Monster Magnet

Craneium – Unknown Heights Review

Craneium – Unknown Heights Review

“Finland’s Craneium managed to accrue some low-level buzz on the strength of two albums of entertainingly fuzzy, buzzy pysch/stoner rock mixed with minor sludge and alt-rock influences. While their sound is sure to remind you of other bigger acts like Monster Magnet and Sahg, they’ve managed to do their own thing and create some interesting material with a unique spin. Now comes third album Unknown Heights, which after nearly three years of effort the band thinks is their best product thus far.” Trip to the brain stone.

Robots of the Ancient World – Mystic Goddess Review

Robots of the Ancient World – Mystic Goddess Review

“Sometimes a band name conjures a very specific image or reference before you know a single other thing about it. In the case of Portland, Oregon’s Robots of the Ancient World my mind went immediately to the slightly plump and rather ungainly automata portrayed in the distinctly average film, Hellboy II: The Golden Army. That apparently invincible army was sent to devastate humanity in payment for various slights our race committed against elves and the like. Scroll over to reality and another thing apparently sent to devastate humanity, Covid-19, was playing havoc with Robots of the Ancient World, almost ending their sophomore effort, Mystic Goddess, before it properly got off the ground. The five-piece entered the studio to record the follow up to their 2019 debut, Cosmic Riders, only for producer Jack Endino to fall ill, “wrecked from this weird flu from hell,” as Robots guitarist Justin Laubscher puts it.” Infected bongs and olde bots.

Domkraft – Seeds Review

Domkraft – Seeds Review

“This album cover might be enough to scare away the more discerning fans, but we here aren’t paid to run away in fear or confusion. Nor are we paid enough to afford a pair of 3D glasses, which might be handy to see this artwork in its intended form. It is a messed-up, psychedelic trip of an image, to be sure, and in some ways it foreshadows what is to come on Seeds, the third album from Swedish doom/sludge/psych trio Domkraft.” Seedy fuzz.

Guardian of Lightning – Cosmos Tree Review

Guardian of Lightning – Cosmos Tree Review

“Heavy metal. Rock n’ roll. Attitude. Swagger. These are all good things, and if you can blend them together just right, they can create a great thing. Brazilian upstarts, Guardian of Lightning call their style of music “thunder metal” and they employ a lead bass in lieu of the traditional lead guitar as a kind of secret weapon. On their Cosmos Tree debut, this beefy threesome openly threatens you with a good time, taking a stoner metal style with plenty of attitude and making it as weighty and burly as possible.” Good wood.

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.