Captain Caravan/Kaiser - Turned To Stone: Chapter 6 (Ripple Music) [Rich Piva]
I know we are getting close to Christmas, but it has come early for me with the release of another killer split LP from the best label in rock Ripple Music as a part of their Turned To Stone series. This time with Chapter Six we have two amazing Scandinavian stoner bands, Captain Caravan and Kaiser. These splits never ever disappoint, and I have the last couple from this year on my top albums of the year list. Let’s see if this one can stack up. I have a pretty good feeling given 1. this is Ripple and 2. Both these bands are killer.
Of course, this is excellent, with Captain Caravan kicking us off with killer stoner vibes and riffs with the track Down, but really hitting their stride with maybe their best track yet, Sailors. The riffs and the solo are absolutely killer on this song and is what you have come to expect with the Turned To Stone series. Painted Wolf is another killer track and reminds me of all the great stuff coming out on Sixteen Times Records these days (Carson, Deville recently).
She Can has another killer opening riff and zooms down whatever the equivalent of a Scandinavian highway is with the windows down and the smoke billowing out. More riffs with Void, and do I hear organ as well? Another killer track with some snotty vocals and Sabbath worship riffs. Love it. Five absolute killer tracks from Captain Caravan.
Not to be outdone, Kaiser brings it with their four song offering on the flip side, starting out with Howl, which kicks us off with a jet engine starting up and some serious QOTSA riffing but also a driving rhythm section that creates very unique backend sound. This one is a ripper, as is their second offering Fire, which is just that.
A killer opening riff and the higher octave vocals are excellent, but there is something about Kaiser that just sounds different that a lot of what is out there today. There is a punk feel to these guys, but like if the punks spent a whole bunch of time listening to Fu Manchu. Black Sand Witch slows it down a bit, but the heavy is still there, as is that unique rhythm section sound. We close with Phoenix Parts 1,2, & 3, which is a ten-minute stoner/psych epic adventure that just needs to be experienced.
I am not sure how Ripple keeps a series going with such amazing consistency. The Turned To Stone Series is mandatory listening if you like heavy rock. Ripple Music is an absolute zone in curating these splits, and the offerings from Captain Caravan and Kaiser are just as amazing as the rest of the series. Check out this and the rest of the Turned To Stone offerings, just ridiculously awesome stuff. 9/10
Mister Earthbound - Shadow Work (Kozmik Artifactz) [Rich Piva]
Some swampy, stoner goodness is on display with the debut full length Shadow Work from Richmond, Virginia’s Mister Earthbound. Some excellent riffs, great vocals, and seven killer tunes makes this one of the best debuts of the year.
Not To Know starts of off, and right off the bat you get riffs a-plenty, but the vocals make this some next level stoner goodness. I love the slowed down part of this track midway through that gives you a haunted swamp vibe that I think they are going for on Shadow Work. The band calls themselves a “Swamp Rock N' Roll quartet” and you can totally get that vibe. They have a very bluesy stoner thing going on and it is excellent. So Many Ways is slowed down heavy blues that you can picture was conceived on someone’s porch overlooking the murky depths of the local bog. The bluesy guitar work with the powerful vocals makes this just killer.
Coffin Callin’ has a chill groove to it, some more great guitar work, and leans more on the psych tip. I love the haunting vocal stylings; this track reminds me a bit of the latest All Souls offering. Hot Foot Powder is some excellent psych blues, swampy indeed. Do I hear some Concrete Blonde influence in there? Spooky haunted swamp vibes.
Wicked John is some more haunted swamp goodness, almost a funeral march through the mist and haze. More spooky blues vibes with Weighted that also brings a killer crunchy solo. No Telling closes us out with a back porch bluesy acoustic number that continues the overall vibe on Shadow Work and is a nice way to end this swampy trip.
Mister Earthbound have created an excellent debut record with Shadow Work. Great blues riffing, excellent vocals, and a nice swampy vibe, this is one of the debut records of the year and is a must check out if you dig this vibe. 8/10
Rage Behind - Season Of Blood (Atomic Fire Records) [Matt Bladen]
Combining the members of several French bands, Rage Behind are a groove metal machine inspired by the likes of Lamb Of God and Devildriver with thrash and metalcore combining into big breakdowns, aggressive riffs and screamed vocals.
Having toured with bands like Heaven Shall Burn, Rise Of The Northstar amongst many others, they have tweaked their passionate, politically charged music to where it is today, ready to unleash it on this EP, the masked agitators using music to reset many people's moral compass back towards a collective consciousness rather than individual concern.
Live By The Sword – The Glorious Dead (Rebellion Records) [Matt Bladen]
Live By The Sword releasing their concept EP the glorious dead on 11/11 isn't a coincidence, it expands upon their 2020 album Exploring Soldiers Rise, by paying tribute to any member of the armed services who have served or given their life for their country.
Using a multi genre approach this Dutch American band featuring vocalist Erick Barnes, a former seasoned member of the Marine Corps, guitarist/synth player Wouter Davids, bassist/engineer/producer Freek De Greef and Devils Blood drummer Sander Van Baalen, the foursome returning to make this interesting EP that deals with the impact of war from different angles. The fact that Barnes has served in the military means that the lyrics hit home a bit more with this record their heavy, punky version of traditional song The Green Fields Of France.
So to the EP and all the tracks, with one exception, were written for this special release the title track and Into A New Dark Age, written and played acoustically, evoking emotions with the stripped back nature, the guitar lines of Wouter not always going where you'd expect as the production from Freek makes this album sound quite retro, finally it's Erick's deep vocals that cut through the moody playing with a resonant bellow. In Memoriam is yet more harrowing doom driven by Van Baalen's drumming.
The doomy riffer Sacrifice the only song on the record that will appear elsewhere as it's from their next album Cernunnos, due to be released next year. The lyrics were written by Solstice's Richard Walker, hinting at the tone for the new record. I'd never heard anything by Live By The Sword before but this EP has piqued my curiosity in them as a band. A fitting EP to be released on Armistice Day, the one off concept dealt with dutifully here. 7/10