Friday 31 May 2024

Exclusive Premiere Of Psych Stoner Rockers REDWOOD New EP - DRY RIVERS

Aural bliss is a fleeting sensation, forever chased in psychedelic music, and California's REDWOOD don't miss a beat in capturing that magic with ease on their second EP "DRY RIVERS". Featuring part of fellow Cali rockers Deer Lord, the band combine spacey, soaring atmospheres with righteously toned stoner riffs, conjuring up expansive and airtight grooves across the album's four tracks.

REDWOOD exist at the same nexus of psychedelia and stoner rock where the likes of Howling Giant, King Buffalo, and Asteroid reside, with a decidedly crunchy, doom-tinged edge coloring their personal corner of the cosmos. Space-age soundscapes and soaring vocals send listeners into sci-fi reveries, while booming drums and burly riffage bring them back down to earth none too gently.

"DRY RIVERS" is a trip in the truest sense of the word, fueled by the winning combo of groove, fuzz, and loads of atmosphere.

You can hear to the exciting Psychedelic Cosmic Stoner Rock Journey of DRY RIVERS below courtesy of the good folks over at Good Boy PR.


"Started in mid 2022, REDWOOD is a heavy psych/rock n roll project from the valleys of Northern California. Following the first self titled EP from 2022, REDWOOD is back with another burst of interdimentional energy with a new EP titled 'DRY RIVERS'. Coming in at just over 20 minutes, and much like the debut EP, 'DRY RIVERS' is intended to be the soundtrack for a foggy mountain drive through the redwood forests of Northern California. With song topics covering everything from American culture wars, to stories of extraterrestrial beings riding motorcycles on the rim of a black hole. We hope you enjoy this album just as much as we enjoyed making it."

Thanks to Good Boy PR for the all of the details.

Dry Rivers will be available to buy digitally from Saturday 1st June 2024.


Psych Doom/Stoner Metallers FORGOTTEN KING Release New Song THE SUN From Upcoming New Album

Descending from Norway armed with the twin hammers of riff and groove, Forgotten King are the heralds of a heady, heavy trip into the cosmos. What began as the solo project of Kal-El guitarist Azul Josh morphed into a now full-fledged band, and the four-piece are poised to lay waste to the heavy underground with their brand of euphoric, crushingly weighted psychedelia, stoner, and doom.

Working with Sweden’s Majestic Mountain Records, the crew fire their opening salvo with single »The Sun«.

“The music tells a story about ego, mental illness, and spirituality!”

The Sun is written, recorded, and performed by Azul Josh.

Forgotten King is:

Azul Josh – Guitar and Vocals
Svend – Guitar
Nils – Bass
Erik – Drums


Psych Doom/Stoner Rockers STONUS Annouce New Live Album LIVE IN ZEN. Pre-orders Available Now And New Video For EL RATA Released.

Stonus: Live in Zen' is a live video session recorded in January 2023 in Zen studios in Nicosia, Cyprus. This release is the completing piece of the 'Aphasia' era before moving to the new Stonus album which is currently under process. The session is a collection of tracks from the album 'Aphasia' and the EP's 'Seance' and 'Lunar Eclipse' which was the core setlist the band used live in their European Tours in 2022 and 2023. 

Special thanks to Uncle Seven for his awesome videography & photography skills, to Billy Anderson for his raw and primal mastering attitude, to Alexis Yiangoullis for his outstanding sound engineering and mixing abilities, Nikolas Karatzas for the light magic, Bobby from Zen Studios for his hospitality and professionalism, Rafael Marquetto for engineering the artwork aesthetics. Last but not least, a special thanks to every single one of you out there that supports us and keeps us moving forward, without you nothing would be possible! Recorded at Zen Studios in Nicosia, Cyprus Filmed by Seven Souled Photography Recorded & Engineered by Alexis Yiangoullis Mastered by Billy Anderson Lights by Nikolas Karatzas Artwork by Seven souled Photography & Rafael Marquetto

Released on Vinyl by Electric Valley Records & Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings

Availlable in:

