The Machine – Wave Cannon Majestic Mountain Records – 2023 Rock, Stoner, Psych, Grunge Rated: *****
I was there for the final farewell show in the Effenaar in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, that said goodbye to founding member and drummer Davy Boogaard. But this right here, that slab of pure gold that has been spinning for the past month, can perhaps be seen as a final salute, a final shot from a cannon, a final monument, sounding taller, wilder, freakier and more intense, like a gigantic balled up fist towards the heavens. Five years after Faceshift, Dutch stoner rocking trio The Machine are back with Wave Cannon and after this release, only guitarist and vocalist David Eering will be left of the original founding three. But before we get to teared-up, we know The Machine goes on, and we know Mr. Eering has implored drummer Klaas Dijkstra to kick ass with the new set-up that also includes bass player Chris Both, who has been present for the past five years. The Machine rolls on, the three continue, and will have six new tracks to add to their already huge back catalogue of songs. Starting Wave Cannon off is the first single called Reversion, which feels like a river of dreams that steadily flows on top off an extra heavy undercurrent, that slowly dissipates into a calm rippling pool of warmth. On many levels you feel a return to what The Machine is and always has been and probably will be about, a steadiness that feels reassuring, a build-up or in this case a decrease in tension that you desperately want to follow, like the white rabbit, deeper into its hole, and a groove that can make you go into a trance. Reversion is seminal The Machine and feels like the perfect way to start Wave Cannon. Second track Genau Or Never starts with sounds from a wooden wind chime, add the drums, that rolling bass and highly floating guitar work, that slowly and surely become this gigantic, but gradual build up and once again brings you a new wave of The Machine goodness. Glider sees them going off into their perhaps most grungy territory to date, which continues on, on the shortest song from the new album, the three minute and thirty five seconds long Ride On Crash Kick. All four of which perhaps serve as the perfect window into the different sides of The Machine, the more hallucinogenic grooves as the two song starter and the more fuzzy and gritty take on stoner trucking with the final two. Return to Sphere (Kneiter II) is another return to form and shimmies up to the opening track of the album in a way that the original Sphere (… or Kneiter) from 2012 never did. Cause that song, always felt like the king hitter on that Calmer Than You Are album and a stand-alone, stoner rock, high water mark of those first five years of The Machine. The new Sphere track, feels like a stoner rocking cosmic adventure, that does not just serve you a head banging groove but also a destination for your mind. The way they let this heavy psych track crackle and pop and show you a melody that feels as elusive as it is recognizable, is simply stunning. It lures you ever deeper into the labyrinthian space, where the pull not only comes in the form of gravity but also from echoing vocals that soar and give it all this highly Siren quality. Calmer Than You Are bringing you back into focus for only a few seconds. And after that middle mark, the way you feel a calm and peaceful silence permeate the structure and the reverb, the slow rippling waves of trickling sound, punctuated by a return of a tender guitar, slowly building again towards what becomes this rocking and funky ending, referencing the original Sphere and Calmer Than You Are even more. Ending the album is title track Wave Cannon, condensing what the first five tracks did and perhaps even what The Machine has done throughout the era’s that David and Davy sailed the seas of heaviness together. Together they delivered an amazing collection of albums that will forever stand tall among all others in this genre we all love. And Wave Cannon is another chapter in that story, a story that sees The Machine turning over a new page. David and Davy, it seems like a lifetime. And even though we are already eager to hear how it will all translate on stage with the new drummer and what the three that are now The Machine might produce on another album in the future, we do feel tears welling up, every time, those final waves of feedback start rolling in and eventually go full stop…
Okktli – Okktli Self released – 2023 Rock, Hard, Metal, Seventies, Stoner Rated: ****
We don’t really got there that often, but recently we got pulled into the statistics page for our little blog about heavy rock, started back in 2009. And we noticed that the Number One city from across the globe that houses most of the Stoner HiVe followers is apparently Mexico City! Muchas gracias desde el fondo de mi corazón! And since fourpiece Okktli hails from that wonderous city, we of course had to write a few words of praise about their self-titled, four track release. Okktli brings you a lot of traditional metal and hard rock, that takes its cues from the blues, the seventies, stonerrock and grunge. Indeed, there is proto loving goodness here and it might be most audible on that lovely third track Deny with the extra keywork, bringing it all back to the ‘it’s all happening’ era. But opener The Shaman already sets the tone with that lovely intro and the ominous, doom toned guitars and drums, accompanied by a wonderful vocalist that seems to be able to do many styles with his voice. Eleven minutes long it sports both meaty riffs and airy flourishes that are highly soulful and so subtle it immediately lifts this entire composition to sultry heights. Final song Our Hope Is Gone, with a handful of power chords, almost ballad like vocals and dizzying solo work, will surely become a favorite to many of the Okktli fans. But all of the songs have their quality and manage to rub against a bit of sweet as much as it does to more sour stuff, and all of that makes it one damn fine debut. And one we should all have a drink in honor for... Salud!
Taken from their last EP called The Last Drop, it’s the new video for Dätcha Mandala’s song Hit & Roll! Heavy rock of the classic, bluesy and seventies kind! The Last Drop was released last year through Mrs Red Sound and comes with a mini-documentary entitled 'In Studio With Dätcha Mandala' about the band's recording and creative process. Hit & Roll is irresistible and groovy!
This should have gone up yesterday. But as usual, life got in the way… The above list of bands and their respective albums have ben on heavy rotation over here. As well as quite a few others, cause we still cannot get enough of that Santo Rostro, Hail The Void, Acid King or the new ISAAK. And there are so many other albums about to be released that are equally stunning.. Incredible musical times we live in! It’s been spring time for heavy rock for a long time now, stoner, psych, prog and yes, the doom are all in bloom!
Elefant Talk – Elefant Talk M & O Music – 2021 / 2023 Rock, Stoner, Alternative Rated: ***
Sure, on some level the album hasn’t completely sunk in yet, and perhaps we are too fast with this little write-up. But whenever a French band hits us up, we sort of feel we need to beat our fellow Doom Charts Contributors Thierry ‘Pumpkin-T’ Francois to the punch and be the first to strike. Just like the two-piece from Chambéry, France does. Indeed, the Elefant Talk duo strikes hard, strikes fast, and do this with a lot catchy bass riffs and pop sensible melodies. Stonerrock, alternative rock and a lot of attitude. The eleven tracks on their debut album move towards Royal Blood as much as it is marrying that Palm Desert sound to something very European. But there’s also something that makes you think of Muse and nineties rock. Combining more progressive almost jazzy drum work with powerful statements and pounding, it’s the driving force behind all the high energy tracks. But there are also those where the duo slow down in tempo like on Leave Me Alone and there they use both drums and bass to just leisurely flow underneath the carrying vocals. And although it’s not completely clear on all of the songs, but it seems most are told from the perspective of animals. On Mass Murder for instance an ant witness the destruction of its home. The second to last song is called The Hunting and features a guitar solo by Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, from Guns ‘N Roses and Sons Of Apollo fame. Final track Time To Go has you rocking back and forth with your eyes closed, before it picks up speed an vigor, slowly building in what surely be a euphoric release. Fascinating to see them close the album with perhaps their most impressive track and leaving you without that enormous release you feel the tracks is promising, leaving you wanting more…