Friday Full-Length: Orange Sunshine, Homo Erectus

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

You wanna hear something wild? Go ahead and click play on Orange Sunshine‘s 2001 debut, Homo Erectus. That’ll qualify for sure. Something else, demonstrably less wild: I was all set to close out thweek with their second album, 2003’s Love = Acid Space = Hell, but as I started putting the post together, it turned out I already did, like two years ago. Hell, at least I’m consistent.

When it comes to boogie and/or fuzz rock, they don’t come much more undervalued than the Den Haag-based power trio. They were there early — Homo Erectus lit a fire under the ass of anyone who heard it upon its release in 2001 as the band — now comprised of Arthur van Berkel (guitar), Mehdi Rouchiche (bass), Guy Tavares (drums/vocals) — dove headfirst into the fuzzed-out heavy blies of “Catfish” — coated in ’60s whiteboy soul like a slightly less frantic Radio Moscow — ad the unmitigated swing of… well, just about all of it. In its original form, the album’s got six tracks. Take your pick and insert namedrop here.

Of course, Blue Cheer are a influence in sound and style, but one can hear plenty of bluesier-minded Hendrix throughout Homo Erectus, as well as The Kinks on album-closer “Free” and some shades of Sabbath on the otherwise Leaf Hound-referential “Girl, You…” or the Stoogesy vibe in opener “Hush Hush” serve as distinctive moments, driven by powerhouse basslines and the loose-feeling vocals of Tavares, who also mans the helm of Motorwolf Studios where the album was recorded for release on — wait for it — Motorwolf Records. These sonic references would become even more of a theme on Love = Acid Space = Hell, when Orange Sunshine dug deeper into specifics on Thin Lizzy and MC5, but “Magic Ship” here does a damn good job of getting the point across of proto-heavy swing, and the immediate shuffle of “Hush Hush” and stoned bluesy stomp of “Catfish” do pretty well too. If you’ve never heard Orange Sunshine before, you’re not going to come out of Homo Erectus with any mistake about where they’re coming from, is what I’m trying to say.

A few different versions of Homo Erectus have been released over the years, by Motorwolf as noted and then subsequent reissues in 2004 through Leaf Hound Records and Headspin Records. Leaf Hound would also do versions of Love = Acid Space = Hell and the third Orange Sunshine LP, Bullseye of Being, which saw initial release in 2006 under the title Ruler of the Universe before a revamp made the collection of covers what it wound up being. The band put out a couple live records this decade — both Live at Roadburn 2007 (released in 2011) and 2014’s Live at Freak Valley (review here) — but there hasn’t been much activity on the studio front. Still, I recall fondly seeing them at Roadburn 2010 (review here) and watching them play three Blue Cheer covers. In fact, it was regaling The Patient Mrs. with that story a couple days ago for probably the 80th time that made me want to close out the week with them. So there you go.

When I was a lad. Just a wee college boy doing wee college radio playing heavy rock and roll even as I was still in the process of discovering what it was, I wrote an email to Guy Tavares as representative of Motorwolf. I sent out a lot of that kind of note in those days to bands and labels I discovered mostly by perusing SoulSeek and the All That is Heavy store : “Hey, send me CDs and I’ll play them on the radio in the NY market.” It wasn’t a bad pitch, to be honest. Tavares not only sent me Homo Erectus and Love = Acid Space = Hell, but also the Den Haag Motor Rock compilation and a few other odds and ends. This was maybe in 2003. I still have those copies of those records, and there continue to be times when nothing else quite seems like enough of a party.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I made this pot of coffee yesterday, it was so good you would not have fucking believed it. It was a medium roast custom blend I’ve put together through Dean’s Beans, and I don’t know if it was the grind, the water temperature, the amount of water or what, but wow. It was smooth and delicious and so god damned good that I actually stopped drinking my first cup of it so that it could come to room temp and I could make The Patient Mrs. — who prefers colder coffee to hotter — give it a shot, even though she’s supposed to take it easy on caffeine while breastfeeding. If our son got some second hand, I feel like it can only go toward developing his palette for the better. Or make him poop, which he was going to do sooner or later anyway.

I’ve got another pot of the same roast brewed right now and I’m a little nervous to take it on, to be honest. What if it’s not as good? What if it was a fluke? A one-time deal? Guess I’ll never know until I give it a pour.

