Monday, 31 August 2015

Sckraeckoedlan - SAGOR (Album Review)


Release date: June 10th 2015. Label: Razzia Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

Sagor: Tracklisting

1.Prolog
2.Gigantos
3.Epos
4.Awen
5.El Monstro
6.Odjuret
7.Flod
8.Squidman
9.Mothra
10.Epilog

Band Members:

Robert Lamu – vocals, guitar
Henrik Grüttner – guitars, backing vocals
Tim Ångström – bass guitar, backing vocals
Martin Larsson - drums

Review:

When I hear a band for the first time and I can't pigeon-hole them that is THE sign for greatness, if you ask me. Obviously, there are bits and pieces that evoke similarities of other bands in any album, but if those parts are secondary to the big picture, you'll have a one-of-a-kind wax in your hands. And that's exactly the case with Sweden's Skraeckoedlan and their second full-length, 'Sagor', which was released recently. Since I had only heard of the band and never actually listened to their music, playing 'Sagor' for the first time was mind altering. And that hasn't changed one bit as I'm unable to stop playing it.

A heavy sonic barrage erupts the very second I press play. Finding myself knocked to the ground, I slowly make it back up to standing position. Still shook up by what’s happening, the immense beauty Sckraeckoedlan emanates, quickly envelopes me and everything is resolved and I have finally found enlightenment. Before I know it, the uppercut that is the instrumental opener ‘Prolog’ is over and the trippy, pummelling monster ‘Gigantos’ takes over. More elaborate and a fantastic ebb and flow to tempos while sung in Swedish, is what makes this song a monster in the best possible way. The guys are amazing musicians but instead of masturbating with their respective instruments, they know how to write excellent and captivating songs which results in an album of epic proportions, as with ‘Sagor’. ‘Epos’ follows and while the band retains their trademarked heavy pummelling, this one is slightly, albeit very marginally, slower. It is very clear, especially on this one, that Skraeckoedlan has a great knack for building up songs and let them increase in speed and power until you’re sucked into a vortex of holy-fuck! ‘Awen’ is a short in-your-face instrumental piece that kind of acts as an intro to ‘El Monstro’. A trip and a half indeed where I find myself floating around outer space to this psychedelic soundtrack. Robert Lamu takes a step back as guest vocalist Matilda Mård takes the center stage. Her performance is top notch as her delicate touch in parallel with Skraeckoedlan’s sonic onslaught leaves me breathless.

Eerie and claustrophobic ‘Odjuret’ slithers and crawls out from the depths of the deep oceans – read hell – before causing havoc and madness. Again, they keep the music at mid-tempo while building up the pace and the atmosphere and it works fantastically well. ‘Flod’ follows is the most straightforward rocker on the album, in lack of better words. Albeit not fast the structure of it is what makes it more of a rocker in my opinion. ‘Squidman’ is mainly instrumental with the exception of some sampled voices throughout. Soaring, spacey guitars playing on top of some exceptional bass and drum work with a deft switching between tempos, makes this my favourite track on ‘Sagor’ alongside ‘El Monstro’. Speeding things up slightly, ‘Mothra’ is another mind-altering songs the band has created. The bridges are crushing while the verses brings out a very nice experimental side of Skraeckoedlan. The album ends in full psychedelic fashion with ‘Epilog’. Trippy, meditative and out there, the band couldn’t have opted for a better way to tie the album together and get full closure.

I know I should already have checked these guys when their debut ‘Äppelträdet’ came out but I didn’t. But that doesn’t matter, since I finally got around to it with this, their sophomore release…and I am so sold on my fellow Swedes. So I urge you all to explore the fantastic world Skraeckoedlan has created. Don’t miss out, you hear!

Words by Håkan Nyman

Links:

MiNUSS - EP 2 (EP Review)


Release date: August 30th 2015. Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

EP 2: Tracklisting

1.Aliens 00:58
2.Fouke 02:29
3.Bloody Fingers 01:51
4.Perp 02:10

Band Members:

Rerb
Jern

Review:

MiNUSS have just released their debut EP and now they're back with more of the same violent and manic Sludge/Grunge/Punk Rock riffs. Like it's predecessor EP 2 is a stripped back lo-fi sounding collection of tracks that flits between Sludge, Grunge and Punk Rock.

Very different to their other band – Sorry For Nothing. It only lasts for 7 minutes or so but it shows that MiNUSS still have that wonderful don't-give-a-fuck attitude around their music. Yeah it's sloppy and sounds like it was recorded on broken down equipment. Why can I not stop listening to this. Tracks such as Fouke and Bloody Fingers have such a playful energy to them that you can't but help singing along to this crazy carnage.

People may listen to this and think that Rerb and Jern cannot play their instruments and come off as a second rate punk band. Nothing could be further from the truth, as John (Drums and Vox) and Rob (Guitar and Vox) are fantastic musicians in their own right. Their highly thought of in the North East of England Rock Scene. Thanks to their band Sorry For Nothing. These guys have supported Truckfighters, Fu Manchu and The Answer.

But fuck it, this is about MiNUSS. Their new band and these guys are sure having fun. EP 2 is a slice of fast-paced dirty grungy sludge based riffs. I've been told that EP 3 is just round the corner. I hope the guys include a longer song just to see if they have it in them to write something that lasts a little longer than 2 minutes.

Until then EP 2 is a blast from start to finish. Check it out. You won't be sorry.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Judd Madden - Waterfall II (Album Review)


Release date: August 29th 2015. Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

Waterfall II: Tracklisting

1.Trickles 04:09
2.Flow 06:17
3.Waterfall 11:53
4.River 12:36
5.Mouth 02:50
6.Ocean 16:00
7.Clouds, Rain 22:00

Band Members:

Judd Madden - Everything

Vocals on Trickles: Nicole W.
Vocals on River: Anthony Von Grimm from Yanomamo

Review:

If you haven't heard of Judd Madden yet, then here's your chance. Judd Madden is one of the finest Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal/Stoner Metal One-Man Bands currently out there. He's released a string of albums that have been acclaimed by fans and critics alike. I've been a fan of Judd for almost 5 years now ever since he released his debut album – Waterfall.

Judd's music is a blend of Sludge, Post-Metal, Doom, Drone, Desert Rock, Stoner Metal and even Fuzz. Very hard to describe at times but highly addictive. It looks like Judd has gone back to the beginning of his musical career and created a new version of his debut album Waterfall with Waterfall II.

Judd has changed a lot of things on this version of Waterfall. He's even added vocals on a couple of tracks. This version is more stripped back compared to the original though it's still has it's fair share of heavy doomy sludge metal riffs. Judd never forgets to bring the noise on his albums. He's a genius when it comes to creating different atmospheres on each individual song.

The epic tracks such as: Waterfall, River, Ocean and Clouds Rain is where Judd always excels as he has more time to explore different noises and sounds before unleashing a powerful destructive riff. If you're a fan of ISIS, Neurosis, Russian Circles, OM, Earth and Pelican then you will enjoy Judd's music immensely.

Waterfalls II is the perfect example to get yourself acquainted with Judd's music. Just check out all of his albums as they're all available on BandCamp Buy now. Word of warning though, they're all highly addictive as you'll be listening to Judd's music for days.

Back to Waterfall II. To be fair I still prefer the original version of Waterfall. Though that doesn't mean I don't like this album. Far from it. I love the experimentation of it all compared to the original and I applaud Judd for going back to where it all started and create a different vision to the original.

Do yourself a favour, check out Waterfall II now as it's another brilliant album from the best One-Man Band currently out there.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Skies Below - Aphelion (Album Review)


Release date: August 29th 2015. Label: Self Released. Formats: CD/DD

Aphelion: Tracklisting

1.The Avout 05:39
2.La Loba 06:00
3.Words that Stay 06:27
4.Reverend Mother Witch 04:20
5.Tyranny of an Object 04:35
6.Acquisition of Signal 00:30
7.Doorway_Descent_Dissolution 09:30

Band Members:

Liz Porcayo - Vocals
Daniel Sides - Guitar
Ryan Akin - Bass
Tim Strovas - Drums

Review:

Seattle Progressive Rock/Doom Metal unit – Skies Below – release their debut album – Aphelion. An intriguing mix of Progressive Rock and Doom Metal that creates quite an unforgiving album in tone and nature. Opening track – The Avout – centres on lead vocalist – Liz – whose powerful vocals that shows what a loud range she actually holds. The music switches from fast-paced Progressive Rock to the more slower gloomier style of Doom Metal which is becoming quite popular recently. If you dig Pallbearer and TOOL then you will find much to enjoy here as Skies Below create highly emotionally involved music.

Second track – La Loba – ventures into Psychedelic Space Rock territory with the atmosphere slowly building up with traces of dangerous noise never too far from the horizon. The riffs are superbly played but it's Liz intense vocals that's the star of the show as she sings in Spanish and even though I can't understand what she's singing it's still very heartfelt and powerful at the same time. The music is heavy and can become quite thunderous at times. It's good to see the band experimenting with their sound by including a jazz-influenced progressive metal sound near the end of the song. Very unexpected indeed.

Third track – Words That Stay – starts very slowly with traces of post-metal subtlety coming into the mix as the music once again builds to a loud volume of noise. Liz sings her heart out on this song and impresses yet again. Damn, she can really hold a high note. This spurs the rest of the band to create more progressive style Doom Metal riffs that makes Words That Stay one of the albums stand-out tracks. A perfect combination of vocals, melody and progressive doom based riffs.

Fourth track – Reverend Mother Witch – opens with an epic drone based noise before the creepy guitars start to appear. The atmosphere flits between Doom, Prog Rock and Post-Metal as the album becomes more emotionally involving with the riffs having a TOOL-esque identity to them.

Skies Below now decide to inject a dose of world-weary blues rock into the mix on fifth track – Tyranny Of An Object. This song has quite a different styles all vying for attention – Doom, Prog Rock, Post-Metal, Jazz and Blues. Now this could have failed spectacularly however Skies Below pull this off brilliantly as they prove their musical credentials for everyone to feel and hear.

Sixth track – Acquisition Of Signal – is a 30 second ambient drone based track. It's nothing more than a collection of strange noises. Possibly to give you time to catch your breath. As the final song is why you should buy this album for. I premièred this song on the blog last week and it's my favourite track from the album.

Doorway_Descent_Dissolution is 9:30 minutes of intense spaced-out trippy psychedelic progressive doom metal magic which shows why Skies Below are such a talent. Liz's dramatic and intense vocals matched against the sublime riffs that Skies Below have created. This is a loud and thunderous attack on the senses with the progressive doom metal sounds having a power all of their own. Skies Below call upon Andrew Chapman (Vocalist from Seattle Punk/Stoner Rockers – Princess) to provide great vocals of his own.

Aphelion is a strange as hell out of body experience that will have some people thinking – What the hell is this? - My advice, just enjoy the ride as this album is superb from start to finish. It sounds incredible which isn't surprising since the legendary Tad Doyle engineered, mixed and co-produced the album. If it's good enough for Tad Doyle then it's definitely good enough for you to check out.

Skies Below have delivered a master-class of progressive metal. Check it out now.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Skies Below for the promo. Aphelion is now available to buy on CD/DD.

Links:

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Moonbow - Volto Del Demone (Album Review)


Release date: August 28th 2015. Label: Self Released. Formats: CD/DD

Volto Del Demone: Tracklisting

1.Devils Floor 04:21
2.Take Me Home 04:43
3.Volto Del Demone 04:57
4.The Wait 03:47
5.Memories Ahead 04:09
6.Mission 35 02:51
7.One Way to Die 03:49
8.Face of the Demon(ft.HANK 3) 05:20

Band Members:

Matt Bischoff-Vocals
David McElfresh-Guitars
Ryan McAllister-Bass
Steve Earle-Drums

Review:

Moonbow released a superb debut album – The End Of Time - back in 2013 which picked up some minor acclaim. Two years later the guys are back with their second album - Volto Del Demone. Moonbow could of picked up where their debut album left off but the guys have released something different. As their second album is an acoustic slice of Americana fused take on Stoner Rock.

It's still got the familiar trapping of Blues Fused Hard Rock/Stoner Rock from the debut album but Moonbow now offer a more psychedelic and stripped back approach to their music. Fiddles, violins are mixed superbly well with the normal musical instruments the band play so well. Opening track – Devil's Floor – is a blues heartfelt romantic stoner rock number for all you outlaws out there. Moonbow open your mind to new musical possibilities especially when they blend Country/Americana with some finely played Stoner Rock riffs.

Second track – Take Me Home – is more of an blues rock style fable with traces of grunge appearing here and there. It's very dark and mysterious especially with the dark lyrical content and Matt's vocals. It's a slow-paced anthem which strikes the perfect balance between semi-acoustic rock to the heavier stoner riffs that appear towards the end of the song. Fans of Alice In Chains will find a lot to admire here especially with Matt's vocals.

Third track – Volto Del Demone – has a classic Western film soundtrack feel to it though it's still very psychedelic at times. Yet again the music is very slow-paced which only adds to the atmosphere. This track can be classed as one of the albums stand-out tracks as the different vocal styles compliment each other very well.

The rest of the album keeps to the same ideas and rhythms as the first few songs as Moonbow have crafted a stunning set of songs that world weary, emotional and heartfelt all at the same time. Other great songs to check out are – The Wait, Memories Ahead, One Way To Die and Face Of The Demon.

Wait until you hear Face Of The Demon as Moonbow collaborate with perhaps the most legendary Hard Rock/Country Rock Outlaw himself – HANK 3. The song is a strange affair with trippy psychedelic noises, far eastern chimes, Americana based guitars and HANK 3 on fine demented form.

Moonbow could of released another album that sounded like The End Of Time. And people would still of enjoyed it. But Nope, Moonbow said - TO HELL WITH CONVENTION!!! - They decided to release an album with such emotional depth and intriguing ideas that one listen is never enough. I think Volto Del Demone will be considered Moonbow's definitive album and one even themselves will find very hard to beat. I hope I'm wrong but I cannot see the guys topping this fantastic effort.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Mona at Platinum PR for the promo. Volto Del Demone is available to buy on CD/DD now.

Links:

Lamprey - III (Album Review)


Release date: July 25th 2015. Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

III: Tracklisting

1.Iron Awake 01:36
2.Harpies 07:35
3.Golden Mean 05:59
4.Nokken 02:57
5.Lament of the Deathworm 06:03
6.Gaea 05:27

Band Members:

Spencer Norman
Justin Brown
Blaine Burnham

Review:

Why did I have to be late to the party in checking out Lamprey. The Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal mob who have just released what appears to be their final album with III. As Lamprey have sadly called it a day. But what an album to release as your last album. As III is a heavy slab of epic riffs and gigantic noises to match.

Opening track – Iron Awake – is a 90 second blast of intense Sludge Rock riffs played at a fast pace. Lamprey played with two bassists and that is evident right here are the music is fucking loud!!! - You can hear the heavy pounding bass lines being played all around you. That's just the tip of the iceberg as the rest of the album becomes even louder as time goes by.

Second track – Harpies – is where you start to feel the pain and intensity of Lamprey's music. If you dig the early heavier sounds of CONAN and SLOMATICS then wait until you experience the heavy bass dual attack of Lamprey with great drumming to match. The vocals drift in and out at different times of the song. Though it's the heavy down-tuned riffs that is the main attraction here. And Lamprey have tons of great riffs to punish you with.

Third track – Golden Mean – is perhaps the more doomier affair on the album with traces of drone based noises and vocals appearing at the start before Lamprey bring the pain with more down-tuned riffs to slay you with. The album sounds superb from start to finish which isn't surprising since Adam Pike mixed, engineered and mastered this album. Golden Mean simply crushes everything around it as Lamprey bring the thunder as the dual bass guitars unleash a torrent of doom and gloom sludge metal riffs.

Fourth track – Nokken – has shades of Scott Kelly's solo work especially with the vocals and droned out noises which creates an unsettling three minutes for the listener to lose themselves in. This shows another side to Lamprey's music as it's haunting and even beautiful to listen to.

Fifth track - Lament of the Deathworm – is perhaps my fave song on the album as it merges the sounds from Nokken with the heavier style of droned out Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs from the earlier songs. It's a slow-paced affair but wait until Lamprey bring the noise as hell breaks loose. The vocals are superb as you can feel the pain coming from lead vocalist Blaine.

And now we come to the final song that Lamprey will ever release. - Gaea. It's all come down to this final round of heavy pounding epic doom/sludge/stoner metal down-tempo and low-tuned carnage for you to survive from. Lamprey are taking no prisoners on this song. Just listen and embrace the noise for one final time. Once it's finished, press play and experience this heavy as hell amazing album over and over again. It's what Lamprey truly deserve....

III is a brilliant album. No doubt. Check it out for yourself as it's available on BandCamp Buy Now.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Exclusive Song Premiere - Skies Below - Doorway_Descent_Dissolution


Release date: 29th August 2015. Label: Self Released. Formats: CD/DD

Aphelion: Tracklisting

1.The Avout
2.La Loba
3.Words that Stay
4.Reverend Mother Witch
5.Tyranny of an Object
6.Acquisition of Signal
7.Doorway_Descent_Dissolution

Band Members:

Dan Sides - Guitar
Ryan Akin - Bass
Liz Porcayo - Vocals
Tim Strovas - Drums

The Lowdown:

Skies Below are an Progressive Rock/Doom Metal Band from Seattle, USA. They're about to release their stunning debut album – Aphelion - on August 29th 2015. The album has been engineered, mixed and co-produced by the legendary Tad Doyle.

Skies Below being the awesome folks that they are, have given Outlaws Of The Sun an exclusive song premiere with the 9 minute plus epic – Doorway_Descent_Dissolution which I rate as the best song on the album. Doorway_Descent_Dissolution also features guests vocals from Andrew Chapman who is part of fellow Seattle Grunge/Hard Rock riffsters - Princess.

My review will be live early next week. Until then enjoy the heavy riffs of Doorway_Descent_Dissolution.

   
Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Anders Manga - Hexed (Album Review)


Release date: August 14th 2015. Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

Hexed: Tracklisting

1.Hexed 04:14
2.The Creeping Flesh 02:58
3.Bloody Revenge 03:03
4.Burn the Black Flame 02:58
5.Ghosts of Victims Past 02:06
6.March to the Altar 03:10
7.Once-over 01:03
8.Drive-In Moonlight 03:32
9.Seer Lays a Hex 01:42
10.I Know Where You're Hiding 02:10
11.Kill the Cult Leader 02:34
12.Depraved are Lurking 02:09
13.Fin 02:46

Bio:

Anders Manga is a producer from Transylvania County, NC. He released his debut album, 'One Up for the Dying' in 2004. His music has been featured in various films and TV shows such as the WB TV show “Vampire Diaries”. He also helms the heavy rock band Bloody Hammers.

Review:

Now this album falls outside the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal stuff that I normally promote but I'm reviewing it as it's an album from Anders Manga. Lead singer/guitarist from ace Doom/Occult/Stoner Rock riffsters – Bloody Hammers.

I'll let Anders tell you what this album is all about:

Anders here from Bloody Hammers. Thanks for your Bloody Hammers support in the past on Bandcamp. As a horror movie fan, in the spring I got the itch to do some electronic synth music inspired by those movies. John Carpenter, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento... all that awesome stuff from the 80's. I called the collection 'Hexed'

Hexed is a creepy instrumental ride into the darkness with shades of classic horror movie soundtracks. I can really feel the John Carpenter vibe especially with the more electronic/synth based tracks such as The Creeping Flesh and Bloody Revenge.

It's too Anders credit that his music has a disturbing and violent identity of it's own. It's very doomy and gothic in parts and it should appeal to fans within the Doom/Occult Rock movement. It's a shame this soundtrack is for a movie that doesn't exist as Hexed makes you want to see the actual movie. It does transport you back to the 80s where the Video Nasties made their name especially in the UK where I'm from. I remember watching a truckload of violent horror movies when I was a kid and this album brought back some vivid memories from that time.

John Carpenter is one of my fave horror/action directors when I was growing up. Films such as Halloween, The Thing and Escape From New York are considered classics and one thing that made them stand-out was the highly atmospheric scores. Anders succeeds in creating the same vibe on every song.

The synths are pitch-perfect with the gothic/occult rock influence making an appearance on some of the albums later tracks.

If you're in the mood for something different from the usual mix of Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal then check out Hexed as this is a stunning album with more thrills and chills than today's so called horror movies. Lets hope this album is released on Vinyl in the future as it's the perfect format for an album such as this.

You can buy Hexed on BandCamp Buy Now. Awesome stuff...

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


Band To Check Out - Dope Smoker



Bio

Dope Smoker are a 3 piece Rock group from South West Wales where everyone smokes dope & surfs.

"Riff-tastic Welsh-surfer-stoner doom; it's surely a new sub-genre!"

The Lowdown

I've been a fan of the Welsh Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene for a number of years now. Wales have provided the world with great bands such as: Acrimony, Sigiriya, Taint, H A R K, Zonderhoof, Hogslayer, Prosperina and Thorun to name but a few.

Now there is another great band to check out from Wales. A band by the name of Dope Smoker. Obviously named after the classic Stoner Metal album itself though Dope Smoker bring a fresh perspective on the Sludge/Stoner Metal sound. A sound that includes traces of Surf Rock, Sludge, Doom, Stoner Rock and lashes of Fuzz.

These guys are very prolific. 4 albums released since November 2014. And each one a blast from start to finish. The thing that stands out for me with Dope Smoker is how each album progresses from the last one. Their latest album Vol 4 is perhaps their best album yet as it sees Dope Smoker finally coming into their own identity and creating a great sound of their own.

They're beginning to make a name for themselves within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community and have built up a small loyal fanbase. If you're a fan of Sleep, Kyuss, Nirvana, Uncle Acid and the mighty Black Sabbath then get with the program and check out Dope Smoker now. The vocals have a slight Ozzy/Uncle Acid vibe but it works with the crazy fuzzed up atmosphere they've created on all of their albums.

Dope Smoker is a DIY band in every sense of the word. The production varies from each album but that shouldn't stop you enjoying the fucking amazing riffs the band have created here. Dope Smoker have the potential to be a true “cult” band within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community.

I have a feeling it won't be long until Dope Smoker will be releasing Vol 5, 6 and 7 on a respectable indie label in the near future.

You can check all of their albums on BandCamp now. Some you have to pay for and some you can download for free. Help them out though as these guys deserve it.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:



Beneath The Storm - Devil's Village (Album Review)


Release date: Sept 1st 2015. Label: Argonatua Records. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Devil's Village: Tracklisting

01 - The Curse Of Elizabeth
02 - The Witches' Sabbath
03 - At The Hour Of 13
04 - Starting The Ritual
05 - Whitewood
06 - Burn The Witch
07 - Tonight Begins The Ritual (Bonus Track, CD ONLY)
08 - Moonlight Through The Trees (Bonus Track, CD ONLY)

Review:

Mysterious One-Man Down-Tempo/Doom/Sludge Metal artist AKA Beneath The Storms is back with his 3rd release – Devil's Village and it's perhaps his bleakest and disturbing release to date. Expect long drawn out drone based nightmarish riffs that have a sinister edge to them.

Opening track – The Curse Of Elizabeth – is an eerie tale about the undead and other disturbing things going on. The music is firmly rooted in slow-paced Doom/Sludge Metal territory. Beneath The Storm slowly builds the atmosphere with lashes of doom matched against pitch black vocals that I've come to expect from the Beneath The Storms. This song sets up the tone for the rest of the album. It's dark, violent, thrilling and packs a lot of chilling moments within it's 51 minute running time.

I forgot to add this is a concept album based on the cult classic movie “City of the Dead” (starring Christopher Lee as “The Professor”, and Patricia Jessel as “The Infamous Witch”). The album ventures into more extreme territory that some Sludge/Doom Metal fans may not be used to. The vocals have a slight Death Metal vibe to them though sung at a slower pace.

Second track – The Witches' Sabbath – creates the perfect balance of Occult Rock/Doom theatrics against the sinister and deadly tone of the recent “torture porn” horror movies. It's very unsettling at times as the riffs are played at a slow pace but with layers of noisy sludge metal to crank up the tension. I still find it hard to believe this is the work of one person even after reviewing all of Beneath The Storm's records over the last few years. You got to hand it to him though as this album is his most diverse and experimental yet.

The album uses actual soundclips from the film - City Of The Dead on all of the songs to give you a sense you're actually experiencing the movie yourself. The guitar work is quite frantic at times especially on tracks such as At The Hour Of 13, Whitewood and Burn The Witch. The lyrical content as you can imagine is bleak and desolate through out. This is the perfect album for all you doom and gloom horror fanatics out there.

The production on the album is good. There's a few moments where the volume could have been louder to get a more dramatic effect. The final few songs on the album is where the album truly comes to life as the music becomes slightly faster and more frantic especially on Burn The Witch and Tonight Begins The Ritual.

My final thoughts on Devil's Village is that's an unrelenting attack on the senses. It's perhaps one of the most highly atmospheric Doom/Sludge Metal albums you'll hear this year. The best way to experience this album is perhaps on Halloween and watch some classic clips from the film on YouTube to get the full effect. A superb and well rounded effort from Beneath The Storms. Lets see what he releases next....

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Barbara at NeeCee Agency and Gero at Argonauta Records for the promo. Devil's Village will be available to buy on CD and Vinyl from 1st Sept 2015 via Argonauta Records.

Links:

Saturday, 22 August 2015

KADAVAR - Berlin (Album Review)


Release date: August 21st 2015. Label: Nuclear Blast Records. Formats: DD/CD/Vinyl

Berlin: Tracklisting

Lord Of The Sky 4:28
Last Living Dinosaur 4:05
Thousand Miles Away From Home 4:53
Filthy Illusion 3:45
Pale Blue Eyes 3:28
Stolen Dreams 3:57
The Old Man 4:05
Spanish Wildrose 4:30
See The World With Your Own Eyes 4:07
Circles In My Mind 3:47
Into The Night 4:30

Band Members:

Lupus Lindemann - Gesang & Gitarre
Simon „Dragon” Bouteloup - Bass
Tiger - Drums

Review:

Kadavar is a band that needs no further introduction. Over the cause of the last 3 years they have released two highly praised and critically acclaimed studio albums and a live album plus a split with Aqua Nebula Oscillator from where their current bassist originates.

Kadavar got renowned from their unique take on that über cool late 60s/early 70s style psych retro rock, with soaring riffs, thick as lave bass-lines and intense Ginger-Baker like drumming. Another thing that had helped catapult the band into famousness is their over-the-top live performances, and one could argue that you have not truly listened to Kadavar, if you haven’t experienced them live. Luckily I have done that once, and I'm looking to do so again this autumn. It is this true ‘vintage’ sound, great musicianship coupled with strong live performances with a now-a-days seldom seen thing a jamming on stage that justifies labelling as the Cream of our time: A trio super-group in a confined space limited by genre labelling and archetypes.

From the get go ‘Lord Of The Sky’ opens the ballet with a bang bursting with high energetic riffing, driving drums, thumbing bass-lines and Lupus Lindemann’s signature vocals. This is Kadavar like we know ‘em, and love ‘em, so faith in genuine rock is restored. But something has changed, this is not just another retro-rock album by the Germans, this is a different kind of monster.

So what does a band that, taken its fairly young age in consideration, has done and seen almost everything and have made two albums that any self-proclaimed rocker would sell his own mother to have written and played? Well, either you rehash old material and rewrite all the killer riffs from earlier outings, OR you could just try to expand your sound and the musical landscape covered…

And that is exactly what Kadavar has done on Berlin. Gone are the true ‘vintage’ sound in favour of a slightly more polished and clean sound, still without losing vitality, playfulness or that sense of “hey we just recorded it all live in the studio” kind of vibe. Berlin gives way to a more mature and streamlined string of songs, that although more varied in their individual expression together presents a well-structured album.

For Berlin Kadavar brought in mixer Pele Gunnerfeld and that may explain the change in sound, but I for one don’t mind a change in wind direction, because Berlin is damn well near perfection, and this genre needs a gush of fresh air from time to time.

An example of the new tricks at play here is clear from ‘See The World With Your Own Eyes’ that has a cool hint at some Rolling Stones when they were rocking out the most and with a distinct Charlie Watts kind of drumming. Well played. 

Despite a more varied musical array there is still plenty for the puritans to enjoy, and tracks ‘like Last Living Dinosaur’, ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ and ‘Into The Night’ offer in abundance the trademark Kadavar vibe and groove. 

So to sum it up, Kadavar more than succeed in branching out and broadening their sound and musical aesthetics to cover more than “just” a narrow strip of proto/retro hard rocking 70s worshipping psych rock and with Berlin they have delivered not just the highlight of this year so far, but maybe the best musical testament to rock in general for years to come.

Words by Niels Fuzz Bartholdy

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