Crystal Fairy: S/T (Ipecac)
Crystal Fairy is an interesting prospect with two members of The Melvins, Buzz Osborne (guitar) and Dale Crover (drums) you can always say that about any project that stems from The Melvins. Crystal Fairy is a genre bending record that also features musical polymath Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (at The Drive-In, The Mars Volta) on bass and Le Butcherettes frontwoman Teri Gender Bender.
With a motley crew of characters involved Crystal Fairy brings the influence of all involved there are fuzzy riffs from Buzz that move between punk, grunge and metal with ease, intricate bass lines from Rodriguez-Lopez that ramp up the psych, technically proficient and groove laden drumming from Crover but the major reason for this band's musical dexterity are the fantastic vocals from Gender Bender who whispers, shouts, seduces, chastises, croons and hollers sometimes in the same song her acerbic delivery at work on the stomping Necklace Of Divorce, she seems to be adapting her vocals to fit the song, which is mightily impressive for an artist known for her Riot Grrl aesthetics, hell even on the Spanish language Vampire X-Mas she astounds.
Opening with the riffing Chiseler they start with a punky kick in the head, that morphs into the doom riffage of Drugs On The Bus anchored by the low-end crunch of Omar, there is a definite jam sound to this record it's four paid up members of the touring scene together in a room indulging in sounds that they may not be associated with, you can practically feel the smiles emanating off the band as they rock out hard on Vampire X-Mas and Secret Agent Rat.
Crystal Fairy is an album that sees musicians you may associate with one style of music coming out of their comfort zone to cherry pick the best parts of metal, punk, sludge rock, psychedelia, and even pop to make and album that reveals more layers with every play. 8/10
Mothership: High Strangeness (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Well, well, well after being inundated with numerous Scandinavian psych, stoner, doom acts all of high quality sometimes it's nice to go back to the genre's roots with an American band that deftly re-create the sounds of 70's hard rock taking cues from British rockers such as UFO along with "The Little Old Band From Texas" ZZ Top and even the mighty Grand Funk Railroad, this album is proper power-trio stuff, brothers Kyle and Kelley Juett are the riff machines, Kyle on four strings, Kelley on six, they are responsible for the scorching heavy rocking that fills this album, packed by the powerhouse percussion of Judge Smith.
The title track that starts this record is a hazy instrumental that has touches of Hawkwind and brings you into the swirling space rocking that is about to be unleashed on the chugging Ride The Sun that builds like a Wolfmother song before exploding into all kinds of fret wankery. These two tracks alone are supreme examples of Mothership's brand of supersonic heavy rock n roll and they kick things off well for what is the Dallas band's third record, from here on out it maintains the same high level dipping in and out of the sounds of an era. Midnight Express is a doomy NWOBHM influenced rocker sound is similar to fellow Texans The Sword while Helter Skelter ramps up the groove.
The production means the songs gleam and you can hear every ounce of talent being displayed. High Strangeness flies by but as the final chords of the swampy seven minute Speed Dealer you want to do it all again. Playing at a venue near you in June, pick up this record blast it loud then go and check them out I know I will be. 8/10
Cryptic Realms: Enraptured By Horror (Transcending Obscurity) [Review By Paul]
Death metal brought to you by the combined nationalities of Mexico, Greece, Brazil and United States. It is brutal stuff, with Kostas Analytis (I had that once, cleared up with a cream from the GP) laying down a vocal circa Morbid Angel and Venom 1984. In fact, the sound of this band is so deeply entrenched in the mid 1980s you could be forgiven for thinking it’s buried treasure. Unfortunately, the album is killed by a dire production which leaves you straining to hear the drumming of Uriel Aguillon.
It sounds like he’s playing on biscuit tins at times. It’s a similar issue for the guitar work of Tersis Zonato who is lost in the muddy mix. Thematically the band follow a traditional death metal path. Doomed Cathedrals, In Mortal Distress and Begging To Be Dead leave little to the imagination. The similarity is such that half way into the release I was hunting to check if I had it on repeat, such was the repetitive nature. Full credit to the band for giving it their all in their first full release. Next time polish up the sound so that it does you justice. 5/10