Thursday, November 10, 2022

Dunddw- Flux (Self Released)

Dunddw is a new trio from the Netherlands featuring two members of Bismut and Mt. Echo. The album features 3 long tracks with difficult titles. The opening track is Flux VII Part 4. It starts slow but builds up into a heavy intense jam with some really chaotic guitar soloing and frantic drums. SOme really intense bass playing as well. The 2nd track, Flux VI- Part 1 starts with a grooving bass line and a more melodic guitar line. This is quickly thrown to the side a more crazed guitar, a bit like Nico from Sever that Spells, might play. Drums really kick it up a level as well. Some effects on the bass, take a bit out of the groove but make it more spacey.  Pretty tripped out at the end, when the bass returns to a more normal sound and the guitar riff is repeated over and over and over….  I thought it was going to end but they continue the jam with a more melodic lead line. The bass and drums just follow along as it slowly pics up speed and the bass goes mad with effects and overwhelms the sound for a bit before the guitar comes back to the front and repeats a riff over and over for a bit and ends with some spacey guitar effects. That was a long jam..  The last track, Flux VII- Part 2…   this is much slower and a more calculated guitar playing for a while with a sort of feeling of loneliness and dread..  The vibe changes as the track builds up and the guitar playing gets more wild and crazy.. The band brings the jam down with some more bass effects and guitar as the drums get slower and it all fades out….Enjoy the ride..  I guess live, they will just jam and not try to do any of these tracks…  

If you like Bismut, Seven that Spells, Kombyant Robotron.  Check these guys out… 

The album is released on Nov 25th.. Enjoy… 

Pink Floyd- Animals 2018 (Pink Floyd Records)

I have been waiting for this for years to come out.  Animal has always been such a special and amazing Pink Floyd record.  It made very strong political statements about the world, which sadly have become much much worse than when Roger wrote these 45 years ago!!  I was very surprised that the deluxe edition did not include any live or studio demos of the Raving and Drooling (Sheep) and You have got to be Crazy (Dogs), which the band debuted on the Winter 74 tour and ended up abandoning and recording what you hear on Wish you were here.. I guess they did have some multitrack or studio versions).  I know live versions of these did appear on the Wish you were here Immersion box set, so no point in repeating a live version here. 

Anyway, it is a very nice package and for me, I felt I needed to hear the original first, then the new 2018 mix and then the 5.1 mix.. Otherwise how can you compare them???  I the flat high resolution transfer of the original mix sounds really great.  Maybe not quite as good as my Japanese pressing but really good.  As for the new mix, the main feeling I had was that the drums are more clear in the mid-high end but I also felt that this also made the cymbals clash a bit with the acoustic guitar on some of those parts. Anyway, they were very faithful to the original. As for the 5.1 mix, it is just more spacious.. Some things have more air and placement in the soundspace in the room. That is pretty cool. I had hoped that they would use the rear speakers a bit more but they did not..   Anyway, I for sure feel in love with album all over again…   Dog is one of the greats tracks up there with Echoes for me..

Pink Floyd

Astral Magic- Apparition's Breath (Astral020)

Not sure what number release this is this year for Astral Magic but 8 sounds about right!!  It is 40min CD featuring 11 tracks. Apparition Part 1-11. The Last American Poet, Shane Beck, provides spoken word on a number of tracks.  The music was performed primarily by Santtu but with significant contributions from long time collaborator, Jonathan Segel as well on guitar, violin and mastering. Part 2 starts off a bit like Shine on you Crazy Diamond but then it changes with a synth bass and then Shane enters in and returns at the end.. Nice guitar…  Part 3 starts quite spacey, backwards guitar and some drums-beats. Cool track. Part 4 has some great synths and there is a bit of an effect on Shane´s vocal on this one. Track 5 is the most melodic so far and besides a deep bass thump, the synths drive the track. Love the way the guitar is woven in as it slowly builds. Shane returns on track 6, which has this 80s TD like sound… Part 7 is more spaced out and trippy… Track 8 returns to a more tranquil space. Track 9 has a repeated synth and then loads of strange sounds. The vocal was a bit low on this one at the start. This is the longest track on the album at over 8 mins.  Track 10, starts with guitar, one of the rare tracks to do that and is a bit more dissonant and a very highly effected vocal. Far out… The last track ends in a pretty melodic and laid back way but still spaced out as you expect and demand in the Astral Magic universe…I think the spoken words are quite special and it is very cool and a different addition but not one I would listen to over and over again. Powerful words if you take the time and energy to really listen to what he has to say!!! Enjoy. Limited to 100 copies on CD… 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Colour Haze- Sacred (Elektrohasch Records EH013)

CH are back with their first new studio album since 2019.  A lot has changed with the band since the last one. They no longer record in their own studio but are back recording with long time collaborator,  Willi Dammeier, in Hamburg. This album was recorded live in the studio and mixed in  the bands Studio by Stefan.  Anyway, it is a shorter 40min Lp with 7 tracks, 5 with vocals and 2 instrumentals.  The instrumental, Turquoise starts things off.  It does not take but a few seconds and that guitar tone and standard colour haze guitar riff appears!  A good opener. Goldmine has a really rough guitar tone and a riff rocker with a great message. 

Idealogigi is my favorite track on the album.. There is something that is just so special about it and the way the keyboards really work for me and the more free nature and a bit proggy. Avatar starts with some spacey synth sounds before the bass kicks in and off we go. It then kicks into what has become a sort of Colour Haze guitar riff sound but it is played with a different groove. The keyboard solo really stands out on this track. The same but different, eh??? 1.5 degrees is a short instrumental track with acoustic guitar and a dark mood. . And wait for the huge surprise at about 5mins wow!! That will catch you unexpected.. This is an utterly unique track in the Colour Haze catalog. See the Fools, with it´s potent lyrics is classic Colour Haze guitar riff but more melodic and the floating synths of Jan, mixed well into the album sound, create a new feel.  In all you Are, closes this album.. The best one for me since She Said..

What is new though is the way that keyboard player, Jan Faszbender is incorporate much more into the bands sound than ever before. This is a great step forward for the band.  This is also the first album with new bass player, Mario Oberpucher as a full time member (he did sound and played occasional sitar with the band).  Mario maintains that Philip sound (plays thru his old gear) very well, so no radical changes in the bass sound or style really. Some of Stefan´s best lyrics yet as well. Very relevant to the world we live in today. If you are a fan of the band, you will for sure dig this record. A nice progression for the band and fans, without changing their core sound too much. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Stay- I can Hear the Grass Grow 7” (Winkle 48, Fruits de mer Records)

The Spanish retro band are back with one cover (by the Move) and one original track from their latest record (but with a new mix).  My wife immediately recognized the song when I put it on and said, “The Move”, so the band have not too radically changed the song. A very cool version of a great classic song. The B-side, Ger Going from the bands latest record, Old Sounds of Modern Music, is a foot stomping T-Rex, Sweet sort of inspired rock and roll number. You get really hooked on this track after a bit.. Nice stuff… 

Sendelica- One Man´s Man (is another Man´s Monkey) (Winkle 47, Fruits de mer Records)

Sendelica are back with release number 744 or something like that…  This is a band that has endless time and creative energy and keeps pumping out the quality music.  The core band is the same on this release but Rhiannon Jones plays Viola on Side A and Santtu Laakso (Astral Magic) plays synths on side A and D.  The album starts off with some church bells (The Dawn of Man-Homo Habilis and Homo Rudolfensis) and some spacey sounds and sequenced synths before the bass and guitar parts kick in and a bit of saxophone. Drums (programmed) have a lot of reverb on them. After about 7mins the vibe starts to mutate (as the humanoids also change).  At 9mins the heavy bass returns as the sax continues to be the main lead instrument.  Another major change occurs at 12-14 mins then it launches into a repetitive space rock mode with some synths from Santtu, similar to old HW style and stuff I might play myself!   Side 2 the vibe is quite different but mysterious as we enter into Homo Erectus and the Denisovans!! The drums are quite intense at the start of this track as the guitar and sax much more ethereal.  At 7mins the track drops down to nearly silence with just a bit of guitar before the synths start to evolve into something totally different. The guitar part is quite eerie but others melodic. Side 3 starts with a mellow synth drone and saxophone. The track stays pretty much in outer space until 14mins when an uptempo drum beat kicks in but this does not last long before the track fades into nothingness at 17 and half mins.  Side 4 also has a relaxed vibe to it to start with some nice floating synths and sax but the track slowly gets more intense with the drums and bass building up the energy. It stays pretty spaced out and very dreamy at the end. If you are a fan of the band, you will dig this one as well… 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Farflung-Like Drones in Honey (Sulatron Records)

It has not been that long since the last Farflung record, which is usually good for the world.  There was a great interview last year with the guys on Psychedelic Baby, I think where they talked about how they make records now. Anyway, this is quite a different sound and record, I thought after hearing it a few times… Acid Drain starts things off it a sort of laid back fashion with a spoken word sample and mellow vibe. The effected vocals let you know it is Farflung though! It does build up into a bit of a rocker. Earthmen Look has a lot of spacey stuff going on in the background before what you could call a typical Farflung guitar line kicks in for a bit but they they go a bit into a 80s goth like sound to return to their normal sound.  King Fright is a trippy piece to start and then the bass line kicks in and it gets intense once the vocal appears. Dark and scary!  Tiny Cities has a very cool bass line and mellow vibe but enough weirdness to make it cool…Dludgebmasterpoede has a really nice synth-guitar sequence to start things off but after a few minutes he yells, “Ok” and then we go into a sort of militant rock groove. Wow.. that catches you off guard. This is the most intense track on the album. Baile an Doire brings back what I would call classic Farflung sound. A bit Nik Turner inspiration on this one.  It has a long spacey ending as well. One of the highlight tracks for sure. Touch of the Lemmings Kiss is a strange short one that leads into A year in Japan.  Some lightly spoken words over a bass line and lots of strange sounds is all you get on this one to close the album.. Enjoy and read this interview to get a deeper insight into the record.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Sula Bassana- Nostalgia (Sulatron Records)

Not sure what number this is for Sula solo records but there have been a lot! What a great and prolific musician. On this album, as with most of his solo albums he plays all the instruments mixes and does everything except the mastering.  The tracks were recorded between 2013-2018 and he added stuff over the last few years, including vocals!! The album features 5 tracks starting off with Its Real Life, very cool and laid back but then evolves into a space rocker. We will make It, follows with a of mellotron and melodies as it slowly builds up and continues this happy theme. Side B features 3 tracks of which, Nostaligia starts things off with a Saturnia inspired track (at least to start), including the laid back, low mixed vocal. Very hard to really hear what he says though without really working hard to hear it. Wurmlock, Powerful stuff and again a barely audible vocal.  Mellowtraum closes the album with the best track (hypnotic and heavy), along with the first one. Lovely artwork and another really nice album of music to relax to. Not heavy psych stuff like Electric Moon, at all…. 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Time Dwellers- Novum Aurora (Argonauta Records REX2211)

