Monster Magnet probably needs no introduction to anyone who has paid any degree of attention to the alternative rock scene over the last 25 years or more. The band has always been unashamedly and unapologetically rockist in their approach. Largely ignoring scenes such as grunge as they have come and gone, Monster Magnet have managed to pump out album after album of classic heavy rock, and they continue to play to huge audiences. Somehow they have always stood out from the crowd of rock revivalists and “stoner” bands. Whilst the music of many of these retro bands so often feels tired and trite when compared to the 60s or 70s bands they try to copy, they always exuded a special kind of conviction, authenticity and raw power that sets them apart. Maybe this has something to do with (singer, guitar player and only original member) Dave Wyndorf having been born in 1956 and so having actually lived through the 60s and 70s. Either way, the music has always felt just as legitimate and classy as records by Motörhead or Deep Purple.
The first proper album from Heavy Temple sees the Philadelphia power trio in a rather interesting position. Aside from featuring a new lineup of players behind bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk, Lupi Amoris (Magnetic Eye Records) doesn’t seem too different from the two EPs released before it. It isn’t that much longer than those EPs, consisting of five tracks totaling thirty-three minutes long, and is executed in a similarly free-flowing Heavy Psych style. Continue reading
The last of a groundbreaking run of undisputed classics, Sabotage (Vertigo/BMG), often gets overlooked during debates about the studio legacy of legendary metal pioneers Black Sabbath. Considering the seismic impact of the band’s previous five releases, this isn’t entirely surprising but Sabotage has always deserved more time in those conversations.
Before getting to the bigger business of their next full-length studio album, Glory For Salvation (AFM Records), scheduled for release later this year, Italian quintet Rhapsody of Fire provides a little taster with new eight-track EP, I’ll Be Your Hero (AFM Records).
It’s been a long time coming but Flotsam and Jetsam finally look to have reasserted themselves among the top of the speed metal elite. After arriving on the scene with two undisputed classics back in the late ’80s, the Arizona thrashers fortunes dipped and for a while it seemed that they would only be remembered for those releases and supplying Metallica with bassist Jason Newsted.
James Kent, based in Paris, has released several records since 2012 under the name Perturbator. His music under this moniker can be loosely defined as synthwave but, in reality, Perturbator’s evades such straightforward categorisation. Incorporating elements of early synth-based music, as well techno, gothic rock, ambient music, and metal, Perturbator has been compared to Kraftwerk, John Carpenter, and Nine Inch Nails, amongst many others.
While Red Fang’s fourth album immediately stands out as their first full-length since 2016’s Only Ghosts, it seems to hearken back to the Sludgy aspects of their earliest ventures. Tracks like ‘Unreal Estate’ and the title track reflect strong Melvins circa (A) Senile Animal vibes with their trudging riff patterns and eccentrically howled vocal lines. ‘Fonzi Scheme’ and ‘Days Collide’ elaborate further the former putting in a particularly potent stomp and the latter benefitting the most from the disorienting atmosphere.
Following up a breakthrough album, such as Boss Keloid’s last opus Melted On The Inch (Holy Roar) which finished at #4 in Ghost Cult’s Album of the Year poll in 2018, is a challenging proposition. Stray too far from the magic formula and you risk undoing that giant stride taken forwards (even without being a band that has always taken efforts to ensure development and evolution of their sound is a given); repeat the previous approach and accusations of diminishing returns, or playing it safe, abound along with an invariably inferior product. Continue reading
Southern Rock maestros Blackberry Smoke are back with their seventh album You Hear Georgia (3 Legged Records/Thirty Tiger). The Georgian septet are deep in their groove by now and as the title suggests this new record pays homage to their home state, with Dave Cobb (Rival Sons, Europe) on production duties.
It lies deep within the cold vastness of space. A distant, inhospitable land that exists at the farthest reaches of an unforgiving, lonely planet. Cast adrift and surrounded by an ocean of venomous, fanged, and tentacled monstrosities lies an island of such unimaginable manifestations of horror that madness and fear await every nervous footstep with eager, slurping lust. Crawling, slithering, scuttling, swimming, hiding. It waits.