Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Automaton- Talos (Sound Effect Records)

Automaton is a psychedelic doom band from Athens. I have played with the band a couple of times and it is a great and unique band in his genre.  Talos is an ancient Greek (Island of Crete) story that is used as a basis for the telling of this record (even though the vocals are mostly unintelligible but powerful!).  Trapped in Darkness starts things off and is a great 11min track (I made some synthesizers on an early mix of this). Starts with a bass and then the guitars come in as the dark mood is set and the track builds up. The guitar sounds and dynamics as well as he cool use of bass effects creates a great sound before the super intense vocal kicks in they have set a heavy tone. There are lots of interesting changes over the 11 mins. Great opener. Giant of Steel has a sampled voice at the start as it slowly builds with another sort of hanging, slow building guitar line that keeps the track mysterious and a little spacey. The drums have a bit of reverb on them at the start as well making it all about more spacious in sound. The sample runs through a lot of the track.  I like the mood on this one a lot until the vocal part at the end, which is quite disturbing. Very spacey overall.  Automaton Marching is a shorter 4min track and a bit faster and quite intense drumming and notes that just hang in the air with a eerie feel to the music as you expect to be attacked and murdered with a hammer but it never quite comes as the track ends with just the drums. Talos Awakens (nearly 10mins) is another of my fave tracks on the record with an almost piano like quality to the main guitar line. Apparently the vocal is in Greek. This track features a violin as well at the start but then becomes a traditional Automaton track as it goes up and down in mood but slowly gets more and more intense. I miss a killer guitar solo part but otherwise, amazing track. The Punisher, as the title says is the most brutal vocally and musically. YOB or Neurosis like. Some really interesting guitar parts as well. Submerged Again has some of my favourite guitar work on it as it is very spacey and emotional. The Epilogue finishes the record with some nice acoustic guitar. Great record.. Congrats my friends…

Sista Maj- Localized Pockets of Negative Entropy (Self Released/Adansonia Records)

Sista Maj is a project in Stockholm lead by Jonathan Segel (Camper van Beethoven, Øresund Space Collective and others) on guitars and violin and also features:
Mikael Tuominen—bass (Kungens Mãn, Automatism),
Andreas Axelsson—drums
Per Wiberg—keyboards (
(Opeth, Spiritual Beggars, Candelmass)
Mattias Olsson—additional percussion, synthesizers, etc
on "Owls" and "Hi, Who Are You?" 

How thick is your Veil starts things off with a long jam that is mostly violin driven with a slow flow of bass and drums, the occasional synth and later some guitar filters in. OWLs is a great track and starts off directly out of the spacey end of the previous track with some great bass lines and very intense violin as this track builds up. Great jam. Far from Nothing starts with some nice organ playing and guitar interplay. Later a long guitar solo is played as an almost smooth jazz groove is laid down. Keys also make this one quite psychedelic. Yet more Veils changes the mood completely and the violin returns. This one has a lot of repetition as it evolves and is a much shorter track.
Hi, who are You? Starts with some guitar and slow building as the drummer plays mostly the cymbals and the bass line is searching and waiting for the main event to begin. Some very nice keyboards filtering in as well.  Almost tribal drumming with some nice organ and guitar as it builds up. I really like the guitar on this one.  The last track on the album is High Salvage. This is a slow spacey track with some heavy guitar chords here and there as it flows down the river of sound. Nice album.

It appears that this album will be released on the German label, Adasonia, who has also released several Kungens Män albums. Look out for it next year on vinyl.

Rattlesnake- Time is Come CD (In for the Kill Records 007)

Rattlesnake is another band that Adam Kriney (The Golden Grass, La Otracina) plays and sings in. The band has previously release a 7” (on H42/In for the Kill Records) and a cassette. This new CD EP features 3 new tracks as well as the other tracks from the releases mentioned above.  The EP starts off with the two new songs (and one cover). Time is Come opens things with a sort of ZZTOP like riff and feel before it takes another bluesy path. The riff gets repeated occasionally through the song. The lead vocal duties are shared between Adam and guitarist JP. Dan, the bass player also does some backing vocals. About 4mins in they enter into a pretty jam with some great bass and guitar lines and solos. Next up is Rock n Roll Outlaw by Rose Tattoo. This is a hard one to cover. The track is played a little slower than the original and musically pretty cool but I have to say the vocals are the weak point on this one, whereas the original has that nasty edge, which I really dug, that is just lacking here. Burning way of Life (newly recorded and extended version from their first cassette) is the longest track and probably the best of the three with a nice hard rocking footstomping groove. It really rocks around between 3-4 mins with a cool guitar solo section, where JP tries out different effects pedals to alter his sound and mood. Adam and Dan just rock it out. Great jam on this track. Inspired by the band, Stray, perhaps!

You can hear the entire EP below.

Dirt in my Eyes and Picture Perfect are both from the limited edition 7”. Dirt is a rocker with a totally different sound production from the previous songs and a bit more melodic and smooth.  Like the other tracks there is a longish guitar solo section in the middle. Picture Perfect is a mid-paced track with a happy Marshall Tucker like vibe or Charlie Daniels (minus the fiddle!). The circular guitar riff and the backing vocals give it that more classic rock feel.

This is followed by the bands debut cassette tape tracks and starts off with Burning Way of Life, their original recording of this track. This version has a different sound production, a bit more low end. The overall track is pretty similar but the mid section is much shorter on this original version. The Reason Why is one of the most hard hitting tracks the band has in its repertoire, with a great wah guitar and bass at the start of the track. Lots of cool parts to this great track. Wicked Man is the CD closer with another quite hard edged guitar riff but never forgetting about bringing in those melodic licks and vocal choruses to give it a happy feeling at times as well. Great drive on this one in the non-singing sections.

If you are a fan of the Golden Grass with a little dash of southern rock then you will dig these guys for sure.

The Chemistry Set- Firefly 7” (Fruits de Mer WINKLE 34)

I really loved this bands last release. Amazing they have been around for so many years (30) and still very creative. Firefly starts things off with a quite heavy guitar riff and then the distorted organ takes the lead on this short musical journey. What a great song with heavy distorted guitars, cool vocals and spaced out effects. Check it out below. Sail Away is the B side and starts with some tabla drums and acoustic guitar. Excellent song with just a great vibe and sound.  Killer 7”. Buy it…

The 7” will also come with a bonus CD of extra material.

Human Factor- Let Nature take it’s Course (RIAG Records R104)

Human Factor is a mostly instrumental four piece band for Russia. Longyear starts things off with a sort of post rock vibe with a main repeated melodic guitar line, which morphs into the lead as the bass and drums keep the pace in the middle. The keyboards sort of float around the sound but later takes the lead in complimenting the guitar lines nicely and there is some singing as well. A 3mins the track becomes much heavier and intense. ALF is a super cool track with some freaky sampled voices and cool Ozric like synths and some intense parts. Very cool song. 1816 has a sort of new age like keyboard that I don’t like much but the bass and drums are killer on this track and later a more intense guitar part kicks in. Later there is some excellent synth playing as the new age stuff is dropped. Lake of Solitude slows things down a bit with floating spacey vibe to it. There is a nice interplay between the guitar (who rarely solos) and synth, which is the lead solo instrument in this band. Some similar synths and arppegiated synths appear in this track as others. Nice e-bow guitar work at the end of the track. Touch of Chixculub is probably the track with heaviest guitar on the record. All the tracks so far are mid paced.  Huge melodic thread runs thorough this one which counters the heavy guitar riff. A bit of piano on this one. Alarm #1202 starts with some layers of synths before the bass and drums kick in and it slowly grows. This track features some more interesting guitar, one delay and one played quite fast, an almost like acoustic but not quite (or is the synth?). The end is really hard rocking. Red Shift brings things down a bit with some samples and keyboards before the band joins in. Again, the synths are the main solo instrument. Nuba Vetera Promesas Pluvon features David Paulley on voice and closes out this album and features some piano once again.

This band just has an excellent vibe and good contrasts between dark and light moods, heavy and less heavy without letting it get too commercial in sound.  Quite an enjoyable and excellent album.