Monday, 16 January 2017

REVIEW: 1968 - "Fortuna Havana" (EP)


By: Dominic Walsh

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 10/2/2017
Label: Black Bow Records



1968 wear their influences on their sleeve. There are plenty of bands that stalk the planet playing classic/hard rock; the trick is to make it your own and not become a cliché. 1968 walk the line well and come out with originality whilst using their influences to great effect.

 

“Fortuna Havana” DD track listing:

1). Vorpal
2). War Dogs
3). Duchess
4). Fortuna Havana

The Review:

Cheshire based 1968 have only been together a short three years. Having released a self-titled EP in 2015, they now return with a second EP before the release of their debut album later in the year. Having been added to the impressive roster at Black Bow Recordings, “Fortuna Havana is a more than solid addition to the bands discography.

Throughout the four tracks on “Fortuna Havana, any questions about the name of the band are answered. Homage to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Mountain and Black Sabbath is duly paid, but there are plenty of nods to the more stoner alumni such as Sleep, as well as hard rocking blues legend Rory Gallagher.

“Vorpal” opens up the EP in towering fashion. The band fly out of the traps with mountains of stoner groove and swagger before building towards some superb solo work to finish off the track. “War Dogs” immediately starts as the opener end and the band veer down a doomier path before exploding in a fury of Thin Lizzy like dual guitars.

The second half of the EP uses the already utilised formula, but “Duchess” really sees the band step up their game. A rolling bass introduction leads to a torrential storm of fuzzy riffs that are held together with terrific drumming. The vocals sneer throughout the track before it shifts towards a highly psychedelic cacophony.  This is the absolute high point of the release and one where the band take their influences and really make the sound their own. The psychedelia continues in the opening of title track to close out the EP. If “Duchess” is the undoubted highpoint of the EP, then the title track is undoubtedly the heaviest piece here. Fuzz riffs and pounding drums drive the track, to bring the EP home.

1968 wear their influences on their sleeve. There are plenty of bands that stalk the planet playing classic/hard rock; the trick is to make it your own and not become a cliché. 1968 walk the line well and come out with originality whilst using their influences to great effect. There is cause to be excited about their forthcoming album which will be produced by Conan’s Chris Fielding at Sky Hammer Studios. Fielding is also at the controls for this release, and makes the band sound immense.

“Fortuna Havanawill be available here

Band info: Facebook

Friday, 13 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Goya - "Harvester of Bongloads"

By: Josh Nichols

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/03/2017
Label: Opoponax Records



It is start to finish, packed with massive fuzzed out riffs, deep despair and copious nods to the sweat leaf that Goya pay homage to throughout the entire album.  Small wonder in the midst of our current political nightmare that Goya would drop a jewel heralding the end, before escaping in the smoky haze of their own retreat.


“Harvester of Bongloads” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Omen: I. Strange Geometry, II. Fade Away, III. Life Disintegrates (20:07)
2). Germination (02:18)
3). Misanthropy On High (11:46)
4). Disease (06:21)

The Review:

Arizona doom trio, Goya, return with their third full length, and none to sublte, "Harvester of Bongloads". Following closely on the heels of last falls EP, "Doomed Planet", “Harvester…” continues to plumb the depths of their disgust for all life on this planet, except perhaps for plant life, of which they are shameless proponents. It is start to finish, packed with massive fuzzed out riffs, deep despair and copious nods to the sweat leaf that Goya pay homage to throughout the entire album.

The entirety of side A is made up of "Omen", an epic twenty minute, three part epistle on the end of days. Part 1, "Strange Geometry", opens up to slow tribal drums and psychedelic warbling, courtesy of their Boss Dr. Sample SP-303, before thick bluesy riffing slowly builds to a fuzzy lament on pending oblivion. Part 2, "Fade Away", is mostly a jam session, acting as a bridge between the first and third sections, slowing down enough to gently croon the title several times before ripping into Part 3, "Life Disintegrates". The third and final act of "Omen" continues the downward spiral of heavy sludge doom in the finest tradition of Electric Wizard and Sleep, epic smoked out doom for the pending apocalypse.

Side B dishes up twenty more minutes of meaty riffs in three more tracks, which sort of act like another massive three part opus, but this time with breaks between. First up is "Germination", just a couple minutes of slow heavy doom that sets the tone and acts as an intro for the next track, "Misanthropy on High". “Misanthropy…” is monolithic slow and enormously heavy. Lyrically, the title speaks for itself, with each verse making its escape from the waste of reality into dope fuelled release, repeatedly echoing the double edged sentiment “waste away".

The final track, "Disease", sees Goya wading back into more uptempo Sabbath-esque doom. After two epic jams full of deep gloom, it's a welcome release when they open up the jam and rock out a bit. While lyrically it's still dwelling on oblivion, “Disease” is full of swagger, energy and a couple really killer solos. It's a hook laden finish to a dank and heavy trip of an album. Small wonder in the midst of our current political nightmare that Goya would drop a jewel heralding the end, before escaping in the smoky haze of their own retreat.

“Harvester Of Bongloads” will be available digitally here and other formats here from 03/03/2017

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Soen - "Lykaia"

By: Phil Weller

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/02/2017
Label: UDR Music


On Soen’s third full length record their own explorative hunger is satisfied in the most delicious of ways, resulting in their most dynamically versatile but free flowing release to date.  An explorative and colourful record, there is a lot to take in with this record, many dimensions in which to get lost in. Repeat listens bear gorgeous fruits.

“Lykaia” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Sectarian
2. Orison
3. Lucidity
4. Opal
5. Jinn
6. Sister
7. Stray
8. Paragon

The Review:

Since the dawn of civilization, mankind’s instinct has been to go on long explorative journeys. Often such journeys are treacherous, fraught with deviations, twists and turns that take people in directions they could never have imagined. Be these physical  odysseys into new unchartered territories, from the highest mountains or the pitch black unknown of the deepest oceans, or be they journeys into science, the search for cures for our most deadly afflictions and beyond, human nature has always looked forward, always advanced. There is always a thirst for more; more knowledge, greater discoveries. On Soen’s third full length record their own explorative hunger is satisfied in the most delicious of ways, resulting in their most dynamically versatile but free flowing release to date.

2012’s ‘Cognitive’ saw them taking their first breaths, still young and finding their footing, while ‘Tellurian’, which came two years later, represented a band with a firm understanding of their own identity. They learnt to translate their ideas beautifully yet forcefully. What ‘Lykaia’ does then is express a wider ranging sound with higher, grander peaks and darker; more gutturally and emotionally charged troughs. Each song is its own story of building crescendos detailed with deft subtleties and imagery, which together coalesce to compliment the bigger picture. From the higher, anthemic altitudes of ‘Sectarian’ to the murky, riff-infested depths of ‘Opal’, it is a solid, inspired release.     

Sectarian’ sets the scene with an off-kilter riff that continues smoothly from the sonic feel of ‘Tellurian’. The song progresses delicately, its flow, much like the rest of the album, pertains no sharp and sudden changes. Instead every turn they take – and there are many, each poignantly placed and clinically delivered – makes perfect sense, no matter what dwells behind the bend. ‘Orison’, the standout track, sees a jittering groove tangle with Joel Ekelöf’s purring, wounded vocals, with unconventional but thrilling riffs that flirt with jazz spinning in and out of focus. Its second half is completely detached from the first. But throughout they blend fiery musical passages with lofty, vocally driven explosions.      

Jinn’ meanwhile sounds vulnerable. Dreamy eastern tonalities sway in and out of the foreground accenting that tenderness, which in turn contradict the doom mongering giants that lurk in the song’s more action-packed passages.

An explorative and colourful record, there is a lot to take in with this record, many dimensions in which to get lost in. Repeat listens bear gorgeous fruits.  

Lykaia” will be available everywhere from 03/02/2017


Band info: official || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Demonic Death Judge - "Seaweed"

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 13/01/2017
Label: Suicide Records


The Finnish quartet deal in a potent blend of filthy sludge-encrusted riffs tempered by hypnotic stoner grooves and nasty gravel gargling vocals. The band conjure up the sound of a bar room brawl between Weedeater and Colour Haze.


“Seaweed” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Taxbear
2). Heavy Chase
3). Seaweed
4). Cavity
5). Backwoods
6). Pure Cold
7). Saturnday
8). Peninkulma

The Review:

There’s nothing better than a boatload of no-frills, weapons-grade riffage to blow away the January blues. Demonic Death Judge deliver the goods in fine style on new album “Seaweed”.  The Finnish quartet deal in a potent blend of filthy sludge-encrusted riffs tempered by hypnotic stoner grooves and nasty gravel gargling vocals. The band conjure up the sound of a bar room brawl between Weedeater and Colour Haze.

Taxbear” kicks things off in punishing fashion. Gargantuan riffs pummel the listener into submission until they are enveloped in waves of swirling guitar noise and menacing samples. The pure low-end dirt of “Pure Cold” and the dangerously addictive “Heavy Chase” run “Taxbear” close for heaviest track on the LP but quality riffs abound throughout “Seaweed”.

Demonic Death Judge demonstrate that they don’t need to rely on constant hard-riffing to be effective. The title track begins the introduction of more melodic elements into the mix with suitably aquatic effects-laden guitars providing a hazy calm before the storm of the band’s arrival at full bore. “Cavity” sees the band explore this relaxed side further to achieve powerful psychedelic results while the brooding first half of closer “Peninkulma” creates an almost post-rock slow-burn before being crushed under one final tonne of leaden riffage.

Seaweed” is a killer effort from Demonic Death Judge that strikes a good balance between no-nonsense sludge and minor excursions into more tuneful territory. In an often overcrowded genre, the band stick out by rocking hard while bringing their own distinct character to the fore. 

Seaweed” is available here




Band info: Official || Facebook || Bandcamp

FFO: Cough, Dopethrone, Weedeater, Colour Haze

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Terrifier - "Weapons of Thrash Destruction"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 20/01/2017
Label: Test Your Metal Records


“Weapons of Thrash Destruction” DD track listing

1. Reanimator (5:24)
2. Deceiver (5:15)
3. Nuclear Demolisher (4:26)
4. Violent Reprisal (4:17)
5. Skitzoid Embolism (4:08)
6. Drunk as Fuck (4:12)
7. Bestial Tyranny (6:13)
8. Riders of Doom (1:40)
9. Sect of the Serpent (6:44)

The Review:

Furious thrash metal for all fans of Exodus... and other furious thrash bands! Coming out of Vancouver, these boys know exactly how to deliver the kind of primeval thrash metal that Baloff and the boys made thirty years ago. The artwork is pleasingly Repka, the songs are fairly long (five minutes plus is not unusual) and the riffs come thick and, yes, fast.

A track by track here is largely unnecessary, so instead it suffices to say that if you listen to opener “Reanimator” and you are not inspired, the rest of the record won't win you over. The record races by at an astonishing clip as the band mine the book of metal song titles for cues. It's all here: there is a deceiver, there is violence, doom, serpents and tyranny.

If you enjoy Exodus, Nuclear Assault and the more gnarly end of the thrash spectrum there is bucket loads for you to enjoy here. The stand out for me is “Violent Reprisal” (it has everything), but really I could not argue with any one track being picked out. It is of consistently good standard and is guaranteed to get your neck snapping. Shamelessly non-progressive, shamelessly violent, pre-occupied with nuclear war, Arnie films and all the other standard grist of the thrash mill, this record is great violent fun, plain and simple. If you want thrash, you will get it here.

“Weapons of Thrash Destruction” is available to preorder/buy here


Band info:  facebook || bandcamp


REVIEW: Big Machine - "Bigger Machine" (EP)

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 01/08/2016
Label: Independent


Their previous crust leanings are now mostly overtaken by spiky noise-rock indebted mangling as demonstrated on the gnarly “Introwidows” and early Mastodon/Baroness style complex sludge on “Mutual”. You can’t argue with the title of the EP either, with “Bigger Machine” taking the greatness of the Manchester duo’s debut release and cranking it into the red, with a whirlwind of breakneck riffs and unexpected pop hooks that will keep you coming back for more.


“Bigger Machine” CD//DD track listing:

1). Fangdy
2). Love Will Find A Way
3). Introwidows
4). Mutual
5). Steve Brooks
6). Wcolt
7). Quiet!

The Review:

You can’t argue with the title of Big Machine’s new EP. “Bigger Machine” takes the greatness of the Manchester duo’s debut release and cranks it into the red.

While their first EP bore a lot of the trademarks of the members’ previous band, the much-missed raging hardcore beast Hammers, this new release sees them begin to forge a distinct sound of their own. Big Machine are still totally focussed on riffs (and generate a staggering amount of them in the space of 14 minutes) but their style has shifted slightly. Their previous crust leanings are now mostly overtaken by spiky noise-rock indebted mangling as demonstrated on the gnarly Introwidowsand early Mastodon/Baroness style complex sludge on Mutual”. Big Machine aren’t shy about having a huge affection for thunder pop behemoths either, with the band making their admiration explicit with the excellent “Steve Brooks” and the breathless opening salvo of “Fangdy” and “Love Will Find A Way”.

There is a lot more variation in the vocal department this time around too. The band manage to effortlessly integrate some clean singing into proceedings alongside the expected relentless roars.  This sits well with some of the more melodic musical elements of the EP too, expanding the range of their sound without compromising on impact.

Bigger Machine” is a great release, a whirlwind of breakneck riffs and unexpected pop hooks that will keep you coming back for more. Hopefully it won’t be long before the band get to work on “Even Bigger Machine”.

Bigger Machine” is available here


Band info: bandcamp || facebook

TRACK PREMIERE: Chicago's cavernous riffs generators Escape Is Not Freedom debut "Night Light"

By: Aaron Pickford



Hailing from Chicago, IL, the genre of noise rock and its forbearers have undeniable imprinted upon the DNA of today’s featured band Escape Is Not Freedom.  Crossings the boundaries of rock, sludge, noise and grunge, this trio convulsant manage to generate a cacophonous racket, where riffs are monotonously cavernous whilst retaining a strong sense of melody and originality. With influences ranging from the AmRep bands of yore through to Julie Christmas and Rabies Caste, Escape Is Not Freedom new album “Goldsmith” is further proof that the noise rock movement is alive and well, are will surely see the band garner praise in much the same way their peers, Wrong and Whores., have garnered over the last 12 months.

With “Goldsmith” set for release on February 24th 2017, today you can get your first taste of the record with this exclusive premiere of the track “Night Light” with following parental advisory sticker: guaranteed to riff you the fuck out.  Check out the track below, follow the band in the usual places and preorder a copy here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook