HARD & HEAVY ROCK (-OFTEN WITH PSYCH TOUCH-)
review page 2

old bands/artists:

Sproton Layer ('70/'11)

new bands/artists:

Phased ('09)
Shizoey ('10)
Arc Of Ascent ('10)
The Machine ('10,'12), The Machine/Sungrazer ('13) ; Sungrazer ('09,'11)
Charles Brown ('11)
Skraeckoedlan ('11)
Levin-Torn-White ('11)
Radio Moscow ('11)
Freedom Hawk ('11)
Motorhead/"Lemmy" ('10)

Hypnos 69 ('10) (on different page)

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Elektroharsch    Phased : A Sort of Spasmic Phlegm
Induced by Leaden Fumes of Pleasure (CH,2009)**°

Phased on their latest album show themselves as a stoner band with some roots in mid period Hawkwind and some tracks with heavy voice vocals on slow stoner rock. Repetitive patterns and keyboard production outros give a more psychedelic effect. The music has a certain simplicity but succeeds in having its effect.

Info on their homepage : http://www.phased.ch/?s=news&c=english
Info and audio on http://www.myspace.com/phasedphased
Label : http://www.elektrohasch.de/
World In Sound  Shizoey : Lineaments (Ö,2010)****

Shizoey’s sound surprised me. Much more of a crossover band creating their personal mix than a standard band, Shizoey mixes punkish elements as songs and singing, enriched with hard rock guitars with interesting riffs and intelligent compositions and changes. What hard rock missed for some, something raw and essential, or what punk exaggerated being primitive, Shizoey compromises with the best of both, and goes even beyond that, reaching psychedelia and more. I heard passages of beautiful fuzz bass worth taking out. “Oriental Dream” suddenly improvises on a middle eastern theme. There are softer parts, bluesier guitar, and acid rock elements. Musically and compositionally it is a story, while the raw true basics of inspirations are respected and form one of the basics of expressions.

Info on their homepage : http://iacmusic.com/artist.aspx?id=94783
Info and audio on http://www.myspace.com/shizoey666
Label : http://www.worldinsound.de
Astral Projection  Arc Of Ascent : Circle Of The Sun (NZ,2010)***°

Arc Of Ascent comes forth from New Zealand’s acid doom rockers Datura which featured already Craig Williamson of sitar trance psych band Lamp of the Universe. Arc Of Ascent more often mixes its doom rockers with psychedelic effects, changes and electric guitars and with a handful of trance/psychedelic passages with tampura, chanting and such. Especially the early tracks mixes the doom with the psychedelia well, keeping the vocals a bit more in the body of the music, and with the electric guitars adding a psychedelic effect into the mix, a head spinning effect to the doom grooviness elsewhere. Just the last few tracks are more simple stoner rockers.

Audio : “Universal Form

Info & audio : http://www.myspace.com/arcofascent
Other reviews : http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2010/03/18/arcofascentreview/
& http://earthdogsvisionsofdoom.blogspot.com/2010/04/arc-of-ascent-circle-of-sun.html
& http://www.roadburn.com/2010/03/album-of-the-day-arc-of-ascent-circle-of-the-sun/
Elektroharsch The Machine : Drie (NL,2010)***°

This Dutch band fits perfectly within the scope of this German label (Rotor,..). No matter all the elements they have, with an ambitious range of interests, I found this band from the start rather unpretentious in how they perform and develop their music, first playing correct and straight forward doom rock, with a convincing drummer and fitting singer, elements which should not be underestimated in such music, a few times they also take the time for a much slower development of their tracks. This has of course some psychedelic association, smoothly developing its electric guitar moods like this, slowly walking towards the moment before the doom takes over with full energy ; this gives a kick : after such a slightly stoned walk coming to this heavy moment when they dig this down into the bass grounds. The two long tracks of over 15 minutes didn't sound too long at all. The second long track also has some wahwah guitar and a last part with guitar freak-outs. Surprising was also the last bluesrocker, with often a repetitive bass this time, adding a doom version of some Hendrix riffs and with wilder wahwah psychedelic guitars. Then we still have a hidden track where the bass dooms are exaggerated so that they more sound like a drone, and with distorted vocals, before a second guitar is added. I think they wanted to have something like this to close the album and leave it behind.

Somewhere I must have lost track of time with this album. Apparently I must have enjoyed this for nearly 80 minutes !

Info & audio : http://www.myspace.com/themachineband
Homepage : http://www.themachineweb.com/
Label : http://www.elektrohasch.de/
Dutch post : http://musicalmojo.blogspot.com/2010/11/machine-drie.html ;   next cd->
ElektroharschThe Machine : Calmer Than You Are (NL,2012)***°

The Machine is back with a new album. What I like about groups like this is that they don’t keep themselves limited within one genre. In the case of this album it is good to have some different areas and a bigger musical perspective and balance inside the album’s range of expressions (who can convince with doom bass for more than half an hour of songs?), it still must be said that not every area is equally convincing, but then with all of this it still gives us times of relief after the real kick-ass moments. "Calmer than you are” is the album title, and that must be for don’t you think the public wants to dig a few specific reasons to be there. I know that a well-proportioned doom bass really works like a sanctuary of recovery, like an earth drum to the soul. In the first two tracks the band in a real perfect way seems to build up the tension towards that full power effect blowing it to the hard kick all right !
The first track builds up calmly with an electric bass resonating with its drone, some sitar accents of arrangements and some space slides effects on electric guitar, in a slow bass rhythm, before a second bass and song appears, an then the doom bass breaks it all open with a wow, with more power than doom can handle, and some peeping after effect. The second track builds up inside an interesting rhythm. There has been arranged an intelligent combination of arrangement where the drumming and doom bass are really banging with such power, I now remember best what I really liked about such a doom bass, (explained above), and what a bit of a creative mind in the arrangements can do to this, with the useful tool of controlled aggression : this means power man ! The next couple of tracks are much more relaxed, almost like an indie rock foundation of singing/songs, with that little bit of stoner rock behind it. The lead voice never appealed to me very much and I don’t really know what to think of these moments. It’s nice to hear the opportunity has been taken several times to stretch these moments to include improvisation, with a more repetitive rhythm and electric guitars solos, a few times even rather wild. One of such tracks was stretched to over 12 minutes and was a good moment of improvisation. I wish The Machine would also increase themselves better with more of the kind of proportioned preparations they did on the first two tracks which really lifts them up to a next and most memorable level.  A band with nothing but such results I would certainly praise heavily !

Audio : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPRKgbZexr0
Info & audio : http://www.myspace.com/themachineband
Homepage : http://www.themachineweb.com/
Label : http://www.elektrohasch.de/
Other review : http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2012/04/19/themachinereview-2/

Elektroharsch Sungrazer (NL,rec.2009)***'

Dutch band Sungazer has its feet in stoner rock but lets its music evolve with songs and slow jamming like shoegaze psychedelia. This creates its own atmosphere, a warm sound with an intense cloud of smoke, the songs balancing on a groove. This has such a relaxed state of evolution, down to the ground and stoned in the head, but light towards the future, the near 40 minutes feel like just a few moves towards an endless state of ...just what they are.

Video : "Common Believer"
Info & audio : http://www.myspace.com/sungrazerband
Homepage : http://sungrazer.nl/
Label : http://www.elektrohasch.de/
Other reviews : http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2011/02/18/sungrazerreview/
& http://writingaboutmusic.blogspot.com/2011/02/sungazer-sungazer-elektrohasch-146.html
& http://www.roadburn.com/tag/elektrohasch-schallplatten/
& http://www.soundofliberation.com/index.php/sungrazer.html
& on http://www.fastnbulbous.com/stoner-rock.htm   next album->
Elektroharsch    Sungrazer : Mirador (NL,2011)***°

Sungrazer’s latest album gave a very good impression, although I think a few extra ideas or tracks could have made it better for the last track hangs there only like an improvised variation forced onto it just to make some kind of ending. For a group using doom and stoner elements they are surely successful because of its psychedelic element, even though there is some sort of relaxed stoned clarity involved. We hear more often a very physical bass, with an almost curing sound to the ground, with a fitting rhythm and voice adding a song element. There are bass repetitions too of an almost danceable nature. The longest track of course has most of the psychedelic sensibility, a relaxed jam with more (psychedelic) electric guitar work, before returning to the bass foundations. This worked as a very enjoyable trip, even though I wish it had found an ending with more of a highlight.

Intro :http://www.youtube.com/...
Homepage :http://sungrazer.nl/ & http://www.myspace.com/sungrazerband
Label : http://www.elektrohasch.de/
Other review : http://www.doommantia.com/2011/07/sungrazer-mirador.html
Fossil Rec. Charles Brown : Storm Rising (US,2011)***/**°

Charles Brown is a guitar man. I have heard some good progressive music examples before of mostly duo guitar composers (like Vietgrove) who used some additional keyboards and drumming for conceptual, almost symphonic music. Also Charles Brown’s approach reaches towards a larger compositional scale although improvisation is very much part of the arrangements. Some of the layers of guitar are electric, emotional improvisation. Some parts are electrified acoustic picking. A few small parts are more classical guitar. Keyboards are used for some symphonic textures here and there. Thoroughly in the album, heavier electric guitar appears, heavy rocking with solos on top of it, with hard rock or even sometimes heavy metal guitars, never losing the bigger picture of a larger scale compositional orientation.

Guests were Matt Bassano & Steve Espinosa.

Audio on http://youtubeproxy.eu/...
Info & audio :http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/charlesbrown22
Label info :http://www.fossilrecords.net/charlesbrown1.htm
No reviews known
World In Sound Sproton Layer : With Magnetic Fields Disrupted (US,1970)****

Michigan-based three brothers band Sproton Layer had a pretty original sound with partly a raw garage-like, perhaps at times punk garage, otherwise acid rock guitars as one of the elements of starting points. The arrangements they make with their songs are intelligent with tempo changes driven by the song leads, with an appeal to drama or theatre, with rolling drums and, also original, trumpet arrangements to the songs, giving the songs a flamenco-rock like dance or some kind of pleasant feast-music aspect. The vocals have vocal harmonies in them here and there and some bass accents reveal that they were fond of early Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd, as it was introduced, although not too much. A bit more core dominant are the elements of acid psych and occasionally progressive hard rock guitar, pushed by here and there some marching accelaration in the drums. This mixed with the softer, more romantic-dramatic expressions of the songs, strengthened once more by moody trumpet arrangements. This whole range of combinations in their sound makes it so that they can’t be described well in just a few sentences or into one style description.

Ben Miller later joined Destroy All Monsters. M3 was another later band with the same brothers. Roger Miller was also part of Mission of Burma and currently is part of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic.

Band info : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sproton_Layer
Description : http://www.green-brain-krautrock.de/...
Homepage : http://sprotonlayer.yolasite.com/
Benjamin Miller page : http://www.benmiller.info/bmi_history.html
Info : http://www.funworldmusic.com/discographymagneticdisrupt.html

Other review : http://anotherworldofsound.blogspot.com/...
Transubstans Records Skraeckoedlan : Appeltradet (S,2011)***'

This new Swedish band delivers a steady sound and groovy rhythm as if one big track in different parts, ideal stoner stuff. Dual, triple tribal doom guitars and drums foundation for some additional fitting singing brings you easily and successfully into a trippy mind with the body of bass inside. Produced by Oskar Cedermalm from Truckfighters.

Info & audio : http://www.myspace.com/skraeckoedlan
& http://skraeckoedlan.com/
Audio : http://soundcloud.com/transubstans-records/skraeckoedlan-v-rldarnas-fall
Dutch review : http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/showreview.php?id=19321
German eview : http://www.metal.de/rock/review/skraeckoedlan/46739-aeppeltraedet/
Label description : http://www.transubstans.com/?module=albums&id=100
Artwork : http://johanleion.com/portfolio/archives/271
Lazy Bones Records Tony Levin/David Torn/ Alan White : Levin Torn White (UK,2011)**'

Like a super trio these three musicians compiled 14 tracks for a new album based upon improvisations, which are kept compact. These musicians are Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd) on bass and Chapman Stick, David Torn (Jeff Beck, David Bowie, John Legend, B.L.U.E.) on guitar and textural events and Alan White (Yes, Plastic Ono Band, George Harrison, Joe Cocker) on drums. Most often this is played in a ratherheavy way and with lots of use of distortion; their ambitions are often in this loudness. The music itself is a kind of improvised rock, but it never becomes as challenging as they might want it to be, just because rhythmically and structurally all is played in a rather straight forward rhythm groove, the lack of rhythmic transformational challenges and surprise for me makes the music sound less "rich" in content, outside the make-it-rock for the rock music event. There are used a few ambient textures too, keyboard-like even though there are guitars included in these long notes. The improvisations starting from there can be more relaxed, or never the less switches to a louder rhythm. What is clever outside the skills of playing still is, I repeat, that they quickly find compact conclusions so that the jams have something attractive in a more structural sense, which is really fine to hear, and which works well for an album full of tracks like this.

Tony Levin is mostly known for his chapman stick playing.  Interesting to know is that he invented Funk Fingers, transmuted drumsticks attached to fingers used to hit the bass guitar strings for funkier sonority. The use of them can be heard just here and there : it gives a less aggressive funky touch to the strings.

Audio : http://soundcloud.com/... ; Video : http://www.soundandvisionmag.com...
Homepage : http://levintornwhite.com/
Label info on Tony Levin : http://www.lazybones.com/tonylevin.html
Intro : http://www.geardiary.com/2011/09/19/...
Album details : http://www.relayer35.com/Yescography/levintornwhite.htm
Tony Levin interviews :http://www.examiner.com/...
http://somethingelsereviews.com...

Other reviews : http://www.classicrockrevisited.com/reviewLTW.htm
& http://www.jambase.com/...
Alive Nat.Sound Rec. Radio Moscow: The Great Escape Of Leslie Magnafuzz (US,2011)***°

Radio Moscow’s group sound clearly finds some of their roots to fall back upon in psychedelic and hard bluesrock, they become perhaps more inventive and freakingly creative when they go beyond the blues-rockers where they succeed to surprise with grooving power. On the first track, “Little Eyes” the drums are almost as fast as death metal, we hear heavy & hard rock styles with bass and electric guitars and hear small accents with Hammond. This track has a strong instrumental structure with freak-outs within structural change, where the rhythm changes are forced by melody progressions. The instrumental parts groove with convincing improvisation. There remains an element that derived from the blues in the singing part. After some equally creative tracks there are also more simple bluesrock based tracks, which still allow extra improvised electric guitars on top, become wild at times while remaining embedded in this blues foundation. “Densaflorativa” is again different, with an electric guitar improvisation and shaking percussion, possibly based upon a folk dance melody, with some experiment further on with reverb voice and electric guitar. Some of the blues-rockers can be boogi-ing, with heavy rock guitars. Another track, “Deep Down Below”, leaves out the rock element, keeping only the blues style, accompanied by shakers again, mouth harmonica, distorted vocals and an electric guitar improvisation. A second part adds the full heavy rock band again. There surely is strong potential in this band, I still prefer it when they leave the blues-rock as a secondary experience, because then the show they are capable of a lot more, something extra compared to many bands in that area.

Homepage : http://radiomoscow.net/
Label info & audio : http://www.alive-totalenergy.com/x/?page_id=161
Info& audio (soon) : http://boomkat.com/...
Small Stone Rec. Freedom Hawk : Holding On (US,2011)***°

Although Black Sabbath still is underestimated, how they are remembered, with Ozzy’s high vocals and Geezer Butler's low bass groove with an additional guitar, these elements alone were a successful formula of which the bass stoner effect alone made a whole new genre called “stoner”. Freedom Hawk uses the whole packet of high, Ozzy-like vocals, wonderful simple but effective bass lines, and a second guitar in harmony with that, a couple of small solos in between on top. Wonderful also is that the first, more or less, 7 tracks are like one big track in different song sections (with small instrumental dominances). Then there are a few breaks and differences, without too many surprises, rocking and slightly jammed in inspiration, but what else do we need? The 8th track starts with a different lower voice before taking off into their realms once more. The album ends with a strong (not too long) track that has some sections in its own, and with a bass theme that might come from metal but that matched well with the old school inspirations. I am convinced.

Audio on http://www.youtube.com/... ("Magic Lady")
Homepage : http://www.freedomhawkband.com/
& http://www.reverbnation.com/freedomhawk
Label entry : http://www.smallstone.com/albuminfo.php?album=113
Other reviews : http://www.roadburn.com/2011/09/...
& http://www.hellbound.ca/2011/08/freedom-hawk-holding-on/
& http://thesodashop.wordpress.com/... & http://www.cosmiclava.com/...
& http://boundedbymetal.blogspot.com/2011/10/freedom-hawk-holding-on.html
Dutch reviews : http://www.zwaremetalen.com/recensie...
& http://www.writteninmusic.com/rock/freedom-hawk-holding-on/lang/nl/
& http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/showreview.php?id=20122
Elektroharsh Rec. The Machine / Sungraze (NL,2013)***'

Both Dutch groups are running into the same areas of inspirations and are well befriended too. A split album proves their somewhat like-minded approach. Here we have two sessions of improvisations, starting off with The Machine, who first builds up doom guitars, but thoroughly evolves towards a more progressive improvisation with a calmer groove creation. Sungrazer more quickly digs into these guitars improvisations, into a calmer mood and slightly 60s flavoured vocals, a somewhat progressive mood, staying into this area a bit longer.

Info: http://themachineandsungrazersplit.bandcamp.com/
& http://www.soundofliberation.com/news_full/items/the-machine-sungrazer.html
& http://psychocydd.co.uk/... & http://www.stonerrock.eu/?p=8923

Lemmy MovieGreg Olliver & Wes Orshoski : Lemmy -2dvd- (UK/US,2010)****+*°°
49% Motherf**ker. 51% Son of a Bitch

This documentary, which nowadays is already considered to be THE (long overdue) documentary, follows Lemmy during a tour, backstage, home and while shopping or in his favourite bar in LA (where he currently resides). 

In the middle of the movie it shows a bit of history (from most former bands, especially with more information about the Mocking Vickers, about Hawkwind and how his cooperation there ended abruptly, and of course a bit about Motörhead). As it often happens in music documentaries, it also made a collage of what people say about Lemmy, which is nothing but good (-not that it would matter if anyone would have to say anything negative at all-). What I personally admire about Lemmy is the no-bullshit attitude, the straight-forwardness and the direct honesty, and that in all this he is able to see what really is going on in others and what is needed around, like a caring person with a good heart and that he is able to express every essence he realises with full power and with the Kundalini of life. From all heavy music, I personally don’t consider Motörhead as being heavy metal except when all other heavy metal isn’t. One could place it on its o. Motorhead is loved by punks and rockers alike. At a certain stage in my own lifetime, when I tried to get rid of some hard rock in my collection, I could and would never do that with the Motörhead’s LP’s, ever.

The bit of humour on the road makes the experience of the documentary complete. We are able to witness a well-fit Metallica performance with Lemmy on stage, and a few good live moments luckily were kept too. It was a 2 hours worth watching, might even be worth it to show it to some pussy’s, because you get the time for it to get used to something that is a bit louder via many more facts that surround the experience before being givenof  to it, especially near the end.

From the 200 minutes of bonus material on DVD I also enjoyed the live in Berlin show from around this time that was included. I didn’t realise how much the current band still is able to get a powerful impression towards us.

Teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgUk1j0lrH0
Info: http://www.lemmymovie.com/
& http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemmy_(film)
Other reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/lemmy_2010/
& http://www.theguardian.com/music/lemmy
& http://www.contactmusic.com/movie-review/lemmy
& http://motorheadster.blogspot.be/2009/05/lemmy-movie.html
Dutch review: http://www.humo.be/dvd-reviews/33698/lemmy

Personal favourite albums : Overkill (1979)***** followed by Ace Of Spades (1980)***** and Another Perfect Day (1983)***** followed by Bomber, Motorhead,..

I know I must still better check Motörhead’s later releases. There might be more rock’n roll involved and less of life messages, but how can I know for sure? Songs can be made to power or to something powerful in various ways.

Lemmy played with Sam Gopal & Hawkwind before. Sam Gopal review here








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