Sonic Taboo – Sonic Taboo

Sonic Taboo Album Cover Art

Sonic Taboo – Sonic Taboo
Interstellar Smoke Records
Release Date: 18/12/2020
Running Time: 34:30
Review by Tsarina Wilson
7/10

When I write a review, I like to listen to the first few tracks before reading anything about the band. I like not knowing what to expect from the music, and to have no influences to begin with. And the self-titled release from American band, Sonic Taboo, was no exception to this unwritten rule of my reviews. Does this tactic work? Well, that’s a matter of opinion. It does for me, so I’ll stick to it.

So, who are Sonic Taboo? Well, now I’ve read up on them, I can tell you that they’re an instrumental trio who hail from New York, and are influenced by the motorcycle/skateboard culture. This album was originally released in June 2020, on digital platforms. Then in October they teamed up with Interstellar Smoke Records, for it to be released on vinyl in December 2020, along with an exclusive DVD “Live at Lockdown, NY 2020”.

So, back to my blind listen. Here’s how it went, and what I thought. As the first track played, I found myself thinking ‘hmm, ok…slowish intro, but I’m sure it will boom into something any minute.’ But, as anyone who has heard this album may already be aware, that doesn’t happen. It was a bit surprising, but logic told me it would kick in for the next track. Track two was still a little confusing, as it was like several lines of music being played over and over with subtle changes.

By track three I was in the realms of “okay, not at all what I was expecting”! This track was like being at a hippy/blues/rock fuelled gig, and almost puts the whole album into a genre of its own. Hey, who knows, maybe they’ll start a whole new precedent within the music world with a completely new category! But please don’t get me wrong here.

Although I found it weird, I’m not taking anything away from the fact that these three guys are very good musicians. Paulo Cassio on guitar, Fernando Menechelli on bass, and Andre Deko on drums have much talent. From the grungy guitars with gnarled tendencies, down to the deep almost soul hitting bass, they have definitely got it, even if I’m not great at defining what ‘it’ is!

And it would seem I’m not on my own in this opinion. They’ve gained many followers and built themselves a niche all of their own, reaching some fairly impressive heights, with appearances on various youtube channels, and blogs, and a number one spot for sales in the “instrumental rock” category on Bandcamp, in the first month of release. If this doesn’t say something about the trio’s abilities, then I don’t know what does.

They are starting a revolution all of their own, and that really comes through on the album. It’s up to you if you choose to follow them. All I can say is, it’s confusing, but it’s good.

‘Emotional Haze’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Mars
02. Valley Of Dolls
03. Emotional Haze
04. Sadistic Twist
05. Planet Terror
06. Fogbow
07. Black Chopper
08. 1 Down 5 Up
09. When Silence
10. Fun Stuff
11. Tight Squeeze

LINE-UP:
Paulo Cassio-Guitar
Fernando Menechelli-Bass
Andre Deko-Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

Misty Grey – Chapter II

Misty Grey Chapter II cover art

Misty Grey – Chapter II
Interstellar Smoke Records
Release Date: 20 November 2020
Running Time: 37:51
Review by Alun Jones
9/10

Can you think of a more apt genre than doom metal for the times we live in? It’s crazy out there. From a global pandemic, civil unrest, ecological destruction and lunatics on the most powerful seats in the world, the 21st century becomes more and more apocalyptic day by day. Party music doesn’t seem right. On the other hand, the retro stylings of bands like Misty Grey hark back to cosier times of the seventies and eighties when we just had nuclear destruction – and yet more lunatics in power – to contend with.

Misty Grey is not the name of a US mattress actress (don’t bother Googling it, just in case), they are in fact a four-piece doom metal band from Spain. They deal in extremely authentic, good old fashioned heavy rock in the Black Sabbath/Pentagram/Saint Vitus vein. We’re in thundering, enormo riff territory, and by ‘eck it’s good stuff.

Originally receiving a CD release back in 2018, “Chapter II” is now available on vinyl from Interstellar Smoke Records. And a very welcome re-release it is, as “Chapter II” could well have been lost in an Atlantean cataclysm of some type, which would be shameful.

Deceptively pretty Spanish guitar opens the album with a laid-back space-jazz feel, before ‘Spellbound’ erupts with Juan’s raw, grinding guitar. The chugging riff is illustrative of what to expect from this album; it’s Iommi worship all the way (and bless Misty Grey for it).

If that first track is the first Sabbath album, ‘Strangers On A Train’ is a missing Masters of Reality cut. It rolls and grooves along, powered by Robin’s bass and Javi’s drums. On the other hand, ‘Rebecca’ is more like The Obsessed or Saint Vitus, there’s a rough, organic, yet aggressive feel to it.

The musicianship is great, the production has atmosphere and pays homage in a credible, affectionate manner to the band’s influences – without becoming a parody. The vocals of Beatriz Castillo really help define an individual sound for Misty Grey, she is both tender and terrifying in equal, devastating measure.

I apologise to the band for my crass comparisons to the old masters. But hey, I don’t listen to this type of music for radical innovation. The last thing anyone wants to hear is some kind of nu-doom, with samplers and turntables. Keep it slow, keep it weird, keep it trippy – but most of all, keep it riffy. Heavy, repetitive and riffy. Misty Grey do just that on “Chapter II” and it’s all kinds of awesome.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Spellbound
02. Strangers on a Train
03. Psycho Vox
04. Rebecca
05. Frenzy
06. The Wrong Man
07. Among the Dead

LINE-UP:
Juan – Guitar
Javi – Drums
Robin – Bass
Beatriz Castillo – Vocals

LINKS:

Check out our EMQ’s interview with Misty Grey

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.