•100x Ultra limited heavyweight 200g transparent LP with gold foiled artwork
•200x Cream 200g heavyweight vinyl
•200x Black 200g heavyweight vinyl
*All include insert poster and visualiser on vinyl


Vinyl order:

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Thursday 30 May 2024

Exclusive Album Premiere Of Doom/Stoner Metallers SALTPIG Self Titled Debut Album Being Released By HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS

Doom/Stoner Metallers SALTPIG formed by former Annihilator drummer Fabio Alessandrini and NYC multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mitch Davis (known for his work with L.A. Guns, Damon Albarn, U2, Mark Lanegan or Billy Squier), the American/Italian duo makes the evergreen satanic imagery of Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate and Black Sabbath their own by conjuring up a delightfully gritty, devastatingly noisy and unfailingly satisfying 6-tracker that should win over fans of evil grooves à la Salem's Pot, Electric Wizard or Church of Misery. "It’s melodic but embraces dissonance. Underproduced and real. Recorded onto analogue tape and pushing the levels with a “distortion is never bad” ethos".

You can hear the Exclusive Album Premiere Of SALTPIG's brilliantly heavy new album below thanks to the cool folks over at Purple Sage PR and Heavy Psych Sounds.

SALTPIG Biography

SALTPIG is a bit of a mystery. The band just showed up seemingly out of nowhere, album in hand, with the music loudly speaking for itself. As it soon became known, SALTPIG is a two person band with Fabio Alessandrini (formerly of Annihilator) on drums and Mitch Davis handling vocals, guitar and all of the other layers of noise that can be heard on the record. 

The music that came out of this pairing has elements of doom/stoner/psych/occult metal and others, but they didn’t go into it with anything that specific in mind. They just make the music they want to hear. Davis has been working with bands/artists including LA Guns, Damon Albarn, Billy Squier, Stephen Malkmus, Mark Lanegan, Sunbomb and U2, but SALTPIG is obviously a very different animal. 

For his own band, Mitch created a sound that is much darker. When he started writing the SALTPIG tracks, it pretty quickly turned into this debut album. Most of the tracking was done in their respective studios, with Fabio in Italy, and Mitch in New York where he’d do all of the final recording, production and mixing. It’s melodic but embraces dissonance. It’s noisy and dirty and evil sounding. Under-produced and real. It embraces imperfections as only a human can do.

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for all of the details.

Young Acid - Murder At Maple Mountain (Album Review)

Release Date: May 31st 2024. Record Label: Majestic Mountain Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

Murder At Maple Mountain: Tracklisting

1.Into The Depths 

2.Bitter Little Man

3.Fightmaker Street

4.PV 444

5.Woodshed Blues

6.The Crust 

7.The Kids Of Rumble Village

8.Shortcomings And Longstockings

9.Run Boy Run 


Band Members

Mio Hällagård - Vocals (Greenleaf)

Mio Stjernfeldt - Guitar (Grand Cadaver, Novarupta)

Mio Wegeland - Bass (Domkraft)

Mio Baier - Guitar (Besvärjelsen, Vorder)

Mio Karlsson - Drums (The Moth Gatherer)


Young Acid is perhaps what happens when members from some of the finest Doom/Stoner Metal bands that Sweden has to offer decides to form a new band. However, you’ll be surprised to hear that Young Acid is not a straight up Stoner Rock/Metal band but one that deals within Punk Rock and Garage Rock grooves with elements of Fuzz Rock, Stoner Rock and Doom Rock only appearing when they absolutely need to.

The band which is made up of members from bands such as Greenleaf, Domkraft, Grand Cadaver, Besvärjelsen and The Moth Gatherer could have easily released a straight up Doom/Stoner Metal album but they went a different route with Murder At Maple Mountain. The record is a glorious mix of 90’s Punk Rock and Alt Rock attitude with flashes of modern day Psychedelic aggression.

