Sunday, 2 August 2020

Blurred Reflections - S/T (EP Review)


Release date: July 12th 2020. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Blurred Reflections – S/T – Tracklisting

1.Fallen Sun 02:59
2.Green Hallways 02:58
3.Painted Gray 06:13
4.Stars in the Void 02:40
5.Weightless Darkness (instrumental) 03:45
6.Gripped By Something More 05:07

Members

Maurice Eggenschwiler - Everything

Review


Blurred Reflections is the solo project of Maurice Eggenschwiler of Blues Funeral and Sanctus Bellum. Maurice recorded this project during Quarantine and tried his hand at playing different styles of music that he’s not known for playing. The debut EP is a mixture of Prog Rock, Prog Metal, Jazz Rock and inspired by bands such as King Crimson and OPETH.

Whilst not perfect, this EP is quite a captivating and adventurous release that does sound eerie familiar to OPETH’s more recent studio output. Maurice plays everything on this release and provides vocal duties a well. You can feel Maurice deep love and appreciation for 70s Prog Rock and Jazz records. As the EP is more inspired by those type of records than compared to modern day genres or sounds.

The lyrics are good for the most part with a few rough moments here and there. Maurice deserves credit for doing something different to what he’s mostly known for with Blues Funeral. The best parts of the EP is perhaps the instrumental parts. As Maurice plays some epic soothing guitar solos that capture the spirit of the Jazz sound that Maurice puts into this EP.

The best songs on the EP have to be: Fallen Sun, Green Hallways and Gripped By Something More.

The only downside of the EP is that some of the songs just unexpectedly end and feel they were about to go into another direction. However, apart from that minor criticism, Maurice has delivered a superbly entertaining and well-crafted release that shows a different side to him and I’m hoping he releases more material under the Blurred Reflections banner.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

BandCamp


Slow Green Thing - Amygdala (Album Review)


Release date: July 20th 2020. Label: Fuzzmatazz. Format: DD/Vinyl

Amygdala – Tracklisting

1.Medusa's Spell 06:10
2.Amygdala 07:52
3.All I Want 07:31
4.Dirty Thoughts 06:18
5.Dreamland 08:20
6.Love To My Enemy 07:58

Members

Sven (guitar, vocals)
Andreas (guitar) 
Jörg (drums)
Martin (bass-guitar)

Review

Amygdala is the new album from Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Rockers Slow Green Thing and it shows a cool progression since their last album. The album is more “Grunge” orientated compared to their previous albums though the band still play their heavy addictive style of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal grooves but with a more Progressive vibe being added within the music and lyrics contained on the album.

The band feel influenced by Alice In Chains especially with the vocals and the lyrics have a Soundgarden approach to them. Slow Green Thing are 4 albums into their musical career and this album portrays band who are getting bigger and better with each subsequent release. They should really be a bigger deal within the Doom/Stoner Metal world.

The opening songs of Medusa’s Spell and Amygdala instantly draw you in with their fantastic riffs and vocal imagery the band run away with genuine excitement and epic Progressive jams that allow the “gloomy” vibe consume everything around it. The music can be quite solitary and claustrophobic at times but there’s something equally mysterious about the overall feel and flow of the album.

Slow Green Thing channel the early and legendary sounds of Alice In Chains superbly well in the early stages of the album before settling down and playing their own blend of Psychedelic Stoner Rock/Metal with songs such as All I Want, Dirty Thoughts and Love To My Enemy being perhaps the strongest and heaviest parts of the album.

Amygdala is firing on all cylinders in the production department with this being perhaps the best record that Slow Green Thing have put out to date. The record is LOUD and BOMBASTIC in all the right places and allows the music to grow and become HEAVIER naturally.

Slow Green Thing have delivered the goods with this album and Amygdala is one that demands many repeated listens.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Thursday, 30 July 2020

An Interview With Thomas V Jäger


Thomas V Jäger is mostly known as the lead guitarist and lead singer of Doom Metal Heavyweights - MONOLORD. Thomas has just released his excellent debut solo record - A Solitary Plan. This is a Folk Rock Record which is vastly different to what MONOLORD are known for.

I caught up with Thomas recently to discuss the making of his new album.

Hi Thomas. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today. Congrats on your new album. It's a great album. When did you get the idea to record a solo album. Was this something you wanted to do for some time. 

The first song ideas came a bunch of years ago. I wanted to do something by myself and started recording ideas. I bought an old acoustic guitar and all of a sudden I had three songs that I liked. So I just continued. 

I'm surprised you found the time to record a debut album. As you've been quite busy with Monolord the past few years. Was this a challenging album to write and record for. 

Both yes and no. The music was pretty easy, it almost wrote itself but the lyrical theme was a bit harder. I recorded between tours and I haven't worked my day job as much these days so I have had "plenty" of time. It is of course a matter of where your priorities are. I wanted to do this so I did it. 

What is the album about and what inspired you when writing this album. 

​I just wanted to do something mellow, something smooth and also something sad. Black Mountain - Stay Free is a fantastic song and that inspired me loads. Torgeir Waldemar - No Offending Borders too. A Solitary Plan is more or less lyrics about stuff that I normally wouldn't be so open about. That is maybe why I haven't released the lyrics. The first two songs on the album was recorded around three years ago or so but I am always writing. 

Sometimes I have three new Monolord riffs when I am trying to write something mellow. Some other day I made a new acoustic song when I tried to record metal riffs. This is how I work and a lot of stuff is inspiring. The woods. The sea. Animals. Mind altering things. I have my own studio setup here at home and that is a must for me, to have my stuff close and ready to record. 

It's quite an uplifting album to listen to and really soothing in places. Was that the plan to release an uplifting album and something different to Monolord. 

It was more something I just needed to do. I can't write music that only sounds a certain way. I need to do a lot of different music. Right now I have recorded three hours of ambient stuff and I have half a rock album rattling in the back of my head. For me this album isn't really uplifting. It reminds me of how sad I was about things that were happening in my life just then. 

What do your Monolord bandmates think of this album. Did they give you any constructive feedback on the album which you acted upon. 

​They heard it when It was done more or less. I haven't gotten any feedback from anyone that made me want to change something 

Did you have any extra help with album or is everything by you. 

​Kalle Lilja is a buddy of mine that work in a studio called Welfare Sounds. He got all the tracks and my mixes and he did his version out of that. He put down some piano on one song. Another guy I know, Emil (Rolof) bought a mellotron so he is the one handling that duty on the title track. 

RidingEasy Records are releasing this album. Were they your only choice. As I thought with Monolord signing to Relapse Records you would go with another label. 

​I sent the songs to Daniel at RidingEasy and he said "yeah lets release it" and so it was.There hasn't been any bad blood between us and Ridingeasy. The decision for us (Monolord) to move on to a bigger label was mutual. 

How are things with Monolord after signing to Relapse Records. Has anything major changed and how did that come about. 

​There is no bigger changes. Of course Relapse is a bigger label and it shows but we're working (hard) as usual. 

Monolord recently released instrumental versions of the first two albums to an amazing response. How did that idea come about. And did the fans response surprise you all with their reaction to these versions. 

​In these weird times you gotta explore options that you wouldn't normally think about. As a touring band we have not been able to keep day jobs for very long and we need some kind of income. This was an idea to help us pay our rent more or less but the reaction has always been good with every release. Our fans are sick (in a good way). 

Will you be releasing other instrumental versions of your other albums in the future. 

​Not sure about that. We´ll see. 

Before you go. Do you have any words of encouragement you want to say to your fans. 

​Stay home & please don't be racist. Thanks. 

Words by Steve Howe and Thomas V Jäger 

You can now buy A Solitary Plan on CD/DD/Vinyl via RidingEasy Records now.

Links

Facebook | BandCamp

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Valkyrie - FEAR (Album Review)


Release Date: 24th July 2020. Label: Relapse Records. Format. CD/DD/Vinyl

FEAR - Tracklisting

Feeling So Low
Afraid To Live
Loveblind
The Choice
Fear and Sacrifice
Brings You Down
Evil Eye
Exasperator

Members:

Jake Adams - guitar, vocals
Pete Adams - guitar, vocals
Alan Fary - bass
Warren Hawkins - drums

Review:

Fear is the new album from Valkyrie and it’s their first album in 5 years. Let's say on this form it’s good to have the guys back as this album is a delight from start to finish with Valkyrie releasing their best album to date. The band play a more Progressive Stance on this record which allows the band to explore a more Classical style of Doom, Stoner and Heavy Metal whilst retaining a cool sounding Classic Rock feel and flow to the album.

Opening song - Feeling So Low - is the type of song that Valkyrie have built their solid and well-deserved reputation upon. As it’s an absolute blast of high-octane sounds and grooves that brings the worlds of Doom Metal and Heavy Metal kicking and screaming into the 21st Century with a cool sideline of Psychedelic Rock the band first employed on their last album. The song does have a deep “Thin LIzzy” sound but that’s a good thing for myself. As I love that style of classic Twin Guitar that the band employs here.

Second song - Afraid To Live - is a song that starts very slow before exploding into life with one of the best riffs on the album with Valkyrie playing a more heartfelt and emotional style of music that we’ve heard before. The lyrics have extra emotional weight to them with the music remaining more reflective but with a powerful energy to them. I was a huge fan of Pete’s work in Baroness and I was sad that he left the band as their last album was mega-disappointing and contained no riffs at all. However, Valkyrie feel like they’re on a journey of riff based self discovery and this song contains some of the best riffs on the album if not the band’s career to date. The Psychedelic Hard Rock style of music is the main driving force here and it’s an addictive journey.

Third song - Loveblind - carries on Valkyrie’s new found appreciation of Psychedelic Rock and Classic Rock that allows the band to play even more fantastic sounding guitar solos that feature the right composure and technical ability that will make you fully appreciate for bands such as Valkyrie being around today. The vocals and lyrics are excellent when they appear as the band focus more on the musical side of things for this song.

Valkyrie continues their musical expedition to greatness with the rest of the album as the band further explore their winning style of music that becomes even heavier and progressive on the remaining 5 songs. Fear is perhaps one of the most melodic Doom/Stoner Metal releases I’ve heard this year as Valkyrie pulls out all the stops playing emotional and uplifting tunes that will have you reaching for the repeat button.

Fear sounds incredible from the start and the top-notch production values help this album being Valkyrie’s best sounding album to date. This is an album with something to offer for everyone and I’m hoping it won’t be another 5 years before we get another album from Valkyrie. As these guys are one of the unsung heroes of the Doom/Stoner Metal scene.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


Mummise Guns - S/T (Album Review)


Release Date: 17th July 2020. Label: Riot Season Records: Format: DD/Vinyl

Mummise Guns - S/T (Album Review)

Flattened Earth
Glitter Balls
Forever Triggered Forveer
Bipolar Brain Disorder
Dog Cocked
End Of Days

Members

Tracy Bellaries - Bass (Part Chimp, Luminous Bodies, Ikara Colt)
Cleaver - Drums (Michael, Black Shape)
Matt Ridout - Guitar (Dethscalator, Casual Nun)
Adam Ian Sykes - Guitar (Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs)
Gordon Watson - Guitar (Terminal Cheesecake, Luminous Bodies)
Alex Wilson - Vocals (Ghold, Shuck)


Review

I didn’t know what to expect with Mummise Guns debut full length album. This is a supergroup of sorts from the UK Experimental Heavy Rock scene with members made up of bands such as Part Chimp, Luminous Bodies, Terminal Cheesecake and PIGS (x7) and the band play a violent and abrasive style of Noise Rock, Punk Rock, Psych Rock and Sludge Rock.

The album isn’t the most easiest thing to listen to and at first listen you may wonder WHAT THE FUCK is going on with this album. As there are a lot of different things going on with the many strands of music that Mummise Guns play on this album. However, after a few listens this turns into a bone-crunching album packed full of streetwise attitude and offers a slab of muscular riffs from start to finish.

The record lasts around 28 minutes and offers 6 tracks that brings in elements of the many different bands the members are part of whilst remaining it’s own original sound. The vocals are a mixture of clean vocals and harsh growls with a hardcore edge to them. The music is always constantly challenging and moving forward with some cool chunky guitar riffs allowing the band to play by their own rules.

The main strength of this album is the wild and unpredictable style the band play on this record as most of the songs are quite different to each other with songs such as Flattened Earth, Glitter Balls and Bipolar Brain Transmitter being the more gloomiest and downright heaviest tracks on the album with a Sludge/Doom Metal undercurrent shining through.

Riot Season Records are releasing this album and I’m not surprised by that. As this album fits the bill for that cool label to release. It’s different from the usual Doom/Sludge/Psych Rock Albums currently out there and this album is perhaps better suited for the adventurous Doom/Sludge Metal fan out there. As Mummise Guns think outside of the box on this release and aren’t held back by genre rules or conventions. This album shows a band who are in control of their own journey and destiny whilst offering a thrilling and unique sounding album.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Howling Giant & Sergeant Thunderhoof: Turned To Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa (Album Review)


Release date: August 7th 2020. Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Turned To Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa – Tracklisting


1.Howling Giant - Masamune
2.Sergeant Thunderhoof - Muramasa

Howling Giant Members

Tom Polzine - Guitar and Vocals
Zach Wheeler - Drums and Vocals
Sebastian Baltes - Bass and Vocals

Sergeant Thunderhoof Members

Mark Sayer
Jim Camp
Dan Flitcroft
Darren Ashman


Review


Ripple Music presents another chapter in their new Turned To Stone anthology series of albums which started earlier this year with Chapter 1: Enter Galactic Wasteland a split album which featured MR BISON and SPACETRUCKER. Now it’s time for Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa.

The album features Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof teaming up for this one and it’s best if the following paragraph explain what the album is all about.

“Chapter two of Ripple's new Turned to Stone series presents the story of two legendary Japanese sword smiths, Muramasa and Masamune, as told in interconnected musical movements by spacefaring psych-metal warriors Howling Giant and their equally cosmic riff-wielding British contemporaries Sergeant Thunderhoof.

In the two pieces, Muramasa and Masamune have a contest to determine whose sword smithery is superior, each crafting a blade of masterful quality and facing off by the edge of the river.”


I was quite interested to hear what both bands had written for this album especially with Howling Giant. As they’re known primarily for creating Heavy Psychedelic Sludge/Stoner Metal with elements of Space Rock and I wonder how their music would transpire to a more classical and realistic setting.

And I’m always excited to hear new music from UK Sludge/Stoner Riffsters – Sergeant Thunderhoof. So lets get down to business with the album.

Both bands offer 20 minutes of intense and superbly played Psychedelic Sludge, Doom and Stoner Metal telling a fantastic story inspired by two legendary Japanese sword smiths from two different time periods as well.

Up first is Howling Giant with Masamune. This is HOWLING GIANT through and through with their Spaced Out Psychedelic Music fitting in superbly well with the source material and playing some epic progressive jams along the way. The vocals are top-notch with the music being constantly challenging and engaging. The band are quite creative on this song with many different parts or chapters of this song having a different feel to them. The cool sounding keyboards/pianos/synths are nice touch and the lyrics are quite poetic when the band slow the mood right down for a more atmospheric style of music.

Sergeant Thunderhoof song Muramasa is perhaps the most emotional song of the two with the band trying some new styles of music that I haven’t heard from the band before. It’s quite LOUD and BOMBASTIC in all of the right places with a slight cinematic feel which Howling Giant offered as well. This is perhaps the most progressive the band have ever been with some euphoric vocals leading the way. The band do return to their classic trademarks style of heavy guitars on the later stages of the song and it’s a powerful slab of Sludge and Stoner Metal that could mean a new musical direction for the band.

I’ve said recently to friends within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Community that Sergeant Thunderhoof was my favourite part of the album. However, that’s changed recently to myself loving both songs in equal measure and rating Turned To Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa as perhaps the Split-Album Of The Year.

I don’t think we’ll hear another collaborative/split album such as this. Unless, Ripple Music have another exciting chapter to be released. Until, then I stick with my original statement.

This is an unmissable album and deserves a place in any Rock/Metal Fan’s music collection.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for the promo. Turned To Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ripple Music from August 7th 2020.

Howling Giant - Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Sergeant Thunderhoof - Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Rollin’ Dice Release New Song - Into the Fire - From Their Upcoming New Album

After a two-year pause, Rollin’ Dice are back with a new song from their upcoming album, set to be released on the 26/09/2020. “Reroll” will be the band’s second album to date. It was recorded during a 9-day live session at “Made in Hell” studio, mixed and mastered by David Prudent. 

“Into the Fire”, the album’s first single, serves as the epilogue of it. It describes the toll social media have taken on western societies, the addiction they have caused and the desensitization that has occurred towards fellow men and the environment. 


Links

Psychlona - Venus Skytrip (Album Review)


Release date: August 21st 2020. Label: Cursed Tongue Records / Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Wholly Other – Tracklisting

1.Blast Off
2.10,000 Volts
3.Blow
4.Star
5.Edge Of The Universe
6.Resin
7.Tijuana
8.The Owl


Members

Phil - Guitar/Vocals
Dave - Guitar/Vocals
Martyn - Bass
Scott - Drums

Review

Venus Skytrip is the 2nd full length album from UK Psychedelic Stoner Rockers Psychlona and this sees the band perhaps more aligned to the sounds of legendary Stoner Metallers Monster Magnet in more ways than one and I’m OK with that. As this album contains many themes from that great band whilst allowing Psychlona to run away with their own crazy Spaced Out ideas.

The sublime and psychedelic artwork of Kyrre Bjurling is being used yet again as it was on their debut album, Mojo Rising and will give you a great indication on what type of journey Psychlona will take you on this album.

The opening song – Blast Off – is loud, boisterous and brings on the Space Rock theme to the forefront of their style of Psychedelic Stoner Rock Metal. The vocals are maybe not what you expect at first but have their own own addictive charm with the music being the main standpoint here. The heavy guitars are always moving on to the next level of addictive FUZZ and the classic sounding 90s Stoner Metal sound is helped along by some killer choices of soundclips spliced throughout the song. A great song to open the album with.

Second song – 10,000 Volts – starts really slowly with an almost Blues Rock atmosphere taking over whilst remaining a claustrophobic style of Stoner Rock/Metal before the heavy riffs appear. This is a slow-burning song which moves along at it’s own pace but Psychlona do play a cool and heavy style of Psychedelic Rock. The song lasts for almost 8 minutes and Psychlona try a lot of different ideas on this song. The song can be too loud at times but it’s a song that demands your patience so just go along with the crazy ride that the band offer here and you’ll be quite surprised how this song ends up.

Third song – Blow – is another great song where the band start playing a cool sounding style of Desert Rock, Psych Rock and Stoner Rock merged into one weirdly heavy style of Spaced Out Rock goodness. The trippy and surreal lyrics feel inspired both by 60’s and 90’s Psychedelic Rock scenes but with a more aggressive modern Stoner Metal atmosphere holding everything together.

By now Psychlona are in control of their own destiny and it’s good to see the band leave the more Progressive style of songs behind and opt for a more straight-forward style of Stoner Metal that harks back to the day of Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Monster Magnet with the next couple songs with Star and Edge Of The Universe.

The final three songs – Resin, Tijuana and The Owl – returns to the earlier sounds of the album with Psychlona playing the heaviest and most far-out Psychedelic songs on the album with Resin and The Owl being the standout songs on the album.

Psychlona have aimed BIG for this album and they’ve delivered an album that is BIGGER, BOLDER and BETTER than their acclaimed debut album. The band have the mighty power of Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music helping to release their album and that’s a thrilling combination to help the band move onto the next level of their musical careers.

This album is explosive entertainment and will appeal to all fans of the Stoner Metal spectrum.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for the promo. Venus Skytrip will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Cursed Tongue Records (Vinyl) and Ripple Music (CD/DD) from August 21st 2020.

Links:

OfficialFacebook | BandCamp

Friday, 24 July 2020

Thomas V Jäger - A Solitary Plan (Album Review)


Release date: July 24th 2020. Label: RidingEasy Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

A Solitary Plan – Tracklisting

A Solitary Plan.
Creature Of The Deep.
It's Alright.
From The Ashes
The Drone.
Goodbye.
The Bitter End.


Review


A Solitary Plan is the debut full length album from Monolord frontman Thomas W Jäger and I was quite surprised when this album was originally announced. As I thought Thomas would be too busy conquering the world of Doom Metal with the critically acclaimed band and after their recent album that was released via Relapse Records

This album sees Thomas take a step back in more ways than one. The music is a semi-acoustic style of Folk, Doom Rock, Psych and Stoner Rock grooves and RidingEasy Records are releasing this album who previously Monolord were signed to.

The first thing that grabs you with A Solitary Plan is how emotionally stirring and involving the album can be despite the different style of music that Thomas plays on this album. This is quite a riffier solo offering compared to other solo albums I’ve listened to from WINO and Steve Von Till.

The opening song - A Solitary Plan - has the gloominess that Monolord are known for but this album is definitely it’s own thing with Thomas putting a more sincere and heartfelt vocal performance. The semi-acoustic nature of the album is quite easy to fall in love with and the lyrics whilst emotionally charged are never boring and remain quite grown-up from start to finish. The music easily drifts along from musical hypnotic passage to the next with the gloomy folk vibes holding everything together.

Second song - Creature Of The Deep - opens with a secluded guitar before Thomas appears with his Doom/Folk based vocals leading the way. The Psychedelic nature of the song is quite claustrophobic but it has an eerie dreamlike quality to it all that harks back to the day of 70s Rock. The second half of the song sees a slight Electronica style of music coming into play which adds a more nuanced feel to the song.

Third song - It’s Alright - is easily my favourite song on the album with perhaps the most “Monolord” style song on the album whilst still retaining the semi-acoustic drive of the entire album and the beautifully written lyrics allow Thomas to deliver his best vocal performance on this album. The quietly played guitars are passionate and have real genuine warmth to them.

These 3 songs should give the listener a good picture on what to expect for the rest of the album. Thomas has 4 more songs left to impress folks with and he does with songs such as: From The Ashes, The Drone and The Bitter End. The album allows Thomas to continue his musical journey branching out into different styles of music you wouldn’t expect him to do especially on From The Ashes and The Bitter End.

The whole sound of the album is another highlight with A Solitary Plan sounding crisp and super-fresh in all of the right places. This album will surprise you with some of its heavy moments despite not primarily being a Heavy Rock album.

A Solitary Plan is a masterful album packed with great music and Thomas in fine storytelling form. You don’t have to be a fan of Monolord to enjoy this album. Take this album on it’s own merits and you will be rewarded with a beautifully charged and emotional album.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Andy at Palmer Turner Overdrive and Dave at US/THEM PR Group for the promo. 

You can now buy A Solitary Plan on CD/DD/VInyl via RidingEasy Records now.

Links


Tuesday, 21 July 2020

L.M.I. - Excess Subconscious (Album Review)


Release date: June 26th 2020. Label: Handstand Records (US) or Maniyax Records (EU). Format: DD/Vinyl

Excess Subconscious – Tracklisting

1.New Strings 02:41
2.Victim of Change 02:16
3.Tracing Fortune 02:24
4.Concrete Illusions 02:18
5.Pulse of Ruin 02:22
6.Ghost Teeth 02:19
7.Another Shadow 02:25
8.Tomorrow Midnight 02:58
9.Light Demise 02:28

Review

It’s been a couple years since I last featured Stoner Metal/Hardcore Punk Rock upstarts L.M.I. and the guys return with their new album Excess Subconscious. The album is in your face and the band haven’t changed their musical outlook since their last release but till offers a wild journey with the band on frightening and demented pissed off form.

The songs on the album features the same Hardcore Punk Rock structure as previous releases with most of the songs not going past the 3 minute mark. Though, L.M.I. cover a lot of ground with Sludge/Stoner Metal grooves and the vocals even go into harsher Death based growls which is perhaps a new thing for the band to do.

The lyrics are quite interesting and that’s always been one of L.M.I. main strengths in writing socially aware and topical lyrics which strike a chord with the current dark climates happening over the world. The music can be quite violent but in all of the right places with that classic Hardcore Punk sound being the main style of delivery for L.M.I. to express their dissatisfaction with the world.

Even within the short running time of the album, L.M.I. do play some brutally loud and bone-crunching grooves especially on the earlier stages of the album with New Strings, Tracking Change and Concrete Illusions being worthy of multiple listens.

The production is handled reasonably well that allows L.M.I. to stay true to their DIY roots whilst allowing the band to branch out further afield within the Sludge/Stoner Metal environments.

Excess Subconscious never outstays it’s welcome and allows the listener to become part of L.M.I. dark world and maybe even agreeing with some of the ideas, points and views have included for this album.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


PSYCHLONA Premiere New Song Edge Of The Universe

PSYCHLONA are ready to unleash their second single Edge of the Universe which you can watch below. 


New album ‘Venus Skytrip' out August 21st via Ripple Music (CD and digital) and Cursed Tongue Records (vinyl).

TRACK LISTING:
1. Blast Off
2. 10,000 Volts
3. Blow
4. Star
5. Edge of the Universe
6. Resin
7. Tijuana
8. The Owl

It was in the summer of 2015 when the embryo of PSYCHLONA first started to develop in Yorkshire, Northern England. It's only three years later that the fully formed eight-legged groove machine released their debut album ‘Mojo Rising’ on Ripple Music and Cursed Tongue Records, then defended the latter on the connaisseur stages of Desertfest London, Fuzztival Denmark and HRH Doom v Stoner Festival, along with a full European tour.

Never a band to sit back and take things easy, writing for what would become the next album began in late 2019. The four disappeared into 'The Cave' for the winter, armed with beers, kebabs and a fistful of ideas for new music and didn't emerge until the job was done in the early months of 2020.


Bleary eyed in the early morning sun and with a desire to unleash the last few months efforts onto the unsuspecting public, 2020 was starting to shape up pretty good. Performances at various events including Freak Valley Festival, plus a UK and two European tours were confirmed, recording started and then... along came the virus which threw a spanner in everyone’s works. The band pushed as hard as possible and finally completed the album by the end of April. Despite life being postponed until 2021, the new record refused to wait and ‘Venus Skytrip’ was set for an August 21st, 2020 release, once again on Ripple Music and Cursed Tongue Records.

PSYCHLONA

RIPPLE MUSIC

WebsiteFacebookBandcampInstagram


CURSED TONGUE RECORDS

Facebook | BigCartel

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Orbital Junction - Green Man (Single Review)


Release date: June 26th 2020. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Green Man – Tracklisting 


Green Man – 05:56

Members

Owen - Vox
Ric - Guitar
Billy - Bass
Jack - Drums


Review

Green Man is the new single from UK Stoner Metallers – Orbital Junction – and is from their upcoming debut album which will be released later this year. This is my first venture into Orbital Junction’s world and I’m mightily impressed by what they have to offer. This is a band who play Psychedelic Stoner Metal with elements of Desert Rock and Doom Metal being thrown in.

Green Man starts really slow but allows Orbital Junction to have a confident swagger and real presence. The music is slow, dense and quite heavy though you don’t realise how emotional the song actually is. That’s primarily down to the excellent vocals of Owen and the deep meaningful lyrics the band have written for this song. Almost folk based but still full of great Stoner based vibes. 




The song instantly becomes a different song when the heavy grungy and doom guitars kick into overdrive. The song is still played at a slow pace but the listener is given more time to soak in those heavy sounding riffs.

Overall, this is a superb offering and has me excited to hear their debut album when it’s released later this year. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Orbital Junction and I recommend you all do too…

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


Official Site | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp | Spotify

Black Helium - The Wholly Other (Album Review)


Release date: July 24th 2020. Label: Riot Season Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Wholly Other – Tracklisting

1. Hippie On A Slab 07:12
2.Two Masters 05:05
3.Death Station Of The Goddess 10:03
4.One Way Trip 05:02
5.Pink Bolt 10:27
6.Teetering On The Edge 04:03

Members

Beck Harvey: Bass/Vocals
Stuart Gray: Guitar/Vocals
Davey Mulka: Guitar Vocals
Diogo Gomez: Drums

Review

Black Helium return with their new album The Wholly Other which follows their blistering debut album Primitive Fuck back in 2018. The band impressed me with their crazy and unique free-form style of wild sounding Psychedelic Rock, Stoner Rock, Noise Rock and Doomed Out Theatrics which was quite original in places. Well, the band return with a more focused, demented and heavier new offering that’s vastly different to their debut album.

Opening song – Hippie On A Slab – offers a Psychedelic and Hallucinogenic nightmare of Psych Rock, Doom Metal and Stoner Rock with a gloomy Noise Rock focus that allows the band to fully get into their stride at the earliest opportunity. This song reminds me of Japanese Avant-Garde Legends BORIS with their crazed style of music embracing many different styles of music. Black Helium offer a similar style of music here with frantic guitars, intense drumming and superb vocals that all make a for a wickedly entertaining dark ride.

Second song – Two Masters – opens with an eerie 60's sounding style of music before moving right on into the 70's with another slice of hap-hazard style of Psychedelic Rock that airs on the right caution of Doom/Stoner Rock with Black Helium adding a grizzled Heavy Metal attitude to this song. The dual vocals are excellent offering a more layered approach but the music is what impresses the most with Black Helium not only throwing the rulebook out of the window but re-writing at the same time.

Third song – Death Station Of The Goddess – starts with vocals that wouldn’t go amiss from the legendary “Madchester” scene. You’ll know when you hear it. Slow based chants and riffs soon take a step back in time with a 1960’s sounding atmosphere that allows Black Helium much needed time and space to change the whole tone and direction of this song. It’s very cool to hear as the band build up to a fine heavy rhythm where all hell breaks loose with heavy Psychedelic Rock riffs finally taking over. Though, it’s the journey and evolution of this song that make this perhaps the standout song on the album.

Three songs down and three to go with Black Helium going into even more crazed Psychedelic Rock territory with another 10 minute plus song to fry your fragile little minds with. Pink Bolt is another standout track on the album for Black Helium to change your musical perspective with sonic experimentation being layered against Heavy Doom/Stoner Rock with a slightly distorted approach that the band are absolute masters at.

The Wholly Other is a different sounding album to Primitive Fuck and it’s good to see Black Helium not afraid to try something new whilst remaining true to the spirit of their debut album. I think this is a much better album and I loved their debut record. This is a much braver, bolder, darker and daring album that puts Black Helium firmly on the map to becoming one of the best Psychedelic Rock bands the UK has to offer at the moment.

It’s good to see Black Helium continue their relationship with Riot Season Records who are releasing a string of great albums this year. Though, this is Black Helium’s show and it’s time for folks to get with the program and check out this great album and band out now...

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Black Helium for the promo. The Wholly Other will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Riot Season Records from July 24th 2020.

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp


Thursday, 16 July 2020

EMBR - 1823 (Album Review)


Release date: July 17th 2020. Label: New Heavy Sounds Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

1823 – Tracklisting

1.Prurient
2.Where I've Been
3.Stranger 

4.Powder
5.Eyes Like Knives
6.Your Burden
7.Vines


Members

Eric - Drums
Crystal - Vox
Alan - Bass
Mark - Guitar


Review

1823 is the debut full length album from EMBR. A band that I have featured previously on the blog over the years and it’s great to see the band deliver on their early potential they showed on their previous releases with this huge sounding album. 1823 is named because as Eric received a kidney transplant when writing the album. The following info will explain everything:

Drummer Eric Bigelow received a kidney transplant in the middle of writing the album. The kidney was from a deceased donor. All Eric and Crystal Bigelow (singer and Eric’s wife) know about the donor is that they were female and between the ages of 18-23.

The album is dedicated to the donor and the surgeons at Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville TN.


1823 features seven songs with EMBR embracing their Doom Metal identity but adding flashes of Gothic Rock, Sludge Rock, Stoner Metal, Psych Rock and even Grunge. So they have all bases covered within the musical spectrum and they have a damn good time in making some top-notch noise and grooves of their own.

The album is quite dark in places with the heavy guitars and lush twisted vocals from Crystal that add an eerie atmosphere from start to finish. The lyrics may take a little bit of time to fully become accustomed to but when everything clicks into place EMBR soar to new musical heights with Progressive and Doom based sounds leading the way.

EMBR are quite a different band from their earlier EP’s. As the music is heavier and way more progressive with the band playing some cool riffs that wouldn’t go amiss from a Mastodon or Torche record.

ongs such as: Prurient, Stranger, Powder and Eyes Like Knives -are my favourite songs on the album with the band being more focused on playing the heaviest sounds of the album and Crystal is just on dynamite form with her multitude and different style of vocals she performs on this album. And the music ain’t half bad either.

1823 is an album with real attitude and a determined focus that you don’t really hear with a debut album but EMBR pull this off with style and some epic doomed out riffs that will leave a lasting impression.

This is a superb debut album and EMBR richly deserve all the plaudits coming their way.

Words by Steve Howe


1823 is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via New Heavy Sounds.

Links:

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Brimstone Coven Premiere New Song - When The World Is Gone - From Their Upcoming New Album


Acclaimed Doom/Stoner Rockers will be releasing their excellent new album - The Woes of A Mortal Earth - on August 21st 2020 via Ripple Music.

Ripple Music founder Todd Severin comments: "I've known Brimstone Coven for years, bought all their albums, followed their career. So, needless to say I was thrilled when the band contacted me asking to join the Ripple Family. Their brand of heavy fits right in with the Ripple sound; massive and groovy. Can't wait to present their new album to our listeners!"

Echoing the eerie reverberations of hard rock heavyweights like Black Sabbath and Pentagram mixed with the Classic Rock style of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, BRIMSTONE COVEN has created a vintage sound and style all their own. Hailing from eastern Ohio, the band was conceptualized by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Corey Roth in 2011. Corey recruited John Williams (vocals), Andrew D'Cagna (bass) and Justin Wood (drums) to complete the lineup.

A five song​ EP was self-released in 2012, followed by a full length in 2013. 2014 saw the band signing a two-album deal with veteran underground label Metal Blade Records. The first two recordings were repackaged and released under Metal Blade as one album, followed by the album 'Black Magic' in early 2016. 2017 proved to be a transitional year for BRIMSTONE COVEN. The band parted ways with Metal Blade, as well as original vocalist John and drummer Justin. Dave Trik joined soon after to take over drumming duties and the band collectively decided to forge on as a trio. New songs were penned and the album 'What Was and What Shall Be' was released independently in 2018. Fans responded very positively to the lineup change and new material. Three successful US tours to promote the album soon followed, covering the Northeast, Midwest and Southern states.

The rest of 2019 was spent honing a new batch of songs and the band entered the studio in early 2020. The result would prove to be BRIMSTONE COVEN's darkest sounding album to date, entitled 'The Woes of a Mortal Earth'. The new year also saw the trio signing a new deal with the venerable label Ripple Music. Despite the foreboding atmosphere of their new album, the future of Brimstone Coven has never looked so bright.

To get you in the mood for the upcoming new album, you can hear the awesome new single for When The World Is Gone


The Woes of A Mortal Earth will be released on CD/DD/Vinyl on August 21st 2020 from Ripple Music and order via US preorder // European preorder

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for all of the details.

Links

Facebook | BandCamp

Monday, 13 July 2020

Dee Calhoun - Godless (Album Review)


Release date: July 10th 2020. Label: Argonauta Records. Format: CD/DD

Godless – Tracklisting

1. Here Under Protest - 04:30
2. Godless - 05:52
3. The Moon Says Goodbye - 05:10
4. Hornswoggled - 04:20
5. To My Boy - 04:33
6. Spite Fuck - 05:50
7. No Justice - 03:49
8. Ebenezer - 05:41
9. Ride Away - 05:01
10. The Greater Evil - 05:41
11. The Day Salvation Went Away - 04:26

12. Prudes Puritanicals Puddles of Piss - 06:34

Review

Legendary Doom Metal Artist – Dee Calhoun – returns with his 3rd solo album Godless and it sees Dee on on fine form with an album that has 12 tracks to soothe your soul with. This is a deeply emotional and quite troubling album in places. As Dee lays his heart out here. Playing a more subdued acoustic style of American, Doom, Country and good old fashioned Outlaw Rock.

The album features Dee’s infinite wisdom which he’s built up with almost 40 years in the musical business and performing for great bands such as Spiral Grave and IRON MAN. This is Dee’s 3rd solo album and it’s good to see him continuing his excellent relationship with Argonauta Records yet again.

Godless is quite a spiritual album despite the name of GODLESS. As there’s a lot of deep meaningful lyrics that touch upon religious themes. The music is constantly captivating with Dee playing a wild style of Acoustic Rock that offers the perfect balance of different sounds and still keep the gloomy atmosphere thriving from start to finish.

Dee is joined by Iron Man and Spiral Grave bandmate, Louis Strachan, provided the bass tracks. Dee’s son Robert, “Little ‘Houn” Calhoun, appears on the record with percussion and backing vocals performances. So it’s good to see that Dee has made this a very close and personal affair and you can tell that on the lyrics for the majority of the songs.

Maybe 12 tracks is slightly too long for this album but it’s quite a powerful album that pulls no punches with the dark vocals and lyrical content that Dee has included on this album. The album is deeply soaked by the legendary Blues Rock scene as it’s steeped in a very cool and vibrant Blues Rock sound.


Standout songs on the album include – Here Under Protest, Godless, To My Boy, Spite Fuck, Ride Away, The Greater Evil and Prudes Puritanicals Puddles of Piss.

The “Outlaw” aspect of this album is perhaps the best part of GODLESS. As Dee writes and performs some of his best material when he’s in a more rebellious mood but though there are still plenty moments of emotionally charged acoustic rock to be impressed with.
GODLESS is wonderfully eerie and challenging in equal measure. So don’t expect an easy ride as this album offers no easy answers or solutions but a showcase for a Doom Metal Legend at the top of his game.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

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

Links:

Sunday, 12 July 2020

It's All About the Riff featuring Dan Lorenzo from VESSEL OF LIGHT

Back in early March, Vessel of Light played three shows in NY/NJ. Jason Stewart did a video interview with our singer Nathan Opposition. Nathan commented that he'd be flying back to NJ in June to do a five day run with Vessel of Light. We were supposed to be playing at the Maryland Doom Fest plus four other shows last week. 

Before the Cornavirus shutdown we had plans to release our 4th album in 2021.

A few days after our last show in March Jason Stewart came to my house to film a lengthy interview with me, guitar in hand. I discussed my times with Hades, Non-Fiction and The Cursed with Bobby Blitz. Due to the stay-at-home orders we are way ahead with out next record. 


I wrote and recorded my guitar parts to sixteen new songs and drummer Ron Lipnicki has tracked fourteen of those. I told Ron to "go off" on this record and I doubt many drummers could pull off the intricate rhythms Ron has laid down. Jimmy Schulman and Nathan will be tracking their parts in July and August so we could have a new single out in September and a brand new full length album/CD in late September or October. 

A California label Nomad Eel Records will be releasing the CD first and then vinyl in early 2021.

Now, I mentioned Ron recorded some complicated drum tracks for our new album. My riffs are still very simple. Pretty much anybody who has played guitar for a few months could probably play most of these songs. For some reason Jason has chosen me to debut his new video series It's All About The Riff. Jason has spent countless hours these last three months editing my (musical) life story.


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Video created and filmed by Jason Stewart 


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Iron Pike - Be The Discomfort (Album Review)


Release date: June 21st 2020. Label: Self Released. Format: Cassette/DD

Be The Discomfort – Tracklisting

1.The Great Deep 08:35
2.Pig Manners 06:37
3.Forked Tongues 06:45
4.Loathe 07:51

Members

Niklas - organ, synthesizers, noise and vocals
Oscar - drums
Björn - Guitar and vocals
Bass and vocals on this album by Jakob.

Review


Be The Discomfort is the new album from Swedish Sludge Metallers Iron Pike and it’s quite a convincing and brutally heavy affair with the band playing a pummelling style of Hardcore based Doom/Sludge Metal. It’s a style of music that we’ve heard a million times before but if you’re on the lookout for a heavy style of Sludge Metal with great vocals to match then Iron Pike are the perfect band for you to checkout.

The album is expertly put together with a fantastic and free-flowing production that allows Iron Pike to grow naturally within the albums 30 minute running time. The gloomy atmospherics can be quite raw at times but this gives Iron Pike a more unsettling method of playing their down-tuned heavy sounds that ultimately brings a more claustrophobic style of Doom/Sludge Metal.

The song does have some trippy psychedelic parts spliced throughout the album with creepy soundbytes added along the way.

Opening song – The Great Deep – is the standout song on the album as Iron Pike utilize some great soundclips to portray a more deeper and emotionally involving blend of music. The vocals are a combination of clean vocals and harsh growls which are quite ferocious from start to finish. The lyrics could have done with some more work but overall this is a beautifully heavy and gloomy song that has some epic guitar sounds that allow Iron Pike to be noticed on their own merits.

The other songs on the album follow the same path as The Great Deep and Iron Pike do add different layers of heaviness to these songs with Forked Tongues and Loathe having a slightly more depressing and violent feel to them.

If you dig bands such as Cult Of Luna, CONAN and EyeHateGod then Iron Pike are the band for you. As Iron Pike are another welcome addition from the world famous Swedish Doom/Sludge Metal scene which has already given the world so many amazing acts. They prove on Be The Discomfort they are a band checking out and worth giving a damn about.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp