The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 47

Posted in Radio on November 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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It’s Thanksgiving here in the US as I write this post. The early morning thereof, to be more specific. There’s one voice break in this episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal, and I cut it yesterday afternoon. I had just put The Pecan down for his afternoon nap and was in the process of getting dinner started (slow cooking) ahead of crashing out myself for about an hour.

The point of my telling you this? Maybe I wasn’t at my best.

Maybe I was a little harried, a little distracted, a little uh-oh-um. I did my best. I didn’t talk at all last time, so it seemed like a good idea at least to jump on and say thanks for listening and offer some setup for the second half of the show, which plays out in a succession of long, increasingly far-out cuts. But it’s not my best vocal work. Not gonna put it on my audition tape for KROQ.

Does KROQ still exist?

Anyway, I know it doesn’t matter, but still. Thank you for checking the show out if you do. For what it’s worth — plenty, to me — the playlist kicks ass.

If you tune in, I hope you enjoy. Thanks again.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmemetal.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 11.27.20

Samsara Blues Experiment End of Forever End of Forever*
Onségen Ensemble Stellar Fear*
Sun Crow Quest for Oblivion Black it Out*
VT1
Lykantropi Kom ta mig ut Tales to Be Told*
Urtidsdjur Vandringssång Urtidsdjur*
Murcielago Blues for the Red Lobster Casualties*
Switchblade Jesus Red Plains Death Hymns*
DVNE Omega Severer Omega Severer*
Dark Buddha Rising Sunyaga Mathreyata*
Morpholith Monocarp Null Dimensions*
Tomorr The 1001 Windows Village Tomorr*
Phog Hillside Whole Horse Both Barrels*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Dec. 11 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Review & Track Premiere: Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Dead Meadow Live at Roadburn 2011

[Click play above to stream ‘What Needs Must Be’ from Dead Meadow’s Live at Roadburn 2011 on Burning World Records. Preorders go live next Friday through Bandcamp.]

It was the most fuzz. And click to read more - Essays & dissertations written by top quality writers. Let specialists deliver their tasks: get the required assignment here Roadburn wasn’t exactly light in that regard circa 2011. The renowned Dutch festival that year featured the likes of see url do my homework for me please How it Works. Thousands of college students have used GetMyClassDone as their secThis site won Zoroaster, Hire the best Example Of Hypothesis In Research Papers Work with the worlds best talent on Upwork the top freelancing website trusted by over 5 million Quest for Fire, How We Manage to Deliver Top Quality Services Throughout Australia? No Need To Get Near To Worries But Say I Am Ready To Speaker Recognition Phd Thesis Naam, Looking to buy term paper online? Its the 21st century now and Essay Website is the modern way that students today make it through Acid King and If you are pressed for time or lack editing skills, just say "Edit my essay!". Our professional Business Plan Of Construction Company service is willing to give you a helping hand. The Atomic Bitchwax… on the first day. L.A. by way of D.C. three-piece  buy term paper line Dissertation Consulting Service Et Juge Administratif 2014 is odysseus a hero or not financial research paper Dead Meadow played the last day, what was then called the Afterburner (review here), and their slot could not have been more appropriate. Sandwiched between  Order Online see page at EssayErudite.com. Here at EssayErudite we try to distribute ourselves as one of the most cost-effective methods of Coffins and evening headliners  Writing Content Services provides ace http://www.suzukimarine.ch/?college-essay-for-admissions for ebooks, product reviews, website content, press releases, newsletters, resume and blogs. Black Mountain on the Main Stage, they offered a mellow-heavy hour that was utterly consuming. People in the back sat down. Not out of fatigue, though it has been a long weekend by then, but just to let the warmth of  Are you afraid of math? Thats not a big tragedy as you can take advantage of Home Page. Jason Simon‘s buzzing guitar wash over them. Joined by  Are you browsing for the best assignments.discoveryeducation? We only hire American writers and can take care of the whole document or a single chapter. Steve Kille on bass and  We offer writing jobs for freelance Why Should I Do My Homework who possess the necessary academic knowledge and skills for a mostly academic customer base in the UK. Mark Laughlin on drums,  Info College Chem Homework Help - Quality reports at affordable prices available here will make your education into pleasure get the necessary review here Simon‘s urfuzz and unfailingly drifting vocals filled that space with a laid back vibe and groove that that  Dissertation Com Uagmail Com - Let professionals deliver their tasks: order the needed paper here and wait for the best score Entrust your essay to Burning World Records‘  Need Custom Writing Paper With Names? Browse profiles and reviews of top rated application essay editors and have your application essay professionally Live at Roadburn 2011 presents in all its Sasquatch-inclusive righteousness.

Of course,  Dead Meadow by then were on their way to being veterans already. More than a decade into their career, they’d released Three Kings (discussed here) in 2010 as a semi-live album/video, and that followed their fifth album, 2007’s Old Growth. Their Peel Sessions collection would show up in 2012, but as regards live records, they’d also done Got Live if You Want It! in 2002 following their 2000 self-titled debut and 2001’s Howls From the Hills (discussed here). Strangers neither to performance nor captured-performance, then, and Live at Roadburn 2011 brings that spirit to bear. Though the Alexis Ziritt cover art offers a glorious mania of colors and lines, planets, stars, an undead wizard and hooded mandrill acolytes, the 53-minute set itself is more about what Dead Meadow do within that abiding sense of mood, seeming to go deeper and deeper into nod until finally, with “Sleepy Silver Door,” it engulfs everything.

That set-closer was also the opener of the self-titled, and if Dead Meadow have a signature riff, that might be it (they’d revisit it in 2005 as part of a 13-minute jam), but on Live at Roadburn 2011 it’s also part of the larger story of side B and of course the LP as a whole. After launching with “Good Moanin'” and “Let’s Jump In” from 2003’s Shivering King and Others and 2005’s Feathers, respectively, their course is set between dense Orange-toned riffing and open-stretch psychedelia, and even as “What Needs Must Be” from Old Growth pulls back from the farther reaches of ‘far out’ to bring a bit of boogie to the proceedings, the ethereal sensibility remains in the solo even though the overarching rhythm is tight in its stops and starts, a kind of rolling swing that reminds that Washington D.C. was once the funk capitol of the US as well as the seat of government.

dead meadow and sasquatch (Photo by JJ Koczan)-2000

I’m trying really hard not to say the word “vibe” too many times, but that’s really what it’s all about. Heavy chill. As side A plays out, Dead Meadow speed things up through the first half of “Indian Bones,” bliss out in the middle and bring it back around in time to squeeze in “September,” which would close 2013’s Warble Womb, and “Rocky Mountain High” from the self-titled ahead — if nothing else, you’ll know it by the repurposing of the riff to Black Sabbath‘s “Iron Man” — of the big turn to “Beyond the Fields We Know.” One doubts Dead Meadow were thinking of putting the set out on vinyl at the time — you can’t ever be sure — but as regards the LP, it’s telling that side A features six tracks and side B only three. The band structured their set to follow a linear path outward. That’s not to say it lacks dynamic along that. Certainly as “Beyond the Fields We Know” hits nearly 10 minutes and “Sleepy Silver Door” nearly 11, for all the jamming going on, those two songs still come with the relatively straightforward strum of “At Her Open Door” from Feathers in between.

And just as certainly, that song trips out far and wide in its second half, riding its solo jam to the finish, so Live at Roadburn 2011 isn’t just one thing or the other, but the let’s-get-gone is palpable, and they invite the crowd along with them on their way. The performances of “Beyond the Fields We Know,” “At Her Open Door” and “Sleepy Silver Door,” compiled together on a single vinyl side, would be enough to justify this release. That they happen to occur at the end of an already right-on set is a bonus. I don’t remember at what point it was they brought out Sasquatch, but I remember whoever it was in that hairy, had-to-be-really-really-hot costume sleeked out onto the stage with the trio, sort of slow-’70s groove-walked around, checking things out. Went behind the drum riser. Went over by Kille and by Simon. Kind of hung out in the middle and danced for a bit.

But the thing about that moment — yeah, it was a novelty — but it was also a perfect fit. You stood there and, oh, here comes Sasquatch. Well of course. In the interest of full disclosure, I took the picture that appears on the inside gatefold of the LP of the elusive North American Skunk Ape hanging out with the band on stage (no money changed hands), but in the interest of fuller disclosure, no one gives a crap. What’s important for you to know is that the vibe — there’s that word again — was such that when it happened, you just went with it. It was unexpected, and hilarious, but it just became another part of what Dead Meadow already had going on that Sunday evening in Tilburg. And so, incredible.

Maybe it’s 2020’s effect of making one extra nostalgic for live music, the festival spirit, but the intervening nine years have done nothing to dull the luster that Dead Meadow show on Live at Roadburn 2011. I can only speak as someone who was fortunate enough to be there to see it, but that set was something special, and not just because of the ‘squatch. Dead Meadow sounded glad to be there, like they were rising to the occasion, like they realized it was more than just another gig, and Live at Roadburn 2011 resonates all the more for documenting that so well.

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Temple Premiere Funeral Planet in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on November 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

temple

Swedish murk doomers Temple will release their debut full-length, Funeral Planet, through Ozium Records on Friday. One should not be surprised to fine the Gävle-based four-piece of guitarists Jimmy Hedlund and Otto Molin (the latter also vocals), bassist Erik Bergqvist and drummer Marcus Ström emitting massive tonal heft and lumbering groove, as that’s become something of a national pastime for Sweden, but Funeral Planet‘s somehow-still-unassuming seven-track/37-minute run brings atmosphere, tapping influence not only from elephant-in-the-room countrymen in Monolord as evident in the riffs of “Drain” or the sheer heft they trebuchet forth upon the listener in galloping break in second cut “Magma” earlier on — it’s like if the central chug from “Holy Diver” was ultra-weighted doom, and that’s just fine by me — but from the swirling swamp-fog of Windhand as well.

In some ways, that’s two trails leading one through the creepy woods to the distortion-and-groove waterfall that is Electric Wizard circa 2007, but as Monolord and Windhand have spearheaded progression away from that root on their own respective paths, Funeral Planet marks a beginning point for Temple in likewise starting their own exploration of sound and style. Their roll is massive from the outset with “Sea of Grief” as the launchpoint, and it seems only to grow more and more consuming as “Ashes” temple funeral planetand the birdsong-laced title-track leave little to wonder how Temple feel about the direction in which the planet is headed environmentally. As 2020 has become a choose-your-apocalypse adventure, the immediacy of a global pandemic has usurped some of the press that probably otherwise would’ve gone toward the slower-unfolding but even more terrifying climate disaster — 1.3 million deaths worldwide and counting; my understanding as well is that Temple‘s home country is being hit hard right now, to which I can relate — but just because there’s more than one clusterfuck defining this moment in human existence doesn’t meant that Funeral Planet is any less relevant. If anything, the figure quoted in that last sentence makes the album’s title all the more tragically so.

Still, it seems not to be happenstance that “Changes” is the centerpiece on Funeral Planet, with a speedier tempo than some of what surrounds but still plenty of lurch on offer, since “change” is what it’s all about. Remember when it used to snow? Remember when half the globe wasn’t on fire for half the year? When hurricanes didn’t need multiple alphabets in a single season? If you’re about 20 years old, probably not, but there used to be seasons other than “wet,” “dry,” and “dead.” I won’t profess to know the extent of Temple‘s activism in this regard, but it’s statements and examinations like this that, in part, define our time, as humanity is forced to look around and realize what it’s done to itself. Unless, of course, you refuse to do that, in which case I guess everything’s hunky-dory. Must be nice.

As “Funeral Planet” hits its last crashout and bookended stretch of quiet guitar and birds chirping into a fadeout, the vibe is duly mournful, but Temple are also about more than just the message, and the underlying strength of their debut — because the overlying strength is the tone they use to crush your face into pulp — is their songwriting. Hooks may be obscured by echo and walls-o’-fuzz, but they’re there nonetheless, and deceptively resonant in their after-effect. Put on the record and nod out if you will, but you might be surprised how much the tracks of Funeral Planet keep playing in your mind after they’re done.

You can find out for yourself on the full album stream below.

Please enjoy:

“Listen to the planet and she’ll tell you where she stands.” According to Temple, a fresh doom metal band out of Sweden, it’s not in good stead with humanity. On their début record Funeral Planet, the four conjure a blend of melancholic yet fuzzy doom that sets the perfect ambience. This is not their first rodeo, either – those familiar with Silver Devil and Surfing In Hell will instantly know they are in good hands, but for the rest, it’s time to strap in for a riffing ride.

The message is as important as the music on Funeral Planet – the name alone a powerful social commentary, and the lyrics support this. The constant thread throughout is one of the abuse that Mother Nature has suffered, and the wrath that she will inflict (“She paints the ground with her lava brush”), written with the same pained emotion that frontman Otto Molin wails them. Each song carries a unique perspective, from the man-tames-wild-nature take on “Whipped” to the appeal to reason on “Ashes”. A stunning set of performances.

