After nearly two decades spent exclusively on the live circuit, Blue Oyster Cult returns with their fifteenth full-length album, The Symbol Remains (Frontiers Records Srl). In a way similar to the recent releases by fellow Seventies Rock legend Alice Cooper, the band opts for a kitchen sink songwriting method. The fourteen tracks play out like a career retrospective of sorts, exploring a variety of moods between classic-minded rockers, synth-heavy AOR numbers, and atmospheric occult excursions.
After releasing two albums and an EP under the Witch Hazel moniker, the York, Pennsylvania quartet has rebranded as SpellBook. Their first album under this new moniker, Magic & Mischief (Cruz Del Sur Music), doesn’t deviate too far from their established Occult Rock style. There are a multitude of Seventies Rock grooves fitted with a slight Doom crunch that is quick to recall their contemporaries in groups like Lucifer, Demon Eye, and Icarus Witch.
It’s oddly satisfying when an album’s title is also an accurate descriptor for the music it contains. This is more or less the case with Old Blood’s second full-length album, Acid Doom (DHU Records/Metal Assault Records). While the group’s style may not be crushing in the traditional sense, their brand of Heavy Psych has a dark sultriness that should sit well with fans of groups like Uncle Acid and Blood Ceremony. And considering the four-year gap since their self-titled debut, it’s fair to say that things have only gotten more off-the-wall in that time.
Having successfully reinvented themselves as a power trio on 2018’s What Was And What Shall Be, Brimstone Coven, doubles down on the template with The Woes Of A Mortal Earth (Ripple Music). The style remains rooted in Seventies-flavored Occult Rock with the songs largely being driven by simple guitar/bass grooves and wafting vocal harmonies. The atmosphere and drawn-out pacing further reinforce a trancelike mood that is relaxing, yet esoteric. Continue reading
Kingnomad’s Prog Rock tendencies have been at the forefront from their inception, but these elements are expressed in their purest form on Sagan Om Rymden (Ripple Music). The group has about completely phased out the Stoner Doom tinges that helped shape their first two albums, allowing their third to expand their dynamics without a single hint of fuzz to be found. While this does make a less heavy album on the surface, a combination of energy and commitment to atmosphere results in what is easily the band’s boldest effort yet. Continue reading
Butterfly’s full-length debut isn’t the least bit shy about its Seventies Rock inspirations. That is made immediately apparent with the cover art contrasting Vikings and a mystical title with an innocuous band name, but the music plays out like a grab-bag of Montrose, Uriah Heep, and Budgie among others. Its free-spirited attitude is comparable to their contemporaries in Freeways and one can occasionally detect hints of otherworldly haziness in line with Tanith and Brimstone Coven. Continue reading
It would seem that this is Scandinavian ‘Drenched Riffs’ Week, but to pigeonhole Swedish quartet The Riven as mere seventies Rock does them no justice whatsoever. Their bass-heavy groove machine is positively electric and eponymous debut album The Riven (The Sign Records) drips The Blues while shooting fire from both hips. Continue reading
Oft breathed by those in the know in the same exhalations as Dream Theater, Leprous and Devin Townsend, London’s Haken frequently pass below the radar of those outside of Prog spheres. New album Vector (InsideOut Music) is, however, the fifth in the band’s ten-year existence and shows a level of accomplishment to surpass those more notable names. Continue reading
Remember The Sword? The Austin, Texas group’s 2006 debut Age of Winters (Kemado) was a perfect blend of Black Sabbath and Sleep with a hint of Mastodon’s relentless drive. As one of, if the not the outright best debut albums that year, it gained widespread acclaim and sold an impressive 80,000 records. The follow-up, Gods of the Earth, was another slice of the same pie and saw the band bag a tour with Metallica. Continue reading
Taking their name from a Deep Purple song from the 1971 classic Fireball (Warner Bros.) are Demon Eye. Arising from North Carolina, Demon Eye started out life as a ‘70s rock covers band called Corvette Summer before transforming into a fully-fledged band in 2012. As their origins suggest, their sound is an amalgamation of 70s hard rock and metal – with Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, early Judas Priest and Iron Maiden the major influences. Their third album Prophecies and Lies (Soulseller) was produced by Corrosion of Conformity’s Mike Dean and continues down this old school path. Continue reading