Bus the Unknown Secretary, (or BUS for short), are a four-piece from Greece whose broad and varied approach to Stoner Rock is as vintage as it is welcomed. Never Decide (RidingEasy) is their second album and alongside the usual fuzzy guitars and Black Sabbath influences inherent in the genre, they have thrown in some Alice Cooper and NWOBHM for good measure, not to mention some wonderfully bizarre chicken based album art. Continue reading
The logo may be cheesy, the name may scream ‘Hair Rock’, but Cincinnati quartet Electric Citizen have bags of resonance and depth to accompany their melodic sensibilities. Helltown (Ridingeasy) is the band’s third album and is a rolling trip through sinister grooves. Continue reading
Along with his Kyuss bandmates, Brant Bjork helped create and define Desert Rock. And, across a dozen more solo albums, he has stayed largely in the comfy confines of hazy, laid back stonerisms. Mankind Woman (Heavy Psych Sounds/RidingEasy), the man’s latest effort, feels like a man happy to jam whatever he’s fancies and put it out there. Continue reading
R.I.P.’s début In the Wind (RidingEasy) is, quite simply, a grimy middle finger to the heavier cadre of bands that take themselves and their image a bit too seriously. Dripping with reverb and cavernous echoes, the album may very well have been recorded not in the wind, but in a dark, dank basement obscured in thick, pungent smoke. Peeling walls decorated with black light posters. Lava lamps and ashtrays scattered about on a carpet sporting thirty-one flavors of stains. Continue reading
Check out some new music courtesy of our friends at US/THEM Group below.
01: Indian Handcrafts – It’s Late Queeny (Sargent House)
02: Bill Mountain – Let’s Get It Started (Bill Mountain Music)
03: Mylets – Trembling Hands (Sargent House)
04: Limb – Ghost Dance (New Heavy Sounds)
05: Slow Season – Heavy (RidingEasy)
06: Salem’s Pot – The Vampire Strikes Back (RidingEasy)
07: Ghost Against Ghost – still love [preview edit] (Our Silent Canvas)
08: Jad Fair & Jason Willett – The Greatest Power (Dymaxion Groove)
09: Boss Battle – Ride
10: And So I Watch You From Afar – Wasps (Sargent House)
11: Pink Frost – Striking Violet (Smart Like Virus)
12: Shooting Guns – Barnburner (RidingEasy)
13: Sons of Huns – An Evil Unseen (RidingEasy)
14: Birch – Halfway
15: Mothertapes – Aftermath (SELF Group)
16: Lowercase Noises – Death In A Garden
17: Monolord – Cursing The One (RidingEasy)
18: Spelljammer – The Pathfinder (RidingEasy)
19: Electric Citizen – Beggar’s Need (RidingEasy)
20: Elephant Rifle – Bone Voyage (Humaniterrorist)
21: Birch – Fighting Words
22: Mondo Drag – Shifting Sands (RidingEasy)
23: A Troop of Echoes – Small Fires
Monolord’s debut record, the promising and purposeful doom-laden cacophony of Empress Rising (RidingEasy), was one of those classic cases of an enormous amount of pressure being placed on a band before they actually got going. Picked up by so called tastemakers and setters of trend, it was one of those curious debut albums that everyone seemed to go mad crazy about for oh, a week, and then conveniently forget about for the rest of the year. This was a bit of a shame as the record certainly had its fair share of moments and, in the live environment, the band tended to nail it every single night.
Fair play to these laid back and lugubrious Swedes then for swiftly following up the debut record with an even better second album in the form of Vænir (also RidingEasy). Part challenge to the doubters and the naysayers and part consolidation of their art, Vænir is a very welcome arrival.
The six tracks on Vænir add up to around fifty minutes of music and, for the most part, it’s a solid and occasionally inspired affair. Monolord’s schtick is straight out of the stoner-doom rock tent so beloved of Electric Wizard or Yob. Monolord like to throw around the odd psychedelic flourish but, fundamentally, they are a straightforward lover of the riff. The opening track ‘Cursing the One’ is an excellent introduction, picking a massive, sweeping riff and pummelling the hell out of it for an almost absurd nine minutes. You’re either going to find it deeply hypnotic or deeply boring. I’m in the former camp.
To be honest, the rest of it is like that. You probably know what you are going to get with a song like ‘Died a Million Times’ that trudges, sludges and stomps through your cerebellum like some cantankerous heavy metal bull in a china shop. The epic title track is part pounding, part psychedelic meditation, all doom. ‘We Will Burn’ is the album’s standout track – it’s got a seriously catchy riff and melody and will have you reaching for the repeat button on the electronic device of your choice (or, for the old school among you; moving the needle back again and again).
Monolord are not a band for the faint of heart. They perhaps don’t have the artistic or philosophical veneer of Yob or the tunes of, well, Black Sabbath but unless you’re from the school of arcane pretentiousness then there is more than enough to keep you very happy indeed. Vænir, is pretty much a relentless juggernaut of aural power that pummels you into submission with riff after riff after glorious riff.
What’s not to love?
It probably says a lot more about my own musical preferences than any kind of emerging movement but I do seem to have spent an AWFUL amount of time during 2015 listening to doom metal. It seems that barely a week can pass without stumbling over another band gloriously in love with Black Sabbath and finding new ways to twist and subvert that great bands art and reputation for new audiences. Whilst I bow to no-one in my admiration for this, it can sometimes feel like deja-vu when another album arrives, replete with sixties styled album cover and riffs the size of ocean liners.
It was with this thought in mind and a degree of perhaps understandable trepidation that I approached the self-titled album from Holy Serpent. Before you assume that I’m about to get all cynical and hyper-critical can I indulge your patience and time a little longer, dear reader? Let me be clear; you need this record. You probably don’t think you do, but yes, yes you do. Holy Serpent are a class act. Trust me on this one – I promise you, you will thank me.
Melbourne’s Holy Serpent are at the very psychedelic end of the doom metal spectrum but what’s compelling about this record is it’s lightness of touch and graceful inspiration. The band’s low-end fuzziness is determined and hypnotic, coaxing the listener into a bliss-laden trance of metronomic brilliance. Clearly, like all doom metal bands, this is a band in love with Black Sabbath; what I was perhaps less expecting was a cumulative effect that was not dissimilar in its trippiness and woozy, aural dynamics that one gets from their fellow countrymen Tame Impala. Don’t get me wrong, these bands inhabit very different universes but their understanding of how to discombobulate the listener is clear and pronounced.
On the obviously drug induced ‘Shroom Doom’ or ‘Fools Gold’, there is a trance-like aesthetic running through the songs that is hard to resist, so we don’t, but more than that, Holy Serpent (RidingEasy) conjures a truckload of creative and innovative imagination and puts it firmly to good and effective use. On the eleven minute ‘The Plague’ you have a startling realisation of how ambitious this band are and then, once you factor in how young these guys are, the level of potential that they have is absolutely jaw dropping.
Holy Serpent are confident without being arrogant, respectful without being facsimile, trippy without being self-consciously arch. It’s a record that you will keep coming back to and a record that will easily sit alongside those from which it has taken its rich inspiration.