Posted in audiObelisk on July 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Thank you, gods of riff.
It’s the first new Sleep track since Dopesmoker, and the first song Sleep have produced with the lineup of founding vocalist/bassist Al Cisneros (Om), founding guitarist Matt Pike (High on Fire) and drummer Jason Roeder (Neurosis), who came aboard a few years back in place of Chris Hakius. Those who’ll take it on — which should be everybody above the age of seven or under it — will find Sleep‘s classic and pioneering Sabbath worship intact over the course of the song’s meandering, near-10-minute crawl, starting out with a compressed nod of the central riff as though a machine was lurching to life. Cisneros brings his Om-style cleaner vocals to the proceedings, rather than the rougher shouts one might find on 1993′s classic Sleep’s Holy Mountain. Important to remember that was 22 years ago now.
Of course, Sleep have been playing live shows for half a decade on and off, and those have featured material either put together or resurrected from the days following Dopesmoker, but “The Clarity” is the first studio output they’ve had since the reunion began. Any new Sleep at all is obviously one of the year’s biggest advents, regardless of the song itself, but the gargantuan roll that unfolds throughout “The Clarity” and the way the song wanders and jams out to its sudden stop after its weedian verses bodes very, very well for the long-awaited and rumored and speculated-upon full-length that still may or may not be in the works. Hopefully it is. It’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of a new Sleep album listening to “The Clarity,” since the dynamic at the heart of the band is clearly alive and well. And stoned. Dig the subtle “War Pigs” nod before Pike‘s solo in the midsection. Fucking hell these guys kill.
New Sleep. What more do you need out of a Friday afternoon?
Sleep‘s “The Clarity” will be available as a free download starting Monday via the Adult Swim Singles Series. For now this’ll do.
You may or may not have noticed, but on the updates page for The Obelisk Radio, you can now see the playlist for the entire day. Mad and thoroughly appreciated genius that he is, Slevin set it up so that even when a song doesn’t have an ID3 tag — as some of the older included mp3s obviously don’t — the filename itself appears, so you can still find out what was played. It goes back to July 10 now, because that’s when it was launched, but my understanding is it will just keep adding days, so there will be a full archive from here on out of what was played. I’ve been nerding out on it all week.
And primarily what it’s underscored for me is just how much good shit there is on that playlist. It’s unreal. Please feel free to peruse. Here’s some more stuff that just went up.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for July 18, 2014:
Chicago four-piece Bongripper once more crawl out of the muck with another collection of lurching, extended instrumental tracks, proliferating malevolent riff worship and lumbering, head-slung hopelessness. Like Pelican‘s evil twin, they offer a couple catch-your-breath moments throughout “Endless” (somewhat ironically the shortest track at 17:49), “Descent” (18:52) and the insurmountably mammoth “Into Ruin” (28:25), but the bulk of their sixth album is dedicated to destructive crash and vicious low-toned riffing, and even when they drone out in the last six minutes of “Descent,” the mood remains dark and crushing. All the more fitting as a lead-in for “Into Ruin,” which has its own breaks for good measure but makes its impression more in the tectonic weight of its impact. Everything heavy. All heavy. Nothing not heavy. Bongripper have been at it for nearly a decade now, and they’ve only gotten meaner. Miserablegets bonus points for the Mike Miller cover art. One would be hard pressed to think of something more appropriate. Bongripper on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
We’re all Gonna Die, These are the Old Ways
When Boston heavy rockers We’re all Gonna Die — the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey (also Black Thai), bassist Jesse Sherman (also Never Got Caught) and drummer Scott Healey (also Gut) — announced their return a short while ago for three summer shows, they sent word of a new single “Pleurisy.” That single, included on These are the Old Ways, has been expanded to include a collection of previously unreleased cuts from the band’s history, resulting in the 24-minute These are the Old Ways. Lineups and recording vibes vary — the EP caps with two instrumentals that show off some solid riffs but are clearly incomplete demos — but “Pleurisy” itself and “I’m Free” showcase the driving, forward rhythms and Healey‘s towering vocals following the riff, and “The Day I Walked Away,” while rougher sounding, offers the most memorable hook of the release. Round it out with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “That Smell” and the aforementioned instrumentals “Small” and “Awash,” and These are the Old Waysadds intrigue to the new single and reminds of the variety that We’re all Gonna Die were always able to bring to their gritty, aggressive approach. We’re all Gonna Die on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
In historical hindsight, it’s tempting to think of Connecticut’s Sufferghost as a prelude to guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore and bassist Richard “Cheech” Weeden‘s work in Curse the Sun, but the truth is, it’s an entirely different band. Vanacore, still on vocals, plays drums on Sufferghost‘s recently-unearthed 2007 outing, Thaw, and the guitars are handled by Anthony Buhagiar, whose burst aortic aneurysm would effectively end the band in 2009, leading to the founding of Curse the Son. There are some consistencies of method between the two — riffs lead the way, albeit less tonally developed than Vanacore would be by the time Curse the Son put out 2012′s Psychache (review here), which has just been released on vinyl through STB Records — but Sufferghost had a musical personality of its own as well, and while “Leave the Church” offered stonerly roll, and “Neuralgia” engages righteous, mostly instrumental Sabbathizing, “Summer Insane” and the slower “Land of the None/Evilled” have some shades of burlier Black Label Society-style metal, and that’s terrain Vanacore and Weeden (who’ve been in bands together since the mid ’80s) have avoided in their subsequent act. Thawmakes you wonder what might’ve been had Sufferghost continued to develop, and gives listeners an opportunity to explore the roots from which Curse the Son sprouted. Sufferghost on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Planet of Zeus, Vigilante
Vigilante is the third LP from dudely Athens-based riffers Planet of Zeus, and while Clutch remains a primary influence, songs like “Burn this City Down,” “Tornado” and closer “The Beast Within” find the four-piece come into their own sound more than did 2011′s sophomore outing, Macho Libre. Still, moments will ring familiar, if roughened up, and the bluesy roll and organ of “No Tomorrow,” the gospel preaching of the title-track and the start-stop funk of “Second Coming” would seem to continue the pattern. They do it better than most who try, and for the touches of individuality, the impact of the production, and for the ease with which they move into instrumental psychedelia on “The Beast Within,” Vigilante (released on Ihaveadrum Records) makes a catchy endeavor for the already converted. Some of the harder-edged vocals from guitarist Babis might surprise, but it’s easy enough to get oriented throughout, and if Planet of Zeus have a more aggressive take on an established style, that only furthers their ability to stand out within it. Planet of Zeus on Thee Facebooks, Vigilante on Bandcamp.
Liquido di Morte, Liquido di Morte
Made up of three recorded-live psychedelic jams that spread smoothly over the total runtime of 37 minutes, Northern Italy outfit Liquido di Morte‘s self-titled debut is marked out by some post-rock sensibilities in the guitar and the lead/rhythm dynamic that periodically merges into bigger, more lumbering grooves throughout. The double-guitar four-piece use samples or guest speakers for vocals and the feel across the tracks is pretty vast, but there’s also clearly a consciousness at work on opener “Ozric Pentacles,” and as the riffy largesse mounts backed by chaos swirls and loops, it’s hard not to be reminded of some of Ufomammut‘s earliest goings, though that’s just one element at work. “In Death of Space/Of Death in Space” pushes further with the plotted feel, a tension and intensity trading off as movements weave in and out and open and close, culminating in a noisy wash that only highlights how much Liquido di Morte have known all along where they were heading, and the 18-minute finale “144″ builds from an effects-laden early few minutes into their most hypnotic and consuming roll yet, spoken word guest vocals emerging late to pipe a last-minute sense of reality into what had clearly, by then, departed from it. A more than impressively cohesive first offering — all the more because it was recorded live — from a band whose potential is writ large in their material. Liquido di Morte on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
As ever, this isn’t even close to everything that joined The Obelisk Radio playlist this week. For the full list and to check out today’s playlist, visit the updates page.
Posted in audiObelisk on July 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
On Aug. 5, West Virginian classic doom four-piece Brimstone Coven will make a self-titled debut on Metal Blade Records. The retro-fied, boogie-ritualized, 69-minute monster with which they’ll do it is available now to preorder and made up of 17 tracks — the sum total of their discography prior to inking the deal. Their original 2012 self-titled EP (which STB Records released as a 12″ last year) appears here as bonus tracks, and 2013′s II, comprises the meat of the album proper. But with the combination and a remaster comes a change of title, and Brimstone Coven‘s Brimstone Covenit is.
In whatever context one might want to view it, Brimstone Covenis an album that righteously engages the tenets of classic doom. There’s an early ’70s sway to the material, a looseness in the rhythm section of bassist Andrew D’Cagna and drummer Justin Wood, that gives the chugging, grooving riffs of guitarist Corey Roth both meat and movement, and vocalist “Big John” Williams meshes with this modus perfectly, the layers of his voice harmonizing and calling to mind the natural feel and melodic range of grandiose ’70s prog, working with the music surrounding to give cuts like “Behold, the Anunnaki,” “The Black Door” and “The Seance” a mystique without sounding overblown or needlessly theatrical. It’s a careful balance and Brimstone Coven execute it well.
While the newer material (which appears first on the new collection) has a clearer production value than the original EP — though the remaster and an intro track provide an easy flow from one section into the next — that only makes it easier to hear the progression Brimstone Coven have undertaken. As a summary of the album’s appeal, “Behold, the Anunnaki” holds up more than ably in giving a sense of their progressive side while nailing down a steady rolling groove and building to a bigger finish. If it’s your first taste of what Brimstone Coven have to offer, you’re likely in for a pleasant surprise.
Brimstone Coven will release their self-titled full-length via Metal Blade Records on Aug. 5. The album is available to preorder here. They’ll also join Eric Wagner‘s Blackfinger for select shows on their upcoming tour, and on July 21, they’ll play with labelmates Mount Salem in their home state. More info from the PR wire and at the links below:
Brimstone Coven is a retro-hard rock / doom band that hails of out Wheeling, WV. They began brewing their own blend of “dark occult rock” in the early months of 2011. Corey Roth (Guitarist) wrote the first five songs, which would later become the band’s self titled album. Roth went on to handpick three seasoned musicians from the local scene. Andrew D’Cagna (Bass), Justin Wood (Drums), and “Big John” Williams (Vocals) were recruited to carry out Roth’s plan for sonic domination. Echoing the eerie reverberations of hard rock heavyweights such as Black Sabbath and Pentagram, mixed with the classic rock style of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, Brimstone Coven strive to preserve a vintage rock sound mixed with a style all their own.
After many shows, one album, the band added new drummer Dan Hercules, released their second album, simply titled “II”, which was released in November of 2013, and signed with Metal Blade Records! Since signing with Metal Blade, original drummer Justin Wood has returned to the fold and has rounded out the seminal chemistry the band had been looking for. Metal Blade Records will begin their new partnership with Brimstone Coven by releasing the band’s latest album combined with their debut EP, complete with new mastering and brand new artwork. Artwork was completed by Creighton Hill, the same mind behind the band’s first two releases. The newly packaged and mastered set 17 tracks will serve as a solid introduction to Brimstone Coven for new fans. On August 5, the album will be available digitally and physically in North America.
Posted in audiObelisk on July 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s a formidable batch of streams this time around from Roadburn 2014, with YOB‘s The Great Cessation played in its entirety, and gigs from Indian, who by all accounts killed at the fest, Morne, ditto, Lord Dying and more. For me though, like the first batch with their Lenny Kaye jam, the highlight is probably Harsh Toke. They were my find of the fest. When their Light up and Livealbum came out in 2013 on Tee Pee, I guess I didn’t pay enough attention and missed it, but after seeing them with the aforementioned Mr. Kaye, I knew there was no way I was going to let their set at the Afterburner pass without watching at least for a little bit.
As such, the San Diego jam-rippers were how I closed out Roadburn 2014, stopping by the Green Room to watch them tear into heavy psych fluidity as though you could actually tear into something fluid. Killer band. I’ve spent much time with Light up and Livesince April, and I’m glad to have the chance — thanks, as always, to Marcel van de Vondervoort and his crew — to relive their show. That’s not to mention YOB doing The Great Cessation, which was hypnotic to the point of being trance-inducing, and Morne and Indian and The Vintage Caravan, Lord Dying and Obliteration, the last two adding a malevolent, lurching extremity. Very cool mix.
No big surprise there, I guess, since the festival has become so eclectic. Plenty to dig into here so I won’t delay further:
Harsh Toke – Live at Roadburn 2014
Horse Latitudes – Live at Roadburn 2014
Indian – Live at Roadburn 2014
Lord Dying – Live at Roadburn 2014
Morne – Live at Roadburn 2014
Obliteration – Live at Roadburn 2014
The Vintage Caravan – Live at Roadburn 2014 (Friday, April 11th)
Yob – Live at Roadburn 2014 (The Great Cessation)
Thanks to Walter and Roadburn for letting me host the streams. The first and second batches are still available as well, and for all of the Roadburn 2014 coverage, click here.
There doesn’t seem to ever be a break with this stuff. 16 records joined The Obelisk Radio playlist today, and that’s still got me behind on checking out more to add. I don’t know what the state of that hard drive is, but I might not be far off from needing to add a second one. It’s become an archive for me.
Diligent and admirable bastard that he is, Slevin is working on an automatically refreshing script that will allow listeners to see what was played over the last 24 hours, which will be a big help if a file is missing its ID3 tags — that being how the player identifies the songs — as I know things sometimes are. I get asked regularly what was played at a specific time, so hopefully this will be able to answer that question.
So things are in the works, but of course there’s a ton of music to talk about in the meantime, and that’s the fun part anyway.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for July 11, 2014:
All Them Witches, Effervescent EP
There are at least two distinct jams at work in the 25-minute single track that makes up Effervescent, the 2014 EP from Nashville psych-blues rockers All Them Witches. The Fender Rhodes of Allan Van Cleave and airy guitar of Ben McLeod feature heavily in both, as bassist Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer Robby Staebler (interview here) provide a foundation on which to space out, and the two pieces find a bridge in hypnotic, psychedelic stretching and backwards noise beginning at around 13 minutes in before building back up. All throughout, the vibe is central, there is movement, and the four-piece demonstrate that the chemistry they showed burgeoning on last year’s brilliant Lightning at the Door(discussed here) was no fluke, but the beginning of a grand and creative exploration that finds its next installment here. It may be a stopgap — formerly their primary means of release, they’ve recently pulled their full-lengths down from Bandcamp; one expects big, got-signed-type news from them at any moment — but Effervescentis fluid and rich, and as deep as you want to go in listening to it, it’s willing to take you there and further. All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Nyarlathotep, The Shadow over Innsmouth
Some six years after releasing their initial The End is Always Near demo, New Jersey black metal outfit (whom, in the interest of full disclosure, I know personally) Nyarlathotep follow-up with the Lovecraftian full-length, The Shadow over Innsmouth. Based around the short story of the same name, the album breaks down into five extended tracks plus an intro of rage-fueled atmospherics. Using programmed drums to their advantage on “Old Zadok Allen” — the only proper song here under 10 minutes — they add an industrial feel with a keyboard-led midsection backed by vague, ambient screams. The density in the material is striking, but even at their most unbridled — as on the blasting, solo-topped early moments in the title-track – Nyarlathotep hold their commitment to setting a mood firm, and the blown-out, distorted soundscape they create across the release is grim and otherworldly enough to be worthy of its subject matter. It is a complex, biting execution that won’t be for everyone, but that seethes in its quiet parts and gnashes its pointed teeth with monstrous force. Nyarlathotep on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Oklahoma City trio Idre specialize in ambient fluidity and deeply-weighted tonal crush. Their self-released, self-titled debut long-player is comprised of two extended cuts — “Factorie” (26:41) and “Witch Trial” (13:17) — that each impress with their patience, their impact and their ability to contrast the generally claustrophobic feel of post-metal with an open-spaced, salt-of-the-earth pulse. Within its first 10 minutes, “Factorie” has moved from undulating waves of riffing to vast, strumming, Across Tundras-esque roll, and never does it seem to be meandering without purpose in the noisy stages to come. It builds and collapses, and when they seem the most gone, the clean, twanging vocals return to finish out, leading to the parabolically constructed “Witch Trial,” which marries Earth-style drone and galloping drums effectively to create a decidedly Western feel while still building toward, and eventually moving through a sonically pummeling apex. Once again, vocals are sparse, but perfectly placed almost as if to remind the listener of how small a human being can be in so wide a space as the Midwest. Like that landlocked region, Idre‘s Idreis expansive and lets you see for miles. Idre on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Rainbows are Free, Waves ahead of the Ocean
Led by the substantial pipes of vocalist B. Fain Kistler, Norman, Oklahoma, four-piece Rainbows are Free seem keen on finding the place where classic doom and heavy rock meet, and on their second full-length, Waves ahead of the Ocean (released by Guestroom Records), they just about get there. Kistler is a singer worthy of comparison to Grand Magus‘ JB Christoffersson, but Rainbows are Free are less grandiose overall, early songs like “The Botanist,” the title-track and the cumbersomely-titled opener “Speed God and the Rise of the Motherfuckers from a Place beyond Hell” nestling into heavy, engaging grooves marked out by the choice riffing of Richie Tarver, the bass work of Chad Hogue and drums of Bobby Onspaugh. Unpretentious and professional in their presentation, they doom up an otherwise Clutch-style boogie in “Cadillac” before going full-on trad metal in “Snake Bitten by Love,” and ably making their way through a Dio Sabbath push on “Burn and Die,” which works well despite feeling a long way from the upbeat rockin’ of earlier highlight “Sonic Demon” and leads smoothly into closer “Comet,” the six-and-a-half-minute spacier thrust of which seems to be seems to be where Rainbows are Free most choose to harken to the psychedelia one might expect from their moniker. They most drive toward the epic in their finale, and the payoff there is churning and insistent in a way that more than justifies the song’s position on the 37-minute record, but even then have a keen eye for structure and holding the attention of their audience. An impeccably put together album from a band more than ready to turn heads. Rainbows are Free on Thee Facebooks, Guestroom Records on Bandcamp.
Panopticon, Roads to the North
Despite the bluegrass influence and liberal inclusion of banjo amidst its blackened onslaught, Panopticon‘s Roads to the North (released on Bindrune) is perhaps most American of all for its pulling together seemingly disparate elements in defiance of European traditionalism. Billed as and creating the standard for American folk metal, it nonetheless is in conversation with European black metal — a conversation that in my head looks something like it’s being chased à la Benny Hill for its heresies — while purposefully working against its tenets. Roads to the Northis the fifth full-length from the one-man project of Kentucky’s Austin Lunn, and made in collaboration with Krallice‘s Colin Marston (among others), it elicits a sprawl through both its metallic extremity and its devotion to the aesthetic it pioneers. It makes for a heady 74-minute listen, but Panopticon are cohesive throughout — five records deep, they should be — and one doesn’t embark on an album like Roads to the Northlightly or without wanting full immersion into an evocative and blistering landscape. That’s just what you get. Panopticon on Thee Facebooks, Bindrune Recordings.
For the full list of albums added to The Obelisk Radio this week and to see the latest updates, click here.
Posted in audiObelisk on July 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Listening to it front to back, it becomes clear quickly that Spiral Shades‘ forthcoming debut, Hypnosis Sessions, is a special kind of album. But even hearing it only tells half the tale. The 55-minute 2LP — which is due Aug. 5 on RidingEasy Records on grey vinyl or CD (pre-orders are available here) — captures a naturalist proto-metal kind of sound from the start, in places reminiscent of a harder-edged version of the kind of analog worship and rolling grooves Witch proffered on their own debut, but it was made by players living a continent apart from each other.
Comprised of Indian vocalist/guitarist Khushal R. Bhadra and Norwegian guitarist/bassist/drum programmer Filip Petersen, Spiral Shades have never actually played in the same room, yet the Sabbathian idolatry they bring about on cuts like “Illuminati” and “Wizardry” from Hypnosis Sessionsis as fluid as if it was recorded live. It’s a credit to the tones Bhadra and Petersen were able to capture on their own, working back and forth via email, sending files to each other and piecing together the album in a manner befitting its collage cover art, but more importantly, it’s a wide open, badass sound, and the album jams out vibrant grooves with a steady flow and pays homage to classic ’70s influences in a way that’s modern both in process and in sonics.
Though shorter than, say, 13-minute freakout “Grim Rituals,” the catchy stomp of “Wizardry” nonetheless provides an engaging sample of what Spiral Shades have to offer those who’d join them in their continent-crossing riffy congress. Hopefully this isn’t a one-time collaboration on the part of Bhadra and Petersen. When one considers the kind of chemistry they’re able to capture on HypnosisSessions and the organic, full-band feel they bring about on songs like “Wizardry,” taken in context with the distance between them, it seems like all the more reason to keep going forward and developing the ideas they’ve laid down here.
Enjoy “Wizardry” on the player below, courtesy of RidingEasy:
Spiral Shades release Hypnosis SessionsAug. 5 on RidingEasy Records. The album will be available on CD and vinyl. The orange LP edition of 75 sold out on pre-order, but dark grey marble is still available, though limited to 100. More info and pre-orders via the links below.
Lots to get to on this holiday week, but I didn’t want to let the Radio Adds slide any longer than I already have. As ever, there’s a lot of good stuff joining the ranks, and hopefully if you listen, you find something you dig. That’s what it’s all about. Also about giving me a never-ending playlist to listen to while I vacuum, apparently. But still, definitely both.
You’ll note six adds instead of five this time around. Every now and then there’s just too much going on to play by your own limits.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for July 3, 2014:
Blues Pills, Blues Pills
The awaited self-titled debut from Blues Pills arrives via Nuclear Blast in August and finds the four-piece with the blazing rhythm section of bassist Zack Anderson and drummer Cory Berry culled from the former ranks of Radio Moscow, French guitarist Dorian Sorriaux and Swedish frontwoman Elin Larsson almost frighteningly cohesive and cognizant of their blues rock lineage. Larsson does a solid Tina Turner on opener “High Class Woman” — as much as anybody can — and Sorriaux quickly proves himself a wunderkind in classic shuffle. Blues Pills offer all the heavy ’70s influence one could ask with less of the retro aesthetic, giving their first record a refreshing charge, though closer “Little Sun” has plenty of Graveyard-style melancholy for those looking to hear it. A relatively subdued midsection in “Black Smoke,” “River” and “No Hope Left for Me” adds emotional depth, but when Blues Pills decide to tear it up, as on “Devil Man,” they’re more than able to do so. A dynamic first full-length from an obviously powerful four-piece. On Thee Facebooks, Nuclear Blast.
Major Kong, Doom for the Black Sun
A two-years-later limited vinyl issue of Polish instrumental stoner doomers Major Kong‘s Doom for the Black Sun debut long-player courtesy of Transubstans Records should be a welcome advent for those who worship riffs, as the trio clearly do. The tracklist is shifted some from the original release and the artwork has changed, but Major Kong are true to the Kyuss reference of their album’s title in their commitment to heavy nod ‘n’ roll. Fuzz abounds and the grooves are smooth as “Witches on My Land” opens up into “The Swamp Altar,” each song getting progressively longer until bassist Domel, guitarist Misiek and drummer Bolek arrive at the 11-minute finale of “Primordial Gas Clouds,” a huge jam peppered by airy psychedelic soloing that doesn’t so much build to a grand finish as it does melt the album down into a molten stew of reverb and fermented buzz. Major Kong released a subsequent single, “Sequoia” early in 2013 and a follow-up full-length in Jan. 2014′s Doom Machine, so there’s plenty of ground to cover for further investigation. On Bandcamp, on Thee Facebooks, Transubstans Records.
Moab, Scion A/V Presents Billow
There are a lot of bands who balance riffs and melody, but few sound as natural or as fluid as Moab in doing so. The L.A.-based three-piece follow their 2011 Kemado Records debut, Ab Ovo (discussed here) with Billow, a self-produced nine-track collection presented by Scion A/V that furthers the noise-rock crunch of their guitars while also branching into languid heavy psychedelic washes (“Said it Would”), tribal-style percussive insistence (“I Concede”) and generally bigger, wider-sounding sonic spaces. Guitarist/vocalist Andrew Giacumakis holds mostly to a subdued delivery no matter the madness unfolding behind him — witness the stomp with bassist Joe Fuentes and drummer Erik Herzog on “No Soul” — and in addition to proffering some infectious hooks along the way, the approach also gives Billowa sense of purpose beyond heaviness for its own sake, Moab‘s element of restraint putting their material in league with Radiohead as much as the Melvins, while offering something that should appeal to fans of either, both or neither. Here even more than on the first record, they’ve crafted their own sound, and they’re giving it away for free. On Thee Facebooks, download Billow.
Monobrow, Big Sky, Black Horse
Big Sky, Black Horse is the third self-released vinyl from large-riffing Ottowa trio Monobrow following 2012′s Bennington Triangle Blues and their 2010 self-titled debut (review here), and immediately the instrumentalists set about knowing their business when it comes to putting the riffs front and center and backing up with strong, forward-pushing rhythmic drive. Parts of Big Sky, Black Horsefeel derived from Karma to Burn‘s all-straightforward-all-the-time mentality, but by and large, Monobrow have a more upbeat approach, and even on a mid-paced groove like “These Mountains Don’t Want us Here,” the 8:27 second track of the total eight, they use their longer runtimes to showcase fluidity in pacing and genre-minded stylistic depth. It’s an easy record to dig, and I dig it, whether it’s the bass-led thud of “Old Man Mouthbreather” or the go-anywhere 11-minute apex the album receives in its title-track, which starts big, ends big and is big in the middle. Beware the quiet parts in that song and a cut like “Ancient Arctic Wanderer,” as stretches of silence only seem to presage the next round of riffy pummeling. Monobrow seem comfortable working in either modus, and their third offering is a primo boon to fellow riff-heads. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Put into the right hands and through the right effects pedals, a saxophone can be a formidable tool in the psychedelic woodshed. Slow-rolling Italian foursome Mope clearly realize this on their three-track self-titled full-length debut CD, which comes in a digipak with gorgeous Snailking-esque black and white art from guitarist Jessica Rassi. They’re not long into opener “Old Grey Street” (7:32) before Sara Twinn distinguishes herself in adding a smoky melody atop the doomly vibes unfolding from Rassi, bassist Stefano Parodi and drummer Fabio Cuomo, and the dreamy-but-still-very-very-heavy mood Mope establish in the first track holds firm on the subsequent “Doomed to Feed the Ground” (12:58) and “La Caduta” (9:58) as well, the instrumental band sticking to a balance between psychedelic and stoner-doom impulses. Hypnosis ensues. The centerpiece is perhaps the most immersive of the three inclusions on the Taxi Driver Records outing, with its surprise piano at the beginning and sparse, minimalist ending, but across the board, Mope hone an engaging depth of presentation by which it’s a pleasure to be subsumed. Ending slow and jazzy on “La Caduta,” Mope‘s Mopeis one to close your eyes and just go with. On Thee Facebooks, at Taxi Driver’s Bandcamp.
Prisma Circus, Reminiscences
I don’t know how many times I’ve said it over the years, but, oh, what a difference a great drummer can make. Spanish classic heavy rock power trio Prisma Circus separate themselves on their World in Sound debut full-length, Reminiscences, from the scores of post-Graveyard retro worshipers thanks in no small part to the unmitigated swing in drummer Alex Carmona Blanco‘s playing. Couple that with the fiery leads of guitarist Oscar Garcia Albizu and warm, steady fills and bluesy exultations of bassist Joaquín Escudero Arce and Prisma Circus bang out thick-cut chops on their eight-track outing, starting with longest cut “The Mirror” (immediate points) and tapping into some Radio Moscow-style psych-blues volatility along the way. “Born in a Red House” slows the proceedings some, but Blanco kicks out a drum solo on the subsequent “Napalm” that lives up to the title, and the lighter back-half acoustics of “Cain” and the power trio thrust of “Onyx Star” ensure that Reminiscences stays satisfying to the bitter end, capping off with the smooth roll-out of “Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man),” which turns tempos fast enough to require multiple listens just to keep up. They may not be innovating the style at this point, but Prisma Circus are tight enough to stand out anyway. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp, World in Sound.
Righteous though these grooves are, this is less than half of everything that joined The Obelisk Radio playlist this week. See the updates page for the complete list.
Posted in audiObelisk on July 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It didn’t take much more than the swinging, catchy chorus of “Fuck yesterday/Fuck today/Fuck tomorrow” from opener “Lieutenant Wolfhammer” for Kings‘ debut EP, I Trust the Hounds are Hungry, to have me hooked. The leadoff track from the Leeds-based five-piece featuring former Humanfly guitarist/vocalist John Sutcliffe (here just vocals) as well as guitarists Jonty Shaw and Joe Hodgson, bassist Paul Handley and drummer Simon Blakelock — all who formerly worked together under the moniker Shields — establishes the base for the rest of the release in tying together a sharp lyrical wit with weighted but upbeat doom-pop push. At times Kings sound like they’re working within the post-Floor/Torche framework, but Blakelock‘s drumming is coming from someplace more metal, swing though it does, and their take is rawer overall despite the accessibility of their hooks and fervent melodicism.
They do it well, and sound more accomplished on their first release perhaps because four-fifths of the band has worked together previously – Shields had songs recorded and had been playing live — but however they got to cohesion, the important thing is they did. Cumbersome in its title but direct in its impact, second cut “Matron, Hand Me My Revolver, I’m Going for a Walk in the Woods, “I May be Some Time” affirms the quality craft of the opener and overarching efficiency of the release; I Trust the Hounds are Hungryisn’t without atmosphere, but the material is still pretty pointed. A swaying groove leads finishes out and leads to the airy opening of “Fuck Quest,” which has a more manic feel thanks to double-timed hi-hat work, but opens up to a mosh-ready chorus, Sutcliffe‘s vocals further back in the mix but still clean as Shaw and Hodgson play off burgeoning lead/rhythm dynamics. “Helen Earth” is probably their most Torche-sounding, but they maintain a progressive feel leading to a chugging build in the second half that answers back the gulping Hungry Hungry Hippo riffing that capped “Lieutenant Wolfhammer” and moves forward into the instrumental “Shit Leopard” (presumably with its shit spots) smoothly, a cold stop giving way to some sampled crumpling noise and a more mellowed-out progressivism in the guitars.
Rounding out, “P.S. Go Fuck Yourself” brings in elements of post-Mastodon riffy largesse, but Kings continue to keep motion central to their approach, a cyclical pre-chorus opening to one of the EP’s most effective hooks. As one might expect, the finish is big and chaotic, and that adds to the full-length feel of the 25-minute I Trust the Houndsare Hungryand bodes well for the construction of Kings‘ first full-length, making it an impressive first outing for a band who write their potential into each of the six included tracks.
Kings will release the I Trust the Hounds are HungryEP this Saturday, July 5, but you can hear it in full using the player below. Thanks to the band for permission to host the stream:
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Posted in audiObelisk on June 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m not sure what prompted Dallas trio Wo Fat to produce an instrumental version of their latest and fifth album, The Conjuring(review here), taking away the vocal work of Kent Stump and Michael Walter to leave just their guitar and drums, respectively, and the bass work of Tim Wilson, but if you want to apply the old stoner rock cliché, it definitely fits: “It’s all about the riffs, man”
That’s been the case, more or less, all along for the heavy fuzz-rocking three-piece, but this instrumental take on The Conjuringbrings into focus more than ever before just how righteous Wo Fat‘s nod is, how fluidly they roll from groove to groove. Even a shorter song like the just-under-seven-minute “Read the Omens” — which in its vocalized incarnation is among the record’s catchiest pieces — works smoothly as an instrumental moving between its riffs. Wo Fat have developed their jammy side particularly over the course of their last two albums, 2012′s The Black Code(review here), which was also their debut on Small Stone, 2011′s Noche del Chupacabra(review here), but whether it’s an airy Stump lead, smooth fill from Wilson or perfectly placed crash from Walter, the instrumental The Conjuringhighlights just how dynamic and powerful a trio they’ve become.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the 17-minute closing title-track, “Dreamwalker,” which feels all the more open without the verses or chorus to ground it, but of particular note as well is the centerpiece “Pale Rider from the Ice,” which, without its bluesy intro, launches with a solid 90 seconds of right-on tone, an utter wash of fuzz courtesy of Stump, before moving into a heavy psychedelic flow that, while satisfying on the regular edition, is an utter highlight here, and all the more so moving into the swaggering “Beggar’s Bargain.”
It’s not an official title or anything, but I’ve been referring to it as The Voiceless Conjuring. So, if you’ve ever wanted to do Wo Fat karaoke — I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t – The Voiceless Conjuring is your chance. Fuzz on:
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Wo Fat‘s The Conjuringwas recorded at the band’s own Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas and is available now on Small Stone Records. The band recently returned from a European tour alongside Mothership that included a stop at Freak Valley. More info and updates at the links.
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The apparent hubris I showed in bragging last time around at the silly method by which I transferred audio editing software from one laptop to another came back to bite me in the ass as I put this podcast together. Finally, last night, I turned to Thee Facebooks for assistance and received an amount of input that was both useful and encouraging on a personal level. Thanks to everybody who took the time to help and to recommend alternative programs to the one I was using. I’m by no means technically inclined, so it is very much appreciated.
So yeah, there was a bit of drama in the making maybe — it was right around the Buzzo track that everything went to hell — but I don’t think you’ll get any clue of that from the audio, which has a few unexpected turns in its progression. At least in the first hour. Hour two is huge jams, because basically there was no way I wasn’t going to put that 17-minute-long Wo Fat song in there and I wanted to have some other stuff to stand up to it, but hour one takes a couple different avenues toward heavy rock and I guess I was feeling some bluesy psych this time as well. I won’t spoil it any more than I already have. Hope you enjoy.
The Scimitar, “Babylon” from Doomsayer (2014)
Moab, “No Soul” from Scion A/V Presents Billow (2014)
Monobrow, “Cicada” from Big Sky Black Horse (2014)
1000mods, “Horses’ Green” from Vultures (2014)
Mat McNerney & Kimmo Helén, “Blood and Bone Revival” from The World is Burning OST (2014)
The Atlas Moth, “City of Light” from The Old Believer (2014)
Highlands, “Your Let Down” from Dark Matter Traveler (2014)
Blues Pills, “River” from Blues Pills (2014)
Sea Bastard, “Door Sniffer” from Scabrous (2014)
Major Kong, “Acid Transmission” from Doom for the Black Sun (2014)
Buzz Osborne, “The Ripping Driving” from This Machine Kills Artists (2014)
Prisma Circus, “Napalm” from Reminiscences (2014)
The Heavy Company, “One Big Drag” from Uno Dose (2014)
Mope, “Doomed to Feed the Ground” from Mope (2014)
Idre, “Witch Trial” from Idre (2014)
Harsh Toke, “Weight of the Sun” from Light up and Live (2013)
Wo Fat, “Dreamwalker” from The Conjuring (2014)
Posted in audiObelisk on June 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
One of the things I enjoy most about these Roadburn streams every year is that not only do they allow the people who were there to relive the awesome (and in many cases, fuzzy) memories of seeing these bands, but they allow everyone, whether they were there or not, to get a glimpse at some of what they didn’t get to see. Because you can try your damnedest to catch everything at Roadburn every year — I know I have on the years I’ve been fortunate enough to go — but it’s just not going to happen. At any point during the three days of the fest-proper, there are at least four stages running simultaneously, and there’s just no way to be everywhere at once. I saw Noothgrush at Roadburn 2014, but I missed Brutus, saw Samothrace and missed Windhand.
With the audio streams — diligently recorded at Roadburn 2014 by Marcel van de Vondervoort and his team, as ever — that doesn’t matter. It would be something if the fest set up a security system for the audio one of these years that you had to be there to hear it (actually it would suck, aside from being a logistical/coding nightmare), but fortunately that’s not the case, and whether you were at the 013 or in the Netherlands or not, you can enjoy the fruits of Roadburn‘s considerable labors. If it sounds utopian, it is.
To listen and enjoy:
Age of Taurus – Live at Roadburn 2014
Bong – Live at Roadburn 2014
Brutus – Live at Roadburn 2014
Noothgrush – Live at Roadburn 2014
Regarde Les Hommes Tomber – Live at Roadburn 2014
Samothrace – Live at Roadburn 2014
Whitehorse – Live at Roadburn 2014
Windhand – Live at Roadburn 2014
Thanks as always to Walter and the Roadburn crew for allowing me to host the streams. The first batch is still available as well, and for all of the Roadburn 2014 coverage, click here.
These are a little later than I’d prefer, but if I ran everything on time around here as much as I wanted to, it would probably take me 24 hours a day. Sometimes you have to go to the post office, or to The Patient Mrs.‘ workplace to scam free printer paper. I’m just saying things come up that can alter the course of your planned afternoon. One can either be flexible or go insane.
So, better (perpetually) late than never, and I hope you’ll agree with me that this stuff was worth waiting for.
Adds for June 17, 2014:
Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket, In a Dutch Haze
Behold the megajam: The jam that launched a thousand jams, and insert further hyperbole here, because this one earns it. At Roadburn 2012, the illustrious lineup of J. Mascis (Witch, Dinosaur Jr.) and his Heavy Blanket bandmate Graham Clise (also Witch and Lecherous Gaze) joined forces with Earthless‘ rhythm section, bassist Mike Egington and drummer Mario Rubalcalba for a one-time-only, off-the-cuff instrumental jam that has since become the stuff of legend. Yes, a legend two years later. Now dubbed “Paradise in a Purple Sky,” that hour-long one-track excursion into pure heavy psychedelic bliss is available as Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket‘s In a Dutch Haze, and the vibe is less that of a live album than a historical document. Call it lightning in a bottle, call it any other cliche you might want, but chances are In a Dutch Hazeis going to be the best live release you hear this year, and if the echoing intertwining guitar solos and unhindered thudding groove — immaculately captured by Marcel van de Vondervoort — aren’t enough to stir your soul and drive you to creation, then I’ve got nothing for you. This is heavy psych at its most vibrant and righteous. Burning World Records, Outer Battery Records.
Thine, The Dead City Blueprint
The Dead City Blueprint (out on PeacevilleRecords) is actually the third full-length from UK-based Thine, but it’s also their first since 2002, so the feel winds up somewhat like a debut anyway. What happened in the interim? Well, drummer Dan Mullins from the two-guitar five-piece has doubled in My Dying Bride since 2006, so that could at least partially explain the delay. Whatever else may have caused the stoppage, Thine make up for the years with 10 deep explorations of dark, melancholic rock. “Out of Your Mind and into a Void” is almost singularly indebted to Damnation-era Opeth, and opener “Brave Young Assassin” finds Thine somewhere between a less keyboarded Katatonia and a more active version of Anathema at their moodiest, but “The Precipice” provides an early peak to The Dead City Blueprintwith a surprise reinterpretation of NWOBHM guitar intricacy and wonderfully arranged vocals from Alan Gaunt, whose performance takes the piece to someplace entirely the band’s own. Winding, airy lead lines in “The Rift” will be a dogwhistle to those in the know, but the piano-inclusive apex of “Scars from Limbo” and ambient finale “Adrift through the Arcane Isles of Recovery” speak to an individuality in development, and if Thine get a follow-up out sometime before 2026, I wouldn’t be surprised to find them grown further into their style. Thine on Thee Facebooks, Peaceville Records.
Dwellers, Live at Bar Deluxe 29-04-2014
As the title hints, Live at Bar Deluxe 29-04-2014 is a new live release from Salt Lake City heavy rockers Dwellers, recorded in their hometown at the end of April. That puts it prior to the street date for their second album, Pagan Fruit (review here), but two cuts from that — “Rare Eagle” and “Totem Crawler” — make appearances anyway alongside highlights drawn from the first Dwellers offering, 2012′s Good Morning Harakiri (review here). Both those records were on Small Stone, but this 34-minute set is a self-release free download, essentially a band-endorsed bootleg to be spread around. The audio quality is definitely in the “audience recording” vein, but clear enough to let the spaciousness of “Old Honey” sink in as it flows out of “Ode to Inversion Layer,” and as this is as close as I’ve yet come to seeing Dwellers – the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Joey Toscano, bassist Dave Jones and drummer Zach Hatsis – live, I’m more than inclined to take it. Hearing Toscano nail the chorus to “Totem Crawler” as well as he does here only emphasizes how much I need to catch a gig sooner rather than later. Maybe it’s a fan piece, but screw it, I’m a fan. Dwellers on Thee Facebooks, Dwellers on Bandcamp.
Fever Dog, “Iroquois”
Just a quick look from these jammy Palm Desert youngsters at what their forthcoming sophomore full-length, Second Wind, will hold, but “Iroquois” bodes well, and in its two-minute span one can hear space rock ideals beginning to make themselves felt amidst a still tonally weighted push, the band’s confidence emerging as their sound continues to expand. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist/thereminist Danny Graham, bassist/noisemaker Nathan Wood and drummer Joshua Adams (also synth), Fever Dog show they have a clear dedication to being more than a heavy rock band, and as brief as “Iroquois” is, the immediateness with which it enacts a vibe puts Second Wind on my list of most anticipated albums for the second half of this year. Lot of potential for the desert’s next generation. Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks, Fever Dog on Bandcamp.
Electric Lucifer, Coming to the Mountain
Not to be confused with Cincinnati’s Electric Citizen, Cleveland-based triple-guitar stoner rollers Electric Lucifer get down to some post-Electric Wizard idolatry on their Dec. 2013 Coming to the Mountain three-track EP. The nod is central and effective, and with three guitars at work, riffing is obviously half the point, though the leads mesh naturally with well-held grooves on “Electric Lucifer,” which leads off, and the subsequent “Phantoms from the Outer Rim” and “Red Wizard,” the last of which finds Electric Lucifer at their most blown-out, proffering stoner rock for stoner rockers with a clear passion for the tenets of the genre. There isn’t much fancy about it, but with a reemerging interest in straightforward Sabbath worship and a subsequent full-length released shortly after from Electric Lucifer, easy to think the five-piece would hit a nerve for heads already converted and looking to nod out. Electric Lucifer on Thee Facebooks, Electric Lucifer on Bandcamp.
Also added this week were releases by John Garcia and Swedish stoner punkers Lightsabres. For the full list of updates and more, check out The Obelisk Radio updates page.
Nashville, Tennessee, heavy psych/blues rocking four-piece All Them Witches have released a new song dubbed “Effervescent” that marks their first studio recording since late 2013′s Lightning at the Door. That album (discussed here) was the band’s second studio outing and has received considerable attention domestically and internationally since its release, following-up and solidifying the molten, jammy blues vibes of All Them Witches‘ 2012 debut, Our MotherElectricity, which was picked up for release via Elektrohasch Schallplatten early in 2013 (review here), making them the first American band to have a release on the label helmed by guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek of German heavy psych forerunners Colour Haze.
Last month, All Them Witches headed to the West Coast to play the Scion Rock Fest, and in the fall, they’ll make their way to Europe for the first time, playing a round of dates that includes an appearance at the inaugural Desertfest Belgium, set for Oct. 10-12 with Electric Wizard, Brant Bjork, YOB and many others. Following their return from the West Coast, drummer Robby Staebler was interviewed here — he’s joined in the band by bassist/vocalist Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod and keyboardist Allan van Cleave – and gave some hint as to what to expect from these new recordings:
We recorded four songs. One of those is gonna be on our official next full-length, but I think we’re working on a shorter release right now. It’s gonna be cool. It’s gonna be pretty jammy, a lot of guitar. It’s cool… We did it in the same studio, same way, same dude we did the first two records with. Andy Putnam. He’s recording this too. So yeah. That’s that. We recorded it digitally, not analog. It’s a lot faster…
We see the reaction that it’s getting and we all believe in each other as musicians, and not just in this past record that we just put out, but in the stuff that we’re gonna be doing in the future. We’ve only been a band for two years, and we’ve just tapped into something and we know that crazy shit’s gonna happen and we’re just gonna ride it out and see what happens.
Not sure if “Effervescent” was a part of that recording or done separately — they posted that the song was done on a 4-track, so maybe not — but either way, All Them Witches‘ new single is available for listening, and can be streamed using the player below.
Running a pretty wide gamut this week, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. This week is a pretty good example of one where there’s way more added than just what’s listed here, so make sure you check the updates page to see the full list of everything that went on the server. Next thing I knew, I turned around and there was a ton of awesome stuff waiting to go up. Tough times.
It’s been a few weeks doing the adds this way and I’m digging it so far, so I’m going to keep it up, at least until I think of something else or it gets to be a pain or whatever. Thanks for reading and checking out the radio stream.
Adds for June 6, 2014:
Wolves in the Throne Room, Celestite
The much-awaited follow-up to 2011′s Celestial Lineage finds Washington US black metal forerunners Wolves in the Throne Room not quite ready to let go of that album yet. Celestite is intended as a complement to its predecessor, and as the first release on the band’s own Artemesia Records imprint, it comes as a particularly bold move for a band clearly looking to shirk expectation. Its five included tracks are cinematic, ambient set-pieces — instrumental works that, when played at the same time as Celestial Lineage, enhance the atmospheres of those already dense songs. Of course, cuts like the 11-minute opener “Turning Ever Towards the Sun” and the centerpiece “Bridge of Leaves” have value on their own as well, but there’s little denying that the apex of Celestial Lineagein “Prayer of Transformation” is pushed further by Celestite closer “Sleeping Golden Storm” and vice versa. Anyone expecting forest screams or raging blastbeats is in for a surprise, but those who approach with an open mind will be rewarded, which has always been the case with Wolves in the Throne Room‘s work. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Milligram, Live on Pipeline (WMBR)
A band with a reach that has lasted much longer than their actual six-year run, Milligram retain a presence in heavy rock consciousness despite having really only gotten together to open for Kyuss Lives! in 2011 since calling it quits in 2002, prior to Small Stone‘s issue of their This is Class Warfull-length. Accordingly, the version of “Not Okay” included on this collection of live recordings from the radio station WMBR sounds like a blueprint for some of the soulful heavy vibes Lo-Pan would conjure in their early going. Also included are covers of the Misfits (“We are 138″) and Black Flag (“Jealous Again”), so in addition to hearing Milligram – which in 2000 when Live on Pipeline was recorded was comprised of vocalistJonah Jenkins (see also Raw Radar War), guitarist Darryl Shepard (see also Hackman, Black Pyramid, Blackwolfgoat, The Scimitar, etc.), bassist Bob Maloney and drummer Zephan Courtney — tear into some of their own material, there’s also a look at their punkier roots. Shepard has begun a series of digital releases of his bands with this, so look out for more. All are available for name-your-price download through his Bandcamp. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective, Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective
Captured live and largely improvised on Valentine’s Day 2013, the 3LP Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective indeed proves a match meant to be. The Danish/Swedish space jammers and the krautrock legend — Damo Suzuki has released decades’ worth of solo output and collaborations, but is still best known for his contributions to Can — offer no single piece under 14 minutes long, so I guess as jams go, these worked out. The six inclusions are immediately exploratory, and while at just over two hours, the meeting of these expanded-mind entities can feel a bit like traveling through a wormhole where you snap back to consciousness on the other side and wonder how you got there, each piece also takes on a life and movement of its own, propelled by ceaselessly creative guitar work, engaging rhythmic nod and, naturally, a near-constant swirl of effects. Suzuki‘s voice echoes through “Dit Glimtende Øje” as though beamed in from another galaxy, and his first contact with Øresund Space Collective results in vibrant, cosmic jams that push through the psychedelosphere. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
A Sad Bada, White Rivers and Coldest Chains
Chilean four-piece A Sad Bada specialize in post-sludge that is lurching and atmospheric in kind. White Rivers and Coldest Chains is their first full-length, with it they offer five extended tracks of crushing density and grueling nod. They skirt the post-metal line — guitarists Gastón Cariola and Fernando Figueroa, who founded the band in 2008, keep a steady supply of airy echoes on hand throughout — but as a cut like the 11-minute “Hide and Grieve” shows, they’re never quite looking to get away from the sludgy churn of their slower-than-thou progressions, bassist Roberto Toledo and drummer Alejandro Ossandon expertly holding together the songs as Figueroa offers vicious, throaty growls over top. White Rivers and Coldest Chains (out on Australis Records) is intended as a slog, and it is one, but the soundscape that A Sad Bada enact over the course of the album has more appeal than just its tonal weight or extremity. There’s a darkness at its heart that comes from more than just the music itself, and that bleeds from the speakers with every oozing riff. On Thee Facebooks, Australis Records.
Phant, The Octophant Pt. II
Newcomer Swedish trio Phant return with their second self-released, digital-only EP in less than a year’s time, bringing their eight-armed elephant mascot deeper into a heavy-riff melee over two more extended tracks and an outro with The Octophant Pt. II. Like their predecessors on The Octophant Pt. I(review here), “Nativitas/Hakaisha” (13:53) and “Magna Cael” (9:31) blend cosmic doom and heavy rock tendencies, finding a cohesive balance of aggression and groove along the way, subtly adding effects amid echoing vocal interplay from bassist Jesper Sundström and guitarist Anton Berglind while drummer Elias Sundberg taps into reaches no less spacious via a constant-seeming wash of cymbals. Found sounds, samples and other sundry weirdness caps The Octophant Pt. II in “Outro Pt. II,” with tales of UFOs and government coverups. How long Phant might continue this series of EPs, I don’t know — they can at least get a trilogy out of it if they want; I’d take another 26 minutes of this no problem — but the heft the three-piece bring to bear across “Nativitas/Hakaisha” and “Magna Cael” also shows they’re more than ready to tackle their debut full-length, should they decide to go that route next. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Other adds to The Obelisk Radio this week include Novembers Doom, the four-way split between Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes, as well as Recitation, Sunwolf, Godflesh, Dylan Carlson of Earth‘s solo-project, Drcarlsonalbion. For the full list, check the updates page.
This week brings even more radio adds than I expected. I had kind of a hard time whittling it down to figure what I wanted to write about, to be honest with you, but we got there in the end, and I’m thrilled to have another batch of additions to the playlist for this week. Doing this seems to have quickly become a Friday ritual for me, and frankly, I can think of worse ways to spend the afternoon than listening to and writing about a bunch of records. Like just about everything else, for example.
Adds for May 30, 2014:
Iron Man, The Passage & Generation Void
Two brand new vinyl reissues from Shadow Kingdom Records. Digital promos are particularly useless in the case of badass LPs, and I’m pretty sure both of these albums by Maryland doom stalwarts Iron Man, 1994′s sophomore outing, The Passage, and it’s 1999 follow-up, Generation Void, are already on the Radio playlist, but screw it, it’s Iron Man. If the chances of hearing an Iron Man song go up with each file added, then it’s worth tossing both of these records on the server. Generation Voidis a full-on lost classic of doom, and if you don’t already own it, I’d imagine the vinyl of The Passagejustifies picking it up based on the artwork alone. Either way, you’re never gonna lose when it comes to these guys, and Shadow Kingdom‘s loyalty in following up its CD reissues with LP versions is commendable. On Thee Facebooks, Shadow Kingdom website.
Electric Citizen, Sateen
Led by guitarist Ross Dolan and vocalist Laura Dolan, this Cincinnati four-piece traffic in high-order retro-minded Sabbathisms that keep in mind just how much boogie went along with all that darkness. To wit, the shuffle at the heart of the organ-laced “The Trap” and “Burning in Hell” or the push in the earlier “Magnetic Man.” Sateen, the band’s debut on RidingEasy Records, features riffs and leads heavily, and Laura‘s croon never strays from the forefront in delivering a barrage of hooks through the ’70s-worship production, but as with Sabbath themselves, the foundation of what Electric Citizen accomplish in these memorable, immediately familiar tracks is built on a foundation of rhythmic excellence in the bass and drums, here provided by Nick Vogelpohl and Nate Wagner, respectively. That organ ain’t half-bad either. The album arrives with no shortage of hype, but it’s a shockingly cohesive debut in style and performance, and the songwriting more than earns its way. On Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.
Disenchanter, On through Portals
The Sept. 2013 Back to Earth demo from Portland, Oregon, doom-blues metallers Disenchanter has been sitting on my desk for an embarrassingly long time. That release is added to the playlist as well, but on the early-2014 follow-up, On through Portals, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Sabine Stangenberg, bassist Joey DeMartini and drummer Jay Erbe stretch out the form somewhat. Both arrive as EP-style releases, but On through Portals tops half-an-hour and executes a darkened psychedelic flow over its three extended tracks — “Journey to Abydos/Moon Maid” (12:15), “Invoke” (7:38), and “Into Darkness” (11:20) — so it could just as easily pass for a short album. Either way, the partial shift in aesthetic suits Disenchanter well, and what seems to have been in-process on their first demo comes closer to fruition here. Songs are patient and lumbering, but never boring, and Stangenberg‘s vocals layer effectively at the front of the mix to give the impression of a consummate frontwoman in the making. I won’t declare their development finished, but On through Portalsis a big and interesting step for Disenchanter to take. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Junior Bruce, The Nomad
Just two tracks on this latest release from Southern heavy rockers Junior Bruce. The Nomad is the second of two (to date) digital releases following Junior Bruce‘s 2012 debut full-length, The Headless King, and intended as a complement to last year’s TheBurden. Fair enough. Taken as such or on their own, The Nomad‘s two cuts, “The Promised Sleep” and “Nomad,” offer unpretentious heavy rolling groove from the Floridian five-piece fronted by Scott Angelacos and featuring bassist Tom Crowther, both also of Hollow Leg and formerly Bloodlet and Hope and Suicide. Molasses riffs from guitarists Nate Jones and Bryan Raymond and steady crash from drummer Jeff McAlear further distinguish “Nomad” in the Southern tradition, and the single/EP is twice as intriguing in the context of Hollow Leg‘s most recent recording, “God Eater” (discussed here), which moved in a more rocking direction as well. Itseems to work for both bands. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Anuseye, Essay on a Drunken Cloud
Cuts like “J R” and “Wrong Blues” take ’90s crunch and heavy rock vibes to heart, but where Italy’s Anuseye really distinguish themselves on their Vincebus Eruptum Recordings debut — other than with their somewhat unfortunate moniker — is in the weirdo jamminess of “Push Magic Button” or the psychedelic exploration of “Earthquake.” Essay on a Drunken Cloud boasts a few riffs and effects-laced stretches like that in “Cursed Pills” that might call to mind guitarist Luca Stero and vocalist/guitarist Claudio C.‘s and prior work together in That’s all Folks, but Anuseye has a personality of their own here, with bassist Michele V. and drummer Antonello C. keeping step with the strange vibes every step of the way. The balance shifts effectively between psych rock and noisy post-punk, but songs like “Demon Pulse” and the penultimate “S.S. Abyss” find an engaging and unexpected middle ground on which to make an impression. And then they do. For those days when you feel like you’re heard everything a riff can do, Essay on a Drunken Cloudmight just convince you there’s still territory to be discovered. On Thee Facebooks, at Vincebus Eruptum.
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