Saturday, 28 March 2020

Moon Destroys - Maiden Voyage (EP Review)


Release date: March 27th 2020. Label: Brutal Panda Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Maiden Voyage – Tracklisting

1.At The End Of Time 01:23
2.Blue Giant (feat. Troy Sanders of Mastodon) 03:50
3.The Shores Of The Cosmic Ocean 01:15
4.Stormbringer (feat. Paul Masvidal of Cynic) 04:20
5.The Edge Of Forever 01:24

Members

Juan Montoya / Evan Diprima

Review

Moon Destroys is the new band from Juan Montoya (ex-Torche) and Evan Diprima (ex-Royal Thunder). I’ve been looking forward to hearing this record for quite a while now. As I’m a fan of both Juan and Evan’s work with their previous bands especially with STALLONE. So you know these guys will bring an aggressive swagger to their new project. Moon Destroys isn’t too far off what Torche and Royal Thunder sound like when both members were involved with each band and still sound refreshingly different as well.

Their debut EP – Maiden Voyage – is a breath of fresh air for Sludge/Stoner Metal fans with it’s array of aggressive fast-paced sounds that remain constantly fresh and engaging from start to finish. The EP only lasts 13 minutes but Moon Destroys show their full potential on this release.

Opening song – At The End Of Time – is 90 seconds of fast-paced Sludge/Doom/Stoner sounds that made Torche famous back in the day. Though, here it’s more primal and in your face with a heavy Psychedelic sound holding everything together.

Second song – Blue Giant – sees Moon Destroys bring the big guns on this release as Troy Sanders of Mastodon fame lends his vocals to this song and writes the lyrics as well. This could have easily sounded like Mastodon but this song is very much Moon Destroys gig but with a little help from their famous friends. The subtle Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs do veer into Progressive Metal territory but this is a great song that maybe the standout song on the album. The loud and quiet parts of the songs work really well together and make you want more.

Third song – In The Shores Of The Cosmic Ocean – is another short aggressive song lasting about 75 sounds and you will be impressed by the sheer amount of heavy grooves that Moon Destroys play on this song.

Fourth song – Stormbringer – features Paul Masvidal of legendary Prog Metallers – CYNIC – and features a more twisted style of music from the band. The song is more gloomier and twisted with the dark psychedelic sounds fitting brilliantly around Paul’s vocals. The Sludge/Stoner Metal grooves are perhaps more evil on this song compared to Blue Giant though it’s good to see that Moon Destroys can experiment with their sound for a different style of music.

The final song – The Edge Of Forever is 85 seconds of instrumental Sludge/Stoner Metal swagger that is a great way to end the EP with. The Doom-Pop elements are there for the most part of the song and the atmosphere does have a cool sweet-natured atmosphere to it all. Though, the band play a distorted drone style of music for the last 30 seconds or so.

The only problem with Maiden Voyage is that it’s too damn short. I wanted a couple more songs from Moon Destroys. As 13 minutes is not enough time especially with the different themes and ideas the band have included on this EP.

I’m hoping there is a full-length album in the works for Moon Destroys in the near future. Until then, Maiden Voyage is a crowd-pleasing debut EP that presses all the right buttons especially if you’re a Sludge/Stoner Metal fan.

Words by Steve Howe

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Lunar Swamp - UnderMudBlues (EP Review)


Release date: March 02nd 2020. Label: Fuzzy Cracklins Presents. Format: CD/DD

UnderMudBlues – Tracklisting

1.Shamanic Owl 07:47
2.The Crimson River 06:16
3.Magic Circle At Twin Moons 05:29
4.Green Swamp 05:35 video
5.Creeping Snakes 02:03

Members

Mark Wolf: Vox, Harmonica, Fx
Machen: High and Low Guitars
S.M. Ghoul: Drums

Review

UnderMudBlues is the debut release from Italian Psych Blues/Doom/Stoner Rockers – Lunar Swamp – who we featured previously when they released their debut song – Shamanic Owl.

Opening song – Shamanic Owl and it's almost 8 minutes of delicious and neck-breaking Stoner Metal that is powered along by a heavy streetwise Blues Rock/Fuzz Rock attitude. The band also show they're a dab hand at adding layers of distorted noise to the mix and the vocals from Mark are quite powerful allowing Lunar Swamp to create an almighty racket.

If you dig bands such as Black Sabbath and GEEZER then Lunar Swamp should be on your radar and they keep that powerful momentum going on through the rest of the EP with the band creating an action packed sound that’s overflowing with different ideas.

The overall sound of the EP is quite dirty in places but it matches the Swamp groove that is perhaps the best thing of the entire record. The music has it’s own caustic approach and allows the band to show their appreciation for different time periods of music ranging from 70s Doom Metal to modern day Sludge/Stoner Metal. So expect a lot of different variety on this EP.

The final song Creeping Snakes is the only part of the EP that did nothing for me. As it’s just a collection of sounds that don’t really bring anything exciting to the EP. Maybe the band could have included this song in the middle of the EP and ended with Green Swamp. That’s my only complaint for UnderMudBlues. 

UnderMudBlues is a superbly produced release that should allow the band to make a name for themselves within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community.

Words by Steve Howe

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Friday, 27 March 2020

CZAR Release New Video For LINES OF NATION


Grunge/Alternative Heavy Rockers CZAR release the video for their new single Lines Of Nation. 


Check the guys out from the links below. 

Links

King Buffalo - Dead Star (EP Review)


Release date: March 20th 2020. Label: Self Released (Everywhere Else) / Stickman Records (Europe). Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Dead Star – Tracklisting

1.Red Star Pt. 1 & 2 16:21
2.Echo of a Waning Star 03:04
3.Ecliptic 03:51
4.Eta Carinae 08:01
5.Dead Star 03:57
6.Red Star Pt. 2 (Radio Edit) 04:41

Members

Sean McVay - Guitar, Lead Vocals & Synth
Dan Reynolds - Bass & Synth
Scott Donaldson - Drums & Percussion

Review

Dead Star is the new EP from famed Psych Stoner Rockers – King Buffalo – and it continues the spaced out heavy journey the band perfected on their last album. It’s good to see that Dead Star is on for a considerable length running past the 36 minutes mark. Dead Star is equally ambitious as King Buffalo previous albums with the band focusing on experimenting more with their overall sound.

Opening song – Red Star Pt. 1 & 2 – is a Progressive Spaced Out Opera with the band playing a melody of different styles that fall under the branch of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal. The song is always constantly evolving with traces of Drone, Post-Rock, Sludge Rock and even Classic Rock for a consistent and challenging style of music. The ethereal vocals feel coming from a distant galaxy of some sort but the music is the EP’s main strength. The 1st part of the song runs for 12 minutes and it’s an absolute delight to here. Though it’s the 2nd part that’s perhaps the best part of the entire EP with King Buffalo feeling hugely inspired by SLEEP and their legendary Dopesmoker opus. You’ll understand when you hear the song.

Second song – Echo Of A Waning Star – is more of a laid back Psychedelic style of music with King Buffalo moving into Post-Rock territory but there are still some fantastic Heavy Stoner Sounds to explore with a trippy Psychedelic vibe that King Buffalo are masters at conjuring gigantic huge riffs out of nothing.

Third song – Ecliptic – is a different change of direction from the band. As this song is more Electronic based with a gloomy 80s sci-fi setting. Maybe influenced by John Carpenter in places but this song still fits into the overall vibe of the EP. There is still a Doom/Stoner Rock sensibility running throughout this song but just played in a different style and it’s a gloriously hip song that’s superbly played from start to finish.

Fourth song – Eta Carinae – is the type of song that King Buffalo can play standing on their heads and it still sounds remarkably fresh and original. This has more of a 70s/80s influence but still showing a modern Psychedelic aesthetic as well. The ambient sounds interact superbly well with the instrumental work the band lay down here. This song runs for 8 minutes or so and King Buffalo have a lot of time to play with and treat the listener to a more refined style of Psych Stoner Rock.

Fifth song – Dead Star – starts off as a semi-acoustic song and I thought that the song would stay that way but the band wisely up their game and bring the heavy grooves back with a thundering presence. The 1st half of the song is wonderfully played but I prefer the 2nd half of the song where the heavy riffs appear. Though it’s good to see a different side from King Buffalo. This song feels like a mash-up of All Them Witches and Elder but King Buffalo still allowing their own creative ideas to reign supreme.

The final song is the radio edit version of Red Star Pt 2 and it’s good to hear this song by itself. As this song is my favourite part of the entire EP. It’s King Buffalo at their most loudest, flamboyant and bombastic best.

Dead Star is a masterclass of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal that show why King Buffalo are highly thought of within the Doom/Stoner Metal community. For myself, personally speaking, this is the best release I’ve heard from King Buffalo yet. As it allows the band to try something different whilst retaining their classic sound and without alienating their established fan-base.

Dead Star is an essential release and if you’re a true Doom/Stoner Metal fan then you need this record in your collection. This EP will end up as one of my favourite records of the year…..

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to King Buffalo and Nick at Stickman Records for the promo. Dead Star is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Stickman Records in Europe and from King Buffalo everywhere else.

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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Demonic Death Judge - The Trail (Album Review)


Release date: March 27th 2020. Label: Suicide Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Trail – Tracklisting

1.Cougar Charmer
2.Filthy as Charged 
3.Hardship
4.Elevation 
5.Shapeshifting Serpents 
6.Flood
7.Fountain of Acid
8.Cougar Charmer (Reprise)
9.The Trail
10.We Have to Kill

Members

JAAKKO HEINONEN
EETU LEHTINEN
LAURI PIKKA
TONI RAUKOLA

Review

The Trail is Demonic Death Judge 5th album and it’s quite possibly their most experimental and varied offering to date and that’s saying something about this great band. As DDJ have never been afraid to change musical style of direction whilst remaining in the confinements of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal. This new album changes that slightly by allowing the band to adapt different aspects to their music.

The Trail maybe not as easy or accessible to listen as their past efforts such as Seaweed but it doesn’t make it any less captivating as such. This album still has DDJ’s trademark riffs buried within but allows to be more creative with their music.

Opening song – Cougar Charmer – is more of an Acoustic offering with elements of Americana style melodic rock being played at a slow pace. It’s not the most exciting songs to open the album with but things can change in a heartbeat on this album and they do with the next song.

Second song – Filthy As Charged – is what we come to expect from DDJ with the heavy Progressive Sludge/Stoner sounds with a harsh Doom Metal vibe allowing the band to play a heavier style of music. The band switch things up by adding a more riffier style of music that we haven’t heard before. It’s a good change of pace and shows you as a good indicator this album is going to be way different to what DDJ have released in the past. The trippy Stoner interludes are another cool touch but it’s the heavy sounds that instantly grab your attention and leave you wanting more.

Third song – Hardship – carries on the harsh vocals and Post-Doom based guitar sounds for a song that perfectly drifts from one heavy environment to the net whilst retaining a solid melodic groove. The distorted guitars have an almost Industrial feel to them and DDJ start to add a more commanding presence to their music. Wait till you hear the trippy and experimental guitars towards the end of the song that feel like they quite different to what the band have performed in the past.

Fourth song – Elevation – opens with a 70s Hard Rock riff before the band start laying down their heavy down-tuned Doom/Sludge/Stoner guitar sounds. The atmosphere is less chaotic on this song and has a more organic feel. This is one of my favourite songs on the album with DDJ taking their time on this song and allowing the listener to feel part of the song. The heavy growls are still present but the guitars have a cool Post-Rock melodic flow to them.

There are 10 songs on this album and unfortunately I can’t go through describing everyone. All I can say is the remaining 6 songs are just as good and as challenging as the 4 songs I’ve reviewed here. Demonic Death Judge still play a wide range of different sounds on this album. Some of them are quite challenging at first. As you wouldn’t expect DDJ to go down that route but overall it works and this allows The Trail to perhaps be Demonic Death Judge most creative album to date.

Other cool songs to check out are: Shapeshifting Serpents, Flood, Fountain Of Acid and The Trail. As I feel this is where long time fans will enjoy the most. As they contain the most heaviest grooves on the album and perhaps some of the most recognizable aspects of Demonic Death Judge.

Overall, The Trail is an expertly produced album and one that will keep their fan-base happy for a long time to come. This is another excellent album from Demonic Death Judge and another great addition to their celebrated back catalogue.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Demonic Death Judge and Viral Propaganda PR

The Trail is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Suicide Records from March 27th 2020.

Links:


Monday, 23 March 2020

High Priestess - Casting The Circle (Album Review)


Release date: April 10th 2020. Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Casting The Circle – Tracklisting

1.Casting the Circle 05:10
2.Erebus
3.The Hourglass 06:46
4.Invocation
5.Ave Satanas

Members

Katie Gilchrest: Guitar / Vocals
Megan "Whiplash" Mullins: Drums
Mariana Fiel: Bass / Vocals

Review

High Priestess new album Casting The Circle carries on the band’s style of Psychedelic Doom Metal first heard on their celebrated 2018 debut album. The band are also continuing their journey with Ripple Music and you know my thoughts already about that great label. I saw High Priestess play a local shitty dive in my home-town of Newcastle Upon Tyne when they supported Cities Of Mars on their European Tour. And they exceeded my expectations with their blend of heavy based Occult/Doom/Psych Rock outlook on life.

So I was eagerly looking forward to this album and it doesn’t disappoint. This hugely talented power-trio know most importantly at how to write an excellent riff and add cool melodic vocals to the mix. The atmosphere is always evolving with moments of Classic Doom Rock/Metal spliced with the modern sounding Psychedelic Stoner Metal vibes that seem quite bleak and brooding at times.

The opening two songs – Casting The Circle and Erebus – shows you that the band have spent the past two years honing their craft and playing some deeply heavy Progressive Sounds that combine everything good from the last 40 years or so of Hard Rock/Metal but still pushing the boundaries of the genre even further.

Both songs are slowly played but High Priestess know when to move things up a gear and allow the album to become a heavier “out-of-body” experience where the riffs ultimately consume you. The lyrics are emotionally poetic and the vocals just add an extra layer of class to the overall flow and feel of the album. This is still very much a Doom Metal album but High Priestess but their own unique spin on things and it’s quite emotionally distant whilst still offering a warm natured and addictive approach as well.

The album does have a “Drone” based quality to it where the music lingers from one dramatic heavy moment to the next. High Priestess pay homage to their musical heroes past and present quite often on this release and still sound very much their own band.

Third song – Hourglass – opens with a Classic Doom/Garage Rock riff that has a distorted 70s crazed sound to it all and the beautifully played “Blues Rock” vibe soon gives way to a heavier style of Psychedelic based Doom/Stoner Rock. The lush lead vocals from Katie are always thrilling but she’s superbly backed up by Megan and Mariana who offer a bewitching style when singing in unison.

The real standout and highlight of the album is the 17 minute plus epic of Invocation. This song feels like a mini-rock opera with it’s many different strands of music that the band put together. Expect this song to go in quite a few different directions with the band focusing mostly on Progressive Doom/Stoner Metal with a deep appreciation for Classic Rock, Prog Rock and Heavy Metal.

High Priestess are aiming for bigger and better things on this album and they succeed on every level. As this is the type of album that could raise their profile even further within the Doom/Stoner Metal Community.

Overall, Casting The Circle is a bewitching journey into the darkness of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal that will surprise you in many different ways. This is an essential album to own. No doubt….

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for the promo. Casting The Circle will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Ripple Music on April 10th 2020.

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Sunday, 22 March 2020

Twin Wizard - Glacial Gods (Album Review)


Release date: March 13th 2020. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Glacial Gods – Tracklisting

1.Ghost Train Haze 04:52
2.Sky Burial 04:57
3.Smoke Wizard 05:42
4.Cult of Yeti 07:33
5.Ghostwriter 04:56
6.Apothecary 05:21
7.Electric Yeti 02:34

Members

Anthony Dreyer - Drums
Brad Van - Guitar/Vocals

Review

Twin Wizard is the new band featuring Brad Van (Droids Attack) and Anthony Dreyer (Telekinetic Yeti) play a similar style of music to Telekinetic Yeti. The band did have a rough start to existence and getting to where they are now. I will say that there are a lot of similarities between Twin Wizard and Telekinetic Yeti. There’s no getting away from that. Though Twin Wizard have more than enough hard-working talent of their own to standout on their on creative convictions.

Their debut album Glacial Gods is packed full on cool ideas and heavy sounds that stretch across the Doom/Stoner Rock world with elements of Psych Rock, Space Rock and a Fuzzed up attitude to match. The album is played at a fast pace with lot of different heavy riffs that shouldn’t really be possible for a two-man band.

If you dig bands such as Red Fang, Kyuss, Truckfighters and The Sword then Glacial Gods captures the classic energy of this legendary bands and allows Twin Wizard to put their own spin on things.

The opening two songs – Ghost Train Haze and Smoke Wizard – do an excellent job of allowing Twin Wizard to distance themselves from their previous/current respective bands and let their music do the talking with blazing Psychedelic Sounds and heavy pounding drums leading the way. The vocals from Brad is one of the main strengths of this album. As they’re powerful and direct from the very start. The music kicks up a gear on Smoke Wizard with some precise and intense drumming from Anthony.

Some people will complain that this is too close to Telekinetic Yeti but if you look even closer you can see that Twin Wizard are trying to do things differently and on their own terms. The riffs are more groove orientated here and perhaps even more melodic. Though that doesn’t stop Twin Wizard bringing an aggressive attitude to the album when the mood calls for it.

Songs such as: Smoke Wizard, Cult Of Yeti, Ghostwriter and Apothecary is where the band perhaps impress the most especially on Cult Of Yeti and Apothecary. The music sounds more alive and when the band a more spaced out attitude to the mix then you can’t be impressed by the whole cinematic journey Twin Wizard take you upon.

I’m a huge admirer of both Droids Attack and Telekinetic Yeti so I was always going to enjoy this album. Though I will go even further to say that I freaking love this album and that’s down to the impressive array of vocals and riffs Twin Wizard play on this album.

The production is excellent and one that allows Twin Wizard to have a more organic sound that I didn’t expect at all.

Overall, Glacial Gods is a spectacular debut album from Twin Wizard to come out . As it shows these guys mean business and are possibly here for the long term. If you want a Psychedelic and Fuzzed Out Riff-Fest that made The Sword famous back in the day. Well, except no substitute, these guys are the real deal...

Words by Steve Howe

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