Tag Archives: hard rock

Record review: Bison Machine – Hoarfrost (2015, LP)

bison machine

Hamtramck, Michigan (population 22,000) might be just a tad off the beaten rock ‘n’ roll track, but stoner/heavy rock quartet Bison Machine don’t seem the types to let that bother them. Mitch Ryder (of the Detroit Wheels fame) is perhaps the most-well known musician to come from the area, but with their full-length debut Hoarfrost, Bison Machine are marking their territory in no uncertain fashion.

Fans of Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and early Queens of the Stone Age will find lots to like here; the riffs are bruising, the vocals big and the rhythm section relentless. Opener ‘Cosmic Ark’ wastes no time getting among the Iommi-esque riffs in crushing hard-rock fashion, as singer Tom Stec flaunts an impressive range as he attacks the mic. On ‘Old Moon’, the band take more of a psych approach, before punctuating the haze with riffs that could have been lifted from Zeppelin IV, while the space-y ‘Gamekeeper’s Thumb’ wanders and drones. Elsewhere, ‘Speed of Darkness’ continues the brutal riffage and closer ‘Giant’s Coffin’ finishes the album just as it began.

Bison Machine wear their influences on their sleeves, but it’s their ability to keep things varied and introduce a range of elements from the best parts of classic rock that makes them an exciting band. Besides that, these songs sound like they would shake the walls and raise the roof in a live setting.

The recent loss of talented founding guitarist John deVries, who has qualified to work as an orthopaedic surgeon, might throw a spanner in the works of the band’s future, but for now, set the dial to 1972 and crank up the volume on Hoarfrost. Bison Machine mean business.

For Heavy

Mark Hosking of Karnivool: “It was a nice cap on what has been a very busy year”

karnivool

THEIR LATEST ALBUM might have won them an ARIA, but don’t expect Karnivool to go changing to try to please us, says guitarist Mark Hosking.

“I certainly didn’t expect it to happen with this band, you know?” he says. “We were nominated for a couple, I think, and hard rock is such a weird area. We don’t even really define ourselves as hard rock, and it’s hard to say what we even are. The new album is quite challenging, but we don’t make apologies for that as it’s part of what we do. I think all awards need to be taken with a little bit of humble pie, but it’s a nice accomplishment. You never know how these things are going to go, so it was a nice cap on what has been a very busy year.”

More than four years in the making, the Perth quintet’s third full-length record sees the band once again pushing the boundaries of rock music.

Asymmetry is a continuation of the journey that this band is on,” Hosking says. “We’ve always said we’re never going to do the same album twice. With this one we really had a chance to try a few things we’ve never tried before. The process of taking a long time to write music, turning every stone over and making sure we always find something we can use to our advantage is just the next phase of how we’re trying to be creative with this band. If we had our way we’d do an album every year, but we just know that’s not physically possible with the kind of stuff we’re doing. We do need time to breathe, and to be honest there are a couple of songs on the album that have come together in weeks, and others that have taken six to seven months. We’re happy because if we wanted to change it we could, but we seem to keep falling back to this period of time which tends to be around three to four years, when it feels like it’s cooked, if you know what I mean.”

Australian fans won’t have to wait long to see the band, with a national tour locked in for January.

“We definitely back our live show,” he says. “It’s something we feel is strong and we love to do it. There’s always trepidation about how new songs will be received; some people are going to like them and some people aren’t. On the live front, some people hear the more challenging songs and it clicks, or they get it more when they hear it live. We know that live, we have a better chance of getting our music across to people and they can better understand what you’re trying to do.”

Despite the ARIA win and plenty of recognition at home and abroad, Hosking is clear that the band won’t be resting on it’s laurels.

“We’ve just had a discussion about what’s happening in 2014,” he says. “It’s all a bit of a balancing act as we all have other things going on in our lives now and we’re no spring chickens any more. In saying that, we’ve made a big commitment to tour, tour, tour this album hard. We’ll be doing at least another run around Australia. There are some festivals overseas, more European action, and hopefully we’ll be getting to the States, as we’ve promised so many people we will. Around that, we’ll be trying to get these new ideas out of our heads and starting to form the next album.”

KARNIVOOL PLAY THE SHOWGROUNDS MARQUEE JAN 11.

Record review: Sexy/Heavy – Battlesushi (2013 LP)

Man, there’s some seriously good hard rock coming out of Melbourne at the moment. The likes of Clowns and The Bennies have been leading the charge of a new wave of high-octane riff-bashing guitar bands, and now Sexy/Heavy are bringing something altogether more sludgy to the table. Dirty, low down riffs and ominously brooding lyrics are the name of the game on this nine-track debut album, with singer-guitarist Logan Jeff’s industrial riffs being underpinned throughout by the crunching bass-lines of Ross Walker. The always-excellent Shihad sticksman and producer Tom Larkin laid down the drum tracks for the album, and the sound undoubtedly benefits from his hard-hitting method of attacking the skins. From the opening guitar lines of first track ‘The Task at Hand’ it’s clear that subtlety doesn’t feature much in Sexy/Heavy’s music; instead, these are all-out, sweaty and downright nasty tunes to jump around to. The title track is the highlight; its suspenseful, slow-burning opening explodes into life half way through, while the interestingly named ‘Testibreasticles’ is much more dark and ominous. There’s an unmistakable whiff of ’80s metal throughout, as well as the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails, and fans of those bands will find lots to like here. If we discreetly ignore the fact their roots are in New Zealand and not actually Melbourne, we can enjoy a fine new addition to Australian rock and metal music that begs to be played LOUD. (Independent)