Turbowolf – The Free Life

Turbowolf’s third album, The Free Life (So) is a whispy trippy nod to the beforetime. All I know is that I pulled out my lava lamp, put on some bell bottom trousers, dropped some acid, and flailed about the living room like I was at a Norman Greenbaum concert. The tracks have just enough psychedelic guitar sound to transport you back to the oh-so-colourful Sixties. Continue reading

Space Probe Taurus – Mondo Satan


In their 23 year existence, stoner rockers Space Probe Taurus can hardly be described as prolific, having only offered one EP release and a contribution to a Blue Cheer tribute compilation before finally releasing their full length debut in 2008. Whatever the reasons behind their snail’s pace in releases, the follow up Mondo Satan (Ripple Music) quickly follows (for them at least, only seven years later).

During this time it is clear however that these Swedes have been fine tuning their craft as Mondo Satan offers an impressive repertoire. Fans of the likes of Clutch and Monster Magnet will definitely find much to love in their brand of fuzzy, stoner rock which veers far from the psychedelic for a more straight forward, gritty rock formula which evokes the desert scene.

The songs are certainly very strong but sadly they are damaged by the weak final production. Of course this style of rock benefits from a raw, grittier vibe than most and its likely this was the aim here; but instead of a classic feel Mondo Satan lacks any impact. The guitar work especially sounds too buried in the mix when it should surely be at the forefront.

They may not quite rival the massive anthems of some of their peers but in Mondo Satan, Space Probe Taurus have proven they can in time become a stand out band on the stoner circuit. In the long time it has taken to release this album they have mastered the art of writing catchy, good times soundtracks; if only they worked on how to record them properly.



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Kadavar – Abra Kadavar (Special Edition)

Kadavar - Abra Kadavar - Special Edition


Berlin’s most bearded gents Kadavar have brought their fuzzed up seventies sounds to the attention of many with their thrift store chic and retro sensibilities being en vogue right now due to the appearance of acts like labelmates Witchcraft and Graveyard. Gaining momentum having been recruited to the Nuclear Blast roster after their debut on Tee Pee Records, these German rockers keep it traditional and no less live sounding than the first time around.


Clearly the synergy between the band members is a very natural one as evidenced by their to-the-bone approach, favouring fuzz and a Led Zep swagger mixed with the gutter blues. That and a slight Krautrock influence is what sets them apart from the legion of retro acts right now. Neither as metal orientated as the former nor blues as the latter, Kadavar occupy a comfortable middle ground, but that is not to say that Abra Kadavar (Nuclear Blast) does not possess its own potency and indeed magic.


Beginning with the raunchy one two of ‘Come Back Life’ and ‘Doomsday Machine’ the magic carpet ride begins with some groovy riffs and plenty of soul. Bubbling bass and fluid guitars inject a passion into the likes of ‘Fire’. Sure the band has a formula from which they seldom deviate yet the crisp sound of Abra Kadavar puts it a cut above the stuffy musty old Blue Cheer obsessives who feel that aping the work of the seventies masters is sufficient reason for their existence.


There may be little deviation in texture or tone but the synth-embellished title track hints on where the next album could go. The up tempo rocker of ‘Dust’ is the height of their achievements thus far. Hanging on a soaring chorus backed with a humdinger of a riff, Christoph Lindemann also gives a great performance at the mic. Kadavar may not differ radically from their peers but that is neither here nor there. The impact of three musicians gelling to create that intangible magic which only happens when artists seek to create something invigorating and close to their hearts rather than searching blindly for that elusive spark of originality.


7 / 10

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Lord Of The Riff Tour: Monster Truck – Scorpion Child – Buffalo Summer; Live at Camden Underworld, London


There’s something about double denim and classic hard rock that just go together. Tonight’s Lord Of The Riff tours is bulging with retro riffs and the crowd outside the Camden Underworld is heavy with beards, beer bellies and Canadian tuxedos. The Co-headliners Scorpion Child and Monster Truck have been taking it in turns to close the night, and tonight the Canadian Truck get the honour.

Openers Buffalo Summer provide a heavy dose of Led Zeppelin love. The South Wales boys aren’t afraid of a sweet melody, and it’s not hard why they’ve been described as Led Zep meets Free. It’s an energetic set played with confidence, and guitarist Jonny Williams is reminiscent of Slash both in playing style and on stage moves.

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Scorpion Child have recently had to switch from a quintet to a quartet after a band reshuffle, but seem no worse for it. Their psychedelic rock is performed with a swagger, and songs such as ‘Polygon of Eyes’ and ‘King’s Highway’ means they come across as a metallic take on all those Swedish Rock revivalists, which is no bad thing. Compared to the 70’s flairs of Buffalo Summer and the shaggy appearance of Monster Truck, Scorpion Child look positively dapper, and you sense on a bigger stage, they’d make a big show of things. Frontman Aryn Jonathan Black is the band’s vocal point. His hypnotising movements and Robert Plant wail hold the attention and hold much of the front row in rapture.

But as good as Scorpion Child were it’s hard to see why Monster Truck haven’t been closing every night on this tour. Back in the UK after support Vista Chino last year, the volume and energy levels of the audience have multiplied before the band have got into the first verse of the opening ‘Old Train.’ Dealing in big sing-alongs, meaty guitars and lashings of groove, the truck are reminiscent of early Black Stone Cherry but with bigger riffs, better songs and less soppy ballads. The Browning EP gets a good showing, ‘Seven Sea Blues’, ‘I Am Freedom’ and the massive ‘Righteous Smoke’ have the audience singing along to every word.

Guitarist Jeremy Widerman is the band’s energetic rabbit, running, jumping and jiving all across the stage and only staying still when he has to provide the backing vocals, while Bassist/vocalist Jon Harvey’s commanding presence means the energy levels hardly drop throughout their set, and numbers cut from debut album Furiosity, such as ‘Sweet Mountain River’, ‘Oh Lord’ and ‘Call It A Spade’ just keep sending the crowd crazy. And when they do slow things down, it’s hard to be impressed by Harvey’s vocal range and control on the soulful blues of ‘For The Sun’ or ‘My Love Is True.’ The crushing closer ‘The Giant’ almost sends the crowd into meltdown as the pit explodes from the front few to almost the whole crowd.

If there’s any justice, all three bands will go onto to bigger things. SC have the compelling frontman, but MT are tonight’s big draw and have the songs and the report with the audience. The band’s motto is ‘Don’t Fuck With The Truck.’ On the strength of tonight’s performance, it’s hard to see anyone fucking with their rise to the top.


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Dan Swinhoe