdness, a sporadic psychedelia that sways as much as it stomps. The sound is true and solid, evidenced by the band's approach. There's no over-thinking here; just three heavy-hitters, their seasoned sounds, and what is quite obviously a basement littered with cans and bottles.
Hymnal darkness links opener Indian down through Seven, veiling vocals through a coven's wooded rendezvous. From howls to warbles, Christian Gordy and Justin Sherrell envelop listeners and thicken their perceptions. Adding to the creep factor are echoed taunts and encircling cackles on tracks like Columbus and Smoker. Scan for black ice and grind your teeth as you wait for the hit to take. When it does, careful where you throw yourself. Smoker's incessant chug leads to a dazing bedspin, but don't pretend you didn't want this.
That sub-sickness you're feeling is likely Taryn Waldman's skinwork. Blame the shifted rhythms on her choppy, cavernous thumps. Amnesia is merely a collateral consequence, as the track faces west and burns like a good time gone wrong. Swelling, pulsating... the cracks are all filled, and catastrophic doom slams downward on the confident lumber of Anchored. Stoner fuzz and glazed frets serve as bonus material. It's all here and it's all good.
If it's too slow, you're too young. That cloud's been hanging in our basement since 1970, so don't show up racing out of Hot Topic with pimples and a hard on, calling your favorite band heavy. Blackout get it right, hammering jam after jam, pound after pound. The smoky swirls buzz with electric accusations and shock-therapy repressions. As you frantically peel off the webs, We Are Here expands and looks straight down. Blackout can explain it to you, but they can't understand it for you. Your skin's only gonna get thicker. Just don't freak out when it snags and breaks open on sharp branches.
For fans of: Melvins, Horn of the Rhino, Fistula
Pair with: Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, Hofbräuhaus München. Lots of it.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Mountain High from Philadelphia play straight up, no bullshit, stripped down and low down doom metal. There are no words, the riffs speak for themselves and they come in great waves of bong raising splendor. Sleep-like, their riffs are long smoked out affairs, they savor the sustained throb of lowend and every crushing note without letting up for a moment.
The 3 instrumentals that make up Mountain High's demo EP consist of:
"Gravity" which opens with a thoroughly baked riff that takes it's time in developing but stays consistently crushing throughout the track with slow but devastating drums and an acid drenched wah'd bass jam half way. Huge riffs are bashed out with a very stoned lean while Mountain High take their time in churning them out and blowing a thick haze of green stained heavy fuzz into your ear holes.
"Shroomie" is more of the crushing same and as it has come to that time of the year again where I am, this track serves as a great reminder and a perfect soundtrack to my upcoming explorations. The riffs on this beast come in great torrents of satisfying doom metal, no pretense, just fucking heavy riffs and big drums ahoy.
"Suneater" ends the demo with a mellow psychedelic intro that builds from feedback to a most pleasing drop into yet more bong raising riffs bringing to mind the likes of Warhorse and early Electric Wizard. The massive riffs and snail paced drumming has this track lumber forth like an obese mountainous beast; heavy and lazy and loaded down with long stoned grooves. This is doom metal to raise your bong to without having to sit up from your couch and it is most excellent indeed.
BANDCAMP // FACEBOOK
Zac's "Quik Drag": Hungry Brains
Hungry Brains: Centre Of The Omniverse
If for some strange reason you missed Hungry Brains single Crooked Eye on last weeks NBTBOT Playlist this Quik Drag will bring your ears up to speed. Hungry Brains is a UK based progressive metal band with a stoner rock disposition and an excellent taste for cover-art. Centre Of The Omniverse's Salvador Dali inspired cover piece is one of the best I've seen this year. Enough pictorial art though, lets get to the sound! Hybridizing the technicality of Mastodon and the syncopation of Tool, Hungry Brains exercise their rhythym section continuously, making for a groove focused sound. That groove / art metal character is contrasted by a huge vocal delivery. Part Dream Theater's James LaBrie and part Dio, Callum's hardened vocal chords add an extra jolt to the sound. Hungry Brains' are currently preparing the release of The Mule, which should be out sometime this autumn. In the mean-time check out my favorite jam Dawn Of A New Age above. If the infectious sludge RIFFS don't convince you then the battery from Hungry Brains bass and percussion certainly will.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Richmond's Windhand have just released their Relapse debut and fans of doom and gloom will rejoice, but this album might speak to fans outside the genre as well. I catch whiffs of shoegaze, and there are a few drone sections that might appeal to fans of that genre, the masochists.
Soma kicks off with the track "Orchard", and sets the heavy/haunting tone of the album. "Woodbine" contains a chorus that will move even the most stoic of metal heads. If you see Windhand live I bet you'll catch a few in the audience moving their lips when this one plays. "Feral Bones" is as thick a a Sequoia trunk. "Evergreen" is a haunted tune that is carried by acoustic guitar and Dorthia's vocals. If you're with me this far, the other tunes will please you just as much. There's only two of them, but they clock in just under 45 minutes.
The album is brilliant, there are layers to be uncovered, deep visceral feelings to be felt through the sonic stimulation of the tunes. You'll get lost in these riffs, find yourself transcending this plane, but then a solo will pop up and bring you back down to Earth. The album is haunting, heavy, and excellent.
The cover, as you can see above, is a pic of a desolate shack in the middle of some foreboding woods, and after listening to the album, I'm convinced that this shack is their recording studio. Not because the music sounds lo-fi or isn't well produced, it's not that at all, it's that the emotion and vibe couldn't have been captured in some studio next to a 7 Eleven.
And the compulsory who meets who record review comparison? Pallbearer meets Acid King? Why not.
I bet Windhand is on Bigfoot's Ipod.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Maeth are different. Very different are Maeth. They sound like themselves although if a category they must be placed then it'd be post metal, sludge, doom, progressive, heavy metal, ambient, drone and psychedelic etc; for they are all those sounds plus more and often all at once. My jaw rested firmly on the floor while I sat bolt upright staring in a wild gaze at something, I don't recall what, while this incredible noise oozed into my ears and left me feeling cleansing waves of vibration surging up and down my spine.
