Sweat Lodge Premiere “Heavy Head” from Talismana

Posted in audiObelisk on July 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sweat lodge

Austin four-, maybe five-piece Sweat Lodge will release their debut album, Talismana, via Ripple Music on Aug. 7. A vinyl-ready nine-track/35-minute offering, its unpretentious oldschool-is-the-new-newschool rollout owes some of its modus to West Coast boogie, but true to their Texan roots, the sound across songs like opening hook-megaphone “Tramplifier,” “Bed of Ashes” and “Phoenix Ascent” is somewhat earthier, touching on classic heavy rock and psychedelic influences but refusing to play entirely to one or the other. There are times when the lineup — vocalist Cody Lee Johnston, guitarists Javier Gardea and Dustin Anderson, bassist Austin Shockley and drummer Caleb Dawson — call to mind what might’ve happened had Freedom Hawk and Graveyard ever decided to collaborate, most especially on cuts like “Slow Burn” and “Black Horizon,” but though their ultimate path is straight ahead, the well-vested Sweat Lodge work enough swing and swagger into their approach across the board that the only real choice is to get down and go along for the ride.

They make it a worthy endeavor across the board, and while perhaps in part because of the title one might wait for Sweat Lodge to veer into some vague cultish theatrics, Talismana keeps its all-seeing eye on the prize of ’70s-ish biker motor-riffing and rhythmic sweat lodge talismanasway, the title-track maybe touching lyrically on some of that finding itself fluidly enacting tempo shifts via either-call-it-stoner-or-don’t riffs and swirling leads and echoes. Like a lot of the record, it is not as simple as it first appears — a dreamout taking hold and liquefying the proceedings only to resolidify prior to the finish — but Sweat Lodge make short work of finding a cohesive vibe through such turns, nodding at Deep Purple with “Black Horizon” before the especially ’70s “Boogie Bride” takes hold as the longest cut on Talismana at a manageable 5:51, a summertime fuzz holding firm for the course even as the verses seem to be impatient in their move toward the inevitable leads, the two sides coming together ultimately as Johnston‘s vocals top the semi-psych apex and then let the rocker blues carry out to the whistling start of the penultimate “Heavy Head,” a somewhat more laid back mood but an irresistible roll all the same and one of the record’s catchiest moments.

This careening, deceptively efficient, swinging but not reckless and aesthetically coherent course ends out with “Banshee Call,” somewhat more atmospheric at its start and maybe a bit moodier but still nowhere near overblown. If anything, it underlines the control that Sweat Lodge exercise over the span of Talismana as a whole, which — especially considering it’s the band’s first full-length — is doubly impressive given how poised they manage to remain while letting loose.

I’m thrilled today to host a track premiere for “Heavy Head,” which you’ll find on the player below, followed by some more info off the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

The Austin, TX outfit have made good on their promise with a record that delivers more than you could possibly ever ask from it. Pillaging and plundering some of the most explosive eras of hard rock, heavy psychedelia and proto-metal with a conviction and execution rarely found this side of the millennium, in short, Sweat Lodge’s potential is one that knows no bounds.

Seizing on the southern grooves of Fu Manchu, Saint Vitus and the blues-driven majesty of 70s legends Mountain and fellow Texans ZZ Top, across Talismana – riff after punishing riff, howl after soulful howl – the vintage sound of rock ‘n’ roll reigns supreme, sparked through an engine of uncompromising youth. As anyone who witnessed the band’s debut TV appearance on Last Call With Carson Daly in March will testify, charismatic front man and vocalist Cody Lee Johnston’s ability to bring it on home is hypnotic. Backed by the gnarled bass fuzz of Austin Shockley, the Bonham-esque drum play of Caleb Dawson and guitar interplay of Javier Gardea and Dustin Anderson, the band will be unstoppable in 2015 and Talismana an essential record for fans of the genre.

Talismana by Sweat Lodge will be released on 7th August on Ripple Music.

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Shabda Premiere “Pharmakos” from New Album Pharmakon / Pharmakos

Posted in audiObelisk on July 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

shabda

Italian drone ritualists Shabda release their third album, Pharmakon / Pharmakos, on Sept. 7 through Argonauta Records. Comprised entirely of two tracks each on the north side of 20 minutes long, it is a two-sided full-length of gripping texture and atmospheric impressionism informed by Eastern-style scale work and instrumentation — sitar, tabla, etc. — and vocalized in similar fashion where and when it is at all. Both “Pharmakon” and “Pharmakos,” the two extended pieces that make the album up and from which it derives its title, function in this general methodology, and yet there are differences between them as well, Shabda uniting them with a sense of overall fluidity of motion, and an exploratory honesty that makes on think even if they got lost along the way — they don’t — they’d still put that on the record because it’s the journey they as a band and the listener both take that matters, not how it all ends up. Richly evocative, peaceful in its early going and tumultuous at its finish, one could just as easily say there’s a linear course throughout the two tracks/41 minutes, but that’s an oversimplification, and along with the stylistic boldness displayed by Anna Airoldi (sitar, vocals, synths), Marco Castagnetto (laptop, percussion, vocals) and Riccardo Fassone (guitar, bass, vocals), there’s very little about Pharmakon / Pharmakos one would be right in calling simple.

“Pharmakon” unfolds gracefully amid drones, subtle percussion, sinewy sitar and an obscure, vaguely religious chant, and it’s not until about the 12-minute mark that the first distorted guitar rises to prominence. This changes the course and focus gradually, but about two minutes later, the sitar drops out, there’s a fade and a thick riff takes hold complemented by drums and other percussion — cymbals, bowls — and “Pharmakon” takes on a surprising lurch, like a heavier early Earth or something deep in the recesses of shabda pharmakon pharmakosQueen Elephantine‘s subconscious. A march is underway, and the track shifts patiently, always patiently, toward an experimentalist’s apex that seems to boil over just as it tops out, devolving quickly into fading noise. Of the two, “Pharmakos” is the more… grounded? I’m not sure if that’s the right word, because it’s all pretty earthy. Either way, a low-end drone opens the first two minutes and rises backed by deep-mixed swirling echo vocals and a sense of foreboding. The volume swell continues and gains a rhythm almost deceptively, the ritual happening before the listener’s ears, and right at the moment where this wash of drone turns abrasive, Shabda add vicious one-off crashes. One after another. A plod. A lumber. If a riff could be a temple — and I think we all know it can — then “Pharmakos” constructs a pyramid out of these crashes, this nodding repetition. Vocals arrive, chants and incantations either in conversation with each other or not, and it becomes clear that this grueling pilgrimage is the course to be held for the duration. Gone are the pastoral sitarisms of “Pharmakon,” and arrived is a consuming, unsettling swell in their places. A lead is added to the charge as the 15-minute mark of “Pharmakos” is passed, and it becomes one more layer of an engrossing, massive wall of noise that cuts out in minute 19 but keeps the same rhythm in long-fading percussion, a shaker maybe and a bowl of some sort, the shaker being the last noise, ending cold at about 20:20.

And even those with that for vision will likely take a time or two through Pharmakon / Pharmakos before its breadth has really sunk in. Shabda released their debut, The Electric Bodhisattva in early 2013 and their sophomore outing, Tummo, in early 2014, but each of their full-lengths seems to be pushing toward a more realized take on their avant approach, and whatever they might be seeking, Pharmakon / Pharmakos would seem to be the closest they’ve come yet. The farther out they go, the closer they come.

Today I have the deep pleasure of hosting “Pharmakos” as a track premiere to herald the album’s arrival in Sept. — which will be here sooner than you think. Thanks to Argonauta and to Shabda for the permission. If you have headphones handy, you’ll want them.

Go ahead and wrap your head around this:

Pharmakon / Pharmakos is the third album by Shabda, a year after the highly acclaimed psychic journey of Tummo. Voluntary hermits established in the rural countryside of Canavese, Piedmont, they fulfill, with this work, a rite of foundation, emanating their blanket of dense droning sound to link distant yet compatible musical mythologies. The two suites forming the album shape time, space and repetition building a sound that drives West and East to confront in the field of pure sound: it’s not doom, nor folk, nor drone in strict sense, but the heavy golden thread that structures the homogeneity of compositions draws a monolithic identity, simultaneously saturnine and solar.

Stylistically, Pharmakon is based on Raga Kafi, tinging it in Middle Eastern shades before crashing on the obsessively guitar oriented drift of its climax. Pharmakos gives off its textural essentiality on the vocal and rhythmic cells of Tibetan mantric music, pushing tension towards the void: then its features are stripped to the bones of an overloaded metal behemoth to investigate pre-existence, life, death and continuity.

Also, Shabda in partnership with Argonauta Records will actively support Nepal populations affected by the earthquake by donating 10% for each copy sold of Pharmakon/Pharmakos album to Nepalese children through Save the Children.

Preorders: http://shop.pe/U2z9B http://shop.pe/pfWzY

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Kaleidobolt Premiere “Mountain Man” from Self-Titled Debut; Out Aug. 14 on Pink Tank

Posted in audiObelisk on July 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

kaleidobolt

Because their transitions are so fluid, it’s almost easy to miss the parts on the self-titled Pink Tank Records debut (out Aug. 14) from Helsinki trio Kaleidobolt where the band shifts from weighted stoner nod into a kind of classic shuffling prog-jazz fusion, SampoMarco and Valtteri careening as they make their way through album opener “Rocket to the Moon,” which, if we’re to judge by the noisy finish they give the song, does not result in an according-to-plan landing. For an outfit who got their start in 2014, Kaleidobolt‘s first offering bypasses the “getting our feet wet” vibe of many acts’ early work and while three albums from now they might go on to make it sound primitive, as it stands, songs like the aforementioned opener, the subsequent “Momentum” and “Liskodisko” impress not only with how smoothly their make turns between them, but within them as well, the three-piece showcasing jammers’ chemistry and a progressive sense of drive as “Momentum” moves from its initial insistent rhythm to a more open, airy section of guitar that lets the bass and drums hold the tension. Not a new method, but presented freshly and devoid of pretense in a manner that makes Kaleidobolt an even more engaging listen.

kaleidobolt kaleidoboltThe fluidity becomes the defining theme, musically. “Into the Crevice” starts off at a quiet run and winds its way around echoing vocal lines and trades back and forth with more full-on fuzz until an unexpected slowdown in the second half brings a doomier vibe that, gracefully, gets quick again toward the finish. This eases the transition to “Liskodisko,” which opens side B with call-and-response noodling between the lead guitar and drums, verses emerging and receding behind instrumental passages that, to call them a jam would be to rob them of their complexity. Kaleidobolt obviously thrive on catching listeners off guard, which is something a band can usually do once on a record, maybe twice, but the chops they showcase between them as “Liskodisko” moves toward its prog-grunge head hold much potential for further songwriting adventurousness. A band who can play the way these guys play sound like they’re going to be conscious of not getting bored or bogged down in a songwriting routine. Their debut certainly doesn’t, as the quiet, fading closing passage of “Liskodisko” gives way to the headswimming low-end fuzz of “Mountain Man.”

It’s the shortest track on Kaleidobolt‘s Kaleidobolt at 4:54, and perhaps also the most straightforward — or at least as close as they get. A riffy nod is met by fervent shouting as Kaleidobolt leave the proggy aspirations to the side for the time being and instead concentrate on tension and tonal push, the track making its way toward a fast but still weighted finish that hints at some underlying punker mischief and blinds with its leadwork and bizarro swirl in the meantime, the three-piece emerging at the end unscathed to shift into 9:52 closer, which has as many psychedelic underpinnings as it does those of heavy blues boogie rock, and in refusing to commit to either, it winds up distinguished from both while also hearkening back to the earlier progressive edge in its central bassline. As they have at several points, Kaleidobolt round out the instrumental finale with a touch of speedy chaos, but by the time you get there listening, it’s apparent just how in-control of their approach these cats are. Their debut might take a couple passes to sink in, but it’s a deceptively rich stylistic base from which Kaleidobolt operate, and they only seem interested in becoming more forward-thinking. Consider notice served.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting “Mountain Man” for streaming ahead of the Aug. 14 Pink Tank Records release. Please find it on the player below, followed by more about the band, album and accompanying tour, and enjoy:

Kaleidobolt is a power trio that came together in early 2014 in Helsinki. In the short time they’ve been together, they’ve gained the reputation of being one of the most exciting live bands in Finland. Their music is a dizzying maelstrom of progressive song structures, crushing riffs and loose psychedelic soundscapes, delivered with joy and ferociousness. Their first album was recorded in 2014 with an effort on delivering a production as truthful as possible to the live experience and it’s scheduled for release in summer 2015 by Pink Tank Records.

kaleidobolt tour dates

VINYL FACTZ:
– 300 copies total
– 100 copies opaque purple incl. poster and download code (exclusive Pink Tank edition)
– 100 copies black incl. poster and download code (exclusive band edition)
– 100 copies white standard edition (wholesale)
– all on high quality vinyl made in Germany

CD FACTZ:
– CD comes in a jewel case
– first 50 go out with an extra Kaleidobolt sticker

TRACKS:
1. ROCKET TO THE MOON 06:38
2. MOMENTUM 07:34
3. INTO THE CREVASSE 05:23
4. LISKODISKO 07:41
5. MOUNTAIN MAN 04:54
6. SHOWDOWN 09:51

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Goya, Obelisk: An Invitation to Burn

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

goya obelisk

[Please note: Press play above to stream Goya’s Obelisk in full. Album is out Aug. 1 on STB Records (CD & tape; LP to follow). Thanks to the band and label for letting me host the stream.]

Obelisk is the well-titled second full-length offering from Phoenix, Arizona, three-piece Goya. Set for release through respected purveyor STB Records, it follows 2013’s 777 debut and their initial 2012 demo (review here), as well as a 2014 EP, Satan’s Fire (review here), and an early 2015 split with Seattle’s Wounded Giant (review here) that found them dug deep into Electric Wizard-style plod on the extended “No Place in the Sky.” What was an early version of the track there is refined on Obelisk and given due reverence in its position as the 14-minute closer, following a swath of dirge riffing, devil-worship and malevolent churn.

I can’t quite decide if the album knows how much fun it’s having as it conjures its darkened chaos-swirl, but suffice it to say, a song like opener “Nothin’ but Dead Stuff” might not be a laugher in terms of its lyrics, but from the opening watery guitar provided by Jeff Owens (also vocals) that unfolds Oborn-again over the swinging ride of drummer Nick LoseJirix-Mie Paz plays bass on the record but seems to have since been replaced by Ben Clarkson — to the penultimate “Echo from Space” interlude of feedback before “No Place in the Sky” takes hold, it becomes abundantly clear that Goya are absolutely dug into the grooves of their own making and are enjoying the crap out of the heavy roll they enact across Obelisk‘s nine-track/55-minute span.

That being the case makes it much easier to follow suit. Goya have their variety in structure and approach — the aforementioned “Echo from Space” serves well as a late interlude, and the quiet ritualized vibe of “The Star” after second track “The Devil’s Pray” does likewise, while “300 Eyes” cuts to the heart of their songwriting with an acoustic modus and layered vocals and “The Sun,” which follows, is a standout for its speed alone — but the crux of Obelisk‘s overarching atmosphere and the impression it leaves resides in cuts like “Nothin’ but Dead Stuff,” “The Devil’s Prey,” “Beyond Good and Evil” and “No Place in the Sky,” Goya making a case to establish their own witchcult in bouncing riffs and Satanihilist vibing. Taken on their surface, these parts of Obelisk aren’t especially surprising — 777, Satan’s Fire, that Wounded Giant split and even the early demo carried a similar influence base, but it’s what the trio have managed to bring to it of their own that distinguishes their work.

To wit, the patience of the 7:46 title-track, “Obelisk,” becomes a defining moment for more than the simple fact that the song also shares its name with the album. Its slow unfurling is deceptively graceful, and while one hesitates to call Goya subtle since that doesn’t really seem to be what they’re going for, they’ve cleverly managed to begin a process whereby having mastered their influences, they’re starting to move beyond them. That’s not necessarily a one-album process, but if you listen to the shifts between “Obelisk,” “300 Eyes,” “The Sun” and “Beyond Good and Evil,” it becomes clear there’s more to the band’s approach than buzzsaw tones and space-echo vocals.

goya (photo by Chas McElmury)

Not to say neither of those elements aren’t present and/or put to good use, just that they’re not exclusives for the band at this stage in their development. The effect that has is that when the quicker push of “The Sun” gives way to the lumbering, weighted crash of “Beyond Good and Evil,” the latter is all the more righteous. Likewise, back on side A, the gradual buildup of “Obelisk” is all the more worth appreciating after “The Devil’s Pray” and “The Star” lead into it — bottom line: the album isn’t short at 55 minutes, but it is impeccably structured to highlight Goya‘s tonal and conceptual strengths. When it comes around, “No Place in the Sky” fuzzes to life with Owens‘ guitar setting the pace and sets itself to the complex task of tying the various sides of Obelisk together.

Cohesive as the album is atmospherically — and it is — that’s not an easy task to ask of one song, even at 14 minutes. Still, “No Place in the Sky” reinforces the mood the band has worked with for the duration, the godlessness that served as theme in “The Devil’s Prey” and “Beyond Good and Evil,” and the rolling rhythms of those tracks and the opener without losing sight of making its own impression, which it does in the second half centering around memorable cycles through and around the line, “It doesn’t fucking matter.” I’m not sure the fuckall is quite the guiding principle the band would have the listener believe — if it was, they probably wouldn’t have paid so much attention to the flow of the record between its songs — but you gotta end somewhere and, as I say, “No Place in the Sky” makes for a memorable finish, rounding out its last minute with a slowdown and crash that lets the amp buzz carry Obelisk to its conclusion.

What will be a readily accessible listen for the already converted, Goya‘s second offers evidence of growth undertaken, provides glimpses of what might develop down the line, finds the band reveling in their processes and hits like a hammer made of pills. There is little one might ask of it that it does not deliver.

