Saturday, 25 February 2017

Spaceslug - Time Travel Dilemma (Album Review)


Release date: February 17th 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

Time Travel Dilemma – Tracklisting

1.Osiris 06:56
2.Living The Eternal Now 08:40
3.The Great Pylon Collider 05:41
4.Parahorizon 10:47
5.What Falls Is Fallen 01:56
6.Time Travel Dilemma 10:07


Band Members:

Bartosz Janik - Guitars/Vocals
Jan Rutka - Bass/Vocals
Kamil Ziółkowski - Drums/Vocals

Review

Spaceslug's new album - Time Travel Dilemma - is a worthy follow-up to last year's debut album. This time Spaceslug have become heavier and spaced out as result. Opening track - Osiris - is a song that blends Doom, Stoner and Psych riffs with the band adding a more progressive feel.

Parts Monster Magnet and Sleep style sonic vibrations allow the band to create their own style of spaced out sounds. Expect to hear impressive guitar solos towards the end of the song with ambient noises giving the album a more epic feel compared to their debut album. The vocals from Bartosz - drift in and out at different times as Spaceslug let their music be in full command.

Second track - Living The Eternal Now - opens with a more laid back style of Psych/Stoner Rock with the mood verging being one of Post-Rock. Though Spaceslug return to their normal heavy ways with loud Doom/Stoner riffs making their appearance known. The dual vocals offer a different approach as they have an almost Light vs Dark vibe around them. The voiceover included in the song gives it a more emotional feel. It sounds very familiar to the voiceover that appeared on Yob's last album. I could be wrong though.

Anyway Spaceslug continue with their sci-fi based progressive journey with the third track - The Great Pylon Collider - and it's a straight up Doom/Stoner Rock song that shows Spaceslug doing what they do best. Creating heavy riffs with a cool sludge groove. The vocals have a slight grunge influence around them. Fourth track - Parahorizon - is my fave track off the album as it's an epic eleven minute song with Spaceslug merging Ambient Post-Rock sounds with their trademark Doom/Psych/Stoner riffs. It's a very calming and soothing song to begin with the slowly played psych riffs but as before, the band always return to their heavier and more destructive ways.

The final two tracks - What Falls Is Fallen and Time Travel Dilemma - offer twelve final minutes before Spaceslug have to move onto another time or dimension. What Falls Is Fallen is a very short track running under two minutes or so. Spaceslug manage to explore the realm of Electronica with hints of Psych Stoner appearing. I normally dismiss these short songs as they're mainly used to fill in blank space. Not this time as the band create a haunting song that really adds to the whole experience of the album.

The final song is Time Travel Dilemma. Another ten minute plus offering with the band starting with a keyboard/electronica driven sound. The vocals have a more restrained feel before the heavy sounds appear at the right time. The song has different moments of psych rock spliced among the familiar Doom/Stoner sounds. Time Travel Dilemma is superbly produced throughout. Spaceslug deserve credit for creating such a vast universe on this great album.

Time Travel Dilemma is a magnificent album. What more can be said, apart from you need this album.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:



My Sleeping Karma - Mela Ananda - Live (Album Review)


Release date: February 24th 2017. Label: Napalm Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Mela Ananda - Live – Tracklisting

1. Prithvi
2. 23 Enigma
3. Glow11
4. Ephedra
5. Vayu
6. Akasha
7. Brahama
8. Psilocybe
9. Tamas
10. Hymn72

Review

My Sleeping Karma have always had a special place deep in my heart.

Perhaps for that kind of mysticism that their name recalls. Most probably for the sensations that their music conveys, which manage to transcend the ‘self’ to new dimensions. While reviewing their first live album, Mela Ananda (Napalm Records), I forced myself to listen it strictly through headphones and with eyes closed, travelling with the mind to those feelings that their last concert I saw (Desertfest in Berlin) sent to me.

My Sleeping Karma embody my personal vision of music, made up of technical, mysticism and psychedelia. A music that transcends and goes beyond the traditional rules. Over the years, the quartet of Aschaffenburg has created something beyond a simple musical path, gone further, creating something in their music that is hard to explain. In this live album, My Sleeping Karma run through the stages of their personal artistic, musical and (I think) spiritual development, recreating the same mood heard in the studio records.

All songs are played perfectly and with a perfect sound. The rhythm section of Matte (bass) and Steffen (drums) are literally hypnotic, able to attract the attention of the listener, which is captured by the mantra given off by the songs. The guitar of Seppi expands the rhythm section, by simply creating a unique atmosphere, where the keyboards of Norman round out the mystical work.
What to say. A live album should have, at a minimum, the power to transmit the same (or better) feelings you have in listening to the individual albums.

Here, we go further. This live album is a pure mystical experience. If you like My Sleeping Karma. If you've seen them live. If you love long and complex suites. If, in music, you love that karmic feeling that elevates you to other dimensions. If listening to a song makes you moisten the eyes and skin crawl, well, you should not miss out this album.

This album could be your starting or destination point to enter My Sleeping Karma dimension.

Sat Nam.

Words by Bruno Bellisario

Thanks to Mona at Napalm Records for the promo. Mela Ananda - Live is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl from Napalm Records.

Links:

In The Company Of Serpents - Ain-Soph Aur (Album Review)


Release date: March 10th 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: DD/Vinyl

Ain​-​Soph Aur – Tracklisting

1.Middle Pillar
2.Nothingness
3.Crucible
4.Merkabah
5.Limitless Nothingness
6.Limitless Light

Band Members

Grant Netzorg: Vocals, Strings
Joseph Weller Myer: Drums

Review

Greetings all,

I had the extreme pleasure of checking out the new In the Company of Serpents record, Ain-Soph Aur. I've been a huge fan of this Denver Doom Metal duo ever since I stumbled across their demo tape a few years back. Ain-Soph Aur is the band's second full length and it is devastating from beginning to end. I'm confident to say that at this point the fellas in ITCOS can out-neurosis the mighty Neurosis, which is no small feat. This record is both dissonant and heavy.

The album opens with the subdued intro of Middle Pillar which spends about a minute easing you in before it absolutely rips your face off for the next 7 or so minutes. The next track Nothingness sounds like the background music to a dark spaghetti western and leads the way into the amazing Crucible.

The first 4 minutes play as a raspy, jazzy stomp before utterly exploding into a massive wall of bone crushing sound. Merkabah is a another raspy acoustic number that is dark and unsettling. Limitless Nothingness is a short little banjo(?) and noise track that leads into the final, heavy as hell destroyer that is Limitless Light. 12 plus minutes of heaviness personified.

I can not recommend this album enough. If I had one minor, and I mean minor, gripe it would be the brevity. I get it is due to vinyl, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Do whatever you have to do to snag a copy of this monster. Grab the vinyl, these guys do an amazing job with the look and sound on all of their releases.

It is still really early in the year, but a solid album of the year contender is here. Highest Recommendation!


Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Earsplit PR for the promo. Ain-Soph Aur will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl from the band on March 10th 2017.

Links:

Sótano - El Rey Máquina (Album Review)


Release date: January 03rd 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

El Rey Máquina – Tracklisting

1.Mal Nacido 06:06
2.Perro 03:49
3.Mentraldiablo 03:11
4.Piedra Negra 05:13
5.Corre 06:04
6.Mascando Cortezas 02:18
7.Rey Máquina 04:25
8.Solo a Golpes 04:01

Band Members

Ivan Villanueva - Guitar & Vocals
Víctor Silva - Bass & Vocals
Alejandro Sanhueza - Drums

Review

Sótano new album - El Rey Máquina – doesn't offer anything new in the way of Stoner Metal but what does these days. However they have created an exciting and hard-rocking album that shows these guys have a lot of potential if they release more albums of this quality.

El Rey Máquina is primarily a Hard Rock/Stoner Metal album with the vocals sung in Spanish. Don't let that put you off as you will miss out on some fantastic Desert/Fuzz Rock inspired Stoner Metal. Songs such as Mal Nicado, Perro, Piedra Negra and Corre set the tone for the album with Sótano inspired by bands such as Kyuss, Orange Goblin and even some old-school Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands.

The production is good for the most part but there are some moments where the volume could be that little higher. It shouldn't distract you from the enjoyment of the album. The vocals are fantastic as Ivan and Victor take turns impressing throughout. El Rey Máquina is good old-fashioned Stoner Metal where the riffs come thick and fast. Sótano are highly impressive musicians as they do create some cool riffs that will have you head-banging in agreement.

The South American Stoner Rock/Metal Scene is going through a major change at the moment as more and more bands are starting to reach out to the global Doom/Stoner Metal community. Sótano is another great band to come from the South American scene and if more albums such as El Rey Máquina appear then this is only a good thing. As we will be treated to more superb albums such as this.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Morosity - Low Tide (Album Review)


Release date: February 14th 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Low Tide – Tracklisting

1.Mind Over Matter 02:10
2.The Answer 04:45
3.Ouroboros 03:31

4.Moon 04:45
5.Smoke & Mirrors 05:19
6.Death Grip 04:11
7.Limbo 04:33
8.Low Tide 04:48
9.Adrift 05:09


Band Members

Jesse
David
Nick
Shawn
Jason

Review

Morosity are a very unusual band indeed. As they play a mix of Doom, Grunge and Alternative Rock in a very semi-acoustic manner. Their second album Low Tide does have a lot going for it but it won't be for everyone. If you like semi-acoustic dark Americana inspired rock then you will find much to enjoy.

The album is superbly produced as it contains a underbelly of seedy grunge sounds with some fantastic vocals. Songs such as The Answer, Ouroboros, Smoke & Mirrors, Low Tide and Adrift all convey dark adult themes matched against highly captivating music. The violin adds a haunting feel as the vocals drift in and out on different parts of the album.

Morosity feel influenced by artists such as Across Tundrass, Alice In Chains and Scott Kelly's solo work at times. The album has it's fair share of heavy moments despite this being a semi-acoustic album. Morosity aren't afraid to experiment with their sound as you can hear Eastern Chants on Ouroboros.

Low Tide is an album you need to take your time with as it's quite a complex and almost spiritual experience. If you want something different from your usual Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal fix then check Morosity out. As Low Tide is a superb album with a few hidden surprises along the way.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


Thursday, 23 February 2017

HARK - Machinations (Album Review)


Release date: February 24th 2017. Label: Season Of Mist. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Machinations – Tracklisting

1.Fortune Favours The Insane
2.Disintegrate
3.Nine Fates
4.Speak In Tongues
5.Transmutation
6.Son of Pythagoras
7.Premonitions
8.Comnixant 30
9.The Purge

Band Members

Jimbob Isaac - Vocals/Guitar
Simon Bonwick - Drums
Joe Harvatt - Guitar
Tom Shortt - Bass

Review

Having made big waves and gained impressive plaudits for their debut album Crystalline, there could have been pressure for Hark to follow that up, such was the impression that the album made. If there was however, it is not evident in the music of the follow up album Machinations.

This is the sound of a band, packed full of confidence, making exactly the album they want to. There have been a few tumultuous moments for the band though and these are addressed throughout Machinations and they are done in a way that makes the bands sound even more powerful. Take a song like Disintegrate which is a full throttle and riff heavy beast of a track, a song that bursts forth with anger but also passion and hope, this is the sound of Hark today and it sounds very good indeed.

This even riff heavier emancipation is a step forward for the continuation of the Hark sound and is a full on statement of intent from the band. Songs like the sprawling Son Of Pythagorus, the antagonistic Speak In Tongues, the sheer heaviness of Nine Fates and ballistic opening track Fortune Favours The Insane are crushing riff packed anthems packed full of ideas that are realised sonically and evidence of how good a band Hark are.

The tracks seem even more weighty this time around and are an undeniably powerful collection of songs that deserve listening to, digesting and then listened to once again and it is also a collection of songs that will find extra depth and power in the live arena.

As the album ends with the almost nine minute epic The Purge, which is the perfect end to this album and this song seems to encapsulate the whole feeling of the album into its length, it is clear that this has been the sound of a band reborn. It is bleak and doom laden at times for sure and this works undeniably well but the spirit and soul of Hark and Machinations feels uplifting and unbreakable. A heavy listen in more ways than one from commencement to conclusion.

Words by Gavin Brown

Machinations will be available to buy via Season Of Mist on CD/DD/Vinyl from February 24th 2017. You can also buy vinyls from HARK's BandCamp Page.


Kozmic Tales - An Interview with CLOUD CATCHER

Cloud Catcher first burst onto the Stoner Rock scene back in 2015 when they released their superb debut album – Enlightened Beyond Existence. Two years later the guys are back with a new album – Trails Of Kozmic Dust.

It see Cloud Catcher create even heavier psych/cosmic based Stoner riffs. Newly signed to Totem Cat Records, the album will no doubt become a firm favourite when it's released on March 11th. I wanted to do an interview the guys as I wanted to find more about the band. How they formed, the stunning artwork designed by Adam Burke and their future touring plans.

Here's the interview. Enjoy.

Hi guys. Thanks for doing the interview. How’s life treating you today.

Doin' well! Thanks for asking! And thanks for having us

For people not in the know, can you provide a brief history of how the band came together and where it is today.

Cloud Catcher formed in May of 2013 after I left a band that was going nowhere fast. I have been jamming with our drummer Jared for 7 or so years so starting a band with him just seemed right! Kam entered the equation after he left Medusa 2 years ago. I would go into more detail but I'll spare ya the unnecessary facts ha-ha


How would you describe your music for first-time listeners.

Heavy Rock and Roll, no frills or gimmicks.

We are here to talk about the new album. Trails Of Kozmic Dust. A truly stunning album. What can people expect from the album.

Shucks, thank you! I would say that people can expect to hear the Cloud Catcher sound. I feel that we really came into our own on this album, especially with the addition of Kam. You can expect to experience raw rock 'n roll energy on Trails of Kozmic Dust.

What is the overall concept of the album. As the album has quite a distinctive science fiction/fantasy feel. Are you fans of that medium in general.

I would say the concept of this album, if there was one, would be conquering your inner struggles and using the new found strength to explore new horizons. The lyrics for the songs really speak for themselves haha. I am very into symbolic imagery to explain my point. But anyway to answer your question we dig sci-fi. I am into feelin' very small into this absolutely infinite universe.

Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for. Did you do anything different recording for this album compared to your debut album.

Writing this album was a breeze, Kam brought a breath of fresh air into the band and the songs just flowed. Recording was fun, but we definitely had our struggles. We recorded Trails of Kozmic Dust at the end of our spring 2016 tour with Cody Tarbell from Slow Season at his house in the middle of some truly beautiful farm country. 

After the tour we had all gotten super sick and realized that we have to record this album no matter what. I had lost my voice so the vocals takes were a real struggle to do, but I enjoyed doing it haha. Any way we recorded this album to tape instead of doin' the digital thing, the natural tape warmth and compression really comes through especially on the vinyl.


What influenced you when recording and writing this album.

Ah man, so much. Life experience was the main influence, but we were heavily into some crazy progressive bands when the bulk of the writing was going on. Don't wanna bore ya with band name drops but Captain Beyond, Alice Coltrane, Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, and a few others were being listened to in the van before we recorded.

You’ve signed to Totem Cat Records. How did you hook up with that great label.

We just sent out the album to a few labels and got turned down by a few, but were also offered some strange deals with some other labels that won't be mentioned. After sending the album to Ewenn he immediately got back to us and gave us a killer deal that we couldn't turn down. Totem Cat Records rules, Ewenn is truly a standup guy so it's an honor to work with him.

We have to talk about the stunning artwork that Adam Burke created. What were your initial impressions when Adam revealed the final artwork to you.

Adam blew us away, we absolutely love his work. His style reminds me of pouring some astral cream into a cosmic cup of coffee hahaha. The album art represents the sound and vibe of the album perfectly.


What does the artwork say to you about your album in general.

Get stoned, listen to the album cranked and look at the art... you'll get it.

Did Adam let you make any suggestions to the artwork. Or did you let him do his own thing.

I gave Adam this idea I had about these to astral warlords fighting and then he completely took that idea to the next level.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it down to one individual or a group collective.

On our first album "Enlightened Beyond Existence" I wrote all of the material, but on "Trails of Kozmic Dust" we wrote as a group. You can hear glimpses from all of our individual influences for sure! To me this is truly the "first" Cloud Catcher album.

Will you be performing gigs this year. A more in-depth tour to promote the album. Are there plans to perform any overseas such as Europe.

We have a March tour planned for SXSW, and then from Texas we will be heading up to the mid-west to play a few dates with our homies from Detroit, Bison Machine. We are also stoked to be playing Psycho Las Vegas 2017! That's a huge honor, man!!! We also have another tour in the works for later in the year.... and we would absolutely LOVE to play Europe. Just getting the funds to get out there is a pain but it WILL be done!


Thanks for doing this interview. Do you have anything to say to your fans before you go.

Of course, thank you! We would like to say that the continued support is what keeps us going, so all of your love and kind words are very much appreciated. We will see you on the road in 2017!!!

Words by Steve Howe and Cloud Catcher


Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for the promo. Trails Of Kozmic Dust will be available to buy via Totem Cat Records on CD/DD/Vinyl from March 11th 2017.

Links: