Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Seeing Eye To Eye with AYE-AYE - An Interview With Iain Laing

One of the things which hurt me as a “musical journalist” is the simple fact that one interview or review couldn’t change the situation and draw proper attention to the band with no label behind them. I can discuss that on and on, but in the end of the day, it’s just my own opinion, subjective point of view...

Speaking about Glasgow-based Aye-Aye (named a after creepy Madagascar lemur) I have to admit that garage sound of this power trio isn’t something that I really love in the band, but it seems to be their aim to build “a wall of noise and fuzz” to clad into it alive and raw stoner / doom space stuff and it’s their vision.

However I respect them for certain individual approach to the band’s lyrical concept and excellent song-writing. I love their debut album “Men Are Ugly” (2014) and the new one “In Peace” slowly develops Aye-Aye ideas in the same musical direction.

So what do we have here?

Just a try to take a deeper look in the night world of Aye-Aye alongside band’s singing bass-player Iain Laing

Hi Iain! How are you? Whats going on in Aye-Aye nest?

Hi, Alex. Hope alls well with you and we wish you all the best in the year to come.
Currently Aye-aye are rehearsing our set for our first gig of 2018 which is a “Metal To The Masses” heat in Glasgow on the 19th January though weve no illusions that our music is suitable for Bloodstock. Theses are good gigs for a bit of networking and live show experience. From there were hoping to be offered a support slot or two for bands coming to play Glasgow or Edinburgh. Were up for playing pretty much where-ever were wanted.

Were working on a few new tunes which are unrecorded as yet too. Mac and I are playing guitar, bass, vocals with our mutual friend, Tony, a drummer, rehearsing the songs penned by our friend “Gerry” who died a year ago. I played bass with Tony and Gerry in a band named Smokescreen for a year or so before Gerry died. Gerry was a wonderful guitarist influenced by Floyd, Bob Marley, Stones, Killing Joke…..so Macs had a LOT of practicing to do but the dark horse that he is has been playing some great licks at our last few rehearsals. Well be getting these recorded over the next month or so, hopefully.

Dels drumming is getting groovier as time goes on helping us out with getting some sexy riffs for Aye-aye. We still want to save us from ourselves. LOL

Theres three years long break between the bands debut “Men Are Ugly” and fresh full-length “In Peace”. How did you spend this period?

By pretty much doing what weve done since the conception of Aye-aye over 5 years ago. By jamming new riffs as often as real life allows which is usually around once a week for 3 hours.

The riffs become songs and we record them in wee batches at a time. When we get an albums worth of decent songs well let the public hear them. 

How often did you play live after release of “Men Are Ugly”? Can you tell that the band had gained some recognition in Scotland and UK?

Id say weve gigged once every couple of months on average. Certainly we did more frequent shows at the beginning just because of the whole “honeymoon” energy of it all. Were certainly no less enthusiastic now but I think the guys will agree with me when I say were playing more for our own enjoyment now. When we play live we prefer there to be a wee bit of an audience so we can get our name out. That means waiting/ asking to be offered a support slot with a “well known” touring band or a “festival” slot. Weve played live as far North as Inverness and as far south as Wakefield and willing to do it all again if offered.

Weve no rush to write new material as we can play for an hour and a half of good material whenever required. We can take our time coming up with the new songs.

Aye-Aye - Stardust

So no ambitions at all? Just playing music for relax, joy or for whatever else you do it?

It would be nice to play some bigger shows or festivals and get our music out to more people. Maybe sell enough Cds for recording and duplication to be self-sustaining cost wise. Obviously we’d take whatever breaks we can to get to more people and perhaps make some fans. In the meantime, though, we are happy having the band as a three friends enjoying making the best noise we can and playing to friends, other bands and their friends.

What are main things in your life? Can you imagine that one day youll stop playing music?

I can’t imagine not making music, and I’m so pleased that Mac and Del seem to be of the same ilk. The band is OUR time when the outside world can be forgotten for a few hours -a -week in a splendid sea of fuzz, oscillations and beats. We all enjoy playing live too. I’m planning to get better on MOOG synth.

We all have jobs which we hate but are necessary, and families that we love. We have to fit the band time around these. I also love my pets, a West Highland Terrier, Alfie, who loves his walks along our local canal and two young kittens who are very funny to watch as they play. Named from “The Munsters” TV show they are Lily and Herman.

Did you already find the label for “In Peace”?

No. Its all DIY.

In which condition you did record new songs?

We recorded with Chris Gorman again in Glasgow. I now have a MOOG synth from my late friend ,Gerry, whom I mentioned earlier. We put it to good use in this album, especially on Closer Than Mars. The spoken word at start of Nocturnal was purely spontaneous and weed fuelled. LOL The vocals were inspired by Bowies vocal delivery too at the time.
We just overdubbed the lead, backing vocal and Moog takes. I had a go at mastering the tracks myself as I know how they should sound. May not be the most "loud" master but I think it sounds OK.

The album sounds pretty raw, was it your intention or just an only option?

Our sound is raw. Tube driven distorted guitar with the bass full up and tuned to B, with a very gainy bass sound also in B tuning will do that. Theres a lot of dirty bottom and oscillation.

Well, I bet that you know better how to make sound Aye-Aye as it used to be, but really… you have some space / old school rock influences in your songs, isnt it right to make it sound “clearer”?

It is what it is, Alex. It’s just a wall of noise and fuzz with some quiet bits and oscillation effects. I’m happy I can hear all the parts, the vocal, the solos and, to me they all sit as they should in the mix. With recording we like having a really full rhythm guitar tone. I think in most of the songs recorded we use two or occasionally three guitar tracks. Live we only have the one.

However, I’ll see how the Smokescreen recording sounds soon and compare it to the Aye-Aye recordings. I’ll go with my ears.

In Peace” is a blend of doom metal and space or sometimes stoner rock, from where did your musical roots grow?

The guys and I are united in our love for the classics (Sabbath, Dio, Hawkwind, Floyd etc.). We like a good riff, an occasional solo and some melody. It has to make your head nod and/or your foot tap.

We listen to stuff like Zoroaster, High on Fire, Paradise Lost, Warrior Soul, Gojira, ASG, King Buffalo, Prong, Voivod, OM and The Grand Astoria (cheers).

Mac played guitar in a band called Evil Kinevil before Aye-aye. I saw them live and they blew me away. I poached Mac when they disbanded.

Iain, how do you value your progress on “In Peace” consider “Men Are Ugly”?

We put a song or two on “Men Are Ugly” that we seldom play live now that we have the choice of the “In Peace” songs for our set lists. I suppose that sums it up in a sentence.

As I understand the lyrics of new songs continue the idea of “Men Are Ugly” album, right?

More songs about life as a lemur or a human. "Nocturnal" is about the near extinction, due to human habitation, of animals that have taken millions of years to evolve. "Procrastinated" is about knowing that something is coming to a bad ultimatum but being too caught up in life/ love/ addiction to be empowered to do anything about it. “Red Dust Dog is about the loyalty of animals and is based on the story "Red Dog" by Louis De Bernieres. "Space Goat" about wanting to be high rather than put up with the humdrum of life. “Closer Than Mars is about how capitalism is destroying our planet better than any Martians could.

How was your world view formed? I appreciate the themes you raise in your songs, but it sounds unusual for doom / space bands?

I read too much of the news and Im a cynical idealist. I also love the comedy of late Bill Hicks and the current Steve Hughes.

I just hate the destruction, oppression and corruption happening in the World at the expense of our assets. By assets I mean human solidarity, the wild creatures and their natural habitats, life supporting seas and fresh water, mature trees and fertile soil.
Ive never met an animal I didnt like or admire to some extent. I despise people who do not show respect for their fellow man and nature.

Dont you think that you could use the band as a platform for spreading your views further more actively? Doom, stoner, rock in general looks like some entertainment with all macabre tales or weed-inspired fantasies as very rare outfits give some food for brains. Isnt it a problem when almost the whole musical genre turns in escapism and show?

Maybe I just lack imagination. No-one likes the vegetarian who shows a video of a playful calf or a sad, scared cow at an abattoir while someone’s about to take a bite of their steak. Instead of showing a video to someone in a restaurant I sing about it. LOL

Okay, Iain, thats all for today, I wish you to play great show on “Metal to the Masses” and draw attention of Ozzys producer (is it Sharon still?). Do you have few more words for our readers?


Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Iain Laing


Monday, 29 January 2018

Black Label Society - Grimmest Hits (Album Review)

Release date: 18th January 2018. Label: eOne Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Grimmest Hits – Tracklisting

01. Trampled Down Below
02. Seasons Of Falter
03. The Betrayal
04. All That Once Shined
05. The Only Words
06. Room Of Nightmares
07. A Love Unreal
08. Disbelief
09. The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away
10. Illusions Of Peace
11. Bury Your Sorrow
12. Nothing Left To Say


Greetings All,

I got turned on to Black Label Society a lot of years ago when a friend of mine played me 1919 Eternal. I was blown away. I knew Zakk Wylde was Ozzy’s guitar player, but didn’t realize he had the extensive solo offerings. From that point I was hooked. I have been a huge BLS fan for years. However, I will admit that I haven’t really dug the last few releases. That all changed with Grimmest Hits. It is a remarkable record that stands up with some of BLS best, 1919 Eternal, Mafia, and Blessed Hellride.

This record is inspired and loaded with the trademark BLS style. The songs are strong and timeless. Killer guitar work (of course) and a newer vocal style that lends itself perfectly to the songs. My only complaint about this record is the title. I saw this release and didn’t give it a second thought thinking it was just a repackaging of older songs. Thank God I did investigate further, this is a most welcome return.

Grimmest Hits opens with a quintessential BLS style track, Trampled Down Below opens with a slick bass intro before exploding with a huge, monster sized riff. Seasons of Falter brings in a righteous, heavy groove that rocks throughout this mid-tempo track that unleashes the first (of many) killer solos. Next up is The Betrayal which is a darker, heavier track highlighted by a killer riff and some heavy cymbal crashes. All That Once Shined brings in some serious swagger and a killer groove and stomp.

The laid back, southern style of The Only Words is reminiscent of the Pride and Glory days with a breezy Lynard Skynard/Allman Brothers feel. A really amazing track. The heaviness returns with a vengeance on Room of Nightmares, one of my favorite tracks on the record. Musically, it is vintage Black Label. The vocal delivery is a little different and welcome as it fits the darker subject matter to a tee. There is some classic Sabbath inspired riffage on the stellar A Love Unreal. With its groove and 70’s style classic rock breakdown, this may be the biggest wink and nod to the kings. Disbelief continues the heaviness with a major stomp and riff.

The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away is a slower ballad with a killer solo. The song gives you a quick breather before hammering in with the heavy, political themed Illusions of Peace which is a monster of a song with some killer drums and guitars. Bury Your Sorrow carries things on with some more super juicy solos. Nothing Left to Say closes the album out with an acoustic guitar/organ filled, southern style rock jam. A fitting closer to an awesome album.

The songs on Grimmest Hits hit all the right notes and if you are familiar with BLS the record is everything you have been looking for. Black Label Society has returned to form. You owe it to yourself to check this one out!

- Todd S

Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Grimmest Hits is available to buy now via eOne Music on CD/DD/Vinyl.


Blackwülf - Sinister Sides (Album Review)

Release date: 23rd February 2018. Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Sinister Sides – Tracklisting

1. Gate of Sorrow
2. Sinister Sides
3. Waiting on Tomorrow
4. Dead to the World
5. Blind to Fate
6. The Tempest
7. Sunshine of Your Love (Cream cover)
8. Battle Line


Alex Cunningham
Pete Holmes
Scott Peterson
Dave Pankenier


Greetings All,

This February, Oakland, California’s Blackwülf will be dropping their 3rd full length Sinister Sides via the great Ripple Music. Sinister Sides brings the classic styled fuzzed out stoner rock we all know and love, with a nice smattering of gloom and doom for all to dig on. In listening to Blackwülf I was reminded of tons of great bands across a couple of different genres.

There is a definite influence of the fuzzed out rock of Kyuss and Fu Manchu. A definite classic rock vibe, with a definite nod to Sabbath. Some Pentagram-like inspired doom, and even a touch of Mudhoney brand garage/grunge.

The 4 guys in Blackwülf are excellent musicians and the album is tight and inspired. The vocals are a real stand out. The stoner vibe of John Garcia are heavy with these fellas. Each of the eight tracks on Sinister Sides is stellar. Each song stands out on its own, but the songs also form a cohesive, immensely listenable record.

The album opens with feedback and distorted bass tones of Gate of Sorrow. It is a rocking song with a slower doom inspired tempo that gives way to heavy guitars and quicker tempo at the end. The title track, Sinister Sides follows. It picks up the pace significantly from the opener right of the bat. Heavy, fuzzed out guitars and a driving beat push the darker subject matter of this ripper. Waiting on Tomorrow is a power ballad in the absolute best sense of the words.

It is a slower, acoustic driven track that showcases the killer vocals on the record. Dead to the World is another ripper that unleashes critical, politically driven subject matter. A bit of new millennium War Pigs. Blind to Fate follows next. Musically, this may be the most Sabbath style track on the album. It is Doomy, with a heavy wah style that is reminiscent of the groove oriented style of Sabbath. I am not an authority on Shakespeare, but I believe The Tempest may just be inspired by the bard himself. The dark, water based imagery of the song swallows the listener. The song’s heavy, plodding into gives away to another killer, fuzzed out jam.

Sunshine of Your Love is a straight forward cover of the Cream classic. The band plays it perfectly. It is an admirable salute to the band and the genre. The album closes with Battle Line. This is a killer track that closes the album perfectly. The song rocks hard throughout closing with some wicked guitars and heavy percussion.

Although this is their third album, I am new to Blackwülf. But I am damn glad to have found them. Sinister Sides is a tremendous album. If you dig Stoner, Doom, Garage, or even Classic Rock there is something for you to love on this ripper. Do yourself a big favor and track them down, grab all their records, like I will and Dig on Blackwülf!

- Todd S

Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Carl at Action PR and Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Sinister Sides will be released on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ripple Music from February 23rd 2018.


OLMEG - MALADIES (Album Review)

Release date: 10th February 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

Maladies – Tracklisting

The Deception
Black Riders
Here Comes The Cloud
Still Missing
Top Dog
Bloody Sails
Outer Space


Tim Byrne - Drums
Jared Smith - Guitars/Vocals
Matt Dawkins - Lead Vocals/Bass


So we have OLMEG's new album and third overall. Maladies is a more vibrant and cosmic spaced out doom offering compared to their previous albums. The grunge aspect of their music remains very much the same. The vocals from lead singer Matt are very rough and ready throughout the album. Though they're performed superbly well on the entire album. The band does suffer from a musical identity crisis at times.

As the band can't fully decide if they want to be a Spaced Out Doom band or a more Grunge Sounding Psychedelic Stoner Rock band. It's only a minor complaint as OLMEG still offer perhaps their best album to date. With songs such as The Deception, Tsunami, Black Riders and the blistering ten minute plus epic - Here Come The Cloud - allowing the band to perform top-notch heavy doomy spaced out riffs. The album does have a distinctive nineties Grunge/Stoner Metal sound that is the main driving force of the album.

I do admire the band's choice of going with an alternative rock/metal feel on parts of the album. This means OLMEG are not relying on tired genre clichés and are quite inventive with both their musical delivery and lyrical output. The second half of the album features a few more epic songs ranging from seven minutes to ten minutes in length with Still Missing and Outer Space being perhaps the best two tracks on the album.

What I enjoyed most about this album is how progressive OLMEG have become since their last album. As the band experiment with progressive rock sounds on the album. Add layers of heavy doom based FUZZ and that’s when OLMEG start to create a more exciting sound and name for themselves. The song Still Missing is a prime example of this. Taking influence from early-era Truckfighters but when OLMEG switch to a heavier prog rock sound the atmosphere of the whole mood and feel of the album becomes simply unstoppable.

If you enjoyed the heavy fuzzy cosmic doom sounds from GEEZER's awesome album from 2016 then OLMEG offers a similar experience. The production is superbly handled with the band sounding incredibly fresh. The album feels that it was recorded at a Live Gig or recorded in one take. Apart from a few minor flaws, Maladies is a hugely entertaining wild ride of Psychedelic Doom/Cosmic/Stoner Rock that may even raise OLMEG's profile even further within their respective scene.

This is an album that won’t instantly grab you from the very first listen but give it a few more listens and you'll be singing from the same song-sheet as OLMEG.

Words by Steve Howe


Saturday, 27 January 2018

GREEN LUNG - Free The Witch EP Release Details And Details Of New Song

​​​Today Green Lung release ‘Lady Lucifer’, a single taken from their upcoming debut EP Free the Witch, set to be released on 19th February on digital and cassette via Deckhead Records. The single (along with b-side 'When the Axe Comes Down') is streaming now on Spotify

‘Lady Lucifer’, the follow-up to last year's well received demo 'Green Man Rising', sees the band encounter a femme fatale straight out of a 70s Jess Franco or Jean Rollin movie. Producer Wayne Adams of Bear Bites Horse Studio (Vodun, Ghold, Riddles) brings the band’s sound into high definition, shearing off the woolly fuzz of the demo and sharpening the impact of their soaring vocals and thundering tone. 

With an irresistible chorus, barrage of riffs and virtuosic solo, the single harks back to the occult-obsessed catchiness and groove of early 90s purveyors of doom and gloom like Cathedral and Type O Negative, displaying an uncanny ear for melody without sacrificing any of the band’s psychedelic heaviness. The accompanying promo video, directed by Tracy Mathewson, features clips of the band performing alongside a host of leading ladies from vintage horror cinema.

The Free the Witch EP is now available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page, and on Deckhead Records' Bandcamp for US customers. 

Green Lung combine crushing heaviness with soaring hooks, summoning up the proto-metal spectres of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, the psychedelic heft of heavy prog and the anthemic gloom of Danzig and Type O Negative; all the while dragging those influences into the 21st Century and sculpting them into a sound that is entirely their own.

Hailing from South London and made up of vocalist Tom Templar, guitarist Scott Masson, bassist Andrew Cave and drummer Matt Wiseman, the band released a demo, ‘Green Man Rising’, in 2017 which will be followed by a debut EP, Free the Witch, on February 19th 2018. The band have been critically acclaimed by The Obelisk and Ripple Music and have shared the stage with a host of UK heavy titans including the likes of Desert Storm and Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard.

Line Up:

Tom Templar – Vocals
Scott Masson – Guitar
Andrew Cave – Bass
Matt Wiseman – Drums

Social Media:

GARGANJUA - Through The Void (Album Review)

Release date: April 2018 Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Through The Void – Tracklisting

Crushed Beneath The Tide
Through The Void
A Distant Shore


Scott- Guitars/Vocals
Gaz - Bass/Vocals
Gazz - Guitars
Ben - Drums


I must have started to write this review then delete it all just to start again at least four or five times now.

I'm obviously no journalist, I'm just a chap who is lucky enough to be able to hear some of the best new heavy music that gets released year after year and all I have to do in return is to put into words what I thought of it.

Easy right?


Especially when you have bands like Garganjua releasing records like their phenomenal new album "Through The Void"

I'm lucky enough to be able to consider them friends and we have shared a stage together a few times now and they're all too humble when we tell them how good they are to actually listen to us. I'm pretty confident in saying that after the release of "Through The Void" they're going to have to start listening to an awful lot of people telling them much the same.

Garganjua have managed to release a frankly breath taking, mature, emotional and completely captivating record that in places is reminiscent of Pallbearer, Yob and Ahab. It's like being drawn into the sea by its beauty and then before you know it it's pulled you in and swept you away without a trace.

There are four tracks on offer here, but don't think you're being short changed as each and every track is pretty much a masterpiece in its own right. The perfect blend of clean heartfelt and low rumbling vocals, huge riffs that ebb and flow like the tide and a rhythm section that drives the chaos beautifully.

Standout tracks for me being the immense "Crushed Beneath The Tide" and the title track itself. The former being the album opener and being blessed with a riff that has no right to have that amount of swagger and groove on a doom record and the latter is now available as a video the band released as a thank you for hitting their Pledge Music target to get the vinyl release this album so richly needs.

I strongly suggest you click on the following link and go and listen to it now...

"Through The Void" is nothing short of a magnificent release and the band should be proud of what they're about to unleash on the world. Their Pledge campaign may have hit its goal but there is still time to add your name to the list and make sure you secure a copy of what's going to be one of the essential doom records of the year.

Words by Simon Williams

Through The Void will be released via their Pledge Music Campaign here in April 2018.


FU MANCHU - Clone Of The Universe (Album Review)

Release date: 9th February 2018. Label: At The Dojo Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Clone Of The Universe – Tracklisting

1. "Intelligent Worship" (3:08)
2. "(I’ve Been) Hexed" (2:48)
3. "Don’t Panic" (2:05)
4. "Slower Than Light" (3:26)
5. "Nowhere Left to Hide" (4:19)
6. "Clone of the Universe" (2:58)
7. "IL Mostro Atomico" (18:08)


Scott Hill, Brad Davis, Bob Balch, Scott Reeder


Greetings All,

This February Fuzzed-out stoner rock stalwarts Fu Manchu will unleash their 12th album Clone of the Universe upon us all. The album treads the same familiar territory the band has rather deeply carved their name into over the past 20+ years. Clone of the Universe is 7 absolutely killer tracks of trademark fuzz filled heaviness. Fu Manchu has consistently played to their strengths on this album. While the album is rocking and fun on one hand it is a little dark and pessimistic in spots, kind of like a good monster movie. The record hits on all the sweet spots of classic Fu Manchu, astral planes, monsters, speed and a little bit of paranoia (not sure what would be causing that…..)
To the songs..

The album kicks off with Intelligent Worship which is the quintessential Fu Manchu style opening track. You immediately get smacked in the face with fuzz that doesn’t let up through the scuzzy, wah heavy solos it brings. There are elements of the song that reminded of Helmet’s Unsung from way back in the day.

(I’ve been) Hexed comes hard with an almost NWOBHM dual guitar intro and shows the first inklings of the darker aspects alluded to earlier. Don’t Panic is an up tempo jam with some more killer guitar work. Slower Than Light lurches in with a big bass intro and somewhat slower tempo that leads into breakdown that is heavy on the flanger before it kicks in with a break neck high speed ending.

The most ominous song on the album is Nowhere Left to Hide which continues the slower tempo of the last track and fully showcases the darker and more ominous tones of the album. The title track, Clone of the Universe, follows next. It kicks off with an ultra-heavy start and there exists a more punk inspired feel to this jam.

The album closes with an absolute beast, the monstrous and plodding, IL Mostro Atomico. This is a lengthy, mostly instrumental juggernaut that unleashes almost the whole arsenal from Fu Manchu’s bag of tricks. The song features a slew of tempo changes showcasing the band’s chops with fuzzy, phased out heavy ass grooves.

Any die hard Fu Manchu fan is going to dig heavily on this album. It is undoubtedly their best record in a while and hits all the right notes that made California Crossing, King of the Road, and the Action is Go such classics. Dig heavily on Clone of the Universe, you will not be disappointed.

- Todd S

Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Clone Of The Universe will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via At TheDojo Records from February 09th 2018.