It’s… Sungrazer

A Dutch band formed in 2009, Sungrazer are heavy and smooth like my brain. If you like Kyuss, you’ll like this…

http://WWW.SUNGRAZER.NL/

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OM: Concert Review

10 February 2013, I went to the Media Club in Vancouver to see OM. A friend of mine who’d seen them before said it had been a mind-blowing experience. After seeing them myself I can only agree.

OM play a heavy, rhythmic style of eastern-influenced music. The vocals are smooth but the bass is so thick that you could call it metal. In fact the bass is so enveloping that it takes the place of the guitar. Al Cisernos (of the band Sleep) is the founding member, bass player, and lead vocalist of Om. Seeing him perform live, like some mystical hunchback, I am utterly convinced that he is some sort of wizard.

All three members of OM play off each other in a seemingly formless, entrancing jam. Their songs usually have a simple theme that they explore to completion. The instruments, including the vocals, converse with one another, blend into one another. At one point I felt as though the rhythm was in tune with my pulse. I might have been terrified if I hadn’t been so completely under their spell. I couldn’t tell which song was which and I couldn’t tell you how much time went by. It was a timeless moment that was over all too soon.

After the show I seemed to be the only one crying for more. To no avail however- there was no encore. Before leaving I shook the hand of Robert Lowe (no relation to the Robert Lowe of Solitude Aeturnus). He played some crazy atmospheric keyboards, sometimes a guitar appeared in his hands as if by magic. He was also responsible for backing vocals: high-pitched tribal wails that surprised me when I realized they were coming out of his mouth.

I found myself in the slow-moving line at the merch-booth to buy their latest album “Advaitic Songs.” I also bought a shirt. I would’ve shaken each of the band-members hands had they appeared before me: Al Cisernos is a wizard and Emil Amos plays extremely tight drums while weaving the illusion of clumsiness. Robert Lowe was the only man who returned to the stage before I left. I shook his hand and said the only thing that came to mind: “That was really inspiring. I’m speechless.” He replied with a very genuine “thank you.” I had once thought to ask OM questions, but after hearing them play, I had no questions left to ask.

Such is the power of OM.

Album Review: Asteroid “II”

Asteroid – II (2010) Fuzzorama Records

Their first song I heard was ‘Time,’ the last song on this album. As soon as it passed through my ear canals I was mesmerized. I had known Witchcraft and Graveyard- I had my eye on retro-rock movements in Sweden- but Asteroid just blew me away.

This album “Asteroid II” comes three years after their 2007 debut. These three guys spill a unified sound involving thick bluesy riffs (think Kyuss) complimented by slower spacey grooves. The vocals stand out, remind me of Jim Morrison- if not quite Morrison they make up for it with strong vocal harmonies.

This album is potent, like their debut but with a bit more refinement. You owe it to yourself to listen to all the songs all the way through. The song ‘Lady’ for example, begins with a simple rumbling riff a la ZZ Top but halfway through it sinks into a relaxed star-filled-sky-atmosphere. It blends perfectly into the next track ‘Towers,’ which begins smoothly and rises into heavy riffage halfway through. This gives you a sense of this album’s flow and the thoughtful songwriting you will find here.

Asteroid breathe fire with relaxed ease. They take a classic blues-rock sound and push it in their own direction. From high perches of rock they plunge into the heavy deep of metal. Up from the dark shade of metal they float in the friendly reaches of rock n roll… Blast off. Rock on.

http://www.asteroid.se/

Album Review: Grand Magus “The Hunt”

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Grand Magus – The Hunt (2012) Nuclear Blast Records

Early this century… in the year 2001… Grand Magus served up a debut album so thick and frothy that gods licked their lips upon hearing it. Ten years after it was released… I heard it. And my EARS licked their lips! As I was listening to the the clear deep voice punch its way through meaty riffs and blazing solos, one of my ears shouted to the other: THIS IS ROCK N ROLL! To which the other replied: Yeah man.

The Hunt is their sixth LP. Gradually, throughout the course of those 11 years, Grand Magus seem to have shifted away from rockn bluesy licks to favour a more “epic” sound. Of all their albums, I hold their first in the highest regard. That being said, I put forward that “The Hunt” is an improvement over their previous album, “Hammer of the North” (2010).

Compared to Hammer of the North, the songs on The Hunt have more of a presence (to my ears at least). ‘Valhalla Rising’ is as catchy as colds are. Both ‘Silver Moon’ and the title track are solid as stone. The last track ‘Draksådd’ is a good example of bluesy and epic sounds coming together. And let’s not forget the epic two-part ‘Son of the Last Breath’ with its acoustic guitar/cello build-up to a climax featuring guest death metal vox from J. Hedlund (Unleashed). Epic ambience, varying dynamics, powerful melodies. Great stuff. Grand Magus always do well with the less-is-more approach: simple, memorable songs with a huge sound executed by a modest three-man unit. But Son of the Last Breath is not a product of less-is-more. It’s all in. And I like it. It leads nicely into the next song, Iron Hand, which is a more straightforward affair.

Overall the album holds together nicely. The Hunt has some grand-sounding songs, perhaps less bluesy than some of their past works, but still dancing between bluesy riffs and epic melodies. My mind keeps looking for criticisms but my ears offer only approval (and it’s them I have to listen to). Rock on Grand Magus!

Look! http://www.grandmagus.com/

Introduction

Long ago I heard the gods speak. They said “Listen… to METAL.” And I did. In this music I heard the shrieking wind and the roaring thunder, the heat of the volcano and the coolness of the frozen north.  Thus I was satisfied and I thanked the gods. They said “thank us not, but share your insight with your fellow mortals.” I vowed to fulfill their wishes. So, in as few words as my lowly skills allow, I shall chronicle my musings, lessons, reviews, and share with you, dear reader, a love for the glorious branch of rock n roll that is HEAVY METAL. Rock on, dear readers… rock on.