King Hobo – Mauga

Upon the release of its eponymous debut album in 2009, there was a serious buzz around US /Swedish supertrio King Hobo. This was largely caused by the involvement of Clutch drummer John-Paul Gaster, but that criminally ignored the input of Per Wiberg and Thomas “Juneor” Andersson from Blues-Stoner purveyors Kamchatka. Ten years later the band finally returns with sophomore long-player Mauga (Weathermaker Music) and whatever opinion the listener holds for the results, it will surely redress the balance for all three members. Continue reading

Valley Of The Sun – Old Gods

 

Since their 2010 inception, Ohio trio Valley Of The Sun has been lauded in the same breath as Grunge legends Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, while not yet achieving that level of iconic status. New album Old Gods (Fuzzorama Records) sees the band maturing, with a gentle psychedelia gracing those heady grooves.

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Duel – Valley Of Shadows

It’s a soulful, heavy trip with Texan quartet Duel. Formed largely from the ashes of Groove rockers Scorpion Child, new album Valley Of Shadows (Heavy Psych Sounds) is their third album in three years but despite the prolific nature, there remains a certain impact from the tracks on offer here. Continue reading

Ringworm – Death Becomes My Voice

Diminished twin lead guitars fade in above a filthy, distorted bass line. It segues into the intro of the title track, and Death Becomes My Voice (Relapse Records) begins in ill-conceived circumstances. This intro segment is a slow crawl through power chords and crashing cymbals, and completely unrepresentative of the album as a whole. When the main bulk of the title track begins it’s clear that the slow introduction was a calm before a storm, but perhaps an unnecessary breather to kick things off. It may have worked better somewhere in the middle of this unrelenting album as something of a palate cleanser, but more on that later. Continue reading

Heavy As Texas – Heavy As Texas

It has been almost thirty years since Pantera changed the landscape of the metal scene with Cowboys From Hell (East/West, Atco) and its repercussions still live on in music today. It’s an obvious comparison to make for the debut album of the Exhorder spin-off project, Heavy As Texas, but it’s one that needs to be stated straight off the bat. However, there are numerous other influences and musical styles that are present throughout the album.
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Druids – Monument

When Iowan trio Druids‘ EP Spirit Compass (Self-release) hit my ears sixteen months ago, I was staggered by the apparent ease with which the bandmelded the darkness of Sabbath and the violence of Mastodon with the joyous, Summery Grunge of Blind Melon. It made for a heady mix and new offering Monument (The Company) promises the same excitement amid a paradoxically heavy flexibility. Continue reading

Inter Arma – Sulphur English

Despite third album Paradise Gallows (Relapse Records) establishing Virginian quintet Inter Arma as one of the World’s premier exponents of Harsh Progressive Metal, it’s nevertheless arguable as to whether or not the band remains in the shadow of 2014’s staggering opus The Cavern (Relapse Records). Fourth full-length Sulphur English (also Relapse), surely their most brutal yet, will lay such doubts to rest. Continue reading