Friday, 27 May 2016

The Playlist Post

"What has Jonny been listening to since his last article?" I hear you all ask.

Well I don't as I'm not telepathic and I'm certain you don't really care. But, if you're reading this, what you do like is good music, and this article has it.

So without further ado, here's whats been on my playlist the last couple of weeks....

Band: Kublai Khan
Track: Smoke and Mirrors.
Find Them: Facebook, Twitter, Website

I love the groove of this, vocally intense throughout, it's a hard hitting and enjoyable track.


Band: Black Tusk
Track: Truth Untold
Find Them: Facebook, Twitter,

A band I haven't been able to get enough of since I saw them support Black Label Society a couple of years ago, brilliant live band and this is a great song and video.



Band: Gravel Drag
Track: We're on Kill
Find them: Facebook, Twitter

Very good instrumental riffers from Bedford, Virginia. I haven't been able to stop listening to their Album Sly Fox since buying it and dare say I'll be listening for some time to come. These guys are a must listen for any fans of great guitar riffs, no matter the genre.



Band: Sikth
Track: Hold My Finger
Find Them: Facebook, Twitter, Website

For me one of the best bands the UK has produced! That is all..... Actually it's not all, you must buy their new album now, it's incredible. Now that is all.




Band: The Black Swamp
Track: Cold Dead Hands
Find them: Facebook, Twitter

The subject of my last article, are they that good? Yes they are and I cant stop listening to this. Groovy, Sludgy awesomeness. You have to get their forthcoming LP on your wishlist.



Band: Montezuma's Revenge
Track: Dead Frost
Find them: Facebook, Twitter

The incredible sludge band from Moscow's album is not getting old. This artistic video showcases what they are about. Artistic, Riffing, Sludgy perfection. It is no wonder they're in such demand with Sludge titans such as Down, Crowbar and Eyehategod. Like them? Read more.


Band: Idlewar
Track: Feel the Pain
Find Them: Facebook, Twitter, Website

Just when I thought these guys would be preparing to have a quiet period before releasing an LP and invading the UK with a tour, they unleash this brilliant video to go along with the equally excellent track from their EP Dig In. If you like this, read more here.



Band: Crowbar
Track: Symmetry in White
Find them: Facebook, Twitter

One of my favourite "Album" bands, The Riff Lord just keeps delivering and I generally can't go a couple of weeks without having a binge.



Band: Sepultura
Track: Inner Self
Find them: It's Sepultura, if you don't know where to find them, I'm not telling you

I've been rekindling my love for Sepultura of late, being more of a fan of their pre Roots stuff I've been especially enjoying this track.




Plenty of well knowns and hopefully a couple of new discoveries for those reading this. Please get behind the bands you like, if you like any.

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Cheers,

Jonny The Music Blogger

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The Black Swamp - Foulness/Faultless

The Black Swamp


With them entering the studio this month to record their d├ębut LP it seems like a good time to do a little article about a band that is new to me, but one of my favourite finds in years, The Black Swamp.

If their EP "Foulness" and subsequent track (and video) "Cold Dead Hands" is anything to go by, then I am anticipating something pretty special, and I hope after reading this and hearing some music, you will be too.

The Black Swamp are already well in the process of making a name for themselves and have supported the likes of Hell Yeah and the almighty Black Label Society. Some readers may already be well versed in their sound. If you're not read on, if you are read on anyway, I'd be interested to get your opinions of this article......

The Black Swamp are a band who, for me, capture a bit of the spirit of Pantera, and take me back to the happiness I felt and the "how the fuck am I only just hearing this" feeling I had when I first discovered what came to be my benchmark band for all Metal. And from me, there may be no bigger compliment.

Now, I'm not saying this band are an imitation, because they are most certainly NOT. They do however on a couple of occasions appreciatively nod their head in that direction, namely in vocal delivery and some of the riffs.

In terms of musical style you can't really pidgeon hole them into a specific metal genre, something they seem to be deliberately trying to achieve, but they have elements of sludge, groove, stoner, doom and on occasions hard rock to their sound.

What they do posess is excellent musicality throughout, an ability to write catchy head infecting riffs and incredible vocal delivery.

Who Are They? 


The Black Swamp are currently made up of vocalist Stewart Wren, Jesse Kenny and Grant Scott on guitars, Rohan Downs on Bass and Brendan Woodley on drums. They are from South East Queensland, Australia. The material discussed and featured in this article was recorded with Ricky Collier on Bass duties. They started performing as a live act in 2012


Foulness EP


Foulness is excellent from start to finish, and this is the only way to describe it.

"Medal of Horror" contains great drum work which really drives the track in a similar way Adler's style does often for L.O.G. It's a high impact head banger from the start and throughout.

The title track, "Foulness" (obviously) is groove at its best, with a nice melodic lead in the chorus and a breakdown that'll have you slam dancing so hard you'll head butt the floor.



In the song "Legion" the vocalist, Wren, shows a talent of providing impact with his vocal delivery. There are well timed but random growls and then screaming "You will remember my... name" with "name" being after the beat where you'd expect to hear it. It may seem like minor things but these subtle nuances add so much to this track. Many bands don't seem to think about how much this can add to the groove or enjoyment of a song.

"The Fight Inside" starts with a great, southern influenced lead guitar line and riff. This then grows into a sludgy, chugging beauty of a track, one of those the more you hear it the better it gets songs.

The EP closes out with "Bastards of the Universe". This is a track that is worth the cost of the EP alone. Stewart Wren takes the opportunity to show off his impressive vocal abilities, incorporating a cleaner style whilst maintaining his usual style in places, The riffs would leave any fan of bands like Down, Crowbar or Orange Goblin purring with satisfaction.

Cold Dead Hands 

I'm not going to say anything about the track, Cold Dead Hands, apart from in a fan boy way, as I said to my mate Jim when I first saw it; "YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS NOW"!




Their releases so far have a variance of styles that are all performed to a high standard. When I think about what we will hear on the L.P then I hope they keep this eclectic mix going. But then I also think that if they concentrated on performing straight up groove (or sludge or anything else) it wouldn't be an issue as they are more than proficient all the areas they cover.

You can buy the EP here for a pittance, so its really worth the investment to discover a brilliant metal band, and start getting pumped for their LP release later in the year.

Ultimately this is the type of band that I want to go and see whilst getting hammered with my mates, rocking out at the gig then leaving ready to party more! And that's probably why they give me the "Pantera effect", because when I hear them, I want to drink and party and when music makes you immediately want to do these things, you know it's quality.


Follow

Follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and check out their Youtube channel for some interesting videos. (see the end of the article for a video about the writing process for the new album).

Band photos are by K.C Ward

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You will remember my ...... NAAAAAAME!









.






Monday, 9 May 2016

Montezuma's Revenge - From Russia With Sludge (and a Bong)



Who are Montezuma's Revenge?

Montezuma's Revenge are Ilya Boots, Vladimir Yurchenko and Yura Kalyaamm.

They are also not the diaahorea suffered by visitors to Mexico, although they share the name and sludgy consistency, they are most definately not shit!

What they are is a stonerific sludge band from Moscow. Although to describe them just as this doesn't really encompass their complete sound.

Now I know all music is art, but I don't think Zakk Wylde sits and considers how he is going to actualize his artistic vision in sound. I think he writes a good riff, records a "piss in your face" solo and he's done, and there's nothing wrong with this, in fact the man's a legend.

However, these guys are putting artistic thought into their compositions. It's not over bearing, or as we in England would say "arty farty", but it's there enough to give it an interesting direction. What this brings to the table is some fantastic and interesting journeys in the music and lyrics that constantly alerts the listener's attention. They have an artistic edge that sets them apart.

And speaking and art.....

Something, apart from the music, that I sincerely appreciate about this band is the clear importance hey put into the audible AND visual artistry.

In the digital music age the visual artistry of an album is often lost. Even on physical album art a lot of bands seem to follow a pre determined formula. This is not the case here. On their first LP, Key to the Abyss, they have used the considerable talent of Moscow based artist Andrey Davidosky, who has created a visually stunning sleeve cover and pages which compliments their sound perfectly.



Key to the Abyss

As I said before , if you're expecting straight sludge, you're not getting it here, but what you will get is the awesome riffs comparable to the likes of Down, with some brilliant additional soundscapes and tempo changes.

The album kicks off, well in chaos, off with "Chaos Reins", a song with an intro deserving of it's name and that incorporates some classic sludge riffs with doom influenced breakdowns and some brilliant layered lead guitar lines.

The title track, "Key to the Abyss", sounds almost like a tip of he hat to Down in parts with it's style and vocal delivery, however they never lose their own clear identity and verve.

Some songs display a range of tempos and styles that make them very interesting. "Fast Food Bushido" goes from speed to sludge to speed then it becomes almost a Slayeresque thrash number towards the end.

"Anti-Entity", my favourite track on the album, also has variant tempos and it incorporates a sublime passage of stoner rock sounds which was joyous to me upon first hearing.

"Little Gods of Disruption" brings in hardcore elements in the verses with the drums driving the song before reverting to the captivating guitar lead lines they do so well.


"Sleeping Beauty" is the most out and out sludge number, with a reverby lead that creates an almost Tool like atmosphere. Lyrically I get the impression this is referencing Russia as the Sleeping Beauty, but you may draw your own conclusions. Either way it is packed with metaphor and an interesting song lyrically and musically.

"Godfather, I'm In Love" has the most addictive riff on the record with a rich full sound it's impossible not to want to move to.

Finally, "Dead Frost" with its sinister soundscapes throughout. This is the bands epic, but they're not so self indulgent to drag it out to the point where it becomes boring. The accompanying video was animated by Waldez Sneg of the group of artists Rotten Fantom, yet another nod to the importance of visual art to accompany their music.


Throughout this record I have to disturb my pigeon style appreciative head nod several times to stop and take note and admire some of the ideas and directions, before reconvening (and looking like a knob).

Whilst good from first listen, it grows even better on the ear with further listens. You discover bits you'd not heard before or hear a new lyric you like which gives the album a fresh feel with each listen. You can stream the album below.


It's time to get behind the Moscow Metallers, a band who have shared the stage with the super powers of Down, Crowbar and next month will be supporting the Sludge juggernauts EyeHateGod, are surely on the cusp of something big themselves, with their artistic and inventive take on the genre.

The good news is they're in the final processes of completing a new album so there will be even more music to enjoy very soon.

You can buy Key To the Abyss digitally and on C.D here . Digital download is just $5 (around £3) but, if you like the album its worth having the C.D, to have the quality art as well. There is also an interesting free EP of a slightly different style and singles on bandcamp to download. Go get

From Russia With Sludge (and a bong).

Follow them:
Twitter and Instagram: @mntzm 
Montezuma's Facebook

Check out the Label's Facebook and Bandcamp

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Monday, 2 May 2016

My Stoner Metal/Rock, Doom Listening Post

Stoner Rock and Metal and Doom Metal is a bit of a Holy Grail to me. While I'm waiting for the arrival of my next album to review (a stoner metal band), I've been listening to a few different bands I've either found recently or have been listening to for years. So I thought I'd put together a little playlist of the bands or tracks that have been ever presents over the last few weeks.

If this is your thing it's likely non of this is will be new to you but I hope you enjoy my selection.

If it is not your thing and you like any of it or I introduce you to someone, then this my friends is why we do it.

Band - Stoned Jesus
Album - Seven Thunders Roar
Track -Electric Mistress
Find them;
Facebook page for Stoned Jesus
Twitter; @StonedJesusBand

At the behest of my good friend Stu, I've been checking out these guys from Ukraine. This is a Sabbath esque tune with glorious head banging riffage and Iron Maiden like melody parts. The change into a Doom Metal breakdown is as slow and heavy as can be and adds a brilliant dimension to the track.





Band - WeedEater
Album - God Luck and Good Speed
Song -  God Luck and Good Speed
Find them
Facebook page for WeedEater
Twitter: @weedmetal



Sludgy perfection from the North Carolina trio. I mean it's Weedeater, I really need say no more.......



Band - Music Hates You 
Track - Sweet Hole Alabama/Hell No I Aint Got The God Damn Rent
Find them;
Facebook for Music Hates You
Twitter; @MusicHatesYou

O.k, so this is a live performance, but this is my most coveted band at the moment. It is physically painful for me that I can not seem to buy their C.D's in the U.K. I literally think about it every day and check various websites for availability! Yes I can buy the digital albums, but I'm old school and if it's a band I really like I want something physical to put amongst my collection. Digital music takes all the personality and thought out of music for me. Digital Music Hates You.

Anyway, rant over.

I want their albums and I want them based purely on  this video (and consequently others I've seen) Just watch and appreciate the pure quality of this performance.



Band - Gonga
Album - Gonga
Track - Fellow Man
Find them:
Gonga Facebook
Twitter: @Gongaofficial

One of the first Stoner Rock albums I bought, all the way back in 2004. From Bristol U.K, I came about them reading about albums on Amazon and bought it immediately. A band that are very musically strong that evoke so many great memories. The album Gonga is a must have.



Band - Gozu
Album - Locust Season
Track -  Meat Charger
Find them;
Gozu Facebook Page 
Twitter:@GOZU666

This is a great song from a band I've so far only scratched the surface with. The riff is king on this track but the transformation into fast paced, balls out tune at the end is something to behold. Can't wait to sit down and really get into these guys.



Band - Sleep
Album - Holy Mountain
Track - Holy Mountain
Find them
Sleep Facebook 


They need no introduction or explanation. They are a sublime wall of noise.



Band - Eyehategod
Track: New Orleans is the New Vietnam
Find them:
Eyehategod Facebook 
Twitter: @EyehategodNola


This is my "if you could be in any band which would you choose" band. Why? Because they nail riff writing like no one else and because Jimmy "the Power" Bower is the dude. That is all.




Band - Mondo Drag
Album: The Occulatation of light
Track: Out of Sight
Find them:
Mondo Drag Facebook 
Twitter: @MONDODRAG

They're more psychedelic than stoner but close enough for my list.

What happens when the Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Gaz Coombes from Supergrass get together for an orgie? Mondo Drag is what happens. Seriously, listen! (If you scratch your wig at these comparisons, keep it on, even if you don't agree with it you'll agree on how good they are).

They create the kind of music fans of multiple genres are searching for yet are no where near recognised enough on these shores.



Band - Orange Goblin
Album - Coup De Grace
Track - Made of Rats
Find them;
Orange Goblin Facebook 
Twitter : @OrangeGoblin1

Everything Orange Goblin records has great riffs and strong vocals so it was hard to pick a song. It took me a while to get properly into this band but now I am they're an ever present on my C.D player.




Band - Cloud
Album - Cloud EP
Track - Grim Reefer
Find them: good luck (but if you do let me know)

I know nothing about them, cant find much out about them but I came across this track recently and it's pure instrumental Doom brilliance.





Band - Down
Album - Nola
Track - Eyes Of The South
Find them;
Down Facebook 
Twitter: @downnola

This is a classic from my all time favourite band and album. The mighty DOWN.



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