Thursday 30 May 2019

Slomatics - Canyons (Album Review)

Release date: June 14th 2019. Label: Black Bow Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Canyons – Tracklisting

1. Gears Of Despair
2. Cosmic Guilt
3. Seven Echoes
4. Telemachus My Son
5. Beyond The Canopy
6. Arms Of The Sun
7. Mind Fortresses On Theia
8. Organic Caverns II


David Majury (guitars)
Chris Couzens (guitars)
Marty Harvey (drums / vocals)


Slomatics new album Canyons sees the band with a new adventurous, progressive and heavier sound. After completing a trilogy of similar themed albums with A Hocht, Estron and Future Echo Returns. Canyons allow Slomatics to re-invent themselves with a different style of music. Though the music played on Canyons does allow the band to play their classic sounding and trademark FUZZ Drenched Heavy Doomed Out Sounds.

Opening song – Gears Of De itspair – starts rather quietly until a heavy pounding sound soon explodes into a large Psychedelic and Spaced Out riff. Marty’s vocals are vastly different compared to previous Slomatics albums. As Marty’s vocals feel more powerful and restrained at the same time. The song moves at a delicate slow pace but the overall sound and atmosphere of the album is HUGE with the trippy and psychedelic vibes bringing a more nuanced Doom Metal approach to the album.

Second song – Cosmic Guilt – is classic sounding Slomatics through and through whilst offering a hint of their new progressive Doomed Out sound that allows the band to add strands of Ambient Rock/Metal towards the end of the song. Marty, Chris and David demonstrate why they’re highly thought of within the Doom Metal community as they all put in stellar musical performances on this track.

Third song – Seven Echoes – is an instrumental song and Slomatics don’t let the short running time get in their way as they play a heavy and thunderous style of Doom/Stoner Metal with elements of Psych Rock and Space Rock holding everything together.

Fourth song – Telemachus My Son – is my favourite song on the album as it’s Slomatics in full DOOM METAL mode with the OTT lyrics and Marty putting in a truly commanding vocal performance. Though it’s the heavy guitar work from Chris and David that impressed me the most. The song is a mixture of Psych, Stoner Metal, Doom and Space Rock that ranks as one of the most creative songs Slomatics have recorded so far.

Fifth song – Beyond The Canopy – has similar themes to Telemachus My Son. The music is played at a deliberate slow pace but this song has a more impending sense of DOOM compared to the other songs on the album. The song is bleakly poetic and sees Slomatics add a more reflective cinematic Post-Rock/Post-Metal vibe to the album.

The final three songs - Arms Of The Sun, Mind Fortresses On Theia and Organic Caverns II – once again sees Slomatics play to their absolute strengths by creating some of the heaviest and fuzzed out parts of the album with Mind Fortresses On Theia being the main highlight. As I feel Marty puts in his best ever vocal performance on Mind Fortresses On Theia.

Canyons acts as a celebration for a band who have being going from strength to strength for the last fifteen years and who show no signs of slowing down.

The album is brilliantly produced and is one of the best sounding Slomatics have released to date. Canyons is simply without a doubt my favourite album I’ve heard this year and the odds are looking good that it will end up my favourite album of the year.

The album is a mighty step forward for Slomatics with its bold and unique heavy sound. Canyons is a must have and unmissable album.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Curtis at Dewar PR for the promo. Canyons will be available to buy on Cassette/CD/DD/Vinyl via Black Bow Records from June 14th 2019.



Slow machine of hate to soberness and impatience to objective reality from the city of Kharkiv (Ukraine), Soom proudly presents their own music video full of fear and loathing mixed with the love to their native city. Made by Anastasia Khomenko, the video tells the story about Djebars, who stuck forever in the moment when clock is working but has stopped on a 19:36 mark. Strong track about wasted spirit for the strong ears commented by the Soom’s frontman Oleksa Kovalov-Blidyi:

“Described story іs based on a Pale aesthetics. It is neither light, nor dark, just immersed in its own Universe, the road to which lies through the searching of drug hiding place, using the “wheelchair” — bad quality synthetic drugs. For one it’s self-destruction, for another — salvation. It just exists and there is must be no attitude, like to anything in Universe, because everybody has its own way to All & Nothing. We see it like an ugly version of beautiful, let everyone of you see the same”.


Soom -
addicted label (Russia) -
Robustfellow (Ukraine) -
Voron Nest (Russia\Japan) -
Kvlt Ov Ї (Ukraine) -


Kova — guitar, vocals
Tomrer — bass

Amorth — drums

Created by Anastasia Khomenko

Art by Evgenij Khomenko, Makferlen Krause, Eva Troian, Anna Manankina, Lera Marysheva, Liza Doppelganger

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Green Oracle - GREEN (Album Review) And Exclusive Full Album Premiere

Release date: May 31st 2019. Label: Argonauta Records. Format: CD/DD

Green - Tracklisting



Thomas Santarsiero
Matteo Anguillesi
Vanni Anguillesi
Giulia Mannocci.


Green Oracle debut album is a majestic sounding release that bridges the gap between Stoner Metal, Doom Metal, Psych and Drone. The album is a heavy and deeply engaging affair with the band offering different Psychedelic Sounds that leave the listener in a meditative state. The album can be deeply challenging to listen to at times especially when Green Oracle switch from straight-forward Psychedelic Stoner Metal to a harsher style of Doom/Drone Metal.

Opening song – Please – is an eighteen-minute epic that starts rather slowly before the band add heavier strands of Spaced Out sounds with a deeply rich Ambient score that reminds me of Ufomammut in places with traces of KYUSS heavy guitars leading the way. The song never outstays it’s welcome and that’s down to Green Oracle’s highly creative use of different Doom/Stoner Metal riffs that have quite an original feel to them. The vocals appear around the eight-minute mark and the song becomes more emotional as a direct result.

Second song – Do – is the most ambitious song on the album as the band take a different approach to the opening song. The eerie vocals create an intense atmosphere with Green Oracle playing Ambient/Drone based Doom for the first half of the song. This may put some people off if they’re expecting heavy sounding Doom/Stoner Metal riffs. This song is influenced by bands such as EARTH and BONG. The song lasts over twenty minutes and most of that time is dedicated to Green Oracle building an ice-cold drone based atmosphere. However, the band do play a “normal” style of Doom/Stoner Metal towards the end of the song. Maybe the band go over the top on this song but it’s a brilliantly weird and highly experimental song that actually makes sense within the context of the album.

Third song – Hallucinogens – carries on the eerie vocals heard on the previous song. However, Green Oracle play the heavy doomed out sounds from the very start and this allows the band to create the standout song on the album. The song runs yet again for an ambitious nineteen minutes and Green Oracle don’t waste a single second creating spellbinding world-weary Heavy Stoner riffs. The second half of the song starts to become heavier and distorted that allows Green Oracle to play some of the heaviest moments held on the album.

If you join up the titles of the three songs, then you can tell the mindset that Green Oracle had in mind for folks when listening to this album and perhaps when they made the album themselves. This album is Heavy Droned Out Psychedelic Stoner Doom of the highest order.

If you dig bands such as BONG, Ufomammut, Hawkwind and KYUSS then you need to check this album out now.

Words by Steve Howe

You can listen to the album here with this Exclusive Album Premiere. Thanks to Mona at All Noir and Gero at Argonauta Records for the album premiere.

You can buy Green on CD/DD via Argonauta Records now.


Tuesday 28 May 2019

South African Blues Rock Duo - The Amblers - release new video for Ratty Old Mo’

South African blues-rock duo The Amblers have released the video for Ratty Old Mo’, the title track from their latest EP. The band aren’t keen on delving too deep into the meaning behind their tracks as vocalist and guitarist Justin Swart explains, “It's so important to us that people connect our songs to their own stories, in their own way.” He does add, “Ratty Old Mo' in essence is the story of a boy, who went through some stuff as a kid and as a man is realizing that relationships are hard work.”
Shot, directed and edited by Chase Beynon from Capital Collective, it was decided the minimalistic but visually captivating style of the video suited the band perfectly.
Simplicity has been and is, synonymous with The Amblers. We approached the video for Ratty Old Mo' in just the same way. Simplicity is tough to accomplish and requires a great amount of skill to pull off. There isn’t much, if anything to hide behind. With Chase we managed to translate that simplicity visually and we are excited to share it with people.” Comments Justin.
Watch the video for Ratty Old Mo’.

Ratty Old Mo’ is available now on all digital platforms including

(Photographer Jacques Schutte)
About The Amblers
The Amblers are a folksy, blues rock duo hailing from the vibrant and diverse music industry in South Africa. The two have a broad range of both local and international musical influences from Southern Gypsy Queen and The Black Cat Bones, to The Rolling Stones and Jack White. Their approach to music is raw but not unpolished, lending an authentic energy to huge drums and dirty, vintage guitar tones.
Acclaimed drummer Jason Hinch provides an accomplished and powerful framework for Justin Swart to deliver his raconteurish ideas of music and lyrics to a listener. The duo has released two EP’s to date, The Dustling Man and Ratty Old Mo’.
“The Amblers have put together an incredible EP. It speaks of talent, musical ease and damn good melodies.” TEO MAGAZINE. (AUS)

“Nowadays it’s become somewhat of a treasure hunt when it comes to finding such originality and passion, let alone consistency. It’s exactly what it comes down to in fact, and whatever you find around these routes are that of treasury as much as The Amblers are.” BLOEMFUNTOWN. (SA)

“In all, this is an impressive EP, its fresh, exciting and impassioned; I feel like they put their heart and soul into it. If you like moody, bluesy rock then this band are for you. If you like indie music, this band could also be for you. If you like GOOD music, this band is most definitely for you. I can't wait to hear more from these guys. In the meantime, this EP will become a staple in my musical diet. Thank you.” DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA (UK)

“A blues rock EP that deserves your full attention.” TEXX AND THE CITY (SA)

“The talent of two of SA’s finest musicians in Justin Swart (vocals, guitar) and Jason Hinch (drums) are brought to the fore in this short body of work that keeps you begging for more. Passion, power and personality reflect in the lyrics and musicianship and this is one of the freshest releases this year. Their combination of folk and blues go together like a fine whisky on a hot summer’s day.” POTCEFSTROOM HERALD (SA)

“Carrying a sound that leans towards the heavier side of things, fans of gritty, distorted bluesy rock a la Jack White or The Raconteurs are def. going to lap up these Johannesburg natives’ tunes. With a raw yet polished approached, the guys’ sound is simultaneously vintage and modern, and meriting further exploration.” PUREGRAINAUDIO. (CAN)

Sunday 26 May 2019

The Progerians - Crush The Wise Men Who Refuse To Submit (Album Review)

Release date: May 24th 2019. Label: Mottow Soundz. Format: DD/Vinyl

Crush The Wise Men Who Refuse To Submit – Tracklisting

Frankie Leads To Death
Hold Your Cross
Crush The Wise Men
Hello World
Your Manifest


Fabe - Vox / Guit
Piotr - Vox / Bass
Thomas - Vox / Drums


Crush The Wise Men Who Refuse To Submit is the new album from Sludge/Doom Metallers – The Progerians. The Belgian Riffsters go all out on this album by creating a 60 minute onslaught of heavy sounding Doom/Sludge Metal that included strands of Punk Rock, Hardcore and bleak Stoner sounds that won’t appeal to everyone.

Opening song – Frankie Leads To Death – is a 12 minute song that sees the band create an almost contemporary Doom/Sludge Metal sound. The atmosphere is very theatrical especially with the slow-paced riffs and weird demonic sounding vocals as well. The band add a seedy Psychedelic vibe to their music and it’s a song that takes time to understand and fully appreciate. The song is undeniably heavy but it has some epic grooves hidden beneath the noisy surroundings the band play superbly well.

Second song – Destitute – carries on the seedy and progressive sound heard on the opening song with The Progerians playing a more hardcore based song. The Doom/Sludge Metal riffs are there but there not as direct as the opening song and the vocals are delivered superbly well. The song does take time to fully get going but this still ranks as one of the best tracks on the album.

Third song – Hold Your Cross – has a slightly apocalyptic feel to it with the moody guitars adding a more alternative rock/metal sound. The lyrics and vocals are good for the most part but it’s the music that’s the main highlight here. As the heavy guitars and intense drumming allow The Progerians to add real volume and weight to their overall sound.

Fourth song – Oceania – is another lengthy track to get your senses round. As the song starts off very differently compared to the other songs on the album. This song has a Noise Rock/Industrial vibe at the start before The Progerians start playing their standard Sludge/Doom Metal sound. The glitch based noises adds a more surreal tone to the album. It shouldn’t really work but The Progerians pull this off with ease and perhaps crating none of the best songs on the album.

The first 4 songs will give you a great indication where this album is heading for the remaining 5 songs and expect The Progerians to create more superbly weird and experimental Sludge Metal sounds. Songs such as Hello World, Graven and Your Manifest are perhaps the strongest songs held on the second half of the album. As the band create the heaviest riffs on these songs.

