Brant Bjork – Bougainvillea Suite

Bougainvillea Suite Album Cover Art

Brant Bjork – Bougainvillea Suite
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release date: 28/10/2022
Running time: 41:16
Review by: Alun Jones
8.5/10

Brant Bjork must be a very busy boy at the moment.  We’ve already had an album out earlier this year from his desert rock supergroup, Stoner, and now here’s a solo effort too.  He’s a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter and no mistake, offering up sonic expeditions of varying styles and pace.  Most of all, though, Brant seems to be a decent bloke who’d be ideal company for a beer or three.

For “Bougainvillea Suite”, we’re in a more laid back, but still rockin’ mode.  The album is like a combination of Santana and Steppenwolf, full of relaxed but vital summer vibes. ‘Trip on the Wine’, our first song, has a similar stomp to The Door’s ‘Five to One’, but less angsty. The late 60s-early 70’s groove is maintained throughout, with ‘So They Say’ embellished with a sweet, melodic construction and ‘Broke That Spell’ having an early Purple raunch.

Stoner band mate Ryan Gut adds percussion and keys, whilst the final member of that trio, Nick Oliveri, pops up on ‘Bread for Butter’.  This track and ‘Ya Dig’ are two of the more direct, heads-down rockers, whilst the extended blues jam of ‘Who Do You Love’ is trippy territory augmented with some almost Stooges-like lead guitar.  This last track is a real highlight, it’s like a long-forgotten experiment involving all of the bands I’ve mentioned!

And that’s it: eight songs that whilst not easy listening, can be mellow, psychedelic and still rock your bones.  “Bougainvillea Suite” would make perfect summer evening listening, with a beer and a BBQ as the clear sky fades to black, after good times with good friends and a long day shredding a pool.  But it was released in late Autumn, so what do I know?  Just buy it and enjoy.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Trip On The Wine
02. Good Bones
03. So They Say
04. Broke That Spell
05. Bread For Butter
06. Ya’ Dig
07. Let’s Forget
08. Who Do You Love

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Nebula – Transmissions From Mothership Earth

Transmission From Mothership Earth Album Cover Art

Nebula – Transmissions From Mothership Earth
Heavy Pysch Sounds Records
Release Date: 22/07/2022
Running Time: 39:00
Review by: Alun Jones
9/10

As I write this, we’re sweltering in a record-breaking heatwave.  North Wales, which is where I’m based – and also where the nerve centre of Ever Metal can be found – has had some of the highest temperatures in the whole of the UK.  It’s crazy.  And so, a new album from desert rock titans Nebula seems extremely apt right now.  “Transmissions From Mothership Earth” has arrived at exactly the right time.

And it arrives with a welcome burst of fuzz drenched psych rock, exactly as expected, in the first track, ‘Highwired’.  Big fat riffs, dashes of space rock and a whiff of herbal cigarettes: classic Nebula, really.  Up next is the title track, which adds some nice, sixties secret agent vibes to the melting pot, together with a punishingly heavy section.

‘Wilted Flowers’ begins with a mellow guitar section before exploding into a thunderous head tripper.  There’s a feel of Mudhoney and the Stooges with Nebula’s best work, as evidenced here and with ‘Melt Your Head’.  Other tracks like ‘Warzone Speedwulf’ and ‘The Four Horseman’ sound like early Monster Magnet dripped in acid fried Steppenwolf and left to dry in a Tarantino desert landscape.    

No surprises then with this latest Nebula release, and with titles like ‘I Got So High’ you can guess exactly what to expect.  But who cares?  “Transmissions From Mothership Earth” is a solid album of pounding rhythms and spaced-out fuzz rock.  It’s bound to make my end of year best of list, and right now it’s the perfect soundtrack for summer.  Enjoy, fellow explorers – it’s gonna piss it down with rain tomorrow. 

Talking about nebula and space and galaxies and all that, did I tell you about the great telescope trick we played on Bill Ward once?  It was at Brian May’s house, and he’s well into all that astrology business.  Bri’s got this huge telescope for star gazing.  So Tony, Ozzy, Geezer and me persuaded Bill to take a look.  What he didn’t know was that Brian had put black paint inside the lens, so Bill ended up with a great big, black monocle on his face.  Bill didn’t realise, and walked round like that all night – extremely paranoid as to why all the guests were laughing at him.  Great fun!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Highwired
02. Transmissions from Mothership Earth
03. Wilted Flowers
04. Melt Your Head
05. Warzone Speedwulf
06. I Got So High
07. Existential Blues
08. The Four Horseman

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Various Artists – Live In The Mojave Desert – Volumes 1-5

Various Artists - Live In The Mojave Desert - Volumes 1-5

Various Artists – Live In The Mojave Desert
Heavy Psych Sounds
Volumes 1-5
Review by: Alun Jones

Hi everyone, it’s Rick. Before I hand you over to Alun I wanted to give you just a little extra background on these releases. All of these performances were a partnership between the California Desert Wizard Association and, in Europe, Heavy Psych Sounds to bring you a series of world-premiere 1080p HD livestream concerts that would subsequently be released as digipak and vinyl versions. All performances were recorded in 24 track ProTools and inspired by Pink Floyd’s 1972 Concert Documentary, “Live At Pompeii”!

Hello there! Remember me? It’s me, that bloke who occasionally reviews albums for Ever Metal and spins ropey old yarns about rock’n’roll. Yeah, him. Sorry I’ve been absent for a while, had a few things on my all-you-can-eat buffet plate recently. More about that another time (if the lawyers allow me). For now, recline in your favourite easy chair, and let’s review. Are you with me? Good.

Right then, bit of a mammoth task, this one. “Live In The Mojave Desert” is actually a series of five albums, each recorded live (of course) amongst the sand and rocks of the Californian desert. It’s probably like Star Trek, when Kirk and crew are roaming around the cliffs and valleys – but in the dark, and with guitars and lights and stuff – and no one dies (hopefully).

Earthless, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.1 Cover

Volume 1: Earthless
Release Date: 02/04/2021
Running Time: 77:00
9/10

Up first in my sequence of albums is the legendary Earthless, a band who should need no introduction. I listened to their offering whilst on a trip to North Wales; sadly, the surf was flat, but the sonic musings of this three piece fitted perfectly with the rolling roads between green valleys and big skies. In the land of druids and standing stones, witches and warriors, this was a perfect soundtrack. The songs are a journey in themselves, awash with psychedelic Hendrix style explorations. Only three songs, but they’re plenty lengthy and offer huge scope. It’s actually quite beautiful.

Nebula, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.2 Cover

Volume 2: Nebula
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 48:05
8/10

An offering in this series from my old buddies Nebula was very welcome, their brand of psych drenched sci-fi hard rock being something I’m somewhat partial to. This is the album with the most obviously “live” feel – not that it’s sloppy at all, the very occasional tiny imperfections and wall of fuzz give a genuine and celebratory vibe. Opening track ‘To The Centre’ is a feedback drenched, blistering explosion. ‘Giant’ is another standout track with a bouncing, crazy gonzo riff.

Spirit Mother, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.3

Volume 3: Spirit Mother
Release Date: 16/04/2021
Running Time: 33:20
8.5/10

Spirit Mother are another band I’ve not heard before, and they were a real surprise. Their first song, ‘Tonic (Exodus Inc)’ is straight off the soundtrack of some forgotten Italian/Turkish 1970s’ horror movie. The band take the standard desert/doom rock and add violin, and everything veers off in a totally unexpected direction. From mournful 70’s rock on “Ether” to creating their own genre of gothic Spaghetti Western (“Dead Cells”), it’s like Morricone on peyote orchestrating The Exorcist.  Strangely beguiling.

Stöner, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.4 Cover

Volume 4: Stöner
Release Date: 27/04/2021
Running Time: 46:33
9/10

Next on the list was the debut release of Stöner, the very aptly named stoner rock “supergroup” which features Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu, solo etc) and Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, QOTSA, Mondo Generator etc etc). With Brant’s drummer, Ryan Güt whacking the tubs. As a fan of these rogues’ other bands, I was definitely curious about this release. No fear here: this is exactly what I hoped it would be: desert rock royalty. ‘Rad Is Rad’ features a relentless, rolling bassline that drags the listener along on a head-nodding journey whilst Brant croons in his laid-back manner. The big, groovy bass continues in ‘The Older Kids’, and the tracks develop a trancelike vibe as it progresses. And strap yourself in for the final song, ‘Tribe/Fly Girl’ – over 13 minutes that will melt your eyeballs. Definitive.

Mountain Tamer, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.5 Cover

Volume 5: Mountain Tamer
Release Date:09/05/2021
Running Time: 36:05
8/10

The album I listened to last in the collection was Mountain Tamer, a band I wasn’t familiar with previously, but a cool name. And a cool name goes a long way with me. The Mountain Tamer sound is raw and in-your-face, with mighty, meaty riffs that clunk around in full-on doom style. There’s also a mind expanding, trippy element to their music, leaving me with the impression of Black Flag in a collision with Hawkwind. This unique approach is best exemplified by stand out tracks ‘Black Noise’ and ‘Scorched Earth’, but it’s all damn fine.

That’s it: five albums, five bands, and a mind-blowing excursion into the remote desert valleys. Whether showcasing how it should be done, or abducting the listener in a smoke-filled UFO to be probed in new realms, these live collections are a trip.

TRACKLISTINGS:
Earthless – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 1
01. Violence Of The Red Sea
02. Sonic Prayer
03. Lost In The Cold Sun

Nebula – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 2
01. To The Center
02. Man’s Best Friend
03. Giant
04. Clear Light
05. Highwire
06. Wall Of Confusion
07. Tomorrow Never Comes
08. Let’s Get Lost
09. Messiah
10. Perfect Rapture

Spirit Mother – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 3
01. Tonic (Exodus Inc)
02. Ether
03. Go Getter
04. My Head Is Sinking
05. Martyrs
06. Premonitions
07. Dead Cells
08. Black Sheep
09. Space Cadets

10. Heathens

Stöner – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 4
01. Rad Stays Rad
02. The Older Kids
03. Own Yer Blues
04. Nothin’
05. Evel Never Dies
06. Stand Down
07. Tribe/Fly Girl

Mountain Tamer – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 5
01. Warlock
02. Turoc Maximus Antonis
03. Chained
04. Death In The Woods
05. Black Noise
06. Funeral Of A Dog
07. Living In Vain
08. Scorched Earth

LINKS:
Earthless:

Nebula:

Spirit Mother:

Stöner:

Mountain Tamer:

Heavy Psych Sounds:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s with ZAC CRYE

Zac Crye Logo

EMQ’s with ZAC CRYE

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Phoenix, Arizona based, Desert/Stoner Rock Solo Artist, Zac Crye. Huge thanks to, Zac, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about your History?

My name is Zac Crye, I am a solo artist. My main instruments would be guitar and vocals; I also fancy myself a ‘songwriter.’ I love writing lyrics! For this particular project, I actually wrote and performed every instrument on every track of the EP. When you listen to any of these five tracks your just hearing one guy.

How did you come up with your band name?

After investing so much time and money with other bands and projects, I just got tired of having to rebuild every time something didn’t work out. We’ve all got our own lives, schedules, personal matters; it can be a bit of a hassle to work all of those things out for 3 or 4 people and come together for a common cause. With this solo endeavour, I’m able to cut all the noise and really pursue my own interest, so I figured the best thing to do is just go by own name. I feel it gives me more freedom to work my social media accounts, full creative control; and when I want to do something, I can just do it!

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I’m living in Phoenix, AZ in the valley. We have a great stoner/doom scene here cultivated by some heavy hitters like Stone Witch, Old Fashion Assassin, Loserfur, Goya, and a ton of others. There’s also a great podcast, Doom Tomb, hosted by Chris Beck, purveyor of all things Stoner/Doom. We had our own festival last year, Planet Mammoth Fest, a three-day stoner/doom extravaganza put together by Chris, Kyle Eades from OFA, and Joe Switchblade who records a lot of these bands in the studio.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

‘All the Same’, the title track from my upcoming 5-track EP is currently on all streaming platforms like Spotify, Amazon Music, etc…

I’ve got a music video for that song coming out in Feb that I filmed and edited myself.

We will be releasing one more single in March to promote the EP, “All the Same,” which drops 16/04/2021.

Who have been your greatest influences?

So many artists and bands have influenced me in so many ways. If I could sum it up, I would say the desert rock scene that emerged from the Palm Springs area in California, and all of the bands that came out of that scene. I love the sounds of those bands like Yawning Man, Brant Bjork, Kyuss and what would ultimately become Queens of the Stone Age. The attitude, the vibe, the DIY work ethic. It was very much like the punk rock scene but slower and weirder. I’ve always talked about throwing some desert generator parties.

What first got you into music?

Well, my dad was a touring musician so I’ve always been around it for as long as I can remember.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I’d love to do a full compilation with a revolving line-up from the same pool of musicians. Like we each collaborate on different songs together. Some guys on one songs, other guys on other songs, all of us on a couple of songs. And I think I would pick musicians from the local stoner scene here in Phoenix. Not unlike what they’ve done with Desert Sessions over the last couple decades. I would love to provide the location and environment for something like that. It’s my grand vision.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I’d love to play Psycho Las Vegas because of how communal it is for the stoner rock scene here in the States. You go there and you see everyone involved in the scene, and to be on stage in front of those people is a huge opportunity to make new friends, grow your band, and to really prove your abilities to a crucial audience.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

One guy came to the stage while we were playing in San Marcos, TX and started pouring weed all over us. Pot’s still illegal over there so he was removed from the show very quickly, but we manged to scoop up quite a bit and stuff our pockets.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Support your favourite artists directly, try to avoid any ‘third party merch’, go straight to the source. If they have a website or a Bandcamp, those should be the first two avenues of support.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Jim Morrison

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I really love the artistic expression, I love exploring new territories, like finding new colours on your pallet, I love making music with other people and alone. Now days we have so much technology at our fingertips, the possibilities are endless as to what you can do musically.

I guess one of the downfalls of pursuing some sort of career in music is that it’s become increasingly less about the actual music and much more about other trivialities like social media, which I think can be a huge distraction and a time sink as well.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

That’s such a loaded question, I mean music is one of the most exploitive industries. It’s very hard to be an artist in this environment sometimes. I’m sure there are a lot of things to be changed about the music industry, but I wouldn’t know where to begin. First of all, I would say pay the artists for their streams, and then we go from there.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

I love the first Queens of the Stone Age album! It’s got all the elements for me, it’s like post-grunge with the desert vibe, catchy hooks, big riffs, great drums – I love it!

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I’ve come to prefer vinyl overall, but I dig other formats. I feel like vinyl is the best bang for your buck – you get a physical product along with the digital download; and vinyl holds up a lot longer than CD’s, I think; you get the cool artwork, and they look cool when you’ve got em on a shelf!

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I thoroughly enjoyed playing Planet Mammoth last year, it was a micro-psycho Las Vegas experience in terms of playing for a lot of the right people in the scene.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Something creative for sure. I enjoy writing, and I also enjoy messing with film. I work full-time as a solar panel installer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Bring the fight companion to my house with Joe Rogan, Joey Diaz, Eddie Bravo, and Andrew Schulz – Young Jamie in the back!

What’s next for the project?

I’m currently in the studio recording the follow-up EP for a winter release, perhaps. I’ve also got my band Hudu Akil, who are ready to begin writing a follow-up to our most recent release, “Eye For An Eye”, which we dropped in August and is now streaming all over. I will definitely be tagging back and forth between band releases and solo releases. That’s my plan.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

www.zaccrye.bandcamp.com/
www.instagram.com/zaccrye/
www.facebook.com/zaccryemusic
www.jamspacepodcast.com/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/51bRATr5YXFkqjj7656oIV

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Jaffa what?

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thanks everyone for your reading! As always, the best way to show support is through our Bandcamp page directly. That’s – www.zaccrye.bandcamp.com/

We’ve got pre-sales up for the EP, “All The Same”, for just $5.00 and you instantly get a download of the title track which is streaming everywhere.

“All The Same” EP, drops 16/04

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.