Sunday, 2 August 2020

Blurred Reflections - S/T (EP Review)


Release date: July 12th 2020. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Blurred Reflections – S/T – Tracklisting

1.Fallen Sun 02:59
2.Green Hallways 02:58
3.Painted Gray 06:13
4.Stars in the Void 02:40
5.Weightless Darkness (instrumental) 03:45
6.Gripped By Something More 05:07

Members

Maurice Eggenschwiler - Everything

Review


Blurred Reflections is the solo project of Maurice Eggenschwiler of Blues Funeral and Sanctus Bellum. Maurice recorded this project during Quarantine and tried his hand at playing different styles of music that he’s not known for playing. The debut EP is a mixture of Prog Rock, Prog Metal, Jazz Rock and inspired by bands such as King Crimson and OPETH.

Whilst not perfect, this EP is quite a captivating and adventurous release that does sound eerie familiar to OPETH’s more recent studio output. Maurice plays everything on this release and provides vocal duties a well. You can feel Maurice deep love and appreciation for 70s Prog Rock and Jazz records. As the EP is more inspired by those type of records than compared to modern day genres or sounds.

The lyrics are good for the most part with a few rough moments here and there. Maurice deserves credit for doing something different to what he’s mostly known for with Blues Funeral. The best parts of the EP is perhaps the instrumental parts. As Maurice plays some epic soothing guitar solos that capture the spirit of the Jazz sound that Maurice puts into this EP.

The best songs on the EP have to be: Fallen Sun, Green Hallways and Gripped By Something More.

The only downside of the EP is that some of the songs just unexpectedly end and feel they were about to go into another direction. However, apart from that minor criticism, Maurice has delivered a superbly entertaining and well-crafted release that shows a different side to him and I’m hoping he releases more material under the Blurred Reflections banner.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

BandCamp


Slow Green Thing - Amygdala (Album Review)


Release date: July 20th 2020. Label: Fuzzmatazz. Format: DD/Vinyl

Amygdala – Tracklisting

1.Medusa's Spell 06:10
2.Amygdala 07:52
3.All I Want 07:31
4.Dirty Thoughts 06:18
5.Dreamland 08:20
6.Love To My Enemy 07:58

Members

Sven (guitar, vocals)
Andreas (guitar) 
Jörg (drums)
Martin (bass-guitar)

Review

Amygdala is the new album from Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Rockers Slow Green Thing and it shows a cool progression since their last album. The album is more “Grunge” orientated compared to their previous albums though the band still play their heavy addictive style of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal grooves but with a more Progressive vibe being added within the music and lyrics contained on the album.

The band feel influenced by Alice In Chains especially with the vocals and the lyrics have a Soundgarden approach to them. Slow Green Thing are 4 albums into their musical career and this album portrays band who are getting bigger and better with each subsequent release. They should really be a bigger deal within the Doom/Stoner Metal world.

The opening songs of Medusa’s Spell and Amygdala instantly draw you in with their fantastic riffs and vocal imagery the band run away with genuine excitement and epic Progressive jams that allow the “gloomy” vibe consume everything around it. The music can be quite solitary and claustrophobic at times but there’s something equally mysterious about the overall feel and flow of the album.

Slow Green Thing channel the early and legendary sounds of Alice In Chains superbly well in the early stages of the album before settling down and playing their own blend of Psychedelic Stoner Rock/Metal with songs such as All I Want, Dirty Thoughts and Love To My Enemy being perhaps the strongest and heaviest parts of the album.

Amygdala is firing on all cylinders in the production department with this being perhaps the best record that Slow Green Thing have put out to date. The record is LOUD and BOMBASTIC in all the right places and allows the music to grow and become HEAVIER naturally.

Slow Green Thing have delivered the goods with this album and Amygdala is one that demands many repeated listens.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Thursday, 30 July 2020

An Interview With Thomas V Jäger


Thomas V Jäger is mostly known as the lead guitarist and lead singer of Doom Metal Heavyweights - MONOLORD. Thomas has just released his excellent debut solo record - A Solitary Plan. This is a Folk Rock Record which is vastly different to what MONOLORD are known for.

I caught up with Thomas recently to discuss the making of his new album.

Hi Thomas. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today. Congrats on your new album. It's a great album. When did you get the idea to record a solo album. Was this something you wanted to do for some time. 

