Black Rainbows – Stellar Prophecy

Hailing from Rome in Italy, Black Rainbows are the boot shaped country’s answer to Fu Manchu. This heavy psych rock is made up of Gabriele Fiori, Alberto Croce and Giuseppe Guglielmino.

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‘Stellar Prophecy’, the follow up to last years ‘Hawkdope’, is the fifth full length release from Black Rainbows and is another perfect slice of sun-drenched, desert fuzz goodness. If Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu, Wolfmother and Hawkwind all drove together down a dusty highway, this would be in the tape deck.

The production on this release is just perfect. The drums lurk just under the surface of the mix, and are brilliantly solid and warm. The guitars and bass are like layers of an onion, stacked upon one another to create a larger mass that when coupled with the swirling, psychedelic lead lines and synths create an almost globe of trippy sound all the way around your brain. The vocals add to this effect and are creatively panned with heaps of delay, again layered to what seems like infinity.

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The tracks on this album are ordered brilliantly and just as you begin to drift off in your own little world, accompanied by the psychedelic almost meditational-like longer tracks, you’re pulled back into reality with huge catchy riffs. The album itself is around fourty-four minutes long but it feels like half that and you’ll find yourself spinning this one over and over again.

The artwork for ‘Stellar Prophecy’ is fantastic and lends itself well to Black Rainbow’s cosmic, fuzzy sound. Black Rainbows are wizards, performing the ritual of fuzz!

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All in all, it’s no surprise that this album absolutely rocks. Black Rainbows have been honing their craft for eleven years and it totally shows. You’d be mad not to grab this album when it drops on April 15th via Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

https://blackrainbows.bandcamp.com/

https://twitter.com/BLACKRAINBOWSii

https://www.facebook.com/BLACKRAINBOWSROCK

http://www.theblackrainbows.com/

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Thrones – Fuse

Thrones is a heavy rock band from Hemel Hempstead in the UK comprised of Aaron Constable (Vocals), Jake Meldrum (Guitar), Bexley Cheetham (Guitar), Joe Stock (Bass) and Danny Cheetham (Drums).

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‘Fuse’ is the second EP from these Hertfordshire heavyweights and contains three absolute slabs of good old classic rock and roll riffs with massive modern production. It was recorded with Ed Sokolowski at EAS Studios in Milton Keynes, who has done a great job capturing that quintessential 80’s rock vibe with super gainy guitars and rip-roaring solos, while still keeping the mix relevant for today’s listeners.

The drums are punchy as hell and coupled with a bass guitar that sits brilliantly in the mix, Joe and Danny create a fantastically solid foundation for the rest of the instrumentation. Sometimes guitars in this kind of genre can be far too overbearing but on ‘Fuse’, they’re just right – sitting in that sweet spot between ‘nails on a chalkboard’ gain and uber low-end stoner; perfect for this sort of music. Aaron’s vocals compliment the rest of the band perfectly and despite sounding a bit too overproduced, there’s still enough rawness there to carry on the hard rock vibe.

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Each song on this EP is as good as the last and it’s genuinely difficult to pick a favourite; this is a testament to the craftsmanship on display from Thrones as every song seems well thought out rather than just a collection of riffs – a trap so many bands fall into.

The artwork for ‘Fuse’ is a great representation of Thrones in general. They’ve broken through the chains of the scene over in Hertfordshire which is dominated by ‘core’ bands – this EP is a big two fingers to the trend. Thrones play unashamedly balls-out, in your face heavy rock and roll and don’t care what anyone else thinks.

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Overall, ‘Fuse’ is a brilliant second effort from a band that have been working hard to grow their fanbase and it feels like it’s about to pay off for them. Hopefully the next step for Thrones is to sow their seed around the rest of the UK and bring back a bit of that heavy rock magic that we seem to have lost. EP’s are a great way to introduce a band and allow them to find their sound. Judging from the tight playing and amazing production on this one, Thrones will soon be back with a full album and we can’t wait to hear it.

As usual, you can grab the EP from the link below and don’t forget to support the band by following them on all the usual social media sites!

https://officialthrones.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialThrones

Desert Storm / Suns of Thunder Split (Desertfest)

Both Desert Storm and Suns of Thunder are stalwarts of the UK stoner/sludge/scene, so it comes as no surprise that these two bands feature on one of the upcoming Desertfest splits as representatives for the festival.

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The first track on this great little slice of stoner rock is ‘Signals From Beyond’ by Desert Storm, who are currently one of the best bands in the UK right now (and for some time). This tune is classic Desert Storm with huge riffs, rock solid bass and drums and Matt’s signature gravelly vocals. Hopefully this excellent track makes it on to the oxford based band’s hugely anticipated upcoming album.

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Suns of Thunder are a balls-out rock ‘n’ roll four-piece from Swansea in South Wales. The band’s ‘Earn Your Stripes’ is taken from the groovy, swagger-filled album, ‘Start as You Mean to Get Down’ and is the second song on this split. It’s a bombastic slab of bluesy stoner rock with stop-start riffs that are as blisteringly heavy as they are catchy.

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You can grab this release on April 29th via H42 Records and while you do so, make sure you go and get the whole back catalogue of both these great bands – there’s not a bad track between them!

 https://sunsofthunder.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/sunsofthunder

 

 https://desertstorm.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/desertstormuk

https://twitter.com/desertstormuk

Craneón – Hacia El Sol

Hailing from Madrid in Spain, Craneon are a heavy psychedelic rock band comprised of Juanjo de Latorre (Vocals / Guitars), José Luis Serzo (Drums / Backing Vocals) and Javier Schoendorff (Bass). The band has shared the stage with stoner rock stalwarts Karma to Burn as well as Pendejo, Deville and Been Obscene.

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‘Hacia El Sol’ which means ‘Towards the Sun’ is the next release from Craneon and was recorded by Christophe R. Moure at Conladiva Studios. The album was mixed and mastered by Manuel Cabezali.

Craneon’s sound is an enthralling mix of the progressive alt-rock stylings of Porcupine Tree, the soaring vocals and experimentation of Opeth and the strange psychedelia of 70’s psych progenitors such as Hawkwind.

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The instrumentation is excellently mixed, with heavy riffs and softer melodic lines blending into one another and intertwining with various vocal harmonies. The bass and drums add a solid foundation to this, fading in and out from heavy to light giving the band a real sense of dynamism.

For me, by far the best song on this release is ‘Romo’, an epic seven minute blend of psychedelia and almost post-rock style composition with occasional glimmers of sludgey heaviness.

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The artwork for ‘Hacia El Sol’ was created by Santiago Talavera. It’s a really surreal scene that uses parts of instruments and gear to create an excellent landscape. Cymbals are used as both the sun and clouds (or spaceships depending on how you view it) and the microphone standing on a cab is almost like a table where the viewer looks out upon Craneon’s genre breaking music.

Even if you are not a Spanish speaker, make sure you grab this album; it’ll definitely grab you. There’s not much to dislike about ‘Hacia El Sol’ if you’re a fan of the more experimental side of things. Craneon bring the psych in bucket loads while still retaining that heavy sound, almost like a Spanish Mastodon.

http://craneon.es/

https://www.facebook.com/craneon.es

https://twitter.com/craneon

Sykopath Condor – Cell 36

Sykopath Condor is a four-piece stoner metal act from Luton in the UK. The band consists of George Zafirakis (Vocals), Kai Wolf (Guitar), Ashley Clark (Bass) and Ashley Morton (Drums). George and Kai hail from Greece and Germany respectively and this injection of European influence really gives Sykopath Condor a true sound of their own.

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After touring their debut material extensively, the band decided on a darker, heavier tone and set to work recording their follow up album, ‘Cell 36’ – a genre-bending slab of stoner infused heavy metal. This self-released album, set upon the world like a rabid dog out for blood in the summer of last year was recorded and mixed by Justin Saban of Latent Lemon Studios and the production is really solid.

The drums are nice and snappy which helps to build that solid metal foundation upon which the stoner grooves of the guitars and bass sit. There’s not a huge amount of extra instrumentation going on here which really gives it that ‘four guys in a room mic’ed up’ sort of sound – something that works extremely well with stoner rock. George’s vocals have a ‘husky’ quality to them, which reminds me of a more southern-tinged Ben Ward from Orange Goblin. Overall, the band have a similar vibe to the aforementioned stoner titans, with a bit of Down and Kyuss thrown in for good measure.

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Overall, this is a brilliant taste of things to come from Sykopath Condor, while still being a great album in its own right. The band remind me of another UK act doing the rounds right now called Master Charger and it would be great to catch the two on a stage together (if it hasn’t already happened!). If you’re a fan of the more metal side of the stoner spectrum, make sure you give ‘Cell 36’ a listen – you won’t be disappointed!

As always, make sure you support the band by catching them at a gig or buying their album:

https://sykopathcondor.bandcamp.com/

https://twitter.com/SykopathCondor

https://www.facebook.com/Sykopath-Condor-189968771013176

Vodun – Possession

Vodun is a three piece band from London that mix riff-filled psychedelic-tinged heavy rock with soulful vocals, all tied together with a heavy west African influence. They describe themselves as comprising of ‘three central forces, rather than individuals’, those forces being Oya (vocals), Ogoun (drums) and Marassa (guitar).

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‘Possession’ is the debut effort from Vodun and what a debut it is! The album has been mixed by Brit-nominated Tom Dalgety and this really shows in the tight, snappy sound. The vocals sit in the mix extremely well and the drums and guitars are totally dialled in.

The sound on this album is quite frenetic. Rather than big bombastic doom style riffs, Vodun are much more fast and technical and at some points even verging on math-esque – something I definitely wasn’t expecting. Having said this, it’s a refreshing change.

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Usually with this kind of music the drums are sparse. Vodun again change up this dynamic by using quite packed and busy drumming which really helps to cement that ‘tribal’ sort of sound (aside from the actual tribal drums which are again used to great effects).

Moving on to the vocals, this is where Vodun really shine. While the rest of the instrumentation is fantastic, it’s Oya’s voice that tie everything together. For this kind of music, soulful vocals are a rarity but it fits tremendously well. Oya has bucket loads of power in her voice and she uses it with great aplomb. Having said that, during the bands’ more introspective and psychedelic passages, the vocals really do seem as if they’re being sung by an ethereal spirit.

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In summary, Vodun bring a refreshing new sound while still retaining the heavy aspect that we all love. ‘Posession’ is a fantastic slice of genre-bending psych rock and it will be great to see where the band go from here.

‘Posession’ is due to be released on 25th March via Riff Rock Records. Make sure you get out to one of Vodun’s upcoming tour dates (below) as well as support them by buying the record and following them on all the usual social media sites.

https://www.facebook.com/VODUNBAND

https://twitter.com/vodunband


 

Tour Dates (co-headline w/ Limb)

April

1 Sheffield, The Washington

2 Manchester, Rebellion 

3 Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms

6 Coventry, The Arches

7 London, The Lexington (Vodun Album launch gig)

8 Bristol, Stag & Hounds

9 Oxford, The Wheatsheaf


Words by James Crozier

False Gods – Wasteland

False Gods is a four piece sludge metal band from New York in the USA, with a big hardcore influence bubbling under the surface. The band consists of Mike Stack (Vocals), Greg March (Guitars), Paulie Stack (Drums) and Brian “bro town” Kaminsky (Bass).

‘Wasteland’ is their debut EP, recorded at Full Force Studios in Ronkonkoma in New York with Joe Cincotta (This is Hell, Suffocation, Incendiary) late last year.

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False Gods don’t really fit into any sort of category and really can only be labelled as ‘extreme’. There’s heavy, groovy riffage in abundance and you might be tempted to label them as doom/sludge which, for the sake of categorisation I’d say is where they’d fit best. Having said that, there’s a solid hardcore foundation going on behind the scenes and this is especially apparent with Mike’s raspy, unrelenting vocal attack. Aside from the obvious, there’s also a hint of atmospheric/post-metal going on, which can be heard at the end of Wasteland, the title track.

The production quality on this EP is fantastic and really manages to capture the rawness of False God’s core sound. The band utilise dissonant chords to great effect and the mix makes them sound absolutely punishing. A good example of this is the beginning if the final track, ‘I Can See You for What You Truly Are’.

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The artwork on this EP is extremely haunting, depicting some sort of spectre gently cradling an unconscious woman. This adds to the vibe of total nihilism that this EP gives off.

All in all, ‘Wasteland’ is a great introduction to False Gods – a band that I am sure we will see much more of in 2016. Full length please!

False Gods will be self-releasing ‘Wasteland’ on April 22nd 2016. As always make sure you support the band by following them on social media and buying their EP!

https://falsegods1.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/falsegods1/