Crush The Wise Men Who Refuse To Submit is a challenging and highly experimental album not without it’s faults. However, The Progerians deserve credit for releasing something truly different with this album.

Overall, Crush The Wise Men Who Refuse To Submit is a hugely entertaining and satisfying album that will no doubt enhance The Progerians reputation even further within the Doom/Sludge Metal scene.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Crush The Wise Men Who Refuse To Submit is available to buy now on DD/Vinyl via Mottow Soundz.


Friday 24 May 2019

Festival News - DEADWAX TV All Dayer Line-Up Announcement

We're launching our brand spankin' new channel/magazine in the only way we know how: a day full of audible tastiness in the form of some our favourite bands from the UK & beyond..

With a stellar line-up that comprises of Mother Engine, Kurokuma, Tuskar, GNOB, The Brothers Keg and Madmess, earplugs may be a necessity for this one.

And if that weren't enough, we're sprinkling an extra bit of Golden Fuzz with a special GUEST joint-headliner, announced 6th of May!

Jams, DJs, food, sun, and the best vibes guaranteed - what more could you want from a Sunday in June?

Doors: 4pm. Tickets: £14 Adv. Tickets on sale through DICE & TicketWeb UK.

Sponsored by the rad folks over at Pistonhead Lager


Facebook Link Here:

Check out the bands below!

⚈Mother Engine⚈ -

This powerhouse German trio, are essentially an unstoppable three man Progressive Psychedelic Symphony. Having ripped apart various stages across the EU, from Stoned from the Underground, to Freak Valley Festival, Sonic Blast Modelo, to Into the Void, we've got Cheshire Cat smiles at the prospect of welcoming these guys to London!

⚈Kurokuma⚈ -

The backbone of Kurokuma's consistently compelling work consists of its skull-crushing weight and its' psychedelic sludge manifestation. The release of their new EP 'Sheffield's Best Metal Bands Vol 1. “ sees this vision come to fruition in the most perfect way, crafting intoxicating epics that not only thrill in their heaviness and delight in their poignancy. A band that truly embraces a variety of influences, and proves as an absolute delight live, Kurokuma are an experience you'll want to keep reliving.

⚈Tuskar⚈ -

Even in the midst of Sludge/Doom having an exponentially wider reach by the day, TUSKAR have truly succeed in setting themselves apart from the rest of the pack. The face-melting duo will take to the stage at Hoxton to play tunes off their newest EP, "The Tide, Beneath, the Wall".

⚈Gnob⚈ -

This London based band are a crowd favorite, mixing psychedelic rock with exceptional elements of Middle-Eastern and Greek music, a wonderfully strange brew best served hot.
⚈Madmess⚈ -

A relatively new band in the local scene, Portugese trio Madmess are rapidly gaining a following due to their explosive live sets and jams. They'll be bringing their 60s influence in full force to the Deadwax launch. Enjoy the ride!

⚈The Brothers Keg⚈ -

The Brothers Keg's brand of "heavy space psych" is truly a live sight to behold. With their debut album's release on the horizon, one that beckons to be furiously strong, TBK are a sonic force to be reckoned with.

Stone From The Sky - Break A Leg (Album Review)

Release date: May 03rd 2019. Label: More Fuzz Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Break A Leg – Tracklisting

1.Vena Cava 09:47
2.Agger 04:17
3.Therapsida 09:10
4.Animal 05:11
5.Atomic Valley 07:38
6.Rataxès 09:06




Stone From The Sky new album Break A Leg is a mixture of different sounds, moods and environments with the band creating a complex style to build their wild and vivid ideas upon. The album is purely instrumental with Stone From The Sky playing almost every kind of music that falls under the Doom/Stoner Rock spectrum. Break A Leg is an angry and progressive album and Stone From The Sky never shy away from that fact especially with the excellent opening song – Vena Cava.

Vena Cava is a mixture of Doom, Stoner Rock, Prog Rock and Psychedelic Rock with twinges of Ambient Post-Rock vibes allowing the band to create a more thrilling style of music. It can be quite challenging to listen to at times but Stone From The Sky have enough tricks up their sleeves to keep the most casual listener intrigued from start to finish. The song has quite a sombre and reflective mood that easily draws upon the angrier elements of Post-Rock/Metal that Russian Circles and Pelican are known for.

Second song – Agger – is a cool sounding Desert/Stoner Rock song that reminds me of Yawning Man in certain places but with a more progressive and heavier feel. The trippy sounds show a different side to the band compared to the opening song. This is a good little number for the band to show their more caring side and is one of the shortest songs on the album running past the four minutes’ mark.

Third song – Therapsida – sees the band create another fine offering that drifts further into the realm of Psychedelic Stoner Rock with the song being played at a slow leisurely pace. The band add different genres and levels of music with each passing moment until the soulful Post-Rock grooves give way to a more direct Stoner Rock/Metal sound. The song has quite an upbeat groove from start to finish. The excellent use of slow paced and fast paced riffs makes this one of the standout tracks on the album.

Fourth song – Animal – opens with a haunting Desert Rock/Post-Rock sound that the band do well to maintain from start to finish. The song does feel too forced at times. However, the heavier Post-Rock/Post-Metal riffs saves the day and allows the band to end this song on an exciting finish.

The final two songs Atomic Valley and Rataxes carries on the wonderful psychedelic grooves Stone From The Sky have played throughout the entire album.

Atomic Valley maybe my favourite song on the album. As it sees the band play a hopeful and more progressive style of Desert Rock and Post Rock that leaves you wanting more.

Rataxes sees Stone From The Sky play the heaviest and angriest parts of the album with this song. It’s quite depressing in places. It’s a style I wish we heard more of on the album. As the band have quite a talent for creating cinematic Post-Rock/Post-Metal sounds that have a haunting and bleak edge to them.

Break A Leg is an album that starts off very positively before transcending into a dark musical odyssey and I never expected that at all from this band or the album itself. Stone From The Sky have released an excellent sounding album and I urge you all to listen to this album. As you’ll be pleasantly surprised what Stone From The Sky have in store for you.

Words by Steve Howe

Clouds Taste Satanic - Evil Eye (Album Review)

Release date: April 30th 2019. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Evil Eye – Tracklisting

1.Evil Eye 19:53
2.Pagan Worship 20:48


Steve Scavuzzo, Sean Bay, Greg Acampora, Brian Bauhs


Evil Eye is the 5th album from famed Doom Metal Instrumentalists – Clouds Taste Satanic- This time the band return with a heavier and more psychedelic offering compared to their earlier releases. The band offer two songs both running for about 20 minutes each. You can expect to hear the great heavy doomed out sounds that Clouds Taste Satanic are known for. However, expect a more rigid and progressive approach to their music with the band taking their time bring the heavy thunderous riffs to the party.

First song – Evil Eye – has a stripped back approach with the mood being very direct though this allows the band to slowly bring in many different layers of Psychedelic Doom Metal twinned with elements of Hard Rock, Classic Rock and Stoner Metal for a gloomy and out of body experience. This is the type of song that demands your full undivided attention. The slow-paced parts of the song are quite gloomy and sees the band play a more nuanced style of music.

Second song – Pagan Worship – lives up to it’s DOOM based title with the band creating some of their heaviest DOOM METAL riffs on this song. The song is deliriously fast-paced and angry throughout. Perhaps the most pissed off I’ve heard Clouds Taste Satanic been yet and that’s saying something to describe these guys. The down-tempo and gloomy riffs have a slightly depressing and darkened edge to them but that’s what makes this album so good. Clouds Taste Satanic are not afraid to venture into the darkest depths of DOOM METAL that you don’t hear from similar Instrumental Doom Metal bands.

Evil Eye is one of the best albums that Cloud Tastes Satanic have released to date. You would think after 5 albums the band would start to lose their hunger for creating new sounds. NOPE. Evil Eye feels like Clouds Taste Satanic are only getting started and the Doom/Stoner Metal audience is theirs for the taking.

The production is superb and allows Cloud Tastes Satanic music to be frighteningly too real at times. Overall, Clouds Taste Satanic have created a FUCKING MONSTER with this album.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Leanne at Mettle Media PR and Clouds Taste Satanic for the promo. Evil Eye is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl now.


Facebook | BandCamp

Thursday 23 May 2019

No Man's Valley Release New Video For New Single INTO THE BLUE

Into The Blue is the second single from No Man's Valley critically acclaimed new album - Outside The Dream, that was released March 22 on Tonzonen Records. 

It is a song inspired by fatherly worries for a daughter. Dreamy like Jonathan Wilson channeling Tame Impala through Pink Floyd, Into The Blue is No Man's Valley most laid-back track. It represents a gentler side to the band; Into The Blue is a psychedelic blanket you can get comfortable with and never want to put aside.

Recorded, produced and mixed by Matthijs Kievit from Studio Joneski at ‘t Koetshuys (Lopikerkapel) and Wisseloord studios (Hilversum) The Netherlands.

Mastered by Pieter Kloos at the Void studios (Eindhoven) The Netherlands.


Wednesday 22 May 2019

Exclusive Album Premiere Of SALEM'S BEND New Album - SUPERCLUSTER on Ripple Music.

SALEM’S BEND: LA-based Psych Trio to Stream New Album, Supercluster

Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the release of Supercluster, the brand-new album from LA-based rock trio Salem’s Bend.

Cutting their teeth in various outfits over the years, after idly deciding to crawl into a garage one day, three unassuming dudes emerged into sunlight as a mighty hard rock triumvirate skilled in the execution of maximum Sabbath, Priest and Zeppelin worship...

…for on this day, Salem’s Bend was born.

Running an aural gamut of ’70s-sounding classic rock with the influence of melodic heavy-hitters from the contemporary realms of desert, doom metal, psych and stoner rock, the band coalesced in the summer of 2014 with the intention of turning heavy riffs into the catchiest of tunes. With seven songs eventually making the cut on what would become their self-titled debut, the trio earnestly self-released their efforts via Bandcamp, and in doing so caught the ear of Ripple Music. Garnering some early praise one reviewer commented on just how well the band managed to, “Forge their own searing, raucous guitars; intense, deep bass; and athletic, punctuated stickwork around some of the most intelligently interesting melodies to float through the stonersphere in quite some time."

Salem's Bend subsequently signed with Ripple, who gave their debut a worldwide release on vinyl, CD and digital in 2016. Since then, they have been taking their hard-hitting live performance on the road, touring every few months around the Western US and Canada and playing festivals such as SXSW, More Beers in Hell, Vantopia, and many more.

This May, thanks to the good folk and fellow Californians at Ripple, Supercluster – Salem’s Bend eagerly awaited follow-up to Salem’s Bend – will receive an official worldwide release on 24th May via Ripple Music.


Bobby Parker – Guitar, Vocals
Kevin Schofield – Bass, Vocals
Zach Huling – Drums


1. Spaceduster
2. Ride the Night
3. Catamount
4. Heavenly Manna
5. Winds of Ganymede
6. Show Me the Witch
7. Thinking Evil
8. Infinite Horizon


Bandcamp –
Facebook –

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for all of the details and Album Premiere.

Tuesday 21 May 2019

An Interview With Johni Holiday from RUFF MAJIK

South African Sludge/Doom/Stoner Riffsters – Ruff Majik – have been making a name for themselves over the last few years with a string of well-received EP’s, Singles and Full length albums within the Doom/Stoner Metal community.

Ruff Majik are very hard categorize as they move effortlessly from genre to the next whilst creating their own original sound.

Their latest album Tårn has just been released and it’s starting to gain some major praise for the band.

I caught up with Johni Holiday (Guitar/Vox) from Ruff Majik where we discussed the making of the album, South African Music Scene and Ruff Majik current visit to Europe.

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

Pretty great. Nursing a hangover, but the sun is out in Germany for the first time in two weeks so I’m having a smashing time.

For people not in the know can you give a brief history of how Ruff Majik came together and what the current line-up is today.

Well, we’re just 3 mates that grew up in the same small mining town in South Africa (called Lydenburg, which actually translates to “Suffering Town”). We were the only non-conservative, metalhead types in the whole town, so ya know, we started a band. And here we are! The line-up is me (Johni Holiday), as well as Jimmy Glass on bass and Ben Manchino on drums.

Where did you get the name Ruff Majik from.

Well, there was a failed pilot for a TV adaption of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu”, with the same name but a different spelling. We thought it would be a cool reference to make, and for whatever drunken reason we had that day we decided to spell it Ruff Majik instead of Rough Magic. It’s been pretty interesting so far though, hearing people try and pronounce it. We’ve heard “Roof Mayik”, “Riff Magic”, “Rough Magiiiiic” and loads more ha ha ha ha.

How would you describe your own music in your own words. As you play a very warped version of Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal which I find very hard to describe.

We used to call ourselves rubber a few years ago. I think that still kinda makes sense. But yeah, we just play whatever the hell we like really ha ha ha. Some days we feel doom, some days we feel funk, some days we feel kvlt, other days we feel punk - but as long as it’s loud, heavy, and covered in a big ‘ol cloud of reefer smoke, we’ll play it!

You have just released your new album Tarn. It’s been getting a great response from almost everyone. Has that surprised you at how well the album has been received.

A bit. I think we’re critical of ourselves, as I believe all artists should be. So, we’re always pleasantly surprised when we get a good review.

What were your original expectations for this album before it was released and have they fully been met.

Well, we’re hoping to sell out our vinyl soon! But other than that, I think everything has been going pretty much according to plan.

Was recording the new album a hard or easy experience for the band?

It’s always pretty straight forward. We recorded again with our good friend Evert Snyman from Backline Studios in Johannesburg, so it was a pretty relaxing atmosphere for us. Also, we record real quick, so we were done in 2 days.

Lay Bare Recordings are releasing your new album. How did you hook up with them. Great label releasing some fantastic albums on vinyl recently.

The owner of the label 
(Désirée) actually saw us live at Freak Valley Festival in Siegen, Germany! So Désirée contacted us to see if we’d be interested in working with them, and so it happened! 

Really cool people and a really cool label, overall it’s been a pretty rad experience.

The album cover is awesome. Who designed the cover and how much input did you have into the final design.

It was designed by Anni Buchner from Ale & Cake Illustration. She’s illustrated every album cover we’ve ever had, and we always work very closely with her on the ideas for the design. She always does magical work.

What is the song writing dynamic in the band? Is it a group collective or down to certain individuals.

Depends really. The lyrics are all down to me, and I write the riffs on guitar. But I don’t know shit about drumming, and our bass player has a genuinely unique style that I also don’t understand, so when it comes to contributing musically I think everyone does their fair share.

What comes first when writing and recording new music? Music or lyrics.

Almost always the music. It has happened on occasion that the lyrics come first, but it’s very rare

What inspires you when writing music?

I guess life in general. All the experiences we go through as a band and as people. Sometimes drunken ideas turn into beautiful songs. You know, just the usual generic answer.

You’re from South Africa. What is the Hard Rock/Metal scene currently like in South Africa. Did you have the opportunity to perform live on a regular basis in South Africa.

It’s passionate, but it’s small. The unfortunate reality is that most of our rock ‘n roll venues are closing down, and there’s a smaller fan base now than there use to be in the early 2000’s. But, the fans that are interested are dedicated, and there’s a resurgence of heavy rock/punk/metal/whatever happening which is really cool - more bands are coming out now than we’ve seen in years. And they’re all top quality. But it’s hard to get a quality tour going when everything is so far apart.

Can you recommend any other bands for people to check out from South Africa.

Bands like Caution Boy, Pollinator, Them Dirty Shrikes, Apocalypse Later, The Human Nebula, Mad God, Goat Throne, Peasant and Ma-at are absolutely killing it at the moment and it’s great to see. Some new blood includes bands like Double Sun and Psykasm who are also great live, so I’m excited for some recordings by them!

You’ve recently moved over to Europe for the time being. Why did you decide to come over to Europe and was that an easy decision to make especially with your family and friends being located back home.

Well, we realized that if we want to tour, and tour seriously, that there was just no other option. We were fortunate enough to have a few “right time, right place” types of situations, and it’s really helped us get a foot in the door.

Was it a hard decision to make? No. I gave it all for music and the free electric band.

How long will you be staying in Europe and will you be performing gigs in other countries during your stay.

Well, we’ll be here for a couple of months, having meetings, making deals, and planning a strong fall tour. Then we’ll be back in S.A. for a couple weeks to get the visas sorted, and after that we’ll make a more permanent move, probably from the fall onwards.

But yeah, it’s not all just business - we’ll be going to Poland for Smoke Over Warsaw next month, and to France to play Rock In Bourlon - and then one or two German shows in between. Got some pretty cool stuff confirmed for the coming months as well, but you’ll have to wait and see

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

I would never attempt to sound wise ha ha ha. But let’s have a crack at some general life advice instead:

Try to enjoy life, try to be nice to other people, and try to get rest whenever you can. You don’t have to succeed in all of these, you’re only human. But trying is easy.

Words by Steve Howe and Johni Holiday

Thanks to Warren at Plug Music Agency for arranging this interview. Thanks to Johni for taking the time out to talk to us here at the blog.

Tårn is be available to buy now on Vinyl from Lay Bare Recordings


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