Sunday 31 July 2016


For a long time when anyone mentioned Australia and rock music in the same sentence the first things that came to mind were AC/DCRose Tattoo and to a lesser extent cult favourites Buffalo but things are starting to change down under and we are starting to become aware of a new wave of  rock bands emerging from the antipodean underground, assailing our senses with a diverse mix of styles and grooves via sites like Bandcamp and Reverbnation.
One band to have recently come to the attention of the, northern hemispheres, underground web jockeys, bloggers and journalists are Sydney psychonauts Transcendent Sea, a band who in their own words  "play knuckle dragging, sleazy stoner rock/70's doom inspired music"
The band, Mathew J Allen - Guitars, Andrew Auglys - Bass, Mark Mills - Drums and Sean Bowden - Vocals, went into The Brain Studios, Surry Hills, Sydney in December last year and with the help of producer Clayton Segelov. emerged some time later with this, their first full length album, "Ballads of Drowning Men".

"Darkness of Enlightenment" begins with a heavily fuzzed guitar motif  played over an insistent and pounding rhythmic pulse, Allen then lets rip with a short melancholic solo before falling back into the main riff that then pauses before the vocals enter. Bowden's vocal is clean, gritty with deep gravel toned power and a trace of southern rock drawl, and is a perfect fit for the maelstrom of riff'n'roll it sits over. Sonically closer to the sludgier edges of  stoner rock than the 70's doom they mention in their self description, the sound the band achieve is nonetheless vibrant, intense and, most of all, exciting.
"Over Easy" opens with a gnarly heavy blues intro before taking a left turn into stoner/desert territory with a driving high tempo groove driven by Auglys thunderous bass line and Mills whirlwind drumming. Bowden opts vocally for a throaty roar that borders on the edges of punky and hardcore and is the perfect foil for Allen's tasty riffs and solo guitar injections. The song falls back into its initial blues rock groove for the last quarter finishing with Allen's guitar feeding back and slowly fading to silence.
"Throw Me A Line" continues the blues theme of the previous track but this time instead of just dipping their toes the band dive in and get thoroughly soaked. Sonically sitting somewhere between Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused"" and Parlour Mob's "Tide of Tears" the band hit a groove so deliciously seductive it is almost immoral. Bowden's clean, gruff  powerful delivery sits atop an exquisite Auglys bass line complimented by Mills exemplary percussive dexterity. Over and around this Allen injects jazzy arpeggios , bluesy chord progressions and psychedelic flourishes as well as delivering a scorching  blues drenched solo. This is a band who like to mix it up a little so it comes as no surprise that come the halfway mark the things take off in a completely different direction and we enter into an almost blackened metal section with harsh growled vocals over a driving sludge metal groove before it all settles down again into the bluesy refrain of the first half. Thrilling stuff!
"Mind Queen" has a touch of 70's classic/hard rock about it, albeit married to a gritty stoner/desert attitude. Mills lays down a driving beat around which Auglys weaves lines of bone shaking, thundering bass and Allen layers  with hook laden riffs and solo's. Bowden adds the icing to this particular tasty cake with a superb throaty and wonderfully delivered vocal. Probably the most accessible track on the album and the one that, if you had to pick a song for use as a single , would be the track of choice.
"Blood of a Lion" is up next, a gnarly heavy stonerized hard rock workout with a touch of bluesy swagger at its root. Bowden roars and snarls around a backdrop of solid rhythmic thunder interrupted only by Allen's superb injections of swooping solos, hooks and licks. Special mention should go here to Auglys and Mills, the pairing are as solid as a rock throughout, tight as a scotsman's fist and twice as powerful, laying down a groove so thick a truck could drive over it.
"Way of the Wolf " brings things to a close with a track so gloriously essential it should be classified as a class "A" narcotic. A brief snippet of what sounds like a Bollywood theme sang by a group of Asian ladies makes way for deeply distorted guitar and thrumming bass sustain that segues into a riff so gnarly it has to be heard to be believed. The dynamic drops down for the verse with Auglys and Mills holding it all together while Allen embellishes with little touches of psych colouring and spacey effects. Bowden is again in fine form his voice showing a gruff fragility in the quieter moments shifting through the gears into full on sludge roar in the more hard edged and heavier sections, a superb vocal performance. Allen lets rip with a scintillating solo full of emotion and dripping with feel that then leads back into the main riff and the vocals. Just when you start to think it cannot get any better than this does,  the band drop into a gentle psych groove that sees Auglys getting a touch funky on bass and Mills channelling his jazz chops on drums while Allen creates atmosphere and mood with his use of arpeggiated chords and pedal effects all topped off by a wonderfully clean and heartfelt Bowden vocal...stunning!

Nasty is a word that in the past had negative connotations but these days it is also used as a word to describe something good, something positive. "Ballads of Drowning Men", using that second analogy is damn nasty!
Check it out...

Friday 29 July 2016


The tree of DOOM has grown many branches, funereal ,stoner, epic and blackened are just a few sub-genres to sprout from the seed sown by Black Sabbath in the early 70's but it was in the, wealth obsessed "greed is good", 80's that doom really started to blossom with the likes of Trouble, St. Vitus and Pentagram taking things to the next level
Bath,UK's  Doomicidal live in a space where those two periods meet, jamming a groove somewhere between the heavy rock of Sabbath and the classic doom of Candlemass, a groove that has a foot in both camps but adds a little psychedelic colouring into the equation to keep things topical.
The trio of Migo Gage - Guitar/vocals, Roger Densham - Bass/vocals and Gareth Jones - Drums (he plays on the EP but has since been replaced by Dave Stephens)  have taken all these elements and incorporated them in a three track EP recorded at Stage 2 Studios (Bath UK) and available on Bandcamp titled "Spawned In Hell"

Only three tracks long and lasting just under twenty minutes "Spawned In Hell" is nevertheless epic, not in the doom sense of the word but in its overall depth and musical content.
Opening track "Colossus" is a fine example of this epicness, beginning with glorious psychedelic dissonance before segueing into a slow and deliciously heavy refrain. Gage's guitar and Densham's bass combine together as if one laying down a slurred groove thick with reverb and fuzzy gain. Densham adds to this a vocal that is more spoken in tune than it is sung, his tone clean and slightly melancholic as he speaks/sings of  serving the Anti-Christ and being a "demon spawned in hell". The second half of the song sees Jones and Densham locking in to hold down the groove while Gage rips a series of scorching and truly inspired solos from his fretboard before all three come together again to take things to the close.
"Mirrors and Smoke" raises the temperature with a Sabbath-esque stoner doom groove ably driven by Jones' pounding drums and Densham's booming bass and overlayed with Gage's fiery guitar work. Vocal duties are this time taken up by Gage and sang  in a mantra type, almost Gregorian-like chant. The track then moves up a gear with Jones laying down a furious percussive barrage around which Densham weaves thick throbbing slabs of four string thunder and Gage rips WAH drenched licks, riffs and solos.
"Less Than Perfect" begins on a wave of dark droning feedback  and deeply distorted bass before taking off into a swooping doom laden groove intermittently broken by a chugging, head nodding, stoner metal refrain. Vocals are again sang by the guitarist and are again more chanted than sang, a trick that adds to the monolithic intensity of the groove surrounding them. Jones puts in yet another good shift on drums, crashing his cymbals, pounding his skins with muscular power and skill, driving Gage and Densham on from his stool. Densham, meanwhile, manages to lock in tight with  both Jones and Gage, his deep thrumming bass an integral component of the bands sonic blueprint. Gage peels off yet another series of tasteful and feel drenched solo's this time adding a little bluesy phrasing and psych colouring into the mix, his guitar soaring over and around the heavy rhythmic pulse beneath it. Heavy, atmospheric and a perfect blend of those elements mentioned in the opening paragraph it closes this EP with style.
Check it out.....

Monday 25 July 2016


Oxford, the home of the oldest university in the English speaking world, a place that has given the world such luminaries as physicist Stephen Hawking, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and novelist Martin Amis and also the place that birthed alt. music giants Radiohead. Not so well known is the cities "underground" music scene and especially its contributions to the stoner and doom genres, bands like Desert Storm, Mother Corona and the (sadly) now defunct Caravan of Whores have all benefited from Oxford's small but vibrant live scene. A new band to add to that list are psych/stoner/doom quartet Indica Blues.
Indica Blues are Edward Glenn - Drums, Andrew Haines Villata - Bass, Tom Pilsworth - Guitar, vocals and John Slaymaker - Guitar and so far have two releases under their belt, 2014's "Towers Rising" and recent album "Ruins On The Shore" (2016).

