Sunday, 30 April 2017

An Interview with Nick DiSalvo from ELDER

Elder turned the Doom/Stoner Metal world on it's head back in 2015 when they released the critically acclaimed album – Lore. It was an album that you couldn't get away from. It was the Stoner Metal album of 2015 which established Elder as a force to be reckoned with.

The band went on an extensive tour promoting Lore in both Europe and the United States. Now fast forward to 2017, Elder are back with their upcoming new album – Reflections Of A Floating World. Due for release in June 2017 via Stickman Records, this is another different sounding album from Elder. With the band focusing on 70s Psych and Classic Rock sounds whilst still maintaining the epic sounds they created on Lore.

I managed to catch up with Nick DiSalvo (Vocals/Guitar) from the band and this is what we discussed....

Hi Nick, Congrats on your new album – Reflections Of A Floating World. Another great album from Elder. What can people expect from the album.

Thank you. Reflections is a typical Elder record, in the sense that it's different than all the others. On paper the record could be described as psychedelic, progressive heavy rock with elements of all sorts of subgenres creeping in, like doom, stoner rock, krautrock, etc. I think we are getting better at achieving our aims of writing songs that play out like stories, or convey images, something more descriptive than simple rock songs.

The new album is very different to Lore. More rooted in 70s Psych/Classic Rock though still offering that classic Elder sound. Was that the original plan with the new album. Release something that wasn't Lore Part 2.

There has never been a plan for where the band will go or what we'll sound like, but I think we hit something close to our "own" sound on Lore and in certain ways I see Reflections as a logical step from it, a little more cohesive, sprawling but in a different way, experimental with different sounds. We have a simple plan: write music that we enjoy. That is the only plan we follow for the records.

Did you do anything differently recording this album compared to your previous albums.

The studio sessions for this record were still quite controlled, but for our standards we gave ourselves much more time and room for experimentation than usual. We had already decided prior to recording the album that we would be adding a fourth member and were as a result less concerned with how elaborated the songs became because we could play them live. That let us put in more keys, more guitars, etc.

 We also brought in some guests for a recording session, our friends Mike Risberg (who is now our 4th member) and Mike Samos (doing pedal steel). We set aside a day to do some live improvisational recordings in this 5 piece configuration and got an additional 3 hours of material out of it that we sprinkled in the album, and the rest will probably be used for a bonus release down the road.

Was it an easy or hard recording experience when making the album.

I wouldn't put recording music in terms of easy or hard... it's a challenge sometimes to realize your visions of how things should sound, but it's an extremely fun and rewarding task to hear your ideas materialize before your ears. We had a blast tweaking amps and settings, doing live recordings, and spending a lot more time picking apart the recordings than we ever have and I'm more satisfied with the results than I've ever been.

What influenced you when recording this album. As the album has some complex themes running throughout.

Musically speaking, there are no set influences that inform my songwriting and we're almost never (directly) inspired by listening to other music. I try to shut out everything else when writing intensively and see what comes out, which is a process that I used for Lore as well. Thematically speaking, the album is meant to be seen as a series of vignettes portraying aspects about our world and how we make our own realities. “The floating world” is a term translated from Japanese that referred to the hedonistic, but also culturally creative aspects of their society during its period of modernization. 

This album is made up of my own “reflections”, excuse the pun, about our own “floating world”, which seems a grossly decadent, self-destructively capitalist, consumption driven madhouse. The songs are about breaking free of this reality, living on your own terms, and coming to an understanding of what it means to live in a world devoid of intrinsic meaning.

Did you feel any pressure when recording the album as Lore was such a huge success for Elder.

Not really. We took our time with the album and never approached the studio until we were sure that the songs were finished and we were satisfied with them. If our listeners appreciate the music then we're grateful, but as a creative person you can't let other people's expectations or taste steer your own direction.

Looking back on Lore, did it surprise you the way critics and fans reacted to the album in general. I consider it a modern classic. When I first heard it – my first thoughts were – HOLY FUCK!!!.

I am surprised that Lore got us the attention that it did, but looking back on it, I had the same feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction then that I do now. Mostly I'm surprised at the comparisons that album garnered, mostly to bands we've never listened to or had anything to do with.

I think the album cover makes the album stand out. Who designed the cover. Did you have much input into the final version.

Our album art is always done by Adrian Dexter (except for the Spires Burn/Release EP). He's always been our artist and we give each other input into each other's work during the songwriting/album art creation process and feel like he's a member of the group in some way. At the same time, we never tell him what to make the artwork like because it's important to us that he has creative control.

How hard is it being a band in today's world. What are the most difficult aspects in being in a band.

It's hard to carve yourself a niche in the world of rock and roll today because everything is so quickly played out and attention spans are sometimes very short. I feel grateful that we started playing when we did because I think we were just ahead of the curve for when the “stoner rock bubble” began to blow up. It's hard to make a name for yourself if there are a million other bands doing the same schtick. For us, playing music is our life; we've literally tailored everything else around our creative pursuit. I wouldn't live any other way, but it's hard to eke out an existence if you're essentially a worldwide musical freelancer. 

It strains relationships, leads to unhealthy living, and its hard to find a balance between the worlds of touring and being off the road. For us, it's also very important to maintain our integrity, to never compromise what we do and refuse to whore ourselves out. That's not always easy in the world of social media and we probably make things harder on ourselves as a result of (mainly my) stubbornness. All in all though playing music gives my life meaning and the good outweighs the bad many times over.

Will you be doing an extensive tour for this album like you did for Lore. Or will you be taking things much easier.

We learned after our non-stop touring following Lore that it's not conducive to our mental or physical health to be out so much, but we still plan to tour quite a bit. We've got a month in Europe planned for the summer followed by a US tour in October, and we're talking about getting to some other continents as well.

Elder have been going as a band since 2006. Did you ever imagine the journey that it has took you on. Would you change anything you accomplished with Elder.

I absolutely never imagined in my wildest teenage dreams that we would actually be doing what we are doing now. We quite literally live our childhood fantasies and I would not change a thing about our course (except for a few poorly negotiated contracts, hehe...).

Photo by Jaime Gouger

Are you still involved with different musical projects. I know that Matt is involved with KIND. Are you all involved with different bands at the moment. If so can you advise the status of them.

I am currently drums playing in a Berlin-based band called VUG. We just recorded an album and are mixing it right now. It's a fun mix of faster proto-metal riffs with a lot of melodic heavy stoner-ish rock thrown in. I'm actually not sure what Matt's up to or the status of KIND right now, but he's always jamming with lots of people. He likes to make weird recordings with synthesizers and crazy guitar pedals too. Maybe we'll get to hear it one day.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

Thanks for reading, support your local record store and don't let the man get you down!

Nick, thanks for doing this. All the best with the new album as its' a brilliant album.

Words by Steve Howe and Nick DiSalvo

Reflections Of A Floating World will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Stickman Records from June 2nd 2017.


An Interview With GREEN YETI

Green Yeti are a Doom/Stoner Metal band from Greece who have in a short space of time have released two great albums so far. 2016's – The Yeti Has Landed and 2017's – Desert Show.

Both great albums showing that Green Yeti have something about them if you're a fan of good old fashioned Doom/Stoner Metal. It's perhaps with Desert Show that the band have refined their sound and create a more exciting album than their debut album. No easy task as The Yeti Has Landed received acclaim from both fans and critics alike within the Doom/Stoner Metal community.

Newly signed to Cursed Tongue Records who will be releasing Desert Show on vinyl later this year.

Here's an interview that I did with the band recently where we discuss their formation, music and album artwork amongst other things....

Hi guys. How are things with you today.

-Hey there Outlaws, we are pretty good! Thanks for your invitation.

Can you give a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.

-It all started in late 2013. Michael made a phone call to Dani and asked him to try and maybe join to his band “Stonenrow”. Well, this didn’t work out but something else was born out of it and that was the “Green Yeti” baby! “Treliaris” that originally joined in the drums was later replaced by Fotis and finally Giannis took the drums spot, a couple of months before “Desert Show” was recorded.

Photo by Giannis Santorinaios

How would you describe your overall sound.

-It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s psychedelic, it’s so many’s Green Yeti!

We are here to talk about your new album. What can people expect from the album.

-Our new album is out there as we talk…The concept is what the title suggests. The Yeti has landed on a generator show in the desert and wreaks some havoc! You can expect stoner grooves, some trippy atmosphere with a doom outfit here and there…and some Spanish vocals for a change.

