Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Going Stir Crazy With Brian Corbett from GENE WILDEST

Gene Wildest is a band that I had never heard of until they contacted me to review their upcoming new album – Spectral Terrestrial. I was intrigued by the band’s overall sound. As Gene Wildest play a different kind of Spaced Out Stoner Rock. As these guys include elements of Fuzz, Grunge, Psych, Indie, Alt Rock and even elements of Shoegazing.

These guys are totally new to me and I wanted to find out more about them and Brian (Guitar/Vox) from the band has have kindly agreed to this cool interview.

Read on and find out more information about GENE WILDEST….

Hi Brian. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today. Congratulations on your new album.

Hey Steve, thanks! Things are great! Just watching the World Cup final at the moment actually.

Can you give a brief history of how the band formed and where it is today.

So Rob and I (Brian) were introduced back around 2005 by our friend John. We ended up starting a band called Human Sounds with John and our other friends George and Pat. Physical distance kind of got in the way of Human Sounds, but Rob and I lived close and continued to make music and jam every now and then. I was making some home recordings that Rob liked around the same time I met our first drummer Ben Zemel in grad school around 2011.

We all decided to jam, things clicked, and that was our set up for about two years. In 2013 our friend Eric Richmann expressed interest in playing in a band. He was a great songwriter and guitarist and had a killer voice (you can hear it on “Deadleaves” off our first album Everything). We got really excited and just as a shot in the dark told him we would love for him to play bass and share vocals. Luckily he said yes and was in the band until November 2016. He tragically and suddenly passed away from a heart condition he had since he was a kid. It was just devastating for us, his family, and everyone in his life. But we decided with his wife Corey that if there was one thing that Eric would come back and haunt us for it would be letting the band fall apart.

We begged my brother Sean, who never played bass but was always a great musician, to fill in for Eric. He learned all of our songs, which have some pretty complicated basslines, remarkably quickly and he’s been our bassist ever since. In June 2017, Ben went to Portland for work after grad school. Despite being a barefoot drummer, he had some big shoes left unfilled.

A friend of mine introduced us to our current drummer, Dave, who learned like twenty songs by the fall and saved us from the murky depths of a drummerless hell. And that’s been our line-up ever since – Sean, Rob, Dave, and Brian.

How would you describe the music that Gene Wildest creates. As there are many different elements and levels to your overall sound.

That’s always a tough question, especially because its always changing. We currently have math rock and shoegaze albums in the works, ha-ha. This album fits pretty nicely into the stoner rock category, although it doesn’t have as much fuzz as many other stoner rock albums. I guess I would say stoner rock with only as much fuzz as necessary. But just to be clear – we really love our fuzz.

Where did you get the name for Gene Wildest. Obviously influenced by the legendary comedic actor.

Yea we’re all Gene Wilder fans. Honestly, I thought the band name Gnarls Barkley was hilarious and witty. I’ve always liked celebrity puns, but I didn’t want to just rhyme a first or last name. Gene Wildest just seemed right at the time, back in like 2009 before I knew we would be releasing a stoner rock album. Truckfighters, Dead Meadow, Gene Wildest. One of these things is not like the others, but what’s in a name, right?

You have just released your new Spectral Terrestrial. What is the album about.

Well, almost every song deals with both love and death. I like the two concepts together, it keeps the songs from being annoyingly happy or overtly depressing. I see the love for a deceased spouse/friend/family member last forever in the living and I like to think that love is not lost by those who die. It’s a concept that worked really well in the stoner rock genre because you can get away with singing about the supernatural.

Who is releasing the album and what formats will the album be released on.

As of now, we’re self-releasing it under our record label Nappy Dawg Records. It will be on all of the digital music media – Spotify, Google Play, Bandcamp, etc. and also on CD. If we get enough interest we would love to release it on vinyl but that’s just a pipe-dream as of now.

Was recording the album an easy or hard experience.

Easy and fun! We recorded and mixed it ourselves. I’m really into mixing.

Do you have any upcoming gigs to celebrate the release of the album.

Yes, we’ll be at Boot & Saddle in Philly on Auguest 30th.
Will you be performing any-more gigs to promote the new album.

We’re trying to get a north-east tour lined up. Hopefully doing some shows in Lancaster, Bethlehem, Atlantic City, NYC, and Boston.

Do you have an active scene to perform gigs on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform gigs.

The Philadelphia music scene is pretty awesome. There are about 10 great venues we can play at. We’re really lucky that it exists and are forever grateful to our family, friends, and fans who are nice enough to keep supporting us so we can keep playing at these great local spots.

When you’re creating new music. What comes first. The music or the lyrics.

Usually music, I think songs turn out more interesting that way. Starting with a sweet, creative riff and letting it develop from there. Sometimes they happen together, that’s always when the best songs come together. Whenever I start with lyrics the songs are usually more listenable, but I tend to just use chords, which usually isn’t as interesting as using sweet riffage.

What is the songwriting dynamic within the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

It’s collaborative. Each song is usually the brainchild of one of us, with the guys filling in their parts later. Sometimes at practice you get that magic moment when a jam turns into a song in like 15 minutes. Those are always great.

What is your current equipment/setup when recording music and playing live.

Ohhhhh buddy. Our favorite question! Everything is recorded in Logic. Sean and I actually just record direct in, using a tweed amp modeler. Sean uses an Ibanez that looks like a P-bass. For pedals, he mostly uses a DOD Boneshaker, a fuzz that I designed, and a BOSS PH-3 phaser. I use a Schecter Omen 6 with these wacky pickups that I haven’t been able to identify. I bought it used. I use a ton of pedals.

The most commonly used ones on Spectral Terrestrial are a reverse Fuzz Factory clone, a modded Spaceman Wow Signal, Big Muff Pi, Ehx Mel9, Chase Bliss Spectre, Roger Mayer Voodo Vibe+, and that fuzz that I designed. Rob mostly uses a PRS S2 Custom 22 Semi-Hollow or Fender American Standard Strat into a mic'ed up Blackstar Artist 15 or his old Peavey Bandit 112.

He loves pedals as much as I do, but the ones that got the most love from him on this record are a Wampler Tumnus into either an EQD Hoof or a Smallsound/Bigsound Buzzz for his dirt tones, and a Chase Bliss Warped Vinyl HiFi and a TC Electronic Viscous Vibe for his mod section. The Empress Echosystem and Reverb units are all over his tracks, too.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go do you have any words of wisdom to say to your fans.

“Be excellent to each other”. Thanks for everything, Steve.

Words by Steve Howe and Brian Corbett


Official | Facebook | BandCamp

Gene Widest - Spectral Terrestrial (Album Review)

Release date: August 28th 2018. Label: Nappy Dawg Records. Format: CD/DD

Spectral Terrestrial – Tracklisting

1.The Past Ate You 05:00
2.Marisol 04:27
3.A Flower in a Forest in Bloom 05:00
4.Modern Day Icarus 04:10
5.Cry Baby Cry 03:32
6.Neck Romancer 03:46
7.Space Fuzz Beyond The Sea 02:56
8.Dead Butterfly 04:16
9.Beauty Over Time 06:09


Dave Ashcraft - drums
Brian Corbett - guitar, vocals
Sean Corbett - bass
Rob Ealer - guitar


Gene Wildest are not your usual Stoner/Space Rock Band. As the band take a different approach with their music by adding layers of Fuzz Rock, Psych, Math Rock and even 90s Alternative/Indie Rock. Their new album Spectral Terrestrial sees the band trying to find their way through their heavy progressive guitar driven sound. The vocals from Brian are not what you expect. As they have a “dream-pop” sensibility.

The album’s opening track – The Past Are You – is primarily a Heavy Psych/Space Rock song. Though Gene Wildest aren’t your most straight forward band. As the guys throw a curve ball by adding 90s sounding Alternative Rock amongst all the heavy Spaced Out Rock sounds. The song truly comes alive when the Fuzz/Stoner Rock riffs appear. This song feels it was made by two different bands. One band is a Fuzz/Stoner Rock Band who delight in creating loud heavy noises and the other band is an Alternative/Indie Rock band with elements of Shoegaze Rock appearing here and there.

I know it sounds crazy but Gene Wildest are an absolute delight from beginning to end. As they tease you with so many different genres of music on the individual songs. Songs such as: Marisol, A Flower In A Forest In Bloom, Modern Day Icarus, Neck Romancer and Space Fuzz Beyond The Sea are the songs I enjoyed the most. As Gene Wildest create inventive Stoner/Space Rock sounds with groovy vocals to match. The lyrical content is way out there as well.

The production is very raw and has a lo-fi edge but it serves the purpose of the whole album. Spectral Terrestrial has some bleak moments contained within the lyrics and the overall theme of the album.

The only part of the album I had issues with was the final song – Beauty Of Time. As I felt the band tried to hard with song. The early narrative of the song takes time to fully get going. When the heavy guitars do appear the song finally springs into action and the band actually leave you wanting more from this song.zx

Apart from that minor complaint, Gene Wildest have still managed to release an album that is definitely worth your time. As there is something for everyone to enjoy here. Spectral Terrestrial is a weird sounding and hugely enjoyable that album that may just surprise you.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


Monday, 16 July 2018

An Interview With Mona Miluski from HIGH FIGHTER and ALL NOIR PR


High Fighter have a come a long way since their inception back in 2014. As the band released their acclaimed debut EP – The Goat Ritual back in 2014 and their debut album Scars & Crosses back in 2016. High Fighter have played with artists such as CONAN, Mantar, Downfall Of GAIA, Elder and Brant Bjork over the last few years.

The band are very hard to define as they include a wide range of different sounds. Punk, Sludge, Doom, Stoner and Heavy Metal riffs allow High Fighter to create their distinctive sound.

I’ve been a fan of them since their inception and I’ve promoted the heavily over the last few years and lead vocalist Mona Miluski has been one of my biggest supporters since I started the blog back in August 2015.

High Fighter will be going on a UK Tour in August 2018 and I wanted to catch up with Mona. As it’s been a long time since we spoke. Mona has kindly agreed to do this interview.

Hi Mona. Thanks for doing this interview. Long-time no speak. How are things with you today.

Hi Steve, thanks, am well! We just came back from our last show with Mantar, we had the honor to support on a few selected club shows of their recent summer tour in Germany. Except our guitarist Shi, he broke his leg right before one of our Mantar shows few weeks ago, but still rocking the stage with us and it's all going well in the High Fighter camp. Indeed, long time no speak, thanks for catching up with us again!

So how are things with High Fighter. Been a while since we last spoken. Almost three years. What have you High Fighter been upto since then.

A lot has happened since the last time we spoke. After the release of our debut album 'Scars & Crosses' we got the chance to tour again a lot, with bands such as our friends in Conan, Downfall of Gaia or Elder to name just a few, and played at festivals alike Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin and Antwerp, Up In Smoke and a lot more.

You know we're all about having a good time on the road and within the band, and we had. Appreciate the support and chances we got over these past few years, which got us even stronger together as a band as well as in our live performances.

You’re about to embark on a UK Tour in August. Can you give more details on what people can expect from these gigs.

Yea we're super excited to return to the UK again! It's been back in early 2015 and on our first European tour ever we hit the UK alongside our friends in Sunnata. We got invited to play this year's Riff Fest in Bolton, so we booked a tour around it and it will be one of our last tours in 2018 and before we will hit the studio to record our second full-length album. We will of course play a bunch of old songs but also trying some brand new material live on this tour!

You’re taking Tuskar and My Diablo along for the ride. How did you become aware of those two bands.

Our tour has been booked by our friend Ryan of Desert Storm who is running Buried in Smoke Promotions. They recommended My Diablo and Tuskar to us, and we can't wait to hit the road with them. Love this heavy package, and am sure it will satisfy a lot of people live!

Will you be performing anymore European Dates in the future

After our UK tour and we are currently still booking shows around it such as in the Netherlands and France, we will be playing a few more gigs in Germany at like Keep It Low Festival in Munich. Besides we are heavily writing our new album.

It’s been a couple of years since you released your debut album Scars & Crosses. Which was warmly received by the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community. Did it surprise the attention and praise the album originally received.

We never expected the attention and such heavy support we got for 'Scars & Crosses'. As you know, we mix quite a few styles in our music, which didn't make it really easy for us in the beginning. People need to categorize, it's our human nature. You can't put us into one category only, and we even may have confused people with that in the beginning. Is it Metal? Is it Stoner, Doom or Sludge? What is this band about. We never cared about one style or tried to fit into one scene only. Being the open-minded spirits we are, we just kept doing our thing.

So we really appreciate that nowadays it seems to be okay for people that we like to mix genres, that you may even find several different styles happening in one song. Our debut got us on a lot of various shows, we could play Wacken but also a Desertfest, we toured with Black Metal bands such as Downfall of Gaia, heavy Doom bands such as Conan, and the other time with Elder or played a show with Brant Bjork. The various our music may be, the more various we are when it comes to play live and receive attention from more than just one heavy music scene.

Photo by Peter Kupfer

Looking back would you change anything about it.

Me personally, no. I love this album, as well as our first EP 'The Goat Ritual', although both are very different sound-and recording-wise. We just wished we could have taken a bit more time before and in the studio while recording 'Scars & Crosses'. A few songs, such as 'Blinders' we wrote just a few days before we hit the studio, and recorded all songs live. A few songs weren't that prepared as they probably should have been, and in the end I just had 1-2 days to record all vocals as our time in the studio was running out.

On top me and our guitarist Ingwer had been sick with a flu to that time, it made it even harder to focus on the studio recordings. Nowadays I may sing a few parts live different to the album version as all our songs start to grow just live, but the record is a momentum and every production could go endless, so me personally I am very happy with the result.

Thanks to Jens Siefert at Rama Studios as well as Toshi Kasai ( Melvins, Big Business ) for the excellent mix & mastering. Looking back, there are always some things you may could have changed in the production or songwriting, but we're happy about any of our records and they got us so many great opportunities to play and having a good time on the road. So no, I wouldn't want to change anything, and looking back or complaining about things you cannot change anymore doesn't really help.

Are you releasing any new material in the future. If so can you give us any details when will this be released.

Yes, we are heavily writing the new album, and we plan to release it by Spring 2019.

Will you be performing new songs on the forthcoming UK Tour.

We will. Make sure to visit a show and let us know what you think! ;)

Has High Fighter’s sound evolved from your first two releases. Or are you continuing down the same destructive Doom/Sludge Metal path.

We always try to evolve our sound, but never write our songs by what people may wanna hear or expect. Our sound won't change that much and we will always continue to let a various mix of styles happen in our music. At this state I'd say, a few new songs may go a bit more progressive, while others may even have a punkish straight forward sound. Still under our Sludge, Doom and Stoner Metal flag, we just let it happen, no matter what genre you try to name it.

Slightly away from High Fighter. You’ve just formed your new PR Company. All Noir. How did that come about. As you had a previous PR Company.

That's true. I have been working for Napalm Records more than 4 years, long time before I started working for Napalm I was already running an independent PR agency called Platinum PR. In early 2018 I made the decision to part ways with Napalm to start my own company and going new ways in the music industry. Times have changed, and so did I, and it was just the perfect time to launch my own agency ALL NOIR. An independent music PR agency, I also do a bit of booking and artist management.

Photo by Peter Kupfer

Did you want to start over again. New challenges and all that.

I am a very colourful person when it comes to music and my work. It's been about the right time to launch my new company and start under a brand new name, where I can also take new and also more colourful challenges in my work. The music and label industry is under a constant change, and I wanted to offer more and that goes with the time instead of being kind of stuck with one record company only.

I have learned a lot over these past few years, and I am very grateful for my time at Napalm, worked with many artists I admire and to grow my network and experiences in this industry. Today I can offer more and what I am very passionate about: Album and Live Promotion, Festival promo, Booking and Management. ALL NOIR feels like the best step I did in a long time. And I would not change a thing about my past and present.

What are the main aims for PR Company.

To offer some various and colourful service for the music and bands I admire, if it's an album or tour promo, festival promotion, booking or management. I am lucky enough now to stay true to the colours of my favourite tunes, from the Heavy Psych and Desert Rock sounds, to Doom, Sludge and Black Metal. While the music industry is under constant change, bands, labels as well as booking agents do need loyal, experienced and passionate PRs that are able to go with the time and industry changes.

You’ve already started working with some pretty awesome record labels – Heavy Psych Sounds and Argonauta Records. Congrats on that one. Will you solely be focusing on record labels. Or will you be working with bands as well.

Thank you! I am really stoked about my current roster, when I have launched ALL NOIR in May 2018 I would have never dreamed of to be working with such an excellent and high class list of artists & companies like I already do. To my roster not just belong record labels, but also independent bands – from underground to bigger acts, as well as various labels or live & tour promo clients. For more info feel free to visit: www.all-noir.com

Before you go Mona, Do you have anything to say to your fans.

To all of you Outlaws of the Sun, thanks a lot for the rock support. We hope to see a lot of old and new faces at our upcoming tour in August! Thank you for having us again Steve and for all your support since day one.

Words by Steve Howe and Mona Miluski
Thanks to Mona for doing this interview. Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for arranging this interview.


Ancestors - Suspended In Reflections (Album Review)

Release date: August 24th 2018. Label: Pelagic Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Suspended In Reflections – Tracklisting

2.Through a Window
3.Lying in the Grass
4.Into the Fall
6.The Warm Glow


Justin Maranga
Jason Watkins
Daniel Pouliot


Ancestors return after a six year absence with their new album Suspended In Reflections. This version of Ancestors is very different to the band that released their debut a decade ago. Back then, Ancestors were a Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal band with a sound similar to bands such as Sleep and Mastodon.

Though with each passing record, Ancestors have changed and refined their sound to something more progressive and heartfelt. Ancestors of today follow the same path as YOB, Pink Floyd and Pallbearer. As the new album is a moody and progressive doom metal album with flourishes of Psychedelic Rock. The music can be extremely slow at times compared to their previous albums.

Opening song - Gone - is a very abstract and distant song with the band playing heavy slow-paced psychedelic doom rock passages. The song has an ambient and post rock sound holding everything together. The vocals feel inspired by Pallbearer but Ancestors do enough work to be judged on their own talents and convictions.

Second track - Through A Window - carries on the psychedelic and heartfelt vibe with ambient noises allowing Ancestors to extend their musical vision to a more cinematic approach. The music once again is deliberately slow-paced and the lyrics have a slight depressing feel. The song has an almost delicate sixties sounding Pink Floyd vibe. It's an interesting approach and one that I didn't expect.

Third track - Living In The Grass - has an interesting style of digitized vocals. It works for the most part but it would have been better if the band included actual vocals all the way through the song. The music is impressive as normal. The haunting piano track allows the album to create a more soulful post-rock sound though Ancestors still include elements of heavy doom based music.

The final three songs on the album Into The Fall, Release and The Warm Glow offer perhaps the most exciting parts and melodies contained within the album. As the album drifts from one different sound with each individual song. The highlight of these three songs has to be The Warm Glow. An epic Pink Floyd musical style odyssey mixed with the albums familiar Psychedelic Doom Metal sounds.

It's a shame that the album is too short running under thirty five minutes. Other than that minor complaint, Ancestors have released an album to become genuinely excited about. Has the album been worth the wait? Most definitely. Though It will take a few listens to become accustomed to Ancestors new sound. Overall, Suspended In Reflections is a highly engaging and superbly entertaining album that ranks as one of their best albums to date.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Daniel from CZ Promotions. Suspended In Reflections will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via PelagicRecords from August 24th 2018.

Forming The Void - Rift (Album Review)

Release date: August 18th 2018. Label: Kozmik Artifactz. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Rift – Tracklisting

1.Extinction Event
2.On We Sail
3.Arcane Mystic
6.Ark Debris


James Marshall – guitar/vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa- guitar
Luke Baker – bass
Thomas Colley - drums


Forming The Void made quite the impression last year when they released their second album Relic. Relic was an album that won major praise within the Sludge/Stoner Metal community with the music influenced by Led Zepplin and Mastodon. Relic was a trippy and heavy psychedelic affair which even ended up on our best albums of 2017 list.

Forming The Void has return with their epic new album Rift. Newly signed to Kozmik Artifactz. Rift follows the same path as Relic but with a more groove orientated sound. Forming The Void's Sludge Rock/Metal vibes that made a huge part of Relic are still here but there not as direct. As Forming The Void perform a more Psychedelic Stoner Metal sound with heavy moments of Doom Metal and Classic Rock creating a more exciting sound.

Opening song - Extinction Event - has a Led Zepplin style groove but with Forming The Void's modern sounding Psychedelic flair with traces of Progressive Sludgy Rock. The mood even changes to Ambient Post Rock at times. However it's the heavy riffs and the superb vocals of James make this a winning track to open the album with.

Second track - On We Sail - is perhaps my favourite song on the album. As Forming The Void create a sludgy and spaced out heavy sound. The lyrics are superbly written and the song has a catchy sing-along chorus. Forming The Void maybe channelling their inner-Mastodon at times but the band pulls this off with their own distinctive style.

Third track - Arcane Mystic - is inspired by classic rock sounds of the last forty years or so which is offset by a heavy progressive Spaced Out Stoner Metal sound. The lyrics are quite clever as they elevate this song to a more spiritual level. Most of the songs on the album run around near the five to six minute mark. So you can expect to hear different styles of progressive music on Rift.

Fourth song - Transient - is another highlight with Forming The Void opting for a slower sound with the song having a more personal feel. The vocals from James impress yet again. The song does become heavier as time passes by. Though the mellow post-rock parts of the song are my favourite parts. As it shows how Forming The Void have progressed as songwriters and musicians from their last album.

The final three songs Arrival, Ark Debris and Shrine see Forming The Void returning to their trademark Psychedelic heavy sound. Cosmic and Ark Debris offer more Sludge/Stoner Metal grooves as the band keep up the trippy and space rock sound they have built their reputation upon. The last track, Shrine is an epic ten minute plus song that features some of the band's best music to date. As the song moves in so many different directions and when it the album does finally end, you're left wanting more. That's a good thing. As you will be entertained throughout this epic album.

Rift is a different album to Relic. It may have similar sounds and ideas. However Rift takes you on a more personal and spiritual journey. The production on Rift is simply first rate. With the album sounding fresh and super heavy from the start.

Relic made me a fan of Forming The Void's music. However Rift has made Forming The Void become one of my favourite bands. Rift will be considered as one of the best albums of the year. Simply unmissable

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Forming The Void and Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Rift will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via KozmikArtifactz from August 18th 2018.


Saturday, 14 July 2018

RIPIS - Shadow Dies In Morning Light (Album Review)

Release date: June 22nd 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Shadow Dies In Morning LIght – Tracklisting

1.Burdened by Stone 09:57
2.Void 10:06
3.Water in the Basin 12:22
4.Shadow Dies in Morning Light 11:27


Asher Johnson - Guitar
Blake DeWitt - Bass / Vocals
Andy Hannaman - Drums


RIPIS are a band influenced by Doom Metal bands such as YOB and Pallbearer. However these guys add a touch of Sludge and Post-Metal darkness into the mix. The band has just released their epic new album Shadow Dies In Morning Light and it's quite a gloomy affair that is full of heavy progressive Psychedelic Doom Metal riffs.

Opening song - Burdened By Stone - is the first of four songs that run near or past the ten minute mark. The music is heavy with the band not wasting any time in playing a heavy sludge and post-metal groove. The vocals from Blake are not what you initially expect as they have a slight alternative/indie rock feel. This allows RIPIS to focus creating an environment that is highly volatile with loud doomy guitars being played at a slow pace. 

The whole tone and theme of the album can be quite depressing at times and RIPIS never shy away from touching upon on hard-hitting subjects. This allows the album to be one of the more personal offerings I've heard in some time. However that doesn't stop RIPIS managing to include uplifting riffs that elevates the listener above the darkness of the album.

Second song - Void - carries on the progressive journey but with a more remorseful approach. The song does start off really slowly with an Ambient/Post-Rock vibe. RIPIS play at their own pace on this song and it does take time for the song to fully come alive. The lyrics and vocals yet again are thoughtful, insightful and cut right to the bone. This song has an almost "Funeral Doom" quality to it.

This is where the album starts adding a more cinematic feel to it. As the whole flow of the album becomes bigger, grander and even theatrical at times. Maybe RIPIS could have held back on the emotional content at times but this is an album with an intense vision and RIPIS deserve credit for not changing course for the remainder of the album.

The final two songs - Water In The Basin and the excellent title track - carries on the gloomy atmospheric with RIPIS playing the albums heaviest moments. Shadow Dies In Morning Light on a technical level is almost near perfect. The instrumental work is flawless and technically brilliant. As RIPIS weave a dark magical tapestry that Pallbearer would be proud to call their own.

I hope RIPIS manage to build a momentum with this album so they can gain some well-deserved recognition within the Doom/Sludge Metal scene. Overall, Shadow Dies In Morning Light is an album that you cannot ignore. As this is a must have album. 

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to RIPIS for the promo. Shadow Dies In Morning Light is available to buy now.


Aleks Evdokimov Interviews FUNERAL HORSE

Funeral Horse started its way in 2013, when a trio of friends took a decision to play some driving, heavy and low stuff. The first EP ‘Savage Audio Demons’ drawn the attention of Artificial Head Records who released next EP ‘Sinister Rites Of The Master’ (2014) and LP Divinity For The Wicked (2015).

The Power trio returns with new album ‘Psalms Of The Mourning’, the label describes new material as punk doom and it sounds damn good. What’s the hell is “punk doom”?

It seems we need the whole Funeral Horse crew here to sort it out, so let me introduce you Paul Bearer (guitars, vocals), Chris Bassett (drums) and Clint Rater (bass). Bring it on dudes!

Hi dudes! How are you? What's going on in Funeral Horse's bay?

Paul Bearer: Hey Aleks! Dude, we’re recovering from our most recent tour and catching up on things here at home. I have Chris and Clint here with me to join our conversation today too.

The band performs proper and tight stoner music, yet I've seen that you're also tagged as "punk doom". How do you see that?

Chris Bassett: While the first album can certainly be classified as Stoner, I’d say the past two records have deviated from that style quite a bit. Not sure if the Stoner Punk label fits either. If anyone feels the need to attach a Stoner tag to us, I suppose "Stoner Prog" might suffice. We, however, are quite content with the term ROCK.

Clint Rater: I feel the “Stoner” feel is gone now. I tune my bass to E standard and there isn’t any crazy fuzzed-out, overdriven wall of repetitive noise. We are much more inspired by 70’s rock, prog, jazz , and blues. In all honesty, I think it’s safe to say that we are not only tired of the “stoner/doom/sludge” label, but we’ve outgrown it as a band and in our personal tastes.

By the way, how do you see social roots of stoner? How did you reveal this spirit in you? 

Paul Bearer: Modern “stoner metal” can be traced back to the early 90s with albums by Sleep, Kyuss and The Melvins. I loved the way it directly clashed with the speed and fury of punk and metal at the time. Before that, you have obvious references such as early Sabbath or even Goblin with their experimental style of rock and ambiance. The spirit of stoner metal, to me, has always been rooted in American blues music… and that’s where Funeral Horse ultimately draws its influence.

There are many stoner bands in US and Old World as well, but don't you think that exclusively stoner is American phenomenon originally?

Paul Bearer: I find the phenomena deeply rooted in British blues and rock and it just evolved with each new band until it ultimately was born out of the California metal scene. 

Funeral Horse - Emperor Of All Maladies

You don’t sound (and you don’t look) as some newbies, do you have some musical background besides Funeral Horse?

Clint: Yeah. I play drums and write in another Artificial Head Records band called Jody Seabody and the Whirls.

Chris: I've been playing in bands for quite a number of years. A few different genres. Currently I play in a few "tribute" bands on the side (Pink Floyd, The Police) but Funeral Horse is my primary musical focus.

Paul: Back in the 90s, I was in a noise rock band called Tranquil. We released an album and did some touring in the northeast USA. I took a break after that and got back into music once I moved to Houston… which was about 12 years ago. Played in a few metal, punk and post-punk bands before finally starting Funeral Horse.

The third full-length album ‘Psalms For The Mourning’ was released just three weeks ago. What were your primal goals when you enter a studio? What was your master plan for a new album?

Paul: We knew that we needed to make a statement with this album as there was a lot going on in our personal lives, especially mine. I was going through a divorce, I lost two close friends to cancer, and I became this self-destructive mess. Funeral Horse was my only positive outlet, and even then – our gigs were rife with fucked up performances, antagonistic behavior towards the audience and I struggled with severe depression while touring. All of that had to come out. All of that had to be given a voice. So the master plan was to create a set of songs that would exercise these demons and give me a way to explain (at the very least to myself) what had happened.

Three years passed since the release of debut full-length ‘Divinity For The Wicked’. How do you value your progress on Psalms?

Paul: It’s a significant step forward in terms of song writing and our playing. We took our time on the production side to make sure the album had the feel and sound we wanted.

What are main features of Funeral Horse from your point of view? Through which equipment did you fulfill it working in the studio?

Paul: We mainly used whatever equipment would get the job done. Most the heavier songs on the album were recorded using a beat-up Japanese Esquire, a basic Fuzzface pedal and a tiny Fender Champ. Other times, I’m using a Les Paul into an old Mesa Boogie and sometimes I used a big old Gretsch hollowbody into a Marshall 18 watt. I got fancy on the song Divinity for the Wicked as I used a double neck (12/6) into Vox AC15 and a tube tape echo machine. Chris used Sabian cymbals and his Tama kit but sometimes he used the studio’s old Gretsch kit.

I gotta tell you though, Clint and I are not into pedals as we like to keep things simple – especially on stage. 

How serious were you in the studio? How much of improvisation was during the record session?

Clint: Personally, I was very focused on having a 50-50 blend of “clinical focus” and “loosey-goosey”.

Chris: For myself, I do very little improv when recording. I work out a part and really don't deviate much while recording. I enjoy the discipline of the studio. It's during the live setting that I like to loosen it up and perhaps add some more color.

Paul: Dude, I was serious as fuck. Sometimes I would walk out of the studio out of frustration and anger at myself for not getting a part done right. It was intense at times.

There’s ‘Evel Knieval Blues’ song on the album, it contains nice country tune, how did you come to an idea? And did your paths ever crossed with Moonbow? With what kind of bands do you usually share a stage?

Paul: With Evel Knievel Blues – I had been toying around with the idea of incorporating different styles into our song catalogue. We have several songs in our catalogue that stray from the traditional metal style because… well… that’s what we like to listen to. Cities of the Red Night, I Hear The Devil Calling Me, and A Bit of Weed are excellent examples of us playing around with different musical styles.

We have played a show with Moonbow when they came to Houston. Oh man… that was sooo long ago too. We usually get coupled with metal bands when we’re on the road or even at home. We prefer to play shows with bands that are quite different from us though as we like that kind of variety.

Funeral Horse – There Shall Be Vultures 

Funeral Horse is a trio, that seems to be a comfortable format for touring, when do you plan to hit the road and start to preach ‘Psalms’? 

Paul: Dude, we’re always hitting the road… that’s why it’s taken us so long to answer your interview questions!!!

Does being in the band grant you some therapeutic effect or something? What are positive and negative sides of being in Funeral Horse?

Clint: Absolutely. Music whether you are performing or simply listening is indeed therapeutic. After a performance there is a definite sense of satisfaction knowing you gave it your all and being able to play music you thoroughly enjoy alongside talented like-minded musicians. If there IS a negative it's trying to fall asleep later on with ringing ears.

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Funeral Horse


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