Purveyors of the Finest Stoner Rock/Doom/Psychedelic/Sludge Since 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2013

LP Review- IV Monument by Sideburn

    

     I grew up when grunge rock ruled the radio, and my old man schooled me on the merits of seventies rock. That said it's no surprise that I enjoyed the hell outta Sideburn's latest release, IV Monument. Here you get the best of both worlds. You get the tortured banshee wail of Chris Cornell over music that is ambitious and offers a variety of textures; just like those metalers of yore, the long haired types with grand proggy ambitions. I get a heavy Uriah Heep vibe from these guys, in the soaring vocals but also from their willingness to try any and all styles of the heavy stuff in their metal revue.

     They've got the guts to slow things down and throw in acoustic guitar parts that are not that much lighter than the fuzzed or doomy guitar parts. And there's a lot to be said for bands that make albums like this. Those that live by the fuzz too often die by the fuzz. Hersey, I know. But that's how I feel. Without texture albums can come off as stodgy. The dynamic between heavy and light can and should be used. But that's enough of my pontificatin'. Here's some notes on the album.

     First track is Diamonds and that ain't a Soundgarden outtake, but you might mistake it for one. Next comes Fire Water, slinking towards you like a snake till it rears its head and spits a Danzigesque dirge of heavy all over your trembling face. After that is Tomorrows Dream which for the first few seconds almost sounds like an eighties hair metal tune. The vibe doesn't last, but the riff is clean and carries the song to safety before Crossing the Lines ballads it's way into yer headphones. More visions of Cornell are conjured, but this time we're talking Audioslave. After catching your breath, the listener is doomed by The Last Day which is cooed by an Ian Curtis like vocal, which goes perfect with the icy stomping of the riff. And then there's Silverwing, the tune that might have single trackedly brought up those Uriah Heep visions I alluded to in the beginning of this review. And there's more, but the last three I challenge you to find out for yourself. I'm tired and my beer's getting warm. And I don't want to make it too easy on you. But fear not. You'll dig it.  So crank this one up, stop shaving the sides of yer face and enjoy. Find it here on Transubstans Records


EP Review - Triumph of the Wounded by Crybaby Deathmatch


Crybaby Deathmatch are a 3 piece from London UK, who play dirty punk influenced trad doom metal sounding like some twisted Motorhead-on-acid style rock n roll crossed with Slo Burn and even Dinosaur Jr.

Originally called Needlebliss in the late 90's and ripping off Iron Monkey they kept jamming and listening to tons of down-tuned blues metal until they decided to write proper songs and play some gigs.
The founding duo of North Londoners Coley (guitar, vocals) and Del (drums) were then joined by Frenchman and magician, Jerome on bass in 2012 and thus was born Crybaby Deathmatch.

From the opener, Controlled By Machines, we are treated to some down-right sleazy doom riffs which lead to a filthy, heavy rock slice of dirt slathered with a thick layer of agro/anarcho-punk. This is the kind of song a bunch of pissed up and pissed off Brits sing while smashing pint glasses in the street and chucking bricks through windows after having been booted out of their local pub. Later on they will spray paint massive A's for anarchy on the wall of the local school and will still be chanting this song.

With this strong opening track Crybaby Deathmatch show they have a great sound and attitude with vocals that are equally as memorable as the riffs. It grabbed my attention right away and I immediately fell in love with this band.

Fragile Stars follows. Imagine desert/stoner metal as if played by Motorhead. Not that we have deserts here in the UK and certainly not in North London where these boys hail from, but this track is an excellent piece of desert style stoner metal with great lyrics that had me singing along even though I didn't know the words, just 'woooahahwoooo-oh.' etc..

It reminds me of Slo Burn but with Lemmy on vocals, singing a song what I initially interpreted as being about heart break and a broken relationship but is most likely about something else entirely like the infinite vastness of the universe.

Boiled Shark (The Impossibility of Death) is very much in the same vein, although starting with an old school punk intro which then falls into Lemmy singing for Slo Burn again. The riffs are delivered thick and fast and despite its heavy desert edge there is still that layer of early 80's British Anarcho-punk rock attitude. Bottles are being thrown and shop doorways are being pissed on. Fuck you very much Maggie Thatcher for screwing our country. Welcome to Great Britain.

Nimbus changes the vibe laid upon us by the first 3 tracks with an intro that reminds me of Dinosaur Jnr playing a ballad. The Dinosaur Jnr influence carries this track for the most part until the final minute when it goes into a filthy rock sleaze with some stinky wha'd bass riffs that feel like a wad of phlegm stuck in my throat just before I hock that chunk and flob it out onto someones car window. Not that I would actually do that now, but when I was 14 and listening to Dinosaur Jnr a lot, that kind of thing was a regular occurrence.

The final track, Triumph of the Wounded takes us into doom metal territory, sounding almost like very early Electric Wizard or Iron Monkey. It is a slow paced down-tuned sleaze ball of a track with the vocalist sounding like Lemmy again. The filthy riffs are piled on until the pace picks up some adding a trad doom feel to the track. This sounds like the sound track to an early 80's greasy greebo lank haired metaller in a denim cut off plastered with band patches heading for the pub to drink away his giro (unemployed benefits cheque for those outside the UK).

This a strong first release from Crybaby Deathmatch where they display their influences very well and then blend them together seamlessly. Each track very much has it's own substance with themes ranging from experiences of life in the UK's sprawling and hectic capitol that is London, natural disasters and the weather, the inevitable collapse of civilisation and the pressure of modern living, to abstractions of reality and universal contemplation, something the wordsmith of the band calls the 'Awe of the Ominous.'

Triumph of the Wounded is available now as a free download from their bandcamp.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Zac's "Double Dose": The Hedons / My Sleeping Karma

 

The Hedons: Tomb of Stars 

Indiana Astro Doom heavyweights The Hedons have returned in glorious fashion with their latest full length Tomb of Stars. The trio were introduced as a New Band To Burn One To back in August 2011 with their debut Earth on My Nerves. Our Head Honcho [Reg] celebrated the very manifestation of the Heavy Planet soul in what The Hedons were creating. And you know... as I sip my cup of decaf Maxwell House, I couldn't agree with Reg more. The Hedons' self description of Astro Doom comprehensively expresses the blend of genres that bring us to Heavy Planet everyday. Tomb of Stars boast plenty of fuzz and distortion with big sides of cosmic effects and spaced out RIFFS. The band have also studied their influences diligently. Looking for some Black Sabbath-y stuff, spin At The Mountains. Need a touch of Wino? Album closer Ragnarok has you covered. But nothing quite hits home for me like the slow psychedelic burn of Sludgeflower, definitely my favorite track of Tomb of Stars and possible my favorite song title this year. Say it with me now... Sludgeflower. With an album this well put together, it's inevitable that The Hedon's will end up among the Heavy Planet hallowed.




Members: 
Jace Epple – Drums // Vocals 
Jeff Kaleth – Guitars // Vocals
Robert Ryan Strawsma – Bass // Vocals


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My Sleeping Karma: Soma 

After a few weeks of nothing but rollickin' rock, dismal doom, and sodden sludge there comes a time for quiet reflection. Now, by quiet reflection I don't necessarily mean silence. I enjoy music to much to deal with silence. Deciding to give some time to Aschaffenburg's [Germany] My Sleeping Karma and their introspective instrumental grooves on their latest release Soma I found just the quiet time I was in need of. This four-some's sound leave the lyrics to their listener's conscience while the gently plucked guitar entwine with the remaining trio's rhythmic foundation. Repetitive, yes. Meditative, even more so. Expect a more Red Sparrows vibe then Pelican. The heavy is there, its just a placid heavy. Check out my favorite track Ephedra below. The tracks steady and recurrent themes build to a luscious crescendo. Good karma isn't always easy to come by so get some now on vinyl or CD at My Sleeping Karma's web-store or download it from Amazon or iTunes. Peace be with you.

 

Members: 
Matte - Bass 
Norman - Soundboard 
Seppi - Guitar 
Steffen - Drums


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: CATTLE

HEAVY PLANET presents...CATTLE!


BAND BIO:

We're called CATTLE, we're based in Leeds and we play noise rock in the vein of Big Business, Jesus Lizard and Godheadsilo. We're a three piece (bass, drums and vocals) and we started in summer 2012 having played in different bands around the Leeds scene.


THOUGHTS:

"I'll have to admit, hardcore noise-rock is not really my cup of tea. When asked to review this band's latest EP I was quite hesitant. Forgive me if my statements may be a bit inaccurate, but this is what I hear when listening to the band's latest self-titled EP. Most noise rock in my opinion is exactly that...noise. Cattle is much more than noise. The opening track "Rockets" has a bass-heavy Primus kind of thing going on and is rather cool. For some reason I am hearing a bit of a Refused influence within these songs as well. The songs reverberate with a heavy fuzz and leave you feeling rattled while you are covered in a thick and murky sludge. The vocals are primarily yelled, but I suppose that is the hardcore aspect of the music. The songs are well-structured and dare I say melodic ("Sun Fangs and Wide Eyes").  Soft passages frequently give way to a gnawing slab of bone-rattling rawness and aggression as is the case with EP closer "Pyramid Shaped Hole" which even breaks into a nice little jazzy interlude. While listening to this EP a few times over I found myself really enjoying it primarily due to the fact that it had a varied sound."

The EP is available on Bandcamp for "name your price"

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Monday, February 25, 2013

LP Review- The Sacred Above, The Sacred Below By Beast in the Field


     I was born a Hoosier but expect to die a Michigander. And I'm plenty happy in my new home, in a state whose musical pedigree includes rawkhounds like Grand Funk Railroad, The Stooges, and the MC5. And you can throw the Motor City Mad Man in there too, and Motown and John Lee Hooker moved up here as well, so...

     "But what about....?"

      I'm sure you're saying this to yourself right now, and I know I've left some out, but this just goes to prove my point. Great bands are born in the third coast, and you can add Beast in the Field to that illustrious list. Headquartered in Midland, Beast in the Field are Michigan's most amazing active rock and roll duo. Duo. Guitar and drums. That's it. There isn't even room for vocals in the wall of doom produced by Beast in the Field. They sounds like spawn of Karma to Burn and Electric Wizard turned up to eleven and played through an Iron Age amplifier. They'd be bigger if they weren't banned from many of the clubs they play after their shows draw noise complaints for miles.

     Their new album, The Sacred Above, The Sacred Below, comes out this March on Saw Her Ghost Records, and it is another stoner/doom classic. The album starts out with Great Watcher in the Sky a short guitar piece the style of which pops up throughout the album like a graveyard ghost. After this short intro, the fun starts, with Hollow Horn, a track that gorges your eardrums in the most pleasant way possible for seven plus minutes. Next up is Altar of Red Earth, which begins with Native American style percussion before the riff climbs through the percussive haze and stomps around your cranium for another seven plus. Wakan Tanka comes next, offering another heavy as Earth riff fest that clocks in just under five and a half, the shortest of the songs but very rewarding. After that is the "single", There Once Were Mountains of Ice, which you can taste for yourself by using the link at the bottom of this page. After this cut comes The Great Spirit of Light, a short light piece that sets up the Oncoming Avalanche, a twenty-two minute plus cornucopia of riffs and drums. Then you get the title track, a cut that boasts one of the most memorable riffs on the album and backed by the brilliant Native drumming that pops up throughout the album. And is that a solo in there? Interesting. The album ends with its most ambitious track, Covered by Clouds, Eaten By Snakes, where the ghostly guitar sound of the short interludes steps out of the darkness and dances to the greatest use of sleigh bells I've heard in a rock and roll song. This is their Amazing Grace. The song might stand out on the album, and those who have yet to be baptized by Beast in the Field's mighty riff, might be thrown by the "lightness of the track" but Beast have always used light to their advantage, and you gotta remember that one cannot live on heavy alone.

    The video is a track pulled from a previous album, Goat Isle Senace, but the uninitiated will understand from this track what the mighty Beast is all about. Pre-order the album now from Saw Her Ghost.


   

New Band To Burn One To: ATOMIC VULTURE

HEAVY PLANET presents...ATOMIC VULTURE!


BAND BIO:

Atomic Vulture is an instrumental stoner rock outfit from Bruges, Belgium.
Originally a four-piece stoner rock formation, they chose not to replace their singer, when he left the band in September 2011.

In June 2012, the trio recorded their first demo EP. Released late July 2012, the EP was embraced by the stoner audience and the band's fan base grew rapidly.
Brace yourself for some uncompromised desert grooves in the tradition of 7Zuma7,Gomer Pyle & the almighty Kyuss.

At the end of 2012, the band made deals with Humid Records (US) for digital music distribution and with DDrop Recordings (Greece) for CD production and distribution.
At the same time, the trio went back to the studio and recorded their second EP, "Planet Emerald", which was released on Jan 10 2013.


BAND MEMBERS

Jelle Galle : Bass
Pascal David : Guitar
Jens Van Hollebeke : Drums


THOUGHTS:

"Some of you may be familiar with the Atomic Vulture's first EP released back in July 2012, if not, let us introduce you to the band by way of their latest EP "Planet Emerald". Atomic Vulture is a three-piece instrumental stoner rock band from Brujes, Belgium. Starting of with a low and soft warm tone, the band eventually cresendos into a dropped-heavy groove on the opener "Space Rat". Thrust into space on the tail of a comet and arriving on Planet Emerald you are greeted by a ominous doom riff that slaps you right in the face. The "Missing Link" is a tune filled with swirling grooves, psychedelic solos, and furious drum fills. EP closer "Emerald" is a blast to the past and clearly my favorite song on the EP. The song has a very retro feel and is filled with levitating riffs hovering around a wallowing bass line. Unfortunately it had to come to an end. I look forward to hearing more from these three desert doom merchants. In the meantime, check out the band's two EPs on their Bandcamp page."

Athens-based upstart label D-Drop Recordings will have both "Planet Emerald" and "Demo 2012" out on CD in March 2013. The demo CD will contain two songs not on the Bandcamp digital download version of the release. Check out these songs "Outer Universe" and "King Size Slim"on the D-Drop You Tube channel.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Vulgaari



If I had a dirty nickel for every unique and distinct sludge riff I've had slung my way, many would still call me broke. I love metal's grimiest sub-genre, as much as I hate to label and over-categorize its card-carriers. But let's cut the shit: it's hard to break from the pack and truly accrue some accolades. Then again, I can't tell the difference between The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, or any of the other horseshit bands sucking the life from American thirty-somethings. So when I'm met with dickheads asserting sludge bands "all sound the same," I can't blame them. Sometimes they're right, even if they got there using an ignorant blanket statement.

Anyone ever been to Minneapolis, Minnesota? I thought Illinois was cold, but at 19 I learned Minnesota's gray skies and frigid stiffness cut a little deeper. But The Gopher State has recently offered up some acts that I'll have trouble forgetting. Add sludgers Vulgaari to a promising litany of snowshoe stompers that find time to spew some awesomely heavy tunes when they're not scraping their windows or pissing their name into piles of sooty snow.

