Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Until The Sky Dies - The Year Zero Blueprint


Tracklist:

1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. V
6.VI
7. VII
8. VIII

Hats off to Cimmerian Shade Recordings on this one. The label has managed to release a record by a band that I can't seem to find any information about. Maybe that was the whole idea but I'm not complaining, I'll just let the music do the talking, Anyway, this is the debut full-length from doom duo Until The Sky Dies and it was released at the end of October. The band is made up of prolific musician Clint Listing (Grizzle, Long Winters Stare, etc)  and Ryan Michalski (Cosmic Punch) the latter recording and engineering the record. It was mixed and mastered by J. Stillings (Steel Hook Prostheses, etc). As always I've kept a wide birth from other publications, as I didn't want them to influence my review.

I find the genre descriptor of “doom” to be pretty primitive in the case of Until The Sky Dies. For example, opening song I is a bizarre mix of psych/desert-rock instrumentation, low growls and clean singing that could be mistaken for that of Matt Bellamy (Muse). That may be way off the mark but I calls it as I hear’s it. I do like the fact that Until The Sky Dies uses just Roman numerals as song-titles, as it leaves more to the imagination when you’re listening to the songs. 

The nursery rhyme-esque synths at the start of II are completely at odds with the extremity that follows soon-after but from a band described as avant-garde by some, what else would you expect. As with the album opener, there seems to be an element of minimalism within the music. II turns out to be a slow-burning slugger of a jam that would give any established darling of the doom scene a run for their money. III is more upbeat with a cool yet sinister guitar melody at its core. It’s also noticeable how bass heavy and hypnotic it is. 

The general scuzziness of the record (I mean that in a nice way) and the odd rock ’n’ roll breakouts are what add charm to it. It’s those breakouts that make IV an inviting beast. Yet more Muse comparisons come to mind here. Until The Sky Dies head into even more bizarre musical territory on V, switching between oddly industrial verses and off-kilter passages that are kind of bluesy. I’m beginning to think this is the sort of record that can’t be truly appreciated unless you’re under the influence of not-so-legal substances. I just have a beer!  

Upbeat rock is the overarching musical direction on VI, which makes reference in it’s lyrics to the album’s title and also contains an air of fantasy thanks to the use of synths. Once again it’s extremely well executed and seems to fit the context of the record perfectly. The band’s heavier side returns on penultimate song VII with the vocals taking more of a black metal turn before giving way to plenty of groove and rhythm. 

As you’ll have guessed by now, there’s plenty going on here musically. There aren’t that many bands that have the confidence to produce a record like this so the duo are a breath of fresh air. Electronic beats and synths figure heavily on closing song VIII, which strips back on the heaviness once more in favour of something a little lighter. Most people will have a certain level of tolerance when it comes to extreme and avant-garde music. Until The Sky Dies seems to both test that tolerance while remaining musically interesting and original. I’d say that’s a success. Good work.

You can stream the record and buy it in various formats below:-



Cimmerian Shade Recordings - https://www.facebook.com/CimmerianShadeRecordings/

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Deus Vermin - MMXVII Demo


Tracklist:

1. Disdain
2. Iniquity

That's one of the darkest pieces of cover-art I've seen. It's the cover of the first EP from new Leeds black/death band Deus Vermin. The Leeds-based quintet released this demo in November and it was recorded, mixed and mastered by Tom Wright (Hundred Year Old Man), whom Deus Vermin played alongside in September with Underdark & Archelon. They've already lined up a set alongside the mighty Cannabis Corpse in Leeds in April 2018, so now's a good time to immerse yourselves in their bleak noise. 

Deus Vermin’s blackened death metal is suspended in an angular, metallic netherworld. Their demo’s opener Disdain is a cacophony of dissonant riffs, blasts and torturous screams. The bass and drums maintain a downbeat atmosphere, with hissing feedback at it’s heart while TW’s recording, mixing and mastering efforts magnify the misery. The quintet launches into Iniquity with all the energy and urgency of  grind band, but instead replacing slams with col and black icicles that lead straight to the deep-dark centre of the mind. The pace slows towards the end with doom-like textures that draw things to a close. 

As the extreme metal sub-genre continually tries to reinvent itself, you mustn’t forget that it cyclical nature will always prevail. Deus Vermin’s members may well be more than familiar with each other, but the furrow they’re ploughing leads to somewhere sinister and unrecognisable and it’s all the better for it. 

You can stream and download "MMXVII" below (tape copies are now sold out):-



Here's the event page for the Cannabis Corpse gig in April, where Deus Vermin will be playing along with direct support Deathrite and a host of other local noise makers - https://www.facebook.com/events

Monday, 20 November 2017

Cantilever - The Fall:The Rise EP


Tracklist:

1. The Fall The Rise
2. Runaway
3. Enigmas
4. Death Of Steve
5. Fallen Empire

When I sat down to start this review, I came over a bit mushy because even after 7 years of writing the blog, I'm still in awe of the fact that bands take the time to write to me and allow me to listen to their music, music that's often very personal to them. Malaysian post-hardcore band Cantilever did just that recently but as well as sharing their music with me, they also wanted to get their music out to people from outside of Malaysia and help with distribution.  "The Fall:The Rise" is their debut EP and was released in August by the band (digitally and on cdr), while Isu Records and Utarid Tapes issued a cassette version. Malaysia's metal/punk music scene is relatively young still but as you'll see and indeed hear, influences that shaped our scenes in the UK/Europe/US are doing the same there.

When I first heard “The Fall:The Rise”, two bands came to mind. Both were seen as innovators within post-hardcore and their influence has spread far and wide since. I’m talking about At The Drive-In and Refused. The EP opener, also the title-track, is a short attack on the senses. Runaway is off-kilter and catchy in the right way. The treble-led guitar takes the lead, while the rhythm section is restrained. There’s mellower instrumental moments and times when the vocals are more isolated as well. They let loose on Enigmas, which is immediately more violent in approach. Loads of hardcore and emo-violence textures. It’s a song that underlines their skill as musicians. 

The bizarrely named Death Of Steve has a jarring intro leading into a song full of urgency and rage. Once again focusing more on hardcore than it’s softer cousin. Closing song Fallen Empire starts with a excerpt from the movie 300 and it’s post-hardcore will send chills down your spine. It sums up my opening lines of this review where I talked about At The Drive-In and Refused but it also reinforces just how good Cantilever is. This band is super exciting so please make sure you check them out.

Stream "The Fall:The Rise" and buy it digitally, on cdr and tape below:-



If you can help the band out with distribution of their EP in Europe, US etc then please contact them via Facebook below.

Cantilever - https://www.facebook.com/cantilevertheband/
Isu Records - https://www.facebook.com/isurecords/
Utarid Tapes - https://www.facebook.com/utaridtapes/

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Tombstalker - Chaotic Devotion 7"


Tracklist:

1. Scared To Death
2. Treads Of War

Time is flying at the moment and I still have countless amounts of music from this year to write about. Things are a little slow on that front at the current time but that will pick up, starting next week as I'm off and am gonna get my affairs in order! To help me get motivated I thought I'd turn to some good ol' American death metal in the form of Kentucky trio Tombstalker. Their latest 7" "Chaotic Devotion" was released in September via Boris Records. It follows various demos, split, an EP and their 2015 full-length "Black Crusades". 

Tombstalker follows an old-school path with their sound, but one that’s as up-tempo as genre forefathers like Entombed and Sepultura. Scared To Death rips through just over three-minutes of whirlwind-inducing riffs, pummelling blasts and unholy growls. The trio of Conqueror Horus (vocals, guitar), Defiler (bass) and Basilisk (drums) make light work or whipping up a storm that’s hard to escape from. 

Treads Of War is a mid-tempo beast, at least to begin with. The wall of sound is thick and the music itself is technical in the right way. There are hints of both thrash and black metal throughout both songs; however, Tombstalker maintains a steely poise that revolves around death. The dual-high/low growls mid-way through are blood-curdling while the lead work that follows is a pleasure to hear. 

The artwork of Mark Richards (Heavy Hand Illustration) exemplifies the music on the EP itself and the production/mastering makes it sound suitably hellish too. This is perfectly executed. All hail Tombstalker! 

You can stream "Chaotic Devotion" and purchase it digitally/physically from Tombstalker below:-



It's available from Boris Records here - http://boris-records.com

Monday, 13 November 2017

Khandra - All Is Of No Avail EP


Tracklist:

1. Where Death Has Settled In Life
2. Presence Is No Longer Relevant

Khandra is a band I think I'm going to enjoy. The Belarusian black metal duo has seemingly sprung out of nowhere and self-released their debut EP "All Is Of No Avail" in October. The cover art is simple yet striking while if you put both song-titled next to each, they'd form a pretty harrowing sentence of their own. It's no surprise then that shortly after the original release, US label Redefining Darkness Records saw fit to put out cd version (now sold out). There will soon be a tape version released via Norway's Gravplass Propaganda.

This is extremely solid melodic yet vicious black metal. Where Death Has Settled In Life is all-encompassing with metallic riffs taking centre stage alongside relentless percussion blasts. The vocals are low growls and they’re used sparingly, as Khandra lets their orchestration take centre stage on “All Is Of No Avail”. The layers of guitar at the start of Presence Is No Longer Relevant make it sound like there’s a choir in the background of the recording, but there isn’t. It’s just the harmonies overlaying each other. The song itself is paced slightly slower at times but is no less theatrical. The use of repetition is good as well, as Khandra relies on the more traditional verse/chorus/verse-type structure. 

The production and mastering pushes the release up another level as well, which is really impressive for a band that seems so new. The two fairly lengthy songs on show here will leave you content on the one hand but also impatient for a longer release from the band. “All Is Of No Avail” could well be a late candidate for both extreme metal’s “Best Newcomer’ and “Best EP” of this year. 

You can stream "All Is Of No Avail" and buy it both digitally and as a digipack cd directly from Khandra below:-



Khandra - https://www.facebook.com/khandrablack/

Redefining Darkness Records - https://www.facebook.com/redefiningdarkness/
Gravplass Propaganda - https://www.facebook.com/gravplass/

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Cell - Demo 7"


Tracklist:

1. Contempt
2. Scowl/Vermin
3. Memory/Half Truth

Montreal's Cell are a fairly new hardcore-punk band that features members of Vile Intent, Remwar, Terse and Sek. Their five-track demo has been released on 7" vinyl by Drunken Sailor Records and is the band's first release. Proper hardcore from a band that prefers to take the old-school less is more approach. I need something to chase away this hangover!

I once went to a gig in Leeds and one of the support bands was a crust band from Bradford that used a lot of reverb in the vocals. When they started playing, a guy in front of me turned round and pulled a face as if to say “what is this?” and then walked to the back of the venue to continue talking to his mates. I like reverb and punk, of which there is plenty of both in Cell’s music. 7” opener Contempt is full of heavy riffs and two-step attitude, but the vocals are something else. Angry but not in the knuckle-head sense and the drumming, while deep in the mix is equally as powerful. 

Scowl/Vermin are played back-to-back on the 7”, as are Memory/Half Truth, probably because of the limitations of the format. They are seriously intense and Cell blast through them with feedback bridging the gap between the songs. It keeps momentum high and necks sore. The lead work shows a bit of metal influence hiding amongst the songs and the end of Half Truth is savage at the breakdown. This is no-frills classy hardcore punk with no pretence. Awesome stuff.

You can stream and grab the EP physically/digitally from Cell directly here:-



If you're in the UK you can get it from Drunken Sailor Records here - http://www.drunkensailorrecords.co.uk/products/594233-cell-demo-7-ep-drunken-sailor-records-drunkensailor-073

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Threat Signal - Disconnect


Tracklist:

1. Elimination Process
2. Nostalgia
3. Walking Alone
4. Exit The Matrix
5. Falling Apart
6. Aura
7. Betrayal
8. To Thine One Self Be True
9. Dimensions
10. Terminal Madness

It's in moments like these that you realise how quickly time flies. I first heard Canadian metal band Threat Signal on the release of their 2006 full-length "Under Reprisal". Eleven years and various line-up changes later, they're back with a new album that follows on from their self-titled record in 2011. Having previously worked with Nuclear Blast they're now a part of the enviable Agonia Records stable, alongside the likes of In Mourning, Glorior Belli and Aborym amongst others. "Disconnect" is available digitally, on cd and on colour-in-colour vinyl. 

I was a tad excited when I saw this drop into my inbox, especially after so many years of loosing track of Threat Signal. Their sound has changed from Under Reprisal, but that’s no surprise given the line-up changes they’ve had to deal with. Opener Elimination Process covers all bases including melodic metal, thrash and off-kilter progressive metal (I’m avoiding using “that” sub-genre tag). Given the influences listed on the band’s social media page, you won’t be surprised by the content on here. It’s good to hear though that they’ve retained the melody that made earlier albums commercially successful, Nostalgia is an apt song to demonstrate that point, especially when the anthemic lead guitar kicks in towards the end. 

At time Threat Signal comes across more like a European band, especially in the structure and delivery of their songs. Walking Alone features plenty of melodic thrash influence throughout and with the help of the clear and modern production job, is very appealing. They move in a heavier direction on Exit The Matrix, which is made up of with metalcore’s traditional harsh verses and clean choruses. Threat signal doesn’t necessarily push the boundaries of heaviness, yet they play what’s natural to them and it works. Their crossover appeal is once again obvious on Falling Apart, which signals the mid-point of “Disconnect” and lengthier songs to come. Intriguing! 

The second half of the album is where Threat Signal”s progression bares more teeth. Aura contains subtle Eastern-melodies early on, moments of full-throttle thrash and time signatures that aren’t as easily obvious. Add to that some introspective passages of instrumentation and there’s a lot more to their music than you think. It’s definitely one of the strongest songs on the album so far. They follow it with a soothing piece called Betrayal with light guitar and more clean vocals, that’s as relaxing as it sounds. Threat Signal seems to have waited until the second half of the record to really open up their musical taps, as without being disrespectful to the band the first half wasn’t as exciting. There’s more guitar virtuosity on To Thine Own Self Be True, as well as extra musical layers that’ll sound great live. 

Dimensions follows with another blast of the band’s catchy thrash-tinged metal, but it’s all just a build up to the ten-minute monolith that’s album closer Terminal Madness. I was pretty eager to hear how Threat Signal would fare on a song of this length and can say that they’ve managed to create a dramatic and dynamic song to end on. There’s plenty of technicality throughout “Disconnect” and while it’s nothing you haven’t heard before, if you’re looking for a metal album that’s consistently strong and a band that manages to deliver through adversity and uncertainty, look no further that this.

You can stream both album opener Elimination Process and Exit The Matrix via Agonia Records' bandcamp page below:-



"Disconnect" is available to buy on all formats above as well.

Threat Signal - https://www.facebook.com/threatsignal/
Agonia Records - https://www.facebook.com/agoniarecords/

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Mordskog - XIII


Tracklist:

1. Lautum Novedialem
2. Nascentes Morimur
3. Aequo Pulsat Pede
4. Pulvis Et Umbra Sumus
5. Mors Est Vitae Essentia
6. Ad Me Venite Mortui
7. C.A.M.
8. Mors Vincit Omnia
9. Todos Ustedes Deben Morir Esta Noche 

I'm sitting here hoping that the Mexican black metal of Mordskog will warm me up this evening (even though they would probably prefer the world to freeze over!). "XIII" is the corpse-painted trio's first full-length and was released in January via Werewolf Records in unholy collaboration with Hells Headbangers, having first formed in 2003. They shared the stage in Mexico City with Satanic Warmaster in July. That should give you a clue as to the seriousness of their craft. 

“XIII” starts with Lautum Novedialem, which is a haunting opener with ninety-seconds of restrained spoken-word vocals. When Mordskog’s black metal takes over it’s both melodic and atmospheric. It’s not all fire and brimstone even if the vocals are extremely harsh at times. Their music takes on more of a mid-paced form on Nascentes Morimur. It follows an old-school path and due to that it’s also catchy in a subtle way. The volume isn’t as high on the recording as you might like but you can always turn it up, which is exactly what I’ve done and in doing so the swathes of melody from the guitars swirl around me during Aequo Pulsat Pede. Their accented English vocals give their music an extra edge too. 

Pulvis Et Umbra Sumus is really where they hit their stride, with plenty of double bass and doom-like instrumentation underneath the feedback. The choral chants break up the icy howls of Lugubrem Acerbus and there’s a nice metallic layer in the song. Mordskog don’t dare hang around on “XIII” and there’s no meandering filler. Mors Est Vitae Essentia is both symphonic and evil in equal measure, with ritualistic percussion. The album was recorded by Lugubrem Acerbus, Murmur (guitars, bass) and Occultus (drums). Their momentum as a trio is clear to see (and hear) on Ad Me Venite Mortui. At times it has the feel of a black n’ roll song, at least before Mordskog abandons the noise and settles into a short passage of more traditional guitar-work. 

C.A.M. is a different beast altogether, as the black metal screams are replaced by semi-operatic clean singing  and while I’m not usually a big fan of that particular vocal style, it’s a good trade off actually. Mors Vincit Omnia elevate their songwriting and musicianship to a great level, one which shows off more of their anthemic black metal. Album closer Todos Ustedes Deben Morir Esta Noche builds with unnerving ambience and screams that slowly increase in volume. It’s a hauntingly apt way to end “XIII”. Mordskog’s place within the current black metal climate is a strange one. On the one hand they’re maddening and evil, yet on the other they’re strangely upbeat and melodic. Mind you, who really cares about trends and all that bollocks. If it’s good it’s good and Mordskog are certainly that. 

You can stream and purchase "XIII" on cd and digitally via Werewolf Records below:-



Mordskog - https://www.facebook.com/mordskog/
Werewolf Records - https://www.facebook.com/werewolf.rex/

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Goblin King Interview

(Photo Credit: Dave Harris - Strike Imaging)

A few weeks ago now I reviewed the latest EP from London death n' roll quartet Goblin King. Shortly after that review, I fired an e-mail interview over to the band asking them about their EP "Blood, Drugs & Death N' Roll", their live show and the London scene that they call home. Check it out below...

How did Goblin King form? Were any of you in bands previously?

Paul Williamson (Vocals) - The actual meaning behind Goblin King is really just a metaphor for depression, similar to how ‘the black dog’ is used. It resembles the thoughts, feelings, and actions that I have gone through during some of the worst years of my life. I used to hate myself and as a result I acted out on this hate and became the Goblin King.

We’re all from various bands although none worth mentioning aside from Jester (aka. Riccardo) who is in an amazing band called Slave Steel.

It didn’t take you long to release your debut EP after forming the band. Was it always your plan to strike fast with “Blood, Drugs, Death N’ Roll”? What are the songs about?

PW - Would you believe we have a 10 track album ready to record already as well? There is a euphoric high from creating a song that is very addictive, more so than some drugs. The EP is a reflection on my early 20’s and is an introduction to the Goblin King character.

BDDNR – It’s a rant about two things that caught my eye on a journey to work. 1) The ridiculous bio text on a page 3 in The Sun next to a model. 2) An annoying person with a megaphone outside of Stratford station shouting that we’re all going to hell.

Goblin King – Drug addiction to keep myself numb and run away from my depression. Becoming the Goblin King instead.

667 – Your body is a temple, so be sure to desecrate it. It’s a journey about sex and drugs using biblical metaphors. Everyone is out to use you until they deem you useless. 

EOTS – These are my thoughts on humanity. 

Death Sti-XXX – This song should be ridiculed and laughed at. It’s about dealing drugs in clubs.

You take influence from a high-octane list of bands that mix punk with metal. What bands did you all grow up listening to? How long was it before you got into heavier music?

PW - For me personally, I started listening to metal around the age of 11 or so. Started off with Linkin Park, Papa Roach, and then I got my hands on Slipknot's "IOWA" and fell in love. I had that album as my alarm clock for school for years. My tastes took a more punk route as I grew older due to some bands I used to go to school with. 

What can people expect from a Goblin King live show? Feel free to plug any gigs/tours you’ve got coming up too!

PW - We have had people come up to us saying that the performance is quite intimidating to watch. I mean we have Beast wearing an executioner’s hood! We try to give it as much energy that we don’t have. 
No shows coming up currently since we’re focusing on this album. We are in talks however with Arno from F.O.A.D / ex-Generation Graveyard regarding a couple of shows.

Being from London, there are a lot of bands competing for the same audiences. What do you think of the live music scene there at the present time? What bands stick out for you that people should hear?

PW - You know I actually work at The Lounge 666 in Archway so I get to see a lot of the bands. I think getting that initial following has always been the big challenge for bands. It’s unfortunate how there are many people who do go out to events but only club nights and recorded music. 

Currently I’m looking forward to seeing Twelve Boar and King Parrot. Meinhof were awesome to see at the Unicorn recently as well as Stereo Juggernaut at the Lounge. Then my guilty pleasures list of sleaze/hard rock bands like ToxicRose, H.E.A.T, etc.

What have been your best and worst experiences playing live?

PW - Playing a gig in Birmingham with a previous band and ending up having diarrhoea on the day. Had to take a bunch of Imodium tablets and was pale as fuck.

Best experiences would probably be the first ever gig I played in a town function room. All teen bands were banned from playing there ever again owing to the roof tiles being ripped down, smoking inside, the bowling green was trampled on, etc.

Finally, what advice would you give to other bands following your experiences so far, whether it be writing/recording, band promotion or arranging/playing gigs?

PW - Have fun, be perceptive, be empathetic, and be ready to learn.

You can stream and purchase "Blood, Drugs & Death N' Roll" via Goblin King's bandcamp page below:-



You can read my review here (if you haven't already done so):-http://www.thisnoiseisours.com/2017/08/goblin-king-blood-drugs-and-death-n.html

I just want to say thank you to Paul for taking the time to respond to my questions.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Sons Of Alpha Centauri Interview + Split 7" (w/Karma To Burn) Trilogy Box Set Review

(Sons Of Alpha Centauri 2010)

July 2017 saw the release of a special 7" trilogy that featured the collaborations between UK instrumental band Sons Of Alpha Centauri and US stoner/rock trio Karma To Burn. The story behind the trilogy goes back ten years to when members of both bands collaborated on a project called Alpha Cat, which saw them release the album "Last Day Of Summer" in 2009 via Underdogma Records. The box set (limited to just 200 copies) included all three 7"s as well as "Last Day Of Summer" pressed onto vinyl for the first time, specially created artwork and expanded booklet with liner notes from many of the people who've worked with both bands along the way. I little while ago I interviewed Sons Of Alpha Centauri about their collaboration and about the box set. I am pleased to bring you both the interview and a review of the release below...

How did Sons Of Alpha Centauri first form? Can you tell us a bit about your history?

Marlon King (Guitars) - Before SOAC, Nick and I were in a grunge band together called Pariah when we were both 15. It was a typical local band of the time, it had a different member line up each year. I was in the band for about 18 months before I ended up leaving to form an Indie band called Passola with friend Michael Osbourne (now drumming with Moose Blood). But it was in Pariah Nick and I performed our first rock gig and we become friends and started playing music together.

In 2001, we were both at University and the bands we were in started to fold. It was around then we started talking about starting a long-term musical venture. Took us a few years to get a collection of tracks together as Nick was based in Birmingham at the time and me in Canterbury, but by 2004 we had nearly 30 tracks and started to look for other band members so we could start playing live and that's where it all kicked off.

You’ve become known for your splits with fellow instrumental band Karma To Burn. How did that collaboration come about?

Nick Hannon (Bass) – I bought the first KTB album probably about 20 years ago now and they blew me away man! There was like 10 – 12 of us that used to knock around Sittingbourne listening to music and they became a mainstay on the stereo. We were lucky enough to see them in 2001 on the Almost Heathen tour probably a few months after SOAC formed. Me and Marlon met Will that night at a really inspirational point.  

Around 2006 I managed to get in contact with Will when he was in Treasure Cat and invited him over to record with SOAC. We formed a side project called ‘Alpha Cat’ and managed to write and record three new tracks. We did a whole record with him called ‘Last Day of Summer’ which included 4 tracks from SOAC and from Treasure Cat. As such once Karma got back together having supported Will and the guys when they were offline were has the idea of doing a 7” and a tour together and it just went from there. 

You’ve recently released a box set with KTB, which looks great! Can you tell us about that? How did you come up with idea and what does the box include?

Nick - So, the first vinyl came out on Kitchen Dweller Records and we were gonna do the second one on SpaceAge & Cheesecake Records. They had printed everything up and paid for the masters but Buzzville Records went pop so that was junk. However, Jürgen at H42 Records stepped in and he was on his first few releases and he took it on. He did an awesome job, so we did another and then for that one we also did it as the first DesertFest vinyl too. Since then, me and Jürgen have worked on the DesertFest series together.  

After quite a few shows and so many stories we thought about doing a repress with a booklet and then just thought why not put all the vinyl and the collaboration from Last Day of Summer all together with a big book? So we did that. H42 put a bottle opener, postcard, CD, poster, lighter in there too and just went full on. I spoke to Nathan (Limbaugh – original KTB drummer) and he hooked us up with loads of photos from back in the day. Alex von Wieding lead all the design and incorporated the KTB Goataneer, Alpha Cat and concept art. It took about 2 years to put it together and it near enough sold out pre-sale so was well worth it. Respect to everyone for their support and interest always. 

Aside from your collaborations, your self-titled album was released almost ten years ago now. Are there any plans to record a new album and/or tour?

Marlon - No tour booked in yet, but we are now working with H42 Records and Cobraside to release our new album in 2018. Whilst we have done several collaboration releases since our debut, this will officially be our second album. It's been a long time in the making but looking forward to getting it out there. 

This is a question that I try and ask most bands; what advice would you give to new bands who’re just starting out?

Marlon - You can either follow the sheep and try and be big or you can try and be unique and play in the shadows. Maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but we have certainly found more enjoyment from playing in styles that are not necessarily as accessible to a wide audience but are more meaningful to us as individuals and anyone else that "get" that vibe. All in all though, it really does depend on what your influences are. We have lots between us and we have never locked down SOAC to a specific genre, only enough to form consistency within an album.

So my advice would be to play and write music you enjoy rather than music you think others will enjoy.

From your connection to DesertFest and from touring in the UK, what current bands could you recommend to fans of the instrumental/stoner genres?

Nick – There’s some great new UK bands out there man. Bossk, Desert Storm, Ten Foot Wizard, Boss Keloid, Enos, Bong Cauldron off the top of my nut. All well worth checking out for sure! 

That said, we don’t really knock about with many other bands to be honest – or at least not UK ones. We used to tour with Bossk back in like 2006 – 2008 but that was about it really! 


Below you can read my dissection of the 7" trilogy that forms the backbone of this special release...


Tracklist:-

1. Karma To Burn - Fourteen
2. Sons Of Alpha Centauri - 65
3. Karma To Burn - Fifty Five
4. Sons Of Alpha Centauri - 71
5. Karma To Burn - Six
6. Sons Of Alpha Centauri - 66
7. Alpha Cat - The Flying Dutchman
8. Alpha Cat - Fire
9. Alpha Cat - Last Day Of Summer

The first six songs of this release span the three splits that both band’s did together. Karma To Burn start things off with Fourteen. KTB is a band that I’ve heard and read a lot about in recent years, but have never crossed paths with. Their stoner-rock instrumental on this first song goes from a meandering bluesy tempo to a more full-on stomp that gets the heart racing. Sons Of Alpha Centauri and first song 65 sounds more goth-like, which is perfect for Halloween; however, that soon dissipates as the guitar takes over. It’s strangely haunting and at times droning in places, though they don’t stray too far from their rock blueprint and exhibit a slight political stance through the samples used. 

Fifty Five sees Karma To Burn heading in a direction that seems to be more occult, but that’s misleading as the use of electronics and funky bass prove. There’s actually a lot going on musically in these songs and KTB use their’s to exhibit a deft touch when it comes to multiple influences. Their melody is never truly extinguished by their heaviness either. It ends with a looping recoding of a voice mail message left for Sons Of Alpha Centauri by Will from KTB and a hip hop-like outro at the end, which sheds more light into the relationship of the two bands. SOAC follow with 71 and it’s a slow-burner of a song. There’s riffs aplenty on it and a lot more groove. Their sound seems to lean more towards the straightforward rock end of the spectrum, yet they have a knack of making it super catchy  and interesting as  the song drives on.

KTB’s last song from the 7” trilogy is Six and it builds with the kind of post-rock atmosphere that would make many a band happy. While there’s an experimental edge to both bands, KTB’s stands out more. Six is shorter than their previous offerings here but it’s precise and it sounds almost familiar somehow. SOAC’s last song is 66 and it’s an off-kilter rager with some of their own electronic touches thrown in for good measure, adding extra layers. At time it’s more pensive and brooding, which SOAC does pretty well. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate instrumental music  a whole lot more than I did when I started this blog and while neither KTB or SOAC are overly technical, they both play great music that’s got personality and warmth to it. 

The final three songs of this release are from the collaboration Alpha Cat, with which members of both bands recorded the album “Last Day Of Summer” in 2009. The first of the trio, The Flying Dutchman is tuned low and has an air of Motorhead about it and possibly what sounds like a Harmonica. It certainly adds more jazz to the occasion. Fire is altogether slower and harks back to the bands of the collaborators. It grabs the best bits from both KTB and SOAC and turns up the volume. The title-track form the aforementioned collab is one final slab of rock, taken down a path via various other genres. Those other genres may not be easily noticeable amongst the music, but they’re there and Alpha Cat does a great job of weaving them in. In fact, instead of me trying to pigeonhole all three bands on here, just listen for yourselves. This release is definitely worthy of your ears. 

Below is a visual representation of the box set to tempt you:-


UK residents can grab the remaining five box sets from Sons Of Alpha Centauri here - https://sonsofalphacentauri.bandcamp.com/album/sons-of-alpha-centauri-karma-to-burn-trilogy-boxset

I believe it is sold out from Karma To Burn and other vendors (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).