Tuesday, 16 January 2018

kolektiv - S/T (Album Review)

Release date: June 09th 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

kolektiv – Tracklisting

1.nezhyl 03:39
2.perdition 04:03
3.breeder 03:28
4.champion 03:42
5.hurt 02:41
6.potemkin 03:42
7.elevator 04:11


kolektiv is a Post-Hardcore/Post-Punk/Metal band from Belgium who have quite a post-metallic sound to their music. Influenced by bands such as Deftones, At-The Drive In, Thrice and TOOL to some respect. Their new album is a heavy and emotional mix of post-the-fuck whatever kind of sounds.

It has quite a progressive feel with the opening song – nezhyl – having a more reflective post-rock delivery. The vocals are clean and melodic and that surprised me as I was expecting the harsher style of growls.

Speaking to the band recently, they told me there are a lot of hidden Easter Eggs and clever references hidden within this album. I was surprised with the amount of thought that has gone into this album. It may sound very simple at times but the band have put a lot of effort and thought with both the music and lyrics. Maybe that TOOL influence steadily coming into play. The song HURT that appears on the album is very complex as the post-hardcore/post-metallic riffs have more meaning when you start to fully understand the lyrics.

The song Potemkin has a link to Sigmund Freud and specifically to one of his patients. Well that's what the band told me. If you're not bothered about the hidden messages held within the album then just listen to the great songs held on the album. It's not the best produced album you'll ever hear but kolektiv recorded this album in true DIY style. So what you hear is what you get.

The album is mostly melodic with a few moments of pure aggression but it's expertly played throughout. This album can definitely be considered “THINKING MAN'S METAL.”

Check this out as kolektiv are definitely worth your time.

Words by Steve Howe


Hound The Wolves - Camera Obscura (Album Review)

Release date: February 14th 2018. Label: Monochord Records. Format: CD/DD

Camera Obscura – Tracklisting

1.If Lost In Mind
3.Omnia In Numeris Sita Sunt
4.Everything Lies Veiled In Numbers


Tim Burke – lap steel, drones, soundscapes
Juan Carlos Caceres - Guitar, vocals, words
Cory DeCaire - Bass
Ryan McPhaill - Drums
Nate Wright – Moog, aux percussion


Hound The Wolves debut album Camera Obscura is a deeply fascinating and emotional album that draws on the heavier sounds of Drone, Doom, Psych and Stoner Rock.

Opening track - Lost In Mind - is a slowly played song with elements of Drone and Post Rock creating an almost ambient based atmosphere. The music and mood of the song is quite solitary with the haunting vocals of Juan Carlos opting for a more poetic style of delivery. The deliberate slow paced delivery of the music allows the listener to fully immerse themselves with the almost cold and distant environment.

Second song - Masquerade - opens the world of Hound The Wolves to a heavier style of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Rock with the sound becoming more of a post-metallic vibe. The drone based sounds become almost industrial with the vocals having a more machine like delivery. I can hear a direct NIN influence with the heavy distorted industrial beats though the band adds a heavier pounding Sludge/Stoner metal sound. The song becomes decidedly weird and trippy when Americana inspired Psychedelic Drone noises appear and the song becomes calmer and perhaps more mood driven as a result. The band has a lot of time to fill as this song lasts thirteen minutes or so. The lyrics have a shamanic feel to them and perhaps inspired by Drone/Doom Specialists EARTH.

Third track - Omnia In Numeris Sina Sunt - is another Psychedelic Drone offering with long drawn out sounds and hypnotic vocals singing the title of the song over and over. In theory this should be a recipe for disaster but Hound The Wolves make this a majestic and hypnotic offering with many layers of different areas of music holding everything together.

The final song - Everything Lies Veiled In Numbers - carries on the Psychedelic/Americana sounds but with more emphasis on the hazy dark desert sounds with an eerie slide guitar being played in the background. The song has a constant slowly played guitar that never lets up. The vocals drift in and out yet again with the shamanic style chants. The lyrics are quite doomy and progressive in parts but it's the music that makes the lasting impression.

Camera Obscura is one of the most trippiest Psychedelic Drone/Stoner Metal albums I've heard in a long time. The production is simply exquisite. You can feel the different layers of music taking over your soul for an out of body experience.

If you're a fan of EARTH or Across Tundras then Hound The Wolves is a band you cannot ignore. My final thoughts on Camera Obscura are that this album may take multiple listens to understand fully what's going on. however that doesn't stop this album being a powerful and simply unmissable album.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to the band for the promo. Camera Obscura will be available to buy on CD/DD from February 14th 2018.


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APF RECORDS SHOWCASE ALL-DAYER Manchester, UK 3rd February 2018

APF Records is hosting a special one-off gig at The Bread Shed in Manchester UK on 3rd February, featuring all 14 of its current active signed bands playing across two stages.

Founded by Andrew Field in March 2017 APF Records has released albums, EPs and singles by Under, Diesel King, Blind Haze, Mastiff, The Wizards Of Delight, Tronald, The Hyena Kill, RedEye Revival, Ba’al and BongCauldron during its first 12 months.

The label already has releases lined up for 2018 by Desert Storm (new album “Sentinels” out 16th March), Pist, Nomad, Barbarian Hermit and Battalionsas well as further releases from the bands mentioned above.

Due to the logistical challenges of getting all 14 bands in one place at once this is likely to be the only time the entire APF Records roster will play in one place on one day. Thus advance tickets have been moving fast and the event (at the 400-capacity venue) is predicted to be a sell-out.

Doors open at 1.30pm with the first band performing at 2pm. The event will finish 10 hours later when Desert Storm headline the main stage.

“With Ba’al having been reviewed in Kerrang!, Terrorizer and Metal Hammer, Pist having played Bloodstock Open Air Festival and been booked for this year’s Desertfest London, BongCauldron being featured in Decibel magazine, and other such high profile appearances there is a lot of interest in my label at the present” says Andrew Field of APF Records. “If the goodwill around us and the increasing popularity of our bands continues apace I suspect any future gathering of all our artists will likely be in a much bigger venue”.

Appearing at the APF Records Showcase:

Barbarian Hermit
Desert Storm
Diesel King
RedEye Revival
The Hyena Kill
The Wizards Of Delight

APF Records and Stonebaked Promotions presents: The APF Records Showcase All-Dayer
Venue: The Bread Shed, Manchester UK
Date: 3rd February 2018
Doors Open: 1.30pm
Tickets: £10 adv / £15 otd

Arcadian Child - New Video For Irresistible


Panayiotis Georgio
Stathis Hadjicharalambous
Andreas Kerveros
Christos Dimou

The Lowdown

Psychedelic Greek Retro Rockers - Arcadian Child - have a new video out for Irresistible from their acclaimed new album Afterglow, which I reviewed here back in November 2017.

Words by Steve Howe


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Saturday, 13 January 2018

Redscale - Set In Stone (Album Review)

Release date: December 01st 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

Set In Stone – Tracklisting

1.The Ascent 01:49
2.Olympus 04:25
3.False Light 04:11
4.Atlas 04:42
5.The Collapse 04:07
6.Hypnos 03:08
7.Prometheus 04:55
8.The Descent 01:45
9.Beast from Below 03:19


Set In Stone is the debut album from German Hard Rock/Stoner Rockers Redscale and it's a heavy and accomplished record from the band. The album has elements of Hard Rock, Classic Rock and Stoner Rock all delivered with a turbo charged energy. The vocals have a classic heavy metal feel as the vocals immerse themselves superbly well with the heavy stoner rock grooves.

The songs on the album follow a simple template of HEAVY RIFFS, LOUD VOCALS and CATCHY CHORUSES. Yeah it's a boring formula but it works so surprisingly well for Redscale as songs such as Olympus, False Light, The Collapse and Hypnos have a vintage Stoner Rock quality with elements of Psychedelia appearing here and there. The lyrics maybe inspired by the 80s Heavy Metal scene but at least Redscale are keeping the whole music within the Stoner Rock environment.

Set In Stone may not have the most original of sounds but what the album does have is PASSION and fantastic musicians who prove they can play with many fine riffs with enough power to satisfy even the most jaded of Hard Rock/Stoner Rock fan.

If you're in the mood for an album with a deep love for all things 1980s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal but with a modern Stoner Rock twist then look no further as Redscale are the band for you. Set In Stone is a superbly entertaining album and proves that Redscale have a bright future ahead of them.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


Geomancer - Khatt Al-Raml (Album Review)

Release date: January 15th 2018. Label: Inverted Grim Mill Recordings. Format: CD/DD

Khatt Al-Raml – Tracklisting



Guitar / Vocals - Richard,
Bass - Calum,
Drums - Ruben


I first became aware of Geomancer a couple years ago when they supported OHHMS and Conjurer on their joint UK Tour back in August 2016. The guys impressed me a great deal and I was curious to hear more from the band. Well that day has come as Geomancer will be releasing their debut album - Khatt Al-Raml.

Their music is an interesting sound with elements of Doom, Sludge, Post-Metal, Stoner Metal and Blackened Rock/Metal that all combine to create a Post-Doom style of music. The band uses a drone style template to hold everything together.

Opening track - Geomancer - is a slow-paced and bleakly distorted vision with the band focusing on heaviness more than melody. The overall sound has a cold feel with Geomancer playing more doom and gloom riffs with a blackened sludge groove for added measure. The growl based vocals are menacing but at least you can understand them. The second half of the song moves into Psychedelic and Post Rock territory with the band closing the song off with fast-paced Stoner Metal vibes that show you there is a lot more to Geomancer's music.

Second track - Grief is another lengthy opus with the band creating YOB/Electric Wizard levels of heaviness. The mood is bleak and sometimes sombre. Though that doesn't allow Geomancer to become complacent. Far from it. Geomancer build up a steady rhythm of Doom and Sludge Metal theatrics that has a more post-metallic feel compared to the other songs on the album. The vocals become more threatening and perhaps less easier to understand. This is where Geomancer start to experiment with their sound even more. As this song and the whole flow of the album expertly moves from extreme metal to the less harsh ways of Psychedelic Stoner Metal.

Third track - Visions - is a drone/sludge rock song with different swirling sounds opening the song. It has a BONG style influence as the band play an almost never-ending simple drone style riff. The song has quite a Shamanic feel with the different sound effects adding a layer of complex Middle Eastern melodies. Visions shows another side to Geomancer and it's a superbly played song. However it doesn't offer any great insights into the album and could be classed as filler compared to the other songs. Within time my opinion on this song will probably change.

Fourth track - Greed - returns to the furious psychedelic Doom/Sludge Metal onslaught with the band playing perhaps some of the heaviest moments on the album. It's a weirdly addictive sound allowing Geomancer more creative freedom with the heavy distorted/drone experimental noises becoming the main focus. The psychedelic sludgy stoner parts make a welcome appearance as YOB/CONAN style rhythms interact well with the vocals and the brilliant drumming of Ruben.

The final track - Sacrifice - is fifteen minutes plus of epic doom/sludge/stoner/post-whatever spaced out madness. It's quite trippy and spaced-out compared to the other songs but the familiar and harsh Sludge/Doom Metal atmospheric sounds remain as Geomancer finish off with the best song on the album. The vocals from Richard add a menacing feel and heavier substance to the song.

The production on Khatt Al-Raml is highly effective as the sound comes at you from all directions. The music is loud and violently crisp. Some people may find fault with the vocals and the bands willingness to experiment with their music. Those could be valid points when you first listen to the album. After a few listens this album had me under its hypnotic dark spell. If you want a brutally heavy sonic experience that dares to be that little bit different. Well Khatt Al-Raml is the album for you.

Geomancer may have opened the door to a lasting and rewarding career within the realm of Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal. A stunning debut album. No question.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Geomancer and Inverted Grim Mill for for the promo. Khatt Al-Raml will be released on DD via Inverted Grim Mill Recordings from January 15th 2018. CDs will be released at a later date. 


Marijannah - Till Marijannah (Album Review)

Release date: March 15th 2018. Label: Pink Tank Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Till Marijannah – Tracklisting

1. 1974
2. Bride Of Mine
3. Snakecharmer
4. All Hallows Eve




Marijannah are a fairly new band from Singapore but consists of seasoned veterans from Wormrot and The Caulfield Cult. So there's plenty of experiences on hand which shows so well in the four tracks on 'Till Marijannah'. What's on offer is super-fuzzed out heavy psych/stoner rock with enough sharp riffs to take down Mount Everest, and played in a way you've never heard before. It’s perhaps nothing new per se, but what makes this album stand out and sound different, in better words, is the approach to the music and the sheer talent on hand.

There are “only” 4 tracks on this debut, which clocks in at just over 29 minutes. Some might complain about a shortage of songs but I say the opposite. The way ‘Till Marijannah’ pans out over this time and track span works fantastically well. Opener ‘1974’ is a steamrolling riff-fest that grinds you down to dust while simultaneously catapulting you out into a claustrophobic, nightmarish state of being. Marijannah keeps pummeling you until no resistance is left and all you can do is give in and let this sonic juggernaut carry you away. ‘Bride Of Mine’ slows down the pace somewhat – not much - yet the band is still relentless and punishing. While one guitar unleashes riff after hard-driving riff, the other play soaring, trippy leads on top of it while the bass guitar and drums keeps it all together. Spaced out and brutal at the same time, can’t get much better than that.

‘Snakecharmer’ picks it up slightly sending out High On Fire/Sleep et al vibes. Hypnotic, mesmerizing and pulverizing, there’s a lurking evil in the shadows waiting to pounce once the time is right. The soloing is blinding and free-flowing offering some respite before the clutches of darkness gets its grasp on you. Closer ‘All Hallows Eve’ is, just like the other songs, punishing in it’s mid-tempo pace. But it is more atmospheric in the sense that the band has added choir-like background vocals in many parts. This elevates the song to something else especially since Marijannah has opted for clean, dreamy and hypnotic vocals throughout, instead of harsher vocals. A great ending to a great debut!

What sets this Singaporean band apart is, like I stated earlier in their approach and know-how within the ranks. But other factors are how deftly they blend riffs, vocal-style, tempos and feelings in a way I haven’t come across within this musical sphere before. Don’t know how they conjured this and I don’t care because Marijannah has created a beast of a debut!

Words by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Pink Tank Records for the promo. Till Marijannah will be released on CD/DD/Vinyl via Pink Tank Records from March 15th 2018.