Friday, 23 June 2017

SASQUATCH ~ MANEUVERS ....review


Sasquatch are a band who never disappoint, never deliver less than 100%, run your finger along their back catalogue and randomly stop anywhere and you are almost guaranteed to find a song that will leave you listening and nodding along with a big cheesy grin on your face.
The Los Angeles trio of Keith Gibbs  (guitar, vox), Craig Riggs (drums, harmonies) and Jason "Cas" Casanova (bass) have a sound and groove that, although influenced by all the greats of the 1970's, is one that is completely their own, a sound that is undeniably and categorically Sasquatch. The only criticism that might be levelled at this band is that you have to wait so long between albums,.but that in itself makes the arrival of a new Sasquatch album that much more satisfying, for when one does arrive it becomes hard to listen to anything else for at least a month or so.
Our patience  has at last been rewarded and that time has at last arrived for a new Sasquatch album, so please clear your diaries for "Maneuvers" (available now on Bandcamp)


"Rational Woman" opens "Maneuvers" with  a heavily fuzzed, strident groove pushed hard by Riggs and Casanova's solid and insistent rhythm work, the drummer and bassist locking in tight together laying down a solid bedrock for Gibbs to coat in swathes of warm fuzz and distortion. Over this resulting cacophony of proto-metal groove and stoner/hard rock swagger Gibbs also applies vocals, his clean, powerful and distinctive tones as much a part of what is the "Sasquatch sound" as the equally distinctive groove the band create as a whole. "More Than You'll Ever Be" slows the pace down a notch or two with Casanova's titanic bass line the lynchpin around which Riggs powerhouse percussion and Gibbs overdriven guitar riffs revolve, the drummer laying down a thunderous plethora of rhythm around which Gibbs' guitar crunches out throbbing powerchords and wah drenched solo's over which he also supplies a killer vocal melody and hard not to sing-a-long chorus. "Destroyer" boasts an infectious circular refrain around which Gibbs delivers a superb vocal performance, the guitarist/vocalist sounding like a lower-register Chris Cornell in places. Drummer Riggs, as well as providing occasional vocal harmonies, balances his percussive might with a mixture of power and restraint while Casanova holds the bottom end down, his bass lines and riffs thrumming with grizzled, boneshaking bassitude. "Maneuvers" is  not all stoner buster and overdriven riffage though, "Bring Me Down" sees Sasquatch hitting a more classic/hard rock groove with Gibbs dialling down the fuzz a notch and opting for a cleaner sharper guitar sound while "Just Couldn't Stand The Weather" and "Drown All The Evidence" (both tracks featuring David Unger on piano and keys) finds the band experimenting with bluesy texturing and colours. "Always" combines stoner/hard rock groove and swagger with elements of psych and a mix of Allman Brothers meets The Cult guitar colouring. The band even find space to throw in one those Sabbath-like  mini-instrumental interludes with, the appropriately titled, "Lude" a strange eighteen seconds of random notes played on a keyboard that paves the way for "Window Pain", a delightfully hard edged but soulful romp that not only sees the return of Unger on piano/keys but also utilises the talents of James Rohr on Hammond B3 organ, the addition of the pairing making Sasquatch's already big sound feel absolutely massive.
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As good as, if not better, than anything they've recorded to date "Maneuvers" is an album that should at last see Sasquatch garner a wider audience of new fans as well as delighting those legions of fans who have been there from day one.
Check it out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 16 June 2017

ALMOST HONEST ~ THUNDER MOUTH ..review


"Groovy Sexy Viking Funk Metal from Outerspace" is not a musical tag you're likely to come across too frequently but it is the description Pennsylvanian groovsters Almost Honest use to describe their brand of foot to the floor, no-nonsense riff'n'roll. The band, Shayne Reed (vocals, guitar),Seth Jackson (bass), Quinten Spangler (drums) and Zach Keiffer (lead guitar), whose influences include Red Fang, Mastodon and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, have been together since 2013 and have been pedalling their mix of funk, fuzz and sludge grooves around their home base and further afield ever since.. This year sees the release of their first full album "Thunder Mouth", ten tracks of quirky funk fuelled rock'n'roll available through their Bandcamp page (here)


"Thunder Mouth" is an album that, although possessing all the attributes usually expected to be found within the stoner/sludge and hard rock canon, sits slightly left of field of those expectations. Raucous riffage, shifting time signatures and thunderous pounding rhythms can all be happily ticked off as you move through albums list of tracks but there's an underlying, slightly off-kilter quirkiness permeating each and every song. The first indication of this left of field vibe can be found in Shayne Reed's vocals, the guitarist/vocalists slightly gothic/indie tones are clean, strong with a subtle raw edge and are pitched a little lower than what is usually the norm within the stoner genre giving them a startling unique feel. This feeling of uniqueness is mirrored by Jackson and Spangler's superb, ever shifting rhythmic bluster, the bassist and drummer combining with Reed's guitar to lay down a plethora of jagged groove, switching from funky metallic to hard and rocking within a heartbeat. Over, through and around these refrains and rhythms Keiffer's lead work shifts between bluesy swagger and neo-classical shred, ripping both complex and loose solos from his guitar that soar majestically above the grooves below like eagles riding warm thermal updrafts.
Quirky, funky, gritty and raucous all wrapped up in one bundle might may sound like a recipe for disaster but Almost Honest manage to pull all these threads together to create an album that is slightly different but highly enjoyable
Check it out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

VOKONIS ~ THE SUNKEN DJINN ..... review


Sweden's VokonisSimon Ohlsson (guitar/ vocals), Jonte Johansson (bass/backing vocals) and Emil Larsson (drums), made everyone sit up and listen with their debut "Olde One Ascending" the album stormed the "Best of 2016"  lists of many of the stoner/doom scenes makers and shakers as well as appearing to take up permanent residence in those monthly lists of current listening and good taste "The Doom Charts". This year the band are back with a brand new album "The Sunken Djinn" and a brand new label "Ripple Music" so be prepared for history to repeat itself.


Title track "The Sunken Djinn" begins with a wash of sound, guitar chords and bass lines reverberating over a backdrop of pummelling percussion before the band fall into the songs main riff, a refrain that constantly ascends and descends and is enhanced by Ohlsson's clever use of  colour and texture and is buoyed by Johansson's  throbbing bass lines and Larsson's pulverising skins and shimmering cymbals. Ohlsson pours over this tumultuous barrage of heavy groove monotonic vocal tones his big, suprisingly clear bellows ,backed in places by Johansson, a perfect match for the monolithic grooves beneath them.
"Calling From The Core" follows, it's dark, prog tinted intro segueing into a throbbing stoner metal groove pushed hard by Johansson and Larsson's solid and tight rhythmic work. Ohlsson here delivers his vocals almost in staccato fashion while at the same time crunching out dark shards of chordal riffage and ripping swirling guitar solo's from his fretboard. A mix of prog-ish complexity and stoner metal brutality it is one of the highlights of the album.
"The Coldest Night" begins with Johansson's bass thrumming out a devastatingly distorted motif around which Ohlsson throws crunching powerchords then evolves into a low, slow to mid-paced stoner doom groove taken to the next level by it's sheer intensity and unrelenting heaviness.
"Blood Vortex" follows much the same path as the previous track but lifts the pace a few notches and sees Ohlsson adding a little more aggression and anger into his vocal approach.
"Architect Of Despair" sees Vokanis embracing their doom side and hitting a blackened stoner groove with Ohlsson's now trade mark vocals booming over heavily fuzz laden riffage and pounding percussion, the guitarist/vocalist also throwing in a series of searing guitar solo's
"Rapturous" like "Calling From The Core" utilises touches of prog-like atmospherics and texturing to make its initial presence felt and like that song slowly builds into grizzled riff-fest of bellowed monotone vocals, crunching refrains and thunderous groove.
"Maelstroem" closes the album in a whirl of taped effects, backward guitars and noise and is exactly what its title suggests it is.


