Wednesday, 23 August 2017

An Interview With Steve Woodier From THE SHRIEKS FROM BELOW

Today's guest is not an artist, musician or part of any band. He's been a very good friend of mine over the last few years and he does a brilliant job promoting the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene via his excellent website and numerous weekly podcasts via Core Of Destruction Radio.

Today's guest also promotes the heavier side of the underground musical spectrum to an avid fan-base. I wanted to interview the one and only Steve Woodier for quite a while now and he kindly agreed to this interview.

If you don't know who Steve Woodier is – Steve runs The Shrieks From Below.

In this interview Steve spills the beans on how he got involved with the entire blogging scene, where his musical journey began (Before I was even born. Sorry Steve, Couldn't resist that one) and the pitfalls of participating within the Metal Underground Community.

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

Frustrated. Suffering with connectivity issues with the Wi-Fi, so I can’t upload my show onto Mixcloud as the connection keeps dropping. Unfortunately, my computer knowledge is on a par with Paul Rote (Paul writes for Doomed & Stoned) which doesn’t bode well.

How did you get started with the entire blogging scene. Can you give a brief overview how you started and where you're currently writing today.

The reason I put my foot in the door of the blogging scene can be attributed to two things really. Firstly, and mainly, because of my involvement in a forum called Hard Rock Revolution. It was the first time I actively discussed music with like minded individuals. You have to realise, at home, there was no one to talk to about it. I was a complete failure at converting various siblings, Nieces and Nephews to anything remotely heavy, and my son, just shakes his head in pity when I play him something.

It became apparent that my knowledge of the underground music scene was at least the equal of most of the frequent contributors, so it gave me more confidence to express my opinions about it.

Secondly, with the inception of Bandcamp, of which I was a part of from the very early days, it was exciting to post details of new, unknown bands, and receive a really positive reaction on the Forum, so I guess that fuelled the fire.


You're now writing for The Shrieks From Below. How did the blog came about and why did you choose that name for your blog. Though it wasn't the original name for the blog.

I started posting bands on Facebook, I was quite a late started there, and someone must have sensed my enthusiasm because I was approached by Grip of Delusion Radio to play a selection of tracks via a podcast show. The trouble is, because you upload an entire show as one mp3, the Radio Tuna (The bit you click on to play the show) can’t differentiate between the band playlist, so you can’t tell who’s playing at the time. That was then, the entire reason for the blog.

It started as a vehicle to post the running order of bands on the show! My Niece, who was 14 years old at the time, set it up for me. When it was done, I asked her what she thought of it. She told me that the blog looked fine, but the music was shit!

It was originally called ‘Pull The Legs Off The Spider, Tear The Wings Off The Fly.’ I liked it, but as you can see, it is way too long a name, so I picked a something that suited the music I mainly concentrate on, ‘The Shrieks From Below.’I then set up a new blog because I couldn't embed Bandcamp links on the old one, and here I am. The name comes from a track called ‘ It Shrieks From Below’ from one of my favourite doom/death bands, Decrepitaph

You also produce regular podcasts for Core Of Destruction Radio. How did that came about.

I originally started with Grip of Delusion Radio. As I mentioned, Vania contacted me about starting a show. It was difficult at first because of my ineptitude with anything that has a keyboard, but with guidance I gradually managed to set something up. I was literally sweating with nerves before the first show in case it didn’t play, or sounded really crap or something, goodness knows what I’d be like if I played a live one, which, incidentally will be the next step. Hopefully I can find someone who can show me how to do it. Things didn’t quite work out for one reason or another, no ones fault really, so I eventually found my way onto Core of Destruction Radio after contacting Jerry Wood.

Is that a time consuming process to create a regular/weekly podcast for Core Of Destruction Radio.

It’s a royal pain in the arse, particularly if you’re a perfectionist like me. You choose the tracks, then load them onto something called Audacity. Sometimes, the bit-rate of the track is poor, so you have to individually nurse it to a better sound. Then you record your voice which I hate doing. My son reckons I sound like Michael Owen’s football commentary on the telly.

The beauty of recording everything first is that I can edit out most of the erms and uhms before it goes on air. Then you have to meld the tracks together so it sounds as seamless as possible with no discernible gaps between them, before converting it to an mp3 version. I then listen to it myself to make sure I haven’t fucked up anywhere, before its uploaded into Dropbox for one of the guys to load onto the server.

