Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Forming the Void - Rift

     Last year, I stumbled upon an album on Bandcamp that blew me away. That album was Relic by Louisiana-based Forming the Void. Thick riffs, super melodic vocal hooks, and a sick Led Zeppelin cover had me listening to Relic non-stop and truth be told, I still listen to it pretty regularly. Since then, I had picked up both their 2015 release, Skyward and their split with Pyreship released earlier this year. All of this music did a good job of holding me over while I anxiously anticipated the release of a new full length. Well, that new full length is upon us and it does not disappoint!
     Rift picks up where Relic left off and builds upon it in beautifully crunchy psychedelic waves. The main difference between last year's Relic and the upcoming Rift comes in the form of shorter, more easily digestible songs. This does not necessarily mean the songs are more straight forward. They still have all the heavy, prog-driven arrangements that past releases have given us, just in more bite-sized chunks. That is, of course, with the exception on 10-minute closer, Shrine. The middle-eastern guitar influence is even more evident on this album than ever before. In my opinion, this is a good thing and definitely sets FTV apart from most other modern stoner rock bands.
     Leading up to the release of this album, The Lafayette-based quartet put out a hilarious music video for lead single On We Sail, which showcased not only the musical talent within the members of the band, but also the fact they these dudes definitely know how to have a good time. Since then, Forming the Void have release the second single, Transient as well as a lyric video for Ark Debris. All three of these songs do a great job of showing off what we have to look forward to with Rift, while at the same time leaving a bit to the imagination.
     Although nearly half of the album has already been released in one form or another, I found that listening to Rift from cover to cover breathed new life into the songs that I had already heard, giving me a new appreciation of how the songs all work together as a cohesive masterpiece. Rift will be released on August 17th on vinyl, CD and digital download and undoubtedly will be a heavy contender for AOTY. James and the boys have really outdone themselves on Rift, which is only made more impressive by the fact that this album is being released just a little over a year after Relic!
     I want to give a shout out to Richard over at Sheltered Life PR for the promo copy of the record and am anxiously awaiting the physical copy that I pre-order to come in the mail when the album drops. Check out the Bandcamp link below to check out On We Sail and Transient, and while you're there, pre-order the album. Trust me you won't be disappointed.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Maiar - VOID

     Being friends with people that make awesome music definitely has it's perks. A number of years ago, a now defunct band called Dead Gods played in my basement and I instantly became friends with them. Four of the five members went on to form Maiar. Over the course of the past few years, guitarist Keith had kept be posted with regular updates on the band's recordings which would eventually become VOID. I knew this album was going to eventually come out. I just didn't know when. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I got a link to the album from Keith yesterday, telling me that the album was available for pre-order and would be released this Friday.
     VOID, as a complete body of work, is greater than the sum of it's parts. Not to say that each song doesn't stand out in it's own excellence, however this album begs to be listened to as one whole 25 minute long Post Doom Metal masterpiece.
     Starting things off we get Cataclysm (Slow Motion Perception). This song starts with a swell of feedback and then brings the fucking heavy. Droning Doom riffs cover most of the ground here and man, do they cover it with a blanket of warm deathly fuzz and thundering drums.
     Next up, we've got The Empty Spark (Depressive Relapse), which blends seamlessly from the first track. This song has a completely different feel to it, borrowing more from clean guitar driven Post Rock. Don't let the prettiness of this track fool you though, as it certainly opens up to much heavier riffs as the song progresses.
     Rounding out the album is Rising Black Sun (Numbness and Palpitations), which in my opinion is the focal point of this record. This track serves as a culmination off the previous two songs, bringing back themes and moods as if to say "You thought you heard it all? Fuck you. You haven't heard the half of it.". Equal parts heavy and beautiful all at once, Rising Black Sun sums up VOID in it's entirety.
     It's super hard for me to pick a standout track on this record. In order to be truly appreciated for what it is, you really need to listen to it from start to finish. If this was intended to be a concept album about depression and despair, I'm hearing it loud and clear.
     Thanks again to Keith for giving me an early listen to the album. Make sure you check out the bancamp link below to hear the first track and pre-order the album so you can listen to it in it's glorious entirety when it is released on Friday.



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Inyan - A Bitter Relief

     Based out of Italy, Inyan have been in the game for a few years now, perfecting their own blend of grunge-infused stoner rock. Their unique sound is definitely a breath of fresh air when compared to most modern sound-alike stoner bands. But make no mistake, this power trio can get into a groovy pocket and ride it out with the best of  their peers on their most recent effort, A Bitter Relief. This holds especially true on standout tracks like Not Afraid, Meltin' Pot and In This World.
     This record seamlessly blends together grunge, stoner rock and heavy psych in a way that makes you want to see them jam these tunes live in your favorite smokey bar. Grab a beer, sit back and check out the bandcamp link below. If you dig the tunes, be sure to purchase the digital download and support the band.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Satori Junk - The Golden Dwarf + Exclusive Interview with Luke Von Fuzz

     Italian Acid Horror Doom behemoth, Satori Junk are readying the release of their second full length, The Golden Dwarf. In anticipation of this record, I was able to snag a promo copy for review and also conducted a brief interview with vocalist/keyboardist Luke Von Fuzz. Howling croons, chainsaw guitars, bong-rattling bass lines, and thundering drums abound on this release... but what really makes Satori Junk and this album stand out in a crowd is the use of keyboards and synth. Providing a hybrid of carnival music and a horror movie soundtrack, The Doors influence is undeniable when it comes to Satori Junk's unique sound. Perhaps if Jim Morrison came back from the dead with a penchant for Acid Rock and Doom Metal, The Golden Dwarf would be the result.
     The Golden Dwarf starts out with a spoken intro, which serves as more of a warning to the listener and with good cause. Satori Junk has basically provided us with the soundtrack to a lucid dream, or nightmare in this case. It would be wise to take this warning seriously or you may not make it back out. After the intro is over, we get 5 fucking big chunks of original material followed by a cover of Light my Fire by The Doors to close out the album. If you're familiar with Satori Junk, you already know what you're in for. If not, there is nothing that I could possibly say to prepare you for the aural onslaught you are about to experience.
     Before I had a chance to listen to The Golden Dwarf in it's entirety, I had the opportunity to catch up with Luke and ask him a few questions about the record and other stuff as well.

d00mwizard's Dungeon: Hey man, thanks for taking the time for this interview.

Luke Von Fuzz: Yes, of course. Did you listen to the full album yet?

dD: I got through the first five tracks on my drive into work this morning. Fucking awesome, man.

LVF: Glad you like it! What's your favorite track?

dD: So far, I'm digging Cosmic Prison the most. Once I session the album a few times, that may change but they're all rad.

LVF: Cool. I'm just curious because I think every song on the album is different, so everyone can appreciate something about it.

dD: For sure, man. I'm a big fan of The Doors so I can't wait to get to that cover song as well.

LVF: The Doors are the reason I started playing organ!

dD: That was actually going to be my first question. What made you want to start playing music in the first place and who do you consider your influences for what you are creating with Satori Junk?

LVF: Ok, so I started playing keyboard because of bands like The Doors and Gandalf. I really dig 70s psych a lot. When I met Chris and Lory, they introduced me to Doom bands like Pentagram, Candlemass, Electric Wizard, Sleep, etc. So I thought, why don't we start a band combining the horror aspect of Doom with the mindblowing aspect of Psych? That's how we created Satori Junk.

dD: You guys definitely have a very distinct sound. That's for sure. In addition to musical influences, where do you pull your influences from, lyrically?

LVF: My lyrics are inspired by my dreams... and my nightmares. I experimented with lucid dreaming a while ago and began to write stories. The Golden Dwarf is a collection of those psychedelic stories. Every song has a moral and often the characters within die at the end. I hope to make the listener travel to a different world, the edge of their subconscious.

dD: Damn. Seems like your mind is a pretty dark place. It definitely works well with the style of music you play. Other than Satori Junk, are you or any of the other guys actively working on other projects that you think your fans should know about?

LVF: Yes. Max and Lory have a grindcore duo called Penguin Corpse, powerful yet funny. I've got a drone duo with Etienne from Chains and Violet Temple called Druidorama. I also work on electronic music in a solo project. Chris also like to create stuff with analog synthesizers when he isn't playing guitar. He's a very creative musician! None of us can stop making music haha.

dD: That's awesome. Sounds like you all have a lot of musical outputs. Any hobbies, outside of playing music?

LVF: Yes. We are all music fans, so we go to a lot of festivals and shows to see bands live. We like to drink and smoke, meet new people. I also make trippy designs. We're all creative people always looking for new outlets.

dD: That's what's up. So you guys have been working with the same artist, Roberto Borsi, since your last album. How did you guys connect with him?

LVF: Roberto is an awesome tattoo artist. Chris has a lot of tattoos by him, so he has been a customer and friend of his for years. We all love his art. So he created this concept idea of the monster on our cover art, which I think represents the mood of our music perfectly. The most important part of this album's art is the bottle.

dD: So the monster is kind of like the band mascot? Does it have a name?

LVF: We never really thought about it before, but I guess he could just be The Satori Junk Monster.

dD: That makes sense. So what's the significance of the bottle? Or is it a secret?

LVF: The bottle is full of a potion called The Golden Dwarf that causes insensibility. You no longer suffer, but you don't feel anything good either. It comes with a contract, you must trade your soul for the potion. This is the story told by the title track on the album. This is our goal as a band too, We want to trade our record for your soul hahahaha.

dD: I'm sure I can think of a few people that would take you up on that offer. Last question: Stranded on a desert island, one book and one record. Name em.

LVF: The Flying Teapot by Gong and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.... I'm pretty sure.

dD: Nice! Well it was rad talking to you, man. Getting a little bit of insight into the mind of Satori Junk. Looking forward to May 10th for the album to drop!

LVF: Me too, dude. Me too. So I can finally play the songs live.

dD: Thanks for your time, man.

LVF: Thanks for the interview!!

     Thanks to the band for hooking me up with the promo. The Golden Dwarf will be available on May10th, 2018. Check out the bandcamp link below to listen to the first single and pre-order the album while you're at it. Don't drop the ball on this one. It's a no-brainer.



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sleep Releasing New Album, "The Sciences" on 4/20

     Stoner metal giants, Sleep have been super hush hush about the album that they've been working on since last year. We can all stop holding our breath now, as it seems the new album will be dropping tomorrow on Jack White's Third Man Records. The new record is called "The Sciences" and it will feature six tracks. Two of which (Sonic Titan and Antarcticans Thawed) have been staples of their live set for quite some time. You can preview all six tracks on iTunes Australia right now. I don't know about y'all but this was the best 4/20 surprise I've ever come across and you can definitely expect a review for this coming soon! 


Friday, April 13, 2018

Atomic Vulture - Stone of the Fifth Sun

     Belgian Space Rockers, Atomic Vulture are suiting up for the May 18th release of their new Extended Play, Stone of the Fifth Sun and it's a good'n! Clocking in at just shy of 23 minutes, these five slabs of space-truckin' goodness are being dropped upon us by German start up label, Jackalope Music. 
     This trio of musicians has perfected their sound over the course of two EPs and a full length since their inception. Laying low since their 2014 LP, Into Orbit and replacing original bass player, Jelle Galle with Kris Hoornaert have certainly not slowed down the spacecraft that is Atomic Vulture. It's difficult to come across truly engaging and original instrumental rock music these days, but AV have made it not only easy, but downright enjoyable! So let's dive right into this chunk of galactic gold!
     Opening up the album, we've got Jaguar which starts with an opening swell into a single phased guitar riff. This breaks way to a stellar mid-paced rocker with a meteor shower of stoner riffs setting the stage for what will turn out to be a hell of a ride.
     Next up is my personal favorite track, Wind. With a run time of almost 7 minutes, this song literally feels like you're barreling through an asteroid belt of fuzzed out bass accented by meaty riffs and pounding drums. Breaking down only for a few moments into what can only be described as an opiate influenced guitar solo (i.e. the second half of Metallica's Orion). Drummer Jens Van Hollebeke ending on a military-style roll is bittersweet. It sounds great, but I know the song is coming to an end. 
     At this point on the record, the boys bring in guest vocalist, Hank Vanhee from Belgium stoner kings, Cowboys & Aliens for Rain. This song is a straight-up ripper! No brakes, gas until the tank is dry, rock & roll. With a chorus reminiscent of Chris Cornell during the Bad Motorfinger days of Soundgarden, AV couldn't have picked a better guest vocalist for this track. Good job, guys!
     The fourth tune on Stone of the Fifth Sun is Water, which is aptly titled considering the dripping wet guitar tone that opens this one up. Weaving back and forth between reverb drenched clean tones and a grooved out fuzzy stoner jam, I was digging this track straight out the gate. When it comes to creating atmosphere, Guitarist Pascal David and company not only hit the mark, but they hit it hard!
     Rounding out the EP is the fifth and final track, Earthquake. This song starts off with some strong drum and bass and bridges into a tight spacey blues rock mid-section. Just when you think it's all winding down,  the song breaks into a group of riffs that could've been lifted directly from Tony Iommi's riff vault... and it's fucking sweet. 
     Props go out to Jackalope Music for hooking me up with the promo for this one. Stone of the Fifth Sun is available for pre-order on their website right now. You'd be fucking up if you miss out on this one. In the meantime, you can rock out to the first single, Jaguar through the spotify player below. Enjoy!


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Quick Pick!! Deathbell - With the Beyond

     Following in the footsteps of giants before them, like Acid King and Windhand, this french quartet headed by Lauren Gaynor doesn't necessarily re-invent the wheel but definitely breathes new life into it. Big riffs, thundering drums and haunting vocals can be expected on this debut by Deathbell, but the addition of keys is where these compositions really shine.
     Plodding along at minimal BPMs, this 6 track digital release is exactly what the doctor ordered when paired together with your favorite mood altering hobbies. However, these fuzzy riffs will leave you in a hazy atmosphere regardless of your original state of mind. Standout tracks include Emerald Eyes Shine, Come to Trouble and my personal favorite Rise from your Grave.
     With a Name your own Price option on Bandcamp, you literally have no excuse to pass on this release. Follow the link below and turn up, tune in and drop out.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sergeant Thunderhoof - Terra Solus

     Hailing from Somerset, UK Sergeant Thunderhoof have graced us with two full length LPs and a Live LP since their 2014 debut album, Zigurat. These guys have taken Psych-Metal to the next level, incorporating Doom and Stoner Metal along the way.
     Hitting their stride with sophomore release, Ride of the Hoof in 2015, Sergeant Thunderhoof just keep getting better with each release. Enter Terra Solus, the band's third studio album... and it looks like we've got another slab of Iommic riffs, soaring vocals and ripping solos to look forward to.
     Honing their craft with each new album seems to be second nature for vocalist Dan Flitcroft and company. Terra Solus is no different in this regard and would fit nicely in any record collection right next to any Dio-era Sabbath records (as a fan of Dio, I mean this in a good way!).
     Starting off with lead single, Another Plane you already get a pretty good idea of what's in store: A heaping mountain of sick riffs, left and right. With lyrics about a robot woman leading you on a path to another dimension (I think), this song builds and builds for 8+ minutes of hard rocking fury.
     Picking up the pace a bit, we get Stellar Gate Drive. What can I say about this track other than it totally fucking rips. With a huge catchy chorus, lyrics about space travel, and one of the heaviest bridge sections on the album - this song will get tons of repeat plays.
     Next up is The Tree and The Serpent, a mellow song that feels like a nod to Queens of the Stone Age. More than anything else, this track showcases Mr. Flitcroft's vocal abilities, proving that unlike a lot of other metal vocalists, this dude can sing. The melodies on this song are remarkable to say the least!
     B Oscillation, the fourth track on the album is probably one of my favorite instrumentals that I've heard in a loooooong time. Weaving back and forth between thick riffs and soaring leads, this song is a perfect representation of what these guys are capable of. My only "complaint" about this track is that at 7 minutes, I wish it was a bit longer!
     At this point in the album, we get Diesel Breath. Without a doubt, this is the type of song you want to blast while driving down a back road with your windows down. With lyrics about life on the road and blazing riffs galore, mark this down as another instant classic for The Hoof.
     Up next we get Priestess of Misery and with it, a fresh take on that old school stoner groove. Heavy riffs and pounding drums abound on this opus. A stellar pre-chorus/chorus combo is what really shines on this track. Mr. Mark Sayer also showcases his chops with an epic guitar solo that I would absolutely love to see live.
     Half a Man mellows things out for the album with a single guitar/vocal combo that would be a perfect song to listen to when you just kind of feel like the world is out to get you and nothing you do is ever good enough. Once again, the vocals are top notch on this track, dripping with emotion.
     Ending the album on a high note comes Om Shaantih. Mantra style vocals are sparsely placed throughout this mostly instrumental track. If you're into mediation, I would definitely recommend this song as the soundtrack to your next session. Have you ever astral projected before? You will within minutes of getting lost in this tune.
     I'd like to thank the band for providing me with the promo copy to jam and review. Terra Solus will be released on vinyl, compact disc, limited edition cassette and digital download on May 12, 2018. You can pre-order it through their bandcamp and also jam out to the first track, Another Plane while you're at it!


Monday, February 19, 2018

Heavy Temple - Chassit


     Heavy Temple have been somewhat of a staple within the Philadelphia metal scene since 2012. It's current incarnation consists of three insanely talented women who seem to be on the road more than they are at home. This is a good thing for us, since the best way to experience these songs is in a live setting. These ladies fucking rip. If you see them scheduled to play in your area, grab a couple of beers and bang your head right off.
     Although the most satisfying way to hear Heavy Temple is in a smoky bar, that's not to say that the message isn't clearly conveyed on record as well. Chassit contains 4 tracks clocking in at just under 28 minutes, but holy shit, Does this record smoke!
     This psychedelic, fuzzed out doom masterpiece starts out with Key and Bone, a song that sounds familiar in style but very fresh due to the energy that bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk brings to the table. You'll be bobbing your head by the three minute mark of this beast, and you won't stop till the record ends. 
     Next up is Ursa Machina, my favorite track on the record. The soulful, blues drenched vocals on this cut are perfectly accented by thick fuzzed out guitar and drums that just carry you through the 8 minute ride. 
     Picking up a bit of speed, Pink Glass and In the Court of the Bastard King round out this record with pounding riffs that never let up. Although Ursa Machina is my favorite tune on this EP, it's only by a small margin, as all four tracks completely slay. 
     Chassit is currently available for digital download on Heavy Temple's bandcamp site. Even though this album was released back in January of 2017, it still sees heavy rotation on my playlist to this day. You'd be doing yourself a solid by picking this up for a mere $6.66.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Quick Pick!! DVNE - Asheran


     Holy Shit! This album has left me completely speechless, but I'll try my best to give y'all a review of it anyway. Let's start off with the band itself. DVNE (pronounced Dune, if you didn't already know) is comprised of four Scottish metal heads with a serious pension for Prog Rock, Riff-laden Doom Metal and Post Metal. To say that these guys have expertly honed their craft would be a gross understatement and a disservice to these four musicians. One listen through of this 60 minute opus to themes that are more than closely tied to Hayao Miyazaki's "Princess Mononoke" and you'll understand what I mean.
     Asheran starts off with The Crimson Path and right out of the gate, you already know what you're getting yourself into. Swirling progressive metal riffs, ethereal soundscapes, alternating epic clean vocals and harsh growls carry you through this 8 minute journey. Then you realize, this is just the beginning.
     A sci-fi tale of the rise and fall of civilizations spreads over 8 tracks that just keep getting better with each listen. Grab yourself some good headphones and blast this record. Standout tracks include The Crimson Path, Thirst, Sunsets Grace and album closer, Scion.
     Asheran is currently available for digital download on bandcamp as well as vinyl. If either of those options aren't your thing, it will be released on compact disc next month! Do yourself a favor and pick this beast up sooner rather than later.


Friday, February 2, 2018

Quick Pick!! Forming the Void - Relic


     Thick riffs? Check. Soaring vocals? Check. Fuzzed out bass and tight grooves? Double check! On their sophomore effort, Forming the Void hit every point that makes a solid metal release. The production on this bad boy is seriously top-notch as well. Oh did I mention the 11 minute epic Led Zeppelin cover? I didn't? Well, it's on here and dank as ever.
     Relic starts off strong and literally does not relent until the dust settles. This has quickly become one of my favorite releases of 2017, and with good reason. Standout tracks include "After Earth", "Relic" and "Unto the Smoke", but in all honesty the entire record kicks ass.
     Check out Relic on the bandcamp link below and if you dig it, buy the CD or even better, buy the vinyl. These guys have gotten better with each release so far and I can't even imagine what to expect from them at this rate... but I'm excited to find out.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jetsam - Self-titled


     Our first review is for Allentown PA based band, Jetsam. Three friends that put their own spin on instrumental post-metal. Their self-titled EP is available on bandcamp for free (or name your own price if you so choose).
     The album starts out with Survivor's Guilt  and right off the bat, the first thing you'll notice is the production on this recording is excellent for being a demo. I've heard demos that literally sounded like they were recorded through a grapefruit. This is not the case here, presumably because this album was recorded by Jon Savard, the guitarist. One can assume that when recording your own band, you'd want it to sound the best it can and it shows on this self-titled work. Survivor's Guilt  kicks off with a single semi-clean guitar riff before rhythm section, Frank and Rich playing drums and bass, respectively join in to bring this post-metal three piece package together. Once the beat kicks in, so do the riffs and you can tell that not only do these guys love what they do, but they're damn good at it as well. 
     Next up, we get the track Sage.  At a sprawling 8:17, this track without a doubt showcases the talent present in this band. Shifting back and forth between lush soundscapes and metal chug riffs, the first half of this musical journey leads into a climax that starts around the halfway point and builds until the very end. This has got to be my favorite track on the album. 
     The third track on this demo, Amity  mostly serves as a reverb drenched interlude bridging the gap between Sage  and album closer, Mariner.  This last track is a ripper! At times sounding like a black metal headbanger, this track also dabbles in riffs that sound like they would be right at home on a Russian Circles LP.... and then it's over. 
     With only 4 tracks clocking in at just under 20 minutes, this album does exactly what it means to do: Hits you hard and quick and leaves you wanting more. It's so obvious that these guys are doing it for the love of playing music together and nothing more, and that's why I'm stoked to see what comes next for them.