There’s a heavy and raw sounding appeal to the album which sees Young Acid embrace the Punk Rock and perhaps Street Doom creative philosophy throughout the album with the band creating sounds closer to The Hives, Kvelertak, MC5, QOTSA, Them Creative Vultures and The Stooges with shades of the bands the guys are known for appearing very minimalistically. Everything sounds downright original and super fresh with the songs all standing on their own creative merits with a non-stop supply of Heavy Rock sounds that have a CLASSIC quality to them.

Murder At Maple Mountain has a furious and fast-paced sound with sludgy Punk driven guitars having echoes of modern Psych Rock with sublime vocals from Greenleaf’s Mio Hällagård to match. It seems all of the Young Acid members have all adopted the first name Mio for this project. Perhaps to have same air of mystery to the record or basically to have a FUCK IT rebellious attitude.

Young Acid doesn't stick to one set sound within the album with the band happy to change course just for the sheer hell of it. Explore the opening tracks of Into The Depths, Bitter Little Man and Fightmaker Street which sees Young Acid pull away from different strands of music from one song to the next. Garage Rock sounds transform into heavier Psychedelic pastures with an almost Post-Punk and Occult Rock energy moving across the later tracks such as PV 4444, Woodshed Blues and The Crust.

Even the vocals become more experimental and varied to match the aggressive charge of the sounds that Young Acid play on the later stages of the record. The Punk Rock and Garage Rock aspect of the album is what allows Young Acid to be taken seriously on their own merits with spiky lyrics even having a more dramatic DOOM ROCK appearance that you initially expect.

The production techniques used for Murder At Maple Mountain have a vintage quality to them which could bring a Classic Hard Rock atmosphere to the whole album with Young Acid not fully turning their back on the modern Stoner Rock/Metal world that they’ve made their names with originally across their respective bands.

Can we call Young Acid a SUPERGROUP. I suppose we can and they’re one of the most interesting SUPERGROUP based projects (alongside SLOWER) that I’ve heard this year and they’ve also delivered one of the most superbly entertaining and action packed debut albums as well.

Murder At Maple Mountain is a must have release if you like your music on the more dangerous and rebellious side of life.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Sheltered Life for the promo.

Murder At Maple Mountain will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl via Majestic Mountain Records from Friday 31st May 2024.


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Barbarian Hermit are back. 🤘

New album Mean Sugar will be released on 2nd August. Recorded by Joe Clayton at Nø Studio and mastered by Chris Fielding (Foel Studio), the album sees the return of original vocalist Simon Scarlett who helped craft the band’s debut ‘One’ EP, originally released in 2016 (and reissued on APF Records in 2021).

It includes 9 stone cold bangers, one of which - Stitched Up - you can hear today on Bandcamp and the band's YouTube. It will be on streaming sites tomorrow.

Mean Sugar pre-orders are open. The album is being released on vinyl, CD, t-shirt bundles, and digitally.

The band will host their album launch show at Rebellion Manchester on 3rd August with support from Under, Bodach and Shred Dibnah.


Exclusive Album Premiere Of Drone/Doom Metallers CARNWENNAN Debut Album LOTUS

Albany, New York-based sludge/drone metal quartet CARNWENNAN presents their debut LP, Lotus, through Darkest Records.

You can listen to the spellbinding and brilliantly heavy new album below with this exclusive album premiere thanks to the good folks at Earsplit PR.

Vocalist/Guitarist Jack Jackal says this about Lotus: 

"We've been working on this for three years now, and Friday we'll finally be able to show everyone the extent of our labors. Thanks to everyone for the support so far, and we hope you like it.

Darkest Records will release Lotus on LP and digital formats this Friday, May 31st. Preorders can be placed at Bandcamp HERE. Also watch the mesmerizing video for “III” HERE. Fans of Earth, Khanate, Hush, Om, Bell Witch, Primitive Man, Conan, and Old Man Gloom must hear CARNWENNAN’s Lotus.

The Lowdown

CARNWENNAN’s Lotus plays as one continuous track subdivided into four movements, the album created with great restraint and tension, resulting in a slow-motion, seamless evolution. The wooded environment of the band’s upstate surroundings indisputably influenced the lush, organic sounds of growth and decay, life and demise, themes which are exemplified in the lyrical and visual delivery of the album.

Recorded outside of Hudson, New York by Ryan Slowey at the headquarters of Darkest Records – the label formed by members of fellow Hudson Valley sludge stalwarts Hush – Lotus was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Locrian, Iron Monkey, Mournful Congregation).

CARNWENNAN’s bassist, Alex Waters, is an acclaimed painter and created the album's cover art. Vocalist/guitarist, Jack Jackal, also does design work for many underground artists and curates Castle Jackal Magazine, contributed artwork to the album layout. Amps and pedals used on the album were conceived and built by lead guitarist Alexandria Ashpond. Since recording the album, the band’s original drummer James Leshkevich has left and been replaced by former drummer of The Acacia Strain, Kevin Boutot.

CARNWENNAN is booking shows throughout the Northeast surrounding the release of Lotus, with more widespread touring in the works for later in the year. See all currently confirmed shows below and watch for updates to post throughout the coming months.


6/01/2024 Empire Underground – Albany, NY w/ Intrusive, Misery Machine
6/08/2024 No Fun – Troy, NY w/ Horse Grave, Flatwounds, King Mob
6/09/2024 Collar City Mushrooms – Troy, NY w/ Radiation Blackbody, Compress


Thanks to Earsplit PR for all of the info

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Redwood - Dry Rivers (EP Review)

Release Date: June 01st 2024. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

Dry Rivers: Tracklisting

1. MODERN WAY (5:27)

2. DRY RIVERS (5:07)

3. HOME (5:19)

4. VOID RIDER (6:10)


Californian Psychedelic Desert/Stoner Rockers Redwood new EP Dry Rivers launches into the Cosmic Rock stratosphere with the band travelling along the same Space Rock Highway of bands such as King Buffalo, ELDER, KYUSS, Howling Giant and Truckfighters with a neverending style of Classic sounding FUZZ powering the Psychedelic heaviness that appears within the whole EP.

Dry Rivers contains four tracks running around twenty two minutes in length with Redwood merging Classic Desert/Stoner Rock techniques with the modern Cosmic Doom and Progressive Psychedelic passages. There’s a seedy underbelly of distorted Fuzz sounds that has a slight Ambient flavour which comes off strongly within the excellent opening track of Modern Way.

Redwood have a keen sense of melody and free-flowing heavy doomed out grooves which allows the band to play exquisite long drawn out instrumental jams which sees the band add different waves of Space Rock textures that do have a certain Post-Stoner influence to them. The vocals are superb that have a dreamlike essence to them whilst keeping that classic Fuzz Rock or Hard Rock element throughout.

Dry Rivers also allows Redwood the perfect creative opportunity to adapt their music to a Punk Rock environment which is heard mostly within the fantastic production values that keeps the whole EP remarkably grounded despite the ongoing ventures into Outer Space. The EP does become more Post-Doom obsessed on the outlandish third track Home which sees Redwood offer a more aggressive style of music that translates into some of the freshest and heaviest sounds on the whole EP.

The final track Void Rider is perhaps the perfect way to end the EP with. As Redwood channels the EP’s earlier Progressive sound with the EP becoming quite cinematic with melodic and grizzled instrumental jams becoming the main focus for the band to impress listeners with. The vocals once again bang on point that sells the whole creative journey to the listener that Redwood will take you upon.

Dry Rivers is a thrilling spectacle of Psychedelic Stoner Rock that is helped by catchy bursts of Desert Rock, Fuzz Rock, Cosmic Rock and Spaced Out Doom that remains quite addictive with a wonderfully aggressive sound from start to finish.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Good Boy PR for the promo.

Dry Rivers will be available to buy digitally from Saturday 1st June 2024.


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Exclusive Album Premiere Of Sludge/Post-Metallers ORIGOD New Album IMPRESSION

Turin, 2007: this is the genesis of Origod. Their sound is a unique blend of Cave In and early Mastodon sounds, songs full of groove and melodies for an extraordinary Post-Metal and Hardcore assault.

In 2008 they participated in the "Nightpieces Vol. 5" compilation by the Turin-based Dracma Records, with the song: "Freedom Is In The End", produced by Carlo Ortolano. Then they participate with Braindamage, Broken Glazz, Medusa and other bands at the Dracma Metal Festival.

They released their first album "A New Dawn Fades" for One Voice Recordings in 2010, produced by Daniele Giordana, a sound engineer who boasts many important live and studio collaborations with Monster Magnet, Hatebreed, Machine Head and many others.

In the following years they performed around a hundred concerts in northern Italy, sharing the stage with: Abraham, Eric Forrest (Voivod), Titor, Sunpocrisy, Skarhead, Ultra-Violence, Strange Fear, Stigma, Jordaan, Concrete Block, Ruggine, Infall, O, An Evening With Knives, If I Die Today, Fuco, Tons, Doctor Cyclops, Nudist, Juggernaut and many others.

On March 30, 2018 they released their second album "Solitude in Time and Space" for ARGONAUTA Records, well reviewed by critics and audiences. The album was produced by Danilo Battocchio at Deepest Sea Studio in Turin.

In 2021 the band add to its original lineup: Rubens Caligiuri (Sneakers, Turin hard-core band in the 90s) as an additional guitarist and drummer Marco Di Nocco (Medusa, Tons and NoInfo) who will replace Luciano Cotta, involved in other music projects.

The band are releasing their new album IMPRESSION this Friday and you can hear the full album below thanks to the cool folks over at Grand Sounds Promotion and Argonauta Records.


Rubens Caligiuri – guitar
Dario Chiadini – guitar
Vincenzo Circosta – voice
Marco Di Nocco – drums
Marco Miglietti – bass guitar

Thanks to Grand Sounds Promotion for the promo.

Impression is available to buy now on DD/Vinyl via Argonauta Records


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Psych Stoner Rockers EARTH DRIVE Release New Song/Video For THE BRIDGE From Upcoming New Album

"The Bridge" is the second single from Earth Drive's fourth album LIGHT CODES, that will come out on September 23rd under the Raging Planet label.

"We often look for a bridge. Whether inside us or outside. Something that makes us reach a point that connects us to another location, whether physical or not.

"The Bridge" is the second single from Earth Drive's new album and addresses processes of transmutation and full confidence in crossing a bridge between a reality of false security, old habits, patterns and limiting beliefs to a new reality where the unknown is embraced with a deep belief in a new time of experiences of rebirth and growth. “The Bridge” symbolizes the duality and conflict between the comfort of the known and the uncomfortable challenge of the unknown.

Overcoming the fear of the unstable cloudiness of the waters that surround this “bridge”, a ritual begins that interconnects perfectly with “True passage into the void” (first single) through a sonic “tail” that embraces the two themes, uniting them. equally, in the concept and theme that continues throughout the rest of the work."


Earth Drive are characterized by their dense, melodic, visceral and cathartic sound.

In addition to its weight, the band has a strong atmospheric component, hypnotic and meditative textures adorned by a charismatic, engaging, deep and captivating female voice.

Spatial and ritualistic atmospheres create a unique aesthetic, making his work a surprising inner journey that must be experienced.

The Portuguese band formed in 2007 and played in several prestigious spaces and festivals in the underground scene, such as Reverence Valada Festival, Under the Doom IV Edition, VOA Heavy Rock Festival, Woodrock Festival, Stonefest, Sons no Montijo and Sunburst Festival; having shared stages with national and international bands such as Sasquatch, Crippled Black Phoenix, Sisters of Mercy, Steak, Glowsun, Radar Man from the Moon, Wet Cactus, Spectral Haze, Ecstatic Vision, UHF, Keep Razors Sharp, My Master the Sun, Sinistro , It was the Elf, Basalto, The Black Wizards, Stones of Babylon, Desert Smoke, Son of Cain, The year, Marbles, Moes Implosion, Earth Electric, Wells Valley, Process of Guilt, Vircator, Asimov, Inhuman, among other great ones bands.

Earth Drive were honored with the 2017 Alternative Metal Album of the Year award with Stellar Drone by World of Metal magazine (issue #13 page 174), and in 2020 Helix Nebula was the No. 1 album in the Experimental Psych Rock category by the same magazine .

The band earned a prestigious mention in LOUD! magazine. “One of the most brilliant projects of the current national underground” - José M. Rodrigues | LOUD! nº 202. Helix Nebula was also on the best albums lists of several magazines such as Metal Hammer Portugal, Time for Metal and HellHeaven.

3 albums were released via Raging Planet: Planet Mantra in 2015, Stellar Drone in 2017, Helix Nebula in 2020.

At this moment the band is preparing to release its fourth album. Light Codes will be released on September 23rd under the Raging Planet label and features Fernando Matias on bass who joined the band in 2023.

Currently Earth Drive are Sara Antunes (vocals), Sebastião Santos (drums), Fernando Matias (bass) and Hermano Marques (guitar and vocals).

Career Highlights

Earth Drive were honored with the 2017 Alternative Metal Album of the Year award for “Stellar Drone” by World of Metal magazine (issue #13 page 174), and again in 2020 “Helix Nebula” was the #1 album in the Experimental category Psych Rock by the same magazine

The band earned a prestigious mention in LOUD! magazine. “One of the most brilliant projects of the current national underground” - José M. Rodrigues | LOUD! nº 202. “Helix Nebula” was also on the best albums lists of several magazines such as Metal Hammer Portugal, Time for Metal and HellHeaven.

Thanks to EARTH DRIVE for all of the info


CARNWENNAN - Lotus (Album Review)

Release Date: June 01st 2024. Record Label: Darkest Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

Lotus: Tracklisting





Band Members

Alexandria Ashpond - lead guitar

Alex Waters - bass

Jack Jackal - guitar, vocals

James Leshkevich - drums


CARNWENNAN are a Sludge/Doom/Drone/Stoner Metal quartet from Albany, New York who are inspired by bands such as EARTH, SUNN0))), CONAN, SLEEP and OM whilst creating and conforming to their original ideas with their superbly heavy and highly original debut album Lotus. The album offers a disturbing and down-tuned style of Drone Metal which is made more powerful by the Sludge/Stoner Metal tones and kinetic Psychedelic energy that comes from the Doom Metal aspects of the whole album.

Lotus is part of the LOW & SLOW environment with CARNWENNAN playing the more Drone centric style of extended instrumental sounds than the usual standard guitar based grooves though the band do include small amounts of those types of grooves on different parts of the album. The vocals from lead vocalist Jack are loud, abrasive and aggressive which come into full force within the epic opening track I. 

Lotus is one epic forty minute track broken down into individual chapters where the band explore the different sides of the Droned Out environment which populates the creative landscape throughout the whole album. There are uplifting hypnotic states of blissful Stoner Metal jams with a surreal landscape appearing that draws from iconic bands such as SLEEP and OM. 

The album can be quite unforgiving when the extreme elements of music appear which pushes the Psychedelic/Ambient textures further into the background and a violent experimental sound fully takes control which allows CARNWENNAN to become quite frankly unstoppable with their layers of distorted climb to even greater violent heights of nightmarish volumes.

CARNWENNAN have a great ability to play a soothing Psychedelic based instrumental jam that lets the more uplifting guitar riff-centric style of music to become more dominant which happens on the outstanding second track II. The track is still heavy but it’s best described as Meditative Drone Metal though Jack’s harsh vocals keep the band firmly within the “DOES THIS DOOM” camp with great reason.

The final two tracks of III and IV sees CARNWENNAN adopt a subversive style of Progressive and Experimental creative energy with Ambient sounds and Psychedelic glitches combining for a slightly surreal Spaced Out sound which is perhaps some of my favourite parts of the album. CARNWENNAN know when to switch back to their more threatening Drone/Doom Metal sound which leads into the some of the heaviest parts of the album which come into full effect on the final epic track IV which lasts for a mind-expanding sixteen minutes or so.

