Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

Ah, Electric Wizard. If you don’t know them by now, you will never, never, never know them. No you won’t. Well, scratch that; maybe you will. After all, the legendary doom outfit has just put out their ninth (!) full length record and, although it seems unimaginable that there could be metal heads unfamiliar with the band’s discography and sound, it’s incumbent to remember that not everybody is as old as dirt like yours truly. In fact, it’s been over twenty years since the band first started releasing music so it stands to reason that there are plenty of readers who weren’t even born when Dopethrone dropped and left its massive resin stain on the world of stoner doom and sludge. While that certainly makes me feel old, it also presents an exciting opportunity for younger listeners. THIS IS NOT A DRILL: if you have never listened to Electric Wizard’s seminal album Dopethrone, you are required to take an hour today and give it a spin. Arguably as important as any album in the genre, Dopethrone cemented the sound of filthy, distorted, bass-heavy stoner doom and paved the way for hundreds of bands and albums that followed in its smoky, bongwater-soaked path.

Merkabah – Million Miles

The saxophone has become an increasingly en vogue addition to the extreme music formula. Ever since John Zorn bleated and honked over grindcore and avant-garde metal with Naked City and Painkiller, a growing crop of younger bands have demonstrated how to masterfully incorporate a jazz staple into heavier compositions. The sparsity of such bands should come…

FULL ALBUM STREAM: Launch on a Psychedelic Journey from Mother Engine’s Hangar

The “jam” is one of those musical devices that walks a delicately drawn fine line. On one side are classics like Can’s “Halleluwah” or The Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray,” both of which are defined by an embrace of improvisation, interplay and gradual evolution that keep the song fresh throughout a roughly 20-minute run time. But on the other side, you have endless journeys of gratuitous musical masturbation that create a significant imbalance of enjoyment between the players and their audience. Walking this line is obviously difficult; though defined by higher tier musicianship, an effective jam band can’t venerate their abilities as musicians at the expense of songcraft, particularly in terms of defining the genres and styles from which the extended composition is being drawn out of. All of this makes it that much more impressive that Mother Engine have not only mastered the “jam” formula, but excelled at replicating that equation fourfold on their third full-length outing Hangar, which we’re stoked to be able to premiere for you in full.

Elder – Reflections of a Floating World

Transportation is one of the biggest things that music can accomplish, to pick the listener up from where they sit and deposit them in some other place. The truly great albums in the short history of modern music all achieve this unbelievably elusive feat; something about their sound whisks away your attention and enraptures you within a world, of the band’s making. Not so long ago, we made the claim that Elder’s Lore does just that, encapsulating the fabled trope of “the hero’s journey”, launching its listeners into an epic journey through music and expression. How do you follow something like that up? A critically lauded album can often be a double edged sword, raising immense questions around potential, scarcity, and circumstance. More so when the album is such a transformative journey: do you have what it takes to create that sensation in your listeners again or will this album, however good, be fettered and miss the mark of greatness?

Heavy Vanguard: Red Krayola // The Parable of Arable Land

Let’s dive into our album this week: The Parable of Arable Land by experimental rock/psych band Red Krayola, made in collaboration with “The Familiar Ugly”—a group of the band’s friends. RK consisted of Texas art school students, and this “outsider” influence (i.e. not trained musicians) shows up in their music in the best way possible. Lo-fi? Check. Tons of tracks that sound like noise (referred to as “Freak-Outs”)? Double check. If you like your music psychedelic, experimental, and given to flights of all-out, Brötzmann-esque free jazz, this is your record.

Visit the Dusty Field Where Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree

Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree piqued my interest from the moment I came across their Bandcamp page. Much of what first drew me to Earth’s masterpiece Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull is present on BMHVT’s debut Medicine: an alluring cover, unique title and promises of an expansive, mesmerizing take on doom metal. It’s this last point that sweetened the deal like hemp-infused honey candy, and if you’re at all a fan of all things sludge and doom, you’d be wise to succumb to what this psychedelic dose of Medicine has to offer.

Heavy Vanguard: Can // Tago Mago

Krautrock was a musical movement with roots in Germany during the sixties and seventies, with key focus on psychedelia, musical experimentation, and a heavy focus on repetition. Bands like Faust, Neu!, Kraftwerk (in their earlier years), and, of course, Can, were integral in pioneering this sound. However, Can’s adherence to the typical krautrock sound was short-lived, with this album as proof of that. While Tago Mago has krautrock elements in it (especially on the first half of the album), the band ultimately went beyond what others in the genre were doing and created something amazing and out there, full of experimentation with delay effects and tape music, among other things. It’s a long, dense listen that grows more difficult as the minutes go by, but it’s ultimately a rewarding experience that has proven to be a huge influence on modern music. Artists like Radiohead (specifically Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood), Primal Scream, The Jesus And Mary Chain, and Public Image Ltd all have cited inspiration from Tago Mago. And, of course, this is one of our favorite albums as well! So, have fun!

Hey! Listen To Meatbodies!

Garage rock is one of those more amorphous genre tags that nevertheless has a very identifiable sound to it. You might not be able to describe what it is exactly beyond fuzzy guitars, generally lo-fi production, and punchy, catchy songs, but you know what it is when you hear it. It’s not a style I’m totally enamored with as oftentimes the stripped-down approach comes off as a bit too facile and simple, trying to make up for a lack of depth and with immediacy and charismatic energy. Hailing from Los Angeles, Meatbodies are proving to be an exception to the rule for me, though most of that stems from their evolving way beyond simple garage into something far more interesting and fun.

Grails – Chalice Hymnal

We’ve spoken a lot about the importance of atmosphere in post-rock, post-metal, and other instrumental rock music here on this site. Cinematic music that is more concerned about mood, texture, and sense of place than any particular riffs or technical prowess often gets a bad rap from many looking to be actively engaged and hooked in. There’s something to be said for music that possesses the transportive quality though. Songs and albums that are able to construct entire sonic worlds within the span of a few minutes, evoke the senses in strong ways, and create a full sense of immersion are difficult to pull off well, but when done right allow the listener to form bonds with the music in ways that few other sounds can.