Berlin-based Stoner and Psychedelic Rock band Pyrior have shared a brand new video for their new single and video ‘X(Space Trip Video)’! The track comes from their new album Fusion, out via Tonzonen Records on March 20, 2020. Watch the video right now! Continue reading
Italian stoner-doom leaders Oreyeon recently released their new album, Ode To Oblivion, via the Heavy Psych Sounds label and have been jamming it out since it dropped. Ghost Cult streamed their album prior to release and now we are back to debut their mind-blowing new video for “Trudging To Vacuity”! Check it out! Continue reading
Ghost Cult is bringing you the full album stream of the new album from spaced-out Italian Doom Metal band Oreyeon, Ode To Oblivion! The album releases this Friday via the always on point Heavy Psych Sounds label and the album is just a mind-blowing listen. Epic jams, haunting harmony vocals, stone-grooves, and a gift for melodies that should make any heavy music fan drool. This album is a must for fans of SLEEP, The Sword, ASG, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, and more! Crank it up to 11 right now! Continue reading
And so concludes a very interesting approach to releasing an album, one that, I believe has serious merit to it. Released in four instalments throughout the year as a quadrilogy of EP’s In The Future Your Body Will Be The Furthest Thing From Your Mind (Failure Music/Pledge), Californian alternative rockers Failure has come up with a way to appeal to the immediacy of today’s playlist culture while also getting material to their fans as soon as it is ready, with no long lead-ins, no convoluted or extended marketing campaigns, just “here’s some new material” at regular intervals throughout the year. Continue reading
Ghost Cult has partnered up with rising British rockers DRUIDS today to bring you their mind-blowing new music video for their track ‘Time’. You can see the clip below: Continue reading
Ghost Cult’s tagline is “exploring the boundaries of music”. Luckily Raw Power Festival in at The Dome in London is providing a weekend of weird, wondering and noisy experimental music.
Metal and any sort of identifiable guitar riffs are largely absent from night one, as was anything so commonplace as a chorus. Opening proceedings is Graham Dunning’s Mechanical Techno, a one-man DJ set with the aesthetic of a garden shed. Dunning uses layers of vinyls in towers to create minimalist beats, but the steampunk-like spectacle includes ping-pong balls and quartz crystals to create an odd light and sound show. Worth seeing for sure, even if the music was a notch above “interesting enough.”
Teeth of a Sea seem to approach music with a kitchen sink approach. Guitars, trumpets, synths, programmed beats; every member of the band plays at least two instruments, usually switching back and forth during each piece of music. There’s a lot going on, each piece builds an intensely layered piece of alluring if incomprehensible nose.
The sheer aggression displayed by London’s own veteran industrialists Test Dept: Redux is a great exercise in catharsis. The band are known for their use of “found” percussion instruments, and don’t disappoint; there’s sheet metal, metallic windmills, steel pipes, spring coils, plus two drummers and a host of abstract industrial noises. Primal, aggressive punk done right.
Much of day two strays into even more unusual territory. Opener Agathe Max only comes to the stage armed with an electrified violin and some loop pedals, but creates a dense mess of Nosie and feedback. It’s chaotic and a good way to wake up from the fug of the night before.
Bonnnacons of Doom’s short but trippy set feature’s mirror masks, and a banshee-like front woman wearing a witch’s cape and hood. Selvhenter redefine the kind of racket you can make with a saxophone, violin and trombone, and make the kind of jazzy droning distortion most bands couldn’t dream of. The Cult of Dom Keller’s hazy psych rock is perfectly pleasant (and would probably go down well with the likes of NME if it was in a guitar music phase) but compared to most of the band’s on today’s bill they lack any real amount of energy or personality.
Slabdragger and Sly & The Family Drone are the two bands from today that GC readers are probably most familiar with. Croydon’s Slabdragger provide an education in proper riff worship – Sleep’s influences are particularly audible – providing a set as heavy as their name suggests. Despite the crushing riffs, the band have an abundance of energy and get a suitably welcome reception from the crowd. Probably the least weird band of the day, but that’s no bad thing when you can crush it.
Eschewing the stage to instead set up in a ring on the audience floor, Sly & The Family Drone gather the crowd around before covering them in beer and Clingfilm and throwing paper plates at them. It would be easy to believe not a note of the band’s set is pre-planned or rehearsed, the band describe themselves aptly as “a primal orchestra of drum rhythms, radiophonic oscillator noise and electronically-abstracted vocals”. There’s no cohesion, no sense to be found, but it’s chaotic fun and rare to be so close to a band when they play.
With the exception of Baby Metal (and make of those what you will) and Boris, Japanese rock and metal doesn’t get a whole lot of coverage on our fair shores. Props then to Raw Power for putting on three wildly different but very hugely entertaining bands from the Land of the Rising Sun. Qujaku (formerly known as the Piqnic) combine both the quiet and droning extremes of Boris melded together with the ability to lock in to a Queens of The Stone Age-like groove. During the band’s quieter moments, the band’s waif-like vocalist Shyuya Onuki floats about the stage before transforming like a man possessed when the chaos cuts loose. Confusing but compelling to watch.
Pikacyu-Makoto a two-piece consisting of Acid Mother Temple’s Kawabata Makoto and Afrirampo’s Pikacyu are far more messy, but no less entertaining. Throughout the set, the drum and guitar combo always treading border between genius and a complete mess. Great when it works, but doesn’t always stay on the right set and occasionally just becomes a bit unlistenable.
Melt Banana, however, are nothing short of excellent, and deliver the set of the weekend. Where there’s been a lot of “weird”, the music Yasuko Onuki and Ichirou Agata make is mental. The combination of punk riffs and grinding drums makes for a crushing set, and Onuuki’s use of motion controlled handset means the bass and drum beats are changed on her cue. Combines brutally heavy with the kind of fun you get from good punk. You’ll rarely see a band like Melt Banana.
Sunday is mostly dedicated to punk and the heavier side of things with a few outliers thrown in to catch you off guard. Opening act Ill make music to fit their name; rough, grungy punk with a snotty sardonic sneer. Occasionally remind of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at their most abrasive. Lower Slaughter, meanwhile, might be the angriest band on show. The Brighton four-piece are packed with dirty riffs and in front woman Sinead have a ball of lyrical vitriolic rage with a surprisingly throaty growl.
Italian trio Stearica are an instrumental band with personality. They crack jokes between sets, show their humour on stage and the drummer at one point jumps of stage to start eking out a beat on the bar. The Baroness-like riffs help too. All I have in my notes for Mugstar is “riffs upon riffs upon riffs.” The Scouse instrumental quartet know how to make good, driving music with a purpose.
The noisy stoner punk of Workin’ Man Noise Unit is good fun, while Follakzoid are probably the worst band of the weekend. Where the former are all energy, the latter make slow, lazy and uninteresting music. Follakzoid might strut around the stage, but their stage presence doesn’t make up for the lack of interesting music. You should listen to more Workin’ Man Noise Unit instead.
Considering some of the oddities seen over the weekend, Part Chimp are an oddly straight-laced choice of Sunday headliner. A proper heavy stoner band, the London five piece can jump from more groove-laden to full on crushing at a moment’s notice, but it’s all inhumanely loud and bruising. One of the more unusual festival’s I’ve been to, but no less fun or heavy.
One of the more unique and intriguing festivals of the summer is this weekend’s 4th annual Raw Power Festival at The Dome in Tufnel Park London. Hosted annually by Baba Yaga’s Hut, purveyors of the finest underground live performances and must know acts; this years fest pulls together the best from the work of psychedelic rock, eclectic electronic acts and avant-garde visionaries. Headlined by the sublime and crazy Melt Banana, they are joined by a bevy of killer bands such as Test Dept: Redux, Picacyu-Makoto, Follakzoid, Teeth of the Sea, Taman Shud, Housewives, Bonnacons of Doom, Mechanical Techno, Part Chimp, Selvhenter, Cult of Dom Keller, Mugstar, Anonymous Bash, Sly & the Family Drone, Orchestre for Spheres, Orlando, ILL, Workin’ Man Noise Unit, Woven Skull, Melting Hands, Lower Slaughter, The Picniq, Stearica, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Slabdragger, and many more. If you don’t have these bands in your collection, you have some research and hours of listening to do.
The program also includes DJ’s, merch, food and drink options and of course, cool people watching. Be part of something truly special and not the typical fest expeirence. Tickets are stil lavailable for the weekend at this link:
German instrumental space rockers My Sleeping Karma have toured relentlessly for the last year behind their album Moskha (Napalm Records), and recently hit the UK for a string of dates. The bands blend of psychedelia, stoner metal and incredible instrumental prowess, makes their shows much more lively than your average band of navel gazing, self-important nerds. MSK gets the “rock” part of this and they always put on a fine show. Opening tonight’s show was Aussie no-nonsense heshers Mammoth Mammoth. These guys know how to write party rock anthems and feel good jams. MSK’s Napalm Records label mates Greenleaf of Sweden, themselves have a brand new album they are promoting, Rise Above The Meadow. Their blend of Sabbath-like retro grooves and well written psych explorations are as intoxicating as the many beers consumed in the bar this night. At The Garage in London recently, all the bands packed the club to nearly sold out, further proving the worth of this type of bill. Thanks to Jessica Lotti Photography for capturing the show for Ghost Cult.
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Autumn is a great time to be alive and weird. Not only is there Halloween, but the darker days just lend themselves to the fuzzy jammage and oblique styles. A good time to get lost in the exploratory music muse and severely avant-garde art stuff. And it’s certainly a good time to catch two unique bands with new albums out such as Pinkish Black and Zombi. Two dynamic duo’s each challenging the perception of what music can truly mean. Pinkish Black’s new album Bottom of Mourning (Relapse) is a triumph of will, after the years since the reincarnation of Great Tyrant, their previous outfit. That bands’ solemn final release, The Trouble With Being Born (Relapse) is also out now. Zombi also has a new album out too, Shape Shift (Relapse again) that pushes the boundaries of “outer-space rock”, one that defies belief at times. Both groups took the stage at Providence, RI’s Columbus Theatre to make an art form from the beautiful sonic war going inside of themselves. Enjoy this photo set from Hillarie Jason who was on hand to capture the night for Ghost Cult.
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Saturday we kick things off with Beelzebong, who give us the swamp soaked heavy slur of stoner doom riffs we’ve been so craving. These guys know how to his the sweet spot of heavy and oppressive, yet hypnotic. They turn the crowd in front of the Desert stage into a sea of bobbing heads, a sight that makes for great start to the day.
Since we get some rare sunshine in the beginning of October, we decide to recover from last night’s first day in the brittle warmth of the autumn sun in the outside seating area, and catch up with some friends.
Monomyth, these masters of the hypnotic cadence are not new for me but a lot of people were happily surprised by their prowess. Their gigs tend to sound like one long jam, and amazingly don’t get boring while they weave on and on in an almost circular way, pulling you deeper into the trance-like state their music conveys. While these guys make some really spacey psychrock, the usually omnipresent guitar noodling is quite minimal and has a more rhythmic notion with this band, repeating and embroidering on the same pattern, building layers and layers of spacey goodness.
After the enjoyable Monomyth set we catch a quick glimpse upstairs in the Canyon stage of Vandal X, these Belgian noise rockers pick up the tempo and shake us awake. Distinctly punky, yet a little heavier and stranger than punk, these guys kick you straight in the teeth. Having apparently inspired such bands as Raketkanon according to the booklet these forefathers of the no-nonsense, bash your head into the wall kind of noise rock are living up to their title. Noise Noise Noise, indeed.
After the rude awakening with Vandal X we go downstairs to see Greenleaf. The moment the band starts the grove is amazing, the thick heaviness is there, and everything sounds incredible, if a bit stripped down to make room for what we assume is going to be vocal driven Stoner. Pinching just a little too much I get the distinct feeling the vocalist is trying to sing a way that doesn’t fit him naturally, and the rest of the music just isn’t intricate enough to be able to ignore a less than impeccable vocal performance.
Thankfully the guys from Mars Red Sky are there to cheer me right up again, with their 70s infused doom. Their groove is one of the best and most catchy of the festival. In a genre often drowned in fuzz and distortion the use of oftentimes clean bass lines is refreshing and really hitting that spot. Soaring guitar lines coupled with remarkably light vocals with just enough echo to make their music sounds quite otherworldly. The contrast of heavy and light, floating and sinking make this band a fascinating experience well worth listening to.
Now I have the hard task of writing a review of Orange Goblin… Orange Goblin is one of the heavyweights in the genre, and seeing them live is nothing short of spectacular. They clearly have that oh so British touch in their approach to metal that takes a lot of influence from punk and just a general slow burning anger at the world no other nationality has quite mastered, maybe it’s the weather. The riled up crowd starts milling in front of the stage in an enormous moshpit that doesn’t let up until the set is over.
To kill the time before Earth start and not just hang around chatting to the many wonderful people this fest attracts, we go catch a few songs by Causa sui. The trippy background projections are pretty cool, but sadly the band evoke a distinct feeling of trying too hard to fit into the psychrock box. The whole thing feels a bit formulaic, and instead of expressing the joy of letting a trip come over you as good psych does, they just leave me with a vague sense of emptiness.
Earth have the honor of headlining today, and I’m quite interested to see how they do. The band is known for it’s super slow and heavy laid back instrumental drone, and while this is in itself wonderful music, it’s something that is really hard to get into when you’ve been on your feet all day and have just seen Orange Goblin destroy the Desert stage with a vengeance. This is a band you definitely need a chair and a good dose of substances for to really get into, but for me, at that time of the day, they just were a bit too slow in their heavy. About midway through, the after party starts, at which we get a second dose of Orange Goblin madness, but this time behind the dj set.
Sunday, lazy Sunday. We start things of with a local Belgian band who’ve clearly not lost any steam over the weekend. Tangled Horns pretty much tangle us in their horns. Fast paced with a franctic frontman who will climb anything makes for a great show. There is a definite raunchy twist in the stoner these guys make, that does definitely remind of 90’s grunge and even a punky atmosphere. Definitely a band worth catching live.
Next we keep the pace up just as high, with the party band extraordinaire Valient Thor. They are one of the few bands on the bill to really get people moving and have banter between songs. As it is a time-honored tradition in the stoner and doom scene to stare at your shoes and mumble thank you, it is refreshing to hear a man remind us we’re all really descendant from space dust in a hilarious way before linking it to the next song and setting off another bout of frantic, happy party punk. These guys would do well at any festival.
After grabbing dinner at one of the many food carts, we go watch Ufomammut. Over the last few years this group has made a reputation for being transcendent and while I see why people love them and where this reputation comes from somehow it just doesn’t hit that special place that makes the experience more than just music for me personally. They still were good but I didn’t see the magic others clearly see in them.
Sometimes there are bands that do everything right and still miss something, and just don’t work. Usually this is personal taste thing and hard to put your finger on, but with Bongzilla I feel I know exactly what was missing for me. These guys make standard sludge, and they do it well, but it’s all a little too clean. Sludge for me needs to be dirty and redneck and Louisiana swamp infested. It needs to feel wild and a little dangerous, heavy and sticky like the sweat is running down your back into your asscrack and the mosquitoes are eating you alive. Sadly this little bit of swamp of dirt and grit is exactly what was missing with Bongzilla.
My disappointed mood was quickly turned when friends I’d made urged me to stay downstairs and skip Fatso Jetson in favor of the Australian band Child. We got treated to a three-piece making some of the heaviest blues I’ve heard in ages, with a groove that was utterly unparalleled by any band on the bill, and most of all a voice that will melt the polar icecaps. The remarkably heavy main riffs get broken up by beautifully soulful blues guitar lines creating a refreshing contrast.
To conclude our stay in Antwerp I use the last of our coins to buy a few of the excellent cocktails at the little cocktail stand outside, and head upstairs for the final after party, not getting home until five in the morning, exhausted, charmed and satisfied. Until next time, Desertfest Belgium.