Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You Should Be Listening To .. .Tuber!

The Greek island of Crete is known traditionally(at least in BAN's sad, cold , part of the world) for being a popular holiday destination, particularly with hordes of pissed up, obnoxious British and Irish students on sixth year holidays.However, three piece 'instrumental desert rock' band, and Crete natives Tuber might make you reconsider.Say the band . . .

"Tuber grew up in a sunny place, south of Greece, in an island called Crete. They were hiding from the sun, jamming in dark studios and playing their music in rock caves. As they moved north, sounds became lighter, since they started miss hot ground. Balance came as a result of smash, dark embraced light and improvisation turned into an effortless and instinctive process. Tuber moved their interest into new forms, founding themselves experimenting with compositions that combine mixed styles and sounds from different ground. Focus is now on rock aesthetic flirting with psychedelic atmosphere and a touch of romantic mood. At this time Tuber live in Serres, forming their feelings and thoughts into music and words, still learning how to leave with reality and reinventing it with love."

A heady blend of meditative instrumentation, sand blasted stoner rock riffing, and an expansive, immersive atmosphere, Tuber are forging their own path in the already impressive Greek stoner rock scene. One not to rock out to maybe, but definitely one to burn one to , and let one's mind wander.As BAN's partner in crime , Fuzzed Out, might state:
"Revel In The Riff".

Stephen O ' Connor
For fans of: Kyuss, Red Sparrowes, Karma To Burn, Pink Floyd.
Listen/Download here : http://tuber.bandcamp.com/

Saturday, January 28, 2012

You Should Be Listening To . .. Songs For The Sleepwalkers!!

Something from the lighter end of the musical spectrum, Songs for the Sleepwalkers is essentially the brainchild of Swedish songwriter Andrea Cacesse, and whose debut full length, 'Our Rehearsed Spontaneous Reactions' is a lovely bit of folk inflected post rock/prog exploration.Mining influences as disparate and different as Nick Cave, Bjork , Elliot Smith and The Beatles, it's a tender, intimate collection of songs, perhaps not the crushing riffola one usually finds on this blog, but worth a listen nonetheless . . .

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Album Review - Heavy Glow-'Midnight Moan'

We 're a bit late in reviewing this one it seems, seeing as Heavy Glow released this album as far back as the middle of last year,but hey , better late than ever, and in the case of this sublime, hard rocking trio, that is most definitely the case, seeing as it's probably one of the best and most satisfying examples of pure , old fashioned hard rock we've heard around these parts for quite some time.

Already a favourite of the respectable mainstream media(Classic Rock have included the band on a previous compilation) , Heavy Glow's sound is a mix of the warm, bluesy swagger of The Black Keys, the sweaty , primal stomp of Wooly Mammoth and Truckfighters, and even, in places, the grandiose stomp of Led Zeppelin in their prime. First track 'Lose My Mind' is all come hither guitar pomp and fantastically loose , raw blue leads.'Slave Dance' is a slow burning blues number with some remarkable guitar work from frontman Jared Mullins, while 'All My Money' is so irresistibly catchy and toe tappingly infectious, it's liable to be included on some third world country's banned materials list sometime soon . .

Throughout, the production is fantastically old school , and authentically raw, without being so self consciously retro it becomes a gimmick.Indeed, the band skirt the usual classic rock cliches by simply writing fantastic songs, whether it be the desert rock gut punch of 'Collide' , or the closing , epic throwdown 'Diggin A Ditch' , the band keep the emphasis on groove and maintaining the summery , breezy, couldn't give a fuck vibe that permeats the album.However, as with anything this effortlessly good,there's clear effort on the part of the band, and it's refreshing to hear a modern day heavy rock band that lets their instrumentation breathe, and doesn't simply rely on lashing on the distortion to compensate for lazy songwriting.Nor is this any kind of dad rock throwback.Indeed, when the band want to, they can rock like motherfuckers.This is music to get drunk to, get high to, get you laid.Summer can't come quick enough . . .

For fans of: The Black Keys, QOTSA, Wooly Mammoth, Chocolate Love Factory

Monday, January 16, 2012

Album Review, Axxicorn 'War with the Giants'

Axxicorn are a self described Proto-metal band based in Portland, Oregon, and sure enough the first thing that comes to mind when 'War of the Giants' kicks in is Sabbath's Vol.4. The snappy, understated riffs have Iommi's mark on them. Nearly four and a half minutes go by in a flash and we sail headlong into 'Poseidon'. The smokey vocals and sludgy verse riffing lend the track a certain High on Fire feel.

Continuing the Greek theme with 'Prometheus'. Back to the Sabbath inspired work but with a slightly more modern approach, think Sleep's 'Holy Mountain' rather than Sabbath themselves. The long and winding instrumental choruses give the drummer room to display his flare. Next up, 'Revolt of the Titans/Wasteland' begins with a nod to 'Snowblind' and continues into pure, distilled stoner metal. Just short of three minutes, it all breaks down into an OM-like mid-tempo, distorted bass groove and a dissonant guitar solo follows closely behind. So far this is the best result of the rough production of this record.

'Typheous' opens with utterly bleak sounds of Western movie dialogue, mouth organ sirens and clean lead guitar. This is soon over taken by a snappy, immediate beat and bass to match. Almost as soon as the guitar returns with distortion in tow, we're back in familiar territory but with a new feel to the movement of the music, not a million miles from an early anarcho-punk sound. 'Theseus and the Minotaur' is a broken and heavy dream of The Obsessed at their best, and features some of the best riffing on the record: it picks you up and doesn't let you down until the very end. Finally we finish up this rough ride appropriately with 'Hades'. All the stops are pulls on the punk rock for this one, like an Amebix house party in the mid-eighties. The minimum vocals contain the some of the hardest belted out shouts we've heard from Axxicorn yet.

Axxicorn's 'War with the Giants' is the epitome of a no nonsense album. Brutally lacking in any bells and whistles and to great affect. The unique, rigid guitar tone invokes a more punk than stoner vibe but in doing so makes for a more unique recording overall. There's some very interesting filthy heavy shit coming out of the West side of the States right now and I'm betting Axxicorn will fit in nicely.

Axxicorn, “War of the Giants”
Rating: 7/10
For fans of: Melvins, High on Fire, Sleep.
Standout Tracks: Prometheus, Revolt of the Titans, Theseus and the Minotaur.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Album Review, Daymoon, "All Tomorrows"

"All That We've Learned is Bound to Be Wrong"

Daymoon. This is a full on progressive rock outfit that has been knocking around since the early 90's. The international lineup, spanning Germany, Brazil and Portugal to name just three countries, mix up just about every style they can get their hands on in this, their debut full-length record "All Tomorrows".

All Tomorrows opens with its namesake track. Descending bass and organ immediately brings good old Deep Purple to mind, but things quickly expand into ever changing areas that never seem to repeat but manage to be fresh and memorable. The bulk of this track is ambitious prog rock in all its glory, finishing up with a lush, folky outro that seems to come out of nowhere, and the ear splitting sound of a flat heart rate monitor to see it out. Classy stuff! Followed by the short and fierce 'TrancendenZ', the intro of which is the heaviest piece of music you're likely to hear made by woodwind and Spanish guitar. Hard riffing electrics and sax come into the melee before long in a Steve Vai style jam.

'Human Again' is reminiscent of all the things I love about Popol Vuh (watch old Werner Herzog films and you'll see what I mean): rich and winding and always taking you somewhere. Luis Estorninho's penetrating bass sound shines through here, as does drummer Bruno Capelas' inventivness with his beats. Things go all Dark Side of the Moon in the last few minutes before the return of a motif from the song's beginning, and close.

'Marrakech' begins with a few moments of spoken word tension before turning in a Syd Barrett direction. A disorientating array of instrumental and nature sounds make this a track you wouldn't want to hear when severely stoned...or maybe you would, I dunno! Next up is the dark and remorseful 'Sorry' which twists and turns slowly as if moving through a musical mist.

At this stage, about half way through the record, the band have touched upon so many rock genres that you wonder where they have left to go. The very chilled 'Bell Jar' introduces electronic drums that are unprecedented on the record so far. A Mike-Oldfield-cum-Trip-hop vibe is created as the track progresses. 'First Rain' sounds like a small army of acoustic guitars on a mission to sooth the soul. I don't know if there is a name for it but Daymoon seem to have picked up a little of that Scandinavian musical sensibility, the kind you here with bands like The Gathering. If anyone knows what I mean and whether it has a name or not, please tell me.

'First Rain' moves into 'Arklow' and all of a sudden Daymoon seem very close to home (Arklow being an Irish town), and perhaps the name is influencing my ear but there is a touch of Irish music influence on this track. 'News From the Outside' returns to the Dark Side era Floyd style, with curious use of tremolo effect on the vocals throughout. We're now reaching the end of the record with 'The Sum'. Again my taste for Krautrock is satisfied with a peculiar menagerie of sounds which shift from neo-classical to psychedelic Beatles with ease, with a few Brann Dailor drum fills to boot.

"All Tomorrows" is about as rich and varied an album as you could ask for. Daymoon leave no stylistic stone unturned and to amazing effect. This is clearly a band that is not afraid to write any kind of music that comes to mind. Pink Floyd fans will cream themselves with tracks like 'Human Again' while even some fans of Opeth's 'Heritage' will dig the more guitar heavy work on here. The musicians themselves are a force to be reckoned with: the lead guitar breaks have all the best elements of the traditional and the modern, while the bass and drums keep everything solid as a rock throughout, allowing the keys, woodwind, sax and Spanish guitars to add vivid colour throughout. Follow the link below to Daymoon's bandcamp and you can download the record in full. As well as getting a quality album you'll be contributing to a good cause since all proceeds from the album sales will go to singer Fred Lessing's wife's cancer treatment.

Daymoon, "All Tomorrows"
Rating: 9/10
For fans of: Popol Vuh, Pink Floyd, most recent Opeth.

New Book, From The Minds of Madness: The Origins of Heavy Metal Band Names, by Blair Gibson

This is a first for B.A.N. while we have done a few book reviews this is the first time we've plugged a newly released book. Check it out.

As of the 6th of January, the new book "From The Minds of Madness: The Origins of Heavy Metal Band Names" by Blair Gibson is out. This book is a compilation of testimony from members of over 350 bands, about the origin of the name of their band. The bands come from all corners of the heavy music spectrum, including B.A.N. favourites Yawning Man, Whores of Tijuana, Truckfighters and Totimoshi. Awesome idea and a nice H.P. Lovecraft reference in the title. We hope this book gets the ball rolling for Blair. Cheers!

Pick up your ebook copy of it here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/120088

Edward Gerard Brophy

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gig Review - Wizards of Firetop Mountain at The Harbour Bar, New Years 2011

We at B.A.N. saw out 2011 in a heavy way with a trip to a favourite haunt, The Harbour Bar Bray, for a bitta Bavaria and a lot of doom. Just short of midnight Dublin doom all-stars, Wizards of Firetop Mountain, took The Harbour for a trip of the Sabbath kind.

Wizards are something of a stoner doom super group, comprised of members from such awesome Dublin bands as Mongolia and Realistic Train. What exactly the chronological line of these bands has been I'm not sure, but judging by the past few gigs we've attended, Wizards seem to have the biggest and most enthusiastic following. The Harbour is a small venue but it makes for a savage atmosphere when a band packs the place out and that is just what they did.

The band waste no time at all; gear up, barely a soundcheck, furry waistcoat and Black Sabbath t-shirt on; go! Kicking off at 3 minutes to midnight with their signature mix of loose, groovy riffing and traditional doomy presentation, the crowd laps it up like hungry bears on a floating whale carcass. A small but clearly devoted number of fans make themselves known by their sheer enthusiasm. Gradually the bar fills. Drunk punters become confused, blog photographers become claustrophobic and doom heads get their rocks off. The set is relatively short but the band don't take too much time between songs so we the crowd get just the right amount of doom for a new years evening. The most notable crowd pleaser is 'Onwards Towards the Sun', a drone delight for which the band recently released a music video. The song is as slow as an 18 wheeler with 14 flat tires but the fans are going 90 nonetheless.

The Harbour Bar is the perfect setting in which to enjoy this kind of gig. A bar with low light, low ceilings, walls plastered with portraits of Aleister Crowley and assorted magick imagery. If only it were a little bigger to accommodate the weight of the sound produced when Wizards took the stage. This trivial concern aside, the band played a blinder, all riff worship and groove and some dodgy dancing in between. G'wan the Wizards!

Wizards of Firetop Mountain, live at The Harbour Bar, New Years 2011.
Rating: 7/10

By Edward Gerard Brophy, bornagainnihilist@gmail(dot)com

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Radio For The Daydreamers: New Music/Site

Possibly one of the hardest working bunch of chaps you'll meet, Pittsburgh, PA ambient/experimental outfit Radio For The Daydreamers have been hard at work over the last few weeks, with the band setting up a new Soundcloud page where they'll be posting up some exclusive tracks and remixes for followers, which you can find here:

The band have also been collaborating with several producers around the world and compiling a remix album titled Die!Avant Garde  , samples of which can be found on the aforementioned Soundcloud, or by following these links :

In addition ,the band are also working on a new music video, and have launched their new website:

Looks like 2012 may just be a busy one for the journeyman trio, and we for one are eager to see what comes next for these guys.

Stephen O ' Connor

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

EP Review - Swords Of Texas ' Too Weird To Live , Too Rare To Die'

Crashing into 2012 with all the feverish , hallucinogenic fury of a Hunter S. Thompson  mescaline binge, Swords Of Texas is the twisted brain child of Hamilton ,Ontario shaman/whackjob Schmoog Lebowski(a founding member, apparently, of 13 Bags Of Dick) , and is seemingly  the product of too little sleep, too many out of date pharmaceuticals ,a five string bass, a beat up four track and an old keyboard leaning up against the wall.The results are terrifying and intoxicating in equal measure.

Five tracks of seething, molten psychedelia, Too Weird To Live , Too Rare To Die  is a fascinating exploration in gloomy, almost gothic psychedelic sounds,,and nods to krautrock , most notably  in the spacey malevolence of  tracks like 'el Cid Zombie Chase',and the eerie burnout of closer ' Valkyrie Hymn', the latter assaulting the listener with some sickeningly low slung , de-tuned sludgy  bass sounds, and unsettling , almost chant- like distorted vocals. The overall effect is like having acid dropped into your morning coffee unexpectedly, and then being dragged off to some sort of  space rock equivalent to Orwell's dreaded Room 101, to have your mind ripped apart  . . .

As an omen of where the stoner/psyche/sludge underground is heading in 2012, it's undoubtedly a good one, as for the EP itself, it's an enjoyably whacked out piece of work, that deserves to be blared from some monolithic speakers as one loses their mind on all manner of nasty substances. Fucked up, and fabulously so.

Rating :8/10
For fans of :Acid Mother's Temple, OM,(early) Pink Floyd
Stephen O ' Connor
Listen here: http://swordsoftx.bandcamp.com/album/too-weird-to-live-too-rare-to-die

Meshuggah To Release New Album in 2012!

This one seems to have passed by some of the bigger sites on  the net, so let it be our pleasure to announce that Swedish nutjobs  Meshuggah will be releasing a new album in 2012.The statement on the band's website reads thus :

"After  a long time of deep soul searching, and intense wrecking of the psyches, the new album is finally done.

Soon you will meet this colossus , that will pulverise your being"

Welcome to the other side on March 27"

Never one to mince words, this lot, and given that 2011 was most definitely the year of 'djent', a genre which Meshuggah are fondly  regarded as the forefathers of, this looks set to be one of the most anticipated releases this year. No new tracks just yet, so we'll leave you with this slice of inspired lunacy and dissonant japery . ..

ETA:March 27th 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die Online Now!

Great New for fans of lead heavy, cross- over punk metal, as two heavyweights of  six string malevolence make a return in 2012, namely Buffalo NY psychos Every Time I Die, and Canadian stoner-punks Cancer Bats.

Cancer Bats- 'Old Blood'

Sadly, the audio rip on the CB track is awful ,but it still gives an indication of the continuation of the raw, more groove laden sound explored on the band's previous release Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones. This also means the band will be making a return to Europe sometime soon.Excited? We are . .#

Every Time I Die 'Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space'

The first proper cut from ETID's March 6, 2012 release Ex-Lives, this is a proper monster, the band's combination of spastic rage, crushing riffs, twisted humour and rock and roll swagger, accompanied by a bonkers video directed by frontman Keith Buckley .Looks like 2012's gonna be a heavy one folks . . 

Stephen O ' Connor