Temple are:
Otto Molin – Vocals, Guitar
Erik Bergqvist – Bas
Marcus Ström – Drums
Jimmy Hedlund – Guitar

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Appalooza Premiere “Conquest” from The Holy of Holies

Posted in audiObelisk on November 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Appalooza

French trio Appalooza will make their debut on Ripple Music early next year with their second full-length, The Holy of Holies. The Brest-based troupe were recently announced as one of a set of four pickups for groups with releases to come in 2021, and with the unveiling of “Conquest” and the striking cover art for The Holy of Holies — suitably enough by Wild Horse Artworks, working in the style of John Dyer Baizley — a fuller picture begins to emerge of things to come.

Certainly, Appalooza‘s first, self-titled long-player gave some clues as to what they were about when it came out in 2018, but in listening to “Conquest,” you’ll want to pay particular attention to the fullness of the tones and the spaciousness of the mix. The band, who seem to take a smidge-plus of influence from the Wovenhand school of neo-Americana and treat it to a due roughing up and thickening of low end — make it heavy, in other words — exhibit a marked scope on the song in question, from the weighted roll that takes hold initially, tipping chapeau in some ways to the progressive heft of Parisian countrymen Abrahma while ultimately taking their own direction. The first turn is aggro, but the build smooths into a longer, acoustic-driven break, and the end-result impression is that The Holy of Holies won’t be so willing to be pigeonholed.

What does that mean for the entirety of the record? I don’t know, I haven’t heard it yet. But if you, like me, are so, so, so very done with 2020, you might consider digging into the song below as a glimpse at an optimistic future on the horizon, if one that’s still rooted in the sounds of the past.

The band very kindly offers some comment below on the album to come, and if you’re the type to keep an eye out for preorders, Ripple‘s Bandcamp is certainly a good place to start. It’s linked below.

Enjoy:

Appalooza, “Conquest” official track premiere

Appalooza on The Holy of Holies:

“‘The Holy Of Holies’ is an ironic comment on religion. A storm is coming and ready to send mankind to a certain death. They are deprived and punished for their individualism, appearing already dead. They accept it and seek a new being to venerate, then send a scapegoat to the desert with all their sins, to find the demon Azazael, the Holy of Holies. This fallen angel takes possession of mankind. He reincarnates them into a half-man half-beast species by transplanting a horse skull, symbol of a lost freedom. Our lyrics deal with subjects such as the lie of religion, the failure to assist a person in distress, the exploitation of man by man, the disappointment that one may have in general towards people, the eternal questioning about our existence and the universe.”

Album preorder: https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/

APPALOOZA released their first two demos “Squamata” and “Chameleon” respectively in 2013 and 2014, further to which they embarked across the pond for their first ever US tour, taking them to Colorado, Nevada and California. Fired up by a brand new energy ensuing from this successful experience, the band officially released their eponymous debut in 2018, quickly followed by a second North American taking them from the Midwest lands to the Pacific Coast.

Some hundred shows later, APPALOOZA signed to Californian powerhouse Ripple Music for the release of their sophomore album “The Holy Of Holies” in early 2021. The beginning of a new era driven by an album that perfectly embodies the trio’s musical and visual reincarnation, through an intense sonic escape and ultimately, freedom.

Appalooza is :
Sylvain – Vocal/Guitar
Vincent – Drum
Tony – Bass
The Horse – Arrangements

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Review & Track Premiere: Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

[Click play above to stream ‘This Bed’ from Grayceon’s MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES. Album is out Dec. 18 on Translation Loss Records and available for preorder here and here.]

Jackie Perez Gratz on “This Bed”:

“‘This Bed’ is a bleak observation about humanity’s betrayal to Mother Nature, told in a first-person narrative that insinuates we have all been unfaithful in the relationship.”

Grayceon‘s all-caps-styled MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES follows two years behind the San Francisco three-piece’s prior outing for Translation Loss, IV (review here). It’s not the first time the band have had a relatively quick turnaround — their self-titled debut and second LP, This Grand Show, arrived in 2007 and 2008, respectively — but it’s noteworthy because the break between their 2011 third full-length, All We Destroy (review here; discussed here), and IV‘s arrival in 2018 was so much longer. Inspiration strikes? If so, it’s a somewhat tragic inspiration, and as the dried pupa of the Kevin Earl Taylor cover art alludes, Grayceon are working on a dedicated theme with MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES.

Beginning with “Diablo Wind” and the fear born of watching wildfires rage in California for what was then a record season, the album moves through the all-we-have-is-this-planet-and-each-other entreaty “The Lucky Ones,” the reminder of humans being universally complicit in climate change in “This Bed” (“we have made” are the next words), and ends not with further harsh judgment, which would certainly be well enough earned, but love. “And Shine On” finds vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz making a hook of the line “Don’t let them break you down,” likewise addressing the listener as much perhaps as her own progeny, and “Rock Steady” follows suit with love and encouragement, even as its title line emerges in screams from the song’s gentler first half.

The nuanced perspective of Grayceon — Gratz (formerly Amber Asylum and Giant Squid, also known for contributions to OmNeurosis, etc.) alongside guitarist Max Doyle (ex-Walken) and drummer Zack Farwell (ex-Giant Squid) — is one that fits exceedingly well alongside their music, which boasts a similar complexity. Eschewing bass altogether, the cello brings mid-to-lower-range frequencies alongside the guitar while at the same time allowing for softer melodic passages to coincide both with lumbering, distorted doom and charge-laden thrash. As frontwoman and the one holding the cello, Gratz gets much of the credit for how Grayceon‘s songs are delivered, but the winding and creative contributions of Doyle and Farwell‘s mercurial, deeply engrossing drumming are not to be understated. When one actually sits and listens, Grayceon is an every-member band.

Working with Jack Shirley at Oakland’s The Atomic Garden for recording, mixing and mastering, Grayceon begin MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES with a telling intro of Americana-styled cello, drawling notes pulling in a spirit of wistfulness for something that may or may not have ever existed, and it’s when the guitar strum enters ahead of the drums that the tension begins to mount as they build toward the first shove. Melody and rhythmic intricacy are brought together in bold fashion that has very much become the band’s wheelhouse over their decade-plus together, a sound that is as much their own as it is singularly identifiable in its patient urgency. Gratz‘s vocals often come in layers, and the hints of bite as “Diablo Wind” pushes through its midsection and the slowdown that follows bring foreshadow of what’s to unfold in the subsequent pairing of “The Lucky Ones” and the album’s centerpiece, “This Bed.”

grayceon

Together, the two songs encompass 24 of the total 42-minute runtime — so more than half — and it is in them that MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES makes its thematic case and unfolds the greater part of the sonic vision that accords. It’s in “The Lucky Ones” (12:55) that the name of the album appears, broken up in the lines, “We are all mothers of this place we call home/We are all weavers of this fabric we shroud ourselves in/We are all vultures feeding on what’s left for dead,” and that serves as well as the central lyrical indictment, the wordplay of “worship the ground you walk on” and repetitions of “open your eyes” that follow bringing the environmentalist post home. This occurs as Grayceon careens between melodic sprawl and pointed surges, the first five minutes of the track playing out like a genre meatgrinder ahead of the slam on the breaks that brings Gratz‘s already-noted screams.

Gallop and roll play back and forth throughout the second half of “The Lucky Ones,” the chorus returning amid what’s far too stately to be considered chaos but is headspinning nonetheless, and the song bookends with a quieter stretch to match its initial impression, capping with the “worship the ground” line again en route the immediate, full-volume nod of “This Bed” (11:54). The centerpiece of the five-song tracklisting is as close as MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES gets to sheer hopelessness, including both “you” and “we” in the making of the bed while asking “…Is it too late to say sorry?/Will tomorrow come?…” in the verse. Following a more linear progression, “This Bed” establishes its verse and chorus patterns early and then breaks to quiet as it approaches its halfway point, only to push upward again and move into a bigger finish, still resonant in melody and emotion, its cold finish flowing smoothly into the subdued guitar intro to “And Shine On.”

It’s a waltz, naturally. “And Shine On” is the shortest cut on the LP at just 3:48, and “Don’t let them break you down” is the core message, but “I’ll light the sky for you/Empower you so that you can find your truth/And shine on” and “Love hard, wild heart,” back the parent-speaking-to-child feel, the guitar, cello and drums too loud to be a lullaby, but giving something of that vibe just the same. “Rock Steady,” which like “Diablo Wind” is a little over seven minutes, complements that well, with a more gradual unfolding and softer-sung lines, less defiantly belted than “And Shine On,” but suited to the purpose of the subtle build toward the finale that takes hold following a stop at 3:56, the swaying groove that backs the throaty-screamed lyric “rock steady” being the last word as the closer fades out to the record’s end.

Though it was written for a different disaster, the fear, the judgment and the daring (not to say “audacity”) to hope and love in spite of them are nothing if not relevant — not only for the fact that the climate crisis is ongoing, but so is a massive pandemic wave. Grayceon, whose albums are consistently made to be digested over a longer term, were obviously not writing to the latter — it hadn’t happened yet — but the fact that MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES speaks so well to present experience is emblematic of the songs’ and the band’s greater individualism. They stand within the moment and outside of it by refusing to be anything other than themselves.

Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES (2020)


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Review & Track Premiere: Samsara Blues Experiment, End of Forever

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Samsara Blues Experiment End of Forever

[Click play above to stream the title-track of Samsara Blues Experiment’s End of Forever. Album is out Jan. 2021 with preorders coming next month.]

Two weeks ago, German heavy psychedelic rockers Samsara Blues Experiment announced they would be going on indefinite hiatus. Fair enough. 2020 makes it a decade since the band made their full-length debut with the jammy fluidity of Long-Distance Trip (review here), a record that in no small part would define listener expectation from them even as they went on almost immediately to more progressive work. They’d already toured the US by then, hitting the West Coast in 2009 on the heels of their demo (discussed here, review here), and though they wouldn’t North American shores apart from two more shows in 2015, the years since they stopped through have not lacked adventure.

Even as they moved from a four-piece to the trio of guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Christian Peters, bassist/backing vocalist Hans Eiselt and drummer Thomas Vedder, a strong European and South American touring presence helped establish them as one of Germany’s foremost post-Colour Haze heavy psych acts, and an indelible commitment to evolving sonically, to never releasing the same album twice, assured they would reach almost immediately beyond their starting point. For however long “indefinite” may last, they’ll be missed, and in End of Forever, they leave behind a final document that summarizes the mindset that has defined them by doing precisely what they’ve done all along: moving forward.

Comprised of seven songs (six plus a bonus track), topped with the visual intricacy of Jessica Rassi‘s cover art, and running a total of 51 minutes, End of Forever was recorded in the plague-addled summer of 2020 with former bassist Richard Behrens at the helm at Big Snuff Studio. It follows three years behind 2017’s One with the Universe (review here) and likewise sees release through Peters‘ Electric Magic Records. That album was defined perhaps inevitably in no small part by its consuming 15-minute title-track, and End of Forever does share some aspects with it, in terms of performance, the winding style of riff that emerges in “End of Forever” itself — indeed, the riff in question, which first emerges at 1:14 into the song’s 7:56 run, would seem to be a purposeful self-reflective nod toward Samsara Blues Experiment‘s early days, and maybe a thank-you card to fans as well — and in the organic production sound.

But End of Forever is distinguished from its immediate predecessor as well as 2013’s Waiting for the Flood (review here) and 2011’s Revelation and Mystery (review here) for how it works in conversation with Peters‘ solo explorations of synth and keyboards. Working under the moniker of Surya Kris Peters, the guitarist — also relocated to Brazil — has been prolific to the point of a creative explosion, with four outings this year to his credit, the latest of which was September’s Leaving Berlin EP.

From the outset of End of Forever in 11-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Second Birth,” Samsara Blues Experiment make it known that such elements are by no means off limits when it comes to the personality and atmosphere to be established across this album, and while it’s an Eiselt bassline that launches the record and a smooth jam that takes hold, the synth line the sneaks in along with Vedder‘s drums and the guitar is telling of what’s to follow in terms of the album’s ability to create a melodic wash, often with keyboard and synth working together alongside guitar.

As it nears the five-minute mark, a funky progression of bass, soulful lead guitar and drums takes hold, and ’70s-style Hammond soon enters the fray to set up the arrival of a verse. The song moves through a hook into denser-toned riffing, bringing the organ along for good measure, and hits a thrilling culmination circa 9:30 topped by Peters‘ vocals before making its way out in grand fashion. As the leadoff, it’s a journey unto itself, and it does much to affect the vibe for the rest of the offering, but it’s also not necessarily giving everything away up front.

Samsara Blues Experiment

To wit, the acoustic guitar that steps forward and trades off with electric soloing in “Massive Passive” turns out to be an aspect no less crucial to the album’s overarching flow than are the keys. With the ever-strong foundation of Eiselt and Vedder in the rhythm section, Peters constructs dynamic waves of psych-prog, keeping that acoustic line as part of the build even as the track moves through its culmination and into the percussion at the outset of “Southern Sunset,” which brings more organ and due-seeming shimmer as it moves through its intro and into its acoustic-led verse of love-song pastoralia (the sun and moon also making appearances in their work since the beginning), surging back with electrics and organ and backing vocals during the chorus. “Southern Sunset” makes its way out as it came in, with drums and percussion, but has one of End of Forever‘s best hooks along the way and a vibe unique among Samsara Blues Experiment‘s now-five long-players. It’s telling that even as the band winds down, they’d still refuse to rest on their laurels.

In that, the instrumental centerpiece/presumed side B leadoff “Lovage Leaves” is likeminded. It brings together a gorgeous swath of melody, lush but still natural in its feel, and answers “Southern Sunset” as a four-minute companion-piece that also serves as a bridge to “End of Forever” and “Orchid Annie,” which serve as the closing salvo. The title-cut, as noted, boasts a singular sweep among its compatriot songs, but works with a similar spaciousness as that which surrounds, and while it’s perhaps the most outwardly heavy inclusion in terms of tonal push, it nonetheless represents well End of Forever‘s open-minded approach that melody can and might come from anywhere at any time. As it fades to its conclusion, it feels conscious of being a last statement on the part of the band, and if that’s the case, one looks to “Orchid Annie” (slightly longer at 8:24) as a classic rocking epilogue, organ and lead guitar woven together around lyrics bidding farewell to the titular character.

Choice basslines and nuanced drumming — both of which are balanced in a nigh-on-impeccable mix considering the swirl around them — back Peters‘ layers of keys and guitar, and I’m pretty sure I hear an acoustic strum in there too, though I could be wrong. Either way, “Orchid Annie” embarks circa 4:30 on a midtempo proggy chase that shifts into and through a few quick lines in the next couple minutes, and then keys, wah, electric soloing and the last lyrics gradually coming to a head and then ending cold as perhaps they’d have to in order to end at all.

Given how likely it seems Samsara Blues Experiment knew that End of Forever would be their last record for at least an indefinite amount of time, if not outright forever, the title-track and “Orchid Annie” serve as a wistful goodbye, while the bonus track — a 6:48 instrumental jam called simply “Jumbo Mumbo Jumbo” that seems to be based on where they go in “End of Forever”; a ‘slight return’ or reprise, then — offers one last weight-behind-it-but-still-melodic shove for those who’ve taken the trip to enjoy. And among those, count the band as well as their listenership, because if anything, End of Forever feels like a shared experience, its awareness of self not dulling its progressive mentality but adding to it as Samsara Blues Experiment knowingly hang it all on a wire in order to fashion this completeness to their catalog.

Yes, they will be missed for however long they’re gone, but with End of ForeverSamsara Blues Experiment bring the keystone to hold up the arc of their decade-plus-long stylistic development. Like each of its predecessors, it’s the bravest, most outward reaching and inward looking record they’ve done, and so could not be a more fitting conclusion.

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 46

Posted in Radio on November 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Here’s how I figure it. The usual episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal runs about an hour and 50 minutes. Somewhere between 1:45:00 and 1:50:00, anyhow. That accounts for two voice tracks each roughly three minutes long and whatever promo pieces they want/need to throw in between songs. Okay.

This episode is 1:56:00. So that’s the two voice tracks gone. There’s still some room for a few promo pieces, but I didn’t really feel like talking anyway. I felt like mellow psych jams and space rock, and dammit, that’s what I got. Honestly, if you were to hear me yammering on about how good Electric Moon or Mugstar are, it would add nothing to the experience of listening to the show. You know it and I know it. These jams, many of which are instrumental, speak for themselves, and by the time I got around to AXIOM9, my feeling was a fervent “screw it, go all in.” So we go from Causa Sui easing into the proceedings with the closing track of their just-streamed LP Szabodelico to the 45-minute epic exploration of the final included cut from the aforementioned AXIOM9. And if you’ve got a problem with it, well, you have my permission to go do something else with your life for these two hours. This is what I wanted this episode to be.

If you tune in, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for listening and reading.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmemetal.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 11.13.20

Causa Sui Merging Waters Szabodelico* 0:09:51
Mugstar Ghost of a Ghost Graft* 0:12:16
Hermitess Phone Call Celestial* 0:04:59
Electric Moon Increase Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019* 0:19:28
Øresund Space Collective Summit Four Riders Take Space Mountain* 0:21:20
Face Off September Machines* 0:03:22
AXIOM9 Cosmic Slime Space Debris* 0:45:23

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Nov. 27 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Thermic Boogie Premiere “A Herdhead” From Final LP Sheer Madness

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

thermic boogie is over

Over a year ago, Barcelona two-piece Thermic Boogie posted the above text image saying simply that the band was ‘over.’ Well, sometimes over means ‘done’ and sometimes over means ‘we’re still putting out one more record.’ The latter is the case for Albert Martínez-López and Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo, and the title of their third and final studio outing — following 2019’s Fracture EP (review here) and the 2016 debut LP Vastness and Matter (review here) — is Sheer Madness. As sendoffs go, the very least one can say about the seven-song/62-minute offering is that it’s comprehensive, the duo bringing a vibrant noise-metal cacophony that reminds here and there of Mastodon‘s early pummel but works in flourish of psychedelia (“Song to the Mineral”), thermic boogie sheer madnessas well as massive swaths of feedback and drone (KT88_6550″). With only the 5:59 “Phobosophy” under eight minutes long and the 10-minute “The Drum Horse” leading off, an angular onslaught takes hold at a deceptively lurching pace — huge, it is — but ultimately Thermic Boogie are more manic than one tempo or modus operandi can contain.

And golly, that’s a lot of feedback.

The noise, of course, only adds to the sense of Sheer Madness living up to its name. The band use it as a means of transition from one song to another, and it only makes the winding progressions that ensue feel more unhinged. There are moments of stretch-out of where the intensity is pulled back somewhat, earlier in “Crystal Clear” or the more subdued “Song to the Mineral,” but the crux of Sheer Madness finds Thermic Boogie at the most surging they’ve ever been (or ever were, as the case might be) and with the elephantine plod they evoke alongside their rushing tempos, the intricacy with which they execute the material and the fluidity they bring in moving from one part to the next, the only thing one can really say about the listening experience across Sheer Madness is it’s too bad they’re not a band anymore. This isn’t a half-assed we-had-leftover-material-so-here-it-is record. They sound like a band with more to say.

To wit, the various assaults in “A Herdhead” and “Sheer Madness” itself, as well as, say,thermic boogie (photo by Nicolas Hyvoz) everywhere. With ace performances from Gautier-Lorenzo and Martínez-López and unpredictable turns abounding from part to part as the tracks play out, Sheer Madness manifests the shift in sound Thermic Boogie made with Fracture, and they cap with what’s unquestionably their most aggressive statement, making seem entirely possible a scenario in which even with just the two of them the sound became too volatile to hold together. That’s not really how things work, of course, but even as “Song to the Mineral” strums its way through toward its melodic wash finish, there’s a sense that the rug might get pulled out from under the whole thing at any minute and the rained-down destruction will begin anew.

Which it does, but only because you hit play on the album again to continue to try to get your head around it.

With a farewell at least for now to Thermic Boogie and this closing chapter, I’m happy to host “A Herdhead” for your premiere-streaming pleasure below, followed by some explanatory words from the band.

Please enjoy:

Thermic Boogie on Sheer Madness:

Sheer Madness is the fruit of an idea, as we wanted to create a whole album, with soul, and messages. We both stated that the present times looked like a complete mess, and talked a lot about the random bullshit that happened around us. It was around 2019, and after all the financial and personal efforts that we had to provide, that we finally succeeded to gather obscure riffs, attempting to reproduce the shapes and feelings of the kind of black cloud in which we had the impression to be. We also had in mind that the band had to come to its end, and it carried us to give a strong last shot.

The fierce impression that this album may give at first, is the result of our vicissitudes and concerns. We wanted the tracklist to be harsh and torturous to crush our thoughts and act as a painkiller. The recording took place in the studio we were renting. The sound is like our perspective about music: it is straight, as close as possible from the reality, and without any loop or extra bass. We so invite you to play it LOUD! We’d like to thank all our friends from Barcelona who helped us to play the gigs we had the chance to play, and those in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany who helped us on tour. But also, our parents, record label mates, our families, and every person which is reading this article and giving life to Thermic Boogie. Cheers from Albert and Baptiste

Tracklisting:
1. The Drum Horse
2. Phobosophy
3. A Herdhead
4. Crystal Clear
5. KT88_6550
6. Sheer Madness
7. Song to the Mineral
Thermic Boogie was:
Albert Martinez-Lopez – Kramer guitars and throats
Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo – Ludwig drums and throats

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