Tuesday, 21 August 2018

DRIFT INTO BLACK Announce New Album Details and New Song - Death From Above


New Jersey’s Doom Metal act DRIFT INTO BLACK has just completed their first full length album entitled "Dead Suns Under the Forever Moon" to be released October 12th on Digipak CD as well as all streaming services. 
“This is a concept album about absolute cold revenge by being used as the devil’s puppet” Craig Rossi says. “How much revenge is too much? Do two wrongs make a right? When all of that rage, adrenaline is gone and there’s nothing left, can you feel normal again? Was it all worth it?”. 

The first single “Death From Above” can be heard below accompanied with a lyric video. The track can also be downloaded from the band’s Band Camp page (link below)

“Dead Suns Under the Forever Moon” is the followup to Craig Rossi’s first digital EP released late 2017 entitled “Shadow People”

Once again Craig Rossi handles vocals, guitars, keyboards as well as mixing and mastering duties. The new album will feature some guest musicians as well. Paul LaPlaca (ex-Zandelle, ex-October Thorns) on bass. Rick Habeeb (Grey Skies Fallen, Brave the Waters, Buckshot Facelift) additional guitars, Klemen Markelj (Sam’s Fever)on drums, Melissa Hancockadditional vocals, and Elizabeth Weaver on cello. Album artwork designed by Ongky Widyanto. 

“Dead Suns Under the Forever Moon” track listing:

01. Reign
02. Sifting Through the Dead
03. Left in the Ash
04. Hollow
05. Gone but Not Forgotten
06. Death From Above
07. No Return to Light
08. Home

You can view the video for the excellent new single "Death From Above" below.


A Fan's Perspective - An Interview With HEDDBUZZ


It’s been a long time since I’ve done another “Fans Perspective” interview. I’ve decided to do another edition and this time I’m interviewing one of my biggest supporters since my Sludgelord days and a “real” Doom/Stoner Metal fan by the name of HEDDBUZZ.

You may have seen HEDDBUZZ posting on BandCamp when buy albums from different artists and even leaving comments on the Outlaws Of The Sun Facebook Page.

HEDDBUZZ is a well known and well respected supporter of the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal underground. So I had to interview HEDDBUZZ and see where his passion for music started from and what he thinks about the scene overall.

Here’s the interview that I did recently with HEDDBUZZ.

Hi Heddbuzz. Thanks for doing this interview. Hope things are OK with you today? 

I can't complain at all my man. I'm actually feeling pretty good for my age these days. At least I think I do. I guess I don't really know how I'm supposed to feel, but it's not that bad, all things considered. Not as bad as I thought it would be anyway. Thanks for asking though, I hope you're doing damn well yourself.

You’re probably wondering why I decided to interview you. I wanted to try doing something different from the usual round of interviews. I want to talk to a real fan from the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community. Get their thoughts on the scene in general. And you’re quite well known within the scene. As you’re an active supporter of almost everything Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal related?


Well, now that you mention it, I was wondering. What the hell? You approaching me about it was really unexpected. A newspaper reporter for years, I'm not used to being interviewed at all, but I'm happy to do it for Outlaws of the Sun. It's not like anyone's gonna see this interview, let alone read it, right? Joking Steve, I'm totally kidding. I know lots of folks check your blog, including myself. I'm honoured to answer some questions for ya. I think I qualify as a real fan from the doom, sludge, stoner metal community. As far as being well-known, well that's news to me. but I certainly confess to being an active supporter. I try my best.

How did you become a fan of the Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal scene?

I guess I became a fan of this current scene by way of the inter-webs. I mean, I was already a fan of bands like the Melvins, Electric Wizard, Eyehategod, Bongzilla, etc., before I had the internet but once I fully got online all hell broke loose. It was maybe 2011 when literally Googled 'stoner metal' download - or some shit like that - and found a blog much like your own. I think it was called Stonerrobbixx or something similar. Anyway, there were free downloads or links these stoner bands I'd never heard before, and found bands like Belzebong, Beast in the Field and Sardonis. Bongripper. I remember those distinctly because I'm a huge instrumental fan and often times I would seek that out specifically. 



Which bands did you start supporting or following first?

Those are the bands I started following first. Unfortunately 2 have since split and only Belzebong and Bongripper are still writing and recording new material. I think Belzebong is anyway - haven't really heard any news recently so don't quote me on that one ha ha. I hope the band records another album. Thankfully, Bongripper shows no signs of slowing down and gets better with each new album, to me anyway. I was very impressed with the new LP, 'Terminal'. Just wish I could see a live performance by the band.

Do you still love these bands to the current day. Who are your favourite bands/artists to listen to this day?

Of course I'm still listening to the Melvins. I may not always like what I hear these days, but I still listen. I suppose I always will, for as long as my hearing holds out. When all else fails, Melvins. That's what I say. Hell, I'd better listen to the band. My damn license plates on my truck say MELVINS. My car says SNIVLEM. The hat I wear to work says MELVINS. I think you get the point.


In your own words what’s it like being a fan in today’s Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community?

I think this scene for heavy underground music is amazing and I've had a blast for years now. Maybe that's what is keeping me from feeling my age. It's gotta be the music. I've met so many like-minded people - fellow fans and musicians - from around the world, that it blows my mind sometimes. I don't know many people in my personal life who even listen to metal, let alone underground stoner metal. So to me this scene and my time in it has been awesome - and always will be.

Any advantages or disadvantages supporting the music we love and know?

The only disadvantage - besides to my bank account - I find is trying to keep up with everything. In all honesty, I just can't. There's just too much great music released every month it seems. Hell of a problem, huh? Ha-ha. Hate to cry about it but it's true. I don't really look for new music like I used to though and I listen to much more metal than I do rock. More than 5 years ago, it was the opposite. Seems like as I age, I want my music a lot heavier and I've become much more tolerant with unclean vocals.

You’re very active supporting a high amount of bands and blogs within the community. Do you find it a struggle keeping up with everything. Or do you have your favourite websites to find the latest news and reviews?

Bandcamp is my main source for new heavy underground music. I follow a lot of bands / labels and sometimes I'll use their search features if I have time. It's great because I can search by format, genre, location, or maybe find out the best-selling or newest releases. I've found so many great albums there - a big part of my physical and digital music collections comes directly via that website. It can take some time screening through stuff that might not be so great, but it 's worth it when I find a tune that makes the hairs on my arm stand up. 

What is your preferred choice of listening to music. CD, Digital, Cassette, Vinyl, Mini-Disc?

I buy mostly vinyl but I always appreciate a digital download to accompany the physical format. To me it's all about location, location, location. At home I'm spinning vinyl most of the time or I may be streaming a new album (via Bandcamp). I don't use any streaming services and I play CD's in my older vehicles. Because they're old. If I'm out and about the air pods are thumping in my ears. I recently starting buying a few more cassettes and broke out the old Sony Walkman. Cleaned it up at bit and damn if it doesn't still work perfectly. 


You’ve been to a lot of great gigs over the years. What have been your favourite gigs that you’ve attended?

You're right, I have been to a lot of great gigs. Thirty years worth is too many, according to my annual hearing tests at work. I don't know if I can name a greatest, but seeing Sleep for the first time this year was pretty damn epic. The Melvins with the Big Business line-up comes to mind. Those albums are some of my favorite of all-time by the way. This year has been one of the best in recent memory when it comes to live performances. Melvins, Sleep, Yob and Ufomammut gigs already under my belt. Gonna catch In the Company Of Serpents at the end of the month. Big Business later in the fall.

You’ve been a major supporter of many of the great indie labels within the Doom, Sludge and Stoner metal community. Which labels do you like dealing with the most and what do you feel these labels bring to the overall scene? 

When I'm not buying DIY albums, I do have a personal favorite record label, and it's mainly because it physically released some of the first digital music I found in the underground. That label is Emetic Records, based in the USA. That's where I found 'The Great Barrier Reefer' by Bongripper and 'Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves' by Belzebong on vinyl. But if that wasn't enough, it's where the official Eyehategod and Church of Misery merch is sold. And every once in a while,

I'll get turned on to a new band like Celophys - a sick 2 piece from the Ukraine. It's been my go-to label for a long time, actually. Emetic is legendary to this guy.

I know you have your normal daily life to contend with. Family and your job. How hard is it for you to listen to music?

Finding the time for music isn't hard at all these days, now that I'm older and much more stable financially, especially. My kid is grown and I'm single so that helps. Music is a big part of my everyday life. Every day. If I'm not working or sleeping, I'm probably listening to music or have been very recently. Or I'm going to be very soon. It's always been a huge part of my life, for as long as I can remember, and I don't expect that to change anytime soon.

Well Heddbuzz. Thanks for doing this interview. Much appreciated?

No problem Steve, thanks for the opportunity to share some of my hazy thoughts. Think anyone will actually read them? I'm kidding!! I'll read them. Here's to another great year in the underground my man! It's been great getting to know you over the years! Stay heavy! Peace.

Words by Steve Howe and HEDDBUZZ

You can follow HEDDBUZZ over at Instagram.

Burn Ritual - Blood Of The Raven (Album Review)


Release date: October 01st 2018. Label: Cursed Monk Records. Format: CD/DD

Blood Of The Raven – Tracklisting

1.The Mirror
2.Blood of the Raven
3.Repent
4.Mountain of Smoke
5.The Creature Inside You
6.Follow Me
7.Cast Away

Members

Jake Lewis - vocals , lead guitar , keys
Brent Standifer- drums
Richard Perez - guitar
Chris Trezona - bass

Review

Greetings All,

I will admit that I am a sucker for a good doom record. With so many coming out these days, it is sometimes a bit tougher to find than one may think. Some doom records have a tendency to drift toward being overly repetitive and monotonous. So, it is with great pleasure that I gave a listen to the first full length album from Burn Ritual. The band hails from Texas and is the brainchild of main Ritualist Jake Lewis. Blood of the Raven follows the band’s impressive debut EP, Like Suffering, which was an all to brief slab of heavy doom that was performed almost entirely by Lewis. 

Blood of the Raven has Burn Ritual as a full band with Lewis at the helm handling the vocals, guitars, writing, recording, and artwork. An impressive feat to say the least. The seven tracks on Blood of the Raven are concise and rocking. The vocals have an Uncle Acid feel about them and the music is straight ahead, in no way tedious, and carries an old school doom vibe throughout.

The album opens with The Mirror that has the slow, traditional doom rock opening but the chugging riff carries the song into a rocking, more uptempo (but still doomy) jam. The title track Blood of the Raven follows with a super strong groove and a nice heavy riff. Another stellar track is Repent. This song continues with the wicked riffs, while being driven by some killer drumming and the emergence of a little synth work to keep things interesting. It isn’t too hard to figure out what the killer Mountain of Smoke is an homage to, but it is nonetheless another monstrous doom driven track.

The truly interesting The Creature Inside You follows. It is a bit of a departure from the rest of the album, as it is a slower, sombre bit of meditation with some pronounced maraca based percussion that gives you a couple moments to either chill or be creeped out, whichever is your persuasion. Follow Me comes driving in with a big, nasty, aggressive riff to drive things home before the closer comes in. Cast Away brings the heavy bass and a ton of feedback that leads to a big monster riff and an ultimately satisfying ending.

Blood of the Raven is a monstrously good record and with it Burn Ritual has emerged as one of the brightest newcomers to the doom genre. I’m not sure if you are supposed to be optimistic when it comes to doom rock, but I am truly look forward to what these guys have coming in the future. I am down with this ritual. Check them out and Dig on it! Highly Recommended.

Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey


Thanks to Cursed Monk Records for the promo. Blood Of The Raven will is available to buy on CD/DD via Cursed Monk Records from October 01st 2018.

Links:


Sunday, 19 August 2018

Different Times For OHHMS - An Interview With Paul Waller

UK Prog Rockers OHHMS have had a steady rise to fame and prominence since they released their debut EP – BLOOM – back in 2014. BLOOM showed OHHMS were a band that are hard to define. As the band include elements of Prog, Sludge. Doom, Stoner, Psych and Post-Rock interludes.

They released their debut album – The Fool – to major critical acclaim last year. Never known to take a long break between new records and albums. OHHMS will be releasing their eagerly awaited new album tentatively titled “Exist” later this year in November 2018. However the band experienced a testing time when recording their new album.

With this in mind I interviewed Paul from OHHMS to see where the band currently is and what people can expect from the new album. 



What’s been happening with the band recently? There seems to be a lot of activity especially with the forthcoming tour later this year with Boss Keloid and the new album.

We’ve been working behind the scenes. We’ve never done that before, never taken a period of time off away from Social Media and stuff like that. We’ve taken a few months to bury our heads in a practice room and get our act together. We’d already completed recording the album. However, then what happened was that Daniel wasn’t into the album. He loved his stuff but didn’t love the other guy’s contributions. Thing is the rest of the band were really passionate about all of it as was I.

It caught us off guard. This was the first major problem that OHHMS ever had and we had to make a decision. Daniel has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. It was awful when I did the deed and said - “We think it’s best to move on without you.”

Surprisingly, Daniel said he was almost relieved and that he could concentrate on future stuff. But it was a real awkward time. I won’t lie about it but I think our friendship has survived really well and that’s perhaps down to this Podcast that we recently started together.

So OHHMS is now in full swing without Daniel. It feels really weird but it gave the band the spark it needed to get the album fully recorded and released upon to the world. Also we can play songs that we’ve never played before because his replacement Stuart is a great singer. Proper exciting. I’m raring to go.

Did Daniel leave because the sound of the new album is different to your previous releases and wasn’t happy with the new direction? 

No. There’s always been a push and pull. I thought that what made us so good. Daniel in my opinion and for my taste was the best songwriter in the band and so I thought whoever we replace him with needs to have the same “Classic Rock” leanings that Daniel brought to the band. He was the only person that brought that to the band and I think that allows OHHMS to be that little bit more unique.

So we found Stu, the new guy. He can pull that stuff off with ease but he’s also throwing a lot of other different things in, he has Prog Rock and Post-Rock in his arsenal. So we will see how that will integrate. The other band members bring their own individual talents to the band, none of that has changed. I must admit I was a little bit worried but the other guys are saying it’s going to work out great. We will find out soon enough.

Stu has re-recorded a lot of different stuff that Daniel originally recorded and we’ve even rewrote a whole song and started from scratch with some others. One track on the new album called ‘Shambles’ still features Dan playing; it’s an awesome farewell. But what Stuart has brought to the table just floors me. We really have landed on our feet.

When is the album being released? 

This album is being released November 2018 via Holy Roar Records and we are dong a tour with Boss Keloid in October. We are also doing two dates in November and those two dates coincide with the release of the album.

I can’t wait to get back on the road and play these new songs live.

Wait till you see what we have planned for the next album.



I’m surprised you said “next album” and this upcoming album. Does that mean you have the next album in place. Or plans in place? 

I think so. The thing is this album wasn’t meant to exist. The original plan was to release ‘The Fool’ and then we start recording next year for a 2020 release, which was going to be the next record. However, I got all my “poetry” altogether, all my notes which are about Animal Rights and Animal Conservation and things like that.

I didn’t want to wait. Sometimes with something that you’re truly passionate about, you have to do it right there and then. So we did it. We put all the money that we made off of ‘The Fool’ into the studio. We knocked it out right away. Chainy had been writing a massive song for several years before we started OHHMS. It was a song that Daniel particularly hated just because it was so long and complex. Before my vocals went on this song, even we didn’t know if it made sense. But it really does, it’s perfect.

Normally with our long songs, it’s a journey that has a beginning, middle and end. I really enjoyed doing stuff like that but last year I got proper bored with. So I asked Chainy could we use that track you did years ago and he said – “Yeah, I’ve finished it.”

We brought that song back into play and that has filled up the whole of side one. It’s 22 minutes and it’s in a style done by bands such as Pink Floyd, Genesis and Rush but a lot heavier. It’s one song but split into several parts, a suite. We couldn’t be more pompous if we wanted to. The song is about a life-cycle of an animal that’s born into Animal Testing.

I spoke to the guys, oddly with OHHMS we have regular meetings where we discuss the music and I presented them with all this stuff, all the words on paper. I asked could we write and make an album about this. The rest of the band said - “Yeah. Here’s all the music that we’ve done”. We just ran with it.

So we went for it and I’m so glad that we did. It’s weird back in the 60s/70s when bands released 2 or 3 albums a year. I want OHHMS to continue on and try release an album every year. As long as we are this inspired.

You may have noticed that bigger bands have announced their new albums to be released between Oct and Dec. Then they decide to postpone the release to the New Year. Was that ever a plan? Release it in the New Year? Or do you want the album released now? 

Holy Roar Records have had such an insane year. I don’t know if you know of websites such as RateYourMusic and similar brands. Usually you get a Hip-Hop album, a pop album or really weird underground indie rock album being voted top by critics and picking up points normally ending up as “Album Of The Year”.

At the moment Rolo Tomassi are doing it on the critic aggregation and that’s insane. Behind them you have Boss Keloid and Conjurer. It’s mad what’s currently going on over there at our label. I love Holy Roar and I want to be a part of this successful year.

I told Holy Roar that I want the album out this year as I want to start recording the new album next year. So lets get this album out now. They were unsure at first. Their release schedule was full. They are so busy at the moment. I noticed a gap right at the end of the year and I asked could we fill that. Holy Roar said no because there is no contention for when critics will put you in that “End Of Year” list sort of thing and Christmas time is notoriously bad selling time for new music by underground acts. Purely from a record label perspective of course if you get into the Top 50 Albums Of The Year things, that guarantees the band more sales.

There was another final spot in November. So I took that and they agreed. It was a relief.

Holy Roar Records have had a great year with albums this year. Such as Conjurer and Boss Keloid. Which is one of my favourite albums this year. 


It is my favourite album this year, Steve. It’s my number one choice this year so far.

Not many bands release a studio live album that Boss Keloid did earlier this year and still receive praise for the album. Is that why they are going on tour with you on your forthcoming UK Tour. 

I only had one choice with the band that I wanted to support OHHMS on the UK Tour and that was Boss Keloid. I asked them and they said yes. I was thinking – Yes! That was so easy. That’s amazing.

I’m in an envious position seeing Boss Keloid perform every night for 8 nights. That will be fantastic.



Will this be a joint tour or is OHHMS headlining. 

We are headlining but I would hope a ton of tickets are going to be sold because of Boss Keloid’s involvement as well. Our album doesn’t come out until a month after the tour. Our manager thinks were dicks for doing that. As you normally do a tour when the album is already out.

The thing is Boss Keloid haven’t really toured. They’ve done one or two gigs but they haven’t done a proper tour. So this will be people’s first exposure to the new Boss Keloid album. I’m proper excited, as I’m a proper fanboy.

Away from OHHMS, you’ve just started a Podcast called Different Times with Daniel. What is the podcast about and how did it come together. 

Yeah, Different Times Podcast. I was heartbroken with the whole issue with Daniel when he left OHHMS. He’s my best friend and it’s been like that for years. This is more than friendship. He’s more like a brother and within a week I was missing him. Within a couple of weeks we were talking again and a week after that we were planning this podcast.

You know the Podcast- That’s Not Metal, one of the biggest music podcasts. They put the feelers out by asking people to get involved. So we put together this pilot that we never sent where I love interviewing bands and Daniel loves talking “SHIT” about bands. It seemed like a perfect thing. It didn’t work out with That’s not Metal though when they changed their format. However we were left with this pilot and we asked ourselves – “Did We Want To Continue”?

And we did want to continue.

We are having real fun with this. All it’s about is looking at old Rock and Metal magazines. I love to put POP stuff in there as well just to wind Daniel up. We talk about the articles that were published at the time. It’s really weird and odd looking back at these magazines and articles. There is so much filler in those old magazines compared to the new ones.

The filler was so trite and mind-boggling at the time. It’s like from 1985 and up to the early 90s it was so sexist and casually racist and then Grunge arrived and changed attitudes. We just love reading the magazines and talking shit about them.

The great end to that story is that Daniel and myself are stronger friends that we have been for years. So I’m really thankful for that.

Where did you get these old magazines from? Do you have an old collection of magazines? Or do you buy stuff from Charity Shops or eBay? 

I have tons of magazines from my youth. The golden egg is KERRANG No 1. I’ve got it but I can’t bloody find it. I’ve got a spare room that’s full of tapes, old CD’s and magazines. I don’t want to go through all that stuff though as it will take forever.

Daniel is a bit different. When he wants something he goes on eBay. He’s on eBay all the time looking at different magazines. So that helps with the Podcast as well.

What else do you do on the Different Times Podcast.

We like to delve into music that I don’t know or Daniel doesn’t know or that we both don’t know. I love Daniel’s reaction when I dare to talk about Indie Rock. He’s so immature and he acts like a kid. I find that hilarious to do.

For something different we just recently did an episode on Cancer Bats. Where we discovered that Cancer Bats new album was released on 20th April 2018, which was when SLEEP released their new album – THE SCIENCES. It got buried underneath the SLEEP hype and I didn’t listen to the new Cancer Bats until a few months later.

It was such a mistake to make releasing an album the same day as SLEEP. HA HA.

Well Paul, thanks for doing this interview. Can’t wait to hear the album. Best of luck with everything. New album, forthcoming UK tour and the Different Times Podcast. 

Anytime my friend. Thanks again. Catch you later.

Words by Steve Howe and Paul Waller. 

Thanks to Paul for doing this interview. Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for arranging this interview.

OHHMS Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Different Times Podcast Links:

Facebook

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Fuzz Evil - High On You (Album Review)


Release date: September 14th 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

High On You – Tracklisting

1.Get It Together
2.You Can Take Her Away
3.Ribbons and Kills
4.If You Know
5.The Strut
6.High on You
7.Joseph Rudell - Are You In or Out

Members

Wayne Rudell - Vocals/Guitar
Joseph Rudell - Vocals/Bass
Orgo Martinez - Drums

Review

Fuzz Evil has decided to put their money where their mouth is with their new album High On You. As the band have recorded their album at Dave Grohl's 606 Studio and hired well known and respected producer Paul Figueroa. Paul has produced for diverse artists such as Slipknot and Alice In Chains. So what do we have with High On You.

You have seven songs of expertly written riffs that hark back to the good old days of Classic Rock, Post-Grunge, Hard Rock and Stoner Rock. Maybe the band take influenced from Cheap Trick too closely on this album at times but that's no bad thing. As Fuzz Evil excel in creating a wild and exciting hard-rocking atmosphere from the start with the heavy psychedelic sounds of opening song - Get It Together.

The song may take Fuzz Evil some time to fully find their feet but once they do there is no stopping them playing a highly stylistic and melodic Hard Rock sound. This is a different approach from Fuzz Evil and this allows the band to play different sounds under the name of Fuzz Evil. Perhaps under the guys other band - Powered Wig Machine but not Fuzz Evil.

Second song - You Can Take Her Away - is a heavier song with the band playing a more minimal sound but still having a high amount of Psych Stoner/Classic Rock riffs. The guitars are quite frantic but never losing focus and there is a lot of fun to be had with the cool guitar solos on display.

Third song - Ribbons And Kills - is a gloomier and doom based affair and is perhaps one of the standout songs on the album. This song has elements of Black Sabbath and Foo Fighters in the mix. Now don't let that put you off. This is still Fuzz Evil's show and they offer a devilish good time with this song. Strong lyrics matched with the almost sinister vocals from Wayne will leave you wanting more.

Fourth song - If You Know - opens with a Sabbathian based riff before Fuzz Evil start to impress with their own take on the standard Classic Doom Rock/Metal sound. This album is perhaps Fuzz Evil's most exciting album yet. with the album having a beginning, middle and end. The album can be quite progressive parts especially on some of the later songs such as High On You and Are You In Or Out.

You can tell this is an album that Fuzz Evil has put their hearts and souls into. Some people may complain that the guys are trying to achieve a more commercial sound with High On You with the choices made where the album was recorded and the producer as well. I say fair play to Fuzz Evil for having the guts for aiming BIG and looking for a different sound. You need to take risks within the music business and Fuzz Evil has perhaps taken their biggest creative risk yet with this album.

They shouldn't worry as High On You is a true ROCK ALBUM in every sense of the word. This is an album that will appeal to both the commercial rock scene and the underground scene where Fuzz Evil have built their reputation upon.

Overall, High On You is a must-have album one that offers high amounts of genuine excitement. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to the band and Dave at US/THEM PR for the promo. High On You will be available to buy on CD/DD from September 14th 2018.

You can check Wayne and Joey in action on their excellent YouTube Channel – Fuzz Off.

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Brant Bjork - Mankind Woman (Album Review)



Release date: September 14th 2018. Label: Heavy Psych Sounds. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Mankind Woman – Tracklisting

1. Chocolatize
2. Lazy Wizards
3. Charlie Gin
4. Mankind Woman
5. Pisces
6. Swagger & Sway
7. Somebody
8. Pretty Hairy
9. Brand New Old Times
10. 1968
11. Nation Of Indica

Review

There is no denying the pedigree and boundless talent that is Brant Bjork. When your resume notes Kyuss and Fu Manchu amongst the countless other projects there is no room for debate that the man is dedicated and extremely talented. Mankind Woman is Brant’s 13th album and it is an absolute winner. The eleven retro sounding, politically charged tracks recorded and performed with his bandmate Bubba Dupree, along with some other guests including his old Kyuss mate Nick Oliveri, are a rallying point and a breath of fresh air in these tumultuous times.

The record was recorded at various points in California and there is a definite Cali Stoner vibe, but what is most endearing is the killer retro-sound that the record has. It sounds as if it was recorded in the late 60’s/early 70’s and has a funky soulful sound mixed with the fuzzed out rock and politically fuelled subject matter of those times, which are becoming more and more applicable to these times as well.

To the songs; The album opens with the fuzzed out rock and cool drum sounds of Chocolatize as Brant tries to bring back a “Funky Revolution.” The next two tracks reminded me of equal parts Cream and Eric Burdon/War. Lazy Wizards has a laid back 60’s psych feel that carries through to the driving drums and killer guitar lick of Pisces. The latter repeatedly echoing the sentiment of being “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” The driving, somewhat country-esque groove of Charlie Gin which features some sweet background vocals.

The title track, Mankind Woman, is an amazing bluesy track that comes in two parts. The track opens with a slower, bluesy feel then takes a dynamic shift to a rocking rage filled close with fuzzed out solo’s and a 60’s heavy outro. Psychedelic guitars open and close the ultra groovy Swagger & Sway. Somebody follows and brings a funk inspired heaviness with its use of wah pedals and deeper, darker subject matter. The outrage continues with trippy, echo heavy vocals that give Pretty Hairy a unique, psych feel. Brand New Old Times is a short slice of rock that sounds like it came straight from Haight/Ashbury with its groovy, pop feel.

1968 is a fuzzed out slab of furious protest to all the issues with the current state of affairs. The album closes with the big drums and heavy fuzz of Nation of Indica, This powerful, politically charged statement is a plea for peace and love and calls out everything wrong with the current US political culture.

With Mankind Woman, Brant Bjork has shown that the most effective protest songs don’t have to be loud and in your face. I honestly don’t know if we will a more heartfelt, angry, and sincere of a record as this any time soon. Mankind Woman is not unlucky 13 for Brant Bjork, but it is an amazing turn and a tremendous accomplishment of a record that deserves to be heard by all. Dig on these soulful, fuzzed out grooves!

Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR and Mona at All Noir PR for the promo. 

Mankind Woman will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Heavy Psych Sounds from September 14th 2018.

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The Vintage Caravan - Gateways (Album Review)



Release date: August 31st 2018. Label: Nuclear Blast Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Gateways – Tracklisting

Set Your Sights
The Way
Reflections
On The Run
All This Time
Hidden Streams
Reset
Nebula
Farewell
Tune Out
The Chain (FLEETWOOD MAC Cover) Bonus Track (DIGI and 2LP only!)

Members

Óskar Logi - Guitar and vocals
Alexander Örn - Bass and backup vocals
Stefán Ari - Drums and backup vocals

Review

Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan describe their sound as Classic Rock. There bio notes that the average age of the band members is around 24 years old. As this guy just turned 41, my definition of classic rock (Zeppelin, Who, Boston) differs a bit from theirs (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine), which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Gateways is the band's fourth album, but is my first exposure to these guys, and I am glad to have finally found them. While their sound is classic rock influenced, I wouldn’t necessarily say it is a retro sound, but a bit more in feel. Gateways is a sonically inspired, excellently played and well recorded record. The guitars are big and crunch, the drumming is heavy, and the band carries a solid groove throughout. The vocals are also very solid and cleanly delivered.

The record opens with the groove heavy Set Your Sights which delivers on the big time crunchy guitar sound and closes with some killer soloing and sweet tempo change at the end. The Way opens with a fuzzed out Lenny Kravitz like guitar riff that carries on throughout the song and features an absolutely wicked solo. A marching drum sound opens the tightly wound Reflections, that explodes with an intense, monster riff and a killer bass groove. 

On the Run opens with an acoustic guitar opening and a low rumbling intro that gives way to a killer 80’s rock sound and some more intense solos. This is an awesome track! All This Time rumbles in with a RATM guitar and bass groove and a super catchy chorus. Hidden Streams follows and is a song that shows the bands multifaceted range. It is a high energy rock song with a couple of tempo shifts and changes. Reset brings in a bit of an Urge Overkill sounding chorus with a heavy psych breakdown. 

Nebula opens with a spacy, acoustic sound that is very Bowie/Floyd inspired and also brings in elements of Alice in Chains like vocals and vibe. The song closes with a big guitar outro. The albums closes on a bit of a darker note with Farewell. The song has a darker, grungier feel, especially with the chorus. The vibe continues in to the closer, Tune Out, and it’s somber, dark, spacy tempo and feel. The track also features a bit of mellotron and a psych heavy, Blue Oyster Cult like breakdown.

(Editor’s Note - Sadly our promo review copy didn’t have The Chain listed which the retail copies will have).

Gateways is an impressive record with it’s themes of travelling both mentally and physically showing the band with a mature approach to their music and songwriting. Whatever era you consider classic rock, you are sure to find to find elements of those songs with the Vintage Caravan. The band has a real knack for taking the sounds of others and making them uniquely their own. I would highly recommend Gateways! Dig on it.

Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Gateways be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Nuclear Blast Records from August 31st 2018

Links: