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Album Reviews

Mini-Review: Ides of Gemini – ‘Constantinople’

Ides of Gemini

[Neurot Recordings]

The way the two Sera Timms-fronted bands are set up, it’s hard not to compare the dormant (currently writing) Black Math Horseman and this new release from cerebral trio Ides of Gemini. Each share her soothsayer’s vocals that are tempered and resonant and they are most importantly, instantly, recognisably unique.

The similarities don‘t stop there; stripped down compositions with little embellishment, cymbal adverse heavily rhythmic percussion and a plough-like pacing, letting the music dig in thoroughly. Yet where Black Math Horseman are the doomsayers and deerslayers with their more prominent Om-isms and Tool riffs, Ides of Gemini are more perilous, there’s a leaner edge to their stargazing in comparison to the former’s earthenware.

They retain the weight-baring percussive strengths, this time provided by Kelly Johnston, but they don’t vent as regularly, the pacing is still a walk. It is when J. Bennet’s jangling riffs sear with a more blackened tone Constantinople steps up in to a rare gallop that they sound at their most ominous and threatening. ‘Reaping Golden’ heaves a great magnitude of heavy and Sera Timms’ gloomy divinations complement handsomely. It is without doubt that Timms is the centrepiece of this trio. Her bass works well in tandem with the sparse percussion forming a strong rhythm section of which everything relies, BMH and IoG are more rhythm than anything else. Her vocals are achingly beautiful and makes Constantinople stand out as a contender for a few year end lists. The end of the world never sounded so exquisite.

They only have their first EP up on Bandcamp, but it’s a good taster of what makes this record so good.

The Songs of Townes Van Zandt

Steve Von Till, Scott Kelly, and Wino

Written By Ian Gerber for The Soda Shop

From the beginning of my foray into writing for The Soda Shop I have had a compulsion to try and point out the kinship of various artists and singer-songwriters with our modern “doom” and “stoner” scenes.  Conveniently, three monolithic figures of the scene have made a record that brings this idea directly to the table with the new tribute to Townes Van Zandt to be released on Neurot Records. (more…)

Review-Satellite Beaver-The Last Bow EP


Satellite Beaver. Great fucking name. Great fucking EP.

Formed in Warsaw in 2008, Satellite Beaver is a hard rocking stoner band that needs to make an LP after hearing this 4 song EP.

All the way from Poland, never knew of em, so I checked out their facebook page. Instant connection because the band used the Oregon State Beaver mascot for a “Worship Satan” jpeg. Love it because I (more…)

Review: Weathers – Heavy Truck

Greece might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of sludgy stoner metal… or the second, fifth, or tenth. But Weathers is out to change your mind about that. They might come from the windswept isles of the Mediterranean, but listening to their debut EP, you’d swear the trio were raised inside the hollow of a petrified sequoia tree by a pack of ancient dire wolves.

The sheer heaviness of Heavy Truck is truly something to behold. It manages to be completely thundering at its low end, while not sacrificing the searing buzz saw guitar lines that so often are thrown out the door for such bottom-heavy production. Nothing comes out muddy–just fuzzy, and deliciously so. Reminiscent of the sound of their European brethren, Sweden’s Truckfighters, the Greek three-piece wear their influences on their sleeves (I mean CD sleeves–that’s not a maple leaf there) and make it easy to forget that they’re exactly that: a Greek three-piece. (more…)

Review: The Dirty Feathers – Midnight Snakes

According to their Twitter, The Dirty Feathers eat more BBQ than any other band, but after listening to their newest release, Midnight Snakes, it’s plain to see they’ve been chompin’ on the other white meat as well: Jack White, that is.

The band has just (and I mean, just as in like, a week ago) released a new single dripping with sixties psychedelica, but Midnight Snakes is their latest full-length offering and is not to be missed–for fans of The Dead Weather or The Charming Snakes or The Holy Ghost, especially. There’s some consistency in that whole “The Adjective Noun” front, it seems. ,But really, who can’t get down with a ripping rock album full of reverb-drenched guitars and wailing Hammond organ? If you just raised your hand, you may now turn in your license to rock, because you won’t be needing it ever again. (more…)

Current Rotation – 5/3/2012

Born To Hula have recently released a new album titled Tales of Love. I like this album because of the diversity. I remember with their last release all I could help but think was Queens of the Stone Age. I still think that with this album big time but it appears they’ve reached down and pulled a little Jimi Hendrix and other late 60’s, early 70’s psych rock in. There seems to be a little ode to Songs For The Deaf in the beginning of song 3, “No Regret” with the tuning of the radio to a station before the song starts. Tales of Love isn’t as heavy as their previous release but rocks out pretty hard. The desert rock like tunes keep you moving and grooving to the beat from start to finish. Look for a vinyl release this coming October.


Review- Naam-The Ballad of the Starchild EP

Naam is a Brookln based psych stoner band that is releasing a trip of an EP, The Ballad of the Starchild, on May 8th through Tee Pee Records. It’s a ambitious journey of psychedelic sounds and musical gentleness. It is something to get lost in.

“Sentry of Skies” is chill and stoney. The music trickles with a constant beat and gentle guitar that lifts me off with great care and ease. Relaxing. “Lands Unknown” sends rings of Saturn around my (more…)

Review – Orcus Chylde – Orcus Chylde

When I first came across Orcus Chylde, it was while poking around on Kadavar’s Facebook page. I noticed Orcus Chylde was tagged so my instincts kicked in to check them out. There were a few songs posted for sample on Facebook and naturally I listened. What I heard I liked. It had that nice retro sound that I really dig. Of course liking what I heard, I let the band know to keep The Soda Shop in mind of a review copy when the album was ready. Fast forward until last week when the CD arrived in the mail. Oh was I giddy. I put it on in my truck to listen to while I drove to work. I wasn’t sure what it was I was hearing but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I wasn’t sure if it was all that it was cracked up to be. It wasn’t.It was better.

While I was expecting some heavy retro rock ala Graveyard, what I got was a sort of a hybrid between Graveyard and Witchcraft. The vocals even (more…)

Vinyl Review – Caustic Casanova – Someday You Will Be Proven Correct

Welcome to a new feature that will run from time to time. I call it “Vinyl Review” It’s basically a review for a submitted album but instead of Cd or Mp3 listening, this is all done with the vinyl that was received. The first review belongs to a band called Caustic Casanova. The album is their latest release and what appears to be first on vinyl (I could be wrong).

Band Bio:

Caustic Casanova is the best closer in the game today. Referred to as “Riff Emperors” by The Pinhook (Durham, North Carolina), Caustic Casanova is a heavy rock power trio from Washington, DC. They are the best! (more…)

Kaleidoscope – Self-Titled EP: Review

via Sludge Factory

Hailing from Gerringong are a bunch of fresh faced teens called Kaleidoscope. Don’t let that dissuade you, because the song writing ability these guys possess is well beyond their years. This psychedelic/stoner rock trio have been pricking up ears and turning heads right across the globe amongst niche, genre based publications as their self-titled debut release hits the information super highway.

As soon as I press ‘play’ I find myself reaching for my eighth and my papers because I instantly get the sense that being stoned is the only way to enjoy this release. I soon realise that nor do I actually have any weed but I don’t smoke, although this minor inconvenience is quickly over come. Recording on a shoe-string budget only does this release even more justice as it encapsulates the essence of a live performance, which you just (more…)

Review – Bodacious – King of Scum

Here’s a quick review. Just a little while ago this band called Bodacious status post shows up in my Facebook feed. The band says “Hey, new album up on Bandcamp, blah blah blah…” I have a few thousand different band and band related pages “liked” on Facebook. Something told me to check this one out to see if it’s any good. Oh hell yeah it is.

King of Scum by Bodacious is an excellent album. This album really caught me from the start with the monsterous guitars and heavy riffs. The overall sound is heavy rock with lots of post punk, heavy metal, sludge, post grunge and stoner throughout. There’s even a hint of some blues rock heavy psych here and there. I can tell the band took a lot of time putting this one together because they take all those elements and blend them in very nicely. Not all at one time either. They way they approached it, including the track order, it’s got a real nice flow to it. Everything is spread from start (more…)

The Yard Apes – Devil’s Road: Album Review

via Sludge Factory

A lot of bands’ Shangri-La would be selling out Wembley Stadium or touring Ozzfest but THE YARD APES would be at home playing an outback muster after dark with fires burning in old oil drums, as the masses dance up a storm or find themselves parked on hay bails unwinding from a long day with a local brew. Their debut release Devil’s Road delivers country town music, with big smoke productions and southern American influences as far as the eye can see, yet they are unmistakeably Australian.

Opening track Goin’ South is an upbeat and catchy number which is an ode to youthful, lust-filled joyrides that sets the pace for the entire album as THE YARD APES blend rockabilly, surf and just a hint of psychedelia. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Chain Gang Blues was a JOHNNY CASH cover as they incorporate his signature freight-train sound with lyrical references to prison life. Alas it is an original song, which is quite the (more…)

Sun Gods in Exile – Thanks for the Silver…reviewed

Written by Ian Gerber

For The Soda Shop

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with Portland, Maine’s hard rocking, beer drinking heavy blues rockers Sun Gods in  Exile.  Besides having a wicked cool name, these guys also have a talent for making a kick ass rock record.  ‘Thanks for the Silver’ was cut in late 2010 by the incomparable engineering mastermind Benny Grotto, who also produced the record, at Small Stone Record’s go to house of recording, Mad Oak Studios.   (more…)

Micro-review Fest, 2012: 5 doom/stoner bands, including Badr Vogu, Pelican, 16, Elder and Low Gravity!

Self-described as Blues/ Death Metal/ Ghettotech, from Oakland, CA, Bädr Vogu and their long player, Exitium, are a second generation Cough (who, it could be argued, are a second-generation Electric Wizard); now, while I love me some Cough and EW, Bädr Vogu don’t quite hit those standards:  the drums are a bit stiff, the death-growl vocals seem a bit forced… but overall, at jet engine volume, this is a pretty rocking collection of tunes, particularly “Slumlord Blues,” with its lurching, evil blues….

Next: having written previously about Pelican’s riffs here, their vinyl (more…)

Review – Kadavar – Kadavar

I think I may have found the next big thing here. Kadavar has been featured here before as somewhat of a preview of things to come. The vinyl finally made its way into my hands, while I was waiting anxiously for it, I found it to be worth the wait.

This 3 piece from Germany play heavy psych/psych blues ala Graveyard, Brutus, and a little bit of Witchcraft. The riffs rock and roar, they’re hypnotizing and very damn catchy. The album opens with “All Our Thoughts” which is akin to Graveyard’s “Satan’s Finest.” “Black Sun” is a riff lovers dream, the tempo goes up and down throughout, more of a verse, chorus, verse deal but is very fitting. “Forgotten Past” is a bit slower paced but still has some excellent and catchy riffs. The solo towards the end kicks some serious ass. “Goddess of Dawn” starts off with this really thick and heavy riff. (more…)

New Torche album ‘Harmonicraft’ takes us on a ride.

The new Torche album ‘Harmonicraft’ leaked on the internet this week and downloads have been fevered and numerous.  Since you have probably already heard part of all of this new Volcom release prior to the April 24th official release date…here is a review…

The first Torche release on the Volcom label was destined to be a swing for the fences.  Following 2008’s ‘Meanderthal’ and the 2010 release ‘Songs for Singles’, it seemed that this Miami juggernaut could do no wrong.  Between endless touring with acts like Valient Thorr and Corrosion of Conformity, and band members participating in other projects like the esteemed Floor and Robotic Empire act Shitstorm, Torche has been busier than a cucumber in a woman’s prison.  That said, expectations were high for their Volcom debut.

The opening track of this behemoth wastes no time displaying no flavor.  “Letting Go”, the opening track is characteristically upbeat.  Uplifting is (more…)

Micro-reviews of Note: Demon Lung, Prong, Crystal Viper

To paraphrase Shawn Spencer from Psych: “Are you a fan of delicious riffage?”

Of course you are. That’s why you’re here, among other devotees of the Ostinato, in whatever form(s) it may take. Today, we have three up and coming perveyors of the Riff: Demon Lung, Prong, and Crystal Viper. (more…)


Cortez is a Boston based 4 piece that recently released their first full length. Fuck me running. This album is impressive; from the amazing guitar shredding, monster drums and bass, amazing vocals, and a production sound that keeps it all nice and tight. I’m jealous of the Boston area motherfuckers that get to see these guys play live on a regular basis. Kick ass heavy rock and roll doom. Period.

This self titled album opens with “Johnny”, a catchy tune that thumps and pumps the adrenaline. Growly and bluesy vocals. “All Hail” comes in a little heavier and stronger. Which seems impossible (more…)

Reviews – 7″ Round Up

Here’s a few recent and upcoming 7″ releases to look forward to.

The Black Explosion is the next step in the career that is Chris Winter. Those familiar with the garage rock band Dollhouse will be familiar with Chris’ work. Now that Dollhouse is in the past, Chris has started The Black Explosion. Their sound is a little less garage and a little more rock. Think of a heavier Dollhouse with an addition of organ and psychedelics.

The band’s first release before a full length will be  self titled 7″. The 7″ contains two tracks, “It’s All Right”  and “Wake Up.” If this is what we can expect in the full length then we;re in for a treat. “It’s All Right” has a nice moderate beat going for it. Chris’ vocals are in top form. “Wake Up” is heavier and features lots of fuzz. The break down towards the end is kick ass and the psychedelics mixed in sound awesome. (more…)

Review – Stone Axe – Captured Live! Roadburn Festival 2011

It’s no secret that Stone Axe is one of my favorite bands. They rank right up there with a lot of the greats for me. The band has released so little but yet so much at one time. Albums, EP’s and plenty of 7″ releases to find and collect, the one true thing that was missing was a live album. Sure the Extended Play EP had a live set played at a local record store, it was good and I loved it, don’t get me wrong but not a “true” live release. So how does one band remedy that? Well you record and release your set from the worlds biggest underground festivals on Earth. Roadburn.

Captured Live! Roadburn Festival 2011 captures the band’s entire set from the 2011 festival. It captures the raw emotion and energy throughout. From the opening instrumental track “Stonin” to the last track, a Mos Generator cover “Nightwolf” it’s apparent, live music is Stone Axe’s thing. Some bands are great in the studio but so so (or worse) live. Not Stone Axe.  They’ve honed their craft quite nicely and the end output is fantastic. The overall sound and production on this disc is great. The crowd reactions between tracks aren’t really loud or prominent but they’re there to remind you that this is indeed live. Drew even gets the crowd involved during “There’d Be Days.” Captured Live! Roadburn Festival 2011 contains tracks from both full (more…)

Review: Lomera – Self-titled EP

Adapted from Sludge Factory

Starting with an earth shattering bass line reminiscent of Electric Wizard in their Dopethrone days, Lomera will instantly grab you by the balls and throw you into a brick wall of sound. The opening track from their self-titled EP is called Hail The Storm which wastes no time in getting to the point. Most bands under the tag of ‘stoner rock’ will base their song writing structure around their ability to provide the listener with lengthy extended jams which recycle the same guitar riffs over and over but not this 5-peice from Sydney, Australia.

No Way But The River might not have as much brutal riffage but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in quality. This is definitely the track which earns this band their ‘stoner’ tag. The groove laden bass lines and powerhouse drumming from the rhythm section of Rick Swain and Brad Kimber respectively, are clearly the driving force behind this song as they lay down a solid foundation for the soothing solos copious amounts of phasing effects from guitarists Reggie Barber and Jason Higson. To top it of Matt Power delivers a raspy vocal performance which teeters the band on the (more…)

Current Rotation 4/4/2012

I’ve been sitting on this one longer than I care to admit. It certainly would’ve wound up in my top 20 list of 2011 had I listened to it right away. My apologies to the band for not getting to it sooner. Better late than never I guess. The Crown That Wears The Head was released late last year on vinyl. Certainly now strangers to these pages, Hong Faux belt out yet another winner in their first full length following a demo and an EP release. The album is a lot mellower compared to a lot of albums we’ve been covering lately but there’s nothing tame about Hong Faux.There’s a lot of great and memorable riffs, especially my favorite track, “Bad City Blues.” While this album is not a real “fuzzed out” album, it does have some moments for fans of the fuzz. At times I was reminded of The Truckfighters’ Mania album. “Jack of Clubs” has a killer solo to close out the track followed by “Sparrow Hills” which is somewhat of a roller coaster in terms of tone. Still though, it’s a killer track. (more…)

Review – Conan – Monnos

Since Horseback Battle Hammer was my number 5 album of 2010, I was psyched to hear this one; so, through my bassiest active noise-reduction headphones, and then through my tank-like if outdated speakers as-loud-as-holy, I listened to the newest Conan opus, Monnos.

“Hawk as Weapon” opens, followed by “Battle in the Swamp,” both reiterating Conan’s MO: the Riff At All Costs– with some drums and bass and, oh yeah, a distant clarion call of a vocal in the background… it’s Clash of the Titans as doom metal soundtrack, or Robert E. Howard’s playlist of choice– Weird Tales as a metal ‘zine. “Battle in the Swamp,” at its end, manages to sound like an Antediluvian Helmet, one even more savage, crude and primal…. (more…)

Review – High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis

There’s some serious convergence, confluence, coincidence, coalescence… connection– hell, conjuration, this week… for one Matt Pike:

First, the announcement of the upcoming reissue of Dopesmoker, and today one De Vermis Mysteriis….

Here’s the review slurry, everything in one paragraph:

“Serums of Laio,” starts things off: bombast, staccato drum hits with riffs down in C and the faintest hint of a melody in the chorus, “Bloody Knuckles,” again with the tribal drums over a palm-muted, Sleep-on-amphetamines riff which becomes a “Dazed and Confused”-esque riff and then back to Mötorhead tunage… “Fertile Green” says fuck you, you’re not tribal enough to all the drums up to this point in its intro, before becoming Discharge-meets-Bad Religion in its furious downbeating riffage… “Madness of an Architect,” now with the tribal riff added to said drums to begin to succinctly suggest the dominant musical themes herein, baby… “Samsara” the Sabbathian instrumental… (more…)