I’d like to think dentists have a hidden agenda as to why they are in the business they are in. Let’s face it, they are in one of the best paid professions possible in society that doesn’t involve being a fat cat corporation figurehead or a banking tycoon. What could go beyond profiteering off of our health defects? Childhood trauma? Sadism? Teeth fetish club? Personally, my money is on that when faced with a biting power the size of Thessaloniki, Greece’s Jaw Bones, their immediate reaction would be to neutralise the threat, because it is scarily powerful. So dentists are keepers of peace by weakening the pearly gnashers we carry in our mouths, to quell any overpowering urge to crush with them. That highly fantastical musing aside, Jaw Bones are indeed a forceful and dominant outfit in the Mediterranean stoner scene, since their inception in 2006 and subsequent rebirth following the departure of key members, completely justifying their namesake. Their roots primarily lie in grunge a la Alice In Chains, but there’s elements of Tool certainly in their work as well as more thrash and punk creeping into their more recent material. The band have been hard at work on their debut LP for a number of years, but certainly solidifying their live status as some of Greece’s most exhilarating live performances in recent times. Supporting the likes of Therapy?, Clutch and 1000Mods is a stamp of approval enough on their license to thrill. Though their recorded output only so stretches as far as a three song EP, the potential tower of strength and wealth of talent is undeniable. Ego Tripper reaches the apex of stoner rock nirvana, with vocal harmonies touching that Alice In Chains nerve ever so gently, whilst taking the odd moment to descend into some soft funk. A Thousand Masks certainly is a far harder, darker affair, wearing that Tool influence with pride and calculating how to destroy everyone in its vicinity as efficiently as possible. Last but not least, Fear takes the band on that promised rampage, taking a flamethrower’s worth of riffs and torching its surroundings with white hot intensity, before incredible primal howls flatten everything still remaining. Fear? Damn right it’s fearsome. If the dentist story were true, on the considerable scale and vigour of Jaw Bones’ grunge avalanche demonstrated in just three songs, quite rightfully they should be in awe of their might. The best thing is there is more to come, and fans of hard rock with teeth to crush and maul everything in their wake should be excited by that appetising prospect.
The aforementioned EP can be bought from their Bandcamp page, in digital format on a pay-what-you-want basis, or physical format for a bargain. Footage of some more recent material can also be found on YouTube, courtesy of Contemporary Bohemians in Bulgaria. Go check their YouTube channel too.
How do you imagine what your dreams sound like? Or even stop to consider what they could sound like? The sheer insanity of mine at times compliment the eclecticism of my whole diverse musical taste, ranging from wandering around car parks, to being chasing by giant talking fish, to free-running around a shipyard made entirely of Lego, to being haunted by a list of the 100 creepiest Japanese girls in horror films… You get the idea, it’s pretty bizarre. However the idea of sleeping or settling to sleep is supposedly one of the most calming moods known to mankind, and as such, pictures a feeling of relaxation and contentment in body and mind before rest. Supreme relaxation in sound courtesy of Greek post rock outfit Sleepstream however takes this initial sentiment and heightens it with grandiose delivery. Specialising in orchestral-blanketed guitar journeys that unravel gradually from softer lullabies with a pinch of sorrow, to extended tremolos against a huge backdrop of sound, that capture the idea of freefall or floating superbly. A lot of post rock may transport you to another dimension entirely, but none will be as moving as the addition of strings to the core formula, of which the results sound far more human than many bands that have tried. Opening track of 2011’s A Waltz With The Seventh Crane, the melancholy titled You Gave Me Butterflies, I Gave You Loss, plays on the joy emanating from a person in the five minute tale, characterised by acoustic strokes, then combining it with the downcast nature of the other, brought to life by the introduction of the electric guitar and the largely more prominent violin and cello. Listening in on this embrace between star-crossed lovers, grants a sense of audience privilege and could almost invoke guilt at knowing these personifications of sound, are not fated to be. An absolute stroke of genius. Many groups can tell a tale, with or without words, only some of them can muster your emotional investment, but Sleepstream are a selective few that can make you feel the story unfolding and the drama touch the inner fibres of your being. The soundtrack of your dreams? Perhaps, but most certainly it is a cinematic landscape with such radiant beauty, it will stun but enthral you every inch of the way.
A Waltz With The Seventh Crane and last year’s They Flew In Censored Skies can be purchased from Sleepstream’s Bandcamp page for a reasonable sum, via Fluttery Records or from most respectable music retailers.
It must take some tremendous display of strength to form a band over 15 years ago, and yet still maintain the drive to create music after reanimating a project that long ago. But Greece’s Devil May Care have done just that, blending an enthralling pot-pourri of progressive metal with a kick of stoner and sludge, even some post-rock flavours at times. Sial, the first track from their Hallowed EP is a glorious warzone, bathed in an inferno, narrated by crunching hard guitars, a methodical drum attack, some luscious harmonies to illustrate an air of tragedy and atmospherics to heighten that emotion, all encompassed in a rollercoaster of riffs. Their musicianship states a great case for audio-visual storytelling, and that it doesn’t necessarily need to be indulgent, with some, but not all of their recorded output only just poking the five minute mark. The best part is, they openly admit they make music for the enjoyment of it, a sentiment some people should take note of. Their bite-size bursts of encapsulating metal are a joy to digest, and if it takes 15 years to formulate these masterstrokes, the mind boggles at what’s next in store.
The Hallowed EP and Meridian EP are available on the band’s Bandcamp page for a small fee. That’s the Greek band, not the German one, just be sure. I have no idea if the German band are any good.