A studio two-piece that expands to a live quintet, Vulgaari began with no intention of composing an actual release for mass consumption. You might say the well's been poisoned, as the band's self-titled debut is nine crushing tracks of sludgy doom rhythms wrapped in proficient axe-manship. When the monstrous riffage isn't plowing through your living room, the cosmic shots licking the sky's underbelly will leave dogs running in circles. There's enough murk here to stick to your boots, but what sets apart Vulgaari is the melodies crafted around the low tempos. I hate it when a review tells me "there's something here for everyone," but I can't think of another way to say so.

Opening on A World Created, an immediacy of string scratchings melds a despondent churn and hollow instrumentation. Guitars mirror Zakk Wylde, but Zack Kinsey's Molotov death growl is executed perfectly amid the swirling, screeching licks and sonic spirals. And those licks develop into a majestic Norse ascent on Match, an indulgent and misanthropic dick-rub that spits, burns, and only briefly stops to breathe. The guitar is most brightly lit on Outride the Reaper with bisected density and a promised intermission that's quickly abandoned. Whew. It's hollow, it's beastly, and its highest compliments will include multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. You're quickly exposed to varying levels of influence and approach, and a band that dismisses the pigeonhole is a band you won't soon forget.

Battlestag is the disc's poster child for sludge cadence marrying power metal guitar prowess. When Vulgaari aren't pinning your shoulders to wet earth, they're burning your senses with hot smoke. Long pauses, primitive thuds, and pacing that moves between a tortoise and a skittish crack-rabbit all blend for an excellent showcase of what the band is all about. But when it's straight sludge being choked out, it's pretty fuckin' stellar. Black Mountain wastes no time in growing vile and abrasive. You'll be riddled with welts from the steady repetition, but those guitar stutters perfectly glaze the mud.

I could truly go on forever. I scribbled a mountain of notes on this release, using more adjectives than I knew existed for a Sunday Sludge feature. Slow fuzz a la Weedeater plugs and plods on 77 74 until those licks return to cleft sludge palates. Forever Roam is a swarming descent of buzzing hornets, ambitious but unrivaled in terms of stylistic blends.  You don't know if you should run or simply weep. And the pensive and observant Dirt from the Grave overlooks the pass to assess a terrain obliterated over the first 8 tracks. The unsettling clamor forms the perfect end of times, you might say.

I can't find a red flag here. Vulgaari break from the pack and serve every metal fan a dose of all they've ever needed. There's no picking and choosing, no sampler pack. This is stoner-sludge-doom kissed with melodic power metal, all beautifully realized and well-executed. The steady burn makes you forget the ache, while the licks simply daze and astound. The next time some pretentious black metal prick in a Behemoth t-shirt wants to attack your patches or dismiss Post Progressive Blackened Avant Thrashgrind Thallcore, perhaps he's just asking for you to introduce him to Vulgaari. Immediately after you punch him in the face.




Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nuclear Dog's Atomic Split: Beam Orchestra - "Cosmic Spoof" / Supermachine - "Supermachine"

When you visit the Heavy Planet main page it says, right there underneath that awesome logo, "Purveyors of the finest Stoner Rock / Doom / Psychedelic / Sludge since 2008." We bring to you, dear reader the latest albums, fresh off the press, for music that falls into those categories, and last year was especially a banner year for Stoner Rock music. But one album seemed to escape notice by everyone, Beam Orchestra's "Cosmic Spoof", released back in June of 2012. That's okay, though, because today we get to discover it's fuzzy goodness. I mean this album kicks some serious Stoner Rock butt. Supermachine, on the other hand, are basically hot off the presses, kicking major Stoner rock ass of their own, of which there had been much anticipation preceding its release and much satisfaction to the number of bootprints left in the backsides of millions of Stoner Rock enthusiasts afterward.
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BEAM ORCHESTRA - "COSMIC SPOOF"

Beam Orchestra is a three piece ensemble from Freiberg, Germany, together since 2008, who had the good fortune of releasing the album "Cosmic Spoof" last summer, before then having the misfortune of having all their equipment stolen during the release party for the album. They are still without their equipment 8 months later, believe it or not. This is the main reason why we didn't hear of "Cosmic Spoof". The band couldn't perform. They couldn't tour. They couldn't promote. They couldn't do anything that normally would be done after releasing one of stoner rock's finest albums of 2012, one that could quite possibly be thrown into the same basket as some of stoner rock's finest albums of all time if only it had gotten proper recognition and attention. Hopefully it's not too late.

Being a selfish person I feel a huge pang of regret this album was unknown at the time it was released and later that year, as it would most certainly have made my top ten list for 2012. It'll make your belated list as well, I'd be willing to bet, once you give it a listen.

Being as empathetic as I can, I feel absolutely horrible for Beam Orchestra, whose members are comprised of:

Franz-Julius Pelz, or F-J
Nicky Dietze, or Ykcin
Eric Fejfar, or Eric

I have been able to converse a tiny bit with them via Facebook, but not enough to know their plans and such, so I have no idea if they have a strategy to recover from this devastation. I'm hoping the Heavy Planet community can help in some small way, if help is indeed what these Herren want.

But back to the business at hand. "Cosmic Spoof" is certainly no spoof. It's some serious music that is 100% Grade A Stoner Rock Fuzz. This is the finest stoner rock music I've heard since Sasquatch's "III". It fits right in with the first two from Freedom Hawk, the Firestone side of "Fuzzsplit of the Century", the best Dozer and Truckfighters stuff, and the fine fuzz of Astroqueen, not to mention the untouchable . . . yes . . .  Kyuss.

Perhaps the song writing isn't quite as eloquent as that of much of Kyuss' body of work, and it would be hard to beat the writing prowess of Keith Gibbs of Sasquatch, but Beam Orchestra have memorable melodies, quality lyrics, hooks aplenty, and do so whether laying down a rug burning jam or kicking off the oxygen and hydrogen tanks for a cosmic trip through space and time.

Eleven fuzzy, warm, meaty, juicy, joyous, belly button lint filled truffles are packaged neatly inside a German Stein, wrapped tightly with a bow of high desert cactus needles.

The party starts with "Tabula Rasa", a fine, up tempo, distortion exhibition that lacks not at all for joyous and warm guitar, deep rumbling bass, and unflagging, energetic stick work. It's interesting that the kick-off is an instrumental, giving the listener full access on what to expect on the rest of the album, fuzz-wise. Beautifully written and equally as exquisite in execution, this is a fine selection to start things off.

"Murmel" has a similar tempo as its predecessor, and begins with a more specific, less fuzzed riff, but then the stanza starts and distortion is the overriding sound as we are introduced to the lyrics for the first time. The vocals on "Cosmic Spoof" are not earth shattering, not necessarily on a par with Garcia or Gibbs, but certainly worthy of the fine instrumentation of this album.

"Kasumatra" starts off big and slow, low tuned and heavy, driving piles deep into the earth, awakening creatures of yore who have perhaps hybernated for centuries, and once awakened scream in sounds not quite familiar, increasing the urgency of the situation. The creatures are not left to their own devices, however, as Beam Orchestra send the mortal vocalist to confront and overpower them, which he does in mighty fashion.

"Three Sea Sons" has a sort of medieval feel to it. The vocals are combined between more than just one band member, perhaps representing the sons named in the title. The tempo is deliberate and forceful in places, faster and more urgent in others. Drumwork on this song isn't relegated to just the traditional trap set, but bongos of some sort are brought in to wonderful effect as only one son, presumably, finishes the tale, wraps up the adventure, and closes down this fine, fuzzy chapter.

The fuzz kicks in high gear on "Lumatra", with the vocals following suit, where there's an edge and a bit of a rasp that fits very well to this style of music. This could be the lead singer, or the style of singing, on all the songs if it were left up to me, but alas they neither asked my opinion on how to handle the vocals or how much fuzz to use. They seem to have followed the advice I would've given on the fuzz, though. ALL OF IT! "Lumatra" is a beautiful piece of music, with haunting, distorted guitar, edgy vocals already mentioned, deep, delicious bass, and drums of power and grace.

"Smoke Doper" is classic. Lots of big, edgy guitars, that are earth moving mighty machines with the signature stoner riff interlaced in key places, vocals deliberate and edgy, fitting now with the music naturally and satisfactorily, the tempo deliberate and hookish.

It takes a minute and a half of a nearly 4 minute song for "Space Eggs" to get past the intro and into the song proper, but once it does, it's a kick ass delight, propelling the song along at breakneck speed on a claptrap deathrattle cosmic vehicle that zooms through the finest space fuzz of the solar system.

"Outro" is the aptly named closer. It changes the pace up just a bit, bidding a fond adieu to whomever took the journey with the band on the cosmic trip through space fuzz of epic dimensions, disproving the old adage that in space no one can hear you riff, because as the three young gentlemen of Beam Orchestra zoomed through the solar system on their instruments of distortion, propelled by heart and hydrogen, sonic booms and cosmic blasts were heard throughout the orbiting receivers of Sol, likely causing much ado on at least the third rock orbiting its fuzzy, flaring, fury. Let's hope so, at least.

"Cosmic Spoof" is available on bandcamp for just €5, where you will also find opportunities to purchase some cool looking tees and other artwork.

For a list of the instruments Beam Orchestra are missing visit their Facebook page. Engage them in conversation via that medium if you think you can help them in any way, whether it's to offer an old amp or some other piece of equipment that can get them going again. These guys are too good to not be playing, to not now be working on a follow up to "Cosmic Spoof"






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SUPERMACHINE - "SUPERMACHINE"

From the ashes of one kick ass rock band comes another, the long anticipated debut of Supermachine, whose members comprise much of what was once Scissorfight and is now one of the newest incarnations in an ever growing stable of ridiculously awesome rock music from Small Stone Records.

Hailing from New Hampshire, Scissorfight founding members Paul Jarvis and Jay Fortin team up with Mike McNeill, an old friend from the band Hemicuda, a Scissorfight precursor, to make the beginnings of Supermachine. With Jarvis on bass, Fortin on guitar, and McNeill on drums, all that was needed was the frontman, and through an unusual twist of fate involving emails and leather cuffs Dave Nebbia brings his defining rock vocals to the mix in a fashion that matches the band's music to a tee.

"Supermachine"is one of those albums you instantly like because, well, because it's good, and it's instantly, obviously good. It's also one of those albums that when you listen to it again, and then again, and having listened to it dozens of times over the course of several days, you begin to realize it's better than good, it's better than melt the face flesh off your lily white skull, it is chock full of layerings and segues, interludes and expertise that only comes from musicians that have put a lot of time into their craft, are gifted at what they do, love what they do, and have now created something new that blends all that awesomeness together

Along with the monstrous instrumentation on this album comes quality song writing that includes plenty of hooks and memorable melodies, songs that get stuck in your head and make you want to learn them yourself so you can play and sing along, in the shower, in the car, or in the cubicle next to the beeber loving asshole that drives you nuts.

Eleven gargantuan tunes have been laid down on "Supermachine", each of them full of intrigue and satisfaction, each of them weighty with the metal of ages, and adeptness of true professionals, each of them brimming with anticipation for the coming experience and thrill as the dozens of musical strands sewn together from four gifted and talented musicians gets the juices flowing and the tribal soul humming.

The opener, "Solution", is a perfect representation of what this album has to offer. Fortin's guitars are cosmic in scale, thunderous in delivery, and jam packed with riffs of intrigue and quality. McNeill's drum work on this song is exceptional, bone crushing, and just as full of nuance as the guitar work. Jarvis leads the way with monstrous earth shattering, boulder crumbling bass that could change the rhythm of your heartbeat if played too loudly. All of it brought together by Nebbia's vocals, rough, raw, edgy, and adept, hitting any and all ranges. There is no yelling vocals here, only genetically superior delivery that completes the overall quality of this song, and all those to follow.

You gotta love a song with the title "Josey Wales". For anyone not familiar, it was one of Clint Eastwood's finest movies, certainly one of my favorites. Supermachine obviously are fans as well, as they as put the story to song, and not just song, but stoner rock song. You just gotta love it! There is some fine guitar work on this one, both heavy, low, and menacing, as well as fun little ditties interspersed throughout. The solo has just a bit of a country tinge to it to go along with the mega low, ultra loud down tuned segments.

"Flesh Farm" is a beauty of a track, simple and sweet, precursor to the rumble and might of the main delivery. The song goes back and forth a few times between sugar and C-4 before the blinding white flash of laser beam guitar solos accompany the cosmic rumble of black hole bass riffs.

One of the most interesting, fun, and unique songs on the album is "Crutch", where the guitar kicks off with a unique, echoey riff that catches your attention right away, locks it up in a heavy metal cage, and holds it there until it's had its way, which could be awhile as this is the kind of song that stays with you long after you've run down the batteries on your portable music player.

The closer is "Warlord" where Supermachine strap on their very best instruments and wield them with the intensity of the final battle, unleashing strokes of unyielding might, and overpowering all before them with their combination of battle-hardened experience, born and bred agility, and unyielding heart. It is, just as its predecessors, a mighty song to close out an equally potent and indomitable album.

"Supermachine" is available for download through bandcamp, Amazon, or iTunes, or as a CD from Small Stone Records, soon to be available as vinyl from Small Stone or Amazon as well. They have artwork from Alex von Wieding ready for super cool t-shirts that should be available to order in the very near future. Alex is the same artist that did the incredible cover art you see at the beginning of the Supermachine review.









Friday, February 22, 2013

Doom in June III Festival Lineup Announced

DOOM IN JUNE III FESTIVAL



Heavy Planet is proud to be a sponsor of this year's installment of the Doom in June Festival in Las Vegas on June 1st at the Cheyenne Saloon. The all-day-and-night Vegas doom-metal fest returns after a year in hiatus with a strong collection of bands, including The Skull (featuring ex-members of Trouble), classic (having formed back in '77) metal act Manilla Road, stoner-rock trio Karma to Burn, heavy-psyche group Ancestors, San Antonio sludge-slingers Las Cruces, Seattle doom-shroomers Snail and ex-Monster Magnet guitarist Ed Mundell's Ultra Electric Mega Galactic. Lots of locals will be performing this time, unlike previous installments: Demon Lung, Dali's Llama, Albatross Overdrive, Megaton and Spiritual Shepherd. 

Look for more info and updates at Facebook.com/DoomInJune.

Presale tickets onsale now at www.brownpapertickets.com


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Void Of Sleep - Tales Between Reality and Madness



Void Of Sleep are a four piece group hailing from the Italian city of Ravenna and they have really been having a great impact in the media. They totally caught me by surprise. Mostly because it is not usually to see many Stoner/Psychedelic/Doom/Sludge bands from Italy even though throughout the last years we have been introduced to great bands like Lento and of course Ufomammut.

They have just recently released their debut album called "Tales Between Reality and Madness". It is 45 minutes and 7 songs worth of pure Stoner excellence! 


Overall, it is a very creative and refreshing album with a perfect balanced mix of all the great elements of Stoner Rock, Metal, Sludge, Psychedelic Doom and some Hard Rock.

"Blood On My Hands" is a great way to show off what this record is all about: great songwriting and riffs that will keep you headbanging for hours. There are also some darker and "doomier" moments that might resemble bands like Opeth but that is mainly due to Burdo's voice. His voice does in fact remind me many times of Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. Besides these "darker" sections, we are also presented with great choruses that will stick in your brain. Catchy is the word.

Songs like "Sons of Nothing", "Wisdom of Doom" and "Lost in the Void" will certainly be great successes when played live as they are some of album's strongest tracks. I do think, though, that there is no actual weak song or "skipper". All songs flow very well as the huge riffs sooth you and bury you into the music.

We hope there is much more to come from Void Of Sleep after this magnificent debut. "Tales Between Reality and Madness" will definitely be in my top album list by the end of the year. Make sure you listen and buy this album. It is well worth it!

Void of Sleep are:

Burdo - Vocals
Gale - Guitar
Paso - Bass
Allo - Drums






Thursday, February 21, 2013

LP Review "Honky - 421"



Ah yes, Honky!

Featuring Jeff (JD) Pinkus, the bassist of one of my all time favorite bands, Butthole Surfers, (I'm such a big fan in fact that my right arm is tattooed with numerous buttholes, yup).
Any member of Butthole Surfers who spread themselves to form a band of their own gets immediate thumbs up from me.

Honky have been around since 1996 and 421 is the sixth release from this hard rocking, hard drinking and hard toking trio from Texas.

With a current line up of JD Pinkus on bass/vocals, Micheal 'Night Train' Brueggen on drums/vocals and Bobby Ed Landgraf on guitar/vocals, Honky come with 11 tracks of superboogie down, stoner rock heavy good time rollers.

With beards of legendary repute and admirable tattoos, Honky are the perfect triad for their psychobilly southern rock sound with each song played and sung with gusto.

There's no real hint of Butthole Surfers' warped LSD soaked beautiful insanity in this album, despite being mixed by Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary but that's okay, this is Honky, not Butthole Surfers.

Each track is expertly executed by these Texas gentleman and each had me rocking out, horns lifted and nodding my noggin. Some tracks are fast paced and low down dirty rock monsters and others are more slow grooving and bluesy but each track is unmistakably tasty southern fried goodness with some very heavy and fuzzed up bass riffs on occasions, epically jammed out guitar riffs and stomping hoedown drums. Man, I wanted to get loaded on good whisky and powerful bud while listening to this long player; a perfect accompaniment to Honky's party vibe.

Honky are playing my home town at the end of March and I will damn well make sure I'm in attendance and will no doubt partake of the whisky soaking and bud smoking, hoedowning and flashing my buttholes in appreciation.


LP Review: Horror at Pleasure by Early Mammal


     I try to start these reviews with an anecdote, a little something to get the readers attention or situate the album I'm reviewing in time and place. But I won't be doing that for this one. Early Mammal says all our stories are fucked. So I'll pass.
     The album starts off slow, with a short guitar piece titled Right Hand, which sounds like it was beamed down from an alien space craft straight into discarded desert amps left behind after one of those infamous Kyuss generator parties.  As this piece ends, the urgency builds then blasts into Final Witch where we’re greeted by a vocalist who’s got the psych ward pipes of a young Iggy Pop. The track is an interesting blend of the primal throbbing of the Stooges and the atmospheric Hawkwind, whose influence can really be felt in the cosmic noodlings laced throughout the next track. That track, Demon or Saint, is a creepy plea for a girl to meet the singer “in the woods” and offers up heavy chunks of fuzz guitar. The next track, Coming Back is a short instrumental interlude which gives the listener time to meditate before the organ heralds the return of the demented vocalist, begging for a "little time" on To Find Me Gone. Money Shot comes up next, and he proclaims "he stays out late, cause he wants to" in a voice so deranged one would be crazy to argue he shouldn't stay out late, for fear of a gleaming shiv meeting yer soft innards.
    It's around this point one wonders if the band isn't a little off, if they aren't simply aping the prosimian stomp of the Stooges but actually living that raw power life, all guitars and drugs, and drugs and drugs. Anyway, whatever they do in their spare time ain't anybody's business but their own, so back to the music. Next up, track seven by my count, is Checking the Bullshitter's Queen, a longer, heavier instrumental piece than the one's you're used to finding on this album. And one instrumental leads to another, this one another short interlude, titled Going Out, which sets you up for the longest track Resurrection Men. Clocking in just over nine minutes long, it's got it all; layered vocals, tortured wails, organ, geetar, and a warning about them "looking in through the window...". Don't say they didn't warn you. The album ends like it began, with a softer instrumental piece titled Uncle Scary's Left Hand. And that's it. A great album. Reminds me a bit of the aforementioned Stooges, Hawkwind, and the heavy weirdness that was QOTSA’s Rated R. This is grade A grime. Get some. April 1st on Devouter Records.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Zac's "Double Dose": Bevar Sea / The Wans

 

Bevar Sea: Bevar Sea

Bangalore, India based quintet Bevar Sea take a no bullshit approach to their classic 70's era inspired stoner-doom-blues. The sound oozes riffs that can only be the genius of a Sabbath love child. There literally is something here for every Heavy Planet reader... you want fuzz? Bevar Sea got some fuzzy riffs. You want soaring and melodic solos? Bevar Sea produce them in abundance. You want songs, no matter the run-time, that just need replayed? Bevar Sea's classic rock foundation keep things catchy (even with each track running over the seven minute mark). The throaty and abrasive vocals accentuate and compliment that 70's doom vibe of the record and add to the overall organic nature of this self-titled effort. There's no auto-tune here folks. Upon first rotation listeners will notice Bevar Sea's influences are blatantly worn on their sleeve. Standing in the shadows, behind Ganesh and company, are Sabbath and Dio... hands on the boys shoulders with a sly grin and nod of approval. The second track Abishtu truly stands out and has become my favorite song. The track has a quiet plucked intro that could have very well found itself on a Pelican record and abruptly slams into a heavily distorted Iommi chord and note structure. Then comes the completely righteous solo, how can this song not be a crowd pleaser? Check it out below with the excellent guitar play-through video... ohh, and if for some reason this doesn't sale you on Bevar Sea, then that fact they have patches should win you over. C'mon you know that old battle vest of yours could use a little updatin'! Get some at bandcamp... LIKE NOW!

 

Members: 
Avinash Ramchander - Bass 
Deepak Raghu - Drums // Designs 
Ganesh Krishnaswamy - Vocals // Lyrics 
Rahul Chacko - Guitars // Art 
Srikanth Panaman - Guitars // Songs


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The Wans: The Wans EP 

It's not easy deciding to write an opinion on a band who immediately became a Heavy Planet darling. I had my work cut out for me knowing I write along side some exceptionally talented wordsmiths, whom were all ready to jump on this promo for The Wans. So without further ado lets get to the band, a Nashville, Tennessee based trio of rockers, and their music, which is heavily focused on radiating the very soul of rock 'n roll across the decades and pin-pointing it to this very moment. The Wans boast a wide range of influences that come together in all its grunge-hybrid glory on this six song, self titled EP. Most notably is the familiar 90's grunge sound, although The Wans take the normally somber and serious lyrical passages and make them "feel good". I guess what I mean is when listening to early 90's rock of the grunge variety there is a serious and emotional tone throughout the music. What The Wans have done is used that familar instrumental appeal and added "feel good" lyrics... mostly about partying, which is what we all need. They have also added plenty of chances for new listeners to shout along with "Hey!'s", "Oh, oh, ohh!'s", and "Yeah!'s" through this record. And while we're singing along lets direct our attention to the vocals here. I'm not exactly sure who's leading this poetic parade but damn does he have some potency behind those pipes. When the notes get high I'm getting a serious Rival Sons / Jay Buchanan impression, which in turn calls back to early heavy blues rock front-men of the 70's and 80's. That being said the instruments are no slouch either. Each instrument seems to have a gravitation pull on one another making for a smooth band chemistry. The guitars have a tinge of that southern tone and have just enough feedback to allow me to call it stoner rock. The EP is just a teaser of what The Wans are capable of, running off at mere twenty six minutes. Right smack dab in the middle is where I found a diamond, and its name is Want You. A subtle intro compliments the bass heavy blues gallop that carries The Wans through this four and a half minute master-piece of groovy lyrics and guitar wwwrrulll. Check it out below and stay peeled for a full length, I sure as hell will be.


Members: 
Mark Petaccia - Vocals // Drums 
Noah Denney - Vocals // Bass 
Simon Kerr - Vocals // Guitar


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

LP Review "Alunah - White Hoarhound"



The sprawling and pollution stained concrete of Birmingham city, which lies in the appropriately named area of the UK known as the Black Country, can be considered the great womb of heavy metal and its splintering genres, having spawned such ground breaking and brain quaking bands as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Witchfinder General, Napalm Death and, a personal favorite of mine, Godflesh. But those are just some of the more well known bands from Brum (as it's affectionately known here), and with this latest release from Alunah, Brum has yet again spawned a band who have a direct link to the heavy current that flows through the dark land of the Black Country.

This past few years has seen a flurry of female fronted doom and stoner bands, none of which I'll mention here as you will probably know at least a couple of the more well known and successful ones. The lead singer of Alunah however, gives those particular bands a real run for their money. Her voice is simply exquisite and is a nigh on perfect accompaniment for the sound that Alunah make.

White Hoarhound is Alunah's second full length release, with 6 tunes of crunchy fuzzed out, down tuned and shroomy pagan inspired Doom Metal (and one acoustic dark folk jam) released on vinyl by Napalm Records.

From the opener, Demeter's Grief, Alunah come with spaced out psychedelia preceding mighty doom riffs of low-end fuzz conjured from the earth as if tapping a vein of ancient bardic energy that has lain dormant for time immeasurable. I can almost taste the soil and the stone when the thick fuzz hits me. When I close my eyes I see hoards of robed up wizards carrying oaken staffs, a sacrament of psilocybin brews consumed and chanting huge bass tones at a towering monolith, drawing mother Gaia's nurturing flow of life giving energy to ensure a bountiful crop and a strong and healthy tribe. This is doom but it is natural earthy doom and it's very laid back in its delivery.

Track 2 is White Hoarhound and Alunah do not mess about here. They slam you immediately with chunky stoner grooves, the solid fuzz tickling the core of your brain and guitar licks of stupendous mind expanding proportions. The singers lyrics are delivered with sumptuous earthy vibes that put the listener in a trance; telling a story that could well have been penned by some vastly ancient scribe. It is spiritual stuff indeed; an ode to the old ways of pre-Roman Britain, ways that never really went away because they are recorded in the ground and in the rocks and in the forests.

Belial's Fjord, the third track, reinforces the pagan vibe that Alunah create with this album. We are treated to yet more low-end fuzziness and stomping drums and riffs of doom with vocals that drift through unexplored mountains and valleys filled with long stretches of deep dark water. What lies beneath nobody knows, but this must be the sound the  ancients used to move their huge stones vast numbers of miles.

Next is The Offering where Alunah offer up a slow dirge of fuzz and other worldly chanting followed by spine wrenching stoner rock riffage and a hymn to the pagan gods. It traverses huge expanses of sacred land and echoes around the temple of Gaia. It is indeed an offering and one that Alunah make in earnest showing where their heavy hearts truly lie.

The Chester Summer is track 5 which opens with sounds of an ominous wind blowing until a bass tuned to doom and stepping drums herald a plunging of thick warm fuzz and Sabbathian riffs cover you from head to toe entombing you in a cocoon of doom metal and words of praise to the solstice day of summer. The pagan tribes gather around a circle of stones to honor and pay tribute to the rising sun where they celebrate the longest day of light and the shortest dark of night.

Oak Ritual I breaks the flow of shroomy doomy fuzz with a psychedelic acoustic jam sounding like a pagan lullaby to an ancient forest of oaks. The robed up wizards gather again, walking in line towards the father of all oak trees that lies within the center, the vocalist singing a soft ethereal chant to awaken the forest spirits. Hypnotic acoustic guitar riffs sound a homage to the oak trees with an organ adding to the invocating vibrations. The ritual has begun.

Oak Ritual II follows where the riffs fall thick and heavy with stoner doom grooves that penetrate the earth, waking the ancient ones; the echoed airy voice of the mother goddess drifts around the darkness of the oak forest and over the empty fields forging an electric connection to the essence of soil, stone and wood. The track evolves into psychedelic drifts of sound until it builds to celebratory uplifting guitar licks and thudding totemic drums. The energy from the earth is now invoked and passes through those that are gathered for the supreme ritual of the oak.
But there is something hidden that comes after the ritual is complete so listen out for it.

Alunah are fast shaping up to be one the UK's best paganistic Doom-Metal bands and if laid back earthy fuzzed out grooves are what lifts your spirit to unexplored dimensions then this is an essential addition to your collection.

White Hoarhound is now available in green or white vinyl from Napalm Records or as a digital download from their bandcamp.

  

New Band To Burn One To: SPACEGOAT

HEAVY PLANET presents... SPACEGOAT!


BAND BIO:

Formed in Monterrey, Mexico by siblings Miguel & Gina Ríos. Spacegoat play a blend of classic rock with influences spanning from early Sabbath to Janis Joplin. 

Current line up:-

Gina Ríos - Vocals & Guitar
Miguel Ríos - Lead Guitar
Rey Fraga - Drums
Rigo Vigil - Bass

THOUGHTS:

"Brimming with sweet yet ballsy vocals, Spacegoat from Monterrey, Mexico soars into the galaxy with a galloping groove and unbridled classic rock fury. Led by siblings Gina and Miguel Rios, the band slays it on their latest self-titled EP with five catchy and rollicking tunes full of great harmonies, sizzling solos and mid-tempo rhythms. I must say that I am really loving this girls' voice. It has a subtle rasp and full sound, sometimes bluesy and always passionate. This is music that just feels damn good. Download for "name your price" on their Bandcamp page now."

((facebook|bandcamp))

Monday, February 18, 2013

LP Review: Eclectic Tail by The Curse of Wendigo




I’m no expert on the Wendigo myth, but I’ve seen the movie Ravenous, so I think I get the gist of it. It goes something like this- in times of starvation, people will sometimes be forced to devour other people. These drastic measures change the individual who does the eating; they become a monster with an insatiable love for the taste of human flesh. It might be the Hollywood version, but that’s the deck I’m drawing from as I write this review.

The band The Curse of Wendigo are a self-proclaimed psychedelic/doom band from Ukraine. They've just released their debut, Eclectic Tail on the label Destroy the Humanity Studios and it is killer. They crank out traditional doom riffs, with drone interludes and some mystic trance portions. You can bet that fans of all genres of metal will find something to sink their teeth into on this debut.

The first track is a brief intro that offers up some dusty harmonica sounds straight outta a Morricone Western.  Fittingly, this track is titled Clint Eastwood Comes to Town and it sets an eerie tone to what will prove to be an eerie album. The next track, Eclectic Tail, continues the mood set in the previous song, but the listener is now greeted by the tortured vocals of a singer that sounds like he was being eaten alive. Metal.  But this last for only two minutes before the mood shifts to a hypnotic, tantric drone. Then, seven minutes and twenty seven seconds into it the torturing begins again. Seamless.  Awesome.  Gloomy Friend continues the light heavy trend, but reverses it, going from light to heavy then back again. Endless Hunger boasts the most aggressive vocal, conjuring the Wendigo in full on feast mode, raging and stomping between solos and riffage. The Prodigal Son swaggers and boasts the album’s most melodic vocals. And the album closes with Fallen Treasures, the most ambient and droney of the tracks. Fans of post-metal and harmonica will be pleased.

I’ll go out on a limb and call this one a concept record, about the Wendigo and desire and violence and sinister urges and redemption(?). But  I won’t say this for sure, ‘cause the vocals are effect heavy and you can’t make ‘em out too well. But this doesn’t matter. When you listen to this album you feel what the band is saying, and that’s what our music is all about, ain’t it? So put your headphones on, do what you do, and enjoy the curse.




New Band To Burn One To: DUSKBURN

HEAVY PLANET presents... DUSKBURN!


BAND BIO:

"Sometime in 2006. four guys met in a bar, got plastered in hard liquor and then wondered how would death metal sound if you lowered the strings to the lowest tuning possible.

After noticing that fast riffs don't go well together with subterranean tunings and opiate influence, we shifted our attention towards the state at which we perceive the noise that comes out of amplified speakers, and what it does to our three parts of the psychic apparatus.

Thus the idea was born; to play instruments in a pitch black room, at peak volumes under heavy intoxication."


THOUGHTS:

"The latest EP from Croation doom/sludge miscreants Duskburn is a full-on aural lambaste to the umpteenth level. With down-tuned haunting melodies, bellowing death growl vocals and a psychedelic mind warp, these four dudes harvest their irritations and aggressions and rip through your corroding skull with sheer force and vigor. Heavy, dark and dense. Download this EP for FREE now on the band's Bandcamp page!"

((facebook|bandcamp|reverbnation))

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Sludge: PUS


This is the absolute worst fucking time of year. Wake up and pull back the curtain. You'll get smacked square in the temple with bleak skies, icy roads, and the understanding that you'll spend the next six weeks rising from bed to six-degree temperatures and coated car windows. Shit, even football season seems like a high school memory. Plug through February and you'll find March to offer little solace, as every drunk asshole drinking green beer tries putting his tongue in your girl's mouth. I'm gonna throw up just thinking about what's promised by these next few weeks.

I had to dig back to 2012 to find the perfect complement to my emotional shittiness this Sunday. I went looking for trouble, and I found PUS. These assholes from South Wales blended a perfect lo-fidelity mutation that goes down smoother than a bowl o' snot and hotter than the world's cheapest whiskey. Produced by and featuring members of Sunday Sludge darlings Spider Kitten, PUS spew this six-track debut EP and refuse to clean up a goddamn thing. The band's grim thickness is unsurpassed, while the absence of overproduction gives the disc's underbelly a creepy credibility.

Perhaps you should've stayed outta your stepmom's dresser. These six horse pill horror-fests move in every direction and buzz-up the back of your brain quicker than a blast of airplane glue. The riffage of opener Colossus erodes skin and bone, morphing into splintered licks that parade behind a muddy mask of evil. Pressing through a wet wasteland, fears are only slightly eased as the band seeps toward the doom-heavy intro of The Black Swordsman. Track 2 sways and slays beneath a distant-torture "vokill," buzzing like mutant fly-children. The not-so-easy rolling sludge horror owes a debt to AL's super-heavy low-end, which is as dense as it gets. I feel better already.

I love a shrill feedback intro, provided it's short-lived and leads to a contrasting, low-burning attack of mental anguish. PUS repeatedly administer just enough ear-screech to barely induce my cringes. The steaming cracks of Image of the Dredd Law steadily rise toward hollow echoes, remaining cavernous and true to form. A failure to contain oneself is hardly a character flaw, and the misery herein is mutually-assured. Holding some of the album's slowest sludge moments is a high compliment, and this shit has quickly become too thick to escape.

And who says a Welsh sludge act can't make you laugh? You'd need a lyrics sheet to fully grasp Your Mother's Arsehole, but it likely got burned up in your buddy's basement. Crawling and clawing through thorns is barely half the story, as this steamer pulls off the wheels to escape fragmented guitar. The shrapnel pelts your skin anyway, and you can't help but laugh as you spend the next few days picking at scabs. And hey, don't lose sight of what's happening around you. A Cross For All To Bear is a quick-fisted bully with a nose for paranoia. Doom unfolds amid hair-split guitar, but the sound is far too huge to contain. PUS say fuck it, slow down, and sneer at your gaping mudhole. Oh, are those pain meds kicking in? Good luck swatting at nothing.

You won't know what to make of the reverb-soaked closer. PUS is a heavily-distorted cloud of slow black smoke that trembles and warbles at a distance you feel is safe. Fucking forget it. Rob and John gnash at one another as rhythms comfortably observe from the love seat. That ominous howl that creeps about is simply taking steps toward defining the band, but there's really no clear categorization. Army-crawling toward a false shelter, the crusty crunch grows frightening and incredibly executed. A winter hymnal closes out the EP to establish a complete juxtaposition of everything that just bloodied your broken body.

It's difficult to hear this in your living room, your car, or your neighbor's garage. Here exists an expansive shroud of gloom that is normally reserved for news stories about the third world. Your walls are too thin to contain this sonic dread, but they also can't protect you from the churning evil PUS have promised. Call it a mindfuck, but your time is better served seeking forgiveness than truth. This sludgy trip won't end well, and that's your only certainty. Don't let the weather get you down. PUS do a pretty good job all on their own.



Saturday, February 16, 2013

Nuclear Dog's Atomic Split: Thaddeus Anna Greene - "Directory of Thieves" / Hot Lunch - "Hot Lunch"

One of the most oft used lines in recent culture has been that of The Grateful Dead's "what a long strange trip it's been". This could well be used to describe the musical path that young Mr. Greene traveled to arrive at the excellent, hard rocking, and intelligent debut album "Directory of Thieves". His story is intriguing and fun, his music is raucous, raunchy, and full of retro rockin' grooves. Hot Lunch, as a band, are new, but the members bring loads of experience that matches their musical prowess, allowing them the opportunity to create some granite blasting, face melting, one of a kind brand of music. The trip for them may or may not have been strange, but it surely has been long, which bodes well for those of us who get to hear their incredible music. Today, the Atomic Split steps into an alternate universe where the music draws on much of the past to create something special for the present, with hope that more is in store for us in the not too distant future.
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THADDEUS ANNA GREENE - "DIRECTORY OF THIEVES"

The first thing you think of when listening to "Directory of Thieves" is Jimi Hendrix, and there is certainly a strong element of Jimi's style on this album. It's refreshing to hear something new that could've been his, but more importantly the music is simply good, intriguing, and loads of fun, something that would be evident to a generation of rockers who may have never been introduced to the Hendrix catalogs.

Thaddeus Anna Greene are a three piece band comprised of:

Thaddeus Anna Greene - guitar, vocals
Matt Augusta  - bass
Anthoni Foti - drums

While Thaddeus Anna Greene is the progenitor of the band's songs he is more than ably accompanied by bandmates Matt and Anthoni, who contribute greatly to the finished products on the album. Both demonstrate dexterity and vision of their own in blending the rhythm to Greene's masterful guitar work. Long before forming this incredible trio, though, Thaddeus had begun to teach himself the guitar at the age of 14, spending untold hours in his room figuring out the intricacies of chords, keys, riffs, and solos by emulating his favorite rock magicians Jimi Hendrix, Jack White, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Black Keys. The strange part of the journey is prior to this point, beginning with his introduction to music through his father's indie record label where the music was solely gangster rap. His early musical penchants were for Michael Jackson and Bone Thugs N Harmony. From there he fell in love with . . . Fall Out Boy. Yes. You read that correctly. Keep in mind we're talking about a young man who had yet to reach 14 years of age and had very little access to rock n' roll of any sort. Glam metal of the 80s became another big influence, and between the 2 styles of music a young Thaddeus Greene picked up the guitar wanting to emulate the sounds he loved. From the rococco of 80s glam metal he eventually came full circle to the songs of Jimi and the blues of Muddy Waters, among other blues rock influences. This is where the strange trip began to turn to one of genius and delivery. Not only did he teach himself how to play the guitar, and not only did he learn to emulate all of his favorite guitar wizards, he found within himself an ability to create a new kind of magic, something all his own, something unique, and most importantly, something important because it was GOOD.

Thaddeus has developed a style of music that is both recognizable as music similar to thousands of songs we've loved through the years, and equally discernible as something we've never quite heard, which makes for excitement when listening to the songs of "Directory of Thieves"

The first full length song on the album, "Driving Dr. Gonzo", is a definite nod to Jimi Hendrix, sounding like something Thaddeus might have found to play as a cover, but instead it both shows his own song writing ability and pays homage to a rock artist legend. On this song we are introduced to 2 incredible things about Thaddeus Anna Greene's music; the first, of course, being his guitar, full of power and effortless grace; the second being his incredible voice, deep, rich, and vibrant, soulful and sugary sweet.

The next three songs are heavy blues rock pieces, laden with fuzzy guitar, rife with beautiful vocal delivery that doesn't conform to typical blues lyrical repetition, but instead plays out like standard rock tunes, moving seamlessly and enjoyably through the songs in a mesmerizing odyssey.

"Let Me Be" has Thaddeus stretching his writing chops and coming through beautifully. For me it has a nice original sound to it, incorporating what he knows with a vision of how to play it out in a style all his own. The guitar is haunting and deliberate with an incredible extracted solo of sheer beauty and grace.

"Midnight Snow" is the bittersweet loss of affection and the unrequited love of the one you just knew was the one, all magnified through the prism of blues rock guitar, where heartfelt hurt comes in the form of razor sharp solos and incredible riffs of soul scarred clarity.

The penultimate tune, "No More", is a powerful play of deliberate, forceful pace, relaying a haunting tale of woe and pain and pent up anguish. This song demonstrates a maturity of song writing ability, refraining from simply throwing guitars tricks and laser beams at the song, but instead laying down a preciseness that accurately reflects the discomfort felt by the teller of the tale.

The closer adds a bit of a country / americana twist before ending with a sample that seemingly describes a nuclear blast, but perhaps, instead, gives fair warning to anyone who cares to listen that the radiation initially felt is only a precursor of what's to come. We can only hope this is indeed the case.

"Directory of Thieves" is available as a download from bandcamp, Amazon, as well as iTunes.





Thaddeus Greene: Live From Bad Racket from Bad Racket on Vimeo.

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HOT LUNCH - "HOT LUNCH"

In San Francisco Parchman Farm was well known and well liked, but not destined to stay together. Eric Shea, the lead singer for the ill fated band, knew he wanted to continue to create and play punk n' roll music, so called on some of his favorite musicians from other area bands to form Hot Lunch. He was fortunate in obtaining the services of Aaron Nudelman on guitar, Rob Alper on drums, and Charlie Karr on bass. For those of us unfamiliar with the San Francisco skate and music scene perhaps this incorporation doesn't mean much beyond the obvious sound they were able to create and display on this debut LP, but for Shea and Nudelman it was, to use one of the worst cliches ever, a dreamteam of raunchy, raucous, raw, and ridiculous punk acid rock n rollers the like the world has never heard and will likely never hear again beyond whatever Hot Lunch conjures beyond this initial release.

Hot Lunch are incredibly unique, fitting no mold, no genre, although they do have a similitude for some of the bands reviewed in past posts on Heavy Planet such as Lecherouse Gaze and The Shrine. I would even say there is some similarity to Admiral Sir Cloudesly Shovell. Similarity means only sharing some aspects. Hot Lunch are an incredible blast of hot dragon breath melting your face on every riff and frying your bones with gatlin blasts of molten solos. The particular heat, intensity, and smell of what they produce isn't replicated anywhere else, nor should it be. If you think you can take it, and I'm sure you can, stout hearted purveyor of Heavy Planet, dig into some Hot Lunch, morning, noon, and most especially night.

Right away on "Handy Denny" you are treated to the raucousness of Nudelman's guitar, it's overwhelming power and drive, and the multitude of layers laid down throughout the song. Nudelman is a virtuoso of cutting loose and playing dirty with purpose. Shea's lyrics only enhance it immensely. It's a controlled screech, a wail of the bastard son of a wendigo raped by a banshee on tour with a 17th century traveling Irish circus. All the rock bands that use the guttural growl for vocals could improve greatly on their music by switching to something with this kind of sheer and exquisite effluence.

Throughout the album you can see why Shea and Nudelman heavily recruited Alper for the drumwork. Delicate opening interludes or all out assaults are handled with equal dexterity and exultation. This is rhythm work that doesn't sit in the background, but rides up front with the main drivers, exhorting directions in which the troupe should take.

And lest you think the bass sits under the stairs as so many do, it's not happening here. Never to be outdone by the flashy frontman and his axe wielding accomplice, Karr plays the bass dexterously and energetically, piling up heavy, dripping, sludge that coats everything in a perfect glaze of  rock and roll gravy. Perhaps the best example of his dexterity and grace is displayed on "Tragedy Prevention".

There are ten tracks on "Hot Lunch". Pick one if you want. You can't find one that will bore you, or that you will ever think to listen to just once. Taken together they are a tremendous ride on top of Panzer Division tanks blasting through urban streets of old concrete and corroded steel, filling the countryside with a sound that trumpets the coming of awareness and excellence in foreign yet exciting cadence and timbre.

"Ripped at the Seam" is a perfect example of how a band can conjure pure excellence using sounds and tempo fitted to match perfectly to all contributors. It's a hot furnace blast of pure exhilarating energy.

Just when you're in a groove of heavy punk n' roll, Hot Lunch throw a curve with a Medieval Fair offering in "Lady of the Lake" that still manages to out raunch the most lilting of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer style music, making it incredibly intriguing and totally gorgeous in its audacity and impeccable delivery.

My favorite song on the album is the one that takes you on an eight minute journey through the best of the exquisite sounds Hot Lunch fry up and slather with punk n' roll grease on a hot summer day. Starting out like some perverted Gregorian chant it slides right into the main groove that somehow plays on a deep tribal rhythm coursing through your core, energizing that part of your inner soul over and again, continually adding layers of spectacular guitar, moving the tempo in and out, rolling a flurry of drumwork, bomb blasting the bass, slowing down for the monks to echo a chant before revving the engines again for flight on Nudelman's guitars and dispatching enemy intruders with Shea's glass shattering vocals. It's just a beautiful ride of a song that is as enjoyable to experience as a song can possibly be.

Hot Lunch has an official release date of March 12 at which time it can be downloaded from iTunes, where you will get 2 bonus tracks, from bandcamp, and from Amazon, where you can either download it, get the CD, or order the vinyl.

The Atomic Split today provided some pretty groovy music, special songs, and incredible performances. I suspect one or both of these albums will show up again in 11 months when this 2013 journey has come to a close. We'll see. There's a long way to go and lots of great music to discover. Today we discovered some of it, to say the least





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