Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Ripple Conversation With Freedom Hawk

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

Bad Brains, Metallica, Kyuss

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

An idea or riff or jamming together.  It comes as an idea or riff (with or without vocals) from either one of us that brings into rehearsal or we come up with something when we are jamming together in a creative mind frame. The creativity just comes from free flowing jams and riffs crammed in a 6x10 room until they feel right…we arrange them… work out a singing pattern…then we record with a room mic and a 16 track.  We’d play it back and laugh sometimes or cringe or be stoked on others.   We have A LOT of jams on that thing. There is a lot of spaced out, drawn out songs that go on for a long time, some of them 15minutes or more.   We have A LOT of jams on that the 16 track…we’re just too lazy or don’t have the patience to listen to them all unless we’re letting loose and letting it play in the background.  Then one of us will stop and say “did ya hear that play it back”.  And if sounds cool at the time we will complete the jam into a song.  Everyone brings ideas to the table and we all work together to create a song everyone is happy with.  Of course not all ideas turn into songs.  I would say there are at least three ideas shelved or dropped for every one song we write. It's a natural process…sometimes slow but every member has input and eventually we come to a holistic piece of work that hopefully the end product is better than if one or two individuals did all the writing and others just played what they were told to play.  Sometimes we put a song together on the fly altogether or someone one or two of us brings in an idea or riff and we work around that altogether in our jam room.

Who has influenced you the most?

As a band, it’d be probably be 70’s rock and 90s stoner rock.  We’ve been jamming together a long time so can’t pinpoint one thing. It depends on who you ask in the band and it varies widely but we all meet somewhere in the middle at  - Black Sabbath (deep tracks more on the blues side), Kyuss, Thin Lizzy, COC, Misfits, Iron Maiden, Blue Cheer, Zep, Scorpions (70s), Tull, Soundgarden, to name a few...everything around that genre.  Our inspiration was to play music that we listened to but weren't hearing in our home town, beer, life experiences and a little help from mother nature...

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

All kinds of things… new equipment, life experiences, new bands, old bands, band ups and downs..almost anything.  We don’t look for it…it comes to us…sometimes easy and sometimes really hard.

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

There are a lot of balls out rock in this state. We are a product of our coastal environment in the south and it comes out in the music. Southeastern VA (Tidewater) is made up of 7 separate cities all next to each other around the tidal water, bay water, ocean water and dismal swamp. Our environment and diversity is what comes out in our music at least in some of the feel and lyrics and overall message..It's straight heavy rock with some punk, metal, and groove subtleties that makes us unique.  We live in a resort suburban area (largest suburb in the US, by the way) so there are a lot of entertainment spots which means there are A LOT of cover bands making lots of money off other people’s tunes which we don’t agree with. We would rather see a not so good metal band giving there all then a shitty top 40 cover band.  Overall that's what makes our music unique...we love rock with great hooks but make an effort to not be exactly like the rest or copying someone else’s music. 

Where'd the band name come from? 

TV commercial – Is that Freedom Rock? Well turn it up! Freedom Hawk, in name, started February 2006 when we opened up for Year Long Disaster.  The promoter for that show contacted us, asking for the name of our band.  We really didn’t have a name at that point.  We were batting around a few ideas, Freedom Hawk was one of them, but we could never decide on a name.  Since we had to provide one, T.R. told him Freedom Hawk.  That name has just stuck with us ever since. 

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

EZ Rider or Big Wednesday

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

Hollow Caverns.  Our first song on our first demo in 2005 and a produced/studio re-mastered version on our S/T coming out on Vinyl via Ripple soon. Because the song is about pulling into huge tubes.  Or The Line – it’s about surfing...and a metaphor for life of the line that everyone draws their own line both in life and on a wave. 

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

There are quite a few of them. But one comes to mind… we were at a gig in Ashville, NC and started loading up the gear. We thought someone stole our guitar cabinet. We went on a rampage and tried to take one of the venue's monitor. Got kicked out, woke up the next day, come to find out we left the guitar cabinet in the parking lot. It was a bit embarrassing but funny.  Then we realized we left two of Lenny’s drums in Florida.  Wasn’t funny to Lenny at the time but it did force him to get a new drum kit which in the end turned out better for him and our sound.  We all laugh about it now.

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

Energetic fun.  It’s great for all when our energy rises and we have a good time on stage and that translates back to us from the fans fist pumping singing all the lyrics.  But it can be ugly sometimes cause some of our hardcore fans try and drown us in liquor …we have to turn down a lot of shots of whisky… it’s no fun when you don’t even remember the next day playing the gig or freaking out wonder where all your gears located, especially an irreplaceable vintage Gibson guitar.

What makes a great song?

Honesty, conviction, and a hook.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote? 

Hollow Caverns. It’s a surf tune about surfing big waves and pulling into huge tubes and a metaphor for life (perseverance, etc.) in some cases whether intentional or not. 

What about your music are you particularly proud of?

That people actually listen to it and in some cases actually pay for it.

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

Too many to name

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


Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice. 

Whiskey and Beer – Shot and a Beer Deal! Actually… Beer then Liquor

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?

Vinyl Daze

What's next for the band?

Complete new album, S/T Vinyl release, SXSW, Desertfest London, Berlin and complete Euro tour in 2018.

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

Thanks for reading…and listening everyone and Ripple for making it happen.  We appreciate the interview too. Thanks to everyone who has supported us, continues to support us, and spends there hard earned time and money on us! And, anyone who bothered to read this and Ripple for making it happen.  Oh yeah… we are a 4 piece again – welcome Brendan O’Neil on second guitar and will be on our new album in the works!

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Hey Desert folks, big news are coming!!

Many of you will rejoyce, some may shed tears (only of happiness of course!), start headbanging, or at least smile as you read what comes next. After six beautiful years, time has come for us to move away from the Astra Kulturhaus. Unforgettable moments, memorable performances from the best bands this scene has to offer, smoky trees, unique atmosphere and arts from all over the world, goosebumps and laughs at the karaoke sessions in the bingo bongo bar... all of this we leave behind. Great memories which will always stick in our heads, and for some also under the skin – thanks to Iron Cobra Tattoo.

But wait: don't be sad. The end of something means the beginning of something else! We're proud we've found a new home for 2018's edition in the walls of the ARENA in BERLIN KREUZBERG. We heard your constructive critics and feedback over the last years, reviewed all comments from our last poll and decided it was definetely time to break new ground. Located a few blocks away, still in Kreuzberg district, we're now taking over the city center of Berlin and its river. With a fantastic view and outside beergarten along the Spree River, none of you desert foxes will remain dry this year.

Besides two kick-ass indoor stages that will permit no overlapping sets back again, we are planning for you a terrific chill out space with a large outside beergarten. The full complex offers a much wider space for us to build an unforgettable Desertfest experience: spectacular artistic outdoor experiences, cosy and psychedelic atmosphere, a free in and out door policy and various stalls for you shoppping maniacs. We will upgrade the food section to give you a much wider choice from the bratwurst dealer, to the veggie burgers and pots... there will be plenty to pick!

Simply expect to find again all the things you used to love @ Desertfest Berlin and all the more you were longing for! 2018 will be your best Desertfest experience ever: we're working non-stop on it!

See you soon in the capital of the almighty Riff!!!


Your Desertfest Team 2018

Eric Wagner's BLACKFINGER premieres music video for Afternow; Doom group's new album When Colors Fade Away on the way

Featuring the instantly recognizable vocals of former TROUBLE (and current The Skull) front man Eric Wagner, the doom group BLACKFINGER – which also features guitarist Terry Weston (Dream Death, Penance) – has unveiled a music video for their song Afternow. Filmed in the band's rehearsal room, with additional footage added and edited by Rafael Ortega (Helsott, Ayreon), the clip can be seen at this location:

Says Wagner, “I think Afternow is about wondering why things are the way they are when they don't really need to be. Maybe if we could only catch a glimpse of where we came from, it might be enough to change the future. (Wishful, I'm afraid.)”

Afternow comes from BLACKFINGER's just-released M-Theory Audio debut, When Colors Fade Away, which The Obelisk says “brims with not-to-be-missed vitality.” The album can currently be streamed on all digital platforms, while physical copies on CD and limited-edition blue/black marbled vinyl – which feature photos from Matt Bluejay and a striking graphic design by Al Oaks – can be purchased at retailers worldwide.

Eric Wagner live portraitRenowned and still cherished for the classic material he recorded with Chicago's Trouble for over two decades, Wagner began sowing the seeds for BLACKFINGER soon after he left Trouble in 2008. After removing himself from the spotlight, he began intently writing material of a more personal nature, which would ultimately yield the musical inspiration for BLACKFINGER. Over the next few years, Wagner and his new band mates would meticulously craft and commit 11 tracks to tape – songs that would ultimately become the group's self-titled debut (Wagner's first recorded output since Trouble's 2007 release Simple Mind Condition).
When Colors Fade Away is a powerful collection of songs that picks up where the debut album left off, but takes the listener even further down the path less-traveled. Featuring sonic landscapes of endless peaks and valleys, When Colors Fade Away will satiate even the most ardent of doom fans, yet also appeal to those beyond with its exquisite craftsmanship and beautiful storytelling.

M-Theory Audio is the new label recently launched by Marco Barbieri, former president of Century Media Records and Nuclear Blast America. The label's burgeoning roster also includes such notable acts as Finnish hard rockers Santa Cruz, nomadic folk metal act Tengger Cavalry and traditional metal powerhouse White Wizzard.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Xroadie Files

Breag Naofa – Cearo

Roger Kilburn – Guitar, Sam Lettes – Guitar, Tre Tre – Guitar, Rob Mcfeters – Vocals,
Dustin Carroll – Bass, Bobby Hamana - Drums

This is a two song EP that starts with the eleven minute The Mourning Of.  It has excellent guitar work, progressive music and growly vocals.  Next is an eight minute death metal festival of growling vocals, blast beats and rough guitar riffs called Phosphorous.

Captain SIB – Self Titled
Band members - Stewart Ireland, Ian Fraser, Billy Mushet

Two songs from this band from Hamilton, Scotland.  You can check them out on soundcloud.  Einstein takes you back to the new wave era of the 80’s, then kicks to a sort of pop punk song.  Punked Out has an almost disco beat mixed with power pop punk and new wave.

Crawl – This Sad Cadav’r
The songs on this EP are just listed as I, II & III.  This is soundscape music that just worms its way through your brain slowly, kind of an updated Tangerine Dream meets Hawkwind.

Grande Royale – Breaking News
Band members – Andreas Jena, Hampus Steemburg, Gustave Wremer, Calle Ljungstrom, Marcus Gustaffson

Know it All starts this album with some excellent riffs to play air guitar and air drums to.  Also some great bass work and sing along vocals.  One excellent toe tappin' song.  Brake Light starts with another great bass and guitar intro then has sort of a Beatles/Stones feel to it, but slightly heavier with more great vocals.  Devils Place has a Lynyrd Skynyrd feel mixed with maybe some Bad Company/Free adding excellent soulful guitar leads.  A great song to kick back to and have a cold one.  Breaking News definitely has a southern rock feel, a great song to sing along with that takes you back to the 70’s when some awesome music was made.  Live With Your Lie reminds me of a Bad Company style song with a great bluesy beat and excellent vocals with screaming leads.  Daily Illustration is another Lynyrd Skynyrd inspired song mixed with some Allman Brothers.  Got To Move has a sort of southern rock meets George Thorogood style to the music.  This song will have your head bobbin' and your feet moving from the first note.  One Second continues the southern rock blues theme with some awesome bass that goes throughout the song.  This band really knows how to hold a groove.  R’n’R Business has a Rolling Stones feel to the music and vocals.  Great searing lead guitar and a groove that never leaves the pocket.  I’m On The Loose starts slowly with some excellent gravelly vocals then kicks into a sixties, early 70’s style of classic hard rock.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

THE OBSESSED Announces Reissue Of Legendary Self-Titled Debut Album + Concrete Cancer Demo

Originally released in 1990 and out-of-print for almost two decades, the now legendary debut album from doom godfathers THE OBSESSED will once again see the light of day in multiple deluxe formats. Now completely remastered with previously unreleased bonus tracks, including the highly sought-after Concrete Cancer demo, expanded artwork, never-before-seen photos, and extended liner notes from frontman Scott "Wino" Weinrich, this is the definitive edition of THE OBSESSED's self-titled debut, a true piece of doom history!

Weinrich comments: "This record defines the passion, the pureness, and vibrancy of youth, and the fierce love, loyalty, and dedication to this music. I am happy and proud it lives once again! Thanks to all who believe, Wino."

Listen to the remastered version of "The Way She Fly" now via YouTube at THIS LOCATION.

THE OBSESSED's self-titled reissue is due out November 17th on 2xCD, LP, 2xLP, and digital formats via Relapse Records. Physical bundles and digital preorders are available via Relapse Records HERE and streaming services at THIS LOCATION.

THE OBSESSED will embark upon a US fall headlining tour beginning September 27th in Asheville, North Carolina and ending October 27th in Baltimore, Maryland. Direct support will be provided by Cobalt and Iron Tongue on select dates. Additionally, the band will join Clutch and Devin Townsend Project for a winter run of shows to close out the year. See all confirmed dates below.

The Obsessed (Reissue) Track Listing:
1. Tombstone Highway
2. The Way She Fly
3. Forever Midnight
4. Ground Out
5. Fear Child
6. Freedom
7. Red Disaster
8. Inner Turmoil
9. River of Soul
10. Concrete Cancer (1984 unreleased Concrete Cancer demo cassette)
11. Feelingz (1984 unreleased Concrete Cancer demo cassette)
12. Mental Kingdom (1984 unreleased Concrete Cancer demo cassette)
13. Hiding Masque (1984 unreleased Concrete Cancer demo cassette)
14. Ground Out - Feelingz (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)
15. Concrete Cancer (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)
16. No Blame (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)
17. Mental Kingdom (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)
18. Tombstone Highway (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)
19. Iron and Stone (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)
20. Rivers of Soul (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)
21. Sittin on a Grave (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)
22. Freedom (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)
23. Indestroy - Kill Ugly Naked (live at The Bayou 4-15-1985)

Concrete Cancer Demo Track Listing:
1. Concrete Cancer
2. Feelingz
3. Mental Kingdom
4. Hiding Masque

9/27/2017 Mothlight - Asheville, NC
9/28/2017 Clermont Lounge - Atlanta, GA
9/29/2017 Whitewater - Little Rock, AR
9/30/2017 Fubar - St. Louis, MO ^
10/01/2017 Hi Tone - Memphis, TN ^
10/02/2017 Lost Well - Austin, TX ^
10/03/2017 Lolas - Ft. Worth, TX ^
10/05/2017 Beauty Bar - Las Vegas, NV
10/07/2017 Cal Jam - San Bernardino, CA
10/08/2017 Elbo Room - San Francisco, CA *
10/09/2017 Old Nicks - Eugene, OR *
10/10/2017 Bossanova Ballroom - Portland, OR
10/12/2017 Studio Seven - Seattle, WA *
10/13/2017 The Pin - Spokane, WA *
10/16/2017 7th St. Entry - Minneapolis, MN *
10/17/2017 Cactus Club - Milwaukee, WI *
10/18/2017 Barauerhaus - Lombard, IL *
10/19/2017 Woodward Theater - Cincinnati, OH *
10/20/2017 Trixies - Louisville, KY *
10/21/2017 Chameleon Club - Lancaster, PA *
10/24/2017 Saint Vitus - Brooklyn, NY *
10/25/2017 The Cafe at Parlor - Newport, RI *
10/26/2017 Voltage Lounge - Philadelphia, PA *
10/27/2017 Metro Gallery - Baltimore, MD *
^ w/ Iron Tongue
* w/ Cobalt
w/ Clutch, Devin Townsend Project:
11/29/2017 Cone Denim Entertainment - Greensboro, NC
12/01/2017 House Of Blues - Myrtle Beach, SC
12/02/2017 Revolution - St. Petersburg, FL
12/03/2017 Revolution - Fort Lauderdale, FL
12/05/2017 Backyard Stage @ St. Augustine Amphitheater - St. Augustine, FL
12/06/2017 Vinyl Music Hall - Pensacola, FL
12/08/2017 Varsity Theater - Baton Rouge, LA
12/09/2017 The Aztec Theater - San Antonio, TX
12/10/2017 House Of Blues - Houston, TX
12/12/2017 Gillioz Theater - Springfield, MO
12/13/2017 Bourbon Theater - Lincoln, NE
12/15/2017 Limelight Eventplex - Peoria, IL
12/16/2017 Marathon Music Works - Nashville, TN
12/27/2017 Upstate Concert Hall - Clifton Park, NY
12/28/2017 Starland Ballroom - Sayreville, NJ
12/29/2017 The National - Richmond, VA
12/30/2017 The International - Knoxville, TN
12/31/2017 Express Live - Columbus, OH

THE OBSESSED was formed in the late 1970s in Potomac, Maryland by legendary guitarist Scott "Wino" Weinrich (Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan). The band spawned in the realm of musicians/artists such as Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa, The Dictators, and The Stooges. The earliest lineup consisted of Wino, bassist Mark Laue, guitarist John Reese, and drummer Dave Flood. In 1983, Wino took over vocal duties and the band became a three-piece to record the Sodden Jackal EP.

The band broke up in the late '80s after Wino moved to California to join Saint Vitus. At that time, a German label, Hellhound Records, and the booking agency that had signed Saint Vitus, released The Obsessed, originally recorded in 1985, prompting Wino to reform THE OBSESSED. After multiple lineup changes, the band signed to Columbia Records in 1994 to release their third and final album, The Church Within. Despite highly acclaimed reviews, THE OBSESSED would breakup following the release, seeing Wino forming Spirit Caravan (then Shine) and other projects.

