The Numbers: Thank You

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 31st, 2009 by JJ Koczan

As of 11:00AM, this site had 6,649 hits for the month of August. I know that’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the most The Obelisk has seen since March when that Monte Conner interview got picked up by Blabbermouth and MetalSucks and both were kind enough to link it back here.

Anyhow, I wanted to say thanks for reading. Class starts tomorrow and I don’t really know what September is going to bring, but it genuinely means a lot that you’ve taken time out of your day to check in and see what’s going on here. Much, much appreciated.


Get Your Feet Wet with 35007

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 28th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Whether you choose to call them 35007 or Loose (which is their numerical moniker flipped upside down), the Dutch psych rockers went underrated in their time together — which, according to their MySpace, is finished. I haven’t managed to get a copy of their final offering, Phase V, yet, but its predecessor, 2002’s Liquid EP is just right for unwinding on a quiet, rainy Friday evening in the valley. As such, I thought I’d share. Here’s “Tsunami,” the opening cut from Liquid, in all its YouTube-ular glory:

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Novembers Doom Don’t Go Quietly into Night’s Requiem

Posted in Reviews on August 28th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Ma'am.Novembers Doom have always been the American champions of a predominantly European sound. Formed in a tandem timeline with the likes of Paradise Lost, Katatonia and My Dying Bride, the Chicago outfit didn?t release a full-length until 1995?s Amid its Hallowed Mirth, when the Euro scene was already well established, and never really got their full due of credit or influence. Having of late adopted a less lavish, more immediate death metal sound, the band complete their second decade of existence with their seventh LP, Into Night?s Requiem Infernal (The End Records).

Even those who heard 2007?s The Novella Reservoir will be surprised at how much Novembers Doom have upped their deathly approach. The first two minutes or so of the opening title track are virtually indistinguishable from Amon Amarth, such is the thickened weight of Larry Roberts? and Vito Marchese?s guitars. Only when vocalist and lone original member Paul Kuhr switches from growls to his clean approach can they be told apart. There are two solid, weepy doom ballads on Into Night?s Requiem Infernal — ?The Fifth Day of March? and closer ?When Desperation Fills the Void? (the latter gets heavy at the finish) — but the larger portion of the record is geared toward a classic US death metal sound with flourishes of melancholic ambience. Sonically, it?s more Opeth than Anathema, though of course Novembers Doom was a band before either of them, so take that for what it?s worth.

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Sheavy and the Republic of “Meh”

Posted in Buried Treasure on August 28th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Sheavy is one of those bands who I never really listen to, but whose records I inevitably pick up when I find them used. It’s like we keep bumping into each other, Sheavy and I, and we have a little bit of awkward conversation — “Oh hey, didn’t see you there, guess I’ll buy you because you’re stoner rock and I’m the stoner rock guy…” — and then they sit on my shelf and gather dust. Blah.

Egh.Nothing against them, I’m just not that into it, and to be fair, I don’t have Blue Sky Mind, which as I understand it is their best work. But, already owning Synchronized and The Electric Sleep, I picked up 2005’s Republic? for five bucks a couple weeks back at Vintage Vinyl here in Jersey, thinking the worst that could happen would be the record sucked and I wouldn’t listen to it again.

Well, I’ve listened to it once — not even the whole way through — and that’s it. I don’t know why, since I get off on all kinds of generic stoner stuff, but Sheavy doesn’t do it for me. Vocalist Steve Hennessey‘s Ozzy impression is spot on, the riffs are cool and there’s nothing wrong with the sound of the band, but I have a hard time convincing myself I care. Republic? is no different.

Am I way off on this one? Is there something I’m missing? Maybe when they drop their new album, The Golden Age of Daredevils, this fall, I’ll give it another shot. Or maybe I’ll just wait a year or two, find it used, and be underwhelmed. One never knows how these things will work out.

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New Fu Manchu Due in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Looks like California‘s foremost purveyors of distortion — on the cusp of 20 years as a band — have a new record coming up. According to the story on Blabbermouth, Fu Manchu will release Signs of Infinite Power on Oct. 20 in the US. If it’s anything like their last record, 2007’s We Must Obey, then I’ll take it. Bring on the fuzz. Here’s the story:

Californian rockers Fu Manchu will release their tenth studio album, Signs of Infinite Power, on October 19 in Europe and one day later in the US via Century Media Records.

Commented guitarist/vocalist Scott Hill: [The new CD] turned out very fuzzy and heavy!!! A few faster, tweaked songs are in there as well.”

He added, “2010 will be Fu Manchu‘s 20th year of being a band. We have some very special releases and shows planned for that.”

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Grifter Keep it Simple

Posted in Reviews on August 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

The simplicity of the album art: also key.UK riff rockers Grifter understand. Life is complicated, and hey, sometimes music doesn?t need to be. Sure, we all love post-ambient blackened Viking drone with a subtle industrial influence, but every now and then you just want guitars, bass, drums, vocals, a beer and a groove. On their Catacomb Records extended player, The Simplicity of the Riff is Key, Grifter show there?s nothing wrong with rock for rock?s sake, resulting in a familiar yet refreshingly upbeat take on semi-Southern guitar-led ?70s-style jams.

Were it any longer, they might need something to break it up, but if Grifter?s focus is on simplicity — which according to the title of the release (and I see no reason for them to lie), it is — then they?ve got that down. Four songs, no lush intros or outros. In and out in about 16 minutes. The disc opens with a riff and closes with someone shouting, ?Fucking cunt,? in a charming British accent, leading to inevitable giggling. You get verses, choruses, bridges and endings. They supply the stoner groove, you supply the head bobs, everyone gets loaded and that?s the way it goes down.

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“An Ever-Closer Tango of Death”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

I know this Associated Press story has literally nothing to do with stoner rock, doom, drone, psych or anything else covered on this site, but man, the thought of a planet 10 times the size of Jupiter falling into its star and being so huge as to gravitationally create tides of fire is some of the coolest shit I’ve seen all week. Certainly beats all the hemming and hawing over that guy who killed Mary Jo Kopechne. In order to make it semi-relevant, I decided to include some listening music from Ufomammut, because when I think of planets crashing into the sun, theirs is the first sound that comes to mind. Please click play above before you read:

Astronomers have found what appears to be a gigantic suicidal planet.

The odd, fiery planet is so close to its star and so large that it is triggering tremendous plasma tides on the star. Those powerful tides are in turn warping the planet’s zippy less-than-a-day orbit around its star.

The result: an ever-closer tango of death, with the planet eventually spiraling into the star.

It’s a slow death. The planet WASP-18b has maybe a million years to live, said planet discoverer Coel Hellier, a professor of astrophysics at the Keele University in England. Hellier‘s report on the suicidal planet is in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

“It’s causing its own destruction by creating these tides,” Hellier said.

They should get Malleus to do the artwork for this stuff.The star is called WASP-18 and the planet is WASP-18b because of the Wide Angle Search for Planets team that found them.

The planet circles a star that is in the constellation Phoenix and is about 325 light-years away from Earth, which means it is in our galactic neighborhood. A light-year is about 5.8 trillion miles.

The planet is 1.9 million miles from its star, 1/50th of the distance between Earth and the sun, our star. And because of that the temperature is about 3,800 degrees.

Its size — 10 times bigger than Jupiter — and its proximity to its star make it likely to die, Hellier said.

Think of how the distant moon pulls Earth‘s oceans to form twice-daily tides. The effect the odd planet has on its star is thousands of times stronger, Hellier said. The star’s tidal bulge of plasma may extend hundreds of miles, he said.

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12 Eyes Interview: Exeunt Omnes — or am I??

Posted in Features on August 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Worship.When I proposed to 12 Eyes guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lynch the interview that follows, I pitched it to him as an exit interview, like human resources does when you leave a corporate job, to find out how your experience was working there. I wanted to know how 12 Eyes, now that they were leaving it, felt about the scene in their native NYC. With Lynch in the city proper and drummer Joe Wood (also of long-running sludge rockers Borgo Pass) and bassist Joe Rega out on Long Island, their perspective on Manhattan and beyond was bound to be worth investigation.

Sure enough, I was right. Lynch, whose relocation to New Mexico has put the band on hiatus if not actually broken it up, took the time to reflect on some of 12 Eyes‘ glories and follies. Having seen them more than several times myself and been lucky enough to consider each member of the band a friend, I can attest that the good-time vibe to which he alludes on behalf of himself, Wood and Rega is true and was always a big part of what made a 12 Eyes show so unique. No irony, no bullshit, no posturing, just a bizarre positivity cloaked in doomed-out riffs and blood-curdling cackles. They were like Bongzilla if Bongzilla drank three cases of Red Bull and started making up songs as they went along.

Their MySpace page still in tact and their current status unknown — which is somehow fitting their laid back, see-what-happens ways — The Obelisk proudly presents this interview with one of New York‘s few quality bands. Q&A is, as always, after the jump. Enjoy.

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