Saturday, 18 August 2018

Fuzz Evil - High On You (Album Review)


Release date: September 14th 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

High On You – Tracklisting

1.Get It Together
2.You Can Take Her Away
3.Ribbons and Kills
4.If You Know
5.The Strut
6.High on You
7.Joseph Rudell - Are You In or Out

Members

Wayne Rudell - Vocals/Guitar
Joseph Rudell - Vocals/Bass
Orgo Martinez - Drums

Review

Fuzz Evil has decided to put their money where their mouth is with their new album High On You. As the band have recorded their album at Dave Grohl's 606 Studio and hired well known and respected producer Paul Figueroa. Paul has produced for diverse artists such as Slipknot and Alice In Chains. So what do we have with High On You.

You have seven songs of expertly written riffs that hark back to the good old days of Classic Rock, Post-Grunge, Hard Rock and Stoner Rock. Maybe the band take influenced from Cheap Trick too closely on this album at times but that's no bad thing. As Fuzz Evil excel in creating a wild and exciting hard-rocking atmosphere from the start with the heavy psychedelic sounds of opening song - Get It Together.

The song may take Fuzz Evil some time to fully find their feet but once they do there is no stopping them playing a highly stylistic and melodic Hard Rock sound. This is a different approach from Fuzz Evil and this allows the band to play different sounds under the name of Fuzz Evil. Perhaps under the guys other band - Powered Wig Machine but not Fuzz Evil.

Second song - You Can Take Her Away - is a heavier song with the band playing a more minimal sound but still having a high amount of Psych Stoner/Classic Rock riffs. The guitars are quite frantic but never losing focus and there is a lot of fun to be had with the cool guitar solos on display.

Third song - Ribbons And Kills - is a gloomier and doom based affair and is perhaps one of the standout songs on the album. This song has elements of Black Sabbath and Foo Fighters in the mix. Now don't let that put you off. This is still Fuzz Evil's show and they offer a devilish good time with this song. Strong lyrics matched with the almost sinister vocals from Wayne will leave you wanting more.

Fourth song - If You Know - opens with a Sabbathian based riff before Fuzz Evil start to impress with their own take on the standard Classic Doom Rock/Metal sound. This album is perhaps Fuzz Evil's most exciting album yet. with the album having a beginning, middle and end. The album can be quite progressive parts especially on some of the later songs such as High On You and Are You In Or Out.

You can tell this is an album that Fuzz Evil has put their hearts and souls into. Some people may complain that the guys are trying to achieve a more commercial sound with High On You with the choices made where the album was recorded and the producer as well. I say fair play to Fuzz Evil for having the guts for aiming BIG and looking for a different sound. You need to take risks within the music business and Fuzz Evil has perhaps taken their biggest creative risk yet with this album.

They shouldn't worry as High On You is a true ROCK ALBUM in every sense of the word. This is an album that will appeal to both the commercial rock scene and the underground scene where Fuzz Evil have built their reputation upon.

Overall, High On You is a must-have album one that offers high amounts of genuine excitement. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to the band and Dave at US/THEM PR for the promo. High On You will be available to buy on CD/DD from September 14th 2018.

You can check Wayne and Joey in action on their excellent YouTube Channel – Fuzz Off.

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Brant Bjork - Mankind Woman (Album Review)



Release date: September 14th 2018. Label: Heavy Psych Sounds. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Mankind Woman – Tracklisting

1. Chocolatize
2. Lazy Wizards
3. Charlie Gin
4. Mankind Woman
5. Pisces
6. Swagger & Sway
7. Somebody
8. Pretty Hairy
9. Brand New Old Times
10. 1968
11. Nation Of Indica

Review

There is no denying the pedigree and boundless talent that is Brant Bjork. When your resume notes Kyuss and Fu Manchu amongst the countless other projects there is no room for debate that the man is dedicated and extremely talented. Mankind Woman is Brant’s 13th album and it is an absolute winner. The eleven retro sounding, politically charged tracks recorded and performed with his bandmate Bubba Dupree, along with some other guests including his old Kyuss mate Nick Oliveri, are a rallying point and a breath of fresh air in these tumultuous times.

The record was recorded at various points in California and there is a definite Cali Stoner vibe, but what is most endearing is the killer retro-sound that the record has. It sounds as if it was recorded in the late 60’s/early 70’s and has a funky soulful sound mixed with the fuzzed out rock and politically fuelled subject matter of those times, which are becoming more and more applicable to these times as well.

To the songs; The album opens with the fuzzed out rock and cool drum sounds of Chocolatize as Brant tries to bring back a “Funky Revolution.” The next two tracks reminded me of equal parts Cream and Eric Burdon/War. Lazy Wizards has a laid back 60’s psych feel that carries through to the driving drums and killer guitar lick of Pisces. The latter repeatedly echoing the sentiment of being “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” The driving, somewhat country-esque groove of Charlie Gin which features some sweet background vocals.

The title track, Mankind Woman, is an amazing bluesy track that comes in two parts. The track opens with a slower, bluesy feel then takes a dynamic shift to a rocking rage filled close with fuzzed out solo’s and a 60’s heavy outro. Psychedelic guitars open and close the ultra groovy Swagger & Sway. Somebody follows and brings a funk inspired heaviness with its use of wah pedals and deeper, darker subject matter. The outrage continues with trippy, echo heavy vocals that give Pretty Hairy a unique, psych feel. Brand New Old Times is a short slice of rock that sounds like it came straight from Haight/Ashbury with its groovy, pop feel.

1968 is a fuzzed out slab of furious protest to all the issues with the current state of affairs. The album closes with the big drums and heavy fuzz of Nation of Indica, This powerful, politically charged statement is a plea for peace and love and calls out everything wrong with the current US political culture.

With Mankind Woman, Brant Bjork has shown that the most effective protest songs don’t have to be loud and in your face. I honestly don’t know if we will a more heartfelt, angry, and sincere of a record as this any time soon. Mankind Woman is not unlucky 13 for Brant Bjork, but it is an amazing turn and a tremendous accomplishment of a record that deserves to be heard by all. Dig on these soulful, fuzzed out grooves!

Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR and Mona at All Noir PR for the promo. 

Mankind Woman will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Heavy Psych Sounds from September 14th 2018.

Links:

The Vintage Caravan - Gateways (Album Review)



Release date: August 31st 2018. Label: Nuclear Blast Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Gateways – Tracklisting

Set Your Sights
The Way
Reflections
On The Run
All This Time
Hidden Streams
Reset
Nebula
Farewell
Tune Out
The Chain (FLEETWOOD MAC Cover) Bonus Track (DIGI and 2LP only!)

Members

Óskar Logi - Guitar and vocals
Alexander Örn - Bass and backup vocals
Stefán Ari - Drums and backup vocals

Review

Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan describe their sound as Classic Rock. There bio notes that the average age of the band members is around 24 years old. As this guy just turned 41, my definition of classic rock (Zeppelin, Who, Boston) differs a bit from theirs (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine), which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Gateways is the band's fourth album, but is my first exposure to these guys, and I am glad to have finally found them. While their sound is classic rock influenced, I wouldn’t necessarily say it is a retro sound, but a bit more in feel. Gateways is a sonically inspired, excellently played and well recorded record. The guitars are big and crunch, the drumming is heavy, and the band carries a solid groove throughout. The vocals are also very solid and cleanly delivered.

The record opens with the groove heavy Set Your Sights which delivers on the big time crunchy guitar sound and closes with some killer soloing and sweet tempo change at the end. The Way opens with a fuzzed out Lenny Kravitz like guitar riff that carries on throughout the song and features an absolutely wicked solo. A marching drum sound opens the tightly wound Reflections, that explodes with an intense, monster riff and a killer bass groove. 

