Category Archives: REVIEWS

THE DARLING FIRE: ‘Dark Celebration.’

A band that boasts members who have played with, amongst others, Poison The Well, Dashboard Confidential and The Rocking Horse Winner are surely going to pique your interest , right?

To class The Darling Fire an Indie Supergroup would be all too easy, and cheezy, but they are most definitely a super group.
(That’s just so stereotypically ‘British,’ sounding isn’t it? And, when I think about, even more cheezy than Supergroup. But it’s done now.)

Dark Celebration‘ is just that. It’s “ …really a celebration of dark themes and experiences that have occurred in our lives both personally and distantly,” says guitar player Matthew Short.

“While we’ve each had some struggles in our lives, we wouldn’t be where we are at this moment if not for those dark times,” vocalist Jolie Lindholm adds.

Album opener ‘For The Loveless,’ is a solid, mid-tempo, driving rock song, as heavy on the drums as the fuzzy guitars.

‘Nevertwin‘ is possibly my favourite track of the eight. It’s of slower pace than the first song and while it has a sort of dreamy, ethereal feel to it, it’s still powerful and totally rocks!

Omaha,’ definitely starts out in a dark place. Mean and moody, the pace picks up for the choruses where it takes on a more expansive sound with some great guitar work. ‘Catatonia,’ raises the tempo somewhat and is classic indie rock, with pounding drums and a catchy chorus.

Silver Spider,’ is the song that convinced me of my (possibly wayward) initial thinking that Jolie’s vocal style is reminiscent of Liz Fraser from The Cocteau Twins. I know that probably sounds odd, and her voice is certainly deeper than Liz’s, but there’s definitely something there. Trust me.

The Constant,’ has a dreamy, relaxed feel to it that builds towards a more full-on climax. ‘Saints in Masquerade,’ is a total indie rocker, definitely vying with ‘Nevertwin‘ as my favourite. I must say too – what a brilliant video! Big props to director Ian Fursa.

The album closes with ‘In Twilight‘ – almost five and a half minutes of slow burning musings from Jolie that build in intensity and confirm my earlier vocal comparison. At least in my head.

Altogether this is one classy rock album. Thoughtful lyrics and concept delivered in a clean and uncluttered fashion. It’s melodic, but not sugar sweet , and best of all, it KICKS ASS!.

DEAD ACID PEOPLE: ‘Earth, Weed & Fire.’

Dead Acid People are a four-piece Stoner rock band from Paris, France. Initially formed as a duo back in 2014 by guitarist Stéphane and drummer, Guillaume , they were shortly thereafter joined by Alain on bass. Agreeing then their sound could be further enhanced by the addition of a vocalist, he services of Mathieu were then enlisted.

Their first album, ‘Mocker Fuzzers‘ was released in 2016. I’ve had a quick run through that one and while it is worth checking out, to me it has more of a gothic, Gary Numan feel about it rather than ‘stoner.’

However, ‘Earth, Weed & Fire,‘ far better fits the description. It’s very bass-led, and an early indication of this comes in the opening ‘Intro’ track, The seven minute plus title track follows and immediately the difference between this album and the band’s debut becomes apparent. The production is definitely geared towards their vision, with the vocals sort of choked back into the mix more than the first album. Being the length it is, the track moves through a couple of distinct phases and incorporates a (too) short guitar wigout around the mid point.

‘Never Ending‘ unfortunately does. And all too soon. Perhaps not strictly ‘stoner’ for the purists, but this one races through its two and a half minutes duration and in terms of beat and bass line, echoes those of Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life.‘ A winner in my book!

Fuzz You,‘ keeps the tempo high, and chugs along with a sense that it is the most commercially accessible track on the album. It’s not inconceivable that this track could be appreciated by a wider audience – one that would normally balk at the thought of listening to anything so radical as ‘stoner.’

‘Cosmic Trails‘ returns us to what I’d consider the more traditional ‘stoner’ sound – steady, solid rhythm, pounding drums, more deadbeat vocal styles and searing guitars. ‘Beyond The Path,’ slows even further and has a kind of ethereal feel. It’s a lovely spaced-out track, predominately instrumental, but interspersed with hushed group vocals.

Light A Fire’ features some fuzzed up guitar and more growled vocal style. It has a harder edge than the other tracks.

Closing track, ‘Wrong Faith,‘ is a heavy-riffed, brilliantly dark, nine-minute end to the album. Arguably the best of the eight racks, in my opinion.

Earth, Weed Fire’ is definitely an album well worth exploring, and at only 15 Euros (or more if you feel it worthy – and I’d say it is) for the vinyl copy via Bandcamp, then, you know, go for it!

WOLF PRAYER: ‘Echoes of the Second Sun.’

Just last night, when writing about German band wolf prayer, and the track ‘Desert,’ I mentioned that they ‘…  won’t commit to this tagging, although not completely denying it either. The album, I’m assured, contains some surprising tracks. I’m intrigued.’

The tagging to which I referred, relates to the one of ‘stoner’ which seems to be thrown in their direction. Now, having heard the whole ‘Echoes of the Second Sun,’ album, I understand why they are slightly reticent to simply accept the description of their music.

I have been writing about new music, either for this blog or Artrocker Magazine, for about thirteen years; I have been to countless gigs and seen innumerable bands of all musical genres. Well, almost

Yet it still amazes me how bands can come up with new sounds; new amalgamations of styles; experiments that blossom into something big.

And this is exactly what wolf prayer have done with this, their debut album.

Take the opening track, for example:
Average Man,’ opens opens with what sounds a roaring guitar feedback, drops into a quiet riff, before the bass line and pounding drums take over. The riff permeates all this though, and immediately that ‘stoner’ tag comes back into focus. The vocal style would add confirmation. As does the searing guitar solo.

But then, with about a minute and a half remaining of the seven minutes long track, all that has gone before vanishes. Just like that. And in its place – quiet, synths / keyboards in like an old school Prog Rock style. I know – it kind of sounds ridiculous, but this exemplifies my earlier point of experiments that blossom.

It does actually work!

The second track, ‘According To The Rule,’ is a dark and moody, heavy riff-laden doom style song. Think Linkin Park on Mogadon. But better.

‘Desert‘ follows. Then comes ‘Shapeshifter’ – an aptly named track that takes on various forms and moods throughout its seven minute duration.

New Morning,’ opens quietly, explodes into life with the pounding drums and huge guitar riffs, drops away and then erupts again for a prolonged spell with searing guitar fighting the drums for prominence. And here comes ‘surprise’ number two – half way through this track (guess how long it lasts – yup, seven minutes!) there is a two minute or so breakdown when a muted and funky bass line gives way to some far-out jazzy keyboards. It’s all very Deodata’s version of ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra,’ if you ask me. But I love it!

But don’t worry, riff lovers – the final minute and a half sees their return!

Like A Fool,’ is more straightforward – booming and gloomy, pissed-off stoner style – although the plucked guitar in the final third gives it something slightly different just ahead of pace picking up and racing towards the conclusion.

‘Strings Like A Puppet,’ is I think the most mono-tempo track on the album. Slow, slothful and threatening with fuzzed-up, buzzing guitar

Feed My Brain‘ closes the album – all fifty minutes or so, if my arithmetic is correct. It’s a slow burner, is this one. It moves in steps, like a classical piece would do in ‘movements’ and grows in intensity with each section before finally dropping away the band leave the building. Actually. Yes – the band leave the building.

I have to nail my colours to the mast here – I love this album.

I love the heavy, conventional sounds. I love it for incorporating some ‘desert’ rock alongside ‘stoner.’ I love it for the surprises, the little funky and jazzy interludes.

But most of all I love it for the courage shown by a band in this field to experiment – and to pull it off.

This could be the best twenty Euros you’ll spend in a long time.
(The link above is for the coloured vinyl release, not the ‘bundle’ as shown below.)

RED STONE CHAPEL: ‘Squid Limbo.’

Wow! I absolutely love this!

I work outdoors and received notice of this release by phone earlier today. A new band to me; new music – I couldn’t wait to get home and write about it.

I knew nothing about Red Stone Chapel before today, and now, as I sit poised in front of my laptop, I realise I still don’t know much about them!

They have been on the go since 2009, apparently, but I believe that having signed a worldwide record deal with Argonauta Records, they will soon release the FIRST full length album. You’d think they’d be shouting about this from the rooftops, but no – the German based sludge-meisters are keeping details well and truly under wraps for the time being.

(I suppose when you’ve waited ten years to release your first full album, what difference is a couple more months going to make?)

Asked to comment on the forthcoming release, the band said:
“It’s kind of like a picture of Nietzsche on coke having a threesome with Kratos from God of War and H. R. Giger in the library of Alexandria. But you can listen to it.

Yup. Truth.

What Red Stone Chapel have done, however, is release this single as a bit of a teaser. ‘

Squid Limbo,’ (no, me neither!) is like a lesson on heavy rock history. You want to hear some heavy blues? Play ‘Squid Limbo.’ You want to hear some straight-up classic rock? Play ‘Squid Limbo.’ You want some Southern Rock? Some Black Crowes? What about Death Metal growls? Flashes of prog rock guitar? BIG heavy riffs, obviously. Goes without saying, right? Pounding drums. ….

Hell yeah!


Don’t be misled by the angelic, Westlife look; don’t be misled by the theme of their new single, ‘Sigh‘ –

a story about the shortcomings of online dating, how you can go from the absolute euphoria of making a connection with someone new, to worrying that you’re not enough, to pretending
to be exactly what you think they might want, and how that can spiral into a bout of crippling self-doubt.”

No – forget all that – I doubt you’ll come across a more assured and aggressive -sounding band in a good while.

I Cried Wolf are about as far removed from the carefully staged and choreographed image portrayed in their recent press photo / video as you could imagine. A post-hardcore band? See – never judge a book by its cover and all that.

(I recall the magnificent Adequate Seven taking on this image for their final album / tour many years ago. It must be a ‘thing.’)

This, though is more brutal, more primordial than the Ad7 lads, but equally magnificent. I Cried Wolf have energy to burn and having extensively toured the UK for the five years since their inception, the Oxfordshire quintet have built an (increasing) loyal fanbase.

In fact, they have just added one to that number in the time it’s taken to write this short piece.

KAL-EL: ‘Witches of Mars.’

Music doesn’t get much heavier than this! Norwegian stoners Kal-El are set to unleash their storming fourth studio album, ‘Witches of Mars.

OK, it’s a few months away, on October 4th, but the title track has been made available as of now. And it’s a doozy!

Heavy touring schedules over the seven years since their inception have seen the band’s stock rise, release after release, and ‘Witches of Mars‘ is set to continue the trend.

Build on a foundation of heavy (very heavy) bass, Kal-El surround themselves with massive walls of sound that incorporate doom, blues rock, psyche and space rock. Basically, all the good elements of Rock in general! The result is a slow moving juggernaut of noise – monstrous on one hand but oh so sweet on the other!

(‘Witches of Mars‘ – the album – will be released on 4th October via Argonauta Records.