Cybernetic Witch Cult – Troglodithic Trip

This 3-piece doom/stoner band hails from Cornwall, England and we take a look at their upcoming self-published 6 track fuzzy doomy journey into the science fiction / fantasy world of Cybernetic Witch Cult. It features two brand new tracks and four re-imaginings of tracks from the band’s 2015 album ‘Morlock Rock’, and introducing their new drummer.

Sagittarius A* starts with a jagged distorted riff to pull you into the narrative. This is a classic Space Rock song describing a journey through space. The title refers to the location of a super massive black hole, which is just about the most fitting title for a heavy rock song you could imagine. A Well-crafted engaging song with a lot of changes at the right moments to keep it interesting throughout.

Within a beat Astrogalactic Sprites is in full force, in a intense tale of Cosmic origin of Earth’s Fantasy folk. the guitar solo is a particular delight.

A driving bass is leading in Cult Of The Druid, a more laid-back song with some surprising harmonies. The drums are continuing their work in driving the songs forward, especially when the tempo ramps up halfway. The guitar does a good job colouring in the song with effective riffs and licks. With some added sound effects this is a very well produced track from beginning to end.

Forbidden Fruit‘s Psychedelic Shamanistic intro contrasts with the fuzzed out ending of the previous song. The heavy rhythm and guitars lead into forceful vocals relating a world of cold, ancient evils and lurking monsters. The song has a tribal feel with interesting percussion, an ominous chorus and an overall thick sound. The chanting will continue on in your head after the song has ended, a very effective earworm.

The ominous start of Human mixes Prog with Heavy Rock and sets up a song that explores the nature of being a human with too much knowledge of his past and future to know hims place in his reality. Good to see some Golden Era Science Fiction being referenced.

Tyrannosaurus Hex cleanly riffs into a Heavy romp of Futuristic war in which a Chronomage brings Dinosaurs into the future to fight invading Robots. In an album with strong titles I love this one the best, a great find. The story is told well lyrically and the music compliments it very fittingly, with the by-now familiar thundering drums, driving bass, riffing guitar and confident vocals.

I dig what these guys are trying to do, and I was impressed by the quality of the recording and the overall production. Out of the six songs I was least impressed with Human but the other songs will definitely stay in my listening rotation for the foreseeable future. This is band with a coherent vision and sound that should be headed for great things. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

My Rating: 82/100

Follow the band on their website or Facebook. The album is out May the Fourth on Bandcamp, for free.

Cloud Catcher – Trails Of Kozmic Dust

This is this Denver-based Power Trio’s second album, unleashing their fuzzy riffs and sub-earthy jams.

Astral Warlord‘s opening crescendo sets up a feeling of eager anticipation. The listener is clearly promised something heavy.
The quick Deep Purple-inspired opening riff leads in a hearty rocking romp. Celestial Empress evokes 70s Swampy Blues Rock, witch the driving rhythm section edging a wailing guitar on.

Beyond The Electric Sun continues in much of the same vein, with a an added Boston vibe though the excellent bass lines, the screeching guitar solo’s and the hypnotic drumming . The vocals are going in overdrive in short bursts. Dimensional interlude is a pleasant little psychedelic filler.

Visions turns up the riffage again, with some confident vocals and the continuing eager work of the rhythm section. A great track to dance to at 11 pm after an evening of whisky. Title track Trails of Cosmic Dust builds on what came before, the guitar waving its song around the start-stop Acid Rock. Impossible to keep all feet still on this one.

Super Acid Magick lets the effects have a free reign, Space jamming an instrumental with an ending filled with urgency. Closing out the album, Righteous Ruler settles back into no frills Blues Rock, letting the guitar dream the song into different tempo’s and a powerful vocal performance. The band gives their all to complete this journey through their craft.

I enjoyed the album, it’s very clearly an album of a live band trying to capture their sound in the studio, and I’m pleased to report their energy and drive comes through very well on record. Even though some of the songs are a bit rough around the edges the whole listening experience is very enjoyable and I felt myself taken away on their psych spacey jam journey.

My Rating: 80/100

Cloud Catcher‘s Trails Of Kozmic Dust is out now, get it through Totem Cat Records or bandcamp.

Snowy Dunes live in Amsterdam February 24th 2016

  • Snowy Dunes live Amsterdam The Cave 2016

Ah, The Cave. The last of the metal dive bars in Amsterdam, rich in atmosphere and history. This evening saw a double headline show of Snowy Dunes and Skraeckoedlan, this review will focus on the first. I have gone on record stating my love of this Swedish band before  and I was thrilled to see them live again.

Snowy Dunes was founded in 2013 and released their self-titled debut last year, to critical acclaim. A new album is forthcoming and some buzz has been generated by this month’s advance release of the Atlantis EP.

The band kicked off their set with vocalist Niklas on a bluesy mouth organ on Atlantis, a song that managed to grab the attention of the crowd immediately. The groove got turned up a notch for Watch Out, drawing the public closer to the stage. With the stage set it was time for behemoth Desert Cold, a song so great and intense it electrified the band and crowd alike. An audience recording of the performance can be watched here. At this point in the show it’s clear how much this band has grown in the past weeks of touring, they are clearly at the top of their game tonight. Turn Around is a very fine tune and it was played with a lot of heart. Tranquil Mountain Lake mesmerized the public, with a beguiling rhythm and ominous vocal work. Dawn returned the sound to a Desert vibe, before the show concluded with the preview of a new song from the upcoming album, Testify. I was already looking forward to this release very much and if this sample is anything to go by it’s going to be truly amazing.

I am sure more than a few new fans were made on the evening, it was a truly inspired performance and I feel privileged to have seen them so up close and personal in this form. The tour has almost concluded, I hope we’ll see them back on tour with the new album soon.


Watch Out For Snakes
Desert Cold
Turn Around
Tranquil Mountain Lake

Holyphant – Black Flames review and interview


Holyphant are a power trio from Italy. In 2014 they released their first EP, ‘Black Flames’, and I took this for a spin.

From the bluesy, bass-heavy intro with a gentle guitar into the fuzzy main riff the anticipation builds with Ghost Mind, and when as it starts shifts tempo to full gear proper you’re aboard the Holyphant train. With Cold Shiver you can almost see the acid color plates in the background in your mind’s eye, it’s a Psychedelic Bluesrock masterpiece, complete with twin guitar riffage. Centerpiece 8-min behemoth The Circle shifts the vibe a decade or so, with some wonderful riff-heavy power metal that should put a smile on the faces of any true rock fan. Halfway it shifts back to Floyd-meets-Chtulu over some very pleasing guitar tunes. This song is diverse enough that it could have easily lasted another 5 minutes without boring the listener, ending very strong as well. My absolute favourite track of this EP. Titlesong Black Flames cements the heavy psych sound (with some effective cow bells, might need more!), continuing the strong musical identity of this band all through this release. Closing track Heart of the Sun shifts back to a trance-like mood, invoking a desert vibe to gently lead the listener away after the preceding heavy riffage.

I was very impressed by this release and I hope there will be more to come soon from this talented bunch. I managed to get vocalist/guitarist Bale to answer some questions:

Tell me a bit your background, how did you guys meet and form a band?We met at a local show. We were playing with different bands at the time, and shared our passion for 70’s hard rock bands and dark raw sounds. So we decided to start a band with the same mood.

Black Flames was released in 2014, what can you tell me about recording and releasing this?
“Black Flames EP” is , for us, a sort of “business card”. After a little period of songwriting, we went at the Velvet Recording Studios, near Venice. Well, it’s a direct recording, with no overdubs, except for the vocals and the guitar solos. We wanted a raw sound, not digitally processed, to grasp the essence of the band. We recorded it in one day.


The Nordic countries have held the candle for rock music through some pretty dark times, lately there’s a lot of interesting new stuff coming from the South. What can you tell us about the environment for bands in your area and in your country.
Great bands come from Northern Europe, but here in Italy the stoner/doom underground is alive and kicking! There are very good bands with great ideas. It’s very difficult to be heard, if you don’t have big money, there are few clubs to gig. But the passion for this kind of music is definitively alive and growing.


I read you are writing material for a full album, is there any concrete interest from a label already? We are considering some proposals, we want to choose the best for us

In your new material, will you continue the same themes of exploring the dark side of the human mind, and if so why does this inspire you?
Yes, We will try to speak about the Man and his sensations through metaphors. I think this fits very much with the feelings of our music. But there will be also other stories influenced by our condition, philosophical writings, 70’s horror directors such as Argento, Fulci and Avati, that we love.
How would you describe your band/style/music?
If I have to to find some words to describe our sound, Retro/psych/doom rock
What are your immediate ambitions?
We wish to play live as much as we can, showing our emotions through the music and getting good vibes from the audience, wherever it will be. And writing good material, of course.
Any shows or tour lined up?
We will play at some local gigs here in Italy, but we are planning a little tour abroad for the future. It’s not easy but we believe we can do it.


Thanks a lot for the interview Bale, good luck to you and the rest of the band. I hope to hear more from you guys soon!

Beesus – The Rise Of Beesus


The Rise of Beesus starts with an ominous swelling distorted guitar sound accompanied by some eerie chants. They get chased away by the heavy riff and drums kick in to start the song proper and introduce the vocals that imbue a new sense of urgency. The chorus has some pleasing White Album-esque harmonies and a pleasingly effective guitar fill. The last quarter of the song has serves as a big outro with some groovy soloing and the vocals gaining even more urgency, bordering on madness.

It flows into 6ft Under Box with a short drum break, continuing the urgency in rhythm and vocals. It is clear Beesus is not taking us on a journey of complacency, the fuzzy guitars shred any kind of comfort and keep you moving towards the intended destination. Did not feel edged on by a song like this since maybe The Police’s disturbing Mother. The album manages to be very engaging and conveying their intended atmosphere so far.

Stonerslam starts with a groove like a 70s Blaxploitation flick’s theme, rolling into fuzzy heavy riffing. The vocal urgency is unfalteringly present, channeling Arthur Brown and the music keeps edging on.

Waltzer continues in much of the same vein, followed by Kusa slowing down into a Doors-like desert rock vibe, giving the listener a short lull. The dreamy vocals gradually get the familiar descent into desperation, helped by counter harmonies and swelling of the music’s intensity. A key track of the album.

Zenza picks up the pace again, and on the face of it is much more cheerful, with an alt.rock intro and vocal delivery, until halfway it sludges into a slow groove and covers the listener with a heavy blanket of Doom.

Sonic Doom/Stoner Youth continues the themes in a straightforward Stoner track, and not for the first time the tone and intensity is changes totally halfway. Especially if you listen to the whole album in sequence in one sitting these shifts and interludes help to keep the attention and to add layers to the soundscape that the band is trying to build.

A power finish paves the way for the frantic stylings of Mata La Verguenza. This song’s halfway shift brings a very pleasing chorus and a killer solo, it feels like this could have been easily a song on its own.

Beesus In Dope turns up the Doom knobs to 11 again, with a short Psych intermezzo, droning towards a cacophonic climax. …And servers as a coda, with a chaotic riff-driven conclusion to the saga.

My overall impression: Beesus’ play on song structures, solid musicianship and novel approach of fuzzing and psyching up 90s alt.rock vibes makes this a very interesting debut indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed this album and will certainly play it many more times to experience this trip.

My Rating: 85/100

You can follow Beesus here (they are touring right now) and get the album here.

Wishbone Ash live in Leiden January 8th 2016

  • Wishbone Ash Live in Leiden 2016

This was a band I was really looking forward to seeing live, I had managed to miss seeing them on several occasions over the years but this time I got lucky. Wishbone Ash was originally formed in 1969, are renowned for their twin guitar sound and their massive influence on bands like Iron Maiden. The current incarnation revolves around founding member Andy Powell.
Gebr. Nobel in Leiden is a pretty new venue, designed for the maximum convenience of the public making it a very pleasant, if a tad sterile, place to go for a concert.

The band was playing the big hall and that filled up early and nicely in anticipation of the start of the concert. There’s a lot of levels in the hall itself allowing a great view for everyone yet also allowing for a sense of intimacy. There was no supporting band so Wishbone Ash entered the stage promptly half an hour after doors open.

They opened the show with a song from 2007 and one from 2014, showcasing the strength of the newer tunes in front of a receptive audience. After this warm-up Andy quipped that they only recently found out the European shows were billed as Argus shows, so they had to quickly re-master the songs. With a beaming smile he led the band into Time Was, and the start of the Argus portion of the show.

Playing Argus in front of an audience like this must feel like a warm bath for the band, the songs are strong and loved and have a lot of room for individual expression. The pleasure in playing the songs did visibly shine from Andy and certainly bass player Bob Skeat as well. The crowd was an fascinating mix of people being lively in dancing and singing along and some that were just motionlessly staring, enraptured by the tunes pouring into the room.

Sometime World has this start of wistfulness rolling into up-tempo frenzy that works very well live, and it was played flawlessly. The King Will Come has always been one of my favourites and the power of the songs was conveyed very well here. I must say at this point that the acoustics of Gebr. Nobel are really impressive, no matter where you are the sound is excellent, but especially at the front where the sound can be lacking, and people be at the mercy of the band’s monitors, the sound was still very layered and clear.

Warrior was introduced with ‘we have been playing this song for 46 years now’ which solicited a wry smile from Andy and cheers from the crowd. I have always felt ambivalent to this song, felt I should have liked it more than I did, and seeing it live for the first time made it click in a way that the recorded versions (even of live shows) did not, and I got a new appreciation for that song.

Throw Down the Sword is not as large a rock classic as it should be, for me it’s near to the perfect classic rock song and having the boys play it with passion was a treat.

Having finished the Argus album the band wasted no time going to much more contemporary themes, linking Heavy Weather to the changing climate and its gruesome effects. With a quick dip into the original Live Dates’ bluesy Baby What Do You want Me To Do it was back to 2014’s Way Down South, still showcasing that trademark double guitar sound that defines the band.

