The Obelisk is proudly sponsored by All That is Heavy

Review & Full Album Stream: Void Cruiser, Wayfarer

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

void cruiser wayfarer

[Stream Void Cruiser’s Wayfarer in full by clicking play above. Album is out Feb. 27 on Argonauta Records.]

Though they seem to operate solely under a spaced-out thematic — members credited with “low frequency engine,” “battering apparatus,” and so on — the actual stylistic range with which Finland’s Void Cruiser operate feels much broader. Rather than simply live by the “what would Hawkwind do?” ethic, the Helsinki four-piece’s second album, Wayfarer (also their debut on Argonauta Records), follows 2015’s self-released Overstaying My Welcome and 2013’s Motherload EP and lives up to its name in the kind of meandering path it takes between aesthetics. Space is a factor for sure, but as they play between longer-form pieces like “I Didn’t Lie but I Know Now that I Should Have” and closer “Maailman Kallein Kaupunki” and the quicker shots of “As We Speak” and “All over Nowhere,” Void Cruiser actively defy pigeonholing any more specific than catchalls like “heavy” or “atmospheric,” and set their course for variety over redundancy.

With seven tracks and a 46-minute runtime, Wayfarer is substantial but not unmanageable, and the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Santeri “S-Salo” Salo, bassist/backing vocalist Lassi “T-Hug” Tähtinen, guitarist/backing vocalist Vili “V-Salo” Salo and drummer Teemu “T-Bag” Rantanen bring considerable breadth and personality to the material, commanding the turns they’re making rather than being led by them. Further, because even songs like “Madonnas and Whores” and “Seven Years Late,” which are relatively straightforward in their structure, have a marked tonal largesse and sense of patience, Wayfarer ties together its diverse sonic proposals with an overarching spaciousness of production that makes it all the more immersive to the listener. Surprises abound, but none of the moves Void Cruiser make feel out of place in a way they’re not intended to be. Some, however, are very definitely intended to be.

The prevailing first impression is one of patience as they begin with the rumble and slow roll of the introductory “A Day on Which No Man was Born,” starting with a low-toned drone and moving into an instrumental progression of slow nod that runs over five minutes, setting the listener up for some of Wayfarer‘s more heavy psychedelic aspects as they continue to play out in the subsequent “I Didn’t Lie but I Know Now that I Should Have.” Cumbersome in its name, the second track is likewise patient in how it unfurls, blending grunge — particularly in Santeri‘s vocals — with a languid drift as it makes a chorus of its title-line in its first half before shifting post-midpoint into more of a jam, vocals and all, as they build toward a shouted apex à la Facelift-era Alice in Chains, the key difference being the depth of mix surrounding Void Cruiser and the wash of wah in the solo that proceeds to lead them out of the song over the next couple minutes.

That turn to belting it out is the first clue of Void Cruiser‘s sonic range, and “As We Speak” adds to it immediately with a classic stoner feel run through the aforementioned effects-driven spaciousness. The vocals indulge a scream that speaks to some underlying metallic influence, but “As We Speak” feels more like a Lowrider single played at two-thirds speed than anything aggressive, even in that brief moment, and at 3:32, the shortest track on Wayfarer boosts the forward push that’s been subtly working all along with its quicker tempo ending giving way to “Madonnas and Whores” as the centerpiece. Despite ultra-prevalent low end, the beginning of the seven-minute “Madonnas and Whores” still holds to some rhythmic swing, but plays out moodier through its early verses and choruses, and the hook almost has a tinge of Southern metal as it stomps into a bridge that cuts suddenly just past the four-minute mark into a psych-jam of steady rumble and guitar noodling that comes back around in time for a full-boar solo finish into some hit-stops that bring the song to a close before an obscure sample presumably draws down an intended vinyl side A.

