Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Pseudo Mind Hive - Of Seers And Sirens (Album Review)


Release date: October 25th 2019. Label: Salty Dog Records. Format: DD/Vinyl

Of Seers And Sirens – Tracklisting

1.Sails at Dawn 04:13
2.The Dreamer's Burning Door 04:25
3.Of Seers and Sirens 06:36
4.Solstice [Bonus Track] 05:51
5.Gaze of Ptolemy 09:16
6.Equinox 08:13
7.Broken Colours 08:09

Members

Jack Ainsworth: Bass Guitar/Vocals
Samuel Drew-Rumoro: Drums/Vocals
Christopher Hockey: Guitar/Lead Vocals
Jesse Joannou: Organ/Synthesisers/Vocals
Mark Vincini: Guitar/Vocals

Review

Of Seers And Sirens is the new album from Psychedelic Stoner Rockers Pseudo Mind Hive and it’s my first main exposure to the band. The band did release a debut album last year which completely passed me by. Shame on me for that mistake. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice with their new album. As this is one of the best Psychedelic Stoner Rock albums of the year.

Pseudo Mind Hive bring an album that’s packed with rich ideas and heavy grooves that transcend the Psychedelic Stoner Rock spectrum with the band adding a Spaced Out and Cosmic Groove. Inspired by bands such as Black Sabbath, Hawkwind and Uncle Acid but with the band in full control of their own destiny.

Opening song – Sails At Dawn – is a lush sounding Space/Stoner Rock song with the band adding a heavy amount of theatrical Psychedelic tendencies along the way. The song has a heavy FUZZ atmosphere burning in the background that allows the band to embrace the seventies Hard Rock/Psychedelic Rock scene with supreme confidence. The vocals are excellent and have quite a vintage feel to them.

Second song – The Dreamer’s Burning Door – offers a more Blues Rock influenced style of music that reminds myself of GEEZER in many ways. The band are perhaps influenced by Black Sabbath the most on this song whilst playing their own highly infectious style of Psychedelic Stoner Rock with flashes of Doom Rock adding a heavier sound to the album.

Third song – Of Seers And Sirens – is a more classic sounding Doom/Fuzz/Stoner Rock odyssey with the band playing different strands of Psychedelic Rock as well. This is perhaps the gloomiest song on the album with the excellent vocals and lyrics all having a darker feel to them.

Fourth song – Solstice – is an epic sounding instrumental song. As the band play a stunning blend of Post-Doom and Heavy Psychedelic Sounds for a more expansive and adventurous song that also has eerie Ambient based noises for one trippy wild ride. The instrumental work is simply marvellous on this song with Pseudo Mind Hive not afraid to use more of their creative freedom on this song.

The final three songs – Gaze of Ptolemy, Equinox and Broken Colours – is where the band venture into the world of Progressive Rock with these songs all lasting past the eight-minute mark. So you have twenty minutes of finely played of Psychedelic Stoner Rock/Metal with strands of Post-Doom and FUZZ riffs with fantastic lyrics to match.

Equinox is perhaps my favourite song on the album. As it goes down through many different musical routes such as Classic Rock, Prog Rock and Stoner Rock that contain some of the heaviest sounds and riffs of the entire album.

Of Seers And Sirens is also bolstered by amazing production values which gives the band a loud and heavy clear sound from start to finish.

As I stated earlier in this review, Of Seers And Sirens is one of the best Psychedelic Stoner Rock albums I’ve heard this year and will no doubt claim a place on my best albums of the year list. This is a must have album. No question.

Words by Steve Howe

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Sunday, 10 November 2019

KAL-EL - Witches Of Mars (Album Review)


Release date: October 04th 2019. Label: Argonauta Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Witches Of Mars – Tracklisting

Anubious
Witches Of Mars
GG77
Incubator
Moon Unit
Cocaine (J.J. Cale Cover)

Members

Captain - Vocals
Doffy - Guitars
Josh - Guitars
Liz - Bass
Bjudas - Drums

Review

Witches Of Mars is the new album from Sci-Fi based Stoner Rockers KAL-EL and it sees the band continuing with the sound they’ve played over the last few albums. Though now with a heavier and progressive Doom Rock/Metal twist. The album is a winning combination of Hard Rock, Stoner Rock, Psych Rock and Space Rock which KAL-EL are widely known for.

Witches Of Mars has a darker perspective which I didn’t expect. You can instantly tell from the excellent opening song Anubious which sees the band play a more distorted style of Stoner Rock/Metal. The vocals are buried under a layer of heavy distortion with the heavy guitars having a more grizzled feel to them. The song moves at a steady pace with the Spaced Out and Psychedelic elements leading the way. The song can be quite gloomy in places with the eerie ambient sounds KAL-EL have added to this track.

Second song – Witches Of Mars – carries on with the dark twisted noises lurking in the background before the familiar heavy guitar tones fully take over. This is one of the heaviest songs on the album as KAL-EL relish in bringing a more destructive style of music to their overall sound. The vocals have a certain Ozzy Osbourne influence to them. Everything else just moves onto a heavier style of Psychedelic/Space Rock that’s quite epic in places.

KAL-EL continue playing this heavier and darker style of music they’ve adapted for this album with epic SCI-FI based storytelling becoming a thrilling spectacle at times. The music is constantly engaging and action-packed with the band moving to many different styles of Psychedelic Stoner Metal that should keep long-time fans of the band superbly entertained from start to finish.

Songs such as GG77, Incubator and Moon Unit perhaps contains some of the heaviest and progressive spaced out sounds on the album. So be prepared for a lot of NOISE coming your way on this song.

The band have included a superb cover of J.J. Cale classic song COCAINE which was released last year. KAL-EL have worked their magic on this song with the band turning a 3 minute song into a Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal cover that runs past the 7 minute mark. The cover is one of the most inventive covers I’ve heard in a very long time. So KUDOS to the band for doing something different and succeeding on every level.

The album will be a fitting legacy to long-time bassist – Liz – who is sadly leaving the band due to health issues. Liz will be sadly missed by the legion of KAL-EL fans across the globe including myself. As Liz was an integral part of KAL-EL’s sound thanks to amazing skills on the bass. Whoever replaces Liz will have big shoes to fill. No doubt.

Witches Of Mars is a devilishly wild ride that sees KAL-EL take many creative risks with their music and producing one their best and most adventurous albums to date.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Mona at All Noir PR for the promo. Witches Of Mars is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Argonauta Records.

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Saturday, 9 November 2019

TUSKAR - The Monolith Sessions (EP Review)


Release date: November 8th 2019. Label: Riff Rock Records. Format: DD

The Monolith Sessions – Tracklisting

1.The Tide 08:00
2.Into The Sea 05:05
3.Beneath 05:03

Members

Tom Dimmock- Guitar
Tyler Hodges- Vox & Drums

Review

UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal Duo – TUSKAR – return with a new Live EP called The Monolith Sessions. The EP features live versions of TUSKAR classics The Tide and Beneath which both featured on last year’s acclaimed EP – The Tide, Beneath The Wall. The EP is joined by a new song called Into The Sea.

The EP is a rough and ready sounding Live EP which demonstrates the full angry power of TUSKAR who play a pulverizing sound of Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal with a ferocious Hard Rock edge. The music is fast-paced, manic and doesn’t give a FUCK who it upsets. It’s quite cool hearing The Tide and Beneath performed live and they sound quite different to the studio recorded versions that were released last year.

The new song Into The Sea is quite good indeed with the band playing a non-stop style of Sludge/Stoner Metal grooves with a dark twisted edge to it. There is a lot of guitar reverb and feedback on this song which makes the song quite distorted in places. The song is not the most original but TUSKAR play Into The Sea with angry conviction whilst offering a few epic progressive guitar riffs along the way.

The Monolith Sessions is another welcome release from TUSKAR who are slowly proving to being one of the best upcoming bands within the UK Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene. I’m hoping a full length album isn’t too far behind. As I’ve said this before with TUSKAR but I want to hear what these guys can do on a full length record. As an EP is not long enough to contain the heavy whirlwind sounds of TUSKAR.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. The Monolith Sessions is available to buy now everywhere digitally via Riff Rock Records.

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Sons Of Alpha Centauri - Buried Memories (Album Review)


Release date: November 8th 2019. Label: H42RecordsRobustfellow Prods. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Buried Memories – Tracklisting

1.Hitmen [Justin K. Broadrick Mix] 08:32
2.Hitmen [Jesu Remix] 09:00
3.Hitmen [JK Flesh Remix] 09:34
4.Warhero [James Plotkin Mix] 09:13
5.Remembrance [James Plotkin mix] 02:43
6.SS Montgomery [James Plotkin - Remix] 06:38

Members

Marlon Aaron King - guitars
Nick Hannon - bass
Stevie. B - drums
Blake - textures

Review

UK Post-Rock/Stoner Rock collective Sons Of Alpha Centauri (SOAC) return with their new album Buried Memories. This album is a continuation of the journey they first started with 2018 album Continuum. Though this album is more of a Post-Rock/Post-Metal sounding odyssey compared to their previous efforts. The album is more of a collaborative effort as well with Drone/Doom/Sludge Metal legends Justin K. Broardrick and James Plotkin lending their talents to 3 songs each on this album.

The first 3 songs is different variations of the same song called Hitmen with Justin K. Broadrick bring his musical genius and know-how to the party with his own remix for the first song, Jesu for the second and JK Flesh for the third.

