EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Faith And Scars – “Long Way Home “

 

Ghost Cult has teamed up with Faith And Scars for the debut of their new single – “Long way Home”! This incredible video tells a narrative story, giving deeper meaning to the lyrics. The bands blend of outlaw country vibes, hard rock and heavy metal is sure to bring the feels the fans of Black Label Society, Brand New Sin, Down, Jason Charles Miller, and more! Watch the clip now!  Continue reading

Savage Messiah – Demons

 

Although they were only formed in 2007, it feels like London’s Savage Messiah have been around for a lot longer than just over a decade. Regular album releases and frequent appearances on the touring circuit give the impression the band are old hands when they’re actually still relative newcomers. And with only eighteen months or so having passed since their last studio outing, the band are already preparing to unleash their fifth album, Demons (Century Media) into your lovely listening orifices. Continue reading

Southern Revolution: Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule

With the imminent release of new Gov’t Mule record Revolution Come… Revolution Go (Spinefarm), Ghost Cult popped down to London to chat to Warren Haynes about the new album, the inspirations behind it, his upcoming UK tour and the unfortunate passing of his friend and fellow bandmate Gregg Allman Continue reading

Guest Post: Joseph Spiller Of Caricature- End Of Year List

Caricature video still

As we dash towards the holidays and the end of the year Ghost Cult is feeling good about this season of giving. So we are giving our fans a chance to get to know our partners, peers, and friends  from bands in the world of music. They will chime in with some guest blogs, end of year lists, and whatever else is on their minds as we pull the plug on 2015. Today we have Joseph Spiller of progressive metal band Caricature. Caricature put out the acclaimed Shadows: Maxi Single this summer have a full-length in the works for 2016. Here is Joseph’s “Most Topesty Cool Favorite Releases of 2015”.


1. Tigran HamsayanMockroot

Tigran Hamasayan - Mockroot album cover 2015

How often can an album tote a definite influence of Meshuggah, Dave Brubeck, Keith Jarret, and Porcupine Tree? Add on top that this is still a pure jazz record? Pfffft. This is the sound of someone furthering and redefining a genre.

 

2. Fetty WapFetty Wap

Yeah, before anyone says it sucks because it’s not metal, listen to this record. Fetty is all hits, all the time. Zoogang knows how to make pop hooks as if it’s in their DNA.


3. Steven Wilson Hand.Cannot.Erase

Steven Wilson, by Melina D Photography

Steven Wilson, by Melina D Photography


Backing band of the century along with the golden god of Prog. Though it gets overly self-indulgent from time to time, Hand.Cannot.Erase is absolutely stunning.

4. Psycroptic Psycroptic

Psycroptic_ST_Cover-300dpi_RGB

Do you even riff, Bro? Joe Haley most definitely does.

 

5. GhostMeliora

Ghost, by Meg Loyal Photography

Ghost, by Meg Loyal Photography


I never got the hype on this band. I actually disliked almost everything prior to Meliora, but goddamn, did Papa bring that A-game with this heavily Dave Grohl “inspired” record.

 

6. Abigail Williams The Accuser

Abigail Williams The Accuser
Who doesn’t love a good comeback? Possibly the best thing Ken Sorceron has ever done. Crushing and beautiful with rich song structures. BUY THIS RECORD NOW!

 

7. Lamb of GodVII: Sturm Und Drang

Lamb of God, by Evil Robb Photography

Lamb of God, by Evil Robb Photography


After all that went on with Randy, the band came back and tell that tale along with snapshot a troubled time in the world perfectly. The riffs and drumming on this record are some of their best to date, and Josh Wilbur killed it on the production side.

8. Baroness Purple Record

Baroness_PURPLE_ABXN001_Cover_1600_RGB-LOW

Another “Comeback Record” of sorts. Stronger, more refined, defined. The mesh of only the finest points of Yellow & Green mixed lush instrumentation and what sounds like an intense infatuation with The Cure. This one has it all.

9. Ellie GouldingDelirium

Ellie Goulding - Delirium album cover - Copy
Though not an immensely technical singer, Goulding has a golden voice. The slight raspiness and harmonically rich tambre makes me envious. This album is LONG for the pop genre, but its all top quality with fantastic hooks meshed with smooth beats and tranquil melodies.


10. Solution .45Nightmares In The Waking State

Solution 45 - Nightmares In The Waking State album cover - Copy
If you don’t know who this band is, we probably cannot be friends. GROOVES

EXTREMELY HONORABLE MENTION:
I’ll be MeSoundtrack

glen-campbell-poster

The delayed release of the soundtrack to the documentary about the legendary guitar player, singer, songwriter, and former member of The Wrecking Crew, Glen Campbell, who has been battling Alzheimer’s Disease for the past few years. This has two live songs from his final tour that will blow your mind considering his state, along with songs from his daughter that will make you cry while your heart flutters. The title track, penned by Mr. Campbell himself as a final letter to his wife and family will give you goosebumps (unless you don’t have a heart.

 

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Ramblin’ Man Fair Festival (Saturday) – Maidstone, Kent (UK)

Ramblin Man

In the absence of the much missed High Voltage Festival the UK festival scene has been screaming for a high profile outdoor festival which specializes in the worlds of classic rock and progressive rock. On a glorious, sunny Saturday the gates open to the sport park in Maidstone, Kent, revealing everything we rock fans need, namely great names and booze. The main and Prog stages sit either side of the site, as well as a beer festival bar and a third stage that will host both Country & Western today and Blues tomorrow. Welcome to the inaugural Ramblin’ Man Fair!

 

Touchstone hold a very special place in the hearts of their fans. So it comes as no surprise that they amass one of the biggest crowds of the day. With their last ever shows looming, it’s no wonder that as the first bars of ‘Wintercoast’ burst through the speakers, the crowd are completely immersed in the five piece. Kim Seviour’s vocals are on magnificent form, and it is clear that the reaction of the crowd means a lot to her and the rest of the band. Their encore is their renowned cover of Tears For Fears’ ‘Mad World’ for which they are accompanied by John Mitchell on guitar. The prog world will be very sorry to see them go.

Things take a psychedelic turn as prog upstarts Messenger prove that age doesn’t mean a damn thing. Having already supported the likes of Devin Townsend it is clear that we can expect great things from them. Unfortunately the vastness of the field locale seems to overwhelm their folk tinted melodies, and many an interest is lost. That being said, it is an impressive set, which only hints at things to come.

Ramblingman Festival2

Your scribe’s first visit to the main stage sees Blue Oyster Cult prove why they are one of rock’s most underrated gems. Arriving to the Game Of Thrones theme tune, BOC put on a master-class performance, which shows both experience and, perhaps, a surprising level of energy. Donald Roesar, Eric Bloom and Kasim Sultan prowl the stage and exude charisma, backed by a sterling set of anthems including a monstrous (pun entirely intended) ‘Godzilla’. Sadly a large portion of the crowd leave once THAT song is played, but this doesn’t take away from a sterling set which proves that these legends are so much more than a one song band.

 

British Prog heroes Haken are soaring right now, garnering plaudits a plenty and following a very well received EP release, and today’s performance shows signs of just why, if with some inconsistencies. Beginning with the short and shaper ‘Premonition’ from Visions (Lasers Edge) and The Mountain’s (InsideOut) ‘In Memoriam’ , they kick the Prog dial up with 3 long players closing the set. An unusually mixed set sadly sees a flat performance of breakthrough song ‘The Cockroach King’ which seems to lack its urgency and power. A stunning rendition of ‘Crystallised’ following on however certainly makes amends as the set closer.

There cannot be a rock and metal festival goer on the planet now who hasn’t seen legends Saxon at some stage now, seemingly an ever present each year, and with performances like this it’s a bloody good job too. Offering very few surprises, their set is loaded with the familiar classics that everyone knows and loves to rapturous response from the gathered masses. Biff Byford gives an engaging and genuine display as ever as he commands his troops through classic anthems like ‘Strong Arm Of The Law’ and the timeless ‘Wheels Of Steel’, barking that they will play until they are booted off the stage. No such set cutting occurs however as they close the set with a rousing ‘Denim And Leather’, further cementing their reputation as one of metal’s most beloved acts.

 

Up on the main stage, prog maestros Dream Theater are going through the motions. Sadly despite their flawless, CD-perfect performance it feels as though they’re lacking personality. There is a sense of love ‘em and leave ‘em about this performance, and with the exception of Jordan Rudess the band looked as though this was a 9-5 job. Even the heart-wrenching ‘The Spirit Carries On’ falls flat emotionally, and the bombastic ‘Burning My Soul’ feels forced and perfunctory. The humdrum nature of closer ‘Behind the Veil’ bookends what has been a worrying glimpse into the bands future.

The last few years have seen Anathema rise from underground heroes to one of prog’s most celebrated entities, showcased as second to headliners to icons Camel. Renowned for their knack to bring grown men to tears, today they give a set full of some more energetic numbers but still with that trademark emotion and serenity. After a low key but building start to ‘Anathema’, things kick up a gear into ‘Untouchables Part 1’ before a raucous ‘Thin Air’ gives momentum. The splendor of the vocal harmonies really shows on ‘The Lost Song Part 3’, showing Lee Douglas’ growing ever more confident performance after performance; particularly so when she leads on the beautiful ‘The Lightning Song’. Closing with a harder and more energised rendition of ‘Distant Satellites’ than on record, they show just how versatile they are. Yes it may be songs that they have aired countless times in the last few years, but they are played as stunningly as ever.

 

The level of adoration for Camel the prog community has is unrivaled, and with good reason. Since their incarnation back in 1971, Andy Latimer and his brethren have produced some of the most iconic albums both inside and outside progressive music. It is a privilege to be amongst the crowd tonight, and as ‘Never Let Go’ begins proceedings, it is clear that their form has not floundered. Latimer is on his finest form yet; both his guitar work and vocals are flawless. Each song is met with elated cheers and fervent applause, with song like ‘Spirit of the Water’ flowing seamlessly into ‘Air Born’. Noise bleed from the Scorpions set does punctuate some of the quieter segments, but Latimer is undeterred proving that Camel are the real headliners of a glorious first day in Maidstone.

With the pull of the returning Camel on the Prog Stage, the crowd for German legends Scorpions is not quite as rammed as perhaps expected, and the huge delay does not help shake the underwhelming feeling. When they finally do take to the stage its to a somewhat flat and uninspiring rendition of ‘Going Out With A Bang’, at this point a seemingly ironic statement. Fortunately proceedings pick up with the sterling ‘Make It Real’ and ‘The Zoo’, as guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs and drummer James Kottak show tonnes of energy and Cheshire cat grins.

For the most part this is an immensely enjoyable set that balances classics such as ‘Wind Of Change’ and ‘Big City Nights’ with stellar tracks off the new album Return To Forever (Sony) like the monumental ‘We Built This House’ which sounds right at home with the anthems. But inconsistency sets in with a couple of moments that don’t hit the mark: for example the momentum killing acoustic segment. Inconsistencies aside this is a thoroughly enjoyable set, and as they close with favourite’“Rock You Like A Hurricane’ they affirm their legendary status with a great, if not perfect, close to day one.

 

WORDS: CHRIS TIPPELL & SARAH WORSLEY

The Mystical And Emotional – Steve Von Till

12" Glued Sleeve

If you were to think of a single word to sum up the attitude of Steve Von Till, that word would be dedicated. The sun has yet to rise in his hometown of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and at 5am he is already on the telephone to Ghost Cult, for this interview before he has to wake his children up, take them to school and drive the eleven miles to the Elementary school where he works.

It is this dedication, which has seen him forge an uncompromising trail in music via the bombastic and awe-inspiring Neurosis, the rural psychedelia of Harvestman and his solo work, steeped in the rich traditions of Celtic music and American folk. Considering Von Till’s hectic schedule, it is unsurprising that there has been little time to record the follow-up to 2008’s A Grave Is A Grim Horse platter. 

Making music with Neurosis is not a cerebral event. It is us surrendering ourselves to this beast that drives us. The solo material is my strange way of trying to honour those artists that inspired me. It has to have a depth of expression I require from music otherwise it is pointless. It is a challenge to craft something quiet and concise.” Indeed in the last seven years, Steve has been all but idle with Neurosis touring more frequently than they have for some time, running the band’s label Neurot and of course having time for family life it’s easy to see why new offering A Life Unto Itself  (Neurot) took such a time to appear. “I am so bad with time. It doesn’t feel linear to me!” Von Till chuckles. “I wanted to continue to use the traditional Americana aspects like fiddle and pedal steel that informs my work, but also to use some of the textures I have crafted with Harvestman. Some of the techniques where the guitar sounds like a synthesizer. Other than ‘Chasing Ghosts’ which was written on piano and ‘Night Of The Moon’ which I wrote on electric guitar, the focus remained acoustic guitar and vocals. It’s the sound of me picking up a guitar when everyone has gone to bed and just seeing what comes out!”

steve von till press photo 2015

It’s not hard to imagine Steve sat alone, guitar in hand coaxing out riffs before taking these skeletal structures to be fleshed out in the recording studio. Clearly a labour of love, created with absolute autonomy, Steve talked about what it was like to seek outside help in the shape of dedicated engineer Randall Dunn. “We’d met each other a few times. I have a studio at home so I could do it myself, but I don’t enjoy engineering. I don’t want to be responsible for capturing a good vocal take. Randall has a much wider variety of acts he has worked with. Of course he has worked with Earth and Sunn0))) but does a lot of stuff outside of our scene. We had some great conversations and his studio is excellent. It has a lot of vibe with a big vintage console. It was great having someone to bounce ideas off and get feedback from. We did recorded everything in just two days then we got the additional musicians in and did the overdubs. He brought in Eyvind Kang, who is an amazing viola player and composer. He asked me for some key words and ideas of what I heard. I gave him a few comments of what I heard, like references to the environments places and energies, very abstract stuff, but he took that and added so much. Sometimes the Viola parts sound like animals or take a Celtic feel. He had such a great intuitive nature. This album is a collage that occupies several different stories and emotional territory. J. Kardong our pedal steel brought a lot too. Not just a typical Americana feel. They read my mind, when I drove the six-hour drive home back to Idaho they really hit me. I realised this record was a brooding retrospective on my entire life. It’s traversing the mystical, emotion and mundane all mixed together.”

A Life Unto Itself may be a slight departure sonically from his earlier solo work, the lyrical content once again references nature as a metaphor with words like ‘Blood’ ‘Earth’ and ‘Moon’ all reoccurring. Greatly inspired by his rural surroundings, Von Till recalls what made him pack up his family and wave his home of San Francisco, California goodbye. “It’s like living in a beehive! Everyone is so busy and working on their next project. After my first daughter was born I could only see the filth around me. Needles in the street and condoms in the gutter. I knew I needed out when I was stepping past homeless people every day carrying a baby and four bags of groceries! If I didn’t give myself some space I was just going to hate everything. It has always been part of my personality that needs to be connected to nature. Humanity has lost that connection. If you live in a city you have to make a huge effort to connect with it. Now I live out here I have to make the effort to get to a city to go to a museum or buy some records but how often do you do those things? Pretty rarely. My drive to work is eleven miles down a country road and when I get home I am surrounded by twelve acres of forest. We have weather too here whereas San Fran is always so hot. Here you have to get your firewood and plan for the winter. I feel more connected to nature out here when I am a part of it.”

Listening to ‘A Life Unto Itself’ you find yourself transported to rural landscapes via the influences ranging from Celtic music to Steve’s take on traditional Americana. Neurosis love of a diverse cross-section of artists from Joy Division to Amebix to Pink Floyd is well documented, but as Steve tells us, these genres held his attention from an early age also. “My dad listened to John Denver and some of the more pop orientated folk music. It hit me who one guy with a guitar could be so powerful. I loved putting speakers by my head and listening to it. Growing up a metalhead and getting into punk you’d have thought that folk music would be the last thing for me when I was 15 years old and pissed off but I went back to it later via psychedelic. I love Tibetan monks and throat singing. Anything from another culture. I am obsessed with European folk traditions, they are where bluegrass and country come from! I loved going on that voyage of discovery. It all comes in circles the way people find these sounds and make them their own. I love the way people like Townes Van Zant and Gillian Welch have distilled these old traditions into new forms.”

 

ROSS BAKER