Monday, 1 June 2020

Okkultokrati - La Ilden Lyse (Album Review)


Release date: May 15th 2020. Label: Southern Lord Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

La Ilden Lyse – Tracklisting

1.Thelemic Threat 03:44
2.Grimoire Luciferian Dream 05:40
3.Loathe Forever 04:38
4.Freezing Vortex Death Dreamer 04:02
5.Cold and Cruel 04:35
6.Kiss of Death 06:14
7.Mother Superior 05:18
8.Lunatics - Mondsüchtig 05:07
9.The Dying Grass Moon 07:02

Review

La Ilden Lyse is the new album from Black Metal/Hardcore/Sludge Metal Mob – Okkultokrati – and their first new material in four years. The band continue their punishing and brutal blend of pitch black music that combines Crust Punk, Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, Black Metal with a blistering Hardcore edge. The band are now 5 albums into their 12 year career and the band are just as hungry as ever.

La Ilden Lyse is an uncompromising listen with it’s fair share of Blackened Sludge Metal Grooves and vocals to match. Okkultokrati have got their blend of music down to a fine art but this is perhaps the bands most nightmarish and surreal offering to date with the Black Metal vibes leading the way from despairing journey to the next with 9 songs listed on the album.

The vocals are quite volatile from start and the band play a fast-paced of music which is perhaps down to the Crust/Hardcore Punk influences that Okkultokrati use for this album. This is quite a challenging album and one that is more technically impressive compared to their 2016 offering Raspberry Dawn. The music is more abrasive here with the lead vocals having a classic Thrash/Punk/Death based feel to them.

Standout songs on this album include: Grimoire Luciferian Dream, Loathe Forever, Cold And Cruel, Kiss Of Death and The Dying Grass Moon. - with these songs containing the heaviest and bleakest grooves on the entire album.

La Ilden Lyse shows Okkultokrati on truly inspired form especially when they bring their Hard Rock/Heavy Metal style of music to the album and offer a more heavy stylized version of Crust Punk/Blackened Sludge Metal that has quite a few head-banging moments along the way.

This is without a doubt Okkultokrati best album to date.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Lauren at Rarely Unable PR for the promo. La Ilden Lyse is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Southern Lord Records.

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Psychedelic Punk Experimentalist Hugh Davison releases the video for new single Southern Cross


Hugh Davison has spent most of his life making music in some form or another. While he currently makes a living writing music for adverts, his true passion lies in self-expression and experimentation. He came up in the Johannesburg punk scene playing in scrappy bands like The Evil Eddies, The Slashdogs and Submachine, but is also partial to classic soul, experimental jazz, noise rock and a healthy dose of psychedelia. He has wide ranging interests like politics, philosophy, magical thinking and the acts of creation and destruction. Suffice to say the current meaning crisis we find ourselves in is fascinating to him. 
“Southern Cross is like a kind of purge - so much negativity! But I feel like there is a lot of negative shit going around and a lot of it is connected.” Comments Hugh when asked about the inspiration behind the track. “It’s about altered states, privileged states, ‘United States’, addiction, capitalism, colonialism, extractive mentality - all the stuff I (we?) see on a daily basis in South Africa and now, thanks to the internet, the World - I feel like we as humans need to start asking ourselves some very serious questions… Perhaps moments of chaos may even be necessary in order to bring about massive system change?”
Watch the video for Southern Cross 


The name references the constellation that guides night-time travellers/sailors in the Southern Hemisphere, but also resembles a fallen crucifix, or alternatively, a diamond - many of us grew up on mines around Southern Africa, but diamonds and gold (Johannesburg is built on gold) also refer to the idea of symbolic, hypothetical wealth which, in a way, equates to a kind of magical thinking on the part of humanity. There is also a lot of referencing of individual and collective addiction throughout the song, “as an addictive personality myself I feel both deep frustration with, as well as deep empathy for the addictive state.”
Hugh would like to shout out the awesomeness of the muzo’s who contributed to the production: Portia Sibiya’s bass swaggers like a bull, while Nozi Mnunguni lays down thick (yet elegant) 12/8 grooves. “I knew there could be no way of doing this project without these two - mavericks of the Afro/Jazz/Prog scene - they brought an irreplaceable Magic (with a capital M - Portia has also been called to ’Twasa’ or Sangoma duties in another life). They also brought a deep sense of funk, stemming from a powerful love for music on many interconnected levels.”
Southern Cross is available now on all digital platforms including

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Bismarck - Oneiromancer (Album Review)


Release date: April 17th 2020. Label: Apollon Records Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Oneiromancer – Tracklisting

1.Tahaghghogh Resalat 04:17
2.Oneiromancer 09:15
3.The Seer 05:39
4.Hara 08:59
5.Khthon 06:48

Members

Torstein Nørstegård Tveiten (vocals)
Anders Vaage (bass),
Eirik Goksøyr (guitar)
Trygve Svarstad (guitar)
Tore Lyngstad (drums)

Review

Oneiromancer is quite a different beast to Bismarck 2018 debut album Urkfraft and you can feel that bold creative change on the opening song Tahaghghogh Resalat. As the song opens with some trippy Middle Eastern chants and chimes which does take some getting used to and it left me wondering how this album would play out compared to their wonderfully heavy debut album.

I do prefer Urkraft to Oneiromancer but this is still a strange and beautiful mix of different heavy styles of Doom, Drone, Psychedelic and Sludge Metal vibes with Bismarck feeling they are on a permanent ACID or LSD Trip which they haven’t returned yet from.

The album soon drifts into Post-Black Metal territory with the stunningly bleak heavy song – Oneiromancer – and it’s a disturbing vision of fast-paced blackened Sludge Metal grooves with the vocals adding a more abstract effect. The Post-Doom sounds do slow the mood down at the right moments with Ambient Textures adding a more grizzled effect.

Bismarck have employed Chris Fielding to help co-produce the album along with bassist Anders Vaage and Leif Herland. All three do a stellar job bringing a much needed bleakness and realness to the overall sound of the album. The album does sound quite spectacular when the heaviest riffs appear on the album with a deeply rich and progressive sound that was perhaps lacking on their previous album.

The album also has James Plotkin helping out with mastering duties with Chris Fielding being involved engineering and mixing duties as well. So Bismarck have pulled out all the stops in the background in bringing their creative vision to life. So top marks on that aspect of the album.

Bismarck continue their heavy and trippy Psychedelic journey on The Seer which is a more straight-forward style of Bleak sounding Doom/Sludge Metal that Bismarck play so well whilst still offering a slightly different sound on the album.

Fourth song – Hara – is a song that is very hard to describe with Bismarck going all over the place creatively speaking on this song but still perhaps offering the best song on the entire album. With the band employing a stunning mix of Post-Black Metal Droned Out Soundscapes to capture the wild mix of Drone, Doom, Sludge Metal and Post-Metal grooves with a Middle-Eastern vibe being hard in the background on the later stages of the song.

The final song – Khthon – is another wonderfully weird creative turn Bismarck have made with a cool sounding 70s Psychedelic Prog/Folk Rock feel that sounds inspired by OPETH. Though, that’s just my own personal view on this song. The band do return to a familiar style of bleak pounding Doom/Sludge Metal that have a despairing and world-weary heaviness to them.

Oneiromancer is a great album from Bismarck and I admire the band’s creative choices in releasing an album that’s quite different to their previous album. Though, like I said earlier in my review, I prefer their debut album to this one but this is still a wonderfully complex and deeply emotional album that still packs a powerful punch where the riffs are concerned.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


KOBRAKAI - Planets (Single Review)


Release date: May 2nd 2020. Label: Self Released: Format: DD

PLANETS – Tracklisting

PLANETS

Members

Kobra Fuzz
Cloud
Loco

Review

Aussie Psych Fuzz/Stoner Rockers – Kobrakai – new song Planets is a heavy new song that doesn’t really offer anything new to the scene but is still a great heavy-pounding song full of blistering riffs that Kobrakai are known for.

The song has an outlandish “Spaced Out” theme which Kobrakai use brilliantly well especially with the lyrics and top-notch vocals. The riffs are a mixture of Psychedelic Rock, Desert Rock, Fuzz Rock and Stoner Metal which are quite addictive in places. The song even manages to find the time to even play a more classic style of “Twin Guitar” grooves that Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden made famous back in the day.

I don’t know if the band have a new album or EP being planned in the future but this song is a great indicator on what to expect if something is planned.

The band released their last album III back in October 2018 and that was perhaps the best album from the band yet. So definitely check that album out if you want to know more about this great band. I never found the time to review it back then but I still listen to occasionally and can recommend it highly.

Though, back to Planets. This is another great song from Kobrakai and you can watch the excellent video they made for the song below:


Words by Steve Howe

Links:


Friday, 29 May 2020

DIZYGOTE - Freedom, Incorporated (Album Review)


Release date: June 2020. Label: Farmadelica Sound. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Freedom, Incorporated – Tracklisting

Toenail Betrayal Blues
In Circles
A Dirge
Blood Tide
Children Of Talos
Melancholia
Narcissus En Lexus (The Collector)
The Black Veiled Bride

Members

Ned DuRant - guitars/vocals
Ethan DuRant - drums

Review

DIZYGOTE are a Hard Rock Band made up of a Father and Son duo with Ned on Guitars/Vocals and his son Ethan on drum duties. DIZYGOTE are primarily a Grunge/Sludge/Stoner Metal band though the band fuse many different styles of music on their debut album – Freedom, Incorporated. With the band adding elements of Doom Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Punk Rock and Classic Rock.

The band feel influenced by the legendary sounds of 80s/90s Grunge but with the ferocious grooves of The Melvins and High On Fire when the album becomes particularly heavy when you least expect it. Helping DIZYGOTE on this mission is Grunge Legend – Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Windhand, High on Fire) – who mixed and mastered their debut album. So that should tell you how seriously good this band actually is.

I never heard of this band before but I was majorly surprised by the hidden depth and creative talent Ned and Ethan bring to this album. If you dig bands such as Soundgarden, The Melvins, Eagle Twin and High On Fire then this is the perfect place to be.

The album contains 8 slabs of heavy rock that move effortlessly between the different sounds the band bring to this album with a Progressive Rock/Metal attitude to it all. One of the main strengths is Ethan on drums who puts in a powerhouse performance on this album. It’s hard to believe that Ethan is only 15 years old. His drumming is brilliant and thrilling throughout the album. We could be seeing a future star in the making here. As he’s seriously that good.

Ned brings a world-weary sensibility to Freedom, Incorporated with heavy sludgy guitars and with his classic Grunge sounding vocals leading the way. The album does have a Punk Rock feel to it all but that’s a good thing as WHAT YOU HEAR is WHAT YOU GET with DIZYGOTE. Good old fashioned Rock and Roll with a true rebellious spirit.

The album opens with the excellent Toenail Betrayal Blues that lasts for 8 minutes and perfectly sets up the scene in what is to follow with sludgy grooves with traces of Grunge, Doom and Stoner Metal for a bleak sounding atmosphere. The Eagle Twin and High On Fire vibe is quite strong here but DIZYGOTE allow do create their own style of music on this song and it only gets better from here on in.

DIZYGOTE let fly with 7 more songs that expand their distinctive hybrid style of Sludge, Grunge, Doom and Stoner Metal whilst retaining an adventurous spirit that is equally powerful and addictive.

Other good songs to check out are: in Circles, A Dirge, Children Of The Talos and The Black Veiled Bride.

About five of the songs run past the 7 minute mark so expect a lot of different parts where DIZYGOTE experiment with their sound but still offer genuine thrilling moments of HEAVY LOUD ROCK MUSIC that will leave you wanting more.

A couple of songs do run out of steam in places but I couldn’t help admire by the whole experience of Freedom, Incorporated. As this is a wonderfully bleak album that will speak to many different parts of the Hard Rock community.

DIZYGOTE have released a fantastic debut album that I hope people will take the time out to listen to. As this is another Album Of The Year Contender and perhaps one of the best debut albums you’ll hear this year or any year.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Howard at Farmadelica Sound for the promo. Freedom, Incorporated will be available to buy on CD/DD via Farmadelica Sound from June 2020.

Links:

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Black Rainbows - Cosmic Ritual Supertrip (Album Review)


Release date: May 22nd 2020. Label: Heavy Psych Sounds. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Cosmic Ritual Supertrip – Tracklisting

1.At Midnight You Cry 02:57
2.Universal Phase 03:47
3.Radio 666 04:32
4.Isolation 03:38
5.Hypnotized By The Solenoid 05:36
6.The Great Design 02:00
7.Master Rocket Power Blast 03:21
8.Snowball 04:17
9.Glittereyzed 04:30
10.Sacred Graal 05:01
11.Searching For Satellites Part 1 & 2 04:33
12.Fire Breather 04:46

Members

GABRIELE FIORI
FILIPPO RAGAZZONI
EDOARDO MANCINI

Review

Italian Fuzz Rock Legends – Black Rainbows – return with their latest and perhaps greatest album to date with the band offering a more refined and action-packed sound that takes all the best elements of previous albums whilst allowing Black Rainbows moving their sound forward into the next decade and beyond. Black Rainbows continue their journey with Heavy Psychedelic Grooves that has their trademark style of Fuzz Rock, Psych Rock and Stoner Rock with a kick-ass 70s vintage sound.

The album starts with the fast-paced and upbeat sounds of – At Midnight You Cry – with the bands trademark FUZZY riffs moving along with a nice addictive edge. Gabriele is on inspired form with his excellent vocals that offer his usual top-notch performance with soulful attitude and experience to match. The music has always been Black Rainbows main strength and the band don’t disappoint with this hard-edge rocker that runs under 3 minutes but it’s a good indicator of how good this album really is and I appreciated the more sleazier sounding aspects of the album but that could be my own personal conclusion.

Second song – Universal Phase – is classic Black Rainbows through and through with a deeply satisfying vintage Psych/Space Rock sound with a dirty FUZZ Rock atmosphere allowing the band to add soundbytes to their music that brings in a 50s B Movie attitude to the mix. The song becomes a more livelier affair when the 50s soundbytes dictate on how the song plays out with great vocals and lyrics adding an extra layer of Stoner Rock class to the overall feel and sound of the album.

Third song – Radio 666 – is easily one of the most addictive songs on the album with superbly written lyrics that are quite easy to remember which allows the listener to become part of the action. The music does take time to fully get going but Black Rainbows have more time to play with this song and they play a more well rounded style of music on this song which is one of my favourite songs on the album.

The band continue their epic journey of focusing upon the best years of 70s Hard Rock and combining the Psychedelic Aggression of 90s Stoner Rock/Metal that will leave you with an almighty warm glow despite the current dark times that the whole world is going through.

Other standout songs on the album include, Isolation, Hypnotized By The Solenoid, Master Rocket Power Blast and Sacred Graal. Though the real highlight is perhaps the final two songs (Searching For Satellites Parts 1 & 2 and Fire Breather) which sees Black Rainbows offer an Acoustic Style of music we rarely hear from the band but this is a superbly written collection of two songs that we would perhaps expect from Gabriele other musical project – The Pilgrim.

Cosmic Ritual Supertrip features fantastic production which is always a given with Black Rainbows and albums released by Heavy Psych Sounds. So expect a vibrant and quite loud album especially when the DOOMIER aspects of the record appear throughout the album.

Overall, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip only enhances Black Rainbows reputation as one of today’s best bands within the Stoner Rock/Metal scene. This is a Top 10 album of the year contender for myself and I believe you will see this album in similar positions on other lists when the year is out.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for the promo. Cosmic Ritual Supertrip is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl from Heavy Psych Sounds.

Links:

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Forming The Void Return - An Interview With FORMING THE VOID


Forming The Void have been going from strength to strength since their formation back in 2013. The band have won a loyal and dedicated fan-base with their Trippy, Progressive and Psychedelic Sludge/Stoner Metal sounds.

The band released their debut album Skyward back in 2015 and since then the band haven't stopped releasing 3 critically acclaimed albums with Reverie being their latest and perhaps best album to date.

I last spoke to the band in June 2018 and I thought it was about time to interview the band again to see what has changed with the band and the making of their excellent new album Reverie and signing to Ripple Music.

Read on for more info....

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

Doing well man. 2020 has been such a slow year, right? 

Since we last spoken in 2018, you have a new bassist with Thorn Letulle joining recently and Luke Baker leaving last year. Was this an amicable split with Luke. Are you still good friends and how did you guys meet Thorn?

Shadi, Luke, and I had been playing music together since 2013. A lot of life can happen in between that time and people’s motivations/goals change. There’s no bad blood. We’ve all known Thorn for many years. When Luke stepped aside Thorn showed interest in jamming and has been working out well since.

What does Thorn bring to Forming The Void’s sound?

Thorn’s taste in music overlaps with ours a good bit, though he does delve into the extreme a bit more than we do. His feel is heavy and loud. We’re really digging what he brings to the sound and rhythm section. 


A question for Thorn – So what’s life been like with Forming The Void. What are you most looking forward to with the band?

The transition has been relatively easy going. I've known the guys for years prior to my joining forces with them. In fact I believe I can even recall a Forming the Void debut performance. I'm very much looking forward to the enveloping creative process. The four of us make for a very diverse palette of creativity that will no doubt continue to drive future creative endeavours.

We can now talk about your brilliant new album – Reverie. I feel this album feels more in tone and scope with your debut album Skyward but with the modern sounds you included on your last two albums. Is that a fair assumption to make?

There are a few elements that we chose to bring back or lean a little heavier into from each of the previous albums -- as well as a couple things we hadn’t tried before. I think in a lot of ways this album is the best blend of the elements we’ve liked in past releases with the addition of a few elements we’ve been wanting to try.

What can people expect from Reverie?

This was the first full album that was written with Thomas on the drums so his style was really a fundamental part of the writing process in a way that wasn’t possible with Rift. We did a lot more pre-production than ever before so the feels of the riffs are more true to our live execution than in previous albums. Sonically I think this is the best recorded album we have to date. 

What was the recording experience like for Reverie and did you do anything different for this album compared to your previous albums?

This was the first album we recorded in a proper studio. It was a great experience to pack up and go to another city for a week to focus solely on recording. This was the first time we live tracked an album to a click with the whole band (sans lead guitar and vocals). It was a nice middle ground to be playing all together and get that live feeling, while still having some of the control and grounding that click can bring. 


You’ve now signed to Ripple Music for the release of this album. How did that come about?

Thomas has known Todd and Ripple for several years from his previous band, White Light Cemetery, who were signed with Ripple. We’d talked a few times here and there and we all officially met at Psycho Las Vegas in 2018. After some good talks in the center bar, we felt like it would be a good fit to work together.

Ripple Music are perhaps one of the best underground labels to be upon. Did you feel any extra pressure when making this album being signed to Ripple Music?

We always have a goal to improve and grow as a band and we strive to make each album have its own place in the genre. I think as artists you always want each subsequent release to be better in some way. 

Forming The Void are perhaps one of my favourite bands of recent years and I was a late starter to discovering you guys and that was with 2017’s Relic. I admire how quickly you guys release new material. Is that always your plan to release a new album every 18 months or so?

Thanks man, we really appreciate that and are glad to have your support. There’s no explicitly planned timeline so much as we just like writing and recording. It’s always a fun process to experiment and push yourself creatively.


Has it surprised you at how the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal Community has taken to Forming The Void since your debut album? It seems you guys get more and more love from the scene with each respective release that you put out.

Don’t jinx us, man! Ha-ha. We’ve been really fortunate in that regard. It’s a really tight-knit little scene and we’re stoked to be a part of it. 

What comes first with the band when making an album, Lyrics or Music?

Music always comes first for us, though some riffs will come with a couple lines right out of the gate that just work well.

COVID-19 has pretty much put a stop to all life as we know it for the time being. How big of an impact has it affected you guys. And how are you surviving in this stressful time?

We’re all really thankful to be doing well. Though It sucks to have had to cancel upcoming tours that the album release was based around but we’ve been lucky all things considered. We’re staying safe and keeping busy. Just trucking along looking forward to playing shows again! 

I was going to see you guys on your recently announced European Tour. Are you hoping this tour will be rearranged at a later date?

At this point, Red Crust Festival is back on the weekend of May 14th. We’re hoping to get a tour booked around that.

What have been your favourite records that you’ve heard this year? Regardless of any genre.

The new releases from King Buffalo, Elephant Tree, Acacia Strain, Oranssi Pazuzu, Tombs, and Kverlertak have all been killer.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go, do you have any words of wisdom that you want to say to your fans?

Thanks for all the support! We’re looking forward to playing shows again!

Words by Steve Howe and Forming The Void

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for arranging the interview. 

Reverie is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ripple Music.

Links:

Official | Facebook | BandCamp