Sunday, June 30, 2013

Earthling Society- Zodiak (4Zero Records FZ013)

Earthing Society is back with another great record and features guest musicians Lew Dickinson on sax and Neil Whitehead on synths. I picked this one up and reviewed it previously when the vinyl edition came out but the band had more in mind than a single LP when they recorded this album and so the LP release is really a totally different record, containing only an edit of the full length 30min Zodiak and Astral Traveller. The rest of the CD is unique material and the LP had the amazing track Silver Phase, which does not appear on the CD. The CD starts off two tracks not on the vinyl edition, the City of Resurrections and I don’t know Myself. The first is a short intro track that is mainly drums and synthesizers and ends abruptly just as you enter the trance. I don’t know Myself is a 6min track and quite psychedelic with lots of stuff going on while Fred tries to distract you with his singing. What a tripped out song with saxophone and weird disturbing sounds and strange lyrics. Zodiak is 30 mins long and for the patient. It is a slow journey but one worth taking and if you have the vinyl version you got to hear most of the track. Desolation is a slow mellow track with some nice saxophone as well after the intense Zodiak. The Astral Traveller is another long trip clocking in at nearly 22 mins and certainly extended from the vinyl version. I love this track. The Elevator does not stop at this Floor closes the CD and is also not on the vinyl and includes some nice elevator sounds to get you into the mood for where this psychedelic monster album is going to end..

Da Captain Trips- Anechoic Chamber Outcomes I (Phonosphera Records PH05)

This is a new Italian band, is more like an instrumental jam project and I am not at all sure who is playing on the release. I think it the people from Void Vibration and Insider?  If you like those bands you will also like this stuff. The opening jam called Leaving the Mainland Again, is 10½ mins long with bass, drums, guitar and synthesizer. It mainly switches back and forth between some nice guitar sections and this drone synth before the riff changes totally at 3½ mins. The end section really picks up the pace and rocks out. Morfolk has a really cool driving bass line and spacey guitar and synth to start and then a more uptempo track takes off lead by some cool guitar throughout this track. Sargassian Way To Definitive Blue is a more melodic track with some great guitar playing that just floats and glides.  The synth lines are nearly the same on all the tracks so far but just focus on the guitar! Track 4 is more floating and spacey I like the lead guitar line that slowly takes hold and drives the track. Floating is a slower 5min track with some nice elements and the synths play a more important role as the track, floats. A nice sitar guitar part comes in later. Old man from the Sea starts with a keyboard that is almost like a melodica and the guitar slowly builds up the track. It is much more repetitive than the other track especially at the end. Siren’s Call ends this instrumental rock record in a strange way with a piece unlike all the rest. Cool record. Available as a CD in only 300 handmade and hand numbered copies or a limited edition vinyl version.

Isaak- The Longer the beard the harder the Sound (Small Stone Records SS-140)

I have never heard about this four piece (vocal, bass, drums, guitar) Italian band but damn, this CD has some great songs. This was released in 2012 but in Italy but this new remixed version also contains 4 extra tracks including covers of Pink Floyd and Iron Maiden! The CD booklet is really cool with lots of cool like 60-70’s movies like graphics. Anyway, the record starts with Haywire. It is a high energy track with a special sound production. Classic stoner rock riff rock on this opening track. Under Siege starts with a monster fuzzed phased guitar before the high energy stoner rock but with a slightly spacey edge. Sounds like Dozer. Breaking balance is a bit longer (4mins!) and starts quite spacey but slowly builds up into a hell of a rocker with a great groove and cool guitar. Flood is 8 mins long and starts slowly and about 3mins the heavy riff kicks in and the track maintains a higher energy for most. It is pity there is so little lead guitar on any of these tracks so far.. mainly just the heavy riffs and some spaced out stuff but not real jamming electric lead guitar. This track is very cool and spaced out though. Psychedelic. Red (The Colour of God) is a quite fast paced track with loud drums and intense guitar. Rest of the Sun is also heads down, stoner rocking headbanging stuff with a cool groove. Adrift is another uptempo one much like the others but Hypotesis is a droney track but with mid-paced drums and sitar that really gets powerful when the sitar drops out towards the end. Two cover songs, Fearless by Pink Floyd and Wrathchild by Iron Maiden split in next. The former is a heavy riffing version but all the beauty that the track had is stripped away, while they manage to make a pretty cool stoner version of Wrathchild and it contains a pretty cool guitar solo so I don’t understand while they are so rare on the rest of the record? The Right Time is a new song and a fast rocker. Isolation 2.0 has a more metal riff but still is pretty grooving. I am sure this band kicks some ass live.. Enjoy.

The Road to Suicide/Spökraket Split LP (Levitation Records)

This is a pretty cool split LP with two underground psychedelic rock bands from Denmark. The Road to Suicide side is 3 songs and starts with the sort of dreamy psychedelia of Sleepers. It has this big open sound production that sounds like it was recorded in warehouse (it was recorded at home), a bit like Earthling Society and Spaceman 3 at times. Before Lexington is again pretty laid back and spacey and has some nice solos but two of the guitar players. This one fades out and makes way for the very cool Looking for Water track that starts with the didgeridoo and sitar. The vocals are often mixed quite far away and distant so the focus is the music. Cool stuff. I look forward to seeing them live and their next album. Flip over the record and you get Spökraket, another pretty new band but they have released one full length called All art is Propaganda on the New own Record label. Their side starts with the very repetitive and hypnotic Climb to High which has both a male and female voice that match each other really well (he is deep and her’s rich). The track starts to pick up when the fuzz guitar and voice comes back after a long period of not much happening except the same groove. They climbed pretty high for this one. There is a short interlude piece and then a track called Repetition will save your Life. It starts with cool synthesizer but then this fades away and the very psychedelic wall of sound just engulfs the room. Very trippy stuff. I might have to hunt down their other LP.. Great release.

