Friday, April 20, 2018

Khost - Governance

U.K. duo khost released their third full-length album titled Governance in June of 2017.  What Damian Bennett and Andy Swan have created is a nightmarish soundscape that will leave you feeling battered, bruised and irrevocably altered.    

Throughout Governance the harsh industrial noise, distorted guitar loops, punishing vocal snarl and intoxicating chants combine to create feelings of fear, anguish and unassailable desperation.  Opening track Redacted Repressed Recalcitrant makes it abundantly clear that themes like hope and salvation will find no tenor in this punishing aural tome.  Tracks like Subliminal Chloroform Violation, Cloudbank Mausoleum and Defraction are permeated with the strong feeling that an individual force is working at a quite deliberate pace to prolong the listener’s torment.

Image resultNumb and despondent, the torment continues unabated with the tracks Demenized, Depression and Stockholm Syndrome.  However, the individual force mentioned above has been violently replaced by multiple forces working in conjunction to further precipitate your pain and suffering.  The hour of reckoning is near and the only question that remains is will you survive this ordeal with your soul intact. 
Governance plays like the soundtrack of a movie about the final gasps of a being whose life force has all but extinguished, but refuses to die.  If you have ever wondered what it is like to witness a battle for soul and sanity then Governance is the album for you.     

-El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)
PS: This one pairs well with The Temptress Imperial Milk Stout from Lakewood Brewing Company.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast – Roger Glover and Guests

What if I told you that shortly after leaving Deep Purple, Roger Glover wrote a concept album based on a children’s poem. And what if a young Ronnie Dio, as he was known at the time, co-wrote some of the songs and did some vocals. Oh, and let’s throw in Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale and their vocal talents as well. Michael Giles, a co-founder of King Crimson, played drums. Before you think I wrote this on 4/20, check out the album online, and you’ll see that all of this and more is true.

I had no idea this album existed before stumbling across it at a used record store. I saw Roger Glover’s name attached and thought that it certainly had to be worth four dollars to check it out. It is a cool album and has some very interesting music. One song from the album, “Love Is All”, was a number one hit in the Netherlands and Belgium, and an animated video for the song has gotten a lot of play on television over the years. There was even a one-off concert in October 1975 performing the whole album in running order with an all star cast, including Jon Lord and Ian Gillan, and Vincent Price as the narrator.

This is a fun album to listen to and definitely shows off a different side of Roger Glover. He certainly has some songwriting skills that didn’t see enough of the light of day in Deep Purple. The album was released in 1974 and a lot of it is in the vein of the pop and psychedelic pop that was all the rage back then. There are a couple of tracks, though, that would be right at home on a Deep Purple album of that time period, and one song is positively ELP-esque, so Glover was obviously drawing on several influences. It says a lot for Glover that he wrote or co-wrote the entire album, produced it, and convinced many of the leading British rockers of the time to take part.

There are several songs on this album that I really like. The first track, “Dawn”, is all synths, and first few seconds make you wonder the direction of this album, but it resolves into what you think it would be. Track two, “Get Ready”, is a nice little rocker that gets you in the flow for what is to come. “Old Blind Mole” is barely over a minute but its a cool song, with a half spoken, half sung delivery over tablas and finger snaps. Its almost what you imagine a beat poet reading would be. I really like “No Solution”, another straight ahead rocker with a horn section and a message about pollution and the damage that mankind was doing more than 40 years ago. Lastly, “Sir Maximus Mouse” rails against the evils of commercialism and letting a mind for business  take precedence over any other concerns.

This album is really surprising and the more you listen the more you get out of it. There's a lot of meat to these songs and you can hear how this seemingly innocuous work based on a children's poem really tackles some of the larger concerns of its time. And there are some damn fine performances here to boot. Ronnie Dio could have been a straight up pop singer if the heavy metal thing hadn't worked out, but I think we're all glad that it did. For me, this is a lost gem of the 70's and I'm glad I dug it out of the discount bin. This will provide some great listening time and time again.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Xroadie Files

Elegiac – Black Clouds of War
Zane Young – Guitar/Vocals/Bass/Drums

Black Clouds Of War acoustic guitar starts then the rest of the instruments kick in with a slow and heavy pace along with some demonic vocals, Cosmic Holocaust grabs you and takes you down to the black abyss.  Beyond The Psychical Realm works its way into your brain and just sears it with evil intent.  Transcendence Interlude slowly weeds its way into your very being.  Heathen Supremacy power evil incarnate just ripping into you.  The Hanging Head Of Death more death and destruction ready to rip and tear and kill.  Symbols of Power grabs you and screams right in your face till your ears bleed.  Ashwind Interlude slow mellow acoustic guitar.  Creatures Of Night the evil of the underworld just rises and rips the earth to pieces.  Visions sights of death destruction and evil invade your mind and dreams trying to drive you to madness.                   

Enclave - New Age Disorder
Rainer Hollersberger – Vocals/Bass, Michael Schifrer – Guitar, Martin Zahedi – Guitar,
Martin Gschopf – Drums

The Infiltration over driven feedback dual lead guitars marching drums slowly building.  Capitalypse Now fast heavy speed metal thrash with screaming vocals get the pit ready to mosh.  Mediocy an interesting off tempo beat and some scorching guitars get ready to rumble and kick ass.  Shades Of War classic power metal riff with some excellent musicianship takes you back on a trip to the day when metal was king.  New Age Disorder thrash is back with a vengeance and ready to make some heads roll.  Austrian Thrash Command the pit is rumbling the guitars are scorching and the beats are pounding thrash till you drop.  Cannibal Cops mix Metallica Anthrax testament and Overkill and this band has all the influences.  The Aftermath slow melodic guitar then the riff fest kicks in with screaming guitars and pounding rhythms speed thrash is on its way back if these guys have anything to say about.

Exist – Get Your Own
Kacper – Vocals/Guitar, Felix – Guitar, Jacu – Drums, Kamil – Bass

Get Your Own has some amazing flamenco guitar then a power speed metal song kicks in and takes over with power and fury with screaming guitars.  Lawlessness fist in the air power metal solid as hell and ready to rock and thrash about.  On Your Own Accord grabs you and takes you on a trip thru metal times and places these young men can really kick it.  Exist fist pumping head banging foot stomping metal that just grabs you and takes you on a great ride.   

Fabulous Disaster -  Hang ’Em High
Jan – Guitar/Vocals, Matthes – Guitar, Andi – Bass, Luke – Drums

Death Is Loud the pit is swirling around in fury with metal forces and power.  Faster Than Light fast riffs speed metal rhythms and searing guitars this is classic exodus reborn.  Warsaw get ready for a ride through classic speed thrash metal riffs screaming vocals and scorching lead guitar work.  Thrash Bang Wallop makes you believe these guys grew up listening to Raven as well what an awesome thrash metal song.  Midnight Fistfight speed thrash metal that is just in your face relentless and powerful.  Wellness in Hell the pit is thrashing about body’s slamming into each other in fury.  R.I.P. Rest In Power these guys never slow down or get mellow thrash the way it was meant to be.  Thrash Metal Symphony man these guys are tight and what amazing musicianship get ready to be impressed.  Toxic Nuclear War grabs you and pulls you into the thrash metal pit of aggression.  Customized ends the thrash speed metal music festival and leaves you drained.  

Forgotten Woods – The Curse of Mankind
Olav Berland – Guitar/Drums, Rune Vedaa – Bass, Thomas Torkelsen – Vocals, Rune jamme – Vocals

Overmotets Pris drak fast heavy in your face ram it down your throat death metal.  My Scars Hold Your Dreams slow dark and melancholy taking you down with fear and anger.  The Starlit Waters/I The Mountain demonic sounds heavy beats and gothic style added vocals along with death metal screams.  With Swans Ill Share My Thirst slow and mellow softly drifting this entire song is very mellow.  Den Ansiktslose starts out with melody and melancholy feelings that slowly builds thru the song get ready to take a strange trip.  The Velvet Room fist pumping foot stomping metal with a catchy riff and some excellent lead work the end kicks into overdrive.     


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MIST - Debut Full-Length in June - Details and First Song released

MIST, the Slovenian priestesses of doom, return with their debut full-length!

"Free Me Of The Sun" will be released through Soulseller Records on 1st June 2018 on CD, vinyl and in digital formats.

Staying true to their traditional Doom Metal roots, the band builds upon strong riffs with bright female vocals and epic guitar solos. The album was recorded in Studio Ork, produced and mixed by Benjamin Kic and mastered by Patrick W. Engel ( Temple of Disharmony).

With this release MIST are starting a new chapter on their path in the depths of doom!

"Disembody Me" - Official Track Stream:


1. The Ghoul
2. Ora Pro Nobis
3. White Torch
4. December
5. Altar Of You
6. Disembody Me
7. The Offering
8. Demonized
9. Delirium
10. Free Me Of The Sun

Cinematic Metallers THE EVER LIVING Draw You Into Their Virtual World Through Video New Mutiny

London cinematic post-metal quintet THE EVER LIVING have unveiled 'New Mutiny', the second single and video which shows the band at their most melodic, ferocious and grand. 'New Mutiny' is taken from the band's debut album Herephemine which is released on May 4th via Chromism Records.

The band previewed the track via Nine Circles earlier this week, with the video premiere appearing via Metal Injection on Thursday. 

Check out the new video here:

The 'New Mutiny' video is highly immersive: the story of a child who spends his days watching his family consumed by the Herephemine system, a virtual reality platform. Feeling so strongly that he wants to create rather than consume, he escapes from home and wanders through the city, joining a group of young creators. He ends up co-directing a video for THE EVER LIVING before trouble arrives in the form of a law enforcement officer who is hunting him down.

Keyboardist / vocalist Chris Bevan Lee explains: "I felt like I had a lot to say so there are a few things going on in the video, from the feeling of wanting to create than to consume to the reality of artists having to do a lot more for a lot less for an audience who want everything for free. Setting it in the near future and using technology as a device is a way of exaggerating those concerns."

The video complements the band's debut album Herephemine, a 12-track transcendental journey through darkness, euphoria and dense atmosphere.

Pre-order here:

As the long awaited follow up to the band’s self-titled debut EP, Herephemine expands on THE EVER LIVING's established sound by further exploring sonic extremes via greater dynamics and deeper production. Clocking in at 66 minutes, THE EVER LIVING fully utilise intensity as much as they do space, creating an immersive world for the listener to explore.

Known for their engrossing performances, THE EVER LIVING will unveil their new live experience at their album launch show on 17 May at Boston Music Room. The band will take the show nationwide later this summer, dates to be announced soon.

Find out more about the band

Monday, April 16, 2018

TOMORROW’S EVE - Mirror of Creation III – Project Karros

Base Records

This band from Saarbrucken, Germany has put together their brand new fifth album and third part in their Mirror of Creation series of records. This prog band has elements of classic ‘80s bands mixed with more modern sounds and it works out well.

The album has soaring vocals throughout that just bring back the ‘80s and bands that really had vocalists who put their all into melody and really let loose. The band is tight with ripping guitar playing, flowing bass and bombastic drumming that gives such power to these songs. The production is great, with a crisp sound that gives the listener a chance to hear the emotion behind the incredible playing. Maybe not as prog rock sounding as what most people think, ambling songs, lilting, pretentious music, this has experimentation in sounds and hard and heavy mixed into the songs in such a way that if you like hard music, you will be able to get into this. Not one spoiled song, nothing out of place, everything played with conviction and energy, just what I wanted from them and they delivered in spades.

With so much going for them, it’s a no-brainer, you need to get this album, play it loud, this isn’t any quiet fest kiddos, and this is a killer. I hope that they don’t take too long in following this up and that they just keep on going with the same force as on this one. As they say on the killer opening track, “Welcome To The Show.”

-Rick Ecker

Sunday, April 15, 2018

LUCIFER Sign to Century Media Records, Announce new album “Lucifer II” due July 6


CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS are proud to announce the signing of heavy rockers LUCIFER, who will release their much anticipated, second studio album, “Lucifer II”, on July 6, 2018.

Singer Johanna Sadonis comments: "We are beyond thrilled to roll our Heavy Rock tank to the monster fortress of Century Media. What better place to kick off the new chapter! This should go together like Buck Dharma and his mustache. Here's to an unholy union!"

Jens Prueter, Head Of A&R Europe adds: “We are very proud to support LUCIFER’s next chapters. I met Johanna a couple of times and was always impressed about her strong vision for LUCIFER. The addition of Nicke Andersson makes it even more interesting, because he always contributed the highest level of rock’n’roll to every band he has been involved in.
Looking forward to see LUCIFER rising!”

Apart from a new label home, the follow up to 2015’s “Lucifer I” also marks the first studio release of the new LUCIFER incarnation now consisting of vocalist Johanna Sadonis, guitarist Robin Tidebrink, and multi-instrumentalist Nicke Andersson, who plays drums and also took over bass and guitar when recording “Lucifer II”. The band’s live line-up also features Martin Nordin (Dead Lord) on guitar and bass player Alexander Mayr.
“Lucifer II” was recorded at the Honk Palace in Stockholm and Ola Ersfjord (Dead Lord, Tribulation, Primordial) mixed it at Cuervo Recording Service in Madrid.

Originally, LUCIFER formed in Berlin back in 2014 consisting of singer Johanna Sadonis and members from Cathedral, Angel Witch and Ladytron. The first 7-inch single ‘Anubis’ and debut album “Lucifer I” were released by British label Rise Above Records, quickly establishing the group as a promising new act offering excellent 1970s hard rock with a good dose of proto metal and doom added to the mix. Citing Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, Lucifer’s Friend, Steppenwolf, 70’s Heart and Fleetwood Mac as inspiration, LUCIFER corrupted the souls of many and achieved international recognition on tours through Europe, USA, Canada and Japan.

With a shift of constellation within the band in 2016 and Johanna Sadonis moving from Berlin to Stockholm, LUCIFER are now ready for an exciting new chapter in their career. With Nicke Andersson (The Hellacopters, Entombed, Imperial State Electric, Death Breath etc.), Sadonis found a congenial new song-writing partner, and “Lucifer II” turns out to be a strong sonic statement.

As a first glimpse at what is to come, the doomy single ‘Faux Pharaoh’ was released in December 2017 and can be heard here:

Next up is the launch of the album’s opening track and first video ‘California Son’. The track will be released as 7-inch via US label Electric Assault and digital single via CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS on May 4, 2018. Pre-order the 7-inch here:
LUCIFER are already booked for a number of international festivals and concerts like Psycho Las Vegas, Hellfest, Desertfest and Germany’s cult TV show ‘Rockpalast’. Check out the full line-up of dates below!

5/2     Gothenburg, SE - The Abyss
5/3     Halmstad, SE - Kajskjulet
5/4     Copenhagen, DK - Loppen
5/5     Berlin, DE - Desertfest
5/31   Alvesta, SE - Muskelrock Festival
6/2     Netphen-Deuz, DE - Freak Valley Festival
6/24   Clisson, FR - Hellfest
8/17   Las Vegas, NV - Psycho Las Vegas
10/10 Bonn, DE - Rockpalast Crossroads Festival
10/19 Leeuwarden, NL - Into The Void Festival

LUCIFER online:

MOS GENERATOR: Washington-Based Heavy Rock Trio Premieres Shadowlands Title Track At Decibel; Tour With Fu Manchu Looms


"The title track is a bluesy, fun rocker, demonstrating exactly why
MOS GENERATOR hasbecome a fixture in the underground." -- Decibel

Stream / Share MOS GENERATOR's "Shadowlands" HERE

Shadowlands is the anticipated new full-length from Washington-based heavy rock trio MOS GENERATOR. Set for release next month via Listenable Records, the eight-track studio offering was recorded in three sessions - June 2017, November 2017 and January 2018 - at the HeavyHead Recording Company in Port Orchard, Washington and comes swathed in the cover art of Adam Burke (Pilgrim, Satan's Satyrs, Hooded Menace, Artificial Brain et al).

In advance of its release, Decibel Magazine is offering up Shadowlands' title track for public feasting. Notes founding guitarist/vocalist/principal songwriter Tony Reed of the tune, "'Shadowlands' was the first song written for the new album and the only new song to have a regular spot in our set list over the last year. I think this song is the best choice to represent how MOS GENERATOR has developed over the past few albums. The track gently fuses many styles into one seemingly direct hard rock song that brings together my love of rock, prog, and power pop. It's a ripping heavy rock tune that shuffles and breathes. A great combo."

Adds Decibel, "Since their inception in 2000, [MOS GENERATOR has] become an indispensable part of the stoner/heavy rock underground and latest offering Shadowlands -- which features new bassist Sean Booth and new drummer Jon Garrett -- keeps them steadily on that course. The title track is a bluesy, fun rocker, demonstrating exactly why MOS GENERATOR has become a fixture in the underground."

Hear "Shadowlands" at Decibel RIGHT HERE.

Shadowlands will see release via Listenable Records in Europe on May11th followed by a North American street date of May 18th. For preorders, go to THIS LOCATION.

MOS GENERATOR will take on month-long, cross country US tour. Set to commence on April 20th, the Road Rats Tour 2018 will run through May 26th and includes sixteen dates supporting Fu Manchu! See all confirmed shows below.

4/20/2018 Hogfish - Couer d'Alene, ID
4/21/2018 Rocky Mountain Riff Fest - Kalispell, MT
4/25/2018 The Valley - Tacoma, WA
4/26/2018 The Haul - Grants Pass, OR
4/27/2018 Thee Parkside - San Francisco, CA
4/28/2018 Dive Bar - Las Vegas, NV
4/29/2018 Alex's Bar - Long Beach, CA
4/30/2018 The Kraken - Cardiff, CA
w/ Fu Manchu:
5/01/2018 Rebel Lounge - Phoenix, AZ
5/03/2018 Curtain Club - Dallas, TX
5/04/2018 Barracuda - Austin, TX
5/05/2018 White Oak Music Hall - Houston, TX
5/07/2018 Vinyl - Atlanta, GA
5/08/2018 Kings - Raleigh, NC
5/09/2018 Rock & Roll Hotel - Washington, DC
5/10/2018 Brillobox - Pittsburgh, PA *
5/11/2018 Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA
5/12/2018 Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
5/13/2018 Brighton Music Hall - Allston, MA
5/14/2018 Mohawk Place - Buffalo, NY *
5/15/2018 Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH
5/16/2018 Ace Of Cups - Columbus, OH
5/17/2018 El Club - Detroit, MI
5/18/2018 The Baby G - Toronto, ON *
5/19/2018 Bottom Lounge - Chicago, IL
5/20/2018 Total Drag Records - Sioux Falls, SD *
5/22/2018 Streets of London Pub - Denver, CO
5/23/2018 Streets of London Pub - Denver, CO
5/25/2018 Substation - Seattle, WA*
5/26/2018 The Manette - Bremerton, WA *

MOS GENERATOR formed during the Winter of 2000 in Port Orchard, Washington from the ashes of a decade-long on-again-off-again collaboration between its three members, all of which are long time veterans of the road and studio. The need to strip down to the basics of hard rock was apparent from the start and continues to be the foundation for the band's recent material.

MOS GENERATOR has released seven studio albums, a retrospective album, a live album, and a plethora of split releases. 2015 brought in a new rhythm section and touring possibilities far beyond the limitations of the original lineup. This new lineup has changed the band into a relentless touring machine, delivering critically-acclaimed performances both states and abroad. "They are so good," gushed Maximum Volume Music, "you end up wanting to round up a couple of mates, buy a Transit, form a three-piece rock 'n' roll band and go on tour."

"It's as pure an example of heavy rock as I've heard." - The Obelisk

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Ripple Music Presents...The Second Coming of Heavy; Chapter VIII | Releasing 4 May 2018

“For record collectors who coo over coloured vinyl and artwork deserving of a place on the wall, the Second Coming of Heavy series is a fine example of how stoner, doom and psych is leading the way in offering the full package.”

Already recognized as one of the world's leading purveyors of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych, Ripple Music upped the ante in 2015 with the arrival of one of their most ambitious projects to date, The Second Coming of Heavy Series.

Serving as an ongoing showcase for some of the best and heaviest bands emerging from the underground, each installment shines a light on those worthy of your attention. Consisting of one, 12” slab of multi-coloured vinyl with full colour sleeves and inserts, the series is designed to be saved and treasured, like a fine anthology of books. So much so when the albums are filed next to each other, the complete collection of aligned spines form a mind-blowing image direct from the underground.

Bands that have already featured in the series include Geezer, Borracho, Supervoid, Red Desert, Kingnomad, Bonehawk, Red Mesa, Blue Snaggletooth, Fuzz Evil, Switchblade Jesus plus a whole host of others. For this latest instalment it’s the turn of Southern Californian stoner rockers Ride The Sun and heavy Dresden-based bombers, The Trikes.

Ride The Sun on Facebook | Bandcamp

The Trikes on Bandcamp | Facebook

The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter VIII will get an official vinyl release on 4th May 2018 and is limited to 300 copies in three alternative versions (100 of each) – The Resurrection Edition, The Risen OBI and The Ascension Edition.

More praise for Ripple Music’s The Second Coming Of Heavy series:

“Ripple Music is fast becoming the label of choice for good old fashioned heavy metal. They have released some great albums over the past twelve months, their latest being this split release featuring Supervoid and Red Desert […] two great bands and another great release from Ripple.”

“I’ve long thought that The Second Coming Of Heavy series was one of the coolest things happening among a flock of cool things that Ripple Music has going on. The latest submission to this series, appropriately titled The Second Coming Of Heavy: Chapter 2 is a split between Supervoid and Red Desert. Featuring the fuzzed out tones that make so much of this classic rock and roll stuff so worthwhile, these two bands prove that they both deserve a place in a scene crowded by posers and chumps.”

“Ripple Music believes we are in the midst of a heavy rock renaissance. Two editions deep, they’ve already highlighted a range of styles and a swath of acts from around different regions of the US brought together by their varied takes on what it means to be heavy. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and the project remains ambitious, but taking it one LP at a time, there seems to be nothing keeping the label from continuing this exploration and enlightening listeners as they go.”

Friday, April 13, 2018

Folks Behind the Music: Into the World of Ripple - Got Wood?

Matt Wood is one of my favorite people in the world of Ripple and also the first person who we are profiling in what we hope is an ongoing series where we talk to some of the badasses who make this label run. Matt is not only a ‘master box folder’ but he has rapidly embraced a variety of roles in the business. He is relentlessly dedicated and largely self taught, but a huge part of how the label has been able to grow over the last few years. Friendly, smart and always willing to help, we couldn’t do it without our friend affectionately nicknamed Sludge.

How did you first get involved in Ripple?
     I was a fan of the label already for some time and had friended Todd on Facebook through the “Hard Rock Revolution” group of music lovers. One day I saw a photo he had posted of Pope packing up a box with a caption about it just being 2 dudes that run the label. I work only about 30-45 minutes from where they work out of in San Ramon, so I messaged Todd about offering another set of hands to, at the least, fold boxes, and expressed my interest in soaking up knowledge of how a label operates and how it all happens behind the scenes. I've been a bedroom musician since I was in my early teens and a heavy music fan since before that; and the thought of being involved in music, even just peripherally, piqued my interest. I didn't expect any sort of response from Todd, but he got back to me pretty promptly and was more than happy to have me join them the next shipping session. I know Todd expected me to be there that one night and never come back again, but they've now been stuck with me for about 2 and a half years.

What kind of stuff do you get to do with the label?
    The first thing I did was fold boxes. And then fold more. And more. I've become something of a master box-folder, at least when it comes to the standard Whiplash mailers we use... Once I had been around for a little while and got to know Todd better, I pushed more and more about how I could help him. He's a busy guy in his day job and trying to do the brunt of the Ripple work, and that's a full job in and of itself with the amount of releases they've been doing. Now I've become a bit more involved with stuff, like managing the Ripple Spotify channel and the monthly playlists that we've been doing the past year or so; I manage our YouTube channel and do some other social media related things. Todd and I are the ones that put together the zines that we've done – albeit we are VERY behind on that right now. I'm always listening to new music and funneling stuff to Todd and Pope that I think they might enjoy and be interested in signing.

Your responsibilities with Ripple have grown a lot over the last few years. What’s your favorite aspect of the work?
     I think my favorite aspect of being involved with Ripple, in general, is the people I've met and connected with through it. Todd and Pope have both become great friends to me – they mean more to me than they know. Todd's wife, Corinne; Pope's soon-to-be-wife, Jodi; every single one of the musicians on our roster that I've met and chatted with and become friends with over time – the family aspect of it all is food for my soul. Aaaaaand, getting records in return for packing boxes and the other miscellaneous stuff I do is one of the cooler aspects of it all, too.

What are some things you have learned while doing this job?
      I've learned a bit about the process of submitting files for LP/CD production; I've learned all about how SKU codes are generated and handled and why having the correct SKU on the correct product is a smart practice! I've learned quite a bit about PR, and the importance of pushing a band/album in the lead-up to a release. I've learned that the real money in the music industry comes from sync placements in TV Shows/Films/Ads and the like – and that Music Supervisors don't give a shiiiiiit about your band or label unless they already do or they have someone close to them that says they should. As a typically heavy label, our bands and their songs are likely to get ignored without any consideration at all, and most Music Supervisors don't have time to go through their emails or even seek out something that's not already familiar to them. That's beyond frustrating. I think the biggest thing I've learned, though, is that it takes more than just a band of solid musicians and a good album to make yourself known. In this heavily saturated music world, with listeners having access to all the music they could want - and then some - you really have to have something special to get fans, and even on top of that, it takes a good team behind a killer band to make it all a success.

How did previous life experience inform your work with the label?
     Other than a love of music, I came to the label with no real applicable skills that would've been worthwhile to them. Fortunately, I have fostered an attitude the past decade or so of diving head first in to what interests me. So from the moment I got involved with Ripple, I was always hungry for more knowledge and more responsibility, and I've tried to do whatever I can to make other peoples jobs easier.

You make a three hour round trip every week to pack boxes, why?
    To put it simply, it's fun. The driving doesn't bother me – it takes me 35 minutes to get to Ripple HQ from where I work, and then in the evening it only takes about 70 minutes to get home – so it's nothing crazy. But it is fun. We've only livestreamed our shipping sessions a small handful of times, but if you've seen any of them you know we're having fun. We usually have a few shots of Bourbon and listen to music while packing orders, and we just get to hang out for a couple of hours. It's truly not something I consider work – it's being with friends, while at the same time making people happy via the delivery of riffs. Pure enjoyment!

What inspires you with stoner rock?
     I'm sure it happens in other non-mainstream genres/scenes, but the camaraderie that I've observed and felt throughout this scene is truly amazing and inspiring. Bands supporting other bands in real meaningful ways, pushing each other towards success and not acting like petty children who get butthurt when an opportunity is given to someone else. I routinely see tons of members of bands at shows that they aren't playing at, who are there to watch and support the other bands even if they aren't label mates, or haven't been friends for years. If people acted that way in real life and supported their fellow humans instead of shitting all over each other, the world would be a much better place.

What do you think separates Ripple from other labels?
     I don't know how most other labels operate, so I can't speak like I'm an expert. And I think most small labels like Ripple are just trying to find what works for them, in terms of sustaining their business. However, I have seen quite a few labels do things that irk me as a customer/fan, and I try to alert Todd to those things so that Ripple doesn't make the same mistakes. I personally don't like pre-orders going up before product is in hand, or at least before they can be accurately represented to the customer. I've made many purchases based on “mock-ups” of what a colored vinyl will look like, only to be burned when it's received and looks nothing like intended.

    I also think you need to make damn sure you can live up to your word – and I know Todd is a firm believer in following through on what he says – so if you tell something to someone, whether band or fan, stick to it. You lose all credibility the moment you stop delivering on your promises. And you sure as hell don't want your customers to start doubting you. If you fuck up on an order, make it right and then some.

    I think Ripple also tries to help out their bands as much as possible, whether it comes to PR, worldwide distribution deals or hooking up bands to help each other with tour stops. We've got a pretty capable roster that can all help support each other grow and further develop their fanbase, and I think some labels lose sight of that. Some labels just seem like they want to be involved with the products, but not actually with the bands. They want to press 300 records, sell them and be done. Ripple wants their artists to grow with the label, and vice versa. We want nothing but success for our bands, even if it eventually means they leave to a bigger label.

Where do you see the label going and where do you see yourself going within the label?
     That's a good question. I think the next year or so could bring some big hype to Ripple. We've already had some big releases this year, along with our first official SXSW Showcase. With some of the releases lined up for later this year and some of the things in the works for 2019, I'm hoping to see a lot more people take notice of what Ripple is doing. In terms of myself within the label, I'm more than happy to help wherever it's needed. I'd love to get more involved with booking shows, as that's been on my sights for a while, I just haven't yet taken the first step into that realm.

What is your favorite Ripple related memory?
     There's been a ton of great shows and other Ripple events since I've been around, but I don't think any of them compare to the fun of SXSW this past March. Specifically Wo Fat's set during the Official Ripple Showcase at Valhalla in Austin. I've been a huge Wo Fat fan since I first came across them in 2010 or so, and I've never had the opportunity to see them live. That finally came true in March, as I drunkenly headbanged for the entire set whilst standing next to John and Debbie Juett (Father and Mother of the Mothership Juett boys, clearly). But really, that entire week was chock full of fun times and good stuff to look back on. I look forward to making even more memories like that with the whole Ripple family in the future.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

WuW – Rien Ne Nous Sera Epargne

Kinda like Rick Springfield, I get excited by heavy French music. I've listened to a fair amount of it, and I cannot put my finger on what exactly what it is that French musicians do, but I enjoy a lot of it. This release came out of nowhere but it sure has the goods to make for some very interesting listening. I've listened to so much average music that I love it when an album comes along that really changes things up.

I'm not sure I would call this metal, and I'm not sure I know to what it compares. The press release says it “indulges in minimalistic contemporary experimentalism whilst being firmly rooted in a darker undercurrent of heavy progressive and psychedelic krautrock”. I would probably say its post-metal and leave it at that.

WuW is two brothers who hail from Paris. They bring a variety of percussion instruments, keyboards, drum, guitars and bass, and they pretty much do whatever they want. I find this music very intriguing both in the way it is performed and the way the songs build up. Several songs on this release start with a simple rhythm or a simple bass line, a soft strum pattern on the guitar, and layer upon layer of other instrumentation builds the song until something that started out so basic has suddenly become a heaving sonic leviathan that is simply crushingly heavy. Another thing that took me a while to realize is that this is an instrumental album. I'm not a big fan of instrumental albums, but this one is so good that I was listening to track 4 out of 6 before it even hit me that there are no vocals on this album. The songs are that engaging and interesting, there is so much going on with the different layers and sounds that vocals are not necessary. When you check this out, make sure to listen with the trusty headphones. It is so much better that way. And not some wimpy earbuds, get those studio quality over the ear monsters that really recreate what these guys put down.

The title of the album translates to “Nothing Will Be Spared”, which also makes you think. Like, nothing will be left out, we're putting everything we have into this release. Or, the destruction will be absolute, nothing will be saved, it will all be gone. That ambiguity is good, it makes you wonder what they really meant. All of the song titles are in French as well. They include “We Were Born To Be People”, “To Live In The Splendor of the Crepuscules”, and “For What Will Remain”. Somewhat vague, somewhat head scratching, but it makes you think and take part in the music and the complete presentation of the album. I listen to an instrumental song and wonder why it was given that particular title. I like to partipate, and WuW have given us these wonderful tracks that allow us to do just that.

You can listen to the same old genres and formats and verse, chorus, verse structures and yeah, you can derive a certain pleasure in the same. Sometimes, though, its good to really stretch out and involve yourself with something far from the ordinary. That's why we need bands like this who give us music like this.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Xroadie Files

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs

Daniel Hakansson – Guitar/Vocals, Pontus Mantefors – Guitar/FX/Vocals, Kristin Evegard – Vocals/Piano, Anders Johansson – Bass, Johannes Bergion – Cello/Vocals, Martin Isaksson – Trumpet/Vocals, Daniel Hedin – Trombone, Johan Norback – Drums

Knucklehugs (Arm Yourself with Love) is an interesting female / male vocals collaboration and musical journey with many twists.  The Age of Vulture Culture is a trip back to olden classical music days then an almost ska turn to the music.  Superhero Jagganath spoken background words pounding drums weird strange orchestration and almost a MoTown style of singing.  Vision Of The Purblind is a strange instrumental  intro into Lady Clandestine Chainbreaker which has more of a back room jazz feel to its soul music and vocals.  Jigsaw Hustle is a classical meets disco weird strange but excellent song.  Pulse of The Incipient is the sound of a pulse that goes into the next song Ode To The Innocent which has a very moody classical feel with heartfelt vocals.  Interruption slow building prog rock music envelopes you with many highs and lows going back and forth.  Cul De Sac Semantics has a classical mid European feel to the music mixed with jazz that would be heard in some sleazy backstreet club.  Karma Bonfire has that style of a jazz blues club sound mixed with some metal influences and prog as well a very interesting song great to jam along with.  Climbing The Eyewall is a very melancholy classical song with great musicianship and emotions.  Porch of Perception ends this strange but excellent album with a country style outro.

Voidceremony – Foul Origins Of Humanity
Garret Johnson – Guitar/Vocals, Mann – Bass

Through The Woe Of The Dismal Pandemonium grinding heavy slow plodding then strange beats and evil intent with demonic vocals moving fast and slow back and forth.  Epoch: Noxious Primal Birth grabs you and pounds you back into the earth from whence you came in agonizing fashion.  Time Sorceries seven minutes of pure blast in your face / pound you down aggression and terror.

Against The Grain – Cheated Death
Chris Nowak – Bass/Vocals, Nick Bellomo – Guitar, Kyle Davis – Guitar/Vocals, Rob Nowak – Drums

Cheated Death has that Motorhead speed metal sound lots of pounding rhythms and great guitar along with rough vocals.  Smoke is more of a mid-paced stoner rock song that just takes you on a trip back to the good old days.  Sacrifice is more classic speed metal with some very tight riffs and great bass drums play add to that some scorching guitars.  No Sleep is sped metal overdrive to the maximum.  Last Chance get ready to play air guitar and head bang to one excellent song.  Devils And Angels is a slow blues based song with lots of searing guitar.  High Heeled Woman is a fist pumping head banging rock you till you drop song.  Rolling Stone is a great fast paced song to sing along with and move and groove to.  Enoughs Not Enough excellent drums that get your feet to moving then a Motorhead style riff that just makes you wanna thrash about.  Going Down Fast is fast speed metal rockabilly with some amazing playing from every member.  Jaded And Faded kick into over drive from the very first not and just hang on for the ride.  Into The Light enjoy this song and entire album that will take you back to the glory days of speed and heavy metal riffs.

Blackwulf – Sinister Sides
Alex Cunningham – Vocals, Petr Holmes – Guitar, Scott Peterson – Bass, Dave Pankenier – Drums, Geof OKeefe – Guitar

Gate of Sorrow guitar feedback rumbling bass and slow pounding drums work their way into your very being with some excellent vocals, Sinister Sides is more of an upbeat psychedelic meets Sabbath riff that will have the entire crowd moving.  Waiting On Tomorrow has a slow southern style melancholy feel with some scorching guitar.  Dead To The World bass rumbles thru you the riff takes over and just slowly drags you with it till the end.  Blind Fate is another Sabbath style stoner rock song that will take you back to the glory days of original Sabbath.  The Tempest slow pounding driving riffs and rhythms that just swoop you up and take you along for the ride.  Sunshine of Your Love an excellent cover version of the Cream classic.  Battle Line is full of emotions and will have you closing your eyes and drifting along to this excellent song.

Austral – Patagonia
Pablo Yanez – Vocals, Mario Gonzalez – Guitar, Juan Francisco Contreras – Bass, Luis Gonzalez – Drums, Jorge Saldana - Keyboards

Kiloketen straight forward in your face speed power metal with powerful vocals.  Caceria is a fist pumping sing along metal song with a catchy riff.  Mestizaje starts with a tribal beat then mellows out then back to the beat back and forth.  Newen slow thumping bass and an excellent riff then the rest of the band moves in and continues this great song with some tempo changes and great guitar work.  Yague nice mellow acoustic guitar and keyboards added flute takes you on a mellow journey.  Almas En Castigo interesting keyboard sounds swirl around then the guitar and band kicks in to make this a metal fest of riffs and beats.  Ignorancia takes your mind on a great trip and has you closing your eyes and drifting along.  Naturaleza another mellow sing along song to relax to.  Exterminio speed metal in your face at its best just jump on for the ride and hold on.  Patagonia is a slow trip of over 15 minutes thru a very trippy dream.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

JIRM: Swedish Heavy Psyche Rockers Unveil "The Cultist" Video; Surge Ex Monumentis Out Now On Small Stone

"Surge Ex Monumentis has a healthy psychedelic rock influence but the heavy metal undertones are undeniable. At times, the record seems to take its inspiration from Pink Floyd as much as from Iron Maiden..." - Decibel

View / Share JIRM's "The Cultist" at THIS LOCATION

Swedish heavy psychedelic rockers JIRM released their Surge Ex Monumentis full-length via Small Stone earlier this month. Formerly Jeremy Irons And The Ratgang Malibus, JIRM has never been more themselves than they are on Surge Ex Monumentis. Even as they redefine who they are and what they do as a band, they remain singularly powerful in their delivery and completely unmistakable. The seven-track Surge Ex Monumentis was captured at Puch Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, mixed by Oskar Lindberg at Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg, Sweden, and mastered by Chris Gooseman at Baseline Audio Labs in Ann Arbor, Michigan

In celebration of the release of Surge Ex Monumentis, JIRM is pleased to unveil a new video for "The Cultist."

Check it out at THIS LOCATION where you can also view the band's previously-released "Candle Eyes" video.

Surge Ex Monumentis is out now on CD, digital, and limited edition 2xLP formats via Small Stone. Orders are currently available at THIS LOCATION where the record can also be streamed in full.

Sometimes in life you have to make a change. And sometimes you have to make a whole bunch of changes. So it is that JIRM is born and stands where once stood Jeremy Irons And The Ratgang Malibus. Having dropped the cumbersome moniker, the Swedish heavy rockers embark on a new era with Surge Ex Monumentis - marked as much by a tightening of sound as name.

For their first record as JIRM, the Stockholm-based four-piece of vocalist/guitarist Karl Apelmo, guitarist Micke Pettersson, bassist Viktor Källgren, and drummer Henke Persson cast off the shackles of expectation entirely. Their style is no less expansive, but it's become entirely their own, a driving mind meld between psychedelia, classic metal, heavy rock, and individualized realms beyond. Surge Ex Monumentis brims with newfound energy at the same time it benefits from the lessons JIRM have learned since first getting together in 2004 and releasing albums like Elefanta (2009), Bloom (2011), and Spirit Knife (2014), a record Mass Movement crowned, "a blissful mixture of Soundgarden at their grooviest and Pink Floyd...a terrific album of sunny day, top down, cruising music.

 "With an underpinning of space metal, heavy progressive swirl and a flourish of psychedelic reaching, the six-minute 'Candle Eyes' begins Surge ex Monumentis with a feel that's both classic and vital... JIRM have their own agenda and their blend when it comes to bringing together heavy rock and prog, and by injecting a current of '80s-style metal grandiosity - notice I didn't say 'glam-diosity;' that's not what we're talking about here - they find a niche for themselves and begin to dig into what will likely be a continuing process of forward creative growth..." - The Obelisk

"While some psychedelia-oriented artists forget to rock and just fumble along, this record keeps rock alive while pushing the lines to space rock without meandering." - Cosmic Rock

"There seems to be a lot of genuine emotion within the album that you can feel in the songwriting..." - Capital Chaos

"JIRM have found a strong median between '70s prog rock, stoner metal, and modern rock instrumentation that feels both distantly stoned and freshly cinematic as it is engaging..." - Grizzly Butts

"Expansive, atmospheric, progressive, and highly engaging, Surge ex Monumentis is an enjoyable and captivating listen." - Wonder Metal

"If ever a band were on peak form it is JIRM and with Surge Ex Monumentis they have created something of a masterpiece. A superb listen from beginning to end which never lets up, and continues to bring new thrills on each listen." - Echoes And Dust

"...on Surge Ex Monumentis, the band's fourth album, they take the template of psyche-stoner-doom-whatever and elaborate on it through sixty four minutes of their most florid and ambitious music yet." - Sentinel Daily

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