Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Eversons - Summer Feeling

Clever, addicting and absolutely amazing, what more can I say? The Eversons are the latest band to emerge from the Southern Hemisphere that packs a punch. This New Zealand quartet blew me away from the very first time I heard their music and they feel like a band I have been enjoying for years.

As a matter of fact, they seem eerily reminiscent of their self-described role models Weezer. Much like their heroes’ debut (Weezer’s self-titled debut album a.k.a. The Blue Album), The Eversons first track knocked me out with their harmonies, guitars and catchy lyrics. Immediately I was hooked.

From first listen, The Eversons seem like the combination of Art Brut, The Beach Boys and Weezer with their over the top vocal harmonies, yet contain organic heavy guitar arrangements. Even at times lead singer Mark Turner sounds like Rives Cuomo with a cool accent. This group of good friends takes turns singing backup and lead vocals, which seems to becoming a new trend amongst younger bands alternating instrumentation and/or vocal arrangements.

Composed of Mark Turner (bass), Chris Young (guitar), Blair Everson (guitar) and Tim Shann (drums), The Eversons are sublime. Although Turner and Young primarily share lead vocals for most of Summer Feeling, Everson and Shann sing lead vocals on “Why Can’t You Just Be Happy For Me” and “You’re Just A Friend” respectively. Everything eerily seems so organic and well balanced they create a true live sound on this simply stellar debut album.

The title of The Everson’s debut Summer Feeling originates from the Jonathan Richman (of Modern Lovers) song “That Summer Feeling” off his album Jonathan Sings! Their dry wit and clever humor is perfectly captured on this multi-faceted album. “Could It Ever Get Better” is a great song to open this fun, fantastic album with Turner contemplating what life would be growing older, losing loved ones and going crazy. When the entire band readily responds, “It never gets better!” that’s when I knew this was the band for me. This brilliant, brutally honest band blew my mind away and captured my heart.

Other notable songs include “Creepy,” “Going Back to Work,” “Going Overseas,” “You’re Just A Friend,” and “Terminally Ill.” Whether they sound like Buddy Holly meets Pavement, The Virgins, Wavves or whoever, their mix of pop vocals has created a delightful debut album worth recommending and experiencing. It’s because of bands like The Eversons that I enjoy writing music reviews.

--Mr. Brownstone



Promising Lips - Self-Titled EP

 



It is like a first date.  You open the cellophane packaging on a CD - it’s an icebreaker.  The equivalent of a pick up line - “Have we met before?”  Your eyes size up the physical attributes of the package - in this case two guys on a stark hillside, casually dressed, hands in pockets.  Still there is something about it - the words ‘Promising Lips,’ in a large and bold-faced all capital type centered across the entirety of the photograph on the cover.

What is it about France?  Is it the romance, the thousands of years of art, Aurelie Claudel (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/swimsuit/collection/models/aurelie_claudel.html)?  The air seems to breed great modern rock bands.  The four tracks on the french band Promising Lips’ self-titled EP blew me away.  The two-piece rock band consists of longtime friends Alikhan Dearlove and bassist Eric V. They supply all of the sound, writing and production.  Each track is kissed with lusciousness.

My mouth dropped open when I heard the first track, The Devil’s Way.  It is a driving, rocking, sensuous calculated production piece of desire.  You get engrossed in a salacious assault on the senses and it doesn’t let up.  The second track, Lovers As Gamblers, picks up where The Devil’s Way leaves off - strident independence with a dab at the corners, screeching guitars, pleading vocals, textures..

The music draws you in.  The third track, Perfect Poison, rubs up against David Byrne/David Bowie territory. It delivers desire and rock hard tension. The final track, Circles, is a punk hard progressive rock hip moving sonic opera.  

It is not enough.  The EP is like a great french kiss at the end of a wonderful first date.  It is hot, anxious and wonderful - lip-smacking good, but leaves you wanting more.  Ah, yes, they are Promising Lips.

- Old School

Video

The Devil’s Way

 

Perfect Poison

 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Saturna - The Kingdom of Spirit



I'm packing up my truck I call the Silver Shark, and I'm heading north to the dark forest of Ontario Canada.
A space for my original muse to get fired up. A mind cleansing and shock to the habitual routine of life and work. As part of this purge, I will also pack my trusty boombox and a bottle of red wine. I will then take said boombox, and  place it,  into the forest, approximately 25 feet from my green plastic lawn chair. You need audio space my brothers and sisters. Space from the sound source, and your ears. Fuck the head phones (for now)! There is something to be said about dead windless organic air, that takes music from the speaker,  to your ears. Like a bellhop with a red velvet glove full of music,  served straight to the senses.  In this case - the sound between the space, will be Saturna cranked out of the boombox. (With only the crackling of a fire pit as a distraction.) Space is the place. And this band was made for that organic audio space.

The production on "The Kingdom of Spirit" is done superb. Not over produced like a stale chicken sandwich at the 7 Eleven. This is nicely mixed, with great organic tones and vintage sounding spacephonics. It has a warm feel. The drums sometime pan from one speaker to the other. You really need to give this record a chance. I found that this recording improves with each song. Getting more skillful with each cut. The intro to " Morning Star"   is disfigured and seductive with the vocals coming in like a super planet royal demigod. Although hard to define the sound of this band other than Euro Rock, I can hear sounds of "Message - Book of Dreams"  here. Which is a huge compliment. Not too many bands are making music like this right now. Sounds from the early 70's Euro rock, but somehow still advancing the genre.  This band calls Barcelona, Spain home ground. Give your ears and mind a workout and admire the intelligence. Check out  " The Kingdom of Spirit " by Saturna.  This is a great effort.

Stand out track - "The Hermes Stone".

Sir Hendrix the cat says, "the cover artwork kills!"

-Wino Chris

MIGHTY HIGH's Premiere of Brand New Album on Blog Tour Release Party Wraps Up Today with Final Five Songs



Continuing with the party that found Brooklyn's finest regressive rock act crashing the party at some of the best music sites in the world, Mighty High bring their debut album blog tour to the Ripple Effect for the premeire of the final two songs, "Chemical Warpigs" and "High on the Cross."

Invading places they'd never be welcomed normally, Mighty High and Ripple Music offer you the opportunity to hear the whole album Legalize Tres Bags, and visit some great rock music sites to boot.  Ripple Music has teamed with the finest leaders in heavy music journalism, The Soda Shop, Heavy Planet, Cosmic Lava, Grip of Delusion Radio, and The Ripple Effect, to bring you Ripple Music’s first ever Blog Tour Album Release Party.

Don’t miss the album that Heavy Metal Time Machine says stirs “together some classic rock riffs, punk rock energy and stoner rock madness to serve up some of the catchiest rock to come down the pike in some time.”

Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday June 26th: Soda Shop (www.thesodashop.us)
Wednesday June 27th: Heavy Planet (www.heavyplanet.net)
Thursday June 28th: Cosmic Lava (www.cosmiclava.de)
Friday June 29th:  The Ripple Effect (www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com)
All week, Grip of Delusion Radio (www.gripofdelusion.com)

And catch Mighty High performing Legalize Tre Bags live & nasty:

Saturday June 30 at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn, NY    www.therockshopny.com

You can find the album at the Ripple Store and all fine physical and digital outlets.

For a review of the album, check out The Sleeping Shaman.

"Yeah I know I’m in a band on the same label as these guys but that doesn’t necessarily mean I think this bunch of lobotomised chimps are any good now does it? For the record, I do…and I did long before we were label mates right back to the birth of their previous album “In Drug City” which proved to be a raw, uncultured blast through rock and roll’s dark history whilst under the influence of a truck load of narcotics.

The band describes their sound as “Black Flag Railroad”…and that’s pretty accurate. Imagine it’s the year 1973 and Grand Funk Railroad have inadvertently discovered hardcore punk. Not wanting to fuck up their lavish rock star lifestyles they decide to find a willing group of slightly retarded, stoned teenagers and teach them to play this new sound…that band would be Mighty High…except they’re far from being teenagers and this is 2012…the rest of the description remains pretty accurate.

Kicking off with the barely-scraping-a-minute blast of “I Don’t Wanna Listen To Yes” it’s clear that, despite line-up changes this is very much business as usual for Mighty High…raw, in your face punk meets 70’s boogie rock and roll. Any song that features the line “I don’t wanna fuckin’ listen to Yes, Yes sucks, fuck you!!!” is an instant winner. From here Mighty High continue to mine their tales of drug abuse on the remaining 10 tracks. “Mooche” is a classic tale of a free loading deadbeat set to rollicking punk fuelled riffs. It’s not big…but it is surprisingly clever as Woody High displays a humour and turn of phrase in his lyrics that elevate themselves from being purely dumb, this is an intelligent level of dumbness that’s pretty hard to achieve. The High plumb their 70’s rock influences on “The Ram” which grooves on a riff that would have made Budgie proud and shows that the band, despite their image have a real eye for a well structured song. They probably won’t thank me for saying this but they are a surprisingly adept rock and roll band…maybe they can use this line in their advertising!!!"  . . . Read more at The Sleeping Shaman.

And now, here's your final two songs from Legalize Tres Bags, and since there was a technical glitch yesterday on Cosmic Lava, we'll drop those in also.









Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ripple Library - Chips & Beer Metal Fanzine





Reality has been preventing me from exploring a lot of the new music that the Ripple editors have been sending my way lately. There's a ton of cool stuff awaiting my judgement and I don't want to form opinions based on half-assed listening sessions. Something that has really caught 100% of my attention this week is the brand new issue of the metal fanzine Chips & Beer. That's right, an actual printed fanzine full of killer articles about obscure and semi-obscure metal bands that I didn't have to write myself. This is the third issue of Chips & Beer and I plan on tracking down the first two pronto.

What really caught my attention is the headline "New Yawk Street Metal Special." Anyone who's ever been around me for more than about 30 seconds knows how much I love obscure NY metal trivia and I am glad to report I learned some new tidbits to bore my friends and bandmates with. If this issue had come out a month earlier the article I wrote about Frigid Bich for the TheObelisk.net would have been much better. There's a lengthy interview with Frigid frontman Joe Leonard that answered everything I wanted to know about these ultra-obscure Long Island metal merchants. I discovered them through the almighty Kick*Ass magazine but had no idea that they were actually managed by KAM mastermind Bob Muldowney. He didn't want the band to do interviews so the image and myth would grow. He was certainly right about that!

There's a great interview with Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister that was also very informative. He gives a good synopsis of the cover band bar scene surrounding NYC (mainly Long Island/Westchester and New Jersey) and how it had absolutely no interaction with what was going on in the city with the New York Dolls, The Ramones, etc. I also did not know that Jay Jay was a Dead head in his younger days. So was Handsome Dick Manitoba, aka China Cat, of The Dictators, incidentally. Go figures. Speaking of The Dictators, guitarist Ross The Boss also gives a great interview about his heavy metal daze with Manowar. Danny Lilker of Anthrax, Nuclear Assault and S.O.D. also weighs in. Mike Schutzman, owner of the much missed metal mecca Slipped Disc Records, talks about the incredible in-store appearances he used to host for Motorhead, Slayer, Wendy O. Williams among many others. A bonus in the section of the zine are reviews of NY metal classics from the early days of Sir Lord Baltimore, Blue Oyster Cult and Kiss through Riot, The Rods, Blacklace and Overkill.

To balance things out there's a big article and interview with West Coast weirdos Cirith Ungol, a truly cult band deserving of more recognition. Below the radar current metal bands like Krypts, Ares Kingdom and Cauldron Black Ram were a complete mystery to me but they all have the right attitude and I look forward to checking out their jams. This is the best 7 bucks I've spent in a long time and with the change left over from my ten dollar bill I can go cop a tre bag at Valley Park in the Bronx! Thanks, bros!!


--Woody

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Music of Townes Van Zandt - Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till and Wino



 



There are few artists that have come along that have more of an understated, yet powerful and far reaching impact on other artists, as Townes Van Zandt.

 From country greats such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Emmy Lou Harris, to more widely popular and commercial artists as Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett, Robert Plant and Bob Dylan; Townes Van Zandt has inspired, written songs for and been covered by these performers.

 An artist that that has been better known for long and famous battles with depression and addiction, Townes Van Zandt had a truly rare gift of being able to paint a visual picture with the words he composed and the music that accompanied it, that would be delivered with the genuine hurt, despair and emotional pain that the author had conceived it with The variety of artists that this man has influenced can easily be the starting point for many varieties of music that most of the listening public enjoys. Rock, Country, Folk and yes, DOOM!

 The songs that have been selected for this homage to the original prove in a basic, stripped down fashion, that one does NOT need massive volume and crushing fuzz or, distortion, to carry the weight of the world into your ears.

 For this release, that has been whispered about and rumored to be in the works for some time, three of the most greatly creative and prolific artists of our time have come together to convey the greatness of a Townes Van Zandt song to us all. Their delivery is something to be experienced, absorbed and enjoyed.

 Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till and Wino, bring to life the aching pain of a life endured more than enjoyed; an experience that left scars and wounds more than smiles. Each song different and seemingly unique and fitted for the one that played it, these songs are the bare bones of a skeleton that is laid bare to the world and it’s ravages, seen by all who would look upon them with some curiosity and in the end, sympathy and compassion, pity even, for those bones.

 Each player has taken 3 songs and seemingly gone to the place where they were written and vocally relived the reasons they were written.
 The track listing is:
1. Steve Von Till – If I Needed You
2. Scott Kelly – St. John the Gambler
3. Steve Von Till – Black Crow Blues
4. Scott Kelly – Lungs
5. Wino – Rake
6. Steve Von Till – The Snake Song
7. Wino – Nothing
8. Scott Kelly – Tecumseh Valley
9. Wino – A Song For

 I won’t be able to convey more to you the reader, as listening to each of these tracks may evoke differing feelings, based on your own life experience, but I will say that you will not be able to hear these songs and not be moved, in some way.

 This cd is due out June 12 on the Neurot label @ $14.98.
 I, for one, am in awe of each of these songs and will personally state that this is the best recording I’ve heard from any genre of music, in a very long time. If you are to spend your money on a recording worth every cent, this one is it!

 This release will truly redefine what IS heavy. I assure you that it is not a down-tuned guitar, blasting fuzz through an amp at painful levels of sound.

--Big

Sigh - In Somniphobia



I’ve always read that the first step towards recovery is admitting that you have a problem.  I suppose that’s true.  For the longest time, I didn’t want to admit that anything was even out of the ordinary.  Yes my work was suffering, my personal hygiene was at an all-time low, and my friends told me they didn’t know me anymore.  But hey, everyone goes through some rough patches now and again right?  Am I right?  Anybody?  Hello?  Okay, I can clearly see that I’m not fooling anyone.  Fine…have it your way.  I admit it.  I have a problem.  Satisfied?  Luckily I was able to locate a support group that meets a few miles from where I live.  I’ll be attending the next meeting.

“Hello friends.  I’m glad you could all make it tonight.  Looking around I see a new face amongst us.  Sir, would you care to tell us your name?”
“Ummm, hi.  My name is Penfold.”
Everyone in the room speaks in unison.  “Hello Penfold.”
“Uh, hello.  Hi there everybody.”
“Penfold, my name is Roger.  I’m the group leader here.  I want to make absolutely sure you’re aware that the room we’re sitting in is a place of understanding, and a place of healing.  No one here will judge you.  All we want is to help you cope with whatever it is that you’re going through right now.  That’s why this group exists.  So, would you like to share your troubles with the group Penfold?”
“I don’t know Roger.  Honestly, I feel a little embarrassed.”
“Penfold, there is no need to feel embarrassed.  Regardless of what you believe, the truth is that you’re surrounded by people just like you.  All of us have been in your shoes before, and I hope you won’t mind my saying so but you look pretty terrible.  You need to tell us what you’re experiencing before you break down.”
“I know you’re right Roger, but I can’t help but feel my problem is sort of silly.”
“Penfold, no problem that causes a person to appear in public the way you do today is a silly problem.  Let me ask you a question.  When was the last time you had a good night sleep?”
“I haven’t been able to sleep more than a few hours for months.”
“Now Penfold, I need you to be very specific with us.  Why haven’t you been able to sleep?”
“Well, for as long as I can remember the thought of sleep has frightened me.  In my mind, sleep amounts to time being forcefully stripped from my overall existence.  Sleep is a monster.  As I’ve grown older the monster has grown up with me.  When I was a child the sleep monster would appear in my dreams approximately the size of a small dog.  It was frightening, but I was able to deal with my fears thanks to its diminutive stature.  By the time I became a teenager, the monster had grown to a height equivalent to that of a human adult.  My fear had risen accordingly but I was still able to evade the monster with quick footwork.  Now though?  Now the monster that haunts my dreams is a towering giant.  There is no escape.  Every time I do sleep a little bit I have the same terrifying nightmare and I wake up in a cold sweat.  My heart will be beating so quickly I’m concerned it will rupture.  I know that one of these days I’ll let myself slip into a deep sleep and I won’t wake up.  I’m terrified!  I know my body is going to betray me sooner or later.  I mean look at my face!?  I own a mirror.  I know what I look like.  I’m fighting as hard as I can, but it’s only a matter of time.  ‘The end is nigh’ as they say.”
“Penfold, I need you to listen to me.  What you’re experiencing has a name.  You suffer from a condition called somniphobia.  This condition is defined as an abnormal fear of sleep.  Fortunately, I know where you can get treatment for your disorder.  I’m going to call a cognitive therapist I know who owes me a favor.  She’ll see you this evening.”
“Thank you Roger.  I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything now, but I do expect to see you at our next meeting.”
“I wouldn’t miss it.”

How are you doing today waveriders?  Are you doing well?  Good.  How’s your mental health?  Solid?  Great, because today I’m going to talk to you about an album that’s going to seriously mess with your mind!  Not in a bad way.  No, no, no.  In Somniphobia by the band Sigh simply operates off of its own set of musical rules and regulations.  Can you guess what the first rule might be?  That’s right!  The first rule governing this album is that there are no rules!

While I can’t speak for anyone else, I absolutely love it when a band decides that they are going to do whatever they want with their music regardless of what anyone might think.  Sigh is definitely one of those bands.  Before we continue how about a little background information?  Sigh is a Japanese extreme metal band that put out their first full length album all the way back in 1993.  According to various online sources Sigh began life as a fairly straightforward black metal band.  As the years progressed the band took their music in a decidedly avant-garde direction, seemingly incorporating any musical style that struck their fancy. 

Unfortunately, as is too often the case with a great band I’m far beyond fashionably late to the party.  I was aware of Sigh’s existence thanks to some very positive reviews of their last album on two websites I regularly frequented.  Also my interest was piqued when I found out that Mirai Kawashima, one of the founding members of Sigh, had contributed some keyboard work on an album by The Meads of Asphodel that I flipped out over.  The impetus to learn more about Sigh was certainly there, but I never followed through.  Thankfully a couple of months ago I discovered In Somniphobia on one of the promotional music sites Ripple scribes utilize, and I hit play.  Waveriders I’m not going to make some outrageous statement like ‘my world has not been the same since’, but I will say this.  My musical landscape for the year 2012 was irrevocably changed for the better on that fateful day.

If you’ll indulge me waveriders, at this time I’d like to analyze In Somniphobia by recording all of the shocks to my system that it delivered.  First of all, I was expecting to hear something similar to other black metal albums I’m familiar with.  When album opener “Purgatorium” began my immediate reaction was to question whether or not I was listening to the right album.  This music sounded more like power metal than black metal with clean, soaring guitar lines moving along at a pretty good clip.  It was only after the song settled down and the blackened vocals took center stage that I regained my footing.  The second song, “The Transfiguration Fear”, rockets out of the gate with an overall sound somewhat resembling a befouled Iron Maiden supplemented with some dynamic auxiliary percussion and some wicked soloing from guitar, keyboard, and saxophone.  Yes saxophone!  Dr. Mikannibal’s sax and vocal work is brilliant throughout the entire album!  The title track “Somniphobia” beautifully incorporates peaceful, dreamy passages heavily influenced by Indian music that transition into discomforting, nightmarish metal and back again.  It’s stunning!  “Amnesia”, a song best described as an extreme metal rendition of a classic detective movie soundtrack is far and away one of my musical highlights this year.  “Far Beneath The In-Between” has such a powerful main guitar riff that I’m afraid my brain is rattling around a little too violently inside my skull when I listen to it.  The closest this album gets to traditional black metal is with the song “Amongst The Phantoms Of Abandoned Tumbrils”.  Purists are advised to ignore the accordion.  Everyone else should enjoy!  Finally there is closing track “Equale”.  This is less of a song and more of a classical composition with three distinct movements.  Amazing?  You had better believe it.

My fellow waveriders.  Sigh’s In Somniphobia is an album that I’m going to hold aloft for some time as a shining example of incredibly creative music done well.  If you hunger for extraordinary music that will take you to places you haven’t yet experienced this is the album for you!  In Somniphobia is unbelievably good, and it gets better with every listen.  Trust me.  Would I lie to you?

{If you’re wondering…the answer is no}

--Penfold





Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ihsahn – Eremita

Eremita



I have to admit that I have never been a big fan of Emperor, the band that made Ihsahn famous.  Maybe that’s blasphemy to some, but at least I’m honest and not all, “Oh yeah man, those dudes slay!!”  However, as a solo artist, Ihsahn does slay.  This is his fourth solo effort and they are all most excellent releases.

You really have to love a guy who does not allow himself to get, or stay, pigeon holed into one style.  Yes, there are some awesome black metal moments on this album, but there is a lot of stuff that is beyond black metal, that takes it and expands on it.  And then there are some tracks that really aren’t black metal at all, and that just makes this album more enjoyable.  The most important thing is that these tracks are all good and who cares what genre or style they are.  If music is good, if you dig it, that’s all that really matters.

From looking at the song titles I’m thinking there must be an overriding theme to the album, but without a lyric sheet or anything stating what the theme is I’m at a loss to tell you what it is.  It is a metal release after all, so you’re not going to sit down and easily decipher the lyrics.  But when a group of songs starts with “Arrival” and ends with “Departure”, you kinda think there is something going on.

With vocal guests Devin Townsend and Einar Solberg from Leprous, and guitar work courtesy of Jeff Loomis, formerly of Nevermore, there is some additional star power on this release.  Add in the very well written songs and this is currently at the top of my list for albums of the year in 2012.  It’s really that good.  There is some great use of instrumentation, with black metal saxophone courtesy of Jorgen Munkeby of Shining on several tracks, as well as some very nice symphonic touches throughout.   Track 4, “The Eagle And The Snake”, is just a perfect example of how all of these things work together.   Definitely worth checking out, it is a great piece of music.  It brings together some of the more experimental elements of the album with some straight up black metal pummeling and is just so good for all of that.  It is this entire album in microcosm.

Music is not meant to be confined in tiny, tidy little boxes and is sometimes at its best when it grabs a little from here, a touch from there, and puts sounds together in ways that are new and unexpected.  Ihsahn has been doing this over his solo career and really culminates in this new release being a feast of sounds and ideas.  I know it’s only half way through the year and maybe too early to settle on a favorite release of the year, but if there is something better than this to be released in 2012, I can’t wait to hear it.  In the meantime, I will revel in “Eremita”.

 - ODIN




Mother Corona - Out of the Dust



It would appear that Oxford is not just a renowned and respected seat of learning in the UK. There is far more to the place than clever fuckers walking round with floppy scarves wearing brogues with their noses in the air as underneath the gleaming city spires lurks a darker, heavier underground. In recent years the city has seen something of a renaissance in terms of heavy bands that seem to spring from the city like blood from a hit to the jugular!!! Domes Of Silence, Winnebago Deal, Desert Storm, Caravan Of Whores and Undersmile are just a few of the bands putting Oxford on the rock and roll map recently and now you can number Mother Corona among them.

Imagine a spacier more lysergically bent version of Sabbath…as if Tony and crew spent their time necking mushrooms in a forest instead of knocking back Watneys Red Barrel ale and filling their nasal cavities with cocaine and you’re on the right path. Mother Corona have been floating around the underground for a few years but it’s only with the release of this, their debut full length album that they are starting to make some serious waves. Lee Cressey’s guitar spews forth monolithic slab like riffs, David Oglesby’s drumming is tight and in the pocket bringing the groove like a young Bill ward and his vocals have that distinctly Ozzy-eque edge albeit thrown through a whole truck load of effects for good measure and finally bassist Rob Glen brings the thunder like a barbecue in the British summertime!!!

Opening track “Hedonist King” sets out the band’s stall straight away as a massive groove rolls in topped off with some nice, Hawkwind like psychedelic effects. The Sabbath approved breakdown in the mid section provides a breathtaking change of pace before the band return to a spine crushing groove once again. “Sunscope” offers more of the same as a thunderous riff, the like of which Tony Iommi has been searching for for nigh on 40 years rolls forth. Oglesby shows that he has a real knack for hitting a catchy, memorable vocal line and nailing it note perfectly. After only a couple of listens this stuff is embedding itself right in your mind…front and centre!!!

The sombre bass intro to “Sonic Tomb” may lead you to think these guys are aiming at the doom crowd but when the supercharged riff kicks in it’s clear that Mother Corona have a burning heart of rock that straddles the doom, stoner and classic rock genres with seamless ease. After being pummelled for three tracks straight the Corona guys offer a brief respite as “Cosmic Collisions” gently eases in on a delicate piece of mellow psychedelia before they unleash a riff of titanic proportions and another monstrous groove. These guys want you to nod your heads…hard!!! Once again the Sabbath comparison is never far from the table but let’s face it, if you’re going to take influence it may as well be from the best and now that Sabbath have become something of a soap opera in recent months someone needs to be there to pick up the pieces!!! Mother Corona can smell the blood and they’re getting hungry!!!

Next track “Quaalude ‘74” is an acoustic folk rock track…is it fuck, it’s another smorgasbord of heavy as fuck, down tuned riffing with a groove fatter than the Tongan royal family and a chorus line catchier than Typhoid in a Victorian slum. One of the most impressive things about Mother Corona is that they don’t try to impress with the dexterity of their playing, they’re far more concerned with writing great songs with simplistic, catchy riffs and great melodies…and that’s what this game is really about. It’s only as you listen deeper that you realise that these guys have the chops in spades to play the shit out of material 10 times as complex as this but just want to lay down a groove at crotch level and run with it!!!

Talking of crotch level, “V.A.G” seems to be a tune concerned with the disillusionment of the female race, or maybe one in particular…who knows. What I do know it represents yet another slice of prime melodic riffage that rocks out with barely restrained enthusiasm and features a scathing vocal line from Oglesby. It seems the band have more amazing riffs up their sleeve than AC/DC have been able to find in the last 10 years!!!

At last the band do give us some breathing space from the awesome riffs on the 8 plus minutes of “Nuclear Winter” which eschews the heavy for a more delicate, effected clean tone and another killer vocal line from Oglesby. This is kind of “Planet Caravan” with more beef on its bones. Its overall differentness to the other tracks certainly does make this a clear stand out, particularly with the very tasty guitar work of Cressley where he shows he has a real feel for the instrument beyond slamming out the slabs of granite!!!

Fear not though fans of the riff for it does return in spades on “Out Of The Dust” which is a potential stoner rocking anthem, imagine Sabbath playing southern rock whilst enjoying some fine acid. It may not be the most involved or attention grabbing song on the album but it’s still a damn sight better than most bands seem capable of managing. Don’t hit the stop button too quickly after this bad boy finishes though as, although it isn’t credited on the sleeve, Mother Corona bring the album to a close with a spirited and very credible version of Sabbath’s “Into The Void” which is as good as any other cover of the song as you’re likely to hear anywhere else, including Orange Goblin’s version!!!

So that’s the album, a hugely impressive offering of very fine heavy rock and if that wasn’t enough when you realise the band recorded it themselves in a garage it becomes even more remarkable as the production is as fat and weighty as you could ever wish for with that Kyuss like bottom end (in fact, as I think of it, Oglesby does bear some resemblance to John Garcia as well!!). I’d be hard pushed to pick fault with this album…possibly the guitar could be a little brighter and maybe the band do overplay the spacey effects in the mix a tad but fuck it, I’m really clutching at straws there to find any criticism. That Mother Corona have taken the leap of faith to release this album themselves and taken such time and care over every aspect of it from the music, to the production to the packaging is truly worthy or merit and respect. Do yourselves and the band a favour by checking this out and grabbing a copy!!!!

-- Ollie




Monday, June 25, 2012

Secrets of the Moons - Seven Bells


Seven tracks, seven bells . . . all chiming in tune to open the Seven Gates of Hell.

Secrets of the Moon is a black metal outfit from Germany and have been plying their demonic and brackish trade since the mid-90’s. Now calling Prophecy Productions home, these Teutonic gloomsters hit the nail on the head, albeit with my skull being the proverbial head. Seven Bells is black metal masterpiece played just the way I like it. Complex and moody, experimental when need be, heavy and sinister . . . always making me look over my shoulder coz’ the Dark Lord himself might be creeping up in tippy-toe fashion to put a hex on me.

The title track opens this album like the prelude to the apocalypse. Tolling bells, creepy and haunting guitar arpeggio . . . like shimmering harbinger notes to a great cataclysm that will inevitably crush us. All of the building tension creates a monstrous image in the mind’s eye of cityscapes enshrouded in swirling toxic mist, the burnt out husks of monolithic skyscrapers standing as markers of a greater destruction, and a constant orange glow of fire and subsequent death. The survivors are the unlucky ones as they shamble through the dust and debris, scavengers lost in time. The music grinds its way through its own volcanic intensity with chugging palm muted guitars, double bass rhythms, and tones of oppressive darkness. The vocals add a sinister menace to the song that very easily could have gone the way of campy, but no . . . the vocals are perfect. The intonation and the delivery of the vocals draw me in deeper to the darkened imagery, creating greater depth and a frightening clarity of intent. The chorus is a violent expulsion of belching fire and brimstone. The musicianship on this track is outstanding as “Seven Bells” builds and builds and builds, finally seeing the monstrous relief of tension breaking towards the end of the song as the guitars soar with a chaotic frenzy, yet jam packed with tastefully chosen notes. Sonically, just an epic song!

I read somewhere that Seven Bells was the soundtrack of Lucifer rising, and based on this first track, Secrets of the Moon captured that intent with absolute perfection.

The entire album is made up of fantastic epic music, each song painting a darker shade of black upon itself. “Blood Into Wine” is rolling serenade of violence. Thrashing its way at just over five and a half minutes long, this track is the shortest beast of the bunch. But that doesn’t make it any less interesting . . . not by a long shot! Secrets of the Moon incorporate great bits of instrumentation and inject so much texture that even the most pedantic aspects of the song is incredibly fascinating.

The trio of songs bringing the album to a close are my personal favorite moments, as Secrets of the Moon explore the deepest and darkest recesses of evil, both with music and with lyric. “Worship” is nine-plus minute dirge that plods through most cavernous depressions of the mind. This tune is more of a slowed down track until we get towards the end, then the band does what I love the most . . . keep things interesting by creating dynamic shifts. In the case of “Worship”, the vocal presentation is top notch and constantly compelling, the inflections of the voice bring the lyrical message crashing home. “Nyx” is the most terrifying twelve minutes I’ve listened to in all of 2012, as the song opens with a more ambient musical passage before exploding with demonic destruction. Once the song picks up steam, the shroud of darkness lowers itself around us and utterly obliterates the light during the last few minutes of synthesized tones wash over the soundscape. The Celtic Frost-esque “The Three Beggars” emphatically closes the album. This song is everything. Heavy, fast, diabolical, intricate, layered, dynamic, and pure brilliance! It’s the perfect end to a near perfect album in that it puts a bow on our miserable existence and mercifully puts us out of our misery.

Black metal is hit or miss with me. When it’s a miss, it’s because it’s too rigid and compartmentalized. When it’s a hit, it’s because bands like Secrets of the Moon take the sonic palette laid out before them and experiment with tones and tempos, twist ideas and reshape them into the likeness that they would like to see, er . . . hear. Seven Bells breaks the mold a bit, it redefines Secrets of the Moon, but not at the expense of alienating the fans of the genre. In other words, the band holds true to the ideals of the genre, keeping themselves locked in just enough to know what you’re getting, yet pushing the boundaries of the genre by adding elements of ambiance, a crystal clear vision, and a commitment to performing at the highest level. The execution on this album is a laser guided weapon of mass destruction to the heart of society’s sensibilities. The destruction is absolute. Soundtrack to Lucifer’s rising? Yeah . . . without a doubt.

Pope



Black Bombaim - Titans



In the beginning, there was darkness. 

The first rumblings of creation starts off with a bass, so thick and heavy it has the power to condense gas and energy into matter.

A cosmic fire of guitar feedback screeches through the primordial blackness, searing the newly formed planet.  Light erupting across the freshly surging mass.

The beat of this new entity is jazz, complex, life-giving.

Titans isn't so much a new album.  It's a new world. 

Doom, sludge, stoner, psychedelic, progressive.  These are but continents on this new planet, ever-changing, interlocking components of the shifting Terran plate.   With Teutonic force, these plates move and collide across the Continental Divide, cross-pollinating the emerging lifeforms with their varied essences.  Heavy riffs bring about new heart beats.  Psychedelic explorations expand the developing minds.  Stoner grooves add movement and balance.  Doom lends gravity.  Life emerges with passion, power, and intent.

And in this new world, the world of Black Bombaim, Ricardo Miranda, Paulo Gonçalves and Tojo Rodrigues, truly are the titans, wielding the power of ancient Gods to create and destroy. They can effect with terrific beauty or decimate with the ugliness of the dark. 

Over the 4 sides of this double LP, Black Bombain have created a truly epic masterpiece of experimental heaviness.  Each side is composed of one 10-20 minute song named in a way that is incomprehensible to me.  I have no idea what that album is supposed to mean, just how it makes me feel.  Mostly instrumental, I was destined to ignore this album.   Instrumental stoner bores me.  Instrumental doom bores me even more.

Not here. 

Every freaked out guitar solo captivates me.  Every change of riff is crushing.  Every bass line is heavier than the one that preceded.  Every beat transmutes between styles.  Vocals (when they appear) are ugly accompaniments.  An organ is a light of beauty.   Synthesizers radiate depth. 

The acoustic breakdown 2/3 way through side one steals my breath.  The free form jazz bass that follows is stunning.  When the Heavy crushes back down on me I'm devastated.  The dynamic packed into this one album side tops entire catalogs of lesser artists.

The jazz beat and thickness of bass that starts Side 2 are the pulse of space as the celestial organ brings the grandeur of the cosmos.  As the organ fades, like a dawning sun, the resumption of the bass is frightening.  The crash of the heavy terrifying.  The psychedelic mix intoxicating.

The groove of Side 3 is stoned-out infectious but it's the screech of the saxophone that is inspired, playing out like the heaviest Pink Floyd song never created. 

Side 4 cruises through the already created soundscapes like an effective period.  Or an exclamation point.

Each moment of each song needs to be listened to.  Not heard.  Listened to.  Each instrument is intent.  Each second focused.  And each moment liable to shift and change as dramatically as the surface of our newly created world. 

Black Bombaim have created a remarkable album. The first true epic, progressive masterpiece of psychedelic doom that I've heard.  One against which all following epics will be judged.

Let the titans be praised.

--Racer




Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dying Fetus - Reign Supreme



 The new Dying Fetus release, Reign Supreme, is a furthering of these guys own brand of sonic punishment.

On the opening track, Inverting the Idols, the band delivers it’s famous grind, blast, sweep picking fury that brought them much earned praise and attention.

 The second track, Subject to a Beating, is a perfect title for a song that absolutely crushes and might compel you to pick a subject out for a demonstration of a beating.

 Breaking into the next tune, Second Skin, you can tell that these guys have really crafted a well done release and one that will only lead to more of the same. With songs like: from Womb to Waste, Dissidence, In the Trenches, Devout Atrocity, Revisionist Past and The Blood of Power, you are going to get an ear full of mind bending sound that will make you wonder how they make it and beat you up with it, all at the same time.

 A must by for DF fans and those who want to be abused by their music.


--Big

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Monte Pittman - Pain, Love & Destiny



Rock classics are formed from six substances - desire, musical and technical brilliance,skilled writing and recording, and marketing.  So far Monte Pittman has conquered five of them. What, you haven’t heard of Monte Pittman?

With the album Pain, Love & Destiny Pittman produces the equivalent of the modern classic rock concept album  - a genre that largely died out with the increased popularity of tape and digital music. Since artists were no longer confined by the time limitations of vinyl, thematic concept albums became largely passé.  Pittman’s fourteen track CD, however, reinvigorates the classic rock concept album genre. 

Each song is a self-contained drama.  Pittman displays virtuosity with electric and acoustic guitars, synths, piano, beats and harmonies.  The result is a spinning, soaring, spiraling journey of suspense and glorious classic rock hooks.  It is epic rock music. 

The album itself is one of discovery and rediscovery; about hope and desire, reflections on love, life and loss, and strikes at the heart.  As Pittman writes in his shortest lyric on the album, “Right Back Here Again”:

I care how you’re feelin’
And I know what you’re up for

Don’t wave goodby
Time is on your side

Somewhere there is a door that opens more
It brings us right back here again

I know what you’re thinkin’
And I care more than before

Monte Pittman has desire, musical and technical brilliance and is skilled at writing and recording.  His guitar playing is fantastic.  His composition is flawless. It seems all he needs now is the marketing and it looks like he’s working on it.  He is a L.A. Music Awards nominee for 2012’s Best Male Singer/Songwriter.  The awards will be handed out on June 14, 2012.  By the time you read this I wouldn’t be surprised if he won.  He already is the 2012 Artists In Music Awards Best Solo Artist.

So, have you heard Monte Pittman before?  You probably have.  He taught Guy Ritchie and Madonna to play guitar and has played on every one of Madonna’s live tours  (Pain, Love & Destiny sounds nothing like Madonna). You also might have heard him in the industrial rock band Prong (The album is not industrial rock) or with Adam Lambert (it sounds nothing like Lambert). 

Even if you have heard Pittman you haven’t heard Pittman until you hear Pain, Love & Destiny.  You can tell this is really what Monte Pittman sounds like.  Monte Pittman has created a rock album classic.and success, as the last song on the album is titled, appears to be a “Predetermined Destiny.”

--Old School


 



Friday, June 22, 2012

Castle – Blacklands


Blacklands


 Kind of a doom meets motorhead vibe to this band. It grows on you. Listening to it through the headphones and just closing your eyes…it transports you to a pagan empire a thousand miles away, on some fog shielded meadow, where hooded figures dance and play. Excellent overall sound and performance wise they are very tight.

 Not the over the top female fronted vocals you would expect to hear. Elizabeth Blackwell is a formidable bassist as well as vocalist. Her sound sets the darkening stage for the epic songwriting web they weave. Her chops are sure to turn some heads. Dark and moody, powerful yet mysterious. She really shines on “corpse candles” , and the title track “blacklands”.

Mat Davis is hands down one inspired dude. His guitar lines interplay with Blackwell and rise around the sound of the songs almost in a form of levitation. We are witnessing and hearing a true love between them that forms itself into physical form through the vibrations of the music. He has power behind that guitar and you can hear spurts and rapid pulses of that electric shamism, but yet he controls the magic. He makes that guitar dance and sing through mystical portals of talent and desire. I’m hearing his vocals mixed throughout. Awesome. “Curse of the Priests”, stands out but leads on “storm below the Mountains”…are impressive.

Al Mcartney is a solid, solid drummer who absorbs the vibes that the two others create and melts with it. He transcends the mystical foggy interplay of guitar and bass and weaves a counter spell that approaches sonic nirvana.

“Alcatraz” is in my opinion one of the best tracks. They conjured up early Metallica here and that is a good thing. This is a fiery tune. I’m playing it louder and louder now and the neighbors have got to hear this one.
Overall, fans of doomy thrash will find a home in this castle. They are a really good band with a strong idea of whom they are and where they want to be. Personally I would like a little more vocal play between the two, but that being said this album is killer. Good stuff!

7 horns rising on a 10

Elizabeth Blackwell – vocals/bass
Mat Davis – guitar/vocals
Al McCartney – drums

--Metalrising



Steak - Disastronaught



Lately... as I spin music for the new summer solstice that quickly approaches, I tend to pick the last song on a track listing first. I don't know why. I guess I always root for the underdog. Maybe It's my slight curiosity for all things defeated. Why would the band relegate this last lonely song to the basement of it's pecking order?  The black bird of the CD release per say. The song no one ever hears because most listeners can't endure the 45 minutes or so it takes to get to the last cut. So I like to give the last song a fuckin push.  Play it first I say. Screw it!. Just because! And besides...the solstice is coming and the planets are not lined up anyways... so what the hell!

So hear I spin "Peyote". This song is subjugated to last place in the list of selections on the demo tracks. What a freakin quite gem!!! I could swear I hear a Roland Space Echo on this track too. No vocals here my brothers and sisters. Just a tripped out psyche trip with acoustic guitars I believe. It's a total departure from the rest of the demos.

The new digital album called "Disastronaught " by STEAK, submits out heavy full-on classic desert fuzz riffs. This London, England four piece, fills out the fuzzy, with fury heavy groove vocals. But the "Peyote" cut jumps out for me. It reminds me of "Planet Caravan" without the congas. Maybe STEAK got it right? Blow away your listening audience with a wack of massive riffs, and just when when they are about to bleed, then let them drift away like a black bird over the mountain. All this ... as they lick their wounds on the riffs of Peyote. Righteous!

 They have a few show coming up in the UK. Check them out!

My cat Sir James Marshall Hendrix says..."HEAVY FUZZY!"

--Wino




Thursday, June 21, 2012

John Lee Hooker - Free Beer & Chicken

 Free Beer And Chicken

Not only is Free Beer & Chicken one of the greatest titles of all time but it is one of the funkiest things you'll ever hear. John Lee Hooker was a really funky dude. Miles Davis, a guy who knew a few things about being funky, as well as free beer and chicken, supposedly told John something like "you'd have to be buried up to your neck in mud to be any funkier." For years I had admired this album from afar. I would look at the cover on line and wonder what it sounded like. The CD's been in and out of print but I was holding out until I could find it on vinyl. The painting of thousands of people flocking towards a neon sign with the title had to be respected. A mere 5 inch square CD cover just wouldn't cut it. Now that it's been reissued on heavy weight vinyl I was finally able to get down with it the right way. I was not disappointed.

Released in 1974, Free Beer & Chicken features typical John Lee Hooker electric boogie, which is always a good thing, but has some strange twists and turns. Starting off with the self explanatory "Make It Funky," John leads the band through a nasty romp. When he yells out "make it funky!" it's not a request, it's a command. Even though it shares a title with a famous James Brown song, it doesn't sound anything like it. The blues standard "Five Long Years" gets the unique Hooker treatment and is followed by two really groovin' tracks "713 Blues" and "714 Blues." There are no mention of the famous 714 qualuudes that were so popular in the 1970's that The Godz sang about, but Joe Cocker does pop in for a vocal cameo. I'd love to know who plays the burning violin solo on "713 Blues" but there are no musician credits on the album. First pressings originally came with an insert but the info never made it to CD or this vinyl reissue. Side one concludes with a untempo revisit of John Lee's eternal "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer."

Side two is where things get a little weird. "Homework" and "Bluebird" are pretty straight blues songs but "Sitting On Top Of The World" frames Hooker's deep vocals with sitars and odd sound effects. The "turned on" college kids listening to this back in 74 must have slid out of their bean bag chairs when they heard this. Then it gets stranger with "(You Never Amount to Anything If You Don't Go To) Collage (A …)." Starting off with some in-studio dialogue from John talking about how rock singers and blues singers are the same "but with a different groove" (who'd gonna argue with him?), the band launches into a heavy boogie. Producer Ed Michel strips away the band, leaving only the vocals and mixing in different backgrounds, including another cameo from Joe Cocker. I bet plenty of "party supplies" were available during the mix of this album so make sure you have enough for your own playback session.


--Woody




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zero Barriers to Entry 3: Immortal Technique - The Martyr



Over the years I’ve discovered a few constants in this life that I’d like to share.  Here’s the list in order: death, taxes, and Immortal Technique.  I know there are a few of you waveriders out there that read that last sentence and either raised your fist in acknowledgement or chuckled and nodded your head.  You know exactly who Immortal Technique is, and why I hold his music in such high regard.  The rest of you pay attention.  Immortal Technique is hands down the most righteously polemical emcee that I have ever heard!

I can remember many years ago when a very good friend of mine was trying to expand my musical horizons.  You see he was, and still is, a dedicated hip-hop head.  At that time I only owned a few hip-hop albums, and my fandom of the genre was still in its infancy.  Hoping to spur the development of my appreciation my friend copied several albums he held in high regard and gave them to me.  Two of those discs happened to be the first two Immortal Technique albums, Revolutionary Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.  When I listened to those albums for the first time, my brain imploded.  This was an emcee spraying intelligent lyrical vitriol rapid-fire at the ills of the world.  He was intense.  He was profane.  He was thought provoking.  With the exception of one song (which to this day I find so disturbing that it ranks among the handful of songs I never wish to hear again in my life) these two albums became permanent fixtures in my listening rotation.

Fast forward to present day.  Immortal Technique released his latest album, The Martyr, for FREE in October of 2011.  How I managed to miss this important fact until late December 2011 is embarrassing to say the least.  During the introductory track of the album Immortal Technique proclaims that it is the responsibility of everyone listening to “…burn this for every single mother f!@#$% you know”.  Well, to put it simply, I don’t have enough time or CD-Rs to obey that command.  Hopefully he’ll understand if I resort to using this platform of mine to spread the word instead.  Fingers crossed.

As I alluded to before, this man does not rap about trivial matters.  The targets of his lyrical fury include poverty, racism, religion, class struggle, and the world’s governments.  He’ll never draw comparisons to anyone you might hear on the radio nowadays.  Well okay, that’s not entirely true.  Immortal Technique has songs about materialism too.  It’s just that his songs make a point of denouncing materialism, not celebrating it.  That’s kind of an important difference.  So how would you like a sample of what I’m talking about?  Here is his second verse from the title track “The Martyr”.

The purpose of life is a life with a purpose / So I’d rather die for a cause than live a life that is worthless / I don’t need the circus or the day of national observance / I need you to think for you and stop being a servant / Pawns only move a square in the game that they’re used in / And realize it too late, like the shootin’ of Huey Newton / Or Patrice Lumumba and Salvador Allende / Slaughtered by the power hungry branches of their own gente / Ghandi wasn’t killed by Pakistani nationals / He was assassinated by a Hindu radical / And Che Guevara, rebel to a U.S. continent / Was sold to the C.I.A. by Bolivian communists / Wasn’t Yitzhak Rabin murdered by a Zionist / And Anwar Sadat a victim of the same violence? / Malcolm X was seen as a threat to the F.B.I. / But to blast ‘em they used Muslims from the N.O.I. / Even the 35th President of the Republic / Was murdered by factions of his own government /
So now that it’s proven, that a soldier of Revolution / Or head of an empire, disguised in a Constitution /
Cannot escape the retribution or manipulation / Of the self-appointed rulers of the planets corporations / So Imma need every generation to put your hands up /Cause you can only get ‘em off your back when you stand up!

If you found that impressive wait till you hear the rest of the album!  My personal favorite songs off The Martyr are “Rich Man’s World (1%)”, “Civil War”, and album closer “Sign Of The Times”.  That being said it is pretty extraordinary to hear the man rapping over a sample of The Allan Parsons Project in “Eye In The Sky” as well as the main theatrical theme from The Goonies in “Goonies Never Die”.  Yes I said it.  The Goonies!  1980s culture all up in your face!

Waveriders.  Don’t delay!  Head over to www.viperrecords.com and download this FREE album right now!  If you value intelligent hip-hop you absolutely, positively need to know Immortal Technique!  Now if you’ll excuse me, after listening to this album again for review purposes I have a protest rally to start.  Don’t blame me if after listening to The Martyr you do the same.

--Penfold



Download or Obtain a Physical Copy Here - http://store.viperrecords.com/default.asp



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