stoner - The I-94 Bar

Neath A Shin Ei Sun - Neptune Power Federation (Erotic Volcano Records)

neptune albumGoblins shit me. Witches and bats, too. The intrinsic silliness and - now, let's be honest - pomposity in the most excessive heavy metal music bred in me a disdain for much of that musical form from a very young age. So where does a band with a garish album cover with a skull wearing a helmet adorned by stag horns stand?

Good question.

Imagine a woman in gothic chiffon dress and Melbourne Cup headpiece singing in front of a band that’s a cross between a metallic version of Funkadelic, Fu Manchu and Sabbath.

Dreamtime - Dreamtime (Conquest Of Noise)

dreamtimeIt’s been brow-beaten, down-trodden, emasculated and generally forced underground but hard ’n’ heavy rock and roll has never been fully wiped out these last 20 years.

Purists will tell you that it still exists in the cracks and crevices of grimy back-streets in a select number of cities. They’ll go on to say that the so-called power trio format is its most genuine manifestation because it allows each element to stand out in the sharpest of relief.

Grandular Fever - Sun God Replica (Spooky Records)

grandular feverRight, when I heard this for the first of what will be hundreds of times, I thought, fuck me, “Grandular Fever” is a career highlight. The thing is… I reckon they can match this over and over without breaking wind. And fuck, Loki Lockwood must be spitting. A record this fucking brilliant and it ain’t out til October (I won't tell you when I initially wrote this).

Every now and then an CD comes along which makes me love the privileged position I sometimes find myself in. And right now… EIGHT BOTTLES. And after several months of addictive listening, it's still eight bottles.

Unknown Compelling Force - Fortress of Narzod (Chief Designer Records)

UnknownCompellingForceNothing succeeds like excess and this trio from Melbourne has the concept truly nailed on this seven-track EP, their second release. Studio leakage, a seething fuzz attack and enough strange aural samples to keep it weird, Fortress of Narzod actually turns over new turf in a well-ploughed paddock.

Nailing their colours to the mast of a boat occupied by bands like Sabbath, MC5, Union Carbide Productions and Dead Meadow, Fortress of Narzod comes across as an Antipodean, suburban version of all of the above. No war pigs or bustles in hedgerows here, Fortress of Narzod draws as much inspiration from Michael Moorcock sci-fi novels and video games as doom-laden minor chords.