In September 2011, THE OBSESSED returned to the stage at Roadburn Festival with The Church Within's legendary lineup (featuring Wino, Greg Rogers, and Guy Pinhas). The band played a few more reunion shows over the next couple years at Hellfest Open Air 2012 and Maryland Deathfest XI in May 2013 with bassist Reid Raley.

Wino announced the full-time return of THE OBSESSED in March 2016 and the band's official signing to Relapse Records to record the follow up to The Church Within. The new lineup originally consisted of Spirit Caravan bassist Dave Sherman and Wino's longtime friend and former road crew member Brian Costantino (drums). On October 31st, 2016, Wino announced another new lineup change for THE OBSESSED, including Bruce Falkinburg (bass) and Seraphim (guitar), making that the first time the band had been a four piece in over thirty-five years.

Earlier this year, THE OBSESSED unleashed Sacred, the band's first studio album in over twenty years. With renewed energy and purpose, THE OBSESSED sounds heavier and more relevant than ever before. On Sacred, the band doubles down on enormous, heaving riffs and pummeling low-end across twelve tracks of eternal doom. Rounded out by Wino's lyrical honesty and iconic throaty vocals, Sacred is an album that further pushes THE OBSESSED into the annals of heavy metal history, well worth the two-plus decade wait. The band will perform once again as three piece featuring Wino, Reid Raley and Brian Costantino.

Monday, September 25, 2017

MAVARA - Consciousness


Mavara is Iran's first and premier progressive rock band, now based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the name Mavara translates to "beyond everything you think." The band was formed in 2001 by composer/keyboardist Farhood Ghadiri and over the years has had a fluid line-up of members, but currently Mavara is comprised of Ghadiri along with Ashkan Hamedi (vocals and guitar), Sina Khodaiefer (bass), Anis Oveisi (keyboards), and Jim Welch (drums).

Starting off with spoken word, “Invasion (636 Gregorian Calendar)” has an 11:39 running time that grabs you and gives you a look at how good they are at playing, as well as where the album is heading. The album has a flurry of dynamic vocals, shape-shifting rhythms, and technical guitar work and really gives the listener a lot to ingest as a first track. “Love for Centuries” begins with a haunting piano line, a great melody and just a great flow of emotions followed by the emotive vocals of Ashkan Hamedi. “Living the Fast Life” there are some truly soulful moments on this song, such as the fantastic guitar playing accompanied by terrific drumming. “High on Power” is almost a ballad and has a strong vocal performance that really stands out. “Consciousness” closes out the album the piano playing really impressed me, the additional keyboards and swirling guitar effects make this a monumental song.

With so much talent and the ability to grab your ears, this band really takes you on a journey and makes you want to hear more from them. With three other albums out there, this is proof that bands from countries you never think about can rock your ass off.

-Rick Ecker

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Ripple Field Trip - Ripple Music Fest Sweden

I first took notice of Ripple Fest when I became a new Ripple writer.  You could certainly say I was stoked to hear about Todd and his wife coming to Stockholm to be a part of the first Swedish Ripple Music Fest. 

Three high class bands were going to enter the stage of Copperfields.  King Nomad the occult rocking, warm-fuzzed band with it’s 70’s inspired Uncle Acid remembering record ”Mapping The Inner Void” released this year.  Craneium, the best Finnish Stoner Rock band, probably one of the best Scandinavian also.  Last but not least, probably one of the best bands in my opinion right now, Vokonis. The bands latest release ”The Sunken Djinn” has bewitched me and will place at the top of my doom/sludge chart at the end of the year.

The weather of the evening was pretty bad but me and some friends were hanging at another bar close to Copperfields.  The rain was pouring outside the window but I couldn’t care less.  After all it was the perfect doom-weather!  The only thing missing was some thunder and lightning, but that came later when the bands got onto the stage.  More on that later

As always it’s nice to hook up with some old friends to talk about the good music.  Some friends were at the Sisters Of Mercy gig before they arrived at Copperfields.  I had a really nice chat with them.  Thanks boys!

The event was about to start when we arrived soaking wet around 10 PM.  One of the bandmembers of Craneium bid us welcome.  A nice gesture and it was only the beginning of a very good evening.

The whole event was like a homecoming party for me and many well known faces like Magnus from Into The Void Podcast, all the bands playing, and the many people from other bands also there.  I took the opportunity to say hello to Todd but he was a busy man the whole evening so I didn’t speak that much with him.  Maybe next year?

Some new people showed up and said hello and I enjoyed it a lot. 

I missed a huge part of King Nomads performance.  The part I heard I thought was good but nothing exceptional.  I didn’t think the heartbeat of the record, which I think is awesome, came out the way I wanted it to be live.  But hey, that's only my humble opinion.  Though I didn’t like it as much as I could have I’m thinking of seeing them perform again.

Next up Craneium delivered a super-mega wonderful set.  Wow!  This was fricking good.  Well played songs with nice song structures, filled with some nice grooves and a brilliant vocal-handling.  In my opinion a delightful musical meal and a band that shows the good taste of Ripple Music.  The highlight of the concert was when Mother Kasabian's vocalist got onto the stage to help perform Ceasing To Exist.  This song could be the national stoner rock anthem of the year.  Absolutely wonderful!

When Vokonis entered the stage well past midnight I was both excited and nervous at the same time.  Would the live performance match the record?  And what if it did not?  All my worries were blown away as the band started to play.  This is how music is supposed to be.  Amazing vocals, excellent drumming and a fantastic bass player with an intensive way of playing who I admire very much.  The riffs are like a thunderous storm, sometimes hammering down your ear canal and sometimes whispering.  I rode a wave of emotion throughout the performance.  This was one of the epic moments people are going to tell you about when Vokonis grows bigger.  This band has the brightest future ahead of them and it’s so well-deserved!


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Bandcamp Bonanza – Fire And Ice

God damn, it was 100 degrees last week and snow on the mountain tops this morning. Fall has officially arrived. What’s this mean for Bandcamp Bonanza? I’ll tell you one thing, it means you can be certain there will be more bad ass albums presented as often as I keep my lazy ass copying and pasting the links. Listening is the easy part. All you gotta do is push play. GO.

Neoga Blacksmith – Chronontonius
I remember I first discovered these guys a couple years ago while I was on a business trip in Seattle and being completely blown away. To this day their last album is one of my most played albums in my bandcamp collection.
 Another stellar output of heavy eclectic blues rock hypnotizing us with a sly, psychedelic twang, hair raising keys and mind numbing melodies. I would love for all their records to be available on vinyl.

The Miracle Mongers – Dumb Monsters
This one popped up on the feed a week or so ago and I was hesitant at first due to the band name being a little bit silly. Upon a full listen I was hooked and have been playing this one almost every day lately. It grows on you. The musicality is on point and with a little more exposure these guys have potential to be great. I’d like to see what they can do on stage to be honest.
 Fat and doomy guitar tones spiked with proggy California feel-good groove. Favorite track: Oblivion.

Sanhedrin – A Funeral For the World
Debut album of the Year? For fans of everything heavy metal Sanhedrin will satisfy. The riffs are huge and catchy at the same time. Their description on their page is on point and I have been digging the shit out of this ever since it dropped.
A Funeral For The World celebrates all things heavy metal with a scorching metallic fuzz overlain by Maiden esque vocal chops and a groove factor off the charts. For any fan of metal, stoner, doom, or hard rock. This will go down as one of the strongest debut metal albums of 2017. Mark my words.

Widows and Crows – The Sins of Ravens EP
 Wow, what a powerful display of heavy blues meets outlaw rock and roll. Definitely got my radar on these guys. Think Shawn James meets The Devil and the Almighty Blues. .

Taiga Woods – Taiga Woods
Pun intended in full. Doomed & Stoned website and blog brought this to my attention the week leading up to its full release. Billy Goat couldn’t say enough good things with the full on interview and breakdown of the album on the blog. I listened and I couldn’t agree more. This album is on fire.
Taiga Woods drives the green with this impressive debut album complete with reverb drenched fuzz, pop laced vocals, and hook laden chorus runs. The tumultuous riffs are progressively catchy and its psychedelic flair remains bogey free. Favorite track: Do What You Want.

Gin Lady – Electric Earth
I have been a huge fan of this band for some years now and soon to be proud owner of the latest album Electric Earth on vinyl. On first listen I was a bit taken aback as I was sort of expecting something different. What I did not expect was how much the album grows on you and reminds you of the softer side of the 70’s classic rock sound. And look at that artwork!!!
Electric Earth exposes Gin Lady's aged rock roots with a new, modern masterpiece. The tuneful southern twang erodes the landscape with 'organ'ic melodies and soothing classic rock riffs that pay homage to a musical era fermented by 50 years of sunshine and water. It's as if the Allmans and the Doobies found out they were blood brothers separated at birth and made a record in celebration.

The days are getting shorter and the air is crisping up as its approaching my favorite time of year. As with every season, the music gives us comfort against the changing temperature and waning sunshine. Until next time I’ll try and keep the bandcamp fire stoked.

-The Huntsman

Friday, September 22, 2017

Blues Funeral - Awakening

Blues Funeral sure didn't rest on their laurels after releasing their fantastic debut, 'The Search' back in July 2016. Move forward one year and their sophomore album, 'Awakening' has seen the light of day and I am thrilled beyond words because what they created on the debut has been moved to a whole new level. Call it natural progression, or whatever you want, Blues Funeral is one of those bands you need in your life. Why? Well, read on and I’ll tell you.

Few bands can make a good smooth transition between the debut and the follow-up. Most times either albums aren’t bad but they are either too similar or too far apart. This is not a problem whatsoever for these Texans. Not only have they stepped up from their excellent debut, they have moved past it. None of the previous characteristics are gone, on the contrary. Instead they are infused with more prowess and fantastic compositional skills. Best of all though, the guys seem to have had a blast creating ‘Awakening’, and that alone is worth so much.

Going full tillt on opener ‘Shadow Of The Snake’ it is heavy on the Hammond. Hints of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep with Yngwie appearing in the guitar solos. Love it, wave riders! This bring back memories to the stuff I grew up on and man, Blues Funeral crushes! Next up is the title track, ‘Awakening’ and it is big on riffs, harmonies and melody. The twin-axe attack and solos are amazing where the fantastic rhythm section gives those parts so much room to breathe, which in turn elevates it to grander things. ‘ Illusions Of Reality’ is probably my favourite song on ‘Awakening’ – which is a bold statement since all songs are outstanding. However, this one brings in NWOBHM in the shape of Tygers Of PanTang with a touch of blues here and there. Won’t get much better than that, you hear?!
On ‘Firedrake’ Blues Funeral walk down a different path. Doomy in the vein of Candlemass meets Jex Thoth with Jon Lord or Ken Hensley on the Hammond. Kelly Cousins Adams provides the vocals and what can I say? Fantastic, absolutely fantastic. ‘Casimir’ is Yngwie racing with Al Di Meola on the Spanish Highway with Messiah Marcolin singing. I’m blown away, there’s no other way to put it! ‘The Gathering Dust’ ends this amazing recording and continues the Candlemass influences. The duels, harmonizing and solos between Jan and Maurice are so refreshing and downright brilliant. As they take center-stage, Gabe and Cory leads the song through all it’s emotions on bass guitar and drums respectively.

Bands, new and old alike, take inspirations from this Texas quartet. Why? Well, the way Blues Funeral has moved from album one to album numero dos is how you do it. Blend your own ideas with the influences you have and have fun doing it. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box because the end result will amaze you. Blue Funeral has technical excellence in all departments which they rightly use, however, they don’t over-do anything. Call it brilliance within modesty…or whatever, what I mean is they never over-indulge in anything. Dear waveriders, if you love heavy rock, metal et al Blues Funeral is for you and then some. Doesn’t get much better than this, so get your hands on this one, as well as their debut ‘The Search’.

*Band pic courtesy of Grooverock Photography*


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Monolord premieres "Dear Lucifer" from forthcoming album via Revolver Magazine

"Universally beloved... Swedish doom royalty." -- Noisey

"A truly modern sound: recognizably doom, but with glistening production values and adventurous songcraft." -- Consequence of Sound

"The Platonic Form of doom...perfection... faultless." -- Echoes & Dust

"Monolord's records have only gotten heavier, and now the band has taken a turn for the catchy (yet still crushing)." -- Metal Injection

Gothenburg, Sweden trio Monolord share a new track from their highly anticipated third album
Rust today via Revolver Magazine. The track "Dear Lucifer" is available to hear and share HERE. (Direct link via YouTube and Bandcamp.)

The band previously released the title track, which also features John Gamino (Mondo Drag) on keyboards and Trevor Church (Beastmaker) playing a guitar solo at the end of the tune. Hear and share "Rust" via YouTube. And, album opener "Where Death Meets the Sea" dropped last month HERE.

Monolord is a rare breed: A band both encompassing and transcending genre; a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. Their thunderous, tuneful heft has built a rabid international fanbase in short order since their 2014 debut. But Rust, the band's third full length, truly exemplifies why some refer to them as the Nirvana of doom.

Monolord's enveloping, syrupy sludge is a vibe, it's a state of mind. Not riffs for riffs sake, but a collective buzzing, rattling and rumbling that's more total environment than collection of songs. Together, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as its fourth member.

"We've always been inspired by great band musicians - as opposed to technical solo peacocks," Willems says. "Because that force of a band really playing together as one single unit is incomparable. At its best, it's just unstoppable." And, Monolord is truly unstoppable, on record and on stage. "A heavy groove that contains both bombastic overkill and a lot of dynamics is what we always aim for in Monolord; in playing, in song writing and arranging, in recording," Willems says.

Album opener "Where Death Meets the Sea" perfectly exemplifies their mastery of dynamics and hooks with a driving, infectious buzzsaw riff that lesser bands would ride off into the sunset, but Monolord uses subtly to spur the song's skull rattling rhythmic core ever onward. Jäger's watery vocals glide over ominously building verses that erupt with the song's insistent refrain. Being such a tight rhythmic unit, it sounds almost like an early ZZ Top record played at half speed. "Dear Lucifer" squeals and hums with slow deliberation as Willems summons Dale Crover pummel with chasm like low-tuned toms and syncopated cymbal crashes. The album's title track is also its centerpiece, opening with a dramatic, shimmering Hammond organ intro as Jäger sings, "you are the reason that I lied/ You are the reason that I cried/ Please don't wait until tomorrow/ There's only pain, hate, grief and sorrow." Suddenly, the band kicks in with a bellowing line downtuned to B that nosedives down the guitar neck as the drums hammer down for the kill. Elsewhere, tastefully understated guitar harmonies elevate the behemoth churn of "Wormland" and apocalyptic album closer "At Niceae" simmers in a slow build of rumbling guitars and rolling drum triplets.

Monolord formed in 2013, quickly recording their 2xLP debut Empress Rising, which RidingEasy Records released in April 1st, 2014. The second album, Vænir, followed April 28th, 2015. The 2-song Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze EP was issued in late 2016 amid the band's relentless touring schedule in order to tide fans over until the next full length. Vænir landed on countless Album of the Year lists in 2015, and Rust is poised to open an entirely new range of possibilities for Monolord.

Rust will be available on LP, CD and download on September 29th, 2017 via RidingEasy Records. Pre-orders are available at RidingEasy and Bandcamp.

Artist: Monolord
Album: Rust
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release Date: September 29th, 2017

01. Where Death Meets The Sea
02. Dear Lucifer
03. Rust
04. Wormland
05.Forgotten Lands
06. At Niceae

On The Web:

Australian hard hitting rockers "The Ugly Kings" sign to Kozmik Artifactz!

We are proud to announce the signing of Australian hard hitting rockers "The Ugly Kings" and will be releasing their first full-length record early 2018.

The Ugly Kings are four powerhouse blues rockers drawing influence from an eclectic and dynamic musical background. They offer a powerful injection of energy and emotion to the modern rock scene, formulating what can only be described as power blues. The catchy riffs and foot stomping rhythm lay the foundations for the deep reaching and soulful emotive vocals.

Having 1 mini-album (Of Sins) under their belt already, they are thrilled to sign with Kozmik Artifactz for the release of their debut full length album in early 2018.  The Ugly Kings have supported Airbourne on their successful sold out east coast Australia tour in January 2017 with great reviews. They also supported Rival Sons in 2016 on their first Australia headline side-show in Melbourne during the Black Sabbath 'The End' World Tour.

"Loud, heavy, slightly-sludgy classic rock meets blues with a modern bend, played by a band that swaggered about the stage with a distinct, but subtle, air of cool. By the end, Sydney was more than happy to learn words on the fly and sing along when the front man held his mic over the mosh. The Ugly Kings are well-versed in the art of restraint, they know when to move and make the crowd get on their feet, and when to step back and let the music do the talking." - Australian Guitar

"It’s not often you see a band have the crowd so excited and receptive by the second song in the way The Ugly Kings do with such an original sound. Only to be described as The Ugly Kings!" - Ryan O’Keefe (Airbourne Drummer)

"Great show! The Ugly Kings have really got their own thing going on and it rocks! I love all the dynamics, pushing and pulling and then always smashing it out. Great intensity and power." - Joel O’Keefe (Airbourne Frontman & Lead Guitarist)

"Thick, groove induced chords, deep baritone vocals and a harden-the-fuck-up ethos" - Phantom's Way

"Promised Land, a four-minute beast that sounds like the Rival Sons and the Graveltones going head-to-head with John Bonham and Jim Morrison. With multiple riffs and deft twists and turns, it sounds fantastic.." - SonicAbuse

"Promised Land ..bounces, pushes and crawls like a wounded beast treading through a boneyard. Well, that is, right up till the scream of rage as a flock of vulturish guitars is disturbed beyond all reason. This is an interesting and clever composition." - Raw Ramp
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