Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Rhapsody in Black- The life and music of Roy Orbison (Backbeat Books)

I don’t own any albums by Roy Orbison (except the Travelling Wilbury’s) but I have always heard he had a very interesting life, having grown up in west Texas near New Mexico.  I came into this book pretty blind about Roy but wow. What an amazing talent and it started so early. He was already playing and singing on live on the radio, even doing a rare song of his own, when he was just 9 years old!  Lots of stuff I never knew about the guy. The book is written in a very easy to read style and pretty much takes his life in chronological order.  There are 15 chapters, a discography and biography at the end of the book. Chapter 2 about his recording with Sun records and the other artists on the label, who all mostly self destructed or terrible things started to happen to them in the late 50s that disrupted or fucked up their music career, was very interesting and well written. By chapter 7 his life is a shambles as his wife has died in a motorcycle accident and two of this there sons die in a fire in the basement of his house (lives next door to Johnny Cash). He would less than a year later marry another teenage girl from Germany that he met in the UK and they would stay together the rest of his life and produce two more sons. He really suffered to make the music he really wanted to though as he made 12 records for MGM and then to other labels but always really overproduced and too many cover songs. His best music that was truely his own was made in the early days on Monument Records. It seems that Roy was just not good at telling people what he wanted and would always take the easy way out. He never drank or did drugs but was heavily addicted to nicotine and candy bars and by his early 40s was having weight and heart problems.  It is a very interesting story and this book really lays it out as a great read with a good flow. I enjoyed it a lot and would highly recommend this book. 


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Shadowmaster/ The Hyle- The Fall (Phonosphera Records ph15)

This is the 2nd in the series of split LPs on Phonospera records and features two bands from Scandinavia. The Hyle are from Denmark (I saw them way back in 2014). These two tracks are from a digital only EP the band released in Jan 2016 and starts off with the heavy doomy Vaitaranee Nadee.  Nice sound production and laid back vocal to compliment the dark, heavy foreboding riffs. This is a long and moody track with some nice melodic sections and guitar parts as well.  Samaa is a very heavy, slow, prodding, reminds me a bit of Albino Rhino, with a bit of a psychedelic edge the way the vocal has an effect on it. This track features some really nice guitar solo parts towards the end with a interesting use of some effects as it builds up at the end. Intense.

Shadowmaster hail from Sweden and these three tracks all come from their digital album they released on bandcamp back in Aug 2017.  The track Seven Witches fades up with an old movie sample and features a shouty, violent vocal mixed into the repetitive doomy start. Heavy stuff but I am not much of a fan of this type of vocal but I like the last vocal section where they put a strange effect on it. The highly effected bass solo is really cool and really makes this track. The Lizard King is a short track with just electric guitar and this leads into When shadow binds your Soul. As the title suggests, this is a slow dark doomy track. I like they way they mix it up with some interesting effected guitar at the end as it gets really hypnotic and stoned.  Heavy stuff.

Alkymist- Alkymist (Indisciplinarian Records INDISC22)

Alkymist is a pretty new band from Copenhagen Denmark featuring two ex Gas Giant members (Stefan Krey and Kasper Luke).  They are joined by Philip on drums and Peter (used to sing with the metal band Detest in the 90s) on vocals.  The album features 6 tracks, 3 of which appeared on their cassette released earlier this year but they have been rerecorded here.  Do not expect psychedelic stoner rock ala Gas Giant, this is doomy death metal. The LP starts off the track Ghost (see video below). It starts with just the drums and then a very heavy guitar riff kicks in and over the top of that a second nice melodic guitar line. Peter’s vocal is very impressive with some powerful lyrics as well.  Eventually, there is a short guitar solo section before back to the punishingly heavy death doom!

Djinn speeds things up a bit, especially the start with the intense drumming and then the deadly doom returns.  I like the spacey mid –section with a whispered voice, which gives you a break from the intensity of the music, which speeds up again at the end with some interesting guitar riffing and other guitar parts in between the darkness.  Check the video for this track below.

Myling is a moody one with a variation on what you have heard before, with a similar hanging melodic guitar line before the heaviness kicks in. There is a short melodic sort of guitar solo that ties some of the sections of the song but this is more for the mood, no real powerful solos like Stefan can play. Nice melodic ending.

Side B starts with the instrumental, Egypt II, a short keyboard intro track that leads into the long track, Paradise. This has a riff a bit more like the band Sleep, but a darker lyrical content than Sleep. IT eventually comes down with some nice acoustic guitar and a more soft vocal before the evil grows once more and you are thrown back into hell with the demon death spawn. Potent! Serpent is the last track on the album and starts with the sound of the ocean. The guitar is the first instrument to enter with a beautiful guitar line and nice vocal by Peter before the intensity of the music grows. This one comes in waves and changes things up a bit. Probably the most heavy metal of the tracks. This is some heavy and  intense music but I miss the amazing guitar playing of Stefan. I feel like this style of music really limits him severely. I shared the stage with Stefan many times over the years and he is one of the best lead guitar players on the planet but you would never know that from listening to this record.  This is a tight band, with the drums and bass, really well played to set the template for the death doom attack. Phew.. what an album.