Perhaps the most unexpected transition on Wayfarer arrives in the form of “Seven Years Late,” which while consistent tonally with its surroundings takes on a goth-metal brooding that seems drawn directly from Type O Negative in its guitar work, in its play between slower and faster tempos, its low-voiced spoken part and the backing gang vocals that show up toward the end of its six-minute run. Void Cruiser telegraph the influence via the guitars early, so it’s not like they’re trying to get away with something, but while songs hint at metallurgy prior, the fuller dive of “Seven Years Late” kicks off side B with a genuine blindside punch that, as it gives way to the 4:38 thrust of the penultimate “All over Nowhere” barely has time to be as out of place as it feels like it should be and somehow isn’t. A rocker like “As We Speak” before it, “All over Nowhere” holds to the thickness of the album as a whole and has its context changed somewhat by “Seven Years Late,” but stands up to the task of re-centering Wayfarer in order that 10-minute finale “Maailman Kallein Kaupunki” can set resolutely to its charge of summarizing the record as a whole.

Unsurprisingly, the bassline helps a lot, especially early. Void Cruiser build through psych-grunge atmospheric rock, and top that low end with airy guitar work before solidifying around a forward progression, the lyrics in Finnish, that even seems to tip its hat toward the Type O Negative-ity of “Seven Years Late” as it rolls through its middle, eventually slowing to a nod that seems like it’s going to come apart entirely before eight minutes in, only to have a Kyuss-style desert riff take off at a sprint from the morass. The last push is one more surprise from an outing that’s offered plenty of them, and as they cut short and rumble their way out on a fade before hitting 10:00 flat, one almost can’t be certain there won’t be something else still to come.

Creating that feeling of unpredictability over the course of a single LP isn’t easy, and it’s commendable as a basic intention, but what makes Wayfarer stand out even more is how fluidly Void Cruiser navigate these aesthetic planes, pitting one element next to but not necessarily against the other in order to craft something more individual from them. This is a key factor in Wayfarer‘s success, but of course the occasional bit of rocking the hell out doesn’t hurt either.

Void Cruiser on Thee Facebooks

Void Cruiser on Bandcamp

Void Cruiser at Argonauta Records

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Temple of Void Announce New Album Lords of Death

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

temple of void

Hell yes. If nothing else, we can be sure Detroit’s Temple of Void know how to name a record. That was something the death-doom extremists proved with their 2014 debut, Of Terror and the Supernatural (review here), and it seems to be affirmed with the reveal of their follow-up sophomore outing, Lords of Death. Just try to say that out loud without turning one of your hands into a doom claw. Can’t be done. It’s impossible.

Been digging the viciousness these guys roll out since their Demo MMXIII (review here) hit like a full-stack falling on my head, and though I know their kind of ultra-dark, ultra-plodding, ultra-nastiness isn’t everybody’s cup of poisonous tea, they’ve done it so well to-date that I’ve been unable to hear anything in what they do other than righteousness. I didn’t know they’d have a new album out this year, but I’m definitely looking forward to it now.

And you vinyl types will want to get a load of this cover art too. It, the Lords of Death — claw! — tracklisting and more background info come courtesy of the PR wire:

temple-of-void-lords-of-death

TEMPLE OF VOID reveal cover art, tracklisting for new SHADOW KINGDOM album

Today, Shadow Kingdom Records reveals the cover art and tracklisting for Temple of Void’s highly anticipated second album, Lords of Death. Ever aptly titled, Lords of Death is an insanely, irrevocably MASSIVE slab of doom-DEATH, and the album by which Temple of Void will rightfully take their seat at the throne. Nearly three years in the making, Lords of Death is an experience like no other, and will surely go down as one of the top metal albums of 2017.

Temple of Void is an uncompromising collaboration from the depths of Detroit, Michigan. Comprising five musicians who have put in decades of time in the Detroit underground, Temple of Void entered this world with singular focus and methodical execution from the start. Temple of Void harkens back to the somber sound of early European doom, while channeling the energy and devastation of old-school American death metal. But Temple of Void is far more than the sum of its parts: Temple of Void destroys.

Temple of Void self-released their first demo in 2013. Four weeks later, they had signed to four different record labels to release Demo MMXIII and their imminent debut album across the world. The demo was met with staggering support from the underground, but just over a year later, Temple of Void unleashed their debut album, Of Terror and the Supernatural, via Saw Her Ghost Records for the double-LP vinyl version and on CD through Rain Without End Records. The day it was released, Shadow Kingdom contacted the band and requested dibs on re-releasing the album to a worldwide audience. Unleashed internationally in September 2015, the slab of barbarity otherwise known as Of Terror and the Supernatural quickly became a critically acclaimed cult hit amongst the press and those looking for the darkest, dirtiest doom-death.

But, with the bar set so high by that debut album, Temple of Void swagger forth to eclipse that achievement and soundly obliterate any comparisons with Lords of Death. A prescient title if there ever was one, Lords of Death casts Temple of Void in a slightly newer light: whilst unmistakably Temple of Void, this is the sound of the band shorn of any fat and fully representing the powerful, punishing experience of the band in a live setting. It’s still signature Temple of Void, to be sure, but Lords of Death emits an enviable amount of focus and forward momentum, with the band largely ditching the doomier tropes in favor of ones reflective of their all-consuming onstage power. Instead, Temple of Void emphasized the deathlier aspects of their debut, but pumped them full of addicting, headbanging energy. Put another way, whereas Of Terror and the Supernatural was doom with death metal, Lords of Death is death metal with doom. Fittingly, the production here is utterly CRUSHING, and once again recorded at Mount Doom in Detroit.

Completed by appropriately morbid artwork by Paolo Girardi, Lords of Death is that Rubicon-crossing moment where a band becomes masters. Recommended for fans of Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Grave, Asphyx, Edge of Sanity, Obituary, Hooded Menace, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, and the early works of Paradise Lost, Morbid Angel, and Opeth – behold the new lords of death, Temple of Void!

“An uncompromising record from the band that made one of the very best, if not THE best death/doom debut in last five years or so. Weighty death metal groove and suffocating, gloomy atmosphere in just the right mix together. Album-of-the-year material!” – Markus Makkonen (Hooded Menace / Sadistik Forest)

Release date, first track, and preorder info to be revealed shortly. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Temple of Void’s Lords of Death
1. The Charnel Unearthing
2. Wretched Banquet
A Watery Internment
3. The Hidden Fiend
4. An Ominous Journey
5. The Gift
6. Graven Desires
7. Deceiver in the Shadows

www.facebook.com/templeofvoid
www.templeofvoid.bandcamp.com
www.shadowkingdomrecords.com
www.facebook.com/shadowkingdomrecords

Temple of Void, Of Terror and the Supernatural (2014)

Tags: , , , , ,

Causa Sui Taking Preorders for Live in Copenhagen

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

If you’d like to make yourself sad this morning, afternoon, whatever, go ahead and take a listen to the streaming live Causa Sui track at the bottom of this post and realize that the limited-to-300-copies-3LP-plus-bonus-10″ version of Live in Copenhagen has already sold through its pressing on preorders. The regular 3LP box is still available, as is the CD for those of us who retain an affection for the format, and honestly, I don’t think there’s much more you really need to know about it other than it’s Causa Sui caught live at the release shows for their last two albums, they cover John Coltraine, and Niklas from Papir sits in on one of the sets. No wonder that shit’s already sold out. I’d buy it twice just to make the point, and I may yet.

Those who heard it will recall that the Danish band’s last live outing, 2014’s Live at Freak Valley (review here), was little short of manna from heavy psych heaven, so it goes without saying that if you haven’t yet gotten your order in for Live in Copenhagen, you probably want to get on it.

And seriously, take a listen to “Eternal Flow” down at the bottom of the post. Might make you sad. Will also make your day.

Behold:

causa sui live in copenhagen

Causa Sui – Live in Copenhagen – El Paraiso Records

This limited boxset captures Causa Sui at two very special nights: At the release parties of Euporie Tide (2013) & Return To Sky (2016). While the two albums are tight and meticulous sizes, that helped propel the band to the very pinnacle of European stoner-psych, this heavy package documents the band at their most free and adventurous. Since the band seldomly performes live, this may very well be your best chance to experience what the band is capable of at their best! One show is recorded at avantgarde institution extraordinaire Jazzhouse, while the other captures the sounds of legendary underground venue Dragens Hule in a warm summer night of 2013, where the band played in front of a small, ecstatic crowd until the wee hours. Both shows were recorded multitrack with an A-grade selection of mics and mixed and mastered by Jonas Munk.

During these three discs Causa Sui aren’t merely running through classic cuts from the catalogue. Each track is explored, reinterpreted and given new life – often straying far away from its original roots with a fervent energy. One minute the band is bluesy and heavy, the next they’re repetitive and blissed-out or venturing into a cacophony of Albert Ayler-like sax bursts, free-form electronics and feedback. Swedish saxophone player Johan Riedenlow joins both shows and Papir-guitar player Nicklas Sørensen occasionally adds his magic to the Dragens Hule set – including a towering 13-minute version of Eternal Flow, that seems to channel the energy of mid-1970s Popol Vuh, as well as a breezy cover version of Agitation Free’s ”First Communication”.

”Ju-Ju Blues” from the Jazzhouse set is Causa Sui at their most fuzzed out and Hendrixian, reaching new improvisational heights, whereas ”Dawn Passage” feels like an obvious fusion of Tame Impala and Allman Brothers. On the Dragens Hule sets the band goes all the way out! ”Portixeddu / Tropic Of Capricorn” turns Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis into a crazed sludge-fest, and fan-favourites ”El Paraiso” and “Red Valley” appear here in their ultimate versions. To cap things off the band delivers a 17-minute exclusive tribute to John Coltrane’s ”A Love Supreme” featuring both Johan Riedenlow and Nicklas Sørensen.

The vinyl version of Live In Copenhagen comes as three LPs in heavy duty sleeves packed in a deluxe slipcase box. Limited to 1000 copies.

140 minutes worth of music – recorded at the release parties of Euporie Tide & Return To Sky.

Jazzhouse
01 Rip Tide 6:38
02 The Source 4:42
03 The Juice 8:53
04 Mondo Buzzo 8:35
05 Dawn Passage 9:48 *
06 Eugenie 8:00
07 Ju-Ju Blues 10:45

Dragens Hule pt. 1
01 Eternal Flow 13:01
02 El Paraiso 12:20
03 Mireille 7:39
04 Portixeddu / Tropic Of Capricorn 15:22

Dragens Hule pt. 2
01 First Communication 6:30 (Agitation Free)
02 Homage 9:28
03 Red Valley 10:13
04 Euporie 11:58 *
05 A Love Supreme 16:47 (John Coltrane)

* Digital bonus tracks

http://elparaisorecords.com/releases/causa-sui-live-copenhagen
https://soundcloud.com/elparaiso/
https://www.facebook.com/elparaisorecords/
https://twitter.com/el_paraiso_rec

Tags: , , , , ,

Steve Von Till’s Harvestman to Release Music for Megaliths May 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It’s been seven years since last we heard from Harvestman, the could-go-anywhere, tripped-out experimentalist alter-ego of Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till. That outing was a Hawkwind tribute three-way split with U.S. Christmas and Minsk (review here), and the project’s last proper album was In a Dark Tongue (review here), which preceded in 2009. Of course, Von Till has been plenty busy in the interim, with two Neurosis albums in 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here) and last year’s Fires Within Fires (review here) — and perhaps even more crucially, that band’s return to prominence as a touring act — as well as his 2015 solo outing, A Life unto Itself (review here), but that’s all the more reason to think he wouldn’t be reviving Harvestman at all if there wasn’t something he specifically wanted to say with it as his vehicle.

One more reason to look forward to Music for Megaliths, the new Harvestman full-length, which is due out May 19 on Neurot Recordings. Self-recorded and mixed with a guest appearance by Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder (also of Sleep), it may be a long while coming, but I’ve no doubt the album’s resonance will be something taking place far outside of time.

The PR wire brings the available details:

steve-von-till-photo-niela-von-till

HARVESTMAN: Neurosis Frontman Steve Von Till’s Exploratory Project Returns With Music For Megaliths

Neurot Recordings presents the fourth full-length recorded document from HARVESTMAN – one of Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Steve Von Till’s solo ventures – with the impending release of Music For Megaliths.

As with prior HARVESTMAN and other solo releases by Steve Von Till, Music For Megaliths sees the artist handling a wide array of instruments and approaches, including vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, synthesizers, hurdy gurdy, effects, and more, fully performed, recorded, and mixed at his own The Crow’s Nest studio in Northern Idaho. Neurosis’ Jason Roeder also provides drums to the album’s fifth track, “Levitation.” The seven sonically and mentally expansive tracks were mastered by James Plotkin, and the album completed with artwork by Thomas Hooper.

Confirming the album for release on May 19th, Neurot has unveiled the artwork, track listing, and more for the exploratory new album, with audio samples and more to be released in the coming weeks.

Music For Megaliths Track Listing:
1. The Forest Is Our Temple
2. Oak Drone
3. Ring Of Sentinels
4. Cromlech
5. Levitation
6. Sundown
7. White Horse

“Ruins, monuments, and ancient sites of worship are multi-sensory experiences – at once residues of the sacred, the parchment on which the passage of time has been inscribed and templates for imaginative reconstruction, spaces in which to invest and immerse, to trade your bearings for an inexhaustible state of transition.

Over the course of three albums, Steve Von Till has, under the guise of HARVESTMAN, provided the sonic analogue, casting his net for what might have been and yet still be. Both a personal meditation and a tuning fork for the most ancient and enduring of resonances, his latest album, Music For Megaliths, further expands his journeys along the sonic ley lines that run between folk, drone, psychedelia, the “kosmische” outposts of krautrock and noise: not as an act of eclecticism, but of divination, giving voice to an underlying continuity that binds them all.

Recorded over a period of several years in the dawn hours of creation, Music For Megaliths is an aggregation of moments and recordings that have allowed themselves to spell out a greater whole. Utilizing repetition, manipulation, and modulation, it’s a hallowed frequency dial that ranges across the pulse-regulated drone of “The Forest Is Our Temple,” revving up like a generator powered by arcane currents, the blissful gaze of “Ring Of Sentinels,” “Sundown”‘s ominous waves of interference and “White Horse”‘s rite of dissolution and regeneration, nomadic and devout. Music For Megaliths is a crossing over, whose multiple routes are testament to a singular and sensuously dilated vision.” – words by Jonathan Selzer, 2017

https://www.facebook.com/heathenpsych
https://harvestman.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/SteveVonTill
http://www.neurosis.com
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings
https://neurotrecordings.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/OfficialNeurot
neurotrecordings.merchtable.com/artists/harvestman

Harvestman, In a Dark Tongue (2009)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Isis to Release Live VII March 31; Preorders up Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This is probably the most prickish thing I’ll say today — actually, strike that; I say all kinds of prickish shit on a given day and no way am I willing to commit to this being the most — but I’m kind of glad Isis have stayed broken up. Not that I wasn’t a fan of the post-metal pioneering they did on records like 2000’s Celestial, 2002’s Oceanic and 2004’s Panopticon, but where so many other bands have called it a quits, sat on their hands and then come back together for the invariably successful reunion tour, Isis have (to-date) stuck to their guns, remained inactive in this form, and gotten on with their creative lives.

Yeah, they’re still putting out live records like this one, and they’ve still got a buttload of merch for sale, but there’s a big difference between that and continuing to pursue what, by the time 2009’s Wavering Radiant came around, seemed to have run its natural course. Maybe they’ll get back together at some point. Hell, probably. But it’s been almost seven full years since they announced their breakup, and quite frankly that’s already longer than I thought they’d be away. Presumably staying busy helps, and the ex-members of Isis certainly do that.

Just my two cents, which is worth about half of one on a good day. Don’t mean to sound like a prick, but yeah Isis. Stay broken up. Rock on.

From the PR wire, which is quick to point out that Ipecac Recordings is in no way releasing live albums from terrorist organizations:

isis live vii

IPECAC RECORDINGS TO RELEASE LIVE VII BY ISIS (THE BAND) ON MARCH 31

LIMITED EDITION COLLECTION, THE SEVENTH RELEASE IN ONGOING LIVE SERIES, FEATURES MUSIC SPANNING DISCOGRAPHY; PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW

One of heavy music’s most influential artists of the past 20 years, Isis (the band), are to release the seventh in their ongoing series of live albums with Live VII (Ipecac Recordings, March 31st).

The collection will see a limited worldwide release of 3000 CD copies, 2000 vinyl copies (vinyl will be available at a later date) with an additional 600 made available exclusively to indie retailers. Pre-orders are available now via Ipecac’s web store and Bandcamp. The nine-song set was recorded on Feb. 25, 2010, at The Corner hotel in Melbourne, Australia during the band’s stint on the venerable Soundwave Festival. The band’s own Aaron Harris mixed the album.

Live VII track list:
1. Hall of the Dead
2. Hand of the Host
3. Holy Tears
4. 20 Minutes / 40 Years
5. Ghost Key
6. Wills Dissolve
7. Threshold of Transformation
8. Carry
9. Celestial (The Tower)

The members of Isis (the band) continue to push the boundaries of modern music with Aaron Harris working as a film and television composer for Methodic Doubt while continuing work with Palms alongside his former bandmates’ Jeff Caxide and Bryant Clifford Meyer. Meyer also creates music under the Taiga moniker. Aaron Turner continues recording, releasing records and touring with numerous groups, most prominently SUMAC and Mammifer. Mike Gallagher’s Mustard Gas and Roses released their new album, Becoming, in late 2016.

https://www.facebook.com/Isis-the-band-158503560864483/
http://isis.merchtable.com/
http://www.isistheband.com/
http://ipecac.com/
http://ipecacrecordings.bandcamp.com/

Isis, “In Fiction” from Live VI

Tags: , , , , ,

GIVEAWAY: Win a Vermilion Whiskey T-Shirt & CD Prize Pack!

Posted in Features on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vermilion whiskey prize pack

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win. Winner is chosen one week from today.]

Feelin’ saucy? Well go ahead and get yourself in on the chance to win a free t-shirt and a copy of Vermilion Whiskey‘s new album, Spirit of Tradition. The Lafayette, Louisiana, double-guitar five-piece put the thing out just last week and if you leave a comment on this post, you can get your very own disc and a shirt with artwork by Mont Doom.

Bolstered via a mix by Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump and a mastering job by Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, Spirit of Tradition lives up to its name in bringing together Southern heavy rock and metallic charge. Frontman Thaddeus Riordan and guitarists Ross Brown and Carl Stevens lead the way with Jeremy Foret on bass and Buck Andrus on drums, and Vermilion Whiskey ask nothing more than that you consume as irresponsibly and as often as possible.

You know how these things go at this point, so I’ll just remind you to please leave your email in the form when you leave a comment on this post. Without it I can’t contact you to let you know you’ve won, and it seems like an awful bummer to bother to enter and then basically make yourself ineligible. As always, I don’t keep email address, I don’t sell info. I wouldn’t know how to if I wanted to, and I don’t want to, so there. I’m way more about giving away free shit than adding spam to your inbox.

If you haven’t yet had a taste, you can hear Vermilion Whiskey‘s Spirit of Tradition in full below. Good luck to everyone who enters! And if you don’t, why the hell not?

Vermilion Whiskey, Spirit of Tradition (2017)

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win. Winner is chosen one week from today.]

Vermilion Whiskey on Thee Facebooks

Vermilion Whiskey on Instagram

Vermilion Whiskey on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Full Album Stream: Kingnomad, Mapping the Inner Void

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kingnomad-mapping-the-inner-void

[Click play above to stream Kingnomad’s Mapping the Inner Void in full. Album is out this Friday, Feb. 24, on Ripple Music.]

When it comes to new bands, there are some who just kind of get together in a room and see what comes out. Not a bad approach by any means. In many instances, for a lot of acts with the right combination of players, it works. Others seem to approach even their very beginnings with a specific idea of what they want to accomplish and then set to building on that. Notwithstanding Kingnomad‘s purported history — that guitarists Jay and Marcus got together in 2014 to jam Sabbath and then riffs came out and they called up bassist Maximilian and drummer Andreas to join in — the sound of their Ripple Music debut full-length, Mapping the Inner Void, would seem to place them squarely in the latter camp.

It is a record whose seven tracks/38 minutes brim with aesthetic purpose, and granted they’ve had a couple years to put it together, but even so, their sound does not come across as one onto which one might just stumble blindly, melding as it does modern cultishness with classic progressive melodies and semi-vintage tonality, marked out by the sporadic use of spellcasting samples to play up further ghoulish sentiments amid the fuzzed-out roll of a short Lovecraftian nod like “Whispers from R’lyeh,” which follows the one-two opening salvo of the catchy, almost post-Ghost pop spirit of “Lucifer’s Dream” and “Nameless Cult,” and sets up transitions into blues rock, expansive psych and garage doom that follow throughout “The Witches Garden,” “The Green Meadow Part 1 & 2,” “She Wizard” and closer “The Waiting Game.” With the flow the four-piece enact between these cuts and the standout moments of songcraft in them, yes, it seems utterly reasonable to me to attribute their making to more than happenstance. This is a band with a stylistic message.

That message? Perhaps that there are still realms of dark magic to be explored in classic-minded heavy rock. I’m not talking necessarily about the tropes of cult lyrics — though there’s some of that to be had throughout Mapping the Inner Void, for sure — but more about the magic of a collaborative creative effort. Jay, who in addition to playing guitar also sings and handles keys (piano and organ), is a formidable presence throughout the record as he was when Kingnomad met with Michigan’s BoneHawk on Ripple‘s The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Three split (review here) in 2016, but a considerable difference is in the production, which feels hairier by the time the audio collage at the start of “Lucifer’s Dream” has given over to the song itself. Its arrival is marked by Dead Meadow-style fuzz riffing and a slow drum march for the verse that calls to the aforementioned Ghost with falsetto backing layers in the first chorus.

Immediately, structure seems to be something to toy with as the band launches at the halfway point into more uptempo swing before deftly returning to the fuzzy march, this time topping with a flourish of organ and piano to lull the listener into a false sense of security before the explosive open of “Nameless Cult” proffers old horror sampling en route to one of Mapping the Inner Void‘s strongest choruses. They lean on it a bit and rightly so, since while “Nameless Cult” will find something of a mirror in the penultimate “She Wizard” toward the album’s end, the journey there in the three songs between — not to mention the closer after — is varied enough to warrant a stretch on the most solid of ground. Or at least as close as one can come to it with a hook that seems to take flight as that of “Nameless Cult” does. In any case, though “Whispers from R’lyeh” is almost definitely still on side A, as an interlude it functions almost as a second intro to the album, with an already-noted brief but heavier roll and a few airy lines of guitar leading into centerpiece track “The Witches Garden,” which makes itself a highlight in subtler fashion than did “Nameless Cult” via boogie shuffle and a laid back vocal from Jay that adds atmosphere and melody in kind.

Ringing bells begin “The Green Meadow Part 1 & 2” in what’s almost certainly intended as a call to worship, and dense garage-doom fuzz takes hold on a slow-rolling plod for the next two-plus minutes, dropping out to let the vocals stand alone for the first line of the song before there emerges a blown-out nod that reintroduces the organ around its midpoint and consumes with tone and the lumbering of its rhythm. At seven-plus minutes, “The Green Meadow Part 1 & 2” has room for guitar and drum solos, but Kingnomad rightly bring it back around to the chorus again at the end and harmonize guitar lines over the last percussive roll in order to change the progression even as they’re tying the song together, making it whole and complete and that much broader at once.

As mentioned, “She Wolf” is the second to last cut on Mapping the Inner Void, which also makes it the centerpiece of side B — I think — and it functions well between the more extended “The Green Meadow Part 1 & 2” and “The Waiting Game,” with a simpler arrangement of neo-biker chug and forward rhythmic movement, once again using its keys well for depth of arrangement as it heads directly for the start of “The Waiting Game,” which with its intro of hi-hat and lazily strummed guitar and ensuing march seems to be speaking directly to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats‘ “Death’s Door,” though much to their credit, Kingnomad make this influence their own.

Layered-in backing vocals add to the chorus as the band plays between fuller and sparser places on their stomp, and though it seems with the pre-midsection solo at about three minutes in that they’re headed out for good, they pull back for another verse before actually making their departure into concluding instrumental exploration, a controlled freakout that runs “The Waiting Game” to its full 8:38, bringing samples back in amid increasing noise before cutting everything out and letting the guitar finish Mapping the Inner Void on the central line of the song, held out at the end on a satisfying fade.

While not flawless in its performance in a manner that would speak to studio trickery, from the click-of-play that starts “Lucifer’s Dream” to that guitar line closing “The Waiting Game,” one finds no aesthetic missteps on the part of Kingnomad, who thereby further the notion of stylistic purpose behind their work. That’s not to say they haven’t left themselves room to grow — watch out next time for increased confidence in the vocals — but that their starting point has given them a clear path to travel. As a debut, the complexity of Mapping the Inner Void unfolds more on repeat listens, and the band earn those listens all the more through songwriting, making the album all the more a success in terms of balance, craft and execution.

Kingnomad on Thee Facebooks

Kingnomad on Twitter

Kingnomad on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Twitter

Tags: , , , ,

Sabbath Assembly Release Rites of Passage May 12 on Svart

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sabbath-assembly-photo-Justina-Villanueva

Six albums deep, Sabbath Assembly remain something of an anomaly even in the cult rock set. Their last outing, 2015’s self-titled, made no effort to shy away from its metallic underpinnings, and between that and the member changes that seem to surround the group on the regular, I’m not even a little confident in predicting what their new one, titled Rites of Passage, might have to say for itself.

A May 12 release date has been marked by Svart Records, and it’s almost certain they’ll leak some audio prior to that, but Sabbath Assembly has proven elusive since their heady conceptual days around 2009’s Eno ot Derotser and 2010’s Restored to One, so yeah, what we’re getting this time around is anyone’s best guess.

And not knowing, frankly, is part of the fun.

The PR wire brings art and details:

sabbath-assembly-rites-of-passage

SABBATH ASSEMBLY set release date for new SVART album

Today, Svart Records sets May 12th as the international release date for Sabbath Assembly’s highly anticipated sixth album, Rites of Passage. The album shall be released on vinyl, CD, and digital formats.

Led by vocalist Jamie Myers (ex-Hammers of Misfortune), Sabbath Assembly anno 2017 features guitarist Kevin Hufnagel (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia), who has been with the band since 2011; original Sabbath Assembly drummer Dave Nuss; bassist Johnny Deblase, who also played on the band’s self-titled album; and the new addition of second guitarist Ron Varod (Kayo Dot, Psalm Zero, Zvi). Rites of Passage marks a moment in which Sabbath Assembly truly “comes of age” as a unique combination of its members, creating progressive metal influenced by Gorguts and Hammers of Misfortune while maintaining a melodic edge true to the roots of the band in the hymnody of the Process Church of the Final Judgment.

Thematically, Rites of Passage is a reflection on the complexity of the transitional stages of life. Ethnographer Arnold van Gennep first defined “rites of passage” in 1960 as birth, childhood, puberty, marriage, parenthood, religious initiation, and funerals. In our current age, when many eschew these specific rites, Sabbath Assembly’s newest songs define transitional moments based on experiences in their own lives that have left them feeling truly changed. The songs on Rites of Passage include stories of losing one’s religion (rather than initiation), dissolution of a relationship (rather than marriage), and managing the dementia and physical decline of a loved one (as more profound than a funeral rite).

In a time when others in the occult rock genre remain preoccupied with fantasy and dark mysticism, Sabbath Assembly finds the most profound of transformative moments in everyday experience. Rites of Passage presents its listeners with a set of songs that the band hopes will mirror their own experiences of transition, and in some way provide necessary passage. First track premiere as well as video to be revealed imminently. Cover art, by Alex Reisfar, and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Sabbath Assembly’s Rites of Passage
1. Shadows Revenge
2. Angels Trumpets
3. I Must Be Gone
4. Does Love Die
5. Twilight of God
6. Seven Sermons to the Dead
7. The Bride of Darkness

www.sabbathassembly.com
www.facebook.com/sabbathassembly
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Sabbath Assembly, “Apparition of the Revolution” official video

Tags: , , , , ,