Lotus is a beautifully heavy and wholly destructive release which goes across many layers of the Drone/Doom Metal spectrum which will also appeal to fans of the Sludge/Stoner Metal underground scene as well. The album is superbly produced and allows CARNWENNAN to play to their maximum technical abilities which produces first rate musical passages throughout the entire album.

This is an awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping record that could possibly become one of the best Drone Metal albums of the year. 

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Earsplit PR for the promo.

Lotus will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl via Darkest Records from Friday 31st May 2024.


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Tuesday 28 May 2024

Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metallers Kurokuma return with new album "Of Amber and Sand" / Share 1st single ‘I Am Forever’

Vicious psych trio, Kurokuma brought a fresh heaviness to the extreme music scene in 2022 with their debut album, ‘Born of Obsidian’. In August the genre-mashing threesome will return with their new record, ‘Of Amber and Sand’.

But it’s not sludge, it’s not doom, it’s not death metal. It’s Kurokuma.

While their Sanford Parker-recorded debut, ‘Born of Obsidian’ dug deep into the ancient history of Mesoamerican civilisations, ‘Of Amber and Sand’ is based on the colossal concept of time, each track dealing with a different facet of temporality and eternity, probing its significance to creation, civilisation and the human experience.

Musically, the band have drawn influence from the instruments, melodies and rhythms of the Middle East/Balkans on this release. Guitarist and vocalist, Jake Mazlum explains:

“In terms of my own relationship with the new musical elements, it’s complicated. I’m an Orthodox Christian from the Muslim world, an immigrant to the UK, and a more recent immigrant to the Balkans, where ironically I feel like I fit in culturally more than anywhere else. Much of my family is ethnically Armenian but now resides in Turkey, where I spent the first few years of my life there.

My relationship with these ‘ethnic’ musical styles is a mix of appreciation for what they are, a familiarity due to their imposition in my life in various ways, and a very conscious detachment from the cultures, places and values that - like all art - deeply informs them.“

‘I Am Forever’ is the first single to be shared from the album with drummer Joe Allen stating, “this track is a mantra on meditation that opens up this concept album on time. We challenged ourselves to write something that worked even with repeated lyrical phrases, so it truly felt like a mantra. Jake had been listening to a lot of Nailbomb and Korn for the riffs, and then our mate, Babak stepped up with a blazing baglama solo. It starts off the album with a bang."

Listen to ‘I Am Forever’ below: 

Or via the links below:

The geographical influences, as well as the subject of time are combined and reflected in the album title; ‘Of Amber and Sand’ is a metaphor the band came up with, fleshed out and visualised in the artwork by Sheffield illustrator, Mila K.

Here ‘sand’ and its abundance represents infinite time, while ‘amber’ represents one moment - amber is known for capturing insects and preserving them. Joe explains:

“The mantis trapped in amber on the cover, it’s been there potentially millions of years, preserved and unmoving while civilisations have come and gone. Species have been born into being, evolved and become extinct - yet this mantis is frozen in that one pose. A snapshot relic of the past to be admired throughout history. This motif sums up a lot of what the album is about.”

‘Of Amber and Sand’ is a much more ‘metal’ and muscular album in comparison to their debut - one that feels faster and more urgent, taking nods from a variety of artists ranging from Nailbomb, Morbid Angel and System of A Down to Omar Souleyman, Barış Manço and the genre of dabke. Joe adds:

“We made a conscious effort to get a ‘real’ sound on this recording. We wanted to avoid any over-production and use of triggers and samples where possible. Saying that, we do think the sound is a big step up from Born of Obsidian.”

Originally active from 2014, the band have been based in the UK up until now, but 2024 sees them very much operating internationally, with only bassist Zakk still residing in the UK. With Jake relocating to Bulgaria, Joe is living as a digital nomad, currently in Albania. He adds that Kurokuma is still very much a band but that “this lifestyle choice was driven in part by wanting to avoid burning out on doing the same things over and over as a UK-based band, and as a promoter. I wanted to get away and see some more of the world, but making this album happen has proven we can still function as Kurokuma while all in different places.”

After the release of ‘Born of Obsidian’ in 2022, Kurokuma went on to perform at Desertfest London, Brutal Assault in the Czech Republic and Damnation Festival, as well as touring Central Europe.

Recorded at Stuck On A Name in Nottingham with Boulty, ‘Of Amber and Sand’ is self-released by the band on 9th August and is available on CD, vinyl and digitally.

Pre-order now:

Kurokuma are: Jacob Mazlum (guitar/vocals), Joe Allen (drums), Zakk Wells (bass/vocals)

Thanks to For The Lost PR for all of the details.

High Desert Queen - Palm Reader (Album Review)

Release Date: May 28th  2024. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

Three Moons: Tracklisting

1.Ancient Aliens 

2.Death Perception 

3.Head Honcho

4.Palm Reader

5.Time Waster 

6.Tuesday Night Blues

7.Solar Rain

Band Members

Ryan Garney – vocals

Phil Hook – drums

Morgan Miller – bass

Rusty Miller – guitar


Austin, Texas based Stoner Metallers High Desert Queen earned a ton of critical plaudits for their 2022 debut album Secrets Of The Black Moon that saw the band arrive on the global Stoner Rock/Metal scene in a big way. Multiple tours and festival slots happened both within the USA and Europe where the band developed a great following on both sides of the Atlantic.

High Desert Queen have returned with their second album Palm Reader and it easily avoids the sophomore slump that has dogged so many great bands time and time again. The secret to High Desert Queen’s success is their ability to experiment with new sounds and storytelling techniques compared to their acclaimed debut release. Palm Reader does have its fair share of Psychedelic and Cosmic interludes but they added a real storytelling narrative within the lyrics and how the vocals are delivered throughout the album.

Touring with icons of the Desert/Stoner Rock scene may have helped the band along the way but High Desert Queen are still essentially delivering epic Desert Rock/Stoner Rock tracks tinged with more Emotional Driven rock on the excellent opening tracks of Ancient Aliens and Death Perception (which features guest vocals from Emma Näslund from the ace Swedish Doom/Stoner Rock band GAUPA). These two tracks alone sees High Desert Queen set down the groundwork for high voltage FUZZED UP grooves with that Texan based Desert/Stoner Rock sound merged with elements of Psych Rock, Doom Rock and Classic Hard Rock energy.

Palm Reader is quite different to Secrets Of The Black Moon when the heavier sounds appear but Ryan’s excellent vocals is like welcoming back an old friend with open arms who you haven’t seen in a long time. The music is always of the BOMBASTIC variety with the band adapting to a Blues Rock and Cosmic energy on other tracks such as Head Honcho, Palm Reader and Time Waster. 

High Desert Queen manages to impress further on the lengthier tracks of the album with Head Honcho and Solar Rain both running past the nine minutes mark. The band starts to lay down grooves with a Progressive Sludge Rock swagger that feels inspired by Mastodon and Baroness in parts. The album soon starts adding wonderful overlaps of Stoner Rock and Cosmic Rock with a touch of AMERICANA mysticism appearing within the lyrics and superb vocals allows High Desert Queen to match the dizzying creative heights and psychedelic beats of their acclaimed debut album.

The band could have easily made Secrets Of The Black Moon Part Two but they offered something more fulfilling and equally rewarding with a record that has it’s own original sound to impress listeners with all over again. 

Palm Reader is beautifully melodic and quite intense when High Desert Queen for the heavier Stoner Metal sound on the later stages of the album though the band show their tender side as well which becomes perhaps dominated by the legendary Desert Rock landscape.

This is another must-have record from High Desert Queen who have earned their reputation as one of the most promising and essential acts to come out from the legendary Texan Desert/Stoner Rock scene.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Magnetic Eye Records, US/THEM PR Group and All Noir PR for the promo.

Palm Reader will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Magnetic Eye Records from Friday 31st May 2024 at the following links below: