Thursday, February 25, 2016

Darken the Days- Stones (Polyram Music)

Darken the Days are from Albuquerque, New Mexico (I have some family there and lived there for a few years). I have known the bass player, Mike Garcia since the early 80s when he lived with one of my good friends, John Johnson and played in the band Durtie Blonde!  Since Facebook, you can catch up with people and find out what they do 20-30 years later! Anyway, Mike sent me this CD to check out and tell you more about. The band is a 6 piece band with two lead vocalists. The CD features 15 tracks in a bit over an hour and starts off with Between Me and Me. A spacey keyboard line is the intro before the metal begins. Musically this is a genre I don’t listen to at all, melodic heavy, moody metal. The drum sound is not to my taste and the drums are very loud in the mix at times but I think a lot of metal is mixed like this today? No real guitar solo on this track, lots of riff and the track ends like it started. All held Dear has a more heavy riff to start and then the guitars disappear and you have the vocal and bass, but then the aggressive riff comes back.  Good heavy rocking groove and this track cruises directly into My Shame, which is quite similar with it’s melodic parts and then heavy riffs but a bit slower with some lead guitar and very intense drumming at the end. Dirty Little Hands is a more punky track a bit like Anthrax? Stones is another melodic metal track, where again, the vocals are really the main focus of all the bands songs. Not a lot of instrumental parts or solos. Very vocal driven metal. A lot of cool riffs and parts in many of the songs. Hell Bound is a bit slower and a more heavy riff. Fear of the Unknown starts as a ballad and again some pad keyboards float into the sound making it a bit more spacey. It later gets heavy and has a sort of “wow woooow” sing along part as well and some nice dual harmony wah guitar parts as well. Don’t want that for Me starts with a short drum solo then a really heavy riff kicks in and interspersed with some bass. Lyrics seem very personal on this one. There are 6 more tracks from mid paced Again to the really intense Whatever May Be (a more growly vocal), to ballad Dig your Grave (also gets heavy), Devil in the Details- pure metal with a bit of stoner groove thrown in, it’s not me Its You starts with a great bass line before the metallic riff takes hold.. Round is the last song…. Are these guys like Alter Bridge?? Maybe.. something like that. I don’t listen to modern metal stuff at all. 
Check out the video below and this will give you a feel for the music. Seems they are a great and powerful live band.

Stoned Jesus- Stormy Monday EP CD (Heavy Psych Sounds HSP033)

Stoned Jesus are from the Ukraine and this was a pretty rare CD-R only release by the band from 2011(I actually have it) that now has been released on vinyl and CD wallet format. Presumably it has an enhanced sound as well.  The same 4 tracks and the same cover artwork. It opens and closes with two different version of the track, Stormy Monday, which many of you might know from the Seven Thunders Roar album. It is a great track and you have a link below to hear the extended version (10mins). The first version is 4:40mins. The other two tracks are Bear Cave and Drunk and Horny (honest lyrics!). Bear Cave is a stripped down track with a slow guitar and vocal only followed by a spoken word section before the main heavy part kicks in. Quite emotional this track with a really spacey ending. Horny and Drunk, is rambunctious, as a song with lyrics and a title like that! You can hear the extended version of Stormy Monday below. If you are a big fan of the band then you will want to pick this up but if this is your first taste, I would go for another one of their full length records.  

Taarkus- Stones 7” (Rise Above Records RISE7/195)

Taarkus is a new band from Los Angeles, California. I have never heard them before but they are a five piece band with female vocal, flute and organ, so a comparison to Blood Ceremony is quite obvious. The A side starts with Stones, a slow moody piece with the organ leading the sound. Vocal is quite cool and laid back. After the first vocal section there is a flute solo and then the vocals return for an organ solo, but no guitar solo. At Midnight, again is pretty organ and flute lead in it’s sound and another slow moody piece. Not funeral doom. Emma who also plays the organ adds a sort of haunting backing vocal and also on the chorus. Cool songs but it did not really knock me out and I miss more guitar. Check out the video below and see what you think?

Lightdreams- Islands in Space (Got kind of Lost Records GKL005)

This Canadian album was originally released in 1981 in an edition of 1000 copies. It tells a story of space travel and sci fi trips and travels. It was home recorded by Paul Marcano.  Psychedelic, experimental….  It has been remastered and is released on both a vinyl and CD edition with additional liner notes and information compared to the original release. The opening track, The High Frontier, has some great multilayers stuff with acoustic guitar leading the way and some backwards and highly panned sounds and later a nice lead solo. Cool track. Islands in Space is also acoustic guitar driven and reminded of stuff on the 1st HW record at the very beginning before the vocals kick in.  Another very cool and psychedelic track with a nice ambience. Voiceless Voice is over 7mins with very space keyboards and an astronaut like voice at times. Very floating. Other instruments eventually come in and out of the soundscape. Dreamy stuff.. Ride the Wind ends side A and is another acoustic guitar driven track. Lovely melodies on this one. Atmospheric Dreams opens side B and is the longest track at over 11 mins.  This track has a more spoken word and sung vocal and some nice electric guitar work as well. It is a long journey with a lot going on at different times. Good headphone stuff. Solar Winds is pretty trippy with a lot of synthesizier and sound manipulation at times (like the opening track). Farewell Goodbyes ends the album with another acoustic driven track. The spoken word reminds me a bit of King Missle! A very cool record…

Banquet- Jupiter Rose (Heavy Psych Sounds HPS034)

I loved the Banquet 7” on the Who can you Trust label and was excited to hear this new full length record from this San Francisco band. The CD/LP contains 7 tracks of good hard rocking stuff staring off with Mastermind. High energy track with some great guitar soloing switching back and forth between each side. Awesome starter. Sword of Damocles is almost like a NWOBHW track. Run to You (on the 7” mentioned above) reminds me of Brutus and guys like Lecherous Gaze! Good foot stomping hard rocking with good dual guitar dynamics. Set me Free keeps the hard rocking groove going but it slows down with a lot of cool guitar solos some with some nice effects on them to change the sound up a bit.  It gets a bit doomy at the end.  Burning Bridges is a sort of heavy blues ballad to strart but builds up into something that reminds me of the Golden Void (Issiah’s from Earthless’s other bands). Great track.. Maybe the best on the record! Touching the Grave has some killer action and fans of Horizont will dig this track  as it is a hard rocking speed rocker (without the high pitched vocal!), which takes a bluesy slowed down twist til the end.  Lots of great harmony guitar all the time by this band. Jupiter Rose ends the record with a slow building ballad of sort. This is a really kick ass record. I got into every track.. Get it….