Wednesday, 29 June 2016

WIZZERD ~ DOOMCHILD .....review


Montana, a state in the north western region of the USA,  is an area known for its spectacular natural beauty, mountains, valleys and lakes make up the geography of a place that some have dubbed "Big Sky Country" and "The Last Best Place". With a reputation such as this you would expect the music coming from the region to reflect these powerful descriptions and in the case of Kalispell, MT's Wizzerd it does!


Wizzerd , Jhalen Salazar: Guitars and Vocals, James Ryan: Guitars, Sam Moore: Drums and Additional Percussion, Layne Matkovich: Bass Guitar and Vocals and Wayne Randall: Synths and Audiomancy, are five guys influenced by  Sleep, Fu Manchu, OM and The Sword as well as old guard icons Cream, Tull and Sabbath. Founded in 2014 the band have released a number of studio and live demos (via Bandcamp) and have just completed their first full length album "Doomchild".

The album opens with title track "Doomchild", and begins with a synthesised swirling wind and rain effect segueing into a slowly evolving doom drenched, slightly proto-metal crunching dark riff. Ascending and descending in intensity the riffage is driven from beneath by throbbing bass and powerful drumming that is then in turn joined by powerful clean gritty vocals, the whole coming together to create a groove that is as heavy as it is atmospheric.
Next track "Desert" comes at you from a completely different angle, blending eastern themed desert grooves and motifs with heavily fuzzed guitars and tribal drumming creating a type of Colour Haze meets Elder groove that is at times hypnotic and tranquil at others complex and intense but at all times highly enjoyable.
"Forest" sees the band channelling a little proto-metal/acid rock attack into their doomy grooves, a strong melodic vocal soaring over a pounding, insistent rhythmic backdrop of bone shaking bass and pounding drums that is further enhanced by buzzsaw riffage and duelling guitar solo's.
"Ocean" rides in on synth created drone effect before a Sabbath-esque groove takes over and the vocals come in. Slightly monotone and delivered with a weary melancholic tone the vocals are nonetheless perfectly suited to the songs moody dynamic, a dynamic one can only wish lasted a little longer than its brief 03:11.
Album closer "Sky" is storming instrumental that blends elements of psych, prog and space around a driving drum and bass groove. Guitars trade riffs,licks and solo's around swirling, swooping synths before everything comes to a crashing close and the last note fades to silence.

Wizzerd's "Doomchild" is a promising and very good debut from a band who certainly know their way around their instruments and have a strong  understanding of song structure and arrangement but it is also an album that is slightly schizophrenic and therefore asks a few questions. Will this band follow the experimental/psych route of "Desert" or instead opt for the heavy doom/metal road of the title track, maybe they will continue to do both as on the prog-ish "Sky"? We will have to wait and see.

Monday, 27 June 2016

DEADEYE NAVIGATOR ~ THE GREAT BINGE EP.....review



Norway is probably better known for its black and death metal than it is for gnarly stoner blues but that may all change with the arrival of four guys from Oslo who channel the spirit of the American Delta through a wall of fuzz and distortion and go by the name of Deadeye Navigator.
Blues based but with a penchant for adding a little funkiness to their groove, Deadeye Navigator bridge a gap between the classic/hard rock of yesterday and the gritty stoner/psych of today, taking the drive and attitude of the latter and blending it with the song craft and musicality of the former as can be heard on the bands debut "The Great Binge EP" available at Bandcamp.
"The Great Binge EP" is a superb debut that sees a band hitting a groove that will have many making comparisons with Maryland alt. stoners Clutch. Those comparisons are never more evident than on songs like title track "The Great Binge " and final song "Show Me The Money" both of which share a little of the same funky staccato attack and pulpit preacher vocal stylings that Neil Fallon and co built a career around, Deadeye Navigator are not a Clutch clone though and songs like "Oh My Heavy Mood", "Fat Boris" and "Something's Wrong" are a little more in the arena of stoner blues,  having more in common with New York's Geezer than the aforementioned "earth rockers". Although obviously influenced by the two bands mentioned Deadeye Navigator nonetheless stamp their own identities throughout the five songs that make up this excellent EP and show a band that could , if all goes well, have a bright future.
Check 'em out...

                  


Note from band:

Just prior to recording, our... singer quit (for personal reasons). So, if you are a singer, and you sound like Neil Fallon, Robert Plant, or just have a decent singing voice and like the kind of music we are making, you are welcome to try out as our new frontman. Contact us at deadeyenavigator@gmail.com!                           
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

DITCH WIZARD ~ INCANTATION ......review


Wizards: Red, Black, Green, Electric...the list goes on, one day I might sit down and attempt to listen to every band who has the word "wizard" in their name.... or maybe not  One wizard I am listening to right now though hail from Conneticut and go by the name of  Ditch Wizard.

Ditch Wizard are Tony Pereira- guitar, Wiott H. O'henning- guitar/vocals, Jake Punzalan- bass/vocals and Walter Salazar- drums, four guys who like to play it hard fast and fuzzy as can be heard on their debut EP " Incantation".


"Incantation" is not an EP that's going change anyone's world, jump to the top of anyone's best of year lists or cause anyone to pronounce it as the second coming of heavy rock/metal, but having said that this is still a damn fine EP. Ditch Wizard take a little of Black Sabbath's blues based 70's groove and blend it with a large dose of 90's stonerized doom metal giving them a sound not unlike that of North Dakota stoner cult band Egypt. This similarity comes across strongly on songs like the groove laden "Crystal Lake", the slow burning "Five and Dime" and the gritty and quite superb "Gypsy's Eyes", all three  are riff heavy monsters of differing intensity and tempo driven by thundering percussion and coated in gritty clean vocals and enhanced with scorching guitar solo's. The band are not afraid mix it up a little too, "Busted" jams a bluesy classic/hard rock groove while "Hive Mind" adds a touch of hiphop/rap style vocal delivery over a furiously funky stoner backdrop. The EP closes with "Merica" a power driven stoner metal workout that sees all four members pulling out all the stops and bringing to a close an EP that may not win prizes but will most definitely win fans.
Check it out.....

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

FUZZKRANK ~ FUZZKRANK ...... review



Paraguay is a landlocked South American country bordered by Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina so it will not surprise anyone to find there is no such thing as a Paraguayan navy, what may surprise some though is that Paraguay has a burgeoning rock scene. One of the bands from this scene starting to get a little attention outside of their native country is a quartet from Lambare, named Fuzzkrank.



Fuzzkrank, Hugo "Chugo" Lafuente - bass/vocals, Matías "Matt" Aguilera - lead guitar, Javier "Xavi" Sosa - rhythm guitar and José "Merry" Burguez - drums, started out playing Black Sabbath covers as trio originally with Francisco Cabrera on drums (he plays on the EP) but with the addition of Sosa on second guitar the band decided it was time to get serious and began composing their own tunes. In March 2015 the band agreed it was a good idea to get some of these tunes down on tape and so went into the studio and recorded this their self-titled debut EP "Fuzzkrank".


