Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Seven Planets - Explorer (Album Review)


Release date: February 07th 2020. Label: Small Stone Recordings. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Explorer - Tracklisting

1.Vanguard 02:46
2.Plain Truth In A Homespun Dress 04:39
3.Explorer 06:56
4.206 03:26
5.Seven Seas 06:45
6.Great Attractor 05:17
7.Grissom 03:30
8.The Buzzard 03:06

Members

Leonard Hanks: guitar
Ben Pitt: drums
James Way: guitar
Mike Williams: bass

Review

Seven Planets play a mixture of Instrumental Spaced Out Rock that merges elements of Psych Rock and Stoner Rock for a more direct sound. Their new album Explorer is always a constantly engaging affair allowing the band to play more challenging style of Stoner/Spaced Out Rock though with an easy-going addictive quality to it all.

There are eight songs and Seven Planets explore as many different levels of Psychedelic Rock on this album with the band showing a keen eye for playing heavy riffs with a moody atmosphere appearing in certain parts of the album. The album does have a certain classic feel to it with songs such as: Vanguard, Plain Truth In A Homespun Dress and Explorer impressing early on. The mood is buoyant and heavy with a very cool sounding Progressive edge heard within the strange Electronic sounds.

Explorer is very much an album that has a beginning, middle and end with the band not leaving any loose ends to tease the listener with for their next release. Despite this being an instrumental album, Seven Planets know how to tell an exciting story with the music being the only narrative that you need to hear on an album such as this.

The second half of the album continues with the great work played out on the first half with Seven Planets being slightly more comfortable and the riffs move effortlessly well between the different moods and genres the band have created here. Especially when the band play a more Fuzz Rock and Jazz based style of music. As the album becomes more soulful and I never really expected that from an Instrumental Rock album.

Other great songs include: Seven Seas, Great Attractor and The Buzzard.

This is Seven Planets third album and my first exposure to the band and I’m mightily impressed how creative the guys can actually be on this album. As they have managed to create a truly cinematic sounding album that balances the fine art of Heavy Rock with subtle Spaced Out grooves driving everything along. The production is wonderful from start to finish and allows Seven Planets to bring a heavy presence to the party.

Overall, Explorer will leave you superbly entertained from start to finish and wanting to take further journeys with this hugely talented outfit.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Earsplit PR for the promo. Explorer is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Small Stone Recordings.

Links:


Orphans Of Doom - II (Album Review)


Release date: February 28th 2020. Label: The Company KC. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

II - Tracklisting

1.New Ishtar
2.Necromantic
3.Swans
4.The Ornamentalist
5.Rust
6.The Last of Me (The Captain)
7.Viper Diaper
8.Fever Dream

Members

Jeremy Isaacson – Guitar
Bryan Sedey – Guitar
Greg Koelling – Drums

Review

Orphans Of Doom are back with their new album – II – and it’s a less spaced out affair compared to their debut album which made me an instant fan of their music. Their new album is perhaps more aggressive and focuses more on a heavier style of Sludge/Doom Metal not heard on their debut album. Though there is still much to enjoy here if you’re a fan of the band’s debut album.

II is another standout album from the band and sees Orphans Of Doom expand their journey even further down the Sludge/Doom Metal rabbit hole. The riffs and vocals have a more precise nature to them with the band also adding a more progressive edge to their overall sound.

Opening song – New Ishtar – has a groove metal sound driving everything along with flashes of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal being used for heavy stylish effect. The song also offers glimpses of Psychedelic and Spaced Out Noises that shows that the band are more than happy to revisit ideas first heard on their last album. Though it’s the heavy grooves and riffs that’s the main attraction here. Perhaps influenced by early-era Mastodon once again but the band still manage to play their own blend of action-packed riffs.

Second song – Necromantic – opens with a fast-paced “Thrash” style sound with the vocals being more forceful and that’s perhaps down to the highly volatile lyrics the band have written for this song. The band do play some wonderfully epic guitar solos on the later stages of the song which can be quite melodic in places. The Psychedelic Post-Doom riff the band included towards the end had me under their spell for a few short moments before returning to their “normal” aggressive style of music.

Third song – Swans – carries on the thundering and heavy progressive grooves heard with a lot more flair and imagination being heard on this song with the music having a very cool sounding “LOUD v QUIET” dynamic with the band focusing more on the Progressive Doom Metal vibe of their overall sound. The song can be too flashy in places but I believe the band have earned that right to show folks what they can and they lay down a wide range of impressive sounds on this song alone.

Fourth Song – The Ornamentalist – is my favourite song on the album as it sees Orphans Of Doom add the classic “Thin Lizzy” guitar sound to the album and when they merge it with their epic style of Psychedelic Guitar Riffs then I’m taken back to the heavy atmosphere heard on the band’s debut album. The song is still quite heavy but the Spaced Out moments is what made me a fan of Orphans Of Doom in the first place. Musically, this is perhaps the best sounding song on the album and leaves you wanting more.

Four songs down and four songs to go. Orphans Of Doom carry on with their mission in bringing heavy and stylish Psychedelic and Progressive Sludge vibes with the second half of the album perhaps being even heavier than the first part. Songs such as: Rust, The Last Of Me and Viper Diaper – showing that the band have a wealth of different ideas to impress the masses with.

The production is excellent that allows the band to try new and exciting new ideas on this album that all ultimately pay off with Orphans Of Doom creating another outstanding album to impress the Doom/Sludge Metal masses with. As their debut album was sadly overlooked in my opinion. I’m hoping this album allows the band to enhance their fan-base to greater levels. As these guys richly deserve all the rewards and accolades hopefully coming their way.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Joshua at The Company KC for the promo. II will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via The Company KC from February 28th 2020.

Links:

Sunday, 16 February 2020

STONUS - Aphasia (Album Review)


Release date: March 06th 2020. Label: Daredevil Records/Electric Valley Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Aphasia - Tracklisting

1.Intro
2.Awake
3.Aphasia
4.Mania 06:35
5.Nadir
6.Dead End
7.Ghost Town

Members

Vocals: Kyriacos Frangoulis
Lead Guitar: Pavlos Demetriou
Rythm Guitar: Nicky Ray
Bass: Andreas Aristides
Drums: Kotsios Demetriades

Review

Aphasia is the hard-rocking and turbo-charged debut album from London based Greek Psych Stoner Rockers – Stonus. This album has been on constant rotation ever since I received a copy late last year. Stonus try their hand at many different sounds within the Psych Rock/Stoner Metal genres adding traces of Doom Rock and Desert Rock into their music.

Stonus operate in the same world as KYUSS, Fu Manchu, Monster Magnet and early QOTSA. If that gets your appetite or engine running then Aphasia is the album you need to listen to.

The opening song – Intro – is just that. A 50 second intro of different sounds that is just continuous loops and noises before a long drawn-out flat-line fades away into the background before the excitement really starts with the next song.

Second song – Awake – has a classic Kyuss/QOTSA feel to it and Stonus don’t waste any time in playing a heavier and doomier blend of Stoner Rock/Metal with a raw sounding atmosphere and turbo-charged riffs allowing the band to add a more soulful “Cosmic” style of music into the mix. The drumming and guitars are drive the music along with Kyriacos vocals having a more “Punk” based energy. The song is quite progressive with the song running past the 7 minutes mark.

Third song – Aphasia – with being the title track is perhaps also the strongest song on the album with Stonus adding a world-weary voice-over at the start. Repeated callings of “CAN YOU HANDLE IT” play in the background before the riffs gently appear and you can feel that classic “KYUSS” influence shining through yet again and that is no bad thing. The song moves at a blistering pace and Stonus lay down some of the best Psych Rock/Stoner Metal riffs on this song. The atmosphere is fused with a heavy dose of Blues Rock that also gives the song a classic sounding feel.

Fourth song – Mania – carries on the fast-paced action with more of the same highly energetic sound that Stonus play superbly well. This has a more “FUZZIER” attitude and is another one of the standout songs on the album. The vocals are perhaps the best thing about this album as Kyriacos excels on this song and makes his presence feel known amongst the heavy sounds the band play on this album.

The other 3 songs on the album continue with the Desert/Fuzz/Stoner Metal grooves that Stonus play so superbly well. Maybe the music isn’t the most original but Stonus play to their musical strengths on this album and it’s the more better for it. Especially on the final two songs – Dead End and Ghost Town – which had me nodding and singing in agreement.

The production and overall sound of the album is excellent and allows Aphasia to be quite a load and action-packed album indeed. Aphasia has a cool and addictive warm glow to it and feels more like an album you would listen to in the summer with your buddies along with a few beers as well.

Overall, Stonus have released a superbly entertaining record that will hopefully enhance their reputation within the Stoner Rock/Metal community.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Stonus, Qabar PR and Daredevil Records for the promo. Aphasia will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Daredevil Records / Electric Valley Records from March 06th 2020.

Links:


Saturday, 15 February 2020

Shadow Witch - Under The Shadow Of A Witch


Release date: February 14th 2020. Label: Argonauta Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Under The Shadow Of A Witch - Tracklisting

1.Spearfinger 02:59
2.Demon's Hook 04:02
3.Wolf Among The Sheep 04:59 
4.Witches of Aendor 04:18 
5.Shifter 03:34
6.Saint Magdalene 04:31
7.6 x 6 03:54
8.Sour 03:51
9.Fountain 08:10

Members

Doug Beans ~ drums
David Pannullo ~ bass
Earl Walker Lundy ~ vocals, mellotron, tapes
Jeremy Hall ~ guitars.

Review

Shadow Witch impressed me a great deal back in 2017 with their last album – Disciples Of The Crow. And now almost 2.5 years later the band are back with Under The Shadow Of A Witch. This album has a more devilish and streetwise attitude compared to their last album. The riffs are mostly the same which is a good thing as Shadow Witch carry on the good work they created with their last record.

The album is a blistering mix of Doom, Grunge, Heavy Rock and Stoner Rock attitude. The band adapt a more classic Hard Rock feel to their music as well especially on the earlier tracks such as Spearfinger, Demon’s Hook, Wolf Among The Sheep and Witches Of Aendor. The music is fresh and fast-paced with the grizzled guitars laying down doomy riffs with the vocals having a fresh gloomy perspective to them.

There are shades of NWOBHM driving the music to greater heights on this album and Shadow Witch seem more energized than I’ve heard previously. The music is always constantly heavy and addictive with the band paying homage to the classic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal sounds of the last 50 years or so. So you can expect shades of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Iron Maiden within this album’s DNA but still offering a Doomed Out Stoner Rock perspective.

The lyrics is what gives the band the devilish and streetwise attitude that I mentioned earlier in the review. The lyrics feel quite real despite the “Occult/Doom” based presence of them. So take notice what Earl is singing about on this album. As there are some great lyrics to remember and perhaps even sing-along with.

The best moments appear on the 2nd half of the album where Shadow Witch branch out into heavier and progressive territory especially on the 8 minute plus epic Fountain which features the all-round good dude and one of my favourite people in the Stoner Rock scene – Pat Harrington of GEEZER fame – playing slide guitar. So another cool thing waiting for you to hear on the album.

I have to give the band credit for adding a different version of the album on their BandCamp Page. This version is all instrumental and is split into two different acts listed below:

Act One ~ Spearfinger & Other Cautionary Tales ~
Spearfinger. Demon's Hook. Wolf Among The Sheep. Witches Of Aendor. Shifter.

Act Two ~ Fountain & Other Assorted Love Songs ~
Saint Magdalene. 6x6. Sour. Fountain.

That was really cool to hear. The album sounds very different as an instrumental album. As Earl’s vocals add a powerful presence to Shadow Witch’s overall sound. However, this is a still a great idea to include.

Under The Shadow Of A Witch is another winning album from Shadow Witch and will no doubt keep their established fanbase and the Doom/Stoner Rock community entertained for a long to come. Well, until their next album…

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Mona at All Noir PR for the promo. Under The Shadow Of A Witch is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Argonauta Records now.
Links:


Thursday, 13 February 2020

Festival News - MONOLITH ON THE MESA - Announces Full Line-Up Details


Monolith on the Mesa, a "High Desert Experience," is an independent three-day music and immersive art festival founded by Dano Sanchez in 2019. Co-founder Roman Barham focuses on band booking. Both are Albuquerque natives. The festival takes place at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership, and on the grounds of Hotel Luna Mystica, just outside of Taos, New Mexico. 

The festival is focused on heavy riff-rock acts from across multiple sub-genres including stoner rock, heavy psych, doom metal, sludge, drone, and retro rock. The dramatic vistas and multiple stages along with immersive art installations set this festival apart. Attendees have the chance to enjoy all 40 bands performing during the three day event since performances switch between the scenic outdoor “earthship” amphitheater stage and the club-style indoor stage. 

Festival capacity is limited to 1,500 to provide an intimate experience. 

MONOLITH ON THE MESA FULL FESTIVAL LINE-UP REVEALED:

Brant Bjork (Palm Desert, CA)
The Obsessed (Potomac, MD)
Yawning Man (Palm Desert, CA)
Big Business (Melvins, Karp) (Los Angeles, CA)
Atomic Bitchwax (Neptune, NJ)
Mars Red Sky (Bordeaux, France)
Old Man Gloom (Santa Fe, NM)
Ruby the Hatchet (Philadelphia, PA)
Mondo Generator (The Dwarves, QOTSA) (Los Angeles, CA)
Nebula (Fu Manchu) (San Francisco, CA)
Big Scenic Nowhere (Fu Mancho) (San Diego, CA)
Ecstatic Vision (Philadelphia, PA)
Weedeater (Wilmington, NC)
Fatso Jetson (Palm Springs, CA)
Sons Of Otis (Toronto, Canada)
Earthride (Frederick, MD)
Wo Fat (Dallas, TX)
Warhorse (Worcester, MA)
Mondo Drag (San Francisco, CA)
Mark Deutrom (Austin, TX)
Khemmis (Denver, CO)
Magic Castles (Minneapolis, MN)
El Perro (Radio Moscow) (San Diego, CA)
The Otolith (SubRosa) (Salt Lake City, UT)
Year of the Cobra (Seattle, WA)
Duel (Austin, TX)
Heavy Temple (Philadelphia, PA )
Yatra (Ocean City, MD)
Great Electric Quest (San Diego, CA)
Mountain Of Smoke (The Sword) (Dallas, TX)
Mlny Parsons (Royal Thunder) (Atlanta, GA)
KYOTY (Dover, NH)
Destroyer of Light (Austin, TX)
Love Gang (Denver, CO)
Relaxer (EarthQuaker devices) (Akron, OH)
Bridge Farmers (Austin, TX)
Red Feather (Nashville, TN)
Street Tombs (Santa Fe, NM)
Red Mesa (Albuquerque, NM)
Prism Bitch (Albuquerque, NM)
Sun Dog (Albuquerque, NM)
Distances (Albuquerque, NM)
+ Visuals by The Mad Alchemist liquid light show (San Francisco, CA)

DATES AND TIMES:

Box office opens at 9 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
May 28th doors at 4 pm til 1:30 am
May 29th doors at 12 noon; outside stage til midnight; indoor stage til 1:30 am
May 30th doors at 12 noon; outdoor stage til midnight; indoor stage til 1:30 am

VENUE INFORMATION:

Taos Mesa Brewing: The Mothership
20 ABC Mesa Rd.
El Prado, New Mexico 89529

InTechnicolour - Big Sleeper (Album Review)


Release date: February 21st 2020. Label: Big Scary Monsters/Art As Catharsis. Format: DD/Vinyl

Big Sleeper - Tracklisting

1.Miami Funk
2.Under The Sun
3.Shaker
4.Big Sleeper
5.Gallonman
6.Doomer
7.Lend Me A Crushed Ear
8.Slow Moth
9.Tortoise

Members

Tobie Anderson - Vocals,
Dave Jackson - Guitars,
Vlad Matveikov - Bass,
Sam Coveney - Drums

Review

InTechnicolour feel like they come from the American Stoner Rock scene instead of the UK. As the band play a heavily addictive and stylized version of Desert Rock, Stoner Rock and Psych Rock that sees the band draw influence from bands such as Kyuss and Torche in places. Though, the band add a more Alternative Rock flavour to their overall sound. Their debut album – Big Sleeper – doesn’t shy away from adding a deep admiration for the nineties alternative rock/grunge scenes as well.

The opening song – Miami Funk – has a classic Stoner/Desert Rock groove before an Alternative Psychedelic sound appears and the heavy addictive riffs go into overdrive that brings the early sounds of Kyuss to the party. The vocals from Tobie are good and quite easy-going in places. They remind me of Grant Nicholas (FEEDER) in many ways. Hopefully the band won’t take that as an insult. As I was huge fan of FEEDER back in my younger years. Anyway, InTechnicolour do play a heavy blend of Stoner/Sludge Rock on the later stages of the song.

Second song – Under The Sun – carries on the Alternative and Upbeat grooves with the song taking time to bring the heavy riffs to the party. The song is quite moody and reflective in places but shows a different side to the band and leaves you wondering in what direction the album will ultimately end up heading into. As the band keep their cards to their chest and just let their music do all of the talking.

Third song – Shaker – is where the band start to play some of their heavier distorted sludgier sounds with their nineties grunge/alt-rock influences being there for everyone to feel and hear. The music is moody yet again but it’s the edgier Psychedelic parts that make this song really works. As it makes the heavy riffs sound more precise and direct. The vocals are excellent yet again.

Fourth song – Big Sleeper – has a slightly gloomier sound compared to the other songs on the album. The song perhaps feels out of place when first listening to the album but it soon becomes a more rewarding experience with each repeated listen. As the song embraces it’s gloomy and almost Post-Doom outlook on life. The guitars and music move into many different directions but there is still a familiar Stadium Rock/Stoner Rock sound to it all.

There are five other songs on the album but the ones that impressed me the most are: Gallon Man, Slow Moth and Tortoise. As these songs allow the band to add a more cinematic groove to their music whilst bringing different layers of Heavy Stoner Rock to the party.

Tortoise is the standout and longest song on the album clocking in over ten minutes in length. The song is also the most experimental offering on the album with the band adding a Distorted feel to the album with moments of Drone, Doom, Psych, Sludge and Stoner Metal combining for one euphoric wild ride towards the end of the song.

Big Sleeper is such a rich and rewarding album with InTechnicolour playing many different styles of music within Stoner Rock/Metal. You need to take your time with this album. There are riffs to be found when you first listen to the album. However, the real reward is when you start to delve deeper into this album and discover the superb lyrics and lush musical imagery the band conjure up on the album that last leave you wanting more.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Lachlan at Art As Catharsis for the promo. Big Sleeper will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl via Big Scary Monsters and Art As Catharsis from February 21st 2020.

Links:


Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Lysaar - S/T (Album Review)


Release date: January 17th 2020. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Lysaar - S/T - Tracklisting

1.Ildskrift I 06:57
2.Ildskrift II 08:32
3.Henfald 05:53
4.Udfrielse 11:18

Members

Guitar: Theis Wilmer Poulsen (ORM, By The Patient)
Guitar: Jonas Budtz Møller (Tyran, Black Book Lodge)
Bass: Torben Wæver Pedersen (Pet The Preacher)
Drums: Christian Von Larsen (Pet The Preacher)

Review

Lysaar is the new band from Heavy Stoner Rockers – Pet The Preacher – who sadly called it day recently. This is a very different beast to Pet The Preacher with Lysaar playing an Instrumental style of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal. The album does have a more varied style of Post-Metal interludes with an ambient Post-Doom feel allowing Lysaar to have a more cinematic sound. And I think that’s also down to the other members of the band who are part of great acts such as Black Book Lodge, ORM and By The Patient.

The album opens with the two-part bombastic melodies of Iidskrift I and Iidskrift II which sees Lysaar play an aggressive style of music mixed with Psychedelic grooves that brings extra weight to the overall feel, flow and sound of the entire album. The songs both carry a similar narrative to each other with a deep Psychedelic vibe that allows the band to a play a more realistic style of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal.

The other two songs – Henfald and Udfrielse – allows Lysaar once again to develop their Psychedelic/Post-Metal sounds even further on the eleven minute plus epic – Udfrielse which ranks easily as the best song on the album. Lysaar have a deep feel for all things Psychedelic and Post-Rock especially on Henfald which acts as a soothing Ambient/Post-Rock for the first half of the song before the band start playing a more explosive mix of Post-Doom and Stoner based grooves that feel quite remorseful in places.

The instrumental work is excellent with the band proving what great musicians they are. The album is helped along and bolstered by top-notch production.

If you’re a fan of Pelican and Russian Circles but with a more Sludge/Stoner Metal driven sound, then Lysaar deserve your full attention. This is a brilliantly entertaining album and should be in your record collection now…

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


Planet Of The Dead - Fear Of A Dead Planet (Album Review)


Release date: February 8th 2020. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Fear Of A Dead Planet - Tracklisting

1.The Eternal Void 06:21
2.Mind Killer 04:24
3.A Million Deaths 04:15
4.Nashwan 05:00
5.Entropy 04:56
6.Walk the Earth 03:40
7.Iguanodon 04:23
8.Snake Wizard 08:22

Members

Mark Mundell - vocals
Malcolm McKenzie - guitar
Kees Hengst - bass
Dion Harris - drums

Review

Planet Of The Red (POTD) debut album – Fear Of A Dead Planet – is a heavy atmospheric blend of Doom, Sludge, Fuzz and Stoner Metal with bleak despairing vocals leading the way. The vocals can be more “Death” based growls for some people’s tastes but the music is perhaps the real star here and will no doubt allow listeners to gravitate towards the band.

The album is quite raw and down-tuned at times with a deep progressive sound holding everything together. The gloomy atmosphere is evident from the start with the excellent opening song – The Eternal Void – which has a subtle Doom/Sludge Metal presence and never lets up with it’s slow-to-mid paced grooves showing you what will be in store for you for the whole album. The vocals are quite direct with the harsh growls adding a more menacing vibe to POTD overall sound. The song does take time to fully get going but there are some cool heavy progressive riffs along the way.

Second song – Mind Killer – opens with a creepy soundclip before a standard Doom/Stoner Metal riff appears with vocals showing a different side to POTD compared to the first song. The music is more settled and you can hear a sense of adventure and fun within this song but POTD know how to turn the mood sinister with violent and gloomy “FUZZ” vibes on certain parts of the song. The song can be quite psychedelic in places but it’s mostly felt and heard from the background. POTD add many different styles of music to this song and it could have easily fell out of place but the band play a wicked blend of Doom/Stoner Metal that is quite adventurous in places.

Third song – A Million Deaths – carries on with the harsh vocals but with modern Sludge/Stoner Metal grooves leading the way. The song may lack finesse but POTD bring their own despairing vision to the table with bleak vocals and lyrics being the main focus for the most part of the song. The heavy and twisted guitars feel almost too forced at times but there are some great sounds hidden amongst the aggressive style of music that POTD play here.

Fourth song – Nashwan – carries on the thunderous and aggressive attitude of the band with the raw atmosphere finally starting to make sense. The vocals and lyrics aren’t the best but there is an addictive quality to them which leaves you glued to the edge of your seat. POTD start to play some of the best riffs on the album from here on in and it makes for a more rewarding experience.

The second half of the album carries on the dark and violent sounds that POTD showed in the first half with quite a few epic guitar solos adding a more psychedelic vibe that I didn’t actually expect.

If you’re a fan of bands such as CONAN and Behold The Monolith then POTD are the band for you. Fear Of A Dead Planet won’t be for everyone but if you’re looking for a band who are not afraid to play a more sinister blend of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal then this is the place to be.

Whilst not perfect by any means, POTD have still released a thrilling and hugely entertaining album that is packed full of great ideas and superb riffs.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


Monday, 10 February 2020

Gypsybyrd - Eye Of The Sun (Album Review)


Release date: January 31st 2020. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

Eye Of The Sun - Tracklisting

1.Prisoner 05:36
2.Eye Of The Sun 06:08
3.Cosmic Eyes 04:36
4.Gotta Get Away 05:11
5.The Quest for the Enlightened One 03:12
6.The Mountain 05:36

Members

Vocals, Guitars, Keys and Drums performed by Jake Lewis
Bass performed by Freddy Allen (of Sun Of Grey)

Review

Greetings All,

Texas based doom metal titans Burn Ritual released one of the best albums of 2018 with their phenomenal Blood of the Raven album. So, I was pretty psyched to find out that their main man Jake Lewis had a new semi/solo project entitled Gypsybyrd. One is never too sure what to expect when a solo project comes out, at times they can be great or they can be self indulgent crap. So, I was super-psyched to listen to Gypsybyrd and find that Lewis is doing what he does best, musically killing it. I find Burn Ritual to have a heavier Uncle Acid sound. Gypsybyrd takes some of the same elements but brings in a heavy dose of psych and space rock to the mix. The six songs on the EP are all super solid, great songs. What is also impressive is that Lewis brings a ton of talent as a multi instrumentalist on the record. As noted, there are bits of doom, Hawkwind and Floyd inspired Space rock, 60’s psych rock (maybe a nod to Roky Erickson and the Elevators), and some good old fashioned rock intermingled across this EP.

The record opens with a killer bass groove on Prisoner that brings with it a fuzz laden riff and a breakdown that brings in some keys and organ that actually brought to mind Beck’s Where It’s At. The title track follows, Eye of the Sun opens with a slower bass groove and a laid back opening and brings in whispered vocals and a heavy dose of synth that sets the listener up for the next track. Cosmic Eyes is a mid-tempo slab of spacey/psych brilliance that brings with it bigger drums and a groove heavy riff. Things go on a bit of a shift with the sound going to a stoner, blues rock riff on Gotta Get Away. And then you get turned on your ear again with The Quest for the Enlightened One, a subdued percussion heavy piece of interstellar meditation. The record closes big time with The Mountain. A nice, big slab of riff heavy rock.

Anyone who is a fan of Burn Ritual should really dig this EP. It is an impressive display from the Ritual main man Jake Lewis. One he should be very proud of. This should more than appease the appetite of any of those awaiting the new Burn Ritual record, which I believe is being worked on as we speak. Do yourself a favor, pick up a copy of Eye of the Sun. Support Independent music! You won’t be disappointed!

- Todd S - Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey


Links:


Saturday, 8 February 2020

VESSEL - Vagabond Blues (Album Review)


Release date: February 07th 2020. Label: Majestic Mountain Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Vagabond Blues - Tracklisting

1.Vagabond Blues 03:15
2.Twenty Twenty 03:48
3.Atacama 06:30
4.Red Witch 06:36
5.Dark in the Light 02:29
6.The Void Tempest 07:45
7.The Devil's Backyard 07:40

Members

Jordan Forster: Guitars
Mason Matheson: Vocals
Adrian Doling-Hill: Bass

Review

Vagabond Blues is the new album from Aussie Psych Doom/Desert/Stoner Rockers VESSEL who include a heavy Fuzz Rock attitude into their overall sound. The album is quite raw from start to finish but remains one of the albums greatest strengths. As VESSEL play a faster style of Stoner Rock/Metal with a “streetwise” attitude that allows the album to be ALL KILLER and NO FILLER.

The collection of songs on this album is quite addictive with the band allowing their talent for writing fast-paced riffs and cracking lyrics to match. The album also has an off-kilter “Punk” flavour to it which allows the different strands of Doom, Fuzz, Psych, Desert Rock and Stoner Rock to grow quite naturally. The spacier elements of the album start to take shape at different parts of the album with psychedelic noises and sounds being quite different in places.

The vocals from Mason have a “classic” feel and flow to them and he puts his own distinctive vibe on the album especially on songs such as: Vagabond Blues, Twenty Twenty, Red Witch, The Void Tempest and The Devil’s Backyard.

It’s the final two songs of The Void Tempest and The Devil’s Backyard is where VESSEL play the heaviest and most aggressive sounds of the album. As the album turns quite dark and sinister in places on the later stages of the album. It’s good to see VESSEL taking chances with their music and Vagabond Blues becomes more of an exciting and destructive album because of this.

You never know which direction the album will follow next. This is an album with a beginning, middle and end with a “loose” narrative letting the band play some epic riffs of their own. It may take a few listens to fully enjoy and appreciate what VESSEL are trying to achieve with this album but you will sure have some demented fun along the way.

Vagabond Blues is an exciting album that has the potential to turn some heads within the Stoner Rock community in the months to come. Get on board with this great band. VESSEL are coming for you….

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Majestic Mountain Records for the promo. Vagabond Blues is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Majestic Mountain Records now.

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