Maeth follow their brilliant debut "Horse Funeral" with a masterpiece of experimental metal that, if you appreciate such infinite potential metal explorations, will leave you as stunned as I am at what I'm hearing, for the third time today. What Maeth have created with this album is immense in its variety and it contains everything I like to hear all blended together like a master artist does with paint, palate, brush, canvas and easel. "Oceans Into Ashes" is a veritable feast of sound with each metal morsel being as equally sumptuous as the last.
It opens with the 2.5 minute "Prayer" with seagulls, a small motorboat that passes by and gently soothing acoustic guitars that drift into electronic take-off's and then we're taken straight into the triumphant post rock and metalisms of "The Sea In Winter" which hints just a little at the journey that lays ahead.
Then comes "Nomad" which for me was 10 minutes 50 seconds of sheer amazement. This track has everything and everything is played so well and sounds so good that I had some kind of auditory orgasm.
It opens with a feedback drone that leads to soul stirring guitar twangs and a phasing electronic buzz until a bash of snares launches the track into double fist raising metal surges and hugely satisfying post rock finger work. Things suddenly twist into a weird almost prog sludge that boarders on math metal until it morphs into crusty sludge in the style of Downfall of Gaia, Monachus and Fall of Efrafa. Thunderous tribal drums then lead to drifting drones and chaotic and mystical tribal pipes that build an uncomfortable tension towards jagged rhythm'd post metal and eventual heavily crushing doom that ends in pleasant guitar soothings. Phew!
What follows then is an epic journey that will leave you all starry eyed and full of wonder at how life enhancing our united musical preferences are and Maeth celebrate this with an album packed full of the most pleasing of metal in all its many morphing forms. I would only be doing Maeth and this album a disservice if I were to review each track in turn so I urge any that read this to delve into Maeth and be ready for explorations in metal that will leave you stunned. If not then you're not paying attention. "Oceans Into Ashes" is a long album at 11 tracks with 6 of them running close to or over 10 minutes each but at no moment did I lose interest at all in the 3 sittings I have had with it so far today.
This album will definitely be on my best of the year list.
BANDCAMP // FACEBOOK
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Oh, I wasn't paranoid enough? Can't blame the weed this time, dude. But does a clear head necessarily help make sense of things? Do we wanna make sense of things? If I take a slow, lumbering walk along foggy cobblestones, perhaps my night ends better if I never see the lurching figure in the distance. With as skittish as I am, however, my pace lifts on the assumption there's always something watching.
Belgium's instrumental two-piece Sunken have issued a demo loaded with swelling and retraction, continually exercising caution until it simply can't handle another moment of restraint. When they loosen their grip, it's immediate and fierce. The timed chaos is birthed of a simple, minimalist format that slugs out a unique precision, particularly when you find elements of noise, sludge, and doom metal. Tight for being loose and loud for being tempered, the five tracks here rattle and bulge, never allowing too much comfort.
Don't let the opener fool you. On Patterns of Despondence, the slow unfurl of corridor whispers and timid tip-toes hashes into a flaring stomp. Heavy on cymbals and riding a bass-fuzz glaze, Sunken perfect the whisper-to-a-crash approach. Gutteral pleas are immediately snuffed amid pensive, deliberate rhythms. Simple production lends itself to your punchy paranoia, and the crash of Dislocated's thick reverb breaks through your best attempt to sleep. As smoke billows and grows stagnant, the crunch dances and the sticky groove takes you out back to make you stink. Sludge expands without a flinch, and we've lost our way without losing our focus.
Drop Out could serve as a cornerstone in Bass Tutorial 101. Fill your schedule with the Kick Drum Clinic and wait for the progressive experimentations to result in devastation, tearing apart seams with hard and fast hits. Here Sunken are tightly wound and strung with bubbled thumbings, moving from sheltered to snarling. Don't worry about time in this spaced-out vacuum. A better question may be whether or not Sunken are too smart to sound this good.
The closing tandem of Unwilling (pt. 1 and pt. 2) catches its breath under a multitude of masks, with the bouncy pt. 1 unleashing a twitchy sludge that's noisy but never unlistenable. The tempo staggers and spits into pt. 2, the harder, slower, and filthier half-brother. There's more structure on pt. 2, but this merely allows for greater collapse. Doom cadence and Sunn O)))-drone influences are flexed on a hovering expansion. Incessant crashing and a heady clip of smoke and horrors cash in on the rising costs and increased demand. We only get five tracks, guys?
Sunken scratch and tick throughout this demo, whether it's via A.'s subterranean bass or J.'s precision thumps. What many would call a rhythm section is a bundle of nerves that leaves listeners thankful Sunken keep it simple. The sound is allowed to breathe, the neurosis isn't hidden, and the pacing is gonna put a strain on your frame. Nearly a half-hour of Tom Tykwer nail-gnawing is probably more than you thought you could handle. Curiosity got the best of us, and now we can't stop looking.
For fans of: Pigs, Slint, Ufomammut
Pair with: Arctic Panzer Wolf Imperial India Pale Ale, Three Floyds Brewing
Friday, September 20, 2013
I'm going to get this out of the way right now. The members of The Freeks were in other famous bands. This will come up in all the other reviews, and some time will be paid bowing to the alter of the past- but in this review I won't focus on those bands, because what The Freeks are doing now is great and important.This isn't some last ditch effort by musicians hoping to capitalize on the cool they peddled years ago. This is the real deal folks. The band sounds energized, with the grit of the Stooges and the space of Hawkwind and twists that can only be described as freeky.
Full On kicks off with Big Black Chunk, a heavy spaced rager with vocals that lay the framework for the spaced and psychedelic tunes that dominate the album. The next track, Weirdness offers the contrast to the spaced jam the preceded it. The Punkish vox sound like they are straight from Detroit Rock City circa 1968 and wake you up before yer pulled back to space, down The Secret Pathway which could be the soundtrack to a journey through a wormhole in some odd galaxy. Splitting Atoms is a pastoral pysch jam, which could be sung around a campfire on Mars. On a Whim offers stabbing keys and the intense punk vocals of Weirdness, and their appearance is a helluva way to keep you grounded, lest you float off into he ether forever.
This album can't be recommended enough. The spaced jams are free and tight. The punk jams are tight but loose. The whole thing is fun, and if you've been thinking of a way to play your Stooges records at the same time as yer playing your Hawkwing records, just put this one on and save yourself all the trouble that thinking can cause.
And for those of you who are sitting there, pulling out your hair, wondering to yerself "what are those original bands he talking bout?"
Fu Manchu, Nebula, Roadsaw, The Angry Samoans. Now hail The Freeks.
Here's an older tune that shows their Psychedelic proclivities.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Following the announcement that the mighty Neurosis are to be headlining the Saturday event, the fine folks at Temples Festival have recently announced more bands added to the line up for their first festival of heavy music to be held in the city of Bristol, UK in May 2014.
If you love heavy music in all its morphing and splintering genres then just one glance at the line up so far is sure to get your mouth watering. Doom, Conan, Moss, Blood Ceremony, Winterfylleth; with this level of bands added to the bill and another 30 more artists to be announced in October, Temples is sure going to shake Bristol, if not the whole of the UK, into tiny little pieces.
Tickets are on sale now.
FACEBOOK // OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
"Your parole agent called. Mushrooms taste like dirt. Three minutes just passed but it felt like twenty-seven. Maine has more trees per square mile than any other state. My back hurts. I heard she dates that dude Blake from Oak Forest. Nah, man... it IS a conspiracy. It's like Grover, y'know, just without all the shit all over him. I told her I didn't care if my friends thought she was ugly, I didn't think so. Shit, what was that?!"
Denver's In the Company of Serpents return this October, dealin' five bloody stubs of stoner-doom haze that'll leave you clueless when you drop dirty. A Heavy Planet darling in 2012, the band lurches one step further toward doomination on Of the Flock, the follow-up to their fuckin' stellar-smoked self-titled. Lick your lips and keep blinking, we've gotta wait until October for the album's release. Lucky for us, Grant Netzorg and Joseph Weller Myer have laid a bait-trail. Check out Untied / Culling Essence from the Void, a dust-born twitch that slow-picks its way into sneering, sludgy blasts of darkness. Which way is up?
Check out the track below or at their Bandcamp page. If Of the Flock can take two sniffs from its predecessor, this is gonna be nothing to miss. Sweaty, brutal, and completely validating Heavy Planet's objective, In the Company of Serpents have yet to leave us unfulfilled. Some dude said their shit would run out. The best shit always does. Hit this before your dad gets home.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Welcome to another blazing edition of the "New Band To Burn One To" playlist. Today we have some awesome new jams for your ears to devour. The highlight of today's playlist is the new song from Black Rainbows (my wife made me say that) off of their mini-LP due out October 1st. We also have new tracks from Skrogg, Stoner Kebob, Maeth and Tunguska Mammoth. What would the "New Band To Burn One To" playlist be without a shitload of new bands, yep we got them too. I'm getting blown away by the tracks by Hungry Brains and Birdmouth. Here is to hoping you find your new favorite band on Heavy Planet!
Birdmouth -The Lost Highway
BLACK RAINBOWS-The Hunter
Blackwitch Pudding -Super Sluts From Outer Space
Gypsy Chief Goliath - St Covens Tavern
Hungry Brains-Crooked Eye
Iron Heel-Book Of Grief
Maeth - Troödon
Manthra Dei - Stone Face
Missingmile -Green Goblin
Old Man Doom -Vulgar Lines
Prophets Of Saturn - Prophets Of Saturn
Skrogg - Kentucky Bourbon in 80 Grit
Skullcollector-Path Of The Wise
StoneGazer - Dope Messiah
STONER KEBAB-New Evil Through Evil
THE RISING SUN EXPERIENCE-The Integrity
Tunguska Mammoth -Parabellum
Monday, September 16, 2013
The UK's Mothertrucker have been around for a decade and in that time they have shared the stage with Boris, Mono, Baroness and Jesu to name just a few. They have had several releases since 2004 with "The Power of Independent Trucking" being their 4th release when it is unleashed on vinyl at the end of September.
Mothertrucker sound like they would be a straight up balls out stoner rock band with obligatory catchy riffs and stoned grooves but you would be wrong to think that dear reader. Mothertrucker actually play an excellent blend of instrumental, psychedelic and atmospheric post rock and metal with a definite lean towards doom. Make no mistake, Mothertrucker are as heavy as any of the heaviest bands around right now, but they choose to build up to those beautifully crushing moments in a climax of low end frequencies which makes their sound so much more satisfying and enjoyable to hear. They remind me a little of bands such as Colour Haze, Fog in the Shell, Can't Fake Nature and Wiht, all bands I am a big fan of and having heard this new album from Mothertrucker, I now have another brilliant post rock/metal/doom band to chalk up as one of my favorites.
From the opening tender chords of "Career Ender" Mothertrucker pluck an introspective air that builds to a drop into crushing post metal that is filled with huge riffs and searing, atmospheric and emotion swelled guitar licks that takes the track to its final 2 minutes of gentle and organic ambiance. This track is a great example of what Mothertrucker are all about as it contains all the elements they play with throughout the remainder of the album.
"Reef do all the work, The Beatles get all the credit" follows and I can't help wonder about the name of this one and also laugh a bit; actually a lot. I can't work out if it's a dig at Reef or The Beatles or both; not that I have any particular love for or aversion to either of those bands so I'll let the music on this one do the talking.
This track is at first a huge chugging behemoth that tweaks harsh heavy metal warnings that quickly evolve into a fast traveling through the universe, loaded with neck hair raising riffs and tripped out cosmic freak outs. In the final minutes the track twists and morphs into a filthy angry beast that spits invigorating sludge at you. Mothertrucker really know how to mix things up and they do it much ease and style.
"Vigo the Carpathian" begins with a floaty desert style riff that builds like Colour Haze with the similarity staying for much of the track but later on a blistering post rock element takes over which leads us to a climactic moment of heart rending beauty which left me gasping for breath.
After the silence comes an obnoxious screech before a plunge down into the deepest depths of doom with a huge crushing riff and brain stomping drums that shows Mothertrucker at their heaviest with "Duff McKagan's Kagan Wagon". A simple but pounding riff carries this track for the most part but a distant blues soaked guitar breaks through the sludge which has the track staying true to Mothertrucker's penchant for post rock and metal but things end in catastrophic doom and the fading drone of a now dead universe.
"The Southern Teeth" could be a final lament to the end as it is a ballad of soft and sparse guitar and one thrum of bass that drifts through a barren plain of long gone memories. The track acts as a brief pause within a storm of doom as the final track "Crypt Stalker" opens with dark chords, a thick bulbous bassline and ghostly guitar licks that build a black tension to a destructive climax of earthquaking heavy riffs and searing brain splitting post metal illuminations until everything breaks down into a final pounding of doom and a devastating end to a brilliant album.
Bravo Mothertrucker, Bravo!
You need this album in your life and it's out 30th September on colored vinyl or you can buy the digital album now from their Bandcamp so you all know what to do.
FACEBOOK // BANDCAMP
Sunday, September 15, 2013
If you're gonna have your heart carved and lifted from your ribcage, you'd prefer a sharp tool and a swift hand. Get it over with, sweetheart. Rip me open from groin to sternum, but please knock me out first. I can take a glance through photo albums and rub a dozen raised scars left by girls who never intended for things to get so messy. Had they cut me quickly and dropped the smile, perhaps recovery could've been manageable.
Straight out of a mossy grove by way of Virginia rises Helena Goldberg and her psychedelic sludge-n-bass duo Akris. On their self-titled, full-length debut, Goldberg and now-departed kit-killer Sam Lohman offer a permeating ache that slowly and steadily hums between the legs and haws with deliciously punctuated buzz. Hypnotic and painful, Goldberg's vocal might be the haunt your Friday night thought it missed. Careful, though... it's gonna make your Sunday morning sting like hell.
Subterranean, dragging dirge hardly sounds like it'd pair well with sultry assertions. The sludge rhythms lay down chugs and paces shift, but lo-fi buzz clutches madness and crafts a heady haze that feels too good in your belly to recognize the approaching blows. Sticky, psychedelic clamor balances the thickness on what could be called a clinic of melding elements. When this siren's witchy warp parts the choppy waters, good luck righting your ship.
I wanna focus on the psychedelic sludge, I really do. The flatlined bass-belch grinds on knobby cruisers like Profit and Row Of Lights. Gutteral and emotional, Akris blend groove and haze with skull-rattling spite. Embers crackle on Part Of Me, appearing at your feet and sinking before your eyes. And Redeemer sticks like hot glue and burns like hell, lifting and grooving merely a hair after a signature drone-drift. Goldberg's bark grabs you by the wrist and drags you across the playground. Your friends are watching, but what the hell can you do?
A swampy swim can only take a band so far, though. Akris have already shed comparisons to their contemporaries, but Goldberg's gorgeous layered vocal delivers tiers of pain you hadn't considered. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorched, and listeners are wholly enticed on Riverbed. The slow bounce numbs and stuns until you invite the vocal through your front door. You'll never get your hands on it, though. Smoky as spirits and twice as fleeting, the emerging memories of Vomit Within crawl into the dark corners of your mind and roll out a weathered cot. The track warps out, spreads, and begins to settle. Now you've done it.
The album's thickest sludge and Goldberg's vocal ache marry perfectly on Suffocate. Despite its density and behind her timbered hiss you'll find a cruel duality. She adores you, she claims. But at the same time she's got no problem with embarrassing the hell out of you in public. Before we can descend toward blackened gates, we've gotta relive gym class embarrassment at the hands of an honest love note gone public. Fuck, just let me take a concrete brick to the nose and send me home, will ya?
Akris won't let you off the hook. Funny enough, it's the burning sludge that gently tugs at your guard, ultimately extracting a gently-barbed string of trust. Psychedelia teems amid the chaotic swarms, but the web of slow and viscous atmospheres serves as the band's facade. The slow, silent killer is Goldberg's lurid melody. A voluptuous counter to the burns and scrapes, she's drawing us closer and extending the anguish. Look away, take a walk, and forget what you know. But you're not fooling anyone. You know you'll be back. Trouble is, so does Akris.
For fans of: Undersmile, Electric Wizard, Windhand
Pair with: Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, Boulevard Brewing Co.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
HEAVY PLANET PRESENTS..ATLAS!
"ATLAS, original Swedish heavy founded in Karlstad 2011 by hard rockers Torsten and Kalle.
By sheer accident, one drunken night these two guitarists stumbled across a genius designer with hidden, yet mighty, drumming powers . A year passed in great confusion until one summers eve when they where found and picked up by foreign looking Alex. The last piece of the puzzle was in place and here we are. ATLAS"
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Witch Charmer are a female fronted stoner metal/trad doom pentangle from sunny Sunderland, UK who have recently released their debut EP "Euphoric Curse" which conjures up 4 incantations of impressively evoked stoner metal pulled right from the doom rock grimoire of riff magick. Witch Charmer could be the UK's equivalent to Blood Ceremony, minus the organs and flutes; but they have their own very British aura which had me thinking about old Hammer horror movies and such like from the late 60's and 70's. Movies like the classic British folk or "pagan" horror The Blood on Satan's Claw, which this EP would make the perfect soundtrack to. In fact I listened to the EP while watching clips from the movie on Youtube and it fitted perfectly. In my admittedly slightly inebriated and prone to flights of fancy mind it did anyway.
The EP opener of "Worlds Burning (Inside the Fire)" brings thudding drums and a throbbing bass that leads to revolving heavy metal guitar chugs and the crystalline vocals of Witch Charmer's priestess backed with the rough roars and growls from an accompanying man-dude which blend and wrap together so well that the contrast is strangely crushing and at the same time very soothing to the ears. From the chunky metal chugs and bendy stoner riffs the song effortlessly transitions into some old timey doom with the spine tingling vocals of the priestess luring you into the final section and its satisfying and fist raising stoner rock work out.
"Born a Slave" follows with a baggy fuzzed out riff and divinely sung words with bluesy Wah licks that drop down into some great stoner rock riffwork and then, building from a snare roll the song launches into a storming ocean of righteous and determined heavy metal with the gruff and dirty vocals of the male singer taking the forefront. The pace then slows to a sleazy guitar and Wah slaying and crushing drums taking this track into a full on filth bag of feedback and collapsing crushing drum hits leaving only the soft plucks of a bass to see this track out.
"Waiting for a Call" wastes no time in launching right into down tuned heavy and crunchy stoner riffs with the clean voice of the lead singer adding a pleasing contrast to the fuzzy dirt of the heavy guitars and drums with the gruff voice of the male singer adding an extra weight of stoner metal to the track later on. The song ends abruptly in a tumble of drums and a "thank you and good night" conclusion but fear not as Witch Charmer have one more heavy metal incantation for us.
With the low down and fuzzy bass opening of "Sleeping Dystopia", an explosion of heavy stoner rock riffs and driving drums has the 2 singers take it in turns to express a discontent that the "fucking system's bent". I like the cut of their jib as their sentiments are sound and undeniable so listen intently to the lyrics as there is truth and wisdom contained within. The track evolves from big stoner metal riff worship to soul crushing doom with bluesy licks and then to positive and spirit raising heavy metal that shines a ray of hope on what looks on the surface to be a hopeless situation.
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut EP from Witch Charmer, especially while watching clips on Youtube of old British horror movies and listening carefully to the interesting and wonderfully sung lyrics of the lead singer. With the contrast of rough male vocals, the solid stoner metal riffwork, the crushing retro doom vibes and euphoric moments of heavy metal; Witch Charmer are a band that deserve to be noticed by everyone who loves heavy music.
FACEBOOK // BANDCAMP
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
It's been a long time coming, with many trials and tribulations that would have completely obliterated the resolve of lesser artists, but the incredible Brant Bjork and John Garcia have persevered, resurfacing as Vista Chino, and releasing their first collection of new songs under that new flagship. What's the result? From the dust and ashes of time and emotion it all boils down to that simple inquiry . . . what is the result . . . what kind of music do two members of the most totemic stoner band this side of Black Sabbath now make? No one, absolutely no one on the face of Planet Earth, except for possibly 2 lone souls, could have thought this music would be anything approaching the significance of their earlier incarnation . . . too much time, the loss of what many thought to be the most significant member as well as the eventual loss of yet another founder (but not before he contributes his sensational bass maneuvers on the majority of the songs), too much time touring almost as a tribute band to themselves, rehashing the sounds and chasing the glory of nearly two decades past . . . how on Earth could this music be anything other than a charming attempt at relevance? But the toughness, tenacity, and fortitude of those two artists, combined with consummate song writing ability, hold forth with the release of "Peace", the inaugural album of Vista Chino, delivering intensely deep, artistically applicable music that reflects all the joy, pride, and ability of supremely gifted artists who have refused to fade into the background of obscurity.
The years typically are not kind to the human voicebox, especially when it comes to the vocal chords of rockers, but that singular sound that is John Garcia is loud, clear, and prominent on "Peace". His vocal sound can be considered as one of a kind, one of the best in rock's history . . . yes, all of rock, not just stoner rock or high desert rock.
The years, too, can tend to drain the song writing heart of even the most gifted of creators. That heart is an incredible engine for artistic production, especially the heart of a gifted writer, but often even the most skilled craftsmen exhaust the well after years of mining its precious load. So, add to the incredible accomplishments on "Peace" that of songcraft . There may not quite be a "Green Machine" or "Odyssey" in here but the songs are expertly, cleverly, and imaginatively written with a deft and deep touch on instrumentation and a gifted understanding of timing and structure. These songs are thoroughly enjoyable, as you would imagine them to be coming from Bjork and Garcia.
One more brilliant stroke of note, for me, is the inspired addition of Bruno Fevery as lead guitar. Bruno was not a widely known player in the underground world of stoner/doom rock, not to the level the 5 main members of Kyuss have achieved, of course, or not even as a member of a known band. He was not yet established in the upper echelons of stoner rock, but Brant and John must have noticed something special with his playing abilities beyond his experience playing Kyuss cover songs, and this specialness comes through in a big way on "Peace" with deft and inspired playing throughout the album, playing in such a way as to never miss the founding lead of Kyuss, but to instead thoroughly enjoy the founding lead of Vista Chino. I can't know how much influence he may have had on song construction, but I doubt it was zero input, not with ability such as he demonstrates on this album.
The album opens with a short trippy instrumental introduction titled "Good Morning Wasteland" that gives almost no indication of what's to follow. It only takes a minute before thrusters kick in full force with "Dargona Dragona", opening with low tuned and tightly wound riffs that immediately evoke the signature sound expected of Bjork and Garcia while being neither a caricature of Kyuss' music nor a strained attempt at perfect replication . With Fevery providing inspired and deft riffage, Bjork filling in with artistic aplomb on the drums, and Garcia bringing that timeless vocal sound into play Vista Chino immediately set the stage for significant, new, and familiar high desert melody.
"Sweet Remain" is an exceptional song in that it provides a clear cut rendition of Bjork's song-writing ability, which is always clean, always engaging, always a consummate experience. Garcia stretches his vocal acumen here, singing in a range that is above his typical comfort zone. Deep rumbling riffs provide the backdrop throughout the song while Fevery's spotlight moments are intensely engaging.
"As You Wish" begins to show expressions not rendered before by these artists, and is expertly ministered in construction and execution.
Track 5 is a two for one offering and is the album's best piece of music. There is much to enjoy and savor on "Planets 1&2" not the least of which is Bjork providing vocals for the first section while Garcia chimes in beautifully on the second. "Planet 1" is tight and energetic in tempo with fuzz flying in all directions as it soars through whatever solar system these planets belong. A more deliberate and heavy delivery brings us into "Planet 2" accentuated by Fevery's fiery deftness on solo licks and Garcia's deeply emotional vocal delivery.
"Adara" is reminiscent of the desert from which the older members hail, just a funky, laid back outburst of intense control, flowing with the wind and riff driven sand, beautiful in its brightness and severity.
"Mas Vino" is another short instrumental, this one guitarcentric and sublime.
"Dark and Lovely" is funky and fun. Fevery's solo licks are exquisite on top of the rhythm deliveries, as are Garcia's vocal treatments.
By the time you get to "Barcelonian" you begin to recognize the sound of Vista Chino as one of intense enjoyment, with songs of consummate skill and alluring musical qualities. The intensity of low tuned guitars and deep driving base perfectly complement deft and nimble drumwork and the singular sound of the frontman's vocals.
The closer, "Acidize . . . The Gambling Moose", is an incredible odyssey that kicks off with an impeccably fuzzy solo leading into another tight and beautifully constructed up tempo rendition of stamina and drive that further carries the listener along on a hypnotic carpet of deep blended wool.
"Peace", if never known for anything of past conglomerations and genre defining rock sounds would remain a significant event in the timeline of stoner rock music. It delivers magnificently on all levels and never needs comparison with anything else on any grounds other than how it stands on its own in rock zxquality and excitement, which I would be willing to bet was the most significant factor driving these gifted rockers to this long overdue point in their careers.
facebook || website || Napalm Records || last.fm
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Here we are again, my favorite day of the week. The thing that I enjoy most about this blog is the opportunity to hear new music. It is still such a thrill after all of these years to discover a new band. With an influx of bands overflowing my inbox on a weekly basis, the only logical thing to do was to get these bands out there by use of a playlist. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and the mundane daily grind of our lives it is not humanly possible to review every band that sends music our way. So far these playlists have been rather successful with an average listenership of around 150 plays and 200-plus views. Once again we have a really killer lineup of bands for you to enjoy, so without further adieu I give to you the New Band To Burn One To Playlist-Volume Eight...turn it up to 11!
Apey and The Pea - The Upperhand
Black Frost -Conqueror
Black Plastic Caskets -Philistine Sun
Black Snake -Mage
Chron Goblin - Deserter
Elephant Riders - Challenger
Keefshovel -Seed In The Rough
Kings Destroy -Turul
Kingshifter - Thumbsucker
Lowburn - Moonful of Stars
MONKEY3 - Icarus
Residual Comrade -The Way
Scuttlebutt -Tunnels Of India
Sun Mammuth -Cosmo
Tricky Lobsters -Soul Shaker
Trippy Wicked & The Cosmic Children Of The Knight -Discoveries
I urge you to share this playlist with anyone that appreciates good music.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Ice Dragon are not just any old psyche/doom/stoner/heavy rock band. Not only are they one of the most prolific I've ever come across with 12 releases since 2010, and that's not including their releases under their alter egos Tentacle, The Mangled Dead and Qosmic Qey amongst others; they are also consistently fucking great and they just keep getting better.
Their Facebook blurb sums them up nicely:
Ice Dragon makes recordings in a basement near Boston, Massachusetts. Works include many albums, singles, and EPs, as well as numerous releases under various other names. New music is issued frequently and spontaneously.
This 12th release under their Ice Dragon moniker lives up to its title of "Born a Heavy Morning" and is some of the most experimental work that I've heard yet from them which makes this album a real mixed bag of sounds. Yes there are heavy riff work-outs with the inimitable Ice Dragon plodding stomps, maudlin words and deep blues guitar lickery but they are few on this album. What stands out for me most of all are the short skits between the main songs some of which serve as nods to my least favorite time of the day; morning.
The track titles on this album are sheer genius so chew on these for a moment if you will: "In Which a Man Rises, Washes and Eats Before Work" or "In Which a Man Daydreams About a Girl From His Youth" and "(I will) Watch My Hair Grow."
For the most part the main songs on this album are slow introspective numbers and sometimes they are quite twee, gentle even, much as an early morning in spring with a newly risen sun shining it's lovely rays through the gap in my curtains and informing me it's time to get the hell up out of my bed and start my day. I hit play on my player and this album fits perfectly with my first coffee and toke of the day; this is morning psyche-doom to go with your shit, shower, shave and cereal and it slays the sleepy eyes and shakes you awake enough to face the day ahead. I'd like call it "musical breakfast" so I will, even if it doesn't quite do justice to the fine work these Ice Dragon gentleman have done for us.
One wonders what else Ice Dragon have up their sleeves for their future releases but with the consistently great music spewing forth from these 4 Ice Dragons that dwell within a basement, you just know they are going to hit all the right riffs, all the right notes and all the right skins.
Thank you Ice Dragon for being you.
"Born a Heavy Morning" is out now as a name your own price download from their bandcamp where you can also pre-order the album on CD.
FACEBOOK // BANDCAMP
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Read the label. Check the locks. Look both ways. Plan ahead. Watch your step. Wipe your feet. Wash your hands. Mind your manners. Designate a driver. Wear a condom. Say please. Say thank you. Buckle up. Eat not to dullness. Drink not to elevation. Call your grandmother. Wipe twice. Nah, three times. Elbows off the table. Keep up. Speak up. Wise up. And hey, don't forget to read your email.
Shit, I haven't followed any of these rules lately. The last of which kept me from enjoying two of the heaviest pant-loads of stoner-sludge groove released over the summer. In my defense, Junior Bruce decided to issue The Burden on my son's fourth birthday, meaning my junior trumped theirs and everyone else's. Let's hug and move on to discuss this EP, which is a huge step forward despite eclipsing merely eleven minutes. And Toby's as busy as anyone these days, so I'm swiping his "In Case You Missed It" thunderclap on this release.
The Burden offers JB's first new sounds since 2012's The Headless King, an excellent exercise in captivating stoner-fuzz sludge that was shrouded by the distraction of drummer Brett Tanner's battle with cancer. Following his unfortunate passing, it's a wonder the band found the sack to continue, let alone expand their catalog with an EP that barters steady repetition for dense doom atmospheres. The stoner-sludge pulse remains, but these two tracks breathe a little deeper. Junior Bruce inhale without a wince and exhale without a cough.
The opening title track certainly bears the dense fuzz markings of a band clouded by slow strolls with memories, half-smiling atop cracking twigs and falling leaves. The doom cadence lurches face-forward into hoofed and pounding rhythms. Building on the broken backs of chainsaw riffs, the mood swirls and storms via ash, winded blasts, and no shortage of muddled groove. Rhythmic shifts cleanse the palate, at times sobbing and at others flat-out ripping. The anguish gives way to anger. The anger gives way to control. A natural process, I suppose. Whatever the catalyst, these dudes get it right.
Less stirring and more continual are the true highlands doom-heaves of The Ocean's Daughter. Scott Angelacos snarls atop stoner riff-ribbons, while scattered choral chants offer brief respite. Jeff McAlear's snap & lick drumwork is another highlight, guiding rhythms that shift less and instead extract painful introspection. You'll find an ambitious mountaintop solo, piercing a steady tempo that never quickens or out-steps itself. Without the tremors, the song grows moodier and heavier at each passage. If it's too slow, you're simply too young.
There's more to come from Junior Bruce. My thought on EPs is that they serve as precursors, sneak-peeks into what bands have in their queues. The Burden provides glory-hole perspective on a sound that's evolving with not only every release, but every track. Don't elicit greatness from two songs, but don't deny it either. America's dick has evolved into a hotbed of stoner-sludge-doom spirits, but the trip between Orlando and Miami must be a thick one. Oppressive and sweltering, Junior Bruce carve their own brand of viscid metal. Your grandma understands Florida. So should you.
And while we're at it...
For fans of: Alabama Thunderpussy, Shroud Eater, Clamfight
Pair with: Moloko Milk Stout, 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
HEAVY PLANET PRESENTS...PEACE KILLERS!
PEACE KILLERS are a band of old ass misfits with big guns. We rock all the angels and demons alike! We slay monsters and play rocking tunes all day every day! Get with it! Get with us! FTW!
Babes, Dinosaurs, Giant trees, Big Smoke, Sweat, Leather, mythological creatures, spelunking, defeating Bowser, that good stuff, Helping Old Ass Ladies cross the Street
Andrew - Vocals/Lead Guitar
Alex - Vocals/Bass
Anthony - Drums
Cory - Guitar/Backing Vocals
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Instead of a band review from me today I have the great pleasure to announce a new festival of heavy music taking place in Bristol, UK in May 2014 called Temples.
Here is some info from the Temples Festival website:
We’ve been expecting you......
Temples is an independent music festival, taking place in May 2014, at Bristol’s famed MOTION venue. Set within the heart of Bristol’s industrial Temple Quarter (directly behind Temple Meads train station), Temples is set to bolster and further contribute to the city’s world-renowned history of musical, artistic and cultural diversity.
As a festival, our agenda is simply to bring a well programmed heavy music event to the South West of England, covering a broad range of genres within the heavy music spectrum. Featuring both international and domestic artists, we hope to have curated an event unlike any other in the history of Bristol’s thriving alternative music scene
With over 40 artists, multiple stages, live art, local food vendors & brewers – and a number of other interactive attractions, Temples Festival 2014 will mark the beginning of an annual event which we hope will attract music lovers from all walks of life to Bristol for one Bank Holiday weekend every year.
We hope that you’re as excited as we are, and can’t wait to reveal more of what we assure you will be an impeccable lineup of artists, over the coming months. Thanks!
With their recent announcement that the mighty, god-like men that are Neurosis are to be headlining the event on Saturday 5th May 2014, and with many more lineup announcements to be made over the coming weeks, Temples is fast shaping up to be a festival not to be missed. The festival is being organized by a promoter from Bristol who has put on quality shows consistently over the years, and with the organizers vast knowledge of all things heavy Temples is guaranteed to be chocked full of some of the very best stoner, doom, sludge, post metal and hardcore etc bands that the UK and indeed the rest of the world has to offer.
I for one can hardly contain my excitement about this festival, which is being held practically on my doorstep (lucky me!) and I will be giving in-depth reviews of Temples Festival for Heavy Planet when the time comes around. I will also be updating line-up announcements as they are announced by Temples so keep an eye out for those.
Tickets are now on sale at various prices so head on over to the Temples official website where more information is available.
FACEBOOK // TEMPLES FESTIVAL OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
For the next hour and forty minutes your ears will be tempered by a legion of the freshest Stoner/Doom/Sludge bands currently hitting the airwaves. After taking a week off and receiving a bunch of e-mails asking what happened to the NBTBOT Playlist, we are back with a vengeance. Today we have an awesome new band from Kentucky consisting of members from Valley of the Sun and Hermano and includes a special guest vocal (I'll let you guess who), a track from the highly anticipated release from Beelzefuzz and a spellbinding cover of Black Sabbath's "Solitude" by Black Capricorn. Also included are a few recent favorites of mine such as Black Bread, Black Seal, Dolmenn and We Hunt Buffalo. So what the hell are you waiting for, hit play and crank that shit up!!
45 Rats -Star 54
Baleful Creed -Suffer In Silence
Beelzefuzz - Reborn
Black Bread -Lord Of Time
Black Capricorn - Solitude (Black Sabbath cover)
Black Majik Acid - Fire Ritual
Black Seal -Scorched
Black Spiders -Knock You Out
Bleeding Crowns -Prophecy
Bridesmaid -Surfin Zafari
Earthbound Machine -Reason's Gone
Fancy Beast -On The Dock Of Decay
Horseskull- The Devil
Kingspirit - Dead Tramp Trail
Moonbow -Take It For Granted (Feat. John Garcia)
Stone Troopers -Party Like An Ewok
Tempelheks - Swamp Ceremony
Vin de Mia Trix - The Sleep of Reason
We Hunt Buffalo -Blood From A Stone
Do you like this playlist? If so, please share it with others that you feel will appreciate it. Thanks!
Monday, September 2, 2013
Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight return after carving a deep groove in the UK heavy music scene with their previous releases, several of which have gained great reviews on Heavy Planet with these 3 lads from St Albans being firm favorites of most of us here, qualifying them to be featured in Nuclear Dog's and Toby's top 20 albums of 2012.
I first discovered Trippy Wicked back in 2010 whilst living near a beach and their song "Sandbag" from their first album was the soundtrack to my time there as it seemed somehow appropriate. "Moving On" was on heavy rotation back then and whenever I listen to that album now I am transported back to those times of beers, toking and beach fires, salty hair, sandy eyes, extreme wind and sea water filling the streets of the small seaside village in which I lived. I have loved Trippy Wicked ever since those gusty, salty days and have followed their career with much interest and have made sure to make a long trip to hear them play live a couple of times, one of which was on their stop at my home town on their recent UK tour to promote this latest offering from one of the most interesting and entertaining heavy bands in the UK. Trippy Wicked just ooze character and their riffmanship is some of the very best I have heard in all my years of being a lover of low end heavy grooves; their riffs, their lyrics, their cheerfully bluesy swagger and cheesy stage smiles are very appealing to those of us who appreciate those crushing moments in classic riffcraft which Trippy Wicked possess by the rum barrel load.
So it was with much joy in my heart when I discovered that the Trippy Wicked dudes had been busy in the studio crafting an EP of 5 songs which I think are some of the best they have released yet. Trippy Wicked just keep getting better with every release and although this EP sees a much sludgier twist to their sound, this is still very much Trippy Wicked through and through.
The opening title track "Underground" has TW blast forth into a churning and thick fuzzed riff momentum which has all the hallmarks of a classic TW track. It holds a melancholy that is not often heard in a TW song but nonetheless has great uplifting moments that show, altough TW have turned their hands to the darker side with this EP compared to their last album, underneath the desperate, almost hopeless tone, an ode to a dying world, there still lies a cause for celebration, even if the ticking clock that ends this song tells us our time is fast running out.
The tick tocks lead to the chunky bass plucks of "Echoes Return" which in my opinion is one of TW's best songs so far. With an almost emotional sludge tinge this song is quite far removed from the typical TW sound, but it still has TW written all over it. This is TW taking their solid low end groove to new dimensions and it is a welcome departure from some of the booze drenched hoedowns of their last album "Going Home." This is a song that plucks the heavy heart strings leaving heavy riffs, drums and vocals that are mezmerizing in their mouth watering execution.
"Enlightenment" has TW exploring the psychedelic realms with an intro that brings to mind the transcendental repetitivity of OM. Then TW turns the super heavy fuzzy sludge riffs to maximum creating a spirit raising groove that runs waves of sonically eargasmic energy into the lug holes and then up and down the spine causing white hot flashes of intense bright light to flash before your inner eye.
"Discoveries" launches straight into a plodding fat fuzzed riff and driving drums that could almost be a continuation of the previous song. This track is I think TW's first instrumental put to record and with such brilliant riff work on display this is a track that speaks for itself. The song ends beautifully and could be a song in itself but I wont give any spoilers as to what TW do here.
"New Beginnings" ends this EP and tells the story of a defeated human race finding solace underground due to a dead sun and a scorched earth but despite the tragic tone there is hope that lies therein with a statement that we can live as one. Out of chaos comes opportunity and through the crushing sludgy riffs that TW put their hands to on this song there is a distinct glint of determined hope that shines through with the unforgettable and passionately sung vocals of Pete that gives this track the unmistakable stamp of Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight.
As I have already mentioned above, I recently saw Trippy Wicked play my home town when they stopped there on their latest tour. Supported by Bright Curse and Wight, (who totally blew me away), TW took to the stage with a hyped up crowd craving for more bone shaking heavy riffs and none in attendance were disappointed. Joined by Tony Reed of Moss Generator on drums and TW's usual skin basher Chris West on bass duties for the tour, TW tore through a blistering set of old and new songs, big grins and gurning faces aplenty and a very appreciative crowd lapping up every crushing riff and explosive drum smack. TW played a solid set with lead man Pete's impeccable singing sending shivers up the spines of all who were lucky enough to witness such a blinding set from the fast rising stars of the UK heavy music scene. To any of our Brit readers; I highly recommened you catch Trippy Wicked live if they swing by your town or city as TW sound as great live as they do on record. To our American friends; I'm sure it is only a matter of time before TW travel across the Atlantic to grace your shores with their unique and highly enjoyable blend of good time blues rocking drinking songs, super heavy and memorable riffs, solid song construction and cheesy twisted grins, beards and beer and a guaranteed great time that will not be easily forgotten.
"Underground" will be released on Trippy Wicked's own imprint, Superhot Records on September 13th but can be preordered now at their Bandcamp where 2 songs from this truly great EP can be previewed for your heavy listening pleasure.