The first song ideas came a bunch of years ago. I wanted to do something by myself and started recording ideas. I bought an old acoustic guitar and all of a sudden I had three songs that I liked. So I just continued. 

I'm surprised you found the time to record a debut album. As you've been quite busy with Monolord the past few years. Was this a challenging album to write and record for. 

Both yes and no. The music was pretty easy, it almost wrote itself but the lyrical theme was a bit harder. I recorded between tours and I haven't worked my day job as much these days so I have had "plenty" of time. It is of course a matter of where your priorities are. I wanted to do this so I did it. 

What is the album about and what inspired you when writing this album. 

​I just wanted to do something mellow, something smooth and also something sad. Black Mountain - Stay Free is a fantastic song and that inspired me loads. Torgeir Waldemar - No Offending Borders too. A Solitary Plan is more or less lyrics about stuff that I normally wouldn't be so open about. That is maybe why I haven't released the lyrics. The first two songs on the album was recorded around three years ago or so but I am always writing. 

Sometimes I have three new Monolord riffs when I am trying to write something mellow. Some other day I made a new acoustic song when I tried to record metal riffs. This is how I work and a lot of stuff is inspiring. The woods. The sea. Animals. Mind altering things. I have my own studio setup here at home and that is a must for me, to have my stuff close and ready to record. 

It's quite an uplifting album to listen to and really soothing in places. Was that the plan to release an uplifting album and something different to Monolord. 

It was more something I just needed to do. I can't write music that only sounds a certain way. I need to do a lot of different music. Right now I have recorded three hours of ambient stuff and I have half a rock album rattling in the back of my head. For me this album isn't really uplifting. It reminds me of how sad I was about things that were happening in my life just then. 

What do your Monolord bandmates think of this album. Did they give you any constructive feedback on the album which you acted upon. 

​They heard it when It was done more or less. I haven't gotten any feedback from anyone that made me want to change something 

Did you have any extra help with album or is everything by you. 

​Kalle Lilja is a buddy of mine that work in a studio called Welfare Sounds. He got all the tracks and my mixes and he did his version out of that. He put down some piano on one song. Another guy I know, Emil (Rolof) bought a mellotron so he is the one handling that duty on the title track. 

RidingEasy Records are releasing this album. Were they your only choice. As I thought with Monolord signing to Relapse Records you would go with another label. 

​I sent the songs to Daniel at RidingEasy and he said "yeah lets release it" and so it was.There hasn't been any bad blood between us and Ridingeasy. The decision for us (Monolord) to move on to a bigger label was mutual. 

How are things with Monolord after signing to Relapse Records. Has anything major changed and how did that come about. 

​There is no bigger changes. Of course Relapse is a bigger label and it shows but we're working (hard) as usual. 

Monolord recently released instrumental versions of the first two albums to an amazing response. How did that idea come about. And did the fans response surprise you all with their reaction to these versions. 

​In these weird times you gotta explore options that you wouldn't normally think about. As a touring band we have not been able to keep day jobs for very long and we need some kind of income. This was an idea to help us pay our rent more or less but the reaction has always been good with every release. Our fans are sick (in a good way). 

Will you be releasing other instrumental versions of your other albums in the future. 

​Not sure about that. We´ll see. 

Before you go. Do you have any words of encouragement you want to say to your fans. 

​Stay home & please don't be racist. Thanks. 

Words by Steve Howe and Thomas V Jäger 

You can now buy A Solitary Plan on CD/DD/Vinyl via RidingEasy Records now.

Links

Facebook | BandCamp

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Valkyrie - FEAR (Album Review)


Release Date: 24th July 2020. Label: Relapse Records. Format. CD/DD/Vinyl

FEAR - Tracklisting

Feeling So Low
Afraid To Live
Loveblind
The Choice
Fear and Sacrifice
Brings You Down
Evil Eye
Exasperator

Members:

Jake Adams - guitar, vocals
Pete Adams - guitar, vocals
Alan Fary - bass
Warren Hawkins - drums

Review:

Fear is the new album from Valkyrie and it’s their first album in 5 years. Let's say on this form it’s good to have the guys back as this album is a delight from start to finish with Valkyrie releasing their best album to date. The band play a more Progressive Stance on this record which allows the band to explore a more Classical style of Doom, Stoner and Heavy Metal whilst retaining a cool sounding Classic Rock feel and flow to the album.

