Tuesday, May 15, 2012

R.A.I.G. - The Re-Stoned, Without God, El Hijo de la Aurora, Vespero

It seems I should try to get through my pile of things to review at a more speedy pace and in an orderly fashion. Instead I tend to put everything on top of one another like a rubbish bin in a work lunch room. Everyone just keeps gently placing rubbish on top turning it into a giant Christmas tree of filth until one bit falls and then that person has to empty it. Unlike that situation I don't empty my reviews pile, I just seem to grab the one that falls on the floor which tends to always be the latest. I made the grown up decision to pick everything up, re-sort it and put it all back nicely organised. Aren't you proud of me! You couldn't give a shit, I see... and well fair enough I guess!

Which brings me to why I didn't review these CD's earlier? I remember getting the parcel and cranking them for a while and then they managed to somehow secure themselves at the bottom of said pile waiting to get out in the world reviewed and be set free. I have now revisited these tunes and I'm rather stoked to be listening to them again....

"R.A.I.G. or 'Russian Association of Independent Genres' is an independent international record label based in Moscow since 2002. It is created by musicians and for musicians, operates on behalf of the member-artists and has complete control over the releases."

R.A.I.G.'s aim is to release music that otherwise usually wouldn't get a chance and believe in creating a complete experience including amazing artwork. They put the profits back into the label and by doing this increase the number of bands released.

This is an awesome association and they have some great bands on their roster. They not so recently sent me three CD's to review:

The Re-Stoned - Revealed Gravitation
(Moscow, Russia - 2010)

I have to say I’ve been lucky enough to be listening to some kick arse music of late. As soon as I put this CD on this was up there as one of them.

I can just see Ozzy and Iommi out in the alleyway next to the club, smoking a few jays before The Re-Stoned hit the stage. Blown out and cruisily headbanging down the front from the first strum.

Just straight up 70’s riffage and psychedelic rock. Plug it in, turn it up and get fully blown out!

The Re-Stoned are an instrumental three-piece, except for the odd Russian spoken samples and band growls… it’s tripped out, riffed up rock at it’s best. There’s probably room for another guitar, but I really dig that there isn’t. Like some of their 70’s counterparts, there’s space amongst the sound. Just enough distortion to kick arse but not too much to drown anything out. You can hear every snare hit, symbol crash and bass line. They get such an awesome groove going, meandering through hard rock, stoner, doom and psychedelic genres to bring you Revealed Gravitation.

It’s not a new style or anything that different to what you may have heard before but it's so well put together that you just can’t wait to hear what’s coming up next. Head swaying groove going from beginning to end. Such a smooth sound and awesome vibe!

Without God - Lambs To The Slaughter
(Moscow, Russia - 2011)

As you would imagine from the bands name and title of the CD this is from the heavier side of town. Sludged out stoner, the album opens with a laid back track The Rot. 7 mins and 58 seconds of thick and crusty groove. I really dig the level of fuzz and the string taps on the pickups in this song, it gives a unique feel to the riff.

When you listen to this, actually also to other bands from R.A.I.G.'s catalogue, it blows you away how awesome they all are and until semi recently for me, completely unheard of. This album is still available through the site for only $11! Insane!

Like The Re-Stoned, you can hear elements of Sabbath, which is evident in most heavy bands anyway though I also hear others that probably wouldn't stand out to most usually, like KISS and Monster Magnet. It may be that I am deliriously tired and sick right now, but I can hear it in the song writing style.

This band features an great set of muso's all holding their own. During Space Weed the drumming really grabbed my attention, especially when hitting the bell of the cymbal and such an awesome solo.

They wander with ease through the sludgier and stoner sounds as well as jumping head first into the chaos of some 80's inspired thrash and speed metal grooves. I can't pick a stand out track but Homeless has all these elements and more. A great example of kick arse song writing and the importance, for me anyway, of a killer groove in heavier songs.

 I think if I continue on I will tell you how awesome every track is... Crossroads / Eat The Shit has the most amazing and haunting build into the song... seriously, just fuckin buy it!

El Hijo de la Aurora - Wicca
(Lima, Peru - 2011)

"And now if you dare, look into the hypnotic eyes!"

Such a perfect intro to what is El Hijo de la Aurora. The first track starts out trippy but it's actually quite a spacious and heavy rockin number. They've hit the nail on the head with their description on Facebook... "Experimental / 70's Doom". I have no idea what's being sung and it could be something horrendous that my neighbour did to a goat but it is actually pretty cool to only have the music to focus on. The lack of English allows the vocal to become another instrument.

There seems to be a dark element in all these releases. Wicca really seems to draw upon this, clearly with it's name, but also the raw and emotional style of playing and Spanish vocal delivery summons up something tribal from the depths of one's self. You can't help but feel you are aiding in someone's spiritual awakening at an alter made of Marshall stacks and covered in blood. Some people may not dig this description and even though I don't bow down to Satan and sacrifice goats, if you don't like it then you're on the wrong blog anyway... this I think is my favourite release of the three.

El Hijo de la Aurora really do take you on an emotional and visual ride. I'd love to see them live! I imagine not really being able to see through the smoke machine's fog rolling across the moors and back lit silhouettes throwing devil horns with each power chord.... and that's what any sort of metal is all about!!!

I would also strongly suggest that you check out Russian outfit Vespero. Their latest release is beyond fuckin amazing! Released in April, the sound and the effort that they've put into the packaging is incredible!

Taken from the R.A.I.G. site:
"The 4th VESPERO's official album, "Subkraut: U-Boats Willkommen Hier" is a conceptual framework for six instrumental kraut-rock songs which are inspired by Russian Futurism of the early 20th century, German musical underground of the 70's, modern American fiction writers, as well as mysteries of the Great Ocean still not completely explained by mankind."

This release is limited to 500 units with only 50 of them being released as pictured to the left. An amazingly handcrafted "Seebar" edition that "In addition to the disc and navigation map of a basic edition, it contains a full color oversized booklet and postcards, special set of vintage photographs, hand-crafted replicas of U-Boat pennant, crew member dog-tag and cuff-title."

All the above releases are available through R.A.I.G.
Take some time and check out all the bands in the catalogue.

R.A.I.G.: Site // Facebook
The Re-Stoned: Site // Facebook
Without God: Site // Facebook
El Hijo de la Aurora: Site // Facebook
Vespero: Site // Facebook

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