Wednesday, July 31, 2013

... NZ Sludge Terror : MOSQUITO CONTROL "Destroyed Beyond Redemption"

After Stone Angels and Shallow Grave featured in these pages some time ago, here's now MOSQUITO CONTROL, another recommendable band from New Zealand  !!! This duo from Auckland has recently released its debut album "Destroyed Beyond Redemption" via Mordgrimm rds, a label from UK reknown to release great stuff (Primitive Man, Balam, Lychgate, Huata...) and this one makes no exception - that's already said ! 

The influences mentioned speak for themselves : Burning Witch, Khanate, St Vitus (basically the most prominent for the misery drenched fuzziness), Noothgrush, Winter and Thergothon... A killer blend of Sludge, Doom and Funeral stuff, extremely slow, dirty and loud with a certain emphasis on a kind of eerie post-apocalyptic nothingness , just fed by avenging forces ! 

The production is raw and the mix full of distortion - like the guys certainly expected it to sound. "Coda" reflects this perfectly, this is the longest piece of the album (14 mns) deliberately meant to aggress your ears and senses; sinister and torturous, it starts in a kind of Winter-ish weird dirge, progressively gains in intense insanity, to end in a wall of noise and distortion, suffocating as rarely - with guarenteed effect to turn a bunch of wimps off ! 

Half plodding and ominous, half punishing and hammering,  the tone is rough and vicious, with excruciatingly filthy vocals... Lyrically and identity wise, MOSQUITO CONTROL succeed here in creating some of the sickest atmospheres outside a weedy, horror or evil  context (at least apparently) which is cool and (dare I say) fresh, just harsh reality with slow pace and doomed terror shall remain ! No doubt, this "Destroyed Beyond Redemption" is one of the best surprises of 2013 in the crudest SLUDGE departments, get your copy before it's too late...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

... scaled hallucinogenic bird train : an Interview with TALBOT !!!

Russian post-office works even slower than Austrian band Jack Frost works over new full-length album , sometimes it’s more simple to ride wherever you need and take whatever you want by yourself! So what could I do when I badly need new CD and cool t-shirt of fantastic Estonian post doom band TALBOT? That’s right – that was my first visit to Tallinn, I took a bus, and I did 6 hours way and bought merch straight from Jarmo Nuutre (vocals, drums, programming). By the way it was a chance to finish our interview, so we’ve done it. Read and enjoy absorbing knowledge of phantasmagoric revelations! Jarmo and Magnus Andre (bass, synth, vocals) are coming in our virtual Temple.

Hail men! Please accept my late congratulations with final release of Talbot’s new album “Scaled”! What are you doing right now to promote new stuff?
Magnus: Thanks! At this moment we're resting and preparing for our upcoming tours. Also we're gonna release our first Lp very soon, in July.
Jarmo: Yep, new tours are in works indeed.
And I'm also finishing the new album of my electronic outfit Blood Pavilion. Album will be out on August 1st.

“Scaled” album sounds totally fresh and powerful, it is full of dynamic, it’s full of life. Yet, songs titles are dealing with dark side of being – specters, shadows and hallucinations. What kind of images did you put in your songs?
M: Yeah, dreamy and surreal mood have been always a part of our lyrics. They are kind of supporting the overall heavy wall of sound, putting a new layer of psychedelia in it.

How often does your vision of Talbot concur with visions of your listeners?
M: Surprisingly often, as I can read from feedback we get.

I have doubts that such band as Talbot has any obstacles with producing it’s album via some respected label. Why did you haste with release of “Scaled” in DIY style? Are you going to another world-wide tour and need to have Cds to spread?
M: Actually, producing by ourselves seems to be the easiest way at this moment. Since we don't have any deal with labels, that is the only way to spread our music.
J: We have no interest in waiting for something top happen. It's easier just to do it, not to sit around and hope that maybe some day…..

Your previous work “EOS” was re-release once or twice, but didn’t you think to do vinyl edition as this glorious format became only more popular with time?
M: You're right. Just in that time we did not make it financially. But we're gonna do this afterwards, in near future, for sure.
J: If the stars align right, then maybe even this year. If not, then later.

It took 3 years to start and finish this second full-length, did you have a kind of artistic crisis? Or do you see no need to write music regularly collecting your experience carefully through the time to embody it in Talbot’s songs?
M: Actually we just didn't have any time to deal with writing because there was quite much touring between. And also I was living outside homeland for a while. The writing process took about a year to finish.
J: We had some bits and pieces actually in 2011 already...

The album’s production is perfect; I can sense every curve of every riff. What is your secret of such high quality?
M: Hmm.. well thanks! As a record producer I just don't do any discount to my work.
The sound must be good, but organic, even if it's not perfectly played, it should remain it's groove. I'm personally not a big fan of modern over-produced and polished metal-sound.

I guess that such question may sound as insult if we speak about Talbot, but let us clarify that moment – are you free of concrete influences of other modern bands? Talbot is self-sufficient formation, you walk your own path but a whole direction to post and doom music was chosen by many bands nowadays.
M: I think you can find many influences in our music from many different genres. But mostly we are happy with the fact that we do not sound like any other post-metal band and I think for us its a easy thing to do because of our instruments, which are putting a strict limitations on our musical creation.
J: I think it's really hard to be free of any influences. And is it even necessary, to have no influences?

No, I think not indeed. I remember that Talbot had a really big tour about 1 year and a half ago, you even visited Japan, it’s unreachable goal for most of the bands. May you share your experience of effective tour organization?
J: Look for contacts and then make a contact with those people. I have literally been browsing the internet for days, just to look for contacts of promoters, blogwriters-reviewers, webzines etc. 8-hours a day, 7 days a week. Maybe there's some easier ways too, but it has worked for us so far.

I’ve heard that gigs’ organization in Japan really differs from what people see in Europe; what are differences?
M: Music culture in Japan is a bit different there indeed. It's not rare to see a guy, who just came from work office, moshing in front line while wearing his work suit. And shows often start in 6-7 PM and end early, so people can go to work next day.