The Patient Mrs., The Pecan and I have shared a cold all week. Same cold, the three of us. Only the Little Dog Dio seems to be immune, and more power to her, because it’s been more than its fair share of terrible. Hurts to swallow my delicious coffee and all this food that medical professionals are obliging me to consume — I’ve put on so much weight in the last month-plus it makes me so sad; let’s not talk about it — plus my sinuses feel like they’re in one of those hand-crank vise grips, and I’m all coughy and swollen throat glands and all the rest. It has sucked and continues to suck. I’m hoping over the weekend to get better but I’ll be plenty busy this weekend too.

Because next week — actually through the end of the month — is totally and completely packed. Here’s notes subject to change:

Mon.: Blackwulf video premiere/album review; Supernaughty album stream/track-by-track.
Tue.: Apostle of Solitude album stream/review.
Wed.: All Souls Six Dumb Questions; maybe a Besvärjelsen track premiere.
Thu.: Deathwhite album stream/review.
Fri.: Strauss EP stream/review.

I’ve got a couple other projects I’m working on and so forth — somebody’s willing to pay me to write bios! — and the process of putting stuff together for the Roadburn Weirdo Canyon Dispatch has begun, so I’ll be dedicating some time to that as I continue to recover from this cold this weekend, but beyond that, I’ve got a good friend coming north tonight to spend some time with us and the baby, The Patient Mrs. plans to make lentils for dinner that I’ll have with brown rice and I’ll make homemade peanut butter granola sometime either today or tomorrow using my own mixed-nut butter and oats and cereal and whatever else I can get my hands on.

It’ll be a good time all around, even with the screaming baby who doesn’t understand why he feels so crapped out. Sorry kid.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a great and safe time. Please enjoy yourself, check back Monday for more whatnottery, and in the meantime hit up the forum and the radio stream, which Slevin was kind enough to fix this week when it went offline. Much appreciated, sir, as always.

PS: The coffee is delicious.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

Cough Announce West Coast Tour with Grime

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

If you’re on the West Coast and looking to test your tolerance for extreme sludge, this might be the show with which to do it. Italy’s Grime are nothing if not aptly-named. Their sound is a filth-coated assault of bludgeoning aural misanthropy. Not only that they would come to the US to tour, but that they’d partner with Richmond, Virginia, dirge-oozers Cough is significant, the latter being a genuinely headlining-worthy outfit in terms of presence and volume who compromise neither in their pursuit of some of the darkest sonic corners to be found anywhere. There will be riffs. They will be loud. They will be slow. They will be punishing.

The tour is presented by Midnite Collective, and kudos to them on the pairing. The PR wire puts it like this:

cough tour poster

COUGH (Relapse) & GRIME (Argento) Announce Joint West Coast Tour

Announcing a plague over the West Coast…Virginia’s COUGH (Relapse Records) and Italy’s GRIME (Argento) are joining forces to wreak havoc this May. CA’s Midnite Collective takes responsibility for bringing the Italian doom lords across the ocean for their first ever US shows – sure to be a hell of a run. Dates below:

Catch COUGH & GRIME Live:
5/11 – Los Angeles, CA – Union
5/12 – Phoenix, AZ – Club Red
5/13 – Las Vegas, NV – The Bunkhouse Saloon
5/14 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
5/15 – Oakland, CA – The Golden Bull
5/16 – Portland, OR – Tonic Lounge
5/17 – Seattle, WA – The Highline

Conceived in the fertile metal underground of Richmond, VA circa 2005, ?COUGH ?have sought to be the heaviest band ever since their inception. The band takes inspiration from the most savage aspects of extreme music, from crushing doom metal and grimy sludge to early black metal. After the independent 2007 release of their first EP, ?The Kingdom?, ?COUGH? quickly put out their first proper full-length, ?Sigillum Luciferi ?(Forcefield Records, 2008).

Between hospital visits and bouts of near-insanity, ?COUGH? slowly labored forward with the writing of their follow-up album. By 2010 the band had signed to Relapse Records and returned to Chicago, IL, enlisting Parker once again to record their sophomore album, the aptly titled Ritual Abuse. ?

After a six year hiatus, ?COUGH ?return with ?Still They Pray?, a 65? ?minute acid-drenched nightmare set to music?.? Produced by ?Electric Wizard’s ?Jus Oborn and recorded by Oborn and ?Windhand’s? Garrett Morris, ?COUGH? pick up where ?Ritual Abuse ?left off, masterfully pushing their black cosmic psychedelia to the brink of despair. ?

Grime starts its mission in Trieste, Italy during summer 2010- their only goal is bringing destruction to a town near yours. Their sound is rooted in a rotten burial ground and their songs are the voice of a decaying swamp filled with trash. Marching to a slow and heavy groove as filthy and vicious as the guitar riffs are sharp and covered with rust. Drums and bass hit with the unstoppable power of a mud avalanche.

Over the years the band toured relentlessly across Europe (with Converge, Cough, Fistula, Today is The Day and -(16)-, to name a few) and had the honor to play some of the greatest European festivals such as Roadburn, Heavy Days in Doomtown, Bloodshed Festival, Barroselas Metal Fest and Desertfest (London and Belgium). Grime is ready to release some new material in 2018 along multiple tours…stay tuned.

https://www.facebook.com/Cough666/
https://www.instagram.com/cough666/
https://cough.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Grime666Grime/
https://www.instagram.com/grimeofshit/
https://grime666.bandcamp.com/
http://www.midnitecollective.com/
https://www.facebook.com/midniteclv/
https://www.instagram.com/midniteclv/

Cough, Still They Prey (2016)

Grime, Circle of Molesters (2015)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Munsens on Tour Now; Recording Plans Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Denver’s okay-seriously-somebody-out-there-it’s-time-to-sign-this-band trio The Munsens are on tour now. For not the first time, they go in support of their 2016 EP, Abbey Rose (review here), the raw groove of which continues to thrill — just take a listen for yourself at the bottom of this post — even as they begin to play material from their forthcoming debut LP, which they’ll record come Spring with the esteemed Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile in my beloved Garden State of New Jersey.

Ah, North Jersey in Springtime. Cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon, chilly at night. New life all around. I won’t lie, I miss it.

Before they make their way east, The Munsens will hit SXSW and much more besides. As noted, the tour’s already on, so we better get to the PR wire stuff quickly. Keep an eye out for more album news though. I hope to keep up with this one as we get closer to a release date, whenever that might be:

the munsens travis heacock

THE MUNSENS: Denver Metal Trio Embarks On Speedfreak Tour This Week; Band Announces New Record Plans

Denver metallers THE MUNSENS kick off their Speedfreak 2018 Tour February 14th, with additional tour and recording plans to follow.

THE MUNSENS’ upcoming ten-day Speedfreak 2018 will run through Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, then crossing into Mexico for a show in Juarez, before heading home, closing the tour down in their hometown on February 24th. The tour will encompass both new and return cities for the band and include bills with notable heavy acts including two North Carolina shows with TOKE, as well as shows with Forming the Void, Doomstress, Communion, Bridge Farmers, Abrams, Necropanther, and more.

Two weeks after the Speedfreak dates, THE MUNSENS head back down to Texas for a trio of unofficial SXSW festival appearances 13th, 14th, and 15th, including a return to Boss Tweed Backline’s Black Smoke Conjuring, Wicked Bad’s SX Stoner Jam, and a prime slot at the brand-new Stoner Daze festival.

THE MUNSENS will be unveiling a majority of the material off their upcoming album on these tour dates, and directly following the Austin dates, the band heads back to the East Coast to record a new album, where they will bunker down at Moonlight Mile Recording in Hoboken, New Jersey with Mike Moebius (Pilgrim, Natur, Kings Destroy), who recorded their 2014 EP Weight Of Night. “We’ve been dying to get back and record with Mike for a long while, but the logistics have been tough,” says bassist Mike Goodwin. “We’ve got a really good idea of what we want as a final product with this album and Mike is the guy to get us there.”

The follow up to 2016’s Abbey Rose, the yet-to-be-named new album from THE MUNSENS be the band’s first official “full-length” title; a decidedly caustic and critical assemblage of new tracks running roughly fifty minutes in length. The band has experimented with their sound to a greater degree since Graham Wesselhoff joined the band on drums in the summer of 2016 and this new album will continue to reflect that shift. “Simply put, we want a more aggressive sound on this album,” says Goodwin.

The new album title and release details will be announced later this spring, with a rough album release date of mid-July.

THE MUNSENS Tour Dates:
2/14/2018 Bottleneck – Lawrence, KS w/ Hyperbor, Braingea
2/15/2018 Green Lantern – Lexington, KY w/ Dirtbag, Non Compliant, Yellow Cuss
2/16/2018 The Odditorium – Asheville, NC w/ TOKE, Covenator, Reverend Reach Around
2/17/2018 New York Pizza – Greensboro, NC w/ TOKE, Born Hollow, Noctomb, Darth Kannabyss
2/18/2018 The Nick – Birmingham, AL w/ Doomstress, Beerwolf, Murder of Jane Crow
2/19/2018 Santos – New Orleans, LA
2/20/2018 Freetown Boom Boom Room – Lafayette, LA w/ Forming the Void, Cheater Pipe
2/21/2018 The Lost Well – Austin, TX w/ Communion, Thunderkief
2/22/2018 The Mix – San Antonio, TX w/ Bridge Farmers
2/23/2018 Hysteria – Ciudad Juarez, MX w/ Tarantula, Ultimo Trip
2/24/2018 Hi Dive – Denver, CO w/ Abrams, Necropanther
3/13/2018 Black Smoke Conjuring Festival – Austin, TX
3/14/2018 SX Stoner Jam – Austin, TX
3/15/2018 Stoner Daze – Austin, TX
6/10/2018 71Grind Fest – Colorado Springs, CO
6/16/2018 Austin Terror Fest – Austin, TX
6/30/2018 Electric Funeral Fest – Denver, CO

https://themunsensnj.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/themunsens
https://www.instagram.com/themunsens

The Munsens, Abbey Rose (2016)

Tags: , , ,

Towards Atlantis Lights Premiere “Alexandria’s Library” from Dust of Aeons

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Towards Atlantis Lights

You know what happens when you swim toward the lights of Atlantis? You fucking drown. Such would seem to be the overarching perspective from which multinational grief-laden doomers Towards Atlantis Lights are working on their Transcending Obscurity Records debut album, Dust of Aeons. Comprised of four tracks beginning with the utter consumption of the half-hour-long “The Bunker of Life” (immediate points for putting the longest song first), the record is due out March 5 and presents itself as a morose wash of death-doom impulses, part melancholic melody and part extremity of crawl and lurch. Shades of My Dying Bride‘s theatricality and Novembers Doom‘s brutal and downer growling metal make themselves known throughout the four-song/57-minute offering, and though very much of the style, Dust of Aeons successfully revels in its atmosphere and reminds listeners of the resonance this style of doom can hold when so properly executed.

The album pairs two longer songs with two shorter ones. I’d call it two-sided, but the break doesn’t really work that way, with “The Bunker of Life” basically an album unto itself. Even if that track was broken in half for the first of a double-LP, there would still be “Babylon’s Hanging Gardens” (5:57), “Alexandria’s Library” (16:35) and “Greeting Mausolus’ Tomb” (4:23) to account for, and those shorter tracks are more than just interludes. Vocalist/keyboardist Kostas Panagiotou brings as much presence to them as to either of the longer-form pieces, delving into poetry recitation in “Babylon’s Hanging Gardens” as Ivan Zara‘s guitar, Ivan Olivieri‘s drums and Riccardo Veronese‘s bass wait to reemerge from the shadows. But while it might not work as a vinyl in itTowards Atlantis Lights Dust of Aeonss current form without some rearranging, as a linear work it is tied together via a historical thematic and as the title Dust of Aeons might convey, the aesthetic is very much geared toward that sense of conveying something ancient, something lost in time, as well as something being mourned.

That mourning perhaps comes through most of all on “Greeting Mausolus’ Tomb,” which takes out the drums in favor of atmospheric guitar plucking and an overall minimal sensibility, but it’s there even at the heaviest stretches of “The Bunker of Life” as well, whether that’s in a soaring guitar lead or the rumbling low-end lurch beneath a line of piano. Though only about half as long, much the same applies to “Alexandria’s Library,” which is immediately darker but gives up none of the atmospheric reach of its longform companion, keys, vocal harmonies and sustained notes of guitar playing a large role in a break near the midsection which ultimately leads back to the track’s central dirge. At almost exactly 13 minutes in, more deathly chug takes hold and a relatively quick excursion into semi-blasting fare sets up an adrenaline-driven return to the chorus before Towards Atlantis Lights finish quiet and contemplative en route to the album’s shorter closer, weighted in emotion, tone and ambience as everything before it has likewise been.

The theme of loss is palpable throughout Dust of Aeons, with the passage of history presented through an emotional lens that acts as a thread woven between the individual pieces bringing them together as one whole work. And it’s not a minor undertaking by any stretch, but in its entirety really is the best way to experience Towards Atlantis Lights‘ debut album. Clearly they wanted their listeners to drown in its blend of depressive plunge and still be able to see beauty among the ruins before their eyes shut one last time.

I have the pleasure today of hosting “Alexandria’s Library” as a track premiere. Please find it below, followed by more info on the album from the PR wire. Dust of Aeons is available to preorder from the band’s Bandcamp page, linked at the bottom of the post.

Enjoy:

Towards Atlantis Lights, “Alexandria’s Library” official track premiere

Doom metal supergroup TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS give us a sublime album of heart-wrenching drama emanating from historical events. Members of acclaimed bands like PANTHEIST, APHONIC THRENODY and VOID OF SILENCE weave together a majestic tale brimming with melancholy and emotional strife. Each song is an elegant expression of their dreamlike visions of a world long past. They carry the burden of grief passed down from centuries with utmost grace and lend to the music an unmistakable nostalgic charm that is very much palpable. TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS have created a masterpiece of epic and atmospheric death/doom metal that is tempered with talent, experience and vision.

Band line up –
Kostas Panagiotou (PANTHEIST, LANDSKAP) – Vocals and keyboards
Riccardo Veronese (APHONIC THRENODY, DEA MARICA, ARRANT SAUDADE) – Bass
Ivan Zara (VOID OF SILENCE) – Guitar
Ivan Olivieri – Drums

Artwork and layout – Francesco Gemelli (KATATONIA, MAYHEM, ABIGOR)

Official release date – March 5th, 2018

Track listing –
1. The Bunker Of Life
2. Babylon’s Hanging Gardens
3. Alexandria’s Library
4. Greeting Mausolus’ Tomb

Towards Atlantis Lights on Thee Facebooks

Towards Atlantis Lights on Bandcamp

Transcending Obscurity website

Transcending Obscurity Records on Thee Facebooks

Transcending Obscurity Records on YouTube

Tags: , , , , ,

Black Salvation Sign to Relapse Records; Uncertainty is Bliss Due in April

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

black salvation

You can stream the opening track from the new Black Salvation album now. The record is called Uncertainty is Bliss and it’s the Leipzig, Germany three-piece’s first for Relapse Records and second overall behind 2014’s In Deep Circles, and the track in question, “In a Casket’s Ride,” holds much promise for what might unfold thereafter. Think a European touring partner for labelmates Ecstatic Vision and you might be on the right track, and of course connections through drummer Uno Bruniusson to the likes of In Solitude and Death Alley don’t hurt their cause either. Either way, sounds like cool stuff and it’s an interesting reach for Relapse, so I’m intrigued to hear what the record actually sounds like.

It’s an April release, so I guess we’ve got a minute or two before we get there, but details and tour dates and that opening cut follow here, all courtesy of the PR wire:

black salvation uncertainty is bliss

BLACK SALVATION Signs to Relapse Records; New Album Uncertainty Is Bliss To See Release This April + New Song Unveiled

Relapse Records is proud to announce the official signing of German psychedelic hard rock trio BLACK SALVATION.

BLACK SALVATION — featuring Uno Bruniusson formerly of In Solitude and Grave Pleasures and currently of Death Alley — challenges the listener to open wide the doors of perception and slowly drift away among their transcendental compositions and deeply hypnotic tales of magic and mysticism. Across eight tracks and over forty minutes, BLACK SALVATION exquisitely blends hard rock, doom, and psychedelia into an intoxicating synthesis of rock ‘n’ roll alchemy. Uncertainty Is Bliss is surely one of the most captivating rock debuts in years.

BLACK SALVATION’s Uncertainty Is Bliss is due out April 6th on CD, LP, and digital formats via Relapse Records. Physical packages are available at Relapse.com HERE. The digital edition can be purchased at THIS LOCATION.

Issues the band of the signing and new album, “Our hands and minds are trembling in anticipation to release this record, as it’s been a long and intense road for us to get here. Throughout the entire process, we traveled down a path trenched in uncertainty, which was both disarming and blissful. Signing to Relapse Records is probably the most unexpected door that opened up in the process of finding a home for the record. We’re very eager to have an open minded, diverse label to spread our words and music to all corners of your perception.”

BLACK SALVATION has announced a headlining European tour in April around the album’s release. A full list of dates is available below.

Uncertainty Is Bliss Track Listing:
1. In A Casket’s Ride
2. Floating Torpid
3. Breathing Hands
4. The Eye That Breathes
5. Leair
6. A Direction is Futile
7. Grey River
8. Getting Slowly Lost
9. The Chapel (Bonus Track)
10. Follow Me Down (Bonus Track)

BLACK SALVATION:
4/03/2018 Ostpol – Dresden, DE
4/04/2018 Dots – Gottingen, DE
4/05/2018 Kurzbar – Mannheim, DE
4/06/2018 Neues Schauspiel – Leipzig, DE
4/07/2018 Schlachthof – Eisenach, DE
4/08/2018 TBA – Cologne, DE
4/10/2018 Hafenklang – Hamburg, DE
4/11/2018 Lygtens Kro – Copenhagen, DK
4/12/2018 Zukunft am Ostkreuz – Berlin, DE

BLACK SALVATION’s Uncertainty Is Bliss is to today what The Stooges’ eponymous debut was to 1969. It’s what Led Zeppelin IV was to Fast Times At Ridgemont High. And it’s how Can’s Tago Mago continues to blaze minds after nearly fifty years on wax. Songs like “Getting Slowly Lost,” “Breathing Hands,” “Grey River,” and the short but filmic instrumental “The Eye That Breathes” — as well as the other four previously named songs — transcend today and yesterday. They’re tumultuous, pensive, rebellious, noisy, and perfectly imprecise hard rock tunes for otherworldly enjoyment.

So, the adage isn’t true. Bands do make hard rock like they used to. BLACK SALVATION’s Uncertainty Is Bliss is psychedelic hard rock for all.

BLACK SALVATION:
Paul Schlesier – guitar, vocals
Birger Schwidop – bass
Uno Bruniusson – drums

http://www.facebook.com/blacksalv
http://twitter.com/blacksalv
http://blacksalvation.bandcamp.com
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords
http://www.twitter.com/RelapseRecords

Black Salvation, “In a Casket’s Ride”

Tags: , , , , ,

Apostle of Solitude Post “Keeping the Lighthouse” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

apostle of solitude keeping the lighthouse

It’s not really a ‘get to know you’ kind of video. You’re not going to recognize the dudes from Apostle of Solitude on the street after you watch it. It’s the kind of clip that has a little mystique to its presence.

It’s really fucking dark, is what I’m trying to say. Like, no-lights-on dark.

Well, there are some lights in the background, but the band are essentially silhouettes throughout the entirety of the seven-minute runtime of “Keeping the Lighthouse,” which is taken from their upcoming fourth album, From Gold to Ash, out next week on Cruz Del Sur. Come to think of it, it’s almost the exact opposite of the Indianapolis doomers’ video for “Lamentations of a Broken Man” (posted here) from 2014’s Of Woe and Wounds (review here). All the lights were on for that one.

And that was the first video from that record too, of several they’d ultimately wind up making, mostly collecting tour footage and putting it together to complement the tracks. “Keeping the Lighthouse” is moodier fare, as all that darkness would hint toward, but hey, maybe they made the one in answer to the other. Maybe it’s the same room, just with something covering the walls and the breakers shut off. Can’t say for sure. Kind of hard to see.

Ha.

More important things to talk about than the lighting design, though — like the fact that if 2018 ended today, From Gold to Ash might be my album of the year. And yes, I’ve heard some of the other candidates. I’m going to be reviewing it next week and hosting a full-album stream, which I can’t wait for, so I don’t want to get too deep into it here, but the whole thing is just on a completely different level, and for the record, I thought Of Woe and Wounds was fantastic, so it’s not like they’re suddenly blindsiding me with a good album. I think all their albums are good. This one’s just the best of them.

And “Keeping the Lighthouse” — when one counts the semi-introductory leadoff track “Overlord” — is the centerpiece of it, in actual placement and quality alike. A cornerstone hook, a choice groove among choice groove, and harmonies that emphasize the emotional foundations of Apostle of Solitude‘s songwriting. Words like “quintessential” come to mind, with emphasis on “essential.”

PR wire info follows the clip below.

Get doomed:

Apostle of Solitude, “Keeping the Lighthouse” official video

Cruz Del Sur Music has opened CD and vinyl pre-orders for From Gold to Ash. The album will be released February 23 on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, and digital formats.

CD Pre-order:
http://tinyurl.com/yaty2zet

Vinyl Pre-order:
http://tinyurl.com/ycjz3elg

Recorded in September 2017 at Russian Recording in Bloomington, IN with studio mastermind Mike Bridavsky, From Gold To Ash offers seven songs of ambitious, aching doom. Largely defined by the heartfelt and emotive dual vocals of Chuck Brown and Steve Janiak, From Gold To Ash covers a wide spectrum of heavy, from raging instrumentals to introspective guitar duos, monolithic doom riffs and reflective, melodic heartache. From Gold to Ash is also the first APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE album to feature bassist Mike Naish (Astral Mass, Shroud of Vulture).

Following the release of From Gold To Ash, APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE plan on hitting the road in the United States and returning to Europe.

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music website

Tags: , , , , ,

Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe: Don’t Panic

Posted in Reviews on February 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

fu manchu clone of the universe

Hey, look. If you’re Fu Manchu — and if you are, thanks for the riffs — having a guest appearance from Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson on your new record isn’t going to hurt your cause. But make no mistake. With the SoCal fuzz innovators’ 12th full-length, Clone of the Universe — released through their own At the Dojo Records imprint — the case is much the same as with the rest of their discography: The highlight of the Fu Manchu album is the Fu Manchu album. I’m not decrying Lifeson‘s spot on the 18-minute “Il Mostro Atomico” that closes out Clone of the Universe. It’s a massive, multi-faceted, explorational space jam topped with killer solos set to a dead-on weighted nod; essential Fu Manchu fuzz setting off on a five-year mission. There’s one verse and it doesn’t start until after nine minutes in.

Cool as hell, right? Of course, but it’s the earlier songs — opener “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Don’t Panic,” “Slower than Light,” “Nowhere Left to Hide” and “Clone of the Universe” itself — that really tell the story of the record. Side A. And side A finds the San Clemente foursome of guitarist/vocalist Scott Hill, bassist Brad Davis, guitarist Bob Balch and drummer Scott Reeder in tight and top form as regards songwriting. Following suit from their last long-player, 2014’s Gigantoid (review here), the band continue to strip out some of the thickness from their fuzz as compares to records like 2009’s Signs of Infinite Power or 2007’s We Must Obey (discussed here), and it’s telling that even in working with Jim Monroe at The Racket Room in Santa Ana, CA, they also returned to Moab guitarist/vocalist Andrew Giacumakis — who helmed Gigantoid — at SUSSTUDIO in Simi Valley for additional recording.

That moves gives a sense of continuity of approach between the two albums, despite the four years separating their release, and context to the rawness of tone coming from Hill and Balch‘s guitars throughout Clone of the Universe, which very much plays out in two-sided fashion. The already-noted “Il Mostro Atomico” consumes all of side B in four distinct movements, and fair enough for that, but the earlier cuts running from about two to four minutes apiece make up a varied side A drawn together by the universal tightness in the band. They’re not through “Intelligent Worship” before Reeder‘s on his cowbell, and neither should they be. One could easily argue Fu Manchu know who they are as a band — after 12 records, they ought to, frankly — and are content to play to that in their general approach.

Fu manchu John Gilhooley

Which is to say, Fu Manchu sound like Fu ManchuHill‘s core vocal style won’t really change at this point, groove always remains central, and they blend Southern Cali laid-back-itude with heavy rock shred like the best in the business in part because they helped invent that “business” in the first place. And Clone of the Universe doesn’t fix what wasn’t broken coming off Gigantoid. Hooks abound in “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Slower than Light” and the title-track itself very much in a milieu that Fu Manchu fans will recognize as the band’s own. But on the other hand, there’s the raw drive of “Don’t Panic” — a 2:08 punker thrust with zero broach for nonsense that’s there and gone and still catchy that would be welcome to start any set I happen to be standing in front of — which, when paired with the easy-grooving start of “Slower than Light,” showcases the dynamic of tempo shifts that the band is working with across the still-quick span of the record as a whole, which even with 18 dedicated to “Il Mostro Atomico,” tops out at 38 minutes with seven songs.

Davis‘ bass signals a faster turn into the finishing movement of “Slower than Light” and with a semi-lurching rhythm, “Nowhere Left to Hide” delivers another memorable chorus in the ongoing series of them while also serving as the longest of the non-“Il Mostro Atomico” cuts at 4:27. Its vibe is foreboding but never really goes so far as to be a threat, despite the title, though the churning riff does bring to mind some unseen malevolent force. A later highlight guitar solo gives way back to the central riff that closes out and echo leads the way into the start-stop immediacy of the verse to “Clone of the Universe.”

No question why it’s the title-track; “Clone of the Universe” is quintessential, and it all the more represents the side of the album on which it appears for its ain’t-got-time-to-bleed lack of flourish and the push that emerges after the midpoint, only to slam into a wall of silence and then cut back to a slower version of the central riff to finish. From there, it’s off to “IlMostro Atomico,” which likewise wastes no time getting airborne and staying that way for the duration. There’s nod, there’s jangle, there’s tension building, and finally there’s angular space-o-prog that carries the band out, with a quick return to the first riff before a final fade.

Again, the Lifeson guest appearance is notable, and no doubt it was a thrill for Fu Manchu to bring him into the studio and get him on the record — mom always said there were two types of people in the world: Rush fans and the rest — but the focal point as one approaches Clone of the Universe shouldn’t be that singular moment or any other, rather what the record as a whole does with Fu Manchu‘s trademark sound and style, one part drawing it tighter than it’s ever been drawn before and the other pushing more broadly than it’s ever gone. Whichever side of the album happens to be on at any given point, Fu Manchu remain recognizable as who they are, and if anything, their will to add so much to that identity some 33 years after they got their start speaks to how special a band they really are. You can clone the whole universe, there’s still only going to be one Fu Manchu, and they’re in top form here.

Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe (2018)

Fu Manchu on Thee Facebooks

Fu Manchu on Instagram

Fu Manchu on Twitter

At the Dojo Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Forming the Void Stream New Split; Rift LP Due in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

forming the void

Looks like a busy couple months coming up for Louisiana-based progressive heavy rockers Forming the Void. They’ve teamed up with Black Bow Records‘ own Pyreship for a new split that will be out in a couple weeks’ time via Endhipendit Record Co., a label wing of the Texas-based festival of the same name, and in the meantime have dates booked that will take them down to South by Southwest, you know, which Endhipendit is kind of playing off of, name-wise. Ironic? No. That’s not actually irony. It’s a band booking shows and releasing albums. There’s a difference.

Speaking of releasing albums, word’s also come down from that most venerable of sources — the PR wire — that Forming the Void, whose last outing was 2017’s righteously plotted Relic (review here), will issue a new full-length in June titled Rift via Kozmik Artifactz.

There’s a lot of news to keep up with, and some new audio as well, but I think you’re up to the task. Have at you:

forming the void pyreship split

Louisiana prog-rockers FORMING THE VOID to release new album this June on Kozmik Artifactz | Stream new split with Pyreship

Rift, the new studio album from Forming The Void is due for release this June on Kozmik Artifactz

Forming The Void/Pyreship limited edition split is released on 9th March 2018 on Endhipendit Record Co.

Following the release of last year’s critically acclaimed album Relic, Louisiana’s preeminent prog warlocks, Forming The Void, are thrilled to announce news of their signing to Kozmik Artifactz for new album Rift, US tour dates and the imminent release of a split LP with Texan sludge thugs, Pyreship.

Originally formed in 2013 in Lafayette – a place with an impressive reputation for raising underground rock into realms of the unknown – Forming The Void became one of the city’s most talked about bands of 2017. With the release of their third album Relic, their colossal and atmospheric sound summoned the towering hard rock riffs and progressive influence of bands like Mastodon, Baroness and Torche. A distinctive sound that not only marked them out as ‘ones to watch’, but a sound that promptly earned them recognition around the world as ambitious and gifted players.

Newly signed to German label Kozmik Artifactz, in preparation for the official release of their fourth studio album Rift this June, the band will take to the road throughout 2018 for an extensive run of live dates and festival appearances, including shows at South By Southwest (more info below). Before that however, this March will see the release of a limited split 10” on the Houston-based label Endhipendit Record Co. with Black Bow Records’ Pyreship. Another excellent band in ascension, Pyrsehip blend post metal and doom with a raft of 90s slowcore and noise rock influences, deftly slammed out at punishing volume.

With both bands tackling a side apiece, the two track 10” – featuring Forming The Void’s storming and celestial new work ‘To The Wolves’ – hints at electrifying things to come in what will undoubtedly be a breakout year for the Lafayette quartet.

Rift, the new studio album from Forming The Void is due for release this June on Kozmik Artifactz. In the meantime, Forming The Void/Pyreship’s split is released on 9th March 2018 through Endhipendit Record Co.

US Tour (More TBC):
Fri, 23/02 – Nighthawks – Jacksonville (FL) [w. Hollow Leg, Count the Dead, Insalubrious Minanthropes]
Sat, 24/02 – Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery – Atlanta (GA) [w. Hollow Leg, Canopy, Malevich]
Sun, 25/02 – The Cobra – Nashville (TN) [w. Deathstar Lovebeam, Eddas presented by Nashville Psych Alliance]
Wed, 14/03 – SXSW; Stoner Jam at Swan Dive – Austin (TX)
Thurs, 15/03 – SXSW; Stoner Daze at Texas Mist – Austin, (TX)

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Luke Baker – Bass
Thomas Colley – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
https://twitter.com/forming_thevoid
https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz/
https://twitter.com/kozmikartifactz
https://www.instagram.com/kozmikartifactz/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
http://www.facebook.com/endhipenditrecordco
http://www.instagram.com/endhipendit_record

Tags: , , , , ,