"Ruins On The Shore" showcases a band who, despite their name, have their roots firmly planted in the doomier end of the stoner/psych genre. Only four songs long but packed full of heavy fuzzed riffage, pounding rhythms and sprinkled with touches of  psych the album feels much bigger than its 30 minutes plus running time.
First track "Arms to the Sky" begins, after a brief swirling effect, with  a maelstrom of pounding percussion, howling guitars and booming bass then falls into a  gloriously fuzzed and distorted stoner doom groove. Pilsworth delivers, over this, lyrics telling of  temples and rivers running with blood in a voice that what it lacks in power makes up for in tone, phrasing and delivery. Villata and Glenn hold down the rhythm end with solid ease, Villata's bass, rich, fluid and thrumming with gnarly distortion locking in with Glenn's tight, unfussy and direct percussive dexterity creating a massive wall of  dark and intense sound. Pilsworth adds to this onslaught with fuzz drenched and overdriven powerchords while Slaymaker, when not laying down the groove with his guitarist partner, rips the air with scorching solos and clever fills and licks. The shivers are already going up the back of the spine  and we are only one track in!
"Feed The Pyre" begins with Pilsworth's lone guitar laying out a heavily fuzzed mid tempo riff, he is then joined by the rest of the band increasing both the volume and the atmosphere. Vocals then enter,  mournful, clean and perfectly pitched to match the brooding dark atmosphere the lyrics and the music conjure. The dynamic shifts around the four minute mark with Pilsworth hammering out a staccato palm muted motif before the band come back in with the main riff and Slaymaker lets rip with a psych drenched solo. Heavy, doom laden and deliciousy dark you can almost imagine heads front of stage nodding along in appreciation.
"Wasted Landscape" starts with a Sabbath-esque groove before shifting into a gloriously bass heavy, deeply distorted stuttering riff that recalls Slaymaker's previous band Caravan of Whores. Glenn and Villata lay down a thick bedrock of groove for Slaymaker and Pilsworth to lay their riffs and solos around with the latter also delivering yet another superb vocal.
"Ruins On The Shore" closes the album with a masterclass in epic doom atmospherics and stoner  groove. Gnarly riffage sits side by side with laid back ambiance, swaying back and forth between the two dynamics as Pilsworth sings of  being "among the ash and ruins of war," Slaymaker adds to the atmosphere by injecting touches of celtic colouring to his guitar motifs and solos while Villata and Glenn drive the groove with their exemplary rhythmic chops . The last half of the song sees the band moving into jam territory with the two guitarists trading solos and licks as well as harmonising, duelling with each other one minute in perfect unison the next. Hypnotic, mesmerising and totally mindblowing it causes that spine shiver that started on track one to finally hit its target and explode like a firework inside your mind..
Check it out.....

Saturday 23 July 2016


When three members of four of Greece's finest "underground" bands get together in the studio you know the results are going to be something a little special. The three members in question, Danis Avramidis (Brotherhood of Sleep) bass, Michael Andresakis (Reversed Nature, Stonerow) vocals,guitar and Fotis Antoniou (9oz of Nothing) drums, have, under the collective name of Green Yeti, recorded their first full length album "The Yeti has Landed".

Title track "The Yeti Has Landed" begins with the sounds of modern day electronic gadgetry set against a swirling wind type effect before the band enter into a titanic pounding riff fest. Heavy and mesmeric with both subtle and seismic shifts in time and dynamic throughout its 16:28 the sound achieved here is one of vastness and space and one that does, and I hate to use this tired cliché, take you on a journey. Andresakis vocals, clean powerful and at times manta-like, soar and boom over a backdrop of ever changing rhythmic paths superbly supplied and delivered by Avramidis' gnarly fluid bass lines and Antoniou's powerful and precise drumming. Stunning!
"Acari" opens with yet more electronic soundbytes then segues into a wash of gentle guitar arpeggios and shimmering cymbals, Avramidis enters with a menacingly dirty bass line and the groove from the guitar and drums slowly begin to follow the same dark brooding path. Layer by layer the groove builds until exploding like a volcano into the songs main riff and is then joined by the vocals. Although Andresakis again delivers his vocals with passion and power it is his stunning guitar work that stands out on this track, he rips and tears through the heavy rhythmic pulses laid down all around him with scintillating solo's, note perfect and brimming with feel and depth.
"Old Man" brushes away the use of clever sound effects as an intro and instead hits the listener straight between the ears with its titanic heavy riffage. Avramidis and Antoniou lock together tight, the pairing laying down a stunningly forceful onslaught of bass and drum into which Andresakis injects his guitar and vocals. At around a quarter of the way in the sonic barrage dissipates and a spoken soundbyte enters underpinned by a gloriously sensual bass line that, with the drums and guitar, slowly builds until erupting into a bluesy heavy psych groove before shifting once again via another soundbyte into a doomy stoner metal groove with Andresakis vocal sounding almost Morrison-esque in its delivery.
"Uppervols" closes the album with an eclectic mix of space, psych and heavy stoner that sees the band firing on all cylinders. Heavy, atmospheric and strangely uplifting the song finds the band hitting a groove somewhere between Sleep and Elder but salting it all with pure Green Yeti!
Check'em out....

Friday 22 July 2016

WITCH TRIPPER ~ S/T DEBUT ...... review

The names/titles bands choose to call themselves and present their music under can sometimes be confusing. Nottingham, UK's Witch Tripper, a three piece, consisting of Richie Barlow (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Collins (drums) and Chris Stoff Daughton (bass),  have chosen to work beneath a banner that may cause some to believe that the band play a form of  heavy stoner metal tinged with swampy southern groove owing to the fact it is also the name of a song made famous by New Orleans big hitters DOWN and although there are places where the two bands do meet musically the vibe from the Nottingham trio owes more to the British hard rock of the seventies than the swamps of Louisiana as can be evidenced on their self-titled debut "Witch Tripper".
"Witch Tripper" storms out of the blocks on a wave of rip roaring hard rock that does not stop until pummelling the listener into submission. From the funky classic/hard rock groove of "Attitude Adjustment" to the heavy blues based boogie of final track "Black Lips", the band lay down a furious and at times relentless barrage of old school rock'n'roll blended with elements of metal, stoner and classic rock.  Collins' tireless and powerful drumming and Doughton's deft bass playing lay a solid foundation of thrumming rhythm for Barlow to fill with his throaty vocals, gnarly guitar riffage and scorching solo's. Like that other UK threesome, MotorheadWitch Tripper are not about subtlety, these guys like to go for the throat, get in your face letting you know they are there and they are not gonna stop until you either get them or you just fuck off and listen to Coldplay!
Make your choice.....

Thursday 21 July 2016

Nick Oliveri's MONDO GENERATOR ~ BEST OF ........preview

Known mainly for his associations with Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age and The Dwarves Nick Oliveri's career has seen its share of triumphs as well as car crashes. One constant throughout this rollercoaster ride of sackings , hirings and leavings though has been his commitment to Mondo Generator the band he formed (with Josh Homme) before becoming a full time member of QOTSA, a band whose mix of punk, metal and desert rock mirrors Oliveri's larger than life personality and is the perfect vehicle for his attitude soaked songwriting.
This September Heavy Psych Sounds are releasing  "Best Of"  a 2LP compilation spanning the bands career from 1997 to the present day, and featuring guest appearences from Josh Homme, Dave Catching, Dave Grohl, Alain Johannes, John Garcia, Brant Bjork, Alfredo Hernandez, Mark Lanegan, Chris Goss as well as many others.

The album will be released on September 23  on limited blue and black vinyl as well as CD and digital formats. Pre-order copies here.

Friday 15 July 2016


The Goat, an inauspicious animal that has, for reasons never fully explained, found a place in many of the worlds myths and legends. In some religions it is seen as a "clean" animal acceptable for eating as well as sacrifice to GOD but mostly the goat is seen as a satanic talisman, a symbol of dark rituals and occult worship. It is no surprise then that this humble animal and its pagan symbolism has been adopted by those dwelling in the darker recesses of the underground music scene. especially those working within the metal, doom and stoner genres. Goats appear regularly in these genres on album artwork, in song titles and most often as band names. Goat Bong, Goatsnake, Goatess and Spacegoat are just four examples of bands utilising the hooved mammals imagery as there collective title but there are many, many more. Less often though, the word goat, is used as part of an albums title as is the case with Arizona doomsters Stone Witch's debut EP "Order Of The Goat".


Stone Witch hail from Phoenix and are; Jayare Robbins - Vocals, Guitar, Matt Wentz - Guitar, Jason Colbert - Percussion and Ian Colbert - Bass, four guys who know their way around a good riff and first track "Wind Walker" kicks off "Order Of The Goat" with a beauty. Beginning with the two guitarists trading off against each other on a deeply fuzzed out lick the song then slowly moves into an equally fuzzed out riff. Not quite heavy metal, not quite doom and not quite classic rock yet having an essence of all three with a touch of bluesy swagger thrown in, the groove Stone Witch create is big, bold and swinging.
"Dark Goddess" opens with Robbins voice, not overly powerful but distinctive with a slight croaky hoarseness, singing unaccompanied with the gaps between verses filled with an explosive blast of rhythm and riff. The groove has an early metal feel that recalls the heady days of  Sir Lord Baltimore and the more heavier moments of May Blitz albeit wit a slightly doomier vibe. The song takes a slight detour in its last quarter with the dynamic shifting to a doomy lament before ending in dark fuzzed sustain.
"Blood Feast" begins with Wentz laying down a slightly dissonant and distorted guitar motif that is slowly joined by the rest of the band in a mid tempo, slow burning, bluesy, lo-fi doom groove that sees Wentz locking in with Robbins on the riffs before unleashing a killer solo at the midway mark. The two Colberts meanwhile lay down a solid foundation of drum and bass, the two locking together like two pieces of a matching jigsaw. As with the previous track the dynamic once again shifts mid track this time  moving into a Sabbath like driving groove reminisent of the Birmingham fours Master of Reality period.before segueing back into the main riff and taking things to a close.
"Oathbreaker" is next up, an atmospheric doom/occult workout with just a hint of the blues at its centre. Robbins vocal, with the help of a little backing , sits perfectly on top of a dark rolling main riff expertly held together by Ian Colbert's booming bass  and Jason Colbert's crashing drums. Soundbytes add a little extra atmosphere to proceedings but it is that addictively delicious riff that will stay with the listener long after the track finishes.
"Herald" ties things up with a groove laden mix of gritty stoner metal and  dusty desert/stoner wrapped around a molten metallic core that boasts a great Robbins vocal  , hard driving rhythmic thunder from the Colbert engine room and sees Wentz ripping a stunning array of sounds from his fretboard. Fuzzed, furious and absolutely essential listening for fans of both dusty desert rock and downtuned gnarly doom it closes "Order Of The Goat" in a whirlwind of riffage and rhythm, leaving the listener desperate for more.
Check it out......

Friday 8 July 2016


Well it didn't take long before Desert Psychlist wound up visiting Brazil again did it?
This time around we are checking out a band from the Rio de Janeiro municipality Volta Redonda who go by the name of Stonehouseonfire and have just released their third recording "Neverending Cycle"

"Neverending Cycle" is an album that leans heavily towards the psychedelic side of the stoner genre, taking it's cues from the more lysergic orientated late 60's than the usual mid 70's era that is the de rigueur of many of todays stoner/psych and doom bands. Songs like "Wrath of the Sun" and "Steam Boat" channel the beads and peace sign vibes of  Randy California's Spirit and the 13th Floor Elevators and mix them with elements of the harder edged, fuzz pedal stamping, downtuned psych of today, sprinkling them with a large dose of old fashioned groove along the way. Vocals, harmonised and solo, throughout the album , are slightly accented but this in no way detracts from their overall impact, in fact on the wonderfully atmospheric and  doom-lite "The Rush" and the superbly schizophrenic "Purge and Purify" they actually add to that impact. "Anger" sees the band hitting a more "straight" stoner/hard rock groove with bassist Leonardo Moore taking over vocal duties, bringing a bluesier toned attack to the table as well as supplying some highly impressive bass work. "Pasaje" throws a curveball into the mix, ambient with beautiful piano interludes and underpinned with hand percussion and a liquid bass line it brings a strange and quite welcome tranquilty to proceedings.
"Steam Boat" and "Electric Sheep" finds guitarist/vocalist Kleber Mariano back at his usual place in front of the microphone his distinctive trance-like tones bringing the bands sounds back into their familiar psych/hard rock groove. The former track is superbly driven by Andre Leal's pulsating drum work, the percussionist utilising every inch of his kit pushing the groove from beneath with amazing dexterity. The song ends with a wonderful trade off between Mariano and second guitarist Marcus Oliveira, one laying down dissonant and dirty chordal colouring while the other tears the air with a howling jagged solo. The latter track has an eerie lysergic doom feel that builds very quickly into something quite feral and brutal. Superbly anchored by Moore's bass and Leal's drums and bolstered by Mariano and Oliveira's heavy riffage the only complaint that can be possibly levelled towards this track is that at only 3:17 it is over too quickly. Like all good albums the best is left to last and Stonehouseonfire deliver a beauty. "Neverending Cycle" swings majestically between ambience and brutality taking in all stops between. Ever shifting time signatures and dynamics combine to create an immense musical soundscape that incorporates acoustic interludes, North African themes, doom like atmospherics and hard stoner riffage all seamlessly intertwining around each other taking the listener on a journey to places he never expected to go but knows damn sure he wants to go back to.

I'm not going to pretend I discovered this band or that I've been on board with their music from their very first release, the truth is if it had not been for an e-mail from the bands drummer I may never have got to hear their grooves or wrote this review. What I can say though is that having arrived at this point in their journey I am sure as hell gonna stick around for the rest of the ride!

Check 'em out....

Thursday 7 July 2016

OAK ~ OAK II ...... review

The stoner/desert genre seems to get short thrift from a lot of the "metal" and "rock" magazines, "looking for the next big thing" obsessed hacks often labelling it as derivative and backward looking. This attitude amazes many of us who spend our time listening, writing about and promoting a music that has a huge international following and one that regularly puts on well attended and successful festivals throughout the UK and Europe as well as both American continents. In the right hands this music can be innovative, exciting and fresh, borrowing from the past but adding to it an edgy modern attack and attitude that in some respects mirrors the dark and uncertain times we now find ourselves living in.
One of these bands helping take hard rock into these newer territories came onto my radar in November last year with their debut EP "I" , a perfect blend of gnarly desert grit and metallic drive sprinkled with elements of psych and sludge, the band were called Oak and have just released a follow up "II"

"II" hits the ground running with first track "Mirage". A wall of heavily fuzzed noise serves as an intro into a riff so deliciously tasty you could bite it. Kevin Germain's fuzz heavy guitar and Scott Masson's booming bass lay down a deliciously downtuned barrage of heavy desert riffage under which Clinton Ritchie crashes and pounds with supreme percussive might. Over this tidal wave of groove Andy Valiant roars like a man possessed, his vocal stylings finding a crossroads where larynx shredding sludge power and throaty stoner meet, balancing the two in a breath-taking display of vocal prowess.
"Against The Grain" maintains the intensity of the previous track but adds a touch of classic/hard rock melody and structure into the equation. Valiant tempers his feral roar with a little melodic finesse, a finesse that is mirrored in Germain's tasteful guitar fills.licks and solo's.
"A Bridge Too Far" drops the dynamic down a notch or two and begins with an infectious bluesy Bad Company/Free style chord progression and sees Valiant switching to a low, clean but gritty soulful classic rock croon. The song then shifts seamlessly through a series of gear changes and time signatures with Valiant's vocal following suite and Ritchie and Masson holding the whole thing together with an impeccable display of rhythmic unity.
"Smoke" closes "II" with a mixture of bluesy swagger and gnarly stoner/hard rock packed to the brim with distorted bass, Bonham-esque percussive dynamite, furious guitar and gritty vocal power all combining to create a melting pot of pure infectious groove.

Check 'em out..