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I Am Pariah – ‘Procreate//Annihilate’   Leave a comment

Self released on November 30th, ‘Procreate//Annihilate’ is the new EP from Stoke-on-Trent trio I Am Pariah. Intended as a balm for today’s life and all its ills, a meditation on society’s position and how it can improve, ‘P//A’ combines the heavy atmospherics of metal, with the nuances of rock and the perspective of punk, delivering the result with sharp edged drive.

Self produced, it consists of 4 tracks, narrating the harsh realities of many individuals in current society and the ways in which both nature and nurture contribute to the destructive ends to which people are driven.

A Place To Belong – Gradual, focused, contemplative intro, soon building up, into an explosion of sound, with a strong lyrical message. There’s a powerful melodic drive to this, stemming from clear emotion provoking events. It’s a big sound, conveying palpable anger, through tints of rocky metallic colour. Memorable lyrics and a form which’ll fit many genres, from alt rock to melodic metal.

Big Shot – Booming, compelling intro. Rising up, into a deathy tinge, with plenty of melody. Hope resonates through it, while the vocals swing between blackened and rockily melodic. It’s just a very powerful song, likely to appeal to many. Ending as it began, leaving that same empowering feel.

Cult Society – Razzmatazz opens, fizzling with energy and intent. More of a pop rock track, with a heavy basis. Very colourful blast of encouraging sounds crackling through it. Definitely uplifting, if nothing else, packed with soaring atmosphere. Brief, but effective.

Heavy In Japan – Banging intro, heavier in weight and production. Solid sound, well equalised and highly enthused performance. Consistently synchronised, retaining the power throughout. Just a really rocked up track, with a punchy delivery, from start to finish.

Overall – So ‘Procreate//Annihilate’ may not have done much for me or tapped into anything significant, on a personal level, but it’s undeniably pertinent in its message(s) and prominent in its sound. Fizzing with life, it’s a well produced, powerful piece of work, confidently delivered, capably balanced and versatile enough for mass appeal and categorisation within many diverse genres (of rock).

7/10 *******

For fans of Death Blooms, INXS.

Official Stream – ‘Heavy In Japan’ –



Posted October 17, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Daniel Trigger – ‘Right Turn’   Leave a comment

Introducing Daniel Trigger’s current album, ‘Right Turn’. All proceeds from the sales of which are being donated to the mental health charity MIND.

Penitence – Huge soaring intro! Straight into it, in Dan’s inimitable way. Massively powered vocals and accompaniments to match. Thoroughly infused with that catchy, accessible style that all fans of Dan’s work will recognise and shot through with 100% sincere plausibility. Drumming as wonderfully upbeat as it is heavy and always, that vocal signature shining through, adding to the mood lifting atmosphere. Flawless, impeccable delivery and the sound values are equally faultless. Just a great big radiant sound, guaranteed to pep you up.

Rock N  Roll Party – Gorgeously smooth strummed intro, drums rapidly following, with true party rock vocals. Lyrics any rock fan’ll identify with, adeptly performed, with sheer rabid enthusiasm. One to lose yourself in completely, a fact reinforced by the closing applause. That’s gonna be a firm fan favourite.

Drive – Well perfected intro riff, joined by softer vocals and a gentler, but no less effective melody. A very emotional one, this. Very moving lyrics, carrying echoes of The Quireboys’ ‘Pretty Girls’ and even, a rockier ‘Runaway Train’ reverberates through it. Just throwing out so much power, in every note. Impossibly impressive, in its sheer life force and energy alone, even without all the rest. Classic rock incarnate.

Running Into The Wind – Massive drum hits introing, flowing right into precisely timed vocals. Just so plausibly and eagerly performed, with nothing less than 100% drive. Hugely rhythmic and melodically fulsome, chunky sounds and upbeat vibes, all the way. Nothing to hate and everything to love.

Hold Back The Night – Very full drum sound intro’s here  and a gorgeously deep vocal follows. Lyrically cathartic, in a very nostalgic sense. There’s such a pure feeling about this and it’s just so real and believable, at the most primal level. A sense ably assisted by the ingrained beauty of the guitar parts. Some tracks just ring with absolute truth and sincerity and this is one of them.

Heavy Heart – Vocal solo intro, quickly joined by strong riffs, with a slightly electrified sound built-in. The palpable daggers to the heart shoot right out of this track, as does the release and relief following them. If there’s one thing Dan’s a master of, it’s conveying powerful emotions, through his music and that reflects so strongly, through this track.

Alive – Beautifully strummed chords open. Another emotional one, with healing rays of hope shining out of it. Some artists are known for healing with their voices and Dan has that ability, for certain. Again, there’s a real catchiness about it and it’s very much an intuitive track. Genuine feeling resonates throughout, saturating every moment and it’s just a great sound. Something of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ seems to sing through this aswell and it’s bound to touch many.

There In Your Heart – Loving that intro melody! An enormously hopeful song, right from the off. Prime rock ballad territory right here. This is a real wowser. Just so deeply entrenched with the very heart within the title. Slick, smooth, perfected delivery and truly, the love just screams from it.

Days Gone By – Ooh, brilliantly performed intro riff, bringing that deliciously hardened edge. Liking the lyrics, too). This just taps into something innately recognisable and brings it out of the shadows and into the light. In fact, it is a massively light filled track and that’s what resonates and impresses most. A highly therapeutic number, full of catch, which’ll no doubt hook you in, from the start.

Wheels In Motion – Yummy heavy intro, echoing The Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’. Ace pace and rhythm and a well chosen closer. Also something Bon Jovi-esque in the sound of Dan’s vocals, holding that same level of enthusiasm. Vibrant and life affirming throughout and ending on a mood enhancing shout. A really sunny track, through which, you can almost see the sun itself.

Overall – ‘Right Turn’ is something really special. As with all Dan’s previous work, his total professionalism, dedication and commitment to his art shines through it, like a beacon and it is, as always, flawless in its delivery and immaculate in sound production. With ‘RT’, though, he’s really hit the nail on the head, in the sense of the complete integration of pure and absolute plausible emotion. That’s what stands out most of all. ‘RT’ is not only consistently catchy and chock full of rocky hooks, but the wholeness of human experience pulses through it, bringing healing vibes with it. ‘RT’, for an instant hitter.

10/10 **********

For fans of Journey, Bon Jovi, Devilfire, The Quireboys, Heaven’s Basement, Shinedown, Alter Bridge.

Audio mixing and mastering by
Artwork by Andy Pilkington at Very Metal Art

All tracks written, edited, mixed and produced by Daniel Trigger.

All proceeds from album sales will be donated to the mental health charity MIND at

Posted October 13, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Smoking Martha – ‘In Deep’   Leave a comment

Brisbane/Gold Coast based band Smoking Martha release their debut album, ‘In Deep’, through Bad Reputation Records, on November 9th, 2018. The alt rockers are confirmed to perform a succession of UK gigs, including Hard Rock Hell Festival, in collaboration with Wrecking Crew Tour Agency.

‘In Deep’ is currently making a big splash amongst the UK rock media, for its variety and versatility. Produced and recorded, by Matthew Bartlem (Matt Corby, Dead Letter Circus), at Loose Stone Studios, ‘ID’ (boasting 5 bonus tracks), has so far been toured alongside bands such as Wolfmother, Thunder, Seether, Hardcore Superstar, Fuel, Everclear, P.O.D., Cherie Currie (The Runaways), etc. Smoking Martha go from strength to strength, in Australia and beyond.

So Lonely – Tight, plucky riff intro, onto a typically alt atmosphere, evoking visuals of homely busy streets, thronging with people, with intermingling lives. It’s a little bit flat and samey, tone-wise, but the rhythm’s good and there’s a sense of anticipation and promise in the sound.

Say You’re Mine – Great vibrant opening! Much more uplifting and still as plucky. He really makes the most of those riffs and the drums are fittingly laid-back, suiting the atmosphere. Intensifying slightly, towards the end, it’s still a bit repetitive, but there’s an audible life about it, which somehow inspires hope.

To The Stars – Similar riff sound intro’s again, with that same busy atmosphere of crowded streets and mixed aspirations. There’s a gradual vocal fade in and a bluesy sound to the vocals, a decent sound in itself, but the vocals are held back way too much and the accompaniments are dominating. It needs some levelling, to make the most of that obvious vocal potential.

Ebb Of The Tide – Slightly changing the mood now, to a more fluid, movable scene. Still, the vocals aren’t present or audible enough. There’s a clear skill to the motion between tones and moods and the blues angle really comes out here, particularly through the riffs, but those vocals are almost hidden.

One Night – Good drum intro, relaxed and easy, sliding in with the riffs, showing promise, in themselves, with that effortless technique they sport. Vocals still disguised, though, as if performing from behind a screen. That’s frustrating, when more volume would add so much more.

Baby Let Me Go – Downbeat thread opening here. The melody’s actually quite beautiful and emotionally performed, in itself, though if only those vocals would come out of the shadows, the picture could be completed. There’s an unmistakable poignancy in the vocals, well capable of moving a crowd, but not enough is being made/heard of them, wasting the track’s potential.

Follow – A denser, heavier riff intro now, creating a much more upbeat mood. It’s a nice comfortable sound, with a hardened blues edge. Smoothness flows through it, well timed, suitably paced and it’s very aurally picturesque. Great job with those instrumentals. They really gnaw at you, in a very welcome sense. Vocals slightly more audible here and of what can be heard, the No Doubt echoes are clear, showing the true potential of that voice.

Find A Way – Opening in a much more explosive, excoriating way, the blues element takes centre stage and it’s a very welcome sound. Once more, that tightly plucky riff sound enters, combining with the harder, heavier impressions and all conveyed so smoothly, with a tasty bit of bottleneck in there. Just a shame there are barely any audible vocals to join it.

What’s Her Name? – Quick paced drum intro, with high vibe riffs in rapid succession. Keeping up a great momentum, with those delicious slide riffs, all the way through to the end and closing on a precisely timed drum hit. Instrumentally, it’s a hit. The vocals are, as ever, inexplicably elusive, though. Hard to review their quality, when they hide, in that manner.

Stranger Things – Precision drum hit and strong riffage intro’s. Employing the loud/quiet/loud tactic and working it well. The chase effect does it justice too and there’s certainly plenty of atmosphere, depicting the changing feelings, moods and events clearly. Yet again, the vocals seem to have left the building, but the song’s saved by the charged atmospheric accompaniments.

All Lit Up – (Bonus Demo) – Crackling into life, but fizzling out, just as quickly, this one seems to come and go and though it’s well played, there’s a vague quality about it, which struggles to retain attention. A bit bland.

Bad Choices – (Bonus Demo) – A sharper note to this one, echoing the intro to Placebo’s ‘Every You, Every Me’. (A good thing, in my book). Now the vocals strive to come through more, but are still hardly audible. Mic check, perhaps? Only at the last fence does the vocal sound make itself more clearly heard and as before, it’s a great sound, with a lot going for it, but it’s just way too quiet.

Fake Promises – (Bonus Demo) – Another raw riff explosion introing. Here, the vocals are just about audible, sooner, but still sound like they’re in constant fade-out mode. It’s time those mic levels were checked. Instrumentally, it’s a flawless, impressive performance, as smooth as ever and fairly catchy, too. It’d just be good to hear the vocals properly.

Heavy Heart – (Bonus Demo) – Ooh, you can feel the heavy heart immediately, in that intro! Well delivered, with strong emotion and especially powerful, in the riffs, even leaning towards The Cranberries ‘I Still Do’, in parts – no easy essence to capture, so that deserves credit. Gaining in strength, as it goes along, whilst remaining true to the ebb and flow necessary for a track of this nature. This is likely to win the memorability card, for its standout features.

Sweet As Honey – (Bonus Demo) – Taking the beat back up a bit, in an improvisation style easy laid-back number, echoing the strains of early classic blues rockers, such as ‘Tobacco Road’ and Ram Jam’s ‘Black Betty’. A brief finale, with some fine enough guitar licks to serve it well.

Overall – In and of itself, ‘In Deep’ is a good enough album, with a wealth of very decent, listenable instrumentals. It’s just a pity the vocals are consistently so vaguely audible as to create the impression it’s an entirely instrumental production. (No slight against pure instrumentals, many of which are stunning performances). When marketed as a full band/vocal led production, though, the cruciality of vocal clarity can’t be overemphasised. From the brief snatches of vague vocal audibility, it’s obvious there’s a great deal of skill inherent and it’s a very pleasant sound, with stacks of potential. Ultimately, a thorough sound check would have saved this, in a collective context, but given the vocal inaudibility, the final outcome’s based on the accompaniments and overall quality.

7/10 *******

For fans of No Doubt, Southern blues, Placebo, The Cranberries.

Official music video for ‘What’s Her Name?’ –

Posted October 10, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Rival – ‘Prophecy’   Leave a comment

Founded in Chicago, in 1990, Rival is a 4 piece band of metal brothers, with a shared passion for the old school sound. They began producing in 1991, starting with their self titled 5 track debut EP. Though it took 7 years for the EP to be released on CD and despite the lack of label support at that time, the metal underground fans stepped up and provided the support Rival needed to keep going.

Their refusal to conform to alternative trends has served them well and Rival have continued in their original vein. ‘Modern World’, their 1st full-length album, was the outcome. Given the catalogue of difficulties and delays with its release, however, (‘MW’ wasn’t launched till winter 2000), Rival had by then, become understandably jaded and despondently prepared to split, in the event that it failed to be the hit they were aiming for.

As it happens, ‘MW’ got lucky and hit the big time, after a metal magazine reviewer in Germany heard it and set things in motion. Soon, the word was out and ‘Death Stalker’, a track from MW, was chosen to appear on the best of the unsigned bands compilation album, from Rock Hard and Heavy and Oder Was I magazines. Rival were then invited to play ‘Headbangers Open Air’ and ‘Bang Your Head’ fests, during summer 2002.

These successes led to Rival signing their first record deal with Metal Blade. In 2003, they hit the studio and produced the 9 track metal attack that was ‘State Of Mind’.

Rival now present ‘Prophecy’, their new 8 track album release.

Retaliation – Instant heavy hitter right there! Classic melodic speed metal sound, with an easily listenable vocal. This has got it all and it manages to combine various influences, in the nods to Maiden, Motorhead, Metallica and even, a vague, if unintentional echo of ‘Presence’ era Plant. All whilst throwing their own spin on it. If ever there was a form of easy listening speed/power metal, this is it.

Vigilante – Awesome, electrified riff  intro there and it hits the spot immediately. You can definitely hear the raw gritty passion in here. It’s catchy, uplifting and chock full of great melodic riffs. Right up the street of all fellow power/speed metal fans and it comes complete with a high octane, energy fuelled closing drum roll. Very pleasing).

Black Widow – Fading in steadily, with a heavy riff, heading for prime metalgasm land. Strong reminders of Maiden’s ‘Two Minutes To Midnight’ shine through it. Even a nice little continental flavour to the vocal section, in places. Good strong drumbeats keep the flow steady and the power high. This is a well performed track, keeping a mid-paced rhythm throughout and moving confidently, towards the end, with a sense that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. It’s a track title well used by many and Rival have stamped their names firmly on this version.

Prophecy – Sliding into a pensive mood now, before metalling it back up again, then the sparks fly. One thing Rival do well is control the speed, movement and flow of the accompaniments. That shows through consistently. Great metal sound in here, seeming to move through so many moods, capturing them all, infinitely well, in that technique, that seems to barrel its way through joy, poignancy, ambition and determination, all at once. ‘Prophecy”s definitely one for the classic rock nuts amongst us and it’s memorable as hell, with it’s catchy chorus and upbeat tones. Standout material there, for sure.

Paralyzed – Oh yeah, fabulous barrelling fast intro there! Getting straight in there and wasting no time. That easy way he has with the vocals just make it. Loving those energetic riffs. So damn catchy. Now we’re well on the way to full-blown metal orgasm territory. Forget it all and just glide along with it. This is how to create that elusive, inexplicable, but unmistakable sound and feeling. When the words escape you, the track’s not only done its job, but nailed it.

Blind Fury – It gets even better! Full on Dickinson-esque thing going on here. A blaze fest of metal, employing snatches of vibrato and racing on, in red-hot rage, it’s a shorter, but equally powerful blast of metallic mania.

About You – Instant speed opens, bringing the heaviness and the passion with it. I believe those lyrics fully. A strong delivery of emotion and experience, encased in a full metal jacket. Even the cymbal work’s so heavily conveyed, it’s more like a solid triangle sound than the light touch of a cymbal. Really cohesive, nicely timed and filled with heart.

Crash And Burn – Good, careful, steady cymbal intro, rapidly succeeded by well electrified riffs and then a throaty vocal, laced with intent. It’s a highly memorable track and thus, well chosen (as a) closer. That racetrack chase thing reverberates throughout and it’s a very sexy sound. Great lyrics, brilliantly delivered. Totally synchronised and it just screams joy, from every orifice.

Overall – If ever there was a contender for the School of ‘play that again, I’m not done with it yet and I want to hear it again’, ‘Prophecy’ is it. No better compliment, in my book. It may have been a long time in the making, but ‘Prophecy’ is worth every second of the wait. Speed/power/classic metal freaks will throw the devil horns in the air and salute this, for certain.

9/10 *********

For fans of Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Metallica, Voltax, Celtic Legacy, RAM, Portrait, HOD, In Solitude, Cast Iron, Altheniko, Crowning Glory, Enforcer, Whitesnake.


Posted October 9, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Northern Sun Sessions – The Virginmarys   Leave a comment

Self released on 16th November 2018, the product of 10 months studio work, ‘Northern Sun Sessions’ is the new album from Macclesfield-based 2 piece, The Virginmarys. Following ‘Divides’ (produced and mixed by Gil Norton – Foo Fighters, Pixies) and debut ‘King Of Conflict’, vocalist/guitarist Ally Dickaty claims it’s his favourite work yet.

Known for their original style, The Virginmarys music is very real and true to life, in all its raw reality. For A.D., it’s a very personal vehicle, through which, all his own observations of and frustrations with life are conveyed.

‘NSS’, co-produced by A.D., at Preach Studios, Mark Winterburn, at Edge Studios, Kemble Walters, in LA and Mike Kalajian, Rogue Planet, New York, was recorded from June 2018, the hottest UK summer on record. The band feel this added to the positivity and uniqueness of the album.

Look Out For My Brother – Opening with a very bubblegum rock, early Oasis-esque sound, there’s an instant happy enthusiasm to this, taking you right back to the 90’s era of Northern Street rock. Very catchy, highly infectious and spreading cheerful contagion, with every note. Love it).

SOS4UNI – Shifting gear slightly, with a gentle acoustic intro now, before soon exploding back into that same sound. Brilliantly real, performed with a local accent and no pretence whatsoever. Even becoming gritty, as the effort and feeling becomes vocally audible. It’s just upbeat, nostalgic rock, which can’t fail to cheer.

Eye For An Eye – A deeper drum and riff sound opens, injecting a slight air of uncertainty. Pluckier strings add to the emphasis, but always, that explosion of all-encompassing world blocking music keeps it fresh. Accessible, long enough to devour and well produced, with obvious spark.

For The Two Of Us – Beautifully played chord intro, transporting it right back to that down-to-earth 90’s rock sound. It’s a very full sound, with such catchy vocals, a well-placed background echo and consistently good audio production. It just gets into you.

Blind Lead The Blind – Opening with a more mellow, contemplative vocal now, but it’s not long before the fullness of the explosive accompaniments returns. Bursting back onto the scene, with real sincerity, a massively catchy chorus and perfectly timed riff scales, blending with those increasingly hoarse vocals, there’s a rare breed of passion in here.

Get Me Back Home – Revved up riffs intro, with a distinctive steel string sound, adding some gorgeous slide, as the vocals bring that 90’s flavour of realism again and a bluesy emphasis enters the riffs. That blues tone stays, as the final notes are plucked, with perfect precision. Uplifting and truly sunny.

Northern Sun – Introing with a fairly ‘Civil War’-esque section, moving into a thoughtful vocal, pouring heart and genuine feeling into it, the chorus springs into life, surrounding the atmosphere with warmth and hope. Doing perfect justice to the title track, you can visualise the whole area just blowing up, into a happy snapshot of memories, as you hear this. Getting right into your soul, only the cold of heart and devoid of soul would fail to be moved by this.

Wanna Be Free – A single cymbal hit and some drum hits open, onto a spacious rocky landscape, through which you can breathe. Once again, those Oasis-esque vocals burst a hole in the atmosphere, adding a vague early Beatles sound, as the accompaniments match their enthusiasm perfectly, providing the final blowout.

Flags – Plucky riffs intro and the Brit rock sound of the 90’s enters again. Firing those vocals into the air, with passionate sincerity, in between the more contemplative sections, it rings out with feeling, as it conveys its message, before fading out, thoughtfully.

Step Up – Huge drum roll intro’s, moving instantly, back into the 90’s Brit rock, this time, with strong echoes of The Arctic Monkeys, only with more bite. The riffs do their thing easily, tight and loose in all the right places, with the bass coming in, with precision timing and it ends on a definitive riff and drum hit. Magic.

All Fall Down – A softer acoustic riff opens, with some gently hit cymbals and a gradually building vocal, for this finale. Introing a more melancholic note to the themes, arranging it into a rising aggression, with extraordinarily powerful grit, building, till the end, when the final drum hits and insistent riffs take hold. Solid and hugely effective.

Overall – This has truly blown me away. ‘Northern Sun Sessions ‘ is a force to be reckoned with and its power is utterly mind blowing. The grit and determination in the vocals alone is just tremendous, but for a 2 piece, The Virginmarys are tremendous and ‘NSS’ reflects that abundantly.

10/10 **********

For fans of Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, The Beatles, Embrace, Pulp, The Stone Roses.

‘NSS’ can be pre-ordered from:

Posted October 7, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Negative Sixxx – ‘The Truth Shall Set You Free’   Leave a comment

Introducing the debut 4 track EP from Bay Area metallers  Negative Sixxx. A mix of metal genres, presented in a sophisticated format.

Chain Reaction – Precise drum roll intro’s. Roary, death style vocals mingle with thrashier lyrics, gentle acoustic sections and melodic riffs, making for an open-minded, genre defying sound, straddling various forms. This may not be up everyone’s street, but it’s simultaneous metallic offshoots are bound to catch the attentions of those more amenable to a broader spectrum of metal.

Minus 6 Feet – What a gorgeous opening! Surprising you, with a sensitive acoustic section, then moving back into a loud, thrashy arrangement, it’s a good demonstration of changing, conflicting moods. There’s a great, upbeat riff melody, sprinting up and down the fret board, as death vocals shout an effective outro.

Truth – Heavy riffs and drum rolls combine, to set the scene for a hard-line, edgy song, with more melody, amongst the growls. The lyrics are still audible, though, however deathy the vocals and what comes across most is the easily delivered skilled workmanship within.

Slay The Village – A battery of riffs opens, followed hot on its heels, by intensely conveyed drum hits. The passion’s clear, as the vocals become more blackened, but still, the lyrics are heard, as the thrash emphasis returns. This is a carefully crafted combination of styles, comprising thrash, melody, death and melo-death, incorporating hints of the opposite extremes, in the acoustic and black metal sections.

Overall – The main thing apparent throughout ‘TTSSYF’ is the natural flow of the sound, as performed by seasoned professionals. It’s this which gives life to the genre hopping outcome, creating a successful collaboration between milder and more aggressive formats. If listened to from an interpretive perspective, most will find something to suit their tastes. As a debut, it bodes well for the follow-up.

8/10 ********

For fans of heavy thrash, melo-death, black and death metal.


Posted October 5, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Dark Ocean Society – ‘Hymns For The Last Man’   1 comment

Solo project Dark Ocean Society, brainchild of Chris Tedor, is a prog metal band, with doom, sludge and post metal influences. This, the 4th album so far, entitled ‘Hymns For The Last Man’, is released on October 19th. Available for free, or a donation of your choice. ‘HFTLM’ was independently produced by Chris, at his home. Chris also performs bass, with Chicago doom metal band Hypnochron. They’ve played gigs with Pale Horseman, Faces Of The Bog, Snow Burial, etc.

Following up the 3rd Dark Ocean Society album, ‘HFTLM’ continues and further enhances material from album 3, intended as a contemplative focus on current society. In contrast to the individual concepts of album 3, ‘HFTLM’ aims to encapsulate society, as a whole. The notion of album 4, (‘HFTLM’), is based around the philosophies of Nietzsche and Aldous Huxley, of materialism and satisfaction with mundanity and shallow existence. Also with the present-day issues of resistance to change/improvement, in the face of significant social challenges. Though not designed with any political agenda in mind, ‘HFTLM’ attempts to present a study of society, through affecting music.

Based in Chicago, Chris Tedor’s musical career began after seeing Tool live, with a friend. (The journey to the gig was an adventure, in itself)! Initially taking bass lessons, from a jazz guitarist called John Zelisko, brother of promoter and radio presenter Danny Zelisko. John’s a formidable guitarist, bassist and drummer. After years of dedicated practice, Chris joined a band named Desert Earth, on vocals and bass. DE separated, after recording 3 tracks. Aaron Koppel was the next tutor to teach Chris. Dark Ocean Society was born at this point. The band’s title was influenced by Yakuza, to whom Chris wanted to pay homage and through his own fondness for the name. His ambition then, was to combine Pink Floyd with metal.

DOS’s debut solo album was entitled ‘Odyssey’. Chris wrote the riffs and Troy from DE contributed significantly to the rest. Chris also performed bass on Troy’s solo album, with Hypnochron, who’ve been playing live ever since. Oceans Of Titan was Chris’s next pursuit, this time, within the stoner genre, on bass and backing vocals. Composed of seasoned professionals, OOT played their debut 40 minute show, following just 3 rehearsals, of entirely original material. It imploded, due to individual commitments and personal difficulties. Not before recording an album, albeit without completed vocals and solo tracking’s, but it’s still deemed a source of pride.

Chris was able to meet his ambitions of mixing Pink Floyd with metal, on his 2nd solo album, ‘Outbound’, a concept, based on space travel. Self produced, the final track, ‘Ghosts Of Lo’ was written and recorded in one weekend. The 3rd DOS album, ‘The Abyss Stares With You’, was launched in 2017. A precursor to album 4, ‘HFTLM’, which presents the form of music Chris was aiming to create, in the beginning.

The Vast Void – Bloody Hell, that’s one hellishly explosive intro! You’d be forgiven for thinking this a death/black metal track, given those growls and cuttingly sharp instrumentals. If there’s one thing it is, it’s affecting. There are sung vocals aswell, set back in a distant formation, amongst the spacey, sci-fi accompaniments. It does incorporate melody, with a maths/tech aspect and there is a depth through which that Pink Floyd influence is audible. A fairly experimental sound, it does become increasingly proggy as it goes on. An urgency in his vocals floods the atmosphere, as it fades out on an ominous singular tone, of disconnection. Too complex to form an opinion, till more’s been heard.

The Last Man – Opening on a blade like rotor sound, a doom mood follows. (See what I did there?) I doubt it’s by accident that doom’s an anagram of mood. Something obliquely Cave-esque becomes apparent, in these vocals. Now the bass gets heavier and fuller, as the riff melody builds. Again, this is clearly the more doom led track, playing around with a narrative vocal. There’s darkness and light within this track, presenting the darker side through the bass and the lighter elements through the riffs. Some pleasant notes hitting the point of mood lift and tapping into it, to soar, as the leadened bass weighs it down. Almost ritualistic, in its hypnotic rhythms and sustain, those aspects may go down well with pagans and witchcraft practitioners. An abrupt, yet echoic end.

Interlusion – Tighter, synth and keyboard intro, with a mysterious essence. Moving into trance/techno arenas, a new aspect reveals itself. Some piercingly sharp pitches in there and possibly, a glockenspiel somewhere. It’s quite visually evocative, of clanging windchimes and winter landscapes. A lot briefer, but the polar opposite of the previous 2 tracks.

Space Cowboys – Heavy, crash of a stoner-ish intro and already, I like where it’s going. Even if those vocals don’t work for me. Relying on an echoic format, they are a bit flat and perhaps, the focus would do better, kept to the accompaniments. On their own, they do cut a good track, representing a real foray into stoner doom territory. Even fairly catchy, in places, the instrumentals are strong. Sludgy emphasis paints a sepia picture, as those vocal exhortations do their own thing, in an almost Lennon-esque way, on ‘I Am The Walrus’. Again, for such a laboured track, it ends quite abruptly, but the doom vibe’s definitely present.

Worship The Sun – Powerful drum blast opens. This is definitely more tuneful and melodic, from the off, with lots of good riffage. The vocals do seem to favour that distant, echoic quality. The synth creeps in again, around 3/4 in and it slides towards a sludgy end.

Spirit Traveler – Introing with a keyboard heavy phase, bringing in some light emphasis cymbal work. Synth reappearing, then it crashes down, in a floor hitting heaviness. Here, the vocals actually sound more confident. Well placed riffage adding the melody, it’s a much lighter track. The mood rises, palpably. Riffs composing most of the track, the rhythm’s faster and seems to flow easier. Again, it’s heavy bass work, continuing that physical emphasis of doom, sludge, stoner, psych combo. Yet still, the whole feel and sound of this closing track’s so much lighter. Ending with a shrill piccolo tone, it fades out, into the distance.

Overall – As an experimental album, it works quite well, with a good variety of inclusions, in instrumental, style and form terms. The vocals may not have won me over on this one, but for a self production, it’s a pretty decent outcome. It does need a bit more work on the audio values, but on the whole, ‘HFTLM’ is a successfully inventive album, with enough genre spins and varied forms to please many.

7/10 *******

For fans of psych, prog, trance, doom, sludge, stoner, dark, tech, maths, space, sci-fi, black, death metal and melo-death.

‘Hymns For The Last Man’ is available for free, or by self chosen donation, by download, via:, using codes: uewx-bevw and l6hj-xugs

Artwork by Chris’s sister Megan.

Posted September 28, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized