Masheena Premiere “Looks Like a Man” Video; West Coast Hard Rock Out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on September 5th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Norwegian heavy rockers Masheena released their debut album, West Coast Hard Rock, this past Friday, Sept. 1, through Majestic Mountain Records. From the heavy hotbed of Bergen — home to, among others, Enslaved, Slomosa, Strange Horizon, Green Sky Accident, Bismarck, Kryptograf, Melt Motif, on and on across a range of genres — the four-piece of Luis-Alberto SalomonTarjei A. Heggernes (formerly Lost at Last), drummer Gerhard “Armagedda” Herfindal (ex-Immortal, I, etc.) and Ole Andre “El Mago” Farstad (Abbath) offer eight tracks in a 35-minute salvo of immediately-pro-shop performance and production.

The latter was helmed by producer Iver Sandøy (also drums/vocals in Enslaved), and when you add in a mix/master by thrice-over Clutch producer Machine, the output sounds as clear, sharp and full as any larger-scale, commercially relevant offering, without necessarily being that thing. In terms of general sound, one might recognize elements of latter-day Alice in Chains in Masheena tracks like “Under the Same Sun,” the semi-acoustic harmonies in “Looks Like a Man” (video premiere below) and the more-acoustic-but-still-not-completely-unplugged “Sun Remains” on side B, where the early vocals lug a Jerry Cantrell-esque burden.

That is only part of the conversation Masheena are having, however. Being on Norway’s west coast, they’re positioning themselves in terms of place and giving name to the varied style they show throughout these songs, richly melodic, able to be huge or intimate, deep-toned but accessible in its structure and presentation. From the hooky launch of opener “1979” — not a Smashing Pumpkins cover, thankfully; the PR wire tagged it as KISS-meets-Sabbath and I ain’t arguing — they’re also speaking to a sense of Gen-X nostalgia in rock and roll and communing with various aspects of American West Coast rock, from desert heavy and grunge to the sitar-laced psych flourish of “Where Are You Now,” engaging modernity in the lyrics of “Five Seconds of Fame” while at the same time tapping into a rocker strut of a lead line that becomes an increasingly spacious solo as the band gallops through the “Okay/It’s okay” reassurance in the back half, double-kick drum providing extra push and maybe showing some of the band’s metallic roots in making that choice, but not interrupting the flow or putting aggressive elements where the songs don’t want them.

Side A’s got hooks. Side B’s got hooks.masheena west coast hard rock Rest assured, here be hooks. West Coast Hard Rock isn’t trying to challenge its audience so much as carry it, and as broad as the layered chorus of “Under the Same Sun” is, Masheena never come remotely close to losing themselves or meandering from their purpose in craft. True, starting off with “1979” carries some risk in alienating post-Millennial heads, but (1:) that’ll last about as long as it takes to press play on the record and (2:) it’s likely honest to the band’s experience and what drove them to start this project in the first place, so I’m not about to knock it. And there’s a bit of burl in the repeated delivery of the title-line in “Looks Like a Man,” but rather than some chestbeating hyper-masculine trumpeting, the lyrics unfold a story about blacking out, maybe-murder, and the police investigation through its three verses as the electric/acoustic guitar blend gives a lush feel as they creep into the building chorus.

There, as well as in “Sun Remains” before and after the fuzz kicks in, in the breadth of the finale’s later reaches and in the relative thrust of the three-and-a-half-minute “Remember the Rain” just before, Masheena‘s songs are extroverted in their intention to affect the listener and loaded with aural details, little things here and there — the held bass note under the shuffle in “Five Seconds of Fame,” or the vocal arrangements in “Under the Same Sun” and “Looks Like a Man,” for example — to be found on repeat visits, which honestly seem to be the whole goal for the LP. To keep you coming back.

Masheena would seem to have built the material accordingly. From Sahg noted below to Grand Magus to any number of other examples, they exist as part of a decades-long history of Scandinavian heavy rock acts comprised of dudes from extreme metal outfits, but that’s only part of the story here. In concept, Masheena have more in common with their Motorpsycho-adacent countrymen Spidergawd, in that the material is straightforward on its face, still has an atmosphere — sun’s out, if you couldn’t tell — and rocks in such a way as to remind one that that’s all it needs to do when done well enough, which it is.

That’s probably more than one would reasonably ask of a newer band, even considering the context of pedigree/production, and they still get there in impressive and inviting fashion, with a batch of songs that are dynamic up to the last moments of “Where Are You Now,” with a heavy-prog roll and consuming, weighted, spacious and crashing outreach. It’ll probably be a few years before they follow it up, and when they do, it will be exciting to see how they grow their approach since four of these tracks — I’m going with side A — were from their initial demo, but West Coast Hard Rock sets its standard for longevity, and might just have delivered it. I’ll let you know in half a decade. Ha.

Video for “Looks Like a Man” premieres below, followed by more from the PR wire. Please enjoy:

Masheena, “Looks Like a Man” video premiere

Masheena on “Looks Like a Man”:

This video was shot over three hectic days on location in the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. Shot, directed and edited by New York -based director Lex Lukas, and video features members from Bergen’s Lovebugs and local rapper El Tampa.

In this video we follow the misadventures of former Austrian police detective Franz Hölzer (@derkommisarfranz) trying to solve a case and keep himself together in a tropical paradise. In between pristine beaches, lush tropical vegetation and pool parties we witness his failed interactions with locals, tourists and expats alike.

Video for the track “Looks Like A Man” from the album “West Coast Hard Rock” out on @majesticmountainrecords (vinyl) @TalonRecordsUSA (CD and cassette) Evil Noise Recordings (cassette) and on all digital platforms. Filmed and Edited by @LexLukas1 / @OutDuhBoxMedia. Story by Masheena and Lex Lukas. Featuring performances by @eltampa7133 and @norwegianlovebugs. Filmed on location in The Dominican Republic.

In 2021, Luis-Alberto Salomon started sharing demos with his longtime friend Tarjei A. Heggernes. Before Masheena, Luis had been a vocal and instrumental cornerstone in Royal Rooster, while Tarjei played bass and drove the rhythm for Lost at Last. Seeing the potential in the demos, Tarjei jumped on board, and also roped in Gerhard Herfindal, better known as Armagedda; A legendary drummer, who has played with formidable acts such as Immortal, I, and Demonaz. The ensemble was completed with the inclusion of Luis’s friend, multi-instrumentalist Ole Andre Farstad aka “El Mago”, current lead guitarist for Abbath.

The group soon decided to form a band, and the raw mixes of their initial four songs, originally slated to form an EP, piqued the interest of the revered label Majestic Mountain Records. Impressed with the sound, the label urged the band to develop a full-length album.

The recording sessions took place at Solslottet Studio in the band’s hometown of Bergen, Norway, with the assistance of another long-time friend, the award-winning producer and Enslaved drummer, Iver Sandøy. For the crucial process of mixing and mastering, they turned to the industry titan known as Machine. As a Clutch fan, Tarjei relished the opportunity to collaborate with the wizard who had shaped the sound of legendary albums like Blast Tyrant and Earth Rocker.

Regarding the album’s title and artwork, Tarjei aka “El Profesor” provides an insight: “Bergen is renowned for its diverse musical genres, from Black Metal to Tropical House. However, the west coast of Norway has always nurtured a vibrant hard rock scene, boasting bands like Kvelertak, Audrey Horne, Sahg, Kal-El, and more. We also draw inspiration from the (US) west coast rock of the ‘70s, the ‘80s LA scene, and the Seattle-based hard rock of the ‘90s. West Coast Hard Rock! For the artwork, we commissioned LA tattoo artist Chon Hernandez, known for his work on Clutch’s Blast Tyrant cover. We requested coastal elements and a potential robot. The resulting hand-drawn masterpiece was nothing short of astonishing, exceeding our wildest dreams!”

Masheena on Facebook

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Masheena on Tiktok

Masheena on Bandcamp


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Evil Noise Recordings store

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Majestic Mountain Records Festival Oslo to Be Held Dec. 1-3; Lineup Re-Confirmed

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Usually for a fest lineup, I post one band’s player at the bottom of the post. Usually it’s a headliner, sometimes it’s a newer band on purpose, sometimes it’s just someone I check out who I haven’t heard before, etc. There are three players at the bottom of this post, and that’s probably too few. Take it as a sign of the uncommonly packed bill of Majestic Mountain Fest Oslo and the quality both of the work the imprint has been doing and its taste in general. Over the last two years, Majestic Mountain has emerged as a significant contributor to the underground sphere in Europe, especially Northern Europe, with a roster of talent varied in much but united in their ability to connect with their audience. One imagines it will be no different when so many of the label’s acts take the stage at the upcoming three-day festival next month.

This was originally supposed to happen in June, which, hey, sometimes a thing gets pushed back. Cool it’s coming together at all, given the scope of the lineup and the sheer logistics of getting so many schedules to align for three days (plus a pre-show) without the infrastructure of having already done so in the past. That is to say, I expect that if they do another fest like this, it’ll be easier the second time around.

Oh, and if you haven’t actually heard any of those records at the bottom of this post, you’re gonna want to do that.

From social media:

Mmr fest Oslo lineup

MMR FEST OSLO – OH YES.  It’s ON, folks!

Event page:

The time has come, Majestic Crew- After what seems like an eternity of delays and silence, we are finally able to announce the rescheduled details and final lineup for Majestic Mountain Fest // Oslo 2022.

The festival will take place on December 1-3rd at the (in)famous Blitz Hus.

We will have a killer kick-off party on Wednesday 30th of November at our favourite chill spot Brewgata with a live gig and a rad tap takeover from the mighty Nøgne Ø

We will also have a beautiful appearance from a very special guest, Mika Häkki. More details on that to come!

Visit the event page for ticket links!
There has been a bit of shifting to the lineup due to the new logistics so any previously scheduled bands you do not see on this year’s roster will appear in the next edition.

Thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support and excitement for this event.

Despite the challenges presented to us, we keep charging forward. This festival is truly a labour of love and will be one for the books.

We are absolutely psyched to see you all in Oslo next month and can’t wait to celebrate our incredible roster and you, our fantastic fans!

Majestic Mountain Records is psyched to invite you to the first edition of Majestic Fest Oslo 2022!

When & Where:

Pre-Party Gig & Nøgne-Ø Tap Takeover at Brewgata Oslo
30 November

Festival at Blitz, Oslo
1-3 Decmber

After a challenging year of what seemed like endless delays, we are finally able to let loose and run full steam ahead on a three-day riff fest of gargantuan proportions to commence the 1-3 December at Blitz.

PLUS a killer pre-party gig and tap takeover with the mighty Nøgne-Ø on Wednesday the 30th of November at Brewgata!

This is going to be a very special event with the best community vibes and killer performances by Majestic Mountain Records Roster bands.

We’re also proud to welcome a very special guest, Mika Häkki.

Join us in on the last day of November and the first weekend of December for heavy riffs, mega fuzz and all of the good times!

The MMR crew cannot wait to bang our heads and hang with you in Oslo!

Full day schedule coming next week!

Lineup is as follows:

Kal-El (NO)
Grand Cadaver (SE)
Saint Karloff (NO)
Jointhugger (NO)
Wolves in Haze (SE)
Häxmästaren (SE)
Bogwife (DK)
Void Commander (SE)
Laser Dracul (SE)
Tornet (SE)
Slódder (SE)
Signo Rojo (SE)
Masheena (NO)
Goatriders (SE)
Bismarck (NO)
CB3 (SE)
Satanic Overdrive (SE)
Draken (NO)
Domkraft (SE)

Kal-El, Dark Majesty (2021)

CB3, Exploration (2022)

Domkraft, Seeds (2021)

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