Saturday 31 May 2014

Face-To-Face Interview with WO FAT

Before seeing today's guests perform a brilliant performance on the first date of their joint – Texas Takeover European Tour – with Mothership. I was given the chance to interview Texas Stoner Metal heroes – WO FAT.

I met the guys outside Camden Underworld in London and we made a little trek to a Chinese Buffet to conduct this cool face-to-face interview. Not the most glamorous of places to carry out this interview but Kent, Michael and Tim were kind enough to answer my questions. And here is the interview that I carried out with one of the finest Stoner Metal bands currently out there in the Stoner Metal scene.

Wo Fat are about to release their eagerly awaited 5th album – The Conjuring – on Small Stone Recordings. And trust me folks when we say this is their best work yet. Full of epic riffs that this great band are known for.

So lets get started with this interview.

SL – Thanks for doing this guys. You have a new a album coming out soon. The Conjuring. What can people expect from it.

Kent – It's a lot like The Black Code. We went a lot further with some things. Maybe a little bit darker. Darker lyrically. Musically it's the same but we are trying to stretch ourselves further.

SL – Was it an harder or easier album to write and record for.

Kent – I don't know but I think it's the quickest we ever recorded an album. Less than a year from The Black Code. We recorded it really fast. Song-writing was a lot quicker too.

SL – You don't leave a lot of time to record in-between albums. Do you always work that fast.

Kent – With this album we wanted to ride on the momentum we built with The Black Code and get at something pretty quick. Also we were coming back to Europe and try to get it done for this tour which we just barely did. We are probably going to take our time with the next record.

SL – You're thinking about the next record already.

Kent – Yeah. Really. When we finished an album we always start thinking about the next one.

SL – The Black Code was your most acclaimed and successful release. Did it surprise you.

Kent – Yeah. That's when we signed with Small Stone and that's what we were hoping for. Hoping to move upto the next level. The Black Code did what we were hoping to do. We are hoping The Conjuring is even bigger and better.

The Black Code cover art

SL – How did you hook up with Small Stone Records.

Kent – Scott and I traded emails backwards and forwards. Working at some supporting slots with bands coming through Dallas. Built a relationship with him and I just approached and told him about The Black Code. We had all the songs written and knew we were going to have it done by a certain time. So we told Scott - “We are looking for a label to put this out on. Are you interested.”

And it all worked out.

SL – How did the band get together. Where did it all begin.

Kent – Michael and I have known each other for over 20 years. We played in a couple of other bands over the years. Tim and I worked in the studio that we are now the owners of. That was in 2003 and I had some ideas of doing some kind of Stonery Stuff. We talked about jamming. It was pretty sporadic at first. We played every 3 months but it became more and more serious. We didn't have any designs on anything serious.

SL – What's the song-writing process within the band.

Kent – We all bring in our own ideas which are fully formed. We then jam these ideas out and play them and I think of certain riffs to build them into a better way.

SL – You're now doing the Texas Takeover Tour with Mothership. How did that came about.

Kent – It happened when we did Roadburn and Desertfest in 2013 and I met Jens who puts together Freak Valley Festival and we discussed ourselves doing it this year. About a month or two later, Jens said he would be inviting Mothership over and the idea was lets do a tour together as they are friends of ours.

We play with them a lot and I recorded their first album and their second album too.

SL – You're also known for your recording work. Are all 3 of you involved with the recording side of things.

Kent – All 3 of us own the studio. We all have different roles that we play. Michael manages the place and takes care the business side of things.

Michael – They worked there for a while. I was an intern there 15 years ago. I got sidetracked with family and everything. I started the ball rolling for us by buying it from the last owner and secured that deal. I can't engineer but I can manage the place with finances and stuff.

Kent – This is a place that has been in Dallas since 1979. Well established studio that's got a hell of a reputation.

Michael – Probably the longest and continuous studio currently running in Dallas. We have a great client list. People who keep coming back.

Kent – One of the main reasons we have to keep our tour short is because of the running of the business. As we can't be away too long.

SL – Do you have a main job for running the studio and participating with Wo Fat.

Kent – No. The studio is our main job for all of us.

Michael – When we are gone, we have one employee besides ourselves. He is very reliable. Wonderful guy who has been there for 13 years and he takes care of everything. Our wives are there taking phone calls for us. My wife asked me - “Am I going to get paid for this?”

I told her - “Well if the studio goes under. Then No!!!”

Which raises a big laugh for everyone around the table.

SL – You have recorded a lot of artists in your studio over the years. Any personal favourites or highlights.

Kent – It's a lot of fun to record music that I like such as Mothership and their first album. But we do a lot of variety such as Country, Rock, Jazz and Gospel. For me it the music is good and people are cool to hangout with then I am happy to work on any kind of music.

SL – How did you all become involved with music.

Kent – I grew up in a musical family and I didn't have plans to do anything else. Engineering wasn't something I thought of in my younger years. It kind of happened in my later life and what I currently do now. Music has always been part of my life.

The Conjuring cover art

SL – Who designed the album cover for The Conjuring.

Kent – It was Alexander von Wieding who has designed The Black Code and the re-issue of The Gathering Dark. He has done a great job. We usually give him an idea for the concept and he goes away and designs something for us.

SL – Mothership used a kickstarter fund to come on the tour. Did you do the same thing.

Kent – We used a kickstarter fund last year. Without that we couldn't do it as it's expensive to tour. This time we have managed to do it on our own.

SL – What are your thoughts on the entire crowd-funding process. Some people are for it and some people are against it.

Kent – I think it's great. I don't see why people are against it. It's putting the power in the hands of the band. A lot of labels aren't supporting bands tours any more. As much as we love Small Stone they aren't paying for this tour as we are. That's the way for most bands unless you're on a certain label or you're getting a lot of money.

SL – You're starting the European Tour today. What is in store for people. Are you playing new stuff and old stuff.

Kent – We are playing a mixture of new stuff and stuff from the other albums. Though it's primarily the new record. We try to create a setlist that flows well and songs that we play well.

SL – What dates are you looking forward to the most.

Kent – We are looking forward to Freak Valley Festival the most. Should be a lot of fun. Looking forward in seeing Blue Pills and Blood Ceremony.

SL – What are your plans after this tour. You planning a tour for the United States.

Kent – No. We are going to take some time off as we have been going for over a year or so. We are busy with recording and working in the studio.

SL – I am surprised you're not touring the States especially when you have a new record out. Is it because you have a bigger fanbase in Europe.

Kent – It's a couple of things. Partially it's that but it's harder to tour in America. It's hard to make money and to cover expenses in the States. It's almost not worth it.

Michael – The drives are brutal there and they don't put you in a hotel or stuff like they do over here. For a band that's is travelling around and that's great. We just couldn't do it. And they buy merch over here. Can't say enough about the European Crowds.

Kent – We are trying to do some strategic shows here and there. We can't tour more often with bands such as Mothership a it's not worth it for us as we lose to much money.

SL – Which bands are you currently digging at the moment.

Kent – Church Of Misery is one of my fave bands. We saw them recently last fall and they were amazing.

Tim – They played on a Wednesday night in Dallas. It was a great show. Orange Goblin came through recently as well.

SL – How would you class your music as. Doom Metal, Stoner Metal or Hard Rock.

Kent – I always class it as Psychedelic Doom.

Michael – Heavy Stoner Psychedelic.


Which everyone laughs and agrees with.

Kent – There you go. Lets go with – SWAMPADELIC!!!

SL – You changed styles with The Black Code. Especially with the Science Fiction aspect.

Kent – I was trying to use a different kind of imagery that we used before. Mainly to mix things up a bit. But it's still kind of the same vibe with a lot of political statements.

Michael – The Black Code. It's also more of a statement about being taking over by a digital age. A s you come more disjointed and alienated which fits the sci-fi angle of it all. It takes it out from the swamp and into space.

SL – Can people expect that with your new album – The Conjuring.

Kent – It's a more apocalyptic really. Talking about where a lot of things are at in the world. Climate Change. Things are seen to be coming to ahead which is pretty frightening.

Michael – It's not something happening to us. It's things that we our doing to ourselves. Like The Black Code we are victims of things that we creating ourselves. The whole idea of The Conjuring is that we are THE CONJURING!!!

I want to thank Wo Fat for taking the time out to talking to me before the gig. Thanks to Todd at Ripple Music for helping me arrange this interview.

The Conjuring will be available to buy from Small Stone Recordings on CD/DD/Vinyl from June 17th 2014.

Check The Band From Links Below

Written by Steve Howe

Interview with GURT

I should of interviewed today's guests a long time ago as they have been one of the finest bands within the UK Sludge/Doom Metal scene over the last few years.

They have released a few EP's which has won them some acclaim with fans and critics alike. But it's their eagerly awaited debut album – HORRENDOSAURUS – which is going to take these filth ridden noise terrorists onto the next level. As HORRENDOSAURUS is pure evil. Plain and simple. Plus it's a brilliant debut album that has impressed the hell out of us here at Sludgelord HQ.

Ladies and Gentlemen, It's my honour to be interviewing GURT. You need more info. OK how about a quick recap of my review of HORRENDOSAURUS.

HORRENDOSAURUS has a killer charm of it's own. GURT stay loud through out the entire album so you don't have to worry of there being a “LIGHTER/MOBILE IN THE AIR” type song as that ain't GURT's style. The band stay pissed off through out as they unleash a barrage of brutal songs to rock out to. Tracks such as Horrendosaurus, Eve's Droppings and Hoboreaper have a constant supply of dangerous riffs which the band expertly delivers time and time again.

If Gareth isn't scaring the hell out of you with his impressive death based growls then the action packed riffage the band lay down will have you begging for more. This is one hell of an impressive debut album. I haven't stopped listening to it since I received a copy to review.

This album is meant to be played as loud as you can. Who gives a fuck if it upsets your neighbours. Tell em you're partying with GURT and their monster of a record called HORRENDOSAURUS. And they ain't fucking invited. If the afterlife does indeed sound like this then I may never want to leave!!!!”

You will be hearing a lot more from GURT over the next few months as with their debut album release they are supporting Canadian Doom/Sludge Metal overlords – DOPETHRONE. Now that is going to be one hell of a fucking line-up. You can feel the pain now!!!

Anyway this is GURT's time. So lets get started.

Q1 – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you all today.

Busy, stressed but excited! Lots to do yet a load more to look forward to over the coming months!

Q2 – Can you tell our readers a brief history on how the band started and where it is today.

To keep it very brief we started in 2010 with a different line up, our original Guitarist Jamie McCathie and Bassist John Hughes now live abroad but the 4 of us created the band as we all like Iron Monkey and wanted to do something new (all but Gareth were previously in a blues rock band called ROWSE) Rich and Spicy joined the band in 2012 and have been awesome ever since. We have all been friends since the beginning and although we have Jamie based in America now he still is a big part of the band and helps with our writing process and we were lucky enough last year to play a show with him and Rich in Paris so we hope to do more work in the future with both guitarists but as you can guess the trans Atlantic thing does not help much! We also have Bill Jacobs (of Diesel King) that helps us out on drums now and then so he is also part of the GURT family too…

Q3 – So. How would you describe your sound. You must be sick of me calling you Doom/Sludge Metal. Or is that a pretty accurate term for you all.

That is probably best, we are most definitely a Sludge band but we have a vast range of influences, someone once referred to us as PARTY DOOM which we liked the sound of. We consider ourselves a bit more upbeat and fun compared to most of our peers so that what we most want to be known for!

Q4 – How did you all become involved with music.

Rich, Simo and Spicy all have a history of being in other bands over the years and have played instruments for many many years where as Gareth has blagged it…

Q5 – Why the name GURT. Any specific meaning behind it.

Yes, simple meaning really… it’s a Bristolian slang term for MASSIVE or GREAT!!!
It’s not all the other stupid meanings that’s you see on Urban Dictionary.

Q6 – So lets get talking about your new album. HORRENDOSARUS. What a brilliant album it is. Was it a hard or easy album to write and record for.

Writing is fairly easy for us in that we are all on the same page and nothing is over thought or overcomplicated. So the album came together pretty quick, a riff will be brought to the table and we will all work on it until it something fun is created! We think the worst thing people can do is over work something or try to deliberately write something that is DOOM or SLUDGE as it will be fairly obvious that it is forced. Most of the songs on HORRENDOSAURUS sound so different from each other and that is just how it is, we never intend something to sound a certain way.

Q7 – It's been a long time coming as GURT have released a few EP's over the years. Why the long wait. Plus I bet your glad the album is finally being released upon to the world.

EPs cost a lot less to produce and we do everything ourselves so it’s that simple really. We are more bothered on getting stuff out quickly but we felt it was about time we did a full length and we worked hard on ensuring we had the money to put out the best release we could, so its feels amazing to know we achieved what we could for ourselves. We just hope the rest of you like it too!

Q8 – What is the overall concept of the album for people that haven't heard it. As it's one mean angry pissed off album. I love the first track - “Gardening with Cthulhu”. That insane speech. WOW. Where did you find that soundclip.

For me (Gareth) lyrically it’s a collection of songs about angry and nasty things or situations but done in as fun a way as possible so I guess that is a concept in a way. Gardening with Cthulhu is literally about gardening but put together in such a way that it sounds like some bleak end of the world situation from which no one can escape, but its actually about harvesting a crop of Peas! The sample was found by Simo online from some mental Evangelical dude.

Q9 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular band or album that stand out.

Everything from the obvious like Weedeater to Sabbath, but the best are the more obscure influences that we have that add a different sound to our band Primus, The Tiger Lillies, Mike Patton, Pink Floyd to name but a few and Gareth is a massive Nu Metal fan which we don’t talk about much!


Q10 – Love the album cover. Who designed the cover and how much input did you have with overall design.

The legend that is Dominic Sohor is the man that did our cover, we have worked with him on 2 of our best selling shirts (one of which was a limited design for Desertfest 2013) and we have noticed that a lot of other bands in our scene have started going to him now for work to be done, watch out as he is getting a lot more work in and we really expect him to get very big as his work is so amazingly detailed and he works damn hard too! We have as much input as we want into what it looks like but we trust him 100% to come up with something awesome so we leave him to it.

Q11 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it down to one individual or is it a group collective.

Always collectively, everyone has their say and if we don’t all agree it gets scrapped.

Q12 – How big of a help has BandCamp and the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community been in promoting your music.

Massively, as we are DIY all the way sites like Bandcamp allow us to look after our own back catalogue and control all the funds (if any) that we get from putting our material out there. As for the community, everyone helps each other out and that is vital from the larger London promoters like Desertscene and Human disease who we have been good friends with for a fair few years to the newer breed like the Southern Doom Crew in Bournemouth or Submerge and FOAD in Manchester we all keep in contact and we all help each other in ensuring the scene (and our music) thrives the best way it can!

Q13 – What is your verdict on the current state of the UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene. It has been thriving over the last few years. Can you see this continuing or do you see a natural decline when you're performing gigs at home or on the road.

Its beyond amazing and only going to get bigger if everyone works together, the bands like ourselves that have been around for a few years are now getting friends in Europe and beyond which is opening the doors to more exciting areas so if it carries on this way we can’t see it declining anytime soon.

Q14 – Gareth. More a question for you. The album is being released on your own label. When Planets Collide. How did you get started with that. The Label and PR Side of things. As you have released a ton of records by other bands this year. Plus is it a hard task combining your work with the label and the band.

When I started WPC it was (and still is) a way of giving newer bands a chance to play gigs with other like minded bands and help make the community grow. So the label I started with exactly the same ethos, obviously it was there to help GURT grow as a band too but bands that are starting out don’t have much support so I hope that a label like mine can give bands a hand with getting their material to an audience that’s knows that they are likely to enjoy what they hear. BUT yes it is VERY hard work and I can see myself having a nervous breakdown in the next few years ha ha!! I love it and would not change it for the world but work a 9-5 day job so ideally it would be nice to put all my effort into the band and label. But I guess thats the dream for everyone right?

Q15 – What is your musical set-up when playing live or recording your music. Any hints and tips would you like to give to the budding musicians out there.

Guitar, Bass, Drums and Vocals? Keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate things!

Q16 – We are massive Vinyl Heads here at Sludgelord. Are you vinyl fans yourselves.

Yes very much so and Gareth and Rich in particular spend way too much money on buying vinyl … but with pressing vinyl comes a lot of stress!

We have already had a 7 inch split with Dopefight out which is now long sold out and have the album out on vinyl too so can’t wait to get that in our hands!!

Q17 – Do you guys perform a lot of gigs in your home town or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

We play a fair few shows in London but we are lucky enough to have played in many other towns and cities in the UK and Europe and obviously we have this 21 date tour coming up! We have more plans to do longer tours with our first full UK tour being planned for early 2015.

Q18 – Plus you have a European Tour supporting DOPETHRONE coming up. How did that come about. And what can people expect from those shows when they see you live in action.

We played a show in Paris last year for Stoned Gatherings and the promoter is also a booking agent (Dead Pig Booking) he loved what we do and we got on well so he has come on board as our European booking agent and literally a couple of weeks after the show he offered us this, as you can guess we were well up for it! With this being our first time in many new cities we are going above and beyond with these guys getting to be the first to see songs from our new album being played live, its going to be MEGA!

Q19 – What is your verdict on the whole crowd-funding scene. Where bands ask fans to fund their next album. Are you a fan of that platform. Would yourselves ever go down this route.

It’s very funny you should ask this question as we were very very close to actually using Pledge music to fund this album, with us being unsigned and DIY we thought it would be a great idea but when we worked out the math (they take 15% commission for doing very little) we thought it may be a risk but should we just put up the money ourselves and hope that we get enough pre-orders from our fans to mean that we don’t have to lose too much money before it is released. And fortunately for us IT WORKED!! We have had an overwhelming response and because of the various options we had on our bigcartel we made more than enough money to cover everything and for that we can’t thank our fans enough…

Q20 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What would it be.

Be patient, work hard and do everything yourself!! DIY FOR LIFE!!!

Q21 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.

Thank you for the support, thank you for helping us release this album into the world, Come see us on tour, buy some merch and say hi!

Well guys. Thanks for doing this. All the best with HORRENDOSAURUS and the forthcoming tour with DOPETHRONE.

HORRENDOSAURUS will be available to buy from When Planets Collide Records on CD/DD/Vinyl from June 09th 2014.

Check The Band From Links Below

Written by Steve Howe

Old Iron - Cordyceps - Album Review

Cordyceps cover art

Album Type:Album
Date Released: Feb 20th 2014
Label: Self Released
Cordyceps - track listing:

1.Lerna 09:17
2.Cordyceps 08:01
3.Haruspex 04:30
4.The Pineal Gate 03:54
5.Ahnighito 05:23
6.Fractal Storm 10:04


Seattle trio, Old Iron, started writing material in May of 2011. Consisting of Jesse Roberts (guitar/vocals), Trent McIntyre (drums), and Jerad Shealey (bass) they self released their 1st full length entitled “Cordyceps” on Feb. 20th, 2014 and are currently working on a follow up album.

Old Iron boasts members of Sandrider, Ruby Doe, The Helm, Iamthethorn, Grenades, and X Suns. They play heavy, low tuned, melodic music and blend doomy, dark, psychedelic riffs with mathy, hardcore elements. Influences include Eyehategod, Neurosis, Karp

The Band Members

Jesse Roberts, Jerad Shealey, Trent McIntyre


So when you have members from bands such as Sandrider, The Helm, X Suns and Ruby Doe. You expect something special. I am happy to report that Old Iron are a band you all need to check out as their debut album – Cordyceps – is a blistering debut album that sounds like a dark and distorted offspring of Neurosis, Isis, Cave-In and EyeHateGod.

It's a superb debut album that will have you coming back for more punishment. Opening track – Lerna – is a doomy based track full of dangerous psychedelic riffs with a dark twisted edge that will push your body to the very edge of insanity. It has a slow brooding aura that slowly builds up for one epic battle of riffs.

The album doesn't stray from the heavy and violent sounds of the opening track for the remainder of the album. Old Iron slowly build up the creepy atmosphere with haunting riffs with each passing second and it makes you feel your drowning in a sea of emotion that is very hard to escape from. Old Iron is very different compared to the members other more established bands. Old Iron is where the guys can unleash all of their violent creativity upon to the world.

Tracks such as Cordyceps and Ahnighito show you a band with a truly atmospheric and apoclyptical vision that will scare the living hell out of you. A very powerful band indeed. Old Iron are equally creative on the shorter paced tracks Haruspex and The Pineal Gate. Both tracks combining epic riffs and emotionally involved lyrics that pack quite a punch.

The album ends on a powerful end with the 10-minute plus stunning track – Fractal Storm – that starts very slowly with quiet riffs and post-rock doom and gloom vibes before exploding into a loud wall of noise you cannot turn away from. Play this track very loud as it will get your heart pumping in no time at all.

Old Iron have delivered a truly stunning debut album which I recommend everyone check out now. If you need you're faith restored in Post-Metal music then Old Iron is the band for you.

Cordyceps is now available to buy on Bandcamp Buy Now Download. A vinyl release is in the works.

Awesome. End Of.

Check The Band From Links Below

Written by Steve Howe

NOMAD - The House Is Dead - EP Review

The House is Dead cover art

Album Type:EP
Date Released: May 12th 2014
Label: When Planets Collide
The House Is Dead - track listing:

1.Slaves to Mourning 08:20
2.Still Falling Rain 05:34
3.The Pilgrim 06:58
4.Burn the Water 07:31


Seeking to lay waste in an environment already dissolute, Nomad are a 4 piece Sludge/Doom band bred from Manchester and other likewise holes, incorporating elements from across the spectrum with the vague purpose of sending you on a bad trip or at least maiming you along the way.

We wish to bring our brand of sludge to unsuspecting and unfortunate concert goers everywhere.

The Band Members

Lewis Atkinson:6 strings of doom
Hayley McIntyre: battery
Rev. Drian Nash: dry lung vocal martyr
John C: low end


Here is another stellar release from UK Record Label – When Planets Collide – who have already released some stunning records this year. Now they are releasing Nomad's excellent debut EP – The House Is Dead. A Sludge/Doom Metal band influenced by the legendary NOLA scene though with a few more other bands thrown in for good measure.

If you want a heavy as fuck brutal experience to mess up your entire day then – The House Is Dead – is the release for you. Bone-crunching guitar riffs combined with the mighty Rev. Drian Nash's almost indescribable guttural vocals adding a dangerous edge to the bands music.

Slaves To Mourning feels it was created in the legendary NOLA swamps and not Manchester from where the band actually come from. It's an epic track full of the right ingredients for all you hard-rocking Sludge/Doom Metal fans. It's a slow-paced track with flashes of progressive riffs lurching in the background. This song is perfect Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal music to relax your nerves to after a hard day at work.

Nomad continue their journey of heavy sludge style pile-driver riffage that will seriously entertain the living hell out of you. Tracks such as Still Falling Rain and The Pilgrim show that this band have something about them. It may not be the most original of sounds but what is these days. Nomad play to their strengths in writing kick-ass tunes which have plenty of menace to them. And it all counts where it matters. RIFFS and this release is full of them.

Nomad have created a stellar EP for people to check out. Lets see what the future holds for these hugely talented demented Sludge Rockers.

You can download this now on BandCamp Buy Now Download. They have a Cassette Tape of the EP as well.

Excellent Stuff.

Check The Band From Links Below

Written by Steve Howe

USA Out Of Vietnam - Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes - Album Review

Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes cover art

Album Type:Album
Date Released: May 7th 2014
Label: Aurora Borealis

Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes track listing:

1.Archangel 10:14
2.You Are A Comet, You Are On Fire 07:47
3.Asphodel I/1322 14:18
4.Leg of Lamb 13:09
5.Tonight, The Dead Walk 14:11


USA Out Of Vietnam have paired with Aurora Borealis to release their auspicious début Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes.

Their musical influences are both transparent and widespread, and include black metal, doom, drone, minimalist composition, sludge, noise, post rock, shoe-gaze, dream pop, nineties psychedelia and classic seventies radio dial pop. Particularly transparent is this love of pop music, dense seventies-style production, and harmonized vocals that swerves around hairpin turns. If you really wanted to try to harness this slippery eel you could say that the band’s sound is as equally informed by the stacked production and pop savvy of Jeff Lynne’s E.L.O. as it is by the crushing heavy drones of Sunn O)))).

On their début, USA Out of Vietnam proudly boast of their love of lush harmony and infectious melody but also like to push past the 3 minute traditional pop format with 10 minute epics - psychedelic, in the truest sense of the word.

With over 15 guest musicians appearing on Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes (including Montreal singer/songwriter Patrick Watson who contributes treated vocal loops on two songs here), their début is vast in it's scope, and abundant with rich sounds. Brass sections elbow up to detuned and distorted Marshall stacked guitars, spoken word sections appear in unlikely spaces, vocoder vocals appear within breaths of angelic choir vocals, vintage synth and sampled noises hover over lush string sections while a piano beds down with crushing Swans-style pummeling. The lyrics across the album mirrors the sound that surrounds them, with themes grasping towards redemption that search for a sliver of light hiding in the darkness.

Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes slowly reels the listener in as opposed to attacking them with ballast and decibels. USA Out of Vietnam have created an enveloping and vivid piece of work - but flush that incense and peppermint flotsam out of your head because USA Out of Vietnam insist that this trip is for real.

The Band Members

El Tigre, Fogman, Jordan Thomas Brown III, Son of Fogman, Blankie


USA Out Of Vietnam are a sell-proclaimed – Heavy, Psych, Doom, Epic Drone Pop band. And that's a very cool description to describe their unique and spellbinding new album - Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes. A mind-expanding hallucinogenic trippy ride that lasts for almost 60 mins or so.

First track – Archangel – channels the pop sensibility of ELO mixed with the heavy and hazy riffs of SLEEP jamming with Sunn 0))) – with heavy digitized vocals telling a spellbinding story that only propels your mind, body and soul into a sea of tranquillity.

I am not going to do a track by track review even if there are only 5 tracks but the first track – Archangel – justifies why this band have such an awesome reputation already. If you want thought provoking music elevated into greatness by heavy drone epic riffs then this this album has it all.

It's one of the most creative and unique sounding records I have heard in any year not just 2014. USA Out Of Vietnam write brilliant, quirky and catchy as hell doom pop tunes with slabs of Sludge Rock, Noise, Drone and 70s Classic Stadium Rock all holding it together.

If you're not physically moved by the dreamy riffs of – You Are A Comet, You Are On Fire – then you're either emotionally closed off or you're not breathing. Either way this song is pure harmonic pop perfection. Each band member bringing their own unique style to the party with all of them showing some highly impressive musical talent.

The album cover gives a strong indicator on what to expect on the album. The album does have it's fair share of dark nightmarish moments as well. So don't go expecting uplifting vibes all the way through as the band do have a darker creative side which they do show from time to time especially on the later stages of the album.

This is an album that will require multiple listens to get the full effect as it's an expansive journey with many hidden meanings and gems to discover within the musical madness currently going on. An incredible and richly rewarding experience that you rarely come across.

Brilliant and Highly Recommended.

Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes is now available to buy DD/CD/Vinylfrom Aurora Borealis Recordings.

Check The Band From Links Below

Written by Steve Howe

Thursday 29 May 2014

Choice Cuts : Down - Nola

The Band :

  • Philip Anselmo | Vocals, guitar on "Pray for the Locust", mandolin on "Jail"
  • Pepper Keenan | Guitar
  • Kirk Windstein | Guitar, bass
  • Jimmy Bower | Drums
Additional musicians
  • Todd Strange | Whistle at the beginning of Lifer & bass (credited, does not perform)
  • Ross Karpelman | Keyboards on "Jail"
  • Lil' Daddy and Sid Montz | percussion on "Jail"
  • Lil' Daddy | Water pipe solo on "Hail the Leaf"
Review : 

When I first heard NOLA by Down it was 1995, I was a big fan of Pantera and had been into more extreme death metal fair for some time. My band was gradually mutating from unlistenable juvenile noise into standard (very, very standard) death metal and I was searching for something more aligned with my Sabbath worship of the day. NOLA was just the sound I was looking for. Even now I would rank this record in any nominal “top ten records of all time” list (along with about twenty other albums!).

Temptations Wings kicks things off with an open hi hat and a MONSTROUS guitar sound. The bass is low in the mix, but audible, the drums very live and raw sounding. Anselmo’s vocals were different from anything in the Pantera discography up to that point and showcased his versatility and the range he possessed. His tone is primal, yet somehow bluesy and even relaxed in places. The band is in full flow. The term ‘supergroup’ does not do the sound justice. 

On first hearing NOLA I had heard of COC and EHG but not actually heard them- I had heard Crowbar, but music was expensive back then, so had not purchased any of their (hard to find in Grimsby!) work. I instantly drew a direct line from Sabbath to Down and time has proved me right. There is most definitely a connection between Sabbath’s first four and this mighty work- instrumental tracks, heavy riffs, ballad type tracks and that intangible thing: “vibe”. Down have yet to equal this album, in my opinion, and I doubt they ever will.

It is, in the parlance of many people who have written and spoken about metal, a SEMINAL album. Front to back, the record is superb. Lifer is an absolute anthem with riffs to die for, Pillars of Eternity has the drum intro, Eyes Of The South brought the Southern connection into my consciousness (and led me to explore Skynyrd, Crowbar and so on at a later date) while Hail The Leaf was an anthem of a different kind. Losing All had Phil’s intro and gratitude at the end, sandwiching massive riffs and hooks in-between.
Of course, the album is perhaps best known for Stone The Crow- and rightly so. It is an excellent piece of music, utilising the quiet-loud ballad dynamic but in a very different way. This was Southern rock, this was downcast blues and it had a direct lineage with the most classic of bands from Sabbath to Zeppelin to Purple to Skynyrd.

Anselmo’s vocals on this record are, for me, the best of his career. Brutal screams, smoke soaked crooning and powerful singing are all present and Phil uses double tracking and all the tricks of the trade to really showcase his fearsome vocal ability. Thus, the album has often been thought of as Phil Anselmo and friends (and this is certainly how it was portrayed in the press at the time)- a view reinforced by Anselmo’s later proclamations that he was responsible for a good deal of the music contained therein as well as lyrics and melodies.

Swansong has always been a highlight for me- great lyrics and structure- before the finale of Bury Me In Smoke and its huge riffs. When I listen to this album, no tracks get skipped- it is a wholly satisfying tour through the seedy underbelly of Louisiana living and represents a musical highpoint for all those concerned- and that is some statement bearing in mind what those involved released before and after. Even the instrumental/low key pieces convey the oppressive heat and mugginess of the deep South and are hugely evocative.

In short, NOLA manages to exceed the sum of its parts, which in itself is an incredible musical feat. It stands as a definitive record in the 90’s stoner/Sabbath/sludge/doom canon and no doubt acted as a gateway for many people who are now in name bands and moving the genre(s) forward. That it is now nearly twenty years old is difficult for me to grasp. It is as old now as Sabotage was when I first heard NOLA- and that was a record which seemed to be form another time and place to my young ears. NOLA has not dated in any way. The mythical top ten albums of all time is impossible for me to compile, but that said... this album would always be in my top two. Gimme some medicine!

Words & Recommendation : Richard Maw

Album Details :

NOLA is the debut album of Down. It was released on September 19, 1995. The title is the abbreviation for New Orleans (N.O.), Louisiana (La.).

Nola, track listing :

1).  "Temptation's Wings" 04:24
2).  “Lifer” 04:36
3).  "Pillars of Eternity" 03:57
4).  "Rehab" 04:03
5).  "Hail the Leaf" 03:28  
6).  "Underneath Everything" 04:46  
7).  "Eyes of the South" 05:13
8).  "Jail" 05:17
9).  "Losing All" 04:42 
10).  "Stone the Crow" 04:42  
11).  "Pray for the Locust" (instrumental) 01:07
12).  "Swan Song" 03:35  
13).  "Bury Me in Smoke" 07:04