FARMIKOS – Farmikos (2015)
Earlier last year, we presented exclusively on the blog the advanced digital singles from FARMIKOS, the new L.A. based band founded former Ozzy Osbourne and David Lee Roth guitarist Joe Holmes together with Laidlaw’s singer Robbie Locke.
Now Farmikos are releasing their self-titled debut featuring ten original songs penned by Holmes / Locke, with writing contributions on eight songs by Brent Hoffort of My Own Machine fame.
FARMIKOS is Joe Holmes’ first venture under his own flag since first attaining local notoriety with Terriff, an L.A. band he formed after taking guitar lessons as a teenager from none other than original Ozzy axeman, Randy Rhoads.
Holmes eventually went on to replace Jason Becker on the 1991 David Lee Roth ‘A Lil’ Ain’t Enough’ world tour. In the middle Nineties, Holmes was brought to the attention of Ozzy Osbourne who was looking for a new guitarist to take over Zakk Wylde’s spot for the ‘Ozzmosis’ album touring cycle.
I still remember attending to an Ozzy show in 1995, waiting for the crazy Zakk Wylde to appear on stage. It never happened… instead we were flashed by a monster (but incredibly clean) wall of guitars coming out from this (at the moment) unknown dude to me : Joe Holmes.
Owner of a terrific guitar tone and a polished technique, Joe Holmes will drop your socks off.
Fans of soaring shouting vocals, blistering hard rockin’ guitars, heavy bass grooves, precision drumming, finely crafted songs & top notch production / mixing will love this album.
Recorded at the Mouse House in Pasadena, CA, with engineer/mixer Rich Mouser (Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic), the album features Metallica’s Robert Trujillo on bass and Bad Religion’s Brooks Wackerman on drums, alongside guest appearances by Skindred’s Benji Webbe, Mass’ hard rockers drummer Ken Schalk, and Hoffort itself on a kicking guitar solo.
On opener “Scapegoat”, the song builds for a bit before Joe & Trujillo trade chugging riffs. Robbie really pushes his vocal cords to the limit on this song while showcasing his range. You hear elements of Chris Cornell and Robert Plant in his vocals, but he has one of the most unique voices in Rock or Metal today. “Scapegoat” is the perfect opener as it just full-throttle from start to finish and really sets the tone for the majority of the CD. Joe rips one helluva blistering solo announcing with vengeance he deserved his own band.
Up next is one of my favorite songs on the album, “Am I One”. Opening with a bluesy run atop of some subtle rhythm guitar, it slowly gains momentum before locking into a hypnotic groove.
“Kings Of Dust” finds the band slowing things down a bit. I especially dig the vocal breakdown that finds Robbie using a deeper register for the mellow effect before Joe kicks in with a blazing solo.
“The Spoon And Sun” kicks things back up a notch going through several tempo changes and moods. An interesting track follows: “Fragile” with Robbie dueting with Skidred’s Benji Webbe. I will be the first to admit that I am not familiar with Benji but his delivery is very interesting. The Middle Eastern vocals that start and end the song are very cool.
The sludgy groove of “The Sound Of My Gun” is built around the vocals, but it’s Holmes who lays down my favorite solo of the album.
Do not let the Sabbath-like intro fool you as “Ascension” picks up the pace. A fast paced rocker indeed that should go over great live. Joe throws down another scorching solo before Robbie brings things down a bit vocally at the end.
Robbie really channels his inner Robert Plant on the verses of “Exit Stencils”. I like how the bass is up in the mix on this track and Joe’s outro solo should have shredheads rejoicing.
We have come to the final song and Farmikos throws us a curveball with a purely acoustic number entitled “Facing East”. Just Holmes & Locke with an acoustic guitar and lights down vibe, very Zeppelin-esque that shows another Farmikos side. A nice way to end such a rocking album.
I can’t rave enough about Rich Mouser’s production & mix on this album. In “Farmikos” everything blends together just perfectly. While edited digitally, the fact it was recorded on two-inch analog tape is evident in the warmth of the recording of each performance. Nothing gets buried and the parts that need to shine, do.
If you dig Hard Rock with a touch of Metal where the singer can cut loose or lay back vocally with a dynamic range, lush melodies, an awesome guitar work with blistering riffs / hot solos and an airtight rhythm section, then Farmikos’ debut album should be right up your alley.
01 – Scapegoat
02 – Am I One
03 – Kings Of Dust
04 – Spoon And Sun
05 – Fragile
06 – The Sound Of My Gun
07 – Ascension
08 – I Was Them
09 – Exit Stencils
10 – Facing East
Joe Holmes (ex- Ozzy Osbourne, David Lee Roth) – Guitars
Robbie Locke (Laidlaw) – Vocals
Robert Trujillo (Metallica, Infectious Grooves) – Bass
Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion) – Drums
Ken Schalk (Mass) – Drums
Brent Hoffort – Guitars on “Kings Of Dust”
Benji Webbe – Vocals on “Fragile”
BUY IT !