Pick of the Week: THE HEAVY COMPANY ‘Uno Dose’

I really hate it when people say there aren’t good rock bands anymore.  Of course you’re not gonna hear any on the radio, you gotta dig deeper  than that. If people would just open their eyes, they might find something right in front of them. I know I have. Right here in my town of Indianapolis, I have discovered The Heavy Company. Sitting somewhere between stoner and psychedelic rock - and full on blues - these three guys take me back to the era of rock ‘n’ roll bands doing what they wanted to do. That’s what being in a rock and roll band was all about. The Heavy Company are everything that captures that spirit of authentic rock ‘n’ roll: loose guitar parts that speak for themselves, with effects utilized at the most ideal moments, instead of hiding behind them like so many bands do. The music is harmonious and coherent. It feels very natural and is full of soul. Light one up, they’re called THC for a reason.

The Heavy Company ~ Uno Dose (released June 19th, 2014)

  1. The Humboldt Country Waltz (3:22)
  2. What’s eating Harry Lee? (4:48)
  3. One Big Drag (7:16)
  4. El Perdedor (3:37)
  5. State Flag Blues (6:29)
  6. New Song To Sing (5:26)

I just received their new cassette, Uno Dose directly from guitarist and singer Ian Gerber himself. No worries if aren’t digging the tape thing, you can download it from their Bandcamp page. For those who are well acquainted with The Heavy Company, the first song will greet in a manner of familiarity. You may notice that this song “The Humboldt Country Waltz” was the first track in their previous record “The Midwest Electric.” For those who haven’t heard this one, it has a pretty classic stoner rock feel to it and it’s a good opener. Continue on listening to “What’s Eating Harry Lee?” for fat grooves and heavy riffs. THC ends side A with “One Big Drag.” Catchy as hell, this song is more heavy on the psychedelia and is the epitome of a track to burn one to. Ian’s voice is warm and sincere and the music is full of unforgettable rhythm. Also worth noting, this track was on their previous record as well. These three tracks are so groovy and reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s that something feels so natural about flipping the tape to hear the rest.

As much as i love the contrast between riffy stoner rock and misty psychedelia, side B has The Heavy Company in full-on blues mode and I find these three songs more  memorable. “El Perdedor” is one of the most enjoyable tunes on the cassette. This song conveys a very natural blues vibe - spontaneous and unpretentious. There’s even some country twang in this one; it’s not overwhelming, so I don’t mind.  The next song “State Flag Blues” is definitely my favorite. Recognize that signature guitar slide? You better, it’s Pat Harrington from Geezer (you know, not your daddy’s blues band). Not surprising in the least, Pat does an exceptional job adding more texture to the song, giving it an intelligent and sophisticated feel. “New Song To Sing” ends the cassette, sounding precisely like something from before my time,  a peculiar and eccentric time I wish I could have experienced.  I can’t help but think that this is blues that Hendrix would be crafting if he were still with us today.

The one thing that makes this album what is, is the amount of heart that’s been put into it. It’s not the most polished thing we’ve ever heard - in fact, it’s far from flawless, but it’s exactly what they wanted it to be. It’s a half hour of freely written guitar jams and a voice that’s an exemplary counterpart for the music. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was all purely improvised. That’s really what makes it so fascinating and alluring. Go ahead and burn some incense, dust off your lava lamp and light one up. Uno Dose of THC is gonna take you on a ride.

-Melissa-

Day of the Shred Fest, taking place November 1st in Santa Ana, California and featuring the first ever West Coast appearance of Chicago’s own Bongripper!  Doomed & Stoned will be sending someone there to cover the festival, including interviews already set up with Windhand and All Them Witches. Keep it right here for more festival coverage across the country, including our in-depth coverage of Destroyer Fest on November 15th!

Frank Huang at Pit Full of Shit was at Southwest Terror Fest III this weekend to document the triumphant return of Goatsnake on October 17th, 2014. Here’s their full set (thanks, Frank!).

Pick of the Week: EREMITE ‘All Things Merge Into One’

Eremite ~ All Things Merge Into One (Oct 7th 2014 - Taxi Driver Records)

  1. Awareness 7:40
  2. The Past Became My Future 10:30
  3. Tormento 2:38
  4. Drift Away 9:33
  5. Bowing to the Mountain 3:20
  6. So Distant 2:41

When I think of doom-related qualities, i think of Italy. It’s not something i can exactly put my finger on.  Maybe it’s the gothic architecture. Upon my first gaze of the Siena Cathedral, I’m sure the spirit of doom could dwell inside despite it being a church. Maybe it’s the history of Italy itself - the warfare that occurred in the middle ages depicted a picture of downfall and ruination. We can’t ignore the tumultuous history of both the Roman Empire (and its collapse) and the stern hand of the Roman Catholic Church. Gather all these pieces and Italy is the perfect environment for doom to flourish. 

Let’s not forget that a lot of italians have taken advantage of their locale to create something beautiful, as well.  Italian doom bands seem to be more poetic than doom bands elsewhere. Perhaps they aren’t poetic in the conventional way of thinking, but these bands express some real emotion. From Abysmal Grief with their unique funeral doom sound, the heavy epic sound of Doomsword and the dark, heavy meanderings of Bretus to newer faces like Krownn and Black Capricorn—and even the thick, psychedelic haze of Ufomammut—at the core of Italian doom metal, there is something very profound going on. 

Today, our journey to the boot-shaped country takes us to Genoa, where the heavy blackened doom-sludge band Eremite resides. Eremite are chaotic and not for the timid.  However, those who have survived their own personal hells might find remarkable consolation in Eremite’s new album All Things Merge Into One. This is metal that rages for the broken in spirit. 

The first thing that anyone will likely say about the new record (their second album) is how big the sound is. For a solo project that became a duo (and a trio for live shows), the band has always sounded like it was composed of five pieces, not two. When I listen to the massive, ferocious sonic tapestry of Ermite, I feel insignificant in comparison. I’m a tiny ship in the ocean and the waves that crash into me are the vibrations from All Things Merge Into One.

As mentioned, Ermite was originally the burden of one man: Fabio Cuomo. Eremite has since added Giulia Piras on bass, with Fabio remaining on drums or guitar, vocals and piano ( Leandro Scotto of Synodik joins live performances), perhaps providing us a clue to the album’s title: All Things Merge Into One. And merging they do! Eremite border on many things without easily falling into one genre. They bind together big sludge influences like Cough with black metal that resembles Ash Borer, with a healthy frequency of hardcore. This is disorder and chaos that somehow ends up organized and coherent.

"Awareness" gets the album started with deafening noise. If this doesn’t grab your attention, then I’m afraid nothing will. This sludge is a game stopper in heaviness and is a perfect match for the rapid drums. The vocals are perfect for the instrumentals - Fabio has crafted a voice suitable for both hardcore and black metal sounds. The last half of the song has more ambient touches to it, which proves how well thought out of a song this really is.

If you like things more on the post-rock end of the spectrum (like myself), you’ll probably be inclined to really like the second track, “The Past Became My Future.” This one has some serious Neurosis-esque vibes. The guitars are chilling and they help to shape the tempestuous aura. Many might find this song a challenging listen at over ten minutes, but I find it a rewarding one. The battle between guitar and bass gives the feeling a rushing heartbeat, yet there are soothing piano moment to be discovered. There’s a lot of contrast in this song,  which makes it easy to feel personal to what the listener is feeling.

After a short yet stirring piano segment, Eremite brings back the heavy. This time, with a progressive edge in the vein of early Mastodon; and like a fine wine, you cannot rush this one. Enjoy the post-metal midsection, it’s quite riffy and will take you for one of hell of a trip. The blackened sludge is very complimentary to match the Mastodon-meets-Isis vibe.

"Bowing to the Mountain" is next, and while it’s a short track in comparison to the others, it’s no less heavy!  The progressive component is removed from the equation, which allows the hammering riffs to come to the forefront. The album is closed with "So Distant," an ambient song featuring piano matched with tranquil guitar. I find it a beautiful way to end this emotional driven album.

This is a demanding album in the aspect that it requires a lot of heart. For die-hard metal fans that love to listen to album from beginning to end, this is likely to be one of those albums for you. However, those that prefer to listen to things on shuffle or compile playlists may not be able to fully appreciate All Things Merge Into One by isolating one track from the whole. 

For only being a two person band, I find Eremite beyond impressive and a must-listen for fans of tricked out doom, with elements of blackened sludge, hardcore, and ambient metal. I enjoyed this one and give it a hearty endorsement.

-Melissa- 

*Did you know Doomed & Stoned is also on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Mixcloud, and Ello?

The Last Days of Summer….Did Someone Say PARKING LOT PARTY?!

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This week it rained and it poured and it rained some more.  I’m from the Pacific Northwest, so I love the rain.  I never get sick of it.  And that’s the God’s Truth.  However, I do admit the rain sometimes makes me melancholy, or at least nostalgic. Today, my thoughts drifted back to a balmy summer night in August. Friday, August 29th, to be precise.  Five bands were on a road trip with one destination in mind: a parking lot in Eugene, Oregon (Yob country!). And I was going to document it all—the next Heavy Metal Parking Lot-style feature, with all kinds of trademark local weirdness, that would get passed around from person to person. That was the concept (or should I say the fantasy) tossing around in my noggin. The reality was a little mellower, thanks to the calming presence of a late afternoon sun and a frequent patron people like to call Mary Jane. 

Five bands were invited, but not everyone made it. One of the no-shows was a band called Weeed, and the only reason I remember this is because they spell that intentionally with three e’s. Somehow I’m not surprised that Weeed stood us up. Nichole’s Back was hurting and Satanic Mechanic broke down and couldn’t be fixed, so they reorganized as Nunhunter. At least that’s what I think happened. Whatever. What we ended up with were three extremely talented, extremely loud rock ‘n’ roll acts that were jazzed as hell about celebrating the last days of summer with their grungy, die hard metal family!  

The whole event was the brainchild of Wandering Goat proprietor Ben The Goat (no relation to The Goate—or is there?  hmmmm…may have to do some DNA testing on our grungy whiskers to find out). I must admit this was a swell idea.  Brilliant, even.  Get beers, bands, bros, and broads together on a hot August night (well, it was actually mild and a bit breezy, making it perfect) and whatcha got?  PARKING LOT PARTEEEE!!!!!  Woooo!!!!  You gots to admit, there ain’t nothing cooler! 

BEARD OF BEES

The line-up began with Portland’s Beard of Bees, an ultra-low, caustic sludge duo from Portland, in the same vein as Black Cobra.  The pair have been playing off and on for a few years (including notable appearances at the annual The Ceremony of Sludge) and have a good album’s worth of material to release (recording took place over the summer). 

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NUN HUNTER

The big surprise of the evening came out of Salem (just an hour up the road between Portland and Eugene): Nun Hunter.  None of us really knew what to expect and another Northwest band Nunslaughter kept popping into my mind.  Truth be told, Nunhunter is an impromptu project by singer/guitarist and songwriter, who ambitiously requited a team of friends to cover a show

image                             Nunhunter - photo by Lena Cottam

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MAMMOTH SALMON

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              Mammoth Salmon - Photograph by Matt Amott 

As the evening grew dimmer, the trains fly by more frequently.  At one point, it was apparent that the final band of the evening, Mammoth Salmon, was way heavier.  Fans who came to check out the spectacle even proposed a kind of sonic game of chicken to see who was louder. But Paul singer-guitarist Paul Dudziak, being ever the gentlemen, saw that I was filming and decided to wait until the train had passed before he started the set. 

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You can see this action all take place in the first three minutes of the video below. Having had the opportunity to film the Portland trio on at least four other occasions, I can say that this is the longest I’ve heard them play. You’re getting brand new songs, along with plenty from their routine performances and the back catalog, in this hour-long performance!  And it just gets more interesting as the other band members get drunker and start raging and hollering to the vicious, bruising sounds of the mighty Mammoth Salmon!

There’s about 3-4 minutes of set-up I decided to include, just because it was so much fun to watch as the train went by, but feel free to skip past for the music (just click the YouTube icon when you hover over and it will take you there).  For shits and giggles, I’m throwing in my interview with Mammoth Salmon, taken that same day just before the sun went black. 

The countdown is on to the first annual Destroyer Fest in St. Petersburg, Florida, coming Saturday, November 15th at The State Theater. Check out this line-up! It’s $15 in advance, $18 at the door. All proceeds to benefit the Epilepsy Services Foundation.

Dr. Colossus from Melbourne, Australia! This is their EP ‘IV’ (2014). Check out the album review in Ride With The Devil’s latest blog!

Guess what?!?  WORMWOOD’s debut album debut album just came out (10/14) on PATAC Records (vinyl) and Magic Bullet Records (cassette)!!!  Wormwood (if you’ve been following our bitchin’ lil blog as faithfully as you know you should) is the duo project of Doomriders’ guitarist Chris Pupecki and the former drummer Chris Bevilacqua. It’s been described as “a dark, psychedelic journey of fuzzed out doom metal and stoner-dirge riffs that [….] pours out of your stereo like a plague of carrion insects” (some press release).  In a word: sludgey. Heavy, blackened, and at times crust-laden and frenetic, sludge. If you like Black Cobra, you should have no problem at all cosying up to Wormwood. Your visceral reaction might be something like….this!

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ACID WITCH announce “From Horror to Housecore Tour,” alternately knowns as “Blood From the Witches Tomb Tour” and “Halloween Havoc Tour” (lol).

10/21 - Indianapolis, IN @ Joyful Noise
10/22 - Little Rock, AR @ Vino’s Back Room
10/23 - Dallas, TX @ The Boiler Room
10/24-26 - Austin, TX @ Housecore Horror Film Fest
10/27 - New Orleans, LA @ Circle Bar 
10/28 - Louisville, KY @ The New Vintage

A trio of gorgeous Kyuss videos now from Australian producer Scott Vincent (aka Fuzzy Junky).  This was created for “Whitewater” which Scott filmed in a “coogee power station….[an] iconic building [which is] due to be refurbished soon” and has become quite the “local mecca for photographers.” 

Another video recently created by Scott Vincent (aka FuzzyJunky) for “Capsized” by Kyuss, from Blues For The Red Sun (1992). 

"Day One" - a hidden track in "Spaceship Landing" by Kyuss, from the album ...And The Circus Leaves Town (1995). It was used as a tribute to Kurt Cobain and a song for Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic.  Video by Scott Vincent (aka FuzzyJunky). 

NOLA: Life, Death, & Heavy Blues from the Bayou - Episode 6 & 7: “Despite tragedy surrounding the band and their native city in the wake of Katrina, Down rises again to new heights with their new LP and subsequent tour.”

Metal Injection’s new series Metal Grasshopper saw it’s debut today on YouTube.  ”Episode 1 ‘Origins’: Metal god Philip H. Anselmo reluctantly agrees to share his heavy metal wisdom with delusional manchild Dave Hill.”