The glorious discoveries never end. I have to thank my friend Karin van Woeren for this one, who kindly pointed me into Driven Serious‚ direction.
So, what do we have here? Well, Punk Folk! And it is high-purity great stuff!
I must admit, since Driven Serious came to me via a Steampunk Group on Facebook, I expected something different from what I got but that did not diminish my enjoyment in any way.
Have an ear-full yourself:
This is something fresh, something different and it is simply great to listen to. If you check out their soundcloud page, you find plenty of other great tracks.
Now for the review:
This is going to be a quick one, since it is only (and sadly) only a three-track EP kind of thing or I got a sample set of three tracks, all live and not all of them on soundlcoud.
As I said, Driven Serious are fresh, different and new. In the three tracks I got to listen to, they already display a great variety of styles they can master: One is the track above, the next one is a ballad and the final track starts with, for lack of a better word, ska-folk and then turns into a great punk folk anthem, with some violin work in there which leasantly reminded me of the early albums of Skyclad, when Martin Valkyer was still with them.
I will not give a rating, the EP is a bit short for that, but I highly recommend you check Driven Serious out, they are also on spotify, but I do not know with whcich tracks, since I do not use that service.
I have subscribed to their souncloud stream and am already lurking for the next update!
It does not happen often that I get a message from France, except from Captain Bob, so I was rather delighted, when I found a message from the band Fandoryne in my inbox this morning. I had not heard of them before but I was delighted to watch the video they presented and I am happy to share it with you now.
Once again, Steampunk proves its versatility. Fandoryne are delightfully different to any other Steampunk band I have thus far listened to.
I actually do not know what or who to compare them to to give you an idea of what they sound like. Maybe there is some underground rock music in France that is not commonly known over here in R’lyeh, from which they draw their sound, but… Who knows… Anyway, please enjoy the video. very unique, very Steampunk!
David Bowie, another legend and iconic artist has passed on. No words can describe the scope of this man. He leaves a gap that cannot be filled by any contemporary artist. I am sure he is jamming with Freddy Mercury on the other side right now.
2015 really is a catastrophic year for living legends.
Lemmy Kilminster, legendery frontman of Heavy Metal pioneers and pillars of the scene Motörhead has passed away at the age of 70.
According to The Guardian, he had been diagnosed with cancer on the 26th of December and was at home when the Valkyries took him. Lemmy was one of the most recogniseable rock and metal artists of all time. His career spanned five decades, his contribution to music and his influence by sheer weight of personality are things few artists can match these days.
Lemmy, you will be sorely missed but you can play Metal with Christopher Lee in Valhalla now!
Let’s remember this legend by playing his music LOUD!
Dale Rowles is one of my oldest friends in the Steampunk scene. We first got in touch, oh, I guess it must have been in 2010 or earlier, it was concerning his band BB Black Dog, and I have done a review and several promos for them and related events over the years.
Last February, Dale and me actually met by pure chance in Bochum and had a chat and that’s when it dawned on me that I never got around to actually doing an interview with him, and now it again took the better part of a yoear to get back to him about it. Nevertheless, we finally managed and it is with great pleassure, I present this interview with Dale Rowles:
How long have you been making music?
I got my first Guitar on my 5th Birthday, the Day Jimi Hendrix Died,
I had Classical Lessons till about age 8 which I hated, and gave it up as soon as I had the Courage to tell my Parents, around the age of 12 I discovered Rock, and started again, so I suppose, from around age 12.
How many instruments do you play professionally?
Bass, Guitar, Harmonica, and Voice, My fist love is The Bass, and still Listen to Geddy Lee, Geezer Butler, Jack Bruce, and Jah Wobble who pretty much tought me bass via their records in My Bedroom.
When did BB Black Dog get started?
It started by accident, A German friend, one of the original members of German def Metal Band „Incubator“ (Bass), was given some studio time by another Michael (Guitar) and asked me to make some songs with him using 2 bass’s and drums, Just for a laugh, we wrote and recorded 6 songs in 3 Days, which ended up on Myownmusic.de, people liked them, so we recorded more and booked a Tour, it just evolved.
In how many bands have you played before BB Black Dog?
Oh too Many to count, I did a lot of session work for years mostly on Bass and as a backing singer to pay the bills. and as a teenager, it seemed we made 2 Bands A year, I also sang with a Choir in my 30’s mostly with Orchestra’s, but sometimes with brass Bands doing Seasonal concerts, Still get hairs rising on My Neck, when i hear Handels Messiah, from the time I toured it with a full orchestra.
You also can be found as a musician in other bands like Dark Design. How many other bands do you collaborate with?
I’m currently working with
The Dark Design,
Daniel Malheur with the songbook of Charles T Goodhill,
Hawkwind spinoff, Captian Lockheed and the Starfighters,
A new BB BlackDog Project involving the Copperfield Ensemble,
Professor Elemental for a joint Single release,
I Also work with Red Ruff as BB BlackDog’s Backing singers Live, and Lord Montague Jacques Fromage III
Currently touring a lot as an Acoustic Solo performer. while I find another Stable BB BlackDog Lineup.
Personally, I think BB Black Dog sounds a lot like Hawkwind. Is that deliberate, coincidental, or something else?
Influences are bound to be in there, and Hawkwind is definitely one, I know a lot of the surviving members of the original band (Gilman: Oh wow, I’m impressed!) and grew up listening to them, But there’s also Cream, BlackSabbath, English Psychedelic, and Space rock in General, Kraughtrock, (Listened to a lot of the original Jane and Birth Control when i was younger) and later Desert Rock and Funk.
When did you discover Steampunk?
It discovered us really, from 2007, we were playing Mostly Rock and Metal Clubs, as No One knew where to put us, I wore a dinner Jacket on Stage, Stefan an American Indian tracker kind of affair, and Axel Pink Cowboy outfit with Boa’s
Around 2009 We were asked if we were a steampunk Band, and the more we found out about it the more we answered Yes
What means Steampunk to you?
A Science Fiction Vision of a Victorian Future, a rebellion against the throwaway society where everything is cheap and poorly built, a resurgence of Moral values, Friendship, freedom, creative License, individuality, a DIY Ethic and a good excuse to dress up and have a Party.
From what I can tell, you get around a lot in Europe, how many concerts do you play a year?
Think the most I’ve done is over 120 in a Year, but currently, between 80 and 100, plus some for Fun 🙂 In the early Days I came to Germany more, as 2 members were German and living there, I think 38 ryanair flights was my record, But a little less nowadays, Just got back from My 3rd Trip this year, a small tour with Daniel Malheur, 2 Berlin, Hamburg, Keil, Lubeck finishing in Arnhem at the Emporium Vernesque steampunk event.
Are you on the road whenever you can? Do you prefer life on tour?
I love visiting new Cities, meeting new people and I feel most relaxed on Stage, but at the same time, I value my Home in The Derbyshire Hills, where its peacefull, Green and Quiet, the two go together for me, and after too long of One I crave the other.
When I’m at home we run an acoustic night every monday in the Local Pub, which has its own brewery, and I travel around a lot to other similar nights just for fun, so All good really, I only get down when I can’t play 🙂
What are the next steps for BB Black Dog, is there maybe another album on the horizon?
We don’t currently have a stable lineup, so only doing a limited amount of Big Shows Live, We Should be at Leipzig WGT and a few Bigger Festivals.
Our 3rd Album is ready for release but on the Back Burner, and Albums 4 plus 5 are recorded and Mixed. The next release may be something quite different though, as a Story Based live and studio one off project, watch this space.
I certainly will! What other projects do you have going on at the moment?
We’re Building the Steampunk Records Roster up, Currently up to 14 Acts, with the view to cross promoting and booking each other, Although I run it with my Partner Karin, its more of a Co-Op for the benefit of All the Acts and steampunk in General www.steampunkrecords.com and the Phoenix Alternative Festival, promoting Tolerance, freedom and raising money for Charity’s
Jay Hadland, Karin and myself, have also taken over running quite a few Steampunk events in The UK, as well as helping out with a few more. I used to run about 8 a year plus a lot of steampunk Gigs, so have over 40 in total as organizer under my Belt, There are so Many more cropping up now, that we don’t run so many ourselves, but help others more. and events are getting so much better now, A whole experience, doesn’t seem that long ago, everyone was Happy if we could get 20 people in Costume to a gig
I’ve Always got too many things to do for the time I have, but its a good life and we have a lot of friends, and Fun.
Heavy Metal is a global phenomenon, truly global. Alas, the majority of bands most metalheads know about are from Europe and North America, with Sepultura from Brazil and the odd Japanese act thrown in for flavour. It does not end there, not by far. I guess a few of you will be surprized that there are Metal bands in the Muslim world, and excellent ones, really exellent ones. Metal is prevalent enough that Algeria recently hosted a Heavy Metal Festival, and after reading the article in the Guardian, I got in touch with one of the bands which played at the festival, TRAXXX. They are a native Algerian Death Metal band with a lot of talent on their side and they agreed to give me an interview. I hope this interview gives them some exposure, so please share it liberally on the web.
Please introduce yourselves, tell us something about yourselves
Hi we’re TRAXXX a death melodic metal band based in Algeria, the band founded the bass/vocal and the drum players (Omar and Mustafa).
Lead guitar (Yanis)
Second guitar & Darbouka percussions (Sherif)
Yes of courses everyone in the current lineup was in band before they joined Traxxx
How big is the heavy metal scene in Algeria?
Metal appeared in the 90’s in the black decade of Algeria bands are receiving more exposure now, as a result of their proximity to Europe. Rock and metal peaked in the 90s, it seems. This came at a time when Algerians were searching for a distraction from the burdens that came with their lives during that tumultuous decade.
“In the early days, we were only few metal heads and it was really difficult to get music but now with Internet everything is much easier.
You recently played at Fest 213, how big of an event was that?
We can say it was the real professional Metal Fest they did in Algeria. Not because we participated, because the organizer was very professional, even with few means they had.
They had brought two excellent bands (ARKAN, ACYL) from France and they did a great show. We didn’t have a metal fest since the last concert of Myrath in 2012.
The conservatives in Algeria do not like Heavy Metal very much (just like in Europe) have you personally encountered any hostility?
I don’t think so, TRAXXX has not encountered any hatred or something like that, we just don’t have, but it is still hard, since we do not have many organizers for events or labels who promote our kind of music.
It is so hard because we do not have the base for Metal here in Algeria we have to buy our instrument from abroad, mastering and mixing our materials from the outside. That is why the movement is going forward only slowly.
What inspires your music, what are the lyrics about?
Our lyrics are about a lot of topics: Psychology, politics, emotions, but mainly about the history of our country, Algeria.
What musicians inspire you?
Our music is inspired by many bands and everyone of us has their own inspiration, too: Metallica, Dio, Iron maiden, Opeth, and many Algerian and middle eastern traditional music. We are trying to mix metal with our traditional instruments.
When did you discover Heavy Metal?
Mostly when we was a teenagers between 12-14 years of age.
Have you already released an EP or album?
Yes did, and we’re working for An album which called Legacy of Chaos.
My dear Professor Elemental, how do you do it? Father of Invention, your previous album was already a masterpiece, and now Apequest… But I am getting ahead of myself here.
As I have pointed out in the previous review of Professor Elemental’s work, I am not much into hiphop and this has not changed, yet I was looking forward to receiving this album after the previous was so much fun to listen to. I was not disappointed. Not at all.
Apequest is one terrific concept album that tells the story of Professor Elemental donning his time travel trousers and going on a quest through time to find his orangutang butler/friend/companion Geoffery.
For this quest he has assambled an impressive array of guest artists supporting him, Steampowered Giraffe among them. The quest gets him face to face with knights, Dinosaurs, dystopian future dictators, alternate (and rather vexed) versions of himself and… Well, listen for yourselves. You will also be surprized by the variation in styles from track to track. The one in the dystopian future packs the most energy and the one in the Wild West, is very Wild West.
Further, Apequest is packed with references to various novels, movies and TV shows involving space travel, time travel and other weird things and is an absolute nerd fest! You really have to listen to the album several times to get them all. It does not end there: The rhymes Professor Elemental comes up with for the songs about his quest, just fabulous, he is a true poet of the modern age.
My personal favourite track is Tempus Fugitive but there is not one I really disliked.
There is no public footage of an actual Cthulhu Mythos ritual anywhere on the regular web. As you may have guessed, the Dark Web is an entirely different matter (Muahahaha!).
Dutch ALternative Rock band De Staat have produced a video for their song Witch Doctor which comes pretty close to picturing, what such a ritual might look like.
Actually, especially the end would go nicely with a summoning of Yog Sothoth, Nyarlathotep or Shub-Niggurath. Just take a look and enjoy, it is one great song and a phantastic video:
The third full album of Victor Sierra and the third I am going to review and this is getting ridiculous. OK, disclaimer, I supported the fundraiser, Victor Sierra is one of my favourite bands (and their song Mastermind is one of my all time favourite songs) and Commander Bob is one of my oldest friends in the Steampunk scene, but, when I listen to an album, I do my best to be honest.
So, here we go:
Go for the Strange picks up where Yesterday’s Tomorrow ended. The albums are not topically connected, but when you listen to one and then to the other, it is like one smooth transition from one classic to the next.
Again, the album is multilingual, again, Victor Sierra’s very own style is instantly recognizable, and with instantly recognizable I mean:
Unquiet Days, the first track, starts with an industrial stomping like the pistons of an airship engine followed, then a harmonica joins in and lays a tune like you only find it on Victor Sierra albums. So, after 10 seconds, Go for the Strange had its first magical moment and I was hooked. The song itself really stresses the Punk in Steampunk and addresses several issues in our society today.
The next one The Fall of the Airship Solitaria, goes into a completely different direction. The crew goes into „Full In-Character Mode“, introduces themselves to the listener as the personas they take on their airship The Hydrogen Queen, then they proceed to tell a story from the world the Hydrogen Queen is cruising in.
OK, before I get into details for every song, I rather stop here. I think if I tell you what to expect from the song, I might set you up for something you do not expect, because listening to music is an interactive experience. You may well receive a song differently from how I received it. It may well trigger different images in your mind than it in mine.
Go for the Strange is another grandiose album, it delivers everything I expected from Victor Sierra and adds something on top. I particularly enjoyed the songs that tell the stories from their Steampunk universe and then there is this jewel that made it straight into my All Time Favorite List:
The Shadow Company
The song is another one from the punk side of Steampunk, as far as its message is concerned. A motivational piece to do things your way. „If you feel your future is made of stone, just get up and leave your comfort zone.“
Your life is your hand!
Overall, there is less variation in musical styles than in Yesterday’s Tomorrow but Go For the Strange makes up for this by packing a lot of energy and more drive. This is a very energetic album in deed. The Hydrogen Queen is going full steam ahead.
Linguistic variation is significant once more with lyrics in English, French and Spanish. I really regret that my knowledge of French has deteriorated to the point that I do not understand what Atlantis (track 9) is all about, but that is my problem, not Victor Sierra’s.
To sum up: Victor Sierra have delivered another outstanding album, their best to date, I think. Let’s hope it will put them in the spotlight and give them the popularity in the Steampunk scene they truly deserve!
Go For The Strange gets 10/10 Zeppelins and the badge of honour!
The honourable gentleman, scholar, rhymer and all around splendid fellow Professor Elemental is up to something again. As always, his trusted side-kick Geoffrey is by his side… No, wait, Geoffrey has been lost in space and time, but let the good Professor explain the situation himself:
As a mad professor living in a tumbledown mansion somewhere in Sussex, it’s only right that I should have an orangutan butler named Geoffrey. Sadly, two albums ago, Geoffrey stole my time travel trousers and got lost in space and time. Now, it’s up to me to track him down. Can I find Geoffrey before it’s too late? And who is going to help me on my strangest and most exciting adventure yet? Find out in this unique Hip Hop album…
So, in order to get this album under way and find Geoffrey, the Professor needs our help. We all must stand together and make
our combined endeavour and shared success! Let us find Geoffrey! Let us enjoy yet another fantastic album by Professor Elemental!