Hah, man, I remember that you’re tattoo master, so do you have any new tattoos onto your skin? Do you hone your skins onto yourself?
J: I have a few new ones, yep.

And the last question for today – do you have any new songs which weren’t included into “Scaled”? Is there any chance to get one more tiny release of Talbot in nearby future?
M: Unfortunately, no.
J: But a tiny or not so tiny release - yes. When it's the right time, maybe sooner, maybe later. 

Hah, wait man. Suddenly we’ve received one more question to you from a common friend - Guillaume (The Bottle Doom Lazy Band guitarist). So attention, here is his question: “do you remember about the goat in Tours?” 
J: Yes, the goat was really cool! It happened in Tours, France. It was the last show of our first European tour. The old guy had the goat on a string and just walked into the clubs and shops with it. He-he.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

... Nothing but gnarliness : an Interview with Grant from IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS !!!

In the category of the terror-duos (where we always speak about "power trio(s)", why not naming crushing duos of guitar and drums like this ?!) there's a band coming from Denver whose second album is one of the most anticipated releases of this 2nd part of 2013, I've named IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS !
Since a somber evening of January 2012 - when Grant contacted me, his music has rarely left my ears more than a couple of days; I will never get enough of ultimately doom-infused Sludge songs like "Dirtnap" and "Canto III Inferno" but am now also very excited about the upcoming "Of The Flock" album which should be nothing but a genuine masterpiece of infectious crushingness !!! The Denver area is already largely devastated by their numerous slaying live aggressions (this impressive amount of gigs implied quite a few questions below...) and now I'm sure that with this sophomore album ITCOS are gonna bite this fucking world with ferocity, you'd better be on their camp ! 

In about 2 years of existence, how many gigs did ITCOS give so far ?
I have no idea, man.  Quite a few!  We’ve been in the habit of playing live at least a couple times each month, and there have been a bunch of really fun gigs.  The shows with Bell Witch and Samothrace were both really cool, & those folks seem like really solid people.  We also recently played a short-notice gig with The Body, and that was great.

I know that Denver has a pretty active underground scene but (from what I see) other local bands  are even not half as active as you are on the LIVE front, how do you manage to play live so often ? are you still working hard to find new gigs or is it mainly organizers who contact you  now ? 
Most of the time other promoters or musicians will get a hold of us, which is awesome, but on other occasions we end up reaching out to venues or promoters.  As of this writing we’ll be opening for Weedeater in a week, and we never would have landed that gig without reaching out to the promoter & having some friends and another local promoter put in a good word for us.  Thanks, Taylor & Manda!

Of course the music and people behind it are the most important but do you think that the fact of being a duo helps to make things easier  ?
In my experience fewer bandmates equals fewer headaches.  Joe & I get along wonderfully, and it’s much easier for us to book shows when we only have to worry about our two calendars.  In fact, that’s probably why we’re lucky enough to play as often as we do. 

Do you have a kind of local base fans which has grown with time-  following  you regularly, or does the fact of playing with so many different bands, at different venues – make the audience and conditions always different ?
We’ll see some familiar faces at most gigs, but it all comes down to the lineup and the gig.  We always dig playing in front of fans who already know us, but it’s also cool to play in front of crowds who may never have heard of us.  It poses a new challenge when you’re playing for people who have no idea what to expect.

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you on stage ? and apart the usual possible technical issues, what’s been the shittiest ? 
We’ve definitely both been drunken messes on stage before, but I like to think that we still pull it off decently enough.  Joe has been known to play in his underwear if it’s too hot onstage.   As far as technical issues are concerned, they’ve mostly been stupid shit that could have been prevented.  I bought a bunch of cheap speaker cables off amazon, and they would literally rattle themselves out of the speaker jack on my ampeg 8x10 from the vibration.  Because of this we played 2 or 3 shows where my bass rig was randomly cutting out before we figured out the culprit. 

If I’m not wrong, you never played outside the area of Denver so far, has nothing serious ever been proposed or … ? do you think this could change quickly ?
We’ve played around Colorado, but, no, we’ve not toured beyond that yet.  We plan to tour more in the future, but it will need to mesh with our work schedules.  We’re certainly not averse to touring, and would jump on any decent opportunity that presented itself.  

Which band(s) have you been the most proud to open for / play with ? Which one did impress you the most  ? 
Man, there have been so many awesome acts that it might be tricky to cover them all.  Both the Samothrace & Bell Witch gigs were amazing.  The Body was basically a sonic bludgeoning- definitely a memorable gig.  Jucifer was an immense tinnitus monster.  Ides of Gemini were very cool as well- very ethereal & somber.  We’re opening for both Weedeater and Windhand in the coming month, so we’re very excited about that as well, and we’re also playing a show with our friends in Ladybird, which we’re very excited about.  I think my favorite gig that we’ve played thus far, however, was the anniversary party for TRVE Brewery, which was put on by Obsidian Fog Promotions.  TRVE is a local brewery run by metalheads, and all of their beers are homages to various metal bands.  That lineup was comprised of some of Denver’s best heavy acts, and was a blast to play-  Primitive Man, Call of the Void, Belhor, & Speedwolf were all on the bill with us, so it was a really killer bill that covered a bunch of subgenres. 

Grant, could you please tell us a bit more about the album “of the flock” and its date of release ? Does it differ from the debut on any particular point(s) ?
We received test pressings recently, and are hoping to have it in hand by late August/ early September.  The biggest difference would probably be that Joe is drumming on this one, where as JJ was on the original release.  I’m happy with it, and we were lucky enough to get Billy Anderson to master it.  I’m very excited about the packaging that we’re doing for this release, but I won’t go into too much detail about that here (indeed you already did it here mate ... hahaha !).  Hopefully that aspect of the record will speak for itself.   Musically, I think this is a significantly heavier batch of tunes, but that’s kind of up to each listener and his/her opinion. 

Has your approach of studio-recording been different than for your debut ? Do you consider “of the flock” as your first complete album ?
The approach here was very similar to the last record, which we definitely considered a ‘complete’ record.  There are more atmospheric passages on this one, including two instrumental intros, so there’s perhaps some greater depth in that regard.   We returned to Module Overload studios, & Jamie Hillyer (who recorded the last one) was again the engineer here. 

I guess that during quite some time you were playing the self titled debut in its entirety on stage but this certainly has changed with including new songs over the last months, which old song(s) did you remove from the setlist and which one(s) do you think you’ll always  keep throughout the years ?
It all depends on what Joe & I are interested in playing.  We both love every song from the original release, but it gets boring to keep playing the same shit.  Recently we’ve broken out both Dirtnap and Canto III Inferno live, but we’re primarily focusing on the newer material in the sets we’ve been playing.


You self-release the new album,  didn’t you look for a deal and/or get any label proposition ? would a vinyl edition of it be an expected ultimate achievement for you  ?
We honestly haven’t shopped around.  Several labels have gotten in touch with us, but it didn’t seem like they were offering anything we weren’t already doing ourselves beyond slapping their name on our shit.  We’re not opposed to being on a label, but are content to continue down the DIY path as long as it makes sense for us. 
We’re really excited to have the next record coming out on vinyl.  It has been something of a dream for all of us, so we’re happy to see it come to be.  If Of the Flock does decently  enough we’ll probably reissue the first record on vinyl.   We’re also working on a split record right now with Ladybird, and we’ve tossed around the prospect of a couple other collaborations, so hopefully we’ll have another one for you here shortly!

Thanx mate, all the best for this new album and hope to see you down here in Europe next year, that would be so fucking awesome !  cheers

Thanks, Steph!  We really appreciate what you’re doing, and are stoked to appear in Temple of Perdition once again.  


Saturday, July 27, 2013

... WATER PIPE CULT "Ultra Muggin' sounds" (Album Review)

label : Ashes to ashes -- Prod : Deaf Lab Studios, Fr
Great album by this combo from Monaco, small city-state from the south of France, well known for its monarchial pedigree, tax avoiding shell corporations, casinos, and old ladies with diamond rings, surrounded with ambitious gigolos, luxurious yachts, expensive sport cars, and ONE stoner rock band, Water Pipe Cult. With such a name, you could expect a smoky-sludge band, but instead of that, their music is really varying from desert rock to strong pop-rock, with a constant of inspired composition, an interesting version of QOTSA, more energetic and less commercial. The 12 very mature compos are so good you can rarely take a break, mixing vintage sounding guitars that do not hesitate to use major chords here and there, very inventive drumming, and even sometimes a sax or brass instruments, sometimes male choirs, hispanic touches, or french classic weather alerts. Caroline is the singer in the band, sometimes whispering sometimes screaming, never evanescent but very involved and strong. Very good sound, great production, enjoyable music! I bought the CD for a laughable price, knowing nothing about the band, and the thing spinned litterally hundreds of times on my hifi system! Highly recommended!
You can for instance listen to 'Sofa on the Moon' - as the whole album on streaming here :

Sadly, they don't seem to play many gigs, and even less out of southern France. But they are currently recording a new album, and hopefully we won't wait too long to see them on stage...

words by Vincent Buisson

Friday, July 26, 2013

…Embrace the unholy mother of angels: GOATESS – ‘Goatess’ (Album Review)

With a doom/stoner pedigree and reputation that precedes him, Chritus Linderson really needs no introduction. All of the  projects that he’s been involved with—the criminally underrated ‘C.O.D.’ album with Saint Vitus, the groove-laden psychedelia of Terra Firma, and the epic doom of Lord Vicar—are easily among the finest that the genre has to offer. Enter the Goatess. The collective efforts of Chritus (vocals), Niklas (guitars), Kenta (drums), and Findus (bass), originally formed under the moniker Weekend Beast, have released arguably one of the most anticipated albums of the year. Without a doubt, it delivers.
 The unifying sound of the band’s self-titled debut relies heavily on a stoned, repetitious low-end groove which is accompanied by moments of impending doom and bluesy, blissed-out otherworldly excursions. As far as Linderson’s other projects are concerned, ‘Goatess’ has an overall sound that shares more in common with his stint in Terra Firma, most notably on the first half of the album, opposed to the more straight-forward doom of Saint Vitus, Count Raven, or Lord Vicar. But fans of his more traditional doom efforts won’t be dissatisfied, particularly on the epic two-part “Oracle”. The first part, “The Mist”, is the ethereal calm-before-the-storm. It’s a melancholic, spacey introduction that is ultimately blasted into oblivion under the crushing weight of part two, “The Oracle”.  Mesmerizing, heavy, and gasp-inducing, “The Oracle” is a definite album highlight that occupies the smoke-filled realms of both stoner and doom with an arch-enchanter’s precision.
 While not officially a part of the two-track “Oracle” movement, “King One” acts as a companion-piece both thematically and musically and finds Chritus at his most venomous and acerbic. The track is another exercise in hypnotic heaviness that ultimately breaks down into a contemplative, spacey interlude before resuming the devastation. The Urizen-like triptych tale of the “Oracle” two-parter and “King One” are the core of the album from which the other tracks emanate. ‘Goatess’ concludes with “Tentacles of Zen”, an epic, twelve minute tune that allows the listener to catch their breath and ultimately unwind. This closing track isn’t without its surprises as rhythmic, tribal drumming and exotic riffs serves as a musical interlude suited for the Bacchanalia, or in other words, for copulation on a cosmic scale.
 Those who have followed Weekend Beast and the band’s eventual metamorphosis into Goatess in anticipation of a full-length can finally revel in the sonic, doomed-out bliss that is the band’s self-titled album. While ‘Goatess’ is rooted firmly in the stoner-rock camp, there is enough heavy, be-slothed riffs to satisfy even the most discerning doom-heads. With not a weak track on the album, ‘Goatess’ is a welcome addition to the canon of heavy music and another excellent addition to Chritus’s irrefutable résumé. Drink it down, smoke it up, and bow down to the Goatess…
 Words: Steve Miller

Thursday, July 25, 2013

... Sludge ronins for Rock'n'Roll dream : an Interview with MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE

Montezuma’s Revenge is one of the most active Russian sludge bands. Well, dudes were pretty idle searching “their specific sound” since 2005 and releasing only 3 singles for 7 years of jamming, yet right now they have a new full-length professional album with some unordinary influences, high-end video for one of their songs and I need to note that they also played gigs not only with local bands but also with such sludge monsters as Down and Mastodon. Each member of that angry trio has a beard, but I guess that Ilya Boots (guitars, vocals) has longest one, that’s why he’s answering my questions today !

Salute! Montezuma’s Revenge was born in 2005, but, man, you had only 3 singles till now, what did you do all this time?
Hey there! Yeah, it took us a while to figure a bunch of things out. Our rhythm section – Vladimir and Yuri both started out in a ska band, while I joined them after playing in a funk band. So we all know what we were running from and wanted a change, but we had no clue what the new band should sound whatsoever. Besides, our first rehearsal space was the concert hall of the Moscow Institute Of Chemical Physics and it was free for us, so hanging there we weren't really in a hurry.   

Okay, it’s a good start, but then I need to ask how did you figure out your way to a sound which you wanted to hear?
We started throwing all possible influences into our band's system and than filtered out the stuff, that didn't sit well with us. There was no preconceived idea of what our style should be like what so ever.

FonoLTD released Montezuma’s Revenge first full length “Key To The Abyss” about a month ago. And I see these 3 old songs from singles besides 5 new tracks. Did you record old stuff during new session or did you just take original versions of the songs?
These were from the same recording session as the rest of the album. We just put them out to promote the record upfront.

Does Montezuma’s Revenge have some songs besides these 8 tracks to perform a big set-list for gigs?
We've recorded 10 tracks for the album, 2 of them haven't been put out yet. And we have the second album already completely written, so there's a lot of stuff to play with on live shows. In our band there's always a big pile of new material to work with, I just wish a day would consist of more that 24 hours.

The album was mastered in New York. I know that Greg Chandler of Esoteric works with a damned lot of bands including Russians in his Priory Studio on Great Britain, but it was first time when I get a news about collaboration of Russian band and West West Side Music. How did you do it?
With West West Side Music it's been a classic word of mouth story. I liked the mastering on one of my favorite records: the album «Lava» by the Swiss band Sludge. So we asked their bass player Sergey Ulyanov (ex-Sobaki Tabaka) where they mastered the record and he gave me the contact of Alan Douches at West West Side Music, whose experience include the likes of Mastodon, Neurosis and Converge. And that sounded right up our alley.

I’m looking at art-work of “Sleeping Beauty” single and it looks amazing: great logo, great subject, great sense of taste. And art-work of “Key to the Abyss” looks quite chaotic, there’s lot of colors and details. Why did you choose it?
We're fortunate to have so many great visual artists among our personal friends. The design for «Sleeping Beauty» was created by Sergey Safonov ( - my friend since high school and an internationally reknown black belt in character design. The cover of our first single «Dead Frost» and it's video were made by another friend and true to the bone artist Vladimir Snegotskiy ( The whole artwork of our album was a piece of fantastic cooperation with another good friend – Andrey Davidovsky (, who had the balls to take a dive into the abyss of our record's concept and visualize the entire piece. They all have their signature styles and it was great fun to watch our creative substances react to each other.

What’s interesting Montezuma’s Revenge can offer to its listeners?
I'll leave it up to them. Our point is to make music which presents our own version of music we like with lyrics coming from the abyss of my distorted microcosm.

There’s a popular metal trend in Montezuma’s Revenge lyrics, I’m meaning apocalyptical subjects. Was it necessary to put this old (and personally for me pretty boring) conception in your songs?
Throughout the human history all motives tend to remain the same. Take Romeo and Julia, Cinderella or the Apocalypse. Nothing changes. There are apocalyptic motives in our album, but they shouldn't be taken literally, it's a mere metaphor for any change. And this album has a lot of changes in it. In the very core of it's concept it's closer to Vivaldi's «The Four Seasons» - only with a lot of sacrifices between the seasons.

“Key to the Abyss” songs sound harsh, chaotic, aggressive yet professional – am I right in such assessment? What’s your point of view?
You get what it reads – we're not there to please your stomach. All the rest is up to the listener. I find it harder to listen to calm music. 

There’s a song “Fast Food Bushido” with really original idea onto the album, may you clarify this song’s meaning? Aren’t you afraid to get into a category of “fast food music”?
The song's character serves to the great chimera of popular culture. That's exactly what we all do this way or another, obeying the warmth of black hole. Living the rock'n'roll dream. Even though it's been dead for many years we're like a samurai without a master – ronin, who fell down 7 times and got up 8 times and was too week to commit a harakiri and is therefore classified as a servant. That's what the song is about.

The band and label promote “Key to the Abyss” very intensively – on-line streaming, gig with Down and so on. Can you judge about an effectiveness of such active position?
It's hard to judge how all worked yet – we just released the album. Sharing a stage with Down was a real blast, and jamming with those guys definitely tops anything we could possibly have dreamed about making music. We started getting international feedback from day one. The moment we put out our first video for «Dead Frost» placed us on top of it's video grab and it went on from there.

Montezuma’s Revenge is a professional band, do you see some features which you still need to became more successful as artists?
Right now we're a 100% DIY band. Financed our album recording, put together a video and artworks with the help of our friends, we are self-managed and we have day-jobs. It would be great to become a professional band once, but we're not there so far, so spread the word and get our album if you care.  

Okay, thank you for interview – good luck! And I wish you to reach more listeners and play more gigs.
Stay tuned and follow your madness no matter what!

Photos by Andrew Davydovskiy and Natalia Stupnikova

Interview by Aleksey Evdokimov

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

... DOMADORA "Tibetan Monk" (Album Review)

Formed about two years ago, DOMADORA is a burning Parisian trio into Psychedelic Heavy/Stoner Rock who (self) released "Tibetan Monk" a couple of months back.
This debut album contains 7 songs including two of them who can be considered as intro and outro, considering their relative short length and different structures compared to an overall who's basically very much based on long jams and psyched-out stonerish vibes... 

The introductive "Tibetan Monk" is (at least for the genre) really disconcerting to my ears, like a noisy maelstrom with loud and hammering drums, I feel this is not particularly accurate to introduce the band's sound which - if unbridled and extremely powerful at times -  is pretty different from this too loud piece, eventually this could have worked as an outro... ! this outro here is "Wild Animal Skin", no problem with this (quieter) one but I would have seen it more effective as an intro !!! Oh well, this debatable choices aren't really important after all, the most essential of course is what you get between those both songs during nearly 50 minutes !!! 

DOMADORA is not the kind of band you're used to listen from the generally rigorous french scene, a band with an emphasis on jams and obviously a very LIVE approach, this is already a very distinctive caracter and if it's coupled with tightness and heaviness in fairly above the average measures, you're then right to think that DOMADORA is a wild and vaporous entity that deserves immediate attention.

Mostly instrumental, the power trio could seem à priori more at ease on long jams like "Ziggy Jam" or "Domadora Jam" who favor fuzzy frenzy guitars, extensive soloing and a regular challenging competition between Belwil (guit) and Karim on drums - in high speed tempos (at 6:30 of the latter you wonder if your not in 45 rpm !) who could blow away the most austere nun around (monk/nun, you get it now ? hahaha !), this being subtely counteracted by Gui Omm's  rumbling bass... 
But things are not that obvious in facts and the band shows way more diversity than expected with for example the excellent "Chased and Caught", the only song with vocals who is a little jewel of hazy stoner rock which Brant Bjork would praise for and why not jam on  in the future with the guys in a  parisian small and warm venue ! 

The song following it -"The Oldest Man on the Left"- could be the most representative of the album, blending this psyched-out Stoner with powerful tension and a cascade of driving Heavy Rock guitars; while "Naïroya" is another song with a special mood, almost bluesy and laid back at first, it grows progressively in a more layered than totally improvised-like kind of structures, before ending in a freak-out soloing,  totally twisted but a very consistent song in its routing.

A great feeling of exciting welfare accompanies your listening which reveal true promises for an even more exciting future to come, cause wild also means that this beast of entity will improve and develop with time - to master all aspects of its identity... A few things remind it, the most difficult being to find the exact right balance between jams and structured compositions, but also between Heavy and Stoner Rock (in a Psyche environment that they already master), instrumental and singing songs...Anyway "Tibetan Monk" is a stunning debut , certainly not just an addition of heavy jams like I've read here and there, to miss this one would be a big mistake if you like powerful (instrumental) psychedelic stuff !

Monday, July 22, 2013

... ROZAMOV "Of Gods and Flesh" (EP Review)

Freshly released earlier this month, "Of Gods and Flesh" is the new EP from Boston's raging quatuor ROZAMOV; this one comes after a very promising 1st (self-titled) released about one year ago...

Again available as digital and CD  but this time with 4 songs (one more) and a total length of nearly 20 minutes (5 mns more, pretty logical considering this is the average length of the songs !)... Perfectly enough to have a fair idea of their development through another DIY process, gain new fans (the band just did a successfull10 dates-tour playing with Jucifer, Admiral Browning, Venomin' James...) and possibly catch some labels attention for a next full 1st album.

To describe those new songs easily (as you know I'm not really able to enter in technical details with nice effective words) I'd say that ROZAMOV not only gained in consistency and thickness but also a lot in aggressivity, not to say brutality at times ("Empty sky" and its shredding blastbeats - short but breaking your neck!). This could lead to the conclusion that here the band has left a great part of its Stoner influences behind the 1st steps of their young history, sure there's still some overtones but they would be more to found on the doomier parts through slow plodding breaks ("Famine" and "Shadow of the Vulture") with rumbling bass and sharp haunting chords or hints of psychedelic heaviness (pretty rare)...

Is that the production assumed this time AJ Peters (Battilus, Olde Grave, Summoner) ? Not only of course, this is the bands compositions who guide for the most part but on this new EP the sound is much more dense, compared to the debut with Clay from Black Pyramid's on command. The overall is clearly rawer and more straight, this is ultimately killer Sludge with a nice Metallic HC dynamic (the song "Of Gods and Flesh") ! 

Except this title track, each song is still filled with atmospheres and deepness  though, jut try the infectious main riff of "Empty Sky" !  There's again a very important work on vocals - which I already underlined last year, I dug the backing vocals of Tom on the 1st EP and there's more to crave for on that front here, not just particularly backing vocals, but more in his splitting of the lead vocals with Matt (who remains the -excellent- main vocalist though).

EVERYTHING's on GREEN for this next full-length to come out in ultimate conditions; if not with a striking identity yet (but there's a great improvement over the debut) we've got here a band full of force, tightness and a modern dynamic approach of Sludge in the good sense of the term (not too dripping, vicious and dirty but no Post anything to add...). This one is a fucking good piece of heaviness and unrelenting power !!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

... Worth a few bucks : LIBLIKAS / BAD TRIP / SARIN (3 bands, 3 countries, 3 different styles of music !!!)

From Estonia, here's LIBLIKAS who blend various styles awesomely with a lot of tightness and a great sense of harmonic melodies. 
Basically Stoner rock, the guys are not afraid to mix some Sabbathian riffage with harsher (Thrash) and more progressive  (even jazzy) sounds...
I'm not gonna tell you that we've got here the ultimate European answer to Mastodon but you'll be surprised by the mountainous maturity and audacity from such young and (a priori) relatively unexperimented guys !  
This certainly helps to its consistency and richness in moods and variations, "Wooden Spaceship" is a concept-album relating the reflective journey of a man suddenly suffering from amnesia, this enhances the coloured creativity of the songs, always heavy with a wide spectrum of emotions... Highly recommended !!! 

BAD TRIP is an instrumental band from Greece and this self titled (mini) album consists of 3 songs for about 30 minutes (both first songs clock at 7 mns while last one lasts more than twice as long).

Post HC/Sludge this is what they solidly deliver, tensed and weighty, the music is filled with lots of catchiness and a great dose of dark heaviness.

Logically last song leaves more place for contemplative parts and Post Rock experimentative sounds but the dark and enthralling atmosphere is still prominent ! 
I'd say that (for me) the relative short length of the album is perfect; I think that just one other song would have been certainly too much, cause this style at one point needs in my opinion vocals and/or a (visual) concept to accompany the instruments like Year Of No Light brilliantly do for example... Bad Trip is seriously recommendable but next album will need this time to reveal a true distinctive center point of their identity !

SARIN is a Toronto based Sludgy Post Metal band who released a pretty interesting EP a few months ago. "House of Leaves" contains 4 songs for a total length of about 21 minutes, including the short instrumental that is "Delial".

I really think that Sarin shows an emerging potential in terms of creative soundscapes, just listen for example the first minute and a half of the title track which is stylistically and strucutrally audacious as an introduction to a new band's sound (this is the 1st song)... Where I' m not totally convinced is by the relative linearity of the overall, slow to mid tempos are most often great with chugging agility but I feel some propulsion and/or drama would be welcome at times !

My fave song here is without any possible doubt "Mosque", lumbering and insanely crushing, it could remind an amazing blend of Isis and Yob (Mike Scheidt's influence is to my ears only clearly palpable on this one) ! 

"Black Halls" is a good song to close this debut with but certainly due to the fact that it's the longest one (8 mn) - I think that this one particularly would have needed more exploration in layers and moods than just the brief and massive acceleration by the very end...

Well, extremely rare are the bands who directly access the highest category at first shot, so no worry for Sarin who has built with this EP some serious foundations but still needs to enrich their sound, something that should be reached with a bit more time...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

... BottleBen on DOCTOR DOOM "DoomO" !!!

I checked it out. I love Graveyard as well as Witchcraft. Doctor Doom is right down that alley. Not Doom though and I definitely wouldn’t use  the term “stoner” either. What we are dealing with here is hard rock that originates from legends – hard rock from the late 1960’s, without the dirty and occult threads that fashion has been imposing on this very genre lately.
I close my eyes, I sip my glass of red wine…just like in a comic strip speech-bubble from the 1970s with its twisted black and white characters. A true color vision vortex of rugs, a slightly orange atmosphere at the end of a hot and humid summer day. Boots in the dust. All in all, 1965 to 1975 in the form of a dream. I checked it out.
words by BottleBen

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

... all crowns are not made of gold : an Interview with NORTHWINDS !!!

Several striking French bands have erupted significantly  in the worldwilde scene over the last couple of years (Huata, Crown, Cult of Occult...) but in front of this there's another (french) band particularly which would deserve a lot more attention, I've named NORTHWINDS from Paris !!!
Tagged as Progressive Doom, this old band has a solid discography to offer (4 albums - from "The Great God Pan" to "Winter") which will be soon enriched by "Eternal Winter" and a couple of other special releases... An exciting programm presented here by Sylvain Auvé (vocals/drums) who also kindly speaks about the band's history, its place in the actual scene, etc... Read this carefully, listen old and new songs and please SUPPORT religiously Northwinds from now on, you'll be largely rewarded by their unique style of chiaroscuro Prog' Doom Rock!!! 

Hi Sylvain, thanx a lot for taking the time to answer the following questions ! Well, “winter” was supposed to be a double album but Black Widow rds found it too risky and so it’s been splited in two parts with “winter” released in 2012 and the second part “eternal winter” later this year… Did you accept this with fatality or wasn’t it frustrating to see your work partitioned like this ?

Yes, and the title of the album was “Winter...Eternal winter.” It was not a concept album, only a few songs are really bounded by this theme. Other songs are secondary to the theme, but are related to the  frozen emotions, destruction, ends with no new beginnings, death of all hopes, etc... After all we are not so frustated to split our work in two, it helped us to obtain 2 more consistent/coherent albums. Each one with its own colour. Winter is dark. Eternal winter will be in a 70's classic hard-rock mood, some songs at least. And one song is totally out of any dark reflection: “A light for the blind”.

Did you change anything in the content from what you planed initially or was there just another cover and artwork to do for “eternal winter” ? Sure this must be the logical continuity  of “winter” but if you decided to make a double album, made choice to share the songs in one rather than the other, etc… there must be some different caracters between both ?

Yes, there is another artwork to do for Eternal winter. And I think we'll propose to  Stefano Scagni to do a new adaptation of another renowned Friedrich's painting.
A new source of worry, but let's see it as a new chance to have a new work by Stephano, who is a great artist.

“winter” is in my opinion clearly your darkest album so far, do you think that the theme has induced that logically or is there any special reason to this ?

Yes, it is. All the songs chosen for Winter ( except for the Angel Witch/St Vitus cover songs ) are very dark on the lyrical side. And I think we are more able to orientate our musical works for a better osmosis between music and lyrics.


For the 1st time ever “winter” didn’t include a whole song  in French, why this ? Is that a simple coincidence if this happen on your doomiest release?

There is a song in French, “Chimères”. But due to the split of the whole album in two pictures, you'll hear it on Eternal winter. That song is a real cluster of all Northwinds “colours”.

In fact the only songs which contains (partly) French lyrics is the cover  of St Vitus “clear windowpane” which was recorded a long time ago for some tribute album… you dedicate it to Armando Costa, did you decide to include as bonus on the CD after his death in 2010 ?

In fact, we decided very late to include it on the cd version. It was one of our lost songs, and we were sad it had never been released officially. The dedication was obvious.

It looks like the band’s line-up has never been so steady and stronger, how do you enjoy this and do you think this has been primordial in the release of “winter” which is undoubtedly your most accomplished album ?

The answer is in the question: yes. Cohesion, pertinence are obvious everyday as a result of the stability of the line-up. It's our force since 2002/2003. “masters of Magic” and even “Chimères” have really suffered from the coming and going of musicians, too much recording sessions. Eventually you can see these records as luxurious demo works.
For Winter and Eternal Winter we took in charge the recordings sessions and the mixing work, it helped a lot to obtain a cohesive work. And the songs were rehearsed many and many and many times before the final test of the studio. We have even done a demo of each song , the whole pack being our third demo.
That's not what we did in the past, and I must point we hadn't all the equipments/tools way back then that have freed us in the last 10 years.  

The cover of “winter” is a painting of Stefano Scagni who worked previously with Doomraiser and Minotauri, how did you come to work with him ?

We haven't chosen to work with him. It's the choice of Black Widow and we love that a label have a regular illustrator. We love a lot his work, his skills are impressive and we hope he'll do the artwork for Eternal Winter... But the final decision is in the hands of Black Widow.

Northwinds was created 20 years ago, in a time where just a few pioneers like Dark White, Garden of Silence and Astral Rising were existing (the 1st one only being pure Doom)… you’re now the oldest in activity, how do you see the evolution of Doom in France over those 2 decades ? Which are some of the new bands of the years 2010 that you actually enjoy ?

The band began in 86/87 under the monicker of RIP. We were not “Doom” as people understand it nowadays. Black Sabbath and everything that mould influenced us: Trouble, Candlemass, St Vitus, Quartz, W General, Witchfynde, etc...But also classic hard-rock acts such as ZZ top, Budgie, Rush, etc...I remember that Tygers of Pan-Tang and Raven were the names too!!! So, there was no will to do a style , there was no mould...And even if the years passing, we focus more and more on the doom metal side we have never been consider as a doom metal band by the metal masses. I remember meeting the singer of Dark White (hello Pierre!!) telling me that he had listened to our first demo (95) and that it was not doom metal but more in the “Sabbatical” vein of Witchfinder General. Wise man. So, have we ever been a “Doom” metal band is debatable. Even though, we present ourselves in our first days as a doom metal band, cos' it was the underground scene we were active in as music fans. We were huge Doom metal music fans and Black Sabbath second hand wannabes.
And yes, we are still here and regarded mainly as a doom metal band. Great!!!!
But we are really living in the past and have not so much knowledge of the nowadays sensations in our country (shame on us!). From the few bands I've listened to, I can say that originality and imagination is here and that's great.
I will say that Children of Doom impress me A LOT: we have here a band in the spirit of MC5's, they got it, a real garage doom/rock maelstrom. They have captured the real spirit of those punk seventies !!! Their live shows have always such an intensity...Respect. And this little miracle is coming out in the doom scene.
Another great emotion: Stangala is doing something I wish I would have the perspicacity to do in 95!!
We've also been contacted by Marble Chariot and I'm always amazed to see how competent so young people can be both on writing  and studio process!
We had the same feelings when we have discovered Orange Goblin, Mourn or Electric Wizard! It didn't put us on a down, it helped us to be confident about our place in the picture and our future.

Where does come from your interest for Broceliande and its legends ? Did the band ever gather in those mystic lands ? You who enjoy to take your time when you’re on the road for gigs with visiting obscure places, I imagine that if you play in Rennes or somewhere in the Morbihan or south Finistère,  a stop in Broceliande lands would be obligatory… ?!

Do you know the city of Roscoff, in the north of Britain? (sure I do !) I have passed here all my holidays for over 30 years!!!! Don't search too far the celtic influences in our music and the pleasure to write about these superb and sometimes, mystic places!!! And guess what?
On Eternal Winter you'll find a song about the lighthouse of the Isle of  Batz, a beautiful isle in front of the city of  Roscoff. It deals with a little more than the beauty of a secular guiding light...

On early materials, the celtic sonorities were pretty much present, just as in lyrical themes; can we consider that they’ve been little by little substituted by some more 70’s progressive  or do you feel they’re still (slightly) present at some point  and can eventually work all together again on future stuff ?
The answer is in the previous lines!!

When speaking about progressive/folk influential bands, you always name Ange and Allan Stivell, but I’m sure there’s other names that have counted and still count for you … ?

Oh yes!! Too many to mention.
A LOT of folk bands coming from Britain! Sure bands such as Ys, Bleizi Ruz, Tri Yann, Kornog, Malicorne(for the french side) or Clannad, Steeleye Span, East of Eden, Horslips, Mormos, Comus(for the international side) etc...have surely left a mark on us. I think we have retained the gentle side of the style.
The Emily lp (Emily Bindiger) is a must for me, an achievement.

But I must point that Jade Warrior, in their first years, has our favour. Tyrannosaurus Rex on a minor plan too.

I spoke several times with comrades in doom about your discogaphy and it looks like “masters of magic” doesn’t get as high notes as all your other releases… a question of consistency in the sound and balance between doom and progressive, certainly due to successive line-up changes – what’s your opinion on this album retrospectively ?

I understand. The songs are good, but are the result of too many recording sessions.
Way back then we didn't take too much time to work on the songs, once the basic parts were written. Sometimes, some  were finished in the studio, a few minutes before the recording session. We were doing a lot of things in a rush. The balance between heavy metal (doomy) and folk/prog have always been a problem in our music. Some might that the band has no “commercial target” or worse no real musical direction. The reality is that we bear no flag! We are free to let our influences shine as the moment is calling for. A chance Black Widow always support us in such a non-lucrative experience.

The songs I love the most on this album are: “Over the Mountain”, “Entre chien et loup”, “Violet Rainbow”, “Brocéliande” and “Dancing in moonlight”. We are still playing “Over...” and “Brocéliande” these days. And I think we will include again “Violet...” in our set list in a near future.

I had the immense honour to see you live last month at the Anthems of Doom and was surprised by your setlist which included old songs from demo and first album but also new ones too… you have such a large repertory now that it must be something pretty hard to choose among many songs, especially considering that you play live rarely… how do you agree on this ? which was the setlist for example at the precedent gig (Doom over Paris) ?

It's not pretty hard, but the lack of flute could be a problem.
And as we play live rarely, we offer a brand new set list every concert.

Here is the set list for the Doom over Paris:

Over the mountains / Great God Pan / Nevernever land / Dusty pictures / Night of the ritual / You suffer (Napalm Death) / Eternal winter / Voodoo fire (excerpt, Cathedral).

A good memory, we were not ready at all, I had problems with my voice, we were happy, simply happy to be there...We had met great people and discover original bands that are the proof of the good health of the doom scene in its different shades. And a final hail to Cauchemar, a great great band!

For some technical reasons, you’ve decided to not include anymore flute in live conditions, why that exactly ? in some way, does it give more importance to keyboards on stage since then ?

Yes, we're unable to keep a regular flutist with us, and I can't play flutes and drums at the same time. So the keyboards will take their entire role on stage. And the versions of the songs are different in some case to compensate the lack of flute.
I just hope to have a regular flutist one day.

Despite you’d be ready to play live more regularly, you have too rare propositions, what’s the reason to this… are people intimidated by old metallers playing middle-age prog Doom or what ?!!!

Ah,ah,ah. I don't think so! We're too much prog and lyrical for nowadays doomsters and too heavy for progsters.

Lyrically wise you like to write about life experiences with a weird-tales and fantasy approach, where do you take stylistically inspiration from  - books, movies, other bands maybe… ?  Do you write them directly I English and/or need the help of someone ?

Yes, many times inspiration is coming from books and other bands, not for the themes but more in the stylistic approach. No one help me, it explains the poor linguistic level of our lyrics, ah, ah, ah, ah!!!

Not just in metal, in France people singing in English often have difficulties with the accent and flow, this doesn’t seem a problem at all for you, does it come naturally or require a special work and attention ?

Thanks for the compliment for  I have always thought the opposite. Really, sometimes my accent is awful but you know...I chose not to concentrate too much on that point cos if I do so, I become unable to sing!

Over the past months, you’ve been working on a very special release that will be called “live ritual” – an homemade live recording with many unreleased songs and covers, released in 2014 on TAPE … could you give us some more details on this please ?

It will consist in cover songs (many), old Northwinds songs (not too much), new songs (not too much). The purpose is to do the songs as live as possible. To do it fast and not to take care too much of the production side. Maybe it's a reaction to our previous work on Winter that is very produced. The aim is to prey on the urge to do something without too much “brain” leading it. And I think it will be released as a tape or double tape version.


What’s your intention with this tape – reward your dedicated fans, have fun in releasing something special by yourselves… ?

Have fun, that's sure, to work and improve. By the way, I hope it will be of interest for our fans! This a gigantic project. A real reverence to our past.

I know you’re artistically very satisfied with Black Widow records but one can’t help thinking you guys would deserve wider exposure through a more dynamic label… aren’t you sometimes a bit frustrated by this ? what’s your contractual situation with them by now ?

We'd like to have a  wider exposure but are we ready to face up to what it involves as a band? I'm not sure, cos' time is not our side and it's not easy to manage our respective workloads.
When situation was critical they were behind us and were confident for us.
They were confident about our will to use folk instruments such as flute or accordion.
They were confident about our mix of...(Northwinds is really a strange home made brew...) doom, prog, folk, nwobhm.
They offer us a beautiful exposure with our first effort “Great God Pan”. I just want to be loyal to the label. They understand our will to get a wider exposure and let us participate to projects here and there. The situation is perfect for us, though we'd like to have better studio facilities. When you talk music with these guys you're really talking to people who are knowing what 70's were meaning and are meaning today far away all flags: doom or whatever else. We are talking about music here, not drawers or trends.

Did you ever think of having a bandcamp page or something for digital stuff like your old demos and eventually this next “live ritual” ?

I don't know. Maybe it's the solution for us. However, the guitarist and the bassist are in charge of all these internet facilities, so I will follow their recommendations on that point.

Could you tell us what merchandise is  actually available directly from you and the label – especially vinyls and T-shirts ?

Via our Facebook, you can order t-shirts (first demo artwork or Live ritual artwork), vinyls of “Chimères” and “Winter”, and cds of  all our releases.

Is the band at its peak in terms of creativity  or do you feel there’s a lot more to come for the next 20 years?!!

The band is always on the go: Eternal winter is about to be released, Live ritual is in process...Northwinds has still a lot to offer. Maybe a split single with Marble Chariot will see the light of day. This line-up has proved its coherence with the creation of winter. So I really think we can still  improve in terms of creativity.

You told me that the internet has helped you to get your name more exposed, but to tell the truth I think that it’s people who come to you, not you doing promotion and trying to sell your name… but I feel it’s true that there’s a simmering around the name of Northwinds ! what’s your opinion on this and don’t you think that your label could get more out of it (internet) ?

Yes, you're totally right. But nowadays you can't deny that such tools as Facebook help you a lot to spread the name of the band and to keep the people informed in one second of the last news about your musical work. It's a good way to contact people too. A good way to keep the underground alive, but now, at the speed of light!

Merci beaucoup Sylvain and to Northwinds for being so brilliant !

Thanks a lot for the compliment. Congratulations for your work, internet will be nothing without people like you. Thanks for the interview and the support. Hope to see you again!