Obsidian Sea – Pathos

Pathos Album Cover Art

Obsidian Sea – Pathos
Ripple Music
Release Date: 04/02/22
Running Time: 39:52
Review by Dark Juan

I don’t know what to do with myself. The weather outside is no longer trying to kill me. I went out with the Smellhounds this morning and there were no wheelie bins flying past me that will be needing to go on speed awareness courses, no refusal to go out from Rear-Admiral Sir Zeusington-Zeus (KCVG, VC, DFC and Bar, Order of The Red Banner, Croix de Guerre), even when he was desperate for a shit and especially no plastic bottles trying to brain me. Instead, I walked past a skip that had the contents of a house clear out in it and managed to snatch up a decent copy of Iron Maiden’s “Dance Of Death” for absolutely no money whatsoever. I am contemplating going back for the Counting Crows CD I saw, but I probably won’t because a) I am fundamentally lazy, and b) Counting Crows are a bit shit really.

It was ironic that when I was writing this review (and the paragraph above, at the time when Blighty was suffering from the kind of wind that I normally produce after a healthy breakfast of California Reaper chillies), there technically was not a website for these words to be posted on. Head Honcho General Field-Marshal Beth “One Inch Closer, Buster, And You’ll Be Wearing Your Balls As Earrings” Jones (she was quite cross at this point and by no means the usual delightful fairy she normally is), undertook a bit of a revamp, which, being as I am a libertine and enthusiast of mind altering substances and not an IT expert, I can only believe involved a large amount of twitching bottoms, incipient panic and a serious case of brown trousers time if it all went wrong. In which case, it was wonderful to write for you all. Actually, I’m lying. I don’t even LIKE Heavy Metal and you’re all longhaired Herbert’s and drug addicts and you’ll be going to hell faster than Glenn Danzig’s favourite cum sock. Also, tattoos suck. And piercings mean you have given your souls to Satan [they followed your punctuation – ED]. 

Repent, you pricks and ask Almighty God for forgiveness, before it is too late and you damn your souls to Hell for eternity and you find yourself being probed in ungentlemanly manners by shaggy hooved demons with tridents. Which is uncomfortable even if you’re a fan of double penetration.

Or you could completely ignore the above and give yourself the aural treat of listening to the fourth album from Bulgarian Progressive Proto-Rockers Obsidian Sea. “Pathos” is its name and it is spinning on the Deck of Death as we speak…

First off, what do these three fine gentlemen sound like? On the opening song ‘Lament The Death Of Wonder’ the first thing that strikes my educated lugholes is how much the vocal harmonies and especially the lead performance of Anton Avramov remind me of Psychotic Waltz circa “A Social Grace”. This should not be taken as a demerit because ‘Another Prophet Song’ is one of Dark Juan’s all-time favourites. The band (being a power trio) have a sound that is best described as Classic Rock and Metal, crossed with a strong Progressive and Psychedelic component. This album is fucking massively groovy and can be described as a Very Good Thing indeed. ‘Lament The Death Of Wonder’ sets the store for the album in magical fashion, reminding this listener of an interesting mélange of Wolfmother, Lucid Sins, Friendship, Lucifer and Red Spektor in sound. Throw in a bit of the more esoteric moments of Hawkwind in there as well and you have an intoxicating mix of styles that references Classic Rock and Metal yet still sounds incredibly vibrant, fresh and accessible. ‘I Love The Woods’ opens on a simple clean riff that then breaks into a gently distorted version of it, but the music is languid and fluid and is allowed to breathe. Where Obisidian Sea triumph is that they allow fucking NOTHING TO INTERFERE WITH THE MAJESTY OF THE GROOVE. The groove is all. Everything is groovy in the world of Obsidian Sea and Dark Juan is all about being the grooviest groovemeister the world has ever seen. Elongated bridges and movements abound and middle eights happily become middle thirty-twos in the finest tradition of Prog Rock and Psychedelic expressionism, yet nothing outstays its welcome. Indeed, the only negative point so far is that there is no cowbell. Everything needs more cowbell.

The production of this record is punchy as hell as well. The bass rumbles the old derriere in splendid fashion and the sound of the drums (apart from the floor tom – more on that later) and cymbals are well balanced, with nothing overpowering the other instruments. The soloing of Mr. Avramov on the guitar is also worthy of your attention, because when he rips he is a supple, fluid and incendiary soloist. The vocal harmonies are also just magical and the whole album just has riffs for fucking days, mate. The choppy, stop-start, ultra-chonky riffing on ‘The Long Drowning’ is just so…. Magnificent, when taken with the obvious vocal talents of these three fine Bulgarian gentlemen on their harmonies. And they are able to pick up their metaphorical skirts and give their instruments a bloody good, judicious spanking when they want to as well.

The opening riff to ‘Sisters’ stood out to me as well because it sounded like a half-speed Coheed and Cambria song. I think it was ‘The Crowing’, but this morphed quickly into a hairy-arsed Blues Rock riff of some seismic significance, before this bunch of Bulgarian musical miscreants chucked in some acid infused Stoner and Psychedelic influences, and then, in the middle eight, threw in a Doom Metal, mogadon slow riff overlaying some serious fuzz and phaser-wah shenanigans during the solo.

I think it’s safe to say I am a bit of a fan of Obsidian Sea based on the experience of this album. Discerning listeners who enjoy Lucifer and Lucid Sins and Blood Ceremony might well find this record to their considerable advantage. I’m fucking loving it, baby. Any band that worships at the Temple of The Groovy wins a fan in Dark Juan. And Obsidian Sea are High Priests of The Groove.  Everything on this record has been done right as well. The song arrangements are good, the lyrics excellent for non-native English speakers, the production on the money – apart from a curious flat spot on the low floor tom that makes tub-thumper Bozhidar Parvanov sound like he is employing an inventive and experimental new method of hitting it, by the simple expedient of using a recently defrosted cod, or some other kind of equally flaccid white fish substitute rather than a drumstick. However, this is extreme nit-picking, because I have to find something to criticize, because after all I am a critic. As in someone who writes about something because he can’t fucking do it himself.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Патентованата система за оценка на пръски кръв от Dark Juan for our Bulgarian friends) offers itself humbly to the service of the High Priests of The Groove that are Obsidian Sea with a stonking 9/10 for a sublime Psychedelic Rock and Metal hybrid album that beguiles, charms and seduces in the most unseemly manner. Sex wee. Sex wee fucking everywhere. Again. Buy this record.

01. Lament The Death Of Wonder
02. The Long Drowning
03. Sisters
04. Mythos
05. The Revenants
06. I Love The Woods
07. The Meaning Of Shadows

Anton Avramov – Guitars and Vocals
Delyan Karaivanov – Bass and Backing Vocals
Bozhidar Parvanov – Drums


Obsidian Sea Promo Pic

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.

Moon Coven – Slumber Wood

Slumber Wood Album Cover Art

Moon Coven – Slumber Wood
Ripple Music
Released Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 41:53
Review by Dark Juan

Hey up, chaps and chapesses and people of all other genders. It is I, Dark Juan, and I am back after a brief sojourn into the darkest recesses of my sewer-like mind and you are all going to spend the next ten minutes being bored out of your tiny little minds as I follow the usual well-worn path of tortured metaphors, exuberant frothing, rage, talking about my dogs as if any of you actually cared and some wholly made-up shit about me and mine. Probably. Anyhow, you have actually taken the time to read this and for that I thank you. There’s apparently some of you out there who like reading this absolute drivel I spew out on a semi-regular basis. Weirdos…

So, here we are, ensconced comfortably in Dark Juan Terrace, with the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover doing his usual guard dog duties of shouting at EVERY SINGLE FUCKING PASSER-BY that goes past the house and trying to get me to fight with him (Igor is a French Bulldog of some 11 kilos in weight and is about as useful as a guard dog as a kettle made out of chocolate apart from the shouting and a serious case of small man syndrome, but fucking LOVES a good rumble with me) while the other two smellhounds snooze their afternoon away and Mrs. Dark Juan chortles quietly to herself while she creates some other mentally disturbing doll, or shapeshifting hare, or some other mad shit she finds cute but everyone else is justifiably scared of, and I listen to my sadly neglected review list. Today’s offering is from Swedish psychedelic doom merchants Moon Coven, a four-piece from Stockholm. For some reason I had to REALLY fight the urge to write Croydon, and I have no idea why this was a) funny as fuck to me, and b) why the urge was so powerful.

I am normally suspicious of a band describing themselves as psychedelic doom, as this normally means long drawn-out jams of a single riff for twenty minutes with lashings of fuzz and phaser wah and little in the way of actual music until the last fifteen seconds of the tune where everyone suddenly emerges from their weed-induced haze and clatters everything in sight before declaring it a wrap and proceeding to get even more baked. Thankfully, Moon Coven appear to have avoided that trap and seem to be rather more with it. Opening track ‘Further’ starts us off with a repeating riff that really doesn’t break any new stoner/doomy ground yet is still pretty fucking laid back and cool, but it is the voice of David Leban that is worthy of note. Not for this gentleman is the guttural roar or the relaxed drawl of, say, Master Charger or Thunder Horse, respectively. No, Dave (hereby yet again proving my theory that no matter where in the world a popular beat combo comes from, there has always been a Dave in a band. Even Japanese ones) comes from the school of Ozzy-esque impassioned wailing and emotive clean singing. This is to the band’s benefit because an acid-fuelled gritty growl would not work with the chilled grooves.

‘Eye Of The Night’ is probably the standout track on the record, with oodles of groove and a very cool twin guitar middle eight and the soaring voice of Dave bringing it all together in a satisfyingly complete whole. Fuck me, that sounds rude. I bet when Admiral Of The Fleet General Sir Richard “Run Out Of Things To Say Have You, You Northern Twatmonkey, So You’re Relying On Smut? Get Your Nose Back To The Grindstone Otherwise I Shall Send An Attack Beth And I’ll Only Need One” Tilley reads this there will be tea spurted everywhere from his nostrils and if there isn’t I’m going to be sorely disappointed (There was – Rick!!!). Nevertheless, let us discount my amusement at the thought of our Great Leader fountaining hot beverages from both nostrils and return to what I’m actually SUPPOSED to be doing… ‘A Tower Of Silence’ is a slow drawn-out groove, with slightly less distortion on the guitars and a more bass-led sound that borders on shoegaze with a deceptively simple riff that is slowly built on to form a complex, sinuous song that beguiles rather than bludgeons – this sense of light and dark is what sets Moon Coven apart from most of their contemporaries, who do have a tendency to just stick to the same stoner blueprint. ‘…Silence’ builds in an unhurried fashion and the phased psychedelic solo is a joy to hear, even in the shitty cans I’m wearing and leads into ‘Bahgsu Nag’ which conforms much more to the doom and stoner blueprint, with superfuzz guitar and a languid, relaxed central riff, until we hit the middle eight and then there is a dreamy, creamy, Eastern influenced part which is just gorgeous before the band crash heavily back into the central riff.

The production of the record is actually very good, considering it has a rather bass heavy sound. The cymbals have clarity and cut cleanly through the soupy, heavy guitar and bass combo and this record has an exceedingly rare thing – a snare drum sound I actually like. Snare drums normally sound like Lars Ulrich hitting upturned soup tureens (I’ll never not hate “St. Anger”) or are so far forward in the mix they rattle your fillings. The snare is perfectly placed in the mix and for this I am profoundly grateful. My only complaint is that the bass drum is almost inaudible because of the treacly thickness of the bass guitar. The fuzz appears to have run away with Moon Coven somewhat, but these are minor gripes from a shitty ex-musician who’s only really jealous, actually.

In conclusion – this is a damned fine psychedelic doom metal record, with Sabbathian vibes, mountainous riffs and a fine singer. However, it doesn’t bring anything new to what is becoming an oversaturated genre, and this is why it has dropped marks. The musicianship and songwriting are top fucking drawer though and for a long road trip on a hot summer night you could do a lot fucking worse. The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterade värderingssystemet Dark Juan blodstänk – that last word is crying out for a trad metal band to nick it) awards Moon Coven a very acceptable 8/10. A splendid effort, gentlemen.

‘Further’ (Official Video)

01. Further
02. Ceremony
03. Gibekli Tepe (Potbelly Hill)
04. Eye Of The Night
05. A Tower Of Silence
06. Bahgsu Nag
07. Seagull
08. My Melting Mind

Fredrik Dahlqvist – Drums
Axel Ganhammar – Guitars
Justin Boyesen – Guitars
David Leban – Vocals, Guitars


Moon Coven Promo Pic

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.

Void Vator – Great Fear Rising

Great Fear Rising Album Cover Art

Void Vator – Great Fear Rising
Ripple Music
Release Date: 23/04/2021
Running Time: 32:31
Review by Simon Black

You know once in a while, records come across the ether from bands I’ve never heard of, that absolutely blow my socks off. This is one of them, categorically and unequivocally.

Void Vator have been at this for a good seven years or so and despite having to recover from the challenge of losing the physical Californian presence of their drummer Moura to a USA Visa / immigration issue, seem to have channelled some of that frustration into one of the more interesting and punchy records I have heard in a while (although he’s still in there folks, thanks to the marvel of remote recording). Despite being at it since 2014, this is also only their sophomore album. At thirty-two minutes it’s short, it’s sweet, but it definitely packs a bloody powerful punch. Like everyone else, the pandemic has royally screwed with their plans, but unlike many other bands forced into remote writing and recording this baby does not lose one ounce of energy along the way and it was a problem they already had to address after Moura could no longer remain locally to the rest of the band, giving them a head start on the challenge everyone else has had to adapt to.

Musically, this is mostly high tempo Heavy Fucking Metal in the highly accessible American Modern Metal style, which flows that American Punk energy with a deep, long snort of metallic Rock’n’Roll that usually comes from a deep love of the likes of Motörhead, but whose parents lived through the Sunset Strip years and left the records behind to prove it. The energy is palpable and reflected in songs that largely fly by in three short minutes or so with a fast, but not excessively heavy delivery style and vocals from Lucas Kanopa that lean towards the clean but equally dirty style that means they are a band that could just cross a few aisles and get a wider audience if they can get their message out. That message is one of tightly executed and well-crafted song-writing, slathered in blisteringly raw but technically exquisite musically delivery.

That of course is the problem for so many acts right now. At this stage of their career the boys need high profile support slots to tell the world they are there, because if this record does not get listened to by a larger bunch of new listeners it’s going to be a damned shame. Upbeat, up-tempo and up your nostrils, with enough sleaze to maintain credibility but the musical chops to raise eyebrows positively, this is darned fine and refreshing stuff. So read this, buy this and make it fucking happen for them. If you don’t fucking mind…!

‘I Can’t Take It’ (Official Video)

01. I Can’t Take It
02. I Want More
03. There’s Something Wrong With Us
04. Losing Control
05. Great Fear Rising
06. McGyver’s Mullet
07. Encounter
08. Poltergeist
09. Infierno

Sam Harman – Bass
German Moura – Drums
Erik Kluiber – Guitars
Lucas Kanopa – Guitars & Vocals


Void Vator Promo Pic. Credit Nikkie Marie Kephartv
Photo Credit: Nikkie Marie Kephartv

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Thunder Horse – Chosen One

Chosen One Album Cover Art

Thunder Horse – Chosen One
Ripple Music
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 54:17
Review by Dark Juan

It is 10:42 in the morning at Dark Juan Terrace and for some unaccountable reason I am a) awake, b) already walked the hellhounds and c) cowering in fear at the great shiny hot yellow thing in the sky because yesterday it was grey and snowing and absolutely more suited to the black gloom and morbid humour that normally characterizes my days rather than the superheated ball of gases and minerals that some folk bizarrely like to cook themselves under on the beach. I don’t like beaches. Sand is gravely inconvenient and more than a little unpleasant. Especially in crevices. In mitigation of the horror of the colossal ball of fire trying to kill me with its rays, the moors above my little village look absolutely fucking stunning in their beauty and wild, barren charm with the sun shining on them. So, it is with unaccustomed good cheer and more than a little pleasant bonhomie I present to you the latest collection of pithy platitudes and tortured metaphors that constitute the bulk of my pathetic ramblings about people with actual talent doing marvellous things and entertaining me mightily while I am a snarky bastard about their art.

Today, it is Thunder Horse being given the dubious benefit of my attention while I accompany them with a splendid bucket of Yorkshire’s finest tea and Hodgson Fartpants (number three furry son) basking in the rays streaming through the window and emitting the kind of smells that would have you up on charges of crimes against humanity in The Hague in next to no time if the CIA hadn’t bought the rights to his anal emanations for use against banana republic leaders first.

So, Thunder Horse are an American band hailing from Texas and are fronted by a man whose primary musical bent is industrial metal, being one Stephen Bishop, frontman of Pitbull Daycare. Thunder Horse has absolutely FUCK ALL to do with industrial metal, so get that idea out of your pretty little heads now. Thunder Horse play a peculiar hybrid of superdoom mixed with proggy elements and a fair bit of psychedelia and you will be no doubt unsurprised to hear that it’s right up my perverted and poorly lit street. Abandon hope all ye who enter here…

I have to say that the production on this album is absolutely sublime. I can hear everything perfectly. Normally doom metal sounds like the entire band have been recorded while they have been immersed in oxtail soup with croutons. This production is absolutely crystal clear (mixing done by Caleb Bingham and mastering by Joe Bozzi) right down to the single, quiet china hits on softer passages, yet maintaining such a huge sound that it’s like a wall of steel hitting you at 800 miles an hour. It’s not so much sound, as a weapon designed to reduce your flesh to liquid and your bones to a strange jellylike substance. And the riffs. OH, THE FUCKING RIFFS. Black Sabbath meets a bit of Jane’s Addiction, who’s been knocking off Pink Floyd and Cromagnon whilst simultaneously courting Mountain, Crowbar and Deep Purple in their darker moments make for an intoxicating mix of elements for the seasoned metal veteran to enjoy. And a slightly worrying mental image. The bass (by Mr. Dave Crow – hereby confirming my theory that EVERY band has had a Dave in them at some point) is a fuzz fuelled, rumbling beast bent on evisceration, the drums (Jason “Shakes” West) not unlike a titanic, explosive belching war machine stomping entire companies of men flat in its inexorable desire to reach you and stomp you out of existence and the guitars similar to armoured, flailing beasts with adamantium tipped claws disembowelling their foes with snarling precision. The solos of T.C. Connally are just fucking awesome as is all the guitar work on the record.

The music is also superb. The songwriting is fucking expert level and the lead vocal engaging and easy to listen to, as Stephen Bishop has a voice not unlike a mélange of Ozzy, Kirk Windstein and Dave Winegum (sorry, Wyndorf. Mrs Dark Juan and her penchant for ruining metal has always called the Monster Magnet frontman Dave Winegum and it has kind of stuck. She managed to turn the lyrics of the chorus to Ghost’s ‘Year Zero’ from “Welcome to Year Zero” to “Welcome to New Zealand”. The shit I go through for the love of metal, I tell you…) and this is the perfect mix for a doom vocalist, rather than the roaring battle machines that are normally employed.

There is a weak point, however, and that is ‘Texas’. Saying it’s a weak point is a bit churlish, but an acoustic, wah dripping paean to your home state sidles perilously close to Dark Juan’s pathological hatred of ballads and his penchant for dropping marks off scores because ballads utterly fucking ruin the magic of metal records. I mean, who, when they are happily being plastered against the opposite wall of their room by a concentrated and lethal wall of sound, wants to suddenly drop to the floor in a boneless heap while some long haired twat wails about their lost love/ being on the road all the time/ drink/ drugs/ drink AND drugs/ their home/ the 15-year-old groupie they shouldn’t have touched/ their pet fucking hamster over some delicately plucked acoustic guitar? Not me, buster. Otherwise, the music is absolute motherfucking savagery in aural form. The arrangements are uncommonly powerful and the performance absolutely top notch in execution. I particularly enjoyed the progressive elements and the way they integrated into the heaviness, providing a counterpoint to the power with melody, Hammond organs and musicianship and the simple acid fuelled joy of psychedelia.

I can’t give you any stand out tracks because the quality is so fucking extremely high, although opener ‘Let Them Bleed’ should be ranked among one of the most venomous statements of intent I have ever heard. Touches of Sir Lord Baltimore and Cream and Hendrix creep out of the background of songs and lodge themselves in your subconscious – they even use a fucking voicebox on bonus track and ode to the joy of metal that is ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ and this sends goosebumps down the spine and reminds you of the time when Aerosmith were amazing (circa 1972) and rock and metal were expansive and exploratory.

There’s also a bonus and extended version of ‘Texas’. This is a much better and more cohesive version than the version earlier on the record and reminds me greatly of the wonderful Hawkwind’s ‘Hurry On Sundown’ and bizarrely, hints of The Mamas and The Papas. Thunder Horse have redeemed themselves with what actually has turned out to be a mighty fine psychedelic little acoustic number, rather than a pants wettingly awful unplugged lighter waver.

Well done, gentlemen, well done indeed. Dark Juan is a Thunder Horse convert. You magnificent bastards.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (y’all) awards Thunder Horse a stonking 10/10 for a fucking monster of a record that it will be singing happily along to in its grave.

‘Let Them Bleed’ (Official Video)

01. Let Them Bleed
02. Among The Dead
03. Rise Of The Heathens
04. Chosen One
05. Broken Dreams
06. Song For The Ferryman
07. Texas
08. Halfway To Hell
09. Remembrance
10. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Bonus Track)
11. Texas (Extended Version)

Stephen Bishop – Guitar/Vocals
T.C. Connally – Lead Guitar
Dave Crow – Bass
Jason “Shakes” West – Drums


Thunder Horse Promo Pic

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.

WINO – Forever Gone

WINO – Forever Gone
Ripple Music
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Running Time: 46 mins
Review by Alun Jones

Who remembers that old TV programme, The Fall Guy? You know, the one where the Six Million Dollar Man becomes a stuntman/bounty hunter, getting into all kinds of daredevil scrapes whilst pursuing the bad guys? At the end of every episode, old Lee Majors (for it was he) would be seen chilling in his backyard hot tub, mulling over events whilst drinking a cold beer and smoking a big, fat cigar.

Well let it be known that I, too, like to relax in the tub with a beer after a long, hard day of whatever-the-fuck-it-is-I-do. None of your business, really. Just take it from me, I need to unwind in a mass of bubble bath, with candles and refreshment. And of course, some music, just to add to the ambience.

This might not sound very metal to you, but let me tell ya: this new album from doom metal originator Scott “Wino” Weinrich would make ideal tunes for chilling in the tub. Or pondering lost loves and fortunes in a dusty bar. Or sound tracking a lonely drive across the desert, escaping an inevitable encounter. But to be honest, I like the bathtub metaphor best, ‘cos I’ve not used it before.

‘Forever Gone’ is stripped down and intimate; the title song itself is just Wino the man, plus acoustic guitar. Beautifully melancholic, the listener can really get lost in this. ‘Taken’ also ploughs a lonesome path, with Wino’s voice revealing a soulfulness that I’d never appreciated before.

For any fans of The Obsessed or Saint Vitus who were hoping for something louder and more aggressive, there’s not too much of a leap from familiar ground really. Other than the sonics, the emotions of loss and despair are what unifies Wino’s other output to this endeavour. ‘Dark Ravine’ brings a more Americana style to the proceedings, but it’s all still intense as hell, whether the guitars are turned right up or not.

It’s not all gloom, though: ‘You’re So Fine’ introduces a laid back, country blues number that sounds almost boogie-ish. Throw in a great cover of Joy Division’s ‘Isolation’ and this is an album that’s certainly full of surprises.

Great music can create images in your head for your own movie; “Forever Gone” is one of those. Melodic yet mournful, intense and introspective, there are dozens of stories to be told within the grooves of this record.

01. Forever Gone
02. Taken
03. The Song’s at the Bottom of the Bottle
04. No Wrong
05. Dark Ravine
06. Dead Yesterday
07. You’re So Fine
08. Crystal Madonna
09. Lavender and Sage
010. Was Is and Shall Be
11. Isolation



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.

Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof – Turned To Stone: Volume 2 – Masamune & Muramasa

Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof – Turned To Stone: Volume 2 – Masamune & Muramasa
Ripple Music
Running Time: 40.56
Released: 31/07/2020
Review by Dark Juan

Good afternoon, my screaming hordes of the undead! It is I, Dark Juan, and I have returned to share the benefit of my syllabification with you all. I apologise for my lack of communication over the past few weeks, but I have been in a dark place for a while. It happens. A lifetime of debauchery, defiling the House of God and his attractive younger followers (old Mrs. Williams from number 48 can just FUCK OFF! I have no interest in her withered dugs…) and generally being Ever-Metal’s resident libertine and sex pest takes a mental toll, and combine this with a job that requires considerable mental fortitude and colossally long hours and my ever more speedy entropic rush towards the grave (yes, for I have now passed the halcyon days of my mid-forties and am now skidding towards the grave. If my mother had crossed her legs I could be two weeks younger!) and a dog who seems determined to kill himself and simultaneously cost me a fucking fortune at the vet (Sir Zeusington Zeus, KCVG, VC, MM, DFC and Bar has eaten something that does not even qualify as food YET AGAIN!) I have been compelled to deal with some next level depression and anxiety. It has now been beaten back into its little hole in my mind and the lid slammed and padlocked shut.

As this has happened to me, it makes it even more imperative that you all follow My gospel. Love each other and look after each other. Ask the normally garrulous friend who’s being unnaturally quiet whether they are well. Make sure your people are safe and well. Love without measure. And do it without constraint. Thus spake Dark Juan…

Now all that tedious nonsense is out of the way, I am listening to a very interesting split from Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof based on the legend of two Japanese swordsmiths, Masamune and Muramasa, who once competed to create the finest sword there has ever been. Now, if you’re me, this is a fucking awesome concept and already this record has my interest simply because I’m a simple twat who is easily distracted. Each song (there is only two on the record) clocks in around the twenty-minute mark. Which tells you immediately you are in for some sprawling, experimental stoner rock.

First up is Howling Giant with ‘Masamune’. This is not the kind of music you expect to emanate from Nashville, Tennessee, where this power trio are from. Instead of old-fashioned rock and roll, you get dirty DIRTY fuzzed out grooves and huge drums. The song, although lengthy, does not drop away from your interest for a second. It is an epic composed of several easily readable parts which flow easily into each other and make for a mightily satisfying whole. The guitar work is solid, if unexceptional, but the sheer majesty of the riffs in every part is absolutely undeniable. The riffs are colossal. Absolutely fucking massive riffs, mate. The vocals are impassioned, clear and the lyrics interesting and easily heard (too much stoner depends solely on the power of the riff and to fuck with everything else) and the bass and drums are more than adequately meaty. I have been seated upon the sofa, sipping upon a glass of absinthe, with my eyes closed and have been transported into galaxy sized cosmic green-tinged soundscapes and it has to be said I have been fucking enthusiastic about it. Howling Giant have written a fucking good song and you should all check them out. My bank account is protesting already.

Next up we have Somerset based British psychedelic bruisers Sergeant Thunderhoof. Rather more experimental (emphasis on the mental) than Howling Giant’s more polished take on stoner/ doom, this bunch of cosmic time travellers have taken the more elemental parts of psychedelia and rock and fused them (in the heart of a red dwarf star) into the kind of metal that’s heavier than a pair of titanium underpants. ‘Muramasa’ is less of a song and more of an event horizon. Absolutely saturated in fuzz and possessing a bass sound that surely has cost the souls of a number of members of the band, this song is a much more single-minded entity than Howling Giant’s. Whereas the Nashville band opt for loud and quiet parts and obvious movements in the song, the Hoof (this is what they are going to be called because I simply cannot be arsed to type Sergeant Thunderhoof every time) go straight for the jugular and their track is one long, long cohesive entity. One long drug fuelled, incredibly heavy experience, underpinned with some truly amazing vocals from Mr. Dan Flitcroft. The drums are also noticeably more prominent than in Howling Giant’s song.

So, here we have a battle royale between Americans and the Brits. Who comes out on top? It’s a riff-off! Howling Giant have the songwriting chops – their song is the more intricately written of the two and has interesting composition on its side, but the mighty Hoof have the galactic heaviness required for this style of music. Vocally, Sergeant Thunderhoof trample all over Howling Giant’s Tom Polzine. Guitar wise – the skills are pretty equal, but the edge goes to the Hoof simply because their sound is so much more massive. As a cohesive piece of work, I’d give it to Howling Giant as their song is the more expansive of the two, willing to go and explore outer ranges of the stars, while the Hoof boys are content to eat a shitload of shrooms and explore innerspace. Both bands employ absolutely majestic riffs that are brutally magnificent and if you’re looking to get into stoner or doom, this is the perfect place to start. A fucking brilliant record, even if I can’t decide whether or not it is an EP or an album because of the forty-minute running time.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System would seriously fail a drug test right now and offers the record as a whole 9/10 for some almost perfect stoner and doom. Howling Giant get 8/10 for their song and Sergeant Thunderhoof 9/10 for theirs. Victory goes to Muramasa!

01. Howling Giant – Masamune
02. Sergeant Thunderhoof – Muramasa

Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals
Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals
Sebastian Baltes – Bass and Vocals

Dan Flitcroft – Vocals
Mark Sayer – Guitar
Jim Camp – Bass
Darren Ashman – Drums


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.

Stew – People

People Cover

Stew – People
Ripple Music
Release Date: 11/10/2019
Running Time: 37:24
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

At the beginning of this year I had, what can only be described as, the absolute pleasure to review the “Hot” EP by this young band from Sweden. I gave it 9 out of 10 as I was so impressed and even stated in my review how much I was looking forward to reviewing the album once it was done.
Well, the album has now been completed and, as you can already see from the score I have given it, it’s an absolute stonker! But, to be fair, I already knew that would be the case!!
Formed in early 2017, the band hail from Lindesberg / Ӧbero in Sweden and is made up of the power trio of Markus Asland on bass and vocals, Niklas Jansson on guitar and Niklas Dahlgren on drums. Their own band notes state they play a “gritty and nostalgic fusion of classic rock and blues inspiration” and this just about sums them up perfectly.
I said in my review of the EP that the music enticed a “warm, fuzzy feeling of bliss and contentment” as you were transported back to the past and this album gives you that feeling once again….and more! Playing a mix of classic rock, blues and soul, this band is obviously heavily influenced by the sounds of the late 60’s/70’s era. And that is by no means a bad thing.
With groovy riffs, strong vocals (this guy’s voice is outstanding) and swinging drums, this is classic rock but with a modern twist. With a little bit of blues, a little bit of rock and killer guitars, these guys have nailed the sound of the 60’s/70’s with true musicianship.
With influences such as Jimi Hendrix, Free, Deep Purple, Grandfunk Railroad, Buddy Miles, Rory Gallagher and Spooky Tooth, they were always on to a winning formula, but they do it with a class that could easily put them up there with the best of the genre.
A quote from Classic Rock magazine regarding the EP stated that the music was “spewing embers of psychedelic wonder” and these guys would not have been out of place at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. They really are the perfect band to just chill out to.
Just like the EP the whole album was recorded live except for the vocals and solos and recording finished in just nine days! Something of an accomplishment!
When the EP was released Stew was an unsigned band (a sacrilege if you ask me as they should have been snapped up ages ago!) but I was extremely pleased to see that they have now been signed to Ripple Music and I know with the backing of a record label and the hard work they so obviously put into their music, this band will go places. They are still young and have many successful years ahead of them.
Its not very often I give a 10 out of 10, having only dished out a handful during my reviewing career, but this album certainly deserves it. In fact, it actually deserves an 11!
I am sooooo impressed with these guys that I will be following them very closely in the future and monitoring just how successful they are going to be. I am even going to recommend to Rick we add them to our “Bands We Follow” page on our site.
Keep up the good, no great, work guys and I hope to see you at a gig over here sometime! Now, THAT would just be the icing on the cake!
01. Intro
02. Right On Time
03. People
04. Newborn
05. Endless Journey
06. Play The Fool
07. Goddess
08. Afraid Of Getting Nowhere
09. Sweet And True
10. Fruits
11. Morning Again

Promo Pic1
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King 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.