Tuesday, August 22, 2017
I suppose I could write something like; on a hazy moonlit night a dark temple slowly emerged out of the depths of the Australian terrain and beamed its ethereal melodies like a prism to all corners of the universe for all to hear. The truth of the matter is, a couple of guys from Melbourne, one in particular named Ryan Brown on a mission to start a stoner rock band, came together to jam and within one year had recorded an incredibly decent Sci-Fi Stoner album under the name Dark Temple.
Self-titled and released on bandcamp July 22nd, Dark Temple have laced our atmosphere with their very special blend of 70’s style progressive rock, old school synthesizers all with that stoner rock vibe that I know you love. It’s spacey without being overdone, mildly apocalyptic, and more importantly full of riffs that send your brainwaves to thoughts of classic Australian rock traditions and how all these things have come together so smoothly and seamlessly. With just five tracks, Dark Temple made a fan girl out of me.
‘Gods of the Sky’ is the opener and quickly builds into a good feeling with its marching beat and fat fuzzy bass lines that dominate the track more than actual riffs. Brown’s vocals are friendly and easy to listen to as he introduces the interstellar beings that have landed to reign over us. The strong, but not over powering, synthesizers are one of the biggest elements in the song and carry the track wonderfully. One of my favorites is ‘No Return’, a groove heavy multi-component jam that forces you to come to the realization that Dark Temple know what they’re doing. The first half of the song is catchy with easy to follows lyrics. Then it changes into a smoky break down of slow crushing synths with vaporizing riffs and picks itself up and continues marching towards its relentless mission.
‘False Prophets’ is the main jam on the record, the mission itself. It’s the mothership, airborne and radiating high levels of space rock offering spiritual and musical refuge from our self-inflicted doom. With a pleasantly pulsating rhythm it hovers and takes over like an anthem. It finishes grounded, like the occupants have traded in their cosmic gear for motorbikes and are now heading down the highway on a Space Truckin’ enterprise. Next is ‘Hell’s Closing In’, your favorite thanks to the no-bull-shitting-around riffs that immediately want me to crack a beer and lovingly remind myself that Bon Scott’s spirit is still with us all. It’s the stoner rock cut on the record and is a fantastic demonstration of what Dark Temple can offer us now and in the future.
Finally we have ‘Black Planet’, initially a dense organ heavy finale that quickly retracts the record back to where it came from; a spectacularly churning black hole of sparkling synthesizers, percussion and riffs. Dark Temple clearly have a great time in the studio and bring the goods in peace. I reached out to Brown who told me in the not too distant future a new EP will be recorded, meanwhile the boys will be going interstate with shows and I’m more than happy to follow their moves on Facebook.
Dark Temple’s debut is a 32 minute ride to the stars and back. Were it an actual strain it’d be a euphoric sativa stimulating your imagination and have you wiggling with groove. Buy it on bandcamp.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Acclaimed Swedish thrash metallers THE HAUNTED are unleashing their ninth studio album entitled “Strength In Numbers” next week, August 25, worldwide via CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS. The band have unveiled the album's latest single, "Preachers Of Death", which you can check out in the below music video produced by Oscar Dziedziela (OD Visual) or streaming on Spotify HERE.
THE HAUNTED collectively revealed:
"‘Preachers Of Death’ is the third video from our new album “Strength In Numbers”. It’s a stomping number with all the elements of a true THE HAUNTED song. Turn it up and stretch your neck, 'cause this is a banger.”
Recorded at Parlour Studios in the UK with producer Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir, The Exploited), “Strength In Numbers” comes with artwork by THE HAUNTED’s longtime designer Andreas Pettersson. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the band during the recording session here: https://youtu.be/sWHJnmXxfFY.
