Top 5 Opeth albums by Iris — Grendel HeadQuarters

Opeth will be releasing their twelfth studio album named Sorceress at the end of this month. I’m very curious about the album, and I will probably write a review about it soon! In the meantime I made a top five of my most favourite Opeth albums so far…

Click here to see the complete top 5: Top 5 Opeth albums by Iris — Grendel HeadQuarters

The Pineapple Thief – Your Wilderness (2016) — Grendel HeadQuarters

I know, I’m a bit late with this one, but I just wanted to write a review of this beauty, which was released in August this year. I also reviewed Bruce Soord’s solo album which was released earlier this year, but I think that Bruce is way better in his element in his band The Pineapple Thief.

This is a rock solid album, something you can always expect from this band. Not something that I would call 100% progressive rock, but the prog elements can be heard clearly. It also lingers to some post rock moments. I do have to say that this album sounds calmer than other works of The Pineapple Thief.

Gavin Harrison provides the drums on this album, and I have to admit that I didn’t “hear” it was him, which is actually a good sign! I start to appreciate his drum work more and more lately, because I was always afraid that he was that kind of drummer that has the need to fill up everything. Bruce is a good singer, but you have to like his voice.

The album starts with In Exile, which is one of my favourite tracks. The catchy drum rhythm and mellotron sounds make this song very interesting. Later on it gets heavier and more haunting. No Man’s Land starts with a lovely acoustic guitar and Bruce singing. Later on more instruments join and make the song more heavy. Another favourite on this album. Tear You Up is more up tempo and thicker, but it breathes the same atmosphere as the previous song. That Shore has lingering soundscapes and the calm vibe that carries through is beautiful. Take Your Shot is a real rock track that is very accessible and would do great as a single. Fend For Yourself is a more tranquil song that contains a wonderful clarinet solo by John Helliwell (Supertramp). The Final Thing On My Mind is the longest track on the album, and is a real epic. It slowly builds up while there’s a heavy haunting vibe hanging around like fog. Gavin gets enough space to show his talents on this track. Where We stood is an affable song to end the album with. The serene guitar sound also does the trick.

The complete album is a lovely package of songs that can be listened as a whole or just as freestanding tracks. This is something that is certainly enjoyable for a lot of people. Another recommendation from me!

PS: I adore the album cover!

***** Iris Hidding

  1. In Exile (05:40)
    2. No Man’s Land (04:20)
    3. Tear You Up (4:53)
    4. That Shore (04:36)
    5. Take Your Shot (04:34)
    6. Fend For Yourself (03:49)
    7. The Final Thing On My Mind (09:52)
    8. Where We Stood (03:46)

Originally published on Grendel Headquarters, my personal webpage! Go check it out and subscribe!


via The Pineapple Thief – Your Wilderness (2016) — Grendel HeadQuarters

Ash Ra Tempel – Le Berceau De Cristal (2016 reissue) — Grendel HeadQuarters

An album that was originally released back in 1994, and recorded in the year 1975. The music is made for the movie Le Berceau De Cristal, which was released in 1976. All music is recorded in Studio ROMA, except the title track Le Berceau De Cristal, which was recorded during a live concert at Palais du Festival in Cannes. The CD has a booklet where the complete story of the making of the album is written.

The album was made by two members of Ash Ra Tempel; Manuel Göttsching (who composed most of the music) and Lutz Ulbrich. Ash Ra Tempel can be categorized as pure German Krautrock. The music is instrumental, it’s vivacious but most of the time very lingering. It has its roots in psychedelic and experimental moments. Both Manuel and Lutz play several (acoustic and electric) guitars with effects, and Manuel also plays on a Farfisa Organ and EKO drum/rhythm computer.

This is not an album that you can listen to track by track, you have to see it as a whole. It’s exactly one hour long, which makes it quite a long, but interesting trip. First track Le Berceau De Cristal is also the longest one, and lasts almost fifteen minutes. A slow song that moderately builds up. Some moments sound haunting and spooky halfway through, while the outro is more placid. L’Hiver Doux is the second longest track, and is mostly one big but interesting solo moment of the organ. Later on more sounds start to occur, making it more spacey. Silence Sauvage is filled with a catchy rhythm and space like soundscapes that lingers through the track. Le Souire Volé is quite up tempo because of the firm and steady rhythm loop and organ. Deux Enfants Sous La Lune is just like the previous track quite up tempo and also has a steady rhythm loop, but with a guitar sound that prevails above it. Le Songe D’or is more serene compared to the previous songs and reminds me a bit of the first track. Le Diable Dans La Maison is the shortest track, and also the most inimitable. There are a lot of spacey sounds and things happening. Last song …Et Les Fantômes Rêvent Aussi carries a nice atmosphere. It’s a more calmer track and there isn’t too much happening. It gives you a certain mellow feeling.

This is something you would listen to on the background, and still it sucks you into the swirling psychedelic world. I haven’t seen the movie where this music is made for, but I think that the music has been very important for this movie. If you don’t like krautrock and psychedelic music with tedious moments, then this is something you probably avoid, but I do recommend to listen to this album at least once. It also feels very “time bound”, but I’m a big fan of a lot of (experimental and psychedelic) music that was made back in the seventies.

****+ Iris Hidding

  1. Le Berceau De Cristal (14:16)
  2. L’Hiver Doux (12:51)
  3. Silence Sauvage (5:53)
  4. Le Souire Volé (6:07)
  5. Deux Enfants Sous La Lune (6:37)
  6. Le Songe D’Or (4:27)
  7. Le Diable Dans La Maison (2:56)
  8. …Et Les Fantômes rêvent Aussi (7:07)

Originally posted on Grendel Headquarters, my personal webpage! Go check it out and subscribe!

via Ash Ra Tempel – Le Berceau De Cristal (2016 reissue) — Grendel HeadQuarters

Honourable Mention: Incredible Expanding Mindf**k (I.E.M.) — Grendel HeadQuarters

We all know that Steven Wilson is a musical centipede when it comes to making and producing music. Porcupine Tree, no-man, Bass Communion, just to name a few… But have you ever heard about his project named Incredible Expanding Mindf**k?

via Honourable Mention: Incredible Expanding Mindf**k (I.E.M.) — Grendel HeadQuarters

Iris Interviews: Asger Mygind of VOLA — Grendel HeadQuarters

The band VOLA will release their debut album named Inmazes in September 2016. They already released an EP named Homesick Machinery back in 2008, and released Inmazes digitally in 2015, but Mascot Label Group decided to give the album a proper re-release. I interviewed Asger Mygind, the guitarist and lead vocalist of VOLA, in July. We talk about their debut album, how the album was recorded, and about their upcoming tour.

Iris: You’re about to release your debut album Inmazes in September 2016. Is it just me having a deja vu, or was the same album released earlier, back in the year 2015?

Asger: Yes, it was released earlier. That was because we released it ourselves the first time around 2015 because we didn’t have a contract with a label. We tried to send it out to a couple of labels, but we didn’t get a lot of feedback, so we decided to do it ourselves. We released it in February 2015. Later on we were approached by Mascot Label Group, and they wanted to rerelease it, and we agreed.

Continue reading “Iris Interviews: Asger Mygind of VOLA — Grendel HeadQuarters”

Must have album: John Wesley – a way you’ll never be (2016) — Grendel HeadQuarters

A new studio album by the one and only John Wesley. His eighth it seems, while he also worked (and still works) with a lot of different artists/bands as guest or tour musician. Busy guy! I really like his previous studio album named Disconnect, so I was very curious about this one!

The album contains ten tracks and is almost one hour long. John Wesley plays the guitars and provides the lead vocals. The present bass sound is something I quite like, thanks to Sean Malone, and Mark Prator is responsible for the drums & percussion. There’s a special dark grunge undertone in most of the tracks, which I really like a lot, and it’s still “proggy” enough for the die-hard prog rock fan. The album carries the same vibe constantly, so if you don’t like that certain vibe you probably don’t like to listen to the album in its entirety. Luckily I adore that dark vibe. This is probably something a lot of Porcupine Tree friends will appreciate. I don’t say that it sounds like Porcupine Tree, but it somehow carries a special atmosphere that you can really appreciate as a PT fan. I think it’s because of some of the guitar riffs and sounds John uses.

It immediately starts in your face with By The Light Of A Sun. My favourite on the album! A Way You’ll Never Becarries a bit of a Rush vibe. You think the song is over after four minutes, but it turns into a long instrumental outro, reminding me a bit of the music the bandAmplifier makes. To Outrun The Light is even heavier and darker than the previous two tracks, and I really enjoy the guitar solo. The Revolutionist is a more up tempo track, and carries that Porcupine Tree vibe I mentioned earlier. You would think that Nada is a song that is less heavy than the other ones, but the intro puts you on the wrong track. Another pearl on this album, with lovely heavy guitar sounds and solos, and amazing bass and drum solos too! This would be an amazing live track! The Silence In Coffee (love the title of this one) is a quieter song, but the raw voice of John carries a heavy load. The outro is beautiful and ambient like. Unsafe Space is an instrumental piece, and has that real grungy/bluesy feel. Sun.a.rose sucks you back into the vibe the album carries at the first tracks. Epic has some sort of Black Sabbath meets prog feel, and fades intoPointless Endeavors, which is the last, and also shortest track on the album.

Let me say that John Wesley is a very talented guy! I can understand that not everyone will like his voice, but it shouldn’t be something to avoid this album, so at least give it a try. I have to admit that  the album loses a bit of power at the end, but this is something I would recommend to a lot of people to listen to. A must have!

***** Iris Hidding

  1. By The Light Of A Sun (5:32)
  2. A Way You’ll Never Be (7:18)
  3. The Outrun Of The Light (7:07)
  4. The Revolutionist (5:57)
  5. Nada (5:41)
  6. The Silence In Coffee (5:09)
  7. Unsafe Space (4:17)
  8. sun.a.rose (6:44)
  9. Epic (4:51)
  10. Pointless Endeavors (3:38)

Originally posted on Grendel Headquarters, my personal webpage! Go check it out and subscribe!

via Must have album: John Wesley – a way you’ll never be (2016) — Grendel HeadQuarters

Backstage with Iris! Interview with Sand Snowman! — Grendel HeadQuarters

The sixth episode of Backstage with Iris! Interview with Gavan Kearney, better known as Sand Snowman! Gavan Kearney made a lot of beautiful albums under the name Sand Snowman. He’s also an artist who makes wonderful artwork. Iris and Gavan talk about his music, his art, his collaboration with Steven Wilson, why he came up with the […]

via Backstage with Iris! Interview with Sand Snowman! — Grendel HeadQuarters

Backstage with Iris! Interview with Darrel Treece-Birch! — Grendel HeadQuarters

The fifth episode of Backstage with Iris! Interview with Darrel Treece-Birch!! Darrel is the keyboardist of the bands Nth Ascension and Ten, but released his solo album named No More Time this month. Iris and Darrel talk about his solo album, how he joined the bands Ten & Nth Ascension, and more! A long, interesting, and also […]

via Backstage with Iris! Interview with Darrel Treece-Birch! — Grendel HeadQuarters