Japan’s Sonic Flower began in the early 2000s as an offshoot of Church of Misery. They released one self-titled album in 2003 and then broke up in 2005 following some aborted recording sessions. Reforming briefly in 2007, only to break up again the same year, Sonic Flower lay dormant for 14 years until they finally reformed again in 2019. A full-length album with a new lineup including a vocalist is scheduled for later in 2021. To whet their fans’ appetite in the meantime, the band are first releasing Rides Again (Heavy Psych Sounds Records), which consists entirely of tracks recorded in 2005 from the aforementioned aborted sessions.
Those who deserted Pisa-based riff kings, Mr. Bison, after their 2012 debut album We’ll Be Brief (Dracma Records) will recognise neither the physical nor the sonic entity that exists today. Only guitarist/vocalist Matteo Barsacchi remains from that initial incarnation, now replenished by two more Matteos – vocalist/guitarist Sciocchetto and drummer D’Ignazi – and the dry, ZZTop-influenced sound of that first effort has been gradually replaced by an oft euphoric leaning towards a form of Desert Psychedelia as progressive as it is retrospective. Their fourth album Seaward (Subsound Records / Ripple Music) is the band’s biggest step forward yet, displaying a level of invention and confidence that is both profound and joyous.Continue reading
When Greek innovators Hail Spirit Noir spewed forth in recorded anger eight years ago it was with tones of the Aegean gracing a strange brew of Blackened Prog Metal. Fourth long-player Eden in Reverse (Agonia Records) sees the completion of a gradual metamorphosis into total Prog, with the absorption of the band’s live musicians transforming the unit into a sextet.Continue reading
Ridiculously it’s a decade since Israeli juggernaut Dukatalon released debut album Saved By Fear (Relapse Records): a bruising yet incredibly inventive slice of Sludge that at times called to mind Led Zeppelin as much as it did the likes of Iron Monkey. Aside from a brief tour of the UK three years ago, little has been heard of the band outside of their native Tel Aviv, so what a beginning to 2020 with long-awaited new album Involuntary Action (Self-Release) hitting the hard drive. if only the band’s mouthpiece in the UK – Manchester’s ‘King of Nasty’, Eytan Wineapple – could’ve stuck around long enough to hear it.Continue reading
Blackwater Holylight (RidingEasy Records), the début album from the Portland, Oregon-based doomstresses of the same name, delivered not merely an enlivening quality but also realised founder member Alison ‘Sunny’ Faris‘ intent of giving heavier rock a new lease of life by incorporating more tuneful, lighter music into that sound. With second album Veils Of Winter (RidingEasy Records) the band, now a quintet with the addition of guitarist Mikayla Mayhew, aim to expand on that formula and the buzz created by that first release.
Another outfit from the lysergic dreamlands of San Diego, Sacri Monti left a sizeable impression with their self-titled 2015 debut album (Tee Pee Records) which was a psychedelic trip through heavy vibes. The quintet’s sophomore effort, Waiting Room For The Magic Hour (Tee Pee Records), is another faithful journey through drifting sands and heady atmospheres but shows a pleasing maturity and willingness to experiment.Continue reading
Highly-respected Ulster Sludge/Doom outfit Slomatics is as well known for its countless splits, most prominently with fellow Doom yellers Conan, as it is for its own produce. So it’s something of a surprise to discover that Canyons (Black Bow Records) is the band’s sixth album in its fifteen-year existence, but as expected it shows a soupçon of originality in the unrelenting, slothlike heaviness.Continue reading
If you’re a fan of any music that Caleb Scofield created or played, bring the tissues for this one. Cave In‘s aptly-titled Final Submission (Hydra Head) is a collection of recordings made with the band’s late bassist before his tragic death last year and contains much input from the man himself. It’s a slightly different album than fans might expect, but in many ways, it’s more meaningful for it.Continue reading
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
There’s somethin’ incestuous a-brewin’ in San Diego: a fluid drift from band to band and back again, like the returning wisps of smoke from that latest joint exhalation. This is Zach Oakley’s second journey through my cans in as many months, while more of his friends in Psych outfits JOY and Harsh Toke make yet another union in the form of the drenched riffage of Pharlee.Continue reading