The Texas Chainsaw Dust Lovers – Me and the Devil

The Texas Chainsaw Dust Lovers are a riff-fuelled fuzz rock band that hail from Paris, France – despite the fact that they have a very American sound!

The band is comprised of Clément Collot (Guitar & Vocals), Nagui Méhany (Guitar & Harmonica), Christophe Hogommat (Drums) and Étienne Collot (Bass). The Texas Chainsaw Dust Lovers have shared the stage with some great bands, including The Midnight Ghost Train and Black Spiders.

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The latest release from the band is called, ‘Me and the Devil’. The grammatical faux pas of the name is completely forgiven as soon as The Texas Chainsaw Dust Lover’s unique brand of fuzzy rock hits your eardrums. The guitar tones are both smooth yet aggressive, the drums are super tight and well thought out and Clement’s vocals are outstanding. The production values are also top-notch.

In terms of sound, TTCDL have a really unique style, but they definitely wear their influences on their sleeves! There is an obvious Clutch and Queens of the Stone Age influence as well as more subtle ones pulled in from elsewhere, such as Ennio Morricone’s classic scores. While they might not be an actual influence, there are some huge similarities to the later Arctic Monkeys albums (where they dropped the indie rock aspect and became much more stoner rock-esque, no doubt helped along by Josh Homme when he produced them).

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The Texas Chainsaw Dust Lovers are really coming into the scene from a fresh angle. While the trademark fuzzed-out guitars and wide, loose drums that are a hallmark of stoner rock are still present, you can tell that all the songs on this album have been thought about in terms of songwriting and aren’t just a collection of riffs and licks.

I wholeheartedly recommend that you grab a copy of this fantastic slice of atmospheric fuzzy rock’n’roll, find the longest, dustiest road that you can and absolutely crank the volume! The Texas Chainsaw Dust Lovers have crafted a superb, sexy album and I personally can’t wait until they find their way across the channel and play some UK shows!

‘Me and the Devil’ is out on the 28th of March, released by Besta Records. You can pre-order the album on Bandcamp right now and if you don’t go and follow this band on all social media, you should be arrested, because it’d be a crime not to give these guys a listen.

https://texaschainsawdustlovers.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheTexasChainsawDustLovers

 

Words by James Crozier

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Flicker Rate – EP

Flicker Rate is a solo project by the incredibly talented Hastings based multi-instrumentalist Spencer, who at just 16 years old has just released his first eponymous EP. Billed as ‘instrumental atmospheric post/math rock’ the EP does indeed hit elements of all these genres in just 12 minutes and 42 seconds. It’s one of the most impressive things to come out of Hastings since Spike Milligan.

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The EP starts off with ‘Valhalla’ which, after a short build-up goes into the song proper, which is a 2 sectioned slice of post rock. The first half is quite laid back with more of a focus on the main guitar riff while other guitar parts float over. This adds a bit of flavour and interest to the track. The second half has more distortion and creates a growing sense of unease about the track with a more ominous chord sequence, a growing overarching synth and more math rocky/ guitars over the top.

‘Evident’ is definitely a step into post/math metal with a more distorted guitar tone, ethereal spikey guitar lines over a heavier riff. The combination of the heavy (almost sludgey) tone and the bass, does make it a more headbangable track than the rest of the album but the real core of the track for me is the higher guitar part which continues almost unchanging throughout the song. Towards the end, something bizarre happens as Spencer appears to have mixed in a small element of glitch using VariFi (or a similar effect) to make it sound like a tape machine stopping and starting. This leaves you wondering what just happened at the end of the song, and more importantly wanting to hear it again.

The next track ‘Small Sun’ is probably the most straightforward of the EP, being based around two riffs – the first a more basic stoner riff while the second is a separated power chord rhythm while chords play over it. Nothing technical or mathy about this track however the drones over the top of the whole track give it a bizarre feeling much like the end of Opeths’ ‘Heir Apparent’.

The EP rounds off with ‘Elusive Rain’ which begins quite sparsely with a single guitar playing a delayed riff. This continues unchanged until beyond halfway, as more guitars and other layers are added to keep the listener interested. The track as an entity is built around this riff as the only change happens just after halfway when the guitars become heavier and the drums kick in with more of a punch than their previous appearance on the track. There is some interesting lead work which again echoes to a post metal and math rock influence as the lead lines are both piercing and angular. The tune is bookended by the ‘main riff’ of the song played on the delayed guitar which gives a sense of completion to both the track and the EP.

My overall impression of this EP then is this: Spencer is clearly some sort of wizard as besides some of the mixing perhaps, I cannot comprehend how he managed to create such a solid solo effort at 16. The tracks are great, the tones are great and work really well with the tracks, the drum parts fit nicely and every aspect appears to have been well thought out. Definitely an artist to watch as if he’s this good at 16… well he can only get better.

As always, the EP is available on Bandcamp. Like, follow and share Flicker Rate on all the usual social media hotspots!

https://flickerrate.bandcamp.com/

https://twitter.com/flickerrate

 

Words by Ollie Smith

Electricjezus – Котлован

It’s rare for a piece of music to establish its intent so clearly from the very first chord but Electricjezus leave little room for doubt. When the first raw, floppy stringed, fuzzed out chord of “Сырая Тишина (Humid Silence)” hits, you are left with no illusions: with Ruslan on guitars, bass, organ, vocals, and his partner in crime Oleg on drums,  two-piece, Electricjezus are here to serve up classic sludgy, downtempo doom shipped fresh from Dmitrov, Russia.

The EP gets straight to work with long drawn out chords, laced with feedback and thumping drums; a sound squarely in the middle of early Earth and The Melvins at their most malignant. As the track progresses, we’re treated to all the required creepy discordances, hypnotic riffs and razorblade vocals that the genre demands. It’s a mellow (well, mellow for doom) start to the recording – more “eyes shut and sway” than “beware the harbinger of the end-times: he comes”.

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“Плоть и Кровь (Flesh and Blood)” changes things up without deviating too much from the formula, with a killer stop-start riff which gives way to more sludgy riffs, but this time the approach is more visceral and unhinged with Ruslan’s vocals becoming more of a central feature. It’s a welcome change of pace.

It’s somewhat ironic that the shortest track of the EP (Пыль Dust) should offer the greatest breadth of stylistic variations. It opens with an almost punky (again distinctively Melvins-esque) riff, then twists toward more classic sludge riffing. That in turn gives way to a galloping triplet-time riff which illicits thoughts of Baroness and early Mastodon before returning to the standard doomy fare via more creeping, menacing riffs. Though the band must be applauded for exploring more musical ideas, it occasionally feels disjointed and I feel some great relief when the band settle back into a down tempo groove towards the end of the song.

Собачий Вой (Dog’s Howl) returns to more familiar ground, beginning with a synthy organ which is pummeled into the ground by the heaviest guitar work that Electricjezus have served up so far. The guitars are drenched in reverb and the tempo is dropped to its lowest point so far. Ruslan’s vocals are at their rawest here – the sound of vocal chords pushed past their limits and Oleg’s drumming is restrained and primal. This is what the band do best: it’s by the books doom. There’s little innovation going on, but it’s done perfectly and sounds like the soundtrack to an invasion of angry dinosaurs as the world burns around you – precisely as this kind of music should. Top stuff.

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The final track on the EP begins and immediately fills me with dread – not because of monstrous riffs or otherworldly guitar sounds, but because I quickly realise that this is a cover of Berlin’s 1986 super-hit “Take My Breath Away”. I am terrified that we have entered a frightening new era of comedy doom band covers. But somehow Electricjezus have pulled this off. I think because contrary to many “tongue in cheek” covers they appear to be approaching this cover with great love and affection for the original – it’s angry, slow, doom laden love, but as the several-minutes long fade-out leaves a fuzzy halo hanging in the air I can’t think of a better ending for the EP.

Before we end, I feel compelled to address the production of this record. The band’s Bandcamp page lists the tag “lo-fi” and that’s certainly true to an extent and there’s a level of “genre appropriateness” to the whole thing, but there comes a point where the lo-fi approach doesn’t always feel that it best serves the music. Guitars and vocals speak well but the drums are often at once over-authoritive, yet sounding muddled in the mix. I can’t help but feel that a touch more clarity, refinement and restraint would have made the EP that much more impactful.

In Котлован, Electricjezus have demonstrated that they are intimately aware of how to do this brand of doomy sludge and if that’s your cup of tea you could do far worse than to check them out. For my part, knowing that they’ve honed their craft so exactingly, I’d love to hear what happens when they stretch themselves beyond the constraints of the genre.

As always, you can grab the album on Bandcamp – don’t forget to like and follow the band on their social media pages too!

https://electricjezus.bandcamp.com/

https://twitter.com/Electricjezus

https://www.facebook.com/Electricjezus-575252375818127

 

Words by Alex Caithness of Longfallboots

 

 

Camel of Doom – Terrestrial

Leeds based Camel of Doom is something unique in the world of Stoner Doom as it incorporates some of the most psychedelic/spacey passages I’ve heard from a band in the genre outside of ‘Ivixor B/ Phase Inducer’ by Electric Wizard.  This is reflected in the band’s influences with 70s Prog/Psych (Bandleader Kris being a massive Hawkwind fan), Stoner, Death, Doom and Ambient all being ingredients of which the drug-like concoction that is Camel of Doom’s music is formed.

The band itself consists of founder Kris (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Programming), Simon (Bass) and Ben (Drums) who joined shortly after ‘Terrestrial’ was released. Being a Camel of Doom fan I picked ‘Terrestrial’ for my first review on The Stoner Sound. I’d already bought it, but had yet to listen it. So without further ado, here are my thoughts.

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The first track, ‘Cycles (The Anger of Anguish)’ really manages to encompass the sound of the album as a whole, mixing heavy riffs, screamed vocals and ethereal passages. But the first thing to hit you in the face when you hit the play button is the tone, which is the audio equivalent of a charging rhino. The tone doesn’t cloud up the riffs (unlike some stoner bands who use so much fuzz that you can’t hear what they’re actually playing). The guitars on this track are audible and well defined. ‘Cycles (The Anger of Anguish)’ also showcases a change in the psychedelic aspect of the Camel of Doom sound, foregoing the characteristic saxophone of previous albums for a more, dare I say, generic doom choice of strings. This means the clean passages rely more heavily on effects and post production than they have in the past.

‘A Circle Has No End’ follows as a short guitar and synth interlude between two dense tracks, allowing you to catch your breath and prepare for the next dose of tone.

The dose of tone in question is ‘Pyroclastic Flow’, which aside from being one of the heaviest tracks on the album is also one of the slowest, dropping to a glacial, funeral doom tempo in the middle. The riffs that ensue are a blend of Sleep and Colosseum and the track essentially becomes a funeral stoner track, pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a song about being killed by an erupting volcano.

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Track four of the album picks up the pace with ‘Singularity’ which is a romp through sludge and stoner with soaring sci-fi synths floating over it all. Its a more energetic and conventional (for them) track that showcases an angrier side of Camel of Doom. The vocals on this track in particular are stunning and a big step up from their previous works, this makes it one of my favourite tracks from the album.

‘Nine Eternities’ is another short interlude, which has more of a focus on the psych/space aspect being a minute and a half of lush, whirling sci-fi synths slowly building up to the next track.

‘Euphoric Slumber’ is another lunge into the funeral doom riffs of ‘Pyroclastic Flow’, but with more of an emphasis on the psychedelic aspect. The almost post rock breakdown in the middle is definitely a moment to treasure as the crushing riffs dissolve into sweeping synths and guitars before slowly building up to the behemothic riffs of the beginning. This track is very fluid with tempo, constantly speeding up or slowing down which really keeps the listener interested, right up to the strange delayed outro.

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‘Sleeper Must Awaken’ is the first track on the album to have Kris sing as well as scream/growl and is a drastic change in mood from ‘Euphoric Slumber’ as the riffs are faster and there’s a more identifiable lead guitar line. Despite being the longest track on the album at just over 14 minutes, it doesn’t feel like it, possibly as a result of the more upbeat chords and faster pace. It’s certainly the most progressive track on the album which, as a progressive music fan, puts this in contention with ‘Singularity’ as my favourite track.

The final tune, ‘Extending Life, Expanding Consciousness’ is a melancholic synth and piano arrangement and is a stark contrast to the rest of the album. It’s almost a classical piece in composition, being somewhere on the scale between Draconian and Yes. It works well as an outro track after listening to an hour of slow, heavy riffs and despite being so different, it brings in some of the Camel of Doom touch as whirling psychedelic synths slowly fade in (and then out) towards the end.

Overall the most notable change from previous albums is the replacement of the psych sax with strings. This gives the album a more gothic feel to previous Camel of Doom albums though sacrificing some of psych aspects that made Camel of Doom unique. This could however be a step in a new direction for the band and has made me intrigued as to how they’ll evolve further on down the line. In conclusion then, this is another strong album from Camel of Doom and definitely worth a listen.

As usual, the album is available on Bandcamp and don’t forget to like and follow the band on their social media pages.

https://camelofdoom.bandcamp.com/album/terrestrial

https://www.facebook.com/camelofdoom

 

Words by Ollie Smith of Viridian Drift

Longfallboots – You’ll Know It When It Happens

Hailing from Warwickshire in the UK, Longfallboots are a three piece fuzz rock/metal band comprising of Ben (Drums/Vocals/Synth), Alex (Guitar/Bass/Vocals) and Amy (Bass/Vocals). I first heard this band when playing a gig with them and was genuinely blown away by how heavy and imaginative their songs are.

Longfallboots’ take an average stoner rock band, rip their instruments and pedals out of their hands, turn the knobs up to 11 and throw everything else away. Their approach to songwriting is so refreshing, with a triple-pronged vocal onslaught and frenetic tonal changes. So many unsigned/indie label level bands in the UK scene at the moment (especially some of the big players) rely solely on ripping off bands related to Phil Anselmo; Longfallboots forge their own path, leaving a swathe of experimental fuzz in their wake.

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The EP begins with the titular, ‘You’ll Know It When It Happens’. This song is the illegitimate lovechild of Baroness and Death From Above 1979. Perfectly on point vocal harmonies fight with spiteful sounding shouts over sumo-weight riffs. The guitar tones here are something to behold; they’re absolutely huge.

Second up is a fantastically hectic tune called, ‘(We’re Gonna Have To Deal With) Gary)’. Some of the more closed-minded stoner fans might baulk at this statement, but there’s something very Enter Shikari-esque about this song, especially the initial vocal lines.

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Next up, is ‘Executive Function’. It’s the main single from this EP, and with good reason. This tune is fantastic and as ever, features a huge main riff that hulks along like a gigantic rhino. Tonally, Longfallboots are one of the best bands I’ve heard in a long time.

‘Explosions’ is short but sweet and is a more punky affair with an awesomely fluid bassline with tons of slides that serves as a great contrast to the intro of the last song on the EP.

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‘In My Favour’ is a great choice for a closing track. It’s a little more slowed down than the others, with a chilled out, clean intro that gives way to what I would call the epitome of Longfallboots’ sound: Riffs with weight and pounding drums laying a thick foundation for the melodic vocals fighting for position with angry shouts.

In closing, Longfallboots are truly unique and depressingly underrated in a scene that’s currently saturated with dull, trend-hopping bands. In a few years when, they move on to the next big thing, I can see the huge amount of work that Longfallboots are putting in paying off in a big way. If there’s one band that deserves your money at the moment it’s these guys. As always, you can grab the EP as well as loads of other releases at the band’s Bandcamp page. Don’t forget to like and follow the band on social media too!

facebook.com/LongFallBoots

twitter.com/LongFallBoots

longfallboots.bandcamp.com/

youtube.com/user/LongFallBoots

IZŌ – Self Titled

IZŌ is a 4-piece instrumental sludge/doom band from Lecce, Italy, made up of Paolo and Maurizio on guitars, Francesco on bass, and Luca on drums. Influenced by Sludge and Doom heavy hitters such as Sabbath, Electric Wizard and Mastodon, their overall sound is reminiscent of a more psychedelic Kylesa, flawlessly combining sludgy riffage with up-tempo stoner segments and hypnotic clean passages. Their self-titled debut offers an impressive set of tracks which are well worth the listen.

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After a short and to-the-point intro provided by the first track, IZŌ(Intro), the main portion of the album opens with “We Are What We Are”, setting the tone with a hard-hitting and relatively straightforward sludge/stoner track in which influences from bands such as Yob are readily apparent. Though perhaps the most simplistic track of the album, “We Are What We Are” is by no means boring – the track expertly straddles the line between sludge and stoner rock, keeping the listener on their toes with a number of changes in pacing and mood. The drumming is especially noteworthy, and while this remains true for the extent of the album, this track in particular allows drummer Luca to really let loose.

The next track, “Hikikomori”, is where the album really starts to come into its own. Opening with a clean intro that would be right at home in a Cult of Luna release, it takes a brief tour through post-metal territory before returning to another section of powerful stoner riffage. This then transitions into an extended clean passage which showcases IZŌ’s artistic versatility and solidifies “Hikikomori” as a personal highlight of the album – a series of jazzy post-rock guitar lines driven by a catchy bassline which build up into a spectacularly heavy outro riff.

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Track number four, “Kikusai” opens with meandering psychedelia-soaked guitars accompanied by sparse drums and background ambience. The length of the intro passage works in the track’s favour as it lulls the listener into a trance before snapping them back with a series of ballsy riffs, heavily evocative of bands such as Kylesa. This track is probably the best representation of IZŌ’s sound as a whole, offering a perfect balance between calm psychedelia and pounding riffage.

Track five, the intriguingly named “EuTONEsia”, brings another shift back into the realms of post-metal, if only for a moment, with a neatly-executed atmospheric intro that paves the way for a blistering crescendo of incredibly catchy stoner riffage. The sheer power behind the last few riffs makes this track another personal highlight of the album.

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The final track, “MudMut”, while labelled as an outro, is also a great piece of music in its own right. Following a more simplistic formula than previous tracks, it offers a condensed reminder of just how hard IZŌ’s riffs can hit – just in case you had forgotten in the brief gap between tracks five and six.

Overall, IZŌ’s debut is an extremely solid album, and is highly recommended for those who like a bit of psychedelia in their sludge. Each track has a distinct, recognisable character of its own which makes the listening experience that much more enjoyable. This is an album that demands to be played at maximum volume.

As always, you can find the album on bandcamp. Get it here from the band’s label (released 26 February 2016):

https://acidcosmonautrecords.bandcamp.com/album/izo

https://www.facebook.com/Izoband/

 

Words by Stephan Carter of Landforge

Skunk Rider – Smoke Serpent

Skunk Rider is a stoner rock band from Seattle in the United States. The band is comprised of Jim Dicus (bass/vocals), Chad Allen (guitar/vocals) and Bill Deatly-Peluso (drums). Their debut release, Smoke Serpent is a raw, grungy affair which is to be expected from a band hailing from the home of Grunge.

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One of the best aspects of this album is the interplay between the guitars and bass. While a lot of stoner rock records mix the two instruments into one slab of fuzz, Skunk Rider have gone for a more stripped back approach reminiscent of earlier doom bands such as Black Sabbath, where the bass and guitar are two very separate audible entities. Of course there are some great riffs here too, ranging from classic doom/stoner to wacky psych dissonance.

Bill’s drumwork compliments this style nicely by providing a solid backbone and not unnecessarily crowding the mix. Surfing over the top of everything, the crazed vocals add a level of uniqueness and add an almost ‘Primus-esque’ quality to the music.

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As a CD collector, something I personally enjoy is great artwork. Not only is the music fun and interesting, but Smoke Serpent features some great artwork too.

Make sure you support the band buy grabbing the album from bandcamp; don’t forget to like and follow them on social media too!

https://skunkrider.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/skunkriderband

https://twitter.com/SkunkRider1