After blowing us away with their self-titled debut album last year, today we have Jess and the Ancient Ones and their follow-up EP titled “Astral Sabbat”. In this release the band further refines their amazing Psychedelic Occult Rock/Metal music and presents three very engaging tracks that will satisfy any fan of the band and of the genre. With so many bands playing this genre nowadays, it is refreshing to hear this band excel at it.
The band immediately jumps into things with the highly intoxicating and playful “Astral Sabbat” song. We got immediately transported into psychedelic times with the crazy keyboards and super catchy song structure. Jess’s vocals are as amazing as ever and carry this song with a dramatic performance. Immediately following we have the band’s cover of Shocking Blue’s “Long and Lonesome Road”. While imprinting the band’s unique sound to this song, they also managed to say very true to this highly addictive song. Look it up on YouTube so you can judge for yourself.
Delivering one of the most unique and sonically crushing releases of 2011 (and we missed it then!), today we have Italy’s TalismanStone and their monumental “Lovecraftpolis” release. Comprised by 3 musicians, this outfit delivers a Sitar induced double-bass guitar aural assault that combines Pyschedelic Rock elements with Doom and Sludge into four tracks of biblical proportions. If you think this combination is weird, TalismanStone manages to pull it off graciously and crank out over 45 minutes of hypnotic music.
Opening with the Stoner/Southern Metal sounding “By The Sun of The Light Keeper”, the band establishes a very mellow and sludgy atmosphere. The bass guitars (yeah, that is right, TWO of them) replace all guitars in this track and they perfectly create that thick distortion that one would expect from a Sludge/Stoner Metal release. The female vocals courtesy of Erica Bassani are both haunting and intoxicating. However, the best part is when the trippy sitar makes its entrance to this already excellent song.
Arriving from Norway, today we have the melancholic Norwegian rockers of Acelsia and their debut full-length “Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow”. With the band down to a two-piece outfit comprised of Malene Markussen on vocals and piano, and Odd Henning handling guitars bass and synth, they have moved away from their Gothic/Doom Metal roots and they now play very emotion-filled Rock. With 11-tracks this release is very diverse, showcasing the duo’s excellent songwriting skills.
Opening with the haunting vocals or Malene, the band moves the listener with the powerful “Roads”. This song immediately shows the band’s more Indie/Alternative rock sound with catchy guitars and soaring vocal lines. The Post-Rock touches of “Stitches” and “Up On The Roof” greatly enhance the songs and adds an extra dimension to the band’s already unique sound. “Up On The Roof” greatly reminded us of the band Shellyz Raven and their super depressive music.
As the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Michael Kushner, today we have Born of the Stars and their/his self-titled EP. Mixing elements of Progressive Metal, Alternative Rock and Post-Rock, the ‘band’ manages to craft very emotional and melancholic songs that are actually very appealing and engaging.
Opening with powerful Groove Metal-style guitar riffs, “One Day” immediately morphs into a more melodic and diverse track. Michael delivers a solid vocal performance, but we are more surprise on the quality of the instrumentation behind the song. Particularly the drums are quite good, which are usually the pitfall of one-man bands, and most of the time sound like very evidently programmed ‘robotic’ track.
Delivering nine tracks of exquisite and playful instrumental Rock, today we have France’s Lovely Girls Are Blind and their third full-length release “Brésil”. Combining elements from Instrumental Rock, Post-Rock, and Progressive Rock, this French quartet manages create their own unique sound while reminding us of bands like Mogwai, God Is An Astronaut, and the more refined parts of Russian Circles.
Opening with the very eerie “Catatonie”, the band sets the mood with dreamy guitars and very well paced percussions. The band does a great job in crafting beautiful passages in this song (and the rest) that allow the song to fully develop in a natural fashion. With a shorter duration and a more direct approach, “Robotnik” shows a heavier side to the band that nicely changes the pace of the release very quickly, just before going back to more dreaminess courtesy of “Cochise”.
Returning after his very solid and enjoyable 2011 release “It's A Beautiful World”, today we have Bradley Tatum and his uncompromising old-school Punk Rock. Filled with catchy melodies and interesting combination of elements, “Punk Eternal” delivers thirteen tracks of back-to-the-basics music that is both enjoyable and very well crafted.
With a very traditional musical approach, Bradley Tatum immediately grabs your attention with the opener “The Realm of Silver” and its super catchy riffing and warm vocals. Song after song, this release is filled with little details that break the monotony and make each song memorable, for example the subtle keyboards of “Life Returns” or the hypnotic female vocals in “Terminal Love”.
After striking gold with The Devil’s Blood and their intoxicating sound, Ván Records brings to us Gold, a female-led Hard Rock band from the Netherlands. With a style similar to label mates Vanderbuyst but a little bit darker, this band delivers nine songs of catchy and well-constructed Rock songs that have a warm and fuzzy feeling that is rare these days. Thanks to the fresh and unique voice of Milena Eva, this band has a good fighting chance against a very tough competition in such a crowded genre.
Since the opener “One of Us”, we can hear the band’s excellent abilities to craft catchy hard-rocking music, but it is Milena who steals the show with her very unique voice. With the guitar work being pretty solid, the catchy chorus sections of tracks like “Antebellum” and “Love, The Magician”, are what really hooks the listener into liking the band. “Gone Under”, shows a more playful side of the band that nicely combines the heavy guitar work with a more pop-ish vocal structure that works wonders and nicely gives the band a refreshing approach to the genre.
Twenty years have passed since the band’s iconic release “Clouds” first saw the light of day and very little of that band remains today. With “The Scarred People”, Tiamat continues their never ending transformation delivering eleven very catchy tunes that still manage to turn people’s heads. Which each song the band delivers enigmatic catchy melodies that will surely draw the attention of most Gothic Rock/Metal fans.
Opening with a pair of catchy tunes like “The Scarred People” and “Winter Dawn”, the band immediately establishes their very atmospheric approach to this release. Johan Edlund’s vocals are as good as always, and his contributions in the keyboards really make up for 70% of the band’s unique and enigmatic sound. Things really start getting emotional in the brilliant “Radiant Star”, one of our favorite tracks of this release. In this song the tempo is very mellow and the mood is set very melancholic to fully create one of the best Gothic ballads we have heard in quite a while.
Sweden’s psychedelic hard-rockers return with another intoxicating dosage of classic rock with trippy stoner elements that made them so good in their excellent “Hisingen Blues” release. With such a massive appeal, this band has been resonating in most indie musical circles and has reached success up to the level of getting a spot to play on Bonnaroo and opening for Motörhead in Europe. In this new release the band continues to rock out with very emotional and mellow songs that take the band closer to musical Nirvana.
Opening with the warm and fuzzy feeling of records from the 70’s, the band delivers instant classic “An Industry of Murder” and the funky “Slow Motion Countdown”. Both songs are filled with solid guitar work and very emotive vocals. The band also excels at bringing the mood a tad low just before lifting spirits with more intense tracks like “Seven Seven” and “Endless Night”.
For fans of commercial alternative rock with some grunge influences, today we have Dream Circus and their debut full-length “Land of Make Believe”. Not being our main cup of tea, this release delivers 10 tracks of catchy music that we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s playing on the radio when we go to a supermarket or something like that. This Portuguese band does a solid job in creating effective guitar-driven tracks, but ultimately fails to grab our attention due to its very traditional nature.
Rocking hard since the opener “Make Believe”, the band nicely sets a very enjoyable mood with soaring vocals and well-crafted guitars. Not challenging themselves too much, the band goes through tracks like “So Long”, “Crown”, “Going Down”, and “Poison” with a rather simple, but effective, musical structure. James Powell’s vocals are probably the best thing worth noticing since they are very good and similar to what mainstream bands sound like.