Saturday, May 24, 2014

Syreregn, Langsyn, Dead Man Driving- Lygten Station, CPH May 16th, 2014

It had been three years since I last played with Syreregn. I had seen them play a couple of times in between, when Freddy from Fuzz Manta was briefly in the band. The new guitar player Casper is really cool and great for the band. Sabine and I arrived with all my stuff for the soundcheck at 17 as agreed but only the other special guests, the people running the place and some from the Landsyn band had arrived. It was probably after 17:30 before Syreregn showed up but all went very smooth with the set up and soundcheck and then Langsyn used the same backline and did a soundcheck and all was ready to go. We tried out 1½ songs at the sound check and it was cool. I could have been louder in the monitor but Casper felt like he was getting blasted since we shared a monitor.

          There was only about 20 people when Langsyn started about 20:50. Not many of their friends or fans, it seems as most all these people were here for Syreregn. Rasmus (Causa Sui, ØSC) and his friend Christoffer showed up and Janne from my work as well. Langsyn apparently had been around for a wile and released a record in 2010 but only in the last 5-6 months got back together again. They sing all their songs in Danish and are really inspired by the 60’s beat music like Steppenvulve, and also Bob Dylan (a lot). They had a lot of good songs and people seem to enjoy their short set.

          It did not take too long for us to change over and we were on stage before 10. I did not play the opening Overture or Hvem ved Hvad. Next, we would play the entire new record, which I played on 3-4 songs. There was also Mattias joining on hand drums and a sax player on three songs as well. We started with Skabt værk with all the guests and this became a cool jam right away. This is realy blues rock but I seem to find my place to make it more like cosmic blues rock. Thor he writes really excellent songs. Going Under is a classic hard blues rock with a great guitar solo. Marana Tha (they used to call it Østen) is a long Indian inspired track in D that I really enjoyed playing on. Psykedelic Baby is their new like radio hit, and I only made a few space sounds at the chorus but people were really into this one. Hypnokongen the band has made a cool video for, see the link below. Mirror Mirror is another older song and everyone came bacak and this was a long 10min+ jam… Great show.. I had a fantastic time but I had to run before the last band as I promised I would come to a 50th birthday party of a friend. Great night and go check out this excellent new album, which will be out next month on the Bilocation label in Germany…

Set List: Overture, Hvem ved Hvad, Skabt Værk, going Under, Marana tha, Psykedelic Baby, Hypnokongen, Mirror Mirror

Fotos by Sabine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Glitter Wizard Interview in Copenhagen May 2014

So when did Glitter Wizard first start and how did you get recruited?

Glitter Wizard was formed by Wendy Stonehenge in Santa Cruz about 8 years ago. Wendy moved to the bay area a year or two later and visited an oracle. She took his blood and read his tarot, it was foreseen that Doug Graves and Fancy Cymballs shall be recruited to play synthesizer and drums respectively. Filling in the rest of the band were Gayngel on guitar and Arthur Tea on Bass. Gayngel eventually sprouted his wings and flew to the gay heavens. Lorfin Terrafor soon replaced him on guitar. This line-up released the first Glitter Wizard 7 Inch (Black Lotus b/w Witches Limbo) and the Solar Hits LP. Shortly after the release of the LP Arthur Tea left the band. The oracle visited me in a dream; her head rose out of flaming church and spit tongues of fire at me as I lay tied to the ground. She burned off the ropes, setting me free. My only debt to her was to join Glitter Wizard as their new bass player and thus Kandi Moon was born.

How does the band go about writing songs?

For most of the early material Wendy wrote the songs out on bass and would bring them to the band. Wendy has a certain idea for how the song will go but the band members write all of their own parts. If we get too off base Wendy will guide us in a particular direction but we are never told specifically how or what to play. As long as it is within the chord progression of the song it is up to us. Recently, Lorfin Terrafor has been sharing the song writing duties with Wendy. Similarly he will bring songs/riffs written on guitar to the band and we will write our parts accordingly. The structure of the song is always up for debate and can be altered. Some parts may be added or deleted depending on the feel of the song. Things always sound different when you add three more instruments and vocals to it. I contributed the song “Sunlit Wolves” to Hunting Gatherers and helped write most of “Space”. It seems as we grow as a band the song writing process has become more collaborative and will continue in that manner.

Clearly, the band has a great sense of humor.. How did Hunting gatherers title and artwork concept come to life?

As with many of the things involved with the band, both of these were Wendy’s brainchildren. Whether he consulted the oracle again I do not know. He could have also been very horny at the time. 
Borrowed from

You just completed a crazy European tour.. can you tell me some of the stories, the highs and the lows….

This was quite an endeavor. One that has given us much joy and much stress. A definite highlight was playing Roadburn, probably one of the greatest festivals that I have had the honor to be a part of in my musical career. We played last at Stage 01 on the first day of the festival to a raucous crowd. The show was wild and it was hot as hell in there. The feeling was electric in that room and I think we rose up and delivered and excellent performance. We played an awesome show in Kassel, Germany the day before with Swedish/Norwegian shredders Brutus and partied all night. Those guys rule! Another highlight was playing with our American buddies Carlton Melton in Liege, Belgium at La Zone and raged all night. That was a great show, Carlton Melton are an amazing band and seem to get better all the time. We hit a rather large bump in the road in Vicenza, Italy. The bump was in the form of a SAAB hatchback and the van was totalled. We were stranded in Vicenza for three days and had to cancel the Vicenza, Budapest and Croatia shows. Luckily the promoter Eric and his friends helped us get all of our gear to a safe place and arranged a hotel for us. Our driver Simon, had to take the train to Lithuania to grab a new van and after a couple days of not knowing whether or not we would be able to continue the tour we were on the road again. We played a rager in Berlin at White Trash and picked up some cocaine so we were partying all night. The recording of our set was ridiculously fast and the sound guy chose not to put anything in the PA except for the keyboards and vocals and nothing in the monitors. We sang like deaf kids and the instruments sounded like shit but people seemed to like it, so fuck it. The next night in Bayreuth, Germany was a really fun show this awesome promoter Peter put on at this squat/skate park/venue. We played really well and a good amount of locals came out and were ready to party. The night didn’t end so well for me specifically. All tour I had refused to skateboard claiming that I would hurt myself. After we had packed up I headed to the green room to do a final double check for any left behind gear. I had to walk through the skate park to get there and my hammered brain decided I was going to skate the park. Bad idea. I ate massive shit skating this quarter pipe and was pretty sure I broke my ankle or leg. Lorfin and the rest of the band seemed to believe that I had only sprained my ankle. I have a high tolerance for pain and when you’re drunk and the pain is excruciating that is a very bad sign. They carried me to my hotel room and my girlfriend, Alejandra, nursed me through the night. The next day we had a 9 hour journey to Copenhagen. Mind you we have a completely full van, so I had to sit up normally with my feet on the ground for 7 hours, I got to put my foot up for 2 hours while we were on the ferry, and then back to the car for another hour. The only pain killers I had were some IB Profin. We pull up to the venue and the band goes in to check in. Alejandra checks my ankle and it has swollen to the size of my thigh. I can barely keep my eyes open at this point because I was in so much pain. We head to the hospital, I was hoping to get some pain pills or a splint and play the show. The doctor takes one look at my leg and sends me up to get an x-ray. Turns out I broke my tibia in two places and my fibula, both of which are clean fractures and the only thing holding my foot to my leg was skin and muscle. He told me that I would not be playing at Heavy Days in Doom Town that evening and that I would need surgery. The band had to play the set without me, but thankfully Dr. Space sat in on modular synth and Doug playing some of my bass parts on synth. Wendy also played bass on “Summertime”. I just listened to the recording yesterday and am damn proud of the dudes, they pulled it together and played a badass set at a doom festival with no bassist! All in all I spent 7 days in the hospital and needed 4 hours of surgery with 13 screws to piece my leg back together. I have been heavily medicated since then and am currently healing at Dr. Space’s place in Copenhagen. The positive thing is that Denmark has socialized healthcare, even for dumb foreigners like me, my operation and stay in the hospital were completely free. I’m a dumb lucky son of a bitch. 

How many new songs did you play on the tour and what are they called?

I think we played four new songs, “Death of Atlantis”, “UFO LSD”, “Fungal Visions”, “Circle of Kings” and a cover of Rainbow’s “A Light in the Black” that was new to us and quickly became one of my favourite songs to play. 

     I love this new one Death of Atlantis… it seems to be much more complex and almost like prog rock, comments?

     This song truly unleashes our love for bands like Uriah Heap and is a good example of the direction the band is headed. We have a couple new songs on deck including “Smokey God” that take you on an epic journey, rarely repeating itself throughout. I think we are progressing as a band and accordingly our song writing and song structure are progressing. I am excited for the new record and am looking forward to what we will come up with next.

     Tell me about your other band that you have with Lorfin, the guitar player from Glitter Wizard?

     Lorfin and I play in another band Buffalo Tooth under the assumed names of Sean Grange and Greg Downing. Lorfin plays drums, I play guitar and sing and our bassist Eric Kang fills out the three piece assault. I would describe our sound as everything badass with all the fat cut off. We have released two 7 Inches, our sold out S/T debut and a split with SF prog\shoegaze shredders Creepers out on Under the Gun Records. Better snag that one quick, because it is almost sold out as well. Our debut full length, Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce, will be out on Captcha Records by the end of the summer.

What other bands do the other guys play in as well….

Every member of Glitter Wizard has played in tons of bands, Doug Graves has by far the longest roster of any member. As far as current projects go I think Buffalo Tooth is the only one still active. Doug and Fancee are in the process of starting new projects. Recently Fancee played in an outfit called Iron Witch and Wendy played in a band called Fruit Stripe Band, but I believe both are not active anymore. Wendy and Doug also play in a Hawkwind cover band called Ad Hawk and Doug has played in a Devo cover band called Mongoloid for years, both bands are amazing cover bands.

It seems that the people in Europe are much more into the Glitter Wizard than the US, what do you think??

It seems that Glitter Wizard gets more love in Europe, we definitely sell a lot more merch, get paid more and people seem to be a little obsessed at times. We had two guys in Gdynia, Poland that drove two hours just to see us! That’s insane, no one would even drive 45 minutes in the states to go see us, not even our friend’s haha. We also had opportunities to play several festivals on this tour, something that has never been offered us in the states. I think Glitter Wizard likes playing Europe more anyway, maybe the states can just fuck off. Too many entitled pricks. When we played Roadburn, the next day we went to get paid and Walter (Mr. Roadburn) heard that we were there and came down to personally thank us for playing, told us how much he loved our record and that he would love to have us back. Holy shit!!! That is amazing!!! He doesn’t need to say anything to us, he runs fucking Roadburn but he did because he actually cares. Touring Europe made us feel like we were actually doing something important whereas playing in the states you end up feeling like a piece of shit slacker cause that is what everyone is telling you that you are.   
Greg at Roadburn...borrowed from the site..... 

You guys only have toured on the west coast of the USA or only in California (and now Europe)…

We have toured the full west coast and the furthest we ventured east was to play Reno at a shithole called Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlour a place I will never go to or play at again. We might do a more extensive tour of the U.S. it all just depends on how things work out with booking and what not. The Space Booking Agency says that they are interested in setting up a tour for us so we will see how it works out. Until then I need to heal my broken leg so it won’t be for some time.

Do you think you guys will start recording the next record later this year? 

That is the plan, we just need to write about two to three more songs. Lorfin and Wendy say they have a couple on the back burner so hopefully we can begin recording in the fall or winter.

Will you try to get back to Europe next year?

Without a doubt, this was the best tour we have ever been on and I can imagine the next European tour will be even better. Ricky from Sound of Cobra/Swamp booking is an awesome dude and we would love to work with him again. Europe also knows how to party and really appreciates music, I can’t wait to come back.

