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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Heavy Planet's Top 20 of 2010: #15 to #11

#15. Quest for Fire-Lights From Paradise (Tee Pee Records)

I found myself listening to this album a lot more than I would have expected. Spaced out fuzzy psychedelic rock that I simply could not get enough of.

What others had to say:

Stuart Berman, Pitchfork.com

"The term "stoner rock" has always been something of a misnomer, since its basic tenets-- tremorous heaviosity, locked-groove repetition-- require more concentration and physical exertion than your average wake-and-baker could muster. (Never mind the fact that its most prominent mouthpieces-- Kyuss' John Garcia, Monster Magnet's Dave Wyndorf-- sounded like they'd rather start a bar brawl than smoke a bowl.) Upon their 2007 formation, Toronto's Quest for Fire were quickly stamped with the stoner-rock tag, no thanks to their longstanding association with Black Mountain (QFF singer/guitarist Chad Ross was once their roadie) and their signing to Tee Pee Records, a long-time facilitator of fellow wah-wah-pedal abusers. But compared to the muscular, magma-thick riffage that has come to define the genre, Quest for Fire's sophomore release, Lights From Paradise, is less stoner rock than stoned rock, marked by a patient pace and a foggy-headed whimsy that lingers even as the VU levels surge into the red." Read more...

David Maine, PopMatters.com

"Lights from Paradise is the second full-length from Toronto-based fuzz-rockers Quest for Fire, and it’s a great record. Harkening back to the grand old days of rock ‘n’ roll bombast, it manages to be that rarest of critters: an album that sounds instantly accessible and comfortable, yet is filled with enough surprises to reward repeat listenings. Oh and it rocks.

Quest for Fire waste little time as the opening tune, “The Greatest Hits by God”, is an eight-minute-long statement of purpose. Channeling a dreamy, hazy, distorted vibe, the song gradually morphs into a sludgy rocker built upon layers of distorted guitars and, go figure, fiddles. Over the course of its length, the song builds a head of steam courtesy of those shimmering swathes of distortion and the languid but never lazy vocals." Read more...
#14. The Crystal Caravan-Against the Rising Tide (Transubstans Records)

If you are a fan of 70's bands like Uriah Heep, Steppenwolf, Mott the Hoople, etc., which I totally am then you will absolutely love this album. They have a great sound and irresistable melodies which I just can't get enough of and strong musicianship. I usually like music that is a little more on the heavier side, but damn does this shit rock!

What others had to say:


"It comes as no surprise that The Crystal Caravan come from Sweden as that country seems to be leading the retro-rock 70's revival that just keeps on getting bigger and more popular. Maybe it is a backlash against modern, watered-down sounds but more and more bands are opting for the classic sound of Hammond organs, bluesy guitar and strong energetic melodies played with a passionate no-frills attitude. The Crystal Caravan are a seven-piece band so the sound is huge but damn the songs are predictable but in a good way. Of course I wouldn't even be considering doing a review of this album if it wasn't for the fact that this kind of music has been somehow been thrown into the "Stoner-Rock" category but don't get me started on all that. The Crystal Caravan are really just a hard rock band or what they used to called A.O.R, but that is another dumb musical description. The 2nd album of The Crystal Caravan brings the North Swedish band into a more varied approach compared with their first album combining the 70's hard-rock with a more electic psychedelic edge. Here is some of the more obvious influences you hear on the album and this tells the story better than any review can. Grand Funk Railroad, Steppenwolf, Uriah Heep, Montrose, Mott The Hoople, Led Zeppelin, Free, The Who, The Black Crowes - you get the picture, need I go on ?" Read more...

Zac Boda

"To introduce myself to The Crystal Caravan, I first did a little web research. I find a sept-tet of talented Swedes that found a fresh take on a proven classic and southern rock sound. The tunes run approximately 40 minutes with no yawn moments. I am impressed with this collection of songs and find myself listening more and more. The stand out tracks are Apple Hotel (my personal favorite), Take What's Yours, and Wrecking Ball. Apple Hotel has a bluesy, soulful, southern feel to it. Take What's Yours is just a great jam. There are two words that come to mind to describe the closing track Wrecking Ball; epic and masterpiece. What a finale! Fans of late 60's and early 70's rock should most definitely give The Crystal Caravan a listen. Well played sir, well played." Read more...
#13. Mondo Drag-New Rituals (Alive Records)

As I was listening to Quest For Fire, I got on a Space/Psychedelic rock kick and found Mondo Drag. This album probably didn't gain the attention it deserved. I would have had it ranked a bit higher if it were not for the great releases on Small Stone and my need for Doom. I really love this record and it is still in heavy rotation.

What others had to say:

Jordan F. SputnikMusic.com

"Mondo Drag came out of nowhere for me, I discovered them because they were recently added to Roadburn and I read a lot of positive things. “New Rituals” has become a favorite from the first listen and probably will be for most fans of psychedelic rock. The album begins with the title track. The intro is really spacey, slowly gaining focus until it explodes into this sun drenched surf rock stomp with awesome keys. The vocals are very smooth but the real focus is on the music. Expect a lot of interstellar jams throughout.

“Fade Out (Into Space)” hits you immediately with a powerful groove and soaring vocals. This is definitely one of the best shorter tracks on the record and has great energy that dissipates in a slow feedback drenched solo. It’s easy to see the band’s influences run deep into the 60’s and 70’s haze of Cream, Pink Floyd, Blue Cheer and Hendrix. Speaking of Floyd, “Serpent Shake” and “Love Me (Like a stranger)” makes use of the organ in all the right ways. You couldn’t really ask for better production, it still feels very 60s/70s but without sacrificing any quality. “Come On Through” has a trippy blues vibe going on, it’s very catchy." Read more...

Prof, Prognaut.com

"1. Why did they make this album? What was the passion or message that forced them to produce what they have? Or, simply what was their motivation for the themes they chose for this album?

“From deep in the cosmos of Iowa comes a force known as Mondo Drag!” “With a wall of sound all their own, an arsenal of guitars, and a head full of clouds, they are on a rock n roll mission all their own” .

In early 2010, the band released their album 'New Rituals' on Alive Records and have been flying head first into the future ever since.” “Within the span of the last few months, the band has completed multiple tours, played a handful of showcases at SXSW, and performed at Austin Psych Fest 3.

“Since their start Mondo Drag has had the privilege of playing with such artists as: Sleepy Sun, Dead Meadow, Witchcraft, Black Diamond Heavies, Radio Moscow, Jennifer Gentle, The Dodos, La Otracina, Cass McCombs, Cave, Awesome Color, Monotonix, Pentagram, The Black Angels, High On Fire, and The Black Keys just to name a few”(Mondo Drag - MySpace, 2010)." Read more...
#12. Red Giant-Dysfunctional Majesty (Small Stone)

This is the first album in my homage to great releases this year on Small Stone Records. This release actually took me a while to get into (not exactly sure why), but after listening to it a few times there was no denying, this album fuckin' rocks!

What others had to say:

57 Octaves

" You simply cannot front on the way these guys combine riff and rhythm. The guitar licks are like non-Euclidian polygons, and listening through a song is like navigating a three-dimensional construction of an MC Escher drawing. This has always been the case, however much the band has mutated from it's sprawling "take you on a journey" approach into succinct "melt your brain with a laser" methodology.

The first two albums took the early-Monster Magnet approach to production, meaning that there are tons of moments with like 2000 guitars tripping the fuck out. They did it well, and particularly Ultramagnetic Glowing Sound (1999) stands out as a masterpiece of obsessive production. Yet this wasn't the true Source of Red Giant's Power, as first revealed by Devil Child Blues (2004)." Read more...

H.P. Taskmaster, The Obelisk

"Red Giant’s first album in six years finds the Cleveland four-piece come down to earth. Where 2004’s Devil Child Blues — and even more so their earlier albums, Ultra Magnetic Glowing Sound and Psychoblaster and the Misuse of Power – was spacier, looser, more open, the newer output on Dysfunctional Majesty (their second offering through Small Stone) is tight, rigid, professional-sounding. The tracks are not given to exploration, but rather, follow the guitars right through to the kind of straightforward heavy groove rock that has become synonymous with Small Stone’s name the last several years." Read more...
#11. Solace-A.D. (Small Stone)

I just absolutely love Solace and was so psyched about this release. It came out early in the year and I almost forgot about it. How could I not include this album on my Top 20 list? Great album, Great band, Period!

What others had to say:

Hazizi, Three Paper Reviews

"Solace’s last full length masterpiece, 13, was released in 2003, but they have given us enough little teasers in the meantime to reassure us that they hadn’t dropped off the face of the planet. Their contributions to a split E.P. in 2004 included a swaggering and memorable cover of Link Wray’s Rumble. And their 2007′s The Black Black, while technically only a four track E.P., still gave us about thirty minutes worth of quality riffs.

Still, the recent release of their third full length album, A.D., was greeted with open arms and tears of joy by the heavy music loving brethren and sistren around the world. “Yay!”, did they cry. “Verily, it is a momentous occasion! I shall bring out a barrel of our finest wine, my dear, we must feast to mark this special day!”. Or something like that.

So what’s so special about this band anyway? Well, it’s interesting you should ask…" Read more...

KK, CosmicLava.com

"New Jersey's heavy flagship SOLACE returns with their third album and once again prove that they are still something very special. Meanwhile they have been signed by Small Stone Records where they fit particularly good. One thing is certain: 'A.D.' is a monster, that is so enormous that I stand in awe after the first spins. But what makes them so special? Well, there are different reasons for this. First, when they are showing off their impressive musicianship and ability to create a great chemistry within the band, then I can only advise a lot of other heavy bands to seek shelter from SOLACE' thunderous sonic storm. The interplay between these forces is impeccable. Each instrument assimilate and merge into each other while the unique vocals of Jason are the cherry on top. Damn, this guy can sing!" Read more...

Read #20-#16 here.

Read #10-#06 here.

1 comment:

  1. Quest for fire made my top 20 as well, a great album by any standards. The Crystal Caravan is on my list to listen to, the cover reminds me of Jethro Tull for some reason. Also, I didn't really enjoy the new Red Giant, I was expecting more and didn't get it. Other then that great so far! I've got some new acts to go out there and listen to.


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