Blue Heron set to release debut album, Ephemeral

Ephemeral will be released on May 27th

Blue Heron is a four-piece desert rock band from Albuquerque, NM. Their debut album, Ephemeral, will be released in late May. The group deals out a psychedelic mix of grungy heavy metal, with strong desert rock vibes and rhythms.

Ephemeral, featuring beautiful artwork by Mirko Gastow, is set for a May 27th release. The eight track album clocks in at a very listenable 47 minutes. It’s heavy from start to finish, with the exception of a few quiet interlude tracks that give short breathers between headbanging and breakdowns.

1. Futurola 5:22
2. Sayonara 13:20
3. Push the Sky 4:39
4. Infiniton Field 2:20
5. The Buck 6:19
6. Black Blood of the Earth 7:14
7. Where One Went Together 2:02
8. Salvage 5:53

Futurola music video by Dedisuseno

There’s plenty of driving, desert rock guitar, like on opener, Futurola, and even some High on Fire flavored riffage, like on Black Blood of the Earth, which also features a heavy, Sabbath-worship ending. Keep your ear out for plenty of spacy guitar solos, especially on the epic, 13 minute track, Sayonara, and even some reflective acoustic work on interlude track, Infiniton Field. Fans of Kal-El and Dozer will aprove.

The bass is impressive, with a full, in your face sound. It creates a solid, rhythmic counterpart for the drums, often taking the lead when the guitars are spacing out. Fans of Kyuss and Clutch will appreciate the complexity and driving rhythm. Check out Sayonara and The Buck for excellent examples of the growly bass tones and competent leads.

The drums are solid and driving throughout, featuring bluesy patterns and plenty of heavy breakdowns. There’s plenty of tasty tom work and cymbal accents, notable on Push the Sky, and a crisp sound shines through on closer, Salvage. Black Blood of the Earth has a definite stoner metal drumming sound, which fans of High on Fire and The Sword will appreciate, and don’t miss the shuffle pattern for the heavy blues ending.

The vocals are unique and diverse. Most of the album features melodic vocals with a throaty, aggressive delivery. Several of the tracks, including Sayonara and Push the Sky, have some edgy hardcore vocals at the end. Fans of John Garcia, Neil Fallon, and Matt Pike won’t be disappointed. Lyrical content ranges from mortality and the fleeting nature of existence to mythic fables about deposed gods and failed civilizations.

The album will be released by Kosmik Artifactz and Seeing Red Records. You can find the band on social media. Pre-order the digital album on Bandcamp for $6 or vinyl for $25, with supplies shipping on May 30th. Check out the merch page for bundle deals on their album and Black Blood of the Earth/A Sunken Place EP from 2021. Also, check out the music videos for Futurola and Push the Sky. Definitely keep an ear out for more from Blue Heron.

The Singularity: New album by Wo Fat

The Singularity was released on May 6, 2022

Wo Fat’s brand of heavy blues is guaranteed to blow your mind with their progressive style and spacy jam sessions. They set themselves apart from typical bands of the genre with their unique blend of groovy Texas stoner rock. Now, the power trio from Dallas is back with The Singularity, their seventh studio album, released through Ripple Music.

The band’s first full length studio album in five years, The Singularity is a worthy follow-up to 2016’s Midnight Cometh. It features gnarly cover art by Eli Quinn and is composed of seven tracks, clocking in at a beefy 75 minutes. Like the structure of most of their past work, the tracks are more like two songs in one. They usually open with a heavy, blues-based stoner rock song, before proceeding to melt faces with dynamic, progressive jams for the last half, with tons of heavy changeups, melodic sci-fi lyrics, fluid drum work, jazzy infusions, stoner rock turnarounds, and soaring guitar solos.

1. Orphans of the Singe 13:54
2. The Snows of Banquo IV 8:25
3. Overworlder 11:54
4. The Unraveling 7:42
5. The Witching Chamber 9:25
6. The Singularity 7:46
7. The Oracle 16:32

Personnel (Left to Right): Zack Busby (Bass), Michael Walter (Drums), Kent Stump (Guitar/Vox)

From start to finish, the album is an absolute head banger. Kent Stump provides muscular guitar riffs and, like Tim Sult of Clutch, knows his way around a wah-pedal. His heavy blues and progressive style at times remind me of Droids Attack, or possibly even early Galactic Cowboys. Stump’s vocals are aggressive and melodic, with occasional harmonies. On bass, Zack Busby keeps things solid with a beefy bass tone that is perfectly locked on to the drum work, while creating an incredibly perceptive compliment to the guitar riffs, and like Geezer Butler, isn’t afraid to explore the fretboard. Michael Walter provides a huge, driving drum sound with a fluid complexity that dances between time signatures and explores every aspect of the riff.

You can find all of Wo Fat’s releases, including splits and live albums, on Bandcamp. Their entire discography is available for digital download for under $54. The Singularity is available on CD and digital download for $10. The album is also available on color-splat or black double vinyl, though copies are sold out as of this writing. Check out their merch page for tons of cool t-shirts as well as copies of back albums.

Sleep Concert Review and News

Sleep live in Denver, April 18, 2022 – Photo credit: The Purlenaut

Last October, Sleep announced a brief, weeklong 2022 tour for April, totaling three shows in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Albuquerque, culminating on 4/20. This evolved into five total shows, with an extra matinee show added in Colorado Springs and a quickly announced appearance at Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe. Along with the tour, Sleep released a live recording from their concert in New York in 2018, as well as a remastered reissue of Dopesmoker on Third Man Records.

Denver setlist – Photo Credit: Tim Bugbee

I made it to their show at the Mission Ballroom in Denver. After openers Superwolves, Sleep took the stage and gave the tightest, most studio-quality performance that I’ve witnessed them perform. There were noticeably less amps on stage than previous shows, which, paired with the robust in-house system, seemed to result in a cleaner mix and more focused sound. The vocals especially were clearer and more distinct; less overshadowed in the mix than previous shows. The mini tour also featured the debut of Al’s 4420 custom double-neck Rickenbacker. The setlist included two classic tracks from their album, Holy Mountain (Holy Mountain, Dragonaut), both Adult Swim Singles (Leagues Beneath, The Clarity), and three tracks from The Sciences (Marijuanaut’s Theme, Sonic Titan, The Botanist).

Among the tables of merch was the limited release of 420 hand etched records from their concert in New York, 2018. It features some sick Escape From New York cover art complete with their signature Sabbath worship. The two green and white discs have a great live concert sound, as well as an amazing mix that really captures the full dynamic range of the band. The low end is especially bright and pronounced.

New York 2018 – Photo Credit: The Purlenaut

In other news, Sleep recently announced a reissue of their legendary Dopesmoker LP with Nashville’s Third Man Records. The album is remastered from the source tapes and features a rare studio recording of the previously unreleased track, Hot Lava Man, as well as studio notes and vintage photo prints of the band members. The album retains original artwork by longtime collaborator and album cover artist, Arik Roper. The album is available through Third Man’s Vault Subscription. The sign up deadline to receive the album is April 30th at midnight.

Tour Dates

Aug 27 This Ain’t No Picnic Festival – Pasadena, CA, US

Ancient Nug: New single by Telekinetic Yeti

Primordial is set for release on July 8, 2022

Telekinetic Yeti is a two-piece stoner rock band from Dubuque, Iowa. Formed in 2015, the band was started by singer and guitarist, Alex Baumann. Abominable, the band’s first album, was released in March 2017. The heavy album is brilliantly arranged and packs a major punch that rewards repeat listens. After that release, the band began touring heavily, sharing stages with giants such as Weedeater, Truckfighters, 1000 Mods, Red Fang, and Clutch.

After a change of drummers and with five years since their first release, the duo will finally release their second album, Primordial, an album they’ve been sitting on since 2020. It’s their first album signed with Tee Pee Records. The new single, Ancient Nug, picks up where Abominable left off. It has chunky guitar riffs, complex drumbeats, melodic, guttural vocals, plenty of changeups, and don’t miss that heavy down-tempo outro.

It was released as a music video, featuring the duo rocking out onstage in an old church. Guitarist Baumann explained, “This song is about searching for meaning and purpose amidst the ubiquitous suffering we endure. It’s also about something long lost being rediscovered, and the resonating ripples of butterfly effects from the ancient past that affect all life today. We really liked filming in this location because it had such a meditative and surreal quality to it. We felt that it fit the themes of the song well.”

The album can be pre-ordered on black or purple vinyl for $25 or on CD for $13. Check out the music video and get hyped for the new album! Also, look for Telekinetic Yeti at a handful of shows in May, including Desertfest NYC.

MAY 12 Westside Bowl – Youngstown, OH

MAY 14 Middle East – Boston, MA

MAY 15 Desertfest NYC – New York, NY

A Frog in the Bog: The heavy split album by Froglord and Bog Wizard

A Frog in the Bog was released on April 1, 2022

A Frog in the Bog is the concept record collaboratively produced by the UK’s Froglord and Michigan’s Bog Wizard. The two stoner doom bands, known for their D&D style narratives, came together from across the Atlantic expanse to document the meeting of the reclusive Bog Wizard and the god-like Frog Lord, resulting in magical and smoky adventures in the depths of the bog.

Bog Wizard starts the album with two tracks, Reptilian Death Squad and Frog Lord, whose doomy riffs and tortured, operatic vocals document the Frog Lord and and his followers’ invasion of the marsh, and of a magical interaction with the Wizard of the Bog, mostly from the Wizard’s perspective.

BOW DOWN TO THE POWER OF THE FROG LORD

Froglord provides the next two tracks, The Bog, and The Wizard. They tell the tale from the perspective of the Frog Lord, attempting to convert Bog Wizard to his cult, and then preparing to do battle. Don’t miss the gnarly blast beats on The Wizard, and keep an ear out for movie sound-bytes, including one from Labyrinth, during the two tracks.

The final track, The Bog Wizard, featuring both bands, tells the epic and surprising tale of the final encounter. Who will win the equally matched battle or will the slimy bog take them both? Listen to the album and experience the full smoky climax to find out what happens.

There’s a lot to like from these two bands and this album. First, the contributions by both bands as well as their song collaborations gives the album a fun mixtape kind of feel, yet with the benefit of having a cohesive narrative, and the retro, 16-bit album art by Benjamin Blåholtz is a great throwback. The digital album can be found on Bandcamp where it is also available on vinyl, CD, and cassette while supplies last. Also check out the merch page for all kinds of cool gear, including album art prints, stickers and patches.

Pike vs The Automaton

Pike vs The Automaton was released on Feb 18,2022

Matt Pike’s first solo album came to us in a time when we needed it the most. In the dead of a winter filled with wars and rumors of wars, pandemic, natural disasters, as well as between releases and tours by primary groups Sleep and High on Fire, the riff-master took matters into his own hands and produced Pike vs The Automaton.

It’s a heavy album that explores retro sounding heavy metal, thrash, punk, and even some twangy blues. Falling somewhere between the riffy thrash of High on Fire and the stoner-doom of Sleep, Pike gave in fully to his musical instincts, riffing his way through an assemblage of songs guaranteed to induce head-banging and disgust with authority.

Recorded in his garage during the pandemic, Pike’s describes his work this way: “I made a psychedelic rock record that Sleep and High on Fire fans would like. And maybe if you’re not a Sleep or High on Fire fan, you might like it too. I definitely think it’s interesting; it has D-Beat punk, two-step. It’s got everything and it still works together, it doesn’t sound odd. It’s just an off-the-wall psychedelic rock record.” 

At the core of the ensemble group is Pike on guitars and vocals, backed by friend and drummer Jon Reid. Featured among many guests on the album are some familiar names. Brent Hinds of Mastodon appears in a surprisingly chill cameo on the twangy “Land.” Pike’s wife provides caustic vocals on the hard-core “Acid Test Zone.” Jeff Matz, bassist of High on Fire, plays the Turkish electric saz on the album’s epic 11 minute closer, “Leaving the Wars of Woe.”

The album clocks in at 63 minutes with 10 tracks, and features beautifully rendered, symbolic cover art. It’s available on vinyl and CD, as well as digital release.

Sludgy riffs and groovy rhythms on debut album by Kraków doom band, Moonstone

Moonstone is stoner doom band hailing from Kraków, Poland. Formed in 2017, the group is made up of guitarist and vocalist Jan Maniewski, bassist Wiktor Kozak, and drummer Kacper Kubień. The trio pumps out rounds upon rounds of fuzzy, downtuned riffs and sparse, chantlike vocals on top of a hypnotic rhythm sections that chugs along like a freight train, plowing away everything in its groovy path.

Their debut self-titled album was released on December 28. The five song, 35 minute album is heavy from start to finish summoning the hypnotic riffing force of bands like Sleep and Belzebong, and infusing it with some bluesy Sabbathian groove. Moonstone keeps their arrangements fairly simple and straighforward, but the crushing weight of their riffs and rhythm, as well as several key change-ups, keeps things fresh even on the longer tracks.

1. The Oncoming 1:33
2. Mushroom King 5:21
3. Pale Void 10:20
4. Ash and Stone 9:05
5. SulphurEye 8:34

The album opens up with The Oncoming, a brief but atmospheric intro that uses some amazing bass tones and some seriously heavy power chords to tease the onslaught of riffage to come. Flowing seemlessly into Mushroom King with a fitting audio sample about viral mushroom spores, the track opens with a swingy riff over a shuffling drum pattern. The band takes the riff to absolute overdrive and adds some brief, eerie vocals at the end, before changing things up with an “Into the Void” like transition that will finish off your ear drums with sufficient power.

Pale Void opens with a slow and heavy riff and some complex drum work. The bass and drums create what is almost like a super-slowed down, reggae-like dub beat. When the vocals kick in, they are chant-like and occasionally employ some simple and tasty harmonies. The song features several heavy buildups, as well as a nice bass lead that transitions the song to a heavy ending.

Ash and Stone opens with another sludgy doom riff. Featuring some awesomely low power chords, the track is a total headbanger. The vocals are eerie and haunting, ringing out clear melodies over the heavy, fuzzy riffs. A cool switchup at the end kicks the song into high gear. On the album closer, Sulphereye, it starts with a muscular guitar tone and one of the darkest sounding riffs on the album. Aided by an equally dark film audio clip and some scary vocals, the track makes for a heavy, sludgy end to a heavy, sludgy album.

The album is available on CD and digital download on Bandcamp. Also check out the group on Facebook. Thank you for reading The Sonic Sofa. Stay tuned for the January podcast and for now, check out one of the past episodes for more great music. Go in peace and rock on, Sofanauts.

1970s style heavy metal on killer debut album by Scarecrow

Scarecrow’s debut album was released on September 13th

A band’s physical location often will influence their sound. One example is how Black Sabbath channeled the energy of the dark and smoky streets of industrial Birmingham, England into some of the slowest and heaviest music of all time. In a similar way, Russian band, Scarecrow, channels the feeling of their home city of Perm. What is this place like? To paraphrase the words of the band, “Perm stands among dank swamps and impenetrable forests, at the foot of the oldest mountains in the world. This is a hopeless place: the region is full of prisons and prison camps. There is a huge number of mentally ill people. The climate is harsh. Winter lasts from October to May and it is a dark, cold time. In the warm months, it rains constantly.” All of these elements and feelings translate to a sense of doom and foreboding latent within the fabric of the band’s compositions.

The trio produces classic-sounding heavy metal, like a cross between Zeppelin and Sabbath, with high flying vocals, crunchy guitar riffs, and a powerful rhythm section. Their debut self-titled album was released on September 13, 2019. The album follows the band’s previous release, an EP called Nosferatu. The bass, drums, guitars, and vocals were all recorded in analog format and digitally mixed by Samuel Turbitt at Ritual Sounds in the UK. The band also added several elements that profoundly affect the feel of the album. Harmonica on several tracks reinforces the bluesy feel of early Sabbath and Zeppelin. Other instruments used include the flute as well as the tamburin, shaker and darbukas which the band obtained from travels to South Africa, adding even more complex textures to their music. There’s also a dark, occult quality to the album, reinforced by the addition of orchestrated sections, which the band was able to add from recordings in the high-quality digital libraries of AIR Studios in London. The intriguing artwork for the album, like the point of view of a scarecrow, was created by Igor Odintsov.

1. Scarecrow Overture 4:38
2. The Journey 5:00
3. The Final Problem 5:21
4. When The Powers Of Evil Are Exalted 3:36
5. Worm of Anger 2:47
6. Autumn Wood 3:06
7. Madman 5:15
8. Scarecrow 6:22

The album has a dark feel, which is strongly influenced by the lyrics. The high-flying vocals come across like a mixture between Geddy Lee and Ozzy Osbourne, summoning feelings of foggy, haunted moors, terrifying scenes of depravity, and maniacs losing grasp of their reality. Occasionally however, the heavy gloom is interrupted by moments of soft repose, like brief rays of sunlight shining through clouds on a stormy day.

The guitars are diverse, laying down bluesy, crunchy riffs, blazing guitar leads, and occasional clean, jazzy tones. Underneath, the rhythm section grooves like a juggernaut. The drums constantly push the songs with driving beats, flawlessly executed drum fills, tasteful double kick patterns, and tribal sounding sections. The bass also sounds consistently great, with warm, rich tones and a swinging feel that adds to the heavy blues vibe. In post-production, the band was able to effectively add high-quality orchestrations and sound clips, creating an even darker listening atmosphere.

If you’re a fan of proto-metal and doom, make sure to check out Scarecrow. Their album is available for digital download on Bandcamp, and the band is working on a physical CD release, which will include digipack and lyrics, projected for release on Bandcamp this month. You can also follow the band on Facebook, as well as Instagram and VK. The band also has Thanks for reading The Sonic Sofa. Go in peace and rock on, Sofanauts.

Admission, the new album by Torche

Admission was released on July 12th, by Relapse Records

Torche is a four-piece heavy metal band from from Miami, Florida. Their music is characterized by heavy riffs and catchy, harmonic vocals. The band formed in 2004 and have released five full lengths and four EPs. Original members include Steve Brooks on guitar and vocals, Jonathan Nuñez who switched from bass to guitar duties in 2016, and Rick Smith on drums. The group was also joined in 2016 by bass player, Eric Hernandez, who made his first recording with the band on the new album, Admission.

“an absolute juggernaut”

Released by Relapse Records (known for producing such bands as Baroness and High on Fire) on July 12, Admission is the fifth album by Torche, following Restarter in Feb, 2015. The band released several singles during the weeks counting down to the new release, as well as new media content such as a music video for Admission, and a videologue look inside the studio. The album can be bought on standard black vinyl, CD, cassette, or digital download on their Bandcamp page. Also, check out the band’s website for even more merch, tour info, and information about the band.

Torche formed in 2004

The entire album is an absolute juggernaut. The songs tend to be shorter than other bands in the genre, but the abbreviated quality makes the album more listenable, and perhaps will leave the listener wanting more, or at the very least, repeat listens. The bass and guitar tones are magnificent, tuned low and overdriven. Melodic vocals harmonize over the hypnotic riffs, and the drums hold the entire album down, with pounding, creative beats. Heavy, distorted riffs fluidly meld with catchy, “pop” sensibilities in the way that only Torche has done for the past 15 years.

From Here opens the album, pounding eardrums with its relentless force and high energy. Other fast-paced headbangers on the album include What Was, with almost subsonic bass notes and creative drumming, and Extremes of Consciousness, which plods forward with driving guitars, and complementing fuzzy bass.

Among some of the poppier songs on the album are Slide, Times Missing, Admission and Changes Come. Slide has intensly catchy riffs and vocal harmonies, yet still finds the opportunity to explore some progressive off-time sections later in the song. Times Missing slows things down with a simpler chord progression and incredible vocal harmonies over the droning guitars and slick musical turnarounds. A poppy beat on Admission propels the song forward, and the lyrics are more contemplative and self-reflecting. Changes Come, the album’s closer, wraps the album up with an incredibly uplifting tone amidst phasing guitars.

“almost impossibly slow and heavy”

Some of the slowest, heaviest moments on the album are toward the end of the album, with the back to back songs On the Wire, and Infierno. On the Wire combines doom-like riffs, with stark, high-pitched guitar harmonies. Infierno is an almost impossibly slow and heavy track, which will test your subwoofers to the limit.

Other notable tracks on the album are Submission and Reminder. Submission has amazingly melodic vocals, with crashing cymbals and trance like repetition of the riff, reaching a fever pitch at the end. Beatles-esque vocal harmonies, paired with swinging, heavy riffs, abound on Reminder.

Torche has once again proven that they can release music which is both incredibly heavy as well as incredibly listenable, while staying consistent with the sound of the band’s previous albums. Admission is an intense musical journey, and listeners will find more beauty in the details with each listen. Make sure to listen to the album all the way through to fully appreciate the arrangement and balanced quality of the LP as a whole.

Tour dates

Sept. 16 The Olympic Venue – Boise, ID

Sept. 17 Diabolical Records – Salt Lake City, UT

Sept. 18 Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO

Sept. 20 Zanzabar – Louisville, KY

Sept. 21 Heavy Mountain Fest – Asheville, NC

Sept. 22 The Wilbury – Tallahassee, FL

Sept. 23 The Atlantic – Gainesville, FL

Nov. 1 FEST – Gainesville, FL

Nov. 9 Levitation 2019 – Austin, TX

“Weightless Waters,” the third EP by Finnish band, King of None

Weightless Waters, the third EP by Helsinki’s King of None

King of None is a hard-rock band from Helsinki, Finland. They produce riffy hard rock, with plenty of stoner and prog-rock elements. From the remnants of previous projects, the band was formed by vocalist Miiro Kärki, guitarist Aleksi Kärkkäinen, drummer Patrick Enckell, bassist Juho Aarnio, and guitarist Juha Pääkkö. The group has produced three EPs: the self-titled King of None in 2015, 2016’s Trouble by the Score, and most recently, 2019’s Weightless Waters.

Weightless Waters, released on April 28, 2019, is composed of six heavy songs. It’s a high energy ride that is arguably their most polished, mature EP to date. The songs range from four and a half to seven minutes. Each song is crisp and tight and it’s a headbanging, hard rock ride from start to finish.. The artwork was produced by musician and artist, Petri Lampela. The album is available for sale on Bandcamp and is also available for streaming on Spotify and YouTube.

Throughout the album, the vocals are melodic with aggressive, occasionally growly touches. Always on pitch, they pair well with the groovy, crunchy compositions. Thematically, the lyrics cover a number of topics. Starbirling and Desolator contain sci-fi elements as well as some hints at self-examination and perhaps absurdism. Worlds Collide and the opener, Words of Mine, seem to be more introspective, with the latter even tipping the hat to Carly Simon’s You’re so Vain. Frog Palace and Yellow Snake King contain fantasy-like lyrics, more typical to stoner rock.

Picture credit: Amirasaad Photography

Musically, the entire album is very tight. The guitars are heavy and over driven. There are some great wah pedal riffs, like on Yellow Snake King, as well as some creative double guitar leads, notably in Worlds Collide. Heavy walls of guitars will blow you away, like the fantastically slow and heavy intro to Desolator, but they prove in the same song that they are able to explore softer, more subtle moments, with psychedelic tinges.

The drums and bass are always locked together, like a tight, rhythmic force. The bass sounds heavy and chunky, and can be heard really well on the opening of Yellow Snake King. The drums are relentless, shuffling along with a constant barrage of fluid beats and drum fills, including lots of double kick-pedal work. There’s some nice use of a china cymbal and some intricate drum work on Frog Palace, as well as some really shuffly grooves throughout the album.

King of None have proven once again that they can produce some awesomely fast paced, intricate hard rock. Weightless Waters is an EP that will reward repeat listens, and should be in your music rotation. Support the group by purchasing the EP on Bandcamp today and check out their track, Desolator, below.