Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Festival News - RPM Fest 2018

RPM Fest organizers have announced the 2018 full band roster for the late August music event. Held this year in Montague, Massachusetts, RPM Fest is an annual three-day outdoor heavy Rock, Punk, and Metal music festival that in 2018 features 50 bands, as well as camping, games, local beer and food, vendors, and more.

This year RPM Fest brings in national headlining acts such as Black Tusk, Tombs, Incite,Whores., and Acid Witch, as well as additional local and regional vendors and festival sponsors for the 2018 event.

Each year of RPM Fest has occurred in Western Massachusetts, and while the region is somewhat rural, it has been a hotbed for spawning nationally-recognized heavy music acts like Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall. Since RPM Fest's 2014 start, West Mass has seen a heavy music resurgence, with its goal to keep fostering the local heavy music scene by showcasing some of the best underground bands New England has to offer.


DETAILS:

An Interview With Brigitte & Collyn From ABOLETH

I wasn’t even aware of Psych Doom Rockers – ABOLETH – before I heard their superb new album Benthos. So this band were a totally new discovery for myself.

When I heard the album I was blown away by the amount of different sounds held on the album and the incredible vocal performance of lead vocalist – Brigitte Roka.

The band call their sound “Dirt Metal” and that is a very apt description. As the album is quite dirty in places but with a soulful blues rock groove as well. Though Aboleth thrown in heavy Doom, Sludge and Stoner based riffs as well.

Aboleth are signed to Ulrich Wild record label – WURMGroup. Ulrich also produced and recorded their debut album. Another good reason why you should check this band out. As the album does indeed sound first rate.

I was asked to interview Brigitte (Vocals) and Collyn (Guitars) from ABOLETH. I wanted to find out more about the band and the recording of the new album.

Here’s what went down...

Hi Collyn and Brigitte. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

Collyn: Things are amazing! We’re about embark on our first U.S. tour and we’re very excited. With me here is the incomparable Brigitte Roka, the voice, heart and soul of Aboleth…

Brigitte: Awww well thank ya! Yeah we’re great, super stoked for people to hear this album.



Before we discuss your new album. Can you give a brief overview of how the band formed and where it is today.

Collyn: I stole Brigitte from another band. They had a ‘bass player wanted’ ad up at my rehearsal space. One day I had some time to kill so I checked them out. As soon as I heard Brigitte’s voice I knew I had to work with her, so I sent her a message asking if she wanted to jam. Originally I brought her into the Ultra Electric Mega Galactic fold, which was still mostly instrumental at the time. But that splintered off into its own thing…

Brigitte: Then after forming Aboleth it took us a while to find a steady drummer who could tour. My friend Marco Minnemann asked if he could record the drums for our album after hearing us play live, so he’s the one you hear on the album. Then we finally found Bollet and as soon as we jammed with him we knew he was the guy. Now we’re on our first tour, we got our first album coming out, and we couldn’t be more excited!

How would you describe your overall sound. As you have included quite a few different elements for a seedy and heavy sound.

Brigitte: We’re metalheads who love the blues so our sound is stuck in a limbo between both styles. There’s definitely a grunge influence in there too, we’re all huge fans of Soundgarden and Alice In Chains so that comes through as well.

Collyn: We call it “dirt metal,” just because none of the other genre tags seem to exactly fit. There are elements of stoner rock, desert rock, and a dollop of old-school doom. But mostly we’re a blues band. Just a really heavy one.

You’re about to release your superb album - Benthos album. What can people expect from the album.

Brigitte: Raw, powerful vocals over heavy sludgy riffs. We tried to capture our live energy as much as possible, in fact two of the songs were even recorded live. The album has a lot of soul and grit, but also has some catchy tunes

Collyn: There are riffs-a-plenty, rippin’ slide guitar, virtuosic drumming, out-of-this-world banshee howls from one the best rock singers of the modern era, and a couple of acoustic numbers to sing by the campfire. If Led Zeppelin III comes to mind, well, it should.

What is the main theme of the album and why did you call the album Benthos.

Brigitte: No particular theme to the songs, but most of them are based on all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones. We chose the name after I made the artwork. Benthos is another name for the ocean floor, so I thought it was a name that would fit the cover nicely. We also have a recurring marine theme in our visuals because our name is based on an eel monster



Who is releasing the album and what formats is the album being released upon.

