Album Review: FRIENDSHIP – Ain’t No Shame (Kozmik Artifactz)

 

Friendship

Ain’t No Shame

Kozmik Artifactz

Release Date: May 25, 2018

Ain’t No Shame, the eagerly anticipated second full-length from Norwegian trio Friendship, should be classified as a mood-enhancing substance. The first time I heard it, it pulled me out of the kind of piss-poor headspace that can only come from five hours cooped up in a car with two cranky children and an more than exasperated spouse. I was actually a little nervous to hit play that first time, for fear that my mental and physical exhaustion might negatively color my feeling toward the material. But by the end of the Monkees-and-Cream-playing-Cheap Trick opener “Are You Ready,” I was grinning ear to ear. Somewhere in the middle of the jazzy delight “Harmony Turns to Sound,” my dopey grin turned to slack-jawed awe. And within three seconds of the stomping funk-rock romp “Fire,” I actually laughed out loud from the combination of amazement and joy. I went to bed that night with a smile on my face and a sense of contentment in my heart, and I have Fredrik Skalstad (drums & lead vocals), Martin Morland (bass), and Sander Eriksen Nordahl (guitar) (along with their litany of guest musicians) to thank for that. It brought me up when I was down, and there’s not too many higher accolades than that.

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Album Review: CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL – Science Fiction (Kozmik Artifactz)

 

Church of the Cosmic Skull

Science Fiction

Kozmik Artifactz/Septaphonic

 

The surest way to stand out in a bleak and dour world? Be a beacon of light. With their matching white outfits, recurring rainbow motifs, and a fully-formed and realized rock band-as-hippie love sect mythos, Nottingham-based occult rock septet Church of the Cosmic Skull have done a more-than-admirable job setting themselves apart from the seemingly endless parade of monsters and demons and scowling young men in varying shades of black that populate today’s heavy rock scene. Their aesthetic is so refined and so well-structured, in fact, that at first glance some folks may be inclined to immediately dismiss the group out of hand as a mere novelty act or an elaborate joke. Those folks would being doing themselves a grave disservice, however, because here’s the thing: Church of the Cosmic Skull is one of the best bands in the world of retro-rock, and with their absolutely breathtaking six-part harmonies, they may be the most singular unit out there. Nobody else sounds like this. Their debut album, 2016’s Is Satan Real?, is one of the best records I’ve heard since I started writing for Metal Nexus last summer. Their newest, Science Fiction, is even better.

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Album Review: THE FREEKS – Crazy World (Heavy Psych Sounds)

 

The Freeks

Crazy World

Heavy Psych Sounds

Released April 27, 2018

Ruben Romano has a rock and roll pedigree that can stand alongside the very best. As a founding member of both Fu Manchu and Nebula (let that sink in for a second, why don’tcha?), Romano helped draw up the plans and build the framework that stoner rock hangs on to this very day. He’s spent the last decade-plus as frontman and guiding force for L.A. based psych-rockers The Freeks, piloting their trips-‘n’-riffs-fueled funny car further and further into the cosmic realm; their newest dispatch Crazy World (released via the ever-reliable Heavy Psych Sounds) is the sound of the band-in-residency at the Garage at the Edge of the Universe, a jubilantly strident “Fuck You” in the face of oblivion.

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Album Review – RRRAGS [Album Stream]

 

Belgian/Dutch power trio RRRags came together a mere eight months ago, but the songs on their self-titled debut sound like the work of a band that’s been at this rock and roll game for years and years. The band’s musical telepathy is remarkably refined, and the songs are both well-crafted and catchy as all hell. They hit hard without ever plodding, emphasizing groove and atmosphere over sheer brute strength and mixing their upbeat stoner vibe with flashes of soul, funk, southern rock, and power pop. RRRags are obviously true believers and lifelong devotees, my friends, and they’ve conjured up a slab of classic rock for the here and now.

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Album Review: MOUTH – Floating [Song Stream]

Mouth

Floating

Tonzonen Records

Released March 23, 2018

The latest release from Cologne, Germany’s Mouth, the intoxicating Floating, marks the group as one of the most unique and singular in the wide world of retro rock. Like the very best of the genre, they take a pile of classic influences and combine them into something fresh and new and vital. A vibrantly kaleidoscopic blend of prog, pop, krautrock, and psych that pulses and throbs with a bright, crackling electricity, Floating clearly displays the musical telepathy the trio have developed in their near-twenty year existence. The eight songs here offer the full range of sonic experience, intricate structures and full, lush orchestration combining with joyful exuberance and rock-solid musicianship to make Floating one of the most rewarding listens you’ll have this year.

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Album Review: KOSMIK BOOGIE TRIBE – We’re Not Here to Fu*k Spiders

 

Kosmik Boogie Tribe

We’re Not Here to Fu*k Spiders

Rural Rebel Rock/Tiger Records

Release Date: April 6, 2018

The third release from Norwegian quintet Kosmik Boogie Tribe, We’re Not Here to Fuck Spiders, is an incendiary slab of no-bullshit, gutbucket rock n’ roll. True to its title, it’s not here to fuck around, it’s here to get the job done, and that job just so happens to be whooping your ass. Eight songs in a shade over a half-hour, and it barely slows down to take a breath from sonically punching you repeatedly in the face and gut. No time is wasted on current events or social commentary, or hackneyed relationship analyses or sad-sack treatises on man’s inhumanity to man; instead, the primary themes here seem to be getting fucked up and fucking shit up. Raw-boned and roughly hewn, We’re Not Here to Fuck Spiders is the sound of a band for whom making a record and making a racket are the same damn thing.

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World’s Loudest Month Spotlight: RED FANG


*This is part of the “World’s Loudest Month” segment where we branch out and focus on bands that fans can see at this year’s biggest music festivals during the month of May 2018!  This week, we’re checking out Red Fang, a stoner metal quartet from Portland, Oregon, who are geared up for this year’s Carolina Rebellion, as well as others!*


Welcome back to another spotlight for the World’s Loudest Month segment! Ever since Black Sabbath laid those fuzzy and heavy riffs on the fret board, doom metal, or call it stoner/sludge metal, the stoner’s favorite companion has come a long way. Both in terms of music and time, but one thing has never changed, the feel and ethereal feeling to it. Fellow stoner metal band, Red Fang is no alien and has been gaining recognition like never before with their breed of beer soaked and green infused, pounding riffs.

Hailing from Portland, Oregon Red Fang is a quartet of really chill and cool dudes, oh and funny, who really know to rock it out there on stage and off the stage too. Red Fang was formed back in 2005, founded by David Sullivan, Maurice Bryan Giles, Aaron Beam, and John Sherman, the band has been consistent with their studio and live performances, their music is catchy, pretty dope and has a total party fervour to it. Stoner metal and party is always a big yay, ain’t it? Bringing in a hard rock-esque and the trademark stoner sound their live shows are a feast, you don’t even have to mosh on it, just stand and watch them belt out unadulterated and power packed numbers. The boys from Portland have worked their way up the ladders  in a jiffy, and has appealed to a widespread audience in the realm of heavy metal. 

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Album Review: MONSTER MAGNET – Mindf**ker [Song Stream]

Monster Magnet

Mindf**ker

Napalm Records

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.

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Album Review: DISASTROID – ‘Screen’ [Album Stream]

Recently this band came onto my radar after having their latest, September 2017 CD release essentially dropped into my lap by my editor here at Metal Nexus. Upon first listen, I was pleasantly surprised by their throwback, sludgey, stoner sound often reminiscent of Melvins and early Soundgarden. I’ve since given the album several more listens and each time discover more and more interesting nuances to enjoy. What stands out above all else with Disastroid’s ‘Screen’ is vibe. From front to back, this album emanates a heavy and relenting, chilled out, stoner vibe, while at times delving into well-placed moments of intense psychedelia. Like a VW bus hotboxed in a thick cloud of bong smoke, this record will envelope and intoxicate you as you succumb to its dark, dank, euphoric moods. Continue reading

Album Review: SPINY NORMEN (RidingEasy Records) (Album Stream)

 

Spiny Normen

Spiny Normen

RidingEasy Records

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.

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