Concert review – Auróra, Budapest, Hungary, April 30th 2019

King Furia – opening with a mixture of doom, death, and black metal, King Furia brought some melodic darkness and ghost noise infused dissonance to the place. They showed that they know how to capture bitterness and dark moods with music in an enjoyable way, and how to use guitar effects wisely. It was a rock solid performance, a great start for a great night.

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Arkas – you can call it aggressive jazz, experimental instrumental metal, or whatever that pops into mind, the music of the duo Arkas is very intriguing, and hard to summarize in a single word: full of tempo changes, twists, blast beats, unexpected shouting, and surprisingly satisfying melodies. They played with confidence and high energy, and covered a wide spectrum of sound.

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Pressor – headbangers’ heaven from Russia. These guys are doing the math (sometimes literally, with time signatures), and know exactly what metalheads want, and it’s obvious why Pressor is quite popular among sludge lovers. Dirty, loud, heavy, and distorted, a combination you would need after a couple of hours of beer and thc consumption. It was a hell of a show!

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Hladna – this was not a concert, but a ritual. Before it all began, a shaman took a handful of white powder from a sack and covered his face with it. Hladna started to produce noise with brass and woodwinds, guitar and human voice, which all ran through different effects, producing feedback and interference. Time evaporated in a whirlpool of heavily modulated noise and strobe light. The whole thing was quite unbelievable.

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Photos by Ádám Bálint / Tadder Művek

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Underground bands that worth paying attention to, part 2

Hi, stoners! This is part II of the series, another short journey around the planet with some awesome underground bands. Again, here you have some recommended releases to listen to, and if you like what you hear, spread the word, support these bands, support the underground.

Hombrehumano from Argentina – recommended release: ‘Crepuscular’. This band brings you a really unique kind of stoner rock with oceanic atmosphere, recognizable by the use of additional special percussions and vocals sung in Spanish.

Crow Ballard from Portland, Oregon – recommended release: ‘Electric Paradox’. Short songs, almost miniatures, each one is a different world. Still, you will find coherence in Crow Ballard’s music, in solid vintage guitar sounds and bluesy vocals.

Shy Lizard from Swansea, UK – recommended release: ‘The Sun That Burned Too Long’. With influences from grunge, british rock, and more, this band is a great example of modern alternative garage rock with a lot of sunshine.

Hoof Over Head from Denver, Colorado – recommended release: ‘Celestial Creeper’. Noisy, doomy, beer soaked lo-fi music, tasty riffs with a feeling of 1970s rock classics. Dominant bass, comfortably slow tempo, everything you need for a smoky experience.

 

Pusherkid – Smokedoper review

Smokedoper… Smokedoper… I’m sorry. Did you mean Dopesmoker? You know, the famous Sleep album? Nope, it is Smokedoper, you might guess the choice of the title and the word play is intentional. It is intentional, and it is for a reason: this little EP is definitely good for smoking. With its sludgy low-frequency riffs, otherworldly high-reverb vocals, and intense bass drums, Smokedoper is a good candidate for a new stoner favorite.

So you see the title, and you might start looking for influences of Sleep, similarities between Pusherkid’s release and the legendary one-hour piece. Don’t do it. Although the importance (and perhaps the influence) of marijuana, and the music being stoner are things in common, Smokedoper is something completely different. Instead of a monumental, forever flowing, droney opus, you are going to hear four bass-driven rock songs that show you the modern side of doom.

The album covers a wide range of moods, and whenever there’s polyphony, you will find it tasteful. The material reaches its peak in the song ‘Moon’, with awesome bluesy guitar solos that are really delicious with the heavy bassline. The lyrics are short and do not follow the traditional verse and chorus structure. Instead, they are more like metaphors or impressions, which makes them special, and somewhat mysterious. Two of them are especially good, namely ‘Misty Morning’, and ‘Moon’.

The work of Pusherkid is promising, and makes you hungry for more. Until the next release, you have Smokedoper. You are lucky that the title is very easy to memorize.

Tripping Haze Ceremony – Emperor Of Doom review

Stoner doom from Malaysia sounds like something intriguing and exotic. It totally grabs your attention, and what’s even better, the new single ‘Emperor Of Doom’ by Tripping Haze Ceremony delivers everything you would expect after their three-track demo from last December, and more.

‘Emperor Of Doom’ brings your appetite with a tweaked sample from the 1968 horror movie ‘Night of the Living Dead’. For some reason, horror movies and rock / metal are a great combination, just like cheese and wine.

The intro riff is like a stonerified version of Metallica’s ‘Seek and Destroy’ intro, similar and totally different at the same time, a catchy tune that establishes the feeling, and returns at different points of the song. Vocals are in great harmony with the guitar riffs, and are heavily distorted, which makes things really groovy (disclaimer: the author has a fetish for distorted vocals). In general, the sound follows the traditional school of dirty rock, you may call it ‘vintage’ or ‘garage’, with the dirtiness of of Kyuss’ ‘Wretch’, but with more emphasis on the middle and bass frequency range.

You might ask the question: is there a guitar solo? Of course, there is! It is beautiful, because it is simple, it is dominated by bends and short trills, and it sometimes doesn’t give a damn about good old common time ticking underneath.

Although the song ends a bit surprisingly, it totally rocks, and it makes you curious about the future releases of Tripping Haze Ceremony. For now, one can only speculate, but it would be awesome to hear more tunes soon.

Spirit of Indigo – UFO 107 review

It is always nice to listen to an album that has variety in terms of style. From the music maker’s point of view, it is very hard to find the balance between variety and coherence. Multi-instrumentalist solo musician Blake Evans has found the perfect balance with the new Spirit of Indigo album ‘UFO 107’. The Bandcamp page of the album warns you that you should expect songs of different genres, and (spoiler alert) in the end you will find that despite the differences, the pieces of the material fit together quite organically.

The stoner feeling kicks in with the first song ‘Smoke of Yesterday’, which is simple, melodic, and makes you happy. These attributes, by the way, characterize the album as a whole. Even when it comes to sadness, ‘Vacation from Myself’, you feel comfort, because this particular one gives you a Marilyn Mansonesque feeling from the late 90s / early 2000s.

Personal favorite is the funk rock song ‘Bring back the hippies, man’, which is – in contrast to some certain mainstream garbage – an example of FUNK ROCK, in all caps. The soul is clearly audible through the sounds of the guitar, and the unique synth tone adds some extra sweetness to the vibe. Plus, the message is simple and clear.

Speaking of the message, it is recommended to listen to the album carefully, and to hear what this guy has to say about ego, existence, humanity, and this controversial age we are living in, with honest lyrics written in a very natural and rock and roll style.

In summary, ‘UFO 107’ is a great collection of underground rock and metal, a good choice for your 420 celebration.

Dead Panda – 3 review

Hey! Would you like to get your eardrums dirty with some rock and roll that takes you back to the ‘Raw Power’ days of The Stooges? If so, here’s some fresh stoner garage noise rock for you. Behold the album called ‘3’, a collection of heavily distorted instrumental songs with high momentum and excessive use of wah-pedal, by Dead Panda from Richmond VA.

After listening to the band’s previous studio materials, ‘2’ , and ‘Year of Dead Panda’, the dirty sound won’t surprise you, it is a trademark of Dead Panda, a band that takes noise rock to a new level, and takes the word ‘garage’ literally. With ‘3’, they bring you 13 pieces of sonic madness, the perfect soundtrack to your journey to delirium.  Every note is coming from instinct, and everything is high-gain (even the drums). What could make the music even more crazy, is some good old insane shouting from a whiskey soaked, cigarette smoked throat. For some reason, the guys decided to replace vocals with voice samples, which is somewhat unusual in this kind of music, but that’s the whole point, you would guess. A good example is ‘Little Stars’, with samples that fit the vibe and rhythm of the free-flowing song.

What is cool about Dead Panda, is the don’t-give-a-fuck-just-play-fucking-music attitude, which makes you want to see them perform live, with all the interference and feedback coming from the amps, and the noise of the drums. Looking forward to being witness to such a show, and being part of the madness!