Sunday, 22 January 2017

Tvsk - Learn To Die (Album Review)


Release date: January 13th 2017 Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Learn To Die – Tracklisting

1.Blood Sun 10:29
2.Iron Mountain 11:43
3.Interlude 00:57
4.War Caravan 15:33

Band Members

Justin Dimig: Bass/Vocals
Nick Baumgartner: Drums/Vocals

Review

Tvsk's 2nd album – Learn To Die – shows the band's appreciation and respect for bands such as High On Fire. OM, Neurosis and Sleep. As the sound is influenced by those legendary bands. Tvsk play heavy monolithic and slow paced riffs that has a slight depressing feel to them. What else would you expect from an album called – Learn To Die. The vocals from both Justin and Nick are primal throughout.

Opening track - Blood Sun – is played deliberately slow as it allows Tvsk to play depressing down-tuned riffs. Tvsk revel in their depressing state. As the atmosphere is bleak throughout. You can expect to hear riffs that are influenced by Sleep's classic album Dopesmoker.

Second track – Iron Mountain – sees Tvsk opt for a slightly faster style of Doom/Stoner Metal madness. Fans of OM will experience a big thrill from this song especially with the vocals. Tvsk add a more gloomier element to their music with strands of psychedelic riffs making an appearance. With this being drum/bass duo, you don't actually miss the standard electric guitar. As this song oozes style especially with the heavier riffs merged with the quieter parts of the album.

Third track – Interlude – is very cool 57 second instrumental riff but it doesn't bring anything exciting or original to the album. Tvsk could have easily left this song off the album.

The real showstopper is the excellent 4th track – War Caravan. This is where Tvsk impress the most. It starts off with a slowly played ambient style sound with Doom based chanting vocals. John Carpenter style syntbs add a slightly creepy vibe before the heavy riffs appear around the 6 minute mark. The progressive delivery gives Tvsk more confidence to experiment with their sound and the epic riffs that do appear make this the standout track on the album.

Learn To Die is a superb debut album. Sure the band do ride their luck when playing similar riffs to Sleep and OM at times. Though they're not the first band to do this. Nor will they be the last. If your running out of patience waiting for the next Sleep album to be released then Learn To Die is the album for you.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:



Ultramafic - S/T (Album Review)


Release date: October 18th 2016. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Ultramafic – S/T – Tracklisting

1.Greenschist 02:29
2.Serpentinite 04:16

3.Brimstone 06:24
4.Into Centralia 06:45
5.At the Foot of Tufa Towers 07:29
6.Farallon 10:55


Band Members

Kaito Figeira-Drums
Russell Stroud-Bass
Tom Norman-Guitar


Review

Instrumental Stoner Metal Power Trio – Ultramafic – debut album was mixed by a good friend of mine – Samantha Smith – who is an accomplished artist in her own right. Check out her Metallum page right here. Ultramafic entered a competition via Doomed & Stoned to get their album mixed by Samantha and they won.

The album isn't your most conventional instrumental stoner metal album as the band incorporate progressive style rhythms throughout the album. Opening track – Greenschist – is a trippy affair with the band including element of Doom and Psych riffs. The sound has a very raw appeal but it's still a very cool sound. If you're expecting something like Karma To Burn then you will sadly be disappointed. As Ultramafic are very much an experimental band.

The band is a very tight unit indeed as they create heavy moments of stoner madness that oozes confidence. Especially on tracks such as Brimstone, Into Centralia and the epic Farallon. Sometimes the album feels like a weird hallucinogenic nightmare with an almost depressing style of stoner/weedian riffs that I didn't expect from the album when first listening to it.

This is a very complex album with the songs all sounding very different to each other. The production is very good indeed but there are certain parts where the drumming is drowned out by the heavy guitars. This is considered a concept album by the band as stated on their BandCamp Page: “heavy instrumental backdrop to the geologic phenomena of our planet Earth.”

It doesn't give much insight to the overall theme of the album and I wasn't entirely convinced by the overall idea as such. Though as an Instrumental Stoner Metal album. Yeah I'm sold. As Ultramafic have created an intriguing and exciting debut album. It's one that should appeal to the more adventurous Instrumental Stoner Metal fan out there.


Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Facebook | BandCamp

Saturday, 21 January 2017

The Ossuary - Post Mortem Blues (Album Review)


Release date: January 27th 2017. Label: Supreme Chaos Records. Format: CD/DD

Post Mortem Blues – Tracklisting

Black Curse
Witch Fire
Blood On The Hill
Graves Underwater
Post Mortem Blues
The Crowning Stone
Evil Churns
The Great Beyond

Band Members

Stefano Fiore: vocals
Domenico Mele: guitars
Dario DeFalco: bass
Max Marzocca: drums

Review

Italian Blues/Doom Rockers - The Ossuary debut album - Post Mortem Blues - is flowing with classic seventies Doom Metal swagger and traditional Heavy Metal sounds. The vocals are steeped between NWOBHM style delivery and the more familiar Doomier moments. The Ossuary adds moments of Psychedelic Rock that gives their music a raw edge. Opening track - Black Curse - is a bleak affair with lead vocalist Stefano offering an almost creepy and OTT operatic performance. It's a cool idea as his vocals give extra weight to this album. 

The riffs are nicely played throughout and even though there over-played at times, they never outstay their welcome. The lyrics are your standard Doom/Occult style variety but they offer a few chills along the way. Second track - Witch Fire - has a riff reminiscent of Blue Oyster Cult at time with the traditional Doom based vocals creating a doom and gloom atmosphere. The Ossuary plays some impressive twin-guitar riff worship reminiscent of Thin Lizzy at times. I can hear shades of Iron Maiden on this song. 

The album is primarily a Doom Metal album but it's good to hear The Ossuary including a wider range of different influences. It gives the album a much broader appeal than your usual standard Doom Metal sound.

The production is very good indeed. Nothing too flash. Just the right amount of depth and volume for the album to reach its natural conclusion. The Ossuary impress the most on their more epic songs - Graves Underwater and Evil Churns. As they have more time to create heavier and progressive riffs. Very grand in parts but that's I what I enjoyed most about the album.

As The Ossuary are willing to experiment with their sound and not be defied by genre conventions. The album can be challenging to listen to at times though in a good way. Post Mortem Blues is a well-crafted debut album and offers a different perspective within the Doom Metal scene. The album has a classical and theatrical feel with the gloomy psychedelic moments appearing on the album.

The Ossuary is a band well versed in both classic doom metal and traditional heavy metal riffs. Post Mortem Blues offers the perfect balance between the two different sounds but still showing a few hidden surprises along the way.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Black Cat Bones - Down To The River (EP Review)


Release date: October 2016. Label: Broken Road Records LTD. Format: CD/DD

Down To The River – Tracklisting

Seen Better Days
Lust
Give You The World
Devil You Know
The River

Band Members

Jonnie Hodson - Lead Vocals / Harmonica
Alan Rimmer - Lead Guitar / Rhythm Guitar
Adam Kerbache - Rhythm Guitar / Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Ash Janes - Drums / Backing Vocals
Jamie Hayward - Bass / Backing Vocals

Review

UK Blues/Sleaze/Hard Rockers – Black Cat Bones – debut EP – Down To The River is a change of pace from the usual stuff we review here at the blog. This is a sleazy/hard rock kind of sound. The 5 track EP is packed full of grooves and will appeal to fans of the classic 80's Hard Rock scene.

Opening track – Seen Better Days – has a soulful groove that The Answer would be proud to call their own with a huge dash of “HAIR METAL” riffage. Lead vocalist Jonnie has a blues rock orientated sound but he's backed up by almost the full band on backing vocals. The riffs come thick and fast with Black Cat Bones impressing from the start.

Second track – Lust – is a dirty blues rock number with some the lyrics taking a more sleazy turn compared to the opening track. This is perhaps the standout track on the EP. Heavy based guitars spliced with the classic Sunset Strip sound which comes at you with expert delivery.

Third track – Give You The World – was a major surprise as the band have written a track with a political and social message. Dennis Skinner (best do some research on the internet folks. UK Politician) soundclip open the song with the soon returning to heavier hard rock riffs. It's a different change of pace even though the music sounds the same as the opening two tracks. Top marks for the band doing something different with their music.

The final two tracks – Devil You Know and The River – sees the band return to their Sleaze/Hard Rock dirty riff ways. The Blues Rock aspect of the band comes out the most with Devil You Know but you can't keep a good band down from playing the heavier destructive sounds.

Down To The River is masterful and highly confident EP from Black Cat Bones. It shows a band with a lot of promise. The Classic/Blues/Hard Rock world have a bright hope with these guys.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


An Interview with BORRACHO


Borracho have made quite the name for themselves since they released their debut album – Splitting Sky – back in 2011. Since then the guys have released two more albums with 2013's Oculus and their latest fantastic album – Atacama.

Atacama is an album I rated very highly and made it one of my albums of 2016. As it's an action packed and socially aware album. If you dig classic Stoner Metal merged with heavy psychedelic sounds then you need to listen to Borracho now.

I've been a fan of these guys ever since my The Sludgelord days. They never disappoint and Atacama is their best album to date. I wanted to find more about the band and they've kindly agreed to this interview.

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

Hey Steve, thanks for having us. All is good.

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

The three of us played together in other bands along with our old singer and buddy Noah. We decided to get together, trade off instruments, and jam on some riffs. It was a while coming together, from late 2007 - 2010 we were really cultivating our sound, writing and demoing material, and playing some shows with bands we knew already, and meetings some new friends along the way. In 2011, after meeting our studio wizard Frank Marchand, we finally got a proper studio session together to record our debut Splitting Sky.

People seemed to dig that one a lot when it came out, and we got a lot more attention than we expected from it. In 2012 Noah told us he was moving abroad, and we decided to keep on as a trio, rather than looking for a new singer. Steve took over vocal duties from there. We released a few 7”s of material we had recorded with Noah before recording and releasing our 2nd record Oculus, which was our first with Steve singing. We’ve since put out a couple more split 7”s and were on Ripple Music’s first volume of The Second Coming of Heavy series. We’re stoked to have released our new record Atacama with Kozmik Artifactz, and are getting ready for the vinyl release in the next couple months.



Why did you call your band Borracho

We like to drink. It fit the aesthetic of what we wanted to put out there. It’s not what might be expected.

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

Riff-oriented heavy rock.

We are here to talk about the new album. Atacama. What can people expect from the album.

Atacama is probably the most ambitious record we’ve made, especially from a production standpoint. We have a lot of influences and like a lot of different kinds of music, and in writing this record, we didn’t want to limit ourselves creatively. So what you hear is pretty diverse, from straight forward rockers, to epic, complex, heavy psychedelic jams, to mellower, more introspective and orchestrated stuff. Our intention was to take listeners on a journey, like our favorite classic records. It’s not a concept album per se, but our process was definitely driven with that idea in mind.

What is the overall concept of the album.

The record is a body of work, with interconnected songs that we intentionally sequenced and produced to envelop the listener continuously, and make it obvious that there’s not a good place to stop. You have to let it ride. Lyrically there’s not a common thread throughout, but we leave some of that up to interpretation.

I would say the overall concept is the album experience. We wanted to get away from releasing just a collection of songs, we wanted to get back to when listening to an album was something you could really immerse yourself in. There is an underlying concept that we used for writing purposes and cohesion but it is really up to the listener to interpret.

The album is quite political with certain aspects of the lyrics. Especially compared against your other albums. Was that the intention to make something more political and topical in some respects.

The reality is that the record was written during a very tumultuous time in America, politically. It’s hard not to be affected by that, and some of the inspiration for the themes that appear are a reflection of the emotions we were going through while writing for the record. They also fit with one of the overarching themes of the record. I think our intention was to write about what makes people tick, or more importantly what pushes people over the edge. But It's hard to not be inspired by the over the top stupidity being played out on the world stage.

Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

We wrote a lot of the music for the record by jamming. We kind of got our process together a bit more across the writing for the Second Coming tunes and the Atacama music that followed. Our process has always been very organic, but Steve and Tim really collaborated well in the lyric writing, to keep things cohesive. Recording was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. Steve had a vision for expressing the music collectively, and working with Frank, and trying a lot of different things, we were able to realize that vision in what we think is our best, most creatively mature record. When you are truly passionate about something, hard doesn't really come into the equation - tedious at times yes, but never hard and always enjoyable.


What influenced you when recording and writing this album.

The 2016 US elections, environmental destruction, impending space travel, isolation, anger, frustration. Puppies and kittens.

Have you been surprised by the reviews the albums received. Especially from the Stoner Metal community. It’s made a lasting impression with a wide range of people.

Writing records, you’re in a bubble. You have all this time with your music before anyone hears it. While writing, while recording, while mixing, mastering, and waiting for the release to happen. That’s a lot of time to get comfortable with what you’ve created, but it’s also all in isolation, with only the feedback of your most trusted confidants. So whenever we get such positive reviews we’re humbled, and flattered. For us, making ourselves happy is priority #1. We’re not selling 100,000 copies of our records, so we really aim to please ourselves, and enjoy what we create. When others pick up on that, and we can touch them and bring joy to them, it’s the ultimate reward. We’ve been super fortunate to have had great support from the community since that first record came out.

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

Steve is the riffmeister, but our process is very organic, and jam driven. We all bring ideas, and drive the development of our music over time. We have a chemistry, and there are only three of us, so we have built this connection over time. We share the philosophy that we have no limits, and we write what we want, which is very liberating, creatively.

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

We’re stoked to play the Maryland Doom Fest pre-party in June, and we’re working on some more shows during that time. At the moment we don’t have any plans for heading to Europe, although we’d love the opportunity to do so. We are interested in tapping into the young and emerging South American scene, and possible exploring opportunities to play there. But as of the moment there’s no major touring planned in the first half of the year.


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

Thanks for the cool questions Steve, hope your readers got a good glimpse into the Borracho world. We would like to express our gratitude to our fans for all the support over the years. We’re looking forward to seeing people out at some shows, and let us know how you’re digging Atacama! Cheers!

Words by Steve Howe and Borracho

Monday, 16 January 2017

Outlaws Nation Joint Interview: An Interview with CHILD


It's been a while since Matthew over at Taste Nation LLC and myself participated with a joint interview. We decided to interview rising Aussie Hard Rock/Blues/Stoner Rock Trio – CHILD.

CHILD first burst onto the scene in 2014 with their celebrated and acclaimed self titled debut album. It won a wide range of praise from fans and critics alike. CHILD have just released their incredible new album – Blueside – which has seen their reputation enhanced further.

CHILD play a soulful kind of Blues/Stoner Rock with a lot of room for heavy riffs amongst the tender moments. CHILD have kindly agreed to doing this interview. So lets get started.

OOTS – Outlaws Of The Sun
TN – Taste Nation

OOTS – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this joint interview with myself and Matthew from Taste Nation. How things with you all today.

Very well! Looking forward to talking with you


TN – There seems have been a lot of albums released this past year (2016) that are rock albums with various levels of blues mixed in. On the contrary, you fine gents have produced a stellar BLUES ROCK album!! That said, where/who are your sources of influence?

In our case influence comes from anywhere that turns us on. Apart from the obvious, we draw a lot of good feelings from late 60’s early 70’s Australian Music. Acts Like Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs, Masters Apprentices, Coloured Balls and Chain to name a few.

OOTS – Congrats on your excellent new album. What can people expect from the album.


We tried to be as honest as we could with this record. We hope it gets listened to and felt as opposed to just being heard.



TN – The progression from your debut to "Blueside" is pretty significant. Was your approach to this album different?

For this record we took more time to utilise pre production and played the songs live as much as we could before recording them. 

OOTS – It seems you guys have came out of nowhere over the last few years and created quite an impact within the Stoner Rock community Has it surprised you the way people have enjoyed your music and the Stoner Rock community in general.

We are really happy people are enjoying what we do. We like the idea of appealing to whoever feels it. Can’t thank all the supporters enough.

TN – What comes first, lyrics or music?

Whichever feels right at the time.


OOTS – What is the songwriting dynamic within the band. Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual.

Some songs come from preconceived and others come from jams. No song is completed without the whole input of each member of Child. It has always worked out best for us when we play and write as a unit.

TN – "Blueside" is garnering quite a bit of positive praise among the Independent / Underground community. Has this bled into any commercial attention like radio airplay?

There has been a great show of affection for ‘Blueside’ so far but no commercial attention that we know of as yet.