Collyn: “Benthos” is being released by WURMgroup, which is the label run by Ulrich Wild (Pantera, Deftones, White Zombie) , who mixed and produced the album as well. On May 25th it will be available digitally and on CD. Vinyl plans are still in the works but we hope to be able to announce a release date soon.

What influenced you when writing and recording the album.

Brigitte: So as mentioned before the songs are inspired by different relationships and people in my life. I love music that people can emotionally and personally connect with, so I draw a lot from personal experience when I write these. I leave the demons and wizards lyrics to Collyn cause as much as I love that stuff, I’m not the best at writing it, haha!

Was recording the album an easy or hard experience.

Collyn: For me it was easy. I tend to work out my parts in pre-production. So a lot of what I did on the record is more or less what I played on our early demos, just better.

Brigitte: It was so much fun, especially the two songs we did live. There was a lot of writing and rewriting happening in the studio which was the biggest challenge, because to me there’s 30 ways to write the same chorus and sometimes it takes a while to get what you want.

Ulrich Wild produced the album. What was working with Ulrich like. As he’s worked with some pretty heavy bands during his career. Was it a daunting task working with Ulrich.

Collyn: We’ve both actually worked with Ulrich before. I played bass on two Otep records that he produced. And I introduced him to Brigitte before we even put Aboleth together, because I thought she had something special and wanted to get her name out there. Ulrich wound up consulting her to do some session work

Brigitte: It wasn’t daunting at all. He’s one of the most chill and stoic people you’ll ever meet. It was helpful to get his feedback in the process because he had us try things we wouldn’t have thought of, some of which worked and some didn’t. At the end of the day he was very determined to make it sound the way we want and make sure we were happy with everything

What does Ulrich bring to the Aboleth sound.

Collyn: Ulrich is a master at his craft and he’s also incredibly easy to work with. He brings great ideas to the table and brings the best out of every project he works on, instead of trying to force some signature sound upon everything. With this record, he kept a lot of the rawness and heaviness while making it sound huge. And sonically, nothing gets in the way of anything else.

What is the song-writing method in the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

Collyn: It’s highly collaborative. For “Benthos,” Brigitte and I would work out a riff or a chord progression in my living room, I’d send her home with a basic recording and she’d woodshed vocals and lyrical themes. A few of the songs I’d written on my own but she’d either take what I wrote and go in her own direction with it, or just make what I wrote a million times better.


You have a pretty extensive US Tour coming up within the next few days. What can people expect from these shows and will you be performing other dates later in the year. Or will you just be focusing on gigs closer to home.

Collyn: We‘re actually trying to play less gigs closer to home. L.A. is great place to be based, as a musician, but not a great place to play shows. There’s just too much happening on any given night, and club goers’ tastes are notoriously ephemeral. That said we have some great brother-and-sister bands here that we’d love to play more shows with. Void Vator, High Priestess, Sasquatch, Yidhra, Ironaut, The Freeks and Behold! The Monolith to name but a few. And I have to give a shout-out to our buddy Skum who promotes what is secretly the best metal night in L.A, every Wednesday at Skinny’s Lounge.

Brigitte: We really want to get to Europe too, as soon as we can. We want to keep the tour going after this one ends. But we’re stoked to play in all these places around the country where people are always so supportive of live music, a quality that is ironically lacking in the LA community. People can expect some raw gritty vocals, hair swinging all around, face melting riffs and general tomfoolery. No matter what your specific music taste is you’re gonna have a good time rockin with us, there’s no doubt about it

You’re also part of great bands such as Trash Titan and The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic. What’s the current state of play for both bands. Any new material on the horizon from both bands. Or are you focusing solely on Aboleth.

Collyn: I’d say both Trash Titan and UEMG are like herpes. Currently dormant, but you never know when they’ll bubble back up like an oozing open sore. Also there’s Sugar Fly, my funk/soul project, which has some of the most incredible musicians I’ve ever worked with. In fact they’re all so incredible and in-demand that we never have time to play together. But yes, Aboleth is my primary focus right now. It’s what I wake up thinking about. It’s what I go to bed thinking about. Not just what we’re doing now, but what we’ll be doing ten years from now. I think we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what this band can do.

Brigitte: I agree, this is barely the beginning. For me this is my only musical endeavour and my main focus in life, but I’m also busy with my double life as an illustrator and my upcoming graphic novel franchise “Sonarium”, which happens to be based on my life as a musician.

How hard is it for you being part of so many bands. Is this an easy thing to juggle and be a part of.

Collyn: Well it’s four bands, a full-time job, freelance session work and a three-year-old daughter. So yeah, I’m never not busy. But I’d never have it any other way. I can’t stand idle time, it drives me nuts. I mean I probably SHOULD take a vacation at some point, just for my own mental health. But I think one of the reasons this band works so well is that we all have similar drives and work ethics.

Brigitte: I was actually in the process of graduating from Art Center College of Design while making this record and preparing for tour. I literally graduated two weeks before the start of our tour, haha! It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure workload-wise, because ACCD is the Hell’s Kitchen of art schools. It was freakin’ intense managing to do both, but I did it, and now I’m free to rock as I please!

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go do you have anything to say to your fans. Best of luck with the new album.

Brigitte: Thank you so much for having us and thank you for the support! I’d only like to say that if you like the album and would like to see us play, please spread the word and spread the hype to your friends and local promoters so we can come to your city! Thanks :)

Words by Steve Howe and ABOLETH

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for arranging this interview. Thanks to Brigitte and Collyn for doing this interview.

Benthos will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via WURMGroup from May 25th 2018.

Links:

Aboleth - Benthos (Album Review)


Release date: May 25th 2018. Label: WURMgroup. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Benthos – Tracklisting

1.Wovenloaf 05:26
2.Fork In The Road 04:24
3.No Good
4.Black Box
5.Glass Cutter
6.Sharktown Blues
7.Ode To Plastic
8.Vinny Gets Arrested 03:38
9.The Devil
10.Wytches

Members

Brigitte Roka – Vocals
Collyn McCoy – Baguitarist, Slide Guitar
Boll3t – Drums
Drums on Benthos performed and recorded by Marco Minnemann

Review

Benthos is the new album from Heavy Doomed Out Rockers - Aboleth. Consisting of the following members. The one thing that stands out from the start is the heavy vintage sounding vocals from Brigitte. Brigitte has such a commanding presence that it feels she's been around the Doom Metal scene for years. As Brigitte has a world-weary "seen it all" before attitude and when this is matched against the heavy pounding grooves that Colin and Mario (who recorded the drums for the album) conjure up, all hell break looks.

Opening track - Wovenloaf - opens with a heavy beat that soon allows to the heavy guitars and drums to finally appear. This album has many different sounds that make up its dirty hypnotic groove. "Dirt Metal" is what the PR blurb described Aboleth's music. Now I don't normally take any notice of these blurbs. However, you can actually describe Aboleth as "Dirt Metal". As their music has a heavy amount of sludgy swamp based grooves though merged with Blues Rock, Doom, Psych and Stoner Metal.

Perhaps influenced by ZZ-Top and Royal Thunder at times. Though that doesn't stop Aboleth creating their own distinctive sound that's dynamically powerful and quite soulful at times. Songs such as Fork In The Road, No Good, Black Box, Glass Cutter, Vinny Gets Arrested and Wytches are the other standout songs that leave the biggest impression on you.

The production is first rate is what you would expect with Ulrich Wild involved. Ulrich has worked with acts such as Deftones, Pantera and White Zombie in his now legendary career. Aboleth could have easily buckled under the pressure working with a big name producer but this gives them extra determination to play such a loud and vibrant confident sound.

The lyrics are superbly written with most of the songs having a few cool sing-along choruses along the way. The sound of Benthos is firmly rooted within the sounds of the Classic Rock/Heavy Metal scene and that opens the potential reach of Aboleth's music to be heard by a much wider audience.

The one thing that impresses the most on the album is the undeniable chemistry between band members who recorded the album. The mood can be quite seductive and that's down to Brigitte's powerful and hard rocking vocals. Though the heavy riffs help as well. Benthos is a powerful sounding album and Aboleth are a band you'll be hearing a lot more from in the future.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Benthos will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via WURMGroup from May 25th 2018.

Links:


Monday, 21 May 2018

High Priestess - S/T (Album Review) and Video Premiere of Firefly


Release date: May 18th 2018. Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

High Priestess – S/T – Tracklisting

1.Firefly 10:11
2.Despise 08:03
3.Banshee 04:08
4.Take The Blame 06:36
5.Mother Forgive Me 05:04
6.Earth Dive 06:40

Members

Katie Gilchrest - guitars, vocals, organ
Mariana Fiel - bass, vocals
Megan Mullins - drums, percussion

Review

High Priestess self-titled album sees the band play a heavy blend of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal that walks a fine line between classic sounding Doom Rock and modern sounding Psychedelic Riffs. With razor sharp production, High Priestess impress from the very start with haunting melodies. The album is very progressive in places with the band creating songs running from six, eight and ten minutes in length.

Opening track - Firefly - sees High Priestess opt for dark progressive doom and gloom style of music. The psychedelic elements are slowly added with the heavy Stoner Metal vibes appearing with the vocals making a welcome appearance. The whole flow of the album is addictive and flows with absolute confidence. Maybe a little bit too much at times. High Priestess never outstays their welcome as the heavy progressive sounds will keep you entertained from the start. There is a twinge of Blues Rock contained on the album and is perhaps best encountered from the gloomy and wonderful lyrics the band have written for the album. Firefly is without question the standout track on the album.

Though the other tracks held on the album are just as good with Despise, Banshee and Earth Dive being the main ones to fully experience. The vocals on Despise and Banshee took some time for me to get used to. The clean vocals are superb though the higher pitched growls that appear almost throw the song off course but they soon won me around after a couple of more listens of actual song itself. High Priestess are not your normal Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal band as they like to experiment with their music and perhaps even play on the listeners expectations of what a Doom/Stoner Metal band should actually be.

The main strength of the album for me is the bass playing of Mariana. Mariana provides a heavy and thunderous backdrop for High Priestess to fully function from. High Priestess takes the best parts from the Doom/Stoner Metal scene that has appeared over the last thirty years or so and injects some much needed vitality and musical creativity.

This album is already starting to win plaudits from within the Doom/Stoner Metal community and it's richly deserved. As High Priestess provide a no-holds musical experience you'll find very hard to ignore. Ripple Music are releasing this album and it's good to see High Priestess signed to the label. As I don't know who else could release this album other than Ripple Music. You know what Ripple Music is known for.

Though this is High Priestess time to shine and they've created something truly special here with their debut album.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR and Carl at Action PR for the promo. High Priestess debut album is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ripple Music.

You can check out the exclusive Video Premiere of Firefly from High Priestess spellbinding new album. Thanks to Todd and Matt over at Ripple Music.



Links:


Saturday, 19 May 2018

Mos Generator - Shadowlands (Album Review)


Release date: May 11th 2018. Label: Listenable Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Shadowlands – Tracklisting

1.Shadowlands 04:34
2.The Destroyer
3.Drowning In Your Loving Cup
4.Stolen Ages
5.Gamma / Hydra
6.The Blasting Concept
7.Woman Song
8.The Wild & Gentle Dogs

Members

TONY REED / guitar, vocals, keyboards, assorted instruments
SEAN BOOTH / Bass
JON GARRETT / Drums

Review

Greetings all,

Shadowlands is the 7th full length from Mos Generator, who are one of Washington State’s best kept secrets. Those unfamiliar with the band have missed out on countless killer splits, records, and comp appearances. On Shadowlands the band delivers on their trademark groove heavy rock.

These guys know their way around a riff and a killer hook and have delivered eight masterfully crafted tracks of pure rock fury. The record is excellently recorded, not too clean and not too raw. Musically, the band is tight and rocking and they do a superb job of wrapping dark subject matter inside warm, fuzzy hooks.

The title track, Shadowlands, opens the record with a huge grunge rock punch and an amazing earworm chorus. The Destroyer follows with a feedback and drum filled opening to deliver a killer driving song. The band shows a little love with the Thin Lizzy inspired Drowning in Your Love Cup, which is a nostalgia filled rocker.

A long astral inspired instrumental opens the track Stolen Ages before kicking in with another rip snorting rocker with a killer chorus. Gamma Hydra is quite possibly the catchiest plea for science and reason you will ever hear. This is an amazingly catchy track that you will be humming for weeks, guaranteed. The uptempo rock of The Blasting Concept continues the aural assault. The band spends another couple of minutes at the Thin Lizzy altar with the 70’s rock inspired Woman Song. The record closes with the acoustic opening of the epic sounding, The Wild and Gentle Dogs. The songs opening acoustic lament devolve into an ominous and methodical instrumental close.

The almost effortless brilliance that is displayed by Mos Generator on Shadowlands is nothing short of awe inspiring. Mos Generator may just be the Foo Fighters it’s OK to like, If you dig Fu Manchu, Black Rainbows, Orange Goblin or the like and you aren’t familiar with this band, you need to be, and you need to do it right away. Shadowlands is a rewarding listen and these guys deserve all the accolades they should receive for this killer album.

