Review of Enter Galactic Wasteland, Mr. Bison and Spacetrucker (Ripple Music, 2020)

Ripple Music, the unrivaled Doom Metal label, has launched Turned to Stone, a new series of splits. Chapter 1 is Enter Galactic Wasteland featuring three tracks each from Mr. Bison and Spacetrucker.

Mr. Bison inhabits side one. They are a band from Italy, and their music is full of vibrato and slow builds. There are a lot of drifty, ethereal elements cushioning the strong blues-soaked guitar advances. All three songs are about seven minutes long, giving the musical theory behind them time grow and discover itself. The names of the songs even signal the sound of the compositions: “The Grace of Time,” “The Stranger,” and “Oracle Prophecy.” You know what plane you’re on when you take off, but you are not exactly sure where it is going. Free your mind.

Mr. Bison

Spacetrucker leads us through the second half of the journey, and their jam is less trippy and more earthshaking. Also a three-piece, this band puts the guitar right in front with their opener, “Nosedive,” where it blasts a path wide open for the barreling bass, drums, and vocals. The lead breaks are aggressive, and the tempo is on the speedy side of the doom spectrum. The next song is “Distant Earth,” where we slow down a little, reflect on our place in the cosmos, and let that guitar tell us the story. “King Cheeto” is the closer and runs like a single – just under three minutes, it is a sharp crack on your skull.

Spacetrucker (Photo by David Torrence)

Mr. Bison and Spacetrucker are an expertly curated pair to open the Turned To Stone series. With a split, you want two bands that go together but that do not sound too much alike. Yes? That’s what you get here. Enter Galactic Wasteland needs to go in your daily rotation now. Recommended.

You can get the digital at Bandcamp. Even better, if you subscribe to Ripple Music there, you get all the new releases automatically. Physical versions are also available in different vinyl shades but they are almost sold out already, on Day 1.

Links:

Main website, https://www.ripple-music.com/

Ripple at Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/

Direct album site, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/turned-to-stone-chapter-1-enter-galactic-wasteland

Mr. Bison:

https://www.facebook.com/mrbisonband

https://www.instagram.com/mrbison_band/

https://mrbison.bandcamp.com/

Spacetrucker:

https://www.facebook.com/spctrckr/

https://www.instagram.com/spctrckr/

https://spctrckr.bandcamp.com/

Review of Enter Galactic Wasteland, Mr. Bison and Spacetrucker (Ripple Music, 2020)

Review of “Rebirth By Blasphemy” by Midnight (Metal Blade, 2020)

Rebirth By Blasphemy is the new release from Midnight, out January 24 from Metal Blade Records, and it’s a scorcher.

I have always thought of Midnight’s music as Punk first and Thrash second, probably because the early Eps made a big impression on me, and because of the attitude of the that music. It was very Punk. Maybe labeling really doesn’t matter all that much, but it does you give you some idea of what you’ll hear if you are new to the band, or in this case, the person. The force in Midnight is Athenar, who has been the face (typically shrouded) of the underground band for almost twenty years, writing all the songs and playing on the instruments on the studio recordings. Along with a seemingly endless string of Eps and splits, Midnight has risen out of the shadows in the last decade, propelled by their full-length releases Satanic Royalty (2011), No Mercy for Mayhem (2014) and Sweet Death and Ecstasy (2017) on Hells Headbangers Records. Rebirth By Blasphemy is their fourth long play.

The album starts out howling with “Fucking Speed and Darkness,” a song filled with heavy guitars, rough vocals, and undeniably catchy hooks. The title track is next, and it has an anthem-like twist – everybody will be singing along with this one at the live shows. By the time you get to song #3, “Escape the Grave,” you’re hooked. The musical structure has all the heavy elements fans of the earlier albums will be looking for: speed, growls, short lead breaks, and memorable choruses. Over the years the songs have gotten longer, and have moved away from Punk a little toward the thrashy metal corner of the spectrum. Rebirth By Blasphemy has a lot of old school metal in it, and it works in as an intoxicating blend of intention and execution with a primal sensibility. It is heavy music from front to back and a welcome follow-up to Sweet Death. Recommended.

If you can’t wait for the whole set to drop, head out to the launch party Friday January 10th at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. It is open to the public and it is going to be a wild evening. Look for Midnight on the road – they are playing several dates here and there including Decibel Magazine’s Metal & Beer Fest in Philadelphia in April and the Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle in May. Their Facebook page (link below) has more information on their live shows.

Links.

http://totalmidnight.webs.com/ (mainly an archive site last update in 2016)

http://midnight-ohio.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/midnightviolators/

https://www.instagram.com/midnightviolators/

Review of “Rebirth By Blasphemy” by Midnight (Metal Blade, 2020)

Review of Seven Planets New Release, Explorer (Small Stone, 2020)

Heavy groovists Seven Planets have a February release that will help you rise above the winter gloom: Explorer.

With roots in West Virginia, the band’s music is guitar-driven instrumental groove, loaded with boogie, blues, and funk, all wrapped up in a heavy desert vibe. The two guitarists, Leonard Hanks and Jim Way, are joined on the album by bassist Mike Williams and the steady and clever drumming of Ben Pitt. No vocals. With this music, you do not miss the physiological voice because the instruments do all the art, leaving no gaps. Even with the proliferation of instrumental bands in doom and heavy music in recent years, Seven Planets stands out with its spacey construction, its cohesiveness, and flavorful riffs that are all its own.

Following Flight of the Ostrich (2008) and their self-titled 2012 release, Explorer is the third full-length set from Seven Planets. The shorter songs pop, giving off a Bakerton Group glimmer – “206,” “Vanguard,” and “The Buzzard” especially. The longer pieces have more of a nebulous doom presence, in some ways ethereal, and reminiscent of the sound Seven Planets established in their earlier albums. The warbling “Seven Seas” is the perfect example of this second type, where a bed of solid floating groove carries you along while exploring guitar fingers spark and reach out into the unknown. In “Great Attractor,” the two guitars even go off and explore in different directions at the same time, bringing a broader environment of sound into a greater inclusive whole. The album closes with “The Buzzard,” a sharp, insisting punch wearing melodic robes. Taken together, it is like experiencing eight separate micro-doses that ebb and flow and blend into a gaining collective that outpaces the sum of its parts.

There are no tour dates listed on their socials, so keep an eye out for Seven Planets because you want to see them whenever you can. Christopher Berry is now playing bass after the departure of Mike Williams, and the transition has been seamless, by all accounts. The album Explorer will be released on February 7, 2020, and it is available for preorder now at Bandcamp (link below) in digital and many solid forms. After you preorder the new one and while you are waiting for it to drop, listen to the first two on Spotify or wherever you stream. It’ll put you in the mood and give you some idea of what is coming. The new album is in the same cosmos as the first two, but it is also an evolution. Recommended.

Band photo by Holly Pittman.

Links.

http://www.sevenplanetsband.com

http://www.facebook.com/Seven-Planets

http://www.instagram.com/sevenplanetsrock

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

http://www.instagram.com/smallstonerecords

Review of Seven Planets New Release, Explorer (Small Stone, 2020)