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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Reviews: Issak, Holy Grove, R.I.P (Reviews By Paul)

Isaak: Sermonize (Small Stone Records)

More Italian action with no-nonsense stoner rock from Genova’s Isaak. Sermonize is their sophomore release, following on from debut The Longer The Beard, The Harder The Sound. Formed out of the ashes of Ghandi’s Gun, the band have been around since 2011 and their sound is nailed clearly to the stoner, riff orientated hard rock of early Orange Goblin a dash of Kyuss and a soupçon of Monster Magnet. It’s straightforward dirty rock with riffs dripping from every orifice. Giamcomo Boeddau’s contain exactly the right amount of grit, whilst the guitar work of Franceso Raimondi and the filthy bass lines of Gabriele Carta’s provide a driving delivery which leaves you deliciously unclean. Andrea Tabbi De Bernardi’s drumming is solid and provides the backbone of the sound, with his backing vocals on tracks like Fountainhead add quality. Almonds And Glasses (what the hell this is about I’ve no idea) adds a little QOTSA influence to the party before some of the chunkiest riffs I’ve heard this year kick in. They throw in a bit of Corrosion Of Conformity and Crowbar on Lucifer’s Road (White Ash), with some weighty muscular action whilst The Frown Reloaded powers along with a real bludgeoning power that encourages you to break the speed limit if playing it in the car. We’ve already reviewed a fair chunk of stoner rock this year on the Musipedia and alongside Duel, Isaak stand at the top of the pile with this impressive release. 8/10

Holy Grove: Self Titled (Heavy Psych Records)

In amongst the plethora of doom and stoner releases we are getting through at MoM, the self-titled debut from Portland’s Holy Grove ranks as one of the heaviest. Some of the most crushing rhythm work you’ll hear this year accompany the blazing riffs of Trent Jacobs fuzzed up guitar whilst the piercing power of Andrea Vidal give Holy Grove a different dimension. Immediate comparisons include Leeds excellent Black Moth. Having said that, Vidal’s performance on Nix, a seven-minute dinosaur with a mix of Monster Magnet and Sabbath, is pretty special. With seven tracks and a running time of 43 minutes this is a weighty beast, with Nix, Hanged Man (an absolute belter of a tune) and Safe Return all crashing in at over seven minutes. The title track moves at a slower pace, with some slightly gentler passages contrasting with the pulverizing guitars and oppressive feel. This segues into Huntress, which has possibly the heaviest riff I’ve heard since Vol 4 whilst Caravan pounds and pummels at breakneck speed. Laced with psychedelic overtones, the haunting delivery of Vidal and an engine room set to destroy, Holy Grove is another release well worth checking out. 7/10

R.I.P: In The Wind (Totem Cat Records)

More fuzzy doom from Portland in the shape of In The Wind, the debut release of self-confessed “street doom” outfit R.I.P. Sitting firmly in the Pentagram camp with a good portion of Sabbath to power them along, this is another meaty slab of quality metal. The ironically named Fuzz delivers the spaced out vocals whilst guitarist Angel Martinez, bassist Jon Mullet and drummer Willie D create a wall of dirty noise that crashes around you with all the finesse of a charging rhino. Fuzz’s vocals are an acquired taste but certainly fit the 1970s feel of the tracks like In The Wind Part I and Tremble. There is no disguising the disgusting distortion which is synonymous with the stoner/doom movement and R.I.P. go to town with it, as the filthy riff haven of Black Leather amply demonstrates. With five of the ten tracks coming in at over six minutes each, there is plenty of opportunity for some meandering diversions, which at times means the listener becomes a little distracted. 6/10

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