- Todd S

Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey


You can buy Shadowlands on CD/DD/Vinyl from Listenable Records now.

Links:

Thought Eater - Bones In The Fire (Album Review)


Release date: May 18th 2018. Label: Grimoire Records. Format: DD

Bones In The Fire – Tracklisting

1.Bones in the Fire (part 1) 04:31
2.Pantomimic Dances 06:35
3.Speak Through Dreams 07:30
4.Covenant 09:34
5.Bones in the Fire (part 2) 06:24
6.Umwelt 05:54

Members

Darin Tambascio (12 string bass)
Douglas Griffith (guitar)
Bobby Murray (drums)

Review

Thought Eater’s new album Bones In The Fire draws influence from bands such as Pelican, Russian Circles, Baroness and Mastodon. For this being an instrumental album, Thought Eater have to do something different to standout from the over-crowded Instrumental Rock/Metal Scene. They manage to do this thanks mainly to the impressive work of Darin Tombascio who wields a 12 string bass. Now I didn’t know a thing existed though that’s down to me not being a musician.

I was very sceptical about Thought Eater’s album as I didn’t think that a 12 string bass would work being main focus of attention. Though I was very wrong as Bones In The Fire is a complex and progressive sounding album that manages to strike the right creative balance of playing heavy sludge based sounds. Songs such as Bones In The Fire (Part 1) and Pantomimic Dances convince early on that Thought Eater know how to create heavy progressive riffs. The guitars from Douglas are another highlight as he’s influenced by the earlier sounds of Mastodon.

Bobby on drums does an impressive job here on the album as well. As Bobby’s drumming is what really allows Thought Eater’s music to be deliciously heavy and quite direct.

The album can be very psychedelic and trippy in parts so it’s not all about heavy sounds. Thought Eater manage to include elements of Jazz, Hard Rock and Middle Eastern style rhythms. The album truly becomes alive with the final three songs being the most exciting part of the album. As Thought Eater finally become more comfortable with their own sound and identity. Bones In The Fire (Part 2) and Umwelt are the two best songs on the album.

Bones In The Fire is an impressive album and Thought Eater have delivered the goods here. I don’t know if they could release another album such as this. As they may need something new to the overall dynamic of their music. Perhaps add a guest vocalist. As there were parts of the album that were screaming out for vocals. Though I respect the band’s vision for the album.

Overall, Bones In The Fire is an intelligent and superbly entertaining album.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Links:


v

Whooom - Bardo (Album Review)


Release date: April 13th 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Bardo – Tracklisting

1.Sidpa 19:20
2.Chikhai 22:24

Members

Bart Van Garderen - Bass
Tom Van Garderen - Drums
Ross MacLean - Guitar

Review

Whooom’s new album Bardo only consists of 2 tracks but the whole album runs for over 40 minutes. Bardo is a mixture of Psychedelic, Doom, Stoner and Sludge Metal vibes . Though you don’t get that impression from the first few minutes of the opening track – Sidpa. As the song opens with a slowly played ambient/post-rock/drone based sound. It takes an age for the heavy riffs to appear. When they finally appear, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.

As Whooom style of music is crushingly heavy with dense psychedelic sounds allowing the band to play a LO-FI kind of sound. Bardo doesn’t have the best production but I think that’s the point. As Whooom have always been about creating music that’s as real as possible. The album still manages to sound beautifully heavy and clear at the same despite the rough production. The album has an addictive edge and that’s perhaps down to the fantastic bass guitar played by Bart.

Bardo is highly progressive throughout the entire album. As Whooom are very hard to define. Yeah, they play Doom, Stoner, Psych and Sludge based music. However they play a lot of different other sounds as well. Whooom are creating their own style of music that’s perhaps heavily influenced by Black Sabbath and Ufomammut.

If you’re looking for an album that gets you away from the SLEEP juggernaut that’s causing a major fuss within the Doom/Stoner Metal community then I recommend you listen to Whooom. As they’re currently one of the most inventive bands you’ll hear within the Doom/Stoner Metal scene.

Bardo is 40 minutes of top-notch Doomed Out and Psychedelic Weirdness you’ll find very hard to beat. My advice, find the biggest pair of speakers you possibly can and let BARDO bring sonic destruction and devastation to those around you….

Words by Steve Howe

Links: