Friday, September 28, 2012

...Tracks LIST + two songs on streaming: CULT OF OCCULT "HIC EST DOMUS DIABOLI"

Whatever might think a part of the french scene, by jealousy or  lack of discernment, by sympathy or perceptiveness (depending on the camp you choose), CULT OF OCCULT is THE french revelation of 2012 (along with HUATA but to me those were more on the 2011 millesime, it's just that their album took a long while to came out)... Provocative and not original at all for some, terribly infectious and immensely  heavy  for others, those nasty guys are perfectly in phase with their time and the actual tendencies towards vicious and blackened variations of Sludge/Doom.
One important aspect also is that they know how to make the buzz on their name with an efficient and devilisly malicious way of communication; original or not is not the problem for me, I do like their sound simply, without any second thought and have much respect for what they already did in just about one year...
C.O.O.  entered the studio again this summer for what is gonna be their 1st full length album afer a nice introductive mini album as debut and judging by both songs below the band deliberately hammers it in !
First by the duration of the songs which last averagely about 14-15 minutes, but also with a neat development in heaviness and deepness while being always very heady.... though don't expect much variations, melodies or whatever, it's just more crushing !
There's a real work on the moods, more frightening and heady, pushed in their most sensible extremities...
slightly less filthy to my ears (though still far more than 95% the actual Sludge bands !) but way more heavy and infectious than their early days; yes that's possible and this fuckin' rules .
I don't pretend, neither do they, that this band reinvented the wheel, but fuck NO these guys aren't in my opinion just simple amp-worshippers too influenced by Weedeater and Bongripper, this album will definitely prove it muthas ;)

Here's the tracks list of "HIC EST DOMUS DIABOLI" :

3.OPUS AD ODIO 10:59
4.DCLXVI 02:52
5.REQUIEM 11:24

The whole album will be available on STREAMING in November and at this occasion 5 codes will be given for immediate exclusive download , watch out for this sickos !!! The band is actually looking for a label to release "HIC EST DOMUS DIABOLI", so I think a physical release should not be expected before the first months of 2013...

New shirts are available from their bigcartel while the Hammerheart special vynil and Cd editions are of course still available too...

...Please Donate, Support the BENEFIT ACTIONS for ED Barnard !!! DOOM needs him

I don't know if many of you have read yesterday's post of ED Barnard entitled "HOMELESS UPDATE : I HAVE BEEN UPGRADED FROM TENTS TO THE BACK SEAT OF CARS TO CRACK HOTEL"...
This is a real desolation :(  I think none can really imagine the disarray in which he is actually (and for quite some time certainly) ; one should think about his personn (not just hard materially but also  for your dignity and self-esteem...), his family, health and the very precarious material conditions they're actually in.
This situation for us little frenchies (and a part of Europeans) seems surrealistic, here we're so mothered by a strong and protective social system that even illegal immigrants benefit from more consideration than what Ed is submited to in this critical situation !!!
His fight is far from being finished, that's why if you haven't done it yet you should think about a DONATION in his favour and if you have already donate but can afford it a new time, don't hesitate to add a few more bux in his pocket ! that's what I'm gonna do willingly...
Of course we miss him (even if there's some activity back again on Doommantia) because this guy  constantly breathes DOOM and supports the scene like no others with respect and passion; as a Doom fan I miss DOOMMANTIA, for all the infos and good stuff provided,  but also as a blogger too cause this is a major LOCOMOTIVE that creates a healthy competition... 
Even if his blog activities are certainly essential for him, I think that first the most important is to preserve the Barnard's family integrity...
To cope the money problems that many people can have to face when speaking about direct DONATIONS, some devoted guys have had the great idea to organize special actions like a benefit GIG or COMPILATION and that is effectively cool to support him either one or both this ways, even if not immediate, it should help more consequently in the end and mobilize more people for sure, INCLUDING YOU !!!
This is the awesome list of bands for the Ed "Doomantia" Barnard benefit COMPILATION. This thing is gonna rock so many asses! remember to keep a little piece of your next salary for it and watch out for all necessary infos soon (the man behind this is Joe Horne from COMPEL)

Order of the Owl
Switchblade Jesus
War Iron
Iron Man
Screaming Mad Dee and Alex Vanderzeeuw
Wizard's Beard
Bastard of the Skies
The Departure
Low Gravity
At Devil Dirt
In the Company of Serpents
Hollow Leg
War Injun
Dope Flood
Heathen Bastard
There's also a GIG organized (by JB from WAR INJUN) to ED's benefit, in a couple of weeks in Knoxville (MD) with a killer line-up here again :
Donate here and/or  support the Benefit Actions !!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

... follow the smoke : GOYA demo

Some may argue about the often used addition of Doom to Stoner when trying to describe a sound that takes influences in both styles, but it's sometimes something inevitable, especially when weedy smoke and nastiness surround to make the mix raw and fatty !!! Yes, GOYA is one of those good examples of what a mix from Stoner and Doom can give when the most representative caracters of each are blended ultimately.
It's not  too hard to imagine that the major influences of this cool trio from Phoenix are ELECTRIC WIZARD and ST VITUS... this is awesomely infectious for a 1st recording, a demo (yes there's still bands that humbly call their first recording a demo !) which contains 5 songs and has a very particular sound that fits well with their stoned out and crushing climax.
This sounds like a demo indeed, in its noble sense... certainly needs to be matured but is very promising, a bit like the ELDER demo material which was very much influenced by SLEEP but a solid beginning to a carreer that took off rather quickly...
There's that garage feeling which values a little punchy edge in some parts but the tempo is generally of  relentless fuzzy headiness that envelopp the overall in a kind of nebulous atmosphere and despite the sometimes too pronounced E.W.  touches, this is really attractive and addictive too !!! Yet I think this roughness in the production doesn't always serve the vocals, especially in the most hauting moments of "Mourning Sun" and "Night Creeps" where there's a lack of emphasis in the mournful tone but otherwise I think they are good in all other terms. 
This latter song (the last in fact) is the epic peak (!) of this debut, 11 minutes with a devilishly heavy riff, twisted screaming solos, there's doomed sickness here and the rythmic section more than anywhere else displays a hitting heaviness that is badass. Finally this ploding piece  ends with hallucinated feedback that Chandler's wouldn't renounce... a brilliant end really that leaves a good taste for more listenings !
GOYA has definitely that something which allows to predict them a bright future, conditionned by completely succeeding to get over their influences and find the right balance in their sound to keep it raw but more valued in its tight execution...
Now smell and enjoy this aptly named link ;) :

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

... BAD BOAT "lonely doom"

If you dig Howlin' Widow, who have also been featured on these pages, and singer Tom Clarke's aggressive timbre in particular, you might want to know what he did before joining that band, namely fronting Bad Boat, a similarly ill-fated bunch that was founded in 2002 and disbanded in 2009. This four track re-release of their final effort most notably features a live rendition of seminal Psych-outift Spirit's "Mechanical World" from 1968, but is an overall appealing affair.

The opening title track features guest singer Jason Hendry and comes across as a raw midtempo riffer with admonishing vocals of a strikingly expressive variant, yet doesn't sound pretentious. Halfway through, Bad Boat quickly kick out their jams and offer a gripping finish with a short but effective solo. The veritable hookline ("baby, it's only lonely doom") makes it a complete success.

The mentioned cover tune is not much heavier than the real thing (as one could have expected) and pays respect to Randy California's composition, which means that guitarist Graeme Heyburn engages in melodic playing mostly while Clarke likely reaches a peak in his singing career. Bad Boat succeed in maintaining the original spirit of … uh, Spirit, while adding their own sludgy tinge to it, so it is not the mere choice of this track that speaks of their class.

Clocking in after around eight minutes, "Lucky To Be Breathing" can be called the band's epic. After a moody intro with tasty guitar fade-ins, it misleads the listener with Wah-driven swell, but no - the expected outburst doesn't materialize. Instead, the focus stays on the vocals until Heyburn directs his floating riffs towards dynamic heights. At its moderate sonic climax, the arrangements ebb away rather slowly, giving you time to breathe after this lengthy but convincing display of emotion.

B-side closer "Uphill Struggle" follows along the lines of the A-side opener, probably pushing the band closer to traditional Doom in the vain of St. Vitus than any other of the songs. Here just as elsewhere on this EP, the appeal lies in the no-frills live setting (recordings mastered by James Plotkin), and it's impressing how the group unifies a tight performance with feeling as well as attitude in a way that sounds totally natural. Again, dedicated label Freak Flag issues a piece of wax for lovers of bands that have fallen by the wayside, be it justly so or not. In any event, Bad Boat have been no innovators, but musicians doing their thing without aiming at a particular scene and begging to belong - which is more than many of those still around can claim for themselves.

... Experience the mournful climates of THE COLD VIEW "weeping winter"

Here's a very particular project coming from Germany. THE COLD VIEW is indeed a one-man band which goal on this debut album was to create one song per month aligned to the concept of a winter album... This includes  5 songs created/composed between November 2011 and March 2012 : EMPTY, DARK, GREY, FREEZING and MOURNFUL, these are the adjectives that precede each month constituting this interesting menu (from "Empty November" to "Mournful March").

Beyond words, musical facts show that the winter's theme is aptly retranscribed through the emotionnal expression of Andreas feelings and nature experiences. Oriented on FUNERAL DOOM, the sound of THE COLD VIEW is very droning and bass-driven; no guitars here, just drums programming and ambient sounds  added in this  dark and depressed journey.
Vocals sound sometimes like a mix between Winter and Disembowelment in a more raw and primitive manner; even if that kind of depressive growls have their limits, there's solid abilities here on that point.
With a pretty good production, the songs clock averagely at about 7 minutes which isnt' too long for the style. From the first notes of "Empty November" the scene is totally freezing and desperate, there's not a progressive dive into the season, the grasping terror is immediate !  Just the last song  "mournful march" which lasts over 12 minutes is a  bit different, slightly less oppressive, though don't expect to vision spring flowers at the end !
Despite the different ambient samples from song to song, I feel there's not enough variations in the moods, at least not as much as those adjectives were suggesting it... With more creative perspectives and maybe the coming of one or two colleagues, this could be next time more consistent and then become a striking beast, an affair to follow with attention because this debut is still something worth of  experience if your into harsh Funeral stuff ! Download "Weeping Winter" for FREE from one of those sites :

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

... BEAUMONT LIVINGSTON "heavens and fantaisies"

After GUSTNADO and D.S.W. recently presented here, let me now introduce you to another Stoner band from Italy :  BEAUMONT LIVINGSTON !!! Those 4 guys recently released their debut album "Heavens and Fantasies", another DIY effort that would deserve some label's support...
Where most of the actual Stoner bands take influence in Kyuss or Sleep, what we've got here is pretty different, not as burning and/or weedy, although compact and powerful...  In fact  I would put BEAUMONT LIVINGSTON closer to the early years of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, both musically and vocally wise !!!
And I think that's a cool direction, a bit far from the clichés in force actually. Combined moderately with polished elements, it’s got the dose of heaviness and groove and enough rock n’ roll attitude to drive you the whole way through bobbing your head.
All songs, even the slower ones, have a quite heavy undertone effect and tracks like "this night isn't over yet" and "Silence" have that intricate twist that can keep them fully interesting even if knocking at over 6 or 7 minutes...
This is an album that I would recommend to anyone who likes refined Heavy/Stoner Rock; BEAUMONT LIVINGSTON made an interesting debut, but some more development and variety will be needed next time if they want to  break much ground in the future - which they have assuredly the potencial for !

... HOWLIN' WIDOW - 7''

When you are reading this, Belfast's Howlin' Widow have long since called it a day, so this single is a posthumous release of material that has not seen the light of day so far. Hailing from Belfast the band was deeply entrenched in Seventies Rock and thus maybe a bit ahead of their time with respect to the recent wave of all things retro. Listening to these two songs, it's easy to pigeonhole the four-piece with Sweden's current media darlings Graveyard, for there are several similarities.

Both "Exorcised Accidental" and "Son Shine" are on the same level in that they are based on characteristical pentatonic (yet not moronic) riffs, the latter track being maybe a tad more bluesy than the A-side. The production sounds fittingly anachronistic, but not as if done in a garbage bin, as heard especially on records from recent bandwagoners stressing their "authenticity". Guitarists Jason Hendry and Gary Spence spice it up with playful licks, but the overall impression Howlin' Widow make is one of effective simplicity: The songs are king, and their hypnotic, with respect to the singing manic quality is appealing.

One could reason the band existed in a bubble with neither much support nor a proper surrounding to get their music across (while today, Northern Ireland is proud of a budding Stoner and Classic Rock scene), but anyway: Though not delivering anything spearheading, this single reeks sounds and looks like a labour of love - thanks to the label - and should appeal to all who feel they've been born too late.
- 7" on Transparent Red 70gm vinyl w/ insert. Hand numbered, ltd 250 copies. Released Oct 2012 -
words by Andreas Schiffmann

Monday, September 24, 2012

... follow blindly "The Paths to Charon" - SKANSKA MORD -

Not as hardly pronounceable as the recently reviewed finnish band Gniyrg Gnaarg but still with a name that sounds mysteriously scandinavian, here's SKANSKA MORD, coming from Sweden and delivering their sophomore album "Paths to Charon"...
Hum... not that mysterious in fact, as this name is a reference to a local  TV serie that was relating about old murders comitted in this swedish land called Skane (thanx Michael Olofsson for the infos !). Knowing this and refering to the gloomy cover of the album, you could then expect something fierce and utterly dark, which would be a real mistake... !
First, let me remember you that this follower to their debut "the Last Supper" is (again) released on Small Stone recordings, an excellent label which obviously likes it HEAVY but is more reckoned for warm, melodic and earthy sounds than some bleak and vicious stuff !
From the first notes of "Dark Caves of our Mind", it won't take you too long to notice that SKANSKA MORD is indeed bringing to the table a sound that drips influences such as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Cream, Black Sabbath, Mountain.... with plenty of heavy guitar riffs - more bluesy and snappy than psychedelic and jamming- , pounding rythms, swirling and harmonious solos. If this had to be affiliated to Stoner, then this is to my ears an approach that could remind Spiritual Beggars, meaning no Metal hints, nor Hippie orientations (which doesn't prevent to sound firmly 70's and slightly psyche...)
Compared to their solid but maybe a bit too timid and classic debut, a prompted work has been matured on the composition and production with a more powerful overall and more varied soundscapes at the same time. Just as example the songs "Lord of Space and Time" and "the Ambassadeur" introduces some stunning Doomy parts, it's nice how then the band's sound gets heavier and darker while keeping its groovy sense of melodies.
Where this was already unappropriated on their debut, I hope that  the  unrelenting  vocals of Janne Bengtsson will now be preserved from any akward comparison with Chris Cornell !? ok his vocals are deep and warm but it can just lead to a false appreciation of the rich extent from his register which is also regularly soulful and earthy like on "a Black Day" or "Addicts", plus uncounsciously or not this could lead to think there's some grunge and/or mainstream hints in here which is absolutely not the case...
The instrumental song "Laggasen" and "Lord of..." (my fave from the album and in my top 3 for THE song of 2013) value a certain taste for some nice progressive structures, both have an epic built edge which bring something more luminous while basically still infectious and bluesy... tasty !
There's certainly not only Witchcraft and Graveyard that deserve attention in the swedish retro-heavy rock scene and this is more than proven here; "Paths to Charon"  is a very very strong concoction of 70's guitar riffs/Heavy rock grooves, full of beautiful melodies that nicely rocks, definitely one of my greatest surprises and fave albums of this year... so now I wisely encourage you to take a deep breath and dive hypnotically into SKANSKA MORD !!!


... soon to be Digitally released : CROWN / S.T. VALLEY split EP !!!

Watch out for this !! 
Digitally released on 10/03/2012, this is a split EP with 2 new and unreleased tracks taken from "The One" session, CROWN's fully acclaimed debut released early this year. 
The band will open  for ZATOKREV special release party on 10th november at mercasino/BASEL(CH) .
Shows in germany are also in progress for the Goddamn Lights Tour 2012 with Zatokrev in november ! 

15.11.2012 + ZATOKREV - AJZ (CHEMNITZ/D)
18.11.2012 + ZATOKREV - TBA - (PRAHA/CZ) 

S.T. Valley is a one man band leaded by Crown's singer. Each song is intended as a ritual, an incantation, an ode to the occult and hidden forces of nature. Between melancholy, mysticism and contemplation, a game of lights and shadows marked by a desire to expose some imprint of the soul.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

... Did he jump or was he pushed? PEACEMAKER's 3 song album sampler

The UK is no stranger to quality metal acts, especially to the practitioners of arguably the purest and most solemn of styles—doom metal. Formed in London in 2010, Peacemaker follows a trajectory firmly established by the progenitors of the genre, which has been upheld by a long line of countless contemporary masters, without becoming shackled to convention. The band has already recorded eight tracks of unrelenting, sludge imbued doom capable of satisfying the most discerning of listeners while at the same time mercilessly stomping out their weak asses. The album sampler culls three tracks from their forthcoming debut and displays the band’s propensity for crafting impossibly heavy, doleful tunes.

The sampler opens with “Dead Man’s Keys”, a dark, mid-paced tune that finds a comfortable balance between lumbering groove and down-tempo plod. The song kicks in with the main riff to grab the listener’s attention before slowing down for Al Osta’s disjointed, spoken word narrative of a man’s ill-prepared descent into debauchery and its fateful consequences. The track picks up again and Al’s voice shifts from devilish commentary to harsh, menacing, sludge soaked shouts accompanied by siren-like lead guitar. The appropriately titled “Sorrow Trip” is another mid-paced tune featuring a main doom riff that is no less infectious as the previous track’s. Again, the vocals are delivered in a spoken world style as opposed to actual singing, but it works. “Sorrow Trip” avoids repetition by devolving into a brief, flanged-out, psychedelic instrumental excursion before resuming the doom. “The Siberian Problem” concludes the three song teaser by kicking in with a ferocious riff and propulsive drumming for the most straight-up metal track of the trinity. Peacemaker avoids monotony by changing up the tempo from the previous tracks and dropping the spoken-word vocals for a more feral, sludge-throated bellow.

As a teaser this album sampler totally works. At just over sixteen minutes there simply isn’t enough, though there is plenty of variety and ass-kicking heaviness on here to drive anticipation levels into the red. If Peacemaker is able to spread their blend of doom, sludge, and metal over the span of eight tracks without losing consistency or originality then they will have managed to create one of the year’s strongest debuts. Fans of Black Magician or Destroyer of Light, both of whom released strong debuts this year, should take note. Download the album sampler for free from Peacemaker’s Bandcamp page before it destroys you…

Words: Steve Miller

Friday, September 21, 2012

... MOS GENERATOR "nomads"

Given that "Nomads" is Mos Generator's first album in five years, it sounds astonishingly relaxed.
The band, which has heaped up quite a pile of records since 2000, seems content with itself, yet not smug, being able to bite but not shying away from a kiss, manifest in the psychedelic "Cosmic Ark", which stumps the listener (who per chance expected the umpteenth Stoner redundancy) relatively early on the album. Drummer Shawn Johnson provides swinging rhythms in an earnest way just as frontman Tony Reed often doubles himself behind the microphone with fragile harmonies.

On the other, harder hitting hand, the pounding "Solar Angels" verges on what is commonly called Classic Rock (as a somewhat redundant genre term) and seems just as epic as the final track "This Is The Gift Of Nature" which clocks in at seven and a half minutes. Here even more than elsewhere on "Nomads", the trio jams it out, but doesn't kill the song. They all would function in an acoustic setting, too, like any good tune does. Consequently for Mos Generator, it's all about dynamic tempo and hummable vocal melodies, as shown in "Can't Get Where I Belong". This track offers the strongest chorus on the record and a monstrous lyric hookline ("don't know where I'm from", rhyming with the title). "For Your Blood" has a Lizzy-esque swing, and the pacing, bluesy "Torches" could come from Wino while "Step Up" fools around nicely with both very fragile and heavy parts.

To refer back to Tony Reed again: The man is no operatic singer - couldn't be for his at times blistering fretwork - but delivers it all: Class and heartblood instead of faux gestures like way to many groups of that stripe; Mos Generator mean it, whether with spirited solos or lyrics worth reading … and with "Lonely One Kenobi", they hand in one of the coolest titles of the year. If you are searching for the top bringers of mean riffery with a large heart: Mos Generator belong to them.

words by Andreas Schiffmann


... C.F.A. "Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God"

The term "Stoner-Core" is a silly one to describe music that makes use of classic Hard Rock riffing and a tinge of rawness manifest in snotty vocals, short songs with simple structures and quite a bit of speed. Enter debutants C.F.A. who are reckless enough to call themselves like this, but other than that make for some pretty entertaining, although not outstanding muzak.

Alabama Thunderpussy and the likes come to mind, only sans Southern Rock, maybe because the trio hails from Tacoma, Washington. In any event, bass player Cody Foster (The band's name means "Cody Foster Army") and guitarist Dave Takata occasionally split up the singing, a fact from which their typecast sound only benefits. Within their well-defined limits, C.F.A. are relatively versatile when it comes to stylistic preferences. "Third Side" harks back to Budgie's seminal "Breadfan" and "Chorus" comes up with the strongest double vocals, just like the somewhat surprising Marley-cover "Iron Lion Zion", as well as a breakneck ending, while "Lost Wisdom" later on keeps thrashing throughout. Solos and leads are used in small but effective doses, since generally, C.F.A. are not about frills, which is probably why they have chosen to apply the thought-terminating cliché-suffix "Core".

Apart from mutilating Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son", the trio bores with "Apple", "Sons Of Soil" and "Holy Colonoscopy", three more or less interchangeable tunes. The latter features admittedly noteworthy lyrics while elsewhere on the record, C.F.A. fall short of impressing with strong content. Therefore, if you're looking for depth, this is not it. Some tracks come across witty, be it "Shake Your Ass" with its dull repetition of just these words, and the more appealing "Shut Up Your Face", but the true highlights are found in the soulful "Built Up Knocked Down" and the dynamic finale "Inhabit".

This is the way these three musos should follow in the future because their alleged crossover is nothing of that kind and has long since fallen flat on its face: C.F.A. are not the first Stoner group that belies the soothing qualities of weed with their vigorous sound. As it is, "Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God" is one of oh so many fire-and-forget-affairs: immediate fun, quick surfeat - and what they lack in originality they make up with energy.

words by Andreas Schiffmann

Thursday, September 20, 2012

... LIVE report HASHCUT / STANGALA / RAMESSES - 18th Sept 2012 Rennes (Fr) -

Several times per year, BLOOD RITES association organize great gigs in Rennes... Last one I saw was highly memorable with Barabbas, The Bottle Doom Lazy Band and The Wounded Kings and I was expecting pretty much from this new one with Hashcut, STANGALA and the revenant RAMESSES after one year of absence on the road. 

I like so much this venue "LE MONDO BIZARRO", the kind of  bar which programms almost all styles of underground music, surviving independantly with faith and dedication, more and more rare but so ESSENTIAL !!! It's also always a true pleasure to meet cool doomsters like the guys of Huata, Antoine from Time To Blast, Maryline and Fernando of Blood Rites of course and a few others.

I'm perfect in time, as the opener HASHCUT first notes ring when I just come in but there's a fair audience already present (about 90) which prevents me to view them correctly and my curiosity doesn't stand that long before I decide to order a bottle of cider and start discussing...  I often need a bit of time to get into the ambiance, this to the detriment of the first bands, especially if I don't know them and sorry but I came for STANGALA and RAMESSES that's fucking all !!! it looks like their gnarly Stoner has convinced a great part of the people present, so I guess it's cool for them.

The wizards from Kemper, STANGALA, start a bit late due, not to the traditional bigouden costume they were wearing but to some technical problems which will unfortunately never be totally resolved.
 Steven plays on a very old little amp and the sound of his guitar is too poor, he still does the job with easiness but sometimes seems a bit tired or stressed (!?) The bassist and Thomas on drums play pretty loud which hide the samples of celtic instruments (pipes), this suffers from a serious problem of balance between the instruments. 
The songs sound good though, mysterious, heavy, with a rather rough psychedelic edge. Fans, including me, can still enjoy "doom rock glazik", "sorcerezed", "bigoudened an diaoul", "bouet tousek has traou mat all" and a couple of other songs from their excellent debut album. There was a great unreleased song too (from the demo period), called "lutin salvia delirium"; watch out for their split album with Stonebirds soon to be released ! Hope to see them again in the future, with better sound results...

The set of RAMESSES will be perfect in all terms, sound included... This was really awesome, a creepy bath in heaviness. Ramesses are not particularly known for the originaility of their riffs but fuck those ones are so hypnotic and extremely crushing ! What I deeply like in this band is their ability to blend a wide variety of doomed sounds, basically Sludge but those regular hints of death, black and even drone make it roughly living and evolutive.

After the departure of Tim Bagshaw, the position of new guitarist (from BONG) looks hesitant, at least very reserved but he seems perfectly in phase with his colleagues musically and that is the most important, anyhow there's Adam who has enough presence, not to forget Mark hammering constantly his drums with a surgical attention ! 

Those guys shred on stage and the fact that the most part of the set is dedicated to "take the curse" (save "the tomb" and "before the jackals") enhance the extreme heaviness of the performance. Is it the sign of a future album that will sound like what remains their referent masterpiece to date (of course I also enjoy "possessed by the rise of magik" but to me it's not as memorable as the 2nd album) ? maybe a part of the answer will be revealed here in a near future ?! I spoke a little moment with Adam before the show and we concluded that I can send him an interview next week after the tour is finished :) ... interview or not, this guy is really cool and a terrific growler too ! 

This has been another excellent evening in Brittany's capital, thanx to Blood Rites and the bands; next gig for me there should be Doctor Cyclops in December, other good moments in perspective... \m/

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

...Essential + Exclusive !!! Ron (Ice Dragon) interviews Jon from PILGRIM

When Ron from ICE DRAGON told me last week that he had just sent some questions to his buddy Jon Rossi from PILGRIM for an interview in T.O.P., I thought this was a fuckin' cool initiative !!!Naturally Ron knew he had complete latitude to lead it as he wanted and shit he did it fuckin' well, original and funny... As you'll quickly see, for a change, there's no place here for seriousness, no debate on the future of traditional doom (which PILGRIM is yet perpetuating... check out their masterpiece of slow classic Doom "Misery Wizard" !), no commentaries on their recent 1st European dates or next Roadburn, no projections on the next 5th albums ... but there's still a wagon of ESSENTIAL informations that you've never heard about ;) after all, don't you think that such good moments and thoughts -salacious or not - shared by two great friends, isn't it just that la belle vie ?!!!
A huge thanx to you Ron and Jon for what follows and all the best to you guys \m/

HAIL!! Have at thee sons of bitches! What say ye?!
-Hails you filthy mother fucker. I'm too high to die!

On a weekday, how many bowel movements do you normally have? Do you like to have one before shows sometimes? I had a great one last night.
-Personally, I've leveled myself out at a healthy two per day, one in the morning after a hearty breakfast and another right after my dinner as finished slipping
and sliding through mine intestines. The Soothsayer spends at least 4 or 5 hours a day perched upon the porcelin throne, dry heaving and deficating at an alarming rate. His screams of pleasure can be heard echoing through the hallowed halls of his domain. Krolg, on the opposite end of the spectrum, has earned the moniker of "Shit Camel". He purposely holds his shit in for days at a time compiling meal after meal worth of feces in his bowels. No one knows why he practices such a bizarre defication ritual. Perhaps it has been passed down through his lineage for many
generations. Wherever he goes he is constantly farting and moaning and he ALWAYS smells like shit... ALWAYS.

What is your favorite donut(s)?
-I think I speak on behalf of the band when I say Boston Cream. You can't go wrong with a standard glazed though, and I think everyone can get down on a chocolate. Ooooh, and powdered jelly. There aren't many donuts we wouldn't eat. At Halloween we gorge on the black ones with orange sprinkles.

Hey remember that time The Wizard thought there was grey poop everywhere?
-There WAS grey poop everywhere, and it came from the asscheeks of your cat.

Do you find that Count Elric the Soothsayer cock blocks you guys a lot since he’s so sexy with his shirt off all the time? Like you’re trying to hit on some dude and he comes over and ruins it? Know what I mean?

-You'd be surprised. Elric is usually too drunk to speak coherantly to his prey and will scare them off by babbling about literature. It's for these reasons that he typically resorts to rape or kidnapping for his sexual urges. Krolg and I are sexual godsends. Simply put, we are absolutely irresistable to every walk of life, men, women, hermaphrdytes, asexuals, various flor and fauna, even innanimate objects have mysteriously wound up in our buttholes when we wake in the morning. There is nothing that ever stops us from plunging our cocks into willing recipients.

If you could make any kind of sandwich you wanted RIGHT NOW, then what would it be?
-Hmm... Italian sub. Ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, oil and vinegar and a light application of mayo. It's always better when you add an obscure Italian meat into the fray. I'm a big fan of prosciutto.

Phil Collins? I’m having a sugared jelly, those are my favorite.
-Nobody cares what kind of donuts you like, this is OUR interview. You've got some nerve.

You guys are all pretty small young lads. Do you have any dirty magazines at all? Or is that something you never had because you grew up with the internets all the time 24/7?

-We've never owned any porno mags. We all grew up with internet access and we've all masterbated furiously on it for as long as we can all remember. We've never had to jerk it to the Sears Catalog like you, Uncle Ron.
We consider ourselves very very lucky, AND spoiled. When we were younger we used to watch Japanese Hentai cartoons, but now that we're older we've moved on to beastiality (Elric), tranny porn (Krolg) and snuff asphixiation (myself). And it HAS to be anal, that softcore pussy vaginal stuff just doesn't cut it anymore.

Here’s a question from Joe: "Pilgrim, what is your favorite beer at the moment? Also, if you would, please construct your favorite pizza for us... what toppings would you choose? Also, how good are steak and cheese subs?"

-All three of us like Wychwood's HOBGOBLIN, it's the best fucking beer of all time. I also enjoy IPA Stone. The one with the badass demon on it. We like dark,
heavy beers. The other night I had a Newport Storm Blueberry Ale, that ruled. (Thanks Casey, so nice!)
A classic pizza that PILGRIM can all agree on is Hawaiian with banana peppers. So fucking good. We also like taco pizza. Oh yeah, and this monstrosity called
the Couch Potato. It's like a baked potato with sour cream and melted cheese on top of a pizza. It's fucking insane man. It makes you full after one piece.
Steak and cheese rules.

IT’S A TRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!?
-Nee Jabba no badda.
Do you guys wipe sitting down, or standing up?
-Sitting down, like men.

Jon and Ron

How does it feel being the first all gay doom band from the US? Does it make things more difficult for you at home? Or do you find that most
people are cool with it?
-Being gay isn't a choice for us, it's a lifestyle, a vision, a gift and a curse. It's a double-edged sword. There is something about men that just drives us wild, how they smell, their greasy skin, their hairy arms and legs, they just drive us wild. Luckily for us, being homosexual has allowed to have intercourse with some of our favorite musicians! We've fucked every member of Ice Dragon, me and Angus from Maine's HESSIAN have been in a long distance relationship for years now, and every time we roll through New York, the guys from NATUR are always waiting for us with their buttholes open.

Isn’t John from Bearhug’s beard really great too? Sometimes I think it would be fun to use it as a towel after washing my face or something. Am I right?
-That dude is rad. He is one of the coolest looking people ever. He looks like a wizard. I love wizards. Both John and Charlie from BEARHUG are amazing dudes
and their band had a huge influence and impression on us when I was in highschool. I remember listening to "Griffon Duke" while tripping on acid in my bedroom with my friend Chris and being like "Dude, this is fucking amazing." What a great band, I wish everyone knew who they were. If you guys are reading this, hurry the fuck up and record some more music! Come on dudes, your band is so good!
-Thanks for shooting the shit with us Uncle Ron, we love you. Tell Sam, Hotei and Werner that we love them too. Let's get drunk and break stuff again soon.

I hope that this 1st chapter will be followed by many other Artist to Artist INTERVIEWS... starting by Grant Netzorg (ITCOS) interviewing his buddies from FISTER within the next days ! don't hesitate to submit yours ;)

... WAR IRON "the Fifth and Final Sun"

Belfast quartet War Iron offers up four more or less lengthy songs of twin-bass sludge on this, their second album. Yes, there are actually no guitars to be heard in this band, as it was decided six strings did't sound heavy enough, so you are right to expect a rather bleak affair when it comes to harmonie, at least with respect to the opening eight minutes of "Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum", a kind of minimal sludge with bile-spitting vocals that seem to follow no lyrics at all. The recognition value tends towards nil, the effect is everything: galling, apalling, apocalyptic.

Given that the group consists of ex-members from the charming Fuckhammer and The Naut, it is clear that their brand of doom is fed by a healthy dose of Hardcore. This doesn't mean War Iron add any uptempo parts to their bleak brew, but a distinctive groove which turns "The Place Where the Silent Ones Kill" into a little … well, "hit" in the sense that the two distorted basses make for a remarkably hooky motif, added to by growler baggy, who snarls along in unison. Clocking in at almost ten minutes however, the song is still too long, as the musicians meagre creative input doesn't justify drawing it out that long.

"(Crossing) The Sacred Tree" paces along in an almost droning way, as the bass riffs tend to consists of long notes, and again what Baggy blurts out seems to be irrelevant. The best thing here is a stomping interlude followed by a vividly low and sawing theme that is thickened by synthesizer lines. Once more, all this is rather atmospheric than a display of vibrant songwriting - the more so "Black Fleet", a quarter hour beginning with French words spoken by a female accompanied by one of those totally interchangeable riffs soon to be forgotten. The arrangement is getting more dense and busy (relatively spoken), but honestly, the only attention-gripper here is the return of that woman's voice as well as, once more, the synth-sounding noise, which in all likelihood stems from bass effects.

In the end, what these Irishmen do is cater to legions of sludge-hungry listeners for whom individuality and musical substance are less important than bands being truthful to their stuffy scene. As far as the latter goes, War Iron deliver, starting with their doom-pastiche name and surely not ending with "The Fifth and Final Sun", a record as good as any if you are into the noisy, ugly side of all things distorted. Would I crave to put this on again more than, say, age-old EyeHateGod albums? No.

words by Andreas Schiffmann

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

... the masters of Texas RIFFage are back : WO FAT "the Black Code"

There has been a lot of STONER bands featured in the blog over the past weeks, some good surprises, some others just average and/or pretty unoriginal...  Listening to the new 4th album of  WO FAT puts you necessarily in the highest category, the kind of band that helps reviving the flame when you feel ponderosity coming;  no disappointment possible, the menu is  guaranted full of sheer heaviness, bluesy groove and blistering psychedelism  !!!
What is each time delightful with this awesome trio is their fantastic heaviness, always valued equally (which means immensely !) despite a constant evolution from album to album with an evergrowing musical interaction and development on a  "keep it authentic sonically" basis.

"The Black Code" contains five songs, like for "Noche del Chupacabra", and is the first release of the band for Small Stone records, a relation that should be harmonious and this time made to last... Where this last album was particularly swampy and cryptic, this new one still evokes the obscure but is accentuated in the mysterious and unknown, reaching a cosmic dimension (not just suggested by the amazing cover!).
WO FAT favor more than ever grooviness and 70's inspired fuzzy jams and this quickly gives the neat impression that you've got here a real grower, each listening revealing more in depth subtle running bass lines, thunderous drums or mindblowing riffage.
Songs like "the black code" and the wonderful closer "sleep of the black lotus" are avalanches of mindblowing psychedelia and heaviness mixed together. Vocals are warm and gritty, perfectly in tune with a top-notch musicianship.
"hurt at gone" has a nice boogie southern touch which if necessary reminds that those guys come from Texas and have learnt out a lot from the high voltaged Heavy Rock of the late 70's.
The 4th song "the shard of leng" is a bit different from the rest, maybe not as unbridled and exciting at first, the band explores  new galactic horizons in its first part which is a great breath in this burning journey, then it  growes on you with rising tension and heaviness to end with some heady and amazing fuzziness.
WO FAT likes it heavy, in  a stunning fluidity, full of twists and turns that regularly make you wonder if those guys are effectively a trio or a quintet !!!  in that sense they could sometimes remind an heavier and doomier cousin of The Atomic Bitchwax.
It's certainly "Noche del Chupacabra" that convinced the Roadburn team to make WO FAT a leading guest at next edition, but I'm sure that "The Black Code" confirms even beyond their expectations that their performance will be one of the highlights of 2013 ! Now let's hope that a proper European tour is planed too, so that not just a too limited number of privileged fans can experience live this fabulous band... I vote firmly for an ELDER / WO FAT european tour next April, this would be the most exciting package imaginable !!!

... FEUERZEUG "Dead Wahines and Tsunamis" - album review -

The legacy of Kyuss has stretched far and  wide, their vast, sun-baked riffery touching the hearts and minds of millions across the globe. Switzerland’s Feuerzeug are evidently no stranger to the desert rock sound, and their second record finds them tuning down and grooving along with a righteous enthusiasm for their craft, even if their imagination doesn’t quite match up to their energy levels.

There are some fine riffs on offer here, with ‘Landkreuzer’ churning out a number of belters that sound like Queens Of The Stone Age strung out on bath salts and ‘Evel Knievel Has Kissed the Devil’ tucking into a funky little groove that brings to mind Brant Bjork’s more laidback excursions. The drummer’s tight double kick fills accentuate the stoner rock riffs nicely, making them seem fresh and energetic. The vocalist almost sounds like Ingmar from Beehoover attempting his best John Garcia impression over a slightly temperamental phone line. He does a good job for the most part, despite a few slightly too saccharine choruses rearing their heads from time to time.

Unfortunately the band aren’t able to maintain their momentum throughout the entire album, and seeing as the record stands at a good 70 minutes it feels as though they should have exercised a bit more quality control. There are a couple of clichéd moments that sound a little tired, like the not-as-adrenalin-pumping-as-it-wants-to-be pseudo raucousness of ‘Nitroghostcar’, but for every dud they throw out, the band manage to win back the listener’s favour with some muscular fuzz worship and, towards the latter half of the record, more spacious and colourful jams (check out the angular, Soundgarden-esque riffs and extended psychedelic coda in the album’s lengthy centrepiece ‘Release The Kraken’). It’s here where the band really shine, with the hazy climax of ‘Kometa’ standing tall as a firm highlight.

An earnest combination of QOTSA riffery with Fu Manchu-style grooves and the occasional Kyuss psych session, ‘Dead Wahines and Tsunamis’ is a record that’s impossible to dislike but hard to love. Desert rock junkies will have a blast cranking this up with some beers and buds during BBQ season, but the band have some work to do before they’re able to scale the same transcendental heights as their idols. On the basis of this album though, they’re certainly on the right path.
 - words by Kez Whelan -