Friday, December 30, 2016

Album Review: Gentle Tick - Gentle Tick EP



Ever been walking in the woods, alone, at dusk and can't shake the feeling that you are being watched?  When from out of nowhere a rabbit bounds out of the bushes causing you to chuckle at yourself for being such a pussy.  But before you can finish your thought a pack of blood thirsty jackals pounce from the shadows tearing the rabbit to pieces and descending with it back into the darkness from which they came.

No?!?

Well...  Me neither.  But, I can promise that is has and will happen again, somewhere!  I can also promise that there are things even more insidious lurking in the wilderness than even the aforementioned jackals.

TICKS!!!

And just like our next contestant there is nothing gentle about them!  Despite their name, Gentle Tick supply an uncompassionate blend of catchy, sludgy goodness.  Heavy on the fuzz and light on the pleasantries Gentle Tick provide melodies that plod along at the perfect tempo to have you marching in time to an army of those rapacious bloodsuckers heading into battle, looking for the perfect spot to hide, laying in wait for your delicious, meaty carcass to pass by.  Saturated with vile growls overlaying the thick sludgy rhythms, this album will grab your attention like finding one of those god damn forest dwelling parasites latched onto your nut sack.  Released a little over a year ago, I'm a little late to the party as usual, but this four piece from Kaliningrad, Russia deliver on their first self titled EP.   Angry from start to finish, it's the perfect soundtrack for one of those days where you can't stand the sight of one more soulless sheep passing you on the street.  I'd also be remissed if I failed to mention the killer artwork for this murky trek through the woods.  I'm ashamed to admit to judging a book by it's cover but good artwork always gets me to hit play.

Edit: It's come to my attention that Gentle Tick disbanded back in August.  The brush land insect variety are however still very prevalent.  So stay vigilant.

Facebook | Soundcloud | Bandcamp

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Album Review: The Freeks - "Shattered"



Taste is a funny thing. There is a lot of brouhaha coming from Atlanta that baffles me, which, of course, just showcases my own shortcomings I suppose. It does come at a time when I am able to sort of play Atlanta off of Rome, in an untypical way. I go back and forth between the oldest profession and their precious metals of the southern U.S. and those strange but hep cats from the heart of both the Unholy and Holy Roman Empires, The Freeks, and their newly released "Shattered". I find I favor, and love, the Roman outpourings hands down. Here's an opportunity for you to do the same.

A very cool thing about The Freeks is their stoner history. Band front man, Ruben Romano, was a founding member of both Fu Manchu and Nebula. Whoa. He has again surrounded himself with quality, as shown below:

Ruben Romano - Vocals, Lead Guitar (formerly of Fu Manchu, Nebula)
Bob Lee - Drums (formerly of Claw Hammer, Backbiter, Mike Watt)
Tom Davies - Bass (formerly of Nebula)
Esteban Chavez - Keyboards
Jonathan Hall - Guitar (Angry Samoans, Backbiter)

"Shattered" is their third full LP release, again chock full of incredible concoctions of uniqueness and wonder. The blend of styles and sounds is so profound, so varied, so pregnant, you might find from one moment to the next a sense and a snippet of style and sound from any of a dozen rock genres. The Freeks manage to blend these variances into a cohesive blanket of melodic noise, a fuzz stubble quilt of pure astonishment. There is nothing but magnificence on this album, from song construction and rendition, to a binding melodic sense of destiny. It's more than a garage rock, punk rock, stoner rock amalgam. It manages to deliver something that soars on a level above all that, held aloft by their magnetic underpinnings but propelled forward at breakneck speed on a newly composited sound of pure energy and fun. You'll hear something familiar in each song - a snippet of stoner fuzz, a clang of punk rock riffing, a run of psychedelic mind meld, a retro/blues reminiscence - that will initially and immediately pull you in. Once there you'll likely stay as the mesmerizing concoction of it all is a strong and heady brew of intoxifying wonderment.

bandcamp || facebook || label || website

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Jon's top 10 releases for 2016

 Its not an easy task to sit down and think of a list of your favorite albums released in a calendar year, there's so many and more coming everyday. So I based it off of this year's releases and how many revolutions they got on my turntable or played on my ipod. I know I probably missed something, but oh well. The numbers also don't represent how good I think a band is as opposed to another. And yes I may be partial to the PNW music scene, cuz that's where I live.
So here's my TOP 10 of 2016!

1. WHORES-Gold (noise rock/heavy rock)
I won't deny that I'm a 90's "grunge" or noise rock fan. I like simple heavy riffs around the 3-5 minute mark, and I like it angry. This album is everything I need to get the day going. Pissed and hook laden!
 I got to see them live 12-16-12 and it was sick nasty!

2. SUMAC-what one becomes (Heavy-Heavy-Heavy)
Every once in awhile an album comes along that just levels you. Aaron turner (isis-old man gloom) and company put on a full tonal assault. I love this album, its not the usual type of music that Heavy Planet has on their site, but it is called Heavy Planet and this planet is heavier with Sumac on it. If you can find one get it!  Thrill Jockey or Profound lore.

3. Holy Grove-S/T (heavy rock/stoner)
Hot damn! I caught this Portland based group at Hoverfest a few years back and was blown away by Andrea Vidal's vocals.This is the whole rock package, from the 1st note to the last and the artwork. Go buy this album!  http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/album/holy-grove

4. Mos Generator-Abyssinia (heavy rock/stoner/prog)
What can I say that hasn't been said about Mos Gen, Tony Reed is a living rock wizard and found a way to tap into another level somewhere inside himself in his songwriting, lucky for us he put it onto a record for all of us to hear.  Jono and Sean keep the low end pummeling along for this great ride. Listenable Records or @ http://heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com

5. Elephant Tree- S/T  (heavy rock/doom/stoner)
Super impressed with everything about this album, the musicality, the vocals, the art..everything. I believe they are going onto the 2nd pressing, again handled by M.E.R

6. Cough-still they pray (Doom)
Best Electric Wizard album to come out in years! Just kidding, great album and great riffs! (yes I know who produced it). Might I add, Heavy as Hell! Relapse Records

7. Green River Thrillers- distorted diva (noise rock-heavy rock-punk)
This album was the kick in the teeth I needed at the time I was feeling bogged by Doom.



8. Year of the Cobra-in the shadows below (N/W Doom)
Good people, great band and great album! Maybe this should be in the top 5, but I'm going off what I've listened to the most this year so far. Go buy this on STB records and catch them on tour in Europe and the States in 2017.

9. GEEZER-S/T (cosmic stoner blues)
 I picked up their 1st release -Gage (halloween edition) and was really looking forward to this album, it does not fall short of killer. Ripple Music and STB would be glad to hook you up.


10. Domkraft- the end of electricity
I finally got to listen to this album last week and was instantly a fan of the riffs. If Ufomammut and Serial Hawk had a love child Domkraft would be its name. Go get this sweetness from Magnetic Eye Records

Honorable mentions:
The TAD subpop re-releases, a dream come true for me.

Melvins re-releases of Stoner Witch-Houdini-Stag-Third man Records

Infinite Flux vinyl release on DCR records. Such a great album!

Disenchanter vinyl releases of Strange Creations and On through Portals (Doom metal) DHU records. This would be on my top 10 had it not been released on CD the previous year, One of my favorite bands and people. The packaging on these vinyl editions are beautiful.

Mammoth Salmon-Last Vestige of humanity (Heavy Sludgy Stoner) DCR
Paul and his new low enders are fast becoming Sludge Kings. 

Ancient Warlocks 2 STB (Heavy Stoner Rock)
another great album by these fine gents and great artwork as well. 


Mos Generator- the firmament
There's some interesting spins on some Mos classics and a Joy Division cover as well!
https://youtu.be/BWF-SPXfd3A






Sunday, December 18, 2016

Album Review: Buzzzard - "Cold Blood"



Dateline Carbondale, Illinois. Four young rock n roll entrepreneurs have decided to band together and create an album in the stoner blues style. Of course, this is nothing unusual. This happens all the time all over the world with slight variations in style of music and number of band members. But what doesn't happen all the time is a perfect confluence of talent, desire, and ability. It has happened here.

This album is pure stoner blues. There's nothing else there and there doesn't need to be. It's beautiful, magical, and haunting. 7 tracks where guitar, bass, drums, and vocals weave a primal, almost spiritual musical journey. It is keen in scope and massive in conveyance.

Band members are:

Mike Lighty - Guitar/Vocals
Cody Beckman - Drums/Backup Vocals
Ben Bleyer - Bass
Kasey Rogers - Guitar/Backup Vocals



bandcamp || facebook

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Album Review: 1000mods - Repeated Exposure To...





1000mods are Greek gods and I love them.  They bring the heavy so very well, so perfectly that from the first day I heard them I was a fan.  Well now they went and did it, they made the album I knew they could and should.  1000mods released “Repeated Exposure To…”, their third full length album in September and it is one of my favorite albums of the year and of my entire life.  

The album opens with Above179, five minutes and 41 seconds of pay fucking attention.  We are the gods, the kings of nowhere / we are the dogs that live in despair” Dani screams at you with his bass hung at his knees and the rest of the band obliges.  Showing you with every note that these bad asses from Greece are not to be taken lightly.  

The highlight of the album, for me, is the suddenly very personal “The Son”.  It is one of my favorite tracks of the year and as soon as I heard it I fell in love with it.  The perfect blend of beauty and rage.   My father died yesterday and this is the only song I wanted to hear, it is perfect.  For that reason you get every word of it and 1000mods, my brothers, you get a thank you for creating something that means a great deal to me personally.   

People are telling me how
Blank is the world
Freedom is giving me now
The soul that I sold
I am a son of a gun
I'm shooting my life
You're gonna see the one
The one you don't like
Heaven rejects me
And throws me back
I am forgotten
I live in the dark
I'm smoking woods
And I'm sniffing the clouds
I am the name
That nobody shouts
The skin of my mother
Is under my veins
I feel so empty
I got no remains
The voice of my father
Is so long and gone
I am the son of a loaded gun
Happiness is full of lies
I'm killing my dreams
I'm speaking and everything dies
I wake up in screams
Emptiness sparks in the light
Watching you fade
Please don't give up the fight
Follow your fate
Heaven rejects me
And throws me back
I am forgotten
I live in the dark
I'm smoking woods
And I'm sniffing the clouds
I am the name
That nobody shouts
The skin of my mother
Is under my veins
I feel so empty
I got no remains
The voice of my father
Is so long and gone
I am the son
I am a gun
This is one of the best albums of the year, no matter what style of music you favor.  Dani, Giannis, George and Labros have created something that demands and deserves your attention.  I do not know them, but I thank them for what they made and cannot recommend more that each and every one of you get this album and get to experience it for what it is, a glorious, heavy masterpiece.  

Album Review: Cybernetic Witch Cult - "Spaceous Cretaceous"




How about some fun on this cold winter's morn! "Spaceous Cretaceous" had been submitted to Heavy Planet back in May and I have to admit to not listening to it until recently. It was well worth the wait. This selection of 9 delectable fuzz bombs contrives to rock and rumble in the most unique and uncommon of metal musical ways. Cybernetic Witch Cult manage to weave fantastical tales of mighty warriors, fell creatures of searing fire and bloody claw, far-flung planets, beautiful and tragic femme Fatales, futuristic vessels, and treacherous climes all wrapped tightly, intricately in thick layers of bright fuzz and dark fabric aboard expertly engineered cauldrons of deep rumbling nuclear expression.

Make no mistake, the fantastical nature of the lyrical tales only enhance the expertly rendered music. The tone is bluesy and low, the style is melodic and deep, and the riffs, rills, and runs all exhilarating in execution and encounter. Stitching it all together are the singular vocals of front man Alex Wyld whose rendering is pitch perfect for this style of metal with its stone shard edges, deep grain timbre, and range of execution. No yell vocals here, just an exceptional fry of great reach. The instrumentation throughout this album is an infectious, joyous celebration of old school melodies, darkly drenched in indigo tones, but sharply honed in new school power. The riffs are exquisite, the bass massive, and the stickwork virulent, combined with the heretofore mentioned vocals and sui generis lyrics the individual pieces are all of the highest caliber. Blended and woven together the finished product propels the noteworthy factor forward exponentially, which is no mean feat. So, revel in the accomplishments of this three piece band of mighty dragon slayers from Cornwall, England:

Alex Wyld - Vocals, Guitar
Kale Dean - Bass, Vocals
Rogan Collins - Drums

bandcamp || facebook || website



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Top Ten Records of 2016: Pete's choices.

Let's dispatch with the pleasantries shall we, the "2016 has been a crap year" boohooing, and let's just do this thing! The one thing that can be said about 2016 is, as ever, that the music has been fucking awesome!

10. MAKE - Pilgrimage Of Loathing
Pilgrimage Of Loathing is a very challenging record, one that covers the fucked up human race and political/scumbag shittyness to a tee. MAKE come at you with as much bile and anger as they can muster, while still carrying the post-rock abstractness to take you to their higher-plain of serenity. It's a challenging listen, but a vital one.

9. Domadora - The Violent Mystical Sukuma
The best Earthless record not to be done by Earthless, and that's a compliment, as the French psychedelic/stoner/rockers play with their sounds rather than just imitate. Some tracks are short balls to the wall riffathons, others 16 minute instrumental epics. An excellent record.

8. Steinsopp - Steinsopp
The "Stoner's Stoner Record" of 2016! With indecipherable vocals sung through a megaphone from a different galaxy, chugging stoner riffs, and songs sending you tripping into the next track, Steinsopp have pulled of something mightily impressive here.

7. Spaceslug - Lemanis
Muffled heavy stoner doom is as claustraphobic as it is freeing, and it is done perfectly here. Spaceslug are so good at biding their time at being heavy, that you don't realise you're being crushed by their riffs until they're already on top of you, pressuring down onto your wind pipe.

6. Swan Valley Heights - Swan Valley Heights
One of the best stoner-rock records of the year. Since way back in January, this record has hit multiple repeats, and it still crushes to this day. I've found it works really well down the gym too!

5. Son Of A Witch - Thrones In The Sky
Thrones In The Sky was released right back in the early stages of the year, and it's finally seeing a release on vinyl at the beginning of 2017, and it's just what these Brazilians deserve as the record is all kinds of heavy-hazy-doomy-psychedelic perfection.

4. Messa - Belfry
Gorgeous paganistic style doom from these Italians with ambient drone undertones. Belfry is utterly spellbinding, in no part down to the haunting vocals of Sara, which flitters between heavy seventies style hard rock to nothing but delicate vocals gliding along the wind. Beautifully crushing!

3.Domkraft - The End Of Electricity
A late comer in the year's releases, but one that's made such an impact that it demand your attention. Loud, heavy riffs, psychedelic touches, pummelling beats, and did I mention those riffs? Awesome tunes from these Swedes and yet more proof that Magnetic Eye records can barely put a foot wrong!

2. Whores. - Gold
After the release of two excellent EPs, anticipation was very high for their debut record, and the Noise merchants did not disappoint, with a record that is as loud as they could possibly go, with riffs heavier and more relentless than before. Gold proved that Whores. are the real deal.

1. Cough - Still They Pray
Hypnotically heavy and perfectly psyched-out, this record has been ever present on my turntable ever since I found it in my local record store. Cough are a band who are continuously improving and growing with each release, and the doom stampede here is a pleasure to accompany every dark gruesome night.


Until next year, wherever you are on the planet, have a HEAVY one! Pete.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Album Review: Domkraft - "The End of Electricity"



One day I'll inevitably lose my mind.  And I don't mean wig out slightly, buy a sports car, and head to Cabo with a woman half my age mid life crisis style.  I mean full blown, bat shit, chasing squirrels in my underwear screaming apocalyptic prophecies crazy.  And when it happens......  This is what I envision it will sound like.  Not that there is anything inherently chaotic or madness inducing here.  Quite the opposite.  Domkraft's "The End of Electricity" is a well crafted emotional roller coaster.  While it's the subtle tempo changes that ebb and flow back and forth like crushing waves of doom that tickle my deep seeded chemical imbalances, it's the reverb soaked bellows of bassist/vocalist Martin Wegeland which echo like they are being delivered from atop a desolate mountain, that offer up premonitions of my impending imaginary voices.  The whole album flows so well it could have very easily been one epically long song.  Even the much more even tempered "Drones" fits perfectly.  As "The Rift" and "Meltdown of the Orb" build more and more tension "Drones" drops back a notch, gives you a chance to regroup.  As if to offer a slight glimpse of hope to my quickly dissolving faculties, before diving head first back into fuzzy dissolution, and finishing up the album where it all started with plenty more of the hypnotic sounds that sent you tumbling down this rabbit hole in the first place.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Nuclear Dog's Triple Blast: Geezer, Wasted Theory, Mississippi Bones

The end of the year hurtles toward us at breakneck speed. 2016 has been a signature year in many respects, not the least of which are the numerous new EPs and LPs released by both known and unknown stoner/doom bands, many of them of exceptional quality. I'm sure someone will reflect back and say it wasn't a great year for new music. Poppycock! Get off my lawn! There has been so much great new music this year I will STRUGGLE, mightily, to narrow the releases down to a 'Best Of' list of any reasonable length. But that's a chore for another day. Today's task is simple, and fun. There are three amazing, astounding, outstanding, wonderful new LPs released one each in September, October, and November that I want to share with you. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present:
  • Mississippi Bones - "2600 AD: And Other Astonishing Tales"
  • Wasted Theory - "Defenders of the Riff"
  • Geezer - "Geezer"
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Mississippi Bones - "2600 AD: And Other Astonishing Tales"



Fresh off a banner release in 2015, followed by a 2016 vinyl release that we reviewed recently on HeavyPlanet (Songs for the Rejects, Slackers, and Rabble-Rousers) Mississippi Bones add to their prolificacy by releasing another romp stomp LP with 2600 AD: And Other Astonishing Tales, 12 more songs that rattle and crash with incredible energy, enthusiasm, and elegance.

I will be the first person to point out my own shortcomings when it comes to understanding the mechanics of music. I am simply a fan of what I love, all of which begins with big guitar, and can only be enhanced with melody and great vocals. Mississippi Bones provides those three traits in spades. When I listen through this album I hear elements of Clutch, which makes this music quite exciting to me, but that is only the starting point for what they've created here. Music of this quality, at this rate of production, has to be a product of great musicianship from each member, and with six full members that equates to a product of tremendous content and caliber. Listening to this album is like being involved in a Fight Club brawl. There are a LOT of hard hitting, bruising punches, hammer-like blows to the head, and unseen, unpredictable, razor sharp strikes, all leaving you spent, exhausted, and keenly satisfied. The difference is there is no pain or discomfort involved in listening, just sheer raucous rock n roll pleasure, a fierceness of execution, and a keen sense of joy.

Hailing from Ada, Ohio, Missisippi Bones is comprised of the following members:

Jared Collins - Vocals
Dusty Donley - Guitars
Jason Miller - Drums
Derik Dunson - Guitars and Vocals
Jason Rector - Bass
Heather Collins - Vocals

Mississippi Bones make perfect use of multiple instrumentation on their music, and I count vocals as one of the instruments. The use of three perfectly attuned rock vocalists adds greatly to the depth and quality of their songs. The blending and meshing of guitars as well as harmonizing vocals makes for a super huge sound that envelopes you in sticky sweet warmth, while simultaneously providing crystal sharp individual runs and riffs that weave a heavy quilt of intensity, intrigue, and interest.

Mississippi Bones are not signed to a label, which is perplexing as hell. They are prolific and they are accomplished. I would think there would be huge interest in championing what they have to offer for quality hungry stoner/doom rock fans. The good news is their music is easily accessible and available in this high tech day and age.

bandcamp || facebook

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Wasted Theory - "Defenders of the Riff"



You want rough, tough, edgy, loud, and lewd on your plate of underground fuzz metal? Look no further than Wasted Theory and their new release "Defenders of the Riff". This band is one of hard work, grit in your craw, grit in your hand cleaner, of big bore engines and steel-toed boots, of backyard barbecue over fluid and coal, of well worn jeans and righteous facial hair, of All American ass kickin' in whatever way needs kickin'.

I follow the awesome album cover artist Alex von Wieding, who has created dozens of incredible fantasy pieces for metal bands around the world. He happened to mention how the music behind one of his latest album covers was contagious in effect and humongous in scope. That album was "Defenders of the Riff", which you can tell by the artwork above was a great inspiration to von Wieding's vision for the album cover, an extraordinary work of art for a remarkable collection of rocket-fueled retro blues rock n roll.

Hailing from the great states of Maryland and Delaware, Wasted Theory are:

Larry Jackson, Jr. - Vocals, Lead Guitar
Brendan Burns - Drums
Dave McMahon - Rhythm Guitar
Rob Michael - Bass

Just the song titles alone are enough to get your juices flowing with handles like "Get Loud or Get Fucked", "Belly Fulla Whiskey", and "Throttlecock" to name a few. The music behind those titles are big gauge buckshot blasts of big boulder stoner blues, without a doubt. All of the music on this album is a romping good time, with upbeat tempos driven by mangy riffs, decibel heavy, low tuned rhythm, and one sweet gravelly voiced front-man deftly leading the way. The music gives an aura of rawness, but is thoroughly grounded in melodies that immediately cut to the listener's primal core, carving deeply chiseled niches that will have you constantly playing the songs in your head long after you have had to plug in for a re-charge.

bandcamp || facebook


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Geezer - "Geezer"



If you ever want to study a band that is the absolute epitome of stoner rock then look no further than Geezer. While they don't stand alone in this category, they certainly stand at the top of the hill, a hill that they've worked hard to surmount. There are no tricks, no gimmicks, no shortcuts to their music, just good old fashioned heart and hard work laid over tremedous talent and uncanny ability. This has rendered a deeply beautiful collection of fuzz and grit on their latest release, the self-titled "Geezer", on both the Ripple (digital/CD) and STB Records (vinyl) labels, their fourth overall.

Hailing from Kingston, New York, band members include:

Pat Harrington - Guitar, Vocals
Richie Touseull - Bass
Chris Turco - Drums

There are two huge hallmarks of Geezer's music that immediately pull you in when you first hear them, the huge presence of wire melting FUZZ, which I love, and Harrington's equally fuzzy, gritty vocals. He has a quality that is perfectly suited to this style of heavy metal, full of metal shards and crunching concrete, but also crystal clear and athletic in range, a rarity among vocalists in a genre that too often relies on yelling more than singing.

But the goodies don't stop there. Behind the fuzz, of course, are the guitar and bass of Harrington and Touseull, but not before you are treated to the heart pounding stickwork of Turco to kick it all off and keep the music grounded in primal flow. There is absolutely nothing straightforward about what they do as they explore an exciting and enticing variety of sounds, tempos, emotions, and sensations on their intricately beautiful riffs and eloquent runs. This album ranges from darkly haunting as on "Sun Gods", and sweetly melancholy on "Dust", to jump jiving blues rock boogie on "Superjam Maximus", with mind and soul bending psychedelic carpet rides, such as those featured on "Bi-Polar Vortex" and woven throughout.

bandcamp(Ripple) || facebook || bandcamp























Thursday, December 8, 2016

New Band To Burn One To: Onoskelis

The demo from Stockholm, Sweden's, newest purveyors of psychedelic stoner doom heaviness, Onoskelis, is a mightly impressive listen. The three tracks on show offer a range from energetic stoner driven riffs, to heart pounding doom, all covered over with a cloak of psychedelic haziness that carry similarities with their fellow countrymen Monolord, in all the right areas.

We predict big things for these three dudes in the near future, and when you listen to a track like 'Atlantean Blade' for the umpteenth time, you will wholeheartedly agree! Go listen, download, and bang your head away to now!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Band To Burn One To: Slugpie


French three piece Slugpie have just released a Demo of four of the nastiest sludge punishments that we’ve heard all year, and we mean sludge in its heaviest, choking sense. Like a lot of today’s sludge bands, Slugpie has roots embedded into Blues and the grooving tones underpin the fuzzy claustrophobic riffs, especially on a track like ‘Mojo Drown’. The vocals come out like Dopethrone with a sore throat, and they’re as scary as they are addictive.

Slugpie are everything we like about Sludge in 2016: thrashingly fast and doomily slow, suffocating and relentless riffing, and heavy and nasty as hell! I need a shower. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Album Review: Megatherium - "Superbeast"


This shit is THICK.  So put in, turn it up, sit back, and hold on to your ass, cause you're in for a ride.  Just don't let "Prayer For the Ox" and all the creepy druids filing in around you fool you into thinking you are safe.  You, your speakers, and at least some of your windows are probably fucked!  In fact as I sit here in my car, my poor stock stereo system is shedding a single tear which is rolling down the dash as it tries hopelessly to cope with the massive fuzz and low tuned sounds emanating from every speaker.  If I close my eyes I can almost feel the impending doom of an insatiable mosh pit swelling up around me.  There is something familiar, something that makes me feel as if I'm there, in a sea of people, watching this foursome from Verona, Italy destroy it on stage.  There is just enough psychedelia in the vocals to make me flash back to a not so innocent time full of illicit substances, and late nights I'll never ever remember.

Megatherium describe their live show as unique and mesmerizing, with high volume, massive distortions, smoke, samples, neon lights, and video projections.  Just the fact that the recording made me feel as if I was at a live show is a testament to their efforts, and make me join my car with a single tear that I'm not closer to Italy.  The band formed in 2011 combining their experience from other Italian bands such as Aneurysm, Gen Marrone, Elicotrema, Mr. Wilson, and Tokio Conspiracy.  They spent the next few years perfecting their sound, their show, and writing new music, before finally releasing their monstrous debut album Superbeast.  Full of deep trance enducing riffs and hooks abound, this album will keep you interested from start to finish and leave you craving more.

Facebook || Bandcamp

Friday, November 25, 2016

Album Review: Ruff Majik - "The Fox"



Whew! Where are my asbestos gloves? This album is HOT!! Searing through the ionosphere from Pretoria, South Africa, screaming towards us cloaked in fuzz stuffed riffs, raucous runs, and joyous melody comes the latest release by one of Stoner Rock's new breed of jam masters, Ruff Majik. "The Fox" delivers six fibrous, rollicking delicacies of amplified fuzz close on the heels of their 2015 offering of "The Bear", itself bursting forth with six jagged metal edges of sharp and smoky stoner standards.

Ruff Majik are comprised of:

Johni Holliday - Guitars, vocals, and narratives
Benni Manchino - Drums and narratives
Jimi Glass - Bass guitar

As an EP of six, "The Fox" has little room and little time to waste in solidifying a sound that will attract the ear of discerning stonerheads. I can safely and securely report they have been quite successful in utilizing every bit, every note, every riff, every run, every song on this astounding release.

"King of the Badgers"  This opening track begins with what would appear to be a setup for a psychedelic riff trip, but before the initial minute has closed the band has unleashed fuzzy hell on our senses, and all out distortion through melodic amplification. Fittingly, Glass's bass begins the riffslaught, followed closely by Holiday's dextrous riff-fire and then Manchino's undertow of power. The tenor of the song is pure stoner bliss, with low tuned distortion and filtered fierceness throughout, before closing on a short, melancholy acoustic coda.

"Wax Wizard" begins with heads tilted simultaneously to the sky at the gargantuan sound and straight downward to the dark abyss of low tuned stoner perfection. This song is deliberate, dank, and darkly determined in its steady onslaught of hammer blows and husky sound detonations.

Third in line is "Canned Fruit Bats", which utilizes a very cool opening couple of minutes. The fidelity at the outset is low, simple, and melodically beautiful, almost as if being played through your portable hi-fi at the beach back in the day. But very cool soon gives way to awesome. Awesome in scope, delivery, and emotion. The band's now customary onslaught begins with, and sustains an up-tempo flow of fuzzy chords and dusty laser riffs wrapped in a vocal and lyrical masterstroke. This song is a treasure.

"Sodoom and Gomorah" is a dirge of dark delight, gloomy and certain in its trudging tempo through melodic muck before revving up its outboard amplifiers to cut a quick and deadly swath toward its riff laden conclusion.

Opening with a poetic reading that is a prelude to what's to come is "Coffin Dragger", another beautifully crafted up-tempo onslaught of fuzz and distortion in the same vein Ruff Majik have perfectly established to this point, but offering up something new and immensely compelling, burying your experience deep into exquisite riffs of bass, string, and skin.

The closer is an emotional ride told in two parts, each equally adept at portraying the darkness of emotion and loss. "Royal Forest" is a beautifully haunting tale, perfectly accentuated through low wailing riffs and woeful vocals.

bandcamp || facebook || documentary


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Green River Thrillers-Distorted Diva- LP/ Heavy Noise Rock

I asked Reg from Heavy Planet if I could review this album with him knowing its not Doom/Sludge/Stoner. Which it's not, it's a straight up heavy ass rock album with Punk, Metal and Noise Rock influence. I assured him that this album needs to be heard. He said. "no prob".

If you ever just need to put on an album that will kick you in the teeth and give you the feeling to kick the days ass and pound some golden throat charmers afterwards, then Distorted Diva is that album . Gary Hughes, Alan Alfano and Phil Smith have created an album where every song is good  and has made it onto my most played this last month.

GRT are no slackers and have recently finished a west coast tour and have been playing a shit ton of live shows for years now and have been heralded as one of the Emerald City's most consistently kick ass live bands.

GRT recorded this beauty at Earwig studios with the help of Don Farwell bringing a great attack and overall tonal assault to the production starting right off with "shithead complex" and keeping you coming back for more all the way to the finish line. In a world becoming over-saturated with bad Sleep knockoffs, Green River Thrillers bring a much needed kick in the sludgy nuts. Now I'm not knocking Stoner/Doom or Sludge, my band taps into all 3 of those genre's, but GRT is a breath of fresh air and I highly recommend this album.

So if you find yourself in Seattle go see them as they play regularly and will be playing Rachel the supreme overlord of Devil's Child Records b-day party tomorrow night (11-18) at the Valley in Tacoma Washington with a stellar lineup.

If you see me there lets have a beer and watch some killer rock and roll!

http://www.greenriverthrillers.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/distorted-diva/id1128923826




Album Review-Wolves Carry My Name: Black Earth Tongue



It's about 6:00 am.  Pitch shit black, and I've been up since 3:15, on the road since 4:00.  Drank enough coffee to kill a horse and only about 50% sure I'm on the right road.  I'm in no mood for the horrible atrocities and audible crimes perpetrated by this so-called "morning radio".  Bieber, Bieber, country, church service, talk show, church service....  I think my soul wants to vomit.  With miles of some of NY's most boring highway ahead, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to blast the new Wolves Carry My Name album, "Black Earth Tongue".  Released on Oct 14, 2016, I got my copy the day it came out, but this was my first opportunity to listen to it straight through, uninterrupted.  Their previous release "Among the Ashes and Ruins", instantly became one of my favorite albums and I have been not so patiently waiting for a follow up ever since.  I had high hopes and was not disappointed.  This was exactly the kind of kick in the teeth I needed to get through this dismal ride. 

Only seconds in and I'm feeling rejuvenated, rocking down the highway speed limits be damned.  I've heard listening to good music is a legal defense. Legitimate in any court for speeding.  But don't quote me on that.  At only about 29 minutes long this isn't an exceptionally long album.  But it doesn't need to be.  There is no fluff, no filler, no fucking around here.  They get in, get the job done and get out!  Like a precision bank robbery.  In and out before you know what hit you, leaving you holding your ass looking for you wallet and all the killer cat food coupons contained within. 

Their Bandcamp page describes their sound as "a bastard of 90's sludge metal and ruthless hardcore fused into sonic waves of blackness".  That description works for me as they fall under no conventional label.  A tempo faster than your typical sludge but with vocals just a vicious.  Guitar hooks and stoner rock moments with a more ambient doomy feel other times.  All the different elements are woven together seamlessly.  I am guilty of never paying much attention to listening to an album in order, but one thing that struck me about the first album was how it flowed,this album is no different.  Teeth Black as Coffin Nails serves as an introduction and Tamam Shud is a fitting conclusion.  The thought about every aspect is evident throughout.  From the arrangements to the track layout.  No wasted time.  Hard hitting and straight to the point.  Do yourself a favor and check out their Bandcamp and pick up a copy. 

Bandcamp || Facebook

Heavy Rock from Santa Cruz/ Doors to nowhere-The Haunting

Members: Marc Lewis, Sean Sanford, Peter Testorff bring you 8 songs of straight forward heavy rock from Santa Cruz California with a bluesy stoner vibe to boot. The vocals in the opening track "Devil's Backbone" remind me of the vocal stylings of early Kyuss which sets the tone for the following 8 tracks. I dig the short interlude of The Strange going into The Burn and there's plenty of solid riffs as the boys in Doors To No where are seasoned pro's. "The Haunting" is the follow up to "Lucky you" which they released in 2015. Catch them around the bay area as it seems they get out fairly often. You can pick this up on itunes, Bandcamp or Spotify

https://youtu.be/oCg_J646hxs

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Album Review: Slumber Dust - "Slumber Dust"



Fuzz, beautiful fuzz. It's what rock music these days in the mainstream is missing more than anything, it seems to me. The seeming reckless unleashing of the guitar in wonderful variation makes for beautiful metal musical constructs, vehicles of dank, dusk, and gloom that exhilarate and soar, deftly gliding through gritty, grimy filters of string and skin . We call it stoner, desert, doom, and sludge. It began in earnest as a genre in the 90s and exploded in that first fertile decade of the new century. And so now it forcefully powers through its third decade, hurtling fiercely toward a fourth, as strong as ever, witnessed by the massive number of artists and albums releasing new music almost daily on a worldwide scale. A hallmark of this ever awesome underground reverie is the subject of today's review, Slumber Dust, hailing just a stone throw from Buffalo, across the border in Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Slumber Dust are a three piece faction of foot stomping, ass grinding metal rockers who bring an essential musical, metal deference to their brand of stoner rock and their initial self titled EP release.

At the time of recording, Slumber Dust were comprised of 3 members:

Geoff Graham - Vocals, and Guitar
Mike Manseau - Bass
Chance Watt - Drums

But the early history of the band was that of Geoff writing and playing songs with Kevin King, who can be heard on the underground recording of "Saturn's Basement" that is comprised of two of their songs, and seen in the accompanying video below. Well before Slumber Dust were able to properly record the album in a studio, Kevin passed away. Undaunted, Geoff formed the three piece named above and engineered the EP's recording and release on BandCamp.

Since the release of "Slumber Dust", Chance has been replaced with Eric James, and the new three piece arrangement are hard at work on 8 new monstrous tracks for their second release.

The EP opens with "The Last Starfighter", which quickly establishes the wealth of gifts these three Canadian lads have on offer. Guitar, bass, and drums are all immediately established with a clamor and commotion of fuzz galore. Following not long after are Geoff's vocals, a perfect complement to the underlying undulations. The song is heady, steady, and huge, with a persistent one two punch of rhythm that soon gives way to a mind bending instrumental stretch.

The tempo is tightened on "Angels", crunching and crackling with a blue spark of elecrtricity. "Pryamids" follows with a stoner huzzah, brandishing an engorged feast of melodic fuzz. This song will be on my 2016 mix, and beyond, as one of special quality.

"Samadhi" continues the established trend with huge and hungry guitar leading the way through a fun and original melody, this one with an exquisite haunting quality that flashes into your consciousness immediately, staying long after. "Ksitigarbha" is a sloshing, slogging doomcast of dark and dangerous undertones, leading perfectly into the finale, "Bad Karma", which again establishes Slumber Dust's keenness for melody wrapped in heavy, syrupy blankets of muddy fuzz.

I've been quick to note the guitar work and outstanding vocals of frontman Geoff Graham, but equally gifted and energetic on this album are both Mike Manseau's bass and Chance Watt's drums. Mike makes the bass soar under the reedy landscape of melody with his own expert riffs of low bliss. Chance's drums are simply fun incarnate, never taking a backseat to the renown of riff or lead of vocal, while complementing both.

Slumber Dust are a young band, just getting started on their long, musical assault of stoner riches. We look forward to what they have in store for us in the future.



bandcamp || facebook || soundcloud

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Album Review: Why Desperados - "WD Crew"



Like most of you I listen to lots of new music, new in the sense that I've not yet heard it whether it was released today or last decade. Each new album begins with anticipation, wondering whether this
one will be a gem, the Arkenstone languishing among a sea of rudimentary treasures. Of course, one person's Arkenstone is another person's Hope diamond, I suppose. Today I present to you a rare gem of rock, with Why Desperados' "WD Crew". Self proclaimed as part of the stoner rock genre this band certainly has a heavy, delicious guitar presence combined with melodies and beats that vigorously vibrate down those primal music cords of our rock n' roll soul, but I would claim they have carved out their own sound that, of course, borrows from many great rock bands of past and present, but exudes a uniqueness that is fun, fantastic, and outright fabulous in presentation. Spinning through the tracks goes much too quickly, leaving you wanting....MORE....please! If this is your first encounter with Why Desperados, and you find, as I have, that after listening to this new release you want more, there is an earlier release, "Sand Flood", as well as a single, "Careless" available on their Bandcamp and SoundCloud sites (links below).

Why Desperados, hailing from Dormolletto, Italy, include band members:

Matias Peruch - guitar
Gianluca Barbaglia - guitar
Nicolò Cagnan - drums
Giuseppe Muscatelli - bass
Andrea Archita - vocals

The driving forces of Cagnan's drumwork and Muscatelli's bass in exquisitely delivered time provide the rock solid platform for both Peruch and Barbaglia to grind, experiment, and soar with their blissful twin guitars. Topping it all off are Archita's truly beautiful vocals, raw and poignant, strong and yearning, pleasantly in sync with the finely crafted melodies this Italian fivesome have bestowed upon the rock loving world to enjoy.



bandcamp || soundcloud || facebook || twitter || instagram

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Album Review: Pesta - Bring Out Your Dead


Black Sabbath is an absolute standard bearer for much of what we love in heavy metal, whether it be stoner, doom, sludge, or other darker dives into low tuned musical underworlds. Fans of Black Sabbath, therefore, might find the latest release by Belo Horizante, Brazil's Pesta an absolute rush of addictive melody, riff, and distortion. Pesta do not rip off Sabbath, but instead channel much of those dark metal arts laid down long ago through their own abilities and tendencies, which are superb in delivering well developed, expertly executed tracks of a near genius blend of doom and stoner rock.

The members of Pesta are:

Anderson Vaca - bass
Thiago Cruz - vocals
Daniel Roca - guitar
Marcos Resende - guitar
Flavio Freitas - drums

The album opens with a kick to the head on "Black Death", announcing early that darkness and heft are the linchpins of their sound. Guitars and bass boom ponderously, unflinchingly through clutching muck and dark mire, leading up to more energetic riffs of pure bliss that are overwoven soon enough by Cruz' penetrating, robust vocals. "Words of a Madman" combine slogging doom hammer blows with a sing-song melody that is as ferocious as it is joyous. Next up, an ode to their totem inspirations via a beautifully rendered bass solo from Vaca with "The Butler Did It", which leads quickly into what is now the established deep richness of Pesta's renderings on this 8 track release with "Intimate". Tempo and spice are kicked up a notch on the freewheeling "March of Death", perhaps the album's best track. "The End is Near" is a beautifully rendered instrumental segue, while a return to form in "The 4th Horseman" and the longer, seven-minute trek of "Possession" round out this sophomore effort from these South America virtuosi with the surprising gifts of offering up a fresh take on the time-honored, and often sought sound of one of Metal's alltime greats.

bandcamp || facebook || bandcamp (initial EP)



Monday, October 24, 2016

LP Review: Tao of the Devil - Brant Bjork



When I know Brother Brant is putting out a new disc I get a bit giddy, whether it’s instrumentally heavy (Jalamanta) or his 70s groove sound fused with an 80s new wave feel (the Operators/and the Bros) it’s pure ear candy to these hungry ears. Everything that BB has been a part of I’ve loved; be it the masters of fuzz, Fu Manchu, Desert rock pioneers Kyuss, or Vista Chino...and of course the list goes on. Bjork has released a ridiculous amount of albums since his debut solo album 17 years ago. And like with any band, I like some albums more than others. The last two BB albums in particular, though I still love them, have been my least favorite, mostly to do with some of the production and his vocals sounding a little different--a bit rougher--than earlier stuff. But with Tao of the Devil he’s back to form and filled with 70s hard rock venom.

Normally I don’t break down each song but we’re talking Brother Brant here and sometimes you’re not sure exactly what kind of groove you’re getting, and well...I just love BB enough to do that.

The Gree Heen - Right off the bat the album starts out pretty bluesy, the guitar and vocals preaching together in harmony, ultimately leading into full-on Sabbathy doom. There’s even the obligatory bouncy Sabbath breakdown half way through the song. BB was clearly channeling Iommi in this tune.

Humble Pie - We all know how BB digs the 70s rock, and he shares that love with us album after album, but this particular song is probably the most undeniably straight up dirty 70s hard rock that he’s given us. Blue Cheer meets James Gang meets Grandfunk Railroad and a dash of Big Brother & the Holding Company...yup, this one is raw and gritty.

Stackt - Heavy, heavy groove with some of that same guitar lead/vocal harmony thing going on. And as though Brant himself were on the drums, the cymbals are beaten mercilessly and the high hat open just like his days in the Fu. This is one of the songs that holds a bit more raw production on Brant’s voice, something he started doing on Gods and Goddesses and more so in Black Flower Power; it’s not horrible, and in this song I'd say it's even needed. But I do prefer that nice clean, overdubbed vocals on his earlier albums.

Luvin’ - This song screams old KISS...just wait until them vocals kick in and you’ll feel it too. Brant’s vocals are back to that overdubbed Frehley-esque sound that he’s blessed us with on so many of the other albums. The chorus reeks of straight up 70s rock and roll.

Biker No. 2 - What can I say but more groove rock, though I will admit this is the weakest link on the record for me.

Dave’s War - That bouncing Sabbath riffage with Brant doing his newer growl (reminds me a bit of Gene Simmons when he does it). This is an exceptionally catchy tune that’ll have you singing the chorus (and pre-chorus) while tapping your foot. Approaching the midway mark, the tune slows down into a spacey groove that holds the power to sway your head involuntarily.

Tao of the Devil - A brooding and tribal lazy jam that keeps the same tempo throughout. Evening Jam (bonus track)- A lengthy instrumental that starts out with some Hendrix-esque wah that ultimately erupts into a full-on head-boppin’ upbeat groove then drops into of a more slow bluesy pace, things progress, then drop down again into spacey and atmospheric followed by more progression once again...there’s plenty enough room for this roller coaster of tempo and moods within this 14-minute jam.

Because I purchased the limited fanboy vinyl box set I figured I’d say a few words about the goods that came in it. I paid $49 for the package and it was a steal for sure. A turntable mat, the album both on CD and gatefold clear vinyl, as well as a nice sized poster and bonus clear vinyl with re-recordings of Lazy Bones/Automatic Fantastic and Freaks of Nature (without the usual chorus), and it all came in a beautiful black box with the album cover artwork on the front. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the re-recordings of these older songs but they sound killer. He could have snuck them on the regular disc, taking up half the room on the album but offered them as a bonus instead. I dig that.

Overall, Tao of the Devil is pure gold and consistent with what the man continues to bring: Organic rock with roots planted firmly in the 1970s. The only surprise here is how many solo albums BB has put out in the past 17 years. I can confidently say that if you’re any kind of fan of Brant Bjork at all then you’re going to be very pleased with Tao of the Devil.

~Chad Lutzke

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