Duel – In Carne Persona

In Carne Persona Album Cover Art

Duel – In Carne Persona
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release Date: 01/10/2021
Running Time: 38:41
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

Wait, it can’t be time for a new Duel album, surely? It only seems like yesterday that I reviewed their last work for Ever Metal. Time flies when you’re having fun, eh? Well, that last album “Valley Of Shadows”, also from Heavy Psych Sounds, was released back in 2019 – so yes, it’s time for more Duel. My cryo-freeze unit must have kept me out of trouble for longer than I thought.

Austin, Texas is where they came from, though Duel’s real home is good ol’ heavy metal and greasy hard rock. Whereas with the previous record review, I made comparisons to stoner rock and 70’s proto metal, this time around, “In Carne Persona” has a much more trad metal approach. Thundering out of the gates on the very first track, ‘Children Of The Fire’ has a galloping, early Maiden sound.

The NWOBHM influence rages throughout the album, with some classic Sabbath heaviness and Thin Lizzy style melody for good measure. Second track ‘The Veil’ illustrates both sides of those 70’s references with a pounding riff and laser sharp solo.

Tracks like ‘Anchor’ and ‘Bite Back’ take the intensity of Trouble or Saint Vitus and ramp up the pace with a ferocious Priest-like power. ‘Lizard Tongue’ delivers the boogie, whilst final track ‘Blood On The Claw’ provides an epic finish to the proceedings. Bringing the album to a huge and satisfying conclusion; it builds slowly, contrasting heavy chugging sections with refrained passages.

Superb bombastic vocals crown masterful musicianship that evokes the past masters, making “In Carne Persona” another triumphant album from Duel. Throughout it all, Duel create a dark and brooding atmosphere, that effectively stamps their own authenticity on the old template. Dark but never grim, it’s always exciting.

I remember a duel of sorts in my days with Purple. One night whilst on tour somewhere, we decided to have a game of beer Russian roulette. Thirty cans of lager on the table, one had been shaken up by yours truly and placed randomly back amongst the others. Participants would then open one can at a time next to their ear; one unlucky player would obviously suffer the frothy consequences.

Gillan, Lord and Blackmore all started well – springing open cans next to their heads which didn’t explode, so they could drink them down. Eventually, and inevitably, it was Ritchie who took the shaken beer to the head, he was soaked and screamed petulantly at Gillan, blaming the singer for his misfortune. It wasn’t like he didn’t know what to expect! Blackmore stormed off leaving the rest of us in hysterics. What was really funny was, when Ritchie wasn’t looking, I’d switched cans on him with another frothed up bullet. Ha!

‘Children Of The Fire’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Children Of The Fire
02. The Veil
03. Anchor
04. Behind The Sound
05. Bite Back
06. Wave Of Your Hand
07. Dead Eyes
08. Lizard Tongue
09. Blood On The Claw

LINE-UP:
Tom Frank – Guitar & Vocals
Shaun Avants – Bass & Vocals
Justin Collins – Drums
Jeff Henson – Guitar & Vocals

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.

Fields of the Nephilim w/The Faces of Sarah The Tivoli, Buckley, North Wales 10/09/2021

Fields Of The Nephilim Poster 10-09-2021

Fields of the Nephilim
w/The Faces of Sarah
The Tivoli, Buckley, North Wales
10/09/2021
Review by Alun Jones

It had been a good 18 months since I last attended a gig, and leaving the house to join a throng of fans enjoying live music seemed like a very strange proposition. I’d actually forgotten all about the concert, as tickets had been booked long before lockdown. Heading up to the Tiv was both exciting and, if I’m honest, a little unnerving.

On entering the venue, it was just like old times: a great vibe as the crowd drank and awaited the bands. As life was getting back to normal, the Goths had crept from the shadows near and far, ready to witness Fields of the Nephilim.

The support band, The Faces of Sarah, were already attempting to breathe life into the evening. Unfortunately, and unusually for the Tiv, they could hardly be heard. I wasn’t too far away, but could barely make out the sound of the instruments. The guitarist looked to be going for it, throwing shapes like a crazed gibbon, but to no avail. The dual lead vocals were extremely impressive, however the poor sound made them come across like an AOR outfit.

https://www.facebook.com/thefacesofsarah

Had my old copy of the Usborne Book of Goths been on my person, I could’ve ticked off several obvious dark rock tropes from the moment Fields of the Nephilim took the stage. There was so much dry ice the band could barely be seen, just a group of grey silhouettes in dusty cowboy hats. They begin in true over the top, cinematic style with ‘The Harmonica Man’. Atmosphere is poured on with no restraint.

And that’s exactly what I paid my money for: I wanted the full experience without any subtlety, and by God, that’s what the audience got.

FOTN erupted into ‘Preacher Man’ and we all loved it. There’s no onstage frontman/audience banter (till the very end) and that, again, is just how I expected it. The songs bounce along like little Goth demons knowing Halloween isn’t far away.

‘Moonchild’ was an obvious highlight, with its slow, moody intro leading into the searing guitar and rumbling bass. The whole set is all treat, no tricks – I got the feeling that this is exactly how FOTN would’ve performed 30 years ago. The whole set is absolutely note perfect and full of every excess that the audience could devour.

https://www.facebook.com/FieldsOfTheNephilim

I’d also forgotten how much I enjoy live music. This evening was a fantastic reminder of what we’ve been missing – can’t wait for more.

LINK:
https://www.facebook.com/The-Tivoli-Venue-111869355544823

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.

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Twelfth Trip

Brown Acid The Twelfth Trip Album Cover Art

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Twelfth Trip
RidingEasy Records
Release Date: 20/04/2020
Running Time: 32:23
Review by: Alun Jones
8.5/10

Well, who’d have thought it? Here’s the twelfth instalment of the Brown Acid series from RidingEasy Records, their ongoing exploration of rare, lost and forgotten treasures from the late 60’s and early70’s. These proto-metal, hard rock and heavy psych riches are continuing to turn up, thankfully curated and shared with a new, wider audience. They still haven’t run out of steam, which is very good news.

This time, the Professors of Rock (“Prockfessors”, anyone? Nah, never mind) have released ten more crazily good tracks from the past. As can be expected, the bands are deep fried and the guitars are fuzzier than a McDonald’s burger-flipper’s chin.

And so, we commence with ‘Mother Samwell’ by The Waters: a blinding, acid-drenched rocker from 1969. How can this have been lost for so long? Up next is ‘Vibrations’ by Village S.T.O.P., featuring Hendrix style guitar in another pacey rocker. Though very much of their time, these songs pack a ton of energy – you’re gonna want to freak out. Right out.

‘1930’ was quite a year, claim White Lightning, with a funky, chunky marauder of a tune that’s like Grand Funk, on the rare occasions GF got it right. Shane serves up some proper skronky organ with ‘Woman (Don’t You Go)’, reminiscent of a shrieky, early Purple. Then the keyboards get even skronkier with Ace Song Service’s ‘Persuasion’, though the attack is harsher.

Opus Est really kick out the jams with ‘Bed’, which has a killer riff that would please Gibbons or Page.  The Mopptops have a terrible band name (maybe that’s why they disappeared), but their song ‘Our Lives’ is one of the heavier, more vicious sounding tracks here. It’s a punk rock bruiser that seems totally out of time – surely this can’t be 1968?

A bland band name, but Artist inject their song ‘Every Lady Does It’ with enough hip-shaking Hendrix raunch to raise the roof. Great chorus too; this is faultless. Then it’s more, great lo-fi garage ZZ Top, with ‘Comin’ Home’ by Stagefright, before we finish with Dickens (great name!) and their weird fuzz metal with minimal production, ‘Don’t Talk About My Music’.

Whether they’re discovering hidden gems in dusty tombs, or exhuming abandoned corpses and bringing them back to life – pick your metaphor: the RidingEasy Forensics Department have managed to surprise yet again. Their quest seems never rending, but we can be thankful that these dedicated scholars continue to discover hitherto abandoned sonic delights.

It’s harder to pick out gems which shine brighter than the others this time around, but “Brown Acid: the Twelfth Trip” manages to reach a high standard across the board. Very enjoyable, and recommended listening for when Jimi and Janis pop round for some mushroom tea.

Brown Acid: The Twelfth Trip (Official Album Stream)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Waters – Mother Samwell
02. Village S.T.O.P. – Vibrations
03. White Lightning – 1930
04. Shane – Woman (Don’t You Go)
05. Ace Song Service – Persuasion
06. Opus Est – Bed
07. The Mopptops – Our Lives
08. Artist – Every Lady Does It
09. Stagefright – Comin’ Home
10. Dickens – Don’t Talk About My Music

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.

1968 – Salvation, If You Need…

Salvation, If You Need... Album Cover Art

1968 – Salvation, If You Need…
Self-Released/No Profit Recordings
Release Date: 20/04/2021
Running Time: 43:52
Review by Alun Jones
9.5/10

For this review of “Salvation, If You Need…”, the second album from UK stoner rock titans 1968, I promise that there will be no messing about, no silly stories, no nonsense whatsoever. I’m not even drinking. Rather, I will endeavour to write a serious review that treats this album with the respect it deserves. Not enough respect to get the article written on schedule, mind; but hey – I never said I was perfect.

Anyone familiar with 1968 from their previous efforts will not be disappointed to learn that the band’s strengths are in full flow here. Thankfully, they’ve also pushed boundaries and explored their psychedelic tendencies further than ever before. Witness opening track ‘Rail Road Boogie’, which teases a funky Blaxploitation groove before unleashing the glorious big riff sound that we expect.

Comparing 1968 to Kyuss is far too obvious and lazy. Jimi Ray’s voice has some of that gruff John Garcia sound (with a little later-period TSOL vocalist Joe Wood), though his vocals have matured to a sincere, soulful timbre. See also, guitarist Sam Orr: schooled in Sabbath riffology and Lizzy attitude, here his Hendrix aspirations are allowed to fly unrestrained. Magnificent washes of sound cascade and add colour everywhere, without being obtrusive.

‘Blackwing’ is the highlight for me: a refrain that’ll slip into your ears and lodge there. It’s pointless trying to remove it. Whether happy accident or hard slog, this is an epic riff. ‘Eastern Wind’ follows a similar path, but offers enough of its own controlled chaos to stand on its own two feet.

Tom Richards’ bass warms up ‘Here It Lies’ and expertly keeps the vibe dialled on a grungy, early Soundgarden pace. The raw, unrefined blues of ‘Small Victories’ and ‘God Bless’ also allow drummer Dan Amati to show he can play refined and delicate, as well as thundering and determined.

Yes, 1968 are undoubtedly still inspired by the classic rock of the late 60’s/early 70’s, but we’re also in Satan’s Dive Bar, somewhere in Seattle, drinking beers with a jukebox that’s stuck on Badmotorfinger. And some Budgie, too, based on the solid cover of that band’s ‘Guts’ which shows up here.

Look, I’ve tried to be serious for once, and I hope you appreciate it, reader. “Salvation, If You Need…” is a truly magnificent piece of work. I’ve been playing it for ages and it hasn’t aged. I’m still discovering little delights everywhere. It has scale and pace that other bands don’t dare trifle with. A contender for Album of the Year, so long as I can get hold of the imminent vinyl release.

Now, who wants to hear about the time Ozzy, Belinda Carlisle and I gate-crashed Venom’s Satanic picnic?

I lied about not drinking, by the way…

‘Rail Road Boogie’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rail Road Boogie
02. Trail Of Dogs
03. Blackwing
04. Here It Lies
05. Guts (Budgie Cover)
06. Expressway
07. Eastern Wind
08. Small Victories
09. Night Hornet
10. God Bless

LINE-UP:
Jimi Ray – Vocals
Sam Orr – Guitar
Tom Richards – Bass
Dan Amati – Drums

LINKS:

1968 Promo Pic

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.

Lugosi – Video Nasty

Video Nasty Album Cover Art

Lugosi – Video Nasty
Self-Released
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 26:29
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

OK, here we go! The clue is in the title, folks – you can probably figure out where we’re headed with a band called Lugosi straight off the (vampire) bat. If not, let me give you some pointers…

To get to Lugosi’s haunted house, depart from the Ramones’ basement, travel up Misfits Avenue, take a left at Danzig Drive, head on past Lemmy’s Bar’n’Grill till you get to 1313 Mockingbird Lane. And you’ve arrived: horror themed punk’n’roll with fast’n’furious tunes and daft lyrics about dodgy old horror and sci-fi movies. In other words, exactly the kind of goth rock Halloween shindig that your ol’ Uncle Al loves to crash.

Let’s get the devil-locked elephant in the room dealt with first: ‘cos there’s going to be a Misfits reference in nearly every sentence I write of this review! To be fair, although there’s an undoubted Misfits influence in Lugosi’s work, it’s more in the lyrical content: songs about vampires, Dawn of the Dead and devil worship are aplenty, but in a tongue in cheek, Hammer horror style rather than any serious Satanic pretence. This is music made by fans of cheesy, campy horror classics for other fans of the same.

The music itself has less of the big “WOAH” Danzig choruses and a more Motorhead inspired punk’n’roll sound, like Supersuckers or Zeke. There’s even a really cool instrumental in the middle of ‘They Came From Outer Space’ that has an Iron Maiden feel. The riffs are not too far from Clutch, and – is that a Thin Lizzy influence? Well, I was surprised to learn that Lugosi are from Dublin – I imagined they were from a remote cabin in the Texas backwoods somewhere…

‘Late Night Slasher Movie’ starts things off perfectly, in the speedy rockin’ style I mentioned, with hilarious lyrics! ‘We’re Here To Drink Blood’ is one of the punkier paced, Ramones tracks – and it’s catchier than a zombie plague. Then there’s ‘Soylent Green’, which reminds me of Jerry Only era Misfits (this is a good thing). A heavier, Sabbath feel rocks right out of the grave on ‘The Vampyre’ and ‘Hellfire Club’. There’s an almost doom sound to ‘1313’, augmented by high-pitched, theremin like weirdness. I think you get the idea.

“Video Nasty” is a great album, thoroughly enjoyable in many ways: a successful Frankenstein bolting together of B-movies, punk and heavy metal – ideal for your next gathering on All Hallows Eve. Kitsch, ridiculous, over the top – and FUN. Lugosi have really reanimated the corpse of horror punk, and – it’s alive!!!

‘They Came From Outer Space’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Late Night Slasher Movie
02. They Came From Outer Space
03. We’re Here To Drink Blood
04. Soylent Green
05. The Vampyre
06. Hellfire Club
07. Dawn Of The Dead
08. 1313
09. Ourboros

LINE-UP:
JM Burr – Vocals
Alan Morton – Guitars
Neal “Rim” Wright – Bass
Jimmy Rooney – Drums

LINKS:

Lugosi Promo Pic

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.

Spelljammer – Abyssal Trip

Abyssal Trip Album Cover Art

Spelljammer – Abyssal Trip
RidingEasy Records
Release Date: 26/02/2021
Running Time: 43:09
Review by Alun Jones
8/10

A slow build of distortion, punctuated by air raid sirens, heralds the onslaught of ‘Bellweather’, the first track on the latest Spelljammer opus. These guys are in no rush. Instead, the listener sinks slowly into the mire, as first guitars and bass, then drums, stealthily enter. Over the course of six plus minutes, the track builds beautifully, setting the style for the album to follow.

Spelljammer are from Stockholm, Sweden – and comprise Niklas Olsson (bass and vocals); Robert Sörling (guitar) and Jonatan Rimsbo (drums). It’s been five long years since their last album, but now they’re back with a huge, ponderous collection of sludgy, doom laden music.

Second track, ‘Lake’, follows the hypnotic incline of the opener with a brutal riff and throaty vocals, before descending into a medium paced headbanger. This track nicely encapsulates the contrasts between heavy, thunderous ferociousness and trancelike wonderment.

The band composed these songs in the seclusion of a remote house in the country. The various shifting sections of the songs obviously reflect that concentrated effort, with a perfect ebb and flow.  Sections wind intricately between the monstrous and the calm.

‘Among The Holy’ starts with a creeping pace before erupting into the album’s biggest rocker. The title track opens with a sample from some obscure horror movie, and I need to know which! After that, it’s crawling doom which picks up speed a little in a Sabbathy manner – complete with distorted vocals.

Talking of Sabbath, ‘Peregrine’ feels like one of those Tony Iommi instrumentals on “Master Of Reality”. It’s actually quite wonderful. Finally, ‘Silent Rift’ is over ten minutes of all that’s gone before, ramped up even higher. The pace is slow, there’s no haste, Spelljammer take their time and let the music grow and breathe.

The listener will also need to take their time and truly absorb this album. Stick on your ear goggles, turn the lights down low and bask in the inventiveness. “Abyssal Trip” is a record that’s been carefully composed and nurtured. The enjoyment here is in the journey and all its interwoven elements.

As we’re talking of jam, I’m reminded of an episode with my old Black Sabbath mates. We were at legendary Rockfield studios in Wales, and following a late night in the studio and an even later nights boozing, the band were relaxing on the lawns on a gorgeous summer day. Bill fell asleep on the grass, and Ozzy decided to take the remains of the strawberry jam from breakfast and smear it all over Bill’s beard.  Sure enough, ten minutes later, Bill woke with a scream – brushing wasps from his face. He jumped up and ran to a nearby pond, jumping in face first.  When he emerged, Bill looked like a Sasquatch. He spent days rubbing ointment on his face and was finding dead insects in his beard for ages.

‘Abyssal Trip’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Bellweather
02. Lake
03. Among The Holy
04. Abyssal Trip
05. Peregrine
06. Silent Rift

LINE-UP:
Niklas Olsson – Bass and Vocals)
Robert Sörling – Guitar
Jonatan Rimsbo – Drums

LINKS:

Spelljammer Promo Pic

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.

Ungraven/Slomatics – Split EP

Ungraven & Slomatics Split EP Cover Art

Ungraven/Slomatics – Split EP
Blackbow Records
Release date: 05/03/2021
Running time: 30:53
Review by Alun Jones
8/10

How did you spend your time during the pandemic? Did you learn a new language or a musical instrument? Did you get out there running, hammering marathons and getting super fit? Or, like most of us, did you hang on there by your finger nails, just about keeping it together and escaping the monotony? Well luckily for us, these two bands – Ungraven and Slomatics – decided to put their talents to creative use and deliver some music to keep us all sane in these bizarre times.

This is one EP, two bands and six songs in total. First off, we have Ungraven, who despite only being formed in 2019 feature musicians of fine pedigree: Jon Davis (Conan), David Ryley (Fudge Tunnel) and Tyler Hodges (Tuskar). ‘Defeat The Object’, their first offering, features a reliably sturdy riff to nod your head to. Next track, ‘Onwards She Rides To A Certain Death’ comes galloping out of the gates like an armour covered battle horse – it’s no nimble dressage, more like a cavalry charge into a frenzied battle. Ungraven’s final song, ‘Blackened Gates Of Eternity’, has a grinding intensity that has an industrial feel.

Slomatics pick up the baton and start off with the brutally heavy, atmospheric ‘Kaän’, which seems to move sideways rather than forwards. Slow and hefty, I’ve seen ox bow lakes form quicker than the pace of this monster. ‘Proto Hag’ follows a similar style, but you’ll be glad to learn that it’s even more intense. Slomatics have been building their reputation for some years now, and these tracks confirm their prominence. Their final song, ‘Monitors’ – probably my favourite on the whole EP, though I feel bad singling out one track – only pushes their reputation further. The music is almost trancelike, with a magnetic melodic element.

This split EP is dense and compelling. Both Ungraven and Slomatics impress with their conviction and integrity. The only down side is that approx. 31 minutes just isn’t enough. This is a very enjoyable starter, but it just makes me hunger for a full plate of whatever these two immense bands can serve up. Please sir, can I have some more?

TRACKLISTING:
01. Defeat The Object (Ungraven)
02. Onwards She Rides To A Certain Death (Ungraven)
03. Blackened Gates Of Eternity (Ungraven)
04. Kaän (Slomatics)
05. Proto Hag (Slomatics)
06. Monitors (Slomatics)

UNGRAVEN LINE-UP:
Jon Davis – Vocals
Tyler Hodges – Drums
David Ryley – Bass

SLOMATICS LINE-UP:
David – Guitars
Chris – Guitars
Marty – Drums, Vocals

UNGRAVEN LINKS:

SLOMATICS LINKS:

Ungraven & Slomatics Promo Pic (Slomatics pic credit Gerry Dollso)
(Slomatics pic credit Gerry Dollso)

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.

Barbarian Hermit – One Remastered

One Reissue Album Cover Art

Barbarian Hermit – One Remastered
APF Records
Release Date: 29/01/2021
Running time: 48:18
Review by Alun Jones
9.5/10

Writing these reviews for Ever Metal isn’t easy, you know. I’m sure I speak for the whole writing team when I say that we pour our heart and soul into all our prose. Each of us lives with the fear of the dreaded Writer’s Block, gnawing at our bones. So, I decided that my review of this reissue of the 2016 debut album by Barbarian Hermit, released by the mighty APF Records, would need some help.

But who could assist with such a task? Why none other than my old friend, Volkrugg the Decimator – barbarian warlord of Ages Long Forgotten. Of course: no-one is better qualified! And seeing as I’ve basically been a hermit for the last year, between us we should have it covered.

Take it away, Volkrugg…

“Greetings, people of the 21st Century! I am Volkrugg the Decimator – warlord of the Mist Realm, conqueror of the Thorspian cities, leader of the barbarian hordes of Vossk. My good friend, Al, has begged me for my musings concerning the recorded work of Barbarian Hermit, and lo – I shall render it unto thee with vicious glee!

“From the very start, these seven songs burst forth like an army of Ionian Thrask Vandals! They wield their war axes with vengeful power, surging down from the mountains on thundering hooves of hell. The brief respite of sometime calmer moods offer shelter from the maelstrom of war, yet always the majesty and power of conflict lurks temptingly!

“Verily, hearing these odes, I was mindful of my fallen brothers from glorious battles past – gone but ne’er forgotten, proudly drinking and brawling in Valhalla!”

There you go, I couldn’t have said it better myself. “One” is a great, sludgy, fuzzy celebration of relentless force and mesmerising intricacies. Both Volkrugg, his band of berserker warriors and myself are all big fans. You’d be a fool of mythic proportions to miss this album, and be warned – Volkrugg fed his last court jester to a tiger. Barbarian Hermit reviewed by a barbarian and a hermit – you can’t get a more honest opinion than that.

Through The Periscope Of The Deadly Sub (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Mermaid
02. Tigerhorse
03. Burn The Fire
04. Barbarian Enforcement Agency
05. Alma
06. Widowmaker
07. Through The Periscope Of The Deadly Sub (Bonus Track)

LINE-UP ON “ONE”:
Simon Scarlett – Vocals
Mike Regan – Guitars
Adam Robertshaw – Guitars
Chris Wood – Bass
Loz Brindley – Drums

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.

Wax Mekanix – Mobocracy

Mobocracy Album Cover Art

Wax Mekanix – Mobocracy
Electric Talon Records
Release Date: 20/11/2020
Running Time: 26:59
Review by Alun Jones
9/10

“Who the fuck is Wax Mekanix?” You may well ask. Who is this enigmatic troubadour, this mysterious master musician, who has concocted this art for us to absorb? Well, I’m not sure I can answer those questions, but I have done some research. A bit late, I know, as this album was first released back in November. But hey, I can’t be cutting edge all of the time. Sometimes a scribe such as I must admit that changes of seismic consequence occur without my usual omniscient vision. Hard to believe, I know.

And yet here we are. Six tracks of exploration and wonder that plough a beguiling path through musical genres, from classic hard rock to folky musings, with an added sprinkle of the unexpected and alternative.

If you want big full-on metal with groove, you’ll find it with ‘Blood In My Eyes’. Huge chants and choruses? Try the gladiatorial detonation of ‘Victorious’, where you’ll also witness Brandon Yeagley and Chris Bishop of the very awesome Crobot playing the funky, infectious riffs that they’re famed for.

Wax himself is something of a renaissance man: writing, singing and playing on all tracks. Possessing a voice that can change from a warm country croon to a caramel Maynard James Keenan earnestness to a classic Alice Cooper roar, Wax morphs easily from one to another. He’s like Mike Patton with a folk fixation, but dressed even more dapper.

‘Mad World’ is one of my favourite tracks here, starting off with some Mexican guitars before erupting in a NWOBHM stampede that also recalls The Crüe at their pop metal best.

The absolute highlight, though, is the final track ‘Black’. This song is all eerie acoustic guitar and minimal percussion, with a catchy melody that creates something hypnotic and other worldly. Despite also reminding me of Johnny Nice Painter form the Fast Show (do a Google) on the chorus, this song exudes atmosphere.

Although this album is a little short, there’s plenty to investigate. Listeners will be rewarded with additional revelations each time they delve into it.

When I first heard “Mobocracy”, I rated it as good. After a couple of listens, I’ve upgraded it to GREAT. A welcome amalgamation of styles and influences, as well as exemplary song writing and musicianship, don’t let the endeavours of Wax Mekanix pass you by. Who is Wax Mekanix? The real question should be: “What’s next?”

Speaking of wax, did I ever tell you about that time when Ozzy and I decided to do a séance with some candles he pilfered from some hippies? That did not end well. There’s a little B&B in Carlisle that still has scorch marks up the walls. Tony was not impressed in the slightest. And I still have a phobia of barbecues to this day.

‘Black’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blood In My Eyes
02. Victorious
03. All Freaks
04. Mad World
05. Ghostland
06. Black

LINE-UP
Wax Mekanix – Lead and Backing vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Drums, Percussion (Tracks 1-6)
Lectriq – Backing vocals, Percussion (Tracks 1-6)
Brandon Yeagley – Backing vocals (Tracks 1-6)
Chris Bishop – Electric & Acoustic Guitars (Tracks 2, 3, 6)
Tom Altman – Guitar, Bass (Tracks 1, 2 , 3, 5)
Wendell PoPs Sewell – Guitar, Bass (Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5)
John Hazel – Guitar, Bass (Track 4)
Raje Shwari – Backing vocals (Track 3)
M11SON – Backing vocals (Track 2)
Tommy Conwell – Backing vocals (Track 2)
Nataliya Odud – Backing vocals (Track 2)
Eli Goldman – Backing Vocals (Track 2)

LINKS:

Wax Mekanix Promo Pic

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.