Monday, 30 April 2012

GRIMPEN MIRE - A Plague Upon Your Houses - Stream



Grimpen Mire is a Sludge/Stoner Metal Band From Erdington, UK

The members are:

Paul Van Linden
Ian Davis
Jim Goad

This brilliant band has been featured on blog before. Well the guys are back with their brilliant new album - A Plague Upon Your Houses. A 5 song 42 minute heavy as fuck colossal brutal slab of amazing Sludge/Stoner Metal rampage.

The guys are streaming it from their SoundCloud Page now. So get checking now from the link below.


If you like what you hear. Head over to the links below.

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Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Disease Concept - Liquor Bottles & Broken Steel E.P.


Album Type: EP
Year Released: April 2012
Label: Goat Skull Records

Tracklisting
1. Black Cocaine  3:28
2. Double Winner  7:30
3. Troublemaker Makes Trouble  4:39
4. Undignified Death  4:25
5. Suboxone Blues (Rock Bottom)  9:12

Total Running time: (28:34)

It gives me great pleasure to present the debut E.P. of 'Liqour Bottles & Broken Steel' from the band The Disease Concept.  They are a five piece band and I would describe their sound as sludge, doom and stoner metal, with some hardcore punk influences.  The band hails from Cleveland, Ohio, USA and the record is also the debut release from Goat Skull Records, started by Corey Bing and Scott Stearns.

The band is kind of a side project and features such luminaries of the sludge and stoner metal scene
David Szulkin (Blood Farmers) Guitars
Tommy Southard (Solace)  Guitars
Jesse Kling (Sollubi)  Vocals
Corey Bing (Fistula)  Drums
Chris Griffiths (Sollubi)  Bass

Too say I was excited by this release, is the understatement of the year, and when it finally dropped through the letterbox, I went berserk.  Why so excited?  Because the band members have featured in some of the best underground sludge/stoner/doom bands around and have a history of the highest pedigree.  So does the music warrant such praise?  Abso-frickin-lutely, it does.  No B.S., this is by far my favourite release of the year so far and will take some beating.  Talking of a beating!  That is exactly what this album feels like, being pistol whipped with a.44 Magnum.  It is bloody ferocious.  A 28:34s ass whooping.  Now if that hasn't got you excited, then you need your head examined.
The Disease Concept sound like the best sludge metal garage band you have never heard in your lives, until now that is, because you would be fool not to get this record.  I would describe this band as a sludge metal Poison Idea, raw, visceral and unrefined.  Just what we like, here at The Sludgelord.
The album kicks off with 'Black Cocaine', an opening bass riff and the guitars kick in, like a boot to the chest, knocking the breathe out of you, 'Acid heads, warned me, to stay away from the black cocaine,' is spewed out and it takes you less than 30 seconds to realise, that this record is gonna be a truly venomous and contemptuous.  The guitars, bass and drums sound brutal and raw, having that garage band feel to it: stripped down, bare and overwhelmingly stark.  The song is sublime, feeling like it does, when you dowse ointment on exposed subcutaneous tissue, and yet for all the pain, you know it will make you feel better.  It might make you wince, but it is a pain worth suffering, because the record just gets better and better.

'Double Winner', is next and immediately you have another monumental riff, think the sludgiest that Fistula or Eyehategod have ever produced and you're about halfway close to understanding how good it sounds.  Everything for the first 2 and a half minutes reminds me of what it would be like if those two bands were jamming it out, a slow pounding riff, building up until another massive riff kicks in, with the drums seemingly being battered like raw meat.  'We're taking the pain train and never coming back'.  The Poison Idea comparison comes from the vocals, Jesse Kling sounds like a meaner, angrier Jerry A and he is a venomous front man, like the notorious G.G. Allin famously said 'With G.G, you don't get would you expect - you get what you deserve.'  This song also has a strong stoner doom vibe to it, the musicality of the song reminds me of Solace and is it any wonder, given that one of the guitarists plays in that band.  Again the song is brash, ballsy and downright ugly, finishing with a lead guitar flurry and a nod to Iron Maiden, with it's synchronised dual guitar finish.

'Troublemaker Makes Trouble', is a further example of discordant dissonance, the song title gives you a hint of what is in store for you, with the lyrics 'Scumbag! Asshole! Troublemaker makes trouble, selling one gram bags.' It appears to be a song about morality  and the underbelly of society praying on the vulnerable, with The Disease Concept intent on inflicting there own brand of Charles Bronson vigilante style justice.  For all the intensity of the song and indeed the album, gushing with Black Sabbathian influence, it is performed with flair and vigour.  Indeed on this song in particular, the lead work is amazing, with even a nod to hardcore or grindcore during the faster moments of the song.  Again, the drums pound and batter you into dust.
If you're still conscious after the aforementioned beating, 'Undignified Death' continues the punishment.  This song is straight out of the blocks and is the most uptempo track on the record, retaining the sound of sludge doom, there is also nods to stoner rock, it is bass heavy and thick sounding, reminding me of latter day Fistula.  The lead work and drums are fantastic, it is just jaw dropping with the amount of gigantic riffs on offer, added to that, the strong influence of Kill Em' All era Metallica playing Black Sabbath towards the end of the track.  It is just phenomenal, the record has to rate as some of the best work the band members have ever produced.  I'm speechless.

'Suboxone Blues (Rock Bottom)', is the final song on the record and it is arguable the best track, slow brooding sludge metal from the bowels of hell.  This song is Travis Bickle sludge, in short this song feels like a band feeling contempt for the music industry and some of the god awful music being churned out today.  The Disease Concept have a produced not only a song but a record which is their raise middle finger to them all.  This is The Disease Concept message, to paraphrase Mr. Bickle , 'Listen you f**kers, you screwheads, we're a band who would not take it anymore, a band who have stood up against the scum, the c**ts, the dogs, the filth and the sh*t.  We're a band who have stood up and showed the rest how it is done'.  I can say no-more, except this record is truly breathtaking and I can't wait for number two.  Horns up to arguably my favourite record of the year!
You, the reader! Trust me, buy this record and do it immediately, you will not be disappointed.
You can hear tracks from the album below.  You can buy the CD here and download here check the links to the band.








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Friday, 27 April 2012

Interview with Jason Wright


...And This Will Soon Pass Cover Art


Here is an interview with Wizardrone and God's Speed main man – Jason Wright. I recently done an article on his awesome God's Speed Project.

Q1 – Can you give us an introduction about yourself and why you came decided to do Wizardrone and then God's Speed.

Greetings, this is Jason and I began experimenting with music as a teenager. I never considered myself to be a "good musician" by any stretch of the imagination. Only played a little acoustic guitar and banged around on a set of drum pads that I had up until 2006, when I purchased a Ludwig acoustic set and a Squier six-string. 


A few months later, I had acquired a Squier bass to go with it. At this point in my life, I was going through a lot. My father passed in late 2006 and had recently went through a divorce. And during the entire process, my constant struggle with alcohol had reached an all-time peak. It was time to take a different direction with my life.

In 2007, as a way to clear my head and begin taking the negative focus and putting it in a more positive and productive direction and light, I began recording. All the sounds of insanity in my head were being laid to tape finally.

The first project was called "Jake Legg Inc" and was later changed to "Mindphuckd"...There is a very obscure album that I recorded under the latter that I may remaster later and make available, but the sound quality is very, very low-fi. From the ashes of that project, came "The Ageless Relics" in 2008.



This is where the music started really coming together in an awesome way. Several demo tracks were recorded in late 2008, and were re-recorded in 2010 on what would become the only "Ageless Relics " album titled "A State Of Lost Cause And Effect".

Then in 2009, "Wizardrone" was born. With focus primarily on straight vintage Sabbath-style psychedelic doom, it garnered some attention from Doom Metal Alliance's (Doommantia's) own Ed Barnard and Sludge Swamp's Mari Moroni. 



Both of whom have been a vital staple in the success of the project. They have promoted to the ends of the earth for the project and many thanks go to them.

2011 saw the beginning of the "God's Speed" project, technically a spin-off of the Wizardrone project in which a track title of the same name can be found on the third Wizardrone album titled "The Third Coming". 



The material on the God's Speed album dealt with the darker side of life on a more personal level. It is a call-to-arms and a release of bottled emotions in the style of traditional doom metal.

Q2 – Not to compare one act over the other I think God's Speed latest album “...And This Shall Soon Pass” is your best work to date. How do you keep both projects apart. Their must be times when you think this music falls better under the other.

Well, initially the idea behind the "God's Speed" project was to act as a mature replacement for "Wizardrone". Upon the advice of my good friend and mentor Mr Barnard, I decided to reinstate the latter. By that time, I had already written and prepared material for the upcoming album "...And This Will Soon Pass" so I had decided to let it be. 


With my projects, I have a very clear and intentional vision on the end result, but there are times when I let some things just happen the way they seem as they should happen at the time it does happen. 


With Wizardrone, the idea is more of an approach in a theme of evil/spooky and from a mythical perspective; While God's Speed is more in the realm of dark reality and personal demons.

Q3 – Who are your main influences. Any artists that really stand out for you at the moment.

Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Uriah Heep, Saint Vitus, Sleep, Acid King, Yob, Sons Of Otis and (classic) Melvins are all influences

Q4 – Why did you put Wizardrone originally on hold (But its now active again). Any reason for this. As its an awesome project you should rightly be proud of.

At the time, I wanted to feel a sense of "progression" in my music as my emotions in reality were also changing. I had felt at the time that the Wizardrone project had fully run it's course and couldn't advance any further or venture into uncharted realms that it hasn't already explored. 


After recording "...And This Will Soon Pass" I had realized that I was wrong. In fact, I had realized that the Wizardrone project had yet to fully encompass the dimensions I had envisioned it would in the very beginning.

Q5 – There is a great solo artist/one-man band scene going on at the moment. Deterior, Cloudkicker, Black Oak Decline and Judd Madden. Are you a fan of them or any others that we are not aware of. Do you compare yourself to those great acts.

Honestly, I have not checked any of these out (but certainly will)..."The Lazarus Complex" is an excellent one-man project that I particularly enjoy and "Goetic Circle". I just enjoy psychedelic doom...both checking out bands with the ethereal sound and recording my own.


Most of the bands I enjoy are full bands and I believe I challenge myself to create some of my own material to rival the sound that is heard from these acts.

Q6 – Do you find it hard to come up with new material. If so how do you combat writer's block.

Not at all..But the music just has to happen, it must flow..It cannot be forced. It starts with a riff, then builds on that. Next thing you know, you have drums and bass chugging along behind it. And since I have always enjoyed writing poetry and lyrics about the darker side of life, the vocals are finished pretty quickly once the song begins to come together.


I have never found it hard to combat writer's block because it has never happened..The reason being is because if the idea or the material is there, then it's there. If not, I just wait until it is there. Letting things come together in it's own time makes for a peaceful and productive recording experience!

Q7 – Do you have a day job/family that limits your time on your musical endeavours.

Yes, work 40+ hours every week with one child that stays very active and involved in activities throughout the week .So, this greatly limits the time I spend on music..It began as a simple hobby and became a passion. 


But all the while, I must remain humble and focused on my priorities. I must always remember where the music all began.

Q8 – Have you ever been part of a band or any plans to. If you do or did what do you like best doing solo or band vibes.

Never until about two months ago. I am working on a Christian funeral doom project with three friends from different corners of the earth called "Faithless Minutes Devoured". The material on the upcoming album (due for a release this year) is amazing with excellent musicians (and guests) making excellent music. 


It is themed at the final days that we are living and has a very epic feel to it.. But have never been involved with or part of a local band of any kind.

Q9 – How has the reaction to both of your projects. Good/Negative Press. How do you deal with negative press.

I am trying to be as grounded as possible in replying to this, but so far (so good) I have yet to receive any negative press for any of my projects. It could be that people are just humoring me and being courteous, but thus far - it has been nothing but positive!

Q10 – I have to ask this question but it has been a popular one. What is your stance with major league labels closing down blogs and websites that share links. (I stay on the right side folks. Never share anything.)

Well, myself personally - anything that will promote the name or "get it out there" is alright by me..I don't have a solid stance on this subject, as getting the music heard is the most important thing to myself.


But again, all of the music recorded for my projects are recorded at home, so there is no studio time on the bill. Not a lot of cost goes into the recordings except for normal wear and tear on equipment..So, I cannot comment either way myself on sharing.

Q11 - As you know my blog promotes underground bands who give their music away for free. Some bands are against this. What is your view.

The main idea is to get the music heard, with or without the sale. It would honestly be more rewarding to have 1,000 people who downloaded an album for free and have it heard by more than to have 100 copies of an album sold and heard by less. 


I choose to sell both the CD and the digital download albums (at the most reduced price I can allow) to help cover costs of wear and tear on equipment. But I know as well as the next person, that if an album is popular enough, the public will find a way of obtaining it for free.. Guess what? That still allows it to be heard, and that is the main idea! It's a win either way.

Q12 – What are your plans in the future. Any more releases coming soon.

Indeed..There are plans to record two new Wizardrone albums this year. The first will be a professional re-recording of "The Third Coming" which will be titled "The Last Coming" and the second will be an album with all new material. 


There will also be an official "best-of" compilation that will be pressed to CD toward the end of the year. As for the God's Speed project, I will begin writing new material for that project once the Wizardrone fecordings are complete and it could be expected to see another release from that project sometime next year.


The Faithless Minutes Devoured project will see an album release this year as I previously mentioned.

I want to thank you for taking time out to answer these questions. I hope you continue making excellent music for a long time to come. (Apologies for sounding like Bill & Teds Excellent Sludge Adventure).

Thank you very much, Steve.. It was an honor, brother..

 (No dude. Honor was all mine).

BAR BEARS

Doombar Ep cover art

BAR BEARS is a Stoner Metal Band From Hungary

BAR BEARS play a fast and furious blend of Stoner Metal I have to thank Nicodamien from superb Hungarian Stoner blog Stonerblog.hu for sending me the link for this great band.

I remember these guys being posted on the legendary Swamp a few years back. Well the guys are back with their superb new EP - "Doombar". Loving the Star Wars vibe of the cover. Great work guys.

Anyway Nicodamien sent me the following bio as well.

"We are the Barbears, a stoner, southern metal band from southern Hungary formed in 2008, and our new EP just came out in mid-April! We're work hard on making a blast in the underground scene; we've had lots of concerts around the country, but we'd like to expand our horizons and give concerts abroad, with old and new songs. Our music comes from the heart and we like to feel good and make a great party!"

Well if you want to party then you will be with their excellent new EP. It's full of high kicking action packed NOLA Based Stoner Metal riffs.

It might not be the most sophisticated of things but who gives a fuck when the music is this great.

Check Out Tracks like "Misty Dawn" and "Soul Sucker". The EP is superbly played and produced by all involved. This will leave you with a big smile on your face. And will have you head-banging in no time.

Just a total blast from start to finish.

What is even more the guys have offered this for free download from BandCamp and SendSpace (Link was kindly provided by the band).

So you have no excuse. Come join the kick-ass party at "DOOMBAR". You may enter but you might find it hard to leave. Awesome and Highly Recommended.

Check This Great Band From The Links Below:

NORTHUMBRIA

Black Sea of Trees cover art

Northumbria is an Experimental Ambient Drone Metal Band from Toronto, Canada

The members are: Jim Field and Dorian Williamson

Northumbria is a brilliant Experimental Ambient Drone Metal band who have released their epic and amazing 13 minute track "Black See of Trees" for free download from BandCamp.

A brief history of this band is shown below:

"Toronto based ambient metal duo Northumbria was formed in 2011 by former Holoscene members Jim Field and Dorian Williamson. Using only guitar and bass mega amplified and recorded live, Northumbria create a wall of improvised drones that take the listener on a sonic journey through a dystopian landscape."

Well like I said their new song is epic. If your into Ambient Drone Metal then your going to love these guys. So get downloading now. Highly Recommended.

This is a taster to their forthcoming debut album being released this summer. If the songs are as good as this I can't wait to hear it. Amazing stuff.

Dorian emailed me this about their forthcoming debut album:

"Our debut is coming out this summer on Montreal based label TQA records and on vinyl through Manchester DIY label Heat Death records. We're also playing the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival this summer with our friends AUN, Theologian, Menace Ruine and thisquietarmy."

So get checking these hugely talented Drone Metallers now. Great stuff. Check Out their other excellent single "Sanctuary" as well from  BandCamp.

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MOHICAN - Band To Check Out


honest red cover art

Mohican are a Instrumental Post-Rock Band from Philadelphia, USA.

The members are:

Ray Beck
Chris Markley
Aaron Agresta

Mohican are a superb Post-Rock/Instrumental Rock Band play in the same vein as music Red Sparowes, Mono and many other great bands of that style.

These guys are supremely talented and their new release "Honest Red" is a 5-song and 30 minute blast of top-notch Post-Rock vibes to chill out to.

There are no heavy sludge/post-metal breakouts just a band playing their cool and emotionally driven music to perfection. But things do get very loud at times.

The EP is brilliantly produced and should lift the darkest of moods. Especially on tracks like "zihuatanejo" and "vessel".

You can buy their excellent new release "Honest Red" from  BandCamp right now. Highly Recommended.

Check This Great Band Below:

IRREVERSIBLE

Ashes cover art

Irreversible are an Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal Band from Atlanta, GA, USA

The members are

Spencer Ussery Bass
Zach Richards Drums
Jacob Franklin Guitars, Vocals
JJ Hodge Guitars, Vocals (additional)

Irreversible have been around a while and have released a whole bunch of sublime releases which are available to check out from BandCamp for a small fee.

They play a haunting blend of Sludge, Post-Rock, Stoner and Ambient Rock all held together by a hard-hitting style of Post-Metal. If you’re into ISIS, Cult Of Luna, Neurosis then you’re going to be right at home here.

I have been a fan of this band for the last few years and they never cease to amaze me with each and every release they put out. Well for once I might be speechless as their latest album “Ashes” is their probably their best work to date.

It’s a 4 song and 35 minute ride of non-stop hard-hitting Sludge/Post-Metal riffs. This is probably the most creative output from the band. They have excelled themselves here.

If you’re a big fan of ISIS classic – Oceanic then you’re going to dig this. Irreversible have came on leaps and bounds from their last great release 2009 – Light.

The 4 songs are heavy from the word go and feature top notch vocals to match. Throw in an ambient haunting post-rock feel and you have a very special release here which I can’t recommend highly enough.

Check out the awesome track “Prime” for evidence of Irreversible talent at writing a classic Sludge/Post-Metal anthem. Brilliant stuff.

The album is brilliantly produced and you can hear every note played to Post-Metal perfection. What is even more the band have made this release for free download from BandCamp. I recommend you download this masterpiece now. Be prepared to be blown away. An outstanding release from a truly great band.

Awesome Stuff and Highly Recommended.

Check This Great Band Below

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GEISER

Bipolar cover art

Geiser are a Sludge Metal Band from Arnhem-Nijmegen, Holland

The members are

Huibert der Weduwen - Bass
Daan Prins - Guitar
Gerben Elburg - Baritone Guitar
Yoran van Boheemen - Drums
Kars Penninx - Vocals

Geiser are an Experimental Sludge Metal Band mixing Stoner, Prog-Metal, Post-Metal to highly original effect. These guys have been featured on some of the great blogs already so I have decided to feature them as well. As they deserve as much exposure they can possibly get.

They have put up their excellent 2011 EP – Bipolar for free download from  BandCamp. This is a 5 song 30 minute brilliant blast of top-notch Experimental Sludge Metal.

The EP title is an appropriate title to match their brilliant music on show. It goes through the different genres at a truly great rate. These guys have an early Mid 90’s Neurosis vibe but still add their own unique vision with great vocals and riffs to match.

I am not going to say much more is download this brilliant release right now. It’s epic, loud and highly original to stand out from the crowd. So get downloading now.

Highly Recommended!!! And a great appetizer when this band releases their much anticipated debut album later in the year.

Check This Great Band Below:

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TWINGIANT - MASS DRIVER Review


TwinGiant are a Sludge/Stoner Metal Band from Phoenix, Arizona, USA

The members are:

Jarrod - Vocals/Bass
Nikos - Lead/Rhythm Guitar/Backup Vocals
Dave - Lead/Rhythm Guitar/Backup Vocals
Jeff - Drums

TwinGiant have been featured on this blog before where I stated they were a great band to look out for as they play some truly punishing hard-hitting riffs.

Well TwinGiant are back with their excellent debut album – Mass Driver – A 9 song almost 40 minute blast of sublime heavy-pounding Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs with superb bleak vocals to match.

Mass Driver is a fast and furious thrill ride that will have you head-banging from start to finish with the great riffs on show.

Opening Track – “Abduction” sets the scene modestly playing a mid-tempo instrumental song to set the scene. A great 2:30 minute introduction before the TwinGiant carnage starts off. A very cool Mastodonian type riff lurks in the dark underbelly of this great song.

Next up is “Awake In The Hull” which incorporates very groovy space-rock Sludge/Stoner Riffs with a dark atmosphere to it. This is the song that gives the true impression of the overall album. Brilliant riffs abound the TwinGiant juggernaut of an album. Check out the cool riffs around the 3 minute mark. Highly Impressive which comes out of nowhere?

If you’re into Mastodon, Thin Lizzy, Kylesa, Sleep and Baroness then TwinGiant will be right up your street. As they sound a perfect combination of these bands but with an extra added Space Rock vibe to stand out from the crowd.

Next up is “Burning Thru” which doesn’t deviate from the already winning formula they have already laid down. This has an excellent bass line driving through the song that makes it one of the album’s standout tracks and shows the bands talent off brilliantly well.

All of the songs are superbly put together. Great riffs, vocals and lyrics make this an album another standout in an already crowded room of brilliant Stoner/Sludge Metal records released in 2012.

TwinGiant don’t stick to one genre for too long. They play a great mix of all the genres that at times you feel they are duelling with each other.

Other great songs on this release are: H.I.S.M. and Blue Pale Dot. Both on for about 6 mins or so. These tracks are the two tracks will people get the most enjoyment from. Full of hard-hitting riffs and twisted vocals to match. Outstanding stuff.

The album is brilliantly recorded and produced. TwinGiant have come on leaps and bounds since their well received demo release. Mass Driver is an excellent album from a great band with hopefully a lot more things to come in the future.

Brilliant Stuff and Highly Recommended.

You can buy this release from BandCamp now on all available formats. I recommend you give this band a try if you want some Spacey, Cosmic and undeniably heavy and groovy at the same time.

Check This Great Band Below:

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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Hell Comes Home Volume I



Hey, fellow sludge heads.  What we have here for your delight is something for all of you vinyl junkies!  Our friends at Hell Comes Home Records have produced one of the best vinyl box sets ever, no doubt about it.  This is something very special indeed and it gives me great pleasure to share it with you.

What is on offer, is a must have for all you fans of sludge doom metal.  What is it, You ask?  The box set features new and exclusive material from the following acts:
Akaname • Black Sun • Burning Love • Coffinworm • Dead Elephant • Dephosphorus • Dopefight • Dukatalon • Fight Amp • Fistula • The Fucking Wrath • Great Falls • Kowloon Walled City • Lesbian's Fungal Abyss • Pyramido • Rabbits • Rites • Suma • The Swan King • Tellusian • Thou • Throat • Ultraphallus • Union Of Sleep

The boxset includes
  • 12x split 7'' vinyls (the vinyl is black and the sleeves are 3 pantones print on uncoated paper)
  • A t-shirt
  • Digital download coupons (320 kbps MP3's)
Each one of the 7" vinyls is a split release with two artists providing one exclusive track each.  The vinyl also includes exclusive artwork from Kuba Sukolski. 

Running for 6 months from March to August 2012 consecutively, once you subscribe to the package, which is $69.99, you will receive two new splits 7-inch vinyls in the post every month. The last package will include a special limited edition box and a t-shirt to complete the set, with a choice of sizes from small, medium, large and x-large.  Check out the package here

In order to give you a flavour of each vinyl, I will be posting reviews of all the tracks by all the individual bands.  So lets kick things of with a review of the first 7" release in the series which features, Kowloon Walled City and Thou.  This 'July' themed split, features two exclusive cover versions of tracks originally performed by Low and Soundgarden.  I have heard it on good authority Kowloon Walled City is one of the sludgelord's favourite bands of recent times.  Hell Yeah!
TRACK LIST:
KOWLOON WALLED CITY SIDE:

1. July
(Low, from the album 'Things we lost in fire')

THOU SIDE:

1. 4th Of July
(Soundgarden, from the album 'Superunknown')
Kowloon Walled City/Thou Split


Released: HCH001 19/3/2012
Split 7" cover art

Kowloon Walled City are a sludge metal band from Oakland, California, USA.  They are a four piece band and they have released 1 EP, 1 full length album and also 1 split release.  Kowloon Walled City was named after a densely-populated, autonomous region of Hong Kong known for its brothels, casinos and opium dens.       

The four piece line up consists of
Ian Miller - Bass
Jeff Fagundes - Drums
Jason Pace - Guitar
Scott Evans - Vocal. Guitar
Lisa Papineau - Vocals on this track

I freely admit that I wasn't aware of the band Low prior to this release, therefore I has no preconceptions of what the track would be like.   Employing the vocal talents of Lisa Papineau for this track, it is a very haunting quality to it, with the sludge heavy guitar sitting beautifully with the tortured but graceful vocal delivery of the aforementioned vocalist.  The trademark Kowloon sound is there, however they have reined it in a little, to give a subtle and dynamic delivery.  The guitars sound enormous when they are unleashed, bass heavy and thick.  The bass and drums also sound fat and dense, giving the song an edgy and unsettling feel to it.  I was blown away by the track and the band have produced something very special indeed.   The musicianship is first class, production is sublime and vocals are fantastic.  The song is first class.  Listen to the track below



Thou are a sludge/doom/drone metal band from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.  They are a five piece band who are revered within the underground music scene.  Having formed in 2005 they have released numerous records over the years, too many to mention.  Some of their best work are the full length albums Tyrant and Peasant. 

The five piece line up consists of
Bryan Funck - Vocals
Andy Gibbs - Guitars
Matthew Thudium - Guitars
Josh Nee - Drums
Mitchell Wells - Bass

Before I start, I have say that I was a massive Soundgarden fan back in the day and '4th Of July' was one of the heaviest tracks they ever released, so it kind of figures that Thou got their dirty little paws on this track.  Wow! Wow! Wow!  This cover version is awesome, the guitars sound like they're tuned down to 'G' and they are incredible. I'm talking Conan (Band) heavy.   It is noticeable from the start that the vocals are a mixture of clean and screamed, but sang in synchronicity.  The clean delivery is breathtaking, sounding like the awesome Daxx Riggs formerly of Acid Bath and eerily similar to Chris Cornell's original; the harshness of the screams adding a demented and unpleasant quality to the track.  Honestly, the track needs to be heard to believed.  In terms of the music, it is virtually note perfect and due to the low tuning of the original track, it is as if Thou were meant to cover this track.  Thou have taken the original song and delivered a track that is as close to the original as possible, yet they have put their own unpleasantly coarse stamp upon it.  This cover version is one of abhorrent beauty or one of pachydermic quality.  Thanks Hell Comes Home, when is the next release?  I say it again, this box set is a must have.  Buy it here  Listen to the track below



So to recap, the box set is available as a subscription package, however Hell Comes Home also sell a limited quantity of the vinyls separately and you receive digital downloads coupons when you purchase them.  For those of us who do not have turntables, you can purchase the songs as a digital download from their bandcamp page. For more info on this extraordinary release and the bands featured please check out the links below.  Thanks to Joel from Hell Comes Home.  The bands featured on the next review will be Suma and Ultraphallus.  I will be posting that review next week.  Until then, stay metal!

Hell Comes Home
HCH Home page
HCH Tumblr
HCH twitter
HCH Soundcloud
HCH Bandcamp

Kowlooon Walled City
KWC Official
KWC FB
KWC Bandcamp

Thou
Thou Official
Facebook





Tree Of Sores - A Cry Of Despair










Tree Of Sores are a Doom/Post-Metal band from Leeds, UK featuring the talents of the following members.

Ben - Drums
Joe - Bass
Matt - Guitar/Vox

Having been a big fan of their debut Ep which is still available Here , I was delighted to receive "A Cry Of Despair" to review. One track, clocking in at around half an hour is always an ambitious route to go, but Tree Of Sores pull it off with ease. "A Cry Of Despair", comes across as a flowing combination of two or three movements blended together and evolving naturally. Its stunning stuff, overall it retains the heaviness of  their debut but is at times less reliant on vocals instead a progression in dynamics and instrumentation is evident.

Starting out with crushing guitars and abrasive vocals a pounding rhythm soon is established leading to some haunting guitar work it sets the tone for more to follow. Tree of Sores must really be commended for the quality of this release. Every member excels to provide the listener with a stunning listening experience.

"A Cry Of Despair" takes a more subtle turn around the ten minute mark. A delicate riff builds with chiming momentum giving way to a brooding passage of density and euphoric greatness . Free of vocals, the music carries the song while maintaining the flow . It gives way to more atmospheric moments before gathering in pace again. Ending in brutal fashion with pummelling drums and layers of guitar, eventually fading out in drones of feedback and effects overall its an outstanding accomplishment Tree Of Sores can be proud of. Releasing a long one track. Ep of this quality that has direction and purpose is rare.

"A Cry Of Despair" is available through Witch Hunter records with pre-orders available now with immediate download included. Order on the link below.

Bandcamp
Witch Hunter Records

Facebook





Horseback-Half Blood Review






Horseback have been making a habit of releasing excellent, mutli-genre music. Half Blood not only continues that trend but its my favourite release of theirs yet.
This is their first official new release for Relapse records who re-released their first two Ep's as a repackaged joint album The Gorgon Tongue

Half Blood is a glorious journey of psychedelic heavy music. At times its like being on a ride at an amusement park listening to Neurosis while tripped out on LSD.

Huge swirls of psychedelia contrasted with the almost death metal vocals making a real unique and engaging listen. At times sparse and atmospheric it never sits still, even the drone heavy and ambient three-part closer "Hallucigenia" provides enough movement and effects to hold your attention. My favourite track though is "Ajuna", relentless rhythm, folk-ish undertones and swirling guitars combine with some deranged vocals to stunning effect. Essential listening, but then that could be said of the whole album.
Half Blood should see Horseback gain more praise and followers, (rightly so) a prolific and multi-faceted band that have produced another of the year's highlights with "Half Blood". Horseback have outdone themselves here, sit back fasten your safety belts and enjoy the ride.

"Half  Blood" will be released through Relapse on May 8th(USA)/May 21st(UK), and is available to pre-order on the links below.

Bandcamp

Relapse

Facebook



Black Moth-The Killing Jar Review










Black Moth only came to my attention recently and I was immediately hooked. After snapping up a few singles that were available I was delighted to receive "The Bell Jar" to review.

Playing a brilliant blend of stoner/grunge and psychedelic rock, Black Moth quite simply, rock. Vocals by Harriet Hyde, give them a real edge coming across at times like a female fronted Truckfighters, or  Melissa De Auf Maur collaborating with Fu-manchu . "The Killing Jar" displays more though, proving they're talented enough to carve out their own sound. Riffs chugg along with catchy hooks and powerful vocals. The album was produced by Jim Sclavunos and Dave Sanderson and an excellent job has been done, the album sounding immense with a perfect blend of fuzz and heavy tones.

"The Articulate Dead" opens the album fuzz-drenched guitars, and a Grunge feel letting you know what your in for. It features an astounding tempo change half way through letting rip with a frenzy of rhythm . Straight away its impossible not to be impressed and it doesn't stop there. "Blackbirds Fall" features a massive catchy riff, and stunning musicianship. "Spit Out Your Teeth" is a marvellous psychedelic track with twisted lyrics like the ramblings of an asylum patient.
The quality of the tracks never relents and Black Moth display enough variety in style delivery so things never get repetitive. Other highlights include the furious "Chicken Shit" coming on like Kyuss in their prime, the sheer density of "Blind Faith" and "Honey Lung" . Put simply though "The Killing Jar" rocks front to back, and you'll be hard pressed to hear another album this fuzzalicious all year.

"The Killing Jar" will be released on May 7th on New Heavy Sounds ,and check out more on the links below, Highly recommended and a special mention for the fantastic artwork.


New Heavy Sounds
Bandcamp

The Moth Pit

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bastard Of The Skies/Catatomic Split L.P.


Album Type: Split L.P.
Release: Dec 2011
Label: Speaks Volumes Records


Track Listing

Bastard of the Skies
1). Willalee Bookatee (02:27)
2). The Knuckles of Saint Bronson (3:58)
3). Grays Sports Almanac (3:49)
4). Human Skull (4:53)
5). Don't Let It Bring You Down  (3:51) (Neil Young Cover)
Catatomic
1). Void (11:07)
2). I Went To You (4:05)

Total running time (32:50)

This is a Split LP featuring four original Bastard of the Skies tracks (including a Neil Young cover) and two Catatomic tracks, released on Speaks Volumes Records.  This is the second release on the Speaks Volumes label, the first was a 10 song grindcore 7" by a band called Bag of Gremlins.

Bastard of the Skies is a four piece sludge metal band, who have also released two full length albums and also an EP on cassette called, Remains.  Their side of split LP was recorded by Matt Richardson at Full Stack Studios and mastered by James Plotkin.

The four piece line up consists of
Matt Richardson - Gtr/Vox
Rob Beesley - Gtr
Claire Horrocks - Bass
Matt Aldred - Drums

Over the years we have been blessed with a number of excellent sludge metal bands hailing from the UK; Iron Monkey, Helvis, Raging Speedhorn to name but a few. Hailing from Blackburn, Lancashire, Bastard of the Skies are continuing that tradition and according their web page, their music is 'The soundtrack to drowning in a swap of your own shit'. the band have cemented their own sound by welding massive, lurching, riffs to sludgy noise and discordant melody.

Playing their own brand of discordant filth since 2006, what we have on offer here is another slab of no holds barred gut spewing filth. The 5 tracks we're presented with are quite simply, brutal. The opening track Willalee Bookatee, sets the tone for much of the record, with the opening blast of drums, kicking into their loathsome blend of piercing riffs, compounded by vocals which sound like a vicious attack on your senses.  The song is an example of unparallelled savagery, it is wonderfully grisly. 2:27 of ear splitting audible torture and we love every second of it.

Grays Sports Almanac is another extraordinarily ugly and vicious beast, this is for me, some of the best sludge noise I am likely to hear this year and as heavy as hell. The metallic tone of the guitar is monumental and the song is easily some of best stuff they have ever produced.  There is not a second wasted on the tracks on offer here, they batter, bruise and pound you into submission, seemingly leaving your senses crushed into fragments.  Human Skull is probably the slowest sludgiest track on the album. Sounding like the bastard (no pun intended) offspring of the Melvins, you can't fail to be impressed by the intensity and ferocity of the track.  Bastard of the skies deliver a dynamic and uncompromising blend of down tuned monster riffs, vicious vocals and brutal rhythms

With a new record entitled 'Tarnation' due for release sometime in the summer, this Split is the perfect appetiser.  They have created something hideously ugly, a monster that lurches for your jugular from beginning to end. It is not pleasant, however if like your music hard, heavy and ferocious, look no further and buy this record. I loved it. 

Catatomic is a sludge/doom metal band and I believe this to be their first release.  Despite numerous web searches, there is very little information to be had about this band.  They are based in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. Catatomic recorded and produced their tracks.  Again the tracks were mastered by James Plotkin.

They are a two piece band consisting of:
Howie D. Voigt - Everything else (Gtr, Vox)
Jeremy Canfield - Bass + Drums on 'Void' (may have left since this recording)

Laura Star provided Backing vocals on 'I Went To You'.

I found it difficult to review a band solely on a couple of songs, however once the opening assault and battery of the drums kick in , 'Void' bursts into life!  The opening minute and half of the song consists of droning low end bass and vintage doom sounding guitar, sliding between notes until the song lurches forward into a classic Electric Wizard sounding riff.  Simple and yet heavy, the song is seemingly based upon a fluid 4 bar chord sliding riff, interspersed with a 'Symptom Of The Universe' type acoustic guitar section and that is a feature of much of the song.  The song almost induces nausea due to the Eb and flow of the track.  The vocals fit well with the track and they feel as if they are spoken, rather than sung and that style sits well with the track.  The song weighs in at a mammoth 11:07 and due in part to little variation to the track, it does feel like it outstays its welcome a little, however 'Void' is a fine example of a retro sounding doom track of days gone by. 

'I Went To You', is a track I have a little more difficulty with, it is curious in that it has a vibe, which feels as if it was improvised.  An acoustic track and poles apart to 'Void', it wouldn't feel out of place on a Lou Reed record and feels a little off centre.  This is by no means a criticism of the band but in terms of material, the track doesn't feel as strong as 'Void' and left me feeling a little disappointed. 

As I said earlier, I found it very difficult to judge this band solely on the two tracks on offer, however, on evidence of the track 'Void', Catatomic do show they have potential and hopefully they will go on to create bigger and better things. 

This is an excellent Split LP and I would highly recommend you get it.  Please see the links below for information on where to purchase the album, (Bastard of skies Big Cartel or Bandcamp).  Big thanks to Matt from Bastard of the skies, who came through for me at the 11th hour with info about the band Catatomic.  Thanks also for sharing this record and giving me the opportunity to review it.  Top Bloke! (look forward to the new record). 

Bastard of the Skies myspace
Facebook
Big Cartel
Reverbnation
Bandcamp

Catatomic myspace
Official site













Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Law Of The Tongue

Law of the Tongue Cover Art

Law Of The Tongue are a Sludge/Stoner Metal Band from Australia.

The members are

Kim - Guitar
Ben - Vocals
DD - Bass
Brad - Drums 

I have to thank Ben for sending me an email about his great band. So here is Law Of The Tongue.

Law Of The Tongue play a modem blend of Sludge, Stoner and Doom Metal mixed in with top-notch hardcore/death-metal vocals to really stand out from the crowd.

They have just released their excellent S/T debut album. A 7 song 35 minute blast of sublime hard-hitting Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs. If you’re a fan of Sleep, High On Fire and Traitors Return To Earth then this band is for you.

What you get here is 8 songs of bone-crunching riffs and down-tempo bleak vocals to really bring your mood down a notch or to.

Check out the awesome album cover. The album cover perfectly shows what this excellent album is all about. So if you want something more hard-edged in your Stoner/Sludge Metal then these guys are it.

They are heavy from the word go and never let rip until this great album is over. It might not bring anything new to the table but you can’t deny these are an excellent set of songs to head-bang to on the live arena.

These guys mean hard heavy and sludge/stoner business from the start and business is good. So head over to  BandCamp and download this excellent album for free right now.

It’s superbly played and produced by all involved. This is an album you will be listening over and over again.

Let me put it another way. I have featured many great Aussie Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal bands but Law Of The Tongue are the heaviest I have heard so far.

So if your looking for something a bit up-tempo this aint it. It’s bleak, angry and loud.. This is the way Sludge/Stoner Metal should be.

Imagine the Stoner Metal vibes of Sleep blended in with the Sludge/Doom Metal of Electric Wizard. That’s how heavy these guys are.

So get downloading now. Another brilliant release waiting to be had from BandCamp.

Highly Recommended.

Check This Great Band Below:

AQUANAUT

Sunken Ark Cover Art

Aquanaut is an Experimental Doom/Stoner Metal Band from Vancouver, Canda.

The members are:

Jamie Quast (bass)
David R (Guitars, Vox)
Keith Wecker (Organ)
Al Blood (Drums)


I have to thank great blog - A Distant Rumble for this one. Too good to turn down I had to include it on my own.

Aquanaut are an Experimental Stoner Metal Band blending Psychedelic, Doom, Ambient and Space Rock vibes into their music to take the listener into one crazy journey into the darkness of your mind.

They have released their amazing new album “Sunken Ark” available on  BandCamp Pay Anything You Want Type Deal. This is a 4 song 44 minute epic ride that takes you on a unique journey of supreme heavy space psych stoner riffage with a great experimental vibe.

You can’t compare these guys to many bands around. They are a heavier and groovier version of Hawkwind and possibly Monster Magnet TAB era. If you like the sound of that then come on board as it’s a journey worth taking over and over again.

Each of the tracks run past the 9 minute to 10 minute mark. So you know your in for a wild ride into the vastness of space.

All of the four tracks are expertly played and produced. And this album shows a hugely talented band that would go down a storm on the live arena. Especially the Roadburn crowd.

Check out tracks like Sunken Ark, Flying Fortress and the 12 minute epic Galaxy Rider.

This is an outstanding album that I recommend you all check out now. The album is full of loud heavy far out there riffs that will have you begging for more. Its mind-expanding Stoner/Space-Rock of the highest order.

So get downloading now from  BandCamp. You won’t be sorry. Awesome Stuff.

Highly Recommended.

Check This Great Band Below

Facebook
BandCamp

Check Out The Epic "Galaxy Rider". Brilliant stuff.

PIGS - You Ruin Everything - Review

You Ruin Everything Cover Art

PIGS are a Noise-Rock/Hardcore Punk/Sludge Metal Band from Brooklyn, USA

PIGS is a Brooklyn based band formed in 2008. Members are Jim Paradise (Freshkills, Players Club) on drums, Andrew Schneider (Slughog) on bass and Dave Curran (Unsane, Players Club) on Guitar.
  
Well you know this band means business with the amount of talent involved. And you know what. They do with a big capital FUCK YOU!!!

They have just released their outstanding debut album – “You Ruin Everything”. An 11 song 45 minute snarling masterpiece of heavy sludge driven angry Punk Hardcore/Noise Rock riffs. Available on the excellent Record Label - Solar Flare Records.

First track “Give It” flies out of the starting block with a heavy pounding drum beat before the hardcore punk/sludge driven riffs kick in with some top-notch anger filled vocals and lyrics to match. A great start to a great album.

Well the superb songs “Whitewash”, “Massive Operator Error” and “Drained” keep on coming showcasing a band that is very much at war with the world around them. And you know what. We want this band to win.

Their weapon of choice is their brilliant loud and angry music that packs an almighty emotional punch to it. If you want an album with a positive message this aint it. This is the soundtrack to the miserable bastard in us all.

This album is getting a lot of praise at the moment and it’s not hard to see why. This is an album that should be shown to the upcoming Hardcore Punk/Sludge Rock Bands on how to do a proper anger filled masterpiece of head-banging riffs. They have this nailed down to a fine art especially on the two-part masterpiece “At Least It’s An Ethos” Part 1 and Part 2.

This is where the guys show their most creative talents. Combining anger filled vocals and riffs with a hard-hitting social message as well. If you’re into the members respective bands or not this is an album you cannot ignore. This is one of the most truthful records I have heard since The United States Of Toil. (Another great Noise-Rock/Sludge/Punk Rock Band to check out).

This band deserves credit for telling it like how it is. You may not like what you hear but you cannot deny the powerful message this amazing band is trying to get across.

“You Ruin Everything” is the wake-up call for this musical generation and is a landmark release in the realm of Noise-Rock/Hardcore Punk music.

The album is expertly played and produced by all involved. Don’t be too surprised that this album will be showing up on many critics best of 2012 releases including mine.

Brilliant and highly recommended by all of us at Sludgelord. You cannot miss this album. It simply unmissable and a future classic in the making. Amazing!!!!.

You can buy this masterpiece from BandCamp for all digital needs and physical needs.

Check This Great Band Below:

Official
Facebook

Check Out The Awesome "Give It" by the mighty PIGS from their stunning debut album.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Horse Latitudes – Awakening



Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/2/2012
Label: Doomentia Records

Awakening, album track listing:
1).  Preparation (2:40)

2).  Dissolution (7:25)

3).  Profane Awakening (7:42)

4).  Decline Of The Ages (7:18)

5).  Into The Deep (12:59)

6).  Along The Circles (9:21)


Total Running Time: (47:25)


Bio:
Horse Latitudes are a three piece band from Helsinki, Finland and originally formed in 2009.  Whilst it is difficult to categorise the band, their sound embraces sludge, drone and doom metal. Awakening is their 2nd Full length album and follows their most recent split with Hooded Menace.  Their debut album entitled Gathering was released in 2010.  Tags on their bandcamp page also refer to their music as slow and primitive metal. 

Line-up:
Heidi – Bass Guitar

Harri – Drums, Vocals

Vellu – Bass Guitar


Review:
So my fellow sludgeheads, when you think of metal bands, hands up if you have heard a band which incorporates two bass players and a drummer who is the lead vocalist?  Is your hand your raised?  No, mine isn’t either!


To say this band is not going to have mass appeal is probably the understatement of the century, I can categorically say it is not, I repeat not going to be to everyone’s taste.  This album is for fans of slow droning ‘doooom’, and like fellow Finnish heavyweights, Fleshpress, Horse Latitudes’ music is without question some of the heaviest you are likely to hear, this side of Hades.

Beyond the realm of any music I have heard before, the first question you might want to know, is? Is it any good?  Well, yes it is!  This is not so much an album, but a statement that Horse Latitudes are not interested in playing by the rules. Instead they are using the platform of traditional doom and taking it to another realm, an event horizon, a point of no return making it impossible to escape.  If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m taking about.  Horse Latitudes are intent on inflicting pain on the listener of monolithic proportions and the music on offer here is epic and foreboding; it is a soundtrack to an imminent apocalypse.  The songs are not so much music but evil incantations read from the book of the dead, helping the undead journey through the underworld.


On their new album, Awakening, Horse Latitudes take the listener through the bowels of hell, using droning bass, and vocals that act as the conduit, helping navigate us through this outlandishly beautiful journey.  


The opening track, Preparation, couldn’t be more of an appropriate description, with it’s ghoul like gurgles at the beginning.  It is a prelude to a journey you have never experienced in you wildest dreams.  Dissonant bass, pounding drums and a thick cymbal sound are only the beginning.  It not until the following track, Dissolution, begins, until you’re able gauge the epic range of sound on offer. The sluggish battery of bass passages, repetitive cymbal crashes is like a hypnotic din, with Pete Steele ‘esque’ vocals seemingly intent on summoning evil demons to our world.  


Profane Awakening is another titanic hammer blow; with the Norse god Thor being the architect.  It isn’t so much a song but like an evil strain of the Ebola virus, starting with flu like symptoms but then manifesting itself to affect the very core of your nervous system.  It is music which is not for the faint of heart. The highlight here comes in the form of the Peter Steele ‘esque’ vocals again acting as the antidote to counteract the bludgeoning bass and drums.  The dynamic choice of singing style injects emotion and apathy to the song, yet the song ends to the din of a gong crashing, with the mumbles of the demons that have been summoned, reminding us of the journey you have chosen to take,


On Decline Of The Ages it seems the band take a more conventional approach to the doom influence of yesteryear, with nods to the sound of Candlemass, but also harking back to the sound of say Type O Negative. Horse Latitudes with the thickness of the dissonant bass, manage the seemingly impossible, to resemble the sound of a much distorted guitar and continue to distort the listeners perception of what is in fact fantasy and reality. 

Into The Deep is a monumental 13 minute epic, but with few variations in the musicality, it will stretch even the most devoted drone fan to the point of breaking point.  What Horse Latitudes are attempting to do, is to break with convention, by taking a more minimalist approach to their music, they are stretching the boundaries of what is possible, showing that you can be brutally heavy and progressive without having to be flashy.   Allowing the listener to decide whether it is a journey they wish to take. 


Along The Circles signals the end of this dark and perverse journey; however they ensure that during the next 9 minutes the end will be as devastating as the beginning.  Indeed this track exhibits some of the more creative and technical aspects of the album, reinforcing that there is more to the band than meets the eye, showing that they are not only accomplished musicians, but they are song writers of integrity, vision and imagination.


Overall, Awakening is an album which confounded me as a listener and whilst it is not the most uplifting album imaginable, quite the opposite in fact, I feel it is a truly breathtaking album.  Clocking in at 45 minutes, this album is 6 devastatingly heavy dirges and quite simply an album of epic proportions!  A must buy. 


A big thank you to Lukas from Doomentia Records for giving me the chance to review this record.  Check out the band on the links below and also other great music on the excellent Doomentia label.  Video included below for 'Profane Awakening'



Words by: Aaron Pickford

Bandcamp/ Big Cartel /Facebook /Doomentia /DoomentiaBandcamp/ Doomentia Facebook



Freedom Hawk - Holding On (Album Review)

Album Type - Full Length
Release - 2011
Label - Small Stones Recordings
Track Listing
1. Thunderfoot               (4:10)
2. Living for Days           (2:50)
3. Edge of Destiny         (4:13)
4. Her Addiction             (3:59)
5. Zelda                          (1:44)
6. Nomad                       (4:44)
7. Magic Lady                (4:44)
8. Bandito                       (3:07)
9. Flat Tyre                     (4:36)
10. North Swell               (4:02)
11. Standing in Line        (4:31)
12. Faded                       (4:56)
13. Indian Summer         (4:15)

Total Running Time        (51:51)

Freedom Hawk is a four piece stoner rock band hailing from Tidewater, Virginia in the USA.  According to their press release Freedom Hawk’s sound is categorised by their blend of heavy riffs, rolling groove, and soulful guitar melodies to produce the sound that is Freedom Hawk.  Formed in 2003, Holding On is their 3rd full length release, having previously released an EP called Universal and a split with The Crimson Electric in 2007.  They also released a 4 song EP in 2005, although I am not certain about an official release

The four piece line up consists of

T. R. Morton: Vocals, Guitars and Organ
Lenny Hines: Drums
Matt Cave: Guitars
Mark Cave: Bass

Monster Magnet, Kyuss, Fu Manchu, 3 bands who immediately spring to mind when you’re thinking of stoner or desert rock. Synonymous with the scene for over 20 years, they been the catalyst for many bands seeking to emulate or copy their sound, sometimes producing music of quality and others time not.

For that reason, I often feel a sense of apprehension when exposed to new bands in the genre, due in no small part to an over saturation in the market of poor quality music and perhaps for reasons that some bands, are intent on trying to be the next Monster Magnet, Kyuss or Fu Manchu.  Having never heard of Freedom Hawk before this record, the usual feelings started to stir.  Thankfully, Freedom Hawk, here with their third official release Holding On, have produced an album of impeccable quality.

What you have, is what you expect from stoner/desert rock, bucket loads of riffs and that trademark fuzzy bass groove in spades!!  Whilst listening to this record, I couldn’t help feeling that I was being transported back to 1970’s America; peace and love, warm summers, driving in your convertible and heading down to the beach.  Think Cheech & Chong, and their ‘fiberweed’ van and you’ll get the general idea.

Having been labelled "the East Coast's answer to Fu Manchu", you might expect a band to flounder perhaps sacrificing originality in favour of being a nostalgia act; however Holding On is a headstrong, full throttle adrenaline ride, with a tank full of groovy riffs, blistering guitar solos and enough swagger to make their contemporaries green (no pun intended) with envy. 

Holding On resonates with the influence of Dio era Black Sabbath, and also the solo career of Ozzy Osborne, specifically Blizzard of Oz.  Indeed T.R. Morton’s voice has an uncanny resemblance to Ozzy, yet retains originality.  More importantly, the exemplary vocals only serve to make this album such fantastic fun.  The band SHeavy also springs to mind when I listened to this record.  Is it any wonder this record is awesome?

Since their inception in 1995, Small Stone Records’ have an exemplary track record of producing bands and releasing music of superior quality and Holding On continues that great tradition.

"Thunderfoot, ‘Living for Days’, ’Edge of Destiny’ and ‘Her Addiction’ fused with powerful chords, Iommi-esque guitar solos and an impressive use of ambience, creates the aesthetic of psychedelia and fuzziness, giving you that warm tripped out feeling and infecting your psyche to it’s core. The sporadic use of organ’s provide the album with a spaced out / out of body sensation, all of which set them apart in their own right from the aforementioned Fu Manchu.  I couldn’t help thinking on ‘Her Addiction’ that it had just a whiff of The Ramones influence on it, giving it that punchy attitude and up tempo ‘punk’ vibe. 

Throughout the album T.R. Morton's Ozzy influenced vocals add supreme quality to the record and it infuses well with the bands fuzzed up sound and further cementing their ‘70s rock sound.  Slower more experimental detours on the album such as "Zelda", which could be their ‘Planet Caravan’, add definition and texture to the album.  Plan and simple, Holding On is just downright impressive. 

During the 13 tracks on offer here, Freedom Hawk provide the listener with the sweetest grooves imaginable, yet offers something truly unique. The band has the uncanny knack of producing polished melodies with beefy riffs, giving substance and vigour to the album.  Tracks like ‘Bandito’ are catchy as hell and take you on rollercoaster ride, leaving you disorientated and bewildered, by what has just happened.

Freedom Hawk have fair and flamboyance in their sound, most importantly the ability to write memorable tunes.  This skill intertwined with an unyielding production from Vince Burke (Beaten Back to Pure) gives the album a classic sound of days gone by, when albums were recorded in 7 days and you were excited to open your gatefold vinyl for the first time.

Holding On is an album which adds further credibility and quality to the genre, and of classic albums we have grown up with. The album is a grower and the more listen, the more you grasp the depth of influences which have inspired this band to write it.  I can only hope that Freedom Hawk continue to produce albums of this quality, because if they do, Holding On is the beginning of very bright future for them.  This album is choc full of hooks, groove and muscular riff and to top it off, excellent vocals. To quote Cheech Marin, ‘Holy sheep shit! It’s guitar Heaven!  I can’t recommend this album highly enough.  Go buy it!

Big thanks to Scott Hamilton of SS Recordings for allowing us to review their music.  There will be more to come from this incredible label over the coming weeks.  Check out the links below for more info on the band and where to buy their music.  I have also posted a video below to their outstanding song 'Edge Of Destiny'.
Bandcamp
Facebook
Small Stones Recordings