Monday, October 20, 2008

SKULLFLOWER - Orange Canyon Mind

Orange Canyon Mind
Crucial Blast Records

Listeners looking to really go on a trip with their music should consider the latest from the enigmatic Skullfower, “Orange Canyon Mind.” These cats warp Hawkwind, giving that psychedelic, spacey sound a twist with shredding metal leads that venture beyond boundaries, then adding enough buzzing electrical noises and synth effects to satisfy thos that like the new age, avant-garde noise sound.

Doomy bass lines fill up the void with a swelling, old-school tonality, while the various electronic effects implemented by the band are interest grasping and futuristic. Like a modern-day cosmic freak-out session, this group expands on their storied, mysterious history with this release, which should be considered essential listening for anyone that’s high, on life or otherwise.

A record that conjures up some interesting visuals, “Orange Canyon Mind” takes the listener to the edge of the sonic universe and back again, it’s textured accompaniments forming a pulsating sensation of the realization of living electricity. Although the record is indeed split up into songs, it must be taken as a singular long, strange musical trip in its own right. The manifestation of such deeply resonating sounds proves why this act has been so influential on an entire scene of noise making artisans. Pretty freaky stuff here, man. Give it a nice, long spin and let your mind drift toward the edge of the cosmos.

Written By: Bud Rolla

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Rise Again Records

The 1970’s, remember those years?

Probably not, but Witchcraft is determined to remind you of the grooving, evil sounds that were the precursor to modern doom and heavy metal in general.

Of course, any Black Sabbath fan will agree that Sab possessed a major blues influence. With “Firewood”, Witchcraft continues to masterfully meld that genre- defining sound with a folksy, Jethro Tull element. This crossbreed of legendary sounds results in an overall vibe which reclaims the finest moments of those storied groups of yesteryear.

This record gives off a distinctly warm aura which is at once familiar and refreshing. These guys have tapped into a vibe that is dark, yet woefully tuneful. As “Chylde Of Fire” so brilliantly shows, Witchcraft pulls those dark emotions from within and offers them up in a manner which is at once palatable and paganistic.

Guitar-wise, the riffs are quite catchy and often very melodic. “If Wishes Were Horses” fuses melody, moodiness and a shimmering guitar tone that proves you do not always need massive amounts of distortion in order to end up coming off as being monstrously heavy.

Indulging in tracks like the bluesy, soul driven “Mr Haze” or the dismal groan of “Queen Of Bees” is an enjoyably guilty pleasure, with Witchcraft being capable of reflecting the mystery that resides within those godlike giants that came before them.

Conjuring bluesy grooves like the classic-sounding “You Suffer” is a task these four pull off effortlessly, it’s tracks like this that really make you appreciate the color that is a natural characteristic of analog tone and the group’s decision to record with retro gear.

Put simply, this record is an instant classic that shows Witchcraft to be masters of glum, mystical sound.

Written By: Obee Spicoli

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SHEAVY - Republic?

Candlelight Records

Of all of the bands that reside within the “Doom/Stoner” category, it is Sheavy that most sounds like the protagonists of that weighty sound. Ultimately, this observation becomes a double-edged sword for this batch of talented Canadians.

Although they have been successful at putting together a string of solid records, their blatant unoriginality often works against them. Here on “Republic?” the group assembles a likeable batch of hard driving, burned-out cuts. One thing is for certain, Sheavy can lock into a buzzing groove like few others can, with tracks such as “Hangman” and “Revenge Of The Viper Three” providing ample evidence of this fact. However, those who have been immersed in Sabbath albums from a tender age may find Sheavy’s continued similarities to be a bit of a sacrilege. It would be nice to see this band branching out and becoming more diverse after a couple of introductory records under their belts and it is unfortunate that this is not happening on “Republic?”.

What separates truly great bands from those that are simply average is the ability to bring original, distinguishing characteristics to the table. Unfortunately, this is not the case with this album. That said, “Republic?” does provide an ample quantity of rocking music. The group balances foreboding licks with forward thrusting rhythms on “Standing At The Edge Of The World” that are of a quality that will have most metal warriors pumping their fists in the air.

But when all is said and done, the overall appeal of Black Sabbath stemmed from their bold adventure into new musical waters. Unfortunately, unless Sheavy takes pains to make music that is more distinct than those who influence them, they will be tagged as “That band with the singer who sounds like Ozzy.”

Written By: Dr. Splifferiffic

Saviours – Crucifire

Level Plane Records

On Crucifire, Saviours meld Sabbath and Slayer, churning out doom-laden crunch and Satan-worshipping, bong-toking anthems of the highest order. Imagery of ritualism prevails in both this album’s packaging and lyrics, making it one that should come to approval with the more sinister stoners in your sect.

At times, this doom-trip launches into the sonic territory of early Nirvana, during other points Saviours come close to sounding like newer Voivod. This might not be a facet that’s readily apparent to everybody, but if you take the time to listen closely, you’ll discover these nuances. “Rise To Pyramid Form” is rolling and jagged, “Exalter Of Thorns” exudes abysmally-minded thunder and “Heathen Eye” spins in a drug-induced occult daze. Any of these songs could end up as a favorite of a Dave Wyndorf or a Lee Dorian at any minute.

If Horus eyes, Baphomets, pyramid shapes and hails to the goat get you off but your musical taste lies in Monster Magnet and Ogre more so than Cradle Of Filth, Crucifire will have you primed for action. Pile on the Pentagram, pass the bowl and get it on to Saviours. You’re guaranteed to sprout horns within a matter of minutes upon hearing this thumping slab of devil-doom.

Written By: Obee Spicoli