Being self-analysed as having “…the total absence of tonal sanity” can cover a multitude of sins for a band, including that of openly peddling a load of pretentious shite in the name of self-expression. Fortunately, German quartet Bellrope contains some serious pedigree, being formed from the Musk Ox-bludgeon that was Black Shape Of Nexus, so debut long-player You Must Relax (Exile On Mainstream Records) is dripping with intrigue even before it begins.Continue reading →
If ever an album title was created with the subconscious aim of getting my attention it’s Doom Folk (Exile On Mainstream Records), the fourth solo album from multi-faceted German troubadour Conny Ochs. More famed in Metal circles for his collaborations with Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich, Ochs’ own output is equally as relevant – perhaps more so.Continue reading →
Much as with Eddie Vedder’s ukulele musings, there’s often debate as to whether the somewhat-less-than-Heavy products of Rock stars deserve attention from the scene purely because of their purveyors’ status. Step forth Dane Kristian Harting, whose early Thrash / Noise tendencies are sacrificed in favour of a spiky, summery Americana.
There are moments of true beauty within Summer of Crush (Exile on Mainstream): the harmonies of opener ‘Traveller’ and ‘White Spirits’ touching the heart alongside Harting’s honeyed airs, the latter tracks squalling lead guitar adding a post-style crush to an acoustic riff which evokes those late ‘Hippy’ highs such as CSNY. ‘Temporary Rooms’ and ‘How High’ have a Country Pop twang, the vocal adding some real sunshine to worlds normally coated in a hellish darkness.
The insouciant chanting of the brief ‘I Am You 2’, fired by a pedal-affected riff which resonates through the instrumental ‘Spirits Revisited’, adds experimentation and atmosphere to a largely stripped-down sound. ‘Ship Of Fools’, meanwhile, sees those of us of a ‘bongo’ bent patted into ecstasy alongside a harsher yet still melodic vocal and more atmospheric organ, increasing to a euphoric crescendo in not dissimilar fashion to early 90s Rock adventurers Largo.
More hostile squealing punctures the fragile, sparing lilt of ‘Digging Up Graves’ and it’s here that one fully realises the level of creativity and skill on display. It would be easy for these brief flurries of Harting’s roots to stick out like sore thumbs and make a track ‘clunky’ by merely not belonging. Here, they have an organic meld like instant displays of emotion: the fizz of lead squalls in the hypnotic, dreamy ‘South North Passage’ epitomising the rude disturbance of a deep meditation, telling its story wonderfully.
The main feature is of course that light melody, reminiscent of late Beatles or Oasis in the penultimate ’Soul Sister’: an edgy, electro-brushed ballad which could be the final straw for some yet, for those of us who are capable of appreciating the softer things in life, the gathering of the most heavenly aspects of an album both delightfully enticing, and just barely Rock.
Throughout the sprawling forty-five minutes of Freedom Conspiracy, the duo continues to experiment with their musical collaborations, exploring new ways of expressing their personal struggles with daily life through their incredibly soulful delivery, and “Timeless Spirit” is one prime example of this persistent theme. Here, both artists are heard fully embracing the vocal duties throughout the track together — Wino’s unmistakable, gritty, personal style paired with Conny Ochs’ dynamic, emotionally charged delivery — while acoustic and electric guitars are seamlessly aligned, a lone kick drum provides a pulse-like rhythm and the big-rock thunder of piano chords soar from amidst the powerful anthem.
Wino w/ Black Label Society: Apr 03: The Paramout – Huntington, NY Apr 04: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom – Hampton Beach, NJ Apr 06: Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ Apr 08: Rams Head Live – Baltimore, MD Apr 10: Piere’s Entertainment Center – Fort Wayne, IN Apr 11: Orbit Room – Grand Rapids, MI Apr 12: The Rave – Milwaukee, WI Apr 14: The Cotillion – Wichita, KS Apr 16: Mesa Theater & Club – Grand Junction, CO Apr 17: The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT Apr 18: Ace Of Spades – Sacramento, CA Apr 19: City National Grove Of Anaheim – Anaheim, CA
Conny Ochs Tour Dates: Mar 27: Distrò – La Spezia (IT) Mar 28: Socio – Massa Carrara (IT) Apr 03: Bardamu / Calderara di Reno – Bologna (IT) Apr 04: La Girada – Udine (IT) Apr 06: Maximum Festival – Zerobranco (IT) May 16: Maximum Circus Festival – Berlin (DE) May 29: Eulenbruch Festival – Rostock (DE)
With eight songs delivered through a fifty-minute sonic rock assault, Lowest Level Reincarnation is raw, diverse, and in your face, carved out of depression and channeled in to a maelstrom monstrosity of guitar, bass and drums. The band recorded at Studio Wong in Berlin throughout November 2014, putting together their debut album.