Thursday, March 23, 2017

KROKUS - New Covers Album, BIG ROCKS, slated for US Release in April!




Rockers around the world - prepare yourselves for the latest album by Switzerland's legendary hard rock band KROKUS, entitled BIG ROCKS!

Release date: April 7th 2017

On BIG ROCKS, KROKUS pay tribute to their roots by covering classic tracks of The Rolling Stones, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Steppenwolf, The Who, Bob Dylan and many more.

With a total of 12 flawlessly executed cover versions in the typical KROKUS vein plus a newly recorded version of the KROKUS classic "Backseat Rock N' Roll" as well as comments on selected songs by various band members, BIG ROCKS offers everything fans of straight-forward and honest rock music can ask for.

BIG ROCKS is available as CD Jewelcase as well as download and stream (Available now). The album is already available outside North America, but fans within North America will now be able to pick up this piece of hard rock history.

Click here to pre-order the CD at selected stores or purchase a download/streaming copy: http://smarturl.it/KrokusBIGROCKS

A lyric video of the classic track "House Of The Rising Sun" isa available on YouTube and Vevo via the link below.

Let the Krokus Pokus begin!
BIG ROCKS - Tracklist

           
1. N.I.B.
(originally by Black Sabbath)

2. Tie Your Mother Down
(originally by Queen)

3. My Generation
(originally by The Who)

4. Wild Thing
(originally by The Troggs)

5. The House Of The Rising Sun
(originally by The Animals)

6. Rockin' In The Free World
(originally by Neil Young)

7. Gimme Some Lovin'
(originally by Spencer Davis Group)

8. Whole Lotta Love
 (originally by Led Zeppelin)

9. Summertime Blues
(originally by Eddie Cochran)

10. Born To Be Wild
(originally by Steppenwolf)

11. Quinn The Eskimo
(originally by Bob Dylan)

12. Jumpin' Jack Flash
(originally by The Rolling Stones)

13. Backseat Rock N' Roll
(KROKUS original recording)
KROKUS line-up:
Marc Storace: Lead Vocals
Chris von Rohr: Bass, Vocals
Fernando von Arb: Guitars,Vocals
Mark Kohler: Guitars
Mandy Meyer: Guitars
Flavio Mezzodi: Drums

Century Media Records Online:

HORISONT Announce 'About Time' North American Tour



















Swedish Hard Rockers HORISONT are thrilled to announce that they will be returning to North America next month as part of their 'About Time' world tour. The upcoming dates come in support of the band's new album, About Time, which was released on February 3rd and features the singles "Electrical" (Music Video), "The Hive" (Album Track) and "About Time" (Music Video). Speaking about their return stateside, the members of Horisont comment,

"Well, well! Look what we have here! We had such a good time on our last U.S. tour, we thought it’s time to go back! So it’s with great pleasure that we can announce our next upcoming North American tour which is scheduled for April and May. We’ll be bringing the awesome blues rockers The Dirty Streets with us throughout the whole tour. More dates will be added shortly so stay tuned! See you soon!"


HORISONT Online



HORISONT - 'About Time' North American Tour

4/07 CHICAGO, IL @ REGGIE'S
4/10 DENVER, CO @ HI DIVE
4/12 SALT LAKE CITY, UT @ METRO MUSIC HALL
4/13 BOISE, ID @ NEUROLUX
4/14 PORTLAND, OR @ BOSSANOVA BALLROOM
4/15 SEATTLE, WA @ HIGHLINE
4/16 VANCOUVER, BC @ PUB 340
4/18 SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ THEE PARKSIDE
4/20 SAN DIEGO, CA @ BRICK BY BRICK
4/23 SAN ANTONIO, TX @ LIMELIGHT
4/24 AUSTIN, TX @ GRIZZLY HALL
4/25 NEW ORLEANS, LA @ SIBERIA
4/26 SAVANNAH, GA @ THE JINX
4/27 ATLANTA, GA @ THE BASEMENT
4/29 RICHMOND, VA @ STRANGE MATTER*
4/30 PHILADELPHIA, PA @ KUNG FU NECKTIE
5/01 NEW YORK, NY @ WEBSTER HALL
5/02 BOSTON, MA @ ONCE
5/04 TORONTO, ON @ VELVET LOUNGE
5/05 PITTSBURGH, PA @ GOOSKI'S
5/09 CLEVELAND, OH @ THE GROG SHOP
* - w/Mothership
 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

VERENA VON HORSTEN - Alien Angel Super Death

Self-released

This is the second solo album by artist Verena von Horsten from Zurich, Switzerland. It was written, produced and recorded by herself in New York and Zurich. This album is a moving and sentimental tribute to her late brother who committed suicide four years ago. The songs on the album, explore the haunting journey of despair she embarked on as she struggled to understand why her brother felt like the only option he had left was to end his own life, and the way the world treats suicide.

The album has been called "synth-pop," but there is no "pop" here, it's more along the lines of "synth rock" because of the edginess of it and the topic of the album. She has also been compared to Bjork and PJ Harvey, but she isn't like them at all, except that they are all females that sing, instead let's not lump her into a group of singers, let's take her at face value; a singer that has an amazing voice and raw talent that stands out as soon as you start to listen to the album. Song after song is chock full of emotion that grabs your ears as well as your heart knowing the tragic way this album came to be. The songs are catchy, tightly played and infectious, something that can be played over and over again and never get boring. She has a voice that goes from being almost operatic and hitting high notes to sounding melancholy and heart-wrenching, but still beautiful. The over eight minute long "Sakrament der Büffelherde" is an amazing song that has a fantastic beat, astounding vocals and seems so much shorter than is listed. This is a song that will get stuck in my head and be played repeatedly. The production is clear, but keeps the rawness of her emotions in full view, and everything just falls into place.

As a person who has also dealt with suicide in my immediate family, I can relate to the bleakness of it all, as well as the fight to overcome those feelings and the pain. Von Horsten has come a long way to figuring things out and has given the public something beautiful to help make sense out of the chaos of it all. 

-Rick Ecker


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

THE OBSESSED Premieres "Punk Crusher" Via Brooklyn Vegan/Invisible Oranges; Record Release Show Announced




[Photo by Susie Costantino]

Maryland doom legends THE OBSESSED today premiere the second single off their impending new Sacred full-length, their first studio offering in over two decades.

Stream "Punk Crusher" exclusively via Brooklyn Vegan at THIS LOCATION and Invisible Oranges HERE.

Listen to previously released track "Razor Wire" via YouTube HERE or Soundcloud HERE.

April 7th, 2017 will see the worldwide release of Sacred via Relapse Records on CD, LP, deluxe 2xLP, and digital formats. Physical preorders and bundles are available via Relapse.com HERE and digital downloads can be preordered by Bandcamp at THIS LOCATION. The deluxe 2xLP bundle includes an enamel logo pin, signed art print, and two bonus tracks.

With renewed energy and purpose, THE OBSESSED sounds heavier and more relevant than ever before. On Sacred, the band doubles down on enormous, heaving riffs and pummeling low-end across twelve tracks of eternal doom. Rounded out by guitarist/vocalist Scott "Wino" Weinrich's lyrical honesty and iconic throaty vocals, Sacred is an album that further pushes THE OBSESSED into the annals of heavy metal history, well worth the two-plus decade wait. The band will perform once again as a three-piece featuring Wino, Reid Raley, and Brian Costantino.

THE OBSESSED has announced a special Sacred record release show April 8th at Kung Fu Necktie which will include an album listening session and a special Wino acoustic performance. The band will also perform at this year's Berserker Fest IV in Detroit, Michigan the weekend of April 14th-15th. Stay tuned for further tour live announcements in the future.

THE OBSESSED:
4/08/2017 King Fu Necktie - Philadelphia, PA [info] * Record Release Show
4/14-15/2017 Berserker Fest IV - Detroit, MI w/ GWAR, Eyehategod, OFF!, Weedeater, Brain Tentacles, more

THE OBSESSED was formed in the late 1970s in Potomac, Maryland by legendary guitarist Scott "Wino" Weinrich (Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan). The band spawned in the realm of musicians/artists such as Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa, The Dictators, and The Stooges. The earliest lineup consisted of Wino, bassist Mark Laue, guitarist John Reese, and drummer Dave Flood. In 1983, Wino took over vocal duties and the band became a three-piece to record the Sodden Jackal EP.

The band broke up in the late '80s after Wino moved to California to join Saint Vitus. At that time, a German label, Hellhound Records, and the booking agency that had signed Saint Vitus, released The Obsessed, originally recorded in 1985, prompting Wino to reform THE OBSESSED. After multiple lineup changes, the band signed to Columbia Records in 1994 to release their third and final album, The Church Within. Despite highly acclaimed reviews, THE OBSESSED would breakup following the release, seeing Wino forming Spirit Caravan (Then Shine) and other projects.

In September 2011, THE OBSESSED returned to the stage at Roadburn Festival with The Church Within's legendary lineup (featuring Wino, Greg Rogers, and Guy Pinhas). The band played a few more reunion shows over the next couple years at Hellfest Open Air 2012 and Maryland Deathfest XI in May 2013 with bassist Reid Raley.

Wino announced the full-time return of THE OBSESSED in March 2016 and the band's official signing to Relapse Records to record the follow up to The Church Within. The new lineup originally consisted of Spirit Caravan bassist Dave Sherman and Wino's longtime friend and former road crew member. drummer Brian Costantino. On October 31st, 2016, Wino announced the lineup for THE OBSESSED, included bassist Bruce Falkinburg and guitarist Seraphim, making that the first time the band had been a four piece in over thirty-five years. Now in 2017, THE OBSESSED will unleash Sacred, the band's first studio album in over two decades.



PALLBEARER PREMIERES MUSIC VIDEO FOR HEARTLESS ALBUM OPENER, “I SAW THE END”




"Delicate leads shimmer and spark; ornate guitars unfurl majestically, like a medieval tapestry." - Pitchfork

“…Pallbearer's stepped up its composition game, with dexterous contrapuntal interplay between the guitars and bass. Heartless is going to be something special, y'all.” - NPR

"...more aggressive and immediate than Pallbearer's previous work. The band moves out of the shadows of mythology and toward an earth riddled with new problems, broken defenses and evaporating futures. The music follows, with hooks that seem sharper and choruses that demand more attention." - Rolling Stone


Pallbearer’s colossal third album Heartless will be released on March 24th and last night, the band unveiled the album’s opener “I Saw The End” on BBC’s Radio 1 Rock Show with Daniel P. Carter.  Today, you can check out a music video for the track, which was directed by Zev Deans / Panorama Programming (Lamb of God, Chelsea Wolfe, Ghost), here on YouTube. 

The band commented, "Both song and video present a telescopic view on an eternity of corruption. The path of greed leads to misery. When higher awareness allowed us to claw our way out of the mud, we found new ways to exploit one another, abusing the gift that could bring us to new heights. In the end, we pay for our selfishness. Join us for this elegy for what might have been." 

“I Saw The End” is an indicator of an album grander in scope than anything Pallbearer has released prior, showcasing a natural progression that melds higher technicality and more ambitious structures with their most immediate hooks to date.   On Heartless, Pallbearer offer a complex sonic architecture that weaves together the spacious exploratory elements of classic prog, the raw anthemics of 90’s alt-rock, and stretches of black-lit proto-metal. Lyrics about mortality, life, and love are set to sharp melodies and pristine three-part harmonies. Vocalist and guitarist Brett Campbell has always been a strong, assured singer, and on Heartless, his work is especially stunning.  By fusing their widest musical palette to date, Pallbearer make the kind of heavy rock that will appeal to diehards, but could also find the group crossing over into newer territories and fanbases. After having helped revitalize doom metal, it almost feels like they’ve gone and set their sights on rock and roll itself. Which doesn’t seem at all impossible on the back of a record like Heartless.

See Pallbearer on tour later this month with support from Marissa Nadler and Kayo Dot (dates listed below, with an additional show announced in June with Baroness) and look for Heartless to be released March 24th from Profound Lore in North America (in Europe from Nuclear Blast Entertainment).  Heartless is available for pre-order here.

PALLBEARER, ON TOUR:
March 22  Little Rock, AR @ Revolution Music Room
March 23  Nashville, TN @ The End *
March 25  Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg *
March 28  Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop *
March 29  Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme *
March 31  Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall *
June 2  Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

* w/ Marissa Nadler, Kayo Dot
* w/ Baroness, Nothing

Pallbearer is:
Brett Campbell - guitar, vocals
Devin Holt - guitar, vocals
Mark Lierly - drums
Joseph D. Rowland - bass, vocals

Heartless, track listing:
1.  I Saw the End
2.  Thorns
3.  Lie of Survival
4.  Dancing in Madness
5.  Cruel Road
6.  Heartless
7.  A Plea for Understanding
 

Top photo by: Diana Lee Zadlo.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Ripple Conversation With. . . .Brad Frye, guitarist and vocalist of Red Mesa.



When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?

BF: Oh yeah, I grew up in household with soft rock radio in rural, coastal Maine.  My brother and I know the lyrics to so many shitty songs.  My first musical epiphany was hearing the the full version “Suzy Q” by Credence Clearwater Revival.  I was a boy riding in my parents car.  My Mom had it on cassette.  I didn't know that songs were longer than 3 minutes.  They do this long guitar solo and then jam out for another 5 minutes.  I was mesmerized.  I remember thinking, “I didn't know you could do that.” So that's what I do now. 

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

BF:  Generally our songs start with a riff.  I spend a long time working on riffs and progressions that 1) sound cool 2) don't remind me of any guitarist or band in particular 3) I can sing and play at the same time.  The next step is playing the music with the band, whether I brought in the idea or not.  We all need to get behind it.  We listen for space to have lyrics.  Start working out changes.  I then take the music home and start singing over it my car.  Working on lyrics and melodies.   I'd prefer to write music AFTER a song/melody.  But usually it starts with a riff.

Who has influenced you the most?

BF: Oh wow.  A lot of people.  It has changed through the years.  When I was 8, Guns 'N Roses “Appetite for Destruction”  came out and I played that over and over.  It was a great introduction to attitude and rock and roll.  I haven't listened to them for probably 20 years, but I recently heard that album and it is still killer.
In terms of playing guitar, Josh Homme from Kyuss and QOTSA has been a huge inspiration and influence to me.  Also, Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Vista Chino, solo stuff).  He is an underrated guitarist and wrote some killer Kyuss riffs and songs.
Tony Iommi is a massive influence for riffs.  David Gilmore for solos.  I'm not a shredder.  I prefer slower, psychedelic and melodic solo. 
For singing, I love a lot people.  Singing got me into playing guitar so I could use it as a tool for songwriting.  I try to not sound like anyone, and just focus on my own voice. 

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

BF:  Whatever is going on in my life and around me at the moment.  But try I focus on frustrations, sadness, anger, and desires to give them a release so I don't carry around a lot of negativity.  Music is a release.  There is a lot of suffering in life.  Music helps me deal with it.  That way I can evolve and be a positive and good human being. 

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

BF:  The band's hometown is Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We are certainly inspired by the high desert, with its great big blue sky and mountains.  New Mexico has a cool laid back feel to it. We try to get in a heavy groove and pretend we are outside playing under a desert sunset.  Duane Gasper our drummer, and Shawn Wright our bass player are both New Mexico natives.  They really embody the spirit. 

Where'd the band name come from?

BF:  Band names are harder to come up with than songs.  I believe it was a suggestion from an old friend  and guitarist we used to jam with before this band came to fruition in its current line-up as a power trio.  Shawn reminded us of the band name and it fit the best.   We wanted a band name that represented the high desert environment of New Mexico.  

Tell us about witchcraft, what it means to you and your life?

BF:  I don't know a damn thing about witchcraft.  I am, however, a spiritual non-religious person.  I have spent a lot of my life exploring nature and natural environments.  I believe you can benefit from some good things from getting outside and away from people.  I feel its important to find a quiet space.  To get away from everything.  There's a lot of wisdom life and nature can teach you.  There is a lot of wisdom your mind, body, and soul can teach you.  It's important to open up and listen to that. 

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

BF:  I like movies that travel to beautiful landscapes.  If I had the opportunity to write a soundtrack that played off a movie about a hitchhiker or a backpacker traveling through epic landscapes, I'd be down. 

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

BF:  “Space Cadet” by Kyuss.  When I first heard that song, it blew my fucking mind.  I had always wanted to listen to something like that, but I had no idea where to find it.  I remember listening to it while on the bus in Seattle.  When that song came on, I got off the bus and just stood on the street.  I couldn't move.  I just stood there, and thought, “holy shit, this is fucking incredible.” 

What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?

BF:  I want people to feel......... SOMETHING.  I intend for it to be a positive, powerful something.  And I want them to listen to the songs as a whole.  Not just a beat to dance to or some entertainer to watch.  For me, that's not what turned me on to music.  It was killer songs and albums.  I think in the underground rock community, the focus is on a quality product. 

The most important message I'm trying to send out is to be a cognitive human being.  Live life with an open mind, question any bullshit, be a great and wonderful human being.  And rock the fuck out.    

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

BF:  I played an open mic at Pappy and Harriet's in Joshua Tree, CA. Which was super rad to play there even though it was an open mic.  Maybe one day we'll play a show there....!  But around 7pm, the local crowd all sits down and has dinner.  I decided to try out some new material.  I get up on stage and say, “You guys ready to fucking rock?!”  And start playing real loud and I look up and the entire bar is having dinner and chewing food.  And I was playing some aggressive music.  It totally didn't fit.  I felt that I was yelling directly at them while they were eating dinner.  I finish the first song and no one makes any noise.  No one claps.  They just sit there eating.  And I think, “Oh fuck, this is so awkward, I'm playing to an entire dinner crowd.”  I think I played a few mellow songs on an acoustic and then got the hell off stage.  Embarrasing.  

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

BF:  I love playing live.  We focus on making sure the overall tone and sound for playing live is really unique and balanced.  We take pride in having great tone. We play very loud.  We want the instruments to really stand out, but sound great as a whole.  We have been getting excellent feedback from our fans and from people who have just seen us for the first time.  It feels great to hear people tell us we have great tone. Also, it is very humbling to play live.  At least it is for me. I feel very humbled and grateful to play music live.  It is communication and expression on a different level. 

What makes a great song?

BF:  A great song, you feel it in your soul.   It just completely speaks to you and envelops you.  

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

BF:  I think it would be a song called “Gold Rush”  It's basically a country song on acoustic.  Hillbilly jam.  For me it is some form of rock and roll.  I've never recorded it, maybe I should. 

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

BF:  Well, we finished recording our EP for Ripple Music.  It will come out on the Second Coming of Heavy vinyl compilation.  We are very excited about the songs on the EP.  It's gonna kick ass.  Due out December 2016.  Get yourself a copy!

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

BF:  The album that kicked my ass in 2015 was Wino and Conny Ochs acoustic album “Freedom Conspiracy.”  It has incredible songs, beautiful melodies and hooks.  Is very sad, yet gorgeous.  It really hit me in my heart and my soul. 

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

BF:  For convenience, its digital.  For sound quality its, CD and vinyl.  And for the experience, definitely vinyl.  Nothing like dropping the needle down. 

Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice

BF:  Whiskey, hands down.  I fucking love whiskey.  Beer is fine, but its heavy and makes you slow.  You gotta consume a lot of volume to achieve the type of buzz I like.  I'm not a heavy drinker.  But I drink daily.  When I'm relaxing, its beer.  When it's time to perform, or go out for the night, it's whiskey.  It gets me fired up. 

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

BF:  Charlies 33's and CD's is really the only record store left in Albuquerque.  Cool old school record store.  Vintage and new vinyl. 

What's next for the band?

BF:   Our EP on the Second Coming of Heavy compilation will come out in 2016 on Ripple Music.  Be sure to grab a copy!  I believe we are on Volume 4.  In the meantime, we are slowly working on new music for a second full-length album. 

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

BF:  We truly appreciate everyone who seeks out and supports underground music.  There is so much incredible music being made these days, especially in heavy rock/metal.  And it's not easy to find.  We are being spoon-fed so much crap these days.  It's impossible to hear great music on the radio or on TV or on any popular, multi-mass media.  You gotta work for today.  It's sad.  But there is a movement of people around the world that know good music is out there and they are finding it.  So, thank you.    

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ripple Music is thrilled to welcome U.K. Stoner Rock Legends, Steak!



Ripple Music is thrilled to welcome U.K. Stoner Rock Legends, Steak,to it's roster of the best of the modern heavy bands.

"Steak's music is as good as any rock music ever made. It is fresh while familiar, artistic yet attainable, rendered with heart, energy, dexterity, and aplomb."  -- Heavy Planet
Emerging from the depths of the murky London bars, this 4 piece have a love for underground rock n roll. Helping to shape a movement in underground music in the UK and Europe STEAK have forged themselves a new path. A riff laden, neck breaking force to be reckoned with on a mission to make rooms shake and heads roll.

Now, after releasing a series of EP's and a debut Full length on Napalm Records, Steak joins forces with Ripple Music, one of the world's leading purveyors of heavy psych, stoner and doom, to release "No God to Save" to a world-wide audience of heavy rockers.   Expect "No God to Save" to be available around the world on limited vinyl, CD and digital come June 2017.

"Steak are back and we are honoured to be joining the Ripple family for what is our most badass record to date. This is heavy shit and we couldn’t imagine a better label to work with on it. See you on the road soon…."

Steak is: Reece Tee
Chris Haley
James Cameron
Sammy Forway


"Steak have delivered an excellent and powerful album that will see them rise to the top of the UK Stoner Rock scene and beyond. Steak have the potential to influence the next generation of Stoner Rock outlaws. It's the Stoner Rock album of the year for me. No question." -- The Sludgelord



California-based Ripple Music is one of the world's leading record labels for heavy rock, heavy psych, stoner and doom.  Ripple Music is distributed world-wide by MVD Distributors, as well as H'art, Plastichead, Borders, Suburban and more.  All releases are available on the Ripple Website and Ripple Music Bandcamp.  Check out www.ripple-music.com for more info and news.
 Ripple_Logo.jpg

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bandcamp Bonanza – Compilations



Who doesn’t like compilation albums? Sure, there are times where you just want to listen to a particular band, but there are also times, where a good comp album does the trick. Especially when it’s loaded with killer bands singing killer songs. Lately there has been lots of cover compilation projects that have been pretty cool too, comprised of bands we all know and love putting their spin on songs we all know and love as well as b-sides we may not all know or love. Here are a few great comps you can find in camp.

Hard Rock Revolution – Volume III
Make no mistake, the revolution is upon us. For real. The Hard Rock Revolution started as a web forum years ago, which amassed a tight knit group of like-minded music addicts, including myself and has evolved into a music community unlike most others. The folks are down to earth, minimal bickering, trolling prohibited and the music is the heart of all the hearts. Just push play on the latest carnation of underground hits.
The Hard Rock Revolution continues to revolt in the face of the mainstream. Vol. III brings you more killer hard rock, doom, stoner, psych tunes for an apt cross section brought to you by the fearless generals of HRR.


Bad Omen Records - Drums in the Deep
Bad Omen Records is a hot up and coming label specializing in hard rock, proto-metal and stoner sludge. They just released a comp album with various artists in their roster. Perfect entry into good fortunes of Bad Omen. Dig it!

Magnetic Eye Records – Electric Ladyland: Jimi Hendrix Redux
This soon to be classic remake utilizing modern hard rocking bands to pay tribute to the Hendrix album Electric Ladyland was a huge success. Not without a fight, Magnetic Eye Records was able to accumulate an all star cast to cover one of the greats with a wide variety of bands making Jimi their own. Great artwork, fantastic vinyl options and all around a really fun project to behold. Since them the label has released a Helmet redux project of their classic album Meantime, and currently working on a new undertaking of the intrinsic album The Wall by Pink Floyd. Interesting and challenging picks to say the least. But well worth the price of admission. Check out the companion albums as well which are more of a best of Hendrix.

Doomed & Stoned in Portland
The first of an impressive run of compilations featuring doomy and stoney bands in Portland, the Doomed & Stoned team led by the infamous Billy Goate, really got my attention and acted as a true album of discovery for me. I hadn’t heard of most the bands on the album and caught myself flabbergastic by several during the first listen. Dooomed & Stoned does a great job at getting these smaller, local based bands out into circulation on this comp series which spans regions world wide. So much material, you will get lost within the assortment the D&S has available on their bandcamp page. All for the reasonable price of free or you pick.
Dont let the size of this comp album intimidate you. I thought I'd heard it all and this disproves that foolish theory. Perhaps the best heavy compilation on all of bandcamp! So many unheard bands that absolutely rip. Blown away! Great introduction to what Portland heavy music has to offer. Great job Billy!!Favorite track: AntikytherA - Altars Before The Unseen.


Riding Easy Records: Brown Acid – Trip Series
In an ongoing series of compilations, Riding Easy Records showcases lost classics of obscure bands from the early years. I’ve bee collecting these on vinyl since they started and am committed until the end. Not only do they serve as a history lesson of how the hippies and punks used to trip out in the 60s and 70’s. Read the descriptions on each of the 3 available Trips. The Fourth Trip is currently up for pre-order and due out on 4/20 of all dates. Go figure right? Don’t sleep on this stuff. Trip on it instead.


These are just a few of the many compilation albums I’ve enjoyed on bandcamp. It’s nice every once in a while to push play on a compilation album that is well thought out and exhibits true talent across the board whether it’s a covers albums or all original material. They are fun.

-The Huntsman

Friday, March 17, 2017

Iron Maiden – Brave New World



Before I get to the meat of the review, a little backstory...

Picture it: Brooklyn New York, the tail end of the 1980's.  An awkward cross-eyed girl is just discovering  rock bands on the heavier end of the spectrum.  Living around the corner from the Legendary but sadly no longer existent Zig Zag records helped fill in the gaps with my new musical library.  A friend and I snuck into the even more legendary L'Amour when we were still way below the legal drinking age – and I became known as “the girl in the Iron Maiden shirt.” 
           
I think at one point I had about 2 dozen Maiden shirts – over the years they've gotten lost or I gave them away when I went through my “too cool for band shirts” period.

Seriously Iron Maiden were my favorite band.  I listened to a lot of different bands at the time (most often it would be Priest, Purple/Rainbow, Sabbath – the usual) but Maiden were my #1 – I even proudly marched around with a huge “Killers" back-patch. 
           
In  the early 90's it became harder and harder to defend Iron Maiden's output.  And remember this is only one simple Penguin's opinion. After reading in Kerrang that guitarist Adrian Smith left the band to be replaced by Janick Gers (who appeared on Bruce Dickinson's first solo album “Tattooed Millionaire” - I was still hopeful that “No Prayer for the Dying”, released in 1990  - would be fantastic.  Damn was I wrong. I struggled to like the album, even bought the t-shirts with the art from the accompanying singles, but could not get my head around it.  In 1992 “Fear of the Dark” was released and I purchased it from the aforementioned Zig-Zag the day it was dropped – again to utter disappointment.  Over the next few years, I still purchased Maiden albums, live records, compilations – on or close to the release day – but my musical tastes were getting more varied.  My obsessions turned to a band called Marillion and old school prog like Yes, ELP and the Moody Blues.  (I'm not ashamed – it's part of my musical history).  
           
By the time I first saw Maiden in concert, Bruce Dickinson had gone, Blaze Bayley bravely fronted the band to a half empty Roseland Ballroom.  There was a hollow feeling about it all – and like the releases of that time – I was very disappointed.
           
In 1999 Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to the band and I saw them at a packed to the rafters Hammerstein Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan.  This was the band that I fell in love with.  They did a greatest hits set and Bruce told the rabid crowd they were working on a new studio album to be released the following year.

“Brave New World” came out in 2000.  after being burned so many times with blind purchasing in the past, I listened to a few of the tracks the band posted on their official site.  “The Wicker Man” was the first single from the album.  I remember the extra lines in the chorus “Thy will be done” that were for some reason not on the album version. I thought “This is a great track but I've been fooled by pre-release singles before”.  Then the band put the almost 7 minute long “Ghost of the Navigator” track up and I was convinced.  This was the band I was in love with all those years ago.
           
At the time of the record's release I was living in the elsewhere of the east coast and couldn't readily run to Zig Zag, so I ordered it online – on cassette!! I listened to it on my Walkman at work on constant repeat.  But at the time other new releases and life took precedence and “Brave New World" was put to the side. 
           
A year later I was living back in Brooklyn again and discovered I had lost the tape.  I ordered a CD copy on eBay and – after finding out I lived in New York City (this was right after the twin towers were destroyed) – the seller put an extra rush on the CD and offered their sincerest condolences.  I remember emailing them a couple of times about what had happened, they wanted to know what the mood was like here, if we were scared something like that would happen again.  It's amazing how a tragedy could bring strangers together – people who are just looking for answers and comfort. 
           
That marked the album as being very special .  The title track has that epic-”Rime of the Ancient Mariner” bombast that Maiden are known for.  Also the book it's named for by Aldous Huxley is one of my favorites- and I say that as a proud Epsilon.
           
 “Out of the Silent Planet” - with it's galloping bass runs and apocalyptic lyrics is another standout for me,

“Withered hands, withered bodies begging for salvation
Deserted by the hand of gods of their own creation
Nations cry underneath decaying skies above
You are guilty, the punishment is death for all who live
The punishment is death for all who live”

What I love most about Iron Maiden is what I also love about AC/DC – they have their own sound, their own style.  If I want musical exploration and innovation I'll look elsewhere but if I want a good Maiden album, this is it.  That was the problem with their 90's output – and in my opinion, everything after “Brave New World” - they tried too hard.  That had a great formula – galloping bass, twin guitar leads, booming drums and operatic vocals with not the most intelligent lyrics (but by no means idiotic).  This is what made albums like “Powerslave” and “Piece of Mind” “classic” and I would say places“Brave New World” in as the last “classic” Iron Maiden album.

-Rys



           
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