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April 21, 2014
TOKERidiculous riffing, slow and nasty doom grooves from Wilmington, NC.
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April 17, 2014
ORYXDunes of droning hypnotic sludge from the deserts of Las Cruces, NM.
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April 14, 2014
MAMMOTH STORMPlodding, tar-lathered metal-fed groove doom from Sweden.
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April 8, 2014
LADY FLINT Explosive stoner blues rock duo from Marselle, France.
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April 7, 2014
KING DEAD Doomy psyche-tinged spaghetti western sludge from PA.
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April 2, 2014
GROGGYBlues-obsessed fuzzy garage rock duo from Omsk, Russia.
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March 31, 2014
THE SILENT LOWMelodic, hard-hitting, attitude-driven stoner rock from Denmark.
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March 25, 2014
GRAILPsychedelic punk with a southern demonic desert groove out of Texas.
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March 24, 2014
LORD OF GIANTSincere, lumbering, 70's influenced heavy rock from Germany.
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March 19, 2014
WOVOKA Intense yet melodic, brutal gut-twisting post-metal sludge from LA.
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March 16, 2014
HEAVY VOODOO
Torpedo riffs, hazy grooves and cosmic stoner sleaze from Portland.
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March 13, 2014
SPIRITUAL VOID
Toxic, heavy southern groove metal attitude from Brazil.
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March 11, 2014
SOUTHERN STATE
Somber, shoegazing post-metal sludge from Columbus, Ohio.
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March 10, 2014
HYPERGIANT
Cosmic, gravity-defying stoner fuzziness from Sydney, Australia
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March 6, 2014
KHEMMIS
Fuzz-filled, snail-paced riff-praising doom from Denver, CO.
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March 5, 2014
BITCHCRAFT
Polish doom band with female vocals is a fuzz worshippers dream
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March 4, 2014
DRUG MOTHER
Sleazy, fat and dirty stoner metal riffs from down under.
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March 2, 2014
SPIRAL GURU
Newly formed 70's inspired stoner doom band from Brazil.
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Feb. 27, 2014
TIMESTONE
Expansive psychedelics and dusty grooves from Austria.
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Feb. 25, 2014
RHINO
Fuzzed-out heavy desert grooves from Catania, Italy.
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Feb. 24, 2014
SOLAIRE
Get stuck in some sludgey stoner groove from South Carolina. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 20, 2014
HADDOCK
Heavy lightning in a bottle stoner boogie groove from Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 19, 2014
VALFADER
Stirring progressive ambient doom from Bath, UK
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Feb. 17, 2014
BRUNT
Intense instrumental sludgefuzz from these Guernsey blokes. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 15, 2014
MATUSHKA
Swirling hypnotic heavy psychedelic rock from St. Petersburg, Russia. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 10, 2014
MOPE
Sultry and somber jazz-laden ambient doom from Genoa, Italy.
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Feb. 8, 2014
LANDSKAP
Late 60's early 70's influenced heavy psychedelic rock from London.
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Feb. 5, 2014
TOMBSEALER
Death/Doom/Thrash from the mean streets of Adelaide, Australia.
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Feb. 4, 2014
SLUG SALT LAVA
Doomy apocalyptic instrumental Sludge from Istanbul, Turkey.
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Feb. 2, 2014
MIST
Spell-binding all-female occult doom from Ljubljana,Slovenia.
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Feb. 1, 2014
GRIT
Heavy heartfelt psychedelic jams from Heidelberg, Germany.
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Jan. 30, 2014
9OZ OF NOTHING
Riff Heavy Stoner Doom with Southern grit from Athens, Greece
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Jan. 27, 2014
BRILLIANT MACHINE
Chest collapsing progressive heaviness from Ventura, CA
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Jan. 25, 2014
OUTWAILED
Genre-defying atmospheric mood music from Tampere, Finland. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 23, 2014
YURI GAGARIN
Freaked-out psychedelic space rock from Gothenburg, Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 22, 2014
BLACK SNAKE
Swamp-infested grooves and fuzzy desert riffs from Portland,Oregon.
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Jan. 21, 2014
BORDEL INFERNO Gritty heavy rock, solid riffs from Rio de Janiero.
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Jan. 20, 2014
OVERLORD Melodic groove-oriented Heavy Rock from Oxford.
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Jan. 19, 2014
A DAY AS WOLVES Garage-rock inspired bluesy fuzz and roll from Alberta, Canada. Eh! facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 18,2014
NAKED BROWN Hard-hitting Polish heavy rock in the vein of Clutch and Motorhead.
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Jan. 17, 2014
OMEGA SUN
Smoke obsessed Stoner Doom from Slovenia. Free demo.
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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Belzebong - "Dungeon Vultures"


Ah, look who's back! You're lookin' good, man. You found a little color in your face, bought some new shoes, picked up part-time work at the car lot down the street. What's it been, a year or more? What brings ya back? Well, we've got it all: Isolator, Kashmir Cream, Amnesia Haze, Super Palm, Phazer, Parvati, Double Bubblegum, Platinum Kush, OG Kush, Purple Kush, Purple Urkle, Purple Haze, Purple Blueberry, Purple Star, Full Moon, Mongout, Dro, Sonoma Coma, Strawberry Cough. We ain't got no brick shit here, goon! But wait... Hit this!

We last heard from Poland's Belzebong when Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves popped up in Seth's Top 11 of '11, an accolade as promising as it was wholly deserving. The weed metal titans are returning (On 4/20, to no surprise) with Dungeon Vultures, a one-track EP with heavy doses of riffs and drags that slowly and steadily takes the band to new heights. Sure, there's the fuzzy haze that creeps at every corner and dries your gums, but the patient and deliberate slow-motion nightmare is just another step in Belzebong's continually evolving catalog of expanded realities and hidden layers.

Given the right circumstances, fourteen minutes can easily grow much longer. The song is a changeling of sorts, but Belzebong maintain their unmistakable constants. The heady Nice Dreams sample would fit anywhere, while the crushing riffs have become a staple for the band. Grinding at a muddy snail's pace, Belzebong's sludge resin never dries out and still gets you just as lifted. Fuck the purists, you can't afford to waste a single hit.

Loaded with primitive howls and sirens reaching from afar, it'd be easy to let paranoia trip your buzz and kill your session. Trust me, you can't see shit through these gargantuan walls of reverb. The approaching storm is effectively a smoke signal with an enticing apocalyptic glaze. Within these clouds are tiers that emerge, peel away, and hit repeat to perfectly weave a smoky mesh distraction from your father's empty military school threats. Bass hits thick tar while sky-rocket guitar licks splinter and catch an atmospheric fire. The drumwork may be the most sobering element to this EP, but that's not saying much; the brawny underlayment reveals itself to be incredibly potent when the rhythms mellow.

It's clear Belzebong have pared down the minutes to expand not only their consciousness, but also their chops. A fourteen-minute release had better deliver, and Dungeon Vultures leaves out the stems and seeds for an engaging haunt. The true midnight tokers here plug more at rebirth than rediscovery, carrying forward only what's absolutely necessary: the sludge riff. Beyond that, Belzebong plant themselves as unrivaled in the unraveled. Ravaged and triumphant for all its brevity, this EP is a perfect demotivator.

Limited vinyl available here, 42 of which come with a surprise.




Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nuclear Dog's Atomic Split: The Superguns - "The Superguns" / Totimoshi - "Mysterioso"

Diversity is the name of the game today, tokers and smokers. We start off with standard straight up hairy ass rock and roll. Fun and furious. Loud and raucous. The best kind of rock, not just because it rocks your nuts off, but because it wasn't made just for the sake of it. It was made by design, and the design is retro rock genius, the kind of rock you picture powering up out of primordial rock soup in a 4 wheel drive hemi and plugging into the first stack of amps available. We don't slip away from genius on the second album, but we do veer away to a whole new rock design spectrum, one that isn't so straight up perhaps, one that isn't perfectly derivative, one that may have ancestors who crawled out of the primordial stew, but whose most recent relatives are scattered about punk, new wave, stoner, and grunge nursing homes. The loud and raucous remain, as do the fun and furious. The asses may not be quite as hairy, but there's hair in there somewhere, and lots of fuzz.

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THE SUPERGUNS - "THE SUPERGUNS"

As we did last week, this week we visit a band from Melbourne, Australia, The Superguns, who forged themselves and their sound, as so many bands that play this wonderful kind of music do, in the bars and venues scattered around their city and surrounding townships, as well as from numerous jam sessions in their studio, which happens to be a former bordello, perhaps lending its spirit to the genius of the song making of this 4 piece rock dynamo.

Band members:

Jackyboy Sullivan - Vocals
Aidan Barrett - Lead Guitar
Benny Langman - Bass
Rene Badalassi - Drums

The four ass kickers of The Superguns have been together for more than a couple of years, and are now releasing their first collection of original songs with 5 songs that fit smoothly and easily into the best rock and roll experiences - the guitars are big, loud, and soul searingly brutal - the bass is straight from dynamite blasting grounds - the drums perform the dual job of driving the music while entertaining with virtuoso fills and rolls -  and the vocals . . . if, instead of auditioning for vocalists for your band you had software that created vocals according to your specifications, Jackyboy's sound is likely what you would come up with for this type of hard driving, balls to the wall rock. All of this musicl ability is bound together by solid song writing that packs each with hooks aplenty, clever and contagious choruses that'll have your head spinning the songs long after the power to your music player has been removed. Archetypal images come to mind when listening to this music, images of big classic cars with 454 cu. in engines, sunglasses, hair, bikinis, liquor bottles, the Zig Zag man, huge car speakers, smoke, sweat, black concert tees, and huge smiles as the car roars down the road, the speakers blaring a valhala vanguard. This music is big and rambunctious, party music for the ages, so those images come easily, but what never gets lost within the gargantuan riffs is the melodic platform base upon which it all stems, because these songs are both bodacious and intriguing, instantly satisfying as well as timeless.

"Love Pump" opens the 5 track stand in that bodacious and conspicuous fashion already mentioned. Jackyboy and Badalassi (this has to be one of the coolest natural names in rock history), in vocals and drumwork, set the pace with energy and vigor that Barrett and Langman have no trouble matching. The song bleeds straight into "Big Foot" without hesitation, a slow down in tempo, but the same intensity in everything else. The chorus on this song, with the hook 'Big Foot's on the loose', will no doubt stay with you for awhile. The solo section of the song provides fun more than giving some sort of demonstration, which makes for a much more enjoyable experience, because while Barrett wails away on his strings, Langman is simultaneously blasting away with Badalassi, creating a huge and astonishing sound.

"Whiskey Fist" . . . man if there was ever a great party rock name for a song . . . carries the intensity along with a quick, up tempo, riff filled monstrosity that ends in a spiral of Panzer blitz ferocity. Mind blowing and mouth watering all at once.

"The Superguns Must Die" closes the EP with what is likely the best track. It's full of fun and fury, blistering riffs blasting away at Gatling gun speeds, chewing up and spitting out the huge rock sounds that are the hallmark and exultation of this awesome gang of four from Melbourne. The Superguns, ladies and gentlemen.





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TOTIMOSHI - "MYSTERIOSO"

I have been listening to this album all week, enjoying it immensely, knowing I wanted to review it today. I found this little jewel on bandcamp.com with a release date of August 2012. Well, it turns out it was released much longer ago, originally, but rereleased this past year. Zac reviewed their latest album, "Avenger", back in November of 2011, and later named it to his top 10 albums for 2011. Between "Avenger" and "Mysterioso" are 2 other albums, and one preceding it. They are not all in one place, however, not that I can find anyway. Doesn't matter. What matters at the moment is this album, regardless of history. I guess I'm doing a second day of  'In Case You Missed It' because apparently I missed it and didn't know better til now. It's worthy of a listen, do not doubt that, though, regardless of release date. It's fresh and new to those of us that missed it the first time through.

Band members include:

Tony Aguilar - Guitar
Meg Castellanos - Bass
Johann Zamora (at the time "Mysterioso" was recorded) - drums

What Totimoshi have produced on "Mysterioso" is an intriguing blend of varying styles that aren't mashed for mashing's sake. In the end, what matters on these songs is quite obvious, and that is the music, the quality of the song, and the level of passion and ability they bring to the execution of their music. This all is pretty amazing when you consider the sparsity of instruments. One guitar, one bass, one trap set and music that sounds as big as 5 three piece bands thrown together.

The starting point for the album is "Float", a very cool and simultaneously heavy number that blends a myriad of sounds throughout the length of the track, churning heavily away on all instruments, but coolly laying down the vocals. Stick with it from beginning to end, over and again, and you will find something new to chew on quite frequently.

The second song, "Screwed" just makes me shake my head. This is because it uses sounds that aren't normally used, perhaps experimenting a bit, or perhaps using something the band is familiar with, but something I'm not quite familiar with myself. The thing is, it works, and it works very well. It's an intriguing and pleasing song. I've heard music in the not so distant past, by quite talented musicians, that were 'experimental' and crap for it. So, I appreciate making the sound and the listener's experience the priority as opposed to being top dog artist, or whatever. Pushing the envelope is great, but not for the sake of pushing it, instead for the sake of discovering something newly fun. This may be an older album, but there still isn't much music out there pushing boundaries the way Totimoshi has here. "Screwed" is an absolute blast, containing interesting and fresh sounds while delivering a song that resonates primally.

"Cellophane" is chock full of sounds so big I don't think a whole roll of its namesake material would contain it for long. It's the type of song that starts at a certain level and slowly builds up toward something monumental. The thing is, the beginning point is huge. The guitars are heavy, distorted, fuzz laden beasts of burden, that gain momentum as they climb UP the mountain, reaching the acme and crashing back down in a blissful cacophony of bass bombs and a stoner/grunge avalanche.

"The Bleed" kicks off with gargantuan drums that never let up, basement busting bass, and crazy bandsaw guitar paired with low tuned stoner riffs. Sheer joy reigns throughout. "Dirt Farmer" is quite like minded delivering a full instrumental take on the sound, intensely piquing interest along the way.

"Oblivian" is the penultimate song, and starts out with a super cool riff evolution. Totimoshi are good at everything they do, but loud, heavy, booming, delicious, fierce, fun guitar is where they excel the most, and thankfully focus the most. The drums on "Mysterioso" tend to match that intensity as does the bass, instruments too often relegated to background noise, but never out of earshot here.

The closer is "Horselaugh" and in a similar fashion to the rest of the album the guitar here is big, bold, different, and engrossing, moving through variations that make the dog drool flow. A stripped down bridge where the vocals are the focal point brings something not heard so much on the previous tracks, adding to the incredible variety and entertainment this album provides.

This may be an older album, but it is quite worthy of listening to today, and any day from now til the universe goes dark.




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Friday, March 29, 2013

In Case You Missed It: Bloodnstuff - Self Titled


Let me just start off with an apology for being away these past few weeks. You see, as much as I’d like to believe that writing about stoner rock bands all day will somehow pay my bills, that just isn’t my reality…and a brotha’s gotta eat. Now I know you all missed me while I was gone, but rest assured it wasn’t half as much as I missed you buncha no good malcontents. So I’d like to make it up to you by sharing some good new shit that I’ve recently discovered. I want to clue you in on a duo whose self-titled debut album is generating quite the underground buzz. And when I say buzz, I don’t mean a bunch of douche-bag industry types are shitting themselves over whose gonna put out their next record. No, I’m talking about the kind of buzz that scores opening gigs with the likes of Alice in Chains and Fu Manchu. You interested in that kind of thing? Yeah, I thought you might be.

Now I know what you’re thinking, but before you go and toss Bloodnstuff in with the overcrowded heap of “two-piece” outfits who’ve incorrectly deemed the bass guitar insignificant, give me a chance to ease your concerns. You see, forming a two-man band wasn’t the original plan for guitarist/vocalist Ed Holmberg and drummer Dylan Gouert. To the contrary, down-sizing, for lack of a better term, was more of a reaction to their weariness and frustration at seeing band mates bail at the most inopportune times. In fact, Holmberg and Gouert have been mainstays in their native Minneapolis scene, having played together in one band or another, for the better part of ten years. So when the vocalist/bassist of their last band, Economy Team (quite the ironic name for what is now a twosome) failed to show up for a gig one night, Gouert convinced Holmberg that the two could go it alone. A name change later and some ingenious tinkering with the mechanics of Ed’s guitar…something about funky pickups, filters and a bass cabinet that allows him to play what amounts to guitar and bass simultaneously…and Bloodnstuff was born.

Upon listening to their eponymous debut album, it doesn’t take very long before you’ll realize that Gouert was on to something…these two really can pull it off all by themselves. The album opener “Give Me a Call” is a rousing anthem that’s as catchy as it is heavy and I’d wager you’ll be singing along to it by the end of your first listen. Or check out the band’s namesake track, “Bloodnstuff”, which opens with a prog-like guitar part, transitions into a bouncy pop number and then explodes when Holmberg plows into those bass pickups. You’ll know it when you hear it…trust me. “Fire Out At Sea” offers up another fine example of the versatility and dynamics at Holmberg’s disposal as the song swirls in and out of gentle timbres and crushing low end riffs that are all being created by the same instrument. By this point in the album, you’ll be a believer.

The rather pleasant intro to “The Cow People” is an obvious setup for something more sinister, so don’t be surprised when it transitions into an offbeat tune more akin to a carnival waltz. The song is at once dementedly quirky, not unlike something you might hear from Faith No More or Mr. Bungle, and then uncompromisingly heavy, as if Sabbath showed up for the jam. Speaking of the former, Holmberg’s vocals bear a striking resemblance to the commanding, operatic croon of Mike Patton. And those vocals take center stage on “It’s Fun to Be a Kid”, a powerful alt-rock ballad that’ll have you wallowing in nostalgia with these lyrics…”time blows over every inch of skin, slowly carving mountains, until we are dust again.”

But, Bloodnstuff save some of their best…err…stuff for the second half of the album, beginning with “One Day Roses”, which is both overwhelmingly heavy and powerfully melodic. Like previous songs, this one is propelled by Holmberg’s authoritative vocals, only here they’re met with equal force by an infectious, bouncing rhythm. It’s difficult to pick a favorite, but if you’re looking for a quick sample, I can assure you that this one won’t disappoint. “Build a Monster”, which is an entirely different beast, opens with a militaristic beat from Gouert that’s joined by an eerie combination of high end fretwork and low end strumming from Holmberg. The song eventually becomes so spastic and complex, it’s like listening to The Black Keys cover Between the Buried and Me.

Then, in stark contrast to the intricacy of that song, the band restrains themselves for the better part of “Diet Cola” which begins life as a mid-tempo dirge and then grows into a full-on, open ended jam session. Pay attention during the last thirty seconds when you can truly hear Holmberg’s “dual-band” instrument shift from guitar into bass mode. Similarly, “Oh You Petty Failures” opens subtly and then builds in intensity with some truly fleet fingered fretwork and percussion from Gouert that’s as propulsive as it is pummeling. The combination of adept musicianship and soaring vocals on this one (see video below) is definitively modern “prog-rock” and if you aren’t moved when Holmberg wails “there will be blood on our hands, see through the weak and simple minded,” then you’re in the wrong place.

Bloodnstuff’s finale is “Titans,” a song which is built around a pounding tribal beat from Gouert and a jangly rhythm from Holmberg. Vocals are delivered calmly and seem to ascend and hover just above the din of the music until the song collapses into a pile of feedback and discord, leaving you with nothing but your ringing ears and that dumb look on your face as you try to understand what you’ve just experienced. The answer is yes…those songs were played by only two dudes, and no…there were no loops, recordings or other such studio magic involved. That’s what a little innovation and perseverance sounds like my friends. I think you can see why Bloodnstuff’s debut is generating that buzz I mentioned earlier. So take my advice and check it out…you don't want to be the asshole that misses out on this one.





Thursday, March 28, 2013

LP Review - "The Fountain of Tantric Worship" by Black Moth Cult



I've not long woken up (it's after midday) and I sit down to write todays review and I'm still recovering after a heavy weekend away partying like I'm still 20 years old. I feel done-in, baked but satisfied; a couple more wrinkles added to my nearly 40 year old face and I'm trying to keep warm by a wood burner. It's snowing outside even though I can see blue skies. It's the fourth day it's snowed here and the mountains I see in the distance glow white under an early spring sun.

I really didn't know what I was going to review today but after flicking through a few demos and promos and not really getting excited about what I was hearing, I came across an album that suddenly got my blood pumping and had me blasting it out at full volume and rocking out to this finely crafted slice of stoner rock. I love a band that can do that. From the opening chords of the first track, your attention is grabbed by the balls and you are captivated by the sonic goodness that pours forth from your speakers. This band did that to me, and it has been a good while that something like that has happened so this band definitely deserve a review.

They are Black Moth Cult, a stoner band based in Toulon, France who recently released 10 tracks of highly accessible fuzzy and heavy desert style stoner-rock in the form of "The Fountain of Tantric Worship".
From the opening chunky bass riffs of the self titled track the stoner grooves are played with hearty passion showing that here is a band that take their music writing seriously, and boy are they good at it. They remind me at times of the now sadly long ago ended Astroqueen, with uplifting riffs that drift around huge vistas, sounding a celebration of Californian robot-rock and Swedish fuzz. This is driving music with the destination being outer space as each track launches us to soaring heights, leaving the earth behind in a blazing rocket of stoner-rock fire.

Stand out tracks for me are "From the Woods" with vocals that sound a bit like Stone Roses singer Ian Brown making the track almost stoner indie music and quite radio friendly. "Six Love Goddess" that shows Black Moth Cult's music writing skills in a blinding white light of riffs and drums in a many leveled track that takes us from QOTSA inspired sections to hugely uplifting stoner-rock dimensions. So many changing moments are crammed into the 4 minutes 26 seconds of that track that each section could be a track of its own. "Scum Sculpture" which is a hugely satisfying behemoth of classic fuzzed out stoner-rock in the vein of Astroqueen and Colour Haze. The riffs are delivered on this one in thick waves of crunchy tones that slay with the mighty hammer of low-end grooves. "Vintage Wines" being the last track and one of 2 tracks on the album that has Black Moth Cult going into mellow territory. This ender is a sumptuously jammed twinkly starred atmospheric story told under a clear night's sky and is a great way to end this great album.

It's a joy to listen to. Indeed the whole album is a joy to listen to. I am glad I have discovered Black Moth Cult today. I have found a new favorite band, one I will be keeping a keen eye on for future releases because with their level of song writing their next offerings are sure to be something awe inspiring, which this album already is.



 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Zac's "Double Dose": ALTARUS / Inter Arma


 

ALTARUS: As Above, So Below 

This week's Double Dose bands have a few things in common: A. They both have Latin themed names. B. Their compositions run approximately one hour in length. And finally, C. they are both loud enough to wake the sleeping dead. ALTARUS, our first shot, are a Canadian trio of metal'rs adepts in doom and what happens when its tampered with. Forming as a live band in late 2009 ALTARUS have seen many line-up changes. Since that definitive date the band has fossilized as the leviathan three-piece you hear today on debut As Above, So Below. ALTARUS channel a tectonic sized immensity through crushing doom RIFFS. The three-some don't simply stop at doom though, implementing a chuggin' sensation through their guitars and some artsy, Danny Carey, Tool-esque timing ALTARUS unleash a mountain of sound-waves sure to pulverize the measly flesh that surrounds your psyche. Need a wake up call? Spin Unleash Leviathan or check out ALTARUS's latest propaganda below, a video for Lazarus.  Don't bother making yourself comfortable though, because these monstrous waves, whether sonic or visual, are sure to leave you in spiritual turmoil.




Members: 
J.P. Contois - Drums 
Karol Orzechowski - Bass // Vocals 
Tyler Martin - Guitar // Vocals

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Inter Arma: Sky Burial 

Sometimes the inter-breeding of genres we so called writers use to describe the sounds of rock and metal can get a little out of control. There are bands out there mating styles so extremely diverse in the name of progress that they are losing their souls and the very soul of their creation, a.k.a. the music itself. Well, today is going to be one of those days that I, the poor excuse for a writer that I am, have to string together an endless amount of genres and descriptions to attempt to explain this not so typical archetype... except here our example have done something many musicians pursue and rarely accomplished. That example, Inter Arma have created a new sound from many old sounds, which brings the past forty to fifty years of heavy music full circle.  In the end this leaves me describing Inter Arma's sound as authentic heavy metal. So, enough of my rambling and ranting... let's get to what we came here for... the tunes!

Inter Arma is a Richmond, Virginia based five piece who with the precision, strength, and patience of an artisan stone mason have assembled together a bedrock of doom, psychedelia, and sludge with southern rock, acoustic, and black metal. As much of a mind-job and cluster that sounds as you read it Inter Arma, with a little courage and a strapping intelligence, have composed the mess fluidly and entitled it Sky Burial. Sky Burial is enormous and running over sixty minutes will definitely put a dent in your time today. So, you might as well pick up a case of your favorite brew (might I suggest the Sierra Nevada Porter). That's okay though, the alcohol will help you float along with Inter Arma's cloudy atmosphere. The progressive mentality of combining the likes of doom and sludge with black metal and finally acoustic are brought to your attention within the first fifteen minutes, which is really only two songs. Causing convulsions and an immediate back flip, I thought, "Did they just do that?" and with a psychotic grin answered myself, "Yes, yes they did!" in sheer reverence. My favorite track The Long Road Home is a lengthy psychedelic-acoustic piece that is constructed further with electric guitars lacing in and out of the brilliant percussion, all very 70's Pink Floyd feeling. The final two to three minutes become intense, where black metal characteristics dominate the sound. The drumming becomes blast beat-like taking the precedent position over the guitars and vocals, only this percussion is not like the blind chaos I tend to hear in blast beats. This is more like a functional and calculated freight train with some serious cargo. T.J. [Childers] drumming and percussion are phenomenal. Period. Throughout Sky Burial this particular instrument is the mortar that adheres the intriguing vocals, guitars, and bass together in a cohesive chemistry. Sky Burial is out now and can be streamed at bandcamp and ordered from Relapse Records.



Members: 
Joe Kerkes - Bass 
Mike Paparo - Vocals 
Steven Russell - Guitars 
T.J. Childers - Drums 
Trey Dalton - Guitars


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: GREEN SHADE

HEAVY PLANET presents...GREEN SHADE!



BAND BIO:

Green Shade is a Stoner Rock band from Croatia, Vinkovci. We are a new band formed in 2012. This recording is the first recording of our band and this is completely a DIY project (recordings, production, album art, etc.).

Vocal: Hrvoje Grca Mihaljević
Guitar: Marko Cindrić
Bass: Branimir Štivić
Drums: Branimir Blažević.

It's hard to tell a story about our band because our journey just begins here. We play in this band because we like to play good music, and like to listen good music.


THOUGHTS:

"In this day and age that we live in, social media is the way to go when trying to get your presence known to the masses. Well, try telling that to Croatian stoner rockers Green Shade. The band has started to pop-up recently among the many music blogs out there without much of an internet presence. Now Heavy Planet is one of them and it is easy to see why. The band's latest 4-song EP "Bright Interlude" is a rather exceptional piece of work. From the super-galactic wah-wah bassline of "Sunshine of Your Leaf" (nice play on words fellas) to the mellow Planet-Caravanish intro of epic EP closer "Green Shade...Bright Interlude" the music contained within these 4 songs is a homage to the riff-tastic psychedelic trip known as the seventies. The EP is rounded out by the enormous groove of "Yorgan Mountain" and "Majesty". The vibe and effort put forth by these is authentic and full of passion and is a fine example of what a DIY project should consist of. Forgive me for cutting this short, but I gotta listen to "Majesty" again, that riff is sick!"

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Monday, March 25, 2013

EP Review: The End by Mount Salem


     Mount Salem is a doom/occult outfit from The Windy City. They recently released their debut album. I've listened to said album and it is good. Here's a break down of the album, with my usual track by track descritpions.

     Good Times starts with a spoken word sample of Charles Manson rambling on about the push pull of modern life before he's trampled by a Golem of heavy doom. The song walks tall, an organ lurking in its shadow, and the attack is heralded by the vocal power of Emily Kopplin. Lucid  is Heart's Magic Man if Ann Wilson was singing her love song to the devil. Full Moon starts with mellow guitaring and conjures a coven gently swaying before a wicker man aflame. But three minutes in  the whole thing topples down and the intensity picks up, Cody Davidson's drums call forth the heavy riffs and the banshee vocals take it from there. Mescaline is an instrumental with shimmering guitars, yearning organ, and perfectly placed explosions of the heavy we all hold so dear.The album ends with The End a tune that starts with the organ up front before the keys are joined by gee-tar strings and the two dance madly while the drums and bass do what they can to keep 'em in line.

     By the end of this album you can tell the band really means it. Their album does not lack heart and blackened soul. There will be Blood Ceremony comparisons. But Mount Salem swapped the fluting of their Canadian peers for a a heavy doom sound befitting the city of big shoulders, hog butcher for the world. They're touring now. Show 'em some love live or online.


New Band To Burn One To: IRON & STONE

HEAVY PLANET presents...IRON & STONE!


BAND BIO:

Iron & Stone is Henning L. (Hold Regained, Max Rebo Kids, Under Siege) and Stephan M. (Raksasas, Max Rebo Kids, Under Siege, Code Of Honour).

 No gimmicks, no fancy bullshit, just some heavy fuckin' music.


THOUGHTS:

"As stated above, what you get from this dynamic duo from Germany is "no gimmicks, no fancy bullshit, just some heavy fuckin' music". I for one definitely concur. Brimming with an abundance of muddied riffs and a robust and combative vocal delivery, Iron & Stone leave a serious path of destruction in their wake. Slowed-down tempos, grinding fuzz and a glimmer of melody sweeten the deal as these 5 tracks are hammered into your brain. With song titles such as "Surge", "Blizzard" and the amazing EP stunner "Maelstrom" it is easy to see the impending doom the band is about dish out. 

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Lowbau - "A Darker Shade of Blues"


Nobody takes a sick day when they're sick. When the asshole across from your cubicle is absent from work, bet your right arm he's gonna show up the next day with a rehearsed response to "how ya feelin'?" Nights get rowdy, the town slut won't leave your porch without assuring "I never do this," and your childhood buds hate their lives so much that they'll buy you that superfluous shot just to avoid being alone at 2:00am. Look, dude... I was young once, too. Sometimes it's hard to keep up, and sometimes you can't face your day because you lost your ass last night.

I've got these Sundays reserved for a fuckin' reason. If I tried pulling this shit on Tuesdays I'd have a real hard time keeping up with my own bullshit excuses. I play both victim and offender, but it's certainly a struggle I created. If it's one pint beyond a doctor's orders, I'll manage coffee and a fresh breath. But I don't know how I'm gonna handle Vienna's Lowbau. All the southern-sludge memories are rockin' my frame this morning, and A Darker Shade of Blues is painting my reality a new shade of stunned.

Contrasting influences play a role on this thirteen-track sludge rattler, but bringing them to alliance is Lowbau's blue ribbon. The meld of C.O.C., Pantera, and Alabama Thunderpussy angles and vibrant narrations will leave a tapestry of brazen imagery that few bands can authenticate. At times somber in the south, others thick in rusty fog, A Darker Shade of Blues threw itself onto the hood of my car and glared me in the eye. I don't care what you believe or what you question, Lowbau crafted a litany of both queries and responses, here offering both for the picking.

Opening on the crisp acoustic strums of 13, A Darker Shade of Blues is pregnant with promise. The instrumental opener is distant and sullen, but the sliding shifts and low bass thumbs press forward and soothe enough to quell any doubt. The steel toed double-kick of The Prosecution Rests... green-lights a coked-out aggression that trips most bands. Groove and pull-back are a clear Pantera nod, but Lowbau breed their own buzz-saw beauty. The blistered brutality is met with a furrowed brow, unlocking the riff and pacing a slow sludge that echoes with swinging-cock solos. The closing stomp-stagger showcases a power; let's call this an opus of opiates, because this southern sludge is daunting.

A Million Years of Rain just might be the fucking best song you'll hear this year. Southern slides and tripping basslines stroll through the dark drop of sludge blackness as if they've been there before. What's placid and pensive grows worn and thick. Everything works here, staggering toward a denouement loaded with everything that's fucking incredible about this band (massive riffs, leathered vocals, guitar proficiency, and low-mud basslines) striking an undeniable harmonic(a) balance.

For all of Lowbau's dick-thrust guitar, they offset the nut-pats with crunching groove, hitting hard on every facet of Modern Day Alchemist. Rhythms shadow the lyrical nastiness, grinding with distorted pullback and relatively tasty crunch for themes so gnarly. The buzzing, festering Grounded is equally as choppy, pulsing with a "teenage spirit" you left in a bottle behind your high school's bus garage. The track is low, intermittent, and dripping with just a whisper of insanity. So nobody really notices when punchy trench-warfare is carried out on a ticker-tape tapestry of guitar jizz.

Oh, and sketchy subject matter is hardly taboo for this quintet. Consider the living-room stomp of Alcoholic, for example. The dixie-bounce hits heavy as fuck with low bass as a twice-baked stop/start dynamic dominates, but a drunk's lack of attention to detail takes center stage here. The changing paces are slick, sure... but you're focused on finding your lighter and swearing at your neighbor about exactly where the property line sits. When are you gonna get your act together? Nanny stutters with slow-bled abrasions, slurring and swaying as you stare at the babysitter's tits. Don't worry, the smile is lost halfway through when you realize this creep ain't kiddin'. There's a Tool-ish Intermission before the return of bass bounce and low-drawn dirty blues.

Slugging away at ticking minutes, The Theft of Time is so thick with butcher-block chops (led by Brea's drums) that it'd be easy to miss the chorus, the buckets of drenched guitar, and the incredible vocals scratched with bruised hands. The buzzsaws manage to dam up a bit, but Jesus, this southern-sludge grind swings a sledge at jagged rocks and comes out ahead.

There's a lot o' music here. Gnaw more than sixty minutes with the first twelve tracks and you'll doubt you've got the steam for a nine-minute closer. Shit, the loose-doom fuzz of the disc's title track is a strong snag of sooty, soggy sludge decay. Plug toward revolutionary snares all you wants, but southern-rock emerges. Rhythms clip slow as dust and tar marry to jam your lower lip with a buzz you won't get from Beech-Nut. Progressing toward an exhausting melange of sticky rhythms and double-kicks is just where Lowbau promised to end their night. Blues return on the back of hovering atmospheres and boggy diamond-point acoustic plucks, but you've already made up your mind.

I love a beer or two with my Sunday Sludge, but this is too much. Lowbau flew under my radar for too long and decided 72-plus minutes of my life needed what they were offering. They were right, but I'm too muddled to fish at this point. Shredded sentiments, primitive/distant drums, and a fuckload o' groove should carry Lowbau beyond their thick-misted influences. This depth, these vocal walls, and the echoes of the southern timber are incredibly enticing. Don't worry about tomorrow.



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nuclear Dog's Atomic Split: The Black Widow's Project - "Heavy Heart" / Half Gramme of Soma - "Half Gramme of Soma"

What's the cliché? Something about strapping yourself in because you are in for the ride of your life? Yeah, that's as good as any. Geneva, Switzerland is where the first set of fuzzbombs are carefully packaged before ignition and blastoff. Athens, Greece is the source for the second set of high octane combustibles. We've often gotten great fireworks from Greece and at least once from Switzerland, so this is no anomaly, but a trend of the most exciting kind, where distortion, talent, volume, passion, and melody are blended into tightly wrapped packages bursting with explosive potential. So, ladies and gentlemen, ye who venture into the realms and domains presented daily by Heavy Planet in order to visit the deviantly deft denizens and their concoctions . . . strap yourselves in and prepare for blast off!

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THE BLACK WIDOW'S PROJECT - "HEAVY HEART"

The Black Widow's Project is a three piece band from Geneva, Switzerland. "Heavy Heart" is their second offering, the first under the current lineup of:

Al Castro - Vocals, Guitar
Raph Legend - Bass
Mathieu Sink - Drums

Formed recently in 2010 the band quickly released their first EP, "Benefit of the Doubt", which garnered a ton of interest due to its huge, intelligent songs. After going through a bass player change with Raph recently joining the group, this small band with the big sound have now released their second collection of original fuzzbombs, but this time in the form of a full length record, crammed to overflowing with 14 stoner/retro rock originals.

The fuzz is huge on this album, as is the creativeness. The songs are well written and well executed, which makes for an incredibly enjoyable experience. Add to it the passion, the obvious and intense exertion in unfolding each creation in perfect time, and you get a special album.

The influences come from decades of great rock music, and influences beyond. You can hear sounds similar to hundreds of songs and rock bands down through the decades, but similarity doesn't mean replication. The song writing here for both music and lyrics is exceptional. The tapestries created are tight, bright, and satisfying. Each song is woven through with a myriad sounds from guitar, bass, drums, and vocals that make for the kind of album you can listen to a hundred times and pick out different and various pieces that go together to make a wholly satisfying whole on each of the fourteen offerings of "Heavy Heart". I don't hear one song sounding much like the next, while the sound for all remain uniquely that of The Black Widow's Project. Play any one song alone and you would know it was their creation. Listen through the whole album and you will be deeply engaged for each of the fourteen due to the uniqueness of each. That is rare and welcome ability, especially when it comes to rock music.

My favorite songs, something easier said than decided upon because I truly love them all, would include the following:

It's hard to beat the opener. It sets the tone most times for the rest of an album and on "Heavy Heart" that's exactly what happens. A lone guitar, distortion tuned to proper fuzz levels, kicks off the song on a brief intro that gives the listener the perfect indication of what's to follow, both for this song and for this album. Once "Ha Ha Ha Uh" kicks in you're in the stratosphere flying fast and high. The tempo is quick, the riffs are plentiful and varied, the bass is energetic and powerful, and the drums do the job of both driving the song's rhythm and adding to it's interest with stick fills and drum riffs that intrigue and satisfy. Alongside the amazing guitar work on this song is the equally amazing vocals. The raspy passion of Castro's belting of the lyrics falls just shy of amazing. He hits the proper tone with this rock and role vocal blast, never yelling as so many vocalists do, and certainly not quite singing in a prim, proper manner, which we would not want. He hits it just right, matching the tone and intensity of the instrumental portions of the song.

"Ain't Gonna Tell You Lies". To start with, who in Geneva, Switzerland says 'ain't'. We certainly do here in Oklahoma. But that's not why I like this song. I like the simple guitar strum opening with Castro singing in normal pitch, revealing that when he's not stretched to the max he still has a beautiful voice. A solo precursor within this song is a bass so low, so huge, it has to have been played by heavy rock moving machinery. The song is steady and simple, and somehow strikes a satisfying chord deep within.

"We Have to Be Free" is a beautiful song, plain and simple. It has a bluesy feel to it throughout as it goes back and forth between calm control, ignition, and fuzzbomb explosions. Moving through the various feels and tempos makes this one of the more intriguing songs on the album. The incredible execution by all three members playing their four instruments simply adds to the maximum pleasure. This is an addicting song that will have you longing for the next time through the album to hear it again.

"Spirits" is a spare, haunting song of incredible beauty that still manages to fuzz out around the edges.

The closer, "Innerwar", is one of the best of the bunch, along with the opener. These guys know how to open, and then how to close. "Innerwar" sounds like something from a concept album, obviously telling a story that's part of a larger whole, while remaining true to the single tale within. The ballad-like feel of the first few minutes of the song leads into a trippy, almost psychotic journey where the instruments lightly touch upon the sounds that play heavily upon your listening psyche, slowing building with textures of new riffs and subdued vocals.

EXCLUSIVE STREAM


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HALF GRAMME OF SOMA - "HALF GRAMME OF SOMA"

There is a HUGE contingent of stoner/retro rock from Greece, much of it from Athens. It's a large city, so why not, but it still seems as though an inordinate amount . . . which is a good thing . . . of underground rock n' roll calls Athens its home. Add to the list this tremendously gifted, rockin' band, Half Gramme of Soma, hereafter referred to as HGoS (almost hogs, almost ghost, defintely rock n' roll).

It's amazing to me when bands come from Europe how much the vocals can sound as if the singer is from down the road somewhere here in the U.S., and HGoS is no exception. I have no idea how much effort they have had to put into their studio performances to accomplish this sound, but it certainly gets my attention. Not nearly as much as their beautiful music screams for notice, though. The starting point for any band associated with the underground sound of stoner/doom/retro rock are the heavy, low tuned, fuzzed out guitars. It's what sets them apart from the no-riff uber-raff on the radio. HGoS is no exception here either. The guitars are pure meth and adrenaline mixed with . . . well, why not mix it with SOMA . . . creating an instantly satisfying warmth throughout your body, charging up your metal receptors, and creating a condition of pure party atmosphere pleasure, whether listening alone in your car, or cranking it up at a booze fueled end of the week celebration, or anything in between.

HGoS band members include:

John V. - Vocals
Alexandros K. - Guitars
Takis A. - Guitars
Nick G. - Bass
Uncle Jim - Drums

HGoS, having formed recently in 2011 and having honed their craft in the various live venues in and around Athens, manages to deliver high quality sound on all parts and pieces of their instrumentation. John V. has a great set of rock pipes, using them to great effect throughout the album. The twin guitar assault of Alex K. and Takis A. are effective, effusive, and effing awesome. Nick G. has somehow strung his bass to the heavy machines used in building tunnels through mountains, and Uncle Jim knows how to impeccably navigate the skins through the heavy maze of riffs from the 3 guitars by using just a pair of wooden sticks. Most of all, the fivesome know how to slap a song together in such a way as to make it memorable, exciting, enticing, and dripping with anticipation, all by mainly making clever and satisfying melodies, songs that not only rock, but bring a sort of fuzzy funk that fits perfectly with the low tuned, distorted bazooka blast emanations of the various string sources. While most stoner/retro bands draw heavily either from the great era of the 70s or the grunge and high desert eras of the 90s, HGoS seem also to have thrown in a sound that hearkens to the new wave sound of the 80s, which makes for a very intriguing metal sound, something that almost feels like they've solved the puzzle that existed on too much 80s so called rock. . . adding the big, fuzzy sound of stoner rock guitar.

This self titled album is their first foray into studio production and contains 9 melodic creations layered thickly with fuzzy metal shavings, crafted in such a way as to be most enjoyable when the amperage is set to ultra high levels and you have room enough to violently move about the room.

"Burn Your Shadows" opens with a funky guitar ditty that leads into the opening hooks and riffs that are slightly reminiscent of the B-52s or The Cure, except with a much heavier, beefier sound, especially when the instrumentation is isolated for several incredible minutes.

