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psychedelic rock

CD review DEWOLFF "Thrust"

Veröffentlicht am 4. Mai 2018 von Markus W. in DeWolff, Thrust, News, CD Review, Rock, Hardrock, Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Mascot Group, Provogue

CD review DEWOLFF "Thrust"

(8/10) DeWolff is a psychedelic rock outfit, hailing from the Southern parts of The Netherlands. The trio isn’t a new player in the fields of rock even though their biggest fan base is located in their home country. DeWolff is quite big in The Netherlands with a constant enlarging group of fans.

The trio was founded in 2007 with a debut that saw the light of day ten years ago. As mentioned, things evolved in positive direction with additional records that followed. 2018 is the years for DeWolff’s seventh longplayer, comprising of eleven well-crafted rock songs.

Things start with „Big Talk“ which isn‘t ‚big talk‘ at all. The song is an exciting opener that lives by its rock‘n‘roll spirit. It‘s an excellent start into a well-done album. „California Burning“ is the next tune, unveiling a cool classic rock vibe that has its roots on the seventies, before „Once in a Blue Moon“ reveals the band’s passion for calmer tones. The soulful vocals and gently singing Hammond add a lot of feel to this touching track and its great mood.

These three songs, all in pole position of this tracklist, gives you a great idea about what to expect of the rest of this release.

The big strength of DeWolff is the spirit and feel that's embedded in songs like the grooving „Tombstone Child“.  Another track you shouldn’t miss on this album is entitled „Freeway Flight“. Rock and blues compliments each other in an excellent fashion, making this emotional song to a true highlight of „Thrust“.

If music is about emotions, DeWolff scores a big win. „Thrust“ is a 47 minutes long journey that is touching and fascinating. DeWolff has inhaled the spirit of rock music, resulting in a terrific longplayer that‘s dynamic and organic. This album is the right soundtrack for balancing superficial modern life. Take a deep dive into the emotional depth and connected vitality of „Thrust“. It's worth it.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Big Talk
  2. California Burning
  3. Once In A Blue Moon
  4. Double Crossing Man
  5. Tombstone Child
  6. Deceit & Woo
  7. Freeway Flight
  8. Tragedy? Not Today
  9. Sometimes
  10. Swain
  11. Outta Step & Ill At Ease

 

 

Label: Provogue/Mascot Label

Genre: Classic/Psychedelic Rock

Release Date EU: May 4th, 2018

 

https://www.facebook.com/dewolfficial/

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CD review EARTHLESS "Black Heaven"

Veröffentlicht am 28. März 2018 von Markus W. in Earthless, Black Heaven, News, CD Review, Nuclear Blast, Classic Rock, Rock, Hardrock, Krautrock, Psychedelic Rock, Stoner Rock

CD review EARTHLESS "Black Heaven"

(8/10) Earthless, a rock band hailing from San Diego, California, started in 2001 by Isaiah Mitchell, Mike Eginton and Mario Rubalcaba. The trio shared a common passion for psychedelic rock music and German Krautrock, which built the base for a debut that was published in 2005.

The trio released two more records and also has live recordings on their list of releases to date. The most popular one is “Live at Roadburn” when the band performed a 90 minutes set with knowing that the show was recorded. This gave the album a very authentic touch, an approach that maybe should be used more often.

Even though Earthless is in business already for such a long time the guys still premiers when it comes to a few things on the new longplayer “Black Heaven”. First of all the newest longplayer will be released via Nuclear Blast, which is the first newness. Secondly the trio, that usually is an instrumental one, added vocals to the new songs.

The album comprises of six songs, all benefiting of a warm and organic sound that was done at Rancho de la Lune with Dave Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal) at the helm. With the exception of “Volt Rush” tracks are rather long. Earthless incorporates all their experience and passion for jamming into each of the tracks on this disc. Longer instrumental parts clearly reflect the roots of this psychedelic rock outfit. It gives the album an unpredictable dynamic with the vocal lines adding the structure that holds together the creative instrumental section in a good way.

“Black Heaven” is great next album for Earthless and fans of psychedelic rock music. The album weaves together classic rock, Krautrock and some jazz to a great total that sounds authentic and won-to-earth. This is music for people with a passion for well-crafted and organic rock music that comes without frills and gimmicks.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Gifted by the Wind
  2. End to End
  3. Electric Flame
  4. Volt Rush
  5. Black Heaven
  6. Sudden End

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Psychedelic Rock

Release Date EU: March 16th, 2018

 

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CD review DEATH ALLEY "Superbia"

Veröffentlicht am 23. März 2018 von Markus W. in Death Alley, Punkrock, Psychedelic Rock, Hardrock, Classic Rock, Rock, Century Media, News, CD Review, Superbia

CD review DEATH ALLEY "Superbia"

(7/10) Death Alley, hailing from Amsterdam, NL, is the brainchild of former The Devils' Blood guitarist Oeds Beydals. It was in 2013 when Beydals started this powerful rock outfit that builds on roots that refer to punk on the one hand and classic (progressive) rock on the others side. Together with the recent line-up, Truijens, Bus and Bruinuisson, King Crimson have been identified as influencers when it comes to Death Alley's sound, as well as records of Poison Idea and The Stooges get regular spins on the band member's record players.

To date Death Alley unveiled a debut, "Black Magic Wonderland", back in 2015. The longplayer was framed by several 7" releases and a live album that was recorded during the Roadburn festival in Tilburg, NL.

"Superbia" is the sophomore album Death Alley releases and it's the first one that comes via Century Media. Pieter Kloos (DOOL, The Devil's Blood) supported with excellent production work, giving the album a dynamic and powerful sound.

"Superbia" has a stronger psychedelic expression. It is a demanding album the reveals its beauty after a while. Putting a nine minutes song into pole position shows that the album doesn't follow a standard approach. Rumbling in moderate pace the song is fascinating from beginning to end and stands for a first highlight on the album. "Daemon" isn't the only epical song on the album. Also "Feeding the Lions", "Headlights in the Dark" and the closer "The Sewage" are epical ones, the latter with eleven minutes the by far longest composition on "Superbia". 

These longer journeys through sounds and spheres are spiced up by short and crispy rockers like "The Chain" and the uptempo "Murder Your Dreams".

"Superbia" is a timeless psychedelic rock album, reflecting an own sound of a band that is determined and passionate. Cool stuff.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Daemon
  2. The Chain
  3. Feeding The Lions
  4. Headlights In The Dark 
  5. Shake The Coil
  6. Murder Your Dreams 
  7. Pilgrim
  8. The Sewage

 

Label: Century Media

Genre: (Psychedelic) Hardrock

Release Date EU: March 23rd, 2018

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CD review BLACK SPACE RIDERS „Amoretum Vol. 1“

Veröffentlicht am 13. Januar 2018 von Markus W. in Amoretum Vol. 1, Black Space Riders, Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock, CD Review, News

CD review BLACK SPACE RIDERS „Amoretum Vol. 1“

(9/10) Two years ago,German alternative rocker Black Space Riders released the critically acclaimed  „Refugeeum“ longplayer, followed by an EP, „Beyond Refugeeum“, where the band used a more electronic approach which fit the guys very well.

This EP was meant to bridge the waiting time till the new album will hit the record stores. Here it is - „Amoretum Vol. 1“. The longplayer features eight songs, all in the typical Black Space Riders way. As the predecessor, also the newest disc offers tunes that are excellent. Pigeonhole thinking doesn’t work with Black Space Riders. This sextet adds so many twists and influences to their music that it‘s a mission impossible to say what it is. A glimpse on the label info sheet offers at least a try. There you can read ‚New Wave of Heavy Psychedelic Space Rock‘. I think it gets close to what Black Space Riders sound is about and I assume that these six Germans are the only band in this niche.

Album number six starts hard and surprisingly heavy. „Lovely Lovelie“ gives the idea of being a lovely ouverture but it‘s a dirty riff monster that includes some growls half way down the road. After such a great beginning the sound takes a turn with „Another Sort of Homecoming“. It‘s an funky rock beginning followed by some fuzz guitars along the way. Also some New Wave influences are embedded in this track which makes the range of sounds even wider.

„Soul Shelter“ instead is kept gloomy and wistful. I had to think about Fields Of Nephilim when I heard the song for the first time. But Black Space Riders would‘t be Black Space Riders when they would stick to this pattern. The tune evolves to a rhythm-based alternative rocker per excellence that gets real loud in the chorus.

And just to establish a counterpart to all you‘ve heard before it‘s „Movement“ that stands for the soulful side of JE, SEB, C.RIP, SLI, SAQ and MEI - at least in the first half. Around halftime the track turns into a progressive post-rocker with a wow factor.

To show the width of sounds also means to mention „“Come and Follow“ which is a grooving tune reminding of the 90‘s in general and Tool in specific.

This exciting alternative rock adventure finds an end with „Fellow Peacemaker“ which shows again the musical finesse and creative mind of this sextett. It‘s a sphereful closer with fragile piano sounds, big soundscapes, a noisy middle section and a calm finish.

