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tiistai 29. huhtikuuta 2014

Mansion's debut mini album We Shall Live out on CD!

We Shall Live, the first mini album by Finnish psychedelic cult/doom/metal group Mansion, has now been released also on CD by Polish Nine Records. The first, limited vinyl pressing from Finland sold-out very fast, and the same seems to be happening to the second, German pressing, so a CD version will be very useful to feed the hunger of the new fans. The band played a mesmerising and powerful gig at this year's Roadburn Festival and most definitely won some new fans that day...


torstai 17. huhtikuuta 2014

Albinö Rhino: S/T

Inverse Records (INV127)

This is the second release by Helsinki-based stoner rock/doom group Albinö Rhino following last year’s mini-album Return of the Goddess on Russian Bad Road Cogito Ergo Sum label. I have really enjoyed this trio formed by Kimmo Tyni (guitar/vocals), Ville Harju (bass/vocals) and Viljami Väre (drums) ever since I first saw them live at Bar Lepakkomies in Helsinki, since their music is a nice mix of heavy doom, hypnotic repetition and psychedelic stoner rock with a progressive twist. The first release was more or less just four demo tracks remastered for a CD release and suffered from a little too muddy sound, but now the sound quality is a lot better, even if still a little home-grown. The whole album was produced, recorded and mixed by Kimmo at Dubsync Laboratory, Helsinki, except that drums were recorded by Jari Pörsti at Damn Jam Studio, Helsinki.

There are only four tracks on this album that’s out on CD and vinyl, but the tracks are pretty long… The groovy, instrumental opener “The Forest Prevails” has also been played live a lot and I like it very much. It’s pretty much based on just one mid-tempo stoner riff that gets developed and has more guitar and stuff like psychedelic effects build on it. This is good stuff to bang your head to! The slower “Sanctification” has Om-like vocals by Kimmo and a really cool, doomy and mesmerizing vibe. Some heavy guitar on this one, and we also get some faster jamming. Kimmo might not be the fastest or best solo guitarist in the world but I like the emotion and vibe he has in his playing, and the rhythm section does a great job as well. “Blue Mist” written and sung by Ville starts off with some more solo guitar and this is another great stoner doom piece that has some more melody, groove and jamming/soloing to keep things interesting. This might be the best track, although the last, over 14-minute “Uphold the Light Pt. 1” is amazing as well… This one has a bit more progressive, even Kingston Wall styled stuff and is far more lively than the other tracks. I’m also getting some The Obsessed vibes later on. What a great song and a very nice ending to this brilliant disc. Come and see Albinö Rhino support heavy doom monsters Conan tonight at Bar Loose, Helsinki!

Conan: Blood Eagle

Napalm Records (NPR 527)

Conan is a crushingly heavy doom/sludge band from Liverpool, UK. I must confess that I’ve been a huge fan of Conan the Barbarian sword & sorcery books and comics since childhood and the author Robert E. Howard is one of my favourites. Conan is a perfect name for this band that’s so heavy and devastating that I’m sure their Cimmerian namesake would be proud of them. This trio has been releasing EP’s, split releases etc. since 2007, but Blood Eagle is their actual second full-length studio album following Monnos that was put out in 2012. One of their live appearance at Roadburn Festival was also released on 2LP last year as Mount Wrath: Live at Roadburn 2012. The band has also played in Finland, like at our Slip Inside This Club at Bar Loose in Helsinki in 2013 with Horse Latitudes. Tonight they are playing again at Bar Loose and I just can’t wait!

Okay, let’s get into the new record now. The 45-minute album features six new tracks ranging in length from just under fiver to almost ten minutes. It was recorded at SkyHammer Studio by Chris Fielding, and mastered by James Plotkin (Khanate, O.L.D.) with excellent results. The sound quality is really good and skull-crushingly heavy. I like the vocals since they are more like war cries or triumphant anthems than for example deathly growls or just harsh screaming that is pretty common with this kinds of heavy doom metal bands. There are also some psychedelic effects on the guitars from time to time to make things more interesting. Most of the stuff is slow and heavy, but they also throw in some hooks and a little faster parts which is cool. Otherwise things might get a bit boring after a while. Conan has been compared to bands like Eyehategod, Sunn o))) and Ahab, and there are definitely some similarities, while Conan still has something unique of their own. The long opener “Crown of Talons” is slow, gloomy and heavy stuff. The monotonous but highly effective vocals kick in after three minutes. It’s amazing how so simple stuff kicks ass so hard. “Total Conquest” starts off with some phased guitar which sounds cool. This one also has a bit more complicated and interesting rhythms and gets occasionally faster. The end riff reminds me of Celtic Frost which can never be a bad thing! One of the live highlights from the new album seems to be “Foehammer” that has more fierce energy than most of the band’s other tracks, although there are also slow doom parts, or course. This will get the people moshing for sure… Great! “Gravity Chasm” has cool doom boogie beat, and rocks hard too. Then we’ve got “Horns for Teeth” that is another killer track that sort of reminds me of early Celtic Frost or Hellhammer or even Dream Death but the sound is heavier and harsher, of course… Some very cool riffs on this one! The nine-minute “Altar of Grief” starts off with just a simple drum thing and bass. The guitar joins in after a minute or so, and things get extremely heavy and doomy. Phew! Later on there’s also some vocals. It’s good to have a slow and gloomy one to finish the record, I think, even though in the very end they rock a bit faster again. To sum it up: what we have here is a massively heavy, gloomy and loud album with no unnecessary gimmicks (or guitar solos) and it sure kicks ass. Go get the album and also be sure to catch the band live on their European tour right now since they play crushingly loud and truly maim!

maanantai 7. huhtikuuta 2014

The Cult of Dom Keller: The Second Bardo

Cardinal Fuzz (CFUL015)

The Cult of Dom Keller is a psych rock band from Nottingham, UK. Since their inception in 2008 the band has released four EP’s, one limited CD and two full-length LP’s. The band has been compared to The Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacemen 3, 13th Floor Elevators, The Warlocks, The Stooges and Hawkwind, to give you some kind of picture of their fuzzed-out, droney, hypnotic and mind-melting brand of psychedelic rock. I now have their both LP releases and have been enjoying them very much even though the sound quality is a bit on the raw and primitive side. But it’s just part of their fuzzy charm!

The new album has nine tracks ranging in length from 2:36 to 8:34 minutes. The longest track “Plague of All” comes first and it’s a pounding, fuzzy and repetitive caveman-psych thing. The instrumental “The Snake Keeps Changing” is a little shorter but it’s even more hypnotic stuff with heavy guitars, simple but effective beats and organ. The Same riff goes on for seven minutes and melts your brain… “Dead Seas” is the shortest track and has a bit of psych blues vibe. “Into the Sky Volcano – Beyond Burning Skies” is a more atmospheric piece with some sound manipulation, although it starts to rock after the beginning. “Heavy and Dead” has a hazy, dreamy mood but it gets more intense and driving soon. Very good stuff. Perhaps my favourite track still is the amazing, hypnotic and druggy “Godshaker” that brings to mind White Manna and Carlton Melton from the US. “Ghost Bones”, like some of the other tracks too, sounds a bit like Dead Skeletons. The title track “The Second Bardo” is somewhere in between 13th Floor Elevators and The Black Angels and rocks pretty hard and fast without vocals. The last rack “Killer in My Sleep” is a slower, moody one with some Brian Jonestown Massacre/Spacemen 3 vibes. What a great album, and I’m really looking forward to see the band live for the first time at the Roadburn Festival this week!

tiistai 1. huhtikuuta 2014

Octopus Syng: Reverberating Garden Number 7

Mega Dodo Records (DODCD 6)

Reverberating Garden Number 7 really has been a real Isaac’s Cathedral to construct for Jaire Pätäri, the leader and singer/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist of Finnish psych rock/folk wonder Octopus Syng. Jaire has been building the album since his last album Birds of Morning Are Never Late released on Nasoni Records in 2007. After a couple of false starts, several hard drive crashes, search for a new record label and lots of bad karma in general the finished album is finally here! And it sure was worth the wait. A lot has changed since the previous album. Unlike before, also most of the studio recordings feature a full line up instead of just Jaire with occasional quests. The line-up of Octopus Syng has also been stable for a few years now featuring just Jaire, Jukka, his trusted drummer since the Dildo Mania times, guitarist/backing vocalist Joni who also plays in Black Lizard and bass player/backing vocalist Antti. Some years before the live line-up also featured female singer/organ player, but now we only have some guest female vocals on some of the studio tracks and Jaire also plays the organ, piano etc. on studio tracks. Everything has now been recorded at the band’s rehearsal place or Jaire’s home instead of a studio. This has of course given much more time to experiment with different recording techniques and microphones as well as mixing. The end result is amazing compared to the first version of the album a few years ago or even the promotional version that was pressed on CD-R last year. Since that, Jaire has done some serious re-recording, remixing and even replaced some songs. The professional mastering also helped, for sure…

Okay, so what about the music? We still have the whimsical and melodic Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd pop vibes, psych folk a la Pekka Streng and Captain Beefheart-like weirdness but also lots more. Jaire’s recent interest in avant-garde and experimental music also shows, for example on the weird opener “Avant-garden”. The ending of the song has more normal and very nice mellow melodies, though. One of my favourite songs is the next piece “It’s Not a Coincidence” that has a driving, alluring beat and hypnotic vocal harmonies also featuring female vocals. There’s also a slower, atmospheric part in the middle. Excellent stuff! The rather short (2:29), dreamy and quite minimal “In the Middle of Nowhere” reminds me of Spacemen 3 and the psychedelic, melodic and pretty waltz of “Diamonds and Emeralds” is very nice as well. “Very Strange Trip” includes some sitar and has a bit of Velvet Underground feel to it but also some 60s UK vibes. “Cuckoo Clock Mystery” is one of the oldest songs on the album and has gone though some very different phases. This very catchy tune is definitely one of the high-lights and also available as a video on YouTube but with an older mix of the audio. This one also has wonderful female backing vocals. A master-piece! “You Are Every Poem” is a beautiful, simple, folky ballad that also has some piano. The Captain Beefheart influences are the clearest on “Thought Collector” but the vocals are more like Syd Barret. “Mirror of Memories” is a mellower, soft, melancholic and very nice number, and then it’s time for the experimental instrumental “Reflections of Time”. The album’s magnum opus is the long, last track “Listen to the Moths”. An earlier edit of this over nine-minute-long monster was previously released on split 7” on Regal Crabomophone (Fruits de Mer). This is a very unique song even for Octopus Syng being one of their darkest. The beginning is pretty minimal, more acoustic and fragile but quite strange and mystical. Before the three-minute-marker the track starts to move and you don’t know what hit you. The feeling this song gives you really is something else and hard to describe. Otherworldly, hypnotic, magical, a bit spooky are words that come to mind. There’s also some great solo guitar in there. This goes on for almost four minutes, and then there’s a highly psychedelic, experimental ambient ending with just some vintage effects, whispering and sparse percussion. Wow! This song is an instant psychedelia classic. I warmly recommend pre-ordering the very limited vinyl version from the Mega Dodo Bandcamp site right away, or get one of the just 100 copies of the CD with different cover art if you like. I know I need them both.