PRESS

ALBUM  REVIEW: SCREECH: MAXIMUM ROCK 'N' ROLL: OCTOBER 2016
OWL (sometimes referred to as OVVL) are from Oakland, CA and have been honing their sound for some time now, playing heavy 70's rock (and i mean rock!) mixed with some psychedelic stoner jams. Think older bands like THIN LIZZY / BUDGIE / BLUE CHEER, and newer bands like WITCH / LECHEROUS GAZE / MAMMATUS. No rock band that is this adventurous can be described as being exactly like their contemporaries or the "classics," though. They tend to take a little from here, a little from there, and then put their own spin on it. Their sound boils down to multiple vocals and dueling guitars backed by a lockstep rhthym section , highlighted by one of the Bay Area's most ripping drummers, Clint, who just kills it in every band he plays in. The record keeps up the pace for the most part, which is something I like in my stoner rock. Favorite jams are "Cave Of Whispers," "Atlantean Key," and "Immaculate Misconception." (WK)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SHOW REVIEW: MANCHESTER UK: GET YOUR ROCK OUT: 12/11/2013
Finally, for Owl. Playing out classic punk rock melodies with slow teasing Sabbath riffs and churning out an electrifying performance perfectly gelled despite last min visa difficulty meaning bassist Melissa couldn’t play the UK dates. Luckily their close friend Velvet was at hand to step in. Weed reference from this stunning stoner rock group. Incredible Hendrix esque riffs euphoria and great atmosphere. Guitarist brothers Axle and Alex took turns to woo the audience with equally impressive vocals the stunning double frontman combo worked a treat. Alex’s back bending flexibility was amazing almost dropping into a full backwards bridge mic solo whilst Alex’s dusty bandana and golden shades were reminiscent of their sunny Californian homeland, punk vocals like Voivod, the thrashing drumming and sharp clean stops. Alex’s dirty vocals are like the psyched up soundtrack to 1970′s rock festival orgies. Evoked notions of Sliding naked in the mud seduced by a heady cocktail of psychedelics and reverb. Alex predominantly held front stage whilst his bro trashed about long hair and fringed leather jacket swinging over his guitar in a wild frenzy. Punk tick n till sings escalated with heavy funk breakdowns and slow doom jamming in such a unique and unusual formula that left the audience enthralled – it went King Crimson at times. Strong prog elements melt into psychedelic, with each talented musician playing complex solos and rhythms in perfect unison. Nihilistic theme with a “song about how much humans suck” delightfully heavy tune sounded like neighbouring San Fran group saviours. The set is heavy and gathering momentum like rolling boulders. They closed their set with a Jerusalem cover creating an awesome haze if proto nostalgia. I enjoyed the warm tones of their grooving bass lines and enjoyed the set – an amazing night of music.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

INTERVIEW IN SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN: 8/20/2013
If you've been to a local metal show in recent months, chances are Ovvl was on the bill. If not, there was probably an Ovvl member standing next to you in the crowd. But hesher, stop now if you've been taking 'em for granted. With a new album and tours on the horizon, the four-piece is about to be mighty scarce around these parts.

For anyone echoing the band's namesake and asking "Who?", the first thing you need to know about Ovvl is that three-quarters of the band are related. Brothers Axell Baechle (at 18, he's the youngest member by a decade; he plays guitar and sings), guitarist-vocalist K. Baechle, and drummer Clint Baechle were destined to play music together, though the band was only complete when bassist Melanie Burkett came aboard. Ahead of a busy day of filming its first video, then playing a show after, Ovvl paused to reflect on family bonding, Rush album art, and the action-packed months ahead.

SF Bay Guardian What makes brothers form a band?

Axell Baechle [K.] and I started playing music together when I was, like, 12, but it never really amounted to anything. A few years later, Clint had more time because he wasn't playing in eight bands anymore.

Clint Baechle We were all at our parents' house one Christmas. They had the songs written, so we recorded the original demo tape and released it. Lo and behold, people liked it. That lead to us getting the band together for real. Melanie saw us play our first show, when we didn't even have a bass player.

Melanie Burkett I believe Axell was simultaneously smoking a joint and playing riffs in his boxers on top of a Marshall stack. And I was like, "Hey Clint, I want to be in your band, man." I kept bugging him, until one day he was like, "We're playing shows next month! Learn the songs! Let's go!"

CB And there was no turning back.

SFBG How does being related affect the dynamic?

CB For us, it's great. I've been playing music with [K.] since we were very young children. Axell came along musically after I'd moved out of our parents' house, so we developed a musical relationship later. But what we have now is almost what you might call a telepathy. We finish each other's riffs, finish each other's sentences.

K. Baechle Finish each other's beers ...

AB Actually, just mostly that. There's not really anything else.

MB After we had done a couple of tours, the boys started treating me like their sister. Growing up with two brothers, it was an easy role for me. Although we're not blood related, we still argue like we are. [Laughs.]

SFBG Is the new album similar to your previous releases [including 2012's self-released Owl]?

KB This second album's more math-y. More intricate riffs, a little bit less diffuse.

AB It's a bit more Maiden than Sabbath. Less jammy.

CB More complex. A little less swords-and-sorcery. We've been recording it over the past year with Kurt Schlegel at Lucky Cat Studios. Kurt does a lot of live sound [recording], so we have a really live-sounding record. The mixing is almost done and it sounds great — it should be out before the end of the year.

SFBG What's the story behind the name?

AB I think it came from continuous viewing of the second Rush album cover.

CB [Agreeing.] Rush is the band that made owls badass for heavy metal. [As for the spelling,] we got a cease-and-desist order from an LA band called Owl, which was annoying to say the least. But we've been gradually phasing in an alternate spelling of our name, and we haven't heard anything from that lawyer since then.

SFBG Where's the tour going to take you?

MB Through the western United States for three weeks. Plus, Tijuana — it's our first time in Mexico. But we're really focused on going to Europe, which is slated to be a six-week tour. I think it will be a changing point in our career, getting a lot of new people into our music.

CB We self-released our first album, and I think we shipped more records to Europe than the US. We're looking forward to playing for all these people who've been supporting us.

SFBG Do you have a preference between house shows and shows at established venues? [Visit www.owlbrotherhood.net for info on house shows, including a Fri/23 Oakland gig.]

KB My favorite is Bender's — the best crowd.

CB In my opinion, nothing beats a great house show, though. Playing in somebody's living room or basement. I'll never get sick of it.

SFBG How does Ovvl fit into the Bay Area metal scene?

MB We fit into a few different genres. We've played shows with psychedelic, metal, punk, and rock bands, and those elements are within almost every Ovvl song. Most recently we played with Slough Feg, which was awesome — I think that was pretty much right on as far as matching genres go.

CB I think that the Bay Area has always had one of the best metal scenes in the world, and it's cool just to be a part of it, even if it's a small part. It's a fun scene to be in, because there are cool bands and the people here are really into metal and they're really into music.

SFBG Is there an Ovvl band philosophy?

CB Have a good time, all the time [laughs]. If it's anything, it's just 'Do what we feel like doing.' We play retro stoner metal right now, but if we felt like turning the band into a hip-hop crew, we would do that too. It's not about doing a certain style — it's about doing what's fun for us and what we enjoy most.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ALBUM REVIEW ON HEAVY METAL SPOTLIGHT: 2/14/2013
I use the phrase "rock n' roll" fairly frequently, describing everything from grimy crust-punk to swaggering, blaring death metal. This time, however, the band in question call up what is perhaps the most true instance of me describing something as "rock n' roll" in many many reviews. The album I'm looking at is the self titled full-length of San Fransisco Sabbath-enthusiasts Owl, released late last year, and filled to the brim with rocking goodness.


"Owl" is the sort of album which can be appreciated equally by people who are deeply into metal, and by people who dabble in it. Diverse is certainly a word which comes to mind fairly promptly - no two songs feel as if they are mined from quite the same vein, and I'm fairly certain that, over the seven tracks, the same vocal-style wasn't utilised more than once, from occult and smooth to a gruff, almost sleazy rocking wail, but at the same time, the record manages to offers a pleasingly coherent, flowing musical journey, through a vortex in time to the glory days of rock n' roll, and back again in the time it takes for the needle to travel across two sides of an LP. United by a blues-laced, 1960's influenced aesthetic, the album voyages through doom-bringing regions, and more upbeat sections closer to old-school rock n' roll as opposed to overtly falling into any metal subcategory, and a dozen places in between, all gathered under the banner of reassuringly crunchy, organic production. The self-evidence of the fact aside, "Owl" seems to be the kind of album which you really listen to and go "yeah, a band made that", as opposed to sifting through plastic-production looking for the soul of the instruments involved. The warm productions of this album certainly bring out the best in the sound, and the lead guitar, particularly, has a lovely golden hue, and a crispness... or I would say that if I had synaesthesia. I hope you understand what I mean nonetheless - my entire hobby of reviewing depends on my ability to conflate sensory information in a manner that people feel inclined to read. I digress, as ever.

To carry on the theme of diversity, the album really is one which offers a bit of everything - long, eerie extended drum solos that are tastefully constructed, impromptu Iron Butterfly covers, and considerably more besides. Everything which a rock album should have is, I can happily say, present and correct. The album ranges from psychedelic to ballsy, which is considerably more varied than your average modern metal record, in which bands tend to do precisely one sound, and only one sound. Owl come across at the kind of band who realise that a full length is an opportunity to do lots of different things musically, and that's certainly what the album gives a sense of - seven tracks of very different music. Since I listened to the "Stone Loner" 7" the band have certainly come a long way, and there is much more going on in the full length than in the conventional Sabbath-worship of that single - There was certainly a spark of spice in the bands sound then, and I definitely enjoyed the music in that style, but it's nice to see an even much more dynamic and adventurous sound - content to explore more numerous influences and directions.  The end result is a solid debut album, with some great hooks and extremely wholesome feel.

Music like this may well be the next retro-trend, with slews of occult rock and sugary, Sabbath-infused doom flowing past my ears with great frequency. Owl could well ride this wave, but in my eyes, it won't be cynical wave-riding, and neither is their music sugary. "Owl" seems like a honest, sincere record, and that adds a further layer to it's appeal. Rock n' Roll.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ALBUM REVIEW ON PARANOID HITSOPHRENIC: 11/13/2012
Owl is a 70s-inspired hard rock band from Oakland, California.  They're not a stoner doom band per se and they're not so much concerned with low tones or fuzz, but fans of the genre that fall on the 70s hard rock side of things will find plenty to get excited about with this band.

Dynamics is the watch word here.  The band is tight as hell (it's a family affair) and they're not afraid to show off their skills, the best showcase being "Medicine Mirror". A highly syncopated, even pausy, number that never loses but only gains momentum along the way.

"Glaurung" is a hard rock monster of enormous scope with sweeping Kirk Hammett-esque acoustic guitar passages interspersed between battering waves of fire-breathing hard rock.  The song even features that staple of early hard rock and proto-metal / arena rock: the drum solo!  I must say that's the first drum solo I've heard on record from this year.  It's a brilliant song and for all its 10+ minutes never loses the listener's attention.

Opening track "Gypsy River" and side A closer "Demon Ride" are shorter, punkier cuts that bite the neck and give the body a shake.  It's over before you know it.  They take no prisoners.  Short bursts of sandblasting biker rock.

"The Chylde and the Clowne" and "Snake-Eyed Goblin Woman" are dynamic and fun rock outs but the real highlight of Side B is the grand finish "Thunder in the Sea".  Just as rockin' and thunderous as the title suggests, the track starts out with some early Metallica-ish syncopation jacking the song up until it settles into the opening verse-chorus.  The song is like a runaway fire hose and threatens to get away from the band during the jam section, but they keep it together and make for some interesting music.  They even manage to suggest lightning about halfway through with guitars and keys.  Later on, feedback created atmospherics really capture the mood of the sea before the final jam out that ends the record.  It's a slower, longer cut but makes for a nice epic album closer in the grande olde tradition.

The Owl reveal a tremendous ability to write the big riff, which seems to pour out of them like spotlight and beer induced sweat, paying homage to hard rock of all eras, especially the 70s without suppressing their own individual personality as a band.  The best way I can describe their sound more specifically than hard rock is to call it prog punk and if you think that's an oxy moron and the combination wouldn't work then this band will make a fool of you.
 
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EP REVIEW ON 7 INCHES: 7/10/2012
Clint from Owl sent me his bands debut single on Magic Hermit Records. From the foldout liner notes these guys are based in San Francisco and he and his two brothers along with bass player Melanie Burkett are heavily into a complex metal/stoner rock sound, and pull it off in a completely sincere, technically perfect, altogether headbanging way.

A-Sides, "Feaster from the Stars" starts whirling in from far off in the distance with a messy echo'd feedbacking guitar. They pretty much had me when this crisp medieval guitar. They get that great in sync guitar sound that becomes almost synth and combine it with loud as hell stoner rock with speed. Lots of metal influences, not afraid to drop down low into Earth or Harvey Milk for a second, slow things down, bring on a rumbling windmill. I'm into how esoteric this is getting, the falsetto operatic singing and this mean kind of bellow...all with god damn sweet guitar playing. A hazy twilight breakdown right into acoustics and distorted feedbacking over huge booming drums. They've got this epic nerd sound nailed. Still being tough with that precise super effect sound, but there's nothing like having dueling metal Jay Mascis' going. Punch in the last part, boom boom then solo the hell out for 15 seconds and done! It's like the Fucking Chanmps with classic southern rock roots.

The other side of the sleeve is a flying skelton with a scythe? Get this already. I love that this gets really complex, not metal at times, but deep mathy licks like this. They don't ever take it to an easily cheesy place, right on that line and I would love to see this.

B-Side "Stone Loner", here comes the SF sound, psychedelic harpsichord, going right for those classical instruments because they are super trained D&D nerds but for music. The door opens on some sick guitar playing and drum snare rolls....whan you get a couple of guitars together like this there's nothing like that sound of a heavily gated distortion, so clean and layered like this sounding like laserbeams, headbands and mounstache's. Vocally he's got just a slight metal wavering high register delivery that isn't going anywhere near Iron Madien, but should easily get that crowd on board with this genius breakdown of smoke and harpischords, while getting the real technical guys attention too. Turning this up constantly and looking forward to the long instrumental parts because none of this even needs vocals. Hitting perfect changes, getting even a litte bit prog on this, if Arctopus is prog. Make a guitar with more strings, a 24 string guitar? That's the only way you're going to get over on these guys. On second thought I love the mystical vocals, exactly what you would expect and they dive right into it.
The liner notes are in illuminated text. Dense impassable lyrics, hitting every mark intentionally. Metal Hawkwind.

It's why I get excited still to get a random record in the mail, the needle hits the record and there's no telling where you'll end up.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EP REVIEW ON SLEEPING SHAMAN: 6/10/2012
If they weren’t so damn good anyway, I’d already be predisposed toward digging Oakland hessians Owl for the following reasons…

I like Owls, their rockin’ bassist Melanie ‘Manslaughter’ Burkett is one of my colleagues over at the galaxy’s greatest blog Illogical Contraption, and the A-side of this here platter o’ wax is named ‘Feaster From The Stars’, a title that, if you know your weird fiction – and I do – you’ll know is actually referenced by H.P Lovecraft in his story The Haunter From The Dark and is attributed to writer Robert Harrison Blake who was, in fact, a literary ‘in joke’ representing future-Psycho author Robert Bloch, a young correspondent of Gran’pa Lovecraft.

That crowd were always doing this kind of thing, marmalizing thinly-veiled versions of one another in their fiction, snickering at in-jokes and terrible pseudonyms thrown in for their own amusement….and for sad bastards such as myself to enjoy and revel in years after they’re all long-dead and buried.
Clearly someone in Owl is also such a sad bastard, which brings joy to my heart.
So, as you see, Owl were most certainly onto a winner before I’d even heard ‘em. Luckily for me, you and Owl themselves, actually hearing them only served to further endear ‘em to me.
The brace of tracks contained herein have a definite rough-arsed NWOBHM thing going on, teamed with a scrappy punk attitude and a low-tech proggy expansiveness that hints toward early Iron Maiden as an influence.

I detect definite Fancy Metal touches too, with the use of harmonies and sudden time changes in ‘Feaster From The Stars’ in particular tugging on my ear.
There is a real down-n-dirty approach to Owl’s sound that really gives ‘em an extra edge, non-typical almost garagey vocals and a real murkiness to their overall sound that adds a real appeal to the whole shebang.

B-Side ‘Stone Loner’ has that punk/garage ‘tude down pat, plus a hazy prog thing going on during the latter half of the track. ‘Feaster From The Stars’ is more of the fancy-NWOBHM side of things, but one thing that unites both sides is the grrrrrrrrreat playing from all involved – Manslaughter keeps things held-down tight on the bass-end, whilst the brothers Baechle – Clint on drums (also from fellow heshers Hazzard’s Cure) and Alex and Axell on guitars and vocals – take care of every other bit of musical business.
Now, mention must be made of the fact that Axell is 17 years old and shreds like a goddamn MANIAC. Clearly the boy is the secret weapon of Owl, deployed to add further awesomosity when needed . Those Baechle brothers are squeaky-tight.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EP AND DEMO REVIEW ON REVOLT OF THE APES: 5/27/2012
We’ve spent little time considering the origin or objectives of Oakland’s Owl, nor their connection to the mythological wisdom of their namesake. What we have done instead is spend time playing their weird, heavy music at mythologically high volume.

Owl is a strange bird, a description we think the band would be comfortable with, and one that is meant in strictly complimentary fashion. Theirs is a flight that takes place high, high, high in the sky, on a dual wingspan of simplicity and oddity. And each time we think a standard flight pattern of this Owl has been established, their direction changes – sometimes subtly, sometimes in a way that makes our head rotate in an almost complete circle.

Odd as Owl may be, odds are your initial head movement will not be of the semi-circular nature, but straight north-and-south. Their sound will be familiar, even comforting, to the sons and daughters of Sabbath - and perhaps even more so to the sons and daughters of the sons and daughters of Sabbath.

But it’s not just that with Owl. Appropriate to their Bay Area headquarters, the Owl flight gets even higher, as the band seems to have huffed the fumes of both the dead and the possessed that have preceded them. Indeed, the opening song on their free four-song demo, appears to quote directly from the early, teeth-rattling days of Metallica – bringing to mind “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” as soundtracked by “Kill ‘Em All.”

Uncontrolled might be one word used to describe the sound – though the last thing the knowledge of this Owl needs is to be controlled. Unhinged is closer to what we hear – a born-to-go, biblical bombast, a Sabbath-screech fueled for flight by the freaky friendship of Lilith and her owls.

All of these echoes of the past could be transmitted as pastiche if not for a particular power of Owl – one that we might grandly term with gross pretense as “passionate presence.”

The passiOn in this sense should be read as an emotion unable to be controlled, and the presence being the here and now of this Owl flight. The monolithic, metallic meditations of these mofo’s music worms its way up from the Glaurungian-graveyard of smashed vacuum-tubes, rising too high in the sky to offer bended-knee to the fierce riff-rituals of their forefathers and mothers, soaring with a sound sacred and profane at once.

Purely possible, of course, that we’re just easily entranced by wonton wah-wah abuse, suffering from a sort of sonic Stockholm-syndrome. Either way, that’s what we call a “win-win.” Brothers and sisters of the Apes, it’s time to fly with the Owl brotherhood.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EP REVIEW ON HEAVY METAL SPOTLIGHT 5/4/2012
The rather awesomely named Owl are another band from the San Francisco Bay-Area, and share a drummer with Hazzard's Cure, who I reviewed in the past. It's not usual for me to review something with such a short running time, but I'm quite impressed by how it sounds, and feel I can probably write a few things about it if I put my mind to it. I wasn't sure what to refer to this EP as, as I've seen it in some places as "The Owl EP" and in others as "Stone Loner". I've gone with the latter, as that's what the cover art proclaims it as.

What owl do is combine influences from late 70's and early 80's heavy metal bands, with plenty of Sabbath and Iron Maiden styled material, and to this very retro sound and add to the mix a thicker, slightly stoner-metal feel which works wonders for the musics distinctiveness . The band manage to sound very organic, with a sound which could quite credibly be a long-lost recording from back in the day, with production values and a musical style which really captures the spirit of those times. A lot of the music is, of course, very much modelled on the style of early heavy-metal, there are enough divergences to keep the EP interesting, for instance at the beginning of the closing minute of the title track, there are occasional slow, somewhat atmospheric sections which take a different path from the traditional riffing, and promote the band into the ranks of originality - there's definitely more to the band than being a "worship" act, which is pleasing, but at the same time, the strong, traditional influences make the two songs a fun listen. The opening riff from "Feaster From the Stars" for example is a fantastically catchy section, which is well written and has a really enjoyable tone. I expect it to be stuck in my head for quite some time.

The vocals have a lot of energy and presence, without being over the top - Vocals aren't my strong point knowledge wise, but they definitely have a bit of a Paul Di'Anno sound to them, but with a more stoner-metal, perhaps even stoner-rock sound to them. The production is pleasantly natural sounding, especially the drum sound, which really keeps it's percussive quality in the mix, but doesn't sound overproduced. The recording sounds really multi-dimensional too, with everything sounding discreet from everything else - there's no overlap of indistinguishable noise in the mix, which is something which I'd dare to say a great deal of bands end up having underneath whatever part of the music the listener is noticing at the time. It's very clear what every instrument is, and what it's doing, and above all, it sounds like the product of a band. It's cohesive and solid.

While Owl may not be the most unique, original sounding band I've ever heard, they certainly know how to make a fun EP - it feels very complete, and is all the more enjoyable for that fact. I've never had anything against bands which use tried-and-tested sounds, as long as they do it well. My ears tell me that Owl definitely do it well.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EP REVIEW ON BROKEN BEARD 3/20/2012
Oakland’s Owl, featuring a trio of brothers (the youngest of which is 17) and a female bass-ess who’s of no relation, wallow in that witchy downer rock of the 70s, and their new self-titled two-song EP is some shabby and vintage proto-metal fuzz. So shabby and vintage, in fact, that I’m convinced these guys just found this 7″ in their cool uncle’s attic in a dusty old box between some Night Sun and Iron Claw LPs and have decided to pass it off as their own, assuming we’d all be none the wiser because no one in their right mind these days would dare record something so sonically regressive. Both sides of this one, A’s “Stone Loner” and B’s “Feaster From the Stars” are an untamed mix of early Iron Maiden and Pentagram, the NWOBHM riff attack wrestling with the back end doom vibe for dungeon supremacy. You know, I kind of like it when a band trades in the pro tools for some tin cans, used mattresses, and bad fun.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DEMO REVIEW ON NO BEAST SO FIERCE BLOG 1/9/2012
Oakland, California's OWL is a 4 piece consisting of 3 brothers & a friend that channels 70's metal to a T. MRR reviewed this in their last issue and in it said their was a rumour that the lead guitarist was 13 years old when this demo was recorded! How bad ass is that?
OWL's music is Heavy Metal, no if's, and's or buts. No frills, no make up, no glitter. OWL is Heavy Metal. OWL is 1970's. OWL is a lid of dirt weed. OWL is a ten-strip of WindowPane. OWL is LEMON 714. OWL is rails, not bumps. OWL is Hippie Heavy Metal Murder Love. OWL is Occult. OWL is cult. OWL is HEAVY FUCKIN METAL!
Oh, and members of the mighty Stormcrow and Acts of Sedition.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DEMO REVIEW IN MAXIMUM ROCK N ROLL
This band seems to have come to fruition out of the NWOBHM lovin' sect within the Oakland, CA crust metal scene. OWL consists of three brothers and an unrelated girl, in cluding members of ACTS OF SEDITION and STORMCROW. Their guitarist who is truly impressive with those crazy solos - not to be missed live. I heard a rumor that this tape was recorded when he was... thirteen years old? I call bullshit, but if it's true, he's like a witching hour miracle. The recording has a vintage raw sound, and captures the band's late 70's, early 80's British influence. Same recording quality and vibe of the remastered PENTAGRAM demos or what witchcraft was going for by using only vintage gear. I think these guys might like HAWKWIND? Anyway, this is one of those tapes you flip over and over for days and get the riffs stuck in your head. Beautifully executed and well worth the $4 asking price. (Amelia)

No comments:

Post a Comment