Friday, 16 June 2017

ALMOST HONEST ~ THUNDER MOUTH ..review


"Groovy Sexy Viking Funk Metal from Outerspace" is not a musical tag you're likely to come across too frequently but it is the description Pennsylvanian groovsters Almost Honest use to describe their brand of foot to the floor, no-nonsense riff'n'roll. The band, Shayne Reed (vocals, guitar),Seth Jackson (bass), Quinten Spangler (drums) and Zach Keiffer (lead guitar), whose influences include Red Fang, Mastodon and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, have been together since 2013 and have been pedalling their mix of funk, fuzz and sludge grooves around their home base and further afield ever since.. This year sees the release of their first full album "Thunder Mouth", ten tracks of quirky funk fuelled rock'n'roll available through their Bandcamp page (here)


"Thunder Mouth" is an album that, although possessing all the attributes usually expected to be found within the stoner/sludge and hard rock canon, sits slightly left of field of those expectations. Raucous riffage, shifting time signatures and thunderous pounding rhythms can all be happily ticked off as you move through albums list of tracks but there's an underlying, slightly off-kilter quirkiness permeating each and every song. The first indication of this left of field vibe can be found in Shayne Reed's vocals, the guitarist/vocalists slightly gothic/indie tones are clean, strong with a subtle raw edge and are pitched a little lower than what is usually the norm within the stoner genre giving them a startling unique feel. This feeling of uniqueness is mirrored by Jackson and Spangler's superb, ever shifting rhythmic bluster, the bassist and drummer combining with Reed's guitar to lay down a plethora of jagged groove, switching from funky metallic to hard and rocking within a heartbeat. Over, through and around these refrains and rhythms Keiffer's lead work shifts between bluesy swagger and neo-classical shred, ripping both complex and loose solos from his guitar that soar majestically above the grooves below like eagles riding warm thermal updrafts.
Quirky, funky, gritty and raucous all wrapped up in one bundle might may sound like a recipe for disaster but Almost Honest manage to pull all these threads together to create an album that is slightly different but highly enjoyable
Check it out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

VOKONIS ~ THE SUNKEN DJINN ..... review


Sweden's VokonisSimon Ohlsson (guitar/ vocals), Jonte Johansson (bass/backing vocals) and Emil Larsson (drums), made everyone sit up and listen with their debut "Olde One Ascending" the album stormed the "Best of 2016"  lists of many of the stoner/doom scenes makers and shakers as well as appearing to take up permanent residence in those monthly lists of current listening and good taste "The Doom Charts". This year the band are back with a brand new album "The Sunken Djinn" and a brand new label "Ripple Music" so be prepared for history to repeat itself.


Title track "The Sunken Djinn" begins with a wash of sound, guitar chords and bass lines reverberating over a backdrop of pummelling percussion before the band fall into the songs main riff, a refrain that constantly ascends and descends and is enhanced by Ohlsson's clever use of  colour and texture and is buoyed by Johansson's  throbbing bass lines and Larsson's pulverising skins and shimmering cymbals. Ohlsson pours over this tumultuous barrage of heavy groove monotonic vocal tones his big, suprisingly clear bellows ,backed in places by Johansson, a perfect match for the monolithic grooves beneath them.
"Calling From The Core" follows, it's dark, prog tinted intro segueing into a throbbing stoner metal groove pushed hard by Johansson and Larsson's solid and tight rhythmic work. Ohlsson here delivers his vocals almost in staccato fashion while at the same time crunching out dark shards of chordal riffage and ripping swirling guitar solo's from his fretboard. A mix of prog-ish complexity and stoner metal brutality it is one of the highlights of the album.
"The Coldest Night" begins with Johansson's bass thrumming out a devastatingly distorted motif around which Ohlsson throws crunching powerchords then evolves into a low, slow to mid-paced stoner doom groove taken to the next level by it's sheer intensity and unrelenting heaviness.
"Blood Vortex" follows much the same path as the previous track but lifts the pace a few notches and sees Ohlsson adding a little more aggression and anger into his vocal approach.
"Architect Of Despair" sees Vokanis embracing their doom side and hitting a blackened stoner groove with Ohlsson's now trade mark vocals booming over heavily fuzz laden riffage and pounding percussion, the guitarist/vocalist also throwing in a series of searing guitar solo's
"Rapturous" like "Calling From The Core" utilises touches of prog-like atmospherics and texturing to make its initial presence felt and like that song slowly builds into grizzled riff-fest of bellowed monotone vocals, crunching refrains and thunderous groove.
"Maelstroem" closes the album in a whirl of taped effects, backward guitars and noise and is exactly what its title suggests it is.


Vokonis, have not sat idle bathing in the glory of their achievement with "Olde Ones Ascending", these hairy purveyors of the raucous and heavy have returned with an album that not only matches the intensity and heaviness of that album but one that surpasses it.
Check it out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 11 June 2017

TARLUNG ~ BEYOND THE BLACK PYRAMID .. review


Vienna's TarLung have come a long way since meeting in 2013 and recording "TarLung" their debut album, an album recorded and released before any of them had even stepped on a stage together. The band, Clemens aka "Rotten" (guitar), Marian (drums) and Philipp aka "Five" (guitar/vocals) then went on to release  an EP ,"Void" in 2016 and had by this time "popped their cherry" as a live concern supporting the the likes of Eyehategod and Saturnalia Temple to good reviews.
TarLung have recently recorded and released their second full length album "Beyond The Black Pyramid" available now on Black Bow Records.


TarLung describe "Beyond The Black Pyramid" as an album that " takes you on a hour long journey through strange tales of war, death and human misery" and you can almost feel that misery and despair oozing from every note and dark chord played throughout the albums nine low, slow missives of darkened, doom laden, sludge tinted metal. Heavy is a word that's been applied to many forms of music, heavy rock, heavy blues, heavy metal but never has a word been more appropriate then when applied to the blackened grooves TarLung bring to the table, songs like  "It Waits In The Dark", "Prime Of Your Existence" and "Born Dead" are enveloped in swathes of cloying dank guitar riffage that reverberate menacingly over powerful and quite complex drum patterns into which are delivered low, gravel thick vocals that rumble like distant thunder beneath. It's not all doom and gloom though "Resignation" shines a brief light of quiet instrumental contemplation into proceedings and "Dying Light" almost hits a straight metal/stoner groove before ploughing headlong back into the doom.


On the whole "Beyond The Black Pyramids" is a weighty album of growling malevolence and despair built on devilishly darkened grooves played deliciously low, achingly slow and extremely heavy.
Check it out .....



© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 10 June 2017

ARTEAGA ~ VOL.II DIOS SOL .... review


Desert Psychlist has spoken before of the political unrest that for many years stifled the emergence of the Chilean rock scene and although those times are thankfully long behind them it is only recently that music coming from that South American country is making its presence felt in the international rock markets.
Arteaga  are one such band to slowly gain a foothold outside of their native home, the trio of Francisco Gonzalez, Sebastián Morales Munita , and Domingo Lovera Parmo have just released via Forbidden Records (USA) and South American Sludge Records (Argentina) their new album "Vol. II Dios Sol" as well as on their Bandcamp page (here)


Listen to "Vol.II Dios Sol" with heavy psych grooves driven by punishingly pulverising percussion over which  throbbing refrains of chainsaw toned riffage are delivered and you might just get an idea why so many inside and outside of the South American continent are picking up on what these guys do . Add to this gloriously noisy maelstrom of desert tinted doom'n'groove a soupcon of howling feedback and a coating of slightly manic but powerful vocals (sang in Spanish) and you not only get the idea why, you'll know why.


Arteaga fill every nook and cranny of "Vol.II Dios Sol" with swathes of textured psychedelic colouring using elements of lysergic ambience to bridge the gaps between wailing guitar solos, hazy vocal melodies and heavily pedal effected riffage, it's heady, cruiser-weight grooves of acid laced stoner doom enhanced by a gist of  textured space and psych is something well worth checking out ...


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 9 June 2017

LÂMINA ~ LILITH ....review


Vasco Duarte (guitar/vocals), Sergio Pratas da Costa (guitar), Filipe Homem Fonseca (bass) and Catarina da Silva Henriques are LÂMINA a four piece Portuguese band from Lisbon specialising in lysergic laced stoner/hard rock grooves edged in doom and psych all of which can be heard on the bands debut album "Lilith"


LÂMINA's "Lilith" melds together aspects of late 60's psychedelic rock with those of the more fuzz orientated stoner/hard rock grooves of the 00's, wrapping them in swathes of swirling lysergic guitar colouring and shoegaze-ish vocal melodies underpinned by shifting rhythmic textures and patterns.
It is hard , while listening to the seven songs that make up "Lilith", not to be reminded in places of those, now sadly defunct, pioneers of the "new psych sound" Quest For Fire but where LÂMINA differ from those Canadian purveyors of swirling lysergic groove is in the harder edged, subtly shaded doom and stoner/hard rock bluster these Portuguese musicians bring to the table. Songs like opener "Cold Blood" and "Big Black Angel" plough a similar furrow to Quest For Fire, strident fuzz drenched grooves replete with wah drenched guitar solo's and deliciously addictive vocal melodies, but it is as we near the albums centre that things start to take on a darker hue. "Evil Rising" begins this descent into edginess by jamming a slightly upbeat proto-doom groove, its slightly Sabbath-esque refrain  perfectly paving the way for the albums epic centrepiece "Maze" a twenty minute opus taking in elements of  doom and psych as well as dipping its toes into the waters of both space and post-rock texturing and atmospherics.."Psychodevil" and "Education For Death" briefly lift the listener into Sabbath territory again, albeit with a psychedelic. acid laced twist, before once again diving headlong into the abyss with the schizophrenic and menacing "In The Warmth of Lilith" a low, slow doom laden lament, filled with achingly beautiful guitar colouring and mournful vocal meters, that closes the album.


Mesmeric and infectious "Lilith" is a fuzz drenched tome taking the listener on a journey from heady psychedelic brightness into the depths of  dank doomy darkness, a trip well worth taking.
Check it out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

SPOCAINE ~ SOLAR FUZZ .... review


Germany's SpocaineFlorian Rauch (vocals), André Stefan (guitar, slide guitar), Patrick Weber (guitar), Jorin Gundler (bass) and Tim Rauch (drums, percussion) first came to Desert Psychlist's attention when in 2013 the band released their self-tiled album "Spocaine" a nine song opus headed up by "Little Jimmy" one of the most infectious  bluesy stoner/hard rock songs recorded that year.
The band return this year (2017) with "Solar Fuzz" a new EP consisting of three gritty slices of fuzz drenched stoner blues bookended by two brief but very interesting instrumentals.


"Intro" starts things rolling it's short sharp burst of solid drum beats and raked guitar strings and swirling effects seguing into a thrumming heavy rock riff underpinned with deep rumbling bass.
"Giants Walk" follows and finds Spocaine jamming a groove that recalls Maryland fuzzmeisters Clutch's bluesier moments but also those of Greece's Planet Of Zeus minus the hardcore vocals, jagged grooves of bluesy bluster taken to another level by Florian Rauch's big vocal tones, the frontman's bear-like growl tinged with stoner grit and southern swagger a dominant force as he roars over a gritty backdrop of gnarly fuzzed out groove.
"Solar Fuzz" explodes from the speakers on a wave of chainsaw guitar riffage, guitarists Stefan and Weber laying down a crunching heavily fuzzed refrain superbly backed up by Gundler's thrumming bass and Tim Rauch's persistent and pulverising percussion. Into this maelstrom of gloriously distorted sludge-like noise enters Florian Rauch, sounding like he's been gargling razors and smoking tree bark, telling tales of a sun "that blinds my eyes" as well as throwing an Ozzy -like "yeah" in here and there.
"Into The Light" sees Spocaine hitting a groove that sits comfortably between doom and southern metal with Florian Rauch's grizzled tones crooning over  a bedrock of big resounding guitar chords, booming bass lines and military style drumming before exploding into a gloriously powerful proto-metal jam and taking things to a deliciously noisy close.
"Outro" wraps things up with a brief but quite delightful foray into experimental territory with hand played percussion the base around which big booming bass resounds and reverberates and heavily effected guitars add colouring and texture.


Three "proper" songs and two instrumentals is a little less than Desert Psychlist was hoping from Spocaine's latest release but beggars can't be choosers and what you do get is as good as some bands release on a whole album.
Check it out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 4 June 2017

PHE ~ PHE .... review


"Making music while having a beer and a laugh" is the statement of intent from Phe a band formed in Helmond, The Netherlands 2010 whose penchant for jamming fuzz drenched desert grooves flecked with psych, hard rock and bluesy elements can be heard on their debut album, the simply titled "Phe".


First track "Heaven's Hell" bursts into life on chugging palm muted desert/stoner riff embellished with occasional curly licks and fills complimented by thrumming bass lines and solid, tight drumming. Over these sand blasted grooves of desert splendour distinctive throaty vocals are delivered, the singers grainy, slightly hoarse but powerful tones a perfect match for the equally grainy music surrounding them.
"Hide" follows it's low, slow and heavy doom-like opening refrain gradually dropping away leaving the bass and drums to carry the groove beneath a superbly delivered vocal performance which the guitarist embellishes with reverb soaked guitar colouring.
"Grow Old" treads a similar path to the previous track, restrained atmospheric grooves sitting beneath strongly delivered vocals that sporadically burst into life on a wave of heavily fuzzed desert riffage.
"Rage Down" finds Phe introducing into their  grooves subtle eastern edged motifs and themes, motifs and themes that are not only reflected in the guitars exotic Arabian feeling refrains but also in the songs  excellently executed vocal delivery and structure.
"Up On The Mountain" blends  alt/grunge like aesthetics into a groove that, in places, also travels into both blues and doom territories. Beneath a swathe of big resonating riffage and pulverising rhythms a mix of gritty stoner roar and gothic doom-like mellowness is delivered vocally giving the song a huge dark atmospheric feel that then segues, via a brief pause, into a big heavy psych blues jam with guitar wailing banshee-like over a backdrop of grizzled bass a tumultuous percussion.


If you like your desert grooves wrapped in a blanket of heavy fuzz tied up with a ribbon of bluesy swagger then "Phe" will tick all your boxes and is most definitely an album you should check out ....



© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 3 June 2017

THE EXPERIENCE NEBULA ROOM ~ OUROBOROUS ... review


"We're bound for Rio Grande" say the words of an old traditional sea shanty and so are we for that is where we will find The Experience Nebula Room, a Brazilian band who, inspired by music from a wide range of sources such as Captain Beyond, Soundgarden and QOTSA, have put together an album of instrumental jams that is at times truly breath-taking. The Experience Nebula Room  consist of Rafael Rechia - (guitars),Eduardo Custódio (bass/percussion) and Nicholas Lucena (drums) ,the band have recently released their first full recording, an eclectic mix of prog, stoner and psych, flying under the collective banner of "Ouroborous".


"Ouroborous" delivers ten songs of complexity and intensity, an eclectic mixture of prog, psych and stoner grooves that along the way meanders in to the arenas of folk, post-rock and even a little funky Latin laced space rock. To say that these Brazilian musicians are on top of their game would be an understatement, the levels of musicianship delivered throughout the length and breadth of  "Ouroborous" is at times staggering, acoustic guitar arpeggios trading off with electric rhythmic crunch, Latin American percussion going head to head with pounding hard rock  drumming, swathes of clever and unobtrusive keyboard colouring and underneath it all titanic bassitude . These musicians pull all these threads together to create a sound that is both exciting and invigorating and one that anyone with a penchant for well thought out and well written and well executed instrumental music should immediately check out .....
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© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 2 June 2017

CONTAINER ~ MOUNTAINS OF GAIA ... review


Utrecht, The Netherlands can trace its origins back to the stone age, how apt then that Container a five piece stone-R band should hail from that region.
Container, Daan - (vocals), Boudewijn (bass), Rutger (guitar), Hayo - guitar and Erwin - drums, are fans of Kyuss, Fu Manchu, The Melvins and Black Sabbath and although there are definitely elements of all these bands surfacing on the bands debut album "Mountains Of Gaia" the bands sound seems to also owe a huge debt to the garage rock grooves of the MC5 and the Stooges.


First song "Circus" begins with that classic circus theme, a theme that has introduced circus shows across the world since the whole circus phenomenon began way back, joined by a tribal drum pattern and insidiously sexy circular bass line. The song then erupts into an undulating metallic stoner groove replete with swirling guitar attack and crunching riffage enhanced by Daan's sleazy garage toned vocal delivery, the frontman acting out the role of a demented ringmaster inviting you to a show you feel you might enter but never leave. The songs diverse mix of grooves is indicative of what to expect from the rest of the album and is an introduction to a band whose blend of gnarly, gritty hard rock/stoner riffage and garage/punk rock attitude is truly something to behold. Container are not a band who like to play by the rules, they are a band who like to confound and confuse their listeners, a band who are as likely to chill out their audiences with moments of tranquil beauty as to pin them to the wall with the force of their sonic aggression, and they do this over the course of eight of the most eclectic and addictive tunes your likely to hear this year.
Check 'em out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 1 June 2017

SAPATA ~ SATANIBATOR .... review


Finnish doomsters Sapata, hail from Tampere, Southern Finland and jam a deliciously dark occult rock groove that mixes prog-ish complexity with doom like atmospherics coated in strong, powerful vocal melodies. The band, Saara Šamane (vocals), TT Suosalo (bass), Felix Voltti (guitar) and Anttu Puutio (drums), were formed in 2014 under the banner of Satanibator before changing their name to Sapata and have been honing their chops on the Finnish live circuit and around Europe ever since. The band recently went in to the studio with an armful of fully formed songs and a ideas for a few more the result of which is the bands debut album "Satanibator"(Inverse Records).



Sapata plough a furrow seeded by likes of The Devil's Blood, Blood Ceremony and Witch Mountain, dark atmospheric grooves, that sit in a place between the proto-doom/heavy rock of  Black Sabbath and Pentagram and the more traditional doom of Candlemass and Solitude of Aeturnus, a sound often referred to as "occult rock" but one Sapata prefer to call "mystic rock" or "doom'n'groove".
Sapata, have in Saara Samane a singer of rare quality, her strong vocal tones, edged with a metallic bluesy grittiness, soar and swoop, and in places whisper, over a backdrop of dark, dense heavy metallic bluster that sees Voltti ripping and shredding a mixture of soaring bluesy.and neo classical guitar colouring in and around Sousalo and Puutio's immense and impressive foundations of grizzled bass and powerful percussion. Songs like "Gobi", with it's North African themes and motifs, the metallic blues infused "Styx" and "Death Depression Life" with it's big epic doom vibe, are big atmospheric hard rocking tomes but the band can mx it up also with "MDD" and "Ararat" showing a slightly lighter, gentler approach, still as intense, but tempered by moments of dark serenity, all are played with a conviction and commitment that bands who have been together twice as long would struggle to match.
Superbly executed songs that are well written and arranged make "Satanibator" one of the best debut's of 2017 so far, check it out and buy it here

© 2017 Frazer Jones