Tuesday 30 November 2021

Willowater - Loyal (EP Review)

Release Date: December 03rd 2021. Record Label. Self Released. Format: DD

Loyal - Tracklisting



Fly High

Winter Now


Jason Taylor

Robbie Carvalho


Anyone remember acclaimed Canadian Psych/Prog Stoner Rockers SIERRA from a few years back. The band went from Heavy Sludgy Stoner Grooves from their debut release to a more subdued Prog Rock flavour with their last release 2018’s The Mirror.

Well SIERRA is back but with a new name of Willowater. They will be releasing their debut EP LOYAL on December 3rd 2021 and have long term plans for future releases. Though, let’s get started with Loyal. What can you expect on this EP. Willowater still carry on that early heavy sludgy SIERRA vibe that lands on the right side of Psychedelic goodness. 

There is still a hazy 70s Hard Rock sound with the vocals being more up front compared to SIERRA’s other releases. The song is quite punchy with Willowater perhaps gaining influences from the lesser known bands of the 70s Hard Rock and 90s Stoner Rock scenes. There is a pounding BASS line that matches the Psychedelic Stoner Grooves superbly well. The band adds cool ELECTRONICA parts or what sounds like ELECTRONICA moments on this song. A superb track to open the EP with.

Second song Loyal opens with the heaviest riffs with brooding drums and intense guitars on the entire EP. Jason’s vocals are veer from Classic Heavy Metal HIgh Pitched Screams to a less Sludge/Stoner Rock style. The song becomes more aggressive with a gloomier approach happening with the lyrics. Another one of the EP’s standout tracks. There is a high amount of Prog Rock/Metal riff wizardry going on within this track. Superb musicianship all round. 

The final two tracks Fly High and Winter Now continue with the same mission of embracing the two worlds of Psych Stoner Rock and 70s Prog Metal with a fine detour into other areas of music. I loved the ELECTRONICA vibe once again on Winter Now. The vocals and lyrics are superb but maybe not as strong as two opening tracks. However, this still allows Willowater to release a superbly written and produced Debut EP to build upon and the guys look to have a wonderfully bright future indeed.


Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Jason for the promo. Loyal will be available to buy digitally on December 3rd 2021.


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Monday 29 November 2021

Argonauta Records - Devouring The Mountains Volume 6 (Album Review)

Release Date: December 06th 2021. Record Label: Argonauta Records. Format: DD

Devouring The Mountains - Volume 6 - Tracklisting

1.WOODEN FIELDS - Read the Signs 

2.THE LUCID FURS - Pull the String 

3.FIMIR - Temple of Madness 

4.INDIGO RAVEN - The White Knight Syndrome

5.GOATFATHER - Convoy 05:02

6.SOLAR MANTRA - Monster from the Abyss

7.HIGH FIGHTER - Dead Gift (live)

8.MITOCHONDRIAL SUN - Bodies and Gold

9.MOURN THE LIGHT - I Bare the Scars

10.SPIRAL GRAVE - Nightmare on May Eve


12.CRIPTA BLUE - Creepy Eyes

13.BENTREES - Yellow

14.PACHIDERMA - Il Diavolo

15.A BROKEN DESIGN - Bird on a Wire

16.JENA - Graboid

17.POLYFRENETICS - Guilt in B Minor

18.HEBI KATANA - Struggle with a Lie


I always find reviewing Compilation Albums hard work. As there’s too many tracks to review and speculate upon. However, Devouring The Mountains Volume 6 I found rather easy to listen to, fully digest and rock out to. Released by Italian Powerhouse Record Label ARGONAUTA RECORDS to showcase the best tracks from its most recent releases and its array of fantastic artists.

This compilation includes some great tracks by Bentrees, The Lucid Furs, FIMIR, High Fighter, Cripta Blue, JENA and When The Deadbolt Breaks. The majority of these tracks offer the past, present and future releases from Argonauta Records that are all available to  buy now on various formats they come upon

The compilation is another excellent release with Gero showcasing some fantastic Doom, Sludge. Stoner, Desert Rock, Psych Rock and Post-Metal bands you may not have heard of. I’ve reviewed a high number of these releases in 2021 and some are AOTY contenders for myself such as CRIPTA BLUE and BENTREES. There is a killer live track from HIGH FIGHTER recently released Live Album for people missing LIVE PERFORMANCES.

With this being Volume 6 of Devouring The Mountains, I would say GERO has got this down to a fine art on what tracks to choose and which order they go in. The compilation does flow superbly well compared to other compilations I’ve heard recently. There is enough variety to keep folks entertained and maybe visit Argonauta Records to buy some merch if they feel the need to.

