Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ouijabeard-Die And Let Live

High Roller Records 

Just the other day I was talking with fellow music-lover/reviewer/all around swell guy Ray Van Horn Jr. (whose excellent reviews can be found these days over at all how people don't fully understand how much hard work goes into writing. It is not that I am complaining as that is far from the case. The true joy I am able to take away from writing about music I love can never truly be expressed in mere words. As far as I'm concerned I'm living the dream being able to listen to and review good music. That is especially clear to me when an album comes along that leaves me breathless that, without the benefit of working directly with record labels, I might never have heard. By way of explanation Ouijabeard is a side-project of Dr. Ape. Yes, the same Dr. Ape that is the vocalist of Dr. Living Dead. With that said this is nothing like Dr. Living Dead so put that name out of your mind. Dr. Ape is really Andreas Sandberg and on "Die And Let Live he handles vocals, bass, rhythm guitar and all synthesizer work. The only thing that might tie this to his other band is the fact that Dr. Toxic (Dr. Living Dead's guitarist) handles some lead work. Other that that Andreas Sandberg's Ouijabeard is a million-miles removed from the crossover sounds of his main band. Andreas himself describes the project as such: “Dr. Living Dead is a band that I am involved in. Yes, that is correct. Dr. Living Dead is very important and so is Ouijabeard. I am Ouijabeard. That is no secret. Ouijabeard is me and a bunch of musicians that I like. This is a serious musical project. It is for real." Andreas worked alongside some great guest musicians like Blaze Bayley, Thomas Zwijsen, Tor Nyman, Johannes Wanngren, Christopher Hjelte, Sofia Bagge, Filip Geete and Olov Hamilton to create a soundtrack to his vision. The album's influences are said to be Grigorij Rasputin, 'The Elder" by Kiss (especially evident on "Curse of the Stones" which sounds like Kiss if Kiss had actually been a NWOBHM act), Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Seeing as I have listened to this album four times already since downloading it's kind of obvious I enjoyed it...a lot. The main thing about Ouijabeard is how dreamlike it all sounds. Opening number "Eyes in the Night" comes across as a little bit of B.O.C., Merciful Fate, Black Sabbath and The Doors. That is after an opening that equally recalls Led Zeppelin and Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain". At times you can taste the metal in the air from the likes of Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. The difference is that with Ouijabeard you also find yourself fondly reminiscing about classic rock's heyday and the way that 70's hard rock felt very natural. It's refreshing to find that this record is recorded in such a way that it comes across as vintage and modern. The album was written and produced by Andreas in such a way that a track like "Alexandra" (which is what Metallica was trying for with the track "Unforgiven") comes echoing out at just the right speed that a listener can't help but focus in. "Die And Let Live" wasn't so much an album for me as it was a reminder that reviewing music is first and foremost a privilege. It was also a reminder that for me music is life and life is music. How anyone can hope to have one without the other I have no idea.

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Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Appreciate the plug, Andy! Keep the faith as always, both of you guys.

9:14 PM  

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