But Black Space Riders is not solely about music. The band also pays a lot of attention to lyrics. These are far more than just a ‚must‘ and words that goes with the music. Again things start with the title of the album. ‚Amoretum‘ is a combination of two word - ‚Amor‘ and ‚Arboretum‘. In a world of fear, rage and hate also love needs to have place and needs to be protected. The album addresses the constant conflict between the dark side and the moments of light, filled with love and empathy.

„Amoretum Vol.1“ is a complete package. Music, lyrics and artwork represent a Gesamtkunstwerk. This longplayer is more than only a carrier for eight songs. This album is a creative cornerstone in rock that gives pleasure from beginning to end. Impressive work that makes it hard to wait for „Vol.2“ which is announced for later this year. 

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Lovely lovelie
  2. Another Sort of Homecoming
  3. Soul Shelter
  4. Movements
  5. Come and Follow
  6. Friends are Falling
  7. Fire! Fire! (Death of a Giant)
  8. Fellow Peacemaker

 

Label: Black Space Records / Cargo Records

Genre: New Wave of Heavy Psychedelic Space Rock

Release Date EU: January 26th, 2018

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CD review JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES "The Horse and Other Weird Tales”

Veröffentlicht am 14. November 2017 von Markus W. in The Horse and Other Weird Tales, Jess And The Ancient Ones, Rock, Occult Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Hardrock, Vintage, Classic Rock, Svart Records

CD review JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES "The Horse and Other Weird Tales”

(9/10) One of the most exciting records I’ve heard over the last years came from Finland and it was Svart Records who enabled Jess And The Ancient Ones to make their songs accessible for a wider group of rock fans all over the planet.

The band got together in 2010 when Thomas Corpse and Thomas Fiend went to the starting block with a new rock band. 24 months after their start, Jess And The Ancient Ones released their debut, followed by the outstanding “Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes”. The sophomore album got a lot of excellent feedback from fans and media, a fact that hopefully didn’t put too much pressure on the band member's shoulders.

Having listened a few times to “The Horse and Other Weird Tales” fortunately proves that the quintet could keep their ease. Nine new tunes stand for a great continuation of the band’s successful history to date. Like with the earlier records it’s the vocal by Jess that are a crucial ingredient for the entire sound. Regardless if it’s the louder screams in “Return to Hallucination” or the calmer notes in “You and Eyes”, this grooving, dark, occult and rocking music finds its way into your heart and soul.

None of the nine songs on “The Horse and Other Weird Tales” is a filler. Each of them is a shorter or longer, in any case well thought through, rock songs with a psychedelic touch. This album is delight for fans of warm and organic rock music, a sound that manifests itself in each tone played. This album has definitely a wow-factor and I can recommend it with a 100%.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Death is the Doors
  2. Shining
  3. Your Exploding Heads
  4. You and Eyes
  5. Radio Aquarius
  6. Return to Hallucinate
  7. (Here Comes) The Rainbow Mouth
  8. Minotaure
  9. Anyway the Minds Flow

 

Label: Svart Records

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: December 1st, 2017

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CD review THE BROTHERHOOD OF SONIC LOVE "The Brotherhood of Sonic Love"

Veröffentlicht am 5. November 2017 von Markus W. in The Brotherhood of Sonic Love, Fuzz, Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Hardrock, News, CD Review

CD review THE BROTHERHOOD OF SONIC LOVE "The Brotherhood of Sonic Love"

(7/10) The Brotherhood of Sonic Love, what a band name. It’s as complicated as cool and it describes pretty well what this quintet is about. It’s about their love for sound and music that brought them to a point when these guys from Copenhagen had the chance to record an EP.

The self-titled four-track release has been release already a year ago, but the band has not a chance to reach a wider audience by adding a vinyl version to their offer. The Brotherhood of Sonic Love is a band that sounds spaced out and fancy. The guys found their own unconventional sound that is eternalized on this EP. The Botherhood Of Sonic Love’s foundation is the beauty of a simple riff, heavy distortions, some fuzz and a psychedelic vibe. All this leads to a special sound that needed a few spins before it turned into something more exciting to me.

The Brotherhood of Sonic Love is a band that stretches the borders of rock music while keeping this simple and to the point. These guys are far away from mainstream and if you dare to go for a noisy ride, this EP might bring some delight to you.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Down in Style
  2. I Wanna Touch You
  3. Load and Explode
  4. Wrong Side of the Track

 

Label: Sonic Love Records

Genre: Psychedelic Fuzz Rock

Release Date EU: November 24th, 2017

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CD review BLACKFINGER "When Colors Fade Away"

Veröffentlicht am 24. September 2017 von Markus W. in Blackfinger, Eric Wagner, Doom Metal, Psychedelic Rock, News, Hardrock, Rock, CD Review, M-Theory

CD review BLACKFINGER "When Colors Fade Away"

(8/10) The combination doom metal and Eric Wagner still works very well u-to-date. Wagner's voice enriched already earlier doom metal records, first and foremost to mention the Trouble releases that were and still are iconic classics in the slo-mo metal genre. 

However, next to Trouble, Wagner was always involved in other bands and projects too. The Skull is one of the recent ones and also the current Blackfinger release benefits a lot from his recognizable and unique voice and phrasing.

The band released a debut back in 2014 and reactions have been quite positive. With such a motivating start, Blackfinger worked on the sophomore record which will hit the shelves mid-September. I can state already here and now that if you like doom metal and Wagner's voice you can stop reading. Go for the album and you will not be disappointed.

For all the others: "When Colors Fade Away" is providing metalheads exactly with what they want - a daily dose of slowly crawling riffs, performed with a vehemence that pierces marrow and bones. 

Themewise the recent longplayer connects to the debut too. Has it been 'colors' being the overarching topic on the debut, it's the darker side of life that's reflected on this album. And what could express this in a better fashion than colors that slowly fade away, turning into grey and lifeless black.

"When Colors Fade Away" comes with nine songs that are all covered in shades of grayness and darkness. There is a constant wistful vibe embedded in each of the tracks, regardless if it's the mighty doom-riff based title song with its Sabbath-like expression or if it's the almost light-hearted "Afternow". A song that also fits perfectly into this gloomy context is the half-acoustic "Waiting For the Sun". I was actually reminded of grunge when I heard the track for the first time. However, it's a great one that marks an emotional peak on the album.

"When Colors Fade Away" shows the beauty of evanescence in nine chapters, each of them a little highlight for fans of heavy pounding doom metal.

 

(8/10) 

 

Tracklist:

1. When Colors Fade Away​ 

2.  Can I Get A Witness 

3. All My Sorrow​ 

4. My Old Soul

5. Afternow 

6. Crossing The River Turmoil 

7. Beside Still Water​ 

8. Waiting For The Sun 

9. Till We Meet Again

 

 

Label: M-Theory

 

Genre: Doom Metal

 

Release Date EU: September 15th, 2017

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CD review DUEL "Witchbanger"

Veröffentlicht am 13. Mai 2017 von Markus W. in Duel, Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Doom Metal, Stoner Rock, CD Review, News

(8/10) Austin, Texas is the home base of doom rockers Duel. The four-piece band released a few weeks ago their sophomore album “Witchbanger”, an record that features eight brilliant songs. Classic rock elements meet Sabbath-like doom, that’s how you could describe what you get to hear with this release.

Knowing that singer and guitarist Tom Frank, together with Shaun Avants (b), have a history in Scorpion Child explains the musical background. After having left Scorpion Child the guys teamed up with JD Shadowz (d) and Derek Halfmann(g) and Duel was born.

The faster riff rocker “Devil” is the starting shot for this eight-leg race. This tune is a brilliant one, bringing back the late 70’s/early 80’s in an undusted way. Duel gets their inspiration from this early period of rock without blindly copying the days.

The title track comes next. “Witchbanger” is an awesome song with a galloping rhythm in a more moderate pace, followed by “The Snake Queen” where things get a bit more psychedelic, showcasing the dark side of Texas. This longplayer is a highly entertaining album with songs like the bluesy “Astro Gypsy” and the up-tempo rocker “Heart of the Sun”.

"Witchbanger" doesn’t contain any song that’s not worth to be on this record. “Bed of Nails” and the powerful “Cat’s Eye” are excellent psychedelic doom anthems, showing that this oldschool metal style can be done in a refreshing way by not loosing the old spirit and intensity.

The six minutes metal hymn “Tigers and Rainbows”, with its soulful middle section, ends a longplayer that should be checked out by fans of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Spiritual Beggars, …. I’m very impressed by this record,

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Devil
  2. Witchbanger
  3. The Snake Queen
  4. Astro Gypsy
  5. Heart of the Sun
  6. Bed of Nails
  7. Cat’s Eye
  8. Tigers and Rainbows

 

Label: Heavy Psych Sounds

Genre: Doom

Release Date EU: April 28th, 2017

CD review DUEL "Witchbanger"
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Interview with Mlny and Josh from ROYAL THUNDER

Veröffentlicht am 31. März 2017 von Markus W. in Royal Thunder, Classic Rock, Rock, Hardrock, Blues, News, Interview, Spinefarm Records, Psychedelic Rock

Photo: Spinefarm Records (Promo)

Photo: Spinefarm Records (Promo)

"Crooked Doors" was the anticipated second album of Atlanta, Georgia based Royal Thunder. The recorded exceed expectations and brought the four-piece band on the radar of fans of intense rock music. After such a success expectation went up when it comes to the bands newest album "Wick". After some hard work the quartet presents with "Wick" a record that adds another step in developing Royal Thunder's sounds. Markus' Heavy Music Blog had the chance to talk to Mlny and Josh who gave some more insights into background of "Wick".

 

Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Thanks for spending some time with Markus’ Heavy Music Blog.

Mlny Parsonz: Thanks. We really appreciate it.

MHMB: With “Wick” you guys have a great new album in the starting blocks and my first question is, if you can tell us a bit more about the album and how you guys approached it?

Mlny: Well, first of all thank you for the compliment.

Josh Weaver : The way we did the new album is that it all came from us playing live and living life. We were experiencing losses, happiness, frustration and everything in between. All this means a constant change of people. What we did is that we put all the emotions and the things we experience in life into our music.

MHMB: When you mention the emotional aspect, I have the feeling that the new album, as well as “Crooked Doors’, is a very emotional album when it comes to music and lyrics. Are the lyrics also based in very personal experiences?

Mlny: As Josh said, we take the inspiration for our music and for the lyrics from everyday life. The lyrics are about emotions and experiences we all walked through together. I draw a lot inspiration from the different relationships in my life – good and bad.

In the past I have been more on a soul-searching journey, which was reflected in the lyrics. For “Wick” I was in different place. I knew exactly what I wanted. I knew what was happening and how I felt about everything, which means that the search wasn’t so much there. I think it is more a collection of the wisdom gained through those experiences, like pieces of this larger puzzle. And since we’re still moving and living, there will be new collection of life experiences to put after this on the next album. You could say “Wick” is like a photo in time that captures us in a place we were in.

MHMB: “April Showers” is one of these intense songs on the new album. Why have you chosen this song as the first single of the new album?

Josh: I’m don’t really know why we have chosen that song, but it feels like a very well-rounded song to pick and it was the only song we had pretty much written for the album before we went into the studio. And since the album is coming out in April we thought that it’s also very much appropriate to chose “April Showers” as the first single.

MHMB: When I was preparing for this interview I read a statement from you guys saying that “Wick” was the hardest album to make. Can you explain what made “Wick” so hard to do?

Josh: Actually they are all very hard to make, mainly because you don’t want to repeat yourself and you want to create something new and fresh. Therefore, we had to get in touch with our feelings to put them into our sound and into the lyrics. We wanted to clean corners and that’s a very hard thing, but we wanted to do it right.


 

Photo: Spinefarm Records (Promo)

Photo: Spinefarm Records (Promo)

MHMB: The first two albums have gotten very positive feedback and my question is, if this increased the pressure you felt while working on “Wick”?

Mlny: For me, I definitely felt pressure. It was unnecessary pressure that I put on myself. It wasn’t coming from the label, the management, fans or people around me. It was coming from me. After having done “Crooked Doors” I had the feeling that I had used up all my creative ideas and I tortured myself a little bit with that. But the pressure I put on myself wasn’t necessary because the truth is, you just have to listen to the song and keep digging. It’s all in there and it’s just a matter of believing that it’s in there. It’s not like it doesn’t exist. I always start off kind of rough, putting pressure on myself and than I realize that it is going to be OK. It also should be hard because if you work hard you are going to feel it. It should be challenging to work hard on something and sure you get tired, but never get tired in a way that you give up because in the end it gives something good and positive back to you.

MHMB: Another song that stands out a little bit from the rest is “Plans”. The vocals and the drumbeat are quite dominant in this song. Did that idea come spontaneously or was it more planned?

Mlny: That was a very natural progression. It was something that Will wrote and he mentioned that he had this idea that he was just jamming with his acoustic guitar. He started to play it for a while and it stuck. So, we thought: “Let’s track it. That’s fucking awesome”. That song just unfolded on its own and I appreciate the compliment on the vocals. I was really inspired by Will’s song and where he went, which inspired me to go where I went. That’s our way of doing things. We feed each other and we respond to what the others are doing.

MHMB: You mentioned jamming which brings me to a thought I had when listening to the album. “Wick” sounds very vital and it feels like a lot of ideas where actually created in the studio. Is that assumption correct?

Josh: Yeah. I think “April Showers” was written for the most part, together with just one or two parts from “Wick”. Other than that we completely wrote the album in the studio. Everything was like one building block after the other. Writing the songs in the studio and putting them together one after the other, that’s pretty much how we did it.

MHMB: Why did you guys choose “Wick” as the title? Is there a deeper meaning behind “Wick”?

Mlny: I have to say that I named that song “Wick”. Even though it’s the title track, it’s a bit detached from the album but it slightly relates to it. When it comes to the meaning, I don’t want to say too much about it since I want people to interpret the song however they want to. Anyhow, I was sitting in the studio together with Joey (the producer) and it was one of these days when I was frustrated. I felt like every time I took a pen and a paper nothing was coming out. I felt so frustrated and irritated, so I came to a point when I just thought ‘fuck it’. Not that I really meant it like that, it was more the headspace I was in. Joey reacted like: “Wow, that’s a feeling. There’s something to say about that”. So I went just through it and aired out all my frustrations. It was like standing there with a candle, starring at the wick and not being able to find the fire to light the wick and ignite the flame. You know, I’m human and yeah, it was one of these days where I didn’t really know where to find this fucking fire, but obviously it’s there. The album title is related, reflecting the whole journey of standing there, holding a candle and looking at the wick. Looking for the flame and the fire behind, which means that it’s all around you. That’s the bridge and the story behind the album title and song.

MHMB: Mlny and Josh, thanks a lot for your time and for giving us some more insights about the new album.

Josh: Thank you very much for having us and also thanks to all the fans out there, supporting us. We look forward to coming to Europe to play some shows and make some new fans. So, thank you and see you on tour.

Interview with Mlny and Josh from ROYAL THUNDER
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CD review MASTODON "Emperor of Sand"

Veröffentlicht am 28. März 2017 von Markus W. in Mastodon, Alternative Metal, Stoner Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Alternative Rock, Heavy Metal, Classic Rock, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, News, CD Review

(9/10) My Mastodon trip started with their sophomore album „Leviathan“. This disc made more than an impression and still belongs to my all-time-faves. This was 13 years ago and in the meantime the Atlanta-based band released many more records with an constantly growing supporters base.

„Emperor of Sand“ is the newest work of art, an album that was recorded at The Quarry Recording Studio, produced by Brendan O’Brien who did already the 2009 release „Crack the Skye“. The band uses the story of a wanderer, who’s on a journey through an hostile to life desert and what sounds like a fantasy story is actually a metaphor for the effect and suffering of long-term sicknesses like cancer. In these kind of situations time gets very important, asking the first question: How much time do I have. Mortality becomes all of a sudden a beast that tries to catch hold of you.

The newest longplayer is the most mature one up to date. The four-piece band makes use of so many different styles, bringing them all together on an album that stands with 100% for Mastodon.

"Sultan's Curse", a pounding song, acts as the opener for the album. It's a mid-pace number that has quite melodic vocal lines, interacting with a guitar sound that alternates between heavy riffing and melodic leads. The latter brings a certain classic rock feeling to the table that's well embedded. The next masterpiece is entitled "Show Yourself" which is surprisingly melodic - almost a bit too catchy for my taste. It comes with an alternative rock expression that fits very well; for me the song is the one that’s the easiest accessible on the album.

A track that is very straight-forward too is called "Precious Stone", blending  heaviness and melancholy; all with a kind of late 90’s grunge factor. And if there was any ease in some of the earlier song, this is gone with the first riff of „Steambreather". The almost swinging approach of some of the earlier songs turns into a darker and gloomier one. A hypnotic riff builds the base for the track that belongs to the best ones on the album. You can almost feel the desert heat, making life of the wanderer to a threatening experience between life and death. The song is like a sonic Fata Morgana and belongs to the pearls on this record.

What comes next got the name of "Roots Remain" and it feels like the band going back to the roots. The number is harsher than the earlier ones and especially the beginning feels like going back to the band's roots. The rougher vocals, that makes this tune to heavy pounder, underlines this too. But Mastodon is more than all the mentioned. The band incorporates progressive elements as well. „Candestiny“ is such a song that uses a 70’s progrock vibe, strengthened by the inclusion of a Moog. And as of it should act as a brutal counterpart, it’s „Andromeda“ that stands for the most brute song on the album.

„Scorpion Breathe“ combines hard-hitting drums with immense riffs; all build on a pumping bass, before the first notes of „Jaguar God“ introduce the ending of this awesome album. An acoustic guitar starts off a song that gains intensity with getting really mighty towards the end. It’s a closer that shows again the potential and capabilities of a band that was constantly growing over the last years, permanently increasing their fan base.

“Emperor of Sand” is the expected big shot of a band that developed over time to one of the most influential ones in rock and metal.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Sultan's Curse
  2. Show Yourself
  3. Precious Stone
  4. Steambreather
  5. Roots Remain
  6. Word to the Wise
  7. Ancient Kingdom
  8. Candestiny
  9. Andromeda
  10. Scorpion Breath
  11. Jaguar God

 

Label: Reprise/Warner

Genre: Alternative Metal

Release Date EU: March 31st, 2017

CD review MASTODON "Emperor of Sand"
Photo by Jimmy Hubbard

Photo by Jimmy Hubbard

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Live report DOOL, Paradiso, Amsterdam, 09.03.2017

Veröffentlicht am 10. März 2017 von Markus W. in Dool, Dark Rock, Dark Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Classic Rock, Hardrock, Heavy Metal, News, Tour, Live, Paradiso

One of the shooting stars in 2017 are Dutch newcomers Dool. Now, ‘newcomer’ might not even be the right word, since all involved musicians have a more than solid background in rock and metal. However, the band itself is fairly new with a debut called “Here Now, There Then” that was released a few weeks ago.

In order to promote the album, Dool started a first leg of touring activities, mainly built on some shows in Holland. The Amsterdam concert, which was originally planned to take place in the OT301, moved to the Paradiso a few days prior to the show. The gig was supposed to start at 22:00 with ‘doors’ at 21:30. The Paradiso is a venue in the middle of Amsterdam with various rooms and when I arrived, the stage was still occupied by the band that had their show earlier that night. Since these guys finished pretty much on time it was an interesting mix of people that met, considering the fact that the earlier band wasn’t about metal at all. Unusual and fun.

Since the whole stage had to be build-down and build-up for Dool, I was wondering if the quintet could start as planned at 22:00. But after a very coordinated work of stagehands and a quick soundcheck of the band in front of the audience it was around 22:15 when the band began their journey through the entire debut.

I have listened to “Here Now, There Then” a few times and I really like each of the songs (see review). However, seeing Ryanne van Dorst and ‘the boys’ live on stage as a far more intense experience. Already the presence of three guitars allows Dool a density that is enormous. And having with Micha Haring (d) and Job van de Zande (b) a rhythm section that provides a more than proper sound foundation each of the tunes was a real treat for fans of darkened rock music, classic rock and heavy metal. And last but not least it’s Ryanne van Dorst herself, being with her stage presence a real ‘frontwoman’.

Actually it was a pity that Dool has released just one longplayer up to date. Based on that, the show took around an hour and I think that most of the fans could have easily continued for half an hour (or more). The five-piece from Rotterdam underlined with the Amsterdam show why they, and their debut, have got so much attention and positive feedback. Dool combines dark psychedelic elements with a warm and organic sound, that’s evolved to an intensive rock experience during their shows. I was very much impressed of the band and their show and hopefully we will hear more from this rising star in the near future. Two thumbs up.

Live report DOOL, Paradiso, Amsterdam, 09.03.2017
Live report DOOL, Paradiso, Amsterdam, 09.03.2017

Setlist:

  1. Vantablack
  2. Oweynagat
  3. In Her Darkest Hour
  4. Words on Paper
  5. Golden Serpents
  6. The Death of Love
  7. She Goat
  8. The Alpha

 

Location: Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date: March 9th, 2017

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CD review DOOL "Here Now, There Then"

Veröffentlicht am 2. März 2017 von Markus W. in Dool, Dark Rock, Dark Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Classic Rock, Hardrock, News, CD, Prophecy Production, Rock

(8/10) "Here Now, There Then" is the highly anticipated first album of Dutch psychedelic rock outfit Dool. The quintet released a first single in 2016 and played a notable show on last years Roadburn festival in Tilburg.

Who is Dool? The five-piece band is Micha Haring (d) and Job van Zande (b), both former members of The Devil's Blood. The two guys teamed-up with Reinir Vermeulen and Nick Polak, both guitarists and its singer Ryanna van Dorst who completes the line-up of Dool.

The group worked on their debut, which features eight songs that are rooted in dark rock. In total the album provides the listener with 50 minutes of exquisite rock music. To describe the sound of Dool I would say that it’s a combination of dark rock, that is spiced up with a psychedelic vibe and a certain touch of gothic. A song that epitomizes this is “Oweynagat”. Sisters Of Mercy are often mentioned as a source of inspiration, but I had to think of Fields Of Nephilim when I listened to this gloomy beauty. No surprise that this song was chosen to be the first single and the first countable statement of the band.

“Here Now, There Then” also starts spectacularly. The five guys have put the longest track in pole position. “Vantablack” is a 10 minutes opus that spreads the vibe of an elegy in the beginning. After a few minutes the opener builds–up to a rocking masterpiece and evolves into a bittersweet beauty. It’s a first solid pillar on which Dopl build their music on.

Another track I would like to stand still for a moment is “The Alpha”. Based on a powerful rhythm section the tune is kept in a slower pace. It’s an irresistible groove that pushes this tune forward. It’s a psychedelic groove monster that has weaved in moments of light before darkness and wistfulness takes over again.

All this could lead to the impression that Dool created an album that is charged of despair and sadness. Party this is probably true. But what counts even more is this melancholic fascination that makes this album to an irresistible piece of music and to a great debut. It puts a spell on you.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Vanatblack
  2. Golden Serpents
  3. Words on Paper
  4. In Her Darkest Hour
  5. Oweynaget
  6. The Alpha
  7. The Death of Love
  8. She Goat

 

Label: Prophecy Production

Genre: Dark Rock

Release Date EU: February 17th, 2017

CD review DOOL "Here Now, There Then"
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CD review LUCIFERIAN LIGHT ORCHESTRA "Black"

Veröffentlicht am 22. Dezember 2016 von Markus W. in News, Therion, Luciferian Light Orchestra, Occult Rock, Classic Rock, Vintage Rock, Retro, CD Review, Hardrock, Doom Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Rock

(7/10) The vintage spirit gained and still gains momentum and Stockholm-based Luciferian Light Orchestra is one of the representatives of this kind of music. The band is a side project of Therion's Christofer Johnsson who found with Luciferian Light Orchestra an outlet for his passion of 70's based rock music. 

The band/project released the self-titled debut a year ago followed now by a new EP called "Black". The title describes the general vibe of these four tracks very well, even though 'grey' would have been even better. 

Anyhow, the EP begins with "Evil Masquerade". The first thing that stands out are the well done female vocals. Since names of band members are covered in darkness too, I can't tell you got the gift of such a fantastic voice, but we are talking about fragile and susurrant phrasings that fit perfectly to the doomy expression of this song. Here and there you can recognise some parallels to Avatarium which is more due to some of the arrangements. However, in general the two bands can be compared and Luciferian Light Orchestra sound more like the occult version of Therion by leaving out the orchestral parts.
The songs aren't too heavy and include well done melody lines. In the end it's more the beauty of all shades of grey that these four tunes express. There is a lot of melancholy in three out of the four songs on this release with one number that stands out a bit. It is the almost swinging "Serpent Messiah" with it's galloping rhythm that gives this tune a slightly different vibe, even though it never becomes a bright sing-a-long smasher. It fits into its context while being different too.
What I miss with this EP are more elements of tension since the tunes become a bit tiring after a while. Especially "Thunder Perfect Mind" could be shorter and more spot on.

"Black" is containing good rock songs. This EP belongs to the category 'Can have' but it's not a 'Must have'.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Evil Masquerade
  2. Where the Lilies Grow
  3. Serpent Messiah
  4. Thunder Perfect Mind

 

Label: Svart Records

Genre: Occult Rock

Release Date EU: December 9th, 2016

CD review LUCIFERIAN LIGHT ORCHESTRA "Black"
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CD review HORSE "For Twisted Minds Only" - re-release

Veröffentlicht am 24. November 2016 von Markus W. in Horse, Hardrock, Psychedelic Rock, Rock, News, Heavy Metal, CD Review, Prog Rock

(7/10) There is a certain chance/risk that you haven't heard about Horse before. This isn't because the band is a newcomer, it's actually the opposite. The band from South London started in the late 60's and as some more bands at that time, also Horse was into progressive hardrock that was occult influenced. Mixed with psychedelic elements the band belongs to one of the first ones touching this ground.

It's Rise Above Records who re-released the bands "For Twisted Minds Only" in a version that is based on a new mastering of the original tapes. But not enough that the longplayer 'only' comes with the songs that have been on the 1970 release. In addition to the original ten songs there are six more tunes on this re-issue CD that are previously unreleased ones - and the vinyl version comes with even more tracks.

In case you're interested in warm and organic 70's hardrock that comes with some great songs, you should consider this album as one you should at least check out. And no worries if you haven't heard of Horse before. The album comes with a 20 page booklet that dives deeper into the bands history.

You don't have to have a 'twisted mind' for enjoying "For Twisted Minds Only". Even if you have your head on straight this album brings good music to your home.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Sacrifice
  2. See The People Creeping Round
  3. And I Have Loved You
  4. Freedom Rider
  5. Lost Control
  6. To Greet The Sun
  7. The Journey
  8. Heat Of The Summer
  9. Gypsy Queen
  10. Step Out Of Line
  11. Autumn (previously unreleased)
  12. Winchester Town/Dreams Turn to Ashes (previously unreleased)
  13. Born to be Wild (previously unreleased)
  14. Picture of Innocence (previously unreleased)
  15. She Brings Peace (previously unreleased)
  16. Anthems to the Sea (previously unreleased)

 

Label: Rise Above Records

Genre: Psychedelic Rock

Release Date EU: October 14th, 2016

CD review HORSE "For Twisted Minds Only" - re-release
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