The Goners – Good Mourning

The Goners – Good Mourning
RidingEasy Records
Release Date: 13/03/2020
Running Time: 41:37
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

This little beauty threw off it’s shackles and ran for the hills, almost without me noticing. I’m blaming the societal breakdown caused by Corona virus, obviously not an oversight on my part. No, sir. “Good Mourning” – the debut album from The Goners – was released back in March 2020; just before the world turned into a 1970’s Charlton Heston dystopian sci-fi movie.

The Goners are comprised of Nate Gone – formerly of Salem’s Pot – on vocals, with four dudes from Swedish rock band Yvonne. “Good Mourning” is a throw-back to zoned-out good times and bizarro occult rock, with absolutely no regret the morning after.

First song ‘Are You Gone Yet’ sets the pace nicely: fuzzy 60’s garage rock with a proto metal ferocity. With the next track, ‘High, Low And Never In Between’, the Goners throw in more of their other specialty – 70’s doom with groovy, care-free freak outs.

Wonderfully out of time, this retro feast also sounds totally now. You can throw this on your portable music system and liven up any social gathering (so long as you stay far enough apart). Press play and jump around all crazy-style to ‘Evil (Is Not Enough)’ and ‘The Little Blue’ – this is Black Sabbath if they were a Stones cover band.

Plus – and this seals the deal – a couple of fine, desert bleached songs in ‘Good Ol’ Death’ and ‘Dead In The Saddle’ that rattle with a dread atmosphere. Absolutely essential for your next David Lynch/rockabilly/goth themed horror party.

“Good Mourning” by The Goners, then: if you’re a werewolf biker trapped in a cursed world you never made, but like to let your scraggy hair down with chicks from a Russ Meyer movie – this is for you. Great cover art, too.

I’ve thought I was a goner myself, on a few occasions: most of them involving my old mucker Ozzy Osbourne. One time, we were drinking in a golf club in LA and got thrown out, as you can imagine.  So, Ozzy decided to go for a joyride in a golf buggy, with me on shotgun. He was flooring it, but we were only going at a jogging pace, so the golfers soon caught us up and were ready to brain us with their hitty-stick things.

All of a sudden, Oz drove the buggy over a hill and we toppled into a sand dune (bunker?). We were lucky we were thrown clear and the buggy just managed to avoid crushing the pair of us. The golfers took pity and consoled us with a nice brandy in the clubhouse. Till the cops turned up, and dragged Ozzy and me off to jail. The whole time, we were both wearing Sharon’s dresses.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Are You Gone Yet
02. High, Low and Never In Between
03. World Of Decay
04. Evil (Is Not Enough)
05. Good Ol’ Death
06. The Sickening
07. Down and Out
08. You Better Run
09. The Little Blue
10 Dead In The Saddle (Dead Moon)

LINE-UP:
Nate Gone
Mick Dagger
Vic Odin
Timo Tinto
Grave Dave

LINKS:
www.thegonestgoners.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/thegonestgoners/
www.instagram.com/thegonestgoners/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/6Sm7cJ4MVMohAkynq7uEhS
www.ridingeasyrecs.com/

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.

Firewind – Firewind

Firewind – Firewind
AFM Records
Release Date: 15/05/2020
Running time: 47:27
Review by Alun Jones
7.5/10

We all make mistakes. Some of us blunder all the time, and the consequence of those slip-ups can be catastrophic. And some of us don’t like to admit when we’re wrong.

Confession time: I volunteered to review this Firewind album because I got them mixed up with another band with “fire” in the name (or possibly a couple). I was slightly mortified when I realised that this band weren’t what I was expecting: none of the sludgy comfort blanket that I usually wrap my ears in.

(I did wonder why Alun picked this but as Firewind are superb and contain a bona fide guitar god in Gus G then I decided not to mention it – Rick-Ed)

Firewind are – Zeus help me – a melodic, power metal band. Not a corner of metal that I’m particularly well versed in, or a fan of. I fucking hate Helloween, for a start. And Queensrÿche. And fucking Europe. This was going to be a challenge.

Yet your old pal Al is nothing if not a trooper. They’re (partially) Greek, which intrigued me being a huge fan of the country. I plunged into this assignment with an open mind – and do you know what? This isn’t bad at all. In fact, I quite enjoyed it.

Opening track ‘Welcome To The Empire’ begins with some fine acoustic guitar before erupting into a big, bombastic rock monster. It is, like most of the album, totally over the top – but also loads of fist pumping fun. This ain’t pop music. It’s fast and powerful (see ‘Devour’), and while not quite as brutal as my usual preferences, packs a mighty wallop.

The musicianship is exemplary. Guitar genius Gus G has plenty of flair, but can throw out some crushing, crunchy riffs when required: ‘Rising Fire’ and ‘Space Cowboy’ being  two great examples. Fast, flashy solos ain’t my scene, but there’s plenty of chugging metal to keep me interested.

The rhythm section – Petros Christo (bass) and Jo Nunez (drums) go beyond textbook and play excellently throughout the album. Give ‘Orbitual Sunrise’ and ‘Overdrive’ a go for evidence…

Vocals provided by new singer Herbie Langhans are dramatic, in a typically Teutonic fashion. This guy is straight out of a Wagnerian epic; despite being somewhat more operatic than I’m used to, he can certainly belt it out. On every single song.

Sorry to disappoint any readers who thought they might actually read a less than positive review from yours truly. Firewind isn’t my usual cup of absinthe with opium chaser, but I found it very easy to appreciate. This album is well played, well written, well produced and delivered with some love and pride – all of which manages to steer this album away from trite cliché.

Metal wearing its heart on its sleeve and with a refreshing honesty, I just couldn’t bring myself to hate Firewind. If I can dig it, then fans of this genre will love it.

(Rick again! Alun gets bonus points for actually really liking this, after all, it is a great album but I’m going to have to talk to him about his dislike of Helloween and Queensrÿche…tut tut Mr. Jones) 😊

TRACKLISTING:
01. Welcome To The Empire
02. Devour
03. Rising Fire
04. Break Away
05. Orbitual Sunrise
06. Longing To Know You
07. Perfect Stranger
08. Overdrive
09. All My Life
10. Space Cowboy
11. Kill The Pain

LINE-UP:
Gus G – Guitar
Herbie Langhans – Vocals
Petro Christo – Bass
Jo Nunez – Drums

LINKS:
www.firewind.gr/
www.facebook.com/firewindofficial
www.twitter.com/firewindmusic
www.instagram.com/firewindofficial/
www.youtube.com/firetv
www.afm-records.de/en/

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.

EMQ’s With Alun Jones

EMQ’s With Alun Jones

What is your name, what do you do, and can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

My name’s Alun, AKA Platinum Al. I write some reviews for Ever Metal, which came about through meeting Rick and Beth at Pentre Fest a while back.  “I can write!” I lied, and they’ve been too kind to bin me off ever since.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

North Wales in the UK. We seem to be a bit out in the wilderness to the outsider, but thankfully there are a few venues that put good bands on in Chester and Wrexham (both nearby) and of course, the good old Tivoli in Buckley (just up the road). Liverpool and Manchester are both accessible.  The big win for us though is Pentre Fest – and all the other events that North East Wales Metal Productions put on. It’s introduced me to loads of new music and it’s right on my doorstep.

What is your favourite latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Desert Storm’s “Omens” on APF Records is album of the year so far. Beyond that, I’m still reeling from the wonder of Giant Dwarf’s self-titled master piece, my album of 2019.

Who have been your greatest influences, in music or in life?

George Lucas, for Star Wars – which influenced me more than anything since I was five years old.  Stan Lee and Marvel comics have also been a big inspiration. Skateboarding in general has opened my eyes and ears to the wonder of the world since my teens.

In music, there’s dozens: Johnny Cash, Motorhead, AC/DC, Ramones, the Damned, The Misfits, Black Sabbath, The Cult, Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Monster Magnet, COC, Melvins, Jimi Hendrix etc etc.

What first got you into music?

I listened to the Star Wars soundtrack first of all; it still has an amazing emotional response on me even now. The next big development was seeing the film Highlander, which I loved.  A friend of mine recommended the Queen album “A Kind Of Magic” as it featured several songs from the film, and it’s been downhill from there. Thankfully, through skateboarding I was introduced to music that was a bit off the beaten track, shall we say.

Which current bands or musicians would you like to see collaborate on a record?

Good question!  How about Shakin’ Stevens – the Welsh Elvis – fronting the Misfits? Danzig can write the songs.

If you could go to any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Pentre Fest!

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

I have some pretty weird vinyl in my collection, like Roland Rat, the Wurzels and an album called “How to Strip for Your Husband”. Oh, and a Joan Collins work out record.

If you had one message for your Ever Metal readers, what would it be?

Never ever bloody anything ever.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

So many greats to choose from (sadly). I’ll nominate my old mate Lemmy, as I probably embarrassed myself when I met him by talking bollocks.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Stop developing new formats – you lied to us about CDs when vinyl was the ultimate. There are some albums I own on vinyl, tape, CD and download – and I’ve had to buy every single one. Can we all just agree to not buy whatever new garbage format they try and lumber us with in the future?

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols”.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Vinyl, obviously!

What’s the best gig that you have been to, and why?

Black Sabbath at Birmingham Genting Arena on their “The End” tour is up there.

What do you get up to when you’re not writing/ taking photos?

Working the day job and being a dad mostly. Then listening to music, skateboarding, riding my bike, watching old Hammer horror movies, collecting toys, drinking beer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Sir Christopher Lee, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Joey Ramone and Lemmy.

If they have to be alive, then James Hetfield, Glenn Danzig, Dave Vanian, Henry Rollins and pro skateboarder Mike Vallely.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I don’t know, but I had cherry ones in Greece and they were amazing!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Just thanks for giving me the opportunity to flaunt my massive ego by doing an interview, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do! HAHA!

Oh, and to the readers of Ever Metal: thanks for reading, and never forget that we are fans just like you and we do this for the love of the music. Never say die!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip
RidingEasy Records
Release date: 26/06/2020
Running time: 32:33
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

Between me and you, I’ve been wondering when this series of proto metal/heavy psyche long-lost artifacts would start to go off the boil. This is the tenth instalment now, and any listener could be forgiven for thinking that maybe, the well might run dry. That the party is over, the acid has worn off, and the hippies have traded in their kaftans for the last time. I mean, how much of these rare, forgotten nuggets can there be left, for the rock’n’roll gravediggers at RidingEasy Records/Permanent Records LA to exhume?

Well pardon me for being a fanboy, but the Brown Acid trip is far from over. In fact, this could be my favourite volume so far.

Yes, it’s more of the same: fuzzy, psychedelic late 60’s/early 70’s heavy rock; somehow cast aside for around fifty years, waiting to be rediscovered. Gems that pre-date and redefine the genealogical development of metal and hard rock; throwing the long-standing theories of origin into dispute like some musical Antikythera mechanism. But this time, if anything, the tunes are better than ever.

Here we have Sounds Synonymous with ‘Tensions’, a fuzz-rock monster with a ‘Wild Thing’ feel and washes of freaky organ not a million miles removed from Steppenwolf. Witness also the wonder of ‘Never Again’ from Ralph Williams and the Wright Brothers, melding melodic vocals with an ‘American Woman’ style desert rock vibe. ‘Babylon’ by Conception rolls with some funky, Hendrix-like riffs and a great pop sensibility, not to mention a fabulous bluesy instrumental section.

Bitter Creek deliver ‘Plastic Thunder’, which has a Who meets Stooges aggressive sound. On ‘Mr. Sun’, First State Bank (rad name!) provide a Mountain-covering-the-Kinks lesson in far-out groovery. Then there’s Brothers and One with the saucily titled ‘Hard On Me’, which has a little Hawkwind on a road to Maiden’s ‘Running Free’.

Probably the best track is ‘The Roach’, by The Brood (another quality name). It’s a MC5/Sabbath garage rocker with apocalyptic horns and keys, heralding the end of peace and love and the arrival of the age of doom.

Freaky, fuzzy and far-out: that’s the latest edition of Brown Acid. If you’re late to the party, jump on the magic bus right now and let your hair down. Signs are this festival is gonna run and run.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sounds Synonymous – Tensions
02. Ralph Williams and the Wright Brothers – Never Again
03. Conception – Babylon
04. Bitter Creek – Plastic Thunder
05. The Rubber Memory – All Together
06. First State Bank – Mr Sun
07. Brothers & One – Hard On Me
08. Frozen Sun – Electric Soul
09. The Brood – The Roach
10. Tabernash – Head Collect

LINKS:
www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
www.ridingeasyrecords.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords
www.twitter.com/EasyRiderRecord
www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCfcKvfj8ei5GD2YVtLYhaoQ

www.permanentrecordsla.com
www.facebook.com/permanentrecordsla/
www.instagram.com/permanentrecordsla/

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.

Son of Boar – Stoned Wail Single

Son of Boar – Stoned Wail Single
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Running Time: 17:39
Review by Alun Jones
9/10

Singles don’t often get reviewed here at Ever Metal, purely because there’s so damn many of them. They just can’t compete with the album reviews. But rules are made to be broken, and this release from Son of Boar demanded some attention. Having witnessed the live onslaught of this band at Pentre Fest earlier this year, Son of Boar have risen on to my personal favourites list, and I’m damn near rabid for any new material.

Waves crash as a mesmeric bass begins to chime, creating a deceptively ambient vibe. Guitars and drums warm the sound as the band slowly build momentum. They’re in no rush, but when the main riff kicks in, it’s worth the wait. Luke’s vocals roar and the song rises like a leviathan from the depths. ‘Stoned Wail’ is 9 minutes of powerful, groove laden doom rhythms: thundering bass, churning guitars and crashing drums. This fisherman’s tale is indeed a whopper of humungous proportions.

With two additional live tracks (‘Outlet’ and the boogie influenced ‘The Weekend’), this is a great introductory package to a band destined for big things. ‘Stoned Wail’ is taken from the forthcoming debut album, which, to be honest, I’m shitting my shoes off in anticipation for. TUSKS UP!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Stoned Wail
02. Outlet (Live)
03. The Weekend (Live)

LINE-UP:
Luke Oliver – Vocals
Adam Waddell – Guitar
Lyndon Birchall – Guitar
Gaz Bates – Bass
Luke Doran – Drums

LINKS:
www.sonofboar.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/SonOBoar
www.twitter.com/Son_Of_Boar
www.instagram.com/son_of_boar/
www.youtube.com/channel/UC1YKTfwlyEpZfmjqNyTF5Dg

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.

Desert Storm – Omens

Desert Storm – Omens
APF Records
Release Date: 01/05/2020
Running Time: 39:46
Review by Alun Jones
9.5/10

Put your feet up, relax – pour yourself a drink and take the weight off your feet. All you need to do is chill – I’ve already done the hard work. I’ve found your new favourite band: they’re called Desert Storm, and their latest album has just been released by APF records.

If you’re new to the name, Desert Storm are from merry old Oxford; and since forming in 2007, have been building their following formidably. They’ve appeared at major rock festivals; plus supported and toured with some personal heroes of mine (Corrosion of Conformity, The Atomic Bitchwax amongst others). I saw Desert Storm a few years ago supporting the mighty Karma to Burn; they managed to steal the show from the headliners, as far as I was concerned.

Opening with a sombre, haunting spoken word piece, “Omens” proceeds to take the listener on a journey that is powerful, yet also introspective. It’s an otherworldly trip that’s both visceral and immediate, but also demands greater exploration.

‘Black Bile’ demonstrates the strategy perfectly: heavy, grinding and relentless – with moments of melody that blend into the whole without jarring. In absolute basics, this is the sludge of Down combined with the aspirational progressiveness of Mastodon. Thudding, head banging riffs adorn ‘Vengeful Gods’, but there’s also an almost Morricone-like cinematic sensation as the song develops and grows.

At times anthemic, there are also magnificently effective sections of the songs that contrast beautifully with the hard driving doom metal.  ‘Pain, Grief And Suffering’ features an extended mid-section that is beguilingly serene. When the heavy re-enters, it’s all the more neck-breakingly persuasive. Throw in a captivating solo and you’re on to a highlight.

‘The Path Of Most Resistance’ builds from humble beginnings to a massive groove riff of Sabbathian splendour; whilst ‘Lockjaw’ is short and brutal. This leads us to the final track, ‘Rebirth’: a masterpiece that is heavy only in sentiment. What a song. Despite a medieval vibe, it’s the ideal soundtrack to spin whilst driving through the desert in a stolen Dodge Challenger as the sun sets, with Smokey on your tail.

Every song on “Omens” can be enjoyed on its own merits, but as a whole plays as a genuine compendium that the listener can enjoy from start to finish. I knew Desert Storm were good, but I didn’t expect them to have grown so much. Or deliver a new album with so much scope. Here’s a British band that could step up into national – and then international – consciousness. They just need your support. Do it. I’m off to buy the vinyl version.

Talking about deserts – did I tell you about that infamous escapade on one of my legendary soul-searching soirees into the Mojave? I crept into my usual cave to seek shelter, only to encounter Jim bloody Morrison hogging it. He was out of his gourd on peyote and mumbling about Aldous Huxley or some such. There was no way I could meditate with that loon around, so I threw him out. Break through that to the other side, Jimbo! My Yaqui shaman and I needed the space to contact Atlantis.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Omens
02. Black Bile
03. Vengeful Gods
04. Pain, Grief and Suffering
05. The Path Of Most Resistance
06. The Machine
07. Lockjaw
08. Rebirth

LINE-UP:
Chris White – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Ryan Cole – Guitar
Chris Benoist – Bass
Elliot Cole – Drums
Matthew Ryan – Vocals

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/desertstormuk/
www.desertstorm.bandcamp.com/
www.twitter.com/desertstormuk
www.instagram.com/desertstormuk/
www.facebook.com/apfrecords/
www.apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
www.apfrecords.co.uk/

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.

Dozer – Re-issues

Dozer – Re-issues
In The Tail Of A Comet/Madre de Dios/Call It Conspiracy
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release date: March 2020
Running time: 35:06/37:34/53:18
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10
9/10
9.5/10

Don’t you just love it when you find a new band to obsess about? Music so awesome, so perfect that it just lights up your life. Well, Dozer have filled that gap in my existence recently – I can’t believe how I endured without them before. Though these three albums are all reissues from the early part of the 21st century, so fuck knows what I’ve been up to for the last 20 years. Seriously, what was I doing back then that meant I missed out on this?

Hailing from the wonderful land of Sweden, a place which must have some kind of genetic master code for musical excellence, Dozer are a mighty stoner rock collective delivering heavy, intense and groove laden tunes. I don’t know how or why the Swedes are so good at this – is it the long, dark winter isolation? The never-ending day light in summer? Agnetha Falkstog’s tight pants? There’s something magical happening there, that’s for sure.

Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds have done the world a remarkable, philanthropic favour by re-issuing these three albums by the band. And, praise Tony Iommi, on beautiful, sexy vinyl too. This really is a wondrous, benevolent gift to bestow upon us. 

So, what does the music sound like, you ask (at least you do if, like me, you were clueless enough to be unaware of Dozer previously)? First album 2000’s “In The Tail Of A Comet” (8.5/10) erupts into beautiful, head nodding, rolling riffs from the off. Layers of fuzzy, psychedelic invention and heavy rhythms usher us into their world. A particular highlight is the finale, ‘High Roller’, where although the band take their foot off the gas a little, they create a trippy, vast soundscape to get lost in.

Nay-sayers may choose to point out Dozer’s obvious similarity to Kyuss; hell, even singer Fredrik Nordin sounds like a carbon copy John Garcia. With their second album, 2001’s “Madre de Dios” (9/10), that influence becomes less pronounced as their own creativity develops. This second album seems more brutal, more aggressive. It doesn’t take long, however, to reveal more textures and experiments with the formula – see ‘Earth Yeti’. Album number two is a faster, heavier, punkier version of Dozer – yet still expanding on the desert rock template.

By the time we get to the final album of this reissued trio – 2003’s immense “Call It Conspiracy” (9.5/10) – Dozer have developed their own sound and personality yet further. The Kyuss/FU Manchu influence is still there, but Dozer have grown into something of their own. This album is the heaviest, most “metal” work – but still creative as it stretches those stoner boundaries into new, warped shapes. Whether it’s full throttle rock’n’roll with lead track ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ or groove laden head-nodder ‘Man Made Mountain’, there’s much to explore here.

Gushing praise, indeed: but if you, dear reader, are a fan of the crushing riffs, unrestrained groove and sonic washes of stoner/desert rock – these Dozer albums are highly recommended. Tune in, turn on and explore these revived classics now.

TRACKLISTINGS:

In The Tail Of A Comet (2000):
01. Supersoul
02. Lightyears Ahead
03. Speeder
04. Inside The Falcon
05. Riding The Machine
06. Cupola
07. Grand Dragon
08. Captain Spaceheart
09. High Roller

Madre de Dios (2001):
01. Let The Shit Roll
02. Freeloader
03. Soulshigh
04. Octanoid
05. Earth Yeti
06. Full Circle
07. Mono Impact
08. Early Grace
09. TX-9
10. Thunderbolt

Call it Conspiracy (2003):
01. Hills Have Eyes
02. Rising
03. Feelgood Formula
04. The Exit
05. Spirit Fury Fire
06. A Matter of Time
07. Man Made Mountain
08. Way to Redemption
09. Crimson Highway
10. Black Light Revolution
11. Glorified
12. Lightning Stalker

LINE-UP
Tommi Holappa – Guitar
Fredrik Nordin – Guitar/Vox
Johan Rockner – Bass
Olle Mårthans – Drums

LINKS:
www.dozermusic.com/
www.facebook.com/dozerband
www.instagram.com/dozer_band/
www.lo-fi-merchandise.com/band/dozer/
www.spotify.com/artist/57VFYrmiB0eCM2qXZmV96N
www.youtube.com/user/wwwdozermusiccom
www.heavypsychsounds.com/
www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

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.

Randy Holden – Population II

Randy Holden – Population II
RidingEasy Records
Release date: 28/02/2020 (Delayed Due to Covid-19, New Date Soon)
Running time: 30:25
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

First of all, an important note for all readers: Randy Holden is NOT the name of a winning hand in strip poker. I used the phrase at a recent gathering at my Rock’n’Roll Naturist Society club, and nearly got a bunch of fives from Ozzy as a thank you. Tommy Lee was up for it though, as you can probably imagine.

Anyway, Randy Holden is actually a guitar pioneer who served some time with proto-metal giants Blue Cheer, before splitting to take the helm of his own project.  Population II was the result – a far ahead of it’s time Big Bang of doom and sludge metal.  

Originally receiving a limited release in 1969, this album has earned cult status with afficionados of early heavy rock. And it’s no surprise why; “Population II” is a huge sounding, riff driven behemoth that sounds like it simply can’t have been created in that time period.

But it was! The era that popular culture tells us was the age of peace and love also birthed this unholy slab of heavy noise. Randy Holden, like his previous bandmates in Blue Cheer, was happily stomping all over flower power.

Of course, “Population II” is totally over the top. ‘Guitar Song’ is the first track, featuring the somewhat unimaginative opening line “I love the sound of a guitar playing” – so no marks for lyrical finesse.  If you’re after poetry, this probably ain’t for you. Instead it’s six minutes of slow, heavy driving riff-based rock that sets the tone for the album.

‘Fruit Icebergs’ is an outstanding name for any song; in fact, I might steal it for a band name. Slow like cooling lava, with a doom-laden melancholic sound – It’s dark in a Sabbath way. Whereas the shorter ‘Between Time’ picks up the pace a little and borrows a chorus from ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

‘Blue My Mind’ is less gloomy, but certainly taps into the blues with a hint of Hendrix. The final song, ‘Keeper Of My Flame’ is over 10 minutes of pulsating, repetitive riff wrestling that doesn’t out stay it’s welcome. Ol’ Randy stretches for the epic here and pretty much nails it, strangling that guitar and taking the listener on a heroic journey.

Yet another history lesson for which we can thank the scholars at Riding Easy Records, Randy Holden’s “Population II” is back in circulation and worth taking time to investigate. You’ll wonder how this was lost for so long.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Guitar Song
02. Fruit Icebergs
03. Between Time
04. Fruit Icebergs (Conclusion)
05. Blue My Mind
06. Keeper of my Flame

LINKS:
www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
www.ridingeasyrecords.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords
twitter.com/EasyRiderRecord
www.youtube.com/channel/UCfcKvfj8ei5GD2YVtLYhaoQ
www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/

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.