Sequoia: Doom it Up!

Another big rage last summer was Poland’s Major Kong.  Providing us with an immense dose of slow doom, they ticked mine and DeHud’s palates with the superb ‘Doom for the Black Sun’ release.

Well, the Polish doom scene shows no signs of abating, and while Rip It Up napped, they sneaked out a new track back in February entitled ‘Sequoia’.  Building on their previous melodic outing, they have delved even deeper into the dark pit this time, with the track oozing a stoned, confused mix of guitars and fuzzed up bass, all held together by Bonham-esque drums.  The emphasis this time around seems to be less on heaviness and more ‘rock’ orientated, [it even goes off on a Hawkwind-esque reverie at about 8 minutes] but it’s a great track for sure and hopefully serves as a portent of exciting new material to come.

Check this out:



Let Dopelord into your Life…

Lublin, a city that sits in Eastern Poland, must have something strange in the water.  You may recall, if you are a dedicated reader of Rip It Up, how we featured the city’s immense Major Kong, who purvey a slow, stoner-y sound that suggests much too long spent in second hand record shops and a liking for rare herbs.  Well, I can tell you that I have recently been contacted by another band based in Lublin, this one called Dopelord, who are also immense, slow, downtuned and frankly bloody wonderful.

Dopelord consist of four members – Klusek – bass, Mroku – guitar, Arek – drums and my new contact, Miodek – who handles guitar and voices – although the main output of the band is that wonderful instrumental attack that we so loved with Major Kong.  Think dark, seedy club, low, green lighting, a haze of smoke flickering around candles, and lusciously thick, slow, downtuned riffiage.  This is a mixture of potent forces from all the ages of music, including St Vitus, Sabbath, Fu Manchu and as I have remarked before, a touch of the stand up righteousness of the Holy MC5.

Seven thick slabs of riffs are presented to the listener in this release, entitled ‘Magick Rites‘.  The songs ooze a strange, very intense green juice which might be a herbal extract.  They just don’t let up – this is what guitars were invented for.  What Dopelord have understood in their herbally enlightened state is that the stringed instrument was put on the earth to impart a higher form of consciousness to the human mind, thus enabling us to rise above the pettiness and pointlessness of our day to day endeavours.  Fuzzed out, distorted, wah-wah crazed chords just rain down on you as you listen, stunned, but pleased by your new found perspectives.

What I know is that, whilst you are in this state, which you have entered simply by clicking on the ‘play’ button of the Bandcamp widget below, you will realise that $3 is a pitifully small price to pay for such a stunning album of heaviness.  Get it – now, before I click my fingers and wake you up!

Back to Poland, for the Battle of Wounded Knee!

Regular readers will know that it’s a few weeks since Rip It Up cast its eyes east towards Poland.  Last time we found Major Kong, Belzebong and others – playing stonery doom – who blew us away.  And it so happens that I’ve picked up on a demo ep by a Warsaw based band called Wounded Knee which I thought you should know about.

Proffering no-nonsense, in yer face hardcore, the band have produced a 4 track demo which ruffles your hairstyle with a hard-hitting, fiery rage that moves between slow, NYHC – style mosh parts and medium-paced, gruff bevocalled punk.  For a debut release it’s head and shoulders above a lot of the characters who seem to classify their bands as ‘hardcore’ these days.  My goodness! what an intemperate outburst!

The four tracks are all pretty much of a muchness in terms of playing  style, and there is no new ground being broken here.  I spoke briefly to Wiktor of Wounded Knee about their progress to date:

We’re quite new band so there is not much to write about us. We’re a 4 piece band from Warsaw, Poland, we have played one show and have recorded demo ep which we will release soon. Before WK we have played in bands like Dispel the crowd, Good Old Days, Core Ball and Set the fire. You can find them on myspace if you’re interested.”

They understand that there is nothing at all wrong with layering chunky splinters of hard – hitting, chugging guitar over a deep, tight bassline, cranking the whole thing up with sheets of crashing cymbals, thumping slaps of drumming and gruff vocals, and all of this might lead you to use bands like Sick of it All or mid period Agnostic Front as reference points, but from the time when they were hardcore bands as opposed to major label ‘metal’ acts.

Sometimes, events call for a cleansing dose of effervescent, powerful hardcore punk in order to remove blockages and ensure correct operation.  If you have experienced such an issue, then Wounded Knee would make a fine remedy.

Back to Poland Again: Satellite Beaver

I’ve had a few days off from the website.  As I mentioned on Saturday’s brief post, I’ve been up in the sweltering heat of the home of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Liverpool, paying my northern counterpart, DeHud, a visit.  The vague plan was to catch up, compare notes on music, and drink some beer.  We ended up doing all the above, as well as  completing a 15 mile sponsored walk in the giddying sun, and we almost saw the mighty Iron Witch, our attempt being sadly frustrated at the last minute due to the venue being closed down the night before.  Now, I’m back home and ready to breathe some life back into Rip It Up.   And I shall start by going, unashamedly, back to one of our favourite countries right now to alert you to a band called ‘Satellite Beaver‘ who hail from Warsaw. 

If you are a regular reader, then you’ll already know about our love for bands such as Major Kong, who have hit on that mighty doom style sound, but mixing it up also with unusual and interesting styles that you might not expect when listening to many of the identikit doom bands doing the rounds at the moment.  Thus, I was refreshed by the discovery of the new release by Satellite Beaver, entitled ‘The Last Bow‘ EP.   The band, comprising Szymon who handles vocals and  guitar, Tomek on guitar and Robert on drums, [they are currently searching for a bassist] crank out four heavy tracks on this EP and by the sound of it, they are a band worth watching.  Mixing a dark, sludgy, downtuned sound with influences as diverse as [to my ears, anyway] bands such as the mighty Prong, a bit of Weedeater, then chucking in some Sabbath-y riffs, a touch of Corrosion of Conformity, and a massive, crushing guitar attack, they have got me excited.

Released on 10th May, this is a fine investment of 3 Euros, and all the tracks stand up, my faves being ‘Urania‘, which is fabulously heavy, ‘Way Before‘, which is more metally, and ‘Roadtrip‘, which is stoner heaven.  Get it now, and we’ll keep you updated on their actions, which include the recording of a debut album – here’s a quick update from drummer Robert, who got in touch to let me know what they are doing:

“We will also tour a little bit of Denmark and Germany this autumn (September or so). We’re also heading e-lite culture festival near Berlin this July (19-22), cameral stoner rock event in Stolzenhein (100km from Berlin) with Lonely Kamel, Tschaika, Sungrazer, Ruins of Wyrd, etc.”

Death Denied: Stoner Rock from Poland

If you are a regular reader of Rip It Up, you will know of our continuing discovery of bands hailing from Poland.  Major Kong and Belzebong are the prime examples of this, and we are finding that the country is a rich source of music, all the bands seeming to invest a lot of time and effort into musicianship and production.  The two bands mentioned have hardly been off my ipod playlist in the last month.  No exception to this rule is Death Denied, a four-piece band hailing from Łódź.  Proffering a brand of Southern Metal that is unashamedly all about good times, these guys have been in touch to tell us about what they do – and we like it!

Death Denied are Szafar on Vocals, Tasior on guitar and vocals, Kiemzo also on guitar, Vincent – bass and vocals and Wrona playing drums.  Between them they have managed to whip up a spot-on bit of metallic good time rock n roll.  Their EP, a five track affair entitled ‘Appetite for Booze’, leaves you in no doubt where Death Denied stand.  The name might be somewhat cliched, but the music is a cut above the majority of what we end up being presented with.

Loud, well produced and dripping with the authentic Southern, Bourbon-soaked sound, the EP starts off with ‘This is How We Roll‘ – bringing to mind later Corrosion of Conformity, with a nice line in metallic guitar licks and melody.  Vocals are good and gruff, and choruses are rousing.  ‘Sssnakes‘, the next track, kicks off with a storming riff, thick, solid bass and pounding drums creating excitement.  The band uses restraint quite well, with quiet passages giving way to all-out choruses.  There are elements of Metallica visible within the blusey Southern sound.  ‘Murky Waters‘ could be playing on a jukebox in a truckstop populated by dungareed, pick up driving good ol’ boys, such is its dirty, slow riffage.  A mix of mid-period Metallica and bits of Lynyrd Skynyrd make this an evocative landscape of long, straight roads and hot sunshine.  ‘Blind,’ the penultimate track, wades straight into a massive, bass-drum driven punch up which is far more metallic, but still with melody.    The final track, ‘City of Dust‘, is six and a half minutes of straight heavy rock.  Kind of a Soundgarden meets CoC sound, with vocals in a very James Hetfield style – and that track leaves us at the end of a really cracking EP.

This EP is a great release. and Death Denied are a band worth watching.  Check it out below, and we will keep you updated on what they do next.

Belzebong: The Polish Connection pt II

main photo (C) by Pawel Wygoda

Recently we posted a short piece about the astoundingly good Doom band from Lubin, Poland, known as Major Kong.  Slow, heavy jams caused a wave of calm and satisfaction to descend over the Rip It Up offices.  Now, I don’t know if there’s something in the water over there, but we’re just loving this new release by another Polish band, Belzebong, entitled ‘Sonic Scrapes and Weedy Grooves’.  Heavy doesn’t even do it half justice!

This release, their first by all accounts, contains four tracks of the most stoned, fuzzy, gorgeously thick, bass-driven riffing.  From the moment you press ‘play’ you are assaulted by their unique brand of sludge rock.  Now I seem to find that with both Major Kong and Belzebong there is a standard of musicianship and also originality that is sadly lacking in a lot of the UK/US bands of the same genre.  I keep saying this – just because a band plays slow, heavy riffs doesn’t make it listenable.  The art of song composition, the ability to know how long the lead in should be, the parts, the overall length is just as important as with a ‘normal’ song with lyrics.  Don’t think that just standing there playing downtuned stoner rock will create great songs automatically – it won’t.  Belzebong know this instinctively, and manage to assault you whilst keeping you coming back for more, battered yet pleased.

The variety available on this release is terrific.  For example, the bass guitar is not only used as a battering ram to crush everything in its path, there are also high, distorted bass solo pieces in a very similar vein to Major Kong.  It’s the kind of thing that you used to see the late, great Cliff Burton doing onstage during early Metallica gigs, and it is the kind of playing that takes Lemmy – like degrees of control over the big, low tuned bass guitar.  It is the kind of material that will appeal to those of you who dig such bands as Stonehelm or Bongripper.

In general the tracks are satisfyingly long, meaning that you get lots of bong for your buck [sorry, I couldn’t resist!]  and the quality is just top notch.  get yourself over to Bandcamp and invest $5 in this release right now.  In fact, here – take my car!!!