Gypsy Death Star

Gypsy Death Star
2With Halloween weeks away, one begins to visualize a creeping horror: ankle-deep mist making feet heavy, the footsteps of a friend growing farther away, an invisible cobweb clinging to the bridge of your nose. None of these house-of-horrors tricks is blatant. Fear is brought on by subtlety and a slowly growing atmosphere of gloom. Gypsy Death Star (GDS) knows this, and revels in it on its self-titled second album. Wyatt Hull and Cesar Augusto execute an album influenced by industrial droning and universal harmonies, suitable for both a midnight party deep in a thick wood or sipping a cocktail at sunset. “Trailblazer” sets an optimistic tone, Augusto’s eclectic library of synthesized melodies accompanying Hull’s excited lyrics. By the time “Jackhammer” begins, GDS has earned regular rotation alongside its debut How to Skin a Ghost, regardless of the season.

— Chris O’Neal

Available on iTunes and at www.gypsydeathstar.com.

 

T.F.W.

Valley of the Serpent’s Soul
3In the year 2000, the once glorious Metallica, led by Lars Ulrich, sued the predecessor of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, Napster, for copyright infringement. Ulrich thought that perhaps he could put a stop to progress, but instead hammered an embarrassing nail in Metallica’s coffin that ushered in a barren wasteland of metal to start off the new millennium. It’s a good thing, then, that we have T.F.W. and its debut release on Tee Pee Records to fill the void.  Valley of the Serpent’s Soul fuses the band’s unique doom metal with the crushing lyrics delivered by singer Craig Kasamis, managing to capture the lost spirit of hell that all but evaporated with the turning of the century. Take a listen to the epic “The Neurodyssey,” in three parts, and you’ll get the point. This is a band that lives up to its name.

— Chris O’Neal

Available at Salzer’s Records and iTunes.

 

Valpurgis

Self-titled EP
4Several months ago at Zoey’s Cafe in Downtown Ventura, gin and tonic in hand, strange pedestrians peeking in through the windows of the wind tunnel-like showroom, three young men took the stage. Long hair, leather jackets, guitars in hand. “Something heavy this way comes,” I thought, and was spot-on. Valpurgis wrecked the room, leaving the audience wanting. Lucky for us, the band’s EP shows a lot of promise for an upcoming full release. Inspired in equal parts by the rhythm of classic blues and power rock, Valpurgis’ EP delivers a veritable mix of thrill-seeking instrumentals in the aptly named “Heavy Song” and a slow, Danzig-esque space poem in “Cosmonaut.” “Shoot My Woman Down Blues” demonstrates Valpurgis’ refusal to be pigeonholed, reflecting a Southern-tinted blues blast from the past. With just three songs, Valpurgis’ EP shows a mountain of potential.

— Chris O’Neal

Listen to the EP at www.reverbnation.com/valpurgis or download it at www.soundcloud.com/valpurgis.