Dapper Dan Man…

January 19, 2010

Mount – Three Song Demo

Filed under: StonerRock.com — gazzabazza @ 3:46 PM
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Review by Mirza Gazic (StonerRock.com) – link to site and review
Self Released
Release date: 2010

This northern English band – they have since, according to their site, changed the band name to Maars – make themselves known with a nifty three-song demo sounding as if it was delivered straight from the seventies. They’re slow, pondering blues songs stripped of any excess – raw and bare boned and they make you wish this demo had more music on it. This is surprisingly good considering it is coming from a still unsigned band.

“Hassle” is a soulful piece with a distorted, rumbling bass as intro; the vocals are rich and expressive and the song is a perfect introduction to the bands rootsy blues-rock. The closer “Garden” is a similar offer but it is slightly longer and is given time to slowly build up, seeming like the band just warmed up and got comfortable. Only the middle song breaks the mould and is a straight forward rock ’n roll song – it’s perhaps the weakest of the three but strong nevertheless.

The sound is of expected demo quality; once this Leeds group have the means to record in a decent studio and write more songs they have the potential for reach. The genre may be difficult to get huge in but they at least have the skill to be as good as another English blues-rock band – Firebird.

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August 17, 2009

Music Review: Supercontinent – Vaalbara

Filed under: Music,StonerRock.com — gazzabazza @ 4:46 PM
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Supercontinent – Vaalbara
Review By Mirza Gazic (StonerRock.com)
Saw Her Ghost Records
Release Date: 2008
Published: August 15, 2009

Link to review

Considering the meaning of the term supercontinent it can be said that these guys from Ann Arbor, Michigan have quite a fitting name. The sludge/doom on Vaalbara is practically overloaded with dense, overwhelming riffs and the album is largely instrumental so those that favour riffing over singing should love this. As befits the genre this album is very low on tempo, sounding instead as if most songs were played in a muggy swamp.

Naturally, due to the nature of this genre and the fact that Supercontinent also have quieter moments they will draw comparisons to more esteemed bands like Isis. This is inevitable but they actually have a tad more in common with Cult of Luna, particularly with their 2003 album The Beyond and during those very few moments when there are vocals present this comparison becomes clearer.

What Supercontinent do well here is manage to keep an album with over 60 minutes in length interesting which is not an easy thing to do, especially within sludge. They do it by calming things down halfway through with the mellow “Rain Gives Rise,” which is five minutes of beautiful melancholy as good as anything by the post rock bands. Another highlight is the mighty “Monolith,” a ten minute piece that goes full circle from churning heaviness, through introspective calm and back to suggestive riffing.

Sadly, this band is now defunct but don’t let that stop you from tracking Vaalbara down.

August 5, 2009

Music Review: Pike – Beneath Death Valley demo

Filed under: Review,StonerRock.com — gazzabazza @ 10:24 AM
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Really good demo from a Swedish doom/stoner band- Could go the same way as fellow countrymen Kongh

Published on StonerRock.com – Link to review

August 1, 2009

For those unfamiliar with Pike – which currently must be quite a few – they are a Swedish trio playing groove-heavy doom metal who here offer up a promising demo consisting of two songs and an acoustic interlude. Not much material to dissect but this is easily overlooked since they’re still in the beginning of their recording career and since, in true doom fashion the two songs tick in at a length of over 15 minutes.

Beneath Death Valley draws a considerable influence from both classics like Sabbath and Motorhead, but even more so from contemporaries like High on Fire and particularly from the more grimy and rumbling jams on The Art of Self Defense, something evident on opener “Snowstalker.” Where Pike differ slightly is with the mix of psychedelic influences which function well as armament against a lack of variety.

It would be good to hear a recording with at least four longer songs on it next time, in order to make a more fair judgement of whether they can sustain the skill from Beneath Death Valley and spread it out over a longer period. It will especially be intriguing to find out if they can write another ten minute song with equal parts fast and doomy as good as “Manonian.” Until then Beneath Death Valley will do just fine.

http://www.myspace.com/pikesweden

Music Review: Carlton Melton – Live in Point Arena 7/8/08

Filed under: Review,StonerRock.com — gazzabazza @ 10:18 AM
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Published on StonerRock.com

August 1, 2009 – Link to review

Carlton Melton is a band made to be a cult favorite among those that love improvisational and instrumental music. They sound too trippy and weird to ever be big, but they do know how to make something engaging out of what sounds like nothing more than impromptu jamming. The deal here is slow, long pieces of space rock with a hint of drone added in – the first two songs, “Happy Song” and “Against the Wall,” have a constant rattling buzz throughout – that are pleasantly soothing and atmospheric.

There are similarities with latter-day Earth but where theirs is a dry, dusty character, Carlton Melton literally rise above and offer up spacey and ethereal soundscapes. Live in Point Arena has the atmosphere of a record just born out of a will to improvise rather than plan any song structures. It sounds like the band just plugged in and went wherever inspiration took them at that moment in time. The fact that all song titles here are working titles further cements the view of a loose environment. “Root Ball” consists of not much else except for a long, slow guitar solo, whereas the back bone of “Inter Mission” is based on the strum of a broken up old acoustic guitar and another drawn out solo, albeit with more of a blues feel to it this time.

For those that appreciate music that breathes and takes its time, that is made for concentrated listening Carlton Melton are a new acquaintance to embrace. They may remain unknown but will be liked by those that still love rock with an experimental edge.

http://www.myspace.com/carltonmelton

April 16, 2009

Hellamor – Denim EP Review

Filed under: Music,Review,StonerRock.com — gazzabazza @ 3:02 PM
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Hellamor – Denim EP
Review by Mirza Gazic (StonerRock.com)
Self released
Release date: 2008

Most of us know that the stoner genre is within a very close reach of its saturation point. The worry that arises when confronted with a recording from a fairly unknown band comes from more than just the usual question of whether it’s actually any good – the other one is if it stands out enough to warrant multiple listens.

The answer here has to be a rather ambiguous, as it goes both ways. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Denim EP as such – the four songs on offer are suitably riff heavy and the vocalist fluctuates equally well between raspy croaks and soulful wails. The recording bears all the hallmarks of the genre and Hellamor also wisely throw in a more mellow song in the shape of the dusty “After All,” which is the pick of the quartet.

A redeeming feature with Hellamor is that, as they’re still unsigned, they’re at the beginning stages of their career and can develop. There is good songwriting here, but at the moment not much to outweigh the Nebula or Kyuss records on your shelf.

I’m a bit behind here as this review was published last week but I wanted to wait and upload some more writing at once, rather than the sporadic posting of one review every few weeks. I’ll get my Bigelf review up after this one and hopefully I’ll get writing up here more often.

But then again, who gives a hairy ass fuck- nobody reads this thing anyway…
If by accident you manage to stumble in here then go to StonerRock.com and check out the review there. Click here and then go and read some other good stuff up on the site.

April 2, 2009

White Darkness – “Nothing” review

Filed under: Music,Review,StonerRock.com,Writing — gazzabazza @ 4:45 PM
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If there is one thing this project does very well, it is the ability to inject you with a sense of overwhelming unease. From the static and feedback heavy opening and onwards, Nothing is, to say the least, a very ominous and eerie sounding album.

Being largely instrumental, the pounding drums, monotonous electronics, and the mellow and melancholy piano are blended expertly and invoke a feeling of fright and dread throughout – the entire album would have been a perfect fit as a soundtrack to a psychological thriller about a serial killer. Imagine a psychopath stalking somebody through a dark, damp alleyway as the haunting melodies and the near-silence midway through, save for some pastoral guitar plucking, are the sound effects.

Nothing would have sounded even better if the calm, introspective melodies had been given more space to roam over the harsh noise, but that’s just a minor gripe. This is still a record that grabs and manages to leave its imprint- an emotional blend of serene beauty and ugliness that will have you looking over your shoulder while walking down a deserted street.

Published yesterday on StonerRock.com. Read it on the site and check out some other excellent reviews and features.

March 31, 2009

Trap Them – Sleepwell Deconstructor

Filed under: Music,punk,StonerRock.com — gazzabazza @ 11:40 AM
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Guys from black- and doom metal bands and a hardcore band decide to start a new project together – it’s not a complete surprise that the result of that union would come out sounding quite as unholy and visceral as Trap Them. Sleepwell Deconstructor consists of 20 minutes of solid anger. There is no point in trying to put this in a specific genre, as it draws from a multitude of extreme inspirational bands and makes an own concoction.

The basis here is grind and not entirely unlike more modern bands such as Nasum, but there is also a palpable hardcore angle on display- from the Converge- styled cacophony on “Collapse and Marathon” to the d-beat breakdowns that are jumping up all over the album. Often all of these s t y l es will be heard in one and the same song, and bearing in mind that the majority of them are no longer than three minutes should give a decent idea of the intensity.

Listening to the raw guitar sound on Sleepwell Deconstructor takes me back in time to the first time I listened to Entombed’s seminal, genre-defining Left Hand Path. Trap Them are their own band, but the thick and buzzing sound of the guitar definitely brings to mind the old late 80’s to mid- 90’s Sunlight Studios production.

If you like a few more, unexpected inspirations to be introduced on a hardcore album so that it becomes more aggressive and memorable, then Trap Them is certainly the right band to listen to.

Published on StonerRock.com yesterday. Read it here

Trap Them Myspace page

March 4, 2009

The Grasshopper Lies Heavy – Gun EP Review

Filed under: Music,Review,StonerRock.com,Writing — gazzabazza @ 5:57 PM
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This obscurely named Texas trio is one of those rock bands that has found itself lumped in with the not-insignificant number of groups with the word “post” as a prefix used to explain their sound. In other words, they play instrumental songs heavy on ambience and emotion and with this six-song EP, they show potential and possibilities of musical growth.

The slight difference with The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is that they don’t delve into the light instrumental sound of bands like Mogwai or The Red Sparowes but instead rely on a more heavy and sludge-based sound, with melancholy guitar effects that broaden the sound and strengthen the impact of their music. The first “proper” song – opener “Equalizer Drone” is two minutes of feedback noise – has a subtle background effect that keeps going until the end and creates an even tenser atmosphere.

The guitar playing is what makes the biggest contribution to their amorphous, airy sound – it’s thick like broad strokes of a brush on canvas for the majority of time. It’s relaxing music as it stands, but I would have preferred a bit more of the pastoral, calm guitar plucking like at the end of second song “Gifts”. This is only a minor disturbance though and Gun is a strong debut release.

With their propensity towards a darker, sludgier sound, they have a start and now they just need to keep evolving their sound and avoid getting stuck in the “post” category.

Review now up on StonerRock.com. Read it here.I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for instrumental music of this kind so it wasn’t hard to enjoy this album. I look forward to hearing more from these guys and hopefully it will keep expanding.

February 23, 2009

Defcon 4 – The Bad Road

Filed under: StonerRock.com,Writing — gazzabazza @ 11:32 AM

Playing metal with heavy sludge influences will inevitably bring comparisons to a certain seminal New Orleans band – slow, grimy music ridden with misery and frustration. This Boston group definitely invokes them, particularly the first part. The singer almost brings Mike William’s sick vocals to mind but doesn’t quite have as much of his bile spewing wretchedness and anger. He does still bring enough to make their sophomore album the uneasy listening experience that it should be. The Bad Road consists in large parts of torturous sludge but also has a few unexpected twists, like the jarring, angular noise rock of bands like Botch and the legendary Unsane, along with a few nods to their label chief’s own band, Today is the Day.

The album is split into four acts, each with several different titles, and over 22 minutes Defcon 4 venture effortlessly from each s t y l e in each segment. After the first act’s slow, doomy section, they venture into strange rhythmic drumming that is at first a tad disorientating, especially after the simplistic initial sludge groove, but once you get used to it, the section blends in very well and there is no doubt about the skill here. All the s t y l es that are blended into this brief album seem to be there for a reason, from the hardcore punk speed and the rock ’n’ roll guitar shredding in “Act II…” to the off-kilter rhythms interspersed throughout the album.

Those into this kind of music will now that it’s not to be listened to at the wrong time, since The Bad Road definitely does not carry any feel good elements. Even the guitar carries a certain dissonant and sombre tone, but you could do worse then adding Defcon 4 to your collection.

To read this review on StonerRock.com, click here, and check out some of the other reviews on the site as well.

February 16, 2009

The Devil Rides Out – Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3 review

Filed under: Music,Review,StonerRock.com,Writing — gazzabazza @ 12:37 PM
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Being named after an occult novel and a 60’s horror film one would expect this lot to produce some raucous sounds, and that is what the Perth, Australia collective offers.

What they have done here is released three EP installments, with six songs on each, and listening to them in chronological order, you start to view it as a chronicle of a band’s development. Not so much in terms of different music peering through on the recordings, but of subtle nuances like song writing, pacing, and production values that improve from the first to the last album. The music is soulful and blues-colored rock ’n’ roll that would fit quite nicely as a soundtrack to a biker movie with hairy reprobates swigging bourbon and riding choppers in between sessions of vandalism.

The Devil Rides Out is heavily 70’s influenced, as is expected, but the group owes more to the driving riffage and blues rhythms of yore than anything sludgy, slow, and doomy. Imagine a band that is the sum of ZZ Top, AC/DC, Led Zep, Miller High Life, sunshine, sideburns, and convertibles and you will come pretty close to physically defining The Devil Rides Out. A modern contemporary band like Clutch minus the jazz noodling can also be heard here, particularly in the vocal performance which on a few occasions brings to mind Neill Fallon’s more throaty wails. Vocalist Joey K’s singing is quite impressive throughout, as his voice is deep, rich and expressive.

Of the three recordings, Volume II is the most blues-rich EP, where the simple and choppy riffs and slower songs are at the forefront. With the third and final installment, you hear the band at its most comfortable. The slow blues is still there, but the focus lies more on the faster, high-octane tunes. It also benefits from a far better production sound than on the previous two mini-albums.

As is probably clear by now, the expectation should not be aimed at hearing originality here, but if you, like me, have a fondness for this kind of music then all three sessions by The Devil Rides Out will provide satisfaction.

I’m back after a short hiatus due to a busy work schedule- This review was published on StonerRock.com

Click here to read it on the site and here for the band’s Myspace page.

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