Small Stone Records

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.

Miss Lava – Doom Machine Review

Miss Lava – Doom Machine Review

“I feel I should start this review off with a disclaimer: stoner rock is not my usual jam. Traditional heavy metal, sure. Doom metal, absolutely. Psychedelic rock, not so much. So when you mesh the three together, I can go either way with the results. Still, I was compelled to check out Doom Machine, the fourth full-length release from Portuguese rockers Miss Lava.” Why would anyone build a doom machine?

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.

JIRM – Surge Ex Monumentis Review

JIRM – Surge Ex Monumentis Review

“First of all, look at that cover. If that isn’t one of the most glorious pieces of album art, I don’t know what is. It reminds me ever so slightly of Dio’s old mascot, but JIRM don’t worship at that altar. No, the band formerly known as Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus. play a groove-filled psych/stoner blend with plenty of progressive tendencies, and Surge Ex Monumentis is their first album under the shortened moniker. After three albums with their cumbersome old name. Why the name change? To distance themselves from a washed-up, mean old actor, or to just give us less to try and remember? And what else besides the name has changed?” Up the Jeremy Irons!

Captain Crimson – Remind Review

Captain Crimson – Remind Review

Captain Crimson are a different beast than the two debuts I praised before, however. With two records already under their belt, these boys have a confident swagger and straightforward gait, focusing on catchy riffs, a solid yet playful bass, and the voice of a 22-year-old kid cruising through Palm Desert in an open-top junker.” Sofa King stoner.

La Chinga – Freewheelin’ Review

La Chinga – Freewheelin’ Review

“Every once in awhile it’s fun to shuffle through the promo pile in search of an album that explores the good ole days of rock—and by “good ole days,” I mean old-man Steely D days. Even when it’s done shittily, the outcome triggers special memories of sitting around listening to the godfathers of heavy metal and hard rock on shiny black “frisbees” (as we use to call them).” The olde ways are back in vogue (not vogueing though).