Queens of the Stone Age

King Buffalo – Regenerator Review

King Buffalo – Regenerator Review

Last year, in the midst of endless lockdowns, I got my lucky mittens on King Buffalo’s excellent The Burden of Restlessness. I had not heard another record that more perfectly encapsulated the experience of isolation resulting from the pandemic, nor have I since. The album was announced to be the start of a rapid-fire trilogy, the finale supposed to come out before the year was through. The vinyl crash elongated that schedule a tad, which caused part two, Acheron, to drop in the middle of list season and tumble between wall and ship. It had deserved better; not only is it a wondrous and otherworldly psychedelic trip, the whole album was recorded live in an actual cave for a unique sound not easily reproduced. So let me make it up to the band by at least addressing the closing chapter of the pandemic trilogy: Regenerator.” Royal animals.

Into the Obscure: Masters of Reality – Deep in the Hole

Into the Obscure: Masters of Reality – Deep in the Hole

“We all have our dirty metal secrets that we selfishly keep to ourselves, only sharing with a select few close to us. Or alternatively, we incessantly talk up underground gems and spread the gospel to anyone that will listen, as we cherish our slice of underground cred. Into the Obscure aims to right the wrongs and unearth the artists/albums that for whatever unjust reason didn’t get the exposure, appreciation or credit they sorely deserved the first time round.” Master! Master!

Blackballed – Elephant in the Room Review

Blackballed – Elephant in the Room Review

“Standing on my shelf next to other “non-metal” records, like Captain Beyond, Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Waylon Jennings, Blue Öyster Cult, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, you’ll find albums from B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Robert Johnson, and John Lee Hooker. Am I trying to say I’m an expert in the field? Heavens, no. But this would explain my odd selection of (typically) straight-forward, go-nowhere blues/hard rock promos for review. And here’s yet another.” Blues balls.

Huntsmen – Mandala of Fear Review

Huntsmen – Mandala of Fear Review

Huntsmen was one of the best left-field surprises of 2018 with their American Scrap album. By mixing progressive sludge and Americana, they created a sound not quite like any other. The songs neatly encapsulated heartfelt stories about working in the coal mines, a tragedy in Atlantic City, and others, closing on “The Last President” which included a dramatic performance by Aimee Bueno as the POTUS who unleashes nuclear Armageddon and hangs herself right after. It was a potent storytelling format that was bolstered by strong riffs, earnest vocals and succinct songwriting. So it makes sense that Mandala of Fear continues in… Wait… Does that promo sheet say “85 minute double LP dystopian concept album?!”” More as less.

Rosy Finch – Scarlet Review

Rosy Finch – Scarlet Review

“The hallway that led to my office in grad school was red. Both walls. I shit you not. To make matters worse the hellish tunnel narrowed as you approached its end—where, to no one’s surprise, you could find my office. Trust me when I tell you that five years of red walls can fuck with a person. Like grad schools, animals also use the color red to ward off people. Red can represent everything from lovers to the most gruesome of deaths. And Spain’s grrrl sludge group, Rosy Finch, is every bit as varying in its topics and delivery. With artwork that looks as though poor Carrie got it again, this is Scarlet.” Red is a slow color.

Mondo Generator – Fuck It Review

Mondo Generator – Fuck It Review

“It’s hard to say why I grabbed Mondo Generator’s subtly titled Fuck It from the promo bin but, if you’re putting me on the spot, I think excitement probably got the better of me. Not, I should be clear, excitement because I love Mondo Generator – I do not – but simply the excitement of seeing a band I had actually heard of, which had not already been snapped up by one of the nimbler reviewers. The brainchild of Nick Oliveri – and sometimes also known as Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator – of Kyuss, Dwarves and Queens of the Stone Age fame (among others), Mondo Generator has been around for quite a while.” Bad attitude.

Pale Grey Lore – Eschatology Review

Pale Grey Lore – Eschatology Review

“Is there such a thing as a universal archetype of a genre? A band that perfectly embodies everything you expect from, say, melodic death metal or power metal, and nothing else? After all, many bands mix in at least some influence from other genres in an attempt to keep things fresh and not everyone has the exact same view of what such a default state should look like. Stoner metal, on the other hand, often seems bent on conforming to a template, perhaps more so than any other of metal’s subgenres. All you need is a bunch of catchy, straightforward riffs, generally played at mid-pace, with a good measure of fuzz and with a dusting of psychedelic interludes and solos, and clean, ’70s style vocals on top, and you got yourself a stoner metal album.” Desert rock for dessert.

Wizard Rifle – Wizard Rifle Review

Wizard Rifle – Wizard Rifle Review

“What is a ‘wizard rifle,’ exactly? It is a rifle that shoots magic missiles? Perhaps a rifle that spawns wizards propelled to impossible velocities (which does not bode well for said wizards, I suppose)? Maybe it’s something simpler, like a rifle made specifically for wizards that stores itself magically inside their hats. Or it could be something more complex, such as a rifle whose first shot pops out a smaller wizard who holds his/her/their own miniaturized wizard rifle, and so on.” Spell spewing.

My Diligence – Sun Rose Review

My Diligence – Sun Rose Review

“One of these days, I’m going to have to visit Belgium. You see, not only did this fine little country spawn my favorite album last year, but it is spitting out a couple more interesting bands in 2019, starting with the horribly-named My Diligence. Honestly: I don’t mean to start a review on such a negative note, especially when the music far surpasses the name, but it’s just not a great moniker. That aside, what My Diligence bring to the table is an intriguing progressive stoner mix influenced by a few solid bands. Think of the harmonious stoner-pop sensibilities of Torche, the progressive leanings of Elder, and a dash of Queens of the Stone Age’s quirkiness, and you’ve got an idea of what this band’s second album, Sun Rose, is all about.” Stone the Sun.