Thursday, April 27, 2017

QUICK HIT: Green Yeti - "Desert Show"



Today's Quick Hit is infused with a bit of doom and a heaping effusion of psychedelic fuzz. A lively bass accompanies ethereal vocals and a wicked guitar, floating in a stew of chunky drumbeats and clever amplification. This three piece band from Athens, Greece has managed to build an impressive presence on social media in just a few short years, but what they've managed to do most brilliantly is craft together an atmospheric cavalcade of intoxicating, mouth-melting metal.

bandcamp ... facebook ... twitter ... soundcloud ... riffipedia ... metal-archives ... instagram ... youtube

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

QUICK HIT: Bionic Cavemen - "Reactor"



Late in 2013 I had stumbled across an up and coming band and their initial release, "Predator", naming it my Number 9 favorite album of 2013. The 4 gentlemen from Chicago are back with their latest release, an eleven track LP that blisters and burns with savage blues rock fury. The hallmark of stoner/retro/blues rock music is, of course, the massive, gargantuan guitars, amplified to sun blocking heights, and Bionic Cavemen have emphatically perfected this aspect of their music, although thankfully not at the expense of their wonderful lead vocalist whose ragged, raging vocals are an aural injection of sheer pleasure. Add to the mammoth sound and spine-chilling vocals are an opus of songs that are immediately engaging with an additional genius of structure and design. This is no mean feat when combined with a sound that is typically simple and powerfully primal, which "Reactor" is upon first listen. But, even at first listen you hear 'more', the kind of 'more' that will keep you spinning it as much for the mind-numbing riffs as for the admiration and enjoyment of high craft embedded throughout, just waiting for discovery.

bandcamp ... facebook ... youtube

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

DOUBLE TOKE: The Darts - Self-Titled LP / Mad Monkees - Self-Titled LP

I have 2 artists' works to share with you today, so this'll be two Quick Hits in one, which surely can be classified as a double toke, right? The theme today is a punky, garage-y, grungey assault with stoner rock fuzz bombs.



When I listen to The Darts I envision uber-slick rockers from somewhere in Britain, but these nimble rock warriors hail instead from Phoenix and Los Angeles. They display the full battery of stoner assault weaponry with a relentless bass, massive drums, and gargantuan guitar, blasting missiles of massive fuzz, but what sets them apart are the blitzkrieg of vocals from each of the four band members and the razor sharp melodies upon which the assault is laid. It's a formidable vehicle upon which is built an array of quality pieces, all of it erupting with heart and sweat and not a little bit of innate ability, making for music that is thoroughly pleasurable, deeply satisfying, and massively fun.

bandcamp ... facebook ... website

♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦♣♠♥♦



Hailing from Fortaleza, Brazil this band of four very special primates delivers a whopping load of fuzz and fun on their self-titled LP, released a year and a half after their self-titled EP. If you're coming across these high octane rockers for the first time then together the EP and LP offer up 14 roaring tracks of imaginative assonance, designed to be played in the loudest mode you can muster.

bandcamp ... facebook ... website ... reverbnation ... instagram ... youtube

♪☺♂☻◙•☼◘○♀♫♪☺♂☻◙•☼◘○♀♫♪☺♂☻◙•☼◘○♀♫♪☺♂☻◙•☼◘○♀♫♪☺♂☻◙•☼◘○♀♫♪☺♂☻◙•☼◘○♀♫♪☺♂

Monday, April 24, 2017

QUICK HIT: Shotgun Sawyer's "8 Bangers"



Fresh stoner/blues produce from the Auburn, California trio of Brett, Dylan, and David, better known as Shotgun Sawyer, has just been released on a split EP with fellow rockers BandMaster Ruckus. The split is appropriately titled "8 Bangers". Shotgun Sawyer's 4 contributions are sticky sweet, gingerbush salty, and euphorically addictive, hallmarks all of their entire, if brief and budding, atheneum.

You might recall that last August Reviewmeister Pete posted a review of Shotgun Sawyer's incredible LP "Thunderchief", one of the best rock album's of that year, or any year. A follow up in a mere six months is an unexpected and welcome treat, a high octane scratch for an ever-urgent itch.

bandcamp ... facebook ... website

Friday, April 21, 2017

QUICK HIT: Carson- "Three Point Split"


This might not be what you would call standard stoner rock, but what is quite evident with this 4 song EP is that a meaty fuzz generator cranks out plenty of rough and ready riffage wrapped in and around some tasty melodies loaded with juicy hooks. Carson have managed to blend an alt-rock vibe with the power and satisfaction of edgy, crunchy riffs. This is the kind of music that keeps you spinning through the tracklist both to enjoy the sounds you know are there and to perchance discover any toothsome nuance not yet revealed.

"Three Point Split" comes on the heels of Carson's earlier 2017 LP release, "Drown the Witness", a 7 song power trip of wit and grit. So, all spun, this three-piece Swiss band have given us a memorable, fuzz-infused, melodic experience.

bandcamp || facebook || website 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

QUICK HIT: Swanmay - "Stoner Circus"



Releasing today, "Stoner Circus" is Swanmay's second recording, the first being the excellent EP "Metronome". The band's trio of riff-slingers, hailing from the Steel City of Linz, Austria, are true thaumaturges of fuzz, infusing their deep, immersive music in lusty amplification and emotionally palpable effects anchored to intelligent melodies and razor-sharp hooks capable of engulfing your metal soul in paroxysms of sheer indulgence.

Run away as fast as you can from the mundane and join this circus of fuzz today to get in on the ground floor of its mammoth awesomeness.

bandcamp || facebook || YouTube || spotify || instagram || soundcloud || vimeo

Friday, March 31, 2017

Wounded Giant- Vae Victus LP/STB records

Shirts off! and congrats to Wounded Giant for signing with STB Records.

Out tomorrow (April 1st) on STB records is the new release from Seattle's own Wounded Giant, you'd best get on STB's site early as I imagine the limited editions* will sell out quickly. Wounded Giant are no strangers to vinyl with a full length titled Lightning Medicine (in my collection) and some splits, one which was with Goya* also an STB release and a beauty I may add.
Seems to me Steve has some of the best packaging around including Cloaks (Ancient Warlocks), and Bottle openers (Year of the Cobra) etc..
These chest baring tattoo-clad Riff Worshipers of Doom/Stoner/Metal and Psychedelic have gone into studio with master of all heaviness Billy Anderson and came out with 6 tracks of the aforementioned, pummeling along with the title track and into a slower instrumental piece back into the chug groove, this album with songs averaging over the 6 minute mark fits nicely as their sophomore release.. I did notice it got way better at louder volumes..go figure. I have seen them live  a few times and they can get loud and heavy with the best of them.
Vae Victus is right up all of Heavy Planet's avenues and is sure to keep those in tune with HP's sites happily chugging the ale while nodding along to the grooves laid out by Bobby, Dylan and Alex.. did I mention WG has their own beer?  It's a 9% IPA that was released by STB and Oliver Brewing Co. called the Vae Victus.
Get your hands on this album put it on your turntable and you may become overwhelmed to go shirtless and raise some horns.
Mastering duties were held by none other then riff/studio Wizard Tony Reed of Heavy Head studios and the now legendary Mos Generator.

Digital distribution handled by Magnetic Eye Records.

1.Vae Victis 09:30
2.Dysthiest 06:20
3.Immanentize The Eschaton (Jim Jones Instrumental) 04:43
4.Scum Of The Earth 07:03
5.The Room Of The Torch 07:36
6.Green Scar 06:09
 http://stbrecords.bigcartel.com/

Die Hard Edition:
Limited to 100 units on 180-gram red, yellow, and green tri-color vinyl with blue splatter. Comes housed in a hand-numbered, high-density/high-gloss gatefold jacket with Die Hard-only foil stamping, and accompanied by an exclusive Wounded Giant signet ring.
OBI Series:
Limited to 150 units on 180-gram clear vinyl with white center and red and yellow splatter. Comes in a hand-numbered high-density matte-finished gatefold jacket with flood UV effects and foil-stamped OBI series spine strip.
Not So Standard Edition:
Limited to 250 units on 180-gram red and white swirl vinyl. Comes in a full-color matte-finished gatefold jacket with flood UV effects.





Monday, March 27, 2017

LP Review: Relic by Forming the Void

The artwork to Forming the Void's second release depicts a cloaked figure carrying a trident, riding a harnessed piece of earth with a chain of other rocks through the cosmos with a hawk by it's side; it's dark, psychedelic, and perfectly encaptures the slow driving riffs that this Louisiana band deliver with a blunt knife to the temple.

Opening track 'After Earth' slowly picks you up on a dust cloud, sailing through the atmosphere of hazy drones and soothing guitar picks before delivering it's crushing blow of stoner/doom riffs like a creeping tsunami. The vocals of James Marshall are really refreshing to listen to as they avoid the typical stoneresqe gruff shouting vocals, but instead have a more 90's grunge tone to them as the guitars chug away in the background to a pulsating beat. The band lay the doom ethic on as thick as they do the crushing stoner,and it's a combination which is all encompassing, at times soaring with touches of psychedelia, and others the slowest of doom.

'The Endless Road' has similarities with bands like Sergeant Thunderhoof, with thick layers of crushing riffs building upon progressive musicianship with becomes quite captivating to listen to. 'Bialozar' is straight up powering stoner metal with attitude and we just cannot stop throwing fists at the fuzzy guitar riffs with smiles on our stupid faces. Forming the Void aren't necessarily breaking boundaries with their music, but they are doing the best possible versions of their genre that they could hope for.

The rest of the record simple continues to just fucking destroy you, with each pulverising guitar riff of 'Relic', the psychedelic hammering of 'The Witch', and the menacing doom of 'Unto the Smoke', all beating you black and blue, just so they can soothe you with an absolutely killer version of Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir' to close the record, seriously, you've got to hear this track! Relic is a superb stoner/metal/doom record which will be getting many many many a repeated listen at Heavy Planet HQ. Go and listen and tell us how right we are.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

LP Review: Let It Burn by REZN

Now this is just what we needed! It's been a pretty slow start to the beginning of 2017 for us guys at HP, we needed a bit of a wake up call to get our arses into gear, and it turns out that an almighty heavy slab of cosmic doom will do just the trick! Enter Chicago's REZN.

Coming across like a psychedelic Electric Wizard, REZN are making a huge noise on their debut full-length record; the guitars are tuned to their fuzzy maximum while the drums echo from the gut and the vocals drone into a tripped out phenomena. Opening track 'Relax' doesn't fuck about, and begins to pummel your senses from the start with its chugging stoner/doom riffs creating a wall of sound that will crush weaker individuals. Everything about REZN's sound is massive, the drum kit must need replacing after each set the way Patrick Dunn pounds away, but then at the flick of a switch they create delicate tripped out moments of hazy clarity, before you fall out of the sky and hit the ground with the massive riffs.

'Wake' creeps along like a Black Sabbath song that was dropped for being a bit too heavy, with lots of trippy vocals and bass lines that'll make you not even need those drugs to reach your astral plain of consciousness. But even in their quieter moments they can't stop themselves from being heavy as hell as the riffs and cymbals come crashing down once again. 'Dread' is the calm amongst the ongoing storm, a short instrumental moment of reflection on the havoc that has been caused so far. 'Rezurrection' comes across with elements of a Far Eastern space trip, standing the hairs on your neck on high as the band take you under their spell.

Let It Burn is an hour's worth of extraordinarily heavy cosmic doom that dips its toes into a lot of stoner and psychedelic elements with spectacular results. It crushes your soul, and that's all we can really ask for.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

7" Review: Aboleth - EP-I



Feast your eyes on that simple, beautiful album cover above. It's a bellwether for what is packaged inside. Los Angeles trio Aboleth have kicked off their career with a sweet three song 7" record simply titled EP-1, packed with explosive stoner rock magic that runs the gamut of tripping all the right triggers of outstanding stoner/desert/retro/blues rock.

The hard rocking trio include:

Brigitte Roka on vocals
Dan Joeright on drums
Collyn McCoy on baguitar

Baguitar? What the......? McCoy, stoner rock royalty from both Trash Titan and Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, has devised a new hybrid instrument that allows him to riff both ultra high and mega low. The sound of this beautiful invention is a runaway blitzkrieg thunder vortex, which McCoy unleashes from the jump on the first track, "No Good".

"No Good" is a tremendous introduction to Aboleth's sound as Joeright's skinskinning comes in alongside McCoy's baguitar monsoon licks to create a clean, athletic sound that stretches the boundaries of blues rock riffing. It pulls you in quickly with its brilliance before the door squeaks open for Roka's raspberry sweet and smoky bourbon vocals to ooze seamlessly into the mix, making a triumvirate of indigo crisp and mesmerizing stoner bliss. This song is raucous and well crafted, a whipsaw of thick multidimensional fuzz, a deluge of intriguing sound and melody.

Next up is "Corpsehunter", another onslaught of sound and craft, weaving melody with those unique baguitar riffs and Roka's pitch perfect vocals, vocals that simultaneously haunt and exhilarate. Closing out the thrill ride is "Captain Cheese", a nearly 7 minute psychedelic turn on a measured metal journey, impeccable in detail and nuance, and brilliant in deeply heartfelt exertion.

The sound Aboleth has crafted is simply exquisite. It's fine stoner/desert rock, but doesn't rest there on any laurels. The sound of the baguitar is equally exquisite, magnifying the energy and amplitude of standard fuzz riffage, which makes for a deeper than usual intrigue for the listener. Roka's vocals are unique. They contain both the sharp cutting edge of the finest of female vocals while tempering that keenness with an underlying ragged snarl that magnifies the appeal of the whole. And then there are the clean, clear, muscular rhythms of Joeright's drumwork, who manages to pull off the difficult task of making the underlying rhythm significant enough to be enjoyed without ever stepping on the magnificence of his cohorts' contributions. The three pillars upon which Aboleth are founded and upon which it stands are formidable in function, breathtaking in form, and a fantastically thrilling encounter.

Aboleth are in the studio cranking out their next wide spectrum stoner sojourn. Once this initial triple jam foray gets a bit of notoriety the anticipation for future releases will likely skyrocket. This first stage booster is powerful and magnificent and should pave the way for the explosive stages of future releases.

bandcamp ||  facebook || instagram






Monday, February 20, 2017

MOTHERSHIP/ High Strangeness LP- Ripple Music

 The pre order for the new Mothership has landed!
Mothership brings 8 new songs of ass shaking, beer downing, riff rippin' ditties.
Ride the Sun and Speed Dealer bring the uptempo boogie while songs like Midnight Express and Crown of Lies call on the heavy. It moves into a more thought provoking trance with Eternal Trip, which is a great song to reflect on life while staring at your black light posters thinking and honoring friends lost before letting life rip with some proper rock and roll right into Wise Man.
If you like straight up badass rock and roll with a party attitude, Mothership won't let you down! 

Recorded and Mixed by Ryan Lee at Fire Station Studios In San Marcos TX and Mastered by none other then Rock Wizard Tony Reed of Mos Gen  at Heavy Head Studios in the Pacific Northwest.
Catch Mothership on tour and buy some vinyl!
https://soundcloud.com/actionmedia/mothership-crown-of-lies
http://www.mothershiphaslanded.com/
http://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/artist/mothership
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS049

Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Band To Burn One To-King Father Baboon



Everything about this Nuremberg, Germany band screams rock and fuckin' roll.

-Passionate vocal delivery-✔
-Wailing guitar lead trade-offs-✔
-A definite prowess for making a catchy song-✔
-Cowbell-✔

"Voodoo" is a nice little 3-song introduction to the band. I love all three songs. I'm guessing that a full album from these guys would be in the works, if not then one should be.

bandcamp|facebook

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ghastly Sound S/T EP- Magnetic Eye Records

A big loud noisy 3 piece comprised of Tyler, Ryan and TJ who manage to dial in everything from screaming vocals and seriously heavy guitars and drums to softer quiet melodies which crescendo back into the loud.
I hear a lot of bands I was really into in the 90's and early 2000's in these songs, think somewhere between Deftones, Helmet and At the Drive in, which is right up my alley.
The musical world seems to always circle around and Ghastly Sound could've fit perfectly on the mainstage of Ozzfest cira 2001 and they will also fit perfectly on stages here in 2017. You can pick up these 4 gems on digital download in March and hopefully they'll have enough to put out a full length soon. They've just recently hooked up with Magnetic Eye Records so I imagine or hoping some sweet vinyl will be coming in the not so distant future.
1. The Worst
2. Where the ghosts hide
3. Cape Buffalo
4.Cuttlefish

Sunday, February 12, 2017

New Band To Burn One To-Lowcaster



Well, it's been quite a while since I have done any sort of review for the site. So, I felt today would be a great day to shake off the rust. Yesterday, I was perusing through thee old Bandcamp app and came across a band called Lowcaster. What drew me to the band was the album artwork, which is something that usually does. Without knowing where the band was from, I detected elements of doom, sludge and thrash. I was surprised to learn that the band was from San Francisco, CA. And based on the logo, I thought there might have been some black metal elements as well. Turns out I was wrong. But, one thing is for damn sure, this band is HEAVY! The opening song "Blood Moon" starts off with a southern sludge feel, a la C.O.C. but "The Vapor Sea" is much more than that. The album is a vastitude of kick ass dual guitar shredding, chest-crushing heaviness (the riff on "Dirty War" is enormous, whew!), a hardcore punk attitude, and fist-pumping heavy metal anthems. Awesome stuff!

Bandcamp|Facebook

Saturday, February 11, 2017

LP Review: Feed The Rats by Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs


Ever since catching these guys headline at the Cluny venue in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, towards the end of last year, we’ve been waiting for this record to drop, and by god how mightily it crashes to earth; psychedelic stoner riffs, earthly pounding drums, and vocals at their rawest, Feed The Rats is a hell of a statement from Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs that we’ve had on repeat for a good month now (hence the delayed review).


Pigs(x7) are a band containing members of other North Eastern England bands such as the fantastic Blown Out, Ommadon, and Khunnt, and the musical dexterity is expressed vividly on opening track ‘Psychopomp’, a 15 minute headfuck of thrusting riffs and psychedelic nuances that keep you gripped to the songs’ core base of being a heavy-ass rock song. The pace never falters, dips, or stops for a breather as the drums pound from the first note to last, the guitar riffs are heavy and dream like, while the vocals of Matthew Baty constantly toe the line between a man possessed and about to lose his voice, to sheer anger.

After the mammoth opener, the band create the “normal” length ‘Sweet Relief’ which is pure heavy stoner majesty. Same pounding drums, heavy riffs, agonising vocals, condensed under five minutes, you know it’s a monstrous song when it tightens its grip on your windpipe until you start turning blue. Feed the Rats is only three tracks long, but with the 1st and 3rd tracks hitting over 30 minutes combined, it’s a fair amount, especially when the colossus of ‘Icon’ begins to slay away at your speakers, what little energy remains in you quickly gets burned up in the smoke haze filled waves of purple and green that spin towards you with every word and riff Pigs(x7) layer on top of the last. 


The band are all the good kinds of claustrophobic, the good kinds of sweaty sleaze, the highs from the drugs, the ringing from the burst ear drums, and the blood from your broken nose. Many people will have said this before of the band, and many will to come, but, yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!

(Oh, and that's some sweet ass artwork too! The vinyl comes as a die-cut and the coloured insert is inter-changeable with the figure on the front)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Album Review: Holy Mount - "The Drought



 
Anybody like theoretical physics?  The fuzzy world of quantum mechanics?

Who doesn't right?

Holy Mount, a four piece from Canada lay down 7 psyched out tracks of the kind of stuff I would imagine the likes of Einstein, Feynman, Dirac, and Heisenberg listening to if they had it available in their day.  Blasting in their labs, while sitting and pondering the meaning of life and the inner workings of the world.  Heavy ass fuzzed out spacey riffs providing the soundtrack for insights into the universe.

Add trippy layer onto trippy layer, mix with just the right amount of heavy, stir, and "The Drought" will take you on a fabric of space time bending journey that would make Einstein proud...  No matter which parallel universe you are reading this in.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Heavy Planet Celebrates It's 9 Year Anniversary

Well, if you were to get technical, Heavy Planet actually started in 1999 while I was working for National Record Mart. I wanted to start a website that would feature new bands that no one ever heard before and needed an outlet to do that, so I started an Angelfire page and the rest is history. It was very short lived and was basically anything heavy metal. Back in March of 2007 I was kicking around the idea of a much bigger and better website and decided to revive the old and outdated format keeping the same idea and focus in mind. Unfortunately, I somehow lost all of my posts from 2007, but decided to truck on. I always loved bands like Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Monster Magnet and wanted to give bands like them more of the exposure they deserved. So, on February 5, 2008, Heavy Planet relaunched as a Stoner Rock blog. I am proud of our accomplishments thus far and can't thank enough the writers that have come and gone and shared their passion and sacrificed their time for the cause. Thanks so much for your dedication and support. Rest assured we will be here for another year to infest your minds with the best music on the planet. Stay heavy my friends!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Album Review: Larman Clamor - "Beyonder"



There are album cover artists out there in HeavyPlanet land that crank out beautiful covers for a myriad of Doom and Stoner metal bands and musicians, but one such artist, Alex von Wieding, none more abundantly known, finds the time in between wielding his incredible digital paintbrush to also lay down deep, dank ethereal delights of stoner blues tunes as well, in the guise of Larman Clamor, the moniker of this one man atmospheric blues fuzz machine.

The latest release by Larman Clamor, Beyonder, continues the artist's prolific trend of oozing smoggy blues riffs that slowly sheath the listener in thick tribal chords of indigo smoke, evoking the aroma of old leather and aged whiskey, and smoothly transporting you to a realm of peace and comfort, like old denim and well-worn cowhide.

Beyonder is chock full of 14 separate portals of smoldering warmth where von Wieding demonstrates his mastery of melody and one man band execution. The twangy fuzz rife on every track are time machine riffs of instant primal enrapture, a decadent drink of aged liquor, and the ensuing envelopment of insulated warmth.

This album is a skillful rendition of emotional analgesic, something to warm your bones while you work, relax, or play, a cushion against rigors and demons alike.

bandcamp || facebook || youtube || website || merch

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Album review: DRYLAND-S/T LP (Stoner-Metal-Punk)

"Dance on the pelts of your enemies, drunk on the blood of a jaguar..."
 Dryland™ formed in the winter of 2014. Members Brad, Clapper, Ryan, Luke and Hollie are here to play you some loud, long, crunchy songs full of thunderous riffs and bizarre, unsettling lyrics. 
Some great albums came out in 2016 and if Dryland's 7 song lp is any indicator of 17' then we're already off to a great start! Each track is full of great heavy tones accentuated with Brad Lockhart's vocals which remind me subtly of some great early 90's noise rock styled vocal deliverance, which is a-ok in my book. From Second Hand Smoke to Moss Witch you can't go wrong.
Someone needs to put these songs to vinyl so I can post pics of it spinning on  my turntable. This band is turning heads and I'm sure will be doing plenty of stage leveling in the years to come.
Catch their release show Feb 25th in their hometown of Bellingham Wa, at the Shakedown  with Helms Alee and Wild powers! 
 https://youtu.be/5z6PdjQiBPE

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WM's Top Ten for 2016



It’s that time of year people, there is snow on the ground, the fireplace is flickering its satanic majesties in the background and I just curled up in my red and green SnuggieTM with a Jameson neat to give you the gift that keeps on giving.  Yes, it’s time for my Top Ten List of new albums for 2016.  

2016 was a tough year, my spiritual guide Lemmy died three days before it started.  Then Bowie died and everyone else it seems.  But the music of 2016 was amazing.  We saw some new bands and some familiar ones put out an astounding number of great albums.  To put all of those together into a list of ten based on my personal preferences is tough to do because there was so much that I enjoyed this year.  But for you good people, I will do my best.  

10. First up is Mississippi Bones and their fourth release 2600 A.D.: And Other Astonishing Tales.  

Heavy, crusty blues rock from this 6 piece band from Ada, Ohio that is so prolific they don't have time to take themselves too seriously.  2600 A.D. is catchy, very well done and one I found myself going back to frequently this year.  



Facebook | Bandcamp

9. Next we have from Bordeaux, France Mars Red Sky and their third release Apex III: Praise For The Burning Soul.  The album is a wonderfully crafted, complex journey of sound.  The ability to take a song from the first few notes of massive and crushing fuzz to a delicate meandering piano accompanied only by vocals, as they do in the title track Apex III, shows their mastery of dynamics and arrangement.  





Facebook | Bandcamp | Website

















8. In the eight spot is Nine Years from Montreal, Quebec's Mountain Dust.  Pure, gritty, beautiful heavy blues rock and roll in all it's glory.  Nine Years is one you instantly fall for and fall hard.  It is a turbulent love affair and the emotion is always center stage, but brought forth in tones that shift from boozy bravado to placid introspection.  A tremendous album and now one of my favorite bands.      
   


Facebook | Bandcamp | Website

7. Orion by King Buffalo takes my seventh spot.  This album is a gorgeous and dizzying journey of heavy riffs and driving percussion delivered with vocal elegance from this Rochester, New York trio.  This is not one of those albums you skip from song to song trying to get to your favorites, it is an experience that can only be undertaken properly from beginning to end.  



Facebook | Bandcamp | Website
 

















6. Whores. Gold. A raucous front kick in the face that is almost as good as seeing them do what they do in front of a crowd.  This album hits hard again and again and then it hits you once more for good measure after the cops have locked them in handcuffs.  This three piece out of Atlanta, Georgia have made an album that has taken aggression to its most beautiful state, completely raw and unforgiving with the sarcastic brilliance of the lyrics being the only thing as malleable as the title of the album.


     

Facebook | Bandcamp | Website












 

5. In my fifth spot I have the return of one of my favorite bands.  Greek stoner legends 1000mods brought us their third full length release Repeated Exposure To... and it is everything I could have wanted. 

 
Facebook | Bandcamp | Website

4. Coming in at the number four spot is the London four piece Elephant Tree and their self-titled first full length album.  This album is beautiful, cohesive and impressive.  Combining elements of blues, stoner rock, doom and psychedelia this is where music is headed.  The sixth track Echoes is my song of the year and a great illustration of their abilities to bring all these elements together and move music forward.  

 
Facebook | Bandcamp

3. In the third spot is Swan Valley Heights from Munich, Germany and their self-titled debut.  You know you are listening to something special when after each spin you find something more to enjoy, your favorite song changes again and again until it covers every single one on the album.  This album is a masterpiece. 

 
Facebook | Bandcamp | Website

2. The second spot goes to Borlänge, Sweden's one and only Greenleaf and their Rise Above The Meadow.  With each listen I am more impressed with the talent, songwriting ability and obvious love of their craft that these four gentlemen possess.  Individually they are all amazing in their own right, together as they show through this release they are somehow even more.   


 

Facebook | Bandcamp 















 


1.  My album of the year goes to Boston's own Gozu and their fourth release RevivalWhat struck me from my first listen of Revival is how resolute these four gentlemen are in their single purpose of  bringing something different and truly their own to the table.  To do so with the precision, style and fearlessness they display on this album is a triumph we all get to share. 
 
 

Facebook | Bandcamp | Website



 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Toby's Top 10...Err 11...of 2016

Being that we’re already two weeks into 2017, let me be the last to wish everyone a happy new year.  My words don’t grace the pages of Heavy Planet as often as they once did, but I can tell you that I still follow this amazing music scene as fervently as I always have.  As a result, I’ve got a few records I’d like to share with you all.  Some of these have already been mentioned by Reg and the other members of the excellent HP staff and some may be new even to them.  So without further ado, here are my favorite albums from 2016.

11) Feller Buncher – 203040



For starters, yes I’m including a #11 this year.  The reason being is that technically this is not a full length album, but rather a 5 song EP.  But it’s so fucking good that I just couldn’t resist including it here, so voila, we have a list that goes to 11!  Now a feller buncher…in case you’re wondering, as I was…is one of those massive harvesting machines that’s capable of cutting (felling) and gathering (bunching) several trees at a time.  They’re heavy machines that can cause a lot of destruction in a short amount of time.  And that pretty much sums up this EP.  Hailing from Paris, France, Feller Buncher combine mammoth riffs with a melodic, drill sergeant bark (think Neil Fallon meets Mike Patton), and some of the best drum work on display in 2016.  Had 203040 been stretched into a full length, this very likely would have been my favorite album of the year.  Check out “After You” for a quick hit sample.



10) Wretch – S/T


The self-titled debut from this Indianapolis power trio is much, much more than a simple doom record.  Wretch is a band that has risen from the ashes of what was once, doom stalwarts The Gates of Slumber.  When Jason McCash, former bassist for that band, passed away in 2014, vocalist/guitarist Karl Simon decided not to carry on under the moniker of his original band out of respect for his fallen brother.  Taking the new band name from the title of the final Gates of Slumber album, Simon recruited drummer Chris Gordon, who had played with Slumber on and off in the past, and newcomer Bryce Clarke on bass.  The resulting debut record is one of immense sorrow, pain, and regret all buried beneath a wall of plodding riffs.  Simon himself says that he’s “often on the verge of tears while playing,” and I can’t think of anything more sincere than that.  This is the real deal folks, pure emotion set to music and the results are staggering.  Give a listen to “Rest in Peace” for a sample.



9) Greenleaf – Rise above the Meadow



This one was released way back in February and was probably the first record of 2016 that I absolutely knew would end up on this list.  Greenleaf are kind of an interesting band given that the only consistent member is guitarist Tommi Holappa of Dozer fame.  The band was originally a sort of side project for members of various Swedish bands (Demon Cleaner, Lowrider, Truckfighters, the aforementioned Dozer), but seems to have become Holappa’s primary gig.  You’ll get no complaints from me.  Rise Above the Meadow sees the band taking a leaner, meaner approach to what we heard on 2014’s Trails and Passes and that’s evident right from the opening punch of “A Million Fireflies.”  Don’t get me wrong, Greenleaf still showcases their bluesy backbone throughout the album, but there’s an urgency here that I didn’t hear on its predecessor.  Put plainly, this thing rocks.  Check out “Howl” for a taste of what to expect. 



8) Whores. - Gold



Atlanta’s Whores. proudly carry the torch for early 90’s noise rock, bringing it screaming into the modern era and shoving it right up the ass of today’s PC culture.  The band pummels your eardrums with feedback laced guitar and militaristic drums while vocalist/guitarist Christian Lembach channels his inner-David Yow as he screeches on “Baby Teeth”…“this place is a joke, always broke…cannot save, what I don’t own.”  Yeah these guys are pissed the fuck off.  As with it’s title and cover art, the album is drenched in dark humor and scathing social commentary.  Check out the track “I See You Are Also Wearing a Black T-Shirt” where Lembach screams ”can’t pretend it’s getting better, can we talk about the weather?…or something else benign…can’t you see we’re closing in, on end times.”  Yeah, listening to Gold will bring you back to a time when Amphetamine Reptile Records ruled the underground and bands like Helmet were on the verge of blowing up the mainstream.  Whores. are the last of a dying breed, they are the noisiest, most chaotic band making music these days, and I’m here to tell you, chaos never sounded so good.



7) Dinosaur Jr. – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not



This is the 4th album released by the original Dinosaur Jr. lineup of J Mascis (guitar/vocals), Lou Barlow (bass/vocals), and Murph (drums) since their reunion in 2005 and it has all the hallmarks of the band’s feedback drenched sound that made them alt-rock heroes in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Heavy Planet readers will likely be more familiar with Mascis’ stoner rock side project, Witch, but shouldn’t sleep on the band that made the man famous.  Dinosaur Jr. are masters of layering fuzzed out tones under mountains of distortion all the while keeping a keen sense of melody as Mascis delivers his signature whine.  Sure, underneath all that fuzz, these are in essence pop songs, but Dinosaur Jr. somehow manage to make them sound incredibly heavy.  Check out “I Walk for Miles” and hear for yourself.  Dinosaur Jr. may not be what you’d typically think of as “heavy,” but that word can mean a lot of things and to my ears, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not earns a well deserved spot on this list.  



6) 1000Mods – Repeated Exposure To…



I got into 1000Mods after hearing their contribution to our first HP compilation Bong Hits from the Astral Basement back in 2013, and I kept right on getting into them with the release of their 2014 album Vultures.  With this latest record, the four piece from Chiliomodi, Greece picks right up where they left off with a heavy dose of low end grooves, tasty riffs, and fuzz for days.  Fun fact…1000Mods is a play on words related to the band’s hometown, as “chilia” means 1000 in Greek.  Right from the opening churn of “Above 179,” the band’s massive dual guitar assault is evident and as you make your way through the record, that heavy riffage gives way to introspective solos and nuanced vocals that add depth and layers to these songs.  I’ve noticed Truckfighters popping up on festival bills around the U.S. over the past couple of years and it seems to me that Repeated Exposure To… may just be the album that similarly brings 1000Mods over to the U.S. for some well deserved…well…exposure. 



5) Droids Attack – Sci-Fi or Die



It had been about six years since we last heard from Madison, Wisconsin’s Droids Attack by the time they finally released Sci-Fi or Die.  A rotating cast of bass players was to blame for the delay, and in Darwin Sampson, the band finally found the yin to drummer Tony Brungraber’s yang.  On this latest record, Droids Attack bobs and weaves in and out of stoner rock, punk, and thrash as the trio, rounded out by vocalist/guitarist Brad Van, rage full steam ahead as if they’ve got to make up for the lost time in pure volume and aggression.  Check out the crushing “Brahma Astra” for a sample of the aural devastation as Van screams “your prayers will not protect you” over a bouncing groove that’ll have your neck snapping to and fro in no time.  Six years is a long time to wait for a new record from anyone, but Droids Attack make quick work of reminding everyone what they’re capable of on Sci-Fi or Die.  Also, this is the only stoner rock album I heard in 2016 that had a saxophone solo (“Mashenomak Strikes Again”) so there’s also that.   



4) High Fighter – Scars and Crosses



High Fighter, from Hamburg, Germany, burst onto the scene in 2016 with a debut album that most bands will struggle entire careers trying to match in intensity, musicianship, and pure quality.  Sure, the band is plenty heavy enough, what with dual guitars playing off of each other, creating mammoth riffs and moody atmospherics, but its the dynamic vocals of Mona Miluski that made this album standout amongst its peers.  Listen to the album opening “A Silver Heart” where her voice morphs from a beautifully haunting musical accompaniment into a demonic shriek that’ll have hairs standing on the back of your neck.  It’s as if Angela Gossow dropped death metal and decided to front a stoner band.  “The Gatekeeper” is another great example of Miluski’s range and of the band’s ability to match her intensity with swirling guitars and a gut punching rhythm section.  Easily one of the best records of 2016…and to think this was High Fighter’s debut.



3) Kvelertak - Nattesferd



My boy Reg already mentioned the show stealing performance we witnessed from Kvelertak (Norwegian for stranglehold), who played alongside Torche and The Sword, among others, when we saw them back in the Spring of 2016.  Don’t get me wrong, I was already a fan of the band based on the self-described “death and roll” that I’d heard on their 2013 record Meir and their 2011 self-titled debut.  But something about seeing this six piece (yes…six piece) lose their shit live really puts their music in a new perspective, so I was eagerly anticipating the release of Nattesferd.   Whether its the album’s single “1985” or a song like “Svartmesse,” Kvelertak is kind of like taking hair band guitars, stoner rock grooves, and a death metal vocalist and throwing it all in a blender.  To be sure, Nattesferd lived up to the expectations I had for it and this Norwegian juggernaut continues to be one of the more interesting bands on the scene today. 



2) Youngblood Supercult – High Plains



Youngblood Supercult are a trippy, bluesy, psyche band from Topeka, Kansas who describe themselves as “a sinister, fuzzy ride through a lysergic version of the Midwest.”  Now that sounds like something we can all get onboard with, don’t you agree?  Listening to High Plains was certainly a hazy trip that I returned to again and again in 2016.  With its swirling, fuzz laced guitars and almost lo-fi sounding production, if you closed your eyes while listening, you may have been inclined to think you’d been transported back in time to the 1970’s.  Vocalist David Merrill alternates between quiet, seance-like passages and over the top crooning, as the band combines dirgey Sabbath riffs with the folksy side of Zeppelin.  Easily one of my favorite records of last year.  “Nomad” is my recommendation for a quick sample.



1) Backwoods Payback – Fire Not Reason


Released in December, Fire Not Reason came out of nowhere right at the end of the year, snuck into my top 10 and then quickly raced right to the top.  Backwoods Payback, from West Chester, Pennsylvania, are everything I love about this music…no filler, no wasted time, just straight to the point, kick ass, heavy rock n’ roll.  The first track, “Elephants” could not be more aptly titled (it’s as heavy as all fuck) and the three-piece unleash hell from the get go with a barrage of monolithic riffs as vocalist/guitarist Mike Cummings lets forth a blood curdling howl, all within the first 15 seconds of the album’s runtime.  Right then and there you’ll be hooked.  On subsequent tracks like “Dirge,” “Tuxedo,” and “That Dream Again,” bassist Jessica Baker and drummer Erik Larson lay a steady foundation of massive groove as Cummings’ guitar washes over it all in glorious, reverb-laced, aural destruction.  Even the stripped down, acoustic “Even Odds” carries a weighty tone that delivers an emotional impact to the listener and serves as a perfect segue into the album’s final third.  That’s the thing about Fire Not Reason, every song is perfectly placed, they’re all killer, and Backwoods Payback waste not a second of your time.  This is a band and an album that gets right to the point, and likewise, I’ll get right to mine…this was my favorite record of 2016 and one that I’m continuing to return to over and over.  My sampling recommendation on this one is to simply hit play and let it roll.  

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