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    Maragda – Tyrants

     

     

    Maragda – Tyrants
    Spinda Records – 2024
    Rock, Prog, Psych
    Rated: *****

    Their self-titled debut album was released in October 2021 and we were honored to premiere that very first Maragda album. It told the tale of a civilization named Maragda, which sought refuge below the earth after a catastrophe and forgot all about the surface after being there for many years. It told the tale of rebellion against oppression and the search for truth and light. That fight continues in some shape or form on their new album Tyrants. “In the new musical journey, the band immerses listeners in introspective themes ranging from self-imposed limitations to the fight for values, love, hope, and farewells.” Moments of krautrock, garage and space rock are still there to help tell their story, but you can also use the cliff notes and state this is one hell of a powerful prog rock album! Prog rock, with psychedelic touches of course, we wouldn’t want you to think we would forget mentioning that genre. But it’s prog first and prog last. And if you are still as in love with their debut album as I am, you know the Barcelona, Spanish three have this very transportive style, dotted with all kinds of other tidbits. The manner in which Marçal Itarte (bass/vocals), Guilem Tora (guitar/backing vocals) and Xavi Pasqual (drums) color in all their compositions make it easy for you to dream with your eyes open. There are these highly natural, world music, folk and flamenco missives scattered throughout the album, it makes their universe become this living and breathing entity. Immediately, during opening track Tyrants, you can feel the pulse of the album, the heartbeat, the propellent, the energy that is about to burst outwards. And then there are those more scorching and obliterating moments, which other bands usually implore to sear parts of the composition to such a degree it becomes difficult not to drown in all that sound. The Maragda three use that ability in such a way that it makes the song blossom and give it even more color. And instead of drowning, you feel like flying. Just listen to second track Skirmish to have a taste of that feeling. But there are almost forty-five minutes of this wonderful prog rock adventure to experience, and if you hear the delicate opening of Endless turning into that stop motion, riff heavy, darkened rocker you know that the Tyrants album will deliver everything and all to every heavy rock loving fiend. Tyrants is full bodied, exuberant and its complexity easy to enjoy and to get lost in. And I will be losing myself in this for months… Or years… Or the rest of my life…


    (Written by JK)




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    Horseburner - Hidden Bridges

     

     

    Horseburner - Hidden Bridges

    Out June 21st on Blues Funeral Recordings, the new Horseburner album Voice Of Storms. And Hidden Bridges is the new single and video for that wonderful new album! Check it out and be as excited for what these progressive sludge metal motherfuzzers have come up with as I am.




    Horseburner's new album "Voice Of Storms" is an allegorical commentary on the mistreatment of women across history. It’s the story of a girl being sold into child marriage who is imbued with the spirit of ancient Greek hunt goddess Diana, unleashed and wreaking havoc on a society that regards females as objects or currency. Drummer Adam Nohe reflects on their new single "Hidden Bridges": “It turned into a song that everyone in the band loves, I think it’s a universal favorite. Story-wise, we’re looking at our protagonist being led through an interdimensional crossroads where she can see all universes and timelines happening simultaneously. Here she learns of how she came to exist and it sets her on her mission through the rest of the story.”


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    Ruff Majik – I’m gonna be needing a helmet for that…

     

    Ruff Majik – I’m gonna be needing a helmet for that…

    “I once ate a moth as a kid, nearly suffocated. Don’t eat moths.”


    I once learned, ages ago, that a review of a live show should always go up the next day or the day after, at the very latest. And don’t mix it with other stuff. A review is a review and an interview is an interview. An interview should have a news worthy lead and some enticing first lines. And once the internet started to take hold of society, we heard nobody is ever gonna read a long story on the internet. But, well, this IS the internet. I can do whatever I want. And Stoner HiVe is my little old blog, so F those rules! This here, is some weird story, a longform hybrid, chitchat about and with 
    Ruff Majik. Moving through time and place and going all gonzo. Cause sometimes you just have to roll with the punches…

    Just like a band on tour has to roll with the punches. You never know what might happen on the road as you make all those many miles disappear beneath your wheels or feet. Your van might break down. Leaving you stranded. Or you might, inadvertently and unbeknownst to you, have started a cult in some city you have never even set foot in before. Crazies that only ever needed was some speed and well, someone to crown like a king and worship like a God…  

    Struggling to make sure to be able to rock Eindhoven, the Ruff Majik guys were frantically grasping at whatever string they could while recovering from a gig in Ede. But luckily and of course, when they finally got a hold of the honorable Acid King, the band immediately offered to help out and lend the band a backline. Because, when a van breaks down, somewhere, on the road, it’s very difficult nowadays to find an affordable replacement vehicle. Which means, most of the gear was stuck in that van as well… But they made their way to Eindhoven to play the support slot for Acid King in the Effenaar, at the tail end of August 2023. And meet up with old friends from South Africa, who for some weird reason, suddenly all lived in the Netherlands. And those crazy German fans that just follow the band around whenever and wherever they can. Perhaps the start of an even grander cult? 


     

    The sun is out, the weather is fine. It’s the end of August 2023 and that guy leisurely strolling towards me, smoking a cigarette is the frontman of Ruff Majik, Johni Holiday. That relaxed gait seems to disappear as he closes the gap, it seems there is some anxiety in his step and an energy in his movement that takes some time to get a feel for…

    Wait what… August 2023, we’re already in May 2024. And I see Johni through a video call, he’s on the phone and rattling in his lovely South African accent about the new album called Moth Eater which will see the light of the day in October and the new single What A Time To Be A Knife, scheduled to air on June 7th. Ranting about the sorry state of the South African music scene. “Not the bands nah, the promotors, the pub owners, the old guard. They’re the ones holding the cards at the moment. It’s what the song is about or perhaps even the album. Cause we’re trying to smash that. To take over. And luckily the young people are starting to find out about that. Cause before this it was hard to sell tickets for a local gig. There are enough young bands, but not many fans in South Africa are into live music it seems. But we figured out this is also due to the fact that those lazy promoters and venue owners, did the bare minimum and were squeezing the bands. We’re getting involved now and doing it on an honest buck for honest work kind of deal. It’s already starting to make a difference. We can feel it!”

     


    Straight forward, full of energy and a lust to do things right, Johni talks about the scene, the new album and the upcoming tour. They’re hitting Cottbus, Germany on May 16th. That’s today! And trek through entire Europe until their flight back on June 8th or something. But for a moment there, we were back in Eindhoven. “Oh yeah, I met up with those friends from Africa back then in Eindhoven. Thanks for reminding me…”

    Memories. They’re weird. I’m back in August 2023 now, standing outside, at the venue talking with the guys, snippets of the conversation shoot through my brain. Drummer Steven Bosman: “We talked only Afrikaans, South African, last night, and the audience only spoke Dutch. And it sounded like we understood each other. We were all equally drunk at that stage. So that might have made a difference.” Johni Holiday: “But it’s all about the speed. The rhythm. For us it’s even weirder, cause coming out of Germany we probably switched over to talking at their rhythm in our South African language. Completely filled up with weird South African slang. It could have easily stopped making any sense to anyone... And now we stop at totally different points of a sentence…”

     


    Those first three songs that night at the Effenaar felt like a stop and go as well. Johni going a bit too fast, the rest catching up. Almost like he wanted to get it over with. The sound guy still trying to find the right space to occupy. But then it gelled. Johni’s nervous leg starting to calm down, the sound rounding out and Ruff Majik becoming the force it already was on the amazing Elektrik Ram record. That amazing and for me personally best album of 2023, where Johni opens up on everything he went through, but not in a necessarily dark away, but also not by glorifying it. Just laying bare. An album that is still on heavy rotation over here… 

    Back on the phone, where I see this dubious image of myself in the corner, like I was run over by a truck, like I swallowed some bug and nearly suffocated. “But Moth Eater, the new album, is a real band effort. Operating as a tight unit that wrote and recorded the whole album. And on the new single What A Time To Be A Knife we added some extra angry vocals by our mate Reegan du Buisson from Facing The Gallows, the best South African core band. We can’t wait to unleash it all! The last tour was definitely a huge bonding experience. All the crazy shit we experienced, and all those wild adventures. Also the definite feeling of having each other’s back, no matter what. It made Ruff Majik into what you will hear on Moth Eater…”

     

    It was before the Eindhoven show and there was still Dresden in Germany to go afterwards, when we talked about the tour so far. “It’s been wild! Very cool. Had amazing times at amazing places. But some stupid stuff happened as well. See that car over there. That old Audi. That’s our entire tour van at the moment. Everything has to be crammed in that. Because the other van broke down in Germany. We did two twenty-seven hour drives. To get to the next gig in time.” Bosman: “We went from Porto, Portugal to Liechtenstein. That’s over 2000KM.” Johni: “But the day before we went from Frankfurt to Porto. Which is even further. So, two back to back twenty-seven hour drives. Both those drives could have been easier if we left earlier. Both times we did not leave earlier, because we had some space and wanted to enjoy ourselves a bit.” Cowboy Bez: “And who wants to leave the beach in Portugal earlier, right? But we made it. We drove in shifts. It was fun.” Johni: “But the shows have been absolutely crazy. A few big shows. And a few insane crowds. And some weird shit… We actually started a cult.”


    “Yes, this time we really started a cult…” Because of the fact that certain illicit products might have been involved and because some people might get into the trouble over this, let’s redact the names, and make it less obvious, who and what and where. Well, a bit… Cause only three people might actually read this way too long weird story... Right? “Yes, before we only joked around, let’s start a cult. But this time we really started a cult… Without us knowing it… We had never even been to Prague. But yes, some local dealer only listened to Ruff Majik and sold his product with the specific instructions to listen to our All You Need Is Speed song while doing his product. And well, it caught on. So that was our crowd. A bunch of speed freaks that all needed a live fix of the drug we were selling. And they knew all of our lyrics and had their own ideas about what our lyrics mean and were just screaming along at the top of their lungs, and half way through they suddenly came forth with a helmet. Someone in the crowd had gotten the helmet from the All You Need Is Speed video made by a proper blacksmith. And they crowned me with it… And we were all, this is really really weird man…”

     


    The live fix. It’s not just for the junkie crowd. It’s also for the Ruff Majik boys themselves. “Don’t get me wrong. I love making music. Recording and going through all those motions. But the live thing. You know. When you get on stage. Get that feeling, where you disconnect from reality and just have an amazing time.” Bez: “It’s exactly that. Whenever I’ve got a gig for something, my girlfriend knows, before and after, he’s gonna be a difficult man! I love playing live. You get all that energy from the crowd. It’s hard to come down from that.” Bosman: “There’s something about playing live. About the movement, of your body, of letting go, of getting this almost unattainable feeling, that no substance can match. There’s nothing that can come close to that feeling, and that is the ultimate rush of playing live. There is this ‘moment’ where it all turns into one ‘moment’.” Bez: “Even on tour, a longer one like this one. There are always days when the spirit is a bit low, or the ‘fierce’ as we call it. But once we get on stage, then a few seconds in, it’s back up again. And we just look around, everyone’s good? Yes!”

     

    Everyone’s good. Just like most of the reviews were of Elektrik Ram. An album that felt like the next big leap after The Devil’s Cattle. Tårn sounded like the culmination of everything that came before. Very dense, tight and grimy. The Devil’s Cattle opened up everything, all the sounds. And left the gate open for Elektrik Ram to do even more, almost go overboard on snippets, effects, little details and of course for Johni to open up about himself. Turning it into something much more personal and by doing that, making it universal. “Yes, I think so. Weirdly enough. I’ve had conversations afterwards with a bunch of people who listened to the lyrics, where part or all of it, definitely spoke to them. You know. Where they confessed to me, I’ve had the exact same feelings. Or I went through all that as well. Or people that said, I was having a difficult time and the album helped me through some of it. We had definitely not expected as much positive feedback as we received, but we are incredibly thankful. Cause we worked our asses off for this album. I think it has been the hardest we ever worked on an album.”

     

    And that’s when work on Moth Eater started. Back there on that tour. During those insanely long drives. What else is there to talk about right? “I’ve said for the longest time, we should make an album to fuse funk and sludge together so that we can call it FUDGE. Or rename the band FUDGE and forget there already was a band called FUDGE and tell people we play SLUNK music. What’s slunk you ask, well, it’s a mix between sludge and funk.” Are you scared yet for the new album? I am... And I think I might need a helmet for that!

     

    But for those who have lived with the Elektrik Ram album, you know what it’s about. So, how was Johni handling the tour back then? “I’m having a bit of a panic attack right now. If you’ve wondered why I’m moving around this much. It’s not the end of the world. You know, tour life isn’t easy. A lot of stuff happening at the same time. A lot of stuff going haywire. And then the mind just goes, click, goodbye, see you next time. It’s a bit tough. But it hasn’t been like this the entire tour. And I was worried it would have been worse. I was worried I would not even be able to tour anymore. So, things are going pretty well, all things considered. This is still very mild; I’m dancing it out!” “You’re doing great buddy!” “We got you!” “And yes, they have my back, and it’s of course a bit like exposure therapy. To jump into the deep end and find out I can actually do this. And even under some of the more hardcore circumstances that are possible. So the next time, when the tour runs smoothly, things will be perfect! Cause you know, tours tend to run smooth! Haha. And not that this tour hasn’t been amazing!” Cowboy Bez: “Next time will be all limousines, loafers, and Hugh Hefner type of transportation…” Bosman: “The highs have been incredibly high, but the few lows have been pretty low.”

     

    Turns out the highs are numerous and they keep spilling over with energy for certain crowds and tumbling over each other professing their favorite gigs of the tour. It’s endearing and beautiful to see how they try to top each other with all these amazing shows, gigs and experiences they’ve had during this tour. The tour that brings Elektrik Ram but also Devil’s Cattle to the masses. Cause well, when that album was released, that pandemic thing happened. Do you still remember that? Weird memories. “We’ve been filling the setlist with songs from both albums and one or two older ones. But it has been revolving, because some songs are just a bit too hard to play live. Or the mood wasn’t right. Or because we needed to spare my voice. And I still refuse to stop smoking. And we all refuse to sleep properly. But only two shows left now, so we can go full tilt!”

     


    They did, they came, they saw and the raved their asses off; and will do so again as of tonight throughout Europe! First stop Cottbus, Germany. TODAY! And then a whole slew of gigs to win over the rest of humanity for their cult. And judging from the first single What A Time To Be A Knife, the new Moth Eater album, the completion of a trilogy, will surely help as well. “I just wanted to call and let you know what’s happening in the Ruff Majik universe. And well, sort of warn you that you’re on the album… As The Dealer…” Wait? What... ‘Click’ Be warned. Jimi Glass is the bass man. Jimi is the quiet one. And bring a helmet!

     

     


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    Stoner HiVe’s Top 10 Most Listened Artists Last Week…

     

     

    Stoner HiVe’s 
    Top 10 Most Listened Artists Last Week…


    Duel
    Dätcha Mandala
    Bottenhavet
    Whores.
    Djinn
    Nine Moons
    Stonerhead
    Tet
    Bongripper
    Freeways

    It’s Monday again! The Monday after Sonic Whip, still flying high from that festival. Man, what a ride! From the top of my head, amazing shows by Kadavar, Monolord, Minami Deutsch, Stoned Jesus, Delving, Kanaan, Domkraft, COFFIN, Full Earth, Dhidalah, Mojo & The Kitchen Brothers, Kintsugi Empire and many more! And now we’re preparing for an interview on Wednesday… And the Masters Of Reality concert on Thursday. Followed by Ruff Majik and Monkey3 on Sunday. And then a week or two later Freak Valley happens again. It might just be the best month of May ever! But due to all that and what came before we did not have that much time last week to HiVe. But stil, we did write about the Numbers 40 to 26 on the April Doom Charts, in what we like to call a Stoner Hype post. We also jotted down a few words about Nine Moons and Dätcha Mandala. Not sure what we can do this week. But I know for sure we’re doing another awesome Full Album Premiere again! More on that soon! Enjoy yer week and listen to the good stuff!



    Dätcha Mandala – Koda

     

     

    Dätcha Mandala – Koda
    Discos Macarras Records – 2024
    Rock, Hard, Seventies, Blues, Classic, Stoner, Pop
    Rated: ****

    There’s something so bittersweet and wonderful about the slow and steady progress, development and evolution a band can go through. There are listeners that come in at a later state and go back to discover how it all started. There are the ones that started at the very beginning and go with them through every stage. And of course, everyone is entitled to feel whatever they feel about those changes. A few that have difficulty accepting change. Those last music loving crazies will have trouble keeping up with the grandiose Bordeaux, France three called Dätcha Mandala. For on Koda they’ve taken yet another giant leap in progression of their art. Production wise, composition wise and perhaps even more so when it comes to delivering such ear pleasing rock that it’s difficult to come to grips with the fact that this band will not be exploding out of the Heavy Underground. Why not you ask, when it is so catchy? Well, they’ve chosen to do that hardrock thing, that classic rock thing, that blues infused, seventies inspired rocking. And even though you and I will agree that it’s the most honest, pure and lovely form of delivering the riffs and the rock, it is not the kind that will easily go big. Even though Wild Fire could easily have been a big hit by The Black Keys. Om Namah Shivaya, with its swagger, a muddy Black Crowes rocker. Or when you listen to opener She Said and are remembered of so many bands and sounds that it constantly throws you a curveball, earworm and all and you just cannot stop yourself from listening to it. Title track Koda follows, almost going the way of Muse, the track feels even bigger in the sense of gestures and the manner in which it can seize you whole. Prog touched, and with such incredible instrumentation, its another early highlight. But the highlights keep on coming, cause the Koda album keeps on giving. They shapeshift, change color, but keep the overreaching Dätcha Mandala vibe going. Just listen to The Wanderer, which goes big in the way of pop sensibility, turning an eighties turn in the beginning, yet has gravitas and heaviness thanks to the guitar tone, the riffage and the lumbering giant end. Majestically written and composed. We can even forgive them for the bit too cheesy Love Myself, even though the message is admirable, the music feels so light in weight and color when it starts out, that you while listening, you might accidentally take flight. But of course, this kind of sun dappled songs will do exceptionally well during those midday sets on a summer festival, and I would not mind at all hearing it on any or all of them. And on some level they might have found it a bit too sugary as well perhaps? Cause they immediately go more punk, with even a starting belch and a riveting, energetic punch and kick during the following Thousand Pieces. It’s Not Only Rock And Roll, has a weird flow during the refrains, brings you minor Eastern motifs and an absolute brilliant ending, building and delivering and sending you off towards a genuine ballad called Julietta. But Julietta has heart and a raw electricity to it. It’s not a ballad to be taking lightly. End track Homeland brings you full circle, home indeed. And on some level to the Dätcha Mandala you might or might not know. For on many levels it does remind more of the earlier Dätcha Mandala sound, yet it also goes back to the earlier tracks on the album and yet, paradoxically enough also might sound like what the band might turn into on a future album. Heavy footfalls, aired out by guitar licks that take flight and double vocals, both growling and emotive as they have been throughout the album. With Homeland they give us a song to feel completely comfortable with, and a future to look out for. And with Koda as a whole, they have once again drawn us a house to live in and given us enough colors to do endless dances with…


    (Written by JK)




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