OOTS – Has touring Australia on a regular basis helped you prepare physically and mentally to do a more gruelling tour abroad. And will you be touring Europe anytime soon.

It definitely has because Australia and Indonesia aren’t the easiest places tour. By the time we got Europe at the end of 2015. We had developed a good enough work ethic to tour at length without too much problem. We are looking to get back to Europe in mid 2017.

OOTS – The album is being released on Kozmik Artifactz again. How did you hook up with them. Did you have any other offers to release your album.

Kozmik Artifactz produce top notch releases and we had no reservations working with them again.

TN – Why did you call the album “Blueside”. Any specific meaning to you as a group.

It’s a combination of words that we used to describe the mood of the record.

OOTS/TN – Well guys thanks for doing this interview. Much appreciated. All the best with your new album and future endeavours Hopefully we will see you both in concert if your ever near our respective home–towns in the United States and United Kingdom. Do you have anything else you wanted to say to your fans.

Thanks to all of you for the support. Cant wait to get back to Europe and over to the states to play for you.


Words by Steve Howe, Matthew Thomas and CHILD

Thanks to CHILD for doing this interview. Blueside is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl from Kozmik Artifactznow.




Taste Nation LLC - A Music Consortium – Links

Official | Facebook | Twitter



NASDAQ / Mothertrucker - A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance (Split Album Review)


Release date: February 01st 2017. Label: Field Records, SuperFi Records & DG Records. Format: DD/Vinyl

A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance – Tracklisting

1.NASDAQ – COLLATERAL (DAMAGED) - 14:42
2.MOTHERTRUCKER – GATEWAY TO KHYBER - 10:36
3. MOTHERTRUCKER – SAVED BY THE BELGIAN - 07:35

NASDAQ - Band Members

Edward Troup - Bass Guitar
Dan Bridgwood Hill - Electric Guitar
Liam Stewart - Drum Kit

Mothertrucker – Band Members

Charles Butler - guitar
Chris Scrivens - guitar
Tom Moffat - bass
Bruce Goodenough - drums

Review

I didn't know what to expect from a split album called A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance. This is a split EP by two supremely heavy as hell Doom/Stoner Rock Bands from the UK. NASDAQ and Mothertrucker.

NASDAQ haven't released anything in six years so hearing some new material since their 2011 release - AGM​/​Fourth Quarter Slump. They have teamed up with Doom/Stoner Collective – Mothertrucker who have been playing together since 2004. How these guys aren't more well known especially after releasing a few well received albums over the years.

Anyway back to - A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance. So what do you expect. Well NASDAQ and Mothertrucker create a heavy instrumental and moody world with the 3 tracks on offer here. NASDAQ are primarily Post-Rock/Doom/Ambient with one eye firmly on jam-based rock. Their solitary track Collateral (Damaged) is a heavy and very cold affair with the band playing riffs reminiscent of early-Russian Circles with a twinge of Earthless Psychedelic Rock.

NASDAQ have a much more purpose and soulful delivery compared to Mothertrucker. A glorious 15 minute track that I wish was on longer as the band draw you in with precise drumming and bombastic riffs.

Mothertrucker are you more familiar kind of Doom/Stoner Metal band with shades of Black Sabbath and Kyuss influencing the band a great deal. You can hear moments of classic Post-Rock sounds in the background. Mothertrucker's two tracks will appeal most to the traditional Doom/Stoner Metal fan.

The band still impress with their 18 minutes in the spotlight especially with Saved By The Belgian. A raucous and trippy affair with perhaps some of the loudest moments that Mothertrucker have created to date. Mothertrucker experiment with their sound by adding moments of dronish post-rock when merged with the heavier doom based moments.

A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance is an surreal audio experience that allows two great bands to show the Doom/Stoner Metal world they can create intelligent and haunting progressive riffs that linger on in the memory. If you want to hear something different and possibly challenging from the Instrumental Rock world. Look no further as NASDAQ and Mothertrucker have created an unmissable record. Plain and Simple.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Charlie from Mothertrucker for the promo. A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl via Field Records, SuperFi Records & DG Records from February 1st 2017.

NASDAQ - Links:


Mothertrucker - Links: