The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 54

Posted in Radio on March 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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Back to normal, such as it is, for The Obelisk Show. I did two songs in two hours last time and though it seemed to go over decently well in the chat, it was less welcomed by the station itself. Fair. I’ll readily admit that two hours of psychedelic improv is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, even in a setting that supports extreme fare as a central ethic. I’m lucky they decided to air it. I’m lucky they let me do another episode.

In here you’ll find some more rocky stuff like Greenleaf and Formula 400. I’ve yet to really dig into the new Domkraft, so I wanted to give that a roll, and then the show gets into some heavier industrial stuff. Godflesh were talked about here last week, and Trace Amount, but some Sanford Parker and Author & Punisher too. I’ve had an itch lately that stuff has helped scratch. After that and Yawning Sons is my little homage to the Live in the Mojave Desert stream series. Mountain Tamer are on that this weekend and it’s well worth your time to search out. Of course, Earthless started that series so they’ll end the show here. Only fitting.

Thanks for listening and/or reading.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 03.05.21

Greenleaf Love Undone Echoes From a Mass
Genghis Tron Ritual Circle Dream Weapon
Sunnata A Million Lives Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth
Sonic Demon Black Smoke Vendetta
Formula 400 Messenger Heathens
Domkraft Dawn of Man Seeds
Kauan Raivo Ice Fleet
Godflesh Avalanche Master Song Godflesh
Author & Punisher Ode to Bedlam Beastland
Trace Amount ft. Body Stuff Concrete Catacomb Concrete Catacomb
Sanford Parker Knuckle Crossing Lash Back
Yawning Sons Cigarette Footsteps Sky Island
Spirit Mother Space Cadets Cadets
Nebula Let’s Get Lost Holy Shit
Mountain Tamer Black Noise Psychosis Ritual
Brant Bjork Stardust & Diamond Eyes Brant Bjork
Earthless Violence of the Red Sea From the Ages

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is March 19 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Enrico Meloni

Posted in Questionnaire on March 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

enrico meloni

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Enrico Meloni of IKITAN and The Healing Process

Get Quality How To Write A Good College Research Paper Services and Dissertation Help at Best Price Ever, DissertationHelpUK all kind of writing services in UK. Contact us now! How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I am the drummer of IKITAN and have been into music since my early teen years. Being self-taught and having been into bands at different times and with varying intensity in many parts of my life, I can’t say “I’m a musician” as there was never the drive to make it a profession or something too professional (as in, studying for hours a day), but I do love playing and experimenting with music.

It was easy for me to listen to albums back to back and try and reproduce them when I first picked up drums (around 11-12 y-o), and then go and play with my bands and do the same without too much study, so I guess I’ve been lucky I can express myself to an acceptable degree without having to invest too much time or energy.

IKITAN came about in just the right moment in my life: I had recently moved back to Italy (in Genoa) after 5 years in London and, having explored a lot of different kinds of music, it was time to do something different, whatever that means. Which for me means: not having a “musical” plan and going with the flow, without being afraid of crossing barriers and mixing things up. Try and do something original, and never be afraid. Also, don’t get too much in love with something as “a better idea” might be around the corner.

After some not-too-successful experiences, I met Luca (guitar) and Frik Et (bass) thanks to an adv on a local FB page for musicians, we met and started jamming from day one. Thanks to them I learned about the existence of the world of instrumental music in the form of post-rock and the likes. This is how IKITAN was born: a jam session-driven band wanting to play instrumental music, and heavily influenced by post-rock, stoner and prog.

We’ve been playing together for over a year now, released one EP called Twenty-Twenty (one only song which lasts 20 minutes and 20 seconds, released on 20th November 2020) and this is the result of our personalities meeting and creating music. We call it heavy post-rock but there’s a lot more into it. Sounds cliché, I know, but this is what it is.

Like in my original plan of not having a plan, this whole thing took me somewhere unexpected, and I’m very happy about it.

On top of this, last Summer I got in touch with The Healing Process, a Milan-based one-man technical thrash metal band who was looking for a session drummer to record their upcoming album. I met with Carlo and we’ve started working on a killer 7-track album that will take you back to the sound of bands such as Heathen, And Justice for All-era Metallica, and Toxik.

I’ve always wanted to play thrash metal, probably my fav type of metal, and this is the perfect opportunity to do it.

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Watching my dad and sister play guitar together. She’s a great classical guitar player and my dad, who knew the basics of guitar, was very much into the Italian songwriters of the ’70s and ’80s, De André mainly (which, ironically, was from the city I now live in, and where IKITAN happens to operate), and with my mom singing all types of tunes as all the time, there was always music in the house.

All I could do was call for attention by thrashing pans and spoons while they gently and mindfully played their strings. I was doomed from that early age, yes.

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My first ever gig, when I was 12 and we just went on stage with my elder cousin and a couple of other guys and played two songs we never actually rehearsed before (from Italian rock band Elio e Le Storie Tese: “John Holmes” and “Catalogna”).

Back then it looked like every single teenager in the town I’m from was playing music, so little festivals and concerts were literally all over the place. You could just ask people “do you know this and that song?” go on stage and have the time of your life.

On that very day I was also challenged by some stranger who said I was too young to play Iron Maiden, so I went on stage and started playing “Be Quick or Be Dead,” completely random, between bands.

This was my initiation!

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In all fairness, I’ve never been a fond fan of instrumental music, but now I feel very comfortable playing it with IKITAN. I’ve discovered a whole new world and I love it. Not having a vocalist gives us the flexibility we need to be fully driven by the music, without having to worry if this or that part of the song has to be aggressive or sweet vocally.

Some of the bands I like the most, even though it did take me a while to fully appreciate them, are As I Watch You From Afar, Pelican, Long Distance Calling, Russian Circles and If These Trees Could Talk.

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You gotta be happy and proud of what you do at all points of your career. I’m not in this for the money (I guess I’m a bit late for it lol) so I feel that artistic progression and what one creates have to make oneself happy in the first place.

What do I mean by happy? Satisfied with the music, with the people you share the journey with, and content with what is being reached with hard work on a daily basis.

If you’re not satisfied by your passion, what’s the point? To keep this feeling consistent is not easy, of course, and I’m not even talking about the music per se here, but more about the experience of being in a band as a whole.

Too many times, when looking for a band playing “that” genre, I met people who had a very precise idea of where they wanted to go and how they wanted to appear etc. This often didn’t coincide with my idea (which, in a way, is “I have no idea where I am going, let’s start and see where we can get together”), and now I feel with IKITAN we’re more or less on the same wavelength, which makes the project interesting and relevant every day, both musically and as human beings.

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This kind of links back to the previous question. If that could be summarized as “wake up every day and not be ashamed of what you see in the mirror,” I’d go for that.

Success means peace of mind, having the time and opportunities to experiment and be well with the people you like.

In my and our case, with IKITAN, our first success was to stick to our plan to actually release an EP even though the band was less than one year old, no social media presence, no concerts, but a lot of playing together, jamming around and the right mentality to make things happen.

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The movie of IT when I was six years old. It was a game-changer and one of the first, real “fears” I’ve ever had when I was a kid. Little did I know the book is even scarier when I read it a few years later. offers Best Thesis Writing Services & Best Description Of Venture Business Plan Services UK at affordable price. We provide professional Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I can’t wait for IKITAN’s upcoming album to take shape and be released to the world. We will want to do a proper PR campaign and let the world know about it. I feel we’re where we want to be with this band, everyone is contributing in a relevant and tangible way to the project and we’re playing with the music a lot. It looks like after years of purposeless projects we’re finally in a stage in our lives where we can and want to invest in this project and we’re doing whatever we like to do.

So yes, creating a real full length album and releasing it would do for now.

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Enrico: to lift your spirit, whatever that means for each one of us. Some might “get high” by giving art a political connotation, some others might only be interested in the music, some others use it to convey a spiritual message… whatever that is, get lifted.

help with writing college essays Thesis Editing Services Uk how to write a common app essay virginia woolf online essays Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

As non-original as it sounds (I suspect everyone’s said this lately lol), I can’t wait to go back to concerts and life to stop being about wearing a mask. And visit my family in Sardinia, it’s been so annoying not being able to travel, whether it’s for work, for leisure or to visit your family. I really hope personal liberty will go back to where it was very quickly. I wasn’t particularly affected on a mental level by the restrictions but after one year… hard not to be!

As IKITAN, we’d like to do our first concert, for example, as we started playing together in November 2019 and then shit hit the fan big time.

Stay tuned as some cool surprises will be unveiled to the world in the next few weeks.

IKITAN, Twenty-Twenty (2020)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Scott “Dr. Space” Heller

Posted in Questionnaire on March 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

scott heller

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective & Aural Hallucinations

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I make space sounds using mostly analog synthesizers. Magnus Hannibal from Mantric Muse was the first one to encourage me to experiment with synthesizers. If it was not for him, I probably never would have played synthesizers. My friend Doug Walter (RIP) from Alien Planetscapes was a huge musical inspiration towards exploring and making unusual music.

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Listening to Chuck Berry with my dad. Later taking the records into my room and trying to transcribe the lyrics. I recently found the book that I wrote them down in (see picture).! Pass courses without too much pain with Master Papers. Confidentiality guaranteed. Describe your best musical memory to date.

school days dr spaceThis is a very hard question and a bit vague. When I played with Gas Giant in a small concrete bunker club in Leipzig Germany in 2003. The band was on fire, the audience was so intense and into it. I had never experienced anything like that. The power of live music and looking out and seeing these people moving to the sound and we would space out and jam and they were there for every last second and the way the place would erupt when we ended a song or a jam. I was totally blown away. It is hard to describe. I felt like I was levitating! Another was when Øresund Space Collective played the Freak Stage at Burg Herzberg Festival at 23 and just looking out and seeing a solid sea of people as far as I could see. Wow. We played til 3 am with a short break!!

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Well, quite recently, when I signed a contract to build my music studio and after 8 months, the builder had not worked one day but only provided excuse after excuse for months on end. I always want to give people the benefit of the doubt and believe that they will do what they said they would, especially when you sign a contract. Anyway, I was hugely let down and delayed but this. So not, all people are good to their word, this is for sure, sometimes you can be too trusting of people.

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It hopefully leads to one feeling good about oneself and to unique musical creation. I have always been involved with bands that it is important to make music for the moment. I would not last long in a band that played the songs the exact same every night, as most bands do. I need that feeling of danger, excitement, that you get when you improvise and try new things and experiment with sound. This is progression for me. The same song can progress to something new each night, like with Black Moon Circle!!

How do you define success?

Can I still listen to it and say, “hell yeah, that is cool?” Then I succeeded. If you are speaking in a bit more generic terms, then I would say, “Am I happy, do I make other people happy, am I contributing to try to make the world a better place?” If so, then I have succeeded in life.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Tommy TuTone playing between Rose Tattoo and ZZ Top in 1981. Terrible ’80s pop music after rocking out with Rose Tattoo and waiting for ZZ Top. Totally ruined our mood. That should never have happened.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

My music studio. I hope it will be created this year and I can go on to record so many of the cool bands that I know like Papir, Syreregn, Øresund Space Collective, Elder, Black Moon Circle, White Hills, and more.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Art should take you away from the current reality you are in. Be it a painting that you can look into and disappear or a song that just transports you away. A ballet, theatre, anything where you can forget the fucked up world we have and disappear into it. Then it has served its function.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Starting my new garden this year and seeing if have good success with some new varieties of chilis I have never grown before!!!

Øresund Space Collective, Four Riders Take Space Mountain (2020)

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Album Review: Ungraven & Slomatics, Split

Posted in Reviews on March 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

ungraven slomatics split cover sfw

Eons ago, when the world was bright and new and everything beautiful and nothing hurt except endless war and economic disparity — circa 2011, in other words — Head of Crom Records issued a split between Conan and Slomatics (review here). At the time, Conan‘s founding guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis very much positioned the offering as a showcase of the drive toward sonic largesse his own band adapted in some measure from the Belfast-based Slomatics, and no doubt it was a first encounter for many listeners with the bass-less-but-still-unbelievably-heavy-and-sci-fi-prone Northern Irish trio.

What fascinates about this new split between Slomatics and Ungraven — on Davis‘ own Black Bow Records, with mastering by James Plotkin and cover art by Ryan Lesser — is that it’s Slomatics who are the “bigger” band. The three-piece of  drummer/vocalist/synthesist Marty Harvey and guitarists David Majury and Chris Couzens went on a tear throughout the rest of the 2010s, offering four full-lengths in 2012’s A Hocht (discussed here), 2014’s Estron (review here), 2016’s Future Echo Returns (review here), and 2019’s Canyons (review here), as well as a handful of splits, adding to a foundation of earlier work much of which has seen reissue through Black BowUngraven, meanwhile, began as a solo-project from Davis in 2018 and released its first studio recording in 2019’s Language of Longing, basking in a industrial-informed ’90s noise metal crunch à la Nailbomb, etc. from Earache Records around 1995 and what nobody wants to admit was the peak era of Sepultura.

Following some more demos and a March 2020 live-studio release that features all three of the tracks included here, Ungraven — now Davis alongside bassist Dave Ryley of Fudge Tunnel and Tuskar drummer Tyler Hodges — come to their own split with Slomatics not just as the newer band (because in fact Slomatics weren’t newer when they did the split with Conan), but as the group being presented in a more introductory fashion. As I understand it, this is their first recording as a full trio. So say a friendly hi to Ungraven. They’ve come to pummel your skull. Neat!

And some of the aspects with which they choose to do so will ring familiar. Davis‘ tone and shout are signature and largely inimitable, and with production by his Conan bandmate Chris Fielding at Foel Studio, there’s no doubt a certain level of comfort even as Ungraven embark on clearing their own creative path. Which is precisely what they’re doing in “Defeat the Object,” “Onwards She Rides to Certain Death” and “Blackened Gates of Eternity,” and for all the in-context elements they might share with Conan via Davis‘ basic approach, Ungraven leave behind much of the doomier, slow-lumbering plod that’s such a staple in Conan‘s work. Comparisons between the two may be inevitable, at least at this point, but there’s grounds for contrast as well and it comes from the structure of the riffs, the central charge around them rhythmically, and the fact that “Onwards She Rides to Certain Death” barely tops three minutes and gets its job done.

Ungraven Slomatics split

It’s a question of balance, then, as well of course as the personalities and styles of the other players involved. Ungraven are rawer than Conan at this stage, and the noisy aspect of their sound comes through despite the thickness of the low end through which it cuts, but the work here isn’t so far removed from Conan‘s earlier fare that longtime fans will be totally alienated or anything like that, particularly through “Defeat the Object,” while the run of “Onwards She Rides to Certain Death” and the tense crush of “Blackened Gates of Eternity” — which doesn’t so much release at the end as simply arrive at an even more excruciating place — push further into individualized expression. Perhaps, for all the bombast, leading with “Defeat the Object” is Davis‘ way of easing listeners into the brutal modus of the new band.

Working at Start Together Studio with Rocky O’ReillySlomatics‘ three tracks, “Kaan,” “Proto Hag” and “Monitors” each bring something of their own to the proceedings. With “Kaan,” it’s sheer lumber. There’s a volume dip at least on the digital version of the release between Ungraven and Slomatics‘ sides — I can’t speak to the actual vinyl — but if the answer is “turn it up,” that was probably going to be the answer anyway. “Kaan” superplods through the molassesy bulk of its 5:43 run, with atmospheric vocals layered in a kind of line-for-line call and response until, at last, CouzensMajury and Harvey cap with thudding toms and transitional samples into the shorter and catchier “Proto Hag,” which doubles as a trad-doom-soaring showcase for its vocals even as it remains duly thick in its roll, synth adding melody in its final chorus. Harvey is audibly pushing his voice in the last lines, and it adds to the intensity of that apex.

The concluding “Monitors” might be the highlight of the entire release, with a melancholy tempo and open feeling strum in the guitars that serves as bed for likewise downtrodden verse lines. It begins and ends with drones, and departs in its midsection for some atmospherics as well, but the effectiveness of the track overall comes from how draws together and exemplifies Slomatics‘ take on the whole. The two bands inarguably have some factors in common, but they’re telling different stories here, and while impulse with splits is always to compare one to the other — fair enough — the manner in which Ungraven and Slomatics arrive in succession is more complementary than contrasted.

An intervening decade and Ungraven and Conan being different bands precludes this split from being a direct sequel to the 2011 Black Bow offering, but there are spiritual elements shared between that release and this one, the stated friendship between Davis and Slomatics, the latter band’s continued output through the label, and so on. Sonically, there was little danger the pairing wasn’t going to make sense, and it does make sense, showing Slomatics in a place of refining their central methodology even as Ungraven seek out to claim theirs, both of which just happen to be heavy as all hell. It’s kind of a no-brainer.

Ungraven, Split with Slomatics (2021)

Slomatics, Split with Ungraven (2021)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Ross Hurt of Burial Waves

Posted in Questionnaire on March 4th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Ross Hurt of Burial Waves

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

It’s funny, when it comes to daily life, the older I get, the more time feels limited… As a young musician I somehow had hours to play, hours to party, and still found time to work AROUND that. These days, everyday life is very routine and task driven, and I play around my work schedule and family.

I like to try to operate on schedule and within a structure. I guess as a result, I feel that over the years as a musician I have been more inclined to ONLY want to work outside of the “normal” writing and tendencies of rock. Like only pick up the guitar if I am determined to let go of the wheel a bit. I stopped writing verses and choruses, stopped trying to do solos, and really even stopped trying to make the guitars and bass sound like traditional guitars and bass. I can still write (what I think is) a good song, but I have to surrender to the actual process of letting go.

I had to accept the fact that I am not a shredder. I am not a “jammer.” I am not a theory wiz… There were always Rock bands that seemed to go to their roots for inspiration… Be it blues, jazz, folk, or any genre that was spawned off those. I love some technically proficient players, but that’s not me. I became obsessed with the folks that danced outside the lines of tradition: Brian Eno, Tom Morello, Stars of the Lid, and plenty of film score composers. There’s a happy place in between straight-ahead rock (or any of the thousand subgenres) and the weird, and I’ve found comfort exploring that area as my own place to play around outside routine and guardrails.

Describe your first musical memory.

Hearing Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” when I was a toddler. Jumping around on my bed playing air guitar completely naked. I didn’t have MTV or anything like that at the time… I had never seen a live show. All I knew is that it made me want to play guitar and get lost in it.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

My parents were always passively supportive of my bands in high school and stuff… But never had a reaction of “I love this song” and they probably didn’t know the title of a single song I’ve ever written. When Black Clouds was writing our debut album, the goal was to make a “loud massive bummout.” We had garnered a fair amount of attention locally for our live shows, so my mom asked to hear our album before it was out to see what it was all about. I could tell she was trying to understand it, but by the time the album closer, “Santorum Sunday School,” had the vocal sample kick in, she was visibly disgusted, upset, and worried… That was when I knew that I had made the album that I was really most proud of at the time. Since then, it’s only gotten better with each recording.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I think anytime a band has broken up… that’s tough for me. I always invest an obsessive amount of creative energy and emotion into each project, admittedly to a fault. I am usually the last person to see the writing on the wall that spells out the demise of a band, so I am usually last to find out or most surprised by it. I’ve always felt like there needed to be a sendoff or farewell to have one last reflection or moment to celebrate our efforts, but it always ends up being rather unceremonious… and maybe that’s because I believed what we were doing was way more important for everyone outside of my head than it really was hahaha.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I think it depends on what your personal creative goals and expectations are. Some folks want to be the best at their instrument, some folks want to write the best song, and some folks just want an excuse to hang with their friends and have beers. For me it’s the excitement of continuously moving the finish line.. You run a mile, now run a 5k. You run a 5k, now run a marathon. Most folks that run like that know they aren’t going to win, but they do it for the continuous challenge. For me it’s not building my chops, being a better guitarist… it’s having a better understanding of what I am good at as a songwriter, and using that in new ways (without sounding like a one trick pony). Progress is the continuous understanding and application of my skillset, not the advancement of it.

How do you define success?

Surprising people. Surprising myself. I like to write stuff for me first, and audience second. If something I like comes out of that: success. If someone else likes it: bigger success.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Aside from the last four years, the Wikipedia page for A Serbian Film.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would love to score a film in a collaborative way. Working with director and writers about themes, moments, motifs, reservation, and more. I’ve grown to love the visual accompaniments of music more and more… intense stage productions and beyond. I think film and television can often make music better, and music often makes film and tv better.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Challenge. I don’t think you are always supposed to like every bit of art at first listen/glance. But I think if it sticks with you and makes you think, challenges or tests your nerves for better or for worse, then I think it is serving its purpose. It’s an expression ultimately. If it gives you pause, heightens your awareness of a subject, or triggers and emotion, then I think the artist has accomplished the essential goal. No artist wants their work shrugged off, and it starts there. I think that sums up it’s function for the audience, but the same applies to the artist… You have to challenge yourself and WANT the challenge of finding the best way to express whatever it is you are aiming to express. If you think you have accomplished that en totale, you’ve failed. If you did something great and people responded, then you’ve successfully started your journey as an artist.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I have been doing a great deal of creative writing outside of music. Storytelling, scripts, and treatments. Having conversations with people I deeply respect and admire for guidance and feedback with this stuff is a dream. As cliche as it is to say, art is an escape for me. Going to the movies was a mini-vacation. Going to shows was always inspiring. Going to restaurants and trying new things is important… I can’t draw worth shit, I am not a good cook, I don’t have the funds or time to dive into photography, but I do get a kick out of engaging with an audience. Whether it’s through music, writing something funny, or occasionally writing something moving, I love feeling like I am giving someone that same kind of escape that I cherish. I’ve also learned that first drafts are always shit… so working with other folks, rewriting, and embracing that challenge is almost just as exciting as making music.

Burial Waves, “Cinema Shame” live

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Cactus to Release New LP Tightrope April 2

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


New Cactus should be bluesy. The album, titled Tightrope and due out April 2 through Cleopatra Records, is the first from the long-running, been-through-many-iterations-but-is-this-now-and-hey-that’s-cool classic ’70s heavy rockers. No doubt there’s some primo boogie and and they’ve got a few choice covers to boot, and right on for the Jim McCarty guest spot as drummer Carmine Appice leads the band from behind the kid. It’s been six years since the band issued their most recent LP, Black Dawn, and while that’s by no means the longest stretch of their career, it’s significant just the same and it’ll be interesting to hear what they came up with during lockdown.

That PR wire has album details and preorder info:

cactus tightrope


‘70s classic rock legends Cactus came to be known as The American Led Zeppelin, a moniker they owned by virtue of their explosive blues rock stylings, subdued yet undeniably brilliant musicianship, not to mention their energetic and vivacious stage presence which made them a staple of arena rock venues around the globe. Now the band have returned with a smashing new album called Tightrope that strikes a delicate balance between powerful, driving rockers and more complex, heady album tracks. Still led by iconic drummer Carmine Appice alongside long-time members Jimmy Kunes on vocals and Randy Pratt on harmonica, Tightrope is according to Appice “one of the best Cactus albums we’ve ever done. From playing to production and songs, we really took a step up!” They are joined by new lead guitarist/vocalist Paul Warren (ex-Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker) and James Caputo on bass. Tightrope will also give long-time Cactus fans a reason to cheer as it includes special guest appearances from original Cactus guitarist Jim McCarty and singer Phil Naro!

Tightrope will be available on digipak CD, a deluxe 2LP set with a gatefold jacket and colored vinyl, and of course digital platforms everywhere starting April 2 courtesy of Cleopatra Records!

Order the album:

Track List:
1. Tightrope
2. Papa Was A Rolling Stone
3. All Shook Up
4. Poison In Paradise
5. Third Time Gone
6. Shake That Thing
7. Primitive Touch
8. Preaching Woman Man Blues
9. Elevation
10. Suite 1 & 2: Everlong, All The Madmen
11. Headed For A Fall
12. Wear It Out

Cactus, “Evil” live in 2012

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Roadburn Redux: Primitive Man, Mizmor, Inter Arma, Maggot Heart and More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

roadburn redux banner

In some ways, it’s comforting to see an announcement coming from the camp of Roadburn Festival — this year putting forth the virtual Roadburn Redux owing to circumstances that need not be recounted here for the thousandth time — and to find it completely overwhelming. Roadburn, in years past, has meant hard choices. You can only be in one place at one time. Do you leave in the middle of one set to catch the beginning of another? Do you REALLY need to take a break for dinner? Certainly not. Such human weaknesses.

I don’t know how Roadburn Redux will be organized/presented. Is it an artsy-looking website with a bunch of streaming embeds or links? A sort of choose-your-own-adventure excursion into a weekend of mindbending screentime? I am deeply curious to find out, and I suspect I’m not alone in that. My ignorance, however, isn’t preventing me from looking forward to the thing, which in festival tradition is set for next month. There will be a Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, the daily ‘zine. I was instructed to work on a new name for it. Might go with ‘Dispatch Redux,’ we’ll see.

Here’s the announcement from the PR wire:

roadburn redux lineup poster

ROADBURN REDUX: New additions for 2021 edition

Redefining heaviness with exclusive performances and premieres – wherever you are in the world.

Following on from last month’s announcement launching Roadburn Redux, this month sees another line up of exclusive performances and commissioned music. Always seeking to redefine heaviness and champion bands from a multitude of interconnecting underground scenes, Roadburn Redux will deliver cutting edge content available to be experienced digitally from anywhere around the world.

Artistic Director, Walter Hoeijmakers, comments: “I’m delighted to be able to continue our relatively new tradition of commissioned music this year. Having already heard some of what’s in store – I can confidently say that there are going to be many reasons to tune in for Roadburn this year, with unmissable performances and exclusive new music premiering across the weekend. We may be apart this year, but the spirit of Roadburn is alive and well!”
Roadburn Redux will take place online between April 16-18. for more information.
New Additions

COMMISSIONED MUSIC: Mizmor presents Wit’s End
We were due to welcome Mizmor back to Roadburn in 2020 – a reunion and a celebration of this wonderful and ever-evolving creative outlet for one of our favourite, forward thinking musicians. But life had other plans and that got put on ice. However, we’re delighted to announce that A.L.N agreed to work on a specially commissioned piece of music that will premiere during Roadburn Redux.
Titled Wit’s End, this brand new, fifteen minute track will make its debut accompanied by an original video made specially for the release by Zev Deans. The track will make an appearance on an upcoming Mizmor release via Gilead Media later this year, but for now details of that remain under wraps.

We’re thrilled to announce that we commissioned Primitive Man to compose and record all-new, original material to make its debut during Roadburn this April. Having made their mark in such an unforgettable way with each release so far, we have no doubt that the material we have the honour of presenting this April will follow suit.

Primitive Man’s Ethan Lee McCarthy comments:

“We have spent the last year writing these songs in spite of everything that has been going on. We have no other choice but to be tougher than the darkness that surrounds us. And these songs reflect not only times of extreme darkness but the need to persevere. Long live extreme music, long live friendship and long live Roadburn.”

As well as fronting the formidable Primitive Man, Ethan Lee McCarthy has another outlet for his creativity in the form of Many Blessings. Understandably sharing much of the same DNA as Primitive Man, Many Blessings offers a goosebump-inducing ominous atmosphere.Always hungry for more of those foundation-shattering creations, we commissioned Ethan to create new Many Blessings material that will premiere during Roadburn Redux.

Having already announced an Autarkh performance for Roadburn Redux, we’re thrilled to announce a second, very different performance from this up and coming Tilburg-based band, under a slightly different guise: Autarkh III. The trio consists of Autarkh-members David Luiten (vocals / guitars), Michel Nienhuis (vocals / guitars) and Tijnn Verbruggen (live electronics) and aims to represent an alternative timeline of Autarkh’s debut album Form In Motion.

Back in 2018, Gallops made their debut at Roadburn Festival – the Welsh trio brought the party to Het Patronaat with a late-night showcase of pulsating electronica and sweeping experimental rock. Now they’re back for Roadburn Redux, and will be beaming their out-there beats to wherever you are in the world with a virtual live performance.

SVART SESSIONS: Haunted Plasma
Teased last month we can now reveal the secret project that will be part of the Svart Sessions at Roadburn REDUX. The phantoms at the beating nucleus of this unearthly machine are Juho Vanhanen (Oranssi Pazuzu, Grave Pleasures), Timo Kaukolampi (K-X-P, Op:l Bastards) and Tomi Leppänen (Circle, Aavikko, K-X-P), transmitting a music form evolved from a life of redefining sonic boundaries in their respective projects. Also featuring guest vocals from Mat McNerney (Hexvessel, Carpenter Brut, Beastmilk) and Ringa Manner (Ruusut, The Hearing) Haunted Plasma promises an extraterrestrial experience from some of the foremost contemporary musicians at the heart of the Finnish heavy and avant-garde musical underworld.

Inter Arma Covered in the Compound: Live at Chesterfield East
Being fans of Inter Arma in any and every guise, we’d booked them to perform Sulphur English in full for the ill-fated Roadburn 2020 – and now we’ve asked them to perform a covers set at Roadburn Redux. Although we’ll not be able to experience it up close and personal, if anyone can communicate an after-party vibe through the airwaves and in pixel form, it’s these guys.

Maggot Heart
Maggot Heart made their Roadburn debut back in 2018, and despite only having one EP, 2017’s City Girls, to their name at the time, they drew in the masses who were eager to see what this exciting new project had in store. Maggot Heart didn’t disappoint – getting the packed-out Green Room grooving to their raucous late-night show. Latest album, Mercy Machine, will provide the material for their Roadburn Redux set, filmed at Urban Spree in Berlin; we can’t wait to welcome Maggot Heart back to Roadburn in this digital format.

Craving tidal waves of shape shifting sounds that open wide the hidden portal of the mind and the twisted trails to the distant light within thyself? Look no further – from the bottomless depths of murky forest lakes to the unfathomable reaches of primordial cosmos, Offermose will rise with yet another dark ritual of sacrifice, this time exclusively for Roadburn Redux.

ALBUM PREMIERE: Regarde Les Hommes Tomber performing Ascension
There’s no denying that Regarde Les Hommes Tomber’s Ascension left a mark on us and the wider Roadburn community. We’re thrilled that they’ll be performing the whole thing for us in its entirety, their intoxicating amalgam of genres brought to life especially for Roadburn Redux.

ALBUM PREMIERE: The Devil’s Trade performing The Call of the Iron Peak
A little way outside of Budapest you’ll find the Tárnok Quarry – a place that has been the source of many fruitful and historic endeavours over many centuries. Now this magical location will host The Devil’s Trade – for a very special performance of The Call of The Iron Peak recorded specially for Roadburn Redux. We’re thrilled to be the conduit for such an evocative and unusual performance.

Wayfarer will be making an appearance at Roadburn this year with a virtual live set, where the Denver-based quartet will perform tracks from their latest album A Romance With Violence for the very first time. Wayfarer’s Shane McCarthy comments:
“We are honored to be invited by Roadburn to take part in this event. We’ve been eager to bring material from ‘A Romance With Violence’ to the stage, and as the insanity of the world rolls on there is no better place to do so than here. Roadburn have always set a high water mark for creativity, innovation and connection through music – and it is great to see them continue to do so even as this whole industry is in tumult. We look forward to kicking off the performing cycle for ‘Romance’ on your screens this April.”

Roadburn Redux will be available to access between April 16-18 with a full programme of content online for free (or pay what you like).

Already announced is commissioned projects from Die Wilde Jagd, Dirk Serries, GOLD, Jo Quail, Neptunian Maximalism, Of Blood And Mercury, Radar Men From The Moon, Solar Temple, TDC Inc, and The Nest, plus album premieres from Autarkh, Die Wilde Jagd, Emptiness, Plague Organ and Wolvennest, and a series of sets recorded under the banner of The Svart Sessions – highlighting the best of the Finnish label’s roster.

Roadburn Redux has been made possible due to the support from Brabant C, Gemeente Tilburg, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Provincie Noord-Brabant, Bavaria 8.6, Ticket to Tilburg.

Inter Arma, Garber Days Revisited (2020)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Neil Collins of Murcielago

Posted in Questionnaire on March 4th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

murcielago neil collins (Photo by Jay Fortin)

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Neil Collins of Murcielago

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I play bass, which is the union of rhythm and melody in a rock band that acts as the foundation to the sound. I also the singer so I’m the de facto messenger I guess. Both those musical duties reflect what I do for the band outside of writing and performing as well. I do most of the band business and public facing stuff. I think every band has that one person who deals with all the extra-musical duties. That’s me in Murcielago.

Describe your first musical memory.

My father was a working jazz musician for his entire life, and I grew up going to his gigs from the time I was born. The first actual space in time I can remember was him playing at a dockside restaurant when I was three and having a seagull make off with my grilled cheese while I sat side stage watching him and his band play.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

There are many, many moments onstage that come to mind, but I think my favorite memory to date was just a run of the mill rehearsal soon after Ian Ross joined Murcielago, right after we recorded our first release and were preparing to play in the Boston Rock-N-Roll Rumble.. The sound in the space was that amazing air-moving low tremble, and everyone was playing their best and just grinning and grinning. You could feel the notes and beats like hits to the body.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

My wife was diagnosed with cancer at a young age soon after our kid was born. I’m an athiest, but at the time she was getting treated I really wanted the comfort of faith. As much as I tried I just couldn’t believe in the construct of a christian higher power. I’m not sure this answer makes sense. She’s been cancer-free for a long time, and I thank science.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I think it leads to self-awareness. It can lead to the power to reinvent yourself as well.

How do you define success?

Not having to worry about rehearsal space rent.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

When I was 17, me and a friend dosed one weekend night. We were wandering around the town I grew up in tripping  and were the first people to discover a burning truck in the woods. Inside were three of our classmates. One was dead and on fire pinned in the cab.  I can still hear/smell it like I’m right there in my memory.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I’d like to design and build a wood and cane lounge chair. My wife and I buy and sell Scandinavian mid-century furniture, and I’d like to try to make a design I’ve been sketching that owes a lot to the aesthetics of the Scandinavian masters.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

It is to trigger emotion.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

My wife and I just signed a construction loan to build a house and barn. We’re building a farm compound so she can go big with Nigerian goat breeding. We have 6 pregnant goats right now on one acre. We’re building on 23 acres nearby. Hopefully we’ll be moving in at the end of the summer.

Murcielago, Casualties (2020)

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