Saturday, 23 June 2018

Aleks Evdokimov Interviews MESSA

Messa of Cittadella, Italy could be a new name still for some of our readers, yet this year Aural Music have released the band’s second album “Feast For Water”. There’s a lady on vocals but I can’t tag Messa just as “female-fronted-doom-band”, as they’re something more indeed. Yes, even their debut “Belfry” (Aural Music, 2016) was quiet innovate blend of hypnotic doom under some experimental spices, but “Feast Of Water” is even more avant-garde and experimental.

This new elements (including dark jazz parts) entwine naturally with riff carcass of the songs and Sara’s voice is truly magnetic, its power is damn close to the one whole Windhand obtain. I’ve got in touch wit Messa guitarist Marco in order to learn more about Messa new work.

Hi Marco! How are you? What's going on in Messa camp?

Hi there! We’re definitely alright. We’ve just released our new record and we’re really excited to play it live.

I guess that we spoke with you about two years ago, how has situation changed around the band?

Lots of things have changed in Messa on a personal and musical level. We are still improving our approach to composition and collaboration, and we are still developing our own way of doing things. It may take some time, but it’s worth it.

Aural Music released Messa's second album “Feast For Water” not so long ago. What's overall reaction on your new experiments deep into doom, jazz and drone territories?

We have received a bunch of very good reviews so far, and many people are listening to the record. First of all, we’re happy of the result and that is very important. Furthermore, both good and bad opinions may help us understand those hidden sides of our music that we may have not taken in consideration before.

There are just two years between “Belfry” and “Feast For Water”, but the changes in your sound are pretty significant. How did you compose this material?

Everything began when Alberto (guitar) bought his Fender Rhodes piano. He would take this very heavy yet delicate sounding instrument to rehearsals, and we soon found out that it would fit real well on certain parts of the material we were working on. This, together with a renewed approach to composition, has proved to be pivotal in the music you can hear on ‘Feast for Water’.

Messa - Leah 

I think that I didn't ask you before, but consider the band's updated sound - what are your general influences in sound and overall aesthetics?

We all have different influences, and we all come from more-or-less different backgrounds. Some of the bands/artists that we all agree upon are Windhand, Angelo Badalamenti, John Coltrane, Bell Witch or Herbie Hancock. For sure we’re also influenced by dutch rock/metal acts such as Devil’s Blood, Urfaust, Dool… Basically, inspiration can come from all kinds of music.

The album is well-produced, where did you record it? And how much did you improvise into the studio?

We recorded it at ‘La Distilleria Musicale’, in Bassano del Grappa. It was engineered by The Soft Moon producer Maurizio ‘Icio’ Baggio, who has worked with many cool bands before. We are very happy with the result, and it was very easy to work with Maurizio. Recording-wise, all instruments were done live in the studio with only vocals, sax, and solo guitars overdubbed. We wanted it all to sound very organic, with the least digital intervention or editing possible. The tones have been conceived to resemble the underwater atmosphere of the overall concept.

Did you have some concept in mind when you enter the studio to record “Feast For Water”? What kind of mood did you want to transfer through these songs?

Yes. From the sounds to the creative approach, we wanted to materialize the physical and mental state of apnea. That sensation that pushes against flesh and bones while carrying you to unknown depths at the same time. This conveys a somber feeling of warmth and salvation.

By the way, why “Feast For Water”?

Water is a central element in rituals, initiations and rites of passages of all kinds throughout all cultures. ‘Feast’ stands for celebration. It’s the point of contact between the human being and the unknowable which lies beneath.

You did shoot official video on song “Leah”… I still can’t use to the fact that metal videos are made only for YouTube nowadays – no TV programs, no DVD-compilations, just YouTube. Do you do it for yourself? I’ve checked and your video on “Babalon” (damn killer song) have about 30.000 views… I don’t know though if it’s bad or good…

We don’t really care if it’s bad or good. Video-clips are just another piece of the puzzle, a complementary part of the concept we have created. This kind of videos wouldn’t be aired on MTV anyway, ahah! These two videos were made by extremely talented Catalan video-maker Laura Sans, with the help of a few close friends of ours. We channeled our musical ideas though visionary taste, full of symbolic motifs.

Messa - Babalon 

“Belfry” lyrics dealt with a wide range of topics if I remember correctly. What does Sara sing about on new album?

The lyrics are always very personal and heartfelt, so it’s not easy to sum up the wide array of topics they deal with. Let’s just say that the best way to have a glimpse of what Messa is all about is to read those lyrics and feel free to discover the secret bonds between them and the songs.

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and MESSA 


Planet Of Doom: First Contact (EP Review)

Release date: June 22nd 2018. Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Planet Of Doom: First Contact – Tracklisting

1.Sword of the Sea - Mos Generator 04:00
2.Serpent Libido - Messa 07:09
3.Runa - Vokonis 05:05
4.Jagaer - Slomatics 06:13


Greetings All,

Movies and music have become synonymous with one another for decades. Christ, there are movies out there that are more well known for the soundtrack than the actual film itself. I could rattle of countless soundtracks that are loaded from beginning to end with excellent music from amazing artists who have taken the time to craft songs to fit the mood and style of the film at hand. Planet Of Doom: First Contact fits that mould.

This is an impressive four song EP of some amazingly, killer tracks by 4 great bands. Stylistically my mind goes directly to the great 80’s animated Sci-Fi epic, Heavy Metal. If, for some reason, you are not familiar, check out the movie and the soundtrack. It has Motorhead and Judas Priest, that’s all you need to know. First Contact is a new age Heavy Metal soundtrack.

The record opens with the always amazing Mos Generator and their track Sword of the Sea which showcases the bands multi-faceted, dynamic sound. This killer track opens with the bands trademark, stoner rock groove in full effect before dissolving into an acoustic vibe with some ethereal sounding female vocals (My apologies for not know this amazing singer) before closing with a big time raucous close.

The stunning Messa follows. I will admit that this is the one band on the record I didn’t know anything about, but that is going to change in a hurry. Their track Serpent Libido brings slow, heavy doom inspired riffage behind some absolutely amazing Female vocals. The track also brings some unsettling quiet moments that, I assume, would fit well in the film and add to the dark vibe of this awesome tune.

The mighty Vokonis follows with the excellent Runa, a hard hitting, powerful track with a riff heavy and monster vocal attack. This is an immense stoner rock jam that is worth the price of admission.

The record closes with the always awesome Slomatics and their jam Jaeger. These guys bring the thick and heavy fuzzed out doom on this brilliant track. The sludge and vibe of this song is intense and satisfying.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a big film buff, but I will definitely check out Planet Of Doom when it’s released in 2020. I hope the rest of the soundtrack is on the same level as these four amazing bands.

Check out this killer record and let your mind soar!

Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Planet Of Doom: First Contact – is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ripple Music.


Thursday, 21 June 2018

An Introduction To Brass Owl and Exclusive Stream Of Their Debut Self Titled EP

On June 22nd 2018 BRASS OWL will release their self-titled EP. The band's blend of stoner, psychedelic and heavy metal is highly recommended for fans of  Corrosion of Conformity, ZZ Top, Cream and Pride And Glory.


Formed in the conservative world of southern Ohio, Brass Owl has never been a typical band. With a bonafide shred master on guitar, an award winning session drummer and a bassist with a distinctive retro style this power trio is poised to take over the scene. Their jam oriented sound isn’t just a testament to the bands past accomplishments, but also reflects how tightly they have gelled as a unit. Their music is reflective of a lifetime of playing music a deep understanding of rock and roll. With a new record coming out soon, one can’t help but to get excited for what these Ohio boys are going to be pulling out of their hats next.

The mastermind behind this project, Brian Tarter is thrilled to finally have a band where he has embraced being both lyricist and vocalist. This music gives him a platform to not only show off his Steve Vai approved licks (Tarter performed with Vai after winning a shred contest in the 90s) but also bring his songwriting to a new level. The band act as a tight unit combining all manner of musical ideas through a unique blend of jaw dropping hooks and thrilling, largely improvised solos. Avoiding both tired stoned rock and roll cliches and maintaining a concise approach to songwriting, Brass Owl aspire to be a new kind of jam band.

Brass Owl is a band who have not only paid their dues, they have nearly a centuries worth of experience between the three of them. They are ready now to go out once more and claim the hearts of a legion of fans. With a sound that appeals to everyone from modern rockers to stoners, classic rock maniacs to acid jazz heads, Brass Owl are unafraid to push the boundaries. This is not just another jam band, this is a group with a distinct artistic vision, a motivated team, and the passion, combined with the know how to go far beyond the dives they cut their teeth in.  


You can listen to their superb debut EP below courtesy of the good folks over at Dewar PR.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Tour News: HIGH ON FIRE announce co-headline tour with ENSLAVED

The legendary HIGH ON FIRE have announced a co-headline tour with Norwegian heavyweights ENSLAVED. Tickets will be on sale 9am local time Thursday June 21st.


Frontman Matt Pike commented "Cometh the conquerors, to break all beliefs!"

Dates are as follows:

30/09 U Bazyla Poznan PL
01/10 Proxima Warsaw PL
02/10 UT Connewitz Leipzig DE
03/10 Kulturfabrik Esch LU
04/10 Mezz Jupiler Zaal Breda NL
08/10 Academy 2 Manchester UK
09/10 Tivoli Dublin EIRE
10/10 Limelight 2 Belfast UK
12/10 The Mill Birmingham UK
14/10 SWX Bristol UK
15/10 The Dome London UK
16/10 La Machine Du Moulin Rouge Paris FR

Born from the ashes of their respective former bands, HIGH ON FIRE are celebrating their 20th year. Inspiring countless bands in their twenty years, HIGH ON FIRE are riding high on a wave of thunder and tumult.

The three piece consisting of Matt Pike (vocals/guitar), Des Kenzel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass) is the band at their most fully realised and utterly relentless, who headlined London's Desertfest in May.

Through six full-lengths and a number of live releases and EPs, the punching command of HIGH ON FIRE has established the band as an unmatched and wholly unmistakable force in the realm of heavy metal.

Beginning with 2000’s The Art of Self Defense, the band joined independent label Relapse Records in 2001, and unleashed what would become three of the most dynamically influential heavy music releases of the 21st century thus far with Surrounded by Thieves (2002), Blessed Black Wings (2005), and Death Is This Communion (2007).

A year after signing with the highly regarded eOne Music, HIGH ON FIRE released 2010’s Snakes for the Divine, a powerhouse record that saw the band supporting Metallica in the same year. With widely respected producer/engineer Kurt Ballou at the helm, 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis brought HIGH ON FIRE immediate and virtually universal acclaim, before 2015's monstrous Luminiferous confirmed the band's status as the litmus test for all things heavy.

Festival News - HEAVY MASH Announces Full Line-Up

After last year’s successful event, we are pleased to announce this year’s Heavy Mash! Once again, our great friend Wade hosts this event at Division Brewing in Arlington, TX on October 13th, 2018. Nothing but heavy music and great beer! Here is this year’s line-up: 

Headlining this event is heavy psychedelic stoner metal band DUEL (Heavy Psych Sounds) from Austin, TX. Hugely influenced by the darker sounds of early 70’s Proto-metal. Their sound is menacing and brutally old school. 

Great Electric Quest (Totem Cat Records) from San Diego, CA will bring the stuff you can drink beer and rock out to with some good friends. 

Mountain of Smoke (Do For It Records) from Dallas, TX will bring their version of heavy hitting sludge to this little fest. These dudes are not to be missed. 

Doomstress (DHU Records / No Slip Records) from Houston, TX brings a hard edge to modern doom w/nods toward classic influences featuring heavy riffs, tasty grooves & powerful female vocals. 

Stone Machine Electric (Off the Record Label) from Hurst, TX is the duo best known for their weird approach in crafting a darkened and spacious vision of psychedelic jamming. Doom Jazz, it is Doom Jazz! 

Switchblade Jesus (Ripple Music) from Corpus Christi, TX is a dirty and dusty sounding trio bringing their rusted and grease-soaked metal up to the streets of Arlington. 

Orthodox Fuzz of Fort Worth, TX bring a riff driven heavy rock with both classic and modern influences to the stage. 

Witchcryer (Ripple Music) from Austin, TX are a 4-piece old-school doom metal band as indebted to the heavy rock muscle of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Blue Oyster Cult as their doom descendants Witchfinder General, Trouble, and St. Vitus. 

Gypsy Sun Revival (Nasoni Records) is a psychedelic rock band hailing from Fort Worth, TX. The group aims to take listeners on a long distance trip to the outer reaches. 

Dead Hawke of Fort Worth, TX is an all-around metal band, bringing you doom, sludge, and stoner tunes for your rock n roll pleasure. 

Division Brewing, The Obelisk, Ripple Music, Fistful of Doom podcast, Texas Metal Show podcast, and Off the Record Label from the Netherlands sponsor this event. Big thanks to these folks for helping this event to flourish!  

Follow Heavy Mash here to stay up to date: 

Blacklab - Under The Strawberry Moon 2.0 (Album Review)

Release date: July 20th 2018. Label: New Heavy Sounds. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Under The Strawberry Moon 2.0 – Tracklisting

1. Black Moon
2. Hidden Garden
3. Spoon
4. Symptom of the Blacklab
5. Warm Death
6. His Name Is ...
7. Fall and Rise
8. Big Muff


Yuko Morino, guitar and vocals
Chia Shiraishi, drums.


Greetings All,

It’s strange. I felt some sort of familiarity with Blacklab before I ever listened to one single solitary note of this record. Honestly, no idea why. After listening to this monster and having my mind absolutely melted I understood why. This record by this Japanese Doom Witch Duo is the record I would make if I had any music ability whatsoever (I don’t), Under The Strawberry Moon 2.0 is absolutely brilliant. It is raw and intense and down right heavy. Blacklab bring elements of doom, drone, sludge and black metal to their wildly intense sound. The recording is spot on. The  sound is raw, but not lo fi. The guitars and drums will absolutely melt your face. The vocals are delivered in both Japanese and English and are at times harmonious, whispered, screamed or growled. The band also shows musical chops with dynamic changes and intensity delivered in every song.

Black Moon opens the record with a monster riff and driving drums. The vocals come with a Sabbath inspired sound before drifting in to some blackened metal screams. Some heavy fuzzed out wah brings in the trippy Hidden Garden,  which slays from the first to last note. A dark, Doomy guitar intro ushers in Spoon, with big drums and blasts of guitar. Symptom of the Blacklab uses the iconic open riff of the Sabbath classic before the band turns it over and puts their own noisy spin on this all to brief instrumental. 

Warm Death follows with a dark, bass driven groove and muted lyrics that explode into skull shattering black metal sludge and then turning to close a monstrous rocking outro. A riff rocking intro brings His Name Is to life. The song has a heavy groove oriented feel that carries into Fall and Rise which keeps the groove moving but with a darker, doomier vibe and another raucous change in to a sludge heavy outro. The record closes with a salute to one of the most beloved of distortion pedals. Big Muff  is a distortion and feedback filled 8 minutes sans vocals or drums. Just droning noise in the realm of Sunn/Earth/Melvins. A fitting close to a righteous ritual.

There is a tremendous feeling to discovering something new and exciting. When a band comes out of nowhere and floors you as Blacklab have done, it is a beautiful thing. This self described Doom Witch Duo have somehow managed to put out the record I hear in my head. I absolutely fucking love Under the Strawberry Moon 2.0. Blacklab have delivered a nearly perfect record. Get this and listen to it!

Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to I Like Press for the promo. Under The Strawberry Moon 2.0 will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via New Heavy Sounds from July 20th 2018.


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Red Coil - Himalayan Demons (Album Review and Exclusive Album Stream)

Release date: June 22nd 2018. Label: Argonauta Records. Format: CD/DD

Himalayan Demons – Tracklisting

Withdrawal Syndrome Wall
Oriental Lodge
Opium Smokers Room
The Shroud
The Eyes Of Kathmandu
When The Levee Breaks


Marco Marinoni (voice)
Luca Colombo (guitar)
Daniele Parini (guitar)
Gelindo (bass)
Bull (drum)


Italian Sludge/Stoner Metal band - The Red Coil - new album, Himalayan Demons, doesn't offer anything new or ground-breaking within the genre. However their album is a thrilling and hugely entertaining ride that sees the band take direct influence from Spiritual Beggars and Corrosion Of Conformity though with a touch of NOLA/Southern Metal vibes holding everything together. It's a groove laiden affair with plenty of Psychedelic Weeidan style riffs and sounds that sees the band offer a melodic edge to their music.

Opening track - Withdrawal Syndrome Wall - is an almost down-tempo slice of modern Sludge/Stoner Metal with an equally heavy Doom and Gloom sounding atmosphere. The vocals are a mixture of harsh growls and clean vocals with both very easy to understand. The music is constantly heavy and gives the listener a good chance on what to expect for the remainder of the album.

Second track - Godforsaken - has a more NOLA-esque approach with The Red Coil channelling a more aggressive style of music. The vocals can be quite hard to understand at times but the music is main focus here. With hard-hitting riffs having the right amount of flair, creativity and passion. The sound and atmosphere of the album is very raw but the album is still superbly produced. Even two songs into the album.

The next two songs Oriental Lodge and Opium Smokers Room offer a more demonic and doomed out experience with the music being second best to the crazy lyrics The Red Coil have written here. The vocals are sung superbly well despite a few more rough moments where the listener maybe wondering what the lead vocalist is actually singing about. As he excels more at the clean based vocals than the hardcore based growls.

Other cool songs to check out on the album are: The Shroud, Moksha and When The Levee Breaks. All showing how good The Red Coil actually are merging the albums different sounds on the majority of the songs. Especially when the NOLA vibes fully take over on the second half of the album. As I stated earlier in the review, the production is fantastic despite the sound having a very raw and almost DIY feel.

The Red Coil makes you feel directly involved with the music itself and that's down to the band playing superbly heavy addictive riffs throughout the album. If you're looking for an album to settle your NOLA/Southern Metal cravings then Himalayan Demons is the album for you.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Argonauta Records and NeeCee Agency for the promo. Himalayan Demons will be available to buy on CD/DD via Argonauta Records from June 22nd 2018.

However you can listen to the album in full with this exclusive album stream.