Taking their name from a rock in Sri Lanka, Sigiriya (ex-Acrimony) are based in a Welsh valley and those who already are familiar with Sigiriya’s debut album will be very pleased with Darkness died Today as well. It's plain from the first listen that this material would work wonders in a live setting, but however Sigiriya doesn't have a single ounce of originality to offer.
The Canadian Million Dollar Fix is yet another one of those classic stoner rock bands that is neither great nor terrible. While MDF pull of reasonably decent up tempo groovin’ matched with a very crunchy rhythm section, it's the vocals that entirely ruin it for me. Now if the music was more remarkable, I might be able to force myself to tone out the vocals, but unfortunately, the 4-track EP is only so-so and singing is too much at the forefront.
It took me a few tracks and some minor attitude adjustments to get on the same page as Jackson Firebird, but after careful deliberation, I found myself liking the band. Jackson Firebird is good bluesy rock'n'roll about fast women, fast cars and fast music. If you like down to earth, kick-ass down under rock'n'roll that sounds best played live at your local titties bar, then this is right up your crotch. The high energy of Cock rockin’ that may not be big on originality is cool, infectious, raunchy and hand- clappingly in every other way.
The most frequent and relevant reference points I can find for the music on this self titled CD is Black Sabbath, Trouble, Alabama Thunderpussy, Dixie Witch,…. Although this 9-track is not in the same league in terms of quality, their mixing of rich power chords, steady drumming and okay, but not great vocals is coming along real well. An appealing cd , sure, but nothing groundbreaking. The song writing is played on the safe side and every song is much like many others you have heard before. Daring, Blackwater is not.
Kamchatka is from Sweden and their bluesy stoner on The Search Goes On seems like it would transfer very well to a live performance.
Although Kamchatka doesn't add an entirely new flavor to a familiar genre, they do a more than fine job of it. The song writing is sharp and snappy and the performance is spot on. My only complaint about this CD, their fifth already, is that the vocals are pretty one-dimensional and change very little from track to track. Then again, that's a standard trait of the stoner genre.
The straight in yr face- thrash metal meets hardcore songwriting is very aggressive and the Montreal band focuses entirely on just making hopeless youth music.
Something of a surprise from the Czech scene, Cult of Fire mix some notable ferociousness of their own into the typical black metal formula.
What we have here is good prog with the synth driven styles of alternative rock music that is a pleasant enough listen at times, it just will not be remembered a year or so down the line. While Synaesthesia do have some musical similarities to Porcupine Tree, Muse and Frost, they aren't a clone band. The prog music is varied, with nice changes in dynamics, some catchy melodies, and even some brief outbursts. The playing is good, with some intricate parts in places.
This New Jersey three-piece engage in stoner, grunge and seventies rock passages. They do show some hints of talent and rhythm during some of these bits, but they lack direction and they rarely flesh out any of their ideas. At best they sound like second rate Alice In Chains for a few moments or like Soundgarden without the depth or sense of direction. At worst they sound flat and clueless. Somewhere below the surface I think that Driven Rise generate some interesting tones, but just not enough of them and no real blueprint to go by.
Hailing from Seattle, USA, Princess is another entry into the alternative metal field. Princess take sheer musical force and irritating but commanding hardcore vocals to new heights. Intricate guitar work collides with masterful tempo changes, the rhythmic patterns are furious yet inventive in their splendour. Sometimes Princess gets pretty heavy, bluesy, sludgy, spacey, sometimes almost poppy. There are relatively simple parts but also some songs that are almost border-line experimental noisy rock.