Asunta- Landscapes (Lollipoppe Shop LSCD012)

Asunta is a project by Alik Dziki who is mixing clarinet work by Polish artist Slawomir Golaszewski and Wojceiech Larwacki who plays harmonium. The material was recorded in 1996 in Warsaw. The CD has 8 different landscape pieces ranging from 5 to 13 mins in length. They are all very relaxing pieces of music and not that easy to describe. The CD says it is ambient psychedelia but it is pretty simple and I think you would have to be in a very spaced out trance state, for which this music would be good, to call it psychedelic. I think it is a nice CD and have heard it several times especially on Sunday mornings…  I can’t find a web site to refer you to so you can hear this stuff. Sorry..

Dark Budda Rising- Dakhmandal (Svart Records)

Finnish space doom band, DBR are back with a beautiful new 3LP box with one long song per side. IT is made in only 225 copies and will sell out soon, I am sure.  As with all their albums you need to open up your mind, relax on the sofa and crank this one up and just let the tracks take you on that journey to the dark side of your soul, where the mischievous, the devilish side of everyone exists…. The sound production is really excellent and clear but also massive when it needs to be! The first track is slow and meandering at first but is always threatening but not quite going for the throat as the sounds begin to come forth in the mix to fuck with your mind. The track actually ends before any climax so now you have to disrupt your trip and flip the record. Now a totally different kind of vocal comes in as the band goes into a bit of chaos mode and just plain freaking out. Very tripped out and then half way through the DOOM riff kicks in! Yeah.. Later the brutal cries of a tortured soul take the intensity to another level. Phew.. The third side starts off straight away at a slow but not doom pace with a clean but distant vocal but soon the guitar riff gets mutated and twisted in sound and then it gets really heavy, then totally slow and spaced out like BONG. Then the guy torturing the aliens in the space ship raises the climax. Side 4, the intensity is rising and just fucking mad as the flanged out guitar rips your head off and the screams of insanity tease your brain. Now the music is getting fucking dangerous.. It ends in a spaced out drone.. Ok.. the last two sides.. Side 5 is back to the classic slow space doom and side 6 just blew me away as it was so different and more laid back. Some cool synthesizers and even clean vocals at times. This is a pretty damn cool release and shows growth in the bands ability to mix things up. Cool stuff…

Korai Öröm- 2013 (Self Released)

It has been a couple of years since the last KO album but I am always up for a new one. The band has some changes over the years but still maintains a lot of the members from the early days, which is great to see.  Anyway, the band is still pretty cool today and are now releasing the music on their own label. The CD opens up with a track called Dawn Raga and like the title suggests it has an Eastern feel to it but no sitar but cool guitar parts and percussion. Arab Spring hits you by surprise as it has a quite hard guitar riff and is really fast and frantic with some really cool synthesizer and the occasional “hej”. Periodic is alike something in a sci fi movie chase scene. Very cool track with freaky sounds. Afro goes through these freakouts where it is slower, almost like ska and then very frantic and wild like the Arab Spring track, and then back to more melodic, spacey stuff and then back again. Very cool song. Deltoid has a really cool almost trance feel to it due to the repetitive parts and Miklós plays a lot of cool instruments in the background like the hose pipe trumpet, jews harp, etc.. Ozrics and Shpongle fans will dig this one. J.M.J. starts with a techno drum beat and is even more electronic and dancy in some way. The CD ends with two short two min pieces. They are too short to develop much and I curious why at least one was not put in the middle of the record? Anyway, another very cool release and one I have been hearing a lot lately.

Check out the Lollipoppe Shoppe for all the best in eastern European bands. They stock this new one as well.

MANSION- We shall live EP (Private release- Finland)

Mansion is a mysterious release from Finland. The band name refers to the Finnsh Christian apocalyptic Masonite cult, Kartonoism, which existed from the 1920-50s in Finland and was led by Alma Kartano. The band is a five piece playing music like early 80s NWOBHM but with cool female vocals. Each side of the record plays on 45rpm and features 2 tracks. Mother’s Burden starts very slow and peaceful but then the mood changes when the heavy guitars and like choir keyboard kicks in. Alma has a special voice that commands your attention. Powerful and emotional in music and lyrics. We Shall Live, the title track is more organ driven and has a cool groove and sort of just sucks you into the mystic vibe of this band.
Flip the record over now and Sorrowless starts with some cool female like choir vocals with some delays as the bands slowly works it way up and then the track kicks in. IT has a similar vibe to the untempo rock of the first side. Somber Sermon ends the side and this is the best track as it gets more and more intense and a bit doomy at times. Some might compare them to Seremonia but I don’t think they have much in common besides a female vocalist. Very cool Ep. I can’t wait to hear a full length.

Brutus- Personal Riot 7” (Svart Records SRV207)

The Norwegian boogie blues groove rock band from Norway are back with their new 7”. The A side the rocking Personal Riot takes off where their last record did and has a pretty similar guitar riff to several of the earlier songs but the groove is addictive if you crank it up! The b side is a cover of a band called Tin House (1971) and only on the 7” and not the new full length due out in July. This track is very bluesy and although I have not heard the original something tells me the boys are playing it faster. The vocal is a more laid back and melodic but they turn it into a fine rocking track. I can’t wait to hear the full length record next month.

The Third Ear Experience- Black Peacock

This is a pretty damn cool jamming instrumental band from Joshua Tree, California. The concept is a bit like the Øresund Space Collective as this is a collection of jams with different people and very cool stuff. The opening 13min track is called The Surface of Last Scattering (any physicists in the band?) and is a mid paced track with a raw sound and texture but some really nice soloing by the synth player and guitarist. Really good dynamics with a nice free form feel to the music. a bit later the sax player joins in for a long solo. The title track is nearly 23 mins and next and starts more slow and spacey with some airy female vocals coming in after a few minutes. It slowly develops into an incredible track with this heavy guitar riff and then really cool horn section just before the main guitar solo section. Impressive jam, wow! A Pocketful of Stars is a 13min piece that starts off with some didgeridoo followed by a long guitar solo section. The next stage the track floats into a spacey section with fender Rhodes and nice synths sounds. The track slowly builds up again based around the piano with some nice synths later on. The final track is the 25min journey they call High Lands. It starts with a repetitive synthesizer sequence that lasts for quite a long time before it takes off with some saxophone, guitar and spacey synth sections that all blend together very nicely. A very repetitive section where the same riff is repeated over and over begins to fold into the mix and then the sax really takes the lead. It gets deceptively more and more intense and heavy and then the trip and CD is over.. 76mins…
          This is a damn cool release. Only available as digital and CD format at the moment. This is a jam band I will continue to check out. Fans of Øresund Space Collective will dig this band.

Apeskull- Apeskull (Heavy Psych Sounds HPS009)

The very cool label, Heavy Psych Records is back with another cool band. The CD comes in a very cool slip sleeve with great artwork. You get 9 tracks in 45mins of solid rock and roll sounds. Lazy is a great opening track and some nice guitar work by Fulvio. The lead vocals are done by drummer Giuliano. So Deep continues with a nice melodic track and so nice soloing one again and it even has a short drum solo!  Time and Wind slows things down and allows Pierpaolo on the bass to shine a bit. This track is nearly like something you would hear a southern rock band record. Make me Free has a great funky wah guitar riff that starts the track off and might remind you a bit of Hendrix! I got no time is a cover of a German band called Orange Peel. This is another really funky track. It surprises me that they put to funk rock tracks in a row? Both were cool. The later has a great solo! Bluesy, is just like the title says a more bluesy vibe but also a hard hitting riff at times and a lot of different changes. Hookah is more of a late 60s track with a simple riff and melody but great when it kicks into the wah solo section. Now I get You is a short 3½min sort of shuffle track. Take me Back closes the record. If you like melodic hard rock with some great guitar solos and songs, then check these guys out!

          This is a really cool band with great late 60’s early 70s rock sound.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sweden Rock Festival 2013

Day 1

9:10 Sue and I are on the train from Copenhagen to Sölvesborg now and just crossing the bridge to Sweden. The weather is great 20C and just pure sunshine. There are some Swedish kids drinking Gamle Dansk next to us and this is their first Sweden Rock Festival. I heard some other folks from the UK in another part of the train. 

10:13  We just passed through Hasselholm. We are due to arrive at 10:58 and then then we will go to the Mjälbyhus, where we stayed last year. The entire large house from the 1700’s is rented out by two groups of people. One from Spain and one from Finland. We are the only other people. I wonder if they will remember us from last year? 

12 We just had lunch out in the garden and the house is totally empty but the Spanish people have been here. They had a flag on the pole with the RUSH logo and the word SPAIN. 

14:38 We had a little nap after the nice lunch and a beer in the garden and are now on the bus to the festival. A few people who are staying at the Hanohus that we remember from last year are also on the bus. It is quite windy out right now but still warm. We have brought layers of clothes as you never know how cold it will get at night.

The Best Band
16  Getting into the festival and getting our wristbands were never easier than this year. They have moved the accreditation pick up. They also have another entrance for VIP again this year near the Sweden Stage which has been shifted to the right about 30 meters or so. A band called the Best Band, a Swedish spandex hard rock heavy metal band was on the 4Sound stage (why don’t they just keep the name, Zeppelin Stage they had all these years?). We did not find them that interesting and are soon off to go see the female blues artist Stacie Collins. 

Stacie Collins
I can see you can get drinking water from the bathroom sinks this year which is good as it is going to be hot. The prices for beer (65kr 500ml, 48kr for 330ml) are still outrageous. They will probably make 40 million in profit this year. We will see. 

17 Stacie Collins was really good. She has a cool raspy voice and plays harmonica on almost all the songs. They are clearly still working on the sound on the Sweden Stage but it is not bad up here on the hill but way too bassy  down by the stage when I took some pictures. You could not hear the guitar at all. The last two songs that they played were great and the band was doing some jamming with some nice duals between harmonica and guitar. They even did a bit of Jumping Jack Flash during the last song. Good set but short. Maybe 40mins. 

Magic Pie
17:30 Next we heard most of Magic Pie from Norway while having come food. The sound was so low it was criminal and they have not moved the Rockklassiker stage so it will be the same disaster as last year once bands start to play in the Rock stage. I would have enjoyed them much more if they played more than 80db. It was criminally low. Sometimes they reminded me of Marillion. They had keyboard, bass, drums, two electric guitar players, one acoustic and nearly everyone in the band did some singing.  Cool band.  The new material they played was very good and they had some nice jamming parts. The lead guitar player reminded me of Steve Morse. Pointless masquerade was a great song. 

Set List: Two new songs, Pointless Masquerade, 

The Black Day was very tragic. I wonder whose bad idea this was? Before the band Threshold, they had this group of 9 years old (Drums, bass, guitar, and three female vocalists) from Sölvesborg. They said this was the youngest band to ever play SRF and I would say also the worst. The singers were all out of tune and just sounded bad, the guitar player was not playing these cover songs well at all, only the drummer and bass players seem to work together. Bad idea. 
THe Black Day

19:30 Threshold from the UK had a lot of technical problems to start and even had to start their opening song again after they aborted it after 1min or so. They had even worse sound than Stacie Collins on the Sweden Stage. IT did get a lot better later in the set. This was the first time the band had ever played in Sweden. If you don’t know them, they play this melodic metal with twin guitars, pad keyboards and operatic like singer. He was a very good singer. I am not really into this kind of music at all but we watched all their set.

The Sweet
20:30 We watched a couple of songs by the Polish thrash band, Vader. They reminded me a lot of Destruction. We went over to check out Sister Sin and they really sounded a lot like the early Warlock albums with a singer who could really sound like the old Doro Pesch (she plays on Friday). Fun to hear some of this but they lack originally a lot. Great attitude and looks. 

22:15 The Sweet that was a huge surprise. I saw them play here 7 years ago and it was ok but it did to really blow me away. They had their own sound guy and the sound was excellent with the guitars nice and loud. It was a cool set with a few cover songs (they opened with the Russ Ballard song New York Groove (Also covered by Ace Frehley). They did a heavy version of You spin me around (Dead or Alive). I had never heard this song but Sue knew it. They played half of the Desolation Blvd LP with Ballroom Blitz, Set me Free, the 16’s and one other. Action was fantastic as well. 

Set list: New York Groove, Hellraiser, Turn it Down, The Sixteens, WigWam Bam-Little Willy, Teenage Rampage, Love is like Oxygen, You spin me around, Action, Blockbuster, Fox on the Run, Ballroom Blitz

23:30 We saw the entire Bullet concert and they were really entertaining. A good front man who sounds a lot like Brian Johnson (not an easy singing style). Very AC/DC inspired but also like 80s Judas Priest for some of the guitar riffing stuff. The local people loved them. I think this is the 3rd time they played SRF but the first time I had seen them. 

01:30 Candlemass had a really cool stage set up and a good sized but not huge crowd for the main headline act. The sound was excellent and I was pretty blown away by the new singer. He was great. The band played some songs from the last Psalms for the dead LP, which had a lot of organ on it. This was the first I ever saw the band with the keyboard player or the new singer. You could hear the keyboard but sadly he never did any solos, not even one. Just this same style organ sound all the time. He is far too good to just be doing that. It would require the band do jam, do some improve, extend songs but they are content playing them exactly like the records. Anyway, it was a great but predictable set of classics and not nearly as long a set as I thought they would play. Almost too easy for the band. I love them though. What is next for this band?

Set List: Prophet, Bewitched, Dark Reflections, Waterwitch, Emperor of The Void, Under The Oak, At The Gallows End, Darkness In Paradise, Psalms of The Dead, Black As Time
Crystal Ball, Solitude

The bus trip home was crazy as the old driver did not know where the fuck he was going so Sue, I and one Finnish guy, the only three on the bus and all going to the same place, had to tell this guy that he was going the wrong way and had already passed where were staying. He did eventually find the place. 

Day 2

It was a late night but we managed to catch the bus at 13. The Spanish group had a bus at 10:30! Demon was playing when we arrived. We heard some of the set but did not see them play. I love their first three records but they have moved far from that sound now days. The weather is just amazing. I am just in shorts and sandals again. We caught a few songs by a young Swedish speed metal band called Overworld. The band and singer had a lot attitude but I did not think the singer sung very well live. Maybe they are better on the record? 

Michael Katon
14:45 We saw the entire Michael Katon set. He is a blues guitar player from near Detroit. He played a lot of slide guitar, boogie rock and roll blues stuff.  The attractive female bass player who could not avoid smiling or laughing during some of the very sexual lyrics of some of the tracks, was not very technical or good. She more or less thumped along with the drums and not adding a lot. He was a competent blues guitarist but not amazing. I did like quite a few of the songs and it was perfect music for sitting in the hot sun with a beer! 

Set List: ??, Whisky Hill, Come On Back To Hell, No More Whiskey, Red Moon Risin', Diablo Boogie, Barbeque On My Boogie, Fried Jalapenos, Boogie Man
15 We saw a bit of Days of Jupiter on the Rockklassiker stage but it was a disaster for sound. You could hardly hear them clear as they were blasted by Survivor on the Rock stage. They a sort of melodic pop metal but with some heavy guitar riffs. Since we were hearing Survivor anyway, we decided to check them out for the hell of it even though this is a band that I hated in the 80s.. same style and genre as Journey, Loverboy,etc… I shot a video of the guitar solo and one of their hits. Enjoy…. They had both of their classic singers from the band but it was quite clear who was in control and who was subordinate!  The crowd was nuts when they ended their show with Eye of the Tiger. 

16:30 We saw maybe 5 songs by the California band, Huntress. They play thrashy, speed metal stuff with a small lady with a crazy intense voice. She was like a small King Diamond with these harsh piercing screams and deep intense vocals as well. She was just too much though. I got tired of her after a while but have to admit she is a very impressive singer but can she do this in 5 years? The band rocked. I liked the slower doomy track they played the best.

Well to kill some time we went and checked out Rick Springfield. In a recent issue of classic rock he said that people would be surprised how hard they rock live, well I was not. I think the first two songs he played when we got there were decent but when he took off his shirt, it all went downhill and it was terrible 80s AOR rock music. Ugh… off we went…. He had a pretty decent sized crowd and the sound was great on the big stage. We did hear him do this track from the Sound City soundtrack he recorded with Dave Grohl (Nirvana) and also the classic Crossroads. Strange mix of stuff. 

Sue and I saw Backdraft a few years ago and they were excellent again. I was really happy to hear them play Blue Sky by the Allman Brothers Band. The crowd was not that big as Status Quo is also playing right now. They really rocked the place and have changed their sound a bit being not as southern rock inspired as the past and some of the stuff I would say was almost like stoner rock. Excellent band.

We caught about half the Status Quo concert and Sue had never seen them and I had not seen them in 15 years. Some of the tracks were really good like Big Fat Mamma with a long guitar jam in the middle. I was surprised that Rossi was really on fire on the guitar today and they played a much more rocking set. I had hoped this would have been the frantic four but it was the current line-up of the band. I have heard the new material they had made is really bad but luckily we missed that if they played any. What we saw was really good.

Mark Shelton and myself
Manila Road
Next up was one of the bands that I had only ever dreamed of seeing again, Manila Road! I did an interview with the band in their house in Wichita, Kansas back in 1984 when I put out a HM fanzine called Metal Madness. Anyway, they were really great. The new lead singer sounds exactly like Mark, who also did some lead vocals but not so many. I was blown away that this guy was so close to his original sound. They played a killer set of stuff including a song from the very first record from 1980 called Cage of Mirrors. Mark is a real shredder on the guitar and the whole band plays well. I got to meet and talk with Mark after the show and he was so cool.  A true highlight of the festival for me.

Set List: Masque Of the Red Death, Witches Brew, Metalstorm, ?, HM to the World, ?, Only the Brave, Divine Victim, Road of Kings, Cage of Mirrors, The Riddle Master, Crystal Logic, Necropolis, Flaming Metal System

Amon Amarth from Sweden is a very intense Viking Death metal band. They had half of a Viking ship on the stage as part of the show and that looked cool. I love the lyrical content and power of this band live. I am not sure I would hear their records at home though. The crowd was massive on the Rock stage and people were into it. 

KISS.. what can I say.. I saw them in Dec 1979 on the Dynasty tour and that was pretty cool for a young kid. The show is even more massive and intense today but damn the band are in a serious decline. I saw them on the reunion tour back in 1997 and they were pretty good actually but this was really bad. Paul Stanley just can’t sing at all anymore. If you are doing so badly, you need to stop. The band was just tired, no spark at all, no fire, no excitement.. It left me feeling empty even though I love some of these old songs but it was a bit lame. We even left when the solos started. Pity as I love the old Kiss. 

Set List: Psycho Circus, Shout It Out Loud, Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll. I Love It Loud. Hell Or Hallelujah, War Machine, Calling Dr. Love, Deuce, Say Yeah, Shock Me / Outta This World, Guitar Solo, Drum Solo, Bass Solo (this is when we left), God of Thunder, Lick It Up, Love Gun, Rock And Roll All Nite, Detroit Rock City. I Was Made For Lovin' You, Black Diamond

Day 3

The weather has just been amazing this year. It was roasting hot yesterday but a light breeze so that was fine. I had a hard time coming up today. We got home early but I was just wiped out but did not sleep that great and was up early as the sun bakes our room starting at like 5am. I got up and opened the window at 7 and we lay down for another 1½ hrs or so but it is not really enough rest for me. I am not that young anymore… My feet and back are holding up well though. Today at lot of classic bands like Krokus, UFO, Saxon, The levellers.. Should be fun. 

12:10  We are sitting out in the sun in the garden at the Mjålbyhus waiting for the festival bus. It will be a busy day of music. Sadly, it was announced that Witchcraft was cancelled. Damn. I really wanted to see the new line up and hear the new songs live. 

13:05 The festival bus has arrived. The buses are really bad this year. They are supposed to come every 30mins or every hour and this is only the 2nd one so far today. The Finns at the hotel are very unhappy as they did not get a bus until 3 in the morning after KISS as there were none for like 2 hrs. That is just really crap service when you play nearly 500kr for the bus wristband or 60kr ticket. 

Firewind (Greece) play melodic speed metal and have a very powerful singer. They are most known now due to the singer is in the Swedish band Spiritual Beggars and the guitar player plays with Ozzy. They are very good at what they do but they sounds like so many other bands in this genre of melodic fast paced metal with ripping leads. Guz did a long guitar solo that was real masturbation and you can totally hear how Zakk Wylde inspired he is. They had a super cool guitar and keyboard jam coming out of his solo, I think it was. I really enjoyed Firewind and the weather was great sitting up on the hill. They did the 80s hit song Maniac and the crowd liked it but it was not much better than the original just heavier. 

Set List: Wall of Sound, Head Up High, Destination Forever, Few Against Many, World On Fire, Guitar Solo. The Fire And The Fury, Till The End of Time, Losing My Mind, Mercenary Man, Maniac, Falling To Pieces

15 Now you choose between Newsted or Asia. We choose to go sit up on the hill in the sun and check out Newsted. There was a big crowd and people were really curious what this was going to be about since there is only this 4 song EP out now. The full length is due in August, he said. Anyway, despite the critics, they rocked! I am not so fond of his singing but they had a lot of pretty cool songs. He acts like he is James Hetfield in many ways. A great frontman and not a bad one to emulate. Some of the songs are like old Flotsam and Jetsam (for which he wrote most of the songs) and As the Crow Flies sounded a lot like Metallica. I really liked Nocturnus as one of the best of the new songs. They have some cool guitar solo sections on some of the songs like this one that I really liked. The Leper Messiah tease was cool and the crowd dug Whiplash and the Motorhead cover, We are the Road Crew. A very solid set. Let’s see how the band evolves. 

Set List: Ampossible, Heroic Dose, Soldierhead. Skyscraper. As The Crow Flies. Nocturnus, Long Time Dead, King of The Underdogs, Leper Messiah tease>Twisted Tale of The Comet, Godsnake, Whiplash, (We Are) The Road Crew

16:25  I had a nice 5min chat with Martin, one of the heads of the festival in the backstage area and he was a super nice guy. I mainly spoke to him about the huge problem with the small Rockklassiker stage where it is just a nightmare for the fans, the bands and sound people to make sound here due to the poor angle that the stage is placed. He agreed this was not working and promised they would solve this next year. We will see. 

16:45 DORO, who I saw a few years ago here and was great had a pretty big crowd on the main stage, showing she really has staying power as one of the true leaders of the female lead heavy metal bands. She played more or less the same exact set as last time she was here except for a couple of new songs. The Germans I spoke to said they are bored with her as she and her band do the same set year after year..  We also only heard half the show. The slow ballad version of Judas Priest Breaking the Law was unique. Still nice to hear all these old Warlock songs that I really used to like a lot. Speaking off, when my band, Øresund Space Collective recently went and played two shows in Hamburg and we were waiting for the ferry, the car right behind us was blasting the first Warlock record! Cool..

Set List: I Rule The Ruins, Burning The Witches, Rock Till Death, The Night of The Warlock, Metal Racer, True As Steel, Raise Your Fist In The Air, Fur Immer, Hero. Breaking The Law, Revenge, All We Are, Earthshaker Rock, Burn It Up, Metal Tango

18:30 UFO, a band that I have really liked but have now tired of sadly. I wore my 1981 Wild Willing and Innocent tour shirt today and got some nice comments but the band were just so boring and going through the motions playing the exact same set as 4 years ago except for the 3 new songs, one which was really excellent. I will never go to see them again unless I hear they have a fresh new set. It is so lame and fucking lazy to play the same songs every year, when you have tons of classics. Just plain lazy. One of the main reasons I came to see them was also the rumor that maybe Michael Schenker would join since he is playing later in the day with Europe but he was a no show. We should have gone to see the Leningrad Cowboys who I heard were really great, while this was not. 

Set List: Lights Out, Mother Mary, Fright Night, Wonderland, Cherry, Let It Roll, Burn Your House Down, Only You Can Rock Me, Love To Love, Rock Bottom, Doctor Doctor, Shoot Shoot

20 Krokus was a great band in the 80s and I have to say I was really surprised that they totally kicked ass today! Besides the drummer and an additional young third guitar player (who did almost all the lead guitar for the first 70% of the concert), it was the original 4 guys! 
They had quite an amazing mix of new and old songs and closed the show with a great version of an old Manfred Mann song that I had never heard but Sue recognized! The best band of the day, I have to say. 

Set List: Hallelujah Rock 'n' Roll, Go Baby Go, Long Stick Goes Boom, Better Than Sex, Winning Man, Dog Song, Fire, American Woman, Screaming In The Night, Tokyo Nights, Easy Rocker, Bedside Radio, Heatstrokes, Hoodoo Woman, Eat The Rich, Mighty Quinn

22 Again back to the 80s with Saxon! We saw them a few years ago here when they played the entire Denim and Leather album but they suffered from terrible sound and you could not hardly hear the guitars at all. It was not a nice experience. The sound was great today and they played an excellent and powerful set with plenty of new songs and some quite obscure ones as well like Dallas 1PM, which I think they said they have never played at Sweden Rock. Biff was struggling a bit with his voice but still sounding 10x better than Paul Stanley. 

Set List: Sacrifice, Wheels of Terror, Power And The Glory, Heavy Metal Thunder, Made In Belfast, Crusader, And The Bands Played On, I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive), Conquistador
Drum Solo, Solid Ball of Rock, Stand Up And Fight, Dallas 1 PM, 747 (Strangers In The Night)
Strong Arm of The Law, Wheels of Steel, Denim And Leather, Princess of The Night

We did not stay to see Europe, which is a pity as I have still never seen them. I heard it was a great show with some cool special guests. I was having some trouble with breathing and had to wear a bandana over my nose and mouth as the dust was really bad now after many days without a drop of rain. 

Day 4

10:30 I was up early and on the bus with our Spanish friends at the hotel. I really wanted to get here early to catch the Norwegian band, Sahg and the UK NWOBHM band, Satan! 

Sagh had a small crowd including some guys behind me who all had Sahg t-shirts on. Anyway, the band played a great set of stoner rock metal stuff. The opening track was great and had two long guitar solos. They said Firechild was off the new record due out in August. I think it is their 3rd record. Pyromancer had a great groove, like stoner rock nearly. Good solid set to start the day.

Set List: The Executioner Undead, Soul Exile, Slip off the edge of the universe Firechild, Godless Faith, Pyromancer, Echoes Ring Foreve

I have all the old Satan and Blind Fury releases from the 80s and even had my original Satan shirt from like 1984 that my Dutch penpal, Peter Creemers sent me back then. Still fits! Anyway, Satan was excellent and the new songs 2025 and Incantations were really good. Time to Die was a really fast song with great dual lead guitars. These guys were both great. The original singer also still sang very well and was quite into it. Pretty cool to hear a band like this come back and really deliver a good album and deliver the goods live as well. 

Set List: Trial by Fire, Blades of Steel Time to Die, 2025, Oppression, Break Free, Incantations, Siege Mentality, Alone in the Dock
Me with my original Satan shirt on watching Satan!

Next up was Chris Goss’s Masters of Reality. They are a strange band and quite hard to describe. He is not a very good singer but unique and some of it fits well with their strange brand of rock they play. Some of the songs are really cool like Lay me Down and Down in a Hole. The opening track was very QOTSA like. He did most of the lead guitar and you could not hear him hardly at all for 1/3 of the concert due to a microphone problem but they eventually solved this. The other guitar player played all the heavy riffing stuff and was a cool old guy with a gray hair, beard and sunglasses. We heard the whole show and enjoyed it. 

15 We went and had some food and looked about and came back to the same stage to catch the Levellers. Many more people that for Masters of Reality but it was also quite early in the day. I had never seen this UK folk-rock band before and it was clear that the guys still had it and also several of the original or early members are in the band still. Cool to hear these violin driven political songs at Sweden Rock. Half way through the show I left to go catch the German thrash drinking band, Tankard! I quite liked all their early demos and albums but had never seen them before. They were great fun and I filmed one of their early tracks when they got a girl up on the stage to dance with them. Fun stuff. Some Japanese guys were in the pit having a really good time. Cool band…

Set List: Zombie Attack, Time Warp, The Morning After, Not One Day Dead, Stay Thirsty!
Rules For Fools, Die With A Beer In Your Hand, Rectifier, Chemical Invasion, A Girl Called Cerveza, (Empty) Tankard

Next up we went and found a nice place to sit on the grass (what was left of it!) near the big stage to hear the Quireboys do an acoustic set. I don’t know how long they played but it was a cool set of nearly all original songs but since I don’t know any of their stuff it was all new to me. Apparently this is a band that imploded due to drink and drugs in the 90’s and then has come back again. Neither of the guitar players did not do any solos in any of the songs which I thought was a bit strange. 

Set List: Don't Bite The Hand, There She Goes Again, Devil of A Man, Mona Lisa Smiled
Roses & Rings, Misled, Have A Drink On Me, Mary Ann, I Don't Love You Anymore, 7 O'Clock

Now back to the Rock stage to see Kreator. We had seen them play a very powerful set a few years ago here. They had a super cool stage set up but from what I can understand they are also a band that never changes the set list and plays the same old songs every concert. At one point in the set they split the audience in half near the stage and got a pretty damn big pit going, which was fun to see but it kicked up a lot of dust, so we moved much further away. We saw most of the set before heading off to see what Black Star Riders was all about.

Black Star Riders had a massive crowd expecting a lot from these guys. They opened with a new song and the entire show was a new song, two Thin Lizzy songs, a new song, etc.. The crowd was really into and they play well. The new songs sound nearly exactly like remakes of a lot of older TL tracks, for instance, I think it was the opening track, was like Opium Trail at times but not nearly as cool. Emerald was great with an extended solo. The question for a band like this is are they really better than the other Thin Lizzy cover bands out there? Will they make one or two more albums and be able to stand up as a band on their own and perhaps play only 2-3 Thin Lizzy songs in their set or will they continue to be a tribute band that plays a few of their own songs? Time will tell. Anyway, they are a solid band and they rocked and gave the fans what they wanted!  

Set List: All Hell Breaks Loose, Jailbreak, Massacre, Bloodshot, Bound for Glory, Rosalie, Hey Judas, Emerald, Hoodoo Voodoo, Whisky in the Jar, Kingdom of the List, Valley of the Stones, Cowboy Song, The Boys are back in Town

Accept played a kick ass concert. What can I say. I saw them for the first time in 1984 opening for Saxon! I also saw them a couple of times 10 years ago when they headlined Sweden Rock with Udo back in the lineup and they were pretty cool. They played quite a few new songs and some like Stalingrad were great. It would be cool if they would change around a few of the classic songs they played live a bit more. I would love to hear them play other stuff like Helldriver (1st album), I’m a Rebel (2nd album), Burning and Son of a Bitch (3rd album) etc.. Breaker was the only song from the first 3 great records. Still like Accept!

Set List: Hung, Drawn And Quartered, Hellfire, Restless And Wild, Losers And Winners, Stalingrad, Breaker, Shadow Soldiers, Bucket Full of Hate, Bulletproof, Pandemic
Princess of The Dawn, Up To The Limit, Fast As A Shark, Metal Heart, Teutonic Terror
Balls To The Wall

Now it was time for RUSH. I had not seen Rush in 30 years. I saw them in 1980, 1981 and 1983 and the last time was not very good and I did not like any of the records that I heard in the 80s and 90s. Last I heard was Snake and Arrows and the one song they played at the concert was excellent. Anyway, they started with 3-4 songs from the 80s and if it was not for the cool movies. After Analog Man, they played a great instrumental track. If it was not for the visuals we might have left but then they brought out this 7 piece string section that played with the band for the next 45mins or so and that was fucking cool. The songs in this section of the concert were for sure the best of the show until the 2112 closing song. I have to say they played an amazing concert. The visuals and everything would have been even better if it had been totally dark. The sun had not even gone down when they started at 21:30. The movie they showed for 5mins after the string section left with this tax collector was a real highlight. I think Sue liked it better than the concert. I am glad to see them still making some cool music and putting on a great show 30 years later. 

That was the end of our Sweden Rock. It was my 11th and Sue’s 9th (our 6th together) and we had a great time especially with the weather but damn we spent a lot more money this year on food and beer due to the weather. My favourite bands this year were:

RUSH, Krokus, Manila Road, and Candlemass

One last comment, The festival bus situation was really bad this year and they need to go back to Movia or another company and dump this shit company they used for the 2nd year in a row. The hotel where we stayed the buses are supposed to come every 30 mins starting at 10:30 and usually there were only 2 buses between 10:30 and 13.... and in the night it was also a nightmare for many I was told with only one bus showing up between 1 and 3 in the morning. The price had gone down from 80kr to 60kr and the wristband saved a lot of hassles but the buses were poorly labelled so it was often chaos and nearly fighting as people gather around whatever bus arrives to try to get in without knowing if it was their bus or not as they had no numbers on the front many of them.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Strange Fish (Fruits de Mer Records)

Strange Fish is a series of instrumental compilation records that includes two 12” records, two double albums plus a CD of bonus material for those who purchase all the records. Strange Fish One on side A features US artist, Craig Padilla. Craig is using old school analog synths like the ARP2600 (I would love to own one of these!) and other old ARP synths to create Klaus Schultze like trips. Full Moon World is an older track from 2005 while Secret Language was recorded in 2010. Flip the record over and you get an amazingly cool song from the Welsh band, Sendelica called Strange Fish!  It is not guitar oriented but more ambient for this band. Strange Fish 2 is a double vinyl and features more krautrock, prog rock stuff and quite a few of the familiar bands from this label like Vespero, Sendelica, the Grand Astoria, Temple Music Moonweevil as well as some FdM virgins, Julie’s Haircut (Italy), Organic is Orgasmic (Russia), and Mechanik (Spain). Pretty damn cool stuff.

          Strange Fish 3, is mainly kraut-electronic trips, features many of the bands that were on the excellent “Head Music” compilation including Earthling Society (performing a long suite called The Vampire’s Kiss), Vert:x (3 tracks), Black Tempest, Palace of Swords (2 tracks), the Golden Cake Company (Welsh analog synth improvisers) and finally the debut recordings of Dead Pylons (featuring folks from Hi-Fiction Science). This is more relaxed and spaced in general but I put this one on Sunday mornings... 

          Strange Fish Four, is featuring acoustic guitar and synth excursions with a more ambient music flavour. It features 7 different artists from several bands that have been on Fruits de Mer releases in the past including James McKeown (HI Fiction Science), Vox Humana (Dylan Lane from Soft Hearted Scientists), Organic is Orgasmic (Kamille Sharpadinov of The Grand Astoria), plus Temple Music, Cat Frequency and the Bordellos. Some of this stuff is really psychedelic, wow..
          And if you buy all four, which I think are really cool, you will get a bonus CD with a lot of people you will know if you are familiar with this label and it’s output including exclusive material by the great and creative Jay Tausing, The Cream People, Mademoiselle Marquee, Oceanfire, Purple Rock Trip (very cool track), Beau, Amazing sounds of DB Turi, Elevation (recorded in 1999 on the night of the millennium), and the Golden Cake Company. I agree with the promo material, that while these bands made some really cool tracks they don’t really fit with the themes of these amazing releases… I am damn impressed with these and have been spinning them a lot lately. Super cool new stuff for an very impressive label. Remember, vinyl and a rare cd only release by this label. No digital formats otherwise..

Prehistoric Pigs- Wormhole Generator (Moonlight Records)

Yet, another new Italian band I have never heard of. Prehistoric Pigs are a three piece and play heavy instrumental music with a spaced out edge to it. The opening track, Swirling rings of Saturn gives you a good feel for the entire record.  After a space start, the heavy stoner rock riff kicks in and the band keep their heads down and just pummel you with minimal variation as they try to make you feel comfortable with their sound. As the last minutes approach the guitar shifts to a space trippy sound and then back into the riff. XXI Century Riots is nearly 9 mins and starts spacey and then has a slow stoned doomy riff with a bit of a nasty sound that slowly takes hold. It does not take the band long before a Kyuss like bass line drives the track but not for too long before they return to the more doomy sound. When the Kyuss section later returns they add some psychedelic samples. Tafassaset starts with some strange samples of something in water and just bass and then the cool space wah guitar takes the lead. Interstellar Gunrunner is a fast paced stoner track. primordial Magma starts with the sounds of like something exploding or collapsing. Anyway, this song has a great melodic riff but I know I have heard it somewhere else before but where? Entelodonts is about dinosaurs.. heavy stuff…Electric Dunes is a 13min track with a cool slow spacey start but lots of heavy riffs now and then and back and forth with some cool samples and spacey parts as well. Cool album.

The Telestar Sound Drone- Comedown (Bad Afro Records AFROCD045)

The Telestar Sound Drone started in Copenhagen in 2007 but really got there start when they played Roskilde Festival in 2009 and Bad Afro released the first 7” in 2011. The main guys in this band have also been spending their time as the backing band in Baby Woodrose the last few years. Anyway, this is about their cool psychedelic rock record. 7 songs in 34mins and released only on vinyl and digital download (besides a few promo CDs). The CD starts off with Through the back of your Head. This track starts quite slow and has a pretty spaced out vocal as the layers of sounds slowly creep into the back of your head. Very psychedelic panning mix and a hypnotic groove. Satellited the sound changes and the vocals have some cool effects again that make it really psychedelic. The guitar line is very 60s inspired and it gets pretty psyched out at the end. Feels like a Ride is the longest track at nearly 7 mins and it starts off really spacey (like old F/I or Farflung) and this one is just a long floating spaced out trip. Now see How brings in some acoustic guitar and reminds me of very early Hawkwind. Evaporation picks up the pace but does not lessen the psychedelic effect of the music. Lost our Love has a darker more sinister feeling and the vibrating guitar line really makes it quite psychedelic. Cabin Fever ends this record. Another slower really spacey and psychedelic track.  For fans of Wooden Shjips you will find some similarity in the at times but no organ, just spaced out guitars. Also, a band like Spiritualized is an influence. Cool band and good live as well but not as psychedelic or spaced out as the record. I was really surprised. I would like to see them at Roadburn next year..

King Bong- Space Shanties (Moonlight Records)

This is the third release I have reviewed by this pretty cool Italian band. I love their song titles and this maybe the best thing they have released and as all their other releases this is completely live in the studio with no overdubs. The CD features 6 tracks (63mins) of psychedelic and sometimes stoned music starting off with the 13min Even 50 feet hamsters have Feelings! It starts slowly with cool a cool bass line giving the melody as the guitar is just freaking out in the background and then the kick drum comes on and changes the balance of sound. The guitar riff starts slowly but becomes more wah-phased out and then the dynamic shifts and the guitar gets really heavy and spaced out. They come in and out of a almost doomy feeling at times. Cool dynamics. Of Bong and Man starts off as a more hard driving stoner rock like track. It mellows out a lot in the middle section and is almost like reggae but not quite before getting heavy again. Inhale on Main Street (cool title) starts off with a really cool riff that they repeat over and over for a while and then the track really psyched out with some crazy guitar stuff (a bit like 7thatspells). Kilooloogung brings the intensity down again with some melodic guitar riffing that slowly builds up. The drummer is really great at the end of this track. A B.Ong (11mins) is the fastest track on the CD with a quite furious pace at time and then it slows down and becomes almost bluesy and as some spaced out sounds are heard flying around in the background. Andrea plays some cool lead guitar as well. Cthulhu ends the CD. Starts slow and spacey with the drums having quite a different sound at the start before the heavy bass line kicks in and a darker heavy track develops as it should with the name Cthulhu! If you dig free form heavy jamming you should for sure check these guys out….

Hawkwind- Warrior on the Edge of Time (Atomhenge ATOMbox1001)

I ordered this box months ago and it just arrived and I have to say it is an amazing package with an exact reproduction of the original shield cover fold out and poster. Very nice. In addition, you get the original album remastered on CD as well as a new mix by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and a 5.1 DVD audio mix by Mr. Wilson as well. This is a guy who really knows what he is doing. The first CD features the remastered record from the original stereo mix down.  In addition, you get to hear several outttakes and demos and finally the Dave Brock sung version of Motorhead. Some of this is pretty cool and some of it not that interesting. There are two versions of Soldiers on the Edge of Time, one with Michael Moorcock on the lead vocals (very passionate) and Nik Turner version. A track called On the Road is a short 1min acoustic guitar piece with some harmonica performed by Dave Brock. Pity this one is so short as this takes you back to the 1st album vibe. Nik’s version of the Wizard Blew his Horn is also included. The demo of Spiral galaxy is maybe even longer than the original and very searching and you can hear the elements that were used to seal the final version which is for sure better than this one. The instrumental version of Kings of Speed ends the CD.

CD2 is the new stereo mix from the original multitrack master tapes! All I can say is WOW…. Like Mr.Wilson did with the King Crimson records, he makes his new mix have the same sound and feel as the original so you don’t feel like you are hearing a totally different album but he has made the clarity of the mix so amazing. You can really hear things you could never hear or really appreciate on the original mix. Then there is the bonus tracks, which includes a totally unknown jam from the March 1975 sessions called Dawn. A pretty cool track and Dave plays some different guitar lines than I would have expected. In August 1975 the band played the Watchfield festival in the UK and you have three tracks from this festival, all are edits of longer pieces and the one called Watchfield Jam is actually just the jamming part of Brainstorm. Circles and I am the Eye are also spaced out jams. Some cool playing. This CD is 78mins long..

          The DVD contains 96khz audio versions of the remaster by Ben Wiseman, the new stereo and 5.1 audio mixes by Steven Wilsion. These sound totally amazing on my stereo and for sure are the only ones I will listen to with my friends when I really want to impress them with how great this record is. It has always been my favourite Hawkwind record and now I can hear it in the best quality version possible. It will never get better sounding than this. Enjoy..