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CLUTCH Psychic Warfare Album Cover Psychic Warfare
4.90 | 9 ratings
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CLUTCH Blast Tyrant Album Cover Blast Tyrant
4.83 | 8 ratings
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CLUTCH Robot Hive / Exodus Album Cover Robot Hive / Exodus
4.69 | 9 ratings
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CLUTCH Earth Rocker Album Cover Earth Rocker
4.58 | 10 ratings
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SPIRITUAL BEGGARS Earth Blues Album Cover Earth Blues
4.55 | 6 ratings
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MONSTER MAGNET Mastermind Album Cover Mastermind
4.71 | 3 ratings
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FU MANCHU Daredevil Album Cover Daredevil
4.71 | 3 ratings
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DOZER Through The Eyes Of Heathens Album Cover Through The Eyes Of Heathens
4.56 | 4 ratings
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CLUTCH Strange Cousins From the West Album Cover Strange Cousins From the West
4.38 | 9 ratings
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FU MANCHU In Search Of... Album Cover In Search Of...
4.38 | 4 ratings
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CLUTCH Pure Rock Fury Album Cover Pure Rock Fury
4.25 | 10 ratings
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CLUTCH From Beale Street to Oblivion Album Cover From Beale Street to Oblivion
4.24 | 11 ratings
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Album · 2015 · Stoner Rock
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Dead Quiet are a little hard for me to label. They’re said to be doom metal/stoner rock with lots of seventies influences, but I’d say they are basically a very heavy stoner rock band with a lot of sludge factor. Their self-titled debut was released in 2015 with the track “Foul Words” released with a bizarre video that seems to be about a guy who can’t feel any sensation of pain and goes about trying to injure and harm himself throughout the video, from smashing beer bottles over his head to swallowing powdered laundry detergent with bleach.

Of the nine tracks here, five of them are loaded with sludge-like heavy chords and vocalist Kevin Keegan screaming over top of it all. The other four tracks blend acoustic and clean electric guitar with the band’s thousand-ton chords. The lyrics seem to be mostly about soul-devastating frustration and despondency over loss or a burning desire to rise above and crush all the sources of this mental anguish with whatever final flame of desire to survive remains. Check out titles like “Home Is Where You Go to Die”, “The Fall of Me” or “God Was Wrong”. The track, “Remaining Remains” includes the reading of a eulogy while the track, “God Was Wrong” will have you wanting to guzzle down beers during the acoustic verses and then smash the empties over your head for the crushing chorus.

There are some cool little surprises that show up to add some diversity to the dark and self-obliterating atmosphere in the heavier parts. “Remaining Remains” includes a sparse yet moody bass riff that had me thinking of the Butthole Surfers “Locust Abortion Technician” album. “The Fall of Me” includes a picked banjo and later has a weird synthesizer part with a steady bass pulse and cymbals for percussion that could have been something from Animals/The Wall era Pink Floyd. “Home Is Where You Go to Die” could sound like a grunge band similar to Nirvana doing a partly clean guitar, melodic track. Some of the songs also change partway through either picking up the pace a little or darkening down.

This isn’t an album I personally would think to play through in its entirety often even though there are no tracks I don’t like. In my opinion, each of the songs are good and many have some extra quality that makes those particular tracks stand out from the general messed up mind mood. Just for me, there isn’t any one particular track or pair of tracks that really shine as “Awesome Mix” playlist inclusions.

A good and even very good album as a debut, and now that Dead Quiet have just released their third album in early autumn of 2020, I’ll be curious to know how they sound these days.


Album · 1995 · Stoner Rock
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Clutch's self-titled album is a fantastic album and great transition from the aggressive sludge metal of their debut to the southern blues metal of The Elephant Riders, mixing both sounds and perfecting both. There's also psychedelic vibes and some great funky rhythms, it basically uses all elements of what Clutch's music has done and would do. Neil Fallon's vocals are still raw and gravelly, yet will sing melodic lines with those vocals as well sometimes a hip hop lyrical flow (Not quite rapping, but it's easy to hear the influence on a song like Texan Book of the Dead). The abstract lyrics are more easily heard, and are just as fantastic as the debut.

Songs like Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw, the bursting with energy Texan Book of the Dead, Escape from the Prison Planet, psychedelic Spacegrass, awesomely titled I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth, the funky and bluesy swagger of Tight Like That, and sludgy Animal Farm are all absolute favorite Clutch tracks of mine and show off how varied the album is.

CHRON GOBLIN Life For The Living

Album · 2013 · Stoner Rock
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Described as stoner rock, this album by Chron Goblin doesn't seem content to cozy up with some "buds" and chill in the vapours. It's more like bust and grind. The songs just explode out of the speakers: bombastic guitar chords, crashing drums, and a voice that could make a bull moose feel threatened. Power! That's my impression track after track. The energy of punk and the impact of metal. This is like being shot from a cannon through a brick wall with anvils strapped to your limbs! Perhaps at times like The Sword but with a different approach to the vocals and riffs.

A lot of the songs end abruptly, so it's a bit of a surprise when "Blood Flow" suddenly stops right in the middle of the track and then slams in a new riff that's like getting your face repeatedly smushed across a rough concrete surface by some huge, ugly beast of a torture maniac.

The only time things finally cool down a bit is for the closing track, "Any Day", which is like a doom metal/stoner ballad. Not love song. Just slower tempo.

It's tough to find a track that stands out above the others, but I'll say that "Anesthetize" is pretty kick ass. Love the line, "I want excitement!" That sums up the music of this track and most of the album. These guys must work up a real sweat performing live.

Not much more to say but great driving music!

NINGEN ISU Nijusseiki Sousoukyoku

Album · 1999 · Stoner Rock
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Requiem for the 20th Century. This was Ningen Isu's eighth album and it saw them back with the label Meldac after a three-album absence. The band released four albums with Meldac in the early nineties, but then their contract expired and a compilation album became their fifth and final album with Meldac. Guitarist Shinji Wajima and bassist Kenichi Suzuki not only had to find a new label but at the time they also had to find a new drummer. They spent the next three albums working things out on their own for the most part and were joined for two albums with a new drummer. But he quit as well. Finally, they acquired Masahiro Goto of Gerard and offered him a full-time position. At this point, Meldac rang up and asked Ningen Isu if the band would like to return.

Released in 1999, the album title was conceived of as a farewell to the century. Wajima was notorious for being behind on lyric writing but he had some extra help as Goto came up with two songs. Suzuki offered two songs as well. Nevertheless, during the recording sessions there were times when everyone would hang about the studio waiting for Wajima to show up.

The sound on this album was not an entirely new approach by Ningen Isu but there was a conscious effort to do something new. If you've heard their more recent albums with their full, rich metal guitar sound and drummer Nakajima's work, you'll likely be surprised to hear this old thing. The guitar sound is somewhere between a retro rock guitar sound and modern prog rock/alternative rock. While this means the band don't always come across as metal heavy, they do still hit hard and heavy on some tracks.

The song to have a music video made was the opening track, "Yuurei Ressha - Ghost Train". Here the guitar riff has a bit of a spy movie feel. Musically, it's up to Ningen Isu's standards; however, I haven't really latched on to this one. In fact, if I were to rank Ningen Isu's albums, this one would be at the lower end of the list. It's still a very good album but I am less enamored with it than I am most of their other albums.

Suzuki's first song is "Mushi - Bugs". It's off to a good pace and a fun rocker. Not as strong as "Imomushi - The Caterpillar" of the next album but nevertheless a fun track. Wajima's "Koi wa Sankaku Mokuba no Ue de - Love Is on a Wood Horse" keeps the lively and homorous feel but is more rock than hard rock and certainly not metal. I find it's one of those songs that sound better when you actually play it than when you just think about maybe listening to it.

Goto's "Tokai no Douwa - Urban Fairytale" at first makes Ningen Isu sound like some other Japanese rock band. Certainly his vocals stand out for being neither like Wajima's nor Suzuki's. The song does get some Ningen Isu styled treatment about halfway through to make it a little more interesting and familiar.

"Akatsuki no Dantou-dai - Guillotine at Dawn" begins with the album sound that is now no surprise. What is a surprise is how the song jumps into rapid pace partway through. Wajima's lead breaks are wild and fun.

"Shoujo Jigoku - Girl Hell" gives us more of a hard rock feel but Wajima seems to be straining for the notes in places. He was also known for writing songs a little too high for his vocal range. Not a song I usually think to spin unless I play the whole album.

The highlight of the album for me is track 7, "Haru no Umi - The Spring Sea". It begins with Ningen Isu's more recognized doom riff pounding before toning down for an eerie verse. Goto's drumming is frenetic to Suzuki's wails. The song takes a psychedelic turn with voices chanting hauntingly and guitar effects. Then it changes to speedy rock with some cool lead guitar effects (backwards guitar?) by Wajima.

"Fumin-shou Blues - Insomnia Blues" is kind of bluesy and has a nice groove. Goto's vocals are not that strong I feel. The music is a more enjoyable but still it sounds like a blues rock band. But wait! Here comes the thrash with Suzuki's "Sabbath Thrash Sabbath". It's a short blasting track with Suzuki snarling "Black Sabbath!" after the choruses. The lyrics are actually rather amusing. Each member of Sabbath's classic line up is mentioned: Ozzy Osbourne - bat songs, Tony Iommi - the enchanting guitar, Geezer Butler - the ghostly bass, Bill Ward - the drunken drums. The track concludes with an deliberate homage to "Iron Man".

"Kuro Taiyou - Black Sun" is the final track and should be where Ningen Isu show their doom metal side most strongly. The playing is heavy, though the guitar still doesn't have that metal feel. The drumming is great. The final tracks are usually quite long and with extra parts. But this song is only just over six minutes. At least it becomes more interesting in the final stretch of the song. It is one of the better songs on the album if you're looking for the band's heavy side.

Ningen Isu never make a bad album. There are no disasters or "What were they thinking?!" albums in their catalogue. However, they do have a couple of albums that are home to two or three great tunes and the rest as less memorable, less inspiring. I like this one, but I don't love it. Mainly, it's not heavy enough to be metal but it's also not quite proggy enough to be real prog. It's like crossover prog gone hard rock and stoner rock. When I listen to it, I think it sounds great mostly. But nearly all of their other albums excite me more.

Best tracks in my opinion: "Haru no Umi", "Sabbath Thrash Sabbath", "Kuroi Taiyou" and "Mushi".

NINGEN ISU Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human)

Album · 1990 · Stoner Rock
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I probably wouldn't have watched the video had it not been for the name, Ningen Isu. I knew the name to be the title of a short story by the famous Japanese mystery and suspense writer, Edogawa Ranpo. The story of a furniture maker who wanted to be part of his creation and feel what it was like to be a chair. The Human Chair. I had opened up the YouTube app to watch a video, and at the top of my suggested video feed was a band called Ningen Isu. I watched the video and was floored. What a sound! Three members and with all the guts of Black Sabbath and Budgie plus a host of other influences throughout the early years of heavy metal delivered with a modern metal sound, and still daring enough to release as a single from their 21st album a song over eight minutes long with a middle section that goes off from the main song and explores that early seventies heavy rock/heavy prog territory that I love. I ordered two CDs. I ordered two more. I ordered eight more. Man, these guys are good!

"Ningen Shikkaku" is the band's debut release from 1990. There was an ep the year before, but it's out of print now and all the songs can be found either re-recorded on this album or on later compilation releases. The song title is from a book by Osamu Dazai and is translated as "No Longer Human" but more directly translated means "Human Disqualification" as in "disqualified as a human being". The band's love of early seventies heavy rock is undeniable. Think "Behind the Wall of Sleep", "Fairies Wear Boots" and "Children of the Grave" by Black Sabbath or "Guts", "Crash Course in Brain Surgery" and "Breadfan" by Budgie and you'll immediately understand where this band is coming from. In fact, the song "Hari no Yama" ("Needle Mountain" or translated on YouTube as "Spiny Mountain in Hell") is a Japanese lyric version of "Breadfan" with a different story but all the speed and bombast of the original that inspired a Metallica cover.

The album opens with an instrumental that is half guitar effects and half a grooving heavy riff before the Spiny Mountain in Hell song charges in. "Ringo no Namida" (Tears of the Apple - The band is from Japan's Aomori Prefecture, which is a major producer of apples) has a really grooving riff and beat. The title track takes us partway through the song before going of into a sparse guitar effects adventure backed with a steady pulsing bass, and then gradually builds until it erupts into a kind of part two with a different riff before finally returning to the original song. "Sakura no Mori no Mankai no Shita" (In the Woods Beneath the Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom) is another mini- epic with a song within a song. It's also the title of their next album. This track has become my favourite simply for how fantastic the music replicates early 1970's heavy rock. The groove, the changes in the music, the drums, the bass! You could say that this is the best album of 1970/71 that was recorded in 1990! Incidentally, this song is inspired by a book of the same title by Ango Sakaguchi.

"Arnheim no Izumi" (The Spring of Arnheim) is the one major sidestep on the album as it's a simple clean guitar instrumental that sounds like someone left a present on the doorstep of Atom Heart Mother Pink Floyd but they missed it.

Without describing each of the other tracks in detail, the album is not only early seventies heavy rock in style but the sound is very closely duplicated, an homage to the period. Whether short ("Heavy Metal no Gyakushu", 3:00) or longer than five minutes, most of the songs include unexpected turns in the music, suddenly changing tempo and charging ahead or abruptly changing riffs or slowing down.

The vocal style is also worth mentioning. The two vocalists of Shinji Wajima (guitars) and Ken'ichi Suzuki (bass) don't sing in a usual Japanese rock or heavy metal way (think Loudness or Onmyo-Za). Their style is more like Japanese theater or like two story tellers singing the stories. They are from a part of Japan with a very distinctive dialect and they see no need to conform to what's popular. It gives Ningen Isu's sound something very Japanese and somehow leads itself perfectly to the British heavy rock playing style.

The music of Ningen Isu is described as stoner metal/doom metal/hard rock/progressive rock, but one point worthy of mentioning here though is that this album is not indicative of Ningen Isu's overall sound. Their recent albums feature a more modern metal sound. Check out songs like "Heartless Scat" or "Namahage" on YouTube to get an idea of their 2010's music. Still, heavy, doomy, and man do they know how to play this kind of music!

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