ALBUM REVIEW: All Them Witches – Nothing As The Ideal

With All Them Witches recently becoming a power trio after five albums as a quartet, it’s easy to imagine that their sixth full-length would reflect a changed dynamic. But for the most part, the Nashvillians’ vision is largely undeterred on Nothing As The Ideal (New West Records). The overall runtime may be the band’s shortest to date at only forty-three minutes long, but their signature mix of Fuzz Blues, Americana, and tripped out ambiance allows for plenty of exploration. Not much has changed on the surface but there are certainly ways to show off the more straightforward approach.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Louise Patricia Crane – Deep Blue

Cutting her professional teeth among serious pedigree as a member of Psych-Rock collective The Eden House Orchestra, the ethereal vocals of Belfast’s Louise Patricia Crane have dripped honey with such luminaries as Monica Richards and Julianne Regan. Debut solo album Deep Blue (Peculiar Doll Records) sees a host of Rock legends lend a hand to create a work of strange, wistful charm, paying due deference to a number of influences in the process. Continue reading

Bask Share New Music Video, New Album Incoming

North Carolinian Psychedelic rock group Bask will release their third studio album, dubbed III, on November 8 via Season of Mist, their debut label debut. The band only recently announced their signing. The album was recorded and mixed by Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Mastodon, Minus The Bear, etc.). The album art and complete track-listing can be found below. Watch the video for the first single ‘New Dominion’ now! Continue reading

Dead Witches – The Final Exorcism

If you’ve worn out your copy of Dopethrone (Rise Above) and have still got a hankering for a dirty heap of occult-themed Sabbath worship, you could do a lot worse than UK Doom outfit Dead Witches. Continue reading

Thunder Horse – Thunder Horse

Fancy that, Thunder Horse (BC/TX) just happens to be the debut LP from well, err, Thunder Horse. I’m only surprised because even the youngest bands today seem to have a trail of EPs and singles before jumping onto the hollowed full length. And as far as musical maiden journeys go, this San Antonio outfit has hit the ground running. Continue reading

AWOOGA – Conduit

You think I’d have learned with Slugdge. That whole book/cover, band/band name thing is long established by now… So, let me start by saying loud and clear, judge Awooga by their band name maybe not at your peril, but most certainly at your immense loss. Because debut full-length Conduit (Rockosmos) is truly excellent ,and if every person that finds something of interest in the barrage of words I’m about to spew about them goes and checks them out, and passes on the name to a friend or two, we have a chance of getting this quite special new band the coverage they deserve. Continue reading

Monster Magnet – Mindfucker

I don’t think we were ever able to put the finger on Monster Magnet’s sound. Since 1989 Dave Wyndorf (who’s 61 and still doing the damn thing) and his changing roster have dabbled in Stoner Rock, Psychedelia, and even some Sludge. So, what’s the recipe for studio album eleven, Mindfucker (Napalm)? The take here is straightforward Rock music. Continue reading

The Heavy Eyes – He Dreams Of Lions

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He Dreams Of Lions is the third album from Memphis based heavy psych/blues rock trio The Heavy Eyes, taking what they did with 2012’s Maera (both Kozmik Artifactz) and adding more definition to their rough and reverberated retro-sound; a sound which they described as being similar to “a skeleton driving a speedboat on a flaming Mississippi river headed back to 1969”…  which to be fair is an image fully deserving of the accompanying t-shirt!

The album flows with distorted heavy fuzz and echo which comes together in order to shape a substantial sound, especially for a trio. This is most notable on stand out tracks such as the stompy ‘Smoke Signals’ and ‘Hail To The King, Baby’ which sounds more like Clutch than the Duke Nukem expected from that title.

Throughout the album there’s a nice heavy stomp of Blues riff n’ groove coupled with a raw feel, particularly on tracks like ‘Saint’. Given this is Ghost Cult the use of heavy of course is subjective, for their genre The Heavy Eyes are indeed fairly hefty especially on the heavy ‘Z-bo’ in the rhythm section: courtesy of Wally Anderson on bass and Eric Garcia on drums. Some of the tracks skirt around the 1969 feel of Sabbath or Zeppelin, with some hints at elements of proto-sludge.

The music is satisfying, but it can feel quite similar at times, and the tracks seem to flow into one another sometimes a little too fluidly and it’s notable that at times there’s a disconnect between the lyrical content and the music, particularly on tracks such as ‘Old Saltillo Road’ which, despite being one of the stand out tracks on the album, has possibly the most dissonance between the lyrical content and the accompanying music. Like a stoner watching a fire rather than anyone with any particular sense of urgency. This is followed by the title track; another strong outing with some nice heavy riffs juxtaposing nicely with the woo-hoo-hoo chorus and multiple phases of tempo and intensity, held together with yet more great rhythm section work.

This is a good album with some genuine highlights, and yet by the same token a significant similarity lies throughout out which allows the overall album to flow together very nicely indeed, but can also be a bit samey towards the end, though it is easier to get hooked into the strutting vibe of the album as a whole rather than any particular riffs or songs.

 

7.0/10

 

RICH PRICE

Chron Goblin – Backwater

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Canada’s Chron Goblin may be a new name on you (well, they were a new name on me, anyway) but they have plied their trade for a few years now and Backwater (Ripple), their third full length release, is a decent hopping-on point. Chron Goblin inhabit that strange hinterland, beloved of late, of attempting to inject new vibes and energy into tropes and styles that were current when flares were still resolutely in fashion.

Given that you’re reading this review on this website, it is a fairly good bet that you’re a fan of Black Sabbath in general and Tony Iommi in particular. As exercises in nostalgia and keeping up with how much Sabbath still influence today’s heavy bands, then you will find much to your liking on this record. The band’s love of the riff is highly in evidence, wrapped around a classic rock sensibility that, for once, sits well with the more obvious stoner and desert rock influences upon which the band have historically built their reputation. One suspects that the band’s membership of the Kyuss fan club is fully paid up.

Backwater sees a band that have honed their craft well and, for the most part, it’s delivered with gusto. The main issue with Backwater isn’t the obvious influences (if you don’t like Kyuss, you need to see me after school for some lessons), nor the all too derivative sleeve art (honestly, this could be from any one of dozens of their ilk). The real issue for Backwater is that the songs just aren’t that memorable. Everything is well put together and played with energy but, as for getting the hairs standing up on the back of your neck? Regrettably, I didn’t get any of those moments and the overall feeling was one of disappointment at what could have been. You know you’re in trouble when you’re thinking to yourself “I quite like track four, what’s that called again?”

Consequently, this is an album of what might have been rather than what is. Whilst there is a decent adherence to the riff rule book, there isn’t anything here that stays too long in the memory. Whilst you’re listening to it, you get the sense that, stoner sensibilities aside, not everything has clicked for them. As records of this ilk go, it’s pretty decent but it’s not quite the infectious and energised masterwork that you suspect the band are hoping for. A creditable record but, on this occasion, the cigars remain in the humidor.

 

6.0/10

 

MAT DAVIES