Tuesday, 31 January 2017

An Interview with Ron Holzner from THE SKULL and TROUBLE

How could I introduce Ron Holzner for those rare folks who don’t know him? His debut was on Trouble’s album “Run to the Light” (1987), he started Debris Inc. with Saint Vitus’s man Dave Chandler (2001), he played in doom / thrash band Earthen Grave (2008-2014), and also in Place of Skulls and Novembers Doom.

Since 2012 his main passion is The Skull, the band that featured 3 ex-Trouble members at the start – Ron himself, singer Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff Olson. The Skull released their last record, the self-titled EP about a year ago, and as I heard that they've worked on new stuff, I’ve used this chance to ask a few questions about these rumors to Ron.

Hello Ron! Thank you very much for the time and energy you found for this interview. How is it in Chicago? Christmas and the cold come hand in hand, aren’t they?

Yes, Its very cold here in Chicago…You’d feel Right at home!! HaHa. Christmas usually is not too bad… Its goes downhill fast afterwards.

I can’t avoid this question, and it’s pretty straight. There were rumors few months ago that The Skull will write material for a new album, but you spent a really lot of time playing gigs here and there this year. What is your progress with new release?

Lothar and I have started the riff writing part months ago, we have a lot of stuff to go through…. We start up the song writing part next week. Its like doing a puzzle... going through the pieces and see what fits together. Once we get a couple songs rollin, we will listen to stuff Eric, and Rob sent to us to work on. We will send our stuff to them and see what they can add. Then Eric can start writing words and melodies. We hope to record late Summer, early Autumn.

For Those Which Are Asleep” is brilliant album, but almost 3 years passed since its release, and The Skull’s lineup changed a bit. So what can we expect from new The Skull?

The New Skull?? Ha, the same but different!! Lothar, Eric, and I have been the heart and soul of the Skull… always have been and always will. We will just do what we do and have always done. The members may have changed, but the vision has not. We want to rock, and have fun doing it with people we want to jam with and want to jam with us. The new record will definitely be a “Skull” record!

Jeff Olson left The Skull a couple of years ago. What were the reasons of his departure?

Oh Jeffy boy….Ha. Jeff works at a brewery in Maine called Allagash… he’s got a dream job, making and drinking beer all day AND getting paid to do it!! The Skull was gonna start touring more and become more of a working band then we were and then Jeff got a promotion at work…. So, Jeff chose wisely to stay with the dream job.

Ex-Cathedral drummer Brian Dixon did accompany The Skull on the European tour in 2016 and Steve Hanford of Mayhem helped you on the USA tour. How did you solve all these problems when is the time to hit the road?

What problems?? Ha, you chose the right people for the job and they prepare like the professionals that they are… We rehearse a couple times and away we go… easy! Steve was from Poison Idea by the way…

By the way, didn't you ever think how much of Trouble did you take with you into The Skull? I guess that most of Trouble's features were already transferred into “For Those Which Are Asleep” and then in The Skull EP, but how do you see these differences?

Well…. “For Those Which Are Asleep” had 3/5 Trouble and the EP had 2/5 of Trouble. We are who we are and are the same people (only older and hopefully wiser), with the same musical background… it is what it is. You always carry your past into the Future…. you can only change what influence it will have, but sometimes you cannot!! Ha-ha.

The Skull – The Longing

How does your work in studio nowadays differ from the way you recorded songs in ‘80s? Do you have some personal equipment which you keep for years? And how often do you update your equipment?

Personally, I am more involved with all aspects of the music. Eric and I produce the records. I over see the whole recording process. In Trouble, I was told to shut up and play the bass.
Musically, I still play the B.C. Rich Mockingbird I bought in 1980. I have changed speakers in my amp a couple times….

Some old bands have a lot of followers today which copy their sound and the very conception preferring dark topics for their lyrics with texts of occult, drug abusing or horror movies. I guess that it is right to say that the lyrics in Trouble and The Skull usually tell about person having hard times with inner struggle and some spiritual growing. Why do you think it’s difficult to find such message in modern doom metal as it seems natural to this music? And what are your favorite topics in rock / metal songs? Fiction ones or something more realistic?

Eric writes the lyrics for the Skull and Trouble…. I personally do not really listen to lyrics much, never really did…I am a music kinda guy. Most lyrics are hippy dippy mumble jumble bullshit anyway. I like good melodies over dark music. Geezer did write some good lyrics in Sabbath.

This year The Skull played a lot both in States and Europe, how does it feel today to be in such demanded band?

We were busy, weren’t we.. Ha-ha. The Hard work and dedication really paid off. It feels great!! Really rewarding!

Don't you think that the real recognition came a bit late for the genre and it's bands?

I don’t know…. I just am very happy that this kid from Chicago is still writing music and playing around the world to people digging what I am doing1! I truly am blessed!

How could you compare your work on your first album with Trouble “Run to the Light” and for example The Skull's “For Those Which Are Asleep”?

Wow,.. uh. I know a hell of a lot more now then I did back then. I know the value of well placed notes , and holding back and not over playing ha-ha.

So was it difficult to go into the studio for the first time with Trouble when you worked over “Run to the Light”?

Absolutely! I was in the band for like a week... we had to break into the rehearsal place (they locked it because we didn’t have the cash to pay that month). I jammed with Dennis (the drummer) 2 times. Never jammed with the whole band prior to recording the record… It was a trip.

Trouble’s self-titled album which you recorded in 1990 seems to be a kind of core album in band’s discography. How do you value this material today?

It’s a masterpiece! I really enjoy playing the songs from this record. We prefer to play the older songs in The Skull because they fit better in what we are doing…, but we always throw a couple off this record in the set. We are talking about doing a couple different ones on the next tour.

You recorded “Trouble” with Ric Rubin, how do you think – how much of his part in the success of the album?

His part was HUGE! He tore the shit out of all our songs and we had (Bruce actually) had to rewrite the whole fuckin record. We learned how to arrange songs better and how to write a heavy good song. We learned Producing and new recording techniques.…

What do you remember the most from that record-session?

Ha, going to San Francisco and seeing Angle Witch and partying with Metallica… Ha, actually, that was before we recorded. We recorded the basic tracks in the famous Sun City studios in LA…. A wonderful religious experience!!

Ron, I'd like to ask you about “Manic Frustration” and “Plastic Green Head” albums. The band recorded both in times when grunge and modern metal stuff slowly started to bury the traditional metal scene. How did you work over these albums? Did you take in account the situation in music underground on that moment?

Trouble and The Skull never really paid much attention to what was the latest trend of music going on out there…. We listened to Priest, Sabbath, Scorpions, Alice Cooper… stuff like that going up….They are and always will be our influences… Maybe like, 20% of our stuff inadvertently gets affected by what’s going on around us.

You’re saying about influences of environment on 20% of material you wrote as the band. Did the energy, the feelings you put in Trouble differed from album to album?

Life changes year to year and so do people and their experiences…Well people really don’t change. Everyone is effected by what’s going on around them….More bullshit that you have to deal with in life.

What do you see as Trouble’s biggest attainment on the“Manic Frustration” album?

We didn’t break up doing the record, ha-ha…. ugh, well. The pressure from the label and management was getting greater to write a radio song… Its hard to get the right mix of heaviness ( witch this record did not have) and radio friendly. It was starting to get more psychedelic hippy fuckin heavy rock. We rocked it as best as we could. Most of the songs are really good.

Plastic Green Head” was the last album you recorded with Trouble; do you have some special memories about it? What are most memorable facts about this record you could share?

I fuckin hated it. I really did not like the direction the band was going in… I’m glad all the lighter fluffy songs did not make it to the record. There are a few good ones on it. It was a bad time really…..

