Wednesday, 18 October 2017

LABEL NEWS - APF Records Sign DESERT STORM


APF Records announced this press release earlier today.....

"We are beyond thrilled to announce that Desert Storm have signed to APF Records.

Following on from Desert Storm (2008), Forked Tongues (2010), Horizontal Life (2013) and Omniscient (2015) we will be releasing the quintet's new album SENTINELS worldwide and on all formats on 1st March 2018.

Welcome to the family, boys."



APF Records Links:

Official | Facebook | BandCamp | BigCartel

Desert Storm Links:

Official | Facebook | BandCamp

Gorilla Pulp - Heavy Lips (Album Review)


Release date: October 13th 2017. Label: Retro-Vox Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Heavy Lips – Tracklisting

1.Bless The Moon 04:36
2.In Your Waters 03:31
3.The Witches Twirl 03:56
4.Heavy Lips 06:11
5.Cactus Killer 04:20
6.Prey On Your Mind 04:41
7.The Low Song 05:28
8.Ape Eyes 03:09

Members

Maurice Flee - Vox, Guitars & Lap Steels, Theremin & Talkbox
Choris - Bass, Back Vocals
Angioletto Mr. Vernati - Guitars, Back Vocals
Giorgio "Bulldozer" Pioli – Drums & Percussions
Rebecca "Becky" Magri - Vox in The Low Song

Review

Italian Stoner/Hard Rockers - Gorilla Pulp - have quite a refreshing, loud, vibrant Stoner Rock sound. Though the band turn the mood slightly sinister throughout their new album – Heavy Lips.

Opening track - Bless The Moon - is a cool sounding desert/stoner rock song with a slight rebellious nature. Lead vocalist – Maurice – could have done with more volume into his vocals. As he's drowned out by the heavy music at times. The mood does bring back early memories of QOTSA when they were a formidable Stoner Rock presence. Gorilla Pulp injects a more classic Thin Lizzy guitar sound towards the end of the song.

Second track - In Your Waters - opens with a heavier Stoner Metal vibe before giving way to familiar sounds of Classic Rock, Psych and Blues Rock. All showing that Gorilla Pulp don't stick to one overall set sound. It's a fairly confident song with the band maybe showing off a bit too much at times. Though it doesn't stop you enjoying the overall theme of the album.

Third track - The Witches Twirl - is a powerful offering with Gorilla Pulp firmly showing their love for the classic "Twin Guitar" sound. The vocals have a doomier approach with Gorilla Pulp not holding back with the heavy music being played for your entertainment. This is perhaps as the albums "heavy metal" song that shows the band know how to bring the thunder when the time calls for it.

Other excellent songs to check out on the album are: Heavy Lips, Prey On Your Mind and Ape Eyes all showing Gorilla Pulp's talent for creating classic sounding riffs. It may not win any awards for originality but at least Gorilla Pulp are all about having fun and rocking out whilst playing some finely tuned Hard Rock/Heavy Metal riffage. The production and lead vocalist - Marucie - performance does improve as the album progresses. if you're a fan of QOTSA and Thin Lizzy then you should really check this band out now. The lyrics can be quite sleazy at times but that only adds to the overall fun of the album.

Heavy Lips is definitely worth your time and will entertain you for hours on end...

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper (Album Review)


Release date: October 20th 2017. Label: Profound Lore Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Mirror Reaper – Tracklisting

Mirror Reaper

Members

Bass/Vocals: Dylan Desmond
Drums/Vocals: Jesse Shreibman

Review

Mirror Reaper is perhaps Bell Witch most ambitious and daring album to date. One single track running for eighty three minutes that encompasses almost everything great about the Doom/Sludge Metal scene. It's not an easy album to listen to. Nor should it be as Bell Witch has a lot of ground to cover here. Playing passages of Post-Black Metal, Drone, Doom, Sludge, Psych, Post-Rock and even Folk music. The album won't be for everyone.

Mirror Reaper is dedicated to their former drummer Adrien Guerra who sadly passed away. The band leave no stone unturned in creating a gut-wrenching and emotional bleak musical odyssey. The music is played at a slow pace to begin with and this allows Bell Witch to create an unsettling atmosphere with the post-black metal/doom sounds merging into something more fascinating. The instrumental work is almost flawless throughout. As Bell Witch put on an instrumental masterclass of Extreme Metal.

Maybe the band have taken that little bit too much on with this album as there are parts of the album that I didn't enjoy as much. Mainly the "Folk" style moments as it slows the mood down. However Bell Witch has enough tricks up their sleeves to put the album back on the right track. Mirror Reaper can be very trippy and psychedelic at times before heavier Funeral Doom-esque influences return the album to its more extreme natural sound.

Mirror Reaper does indeed sound amazing and that's down to the irresistible and intense production held on the album. Maybe I'm not the best person to review an album such as this. As I normally focus on Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal albums. However I'm glad that I was given the chance to review this album as it took me out of my comfort zone and made me appreciate bands like Bell Witch. As they've put their hearts and souls into this album release.

This album may see Bell Witch expanding their fanbase to the commercial masses. It's happened before with other extreme metal bands over the years. However, Bell Witch are perhaps truly deserving of that success without complaints from anyone.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Becky at Pioneer Music Press. Mirror Reaper will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Profound Lore Records from October 20th 2017.

Links:


Monday, 16 October 2017

An Interview With CAM from MOTHERSLUG


Australian Doom/Stoner Rockers – Motherslug – are finally releasing their eagerly awaited new album – The Electric Dunes Of Titan. It's a superb album on all fronts with Motherslug proving why they're rated so highly within the Doom/Stoner Metal community.

You can read my review of their excellent new album here. Though before then you can read this interview that I did with Cam (Lead Vocals) from the band recently. Where we discussed the formation of the band, the evolution of their sound and what the current Doom/Stoner Metal scene is like currently in Australia.

Read on for further info.

Hi Cam. Can you give a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.

We started off as a five piece in 2012, drummer Nick met original guitarist Ferg at a gig one night and it all took off from there with myself (Cam) being the last to join the original line up after responding to an ad on a local music forum. My previous band fell apart following the death of our lead guitarist and rather than reinvent the wheel I figured I would join up with an existing band. Motherslug had a simpler direction when we started, a mash up of Electric Wizard and Kyuss. These days with the addition of guitarist Regan and the transformation to a four piece we have a much broader range of songwriting influences with the goal of getting punters' hips shaking, feet tapping and minds expanding rather than just bludgeoning them with volume.

How would you describe your overall sound.

A psychedelic fuzz hammer. I’d say that our music spans the entire spectrum of Stoner Doom, from crushing riffs that make your head bang, psychedelic sounds that help you escape from reality and all the way to softer tones, like a warm breeze across the desert under a night sky.

We are here to talk about your debut album – The Electric Dunes Of Titan. And can I say what a fantastic album that is. Blew me away on my first listen. What can people expect from the album.

Kind words indeed, thanks heaps mate. It is still undeniably Motherslug but we're flexing our songwriting muscles and really try to take the listener with us on a journey. Earlier songs like Trippin' On Evil and Rollin' shared that vibe and we have tried to expand on that feeling. You can get lost in each song, forget where you are for a moment and float into outer space but all the while there is still that underlying pop sensibility, catchy hooks, memorable solos and driving rhythms.

What influenced you all when recording the album.

Our sound is influenced by our surroundings.  We all dig the outdoors, nature and camping, whether it be in mountain forests, on the beach or the vast, wide open spaces.  You can see this in the album cover, we just dragged our gear into the forest one night and set it up on a dirt road under the stars. This feeling of space is something we find is subconsciously recreated in our music, and has been from the beginning "Space, man it feels alright". We figured that recording a live set would really help capture that vibe, to encourage that vibe Nick had a model motorcycle next to him during the whole recording session along with the thoughts of deep space and big sounds.



What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group participation or down to one individual.

Writing as a group for the most part. Either Nick or Regan will bring a riff or loosely structured song to rehearsal and we just jam on it, I'll sing some nonsense whilst trying to find a melody, Cyn will nail a bass line in seconds (I think she might be a replicant) and we'll just keep refining it over the weeks with new ideas and trying alternative structures, tempo changes, whatever is needed until it takes on the form of a song. Once I have a melody for the vocal line I'll start converting the gibberish to meaningful prose - for example Downriver started out at "brown sugar, black peas" and ended up as "downriver, bury me".

What influences you when writing music.

First and foremost, making songs that we want to listen to over and over. If you made a Venn diagram of each member's personal influences there wouldn't be a lot of intersection. There is the common and constant influence of Fu, Floyd, Zep, Sabbath, Kyuss and Wizard but Nick was listening to a lot of Blue Cheer, Acid King and Nebula along with more obscure heavy blues and proto-doom. 


Both Cyn and Nick are huge fans of The Doors whilst Cyn cites having Belzebong's Greenferno on repeat for the better part of last year. Regan was digging on Peter Green, David Gilmour, Randy Holden, Eternal Elysium (He's the Japanese Iommi, right down to the glasses!) and guitar aficionados can probably tell the solo on Serpents is a nod to the genius of Eddie Glass.

Me, I'm influenced by contemporary acts from all genres as much as anything from the past, stuff like The Steady As She Goes, THAL, Chelsea Wolfe, Townes Van Zandt, Roky Ericson and David McComb. I was listening to a lot of Scott Walker after his collaboration with Sunn and wanted to bring more clean vocals into our songs.

You can cite inspiration sources until the cows come home but really we don’t aim for our music to sound like any other band, it’s more of an organic process based on what we think sounds cool.

Why the long wait for your debut album. As you released your last EP back in 2014. Were there any over-riding factors why it took so long for the album release. I've been a huge fan of you guys for a very long time. So I'm very excited you're releasing this album.

We asked ourselves the same question! We felt we had become stagnant in the two years following the release of Three Kings. During that time Matt left the band to pursue parenthood and we enlisted Regan but it wasn't until we became a four piece in December of 2015 that things started falling into place and within a couple of months we had the basis of the tracks for Electric Dunes. We recorded some live demo's of all of these songs in July of 2016 with the expectation to record and release it soon after, but life gets in the way sometimes.

I've been asked by a few Facebook Pals of mine. Will this album be released on CD or Vinyl in the future. If so, can you provide any details when this will happen.

We are talking with some labels at the moment about vinyl and broader distribution. At the moment we have only have a very small run of CD's to sell at gigs, a few of our favourite record stores around Australia (Heartland and Utopia) will have them in stock and we'll send some over to our buddy Mats at Ozium Records in Sweden.

Why did you call the album – The Electric Dunes Of Titan. Any specific reason why.

The title came from a scientific article about the dunes on Saturn's moon Titan and how they move counter to the winds, they hypothesised that the patterns formed could only occur if the particles that make up the dunes were electrically charged. It encompasses all of the elements that we dig: Electric - Sabbath/Wizard, Dunes - desert rock, Titan - gigantic riffs/space and therefore has a dual meaning, not unlike most of our songs.



Are you all involved with different musical projects or is this your main band.

'sluggers all the way. No side projects, no other bands. 

What is your musical setup when performing or recording live. Is it an advanced setup or a basis setup.

About as basic as you can get really. Some of the delay in this release came about because we wanted to record live and had some difficulties with the studio making everything sound a little over-produced. We ended up re-tracking the guitar at Joel Taylor's studio The Black Lodge and re-mixing the album with John Bartels, who recorded the original demo's.

How hard is it for Motherslug stand-out from the crowd. Or do you not worry about things like that.

I'm sure every band has this same problem, the quality and number of releases that are coming out in the doom and stoner genre these days is staggering and it can be difficult to break through that level of listener fatigue. For us it is all about writing tunes that we want to listen to over and over and dig playing and just hoping other people feel the same way. On a business level I think it is very wise to enlist someone to do PR - that shit drives me mental so this time around we have Curtis at Dewar PR spruiking our wares and we are seeing immediate results.

The Australian Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene has a very healthy reputation amongst the International community. How is the scene perceived in Australia. Is there an active scene or community for you to perform regular or make contact with other bands.

There is a tonne of bands in Melbourne and maybe a dozen more around Australia but this genre is not perceived at all by mainstream media, in that sense it is very similar to the punk movement in the 80's, it relies on lots of D.I.Y. and word of mouth and that fosters a sense of community among the bands.

You have to work together, your not going to survive by being a lone wolf or acting like a rock star. In spite of the mainstream firewall we do have great community radio stations in Australia that are very supportive and without them we would probably wallow in absolute obscurity.

We just played Heavy & Hammered 3 on the weekend, 25 bands on three stages at one venue, bands like Child, Holy Serpent, Dowser, Fluff, Neck Grip. Everyone knows each other and it's like one big house party.


Do you perform many local gigs or do you have to travel further afield.

We just played three weeks in a row in Melbourne supporting Devil Electric, then Arrowhead and H&H3 but generally we average one gig a month. We are very lucky in that Melbourne is the rock capital of Australia, so bands generally travel to Melbourne to play. Australia is a big country with a whole lot of nothing in between the major cities. It's a ten hour drive to Sydney or Adelaide so touring isn't really an option for a band at our level.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

Smoke the universe.

Words by Steve and Cam from Motherslug.

Thanks to Curtis at Dewar PR for arranging this interview. Thanks to Cam for doing the interview. The Electric Dunes Of Titan will be available to buy on DD from October 31st 2017.

Links


Motherslug - The Electric Dunes Of Titan (Album Review)


Release date: October 31st 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

The Electric Dunes Of Titan – Tracklisting

1.Electric Dunes of Titan 02:23
2.Downriver
3.Followers of the Sun 07:47
4.Stoned by the Light
5.Serpents
6.Staring at the Sun 05:13
7.Tied to the Mast
8.Cave of the Last God

Members

Regan: Guitar
Cyn: Bass
Nick: Drums
Cam: Vocals

Review

Aussie Psych Doom/Stoner Metal crew - Motherslug - finally return with their new album. The Electric Dunes Of Titan is good as its huge title suggests. Parts Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal with a slight nomadic vibe. The album is a highly confident and sometimes stripped back approach that you don't really hear too often.

Opening track - Electric Dunes Of Titan - is an instrumental doom/stoner rock opus with a haunting sci-fi/space rock edge. Imagine Kyuss jamming their trademark Desert Rock sounds but in the vastness of outer space. The song soon transcends into another warped psychedelic journey through the excellent second track - Downriver.

The vocals of Cam appear adding a more grizzled and earthly feel. They can be quite raw at times but Cam provides a superb performance throughout. The music becomes heavier, dirtier and grungier as time goes by. The instrumental work has a huge sound of its own and that's down to the band playing vintage sounding Desert/Stoner Rock riffs that are given a more cosmic doom metal makeover.

Third track - Followers Of The Sun - does take some time to fully get going. As the band slow the mood right down and the music doesn't really go anywhere until the heavier sounds appear. This allows Motherslug to create a heavier and more vibrant atmosphere. Though I appreciate the band trying to try different things with the album's sound. I did enjoy lead vocalist different style of vocals on this song. As they veer into Heavy Metal territory than your usual Doom/Stoner Metal. Throughout the album, the sound does have a distorted sound on different parts of the album.

The second half of the album sees Motherslug adapt a more doom metal approach to their sound with harsher vocals and desolate riffs becoming the main focus. Songs such as Stoned By The Light, Staring At The Sun and Cave Of The Last God is where Motherslug enhance their already well-deserved reputation. The psychedelic parts of the album come on strongest here with a crunching bass line keeping the whole atmosphere of the album flowing more naturally.

Maybe the lyrics could have done with some more work on certain songs of the album but it's nothing major for the listener or band to worry about. Motherslug do experiment with their music and it's good to see the band creating individual songs that sound very different to each other. The Electric Dunes Of Titan is still a brilliantly entertaining and huge sounding album with Motherslug on fine form from the start.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Curtis at Dewar PR for the promo. The Electric Dunes Of Titan will be available to buy on CD/DD from October 31st 2017.

Links:


The Spacelords - Water Planet (Album Review)


Release date: October 20th 2017. Label: Tonzonen Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Water Planet – Tracklisting

Plasma Thruster
Metamorphosis
Nag Kanya

Members

Hazi Wettstein: guitar, effects -
Akee Kazmaier: bass, effects -
Marcus Schnitzler: drums, soundscapes

Review

This is my first visit to the world of The Spacelords. I didn't know what to expect. Sure I've heard of them before but I didn't feel the urge to listen to them until now and with their epic new album - Water Planet. If you haven't heard of The Spacelords then let me fill in the blanks. The band plays a blend of Psychedelic, Space, Krautrock and Stoner Rock. Imagine a heavier and trippier of version of Hawkwind but with a truly original sound of their own.

Opening track - Plasma Thruster - propels you into The Spacelords vast and expansive sound with trippy psychedelic riffs played against a more subtle spaced out krautrock sound. The song has a beginning, middle and an end which allows the band to tell an intriguing and exciting story. Things become heavier when the band plays a more jam based sound where you can hear heavier doom/stoner riffs coming into play. The album has a vibrant and natural feel to it. With the album being primarily influenced by a Water Planet, the band creates sounds that reflect the album’s title. There is a lot of feedback placed throughout the album and that elevates The Spacelords sound to another level compared to other bands within the genre.

Second track - Metamorphosis - sees a change of direction with The Spacelords opening with moments of done style psychedelic rock. Swirls of Krautrock riffs slowly build up an eerie and cold atmosphere with The Spacelords in no rush to speed things up. Not the most exciting track on the album but definitely the most passionate. Heavier moments do appear but more sporadically compared to the other two songs on the album. 

Third track - Nag Kanya - is twenty minutes of psychedelic krautrock magic with The Spacelords confirming myself as a fan of their music. The song is played through different styles of music. As the song feels it's been broken down by individual chapters. Which is a good thing as it allows The Spacelords to create some of the albums most psychedelic and experimental moments.

The thing I admire the most about this album is how The Spacelords stick to the main theme and title of the album. Water Planet resonates on so many different levels. If you're already a fan of The Spacelords then you will no doubt love what is on offer here. First time listeners will be thrilled by the different styles and genres of music on offer.

The production on the album is first rate. As you feel part of the action and your mood will change along with the tone and atmosphere of the album. Maybe the band play it safe sometimes with certain sounds on the album but they have the intelligence to play something bolder and even more radical compared to other bands of their ilk.

Water Planet is not only an album to admire and cherish, but one to fully lose yourself in.

Words by Steve Howe

Water Planet will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Tonzonen Records from October 20th 2017.

Links:


Saturday, 14 October 2017

An Interview with NAMAZU

Here's an interview I did recently with Sludge/Stoner/Noise Rockers - NAMAZU. Their debut album Works Cited was released last month and it's a great album if you're a fan of Torche and Red Fang.

NAMAZU is made up of Memphis scene veterans from Hosoi Bros and Tanks, who between them have shared the stage with Red Fang, Skeletonwitch, Truckfighters, The Sword, Torche, Gypsyhawk, Lord Dying, EYE, Generation of Vipers, Earthling, American Sharks, Clutch, and Anvil.

Lets see what NAMAZU have to say...

Hi guys. How are things with you today. Can you give a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.

Sam and I worked together at the Hi Tone(Memphis rock club) and at one point his band Tanks broke up, and my band Hosoi Bros took some time off, and we started jamming. Booking a tour for January that will take us out to the west coast. Recording a new EP when we get back.

How would you describe your overall sound.

Heavy, fast, and angular.

We are here to talk about your debut album. What can people expect from the album. (Though my good pal Bucky Brown does a great job describing your album on your BandCamp Page).

We’re melodic but heavy, and faster than most sludge bands. Like a crossover stoner thrash punk band.

What influenced you all when recording the album.

All the records Kurt Ballou has produced.




The album is being released on Typhoon Killer Records. How did that come about. Did you have any offers from other labels.

Typhoon Killer is my own label. We didn’t even shop it around. Just put it on out.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group participation or down to one individual.

I try and bring complete song ideas to Sam and Tyler, and then we jam through them and they put their own spin on things.

What influences you when writing music.


Lyrically, whatever book I am reading at the time is what I write about. Musically, it’s whatever record I’m into at the time. Right now I’m really into Victory Lap, Propagandhi’s new album.

Are you all involved with different musical projects or is this your main band.


Sam (NAMAZU drummer) plays bass with me in Hosoi Bros, but NAMAZU is our main band right now. All of our energy is focused on getting this album into as many ears as possible.

What is your musical setup when performing or recording live. Is it an advanced setup or a basic setup.

I run an A/B pedal and play through a 1980 Sunn Concert Lead and an old Ampeg solid state head.

How hard is it for Namazu stand-out from the crowd. Or do you not worry about things like that.

I’d like to think we do things differently than some bands. We’re not really trying to fit into a certain genre or scene. We just like playing fast and loud.




How is the Doom/Sludge/Stoner scene perceived in your home-town. Is there a scene or community for you to perform regular or make contact with other bands.

Memphis is pretty dead right now. Kind of sad.

Do you perform many local gigs or do you have to travel further afield.

We play with bands we like when they come through town, but right now there’s just not too many people hitting up Memphis. We’ll be touring out west in January, and we actually have a connection in Brazil so we’re going to try and tour down there to. Definitely looking to get over to Europe soon.

I've seen from your Facebook Page that you've supported a ton of awesome bands over the years. Along with ANVIL as well. (Nothing wrong with ANVIL. Love those guys. Saw them at a gig years ago and they were fantastic). How did you get that gig with Anvil as you're not the same type of music and how did their fans react to your set.


That was actually Sam’s old band Tanks, who had even less in common with Anvil musically than we do. Ha ha. They played some weird festival down in Mobile with them.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

I’m a lifer. I’ll be doing this when I’m old and gray.


Words by Steve Howe and NAMAZU

Thanks to Dewar PR for arranging this interview.

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp