The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2
Niji Entertainment

Easily the greatest hard rock / metal singer of all time Mr. Ronnie James Dio sadly left us in 2010 after losing his bout with stomach cancer. Now, two years later, his widow and manager Wendy Dio has hand selected 17 of Dio classics from the man’s massive solo back catalog spanning the years 1996 (Angry Machines) to 2004 (Master of the Moon). Dio played with an incredible array of musicians most seasoned professionals well schooled in the genre. Names like Simon Wright (AC/DC), Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath), Jimmy Bain (Rainbow, Wild Horses), Craig Goldy (Giuffria), Jeff Pilson (Dokken) and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Lion). Dio also helped launch the careers of Tracy G, Rowan Robertson and Vivian Campbell. The Very Best of Dio Vol. 2 pays tribute to Dio the band a well as the man. Tragically overlooked in the metal community many of the songs on this disc get a second chance to be heard and appreciated. Says drummer Simon Wright in our recent phone chat, “When we were together in Dio it was like a family. He touched so many people’s lives. This CD gives folks a chance to reconnect with what we did as a band and remember what a great singer Ronnie was.”

The disc begins with the roaring “Killing The Dragon” of the record with the same name. The album was a return to form for Dio with a revamped line up that included guitarist Doug Aldrich, the return of original bassist Jimmy Bain, drummer Simon Wright and keyboardist Scott Warren. The hit from the album “Push” featured Tenacious D in the video. “Along Comes A Spider” and “Better In The Dark” are also represented. “I first joined Dio in 1989 just before recording Lock Up The Wolves,” says Wright. “Ronnie took every album he did seriously. When I listen to these songs they remind me of all the good times and how proud and fortunate I was to be in his band.” The disc rolls through “Black”, the bass-fueled “Hunter of the Heart (Live)” and piano ballad “This Is Your Life” from Angry Machines an often over looked Dio album. Recalls Wright, “Some of the Dio albums were passed over because of the musical climate of the time. A lot of bands were having trouble because the focus had shifted a bit and there were different kinds of music coming in. These were albums that definitely needed a good luck at. Angry Machines was a great example of that.”

For many fans Magica was the quintessential Dio record of the new millennium. In scope, lyrical content and performance it embodied all that Dio the man saw himself as – a classical storyteller. His voice radiated on the “concept” album. “Fever Dreams”, “Feed My Head”, “Lord of the Last Day” and “As Long As It’s Not About Love” are represented from the masterwork. “Ronnie wanted Magica to be a trilogy,” says Wright. “We were writing the second Magica album when Ronnie was diagnosed with cancer. The song ‘Electra’ on the new disc was one of the only songs we finished from that writing session.” Dio’s final album before joining his band mates in Black Sabbath in 2006 was Master of the Moon. Guitarist Craig Goldy had replaced Doug Aldrich and the album took on more of a Rainbow-like rock ‘n’ roll feel. “One More for the Road”, “Shivers” and “The Eyes” are called up from that opus. “The Prisoner of Paradise” was featured as a bonus track on the Japanese issue of Master of the Moon and is also included here.

Since Dio’s passing his bandmates Simon Wright, Craig Goldy and Scott Warren with vocalists Tim “Ripper” Owens and Toby Jepson have been touring under the banner Dio Disciples as a tribute to the late great Ronnie James Dio. “When you lose your best friend, how do you keep his memory alive?” questions Wright. “We decided to take it back to the fans so that we can all get through this together. That’s what’s important about keeping his music alive. That’s the soul reason why were out there doing this. We’re all very busy with other projects but at any given chance we’ll get back together and play for Ronnie.” The Dio Disciples have toured Europe and are now coming to America. “It’s kind of a release for the fans to just let it out,” continues Wright. “There are tears during some songs, then they’ll be rocking out to others. It brings back all kinds of memories for everyone. Anyone who’s met Ronnie will attest to the fact that he was just an incredible person.” The disc also features “Metal Will Never Die” the last song Ronnie recorded with his cousin David Feinstein of The Rods. “We always talked about doing another Elf record,” says Feinstein of the band he was in with Ronnie as a teenager. “This was as close as we got - which is why the song means so much to me.”

Website: Ronnie James Dio

Dead Rock Commandos
Small Stone Records

Greek four-piece Nightstalker are an intriguing bunch that play straight up rock ‘n’ roll by mixing stoner and biker rock. We’ve been following this long-haired quartet for nearly a decade and are pleased to say Dead Rock Commandos is their best effort to date. Big hooks, great guitar, intense bass, bombastic drums and gruff vocals make this a treasure for fans of Blue Cheer, Monster Magnet or Orange Goblin. The group has been at it since the late ‘80s knocking around Greece playing gigs and releasing independent records. Over their mutual love of ‘70s rock, band founders Argy (singer) and Andreas Lagios (bassist) set about developing a sludgy mix of feedback infused rock that pays tribute to the past while maintaining a modern edge. After the usual tussle of band members, guitarist Tolis Motsios and drummer Dinos Roulos solidified the line up and aided in giving the band their signature sound. Densely heavy right from the start “Go Get Some” sets in motion a Sabbath-like depth to the music where Motsios’ thick guitar riffs and melodic solos reign supreme.

By second track “Soma” the groove takes over with Roulos kick drum and cowbell blowing out the speakers. Argy voice is thick and raspy landing somewhere between Gene Simmons and Dickie Peterson - originally intriguing with just the right amount of whiskey. When he shouts the lyric “Get up / try to find it” one takes notice. The drumming continues to persevere as an important part of the record’s tempo with “One Million Broken Promises”, the organ- drenched “Keystone” and southern-tinged “Rockaine”. But it’s when the drum meets the bass-driven title track “Dead Rock Commandos” that that band move from four-piece bar band to a lethal killing machine. Grapping hold of a strutting riff and a hook-filled chorus give the tune that special edge that takes it to the next level burying it deep within your psyche. “The Underdog” and “The BoogieMan Plan” are fuzzed out retro while the Monster Magnet-like “Children of the Sun” is one for the cosmos. Taking it a step further is the immensely enjoyable “Back To Dirt” with its classic line “Welcome back to earth motherfucker / try to keep your shape.” Get it!

Website: Nightstalker, Small Stone Records

Universal International

Heralded as a main influence for The Hellacopters, The Hives and Gluecifer, Sweden’s garage punk kings The Nomads celebrate their 30-year career by releasing the stunning Solna. Influenced themselves by The Stooges, MC5 and New York Dolls, the quartet deliver an impressive offering that’s possibly the most rounded, meaty and crafted yet. Getting right to the action is the bombastic “Miles Away” a guitar festival that finds a bucking rhythmic beat and holds on for the ride. Singer Niklas Vahlberg keeps a slight echo on his voice while he and guitarist Hans Östlund launch a twin guitar attack through Björne Fröberg punchy bass line. Always one to keep a certain pop edge to their up-tempo strut songs like “Hangman’s Walk”, “Can’t Go Back” and “Up, Down or Sideways” keep the riffs riveted to a hip-shaking beat provided by drummer Joakim Ericson. Capitalizing on their own history “The Bad Times Will Do Me Good” becomes a tribute to the groups own garage roots while painting a twangy cinematic landscape.

Mid-way through this masterpiece comes the piano sprinkled, breezy beat of “You Won’t Break My Heart” with a chorus to die for. Östlund’s fuzzed-out solo keeps it just dirty enough to give it rusty charm. The band never forget to share their love of NYC punk with the Ramones-infested “American Slang” and it’s urgent lick with pogo drum beat while “The Bells” rings out a larger-than-life sing-a-long chorus perfect for a late night drunken ensemble and complete with honky-tonk piano by “The Duke of Honk”. Personal fave is the haunting “20,000 Miles”, it’s intrinsic melody captures the imagination with an ode to surf rock by layered acoustic and electric strumming. The ‘60s inspired garage pop of “Make Up My Mind” sneaks a bit of The Who in the mix while “Trying Too Hard” goes for a mid-tempo charge built for a sweat-soaked stage. An exciting feast of hard-edged guitars, danceable melodies with classic flashes of beat-groove rock from the guys who helped put it on the map. All killer, no filler.

Website: The Nomads

Universal International

When In Extremo first toured the US in 2000 there was no denying they were something special. Here were seven German guys in kilts playing everything from bagpipes, flutes and harps to electric guitars and tribal drums. Now, with their eleventh album in just as many years Sterneneisen takes the band’s Medieval rock to a fuller more robust sound. With each album they have moved further from their folk roots and embraced a large more stadium like presentation. Their headline status at Wacken 2012 proved they had no problem reaching all 80,000 in attendance. Of the albums 12 tracks, eleven are sung in their native German and only one, “Zauberspruch No. VII”, is reminiscent of their early days featuring a traditional folk melody and exotic lyrics. The disc is surprisingly fluid, a continuation of their development and, in a way, reinvented themselves by experimenting, pushing boundaries and elevating their energy level. Such creativity makes for a completely enjoyable experience regardless of language barriers.

The opening track “Zigeunerskat” (Gypsy's Skat) was released prior to the record as a single. It bursts with a tribal drumbeat followed by a single bagpipe making it catchy and edgy at the same time. Singer Das letzte Einhorn may be a bit too gruff for some but fits the harshness of their music perfectly as in the drunken party song “Viva La Vida” with its gorgeous pop chorus and synthesized solo. The title track "Sterneneisen" (Star Iron) is a heavy almost industrial metal track with an interesting mid-section and catchy chorus. Having seen the band live, this song is an amazing experience. “Auge um Auge”, “Unsichtbar” (featuring Mille Petrozza of Kreator) and “Gold” are modern metal masterpieces with a touch of Goth, Industrial and Thrash. For a reprise, the acoustic guitars of “Hol die Sterne” with its enchanting harp melodies make it an exceptional ballad while featuring Der Graf from German pop band Unheilig. The seduction continues with the dreamy “Siehst du das Licht” as it cast its spell over a simple dance beat then bursts into a powerful chilling force. Sticking with tradition, the disc closes with the calming beauty of “Vermiss dich”.

Website: In Extremo

King of the World
Independent Release

Many fear the sophomore slump but not Jersey diehards Ripped. Back with a vengeance King of the World hammers out 12 mammoth tracks fueled by pulverizing guitar, thunderous bass and densely heavy drumming. The CD’s liner notes state, “No Autotune or keyboards were used for these sessions, just Budweiser, Jameson, Miller Lite and Heineken” which gives the listener a clear indication of what’s about to come out of the speakers. Steve Keller (guitar/vocals) leads the charge with Brian McGee (guitar), Jack France (bass/vocals), Steve Sroczynski (vocals) and Jeff Kelly (drums/vocals) building a towering monolith of pure heavy rock mayhem. Drummer Charlie Tappan and bassist Matt D’Esposito are also credited with helping to create a sonic landscape that gives respect to classic ‘70s rock while basking in a modern production. Original composition and title track “King of the World” kicks off with Southern-fried pickin’ before all hell breaks lose with an ample amount of electric swagger. The echo of Blackfoot, Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet can be heard with even a nod to Bad Company. Following Zeppelin pattern, it’s refrain shows up as an acoustic piece towards the end of the album.

The album plays like my record collection. Twin guitars reign supreme in the sweaty “Jack the Reaper” and the muscled-up “Waiting” that pull the best out of early ‘80s metal. One can’t help but hear a bit of Riot’s Fire Down Under in the crunching guitar tone and melodic shredding. Personal favorite “The Queen’s a Bitch” is a layered masterpiece with elements of Accept, Queensryche and early Scorpions while “My Funeral” has a unique Faith No More bend to it. A stones throw from NYC gives the band liberty to punk it up with a Ramones treatment of “Anyway” while “Overthrown” is more MC5. Balancing the full-throttle rock is the more acoustic driven “For Isobel” a tender ballad straight out of the Allman Brothers playbook while “Together” makes the most out of band’s musicality in sweet harmonies. As with their debut, the group add a couple carefully chosen cover tunes including a rousing rendition of Free’s “Wishing Well” showcasing some very dramatic guitar and a nearly seven-minute interpretation of The Doors “L.A. Woman” with Sroczynski doing his best Jim Morrison. For fans of good ‘ol rock and roll, this is the disc to start your year.

Website: Ripped

Live At Sidro Club
Go Down Records

Lord have mercy! This is a heavy one. All praise Go Down Records who not only featured the West Virginia desert rockers at their Italian club Sidro but recorded, mixed and released one of the great live masterpieces of heavy rock instrumentals. K2B have been grinding out their brand of stoner desert rock for nearly 15 years with guitarist William Mecum, bassist Rich Mullins, and drummer Rob Oswald dedicated to shaking the earth with their thunderous riffs. With a history that absorbs stints in Speedealer, Year Long Disaster and Nebula the three piece toured Europe in 2012 after their popular showing at UK’s Download Festival with more determination than ever to forge a new frontier. On their stop in Italy to record Live At Sidro Club they blazed through a full set consisting of only two songs with a combined running time of 52-minutes. The result was pure sonic brilliance showcasing the band’s instrumental dexterity and songcraft as they plowed a perfect musical furrow with driving bass, pounding drums and dense guitar.

“Track One Side A” kicks off with a wall of distorted feedback before finding a power sludge groove with guitarist William Mecum laying down some of the most dangerous riffs in modern history. The tuned down chords get so heavy glass shatters, pictures fall off the wall and the roof caves in. Often compared to Kyuss, Truckfighters, Dozer and Colour Haze the three piece easily move through tempo and time changes, surging guitars while adding a southern rock boogie for texture. Filling the entire side of the album (25-minute long) there is plenty of room for the band to delve into Mullins’ long deep bass accompaniments and driving rhythms while Oswald’s heavy-handed drumming is synchronized to a lethal backbeat. As the crowd cheers “Track Two Side B” rumbles forward with a supersonic lick that breathes character and originality into the well worn frets of Mecum’s guitar. An impulsive musical inferno ignites as the trio cock back and let the freak flag fly through all kinds of heavy rock. Somewhere around twelve minutes in the 25-minute B side, they slow down just enough to give a nod to Sabbath, Blue Cheer and Mountain in a bludgeoning celebration of molten riffage.

Website: Karma To Burn, Go Down Records

Progress Your Soul
Go Down Records

In the same epic soul-stained arena as Frumpy, Bellrays, Atlantis, Vinegar Joe, and Blues Pills comes Italy’s own Lord Shani. Combining psychedelic soul and progressive R&B with a guitar edge gives the Milan four-piece a modern sound with a nod to the classic era of vintage rock. The soulful voice of Viola Road leads the group while guitarist Paolo Bramino gives each number an added sting with his Hendrix-like wa wa and razor-sharp solos. Bassist Petrolio and drummer Diego Galeri add fuel to the fire with groove and swagger. From the first notes of “Told You So” the uniqueness of the group is apparent in the hypnotic beat and passionate female vocals, which become more haunting, powerful and divine over a surf guitar and ‘60s beat. Of the ten tracks on Progress Your Soul all benefit from a sophisticated charm that is as alluring as it is seductive. “Old Trap” dances with a hip-shaking ‘50s vibe while “Fight” and “I Stand Accused” bring back the late sixties with Fender riffs, lots of attitude in the vocal and a thumping bass and drum kick. Altogether they are instantly likable and wickedly sexy.

Mid-way through Progress Your Soul, a level of psychedelic elements creep in with a dreamy intro into “Duel” that quickly turns into a ‘70s guitar heavy hitter. It’s quickly followed by the mid tempo “A Day” which has Frumpy / Inga Rump written all over it. “Cosmic Ordeal” is the most visionary and stylistically beautiful of the later half of the album. It begins with a lucid landscape that converges into a rocking instrumental bringing into focus the best of Robin Trower and Mahogany Rush. Viola Road takes center stage in the gorgeous “Free” a passionate answer to Rumors-era Fleetwood Mac. Her vocal wail is as piercing as it is seductively charming. The rhythm section of bassist Petrolio and drummer Galeri take control of the funky groove in “I Am Surprised” while the record closes with the more laidback “White Is The Sky”, a sleepy Bronco-like “late-summer-afternoon” track made all the more romantic with layered harmonies and a gentle melody.

Website: Lord Shani, Go Down Records

Go Down Records

Humulus is an incredible stoner / doom metal band from Italy. Their self-titled debut is filled with bone-crushing Neanderthal rock – plodding, chest-beating and oh, so heavy. Several records come to mind as cornerstones for this killer opus primarily Grand Funk’s Red album, Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4 and Blue Cheer’s Vincebus Eruptum. However, these three wooly Italians take it to a whole other level when they kick out the jams. Tracks like “Save My Soul”, “Ghost Rider” and “Heritage of Pain” are thundering masterpieces of sludgy, power mad rock. The guitar sets the pace with a pummeling set of riffs that literally crush everything in their wake. You can almost hear the amplifiers shacking off the floor. Next comes the bass, big, loud and thunderous – keeping perfect time with a Herculean drum sound. No, this in not for the timid. “The Liar Priest” throws lightning bolts from Mount Olympus with a dense, rumbling cavalcade of open chord mayhem. The vocals tow the line with each throaty belch into the microphone - think somewhere between Lemmy and Billy Gibbons. Instant classics are the foot-stompin’ “Banshee”, the exhilarating “Gimmy” (which sounds like Judas Priest on steroids) and the hammering “Land of Justice”. The bass-driven “Synt” and instrumental “Gums” bring it back to earth with a slower, pulverizing grind. Nothing is heavier than this. Highly recommended.

Website: Humulus, Go Down Records

Primordial Echoes For Modern Bigfoots
Go Down Records

We’d never heard of T.H.U.M.B. before but evidently in 2004 they released their debut Lunar Flight: a brain-warped psychedelic space drone fuzz classic. Here it is eight years later and we have Primordial Echoes For Modern Bigfoots, a churning maze of feedback floating between turbulent guitar drones and soaring vocals with the occasional raw, bluegrass-boogie that clings like moss to a tree. Itching to spread their stoner grooves through the cosmos the power trio begin the record with the numbing heaviness of “Bigfoot”, a stellar orbital launch that does more damage to the sub woofer than JayZ – and comes complete with Bigfoot moans in the background. Riffing along with “Superlover”, “Inconsistence” and the bass heavy “Road Song” are all the elements that make for traditional stoner rock completely capturing the band’s dirty, beer-soaked rumble through a wooly underbelly.

Occasionally the three-piece throw out one like “Monstergods” which sounds like a fuzzier version of QOTSA or the Fu Manchu-esque “Stonebridge Deluxe” - but most often they follow the trail of their hash pipe in songs like “Reaching The Afterglow”, “Into The Deepest Green” and “Wear It Out” (a 500 Ft. Pipe cover) where space, acid and psychedelic fuzz all find a home in dark doomy riffs. Personal favorites “East Clintwood” and sludgy instrumental “Pietrosaurus” shake it up with added sound effects for texture, clever chord changes and a wicked backbeat under some incredibly stoned out guitar. The acoustic jam “Lived Namow” with its harmonica and skiffle swing is a bit out of sorts but pulls in a different side to the otherwise densely heavy dirty dozen. Get it and enjoy the rumble.

Website: T.H.U.M.B., Go Down Records

Bring It On Heavy
Deep Recordings Ltd.

“Lock it, load it, rock it, roll it” is the self proclaimed mantra shouted from the Budgie-inspired “Let It Roll” on Valve Rider’s rough and ready debut. Hailing a new breed of heavy rock, the UK four piece make no bones as to exactly what they’re about. Just to be sure a bike revs it’s engine as the laser strikes first track “Judge”. Forged in the same hellfire as Orange Goblin, Mothership and Viking Skull the outlaw gang ride through the night, crashing down the gates and current trends in rebel rock bringing in a full-octane assault of true road warrior testosterone. Guitarist Nathan Moore joins singer Adam Ward with brothers Sean (bass) and Lee Gallagher (drums) in an unhallowed death race that breathes gas fumes, belches flames and spits steel. Songs like “Live Fast and Die”, “Eight Lives Down” and “Hard Blown Away” walk the line between metal and blues rock with lunging riffs, open throttle bass and chest-thumping drums. Ward’s vocals scale the register somewhere between Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander and MSG’s Robin McAuley with a keen sense of melody while still delivering the goods.

Title track “Bring It On Heavy” is pure British rock clad in power chords and a foot-stompin’ beat. The band’s songwriting sticks to 12-bar blues but Moore’s stock pile of riffs just keeps coming as in “Buried”, the Stevie Ray Vaughan-inspired “Mine’s a Whiskey” and the instrumental eruption “Shovelhead” that opens up to the record’s premiere bass solo. The production could be beefier but the energy, scorching blues and top-grade songwriting carry it through. Personal favorite is the slide-infused “Cross the Line” with its nod to Steppenwolf and a hook chorus making the perfect deal with the devil. Grinder “Just a Simple Man” is almost metal with a southern twist while the acoustic beer-swigging “You’ll Ride” is a nice ditty for ‘round the campfire. Dedicated to the memory of the great Ronnie James Dio champions the disc in their effort to bring back blues-based guitar rock to the masses so in the continued lyrics of  “Let It Roll”… “Road’s on fire – ride through the night.”

Website: Valve Rider

We’ll Be Brief
Go Down Records

Hailing from Tuscany, Italy Mr. Bison are a stoner power trio that rock with heavy grooves and bluesy riffs. Their debut We’ll Be Brief is a homespun affair that grinds away with tunes about…well, everyday life. “Today is a beautiful day and we’ve all just woken up” is how the record starts. The vocals growl, the guitar is a tuned-down fuzz monster and the drums pump blood into the heart of the beast. Matteo Barsacchi (guitar / vocals), Federico Chiesa (guitar / vocals) and Gabriele Bianchi (drums) make up this doomsday machine and have more in common with early Clutch than SoCal Fu Manchu. The lyrics stay clear of spaceships, sand dunes and smokin’ reefer, instead we get stories about going to the grocery store, getting’ even, and the thin line between madness and reality. The production is superb with the separation between instruments clear and distinct. The bass tone is especially profound giving the record a nice bounce.

The first half of the record establishes the bands funk and rhythmic structure as in “Just One Time” feeling a little like Faith No More and the soul rocker “Wait” with it’s killer guitar punch. The second half settles into a more committed direction as the band explore gritty turbo-charged rock ‘n’ roll. Scratching that dirty itch is “R&R Cobra” where the Italian accent gives the song a sexy swagger. “Sweet Music” is all business with a hammering drum kick and steady guitar riff. The vocals move down an octave for an intimidating growl that gets caught up in the tribal beat. Of course there has to be that one chick song and “Milady” does a fine job capturing the tone of testosterone in overdrive. Album closer, the neanderthal “Beat You Down”, sounds best fully cranked when you “ain’t got nothing to lose”.

Website: Mr. Bison, Go Down Records

Delirio Dei Sensi
Go Down Records

German psychedelic rockers Vibravoid are a prolific bunch releasing their ninth studio album in just three years. Honestly, the best way to listen to the hypnotic three-piece is on vinyl. They live and breath late sixties psych and when the needle hits the groove and the colours start spinning - it’s all orange mescaline and oil celluloid. Well-known for their retro-vintage atmosphere and attention to Euro-sixties psych the band approached their modern production with so much honesty that it keeps sounding fresh and new. The album opens with a cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s song “Poupée De Cire” (Wax Doll) a pop hit introduced to a wide audience on a Eurovision song contest in 1965 by French singer France Gall. The intro moves from harpsichord to organ to fuzzed-out guitar not only captures a surrealistic mood but give the track a memorable vibe setting the tone for the rest of the album’s eleven tracks.

Recorded in one session during a sleepover at Go Down Records studios the album is more live than studio. A second cover “Color Your Mind” is the 1986 song by Australian band Tyrnaround and blossoms with five-minutes of pure rockus chaos and a sitar frenzy that brings the cosmos one step closer. Two epic-long instrumental sit on each side of the disc. The ten-minute “Listen Can`t You Hear” on side one is a serious trip through an erotic-inspired journey, and “The Golden Escalator” on side two which shines with classic drones and middle-eastern / Indian soundscapes. Both burst into light as the volume and the drugs get more intense. The CD version has five more tracks that contain elements of Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Genesis. The progressive “The Empty Sky” and “Nearby Shiras” (sung in German) capture a hint of the band’s earlier work while songs like “Magic Mirror” and “Optical Sounds” continue their deep psychedelic exploration. The three-minute “La Poupée Qui Fait Non” is pure pop heaven and the album closes with a live version of the more aggressive “Black and White”.

From their website: “Take a deep trip into the groovy sounds of the psychedelic underground. Unrivalled fuzz and far out vibrations will provide the inner sanctum for every lover of turned on pop music! Garnished with the timeless fuzzed out masterpieces of Poupée De Cire, Colour Your Mind and Magic Mirror – this album also features the most amazing 60s style psychedelic treasures like Listen, Can´t You Hear, The Empty Sky and The Golden Escalator. Lysergic colours and sounds for the turned on mind!”

Website: Vibravoid, Go Down Records

Go Down Records

Douge is a stoner band from Treviso, Italy. Born as a jam project by guitarist Stefano “Sten” Pellizzari, it soon developed into a full band with the addition of bassist Daniele Tesser, guitarist Alberto Piccolo, singer Tim Norris and drummer Lucio Bolzonello. Taking stock of some of their “good old songs” from earlier jams and recent new numbers, the five-piece spliced together an adventurous 12-track opus “D” that gives the listener a taste of band’s musical scope. Songs like the feedback-drenched “Stone”, the drum-frenzy of “Eragorn / Storm” and the bass-heavy “Perhaps You Should Smoke A Cigarette Instead” are closer to metal but still have plenty of fuzz. The more open “Narbon Kailon” has a broader soundfield that expands with a progressive guitar reminiscent of Hendrix, Trower or Frank Marino.

On the other side of the scale is “Simple Chaos” a melodic, almost acoustic folk rocker that uses a contrasting balance of gentle opening with a power driving mid-section and an outro dipping slightly into country. For texture, the band build on the basic blues of “Violent Desire” to rip into a chugging stoned out barnburner leaving the last minute and a half for the guitars to really blaze. “Psychedelic Symbiosis” borrows a Syknyrd lick as the backbone for a sweaty rumbler that adds a bit of southern swamp to their desert rock. It’s quickly followed by the short, frantic “Sex Drugs” leaning toward a more amped-up punk duster. Personal faves are the no-nonsense “Truck Rocker”, the straight up stomper “Mr. Queen” and the fully cranked “Pressured”. All three power-feed through amplified distortion and push the vocal into a screaming wail while the guitars drive headlong into a bass/drum groove. Closer “Look At You Desert” finds it home in a mid-tempo Alice In Chains-like channel bordering on the alternative.

Website: Go Down Records