Rise Above Records
Release Date: March 30, 2018
Octopus began life in Detroit in 2008, largely as a recording project between vocalist Masha Marjieh and former Electric Six guitarist J Frezzato. After adding keyboardist/studio wizard Adam Cox a year later, the band recorded a few singles and cycled through a few rhythm sections before firmly securing the pocket with ex-Big Chief bassist Matt O’Brien and Seduce/Universal Temple of Divine Power drummer Todd Glass in 2012. The years of experience and familiarity clearly show through on their spellbinding debut full-length Supernatural Alliance (Rise Above); this band is locked in tight, and these ten songs are honed sharp enough to slice. It’s a slab of heavy-hitting hard rock, spiked liberally with equal doses of sci-fi and psychedelia, the perfect soundtrack to an imaginary big-budget flick about outlaw bikers in outer space.
Release Date: March 23, 2018
Since their now-infamous 1989 demo recordings Forget About Life, I’m High on Dope and I’m Stoned, What Ya Gonna Do About It? found their way into the bloodstream of the heavy music community, nobody’s been able to pull off the whole “acid-sleaze space-rock” thing quite like New Jersey’s Monster Magnet. From the thick, lysergic swirl of Spine of God, to the revved-up MC5-meets-Hawkwind riffing of Dopes to Infinity, to the stoner-arena crossover hit Powertrip, Magnet mainman Dave Wyndorf has expertly piloted his sleek silver machine through an asteroid belt of lineup changes and health scares, substance abuse and public opinion, emerging as something of a stoner rock elder statesman. On Mindfucker, the band’s first album of original material since 2013’s Last Patrol, Wyndorf and his slam-bang gang of hellraisers throw down the gauntlet with a tough, terse set of trippy rockers that prove they’re still well in consideration for the title of Baddest Cats Around.
Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: March 16, 2018
It’s been more than four years since the last Earthless album, the mammoth double LP From the Ages, and to say things are a little different now would be an understatement. Since the 2005 release of their debut album Sonic Prayer, the San Diego power trio have built their reputation on a repertoire of expansive, instrumental psych-rock explorations, side-long, many-movement mindfucks that split the difference between Amon Düül II and Black Sabbath. Black Heaven, their latest effort (and first under the Nuclear Blast banner), is a leaner, meaner affair that’s way more James Gang than Flower Travellin’ Band. The songwriting and structures have been tightened up and whittled down (the longest song on Black Heaven is slightly less than nine minutes, which for Earthless is practically a pop single), based more on refined guitar riffs than semi-improvised rhythm section interplay and trimmed of a lot of hallucinogenic fat. Perhaps most jarring for longtime listeners will be the introduction of the human voice into the Earthless equation; four of Black Heaven’s six tracks feature guitarist Isaiah Mitchell stepping into the vocal spotlight. Doubters and worrywarts can relax and unclench, though; this is still Earthless through and through, plenty trippy, plenty heavy, and more than capable of levelling even the most hardened of psychic warriors.
Release Date: March 2, 2018
Recorded nearly four decades ago at a Texas community college and unreleased until now, Spiny Normen is a raw but robust chunk of primo psych-prog, a skunky blend of hard rock and krautrock caked in a hallucinogenic patina. Rescued from collector’s-shelf obscurity by RidingEasy label head Daniel Hall and Permanent Records owner Lance Barresi for inclusion in their ongoing (and highly recommended) Brown Acid anthology series, it stands up both as a fascinating relic of its era and as a kick-ass rock and roll record that’s both of and ahead of its time.