La Chinga - Freewheelin' (IMPORT) (CD)
Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, 'La Chinga' is a hard rockin' power trio with psychedelic tendencies. The members are influenced by Sabbath, Led Zep, the MC5 and their own superbad habits.
La Ira de Dios - Empirea (IMPORT) (CD)
Six previously unreleased tracks recorded between 2002 to 2005 from heavy Peruvian power trio La Ira de Dios whose name translates as "The Wrath of God". New songs, one a cover version of a track by Los Saicos (Peruvian garage band from 1965), plus three alternate versions of songs from the bands previous album "Hacia el Sol Rojo". A mix of songs which range from space rock to doom rock capped by the long, hypnotic title track. Includes a raw 8 minutes of video footage of the band playing the unreleased song, "Quemando" in 2005.
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Lair of the Minotaur - Carnage (CD)
Features members of 7000 Dying Rats and Pelican.
Lair of the Minotaur are the work of musicians with a highly evolved sense of their own musical instinct. The music they produce seems to be the direct result of years and years of playing and listening to all of the various styles and mutations that metal and rock music has taken over the years. Drummer Larry Herwig, best known for his solid work with instrumental psychedelic doom masters, Pelican, shows off his metal chops to a way larger effect than he does in Pelican. LOTM's Goatsnake meets Slayer guitar tone comes courtesy of Steven Rathbone. Donald James Barraca supplies bone rattling, building-shaking bass. Both are ex-members of the now defunct Chicago underground legends, 7000 Dying Rats. Rathbone is a multi-faceted metal vocalist of impressive range, utilizing a piercing screech along side a classic throaty hardcore howl.
LOTM may be wearing the faded, but proud T-shirts of their obvious influences like Slayer, Venom, and Sabbath, but they put their all into a highly palatable metal stew that is itself something entirely different and very fresh.
Lair of the Minotaur - Evil Power (CD)
I've always dug the sound and over-the-top mythological war metal aesthetic of Chicago's Lair of the Minotaur. Apparently this record is supposed to show off the band's heavy rock and punk influences, and indeed it does. The arrangements are much more straight forward, the riffs are more direct, and the verses and choruses are more memorable. That's the key that makes it all work; the focus is on the songs, and there's a punk rock immediacy that gives them added staying power. Plus, the brutality of their performances is captured by a massive Sanford Parker production job.
Lair of the Minotaur - The Ultimate Destroyer (CD)
Lair of the Minotaur’s The Ultimate Destroyer is as soothing as getting pushed down a flight of stairs. That has a pile of broken glass at the bottom of it. And the shards are soaked in vinegar. If you thought Carnage Bloody Carnage, their debut, was a meaty slice of mean, you’re going to have to re-evaluate your definition of “heavy” when you play this nasty fucker. The fast songs leap out at you, and the slow ones choke the life out of you. If there’s a middle ground, it’s a hellacious groove that pummels repeatedly. And it keeps getting heavier and heavier as it progresses.
Lair of the Minotaur - War Metal Battle Master (CD)
Limited edition of only 1000 machine numbered copies that include a download card for a live show!!!
This is some crushing Sabbath/Cathedral styled sludge metal, an 8-song affair filled with bone crunching guitar riffs, pounding rhythms, and a myriad of hardcore and metal flavored vocals. This slashing and bashing release moves along quickly, each song battering you over the head with thick, inventive guitar riffs and bombastic bass lines, as the doom, stoner and sludge influences collides with thrash rhythms for a wild and chaotic ride. You can almost hear a certain black metal side to the band on "Horde of Undead Vengeance" and "Black Viper Barbarian Clan", complete with lethal screams, raging riffs, and non-stop blast beats.
The real kicker here is the near 10-minute "Doomtrooper", which starts off with some haunting synths before waves of crushing doom guitar dirges bash you over the head like some long forgotten riffs from Masters of Reality. Add in some evil death growls and black metal shrieks on this one, and you have a real bruiser of a piece that shows how truly monstrous and frightening this band can sound when they really want to. This is another solid release from this hard working band from Chicago.
Lamp of the Universe - Acid Mantra (IMPORT) (CD)
The blending of acoustic and electric guitars, mellotrons, drones, the subcontinental instrumentation, banjo and Williamson’s wispy vocals as presented on Acid Mantra means that the shroom-worship has taken on new dimensions previously unknown to Lamp of the Universe. This strain of exploration, at least as in regards to this album, is rich-sounding and all the various moods and styles play off each other to create an encompassing experience for the listener. If Williamson is out to further his own creative reaches, then it’s a mission I’m ready to support any way I can. For anyone new to the band, this is the place to start.
Lamp of the Universe (aka Craig Williamson) creates an early 70's styled psychedelic eastern hippy acid folk music for the body mind and spirit. 2009 sees Lamp of the Universe in its 10th year, begining in 1999, and Acid Mantra is his 7th album overall. This will please anyone familar with his early albums "The Cosmic Union" or "Echo in Light", having for the most part a similar feel to those albums but with musical 'hints' or reminders from later albums such as "Heru", It's all here brothers and sisters. Interestingly it's the most 'song oriented' album since "Earth, Spirit & Sky" and probably the most diverse since the aforementioned "Echo In Light". Accoustic guitars, sitars, beauitful fragile vocals, fuzz guitar, mellotron and a whole range of exotic instruments blend together to create a cosmic atmosphere of the highest order!
Lamp of the Universe - From the Mystic Rays of Astrological Light (IMPORT) (CD)
Featuring four long instrumentals, this album is the perfect follow-up to previous album Heru, an album that was soaked in a lysergic eastern vibe making for some excellent late-night meditations. On this release the raga-esque feel is replaced by deep inner space drones, tempered by the swirl of analogue synths, echoed percussion and chanted voices that add warmth to the sound. On this album Craig Williamson may have created his masterpiece, the album exploring the ancient search for hidden meaning, trying to find our rightful place in the universe. This is cosmic music of the highest order and needs concentrated listening before all its secrets are revealed.
Lamp of the Universe - Heru (IMPORT) (CD)
Opening with the eastern drone of the sitar, this is a beautiful and mesmerising album filled with gentle and drifting music that relaxes and energises the listener simultaneously. Split into seven sections, that gently merge together, the album is an hour long trip into a state of bliss sounding like a long lost kraut rock dream sequence, or some of the finer moments from Quintessence. After the sublime opening drone, the music is filled out with softly pulsing tabla and bird-like synthesisers, which add a hypnotic tinge to the piece, something that is reinforced as more and more layers of sound are introduced until everything else becomes irrelevant, the drones shaping time itself.
Heru is the follow up to Echo In Light, itself a fine album, on which you can hear the seeds of Heru being sown. As the album moves forward, the guitar takes over leading us through the landscape with some exquisite playing that complements the atmospheric backdrop perfectly, and is as relaxing as it is emotional, creating some truly psychedelic music that is essential headphone listening. In these stress filled times, this album offers sanctuary, a place to hide when life is too much.
One man sonic universe, Craig Williamson employs: electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, tablas, choir-like layers of voice, sitar, bowed guitar & sitar, tamboura, tapes, rain pipe, effects, and keyboards to weave the single piece that is Heru. Though it is discreetly divided into seven tracks (Heru parts 1-7) , they all flow into one another so as not to interupt the dream or the dreamer.
Lamp of the Universe - The Cosmic Union (IMPORT) (CD)
Lamp Of The Universe is a solo project from Datura bassist and vocalist Craig Williamson. What a surprise! For those of you who don't know them, Datura are a heavy stoner rock band, while Lamp Of The Universe is a gorgeously lulling cosmic trip into a paisley colored psychedelic land of celestial ragas from Williamson's guitars, sitar, synths, and tablas. We're talking track titles like "Lotus of a Thousand Petals" and "Tantra Asana". Believe me, these describe the music on The Cosmic Union perfectly.
HIGHLY recommended to fans of deep space flower power psychedelia.
Probably the best album I've heard in recent times is Lamp Of The Universe's The Cosmic Union. Unlike many others who go for heavy one chord jamming, Craig Williamson has chosen a different path. The music is lush and light, with sitars, occasional fuzz, tablas and organ, but the music has an emotional weight which makes it rich and textured. There's always something more to The Cosmic Union, always another door to open. The music is free, not unlike S.T. Mikael's best moments. It's loving and simply brilliant music!