Friday, May 22, 2015

Lucifer - Lucifer I

When the sun sets and the moon reaches through the trees, creating a never-ending labyrinth of shadows, nightmares are born. Lucifer will reach into your mind to conjure up your deepest darkest fears. Paralyzed you watch helplessly as your body is dragged from your home and into the forest. Dark figures dressed in robes carry you silently into the night. As you reach a small clearing you see an angelic face looking down upon you, illuminated by candle light. With a smile and a gentle caress she touches your cheek and for a moment you feel like everything will be alright. But then, the ritual begins.

The debut L.P. by Lucifer is a twisting, turning cobweb covered staircase into the places in your mind you dare not go. Haunting yet beautiful. Heavy but still sophisticated, Lucifer I manages to blend the vibe of the early pioneers of heavy metal with an 80s kind of switchblade wilding street tough attitude.      

Heavy riffs with very melodic vocals create quite a pleasurable experience for the listener. the 8 song album will keep you on the edge of your seat while the infectious grooves and heavy riffs will keep your toes tapping and your head banging.

I would recommend anyone who is into early 70s or 80s heavy music give this record a spin. Fans of Black Sabbath, Pagan Altar, Lucifers Friend, Pentagram and Coven will definitely enjoy Lucifer 1. 

- D2 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ex-Gods – Ex-Gods

When we last heard from some of these gentlemen, they were a band called Mahnhammer.  After a little time away and some personnel re-grouping, they are back now as Ex-Gods.  If you are fortunate enough, as I am, to live in the same town as these guys, this is cause for much rejoicing.  The world needs more bands like this.  A lot more bands like this.

Per their press release, they self-describe as a punk/noise/metal band, so we'll go with that.  Besides, it saves me some work in describing them myself.  They are a heavy band without being, like, crushing or oppressively heavy.  More like cast iron skillet to the face heavy.  This is definitely one of those bands though, that when you listen to the album you think, “I bet these guys play loud”.  Having seen them live, you would be correct.  Loud and face smashing in the very best of ways.

The re-organization of the band seems to have done some good.  These songs are a little more concise than the previous release and they sound like they have a better idea of how they want to come across to you, the listener.  The recording of this album is very good and for my ears, the mix is great.  The vocals, especially, are in the right place in the mix, which makes it easier to hear and understand the lyrics.  I have had this disc on repeat for several days now and I am not anywhere near being tired of it.  That is probably the best thing I can say about any release.

What is it like?  The music is very raw and visceral and gets right to the point.  Some bands who play in this style tend to over do it with the tempos, whereas Ex-Gods hit that mid-tempo pace and there is a little swing and groove to these songs.  If your idea of groove is maniacally banging your head and listening to music that makes you want to rip shit up.  This is the perfect album for those totally shitty days when you want to go home and punch holes in the walls and light your couch on fire.  Instead, you put this on at maximum volume and takes the place of all the mayhem you could do.

I could have used some more songs.  There are only 6 tracks and they are mostly fairly short.  But that is not really a big deal.  Just put it on repeat and enjoy this over and over again.  The key word there being “enjoy”.  This is a good one.  You need this album.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Redefine - The Harbinger King

Good day to you waveriders!  Unless I miss my guess you're here looking for some new audio narcotic to put a smile on your face.  Well since that's the case I'd like to introduce you to the latest release from Dallas, Texas based rockers Redefine.  The album is called The Harbinger King and it rocks something fierce!

Redefine is a five man unit whose members get their jollies by combining their rock and metal influences into a glorious concoction designed for mass appeal.  Hitting play on any of the seven songs that make up The Harbinger King invites the listener to pick up strains of progressive metal, thrash, NWOBHM, hardcore, and 1990s alternative metal underneath a high-gloss exterior of radio friendly melodicism.  Do all of these elements work well together you ask?  Oh yes waveriders.  Yes they certainly do.  The band flexes their collective musical muscle over the course of the entire 33 minute running length of The Harbinger King with nary a drop in energy or intensity.

Solid opener "Fiction" lays the groundwork for what is to come, specifically the fantastic one-two punch of "Whole" and "Fall On Your Sword".  I love how these two songs complement each other.  "Whole" takes almost a full minute to ramp up but when the main guitar riff emerges and the vocalist goes to eleven it's off to the races!  "Fall On..." takes the emotion generated from "Whole" and transitions it into much poppier territory with less distortion and call and response vocals.  The metallic grit is still evident, but it takes a backseat to the quote-unquote happier mood of the song. 

"Over And Over Again" is my favorite track on the record.  I feel it combines everything Redefine is adept at into one musical nugget.  Then again, I do love the combination of NWOBHM overtones with a modern metal approach on "When Fear Resists".  Fair warning folks, the chorus to this song will implant itself in your head and you will not be rid of it for some time.  Closer "Beware The Bear" lulls the listener into a false sense of serenity before slapping you upside the head with a frenetic blast of riff-based energy.  It's pretty fantastic!

Waveriders, I strongly recommend that you check out Redefine.  The Harbinger King is a great album, and you all deserve some new rock in your lives.  Trust me.  You deserve the best!

- Penfold

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Motörhead "Warpig" (Grey) Vannen Watch is NOW SHIPPING.


This watch features a classic matte black finish, with index markings and the Motörhead logo printed in white on the inside surface of the crystal.

The durable stainless steel back casing of the watch is also engraved with "Born To Lose / Live To Run", and a spade is engraved on the watch's crown.

Each of special edition "Warpig" (Grey) Watch come packaged in a custom embossed sleeve with an exclusive Motörhead sticker. 

Water resistant up to 10 meters / 30 feet. Comes with a Limited 90-Day Warranty. 

• Wrist: Med-Large. 8.5 inches Max.
• Crystal: Plastic, Flat w/ White Art.
• Movement: 3-Hand Japanese Quartz.
• Buckle & Loop: Plastic, Matte Black.
• Dial: 34.8mm, Matte Black w/ Dark Grey Art.
• Hands: Metal, Glossy Black.
• Case: 43mm, Plastic, Matte Black.
• Straps: 22mm Wide, Plastic, Matte Black.


Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Set To Release A Series Of Vintage Concert Recordings From 1979!

Rainbow images.jpg
Los Angeles, CA – In an era teaming with bands led by virtuoso guitarists and fronted by a singer with killer pipes, British rockers Rainbow stood head and shoulders above the crowd. Ritchie Blackmore’s hugely influential guitar playing mixed baroque bombast with blues rock brilliance, and laid the perfect sonic foundation for the versatile vocals of the late, great Ronnie James Dio. When Dio left the band in 1978, Blackmore along with drummer Cozy Powell recruited another vocal powerhouse, singer Graham Bonnet, and together with other new recruits including Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover and Coliseum II keyboardist Don Airey, recorded what would be one of Rainbow’s greatest achievements, their breakthrough album Down To Earth. Not only did that masterpiece spawn the band’s first charting single “All Night Long,” it also contained the all-time classic, rock radio staple “Since You Been Gone.” The subsequent Down To Earth Tour became the stuff of legend with a groundbreaking light show and a set list packed to the gills with fan favorites like “Man On A Silver Mountain” and “Long Live Rock And Roll” but still plenty of room for Blackmore’s own six-string pyrotechnics.

Now these incredible performances are being released for the first time with the pomp and pageantry worthy of these historic recordings, courtesy of L.A.-based Purple Pyramid Records. Available now is Denver 1979, an extraordinary concert album pressed on vinyl in 3 different colors - red, green, or blue - and packaged in an eye-catching holographic foil gatefold jacket. And coming August 21 is a super deluxe 3CD box set featuring full-length concert recordings from Denver, Long Island, and Chicago each packaged in its own individual sleeve next to a whole boatload of classic rock goodies including a 1” color button, embroidered fabric patch, a Ritchie Blackmore signature guitar pick, and a combo bottle opener/keychain - all beautifully contained in a gorgeous red-velvet lined box. For fans of this extraordinary band, there can be no bigger pot of gold!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Focus -Golden Oldies

Focus are one of the many bands that I know about more than I truly know.  With their unique brand of progressive rock, Focus manifested themselves at the start of the '70s as the most successful and appreciated of all the Dutch pop-rock exports. Fronted by founding member Thijs Van Leer, and best known for their hits “Hocus Pocus”, “House of The King” and “Sylvia”, the iconic Dutch music masters put out a number of highly regarded heavy prog albums in the 70's.  And while I have a few Focus albums, I can't really say I know them well.  So when this "Greatest Hits" package dropped in my lap I was excited to delve into the band.  And damn, was it worth it.

Golden Oldies is the eleventh studio album by the Dutch progressive rock band, released on 14 April 2014. The album consists of newly recorded versions of the most popular songs from the band's back-catalogue, including "Hocus Pocus" and "Sylvia", performed by the current line-up as of 2012: Thijs van Leer, Pierre van der Linden, Menno Gootjes, and Bobby Jacobs.  Focus really aren't like any other band I can name.  Parts of Pink Floyd are there, particularly in some of the languid guitar parts.  Maybe a touch of Tull, especially with the flute work.  There's some exquisite guitar work, some heavy riffing or jazzy passages, and what can only be described as eclectic vocals. "Aya Hippy Yuppie Jeeh" is a perfect encapsulation of their sound.  Some seriously mad riffing and flying guitar, combined with vocals that go nowhere and tell no story other than to utter nonsensical sounds.  Jazz breakdowns, some gorgeous flute, some rock, some prog some heavy, some soft.  All mashed together and all pretty freaking amazing.

Extended prog jams like Focus One, Focus three and Two provide plenty of room for exploration, and the inclusion of Focus's biggest "hit" Hocus Focus" with it's famous yodeling vocal and electrifying guitar leads, make this a great avenue to get into the slightly crazy world of the band.

 Highly recommended if you've always been curious and never knew where to start.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

In Memory of Terry Jones


 August 24 (sometime BC) – May 15, 2015

I have given myself the unenviable task of writing Terry Jones' eulogy.  Terry wasn't just the singer for the doom metal/NWOBHM cult legend Pagan Altar – he WAS Pagan Altar.  He was the “sorcerer” depicted in the band's album covers and merch.  He was the spirit behind the songs, the mythology, the ominous stage sets and costumes.  It was all him.  It was like someone had taken a Terry Jones paint brush and just drubbed a little corner of the rock and roll universe.

And he was ours.  The average knucklehead metal fan doesn't have a clue who Pagan Altar are and what they've done, and didn't give a shit. Even some of those who claim to be into the more esoteric bands didn't know the name when I waved my copies of Mythical And Magical and Judgement Of The Dead at them.  But I will always remember that one day, almost 2 years ago this month – when a few thousand of us who knew and got it were filled with sheer elation and pride when Pagan Altar owned the Maryland Deathfest.  Even Manilla Road and Sleep couldn't step on that stage after them without a bit of unease at having to follow that massive an act.

I came upon Pagan Altar's music organically – it was through the British Steel Festival.  It was so long ago I was uploading MP3's to the festival's MySpace site.  They were one of many bands I encountered that way who actually stuck with me.  It took me awhile to acquire their catalog but it was a journey worth taking.

Then with the invention of Facebook there was Terry Jones himself and of course me being my brash pushy self I introduced myself to him on the site and we posted on each others pages occasionally.  It wasn't until hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast US that Terry and I really formed a friendship.  He seemed generally concerned about the “indigenous population” of the area and appreciated that I gave him a bird's eye view of the destruction, only a fraction of which was in the media in the UK. 

Terry went above and beyond getting me and a friend into Maryland Deathfest in 2013.  I could give a rats ass about the rest of the bands – I was only there to see Pagan Altar.  I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to spend time with him and his wife Lynn as they sampled some basic American fare that must have seemed completely outrageous to them.  And knowing Terry, he won't mind me saying how uncomfortable I felt watching him feed his wife a corn dog on a stick!! Terry personally handed me my 2 Pagan Altar patches and “sorcerer” necklace – all of which I wear with the greatest of pride.  I will never forget walking around the festival with them, and being stopped by every other person who wanted to take a photo with him or just shake his hand to THANK HIM for his music and making the trip to America.  He was a true gentleman and as tired and jet lagged as he was made time for every single fan, no matter what state of inebriation or coherency they were in!!

Later that same year, Terry helped me with a personal issue from my past I was dealing with. He gave me great advice how to rid myself and my surroundings of negative spirits and energy.  He was the real deal – it wasn't a gimmick.  I can never express my gratitude to him for helping me though that rough time. 

In 2014 he gave those of us on the Pagan Altar Templar's forum regular updates about his rapidly diminishing health.  He was jumping through hoops from one doctor to another and despite all the positive energy we were sending him, we all knew there could only be one outcome.  His updates became less and less frequent, until he stopped posting on all social media completely.  According to his bass player's girlfriend, Claire, he just didn't have energy anymore.  She gave me updates on his health when there was anything new to report, which was rare – and then it wasn't good news.

This morning, when things are starting to even out with the health issues my own family member is dealing with – Claire messaged me to deliver the news about Terry – he had put up a hell of a fight.
He left us with a legacy of music which at one point would have been lost to time if it wasn't for his diligent efforts to get his own body of work back from a piece of shit bootlegger who wanted to bleed him dry.  Terry could be downright vicious and terribly cruel to anyone who hurt him or those he loved – he was a very passionate man which was also one of his most admirable traits. 

He used to joke with me that all these rock stars I had crushes on (most famously Fast Eddie Clarke) were my “future ex-boyfriends” and he wondered if he could someday be on that list.  But he was special.  He was and always will be my Prince Charming.

- Rys

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