A look at what came in the mail this week, featuring links, product descriptions and mini-reviews, featuring ...
BLACK SPACE RIDERS - Demonic Death Judge - DRYASDUST - Enos - HELL PREACHERS INC - Mamont - OWL - Routes - VIOLET MAGICK - A Very Old Ghost Behind The Farm - WHEELFALL
BLACK SPACE RIDERS - LIGHT IS THE NEW BLACK (2012)
"Songs about luminaries, black holes, hope and loss in outer space". According to my gmail, I ordered this one Christmas day so it didn't take too long at all in getting here, something like eight business days, it came all the way from Germany, so that's not too bad a timeframe. I ordered it from the band's bandcamp page for 12 euros. This is their second album. I haven't heard their self-titled first album from 2010, but it looks much the same: 13 songs with song titles that suggest the band have always liked to write suites rather than stand-alone songs. 'Light is the New Black' is an hour long collection of 13 tracks featuring the "exodus" and "the hole" suites. These 'suites' as I like to call them are broken up into regular length songs and are spread throughout the album but are unified in theme and tell a slightly larger story. The album is also broken up into four sides, which makes perfect sense for the album's double vinyl release, but here simply makes for an interesting curiosity. The four sides are titled "Light Side", "Bright Side", "White Side" and "Night Side". Generally speaking, the music is thick toned guitar and funky thumping rhythm in the heavy psych / space rock / stoner genres. At times the tone / mood / vibe / performance recalls Tom Waits, or his precursor the Sensational Alex Harvey, at other times the band kicks up a middle eastern dust cloud and still at other times the band veers High on Fire-wise. There's a great deal of musical variety and the band has no shortage of sides and no shortage of great ideas. The CD itself is a digipack with incredibly detailed liner notes describing who played what for every song, and no it's not just the same four guys credited for the same four things on every track. All told, a nice package.
Highlights include "Digging Down" and "Startrooper".
DEMONIC DEATH JUDGE - SKYGODS (2012)
It was inevitable that I would one day pick this CD up. The only reason I hadn't already was because I wasn't aware that it existed. I ordered this CD from the All That Is Heavy webstore and it ran to about 17 bucks, maybe a bit pricey for some, but the music on this disc is worth every penny. Psychedelic sludge metal with an emphasis on the psychedelic that makes a nice musical companion to Ichabod's brilliant 'Dreamscapes From Dead Space' album. This CD came out on Inverse records which is a Finnish distribution label. You can pick up this CD on their website as well. The CD is a fairly basic package with some expanded artwork and comes with the lyrics so you can read along if you can't understand the words. I've said elsewhere that the music is "Very much in the Dopethrone mold of just tossing off the grooviest riffs you'll ever hear as casually and as naturally as breathing, but throw in a Pink Floyd sensibility and you've gone from the head numbing to the mind expanding. Very addictive stuff". As for a more detailed description of the music, you can read my full-size review. I thought it was my first halfway decent review, personally. For a quick preview of the album, you can travel along to Demonic Death Judge's bandcamp page. This is their second full-length album and I keep meaning to pick up their debut but haven't yet, for shame. "Salomontaari" is currently burning up the doom charts.
Highlights include "Skygods" and "Salomontaari".
DRYASDUST - ST DEMO (2012)
My Dryasdust CD came in the mail on Thursday, I wasn't expecting so much stuff to come in this week, but the music kept flooding in. It think it was because of the holidays backing the postal services up a bit for the past couple weeks. I recently reviewed this one so I don't feel the need to go too in depth about the music other than to say it's darker edged, verging on folky classic rock and stoner from Finland. It's a five song EP in a basic cardboard sleeve with the song titles and the band's gmail address on the back. This baby cost me a mere 5 euros on their bandcamp, which was a small price to pay for the band's landmark debut release. This digital download is "name your price" so you can go ahead and grab it for free if you'd like. I would recommend you at least check them out.
Highlights include "Evil Hearted" and "Deep Waters".
ENOS - ALL TOO HUMAN (2012)
Brighton, UK's Enos take the listener on a spaceborne trip to the softer side of stoner rock. Actually the band themselves like to say they "play psychedelic rock with nods to doom and stoner", so who am I to argue? This is their sophomore release and the band seemed highly regarded even if I'd never heard them before. The band take their name from a space chimp. To read the story check out the band's bio on their facebook. After a quick preview on the Stargun music label bandcamp page I decided to buy the CD. At 8 pounds it was only one pound more to buy the CD than the digital download. When bands and labels give me no choice, they give me no choice. Of course I was going to grab the CD. The cover art is fantastic and was painted by Alexander von Wieding, he the brains behind the Small Stone Record label signed band Larman Clamor and illustrator of countless Small Stone record covers, with Wo Fat's 'The Black Code' and Mangoo's 'Neverland' among the best. This album cover tops them all.
Highlights include "All Too Human" and "Another Solution".
HELL PREACHERS INC. - SUPREME PSYCHEDELIC UNDERGROUND (1968)
This psychedelic exploitation album was long rumored to be the undercover work of Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice and Jon Lord of Deep Purple but is almost certainly not. It was probably the work of studio musicians from Europe. This LP was originally released only in the UK and Germany but has since taken on cult status, most likely due to the long standing rumors of the disc's authorship, probably perpetuated by an individual or two who were looking to sell original copies at a much inflated price. That's my own personal speculation here, so make of it what you will. The music is not as supremely psychedelic or underground as the title would have you believe. It's less of a 'floating on an electric cloud' kind of late 60s psych than loose, sweaty, roadhouse blues jamming with psych touches, mostly of the cliched variety, but there are some really nice hard rockin' moments and it's mostly instrumental. I'd actually forgotten all about this album until I saw it on the Record Heaven website and just had to give it the green light, because despite the music not being so incredibly amazing in places, it's still a kind of sloppy favorite of mine from the original psychedelic era. The liner notes basically go over what I just have and are about as long, there are no production or performance credits. The B-movie of psychedelic rock.
Highlights include "Time Race 1" and "Spy In Space".
MAMONT - PASSING THROUGH THE MASTERY DOOR (2012)
Mamont - Passing Through the Mastery Door - I reviewed this one a long time ago and I'm still listening to it. There something that I can't put my finger on that somehow ties this album to two other Swedish albums that came out in the latter half of 2012, those being Molior Superum's 'Into the Sun' and Three Seasons' 'Understand the World'. Each of these three albums get better every time I listen to them. 'Passing Through the Mastery Door' was on my to buy list for quite some time before I actually pulled the trigger on the deal. I picked it up off the Ozium Records website for 119 Swedish Kroners and it came in a single panel digipack with no booklet and some basic production and performance credits on the inside front cover. Once again, this is psychedelic music with heavy as a real life Woolly Mammoth stomping rhythms and a guitar tone about as fuzzy.
Highlights include "The Secret of the Owl" and "Satans Fasoner".
OWL - FIRST ALBUM (2012)
I ordered this one November 7 and after two months it finally arrived. As I said in last week's Mailbag, I'm not really a vinyl kind of guy but I had no choice but to pick up the LP if I wanted to listen to the album. I remember it so clearly. I saw the Hornss "Red Death" video on Youtube and promptly shuffled over to their bandcamp page to pick it up for myself. They recommended Owl, so I gave it a listen and I knew right then and there that I could probably live without 'First Album' in my ears, but it wouldn't be much of a life. Hard rock that borders on punk at times and psychedelic at others, quite a balancing act but this Oakland four-piece pull it off well. After that it wasn't really much of a choice. If I wanted the download, I would have to incur the vinyl that went along with it. Well, it was only 10 bucks, not bad for an LP, really. The package itself is the tour edition limited to 300 copies and it comes in a plastic sleeve, the red Owl logo you see on the cover is actually a sticker on the sleeve and not on the cover itself. The cover is two panels of folded card stock that hold the thing together. The liner notes are really cool, with this band review from Revolt of the Apes printed inside and the lyrics with accompanying drawings and production details. The whole thing has a real nice homemade feel and I'm happy to have this unique package sit next to my Color Out of Space EP. They also threw in some nice stickers. I should really set up my printer so I can scan some of these things ...
Highlights include "Medicine Mirror" and "Glaurung".
ROUTES - LAND OF HOLY DOPE (2012)
I don't remember where I heard about this band and I may be a year late but I'm glad I didn't miss them entirely. This is actually their second full-length album but it's the only thing on their bandcamp page for now. The album is only available for streaming on bandcamp for now, but after hearing it there, I went over to the CTS Productions page and picked up the CD for just 8 euros. Not too shabby. These guys started out playing Sepultura and Slipknot-like stuff, but soon discovered Kyuss, Monster Magnet and Saint Vitus and the rest is history. Like a lot of awesome Greek stoner rock bands Routes are definitely influenced by Kyuss and Monster Magnet but their newly acquired fifth member, that being the noise generating Tasos, bellows a strong gust of Hawkwind atop the massive stoner grooves. The CD booklet is glossy and the artwork is very professionally done but it's obviously homemade. The paper is neither formatted to perfect size nor is it even folded accurately. These sound like criticisms. They aren't. I for one have no problem with a DIY ethic. The booklet and artwork creates the impression that the band and their associates put a lot of thought into this project. For example, the lyrics are reproduced here, but what to do for the instrumental, "Purple Coyote"? Put a graphic of a purple coyote where the lyrics would be, of course.
Highlights include "Marijuane and the Kingdom Comes" and "Tractorcat".
VIOLET MAGICK - VIOLET DEMO (2012)
Impious Desecration website and the whole thing cost me under 6 euros after shipping & handling, which is pretty cheap, which was always another plus one in the tapes column, they were always cheaper. Not to mention they were never as popular so there would always be at least one copy of an obscure album kicking around on cassette long after the CD had sold out. Anyway, Impious Desecration have all kinds of tapes, literally hundred, check it out. Another great feature of the cassette tape package is the booklet, because the booklet in a rectangular tape case replicates the book format, so each fold of the booklet is like the page of a really awesome book. Violet Magick has printed the lyrics to the three originals from Side A of this tape and they're easy to read, even though they're small, because they are printed in a different, clearer font than all the other text which you can see on the cover art. Side B consists of a pair of Death SS covers. All that being said, without a cassette player right now, the cassette tape is nothing but a luxury item. Something to look at and feel old feelings long lost. It's pretty much time to go shopping for a new stereo.
Highlights include "The Oath" and "The Ethereal Path".
A VERY OLD GHOST BEHIND THE FARM - PRIMARY SEPTAGON (2010)
I discovered this album on bandcamp quite a while ago. I saw the band name and the album cover in a tag search and just had to give it a spin. They play "Doomed Sludge Rock From The Land Of Total Fear". It quickly became a favorite. So with the release of the band's split with fellow French stoner doomers Wheelfall, I decided to commemorate the occasion and complete my Very Old Ghost collection by messaging the band on facebook to buy a copy. The band and I had one hell of a time tracking one down, but we finally found one at Ocinatas Industries, for 11 euros with shipping & handling. Nico, the guy at Ocinatas, was nice enough to send me a free 'Draft Punk' EP by Think Kastendeuch as well. Very cool. The 'Primary Septagon' CD comes in a stripped down folded cardboard cover with a tarot card for every song featuring amazing art by the same artist who did the cover. These "seven stories from the land of total fear" can still be downloaded for whatever price you want to pay on their bandcamp page.
Highlights include "Bareste" and "A Possessed Man".
WHEELFALL / A VERY OLD GHOST BEHIND THE FARM SPLIT (2012)
I recently reviewed this one, so check that out for a reasonably in depth look at the music on this disc. To me, this split is kind of a big deal, one band is a favorite of mine that hadn't released anything in two years, the other a band I didn't dislike, but hadn't really gotten to know, that had a lot of people with good taste singing their praises, so I ordered it the day it came out. 9 euros on bandcamp, which isn't too bad for what it is, a major release (if you ask me). It's also available for a measly stinking 1 euro for a digital download, which is well more than worth the price. The CD package is pretty straightforward, basic production and performance credits, there's a little back cover cemetery scene art which is nice.
Highlights include "Hangman's Laugh" and "Navigating on the Seas of Dementia".