Tag Archives: Heavy/Metal

Tommy Bolin, another short lived legend

Tommy Bolin is best known, as the replacement of Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple. He participated and co-wrote Deep Purple’s last 70’s album “Come Taste the Band”, not a bad album, but less successful at the time, most likely due to the relative shift in genre towards a less heavy and funkier sound and the lack of Blackmore’s characteristic soloing.

Bolin was not the typical hard rock guitarist, he was involved in many types of projects and genres, blues, jazz rock, funk ect. Bolin starts of in blues rock/ hard rock band Zephyr, a band with a sound comparable to that of Janis Joplin. They released their first self-titled album in 1969, Bolin released another album with them, before he left the band.

Bolin participated as the main guitarist on jazz fusion drummer Billy Cobham’s legendary 1973 album Spectrum. He shows us what he can do in a jazz rock / progressive rock setting, and he does it perfectly. Spectrum is a must for everyone interested in fusion, but it is also a testament to the huge talent of Bolin.

Bolin made 2 solo albums, Teaser (1975) and Private Eyes (1976), both exploring a wide range of styles, and with Bolin doing the vocal’s himself. On Teaser a series of prominent names appeared as guests, Jan Hammer, David Sanborn, Phil Collins and others.
From Teaser (Phil Collins on the drums)

Deep Purple disbanded in 1976, and Bolin concentrated on finishing his last solo album. It was during the tour promoting “Private Eyes”, on December 3rd. 1976, Bolin played a set as an opening act for Jeff Beck in Miami, after the set Bolin was partying with friends and later collapsed, Bolin never woke up again, The official cause of death was multiple-drug intoxication. Bolin became 25 years old. Rest in peace.

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Remedy Lane

Pain of Salvation, is a band from Eskilstuna, Sweden. Even though it would be fair to say Pain of Salvation is a Progressive Metal band, with their ever changing approach to music, they land pretty far for the genre stereotype. From the more metal oriented albums, to the extreme complex “BE” about the concept of GOD/Universe ect. , including a 9 piece classical orchestra, to the latest albums duo, Road Salt I and Road Salt II, where they explore a more blues rooted rock, and a bit of gospel, combined with some Prog Rock elements, but not a lot of metal.

All of Pain of Salvation albums are concept albums, although more or less obvious. This also goes for the albums in question here, Remedy Lane from 2005, center around bandleader Daniel Gildenlow more or less autobiographical lyrics. Daniel Gildenlow vocal is very passionate and strong, sometimes reminding a little bit of Mike Patton.

Remedy Lane is a clear highpoint in Pain of Salvation production, an atypical Prog Metal album, with the weight, on emotions and strong songwriting, rather than on showing of technical abilities.
Pain of Salvation is definitely worth digging into, whether as a representative of today’s very developed Swedish Prog Rock scene, or as an alternative to more traditional (Prog) Metal.

Jackie Perez Gratz

She is a mother of a young daughter , she has got a full time job developing video games at Electronic Arts. But more importantly in this context, she is a crafted cellist, playing with Metal bands like Neurosis, OM, Today is the Day and others. She was involved in Amber Asylum, and she is currently a founding member of Grayceon, and also a member of Giant Squid, founded by her partner, guitarist AJ Gregory.

jackieperezgratz

Grayceon were formed in 2005, Jackie on electric cello/vocals, Max Doyle on guitar/vocals, and Zack Farwell on drums. It’s definitely (progressive) metal but with a twist, Jackie vocals and emotional almost melancholy cello playing, ensure that there is something very rare about Grayceon.

Giant Squid is a post-metal band formed in 2002. Jackie Perez Gratz joined Giant Squid in January 2007 as both vocalist and cellist. The band plays a dark and mysterious heavy, reaching in a multitude of directions, sometimes with a distinctly Middle-eastern sound.

Jackie has also collaborated with Amber Asylum, a San Francisco based music group that serves as a platform for composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Kris Force, creating a classical inspired music, dark ambient with classical instruments like violin and cello dominant.

Akuma Kogure – Evil spirit of japanese glam metal

Demon Kakka (デーモン閣下) previously known as Demon Kogure (デーモン小暮閣)Is an Akuma, an evil kami (spirit) masquerading in the human realm. Born 98,038 years before Western civilizations calendar began, in Downtown Jigoku, a realm reserved for humans who are brought here and punished for disobeying the rules of Makai, a place of terror and suffering for humans, a place of merrymaking and joviality for Akuma’s.

As Demon Kogure

In the Human world he is Japanese musician, singer, songwriter, actor, author, television/radio personality, music and stage producer, motion picture and music video director, critic, etc.

As Demon Kogure

He was the frontman of the heavy metal band Seikima-II from 1982–1999, his solo music is very varied, ranging from pop to metal, often with a clear japanese flavor. He is known to always work entirely in character.

With Seikima-II

Demon has released 12 albums with Seikima-II, 9 solo albums under various names, 5 VHS/DVD’s, appeared in video games, made game music, was the voiceover for The Joker (Jack Nicholson) in Japanese version of Batman, and have made guest performances on a series of albums. In 1994 Demon appeared on Larry King Live, becoming the first Japanese musician to do so.

As Demon Kakka

For Mad Men Only

May Blitz was a short lived Rock trio, created back in 1969. After playing live for a while on pubs and other small venues in UK, and going through some personal changes, they got a record deal with Vertigo. At this point the group was Canadian singer and guitarist Jamie Black, Canadian bassist Reid Hudson and Brittish drummer Tony Newman, know at the time for his work with Jeff Beck, Donovan and later playing with names like David Bowie, Allan Clarke (The Hollies), Joan Armatrading, David Coverdale, ect.

From – May Blitz (1970)

May Blitz deliver a nice stoner rock, rooted in heavy blues, in a tradition not unlike Jimi Hendrix or Cream.
The sound is pretty good for albums from this period, and there is a nice mix of genre elements on the albums. On the negative side some may find their style a bit loose and Jammy, compared to other Rock bands in the early 70’s, who was often moving towards a more “restricted” and “composed” Rock style at this point. Anyway, no matter if You think it was deserved or not, they did not do well commercially, and after their second album with the clever title “The 2nd Of May”, they disbanded. The two Canadians vanished from the annals of Rock history, as mentioned above Tony Newman, continued his career as drummer.

From – The 2nd Of May (1971)

“Church Of Misery” Released a cover of May Blitz “For Mad Men Only”, as a bonus track for their 2004 album, The Second Coming. “Church Of Misery” is a Japanese band from Shinjuku, Tokyo, formed in 1995, playing Doom Metal, with influence from early 70’s Heavy and Psychedelic Rock. They are Known to almost always write songs about serial killers and mass murder.

Church Of Misery – For Mad Men Only

Hidden 80′s Gems – Part 2 1982

Still depressed by the fact that Mike Oldfield was now making horrible pop songs, I was still crawling around in the backrooms of the record store, trying to avoid any pictures of Michael Jackson and Duran Duran…..no just joking, had been a stream of good album in the early 80’s allready at this point, The Cure, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Simple Minds, Bowie, Talking Heads, the reformed King Crimson, made some of my all time favorite albums in this period.

1982 – Robert Plant – Pictures of Eleven
Robert Plants 1982 debut, was not as good or ”tough” as Led Zeppelin was, but I will pick that albums because that is a standart no one, NO ONE, will ever be able to hold against, anything would flop if Zeppelin was the standart to hold. Plant did in my opinion one of the best Rock albums of the early 80’s with his debut, his vocals are as good as ever, the songwriting is not bad, and sometimes you even get that Zeppelin vibe.

If I was in the mood for some, simple, straight forward, rock music of high standarts, there was not much to those from in the early 80’s, this is the one I would put on.

The Album did fairly well at the time, but if you look for it on all the ”top albums of the 80’s lists” its never there. Anyway i think is better music than Yazoo, Duran Duran or Adam Ant, unless I am dansing, and I am not dansing that many hours a day.

Negură Bunget is a black fog coming from a deep dark dense forest

Sunday Morning, the sun is shining, could be time for some Gin/Tonic related warm dance music. But I did quite the opposite, I went for some dark, folk inspired, tribal Black Metal, Negurã Bunget from Romania. They sounds just like I would imagine, they would have made Rock music, in Transylvanian Iron Age, if they had the tools to do so. Negurã Bunget means, “Black foggy forest” in archaic Romanian. That is just how it sounds.

Drummer Negru explains :
Negură Bunget is a black fog coming from a deep dark dense forest. The name tries to picture somehow the kind of atmosphere, both musical and spiritual we’d want to create through our music. It has also an esoteric nature, standing for the inexpressible parts of our ideology. The two words are also from the Tracic substrate of the Romanian language (the oldest one, containing about 90 words) as the interest for our local history and spirituality is something of crucial importance and meaning for us as a band.

Negură Bunget formed at the end of 1994 as a duo, they had a number of changes in personnel over the years, latest founding member guitarist and vocalist Hupogrammos, left the band in 2009 to form another project called Dordeduh.
Dordeduh – Dojana

THE FALL OFF TROY IS BACK. !!

If you need, yes need, some hard, high energy, exceptional, technical high quality Rock, but are just too fed up with the death, dwarfs and dragons, blood and swords of heavy metal, what you are looking for is “The Fall Of Troy”

“Battleship Graveyard”, from : “In the Unlikely Event” 2009

The Fall of Troy is a trio formed by Thomas Erak (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Andrew Forsman (drums, percussion) and Tim Ward (bass, screamed vocals), In 2008 Tim Ward had a break down due to stress and was replaced by Frank Ene

“F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.” from Doppelgänger 2004

In December 2013, the original lineup reunited, playing three shows in Texas, every night performing one of the pre 2008 albums, in full. New show is scheduled for Seattle, February 22. 2014.

“Caught Up” , from Manipulator 2007

The Fall of Troy has developed a new concept of local fan based user friendly approach. They will use only fan based merchandise for the shows (fan’s get paid no worries). They will use only local bands for warm up. Rumors even say they have told fans at the liveshows, that the next albums will be downloadable for free.

“Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles”, from The Fall of Troy 2003

At the three reunion shows, they sold VIP passes : “provides you entry to all 3 shows, an exclusive production day, where you get to hear the band warm-up, play a special 5 song set, answer your questions, a limited edition silk-screen printed poster of the show; numbered and signed, entry for all 3 shows an hour early through a separate entrance so you don’t have to wait in line with all the other lollygaggers and you get the best/closest view”, after VIP guests had arrived, the concerts, was filled up for free.

Indukti more blood and psycho

Today I will listen to Polish band Indukti’s 2009 release “IDMEN”.
Indukti debuted in 2004, with S.U.G.A.R. , a very Crimson’ish prog rock album, 5 years had passed, and things have changed quite dramatic, IDMEN is mostly very dark metal. From an interview at “Lords of metal” : “Anyway, this time we wanted more blood, more extensive and psycho sounds”. The fact that Indukti features a dominant violin on all tracks, gives them a very unusual sound in heavy metal.

On “…And Who Is God Now?!” Guest singer Maciej Taff from Polish stoner rock/heavy metal band Black River, deliver a solid heavy vocal.

But there is less heavy music on the album, on “Ninth Wave” even a trumpet (Robert Majewski). Another epic track showing, wide range in composition and style, still far from the moods on S.U.G.A.R.

The effort put into the details on this album is stunning, even after repeated intence listening, new things keep coming out from these tracks.

Indukti is Adrzej Kaczyński bass guitar, Wawrzyniec Dramowicz percussion, Ewa Jabłońska violin, Maciej Jaśkiewicz guitars, Piotr Kocimski guitar, with guest vocalists when not instrumental.

Opeth – unspoiled beautiful, youthfully brutal

“Masters of Darkness” Part 3

Today Opeth have changed a lot since they were formed back in the mid 90’s.
But in this context of Scandivavian darkness, I will focus on the Opeth sound we hear on the early albums, they created between 1995 and 1996, their debut “Orchid”, and “Morningrise”, this is the virgin Opeth, unspoiled beautiful, youthfully brutal.

From Orchid

Orchid, was the closest Opeth would ever come, to the sound of the Black/Death Metal scene, But even so, Orchid combines influences from acoustics folk music and Jazz music, with death metal/heavy rock. As well as having both clean and growled vocals.

From Morningrise

On Morningrise, Opeth, or rather vocalist Åkerfeldt, leans a bit more towards clean vocals than on Orchid, but the album is otherwise still very dark, and continues the feel of the debut, though perhaps a bit more complex and experimental. The album contains only 5 tracks, all more than 10 minutes long.

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