Sunday, 23 July 2017

THE CURF ~ DEATH AND LOVE......review


Athens, named after the Greek god of wisdom Athena, is the home of The Curf, three  Greek musicians who in their own words "ooze doom'n'groove". The bands current line up of Chris Androvitsaneas. (vocals and guitars), Spyros 'Pappous' Chrysochoou (bass) and Pepper Koll (drums) originally began life as a four piece releasing one album "I" (2007) with Apostolos Patronidis on drums and George "The Goat" Stavroulakis on rhythm and lead guitar but by the time of the release of EP "Royal Water"( 2016)  Patronidis had been replaced by Koll, a while later Stavroulakis left the band and The Curf were a trio. It is this line up, slightly stripped down but just as sonically explosive, that releases, for your listening pleasure, "Death and Love"(Fuzz Ink Records).


From the palm muted guitar riff that heralds first track "Dark Hado" to the sliding of strings that signals the end of final song "Death and Love" it seems, to this listener, that The Curf  have been looking a little deeper into themselves of late finding that side of themselves that is a little edgier ,a little less bright and sunny. Maybe its a reflection of the political turmoil and financial woe that Greece and the Rest of the World finds itself in today, its hard to say, but there is a definite air of darkness and heaviness to be found in the bands new opus that was not as prevalent on previous releases. Songs like "Let Go" with it's low slow doom groove and almost spoken vocals, and "Order'n'Sin", with its atmospheric feel and searing guitar solo's, are given an extra level of doomy gravitas by Androvitsaneas' low key, not overly powerful, but totally effective vocal tones that combine with his guitar, and the bass and drums of  Chrysochoou and Koll, to create dark atmospheric grooves of velvety smooth yet at the same time gloriously raucous doom'n'roll. The Curf are not averse to lightening the mood in places though as on "Smoke Rings", where the band hit a crunching hard rock stoner groove, and on "9-6" , a song with a thrash/punk like meter where vocal duties are handed over to guest vocalist Nancy Sim (The Burning Sticks, Immortality), although even here the band can't help from slipping into doom/psych mode, mid-section, before returning to the songs initial up-tempo groove. "California" sees the band recruiting another friend Babatsos, in on vocals, the singers blackened, harsh vocal style combined with the songs mixture of  punky aggression and low slow dynamics giving the song an almost hardcore punk meets black metal feel.


All in all "Death and Love" shows, over the span of nine gloriously delicious songs, a band who are steadily moving on an upward curve, a band feeling more confident to embrace moods and shades from other genres and incorporate them into their sound, a band who you the reader should, if you have not already, make a point of checking out .....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 21 July 2017

BUZZARD ~ BUZZARD ...review


Minnesota trio BuzzardPete Campbell (guitar, vocals ), Andy Campbell (drums) and  Gene Starr (bass), are all seasoned musicians who have frequented the line ups of some of the stoner/hard rock scenes most well respected bands, Sixty Watt Shaman, The New Suns. Place of Skulls and The Mighty Nimbus to name just a few. With a wealth of experience like this behind a band you would expect the resulting noise that these guys could make together to be something a little special and you would not be wrong, just give their brand new EP " Buzzard" ( Stone Groove Records) a listen just  to see how special!


Utilising a bank of influences that include among others Grand Funk, Blue Cheer and Mountain it is hardly surprising that the four songs that make up "Buzzard" have a distinctly proto-metal, heavy rock feel to them, The trio combine to create a sound and groove that is very much of  today but contains a spirit and feel born of another era, at times seeming as if the band had been plucked by a giant hand from the seventies and placed in a modern studio and told to make some music.
"Never Again" kick-starts "Buzzard" the band jamming a deliciously proto groove  built around Gene Starr's gnarly, gloriously grizzled bass riff. Andy Campbell sit beneath this riff complimenting Starr's bass line with his percussion, the drummer steering the groove rather than driving it and allowing Pete Cambell's  guitar to fill out the spaces with shards of reverberating chordal colouring and soaring solo's. The guitarist also handles vocal duties his low, warm soulful tones a perfect fit for the grooves played beneath them, clean powerful and measured they add an extra dimension of class to what is a very classy collective performance.
"Keep Me Comin'" begins with Pete Campbell chopping out a funky, effect laden, chord  progression unaccompanied before being joined by the drummer and bassist in a stop/start hard rock refrain, the fractured nature of the groove combined with the equally fractured meter of the vocal delivery strangely adding to its feeling of depth. Once again Starr's bass is the anchor around which the song is based but this time Andy Campbell is allowed the freedom to express himself, the drummer using every inch of his kit to great effect combining with Starr and his namesake Pete Campbell to give the song a strutting swagger.
"Is You Is" finds Buzzard exploring their darker side both musically and vocally, the band sprinkling a little Sabbath-esque proto-doom into the proceedings and using a mixture of clean and growled vocals to embellish the songs lyrics
"Blood Secrets" stays in the darker territory visited on the previous track and finds Pete Campbell stepping out from his role as sound colourist and really embracing the spotlight, his riffs and solo's driving the song and the rest of the band  through a series of subtle changes in time and tempo as well as providing an excellent, understated but totally effective, vocal performance.


It would of been nice to have a few more tracks to slaver and drool over but beggars cant be choosers and what you do get with "Buzzard"is four songs (five if you include the live cover of Robin Trower's "Bridge of Sighs" that comes with the download)  of  high quality, well written and delivered kick-ass rock music with a slightly retro feel that should tide you over nicely until their next release.
Check it out .....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 16 July 2017

ATRAGON ~ I,NECROMANCER ... review


Edinburgh's Atragon are a band who like their doom a touch on the "classic" side, the four piece, of
Jan Gardner (vocals), Ruaridh Daunton (guitar), Ewen Cameron (bass) and Jason Watt (drums).readily cite the likes of Cathedral, Reverend Bizarre and Sabbath as influences that have shaped their sound. This is not to say these guys do not have any originality and are just following a path paved by the riffs of others, far from it, Atragon bring a fresh approach and a modern twist to a genre of doom that these days is often overlooked, as can be heard on their brand new album "I,Necromancer" (Witch Hunter Records).


"I.Necromancer" is an album that will appeal to fans of all those bands mentioned earlier as well as those of a more sludge/stoner persuasion containing, as it does, massive swathes of dark metallic riffage driven by thunderous percussion and spine crumbling bass that is enhanced by scorching neo-classical  and  soaring blues tinted guitar solo's. Where Atragon differ from those other purveyors of despair and despondency is in their attack, the band incorporating into their grooves of darkness an element of stoner/hard rock grit combined with a touch old school heavy metal swagger, mixing up the low, slow and heavy with mid to up tempo dynamics to give songs like "Monastery Of Silence" and "The Dead Weight Of Unimportant Flesh" an almost thrash-like feel at times especially when those dynamics are combined with Gardner's throaty, sometimes maniacal vocal tones. These forays into furious abandon are tempered by moments of  spine tingling doomic splendour with the title track "I.Necromancer" and the epic "Jesus Wept" warranting special mention ,the former for it's gloriously atmospheric feel, searing wah pedal drenched guitar solo's and pulverising rhythms, the latter for it's deliciously gory subject matter and its titanic dark doom groove


Whether you gravitate to doom, are drawn to sludge or just a hard rock/heavy metal fan looking for something a little more feral and menacing you will find something to rock your boat/shake your tomb/ripple your swamp among the seven songs of darkness and menace that make up "I.Necromancer"
Check it out ..... 

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 14 July 2017

POSTE 942 ~ LONG PLAY .... review



French quartet Poste 942 are not what you would call your atypical stoner rock band,. their sound of fuzz drenched grooves and grinding rhythms are informed as much by those of AC/DC as they are by Kyuss and their ilk and if you throw a smattering of Seattle grunge and the homey blues in there as well you might just get a little closer to describing what these guys do.
The band, Sébastien Mathieu (guitar), Sébastien Usel (vocals),  Ludovic Favro (bass) and Nicolas Millo (drums) have been jamming their brand of infectious rock'n'roll and fuzzy groove around their home country and further afield since forming in 2013. releasing a well received demo, " Poste942", and EP, "Extended Play", along the way. The quartet are currently promoting their first full length album, an eclectic collection of  songs flying under the simple yet effective title "Long Play" (Beer, Bear, Bore Prod.).



So what do you get for your hard earned cash? Well for starters you get thirteen tracks (two of which are narrative)  that criss cross  between gnarly grunge aesthetics, bluesy hard rock swagger and gritty stoner fuzziness, and see the band effortlessly shifting between differing  musical dynamics yet managing to maintain a core sound that is wholly their own.  This diversity of groove is in some part anchored and informed  by the gritty, sometimes raw and feral, sometimes throaty clean vocal tones of Usel, the frontman's slightly accented but totally effective voice conveying a plethora of emotions and moods as he roars and croons over backdrops of  throbbing bass, thundering percussion and crunching guitar. The bands engine room of Favro and Millo provide a foundation of infectious rhythmic splendour, the bassist and drummer one minute laying down grooves of bluesy funkiness ("Devil's Complaint") the next going hell for leather, fast and furious ("Punky Booster"), both solid and tight together but able to stamp their own identities on a song when the opportunity presents itself.  Mathieu compliments these grooves with crunching chordal riffage, short un-indulgent soloing and subtle bluesy colouring, his guitar combining at times with Usel's diverse vocal palette to add an edgy darkness to the proceedings.


Grungey enough for the grungers, fuzzy enough for the stoners and with enough swaggering bluster for the hard rockers "Long Play" is an album well worth investigating no matter what your personal preference may be.
Check it out .....



© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 9 July 2017

SHROUD EATER ~ STRIKE THE SUN ... review


Miami, Florida, still, to this day evokes. to those not native to the area, visions of gleaming fast cars and glowing street lights beneath which stand men in expensive suits, jacket sleeves fashionably rolled up eyeing exotic women dressed in figure hugging designer dresses, not so much because that's Miami's reality but more because that was the image sold to us by the 1980 iconic TV show "Miami Vice". Some Miami residents however adhere to a more alternative dress code that includes denim and band tees, people who prefer their grooves a little grittier, edgier and heavier than the soundtracks Phil Collins and Gloria Estefan provided back in the day, and some of those residents form bands!
Shroud EaterJean Saiz  (guitar/vocals), Janette Valentine (bass/vocals) and Davin Sosa (drums/vocals), are three such Miami residents who, since the bands formation in 2009, have consistently delivered diverse slabs of metallic groove to an eager and appreciative fan base both live and from the studio. The latest chapter in Shroud Eater's story has just been released via STB Records and flies under the banner of "Strike The Sun"


 "Strike The Sun" is an album of immense magnitude and depth utilising an array of dynamics with which to shade and texture its diverse and dazzlingly collection of raucous grooves. From the haunting "Sleepless Fire" via the doomy heaviness of "Iron Mountain" the sparse atmospheric beauty of "Dream Flesh" to the progressive sludge thick refrains of "Futile Exile" their is a feeling of a band comfortable in their sound, a band who can charm you with their serene beauty one minute then beat you to the ground with their brutality the next,  Shroud Eater are a band consisting of three people all of whom sing and the band use this to great effect mixing ethereal  and mournful tones with those of a more visceral nature, a brave move that could, in other hands, result in a confused and fragmented sound with no identity, not so with Shroud Eater, they use this to their advantage arranging their songs so as to incorporate those voices so that no matter who is at the mic the listener is in no doubt that the grooves they are listening to belong to Shroud Eater .


Made up of eight of the most diverse and exciting collections of sludge tinted songs your likely to hear in your lifetime "Strike The Sun" is an album that deserves to be heard, needs to be heard and must be heard by as many people as possible.
Check it out....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 8 July 2017

SOUND OF ORIGIN ~ SEEDS OF THE PAST .... review.


Huddersfield, UK, once the centre of Britain's Industrial Revolution and still a town known for its textile, chemical and engineering companies is the home of Sound of Origin a four piece band of like minded brothers, John Bussey (vocals), .Joe 'Zeph' Wilczynski (guitar), Jax Townend (bass) and Chris 'Foz' Foster (drums),  with a penchant for raucous fuzz and distortion inspired by the likes of Kyuss, Weedeater and Down, a sound and groove that can be heard on the bands debut EP "Seeds of the Past".


"Wafarin" kicks things off in fine style with Wilczynski laying down a riff so drenched in fuzz and distortion its almost in danger of of breaking up, underneath this sawtoothed onslaught Townend and Foster lay down a barrage of thundering bass and drums, the pair complimenting the guitarist's  output with gnarly bottom end and tumultuous percussive might. Frontman Bussey delivers into this mix of stonerized metal and raucous hard rock big gritty vocals delivered with feral passion, mixing his vocal stylings between short sharp bursts of staccato-like attack, throaty guttural roars and clean classic rock type crooning, his unique mix of tones a perfect match for the diverse grooves of metallic desolation surrounding them.
"Driven To Distraction" follows a similar path to the previous track but with the metallic elements of the bands sound pushed slightly to the fore with Wilczynski dialling down the fuzz and instead opting for slightly more overdrive and distortion, the guitarist adding touches of doom-like dynamics into the songs gnarly refrains, refrains that are pushed hard by Foster and Townend's solid rhythmic backdrops and topped off with Bussey's superb vocal stylings.
"Left For Dead" finds Bussey singing a folk-like melodies over clean strummed guitar periodically interrupted by swathes of heavy fuzzed riffage and thundering rhythm with Bussey following suite vocally. The songs quiet/loud/quiet aesthetic gives the song a kind of grunge /alt feel and indicates that there is more to this band than at first meets the ear.
"Seeds of the Past" jams a circular desert groove embellished with little Kyuss type guitar fills and licks with Bussey giving his best performance so far, the frontman singing of having "his head in a cloud" against a backdrop of chugging riffage and pounding percussion.
"Asphelt" sees Sounds Of Origin moving into slow and low territory the bands sound getting a little dark and doomy both vocally and musically with Bussey crooning clean and clear in the songs quieter moments shifting through the gears to growling and roaring as the songs groove gradually gets heavier.


Sound Of Origin's "Seeds Of The Past" is a good indicator for where British underground rock is currently residing at today, well written, superbly performed songs that are informed by grooves that may have been born in the USA  but have a groove and feel that is totally home grown
Check it out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 7 July 2017

FALL OF AN EMPIRE ~ CROWEATER 2: THE LAST WISHES OF KINGS ... review


South Carolina's Fall Of An Empire caused many a head to be turned and an ear to be pricked when in August 2016 they unleashed on to the world their superb and frankly unexpected masterpiece "Croweater: An Echo In The Bone", a stunning opus packed to overflowing with fuzzy blues tinted stoner/hard rock grooves coated in uber-cool soulful vocals. The EP was warmly embraced by music fans and critics alike making it to a respectable eighth position in the September edition of The Doom Charts. This year the band release part two of  their "Croweater" saga with "Croweater 2: The Last Wishes Of The Kings"


Shane Smith's gnarly bass riff introduces first and title track "The Last Wishes Of The Kings"  swiftly joined by Brad Muñoz's  solid, busy drums and Cody Edens and Brent Carroll's  gritty chordal guitar colouring, the four musicians laying down a bedrock of  prog tinted stoner/hard rock for vocalist Kenny Lawrence to wrap his soulful larynx around, the frontman telling tales of kings, thrones and broken bones in honeyed heartfelt tones, the band together creating a virtual Game of Thrones for the ears.
It might be argued that the marrying of fantastical themes of sword and sorcery to hard riff orientated rock music had seen it's day back in the mid to late 70's when bands like Uriah Heep and Dio era Rainbow ruled the roost, and in some respects that would be true, but Brent Carroll's lyrics combined with the hard edged grooves laid beneath them reinvigorates the whole fantasy inspired sub-genre for a new generation. Songs like "This Mountain", with it's big chorus and even bigger groove, "The Brink", with its chugging, insistent riff and pulverising percussion and "No Passage" with its classic rock inspired feel that recalls memories of Bad Company, are all given an added feeling of dimension and depth by Carroll's clever use of the English language, the guitarists words soaring soulfully over thick slabs of atmospheric rock music, immersing the listener in a world a million miles from the one outside his/her window.


If you yearn for those days when lyrics that told a story were as equally important as the riffs and rhythms that lay beneath them  then "Croweater 2: The Last Wishes Of Kings" is something you should really check out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 30 June 2017

DOPE SMOKER ~ LEGALIZE IT ...review


Welsh trio Dope Smoker are a bit of an anomaly, the band, who to date have released five albums, are seemingly obsessed with surf, sea and marijuana, using these themes over and over again as the foundations on which to build their sound, a sound which incorporates huge walls of gnarly fuzz drenched guitar riffage, deeply distorted bass and pounding heavy rock drumming coated in mantra -type vocals delivered in strong ,Ozzy-ish, nasal tones.
The band today (29/06/17) release their sixth album "Legalize It" (available here)


So what do Dope Smoker bring to the table that's different this time around  I hear you ask, well the truth is not a lot really, those insistent swathes of overdriven guitar riffage, dripping with so much fuzz they are in danger of breaking up into just noise, are still in place, as are those thrumming lines of distorted bass that accompany them.  The bands lyrics remain minimal, consisting of a few lines repeated ad-infinitum,  mostly concerning the legalization of herbal tobacco or the love of it sang/chanted in stonerized mantras that are almost Gregorian (monophonic religious vocal cadences) in tone. Where "Legalize It" differs from previous Dope Smoker outings is in the levels of musicianship that have slowly crept into the bands repertoire and the subtle shift away from clubby trip-hop backbeats to a more traditional rock based percussive groove, "Legalize It" also sees the band  experimenting with elements of ambience and atmosphere, filling out there odes to "the leaf " with gentle and serene dynamics, expertly entwining them into their, now familiar, raucous  fuzz soaked riffs and mesmeric grooves. Nowhere is this more evident than on the hypnotic "Trenches" where screeching feedback, droning bass effects and wordless vocal melodies mingle with gritty stoner refrains and thundering grooves, ramping up the atmospherics to create a fuller sonic attack that is at times spine-tingling, a trick  they also repeat on the wonderfully hypnotic "Nasa". Dope Smoker also get to flex their doom muscles on the low, slow and heavy "Over", its powerful dark and intense groove enhanced by swirling guitar colouring and textures giving it a feeling of eerie menace.
All in all "Legalize It" ticks all the boxes you would expect to have ticked from a Dope Smoker album but also shows a band who are slowly, at their own pace, evolving into one of the finest and most original bands on the UK underground scene today.
Check 'em out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 29 June 2017

ALTARETH ~ THE BLACK BIBLE TRACKS .... review


Sweden's Altareth's last EP "Bury Your Mind In Moss" saw them staking a claim on those retro hard rock/stoner/doom crowns once the property of likes of Witchcraft and Graveyard, this year the band have reconvened with a new EP "The Black Bible Tracks" and this time it seems they have those chalices of doom that bands like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus once drank from in their sights.


"The Black Bible Tracks" consists of just two songs "Blood" and "Evil Intention", both clock in at just over the six minute mark and both show a band who have slightly shifted their musical direction away from the retro blues doom of their last missive and are now dipping their toes in darker, deeper waters/
"Blood" begins with an eerie out of phase guitar motif repeating and reverberating back and forth accompanied by sparse percussion before exploding into a heavy downtuned groove of monolithic intensity and depth  overlaid with strong powerful vocals that have a markedly gothic/epic feel to them.
"Evil Intention" raises the tempo slightly and although sitting a little closer to the sound the band first explored on "Bury Your Mind In Moss" remains,  like "Blood", rooted in those murkier waters found at the more "epic" end of the doom spectrum, albeit textured with touches of psychedelic colouring. "First time it hurts, next time you grow, third time you turn and evil fills your mind" sings the vocalist against a backdrop of swirling dark guitar. grizzled bass and thundering percussion, the band gradually ramping up the atmospherics before ending things on a wave of  darkly delicious instrumental doom groove.
Whether "The Black Bible Tracks" marks the direction in which future Altareth recordings will head or whether this is a one off nod to the past masters of doom, Desert Psychlist does not know, but either way these songs are two slices of darkly atmospheric doom any lover of the genre should definitely check out ....


© 2017 Frazer jones

Sunday, 25 June 2017

BLIND MESS ~ BLIND MESS ... review


The German hard rock/stoner/metal trio of Daniel (Guitar/Shouts), Martin (Drums) and Oskar (Bass) originally started life as Black Mass in their hometown of Munich in 2016 but for legal reasons had to have a quick change of name so with a deft stroke of a pen Blind Mess were born. The band describe what they do as "A mess of fuzzy tones and shouts in a nebula of Rock'n'Roll" and it's hard to disagree with that statement when listening to the bands self titled debut "Blind Mess".


The band cite Queens of the Stone Age, Motorhead and The Misfits as some of the inspirations for their brand of hard edged, gritty metallic groove and although their are elements of QOTSA's quirky desert refrains to be found throughout "Blind Mess" it is those of the latter two bands that are the most prominent and obvious. Old school metallic rock'n'roll combined with an edgey punk attitude is the foundation on which songs like "Ship of Fools", "Black Mess", "Supernova" and "The Monkey" are built, and those elements alone would be enough to please even the most ardent heavy rock aficionado but Blind Mess blend into those elements touches of fuzzy desert colouring and texture, adding an air of off-kilter quirkiness to their raw edged raucousness.



If you like your rock'n'roll brought to the table with throat ripping vocals sang/shouted over chainsaw riffage, bone crumbling bass and thunderous percussion all served up with a side order of desert/stoner grittiness then Blind Mess is a band you should check out......


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 23 June 2017

SASQUATCH ~ MANEUVERS ....review


Sasquatch are a band who never disappoint, never deliver less than 100%, run your finger along their back catalogue and randomly stop anywhere and you are almost guaranteed to find a song that will leave you listening and nodding along with a big cheesy grin on your face.
The Los Angeles trio of Keith Gibbs  (guitar, vox), Craig Riggs (drums, harmonies) and Jason "Cas" Casanova (bass) have a sound and groove that, although influenced by all the greats of the 1970's, is one that is completely their own, a sound that is undeniably and categorically Sasquatch. The only criticism that might be levelled at this band is that you have to wait so long between albums,.but that in itself makes the arrival of a new Sasquatch album that much more satisfying, for when one does arrive it becomes hard to listen to anything else for at least a month or so.
Our patience  has at last been rewarded and that time has at last arrived for a new Sasquatch album, so please clear your diaries for "Maneuvers" (available now on Bandcamp)


"Rational Woman" opens "Maneuvers" with  a heavily fuzzed, strident groove pushed hard by Riggs and Casanova's solid and insistent rhythm work, the drummer and bassist locking in tight together laying down a solid bedrock for Gibbs to coat in swathes of warm fuzz and distortion. Over this resulting cacophony of proto-metal groove and stoner/hard rock swagger Gibbs also applies vocals, his clean, powerful and distinctive tones as much a part of what is the "Sasquatch sound" as the equally distinctive groove the band create as a whole. "More Than You'll Ever Be" slows the pace down a notch or two with Casanova's titanic bass line the lynchpin around which Riggs powerhouse percussion and Gibbs overdriven guitar riffs revolve, the drummer laying down a thunderous plethora of rhythm around which Gibbs' guitar crunches out throbbing powerchords and wah drenched solo's over which he also supplies a killer vocal melody and hard not to sing-a-long chorus. "Destroyer" boasts an infectious circular refrain around which Gibbs delivers a superb vocal performance, the guitarist/vocalist sounding like a lower-register Chris Cornell in places. Drummer Riggs, as well as providing occasional vocal harmonies, balances his percussive might with a mixture of power and restraint while Casanova holds the bottom end down, his bass lines and riffs thrumming with grizzled, boneshaking bassitude. "Maneuvers" is  not all stoner buster and overdriven riffage though, "Bring Me Down" sees Sasquatch hitting a more classic/hard rock groove with Gibbs dialling down the fuzz a notch and opting for a cleaner sharper guitar sound while "Just Couldn't Stand The Weather" and "Drown All The Evidence" (both tracks featuring David Unger on piano and keys) finds the band experimenting with bluesy texturing and colours. "Always" combines stoner/hard rock groove and swagger with elements of psych and a mix of Allman Brothers meets The Cult guitar colouring. The band even find space to throw in one those Sabbath-like  mini-instrumental interludes with, the appropriately titled, "Lude" a strange eighteen seconds of random notes played on a keyboard that paves the way for "Window Pain", a delightfully hard edged but soulful romp that not only sees the return of Unger on piano/keys but also utilises the talents of James Rohr on Hammond B3 organ, the addition of the pairing making Sasquatch's already big sound feel absolutely massive.
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As good as, if not better, than anything they've recorded to date "Maneuvers" is an album that should at last see Sasquatch garner a wider audience of new fans as well as delighting those legions of fans who have been there from day one.
Check it out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 16 June 2017

ALMOST HONEST ~ THUNDER MOUTH ..review


"Groovy Sexy Viking Funk Metal from Outerspace" is not a musical tag you're likely to come across too frequently but it is the description Pennsylvanian groovsters Almost Honest use to describe their brand of foot to the floor, no-nonsense riff'n'roll. The band, Shayne Reed (vocals, guitar),Seth Jackson (bass), Quinten Spangler (drums) and Zach Keiffer (lead guitar), whose influences include Red Fang, Mastodon and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, have been together since 2013 and have been pedalling their mix of funk, fuzz and sludge grooves around their home base and further afield ever since.. This year sees the release of their first full album "Thunder Mouth", ten tracks of quirky funk fuelled rock'n'roll available through their Bandcamp page (here)


"Thunder Mouth" is an album that, although possessing all the attributes usually expected to be found within the stoner/sludge and hard rock canon, sits slightly left of field of those expectations. Raucous riffage, shifting time signatures and thunderous pounding rhythms can all be happily ticked off as you move through albums list of tracks but there's an underlying, slightly off-kilter quirkiness permeating each and every song. The first indication of this left of field vibe can be found in Shayne Reed's vocals, the guitarist/vocalists slightly gothic/indie tones are clean, strong with a subtle raw edge and are pitched a little lower than what is usually the norm within the stoner genre giving them a startling unique feel. This feeling of uniqueness is mirrored by Jackson and Spangler's superb, ever shifting rhythmic bluster, the bassist and drummer combining with Reed's guitar to lay down a plethora of jagged groove, switching from funky metallic to hard and rocking within a heartbeat. Over, through and around these refrains and rhythms Keiffer's lead work shifts between bluesy swagger and neo-classical shred, ripping both complex and loose solos from his guitar that soar majestically above the grooves below like eagles riding warm thermal updrafts.
Quirky, funky, gritty and raucous all wrapped up in one bundle might may sound like a recipe for disaster but Almost Honest manage to pull all these threads together to create an album that is slightly different but highly enjoyable
Check it out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

VOKONIS ~ THE SUNKEN DJINN ..... review


Sweden's VokonisSimon Ohlsson (guitar/ vocals), Jonte Johansson (bass/backing vocals) and Emil Larsson (drums), made everyone sit up and listen with their debut "Olde One Ascending" the album stormed the "Best of 2016"  lists of many of the stoner/doom scenes makers and shakers as well as appearing to take up permanent residence in those monthly lists of current listening and good taste "The Doom Charts". This year the band are back with a brand new album "The Sunken Djinn" and a brand new label "Ripple Music" so be prepared for history to repeat itself.


Title track "The Sunken Djinn" begins with a wash of sound, guitar chords and bass lines reverberating over a backdrop of pummelling percussion before the band fall into the songs main riff, a refrain that constantly ascends and descends and is enhanced by Ohlsson's clever use of  colour and texture and is buoyed by Johansson's  throbbing bass lines and Larsson's pulverising skins and shimmering cymbals. Ohlsson pours over this tumultuous barrage of heavy groove monotonic vocal tones his big, suprisingly clear bellows ,backed in places by Johansson, a perfect match for the monolithic grooves beneath them.
"Calling From The Core" follows, it's dark, prog tinted intro segueing into a throbbing stoner metal groove pushed hard by Johansson and Larsson's solid and tight rhythmic work. Ohlsson here delivers his vocals almost in staccato fashion while at the same time crunching out dark shards of chordal riffage and ripping swirling guitar solo's from his fretboard. A mix of prog-ish complexity and stoner metal brutality it is one of the highlights of the album.
"The Coldest Night" begins with Johansson's bass thrumming out a devastatingly distorted motif around which Ohlsson throws crunching powerchords then evolves into a low, slow to mid-paced stoner doom groove taken to the next level by it's sheer intensity and unrelenting heaviness.
"Blood Vortex" follows much the same path as the previous track but lifts the pace a few notches and sees Ohlsson adding a little more aggression and anger into his vocal approach.
"Architect Of Despair" sees Vokanis embracing their doom side and hitting a blackened stoner groove with Ohlsson's now trade mark vocals booming over heavily fuzz laden riffage and pounding percussion, the guitarist/vocalist also throwing in a series of searing guitar solo's
"Rapturous" like "Calling From The Core" utilises touches of prog-like atmospherics and texturing to make its initial presence felt and like that song slowly builds into grizzled riff-fest of bellowed monotone vocals, crunching refrains and thunderous groove.
"Maelstroem" closes the album in a whirl of taped effects, backward guitars and noise and is exactly what its title suggests it is.


Vokonis, have not sat idle bathing in the glory of their achievement with "Olde Ones Ascending", these hairy purveyors of the raucous and heavy have returned with an album that not only matches the intensity and heaviness of that album but one that surpasses it.
Check it out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 11 June 2017

TARLUNG ~ BEYOND THE BLACK PYRAMID .. review


Vienna's TarLung have come a long way since meeting in 2013 and recording "TarLung" their debut album, an album recorded and released before any of them had even stepped on a stage together. The band, Clemens aka "Rotten" (guitar), Marian (drums) and Philipp aka "Five" (guitar/vocals) then went on to release  an EP ,"Void" in 2016 and had by this time "popped their cherry" as a live concern supporting the the likes of Eyehategod and Saturnalia Temple to good reviews.
TarLung have recently recorded and released their second full length album "Beyond The Black Pyramid" available now on Black Bow Records.


TarLung describe "Beyond The Black Pyramid" as an album that " takes you on a hour long journey through strange tales of war, death and human misery" and you can almost feel that misery and despair oozing from every note and dark chord played throughout the albums nine low, slow missives of darkened, doom laden, sludge tinted metal. Heavy is a word that's been applied to many forms of music, heavy rock, heavy blues, heavy metal but never has a word been more appropriate then when applied to the blackened grooves TarLung bring to the table, songs like  "It Waits In The Dark", "Prime Of Your Existence" and "Born Dead" are enveloped in swathes of cloying dank guitar riffage that reverberate menacingly over powerful and quite complex drum patterns into which are delivered low, gravel thick vocals that rumble like distant thunder beneath. It's not all doom and gloom though "Resignation" shines a brief light of quiet instrumental contemplation into proceedings and "Dying Light" almost hits a straight metal/stoner groove before ploughing headlong back into the doom.


On the whole "Beyond The Black Pyramids" is a weighty album of growling malevolence and despair built on devilishly darkened grooves played deliciously low, achingly slow and extremely heavy.
Check it out .....



© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 10 June 2017

ARTEAGA ~ VOL.II DIOS SOL .... review


Desert Psychlist has spoken before of the political unrest that for many years stifled the emergence of the Chilean rock scene and although those times are thankfully long behind them it is only recently that music coming from that South American country is making its presence felt in the international rock markets.
Arteaga  are one such band to slowly gain a foothold outside of their native home, the trio of Francisco Gonzalez, Sebastián Morales Munita , and Domingo Lovera Parmo have just released via Forbidden Records (USA) and South American Sludge Records (Argentina) their new album "Vol. II Dios Sol" as well as on their Bandcamp page (here)


Listen to "Vol.II Dios Sol" with heavy psych grooves driven by punishingly pulverising percussion over which  throbbing refrains of chainsaw toned riffage are delivered and you might just get an idea why so many inside and outside of the South American continent are picking up on what these guys do . Add to this gloriously noisy maelstrom of desert tinted doom'n'groove a soupcon of howling feedback and a coating of slightly manic but powerful vocals (sang in Spanish) and you not only get the idea why, you'll know why.


Arteaga fill every nook and cranny of "Vol.II Dios Sol" with swathes of textured psychedelic colouring using elements of lysergic ambience to bridge the gaps between wailing guitar solos, hazy vocal melodies and heavily pedal effected riffage, it's heady, cruiser-weight grooves of acid laced stoner doom enhanced by a gist of  textured space and psych is something well worth checking out ...


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 9 June 2017

LÂMINA ~ LILITH ....review


Vasco Duarte (guitar/vocals), Sergio Pratas da Costa (guitar), Filipe Homem Fonseca (bass) and Catarina da Silva Henriques are LÂMINA a four piece Portuguese band from Lisbon specialising in lysergic laced stoner/hard rock grooves edged in doom and psych all of which can be heard on the bands debut album "Lilith"


LÂMINA's "Lilith" melds together aspects of late 60's psychedelic rock with those of the more fuzz orientated stoner/hard rock grooves of the 00's, wrapping them in swathes of swirling lysergic guitar colouring and shoegaze-ish vocal melodies underpinned by shifting rhythmic textures and patterns.
It is hard , while listening to the seven songs that make up "Lilith", not to be reminded in places of those, now sadly defunct, pioneers of the "new psych sound" Quest For Fire but where LÂMINA differ from those Canadian purveyors of swirling lysergic groove is in the harder edged, subtly shaded doom and stoner/hard rock bluster these Portuguese musicians bring to the table. Songs like opener "Cold Blood" and "Big Black Angel" plough a similar furrow to Quest For Fire, strident fuzz drenched grooves replete with wah drenched guitar solo's and deliciously addictive vocal melodies, but it is as we near the albums centre that things start to take on a darker hue. "Evil Rising" begins this descent into edginess by jamming a slightly upbeat proto-doom groove, its slightly Sabbath-esque refrain  perfectly paving the way for the albums epic centrepiece "Maze" a twenty minute opus taking in elements of  doom and psych as well as dipping its toes into the waters of both space and post-rock texturing and atmospherics.."Psychodevil" and "Education For Death" briefly lift the listener into Sabbath territory again, albeit with a psychedelic. acid laced twist, before once again diving headlong into the abyss with the schizophrenic and menacing "In The Warmth of Lilith" a low, slow doom laden lament, filled with achingly beautiful guitar colouring and mournful vocal meters, that closes the album.


Mesmeric and infectious "Lilith" is a fuzz drenched tome taking the listener on a journey from heady psychedelic brightness into the depths of  dank doomy darkness, a trip well worth taking.
Check it out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

SPOCAINE ~ SOLAR FUZZ .... review


Germany's SpocaineFlorian Rauch (vocals), André Stefan (guitar, slide guitar), Patrick Weber (guitar), Jorin Gundler (bass) and Tim Rauch (drums, percussion) first came to Desert Psychlist's attention when in 2013 the band released their self-tiled album "Spocaine" a nine song opus headed up by "Little Jimmy" one of the most infectious  bluesy stoner/hard rock songs recorded that year.
The band return this year (2017) with "Solar Fuzz" a new EP consisting of three gritty slices of fuzz drenched stoner blues bookended by two brief but very interesting instrumentals.


"Intro" starts things rolling it's short sharp burst of solid drum beats and raked guitar strings and swirling effects seguing into a thrumming heavy rock riff underpinned with deep rumbling bass.
"Giants Walk" follows and finds Spocaine jamming a groove that recalls Maryland fuzzmeisters Clutch's bluesier moments but also those of Greece's Planet Of Zeus minus the hardcore vocals, jagged grooves of bluesy bluster taken to another level by Florian Rauch's big vocal tones, the frontman's bear-like growl tinged with stoner grit and southern swagger a dominant force as he roars over a gritty backdrop of gnarly fuzzed out groove.
"Solar Fuzz" explodes from the speakers on a wave of chainsaw guitar riffage, guitarists Stefan and Weber laying down a crunching heavily fuzzed refrain superbly backed up by Gundler's thrumming bass and Tim Rauch's persistent and pulverising percussion. Into this maelstrom of gloriously distorted sludge-like noise enters Florian Rauch, sounding like he's been gargling razors and smoking tree bark, telling tales of a sun "that blinds my eyes" as well as throwing an Ozzy -like "yeah" in here and there.
"Into The Light" sees Spocaine hitting a groove that sits comfortably between doom and southern metal with Florian Rauch's grizzled tones crooning over  a bedrock of big resounding guitar chords, booming bass lines and military style drumming before exploding into a gloriously powerful proto-metal jam and taking things to a deliciously noisy close.
"Outro" wraps things up with a brief but quite delightful foray into experimental territory with hand played percussion the base around which big booming bass resounds and reverberates and heavily effected guitars add colouring and texture.


Three "proper" songs and two instrumentals is a little less than Desert Psychlist was hoping from Spocaine's latest release but beggars can't be choosers and what you do get is as good as some bands release on a whole album.
Check it out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones