Review & Full Album Stream: Bismut, Schwerpunkt

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bismut schwerpunkt

[Click play above to stream Bismut’s Schwerpunkt in its entirety. Album is available to preorder from Lay Bare Recordings here.]

Nijmegen trio Bismut bill themselves as ‘instrumental psych desert metal,’ and unsurprisingly, there’s a bit to unpack there. They’re a relatively new entity, having just formed in 2016 with guitarist Nik Linders, bassist Huibert der Weduwen and drummer Peter Dragt, and their first album is Schwerpunkt, a four-song/41-minute collection offered up on vinyl through Lay Bare Recordings (Pink Tank Records seems to have had some manner of involvement as well). Instrumental is pretty self-explanatory. Sure enough, they’re a sans-vocals operation. And fair enough. 14-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Borgerskapet” makes it pretty clear from the outset that the kinds of expanded structures with which Bismut are working throughout the release wouldn’t really support vocals anyway. And what are you going to do, shout over the 10-minute side B leadoff “Gewapende-Magte?” Then you’d just have noise rock, and I don’t see that listed anywhere in the above.

After instrumental comes psych. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if we’re talking heavy psychedelic rock of the European order with drifting airy guitars and a presentation coated in effects, the descriptor simply doesn’t apply. As regards Schwerpunkt, which was recorded live in its entirety and mixed by the band with mastering by Pieter Kloos, there is a spacious motion in the back half of closer “Czar” before the tense chugging of the song’s apex, but it’s more of the post-metallic sort. That is, more methodical than exploratory — Bismut have a direction in mind and are working to get there. It’s not just about hypnotizing the listener with repetition, but about the heavier context in which that movement happens. Second cut “Stórborg” has a bit more effects in its early going, though this resolves itself by the song’s midpoint into a tense, winding progression and finally into a slowdown of Melvinsian riffmaking. And sure, one can hear some Earthless in “Borgerskapet” if the ear is twisted just so. So psychedelic? Maybe here and there.

Let’s assume “desert” is a stand-in for capital-‘h’ Heavy — because that certainly applies — or tossed in the way some bands still use the designation “stoner” or “riff” as a designation for their rock. To me, desert rock — regardless of its geographic origin or the actual terrain in that place — is a question of melding tonal fullness with a root punk influence. Sabbath might be a factor but they’re by no means the only one. Bismut don’t really play desert rock in the Kyuss/Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson sense of the subgenre, but if one considers the age of expanded definition in which we live, then there’s really no reason the “desert” really has to be anything more than a dogwhistle for an affiliation with underground heavy. And that’s mostly how it functions. Listening to Schwerpunkt — the title of which translates to “main focus” or “center of gravity” — the prevailing sensibility is most certainly heavy, but there’s a fluidity to the rhythmic play and the swaps in tempo that makes “desert” feel a little like it’s cheating the actual complexity of what’s playing out in the flow of “Gewapende-Magte” or “Stórborg,” with its final push of churning plod.

bismut

The upshot is that while there are loyalists, “desert” can mean any number of things at this point, and it usually does. If Bismut had gone with “heavy” instead, it might be more accurate, but it would confuse the use of “metal,” since of course heavy metal has a context all its own. And metal is perhaps second in accuracy only to “instrumental” when it comes to the band’s presumably-self-imposed sound tag, because it considers in a way that “psych” or even “desert” does not the aggression with which Bismut underscore and execute their material. It’s not metal in the chestbeating, dude-for-dudes kneejerk abrasive sense of the word, but there’s a purpose and a charge to what Bismut do, and whether it’s the fluidity in “Borgerskapet” or the snare-and-chug in “Gewapende-Magte,” the band plays with purpose and conviction on their debut album. If that makes them metal, then so be it. Metal it is.

A missing word in all of this is “progressive,” since the one thing Bismut don’t seem to account for in their sound at least as it appears on Schwerpunkt is the consideration in each song of where that song is going. I don’t know how much of each song was left up to happy accidents in the recording — the bass bounce of “Czar,” maybe, and some of the swirl in “Stórborg” — but even those inherently off-the-cuff moments that happen as a result of a band performing live in the studio are brought into the underlying mission behind the album, and are made purposeful simply by their inclusion and the fact that by being there, they play a crucial role in Bismut‘s intent for what their first album should be. One might also consider “atmospheric” an both an acknowledgement of the post-metallic aspects in “Czar” and the general affecting nature of the songwriting as a whole. It’s not just an album about mood, but even through the energetic live recording there can be heard a budding sense of patience in their execution that may or may not come further toward fruition on subsequent outings.

Maybe “raw atmospheric heavy” as a revised descriptor? “Raw” acknowledges the priority of capturing the three of them in the room together, the stage-ready element of their sound. “Atmospheric” brings in the purposeful nature of their sonic reach, and “heavy” functions as a characterization of tone and mindset alike. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Whatever Bismut decide to call themselves in the longer term, while indicative of how they think about the music they’re making, is of course ultimately secondary to the making of that music. Perhaps most importantly, they give their audience with Schwerpunkt something to dig into and elicit a response and engagement on the part of the listener. They’ve been building a reputation in the Netherlands — enough to attract the attention of Lay Bare, which is bound to serve as positive reinforcement — and listening to the album, it’s easy to hear why. Even in this “raw” modus, with the emphasis put on basic performance rather than a lush studio construction, Bismut show themselves as opening a conversation on Schwerpunkt instrumentally with themselves — which indeed might be their center of gravity — and with their audience, whose interaction, regardless of the interpretative quibbles they might bring to it, is a triumph in itself.

Bismut on Thee Facebooks

Bismut on Instagram

Bismut on Bandcamp

Bismut website

Lay Bare Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings on Instagram

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Tags: , , , ,

Negative Reaction Execute “Order 66”; New Album in Progress

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on October 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

It’s been a couple years now since Negative Reaction frontman Kenny ‘Ken-E’ Bones moved himself and therefore the band from Long Island, New York, to Central West Virginia. In that time, he’s partnered with bassist Trey Crane and drummer Kevin King in a new incarnation of the band, embarked on a solo career playing outlaw country, and taken the helm at Steer Run Studios, his own recording facility. Not too shabby, and a rebuilding of band and life alike go a long way to explaining the years it’s been since Frequencies from Montauk (review here) came out in 2011. These things take time.

But the next record — the title of which is decided but not yet revealed — is being recorded with Bones himself as producer/engineer, and in order to demonstrate progress toward its completion, Negative Reaction are premiering the new single “Order 66.” The title is a Star Wars reference, as Order 66 was that which then-Senator Palpatine gave to the Stormtroopers to start executing the Jedi. I think that was Episode III? Obi-Wan and Yoda got away, so yeah. Bones is a big fan, which is an understatement, what with the tattoos and all.

The song bridges the two sides of Negative Reaction‘s long-established approach in its sludgy aggression and spacey jamming. No coincidence that in the note below, Bones refers to “captain of the spaceship.” HawkwindMonster Magnet — this is the stuff of life, and “Order 66” serves those impulses well in its second-half cosmojam. Whatever it’ll be called, the album is still in progress, so keep an eye out, but you can hear the song at the bottom of this post. Ken-E‘s always up to something.

Dig it:

negative reaction

A word from the Captain of the Spaceship Negative Reaction………

Hello my fellow Sludgenaughts. I hope this transmission finds you well.

NR has finished mixing and mastering the single to our next release. The single is a song called Order 66. We have sent it out to multiple parties but one in particular that, We, NR are most attracted to has sent very positive feedback to it. We hope to release this next album Of SLUDGE with this said group of great people.

The title of this album has been established but it will remain unknown until an agreement has been reached between NR and said record label to agree on the release. This song and the new album are recorded and mastered at Steer Run Studios, engineered and produced by Ken-E Bones. We are currently recording new songs for the album.

A NR bandcamp page will also be up in a few days as well. It will have ALL of our releases up including some rare tracks from the past!

Thank you all for the love and support. I love each and every one of you. I mean it when I say NR has the greatest fans and family a band could hope for. All the best to you and thanx again for believing in us. Cheers to YOU!!!!”

End Of Line…….
-Capt’N KB

Negative Reaction is:
Ken-E Bones: guitar, vocals
Trey Crane: bass guitar
Kevin King: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/NegativeReaction

Tags: , , ,

Pavallion Premiere “Waves” from Stratospheria; Album out Oct. 26

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

pavallion (Photo by Philip Lethen)

At 10 minutes long, opening track ‘Waves’ plays an important role on Pavallion‘s second album, Stratospheria, out Oct. 26 on Tonzonen Records. From the spacious post-rock guitar line that opens the song with a drift worthy of its title to the subtle vocal harmonies in its verse lines as it moves toward its midsection, it’s the first impression Stratospheria makes, building to a louder instrumental wash as it approaches minute five and pushing decidedly outward from there in its second half with a fluid blend of ambience and weight made whole through steady but creative drumming. By the time it gets to its final push, it’s traversed a not-inconsiderable distance, and its last 30 seconds or so are just a ringout of the massive wall of sound that’s built, but the initial feel of the soothing intro is still maintained. As much as “Waves” seems to bring the tide of volume in as it plays through, it still doesn’t carry much of a sense of threat in the listening experience, and that’s important, because with the other two tracks that comprise the full-length, “Monolith” (5:11) and “Stratospheria” (24:37) itself, they bring a somewhat darker tonality to bear.

Especially in the shorter “Monolith,” the Krefeld, Germany, four-piece of vocalist/guitarist Sebastian Dückers, guitarist/vocalist Steven Hein, bassist Andreas Zanders and drummer Piet Fischer touch on a doomed atmosphere, with low spoken vocals and sparse, thudding drums and plodding guitar with a consuming distortion unfolding amid eerie whispers and a tense line of horror-style notes that comes to the fore in its apex. That departure — still on side A of the pavallion stratospheriavinyl, so in any format it immediately follows “Waves” — is key to establishing the personality of the release as a whole. Pavallion‘s 2017 debut, 2048, certainly had its progressive elements, and was a longer outing overall with five tracks/48 minutes as opposed to Stratospheria‘s three and 40 minutes, but while it had heavier moments along with its Floyd-loyalist conscioupsychedelia, there wasn’t anything so grim as the near-goth affect of “Monolith,” the mood of which seems to carry into the title-cut that follows, though with a runtime comprising more than half of the entire album, that song of course has no trouble setting a mood of its own. “Stratospheria” is, obviously, central to the record that shares its name, and perhaps unsurprisingly it seems to bridge the gap between “Waves” and “Monolith,” bringing the disparate sides together into a cohesive entirety of marked flow and a naturalist movement. Its ebbs are open-sounding and hypnotic, and the heft it conjures comes on smoothly and gradually, so that its arrival isn’t awkward or out of place, but an organic growth of the forward motion in the track.

Like “Waves,” “Stratospheria” gets significantly heavy, but retains its sense of atmosphere and carries the foreboding vibe of “Monolith” into its own context, as can be heard in the low-end distortion beneath the repeated guitar line about 16 minutes in. As the last push unfolds, Pavallion craft a fervent wash of noise, and the weighted riff that arrives shortly before the 19-minute mark is emblematic of the grim undertone that seems to be lurking all along, coexisting with the heavy psychedelic and progressive shimmer that “Waves” first set forth. That these two sides are able to come together into a coherent, single statement isn’t an achievement to be overlooked, but in the actual listening, that’s less of an outward impression than the level of engagement the band elicits from the beginning onward. That is, one isn’t likely to be sitting listening to Stratospheria saying, “Hmm, quite nice how they’ve married together diverse ambiences,” while utterly hypnotized by the effect of their doing so.

Appropriately enough, the visual accompaniment for “Waves” in the YouTube embed below is, well, waves. It’s waves. The camera is on a boat and it’s waves. Fair enough to give a sense of the album’s total entrancing aspects, and the crucial work “Waves” does as its opening salvo.

More info follows beneath. I hope you enjoy:

Pavallion, “Waves” visualizer premiere

Does music bend space and time? When a five minute song seems like a huge black hole while a 24-minute-epic rushes past in the blink of an eye, one can get the impression that it’s possible. Concerning PAVALLION, time is relative anyway, as already shown on their debut album „2048“. Following the minimalistic catchiness of their 2017 five track LP, these four guys from Krefeld, Germany, now present their second album STRATOSPHERIA.

It contains 3 atmospheric longtracks that slowly unfold into great epics – from the lone, soft echo in a vast openness to the dense, impenetrable wall of sound. Warm, hypnotic post-rock meets modern psychedelic, reminding some of us of the good old Pink Floyd sound. „Close your eyes and be carried away“ seems to be the motto – both live and in front of the record player.

STRATOSPHERIA is already preoderable and will be released on October 26th via the audiophile indie label TONZONEN RECORDS. It will be available as a limited gatefold LP in the vinyl colours marbled yellow (150 copies) and marbled greenblue (350 copies), as Digipak CD as well as for download.

Pavallion is:
Sebastian Dückers – Lead Vocals / Guitar
Steven Hein – Lead Guitar / Vocals
Andreas Zanders – Bass
Piet Fischer – Drums

Pavallion website

Pavallion on Thee Facebooks

Pavallion on Bandcamp

Pavallion on Instagram

Tonzonen Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Disrule to Release Sleep in Your Honour Nov. 16; Premiere Title-Track

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on October 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

disrule

With a marked disdain for bullshit, Denmark’s Disrule are prepping their sophomore long-player, Sleep in Your Honour, for Nov. 16 release through Seeing Red Records. The follow-up to 2016’s Omen Possessor and last year’s The MD .441 EP, the new record comprises eight tracks for an in-and-out 29-minute listen recorded live and proffering a straightforward heavy rock groove entirely void of pretense. Recorded live with producer Jacob Bredahl (vocalist for HatesphereAllhellujaThe Kandidate and others, as well as engineer/mixer for Pet the Preacher and countless others at his Dead Rat Studio, in songs like “Going Wrong” and the opening title-cut, it sounds like a band on stage both in its captured rawness and in the energy of the delivery, and while some bands would go back and overdub vocals atop the basic instrumental tracks, Disrule at least sound like they’re having drummer NP Nielsen and bassist Allan Segalt — who share lead vocal duties — sing at the same time they’re playing. I don’t know the process first-hand, but that’s certainly how it comes across.

I think you can hear that for yourself in the title-track, the premiere of which I’m happy to feature at the bottom of this post. Below you’ll find some comment from the band about the song and some more background about the album in general, which is available to preorder now from Seeing Red.

Please enjoy:

disrule sleep in your honour

Disrule on “Sleep in Your Honour”:

We feel this song is a good representative for the slower and more sinister sounding direction we’ve chosen with this album. That, and the fact that the album was recorded live, which gives it a more “organic” sound, all comes together nicely in this song. This is, more or less, how we sound when rehearsing or playing live. The song is for our detractors and naysayers. People like critics and trve scenesters who dislike us for having clean vocals or short songs or whatever. The title is just a fancy way of saying we won’t lose any sleep over them… on the whole it’s a ‘fuck you’ song.

Formed in the cold and dark wastes of Denmark in late 2014, Disrule have been crafting heavy, fuzz ridden Stoner Rock with elements of Doom and hints of 70’s rock splashed in for good measure. They boil their music down to its basic ingredients – short tracks packed with riffs, rhythmic resources, and boasting two lead singers.

Somewhere nestled between the likes of Fu Manchu, Clutch, classic Kyuss, and the masters themselves, Black Sabbath, Disrule are set to take the Stoner /Doom community by storm with their upcoming record.

Sleep In Your Honour is the band’s second full length, and in keeping with the spirit of legendary bands such as Black Sabbath, it was recorded live at Dead Rat Studio in just two days.

Preorders here: https://seeingredrecords.bandcamp.com/album/disrule-sleep-in-your-honour

Produced by Jacob Bredahl and Disrule
Recorded live at Dead Rat Studio, Aarhus, Denmark
April 27th – 28th 2018 using only Shure SM57 microphones
Engineered, mixed & mastered by Jacob Bredahl
All music & lyrics by Disrule
Cover artwork, lay out and photos by Claus Reinhold
Cover model: Kristina Horner

Disrule is:
Allan Segalt | Bass & Vocals
NP Nielsen | Drums & Vocals
Frank Sørensen | Guitar
Søren Dybdal | Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/Disrule/
https://disrule.bandcamp.com/
http://www.disrule.dk/
https://www.facebook.com/seeingredrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/seeing_red_records/
http://www.seeingredrecords.com/
https://seeingredrecords.bandcamp.com/

Disrule, “Sleep in Your Honour”

Tags: , , , , ,

Vanishing Kids Premiere “Reaper”; Heavy Dreamer Due Nov. 30

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

vanishing kids

Wisconsin’s Vanishing Kids will release their fifth full-length, Heavy Dreamer, Nov. 30 on Svart Records. It’s been 15 years since vocalist/keyboardist Nikki Drohomyreky and guitarist Jason Hartman made their debut with Rest the Glove that Wears You Down and five since their fourth LP, Spirit Visions, but their history seems to cross genres as much as time, and where their last outing found them dug into post-rock airiness, Heavy Dreamer carries a deep-running gothic heft, with the melodic wisps filling out the mix of “Mockingbird” reminding that indeed it’s the season of October Rust while the 7:57 title-track, second in the playlist behind “Creation” and very much part of an immersion-minded opening salvo with it, pulls elements of new wave into its chorus and transposes them onto the organ-laced doom of the leadoff. Deeply progressive and marked by the patient, standout performance of Drohomyreky on vocals and the low rumble of bass from Jerry Sofran, Heavy Dreamer is nonetheless fluid as it moves through psychedelic pastoralia on “Without a Sun,” creating a wash of tone and melody held together by Hart Allan Miller‘s drumming and the foundation of Hartman‘s guitar. The music is consistently, persistently adventurous, and there’s nowhere it goes to which it does not bring a stately, engaging presence.

The effect of “Creation” and “Heavy Dreamer” at the outset lingers. The latter is particularly memorable for Drohomyreky‘s soulful delivery of the title-line, and together they comprise more than 15 of the record’s total 51 minutes, so it’s not an insubstantial portion. Their placement seems purposeful, as only the nodding-doom-into-holy-crap-where’d-that-solo-come-from “Reaper” on side B hits the seven-minute vanishing kids heavy dreamermark otherwise, but more than runtime it’s a question of atmosphere and setting the mood. And whatever else Heavy Dreamer is — it is many things, and I suspect many different things for different listeners — it is a work of mood. Caked in echo and begun with a flourish of synthesized beats, “Without a Sun” projects a massive but not overwrought vibe, and while side B opener “Eyes of Secrets” isn’t without its shoegazing aspects, the flow between the back and forth swells of volume atop Miller‘s steady beat are nigh on hypnotic, with a finish of harsher guitar noise as though to willfully shock the listener back to consciousness. Following “Reaper,” which encases the aforementioned guitar showcase with a memorable chorus, “Rainbows” eases into a vision of post-rock and psychedelic doom that gracefully brings the styles together in a manner that’s an immediate highlight. A drifting figure on guitar in its second half opens to a blurring of the line between itself and keys — it’s all melody, right? — and once more the vocals provide a human presence in the wash of volume and tone, albeit an otherworldly one.

There’s a late spoken sample in “Rainbows” that’s somewhat obscured by the guitar solo, but the penultimate track ends with poise and gives way to “Magnificent Magenta Blue” as it once more revives the melodic reach of the keys and guitar and the dynamic they share with the earthbound drums pushing them forward. Hartman, who’s also played in Jex Thoth since 2013, doesn’t waste the opportunity to cast out one last stretch of deceptively shredding leadwork, and the vibe of culmination is palpable as he does so, with Sofran and Miller rolling the finale through its procession as the vocals recede and wait to return for a last chorus. Always, the keys remain, and the organ is not only essential to Vanishing Kids‘ overall approach, but it’s the base around which they’re able to shift between styles with such apparent ease while remaining sonically coherent. They’re not the only element doing so at any given time between the vocals, guitar, bass and drums, but the keys do a lot of work in tying the songs together throughout Heavy Dreamer, and ultimately allow the record to live up to its title with an unflinching sense of its own mission, knowing what it wants to be and how to be it. Or them, as it were for material so multifaceted.

I’m happy today to host the premiere of “Reaper” from Heavy Dreamer. You’ll find the track below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Vanishing Kids, “Reaper” official track premiere

Svart Records sets November 30th as the international release date for Vanishing Kids’ highly anticipated fourth album, Heavy Dreamer. The somnambulic doom metal group’s new album will be available on CD, vinyl LP, and digital formats.

Hailing from Wisconsin, Vanishing Kids has been an ever-evolving artistic and musical journey since the early 2000s, with core members and founders Jason Hartman (Jex Thoth) and Nikki Drohomyreky on vocals. As kids of the ’70s and ’80s who grew up on metal, prog rock, krautrock, psych, punk, and goth, they have managed to carve out a niche of their own for themselves.

The band’s newest and most powerful culmination arose when Jason Hartman’s childhood hero – and Midwest metal legend – Jerry Sofran (Lethal Heathen, Mirrored Image) joined in 2013. Shortly thereafter, the hard-hitting Hart Allan Miller (Wartorn, Deathwish, Tenement) joined on drums to complete the lineup.

Being the first full-length outing from Vanishing Kids in over five years, Heavy Dreamer is soaked in captivating shoegazey fuzz vaguely reminiscent of what My Bloody Valentine would sound like had they grown up on a diet of psychedelic doom metal and occult rock.

Tracklisting for Vanishing Kids’ Heavy Dreamer
1. Creation
2. Heavy Dreamer
3. Without A Sun
4. Mockingbird
5. Eyes of Secrets
6. Reaper
7. Rainbows
8. Magnetic Magenta Blue

Vanishing Kids is:
Nikki Drohomyreky- Vocals, Organ, Synths, Percussion
Jason Hartman- Guitar
Jerry Sofran- Bass
Hart Allan Miller- Drums

Vanishing Kids on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on Twitter

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Full Album Stream: Zippo, Ode to Maximum Reissue

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

zippo ode to maximum

[Click play above to listen to Zippo’s Ode to Maximum in its entirety. The full remaster with bonus tracks is out Nov. 2 on Spikerot Records.]

We live in an age where albums come out twice all the time. A band records on their own and does a self-release, digital or sometimes physical, and then later on at some point that record is picked up by a label for wider distribution and/or a physical pressing. The difference with Zippo‘s Ode to Maximum is that it’s happening 12 years later. Probably fair, then to call the Spikerot Records vinyl version of the then-five-piece Italian outfit’s debut full-length a reissue, what with the Tony Reed remaster, new cover art, bonus tracks and all, but its core desert rocking approach and forays into psychedelia on “Night Jam” and “Crazy Forest” lend a sonic reach to the grounded material surrounding.

The band is currently a four-piece with Alessandro Sergente on guitar, but in 2006, Sergente was joined by fellow guitarist Silvio Spina and bassist Tonino Bosco (Paolo Garofalo handles bass now), as well as vocalist Davide Straccione and drummer Federico Sergente, both of whom remain with Zippo now. Based in Pescara on the Adriatic Coast, they’ve done three albums since Ode to Maximum in the form of 2009’s The Road to Knowledge (discussed here), 2011’s Maktub and 2016’s After Us (discussed here), and each time branched out someplace new from where they started with the original 10 tracks of Ode to Maximum, which from the Lowrider-style wah of “Forgotten Season” to the suitably named thick-toned stomper “The Elephant March” and the careening “Tukay’s Fury” that precedes, basks in the glory days of the heavy rock movement that started a decade before it was made.

It was the MySpace era, but Zippo concerned themselves more with the doings of Kyuss and certainly offshoot project Slo Burn, whose “July” is covered as one of the bonus tracks here, recorded in 2014, in the early and mid ’90s. With a raw-ish production and a mix that puts the bass as the foundation of songs like “Kid in the Desert,” however otherwise led by the riffs they may be, Zippo tapped early into what have since become some of the most enduring aspects of the original Californian desert rock movement — and we’ll throw some Sweden in there for Lowrider, too — while putting their own inevitable stamp on the approach with a sense of rhythmic quirk, gutted-out vocals and diverse songwriting.

Beginning with the intro “Alpha” and ending with the complementary “Omega,” Ode to Maximum unfurls a self-aware sonic blend of chunky-style riffing on “Tsunami Dust” with the fervent rumble establishing itself beneath the two guitars and Straccione‘s vocals. A departure into a playfully-malevolent break brings some element of Faith No More to the proceedings, but as “Tsunami Dust” moves into highlight cut “S.N.A.P.R.S.T.,” the jazzy interlude and aggro finish in the latter already has some context hinting toward its arrival. Clearly Zippo were never just about mimicry of the Californian scene, and the rest of Ode to Maximum bears that out.

zippo (Photo by Marco Rocconi)

Originally a 45-minute outing — the bonus tracks push that to 55 on the remaster — Ode to Maximum has a linear fluidity that speaks to the time of its release, when CD was still the dominant physical media, if in decline with the increasing reach of the digital sphere. The handclaps in “Forgotten Season,” either natural or keyboard — something about them is awfully consistent sounding — vocal layering and manic lead guitar are nonetheless standout factors emblematic of the manner in which songs are distinguished throughout. In addition to the new CD release, though, Spikerot has a 2LP version of the album, and one imagines the same distinguishing factors help establish a breadth as Zippo move from one song and one side to the next.

I won’t claim to know where the sides split, but “Night Jam” is a serene departure from “Forgotten Season,” and “Kid in the Desert” renews the quirked-up post-Kyuss thrust ahead of “Crazy Forest,” which is the longest cut on the album at eight minutes, and if that’s side B, then it’s a solid one. “Crazy Forest” taps into progressive nuance to go along with its standout nodder fuzz riff — something of a foreshadow for the seven-minute “The Elephant March” still to come — and ends with an almost hypnotic rhythm before a last-second shove leads the way into “Tukay’s Fury.”

As it’s sandwiched between the two longest tracks, it would make sense that it’s the shortest (non-intro/outro) piece at 3:22, with starts and stops in the verses shifting into a high-gear hook with a high-energy delivery the whole way through until finally the thing seems to crash to its finish and directly into the start of “The Elephant March,” which is obviously intended as the apex of the record. And so it is. Big riffs get bigger as it courses through its second half, finishing at about six minutes in so the last minute can be consumed by a swell of insect noise, either flies or bees. Kind of a curious choice with “Omega” still to follow and lead the way out of the album as a whole, but it was 2006. Times were crazy. “Omega” fluidly answers “Alpha” with a minute or so of riffing and some sustained ringout that fades to a finish, leaving just “Night Jam #2” — heavier, proggier, more plotted — and the aforementioned Slo Burn redux to cap.

Though recorded later, “July” is a pretty fitting conclusion for Ode to Maximum, and the treatment they give it — again, the bass — does right by the original while allowing Zippo to make their mark on it as well. The album preceding functions in much the same way, portraying a band working their way toward an understanding of who they are as a group and what they want to bring to the tenets of their chosen genre. They’ve gone on to answer that question with subsequent albums, so in a way it’s like cheating to listen to Ode to Maximum and know the future, but a debut release is a special moment for a band that doesn’t come again, and this look back gives Zippo a chance to emphasize how far they’ve come since as well as the clarity of mission with which they started out.

Zippo, “Tsunami Dust” official video

Zippo on Thee Facebooks

Zippo on Instagram

Zippo on YouTube

Spikerot Records on Thee Facebooks

Spikerot Records on Instagram

Tags: , , , , ,

Constant Lovers Premiere “Meow Meow Meow” from New Album Pangs

Posted in audiObelisk on October 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

constant lovers

Based in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, good-time weirdo noisemakers Constant Lovers will release their third album, Pangs, on Oct. 26. It’s an 11-track outing, and from the sax-laced opening of “The Wound up Get Down” to the beach sounds of closer “Pang Time,” there are three ways you can listen to it. You can sit and pick apart every move the four-piece make, analyze and overthink every stop and shove in “It’s Electric” or the sharp rhythmic turns of “Lullaby,” and wax poetic as regards the intricacy of the interaction between the guitars of Joel Cuplin (also vocals) and Eric Fisher (also percussion) on the penultimate “Amouse Bouche.” You can do that. It’s fine. Or you can simply not. You can find the overarching groove — it’s there, to be sure — that locks in with funky aplomb on “The Wound up Get Down” propelled by the bass of Gavin Till-Esterbrook and drummer Ben Verellen, as well as that sax, and holds firm as “Meow Meow Meow” sets the go-where-the-hell-they-want-tone with a cast of PNW noise that’ll give silly comfort to ears who never quite recovered from the loss of Akimbo however many years ago and leads into the churn of “Ceiling Sweats” as Pangs unfolds along solid geometrical lines. You can go deep, or you can not. The third way? It’s a little bit of both.

I’m not going to advocate one or the other, frankly. With the play to anticipation in the we-dig-Fugazi-you-dig-Fugazi “Rally Cry for the Pang in Your” and the Rob Crow-style quirk of “Know the Knot” preceding, the mania in the lyrics of “You are Dinner” and its constant lovers pangsimmediate companion-piece “Bone Shard Fashion,” Constant Lovers make arguments on all sides. Any way you might want to go has its appeal, and far more important is that the depth of Pangs holds up to whatever level of scrutiny you might want to bring to your experience of it. In the intensity of “Lullabye,” the band resolve toward the frenetic, and one could point to any number of stretches throughout and hear hardcore punk roots growing up and — let’s face it — getting interesting along the way. But even as they let themselves draw down the tempo just a bit more on “Pang Time,” which is also the longest track at 5:29 and finishes with an ending so eased-out you wouldn’t be wrong to think of it as “gentle,” they don’t let the academic overcome either the adventurous spirit of the songwriting or the energy in their delivery of the material. A production that’s raw-er but still well broad enough to let their tones breathe — one has to wonder if they use Verellen amps — brings through the deceptive balance, sneaky balance, sometimes purposefully unbalanced balance, of elements instrumental and aesthetic, and, well, sometimes you want to have some fun. That’s legit. It’s okay to do that.

Clearly they are, so why not follow suit?

Or, more likely, t-shirt.

Not at all without a melodic presence despite the forward nature of its rhythms, Pangs arrives some four-years after the band’s second offering, Experience Feelings, which itself came just one year later as the follow-up to their 2013 debut, True Romance. Whyever the fourfold increase in span between their releases, Constant Lovers obviously relish the opportunity that Pangs gives them to explore the outer reaches of their approach, and regardless of how the listener chooses to take that on, doing so only proves to be an engaging, exciting and let’s-go-again-worthy experience.

Get your digs with the premiere of “Meow Meow Meow” below, followed by some preliminaries on the release courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Constant Lovers, “Meow Meow Meow” official track premiere

Seattle, WA quartet Constant Lovers announce their forthcoming sophomore album, Pangs.

Constant Lovers’ Pangs was created during a sustained period of unrest punctuated by moments of intense inspiration. The result is an album where delight collides with angularity, chaos morphs into play, and humor and strangeness are, as always, just beneath the tough exterior. At once a celebration of the heavier sounds featured in their last album, Experience Feelings, Pangs also signals a turn towards a more exploratory nature. With the addition of saxophone and the use of improvisation in both recording and recent live shows, Constant Lovers are pushing at their boundaries.

Pangs will be available on LP and download on October 26th, 2018.

Artist: Constant Lovers
Album: Pangs
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: October 26th, 2018

01. The Wound Up Get Down
02. Meow Meow Meow
03. Ceiling Sweats
04. It’s Electric
05. You Are Dinner
06. Bone Shard Fashion
07. Know The Knot
08. Rally Cry For The Pang In Your
09. Lullabye
10. Amuse Bouche
11. Pang Time

Constant Lovers is:
Joel Cuplin: Guitar/ Vox
Eric Fisher: Guitar / Percussion
Ben Verellen: Drums
Gavin Tull-Esterbrook: Bass / Vox

Constant Lovers on Thee Facebooks

Constant Lovers on Instagram

Constant Lovers on Twitter

Constant Lovers on Bandcamp

Constant Lovers website

Tags: , , , , ,

Brujas del Sol Premiere “Sisterlace”; II Preorders Available; Art and Tracklisting Revealed

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on October 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

brujas del sol

We’re getting dangerously close to the previously-announced Oct. 19 release date for Brujas del Sol‘s second album, II. Preorders have gone up through the label, Kozmik Artifactz, and below, you’ll find the unveiling of the Will Fugman cover art and the tracklisting, as well as the premiere of the track “Sisterlace,” which is the first audio to come from the heavy progressive mostly-instrumentalists’ latest work. The song features on side A of the vinyl, following “Teenage Hitchhiker” and “Sea Rage,” and features a echoing tones that are spacious and resonant in a way that very much typifies a lot of what’s coming from the Columbus, Ohio-based four-piece, as well as vocals from guitarist Adrian Zambrano, which only serve to make it more memorable as it moves into a fuzzy crunch and uptempo push ahead of “Fringe of Senility,” which rounds out the first half of II with a New Wave/krautrocking feel still marked out by Zambrano‘s own drifting guitar.

Zambrano is joined in the band by bassist Derrick White, drummer Josh Oswald and keyboardist Phillip Reed, the latter two of whom would seem to have come aboard since 2015’s Starquake 7″ (review here), which followed the digital track “Occultation” and their prior full-length debut, 2013’s Moonliner. In the five years since that first outing, Brujas del Sol have undergone not just the lineup changes, but a process that makes them both more patient in their execution and also more purposeful as songwriters. II ranges pretty broadly, but it’s by no means inaccessible, tapping spacey Floyd and Hawkwind impulses and filtering through prog rock as only Rush fans could do.

Art, info and audio follow here. Dig:

brujas del sol ii

Adrian Zambrano on “Sisterlace”:

“Sisterlace” was the first song we wrote for this album and coincidentally, the first song we decided needed vocals. The title came to our bassist, Derrick, in a strange dream, which inspired us to write it. If we had to choose the quintessential Brujas song, with all the elements that define our band, this is it.

Preorders available at: http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/navi.php?suche=brujas+del+sol&lang=eng

Brujas del Sol, II tracklisting:
Teenage Hitchhiker
Sea Rage
Sisterlace
Fringe of Senility
White Lights
Polara
Spiritus

Album art work done by Will Fugman, http://willfugman.com/

The album release show is Nov. 9 at Rumba Cafe with Pale Grey Lore and Playing to Vapors.

Brujas del Sol is:
Adrian Zambrano – High end/Vocals
Derrick White – Low end
Josh Oswald – Percussion
Phillip Reed – Keyboards

https://www.facebook.com/BrujasdelSol/
https://brujasdelsol.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Tags: , , , , ,