I always sweat a little that its been loaded on time, mainly because If I promote it and mention the bands that are featured, It would be embarrassing to say the least if it didn’t actually play. I don’t help myself though because I’m always last minute. It usually takes me six hours to prepare a one hour show.

How do you decide on which bands to feature and the theme for your podcasts.

Mostly random. (there’s a surprise) If a label or band is kind enough to provide me with a promotional copy of an album, out of courtesy at the very least, I’ll play something from it. A track may come up on shuffle on my ITUNES library that makes me want to play it on the show. I also make a point to always play some older songs.

My reasoning is that there are always people who have just started listening to this kind of music, so why not play them some of classics? I played ‘Jim Beam and Good Green’ by The Glasspack as a case in point last month, I also love that song which also helped. I try and mix it up a little with different genres. I rarely bother with themes, although after some light hearted banter with Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned Head Editor) and Leanne Ridgeway (Riff Relevant Co-Editor), I did an animal cruelty episode featuring bands such as Owlcrusher and Chimpgrinder

Do you ever think about doing interviews, news and features with bands and include them on your podcasts. Something similar to what Billy Goate does at Doomed & Stoned. Or would you rather just focus on the music.

To be honest I just don’t have the time, but that may be a weak excuse for not having the confidence either. My main goal is promoting the bands, mainly unsigned ones. There’s nothing like receiving a message from someone thanking you for playing a song of theirs that they’ve put an inordinate amount of time and trouble into, ans saying that they’ve received a couple of extra sales, or ‘likes’ off the back of it


What has been the overall reaction to your podcasts from fans, labels and bands in general.

Its all been positive. I have bands and labels contact me regularly. As you know yourself Steve, you can develop pretty close ties with some of them. People like Maurice from Blues Funeral, The Doomstress, Alexis Hollada and B!X of Psython regularly comment on posts and put themselves about amongst the relevant groups on Facebook and that's commendable and you can imagine the likes of those guys being really approachable at gigs. The blog is getting more hits each month, and my shows on Mixcloud usually climb pretty high in the Metal Charts, so its all good.

You have a wide range of musical tastes across different genres. Though I know you focus more on the extreme side of music. What are your favourite genres of music and why do they appeal to you.

I know that I have a reputation for liking the more extreme side of underground music, but personally I think that’s something of a misconception. My musical tastes have never been as diverse as they are now, I think its just that I will stretch the boundaries further than some. In saying that, doom/sludge and doom/death are probably my first choice, but something by, say, Earthless, will run those pretty close.

At the moment I’m having a crossover thrash revival. I have always liked the underbelly of the scene. I dunno, I just love the dense guitar sound and the dynamics and, OK I’ll admit it, it does appeal to me to not be part of the herd that listens to more mainstream music. I lead an average life, have an average job, so this kind of music helps me to be a little different

Which band, artist, album or genre did you first become a fan of. How did your love-affair with music began.

My love affair with music started in 72/73. A mate of mine had a brother who was into Wishbone Ash, Steely Dan, that kind of thing. He took us to see Hawkwind at the Liverpool Stadium. Part of the gig ended up on the Space Ritual live album. I loved the experience, but the band didn’t move me too much. It wasn’t until the same brother bought me Black Sabbath’s Sabotage for my birthday,that I turned to the dark side. In those days you were either into Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull and bands of that ilk, or you took the left hand path with Black Sabbath, and that's the path I took.

Then along came Sad Wings of Destiny by Judas Priest and that firmly cemented my love of heavier music. At that time, the advertising blurbs described Priest as the heaviest band in the world, so that was good enough for me. Actually, I think this path was inevitable. I listened to Slade and The Sweet before Sabbath took a hold. If you listen to some of the b sides of some of The Sweet singles, tracks like ‘Burn On The Flame’ and ‘Cockroach’ then you’ll realise that behind the facade, some of these bands actually rocked like fuck.

I thought Bucky Brown from The Ripple Effect and Bandcamp Download Hoarder had an extensive BandCamp collection. Until I saw your profile. Fuck. Over 3310 purchases and counting. How have you managed to build such a huge collection. (No wonder your wife bans you from buying stuff).

I’m obsessed with Bandcamp, aren’t we all hahaha! I started on Bandcamp from the early days and it just bloomed from there. Most of the music I play, I’ve bought myself which I’m quite proud of. Quite often I’ll get a download code from a band , but I’ve already bought the damn thing. Ben from She Beast always sends one a week after I’ve bought it, I’m sure he does it on purpose.

You have to realise that in the 70’s and 80’s you found out about bands by word of mouth, or tape trading. I used to trade stuff of the up and coming NWOAHM bands like Vio-lence and Dark Angel. I was an avid reader of the ‘Sounds’ music paper. When the latest copy came out, it was the highlight of my week. So now something as awesome as Bandcamp is available I’m like a bull in a china shop. In saying that, for every gem on there, there are 100 absolute shiters.

Which physical media do you prefer – Cassette, CD or Vinyl.

I only buy mp3’s now, mainly for my iTUNES library and to play on the show. I might find the odd CD in a charity shop, one of the older classics maybe. I don’t own a cassette player, and I don’t own a turntable. Also, imagine the grief I’d get if I bought Vinyl?

Do you have particular favourite album on vinyl you like to listen to all the time.

As mentioned before, I don’t play vinyl, haven't for years, although I really miss the days when I would hop on the bus to Penny Lane Records in Liverpool and browse through the wax there. Some of the covers were works of art.


Like myself, you're heavily involved with The Doom Charts. Do you like doing the monthly doom charts or does it take it's toll on you.

I have to hold my hands up. I haven’t contributed for a while, mainly because of the time factor. Also, most of my votes never ended up on there hahahaha!

That’s not a gripe by the way because I still follow what goes on and I know that the actual voting is regularly discussed and the guys are always looking for ways to improve it.

Has is it surprised you how well liked the Doom Charts have become and well respected by the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community in general.

No, not really surprised, there are some pretty big hitters who contribute. Plus, its a handy way of seeing what you’ve missed. The biggest problem, for me is that it doesn’t, or can’t, truly reflect what’s going on in the doom scene. It doesn’t represent the real underbelly of the scene and as such remains populist. Its difficult to amend that, and again it is acknowledged by the contributors, because the majority of the guys are into similar sounds.

Lucas Klaukein asked me to contribute for that very reason, but, unfortunately there needs to be more people who are into the more extreme part of it. However, as I’ve said, the guys are aware of that, and it’s good to see that all of the hard work they put in is rewarded.

You're highly respected within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community. What things do you like being involved with the community. Are there certain aspects you don't like when promoting bands across the entire scenes.

The best thing is when a Banda acknowledges that you’ve actually made a difference to their sales or standing within the scene. I concentrate on the little guys, the ones without labels, or have a demo that they have spent a lot of time on and are really proud of. They ask you what you think of it and occasionally you have to say wow! Cave Suns was an example.

Another one was a band called Black Thyria. I played a track of theirs on the show last month and they couldn’t believe that someone was actually playing one of their songs. It makes the effort and the expense worth while.

On the downside, all too often you can promote a show and the bands can’t even be bothered to share the post. Some of their, ahem, public relations leave a lot to be desired. Another downside is receiving a promo, but then you can’t do anything until such a blog, or radio station has streamed it or previewed it first. I’m well aware that there are many, many, blogs and shows with more clout than mine, but my time is precious and I refuse to tread on eggshells.

I had to pull a show at the last minute once when a label got all shirty about a track I was going to play, saying that it was going to be part of a press release and under no circumstances was it to be played. That’s after I asked, and received permission to play it, I always check as a matter of courtesy first. Band who are just starting out just want their music played and don’t care where and when, and are usually humble with it.

What have been your favourite albums of 2017 so far.

I was dreading this question. Another vintage year so far, and I don’t keep lists. The Grim Ravine’s ‘The Light is From Below’ is a favourite, as is ‘Rotten Sabbat’ by Regress. Recent favourite is So Much For The Sun’s self titled. I’m also looking forward to ‘Veneration Rites’ by Longbarrow

How do you relax away from the crazy world of blogging. As we all need time away to chill out.

Music takes up a HUGE amount of my time, so there isn’t much time for anything else. I live right alongside a canal, so I love walking the dog, then breakfast at the local pub. I did go fishing, but just don’t get the time. I love football, both watching and playing. Liverpool FC is my team. Otherwise its music, music, music.

Well Steve. Thanks for doing this interview. Great catching up. Do you have any final words of wisdom you would like to share with us all.

Thanks Steve. Being asked to do this was a great surprise, and a huge honour. Words of wisdom, hmmm. I’ve noticed a lot if squabbling between various factions of the scene recently, whether it be bloggers or YouTubers. Its making the bands choose who to align themselves with, which, in the long run isn’t a good thing. We all need a united front.

For example, if you receive a death metal album to review, but you never touch that particular genre normally, then rather ignore it, send it to a blog that will be keen to promote it. Share the albums around with each other, get the music out there. Obviously get the permission of the band, label or PR Rep in question before doing this.

As for the bands and labels, if you see that a blog has reviewed an album or gig of yours, then at the very least show interest by sharing it, the guy who wrote it has not done it for financial reward, but for the sheer love of your music, same with the radio shows.

kiddies, always wear ear plugs at shows...it makes sense in the long run, take it from one who knows.

Finally, ffs, don’t forget the enjoyment you once had listening to music and discovering new bands, keep the flame burning inside, things have never been so good with this amazing scene.

Words by Steve Howe and Steve Woodier

The Shrieks From Below Links:

MINDKULT - Lucifer's Dream (Album Review)


Release date: Sept 22nd 2017. Label: Transcending Obscurity Records/Throne Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Lucifer's Dream – Tracklisting

Drink My Blood
Nightmares
Behold the Wraith
Infernals
Howling Witch
Lucifer's Dream

Band Members

Fowst - Everything

Review

Lucifer's Dream is the debut album from one-man doom and gloom instrumentalist - MINDKULT. The album is a gloomy offering that is inspired by Black Sabbath. Though Mindkult is no mere copycat as his vocals and lyrical themes have a harsher and depressing outlook on life .The riffs may not sound that heavy at times but lurking in the background there is a deeper meaning to Mindkult's music and that's mainly down to the deliciously dark lyrics.

Opening track – Drink My Blood - has a slightly gloomy and depressing feel as the riffs helps Mindkult spread his demonic message to the masses. The song has its fair share of dark Fuzz Rock sounds that allows the album to finally deliver its own exciting sound.

Second track - Nightmares - is a more straight forward Doom Metal/Hard Rock Song with Mindkult playing a more direct approach and allowing the psychedelic sounds to flow naturally. The vocals are eeringly pitch-perfect with the seventies sounding doomy atmosphere offering a more gothic outlook on life.

Third track - Behold The Wraith - is a sombre and haunting emotionally charged song with Mindkult laying his emotions on the line. The vocals and riffs are stripped back to the bare minimum. This allows both the artist and listener to have an emotional connection throughout the song. The mood of the song is held together by moments of multi-layered gloomy atmospheric riffs with Mindkult switching from classic seventies doom metal and modern sounding psychedelic occult/gothic hard rock.

The other three songs on the album - Infernals, Howling Witch and Lucifer's Dream - offer the same gloomy heavy magic that appeared on the opening three songs with Mindkult creating more exciting songs to immerse people with.

Songs such as Howling Witch and Lucifer's Dream offer a mature and emotionally complex take on classic sounding Doom Metal. If you've been disappointed by the recent albums by Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats then you're simply going to love this album. The whole sound and feel of the album is simply exquisite. Lucifer's Dream is a truly exciting debut album and one that pushes the boundaries of what is possible in Occult Rock/Doom Metal.

Words by Steve Howe
Thanks to MINDKULT and Transcending Obscurity Records for the promo. Lucifer's Dream will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from September 22nd 2017.
Links:


MENIN - Lord Of Pain (EP Review)


Release date: September 15th 2017. Label: Doom Stew Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Lord Of Pain – Tracklisting

1.Lord of Pain 05:44
2.Logrus 09:57
3.Mercer 07:13

Band Members

Chris Gray - Guitar, Vocals
Ken Neff - Bass
Devin Nowlin - Lead Drums
Pete Schaller - Rhythm Drums

Review

Lord Of Pain is the debut EP from Sludge/Stoner Metallers - Menin. It's a brutally sounding and adventurous release with the band showing their love and appreciation for High On Fire and Sleep. The vocals remain harsh but easily understandable with the music drifting from distorted sludge sounds to the more familiar sounding stoner metal riffs. When the vocals become more chant based, the EP turns into a harsher psychedelic sound.

Fans of Zoroaster will enjoy the opening track - Lord Of Pain - as the droned out noises interact violently with the sludge/stoner vibes being played around you. It may sound like a simple track to begin with but I can assure you that Menin have created many different levels of sludgy psychedelic grooves.

Second track - Logrus - is the entire centrepiece of the EP with the song running almost for ten minutes. Menin play an almost tribal drone style riff with pounding drums playing the same sounds for the first few minutes or so. Guitars are added with the drone/doom atmospherics slowly changing course. The repetitive drone/doom rhythms may put some people but I recommend you stick with this song as Menin bring in some much needed SLEEP style sonic riffery.

The lyrics have a deep sci-fi/doom and gloom element to them. The song is deliberately slow-paced and that allows Menin to experiment with their sound. Truth be told, this song feels about two or three different songs put together. As the song moves from different genres and moods on multiple occasions. This makes Logrus a challenging song to listen to but it still ranks as the standout track on the EP.

The final track - Mercer - opens with semi-acoustic doom based guitars creating slow and subtle rhythms before the heavier sludge/doom/stoner metal riffs appear and allow the song to fully spring into life. The song is purely instrumental with Menin experimenting with their bass heavy sound at different parts of the EP.

There are a few moments on the EP where I wished the band moved their music up a gear and play some faster riffs. Apart from that minor complaint, Lord Of Pain is a well-produced and frankly unrelentless slice of modern Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal that will have you coming back for more. Hopefully a full length album is in the works. As this EP is crying out for another song for Menin to slay people with.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe
Thanks to MENIN for the promo. Lord Of Pain will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from September 15th 2017.
Links:


Monday, 21 August 2017

MONOLORD - Rust (Album Review)


Release date: September 29th 2017. Label: RidingEasy Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Rust – Tracklisting

1.Where Death Meets The Sea
2.Dear Lucifer
3.Rust 05:39
4.Wormland
5.Forgotten Lands
6.At Niceae

Band Members

Thomas V Jäger - Guitars & vocals
Esben Willems - Drums
Mika Häkki - Bass

Review

Writing a review it’s always a difficult task. In most cases it is because the album you are listening to does not take you too much though, perhaps, played majestically. Sometimes, however, you may be in trouble because what you are reviewing is one of the best album played by one of your favorite bands.

Today I’ll talk about the last venture of the trio composed by Mika Häkki, Esben Willems and Thomas Jäger, the bass, drum and guitars/vocals of one of the heaviest doom bands of the world, Monolord, from Gothenburg, Sweden. In the last few years, the band have released some of the best sludge/doom albums, while still maintaining a melodic vein that clearly defines their style. With Vaenir (Riding Easy Records) Monolord showed the world a new perspective of the genre, cleverly mixing a bunch of influences behind the definition of doom.

Me and my bandmate in Dustrider, Francesco, were lucky enough to see them in Berlin at the Desertfest, and we were totally fascinated by their show, which was by no means the best show of that edition. A wall of brutal sound with no compromise. I think also the horse-head-guy in the photo enjoyed as well.


Now, Monolord come back with a new stunning album, Rust (Riding Easy Records) that certainly did not disappoint the expectation of old fans. Starting from the cover art, which is simply amazing and with a strong visual impact, the album travels through a path that cleverly mixes doom with sludge and stoner, using even harmonic solutions hardly audible in other, similar, releases. The single track Rust, although a pure sludge song, is a breath of fresh air with its barren atmosphere and droning sounds, thanks also to the presence of special guests as John Gamino from Mondo Drag on keyboards and Trevor Church of Beastmaster.

What seems to be much from this album is the ongoing search for a trial that has led to more articulate constructions and to a composite verve of high bill. This approach seems evident in songs like Forgotten Lands, where the brutal assault of the initial riffage, masterfully supported by the monolithic rhythm section, is interrupted by a psychedelic mantra driven by the voice of Thomas.

At Niceae is, by no means, my favorite song of the album. I love the way with which Monolord manage to give the listener different perspectives, especially in the final part of the song, where droning meets Pink Floyd. Throughout the album I have the feel of a band which has grown in the shortest time and, most likely, has a world of fun in their work.

What else? My personal opinion is that Rust can be considered the best album of Monolord, until the next one. I love when a band manages to be faithful to their own sound and attitude while being able to reinvent each and every album more and more.

See you in Italy, guys!

Words by Bruno Bellisario
Thanks to Dave at US/THEM PR Group for the promo. Rust will be avaiable to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via RidingEasy Records from September 29th 2017.
Links:

Tuna de Tierra - S/T (Album Review) and Exclusive Song Premiere of LAGUNA


Release date: September 22nd 2017. Label: Argonauta Records. Format: CD/DD

Tuna de Tierra – S/T – Tracklisting

1.Slow Burn
2.Morning Demon
3.Out of Time
4.Long Sabbath's Day
5.Raise of the Lights
6.Mountain
7.Laguna

Band Members

Alessio De Cicco: guitar, vocals
Luciano Mirra: bass guitar
Jonathan Maurano: drums

Review

The debut s/t album from Italian Desert/Stoner Rockers – Tuna de Tierra – lives and breathes the legendary Californian Desert Rock scene. Taking influence from the usual assortment of bands and artists from that scene. Tuna de Tierra are not breaking any new ground but their debut album is still a highly promising and hugely entertaining album. With the band playing a more epic style of desert/stoner rock jams and especially from the Kyuss school of sound.

The vocals from Alessio may sound jarring for some and may take a few moments to get used to his style of vocals. He's a great singer and offers a different style of vocals within the Desert/Stoner Rock world.

The opening track – Slow Burn – is an instrumental track that sets up the scene with psychedelic desert rock sounds being the main order of business. It's quite heavy in parts and even manages to bring some atmospheric post-rock vibes to the mix.

Second track – Morning Demon – is an almost dreamlike song with the band adding a more progressive style of music. The music drifts from heavy stoner sounds to the more laid-back psychedelic desert riffs that appear on different parts of the song.

Third track – Out Of Time – is a 10 minute plus song that starts rather slowly with an almost blues rock sound. The band carry on with this style of music for the first few moments. Until the band start adding familiar sounding desert/stoner sounds. The song finally becomes heavier around the 4th minute and it breathes new life into this song. This is one of the best songs on the album as Tuna de Tierra finally begin to feel comfortable with their own sound and the world around them.

Fourth track – Long Sabbath's Day – is the weakest song on this album. As It brings nothing to the album. It kills the mood of the entire album with it's slowly played blues sound.

Tuna de Tierra turn things around and return to winning ways with the final 3 songs on the album - Raise Of The Lights, Mountain and Laguna. The band play their way through a different assortment of genres and sounds that play's to the bands strengths as musicians. The sound is more Blues Rock based compared to the earlier parts of the album. Though the band never forget their Desert/Stoner Rock roots as Mountain and Laguna sees the band return to that world. It allows the album to end on an exciting finish.

Overall, Tuna de Tierra's debut album is a well produced affair and one that's worth checking out. If you want a more Blues Rock driven Desert/Stoner Rock album, then Tuna de Tierra maybe the band for you.

Words by Steve Howe
You can listen to the excellent new song – Laguna – from the album which Argonauta Records are kindly letting ourselves premiere.


Thanks to Argonauta Records and NeeCee Agency for the promo and song premiere.

Tuna de Tierra S/T album will be available to buy on CD/DD via Argonauta Records from September 22nd 2017.
Links:

Hair Of The Dog - The World Turns (Album Review)


Release date: July 14th 2017. Label: Kozmik Artifactz. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The World Turns – Tracklisting

1.This World Turns 09:37
2.Keeping Watch Over The Night 07:04
3.Ctrl-Alt-Delete 04:03
4.The Colours in Her Skin 05:55
5.In Death's Hands 07:07
6.4AM 07:41

Band Members

Adam Holt - Guitar/Vocals
Jon Holt - Drums
Iain Thomson - Bass

Review

Scottish Psych/Classic Rockers – Hair Of The Dog – return with a more trippier and progressive album with The World Turns. It's without doubt their heaviest work to date and it sees the band play a more doomier sound compared to past releases. Hair Of The Dog still retain their earlier classic rock sound first discovered on their previous two albums.

Opening track – The World Turns – is parts prog rock, classic rock, stoner rock with influences from from Kadavar, Uncle Acid, Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy being felt through the different rhythms of the song. The song may overstay it's welcome by the odd minute or so but Hair Of The Dog create exciting psychedelic riffs with flourishes of 70s prog rock holding everything together.

The opening song sets out the groundwork for the rest of the album to follow and Hair Of The Dog don't really put a foot wrong with outstanding songs such as Keeping Watching Her Over The Night, The Colours In Her Skin, In Death's Hands and 4AM. The vocals from Adam are excellent from the start. As he displays a wide range of emotions and puts in his best vocal performance to date on this album.

The lyrics have quite an epic and classic rock feel. They remind me of Thin Lizzy at times and I mean that as a huge compliment. Hair Of The Dog embrace their classic roots on this album but still showing a real flair and passion for the modern stoner/doom sounds they inject to the overall atmosphere of the album.

The production is excellent and I wouldn't expect anything less from Hair Of The Dog. As their previous albums have always sounded superb. This album has more volume and you can feel it when the albums heaviest moments appear.

The World Turns makes you appreciate bands such as Hair Of The Dog even more. As they're 3 albums into their musical journey and you wonder what they will come up next. Until then, play this fucker HEAVY and LOUD. As you'll be playing this album for days, weeks and months to come!!!

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe
Links:


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Night - Passages (Album Review)


Release date: August 25th 2017. Label: Hand/Eye Records. Format: CD/DD

Passages – Tracklisting

Drift
Parallel
Passages
Shapeshifter
Breathe
Alluvion

Band Members

Bobby Yagodich - Guitar
Matt Jackson - Bass
Zach Nace - Guitar
Mark Bixler - Drums

Review

Passages is the second album from Post-Rock/Post-Metal Instrumentalists - NIGHT. Night released their last album back in 2015. That album was a very good album indeed. Dark, dense, heavy and with enough progressive post-rock/post-metal riffs to keep fans of Pelican and Russian Circles entertained for days. This album sees Night in a more robust and reflective mood. 

Opening track - Drift - is a seventy second burst of ambient/psych post-rock murky sounds with a foreboding doom atmosphere.

Second track - Parallel - opens with an operatic style sound that allows Night to create almost heavenly sounds. Noises are slowly added before a familiar post-rock style riff appears and the song moves into cinematic post-rock territory. The interplay between the psychedelic noises and experimental post-rock sounds offer an almost counter balance to each other. Quiet for the most part and played at a fast pace. Elements of heavier post-rock passages slowly make their intentions known. The instrumental work has a semi-acoustic feel with the post-metallic drums driving the rhythm along. It's quite an uplifting song that channels the early days of Pelican and Russian Circles to perfection.

Third track - Passages - is an epic ten minute song that finally add the Post-Metal element to the album with more of the strange psychedelic and almost noise rock riffs being played too loud levels. The drumming is very good on this song but it can be under-produced at times. The song gradually builds to a very loud experience before the band stop everything in their tracks and opt for a mellow post-rock sound. Pounding drums save the day as Night flirt between Post-Rock ambience and Post-Metal dominance.

The second half of the album sees Night carry on and progress with their hybrid Psychedelic Post-Rock/Post-Metal journey with the final three songs - Shapeshifter, Breathe and Alluvion - driving and finishing the album to its natural conclusion. The best two tracks on the album are in my opinion - Breathe and Passages. As they offer the best representation in what Night are all about. Crushing guitar solos, intense drumming and a keen eye for sound experimentation.

If you think these guys are another Pelican or Russian Circles clone. Think again. As Night have created a very bold and daring Post-Rock/Post-Metal album. The use of psychedelic space rock noises is one of the albums main strengths. As it holds everything together on Passages. 

The production is mainly superb throughout. Sure there's a few rough parts towards the start. Once everything settles down, the album opens up to be an exciting and daring take within the Instrumental Post-Rock/Post-Metal fields of music.

Words by Steve Howe
Links:

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

An Interview With BETWEEN THE LINES

Irish Progressive Rock Band – Between The Lines – were an unknown entity to myself when I reviewed their excellent new S/T album. I was impressed how the band merge different genres of music and how they written some bleak lyrics to give their album an overall dark mood.

The album has won some minor acclaim within the Doom/Stoner Metal community. Even though the band focus on different genres of music other than Doom and Stoner Metal. I had to find out more about these guys and they kindly agreed to this interview.

Hi guys. How are things with you today.


Hey folks, very well thanks.

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


Albert, Adrian, Mac and Conor are childhood friends who played in different bands separately and together before we started Between The Lines in late 2013. Long time bassmeister friend Eoghain joined in summer 2015 when our original one Mimmo left to pursue other ventures. We have our debut album out, done gigs around Ireland with more to follow, writing new tunes and are growing all the time.

How would you describe your overall sound.

There’s a few things going on we reckon. Rock, gritty, dark, haunting, heavy, hypnotic, melodic, prog, groove, soulful, eerie...




We are here to talk about your new album. What can people expect from the album.

Seven songs, forty six and a half minutes, and a broad dynamic range with a sense of transition between each. There's dark and eerie clean guitars and intricacies to crunchy and chainsaw like riffs, thumping bass, tribal-esque grooves and steady beats, introspective soulful lyrics and harmonies combined with shifts between rhythms and time signatures to create a world full of heavy atmosphere.

What influenced you all when recording the album.

Drinking, Mary Jane, and a sense of isolation in the bleak Connemara wilderness.

It's a very dark album. Was it a depressing time when recording the album. Or is it just how the album ended up sounding when you finished recording it.

No not really. It was exciting, fulfilling, and major craic! We've had these songs for a long time so to finally get them recorded after various roadblocks life deals you was immensely satisfying. There was plenty of spontaneity and ideas and sounds to experiment with at the time of recording to enhance the vibes already there.

What influences you when writing the lyrics. As like the music itself, the lyrics contain some bleak themes but also some hopeful moments as well.
Life and experiences in it. Beauty and/from pain. Honesty. Some are about a view of the world, others are about bad experiences and the struggles they can inflict, while more themes are about questioning the wisdom and understanding of certain actions and decisions.

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

It's a group participation. Initially we jam and write our own individual parts spawning from a riff, rhythm or guitar mood that sends a shiver up our spines. As it comes together we each have our own thoughts and ideas for various structures, each others instruments, and lyrics to try out different things and directions. We experiment a lot with each one and if it strikes something inside us and we feel it, it stays. It's very much twenty percent a man, we are all equal in it.




Are you all involved with different musical projects or is Between The Lines your main band.
For Albert, Mac and Adrian Between The Lines is our only band. Eoghain plays with our good mates in Ten Ton Slug and Conor has an acoustic side project with our original bass player Mimmo.

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

It's a traditional basic rock/metal band set up. Two guitars, bass, drums, lead vocal, two backing vocals.

Your new album is winning some major praise within the Hard Rock/Metal community. Has that surprised you in how well the album has been received overall.

Yes a bit, very pleased also. We don't set out to please anyone but ourselves when writing. Never have, never will. We view it as once released it takes on a life of it’s own from there on in. Everyone has their own tastes so to see what we love come across in a positive light is a bit of a surprise, but a nice surprise for sure. And a big shout out from us to everyone who digs it!

How is the Hard Rock/Metal scene perceived in Republic Of Ireland. Is there a scene or community for you to perform regular or make contact with other bands.

Very healthy and active. There's tonnes of great, busy, and talented bands releasing deserve styles of rock and metal. They perform regularly at venues nationally and internationally, and at major festivals including Wacken Open Air, Download, Bloodstock, Metal Days and smaller lesser known ones. Yes a lot of bands work together with gigs and whatnot to help each other out so there is a genuine sense of camaraderie on the emerald isle.

Do you perform gigs in Republic Of Ireland regularly. Or do you have to travel further to perform on a regular basis.

Yes we play sometimes regularly, sometimes sporadically, depending on what and when offers come up. We play cities like our home-town Galway, Dublin, Cork, biker rallies, private parties and for anyone who wants to live us. We are hoping to get around more and abroad in the not too distant future so people there can live us too.




How is the music scene in both sides of Ireland generally. As Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland have a rich history of providing amazing bands over the years. Have you performed in Northern Ireland before. If so, how has the reception been to your music.

No not yet, but we are hoping to change that soon and set forth to the north. Once again very healthy and active like the republic. Gigs are weekly and lots of local and established big names play regularly.

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

A big sincere shout out and thanks to everyone who has enjoys our music and comes to gigs, for all the support and enthusiasm, and for joining us on this journey wherever it may lead. ‘You gotta find that place, you know you can't replace.’

Well guys, thanks for doing this. All the best with the new album.

Cheers folks and thank you. Slainte!

Words by Steve Howe and Between The Lines

Links:


Facebook | BandCamp