Aawks – (((((Heavy On The Cosmic)))))

(((((Heavy On The Cosmic))))) Album Cover Art

Aawks – (((((Heavy On The Cosmic)))))
Black Throne Productions
Release Date: 02/12/22
Running Time: 38:56
Review by Dark Juan
7/10

Greetings and salutations, dear friends. It is I, Dark Juan, and after three weeks of frantic activity I have FINALLY been able to seat myself upon the Sofa of Eternal Peril and listen to some music. I have one of the Smellhounds, the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover,  beneath my left arm and making typing phenomenally more difficult than it needs to be, and am also massively managing to procrastinate because the next review in my list to do is a punishment bestowed upon me by Simon “I’m Going To Whip You Until You Bleed. Actually I Won’t, But I WILL BE PUNISHING YOU!” Black and to say that it is a possibility that I might be unkind about said album is akin to being quite sure that bears defecate in forests or other wooded areas. This punishment is being meted out to your good correspondent because of his absolute inability to follow rules with regards to templates for reviews, and in the interests of full disclosure, I am an absolute twunt for not following them. However, my card has been truly marked and even I, your favourite libertine, Hellpriest and generally all round good egg, has had to kowtow to editorial will, as we all at ever-metal.com do this for no money, merely for the love of the music, and our editorial team frankly have had enough of my bullshit. Justifiably so…

Oh well. You would think, with my work in wrangling young people, that I would be a dab hand at following rules but you’d be wrong. Anyhoo, this particular offering on the altar of my somewhat capricious will is Aawks’ “(((Heavy On The Cosmic)))” and this Canadian quartet of space cadets are musically somewhere out at the edge of the solar system and heady for interstellar space at a pretty handy clip. Yes, my friends, we have returned to the world of Psychedelic Space Rock and we are also in the realm of the King of Fuzz. ‘Beyond The Sun’ opens with a narrator discussing the likes of mescaline, LSD and psilocybin before the slow grind of extremely stoned Space Rock starts, all Sabbath and Monolord like. Obvious and immediate influences also are Hawkwind, Electric Wizard and Windhand.

The problem is that I am not horrifically stoned right now.

Immediate likes are the organic, ultrafuzzy sound of the band and the clean, melodious singing of Kris Dzierzbicki. Whoever produced the drum sound on the album is also brilliant. The metalware on the kit is clear and fresh and cuts through the soupy fuzz to allow the odd moment of clarity as the ‘Beyond The Sun’ slows itself down from what is a pretty good clip for a Stoner band to the heavily relaxed pace of a massively tripping Dark Juan for the minute that closes out the song.

‘Sunshine Apparitions’ sounds rather like a much more heavily medicated Wolfmother – all heavily phasered licks and the kind of riffs that Dark Juan would give at least one testicle to have written before he retired from performing music. The finish to this song is fucking epic, all staccato drumming and a languid and flowing guitar solo tickling the hypothalamus, and contrasts nicely with the Punky chugging (with underlying fuzz phaser) of the verse of ‘The Woods Mix’ before the velocity is slowed and we return to slow, massively drawn out riffing in the middle eight and the second break. Such is the level of phasering and fuzz that has been applied to the guitars on this record, the solos on this song sound like they have been performed on a Stylophone. This is not a problem, though. It’s just egregious levels of effects and I am behind that in a big way.

‘All Is Fine’ opens with feedback and some serious Sabbath supplication from an utterly mountainous central guitar riff and then gets its groove on in a rather pleasant fashion. It slows to the kind of mogadon slow crawl that Doom and Stoner bands love until the end of the song, though, yet doesn’t reduce the power it has over your cruelly abused psyche throughout. The bass makes sure your LSD flooded nervous system gets a bloody good rattling throughout the whole album and the vocals are also brilliant throughout. The production of the whole album is top notch – everything is distinct to a point, but it is underpinned with a kind of organic soupiness that fits the music perfectly. It is thick and gloopy and like being slowly coated with molasses.

Which is not a perverted sexual fantasy of mine, by the way. Just thought I should clear that up. Could you imagine clearing up molasses, though? Absolute fucking nightmare…

Downsides, next. Although a thoroughly competent and listenable album, I have a couple of problems with it. It doesn’t deviate much, if at all, from the musical template of Doom/ Stoner/ Space Rock insofar as there are fairly sprightly verses which are broken up with grinding, slow passages in middle eights and the end of songs, and it doesn’t have the same joie de vivre that was evident on, say, Sonic Flower’s last release. There’s too much of a tendency to rely on ultra-heavy Sabbath based riffs and far too much of an over-reliance on the phaser pedal throughout the album, sometimes all the whooshing is a bit distracting to the listener. In short, the dynamics are all a bit samey.

To conclude this rambling nonsense, then – Aawks bring you all the goodness of Psychedelics mixed with Metal, but don’t do enough with it to lift them out of the scuzzy, stoned pack of other bands in the same vein, although it has to be said that this kind of music does have a fairly rigid blueprint. I like them, but I don’t love them.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Aawks 7/10 for a competent but unspectacular album. The potential for greatness is there, though. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Beyond The Sun
02. Sunshine Apparitions
03. The Woods Mix
04. All Is Fine
05. Electric Traveller
06. Space City
07. Star Collider
08. Peeling Away

LINE-UP:
Kris Dzierzbicki – Guitar, vocals
Dan Trickett – Bass
Roberto Paraíso – Guitar
Randylin Babic – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan 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.

Trippy Wicked and The Cosmic Children of The Knight – Moving On Singles

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Trippy Wicked and The Cosmic Children of The Knight – Moving On Singles
APF Records
Release Date: 30/10/2019
Running Time: 21:24
Reviewed By: Dark Juan
9/10

Good evening, my initiates. It is I, the Ipsissimus of all things Groovy, Dark Juan, and I am here to take your mind off the mundane and into realms of cosmic thought never truly encompassed in the human journey before. Or I could just write a record review.
However, I’m sure you have all become accustomed to me babbling incoherently about anything but the record I am supposed to be writing about AND THIS TIME IS GOING TO BE NO DIFFERENT! However this time, it’s a simple message I want to share with you all. After all this unpleasantness to do with rich bastards squabbling over who gets to tell us what to do and lying about what they will give you to make you like them is out of the way (they won’t give you what they promise anyway) take the time to reconnect with people who might have different opinions to you.
Love everyone without question, my people, for that is what makes the world a better place. Not which motherfucker in a suit sits in a leather chair and talks a lot. Love each other and for fuck’s sake look for the good in each other because I have never seen such venom and vitriol flying amongst friends before. It’s fucking depressing to see friendships that are years old fall apart because of shitposting on the internet. Us alternative people only have each other to depend on – so fucking love each other, drink the fucking beer, smoke the fucking weed, hug fucking strangers and turn them into fucking friends and dance the fuck out of every piece of metal you hear. So sayeth My gospel. Here endeth the sermon…
Trippy Wicked and The Cosmic Children of The Knight. Now there’s a name to conjure with and no mistake. I like it. I like it a lot. This EP comprises four songs that didn’t make the Movin On (I hate it when bands do this. There’s a G at the end of the word for a reason. STOP IT FOR FUCK’S SAKE!) album recorded in 2009 and as the demented pscyhonauts themselves put it, “10 songs had made the album while the other 4 went in the cupboard under the stairs and were forgotten about for a while. Since then we’ve played a whole bunch of gigs, released another album and a few EPs, went on a few tours around the UK and Germany, and generally did what bands do. The 10 year anniversary is a perfect opportunity for us to revisit the recording on Movin On, give those 4 extra songs a release and finally share them with our fans. So here they are. Dig it.”
Quite. So here we have four songs based on absolute fuzz heaven. Fuzzy fuzzy fuzz fuzz with a bit of fuzz-wah thrown in for variety. It is stoner doom distilled down to the most basic elements of stoner doom – highly distilled Sabbath riffs, lazy tempos, thunderous fuzzy bass (if only the bass player was called Fozzy, then my life would be complete) and a drummer who seems intent on reducing his drums to their component atoms instead of playing them.
Opening track “Evil” starts with the sound of a bad earth before the instruments all kick in together with the kind of punch in the guts a certain Mr. Tyson might deliver if you upset him and a heartbreakingly beautiful palindromic riff of such stoner splendour this hellpriest fell to his knees and wept against the sofa. Hodgson Fartpants (the only dog to be classified as an illegal chemical weapon under both NATO rules and the Geneva Convention. Not even the Russians would have him) was sat on it at the time and gave me a look best described as quizzical and not “What the fucking fuck is that fucking demented human bastard doing this time and why does it not involve feeding me?” It is very, very good as it stomps all over the landscape like some kind of ironclad assault walker. Vocals from Peter Holland are very Ozzy-esque as well, having that high pitched, throaty and raw quality that the auteur Mr. Osbourne had when he fronted Sabbath the first time.
Track two “Hark At You” is more of the same wholesome stoner wonderfulness but a bit faster this time, as if the boys had put down the weed and decided a bit of the old Billy Whizz was the way to go this time. It’s a bit of a goer, this song, like it’s had its arse whipped sore by a vigorous rider and moves along at a brisk canter.
“Things Go Up” is the third song in. This is where Peter decided that we needed to hear his fuzz-wah. He was right. We all needed to hear his fuzz-wah. Fuzz-wah me, baby. It’s soooooooooo good. I love it when you fuzz-wah me. Don’t stop. Drummer Chris West had apparently also decided that his cymbals had to die on this song and gave his crashes the kind of thrashing that only Basil Fawlty can deliver with any conviction.
The final song on the record is called “I Wanna Be” and sees the entire fucking kitchen being thrown at the song, not just the sink. There’s wah, there’s phaser, there’s the kind of monolithic riffs Kirk Windstein and Tony Iommi would face off in a grim battle to the death to claim to have written. And the bass. Oh, the bass. Dicky King (probably deploying the smile of champions he is displaying in the band photo) goes into some kind of fuzz nirvana and disappears (in my head anyway) into a pineal focus streaming outwards from his third eye in glorious psychotropic colour, dissolving into a self-contained universe of the groove…
Ok, I have managed to contain myself. It’s cost me a pair of pants, as it usually does. Trippy Wicked are awesome. Buy their music.
Trippy Wicked, I salute you. Now I’m going to drink this beer.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is floating motionless in a universal groove constant and awards Trippy Wicked etc etc 9/10 for a trip through the psychedelic heartlands that leaves me wanting more…
Tracklist
Evil
Hark At You
Things Go Up
I Wanna Be
Trippy Wicked and The Cosmic Children of the Knight are: quite clearly insane.
Pete Holland – vocals, guitars, brass, slightly worrying propensity to look at your left ear when talking to you.
Dicky King – bass, winning smile, award winning face fuzz.
Chris West – drums, knowing smirk. This man has seen things – things that would fuck you right up.
Links
https://www.facebook.com/trippywicked/
https://www.instagram.com/trippywicked/
 
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan 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.