Saturday, July 27, 2019

LOWMAD "LowLand" is a great stoner punk demo

LowMad stoner punk quartet from Belgium
LowMad stoner punk quartet from Belgium
I am really digging into stoner punk these days. I've got a tape split on the way in late August with two stoner punk bands and now I am looking for them everywhere I can. To me, stoner punk combines the heavy bass and riffs of stoner music along with the fast tempo, raw sound, and short songs of punk. LOWMAD doesn't call their debut EP stoner punk, but they do call it stoner, punk, sludge, doom, and metal. And who gives a fuck what the tags are when the music is this good. LowMad combines all these sounds in their unique way, and spin it up with a DIY production which fits perfectly with the punk side of things. Check it out: 

"Disobedient Slavery" probably has the most "LowMad" sound, with its heavy bass, fuzz, and layers of guitar coming in for the sonic attacks.

Another vibe I am picking up from LowMad is "weedcore" along the lines of another great demo I heard recently from Halfaya (I'll have a review up for them soon). I love slow heavy music but these tracks with the faster tempo and rippier guitars are really doing it for me too.

Recording and mixing / mastering album costs a lot of money so I am always glad to listen to a demo. Sometimes that is the only way to hear a new band's music. Sometimes you just have to listen past the rough production quality to get to the sound the band is trying to make. But in the case of LowLand, the DIY demo sound is great. I love this. I am sure LowMad will get into a bigger studio in the future, but in the meantime I am really glad to listen to this.

LowMad is a quartet from Belgium:
Christof Bessems - Gitaar, Backing Vocals
Tom Fruytier - Gitaar, Vocals
Philip Couliez - Drum, Backbone
Kenneth De Schepper - Bas, 2nd vocal
Check out the teaser video with a sample from some of the tracks:

Follow LowMad on Bandcamp to stay up to date: 

Friday, July 26, 2019

HIPPIE DEATH CULT debut album "111" delivers the heavy psych

111 is the debut album from HIPPIE DEATH CULT
HIPPIE DEATH CULT is one of those bands I've been following on Instagram for so long that I was surprised they were dropping their debut album today. Where's all this groovy music been hiding then and how come their shows are getting such killer write-ups? Well here's your chance if you haven't been following them to dig into one of the very best psychedelic albums of the year. And definitely one of the best debut albums. I'm pretty sure most of the other reviews will focus on the "stoner" and the "doom" which are here on the album, but me and Mrs. Cracklins dug this album this 3 times last night at Happy Hour and I'm glad to report this is 100% heavy psychedelic grooviness. Check it out:

111 is the name of the debut album. 7 tracks just under 45 minutes so you know this is going on vinyl (on August 23 link below). The grooves start right in and ebb and flow for the entire album. Every song is strong on here and the production quality is off the hook. I have more to say but Mrs. Cracklins is hijacking the rest of this review. She and I grew on up on psychedelic music during the 70s so we speak from experience, and here are her comments:

  • Powerful vocals
  • Hard-driving drums 
  • Standout guitar performance
  • The bass provides the perfect foundation for a great album
  • Fabulous Debut Album

Hippie Death Cult is:
Ryan Moore  - Drums
Ben Jackson  - Vocals/Keys
Eddie Brnabic  - Guitar
Laura Phillips  - Bass 
Plenty of shows coming up so if you are in the PNW check out Hippie Death Cult, and follow them on Bandcamp to stay in the loop:

Saturday, July 20, 2019

TWIN VOID's twin demos deliver doom country with and without vocals

TWIN VOID's twin demos
Twin Void
I love demos. Flat out they are really something I love to listen to. Most of the time, the music is fresh and totally worth a listen. Lo-fi and garage and DIY doesn't bother me at all. Usually it adds to the sound, or else I just listen past the low budget production and get into the music. Which is exactly what TWIN VOID delivers on not one but two demos. One with vocals and one without. First check out the instrumental demo tracks:

One thing a demo should do is "demonstrate" what the band can do, but without losing track of the song. No problem here. Twin Void hammers the heavy psych early on with Cloud Chamber, ventures into rockabilly with Speakin' in Toungues, and by the time they get to Green Valley they are showing off their bluesy doomy chops. The variety of sounds is all held together with a constant driving heaviness and that pretty much explains why I dig this so much.

Ready for vocals? Here we go with three tracks and I dig them all. Vocals are usually the part of a demo that take the biggest hit because they usually require a studio setup to get them right, but I'm digging this anyway. The songs on this EP are a little more stoner punk than the first EP, and the vocals fit right in. We're in for a treat when these guys hit the studio.

And samples! Man I really dig samples so having them on this demo is great to hear.

One tag on their Bandcamp page is "doom country" and I'm on board with that! In fact, that's the coolest tag I've seen in a while.

If you are in the Spokane area, check out TWIN VOID on July 26th at The Checkerboard Bar.

Another thing that explains why I like Twin Void is I can't get enough sticks & strings. Heck I did a whole comp of 2-piece setups back in January. Go check it out at Sticks & Strings vol. 1 on Bandcamp.

Twin Void is a psychedelic stoner punk duo from Spokane in the PNW and is:
Nathan Bidwell guitar & vox
Wyatt Farnsworth drums
Twin Void plans to hit the studio soon to combine some of these tracks with new material. Right on! (Although I will miss the lo-fi sound a little ... so I'll hold onto these twin demos and listen to them again as needed.)

The album covers are way beyond what most demos display. The art for Green Valley was done by Nathan, and the the cover for Evil Wanderer is by @brouemastervisualdecay who also did some poster art for the new Devils Witches / Saint Karloff vinyl split (also a killer). Even more great artwork below.

Be sure to follow Twin Void on Bandcamp to stay in the loop with their upcoming debut EP:



Friday, July 19, 2019

Reino Ermitaño's debut 2003 album to be released on vinyl by Necio Records

Reino Ermitaño's debut 2003 album to be released on vinyl in August
What's so great about a re-release is it gives new fans a chance to hear an album they might have otherwise missed. Back in 2003 when Reino Ermitaño's debut album first came out, my head was more into grunge and alternative than stoner, and I was definitely not paying attention to music out of Peru. So this album is new to me, and I am very glad to have heard it for the first time. It's heavy, it's bluesy, it's a little folk with it's acoustic guitar and mandolin, the vocals are unreal, and it's over an hour of solidly unique music.

Reino Ermitaño
From the Necio Records press kit:
The band was formed in 2001 in Peru and in 2003 they released their first self-titled studio work. Reino Ermitaño is already considered a cult band of the Latin American doom scene. The band in 2009 made their first tour of Europe and caused admiration for the doom followers. In 2010 they made their second tour but this time in Chile and they shared stage with bands like Yajaira, Kayros, Bitterdusk, etc. Our vinyl edition wants to commemorate what the band has been working for almost 20 years already. 
My favorite part of this album is the vocals. I dig female vocals and I dig Spanish vocals, so this is exactly the singing I love to hear. It is heavy and filled with emotion, and layered in multiple voices to achieve a simply haunting sound at some points. This alone makes this an album a standout to me.

There's no point to picking out a favorite track on this album because it plays out so nicely as a whole, but I will say that on my initial listening a few of the tracks really jumped out at me. "Las hadas" might be the one song you would send to a friend and say, "Hey you need to check out this band called Reino Ermitaño." OK, I also have to point out "Profundidad de las sombras" but after that all I can say is, Just listen to the whole album.

Necio Records out of Peru is calling this record a "milestone in Peruvian doom / folk", and I have to agree. It is so solid from start to finish, with the incredible vocals, and has a fresh sound at every turn. If the album was released brand new today it would still sound fresh and new, and that right there is reason enough to call it a milestone.

Not to mention mandolin. A doom album with a mandolin? Check it out.

Reino Ermitaño has plans for its sixth album in 2020, and its members are:
Marcos Coifman - Bass
Julio "Ñaka" Almeida - Drums
Tania Duarte - Vocals
Henry Guevara - Guitars, Mandolin
Big thanks to Necio Records for bringing this album to a new set of fans.

Reino Ermitaño's debut album from 2003 will be released on vinyl by Necio Records in late August. For more information, go to the album's page on Bandcamp:

Photo by Richard Nossar

THE DARK SILENCE OF DEATH debut album is better than the 70s hard rock

Take one of your favorite 70s hard rock albums, and peel off that extra layer of over-production so many of them were covered with, and you will have THE DARK SILENCE OF DEATH'S debut album. 40 minutes and 8 tracks of the kind of heavy hard-hitting rock you think you remember from the 70s until you go back and realize those albums spent a few too many months in post-production. Don't get me wrong -- this debut album is not lo-fi or garage. Not even close. It has full production quality without going that extra step with just a little too much perfection on the guitar or a slightly under-mixed bass. Or the dreaded "pretty" vocals. This album is downright evil at times, and in fact it sets you up so that by the time you get to the next to last track, you are glad to receive the nasty sludge thrown at you at the very end. This is an album you can get your "I like hard rock" friends to listen to, and then get them sucked into the world of the heavy underground. This is a great album.

One hallmark of a great 70s rock album is its flow. Starts off hard, gets louder, backs off and slows down a little, only to pick it back up and hammer it home at the end. And man, this album has all that without any of the songs making you reach for the SKIP button.

A little extra about the vocals. The band sings in English despite being from Mexico, and the sound is simply incredible. Rough and a little evil without getting into growling. Really excellent. Mrs. Cracklins is out of town this week but she will also dig this album for sure when she gets back.

As is very often the case, a great debut album is the result of veteran musicians coming from other bands, including Fool Magician. The Dark Silence of Death's current lineup is:
Viejo Macabro: Guitar
Javo Monzon: Vocals
Vader: Bass
Juan Carlos: Drums
This album is an absolute bargain at $1 right now on Bandcamp. Hurry up and add this hard rock gem to your collection.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

GREENSTONE debut EP "TRIGLAW" instrumental stoner psych from The Netherlands

Three tracks of instrumental stoner psych from The Netherlands. That alone should be enough to get you to listen to the debut EP "Triglaw" from GREENSTONE. Then allow me to add that we get nice long songs, and a variety of sounds between the tracks. Add in some psychedelic flair and this really is a top rate effort. A full album of this might just about blow your mind.

I dig that each track is so distinct. There is a sonic theme to tie them all together, but each one really stands out on its own. Shrine of Moloch starts off mysteriously with some Eastern riffs and a choice sample, and then blasts off and lets you know this EP is going to rip. Far Beyond the Tannhäuser Gate has a tempo change which gives it a sense of drama, and also I love the use of samples. Starfish Prime has some huge riffs, but also has some of the most spacey sections too and the guitar work is simply excellent. (I will add there is a sample on the last track but will let you discover it on your own.)

It is difficult to select a favorite track here. The only thing to do is put this on REPEAT and just keep listening.

Drums: Wesley Aalbers
Bass: Michael Crooijmans
Guitar: Kaj Heesakkers
Here's the description from the band's Bandcamp page:
Greenstone, in its current formation, was formed in early 2018. Binding elements in this trinity are riffs, grooves and effect boxes. So no vocals, but massive (stoner) rock. Raw yet expansive, a resonance of subterranean rumbling, ethereal echoes and human intervention. 

VALLEY OF THE SOULS by A BORROWING KID GENERATION instrumental stoner metal from Greece

This review is very special for me. Way back when I was putting together my first Bandcamp compilation, one of the very first artists to accept my invitation was A Borrowing Kid Generation. (He was also one of my first album reviews.) So I am really excited to be doing a review for his latest album, VALLEY OF THE SOULS. ABKG is one man from Greece with a serious talent for instrumental stoner metal. 8 tracks and over half an hour with songs that drift effortlessly between very hard stoner riffs to more melodic sounds. I know many fans worry that the lack of vocals means there is something missing from the music, but there is so much going on with these songs there is no space for vocals to get into the mix. The lead guitar sounds like the vocals when I listen to music like this, except that I get to fill in the lyrics myself depending on my mood and what the music reaches inside me.

A Borrowing Kid Generation is a one-man project by Nikos Raptis of Greece. Read more about Nikos and his music on my earlier review at one of my first album reviews.

Special note about that badass album cover: it's badass! Check out more art by Zulfajrimb.

If you dig instrumental stoner metal, there is more to be enjoyed on LOUD & LONELY VOL. 1.

Friday, July 5, 2019

TELESTHESIA by METADRON is like a greatest hits psych album

Late night wandering on Instagram got me somehow to this incredible psychedelic trio out of Argentina called METADRON. They have several albums in their catalog already, and you can hear the sound of a band in full command of their skills on TELESTHESIA. It is 8 tracks which are shorter in length, so the album plays out like an EP. Each song is so good this sounds like a greatest hits record. The music is upbeat, the keys get spacey, and the vocals are dreamy. FFO early Brian Jonestown Experience, Black Angels, and any great psychedelic music. Favorite track: Seven Seas.

Drums & percussion: Nicolás Miele
Bass: Rodrigo Zacha Marchesi
Synth / Rhythm & lead guitar/ Vox: Mariano Miele
Rhythm guitar on track 3 and 8: Alexis Ipi Ayala