Opening song - Feeling So Low - is the type of song that Valkyrie have built their solid and well-deserved reputation upon. As it’s an absolute blast of high-octane sounds and grooves that brings the worlds of Doom Metal and Heavy Metal kicking and screaming into the 21st Century with a cool sideline of Psychedelic Rock the band first employed on their last album. The song does have a deep “Thin LIzzy” sound but that’s a good thing for myself. As I love that style of classic Twin Guitar that the band employs here.

Second song - Afraid To Live - is a song that starts very slow before exploding into life with one of the best riffs on the album with Valkyrie playing a more heartfelt and emotional style of music that we’ve heard before. The lyrics have extra emotional weight to them with the music remaining more reflective but with a powerful energy to them. I was a huge fan of Pete’s work in Baroness and I was sad that he left the band as their last album was mega-disappointing and contained no riffs at all. However, Valkyrie feel like they’re on a journey of riff based self discovery and this song contains some of the best riffs on the album if not the band’s career to date. The Psychedelic Hard Rock style of music is the main driving force here and it’s an addictive journey.

Third song - Loveblind - carries on Valkyrie’s new found appreciation of Psychedelic Rock and Classic Rock that allows the band to play even more fantastic sounding guitar solos that feature the right composure and technical ability that will make you fully appreciate for bands such as Valkyrie being around today. The vocals and lyrics are excellent when they appear as the band focus more on the musical side of things for this song.

Valkyrie continues their musical expedition to greatness with the rest of the album as the band further explore their winning style of music that becomes even heavier and progressive on the remaining 5 songs. Fear is perhaps one of the most melodic Doom/Stoner Metal releases I’ve heard this year as Valkyrie pulls out all the stops playing emotional and uplifting tunes that will have you reaching for the repeat button.

Fear sounds incredible from the start and the top-notch production values help this album being Valkyrie’s best sounding album to date. This is an album with something to offer for everyone and I’m hoping it won’t be another 5 years before we get another album from Valkyrie. As these guys are one of the unsung heroes of the Doom/Stoner Metal scene.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


Mummise Guns - S/T (Album Review)


Release Date: 17th July 2020. Label: Riot Season Records: Format: DD/Vinyl

Mummise Guns - S/T (Album Review)

Flattened Earth
Glitter Balls
Forever Triggered Forveer
Bipolar Brain Disorder
Dog Cocked
End Of Days

Members

Tracy Bellaries - Bass (Part Chimp, Luminous Bodies, Ikara Colt)
Cleaver - Drums (Michael, Black Shape)
Matt Ridout - Guitar (Dethscalator, Casual Nun)
Adam Ian Sykes - Guitar (Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs)
Gordon Watson - Guitar (Terminal Cheesecake, Luminous Bodies)
Alex Wilson - Vocals (Ghold, Shuck)


Review

I didn’t know what to expect with Mummise Guns debut full length album. This is a supergroup of sorts from the UK Experimental Heavy Rock scene with members made up of bands such as Part Chimp, Luminous Bodies, Terminal Cheesecake and PIGS (x7) and the band play a violent and abrasive style of Noise Rock, Punk Rock, Psych Rock and Sludge Rock.

The album isn’t the most easiest thing to listen to and at first listen you may wonder WHAT THE FUCK is going on with this album. As there are a lot of different things going on with the many strands of music that Mummise Guns play on this album. However, after a few listens this turns into a bone-crunching album packed full of streetwise attitude and offers a slab of muscular riffs from start to finish.

The record lasts around 28 minutes and offers 6 tracks that brings in elements of the many different bands the members are part of whilst remaining it’s own original sound. The vocals are a mixture of clean vocals and harsh growls with a hardcore edge to them. The music is always constantly challenging and moving forward with some cool chunky guitar riffs allowing the band to play by their own rules.

The main strength of this album is the wild and unpredictable style the band play on this record as most of the songs are quite different to each other with songs such as Flattened Earth, Glitter Balls and Bipolar Brain Transmitter being the more gloomiest and downright heaviest tracks on the album with a Sludge/Doom Metal undercurrent shining through.

Riot Season Records are releasing this album and I’m not surprised by that. As this album fits the bill for that cool label to release. It’s different from the usual Doom/Sludge/Psych Rock Albums currently out there and this album is perhaps better suited for the adventurous Doom/Sludge Metal fan out there. As Mummise Guns think outside of the box on this release and aren’t held back by genre rules or conventions. This album shows a band who are in control of their own journey and destiny whilst offering a thrilling and unique sounding album.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Howling Giant & Sergeant Thunderhoof: Turned To Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa (Album Review)


Release date: August 7th 2020. Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Turned To Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa – Tracklisting


1.Howling Giant - Masamune
2.Sergeant Thunderhoof - Muramasa

Howling Giant Members

Tom Polzine - Guitar and Vocals
Zach Wheeler - Drums and Vocals
Sebastian Baltes - Bass and Vocals

Sergeant Thunderhoof Members

Mark Sayer
Jim Camp
Dan Flitcroft
Darren Ashman


Review


Ripple Music presents another chapter in their new Turned To Stone anthology series of albums which started earlier this year with Chapter 1: Enter Galactic Wasteland a split album which featured MR BISON and SPACETRUCKER. Now it’s time for Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa.

The album features Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof teaming up for this one and it’s best if the following paragraph explain what the album is all about.

“Chapter two of Ripple's new Turned to Stone series presents the story of two legendary Japanese sword smiths, Muramasa and Masamune, as told in interconnected musical movements by spacefaring psych-metal warriors Howling Giant and their equally cosmic riff-wielding British contemporaries Sergeant Thunderhoof.

In the two pieces, Muramasa and Masamune have a contest to determine whose sword smithery is superior, each crafting a blade of masterful quality and facing off by the edge of the river.”


I was quite interested to hear what both bands had written for this album especially with Howling Giant. As they’re known primarily for creating Heavy Psychedelic Sludge/Stoner Metal with elements of Space Rock and I wonder how their music would transpire to a more classical and realistic setting.

And I’m always excited to hear new music from UK Sludge/Stoner Riffsters – Sergeant Thunderhoof. So lets get down to business with the album.

Both bands offer 20 minutes of intense and superbly played Psychedelic Sludge, Doom and Stoner Metal telling a fantastic story inspired by two legendary Japanese sword smiths from two different time periods as well.

Up first is Howling Giant with Masamune. This is HOWLING GIANT through and through with their Spaced Out Psychedelic Music fitting in superbly well with the source material and playing some epic progressive jams along the way. The vocals are top-notch with the music being constantly challenging and engaging. The band are quite creative on this song with many different parts or chapters of this song having a different feel to them. The cool sounding keyboards/pianos/synths are nice touch and the lyrics are quite poetic when the band slow the mood right down for a more atmospheric style of music.

Sergeant Thunderhoof song Muramasa is perhaps the most emotional song of the two with the band trying some new styles of music that I haven’t heard from the band before. It’s quite LOUD and BOMBASTIC in all of the right places with a slight cinematic feel which Howling Giant offered as well. This is perhaps the most progressive the band have ever been with some euphoric vocals leading the way. The band do return to their classic trademarks style of heavy guitars on the later stages of the song and it’s a powerful slab of Sludge and Stoner Metal that could mean a new musical direction for the band.

I’ve said recently to friends within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Community that Sergeant Thunderhoof was my favourite part of the album. However, that’s changed recently to myself loving both songs in equal measure and rating Turned To Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa as perhaps the Split-Album Of The Year.

I don’t think we’ll hear another collaborative/split album such as this. Unless, Ripple Music have another exciting chapter to be released. Until, then I stick with my original statement.

This is an unmissable album and deserves a place in any Rock/Metal Fan’s music collection.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for the promo. Turned To Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ripple Music from August 7th 2020.

Howling Giant - Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Sergeant Thunderhoof - Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Rollin’ Dice Release New Song - Into the Fire - From Their Upcoming New Album

After a two-year pause, Rollin’ Dice are back with a new song from their upcoming album, set to be released on the 26/09/2020. “Reroll” will be the band’s second album to date. It was recorded during a 9-day live session at “Made in Hell” studio, mixed and mastered by David Prudent. 

“Into the Fire”, the album’s first single, serves as the epilogue of it. It describes the toll social media have taken on western societies, the addiction they have caused and the desensitization that has occurred towards fellow men and the environment. 


Links