Category Archives: Rock

Hexenjäger – Demo

Hexenjäger

March 2015 saw the release of one of the finer demo’s this year by French doom metal quartet Hexenjäger.  The band take their name for the German meaning for Witch Hunter.  Opening track ‘Hexenjäger’ has an unsettling spoken dialogue intro.  Bassist Flo explains.  “The exchange at the beginning of the demo is an audio sample from the movie ‘Inquisicion’ (the first ever film directed by Spanish actor, Paul Naschy).  He is tryin to get an assumed witch to confess to making a pact with the prince of darkness.  The woman keeps reiterating that she is not a witch (No lo soy bruja).  The pace of the track does not waver throughout, with the main riff is undoubtedly a tip of the hat to the legendary Black Sabbath, on the title track of their self-titled masterpiece of 1970.  The vocals of are haunted, elongated and bellowing.  Chilling stuff.  Second track ‘Murk’ boasts a lurking behemoth of a riff.  Unfortunately the vocals are not as strong here.  Lead singer Charly seems to struggle to hit the high notes at around five minutes in.  However, it is not something that could not be rectified in future releases and on the strength of this demo, there will surely be many more to come.

Hexenjäger are
Charles (Guitars), Ben (Drums), Charly (Vocals), Flo (Bass).

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Hagstone – Ancient, Majestic

Hagstone - Ancient, Majestic

The story of Hagstone begins in 2009 as four men sat in a “boozer” in the north of London. On that fateful night the guys gave themselves unto the God of Doom and set forth determined to create heavy, riff driven music. The result of their efforts is their debut EP “Ancient, Majestic”.

As you may have gathered from the title and perhaps the cover artwork, “Ancient, Majestic” is heavily influenced by ancient, mythological stories and legends. It also borrows from some darker concepts inspired by writers such as Poe, Byron, Coleridge, Shelly and Lovecraft. Hagstone combines elements of stoner rock with some of the more down tempo elements of traditional doom. I’d go so far as to suggest that Hagstone leans more towards the traditional doom metal side. The clean, quivering sound of the vocals really gives the music a classic doom kind of a feel. Hagstone does lack some of that oh so precious dirty fuzz of other stoner branded acts opting instead for a slightly cleaner, overdriven sound. That being said it can still be heavy at times. There’s a bit of an 80’s metal vibe that shines through like on the track “Not a Dream”. Something that might just be amplified by the sound of the vocals. It may be appealing to some but if I’m being completely honest it is a bit of a buzz kill for me. It’s not that it is necessarily a bad thing, it just doesn’t quite fit in with my own personal tastes. All of this together gives “Ancient, Majestic” a somewhat classic era doom metal vibe.

The first song “Nowhere Child” is one of stronger tracks featured on “Ancient, Majestic”. The opening riff is by far the best riff on the EP bringing visions of tripping on peyote as desert sands swirl and tumble weed bounces beneath a blistering sun. It immediately sets the head in motion without so much as a second thought. The song looses some of its muster midway through as it turns into an 80’s ballad but regains strength as it builds back up, returning to the desert rock groove of the opening riff. “Like a Rat” showcases more of the traditional doom aspect of Hagstone’s sound with chunky, palm muted riffs. “A Moment of Clarity” is a cool little instrumental track that lives up to its name acting as a quick break before the final two tracks. As I mentioned already “Not a Dream” has a bit of that classic 80’s vibe I’m not so keen on but “Burn Me Blind” might just be my favourite track. There’s nothing overly special about it, it’s just heavy and catchy as shit.

Overall Hagstone have put forth a strong debut offering. The production is solid, the music is tight and for the most part the songs are all different and memorable. It is music that you can re-listen too without any hesitation.

Hagstone are:
Andy (Bass), Istvan (Drums), Deko (Guitars), Rob (Guitars), Gio (Vocals)

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Scraps Of Tape – Sjätte Vansinnet

Scraps Of Tape - Sjätte Vansinnet

Sjätte Vansinnet, (Swedish for The Sixth Madness) is the fifth album from Malmö alternative, indie rockers Scraps of Tape. Having been playing together since 2001, the quintet have gotten progressively better at honing their craft and Sjätte Vansinnet really delivers across the board. The album is easily accessible and is just dripping in melody from opening track ‘We, The Leftheaded’ right through to closing instrumental track ‘Alla utom jag måste dö’. Main highlights here include the remarkably titled ‘Vultures With High Heels’ which enters with a discordant riff that, at it’s heaviest, heralds the halfway point of the record. It is not all guitars though as the delicate keyboards of Jerker Kaj compliments the verses with effortless gentility. Incidentally, Kaj is also a member of experimental/instrumental duo Lymland, who’s splendid debut album Ensamtidsroman is also well worth checking out in its own right. No two songs sound the same, yet when played through it is obvious that it is the same band playing, which is not an easy thing to do for most bands, further reinforcing the groups creative capacity. Most tracks on Sjätte Vansinnet would not sound out of place on mainstream radio, it is clear that a lot of energy has been pumped into this record. If there is any justice this will be heard by many, many listeners of a somewhat over-saturated genre.

Sjätte Vansinnet is available now through A Tendervision Recording.

Scraps Of Tape are:
Fredrik Gillhagen (Drums), Jerker Kaj (Guitar, Keyboard), Johan Gustavsson (Vocals, Guitar), Marcus Nilsson (Vocals, Guitar), Kenneth Jansson (Bass).

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Dresden​/​Leningrad – De Tirannie

Dresden​/​Leningrad - De Tirannie

Dutch stoner/doom trio Dresden/Leningrad have followed up their warmly received EP Vader with their first full length album. Released at the tail end of 2013 through Breathe Plastic Records, this is yet another hefty slab of crushing doom that builds nonchalantly with menacing rhythm. Three songs over forty minutes gives you an idea of the pace of the tracks. The group who hail from Amsterdam, take their inspiration from scenes of war and rock music from the 1970’s. Opening track ‘De Witte Dood’ captures your imagination perfectly and it is almost eight minutes until we first hear the vocals of Sebastiaan IsAan. ‘Het Oosten’ does not take as long to come to life. The track boasts a biting riff that kicks things off with a swagger, pummelling drums and ghostly vocals. However, it is the gargantuan eighteen minute plus closing track ‘De Broeder’ that stands out on De Tirannie. A chilling spoken word intro with slow clean guitar is pierced by a wave of feedback just over three minutes in. The guitars and erratic feedback that play out at the end of the final track are transfixing and just fantastically played. Dresden/Leningrad will undoubtedly go far if this release is anything to go by, newcomers should also take the time to check out their debut EP Vader here.

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Dresden/Leningrad are:
Gijs Highnis (Bass), Lei Von Der StraBe (Drums), Sebastiaan IsAan (Vocals, Guitar).


My Ruin – A Southern Revelation

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A Southern Revelation is the 2011 album and seventh studio album from Los Angeles based band My Ruin. ‘Tennessee Elegy’ gets the ball rolling with a drum beat aided by Tairrie B’s intense vocals complementing the shredding guitars and deep pounding drums. ‘Highly Explosive’ has an aggressive undertone once again aided by Tairrie’s Liberal use of F bombs, Not quite Joe Pesci in Goodfellas levels but it benefits the song greatly. ‘Walk of Shame’ can serve as a cautionary tale of the dangers of pursuing fame and an insight to the darker side of Hollywood and fame in general. ‘Deconsecrated’ is a rapid fire number with some excellent shredding. ‘Middle Finger’ is an acid tongued hate filled track that perfectly captures how most people feel towards those they work with and is excellent for it (Don’t listen to it at work as it may inspire you to speak your mind) ‘Vultures’ is slower paced but is broken up with some almost punk rock moments that builds to a fast finish. ‘Seventh Sacrament’ is a slow grungy dirge detailing a dislike of the modern trends in music (Manufactured bands/Musicians/Artists that have no discernible personality/soul/talent) ’Reckoning’ has a brilliant deep beat that has Live show Favourite written all over it thanks to impressive drums, riffs and solo’s. ‘The Soulless Beast’ is among the heaviest and most aggressive tracks on the album with slow heavy guitar work lending a sinister air to the track. ‘Mean Street’ opens with an awesome piece of guitar playing that sounds like you just walked into an old arcade and continues into track with a classic rock vibe. All in all Southern Revelation is exactly that, a brilliant unique album that manages to sound fresh thanks to passionate vocals and excellent guitar playing while treading new ground in the metal/Rock scene. Long time fans will know what to expect but it also serves as a fine introduction for newcomers to the group. A must listen.

Southern Revelation is available as a free download from their BandCamp site.

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KingBathmat – Overcoming The Monster

KingBathmat - Overcoming The Monster

Overcoming The Monster is the seventh album from KingBathmat.  Since self releasing their debut album Son Of Nun back in 2003, the quartet who hail from Hastings, East Sussex have flirted with several genres such as grunge, psychedelia and progressive rock to create their own unique blend of music.  The group do not place themselves in any particular genre, allowing them the freedom to play what feels natural to them as and when they please. As their website firmly states, “They do what they want”, which keeps them fresh and unpredictable.  Furthermore, having released seven albums in ten years shows the wealth of creativity in the group.  So, is it any good?  Indeed it is.  ‘Superfluous’ opens with a cyclopean riff from Bassett that is instantly agreeable to the listener, whilst ‘Reality Mining’ has a medieval keyboard type tune.  The one blot on their copybook here is the less than favourable ‘Parasomnia’ with misplaced and dated keyboards that make the track outstay it’s welcome somewhat.  ‘Kubrick Moon’ is a powerful sonic space-tinged force with epic guitars and keyboards of equal quantity.  The striking album artwork is provided by Tazminion.  KingBathmat are well worth checking out and to whet your appetite prior to release, why not follow this link to download a six track sampler from the bands website?  It features one track from each of the last six albums released by the band.

KingBathmat are:

John Bassett (Guitar, Vocals), David Georgiou (Keyboards), Rob Watts (Bass), Bernie Smirnoff (Drums).

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