Monster Magnet

Seven Planets – Explorer Review

Seven Planets – Explorer Review

“Sometimes, vocals — however good they may be — detract, or at least distract, from really listening to the moods the music is conjuring. This is how I feel about, for example, the instrumental records that accompany releases from The Ocean — while I typically listen to the full version, every now and again I will put on the instrumental version and float away. While West Virginia’s Seven Planets are a very different beast from that Berlin-based collective, their brand of instrumental rock, rooted in blues and groove, also aims to carry you away.” Seven paths to Uranus.

Woodhawk – Violent Nature Review

Woodhawk – Violent Nature Review

Woodhawk’s debut, 2017’s Beyond the Sun, slipped by all of us, but thanks to some friends who I can reliably state are stoner rock aficionados, that album ended up in my collection. If I had reviewed it here, it would have received a healthy 3.5, as it was loaded with catchy, energetic, desert rock songs, and I simply love Turner Midzain’s voice. For Violent Nature, the band reconvened in Vancouver to record once again with Jesse Gander (Anciients), a relationship that clearly pays rich dividends.” Canadian deserts, man.

Ecstatic Vision – For the Masses Review

Ecstatic Vision – For the Masses Review

“Many years ago now, I caught a gig by a personal favorite, The Mars Volta. They had just released Frances the Mute and were touring in support of that great record. Sadly, this ranks as among the worst gigs as I’ve ever been to. The band themselves appeared to be off their faces and played only one discernible song over an hour into the jam session, at which point I left. I have similar feelings about For the Masses.” Fit for mass consumption?

Yer Metal Is Olde: Monster Magnet – Powertrip

Yer Metal Is Olde: Monster Magnet – Powertrip

“A little while ago I talked about how 1998 was not a great year for metal. Some loyal thralls disagreed with me, but you know what? I was right. However, I should add to that point the fact that, while 1998 wasn’t a great year, when the music was good it was really good. Bruce Dickinson, Opeth, Blind Guardian, and Iced Earth all released great albums, as did a few other bands I’m sure will surface (again) in the comments here. And yeah, I suppose King Diamond could be included. Not to be overlooked in all of this is Monster Magnet’s grand fifth album, Powertrip.” Power is its own reward.

Beggars – The Day I Lost My Head Review

Beggars – The Day I Lost My Head Review

“Stoner rock is just about the most simplistic style out there, and oftentimes it’s at its best when stripped down even further to its core elements – riffs, vocal hooks and fuck you attitude. This is the rudimentary recipe Greek power trio Beggars bring to their stoner attack on their fifth album, The Day I Lost My Head.” Greek heads are gonna roll.

Freedom Hawk – Beast Remains Review

Freedom Hawk – Beast Remains Review

“Finding myself with a little free time on my hands this past week, I decided to snag an extra promo from the sump and try my luck with some unknown acts. I got lucky enough with Last Days of Eden, so I doubled down and went back for more, grabbing a promo from Virginia’s Freedom Hawk, and wouldn’t you know it, I’m on a bit of a roll here..” Freedom rock.

The Atomic Bitchwax – Force Field Review

The Atomic Bitchwax – Force Field Review

“Winter is coming, and not just in Westeros. As the days grow shorter and the coats grow thicker, a somber feeling draws across us all, blanketing anticipatory holiday cheer. Seasonal Affective Disorder (with its hilarious acronym SAD) strikes its yearly blow, and the call of morose doom metal like Hallatar and Loss is stronger than ever. But frankly, in this melancholic time of the year, it’s nice to have a band around who don’t give a flying iota about the dark short days ahead. The Atomic Bitchwax is that band in body, mind and spirit.” Screw your winter!

Doom Side of the Moon – Doom Side of the Moon Review

Doom Side of the Moon – Doom Side of the Moon Review

“In the royal chamber of overrated albums, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon sits atop a burnished throne that has cradled its posterior for many decades. I’ve tried countless times to love DSotM, bouncing between the CD, the SACD remaster, and an 180g vinyl pressing in desperation to discover what it is about this album that has resonated with so many people. Alas, illumination eluded me, and while I found portions of the record appealing, I struggled to generate more than a shrug when consuming the album as a whole. Not everyone shares my ambivalence, least of all Kyle Shutt, who has decided to honor the 50 year anniversary of DSoTM with the self-titled Doom Side of the Moon.'” Commence to fightin’.

Pain – Coming Home Review

Pain – Coming Home Review

“I’ve never quite got my head around open-plan office space and those waist-height cubicles. Yes, your hive of corporate activity looks wonderful photographed from seven different angles; prominently displayed on your enterprises website. Oh and let’s not forget about the collaboration! But what’s the cost? Stress-induced irritability, hostility towards creativity and productivity, anxiety and ongoing health issues. Oh wait, collaboration just flew out the window… Where am I going with this? Music. More specifically, metal. Pain have proved themselves inconsistent over the years and as with most things in life, with the good comes the bad.” Good pain, bad pain, you know we’ve had our share….

Wretch – Wretch Review

Wretch – Wretch Review

“Of the wavelengths split from heavy metal’s prism, doom is the color that can most clearly trace its path back to Black Sabbath. Down-tuned riffs, fuzzed-out solos and a bottom end that would make Sir Mix-a-lot dab the sweat from his brow, today’s doom acts unabashedly carry the flame first lit by Messrs Iommi, Ward, Butler and Osborne. The danger in this familiarity is that some bands struggle to escape their progenitor’s orbit and end up as pale imitators rather than carving out a space of their own.” Doom space is tough to come by these days.