Friday Full-Length: The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, The Mystic Krewe of Clearlight

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight (2000)

Hard to believe nobody has stepped up to reissue the 2000 self-titled debut and only outing to-date from The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, and likewise that some true believer heading a festival at home or abroad hasn’t convinced guitarist Jimmy Bower to play a reunion show under the weighty banner. Because even 17 years later, listening to this record, it’s as much a party as it is a collection of songs. True tonally to peer outfits like Spirit Caravan, Corrosion of Conformity and maybe even Sixty Watt Shaman in some of its Southern elements, the differentiating factor with The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight was the jam, and while the band may or may not have been started as a side-project from Bower looking to continue to scratch a groovier itch coming off his initial run in Southern metal supergroup Down, bringing on board Eyehategod bandmate Joe LaCaze (drums, R.I.P. 2013), bassist Andy Sheppard, fellow guitarist Paul Webb and keyboardist Ross Karpelman — whose organ work proves so crucial throughout to songs like “Ride Out” and “Trapeze” — they immediately made themselves stand out by being even more of and about their place: New Orleans. To wit, album opener “Swamp Jam” — as apt a description of their style as you’re going to come across — starts at a parade.

Let’s just assume that’s Mardi Gras, because even if it isn’t, it kicks off an absolute blast of a time. The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight was prescient in its incorporation of classic ’70s influences, and the dynamic between Bower and his cohorts comes through all the more as an instrumental band, since the jams just flow openly without the need for a rigid verse/chorus structure, allowing “Swamp Jam” to trip out in its second half, Sheppard‘s bassline holding it together as Karpelman‘s keys drive a sort of miniaturized Purple-tinged Made in Japan exploration. The tone thusly set, the band only pushes deeper into good vibes and heavy grooves. “Electrode” is the shortest track at five minutes and winds its way into some boogie, hitting into starts and stops that would seem a direct precursor for the kinds of funk Clutch would be proffering six years later, and “Ride Out” follows by smoothing its initial thrust into a slow-motion nod, the guitars milking every riff cycle for all it’s worth ahead of the aforementioned “Trapeze” delving into direct key-and-guitar conversation — not to mention the welcome advent of some cowbell from LaCaze. Also one of the more extended tracks at 7:25 along with “Swamp Jam” at the outset and 10-minute closer “El Niño Brown” still to come, “Trapeze” emphasizes how much The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight thrived in a longer-form context, and while they dip back into more straight-ahead fare with “A Fool’s Outfit,” putting some space between “Trapeze” and the finale, by then the vibe is so spread out that they basically can go wherever they want. If you’ve ever in your life uttered the phrase, “It’s all good,” side B of The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight would be a good reason why. Or side A, for that matter.

They had two splits out after the record, both in 2001. If you can get it, the Acid King split on Man’s Ruin is an absolute monster, both bands utterly on fire, and their let’s-cover-Skynyrd-and-we’ll-get-PepperKeenan-to-sing-on-it shared 7″ with The Obsessed on Southern Lord is as righteous as the concept sounds. But that’s it to-date, though a post just over a year ago on a seemingly official Thee Facebooks page read simply, “Riffs are being written….” and listed the band’s lineup as Bower on drums along with Aaron HillWebb and Kevin Bond (Superjoint, ex-Floodgate) on guitar, Sheppard on bass and Karpelman once again on keys, so who knows, maybe something will manifest. Particularly after revisiting the self-titled, you wouldn’t find me arguing. Let the parade begin again.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Next week is the Quarterly Review, and even as I’m signing off for today ahead of not posting tomorrow or Sunday, I’ve already begun and will be continuing to put it together as much as possible over the weekend. It’s 50 reviews this time, Monday to Friday. I could’ve added a sixth day again, but opted not to. Maybe next time. Probably not. For some reason, that extra 10 writeups made a really big difference in my head last time out.

There was supposed to be a Six Dumb Questions interview today with Doctor Cyclops along with a full-stream of their new album, but technical complications prevented it from coming together in time. So it goes. I’m sure as soon as this post goes live the embed code will come through. Because that’s pretty much how things happen these days. EDIT: Exactly what happened.

Anyhoo, that will be up Monday, in addition to the first day of the Quarterly Review, which is abbreviated in my notes as QR1. Here’s the rest of what’s on tap for the week to come, all subject to change as usual:

Mon.: QR1, Doctor Cyclops Six Dumb Questions, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard video.
Tue.: QR2, MotherSloth video premiere.
Wed.: QR3, The Whims of the Great Magnet Six Dumb Questions/song premiere, Devil to Pay video premiere/tour announcement.
Thu.: QR4, Here Lies Man track premiere.
Fri.: QR5, Lacertilia video premiere.

Pure. Fucking. Chaos. It’s gonna be a lot to put together, and I’m thinking about taking next Friday off work in no small part just to crash out after doing all of that nonsense — and of course news and whatever else on top of it — throughout the week, but yeah. That’s the plan. It’ll all work out as much as it’s going to, and if some stuff doesn’t, like that Doctor Cyclops thing today, there will be other stuff to step in and take the place of whatever falls out. So much music. No money in writing about any of it. No way to make a living off doing this.

Speaking of, you may notice the All That is Heavy sponsorship link is gone. Deal didn’t really work out to be that beneficial for either party, so we called it off. Just like that. If you managed to get 15 percent off an order, I hope you got some good stuff. Of course I still support Dan and his endeavors all the way and recommend ATiH for your heavy shopping needs happily.

What else? I don’t know. Roadburn’s coming. I’m basically counting the days until that happens, as one does.

Family coming north this weekend, which will be good. My sister and oldest nephew. Looking forward to seeing them both, getting up in the morning to work on Quarterly Review stuff, having good coffee and drinking it slowly, and generally chilling out, hopefully getting my head right and so on. Maybe watch some baseball. Weekend stuff. You know.

Whatever you’re up to, please have a great time and a safe time. Have fun, be careful out there and stay tuned for an absolute onslaught of music starting on Monday. It’s gonna be a marathon but it’s gonna be awesome.

Thanks for reading, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

 

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Rope Trick Release Red Tape EP; Touring East and West Coasts

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

After premiering the 11-minute opening track here late last year, psych-ritualizing two-piece Rope Trick have made their debut EP, Red Tape, officially available for public consumption. They’ll have CDs before the end of the month, and that timing makes sense since the Queen Elephantine-affiliated duo are set to tour between the Northeast and the West Coast over the course April and May. Wasting no time, they play tonight in New Hampshire and on March 30 are in their half-native Providence, Rhode Island (they also claim roots in Philly, where they’ll be April 1), in the significant company of Baltimore drone-wash joyspreaders Darsombra.

Dates and other info came in off the PR wire, and you can check out the full stream of Red Tape at the bottom of the post:

rope trick

ROPE TRICK: ‘Red Tape’ + East & West Coast US Tour Dates

ROPE TRICK, a new psych rock duo from Providence/Philadelphia, USA is supporting its new self-released album Red Tape with tours on both East and West Coasts of the US. They share the stage with, among others, Darsombra, Owl, Heavy Temple, Weird Owl, Aboleth, and Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, the psych project of Monster Magnet’s Ed Mundell.

You can listen here: https://ropetrickband.bandcamp.com. The album will also be available March 30th on CD, iTunes, and Spotify.

ROPE TRICK is the term given by physicist John Malik to “the curious lines and spikes which emanate from the fireball of certain nuclear explosions just after detonation.”

ROPE TRICK SPRING 2017 TOUR DATES
East Coast

3/24 – Rollinsford, NH, Sue’s
3/30 – Providence RI, AS220*
3/31 – Brooklyn NY* Don Pedro*
4/1 – Philadelphia PA, Shred Shed*
4/2 – Baltimore MD, The Crown*
5/17 – New York NY, Arlene’s Grocery
5/27 – Brooklyn NY, Cobra Club
*w/ darsombra

West Coast
4/14 – Seattle WA, Blue Moon Cafe
4/15 – Portland OR, High Water Mark
4/16 – Eugene OR, Black Forest
4/18 – Sacramento CA, Starlite Lounge
4/19 – San Francisco CA, El Rio
4/21 – Los Angeles CA, Cafe NELA
4/23 – Anaheim, CA, Doll Hut

Rope Trick is:
Indrayudh Shome: guitar + vocal
Nathanael Totushek: drums

ropetrickband.com
ropetrickband.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/ropetrickband
https://www.instagram.com/ropetrickband

Rope Trick, Red Tape (2017)

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Mirror Queen Premiere “Starliner”; New Album Due this Fall

Posted in audiObelisk on March 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mirror queen at the saint vitus bar

New York City heavy rockers Mirror Queen have a new single out ahead of a full-length currently being finalized for an October release on Tee Pee Records. Ever true to their city-dwelling roots, the band tracked the Starliner b/w Career of Evil 7″ in the midst of Times Square chaos, at Terminus Studios. It’s hard to imagine a more frenetic or overwhelming environment, but if that’s the setting in which “Starliner” takes place, one would hardly know it in listening to the track itself. As did their last album, 2015’s Scaffolds of the Sky (review here), the new track finds peace in a cohesive blend of progressive and classic heavy inspirations, filtering them through a modern production style — and yeah, just an edge of Manhattan crunch — to take full ownership of its sound. With a Blue Öyster Cult cover as the B-side that features formidable guest spots from Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars, Candlemass, Opeth, etc.) and Harald Fossberg, formerly of Turbonegro, they’d hardly be accused of not owning up to their influences, but neither are they beholden to them, the band emerging with an independent streak that is as much a conceptual part of who they are as it is crucial to their aesthetic.

mirror queen starlinerVery New York, in other words. And not necessarily the new New York either. Mirror Queen are a bit grittier than that. Tracing their lineage back to guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal‘s former outfit, Kreisor, and further beyond that to that band’s predecessor, Aytobach Kreisor, the lineup of Mirror Queen may be regularly subject to some flux — “Starliner” marks the studio debut of former The Golden Grass bassist Morgan McDaniel on guitar alongside Sehgal, bassist James Corallo and drummer Jeremy O’Brien — the band’s purpose has remained steady even as their approach has progressed. Scaffolds of the Sky did not shy away from its proggier aspects, and the new outing being finished at Flux in the East Village will reportedly follow suit (including an extended take on “Starliner”), but Mirror Queen never seem to forget the necessity of an underlying structure to their songwriting, and as they eye up the prospects of East Coast and European tours for this summer and fall, respectively, that should only continue to serve them well on every stage they hit.

Sehgal credits Robin Trower and Swervedriver specifically when it comes to “Starliner,” and you can take a listen below and hear that come to fruition for yourself. With a limited edition mirror cover and an included patch, the Starliner b/w Career of Evil 7″ can be ordered direct from Tee Pee at the link at the bottom of this post.

Hope you enjoy:

Trower inspired A-side, Starliner, features new Mirror Queen guitarist Morgan McDaniel (ex-Golden Grass). The B-side, Blue Öyster Cult’s “Career of Evil”, also has musical contributions from keyboardist Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars, Opeth) and Harald Fossberg (ex-Turbonegro). Premium mirror sleeve and pressed on black vinyl. Comes with embroidered sew-on Mirror Queen patch.

Mirror Queen on Thee Facebooks

Starliner b/w Career of Evil at Tee Pee Records webstore

Tee Pee Records on Thee Facebooks

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Atavismo Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

atavismo

Glad to see Algeciras progressive psychedelic rock trio Atavismo getting out in support of their second album, Inerte (review here). That record, still forthcoming with an April 7 official release date through Temple of Torturous and a recently unveiled video for “La Maldición del Zisco” (originally posted here) that you can see below, has been an early favorite of 2017 for me, building on the fluidity of  2014’s engaging four-track debut, Desintegración (review here), while at the same time fleshing out a more pointed approach. Proggier, in other words, but in a classic, patient and not-at-all showy sense of the style. If you haven’t heard the album yet — and it’s okay if you haven’t, what with it not being out and all — keep it in mind. You should hear it.

I know I’ve said that before. Hard to imagine this will be the last time I say it either. Some points are worth reiterating. In any case, Atavismo‘s upcoming Euro run through Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium and maybe the Netherlands has a few dates open, and if you’re in that part of the world and can help them out, well, do that.

From the social medias:

atavismo euro tour

ATAVISMO EUROPEAN TOUR

Full of happiness for announcing this Tour Poster, lots of working behind it and not only from us (the design is amazing, thanks again Antonio Ramírez).

THANKS TO EVERYONE who has helped us to book some shows (still some of them TBA), your support has been incommensurable. We love you with all our hearts. This wish has become true.

14.04 El Perro Club Madrid ES
15.04 Inferno Pamplona / Iruna ES
16.04 Sala Shake Bilbao ES
18.04 Tiefgrund Berlin DE
20.04 Immerhin Wurzburg DE
21.04 Villa Nachttanz Heidelberg DE
22.04 Rock Pub Moskva Bilina CZ
23.04 TBA CZ or DE
25.04 The Mix ArtsSense Brussels BE
26.04 TBA NL or BE
27.04 Bombardon Gent BE
28.04 Jam Club Koblenz DE
29.04 TBA FR
30.04 Rocksound Barcelona ES

ATAVISMO are:
Poti: Guitar and vocals
Sandra: Drums and vocals
Mateo: Bass and vocals

https://www.facebook.com/Atavismo-233096556878903/
https://atavismo.bandcamp.com/
http://templeoftorturous.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ToTRecords/

Atavismo, “La Maldición del Zisco” official video

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Succopuss Premiere “Back in Hell” Video; Self-Titled EP out March 31

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

succopuss

It starts out innocently enough — easy taps on the ride cymbal, a smoky, bluesy, Mark Lanegan-style vocal delivery — smooth in its inclusion of sax, in its tone and overall execution. But the song is called “Back in Hell,” so you you know trouble’s not far off, and indeed, Vienna duo Succopuss raise a bit of it before they’re through. The song comes from their upcoming StoneFree Records self-titled EP, set to release March 31 as a limited four-song 10″ vinyl. Heavy blues is the foundation but not necessarily the limit of what vocalist/guitarist Tobias Paul and drummer Krystof Hümer bring to bear in the track, and from the classic reefer-in-the-dancehall feel of the transition to the chorus to the deceptively thick guitar push that serves as payoff, “Back in Hell” plays cleverly around notions of sonic heft throughout its six-plus minutes.

As to how “Back in Hell” might stand in line with its companion cuts “Succopuss,” “Death Groove” and “Black Flash,” I don’t know as I haven’t heard the full release, but “Black Flash” and maybe the eponymous opener (though it was spelled differently) could also be found on the band’s 2013 debut full-length, Austrian Power Kush, albeit in much rawer form. Much rawer. Like garage rock. Maybe that vibe shows up in the Succopuss EP as well, but “Back in Hell” plays it with a cooler and more patient head on the whole and a fuller sound, and so makes a fitting introduction if you, like me, are taking on the band for the first time with the new offering. Likewise, the video by Christian Fischer is pastoral in its vibe emphasizing a visual flow that feeds off the energy of the song while engaging its own narrative.

If you think you might be able to dig it — and if you do, you just might — you can check out the clip for “Back in Hell” below. More info, preorder links for Succopuss‘ Succopuss EP, and other whatnot follow beneath, courtesy of the PR wire.

Hope you enjoy:

Succopuss, “Back in Hell” official video

Video-Premiere for the first Single “Back In Hell” of their upcoming EP shot by Filmmaker CHRISTIAN FISCHER.

Succopuss is the name of a rock and roll, stoner, blues duo based in Vienna, founded after Tobias Paul (vocals, guitar) and Krystof Hümer (drums) met each other at a nightclub in their hometown 2013, one dressed up as a sailorman and the other as Nick Cave. Tobias’ 24-year-old voice sounding more like he had already lived decades of rock and roll lifestyle, complementary to Krystof’s drumming, a rhythmic eardrum stimulating penetration.

Their notorious live performances, with jam passages often resulting in more or less obvious acoustic sexual innuendos, are a damage of space and time, causing the crowd flashbacks to a more analog era, when psychedelics were taken before breakfast.

They recorded their “Succopuss EP” which will be released soon as a limited 10″ Vinyl Version (Black/Mint)

Tracklisting:
Succopuss
Death Groove
Back In Hell
Black Flesh

Pre-Order for Succopuss 10” is available now and comes in a tasty limited edition via StoneFree Records, Artwork done by KVSH:
Limited to 300 Pieces – 10″ Black Vinyl 33rpm
Limited to 200 Pieces – 10″ Mint Vinyl 33rpm

Pre-Order:
http://www.stonefree.co.at/succopuss10inch.html
https://succopuss.bandcamp.com/album/succopuss-succopuss-10

Release set to 31st of March 2017

Succopuss is:
Krystof Hümer – drums, percussions
Tobias Paul – vocals, guitar

Succopuss on Thee Facebooks

Succopuss on Bandcamp

Succopuss at StoneFree Records

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Moonbow Set April 21 Release Date for War Bear

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Midwestern heavy rockers Moonbow return on April 21 with War Bear, their second album for Ripple Music. The band features drummer Steve Earle, also known for his work in Hermano, and bassist Ryan McAllister from Valley of the Sun, so if you’ve got any doubts about the level of groove to be presented, that should probably be enough to dispel them outright. Apparently John Garcia shows up this time around too, as he did on the band’s 2013 debut, The End of Time (review here), so, you know, rock and roll and continuity and whatnot.

Haven’t heard the record yet, but hope to sometime soon, despite the cartoon-tittyriffic cover art, which seems to have become a theme for the day. Enough already with that shit. The planet sucks enough.

From the PR wire:

moonbow

MOONBOW: BMX legend/Survivor star Matt Bischoff returns with Kentucky rockers for new album on Ripple Music | Stream title track, ‘War Bear’ now

War Bear is released on 21st April 2017 via Ripple Music

Kentucky-based rockers Moonbow began in 2011 when vocalist/BMX legend Matt Bischoff and Hank 3 guitarist Davey McElfresh met at McElfresh’s Covington apartment to outline the details of a new project. What started out as a simple partnership quickly gained momentum and turned into something considerably more when Steve Earle (Afghan Whigs, Hermano) stepped in on drums and former Valley Of The Sun bassist Ryan McAllister was invited to service the low end. After only a few weeks it was obvious that something pretty badass was happening and since setting off on that one-way track, Moonbow have become a serious force to be reckoned.

With their line-up complete they immediately got to work on their debut album, The End Of Time. Due to McElfresh’s constant touring and Bischoff’s stint on reality TV show Survivor: Caramoan, the album was eventually released in 2013 and immediately gained traction both at home and abroad, securing international distribution after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Giving a nod to countrified roots and arid desert jams, The End of Time not only featured some of the meatiest riffs to ever come out of Kentucky, but also guest vocals by the legend John Garcia. Informed by McElfresh’s fuzz-savvy guitar playing, Earle’s deft skin work, McAllister’s distorted Rickenbacker groove and Bischoff’s unique take on songwriting and storytelling, the album showcased a band that were only just getting started.

In 2015, the quartet went on to release an acoustic follow up entitled Volto del Demone and with new album War Bear – their first outing for the California-based record label Ripple Music – it’s safe to say that their time is most definitely upon us.

War Bear will be given an official worldwide release on 21st April 2017 via Ripple Music.

Track Listing:
1. War Bear
2. Sword In The Storm
3. Drinkin Alone
4. Bloodwash
5. Death Of Giants
6. Alone Eyes Roam
7. California King (Featuring John Garcia)
8. The Road
9. Son Of Moses
10. Toward The Sun

Moonbow:
Matt Bischoff – Vocals
David McElfresh – Guitars
Ryan McAllister – Bass
Steve Earle – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Moonbowrocks/
https://moonbowrocks.bandcamp.com/

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Enslaved to Release Roadburn Live 2LP for Record Store Day

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I was at Roadburn 2015 to watch Enslaved play the set captured on the forthcoming Roadburn Live 2LP, set to release on April 22 through By Norse and Roadburn Records. They were fucking incredible. Really. It had been I think weeks since I saw them in the US and they still managed to blow me away. Dudes never fail. Roadburn Live draws on the proggy side of what they do, and yes, that’s awesome. Every year at Roadburn, I tell myself I get to buy one piece of vinyl to go with the usual swath of CDs. I think I know what it’s going to be this year.

They’ve got “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” streaming now and you can check it out at the bottom of the post if you think my reasoning is suspect. It isn’t.

The PR wire fills in the details where my spinning head can’t:

enslaved roadburn live

ENSLAVED To Release Roadburn Live 2XLP For Record Store Day, April 22nd; “Death In The Eyes Of Dawn” Premiered

Roadburn Live is ENSLAVED’s first official live album, a split release between Roadburn Records and By Norse Music. The album was recorded during one of band’s headlining shows at the renowned Roadburn Festival 2015, an edition curated by ENSLAVED’s guitar player Ivar Bjørnson.

Walter Hoeijmakers, Roadburn’s Artistic Director comments on the release: “It’s no secret that there’s a strong friendship between Roadburn and ENSLAVED. One of the most hard-hitting and progressive bands to come out of Norway, ENSLAVED has played a significant part in the festival’s history – both musically and antically. Not only has ENSLAVED been our artist in residence, bringing side-projects such as The Armageddon Concerto (the ENSLAVED/Shining collaboration), Dream Of An Opium Eater, and Trinacria to Roadburn, Ivar Bjørnson has also been our 2015 co-curator, along with Wardruna’s Einar Kvitrafn Selvik, resulting in Skuggsjá’s first ever performance outside of Norway. ENSLAVED’s 2015 performances were the pinnacle of this enduring and artistic friendship, and showcased the massive influence the band has had on both Roadburn and the (underground) metal scene for the past two decades. To have these shows captured on vinyl is a dream come true for me, and I truly hope it’s the same for anyone who was in attendance, or those who want to indulge themselves in the Northern magic of ENSLAVED.”

Roadburn Live will be available as limited and exclusive Record Store Day color editions and as Roadburn/ENSLAVED-Webshop Gold edition including the original A3 Roadburn poster and color stickers!

To celebrate the release, what better way than to hold a playback session with the members of Enslaved at the Roadburn Festival 2017. Becky Laverty of Roadburn Festival comments: “ENSLAVED and Roadburn share a history that is entwined and their 2015 performance on the main stage was such a fantastic milestone for both parties, that it makes perfect sense for the show to be released as a live album. As the album will be released during Roadburn 2017, it seemed fitting to invite attendees and the band alike to join us for a playback session at the festival as part of our popular side program.”

More information about the playback session to be revealed soon.

Roadburn Live also features a brilliant layout created by highly respected artist and Roadburn’s regular graphic designer Costin Chioreanu. The album was mixed by Iver Sandøy at Solslottet Studio and mastered by Jens Bogren (Kreator, Opeth, Sepultura) in Fascination Studios. It is also the last official release with Herbrand Larsen on keys and vocals.

After celebrating their twenty-five year anniversary in 2016 showcasing a majority of older material, Roadburn Live displays songs mainly from the “newer” and more progressive era of ENSLAVED’s career, with songs from “In Times,” “Riitiir,” “Isa,” “Below The Lights,” and “Monumension.” Featuring guest appearances of Einar Selvik (Wardruna), Aðalbjörn Tryggvason (Sólstafir), Per Wiberg (Opeth, Candlemass), and Menno Gootjes (Focus) on “Immigrant Song,” the first cover song by ENSLAVED to appear on any record ever.

Grutle Kjellson comments on the album: “I’m generally not a huge fan of live albums. I like to be present at a show, to grasp the energy of the band, and to witness the sometimes magical symbiosis that occurs between the band and the audience. I am, however, a huge fan of the Roadburn Festival! I consider this to be my all-time favorite, both as a musician and as a guest. Therefore, if everENSLAVED were to release a live album, it had to be from a Roadburn show! I hope you will enjoy listening to this piece of wax as much as we did recording it!”

Release date and format: April 22nd: Record Store Day limited color editions and Roadburn/ENSLAVED-Webshop gold edition. Standard vinyl, CD, and digital. More information soon!

Roadburn Live Track Listing:
1. Building With Fire
2. Death In The Eyes Of Dawn
3. In Times
4. Daylight
5. Convoys To Nothingness
6. As Fire Swept Clean The Earth
7. Isa
8. Immigrant Song*
* Roadburn Live exclusive song originally by Led Zeppelin

Roadburn Live Lineup:
Ivar Bjørnson – guitars, keys
Grutle Kjellson – vocals, bass
Arve Isdal – guitars
Cato Bekkevold – drums
Herbrand Larsen – keyboard, keys

http://enslaved.no
http://www.bynorse.com
http://www.facebook.com/bynorse
http://www.roadburn.com
http://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival

Enslaved, “Death in the Eyes of Dawn”

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Review & Track Premiere: Lord, Blacklisted

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

lord blacklisted

[Click play above to stream ‘The Heart of a Hero’ from Lord’s new album, Blacklisted, out May 26 via Heavy Hound Records.]

A year is easily the fastest turnaround Lord have ever had between albums, so their latest, Blacklisted, arrives with immediate intrigue. Not only that, but I’m fairly certain it also marks the first time the band has had two full-length releases with the same lineup playing — the other in this instance being 2016’s Awake (review here), which was five years after 2011’s Chief (review here), which was four after 2007’s Built Lord Tough debut. They’ve had other offerings along the way like the 2014 EP, Alive in Golgotha (review here), issued as is Blacklisted through the band-affiliated Heavy Hound Records, and earlier demos and splits, but yes, that Blacklisted exists and finds Lord working with the returning lineup of founding guitarist Will Rivera along with vocalist Stephen Kerchner, guitarist Todd Wuehrmann, bassist Chris Dugay and drummer Kevin Marimow is something of a surprise.

And that extends likewise to the execution of the six-track/28-minute full-length as well. The Fredericksburg, Virginia-based outfit, who recorded this time at Adept Audio Lab with Sean Sanford, have always basked and reveled and wallowed in chaos. From their songcraft to their lineup to the fact that for many points between records one has often been left wondering if they’re still a band — not so much between Awake and Blacklisted, obviously, but in the past — Lord have been as nebulous and difficult to chart as their aesthetic has been destructive, proffering a blend of hardcore punk, grind, sludge, Southern metal and thrash as it seemingly followed whatever whims of extremity happened to occur for any given riff. That unhinged feel has been a part of their drive since their inception, and should rightly be considered a defining element of the band.

All of this is leading, of course, to the fact that Blacklisted is the most cohesive and arguably the least chaotic release they’ve ever put out, and somehow, that becomes its strength as it bull-charges through songs like opener “Mile After Mile,” the furious “They Lied” and the mournful penultimate cut “The Heart of a Hero.” That’s not to say Lord don’t still proffer riffs in torrential onslaught — they’re not 30 seconds into “Mile After Mile” before that reassurance is granted — just that their sense of control in doing so has never come through so plainly. With Kerchner backed by Wuehrmann (and maybe Rivera) on vocals, Lord flesh out arrangements of screams, growls and effects-laden shouts to go with the Southern metal lead style of the guitars and the forward-shoving rhythm.

“Mile After Mile” is the shortest piece on Blacklisted at 3:52 — closer “Not Your Problem?” is the longest, at 6:25 — and it feels tight to the point of being almost spare, casting off frills in favor of a raw thrust that continues in “They Lied,” which makes a hook of its title line, and “The Bandage,” which starts out as the most tumultuous grinder on the record before departing, just past the 1:40 mark, into an open groove and a build back toward full heft that features not only the best solo work here, but also at its end the most fluid transition, leading back to the song’s maddening, blasting sprint. Momentum feels all the more on Lord‘s side because the album is short, and they seem to be through the first three tracks before the listener has had time to process, so indeed, still plenty of attack in their approach, but it’s the precision and the sense of intention behind what they’re doing that makes Blacklisted the most accomplished and realized Lord outing to-date.

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The thrashing title-track picks up where “The Bandage” left off and mounts an assault of its own, playing between chugging groove and windmill-worthy squibbly riffing, growls and shouts emanating from beneath the guitars and bass as Marimow plows ahead. Seems fitting enough that the last half-minute or so of “Blacklisted” would be dedicated solely to feedback, because noise has always been an essential part of Lord‘s take, and because it seems to draw the first-four-cuts section of the record to a close ahead of the marked tempo shift that “The Heart of a Hero” brings, slowing down and riding a weighted but less outwardly brutal progression. There’s an emotional core behind the verse and chorus, somewhat obscured by what remains a vicious sonic core, but after a longer solo bridge, Kerchner‘s vocals return to underscore the expressive point and round out with a sense of structure before a last-measure slowdown brings the song to a no-less-resonant close.

Well placed, that departure is key to the album after “Mile After Mile,” “They Lied,” “The Bandage” and “Blacklisted,” but Lord return to more scathing ground with “Not Your Problem?,” beginning the finale with something of a cultural indictment in the lyrics — the most clearly audible on the release — over the drums before the guitars and bass join in. While less of a hurricane than, say, “The Bandage,” “Not Your Problem?” seems to find a middle-ground between that song and “The Heart of a Hero” and in so doing summarizes much of what’s working across Blacklisted while issuing a directive in what’s probably as much a “Lord riff” as can be heard here, the sharp-but-winding thrashiness of Rivera‘s style shining through as they make their way toward the last, cold finish as if to tell their audience that there’s no way they’re actually done.

That may in fact be the case, and Lord could turn around and have another full-length out in 2018 with the same players returning. Maybe, after more than a decade, they’ve found a way to sustain a balance between their aural and existential uproar. As someone who’s been a fan of the band since their early demo work, I hope all the more that’s the case given the direction Blacklisted shows them as taking, since while it expands their dynamic and brings them to levels of clarity never before heard from them, it also maintains the spirit of the work they’ve done before it, drawing strength from the experience of all that bludgeoning of days gone by.

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