Archive for Review

Uncle Paul – Dot Rotten

Posted in CD, Experimental, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 14th April 2019 by mickbirchy

Uncle Paul
Dot Rotten
Noise Rock, Stoner Rock, Psychedelic
Released 14th January 2019
via Introclusor Records

You guys know me by now. I’m usually the first in line for the weird and experimental side of rock n roll. After all, today’s experimental music is tomorrow’s mainstream. So, why not listen to everything that you can? Which leads me to this EP. Dot Rotton is the newest release from the weird and wonderful Uncle Paul and let’s just say it’s an interesting listening experience, to say the least. Sounding like a weird hybrid of Butthole Surfers, Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt, this band have really captured my imagination. Though this isn’t the best example of the genre, the North-West UK rockers certainly work as a weird noise rock psychedelia band, that incorporate elements of garage rock and stoner rock into their style. Referring to themselves as “refined musical dyslexia” is a good call, because this is what this is, a random assortment of musical ideas thrown into a melting pot and left to simmer.

Though it would take you longer to listen to “In A Gadda Da Vida” than it would this entire EP. I think there is some merit to the EP. In the sense, that you shouldn’t try to investigate it or look into it too deep. It’s more just a musical experience with a hodge-podge of ideas, riffs and distortion just blasting full force at the listener. With vocal effect layered over the sound and weird noise coming from every which way. It’s an EP to lose yourself in and not worry too much about its motivations or connotations. It’s just music for music’s sake and, you know what? That’s actually quite refreshing from time to time. The production is all over the place with nothing really meshing or coming together. Very much like the noise rock movement of the early 90’s this band just make what they feel like and run with the ideas they have.

Let me put this straight, this is not of the average consumer of music. There are no hooks or ear-worms to be found here. Yet, there is some creating bass work, some great riff ideas and guitar licks littered throughout the EP. Which makes it enjoyable enough. Also, considering that a couple of the songs don’t even reach two minutes long and the longest track here is four minutes, the music just passes by so quick that you don’t even realise that you’ve just heard something really fun and ridiculous.

By no means is this a great example of modern rock music. Yet, it serves as an interesting example of the noise rock sound and how it can still be relevant today. Then again, noise rock usually exists outside the normal boundaries of music anyway. If you like that  90’s Gen-Xer sound or watched a lot of Bevis and Butthead then I would recommend this in a strange way. It’s not a masterpiece, nor is it trying to be. It’s designed to be off-putting and weird and to be honest, that’s what I liked about it.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

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Siena Root – A Dream of Lasting Peace

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , on 22nd May 2017 by mickbirchy

Siena Root

A Dream of Lasting Peace

Rock, Folk, Psychedelic

Released 26th May 2017

via Hänsel & Gretel, MIG-Music

 

This has been a listen for me. Lately I’ve been really into my mellow music, instead of in your face heavy metal. When I first played the album I was immediately interested in the sound that was coming from the speakers. The sheer imagination these guys bring to the table is outstanding. The music is this psychedelic folk sound that’s really hard out of your head.  Their tone is just unlike anything I’ve really listened to in recent memory. The sweeping guitar tones, the excellent production and the fantastic songwriting. It all sounds so glorious. A Dream of Lasting Peace is a just a excellent listen from start to finish.

The production of this album is really damn good. The instrumentation is exquisite, with every member really making an impression on you. Samuel Björö’s vocals are just so emotional and they soar above the production and really resonates with you. He is just one of those front men that can really paint a picture with his word and draw you into the world he creates. All the while the band plays an amazing score to accompany the great lyrics. The way the music swells around the lyric is a magical experience, particularly on tracks like “The Piper Won’t Let You Stay” & “Empty Streets”. I was simply entranced the whole time. It’s just excellent from start to finish. I really can’t stop listening to it.

This feels like a band that just know how to create a great musical experience, This being their sixth studio album, the band have just gelled at this point. Everything about their sound is so natural and almost comes off as effortless. It’s such a nice album just to play and have a good time to. Just let the music entrance you into a state of euphoria. It’s seriously a great trip.  I’m so happy to have found this band. This one album is definitely worth your time.

5/5
Mick Birchall

Capricia – Fooled by the Hush [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , on 29th September 2011 by corvusofmorlich

Band: Capricia
Album: Fooled by the Hush
Release year: 2011
Genre: Progressive Metal

Being somebody who’d never heard of this band, I was quite eager to jump in and have a listen:

An interesting piece of artwork for an interesting piece of music..

On my first play through, I was taken aback. There’s a lot different genres mashed into this 5 track CD; from jazz to symphonic metal and from a more progressive rock sound to one that’s driven by industrial metal sounding guitars.

The first track is “Recline in the Fire” and it starts with a sad string section, that slowly swells with horns and drum rolls being added. This is an effective intro into the CD for sure and when the guitars and double bass comes in, it all comes together well. Then comes some choir chants which remind me of some early Nightwish. The song then slows into a drifty bridge with distorted chords thickening up the piano and vocals, followed by another verse that once again fastens the song up with orchestra hits and double kicks. After this comes the solo – primarily pentatonic with a smooth taping sections and finishing with a somewhat messily ended sweep. The outro is abrupt, but in a good way, finishing on those familiar choir chants. This song, for me, started off very well but, after the mid-point, stayed at the same level, which rendered it a somewhat bland second half. It’s still very listenable, though. The solo, I feel, could have done with a couple of more takes to get it a little less noisy and a little smoother.

The next song, “Before the Storm Arrives” starts off with majory chords and male vocals, which genuinely caught me a bit off guard. It’s then followed by a short and warm toned solo, over piano. This sets the song off in a very standard kind of rock mood before switching around completely, going into a jazz sounding verse with very soulful singing and ending the section in a couple of major modulations, that really add to the progressive feel. Silence follows but is interrupted by distorted guitar that really reminds me of Static-X. Then a couple of lead runs by the guitar and then synth with distorted male vocals following after. Then, some clean female vocals that remind me in a way of a Tim Burton movie, in terms of their neatness and drama. The song’s main guitar solo kicks in over some synth lead (mixed with rock organ) sounds which then go into their own jazzy solo over those Static-X chords again. There’s then a to and fro section between the clean female vocals and the distorted male ones. The song’s outro consists of a lead guitar following the same major modulations as before. This song required me to throw away my musical preferences to truly get into and appreciate – which I definitely do – but it didn’t rid the song of some of the things I didn’t like. The mixing and changing of genres is a cool idea on paper, but it so often takes the attention away from what the song is about and that definitely happened with me. I spent more time anticipating the next change than I did listening to the music and words as a whole. This, however, is not always a bad thing as it definitely hooked me in and kept me interested in what was coming next and the tiny gaps of silence between these different styles kept me from thinking too much about how they might not have fit together.

The next song, “Melodic Scream”, starts with a drifty and melodic clean guitar with strings joining that make the song feel very melancholic – something I adore in music. With a voice whispering in your ear, too, this is easily my favourite intro from the CD. The drums and guitar enter now and the solo that follows after is pretty darn tasty. When the vocals come in, it feels stripped down for a couple of bars before the distorted guitar comes in. The drums, I feel, fit the song really well. The singing starts off soft before an opera-esque backing ‘Ah’s come in which help complete the picture. The song strips down even more with just piano and singing which helps you really appreciate the sheer talent in the vocals. A violin comes in and it really does just sound amazing. Again, the distorted guitar comes in and the slow solo that comes in under the vocals sounds so good mixed with everything. However, the rhythm guitar feels a little out of place without drums being there. The outro is very effective – just a piano chord on its own. It ends one of the best songs on the album very well.

The penultimate song, “Chaotic”, blasts out and you can really hear some Israeli influences, led by the synth. An interesting timing sequence follows before the synth leads the song into a verse that I didn’t expect – one with harsh vocals! These are raw, but awesome because of it. It then breaks once again and goes into a slow and echoey clean singing section which almost reminds me of Opeth a little bit. This goes to show just how versatile this band is. A chuggy guitar riff is layered underneath some very Eastern sounding singing which then goes into some harsh vocals which pan from left to right – this is awesome. Later in the song, you hear the harsh vocals mixed with the female ones, though it sounds more like talking, either side of your head which sounds very dramatic. It follows a lyricless heavy section into a bloody bass solo! Followed by another awesome harsh vocals section. This is an amazing song which blends so many different sounds really, really well. This is probably tied my favourite song.

The final song is called “Something’s Wrong” and it starts with some really gruff male vocals which overlap with some clean female vocals that really remind me of Bjork. These voice switch around for the first minute or so, but sound really well. Then the guitars and drums come in with a tasty as f***k rhythm and an equally tasty guitar solo. This then gets wrapped up in some really interesting, half-harsh, male vocals that get modulate up, but very effectively, with string strikes. There’s then a section with just the guitars and drums that sounds very chunky. The next vocal section is backed by some awesome piano runs that run into a guitar solo section that sounds good with the everything backing it, although these sound a lot messier in the gaps between. The some very bouncy jazz bass comes in which sweeps the song into a guitar solo that just sounds absolutely awesome. The fade out ending happens a little too quickly and is a total let down as the bouncy bass and solo are just so good.

All in all, this album blends a lot together and is very interesting and pleasing to listen to. The genre changes that knock you off guard are well executed and flow well, albeit it sometimes distracting. The metal sections are very well written to allow the focus to be on the atmosphere and the vocals, although this means the guitar riffs are a little bland. This, however, is made up by the guitar solos that, despite being a little messy and maybe a little too frequent, show you that each musician is very skilled at what they do. This is especially apparent in the last 3 songs.

The balance of influences is perfect and there’s a real sense of drama and emotion – ranging from happy down to sad. This album blew away the expectations I had and I’d recommend to metal fans that are open-minded enough to appreciate the different influences, or to fans of progressive music in general. I think the biggest, if only, main problem I have with this album is the guitar tone. Being a lead guitarist myself, I can’t help but find problems with it – it’s not crisp enough to fit well with the pounds of the bass drum and it’s not muted enough to get that real chuggy sound and it definitely affects how professional the album sounds – everything else has been very well recorded and the guitar tone definitely adds a raw, almost demo-ish, feel to it which some people might actually like. I, however, definitely feel as though it takes something away from the album.

It’s a good album, most enjoyable It just needs a little neatening up here and there. It’s a solid album and one that’s most definitely unique and original. I’ll continue to look out for this band and I urge others too, as well.

3.5/5

Reviewed by Corvus, of Morlich.

Episode 13 – Death Reclaims The Earth [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 20th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Episode 13
Album: Death Reclaims The Earth
Release year: 2010
Genre: Black Metal

Turkey is a country known for its rich history and culture but less known for its metal scene. In 2001, Episode 13 formed, slowly building both a fan base and a name for the Turkish metal with their black metal stylings. “Death Reclaims The Earth” is their latest release.

”Ars Moriendi”, Latin for “The Art Of Dying”, begins with a dirge like guitar riff, which suits the track well considering its name. The vocals aren’t as rough or vicious as expected to begin with, though when the tempo increases the vocals become far more aggressive, fortunately. The drums are heavy, like they should be on any black metal track. the tempo switches between fast and slow, which is slightly irritating to begin with though one soon gets used to it. “Physical Comatose & Mental Overdose” starts with a slightly faster guitar section, whilst the drums are slow but precise to the beat. The vocals come in with a good start, full of aggression and angst. The blast beats are immense, bringing heaviness to the track.

The third track, “Unmensch”, which is German for either “brute” or “monster”, comes next, turning up the aggression, brutality and heaviness by a few notches. Everything sounds more violent and savage on this track, which is always a good thing. “Ignorance Is Bliss” turns things down a notch whilst staying murderous sounding. The drums sound disappointing at first though they gradually improve. The vocals, on the other hand, sound more grim and bloodthirsty. “Ultimate Sterilization” brings things back up a notch with a brilliant opening section that assaults the ear drums like a blitz over London. The riffs have a very old skool black metal sound to them, similar to a mixture of Venom and Gorgoroth. The drums are savagely intelligent whilst the bass work is immense and somewhat different in some sections.

Nearing the end of the album is the second track “Worthless”. It is lighter compared to the previous track though still heavy enough to considered metal. The tempo has slowed down as well which is a nice touch. The vocals, on this track, could be compared to the dying groans of a cow being mutilated – Which is pretty damned kvlt. A faster tempo does occur on this track, though it still stays light. The final track is “Spread His Word”. The introduction sounds like a stampede of a demonic legion due to the sheer brutality of it. The vocals sound more powerful, more aggressive and more violent while the riffs are like the hellish anthems of the underworld. This track is virtually unrelenting in its brutality, aggression and musical genius.

Episode 13 have proved themselves to be one of the best bands rising in the black metal scene. With a raw, untamed sound combined with unrestricted brutality, “Death Reclaims The Earth” is a gemstone of an album, worth every penny. Episode 13 are a band to keep an ear out for as we’ll certainly be hearing more great things from these guys!

4/5

Nico Davidson