Haeva – One

Haeva is a one-man post-rock/metal project by Wouter Petrens, hailing from Belgium. ‘One’ is the first album from Haeva, following on from the debut EP entitled, ‘Pyramids’.

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‘One’ has been completely self-produced and features ten tracks (nine plus one bonus track) of ambient post-rock.

The sound on this album is quite dynamic, ranging from sparse, ambient passages to heavily distorted, powerful chords. Most post-rock bands build their sound through layers upon layers on heavily reverbed and effects-laden lines – Haeva goes for the reverse which works just as well; the listener is often treated to near-silent sections, save for jagged guitars and muffled rimshots before building into sludge territory distortion which creates a spine-tingling atmosphere.

In terms of production, this release is mixed well and while it lacks the extreme polish of some commercial releases, the drums are still snappy and the guitars have a nice crunch to them. Where Haeva really shines, in both production quality, as well as song writing, is the softer, ambient sections that lull you into a transcendent state – its super relaxing!

Fans of bands such as Isis will enjoy Haeva, however this release will appeal to all those of a ‘post’ persuasion. The album is free to download on bandcamp, however as always we suggest helping the artist out with a donation if you can. Good things are definitely in the cards for this band, and we can’t wait to see how they grow in their next release!

Words by James Crozier


https://twitter.com/HaevaBand

https://www.facebook.com/haevaband

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Stone Machine Electric – Sollicitus Es Veritatem

Stone Machine Electric is a duo from Texas. With their downtuned, slow guitar playing they have made absolutely sure that there is no need for bass in their sound. There is plenty of low-end on this record which is provided by Dub (guitar, vocals) and Kitchens (drums, vocals, theremin, synth). They were formed back in 2009. Since then they have recorded ‘The Garage Tape’ and ‘The Amazing Terror EP’ as well as this year’s ‘Sollicitus Es Veritatem’ (their first full length album). This release consists of five lengthy songs, ranging from seven to almost nineteen minutes and is their finest offering to date.

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The opening track, ‘I Am Fire’, starts with a slow-burning haunted touch to it. You can hear their Sabbath roots when the first riff kicks in after three and a half minutes and from there on its pure riff ‘n’ roll at its finest. A complimentary fact here is their smart vocal use and the rest of the album is based on the same formula as well. You get the feeling that Dub’s vocal duties kick in exactly and only when the song demands it. It doesn’t matter if it’s only for the last two minutes of the song because they let their riffs and cymbal smashing do the talking.

In the next song, ‘Dreaming’, the atmosphere builds up slowly until, as the lyrics say: ‘I’ll take you down and take you further’. The tempo picks up pace and they show their ‘jam’ side with a three minute guitar solo and heavy drum pummelling.

‘PorR’ is the next track and right from the start it has this ‘stoned, room full of smoke, huge reverb on the guitar’ kind of feel to it. The melody is one of those that you think you’ve heard it thousand times already but actually, it’s just that good that it sucks you right in. For some it may have that ‘Planet Caravan’ vibe which I’m sure no stoner rock fan would mind. Here again there is just a ton of excellent guitar solos accompanied perfectly by the drums. ‘PorR’ is my favourite track on this album for sure.

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A riff and cymbal explosion is the perfect start to longest track on the album called ‘Demons’. After the headbang-worthy first section, they start to slow it down a bit and here you can actually hear how low they tune their guitar when only a single note is being played without any effects; it sounds just like bass and the drums follow in that old school ‘rim shots’ way. They mix it back and forth until almost halfway through the song. At this point, the style shifts to an almost drone, noise style interlude. A couple of minutes after, the song gradually continues its second half with beautiful soloing that keeps on going and going and here is the perfect time for the listener to close his eyes and just relax. About 3 minutes before the end you are snapped out of the trance when the riffs start growling again. A great touch at the end of this song is liberal use of a flanger-style effect!

Unfortunately, every album has to end and in this case it is with, ‘I Am Fire (Slightly Burned)’.  The sog begins with a bunch of synths, theremin and who knows what other effects and sounds. This is their psychedelic side shown in majestic way. I wonder how it would sound if Stone Machine Electric ever decided to record a pure psychedelic rock album – I would be very much interested in hearing that! The last couple of minutes really reminded me of bands like Ufomammut, Monolord, Zoroaster and other psychedelic doom champions.

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The production and overall recording on ‘Sollicitus Es Veritatem’ is done flawlessly. It’s really clear and powerful from start until finish. That however is not surprising at all after you find out that the man behind it is Kent Stump of Wo Fat fame!

In this genre its really easy to fall under the surface and sink as there is a million bands all over the world playing the same music, having the same idols, playing on the same gear as everyone else etc. This is not the case with Stone Machine Electric. Is it because how tight they two play? Is it because the riffs are never boring and always move in all kind of directions? Or maybe because of their unique psychedelic interventions when you least expect them? It’s all of that and much more. What a great record and a great journey.

A word to Wo Fat: bring these guys to Europe with you on the next tour please!

Words by Vedran Stimac


http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/

http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric

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/

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

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