What was most difficult part of being in Trouble? And what was most rewarding experience of being in the band?

I’ll put it like this…. Being from the band Trouble was much better than being in the band Trouble. That’s all I can say.

12 years ago you had Debris Inc. project with Dave Chandler himself, did you ever think to return to this collaboration?

Oh hell No!! Ha-ha! The whole idea was to get Dave out of retirement and playing the guitar again and doing St. Vitus like he should. Job done!

Look, there are three big influential doom bands in States: Trouble, Vitus and Pentagram. You spent a damned lot of time in the first one, you did record the album with Dave of Vitus. And you were in Victor Griffin's Place of Skulls for a brief period. What do inspire you to put your efforts and time so actively in developing this form of music?

Ha, I also played on Victor’s En-Graved record…. The Doom Metal community is a family and the musicians are brothers. We all know each other and frequently interact.

Ron, why did you disband Earthen Grave? The band was pretty fresh and successful, it would be cool to have few more records under this name.

Our guitar player, my partner, and the heart and soul of Eathern Grave, Jason Muxlow quit and up and moved to Texas…. end of band. We have talked about doing another record recently…, so lets see what happens.

You did sing in Earthen Grave and Debris Inc., don’t you want to return to vocalist’s duties in another project or your occupation with bass in The Skull is enough for today?

Ha, What I did really wasn’t singing….I’ll stick to my day job!! Backup vocals once in awhile is all I really need to do.

Ron, you're in business since 1986, how does it make you feel? How does your vision of this music... how does the concept of doom change from your point of view?

The thing is… In Trouble, we did not call what we were doing “Doom”, neither did Pentagram or Vitus. We played heavy rock, or in Vitus case… Slow Punk… Ha-ha. What we were doing eventually was called “Doom”. We have always wanted to play the Heaviest music that we can, and we will continue to do that. If it is Doom that we are playing, then we will play it heavier, nastier, and better than anyone else!!!

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Ron Holzner


Mothership - High Strangeness (Album Review)

Release date: March 17th 2017. Label: Ripple Music (USA) / Heavy Psych Sounds (Europe). Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

High Strangeness – Tracklisting

1.) High Strangeness
2.) Ride the Sun
3.) Midnight Express
4.) Crown of Lies
5.) Helter Skelter
6.) Eternal Trip
7.) Wise Man
8.) Speed Dealer

Band Members

Kelley Juett- Guitars/Vox
Kyle Juett- Bass/Vox
Judge Smith- Drums


Greetings all,

This time around we are heading out on a fuzzed out intergalactic space ride with Texas Mothership. Their new album is entitled High Strangeness. It is an, albeit brief, but rocking excursion. Those unfamiliar with Mothership may not realize that they were abducted sometime in the mid-70's, they show up intermittently to drop these heavy ass, fuzzed out tunes for out consumption. Mothership is heavily influenced by ZZ Top, Mountain, Sabbath and the like. They do take a bit of a modern spin on these classic masters.

On to the tracks. The record opens up with the quiet to fuzzed out instrumental title track, High Strangeness. The band kicks off the catchy ass rocking tunes with Ride the Sun. Next up has the sing along chorus of Midnight Express. Take a ride my friends.

The centrepiece of the record is the superb rocker Crown of Lies. It's Baracuda-like chug kicks off the monster and it snags you for quite the ride. Helter Skelter is an intergalactic romp that is more likely inspired by Charles Manson than a sliding board.

Eternal Trip is another brief instrumental journey. It's placement is a bit odd, but it is beautifully played nonetheless. Wise Man is another catchy as hell rock tune. That leads in to the albums big ass closer Speed Dealer.

High Strangeness is a killer record. The only detractor noted is the brevity of the record. We get only 8 songs with two instrumentals, that clocks in slightly over 30 minutes. I could most definitely live with a little more Mothership in my life.

Go check out High Strangeness. It is a bad ass trip!

- Todd S

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for the promo. High Strangeness will be available to buy via Heavy Psych Sounds (Europe) and Ripple Music (US) on CD/DD/Vinyl from March 17th 2017.


Dead Witches - Ouija (Album Review)

Release date: February 10th 2017. Label: Heavy Psych Sounds. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Ouija – Tracklisting

1. Intro
2. Dead
3. Drawing Down The Moon
4. Ouija
5. Mind Funeral
6. A World of Darkness

Band Members

Virginia Monti-Vocals
Mark Greening-assault and battery
Carl Geary-Bass
Greg Elk-guitar


This is a slightly bitter sweet experience for me.

As he was to many people Greg Elk was a friend of mine. I played shows with both of his previous bands HighElf and Goatthrone and shared many a drink and many a daft story, and like everyone else who knew him I'm deeply saddened he's no longer with us. Where ever you are Greg I hope you're in a better place and I hope there are no sideways drums. Especially with your reputation....

It all started last year with a few little teaser trailers of a new band emerging on the south coast and to begin with all we had was a name. Dead Witches...

Once we knew the band was the brainchild of Virginia Monti and the prolific Mark Greening we knew we were in safe hands.

The record starts with an ominous intro, rain, a Hammond organ and the first of many rumbling bass lines (supplied by Carl Geary) as haunting feedback peels out of the speakers and fades away into the first proper track the bluntly titled "Dead"

A lone guitar brings us in, followed by some of that trademark Greening swagger and then the powerful and soulful vocals of Monti propel the track along.

The next couple of tracks "Drawing Down The Moon" and the excellent "Ouija" follow a similar vein. Huge blues' tinged riffs and some great little solos emphasise the really strong song writing on this album as well.

"Mind Funeral" (the first full track to be publicly aired) is next up and whilst it got the same qualities as the preceding track's it's just a bit nastier. A bit heavier. And a little bit more spiteful. I love it. It's certainly my favourite song on the record.

The album closes with "A World Of Darkness" which retains the heavier and nastier vibe of "Mind Funeral" starting and closing with a lone drumbeat.

Dead Witches have released a bold and confident first record that's quite rightly going to tick a lot of boxes for fans of occult tinged doom. What the band will do next, I'm not sure but I do hope this isn't the last we hear from them as I feel this is only the start of something that's going to get better.

Words by Simon Ross Williams

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for the promo. Ouija will be available to buy via Heavy Psych Sounds on CD/DD/Vinyl from February 10th 2017.


All Them Witches - Sleeping Through The War (Album Review)

Release date: February 24th 2017. Label: New West Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Sleeping Through The War – Tracklisting

1. Bulls
2. Don’t Bring Me Coffee
3. Bruce Lee
4. 3-5-7
5. Am I Going Up
6. Alabaster
7. Cowboy Kirk
8. Internet

Band Members

Charles Michael Parks, Jr. (vocals/bass)
Ben McLeod (guitar)
Allan Van Cleave (keys)
Robby Staebler (drums).


All Them Witches is a band who create cosmic hypnosis. They combine 60's psychedelia, 70's fuzz and 80's groove in their own brand of trance rock. This is a band that is constructed of certain paramount elements of pure rock grandeur, the essence of what comprised the relevant in U2, the mighty in Zeppelin, the abstract in Floyd and the dangerous in The Doors.

Eight songs make up the rooms in this astrological house of an album and each room is decorated differently, just like the signs of the zodiac. This is to be marked as a triumphant return of a band who conjure music from electric broomsticks, upturned cauldrons, black cat organs, and lyrical spell books. The exhibition of paramount song writing power and overall glossy album production are the two commandments followed on this release. 

Here are the songs:

Bulls-is a dream-like song of enlightenment in the new age of sound. This band leads off the album with a warm, fuzz laden lullaby; a mesmerizing blend of powerful and magnetic stoned blues rock.

Don't Bring Me Coffee-this tune is intergalactic garage rock made in the orbit of deep space by psychic astronauts on the fringe of the great beyond. A song played with the dirt of distortion bouncing off cavernous drums, all of which is recorded in a satellite coated with duct tape residue.

Bruce Lee-a galloping ride of hovering organ and shuffling rock mellow fusion whose goal is to proclaim the strength of clarity in a wilderness of doubt.

3-5-7- embodies the rhythmic sway of the turquoise beaded shaman and all his magical allure to predict the magnificent course of the child into the god. This tune consists of melodic keys of organic elongation, distorted guitar riffs and uncomplicated drums, all of which exist alongside a masterful choral delight.

Am I Going Up-this tune is broadcasted through echoes of guitar plucks and strums, background singers of the female persuasion, a smooth vocal delivery, and the use of a machine whose sole job is to make warm, ripe, cinnamon coated apple sounds...welcome to an ascension into the world exotic birds and the feathery vibrations of their solar sails.

Alabaster-this track is a manifestation of reflected instruments backed by spacey jazz percussion. A cool spin that mirrors a functional imprint of repetitious instrument notes and swirling patterns of conga beats.

Cowboy Kirk- a dichotomous, slow beat song that dissolves into psychedelic woe, yet also evolves into an appeal that makes you bob and sway. It is time break all the colors of your kid sister's wax crayon box only to fashion a candle to burn and watch the rainbow bleed down.

Internet-a fantastic, harmonic, blues man, spoken word mantra which trades off with a classic rock vibe that voices the broken code to an all true tell tale lyric demonstrated by watching your neighbors explore an expansive video game civilization instead of the real world around them.

All Them Witches remind us that the darkness doesn't always have to consist of razor sharp teeth, rather it may sometimes offer an undulating caress of the black tongue.

These witches are highly developed entities who have chosen to move beyond the ancient, constant and all to common torture tactics of devil worship, choosing instead to embrace the experimental craft of posthypnotic suggestion and rehabilitation through modernism in music, all the while putting a divine magic spell on us and our mundane culture.

"Sleeping Through The War" is a journey into sound that sets fire to limitations and goes beyond your expectations. The lyrics move like fusiliers and enrich the songs that support the album. This band has stuck its neck out on this release, so give the album a chance to charm you. The oracle has spoken with the prophecy revealed...if you are troubled, it's time to set your self free. This will be a classic album and we are fortunate that it was made in our life time...make room for it along side your other circular friends on the record shelf.

Words by Nick Palmisano

Thanks to Dave at Division PR for the promo. Sleeping Through The War will be available to buy via New West Records on CD/DD/Vinyl from February 24th 2017.


Saturday, 28 January 2017

SAIL - Slumbersong (Album Review)

Release date: March 03rd 2017. Label: Hibernacula Records. Format: CD/DD

Slumbersong – Tracklisting

1 - Praise And Hatred
2 - Righteous
3 - The Weight Of Gold
4 - Ghosts
5 - Bloodhound
6 - The House
7 - Old Tom
8 - Shimmer
9 - Slumbersong

Band Members

Tom Coles - Drums
Charlie Dowzell - Guitars/Vocals
Tim Kazer - Guitars/Vocals
Kynan Scott - Bass Guitars


Sail's debut album - Slumbersong - is one that works on many different levels. A progressive journey into the familiar sounds of Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal but still showcasing a band with their own vision. Influenced by bands such as Yob, Torche, Mastodon and Pallbearer. Very diverse indeed. The one thing that I admire most about this album is how it sounds. It's not overly produced and in some cases it still holds a DIY raw feel. It allows the music to flow naturally. 

Opening track - Praise And Hatred - starts with a progressive sludge groove with pounding drums and guitars. The tone and atmosphere of the song never stays the same as Sail change directions multiple times. This sets the structure for the whole album as Sail change their sound for the majority of the album.

It's a brave decision as the album could have easily become bogged down under the albums many different ideas. Songs such as: Righteous, The Weight Of Gold, Ghosts, and Shimmer is where Sail impress the most. The songwriting is immense with intelligent lyrics matching the powerful progressive sludge/stoner grooves. The vocals on Ghosts could have done with more work. Lead vocalist Charlie and Tim both put in very good performances indeed. There are a few moments where the vocals are drowned out by the heavier riffs.

You can tell that Sail have been studying the American Progressive Sludge/Stoner Metal scene religiously. Though that's not an issue as Sail have delivered an album that will appeal to the wider Sludge/Stoner Metal community. One of the main highlights of the album is how Sail fuse ambient psychedelic/post-rock noises with heavier progressive riffs.

I know that some people will disagree with Sail being called Sludge/Stoner Metal. Sure, they maybe more melodic and focus more on the vocals. That doesn’t stop Sail being creating a huge amount of heavy Sludge/Stoner based riffs. Nor does it stop Slumbersong being a must have album.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Dewar PR for the promo. Slumbersong will be available to buy via Hibernacula Records on CD/DD from March 3rd 2017.


ORDOS - House Of The Dead (Album Review)

Release date: January 27th 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

House Of The Dead – Tracklisting

1.The Infernal God 04:04
2.House Of The Dead 06:44
3.Satan Venit 09:20
4.II 06:59
5.Hounds Of Hell 06:38
6.The Witch 09:04

Band Members

Emil - Vocals
André - Guitar
Magnus - Guitar
Martin - Bass
Max - Drummer


Ordos return from a 3 year slumber with their dark and delicious new offering – House Of The Dead. If you haven't heard of Ordos before then expect a depressing style of Doom/Stoner Metal 

The vocals from Emil are pitch-black and full of anger. As this only adds to the unsettling atmosphere that opening track – The Infernal God. The riffs move from angry based Doom Riffs to the more Psychedelic Stoner Metal grooves. 

Second track – House Of The Dead – as the title suggests is a creepy and almost operatic style of Doom/Stoner Metal. Very theatrical in parts with Emil playing the demented showman to perfection. The riffs are inspired by Black Sabbath and Kyuss though given a more demented and slightly possessed makeover.

The third track – Satan Venit – offers 9 minutes of demented and twisted psychedelic doom/stoner metal. It has moments of pure evil FUZZ at times and that creates the albums heaviest moments. Emil's vocals impress yet again as he shows his dynamic range. Screeching pitch-black vocals and the angrier clean based vocals.

Swedish Doom/Stoner Metal bands are always one step ahead of the competition and Ordos prove that. House Of The Dead is a very daring album. Ordos take risks with their music and it pays off big time with epic riffs that hide many bleak moments that will have you coming back for more.

The other 3 songs on the album: II, Hounds Of Hell and The Witch – are equally as good as the earlier songs. With The Witch impressing the most. Another 9 minute epic that sees Ordos embrace a more Gothic style of music with a classic Desert Rock sound being added just for the hell of it. A very cool sound indeed.

House Of The Dead is an album you will need to hear for yourselves. It's a stunning and hypnotic record that Ordos should rightly be proud of.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


Quiet The Thief - Silent Screams (Album Review)

Release date: February 11th 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

Silent Screams – Tracklisting

1.Numb 04:21
2.Wake Up The Dead 04:44
3.Been There 05:22
4.Hurricane 05:11
5.Feed The Wolf 05:01
6.Killswitch 04:40
7.Fade Away 04:59
8.Broken 04:19
9.Ballad Of Animal And The Red Rider 05:23
10.Take Me Home 04:33
11.Slow Running Train 04:35

Band Members

Stig Chell (Guitar & Vocals)
Neil Bailey (Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals)
Robert Hussey (Drums)
Gareth Harding (Bass Guitar)


UK Hard Rockers – Quiet The Thief – debut album – Silent Screams – is a loud, raucous and highly confident record. Taking influences from a wide range of genres that combine for one loud wild ride.

Opening track – Numb – has shades of ZZ-Top running throughout with both the vocals and riffs. It's a very good track to open the album with as it's a true classic hard rock number. There's nothing groundbreaking here on this song but it shows that Quiet The Thief have something cool about them. The lyrics are your standard hard rock fare but it gives you a brief insight on what to expect for the rest of the album.

Second track – Wake Up The Dead – is another fast-paced track that allows Quiet The Thief create a more Souther Rock/Stoner kinda sound. It's one of the albums first standout tracks as the song moves with supreme confidence. There are a few moments of 80s classic twin-guitar style riffs. Stig's vocals are impressive though it's the riffs that hold your attention.

Third track – Been There – sees Quiet The Thief become more confident with their musical surroundings as they bring a “grungier” outlook to their music. This song has a slight depressing and moody feel to it before returning to the familiar Southern/Stoner Rock sound. Though I actually enjoyed the more sombre grungier moments as the lyrics have a bleak feel to them.

I will be here all day reviewing each of the albums 11 tracks so I will say that Quiet The Thief have written some very good songs indeed. As they take you on a rich musical odyssey. If you're a fan of Grunge, Southern Rock, Stoner, Hard Rock and good old fashioned Heavy Metal then you should check these guys out now.

Standout tracks to listen to are: Hurricane, Killswitch, Fade Away and Take Me Home. Hurricane is perhaps my favourite song on the album. As Quiet The Thief have written catchy lyrics that are paired with superb riffs.

For a debut album, the production is handled superbly well. Silent Screams will perhaps find it's audience with people who enjoy the Classic/Hard Rock scenes. Though the album does include moments of heavy Southern/Stoner Rock that give Silent Screams an addictive edge.

I feel that given a few more EP's or albums, Quiet The Thief have the potential to release something special indeed and perhaps play to a larger audience. Until then enjoy Silent Screams as it's a fucking beast of a record.

Words by Steve Howe

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

John Garcia - The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues (Album Review)

Release date: January 27th 2017. Label:Napalm Records: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues – Tracklisting

1. Kylie
2. Green Machine
3. Give me 250 mL
4. The Hollingsworth session
5. Space Cadet
6. Gardenia
7. El Rodeo
8. Argleben II
9. Court Order


Well, this new year of reviews could not start better.

I had the chance to listen and review the very first acoustic album of John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, released by Napalm Records. John does not need any introduction. John is THE voice of the desert and of an entire generation (and maybe more) of artists who have found to deal with giants as Kyuss, Vista Chino, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano and so on. Anything John has done since the days of Kyuss was a masterpiece, nothing more, nothing less. Thus, you will excuse me if this review will be anything but impartial.

The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues is a very intimate experience of the artist, floating between new songs and classics (revisited) Kyuss masterpieces, such as Green Machine, Space Cadet, Gardenia, El Rodeo. In this adventure, John Garcia was accompanied by the guitar of Ehren Groban (War Drum), the bass of Mike Pygmie (Mondo Generator, You Know Who) and the percussions of Greg Saenz (the Dwarves, You Know Who).

The album opens with Kylie, which moves between lively atmosphere broken by moments of greatest insight enclosing a romantic soul when, about halfway, the song slows down and fills with more intimate atmosphere, thanks also to the use of synths. Although the second track of the album is a classic of Kyuss, Green Machine, I would go ahead and leave later my comments on the revisited songs from the Kyuss era. Give Me 250ml, the second unreleased of the album, reminds me to a kind of country/blues Western song, while The Hollingsworth Session dates back to more dynamic atmosphere seasoned by the use of piano. Argleben II and Court Order, the last two unreleased of the album, show the more thoughtful and relaxed acoustic side of the songwriting, where slower rhythms transmit feelings of melancholy and distension.

But...go back to the old glories of Kyuss, totally revisited in their acoustic version. Well, I never thought these songs could be so rearranged as to seem, in some cases, completely different songs. When in late 1992 the Kyuss released Blues From The Red Sun, Green Machine, the second track written by Brant Bjork was undoubtedly one of the reference songs of the album. When in the same year it was released as single, the back of the CD case said that “[...] They [aka Kyuss, nds] certainly look like something straight out of a worn promo shot of crazed sixties decibel barbarians, Blue Cheer and sound that almost unbelievably [sic] at times like a street punk version of the original Black Sabbath”.

Well, the acoustic version of Green Machine is something completely different. The skill of John in rearrange the old glories of Kyuss made Green Machine a slow and deeply intimate song that, at least in my case, excited enough to make me shudder. All remaining tracks move in the same direction, and it was nice to see songs spanning from Blues For The Red Sun to ...And The Circus Leaves Town.

The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues is, certainly, an album that old fans will love for its ability to evoke the desert atmospheres that many years ago came as a bolt from the blue, upsetting many of us. At the same time, younger generations will appreciate the true meaning of stoner/desert music, which goes behind tuning in drop C. It is a matter of attitude.

Words by Bruno Bellisario

Thanks to Mona and Andy at Napalm Records for the promo. The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Napalm Records from January 27th 2017.


Hyborian - Hyborian: Vol 1 (Album Review)

Release date: March 17th 2017. Label: The Company. Format: Cassette/DD/Vinyl

Hyborian: Vol 1 – Tracklisting

As Above, So Below
Blood for Blood
Dead Lies Dreaming

Band Members

Martin Bush
Justin Rippeto
Ryan Bates
Anthony Diale


Hyborian: Vol I is the debut album from Progressive Sludge/Stoner Rockers - Hyborian. If you're a fan of Mastodon, Baroness and Crowbar then you'll be mightily impressed by this album. As Hyborian play a fast and furious blend of Sludge/Stoner Metal that leans towards the more progressive side of things. With a touch of psychedelic spaced out sounds spliced into the action. The vocals are more clean based that means you can concentrate on the groovy riffs at the same time.

Opening track - As Above So Below - opens with a mighty flourish. With heavy Sludge/Stoner grooves taking you back to Mastodon's Blood Mountain era with the progressive rhythms. Though with a more spaced out sound. The atmosphere and volume of the whole album is loud from the start as Hyborian play at such a fast pace. Second song - Maelstrom - is one of the albums standout tracks with superb dual vocals and heavy psychedelic guitars creating a loud wall of noise.

People may complain - "Not Another Mastodon/Baroness Clone" and I can see why they may think that of Hyborian. Though appearances can be deceiving as Hyborian inject a more direct psych/spaced out sound with cool ideas of their own. The album only runs for thirty mins and Hyborian don't waste a single second or riff. Every song has been written and played to a tight timescale and the album becomes more exciting as a result.

The Progressive grooves blast straight through to the third track - Blood For Blood. This is perhaps the heaviest the song on the album as Hyborian opts for a gloomier style of Sludge/Stoner Metal. The instrumental work is one of precision matched against bleak lyrical content.

The final three songs on the album - Dead Lies Dreaming, Ajna and Dross - continue with the fast-paced and sometimes manic riffs with Hyborian creating an exciting style of sound. It maybe familiar to some though you can't deny how addictive the whole album sounds and feels. Ajna is perhaps the strongest offering from the final three tracks but as a whole Hyborian impress on all of tracks.

The lyrics are another highlight as Hyborian have written intriguing ideas for the individual songs that allows the album to have a rich creative side. The production is excellent as Hyborian have delivered a fresh, loud and crisp audio experience. Hyborian: Vol I is a superb debut album and hopefully we will see more from Hyborian in the future. An impressive debut album indeed.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Joshua from The Company for the promo. Hyborian: Vol 1 will be available to buy on Cassette/DD/Vinyl via The Company from 17th March 2017.