This is a new Swedish band lead by multi-instrumentalist, Kristofer Sternquist, who plays all the instruments except the lead guitar (Martin Fairbanks) and drums (Henrik Bergman), both from the band the Graviators.   The CD features 7 long tracks of very nice prog inspired music.  The opening Rising (in 3 parts) is really epic prog rock with some very cool playing and melodies and complexity.  One of my friends said they were reminded of early Genesis at times hearing this album.. At least we´re having Fun changes the mood totally with a light acoustic piece. Seasons Change starts with a repeated synth bass line as the other instruments slowly build up and take over.  You get a bit of Sensational Alex Harvey band feel, like Faith Healer… Cool build on this track and nice vocals and great wah guitar solo. I feel the drums are really buried in the mix and all you really hear is the cymbals most of the time.. What´s about to Happen, starts with some moody keyboards and wah guitar before the rest of the band joins in on this longer proggy piece. The vocal is very relaxed and there are lots of nice melodic threads and solos. Sound of the Apocalypse starts with a darkish mood and a heavy distorted bass but then when the guitar kicks in, it is not as dark and quite symphonic, almost. You are the Sun brings a more relaxed mood back but then it really builds up in a really cool way.. One of my fave tracks in the end with a great guitar solo. Tabular Balls the last and closing track borrows nicely from an old Iron Maiden track. Good way to close this musical adventure. Super cool artwork on this one by Simone at STRX art.  Good job guys. 

Jimi Hendrix- Every Album, Every Song by Emma Stott (Sonic Bond Publishing)

I have read and reviewed a lot of these Every Album, Every Song books by this point and really like them a lot.  I think what is most unique about this one is the depth in which the author goes into the lyrics. There is a lot of speculation of course as you can't ask Jimi what he was thinking or meant but she does a great job digging into this..  

Emma starts off with going through the 3 singles that were released prior to Are you Experienced and then goes into depth about the UK version and US, as they had different album artwork and different songs.  It is crazy to think that only 3 studio albums and one live album were actually released while Jimi was alive and most of the music that is exists was all released after his death!  So that means there are only 3 studio albums to dissect and so some times Emma can spend more than a page describing one song.  After the 4 albums (Are you, Axis, EL, Band of Gypsies), she describes the year 2000 Experience box set, which is an interesting choice. She ones goes thru the tracks that are not found on other compilations. After that First Rays of the new Rising Sun, which was the album that Jimi was trying to finish at the time of his death and later put together by Eddie Kramer and released in 1997. South Saturn Delta (1997), Valleys of Neptune (2010), People, Hell and Angels (2013), and finally Both Sides of the Skies (2018) are all described in detail. There is a small end section about compilations and live released.

Overall a very enjoyable book with some interesting and though provoking insight into the lyrics. Check it out… 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Colour Haze- Hard Club, Porto, Portugal Sept 28th, 2022

This was the 3rd time Colour Haze has played in Portugal (I missed one of them) and they have quite a following as this show was sold out!  I have known the guys for over 20 years, as we toured together in Oct 2002 (Gas Giant/Colour Haze). I showed up about 17 and found Stefan in the backstage with one of his guitars.  Hugs and a nice chat and he was off to finish set up for soundcheck. The bass, keyboards, his amps were all done. Manni was barely started with the drums so we had a chat as well. Spent the most of the next 3hrs talking with Stefan about life, record labels, recording, family, etc.. we had a great time. We spoke a bit about the state of the world over dinner as well.  I left the guys an hour before the gig so they could relax and get into the vibe. Place was packed when they started. 


The band started at 22 and finished about 23:45 and did two encores. They played the entire A side of the new album (not in order).  It was the first time for me to see the band with the new bass player, Mario. He plays just like Philip, even uses the same gear and type of bass. If they wanted a clone, they got the right guy as he laid it down well.  There is no space in the perfection of what Colour Haze to for him to change much.. Great player. Jan, now this is exactly the evolution that this band needed and most of his contributions were amazing even though I felt like 50% of the time you could see him playing you could not hear him.. He really transformed some of the songs a lot like Aquamaria, Skydancer, and Transformation. Amazing keyboard player and a nice guy as well.  Skydancer, the new song Ideologigi and Tempel were probably my highlights.  Still a great band after all these years and super nice people.  Danke guys…

Set List: Turquoise, Goldmine, Aquamaria, We are, Frude III, Labyrinthe, Skydancer, Ideologigi, Uberall, Transformation

Encore: Tempel, Love

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Crescendo Festival- Saint Palais sur Mer, France Aug 20-21st, 2022

Crescendo Festival is the longest running Prog Festival in France. This would have been there 24th edition but due to covid, it was the 22nd!  It was an honour to be invited to play. The organization first contacted us back in 2017 or so and we finally managed to make it happen.  The fest started on Friday the 19th with Anaïd (France), Pymlico (Norway) and Kartagan (Ukraine). We did not arrive until late Friday night to Bordeaux so we did not see any of these bands.  The site is in a beautiful beach town called Saint Palais sur Mer about 120km north of Bordeaux.  Lovely location right on a small fishing bay. Festival is also free... They had a local brewer than made 5 kinds of beer, all very good but the Moon Keeper IPA was the best and made only for the festival!! 

Aug 21st

We had to wait until 15 in the afternoon to be picked up in Bordeaux and arrived in time to hear about half the show of the Italian band, Universal Totem Orchestra, who I really like. They were cool. Esthesis (France) were on before them. 

Next up was a German band from Berlin called Small Tape. This was very Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson inspired stuff.  They were pretty good. 
Small Tape

Hasse Fröberg and Musical Companion (Flower Kings), his band was great but the music was much like 80s Kansas or Boston, a bit of 90s Marillion. The band were super musicians and they had a huge audience, I guess 1000 people. Nice people and good players.  We got back to the hotel about midnight.

Aug 22nd

Soundcheck was 11 and we were done by 12 and all was good. We had lunch and I set up the merch and we headed back to the hotel until 17… They were supposed to pick 2 of us up at 17 but no one showed up so Jiri and I just sat and talked and around 18, everyone was there but then they showed up with only enough room for 4, so Mogens and Vemund waited for them to take us and come and them. It was a pity as I really wanted to see Ex Odd, they were one of the most interesting bands that were playing but we missed them all since no one showed up at 17.. Oh well. I mostly sat at the Merch table and talked with the fans, sold a few LPs and CDs and t-shirts but not much. London Underground, was an Italian trio (keyboards, bass and drums). I have one CD by them and I liked them a lot. They were really nice people and the keyboard player was a fan. They had some technical problems and delays so the festival was 30mins late now.  I dig their music and vibe a lot though..

London Underground leader and keyboard player

Last Flight to Pluto was a power rock pop band from Wales. They just seemed so “not right” for this festival and was anything but progressive. Lead by a female singer, they had 3 guitar players, bass, drums and loads of pre-recorded stuff. It was way too mainstream. We did not like them at all. Nice people though.  They ended their set with a terrible version of Whole Lotta Love with Rush- Spirit of Radio in the middle. That was bizarre but they did Zep terrible. It had no groove.. Bizzare..

Anyway, we (Oresund Space Collective) were rushed as they have a curfew and all music has to be done at midnight.  We got started about 2230.  It was a high energy set and about 2-300 people were still there. There was 1000 people or more the night before but that was Saturday!  Anyway, we kicked some ass and everyone played so well. Mogen´s modular died half way thru the show though,.  Both Vemund and Jonathan were awesome of the leads and solos and Tim and Jiri just groove like hell. People loved and some said it was the highlight of the festival. It was really fun. We even got a encore and played something more mellow and spacey, which was cool…  …  A great time.. We had some beers and left the festival site about 115… I was so tired.. Did not get to bed until 205…  A pretty diverse and awesome festival and this was the best we had ever been treated by any festival.. Merci Prog Patt, Jean-Luc, Sara and all the other amazing staff...  Highly recommended.

International Space Station Vol 1 (Worst Bassists Records )

This is a really cool compilation record with 4 album long side tracks, with Side A starting off with Elon Musk playing Gods of the Swamp Planet. It slowly fades up with spacey new age like synths followed by some guitar noodling as the track slowly grows. The bass now starts to enter the picture and a min later or so the drums are starting to rise up!  The delay guitar is really lovely on this track as you just float away with the guitar the main focus and the synths largely evaporated in the background until the end when the track spaces out again and you can hear them more clearly for a while and then they bring it back up with that sort of post rock guitar solo style. It gets quite heavy at the end… Dynamic track..

Man, that Electric Moon Duality track has such cool drums-percussion and a really heavy driving bass line. The flangy vibrato guitar is really cool as well. This best track they had made in a while, I think.. I really loved it.  Powerful stuff. 

Kungens Män have a much darker theme and feel to the music straight away. It is quite hypnotic at times but also the two guitar parts balance with one soloing intensely while the other a bit more dominant, taking it easy with some long delay and space in the sounds and notes..  Can be quite trippy at times. It becomes more relaxed and there is an almost like Spanish guitar section which is really cool as the vibe still is dark and moody…. 

Kanaan features a track called Beyond and it starts slowly with just bass and some percussion and drums. Like the Elon track that started things off this is also as slow growing floating affair with the main focus on the lovely guitar playing with delay.  Nice build and great sound production. Half way thru the drums and bass really kick it in and the guitar is forced to go for it or be lost by the energy of the rhythm section. Some synths sounds are mixed in here and there as well to add some extra atmosphere….. This band has such cool dynamics, I think that is what makes the most special…. A great comp with different moods…  Buy it!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Sonic Blast Festival, Vila praia de Ançora Portugal Aug 10-13th, 2022

It takes us a bit more than 3hrs to drive to this coastal sea front town in the very north of Portugal.  We are staying in an apartment about 15mins walk from the festival site.  When we are arrived our friends were already there.  It was about 1830. We put out stuff in and headed over to get our wristbands and drink tickets. This went pretty smooth saw Roberto from Deepa Fuzz blog.  What a great guy. Ricardo and Thelma, both super nice..  All seem to be in order. The festival site is very different from there the other editions of the festival were in Moledo.  

Anyway, a bit after 20, they let people into the food court. They had a drink stand outside the entrance but you can not bring those drinks in, which is a bit strange. Anyway, a light search and you are in.  I guess you can have 5000 people in this site.  Camping is in the forest which is nice and they have several fire trucks about due to fire risk as Portugal has been so dry this year. 

7 places to feed all these people..  Going to be a bit of chaos once the festival gets going as there is only one small hamburger joint on the walk to the festival and that is it for food.  We will see. The pizza we had was good but very thin on the toppings.  Pepperoni and mushroom but I guess there was less than 1 mushroom and maybe 2 pieces of pepperoni split in half on the entire pizza. Also hardly any cheese, just a lot of bread and sauce…  7.5€..

Temple Fang
Temple Fang
The first band was a local noise rock duo. NO idea what they were called but it was terrible.  The sound was awful, not just bad, but awful. Out where most people were standing it was a lot of bass and some cymbals. NO definition in the sound at all. Granted the guitar player who played thru a bass amp and guitar amp had tons of distortion.  He also used a lot of vocal effects.  Anyway, they played until 2235 and then it took a while to set up Temple Fang but thankfully, they had their own sound guy.  They started about 15mins late and played an hour set of I think 5 songs. It really liked it a lot. Sue and I were talking to the guys earlier. Such nice people. Anyway, the set was very dynamic, spacey, heavy at times.  Great use of the 3 vocals as well. Jevin and Dennis share the lead vocals.  There was a time in the middle when they spaced out they were losing the audience a bit, people were talking around us quite a bit but then they got the groove going again, Great stuff.

Me and some of the El Perro Guys
El Perro did not get going until nearly 0030 but what a powerful sound and groove.  I bought the LP at the merch and Parker and a couple of the other guys signed the record, which was cool.  Parker was drinking rose wine from the bottle at this time and it was like 3hrs before they were going to play. I guess he wanted to loosen up. Man, he rips it on the guitar.  We did not hear the entire concert as we are old and tired after the trip today.  We could hear them quite clear back where we stay though.  

We did not see Toxic Shock (thrash metal) who also play tomorrow and Misleading. I spoke to Diogo and their lovely female synth player from Misleading but they were not on until 2 in the morning and even later now that things were 30mins later. Pity…. I wanted to see them. Met the drummer from Travo as we were leaving last night as well. I dig their band.  They are also on super late so we will not see them either. 

Day 2

Up at around 9 and it is foggy here but a pleasant temperature outside.. A lot of car noise as we are right on a big highway roundabout looking out to the sea. 

The first band on is 1440 with Pledge a sort of indie punk with shouting vocals.  Madmess is next on the 2nd stage and then the Devil and the Almighty Blues!  Madmess came out on time and had the biggest audience they have ever played for and the people dug it… Seems they play more or less the same set for the last months but they do it well.  Ended with Stargazer but then Vasco and Luis started a new jam and Sam had already left the stage and he had to come back on. They were not supposed to play more but it was only 5mins..   Audience loved it.

Intro, Rebirth, Albatross, Mind Collapse, Shape Shifter, Stargazer, short jam piece

The Devil and the Almighty Blues from Norway had not played a gig in 2.5 years and the sound guy I was talking with had not even seen the most of the band in the last few years. He said most of a 4th album was in progress or done. They only played the same set as they played last time here when the weather was so bad and stormy that not many people saw them. Cool to hear them again. I like the band but wish they did more guitar solo parts.. 

Salt the Earth, Root to Root, Lay Down, Time Ruins Everything, The Ghosts of Charlie Barracuda

Another Norwegian band, Slomosa was next on the 2nd stage. I had only heard a few songs on the internet.  They play a sort of Indie stoner rock.  They had a big audience and people seem to dig it but most of it was not for me…. no guitar solos even though they have 2 guitar players.  Singer sound a bit like Nick from Elder at times.  It was ok…. Set list included most or all these songs..

King Buffalo, was the band of the festival that I was most looking forward to see.  I spoke briefly with the bass player at the merch. He was very friendly…  They did not get much of a soundcheck but the sound guy dialled it in pretty fast. They have awesome PA so most of the bands have sounded really great.. The main house sound man is really great and cool… Knows that the guitars need to be loud.. Anyway, King Buffalo have this special bass groove that they hook you with and although they over use it a bit. They have great dynamics and cool songs. Whatever the last song of the set they played, that was a killer.  Hope it is from the new album. It was a great show. They did not disappoint..

We needed some food so we only heard but did not see Meatbodies. They had a big crowd. They is 5000 day tickets, per day.. the festival site is big, it never really felt super crowded so far. Very easy to get drinks with the plastic cup you have to buy and token system. While everyone liked the Moledo festival site better with the football pitch, some trees and the pool stage, this one is pretty functional with all 3 stages side by side so easy to go between stages. There is basically no break between bands though. Sometimes 5-10mins but sometimes, just straight into the next band..  Meatbodies was hard rock… 

We heard the entire W.I.T.C.H. concert but half of it at the sea watching the sun go down. It was perfect. This is an old Zambian band but this line up only has the original keyboard player and a bunch of young white guys. It was cool to hear these old songs from the early albums (I have them on tape) and they also played some new material as well. I filmed one of the songs. I really liked them a lot. I wish I had recorded the whole show.. It was nice and groovy most of the time with some awesome fuzzy and cool wah guitar.. Some songs were a bit weak but overall it was an excellent choice..

Nebula, the stage area was packed.. The band started off a bit nervous, perhaps, Eddie was not really in the groove and the fingers were a bit slow but they really kicked some ass later in the show with some great tracks like Full Throttle…. They for sure played at least 2 songs from the new album I got so high and I think Warzone Superwolf. They ended the set with Out of my Head. They were supposed to have Nick Oliveiri join them for the last track but he was on the stage next to them playing his bass to get his amp ready for the Stöner show that was to directly flow and it did. 

Within 1min of Nebula ending and not getting Nick to come over, Stöner just started their line check-soundcheck and straight into the set… never looking back…  The albums are ok but live they were fucking great.. I think this is just what I needed and I was really into the gig.. They played a mix of the first two albums and ended with the Kyuss song, Green Machine.  55min set..  Much more heavy than I expected and some good grooves..  

Set List: Rad Stays Rad, The Older Kids, Stand Down, Own Yer Blues, ?, Green Machine

We really wanted to see Slift from France but we would have to sit another hour and listen to the thrash punk metal of Toxic Shock and we were tired and just not in the mood. We had been there hearing bands straight for 8 hrs now… We are near or over 60 now so it is a long day and we often miss the last bands. There was still Travo at 0120 and Cobrafuma at 0215!!  I bet they were good… Our friends we attend the festival with said Slift had really good visuals and it was a great show. 

Day 3

The camping is set up in a forest next to the festival site. One is not going to get a lot of sleep in this camping site!!  Music ends like 3-4 the morning and this morning at 1030 they are already sound checking the bands using full volume on the PA. We stay about 2km away and it you could hear it very clearly… So maybe there is 6-7hrs of silence.. 

We were up about 9 and in bed about 0030 last night… Could hear Slift playing in the distance.  The first band today is Rosy Finch on the 3rd stage at 14.. Not sure if we will hear her or not.. We did not..

We got there just in time to catch the last 10mins of 24/7 Diva Heaven, which was three ladies playing punk rock.. They have the energy and give it all but I did not find it interesting.  Crowd was having fun though.. They did have a great male sales person in the merch trying to sell their stuff after…

Next up was the strange and interesting Spanish occult fantasy rock group, Luna Viaja.  Cool costumes and cool stage set up.  Bass player took over the drums and the female drummer then became one of the singers- actors…. it was dark rock with a doomy element here and there. Quite entertaining but musically not that interesting for me. 

The Dutch band, the Machine were first on the main stage.  Last time I saw them was at Sonic Blast. I was not sure what to expect.  There early albums are very guitar driven and solo driven stuff and their later albums a bit more polished and shorter songs and even a bit of QOTSA influence.  This set though was mostly the jammed out stuff and they did at least one, new song and said they will have a new album next year. They were really cool and jammed out a lot. A more heavy set than I expected and some cool visuals as well. I hung out with the drummer and bass player a bit during the day and a bit in the night. Cool guys…

Set list: First Unique Prime, Crack You, Awe, Genau or Never, Wave Cannon and Gamma….

Green Lung from London are gathering quite a big reputation now and I only own the first CD but the new one had great reviews. I was looking forward to see them. They put on a great show and the audience was totally into it.. While they do not deliver anything really that new, this heavy doom rock (Pentagram, Sabbath, Witchcraft inspired) is pretty full, the throw in a really great front man and also a great lead guitar player who does plenty of solos.  The audience dug it for sure and were headbanging. Cool set with a mixture of a lot from the first album and the new one.  Good set..

The Harrowing, Old Gods, The Ritual Tree, You Bear the Mark, Call of the Coven, Reaper’s Scythe, Leaders of the Blind, Graveyard Sun, Woodland Rites, Let the Devil In

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs were next on the main stage and they delivered a high energy and heavy set. We only heard it from the food court as we had to get something to eat at this time. They had a big crowd and people were into it for sure. I had seen them at Reverence Festival in maybe 2016??  

Anyway, El Perro was the band I was most looking forward to see at the festival. We only really heard the other show from the distance as it was too late.  Anyway, they were dressed to kill and in a good mood. I had been talking with the rhythm guitar player over the last days and they were really enjoying themselves here in Portugal. Anyway, the band just was killer… They nailed that funky 70s groove rock and played at least one totally new song and ended the show with the killer Black Sands from the new album which after the drum section which was extended here with a great conga, percussion and drums, they came back and did the Santana Soul Sacrifice tribute.. Blew me away. Great band.. My fave so far of the festival…

Frankie and Witch Fingers, wow…. who would have expected this.. This band had a made high strung singer/guitar player, female bassists, the most intense drummer of the whole festival and another guitar player who did the solos and played a bit of keyboard.. It was just 50 mins of high energy kick ass rock and roll with a bit of a punky edge. Blew me away…   I should have bought one of their albums..

CONAN……. wow.. every time I had seen CONAN, they were the loudest band at the festival. The share the soundman with Electric Wizard (a heavily tatoo¨d and mean looking guy). Sure enough, it was at least 10db louder than any band, maybe more. The house sound guy even told him, he needed to turn it down a bit!!  Anyway, the crushed the place with their massive wall of distorted nasty, evil guitar, forced screamed tortured vocals.  The audience was totally into this one dimensional wall of noise.  I give it to them, they lay down a fucking nasty sound and are heavy as fuck.  YOu need to be in the mood for this or you will not like them at all.  They played a new song and said they have a new album on the way. The best song was the 3rd to last one where they did a min or so of really spacey stuff with some delay and wah guitar. That was pretty much the only real major change in the nasty distorted guitar that sounds like bass… Far out.. Set list was something like below..

Total Conquest, Prosper on the Path, Hawk as Weapon, Satsumo, Levitation Hoax, Gravity Chasm, Righteous Alliance, Volt Thrower, Foehammer, Battle in the Swamp, Paincantation

WITCH, J. Mascus stoner heavy band were next on the big stage and the crowd was big… They laid it down heavy for sure. I think they started off a bit slow but the last half of the show was really good.  I do not know their music at all but the last few tracks seem to be their hits or something as people were really into it.. It was pretty cool…

Moura, a quite unique and different band from Galicia in Spain was the last band before Electric Wizard, where the crowd had already filled the stage next to these guys waiting… Anyway, it was a colourful 7 piece band with female drummer and percussion/vocalist and a guy how played sax, percussion and harmonica, two guitar players, one was the lead vocalist, bass and a cool keyboard player with vintage hammond with Leslie, malotron, moog….  We heard most of the show from a distance but it was really nice music.. On the Spinda label..  A nice change from the heavy stuff before EW!

Electric Fucking Wizard…..  They walk on the stage with attitude…  They know this is what the people want…. The open with Come my Fanatics and the audience is in the palm of their hand!!  

They have an awesome and fucking loud sound and great visuals.. It was a cool concert.  I wish I had recorded the entire thing.  Lots of guitar solos and movies.. Damn.. good time.

The set list was something like this:  Come my Fanatics, Satanic Rites of Drugula, The Chosen Few, Incense for the Damned, Black Mass, Funeralopolis

There was still Kaleidobolt from Finland, The Goners and Deathchant on this night but it was just too late already. We did not get to bed before 0130..

Day 4

We are too fucking old for this but we still do it..   Starts too early today so I doubt we will make it to see Orange Goblin at midnight, but we will see….  Mythic Sunship had to cancel as the drummer caught covid…. They replaced them with the US band from LA, Deathchant.  Anyway, we arrived at 14 to catch Samavayo from Berlin. They were an old school stoner band from the late 1990s… Still going…  They only had about 40mins to rock before Black Wizards on the main stage. I was not so into the opening couple of songs but then they really got the groove and it was great. It was a small crowd, maybe 150 people… The singer sung one song in Persian and said that if you came and sang him a song in Persian at the merch he would give you a free gift! One person did later!! 

Set List: 

The Black Wizards, I may have seen them years ago at Reverence but I feel like this is really the first time I have really seen them and they were excellent. Such a diverse and cool set of songs. Mostly from the new and their best album Reflections. One of the songs which was a lot like the old blues number Evil (as Cactus did it) they took into a new direction with a few bars of 21st Century Schizoid Man by King Crimson. That was cool… Anyway, they did rock, psych, blues, and the audience loved it. Maybe 500 people..  Great job people…

Deathchant, I had no idea what to expect and they are mean looking tattooed guys but man, they put on a killer show. It was like old school UFO and NWOBHW mix with a lot of duel guitars, lots of solos. I just was not very fond of the singing but damn they did a killer high energy set. My wife loved them and bought the shirt and cd:.. What a surprise..

Psychlona from the North of England laid down a really good set of what I call relaxed stoner grooves and vibes. While I miss the guitar solos, the two guitar players do some interesting melodic guitar notes rather regular solos…. Cool songs and grooves. People were really into it for sure. They have a new album out in Sept, I think he said and they played 2 new songs in the set. 

Set List: Gas, 1975, Blast Off, Rainbird, Valley, Purple River, Devil, Warped. 

Bala was this insane angry all female Spanish Duo.. The drummer, her friend told me teaches drums, was an animal. Man did she have energy and kick ass. The blonde guitar player and main vocalist, she was pissed off and angry and just played nasty riffs, no solos….  It was crazy stuff. Fun to see but I can not imagine listening to this at home. Audience was packed and loved it… Wild..

Mdou Maktar was something totally different. A band from Niger with three African guys and one white dude on bass.  They had a great energy and the place was dancing and it made everyone really happy. What a cool success and change of pace for everyone. The lead singer and lead guitar player, he was a tall guy and had long fingers, played a lot of solos, mostly sounded the same as he did not use any effects.  Bass and drums lines were often a lot the same on many of the songs but it was a great vibe and people enjoyed it. Bring Bassekou Kouyate and Ng Ba next time Ricardo…

Atomic Bitchwax, I spoke a lot with Bob and Gavin. This was the last gig of the 7 weeks in Europe which started at Freak Valley in June. These guys just play insane. The riffs are awesome, the bass lines intense, the drums pounding and the energy just insane..  It is no wonder they are so tight, it is mostly the same songs they play ever year every tour so they should know them well but just an awesome band. Which they would just drop most of these tracks and pick up another set of 10 to 15 for the next tour… Awesome band and super nice people…. 

Pentagram was next on the main stage and I just happen to run into Bobby. Wow.. what a chance that was. Got a pick but he was in a mad mood as Vitor and the other PT guy from the Limit (released on Svart last year) said they were here. And he was like running around the festival site, where the fuck is here???  Anyway, I got my picture and said good luck and have a great gig. He looks a lot older and whiter than the last time I met him in Greece in 2015, I think.. Anyway, the band was focusing mainly on 70s stuff this tour except for Relentless and Review your Choices, I think it was all old tracks..  It did not start off that well. I really miss Victor on guitar, the new guy was really off to start but really kicked ass as the gig went along.  I had fun.. it was not the worst Pentagram gig but far from the best either. Cool Bobby still has it in him to play this stuff for the audience… 

1000 Mods, what a great stoner band from Greece.  I had recently mixed one of their multitrack shows and the merch guy said they dug it and he did too.  They played most of the same songs as in April but what a great sound and vibe they have and both guitar players do cool solos and the grooves are good.. No wonder they have a big following in Portugal.. I think they sold a ton of merch…   Seemed like people were there all the time…

My Sleeping Karma, had to cancel at Sonic Blast 2019, so they were finally back in Portugal or maybe this was the first time ever. Anyway, the larger German guys were in a great mood and really were having fun. The way the guitar and bass player interact with each other in front of the drum kit, is nice…  They have a special sound and for me most of the songs sound so much a like but man, they are awesome at what they do, with the vibe and emotion they create and cool visuals as well. Not enough of the bands took advantage of the visual screen on the main stage.  Solid show.. 

Set List: The Four Horsemen, Ephedra, Akasha, Prema (possible set list)

Orange Goblin, Weedeater and Mister Miyagi were too late for us but we heard a lot of the Orange Goblin show from the distance it was a high energy kick ass biker rock show.  I heard Weedeater were super heavy and great as well and that the singer in Mr Miyagi was totally wasted and quite funny….

Just an awesome festival. So many great bands every day.. The best bands?? Hard to say?? The bands I liked the best???  El Perro, Atomic Bitchwax, The Machine, Electric Wizard, Black Wizards, Stoner, King Buffalo…. the most surprising acts were W.IT.C.H. and Mdou Makar and especially Frankie and the Witch Fingers. The energy of that drummer and band, was off the chart.  Really great festival.. Thanks to Ricardo, Thelma and all the amazing staff and sound people, who did a great job...

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Dark Side of the Cult- A Tribute to Blue Oyster Cult (Black Widow Records BWRCD46-2)

It was an honour to be invited to contribute a song to this great compilation… Anyway, this is 150mins of music and features 29 different bands and then Albert Bouchard (original BOC drummer) also provides his take of Baby Ice Dog (used to play this with the Brain Surgeons).  The album is tracked from the oldest BOC track to the most recent album. Transmaniacon starts things off with, of course, Transmanicon MC!!  They have slowed it down a bit and have a female vocalist but do a nice version…Salem Cross is next with a heavy version of Stairway to the Stars.. Fairly close to the original.  Presence do a very cool and interesting take on Before the Kiss, A Recap.. So far this is the most unique so far… Belladonna have a female singer and strip away Mistress of the Salmon Salt to its bear basics with a drum machine and make it quite interesting, Bretus slow down Career of Evil and this works really well.  They also throw in a powerful female backing vocal. Epitaph´s Wings Wetted is done in an Iron Maiden style. I quite liked that twist… Bullfrog take on Dominance and Submission. They nail the groove. Singer has a special voice but he is passionate.  Witchwood, the singer is very close to Eric. Wow.. They stick pretty close to the original on this one.  Blue Dawn take on the ambitious Astronomy to end the normal CD. The female vocal is a new twist. She has a great voice but you can tell she is not used to sing in English. Musically the intro is very different and spacey. I dug the heavy echo on the vocal at times and intense guitar soloing at the end. Nice job. There is a bonus track of The Last Days of May by Simone Baldini Tosi and Cristiano Roversi. I have to stay they do a unique take where they sort of turn it into a Bowie like track with drum machines, mellotrons, lots of keys and very laid back and the long guitar solo and rocking part is removed completely.  

CD2 starts with The Forty Days and Don´t Fear the Reaper. Probably one of the most difficult songs to do a cover of and try to keep the feel but try to do something original as well. Better to play it safe and play it nearly the same. I liked the synth line at the intro section that was different and more prominent but they do it well, if not in a very unique way…..  The Revenge of Vera Gemini was a very unique and interesting version.  Poobah, did good on Godzilla. Great long guitar solo section and powerful. Lifestream´s version of Death Valley Nights was also very unique.  Gothic Stone took on Nosteratu, a quite unusual track to choose… I proposed a few to Martin and we decided on the Vigil and we took a BOC meets Hawkwind style and made it instrumental. Fun… Freddy Delirio and ther Phantoms do the great song, Black Blade. They do it pretty close to the original. Freddy has a cool voice to make it a bit more creepy…Ottone Pesante go for Monsters and a quite heavy spaced version, wow.. This caught me off guard but I liked it.. A real adventurous take with mainly trombone, trumpet and drums!!! Ape Shifter take on the bands biggest hit from the 80s, Burnin´for You.. They play it a bit faster on the intro and main parts. The Mugshots do one of my fave 80s tracks from BOC, Veteran of the Psychic Wars.  Strange mix… kick drum is the loudest instrument in the mix… did not like this one much. Jack Meille and the Blue Machine take on Soul Survivor.  Eric´s vocals are awesome on the original and Jack does a good job.  They do the track pretty close to the original. One of the few non-Italian acts, SMED from Sweden kill it with Heavy Metal Black and Silver!…. Well done guys. One of my faves..Very powerful vocal performance! The Lancasters try out a high energy version of Demon´s Kiss. with some heavier riffs.  Good job. Runaway Totem do one from the latest BOC album. The Alchemist.  One of the best tracks from that album.  Always liked Runaway Totem and this experimental sax driven version is a trip..  One last bonus track on the CD is Death SS taking on Godzilla!!! 

Super cool tribute… Well done bands.. Great stuff and long booklet.. etc..