Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Liberty Ship - Demo

Look here waveriders.  I know demo recordings when I hear them and this?  This is no demo recording.  When you see the word demo attached to a piece of music that typically means the listener might be in for a bit of a rough ride.  Maybe the recording equipment used was sub-par?  Perhaps the song structures aren't all there?  The point is that this music is not likely in what can be referred to as a "sellable state".  Apparently Liberty Ship either didn't get that memo or doesn't believe in standard definitions of words. 

Demo?  Oh please.  What we have here is an exquisite six song collection that screams quality.  Every musical element comes through crystal clear in the mix and there is never a wasted moment in any of the songs.  Of course none of that is important if the music isn't any good, so it is with great joy that I now report how much I enjoy these songs!

Liberty Ship effortlessly combines brit rock and indie rock to create an intoxicatingly gleeful sound that will turn a frown upside down on the face of the most curmudgeonly of music fans.  The track "What Point" starts the proceedings off on the right foot with a recurring guitar line reminiscent of Vampire Weekend's "Holiday".  I especially love the one-two punch of the lively "Without Her" coupled with the throwback, Beatles-esque vibe of "Neon Light".  Not content with only up-tempo numbers "It's Alright" and "Fire Your Love" lower the tempos but keep the energy level constant.  Also "It's Alright" has especially memorable vocal harmonies and "Fire..." has a lumbering backbeat that really gets the old noggin oscillating.  All too quickly "For You" wistfully brings the demo to a satisfying conclusion.

Waveriders this is a fantastic de...nope, not going to do it.  I'm calling it like it is.  This is a fantastic EP!  Take a listen, realize the high degree of excellence on offer, and rapidly arrive at the decision to add this release to your collections.  Did I mention that the cost for this splendid music is 'Name Your Price' on bandcamp?  That's right.  You know what to do friends!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Curse The Son - Isolator

I was just thinking…I love me some good old fashioned moody, sludgy, grooving doom.  I also love me some good old fashioned melodic vocals, with a little growl to ‘em, but still actual singing, ya know?  Not the typical growly stuff a lot of doom bands favor, but some good old fashioned melodic hard rock and metal vocals with some good old fashioned grit to ‘em.  Kinda like a lot of the 90’s bands used, with a lot of brooding anger.  Maybe throw in some hauntingly cool harmony vocals here and there too…yeah…kinda like Ozzy, Chris Cornell, and Alice in Chains thrown into a blender…it would have to be a black blender of course.  Well hold on to your ear surfboards Waveriders, cause I found just the thing.

Curse the Son’s Isolator begins with the title track, featuring a quiet melody of subdued drums and guitar behind some groovy mellow bass riffing before bursting forth with a wall of heavy sound chugging along at a mid-tempo stomp behind melodic vocals, all complete with stops and starts, fading out and back in at strategic points.  “Callous Unemotional Traits” boils up to the surface next, slow and sludgy, with haunting harmony vocals recalling the legendary sound of Layne Stayley and Jerry Cantrell with a pinch of Mastodon thrown in.  “Sleepwalker Wakes” brings the tempo down even more, alternating between straight-time and half-time, dialing up the sludge factor another notch while switching up to a more melodic vocal approach reminiscent of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell.  Don’t get comfortable though Waveriders, because just when you think it’s safe to get in the water again, “Hull Crush Depth” envelops you in slow waves of sound alternating between ebbing tides of subdued drums behind groovy bass guitar with psychedelic-tinged vocals one moment, and tidal waves of fuzzy doom washing over your bow to send your ship to the doomy depths the next.

“Gaslighter” continues the slow roll of the rising tide, but this time opening with an infectious guitar riff doubled by the bass guitar behind bitter lamenting vocals begging for forgiveness as they “drain your soul.”  The evil tritones are on display again as “Aislamiento” creeps up behind you with it's fangs ready before boiling down to a sullen waltz of doom complete with airy passages of melodic bass riffing that would make Lord Geezer Butler proud between layers of crushing distorted guitar, before a killer drum and bass breakdown about 5½ minutes in before building back up to carry the song out.  “Side Effects May Include…” erupts forth from the sonic ground with a mid-tempo snarl of bass guitar before being joined by droning blades of sludgy distortion and thundering drums with earthy vocals alternating between sky high passages and low gritty ground level trips through the doomy mud.  I think the side effects may include HEAVY!

Isolator is moody and heavy throughout, with lighter passages interspersed within, and you can’t help but bob your head and tap your leaden feet while listening.  Guitar solos are nowhere to be seen, but the bass riffing and wall-of-fuzz guitars more than make up for their absence, and the drums are thunderous here, light and airy there creating the perfect light and shade within the dynamics of the album.  So if you’re like me and you prefer your doom moody, sludgy, and groovy, and your vocals melodic and gritty with some hauntingly cool harmony vocals sprinkled about, check out Curse the Son’s Isolator.  Your ear surfboards will thank you.  Like totally bro…


Monday, May 2, 2016

Drawers - S/T

As I described on bandcamp earlier in 2013 I had "shit my drawers" upon listening to Drawers first full length album. When I got a hold of the self-titled album I began frantically inching my way closer to the bathroom just in case. I knew the stench was foul on the previous album, the sludge was deep, the vocals were slightly grading, and perhaps I had eaten jalapeƱos the day before? The shock of literally shitting my pants however was just a joke, I don't wear drawers, I have full body control of my bowls, yet if a mere sound of guitars, drums and vocals could induce a pants shitting experience 'Drawers' extremely heavy and groovy Baroness-esque progressive sludge crunch could stain a new pair of tightey whiteys. 

I wouldn't say the new album strays much off the path travelled on All is One. It genuinely swerves in and out of catchy sludge-pop to dirty sludge grime. As the record pummels on I began feeling a subtle Torche vibe, hearing bits and pieces with a hint if a slightly softer intimate side. Intimate like the Beauty and the Beast bonus love scene, where the beast is still in Beast mode.

"Shadow Dancers" one of the album highlights, is like the others, best heard with the volume cranked up high. Lots of variation going on in the background and the song maintains a catchy upbeat energy unlike the overall vibe of All is One, which was a little more dark and evil sounding, Drawers exhibits more of a Happy sludge energy. Again more Torche and neutral Baroness noise. Shadow Dancers a clear highlight especially its strong closing one minute sprint.

Both records possess a tightly wound, crisp and fluidly intricate tone. Rowing up a river of murky sludge in pursuit of the fresh inland water, Drawers wind up quenching the listening pallet with a dose of refreshing, almost poppy sludge rock much like Torche did on their 2012 release, Harmonicraft. Drawers keep the heaviness high and the catchiness higher. Vocals are harsh like a dull razor shave for the average bearded sludge metal listener (emphasis on bearded) and accessible enough for the casual stoner rock fanatic that cries wolf the second the vocal strays slightly out of melody. Being not an active supporter of full on growls and squeals from heavy metal vocalists, I can affirm, these are harsh, but so was that bong toke that knocked you into that state of ecstasy and shouldn't scare you away. 

Another stellar release which may or may not top their last album depending on how sharp your razor is, and if in fact you are able to grow a beard. Keep an extra pair of drawers close as a precautionary measure cause you are in for a messy treat.

-The Huntsman

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Rollins Band – Weight

Remember back in the mid 90s when the big labels and mainstream media looked everywhere for new genuine rock to sign and play? Grunge was in full swing and Headbangers Ball, Alternative Nation and 120 Minutes on MTV was the the thing to look at to discover new music. Those were the days of Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Faith No More, Dinosaur Jr. And of course Rollins Band.

Now, Henry Rollins is a counterculture icon and rightfully so considering his part in Black Flag and as a voice in punk rock. These days Uncle Henry has retired from music but is doing endless spoken word tours around the world. He is an actor, writer and a radio host on KCRW where he is playing two hours of cool music very week. The man seems to have 48 hours in one day.

But back to 1994. This might be the best music year ever considering the amount of classic albums that were released back then. Google it, there are too many to mention here. But Rollins Band released Weight and had a massive hit on MTV with Liar and a minor hit with Disconnect from that very album.

Produced by Theo Van Rock it is the follow up to The End Of Silence released two years earlier that had almost the same line up apart from the new bass player Melvin Gibbs who had a quite intresting non-rock background. And that might have been contributing to the grooviness and new heaviness of Weight.

Rollins has never been afraid to mix things up musically. Black Flag had it's jazzy moments and with Rollins Band he really streched it on Weight. Tracks like Fool and Wrong Man is more of a groove affair than a bone crushing punk rock attack. But the cracking of bones is present in stuff like Civilize and Icon. And in Volume 4 in which Rollins Band turns into that monster of the riff honouring its name with Henry screaming his lungs out.

I love this album because of it's diversity and nonconformist attitude. And it is the high point of Henry Rollins creativity as a musician in my book. I listen to this album today and it doesn't feel dated or old. The production is as good today as it was back then and the songs are stellar.

-The Void

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bandcamp Bonanza – 4/20 Edition

Well it’s not 4/20 by the time this publishes, but it’s within an acceptable time frame to put that as the title for this round of bonanza fodder at camp. We know those of you that partake in the 420 festivities will be partaking regardless of the date, so cheers and happy day to all of you. The gift that keeps on giving (bandcamp) has given us more awesome albums, literally on a daily basis. Check out these fantastic albums I rummaged up recently.

Fuddge- EP
Based out of Weinsburg, Germany we have this band named Fuddge. It was a challenge getting me to push play initially just based on the name being somewhat silly. They added an extra‘d’ to avoid copyright infringement of your grandma’s baked goods at Christmas. I made the corny analogy anyway in my short review on bandcamp. This self-titled EP absolutely blew my mind when I finally got around and gave it a good listen. Plenty of styles to keep a rock fan happy including bluesy riffs, stonerized vocal howls, and psychedelic grooves aplenty. This thing shows promise like I haven’t seen in a while.

Oozing with heavy blues and glistening with jaw dropping psych, Fuddge soothe the musical craving with a mind bending fuzz fest powdered with sensational atmospherics. Eat this shit up, it's all organic and loaded with lysergic groove. Favorite track: Lilith.

THAL - Glitter
THAL, short for The Heathens Are Loose are comprised of just one man believe it or not. I did not realize that upon purchase, nor until after nearly a dozen listens later reading an interview on the blog page Metal Nexus here talking with the mastermind Vince Green about the project. Anyhow, whether or not you read the cool interview you should make sure and find some time to listen to this album. It played on repeat for almost a full week upon discovery and still gives me that love and feeling like the first time the burning riffs and intoxicating vocals graced my speakers. Below my mini-review starts off with a line from one of the songs, just letting you know. I just couldn’t resist getting weird. The album is amazing in every sense of the word.

This is your homework Larry. The fucking Heathens Are Loose with a wildly melodic fuzz, pile driven with savage distortion and sensational groove. Favorite track: Whistleblowers.

Red Scalp - Rituals
Rituals summons a combination of heavy worth telling your friends about. Red Scalp rock hard, there is not much more to say than that. Great accessible vocals, gargantuan riffs with beefy hooks and doomy atmosphere keep you intrigued throughout each of its lengthy songs. Well done guys, well fucking done!!

Rituals is a healthy dose of Native American desert rock straight outa Poland! The vocals cry with dreamy reverb as the colossal riffs concoct a spiritual groove. The doom length songs are weighted with sludgy girth but balanced with a stamina fit for a heavy stoner rock connoisseur.

Red Sun Cult – Red Sun Cult
Red Sun Cult stole the show one day while venturing into the stoner/psych/blues territory of camp. This one definitely has more of a jammy psych factor to it tripping out with extended instrumental intros before absolutely exploding with searing vocals rasping like a punk rocker lost in the desert.

“The guitar solos glow like a starlit sky on acid, the fuzzy riffs warm like a garage lined with shag, and the latent punk energy lingers effortlessly taking on the form of the heavy blues dressed in tie-dye. The riffs are endless and the psych factor is immense.”

Don’t pass this one up; join the cult, the Red Sun Cult.

 -The Huntsman

Friday, April 29, 2016

Holy Grove - S/T

I’ve become aware of a trend towards sabbathy, melodic, heavy stoner-doom bands with female singers lately.  Had the stoner-doom scene not always been so utterly male-dominated, I might not have noticed… but, you know, it was. 

As such, it’s impossible not to take note of the recent emergence of bands like Windhand, Ruby the Hatchet, and Holy Grove, all of whom are female-fronted, and all of whom fucking slay.

Holy Grove brings something interesting to the table, in that the tones are thick and sludgy, while the riffs shift back and forth from contemporary doominess to almost classic rock-esque at times. 

Recorded by Billy Anderson, this actually doesn’t feel like a Billy Anderson record – and by that I mean he didn’t do that thing that wrings a Melvin-esque sound out of every band he works with.  Maybe it’s been a while since I listened to Billy’s work, or maybe he took a gentler approach with someone who clearly has their own vibe and didn’t necessarily need that Anderson crunch to sound thick and heavy on tape. 

The vocal question, to me, has the potential to be pretty polarizing:  would this record and band sound as good with a male vocalist?  In other words, should it be worth mentioning the vocals for their female distinctiveness? 

I guess it depends where you stand on the whole political correctness issue.  I mean, we agree that we have a black president, right?  We don’t have to tiptoe around that?  So then, we can agree to discuss the merits of the vocals in gender-free terms while acknowledging that it’s indeed a woman belting them out.  Agreed?

I like what she’s doing.  It’s not the elastic operatic thing that some female metal singers do, nor is it the breathy, Mazzy Star-possessed by demons thing.  She’s just letting it rip, God of Rock style.  Or, Goddess of Rock, I mean.  Whatever.  It works.  It rocks.

If you like your Windhand a little less graveyardy, your Ruby the Hatchet a bit more seismic, and your stoner rock a few ounces less testosterone-fueled… or you just want to hear a quality fucking stoner-doom record, then check out Holy Grove’s debut full-length.  Available now here.

— MeteorJadd

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blackwitch Pudding – Betty Kougar/Herman The Worm Man

Blackwitch Pudding are back with this new 7” release, and they've brought along a special guest, Soul Wizard, to belt out some vocals. I don't want to give away too much, but if you're a fan of Witch Mountain, especially the last few albums, I think you'll recognize Soul Wizard pretty easily. This is definitely a collaboration made in heaven. Or hell, depending on your perspective.

There are just two songs on offer here, but man are they good ones. Both songs are about pretty despicable characters. Herman the Worm Man, especially, will make your skin crawl. If you know this band from previous releases, you know that they blend some very tasty heavy music with some tongue in cheek, often very funny lyrics. These tracks are no different. You can look at the titles and figure out what the songs are about, but you will still get a kick out of the lyrics, and fortunately they are sung very clearly and distinctly so you get full value.

Don't mistake this for some kind of joke or parody release, though. There is some serious heaviness going on in the music. These guys get lumped into doom or stoner rock a lot, but they seem to me to be a good, solid, heavy rock band. Just because the subject matter is a little over the top doesn't mean there is some Weird Al stuff going on here. If you enjoy heavy music then you will dig this little taste of the Pudding.


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