Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Doom Charts for 01/30/13

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. We Want The Night (Slow Heart / Dead Friends & Angry Lovers)
  2. Horrible Nights [unmastered excerpt] (Moss / Moss' Horrible Night)
  3. Hollow (Alice in Chains / single)
  4. Spirits of Fire (Year of the Goat / Angels' Necropolis)
  5. Cosmonautical Mile (Harvester / The Blind Summit Recordings)
  6. Cool To Hate (Mother Gun / Human EP)
  7. All Too Human (Enos / All Too Human)
  8. Against the Storm (The Shooters / Planet of the Black Sun)
  9. Evil Hearted (Dryasdust / ST Demo)
  10. Set In Stone (Three Seasons / Understand The World)
  11. Space (Glitter Wizard / Hunting Gatherers)
  12. Drive (Cube / ST)
  13. Drowning Doom (Mage / Black Sands)
  14. Green Vapour (Lord of the Grave / Green Vapour)
  15. Bald Bull (Gozu / The Fury of a Patient Man)*
  16. War Weather Worshipper (Black Overdrive / ST)
  17. Wretches (Bottlecap / ST)
  18. The Assassin's Song (Necronomicon / The Queen of Death)
  19. Bad Things (Sticky Digit / ST)
  20. It Comes From The Mist (Wheelfall / Interzone)
  21. The Color Out of Space (From Beyond / The Color Out of Space EP)*
  22. Receive It (Megachurch / Megachurch 2: Judgment Day)
  23. Pony (Geezer / Handmade Heavy Blues)*
  24. Navigating on the Seas of Dementia (A Very Old Ghost Behind The Farm / split CD w/Wheelfall)
  25. The Observer (Zosimos / ST)*
* New Song

Outgoing songs:
"David Lund" by Arkham Witch
"Secular Haze" by Ghost
"Beyond The Stars" by Palace in Thunderland
"Twin Obscenities" by Spider Kitten

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

It's Not Night: It's Space - Bowing Not Knowing To What (album review)

It's Not Night: It's Space has got to be one of the coolest band names out there (Shortens to INNIS).  It's the kind of name that makes one kick one's head back and say, "oh, yeah ... that's true, I've never thought of it that way before".  So after making the all-name team, the question remained, is the music as revelatory as the name itself?

The album starts off with a droned intro ("The Gathering") featuring a clip from Terence McKenna, spilling forth into "The Mantis & The Cow", featuring the voice and spirit of Aleister Crowley.  There's an aura about this album that begins to take shape even on this first full track: the unfulfilled promise of hidden knowledge, the spiking of one's drink.  The experience of the initiate symbolically bound, broken, destroyed and reborn.

"The Gathering" has a Mesopotamian vibe to it with a dry arid drone and flutes, which flows mood-wise perfectly into the sandstormy appeal of "The Mantis & The Cow".  As an overall presence, the album is highly cinematic.  Not so much a moving picture soundtrack but the film itself being converted into sound.  One can see the story play out before their mind's eye.  The initiate arrives via some fantastic machine in the desert to wander in search of the Mystery School.  When we hear the voice of Mr. Crowley, we know the initiate has found it, buried in the sand.  Very tasteful use of understated and fluttering flute by guest Deborah Gillespie brings it all home and makes for an almost endorphin releasing finish.

I begin to feel a bit like Alex DeLarge, as I viddied "I saw such wonderful pictures", each track opening new panoramic vistas.  It's not all beauty, however.  Music that is truly psychedelic gives the listener at times that ever so slightly sinister vibe of paranoia, confusion and hidden dangers.  "Painted Serpent" and "Blue Mountain Freedom" showcase the dark side quite well.  But the band always pulls the listener through and manages to end things on a positive or hopeful note, as in "The Mantis & The Cow" which moves the listener from cold mystery to warm comfort.  This is key.  The band shows no fear when confronted by dangers because they can see past the worldly outer appearance of things to their true nature and that there is nothing to fear.

But as regards the worldly, there's no shortage of musical tricks up this band's sleeve,  making the most of their allotted span and rewarding their kickstarter contributors with 50 minutes of guided meditation.  The band might vamp on a single riff for minutes at a time then suddenly take flight only to pull the brakes returning at half speed.  "Blue Mountain Freedom" is one of the more dynamic songs in the set and uses the novel technique of winding the song down for the big stereotypical rock and roll finish, in the middle of the track, only to crank it back up.  The band goes out with a huge bang on epic closing track "Palace of the Bees".  Full-on eastern vibe with sitar to boot.  I interpret the subject of the title as a typical office building, the music turns my spirit to a long-forgotten mist enshrouded past, my mind's eye to the future gazing through a crystal ball at the absurdity of it all.

Though there truly is a lot to be said for a band that can maintain a consistent tonal feel throughout an album, It's Not Night: It's Space don't do that here.  For that reason 'Bowing Not Knowing To What' reads more like an anthology than a novel, taking the listener through a middle eastern desert scene to a needle-spired insectine palace in the far and cold outer reaches of some nameless and dread galaxy.  INNIS continually change the reel in the mind's eye theater, taking the listener to some weird places, sometimes wonderful, sometimes horrible but always with a third eye that sees beyond the worldly to the cosmic.

Highlights include: "The Mantis & The Cow" and "Palace of the Bees"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 50:20

From: New Platz, New York

Genre: Psychedelic, Stoner, Instrumental, Experimental

Reminds me of: Iron Mtn.. Om, SardoniS, Soundgarden

Release Date: October 11, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Seeing beyond the worldly to the true nature of reality.

Better Reviews
The Obelisk
Beard Rock

Interview on Revolt of the Apes

Monday, 28 January 2013

Cpt. Kronos - The Invocation (album review)

I first heard of Cpt. Kronos on youtube thanks to the prolific uploader 666MrDoom when he posted the band's initial offering "Queen of the Night".  The song must have been mere hours old and already by that point it was obvious that he had found one of the next great doom bands.  The song "Queen of the Night" had a good doom riff with solid backing and was built from a blues foundation.  The cover art struck the right note to put the listener in that doom state of mind and the band imbibed the Black Sabbath ale without getting stumblebum drunk on it.  A fortnight or so later the full 'The Invocation' EP was made available on their bandcamp page.

Good as the 'lead single' was, it in no way prepares the listener for the ensuing performance on the rest of the disc.  Key moments of distinction are the opening riff and middle breakdown of "A Criminal Mind" and the explosive drumming of Matti found towards the end of "State of Emptiness".  One might consider "Queen of the Night" to be the bare-bones, stripped-down version of the band.

Opening track "The Invocation" takes the listener through the stages and styles found throughout the rest of the disc.  It starts with a slow blues workout that shows signs of popping off in any number of directions.  Eventually, the pace is doubled and the band headtrips their way through a fairly straightforward uptempo rock number.  This is not a bad thing.  When the band wants to they can be play straight rock and they can also scorch with the best of them.  As mentioned above, "Queen of the Night" is no frills blues doom with an instantly recognizable, terrific riff.  One that should eventually go down as one of the major highlights of the year.

"A Criminal Mind" takes a galloping riff with an uptempo beat and goes for a spin through some epic fields of atmospheric blues.  The middle breakdown that plays through to the end of the cut is highlighted by the deep and resonant bass work of Joni.  "State of Emptiness" is a strutting beast of organ and fuzz with a well-paced and infectious chorus.

Cpt. Kronos bite from the forbidden fruit of doom, caramelized in blues and metal.  There's a lot here in the songwriting and tonal qualities of the instruments that is akin to Pink Floyd's 'A Saucerful of Secrets'.  'The Invocation' is a solid first release from a new band that shows a ridiculous amount of promise.  Very recently the band played their first show and if they keep at it, they could be a mainstay of the Finnish doom halls for years to come.

Highlights include: "Queen of the Night" and "A Criminal Mind"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 20:28

From: Helsinki, Finland

Genre: Doom, Stoner, Blues

Reminds me of: Bloody Hammers; Lord of the Grave, Pink Floyd (A Saucerful of Secrets), The Wandering Midget

Release Date: December 31, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: At a clearing in the woods, disturb the cairn and reap the consequences ...

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bright Curse - ST (album review)

Moody, groovy and dark.  This downtuned and bass-driven collection of four longish tracks and a short intro are what happens when a psychedelic flower child discovers doom, or is that the other way around?  Bright Curse is the brainchild of Main Row (of Paris, France), Sammy (of London, England) and Zach (also from France), who have gathered forces for one common cause.  To spawn the heaviest, darkest music they can muster.

Their particular brand of heavy is darkly psychedelic.  Bright Curse are like a carnivorous plant, their thunderous bass and thick guitar attack expelling a stench like rotten flesh, pulling back the leaves of heavy during the verse to put those brightly colored vocals on display to attract its victims.  To ensnare captive listeners so that they may unleash their crushing waves during the chorus.

The band employ a number of techniques to achieve their dark psychedelic sound.  Take "What's Beyond the Sun?" as an example.  Echoed vocals atop a bright and spare guitar sound with a dominant and insistent bass line creates the feeling of floating freely in vacuum, before the distortion pedal is finally depressed and that floating feeling quickly turns to free fall.  The deep, heavy tone that Main Row gets is like an annihilation wave eliminating all in its path.  It's really something.  The contrast between the "light" and "heavy" or "light" and "dark" amplifies the force of the tone.  This dynamic approach is employed throughout.  Another way that contrast is achieved is through the vocals themselves.  While other bands might have taken a grunting, growling or screaming approach in order to match the aggression of the thick guitar tone, Main Row keeps the project grounded in a psychedelic rock foundation.  He sings quite forcefully, but in a natural, unaffected voice.  He also matches the mood of the songs quite well, showing a dynamism to match that of the band.  When the song is excited, so is he, by singing from lower in the diaphragm with a belly full of fire.  When the mood calls for it, as it often does during the verses, his tones and melodies are honeyed.

Bright Curse take their atmospheric wizardry to higher form on "The Hermit" with ascending harmonies and their best and most striking use of light/heavy dynamism yet.  Although it's just their first release, Bright Curse establishes a strong identity here: bass-bruised space cruise music haunted by high harmonies.  This signature sound promises to make them one of the most distinguishable and recognizable bands for months or years to come.

Bright Curse are collectors, nay, cultivators of moments, creating sparse aural vistas of drifting spinning voids as a backdrop for splatters of imploding spiral galaxies collapsing in towards irrresistibly heavy centers.  They are content to build slowly, never wearing out a riff's welcome, painstakingly framing their colossal statements with loads of negative space.  Stark is the word here, and yet the songs are never static, they are busy, they are always moving and they move inexorably toward the heaviest areas available.

Highlights include: "The Hermit" and "Mind Traveller"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 34:20

From: London, England

Genre: Psychedelic, Doom

Reminds me of: Abrahma, Black Space Riders, Enos, Wheelfall

Release Date: November 15, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Step off the space platform into the unforgiving reaches of the void.

Better Reviews

Sludgelord interview

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Hour of Power 01/26/13 (playlist)

Highlights from the week of 01/20/13 - 01/26/13

This week's Hour of Power continues the precedent that has been established recently with a quartet of new and official video clips.  Aleph Null returned this week after a year's absence to unleash their second heavy helping and released their video for "Belladonna Wreath".  Mothership's "City Nights" was premiered on The Soda Shop.  While The Black Angels and Blacktones also premiered new music videos this week.  From Boston, Black Pyramid also shared a new song from their upcoming album on Soundcloud which was uploaded by Doom Lord while Ice Dragon very quietly expanded their "The Soul's Midnight" single into a 4 song EP and the Doom Lord returned as his alter ego 666MrDoom to upload the new track "Winterwind" with lyrics.  The Hour of Power cruises into overdrive with a trio of highlights from the mere three reviews featured on the blog this week while the hour comes to a stunning conclusion with Black Widow.  I was shocked and saddened this week when news came out about Clive Jones of Black Widow being very ill.  This just days after mentioning the band in a post here on the blog (a free CD to the first person to comment on the bottom of this page with the correct corresponding post).  I posted a video of "Come To The Sabbat" on my facebook wall then promptly messaged him to let him know I cared and that my thoughts were with him.  He replied with the suggestion that I check out the song that closes out this playlist, "Hail Satan" from Black Widow's most recent album 'Sleeping With Demons', featuring Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath).  Enjoy ...

  1. Belladonna Wreath (Aleph Null / Belladonna EP) 2013
  2. City Nights (Mothership / ST) 2012
  3. Don't Play With Guns (The Black Angels / Indigo Meadow) 2013
  4. Our God (The Blacktones / Distorted Reality EP) 2012
  5. Onyx And Obsidian (Black Pyramid / Adversarial) 2013
  6. Winterwind (Ice Dragon / The Soul's Midnight EP) 2013
  7. Matterhorn (Egypt / Become The Sun) 2012
  8. Deja Vu (The Gentlemen Bastards / ST) 2012
  9. Out of Focus (Blue Cheer / Vincebus Eruptum) 1968
  10. Hail Satan (Black Widow / Sleeping With Demons) 2011

Doom Charts for 01/26/13

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. Hollow (Alice in Chains / single)
  2. Beyond the Stars (Palace in Thunderland / Stars, Dreams, Seas)
  3. Horrible Nights [unmastered excerpt] (Moss / Moss' Horrible Night)
  4. We Want The Night (Slow Heart / Dead Friends & Angry Lovers)
  5. Spirits of Fire (Year of the Goat / Angels' Necropolis)
  6. Cool To Hate (Mother Gun / Human EP)
  7. All Too Human (Enos / All Too Human)
  8. David Lund (Arkham Witch / Legions of the Deep)
  9. Twin Obscenities (Spider Kitten / Cougar Club)
  10. Cosmonautical Mile (Harvester / The Blind Summit Recordings)
  11. Bad Things (Sticky Digit / ST)
  12. Evil Hearted (Dryasdust / ST Demo)
  13. War Weather Worshipper (Black Overdrive / ST)
  14. Wretches (Bottlecap / ST)
  15. Drive (Cube / ST)
  16. Set In Stone (Three Seasons / Understand The World)*
  17. Space (Glitter Wizard / Hunting Gatherers)
  18. Drowning Doom (Mage / Black Sands)*
  19. Against the Storm (The Shooters / Planet of the Black Sun)
  20. It Comes From The Mist (Wheelfall / Interzone)
  21. Green Vapour (Lord of the Grave / Green Vapour)*
  22. Receive It (Megachurch / Megachurch 2: Judgment Day)*
  23. Secular Haze (Ghost / Infestissumam)
  24. Navigating on the Seas of Dementia (A Very Old Ghost Behind The Farm / split CD w/Wheelfall)
  25. The Assassin's Song (Necronomicon / The Queen of Death)*

* New Song

Outgoing songs:
"Queen of the Night" by Cpt. Kronos
"A Better Way" by Manlord
"Possessed" by Mara
"Symptoms [of the Human Race]" by Motherslug
"Taste of Hate" by The Quartet of Woah!

Top 25 Albums
#). artist - album title
  1. Wheelfall / A Very Old Ghost Behind The Farm - split album
  2. The Heavy Eyes - Maera
  3. Abrahma - Through the Dusty Path of Our Lives
  4. From Beyond - The Color Out of Space EP
  5. Slow Heart - Dead Friends and Angry Lovers
  6. Year of the Goat - Angels' Necropolis
  7. Dryasdust - ST Demo
  8. Alunah - White Hoarhound
  9. Palace in Thunderland - Stars, Dreams, Seas
  10. Greenleaf - Nest of Vipers
  11. Mamont - Passing Through the Mastery Door
  12. Blue Aside - The Moles of a Dying Race
  13. Arkham Witch - Legions of the Deep
  14. Molior Superum - Into the Sun
  15. Three Seasons - Understand The World
  16. Egypt - Become the Sun
  17. Veracrash - My Brother The Godhead
  18. Black Space Riders - Light is the New Black
  19. Chains - Of Death
  20. Wheelfall - Interzone
  21. Motherslug - ST
  22. Spider Kitten - Cougar Club
  23. Glitter Wizard - Hunting Gatherers
  24. Deep Space Destructors - II
  25. Voltron - Kaventsmann

Friday, 25 January 2013

The All-New! All- Different! Weekly Mailbag! for 01/21/13 - 01/25/13

A look at what came in the mail this week, featuring links, product descriptions and mini-reviews, featuring ...

AT DEVIL DIRT - The Gentlemen Bastards - IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE - State of Micky and Tommy - WHEELFALL

AT DEVIL DIRT - Chapter II "Vulgo gratissimus auctor" (2012)

Having put it off for far too long I finally bought a copy of the last of my top 10 albums of 2012 that were available (Moon Curse is the only one left now as it hasn't been available as a physical release, but word came in that they have sent their album off to the vinyl plant and their EP is being pressed even as we speak).  It took about three weeks in getting here, which isn't too long a wait for it to come all the way up the coast from Chile to BC and when it arrived it came with a copy of the band's self-titled debut album as well!  I hadn't gone back and heard it yet as I'm still quite satisfied listening to 'Chapter II' at the moment.  Admittedly it's been a long moment.  If you haven't read it yet, and you want to know what I think of the music, you can read my full review.  It's actually one of my most read posts (or at least, one of my most 'looked at').  Like every band featured on Paranoid Hitsophrenic, they're a very good band and it seems a lot of folks are really taking notice of them.  Such is the power of 'Chapter II'.

If you're not familiar with the band, they are a two piece from Chile.  There's Nestor Ayala on guitar and Francisco Alvarado on drums and they pound, fuzz, wail and crash with a tone that pierces straight to the center of the brain.  Great stoner rock in the Queens of the Stone Age tradition.

Listening to the debut for the first time I'm struck by an aspect I never got to touch on in my review, which is the band's growth between releases.  'At Devil Dirt' takes a more aggressive approach while 'Chapter II' takes is more laid back with the confident swagger of a band finding its voice while maintaining a sharp focus.  Also, the vocals are mostly in their native Spanish with only a few in English on the debut.  'Chapter II' is all in English.

The 'Chapter II' CD is available on the band's bandcamp page for 12 US dollars and comes in a single panel digipack with credits on the inside cover and band photos beneath the CD tray.  The debut has much the same format and is for sale at 10 US dollars on bandcamp.  The digital version of this album is also a "pay what you want" while the digital version of 'Chapter II' is available at 4 dollars.
Highlights include "I am an Ugly Skin" and "That the Start Sweet Ends Bitter".
Rating 5/5

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Egypt - Become the Sun (album review)

'Become the Sun', the debut full-length album from Fargo, North Dakota's Egypt took some crazy twists and bounces to get here but somehow it got here alright.  After forming back in 2003 the band released a highly regarded 4 song EP in 2007, split up, were resurrected with a new guitarist (Neil Stein joining founders Aaron Esterby on vocals and bass and Chad Heille on drums while replacing Ryan Grahn), recorded this album, had it sit in the proverbial can for months on end.  Now, finally it has shed its light upon a cult following slavering in anticipation, the band has made its thunderous return.

The return hasn't been without some surprises however, not the least of which is the sound of the album.  The Grahn lineup featured much more of a doomy, bass-led approach, with the guitar not being so up front in the mix nor in the performance.  The current Stein incarnation has a much fuller, hard rock sound at its heart, coming across more like Pentagram or even Motörhead than Saint Vitus.

In an odd way, it's almost as though heavy metal is rediscovering itself.  More and more bands are getting away from strict 'Doom' as a point of focus and delving into the rawer, heavy guitar-led approach of the pre-thrash late 70s, much like how Black Sabbath themselves eventually evolved between 'Black Sabbath' and 'Never Say Die' and took a generation on its back to evolve with them.  One must say that Egypt is at the forefront of this movement.

From the opening licks of "Matterhorn" Egypt serve up a steaming dish of southern groove that would not sound out of place on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack.  The bass tone is more in tune with the early 80s / late 70s with the gain turned way up and there's more dynamism in the drum work.  Not fast and thrashy but more uptempo, more BPMs, more filling in empty spaces with fills and a lot more ride as a general thing.  Even the vocals are more aggressive, smoke-blown and resonant.  That all said, it's not as though Egypt has dropped the doom from their repertoire altogether.  "Orb of the Wizardking", "Greenland" and "The Village is Silent" are all fine examples of the genre.  But as an overall impression after listening to the album, it seems as though there's more "Stalker"s than "Wizardkings" here and it may be that that's just the point.  By the time the album finishes, it's cuts like "Stalker", "Hillside" and "Matterhorn" that make the biggest impact, these are the songs that provide the stronger whispers ringing in the ears.

Their cover of Deep Purple's "Black Night" is spot on as well, pretty much note perfect.  Covers, let alone faithful ones aren't usually my bag of tea, but this one fits in on this album perfectly.  Just the right mood and tone and in just the right sequence.  Eight songs in and the listener's sweating and maybe getting a bit tired. That's when the band jump in with that slow drum roll and killer riff and in comes that second wind.  Now the listener is primed and ready for the big finish.

Egypt's return after five years and change is a triumphant one, probably not the return fans were expecting but triumphant nonetheless.  Where one might have expected a low end dominated doom-a-thon, one finds the guitar leading the way into some unexpected places.  In the end, Egypt have delivered a fine hard rock record that is a clear highlight of the first month of the year and just scraping the upper edge of an hour in length, the band gives the audience their money's worth.

As of right now 'Become The Sun' is available through most mp3 vendors (I got mine from cdbaby on new year's) but it will soon be available on CD sometime in February.  I know I'll be at the front of the queue with cash and hand when that day comes.  The band is also working on putting together a vinyl release.  Here's the link to Egypt's big cartel store for future orders when it is made available.

Highlights include: "Matterhorn" and "Hillside"

Rating: 4.5/5

1. Matterhorn (4:35)
2. The Village Is Silent (5:42)
3. Orb of the Wizardking (8:59)
4. Stalker (3:56)
5. Hillside (5:39)
6. Greenland (3:40)
7. World Eater (7:33)
8. Snakecharmer (3:50)
9. Black Night (3:52)
10. Elk River Fire (11:00)
Total Run Time: 58:42

From: Fargo, North Dakota

Genre: Hard Rock, Doom, Stoner, Psychedelic

Reminds me of: Arkham Witch, MoonlessMotörhead, Pentagram

Release Date: December 28, 2012; CD in February 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Dust off the ol' air guitar, leathers and denims and get some sweat stains going.

Better Reviews:
Heavy Planet
The Obelisk


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Doom Charts for 01/23/13

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. Beyond the Stars (Palace in Thunderland / Stars, Dreams, Seas)
  2. Horrible Nights [unmastered excerpt] (Moss / Moss' Horrible Night)
  3. Hollow (Alice in Chains / single)
  4. We Want The Night (Slow Heart / Dead Friends & Angry Lovers)
  5. Queen of the Night (Cpt. Kronos / The Invocation)
  6. Symptoms [of the Human Race] (Motherslug / ST)
  7. Spirits of Fire (Year of the Goat / Angels' Necropolis)
  8. Taste of Hate (The Quartet of Woah! / Ultrabomb)
  9. Twin Obscenities (Spider Kitten / Cougar Club)
  10. Cool To Hate (Mother Gun / Human EP)
  11. All Too Human (Enos / All Too Human)
  12. David Lund (Arkham Witch / Legions of the Deep)
  13. Possessed (Mara / Demo)
  14. Cosmonautical Mile (Harvester / The Blind Summit Recordings)*
  15. Space (Glitter Wizard / Hunting Gatherers)
  16. Against the Storm (The Shooters / Planet of the Black Sun)*
  17. Bad Things (Sticky Digit / ST)
  18. Wretches (Bottlecap / ST)
  19. Drive (Cube / ST)
  20. Evil Hearted (Dryasdust / ST Demo)*
  21. War Weather Worshipper (Black Overdrive / ST)
  22. It Comes From The Mist (Wheelfall / Interzone)*
  23. A Better Way (Manlord / ST)
  24. Secular Haze (Ghost / Infestissumam)
  25. Navigating on the Seas of Dementia (A Very Old Ghost Behind The Farm / split CD w/Wheelfall)*
* New Song

Outgoing songs:
"Better the Devil You Know Than the Devil You Don't Know" by At Devil Dirt
"Caminando En La Luna" by Demonauta
"Towards the Haze" by Molior Superum
"Non-State Actor" by Soundgarden
"Milk" by White Bone Rattle

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum (classic album review)


Taking their cue from their Hell's Angels' buddies machines, Blue Cheer were explosive, heavy and loud.  In fact, they called themselves the loudest band in the world and who knows, with 24 speakers in six amps at time when, they just might have been.  Jim Morrison called them "The single most powerful band I've ever seen".

The opening track of 'Vincebus Eruptum', "Summertime Blues" is considered by many to be the very first heavy metal song, it predated Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" by a matter of months, but followed in the wake of Vanilla Fudge, Cream & The Jimi Hendrix Experience by a matter of many more months, let alone heavy contributions from The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things and The Yardbirds.  But the point is a moot one because everybody knows that Black Sabbath was the first heavy metal band.  Were Blue Cheer heavier than Black Sabbath?  Nope.  Thing is Blue Cheer came first and were right up there among the heaviest of their era and are deserving of the respect they receive as pioneers.  But these days their classic output would be better recognized as belonging to the stoner rock genre than heavy metal and that will be our starting point.

Blue Cheer started out life as a sextet in the burgeoning heavy rock scene of San Francisco in early 1967, just in time to be a part of the Summer of Love and to witness Jimi Hendrix's inflammable set at the Monterrey Pop Festival, after which they divided their forces by two to end up as a very Experience-like power trio (Dickie Peterson - vocals / bass, Leigh Stephens - guitar / vocals & Paul Whaley - drums).  The band was managed by a guy named Gut who was mentioned in Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels, Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and On The Road by Jack Kerouac, which must only have served to increase their loud and heavy profile.  Some reports claim he was a full patch member of the Hells Angels, others that he was a hang-around and it's none of my business, except to give the reader an idea of the heavy and intense company this band kept.  This motley mix of band and management moved to Boston (an excellent destination for fuzzy rockers, even back then) and scored a top 20 hit single with their aforementioned high octane version of Eddie Cochran's classic "Summertime Blues" (Billboard #14 May 4 1968).

The classic lineup l-r: Peterson, Stephens & Whaley
It was quickly followed up by the release of "Just A Little Bit" a song off their next record 'Outsideinside', which was yet to be released.  Bands were more prolific in those days, or so it seemed.  More accurately, record companies wanted them to be and tried not to give the record buying public a chance to forget a hit making group, which is why bands like The Beatles, The Stones, Manfred Mann and The Hollies et al, released as many as six singles and two long players a year for much of the sixties.  Many bands were under tremendous pressure to deliver the hits on a ridiculously frequent basis and many sober minded witnesses believe that this is what drove Syd Barret to the brink of self-destruction and eventual exile from The Pink Floyd.  The tactic didn't quite pay off for Blue Cheer as "Just A Little Bit" peeked into the Billboard charts at number 92 and was quickly forgotten by mass audiences.  The subsequent full-length record didn't fare much better hitting number 90 on the album charts, a flop by pop standards, especially when compared to 'Vincebus Eruptum's number 11 placing.  Ironically, 'Outsideinside' was a much more streamlined affair, better suited to popular tastes than 'Vincebus Eruptum's sprawling free-flowing and swampy jams.

The title of the first record is deserving of some attention as the question of a perfect translation to the phrase has largely been a mystery.  Some translation sites on the web will pull up the result "conquering attack" or "conquering explosion".  But the true story behind the title is that Vincebus Eruptum (pronounced win-kay-bus ee-rupped-um) was coined by friend of the band Charlie Osborne and was intended to sound like a Latin phrase meaning "control of chaos".  Dickie Peterson confirmed this on the Steve Allen show in 1968.  When asked what the title of the LP meant, he said "controlled chaos".  When asked where they got their songs from guitarist Leigh Stephens replied, "arsenals".

'Vincebus Eruptum' is loaded with moments that would not sound out of place on many current records reviewed on this blog.  "Out of Focus" is a fine example of this.  Sounding equal parts 'And the Circus Left Town' era Kyuss, Kadavar, Heat and Witchcraft, this song speaks to the influence this album has had on the passing generations. Not just anybody stumbles onto this record.  The curious, the knowledge-seeking, those who wish to glean a better understanding of where their music comes from find 'Vincebus Eruptum'.  And those that do find it, find it absolutely mouth watering.  Heavier and fuzzier than CCR, Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge put together, louder and dirtier than Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience or Steppenwolf, more immediate and accessible than flower power bands like Country Joe & The Fish, The United States of America or The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Blue Cheer were a monster band with a monumental sound.

Their influences are immediately obvious.  The spirit and some of the ideas of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream are tangible, especially in the syncopated blasts of "Summertime Blues", but they were no copycats, they had many innovative ideas of their own.  By the time they had appeared on Steve Allen they had six amps with 24 speakers and they were looking to add more.  Steve Allen himself, who had an obvious and well-documented disdain for rock & roll and its progenitors could not help but be impressed with the power of the band, noting their music as an intense visceral experience that had to be experienced live.  This drive to constantly turn the knobs up to 11 and beyond was not lost on the succeeding generation who would go on to create the genre of heavy metal.

Their penchant for stop and turn on a dime dynamics has since spawned an entire industry of imitators.  It was something they had borrowed from 12 bar blues that they did in a unique way.  While in a typical blues song you might get that pause on the last line of the verse before the backing band comes back in with a syncopated and descending riff, Blue Cheer might cut the pause time in half and crash back in with a double time improvisation.  The guitar flourishes on "Doctor Please" and solos in "Out of Focus" sound like they could have been performed by Dave Chandler himself and there's little doubt that a young Chandler played along with this record.

If there were ever a band whose output embodied the sound of the thousand cc engine of a Harley Davidson, it was Blue Cheer.  Leigh Stephens left the band between the release of 'Outsideinside' and the band's third album 'New! Improved!', reportedly because he was going deaf.  'Vincebus Eruptum''s raw performance is a snapshot of a band discovering their own power and exploring it.  Their legacy is secure, far reaching and ever expanding.  It all started with this 'Vincebus Eruptum'.

Blue Cheer were the band that their fans wouldn't let die.  Main man Dickie Peterson left the band numerous times throughout the years but kept returning flying the freak flag high.  They disbanded several times throughout the years undergoing frequent lineup changes.  Their final album was 2007's 'What Doesn't Kill You ...'.  The band finally called it a day in 2009 after the death of Dickie Peterson.

Highlights include: "Out of Focus" and "Summertime Blues"

Rating: 4/5

1. Summertime Blues (3:47)
2. Rock Me, Baby (4:23)
3. Doctor Please (7:53)
4. Out of Focus (3:58)
5. Parchment Farm (5:50)
6. Second Time Around (6:18)
Total Run Time: 32:06

From: San Francisco, California

Genre: Fuzz Rock, Stoner, Psychedelic

Reminds me of: Cream, Iron Butterfly, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Steppenwolf

Release Date: January 1968

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Tribal anthems for bikers in Cimmeria.

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Gentlemen Bastards - ST (album review)

Huntsville, Alabama's Gentlemen Bastards were on my bucket list for what was turning into a long while, so I was tickled when the band got in touch with me to do a review.  They play a no bull breed of hard rock and roll, the way it's meant to be played, without any apologies or self-consciousness.  Loaded with incendiary pyrotechnics, which guitarist Bill Barry has in spades, the band blasts through a generous helping of ten songs in just over 50 minutes and don't so much as blink along the way.

Four dudes on choppers cruising down the rock n roll highway crashing every party as they go.  The Gentlemen Bastards aren't going to change the way you think about rock n roll, nor do they set out to.  They don't play retro rock, but their sound is as much an extension of the 70s as anything by today's best northern European hard rock bands.  Their reach may be limited to the immediately tangible but their stride is colossal, in other words, they stick to what is recognizably hard rock, but knock on every door on the block, hitting on many facets of the genre without veering off into detours.  They've got short songs, long songs, slow building epic songs, and uptempo cruisers but manage to maintain a strong focus.  They can busk and they can strut but they don't once appear silly or take what they do lightly.  For theirs is a sacred duty, the art of rocking balls off.

The whole of side A is like one long run-on highlight with the best moments being "Neverland" and what is undoubtedly the best song on the album, "Deja Vu".  Even the band themselves seem to know how good a song they have on their hands and rise to the occasion with their best performance on the album, achieving a nice balance of ambition and ability.  Vocalist Will Quinn has a Karl Agell or John Garcia thing going on at times and tries to go a little further than what his natural abilities will allow for, often straining his voice throughout the record (isn't that what it's all about?), but colors within the lines, shall we say, perfectly on this song.

The album's centerpiece "NMR" opens side B with a monumental eleven minute exploration of dynamics that the band pulls off quite well.  This is as slow as the Gentlemen Bastards get, sounding incredibly menacing with perhaps their heaviest riff yet.  Heavyweight riffs have a gravity to them that go positively Jovian when slowed down and nowhere is this clearer than on "NMR".  After four minutes or so the band cranks up the tempo getting a great snare march from drummer Dave Stanley that suits the mood of the song exactly and increases the tension.  The song is a terrific example of what a band can achieve in a longer song without losing focus

Another standout track is "If Only".  Nice punchy riff and a sweaty little psychedelic detour in the middle adorned with a catchy chorus, it's an excellent showcase of what the band can accomplish in a jam packed four and a quarter minutes.  The band opts for a thicker, low-end driven sound on the appropriately titled "Big Bad Wolf".  It's easy to imagine a ten foot tall wolf stalking the listener through the woods just a little after dark.  For that reason this may be the "Hellhound On My Trail" for the 21st century stoner generation.  Closing track "Start The Show" recalls Witchfinder General and is centered around the gulping and galloping bass work of Böðvar Böðvarsson.

The Gentlemen Bastards marry the best hard rock elements of the 70s and 90s creating a hairy-knuckled dragging, low-browed love-child drunk on PBRs and testosterone.  I like to think that this is what grunge would have really sounded like if it had emerged in the 1970s, rather than Godfather-of-grunge Neil Young.

Highlights include: "Deja Vu" and "NMR"

Rating: 4/5
Total Run Time: 51:24

From: Huntsville, Alabama

Genre: Hard Rock, Stoner, Blues, Grunge

Reminds me of: Clutch, Cortez, Metallica, Ted Nugent, Witchfinder General

Release Date: June 1, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Road trip to Jupiter, baby.

Better Reviews
The Soda Shop
Stoner Hive
Ride With The Devil
Blues Rock Review
Metal Kaoz

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Hour of Power 01/19/13 (playlist)

Highlights from the week of 01/13/13 - 01/19/13

A ton of great bands have been putting out promo videos of late, Hour of 13, Destroyer of Light and Balam spring instantly to mind.  This week Venomous Maximus and Spider Kitten kick things off with their brand new vids.  After that, another recently released video by Space Mushroom Fuzz makes its triumphant Hour of Power appearance.  Then, you will find videos from each of the albums that were reviewed this week and a pair of songs that were long overdue for the youtube treatment from Mount Fuji and Owl (many thanks to MrStonerBeliever and Doom Lord respectively).  And finally we come to a new age drone piece that was recorded and uploaded by none other than Chad Davis just days ago that I feel makes for a good outro.  Thanks for watching ...

  1. Path of Doom (Venomous Maximus / Beg Upon The Light) 2012
  2. Twin Obscenities (Spider Kitten / Cougar Club) 2013
  3. Trapped In The Past (Space Mushroom Fuzz / single) 2012
  4. Kali Maa (Veracrash / My Brother The Godhead) 2012
  5. Deserted Planet 2078 (Deep Space Destructors / II) 2012
  6. Seed (SautruS / Kuelmaggah Mysticism: The Prologue) 2012
  7. Head on Fire (Mount Fuji / ST) 2012
  8. Medicine Mirror (Owl / First Album) 2012
  9. Space (Glitter Wizard / Hunting Gatherers) 2012
  10. Molecular Particles (Romannis Mötte) 2013

Doom Charts for 01/19/13

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. Symptoms [of the Human Race] (Motherslug / ST)
  2. Beyond the Stars (Palace in Thunderland / Stars, Dreams, Seas)
  3. Towards The Haze (Molior Superum / Into the Sun)
  4. Milk (White Bone Rattle / Creature of Curiosity)
  5. Queen of the Night (Cpt. Kronos / The Invocation)
  6. Taste of Hate (The Quartet of Woah! / Ultrabomb)
  7. Hollow (Alice in Chains / single)
  8. Twin Obscenities (Spider Kitten / Cougar Club)
  9. Spirits of Fire (Year of the Goat / Angels' Necropolis)
  10. Horrible Nights [unmastered excerpt] (Moss / Moss' Horrible Night)
  11. We Want The Night (Slow Heart / Dead Friends & Angry Lovers)
  12. Cool To Hate (Mother Gun / Human EP)
  13. All Too Human (Enos / All Too Human)
  14. David Lund (Arkham Witch / Legions of the Deep)
  15. Non-State Actor (Soundgarden / King Animal)
  16. Space (Glitter Wizard / Hunting Gatherers)*
  17. Better The Devil You Know Than The Devil You Don't Know (At Devil Dirt / Chapter II "Vulgo gratissimus auctor")*
  18. Possessed (Mara / Demo)
  19. Bad Things (Sticky Digit / ST)*
  20. War Weather Worshipper (Black Overdrive / ST)
  21. Drive (Cube / ST)*
  22. Wretches (Bottlecap / ST)*
  23. A Better Way (Manlord / ST)
  24. Secular Haze (Ghost / Infestissumam)
  25. Caminando En La Luna (Demonauta / Caminando En La Luna EP)

* New Song

Outgoing songs:
"Salomantaari" by Demonic Death Judge
"Lately" by The Heavy Eyes
"Lichtritter" by Talis
"13 Liter Bohrmaschine" by Voltron
"House of Death" by Witchcoven

Top 25 Albums
#). artist - album title
  1. Wheelfall / A Very Old Ghost Behind The Farm - split album
  2. The Heavy Eyes - Maera
  3. From Beyond - The Color Out of Space EP
  4. Alunah - White Hoarhound
  5. Dryasdust - ST Demo
  6. Greenleaf - Nest of Vipers
  7. Mamont - Passing Through the Mastery Door
  8. Palace in Thunderland - Stars, Dreams, Seas
  9. Abrahma - Through the Dusty Path of Our Lives
  10. Blue Aside - The Moles of a Dying Race
  11. Year of the Goat - Angels' Necropolis
  12. Slow Heart - Dead Friends and Angry Lovers
  13. Molior Superum - Into the Sun
  14. Three Seasons - Understand The World
  15. Motherslug - ST
  16. Glitter Wizard - Hunting Gatherers
  17. Spider Kitten - Cougar Club
  18. Deep Space Destructors - II
  19. Dwellers - Good Morning Harakiri
  20. Arkham Witch - Legions of the Deep
  21. Voltron - Kaventsmann
  22. The Quartet of Woah! - Ultrabomb
  23. Veracrash - My Brother The Godhead
  24. Egypt - Become the Sun
  25. Chains - Of Death

The All-New! All- Different! Weekly Mailbag! for 01/14/13 - 01/18/13

A look at what came in the mail this week, featuring links, product descriptions and mini-reviews, featuring ...


FIRE - UNDERGROUND AND OVERHEAD (CD 2007, recorded 1967-70)

I was stoked to see this one come in.  For years now this CD has either been unavailable or selling at an exorbitant price on Amazon, so I nearly knocked over my beer when I saw it on Record Heaven for a reasonably priced 29 dollars.  Expensive for sure, but not in the 100 dollar range like on amazon, and a good price for a rare and out of print CD from a label that no longer exists.  It came out on the now sadly defunct Wooden Hill label as WHCD010 and it was one of their best releases ever.  I held my breath as this was labelled as a 'special order' item and would be shipped when available.  Well, I didn't have to wait long as it shipped about a week after placing the order and took a mere eight business days to arrive.

That all said, this isn't the most amazing compilation you will ever hear.  There's about five songs that are absolutely amazing, among the top examples of underground British psychedelia from the late 1960s one is likely to discover, but the remainder of the 20 songs just aren't as strong.  Keep in mind, that 17 of the 20 tracks were demos that were never meant for large-scale public consumption.  Fire was the creative outlet for talented songwriter and future Strawb Dave Lambert, whose material was strong enough to land an exclusive publishing contract with The Beatles' Apple Publishing.  Paul McCartney (he of Beatvana fame) himself took a hands-on approach to the band's first single "Father's Name Is Dad b/w Treacle Toffee World", pulling it from stores to re-record a new 'punched-up' version which made little difference sales wise upon reissue.  As is always the case with these compilations and re-issues of late 60s British psychedelic bands the disc features extensive liner notes, written with humor and whimsy by David Wells.
Highlights include "Father's Name Is Dad" and "Treacle Toffee World".
Rating 3/5

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Glitter Wizard - Hunting Gatherers (album review)

Glitter Wizard are a big deal here at Paranoid Hitsophrenic HQ.  Their summer 2011 debut full-length 'Solar Hits' charmed and enraptured both myself and my girlfriend, a stamp of approval not easily acquired.  It's incredibly rare for the both of us to simultaneously turn our keys and launch torpedo by the same artist but thus is the devastating power of Glitter Wizard (that sounded vaguely sexual but it wasn't meant to, my sincerest apologies).  So after a year and a quarter (during which 'G-Wiz' released a nice 7" single "Horses" b/w "Fire") it was time to raise the curtain on their much anticipated (here anyway) follow-up.

There's something to be said for a band that can take a four minute song and make it feel like a sprawling epic and Glitter Wizard manage to do just that on album opener "Worship The Devil".  That's not to say that the four minutes seem overly long or drag, but by a simple technique of kicking out two uptempo verses in the band's inimitable and familiar synth-driven style in just under a minute and a half's length then gearing down for a flute-guided journey through the desert the listener feels as though a strange and fulfilling journey has just taken place.  It's not the first time we've heard the band sprawl but it's a more tightly focused effort than "Warsawng" or "Mirror Man", for example.  For the most part, the San Francisco based quintet stick to a familiar sound for the duration of the album, with the possible exception of the sublime "Sunlit Wolves" which find the band donning acid folk accoutrements.

There are signs of a slow churning growth and maturity, however.  The epic side of the band, really only hinted at on "Worship The Devil", blossoms brilliantly on "Space".  It is the ultimate expression of the band's considerable potential, the culmination of their ideas.  If someone were to ask "what's Glitter Wizard all about?" I'd show them this song.  It starts out swaggering and aggressive, then goes all hippie in the middle with a head-swimming flute exploration, then washes back in with full swagger and a funny coda: "No son of mine's gonna mess around with no ET pussy / Don't want no inhuman grandchild".  "Space" is just an amazing song and it and "Worship the Devil" begin to become the norm as "Ragdoll (Deux)" features a similar progression, promising a great future.  In a way, it's unthinkable that a neo-glam band whose collective tongues seem forever planted in their cheeks, who describe their music as "pink metal", would show these signs of growth and maturity, if it is such.  But perhaps the Glitter Wizard himself is really just a Sad Clown, whose theatrics mask an inner longing for a deeper kind of self-expression.  Who knows?  There are signs of stagnation too, album closer "Big Sur" goes off on tangents, getting closer to the kind of jamming found on 'Solar Hits', rather than the controlled, highly structured side of the band shown on this album.  'Solar Hits' had its share of epic material, but it was characterized more by wild balls-out jamming than the tightly controlled dynamism shown here.

"Wizard Wagon" sounds as though it was written with the 'Solar Hits' material, recalling to mind "Mirror Man" or "ABACA" for sheer catchiness and straight forward simplicity.  "Motorider" falls under this category as well.  There aren't as many catchy hooks on 'Hunting Gatherers' and while the band has tightened up structurally, what has been gained on the one hand is lost in terms of overall hookiness.  Within the overall framework of the Glitter Wizard sound is variance.  Flute and synth stand toe to toe with guitars as lead instruments, saxophones take a bit of a back seat on this album, but the band do enough without them that they aren't truly missed.

Overall, Glitter Wizard doesn't add a lot to its bag of tricks.  They have a signature sound that is instantly recognizable and they have stuck to it, take it or leave it.  I for one will take it, but anybody looking for the band to make giant strides are going to be left cold by this release.  In a way, this is an intermediate record in the band's overall discography, not a make or break one.  They established a strong sound on their first album, this one expands and adds to the overall palette without straying too far but showing signs of growth and change.  It's the band's next full-length release that will really tell the tale about where this band is headed.

Highlights include: "Space" and "Worship The Devil"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 39:33

From: San Francisco, California

Genre: Glam Rock, Psychedelic, Hard Rock, Stoner

Reminds me of: Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, The Stooges, Witchfinder General

Release Date: November 16, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Freak out the s

Better Reviews
Scott's Music Reviews

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Deep Space Destructors - II (album review)

Deep Space Desctructors is a prog / space rock trio from Oulu, Finland.  They call their music "Progressive doomsday space rock" and that's about as self-aware and accurate a tag as you're likely to find from a band.  Doomy riffs, crash heavy drumming and wispy noises lay the foundation for the threatening and ghostly harmonies that propel the album forward.

Briefly, their music starts off calmly and serenely, inviting the listener into their tranquil and melodic world.  Once comfortably inside, however, the listener is attacked by heavy pummeling gyroscopic space rock.  This is how Deep Space Destructors operate.  They drone subtly, then veer off like a Jonestown escapee who just found a rocket with the keys in the ignition.

"Beneath the Black Star" begins this way.  A droney riff with only hints of menace becomes a bridge to carry the listener over a yawning chasm of windswept noise.  Nearly halfway across, the safety of the bridge is rocked by a second, doomy riff and the verse.  It's a tug of war between melodic safety and downtuned riff-laden doom.  Before the listener knows it the bridge collapses, "rotting away" and the doom wins.  A brief reprise of the melodic riff becomes the soundtrack to the listener's descent into the misty chasm below.

Again, "Deserted Planet 2078" begins much the same way.  There's that classic tug of war between light and dark.  Of course, the dark side wins.  Toward the end of the song DSD opens things up with an ascending slide riff that hauls ass and burns dark matter rubber in space.  This is the song the band choose to introduce new listeners to themselves with and one can't argue against the choice.  It's got a little of everything the band does and some of the best moments from the album.  In a way, it's their most accessible tune.

The opening of "Space Phantasy" brings to mind the best of late 60s progressive rock, specifically the Canterbury Scene and The Soft Machine.  There are other moments on the disc which might bring to mind such other period luminaries as Caravan, The Egg or their heavier precursors Arzachel.  Before long however, goggles and crash helmets are adorned and "Space Phantasy" gets aerodynamic.  The band take their time building songs in non-euclidean levels and layers of riffs, noises and structural detours before finding ways to make their improbable flying machines take off, like Launchpad McQuack piloting the Winchester Mystery House.

Though it's not on their Bandcamp, Soundcloud or ReverbNation pages, the actual disc has a fourth track, called "Sykli", sung in Finnish.  It's a different sounding tune with a different kind of vibe.  The band maintain their distinctive flavor but even a cursory or background listen will reveal the difference between this song and its predecessors.  Suddenly, the listener is no longer adrift in space but staring whimsically out across a choppy sea from a rocky outcrop.  It's not all wistful longing however, as halfway through the band breaks back into the heavy stuff with some interesting breakdowns and build-ups.

There's a warmth to the instruments and a coolness or a distance in the song structures that I can't quite put my finger on which creates a greenery in a space ship feel.  All in all, 'II' is a very worthy addition to the space rock oeuvre and one that I will enjoy listening to for many months to come.

Highlights include: "Beneath The Black Star" and "Deserted Planet 2078"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 38:13

From: Oulu, Finland

Genre: Space Rock, Psychedelic, Prog, Doom

Reminds me of: Caravan, Dryasdust, Hawkwind, Soft Machine, The Wandering Midget

Release Date: November 28, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Immersed in a pond, clinging to a mossy log, staring out the porthole of the space ship "Gardenia"

Deep Space Destructors on Facebook
Deep Space Destructors on ReverbNation
Deep Space Destructors on Soundcloud

Excellent artwork by Markus Räisänen from


Doom Charts for 01/16/13

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. Lately (The Heavy Eyes / Maera)
  2. Symptoms [of the Human Race] (Motherslug / ST)
  3. Beyond the Stars (Palace in Thunderland / Stars, Dreams, Seas)
  4. Towards The Haze (Molior Superum / Into the Sun)
  5. Milk (White Bone Rattle / Creature of Curiosity)
  6. Queen of the Night (Cpt. Kronos / The Invocation)
  7. House of Death (Witchcoven)
  8. Taste of Hate (The Quartet of Woah! / Ultrabomb)
  9. Twin Obscenities (Spider Kitten / Cougar Club)
  10. Horrible Nights [unmastered excerpt] (Moss / Moss' Horrible Night)
  11. Hollow (Alice in Chains / single)
  12. A Better Way (Manlord / ST)
  13. Spirits of Fire (Year of the Goat / Angels' Necropolis)*
  14. All Too Human (Enos / All Too Human)*
  15. Secular Haze (Ghost / Infestissumam)
  16. Lichtritter (Talis / G.L.O.T.)
  17. David Lund (Arkham Witch / Legions of the Deep)
  18. We Want The Night (Slow Heart / Dead Friends & Angry Lovers)*
  19. Non-State Actor (Soundgarden / King Animal)
  20. 13 Liter Bohrmaschine (Voltron / Kaventsmann)
  21. Salomantaari (Demonic Death Judge / Skygods)
  22. Cool To Hate (Mother Gun / Human EP)*
  23. Caminando En La Luna (Demonauta / Caminando En La Luna EP)
  24. Possessed (Mara / Demo)
  25. War Weather Worshipper (Black Overdrive / ST)*
* New Song

Outgoing songs:
"The Moles of a Dying Race Part I" by Blue Aside
"The Job" by Five Horse Johnson
"Understanding Ouroboros" by Ice Dragon
"Black Coven" by Pale Divine
"Amaranth (demo)" by Windhand

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Veracrash - My Brother The Godhead (album review)

"'My Brother The Godhead' is an excellent compilation album from 11 different bands of varying genres that ...

"What's that?  This isn't a compilation?  This is an album by all the same band? ...

"Are you sure?

"Well, then ... that changes everything.  Let's start again from the beginning."


Like a hundred headed hindu god Veracrash have many faces on rotation.  They appear to hedonistically obey their every musical impulse from the suffocatingly heavy opener "Lucy, Lucifer" to the laid back strumming and maracas shaking closer "_", finding expression for all points in between.  There is more of a multiple personalities feel to this, their second album, than on their first, '11:11', which was much more of a straightforward heavy psych record.  Taking the basic ingredients of stoner rock, doom, sludge, heavy psych and throwing song structure in a blender, what comes out of the mix is 'My Brother The Godhead'.  One thing the band can't be accused of is sticking to a formula.

'My Brother The Godhead' is one hell of an epic trip.  Science fiction meets conspiracy theory and paranoid feelings in a fuzzy package with an assist from Dango of Truckfighters on production duties.

High wailing vocals and fuzzy guitar with droning bass characterize the memorable opening track "Lucy, Lucifer".  Veracrash detour through the scenic route of psychedelia as the song goes where it wants to.  Who's driving the car?  The band is a dissociative identity disorder on record.  One could imagine their songs as shuffling aimlessly through endless corridors in a loose hospital gown, dazed and confused, with little to no attention span where every little thing that sticks out becomes momentarily fascinating and is quickly forgotten.  "Kali Maa" is a straight-up blast of fuzzy stoner rock, title track "My Brother The Godhead" is a droney and mournful slice of ambient pie.  "A Blowjob From Yaldabaoth" is an uptempo stoner freakout that gears right down into doom halfway through, never again returning to stoner territory, and featuring news clips from 911.  And that's just the first 15 minutes.  It's as though the band are possessed.  Their hands play what they play, the songs go where they go and the band simply obeys the songs' every whim.  The inmates run the asylum.

"Obey the Void" asks the question, "What do you see / Underneath the real".  By the time "Obey the Void" wafts across the speakers, vocalist Francesco's very Ozzy-like delivery in the first couple tracks ("LOO-SAY ... Lucifer!") is a distant memory and he goes from a brutal crust-punk delivery style to an almost 80s indie / goth rock low tone in this one song alone and ... it's just a head trip.

For that reason alone, Veracrash are among the most psychedelic bands out there today.  All is mercurial and one can never quite get settled in.  Forget the days of flowers and beads, Veracrash's version of psychedelia will have the listener grasping for the wooden stakes and pitchforks.

I don't know whether I want to call the songwriting on 'My Brother The Godhead' a virtuosic performance or a schitzophrenic one, so I'll just say the album makes a very strong impression.  In its purest form the psychedelic music genre takes the listener on a trip and that's the least of what Veracrash do here.  For the most part they seem to do away with song structure altogether, establishing strong verse / chorus openers, then abandoning them altogether as they discover new paths along the way and with a shrug, guide the listener haphazardly off the beaten trails.  It's an unlicensed guided tour through every underground hard rock and metal genre you can name that embraces the use of the fuzzbox.  In the end, somewhere beneath all the noise and beauty and brutality is a strong identity and taken as a whole, it's a solid album that cruises along nicely, albeit bumpily.

Highlights include: "Kali Maa" and "Lucy, Lucifer"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 39:14

From: Milan, Italy

Genre: Rock, Psychedelic, Metal, Desert Rock, Stoner

Reminds me of: Black Space Riders, From Beyond, Ozzy Osbourne

Release Date: December 12, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: All is eerily quiet.  So silent you can hear the rush of blood in your own ears.  The sound of hurriedly shuffling footsteps pipes in from the other end of the tunnel.  You do a quick shoulder check then decide you don't want to know what's coming behind you.  You walk, hurriedly, bouncingly and your gait turns into a gallop.  There's light ahead at the end of the tunnel and a warm sense of welcoming feelings awaits on the other side. That's when the paranoia floods your system, jacked up on doubt and second guesses.  Beware the deceiver.  You stop.  You turn.  You stand your ground.  You start towards the footsteps and decide it's time to face your invisible tormentor.

Monday, 14 January 2013

SautruS - Kuelmaggah Mysticism: The Prologue (album review)

One of the many lessons I learned in 2012 was to pay close and particular attention to the Polish underground stoner/doom scene.  With bands like Snake Thursday, O.D.R.A, Dopelord and Satellite Beaver destroying ear drums the country's underground scene is very healthy.  SautruS follow in the wake of these great bands and set their own path.  Their four song EP showcases the band's heavy brand of progressive stoner rock that is far reaching and monumental.

"Seed" is a grunge rock by way of the desert slow cooker in which vocalist Weno Winter's Maynard-esque vocals provide the song and much of the four song EP with a Tool-like feel.  The musicians in the band (Michal Nowak - guitar, Adrian Formela - bass and Arek Bogulski - drums) do their fair share of lending the songs that epic feeling as well with psychedelic explorations and swirling sandstorm desert rock atmospherics.  Descending riffs, softly marching drums, bludgeoning syncopation and casually sung yet highly talented double tracked vocals create a strong identity for the quartet, showing great promise.  The second track is made up of two sections, "The Blackest Hole / Black Hole".  "The Blackest Hole" sets things in motion with percussive atmospherics, droney vibes and slithering whispers spilled out from beyond the veil of reality.  Halfway through the band gives the listener a glimpse of what's on the other side of the black hole, emerging into a slowly rotating tubular red world as they launch into the menacing riff of "Black Hole".  The restraint shown by the band's propensity to slow things down lends the song a slow-driving and doomy gravitas that the band wears well.  Slicing throbby riffs and an evil drone lead the listener through the other end of the tunnel onto the deck of a bobbing sailboat in coldest space as the mood spills over onto what is ostensibly the title cut "Kuelmaggah Part 1" which is even slower and doomier.

Buzzsaw doom and stuttering syncopation combine with a grunge feel and desert rock moments to create a mini-opera of the evil Captain Robin Goodfellow's Adventures in Outer Space as steampunk space opera feelings pervade this track.  Voices drone and drift across the void.  Once again, Weno takes center stage, the band serving to frame him perfectly, never overshadowing his performance, letting the riffs rings out during his verses, building up during the short breaks between lines.  It's a wise decision to make and I think they know what kind of a talent they have in him.  Weno continues that Maynard feel on closing track "Motheria", without being a clonish copy.  It's a mournful tune sung with a deep yearning or regret.  It's the most somber and reflective song of the bunch.  Though I'd wager the doomier songs have a lower BPM rate, the overall mood makes this song feel like the slowest on the album.  SautruS is a rare band, not unlike Tool or even Pink Floyd that can gain strength, power and momentum by slowing down.  It's contrary to science but somehow they get it done.

There's no doubt that the major draw here is Weno Winter.  His voice is the star of the show and dominates the four songs and with a subtle assist from his bandmates provides much of what makes this EP memorable.  This band is less about catchy riffs and more about creating damp gas-lit atmospheres and they are blessed with a vocalist to match their sobering moods.

The EP's title 'Kuelmaggah Mysticism: The Prologue' is hopefully a sign of things to come, if this is truly a prologue then a full-length album of this kind of material could be something truly special.  I think a lot about time and though 24 minutes is a healthy length for a four song EP and the songs certainly feel like complete statements that take the listener, here and there, without having to go absolutely everywhere all at once to get the point across, overall it goes by in a flash, as time is wont to do when one is enjoying oneself.

Highlights include: "Seed" and "Motheria"

Rating: 4/5
Total Run Time: 24:09

From: Starogard Gdański, Poland

Genre: Stoner Rock, Metal, Blues, Prog, Grunge

Reminds me of: Cube, DSWFrom Beyond, Tool, Year of the Goat

Release Date: October 3, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: The great wooden ship bobbed up and down on the stellar wind, cleaving radiation and deflecting meteorites.  The captain folded his telescope and stuffed it into his inner coat pocket and said "Three sheets up, men.  Been seven hundred years with no word of communication but by Poseidon's beard we're almost home now."  As the crew busied themselves with their various tasks, longing eyes glancing over drooped shoulders, they felt the desolation in their captain's voice.  Ahead of the ship, the red and grey orb expanded before their eyes like the approaching probe of some cold and unsympathetic alien race.  Earth was in flames.
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