The first thing that hits you, on hearing "Fuzzkrank" is the authenticity of the early 70's groove that these guys achieve throughout the five songs on this EP (four if you dismiss the narrated soundbyte that is "Intergalactic Wave Receptor MKII"). Warmly fuzzed guitars, a big bass sound , solid drumming and strong melodic vocals all combine together to create a sound that recalls the days when prog was not yet a bad word and psych and hard rock had just started dating. This "retro" vibe is mirrored in the production, an "analogue" feel adds to the authenticity and gives the EP a warmth that is often lost in modern recording techniques. The band, unashamedly, borrow  from the past, not only from the big hitters like Zeppelin,Purple and Sabbath, but also from those "cult" bands who never quite made the big stage.  "Deus-Ex Machina" mixes a little prog with early psych  and adds a smattering of hard rock in a song that lyrically questions the existence of a higher being and musically rides a wave started way back by the likes of proto stoners Captain Beyond and Warhorse (70's UK Deep Purple spin off) , the addition of a swirling Hammond organ ( supplied by band friend José Russo ) compounding the "retro" feel even further."Glass of Whiskey" and Fuzzy Feelin' both come from a more classic rock place, the former a bluesy ode to the amber spirit that takes a little Free/Bad Company structure and blends it with touches of southern country rock and the latter a driving up tempo number that carries in its groove a little of the psych/pop once utilised by Randy California's Spirit. The band save the best for last though, "Black Monolith" takes all those seventies influences, so cleverly used in the previous songs, and mixes them with their 00's counterparts resulting in blend of yesterday and today that is exhilaratingly fresh yet comfortably familiar.
Check 'em out...

Monday, 20 June 2016

SLUG 13 ~ SUPERBURNER ....... review


A while ago on these pages I touched on the English county of Surrey, in a piece on stoner/psych band Trevor's Head, concerning how much this county has contributed to Britain's rock music history. Well it seems that the, historically middle-class, London suburb has not finished with producing seriously good musicians quite yet.  Surrey based band Slug 13 started out as just plain ol' Slug ploughing an impressive furrow with a blend of grunge and noise inspired by the likes of Tad and the Jesus Lizard. Critical praise from such luminaries as Jello Biafra and, the now defunct music magazine, SOUNDS were soon forthcoming but failed to stop the band from folding after an impressive three year run. The story did not end there though and when guitarist/vocalist Nick and drummer Richard decided it was time to get back on the horse again they recruited bassist James into the fold. This new line up took the grunge and noise of their previous incarnation and added a little desert/stoner fuzziness into the groove and so with the addition of a couple of numerals Slug13 were born. In 2015 the band released their first studio EP "Need" and have just followed this up with their new outing "Superburner"



"Superburner" is a brooding, moody affair that sees the band expanding from their alt/grunge root into areas of psych, stoner and even a little doom, Heavily fuzzed and downtuned riffage is used as a base over which slightly low-key, but quite effective, vocals are laid creating a groove that owes a debt to both the quiet/loud/quiet aesthetics of Nirvana and the gritty fuzz'n'roll of some of the more darker sounding bands from the stoner/desert spectrum.
Title, and opening, track " Superburner" is a perfect example of these two polar opposites coming together in one place, its deliciously dark riff would not sound out of place on a desert rock compilation album but around that riff the band create a brooding dark atmospheric that would be just as comfortable in the alt/grunge arena. These two dynamics come together here like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and give Slug13 their own unique sound.
"Six Gill Murphy" continues in much the same vein and sees the guitarist laying down a sublime stuttering riff over a thundering bass and drum backdrop while singing an ode to a similarly named deep sea shark. Strange subject matter but when combined with an addictive rhythmic pulse and enhanced by a short but furiously tasteful guitar solo...it works.
Next track "Decades" is a little more metallic/ hardcore with the verses delivered in short sharp bursts reminding this listener in places of a less manic System of a Down. The vocals on the chorus do tend to get a little drowned out by the ferocity of the groove around them but that's a minor quibble for a track that kicks as hard as this one does.
"Gravity Cannibal" follows, kicking off with a liquid smooth bass intro before a darkly distorted and sustained guitar chord breaks the tranquillity and the three musicians fall into the main riff. The songs doom drenched lyrical theme is matched by an atmospheric and heavy backdrop of chainsaw riffage and tumultuous rhythm that is further enhanced by a jaw dropping WAH pedal soaked guitar solo.
"Rotating Mantis" combines a series of guitar effects and trickery with another stuttering stop/start riff, adding a touch of heavy funkiness into a song which lyrically describes the movements of one of nature's scarier looking creatures. The guitar trickery extends into the songs solo, the guitarists use of what sounds like a rotary pedal, dialed to maximum, fracturing the notes falling from his frets, creating a stuttered broken signal effect. The band then fall back into the main riff for the songs final quarter, slowly increasing the tempo before ending on a final sustained and deeply distorted chord.
"Tearing" revives a little of the bands original grunge/alt vibe with its shifting dynamics, not quite the quiet/loud/quiet musical dynamic mentioned earlier but a more subtle shift in mood and atmosphere that is gradual rather than glaringly obvious.
"Firedog" closes the EP in ballsy style. An insistant and ferocious guitar and bass riff furiously driven from beneath by truly impressive drumming forms a foundation over which minimal lyrics are growled/roared. Short, sharp and to the point there is nonetheless a lot packed into its 01:49. it's just a shame it's not a little longer.




If you thought the UK was falling behind the rest of the world in terms of good underground rock music then take a trip to Surrey and check out Slug13, and while your there have a look around there may be a whole scene down there in need of discovery.

Friday, 17 June 2016

SONIC WOLVES ~ BEFORE THE END COMES ...news/preview



Born in Alessandria, Italy and consisting of Kayt Vigil - Bass/Vocals (ex Hatchetface and Pentagram and current bassist in Rogue StateVita - Drums (Ufomammut, Rogue State), Paolo Melotto - Guitar/Vocals (ex Psyconauts) and Diniz - Guitar (Temple Of Dust and Mexican Chili Funeral Party), Sonic Wolves are a band not adverse to a heavy riff or two. Originally formed in 2012 as Tsutar the band went through a slight line up change before reconvening under the Sonic Wolves banner in 2014. Last year (2015) the band went in to the Ampire Studio's, Pistoia to record a full length album the results of which can be heard on the soon to be released "Before The End Comes" on Taxi Driver Records.




"Before The End" packs a lot into it's eight tracks, from the Native American pipe and drums intro of "Winds of War" that leads into the psych soaked and very punk/new wave "Geronimo" through the deliciously dreamy doom/occult groove of "He Said" to the hard rock, heavy metal drive of  title track " Before The End Comes" not a moment is wasted in mindless noodling or musical over indulgence. Reverb drenched vocals, both male and female, resonate around a backdrop of fuzz heavy guitars, throbbing bass and  tumultuous drumming that sees all four members playing for the songs rather than despite of them.
If your looking for something a little different that has a sense of the past but still has its feet in the here and now then check these guys out.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

HYDE ~ DEMO ....review



Hyde are a trio from France who for reasons known only to themselves prefer to keep their identities under wraps, their Facebook bio only referring to them as Mr's S, P and J and giving no information on instruments played or vocals sung.. Whether this is a clever marketing ploy, a disguise to hide the fact they are well known musicians working on a project they don't want their record companies knowing about or that they are wanted criminals who just like to jam a few tunes now and then I know not. What I do know though is that they have just released a killer three song demo via Bandcamp.


First track "Barber of Pitlochry" bursts from the speakers in a whirlwind of fuzz and rhythm, a rolling desert groove blended with elements of doom driven by solid powerful percussion, thundering bass and gnarly guitar riffage over which low key but very effective and slightly accented vocals are laid. The song has, as mentioned earlier, a very strong desert rock groove but one that leans more towards the metallic edges of  Unida than the hard rock /psych of Kyuss, something that becomes more evident in the songs Sabbath-esque middle section with it's Iommi fuelled guitar solo and Butler/Ward rhythm patterns.
"Tsunami" is up next and sees the band take the doom elements found in the previous track and turn them up to eleven. The song starts moodily and atmospheric with an arpeggiated guitar motif complimented by deep bass lines, sparse percussion, and world weary vocals that although heavily accented add a dark gravitas to the songs solemn lyrics. The song shifts back and forth between dynamics utilising an almost epic doom approach on the verses with the vocals throatily crooned/narrated against a backdrop of heavy mid-paced riffage before moving into a more stoner groove for the chorus with the singers tone shifting up a gear into a gruff, raspy roar. The songs final quarter sees the band release the brakes and go into full on stoner doom mode, taking the song to it's final note on a wave of thunderous rhythmic groove.
"Hunter's Run" stays in the stoner doom arena but brings back a little of the desert feel the band cleverly utilised in the first track, albeit a little more subtle and understated. The track opens with a deliciously seductive bass line accompanied by drums and overlaid with a haunting echoed guitar motif.  Vocals enter and are delivered, initially, with weary lived in, slurred tones rising to a passionate gargled growl as the song builds in tempo and emotion. Around the halfway point the song takes a slight detour into psych country with  an eerie spoken sound byte played over a deeply fuzzed bass line and screeching feedback. The band then segues back into the main riff before going off on a tangent of white noise and pedal effects that then slowly fades to silence, a silence that is soon shattered by the band reprising the riff  once again, this time slower, deeper and doomier, before once again falling back on the next bout of electronic noise and feedback that finally takes the track to its close..



Desert grooves drenched in doom, played by three guys cloaked in mystery and singing with French accents may not be a combination that'll see these guys setting the  mainstream music charts alight but here among the undergrowth of the "underground" rock scene this sort of thing tends to go down rather well and if this superb demo is anything to go by a full album would be very well received indeed.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

HJORTENE/ PRESIDENT FETCH split .

Desert Psychlist are pleased to announce the international release of a new split album from two of the finest bands from the Danish" underground" rock scene, stoner fuzzonauts  Hjortene and punk/hardcore stalwarts President Fetch on Walden Rekords


Hjortene,  recorded all five of their tracks live in one night, adding the vocals the following day, and this approach seems to have paid dividends for the band giving their side of the split an "in the moment" feel. The band perform four superb original tunes full of raw edgy heavily fuzzed riffage coated with clean but gritty vocals plus a gloriously stonerized cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon" that is so drenched in fuzz and gain it is barely recognisable.



President Fetch, i'm ashamed to admit are a band i'd only ever come across once before and that was only very briefly via a track on Hjortene's  self titled debut album. This is the bands eighth release and although being described as a punk/hardcore band President Fetch would not sound too out of place at a stoner/desert festival. On this split the band spit and thrash their way through six incendiary songs with a furiosity and urgency that defies belief yet manages to still maintain a sense of melody as well a groove.



The vinyl for this split has been released in a variety of different colours and can be purchased, as well as the digital format, on each bands respective Bandcamp pages.



Friday, 3 June 2016

THE DRUIDS ~ EP ......review





Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy or as they were collectively known, The Ramones, four brothers who were not brothers but changed their names so that they would be known as brothers even though we all still knew they were not actually brothers.
Space, Earth, Elder and  Mountain  are collectively known as The Druids, four men who might be brothers, who changed their names so we might think they are brothers who when it all comes to light may even actually be brothers but who are in all probability not brothers



The Druids, Space Druid- guitar/vocals, Earth Druid- lead guitar/vocals, Elder Druid- bass and
Mountain Druid- drums, are from Whiteoak, MD and cite among their influences The Allman Brothers, Tame Impala, Sleep and Hawkwind. Some of these influences, but not all, can be heard within the grooves of the bands debut EP, simply named "EP".


First offering "Offering" begins with raked strings and heavily phased stabbing chords before Elder Druid's enormous sounding bass and Mountain Druid's pounding drums enter and take everything to the next level. After a few seconds of slow deliberate doom laden riffage the dynamic suddenly shifts into a Sabbath meets Sleep type groove over which Space Druid and Earth Druid lay echo soaked and slightly ethereal dual vocals. The song shifts seamlessly back and forth between time signatures with Space Druid nailing down the fuzz heavy riffs while "brother" Earth soars around them with some truly inspired leads and solos.
"Thunderbird" is up next, a warmly fuzzed instrumental which sees Mountain and Elder lay down a solid drum and bass foundation over which the two guitarists employ every trick and effect in their respective books to paint sonic portraits with palettes of dark distortion and feedback.
"Sorcerers" sees the band injecting a little psychedelic colouring into their proto-metal/doom grooves. Vocals here are a little laid further back in the mix and have distinct early Floyd/Syd Barrett feel to them, a feeling that is reflected in the songs swirling psych drenched finale.
"Turtles" continues in the psychedelic vein of the previous track but this time the band up the ante by adding a little bluesy swagger and eastern mysticism into the proceedings. The vocals are again distant and floydian  and wrapped in a blanket of hazy warmth that gives the whole song an almost spiritual feel. The level of musicianship over the songs 08:07 duration  is nothing short of astonishing but a special mentions should go to both Druids, Earth and Space whose six-string interplay throughout is nothing short of breathtaking.
The band finish "EP" with two covers, the first a storming lysergic version of The Allman Brothers "Dreams" that sees Space and Earth channelling their inner Dickie Betts and Duane Allman and the second a cover of Black Sabbath's "Wicked World" which serves as a perfect vehicle for Mountain and Elder Druid to flex their rhythmic muscles as well as giving "EP" a high note to go out on.
If you dig your grooves heavy, hazy and played by men all with the same name but none of them with the same haircuts then take a raincheck on the Ramones and instead check out The Druids.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

MOTHER MOOCH premiere Hive Mind video


Dublin rockers Mother Mooch today unveil to the world a brand new video for their song "Hive Mind". The video, directed by Shannon Moncrief and cinematographer Philip Blake and filmed in Kildare's Donadea Forest Park , perfectly matches visual imagery to "Hive Mind's" lyrical and musical content and as the band explain in their press release "explores concepts of conformity and indoctrination". Whether these concepts come across to the casual  youtube viewer i'm not sure but there is no getting away from the fact that visually as well as sonically this video is a stunning example of musical cinema.



Wednesday, 1 June 2016

LOOKING GLASS ~ VOLUME 4 ....review


What do you get from a band who cite their influences as the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Rush as well as Cathedral, St. Vitus and  Black Sabbath? Well, in the case of Australian trio Looking Glass and their new release "Volume 4", what you get is a kick-ass album full of progressive metal complexity cut with a large swathes of sludgey grit and feisty stoner attitude.


Looking Glass, Clinton Paine - drums, Lachlan Paine - bass/keys and Marcus De Pasquale - guitar/vox, are obviously not concerned with jumping aboard bandwagons, the simple fact that they mention John McLaughlin's jazz fusioneers Mahavishnu Orchestra as an influence shows that these guys are serious musicians and not trend chasers, this band are all about "the music".
"Volume 4" contains twelve tracks of stunning, and at times breathtaking progressive metal intensity played by three musicians who are very much at the top of their game C.Paine drives the groove, filling every space and gap with his muscular intense drumming, pushing his musical companions on from below with powerful rhythmic pulses. Attempting to match this whirlwind of sticks and skins L.Paine and De Pasquale throw everything but the kitchen sink into mix. When not holding down the bottom end with his fluid boneshaking bass L.Paine is also responsible for supplying  the albums array of keyboard flourishes and colouring, playing  a sort of John Paul Jones to De Pasquale's Jimmy Page. De Pasquale in turn delivers a masterclass in how to mix intense complex guitar technique with emotion and feel without falling into the trap of mindless shredding, his guitar combining with L.Paine's bass/keys to deliver heavy fuzz drenched riffage one minute then laying down finger twisting elaborate solo's, licks and arpeggios the next., he also delivers some pretty fine vocals These three musicians combined create a groove that although leaning towards the more "progressive" end of the rock spectrum still  has it feet firmly entrenched in the bluster and swagger of heavy rock, and it is a groove you should check out if you like your "heavy" a little cerebral as well as a whole lotta  kick-ass!