Archive for Stoner rock

Orange Goblin – Rough & Ready, Live & Loud… 25 Years of British Rock and Heavy Metal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 10th May 2020 by mickbirchy

Orange Goblin
Rough & Ready, Live & Loud
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Stoner Rock
Released: 1st May 2020
via Orange Goblin Music / Rise Above Records

It’s hard to put into words how much I love the band Orange Goblin and how much their music reached me. Let me take you back to 2012 and the release of their album A Eulogy For The Damned. This was an album that immediately captured my consciousness and reached me on a level that I don’t think many metal bands have done. It wasn’t an overly complex record from a musical standpoint.  It adhered to a standard, verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure with riffs to carry the general tune of the song and they used some brilliant guitar work to give their music some extra life. After listening to that album I was immediately fascinated with them, their riffs always caught me, hook line and sinker and I hunted down their previous albums to see if they gave the same feeling. Very luckily, they did. In particular Thieving from the House of God, which still to this day is one of my all-time favourite metal albums.

Once I had discovered their music I made it a mission to see them live in concert. I got my chance time and time again as Orange Goblin are touring machines, I’ve managed to watch them live at least 12 times now. Now, how do I describe their live shows? They’re one of the most charismatic and fun bands to watch live. They just have this imposing presence to their shows, it’s something you can really feel as an audience member, no matter how many times I see them perform I still get chills when they get certain parts of their sets. There are some staple tunes that the band will just play and the crowd goes nuts, like “Saruman’s Wish” and “Some You Win, Some You Lose”, when they hit those songs you can feel the crowd twist and shift and come to life. It’s such an awesome feeling. They do such a good job of making a set-list that will keep their fans happy. I mean all bands have to release new material and I think deciding what old songs to keep and what new songs to add is an art form unto itself. They always seem to get that balance of rocking the old school tunes and promoting the new material. So, it’s great to hear a set-list unfold itself over the course of a night.

Now they have been rocking for 25 solid years, Orange Goblin wanted to do something for the fans to celebrate this milestone in their career. However, with the UK being in lock-down due to the world health crisis at the time of writing this review, it wasn’t like they could just hit the road at their leisure. So, the next best thing was to give their fans a live album. Rough & Ready, Live & Loud is a collection of live recordings from their gigs. The songs were taken from their sets at Sylak Open Air Festival 2016, KOKO in London 2016 and at the Fuzz Club in Athens in 2019. It’s a well-rounded album with lots of great songs to rock out to. It also gives some love to some of their, let’s say underrated, classics like “Time Traveling Blues” and “Made of Rats”. So in that sense, it’s not a greatest hits album per se, more of a collection to give the listener the feeling of hearing the band live and enjoying the show. Which is cool and a good way to put their stamp on 25 years as a band. Also, included with the album on Bandcamp is a digital booklet filled with fan-submitted memories of the band. Which made this feel like an all-inclusive experience with their fans. In addition to this the Bandcamp edition of the album features the extra track of “Your World Will Hate This” from the album Coup de Grace. Which is a pretty damn good cap on the album. I mean it’s a short tune but it has that fierce energy and packs that little extra punch.

Although I can’t pretend that I have been a fan since the start (you know since I was only three years old when they started, so the only music I liked was the intro to Thomas the Tank Engine). I feel like they were definitely a cornerstone in developing my taste in heavy metal and hard rock. Still to this day I gravitate to music with heavy riffs and fuzzy solos more than any other styling. Their live shows have always been something to look forward to for me because I know they’re going to give it their all and they enjoy every moment of being on stage. This was a nice treat as a fan of the band and something that I’ve enjoyed listening to. So… here’s to 25 years of Orange Goblin and hopefully another 25 years of hard rock and heavy metal.

10/10

Mick Birchall

Get the album for yourself here – https://orangegoblinofficial.bandcamp.com

Uncle Paul – Dot Rotten

Posted in Uncategorized 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

Kadavar – Berlin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 15th September 2015 by Pieni

Kadavar
“Berlin”
Psychedelic/stoner rock
Release: 21st August 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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Kadavar don’t recreate the psychedelic rock of the seventies – they actually live it, in this moment. So whilst is necessary to mention that period of time in order to make you aware of what you’ll hear here, it’s not entirely accurate to bring it up, because these Germans play it naturally now, in the second decade of the year 2000.

“Berlin” is the band’s third album in four years, so at least for now, the creativity is flowing swiftly. And widely. Their song-writing isn’t static, going from raw rock’n’roll (“Lord Of The Sky”, “Filthy Illusion”, “Into The Night”) to light stoner (“Last Living Dinosaur”, “Stolen Dreams”), and then it tops in the sweet in-between where both sounds meet and complete each other with the best they have to offer – the riffs. It’s all about the riffs and solos, to be honest. It’s the band’s richest feature and “Berlin” is like a treasure chest of them; no point in naming songs as, one way or the other, all tracks comprise an intense and dazzling work. But I do have to mention “Reich Der Träume”, a cover of the late avant-garde artist Nico. Instead of making a psychedelic version of it, so it would sound more like them, this turned out close to a lullaby. But then again, Träume is German for dreams… What I mean is that it was a surprise to hear something like this performed by Kadavar, but a very pleasant one.

4/5

By Renata “Pieni” Lino

Potergeist – Crocodile Tears

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 15th August 2015 by mickbirchy

Potergeist
Crocodile Tears
Southern metal / stoner rock
Released: 1st May 2015
via G.O.D. Records

The down and dirty Greek rockers Potergeist return with their fourth offering of riffy goodness.  The four piece, consisting of Alex S Wamp (vocals), Nick XP and Stratal (guitars), Kostis Vihos (bass) and Tolis Toleas (drums), have delivered some great work over the years producing three great albums. This new studio album Crocodile Tears was produced and mixed by Pete Rutcho (Falling In Reverse,The Ghost Inside, etc) and is released on G.O.D. records. Crocodile Tears is just the next chapter in this band’s amazing story as their name keeps growing all the time. They have even supported some of the biggest names in the genre such as Black Label Society and Corrosion of Conformity. .

The album begins with the haunting little opening “Swamp Muse Summoning” which is atmospheric and sets the tone brilliantly. Then the music roars in with the title track “Crocodile Tears” which I actually find to be the weakest song. Don’t worry, the album gets much better from here. I just find the title track to be a little drudging and non-interesting, it’s not bad necessarily, it’s just weak. However, once the album kicks into high gear it doesn’t let up for a second.  The song “Visit from a Swampire” is a nice call back to their previous record Swapires and contains all of the same southern style metal.  Their riffs sound big and are very fluent. Every song just flows with bluesy licks and stoner riffs seamlessly matching up.  The melodies are really catchy and get stuck in your head with ease. Like their past work, this album is very accessible with tunes such as “Eve” and “The Preacher and The Witch”. I think people who aren’t even into this style of music could groove to these riffs.

In all honesty though, I don’t feel this is the band’s strongest work to date. Whilst it is a worthy follow up to their 2013 effort Swampires, this record isn’t a patch on the 2012 album Muddy Mermaids. It’s quite difficult to explain but I feel that their work in 2012 had a lot more power and scale in it’s execution. This record is still one fun album to listen to but there are just one too many moments where it feels like you’re being pulled through it rather than wanting to hear it. Also there are a couple of times on the album where the production gets really muddy and hard to hear. That might not be the worst thing on a southern style stoner rock album, but when you compare this to bands like Godsized, Orange Goblin or Planet of Zeus you can certainly hear a noticeable difference in the quality of the sound.

Yes, this is a cracking album but there are just a few points that bring it down.  However I still have fun listening to this band and this album does have some great riffs and well executed solos.  There’s enough here to keep me, and I’m sure many others, entertained. I look forward to whatever else this band brings to the table.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Conan announce October UK tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 19th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Having recently signed to Napalm Records and Spinning Goblin, stoner-doom band Conan have announced dates for their October UK tour.

Conan‘s unique style of Doom, Drone and Stoner Metal won over audiences at the Roadburn Festival 2012 consequently resulting in the release of the live album Mount Wrath: Live at Roadburn 2012. Past shows with label mates AHAB and a recent tour with Bongripper have further established Conan as the doom powerhouse to watch out for! UK tour dates are as follow:

October 2nd -Sheffield -The Harley
October 3rd – Leeds – Santiagos
October 4th – Colchester – The Hole
October 5th – London – The Black Heart
October 6th – Birmingham – Asylum 2 (Fear Fest)
October 8th -Manchester – Roadhouse

Conan online:

www.facebook.com/conandoom

 

BloodRedSky – A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 7th November 2012 by izaforestspirit

BloodRedSky
A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness
Due for release/Released: November 2012
Stoner Rock / Heavy Metal
Released via Label: Inverse Records

‘A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness’ is the debut album from the Finnish stoner rock band BloodRedSky. The band’s sound has been likened to “a combination of Kyuss, Danzig and Motörhead”.

What struck me the most about the opening track ‘Locked’n’Loaded’ was just how heavy the guitars sounded. This band’s guitar riff style is so powerful that it’s verging on metal at times and the guttural vocals make me think of Black Label Society with a hint of Danzig. Having said that, this is faster and lacks the sludge elements of BLS. Also the singer has this southern rock sound in his voice.

Yet it’s the guitar riffs which make the individual tracks stand out. An example of this is the groovy guitar solo and catchy riffs in ‘A Hero To A Few’. Then there’s the melodic, groove laden intro to ‘The Dead’ which quicky gives way to more hard rock style of guitar riffage and guttural vocals that come close to sounding like semi-growls at times. ‘Stoneskin’ emphasizes the band’s take on stoner rock with it’s mid-paced, heavy riffs and the aforementioned Black Label Society -style vocals. Other noteworthy moments include: the ridiculously cheesy sounding chorus of ‘Goblin King’, which is compensated by the catchiness of the groovy guitars and the solo towards the latter part of the track; and the energetic sounding guitar riffs in the intro to the instrumental ‘Skulltower’.

Overall, this album offers an interesting take on stoner rock. It’s actually heavier and faster than I expected it to be. It’s not to my personal taste but if you like your stoner rock with a slight ‘kick’ to it then ‘A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness’ is for you.

3/5

Iza Raittila

The Sword – Apocryphon

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 4th November 2012 by Paul

The Sword
Apocryphon
Released October 22nd 2012
Metal
Released via Razor and Tie Entertainment

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I’m a bit of a sucker for 70s and early 80s Heavy Metal. Simple riffs, guitar solos, silly lyrics about space and dragons and such; artwork that looks like a Molly Hatchet album cover, and so on. It seems that Texas band The Sword feel the same way, and their brand of retro metal has been among the most noteworthy examples of the past decades wave of retro bands. You probably have a good idea of how this band sounds by this point. Stoner Metal with an emphasis on simple and catchy riffs with no frills and a lot of fun. It is simple and it works; and manages to sound mellow and heavy at the same time which means it is quite a fun listen, especially if you spend your days listening to extreme metal.

The band have slowly adopted a more Classic Rock approach over time, though they no longer seem to have the energy they once had, and very few of these songs are anywhere near as memorable as their great debut Age of Winters. My favourite track is the title track, which somewhat unconventionally appears at the end of the record. It’s an album full of well-constructed hooks and riffs, and the songs do their job although but most of them are not as memorable as they should be. The song writing is tighter and more controlled but it lacks the vitality of previous releases. It doesn’t help that the production on this release is more polished than the more raw sound of their earlier work. Still this is an enjoyable effort that should please fans of the band. The Sword seems to really enjoy the kind of music that they make and it shows. They are now well-versed in this particular niche and continue to produce this no-nonsense music. An enjoyable way to spend 45 minutes.

3.4/5

Paul Gibbins

Glowsun – Eternal Season

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 24th September 2012 by Paul

Glowsun
Eternal Season
Released September 28th, 2012
Stoner Metal
Released via Napalm Records

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Stoner Metal has a tendency to be an American and British phenomenon, so as it was I found myself surprised to learn that “Glowsun” are from France, a country not particularly known for its output within the Stoner/Doom spectrum of the Metal genre. If you hear the name “Glowsun” and think of bizarre, psychedelic atmospheres, you’d be right – that’s exactly what’s going on here. The album begins with “Death’s Face” featuring light and echoey melodies, then towards the end of the album’s first song, the guitars really start to kick in and things get a little heavier. It’s a creepy psychedelic song that builds to a crushing crescendo. Much of the rest of this album follows this formula of blending the soft with the heavy into a strange brew that is crushingly heavy and also strangely calming and meditative. The album chugs along at a medium pace for much of its duration and achieves that great paradox of Stoner Metal that is to sound huge and intense whilst also relaxing. This is attained through the repetition of simple melodies at a slow to medium pace. This isn’t a very exciting album, but that isn’t usually what the genre is all about.

Judging by the colourful album cover, I assumed this album would sound more “warm” than it does. Instead much of the music here is intentionally atmospheric and strange. The vocals are sparse to say the least, and mostly unintelligible, this being primarily an instrumental release; however the song titles such as “Death’s Face” “The Thing” and “Sleepwalker” give away the darker theme that fits the style present on the album. Legend has it that Black Sabbath decided upon their sound when going to see a horror movie and wondering if people would appreciate the same kind of atmosphere in a musical format; and in truth the music here has more in common with the dark, apocalyptic riffs of early Black Sabbath than it does with the desert rock of Kyuss. That is not to say the album is totally dark and dismal however, and admittedly it is more psychedelic than anything else. The songs plod along at a comfortable pace and feature a more open composition than the pop sensibilities of bands like Spirit Caravan and Orange Goblin. Unlike their contemporaries Om, who build a spiritual, meditative sound, this has more in common with traditional riff based Heavy Metal. This record sort of straddles the line between obvious throwback retro metal and the more modern approach of largely instrumental, atmospheric and avant-garde Stoner Metal with long and repetitive, drawn out song structures. Like a soundtrack to a 70s horror movie played with heavily distorted guitars, it’s creepy, atmospheric and psychedelic in all the right ways. I don’t think this kind of thing will win any converts to the genre, but this is really quite enjoyable to anyone who has the patience for this style of music. I can see myself listening to this release many more times over the coming months. An acquired taste, but a taste to savour.

3.9/5

Paul Gibbins

Gypsyhawk – Revelry & Resilience

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 16th August 2012 by Pieni

Gypsyhawk
Revelry & Resilience
Released: 28th August 2012
Traditional Heavy Metal/Heavy Rock
Released via Metal Blade Records

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Gypsyhawk is that kind of heavy rock band that you expect to hear in a motorcycle club – classic loud guitars over a groovy and mid-fast rhythm section, empowered by a clean voice but with a raspy edge.

The first drum beats on the opening track, “Overloaded”, can easily kick off a live performance, as it has that introductory “something-big-is-on-its-way” feeling. And then the rest of the instruments attack and you can imagine the crowd raising their beer mugs or fists (or both) in the air while headbanging happily.

The next track, “The Fields”, which was recently posted online for streaming, has these melodic catchy riffs that you find yourself humming after listening to them just once.

“Hedgeking” was also made public on youtube, in order to promote the forthcoming album. Although I still think “The Fields” is a much stronger track, “Hedgeking” also impersonates Gypsyhawk’s loose seventies vibe.

“1345” sounds a bit like stoner rock in the beginning, but soon resumes the energy of pure rock’n’roll. Funny thing is, “Night Songs From The Desert” is stoner-ish but it starts out as a rock ballad.

And as we talked about their sound being influenced by the rock produced four decades ago, the band chose Suzy Quatro’s “Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo” to close this second album of theirs, in a cover that is both very loyal to the original and very Gypsyhawk-ish. Cool!

4/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Church Of Misery – Master Of Brutality [2001]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 17th January 2012 by vmteam

Band: Church of Misery
Album: Master of Brutality
Release Year: 2001
Genre: Stoner/Doom Metal

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Firstly, for those unfamiliar with this band (I counted myself in that category prior to this review), Church of Misery are a 4-piece Stoner Metal band from Tokyo who have been serving up serial killer inspired riffy goodness since 1995. Their debut album "Master of Brutality" features 6 tracks, of which 5 are based on and titled after infamous serial killers and the other is a particularly pleasing cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s "Cities on Flame with Rock And Roll".

First track "Killfornia" is  written about Edmund Kemper whose voice also provides the disturbing spoken word intro. It’s a good minute and a half before any actual music is heard and it’s the bass that kicks off proceedings with a distortion/wah pedal combo and choice of riff that brings to mind early Black Sabbath song "N.I.B". From here on in low-tuned fuzz-saturated guitar is the order of the day, and another slab of riffs heavier than a bag of Bieber’s hate mail is served up for your aural pleasure. Vocalist Yoshiaki Negishi remains on full throttle throughout, sounding like the chain-smoking bastard child of Lemmy and Matt Pike whilst drummer Junji Narita keeps everything tied down solidly and refrains from any ambitious overplaying.

Further on "Ripping Into Pieces", "Megalomania" and album closer "Master of Brutality" offer more of the same ; bass-heavy sound, plethora of Iommi-inspired riffs and Negishi’s razor-blade gargling vocals. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but at times it can seem quite drawn out and possibly formulaic. The instrumental track however  "Green River" does offer a glimpse of a slightly different side of the Church of Misery coin.It’s an altogether more spacey affair and serves as a temporary respite from the sledgehammer approach taken everywhere else.

The other song featured on this disc is the previously mentioned cover of "Cities on Flame with Rock And Roll",and I have to say it’s possibly my favourite track of the 6. The original song is a time tested rock staple and at the fingertips of countless would-be guitar heroes the riff has assaulted every guitar shop that hasn’t banned it. What Church of Misery have done is taken an already great track and turned it up to 10, bringing out the heaviness and improving ( in my opinion ) on the feel of the track.

Both structurally and lyrically however, I feel the album fails to broaden the heights of creativity,but then that is not what this genre of music is about. It’s about hard-hitting, in your face metal and there is no arguing that these 4 guys from Japan have achieved that. "Master of Brutality" is quite an obvious play on "Master of Reality" (3rd studio album by Black Sabbath and blueprint for all things doom related!) and their influence is worn firmly on their sleeves throughout the whole album. If you’re looking for something new and ground breaking then perhaps give this a miss, but if you’re a fan of early Black Sabbath and crave a bit more of the same with a slightly modern edge then you could do much worse than check out this album!

3.5/5

Reece Wilde