Vokonis, have not sat idle bathing in the glory of their achievement with "Olde Ones Ascending", these hairy purveyors of the raucous and heavy have returned with an album that not only matches the intensity and heaviness of that album but one that surpasses it.
Check it out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 11 June 2017

TARLUNG ~ BEYOND THE BLACK PYRAMID .. review


Vienna's TarLung have come a long way since meeting in 2013 and recording "TarLung" their debut album, an album recorded and released before any of them had even stepped on a stage together. The band, Clemens aka "Rotten" (guitar), Marian (drums) and Philipp aka "Five" (guitar/vocals) then went on to release  an EP ,"Void" in 2016 and had by this time "popped their cherry" as a live concern supporting the the likes of Eyehategod and Saturnalia Temple to good reviews.
TarLung have recently recorded and released their second full length album "Beyond The Black Pyramid" available now on Black Bow Records.


TarLung describe "Beyond The Black Pyramid" as an album that " takes you on a hour long journey through strange tales of war, death and human misery" and you can almost feel that misery and despair oozing from every note and dark chord played throughout the albums nine low, slow missives of darkened, doom laden, sludge tinted metal. Heavy is a word that's been applied to many forms of music, heavy rock, heavy blues, heavy metal but never has a word been more appropriate then when applied to the blackened grooves TarLung bring to the table, songs like  "It Waits In The Dark", "Prime Of Your Existence" and "Born Dead" are enveloped in swathes of cloying dank guitar riffage that reverberate menacingly over powerful and quite complex drum patterns into which are delivered low, gravel thick vocals that rumble like distant thunder beneath. It's not all doom and gloom though "Resignation" shines a brief light of quiet instrumental contemplation into proceedings and "Dying Light" almost hits a straight metal/stoner groove before ploughing headlong back into the doom.


On the whole "Beyond The Black Pyramids" is a weighty album of growling malevolence and despair built on devilishly darkened grooves played deliciously low, achingly slow and extremely heavy.
Check it out .....



© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 10 June 2017

ARTEAGA ~ VOL.II DIOS SOL .... review


Desert Psychlist has spoken before of the political unrest that for many years stifled the emergence of the Chilean rock scene and although those times are thankfully long behind them it is only recently that music coming from that South American country is making its presence felt in the international rock markets.
Arteaga  are one such band to slowly gain a foothold outside of their native home, the trio of Francisco Gonzalez, Sebastián Morales Munita , and Domingo Lovera Parmo have just released via Forbidden Records (USA) and South American Sludge Records (Argentina) their new album "Vol. II Dios Sol" as well as on their Bandcamp page (here)


Listen to "Vol.II Dios Sol" with heavy psych grooves driven by punishingly pulverising percussion over which  throbbing refrains of chainsaw toned riffage are delivered and you might just get an idea why so many inside and outside of the South American continent are picking up on what these guys do . Add to this gloriously noisy maelstrom of desert tinted doom'n'groove a soupcon of howling feedback and a coating of slightly manic but powerful vocals (sang in Spanish) and you not only get the idea why, you'll know why.


Arteaga fill every nook and cranny of "Vol.II Dios Sol" with swathes of textured psychedelic colouring using elements of lysergic ambience to bridge the gaps between wailing guitar solos, hazy vocal melodies and heavily pedal effected riffage, it's heady, cruiser-weight grooves of acid laced stoner doom enhanced by a gist of  textured space and psych is something well worth checking out ...


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 9 June 2017

LÂMINA ~ LILITH ....review


Vasco Duarte (guitar/vocals), Sergio Pratas da Costa (guitar), Filipe Homem Fonseca (bass) and Catarina da Silva Henriques are LÂMINA a four piece Portuguese band from Lisbon specialising in lysergic laced stoner/hard rock grooves edged in doom and psych all of which can be heard on the bands debut album "Lilith"


LÂMINA's "Lilith" melds together aspects of late 60's psychedelic rock with those of the more fuzz orientated stoner/hard rock grooves of the 00's, wrapping them in swathes of swirling lysergic guitar colouring and shoegaze-ish vocal melodies underpinned by shifting rhythmic textures and patterns.
It is hard , while listening to the seven songs that make up "Lilith", not to be reminded in places of those, now sadly defunct, pioneers of the "new psych sound" Quest For Fire but where LÂMINA differ from those Canadian purveyors of swirling lysergic groove is in the harder edged, subtly shaded doom and stoner/hard rock bluster these Portuguese musicians bring to the table. Songs like opener "Cold Blood" and "Big Black Angel" plough a similar furrow to Quest For Fire, strident fuzz drenched grooves replete with wah drenched guitar solo's and deliciously addictive vocal melodies, but it is as we near the albums centre that things start to take on a darker hue. "Evil Rising" begins this descent into edginess by jamming a slightly upbeat proto-doom groove, its slightly Sabbath-esque refrain  perfectly paving the way for the albums epic centrepiece "Maze" a twenty minute opus taking in elements of  doom and psych as well as dipping its toes into the waters of both space and post-rock texturing and atmospherics.."Psychodevil" and "Education For Death" briefly lift the listener into Sabbath territory again, albeit with a psychedelic. acid laced twist, before once again diving headlong into the abyss with the schizophrenic and menacing "In The Warmth of Lilith" a low, slow doom laden lament, filled with achingly beautiful guitar colouring and mournful vocal meters, that closes the album.


Mesmeric and infectious "Lilith" is a fuzz drenched tome taking the listener on a journey from heady psychedelic brightness into the depths of  dank doomy darkness, a trip well worth taking.
Check it out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

SPOCAINE ~ SOLAR FUZZ .... review


Germany's SpocaineFlorian Rauch (vocals), André Stefan (guitar, slide guitar), Patrick Weber (guitar), Jorin Gundler (bass) and Tim Rauch (drums, percussion) first came to Desert Psychlist's attention when in 2013 the band released their self-tiled album "Spocaine" a nine song opus headed up by "Little Jimmy" one of the most infectious  bluesy stoner/hard rock songs recorded that year.
The band return this year (2017) with "Solar Fuzz" a new EP consisting of three gritty slices of fuzz drenched stoner blues bookended by two brief but very interesting instrumentals.


"Intro" starts things rolling it's short sharp burst of solid drum beats and raked guitar strings and swirling effects seguing into a thrumming heavy rock riff underpinned with deep rumbling bass.
"Giants Walk" follows and finds Spocaine jamming a groove that recalls Maryland fuzzmeisters Clutch's bluesier moments but also those of Greece's Planet Of Zeus minus the hardcore vocals, jagged grooves of bluesy bluster taken to another level by Florian Rauch's big vocal tones, the frontman's bear-like growl tinged with stoner grit and southern swagger a dominant force as he roars over a gritty backdrop of gnarly fuzzed out groove.
"Solar Fuzz" explodes from the speakers on a wave of chainsaw guitar riffage, guitarists Stefan and Weber laying down a crunching heavily fuzzed refrain superbly backed up by Gundler's thrumming bass and Tim Rauch's persistent and pulverising percussion. Into this maelstrom of gloriously distorted sludge-like noise enters Florian Rauch, sounding like he's been gargling razors and smoking tree bark, telling tales of a sun "that blinds my eyes" as well as throwing an Ozzy -like "yeah" in here and there.
"Into The Light" sees Spocaine hitting a groove that sits comfortably between doom and southern metal with Florian Rauch's grizzled tones crooning over  a bedrock of big resounding guitar chords, booming bass lines and military style drumming before exploding into a gloriously powerful proto-metal jam and taking things to a deliciously noisy close.
"Outro" wraps things up with a brief but quite delightful foray into experimental territory with hand played percussion the base around which big booming bass resounds and reverberates and heavily effected guitars add colouring and texture.


Three "proper" songs and two instrumentals is a little less than Desert Psychlist was hoping from Spocaine's latest release but beggars can't be choosers and what you do get is as good as some bands release on a whole album.
Check it out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones