ELM Premiere “Mayhem” Video; New Album Dog out This Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

elm

There’s a fate being met in the new video from Italian noise rockers ELM, and not to spoil the plot or anything, but it doesn’t exactly involve winning the lottery. The four-piece will issue their live-recorded debut album, Dog, on Oct. 20 in their home country via Bronson Recordings with a wider release to follow on Dec. 12, and though they may be a long, long way away from Texas, the brash three-piece demonstrate a curious obsession with the Lone Star State, whether it’s in the sparse prairie-looking cover that stands out front of Dog, in claiming it as their home in the various strains of social media or in references like the song “Waco” that appears late on the record.

Hey, everyone has their thing, I guess. Wherever their infatuation might stem from, the Cuneo-based outfit manifest it as a brash heavy punk throughout the 10-track/35-minute Dog, letting under-three-minute cuts like “Scum,” “Lamn,” “Mayhem” and the aforementioned elm dog“Waco” give the album a full sense of thrust while the chug of “La Kiva,” the opener “Banister” and the midtempo abrasion of “Swampland” bring to mind something a screaming Nick Oliveri might conjure in blown-out, thickened punk. Following a fierce salvo of “Banister,” the start-stop chug and bass-led verses of “Ed’s” and the aforementioned motor-charge of “Scum,” a cover of Johnny Cash‘s “Folsom Prison Blues” comes through sounding like it’s just been through a jailhouse riot, or else is looking to start one, and “La Kiva” and the all-out blaster “Lamn” set up “Mayhem” as a lead-in for the finishing trio of “Swampland,” the swinging “Waco” and the six-minute closer “Boogie,” which might actually be the same structurally as all its shorter companion pieces and just played at half-speed. Either way, nice turn.

The video in which somebody gets their ass handed to them is for “Mayhem,” and it’s about as fitting a representation as the bruiser of an LP could ask for. Like much of what surrounds on Dog, there’s little use for frills with such an aggressive core to present, and though they supposedly tracked the album live in their rehearsal space — maybe it’s a really nice rehearsal space? — the rawness does nothing to undercut a full impact of the song and instead becomes an essential aesthetic component, not just there but for the album as a whole, which seems to dwell in a “Swampland” of its own making. They may not be from Texas, but ELM definitely manifest that “Don’t Mess With…” ethic one sees on so many bumper stickers from down that way.

Maybe that’s the mistake our chased protagonist made in the video for “Mayhem?” I guess we’ll never know.

Dog is out Oct. 20 on Bronson Recordings. More info follows the clip below, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

ELM, “Mayhem” official video premiere

MAYHEM by ELM – taken from the forthcoming album DOG
Director: Andrea Cavallari

This is a story of due punishment: you know you did something wrong, so now you know you have to be punished, it’s that simple… but even if you agree with your executioners, in the very end you’ll try to avoid the punishment. Obviously, there is no way to escape: it’s time to meet the Mayhem.

The video was shot in one day in the heart of Pianura Padana, more precisely in the fields surrounding the small town of Pagazzano (near Bergamo), by Italian director Andrea Cavallari (andreacavallari.net) – who already shot Elm’s first video “King of Mormons.”

DOG is out November 20th on Bronson Recordings.

Dog was tracked live at ELM’s rehearsal studio in April 2017 and includes a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” Holed up in their den, they used no outside producers or studio trickery. Dog is dirty, sharp, crushing, no frills rock ’n’ roll, constantly overloaded never underestimated. Mastering was taken care of by Ettore Dordo from Hubsolut Studio in Cuneo, Italy to bring the sound over the maximum impact level.

Dog will see release via Italy’s Bronson Recordings on CD, LP, and digital formats on October 20th in Italy and the rest of Europe and December 12th worldwide. The vinyl edition will be limited to 500 copies with 100 on marble wax and 400 on standard black. For CD preorders visit THIS LOCATION, for black vinyl go HERE, and for marbled vinyl go HERE.

ELM is:
Trtrl: voice
Mrtns: gtr
Mnr: bass
Rt: drums

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The Road Miles Premiere Video for “The Third Man”; Ballads from the Wasteland out Oct. 23

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the road miles

Athens-based rockers The Road Miles are preparing to release their new full-length, Ballads for the Wasteland, later this month. Their second long-player, it’s also the second offering from new imprint Archaeopia Records, which just last month introduced itself with the limited compilation The Sun, The Moon, The Mountain: A Passage Through Greek Psychedelia (review here). You might recall The Road Miles were featured on that release as well and made an immediate impression with their track “600 Miles.” That song shows up among the seven inclusions on Ballads for the Wasteland too, and proves to be part of an overarching narrative drawing from Western storytelling traditions and specifically the otherworldly thematic of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

That focus makes the role of frontwoman Afroditi Tavoulari all the more central to the band’s aesthetic. Atop creative arrangements of guitar from Epameinondas 

the-road-miles-ballads-for-the-wasteland

Koutsoumpas and Michael Chrysos, Yannis Efthymiou‘s bass, Alex Darmis‘ keys and Anargiros Pantazis‘ drums, it’s Tavoulari who takes on the task of narrating the storyline progression that crosses through tracks like “Where I was Born, There I Will End,” “The Last Western Myth” and “Filthy Air,” serving as a steady presence in a vast soundscape of organ-laced classic heavy Western-style psych blues. Blink and you’re out in the desert amid some lost nighttime ritualism. The immersion happens quick with “Where I was Born, There I Will End” as the leadoff and longest track (immediate points), but it only builds from there across the record’s flat, sandy span, and under imagined stars, The Road Miles conjure demons a-wanderin’ and put spurs to the listener to charge deeper into the moodiness of the semi-title-track “Ballad for the Wasteland’ ahead of “The Third Man,” which provides the apex of the storyline ahead of instrumental epilogue closer “Wolves.”

A tense drum progression, sustained organ notes and jazzy guitar and bass give Tavoulari her backdrop, but come and go and come again effectively through repeated verses as the four-minute cut unfolds, not hurried but a definite pickup from “Ballad for the Wasteland” before it. The rise of a fuzzy guitar at the midpoint signals a move toward the apex to come, and sure enough, just before the three-minute mark, “The Third Man” bursts to life like a snake springing out from its coil and caps Ballads for the Wasteland with a brief but effective crescendo that would seem to deliver its poison well enough to let the audience know why exactly the “Wolves” are showing up at the end and just whose bones it is being picked.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the premiere of The Road Miles‘ new video for “The Third Man,” which you can see below, followed by more info from Archaeopia Records via the PR wire about Ballads for the Wasteland, which again, should be out by the end of this month.

Please enjoy:

The Road Miles, “The Third Man” official video premiere

“The Third Man” is the sixth track in order from The Road Miles sophomore album “Ballads from the Wasteland”.

Composed//Arranged//Lyrics by: The Road Miles
Produced by: Alex Bolpasis
Engineered//Mixed by: Alex Bolpasis @Artracks Studios
Mastered by: Yiannis Christodoulatos @ Sweetpot Studios
Video written and directed by : Danai Simou

Here lies The Road Miles’ sophomore album. The roots of its narrative can be found somewhere between the deathly Mid-World of The Dark Tower, the mystifying Thebes of Oedipus Rex and the cursed Clarksdale Crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.

Ballads for the Wasteland tracklisting:
1. Where I was Born, There I Will End
2. The Last Western Myth
3. 600 Miles
4. Filthy Air
5. Ballad for the Wasteland
6. The Third Man
7. Wolves

In their sophomore album, The Road Miles adopt an almost cinematic approach to their sound, transferring the auditor straight to the heart of that very desert. Here, every twist and turn of a desert travelogue can be experienced through music: the wearing route, the mortal hazards, the otherworldly delusions. Skillfully maneuvering from electrifying blues to nostalgic Americana and explosive heavy psych to wistful spoken word, the band perfectly captures the feeling of being adrift in such vast wastelands, in a psychedelic loop of fantasy and death.

With Ballads for the Wasteland, The Road Miles unveil their own distinctive narrative. A thrilling narrative, developed through seven heartfelt, esoteric mantras. A narrative of hollow outbursts and deafening silences. A narrative built with the same raw materials as every western myth: a gun, the dust and the open horizon.

The Road Miles is:
Afroditi Tavoulari / Vocals
Alex Darmis / Keys
Anargiros Pantazis / Drums
Epameinondas Koutsoumpas / Guitar
Michael Chrysos / Guitar
Yannis Efthymiou / Bass

Produced, engineered and mixed by Alex Bolpasis at Artracks Studios
Mastering by Yannis Christodoulatos at Sweetspot Studios
Artwork/Layout by George Gkousetis www.goographix.com/semitonelabs
Recorded during the summer of 2016 at Artracks Recording Studios in Athens, Greece

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Friday Full-Length: Unida, Coping with the Urban Coyote

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Unida, Coping with the Urban Coyote (1999)

Among the many branches of the Kyuss family tree, Unida continue to hold a special place. Their story will perhaps forever be one of oh-what-could’ve-been, and though their legacy is marked by the abruptness with which their momentum was cut short, the quality of their debut and only officially released album to-date, Coping with the Urban Coyote resonates perhaps even more now, 18 years after its original release, than it might’ve at the time it came out on Frank Kozik‘s Man’s Ruin Records. Certainly to listen to the eight tracks and 41-minutes, there’s little to make it sound anything less than vital. With so much time passed and so much that’s happened since, that would only seem to emphasize how special a release it actually is and has been all along.

Unida formed in 1998 and made their debut the next year by including their The Best of Wayne-Gro EP as part of a split with Sweden’s Dozer released by MeteorCity. Later in ’99, Coping with the Urban Coyote would surface on Man’s Ruin as their proper first album. With frontman John Garcia fresh off his time in Slo Burn, whose Amusing the Amazing LP was issued in 1997, the ex-Kyuss singer seemed poised to once again make an impact in the heavy rock underground. And so he did. Joined in Unida‘s Coping with the Urban Coyote lineup by guitarist Arthur Seay, drummer Mike Cancino and bassist Dave Dinsmore — who’d later be replaced by Scott Reeder (ex-KyussThe Obsessed, etc.) — Garcia presented a new outfit that tightened the desert rock approach of Kyuss on songs like “Plastic” and the blasting “If Only Two,” delving into his trademark patterning of repeating lines in his lyrics, pushing out vocals with from-the-gut soulfulness, and capturing the spirit of place that few other vocalists from that region or elsewhere have been able to match since, while also presenting trippier fare on the nine-minute finale “You Wish” and finding a sound that was distinct enough from Kyuss to not simply be recapturing what was lost in a way that Slo Burn seemed at times to be trying to do. Unida may have been working in a similar sphere, but they were their own band already on their first record, even with Garcia‘s strong ties to his own sonic past.

The Unida story has been told many times, both here and elsewhere, and so I don’t necessarily think I need to delve into the details of the fate of their follow-up to Coping with the Urban Coyote, but just as a refresher: what was originally titled For the Working Man and later became known as The Great Divide was tracked by mega-producer Rick Rubin and set to be issued through Rubin‘s American Recordings imprint through Island Def Jam in 2002. The record company shelved it, owned it, and that was basically the end. It’s been bootlegged many times since and accordingly is readily available online, but it’s never been officially released, and the commercial potential it represented in terms of bringing Unida — and really desert rock as a whole, since although they had two records out, Queens of the Stone Age were still about a year away from “happening” on a more widespread level and claiming that forerunner mantle as their own — to a broader audience went unfulfilled. A much, much worse fate than the album deserved, and it was effectively the end of the group. Unida played sporadic shows throughout the years, and notably they got back together to headline Desertfest London in 2013 (review here), and would head to Berlin to play there and tour Australia with Beastwars, also reissuing Coping with the Urban Coyote via Cobraside Distribution in 2014 with a bonus disc of live tracks from their Desertfest performance.

Of course, in the intervening years, Seay and Cancino went on to form House of Broken Promises and would issue the debut long-player, Using the Useless (review here), via Small Stone in 2009. It wasn’t until this fall that release got a follow-up — the Twisted EP came out last week on Heavy Psych Sounds and the band is on tour in Europe to promote it — but with Unida seemingly once more at rest, presumably there’s time for Seay to focus on the other outfit.

That’s nothing to complain about, though, because as much as Unida‘s circumstances and narrative define the band, and as much as Garica‘s presence as frontman leaves an indelible mark on their output, I’d argue gladly that it’s Seay‘s underlying songwriting ability that is the most distinguishing factor, and I think revisiting Coping with the Urban Coyote plainly demonstrates that. To listen to the clear-headed riff that drives “Nervous,” the flourish leads peppered throughout that track or the start-stop swing in opener “Thorn,” the forward thrust of “Black Woman” and the penultimate “Dwarf It” or the mid-paced ease with which “Human Tornado” is brought to bear, and the rolling spaciousness of “You Wish,” even in light of everything that’s happened since (and hasn’t happened since) with this band and its players, the vision of Seay‘s craft is so purposeful in hitting all its marks and yet still comes across as natural and born of the chemistry between himself, Garcia, Cancino and Dinsmore.

I’d also say that’s the key factor that’s allowed Coping with the Urban Coyote to hold up so well over time. Something to keep in mind as you dive in and think about either chasing down The Great Divide via some interwebular chicanery or finding yourself a copy of that Cobraside reissue (which is about where I’m at, honestly), and of course either way, I very much hope you enjoy.

Thanks as always for reading.

I decided to let myself sleep late today, by which I mean the alarm was set for 6AM. I woke up at 5:23AM and decided quickly that I was too conscious to bother with the remaining 35 pre-alarm minutes. Been a stressful few days as The Patient Mrs. and I continue to await the arrival of The Pecan. Her due date is Sunday, but really it feels like it could be any minute now. Today would work. Tomorrow. Whenever. He’ll come when he comes. The catchphrase we’ve been using is “babies are born on their birthday.” I’m sure everyone says the same shit when waiting like this. Few things in life turn out not to be cliches one way or another.

Our families are excited. We had kind of a final pre-baby get-together last weekend in Connecticut and that was really good if also kind of tiring. The Patient Mrs., as one might expect, has been especially beat the last few days, as we’ve gotten invariably closer to the beginning stages of labor, and I can see the change. She went to a couple meetings at work yesterday and was alright when she first got home, but once she had some dinner and keyed down a bit had very clearly hit a wall. We went to bed at about 8PM to lay down and I read for a while to The Pecan from the Star Trek novel I’m currently making my way through. I don’t know how into the adventures of Will Riker among the Romulans this kid will ultimately be, but it seems the least I can do to start him off right, especially while words are just sounds to help bonding. It’s not like he really needs to know what a subspace warp field is at this point.

That’ll come later.

But while we’re already not really sleeping and we’re doing stuff like making sure there’s gas in the car (there isn’t currently) to get to the hospital when the time comes to go, and our bags are packed and we’ve got our for-labor positions and massages all practiced with the doula and the midwife and as much as the stage can be set, the stage is set, the bottom line is we’re really excited to have this baby. Yeah, it’s a huge difference and everything in my life is about to get turned upside down and all the rest of that stuff — diapers and priorities will likewise be changed — but the anticipation of what’s coming is huge at this point. We can’t wait to meet him. Say hi and whatnot. It’ll be cool. I hope he’s not a dick. Ha.

Before I head out, here’s a schedule for next week that’s obviously more tentative and subject to change without notice than ever:

Mon.: The Spacelords review/stream; The Road Miles video premiere.
Tue.: The Age of Truth review/stream; new I Klatus video.
Wed.: Year of the Cobra review/stream; new Bushfire video.
Thu.: Cities of Mars review.
Fri.: Special surprise review/stream that I can’t talk about yet but that is going to rule. I don’t want to give it away, but stay tuned.

I’ve tried to mitigate stuff in light of the impending Pecan, and that’s about as well as I could do to be minimal. If it comes to it and I need to kill news posts to make room, I will, but we’ll see when we get there. Hell, the kid could not come for another week and a half. Who knows?

It’s going to be fun finding out.

Of course I’ll keep you posted when I have news, but in the interim, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please do something fun, enjoy yourself and your time and your loved ones if you can, and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

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Kadavar Post “Tribulation Nation” Video; Tour with Mantar & Death Alley Starts Tomorrow

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kadavar

I admit I’m a little behind in posting the latest video from Berlin-based heavy rock magnates Kadavar. Do you think anyone noticed? Nah. The band’s been too busy reaping rightful praise for their just-issued stunner of a fourth album, Rough Times (review here), which follows the modernization of vibe that took place on 2015’s Berlin (review here) with a darker-overall sense of mood driven, no doubt at least in part, by the woes engendered across the sphere of current events. At least that’s the impression a track like “Tribulation Nation” gives, anyhow.

Ever mindful of their audience, Kadavar don’t necessarily pass outward judgment in the song, however, and the spirit of the track is more one of coming to terms with, attempting to understand the world than trying to critique or correct something so very screwed up about it. I try to keep it out of posts on this site — because, well, why make yourself mad if you don’t have to? — but I’m a pretty politically-minded guy and I think if you hang around here long enough you can get a sense of where my sensibilities lie in that realm if you want one, and I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason Kadavar don’t push their level of criticism farther is because of the generalized feeling of hopelessness of the progression of the world’s situation. What’s to be done? If there was going to be an answer, is it so unreasonable to think someone would’ve stumbled on it by now?

The three-piece hit the road tomorrow to start the touring cycle proper for Rough Times, which if past is prologue will likely keep them on the road through the end of 2018 and then some — they kind of go, go, go perpetually — and they go in the company of Mantar and the revamped lineup of Death Alley. Maybe that’s the answer. You just keep going. Because that’s all you can do is move forward. Hit the road. Take care of yours and try not to be a dick to everyone else. I don’t know if that’s the message here or not, but as takeaways go, at least it’s not “make riffs great again.”

Video and tour dates follow, as well as more info from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Kadavar, “Tribulation Nation” official video

kadavar tour dates

Arguably the hardest working band in the current European rock scene, Kadavar made their entrance in 2010 with a vintage, retro style of heavy rock ‘n’ roll that called for comparisons to greats like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The band quickly stood out amongst their peers with straightforward, no frills approach to their signature brand of rock that features classic song structure with a gritty contemporary edge.

Kadavar’s previous record, Berlin, set the scene ablaze, charting in both Germany and the U.S., and made them a household name among rock fans around the world. Now armed with their follow-up, Rough Times, the band seeks to reclaim their title as one of the best rock has to offer.

Guitarist/singer Lupus comments: “The album is finally out and we’re really happy. Last week, we quickly recorded a video for ‘Tribulation Nation’ in the studio. I think this song underlines how complex our new record is. Thanks to everyone for the support.”

KADAVAR w/ MANTAR, DEATH ALLEY
12.10. D Essen – Zeche Carl
13.10. D Hamburg – Markthalle*
14.10. D Leipzig – Conne Island
15.10. B Antwerp – Desert Fest
17.10. F Strasbourg – La Laiterie Club
18.10. F Paris – Le Trabendo
19.10. F Rennes – L’Ubu
20.10. F Bordeaux – La Krakatoa
21.10. E Madrid – But
22.10. E Barcelona – Bikini
24.10. F Lyon – Feyzin
25.10. CH Monthey – Pont Rouge
26.10. CH Aarau – Kiff
27.10. D Munich – Backstage
28.10. A Vienna – Flex
29.10. A Graz – PPC
30.10. HR Zagreb – Mocvara
01.11. H Budapest – A38
02.11. PL Warsaw – Progresja
03.11. PL Krakow – Kwadrat
04.11. CZ Prague – Nová Chmelnice
05.11. D Nuremberg – Hirsch
07.11. NL Amsterdam – Paradiso Noord
08.11. D Hanover – Capitol
09.11. DK Copenhagen – Pumpehuset
10.11. S Stockholm – Debaser
11.11. N Oslo – Bla
12.11. S Gothenburg – Pustervik
13.11. NL Deventer – Burgerweeshuis
15.11. D Cologne – Bürgerhaus Stollwerck
16.11. D Wiesbaden – Schlachthof
17.11. D Stuttgart – LKA Longhorn
18.11. D Berlin – Columbiahalle
*no MANTAR

KADAVAR live:
20.12. D Bremen – Tower
21.12. D Mannheim – Alte Feuerwache
22.12. D Münster – Sputnikhalle
28.12. D Chemnitz – AJZ Talschock
29.12. D Siegen – Vortex

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Enslaved Post “The River’s Mouth” Video; E out this Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

enslaved

On Friday, Norway’s Enslaved release their 14th long-player, E (review here), and if that doesn’t sound like an event to you worth marking, you’re going to want to take the five minutes out of your busy day to check out the band’s new video below. Directed as was the prior visualization for album opener “Storm Son” (posted here) that introduced the first public audio from the record by Josh Graham (A Storm of LightBattle of MiceRed SparowesIIVII, art for NeurosisSoundgarden, etc.), the video highlights a dark sense of ritual that fits well alongside the unabashed extremity of “The River’s Mouth” itself, which in directly following the progressively-minded 10-minute “Storm Son” in the tracklisting provides arguably the most fervent straight-ahead drive of the entire release.

I’d hardly call it stripped down, and I think if you listen/watch, you’ll agree with that assessment, but it has fewer twists than a lot of E, and so “The River’s Mouth” seems all the more direct in the delivery of its ideas, sonic as well as thematic. I just reviewed the album — link is in the first sentence if you missed it — and so I’ll spare you going through the whole thing again, but suffice it to say that one of the things that most makes me a fan of this band is their refusal to stop growing as artists. 14 records in, a lot of groups would have long since settled into a standard operating procedure, probably since their third or fourth full-length, and like very few others, that’s never been the case with Enslaved. Each time out, they have something new to say, some natural progression to undertake. It’s not always leaps and bounds, but it’s whatever shifts have manifested themselves naturally and find themselves with a role to play in their sound.

For this I consider Enslaved one of the most respectable bands on the planet, and E is in my eyes and ears a candidate for album of the year. There. I said it.

Note once more the contributions of new keyboardist/vocalist Håkon Vinje in “The River’s Mouth” alongside bassist Grutle Kjellson‘s verses. Dude makes himself right at home.

Much PR wire whatnot and tour dates follow the video.

Enjoy:

Enslaved, “The River’s Mouth” official video

ENSLAVED will finally unleash their new album E and prove that for a band with more than 25 years of history, they are still reinventing themselves. While the 10-minute-long opening track “Storm Son” gave fans a taster of what to expect from the new album, the single “The River’s Mouth” reveals a heavier and more harsh side of the 14th full-length release. Watch the official video for “The River’s Mouth”, which was once again created by Josh Graham (SOUNDGARDEN, NEUROSIS), here: https://youtu.be/Y8HX_vGPCz8

Songwriter and guitarist Ivar explains: “‘The River’s Mouth’ is a quite heavy track, drawing both on our rock roots and of course the foundation of everything awesome: mid-80s, mid-paced Bathory. It also includes some odd space-rock in the choruses and the end part – finally BATHORY and HAWKWIND met. I like the energy of this song a lot – both Cato and new-kid-on-the-chopping-block Håkon is doing such a great job with the psychedelic parts, the chorus and the ending. What a drive! The end sounds like travelling at insane speed through wormholes. The theme here is your relationship with the “future”, as we describe it: The sensation of time moving along is a construction of our brains – physics claims all time to already have been “rolled out”; try wrapping our brains around that one! So the future would be, speaking in tabloid; a piece of land we just haven’t arrived at yet. But it is already here. The song is about acting in tandem with your future self which already arrived at this “future island” – do not sit and wait, make sure you lay the ground for what is to happen in the future, now!”

E will be available in the following formats;

CD digipak
Red Cassette – limited to 300 worldwide
Red with Bone and Grey Splatter – limited to 900 worldwide
BUNDLE: T-shirt + CD Digi + 5 metal pin set + wooden coaster + 11×17 poster

CD Digipak:
1. Storm Son
2. The River’s Mouth
3. Sacred Horse
4. Axis Of The Worlds
5. Feathers Of Eolh
6. Hiindsiight
Bonus Tracks
7. Djupet
8. What Else Is There (Röyksopp Cover)

 

You can now pre-order the physical editions of the album here: http://nuclearblast.com/enslaved-e

Or get the digital version and stream new track “Storm Son” via this link: http://nblast.de/EnslavedDigital

ENSLAVED are set to embark on a headline tour through Europe, with special support acts hand-selected by the band. Be sure to catch them on one of the following dates:

10.11. D Hamburg – Logo (w/ IMPERIUM DEKADENZ & HERETOIR)
11.11. D Berlin – Nuke (w/ IMPERIUM DEKADENZ & HERETOIR)
12.11. D Cologne – Underground (w/ IMPERIUM DEKADENZ & HERETOIR)
13.11. NL Utrecht – Tivoli de Helling
15.11 UK Manchester – o2 Ritz (supporting OPETH)
16.11 UK Glasgow – Barrowlands (supporting OPETH)
17.11. UK Belfast – The Limelight 1 (supporting OPETH)
18.11. IRL Dublin – The Academy (supporting OPETH) *sold out*
19.11. UK Nottingham – Rock City (supporting OPETH)
21.11 UK Bristol – o2 Academy (supporting OPETH)
22.11 UK Birmingham – o2 Institute (supporting OPETH)
24.11. UK London – Islington Assembly Hall (w/ DARKHER & SVALBARD)
25.11. F Paris – Trabendo (w/ LOST IN KIEV & WOLVE)
26.11. B Vosselaar – Biebob
28.11. F Rezé – Barakason (w/ LOST IN KIEV & WOLVE)
29.11. F Lyon – CCO Villeurbanne (w/ LOST IN KIEV & WOLVE)
30.11. I Brescia – Circolo Colony
01.12. CH Pratteln – Z7
02.12. D Frankfurt – Das Bett (w/ ZATOKREV)
03.12. CZ Prague – Chelmnice (w/ ZATOKREV)
16.12. RU Moscow – Volta
17.12. RU St. Petersburg – Club Zal

Get tickets for the German shows here in our shop:
http://www.nuclearblast.de/de/produkte/tickets/indoor/ticket/enslaved-european-tour-2017.html

But before touring Europe, ENSLAVED play two special release shows in their home country Norway, where you can hear the new songs live for the very first time, meet the band at the merch stand and get two unique gig posters for free:

AISA & Time Out Agency presents:
w/ SIBIIR
12.10 N Oslo – Blå
13.10 N Bergen – Garage

26.10. S Stockholm – Close-Up Baten 21
1.-5.02. USA Miami – 70.000 Tons Of Metal

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Friday Full-Length: Harsh Toke, Light up and Live

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Harsh Toke, Light up and Live (2013)

Two vinyl sides. 38 minutes. That’s it. Then you’re done. It seems so simple, and yet, in that time, San Diego’s Harsh Toke stand tall in representing damn near every appeal of the Californian heavy boom that’s taken place over the course of the last eight or nine years, particularly the last half-decade, which has seen San Diego and San Francisco emerge as major epicenters of psychedelic and heavy rock. Separate and distinct in sound and ethic from the Pacific Northwest’s party spirit, no doubt Cali likes to get down as it always has, but as Harsh Toke demonstrate on their ultra-fluid 2013 debut, Light up and Live, it’s as much about how far out you can go as it is what kind of mushrooms you find sprouting up from the ground when you get there. Comprised of guitarist Justin “Figgy” Figueroa, keyboardist/vocalist Gabe Messer, drummer Austin Ayub and bassist Richie Belton, Harsh Toke released Light up and Live via Tee Pee Records, and with its four songs yo-dude-check-out-this-vibe vibe, seemed to signal that a new breed and a new generation was on the rise. Like several of their West Coast peers including Earthless, from whom they take a marked influence on the extended cuts “Weight of the Sun” (14:30) and “Plug into the Moon” (10:09), they have connections to the world of professional skateboarding, but their lysergic wash is unmistakable once conjured and though they seem to purposefully lose themselves in what one might be tempted to put in all-caps as ‘THE JAM,’ their flights from solid ground are never more indulgent than they are invigorating.

Markedly cosmic at the outset, Light up and Live starts out with the deceptively straightforward four-minute thrust-boogie of “Rest in Prince.” Of course, its organ-fueled groove was put to tape three years before the artist himself actually passed away, but what’s most interesting about the track is its verse/chorus structure. There’s still some feeling of the unhinged as it moves into okay-now-it’s-time-to-shred after about the first minute, but with the immediacy of Messer‘s early verses, the song nonetheless works to set up expectations on the part of the listener that Harsh Toke brazenly throw out the window of their shuttle en route out of the atmosphere. “Rest in Prince,” which might be the highlight performance from Ayub as regards the shuffle in the snare, effectively leads the audience into the band’s heavy psych tumult, but it does so while making Light up and Live more accessible than it might otherwise be if it simply started out with the rain sticks, percussion and rising theremin siren and flutes at the launch of “Weight of the Sun.” By the time Harsh Toke really decide to get weird — and once they go, man are they gone — they’ve already welcomed the listener into this molten universe of jamming. Vocals are left behind in favor of effects wash, and the engines kick in after the three-minute mark to launch “Weight of the Sun” toward its reaches, which the band will continue to explore through ebbs and flows for the hypnotic duration, drawing back late as the piece seems to disintegrate around its fade, leaving just the organ line to hold sway for its final minute around some rumbling noise.

Thus side A is capped, and with the 9:47 title-track led off by a flowing bassline, the reimmersion happens quickly on the second half of the record. Languid groove sets the tone early, with more rain stick to fill out the arrangement, but it’s that low end that most holds sway even as the guitar, drums and keys join back in, and that becomes the foundation of “Light up and Live”‘s central riff. Figueroa takes a massive, liquefied solo in the midsection, layers weaving in and out of each other in drawn out Iommic and/or Mitchellian modus with the firm rhythmic backing, and Harsh Toke surprise by bringing vocals back in deep-mixed echoing fashion somewhere after five minutes in. It’s a fast, there-and-gone moment, and not exactly an attempt to reorient the listener so much as another element brought in to add to the atmosphere, but it happens. It’s not an illusion. Still, once more the band execute a full sweep of brainstem-clearing hypnotantrics, slowing toward the end where they might otherwise just keep going but seeming to get out of their own way to allow the push of “Plug into the Moon” to take hold as grand finale. The swirl is immediate and given added Hawkwinded mentality via saxophone and a decided alignment toward interstellar reaches, and though a bit of the boogie spirit of “Rest in Prince” is revived, the closer is obviously working on a different wavelength entirely, driving toward its shred-topped ending that seems so right in nodding quickly at King Crimson‘s “21st Century Schizoid Man” in its last measures before suddenly cutting to a driftless silence, the effect of which after the trance-inducing churn of “Plug into the Moon” is jarring, like the four-piece did a countdown, snapped their fingers and said, “awake.”

Because it’s still a relatively recent release — and because Harsh Toke have yet to deliver a proper full-length follow-up — it’s hard to gauge what the longer-term impact of Light up and Live has been and can be, but no question its release marked a turning point in West Coast heavy psych, heralding the arrival of what has become arguably the most vibrant underground in the US. In terms of what they’ve done since, Harsh Toke have represented San Diego well. In my mind, I’ll forever associate them with the simply amazing set they played in collaboration with psych legend Lenny Kaye in the Netherlands at Roadburn 2014 (review here), and they returned to Europe in the next year to tour with French labelmates Sunder, playing Desertfest Belgium and more besides. 2016 found them releasing a the Acid Crusher / Mount Swan split with Earthless (review here), which they followed with a return to Roadburn earlier this year (review here) for two sets, one of which was comprised entirely of Roky Erickson covers. Upon returning to the States, in June they released an elaborately arranged split with compatriots Joy and Sacri Monti titled Burnout (review here), on which they once more took on Erickson material. Plenty busy, but no second long-player just yet. One holds out hope for 2018, though there’s yet to be any solid word of anything in the works that I’ve seen and members of Harsh Toke reportedly feature in the new group Age, so the future remains uncertain.

Whatever next year and beyond might hold, Light up and Live seems poised to stand the test of time by enacting an acidic spirit outside of it. As always, I hope you enjoy and thank you for reading.

No doubt I had West Coast stuff on my mind after reviewing the new Radio Moscow record earlier today, but whatever gets Harsh Toke posted is cool by me. Coming off the Quarterly Review last week which continued on Monday, you might note this week featured nothing but records that I thought were hyperbole-level awesome. To wit:

Young Hunter, Dayhiker (review here)
Enslaved, E (review here)
Black Mare, Death Magick Mother (review here)
Radio Moscow, New Beginnings (review here)

This is not at all coincidence, and don’t be surprised when all four of those releases feature on my year-end list in December. This week and next I’m trying to get stuff done ahead of the baby’s Oct. 15 due date, which, hey, we might completely blow a few days past or he might decide to come early — and either way is totally cool by me; whatever you wanna do, Pecan — but as I may be occupied for a while mentally in the immediate once he’s born, it made sense to me to get this stuff in ahead of time. Call it the manifestation of my nesting instinct.

I still have some stuff coming together, but next week is likewise slammed. Subject to change as always, but here’s how it looks:

Mon.: Full stream/review of the new Turn Me on Dead Man; might be another track premiere as well.
Tue.: Twingiant track premiere; Review of the new Øresund Space Collective.
Wed.: The Flying Eyes review; possible other track premiere.
Thu.: Nick Oliveri review/full album stream; The Road Miles video premiere.
Fri.: Long-overdue Egypt review, Opium Warlords track premiere.

Busy, busy. Scheduling-wise, I’m behind where I should be in sorting everything out, but I’ll get there over the next couple days and we’ll see what comes together. It’s kind of a crazy time on this end, as I’m sure you can imagine, while The Patient Mrs. and I wait for the arrival of The Pecan. Between doctor/midwife appointments and sundry other preparatory this-and-thats, there’s just a lot going on. Overwhelmed? Not nearly as much as I’m going to be, I expect. Still, I take my quiet moments where and when I can, and I’ve had some time each day to do a bit of reading, and that’s been helpful in sorting out my brain. Words, man. I frickin’ love words.

Speaking of, I have more to write, so I’m gong to leave this one here and just wish you a great and safe weekend. Please make sure to check out the forum and radio stream.

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Glacier Premiere Video for “Though They be Red Like Crimson, They Shall be as Wool”; New Album out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

glacier

Last week, Boston post-metallic five-piece Glacier marked the vinyl release of their properly punctuated second full-length, Though Your Sins be as Scarlet, They Shall be White as Snow; Though They be Red Like Crimson, They Shall be as Wool., basking in a long-running tradition of forward thinking atmospheric heft native to New England and the greater Northeast. Of course that lineage goes back to the early days of Isis‘ formative churn, but Glacier seem to find even more common ground with groups like Rosetta from Philly, defunct Brooklynites Red Sparowes, or Russian Circles from Chicago as regards their method of conjuring ambient wash and presenting it with patient, longform fluidity. They hit the half-decade mark this year, and as their emergent penchant for cumbersome titles demonstrates, their approach is both mature and still very much geared toward a future, longer-term progressive evolution.

That’s admirable as far as ethos is concerned, but ultimately says little about the music. In that, the cerebral approach of the triply-guitarred Glacier — comprised of the first-names-only lineup of Dooley, Matthew, Derek, Ryan and Jesse — finds them crafting graceful textures of airy layering, driven intermittently by heavier stretches. The album derives its lengthy glacier though your sins be as scarletname from its two likewise lengthy inclusions, “Though Your Sins be as Scarlet, They Shall be White as Snow” (12:58) and “Though They be Red Like Crimson, They Shall be as Wool” (15:31), and while the risk a band invariably runs in creating such headphone-ready immersiveness of wash lies in pulling out the human aspect of their sound, Glacier have found a way to directly work against this in their new video for the longer side B piece. And it’s something of a classic idea as well: They perform the song live. I know — pretty crazy, right?

While you’re filing the concept under ‘what’ll they think of next?,’ make sure to actually check out the clip for “Though They be Red Like Crimson, They Shall be as Wool.” Captured by Treebeard Media and filmed at The Record Co. in Boston, it’s a familiar enough band-in-a-room-rocking-out form, but the instrumental fluidity of what Glacier do comes through unabated in the recording, and as it’s a little bit rawer than the version on the album proper, it’s got more of an impact to it as well, which only enhances the several peaks in volume and intensity. Still headphone-worthy, but with no shortage of heft behind it either, the song is all the more resonant for the passion behind it that becomes so obvious in watching the band play. Nicely done all the way around.

Glacier‘s Though Your Sins be as Scarlet, They Shall be White as Snow; Though They be Red Like Crimson, They Shall be as Wool. is available now, from the group directly and from Kapitän Platte in Europe. The band offers some comment on the track below and some more background, as well as upcoming live dates.

Please enjoy:

Glacier, “Though They be Red Like Crimson, They Shall be as Wool” official video premiere

Glacier on “Though They be Red Like Crimson, They Shall be as Wool”:

“We’re excited to have this video to serve as an accompaniment to our new record. As a group, we tend to stray away from anything that doesn’t highlight the music. That being said, we utilized the resources we had to invite the listener to watch us play the latter half of the record. The idea was that we really wanted whoever might be interested to experience the feeling of intimacy of being in a room with us while we play. This marks the only time you’ll see Glacier live without going deaf.”

Glacier’s track “Though They Be Red Like Crimson, They Shall Be as Wool” performed live at The Record Co. in Boston, MA. Engineered by Jesse Vengrove and Corey Wade at The Record Co. Assisted by Matt Cohen. Mixed and Mastered by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios. Camera Operators Stephen Lo Verme, Erin Genett, Jenny Berman, and Matt Cohen. Editing and Color by Stephen Lo Verme. No Happy Music, The Record Company, Treebeard Media.

Bio:
Formed in Boston in 2012, Glacier is a five-piece instrumental band whose music fully embodies their name: a crushingly loud and unrelenting force. After releasing dual sophomore records (‘Black Beacon’ and ‘Kirtland’) in 2014, Glacier played heavily in the northeast/New England area with friends such as Astronoid, Pray for Sound, Infinity Shred, Destroyer Of Light, Horseburner, Isenordal, Harris, InAeona, KYOTY, and Sea. The band has built a reputation for being an honest and hardworking band in the music community.

In July of 2017, Glacier released a new LP titled “Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet, They Shall Be White as Snow; Though They be Red Like Crimson, They Shall Be As Wool.” Clocking in at just under 28-minutes, the two song LP (recorded at Converse Rubber Tracks and mastered at Hills Audio) is currently available for streaming/download as well as vinyl in the U.S. through No Happy Music and in Europe through Kapitän Platte. The new tracks are the most focused and powerful songs the band has written and are the clearest representation of what they’ve set out to do from the beginning.

Glacier live:
Oct 09 Charlie’s Kitchen Cambridge MA w/ Pray for Sound, Set
Oct 28 Dungeon of Doom Peterborough NH
Nov 17 O’Brien’s Pub Allston MA w/ SEA, Pray for Sound

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Asteroid Premiere Official Video for “Til’ Dawn”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

asteroid

It was a marked bummer earlier this year when Swedish fuzz rockers Asteroid announced in June that the reignition that had led them to produce their most-welcome third album, III (review here), for Fuzzorama Records in 2016 was essentially cutting short in order to return to an immediate hiatus. Health issues were mentioned and that’s about the last that’s been heard from the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Robin Hirse, bassist/vocalist Johannes Nilsson, and drummer Jimmi Kolscheen, the latter of whom had joined the band in place of Elvis Campbell after the LP recording. Particularly as the full-length offered a newly energized sound and still managed to keep the organic warmth of the Örebro natives’ prior two outings, 2010’s II (review here) and 2007’s self-titled debut (discussed here), it was sad to see them call it quits for some yet-TBD amount of time just when they seemed to have so much momentum on their side heading into the Fall festival season.

So it goes. One can — apparently — sit and lament all day. One can also check out the band’s new video for the track “Til’ Dawn” from III as a refresher of just how righteous that outing was and still very much is. Of course, since they’re not really together at the moment, Asteroid themselves don’t actually appear in the clip, but the band and Fuzzorama partnered with Minneapolis-based production company Know Idea Productions, who also previously created the video for Truckfighters‘ “Calm Before the Storm” (posted here) that proved controversial when it came out that the narrative was based on a true story and hit a little close to home in Sweden. I don’t know if the plotline of “Til’ Dawn” is similarly ‘ripped from the headlines,’ but its nighttime chase atmosphere and fluid slow motion shots resonate with the song itself and lend an emotional depth to the aural proceedings, which seems pretty much like the ideal.

Also noteworthy just how recognizable the cinematography of “Til’ Dawn” was after “Calm Before the Storm.” Even before I looked it up to confirm, I said to myself, “I bet these are the same people who did that Truckfighters video. Sure enough. So kudos on that.

The hope of course is that at some point Asteroid decide to pick back up and continue to move forward in supporting and eventually pushing beyond III. I’ve got no timeline on when or if that might happen, but a new video isn’t nothing and I’m happy to host the premiere of “Til’ Dawn” below, again, as a refresher for anyone for whom it might’ve been a minute since the last time they put on III. To be perfectly honest, it was enough to get me to play not only that record, but then to go back and grab II and the self-titled as well for a runthrough. I’ve kind of made an afternoon of it, and no complaints.

Credits and links follow. Please enjoy:

Asteroid, “Til’ Dawn” official video premiere

The official music video for the Asteroid song “Til’ Dawn” on Fuzzorama Records.

Written & Directed by: Aiden Kangas
Produced by: Kalaia Bouley
Cinematography by: Tony Perkins
Edited by: Joshua Harris Braun & Aiden Kangas
Color Grading: Tony Perkins
Starring: Joshua Harris Braun & Holly Peterson

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