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Uncle Salty "hmmm salty"

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I
Price: 34.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Before the Sunn O))), 16 Jan 2008
This review is from: I (Audio CD)
Greg Anderson, best know for his work in Sunn O))) (with Burning Witch co-hort Stephen O'Malley) left the aforementioned band in the late nineties to form Goatsnake with Guy Pinhas (Acid King) & Pete Stahl (Earthlings?). This album was originally recorded in Mathias Schneebergers Gas Chamber studio in LA & originally released by Lee Dorians Rise Above Records in the UK. Schneeberger had also recorded artists such as St.Vitus & The Obsessed so the emphasis is clearly on the Doom/Stoner rock end of the musical spectrum.

'1' sets the standard in blistering style, with the high energy of 'Slippin' the Stealth' & effortless groove of 'Innocent' which features some relatively high note singing in the chorus with the bluesy origins from the throat of Pete Stahl. This guys voice is possibly the best but most mis-leading thing about this music. He can properly sing & gives a real soulfull edge to such tracks such as 'Mower' & the colossal 'What Love Remains'. This latter track is a titan of sound & is the listeners first real insight into what Anderson is leading up to with Sunn O))), not so much is terms of drone, but in the dense, reverberating oil thick sound of his guitar. As commented by the band themselves, the only odd track from the eight performed on '1' is the bizarre 'Dog Catcher' but even this has production credits from King Buzzo of Melvins fame, so succeeds in being a curious requirement. Other classics for me are the aggro-stomp of 'IV' & the sublime 'Trower' featuring the lush voice & Strings from Petra Haden, daughter of the Jazz bassist Charlie, which literally interupts the stoner flow with a little bit of unexpected beauty.

This is easily one of the best CD's in my collection, although initially taking a few listens to get into. I purchased this after first hearing the excellent EP 'Trampled Under Hoof', honestly not expecting quite the same quality & have been blown away on every listen. Get some goat.


Trampled Under Hoof
Trampled Under Hoof
Price: 5.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Stomp of Doom, 13 Jan 2008
This review is from: Trampled Under Hoof (Audio CD)
The 2004 comeback EP from Goatsnake, one of the doom/stoner rock scenes finest, is in my opinion, absoulutely amazing. Ok so Scott Reeder in on the lowend, so I'am bias, even still the three newly recorded songs match anything in the bands back catalogue.

Weighty opener 'Portraits of Pain' starts all slow & gloomy & then shifts two thirds through to something highly reminiscent of QOTSA with vocal chanting & a warm bass pulling things along. 'Black Cat Bone' is a stomper, 3 minutes of uptempo blues with Stahl screaming like a banshee. Classic goatsnake. The final track, 'Juniors Jam' is possibly the best thing on the disk, while it's 8-odd minute running time is partly taken up with stretched harp sounds & animal noises, there is still a good five minutes of tune buried inside. A very drawn out doomy intro is cleverly shifted into an uptempo groove, all revolving around Reeder's base & the obligatory thick Anderson riffage. The chorus is nice & catchy which then bridges into an even more upbeat stomp with some pretty memorable vocals about being lost & found. Or something.

The last two tracks are vintage snake, St.Vitus' 'Lost at Sea' is the perfect choice of cover for the band & pull it off in style. The only slight head scratch is the cover of Black Oak Akansas 'Hot Rod' which begins with a potheads ancidote about being busted by hillbilly cops in 70's southern america. The main track though speeds along at a pleasing pace which a thick snaking bassline for the main riff to work around. Short it maybe, all quality stuff though.

All in all, being my first taste of Goatsnake its impressive stuff. Some may feel a little put off by the short track list, but there are three meaty doom tracks here & some good old bluesy rock. Everything you heard about 'em is true, definetly one of the best.


1 / Dog Days
1 / Dog Days
Price: 10.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before the Sunn O))) there was the Goat., 13 Jan 2008
This review is from: 1 / Dog Days (Audio CD)
Greg Anderson, best know for his work in Sunn O))) (with Burning Witch co-hort Stephen O'Malley) left the aforementioned band in the late nineties to form Goatsnake with Guy Pinhas (Acid King) & Pete Stahl (Earthlings?). From reading the rather extensive linear notes in the inlay, this album/ep combo was recorded in Mathias Schneebergers Gas Chamber studio in LA & originally released by Lee Dorians Rise Above Records in the UK. Schneeberger had also recorded artists such as St.Vitus & The Obsessed so the emphasis is clearly on the Doom/Stoner rock end of the musical spectrum. This Southern Lord re-release (Greg Anderson's Doom/Drone/Black Metal label) contains the first LP snappily titled '1' along with the EP 'Dog Days'. It also includes two previously vinyl-only tracks with the cracking, albeit slightly trippy Black Sabbath cover of 'Who Are You?' along with the bluesy 'Knuckleduster' originally recorded for '1' but never making the cut.

'1' sets the standard in blistering style, with the high energy of 'Slippin' the Stealth' & effortless groove of 'Innocent' which features some relatively high note singing in the chorus with the bluesy origins from the throat of Pete Stahl. This guys voice is possibly the best but most mis-leading thing about this music. He can properly sing & gives a real soulfull edge to such tracks such as 'Mower' & the colossal 'What Love Remains'. This latter track is a titan of sound & is the listeners first real insight into what Anderson is leading up to with Sunn O))), not so much is terms of drone, but in the dense, reverberating oil thick sound of his guitar. As commented by the band themselves, the only odd track from the eight performed on '1' is the bizarre 'Dog Catcher' but even this has production credits from King Buzzo of Melvins fame, so succeeds in being a curious requirement. Other classics for me are the aggro-stomp of 'IV' & the sublime 'Trower' featuring the lush voice & Strings from Petra Haden, daughter of the Jazz bassist Charlie, which literally interupts the stoner flow with a little bit of unexpected beauty.

'Dog Days' is definately on the more Doom & Bluesy side, with the cover of Free's 'Heartbreaker' & the slow jam opener of 'The Orphan' showcasing more of Stahl's superb vocal style. Special mention goes to 'Raw Curtains' a straight out vocal free doom number with the most evil sound of the lot. Overall, not as good as the opening album but still serving as required listening. This is easily one of the best CD's in my collection, although initially taking a few listens to get into. I purchased this after first hearing the excellent EP 'Trampled Under Hoof', honestly not expecting quite the same quality & have been blown away on every listen. Get some goat.


The Alchemist
The Alchemist
Price: 11.89

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Age, 16 Dec 2007
This review is from: The Alchemist (Audio CD)
Swedish band Witchcraft were originally formed as a sort of tribute to 70's Virginia based doom band Pentagram. The band's work ethic is based around reproducing or replecating Pentagram & other 70's band's such as Iron Butterfly to create their own brand of authentic & nostalgic rock/doom. In fact, the band played a gig in 2006 covering two Pentagram songs with guest vocals by Bobby Liebling, the original Pentagram singer/founding member.

While this is the bands third release, on Lee Dorrian's Rise Above records (also home to Electric Wizard & the brillant Welsh band Taint) this is my first dose of Witchcraft & whilst avoiding using any terrible puns, the album is simply magnificent. Similar to the most recent release by Electric Wizard, the album is so authentic & warmly produced, sounding just like a record by any number of the 70's bands Witchcraft cite as their influences. Frontman Magnus Pelander has a superb voice & the producer, as well as the rest of the band, know it. His vocals sit clearly upfront in the mix, while the rest of the band effortlessly create sheer brillance around him. No one tune has a specific chorus or vocal section, whilst all of them are extememly catchy. The melodies twist & turn, keeping you listening & bringing constant reasons to delve into the album time & again. Opener 'Walk Between The Lines', sets the stage in grand fashion acting as a solid example of how every track works. The simple formula of bass-guitar-drums is stretched to maximum effect, producing pretty uptempo rock with a slight hint of prog such as in 'Remembered' (whch contains a very jazzy bit of saxophone from Anders Andersson) & the 13 odd minute closer 'The Alchemist'. The lyrics, whilst being slightly on the kooky, mythological side ('Within the darkest hour, when the dragon releases it's power') are also brillant, perfectly capturing the antique quality of the music.

My personal favourites are 'Walk between the Lines', 'Hey Doctor' & the excellent 'Samaritan Burden' which strangely reminds me of Tool. Really though, every track is a keeper & the initial dissappointment of there only being 7 tracks on the album becomes irrelevant when you spend time with them. An absolutely amazing album, well deserving of the five stars & other top reviews it received upon release (Terrorizer magazine gave it 9/10 & album of the month!). True musical gold.


Witchcult Today
Witchcult Today
Price: 12.01

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witchculture, 8 Dec 2007
This review is from: Witchcult Today (Audio CD)
With this, the sixth wizard album and second with the new line up, the band have produced a consistenly groovy & downright catchy piece of work. This is probably my favourite Wizard album after 'Come My fanatics' & shows the band firing on all cylinders.

Jus Oborn has clearly been hitting the Lovecraft & old horror movies, as pretty much every track is steeped in themes of the occult & the macabre. From the freaky, albeit slightly over long 'Black Magic Rituals & Perversions' to the obvious reference of 'Dunwich', every track has the themes of black magic & devil worshipping deeply ingrained within, probably more so than on any other EW album and thats saying something. On that basis alone, alot of fans & hardened metal heads should love it.

Criticism could be levelled at the fact that the band have upped the tempo just a touch & that pretty much every track has a much stronger focus on rhytm & song structure, but I think this makes the band more accessible with out forfeiting the heaviness & misanthropic loathing the fans love so. This is still one heavy album, awash with swirling guitars & Oborn's eerie, slightly more in tune wail of hopelessness evidenced on opener 'Witchcult Today'. From this first track onwards, this is possibly the most direct album the band have made or at least since 'Dopethrone'. 'Dunwich' is as catchy & subversive as they come with the lyrical refain of 'Child of Dunwich Rites/you have your fathers eye's' having all Lovecraft devotees nodding their heads in appreciation. Other stand out tracks include the brillant, although ludicriously titled 'Satanic Rites of Drugula' which is probably my favourite track & 'The Chosen Few',which is also darkly sublime. Having said that, every track (apart from the short soundscape 'Raptus') has something to keep the listener engaged. There are also several brillant solo's & interwoven guitar passages to flesh out the class A riffs Oborn has come up with yet again. This is definetly where the benefit of Liz Buckingham comes in, using the experience gained in doom band Sourvein to further the Wizard sound.

In short, although there will inevitably be complaints from the die hard's, this is a solid release & shows that the new line up will definetly mean business with future efforts, maybe even something to rival 'Dopethrone'. Who knows? The reason for the four stars is that, while the album is definetly of quality, I don't know if it will stand up to the test of time that some of the previous releases have. It's still a superb release though & should be heard even if you only have a passing interest in the Wizard or doom in general, in fact, this is probably a great place to start before having your mind completely blown by the amazing trilogy 'Come My Fanatics'/'Dopethrone'/'Let Us Pry'. High grade stuff - 4.5 stars.


Red Album
Red Album
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 10.42

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, 26 Sep 2007
This review is from: Red Album (Audio CD)
It's pretty hard to give a balanced review for 'Red Album'. In some ways this is a definite 5 star album but some of it doesn't quite gell or stand out as much on an overall listen.

Given the fact that this is a relapse release, I was hoping it would be heavier than it is. It certainly isn't as heavy as Mastodon or as complex as a band like Dysrhythmia, although there's plenty to keep you interested. Not being a band I'd really heard of before, I wasn't that sure what to expect and it took a good few listens to get into. Also, it feels like the ideas start to run out slightly towards the last few tracks, but there is a wealth of talent & progression on display in the best stuff.

Opener 'Rays of Pinion' is definetly on the heavy side, a melodic, uplifting intro leads into heavy riffs & a fierce vocal delivery. The more you listen, the more its apparent that the band have a blatant disregard for song structure, which generally, although not always, works to great effect. Quite often the vocals drop in & out of the muscial tapestry without using a chorus or particular phrase as the hook. The tracks meander along, sometimes focusing on the bass, sometimes the drums or the brillant guitar interplay. This is something the band do have in common with Mastodon. The twin guitar style works well to create constantly evolving melodies & moods. 'The Birthing' starts out in rollicking style, only to break down into a heavy bass, almost dub like sound which then reverts back to the heavy riffing. This is interspersed with a southern riff, that splits the track in two, ending in the same way it begins, with a burst of heaviness. The majority of tracks continue to work in this way, mixing slower or longer proggy sections with bursts of noise & aggression. Chugging riffs frequently phase in & out in certain sections. All of the members of the band know how to play, showing several different influences at once. Praise is particularly due to the drummer, who displays a constant variation & skill.

Other quality moments come from 'Isak', the atmospheric 'Wailing Wintry Wind' & personal favourite 'Wanderlust', which again uses a very Mastodon-esque opening riff & then breaks into a punky flow which stays just on the right side of commercial. There's also afew instrumentals such as the beautiful 'Cockroach En Fleur' which delicately shows off what this band does best. While being only a short acoustic track, it begins with a southern melody & breaks halfway into a superb display of finger-plucking worthy of any classically trained musician.

The result, while slightly varied, is an album that definetly requires repeat listens to be understood & properly digested. While I wasn't that keen at first, this gets frequent plays & show a very talented group of lads who will be making some amazing music in the future. Also, the album artwork by band frontman John Baizley, is simply stunning, perfectly capturing the depth of the work on display. A more suitable score for this would be 8.5 out of 10. Very good.


A Senile Animal
A Senile Animal
Price: 10.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melvins mean Big Business, 15 Sep 2007
This review is from: A Senile Animal (Audio CD)
Easily one of the best albums of 2006, the Melvins return with 'A Senile Animal' replete with Big Business duo Coady Willis (drums) & Jared Warren (bass). Your probably already aware that Willis takes up drumming duties as well as Dale Crover & it works to magical affect. I think the idea was to acheive something diverse & inventive live-wise but the concept comes off very well on the studio output. Nearly every track focuses at some point on the dual drumming, filled with breakdowns & manic cymbal & percussion interludes.

Another strong point is the use of dual vocals. Jared Warren has a pretty big cool sounding voice as displayed on the bands recent solo release, 'Here Comes The Water Works'. That album isn't a strong as this release (as the previous reviewer points out) but is still worth checking out. Initial skepticism is understandable given the always high standard vocal delivery from Buzz. While his angry, loud voice always proves to be a standout on any Melvins release, the backing vocals do work really well, particulary on the slower tracks, such as 'Civilised Worm' and the more aggressive numbers like the brillant 'Rat Faced Granny'.

Other standout tracks include the bass heavy opener 'The Talking Horse' (quality video as well), the zippy rock'n'roll of 'A History Of Drunks' & the moody 'A History of Bad Men', my personal favourite, that uncurls around the snaking bass line and includes further vocals thinly veiling the anger beneath. In fact a number of these tracks come across as a critique of any number of modern day bands that have lost the invention & spirit of their influences. The Melvins, never being a straight forward rock/metal band have managed to produce a relatively catchy, commercial, well structured album without losing their artistic appeal.

'A Senile Animal' once again proves that the Melvins really are way ahead of the game. This is definetly one of my personal favourites from them & a good pick from their more recent output, although the experimental 'Pigs of The Roman Empire' Lustmord collaboration in 2004 is also great, but for different reasons. All told, this is a staunch release from one of the alternative music scenes best. Can't wait for the next one.


Death Is This Communion
Death Is This Communion
Price: 7.98

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gods of Hell Fire, 13 Sep 2007
This review is from: Death Is This Communion (Audio CD)
More is definetly better seems to be the motto with this new HOF release. Matt Pike & Co have managed the unexpected by producing an album, which in my opinion is better then the previous 'Blessed Black Wings'. The first thing I noticed was the quality of the production. While I appreciated the live sound Steve Albini engineered on the last one, 'Death...' is just that much cleaner sounding. This was produced by Jack Endino, who's credits include bleach & incesticide for Nirvana along with Mudhoney, the Atomic Bitchwax & soundgarden to name afew. Every component is handled clearly & allowed to breath. Certain tracks focus more on Pike's blistering guitar work while others thrive on the excellent drumming or bass. Another initial dissapointment was that Joe Preston (Melvins/Thrones) is no longer on bass duty although this soon dissolved on listening to the title track, a clear favourite. Jeff Matz bassline providing an ominous brooding template for Pike's quality vocal/guitar delivery. The track, an eight minute beast, has a dark druggy feel to it, almost tribal in nature, produced in part by Des Kensel's quality drumming. Kensel has such a monumental thundering style bringing to mind the clear intentions of war conveyed in the lyrics & art work. There are several tempo shifts & drum pattern variations on display, utilising double bass blasts & constant rolls & fills.

The album as a whole is generally longer than previous offerings & is split up by three really good instrumentals, most noteable of which are 'DII' which has a medieval style Mellotron & the pure angry drums of 'Headhunter'. Also, Pike has taken to the nine string guitar to provide some suitably dark intro's & breakdown sections as evidenced on 'Waste of Tiamat'. The old Motorhead references are also still in place such as on Opener 'Fury Whip' with Pike's screams of 'The fool's religion unprophet's truth, Live self destruction, bad luck's your noose' & the short & brutal call to arms of 'Rumors of War'. 'Turk' is also a brillantly catchy number.

I haven't stopped listening to this since I bought it on it's day of release & while it may still be a bit too early to tell, this is shaping up to be my album of the year. Considering the high praise given to the previous album, some may not be completely sold on first listen, but given repeated plays the true honest to god hell fire quality comes screaming to the fore. Where the band goes from here is anyone's guest but with music this strong & focused, does it really matter? All in all, this is another modern day classic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2010 3:08 PM GMT


Leviathan
Leviathan
Price: 10.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mighty Beast, 11 Sep 2007
This review is from: Leviathan (Audio CD)
It's pretty difficult to seperate any of the Atlanta quartet's three studio albums proper, but personally I think this one pips it. While 'Blood Mountain' has the vision & 'Remission' had that live organic dirty feel, 'Leviathan' is possibly the best example of Mastodon's unique gift for heavy music.

Every one of the 10 tracks on this, dare i say it, masterpiece, combines odd time signatures, interwoven guitar passages & drums that simply pummel your mind. It's no secret that drummer Brann Dailor is a jazz octopus, but on this album he really shines, clearly reigning in the wild freestyle of 'Remission' just a touch. Again the time signature switches of previous tracks such as 'March of the Fire Ants' has been controlled to provide a more cohesive experience for the first few listens. Having said that, there is plenty of depth to tracks such as 'Seabeast' & the epic thirteen odd-minute 'Hearts Alive' & who can resist the good ol'boy southern riff half way through 'Megalodon'? Made me smile anyway.

Relapse records certainly knew a good thing when they saw it, allowing several guest appearances including Scott Kelly from Neurosis. Opener 'Blood & Thunder' also contains a cracking guest vocal from Clutch frontman Neil Fallon with the anthemic 'Split your lungs with blood & thunder'. It really is first class stuff.

'Leviathan' is the perfect showcase for the bands over all talent & paved the way allowing them to experiment more with the next album. With a concept losely based on Melville's 'Moby Dick' & a brillant cover conveying a certain painting described in the book, this is a piece of art with brains & passion. A fierce, heavy monster, ultimately for any metal fan, absolutely essential.


Rainbow
Rainbow
Price: 13.10

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous, 9 Sep 2007
This review is from: Rainbow (Audio CD)
After various albums encompassing varying styles & collaborations, Boris release 'Rainbow', a laid back, dreamy & accessible album. From reading their reviews, you'll probably of gathered that Boris are a Japanese trio who create drone, 70's pyschadelia, punk & Melvins-type fuzzy sludge. 'Rainbow' see's the band calm down a tad & invite an inventive guitarist into the fold, to create a smooth & enjoyable listening experience.

While looking for something different to add to my CD collection, this was the first Boris album I came across in the shop. Having heard of them, I decided to give it a go & was positively surprised at what I found. Kicking off in slowburn fashion, opener 'Rafflesia' has slow drumming with excessive feedback, presumably by Kurihara, a talented musician if ever there was one. Wailing vocals & sporadic drumming carry the track through building to a slow momentum before closing. The title track has the trio playing a quiet, jazzy melody with whispered vocals. Kurihara's fuzzy solo soon kicks in creating a bridge in the track & making the musicians intentions clear. This is definitely a collaboration in the true sense of the word. Kurihara provides many wonderful, meandering solo's which act as the main point to the majority of tracks, leaving Boris to prove their worth in terms of song structure & melody. The drumming, in particular is very strong & accomplished.

'Starship Narrator' is a repetitive & slyly progressive rhythm, breaking into a loud & frenzied Kurihara solo which gives way to the beautiful 'My Rain' a short & sumptuous instrumental worthy of any folk/electronica group. Following track 'Shine', a personal favourite, provokes thoughts of western movies & shimmering deserts. It's slow pace allows a thoughtful guitar progression amongst sparse tinny drums, whirling synth effects & melancholic vocals. Another beautiful song.

The bizzare titled 'You Laughed like a water mark' is another standout moment, particulary for the solid rhythm Boris create. Kurihara impresses again with the solo. The man sounds like playing is breaking his heart & is all the better for it. There is something also to be said for the lyrics on this album. They make me wish I could speak their language as many a time I've found myself substituting those written for my own version. The lyrics are printed in english on the inlay, but spoken in Japanese so memorising them seems a little pointless.

'Fuzzy Reactor' is probably the weakest track here, a fairly repetitive instrumental with a guitar sound reminiscent of 'The End' by the doors. It's not a bad track, just not as strong as the others especially as it leads into one of the more upbeat numbers. 'Sweet Number 1' starts off with 70's psychedelic guitars leading into vocals & a constant snare thump. The manic playing continues for the majority of the track allowing Kurihara (& Wata I think) to really cut lose. A corker which pratically collapses into a wall of feedback & distortion. Final track 'No Sleep Till I Become Hollow' is a very quiet, sullen piece closing the collection in thoughtful fashion.

All in all, this is well worth your time. As my first Boris album, I was initially a little underwhelmed, which I think maybe be partly the point. It has become though, one of my more listened to albums in recent months & I will definetly be investing in the band in the future. Add to all this some beautiful artwork & you've got a very solid release. A definite 4.5 stars.


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