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maanantai 25. toukokuuta 2015

Zone Six: Love Monster

Sulatron Records (st1504)

This is the first studio album in 11 years by German improvisational space/kraut/psych/trance rock band Zone Six, if you don't count the 2012 split album with Vespero from Russia. The band was originally formed 18 years ago, and they released their great, eponymous debut album in 1998 on Early Birds label. Nowadays only founding member is Dave Schmidt (originally on bass, now on drums), while other musicians are his partner and Electric Moon bassist Komet Lulu, guitarist Rainer Reef (The Pancakes) and synth wizard Martin Schorn aka Modulfix, who has played in Zone Six for around ten years when ever they have put out a live show. All four also form the new, cosmic kraut rock sensation Krautzone (with 50% different instruments), but this stuff rocks out a bit more I think.

What we've got here are four great, brand-new, instrumental and improvised tracks with perfect sound quality and spacey vibe. The title track "Love Monster" comes first and it's 15 minutes of mid-tempo, rather heavy and highly hypnotic space rocking that forces you to bang your head. I love the very fuzzy, sharp guitar tone, and Lulu and Dave have a nice, groovy thing going while the synths deliver the spacey atmosphere. Very nice! "The Insight" is a bit lighter, repetitive and droney track that grows along the way but very slowly and gets heavier by the end. "Acidic" has lots of freaky effects on the guitar and a steady rhythm section and cool synths sounds. The album is finished with the over 15-minute "Cosmogyral" that starts off peacefully and in a beautiful mood. Things get more fuzzy again in a couple of minutes, of course... This one has some hot solo guitar work and cools down again towards the end. A very nice trip for sure! I'm so glad that Zone Six released another studio album after lots of live releases and luckily this album is also released on limited vinyl by Deep Distance! Warmly recommended.

perjantai 8. toukokuuta 2015

Seremonia: Kristalliarkki

Svart Records

Kristalliarkki (Crystal Ark) is the third LP by Finnish psychedelic occult heavy rockers Seremonia. I must say that I've been a huge fan since the beginning, and the band just seems to be getting better and better and progressing without loosing their essential spirit. This new album is perhaps a bit more psychedelic, otherworldly and varied but just as dark, gloomy and heavy as before. I really like the fact that there's organ on several tracks as well as flute which gives some more dimensions and vibes to their usual punky, fuzzy proto-hard rock sound. I think it's fair to say that there are also some prog rock influences. The female vocals are in Finnish as usual, and I feel the vocals that are strongly influenced by occultists like Crowley and Blavatsky somehow seem to be more thought of and not just as off-the wall as before.

The album starts off with the two-minute "Vihkimys" and it's a suitable, atmospheric introductory incantation to the ceremonies. The energetic and heavy "Alfa ja Omega" rocks hard and works very well and also has some organ in the chorus. "Tee mitä tahdot" ("Do What Thou Wilt") is a bit more complex, mystical and very interesting track full of Crowley's Thelema. "Musta liekki" ("The Black Flame") is a cool, mid-tempo hard rock/boogie freak-out, and "Lusiferin lapset" (The Lucifer's Children") rocks faster again getting close to psychedelic stoner rock in the guitar solo section. Great! "Vapauden polku" ("The Path of Freedom") is slower, doomy song with some mind-blowing sound-effects and a great chorus and prog organ solo that I also enjoy very much. "Kuolema voittaa" ("Death Will Win") is a short, more straight-forward, fast and punky rocker again, although the chorus is a bit more progressive. "Jokainen Askel" ("Every Step") is a dark, gloomy and slow track with a great chorus including church organ sound, a cool jamming ending and a strong Black Sabbath vibe. The title track "Kristalliarkki I" is the longest on the album at 14:35. It's also rather different in mood since it's peaceful and there are no distorted guitars in the first three minutes, but then things start to get more freaky, experimental and esoteric... We also get some flute, organ and sax, what a weird and wonderful experience. "Kristalliarkki II" is a short and fast punky eruption that ends the album in a harsh way. This is a highly recommended album for all lovers of psychedelic occult hard/heavy rock and remember also to buy their new 7" Hasiskultti that includes two tracks not on the album! The band will play two album release gigs: tonight at Bar 15 in Seinäjoki (w/Circle) and tomorrow at Lauantaitranssit festival in Helsinki (w/Circle, Death Hawks, Teksti-TV 666 etc.). Can't wait to see them again!

keskiviikko 6. toukokuuta 2015

Hawkfan #42

It's great that Brian Tawn nowadays seems to be able to finish a new Hawkfan zine every six months or so, since there definitely are enough Hawkwind fans who prefer a hard copy magazine to just reading about their favourite band online. And I also love the fact that the outlook of the zine has pretty much remained the same since the beginning albeit some technical improvements... It still has that home-made, DIY charisma, freshness and love in it!

This time we get a lengthy (but not a bit boring) write-up of Brian's experiences at Hawkwind gig at Sheffield City Hall, March 3rd 2015 that fills up most of the mag. The live pics (yes, still in black and white of course!) are by Mike Hood and probably better than usual. This is a very in-depth and detailed story and once again you almost feel like you are living and sharing the experience with the fans that actually were there in person. What a great gig report! We also get an eight-page Damnation Alley that this time for example has lots of recent Hawkwind bootlegs, including several 7" singles. There's so much out there for a Hawkwind collector to buy that it's driving me insane! And many bootlegs are limited to just 50 copies or so... Good hunting! Also included is of course the new 11-CD collection This Is Your Captain Speaking... Your Captain Is Dead - The Albums and Singles 1970-1974. As usual, the Hawkfan #42 costs just £1.80 within the UK, £2.80 to the rest of Europe and £3.50 outside Europe by Paypal to Get you copy a.s.a.p.!

Vincebus Eruptum #19

Okay boys and girls, it's time for another issue of Italian heavy-psych music magazine Vincebus Eruptum! As always, this is a professionally printed, glossy and colourful little zine in English with many interesting interviews and album reviews. The great cover art is by Kabuto. First there is an interview with my old pals The Linus Pauling Quartet from Houston, Texas. Davidew knows his business and starts the interview with great questions about the Houston psych scene of the early 90s (Houston Schlong Wessel, Mike Gunn etc.) and it's very educative to learn more about that scene. And it only gets better! Charlie (guitar, keyboards and vocals) always gives a totally crazy, funny answer while Ramon (guitar and vocals) and Clinton (guitar and vocals) have some more sense in their answers... A funny read for sure! And when Davidew realised that the band had no way of releasing their new, forthcoming album on vinyl he offered to release it on his own label! That's heavy psych history done on the spot.

Then there's a cool interview with Ben Ward from Orange Goblin who gives straight, honest answers about the new album and their music in general and how he feels after 20 years of OG. What a great guy! Victor Griffin is of course a legendary guitar player who has been active in the doom metal scene for 30 years, but this new interview with him concentrates on his latest activities like re-joining Pentagram, the new album they are making right now, the All Your Sins - Video Vault DVD. Other topics include his band In-Graved that made an album while Victor was away from Pentagram. A very interesting read. Fantasyy Factoryy is a German psych/prog rock band that I don't know that well so it the interview with the main man was enlightening for me. Rome-based new heavy psych band Killer Boogie is next. This is a collaboration between members of Black Rainbows and The Wisdom and a tribute to late 60s proto-punk/hard rock scene of Detroit. Check out their hard-rocking debut album!

My Sleeping Karma presents the more spiritual, atmospheric side of heavy psych and I don't think I've ever read many interviews with them before. What an amazing band, I'm so happy they supported Monster Magnet on their European tour a couple of years ago! Ides of Gemini is a band I had never even heard before, but they are on the Neurot roster. The review section includes some interesting reviews off releases by bands like Acid King, Sendelica, Atomic Workers, Colour Haze, Domo, Sula Bassana, Black Rainbows, Amenra, Mr. Peter Hayden etc. This mag is a must-have for any self-respecting heavy psych fan!