Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Like Rows Of Crooked Riffs - An Interview with GREENHORN

Today's guests have won praise for their unflinching style of brutal Sludge/Doom Metal over the past couple of years.

They've recently released their debut album – Like Rows Of Crooked Teeth – which was produced by current Conan bassist – Chris Fielding at the awesome Skyhammer Studios. They've also been called – The Future Of British Doom – by Terrorizer. Big words to live upto but Greenhorn are going to give it their best shot.

I've been trying ages to get an interview with these guys and my pleading has finally paid off. Well it does help that Lead Singer/Bassist – SID – is part of the Outlaws team here. So maybe I pulled some strings on that one or told him he will be reviewing the new GHOST album if he didn't agree to my terms.

Anyway let's get started.

1 – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you all today.

No problem. Thanks for asking. We're all good as long as that Ghost thing doesn't happen.....

2 – For people who haven't heard of your band. How did the band come about.

We started nearly three years ago after the last band AJ and I were in split up after a long period of inactivity. I knew Vinnie from his days when he played in UKHC band SNUB and that he was possibly thinking about getting back behind the kit. Vin and I bumped into each other a few times socially and always talked about jamming, so the three of us met up for a beer talked about what we wanted to achieve, which at that point was nothing more than just play a few shows locally and be making music again.

We booked a rehearsal room and a couple of months after that we played our first show supporting Earthtone9.

3 – Your debut album – Like Rows of Crooked Teeth – is a brutal experience from start to finish. Can you tell our readers what they can expect from the album.

They can expect 6 stories about 6 fascinating people who were put to to death for a variety of reasons. Some you could argue were just, some very much not so. Although as a lot of this is historical we do need to appreciate we live in a very different world now. They can also expect riffs. And feedback. And riffs.

4 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

We started writing it pretty much after we recorded "Doomhawk" and most of it came fairly easily as I think we were still on a high after that experience. There were a good few riffs that never developed into songs and got disguarded during the process, but I would think that's pretty common.

As we got closer to the dates for the studio we were still one song light and we actually wrote the music to "Deadmans Hill" a week before we left and the lyrics were finished the day we recorded it. A few people have told me it's one of their favourite tracks so hopefully we got away with that!
The recording process itself was a dream as Chris Fielding knows exactly what's what and how to get the best out of which ever band is in front of him. The guy's a hero.

5 – You produced it and recorded it with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios. How did you get Chris to work with you and what was the overall experience like.

It was ace. We had been lucky enough to work with Chris for "Doomhawk" as well so I think both parties knew what to expect from each other. Drums get tracked first, then add guitars, bass and finally vocals. Then Chris sends us away (to the pub!) to start mixing it.

I guess the process itself is fairly standard, but Chris is an enthusiastic guy to work with and full of good ideas and plenty of tips to make sure we get the most out of our experience. We spend a good part of time cracking jokes about Alan Partridge and all sorts of things like that so it's a very easy going atmosphere which for us worked well.

6 – Skyhammer Studios. Is it the new Valhalla for Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal bands to record there albums at. Is that place as good as people have told me.

Yes. As well as Chris and everything he brings you have your pick from an amazing selection of amps, cabs and all sorts. It's cool to have Jon popping in and out as well to check up and come and have a listen and see what's going on. It's actually set in the grounds of his house so it's all very laid back as it's in the middle of a family atmosphere.

You only have to look at the calibre of bands/records that are coming out of there to see why everyone wants to record there.

7 – The album was released by Black Bow Records and Hibernacula Records earlier this year. How did you hook up with those great labels.

We sent a copy of our demo "The Plague Doctor's Mask" when Jon started Black Bow and we got talking and ended up booking into Skyhammer to record "Doomhawk" which they released on a limited cassette run and latterly through the labels Bandcamp page. After we recorded the album Jon got in touch again and asked if we'd be happy to have the record digitally available through the label, and of course we said yes.

Hibernacula is run by 1/2 of the Victorian Whore Dogs and we've just got to know them well through gigs and a mutual love of Iron Monkey and Transformers! Both labels are ace to work with as they're both run by people in bands, and we've got friends on both labels putting out records at the moment so it really feels like being part of a family.

8 – The album has a fantastic cover. Who designed the cover. And what does the cover mean to you as a band and for the album in general.

The cover was designed by the very talented Dan O'Gara. Dan is part of the Southern Doom Crew and you will have seen the excellent black and white shots he takes when bands roll into Bournemouth to play the anvil. I know this isn't the first time his work has been used for a band (Peter Pan Speedrock have used his shots on their last record) and I'm sure it wont be the last.
The cover really is just to sum up the theme of the record. We feel it suits the mood of the album perfectly.

9. – Why did you choose the name – Like Rows Of Crooked Teeth – for the album.

It was part of our original idea for artwork. It was going to feature a graveyard with the names of the people the songs are written about, but laid out in such a way they looked like rows of crooked teeth.

In the end we didn't like the idea of the artwork but the idea of that image stuck with us and the name stuck as well!

10 – What's the song-writing dynamic within the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

Well things have changed a little bit since Vinnie stepped down and Mandy joined. She's a very different drummer so that probably will reflect in the new stuff we're writing, but the basic approach remains the same. Someone comes up with a riff (95% of the time it's AJ) and we just jam it until it flows and one idea tends to lead to another.

We've always been kinda "all hands on board" when it comes to arranging the songs and often things will get bumped around and often dumped. If we're not grinning when we're playing something it normally doesn't stay. Lyrics always come last. They seem to be getting sparser as well at the moment, but every song is different. It depends on the theme and story of the song.

11 – What have been people's reaction to your music. Good or bad reactions.

So far they've been really good. All the reviews we've had for "Doomhawk" and "Like Rows...." have been really positive. I'll be keen to see how they translate into sales when we get the figures from Black Bow in October.

We did have one zine decline to review it as they didn't want to give a negative review though!
We got a pretty lukewarm live review in Metal Hammer last year, but you can't please everyone and in fairness it's nice to say we've been in it at least!

12 – How do you deal with negative reactions to your music. Do you take suggestions or criticisms on board or do you focus on your own thing.

You can't take it personally. It's just people's opinions and you can't expect everyone to be into what we do. I have no problem with constructive feedback or honesty. So far though we've been very fortunate with the feedback we've had.

13 – Do you guys perform gigs on a regular basis. Do you have to travel further from your home town to perform on a regular basis.

We try to limit Bournemouth shows now to 2 or 3 a year. As much as we'd love to play there more, if we play all the time people will stop coming out. We're lucky now that in Bournemouth we have a few more bands in the local area so it's nice to be part of that.

We love to travel and play shows though. Some of the best we've had have been out of town. (Leicester. We're looking at you)

We're looking at next year trying to book 2 or 3 weekenders with bands and a few one off shows here and there. We'd love to play another festival this year, but that's probably out of our hands, so we'll concentrate on booking what we can ourselves. Both Mandy and AJ are in other bands and I have kids so there are other commitments to honour as well. But I think we like having that mix of things. That said we'd love to just jump in a van and tour for 7 - 10 days and I'm sure at some point we will.

14 – Which bands and artists inspired you to become musicians. Any particular albums that stand out.

I can't speak for the others personally but for me I stumbled down this path after picking up the first Iron Maiden album on tape back in the day. Eventually my tastes changed and evolved a bit and apart from Maiden the first band that really got me excited about the thought of playing music was Sepultura. When Chaos AD came out my little ears had never heard anything like it and I've never looked back. Bless my parents but I think they were hoping that my interest in heavy music would be just a phase. It would appear not.

As a band I can confidently say we have been inspired if not influenced by Slabdragger and Diesel King. We played a show in London town with them both a couple of years back and I vividly recall us standing around after the show and thinking "Shit. We're not doing this properly!"

We promptly got rid of our spare guitarist and that's when we started to pay more attention to things like what amps and pedals etc we were using and just our approach to writing heavy riffs in general. We've been fortunate enough to play with both bands a few times since then (we did a cheeky weekender with DK earlier this year in fact) and every time we see them I always remember that show and the impact it had on us.

15 – Well guys thanks for doing this interview. All the best with your new album as it's a killer record.

Thanks very much mate. Oh and if you need anyone else to review Greenhorn stuff in the future I think I know just the chap......

Words by Steve Howe and Greenhorn

Thanks to Greenhorn for taking the time out to talk to me. Now where's that GHOST album for SID to review....


Australasia - Notturno (Album Review)

Release date: September 21st 2015. Label: Apocalyptic Witchcraft. Formats: CD/DD

Notturno - Tracklisting

1.Nebula 01:39
2.Eden 06:05
3.Kern 04:27
4.Creature 05:25
5.Invisible 03:46
6.Haxo 02:39
7.Amnesia 05:35
8.Lumen 03:38
9.Notturno 04:07


Occasionally an album appears that is so well conceptualized and executed its very existence seems improbable in this era of singles and disposability. Notturno by Italian Post-rock act Australasia is one such release. An instrumental project of enviable depth and scope, the band boasts provocative influences which run the gamut from Ennio Morricone and Red Sparowes to the Cure and Tangerine Dream. Heroes like these make it clear the band has lofty ambitions. They succeed in fulfilling these aspirations and more on Notturno.

Australasia is the brainchild of Italian multi-instrumentalist Gian Spalluto. Notturno was preceded by a number of releases including a reverent cover of the theme to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. It is easy to detect Spalluto’s appreciation of cinema while absorbing these layered, moody tone poems which navigate scene changes like a sweeping camera. The nine uncompromising pieces on Notturno evoke nostalgia, loss and wonder, often within the same song. A listener might become simultaneously disoriented and stirred while submerged in Spalluto’s immersive soundscapes. Fans of Mogwai, Godspeed You Black Emperor and even Neurosis will find much to satiate them here. Cocteau Twins and Joy Division are also touchstones, though Australasia’s hazy, shoegaze influenced sound never becomes merely imitative.

Opening with the one minute forty second meditation “Nebula”, the group quickly establishes its penchant for vintage synthesizers and atmospheric passages. Unlike peers who use such moments as a lull to set up the next crushing movement, Australasia possesses a unified sound which includes bell like keyboard tones alongside dreamy guitars and precise, punishing drums. Another aspect which distinguishes them from the occasional excesses of the Post-rock movement is a focus on brevity and songcraft. Despite the non-presence of singing (for the most part) these are songs in the classic sense. Yes, they contain all the intense peaks and valleys that are the hallmarks of their genre. However, only “Eden” passes the six minute mark and most tracks are noticeably brief when compared to the lengthier compositions of bands like Isis or Russian Circles.

Creature” evokes the Smiths mingling with Disintegration era Cure as filtered through the psychedelic prism of an act like The Mars Volta. “Invisible” adds some keyboard pads that would not feel out of place on a release helmed by Brian Eno or Daniel Lanois. Its instrumental flow is broken by a soulful female voice midway through the track. The unexpected appearance brings to mind Clare Torry’s otherworldly vocal performance on Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig In The Sky”. “Haxo” is a brief interlude boasting a rhythm in the irregular 5/4 meter and an air of sustained tension.

Spalluto is a masterful guitarist and arranger who is unafraid to distinguish himself from the milieu. Rather, he seems to revel in his otherness. The sheer audacity of his willingness to try something as ambitious as this collection is testament to his clarity of vision. Expressive, emotionally resonant guitar harmonies give way to washes of electronics. Tightly wound and containing nary a wasted moment, the songs effortlessly avoid instrumental metal cliches. In fact, this illuminates the most confounding aspect of Australasia. Why does an act so wide-ranging and unique even feel the need to profess any ties to metal at all? Hypnotic mix and occasionally thick riffs notwithstanding, Australasia’s co-opting of the term Post-black metal feels a bit forced especially with music this fully realized.

Unlike the willfully crude aesthetic of some acts in the aforementioned genre, the production on Notturno is crisp and almost pointedly professional. An unaccompanied piano is the sole instrument on the closing title track. It weaves its way through a maze of subtly arpeggiated chordal variations before peacefully concluding. Here, as elsewhere, the lack of lyrics is no impediment to emotional impact. Websters’ defines notturno as “an 18th century piece for an instrumental group composed in several movements and resembling the serenade or divertimento”. Spalluto has updated the form to accommodate his own wide ranging musical imagination and we are the lucky recipients of his bounty.

Words by Ari Rosenschein


My Dying Bride - Feel The Misery (Album Review)

Release date: September 18th 2015. Label: Peaceville Records Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Feel The Misery - Tracklisting

1. And My Father Left Forever (9:22)
2. To Shiver In Empty Halls (9:46)
3. A Cold New Curse (9:02)
4. Feel the Misery (6:20)
5. A Thorn of Wisdom (5:04)
6. I Celebrate Your Skin (6:53)
7. I Almost Loved You (5:27)
8. Within a Sleeping Forest (10:42)

Band Members:

Aaron - Vocals.
Andrew - Guitar.
Calvin - Guitar.
Lena - Bass
Shaun - Keyboards / Violin


So My Dying Bride are back with their first full length since 2012's "A Map Of All Our Failures" and let me tell you it's been worth the wait. (Or should that be weight. Cos the riffs. They're heavy)

One of the things I always find intriguing about MDB is for a band that's roots are so obviously set in misery and despair there is always a kind of fragile hope that lives within the music they create. Whether it's due to the now well documented real life events that occurred during the recording process or whether it's just what my ears want to hear it's definitely still present throughout this record.

Opening with the majestic "And My Father Left Forever" the record springs into action in top gear with some great dual guitar work over thunderous drums before the vocals join the fray. Just before the 2 minute mark the pace slows and we're deep into Doom territory as that haunting violin plays over Aaron's mournful but beautiful vocals and I'm hooked.

Second track "To Shiver In Empty Halls" starts abruptly and features some deep growling vocals to compliment the more usual clean style I'm used to with MDB but I ruddy love them. They're just gruff enough to make an impact but not so gruff the lyrics are lost beneath it.

About halfway the song fades away to clean guitars and piano which in turn leads into a spoken word passage before a growl from the depths. At this point I naturally assumed the song was going to build into a riff fest so imagine my surprise when it actually fades back out again with a whispered vocal repeated over some clean guitars. "For those of you I know exist/I leave for you three number six" It's a little like the creepiest nursery rhyme ever, but I assure you it's a brilliant ending and makes just as much impact as the aforementioned riff fest I was expecting.

More of the same on "A Cold New Curse" huge disgustingly heavy riffs, mixed with more traditional slower parts as the vocals switch from dirty to clean throughout. Three tracks in and nothing under 9 minutes. Perfect. I feel like I don't want this album to end.

Next up is album title track "Feel The Misery" (watch the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e_c3XAPoUI)

In an interview in this months Terrorizer (other magazines are available.) there is a suggestion that this album is the bands most commercial to date. On this track I can kind of see that. Not only with its radio friendly run time of 6 minutes, but there's also stacks or melody dripping from the riffs that pin the track together. Not to say that it isn't still heavy. Because it is. In fact it's heavier than Bella Emberg's bingo wings so I guess we wont be hearing it on Radio 1 main play anytime soon.

Both "A Thorn Of Wisdom" and "I Celebrate Your Skin" continue the theme of shorter running lengths but still manage to tick all the right boxes and just keeps me totally immersed in the record.

The next track "I Almost Loved You" is a little bit special. And it's definitely a little bit different. Strings, piano and more of those beautiful heartfelt vocals. And that's it. No riffs. Not one. But it doesn't need them. I'm not sure what the story is to this song (if indeed there is one) but it feels incredibly personal and is an absolutely beautiful piece of music.

"Within A Sleeping Forest" closes the album in style. The longest (just) track on the album and the riffs are back. So are those growls. And they sound fucking massive. Certainly the slowest track on the record and it does EVERYTHING you want from a MDB record during its 10 and a bit minutes. Guitar harmonies, that solitary violin and of course those emotive vocals.

2015 has been a good year for Doom I would say. There's been a lot of records out already that will have people talking for some time and perhaps as we start to think a bit about end of year lists MDB have thrown their hat into the ring with a real contender.

"Feel The Misery" is a powerful, and haunting record that seeps sadness from it's pores, but it is utterly absorbing and will keep you going back to revisit it time after a time.

Words by Simon Ross Williams


Old Man Lizard - S/T (Album Review)

Release date: September 25th 2015. Label: Heavy Psych Sounds. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Old Man Lizard – S/T - Tracklisting

1.Cold Winter Blues 05:58
2.King Clone 05:40
3.Fawza Falih 04:45
4.El Doctor 06:32
5.Old Hag 06:15
6.Craniopagus Parasiticus 08:51
7.A Gruesome Mess 06:29

Band Members:

Jack Newnham - guitar/vocals
Gav Senior - bass
Dan Beales - drums/percussion


Old Man Lizard return a year or so later with their new S/T album. They released their debut album Lone Wolf vs Brown Bear last year. This S/T album is a slightly revised version of a previous EP released back in 2012. It’s an EP that made me aware of Old Man Lizard’s talents.

5 of the 7 songs here on this album are from that EP but they’ve been re-recorded and they sound a whole lot better. It’s good to see that Old Man Lizard have included two new songs (Craniopagus Parasiticus and A Gruesome Miss) to give this album a more rounded and better sounding experience.

How do you describe Old Man Lizard’s sound. Parts Doom, Sludge, and Stoner with a neo-country folk twinge. If you dig TAINT, H A R K , Torche and even EARTH then that will give you an idea of what to expect on this album. This album shows that Old Man Lizard is one of the different breed of UK Sludge/Stoner Rock Bands currently out there.

Opening track – Cold Winter Blues – is a Sludge/Stoner driven song with traces of country based folk. It’s a strange sounding experience for the first few moments or so but when Old Man Lizard unleash a heavy riff you will be right at home as the atmosphere will consume you. Jack’s vocals whilst not the most polished hold their own with some of his more famous contemparies within the Sludge/Stoner Rock field.

Second track – King Cone – sees Old Man Lizard opt for a more stripped back approach with impressive prog rock guitars with the heavy pounding drums adding a claustrophobic semi-acoustic feel at times. The sound can be described as very rustic as the country vibe more than holds it’s own against the heavier sludgier rock rhythms.

Third track – Fawza Faith – carries on with the addictive Sludge/Stoner/Doom hybrid sound with Jack’s vocals drifting in and out at different times. It’s quite a bass heavy affair with the riffs becoming noisier and more distorted as Old Man Lizard could give Torche a run for their money.

Fourth track – El Doctor – is one of the albums stand-out tracks with the band offering another semi-acoustic number mixed with the heavy Sludge/Stoner Rock riffs. It’s almost 70% instrumental with Jack’s vocals only appearing for brief moments. It’s perhaps one of the albums most reflective and psychedelic tracks and that’s one of the albums strengths as it doesn’t play by the rules.

Fifth track – Old Hag – is one of the loudest songs on the album as the vocals and riffs can be ferocious at times. Sometimes Jack’s vocals are drowned out by the loud distorted riffs and you can’t tell what he’s singing. Not to worry though as the music saves the day once again. The 2nd half of the song holds some of the albums most exciting riffs as Old Man Lizard become a dangerous power trio that makes for a thrilling encounter.

Sixth track - Craniopagus Parasiticus – is the first “new” song on the album and it’s good to hear actual new material from Old Man Lizard. This is a deliberate slow-paced song that takes time for the heavy riffs to arrive. It’s a bluesy/rustic style song as the Sludge/Stoner Rock atmospherics are there lurking in the background. Jack’s vocals are heartfelt especially when he sings at the top of his lungs.

The last song is – A Gruesome Mess – offers one final round of distorted noisy Psych based Sludge/Stoner Rock rhythms. It’s perhaps the least entertaining song on the album. That’s not to say it’s a bad song. Far from it. I just didn’t feel the emotional connection that I did with the other songs on the album.

Overall, Old Man Lizard has made a wise choice re-releasing their debut EP from 2012. It sounds better than ever and it’s still a unique sounding experience that got the band noticed in the first place. If you haven’t heard Old Man Lizard before then this is the best place to start. Check this album out now. You won’t be disappointed. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for the promo. Old Man Lizard – S/T – is now available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Heavy Psych Sounds.


Monday, 28 September 2015

L.M.I. - L.M.I. III (EP Review and Exclusive Stream)

Release date: October 2nd 2015. Label: No Less Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

L.M.I. III - Tracklisting

1.Shallow Depths
3.No Casket
4.Edge of Time
5.Follow the Mirror

Band Members:

Will - Vocals,Guitar
Brando - Bass
Kevin - Drums


Sludge/Stoner/Punks – L.M.I. - who released a brutal and blistering debut album in 2014 with Sleepwalker return with their superb new EP – L.M.I. III.

It's more of the same fast-paced brutal Sludge/Stoner/Punk Metal carnage that made their debut album such a blast from start to finish. The action never stops when the opening riffs of opening track – Shallow Depths. As L.M.I blend fast-paced hardcore punk fury with a violent Sludge/Stoner Metal feel. It gives a great indication on how L.M.I are going to fuck up your world fort the next 20 mins or so.

L.M.I do show their tender side on 2nd track – Debt – towards the end as they lessen the punk rock drive for a more tender approach towards the end of the song. Though before then L.M.I play some of the EP's loudest riffs.

If you dig fast-paced pissed off Sludge/Punk/Stoner Metal then L.M.I. Is the band for you. They have a great social awareness around their music as it really makes you think what you're listening to. L.M.I.III is an excellent EP that shows why L.M.I are definitely worth your time. These guys demand your attention and god damn it you're going to listen to what they have to say. You mightn't agree with it but you can't deny how powerful it is.

Excellent and Highly Recommended. Lets hope these guys release more great releases such as this in the future.

You can check out for yourself as L.M.I have allowed ourselves to stream the entire EP before it's released on Friday 02nd October 2015.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to L.M.I for the stream. L.M.I. III will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl from No Less Records from October 02nd 2015.


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Interview with WATCHTOWER

Watchtower is a band who have experienced a good year in 2015. They released their acclaimed debut EP – Radiant Moon – on Vinyl through Magnetic Eye Records and will be their full length record through Magnetic Eye Records in the future.

The band contacted me to see if I wanted to interview them and discuss about the rising Aussie Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene that has provided a ton of great bands for us all to check out. I said sure, why not. It's always good finding out about other music scenes in other parts of the world.

So here we go. An epic interview with Aussie Sludge/Stoner Metal riffsters – Watchtower.

Hi guys. How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this interview.

Hi. Things are pretty excellent at the moment. Spring is in full effect and our dickhead prime minister just got sacked.

· For people not in the know can you tell our readers how the band came about and where it is today.

We formed in the latter part of 2012. Nico had just relocated to Melbourne from Holland and joined Ben (bass), Rob (guitar) and Joel (drums) in their effort to form a band by responding to an ad they've put out looking for a vocalist. Their idea was to start a heavy rock & roll band but things got real heavy real quick and a few months in we found ourselves recording a demo and playing our first show.

Now, almost 3 years of smokes, beers and blown up amplifiers later we've played numerous shows both locally and interstate, released a live single on bandcamp and we are eagerly waiting on the vinyl version of our EP Radiant Moon. In the meantime Joel quit the band and we've played a handful of shows with our new drummer Tim, laying a solid foundation of what Watchtower is going to be from here on out.

· How would you describe your music in 5 words or less.

Heavy Metal.

· You had a great start to the year with your debut EP – Radiant Moon – being released. Did it surprise you the responses it’s received from fans and critics alike.

It's always a surprise and very flattering if your efforts get positive feedback and recognised across the globe! We could not be more stoked about the response. Especially when there's positive write ups from acclaimed blogs and channels that we ourselves like to read. Not to mention the love we get from random headbangers worldwide. It's awesome.

· You signed to Magnetic Eye Records to release the EP on vinyl. How did you hook up with Mike at Magnetic Eye Records. Awesome dude doing a fantastic job.

Our mates in Horsehunter signed with MER not long before we got in contact with Mike and started talking about releasing stuff. The initial contact was like any other band shopping for a label and we were pretty stoked with the quality of his splatter vinyl! He seemed pretty keen on the idea to work with us and vice versa and that was that.

· Did you have any other offers from different labels.

MER was actually one of the first labels we contacted. The ball started rolling relatively quick so we did not have to worry about different labels. It's been about six months now since we announced it and dropped the songs on the internet. There has been some interest shown by other labels, but we're already looked after so that is irrelevant at this point.

· Nico – people may not know but you were originally part of Dutch Sludge/Stoner Metal mob – Herder before you moved to Australia. Was being part of a band part of your plans when you moved to Australia. And did you have to overcome any difficulties or do things different when you were with Herder.

Doing a band was definitely on the agenda. I love playing music way too much not to do it. I had no idea in what shape or form that would be before I stumbled upon these guys . I felt a really good connection from the get go and the band sort of naturally became what it is.
Playing in Herder was very different. There was a concept before the band was even formed, and there were songs recorded before we even had jammed together. Herder operates in a very efficient way, and always has done that.

Every member was, and is very experienced and has done the hard yards with other bands like tons of shows, touring, recording etc etc. Herder was the band that collectively took all that experience and utilised it to hit the ground running. In saying that, the intention was to just put out one 7' and play one show at some stage. It's a collective of friends, and fun is priority obviously but just a more mature approach of 'being a band' is what makes the difference.

Starting Watchtower was starting a band that had to find it's feet and do the hard yards again, but this time I got a little bit more under my belt than the rest of the band. Some of which we used in our advantage I guess, but still it was very green at the start. Things come together very naturally with us and absolutely nothing is contrived and everything is 100% democratic.

I'm very stoked with that. To be honest, not the most efficient way to go about things but on the other hand we don't raise the bar too high. Everything we achieve is a bonus and we have so much fun every time we get together and do fun shit, or accomplish some goals we've set for ourselves.

· So what are the future plans with Watchtower. New album or full length record in the works. Will that be released on Magnetic Eye Records as well.

We are currently busy writing our follow up record on MER. It's a full length and we cannot say much else about it at this point. We are aiming to have it done early next year so we can gear up for recordings.

· OK time to talk about the Aussie Sludge/Doom/Stoner Scene. A scene that I’m a huge fan of and one that is getting a great reputation overseas. Have you guys noticed the respect the Aussie scene is currently getting overseas.

We see a lot of love going around for Australian bands from overseas for sure! It's awesome to witness cool shit like that and luckily a handful of bands got picked up by labels from the states and Europe We only see it through social media but still I think we have a pretty good idea what's going on and we often forget that we are a part of it.

· There are tons of great bands from Australia. Adrift For Days, Space Bong, Drowning Horse, AVER, Holy Serpent, Hotel Wrecking City Traders, Mammoth Mammoth and many more that I’ve forgot to mention. How is the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal perceived by Australian music fans in general. Is there a big scene for you guys to perform regular.

We have definitely seen some change in that part of the scene in the time we've been around. There seem to be more bands, more gigs, more festivals, more promoters and more punters coming out to shows and more bands getting signed by labels overseas, probably the most important reason why there's a good rep. This is just talking about the up and coming and younger bands obviously. Take bands like Whitehorse or Hydromedusa for example. They have been bringing it internationally for years now.

The doom/stoner/sludge scene is not huge I feel, although those styles of music are continuing to gain popularity I think. It's becoming more 'normal' and easier to access perhaps rather than being just niche genres. I wish the people that come out to see the bigger international touring bands would also put some effort into checking out local bands so we had more people to perform to!

We are also lucky in Melbourne we have a few gems of venues with a lot street cred and never shy of hosting a doomy night which helps a lot! We can play on a regular basis, but there's only so many places you can play, and so many bands to play with on a local level so there's a challenge there to keep it interesting. It's harder to tour Australia, even for Australian bands than it is to tour Europe and the states for example.

· Why do yourselves think labels (RidingEasy, Magnetic Eye Records) are taking a keen interest in signing Aussie bands.

I think we are caught in the eye of some sort of storm? I couldn't say. Obviously there is, and always been a lot of talent in Australia and there's always been various underground and heavy bands signed internationally. Maybe the current wave of Australian doom is actually looking to work with international labels?

· It’s also good that a lot of internationally renowned Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal bands such as YOB, Torche and Neurosis have toured Australia recently and praised very highly about their experiences when on tour there. Which bands would yourselves like to see tour Australia.

I would like to see Sunn 0))) play here. But more importantly I would like to see smaller bands that are less established as the ones mentioned above, but do have record deals and do have the drive and the courage to tour overseas but maybe just not the help and the resources they need to be able to tour Australia, as it is not really accommodating for that. I think touring companies could easily get those bands over to tour, it just requires some a little bit of heart and a good healthy DIY ethic. It's not all about making money.

· Do you think the Aussie Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene has hit its peak or is there still a ton of great bands waiting to be discovered.

I think the ball has not stopped rolling yet. Hopefully things will only get better. There's plenty bands that don't get the credit they deserve and there's enough bands still working hard to get themselves out there. Bands like Sumeru from Sydney, who have been going at it for a couple of years now and Grim Rhythm who have been quite obscure and have been flying under the radar for a long time. Hobo Magic from Brisbane, little grommets fresh out of high school who can play like they have been a band for 20 years and YLVA, who have just released a recoding on bandcamp and are about to play their fist show from Melbourne for example. So much good stuff.

· If you could change anything about the Aussie Hard Rock/Metal scene what would it be and the reasons why.

More mixed bills. More people should be aware of what's going on around them in music scenes parallel to theirs. They cross over and they need to in real life to keep this music thing interesting and evolving.

· I’ve interviewed other Australian bands in the past and they’ve told me the distance between different towns and cities performing gigs can be a major issue when playing gigs. Have you suffered from that fate yourselves travelling to extremely long distances. Or is it part of the course being a band based down under.

Like mentioned before, it is very hard and expensive to tour Australia. The shows we've played interstate were a long way from home. In the future we are trying to play more shows in rural areas, because there's headbangers in every town, there might just not be enough people to pack out a venue for a good show. But let that not be reason enough for a gig not to happen. Plus, it's fun to go places you never been before and perform. Even when there is not many people watching.

· Well guys thanks for doing this interview. Is there anything you would like to say to your fans.

Thanks for paying interest and thanks for the love/hate. We need it to keep on going.

Words by Steve Howe and Nico Guijt


Interview with GARGANJUA

I was asked recently to interview UK Sludge/Doom Filth Merchants – GARGANJUA – as I was a fan of their debut EP – Trip Wizard. GARGANJUA will be releasing their debut album in early 2016 and by all accounts it's going to be HEAVY!!!

Before then I decided to catch up with the guys to see how things are going with the band and what we can expect from the album. So lets get started with GARGANJUA!!!

Hi guys. How are things with you today.

Hello, We are very well thank you.

So why did you choose the name GARGANJUA for your band. Any specific meaning.

Haha the name came about as we wanted something that sounded MASSIVE, sort of like Mastodon or Bison haha. We came up with Gargantua originally but there are a few bands called that already....so we changed one letter to be "original" haha.

How did the band get together. Did you all know each other before forming the band.

We've all known each other for years and all played together in various other bands but It started off with Scott and Gaz(bassist) getting together and recording riffs in Scott's bedroom and that was basically how Trip Wizard was born. We decided to ask Benj to be involved as we all have similar musical tastes and it went from there really. Played a couple of gigs and just really enjoyed it so decided to record something. We never thought it would get out of the bedroom to be honest.

How would you describe your music. Apart from it being pure fucking heavy.

Musically I'd describe it as Melodic Doom. There are so many genres and sub genres that I dont give it much thought but that'd be our interpretation.

You released your debut EP – Trip Wizard – last year. How was the response to that EP. I loved it when I reviewed it for The Sludgelord.

Trip Wizard seem to get a positive response which was surprising. I mean, we loved it but personally, it was very stripped down and basic so I didn't expect much of a response but it was very positive.

Would you change anything about it.

We wouldn't change anything, we had such a blast just jamming and hanging out, it sort of felt like it used to back in the day when you're starting your first band. It just flowed and felt great. I still love listening to it. Probably the best first record I've ever been a part of.

Apart from the music itself, I think the album cover makes it stand out. Shows your wicked sense of humour. Who designed the cover.

Got to be honest, the artwork was just a really old school public domain image that we loved haha! We were so keen to get the EP out, we just found something simple we liked quickly haha.

You're about to release your debut album soon. Can you give us more details about that.

The new album is completely different from Trip Wizard!! A lot has changed for us in the last 18 months, on various levels and we started to look at our music differently. We wanted to expand the sound, explore melody more and lyrically, write about more than just goblins and wizards. Basically, it's like a different sound all together now. We got a second guitarist on board which gave us more to do dynamically and personally, its a game changer.

Its 4 songs and 40 minutes long. We are planning on releasing a "single" soon and will hopefully release before the end of the year but we haven't set an official date yet.

Are you releasing it yourself or have you got a small label to release it.

The album is going to be released digitally through Black Bow Records and physically through Hibernacula Records

How hard is it being a band in today's world. What are the most difficult aspects in being in a band.

Being in a band is tough but it always has been in our opinion. We weren't playing in bands in the 90's when record labels had cash and getting signed was deemed as "making it". Things have clearly got harder in recent years but if you enjoy it, its worth it. We've always had that attitude.

Some people say the UK Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal scene has hit it's peak and it can't get any bigger. What is your own verdict on the UK scene.

Our perception of the UK scene is that it's very strong, probably the strongest its ever been. There is a definite sense of community in stoner/doom especially and I think that's down to people still really having a love for live music. It still feels like days of old when people would travel to shows, help each other out and generally rep for each other. Its a great place to be.

How is the scene like in your home town of Leicester. Do you play gigs there regularly or do you have to travel further afield.

The Leicester scene has definitely improved over the last year, there are a couple of people doing really good work locally for the city which is great to see but our attitude has always been to travel to everywhere we can. We've done the whole, week in, week out in your own back yard type of thing but reaching new audiences and making new friends is what we like to do.

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

Song-writing wise, certainly for the new album, the blueprints for the tunes were done by Scott. They'd be emailed over and if the rest of us liked it, we'd set to jam the idea out and gradually the fine tuning begins and everyone will contribute in their own way before the song is complete. Although I believe the title track was born out of a spontaneous jam at practice and just grew into the beast it is now within 2 hours haha. Lyrically is generally a 50/50 job between Gaz and Scott.

With you guys being from Leicester. We have to talk about MAGE and the sad passing of guitarist – Ben Aucott. I spoke to Ben a few times via Social Media but he was a lovely real genuine guy who I knew did a lot for the local music scene. How is everyone doing especially the MAGE guys who I have a lot of time for. Amazing band and people as well. My condolences to Ben's family and friends at this sad time.

Needless to say, the loss of Ben shook the local scene massively and has continued to extend outwards. Collectively we've been jamming within the same scene as Ben for over 12 years and his previous band with Andy, Outburst were hugely influential on us growing up. I cannot imagine the impact its had on the Mage boys but its a great community and we all chat and are there for each other every step of the way. Its a day by day thing.

And your performing on the Ben Aucott memorial gig in November with Mage and Temple of Lies. How much of an honour is that. Can you give us more info about that gig.

The only word to use is 'honour' at being asked to play the memorial show, we'd have been there regardless anyway but to able to jam it is obviously extra special and a great way to celebrate Ben's life.

The gig is at Duffys in Leicester on November 28th so come down, jam your balls off and raise a beer to Ben.

Well guys thanks for doing this interview. Can't wait to hear your debut album. All the best with Ben's memorial gig. Looks like it's going to be a top night. Before you go do you have anything to say to your fans.

Thanks for your time and the only thing left to say is, keep your eyes peeled for the album and we also have some tour dates to announce for early 2016 so hopefully we will see you soon.

Words by Steve Howe and Gaz Owen

Thanks to GARGANJUA for taking the time out to talking to me.