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Sacri Monti, Sacri Monti: Slipping from the Day

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sacri-monti-sacri-monti

[Please press play above to hear a full stream of Sacri Monti’s Sacri Monti, which is out July 24 on Tee Pee. Preorders are available here. Thanks to the label, PR and band for allowing me to host the album.]

SoCal five-piece Sacri Monti traffic in liquefied kosmiche bliss. The natural word to follow that is “exclusively,” but that’s not quite true in this case, as it would indicate a single-mindedness that neither they nor their self-titled six-track/43-minute Tee Pee Records full-length debut actually possess, the album instead working in a natural-flowing, bright toned spectrum of guitar-driven, organ-laced classic heavy psych, six-stringers Brenden Dellar (also vocals) and Dylan Donavon, Evan Wenskay (organ, synth, Echoplex), bassist Anthony Meier (also of Radio Moscow) and drummer Thomas Dibenedetto (also of JOY) touching on progressive ideas and methods without going full-on krautrock noodle or losing their sense of groove, which remains paramount through the initial shuffle of “Staggered in Lies” and the harder-hitting swing of “Glowing Grey” in the 14-minute one-two punch that leads off.

The established track record of their rhythm section should speak for itself, but it’s worth pointing out that as is the case in the best of heavy psych scenarios, it’s the drums and the bass anchoring the bulk of this material, the especially memorable “Slipping from the Day” seeming that much dreamier because of the solid foundation from which it spreads itself out. Dellar, Donavon and Wenskay enact an immersive swirl on “Staggered in Lies” and vibe remains prevalent throughout the cuts that follow, Sacri Monti‘s Sacri Monti kaleidoscoping through a wash of fuzzy distortion that seems to revel in the chaos of its own making.

Improv seems to play pretty heavily into the band’s methodology, so it’s not really such a surprise that “Slipping from the Day,” “Glowing Grey” and “Sitting around in a Restless Dream” would differ from the versions included on Sacri Monti‘s Demo 2014, released on tape by Under the Gun Records. “Slipping from the Day,” formerly a 12-minute jam, is here trimmed down to six and a half, and it proves a highlight toward the middle of the record, soaked in wah and centered around the repeated line, “Hold on, you’re really slipping from the day,” and variations thereupon. The psychedelic fervor Sacri Monti conjure isn’t to be understated, and it really is an album-long vibe, but far from monochromatic, “Sitting around in a Restless Dream” takes ’70s biker riffing and launches it into a stratosphere of swirling boogie, Dellar‘s voice echoing out as Wenskay seems to manipulate the Echoplex for further looped intricacy — just in case things weren’t freaked out enough.

sacri monti (Photo by Dana Trippe)

At just over five minutes, “Sitting around in a Restless Dream” is the shortest of the six cuts, but it packs plenty of space into that time and one has the feeling that on any given night Sacri Monti happen to play it, it might range much further. The subsequent “Ancient Seas and Majesties” brings a turn that pushes the guitar forward, finding a middle ground between the otherworldly mastery of “Slipping from the Day” and the earthier “Staggered in Lies,” the organ seeming to follow the vocals as much as it sets matches step with the bass and drums and adds to the melody proffered by the guitar. In short, it’s everywhere, and it works much to the advantage of the song and the album as a whole.

If you thought by the time you got there that Sacri Monti had no more tricks up their collective sleeve, the languid, bluesy initialization of “Sacri Monti” serves as a swift correction, unfolding gracefully over the course of its first two-plus minutes with a building wave of keys and guitars, the latter introducing the next movement’s riff at 2:40 into the total 12-minute run. It’s mostly instrumental, which is fitting since the band have toyed with structures throughout, but when the vocals do arrive in the second half of the song one can’t help but be reminded of some of Hypnos 69‘s proggy triumphs, and Sacri Monti seem to be working form a similar base of influences in their finale.

As the song comes to its head — hypnosis long since enacted on the listener — and spends its last minute or so wrapping up, one can’t help but hope that the fivesome continue to explore that side of their sound, and begin to mold energy as readily as they do volume, resulting in a shift of atmospherics no less molten than the overarching affect of their debut. As it stands, Sacri Monti is an exciting opening salvo from an act whose promise feels written into each of its jams, and whose balance between songcraft and improvisation serves as an immediately distinguishing factor amid an increasingly crowded Southern Californian heavy psych scene.

The way their songs play out here, they’d almost have a harder time not sounding like themselves, since so much of what they do is based around the forming chemistry of their lineup that one hopes will continue to grow the more time they spend on stage. How much that will happen owing to members’ obligations elsewhere, I don’t know, but if Sacri Monti‘s debut is an alert to the lysergic converted of a pursuit under way, it’s one that well earns any and all attention paid.

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Pastor Premiere Title-Track of Debut LP Evoke; Album out Aug. 17

Posted in audiObelisk on July 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

pastor-(Photo-by-Thomas-Shellraiser)-cropped

Austrian four-piece Pastor will make their full-length debut one month from today — that’s Aug. 17, if you don’t feel like checking the calendar — with Evoke, pressed in an edition of 500 LPs by Who Can You Trust? Records with cover art by the esteemed Adam Burke. A quick-running 29 minutes, the album nonetheless finds plenty of time to nestle itself into a classically-minded groove, the Vienna outfit putting together seven tracks that toe the line betwixt ’70s boogie and what would later become doom, managing to bring to mind a retro spirit — you might say they evoke it — without delving as far as some into retro fetishism. In addition, a punkish snottiness in side B’s “Moving On” adds a sense of attitude to go with the prevalent swing in the rhythm section of bassist Georg drummer Alex, which is a major factor throughout and puts Pastor in line with the likes of Denmark’s Demon Head in an up and coming push of Pentagram-influenced heaviness.

Vocalist/guitarist Arik and guitarist Shardik take forward position as the riffs lead the charge on the opening chug of “Voodoo,” but immediately the bass and drums play a key role in setting the heavy course and opening into the more rushing verse, weighted, swinging and talking of demons and things from “the other side.” A roll familiar in some aspects pastor evokeensues, but Pastor bring a sense of presence to the material as well, and that thread continues to develop as “Voodoo” feeds into “Drowning Thoughts,” the songs feeling open despite a defined structure thanks in no small part to that rhythmic surefootedness. The story was much the same with their 2014 single, Wayfaring Stranger/The Oath (review here), which Who Can You Trust? also released, but of course the vibe of a full-length is different. “Wolf Vein” nods at the chug of “Hand of Doom” before shifting into a dual-guitar shuffle, replete with wah, soaked in vibe, and “Wicked Whispers” closes out side A with a proto-metallic gallop that finds Arik going a little guttural in his delivery in order to further the doomed feel.

“Moving On” kicks the second, shorter half of Evoke into immediate groove, marked out by fluid leads, the prior-noted punker edge, and a particularly memorable course of starts and stops, while “Devil’s Reef” pushes through early shuffle toward a slowdown in its second half that provides the foundation for a bluesy last-minute solo, the lyrics earlier in the track urging the listener to “be forewarned” in a well placed dogwhistle reference for the also-converted. And with “Evoke” itself, everything gets tied together, but a darkened swing still moves, and Arik pushes his vocals past the breaking point in delivering the title-line over winding Iommic riffery. Traditional in its overall approach, the album nonetheless carries a fresh feel in its stylized restlessness, and as Pastor‘s debut long-player, it finds them utterly cognizant of where they want to be as a band and the kind of ambience they want their material to… well, you know what I’m going to say.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting opener “Voodoo” as a track premiere to herald the album’s arrival one month from today. Evoke is available now to preorder from Who Can You Trust?, and Pastor will tour in Europe with Black Wizard beginning in Sept. A quote from Alex on the album’s making, the tour dates, the preorder link and more info follow the song on the player below.

Please enjoy:

RELEASE DATE: August 17th

Released in an edition of 500 copies on black vinyl.

“Evoke is basically a collection of our heaviest riffs we jammed in our rehearsal room and it’s raw,” explains drummer Alex. “It was recorded without a click track because let’s be honest, life won’t play to a steady beat either. We also didn’t do any of the usual post production fancy stuff because that’s just not us. Some of them songs were written in a hellish atmosphere, during the summer and some of them during the frosty days of a Vienna winter. I think you can hear that difference on the album pretty well. We entered the mighty halls of Elephant West Studios, with lady Sabina Sloth on the throne, chugged down some beers and just played all together in one room. We are more than excited about the result and the artwork, which was crafted by none other than Adam Burke. So sit back and turn your speakers all the way up until your whole neighborhood joins you for a drink. Enjoy the sounds of Evoke.”

“Evoke” track list:
SIDE A
A1 VOODOO
A2 DROWNING THOUGHTS
A3 WOLF VEIN
A4 WICKED WHISPERS
SIDE B
B1 MOVING ON
B2 DEVILS REEF
B3 EVOKE

Pastor Euro tour with Black Wizard:
Thu – 10.09 AUT – Graz @ Club Volt
Fri – 11.09 AUT – Linz @ Ann And Pat
Sat – 12.09 AUT – Innsbruck @ Prometheus
Sun – 13.09 – TBA
Mon – 14.09 – TBA
Tue – 15.09 AUT – Vienna @ Arena Beisl
Wed – 16.09 GER – Berlin @ Cortina Bob
Thu – 17.09 – TBA
Fri – 18.09 – TBA
Sat – 19.09 GER – Erfurt @ Cafe Tiko
Sun – 20.09 – TBA
Mon – 21.09 – TBA
Tue – 22.09 GER – Essen @ Panic Room
Wed – 23.09 – TBA
Thu – 24.09 SWI – Geneva @ L’Usine
Fri – 25.09 SWI – Olten @ Coq D’Or
Sat – 26.09 BEL – Arlon @ L’Entrepot
Sun – 27.09 BEL – Kortrijk @ The Pits
Sun – 27.09 BEL – Antwerp @ Music City
Mon – 28.09 – TBA
Tue – 29.09 ITA – Bologna @ Freak Out
Wed – 30.09 ITA – Bibione (VE) @ Beach Invaders Music Bar
Thu – 01.10 SLO – Ljubljana @ Channel Zero
Fri – 02.10 SLO – Ilirska Bistrica @ MKNZ
Sat – 03.10 ITA – Trieste @ Tetris Club

Pastor is:
Arik – vox/guitar
Shardik – guitar
Georg – bass
Alex – drums

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Who Can You Trust? Records BigCartel Store

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Wildlights Premiere “Lights Out” from Self-Titled Debut

Posted in audiObelisk on July 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wildlights

North Carolina two-piece Wildlights will no doubt earn a comparison or two to their Season of Mist labelmates in Floor with tracks like “Hellfire Forever” and “Onward Upward” from their impending self-titled debut full-length, out Aug. 21 via the aforementioned, but neither is that the beginning and end of their sonic sphere. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Jason Shi of ASG and ThunderlipsJohnny Collins on drums, the duo hit on a blend of upbeat vibes, resonant melodies and weighted groove that find a middle-ground between accessibility and weight. Shi‘s vocals are immediately identifiable for anyone who’s listened to ASG — and perhaps they’re an underappreciated distinguishing factor in that group as well — but the dynamic in Wildlights is on its own trip, shorter cuts like “Lights Out” and the airier-into-a-big-finish closer “Big Frontier” shooting for unabashed catchiness in their hooks, while “New Year Repeat” and the earlier “Snow Song” add arrangement flourishes via a quiet guitar line at the start and an organ (or organ-sounding) finish, respectively.

Worth mentioning plainly is the production of Matt Hyde (Monster Magnet, Slayer, etc.), whose crispness in the guitar and drums suits Wildlights‘ presentation remarkably well. wildlights wildlightsCuts throughout the 12-track/41-minute release are relatively short — “Hellfire Forever” is the longest at 4:33 — but for the kind of efficiency they’re looking to convey, it wouldn’t work if they weren’t, and while still vinyl-ready in its runtime, it’s not as though the album is lacking substance. As it is, small shifts like the tempo change of “Climb in the Throne” and the departure from the early rush of “Anchors” and “Rebel Smiles” that “Part of the Sea” brings with its winding riff feed into each other over the course of the front-to-back listen, and Wildlights proves to be more of a full-album experience than it at first seems, as memorable as individual tracks and parts can be over its span. At their root, Shi and Collins benefit from the songwriting experience both have and execute a record that seems barebones because its structures are so apparent and so much of the appeal but also has a considerable amount of atmosphere to go with, immersing the listener almost before they know what’s happened.

By way of evidence, I have the pleasure of hosting the premiere today for “Lights Out.” One of four cuts on WildlightsWildlights under three minutes long, it nonetheless engages with its heft, the tonal presence of Shi‘s guitar and the push of Collins‘ drums. Please find it on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire, and enjoy:

WILDLIGHTS’ brand of hard rock is truly timeless. Featuring ASG’s Jason Shi and THUNDERLIP!s’ Johnny Collins, their direct, honest sound draws equally from the driving, melodic, SoCal-spawned skate/desert rock and the heavy, blues-based sound of the South. Their self-titled, Matt Hyde (PORNO FOR PYROS, MONSTER MAGNET, FU MANCHU, SLAYER) produced album shines with stunning tracks like “Rebel Smiles”, “Anchors”, “Lights Out”, “Lions”, “Part of the Sea” and more. More than just a mere collection of tracks, WILDLIGHTS is a soundtrack to life that resonates hope.

Track List:
1. Anchors
2. Rebel Smiles
3. Part of the Sea
4. Snow Song
5. Hellfire Forever
6. Pictures
7. Onward Upward
8. Lights Out
9. New Year Repeat
10. Climb in the Throne
11. Lions
12. Big Frontier

Line-up:
Jason Shi (ASG)- Vocals, Guitars
Johnny Collins (Thunderlip) – Drums

Release Date: August 21st

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Preorder at Season of Mist

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Yellowtooth Premiere “Manifesto” from Crushed by the Wheels of Progress

Posted in audiObelisk on July 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

yellowtooth

An ultra-aggro approach fostered immediately with little room left for thrills from its workman metallic chug, Yellowtooth’s Crushed by the Wheels of Progress (on Orchestrated Misery) serves up nasty-minded burl from the Open Range sample that launches “Meet Mr. Mossberg” until the last throes of “Virginia Creeper,” but there is room within that overarching pummel to shift in method. To wit, the closer offers a more Southern-styled riff, where the eight-plus-minute revels in its sludge-doom murk, while “Climbing the Mountain” and “Meet Mr. Mossberg” seem to be trying to find a middle ground between modern metal and heavy rock. Front to back though, the Indiana trio make plain their intent toward the kicking of ass. I’m not even sure they care whose ass it is. Any ass will do. All are ripe for kicking.

Fair enough. Unchained malevolence would seem to find its target in the disaffection of the album’s title, but the follow-up to 2012’s Disgust (review here) is less outwardly political in its point of view, “Season’s End” moving away from the full thrust of the opening salvo to allow for a melodic chorus and a bit of classic gallop as it moves toward its yellowtooth crushed by the wheels of progressmidpoint. Piss and vinegar remain at the core of what the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Peter Clemens, drummer Ed Kribs and guitarist/vocalist Henry McGinnis have on offer as “Manifesto” nods at Sepultura in its apex and Kribs leads the way into the title-cut slowly and backed by foreboding feedback. By then, Yellowtooth have thoroughly driven the hammer down, but they save the utmost brutality for “Crushed by the Wheels of Progress” itself, its switching between a doomer’s roll and thrashing drive that gives way in the last minute to grueling chug, only to swap back for the final few measures.

That back and forth sets the stage for the quieter bass lead-in of “Spiral Stairs,” its classic metal malevolence coming forward over the first two minutes before the song makes its way to a payoff htat still only seems to be at half-capacity for anger. Shouting and more immediate but slower is “Before I Return to Dust,” which snaps its snare to enter a midpoint fifth-gear push, where the riffs that surround in front and behind are bigger, slower and more nodding, that groove serving as the foundation upon which “Virginia Creeper” will launch its Southern-styled assault to finish out. It’s a vicious impact Yellowtooth deliver, cohesive in its style but almost universally tuned to the greys and blacks of its artwork, and for what it’s worth, the band sounds way more like the ones doing the crushing than the ones being crushed, progress or no.

Crushed by the Wheels of Progress will be out July 21 on Orchestrated Misery Recordings. Please find the premiere of the track “Manifesto” below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

I’d say “enjoy,” but that seems somewhat masochistic:

Michigan City, Indiana’s own YELLOWTOOTH will release Crushed by the Wheels of Progress July 21 on Orchestrated Misery Recordings.

Crushed by the Wheels of Progress contains eight tracks of bone-splintering, swamp-soaked groove. Dark and heavy with memorable songwriting, the sophomore release is one hell of a jam! The CD was recorded at BANG STUDIOS in Chesterton, Indiana with John Hehman (guitarist for YEAR OF DESOLATION). The band looks to share the stage with labelmates PSYCHOMANCER this summer and fall in the Michigan/Indiana/Illinois region.

1. Meet Mr. Mossberg
2. Climbing the Mountain
3. Season’s End
4. Manifesto
5. Crushed by the Wheels of Progress
6. Spiral Stairs
7. Before I Return to Dust
8. Virginia Creeper

The Michigan City, Indiana members of Yellowtooth have finally released their 2nd recording, titled Crushed By The Wheels of Progress on Orchestrated Misery Recordings. Working with Year of Desolation guitarist/studio engineer John Hehman at BANG STUDIOS in Chesterton, Indiana, the band captured their brand of smoke filled, swamp soaked tunes & have unleashed 8 new songs. With a hint of southern stoked riffs & catchy bass and drum rhythms, this 45 minute treat ventures into new musical territory for the band as it’s decidedly more aggressive than their initial recordings. Building off the success of their debut CD Disgust the band continues to forge ahead and build the ‘tooth following.

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