All versions of Hitmen sound similar but also vastly different with each song moving incorporating elements of Industrial Meal, Doom, Sludge, Post-Rock, Psych and Ambient based sounds. The JESU version has to be my favourite. As it’s more nuanced and has a lot more going for it. It’s really cool to hear and experience every version of Hitmen. Each version takes you on a different journey with dark ambient sounds leading the way.

James Plotkin takes over for the final 3 songs Warhero, Remembrance and SS Montgomery which featured on their classic debut album under the title of 23. These songs sound very different to what SOAC are known for as James manages to include his own Drone/Doom based identity into SOAC’s music and change it into a more nightmarish world.

Warhero has to be the standout track of the final 3 songs. As it’s more familiar to long-time fans of the band. The song moves at a cracking pace which allows elements of Psychedelic Spaced Out Rock to fully take over with strands of Ambient Rock, Post-Rock and Stoner Rock appearing at the very last moment.


Overall, Buried Memories is a deeply rich and very mysterious album which does take time to fully appreciate. This isn’t your typical Sons Of Alpha Centauri album and may disappoint some of their established fan-base with the many different styles of music that we haven’t heard from the band before. I say give this a chance as this is another winning record for the ever elusive band.

Words by Steve Howe

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Thursday, 7 November 2019

Shadow Limb - Burn Scar (Album Review)


Release date: October 11th 2019. Label: Seeing Red Records. Format: CD/DD

Burn Scar – Tracklisting

1.Asger Arisen 06:42
2.Maelstroms Rebirth 07:19
3.Watered Down Alby 04:38
4.You Blew It 05:07
5.Cry Off 04:30
6.Cleanse Of Ire 06:20
7.Rudiger, his name is not important 07:24
8.Line of Descent 07:58

Members

Mike Crew - Bass
Dan Elsen - Drums
Chris Roberts - Guitar & Vocals
Adam Scarborough - Guitar & Vocals

Review

Burn Scar is the new album from Progressive Sludge/Stoner Metallers Shadow Limb and it’s a deeply progressive sounding album where the band explore many different elements of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal with a deep admiration for all things Progressive and Psychedelic.

Opening song - Asger Arisen – opens with a heavy pounding groove that has a slight Baroness/Mastodon influence with the Psychedelic and Progressive sounding guitars playing at a fast pace which is quite melodic in places. When the vocals appear, the song moves into a heavier style of music with the Doom Metal aspect coming into play and the song becomes ever more daring. The song is gritty and unforgiving in places with Shadow Limb adding a more alternative flow to their music especially towards the end as the vocals and music feel more restrained.

Second song -- Maelstroms Rebirth – is where the band go down the experimental route with Neurosis-style Post-Metal interludes and clean singing that shows a different side to the band compared to the opening song. The music is played at a brisk-to-mid pace that allows the band to get as many heavy riffs into the mix they possibly can. Shades of Mastodon are still felt here and I’m fine with that since they’re one of my all-time favourite bands. At least Shadow Limb are trying to add a gloomier and more experimental drive to their music. The song has some epic guitar solos that only just draws you into their crazy world.

Third song – Watered Down Alby – sees the band play a shorter song lasting over four minutes and this allows Shadow Limb to cut out all of the progressive rock/metal ideas and play a more direct Sludge/Stoner Metal song that is quite thrilling to hear. The vocals and lyrics feel more real on this song as the song has quite a different energy and feeling compared to the other songs on the album.

Fourth song – You Blew It – starts with an Ambient Post-Rock vibe before the heavy Progressive Sludge Metal grooves drift into the background and create one of the albums standout songs. The song changes direction when a more threatening guitar riff appears out of nowhere and the frantic drumming take centre stage before Shadow Limb play a Post-Doom style of music that’s quite bleak in places. The song is purely instrumental but things become slightly warped and heavier in the final moments of the song.

Shadow Limb continue their deep love and appreciation for Mastodon based progressive melodies but adding their own creative spin on things with different Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal based atmospheres allowing the album to sound mighty fresh and inventive on songs such as Cry Off, Cleanse Of Ire and Rudgier, His Name Is Not Important being the main highlights.

Things do become quite OTT and theatrical in places on the second half of the album but Shadow Limb play to their strengths on this album. Burn Scar remains a thrilling and addictive listen that allows Shadow Limb to pay respect to their musical heroes whilst forging an exciting path and future of their own making..

Words by Steve Howe

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CHRMR - Warbirds (Album Review)


Release date: October 30th 2019. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Warbirds – Tracklisting

1.We Are The Crane 05:18
2.I Lay Me Down 03:44
3.Gold Serpents 05:30
4.Lends 03:12
5.Victoria 03:40
6.Don't Walk Away 03:15
7.Deep Fade Event 02:24
8.Wandering Winds 02:34

Members

Crif Golding
Ed Jusko
Brian Mason
Andy Schmitz
Charlie Street

Review

I remember reviewing CHRMR’s last record Respective Orbits last year and asking for a few more songs. As this record was relatively short. Well the band have returned with their excellent new offering Warbirds and the album last an action-packed 30 minutes which sees the band explore their Post-Hardcore/Grunge/Stoner/Doom/Alt-Metal sound even further than the last time.

Warbirds has a Sludge/Post-Metal atmosphere and it’s a different sounding album compared to their last record with the band adding a more diverse sonic offering to the mix. The 90s Alt-Rock/Metal vibe is still powering everything through but something feels different. CHRMR feel more in control this time and it makes for a much better sounding record.

The vocals are soulful and quiet aggressive in places. None so than on the stunning opening song – We Are The Crane. This song has a soulful and progressive feel that allows CHRMR to add a more world-weary Psychedelic/Spaced Out groove. Taking influence from Soundgarden with both the vocals and the music that make this a fantastic song to open the album with.

CHRMR go into full overdrive with the next couple songs with I Lay Me Down and Gold Serpents offering a fast-paced style of music with Post-Hardcore sounds and Psychedelic tendencies leading the way. The whole feel of the album has a sense of early 2000s nostalgia but with a modern Sludge Rock makeover that leaves you head-banging in agreement.

Warbirds is quite a dark and complex album and that’s down to the bleak lyrics the band have written for the majority of the songs. Nothing ever feels forced upon you with CHRMR making you feel at ease within their cold and bleak world. The Post-Hardcore tag maybe too off-putting for some and that’s a shame. As this is a deeply rewarding album that has many different great things going for it. The music for the start. Despite the 30 minute run-time, CHRMR tread a lot of musical ground on this album that will surprise you in many ways.

Other songs that impressed me were: Lends, Victoria, Don’t Walk Away and Wandering Winds – each having an exciting and individual premise to tell.

Warbirds is just an exciting and original album from a band with a highly original sound of their own. The band aren’t afraid to mix things up on Warbirds and that what makes them quite an exciting talent indeed.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

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Wednesday, 6 November 2019

The Drift - SEER (Album Review)


Release date: November 22nd 2019. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

SEER – Tracklisting

A Coward’s Wager
Seer
Don’t Forget to Breathe
Funeral Man
Adrift
Day One
Decider
Reclaim This World
A Passage on Time
I Dream of Delug

Members

Drums, Vocals - Hannes Matthysen
Guitars - Jason Giacoppo
Vocals - Louis du Pisani
Guitars - Alec Surridge
Bass - Chris Preyser

Review

Seer is the new album from South African Sludge Metal band – The Drift. This band play a more psychedelic and doomier based of Sludge Metal. The album is quite varied from start to finish with The Drift and this album acts as a closing chapter to the trilogy of albums called "Deluge" the band have released over the last few years.

The Drift move through many different genres within this album with relative ease and play some epic creative sounds that draws in elements of Sludge Metal, Groove Metal and Progressive Metal. The album isn’t the easiest thing to listen to with the bleak lyrics and harsh vocals allowing The Drift to stand on their own ground.

The songs sound very similar to each other with the pummelling rhythms and hard-hitting grooves allowing the band to show their love for all things loud and heavy. The album is played at a played at a fast pace and you can hear a distinctive Lamb Of God influence within this album but with a more Sludgier sound. Though the band do like to experiment with their music and vocals with quite a bombastic and theatrical approach especially on the earlier stages of the album with the song Don’t Forget To Breathe. Which is perhaps the standout song on the album with its experimental style of Sludge/Post-Metal harsh atmospheric sounds.

Seer is my first exposure to the band so I can’t compare Seer to their other albums. However, that doesn’t stop Seer being a deeply engrossing and brutally heavy affair with a lot of cool things going for it. You don’t have to wait long for a thumping riff to get things moving in the right direction.

Standout songs are: Don’t Forget To Breathe, Funeral Man, Adrift, Decider and Reclaim This World which all show how creative and exciting The Drift actually are. As they perform these songs with pure emotion and conviction which makes the experience of Seer that emotionally more rewarding.

I need to start looking into South African Hard Rock/Metal scene more closely now as I’ve discovered a wide range of great bands over the last eighteen months or so such as Ruff Majick, Black Pistol and now The Drift. There seems to be a lot of untapped talent in that area of the world. Thanks should goto Warren at Plug Music Agency who sends me these bands to review and discover.

Anyway this review is about The Drift and they’ve released an expertly produced album that will hopefully find an audience within the Sludge Metal community.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Warren at Plug Music Agency for the promo. SEER will be available to buy on all Digital Platforms from November 22nd 2019.

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