Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Dusky Patchwork...


Another one of Denmark's numerous quality stoner rock outfits, GRUSOM have stepped out onto the international scene with their new demo, featuring three tracks with fittingly macabre flavors.  The first of these tracks is "Evil", a bluesy gothic crooner which builds to a slow burn of keyboards and guitar over slow-thumping drums as vocalist Nicolaj Hoffmann Jul pushes through the gloom.  After that, it's on into "Gruesome", which holds onto the blues and doom, but ramps up the energy of the instruments a bit, pulling the guitar to new spidery heights, raising the keyboard to match, trading off between the two, then drawing them together for a big crash of chords before sinking back into slower sadness.  For the end comes "Reaper", which uses a surprisingly bouncy main riff (lightened by the keyboards again) to pull things to a close with lyrics telling of rising from flames.
For a demo, it's nice and compact, it shows off the band's skills, and offers a taste of things to come while being a toothsome chunk in its own right.  For fans of doom blues, it'll be well worth keeping an ear to the ground for more developments from GRUSOM, as they seem to have lit a fire beneath their own feet.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Danzig, TK Bollinger & That Sinking Feeling, Dax Riggs, Groggy, Jak Locke


Falling Faster and Faster...

Sedated Angel - Beautyfall (2014)

On their third album, Danish rock outfit Sedated Angel have pulled together some heavy rock with a decent amount of flavor straight out of late-'90s desert rock, blending it with modern style for a punchy, sunburned stretch of gritty tunefulness.  Bristling with sharp guitar-work, buoyed by strong and confident bass, and knocked out of the park by the slamming drums, the music has a tendency to speed through its run like a dragster with nitro activated, leaving a smoking black trail in its wake.  Despite that sense of speed, they somehow keep the friendlier, more mellow elements of summer stoner rock intact, and you can almost hear the grin on the vocalist's face as he wails out his piece.
There's a number of instant classic tracks to be heard on the album, and picking one out as the streamable highlight was no easy task, especially since the band, for all of its rich desert rock flavor, never really sinks into over-indulgence or exhaustion of a riff.  Instead, they keep things relatively short and sweet, with all of the songs under the six-minute mark, ideal for getting lodged in your head without dragging on so long as to get tangled in memories of other music.  With a recent release on vinyl, Sedated Angel have delivered an album which will surely have the heavy rock community buzzing away for months to come.  Give it a listen today!  Bonus points if you do so while speeding down the road.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Black Rainbows, Crypt Trip, Kyuss, Spiral Shades, Slow Season


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Purveyor of Shadows

Phantomass ~ Phantomass (2014)

Phantomass is an Occult Doom Metal band that formed in Russia just last year, featuring members of Electric Lords, Electric Sunrise, and Crypt Janitor. Imagine Black Sabbath playing at a black mass in Aleister Crowley's basement and you're starting to get an idea of what their brand of Doom Metal is all about. After just a few months of playing together they recorded these six songs over the course of two days to make up their self-titled debut album. You're presented with some dark and heavy grooves, accompanied by more traditionally styled Doom Metal vocals that leads into the occasional guttural scream. Low and slow, the songs drag along like a fresh organ harvest victim during that long crawl across the seedy motel room floor to a telephone. Of the six tracks on their offer to the elder gods of metal, my favorite so far is the opening track "Dagon". Aside from the Lovecraft nod, and sample of a reading from his story of the same name, the song is about as heavy as that old monolith that Dagon darted to. The song's main riff is a thing of ear brutalizing beauty, and drags along until just before the halfway point and then kicks into a fast and loud section. At halfway things coming slow back down only for the song to be launched back into the fast lane again. With the drums going from slow and deliberate death march, to raining rapid fire strikes with each change in the song's direction, this seems to be the prevailing sound through most of the second half of the track. What follows "Dagon" are five more well executed Doom Metal songs that are well deserving of attention, and with the album being available just about everywhere on the internet including iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud, it shouldn't be hard for you to find a copy to hear. Or you can head over to their Bandcamp and kick out a few bucks for one of their high quality downloads.

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Electric Wizard

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Strong Stuff

Gorilla Pulp ~ Hell In a Can EP (2014)

I'll admit, Stoner Rock isn't even in the top ten things that comes to mind when I think of Italy, but after hearing some of the talent that comes out of there, maybe it should be. Gorilla Pulp is just some of the latest talent to make itself known, with the release of their debut EP "Hell In a Can" on Mother Fuzzer Records. It's four tracks (including the intro) of head banging, Heavy Stoner Rock in the image of Kyuss and Motorhead's stoned bastard. The closer "Witchcraft" is probably my favorite track on the EP, which doesn't surprise me as it's also probably the most "Sabbath-y". Opening with a dark and fuzzy riff, it only takes a few moments for the drums to chime in and start their deep rumbling stomp, that's what really gets the ball rolling. After the band gets behind it, the song launches into a sonic tirade with lots of howling guitar work before switching to that crunchy riff and the vocals make their first appearance, this time in a doom-ier styling than the "Lemmy with a bullhorn" sound that you hear in parts of the other songs. This song consists largely of instrumental jamming though, and with a jam this good, you don't need everything over lapped with vocals, sometimes just letting the track ride is the best thing you can do. If any of this sounds appealing, head over to Mother Fuzzer's Bandcamp page and listen to the whole thing for yourself, then pick up one of those slick looking CDs with the even cooler poster.

 For Fans Of; Monster Magnet, Orange Goblin, Red Fang

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sick City Sewage...

Legalize Crime - Blues of the Fallen World EP (2014)

Taking their name from an EP by the EyeHateGod side-project of Outlaw Order, this Polish quartet takes their first publically-available steps into music with plenty of personality.  Song names like "50 Bags Of Cocaine" (which features a great opening sample, one at which I'd expect most of our movie-savvy readers to grin when heard) and "Doomed City" stay true to their most obvious influences, with music to match.  The low-tuned sludge poured out of their bass is cut with percussion, while the guitar (coming in just a bit higher than the bass' rich reverb) and throat-tearing vocals inject enough virulent violence to push the music up into an active state of contagion.
Most of the riffs sound as though they could have been pulled from a stained and sticky box of NOLA sludge albums, a few go more Sabbath-flavored, but the four tracks maintain a respectable level of aggression and consistent mad groove that deserves props for how well they've acquitted themselves on their first release.  Legalize Crime also deserve some recognition for just how well they've nailed that delta sludge sound despite being all the way over in Poland, though they do put enough of their own spin on it to avoid coming off as derivative.  They even throw in a quick 'n' dirty tape demo track at the end (with another time-honored sample incorporated), leaving the listener with an appropriately grimy and uneasy aftertaste.  Keep an ear out for more to come from this band, and expect to hear their name come up more and more over the next few months.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    EyeHateGod, Zeppheroin, Grey Widow, Meth Drinker, Gilla Bruja


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Unholy Heat Transformation...

Hypnochron - Herbs for the Alter (2014)

Over the years, Chicago has managed to turn out a fair number of excellent groups in the doom metal vein, and one of the latest has emerged in the form of Hypnochron, who specialize in sludgy stoner doom, omitting vocals in favor of working healthy helping of great samples into the grit.  From the opening growls of the album's first track, "Tree", Hypnochron crank out dirty grooves, throwing themselves into the riffs and riding them ragged, then jumping into the next fuzzy burst.  While they're certainly no slouches at bringing the doom sound to life, the tracks are surprisingly short for the style, with the majority falling under the five-minute mark.  That's somewhat made up for by the second-to-last track, "Rise From Below", which goes for a long haul before dropping listeners off into "Fall of the Sun" for a closer.  At the same time, it's refreshing to have a doom metal band bash out what they want and not try to run out the clock by retreading the same ground to double a song's length.
Before that end comes, Hypnochron have ripped through plenty of chords and attitude, playing with different ideas for each track while staying true to the sleazy horror vibes and graveyard jam flavor.  As a debut, it's pretty great, with the band establishing their style clearly while leaving themselves some room to develop in new directions, while the samples add a fun flavor to their deviant debauchery.  If you're a fan of stoner doom metal, it's certainly worth picking up a copy and keeping an ear out for further developments from this band.
Residents of Chicago and nearby areas should prepare themselves for one of the group's live performances, which will be taking place in February; check their BandCamp and/or Facebook pages for more info.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Bitchcraft, Toke, Dopelord, Major Kong, Wolf Blood


Friday, January 23, 2015

Inhaling The Sun...

Mondo Drag - Mondo Drag (2015)

Blazing their way out of the wind-swept hills of California, Mondo Drag have returned with their third album, of which they have a high enough opinion to give it self-titled status.  That confidence is well-placed, as the group delivers a time-tunneling blend of blues and heavy psychedelic rock, unearthing juicy bedrock riffs and cutting loose with some inspired free-roaming action on guitar and keyboards.  The vocals are used just enough, and in just the right places, to give the desert-set storm of vibrant grooves a human center, keeping the band rooted to the earth through their wide-eyed trips in a way that really plays well to their rich and bluesy flavor.
Of course, every psychedelic band worth its salt can come up with some evocative song titles, and Mondo Drag succeed here as well, with names like "Shifting Sands", "Pillars of the Sky", and "Crystal Visions Open Eyes" situating and enhancing the powerful vibes provided by the music.  All the different parts, from the album's cover art to the smallest shifts in melody, tie together in a more than satisfactory fashion, and it's a lot of fun to be swept away by Mondo Drag's awesome groove capabilities.  Get yourself a copy on CD or vinyl (recently released through Kozmik Artifactz), and have yourself a good time getting lost in the depths of this excellent desert rock.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Led Zeppelin, Quatrain, Deep Purple, The Lords of Beacon House, Iron Butterfly


Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Shotgun Wedding

Gunslinger's Bride ~ Windwitch EP (2014)

From Croatia's gritty underground Gunslinger's Bride and their, Southern groove infected, Stoner Rock sound have stormed on the scene. Their debut EP "Windwitch" is short, only five songs, but it packs a devastating punch. With the dirt road vocals being sung and growled out at different times, some songs have a down right catchy vocal melody behind them. Backing up the snarling frontman, the guitar lays down everything from fingertip brutalizing solos to swinging, heavy Stoner Rock riffs, and bluesy licks that remind you of Dixieland. The bass's rounded tone still cuts through the mix, blasting along chunky riffs in all of its low end glory. The drums keep time like the precision ticking of an expensive watch, but hammering out explosive rhythms. While every one of the the songs will have you bobbing your head and singing along to the best of your ability, I particularly gravitated to the fourth track, "Foe". It kicks off in high gear and slamming forward, with a thick and slightly "southern-ized" riff that has more flavor added with a rumbling bass line that strays from the guitar line and carves its own path at times, but always coming back to the mother groove. The singer tries to steal the spotlight with rough, attacking vocals that flow together into their own rhythm on top of everything else, and may of succeeded, you'll have to judge for yourself. With the guys releasing these five tracks of well executed Stoner Rock at the tail end of the last year, it's understandable if you've missed them before now, but you don't have to any longer. Head over to their bandcamp and grab yourself a "name your price" copy.

For Fans Of; Orange Goblin, Planet of Zeus, Thieving Coyote