Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Alchemical Mixture - Mammoth Salmon (album reviews)


Cover Artwork by Ryan Redman at Ratart.
Highlights include: "Hypnotic Transference" and "Self Induced"
From: Portland, Orgeon.  Rating: 4/5

Portland, Oregon is a treasure trove of great bands with Red Fang, Snail, Crag Dweller and Bison Bison being among the best.  So when a new band shambles onto the scene expectations are sometimes skewed.  Either too high or too low.  Portland is a cool place.  Maybe the nicest American city I've been to.  It all feels very clean and new and there's definitely a creative electricity in the air.  To the town's credit, it has replaced New York as the mecca for comics artists and writers.  It's a place where things are happening, a mix of young and old with what is quickly forging into a strong identity of vigor, humor ... and an underlying din of noisome clamor.

Mammoth Salmon step outside of their local paradigm to create a lumbering, earnest and threatening attack full of thunder with none of the tongue-in-cheek upside down frowns of their neighbors.  Their three track introductory EP was recently released as a "Name Your Price" digital download on bandcamp.

Opening track "Narcotic Delirium" is an instrumental which showcases the band's basic approach, an introduction that boils down their overall sound.  It's three and a half minutes are so packed with bottomed-out swagger it's amazing the duo can stay upright while playing it.  There's an impressive amount of noise here for just two dudes, creating a tremendous amount of volume, enough to make one realize that two men working together can accomplish plenty.  Of course, I've an inkling that some overdubbing has taken place, not that there's anything wrong with that.  Still, Paul Dudziak (guitar, vocal, bass duties) and Mitch Meidinger (drums) raise the dead with these three songs.

"Self Induced" introduces vocals into the mix.  They are of the chest beating variety, clean and muscular, forcefully shouted and sound as though recorded on a rain soaked battle field.  "Hypnotic Transference" is wah-blistered funk, every bit as head-noddingly hypnotic as the title suggests..  Now we have a fuller and more accurate picture of the Mammoth Salmon sound.  The very name of the band conjures accurate pictures of the sounds they produce.  Massive and monstrous, imposing slow riffs on an unsuspecting populace with wafts of fishy funk dripping with dumpster juice and maybe a little fresh blood.  It's not the most substantial release in terms of length and girth, at 13 minutes it's the soundtrack to a coffee break, but it should whet appetites for fans of downtuned, crushing, bottomed-out jams.


Highlights include: "Magnetic Fields of Radiant Light" and 
"Nothing Follows".  From: Portland, Orgeon.  Rating: 4/5

So what do these two fellas do for an encore?  Why, they simply release a brand new EP.  On the surface it all, quite literally, looks the same.  Same art, same number of songs, similar length, etc.  But this short record is more remarkable for the differences to its predecessor than it's similarities, which admittedly are only made more apparent by the surface similarities.

On "Nothing Follows", the opening statement of 'Internet EP 2' the heavy as lead balloons tone is dampened slightly, allowing the guitar to feel the breeze in a little bit lighter environment.  The aggression factor is also downplayed in measured doses.  The mirth factor seems to have increased proportionally as well with a more sing-songy approach to the vocal melodies.

In some ways 'EP 2' is a more experimental effort.  Even though it's difficult to say anything definitive about releases this short ('EP 2' is 16 minutes long compared to 'EP 1's 13 minutes length), the willingness to change some things up and toy around with texture and atmosphere becomes crystal clear as a motivating factor on closing track "Magnetic Fields of Radiant Light". Instead of simply sticking to a strict one guitar, one amp, one guitarist, one tone, one sound approach across these two EPs and six songs, Dudziak changes things up.  Perhaps it's that the bass isn't as prevalent here, it's hard to say.  "Magnetic Fields" is the spiritual cousin to "Hypnotic Transference" from the first EP, while "Green Lung"s cliffside chest-beating stance fits perfectly within the oeuvre.

I'm going to hazard a guess right now and say this duo's next, 'EP 3' should be coming on or around June 21.  It's probably just a coincidence, but their debut came on last year's winter solstice while this one came the day after the vernal equinox.  But if I were a betting man, I'd put a fiver down on the table that their next release will only see the band grow further and further into their heavy as a sack of nails in the face sound, dipping into ever more deepening pools of psychedelia along the way.  For now however, there's half an hour's worth of big, lumbering, foul-smelling fuzz with plenty of meat on its bones for you to dig into.  And it's  all available at a price that you get to name.


Genre: Stoner, Doom, Experimental

Reminds me of: March The Desert, Sleep, Zosimos

Release Date: December 21, 2012 (EP 1), March 21, 2013 (EP 2)

Mammoth Salmon facebook

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Hour of Power 03/30/13 (playlist)

  1. U Turn (The Quartet of Woah! / Ultrabomb) 2013 - Brand New Video!
  2. Stonehill Universe (Mamont / Passing Through The Mastery Door) 2012 - Brand New Video!
  3. Tower of Silence (Cathedral / The Last Spire) 2013 - Brand New Video!
  4. Polygon of Eyes (Scorpion Child) 2013 - Brand New Video!
  5. All Returns (Wolf People) 2013 - Brand New Video! [Thanks to The Soda Shop for this one.  Those harmonies are right out of the mid-sixties!]
  6. Valley of the Sun Indiegogo campaign 2013
  7. Void Traveler (The Scimitar) 2013 [First brand new sounds from brand new band The Scimitar featuring two thirds of Black Pyramid!]
  8. Aphelion (Black Pyramid / split single w/ Odyssey) 2012
  9. Black Sun (Kadavar / ST) 2012 [New fan video I found earlier today.  Somehow it's absolutely enthralling.]
  10. Lucid (Mount Salem / Endless) 2013
  11. [DEVENTY] A Slow & Heavy Ride (Iron Hearse / Get In The Hearse) 2013 [Deventy cover]

Doom Charts for 03/30/13

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. Circle of Serpents (Year of the Goat / Angels' Necropolis)
  2. MrWeasley (Spacefog / Purple Void)
  3. Desert Sun (The Shooters / Planet of the Black Sun)
  4. Baptized (Stonebringer / Ocean of the Brave)
  5. Bring Down The Rain (Sideburn / IV Monument)
  6. The Bearded Fool (Old Man Wizard / ???)
  7. Green Shade ... Bright Interlude (Green Shade/ ..Bright Interlude)
  8. Belladonna Wreath (Aleph Null / Belladonna EP)
  9. Hacia El 6to Sol (DemonAuta / Caminando En La Luna)
  10. Submissive To Evil (Vestal Claret / Bloodbath)
  11. Gotta Have It (Crag Dweller / Magic Dust)
  12. The Great Escape Of The Giant Stone Man (Void of Sleep / Tales Between Reality & Madness)
  13. Hypocrite Christ (Stone Machine Electric / ST)
  14. The Soul's Midnight (Ice Dragon / The Soul's Midnight EP)
  15. Damn Good (Palm Desert / Rotten Village Sessions)*
  16. Lucy Lucifer (Veracrash / My Brother The Godhead)*
  17. Deep Waters (Dryasdust / ST Demo)
  18. Mind (The Heavy Eyes / Maera)
  19. Worship The Devil (Glitter Wizard / Hunting Gatherers)
  20. Let The End Begin (Ancient VVisdom / Deathlike)
  21. No Good (Hound / Spirits Are Appearing)
  22. Don't Play With Guns (The Black Angels / Indigo Meadow)
  23. Karmageddon (Low Torque / ST)
  24. Horse (White Bone Rattle / Creature of Curiosity)
  25. Your Armageddon (Manlord / ST)
* New Song

Outgoing songs:
Run The Night (Salem's Pot / ST cassette)
Enslaved In The Icy Tundra (Desert Storm)

Top 25 Albums
#). artist - album title
  1. Sideburn - IV Monument
  2. Spacefog - Purple Void
  3. March The Desert - ST
  4. Green Shade ... Bright Interlude
  5. Neon Warship - ST
  6. Crag Dweller - Magic Dust
  7. DemonAuta - Caminando en la Luna EP
  8. Palm Desert - Rotten Village Sessions
  9. Blizaro - Blak Majicians
  10. Aleph Null - Belladonna EP
  11. Egypt - Become the Sun
  12. Various Artists - Chilean Fuzz Comp.
  13. Weed Priest - ST
  14. Bretus - In Onirica
  15. Year of the Goat - Angels' Necropolis
  16. Iron Hearse - Get In The Hearse
  17. Gozu - The Fury of a Patient Man
  18. Wheelfall - Interzone
  19. Devil - Gather The Sinners
  20. Dryasdust - ST Demo
  21. Abysmal Grief - Feretri
  22. Tentacle - Ingot Eye
  23. Deep Space Destructors - II
  24. Gates of Slumber - Stormcrow EP
  25. Mount Salem - Endless EP

Iron Hearse - Get In The Hearse (album review)

Cover artwork by By Man Came Death Designs
From the same English county that brought you Stonehenge comes a new legend.  It's a three headed, twelve limbed monster that rolls on four wheels.  It is a vessel to carry and transport the dead and it plays rock n roll.  Ladies and gentlemen behold, the Iron Hearse.

Get in the hearse, passenger-side and buckle up.  It may be a slow and heavy ride but this vehicle does not observe traffic law.  It remains doubtful hearse-riding doom rock "Baptized in wolf's piss" ever would.  "Wolf Clergy" kicks up a cloud of cadaver dust with cowbell, subject matter culled from hoary old horror tropes and fuzzy riffs.  It's about as perfect an introduction as possible, quick, to the point and full of what the band has in mind and in store on 'Get In The Hearse'.

The anthemic "A Slow & Heavy Ride" rolls down a blood red carpet on streets paved with bones.  Riff-tacular hookiness is locked in with slow grooviness, creating one of the best songs of the young year.  Double tracked harmonies, dynamic bridge-work and an ass-shredding solo kick things off to whole new levels.  "Vessel of Astaroth" ups the ante again, this time with emphasis on the horror tinged lyrics and catchy vocals, not to mention the chunking riff which slices, dices and sideswipes, knocking rearview mirrors off of the most skeptical of listeners.

Get in the back of the hearse for the second half of the disc and this is right where the band wants you.  The ironically titled "Ain't No New Thing" was given a try out back on 2004's 'Ruins Of Doom' Demo [listen here].  New life is breathed into the song by throwing the spotlight on Liam's bass and a better recorded vocal.  And in a way, isn't that what's incredible about the subgenre of doom metal that a song roughly ten years old sounds just as fresh as anything else to come out, not only on this record but anywhere in music this year.  You'd never guess the song's vintage without knowing.

"Black Sermon" is maybe the doomiest thing going, slow bangin' combustible riff dressed all in black, it cuts a striking figure when the band pulls out all the stops and put the pedal to the metal towards the close, ending up in the chains and switchblades rumble at a nuclear power plant for the incredibly catchy "The Ultimate Atomic Man", which closes the affair, leaving a lasting impression.

We learn here that slow is a relative term.  The ride may be slow and heavy but it's anything but leisurely.  Once the listener gets in the hearse, the band dons their lead boots, gets a-rolling and doesn't stop.  Initially the listener was dragged into the back of the hearse kicking and screaming, but in the end the band is thanked for their effort and the listener won't ever want to come out the back of the hearse again, nor will he be able to.

Each and every song on this things kicks ass, I don't think this band is out to win any awards or break any records, just to play some heavy rock and maybe take a few heads along the way.  Well, that's just what they accomplish here.  'Get In The Hearse' is only the band's second full-length album since forming in 2001, but this album may be a springboard to greater more frequent activity as the band is already busy at work on a follow-up, tentatively titled 'Chromehenge'.  This is a development that is supported wholeheartedly here at PH HQ.  Here we are, a mere 25 per cent into 2013 and I am already willing to predict 'Get In The Hearse' will rank fairly high in the year end festivities on this blog.  "The hearse ... a classic experience".

Highlights include: "A Slow & Heavy Ride" and "The Ultimate Atomic Man"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 31:43

Grant Powell - Guitar,Vocals
Liam Khan - Bass
Kev Sibley - Drums

From: Wiltshire, England

Genre: Biker Doom, Hard Rock

Reminds me of: The Gentlemen Bastards, Saint Vitus, S.I.M.B.

Release Date: March 1, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Black smoke spewing bikers, dressed in heavy riffs bring silver bullets to a nuclear power plant rumble.

Better Reviews:
The Robust Fellow
Ride With the Devil

Iron Hearse facebook

Friday, 29 March 2013

Diesel King - The Grey Man (album review)

Diesel King has made quite a name for themselves in the UK metal underground appearing on the 'Sons of Sabbath' free CD sampler that came with the Metal Hammer Sabbath tribute issue last year.  That was my first exposure to the band.  Their EP 'The Ancient And The Nameless' was loaded with muscular riffs, headbangin' rhythms and received rave reviews from many in the underground sludge review press.  Five songs and 25 minutes of satisfaction it left a strong and violent indent on folks around the world.

Fortunately, the world didn't have long to wait for the return of the king.  'The Grey Man', Diesel King's second and latest EP is a scabrous blast that combines great riffs and groove with heavy metal extremity.  The force of this blast will definitely tear the listener a new one.  Consider this fair warning.

'The Grey Man' unleashes the band's power grooves in full force, the scope of the band's abilities of which were only hinted at on their first offering.  The new one literally picks up right where the last one left off with ringing distortion and the pounding ferocity of the last bit of "Toumai" leading into opening track "Battered Hag".  Straight off the listener will notice that extremity levels have been ramped up across the board, from the pissed off growling vocals to the slab-like riffs that sway dangerously overhead to the cyclopean power grooves which define this release, 'The Great Man' unleashes heaviness that is measured in the tonnes.

Diesel King dust off their sandblaster and get to work on peeling the faces off listeners on the EP's title track, "The Grey Man".  Mark O'Regan gusts blistering vocals with hurricane force propelled by the juggernaut behind him.  "Immurement" is a form of execution which involves walling up the victim, as in E.A. Poe's classic The Black Cat.  Punishing waves of heavy metal groove lays brick and mortar around the listener.  After immuring the listener, "Bind Torture Kill" kicks down the bricks and just buries the listener in the rubble.  Rest in peace.

'The Grey Man' is a headbanging tour de force.  The digital download on bandcamp costs 3 pounds and comes with a free air drum kit that magically appears in front of you while listening.  It's a good thing it's included because you're going to need it.  Bill Jacobs (drummer in Diesel King) knows his grooves, knows how to get the crowd headbanging and swaying.  You know when the guitar and drum interplay is so full of catchy and powerful funk that it almost sounds dangerous?  Like it's going to set off a riot at any minute?  Those are the waters that Diesel King navigates.  Someone's going to get hurt here, there's no question.  If I were some king of overly cautious control freaks I'd see too it there was a law against this band.

Highlights include: "The Grey Man" and "Immurement"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 31:10

Mark O’Regan - Vocals
Geoff Foden - Guitar
Aled ‘Danger’ Marc - Guitar
Bill Jacobs - Drums
Will Wichanski - Bass

From: London, England

Genre: Sludge, Groove Metal

Reminds me of: Crowbar, Down, Pantera, Pitch Black Forecast

Release Date: March 4, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: At t-plus 5 minutes, enter the blast crater and begin to lay masonry all around you.

Better Reviews:
Temple of Perdition

Diesel King official website
Diesel King facebook

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Gates of Slumber - Stormcrow EP (album review)

Cover artwork by Dave Quiggle.
There are few names more trusted in the field of Doom than The Gates of Slumber.  With only some twenty months having passed since the release of their monumental 'The Wretch' album, much of the landscape has changed.  Some high profile bands have moved away from strict, traditional doom as a go-to sound and opted for a more heavy metal approach (Egypt), while others have broken up (Hour of 13), re-formed (Palace in Thunderland), returned (Corrosion of Conformity, Saint Vitus) and founded new bands (The Scimitar).  Others still have veered off into strange and challenging territory, but one constant has remained: The Gates of Slumber.

After 15 years of swinging axes and splitting skulls, it's safe to say that The Gates of Slumber are a veteran, capable band.  This maturity is obvious from the first minute of opening track "Death March" (see video below).  They are a band in complete control of their compositions, where 'The Wretch' saw a band exploring longer compositions concentrating in some parts on low end atmospherics and prolonged mood swings, 'Stormcrow' boils their essence down to five digestible songs without having to sacrifice atmosphere.

This band knows their stuff.  'Stormcrow' is an (abridged) encyclopedia of riffs, a (short) blue book for doom mechanics.  Beserker adrenaline rushes are followed by bone-tired battle-weariness in an endless cycle of survivalism.  All five tracks here are full up with seething, sneering riffs, leering, slithering basslines and powerhouse drumming.  The drumming may be the difference here as 'Stormcrow' hails the return of 'Iron' Bob Fouts to the fold after a couple years' absence.  There was nothing wrong with J. Clyde Paradis' drumming on 'The Wretch', but one gets the feeling that Karl Simon and Jason McCash were energized by the return of Fouts and the completion of the band's classic lineup.

On a side note, one thing that I really love about metal is the EP format.  Nowhere else in music can bands, musicians or paid lip-syncing faces get away with this.  Too short to be an album, too long to be a single, it's neither here nor there.  It's not really a respected or well-traveled format in any other genre of music outside of metal.  But it's a way for bands to stay in touch, to let the listeners know that they care and to say soothingly, "sshh-sh-sh, don't worry, we're still crushing skulls."  This is the band's fifth EP and 17th release in total since the time they were a one-man band (Simon) back in 2000.  Thanks to the EP format, Gates of Slumber are always crushing skulls.  They have returned once again to lay waste to eardrums and to plant the flag of doom deep atop the hill of battle.

Welcome to air guitar city, 'Stormcrow' is infused with energy and action, keeping the more pronounced somber moods of 'The Wretch' to the realm of post-battle reflection.  I would recommend this EP to metalheads who don't ordinarily go for Doom but are Doom-curious.

Highlights include: "Son of Hades" and "Death March"

Rating: 5/5

1). Death March (5:50)
2). [Devil's Grip] - Driven Insane (5:36)
3). Son of Hades (6:12)
4). Dragon Caravan (5:06)
5). Of That Which Can Never Be (7:56)
Total Run Time: 30:38

Karl Simon (Guitars, Vocals)
Jason McCash (Bass)
'Iron' Bob Fouts (Drums)

From: Indianapolis, Indiana

Genre: Doom

Reminds me of: Corrosion of Conformity, Egypt, Saint Vitus

Release Date: January 29, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Cross the time-worn raider infested canyon with battleaxe in hand, taking heads.

Better Reviews:
Dr. Doom's Lair
Last Rites
Temple of Perdition
Perkele in Italian

Crows n Bones interview

Gates of Slumber official website
Gates of Slumber on facebook

The EP itself has its own facebook page ... no joke.


Doom Charts for 03/27/13

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. Circle of Serpents (Year of the Goat / Angels' Necropolis)
  2. Run The Night (Salem's Pot / ST cassette)
  3. MrWeasley (Spacefog / Purple Void)
  4. Bring Down The Rain (Sideburn / IV Monument)
  5. Submissive To Evil (Vestal Claret / Bloodbath)
  6. Hypocrite Christ (Stone Machine Electric / ST)
  7. The Soul's Midnight (Ice Dragon / The Soul's Midnight EP)
  8. Enslaved In The Icy Tundra (Desert Storm)
  9. The Bearded Fool (Old Man Wizard / ???)
  10. Desert Sun (The Shooters / Planet of the Black Sun)
  11. Green Shade ... Bright Interlude (Green Shade/ ..Bright Interlude)
  12. Deep Waters (Dryasdust / ST Demo)
  13. Baptized (Stonebringer / Ocean of the Brave)
  14. Belladonna Wreath (Aleph Null / Belladonna EP)
  15. Hacia El 6to Sol (DemonAuta / Caminando En La Luna)*
  16. Gotta Have It (Crag Dweller / Magic Dust)*
  17. The Great Escape Of The Giant Stone Man (Void of Sleep / Tales Between Reality & Madness)*
  18. Mind (The Heavy Eyes / Maera)
  19. Worship The Devil (Glitter Wizard / Hunting Gatherers)
  20. Let The End Begin (Ancient VVisdom / Deathlike)
  21. Don't Play With Guns (The Black Angels / Indigo Meadow)
  22. No Good (Hound / Spirits Are Appearing)
  23. Karmageddon (Low Torque / ST)
  24. Horse (White Bone Rattle / Creature of Curiosity)
  25. Your Armageddon (Manlord / ST)
* New Song

Outgoing songs:
One (Torso / Inside EP)
Rollin' (Motherslug / ST)
Hypnotic Overdrive Machine (Necronomicon / The Queen of Death)

Beastwars offer free download from Blood Becomes Fire (News)

Beastwars are proud to offer the free download of "Caul of Time" from their critically acclaimed new album Blood Becomes Fire.

Due for release April 19, Blood Becomes Fire is gathering rave reviews and is already being heralded as one of the best metal records of 2013.
"Caul of Time" is available now for free download from

"If you miss the earlier heavier days of Mastodon and Baroness then let me introduce you to your favorite new band. It is a contender for one of the best albums of 2013."

"Blood Becomes Fire is one of 2013′s best albums to date. I have no doubt that I’ll still be saying that come December."
No Clean Singing

"Blood Becomes Fire goes beyond being one of the best metal albums I’ve heard of late – it’s some of the most refreshing and honest music I’ve heard in some time."
The Bone Reader

"Blood Becomes Fire is an awesome slab of sludge that ultimately transcends genre boundaries and places Beastwars firmly on top of the heavy metal’s one of the all-round best metal albums I’ve heard so far in 2013."
That's How Kids Die

"Blood Becomes Fire is nasty, nasty, nasty. It’s nasty when it’s quiet and it’s nasty when it’s loud... you’re like, “Damn that’s nasty".(They have) upped their game even from 2011′s self-titled debut and for anyone who heard that record, you know that’s saying something."
The Obelisk

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Chilean Fuzz Compilation (album review)

Cover artwork by Christian Spencer (Barbara & Los Rotos Del Rock)
I've never been to Chile, nor do I know too much about the country.  I know it's a narrow strip of land along the southwestern edge of the South American continent bordered to the east by the Andes mountain.  I know they speak Spanish there and it's been my personal experience that they are intelligent people and that they are good people.  Well, I would swear after hearing this compilation of all Chilean stoner, punk and garage rock bands that the entire country is growing up to the knees with fuzz.  As one walks down the street, around the hillside or up the river, one need only dip one's hand down to bring up a handful of the stuff.  It must float in the air like dandelion spores.  I don't know much but the main export of Chile appears to be fuzz.

21 songs (many of them previously unknown) and just a smidgeon under 80 minutes, this thing rocks hard from beginning to end and shakes, rattles and rolls with fuzz.  Chinaski kicks things off in groovy style with an excellent slow slidey and bendy stoner riff packed with power.  We could call this style of music the area of focus for this compilation as most of these bands fall under the stoner umbrella.  Some are slower, some are fuzzier, some are groovier than others but they all pack a wallop.  Bruto is a favorite new discovery, they fall under the fuzzier category. Lisergico is another fantastic band with a psychedelic bent, a terrific mindbending number.  Piedraseca is still another beautiful discovery, their track "Shine" is an often demented but always funky number, and a true highlight.  "Give me the SHIIIIINE!".  Sweet, that's just some of the first couple of tracks.

The Suicide Bitches are another nice discovery, delving into a punkier territory first explored on this comp. by El Cairo and Barbara & Co.  Theirs is a strong mix of uptempo rhythms and asphyxiating fuzz.  Invitado de Piedra is another of my brand new favorite bands discovered on 'Chilean Fuzz'.  Their song "La Herida" is more menacing than a lavalanche in slow motion (no that's not a typo).  DemonAuta then steps up to the plate and ups the fuzz ante even further.  It's interesting to hear the 'familiar' bands in this context.  It creates perspective on not only how great DemonAuta, At Devil Dirt and Barbara & Los Rotos Del Rock are but also how excellent their countrymen are as well.  El Camino serves up some slow burning fuzz with some psychedelic moments.  Nothing special, just another fantastic song is all.  Acido and Perro Loco spin things in a decidedly aggressive direction followed by Chevy whose punky fuzz funk is a real juggernaut.

The mind reels at the number of great bands on this compilation as it becomes clear that Chile can challenge Finland, Sweden, New England and Portland for the highest number of terrific regional bands per capita.  Everybody has a treasure, some tangible 'thing' they'd like to find in the woods or wherever.  For most people, it's a sack of money, for others the treasure may be the woods themselves.  'Chilean Fuzz' is like stumbling upon that treasure.

Three of the bands on this collection have been featured on PH before; At Devil DirtDemonAuta and Barbara y Los Rotos Del Rock and that was as much Chilean rock as I had been previously familiar with.  These, I suppose, are the big name bands from the Chilean underworld.  But thanks to this compilation bands like Chinaski, Lisergico, Chevy, Piedraseca, Gasa, Bruto and El Camino can no longer slip under the radar.  This collection was put together by Christian Spencer, the multi-talented producing, composing guitarist for Barbara & Los Rotos Del Rock, so we have him to thank for bringing these bands to our collective attention.

Listening to this is like having revelation after revelation.  An 80 minute epiphany.  So many great bands, many of them previously unknown to me, that it makes the head swim.  If nothing else this compilation provided me with an avalanche of homework, digging into bands, being inundated with stray tracks, EPs and full albums.  It's homework that I don't mind doing, not at all.  After hearing this compilation you'd think fuzz grows on trees down old South America way.

Highlights include: "Acido" by Lisergico and "Shine" by Piedraseca

Rating: 5/5

Total Run Time: 1:19:43

From: Chile, South America

Genre: Stoner, Fuzz Rock, Psychedelic, Garage

Release Date: January 28, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Put on your straw hat, get out the old line and rod and go fishing for fuzz!

Better Review:
Stoner Hive

Chilean Fuzz on facebook

Monday, 25 March 2013

Mount Salem - Endless (album review)

Cover artwork by Mat Moreno
While I was dickin' around all last summer, these four hellions from Chicago decided to form a band.  Well under a year later, they have released their debut EP, 'Endless' and I'm still just sittin; here dickin' around.  Soulful vocals courtesy of Emily Kopplin that are both powerful and feminine ride atop a broomstick of Sabbath inspired madcap riffs, dripping with evil funk.  Tasteful use of organ breathes wheezy life into the affair.  The foundation however is based on the deep low end, the black hole, if you will, out from which springs the band's sonic armada.

Sometimes you're unsure about a band at first.  You have your doubts about this that or t'other, but one thing that makes all that stuff go away in a real hurry is a riff like the one featured in "Lucid".  A riff like this doesn't pussyfoot around.  It's not a teaser, it's not a builder, it is a monolith.  All bullshit goes out the window with a riff like that one, far as I'm concerned a riff like that is what this blog is all about.  If I had any balls whatsoever I'd rename this place "The Riff From Lucid by Mount Salem" just so the message isn't lost, but I don't so I won't.  You get the idea.  Great stuff.

"Full Moon" takes things in a slightly bluesier direction, a bass-driven track full of graveyard mist illuminated by the full moon of Kopplin's vocals, a perfect example of how the bass holds this work together like the cosmic superstructure that holds the stars in place.  "Mescaline" is a short cowboy sounding interlude which is full of cool feelings.

"Hysteria" features another of those amazing riffs that makes me excited about the future of this band.  An unapologetically doomy sound all around with the slow and menacing riff backed by organ accompaniment and gravedigging drop outs and interludes.  Remember, this band is less than a year old.  Already they show a tremendous penchant for penning killer riffs.

Photo credit: Josh Kurpius
"The End" brings it all together, continuing the basic feeling of "Hysteria" with the riff from "Mescaline", giving the whole second half of the disc the look and feel of a mini-opera.  Cudos are well and truly due to the band for 'Endless' being a well-planned, well-executed debut.  They prove themselves capable of sloughing off amazing riffs and graveyard atmospherics, they have a great vocalist and the bassist proves worthy of the spotlight at times as well.

The band compares favorably to Blood Ceremony and Shocking Blue, so if you're into those bands, as I am, then don't be afraid to come into this EP with high expectations because they will be met.

Highlights include: "Lucid" and "Hysteria"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 33:37

Emily Kopplin - Vocals/Organ
Kyle Morrison - Lead Guitar
Mark Hewett - Bass Guitar
Cody Davidson - Drums

From: Chicago, Illinois

Genre: Doom, Rock, Stoner

Reminds me of: Alunah, Black Moth, Black Sabbath, Blood Ceremony, Electric Citizen, Shocking Blue

Release Date: February 18, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: "Whatchoo doin' in that graveyard boy?  Donchoo know it's after hours?  I can barely see you, fog's so thick.  Come here, let me get a closer look atchoo.  I -- dear Lawd whatchoo -- No!! -- AAaaaaargh!!!"

Better Review:
Dr. Doom's Lair
The Soda Shop

Mount Salem facebook
Mount Salem on Encyclopedia Metallum

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Bretus - In Onirica (album review)

Cover artwork by Sgraffito / Elaine Ní Cuana (IRELAND)
We all had that one special tweenie summer where possibilities seemed limitless and ignorance of the future left us blissful.  Mine was full of going to places where I shouldn't have been.  One place in particular was a vacant two-story house down and across the street from my friend.  Shrouded by tall trees and bordered by an easily breachable chain-link fence, the house held no particular interest aside from its fortification which lent it a forbidden aspect.  So of course, we set forth to investigate.

After making sure no one saw us we opened the back door and entered a dark and topsy-turvey world.  This all has to do with Bretus, believe me.  The house was full of ... stuff.  And when I say full I mean nearly stuffed to the brim.  The bizarre thing about it was that the whole of the upper floor had been taken down and was lying dismantled amidst the detritus.  The walls were still up but no floor.  The house was a shell and its interior stuffed with ... stuff.  Ladders, half-used paint cans, rusted appliances and work tools, stacks of newspapers (it appeared the newspaper boy had gotten there before us), soiled mattresses, drywall, two by fours, you name it.  What really stuck out to me were the ladders.  There was something incredibly eerie about a house with no upper floor and ladders climbing to nowhere.  Or descending from nowhere.  Either way, whatever the hell it was that my friend and I were expecting to find this wasn't it.  This was a thoroughly dead house, gutted and stuffed like an Egyptian mummy.  A corpse home full of trash for maggots and possessed by some demonic junkyard spirit.

I guess, looking back, I was looking for stacks of old comic books or a box of rare and valuable hockey cards, thoughtlessly discarded as I knew sometimes happened.  Something to fire my pre-teen imagination.  What we found was a vision of the Dyatlov Pass incident in the form of a house, mysteriously pulverized on the inside but otherwise intact.


What if we had climbed those ladders?  Is it possible we'd have entered a portal to a harsh and brutal world of flying boulders and swinging axes in a swirling purple void?  Would we have caught a glimpse of the force which pulverized the house and presumably destroyed not only the bodies but the spirits of it's inhabitants?  Doubt not for Bretus have tapped into this force and recorded it.

Bretus play high energy, high voltage doom.  They lead the listener along by the nose and snap necks with their turn on a dime song structures and liquify brains with devastating force.  There's an anger in the guitar tone, a deep growl of warning of a hair trigger than might snap at a moment's notice.


It should be emphasized that Bretus play doom metal.  When the riffs are slowed down they cause whiplash, when there's speed involved the band snaps necks.  Their song structures are top notch, usually starting with a terrifically hypnotic riff, then changing direction playing at half or double speed for the bridge, then changing back just as suddenly.  The most striking example of this is in the superlative "The Dawn Bleeds".  I've tried to replicate that bumpy yet exciting structural ride in this write-up to -ahem- mixed results, but Bretus are expert at it.  Such structures create the impression that this band write many songs, then boil them down on record, fitting the pieces together like a jigsaw, just like Black Sabbath used to do it.  The band is Italian so of course there's an element of horror doom in there as well with ghostly swells of organ at just the right moments.  "The Black Sleep", the instrumental track that closes the album, takes this part of the band's sound and runs with it.  This is where they put on their Goblin shoes and go skull kicking.

If there's one single impression I expect listeners to walk away with after listening to this album it's the kick ass heavy riffs, that fall into place one after another like dominoes.  The next thing the listener will remember are the energetic vocals and song structures that will have you turning your head and doing double takes.


What is it about a band and their music that sets off certain and particular memories or images in the mind?  There's an oaken, organic quality to 'In Onirica' that reminds me of the old tall tree-lined gravel road that led to the strange hollow house.  The structures certainly evoke the spirit of the unexpected and an overall feeling of old horror flicks from some golden summer.  However they do it, Bretus takes me to some strange places.  Real places, or places that were real but are now long gone.  Bretus gives those places life, makes them real once again by piercing the veil of dimension by way of sheer concussive force.

Highlights include: "The Dawn Bleeds" and "Down in the Hollow"

Rating: 4.5/5

1). Insomnia (7:50)
2). The Dawn Bleeds (5:38)
3). Down In The Hollow (5:28)
4). Leaves of Grass (2:04)
5). Escape (5:29)
6). Forest of Pain (4:46)
7). The Black Sleep (7:54)
Total Run Time: 39:08

Ghenes - Low Guitars/Bass
Zagarus - Vocals
Faunus - Guitars
Striges - Drums

From: Catanzaro, Italy

Genre: Traditional Doom Metal, Horror Doom, Prog

Reminds me of: Death SS, Gates of Slumber, Las Cruces, Mage, Pale Divine, Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Sideburn, Terra Firma

Release Date: May 9, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Climbing ladders to furiously weird dimensions.

Better Reviews:
Temple of Perdition
Perkele in Italian

Bretus official website
Bretus on facebook



Valley of the Sun's Indiegogo campaign to record new album (News)

So, those amazing Cincinnati based stoner rockers Valley of the Sun have written a full-length album, tentatively called 'The Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk' which they plan on recording shortly.  They want to do the best job they possibly can with the recording so they have launched an Indiegogo campaign (not unlike kickstarter) and are looking for contributions.  After hearing their 2011 five song EP 'The Sayings of the Seers' I have complete faith in them to return on my investment and deliver an amazing album.

If you haven't heard or downloaded the EP you can do so on the player below.  It's a 'pay anything' deal on bandcamp but as I said if you haven't picked this one up it's a great way to contribute anything you want to the effort.

Here's a video appeal from the band:

At the time of this writing the band are about a quarter of the way to their goal of $8,000 with about four weeks to go before they begin to record.  They will record this album one way or the other, but they want it to sound as good as possible.  Their projected budget is outlined on the Indiegogo page.  The page features descriptions of multiple packages to pre-purchase the yet to be recorded album either as a digital download, a vinyl LP, with or without T-shirt, etc. plus a bunch of other really cool bonuses.

To contribute or just to look at what the band has to offer, check out the campaign page here.

Below is the summary from the campaign page.

Short Summary

Valley of the Sun started out in 2010 and quickly released our first EP "twothousandten".  We released our follow up EP "The Sayings of the Seers" in 2011.  After two EP's, we've decided it's time to put out a long player in 2013.  We've been working on writing since the Summer of 2011.  Some of the songs came quick, some were battles, but all are solid rockers and you're going to dig them.

What We Need & What You Get

We aren't on a record label and we don't have a huge amount of personal funds.  That's why we need your help.  Recording and releasing a record costs a lot of money, and although it can be expensive, we've figured out the best way to get the quality we think you deserve at the cheapest possible price.
Essentially, the success of this campaign will determine how amazing this record will become. We are set up for Flex Funding which means if we don't reach our goal, we are still getting the money that is raised. So, if we don't reach our goal, we will have to reevaluate how we are planning to do this record. Regardless, we are ready to deliver this thing however our campaign plays out.

The Impact

By taking part in this experiment you yourself are taking charge and helping to change how we make music. You are putting faith in us to come through and show you that we've learned a couple things over the years. Every time we've headed into the studio in the past, we've kept all the people who have supported this band in mind. The level of responsibility is so much higher this time.
With that in mind, we give you our word that we will not settle for “good enough” - we wont take any shortcuts, and above all – the money we raise in this thing will be reflected in the final product.
Here's to making our best album yet.

Other Ways You Can Help

If you don't know what to think about this idea and aren't sure you can commit – there are other ways you can help out. Spread the word! Tell your family and friends and let them know what's going on. We don't expect everyone who's listened to and enjoyed our music to jump on board, just let people know this is happening. With all the social networking and ways we now connect with one another, by posting links to this page you are reaching places we would never be able to reach.


Studio time:                                                        $5000
Record Pressing:                                                 $3000
Rewards cost:                                                     $1200
Travel expenses/lodging while recording:               $1000
indiegogo fees 7-9% of final $ raised:                       ???
Total..............................................................    $10,200

We're setting this thing at $8000, but anything we can raise above that really helps and will definitely be reflected in the quality of the record.  We appreciate your help in getting this done!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Hour of Power 03/23/13 (playlist)

  1. Frankenstein Pays The Rent (The Mangled Dead / Hate Humans) 2013
  2. Monkey With a Wig (GravelRoad) 2013
  3. Cool To Hate (Mother Gun / Human EP) 2012
  4. Oncoming Fire (Odyssey) 2013
  5. Tower of Silence (Cathedral / The Last Spire) 2013
  6. Savage Dancer (Black Moth / single) 2013
  7. Frozen Awakening [rough mix] (Blizaro / Cornucopia Della Morte) 2013
  8. Blizaro 'Cornucopia Della Morte' album teaser
  9. Yorgan Mountain (Green Shade / ..Bright Interlude) 2012
  10. Vuorenmataja (Musta Risti / ST) 2012
  11. Chinese Eyes (Parasol Caravan / Use the Fuzz) 2012
  12. Stare Into The Sun (Cachimbo de Paz / Use The Fuzz) 2012
  13. Bald Bull (Gozu / The Fury of a Patient Man) 2013

Doom Charts for 03/23/13

Top 25 Songs
#). Song Title (artist/album)
  1. Run The Night (Salem's Pot / ST cassette)
  2. One (Torso / Inside EP)
  3. Rollin' (Motherslug / ST)
  4. Enslaved In The Icy Tundra (Desert Storm)
  5. MrWeasley (Spacefog / Purple Void)
  6. Submissive To Evil (Vestal Claret / Bloodbath)
  7. Bring Down The Rain (Sideburn / IV Monument)
  8. Hypocrite Christ (Stone Machine Electric / ST)
  9. The Soul's Midnight (Ice Dragon / The Soul's Midnight EP)
  10. Circle of Serpents (Year of the Goat / Angels' Necropolis)
  11. The Bearded Fool (Old Man Wizard / ???)
  12. Desert Sun (The Shooters / Planet of the Black Sun)
  13. Hypnotic Overdrive Machine (Necronomicon / The Queen of Death)
  14. Don't Play With Guns (The Black Angels / Indigo Meadow)
  15. No Good (Hound / Spirits Are Appearing)
  16. Green Shade ... Bright Interlude (Green Shade/ ..Bright Interlude)
  17. Deep Waters (Dryasdust / ST Demo)
  18. Baptized (Stonebringer / Ocean of the Brave)
  19. *Belladonna Wreath (Aleph Null / Belladonna EP)
  20. Karmageddon (Low Torque / ST)
  21. *Mind (The Heavy Eyes / Maera)
  22. Horse (White Bone Rattle / Creature of Curiosity)
  23. Your Armageddon (Manlord / ST)
  24. *Worship The Devil (Glitter Wizard / Hunting Gatherers)
  25. *Let The End Begin (Ancient VVisdom / Deathlike)
* New Song

Outgoing songs:
U Turn (The Quartet of Woah! / Ultrabomb)
Pitti Platsch Anoraknaroek (Voltron / Kaventsmann)
Mexico (Five Horse Johnson / The Taking of Blackheart)
The Humble Titan (Ice Dragon / single)
    Top 25 Albums
    #). artist - album title
    1. Neon Warship - ST
    2. Sideburn - IV Monument
    3. Spacefog - Purple Void
    4. Green Shade ... Bright Interlude
    5. March The Desert - ST
    6. DemonAuta - Caminando en la Luna EP
    7. Crag Dweller - Magic Dust
    8. Aleph Null - Belladonna EP
    9. Palm Desert - Rotten Village Sessions
    10. Egypt - Become the Sun
    11. Weed Priest - ST
    12. Year of the Goat - Angels' Necropolis
    13. Blizaro - Blak Majicians
    14. Wheelfall - Interzone
    15. Dryasdust - ST Demo
    16. Bretus - In Onirica
    17. Iron Hearse - Get In The Hearse
    18. Various Artists - Chilean Fuzz Comp.
    19. Abysmal Grief - Feretri
    20. Gozu - The Fury of a Patient Man
    21. Deep Space Destructors - II
    22. Cpt. Kronos - The Invocation EP
    23. The Heavy Eyes - Maera
    24. Devil - Gather The Sinners
    25. The Gentlemen Bastards - ST

    Friday, 22 March 2013

    Ice Dragon - The Soul's Midnight (album review)

    What began as a stolen weekend night of mead-drinking ended up, through a few twists and turns, as a four song EP by none other than the band Ice Dragon.  Trying to predict the band's next move is like trying to predict the movements of a wild animal:  there are certain paths or directions one might expect the band to head down based on their history, but when and which one remain forever shrouded in mystery, as it should be.  Usually they blaze their own trail, confounding many, but always earning well-deserved respect and converting a few new believers along the way.

    It would be unfair to call 'The Soul's Midnight' a return to form but it is a return to more familiar territory in the wake of the group's last two efforts, 'Greyblackfalconhawk' and the double sided single "Season of Decay" backed with "The Humble Titan".   The former traveled a depressed and anxious noiscape of drone while the latter displayed touches of shoegaze pop.  'The Soul's Midnight' largely shoos away those melancholic vapors and doffs the impenetrably dark glasses for a spaceman's visor.

    One night, the band released a single on their bandcamp page called "The Soul's Midnight".  The accompanying facebook message pleaded for friends and fans alike to take them seriously:
    We just finished a great bottle of homemade mead, given to us from our friends in the band Merlin. We can't figure out how to tag them because we're drunk. Anyway we made a new song too and rather than be assfaces and give a "release date" and leak the cover art and tracklisting and all that stupid bullshit bands do nowadays. HERE YOU GO. It's free. Don't make fun of us if it sounds bad, please. We made it tonight. We're drunk.
    Later the band re-mixed the song while high:
    So, we made a HIGH version of "The Soul's Midnight". The original is still on there and that is now the drunk version. We're not "signed" so we can do whatever the hell we want, and this is what we want. We hope you want it too.
    Later still, the band re-recorded the song altogether and that third version is now the official version one finds on the bandcamp album page.  The new version features cleaner and more lively vocals with a less murky sound.  This mead-inspired song is a slow ride down a dark tunnel.  Echoed and ghostly vocals, deep toned low end rumbling, esoteric background noises and slow and deliberate drumming.  To these ears it's the closest thing to the classic Ice Dragon sound the band has unleashed since 'Tome of the Future Ancients' dropped a year ago.  In between the band has released a total of 8 albums, EPs and/or singles, in various incarnations, exploring the far corners of the musical world without ever repeating a step in the process.  This one trips out beyond the pale and into the cosmos.

    Similarly, the next track "Understanding Ouroboros" has a somewhat less straight forward history of its own. It was originally released October 20th of last year as part of the A Gallery of Rogues II free compilation on Thrashead's bandcamp page.  Near as I can tell there are no differences between the version that appears on 'The Soul's Midnight' and 'Gallery of Rogues' aside from a superior mixing job with a re-imagined emphasis on guitar.  This song was added to what was "The Soul's Midnight" single soon after the "Get High Version" appeared.  Again, it's closer to classic Ice Dragon with those ghostly and mournful vocals taking center stage and a terrific crash-led drum riff.

    "Stellar Door" and "Winterwind" were then added to the mix and the "Get High Version" removed to finally turn "The Soul's Midnight" into a four-track EP, but even then, that wasn't the end of the story.  With "Stellar Door" Ice Dragon succeeded not only in planting a brilliant and beautiful image in the listener's collective heads, they somehow truly captured the spirit of what such a heavenly object might actually sound like with swirling static.  It's a stunning however necessary narrative step to get to the final statement of the EP, "Winterwind".  Like the other three vocal tracks on this EP "Winterwind" has been given the re-touch treatment.  From facebook:
    Joe said that the only album I could get all George Lucas-y on was "the soul's midnight" since it was weird to begin with. So I've been messing around. Winterwind is much cooler now I think. Fits that 3'oclock mood. I hear those bells all the time.
    The differences are noticeable right off the bat.  Where the original version feeds back to open the song, the "George Lucas-y" version fades in slowly during the feedback emphasizing guitar once again in the mix.  The drums are muted, especially cymbals in the new mix, with the drums possibly even having been re-recorded. If Ice Dragon only accomplish a single thing with this EP and it's multifarious forms it's the importance of mixing and mastering.  Importance is the wrong word, but they show the listener what mixing means to a song, how the slightest change can alter the mood of a work, vividly.

    The original "The Soul's Midnight" (now the "Drunk Version") and the "Get High Version" along with the original "Winterwind" should now be considered Ice Dragon relics, collectors items, if you'd like to call them such.  They would make for excellent box set material in the future.  (Dear Lord in Heaven, if you exist, please allow your agent Satan to unleash an Ice Dragon box set on the pitiless ruins of the future.)

    It's a testament to this band's work ethic (and my own sloth-like pace as a reviewer) that they have already put out two new EPs since the release of 'Soul's Midnight' (one as Tentacle, the other as The Mangled Dead).  'The Soul's Midnight' has a story to tell, both in the real world and in the world it creates.  It seems Ice Dragon have taken the best part of 2001: A Space Odyssey (Jupiter and Beyond) and turned it into this EP.

    Highlights include: "Understanding Ouroboros" and "The Soul's Midnight"

    Rating: 4/5

    Total Run Time: 23:00

    Ron Rochondo - Vocals, Synths, Drums
    Duane Carter - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Other Etc.
    Joe Confalone - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Other Etc.

    From: Boston, Massachusetts

    Genre: Rock, Stoner, Doom, Sludge, Drone, Experimental, Psychedelic

    Reminds me of: Soul Thief, 2001: A Space Odyssey

    Release Date: January 11, 2013

    Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: walk through glowing shimmering heavenly doorways into ...

    Better Review:
    Temple of Perdition

    Ice Dragon facebook

    Thursday, 21 March 2013

    Parasol Caravan / Cachimbo de Paz split - Use The Fuzz (album review)

    Cover artwork by Johan Jaccob (Glowsun).
    Recently, I had the pleasure of discovering Parasol Caravan's 2010 debut EP and was impressed with their funk-slathered groove riffs and the soulful vocals of Alexander Krietchbaum.  So I was pleasantly surprised when Bertram Kolar, one of the funk-slatherers himself, contacted me about saying a few words towards this split album.  I'm not sure exactly how it slipped under my radar for a whole year but it shows up on screen now and hopefully, this will be an introduction for any readers like myself, who has suffered from radar deficiency for the past year.

    Parasol Caravan come bounding onto the stage on "The Barbers Snake".  It shows a band ready for their trip in the spotlight.  Complex dynamics with virtuosic performances by the band's twin guitarists, Kolar and Richard Reikersdorfer combine with Krietchbaum's soulful vocals to make a big impression on the listener.  This is a band that has an encyclopedia of tricks up their sleeve and will pull out all the stops to get the point across.

    Parasol Caravan use their time on this split wisely, slicing their four cuts down the middle showcasing their various moods.  The songs all remain identifiably stoner rock but the band finds time to stitch together a crazy quilt of ideas and influences.  The opener is a straight-up high energy blast of stoner rock while "Psychotic Fever" pulls on some more contemplative strings, tinged with blues and booze-fuelled regret.  Something only really hinted at on "The Barbers Snake" is the group's jazz funk gymnastics which speak fluently on "Big Kahuna".

    Parasol Caravan
    Parasol Caravan's final contribution comes in the form of "Chinese Eyes" which features a world-beating riff that somehow manages to combine elements of Black Sabbath, Tool, Kyuss and Led Zeppelin all in one shot.  The riff and the rough and moody vocals makes the song one of the true standouts of the record.  Not to be forgotten in the mix of course is the drumming of Vincent Böhm, who has his work cut out for him by the aforementioned complex dynamics of each song but simply slices and dices the band's four appearances with complementary and syncopated rhythms.  Never a background figure, Böhm puts on a clinic on his way out the door leaving a distinctive impression, letting the world know that Parasol Caravan is home to a mad scientific and concussive drumming force.

    Cachimbo de Paz's side of the record starts off tentatively enough.  Guitarist / vocalist Chu noodles around on the guitar, searching for a riff.  But when the fuzz pedal is depressed and the band finds their groove ... look out.

    Cachimbo de Paz was completely off the radar until I received this split in the mail.  The first thing that strikes the listener upon hearing this band's opening statement "Stare Into the Sun" is the devastatingly slow simmering fuzz.  I was never a guitarist so I can't tell you exactly how the effect is achieved, but it sounds like one of the frequency nobs is turned down slightly and the fuzz channel is opened up and allowed to breathe creating a slow pulsing static effect.  The sound is brilliant and heavier than lead mountains.  The next thing that strikes the listener is the distinctive voice of Chu.  It's a deep, low growl, a whiskey-toughened vocal that may bring to mind Tom Waits.  Less raw, but deeper.

    "Cachimbo" is the band's shortest number, somewhat of an introduction (even though it comes second) or vision statement.  It's a mostly instrumental number with a single spoken verse in Spanish.

    Typically, Chu rumbles and shambles through his vocals but finds the will to explore melody in "Lady" to strong results.  Cachimbo de Paz takes the time to explore the forests of funk first felled by Parasol Caravan on closing track "Coyotes on Peyote".  The music is as demented as the title suggests, feedback whines and speedfreak break beats running around in a panic atop a solid bass groove that underpins and grounds the entire affair, keeping one foot in reality.

    Cachimbo de Paz
    While both bands on this split hail from the city of Linz in Austria, there's not much to tie their sound together.  Parasol Caravan is a high energy, almost carnival-like brand of heavy funkin' southern groove, Cachimbo de Paz is closer to dark space rock.  Indeed, the very title of the split 'Use The Fuzz' should give listeners somewhat of a clue as to what to expect on this disc with Parasol Caravan dedicating themselves to The Light Side of the Fuzz, while Cachimbo de Paz are the Sith Lords of the affair, given over to The Dark Side of the Fuzz.

    'Use the Fuzz' is an excellent showcase for both bands whose distinctive sounds are punctuated further by the presence of the other.

    Highlights include: "The Barbers Snake" and "Stare Into The Sun"

    Rating: 4/5

    Total Run Time: 45:21

    From: Linz, Austria

    Genre: Stoner, Psychedelic

    Reminds me of: The Bad Light, Cube, DSW

    Release Date: February 12, 2012

    Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Aerial battles with the fate of a galaxy hanging in the balance.

    Better Reviews:
    Parasol Caravan on Stoner Hive
    Cachimbo de Paz on Stoner Hive

    Parasol Caravan facebook
    Cachimbo de Paz facebook

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...