What influenced you all when recording the album.

-As you may imagine, Live recordings need 100% focus in order to succeed, especially on longer songs that reach the 20 minute mark…What really drives us when we are recording, is the hunger for a great final result! That alone is enough to make us perform the best even in tough situations like this.

Desert Show has a more psychedelic and spaced out feel compared to your debut album. Was that the plan to release something slightly different to The Yeti Has Landed.

-No, initially there was not a plan. However when we heard the first riffs forming, we told ourselves “Hey, it’s time the Yeti travels in the desert…That’s what this album will be about”…and so it is done!

Looking back on The Yeti Has Landed, would you record any differently or would you leave as is.

-On “The Yeti Has Landed” we made a critical decision, to record, mix and master all DIY. It was uncharted waters for us as we are not ”pros”, but at the time we felt the need to really push it a step further and try something we had never done before. To answer your question…hmm sure, every time you look back, you know you could do something different …but no, that’s not really our philosophy. We started from zero, we learned many things that we used on our next album and we feel blessed with the outcome of “The Yeti Has Landed”.

Did it surprise you the amount of positive reviews the album received from the Doom/Stoner Metal community. It's a favourite of ours here at Outlaws Of The Sun.

-Looking back, we like to believe that we were mature enough when making that album. There was a tremendous effort for more than two years before having this final result! We felt our music will find its “spot” in the Doom/Stoner community!

No big surprises there, but we truly appreciated the amount of positive reviews. What was invaluable to us, was that we really got empowered from this all positive vibes and the big hugs we got from all you people!

I don't know if this is being officially announced yet but Niels over at Cursed Tongue Records has told he they will be releasing Desert Show on vinyl. Congrats as the guys over at Cursed Tongue Records are awesome folks. Did you have any other offers to release your albums on vinyl.

-Spoilers in an interview are always cool…aren’t they? Niels is a very nice guy with a DIY approach to run things. Yes, we had some other proposals but when Niels approached us, we knew almost immediately that he was the right man to work with…a passionate dude like us!

How excited for you to have your album released on vinyl.

-We are very excited! It is something we really wanted to do. Lots of people were asking for a vinyl release, so it was a no-brainer.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group participation or down to one individual.

- It is a group based effort 90% of the time. We are jamming and jamming ‘till we find something that clicks to us. Then we blend riffs with other riffs and we have this final result that we love! It would take two weeks to make a new song or even a couple of years…no rushing there. Just wait…and work the song until it feels right. Mike however, is the one who writes the lyrics.

What influences you when writing music.

-It could be everything… I don't really know what to tell you! I guess, what influences us the most when we play, is the freedom of the jam and the mojo of that exact moment!

Are you all involved with different musical projects or is Green Yeti your main band.

- We may do some parallel stuff but at the moment Green Yeti takes most of our energy and it is our main focus.

What is your musical setup when performing or recording live. Is it an advanced setup or a basis setup.

-Regarding the recordings we have some pretty basic setup but it is enough most of the time if you know how to work with it. You don’t always need fancy and expensive stuff to do good recordings.

Performing live is another matter and it depends on the venue and what we can bring with us…We have pretty good gear and we are a bit “demanding” on stage. The people down there deserve the best and that’s our philosophy when doing live shows. Even if some promoters don’t like that…but that's another story …

It's cool in keeping with modern Stoner Rock tradition that you've got David Paul Seymour to design the superb artwork for Desert Show. How did that come about and how much input did you have to the final design of the album cover.

-We really liked David’s work and we were considering him for our first album, but eventually we worked together in the “Desert Show”. Saying “we worked” cause we always want to have our merit in anything regarding the Yeti and we want to roll as a team…We explained to him what we wanted, the concept if you like, and David although not used to work this way, at the end he responded well and the result like you say is awesome! Yes, we are happy we teamed up!

Do you perform many local gigs or do you have to travel further afield. As Greece seems to be providing great bands at the moment.

-The Greek scene is at it’s peak, regarding the heavy rock music. There are many good bands and nowadays people are supporting these bands. It was not always like that…

So, we have many opportunities here in our country but at the same time we want to travel abroad to spread the Yeti charm! It’s not an easy task for Greek bands to tour abroad. Our spot in the map is not helping. However, we grabbed a chance…and in a few days, the Yeti will travel on a mini tour local AND abroad.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

-We love you! Know that with YOUR support, the Green Yeti grows bigger and bigger and that will make it unstoppable!

Words by Steve Howe and Green Yeti


An Interview With DUSTRIDER

Dustrider are an Instrumental Stoner Metal band from Italy who will be releasing their debut album – Event Horizon in May 2017. Newly signed to Argonauta Records (The busiest label currently out there), this hard-rocking trio bring something different to the realm of Instrumental Stoner Metal.

As their debut album has a different kind of sound. I've heard the album from the rough stages to the finished product and I can say it's an exciting take on all things Stoner Metal.

I wanted to find more about Dustrider and it helps that Bruno Bellisario (Lead Guitars) writes for Outlaws Of The Sun. I asked Bruno and the rest of the band kindly agreed to do this interview. Check it out.

Hi guys. How are things with you today.

Dustrider: Hi Steve! It's all about swinging an thanks for this interview!

Can you give a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.

Dustrider: Well....The story starts in late 2014 when me (Bruno) and Francesco were seated to eat a pizza and talking about the stoner/doom metal scene and, almost for gaming, we said: ‘Why do not we set up a group?’ That said, the following weekend we were in our first rehearsal room with Andrea. The real challenge would be to collimate our personalities ... well ... I guess we are succeeding, day after day. This is our genesis, like many other bands, I mean...sitting in front of a beer and talking about the music we like and how we could give a contribution to that.

How would you describe your overall sound.

Dustrider: Good question Steve... How can we define our sound? You know, in recent years the scene has radically changed. Dynamics, new technologies and the desire to express themselves have changed dramatically the distances between "strumming" into a room and producing (often bad) an album. This is not necessarily a bad one, but certainly has radically changed the perception of music. Having an original sound today is really, really hard. 

The only solution is to diversify. Listen as much music as possible and do not necessarily follow the dictates of a musical genre. would we describe our sound? For some aspect is very rough and scratchy, which is typical of Southern Rock influences. Someone (our good pale Frazer Jones) has defined us as 'Hawkwind that meets Colour Haze'. We can not tell you if it is true, but it is definitely a definition that we accept in good faith! (AHAHAHA!).

We are here to talk about your debut album. What can people expect from the album.

Dustrider: Well. We think that Event Horizon can be defined as the natural evolution of what is our concept of making music, a road already undertaken with Agartha, the single we released late next year and that wanted to be the prelude to the album that would come out of them shortly (but this is another story we speak later). In Event Horizon we put all our desire to create a product that was stoner but not necessarily like many others. 

We have given ample room for the composition (at least we hope), trying to join our stoner/doom side, made of lowered tuning and valve saturation, with more metal dynamics seasoned by a good dose of ambient effects, to give that psychedelic touch that we like so much. Definitively, Event Horizon is a instrumental/stoner album over which we have tried to discard all different kind of music we love.

What influenced you all when recording the album.

Dustrider: Before starting the recording sessions of Event Horizon, we were really worried about the timing, since a label has its own (right) time-line. For people who, like us, are forced to divide between everyday work and the most artistic aspects of their lives, all becomes more complicated. Time and money, unfortunately, become the main variables. Sometimes it can be a stimulus, sometimes an impediment. 

In our case, we were more than lucky to find along our path a comprehensive label-head (Gero) and Matteo (guitarist of MrBison) with his Blotch Studio, which contributed enormously to the good performance of the record. All about the sound, recording, editing and mixing were taken care of by Matteo alone, helping us where the fatigue and rushing pace of recording sessions took over.

The thing that I have been impressed with Dustrider is your work-rate. As you kindly let me listen to the rough demos back in Feb/March 17 time. You recorded the album quite quickly and now it's being released in May 2017. How did you work that quickly and what were the reasons why. Not that I was expecting a Tool-style length for your debut album.

Dustrider: Ahahaha! Love such comparison with TOOL, who have now become a joke! Seriously, there is no secret behind the recording of the album in such a short time. Be clear .... and here we go back to the previous answer, time and money were, also in this case, the key variables of the whole affair. When we released Agartha in May 2015, it was our intention to go ahead and arrive in the Autumn at the publication of what at that time it was supposed to be Astrosphere, our debut album. So, we were already working on creating new tracks. 

At the moment we entered the Argonauta roster we sat down at the table, we felt with the label and decided that, as our habit, things should be done slowly with our times, without rush. So, when we entered in Matteo's studio was a relative (if so can be said) walk, considering that we had so many months to try new songs and bring them to the studio.

The album is being released on Argonauta Records. How did that come about. Did you have any offers from other labels.

Dustrider: The genesis of our collaboration with Gero at Argonauta Records was particular. Sooner or later, arrives always for a band that moment when you want to make the ‘jump’. So, many begin almost compulsively firing in the pile to contact this or that label, hoping to have at least an answer. We made a different choice. We personally picked up a (very) narrower set of labels and asked for advice to a small but trustworthy number of friends in the music industry to understand how best to address our requests. The funny thing was that many of them told us: “You should try with Gero ad Argonauta Records”. At the end we said that probably this Gero could really be interested in us ... you know the rest of the story.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group participation or down to one individual.

Dustrider: Our song-writing approach is absolutely collective. Probably because we don’t have a singer! (Aahahah!). We're a creative jam band, so every song has had a spontaneous development based on improvisation. Obviously, the parties that did not go straight away had to be reasoned and adjusted afterwards, after several trials. Our songs always start from a cue or intuition of the moment, which can be mine (Bruno), Francesco or Andrea ... no matter. 

We take these fragments and slowly we begin to model the song according to our own personal vision of music. We do not hide that it was a difficult journey, especially at the beginning when a particular intimacy has not yet formed. We surely suffered our very different musical personalities, but we have always been motivated and, today, we can say that the path started is definitely a journey from which we will never go back.

What influences you when writing music.

Dustrider: Well, from a certain point of view, we are lucky enough to have personal tastes that are based on a common vision of music, but fundamentally different. The beauty is just this diversification. Our personal music tastes span from Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Black Sabbath to ZZ Top, Thin Lizzy, Danzig, Savatage, Bathory. Fortunately, we have jobs that allow us to listen to a lot of music all day long. Anyway, during rehearsals our personal idiosyncrasies emerge, of course. 

So it may happen that I (Bruno) can fix me on a typically stoner/doom/sludge riffage, while maybe Andrea or Francesco can deviate the song's throw to a different type of composition. The same applies to reversed parts. In short, what is most influencing the writing of the songs is, in the end, ourselves.

Are you all involved with different musical projects or is Dustrider your main band.

Dustrider: Dustrider are the only band for both me (Bruno) and Andrea. We don’t have enough time for other projects and, after all, that’s fine. For what concern Francesco he is involved in several different projects, some already started and satisfactory (Riti Occulti and Jarman), others are still embryonic but will soon be heard. Stylistically, every project Francesco is involved is very different and this represents a big challenge.

What is your musical setup when performing or recording live. Is it an advanced setup or a basis setup.

Dustrider: We like to think about our sound as always evolving. Andrea uses as main instrument a Dean Bass through a digital Boss effects and a vintage Marvin by Mack bass head, a glorious Italian company that had all the cards in place to compete with more well-known brands, coupled with a 2x15 cabinet. Francesco a mixed setup, keeping the drum almost essential, although he likes keeping a minimum of variety of the plates. The sore notes come with the guitar (AHAHAH). We all know that guitarists are the most restless about sound. It is always on the lookout for perfection, which will never come, of course. Over the years I (Bruno) have literally collected pedals, heads and cabinets.

Now the setup has become more or less minimal. I use a Yamaha Revstar RS502 as the main instrument and an Epiphone Les Paul Limited Edition when I want to give more boost in some songs. I use a modified version of the old OD-1 Boss and a Big Muff for distortions, while for the ambient effects the classic chorus, flanger, phaser and a Memory Man clone. Of course, a wha. As guitar head I use a Laney AOR Pro Tube Lead (that of Matt Pike in Dragonaut's video, to understand), coupled with a Marshall JCM 800 Lead 1960 with 4 Greenback . In general, what we can say is that the care we hold in the sound is designed to achieve reproducible results in the live context.

Instrumental Stoner Rock bands seems to be one of the most popular things for bands to become within the Stoner Rock genre. How hard is it to stand-out from the crowd. Or do you not worry about things like that.

Dustrider: It’s very, very hard. Today, in Italy as well as in other countries, there are a lot of incredible bands, both instrumental and not. Being able to propose a viable alternative in a highly influenced genre such as stoner, doom or any kind of 60-70 blues and hard rock-based genre is difficult. Today, many bands take care of few aspects, often related with "sound". This or that kind of sound is chanted because it "does more Sleep" or "Black Sabbath". 

Let us mean, we absolutely do not think to have achieved any kind of originality in our music. What we can do is try to evolve in this path and to propose compositional alternatives and even sound in our music. We still prefer some execution imperfection in a more original context, than the precision of a track that has been heard and felt.

We all know the Italian Stoner Rock/Metal scene has provided the world with many great bands over the years. How is the Doom/Stoner scene perceived in Italy. Is there a scene or community for you to perform regular or make contact with other bands.

Dustrider: The Italian Stoner Rock/Metal scene is absolutely amazing. Day after day we discover new artists and new bands that literally would break the ass of much more affirmed bands. The Italian underground scene is by no means one of the most creative we ever heard for the stoner/doom/metal genre. The perception that you have is definitely that of a large family, with its merits and its defects but, undoubtedly, a family. From our personal point of view, any other band is not a rival. Likewise, a label is not worth the other. 

There are choices that concern the individual, good or bad they are. Everyone engages their lives, often embarrassed and at the limit of sustainability, to support a project, an idea of music. This cannot go in second order. We received a lot of help by other bands to play live and, as soon as possible, we offer help. It is a reciprocal exchange not only of favours but also of experiences.

Do you perform many local gigs or do you have to travel further afield.

Dustrider: So far, we have not played so much as we would have liked. Playing in Italy is becoming increasingly difficult. Many venues close. Physically, the places where underground bands can play in appropriate contexts and with a minimum guaranteed repayment run out. It is true that there are as many beautiful realities set up by collective or simple groups of people who do not give up in front of the musical impoverishment of the country. From the very beginning, we were lucky. We met with exceptional people right away, which made us play in unthinkable contexts and bands until last year. 

So far it has been local contexts, but in May, we will bring Event Horizon around in three dates that will see Rome, Vercelli and Milan as protagonists. Certainly, one of the most beautiful things we could hope for is the ability to play abroad or at festivals. We will work hard to make this happen.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

Dustrider: Well ... First of all, we would like to thank those who, in their small, support us day after day. It's a very difficult time for music in general, and to be able to emerge with a proposal as ours will be arduous. But for now, we are delighted to seize the challenge and take all the necessary steps to make our claim. Wherever you are, thanks for your warm support. We look forward to meet so many enthusiastic people in this journey.

Well guys, thanks for doing this. All the best with the new album.

Dustrider: Thanks to you Steve! It was an honour, as well as a pleasure!

Words by Steve Howe and Dustrider

Thanks to Barbara at NeeCee Agency for arranging this interview. Thanks to Dustrider for taking the time out to doing the interview. Event Horizon will be available to buy via Argonauta Records on CD/DD from May 19th 2017.

Ides Of Gemini - WOMEN (Album Review)

Release date: April 28th 2017. Label: Rise Above Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Women – Tracklisting

01. Mother Kiev
02. The Rose
03. The Dancer
04. Raft of Medusa
05. Heroine's Descent
06. Swan Diver
07. The Last Siren
08. Zohra
09. She Has a Secret
10. Queen of New Orleans
11. Marianne


Sera Timms, J. Bennett, Scott Batiste, Adam Murray


Ides Of Gemini’s new album is entitled ‘Women’ and it is a somewhat vintage sounding doom metal album, as if it was crafted over twenty years ago.

The guitar riffs, bass lines and drum beats are minimalistic in nature, made by a group who design without technological confusion, thus contributing to the overall hypnotism effect of this band. The vocals do not caress, but rather haunt, with lyrics sung in grey, meaning they blend and are not screamed in contrast against the shrouded dream of music; yet they are far from withdrawn and more than a mere appurtenance.

The album’s murky atmosphere could have been released back in the times of early 80’s doom metal, the coveted kind found entombed within divine recordings of black vinyl, yet this is a novel recording which constructs a vitrine for the female vocal art. Sera Timms is an enchantress, who provides the lull laments and mollified moans perfectly formulated to seep into the respites of your mind like a knife through the demise of your heart.

There are few who sound as organic and ancestral as Ides Of Gemini. The ambiance of cloudy sustained chord vibrations is crafted with leaden distortion, while the pluck and pick is constructed with an elementary origin of scales, all culminating in a doom laden, circuitous sensation. The uncomplicated drums follow a blueprint schematic, interlocking the skeleton of the serpent. The semi-dulcet vocals are like a spool of timeworn thread unwound into your being and embroidered onto your soul. The overall melodic energy is more analogous to a slow burning purple candle flame, rather than a roaring reckless red fireball.

The mystical similarity between all of the songs unifies this euphonious lot into a cohesive, spiritualistic album. My most beloved tunes are ‘She Has A Secret’, which suspends and dissolves in creation like a fine expresso and ‘Queen of New Orleans’ which transfers impetus into tender compassion, pouring in like oily Sambuca.

There is definitely a noticeable continuity of mood and identity sewn between all of the Ides Of Gemini albums, so none of the tried and true fans should be disappointed here.

In conclusion, Ides Of Gemini are the high clergy who decided it was right time to assemble as a choir in order to generate power to the congregation through an altar of music.

Its time to learn the truth as you slowly drown…Ides of Gemini are on the rise.

Words by Nick Palmisano

You can buy Women from Rise Above Records now.


Friday, 28 April 2017

Elephant Bell - Gates Of Dawn (Album Review) - Exclusive Video Premiere

Release date: April 28th 2017. Label: Argonauta Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Gates Of Dawn – Tracklisting

1. So Pure
2. Demon Seducer
3. The Sun Is Going Down
4. Come To See the Show
5. Escape
6. Dreamwheel
7. Bug In the Soup
8. The Sweet Babylon
9. Mojo Filter
10. Straight to Hell
11. The Last Scene


Tommy Waits - vocals, guitar
Tom C. Johnson - guitar, vocals
J.J. Strangler - bass, vocals
Migis Thunderthrone - drums


Elephant Bell's debut album - Gates Of Dawn - was originally released digitally back in 2011 though it has never officially been released until now. Thanks to the good folks at Argonauta Records. I remember buying a copy back in the day. Don't know if it was BandCamp or some other digital platform.

This version of Gates Of Dawn is slightly different to the original version that was released years ago. The album has been re-mastered and mixed. Plus the band have added a couple more tracks. This album is never going to change the world of Stoner Rock/Metal. Though if you're a fan of bands such as Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Truckfighters it will entertain you from start to finish.

Songs such as So Pure, The Sun Is Going Dow, Come To See The Stone, Escape and The Last Scene show that the band should have had a slightly bigger impact back when the album was originally released. The band blend elements of Stoner, Desert Rock, Psych and addictive Fuzz for an exciting ride.

The album does veer into Truckfighters style Fuzz/Stoner Rock at times. Then again which band doesn't nowadays or indeed even back then? I did enjoy the album more when Elephant Bell opt for a more classic desert/stoner rock sound. As the album has a playful attitude with spiky lyrics to match. Gates Of Dawn has quite a raw feel which allows the album not to feel over-produced.

The instrumental work is excellent for the most part though there are a few rough moments that take the edge off slightly on a couple of the songs. It won't stop your overall enjoyment of the album and it does indeed sound better than the original version. The vocals have more volume and the guitars sound more fresh.

Gates Of Dawn is a very good album indeed. As it shows that Elephant Bell are a band who truly deserve your time. Let's hope there is a new album from these guys soon as I want to hear more from them. Hopefully an album that allows the band to create their own identity within the Stoner Rock world. If that isn't to be, at least Elephant Bell can rest easily knowing that the definitive version of their album is now available the way it's meant to be heard.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to the cool folks at Argonauta Records, you can now watch the exclusive new video for Demon Seducer from Gates Of Dawn.

Thanks to Barbara at NeeCee Agency PR for the promo. The album is available to buy now from Argonauta Records.