Giacomo H. Boeddu: vocals
Francesco Raimondi: guitars
Massimo Perasso: bass
Andrea Tabbi' De Bernardi: drums
Bernardo Russo: synth on "Hypotesis" and "Flood"
Emanuele Eimani Milletti: sitar on "Hypotesis"
Giulia Piras: additonal vocals on "Flood"
Recorded by Mattia Cominotto at Greenfog Studio - Genova, Italy.
Mixed by Eric Hoegemeyer at Tree Laboratory - Brooklyn, NY.
Mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio Labs - Ann Arbor, MI.
Artwork and design by SoloMacello.
Produced by Isaak.
All songs by Isaak except: "Fearless" (David Gilmore, Roger Waters) and "Wrathchild" (Steve Harris).
All lyrics by Giacomo H. Boeddu and Michela Berzilli.
Published by Small Stone Records (ASCAP).
Formerly known as Gandhi's Gunn, Genoa's Isaak have risen through the ranks of Italy's stoner rock cabal to bring heavy riffiosity to the world. Honestly, there are a million bands proffering the same thing: heavy riffs, deep grooves, macho vocals, and a sound with one foot in the mud and the other in a bucket of acid. Isaak does it as well as anybody, with "Under Siege," "Isolation 2.0," and the massive epic "Hypotesis" (sic) bringing the bludgeon. Strangely, the best track comes from an unexpected source: the band's cover of Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild" (off 1981's Killers) simply slays everthing else in its path.
- Michael Toland
This Italian quartet's first release under their new moniker - hilarious album title and apt description of metal aside - possesses a formidably potent sound. Their raw guitar tones add new dimensions to their covers of Floyd's 'Fearless' and Maiden's 'Wrathchild' and there are grooves aplenty from start to finish.With definite nods to the likes of Clutch, the entire record is swept along by the melody of Giacomo H Boeddu's clean yet gravelly echoing vocals. This is good, wholesome stoner metal fun, complete with heavy bass distortion and anthemic choruses. All of the vital components are there, but wrapping it up in a grimy garage rock package stops it from becoming too polished.
- Angela Davey
I’ve never cared for the term ‘stoner metal’ because I’ve never been a marijuana smoker. I do, however, like Isaak, a stoner metal band from Italy. Italy? WTF? I’m sure the Vatican is looking into this. Thankfully, Small Stone Records snatched Isaak up before the pope could stash them in a closet somewhere to be ‘bad’ touched by priests. These are some hard rocking, super groovy tunes and the Lemmy-esque vocal delivery is perfect. I’m not usually enraptured by a band on the first listen of an album but this one grabbed me right away and won’t let go. I’ve already listened to it twice today and if I wasn’t so damned busy I would crank it up again. These guys are a tightly knit machine of riff-tastic metal guaranteed to pound eardrums into a state of audible transcendence.
- Jim Dodge
Back in 2012, Gandhi’s Gunn as Isaak were originally known caught the ear of venerable U.S. stoner rock specialists Small Stone with their sophomore album, ‘The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound’.
The hirsute-in-spirit if not on chin quartet from Genoa, Italy, have since signed up for two albums with the label, and fans of fuzz (facial or otherwise) now have an opportunity to hear whether the newly expanded and remastered album makes the cut.
The group makes no bones about their deep love for Clutch and Fu Manchu, and certainly get things motoring along nicely with ‘Haywire’; the band has a strong vocalist in Hobo and a hefty rhythm section.
The band also knows when to change things up, following punchy numbers like ‘Under Siege’ and ‘Breaking Balance’ with the drifting intro and hushed vocals of the eight-minute ‘Flood’, which slowly builds to a thunderous climax.
The eastern grooves of ‘Hypotesis’ led the original album to a spaced out finish, but buyers of the Small Stone edition also get to hear a pair of covers get pushed into the red.
Pink Floyd’s ‘Fearless’ gets a 90-second trim and some exhortatory shouting in place of the original ‘disappointed parent’ vocals, while Judas Priest’s ‘Wrathchild’ is beefed up from the already fairly beefy original.
The final two tracks, ‘The Right Time’ and ‘Isolation 2.0’ both clock around the two-and-a-half minute and seem to presage a harder rocking sound for the band on their next album.
‘The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound’ is definitely an excellent addition to the Small Stone catalogue, and a sign of good things to come from Isaak.
- Andrew Carver
Italy is not the first country you would associate with stoner rock, yet Isaak hail from there and have previously released a couple of albums under Ghandi’s Gunn, but changed their name to Isaak last year. This was Ghandi’s Gunn’s second album which is being re-issued with four added songs including two interesting covers, more of which later.
One thing is for sure this album will shake your speakers, as there are some seriously heavy guitar riffs featured on the songs. ‘Flood’ sounds like Sabbath riffs jamming with 70’s Blue Oyster Cult, to produce a slow and doom laden song that kicks up a beat towards its finale. It’s a bit of a beast time wise too clocking in at over eight minutes. Mind you the ten minute ‘Hypothesis’ delves into all sorts of weird and wonderful sounds, be it a sitar solo or the seriously low bass notes.
Bands like Clutch and QOTSA come to mind on the opener ‘Haywire’ and the driving rhythm found on’ Red (The Colour Of God).’ The band also cover two rock classics, first up Iron Maiden’s ‘Wrathchild’ and to be honest bar the guitar melodies you’d be hard pressed to know it was a Maiden song. Nice to see the guitar solos given a makeover sounding suitably detuned and fuzzed up. Then we have a suitably stoned up version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Fearless’ and vocalist Hobo seems to have a ball on this one.
Likely to be one of the better stoner meets doom albums you will hear this year.
- Jason Ritchie
Stoner rock, Italian style.
As album titles go, The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound is a doozy you can't argue with, and it couldn't fit this band more snugly. Genoa's Isaak - previously known as Gandhi's Gunn (although they might want to keep quiet about that) - are cut from the same cloth as Clutch and Corrosion Of Conformity, leaders of the stoner scene.
Kicking off album opener "Haywire" with the gloriously guttural roar of a proud hirsute man-bear frontman Hobo (no, really - Hobo) leads his bandmates into a groove so weighty and diesel-scented, it could double as a monster truck. Basically, if testosterone had a sound, this would be it, as massive, swirling stoner riffs roll by in a pungent haze of smoke, sweat and beer.
Even their quieter moments - such as "Flood", with its hints of a Mark Lanegan insfluence - are soaked with an innate toughness and an underlying menace that threatens to explode at any moment. It's a call of the wild worth listening to.
- Emma Johnston
Ok, now time for the almosy regular Stoner Rock section, this time led by Isaak, an Italian band whose latest album "The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound" features 12 blasts of primitive noise, sounding like The Bags meeting Kyuss in a sleazy club, the whole thing bristling with energy and intensity. Straight away "Haywire" signals their intent, a nasty fuzzed guitar dominating proceedings as the rhythm section nails everything to the floor allowing the vocals to roar over the top, tight but loose as all good stoner should be. Adding to the fun are two covers, a heavy as fuck version of "Fearless" (Floyd) which works surprisingly well and a basic cover of "Wrathchild" (Maiden), which doesn't quite work, losing the energy of the original. That aside this is a fine collection that will annoy the neighbours and get granny's feet tapping along.
talian stoner rock band ISAAK have re-released this album with four bonus tracks “Fearless” from PINK FLOYD, “Wrathchild” by IRON MAIDEN and two new originals. This was originally released when they were known under their original name GHANDI’S GUNN and this album has been remixed and remastered by Eric Hoegemeyer at Brooklyn, NY’s Tree Laboratory and Chris Goosman at Ann Arbor, MI’s Baseline Audio Labs.
Vocalist Giacomo H Boeddu, guitarist Francesco Raimondi, bassist Massimo Perasso and drummer Andrea Tabbì De Bernardi really put everything that they have into the recording of these intense tracks. The band plays with heart, emotion and a sense of urgency that gets under your skin and gets you moving. The gravelly vocals, the locked in grooves, the wicked guitar playing, plus the heaviness of the tracks really give this band a top shelf placing in this genre. the record starts with “Haywire” and it’s a high energy track with classic stoner rock riffs, “Under Siege” starts with fuzzed phased guitar before kicking into high gear with high energy stoner rock, “Breaking Balance” starts spacey, but slowly builds up into a huge rocker with a fantastic groove and excellent playing, and “Flood” starts slowly and after a few minutes, the heavy riff kicks in and pushes the track into a heavier zone. “Red (The Colour of God)” is a fast paced track with huge drums and intense guitar playing added to the head nodding groove, and “Rest Of The Sun” is another heads down, rocking song with a cool groove, as well as”Adrift”. “Hypotesis” is a psychedelic influenced track with nice drums and a sitar.After three minutes, the sitar fades out and the song becomes a heavy behemoth. “Fearless” by PINK FLOYD has none of the gentle psychedelic sound that the original has, it is turned into a super heavy track with pummeling drums and a wall of guitar, “Wrathchild” by IRON MAIDEN is a heavy riffing version that takes the song and adds some more low-end and gives it a punch to your throat. ”The Right Time” and “Isolation 2.0″ are new songs and a fast rockers that have more metal riffs but still keep things grooving.
The second time around for this superbly named riff-fest from the stoner metal Italians formerly known as Gandhi's Gunn. Originally released just last year on Taxi Driver (full review in issue 38), It's now remixed, remastered, and beefed up with a further four cuts, including suitably fuzzed up, stonerrific takes on Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild" and Pink Floyd's "Fearless". If you haven't gotten around to picking it up on its original release, now's the time to get it.
- Bobby Bone
If you haven’t noticed, I am a big fan of Small Stone Recordings. At a time when a lot of artists are sensitive and singing about their feelings, Small Stone puts out nothing but albums that RAWK.
Isaak (formerly known as Gandhi’s Gunn) is a band from Genoa, Italy, that definitely fits the Small Stone profile. And before I even get to discussing the album, I have to say that my interest was piqued simply by the title of the album: The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound. I am a fan of both long beards and hard sounds, so combining them is even better. And just look at that album cover. A scantily-clad woman, a Tiki statue, a motorcycle, and dinosaurs. Tell me that’s not a whole collection of awesome. Now on to the music.
The band doesn’t take long to get you pumping your fist and moving your head. After Giacomo Boeddu shouts the opening of “Haywire,” the band launches into some heavy-duty guitar-driven rock. Seriously, if you’re not pumping your fist even before the halfway point of the lead track, I think the problem lies with you, not the band.
“Breaking Balance” is a great song if you love bass. This track begins with a bass line that would no doubt make your gut rumble if you were seeing the band perform live. It might even rumble your gut if you crank the volume and bass enough on your sound system.
And I should say for the record that you’ll want to crank the volume for this entire album. I can’t imagine listening to this album any other way than with the volume turned up loud enough for all of your neighbors (in the house, car, or office) to hear.
This band has a couple epic songs too. “Flood” is eight minutes of pure rock goodness. “Hypotesis” incorporates some Indian sounds and is a great combination of heavy rock and psychedelia.
The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound will be available form Small Stone on the 25th of June. If you’re a fan of Small Stone, you won’t be disappointed with this album. If you’re a heavy rock fan, this definitely belongs in your collection.
- Gary Schwind
Definately the best album title in 2013! Definately the best CD-artwork in 2013! That mix of old-school movie poster from the 70s and the dinosaur adventure is awesome! Plus Entombed and Mastodon shirts on the bandphoto. This italien underground Stoner Rock band released their debut for the mighty Small Stone Records. Churning riffs, elephantine grooves and raging growls is the info from Small Stone. And hell yeah - they are awesome! HAYWIRE is a great opener with a mighty Stoner Rock riff and punshing drums. BREAKING BALANCE is the first highlight on that record with the mighty groove and the great guitar riffing. And the vocals from GIACOMO fit perfect. FLOOD start with some silent acoustic parts and turns in the middle into a real heavy jam session. The 10 minute closer HYPOTHESIS with some Sitar guitars closing that record which got released in 2012. Now the re-release on Small Stone features 4 bonus songs. The PINK FLOYD cover of FEARLESS (great version of the song - very heavy!), the IRON MAIDEN cover WRATHCHILD (this song fits perfect to Isaak - great Stoner Rock version with perfect fitting vocals!) and the 2 new songs THE RIGHT TIME (good fast Stoner Rocker) and ISOLATION 2.0. If you dig Entombed and Mastodon and Dozer and all the other Small Stone stuff - support that great italian band! Awesome!
Being as I’m new to The Ripple Effect, I should start by saying that I’m a big fan of Small Stone Records and I’ve reviewed a bunch of their releases over the past 3 years or so. I don’t necessarily like everything they put out, but no matter what the band’s sound is, it consistently sounds amazing in the audio quality department. It’s always worth a listen.
This time around, Small Stone has re-issued The Long The Beard The Harder The Sound by Italian heavy groovers Isaak (formerly Ghandi’s Gun). The re-issue features 4 additional tracks and has been remixed and remastered by Eric Hoegemeyer at Brooklyn, NY’s Tree Laboratory and Chris Goosman at Ann Arbor, MI’s Baseline Audio Labs. Also worth mentioning is the kick ass cover art by SoloMacello.
Isaak’s sound is heavy. We all know the conversation; not quite metal, slightly spacey, kind of stoner, really just hard rock, etc. This is all to say that it is modern hard rock, plain and simple. Gravelly vocals (think Clutch, but not really, duh) and down tuned guitars lock in tightly with a driving rhythm section to produce a consistent album of nod-your-head worthy radio length tunes. The bass on this album is particularly heavy and really pushes the sound of the band. The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound (which in my head becomes The Longer The Album Title The Longer It Takes To Type) sounds very much like someone who is accustomed the sound produced by members of “The Bearded Brethren” or “Stoner Rockers” would imagine it would sound like.
The stand out track is Hypotesis. Dwarfing the other tracks running time at ten minutes and thirty three seconds, this is the track that branches into the psychedelic territory that I’d like to see more of from Isaak and some of their other Small Stone label mates. I’m guessing that it was originally the closing track before the re-issue and that is appropriate. If you listen to The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound with this in mind, I can say confidently that the first 7 songs are great tracks to roll a few numbers and burn the evidence to just in time for the mini vacation at the end.
So we’ve established that this is a solid album. Another assumption I’m throwing out there that the extra songs are there to fill out the LP. That’s understandable. However, I will stand firm on this statement: There is no reason they should have covered Pink Floyd’s Fearless. If you are a fan of Isaak, you might like it. However, this is one of those songs that should NEVER be turned into heavy metal. Sorry guys, but that is the truth. Hearing a cover like this in a live setting would force me to walk out on the set. Positively, the Iron Maiden cover is enjoyable and more in line with something I’d want to hear from them.
All in all, The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound is another fine release for Small Stone and hints at the possibility of more strong releases from Isaak in the future.
- The Grime
There isn’t much to say about this record other than, “it rocks.”
As clichéd as that sounds, it couldn’t be more truthful. This record, from start to finish, is a fun, rockin’ good time. Isaak (formerly Gandhi’s Gunn) have not re-invented the wheel per se, but they do what they do extremely effectively. They are a band that consistently deliver a heavy, rockin’ good time.
First things, first. I want to talk about the sweet guitar tone they have managed to put together. The more I listened to it, the more one phrase kept coming to my mind—“Garage Doom.” Isaak employs a blistering, raw guitar tone throughout the entire record, and man does it work. I find myself air guitar-ing and humming these riffs out loud along with the record. The record’s got raw, heavy guitars and massive amounts of distortion on the bass—what more could you possibly ask for? Oh that’s right, GROOVE. Especially on tracks like “Rest of the Sun” and “The Right Time” Isaak bring rock solid, motorcycle-riding groove riffs. Way too infectious, way too good.
The vocals were something I was afraid of at first. A lot of times when bands try to sing clean, it comes off really corny. The best part of Isaak is that they do have a clean singer, one I would liken to Shinedown (ONLY because I don’t know who else to compare to), only far less processed and infinitely more genuine. Isaak have a wicked raw vocal approach too, but it fits with their rough sound. The vocals are gravely, but there is a strong sense of melody present on this record, as well as an almost anthemic quality to the choruses. It’s a wonderful compliment to everything else going on.
More than anything, I think this record is fun. That’s a weird word to use when describing a stoner rock release, but I think its fitting. The band moves along at a steady clip, grooving and rocking their way to the finish line. This is a band that can be used as party jams or just good old-fashioned road trip music. Above all else though, they ROCK.
- Chris Centanni
Apart from coming up with one of the most witty (or silly) album titles this year, these Italians have been around for quite some time under the monicker Gandhi's Gunn, but now land a real coup by signing with Small Stone, one of the prominent labels for all things stoner and doom, the former being the band's genre of choice.
This CD is the group's second album, which came out in 2012 and get's the proper re-release treatment with four additional songs, a forgettable cover by Pink Floyd ("Fearless") and an abysmal rendition of Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild" amongst them. The Brits' in their early days are a plausible reference when it comes to the punkish approach of Isaak (take the short highlight "Red"), meaning that they step right into the footsteps of no-frills outfits like Orange Goblin or Fu Manchu. The band is not keen on virtuosity but prefers to groove, which can become tiresome at times, in particular due to singer Hobo's unimpressive voice.
With a bit more verve, the longtracks "Flood" and "Hypotesis" (an instrumental) could be everything from convincing power ballads across psychedelic rollercoaster rides to veritable epics. Vibrant leads and solos like in "Breaking Balance" or "Adrift" are too few and far between, conventional (Sabbath-)grooves and well-worn song structures as in "Rest Of The Sun" way too rampant. On the plus side, there's still the broad-chested "Under Siege" and the quick bonus "The Right Time", yet that's not enough to rank Isaak among the top acts of their field. The air is getting thin ...
- Andreas Schiffmann