“Strength In Numbers” Track List:
1. Fill The Darkness With Black
2. Brute Force
4. Preachers Of Death
5. Strength In Numbers
6. Tighten The Noose
7. This Is The End
8. The Fall
9. Means To An End
The album’s limited edition Mediabook CD version will additionally include the bonus tracks “Illusions” and “Sinister”, expanded layouts as well as 3 stickers. “Strength In Numbers” will also be available on 180 gram vinyl in various editions: Black LP (Unlimited), Silver LP (200x copies / Sweden) and Clear LP (300x Copies / USA).
And last but not least, a strictly limited “Guitarist Edition” Deluxe LP package of THE HAUNTED’s “Strength In Numbers” release will be available from CM Distro / CM Webshop in Europe. This very special edition of the new album is limited to 500x copies on exclusive transparent red 180 gr. vinyl and comes with a printed guitar tablature book of 28 pages in LP booklet format, a poster, a set of 3x THE HAUNTED guitar-picks and the entire album on CD as bonus.
Pre-order it from CM Distro before it’s too late here: https://www.cmdistro.de/Item/The_Haunted_-_Strength_In_Numbers_-Deluxe_transp-_red_LP-CD-_Guitar_tabs_book-_Poster-_3guitarpicks-/2988
Watch an unpacking video by guitarist Ola Englund for this special edition here: https://youtu.be/JvqGVfkkaWc
Pre-order the album in its various physical formats from CM Distro here:
Or digitally here: http://smarturl.it/Strength-In-Numbers
THE HAUNTED TOUR DATES
8/31 Oslo, NO - Bla
9/1 Stavenger, NO - Folken
9/2 Bergen, NO - Hulen
9/8 Orebro, SE - Frimis Salonger *
9/9 Linköping, SE - Pitchers/The Crypt *
9/15 Borlange, SE - Liljan
9/16 Sundsvall, SE - Club Destroyer
9/21 Gothenburg, SE - Pustervik *
9/22 Stockholm, SE - Debaser Strand *
9/23 Malmo, SE - KB *
9/29 Hultsfred, SE - Mörkasted Smaland Festival
9/30 Eskilstuna, SE - Lokomotivet
10/7 Hoogeveen, NL - Graveland Fest
11/3 Tampere, FI - Olympia-Kortteli
11/4 Helsinki, FI - Nosturi
11/5 Turku, FI - Gong
2/14/18 Vigo, ES - Sala
2/15/18 Bilbao, ES - Stage Live
2/16/18 Zaragoza, ES - Sala Lopez
2/17/18 Madrid, ES - Sala Nazca
2/18/18 Lisboa, PT - RCA Club
4/26/18 Baltic Sea - Rock The Boat Cruise
More dates coming soon...
THE HAUNTED line-up:
Marco Aro - Vocals
Jensen - Guitars
Ola Englund - Guitars
Jonas Björler - Bass
Adrian Erlandsson - Drums
THE HAUNTED online:
Century Media online:
Century Media Webshop:
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Suddenly I found myself sitting in front of my sound system. It was late at night and darkness ruled outside the windows. I was staring at the speaker. Listening. My mind was expanded beyond the grey reality of the real world and my mind was absorbed by this music. I was connected to the soul of sound. Of the organism that lives inside the decibels.
I was listening to Kungens Män.
This band has been around for a while now constantly releasing new music. Back in 2014 they released one new album a month (!) via their Bandcamp page. Not everything may have hit the spot but you've got to admire a band that doesn’t have so many filters and lets you connect with the force of creativity in a band. The soul of Kungens Män is the improvisation. It is the nucleus. It is the star from which they navigate. And then they add the progressive elements and the noise rock.
The latest offering is a two part album. Disc one is called “Dag” (Day) and the second “Natt” (Night). The titles of the songs indicate an ambition to describe the feelings of the different parts of the 24 hours of a day and night. But trying to describe each song as individual tracks is utterly pointless as it all gets blurry a few minutes into the first track “Morgonrodnad”. The 13 minutes of dreamy grooves laced with an angelic saxophone feels like just one second and an eternity at the same time. Then everything gets hazy for the next 90 minutes. Time passes. The music fills up your head and then explodes peacefully.
And you find yourself staring at the speaker.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
As many of children and students are feeling right about now, school is back, homework once again dominates our stress levels, and to top it off soccer is in effect. In today’s age, it’s not just soccer moms who trample the sidelines at the middle school grass, but dads are now just as prevalent. What can we do to combat these loads imposed by western culture on us? We can head to bandcamp and blast some killer tunes! Kids and parents are all welcome. There is no age limits and there is no practice schedule to worry about. Check out an example of several more new finds I’ve hunted down on the feed lately and tell my again why you’ve had enough of the helicopter parents overly aggressively cheering for their 5-year old at the field. Put your incognito ear buds in and watch with a big smile. That’s what I do. Nobody ever asks and I never tell.
Mountain Thrower – Da Beach
These guys are back with a brand new album that continues on their modern take on the slightly psychedelic hard classic rock. The new one is even more poppy and with multiple listens shines as a diamond in the rough. Well worth checking into.
Like their last album, Mountain Thrower combine heaps of loud funky basslines, suave lyrics/vocals, and catchy guitar beats for a sarcastically sophisticated output of modern classic rock. I'm still feeling the Steve Miller influence on the new one but with their own attitude.
Hot Ram – Leave a Beautiful Corpse
I believe this was another Steve Rodger bandcamp feed find, and I cannot agree more. There is something special going on here with an enactment of heavy meets groovy, where the accessibility exists even for the fan that doesn’t normally delve into the sludge territory. Got my CD in the mail last week and have been loving this EP since inception.
HOT RAM pile drives us though deep caverns of stoned out southern sludge where the groove is head banging, the riffs are serene, the bass is fuzzy and the atmosphere is overwhelmingly delightful. Toss in free shipping for the CD and you got a deal you can't afford not to make
Spiral – Ruins
I’ve been onto these guys for a few years since finding them on bandcamp. I get all the email updates and find them to be very unique in their approach. Always writing conceptual pieces that don’t follow a consistent style and it works. One thing that seems to be consistent is the Pink Floydian vibe you get when listening to the work. This latest offering is one of their more impressive albums and with more listens may end up being one of my favorites by them. Check out their large array of work including Aaron Frale (guitarist) books available on Amazon.
Strangely epic and most certainly intriguing heavy and trippy stoner metal. At times you're transported into a Pink Floyd dimension later to be dumped into a vortex of fuzzy riffs on the other end of time. This is truly unique and a band that deserves more attention. I haven't got to following along to the actual concept yet, as the music is so easy to drift away and get lost in. Favorite track: The Capital in Ruins.
Children of Atom – Children of Atom
Everyone needs to blow off some steam every now and then and what better way than some high energy rock n roll. Love the vocals, love the rhythm and love the attitude. Super fun one to take back to school and share with your friends.
Children of Atom bring us a high energy stoner groove loaded with beef-cake vocals, rug burning rhythm and swinging with a blues infused rockabilly funk. FFO Zed, Planet of Zeus, Clutch....
Vessel – Nostalgia
Brooding riff worship cloaked with hard-edged cosmic grunge engulfs the airwaves on a musical Vessel of metallic groove. Make no mistake, Nostalgia summons back your childhood nightmares with a low and slow assault of mystic harmony.
The Brunswick – Cathartes Aura
This one hit me like a ton of bricks upon first listen and still does today. Not bad for three Nashville country sidemen and session players/producers who decided to start a rock band on the side. I’m sure glad this beauty graced the bandcamp feed and landed in my lap. Go check it out. There is some serious talent going on right here. Now if I could just find out what their country projects consist of? The band member just told me this started out as a side project to have some fun. We’ll see where it goes from here.
I Am The Albatross – Desert Archaic
I’ll save the best for last. Not so much of a peep over at bandcamp although the album was just released last week, I Am The Albatross are out there doing something totally exquisite in the realms of dark Americana meets progressive rock. In the vein of the band Bask, whom are more into the metal realm, I Am the Albatross creates a link between folk and rock and does it like no other I’ve heard recently. I’ve listened to this probably more than any other album in the last couple weeks and am currently awaiting my vinyl pre-order which will display that gorgeous artwork. A worthy add to any collection.
I Am the Albatross are breaking all the boundaries with their progressive strain of Americana meets distorted Psychedelic rock. Stroking the listener with a heady combination of dark folk, bright eyed blues, and a penchant for intricate guitar lick mastery, Desert Archaic delivers a top tier album for fans of all things rock, folk, blues and Psych. The artwork says it all and very excited to receive my vinyl. Favorite track: Ladder of Rivers.
What the teachers aren’t telling you to gather for back to school supplies is a healthy supply of bandcamp albums. Fortify your collection for when times get tough. Keep one ear in the world of rock at soccer practice and the other to your children running aimlessly amongst the dandelions. No reason you can’t kill two birds with one stone. Think about it. It’s all at your fingertips and the music is only getting better out here in bonanza land.
Friday, August 18, 2017
Unbeheld is a Death Metal band from Maple Ridge, BC, Canada, and have been compared to Gojira and Decapitated. They came into existence back in 2014 and then released their debut self titled EP, and have now released their first album.
The album starts with an intro that could have been shortened a bit, but then goes into the title track and is a piece of blistering power and fury. Riffs aplenty, growled vocals and a manic speed to get you moshing. The next song is the longest on the album and also has a touch of progressive rock to it amongst the growling vocals. There are quieter parts and faster than fast parts that make for a great listen and change of pace. “Lamentation” is their newest single and video and comes at you like a charging bull, but then, everything gets quiet and lovely, until the explosion of energy that escapes from the band and we are back to a breakneck pace again. “Destroyer” is a straight up blast of venom and anger that it knocks you off of your feet. “Vultures” keeps up the pace of the previous track and really shows off the technical abilities of this band with tight playing and killer guitar playing that would fit in on a classic metal album. The album ends off with “Nothing” which is another devastating song that will rip the skin off your face and kick you in the ass at the same time.
This is a band that if they continue on in this fashion, will be making a name for themselves and going onto bigger and better venues as they progress. They laid the foundation; let’s see them build on it.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
The 1970’s were a crazy time in music; a lot of things were happening all at once in the rock universe. By 1972, Led Zeppelin was already known as the “biggest band in the world” and the Grateful Dead was making their way around Europe in what would become one of the group’s greatest tours. The scene in San Francisco had dissolved for the most part and the acid rock of a decade previous was starting evolve as a result. One of the earliest examples of this evolution is Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda” which was released in 1968, marking a definitive turning point in rock music. Following the success of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” many bands started experimenting with heavier sounds both in the United States and around the world. One of those many bands was Brooklyn’s Sir Lord Baltimore whose 1969 debut, Kingdom Come, sent a shockwave through the rock community.
Often considered by many as the “godfathers of stoner metal”, Sir Lord Baltimore was doing things reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, Motörhead and the MC5 making their sound really unique and perfect for 1970. The album’s opening track, “Master Heartache”, kicks off with a thunderous and ferocious Gary Justin bassline beautifully setting the tone for what’s to follow. Bringing together elements of the blues, jazz, an early form of punk as well as what was left over from the acid rock predating the band’s existence, Sir Lord Baltimore crafted a primitive and new kind of rebellious listening experience. Heavily distorted, ugly and sludgy, Louis Dambra’s riffing is infectious; especially on songs like “Ain’t Got Hung On You” and “Lady of Fire”. The guitar parts are masterfully pitted against the heart pounding and tenacious drumming and singing of John Garner. His voice is rough around the edges and horse only adding to the band’s already blues heavy sound. Along with all of this the band included a stunning homage to the psychedelic baroque rock they’d originated from with “Lake Isle of Innersfree”. The harpsichord builds a gorgeous foundation for the 12-string acoustic guitar and Garner’s voice to float effortlessly on top. However, none of this could’ve been possible without the album that came out a year before it.
In sticking with this power trio idea, no one embodied that moniker more than San Francisco’s Blue Cheer. In 1968 they helped to define what would become known has heavy metal and what a power trio was supposed to be. Their debut album Vincebus Eruptum was heavier and louder than anything that came before it. The phrase titling the album is latin for “controlled chaos” which is a perfect descriptor for what this record is. Inspiring most of what followed it Vincebus Eruptum had on it not only some of the band’s best work but, some of the blueprints for heavy metal was going to sound like. The album starts off with a devastating cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” which became a massive hit for the band and was geared more towards the bikers than the hippies. Blue Cheer created a dark and almost primal listening experience when compared to other of the day and shined a light on the other side of the San Francisco music scene.
The band had undeniable chemistry and it was evident on songs like “Doctor Please”. The unmistakable guitar sound of Leigh Stephens paired with the soulful, raspy howl of bass player and frontman Dickie Peterson. Stephens pushes his amps to the max by cranking things up to 11 (literally) and creates a mountain of distortion and fuzz thrust forward by Paul Whaley’s epic, gargantuan drums. Dangerous and explosive Blue Cheer destroy Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm” and nearly go off the tracks with “Second Time Around”. From start to finish Vincebus Eruptum is an eruption of sound and set a new, electrifying standard in the world of heavy metal.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Shooting Guns provide the perfect soundtrack for the morning after the apocalypse, when you are sitting in the rubble of your home in a bathrobe and think, ‘What should I do now?’ and end up zoning out for hours in a psychedelic trance instead of making a survival plan. Bad move on your part, because you are probably going to die.
Canadian sextet Shooting Guns is known (and oft-nominated) for their film soundtrack work, but Flavour Country is more like a collection of anthems for your jettison from this universe into the multiverse.
While they’re known for heavy and saturated sounds befitting crazed horror-comedy flicks like Netflix hit WolfCop, Flavour Country features some of the band’s fastest, heaviest and most visceral material to date. Yet, it also features some of the band’s most atmospheric sounds as well.
At times there are slight hints of Ennio Morricone’s Spaghetti Western twang amidst the looping Meddle-era Pink Floyd heavy psych and driving drone reminiscent of Bobby Beausoleil’s belladonna laced soundtrack to Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. But for the most part here, Shooting Guns is out for blood, regardless of tempo.
Album opener “Ride Free” kicks off with a blistering wall of guitars blaring and rattling out of the gate like mutant progeny to fellow Canadian biker-rock heroes Steppenwolf having duly fired all of the guns, exploded into space and returned to hunt down every last one of us. It accelerates from there: “French Safe” sounds like an unhinged battalion of musicians driving full throttle like a scene from a George Miller Road Warrior movie. Biting, lengthier tracks like “Simian Shelf” and the title track occupy the heavy end of the psychedelic spectrum, haunting the foggy moor between early, bluesy Sabbath-styled doom riffery and heavy pulse-riding kraut-rock.
Flavour Country is the first album recorded by the band themselves at their own Pre-Rock Studios in Saskatoon, SK, located in the middle of the Canadian prairies. The album title’s spelling is itself a nod to the band’s Great White North homeland. The album was mastered by John McBain (ex-Monster Magnet, Carlton Melton), who also mastered the band’s previous RidingEasy releases.
Shooting Guns have toured over 60,000 miles across Canada over the past 7 years but have yet to tour Internationally, which will be a big focus for them after this release. They are touring their live score to F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu across Canada throughout 2017 and also just finished scoring the soundtrack to Another WolfCop (sequel to WolfCop), which is slated for a US theatrical release in Sept 2017. Their sophomore LP, Brotherhood of the Ram, released in 2013 through RidingEasy Records was nominated for the 2015 JUNO Metal/Hard Album of the Year as well as the Polaris Music Prize. Their debut LP, Born To Deal in Magic: 1952-1976, was also nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in 2012.
Give them a listen...