Thursday, 25 February 2016


Centipede, a three piece stoner metal band from Helsinki. I hadn't heard of them before this promo was sent to me but according to their bandcamp page they've been EPing for a few years now. Sarnath is their debut album. I didn't know any of this stuff before I pressed play. I like to listen to my albums the way I like to see my movies: knowing as little as possible going in.

DROWN - This is the first single from the album so I've not only heard it, I've been listening to it quite a bit lately. Just a good heavy mid-tempo romper with some nice propulsion. Vocals are more coal than diamond which suits the tone here. Good song.

THE UNSPOKEN - Tempo gets turned up here. Driving tune. Yeah, this one's likely to generate a speeding ticket or two. My ex got two speeding tickets which resulted in her licence getting suspended. The first time was when I put on a Motorhead CD. The second time was when she was alone and the Motorhead CD came on the disc changer. This doesn't sound like Motorhead but it builds up that chugging momentum in a powerful way. Very good tune.

FROSTBITE - More of the same. Nice chugging riff then a slow down for the chorus. Next song will be critical to see if the whole album is samey or not. I'm reserving judgement til then.

ABYSSAL - Downshifting here for a spell. Almost a "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" feel at the front of this one. One of two short, 2+ minute ditties. Sounds like an interlude. Nice change of pace actually. I don't normally dig interludes but this one actually adds to the album overall. Good creeping around an abandoned house vibe to it.

BLACK MEAD - Getting that samey vibe. I mean, they're all good songs, but Centipede doesn't give you any different looks. Which is rare for a Finnish band, they're usually all over the map. This band kind of reminds me of something I reviewed once for Stoner HiVe but I can't remember what it is ... it'll come to me ...

BEACON OF THE PROFANE - Grande, is the band I was thinking of and it was a review for Sludgelord. It's good stuff, but a bit too samey to truly enjoy the album as a whole, cohesive work. As much as I like these songs, you end up feeling like you've just listened to the same song 8 times over so it's unsatisfying. This one was a short, fast number.

MIDWINTER WOLVES - And here we come back down to earth a little with a slow intro ... and then the big straight ahead heavy rock moves. See, this is ironic. I know they don't mean to, but this band is shoving my musical tastes back down my throat. Oh, the verse is a slow down and the chorus whips things back up into midtempo territory. Anyway, I make it quite clear to everybody that knows me that I don't like the slow songs, but I'm finding myself pining away for more songs like this one. More tempo changes or something, anything! I think another part of the problem might be how consistent every instrument sounds in terms of tone. I don't know. I like the songs on the album, but listening to it in one sitting may be redundant. This makes for some excellent mix-tape / playlist fodder. I think you have to take this band piecemeal, but you'll be more than happy to do so.

SARNATH - And now we come to the title track. The big finish. Let's see what you got ... Nice beginning, floor tom and bass gives the intro a cavernous feel here. Yeah. Okay, fuck yeah, this is what I was talking about. The verse kicks in and for the first time in roughly 30 minutes I feel like I'm listening to a whole new song. This is good stuff, arguably the most doomy song on the album, it feels bigger and more fleshed out than the other tunes. The other tunes are a good time but this is the song you settle down with.

So there you have it, a good album, I rank them all as 5-star songs, yet paradoxically it's a 3 star album. Again, until the last track and the brief mid-album interlude, you feel like you've got one song on repeat when the album is taken in all at once. But break it up, spread it out and listen to it one song at a time on playlists or whatever and I guarantee you'll get a longer shelf life out of this thing.

Sarnath will be available March 4, 2016, a little over a week from now.

Centipede on facebook


Sunday, 21 February 2016

R.I.P. - In the Wind

Cover artwork by Adam Burke.
Take the Steppenwolf classic "Born to Be Wild", dip it in Motörhead, drape it in Saint Vitus and cast it in the reaper's image and you begin to understand the level of badassery that R.I.P. is wielding.

I used to watch the show Sons of Anarchy; the first couple seasons were great. But the thing that always struck me as odd about the beloved biker drama was the largely acoustic folk soundtrack. I can understand the exciting juxtaposition of hauling ass down the highway with a soft or slow song playing to provide a kind of mental drag to make you feel like you're going even faster than you actually are, but come on.

When I'm watching the show I'm not on a hog and I'm not feeling the wind. The show could have used some sonic thrust to convey that cruisin' with attitude and authority thing the directors seemed to be going for. At the very least pick a better theme song, "2 Wheel Nation" by Acid King would have been a nice start. "Ridin' through this world ..." has been the butt of too many of my jokes over the years to take the music of S.O.A. seriously.

Which is the long way around to say that THIS, 'In the Wind', the debut album from self-styled West Coast Street Doom outfit R.I.P. is what the show's been missing.

There are only a handful of true bikersploitation hard rock bands in the pleasantly crowded underground heavy scene and R.I.P. may be the best of them. The concept is fairly straight-forward: take the tone of classic doom and rocket propel it with stomping drums, throbbing bass, broken beer bottles and police sirens until the hand gripping the accelerator moves forward, slowly but surely and the pavement tears.

Nowhere is this ethic more apparent than on the chugging "Smoke & Lightning" and the galloping "In the Wind Part 2", although picking standouts here is futile. And don't bother comparing this trio to Black Label Society. That's like comparing the real life Angels to Samcro.

In my limited personal biker experience, the older bikers that I know still listen to classic rock and the younger ones listen to rap of whatever's on the radio. This is unacceptable. But you and I can help. Inform your local bikers that R.I.P. exists, commandeer the stereo and dam the amplifiers with West Coast Street Doom! No doubt there will be groans of protest and maybe a hurled bottle or two, but once the wind gets moving through the speakers a calming sense of rightness will settle over the affair. Three songs into 'In the Wind' and you may have just re-established a sense of order in this mad, mad, mad world.

When TV bikers cruise to a folk rock backdrop and their real-world counterparts do their thing to a rap soundtrack, there's just a littler something off with the world. R.I,P. and you and I are here to set things aright, alright?

'In the Wind' will be released on March 18 by Totem Cat Records.

R.I.P. on facebook

Totem Cat Records


Thursday, 18 February 2016

LOTHORIAN - Beyond the Astral Mind

I found out about Lothorian through Acid Cosmonaut Records, who released their 'Welldweller' EP almost exactly 3 years ago. I reviewed it. I liked it, I'm not going to say I absolutely loved it, but one thing stood out to me and that was the promise of this band. Their potential was enormous.

It was around that time that a youtube teaser video was circulating for a full-length album called 'Mørke' that never came to fruition. I don't know the full story behind the abortive effort but the band went through some line-up changes and one can only hope, various sexual preference and lifestyle changes along the way. I'd also like to imagine that the band has dealt with heavy personal issues such as balloon addiction and standing trial for "flying a kite whilst not sober" to get to this point.

This is the first we've heard from them since then, and it's also their first full-length album. So, what's is going to be then, eh? Do these Belgian droogies live up to their potential or do they fall like eggy weggs and go splatty wat on the paving?

I decided to share my first impressions of the album, unvarnished, unedited and written "live" as I listened for the first time ...

Witchcunt - Don't know how you can expect to get away with calling a song "Witchcunt" in today's shitty political atmosphere but I like it! Lothorian is already getting on my good side by showing some balls early on. Tone-setting screams and a horrific, evil riff. Nice. This is turning out to be an instrumental and that's alright. The way I remember it, Lothorian's Welldweller EP was split between instrumentals and vocals, one after the other, back and forth. Let's see if the trend continues... This is a fucking killer song, by the way. Very spookhouse atmosphere, like an over the top haunted house from some silly late-80s horror movie.

Blackhand - Starting out strong with some pounding bass drums and floor tom. Ah, there's some vocals. Different from the last time. Actually sung this time, no affectation. That's always a plus in my book.

As the Void Absorbs All Light - Another fast start with the drums. This guy's doing overtime here! I'll have to look up his name. Come to think of it so is the guitar with the almost, but not quite blackened tremelo picking. Bit darker, slower and heavier than black metal picking but in that same ball park. This is a damn good band, man. And, just as I suspected, another instrumental.Three songs in and we're really establishing a cinematic feel. Little more lively than say, Cult of Occult which feels Hammer-ish to me. This feels a little more like Monster Squad, The Burbs or The Gate because of the Draculan riffs and faster tempo drums. And yes, I know I just made up the word Draculan. Just try and stop me! And that word specifically refers to a cape-wearing Dracula.

Eternal Smoke Cloaks the Night - I'm gonna be severely disappointed if there aren't vocals in this song. Not because I don't like Lothorian's instrumentals (I'm starting to prefer them), but because it would shoot gaping holes in my sequencing theory. Right on cue. Little throatier this time than last. Another kick ass song with a solid, doomy riff and interesting drums. It makes such a huge difference when drums don't just sit there but actually do something. When I played drums, I wasn't that great, but I wouldn't just hold a backbeat, in my mind I was playing riffs of my own. I'd add little asides, not just as fills, but consistently so that they became part of the "beat", which was more than a "beat", it was a riff. In my mind anyway. This drummer seems to share a similar philosophy. This guy is awesome, an early candidate for drummer of the year. What's his name? I'm gonna look it up ... Jurgen. Yeah, this guy kicks ass, man. Again, this is a great band. No last names though. Fame is for the weak-minded.

March of Time - Low, slow start. Let's see if my theory gets shot down here. We're into the middle of the album now so if there was a time to change things up, this would be it. 2/3 of the way through and there hasn't been much development here. This is more of a moody interlude than the previous instrumentals. I'm starting to get the impression that the way they write instrumental and vocal songs is different. The instrumentals are more simplistic and monolithic. We'll see about that later ...

Forbanned - This is off to a killer start. Simplistic riff and pounding drums for that Conan / Witchsorrow feel. Two totally different bands but they both do similar moves. Vocals pop in to keep the sequencing streak alive. A streak that extends all the way back to 2013. Longest song on the record here at nearly 9 minutes and it may just hold up as thee standout cut. Also a bit of a Goya vibe. Aha! There's the drop out I was waiting for. No way you sustain that pace for 9 minutes and nowhere to build up from that fast start. They've just said fuck it and changed things up completely. Another killer part here. Fuck man, this record's gonna make my end of the year list ... Another change up and it's got a bit of a drunken swagger to it. And then revved back up to a crazy riff-thing. Damn skippy, that was another great tune.

Solitude - Well, that was the most logical place for the vocals to come in and they didn't. Again, another instrumental with a riff that's a little more caveman-ish than their vocal songs. For the instrumentals, does the guitarist write those at home and then bring them to the band later and the vocal tunes are jammed out and therefore more complicated? Oooh, curveball. There are vocals here after all. Interesting. This is another excellent tune. Just a doomy riff and heavy hitting drums. Whoa, real whirlwind going on here in the bridge. Hurricane winds blowing through this song. Now a real funeral doom / blastbeat tug of war at the end. Disgusting.

Soothsayer - Three songs in a row with vocals. Nice tempo change here in the bridge. And a doomy path leads the way back. Fucking awesome song. Once again the drummer is the real hero here. I may be a little biased as a former drummer, but still. Oh my fuck! Awesome tempo changes here! Alright, every song so far has been awesome, but this one is really getting my goat and sacrificing it to some subterranean fiend. This is it, this is the song I would play for someone who's never heard Lothorian before. Oh, that fucking riff! And they come out of it leaving you wanting more. Now that's what I call a killer fucking tune!

Dance of Death - And we end on the shortest song on the record. I'll be shocked if there's vocals here. Absolutely gobsmacked as my British friends might say. Actually, they'd probably throw the word cunt in there to spice things up because the British are cool that way with their vulgarity. Killer, dare I say iconic doom riff, may be a call back to the intro. I don't know, I'll have to go back and replay it, my memory's not THAT great. I've just been force-fed a table full of amazing doom riffs so you'll have to forgive me.

And it's over. Well, I'm not just satisfied here, I'm positively stuffed. That's a great record and yes, fans of Goya will find a lot to love and salivate over on 'Beyond the Astral Mind'. Like I said, Lothorian prove themselves here to be a great band, not just with the riffs but by keeping things moving, keeping it interesting the whole way throughout. Jurgen is my new hero.

This definitely has the potential to be an end-of-the-year candidate. The only 4-star tune was March of Time, all the rest were 5 star boner-makers. The rest was just one amazing riff after another.

Going back I noticed that "Witchcunt" was a little call-back to the opening song on their first EP, "Witchunt".

The best part is the album is available for #freeload on bandcamp!

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