Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tearing Up The Night...

Aleph Null - Nocturnal (2014)

Nocturnal starts off with a squeal of feedback that lasts just a second before they pull the floor out and drop the listener into a pit of heavy resonance. It's a neat trick and a great introduction, and one that does an excellent job of setting the stage for the rest of the album's churning waves and swirling clouds of smoke and foggy haze. To say that it's heavy psychedelia would be a serious understatement, and they do a great job of blending '70s-inspired touches and progressions into the knee-crushing weight of modern heaviness with the amps turned up and fuzzed out. There's a nice subtle menace to the track titles, which include memorable names like “Muzzle of a Sleeping God”, “Backward Spoken Rhymes”, and the implicit violence of “Roman Nails”.
Along the course of the album, the doom elements begin to stand out more and more, gradually taking over the album to culminate in the 15-minute, two-part title track, which opens with some subdued chords that sound like they should be playing over footage of a funeral at night. On its way to that destination, the hard grooving, treacle-thick breakdowns, and massive drum rolls serve up more than enough tasty, chunky, and well-baked doom for any heavy psych or stoner metal fan to fill their ears, several times over. Excellent stuff, don't miss out on this one.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Celophys, Olde Growth, Necronomicon (Brazil), Alice In Chains, Acid King


Saturday, April 19, 2014

With A Demon's Horns...

DEMON HEAD - Demo 2014 (2014)

An improved version of the self-titled first cassette from Demon Head (or DEMON HEAD, as they always seem to write it), Demo 2014 still has roughness around its edges, but underneath the fuzz (which you could experience for yourself, if they hadn't already sold every last copy of their 100-cassette release) there's a bluesy traditional doom that drips with old-school D&D flavor and love for heavy metal. Luckily, you can still check out the four tracks (“Undertaker”, “Ride the Wilderness”, “III”, and “Demon Head”) over at Caligari Records' BandCamp page, which should give you a good idea of why you should keep your ears to the ground for any info on their first studio album or EP.  Tasty stuff.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Danzig, Black Sabbath, Salem's Pot, Uncle Acid, Magic Circle


Friday, April 18, 2014

Cinders And Salt...

Slug Salt Lava - First - Promo (2014)

Slug Salt Lava's first full release (after the single for “Fallout”) finds the one-man band from Istanbul churning out some demented and heavy instrumental sludge, perfectly tarry and low-pitched. After the quick opening track of “Dust”, things slide into slow and low mode for the following of “Fallout”, the revived power of “Cult”, and the final rise of “Rejuvenation”. Each of the tracks sounds like it was recorded in a bomb shelter, letting the echoing bass and careful percussion roar to life and snake their way into your ears to give your brains a good rattle. There's no doubt that this project has legs, so give our sample track a listen, then scoot on over to the BandCamp page to get yourself a copy and show Ersin (the bloke responsible for all the mad doom) your support for his endeavours.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bongripper, Bell Witch, Salem's Pot, Sleep, Major Kong


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Let's Get Stoned...

Fuzz Manta ~ The Stonewolf (2013)

I'm not a big prog fan. On the whole, it's all a little bit disjointed and pretentious for my taste. I think my dislike stems back to my childhood, when I would be played Yes ad nauseum. Not that I can't appreciate the genre, hell, I love a good organ bashing (oh er!), but I'm a busy man dammit, where in my life is there space for a 10-minute Wakeman solo!? But I'm getting off track here. My point was going to be that Fuzz Manta are, for all intense and purpose a prog rock outfit. There are a myriad of other influences that shine through but their roots seem to be planted firmly within the early 70's progressive movement. I mean, just take a glance at the opening/title track, it's an absolute monster! Weighing in at a huge 34 minutes in length, they could easily give early Genesis a run for their money if it ever came to some kind of Back To The Future-like live stand off.
That being said, it was a little be of a slog for me to get through. Technically, it's absolutely remarkable, just like the rest of the album, but half and hour was a bit much. I think that's my only criticism with this album, and let's face it, that's wholly down to my own personal preference. If you do happen to share the same notion, then fear not, because from side B onwards the track length is quartered and The Stonewolf basically serves as a big unashamed monolith of spectacular talent.
Where many bands will incorporate a number of genres, then fleet between them throughout the recording, Fuzz Manta have gone to the extent of overlapping and merging them on top of one another. What's the difference you may ask? Well, it's one thing to break out a classic rock lick then suddenly ramp the pace up and go all southern rock, but it's a completely different ball game to be playing a southern rock riff then have someone playing an organ over the top. That takes a musical ear that very few bands out there actually possess. None the less, the whole amalgamation of different styles makes for one hell of a psychedelic mind bender of an album. Eclectic isn't the word. At times I actually had to check back on my iTunes to make sure that it hadn't skipped to something else while I was listening. From classic rock to stoner rock via the world of psych, space, funk, prog and even at times lounge, the Manta really take you on a journey. I've yet to actually exploit the whole album while tripping, but I can just tell that it's so textured and far out that I'm bound to find it a hell of an experience.
Do yourself a favour though and treat yourself to the vinyl, its undeniably the way this thing was meant to be heard. Float on over to our friends at Bilocation Records and give your ears the joy they deserve!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Kadavar, King Crimson, Baby Woodrose, Jefferson Airplane, PJ Harvey


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Serbian Hell Sizzles...

Hazarder / Hesperian Death Horse - The Electric Wizard (2014)

This split doubles as a tribute to the Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla (whose surname is used for both tracks), so it's fitting that it comes from a record label in his homeland, though both of the contributing bands are from the neighboring country of Croatia. Hazarder's side of the split is a thick and sludgy (but up-tempo) cloud of noise, heaving to and fro like a ship caught in a magnetized storm, with the drums providing thunderclaps, an electrical sizzling provided by the guitar, and the vocals serving as ominous rumblings of further violence.
Hesperian Death Horse's side begins with a quick jolt of piano-driven melody, before introducing agonized black metal vocals into the proceedings. From there, it's a slow, crushing grind of sound, like a steamroller turning skulls and skeletons into pavement. It's nasty-sounding and virulent in all the right ways, and they shift through a number of modes in the nine minutes of their Tesla track, packing violence and agony into every moment. Hats off to both bands, and their excellent, abrasive work, and here's hoping that PMK Records gives this a physical release in the near future.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Moloch, Hate, Open Tomb, Earthling, Weapon


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

If you're not "Cock Rockin'", you're not rockin'

Jackson Firebird ~ Cock Rockin' (2014)

 Another awesome release from Napalm Records is Jackson Firebird, a two piece of Guitars and Drums from Mildura, Australia. They play loud, sleazy, fun as hell Rock and Roll in it's purest form. Chuck Berry comes to mind quite a few times for me over the course of the album, and it's a shot of something new and fresh in an increasingly saturated pool at this point. Lots of bands go after that 70's or 60's sound, but the 50's is where it all started. Add into that basic starting formula of a Gibson semi-hollow body guitar and bluesy vocals, an animal of a drummer, a little Punk Rock attitude and Garage Rock sort of musical ethics and you have one kick ass, in your face, Rock band. It's a good thing.
The album opens up with the title track "Cock Rockin'", and it's full of foul mouthed, piss and vinegar, Rock and Roll fury. And in a time where so much emphasis can be put on the nuances of an individual chord, it's a definite change of pace to hear such carefree sort of playing style when kicking out jams like this. The following song "She Said" opens with a rolling drum part, shortly joined by a ripping guitar solo which evolves into a nice chunky riff, which switches up around halfway and the gritty, Garage Rock type vocals kick in, half singing, half shouting. In the end, like most the songs, you'll end up feeling the urge to sing along while you're tapping your toe, if you don't just outright start singing. Getting on into the meat of the album some, you come across the number 7, a gem called "Can Roll". Opening with a 1-2-3 kick/snare beat, it turns into a classic, Arena Rock jam pretty quick, but with a twist. Imagine if Def Leppard were from Alabama, instead of the UK, and you have a good idea of the song is like. A super bluesy Rock riff that carries everything forward, and keeps a nice groove while it's doing it.
When they set about recording this album, they wanted to try and capture as much of the energy as they could from their live show, which they're known for, and put it on tape. Having never seen their live show, it'd seem they did a pretty admirable job. It's a party album by all accounts, from the first track to the closing. Get some friends together, put the beer on ice, light a fat one, kick this on, and watch the results.

For Fans Of; MC5, The Kinks, Mammoth Mammoth

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Handed down from the God of Gods himself...

Jupiter Zeus ~ On Earth (2014)

From Perth, in Western Australia, Jupiter Zeus is a four piece, self proclaimed Psychedelic Space Rock band, which on the surface doesn't sound far off at all. Personally, I'd put them somewhere more in the Stoner/Psychadelic/Prog-ish category, but what fun would the world be without disagreements over music genres? Most of the tracks have different "vibes" throughout the whole album, but no matter what song you're on, you'll be greeted by super melodic riffs and harmonious vocals that are mesmerizing all on their own. Some of the songs have a very spacey feeling to them, not only in lyrical content, but in atmosphere. Occasionally giving the listener the impression that they could be floating in the great nothingness while the song plays on. 
The album kicks off with the songs "Waves" and a deceivingly mellow guitar intro, interrupted by moments of thunderous drums until they finally merge and the riff really takes off at this point, turning the song into an absolutely crushing monolith of sound. I think it's the larger than life guitar sounds, and the vocals that remind me a bit of mid/late 90's Paradise Lost, which is a good thing in my opinion. The guitars and drums never really let up, keeping the wall of sound almost always at a constant maximum, which is a necessity when your first track sounds this huge. You can tell simply from all of the transitions and the song structures, not just here but throughout the album, exactly how meticulously these songs were put together. Which I'm sure translates into a lot of man hours in the practice space for these guys. The track "Psychotic Seeds" opens up with a heavy Stoner Rock riff, which lead into those same "air-y" sort of harmonic vocals that are so prevalent throughout the whole album, and are used well. This one takes all kinds of twists and turns as it goes through the motions, from Stoner Rock, to a really crunchy riff that could almost pass as Doom Metal, all the way down to a wailing, face-melter of a guitar solo.
It's hard to pin down this group, they're not quite like anything I've heard before, but at the same time pull certain familiar tones or sounds from all over the musical spectrum and meld them all together into an absolutely stellar 11 track album. While it's a digital only album at the moment, which you can pick up on the Magnetic Eye Records bandcamp, you can always drop 'em a line and show some interest in a physical release if you're digging the album that much.

For Fans Of; Nebula, Pink Floyd, Black Space Riders 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ticket To Rock...

Abramis Brama - Enkel Biljett (2014)

Abramis Brama's sixth studio album is also their first without bassist and founding member Dennis Berg, who parted ways with the band after 15 years of service. Enkel Biljett translates as 'One-Way Ticket', suggesting that the band, while still proud of their previous efforts, intends to keep changing as they move forward. It's an attitude that's well-reflected over the course of the nine songs they've assembled, as each one incorporates deft changes of tempo, rhythm, time signature, and melody, twisting and turning without ever really seeming to lose their way.
The tracks on Enkel Biljett, all titled and sung in the group's native Swedish tongue, are high-energy affairs, with each instrument rattling, shaking, and shredding for all of its worth. Prog touches are integrated naturally in the songs, allowing them to keep a rocking continuum alive throughout the uncountable flips and twists through which they put the songs, and providing a nice balance between the lean sound of '70s hard rock and the bombast of prog rock. The album stays firmly in that fold for its duration, exploring all the nooks, crannies, and twists that they can find in the overlapping space between the two genres, and showing off some toothsome material in the course of the exploration. With such a sure-footed step to the next phase of the band's existence, Abramis Brama seems poised to handle wherever their ticket takes them.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Kadavar, Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After, Deep Purple, King Crimson