Friday, August 17, 2018

Forming The Void - Rift

2017 was the year my world of music was changed dramatically. By chance I was introduced to Forming The Void from Lafayette, LA and nothing has been the same since. Their second full-length, 'Relic', which altered my world, is a one-of-a-kind mind-shattering experience, so when the third wax, 'Rift', was about to be unleashed I was shaking with anticipation and pure excitement. Of course, the old fear "can they emulate or surpass previous recordings" raised its ugly head, but holy hell! That fear was unfounded, so shame on me for letting this fear overcome me. Forming The Void are better than ever on opus 3. I've said it before but I'll gladly repeat myself: as a music fan there is no greater thrill when one of your favourite bands shatter their already excellent past with the new platter.

And that's exactly what's going on here. Forming The Void has stepped well out of their box and above what they've done before. Don't think there's a dictionary of superlatives big enough to really show how great 'Rift' is and how truly above the rest of the pack this band is. It might be that they put something different, something really special, in the boudin balls in Lafayette. Regardless, the band's new wax is...well simply fantastic!

Opener ’Extinction Event’ moves with brutal elegance between punishing heaviness and a dreamy, almost hymnal disposition. It is beautiful and fearful at the same time as our protagonists depart our dying world for a new home. Yet there’s a sense freedom floating on top which immediately shows how Forming The Void have moved onward and upward. ‘On We Sail’ tells of the travelers’ hopes and fears of this journey with no set destination. Throw off your shackles though, get on board as we take off into the unknown and let any fear dissipate. Based on a heavy foundation with a nautical feel backed with Middle Eastern tones, the guitars especially, this is an amazing composition. Starting off like the mighty Zaum, ‘Arcane Mystic’ is definitely mystic in its approach, invoking images of ancient Egypt. Picking up somewhat in pace it puts me in a wonderful trance from which I don’t want to leave because the beauty within is mind-blowing. Slowing down while remaining in that wonderful state of trance, ‘Transient’ moves in a strange world, an in-between world, on the way to a higher being. Dark, sinister, yet full of hope and beauty – just like life itself – Forming The Void is the guiding light.

‘Arrival’ exudes elation as the protagonists finally arrive where they can rekindle their lives and create a new, better world. Still, behind all the excitement a lurking fear of the unknown moves freely hindering the settlers from fully enjoying this new world. Heavy, mid-tempo and slower parts, as well as neck breaking segments bring forth all the emotions the travelers go through. ‘Ark Debris’ is pondering, maybe even content, in where the protagonists have ended up. Their vessel is gone, there’s no way out for them, so they have to make do with their situation. It’s only as good as it gets and the music reflects this perfectly. Dreamy and spacey, almost pastoral, yet unforgiving and dejected. In closer ‘Shrine’ our brave settlers have come to terms with their environment and situation. What they had in the past they are trying to recreate and bring in a new world order. Hopefully, it won’t turn into destruction as it did before. The music moves between the two polar opposites – good and evil – as the people work hard at staying on course.

When Forming The Void released ‘Relic’ I said countless times “what if…” in relation to if I never got to hear this amazing band. That’s not a question anymore as these Louisianans are probably one of the best bands out there. New album ‘Rift’ cements this sentiment in so many ways. As stated above, not only have they stepped above and beyond their previous releases but they do so with such ease. The musicianship is beyond anything else; from the other-worldly guitars courtesy of Shadi Omar Al Khansa and singer James Marshall to the relentless rhythm section of bassist Luke Baker and drummer Thomas Colley. They make everything sound so effortless, unrestrained and fun…all while sounding extremely hard, relentless and spaced-out other-dimensional. ‘Rift’ is a beast that very few – if any – can surpass and I’m stating the obvious by saying this is the best album of 2018. I might stick my chin out a little bit by claiming the band has finally created their own genre, Forming The Void-ism, but hell it’s the truth, waveriders!


Thursday, August 16, 2018



"A cavernous, slow-burning mass of doomy riffs."

"A trudging, monolithic record that slowly builds and expands until it consumes you."

"It's a voyage."

Third Man Records is happy to announce the forthcoming 12" vinyl release and pre-order period for Sleep's sunken treasure of doom, "Leagues Beneath." On May 23rd the California stoner rock band surprised its legions of freshly-emerged-from-hibernation fans for the second time this year, following the April release of The Sciences with a nearly 17 minute single of bonus, deep sea sludge as part of Adult Swim's ongoing Singles Program.

The song is a testament to what has made The Sciences such a success: bottomless tone, spacetime-melting riffs and an unparalleled aural experience from start to finish. "Leagues Beneath," available now for pre-order on black vinyl, features the full 17-minute hadal plunge on the A-side, with a tentacled aquanaut nightmare etching on the B-side.
The black vinyl 12" is officially available at record stores worldwide next Friday, August 24th with select stores (including Third Man Records' Nashville & Detroit storefronts the following day) carrying the very limited aquamarine special edition (also featuring B-side etching). Contact your favorite local, independent record store for availability, or line up at Third Man the morning of Saturday the 25th to purchase (while supplies last).

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Xroadie Files

Merryweather Stark – Carved In Rock
Neil Merryweather – Bass/Vocals, Janne Stark – Guitar/Bass, Peter Svensson – Drums

Irma la Douche starts with some excellent lead work and pounding drum with thundering bass get ready to just rock out.  It Aint Pretty rumbling bass crunchy chords and solid drums kick back and enjoy.  We Got To Own This Thing is excellent blues hard rock with lots of soul and emotion.  Babylon Sin City take a trip back to the seventies and some great jamming music.  Give Em Hell Boy get out the air guitar and air drums and just play along to one catchy song fist in the air.  Rockers Lament hope in your car or on your bike crank up this tunes and just speed down the highway.  Lay Your Body Down fist in the air bodies swaying to this bluesy rhythm.  Love And War another trip back to the sixties and some great tunes.  Freedom To Love kick back close your eyes and just drift along to some awesome musicianship.  What’s It Gonna Be some excellent late sixties Mahogany Rush influenced music with great vocals.  I Believe grab your guitar and just jam along to a soulful song.

Grand Design – Viva la Paradise
Pelle Saether – Vocals, Janne Stark – Guitar, Dennis Vestman – Guitar, Stefan Westerlund – Bass, Joakim Jonsson – Drums

Face It has the sounds of bikes racing down the road then a excellent riff that just sticks in your head.  Rock N Roll Hysteria fist in the air head banging hair flying as the crowd just get into the groove singing along.  Viva La Paradise melodic lead guitar that just pierces the soul with some excellent playing and great vocals.  Don’t Ice Me Out this would be a great song live to get the crowd bouncing and swayin with fist in the air.  Aim For The Heart nice melodic guitar and vocals that just lift your soul just a great power ballad.  I Would Be The Wind cruising down the road music blasting on a trip to who knows where.  Love Shouldn’t Hurt is a very melodic heart felt that just reaches inside and grabs your very soul.  Its Only Straight From The Heart crowd bouncing fist pumping sing along hard rock.  Too Late To Fall In Love get your fist hi and rock out as you sing along and just jam away.  U Can’t Fool Love grab your air guitar and just jam along with one very catchy song with excellent musicianship and vocals.

Hazemaze  - ST
Ludvig Andersson – Guitar / Vocals, Stefan Carillo – Bass, Nils Eineus – Drums

Wall Of Confusion slow Sabbath style bass and drums with a piercing guitar with loads of emotion.  Lord Cubensis close your eyes and just move to the slow psychedelic stoner rock rhythm and excellent vocals.  Black Mamba Pt1 take a trip back to the early days of stoner rock and just trip with the music.  Black Mamba Pt2 these guys were definitely influenced by the mighty Sabbath slow song that just plod along but never get boring.  Minds Abyss take a dark journey thru your very mind.  Lies slow bass riffs fill the air then psychedelic guitars and pounding drum to just take a long journey along with.  Beast And Prey is slightly more up tempo but not music just rock out and enjoy.  Searching great bass playing that just rumbles your insides guitar that just works its way thru you and drums that just pound into your very being with vocals that take you on a strange trip.

The Heavy Eyes – Live In Memphis
Trip Shumake – Guitar/Vocals, Wally Anderson – Bass, Eric Garcia – Drums

Mannish Boy live stoner rock with a very bluesy feel that just makes you wanna move.  Maggie searing guitar that takes you back to the late 60s and solid rhythms.  Iron Giants close your eyes and just take a trip thru your musical mind.  Parado is a very laid back blues based hard rock psychedelic song that just remind some of us of the great old music.  Shadow Shaker move and sway to the excellent heartfelt guitar then a rhythm that envelopes your entire essence.  Super Moon the crowd will be moving and swaying to a riff that will just stick in your head for days.  Saint sing along and fist pump to one catchy song with some excellent musicianship.  These Men Are Wolves rollin drums thundering bass and a great song that takes you on a interesting trip.  One Hand On The Buffalo get your air guitars out and get ready to jam with a song that has a very Cream influence mixed with Sabbath.  The Fool bass that just overtakes your very essence then a slow plodding trip thru strange times.  Voytek music slowly rising out of the darkness and surrounding you taking you on a trip thru maybe the swamps or some other backwoods place.  Goodnight is a great song to end this blues based festival of psychedelic notes.  Catfish Blues one last stoner song about being a catfish you figure it out.

Khorada – Salt
Don Anderson – Guitar, Jason Walton – Bass, Aesop Dekker – Drums, Aaron John Gregory - Guitar/Vocals

Edeste has a sort of spaghetti western feel then a slow steady beat with an almost gothic feel.  Seasons Of Salt will take you mind on a strange trip thru the darkness of the black abyss then just pound you into dust.  Water Rights evil rises and just envelopes you taking you into the very pits of hell.  Glacier Gold sounds of a storm then a very melancholy gothic feel that just works its way along the musical path.  Augustus starts out more melodic with a very eerie feel.  Wave State strange and eerie jazz meets death meets gothic.  Ossify taking a strange trip thru the nether world.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rebel ACA & French Monkey Wrench - Sunday's Cool

Fun With Song Titles!:

The scene opens on an African James Bond.  He stands confidently posed in front of enormous marble columns, a picture of strength living in a mad world.  His gaze wanders and lands on a beautiful swingaboo standing twelve steps away.  She's a sexy plum flying solo, humming a jolly little tune to herself.  After doing some sums in his head, James is convinced that he won't earn his daily gold star without facing the final countdown of his inner doubts and misgivings.  It is imperative that he introduce himself to the pretty lady.  After all, that is what John Wayne would do.

Fun Over.  Let The Review Commence!

This album is sick waveriders.  Normally I'd spend a few sentences setting up the delivery of my overall opinion, but what's the point?  If you're a frequent visitor to The Ripple Effect you know that we only review music we're passionate about.  On the other hand if this is your first foray into our little corner of the digital world, welcome!  We only review music we're passionate about.  Therefore, guess what?  I love the album Sunday's Cool from Rebel ACA & French Monkey Wrench!  It's sick!

Thanks to inadequate search methods I have been unable to locate many new hip-hop artists I find exciting.  Amazingly Sunday's Cool appeared within one of my regular musical discovery cues and chance compelled me to listen.  What we have here waveriders is not your average hip-hop album.  Indie rock and pop elements blend seamlessly with the typical soul and funk to produce an enticing hybrid.

So it's not really a hip-hop album then?  Hold your horses there friend.  This is a hip hop album through and through.  The hallmarks of the genre can be found in every song.  Head nodding beats, tongue twisting lyrics, huge and memorable choruses.  Prime examples include songs such as album opener "John Wayne" and "Jolly Little Tune".  Tracks like "African James Bond" and "Flying Solo" however lean a lot more heavily into the indie rock sphere with a focus on acoustic guitar and a slower, more deliberately melodic vocal delivery.  And then there's the song "The Final Countdown".  Placed smack dab in the middle of the album, this track perfectly demonstrates the bipolar nature of this group.  For about one minute and ten seconds it's a sweet, somewhat trippy sounding pop song.  The rest of the tune is an ominous rap track.  Brilliant.

Waveriders, those of you with a taste for the musically adventurous have a new act to check out.  Rebel ACA & French Monkey Wrench have released one of the most enjoyable albums I've had the pleasure of listening to this year.  Sunday's Cool will blow you away.  Listen today!


Monday, August 13, 2018

Bloody Gulch - Fly The Ghost

Bloody Gulch, a stoner metal band based in Dixon, Illinois, has an album out called Fly the Ghost, and it is 8 tracks of awesome riffs, kick ass vocals, and powerful rhythm section mastery. Chad, the vocalist for Bloody Gulch, hooked me up with the digital, and physical copy, of this bad mother fucker, and for that I am very thankful.

All My Friends opens this album up with a nice heavy riff, one that isn't a technical fueled riff, but is still heavier than anything by any tech group out there. The vocal melody is infectious,  like a good old fashioned dose of syphilis, but, you know, syphilis that you'd actually want to have lol This is a thundering mammoth of a track, and easily my favorite one on Fly the Ghost!  

The title track is another favorite of mine, mostly because it is an up tempo rocker of a song.  The verse riff is absolutely perfect for the song, and allows the drums and bass to drive the song ahead. I love the vocal delivery, and tone, on this, and all songs. Very cool execution across the board!!!!

Bloody Gulch Road rages in with a Sabbath infused riff of pure heaviness.  This track has my favorite vocal tone on this fantastic album, it's just so cool sounding. This song is another of my top picks, because of their use of dynamics, sounds, and overall power!!!

Bloody Gulch have scored a huge hit with Fly the Ghost, at least in my opinion.  They have killer metal edge to their guitar tone, yet have a stoner metal writing style; which I think is pretty cool. I'll attach a link to their Bandcamp page, and let you discover this great bands for yourselves!


-T.C. Mayhem

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Ripple Conversation With Nopes

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

The less you try, the more people care. Everything sucks, but not really.

Talk to us about the songwriting process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

We like to write them all together - it’s usually idea, fuck around with a riff, and write the rest (structure, lyrics) from there.

Who has influenced you the most?

Nicholas Logan

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Nick Logan

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

The old Bay Area was a great inspiration and influence for punk, indie, metal, etc. The new Bay Area is starting to become full of bitch ass techie transplants that think the world revolves around them. They’re literally children with credit cards who can’t get enough Iron & Wine. This helps keep the music angry.

Where'd the band name come from?


You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

When Harry Met Sally

You now write for a music publication and you're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

Probably Daybreaker by ELO, because it’s the best song in the world. People like to talk shit on ELO but they’re just ignorant people that should never be trusted.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap rock and roll moments:

Calvin Johnson from Beat Happening / K Records showed up at our show in Olympia. Apparently it was just for the book signing before our show, and he promptly left before we started.

One time, I emailed Henry Rollins and he never emailed me back.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

We have pretty energetic sets and get really sweaty. We want to put our all in whether it’s hundreds, or just a few people. If you come to a show, our music will be louder, noisier and heavier than on record.

What makes a great song?

The mood

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

It was utter dog shit

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

There’s also a noise band ¾ of us are in called Featuring Members of Rammstein. There’s a live album of it on YouTube. Go look it up

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

There’s only one answer for that - Robert Pollard.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?


Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

Whiskey, because we’re not babies about our booze when we do drink (we really don’t drink much at all)

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

Go to Amoeba in Berkeley, 1234 Go in Oakland, and Thrillhouse in SF. Don’t miss out on the local talent, be sure to pick up anything that has the name Yogurt Brain, The World, or Marbled Eye. Oakland’s finest right there

What's next for the band?

Tour in October, a tv show we’re all working on, a new Yups album, and a new Meh album. Eventually, another new Nopes album.

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

The silence is eggs.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Bandcamp Bonanza – 080

Last week we featured several 3-song short albums. This week we move back to the nitty gritty and that being brand new discoveries that absolutely burned through my wishlist. If something on this feature doesn’t blow your socks off than your feet must be rotten to the core.

ThunderWhip – Forever’s End
Massive walls of Danish doom echo upon us as the titanic stoner metal riffs crush with molten force. Forever’s End will abduct your mind with deep throbbing grooves, killer vocal chops and monumental melody.

Radiant Knife – Science Fiction
This is awesome!! It has a very atmospheric ring to it in the vein of a post-metal band, but I wouldn't classify it as post-metal. Burly vocals, progressive time signatures and weighty riffs put Radiant Knife on the podium next to some of the greats including VYGR, Boss Keloid, Intronaut, and Pelican but more in tune with the modern Doom movement. This is fantastic.Favorite track: Suffer Under God.

Electric Horseman – Arrival EP
Electric Horseman have arrived with a blistering debut EP reminding me at times of Pink Floyd. Complete with sweeping psychedelic tones, savory vocals and sun-soaked arrangements the band harness both the electric and acoustic resulting in one hell of an enticing listen. I'm already excited to hear what comes next .Favorite track: Wild Flowers.

Z/28 – No Rides For Free
Z/28 have tuned their fuzz craft to equal parts Motörhead and Sabbath, taking us on a head banging ride, groove deep and riff heavy, fueled with no frills, balls to the wall, high octane rawk and mother fu%#ing roll.

Hound – Settle Your Score
I haven’t added this one to my collection yet on bandcamp but I did manage to score the vinyl online and what a beauty these guys are. It took me a minute to appreciate what was going on here as the vocals are a bit non-traditional and quasi obnoxious, but the music sets in and you realize this is not just your average rock and roll bands. These kids are young and driven. The organ is on par, and the guitar solos shred like no other. I can see this one growing on other people’s lists and encourage you to dig in. Lots of potential here. 70’s inspired heavy rock in the vein of Deep Purple but in a modern tone.

Stelios – Flower EP
Wow, what a refreshing listen. A gorgeous bouquet of song craft, rich on guitar skills, heavy without being loud, and the groove pulls you in with a potent aroma of heavy blues meets 90s alternative rock. Album of the day! 8-9-18

Visdom – Black Soul
Well shit, they’re not Swedish and they’re not Sabbath? Why should we bother? Trust me, trust Papa Paul Rote, this is smoking hot heavy rock n roll! These Germans play a mean retro rock on plane with Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple and more modern bands typically found in Sweden. Top shelf!

Low Hums – Night Magic Wine
I went ahead and ordered everything these guys had on vinyl and their EP on cassette tape. Go figure that. A lovable blend of garage tinged psych/pop with punk rock grit and a Pacific Northwest attitude.

Tempelheks – Midnight Mirror
We recently featured a giveaway of this new album over at the Doom Charts blog which I manage and I highly recommend you go check it out there to see if there are any left. If not go ahead and buy the record. Vinyl available at Cursed Sun Records.

Midnight Mirror reflects a pristine image of Scandinavian doom, shining with deep rumbling grooves, occult inspired vocal chops and hard hitting riffs catchy like the cover art. Tempelheks have constructed a stairway to the desert/doom heaven showcasing their ability to bring together catchy hooks and low end doom without skipping a beat. The vocals really shine when he lets it all out. Favorite track: Prey.

-The Huntsman
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