"Feed Your Hell" opens in a measured pace that leads into a more up-tempo refrain. John V.'s vocals lend a ballad like quality to the song as the twin guitars provide both a heavy undercurrent of deep, dark riffs plus a more penetrating and insistent interlude. The music here is telling a story, one that isn't all light and sunshine, but replete with dank, musty revelations.

"Secret of the Fox" is a partner piece to its predecessor above. It's steady, unyielding tempo is full of various textures of twisted metal licks and fills riding on an undercurrent of heavy bass, and narrated with melancholy, haunting vocals.

After several songs of deep, dark melancholia comes a song that is a masterpiece of tempo, melody, and listening enjoyment in "Dead End". I am not a master of culling out the lyrics to a song, so while the title would seem to convey failure in the journey of whomever is travelling through these songs, the atmosphere of the music seems to convey the opposite. A quicker pace, insistent and deadly drumwork, and metal rending guitar riffs accompany dual vocals on this song, providing the listener with an intriguing melody infused with heavy textures and bigger than life substance.

Immediately following is an incredibly haunting piece, "Wings Rusted Away", that allows for instrumental isolation to an extent, allowing the listener to go one on one with the huge guitars and whipcord drums. Vocals are magnified as well, as the melancholy of the tune intensely permeates throughout your body, taking over, inducing a trance-like state akin to a natural endorphin rush.

Melancholia and haunting melodies close out the album with "Under a Malign Star", where HGoS make sure to go out with a universe deafening explosion of metal distortion and amplification.

 


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Friday, March 22, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: CRANEIUM

HEAVY PLANET presents...CRANEIUM!


BAND BIO:

Craneium is a four piece stoner/fuzz/desert outfit hailing from the vast dunes of Osthrobotnia, Finland founded late 2011. Craneium is what the fuzz is about, bringing you sludged up driving music from the underworld. Influences are stoner giants like Fu Manchu, Truckfighters, Electric Wizard and so on.
On Christmas Day we released a two song demo called "SloWerdrive tapes". This is a rehearsal space demo but we are really satisfied with the turnout. There is a part two of the "SloWerdrive tapes" that will be released when we'll have the time to record guitar and vocals for it. We are also hopeful about going in to a real studio during this year. That's if we will find time and money.

Ankko Kaján - Guitars
Martin Ahlö - Vox and Guitar
Axel Nordman - Vox and Bass
Joel Kronqvist - Drums


THOUGHTS:
"I have to be totally honest with everyone by saying that this is the reason I love this blog that I started a little over 5 years ago. A band from Finland sends me their 2-song demo and wants me to listen to it. The bio suggests influences from Stoner Rock legends Fu Manchu, Truckfighters, etc. I go to their Soundcloud link, hit play and get completely levelled by the magnitude of fuzz and the dropped-heavy bass. Really, I don't care at this point that Craneium sound a lot like hundreds of other bands. The thing that I care about is the passion, energy and dedication that these 4 men possess in getting their music to the masses. This 2-song demo is a fine start and will be embedded in my cranium, no pun intended until they release more music. Good luck fellas!"

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

LP Review- Crane by Les Indiens

 

      After offering up the tune Ed on the epic Heavy Planet compilation, Bong Hits From the Astral Basement, Quebec's Les Indiens are back with an awesome collection of psychedelic stoner rock. Said new album, Crane, is a swirling collection of riffy guitars and keys, inspired by the tunes and spirit of the First Nation's music and myths. I think.

      The album starts off with Boucane, a riffy ditty accented by keys that circle and swirl like a stalking hawk.  Next up is Crane which starts off on the low end end of the cosmic spectrum, all throbbing bass and crashing cymbals. Soon the guitar brings the rhythm section in line and we're off. Creve-Coeur is next up and starts off soft and weird, soon building and turning itself into a chest thumping dirge.  Desert de glace straddles the doom/stoner divide, but soon finds its place as a soft stoner tune, never wallowing in doom's dark places. Mieux en prison comes next and offers the albums most memorable riff. Love Machine has an English title and is the most "normal" song on the album, with a verse chorus verse structure that's warbled over a heavy riff and urgent drumming. It closes an excellent album with a sticky chorus dominated by the song's title. Or maybe that particular lyric stuck in my head on account of it being the only one in my native tongue. 

     The vocals are clean and offered in French, but the groove is universal. I couldn't make out the lyrics. I don't speak or read French, but the great thing about music, especially the heavy groovy music offered up by sites such as Heavy Planet is the feeling the tunes elicit inside ya. It is amazing what can be conveyed with just a stack of amps, guitars, bass, and drum. And maybe some keys. But just some. Don't over do the keys. 



EP Review: HOMOH - DEMOH


HOMOH are a power trio of stoner/doom sludgemen spawned from the deep dark caves of South Wales, UK, where once dwelt Lord Shakin' Stevens and Sir Thomas Jones. Having only been together since summer 2012, the band have dug up from the deathly and abandoned coal mines a fresh live 3 track EP which they have forged into "DEMOH". Aha! I see what they did there.

The first track "Witches Weed" is some grimy sludge metal in the similar pain and anger filled sludge stylings of EYEHATEGOD. It's a fast paced violent fucker that slams urgent riffs of solid stone right in your soft pretty face. Breakdowns of feedback lead to strung out furious doom as you're lying on the floor with blood pouring from your head and still HOMOH pounds you in the face with that slab of solid rock until they end the track with several devastating blows that leave you feeling grateful for the satisfying head battering they have opened this EP with.

Thankfully the lovely filthy noise that HOMOH make does not end there as they follow with "Troll Hunter" which deals us a fat bag of begrimed sleazy doom with riffs that bore a hole where your third eye should be. Somewhat reminiscent of the best that Church of Misery has to offer, this turgid gut wrenching stench of sludge vomits up a bastardized pile of psychedelic filth. Thick with slovenly low-end grooves, dirty smokey guitar licks and deliciously disgusting drawls all driven along by monstrous drums of doom; this track crushes you under the weight of every rotting corpse that ever has been or ever will be.

Third and final track "Slumberjack" opens with "Sweet Leaf" coughs hacked up from taking massive hits from Lucifer's hell-bong packed with the most evil grit weed known to man. Irreparable lung damage is a certainty. There follows some cyclopean low-down riffage and terrifying roars as we're launched into the worst of all bad trips. The intensity increases as the pace picks up half-way with riffs and beats that flay the flesh from your bones until you are left at the end as a quivering but happy skeleton.

HOMOH proudly wear their influences on their blim riddled sleeves but have successfully forged their own unique nightmare sound as evidenced in this most excellent EP and with their live performances scaring their audiences witless with their new brand of huge and terrifying noise they are sure to carve a lasting scar on heavy music. I, for one, cannot wait to see them live.

This debut EP is a satisfying filth bath of stoner/doom/sludge metal, so if big riffs, fat tones and bad trips are what you want to hear when feeding your daily weed habit then get onto their bandcamp where the EP is available now as a "name your own price" download.



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Zac's "Double Dose": KEN Mode / ZAYN

KEN mode: Entrench
I hope I am formally introducing some of you to KEN mode, the three piece annihilation machine from Winnipeg, Manitoba (composed of two brothers and a rotating bass player). Historically known for their fusion of noise rock and hardcore KEN mode bring an intensity and overwhelming sense of chaos to the choppin' block (cleaver included). KEN mode are like Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan's younger sibling... bare chest, gnashing teeth, and prepared to spar for for an alpha spot... and definitely not afraid to try something a little sly in the process (very much like their elder kin). KEN mode formed in 1999 and have since released four full length albums, with the fifth, Entrench, dropping yesterday (Tuesday March 19th) via Season of Mist.

Entrench's opening track Counter Culture Complex kick the album off in a very noisey and punk fashion , but not before a few taps on a drum head and a dizzying cello oscillation suprise the senses. The following tracks, and much of the album, stay true to the hardcore / noise foundation. But don't let these adjectives turn you away from Entrench, listen closely and enjoy the glorious loads of resonance and feedback from KEN's latest bassist Andrew LaCour. These three are creative and their injection of sludge leave an impression of experience and knowledge of their craft. Take my favorite track The Terror Pulse for a spin (click play below), and experience the discordant guitar squel and sacrifical tribal wallop with more of those sweaty bass-lines. Entrench continues to ebb and flow between fast paced chaos and slower sludge... even devling into the depths of doom. This finally brings us to our whimsical and relaxing outro Monomyth, which contrasts immensly from Entrench entirely. Here we are absorbed into an airy atmosphere filled with reeling cellos and gently plucked strings. A finish that allows us to catch our breath and speculate. How does a trio of testoterone with the cojones to name themselves KEN (Kill Everyone Now) mode get off finishing an album like that? I haven't a clue and, quite honestly, I couldn't care in the least. All I know is I'm impressed.

Members:
Andrew LaCour - Bass // Backing-Vocals
Jesse Matthewson - Vocals // Guitar
Shane Matthewson - Drums

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ZAYN: Medeia
Some two years ago, inside the confines of Bjelovar, Croatia four persons banded together in search of an experimental purging. Choosing a name and a path, ZAYN came into existance and began their orchestral journey. Avoiding standard musical architecture, ZAYN's instrumental approach mold post-rock into jazz, doom and desert rock. All this variety will certainly overwhelm listener's senses. The musicians also employ minimal repetition, allowing the songs to grow, writhe and transform. This can be strange for any desert, doom or stoner fan... because we happen to like our repetitive RIFFS! That's okay though ZAYN have other ways of captivating the conscious and it all begins with static strumming and some desert rock intensity. ZAYN's debut album Medeia sets off with album opener In love, In anger, In vain. Medeia is based off an ancient Greek tragedy in which the grandaughter of the sun god is abondoned by her bewitched husband and seeks revenge through the slaying of her children and to fleeing to Athens on a firery chariot only to find herself in another sultry situation. Without further SparkNotes, album opener In love... sums up the emotions of a confused and enraged mother all to well. The music flows and corresponds to the story quite well using fast paced hammer on's and plenty of use of heavy and loud moments contrasting with hushed stillness. Each track seems to find moments of doom and loads of Miles Davis-esque timing, making each living moment of Medeia incalcuable. Check out the hodgepodge of genius in my favorite track Motherismus below and if you think you can handle more get over to bandcamp, because our friend's in ZAYN are offering this evolutionary piece of music for FREE!

Members:
Alen Rožman - Drums
Bojan Gatalica - Guitar
Marko Dragičević - Guitar
Miran Kapelac - Bass

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Band To Burn One To: SUN VOYAGER

HEAVY PLANET presents...SUN VOYAGER!


BAND BIO:

Sun Voyager is a rebirth of the vintage 70's psychedelic/garage rock scene mixed with 90's stoner and desert rock, drawing influences from Blue Cheer, 13th Floor Elevators, Spaceman 3, Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Dead Meadow, Sleep, Radio Moscow, Stoned Jesus, and Fu Manchu. Based out of Orange County, New York, the four musicians see themselves as more of a brotherhood, having known each other for 7-8 years. They vibe on the same musical wave length and set out to write simple songs that groove above all else. Having just released thier first EP titled "Cosmic Tides", Sun Voyager is fighting to make there voice heard in this over saturated music industry by allowing the true nature of art and music to transcend through music sub-cultures.


THOUGHTS:

"There is an awesome buzz about Albany, NY-based band Sun Voyager in recent months and now I can see why and due to the influx of bands received on a weekly basis I almost looked this one over. Granted, it is only a 3-song EP, but it gives you an idea of where the band is headed. Substituting the warm fuzzy guitar tone is a warbly bluesy-twang that sends you swirling into the vortex of another dimension. The songs are slick, mesmerising and  hypnotic, reminiscent of the psychedelic/garage rock movement of the seventies. Opening track "Oh, Sally" shakes and grooves, while "New American City" focuses around a hard driving spellbinding riff. Album closer "Cosmic Tides" is the highlight of the EP for me with it's slow rhythm and hot slide guitar licks. The EP is available for free on their Bandcamp page. Get it now!"

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Monday, March 18, 2013

EP Review: Destroyer of Light by Destroyer of Light


When I lived in Toledo, Ohio, I rested my head fewer than fifty paces from a vinyl shop- RamaLama Records. I could wake up, roll out of bed, and get into that  record store before my hangover kicked in. It was glorious. I was spoiled. Then I moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and my vinyl connection melted into the proverbial sunset.

But, before I escaped from the Buckeye State I scoured apartments in the Zoo, looking for a shack close to a record store. I couldn't  find any places as close as I'd become accustomed to, but I did find a decent shop, and when I walked in and bought Trouble's Run to the Light the manager talked to me for thirty minutes. I'd found my home away from home. My third place.

That store is Greenlight Records, and the manger is Chris, and during one of our frequent conversations he suggested I give a listen to a band of Kalamazoo expats who now dwell in Austin. Destroyer of Light.
Destroyer of Light play heavy doom with a hint of death. They boast mostly clean vocals with a smattering of bowel shaking death growls that are used to season the tunes. These extreme vocals work amazingly well when paired with the at times Messiah Marcolin like clean vocals that are the norm on the album .

The album kicks off with the "single", or at least the tune a video was made for, Greet Death and it is a great summation of what this band is all about- heavy doom riffing, creepy clean vocals, and scare your dog death growls. A helluva way to kick things off. Next up is The Virgin, a Rosemary's Baby tale about giving birth to Satan. The tune starts out with feedback and builds and builds to a funeral stomp with cough syrup vocals that drip slow and clean. A chorus works its way between the riffs, then more of those codeine calls before the death growls pop up to remind you how evil this ditty is, least you'd forgotten. The tune ends with the whole coven coming down to the studio to sing back up on the chorus. Cool. So Divided could start a whole new genre: protest doom. Current and eternal evils are discussed and I'm reminded of all those great message songs Sabbath put out so many years ago. Coffin Hunter rises next, and you can guess what this tune is all about. There is a solo buried in the mix around three minutes and forty seconds in that's worth checking out, it tries and tries to rise above the sludgy dirge but is soon silenced by death growls. The album ends with Asteroid and I've included a live clip here so I'll spare you my stuttering description. Destroyer of Light are collecting funds to put out some vinyl, so visit their Bandcamp page- if you're so inclined.


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