This is another outstanding and action packed release from the DEVOURING THE MOUNTAIN series and I’m excited to see what GERO brings to us all in 2022.

Forgot to mention this will be available for FREE DOWNLOAD on 6th December 2021.

Words by Steve Howe


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Saturday 27 November 2021

Merlock - You Cannot Be Saved (EP Review)


Release Date: November 19th 2021. Record Label: Self Released. Format: DD/CD/Cassette

You Cannot Be Saved - Tracklisting

1.Grimelord 04:58

2.Idolon (return) 08:41

3.Final Condemnation 06:18

4.Where No One Goes 07:37

5.Gloomtrain 06:53

6.Electric Funeral (Pantera Cover) 05:39


You Cannot Be Saved is the new EP from Psych Stoner Metallers Merlock who bring a darker narrative and style of music compared to their 2020 acclaimed EP “that which speaks…”. This release has a heavier approach that sees the band bring their Amplifier Post-Doom/Stoner Metal to a more heavier and distorted style of music.

The result is quite sparse and solitary but with the band bringing a real Psychedelic flair right from the excellent opening song Grimelord. The band still fully believe in the “STONER” or “WEEDIAN” way of life on this song but they have a more mature style of playing and the vocals are outstanding even when portrayed in a more raw style compared to their last EP. The instrumental work is technically solid with Merlock playing their own convincing blend of Psych Stoner Metal that feels quite original though offering familiar vibes.

Second song Idolon (return) is a more gloomy sonic based affair with twisted Doom/Drone Metal melodies being joined together by Sludgy CHANTS and VOCALS that portray an eerie picture that remind me of Pallbearer and possibly AHAB. Though the fast-paced grooves change the narrative and it becomes time for Merlock to be judged on their own creative merits. The song remains cautiously bleak with all sense of optimism kept to a low amount. This is one of the best songs on the EP that shows a different side to Merlock.

Merlock carry on with the Progressive and Psychedelic journey for the next four songs with the band showing plenty of SABBATH based riff worship with huge doses of Heavy Psychedelic Grooves. The production on the EP is mostly superb but there are a few moments where things aren’t as clear or as loud they possibly should be. Though, it doesn’t stop the overall enjoyment of the EP itself, The instrumental work is excellent and you can hear every note played towards you especially on tracks such as: Where No One Goes and Gloomtrain.

Merlock have included a cover of Pantera classic Electric Funeral and it’s a great cover that allows Merlock to put their own spin on the track whilst sticking closely to the original song.

With a promised debut full length album in 2022 then the future is quite bright for Merlock, though you won’t feel that with this EP. As the EP is all about DOOM and GLOOM with Merlock putting the listener through their paces for the entire length of the EP.

All in all, You Cannot Be Saved is another challenging and superbly entertaining slice of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal from Merlock and should no doubt keep their horde of Doom/Stoner Metal followers entertained for some time and even allow the band gain some new followers along the way.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


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Filthy Hippies - Animal Farm (Album Review)

Release Date: October 01st 2021. Record Label: Mongrel Records. Format: DD

Animal Farm - Tracklisting

1.Animal Farm 03:07

2.Sin City 07:33

3.Feel It 05:03

4.Propaganda 05:28

5.Framed 03:56

6.The Geneva Convention 05:39

7.Away 03:33

8.I 05:42

9.Goodbye Cruel City Life 00:50

10.Sheep 05:46

11.Original State 04:51

12.Chlorine 05:10

13.Queen Of The Dead 04:58

14.The Soup 04:00

15.The End Of The World 04:17


Animal Farm is the second full length release from South African Powerhouse Psych Stoner Rockers Filthy Hippies and it’s a more jarring experience than their previous album Departures released back in April 2021. This time round the band play a more trippy 60s Heavy Psychedelic Experience across fifteen tracks that sees Filthy Hippies live upto their Psychedelic persona. That’s mostly down to the high amount of weird noises and spaced out synths.

The Shoegaze element from their previous album is here as well but with a more out there sense of humour with the lush Psych Stoner moments moving from one crazy moment to the next. The album does feel and sound like a concept album even with the album called Animal Farm I struggled to fully understand the whole message of it all. So I decided to concentrate on the music instead and experienced a Phil Spector hallucinogenic nightmare come to life. That’s what I experienced with Departures but this is a more demented style of Dark and Twisted Psychedelia where you ultimately need patience for this record.

The album does take the best sounds of 60s/70s Psych Rock but then adds an Experimental Stoner Rock vibe. The album runs for over sixty five minutes and the instrumental work is impressive as the dark storytelling going on within the album.

It;’s hard to pick standout songs as my mind changes each time I listen to the album. There’s enough variety to keep everyone entertained but only if you’re a fan of Sonic Experimentation and almost Avant-Garde vocal sounds on certain parts of the album. Filthy Hippies impress the most when they play a more straightforward Electronic based Psych Stoner Rock on the earlier stages of the album. There’s a deep lush romantic quality on the superb third song Feel it that effortlessly combines 60s Psych Rock and 80s Synth Rock with a modern Stoner based flow.

I found Departures one of the toughest records I’ve reviewed in a long time and Animal Farm is no different. Firstly, this is a wonderfully produced package but it’s not going to be for everyone. Maybe, Filthy Hippies are a “niche” band for casual Stoner Rock/Metal fans but that doesn’t stop this record being a highly majestic work of art that only Filthy Hippies can deliver. 

Overall, Animal Farm is a challenging, surreal and action-packed album from one of the best Experimental Rock Bands from the South African scene. 

Words by Steve Howe


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Friday 26 November 2021

Wyoming Young And Strong Premiere New Album Black Wire

Wyoming Young And Strong is a Josh duo in Seattle, Washington, laying down some sludgy tracks. While not from Wyoming, they write music that speaks to the frustration of being young, strong, and inspired in rural America.

With dual vocals highlighting the heavy guitar and drums, WY&S released the four-song 'Death and Ruin' EP in 2018. They have since been playing shows gathering support around the Pacific Northwest through their energetic live performances. Their debut full-length 'Black Wire' is due out later this month.

The 'Black Wire' album is an independent effort set for release by the band on Friday, November 27, 2021. With the album design layout by Brian Kim and art photos by Juha Penttinen, 'Black Wire' was recorded by Wyoming Young and Strong at Sodo Magnetic in Seattle, Washington, in the Spring of 2021. Mastering was completed by Black Belt Mastering.

Black Wire tracklist:

01. Redland Wanderer
02. Race into the Sun
03. Treetops 1
04. Abandoned By the Elders
05. One Last Sleep
06. Treetops 2
07. Black Wire
08. Hellish Allies
09. Treetops 3
10. Age of Iron
Pre-order 'Black Wire' now at:



Josh Williams - Drums, Some Vocals
Josh Engelhardt - Guitars, Most Vocals

WY&S Online:

You can hear the fantastically heavy BLACK WIRE in full below ahead of it's official release on Saturday 27th November 2021.

Thanks to Leanne at Mettle Media for the Promo and Press Material

The Amblers release second track from their upcoming Live At High Seas EP

Justin Swart and Jason Hinch deliver an intricate and impassioned performance on Sticks and Stones – Live from High Seas, the latest single from The Amblers’ upcoming live studio album. The track is vibrant and distinctive, possessing the vintage signature sound that will forever be associated with the blues-rock duo.

The guitar sound is a blissed-out Twin Reverb fuzz-fest that hits like a ten-ton hammer dressed in furs, the drums dig deep into the Bonham ‘tight but loose’ swing of Bonham legacy (complete with bombastic weight), and the vocals soar with ethereal, cavernous delicacy, making for a delicious array of sounds that totally, totally dig on each other.

“Sticks and Stones is a song we really enjoy playing live. A rumbling rollercoaster. Slow, gentle open with a balls to the wall centre-piece, leaning into a gentle close. It's quite the romance.” Comments guitarist and vocalist Justin Swart.

Buy / Stream the track


Wednesday 24 November 2021

King Bastard Announce Details Of New Album IT CAME FROM THE VOID And Release New Single

It took only one fateful moment of 2018 in Stony Brook University to make planets align and the passion of Izzy Guido (synth), Arthur Erb (bass), and Mike Verni (guitar) coalesce to create the fearless and gargantuan beast that would soon be known as KING BASTARD. While their initial drummer couldn’t cope with the crushing force of the threesome’s cosmic convergence, the arrival of drummer Matt Ryan behind the kit finalized the sealing of their sonic oath.

After a run of demo tapes including “Have You Seen This Man?” and “Live at the Haunted Barn”, the foursome took to Menegroth, the Thousand Caves studio in Queens, NY to record their debut full-length ‘It Came from the Void’ with the legendary Colin Marston - a collaboration that was benevolently encouraged by Mike’s uncle, Darren Verni of Unearthly Trance. The six tracks were recorded live in one weekend, as KING BASTARD knew exactly where they wanted to take their sound: a fusion of traditional doom riffs with experimental psychedelic jams. The following year was spent honing the smallest details, from tracking synths and guitar leads, to adding percussions, saxophone, violin and viola, adding that unearthly vibe that makes their music stand out from the pack.

Directed by Brendan McGowan (Ghost, Denzel Curry) and Connor Robertson, their impressive debut video "Psychosis (in a Vacuum)" — telling the crash of Russian astronaut Vladimir Komarov — instantly caught the attention of major tastemakers such as Metal Injection and Doomed & Stoned, who dubbed the band as "raw, vile and impossible to ignore". Behold, as KING BASTARD are about to smash everything on their path. ‘It Came from the Void’ was recorded, mixed and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Krallice) at Thousand Caves studio in Queens, NY.

The band recently dropped their epic new song BLACK HOLE VISCERA which you can check out over at Invisible Oranges and read more about their TRIPPY SPACED OUT SOUND  


Mike Verni — Guitar
Isabel Guido — Synth, saxophone, vocals
Arthur Erb — Bass
Matt Ryan — Drums, additional percussion


King Buffalo - Acheron (Album Review)

Release Date: December 03rd 2021. Record Label: Self Released (US) / Stickman Records (Europe). Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Acheron - Tracklisting






Sean McVey - Guitar, Vocals & Synth

Dan Reynolds - Bass & Synth

Scott Donaldson - Drums


Acheron is the second album of a planned trilogy that King Buffalo started back in June 2021 with The Burden Of Restlessness. So almost six months later we have the second part with Acheron meaning “River Of Woe” in Greek. The band are also calling this album “The Cave Record” as it was recorded in an actual cave during COVID-19 Pandemic. This album does have elements of real-life sounding Water on certain stages of the album. 

Acheron is perhaps a classic sounding King Buffalo compared to The Burden Of Restlessness. As that record had a deep “TOOL” influence” at its main core. This is King Buffalo doing what they do best by playing haunting Psychedelic Stoner Rock songs with emotional melodies, vocals and trippy lyrics that bring the Psych Spaced Out element back from their earlier releases to a more grounded Prog Rock feeling. The album does have a lot of Ambient textures on this album which was another welcome surprise.

The album contains four tracks with all the songs lasting around the ten minute mark. So Prog Rock is the main key here with each song having the perfect balance of Ambient based Psych Stoner Rock/Metal epic riffs. 

Opening song - Acheron - is the perfect song to open the album with. As it’s quite hopeful but also quite bleak when the gloomy Post-Stoner parts appear. The song sees the band explore their Psych Rock influences whilst bringing a heavy and almost Prog Metal vibe heard on their last album. This is the best of both worlds as King Buffalo brings an isolated feeling to this song. The grooves and solos are plentiful with majestic vocals to match.

Second song - Zephyr - feels like it could have easily came off one of their earlier releases for the first few moments with it’s upbeat lyrics. The music does go slightly Post-Rock but that’s what King Buffalo are so good at. Blending different cinematic sounds to a more upbeat style and then bringing a heavier atmospheric style that changes the course of the song for the better. They do this on this song with the swirling ambient moments that play for the first part of the song. The instrumentals work so well with the album being recorded in a cave. This gives this song and perhaps the album a more “EARTHLY” feeling. 

The other two songs on the album Shadows and Cerberus does offer King Buffalo the opportunity to play a heavier style of music but still retaining the core energy of the opening two songs. Shadows is perhaps the standout song on the album for myself. It has a more free-flowing attitude to the point you don’t know how the song ends or up which direction the album will take next.

Production values are first rate with King Buffalo bringing a more dynamic sound and presence compared to their last album. Acheron is another wonderfully epic album from the band and one that will allow the guys to easily have another Best Album Of 2021 to their credit. Well, it’s already claimed a spot on mine along with The Burden Of Restfulness.

King Buffalo are perhaps one of the most forward thinking Psychedelic Stoner Rock Bands we have in the field. There is still one more chapter to come from the band and I for one am truly exciting what awaits us all.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Mona at All Noir PR for the promo.

Acheron will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from December 03rd 2021 from the links below:

King Buffalo - USA Customers

Stickman Records - Everywhere else


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Monday 22 November 2021

Sun Below - S/T (Album Review)

Release Date: November 19th 2021. Record Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Sun Below - S/T  - Tracklisting

1.Chronwall Neanderthal 04:34

2.Holy Drifter 14:24

3.Shiva Sativa 04:11

4.Green Visions 05:56

5.Bong Psalm 03:56

6.Kinetic Kief 04:24

7.Doom Stick 03:35

8.Twin Worlds 18:00

9.Solar Burnout 12:24


Jason Craig - Guitars and Vocals

Will Adams - Drums and Backing Vocals

Garrison Thordarson - Bass and Backing Vocals


Sun Below have finally released their debut self titled album after releasing three well received EP’s. This album expands on Sun Below Spaced Out Doom/Stoner Metal sound with the band taking the heavy melodies, grooves and riffs from bands such as SLEEP, KYUSS, Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath. As you can tell Sun Below loves huge AMPLIFIER SOUNDS with a WEEDIAN or SATIVA influence allowing the band to be rightly compared to the legendary SLEEP.

This album runs for around or or little over seventy minutes and it’s an epic ride of distorted sounds, vocals and trippy lyrics that capture the essence of classic Black Sabbath but with the added creativity of Progressive Stoner Metal on the more epic songs such as Holy Drifter, Two Worlds and Solar Burnout. Sun Below have written other smaller tracks to showcase their heavy FUZZED OUT riffs with maybe the smaller tracks being the best parts of the album.

Though, add all these together and Sun Below debut album is one that is made specifically for Stoner Metal fans by actual Stoner Metal fans. There is a lot of great detail that has gone into the making of this album. The dirty 70s SABBATH Grooves to the more expanded 90s Psychedelic Stoner Metal and latter day FUZZ/Sludgy elements the album brings along the way.

The production is well put together with the album having a vibrant energy that allows the band to bring some epic guitar sounds on the more lengthy and spacier moments of the record. The band consists of 3 vocals with Jason Craig being considered the main vocalist. All 3 members do excellent vocal performances though it’s the music that truly shines here with the band playing a winning style of Modern Day Doom/Stoner Metal or the more Progressive moments that have a lot more distortion for the listener to get fully accustomed to.

The lyrics are good and bring a gloomier style atmosphere that you may not expect. 

All in all, Sun Below debut album is a fantastic and thrilling spectacle of Doom/Stoner Metal that fans of SLEEP are sure to get fully behind. Awesome stuff.

Words by Steve Howe


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Svart Hav - Funeral Fields (EP Review)

Release Date: November 21st 2021. Record Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Funeral Fields  - Tracklisting

1.Procession 01:19

2.Ride of the Fedaykin 07:38

3.Frozen Slumber 05:53

4.Matilda 04:14

5.Tore Hund 06:03


Drums - Rasmus Henriksen

Bass - Vegard Skjervøy

Vocals - Bjarte Hein

Rythm Guitar - Einar Bratli

Lead Guitar - Vegard Skjervøy


Funeral FIelds is the second EP from Norwegian Doom/Stoner Metallers Svart Hav which means Black Sea or Black Ocean in English. With this in mind, Svart Hav play nautical inspired Doom Metal and Stoner Metal with a slight Heavy Metal flavour. The EP is quite trippy and psychedelic but not in the ways you would expect.

The EP is a masterful release of restrained moods and grooves with an almost Post-Metal identity but one that is held back by the Heavy Metal strands heard on this EP. Funeral Fields has a Classic Hard Rock and Prog Rock sensibility which sees the band experiment with different Psychedelic sounds and Ambient textures. The Ambient textures do give the impression of WATER being the main theme for this release but all told within the world of Doom/Stoner Metal. 

The music can be quite relaxing and soothing when the quieter moments appear but Svart Hav are still clever enough to bring their heavy and loud progressive grooves to an exciting batch of songs such as: Ride Of The Fedaykin, Frozen Slumber and Tore Hund.

The lyrics are definitely inspired by the Norwegian way of life but with an OTT Heavy Metal outlook that allows Svart Hav to be refreshingly different within the modern day Doom/Stoner Metal scene.

The sound of the EP can be quite low in places but nothing to distract your enjoyment of the EP. From the third song Frozen Slumber onwards, this EP becomes a more daring, bolder and heavier release. There is still a cool “LO-FI” element to this EP which becomes quite bewitching from start to finish. 

Funeral Fields is a truly impressive release from a band who I only became aware of recently and thanks to Mel Lie of SUNDAY’s HEAVY TUNES and DOOM CHARTS fame. Mel knows what she’s talking about so I had to listen and I’m glad I did. So thanks Mel.

Anyway, if you’re in the mood for NAUTICAL based Doom/Stoner Metal with intelligence and thrilling grooves to match then SVART HAV are here for you all.

Excellent and HIghly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


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