Friday, October 31, 2014

Rock Hard Grooves...

Demonauta - Caminando en la Luna (2014)

While we usually try to stick to reviewing recent releases, when Demonauta sent us this album for some attention, we were pretty quickly convinced it would be worth sharing with our audience.  For one thing, the Chilean trio cranks out just the sort of fuzzy and dirty desert grooves that we love here at RWTD; for another, the album just got issued on CD by Tuneless Records, with a vinyl release from Kozmik Artifactz slated for the near-future.  While the band's DIY original release might have slipped under your radar, it's worth pricking up your ears for these reissues, what with their panache for heavy, bluesy rock doom.
The band works well together, delivering the punchy drum & guitar riffs with power while the bassist lays down a steady foundation of tasty crunch.  A lot of the usual stoner rock sound is there, with some adept effects thrown on the bass to give it a buzz-saw edge, but the guitarist balances out the shreddier moments (which do rock hard) by kicking back every now and then into a more stripped-down and bluesy mode.  They've got a nice range of vocals, with smoother approaches shifted into rougher fare, and right back out again, without any of it coming across as forced or beyond the singers' abilities.
What the band has put together is a very solid album of heavy rock, tightly executed but with enough wild spirit to bring the energy out in earnest.  If you've got any fondness for heavy/stoner/desert/doom/whatever rock (that should be most everyone reading this site), give these guys your ears.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Church Of Misery, Powered Wig Machine, Megasus, The Heavy Co., Manthrass


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Peace and Love, man.

The Wicked Whispers ~ Maps of the Mystic (2014)

From the UK, The Wicked Whispers brings that classic 60's Pop and Psychedelic Folk Rock sound to the modern day. Seeing as how they share a hometown with The Beatles, that was the first band that sprang to mind when their debut album started up, and not just for that little bit of trivia. The band's whole vibe screams "flower power". Gentle, melodic vocals being poured over that Psychedelic Folk Rock meets classic British Pop sound, and it sounds as good as it ever did back in the day. I dare say, these guys may of given everyone a run for their money if they had came out at the same time. After a few complete listens a couple of the songs really jumped out at me, the first was the album's single "Chronological Astronaut", which you can hear at the bottom of the page. The next to really grab my attention on that first complete listen was "I'd Follow You Anywhere". Opening up slowly and with the laughter of children (not kidding), after thirty seconds or so those golden, melodic vocals start on top of a soft guitar part, and some gentle drumming. After another minute or so the song picks up a little speed and the horns make their first appearance. As you move into the second half of the track you're greeted to a really understated Psychedelic guitar solo, it blends in with the mellow nature of the song perfectly, and pops up throughout the second half of the song. Luckily, Electone Records had the good taste to put this 1960's throwback album out on vinyl, along with issuing it on CD and as a download so everyone has an option, because if you're into the retro, poppy Psychedelic Rock, you're going to enjoy this one.

For Fans Of; The Beatles, The Galileo 7, Baby Woodrose

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

First Dose Is The Heaviest...

The Heavy Co. - Uno Dose (2014)

Uno Dose is the first release (classified as a “double EP”) from The Heavy Co. since their LP Midwest Electric last year; here, they offer up a mix of live performances and new studio tracks. It's all done in their down-and-dirty acid rock style, with blaring bass swirling against some sick fuzz and distortion on the guitar. On top of the big noisy presence conjured up by their pedals and production, they've got some blues roots showing through in their slow and steady grooves, which are kept trotting along by some firepower from the drummer's corner, even when they dive into a deep well of feedback.
Among all the other influences coming to life in their output, the band even throws some subtle doom into the edges of their riffs and chords, shaking it slow and low before ripping out into a mean and lean bridge. Imagine golden-era Black Sabbath doing loose covers of Led Zeppelin with a time-tumbled Gibby Haynes taking over vocals while Ozzy recovers from his latest intake, and you're somewhere in the vicinity of what this band delivers.
If you're a fan of lush and loud stoner blues rock, be sure to give these guys a listen. Cassette copies of the double EP are available on the group's BandCamp page, though shipping is currently on hold until they can get some stuff worked out; once that's cleared up, they'll make it known through their Facebook page, so you'll have plenty of time by then to scrounge up the $8 (or more, if you wanna be nice to the band) to get a copy in your hands. Or, if you can do digital, you've got less of an excuse for holding off. Personally, I'm hoping some sharp label will work out an arrangement with THC to get all of their releases out on vinyl, but until then, this tape will be doing regular duty in my car.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Butthole Surfers, 13th Floor Elevators, Fuzz Evil, Acid King, Merlin


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Like A Thousand Locusts...

Qualeaceans - Capture Of Ziz (2014)

Qualeaceans' new album has been four years in the making, and the end result is a thoroughly impressive, complex, and ambitious arrangement of metal overdrive with a prog approach to crafting the rhythms, counter-point, and hundreds of intricate micro-shifts which make up the hour-plus single track, “In The Cavern Of The Flightless”.   Let's go ahead and acknowledge from the start that going for a track which fills a CD to capacity is a risky move at best; it asks some real devotion from the listener, for one thing, and too many bad or boring passages can sink the whole ship.
On the latter issue, at least, the band has nothing to worry about with Capture Of Ziz.  Prog metal fans are generally pretty patient and willing to see where a band's going with something not immediately obvious in its intentions, and Qualeaceans return a strong pay-off on that investment.  They have an amazingly fluid quality to their music, evident in the rippling echo of the drummer's cymbals, the sinuous guitar-work, their ability to jump from one time signature cleanly into another (or a few simultaneously), and the song's structure, which moves about like a snake that can't stop shedding its skin.  The bass is frequently the only 'concrete' part of the melody, keeping a powerful riff going on the mix's low end (sometimes slowly mutating as it goes along) as everything else around it flies into controlled chaos.
Settling on a vocal style to accompany this sort of wild song-writing couldn't have been an easy task, and fittingly, the singer switches through a number of styles to fit the music, though they're usually centered somewhere around a traditional metal growl.  They're also not a constant feature, which seems like a smart choice to keep from tearing his throat apart trying to match some of the more blistering passages.  Also worth noting is the strong production work, which adjusts acoustics and polish to fit the changing flavors of the album to good effect.
Altogether, I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed by the band's work.  The time they put into making their epic track really comes through in the final product, as the whole thing has a sense of immensity to it. Trying to imagine the cavern of the title based on the music brings to mind images of something like a termite hive the size of the Grand Canyon, with inhabitants of a size to match.  It's dizzyingly big, almost overwhelmingly dense with activity, and just plain powerful.  The band has expressed interest in a physical release, so kick some money their way for a digital copy to make that happen... if you can handle it.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Abstracter, Asilo, Gnaw Their Tongues, White Darkness, Behold... The Arctopus


Monday, October 27, 2014

"Hallucinated Journey"

OMSQ ~ Thrust/Parry (2014)

Even though this Belgian four piece have already offered up a few releases, including an EP and some split albums including the one our buddy Gabe reviewed with Vertigo last year. OMSQ have come roaring back to grace our blog with their first full length, entitled "Thrust/Parry", and it's a solid Atmospheric Sludge album from start to finish. The music seems to wander around in the soundscape that they create, sometimes treading the line between music and harmonic noise in the process. More often than not though, it's the tried and true formula of Sludge and Doom Metal with crushing, tar-like riffs and monstrous, hammering drums that pulverize the senses, or the slightly trippy and always groovy sounds of Space Rock that seeps into the album's pores like large doses of LSD. During the moments in between, and the haunting atmospheric passages, the noise and Post-Metal influences show through, mostly towards the end of the album, with the band creating a sound that could of materialized from the depths of the universe, the death rattle of some interstellar deity. The album undoubtedly has a little something for everyone in the crowd. Of the twelve tracks that make up "Thrust/Parry", my favorite would have to be "North Sea", with a seven and a half minute run time it takes one many shapes and forms over the duration, but it's all perfectly executed and feels completely seamless when you listen to it. Opening up with a soft and melodic guitar part, it continues on that path for a while, with the other instruments eventually falling into place as the track picks up steam. Even with being an instrumental band, some of the tracks have spoken word samples, including this one. And after one of those samples, around the three minute mark, the whole thing falls apart and a bruising Doom Metal inspired section comes marching along, only to be out done when the intensity kicks up yet again just before the six minute mark, leaving the song on a definite high point. With the album being a free download at bandcamp you can't lose by picking it up, but the band also has some limited run vinyl and CDs for you fine people to check out.

For Fans Of Kylesa, The Melvins, Russian Circles

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fuzz Evil Interview

If you've heard Wayne Rudell's name before, it's most likely been in connection with the heavy fuzz tones of Powered Wig Machine.  But that's not all he has to offer your ears, as he recently formed a new group to handle all the surplus fuzz rock ideas buzzing around in his brain.  Fuzz Evil just released a split 7" with CHIEFS, and we were able to ask Wayne a few questions about the band's past, present, and future.

Ride With The Devil:  How did Fuzz Evil come together?

Wayne Rudell:  Fuzz Evil came together in the summer of 2013.  We'd just come off a short mini-tour with Powered Wig Machine and were taking a break for a few months.  I started writing all this material that didn't really fit with PWM, and I was jamming a lot of The Stooges' Raw Power, a bunch of fuzz rock, and tons of psych.  Musically, the songs were a nice 'reset' for me.
The name came from my brother Joey.  When I have time, I love collecting and building fuzz pedals.  I'd just finished making my first commercial pedal, the Doom Treader.  Haha, I guess our Dewey Cox moment came after we fired it up when Joey said,"Man, that Fuzz is Evil," and Fuzz Evil was born.
(RWTD note: You can find a video for the Doom Treader at the end of the interview.)

RWTD:  Who all's in the band, and what are their musical backgrounds like?

Wayne:  The band consists of my brother Joey on bass and backing vocals, our long-time friend Marlin Tuttle on drums, and myself on lead guitar/lead vocals.
With Fuzz Evil we have an interesting mix of bands contributing to our sound.  We love the 'dirtiness' of The Stooges and MC5.  Fuzz!  Fuzz!  Fuzz!
Fu Manchu and Electric Wizard have always been some of my favorites for guitar tone.  We all love our psych.  A lot of the great current stoner/psych like Black Pussy, Mothership, Dead Meadow, The Truckfighters, and of course Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats have all had influence on us as musicians.

RWTD:  Since you've mentioned fuzz and dirtiness being the essential parts of Fuzz Evil (which the name does a great job of communicating), how does the band work towards achieving that sound?  Are there some specific pedals or amps which you feel help in making that happen?

Wayne:  We get our sound by mixing and matching various vintage gear.   Being a three-piece, one of the biggest challenges is to sound 'full.'  We hand-picked specific gear to give a very full live sound.  I use the Boss FZ-2 and a Big Muff Tone Wicker slammed through a 1973 Sunn 190l going into a full Marshall Stack.
Joey actually runs two separate bass rigs.  One for clean, one for fuzz.  The Clean Rig is a Galleon Gruger 1001rb running through a 8x10 Ampeg SVT.  The Dirty Rig runs a 1970 Big Muff, Sans Amp, and a custom fuzz I built simultaneously through a Sunn Concert bass into a 2x15 Cab.
We decided to go with acrylic drums for how loud they are.  Gear-wise Marlin uses a 1970 blue Ludwig Vistalite kit Downtuned to get that warm low-end punch.

RWTD:  And how do you usually approach putting a Fuzz Evil song together?

Wayne:  Song-writing is a very organic process with us.  It has to feel natural.  We try and create a lot of movement in the music.  We love big hooks and it has to groove.  Vocally, I tend to come up with melody first then place lyrics against the melody once the song is finished.

RWTD:  Has Fuzz Evil been doing any live shows yet?  If so, how does it compare to working in the studio?

Wayne:  We have done quite a few shows this year, and we have really lucked out on the shows we've played.  Our first seven shows we played with the Truckfighters, Crobot, Fu Manchu, Mothership, Black Pussy, Nik Turner's Hawkwind, Witch Mountain, and Lord Dying.
We are definitely a live band, since we tend to open things up a bit, playing extended parts and playing to our crowd.  The studio work is very clean and polished.  We record our music live so we can still get that organic feel.  The studio stuff is really Brian Gold, our sound engineer at Primose Studio in Sierra Vista, AZ.  He has a real love and ear for the genre, he's meticulous, and his attention to detail is the best I have ever seen or heard.  I have no doubt that you will be hearing a lot of great things coming out of his studio in the next few years.

RWTD:  What are Fuzz Evil's plans for the next few months?

Wayne:  Our immediate plans are to finish the New EP and try to get it out early 2015.  I imagine we will do a few mini- regional tours, work on a video, and possibly try to play a few festivals.

RWTD:  Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

Wayne:  One thing is that if your readers haven't already, they should check out Battleground Records.  They are a great new label and imprint based in the southwest US.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bones And Stones...

Fuzz Evil / CHIEFS - Glitterbones / Stone Bull (2014)

On the first side of this split, you get the debut track from the trouble-making trio of Fuzz Evil, as they make good on their name in the fuzzy morass of “Glitterbones”.  Sounding raw but rocking, they put a riff-centric spin on desert rock, serving up something heavier than the usual fare tagged under that genre.  With some fat and warm tube sound to the guitar and bass, solid head-pounding from the drums, and a vocalist who knows the best times to go big and when to let the instruments take over, “Glitterbones” is a strong entrance for the band from Arizona.
On the B-side (or, to be accurate to the label on the record, the G-side), CHIEFS provide “Stone Bull”, a slower and less cheerful track that's no less steeped in the sounds of canyons and desert landscapes.  The bass takes front and center position here, with the guitar adding sharp jabs and strong lead-lines over the deep-toned pulsations, while the vocalist's part is faded really well into the deeper end of the mix.
Copies of the 7” are still available from the bands' websites, so if you have a sweet tooth for desert rock candy, you might want to move fast and grab one of these grey-marbled slabs before they're all gone.  While you're at it, keep an ear out for any new stuff from these two; Fuzz Evil will soon be releasing an EP, while CHIEFS are in the studios developing their debut LP.  This is the place to introduce yourself to both of them, so get to it!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Dead Hand, Powered Wig Machine, Sons Of Tonatiuh, Acid Elephant, Orchid


Friday, October 24, 2014

A Glorious Torment...

Hijo de la Tormenta - Hijo de la Tormenta (2014)

Hijo de la Tormenta's self-titled debut album (following up on their 2012 EP) is my first exposure to the group, and I have to say, I'm impressed with what I've heard.  The band has an unusual blend of sounds, bringing together fuzzy guitar with a prog-like patience and approach to song construction, so while they're fully capable of grinding out some dirty rock sounds for your ears, they do so while keeping things unpredictable.
In the midst of their amazingly tuneful heaviness, the drums do a lot to keep things from getting over-saturated, with counter-point rhythms, inventive fills, and a crisp sound to the drum-hits generating some defiant liveliness beneath the down-tuned doom rock.  Unpredictable twists on the band's established sound come with each new track, whether it's cranking up the speed for a wild ride of feedback, throwing in some new effects to alter an instrument, or some other aspect altogether getting turned on its head.
The album is well-served by the band's willingness to twist their musical approach however they can to make something interesting, and as a result, it's a great album as a whole.  Instead of just being a collection of songs, there's a real sense of unity tying them all together, and leading from one into the next.  While not all of the songs make use of vocals, the changing character of the songs still comes across as a natural development, built around Hijo de la Tormenta's use of melody and mood.  Top-notch stuff, and well worth checking into, whatever your musical tastes may be.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Asilo, Rhino, Necronomicon (Brazil), Salem's Pot, From Deep Space

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