Friday, March 8, 2019

Hackberry- s/t (Self Released)

Hackberry is a Dutch 5 piece instrumental band with both progressive and metal influences.  The band has previously released a digital EP, Desert Orchid on their bandcamp site.  The album features 4 tracks and starts with Obsidian Strike. It starts with a slow fade up and quite spacey and then the main guitar line comes in, followed by the rest of the band. The music gets quite complex with a lot of rapid changes and some really nice guitar parts and then back to the clean main riff again, which this time is complimented by a mellow organ. After 2 mins, the intensity of the guitars builds up. The tracks slows down to just a guitar riff and you might think it is over but then a faster riff kicks in complimented by the organ and the 2nd guitar with wah effect but still maintaining the nice melody.  Later the track gets really spacey with some nice organ and guitar lines mixing and melding. Brilliant 17min track.

Miragglo starts with a piano solo that lasts for nearly 2 minutes before the rest of the band joins in and creates some tension to mix with the beauty.  Later a very nice guitar solo, like you might find on an Armored Saint record! Then the track gets more heavy and intense.

Aboard starts side A and the band are heavier on this side and this one is more of a heavy metal fest but with lots of cool changes and nice guitar. Later the keyboards sneak into dampen down the intensity a bit but then the solo cuts through like a knife through butter as the main heavy riff keeps the whole track driving forward and heavy. Great solo. Desert Orchid (hear above) is a track from their first EP (digital only) and starts spacey with a really nice guitar line and the synth comes in almost like a voice, rising out of the depths before the more heavy 2nd guitar kicks in. After some metal riffs and solos, the track drops back down to two melodic guitar lines before taking off one more time. The keyboards take the song to a different level at the end section as the band get to their most intense and heavy side on another great track. Excellent band. Wow..

Astralasia- A different Kettle of Fish (strange fish 15)

This is a totally killer compilation of rare tracks either by Astralasia or tracks that were remixed by the artist and this includes tracks by Sendelica (no surprise!!), The Chemistry Set and Superfjord.  All the tracks (except 3) have appeared before but you would have to be a Fruits de mer member to have heard them all before, as many are tracks from bonus CDs. Johnny’s Little Brainticket is a new track based on tracks that appeared on a FdM box of Flexi discs and you get two versions, one a dub version. The other unique track is an instrumental mix of the Desert from the great Wind on Water LP. Deep Magick, A love Supreme is one of my faves from this collection as well as Shamanic Waterfall. If you are a fan, you will for sure like this collection. Great work guys. .

The Spacious Mind- The no. 4 or 5 Gravy Band (Essence Music)

It is always a nice surprise when some new TSM arrives. I decided to go for the deluxe version and wow..  Very rare you see such a packaging. The record comes in thick brown polished leather sleeve that the record slides into in a normal brown cardboard sleeve. Both have special holes so that pieces of the artwork are visible. There is a unique painting the size of an LP sleeve and a small pouch that contains a CD-R of extra music from the same session. This version is only in 99 copies on a orange vinyl with black speckles.

Side A starts with the 13 min track, The Cinnamon Tree. This is a very slow spacey track with drums, bass, guitars and keyboards. Reminds me of 1969 era Pink Floyd. You don’t know it but you Are is even slower and like a spaced out drone track, nearly.   Side B, is one long tracks and starts off in stark contrast to the mellow side A, with a very intense freakout! It slowly fades down into a hypnotic piece of music, that reminds me of some of the bands earliest material from the early 90s, where there is just some layers of strange sounds in the music as it glides along in it’s own psychedelic way. Later on a groove sort of like Riders on the Storm, kicks in and there is a really nice long wah guitar solo and the Fender Rhodes keeps the vibe spacey as the bass and drums just keep a killer groove going. The end is very spaced out, just as the record started out. 

The CD-R contains one 20min track broken into 4 parts called On The Fragmentary Marches of Bells, Greeks and Dolls. It starts very spaced out with two guitars searching, bass grumbling, organ churning, sounds and trees growing, the pains of the earth, the birth of the northern hemisphere, warding off danger, bright lights shimmering, and then...........   you know the rest... A band that is still trippy and magical!

L’Ira del Baccano- Si non Sedes IS- Live MMVII (Subsound Records SSR059CD)

L’ira del Baccano are an Italian progish band that I like quite a lot. This is an archive release of a concert by the band from 2007, back when the band was called Loosin o Frequencies. These were the first instrumental gigs. The band was quite a bit more heavy back then but the roots of where the would head can be found. Doomdance (hear the track below) starts things off with some pretty heavy stuff but also some nice spacey synths mixed in as well.  Susuni di hascita Celeste starts more slowly and spacey and about 4mins in goes into a more stoner rock directions. Not a lot of guitar solos happening, most riff rock but lots of different feelings to the music. Later there is a synths solo though! 875 is nearly 12mins long and a more melodic rock track to start but it slowly gains strength and builds up. IT gets quite trippy as they go into a freaky part and then it gets quite heavy. The kick drum mix is way too much on this song at times and really annoyed me. Overall, the drums can be a bit too much in the slow parts. Don Bastinao is the shortest track at under 8mins and also a bit different, more like classic rock. They borrow a riff from someone but I could not place it.
Tempus is an 18 min journey with some Black Label Society riffs and grooves at times but mixing in some synths here and there as well. A lot happens in the course of this final track on the CD.

There is an extra 18mins (which would have fit on the CD) on the download site and on the vinyl record. 2 tracks one is a live jam and the other a track from a split digital EP from 2010.
This is a great document into the early days of this band. I think you will like it if you are already a fan of the band.

DER BLUTHARSH- Wish I weren’t Here (WKN55)

Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand from Austria are back with a new CD/LP. This is quite a productive and creative outfit and I have grown to quite like their take on life. It is not for everyone that is for sure.  This new one features 9 tracks and starts off with Evil. The music starts with a heavy guitar riff on this slow brooding repetitive track with the female vocalist, who does a mix of spoken word and singing. Wish I weren’t Here starts with some electronics and a very spacey vibe. Slowly the drums and bass and layers of other sounds grow, then the vocals begin. This would fit in well at a Goth club. End of the track is quite trippy (this is one of the longest tracks at nearly 7mins). All One has a nice guitar melody but the layers of sounds make it quite disturbing. The vocals are very dreamy and spacey as well but there is this underlying feeling of something not good happening. Make me see the Light is a more rocking track with a more uptempo but still a sort of nastiness to it. Just because I Can starts with some electronic bass and the drums are more prominent in the mix while the guitars very spacey. The vocal starts about 1min. A short track.  My Soul rests Low has a very deep bass on it and some psychedelic lead guitar at the beginning as the sounds is quite far out on this song. Trippy stuff and highly manipulated. Forgotten is an uptempo track to bring some more energy back to the dark, sometimes bleak world of the Leading Hand. This is quite a heavy, nasty track without too many vocals. He is Here the bass lines take the real lead in the sound mix. Bizzare end to this song. The last track, A Lord (check it out below) begins heavy like the record began with a more guitar oriented track. Now, we have gone full circle.

The band recommends listening to the album only when chemically imbalanced! This band has had some collaborations with White Hills and Dave W is listed on the CD, so maybe he also contributes?