Soulful 80’s song Open Road was the final song of the regular set. The band came back after a 2-minute break to “play just one more song folks, we’re old” as Andy put it.
Crowd favourite early 70’s track Jailbait was the encore, finishing the show as it started, hard rocking and full of energy.

The band proved very accessible after the show as well, spending ample time mingling with the public in a very relaxed way. This is truly a band that can serve as an example to many in their work ethic, musical ability and respect for their public. A great show from a legendary band.



The Power
Deep Blues
Time Was
Sometime World
Blowing Free
The King Will Come (youtube audience recording)
Leaf and Stream
Throw Down the Sword
Heavy Weather
Baby What You Want Me To Do
Way Down South
Open Road
Jailbait (encore)

Motörhead live in Hyde Park July 4th 2014

  • Motörhead live in Hyde Park July 4th 2014

Shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Lemmy today I decided to look back to the last time I saw Motörhead live. London’s Hyde Park was the venue, on just about the hottest day ever recorded in the city. At that time Lemmy’s health had been an issue for a while and this would be their first UK show after a while. When I was waiting for the band to enter the stage I chatted a bit with the people around me, a lot of young people who were there at their first festival and the first time they would see Motörhead. The atmosphere was jubilant, and  the folks around me were looking forward to see their hero in the flesh.

The band came up to a thundering crowd reception, and I could swear Lemmy was a bit touched. He looked somewhat fragile, pretty worn and tired, but he righted his back, smiled at the crowd and assumed his legendary pose under his mike.

Kicking off with Damage Case the oiled machine that was Motörhead grabbed the attention of everyone in earshot and took them along on a rock and roll trip as only they could. The band was really up for it, and the still relatively fresh public (Motörhead started playing around quarter to four) reacted very enthusiastically.  I could feel new converts being made all around me, that first Motörhead show is precious and maybe live-changing 🙂

Halfway the set Doctor Rock turned into an extended drum solo, clearly a moment to give Lemmy a breather. I personally have heard enough extended drum solo’s to last me a lifetime, but it was easy to bear there given the atmosphere, and the circumstances.

Returning with Going to Brazil the band fired up again, and played a few more songs before finishing the set with the epic anthem Ace of Spades. Another brief break led into the only encore, Overkill, and the band bowed out to a rapturous farewell from the crowd. The shouts of “Lemmy” would endure for a bit while the set was being changed.

Even though Lemmy was struggling a bit at times to get his vocals up to the right volume his stage presence  it was a great show, and I will cherish this memory.

Lemmy was truly unique, and the world is a bleaker place without him.



Damage Case
Stay Clean
Over the Top
Lost Woman Blues
Doctor Rock
(Drum Solo)
Going to Brazil
Killed by Death
Ace of Spades
Overhill (encore)

Blackwülf – Oblivion Cycle


I first became aware of Blackwülf when I received their newest album in my bandcamp collection through my Ripple subscription. I like playing an album without any preconceptions like this, and from the first few songs Blackwülf had reeled me in. This Oakland quartet weave their 70s Sabbath-inspired riffs into a very pleasing soundscape, taking you along on their ride.

Colossus opens with a light and pleasing intro riff, shifting gears into more heavy riffage for the verse and chorus after a brief while. From the start there’s no denying the musical intentions of this band. Melodically it flows seamlessly into Memories, which really has some very intense vocal work and a nice fuzzy solo to lead out the song. Acid Reign interestingly starts with interwoven arpeggios with some echoes of Sweet Dreams of all songs, but not in an unpleasing way. The body of the song itself reminds me a lot of Mothership, who I love a lot, and this song thunders along very nicely indeed. Dark Tower is a laid-back folksy link that helps to build on the vibe of the album. The Locusts brings us back in Hard Rock territory, with a song that follows the riff-vocals-rhythm-solo-outro blueprint that is so effective and pleasing to the ear. Wings of Steel has a very strong chorus, and is a nice high-octane rocker overall with a style change halfway that helps to elevate the song to one of the best of the album. Faith Healer and Red Eyes continue on along the same vein, solid rocking songs, I particularity loved the bridge in the latter. Never Forget has an almost ominous start, continuing with the band keeping on-form with their driven playing and intense vocal work, with some rare but effective vocal harmonies. March of the Damned closes the album by evoking the Gothic proto-Doom that can be so pleasing, with more than a passing nod to Sabbath, and indeed it is done very well here. A fitting tribute and an awesome finish to one of the best albums of the year as far as I am concerned.

My overall impression: A  very solid heavy Rock album indeed, paying tribute to the past but having their feet firmly in the present, the band managed to create their own sound from a blend of influences. Has not left my play rotation since getting it. One of the best of its kind released this year, I will follow these guys with interest and hope I will be able to see these tracks played live in the near future.

My Rating: 91/100