Friday Full-Length: Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975)

Thing is, by 1975, most of the decade’s best heavy rock had already been made. The psychedelic era was over. Black Sabbath had done Master of Reality, and Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Stooges and Pink Floyd had (at least arguably) hit their peak, not to mention the slew of heavy rock acts that popped up and had by then receded — Sir Lord Baltimore, Cactus, Atomic Rooster, Buffalo and the like. Some had gone super-prog like Jethro Tull and others, like King Crimson, were already there. Hawkwind still had some cool stuff going on, as did plenty of others and heavy metal proper would start to take shape before 1980, but still. All of a sudden, here’s Ritchie Blackmore, out of Deep Purple post-Stormbringer, linked up with some dude named Ronnie James Dio from a band called Elf, and they blow out one of rock and roll’s all-time powerhouse records. With most of Elf as their backing band, Blackmore and Dio concocted one of rock’s most essential debuts in 1975’s Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, reviving the former’s career and establishing the latter as a major presence on some of the world’s biggest stages.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was the first of three records that, by my judgment, are indispensable. No single one of them is perfect, but when Rainbow, who shifted their lineup after Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow to become a more permanent project, locked in, they simply could not be argued with. The first album has more than a few of those moments. Of course there’s “Man on the Silver Mountain,” and the ripping Quatermass cover “Black Sheep of the Family,” but even the subdued groove-blues of “Catch the Rainbow” has movement at its center, and the fantasy elements that came together across “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” and “The Temple of the King” established what became the lyrical basis of a good portion of Dio‘s career. True, Craig Gruber (bass), Gary Driscoll (drums) and Micky Lee Soule (keys, clarinet) kind of got the shaft in being ousted before 1976’s Rising — to be replaced by Jimmy BainCozy Powell and Tony Carey, respectively — and they basically had their singer swiped out from under them by Blackmore, but the results speak for themselves. Ritchie Blackmore’s RainbowRising and 1978’s Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll are as much monuments to ego as to talent, but they prove just how much room there was for both in this band at that point in time.

And GruberDriscoll and Soule made their presence felt in cuts like “If You Don’t Like Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the closing Yardbirds cover “Still I’m Sad,” both of which played off a strong sense of boogie while also showcasing Blackmore‘s inhuman ability and command as a lead guitarist. Any given day, I could pick any one of the first three Rainbow records as my favorite, but no question the first of them was a special moment put to tape and had a kind of let’s-try-this-and-see-what-happens air to it that even a year later they’d never be able to capture again. A complete classic.

I hope you enjoy it.

By way of a confession, and a transgression I hope you’ll forgive, I didn’t put the Rainbow record on while I typed out the above. A couple minutes here or there, but I’ve had a severe-enough headache for most of the night that I couldn’t really hang with the front to back and wanted something I knew well enough that I wouldn’t need to. My brain feels like it’s throwing itself against the sides of my skull like it’s trying to break a door down so it can escape. I almost went with Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll for “Sensitive to Light” alone. It would be only too appropriate as I sit here and type in the dark, which I think is actually bad for a headache with the light from the computer monitor, but I’ve got that turned way down as well. Still a bit of throb going on.

Anyway, I’ll crash out shortly. If you’re in the States, I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving yesterday. Much family time on my end. Tomorrow, The Patient Mrs. and I drive back north to Massachusetts from New Jersey — I got my license back (did I tell you about that? It was like I pulled a bad card from the Monopoly deck; “bureaucratic issue, go directly to the Registry of Motor Vehicles”), so I can actually drive — and hopefully we’ll get some rest before next week starts. Could use a quiet afternoon, to be honest. And some Advil.

Next week, look out for a Balam track stream on Monday, plus reviews of Deadpeach, a new split between Goya and Wounded Giant and Stone Machine Electric‘s new tape. We’re getting on December, so it’ll be time to start the year-end wrap-ups soon, and I have a few new ideas for that I’d like to work in, provided there’s time. Or maybe they’re not new and I thought of the same stuff last year, didn’t get to it and forgot to write it down. That’s entirely possible. Either way we’ll try again. I’m also already planning out this year’s best-of podcast. It will be up before Xmas. Not that it would be a huge draw either way, but I might talk on it. Probably not. But maybe.

Gonna try to get my interview with Alunah online this week as well, so keep an eye out for that.

All the best to you and yours as we move into the holiday season. Before we get there, though, I hope you have a great and safe weekend.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Samavayo Post New Video for “Oblivion”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

samavayo (Photo by Davi Selton)

Berlin’s Samavayo walk the line between hard and heavy rock, but always seem to find room for the fuzz. This year, they released a split with One Possible Option that featured their first recorded work as a three-piece, having bid farewell to guitarist/backing vocalist Marco Wirth last year after 13 years with the band. Like the original version of that song, which came out on 2010’s One Million Things long-player, “Rollin’ 2014” has a bruiser riff and heavy hook with just an undertone of metal, but in comparing it to some of the style in which their last full-length, 2012’s Soul Invictus, was executed, there could be the potential for a shift in focus on their next album, which is being put together now for a 2015 release.

Does that mean more fuzz to come? I don’t know, but Samavayo — guitarist/vocalist Behrang Alavi, drummer/backing vocalist Stephan Voland and bassist/backing vocalist Andreas Voland — aren’t quite done with Soul Invictus yet. They’ve got a brand new animated video for the song “Oblivion,” taken from the record and set to animation by Bastian Wienecke that brings to life the dystopian critique of the lyrics. And after touring in Brazil this summer, they’re making ready to head out again on tour as well in March, this time with anything-goes Russian heavy rockers The Grand Astoria. Seems likely they’ll be trying out new material before they go in and record their next outing.

Dates for that run are still being shored up, and you can check out what’s confirmed and the video for “Oblivion” below. If you notice some similarities between the style that Wienecke uses and that of the series of clips that came out around Queens of the Stone Age‘s …Like Clockwork last year, I doubt it’s a coincidence. Please enjoy.

Samavayo, “Oblivion” official video

Samavayo on Tour, March 2015:
04.03. Wed GER Potsdam, tbc
05.03. Thu GER Hamburg, Bar 227
06.03. Fr GER Harburg, Marias Ballroom
07.03. Sa GER Cottbus, Muggefug
08.03. Su GER Erfurt, Tiko
10.03. Tue GER Halle, Rockpool
11.03. Wed GER Nürnberg, Artischocken
12.03. Thu GER Karlsruhe, Alte hackerei
13.03. Fr GER/FR tba
14.03. Sa FR Paris, tbc
15.03. Su FR tba
17.03. Tue CH/FR tba
18.03. Wed CH/FR tba
19.03. Thu CH Genf , l’Usine
20.03. Fr CH Luzern, Bruch Brothers
21.03. Sa CH Olten, Coq d’or
24.03. Tue AT tba
25.03. Wed AT Graz, tbc
26.03. Thu AT Wien, Arena
27.03. Fr GER Weiden, Salute Club
28.03. Sa GER Jena Kulturfabrik
31.03. Tue GER Schwerin, Dr. K
01.04. Mi DK Roskilde, Gimle
02.04. Do DK tba
03.04. Fr NOR Stavanger, Chevy’s
04.04. Sa NOR tba

From 04.03. until 28.00. With The Grand Astoria (RUS)
From 18.03. until 25.03. With The Grand Astoria (RUS) and Six Months Of Sun (CH)
From 31.03. until 04.04. With Sonic Man (GER)

If interested please contact!

Samavayo on Thee Facebooks

Samavayo at Setalight Records

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Karma to Burn Announce Month-Long US Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

…Actually it’s more like five weeks that West Virginia’s Karma to Burn will spend on the road across the US supporting their 2014 full-length, Arch Stanton (review here). The Morgantown instrumentalists, now with guitarist Will Mecum as the sole remaining founding member alongside bassist Rob Halkett and drummer Evan Devine, will head out right after New Year’s, starting Jan. 7 in Ohio and ending with a hometown gig on Feb. 13.

Those lineup changes have taken place and Karma to Burn have released a self-titled EP and a split with Sons of Alpha Centauri since their last round of North American touring in 2011, so it seems reasonable to expect some difference in stage presence given the different players, etc., but Karma to Burn‘s no-frills core might as well be carved in marble it’s so permanent, and they should be nothing if not recognizable.

Looking forward to finding out:

karma to burn tour

Karma to Burn on North American tour!

04/23 Berlin Germany @ Desert Fest
04/26 London UK @ Desert Fest

Karma to Burn, “55” official video

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The Flight of Sleipnir Stream V. in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on November 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan


However European (much of) their influential base might be, The Flight of Sleipnir‘s will to bend genre and combine different sounds marks them out as a distinctly American band. The two-piece of David Csicsely (drums, vocals, guitar) and Clayton Cushman (vocals, guitar, bass, keys) hail from a town called Arvada, Colorado, less than 10 miles outside the capitol of Denver, but nestled enough into the sharp-tipped Rocky Mountains that their cascading, blackened fuzz could feasibly be born of its landscape. The duo have maintained an exploratory feel throughout their time together, and their fifth and latest outing, V., continues that run. Their first for Napalm Records after two full-lengths — 2013’s Saga and 2011’s Essence of Nine (review here) — on Eyes Like Snow, it’s as mature and steady in its composition as one might expect, but maintains a fierce creative drive as well, its seven tracks/59 minutes pushing forward in aesthetic and atmosphere.

With their commitment to psychedelia and black metal, it’s tempting to think of The Flight of Sleipnir as the stylistic movement that should’ve happened and never did with Nachtmystium, but the truth is Csicsely and Cushman traffic in more complex fare. Extended cuts like “Sidereal Course” and “Gullveig” have their blackened aspects — I’d still call The Flight of Sleipnir a black metal band before anything else — but the flight of sleipnir vtheir forays into psychedelia also bring an awareness of doom, of heavy rock tendencies toward repetition, and give a post-metal feel to some of the shifts between ambient and dense sections. In addition, the balance struck between screams and clean singing from one track to the next, as on opener “Headwinds” and “Sidereal Course,” only furthers the complexity of V., since where a lot of modern metal has fallen into the formula of screamy verse/clean chorus, The Flight of Sleipnir seem more interested in what best suits the mood of the song at that time. To call the record immersive would be underselling it. The forest-style screams of “The Casting” and the lumbering, doom-laden centerpiece “Nothing Stands Obscured” arrive fairly deep in the mix, and the overarching theme throughout is a three-dimensional tonality in the guitar and bass that, in headphones, takes the rawness of lo-fi black metal and gives it a surprisingly rich incarnation, so that the march at the end of “Nothing Stands Obscured” is as lush as it is searing.

This multifaceted, impeccably layered approach comes to a head with “Gullveig,” on which a light wah lead tops some foreboding underpinnings and becomes a theme played off of for full-toned riffs and screams, paced perfectly for V.‘s most satisfying nod. Cushman and Csicsely build up past the halfway point and then work in acoustics to begin an instrumental exploration that will consume the rest of the runtime, clean singing and screams interweaving for an apex effect that leads fluidly into the closing duo of “Archaic Rites” (9:07) and “Beacon in Black Horizon” (11:26), both of which continue to further the album’s atmospheric impact, the former through shifting the form of “Gullveig” to an even more serene, natural spirit, and the latter stripping back down early to blacksludge roll-riffing before escaping into trippy effects and never seeming to settle as compounds payoff with payoff to cap V. with an appropriately noisy stomp, the undercurrent of low end carrying them smoothly through quick-breath breaks and fuller onslaught to the drone, chanting and long silence that follows the closer’s finish, their sonic adventurousness never having relented once along the way.

V. came out earlier this week through Napalm Records and today I have the pleasure of streaming the album in its entirety. Please check it out on the player below, and enjoy:

The Flight of Sleipnir on Thee Facebooks

The Flight of Sleipnir on Bandcamp

The Flight of Sleipnir at Napalm Records

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Doctor Cyclops Touring in December

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

doctor cyclops

Italian three-piece Doctor Cyclops will round out 2014 supporting their latest album, Oscuropasso, with dates in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, preaching their doomly gospel of ’70s prog worship and heavy riffage 10 nights in a row. The record — still on my desk — was released by World in Sound and boasted warm tones and an excited feel that one imagines is a mirror for energy the trio bring to their live show (not having seen them, I can’t really comment). It’s a quality album. I still feel guilty for not reviewing it in some fashion.

Should you happen to be in Austria, Germany or Switzerland next month — it could happen — don’t let my baggage stop you from checking out what will likely be a cool show. They’re calling it the “Riding a Dream” tour, and I hope it works out that way. Earlier this year, the bandumentary Borgopasso – Doctor Cyclops Not the Movie was released, and you’ll find that under the tour dates below should you want to learn more about them:

doctor cyclops tour

DOCTOR CYCLOPS – Riding a Dream Tour December 2014

Doctor Cyclops (World in Sound rec.) heavy 70s rockers will break through Austria, Germany and Switzerland from next week. 11 gigs in 11 days, from wednesday the 3rd to saturday the 13th. Choose your city, get your show!! Join the Cyclops Partying Circus, may the Trolls be with you.

One Eyed Promotions, World in Sound Records and DAREDEVIL RECORDS presents:

3.12: SALZBURG (AT)@ Rockhouse
4.12: WURZBURG (DE)@ Immerhin
5.12: LUBBENAU (DE)@ kulturhoff
6.12: ARNSTADT (DE)@ Rockjungfer
7.12: ERFURT (DE)@ Tiko
8.12: FRANKFURT@ Neglected Grassland
9.12: BIELEFIELD (DE)@ Potemkin
10.12: DORTMUND (DE)@ blackplastic
11.12: HEIDELBERG (DE)@ Beatfabrik
12.12: ST.GALLEN (CH)@Rumpeltum
13.12: THUN (CH)@ AKut

Doctor Cyclops is a seventies-style power trio playing heavy rock music inspired by a vintage sound, eldest son of glorious Balck Sabbath and of other more underground heroes from the 70ies and early 80ies such as Truth and janey, Sir Lord Baltimore, Captain Beyond, Witchfinder General. Even later and more modern references are warm-vintage style ones: Witchcraft, Firebird, Cathedral, Spiritual Beggars just to say some.

Borgopasso – Doctor Cyclops Not the Movie (2014)

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Wino Wednesday: Shrinebuilder, Full Set Live in Baltimore, 11.13.09

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 26th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

wino wednesday

If time has taught us anything at all about rock and roll, it’s never say never. Shrinebuilder put out its self-titled debut in 2009 on Neurot Recordings with the staggering lineup of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist/vocalists Scott Kelly and Scott “Wino” Weinrich and drummer/vocalist Dale Crover, played here and there, followed-up with a single and a live record, played some more shows, and then receded. It was never intended to be a full-time project, and when they were done, everyone went back to their own bands, whether it was Sleep and Om for CisnerosSaint Vitus for WinoNeurosis and solo work for Kelly or the Melvins for Crover. Rumors of a second album persisted for a while and then similarly receded.

We may never get another Shrinebuilder record. Hell, we might not even get another Shrinebuilder tour, or a single show, but it seems just as likely that at some point and in some form — whether with all four of the same players or not — they’ll get together again for some purpose or other. The full set snagged for this week’s Wino Wednesday revelry was filmed by TubeVision, a long-running East Coast taper, and captures Shrinebuilder on their inaugural run from Nov. 2009, not yet a month after the release of the self-titled, live in full force at the Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland. I was fortunate enough two nights later to see Shrinebuilder take the stage in Manhattan with Rwake (review here), and while it was just over five years ago now, I can still readily recall the powerful presence they had as a band on stage and the weight the performance carried because of who it was standing up there.

They might or they might not ever do another album, but whatever winds up happening, we were lucky enough to get it once. Hope you enjoy the video:

Shrinebuilder, Live at The Sonar, Baltimore, MD, 11.13.09

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Mountain Witch Added to Freak Valley 2015

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 26th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

mountain witch

Being German and being ingrained in ’70s-style classic heavy rock, Hamburg trio Mountain Witch have garnered a fair amount of comparisons to Kadavar since they released their 2013 debut full-length, Cold River (review here). Fair enough, but the vibe I got from that record was a little more doom and classic metal, a little grimmer in its intent than Kadavar, whose ’70s worship is more about warm groove and catchy hooks. Maybe it’s splitting hairs one to the next — I’m not sure how many microgenres ’70s-style heavy really needs to be divided into — but in any case, I didn’t think Mountain Witch were trying to ride the same wave as their countrymen, just that everybody digs Sabbath. That’s universal, right?

Their current 7″, which adds Judas Priest-style vocals to Cold River opener “Snake Wand” and pairs it with a cover of Deep Purple‘s classic “Black Night,” I think backs up that supposition. Or maybe my head’s up my ass. Always a possibility.

In any case, Mountain Witch are the latest act to join the golly-that’s-good lineup of next year’s Freak Valley festival. Freak Valley 2015 is set for June 4, 5 and 6 in Netphen, Germany, and if you don’t want to go, you’re not paying attention:

mountain witch freak valley festival

We are stoked to welcome Hamburgs Proto-Doom / psychedelic Stoner-Rock masters MOUNTAIN WITCH to the Freak Valley 2015 family !!

Mountain Witch’s sound is strengthened by an unmistakable 70s psych rock majesty. With vintage tones and killer riffs reminiscent of early Sabbath, their new direction also takes in the boogie of Blue Cheer, ballsy strut of Deep Purple and the total ambition of Pink Floyd. A sound that doesn’t shy away from its hard rock roots and at the same time doesn’t stop long enough to rest on them.

There’s also a distinct feeling that while the Mountain Witch of old were content to plug in and rock out, the epic guitar assaults and rhythm and doom sections of ‘Sleepers Chant’ and ‘The Covey’ give this latest incarnation a newfound purpose. One that could give the likes of Dead Meadow, Uncle Acid and the deadbeats and former label mates Kadavar a serious run for their money.

MOUNTAIN WITCH is out for the crown and it’s only a matter if time before they take the empire.

Awesome poster art by Michael Imhof / Wallze Design & Poster Art

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 4th-5th-6th June 2015

FVF tickets are selling like Blues Pills vinyls already – get yours in time – the first 3 editions have been sold out early!!
We are selling tix to all parts of this planet!!

Tickets: | Only 66€ for 3 days incl. Camping!!

Hardtickets now @ our onlineshop:

Also: | Kozmik Artifactz

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL: No Fillers – Just Killers

Goatsnake – Crippled Black Phoenix – The Vintage Caravan – Electric Moon – Gas Giant – Monkey3 – Danava – Egypt – Siena Root – Sigiryia – Kamchatka – Purson – Dead Man – Mountain Witch – Tuber – Valley of the Sun – Tombstones – more tba soon!!

Mountain Witch, Snake Wand 7″ (2014)

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audiObelisk Transmission 042

Posted in Podcasts on November 26th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download


Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Tomorrow here in the US it is Thanksgiving, which has some questionable origins but in practice is actually one of our less-abominable holidays, with a focus on togetherness, good food, and enjoying the company of loved ones. Today, the day before, is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year while people get to wherever they’re going. Even if you don’t manage to find it until after the holiday is over, it seemed only fitting to make a new podcast so that anyone who might want to take it along for the ride would be able to do so.

My head has started to get into year-end wrap-up mode, so don’t be surprised if one or two or three of these bands show up in subsequent “Best Of” coverage. Maybe even four, looking at the list. It’s been a crazy good year, and as it starts to wind its way down and we make our way into the next one, I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to these podcasts and hopefully discovered something you wouldn’t have heard otherwise. That’s really the whole idea.

If you’re traveling by road, rail, or air, I wish you a pleasant journey, and even if you’re staying put, the same applies.

First Hour:
Stubb, “Heavy Blue Sky” from Cry of the Ocean
Murcielago, “Way too Far” from Murcielago
Dune, “Of Blade and Carapace” from Aurora Majesty
The Skull, “Send Judas Down” from For Those Which are Asleep
Elephant Tree, “Attack of the Altaica” from Theia
Renate/Cordate, “Laudanum” from Growth
Mothership, “Serpents Throne” from Mothership II
Space Guerrilla, “Event Horizon” from Boundless
Monster Magnet, “End of Time (B-3)” from Milking the Stars
Memnon Sa, “Megalith” from Citadel

Second Hour:
Soldat Hans, “Meine Liebste; Sie Zerbricht Sich” from Dress Rehearsal
Atavismo, “Meeh” from Desintegración
Øresund Space Collective, “Remnants of the Barbonaeum” from Music for Pogonologists

Total running time: 1:53:26


Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 042


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