The  link below is the tour diary the band wrote if you want to read more.. This is a great band it was so cool to play with them as well. Please support the band! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

F/i- The Intinerant Lanternist (Pure pop for Now People PURE14)

F/I are a Milwaukee, WI based band that have been releasing strange and cool psychedelic, electronic and space rock music since 1983. My friend Doug Walker (Alien Planetscapes) was very good friends with these guys and had all the old stuff and recorded me loads of their early electronic stuff and live gigs, so I have heard most of their material. It is actually quite a few of the same folks for the last many years keeping this going. The albu features 7 spaced out instrumental tracks with a lot of really cool guitar by Brian Wensing and Richard Franecki. Side A starts off with Fade to Orange. This has some hand drums, nice acoustic guitars, and freaky sounds to start this record off. OnOff is a sort of Hawkwind (blanga track) inspired track at least the way the guitar and bass are played in this one, letting the far out synth sounds be the most interesting stuff happening. A Medley of Kaleidoscopes ends side A. This track has a heavy bass line, some flute and some nice lead guitar (panned to the right side) and minimal drums and percussion (as they are mixed way to the back). This is a really great track with a long guitar solo section at the end. Side B starts with Fade to Purple, as short track with some cool layers of synths and a nice spacey wah guitar with minimal percussion but it quickly fades out after maybe 3 mins and into Gazing at the Nothing Box which starts with a freaky sounding synth, almost disturbing as it gradually gains it’s feet after a shaky start. This track is one of the more wild and intense with some highly effected guitar and synths that really get into your head. Far out.. Incense and Kerosene features Richard on the sitar and this track features some cool modular synths sounds as well and some nice bass playing. Keep the Third Eye Open finishes off this psychedelic record. This track sounds like it would fit in an old sci fi movie. If you like F/I you will dig this. If you have not heard them before and are curious and like strange instrumental guitar and synthesizer experiments try to give this a shot. This record pressed in only 200 copies and hand numbered so check out the web site as this is certain to be rare one day..

Fjodor- St. Anthony’s Fire (Cosmic Eye Records)

Zagreb, Croatia based psychedelic rock band, Fjodor are back with their first proper release. I have seen this band a few times and my band also played with them in Croatia. Super nice people and a very cool band. This record is basically one long trip split into two parts, so get ready…  Side one starts slowly with some synth, bass and drums before the guitar kicks in and things start to take off as Alojsa drives the pace. The band spaces out for a time and there are some really nice synthesizers before the band head into some really high intensity space rock and the rejse (travel, trip) begins.. The next melodic section has some really cool bass and drums by Mirko and Alosja. Dusan also compliments with a more dreamy synth line. Just as you are about maximally spaced out, they kick it up into high gear again and take off into the space rock again. Ivan plays some killer guitar but is mixed a bit too low for my taste. I really like the last section a lot as well. Great interplay between the bass, drums and then Fripp-King Crimson like guitar and into a super psychedelic piece. Wow.. Very cool dynamics on this side of the record. Same kind of vibe that Pyramidal, Arena, Øresund Space Collective get into with these long jams.

Side two the band slowly brings you in with a slow fade in of some nice melodic guitar, smooth bass and some spacey synths as Alosa works the drums slowly up and the intensity rises. A repetitive guitar riff that has a pretty hard edge takes the band into an almost progressive rock like work out with a lot of intense drumming before the band breaks out and the spacey synth sounds flood the soundscape and it gets really tripped out. Eventually Ivan just lets loose with some crazy guitar as well and the intensity rises to a near boiling point. They come down and there are some really nice delay guitar parts for an extended section before the trip ends with just drums…  Excellent record. Great work guys..

Purple Hill Witch- Purple Hill Witch (Church Within Records)

Purple Hill Witch are a young three piece band from Oslo, Norway. They have previously released a 7” picture disc on the Church Within label and now their debut full length record. I saw the band play a really cool set of traditional early 80’s NWOBHM inspired material so I looked forward to hear this record. The band played many of these songs at the show. Queen of the Hill starts things off with a slow groove that will remind you or either SLEEP (if you are really stoned) or Witchfinder General (Black Sabbath) if you remember the early 80s! These young kids really play well together and the long instrumental part in the middle is very cool with some repetitive stuff but also some cool guitar while still maintaining the intensity. Karmanjaka is a slower track but it has a nice guitar riff and he sings in a sort of hypnotic fashion. Astral Booze really reminds me of Witchfinder General, with both the vocals and guitar sound. The band played this one live as well and it includes a small wah bass part and also a good guitar break before returning to the stoney groove. Aldebaranian Voyage starts with an NIB like bass line and a nice guitar solo before the main riff kicks in. There are several short guitar solos in this cool instrumental track and great bass playing as well. Final Procession speeds things up again but keeps the sound and vibe totally in the early 80s. The Landing mixes up the pace a bit and Kristian plays a ripping solo. The title track and name of the band ends this album in a slow 80’s style doom but this is the most diverse song on the album with some spacey delay guitar and a harmonica section. Great song. The band really reminds me a lot of Witchfinder General (all the good things about the band) and occasionally throws in a bit of Angelwitch vibe. I think the band was really great live so for sure check them out and this album if you like the NWOBHM style of doomy music.

Radio Moscow- Magical Dirt (Alive Records)

Radio Moscow is back and this is the first full length record with the new line up (the rhythm section left for Sweden and joined Blues Pills). Let’s just say that Parker has a lot of energy still left in his blues soul to spill out into a hard rocking psychedelic blues rock record. I was a little disappointed that both tracks form the Volcom records 7” appear here (Rancho Tehama Airport and Sweet Lil Thing) and not more new music but damn, they are both great songs. The record has a slightly less raw sound production than the last album, which is fine. There are still lots of panning guitars and some effects to make quite an intense psychedelic experience.  So Alone starts things off with a killer riff and groove and solo before the vocals kick in. The track ends with an amazing psychedelic guitar solo with cool panning and effects.  Rancho Tehmama Airport (from the 7”) is a bit slower at times and more melodic but still some mean ass guitar parts and riffs. Death of A Queen like So Alone starts off with a cool fucking jam before the real song takes over. This is a really awesome Jimi Hendrix inspired track with a great guitar solo with some cool effects. The entire band rocks! Sweet Lil’ Thing (from the 7”) is an acoustic track but still down and dirty sound, slide and vocals. These Days takes the energy level back up and another cool riff and groove kicks in. It is cool how for each song he tries out a different effect pedal and sound. Now flip the vinyl over and Bridges kicks in with a cool wah guitar riff with a mid pace. This track has some double tracked guitars making it quite psychedelic leading into the acoustic guitar section and then he plays some lead guitar over the top. Damn cool song. Gypsy fast Woman Parker adds an effect to his voice in this really smooth but still hard edged track. Parker really turns up the heat on the guitar with some blistering sections mixed into the cool smooth flow of the song despite the intense drumming. Got the Time is a short but really intense track. Before it Burns is a wah guitar track with some quite psychedelic parts and intense playing from all in the band. A few really cool effects are added here and there and some cool double tracked parts that make this one o the more wild tracks and he plays an sitar guitar like part as well. Awesome track. Stinging is another track featuring acoustic guitar and a nice way to bring things down. The lyrics are clearly about his old band mates and other important matters in his life. I think you can safely say that RM have developed a signature sound now. They reuse the same grooves and the vocal phrasing and dynamics but still manage to sound fresh and dynamic. Another great record but nothing really new..

The Space Spectrum- The Red Eyed Queen (Cosmic Eye Records EYE008)

The very cool Greek Label, Cosmic Eye is back with another band I have never heard of from Germany.. Like the Fjodor record, this one is also just one long trip split into two parts (20 and 16mins each). Strap yourself in and prepare for a spacey trip. The A side begins with some slow growing electronic sounds, gradually the bass and drums drive a slow growing rhythm of spacey guitar lines and floating synthesizers. Don’t be impatient, just relax and glide with the band, it is this kind of music. The guitar slowly gets more complicated while he maintains the repetitive and main riff but still leaving himself room to explore. It almost gets a bit doomy and stoned out like BONG at the end, super spacey stuff. Electric moon can also go in this direction. The end of the side brings it down again with some more synthesizers that dominate. Cool stuff. Flip the record over and we have a slow fade in of all the instruments minus the drums to start. The synthesizers, playing a very cool spacey lead for the first many minutes and then the guitars slowly lead the slow moving direction in another way as he plays a very slow solo with some nice delay and other cool effects. It slowly gets a bit heavier and the synth line that started it all off returns as it glides down to its final landing place… Nice journey guys. I enjoyed it…

Void Generator- Supersound (Phonosphera Records ph06)

The Italian four piece stoner rock band, Void Generator is back with their 5th release. The CD features 7 tracks ranging from 3½ to 9½ mins. I think I have reviewed all of the bands releases and this one has a different sound production and feel compared to any of their other records. This one starts off with the 8min track Behind the Door, it features a heavy distorted guitar line and a spoken word like vocal for the first part. This track really gets great when the guitar break kicks in around 5 mins for an extended guitar solo in the far right channel while the band just keeps the cool groove flowing.. Awesome track. Synapsex is a more organ based track again with a heavy fuzzed out guitar in the left and the organ mainly in the right. No solos on this one. Master of the Skies is a mid-paced slightly doomy 9½ min track. The vocals remind me of someone, Chris Goss and Master of Reality, that is who. A slow simple groove for most of the track, around 5½ mins Gianmarco goes for a slow solo, with a Colour Haze like flavour to it, style wise. It has a long slow fade out. What are you Doin’ features bass player Sonia on acoustic guitar (according to the sleeve but it is hard to hear where?) and starts off with keyboards before the main guitar riff kicks in and a totally different style of singing is presented on this track. The organ is like in 60s horror film which gives this track a totally different feel. Hidden Orbit makes the return of the heavy distorted guitar. Universal Winter features acoustic guitar and is a really beautiful track to fill the space between the heavy numbers. Global Cluster ends this album. I really like this one as it is quite stoned and has the same vibe as the opening track and a nice long guitar solo section but they cut it off very abruptly just as I was totally into it. This is quite a different record from where the roots of this band started. Glad to see them progressing and not just doing the same thing.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Killers- The Orgins of Iron Maiden 1975-1983 by Neil Daniels

This is a very interesting book if you like Iron Maiden. A lot of things have been written about this band over its nearly 40 year history but before this book, I think it was pretty difficult to dig up what happened in the year before the first album, when everything exploded for the band! Some of the songs like Wrathchild are as old as 1976!

          Iron Maiden has always been Steve Harris’s band and always will be. He has written the vast majority of all the bands material and also did in the early days, perhaps even more so. A lot of people were in and out of the band for various reasons; not being good enough players, not dedicated enough, too serious enough, etc…. It was very interesting to hear how intertwined the early Iron Maiden was with Samson. It was not just the Bruce Dickenson who came from the band but also that their drummer Thundersticks, also played drums in Maiden and could have had the job instead of Clive Burr but choose not to. Also, different guitar players from Samson also played in Maiden.

          A large part of the success of Iron Maiden came from the true dedication and hard work of the management team, which still works with the band today. These guys were very focused, very professional, also they took risks but they worked hard for the band, for the band’s vision and made one of the largest successes out of the band in rock and roll history. This is clearly something so many bands lack today, someone who is willing to take a risk, work really hard for a band to help them and make it succeed.

          Anyway, you will learn a lot of cool stuff about the early days and how Dianno was really a punk but liked the aggressive metal, while Steve hated punk rock but clearly allowed some of that energy to enter into the early Maiden via Dianno. There are not many pictures, a few ticket stub scans, concert ads, etc.. but a complete gig list from 1975-1983, line up info, discography and some cool short half page essays by Metal heads that were around at this time (including some of my old friends, Bob Nalbandian and Jim Powell), which I found pretty interesting. I could have easily been one of the people interviewed as well as I had a HM fanzine called Metal madness in 1984-1988. I saw the band twice on the Killers tour, met Steve Harris in 1981 in El Paso at the hotel, have fully autographed ticket stubs from the 1980 tour, loads of old Maiden stuff (programs, etc..).. I was a huge fan…. Cool book..

Timemazine Volume 8 (Greece)

Timemazine is a great magazine dedicated to psychedelic music. They usually have a CD and a limited edition 7” coming with the magazine, which is the case this issue. The CD features some cool and also unreleased music by some of the bands in the zine. The 7” is by a band that is new to me called Manticore’s Breath. Some of the interviews features in this issue include The Standells, Craig from Lamp of the Universe, The Pancakes, Children of the Mushroom, The Roaring 420’s, The Dead End Alley Band, Primevil/700 West, Afterglow and a few others. The interviews are all very interesting and quite in depth. I always learn so much from them. A lot of excellent record reviews as well. I highly recommend this mag if you are into psychedelic music. The Mantcore’s Breath 7” is really good as well and comes in two different colours of vinyl. 

Four Band Split- Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows, the Flying Eyes (Heavy Psych Sounds Records 016)

I finally got this in the mail. They had several colours and I managed to get one of the gold ones, which was made in only 70 copies and you also get the CD. All the bands except White Hills provide 2 songs per side. The total time for this release is only 50mins so some sides are pretty short. Naam starts things off with an ambient remix of their track Skyscraper from their album Vow. It is pretty psychedelic and spaced out. Thickening Web is a longer instrumental track that is really psychedelic with some good dynamics. White Hills is next with We’ve got Blood like you’ve Got Blood, one of the very oldest White Hills tracks from a rare CD-R but this is a new remix version with some instruments that were not on the original. I have most everything by White Hills but not this so I can’t tell how different this from the original. This track is a very psychedelic synthesizer drone track with some drums for 11mins. The original is 8 mins. Black Rainbows now bring the fucking rock back with Viper Tongue! Minor Monster Galaxy Message is a mostly instrumental track with some super cool guitar including slide and lots of delays and later some cool synths and effects. This is the best track on the record for sure. Awesome stuff. The Flying Eyes start off the last side with Golden Grey. This has a quite spacey guitar and organ, much more spacey than anything I had ever heard by these guys. Evil Little Leslie, borrows a bit of the riff from the classic Spoonful to make a dark, groovy, moody song.  This is a pretty cool record. If you are in the mood for laid back psychedelic space outs, go for the first record. If you want to hear some more rocking psychedelic stuff go for the 2nd record… A beautiful gatefold release..

Astralasia- Wind on Water (Fruits de Mer Records WINKLE 17)

It has been many years since I heard a new Astralasia record but this is quite different from the more commercial stuff the band was doing when I last heard their material. This album features two long and two short instrumental tracks and two shorter tracks. It also comes with an additional 7” record with two 7 min tracks. The first track is very dreamy with a repetitive synth line. There is some guitar that comes in as well but it is almost entirely synth based. Track 2 has a long build but then drums (computer) and some nice guitar kick in as the tempo, which was built on a slow bass drone, is thrown to the side and a cool track develops, but is still mainly synth based. It eventually ends after 15mins with some acoustic guitar and synth drones. The third track, features some really cool space guitar, ala Steve Hillage style, amongst a sea of floating synths and simple programmed beats. Beautiful… Track 4 has a pretty psychedelic start and is very dreamy and floating with a lot of stuff happening as it starts to grow (real flute or synthesizer?)… As this track grows, there is some really cool slide guitar with delay played to compliment the computer drums and synths. There is some lightly sung stuff going on under some windy static towards the end of this track as it gets quite strange. Next are the two tracks from the 7” record. This is the desert starts with some beautiful piano and harmonica to set the mood. This is a super cool track with some great guitar as well. The flip side again features some great spacey delay guitar and is the most uptempo or close to what you could say rock track on the record with what sounds like real bass although it is probably also done with computers like the drums. A pretty cool release.

Dopelord- Black Arts, Riff Worship and Weed Cult (Self released)

Dopelord are a polish stoner doom band. I recently caught there concert at the Heavy Days in Doomtown festival and it was one of my favourite bands this year. I managed to pick up their debut vinyl (got one of the last copies) and this new full length that they just released in April 2014. The band is a four piece with two guitars, bass and drums. This album features 5 tracks starting off with Addicted to Black Magick. “Come to the Sabbath” a bit cliché chorus but what the hell, as the mix of doom and stoner rock, in an excellent sound production, including some effects on the vocal here and there and a cool guitar solo. Next up is what I would call their tribute to Electric Wizard, Preacher Eletrick, which sounds exactly like EW, could even be a cover song and I just don’t know it. Great guitar solo in this song. Acid Trippin’ is next a very doomy track with some more fuzzy effected and spaced out guitar with slide. I love the really cool groove they get going at the end of this one. Green Plaque is by far the fastest track on the CD and it starts off with a cool bass line. This is probably the most psychedelic track as Mroka plays some very cool guitar parts as the rest of the band keep the very heavy vibe alive. Pass the Bong, ends this stoner worship record in fine fashion with a long track with good grooves. The stoners in the world will love this one.. Fire it up!

Mr. Peter Hayden- ArchDimension Now (Kauriala Society KAU-012)

The Finnish band, MPH is back with their newest and most ambitious release to date. It was recorded between Feb 2012 and 2014. This is a monster double CD and features a lot of really heavy but also atmospheric stuff with some spoken words samples, minimal vocals, but some and just two long trips in around 2hrs. It is very hard to describe a 60min track, but just go with the flow of the slow building guitar drones, space sounds and eventually you are released after about 10mins, the bass, drums and everything starts to take off into a massive distortion field of repetitive, almost industrial dark music. By 16mins, the sounds has dissolved into an eerie spacey zone, where little oxygen escapes.. By 25min you are in this sort musical trip that Dark Buddha Rising and BONG create, doom drone space…  by 35mins you have reached a very peaceful place with a nice melodic guitar riff and a keyboard solo is played for a while as it all slowly builds, very slowly and at the 37min mark, the return of the monster space doom riff but then is all starts to go into a really bad psychedelic trip and start to feel really dangerous, you are getting lost, losing touch with reality.. Eventually, the BONG like atmosphere returns with a cool flangy sound over the entire soundscape at the mid 40 min time point. The song fades almost entirely out and then returns with a short heavy section before a pretty psychedelic ending with lots of spacey guitar parts and keyboards. That was a crazy 67mins of your life.. Phew… Do you dare the 2nd CD right in a row??

          CD2  is a bit shorter, 58 mins and starts in a similar way as the first CD, but a bit more noisy and intense but with a really cool shimmering synth sound as it all starts to grow. 8½ mins in, the BONG riff kicks in but then a lot of other stuff starts taking you into this nightmare realm again where demons sing, dance, prepare for feasting… the intensity dies down around 15mins and a really cool riff starts up at 22½ mins that takes the entire track and vibe in another more beautiful direction as it also has some nice floating sounds complimenting it by the keys and other guitar.. It stays without doom but deep in space well into the 40min mark, closing in on the end of the dark psychedelic trip…

Agusa- Högtid (Transubstans Records/Kommun 2)

Agusa is a new band from Malmö, featuring members of Sveriges Kommuner & Landsting, Kama Loka and Hoofoot. The band is lead by Kommun2 record label owner Tobias Petterson. Tobias plays the bass and is joined by Jonas on organ and synthesizers, Mikael on guitar and Dag Strömkvist  on drums (they have a great new drummer now). The album is almost entirely instrumental except for one track and will take you back to Sweden in about 1975! The album starts off with Uti vår Hage and some beautiful organ and guitar. It quickly builds a really nice melodic and dynamic theme of lush organ, dynamic drums and a cool groove. A low mixed vocal also comes and goes. Fantastic organ and guitar solos and the sort of Swedish folk theme comes and goes. Great track. Melodi från St. knut ends side B and has a similar style melody as the first track but Mikael plays a fantastic wah guitar solo on this track while the rest of the band maintains that great 70s prog feel and groove. Cool song.  Flip the record over now and you will hear Östan om solen, västan om Måne.. It starts slow and spacey, with some vocals in the background as it all slowly builds up and the killer riff and groove finally kicks in and off we go! This could be my favourite track on the record.. Stioen genom Skogen brings back the forest organ Swedish music with another beautiful track!  The vinyl version of this record has really fantastic artwork by Peter Wallgren, who has done many covers for artists from the label.. I really love this record and it has been fun to play live with the band as well. Peace..

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Heavy Days in Doomtown III- Copenhagen, DK May 1-4th, 2014

HDDT is back with its 3rd edition and another great and very unique music program. While a few of these bands played at Roadburn and the Desert Fest, this line up is really different and also diverse but heavier… The organizers have done an amazing job and remember this is do it yourself (DIY) festival, all volunteers run, organized, etc… real amazing dedicated people pulling this together. The booklet has a lot of great info and also explains the ethic of the festival and the organizers motivations. One must really congratulate them on this. Great descriptions of all the artists who create the posters, t-shirt designs, gallery displays, etc. There over 10 artists given detailed descriptions and involved this year, which included making some super cool imagery in the rooms and in the courtyard. Also, each band is given nearly a half page in the booklet with a picture and good description of the band. On the excellent website you even get the discography!

May 1st

21 I arrived at Loppen a bit too late to see the artwork displays upstairs next to the restaurant. I got my press card and wristband and started running into people from all over Europe that I have met. Very cool to see people again. A decent amount of Roadburn people. My friend, Jens, was spinning the cool records (The Golden Void, Hawkwind, US Christmas, etc..) and getting people ready for the Swedish Space rock band, Yuri Gagarin that were to start things off at 22. I have the bands vinyl record and while I dug the songs, the sound production was not that great so I was curious to see them live..

          YG hit the stage right at 10 and blasted us with 4 nearly 10min each tracks. 3 were from the record and one was an untitled new track. It was really loud and powerful. The synth guy has two old Soviet era synths from the 80s (I think). Cool heavy looking… They really rocked the place with high energy space rock and some great lead guitar by the guy on the right. He broke a string and took 5mins or more to change while everyone stood around not knowing what to do. Usually, people are in a hurry to get the show going again but not this guy. He was ready when he was going to be ready. The next track the other guitar player broke a string but thankfully, he just left in the middle of the song and they just kept on and he came back before the song was over and was playing again. See the track below.  They had to cut the set short by one song due to the delay. This is a really great band. I loved their powerful space rock. I can't wait to see them again and they were also really nice people. Great set.

Set List: First Orbit, Untitled new song, At the Center of all Infinity, The Big Rip

          Switchblade are normally a duo but they had the organ player, Per, who plays with Candlemass and Spiritual Beggars on the organ and this for sure made things more interesting. The band played heavy repetitive stuff with heavy almost but not quite doom guitar riffs. I only saw and filmed the first track but it seemed like they just repeated the same theme over and over again in like 3 min intervals 4x… no real organ and certainly no guitar solo. I was really bored but this was also the description. At least the organ or guitar player could do some solos to mix it up.. Anyway, people were engaged and seem to be into it, so they must have an audience. It was too late for me so I missed the heavy US duo, Evil Twin. I had to work the next day and the Friday was a full schedule with bands starting at 17..

May 2nd

The buses were quite delayed and I barely got there in time to see Oranssi Pazuzu from Finland. There was already a good amount of people around and the room got pretty packed. Damn, these guys were really LOUD… Bass was like Conan or something to start but not the rest… I was standing with my friend Jacob near the front. Sound was amazing. This is a very difficult band to describe. Lots of cool spaced out synthesizers stuff, two guitars (not typical metal sound, one was a telecaster!), bass and drums. The vocals are in the intense black or death metal style but the music was anything but. Intense but with lot of very interesting guitar parts and twists and turns.. I was blown away by this. Very psychedelic.

Set List: Vino Verso, Uraanisula, ?, Thysä Temppeu, Olen Aulaissut uuden, Ympyri on viiva tomussa

Vidunder (Sweden), are a band from Malmö, who has some releases on the Crusher label. They are very young and since they played here last in Copenhagen, they have added an organ player with a cool old vintage Leslie speaker. The room was totally packed and the band play well but unfortunately, they don’t really offer up anything new for me as they just sound too much like Graveyard, the way he sings, the guitar lines and sound. I really keep hoping that they will develop more.. It will take them time to get out from under this influence and now with the organ player they could really jam and develop these songs. We will see.

Dread Sovereign (Ireland), was a three piece with a lot of attitude. This was heavy doom metal rock and the band even did a Venom cover (live like an Angel, Die like a Devil! The crowd really loved them. I was also totally sucked into the vibe and enjoyed their entire set. I shot a video of one of the songs.. Heavy Metal Lives!!!!!!!!

Leechfest was so packed in the dødsmaskinen that I could not even get into take a picture. The music was super intense… phew…. Abysmal Grief from Italy, were a huge surprise for everyone and I heard many thought this the best band of the festival. They were a four piece group that played this uptempo hypnotic doom rock with a lot of crosses on the stage, candles, the guitar player even had a priest thing around his neck! The singer was really into it and intense and played this organ in the style of the old Goblin soundtracks for the Argento movies. I really liked them as well but after 4 songs they lacked variation. Nearly every song was quite similar, in the style he sang, the way he played the organ, etc.. Still a very cool band..

The US band Taurus had to cancel their show due to pregnancy advancement and a Swedish band called Noctum (recently signed to Metal Blade) filled in and man, they were excellent. They really took me back to the 80’s with great songs that reminded me of Angelwitch or Mercyful Fate at times and other great NWOBHM bands. The place was also packed the people were totally banging their heads.. The band was super tight.. They ended their set with a cover of Crystal Ball by Candlemass! It went down well. A huge surprise as well.

LOSS was next but I did not see much of them as Glitter Wizard was having a crisis as their bass player broke his ankle very seriously and was in the hospital so they either had to play without him or cancel the gig. They had planned to cancel but I spoke to them about Doug playing some of the bass lines on the Andromeda and I could help out with the space sounds and so they decided to play anyway! It was not planned at all but what the hell, I played with Glitter Wizard and it was fucking fun. I knew a lot of their songs. As the band went to go change into their costumes, I made some crazy synth improves for like 10mins.. People seem to dig it..  The place was pretty packed with people and the energy up front was totally crazy how people were going wild for these guys. I could not hear the guitar player that well but I tried not to play the sounds over the vocalist. The singer, actually played bass on the last song which was a long crazy jammed out track. I think the whole concert was about 35mins or so….

Set List: Fungal, Worship the Devil, Snow Crash, Motorider, Circle, Mirror Man and Summertime.

I was pretty blasted by the time this was all over so I only heard one song from the Dwellers in Twilight. Room was filled and it sounded great..

Day 3

I was pretty damn tired to start this day and had a short nap after lunch and headed out at 15:20 and I was hoping to get there in time to see and record my friend’s band, Demon Head and we made it. It was their 7” release party and they had been playing quite a bit so were really tight and had developed some cool stage presence since the first time I saw them, which I think was their 2nd gig ever! They clearly have their local fans but I hope some of the foreign people could make it this early to see them lay down their early Pentagram influenced style of music. Thor is really coming a long and developing a lot as a lead guitar player as this is something they really need. Great grooves, cool songs, people were into it. I filmed the song that is their new single.

Set List: Undertaker, Ventilate, Revelations of April, Ride the Wilderness, Book of Changes, Demon Head, Master of Confusion, Worthless slave to the Night, Sinister Purpose

Next up was Isole from Sweden. They were a four piece where both guitar players and the bass player all did lead and harmony vocals, which is pretty unique. They rhythm guitar player did most of the clean, early Candlemass style singing while the bass player, did the more angry stuff. A really classic doom metal style and sound but sadly the hall only had about 100 people but they were into it and played 100% for whoever was there. There were some die hards up front that new all their words as well…

Dopelord from Poland were next in the small hall and this was described as stoner doom with a spacey edge and that was exactly what it was. The room was packed and the band had their own projector with a movie and images that they showed onto the black backdrop. There was a lot of stoners and smoke for these guys and they totally delivered the goods. I thought they were awesome. The sound guy could have mixed the lead guitar player, who played all the cool parts a bit louder though. They played one song from their debut album but all the rest of the songs were from the new one that just came out in April. I will review it in a few weeks. Anyway, they were great and ended the set with a really stoned some in which the entire band smoked a joint and then kicked into their track called Pass the Bong!

Set List: UFO, Addicted to Black Magick, Ghost, Acid trippin’, ?, Pass the Bong

The US band, The BODY was next, a duo that plays super intense stuff. I heard they blew everyone away at Roadburn. Place was pretty packed but I needed an ear rest so I sat outside and heard them and spoke to some different people from Sweden and Holland.

Witchsorrow (UK), a band from the Rise Above label, were here playing their first ever show in Denmark. I was not sure what to expect but they were really good. Especially the main set. They are a three piece with a female bass player and intense drummer. The guitar player was also a really good singer for this style of music and passionate. He also occasionally played some ripping solos but a bit too few. They had excellent dynamics. The last song they played was a new one and it was a bit boring actually and too long. I think people were really into it before then, but still a great show.

Set List: Aurora Atra, God curse Us, Trial of Elizabeth Clarke, Love, Freezing Moon, Mysteries

Graves at Sea was next in the big hall and the place was the most packed I had seen for any band at the festival and the sound was massive. They are a really intense band with a powerful singer, some killer guitar riffs and just pounding bass and drums and very fucking angry! This kind of stuff I can only handle in small doses but the people were totally into as they got blasted for an hour. Phew…

Nightslug played a super loud sludge show in the packed small hall. I was outside chatting with TJ, the singer from Sourvein, who stayed at my place some years ago when the toured with Church of Misery. Really nice people..

Sourvein was next and then it would be Skepticism from Finland but I was just too damn tired to see the rest so Steve and I headed home.

Day 4

The Copenhagen Record fair is today so on the way to the festival I had to take some record to the dealers.

Me with the Sourvein Guys
14:30 Arrived early so I had some time to chat with the guys in Sourvein, go see the artist displays in the gallery they created at the local library. Lou (Halfway to Gone, Sourvein, and 5 Horse Johnson) was a super cool guy and he actually has diabetes and takes the medicine that the company I work for makes and it has changed his life he said! We had some great conversations as he is really tight with the guys in Monster Magnet all their music projects. 

16 Whitehorse from Australia hit the stage at 4 and there was not that many people at the festival yet but a decent crowd. This is one hell of an intense band. The singer looks fucking mean and angry and has a powerful voice. The bass, drums and guitar are just powerful heavy riffing stuff and one guy making strange white noise sounds from time to time. The bass player he was getting some real stretching exercise and he would jump-lunge forward with the intensity of the music. Phew.. Powerful, intense, heavy as hell…

17 Purple Witch Hill was a totally new band for me from Norway. They have a new record (June 2014) and a 7” out on the Church Within Label. Young kids but nice. The guitar player and singer reminded me of James Hetfield, the way he looked, not sung. The band really took me back to 1980-1982 era of the Neat Records when I used to listen to the NWOBHM 7”s in my bedroom. He room was pretty filled up and they played a solid set. I think their main weakness is the vocals but he is not bad, just really learning how to find his way to project his vocals. They had a lot of good songs and nice dynamics. They finished their set off with a cover of Witchfinder General.

Set List: Karmansaka, Queen of the Hill, Astral Booze, Untitled, Alchemy, Aldebaraniad Voyage, The Final Procession, Doomsday Calling, Witchfinder General

18 OF the Wand and the Moon are a Danish band with strings, acoustic guitar, keyboards, etc.. This was a very nice change and I think people liked it a lot. They have played around in Copenhagen but I had never seen them. I could see that had made several records and a DVD. The drum rhythms were very interesting and they had a laid back vocal and they started quiet but really grew in intensity but the songs were all quite short.

Set List: A Cancer called love, Here’s an Ode, Tear it apart, Sunspot, A pyre of black sunflowers, Absence, lost in Emptiness, Lucifer, My Black faith, I Crave for You, We are Dust, A Tomb of Seasoned Dye, The Lone Descent

19 Goatess are a cool stoner rock band from Sweden featuring Christian (Lord Vicar, Terrafirma and others) on vocals. I saw them at Roadburn and really liked them a lot but for them that was not a very good show, while today they felt it would be much better. They were insanely loud to start with and the bass was just so massive you could not hear the guitar. I was recording right behind the mixer guy and we talked about it and I ended up going up and telling the bass player he had to turn down his amp as the sound guy could not turn the guitar up anymore at the soundboard. Eventually, the sound balanced out and they did a great show. They played one new song at Roadburn called Shadowland but they played one more new one today and that was great. People really dug it.

20 Sabbath Assembly was next and they did not have Jex Thoth of vocals but the lady from hammer of Misfortune. She was intensely tattooed and also played the bass. This band had a really cool and interesting vibe but sadly their music did not evolve enough for me or a lot of people as they had a big crowd to start but it got smaller and smaller as people did not stay engaged. It is very nice music. I liked the tubular bells that the drummer played with small hammers.

21 The Graviators are a Swedish band I have been following and also corresponding with since the early days of the band but had never seen live. I was really up for seeing these guys and they did not disappoint. This was the last night of their 2 week tour and they were pumped! I am not sure what the set list was but it was great. A lot of diverse songs and intense vocals, great guitar solos and use of effects and the last song they dedicated to me and it was  long jammed out track, a bit like Grand Funk! Awesome concert..

22 Baby Woodrose were a very cool and different choice for the festival and great that they come out and support the event. I was wondering if they would go for a more heavy set and sure enough they really did. In fact, this was one of the best Baby Woodrose shows I have ever seen. Guf was totally in the zone and played killer psychedelic guitar! He writes such cool songs and is a great singer and frontman.. People were totally into it as they jammed out on several songs starting with Here Today.. What a concert.. Awesome sound as well.

Set List: Information Overload, What a burn, Disconnected, Let yourself Go, Here Today Gone Tomorrow, Nothing is Real, Volcano, LCD, Light up, Did you get what you want, A child of a few Hours, Born to Lose

23 Uzala are a three piece from the Idaho in the USA. I spoke with the guitar player on several times and he was really cool and was at the festival for most of the days. They also have a female singer that also plays guitar and very intense drumming. I don’t know who to describe them but some sort of acid metal. She sings really well, one of the best female voices we had at the festival. It was very loud and intense so I heard most of the show from outside. People dug it for sure.

24 Windhand, is a band that I have heard a lot about and I heard their show here last year was great. I missed them at Roadburn and was hoping to hang in there and see them this time and I did manage to catch a few songs before heading home after a great festival. The room was packed for them and they had a huge wall of sound and channel a vibe like Electric Wizard, whom, so many bands try to emulate these days but they have a charismatic female singer. The first two songs of the set sounded nearly identical. They next, they took it down a bit. The lead guitar player on the right played some cool solos. I am sure I would have dug it more if I had stayed for the whole show…..

          Well, that was it for Heavy Days in Doomtown 2014.. I think it was a great success once again. A great vibe, excellent diversity of bands all playing really well and the same cool community and environment that draws people. There were certainly less people this year but still at least 500 people so if everyone went into the main hall, it was totally packed. If there were finance issues, they should probably just try to be stricter about people bringing in their own beer and wine, as the prices are really cheap anyway. Congrats to Daniel and all the organizers for putting on this killer festival… Awesome…