On the Run opens with an acoustic guitar opening and a low rumbling intro that gives way to a killer 80’s rock sound and some more intense solos. This is an awesome track! All This Time rumbles in with a RATM guitar and bass groove and a super catchy chorus. Hidden Streams follows and is a song that shows the bands multifaceted range. It is a high energy rock song with a couple of tempo shifts and changes. Reset brings in a bit of an Urge Overkill sounding chorus with a heavy psych breakdown. 

Nebula opens with a spacy, acoustic sound that is very Bowie/Floyd inspired and also brings in elements of Alice in Chains like vocals and vibe. The song closes with a big guitar outro. The albums closes on a bit of a darker note with Farewell. The song has a darker, grungier feel, especially with the chorus. The vibe continues in to the closer, Tune Out, and it’s somber, dark, spacy tempo and feel. The track also features a bit of mellotron and a psych heavy, Blue Oyster Cult like breakdown.

(Editor’s Note - Sadly our promo review copy didn’t have The Chain listed which the retail copies will have).

Gateways is an impressive record with it’s themes of travelling both mentally and physically showing the band with a mature approach to their music and songwriting. Whatever era you consider classic rock, you are sure to find to find elements of those songs with the Vintage Caravan. The band has a real knack for taking the sounds of others and making them uniquely their own. I would highly recommend Gateways! Dig on it.

Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Gateways be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Nuclear Blast Records from August 31st 2018

Links:

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Z/28 - Nobody Rides For Free (Album Review)


Release date: August 10th 2018. Label: Fuzzdoom Records. Format: CD/DD

Nobody Rides For Free – Tracklisting

1.Intro 01:08
2.Wandering 04:37
3.Angst 04:09
4.Angst II (Electric Boogaloo) 06:17
5.Spirit Elk (Lord of the Hunt) 07:05
6.Touch of Evil 04:42
7.Keep on Rockin' in (The Invisible World) 03:20
8.Night Mysteries 04:30
9.Angst III (I Don't Want to Die) 08:57

Members

Jeff Hayward - Vox/Guitars
Breaux - Drums
Jay Negro - Vox/Bass

Review

Z/28 is a Fuzzed Up/Stoner Metal Band that also has adds a Classic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal sound into their music. The band comprises of Grief member Jeff Hayward in their ranks. As Z/28 take influence from bands such as Kyuss, Fu-Manchu and KISS. Though their debut album, Nobody Rides For Free, has a lo-fi and dirty sounding psychedelic garage vibe. This may not be a modern sounding album as such but the band does have a rather "hip" appeal to their music.

Opening track - Intro - is exactly that. A dirty sounding instrumental song with the band playing heavy loud guitars.

Second track - Wandering - is when Z/28 start impressing the listener with a punk based sound with elements of Classic Rock and that familiar Kyuss Desert/Stoner Rock sound. However Z/28 manages to stand on their own ideas and passionate riffs. The vocals from Jeff do take time becoming accustomed to. However that soon passes and all the member of Z/28 are fully in sync with each other. Doomier riffs appear every so often.

The band becomes more comfortable with their musical surroundings and start being more adventurous with their music. The main focus of the album is the epic song Angst which is split into three individual chapters. A mini-concept story buried within other cool songs on the album. As Z/28 carries on playing their distorted and raw psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal sound.

The three part song - Angst - are perhaps the best part of the album. As the band play fast and loose with their music and create some of the heaviest moments on the album. Though the band have included a few other good songs along the way such as: Spirit Elk (Lord Of The Hunt), Touch Of Evil, Keep On Rockin In (The Invisible World) and Night Mysteries. The later stages of the album feels influenced by The Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath in places as Z/28 add a more gloomy atmosphere to the music. The vocals from Jeff are still intense and raw. Though it's the music that holds your attention. As the music moves from one highlight to the next.

Nobody Rides For Free is one of those albums that you're not quite sure what to make of when you first listen to the album. it's only with subsequent listens that you fully understand everything and begin to admire the cool creative choices that the band has taken with this album.

Maybe it's the progressive psychedelic doomed out riffs or perhaps the classic sounding Fuzz/Stoner Metal parts that's spliced throughout the album. That question is hard to answer. Though I can state that Nobody Rides For Free is an superbly entertaining album that will appeal to everyone who is a fan of good old-fashioned Rock and Roll.

The production of the album is handled superbly well. As the whole feel and sound of the album is constantly engaging from the start. Nobody Rides For Free is an album that has a lot to say and on this form you will listen to every word that Z/28 have to say.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Fuzzdoom Records for the promo. Nobody Rides For Free is available to buy on CD/DD now.

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Monday, 13 August 2018

Spirit Division - Forgotten Planet (Album Review)


Release date: August 31st 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

Forgotten Planet – Tracklisting

1.Forgotten Planet
2.Nothing To Be Missed
3.River Rising
4.The Light That Shines (When All Must Die)
5.Seeking The Crow Witch
6.Behemoth
7.Half-Hearted
8.Solitude
9.King Of Scars

Members

Chris Latta: Bass/Vocals
Jace Epple: Drums
Andy Bowerman: Guitars/Vocals

Review

Progression is the key for Doom Metallers - Spirit Division - who return after a two year absence with their epic new album - Forgotten Planet. Spirit Division have decided to give their music an almost trippy makeover as the album is way more psychedelic compared to previous albums. The album is full of trippy moments that leave you wondering what has happened to the Spirit Division from previous albums.

I'm not complaining as I feel Spirit Division have not only progressed as musicians but also songwriters as well. The lyrical content is perhaps the band's most mature offering to date. Spirit Division still play their familiar vintage Doom Metal sounds but the music is just way more out there.

Opening track - Forgotten Planet - is an instrumental psychedelic doom and spaced out offering with the band letting the listener getting used to their new sound.

Second song - Nothing To Be Missed - offers fans the best of both worlds. With Spirit Division playing their classic old-school Doom/Stoner Metal sound but with the focus on the more psychedelic element they've added to this album. Spirit Division is really hard to categorize on this album as they start to add different strands of Classic Heavy Metal sounds. The vocals are top-notch from both Chris and Andy.

The next few tracks: River Rising, The Light That Shines (When All Must Die) and Seeking The Crow Witch, offer perhaps some of the best moments on the album. With the music and vocals being a cut above the rest. The switching from different musical genres will leave you wanting more. The swirling psychedelic and spaced out moments immersed with the gloomy atmosphere shouldn't really work but Spirit Division show real vision and talent in keep everything flowing naturally.

The production on Forgotten Planet is quite adventurous in places. As the overall feel of the album can be quite vintage in parts and super modern in other parts of the album. The vocals on the album have a slightly creepy feel and that keeps with the tone of the entire album.

The second half of the album sees the band more settled with their new musical surroundings with songs such as Behemoth, Solitude and King Of Scars being the heaviest and meanest held on the entire album. Forgotten Planet is a thrilling and highly original sounding album that will have long-time fans extremely happy and even help gain a wider recognition.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Leanne at Mettle Media PR for the promo. Forgotten Planet will be available to buy on CD/DD via from August 31st 2018.

Links:


Facebook | BandCamp


Saturday, 11 August 2018

Tour News - HIGH FIGHTER EUROPEAN TOUR


Born in the summer of 2014 by former band members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump and Pyogenesis, this band is a volatile cocktail of heavy as hell riffs! Add a heavy dose of the blues and these deadly schizophrenic vocals and HIGH FIGHTER offer something new to the sludge, stoner, doom & metal scene to fuel your appetite with.

After their critically acclaimed debut EP 'The Goat Ritual' released end of 2014, followed by numerous shows all over Europe including festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin & Antwerp, Stoned From The Underground, Sonic Blast, Up In Smoke and many more, as well as several gigs and tours with Ahab, Conan, Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, Elder, Downfall of Gaia, Mammoth Storm, Brant Bjork, The Midnight Ghost Train, Mantar or Earth Ship to name just a few.

HIGH FIGHTER released their first full length album 'Scars & Crosses' in June 2016 with Svart Records.

It's been three years ago since the band toured the United Kingdom while on their first European tour ever back in early 2015. This August, HIGH FIGHTER will bring their latest record 'Scars & Crosses' as well as some brand new material live on stage. Beside some dates with Mantar in Germany this summer, it will be one of the last tours HIGH FIGHTER will play this year and before they are going to release their second full length album in early 2019.
 
HIGH FIGHTER LINKS

Orange Goblin - The Wolf Bites Back (Album Review)


Release date: June 15th 2018. Label: Candlelight Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Wolf Bites Back – Tracklisting

1. Sons Of Salem
2. The Wolf Bites Back
3. Renegade
4. Swords Of Fire
5. Ghosts Of The Primitives
6. In Bocca Al Lupo
7. Suicide Division
8. The Stranger
9. Burn The Ships
10. Zeitgeist

Members

Ben Ward - vocals
Joe Hoare - guitars
Martyn Willard - bass guitar
Chris Turner - drums

Review

The Wolf Bites Back' is Orange Goblin’s 9th studio album to date and it is the perfect homage to Motörhead. Might be a strange way to start a review this way but throughout most of this wax, these Londoners carry an air of Motörhead mixed with their own sound and riffs, licks and attitude which would make Lemmy proud. There's also a punk vibe amidst the skull-crushing death-doom blended with the Snaggletooth sound mentioned earlier. Perhaps Orange Goblin has perfected their sound? From the moment I first heard them I have loved them. However, this time around it feels as if they have found home. Throughout everything feels so relaxed and unrestrained and it sounds like guys had a blast recording this platter. And that’s probably another reason why ‘The Wolf Bites Back’ is so damn heavy and fabulous.

Even when they let off the gas and step out of their box, there's a sense of speed and determination which pile drives the songs home. Punch, punch, punch as each song goes for the kill. Prime examples of this are ‘Swords Of Fire’, ‘The Stranger’ and ‘Zeitgeist’. These three bring variation to the album and makes it breath so freely, yet they are in your face keeping you constantly on the toes. And I love that!

Of the ”proper” stompers, my favourites are ‘Ghost of The Primitives’, ‘The Wolf Bites Back’, ‘Suicide Division’ and ‘Burn The Ship’. Full onslaught while taking no prisoners, Orange Goblin storms the world with these songs and I’m floored. I simply can’t stop laughing maniacally while thrashing around madly like a lunatic to this, And this is the shit, peeps, no if’s or but’s about it.

Some diehards might object to ‘the Wolf Bites Back’ as being too straightforward and easy. But that’s as far from the truth you can get, if you ask me. Sure, this is a ball-buster from the word go but the more you listen, the more there is to discover. And these ever-changing nuances are wonderful and elevates the band further. At the same time it is liberating to hear them go full throttle rocking the world to oblivion in the process. Especially when it sound like they have the time of their lives doing so. The wolf is back and he is hungry for blood!

Words by Håkan Nyman

Links:

Fire Down Below - Hymn Of The Cosmic Man (Album Review)


Release date: June 08th 2018. Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Hymn Of The Cosmic Man – Tracklisting

1.Red Giant 02:10
2.Ignition/Space Cruiser 07:47
3.Saviour of Man 03:08
4.The Cosmic Pilgrim 09:16
5.Nebula 02:34
6.Ascension 07:46
7.Adrift in a Sea of Stars 11:08

Members

Sam Nuytens on the drums
Jeroen Van Troyen on rythym guitar and vocals
Kevin Gernaey on lead guitar
Bert Wynsberghe on the bass guitar

Review

Fire Down Below new album, Hymn Of The Cosmic Man is a major step forward for the band. As they have created a more cinematic and spaced out sound compared to their celebrated debut album. Newly signed to Ripple Music, the Belgian Spaced Out Rockers impress from the start with songs such as Red Giant and Ignition/Space Cruiser drawing the listener with heavy progressive stoner and trippy riffs.

The vocals from Jeroen adds real presence to the band’s music. The lyrics are gloriously OTT which is what you need for an album such as this. Taking influence from fellow Ripple Music artists – Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel. As both bands play a similar kind of music even with Fire Down Below playing a more cosmic based sound.

The album and the band are at their best when the longer songs appear as they have more time to create heavier progressive and psychedelic sounds. The shorter songs are very good as well. However they pale in comparison to songs such as Ignition/Space Cruiser, The Cosmic Pilgrim and Ascension and the brilliant epic final song – Adrift In A Sea Of Stars.

Hymn Of The Cosmic Man has a very cool story and narrative behind the story and the album cover does give you a good indication of what to expect. Obviously the mysterious spaceman/astronaut cover has been done to death recently but I admire Fire Down Below’s take on this theme.

Hymn Of The Cosmic Man is a thrilling and superbly entertaining album that becomes a better album with each listen. As the album immerses you with a barrage of heavy different sounds and leaves you wanting more.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Hymn Of The Cosmic Man is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Ripple Music now.

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Thursday, 9 August 2018

SALTBUCK - CITYSLICKER (Album Review)


Release date: August 20th 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

CITYSLICKER– Tracklisting

1.Underture
2.I'm Your Maker
3.Sunder
4.Robot
5.Drench
6.Ravenous
7.Rend

Review

Saltbuck is a UK Doom/Sludge Metal band who is influenced by bands such as Electric Wizard, CONAN, Church Of Misery and Slabdragger. Their debut album CITYSLICKER is a gloriously heavy and filth ridden Sludge/Doom Metal odyssey which will leave you feeling quite angry against the world' As the album is filled with intense gloom and despairing sounds. The vocals omit a depressing vibe. Though the band do add elements of Psych Rock and Stoner Metal on parts of the album.

The songs can be quite progressive especially on the epic songs such as: I'm Your Maker, Sunder, Robot, Drench, Ravenous and Rend. OK, that's nearly the entire album. Saltbuck are not afraid to experiment with their music and the psychedelic elements allow the band to create a more diverse sound. The songwriting is quite intense. This isn’t surprising considering the dark progressive melodies Saltbuck have written for the album. Some parts of the album can be overbearing at times but overall this is a superbly entertaining and well-made album.

The production is first rate and I didn't expect that. As I was expecting a rawer and dirtier sound. So kudos to the band for releasing a superbly produced album such as this. My favourite songs on the album are: Sunder, Ravenous and Rend. As that's where Saltbuck create the most threatening and violent parts of the album. With moments of Psych Stoner Metal being played in the background. The soundclips spliced with certain songs is a nice touch. As the soundclips feel like they are warning you to expect more heavy punishment from Saltbuck.

The album does feel slightly long at over fifty minutes in length. However at least Saltbuck have a lot to say with their music despite the bleakness and heaviness of it all. The band does have a flair for playing more straight-forward Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs especially on Robot. So CITYSLICKER does have a few brief uplifting passages if you need a break from the relentless bleak sounds. There's not many of those moments but it does show that Saltbuck are more than capable to add a more upbeat sound into their music.

Overall, CITYSLICKER is an album that shows you why that Saltbuck have plenty of potential in the future. If you're a fan of Slabdragger then you're going to love this band. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to SALTBUCK for the promo.e promo. CITYSLICKER will be available to buy on DD from August 20th 2018.

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp