CB3 Premiere Aeons Live Session in Full; Out Friday

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 13th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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Best follow url for an Affordable Price. EssayBison deeply cares about customer’s satisfaction. You can trust us and make your scholarly worries our responsibility. We have been working in this field for a decent amount of time and we guarantee that you will be pleased with the results. Getting college research papers for sale has never been easier! Here is a list of benefits CB3 will release Aeons Live Session this Friday, Jan. 15, on Pay To Have A Research Paper Done online but not all of them are worth of your attention. We're available 24/7! Our experienced academic writers will deliver your thesis paper on time. The Sign Records. And first of all, what you see is what you get. medea essay Custom Coworking Business Plan how to write a pro con paper cause and effect essay outline Aeons Live Session. Well, okay. So parse it out. Burgeoning Swedish instrumentalists put out a full-length called Nursing CV example. RMN, RGN, Medical. Nurses CVs. http://www.bib.ub.edu/fileadmin/?project-business-plan-template. Aeons (review here) last year, so this would pretty clearly be a recording of them playing songs from it live. And since it’s a ‘session’ instead of an ‘at’ or ‘in’ kind of live record, it’s clearly live in a studio setting. So there you go. It was The important subjects included in the Mba Accounting Homework Help services are law dissertation, management dissertation, marketing dissertation, nursing dissertation, accounting dissertation, human resource dissertation, and other major subjects. We have PhD level writers from different subjects and backgrounds, and this allows us to provide the best quality dissertation assistance to a student in Signalverket, in Malmö. Unable of course to play shows to support their LP released by best essay writing services uk College Application follow link animal testing essays help writing a expository essay The Sign Records, the trio of guitarist Each author from our Research Writing service is familiar with his or her specific study areas, which enables them to come up with profoundly-researched projects that receive good grades. Once you send us a request, we start looking for the most suitable author for your paper. One more advantageous feature of our service is that we provide 24/7 customer support. Whenever you need some assistance Charlotta Andersson — who, if we’re playing guessing games, one might wager is a Reasoning Critical Thinking or Technical Brief. Only original contributions to the engineering literature are accepted for publication; work should incorporate substantial information not previously published. Permissions. If a submission contains excerpts from other copyrighted material (including without limitation any diagrams, photographs, figures or text), it is the responsibility of the Rush fan — bassist Avail How To Do Homework Efficiently Singapore. Choose our PhD dissertation helpers to prepare an engaging and relevant dissertation within the time limit. Order Now. Dissertation Help. While writing a dissertation itself is a pretty difficult task, part-time jobs pending readings, surprise quizzes, and other assignments make it even harder. For all the times that you are bogged down with the pressure Pelle Lindsjö and drummer Apa Essay Paper, http://lacedes.com/generation-y-essay-conclusion/, Critical Thinking Web Great War" by John Bourne have no time to write my paper” is what our two sections Natanael Salomonsson did what a lot of bands at various stages in their careers have done and recorded themselves playing live. There are videos to accompany and with http://banhtrungthu.edu.vn/?help-me-write-a-narrative-essay - Change the way you cope with your assignment with our approved service Start working on your coursework right away with Aeons Live Session, follow - Find out all you have always wanted to know about custom writing professional papers at competitive prices available here will turn CB3 get a chance to air out three of the total five songs from the album in “Acid Haze” (12:15), “Sonic Blaze” (8:11) and “Warrior Queen” (7:36) for a total set of about 28 minutes.

But hold on. Wasn’t Can I pay someone to Need Help On English Homework? Yes, hire us to earn good grades and submit your homework on time Aeons recorded live? Yeah, it was. I raised the issue when http://www.barewilderness.com/?how-to-write-data-analysis-for-dissertation services are available for Bachelor and Master’s level students who seek a fast solution to their thesis writing conundrum. We offer all possible types of services that a senior year student might need on their path to earning a degree. Everyone knows the degree project is a tough nut to crack. From 60 to 100 pages long, this is the pinnacle of one’s academic writing skills Aeons Live Session was announced and  Few students know they can Buying Essays and get excellent grades. UK Edusson is the right place to order any paper. This is valuable information because not all writing services can provide high quality essays. When you pay for essay UK, you can be sure you will receive high quality service and full customer support. At UK Edusson, we’re glad to satisfy all requirements of our customers Salomonsson was kind enough to offer a bit of an explanation: “Regarding the recording live-part, you are correct that both were recorded live. A more apt description for this might have been ‘concert-form’ rather then live album, but it is what it is. The music and songs keep evolving as we play them and we like to consider each recording more of as a timestamp on where we are at the moment.”

He’s not wrong and he’s not exaggerating. I wouldn’t know, never having been so fortunate as to see the band — who are based in Malmö — live, but the songs are reshaped as they’re played here compared to what they were less than a year ago. “Acid Haze,” which is both opener and longest track (immediate points) becomes a side-A-consuming jam, its midsection stretched with an Andersson-led effects freakout that morphs from a likewise exploratory solo section. Listening to the cb3 aeons live sessionensuing shred, one is put in mind of Earthless, but there’s a progressive undercurrent as well in the use of effects from Andersson and Lindsjö, and that comes across as well in “Sonic Blaze” as the various melodic flourishes hint toward what vocals might do in those places, not quite forming words but setting the listener’s brain to the task of hearing them nonetheless.

And with a solid weight of distortion behind them, “Acid Haze” and “Sonic Blaze” — there’s something satisfying about that rhyme; put them together and you actually have a pretty apt description of CB3‘s sound and style; indeed they’re all about acid haze in terms of their heavy psychedelic and sonic blaze in terms of their ability to scorch with various effects and Andersson‘s lead work — offer no shortage of depth for listener immersion. But parts are also maintained to make the songs recognizable, such as the emergent chug in the second half of “Sonic Blaze” or the monolithic plod as “Acid Haze” returns from its jammier stretch.

Of the three inclusions, “Warrior Queen” is the closest to how it appeared on Aeons proper, but the organ-style melodic effects still manage to shimmer through its earlier heavier parts and the kind of manic rush as it moves toward its midpoint — a proggy freneticism that “Sonic Blaze” also tapped, suitably enough — and there are still spaces being explored that the original dared not tread, the band seemingly bolder in this live show-esque context, though it could also be a case of the rougher sound generally adding edge to their style. One way or the other, it works in the songs’ favor.

Each of CB3‘s to-date three studio offerings — Aeons, 2018’s From Nothing to Eternity (discussed here) and 2015’s CB3 — has had a companion live release. So in a way, Aeons Live Session is right on form, but it still manages to reveal a different side of the band, and more importantly, it demonstrates their ongoing evolution as players and as a unit. I would not be at all surprised if their next full-length pushed even further into prog-psych adventures, since what CB3 show most of all with Aeons Live Session is that it isn’t just the songs themselves that grow and change, but the chemistry of the band as well.

More PR wire/pressing info follows the stream of Aeons Live Session below.

Please enjoy:

CB3 released their second studio album Aeons in February 2020, right before the pandemic hit. The essence of the band is the live concert experience; every song becomes different and new, solos are improvised, and the intensity is ever-shifting. With limited opportunities for gigs, the band decided to capture the live experience on record, so that fans can experience the music the way it’s meant to be heard.

Aeons Live Sessions will be available on Youtube, streaming platforms, and as a limited edition 12” vinyl. Recorded live at Signalverket in Malmö, the tracks “Sonic Blaze,”, “Acid Haze,” and “Warrior Queen” add up to almost half an hour of intoxicating, instrumental jamming. Close your eyes, set your mind free, and drift away into the musical universe of CB3!

Aeons Live sessions will be released January 15 on The Sign Records on digital and 12? vinyl format. The physical release is limited to 300 copies.

CB3 are:
Charlotta Andersson – Electric Guitar
Pelle Lindsjö – Electric Bass
Natanael Salomonsson – Drums

CB3, “Sonic Blaze” from Aeons Live Session

CB3, Aeons (2020)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Kabbalah, The Omen

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 12th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

kabbalah the omen

[Click play above to stream Kabbalah’s The Omen in its entirety. Album is out Jan. 15 on Rebel Waves Records.]

Though they’ve been brewing potent etherealities in the Kingdom of Navarre for the better part of a decade, it was not until 2017 that Spanish trio Kabbalah made their full-length debut with Spectral Ascent. That album, released through Twin Earth Records, solidified the first-name-only — Alba on vocals and guitar, Marga on bass, Carmen on drums — three-piece’s approach around classic proto-heavy and cult rock, not quite bent as closely to pop as Ghost, but ready and able with a waiting supply of hooks for those willing to be indoctrinated. The Omen is the follow-up. Its eight tracks arrive through Ripple imprint Rebel Waves Records without pretense — which is no small feat considering the inherent theatricality of the witchy, be-robbed aesthetic — and run a tight-knit 29 minutes, showcasing growth in melody and construction generally while digging further into a classic-minded near-doom style of heavy rock, most typified by the ’70s tapes of Pentagram but by no means exclusive to that or strictly vintage in sound.

Unlike the first LP, there is no intro on The Omen, which begins with the creeper riff of your fuzzy Halloween daydreams, set to an immediately accessible pace that tells you plenty but still only a piece of what you need to know about the record that ensues. At 3:57, lead cut “Stigmatized” is second in length only to closer “Liturgy,” which is the only song here over four minutes long. Kabbalah are traditionalists in structure, and though their cultish take draws on the heavy ’70s as it almost invariably would, their tones are not purely vintage and particularly the manner in which vocal melodies/harmonies are layered is a giveaway of their modernity. Not that they’re trying to hide it. Rather, these melodies, beginning in “Stigmatized” but perhaps even more so in the catchier second track “Ceibas,” become a crucial aspect of the band’s approach. I don’t know if it’s only Alba singing or if Marga or Carmen add their voices, but as The Omen begins to unfold, the vocals help set the atmosphere no less than any of the other instruments being played, even the church organ that takes hold as the first track fades out ahead of the grungy-strummed start of the second.

So if the first song establishes the mood and the second reaffirms the trio’s penchant for hookmaking, its chanting final chorus likewise peppered with organ lines and vocal bounce, then the subsequent “Night Comes Near” brings a greater sense of complexity in progression and arrangement, vocal parts woven over each other in a pace that’s deceptive only for how unhurried it actually is while sounding more intense and busier than the previous two songs. As side A finishes with “The Ritual,” the fuzz thickens, the bell ride tolls your march, and the flow resimplifies without giving up the impression of a proggy undertone. The guitar solo is short but effective and sets a bed for the vocals to rejoin the apex of the song in a chorus return, bringing to light the sheer efficiency of Kabbalah‘s work here. It’s not that they’re restrained in some way, just that they’ve come to a place of knowing what they want these songs to do — or sounding that way, anyhow — and making them do that. Lessons understood from prior experience; this is why it can take a band five years to put out a debut album and several more for a follow-up. Because there’s genuine growth taking place.

Kabbalah

“Lamentations” begins side B with the bulk of its first minute dedicated to a gradually unfolding riff, but when the drums kick in, they’re double-timed on the hi-hat to bring some feeling of urgency, even if the following first verse oozes out smoothly in dynamic, harmonized fashion. A play on structure, “Lamentations” doesn’t have a chorus as such, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do in leading off the second half of the record with a purpose that mirrors that of “Stigmatized” at the outset. It’s not quite Kabbalah looking to knock their listener off balance — which they never really do — but hinting that the whole story of The Omen hasn’t yet been told. Distant echoes in the verses “Labyrinth” and a more forward chorus would seem to confirm this, making the track a highlight in the process as it willfully marches into highlight bass tone at its pulled-apart finish. Feedback. Darker atmospherics. Still, Kabbalah aren’t offering any drama that feels unearned by the music itself, and in traditional LP form, the penultimate “Duna” returns the album to ground ahead of the aforementioned finale in “Liturgy.”

In another context one might call “Duna” a kind of heavy post-rock, but after its first minute, a weightier riff serves as a kind of instrumental chorus and offsets the garage doom of the verse before they make the interesting turn of finishing the track without a final return to that same verse. It’s too short to really be a jam, but Alba‘s guitar is tasked with leading the outward movement of “Duna,” which it does ably, bringing the song to a close ahead of the actual march rhythm that begins “Liturgy” and the guitar, bass and drums soon join. More spacious in the guitar and vocals initially, “Liturgy” does have a kind of chanting verse, but it never quite gives up that beginning rhythm, which of course doubles as an ending for the record after the closing solo finishes. Even there, Kabbalah‘s melodic intent holds firm and is the essential component.

It’s not, however, the only one to which due attention has been paid, and the recording — the production style — of The Omen helps too in bringing a vitality that underscores the songwriting shown throughout. Kabbalah emerge somewhat out of place and out of time, but no more than they would seem to want to be, and there is no point at which their devotionalism overwhelms their craft. A burgeoning individuality holds further promise for growth, but one would be remiss not to note the confidence and righteous poise with which this material is — still organically — delivered.

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Album Review: Electric Octopus, Inclinations

Posted in Reviews on January 11th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Electric Octopus Inclinations

The last Electric Octopus studio offering was Smile (review here), released in Jan. 2019. For a band of the Belfast trio’s improvisatory ilk, that’s practically a lifetime ago, and even though they’ve had two live albums out since then — the most recent being July 2019’s Live at the Kinky Star Round 2, they still acknowledge that Inclinations arrives after what they call a “hiatus.” For most bands, it would be a quick turnaround from one LP to the next — not to mention those live records — but again, Electric Octopus aren’t most bands. Their ongoing project is based around improv jamming, freeform exploration of the creative, resulting in flowing, sometimes sprawling excursions of vibe, and that’s certainly the case with Inclinations, which brings together six separate pieces and amasses a total runtime of well over two hours.

This is, of course, done purely for a digital format. Electric Octopus have done plenty of physical releases before — they recently sold out of another pressing of 2016’s This is Our Culture — but for something like Inclinations, the digital format ends up becoming part of the experience. As guitarist/flutist Tyrell Black, bassist Dale Hughes (who also fills in on guitar when Black moves to flute and also produces) and drummer Guy Hetherington took to Attic Studios in Belfast in Nov. 2020, they brought a camera with them and streamed some part of the recording process live.

The resulting video also ran about two hours and 20 minutes — though of course the total output of Inclinations would’ve taken longer — and in addition to their playing, flute and all, they chatted to those watching and sort of milled about as one might in a relaxed studio setting. Whether or not anything they played at the time made it on the record, or if that was just a rehearsal and the tracking was done later, I don’t know, but it’s a crucial showcase of the ethic with which Electric Octopus operates generally, pre- or post-hiatus. Their output has been and remains distinguished by its honesty.

In aesthetic terms, that translates to a certain amount of rawness. Sure, there are echo effects and fuzz and swirls and all that fun stuff, but to listen to the tinny, biting snare at the of the jazz-flutey “2” (13:23) or the twisting leads in the first half of “1” (21:22) leading into the funkier, bass-popping midsection, and even by the time the louder stretch kicks in sometime around the 16-minute mark you’re still struck by the abidingly languid feel of what’s taking place. Electric Octopus are unflinchingly organic in sound and style.

Their explorations don’t attempt to be anything they aren’t — they’re not pushing for any sort of theatricality or anything like that — and even when the guitar, and now flute, gets showy, they might back that up with laughter you can hear come through the mics in the recording. They’re having fun playing music. It meanders, hiccups, stretches out and contracts. One member might switch tempo ahead of the others to lead them in a different direction. Every now and again, the whole thing might seem like it’s going to fall apart. And maybe it will. The point is that’s okay too, because if that’s what the jam needs to be then that’s what it’s going to be. Like few others, Electric Octopus seem able to let themselves go and let the music they’re making together guide them through wherever it’s going.

electric octopus

Sometimes it’s just going. To wit, “3” is runs just over 27 minutes of flute and drums. Is this going to be everyone’s cup of tea? No it is not. But it ends and “4” (18:19) picks up with the same laughter as the band move naturally onto the next jam, which flows a little easier in that conversation between Black and Hetherington, until finally in “5” — which is an album unto itself at 32:54 — as Hughes and Hetherington hold down the central rhythm, Black swaps back and forth between guitar and flute and pulls together a narrative of cosmic jazz in the process, evoking something interstellar without ever losing sense of that studio space.

It should go without saying that by the time Electric Octopus get to that point, a given listener is either going to be on board for the ride or not. This is, after all, a kind of sonic extremity. Not in the extreme-metal sense, where it’s about hyper-aggression or blastbeats, etc., but there’s a sense of limits-pushing that comes through in Inclinations just the same as the band dig further and further into the heart of their creative processes. “5” devolves into a stretch of drum-maintained noodling before it’s a half-hour in, and picks up for a funky minute or two before a dreamier ending, but one way or the other, what you’re hearing there is just the band messing around with music. It’s not songwriting and it’s not supposed to be. It’s that moment, as it happened. A genuine document of what was going on right then.

That’s part of what makes it so interesting that they potentially recorded part of the album while live streaming, since it bridges that gap between what’s a live album and what’s an album recorded live, while introducing another layer to the conceptual moment-captured intention of the band. “6” rounds out Inclinations at 18:04 with flute and guitar intertwining, giving the storyline of the day — afternoon, evening, whatever it might have been — a fitting ending as those two sides are brought together for a last psychedelic jaunt. And if you’ve taken the trip with them, consciously listening for changes and twists and lapses and bursts, then the manner in which they wrap the proceedings should make sense, but even if “6” becomes the stuff of drifted-attention background listening, I don’t think that’s necessarily against Electric Octopus‘ purposes. They do what they do, regardless of what one might make of it.

Willful sonic escape is an idea easier to conceive than execute. Try too hard and you’re undone before you start. Electric Octopus hit that balance just right on Inclinations, and though the runtime is well beyond what one might consider “manageable,” well, you’ve got a whole lifetime to get caught up, so what the hell?

Electric Octopus, Inclinations (2021)

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Album Review: Here Lies Man, Ritual Divination

Posted in Reviews on January 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

here lies man ritual divination

Ritual Divination is billed as the fourth full-length from Los Angeles outfit Here Lies Man. The release it follows is 2019’s No Ground to Walk Upon (review here), which at 26 minutes was shorter than either of their first two albums — 2017’s self-titled debut (review here) and 2018’s You Will Know Nothing (review here) — and at the time billed as an EP. This is bookkeeping, but Ritual Divination is the fourth Here Lies Man album and not the third, it only brings into emphasis the dilemma facing the band at this stage in their development. That is, for founding guitarist/vocalist Marcos Garcia (aka Chico Mann) and drummer Geoff Mann, as well as bassist JP Maramba and keyboardist Doug Organ, the central innovation of their work has always been conceptual. Here Lies Man‘s project began with the intention of bringing together classic-style heavy rock and proto-metallic riffs and tones with Afrobeat-derived rhythms and percussion. It has worked and continues to work well for them, but Ritual Divination brings them face-first up against the question of what comes next? When you’ve started out from such an individualized point, what can you do to maintain not just your own interest, but that of your listenership as well?

My understanding, limited at the best of times, is that the vinyl edition of Ritual Divination leaves off the tracks “Can’t Kill It,” “Run Away Children,” “I Wander,” “You Would Not See From Heaven” (a highlight) and “Cutting Through the Tether,” all of which are listed on the digital version, the latter closing. Okay. Entirely possible that the band or RidingEasy Records, which has put out everything they’ve done to-date, didn’t want to do a 2LP pressing the first time out. But as it stands, the ‘complete’ Ritual Divination runs 15 songs and 60 minutes long, more than doubling No Ground to Walk Upon and easily surpassing the first two records as well. Glut of inspiration? Certainly possible, and if so, good for them. But it also goes to answer the question above of what a band can do when their central innovation has already been accomplished. In the case of Here Lies Man, their restless snare, post-Black Sabbath riffs, clavinet and psychedelic undertones sound like a signature in songs like “Collector of Vanities” and “Underland,” even as they work in new and more complex ideas. So that’s what you do. You refine what you’ve done before.

You bring new textures to an insistent groove like “Night Comes.” You open the record with its trip-doomiest inclusion “In These Dreams,” which flows into the landmark that is “I Told You (You Shall Die),” the two of them making for an immersion effect clearly intentional on the part of the band since they’re the two longest songs on the vinyl — on the download, “Cutting Through the Tether” bookends at 5:26; I’m not sure how many songs are actually on the CD but of course the full hour would fit — and you shift from there into a series of flowing nods, from the relative brevity of the 2:29 “Underland” into the national acrobatics of “What You See” and the shuffle and swirl that arrives in “Can’t Kill It,” a deceptive fullness of wash playing out above all that movement of rhythm. As one would expect from Here Lies Man, most of their songs are in the three-to-four-minute range, but individual tracks stand out on Ritual Divination in ways they haven’t before, whether it’s the crunch of guitar in “Run Away Children” or the boogie-mastery of “I Wander,” and even amid a collection that resides on the other side of what one commonly things of unmanageable in terms of runtime, pieces find a way to distinguish themselves.

here lies man (Photo by Anna Azarov)-2000

And taken as a whole, that’s what Ritual Divination does as well — it finds a way to stand out. It doesn’t throw out the accomplishments Here Lies Man have made over the last several years as they’ve dug into their niche of heavy rock. It digs deeper. It is the tightest assemblage they’ve had in terms of structure, and yet the songs still feel spacious and even when hurried in tempo, hurried with a purpose rather than feeling haphazard in construction or underexplored in terms of craft. Ritual Divination isn’t deceptive in its atmosphere — it’s all right there for you to hear, and they make it as plain as they can for the audience by putting the two longer songs at the fore — but the band’s concept has always been somewhat heady and it remains so. How versed in Afrobeat is the average listener of heavy rock and roll? I haven’t taken a survey to find out, and maybe at this point it doesn’t matter, since (apparently) four records deep into their tenure, it’s entirely possible to put on centerpiece “Night Comes” or the subsequent side B run of “Come Inside,” “Collector of Vanities,” “Disappointed” and “You Would Not See From Heaven” and just go where Here Lies Man take you.

Certainly the band have earned that trust at this point, and ultimately, if one looks at Ritual Divination in context of their overarching progression, the shifts it represents in approach — notably, they recorded as a four-piece for the first time — and the tweaks to their sound and style aren’t all that different from how another group might grow naturally and explore new ideas from album to album. It’s just the starting point that’s different, and so as Here Lies Man dig deeper into that claim they’ve staked in terms of aesthetic, they’re all the more identifiable for the work they’ve put in. But throw all that out for a second and what you end up with on Ritual Divination is still arguably the band’s strongest collection of tracks, and by the time you get down to “The Fates Have Won” and “Out Goes the Night” ahead of the drifting-away-but-still-snare-anchored “Cutting Through the Tether,” that’s what’s going to matter more. Ritual Divination does not reinvent what doesn’t need reinventing. It demonstrates the longer arc of creative development and direction one hopes the band will continue to take. They remain unto themselves in sound and style.

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Quarterly Review: Across Tundras, Motorpsycho, Dark Buddha Rising, Vine Weevil, King Chiefs, Battle Hag, Hyde, Faith in Jane, American Dharma, Hypernaut

Posted in Reviews on December 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Just to reiterate, I decided to do this Quarterly Review before making my year-end list because I felt like there was stuff I needed to hear that I hadn’t dug into. Here we are, 70 records later, and that’s still the case. My desktop is somewhat less cluttered than it was when I started out, but there’s still plenty of other albums, EPs, and so on I could and probably should be covering. It’s frustrating and encouraging at the same time, I guess. Fruscouraging. Life’s too short for the international boom of underground creativity.

Anyway, thanks for taking this ride if you did. It is always appreciated.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush

Across Tundras The Last Days of a Silver Rush

Issued as part of a late-2020 splurge by Tanner Olson and Across Tundras that has also resulted in the full-length LOESS – LÖSS (review here), as well as three lost-tracks compilations called Selected Sonic Rituals, an experimental Western drone record issued under the banner of Edward Outlander, and an EP and three singles (two collaborative) from Olson solo, The Last Days of a Silver Rush offers subdued complement to the more band-oriented LOESS – LÖSS, with an acoustic-folk foundation much more reminiscent of Olson‘s solo outings than the twang-infused progressive heavy rock for which Across Tundras are known. Indeed, though arrangements are fleshed out with samples and the electrified spaciousness of “The Prodigal Children of the God of War,” the only other contributor here is Ben Schriever on vocals and there are no drums to be found tying down the sweet strums and far-off melodies present. Could well be Olson bridging the gap between one modus (the band) and another (solo), and if so, fine. One way or the other it’s a strong batch of songs in the drifting western aesthetic he’s established. There’s nothing to say the next record will be the same or will be different. That’s why it’s fun.

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Motorpsycho, The All is One

motorpsycho the all is one

What could possibly be left to say about the brilliance of Trondheim, Norway’s Motorpsycho? One only wishes that The All is One could be blasted into place on a pressed gold vinyl so that any aliens who might encounter it could know that humanity isn’t just all cruelty, plagues and indifference. The prolific heavy prog kingpins’ latest is 84 willfully-unmanageable minutes of graceful and gracious, hyperbole-ready sprawl, tapping into dynamic changes and arrangement depth that is both classic in character and still decidedly forward-thinking. An early rocker “The Same Old Rock (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)” and the shuffling “The Magpie” give way after the opener to the quiet “Delusion (The Reign of Humbug)” and the multi-stage “N.O.X.,” which unfolds in five parts, could easily have been an album on its own, and caps with a frenetic mania that is only off-putting because of how controlled it ultimately is. Then they throw in a couple experimental pieces after that between the nine-minute “Dreams of Fancy” and the mellow-vibing “Like Chrome.” Someday archaeologists will dig up the fossils of this civilization and wonder what gods this sect worshipped. Do they have three more records out yet? Probably.

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Dark Buddha Rising, Mathreyata

Dark Buddha Rising Mathreyata

From out of the weirdo hotbed that is Tampere, Finland, Dark Buddha Rising reemerge from the swirling ether with new lessons in black magique for anyone brave enough to be schooled. Mathreyata follows 2018’s II EP but is the band’s first full-length since 2015’s Inversum (review here), and from the initial cosmically expansive lurch of “Sunyaga” through the synth-laced atmosludge roll of “Nagathma” and the seven-minute build-to-abrasion that is “Uni” and the guess-what-now-that-abrasion-pays-off beginning of 15-minute closer “Mahatgata III,” which, yes, hits into some New Wavy guitar just before exploding just after nine minutes in, the band make a ritual pyre of expectation, genre and what one would commonly think of as psychedelia. Some acts are just on their own level, and while Dark Buddha Rising will always be too extreme for some and not everyone’s going to get it, their growing cult can only continue to be enthralled by what they accomplish here.

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Vine Weevil, Sun in Your Eyes

vine weevil sun in your eyes

Together, brothers Yotam and Itamar Rubinger — guitar/vocals and drums, respectively — comprise London’s Vine Weevil. Issued early in 2020 preceded by a video for “You are the Ocean” (posted here), Sun in Your Eyes is the second album from the brothers, who are also both former members of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and in the watery title-track and the Beatles-circa-Revolver bounce of “Loose Canon” they bask in a folkish ’60s-style psychedelia, mellotron melodies adding to the classic atmosphere tipped with just an edge of Ween-style weirdness — it’s never so druggy, but that undercurrent is there. “You are the Ocean” hints toward heavy garage, but the acoustic/electric sentimentality of “My Friend” and the patient piano unfurling of “Lord of Flies” ahead of organ-led closer “The Shadow” are more indicative overall of the scope of this engaging, heartfelt and wistful 31-minute offering.

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Vine Weevil on Bandcamp

 

King Chiefs, Flying into Void

king chiefs flying into void

Since before their coronation — when they were just Chiefs — the greatest strength of San Diego heavy rockers King Chiefs has been their songwriting. They’ve never been an especially flashy band on a technical level, never over the top either direction tempo-wise, but they can write a melody, craft a feel in a three-or-four-minute track and tell any story they want to tell in that time in a way that leaves the listener satisfied. This is not a skill to be overlooked, and though on Flying into Void, the follow-up to 2018’s Blue Sonnet (review here), the album is almost entirely done by guitarist/vocalist Paul ValleJeff Podeszwik adds guitar as well — the energy, spirit and craft that typify King Chiefs‘ work is maintained. Quality heavy built on a foundation of grunge — a ’90s influence acknowledged in the cover art; dig that Super Nintendo — it comes with a full-band feel despite its mostly-solo nature and delivers 37 minutes of absolutely-pretense-free, clearheaded rock and roll. If you can’t get down with that, one seriously doubts that’ll stop King Chiefs anyhow.

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King Chiefs webstore

 

Battle Hag, Celestial Tyrant

battle hag celestial tyrant

How doomed is Battle Hag‘s doom? Well, on Celestial Tyrant, it’s pretty damn doomed. The second long-player from the Sacramento, California-based outfit is comprised of three worth-calling-slabs slabs that run in succession from shortest to longest: “Eleusinian Sacrament” (12:47), “Talus” (13:12) and “Red Giant” (19:15), running a total of 45 minutes. Why yes, it is massive as fuck. The opener brings the first round of lurch and is just a little too filthy to be pure death-doom, despite the rainstorm cued in at its last minute, but “Talus” picks up gradually, hard-hit toms signaling the plod to come with the arrival of the central riff, which shows up sooner or later. Does the timestamp matter as much as the feeling of having your chest caved in? “Talus” hits into a speedier progression as it crosses over its second half, but it’s still raw vocally, and the plod returns at the end — gloriously. At 19 minutes “Red Giant” is also the most dynamic of the three cuts, dropping after its up-front lumber and faster solo section into a quiet stretch before spending the remaining eight minutes devoted to grueling extremity and devolution to low static noise. There’s just enough sludge here to position Battle Hag in a niche between microgenres, and the individuality that results is as weighted as their tones.

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Transylvanian Tapes on Bandcamp

 

Hyde, Hyde

hyde hyde

It might take a few listens to sink in — and hey, it might not — but Parisian trio Hyde are up to some deceptively intricate shenanigans on their self-titled debut LP. On their face, a riff like that of second cut “Black Phillip” or “DWAGB” — on which The Big Lebowski is sampled — aren’t revolutionary, but the atmospheric purpose to which they’re being put is more brooding than the band give themselves credit for. They call it desert-influenced, but languid tempos, gruff vocals coated in echo, spacious guitar and rhythmic largesse all come together to give Hyde‘s Hyde a darker, brooding atmosphere than it might at first seem, and even opener “The Victim” and the penultimate “The Barber of Pitlochry” — the only two songs under five minutes long — manage to dig into this vibe. Of course, the 11-minute closing eponymous track — that is, “Hyde,” by Hyde, on Hyde — goes even further, finding its way into psychedelic meandering after its chugging launch rings out, only to roll heavy in its last push, ending with start-stop thud and a long fade. Worth the effort of engaging on its own level, Hyde‘s first full-length heralds even further growth going forward.

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Hyde on Bandcamp

 

Faith in Jane, Mother to Earth

Faith in Jane Mother to Earth

Maryland’s best kept secret in heavy rock remain wildly undervalued, but that doesn’t stop power trio Faith in Jane from exploring cosmic existentialism on Mother to Earth even as they likewise broaden the expanse of their grooving, bluesy dynamic. “The Circle” opens in passionate form followed by the crawling launch of “Gone are the Days,” and whether it’s the tempest brought to bear in the instrumental “Weight of a Dream” or the light-stepping jam in the middle of the title-track, the soaring solo from guitarist/vocalist Dan Mize on the subsequent “Nature’s Daughter” or the creeper-chug on “Universal Mind,” the cello guest spot on “Lonesome” and the homage to a party unknown (Chesapeake heavy has had its losses these last few years, to say nothing of anyone’s personal experience) in closer “We’ll Be Missing You,” Mize, bassist Brendan Winston and drummer Alex Llewellyn put on a clinic in vibrancy and showcase the classic-style chemistry that’s made them a treasure of their scene. I still say they need to tour for three years and not look back, but if it’s 56 minutes of new material instead, things could be far worse.

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Faith in Jane on Bandcamp

 

American Dharma, Cosmosis

American Dharma COSMOSIS

Newcomer four-piece American Dharma want nothing for ambition on their 70-minute debut, Cosmosis, bringing together progressive heavy rock, punk and doom, grunge and hardcore punk, but the Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, outfit are somewhat held back by a rawness of production pulling back from the spaces the songs might otherwise create. A bona fide preach at the outset of “Damaged Coda” is a break early on, but the guitars and bass want low end throughout much of the 14-song proceedings, and the vocals cut through with no problem but are mostly dry even when layered or show the presence of a guest, as on closer “You.” Actually, if you told me the whole thing was recorded live and intended as a live album, I’d believe it, but for a unit who do so well in pulling together elements of different styles in their songwriting and appear to have so much to say, their proggier leanings get lost when they might otherwise be highlighted. Now, it’s a self-released debut coming out during a global pandemic, so there’s context worth remembering, but for as much reach as American Dharma show in their songs, their presentation needs to move into alignment with that.

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American Dharma on Bandcamp

 

Hypernaut, Ozymandias

hypernaut ozymandias

Call it a burner, call it a corker, call it whatever you want, I seriously doubt Lima, Peru’s Hypernaut are sticking around to find out how you tag their debut album, Ozymandias. The nine-song/38-minute release pulls from punk with some of its forward-thrusting verses like “(This Is Where I) Draw the Line” or “Cynicism is Self-Harm,” but there’s metal there and in the closing title-cut as well that remains part of the atmosphere no matter how brash it might otherwise get. Spacey melodies, Sabbathian roll on “Multiverse… Battleworld” (“Hole in the Sky” walks by and waves), and a nigh-on-Devo quirk in the rhythm of “Atomic Breath” all bring to mind Iowan outliers Bloodcow, but that’s more likely sonic coincidence than direct influence, and one way or the other, Hypernaut‘s “Ozymandias” sets up a multifaceted push all through its span to its maddening, hypnotic finish, but the real danger of the thing is what this band might do if they continue on this trajectory for a few more records.

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Hypernaut on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, Spaceslug, Malsten, Sun Crow, Honeybadger, Monte Luna, Hombrehumano, Veljet, Witchrider, Devil Worshipper

Posted in Reviews on December 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

New week, same Quarterly Review. Today is the next-to-last round for this time, though once again, I look at the folders of albums on my desktop and the CDs and LPs that have come in and I realize it could easily go longer. I never really caught up from the last QR. I guess it’s been that kind of year. In any case, more good stuff today, so sit tight and enjoy. If you didn’t find anything last week that stuck out to you, maybe today’s your day.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full

emma ruth rundle thou may our chambers be full

Sure, there’s poise and plunder amid torrents of emotion and weighted tonality, but what’s really astonishing about May Our Chambers Be Full, the first collaboration between Louisville’s Emma Ruth Rundle (Red Sparowes‘ third LP, the Nocturnes, Marriages, etc.) and New Orleans’ sludgers Thou is that it feels so much more substantial than its 36 minutes. That’s not to say it drags, though it does when it wants to in terms of tempo, but just that its impact both in songs where Rundle and Thou‘s Bryan Funck trade off like “Ancestral Recall” or when they come together as on opener “Killing Floor” is such that it feels longer. Atmosphere is certainly a factor, but May Our Chambers Be Full is so striking because of its blend of extremity and melody, emotion and sheer catharsis, and the breadth that seems to accompany its consuming crush. In a couple years, there are going to be an awful lot of bands putting out debut albums that sound very much like this. Follow-up EP out soon.

Emma Ruth Rundle on Thee Facebooks

Thou on Instagram

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Spaceslug, Leftovers

spaceslug leftovers

Produced by the band and Piotr Grzegorowski — who also guests on synth and guitar — during the plague-addled Spring of 2020, Spaceslug‘s Leftovers EP represents a branching out in terms of style to incorporate a sense of melancholy alongside their established sprawling psychedelics. The 21-minute five-tracker is less a follow-up to 2019’s Reign of the Orion (review here) than a standalone sidestep, but in the acoustic/synth rollout of “From Behind the Glass” and in the especially-stripped-down-feeling centerpiece “The Birds are Loudest in May” it lives up to the challenge of blending an organic atmosphere with the otherworldly sensibilities Spaceslug have honed so well throughout their tenure. Having started with its longest and synthiest track in “Wasted Illusion,” Leftovers caps with the shorter and more active “Place to Turn” and its title-track, which adds a spindly layer of electric guitar (or something that sounds like it) for an experimentalist vibe. Very 2020, but no less welcome for that. The question is whether these impulses show up in Spaceslug‘s work from here on out, and if so, how.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

 

Malsten, The Haunting of SilvÄkra Mill

malsten The Haunting of Silvakra Mill

Malmö-based four-piece Malsten make their full-length debut on Interstellar Smoke Records with the four-song/44-minute The Haunting of SilvĂ„kra Mill, and in so doing show an immediate command of post-Pallbearer spaciousness and melodic-doom traditionalism. Their lumber is prevalent and engrossing tonally on opener “Torsion” (10:36), uses silence effectively on “Immolation” (10:24), and seems to find a place between Warning and Lord Vicar on “Grinder” (9:02) ahead of the epic-on-top-of-epics summary in closer “Compunction” (13:54), which finds Malsten having reserved another level of heavy to keep as their final statement. So be it. Very heavy and worthy of as much volume as you can give it, The Haunting of SilvĂ„kra Mill is an accomplished beginning and heralds significant potential on the part of what’s to come from Malsten. I’d watch this band do a live stream playing this record front-to-back. Just saying.

Malsten on Thee Facebooks

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

 

Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion

Sun Crow Quest for Oblivion

A significant undertaking of progressive heavy and noise rock, Sun Crow‘s Quest for Oblivion is among the most ambitious debut albums I’ve heard in 2020, but there’s nothing it sets for itself in terms of goals that it doesn’t accomplish, as vocalist Charles Wilson flips between clean melodies and effective screams atop the riffs of guitarist Ben Nechanicky, the bass of Brian Steel and Keith Hastreiter‘s drums. Somebody’s gonna sign these guys. Even at 70 minutes, Quest for Oblivion, from its post-apocalyptic standpoint, aesthetic cohesion, fluid songcraft and accomplished performance, is simply too good to leave without a proper 2LP release. Individualized in atmosphere though working with familiar-enough elements, it is an album that makes it joyously difficult to pick apart influences, unleashing an initial burst of four longer tracks before giving way (albeit momentarily) to “Fear” and the outlying, brazenly Motörheady “Nothing Behind” before returning to cosmic heavy in “Hypersonic” and the 11-minute “Titans,” which uses its time just as well as everything else that surrounds. Ironic that a record that seems to be about a wasteland should bring so much hope for the future.

Sun Crow on Thee Facebooks

Sun Crow on Bandcamp

 

Honeybadger, Pleasure Delayer

honeybadger pleasure delayer

It doesn’t take Honeybadger long to land their first effective punch on their debut LP, Pleasure Delayer, as the hook of opener/longest track (immediate points) “The Wolf” hits square on the jaw and precedes an atmospheric guitar outro that leads into the rest of the album as a closer might otherwise lead the way out. A product of Athens’ heavy rock boom, the four-piece distinguish themselves in fuzzy tones and an approach that comes right to the edge of burl and doesn’t quite tip over, thankfully and gracefully staving off chestbeating in favor of quality songcraft on “The Well” and the engagingly bass-led “Crazy Ride,” from which the initially slower, bluesier “Good for Nothing” picks up with some Truckfighters, some 1000mods and a whole lot of fun. Side B’s hooks are no less satisfyingly straightforward. “That Feel” feels born for the stage, while “Laura Palmer” makes a memorable chorus out of that Twin Peaks character’s slaying, the penultimate “Holler” feels indeed like the work of a band trying to stand themselves out from a crowded pack and “Truth in the Lie” caps mirroring the energy of “Good for Nothing” but resounding in a cold finish. Efficient, hooky, smoothly executed. There’s nothing one might reasonably ask of Pleasure Delayer that it doesn’t deliver.

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Honeybadger on Bandcamp

 

Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast

monte luna mind control broadcast

Released name-your-price as a benefit for the venue The Lost Well in Monte Luna‘s hometown of Austin and derived from a CvltNation-sponsored livestream, the three-song Mind Control Broadcast follows 2019’s Drowners’ Wives (review here) and is intended as a glimpse at their impending third LP, likely due in 2021. That record will be one to look forward to, but it’ll be hard to trade out the raw bludgeon of “Blackstar” — the leadoff here — for another, maybe-not-live-recorded version. True, the setting doesn’t necessarily allow for the band to bring in guests like they did last time around or to flesh out melodies in the same way, but the sound is brash and thrilling and lets “Rust Goliath” live up to its name in largesse, while saving its nastiest for last in “Fear the Sun,” the glorious bassline of which it feels like a spoiler even mentioning for someone who hasn’t heard it yet. 22 of the sludgiest minutes you’re likely to spend today.

Monte Luna on Thee Facebooks

Monte Luna BigCartel store

 

Hombrehumano, Crepuscular

hombrehumano crepuscular

As satisfying as the laid-back-heavy desert rock flow of “Rolito” is, and as well done as what surrounds on Hombrehumano‘s 2019 debut album, Crepuscular, turns out to be in its 53-minute run, it’s in the longer pieces like the Western “Puerto Gris” or the post-Brant Bjork “Metamorfosis” that they really shine. That’s not to take away from the opening instrumental “Nomada” that establishes the tones and sets the atmosphere in which the rest of the record takes place, or the nod of “Primaveras de Olvido,” and certainly the fuzz-boogie and percussion of “Ouroboro” shine in a manner worthy of being depicted on the cover, but the Argentinian four-piece do well with the extra time to flesh out their material. But, either way you go, you go. Hombrehumano craft sweet fuzz and spaciousness on “Puerto Gris” and answer it back later in “Zombakice” and add twists of percussion and acoustics and vocal effects — never mind the birdsong — on closer “Del Ensueño.” Es un ejemplo mĂĄs de lo que le falta a la cultura gringo al no adorar fuertemente a los sudamericanos.

Hombrehumano on Thee Facebooks

Hombrehumano on Bandcamp

 

Veljet, Viva El Diablo

veljet viva el diablo

Even my non-Spanish-speaking ass can translate Viva el Diablo, the title of Mexican instrumentalist three-piece Veljet‘s debut album. Initially released by the band in March 2020, it was subsequently reissued for physical pressing with a seventh track, “Leviatan,” added, bringing the runtime to a vinyl-ready 37 minutes. The apparently-devil-worshiping title-cut is still the longest at a doomly eight minutes, but though the production is fairly raw, Veljet‘s material taps into a few different impulses within the heavy rock sphere, offsetting willfully repetitive riffing in “El DĂ­a de las Manos” with scorching solo work while “Jay Adams” — presumably named in homage to the Dogtown skater — pulls some trad-metal riffing into its second half. “Cutlass” is short at 2:36, but makes the record as a whole feel less predictable for that, and the add-on “Leviatan” embodies its great sea beast with a nod up front that opens to later cacophony. The vibe throughout is you’re-in-the-room live jams, and Veljet have well enough chemistry to carry the songs across in that setting.

Veljet on Thee Facebooks

The Swamp Records website

 

Witchrider, Electrical Storm

witchrider electrical storm

Smoothly produced and executed, not lacking energy but produced for a very studio-style fullness, Witchrider‘s second LP arrives via Fuzzorama Records in answer to 2014’s Unmountable Stairs with a pro-shop feel for its 50-minute duration. Songs are sharply hooked and energetic, beefing up Queens of the Stone Age-style desert rock early on “Shadows” and “You Lied” before the guitars introduce a broader palette with the title-track. The chorus of “Mess Creator” and the big finish in closer “The Weatherman” are highlights, but songs like “Keep Me out of It” and “Come Back” feel built for a commercial infrastructure that — at least in radio-free America — doesn’t exist anymore. I’m not sure what it takes to attract the attention of picky algorithms, but if it’s grounded songwriting, varied material and crisp performance like it was when there was a cable channel playing music videos, then Witchrider are ready to roll. As it stands, the Austrian outfit seem underserved by the inability to even get on a festival stage and play this material live to win converts in that manner. They’re hardly alone in that, but with material that seems so poised specifically toward audience engagement, it comes through all the more, which of course is a testament to the quality of the work itself.

Witchrider on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records website

 

Devil Worshipper, 3

devil worshipper 3

Opening with its longest track (immediate points) in the 10-minute “Silver Dagger” and presented with the burning red eyes of Christopher Lee’s Dracula on the front, the 33-minute 3 tape from Seattle’s Devil Worshipper maintains the weirdo-experimental spirit of the outfit’s 2015 self-titled debut (review here), finding a kind of Butthole Surfers-into-a-cassette-recorder, anything-goes-until-it-sucks, dark ’90s psychedelia they call “garage metal.” Fair enough. Apparently more efficient than anything I can come up with for it, though what doesn’t necessarily account for is the way the 3 challenges the listener, the remastered versions of “Into Radiation Wave” and “Chem Rails” from the first album, or the horror atmospherics of “Drinking Blood.” It’s like it’s too weird for this planet so it finally made one for itself. Well earned.

Devil Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Puppy Mill Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Celestial Season, Wren, Sumokem, Oginalii, Völur, Wedge, SpellBook, Old Blood, Jahbulong, Heavy Trip

Posted in Reviews on December 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

The end of the week for the Quarterly Review is a special time, even if this particular QR will continue into next Monday and Tuesday. Also apparently today is Xmas? Okay. Whatever, I’ve got writing to do. I hope you’re safe and not, say, traveling out of state to see family against the urging of the CDC. That would be incredibly irresponsible, etc. etc. that’s what I’m doing. Don’t get me started.

However you celebrate or don’t, be safe. Music will help.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings

celestial season the secret teachings

Like many of the original death-doom set, Dutch masters Celestial Season gave up the style during their original run, departing toward heavy rock after 1995’s Solar Lovers. At an hour’s run spread across 13 tracks including ambient guitar and violin/cello interludes, The Secret Teachings has no time for such flighty fare. Reunited with original vocalist Stefan Ruiters and bassist Lucas van Slegtenhorst, the band return in grand fashion for their first full-length in 20 years, and songs like “Long Forlorn Tears” and “Salt of the Earth” conjure all the expert-grade morose plod one could possibly ask, as each side of the 2LP begins with its own intro and sets its own mood, from the almost-hopeful wistfulness of opener/longest track (immediate points) “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” at the start to the birdsong-laced “Beneath the Temple Mount” that leads the way into “A Veil of Silence” and “Red Water” at the finish, the latter a Type O Negative cover that fits well after the crescendo of the song before it.

Celestial Season on Thee Facebooks

Burning World Records website

 

Wren, Groundswells

wren groundswells

The gift Wren make to post-metal is that even in their quietest stretches, they maintain tension. And sure, the Londoners’ second LP, Groundswells — also stylized all-caps: GROUNDSWELLS — has in “Murmur” its “Stones From the Sky” moment as all works of the genre seemingly must, but the six-cut/44-minute follow-up to 2017’s Auburn Rule (discussed here) casts a scope less about pretense or ambition than largesse and heft, and that serves it well, be it in the shorter “Crossed Out Species” or longer pieces like the opener “Chrome” and the penultimate “Subterranean Messiah,” which injects some melodic vocals into the proceedings and airy string-inclusive prog amid all the surrounding crush. All well and good, but it’s hard to deny the sheer assault of the doomed apex in closer “The Throes,” and you’ll pardon me if I don’t try. Ambience through volume, catharsis through volume, volume all things.

Wren on Thee Facebooks

Gizeh Records website

 

Sumokem, Prajnaparadha

sumokem prajnaparadha

With strength of performance to fall back on and progressive realization in their songwriting, Little Rock, Arkansas’ Sumokem would seem to come of age on their third long-player, Prajnaparadha, answering the flourish of 2017’s The Guardian of Yosemite (discussed here) with an even more confident stylistic sprawl and an abiding patience that extends even to the album’s most intense moments. Not at all a minor undertaking in dynamic or its run of five long songs following the intro “Prologue,” Prajnaparadha manages not to be dizzying mostly because of the grace with which it’s crafted, tied together by ace guitar work and a propensity for soaring in order to complement and sometimes willfully contrast the tonal weight. When the growls show up in “Fakir” and carry into “Khizer,” Sumokem seem to push the record to its final level, and making that journey with them is richly satisfying.

Sumokem on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Oginalii, Pendulum

Oginalii Pendulum

Psychedelia comes poison-tipped with brooding post-grunge atmospheres as Oginalii‘s Pendulum swings this way and that between “Scapegoat” and “Black Hole” and “Pillars” and “Veils” across its too short 24 minutes. The Nashvillainous four-piece explore an inner darkness perfect for these long months of forced-introspection, and though calling something pandemic-appropriate has become a tired compliment to give, the underlying rhythmic restlessness of “Scapegoat” and the crying out overtop, the fuzzy burst of “Veils” and the interweaving drums and guitar noise behind the recited semi-sung poetry of “Pillars” serve the soundtrack cause nonetheless, to say nothing of the two-minute minimalist echoing stretch of “Black Hole” or the oh-okay-it’s-indie-post-rock-but-oh-wait-what-the-hell-now-it’s-furious closer “Stripped the Screw.” Anger suits Oginalii as it comes through here, not in tired chestbeating but in spacious craft that manages to sound intense even in its languid reach. Pretty fucking cool, if you ask me.

Oginalii on Thee Facebooks

Devil in the Woods on Bandcamp

 

Völur, Death Cult

Völur death cult

Toronto’s Völur offer their third album, Death Cult, in cooperation with Prophecy Productions, and it comes in four string-laced tracks that waste little time in pushing genre limits, bringing folk influences in among doom, blackened metallurgy and more ethereal touches. Arrangements of violin, viola, cello, double-bass, keys, and the shared vocals of Laura Bates and Lucas Gadke (the latter also of Blood Ceremony) give a suitably arthouse feel to the proceedings rounded out by the drums and percussion of Justin Ruppel, and it’s far from unearned as the four songs play out across 37 minutes, “Dead Moon” veering into lumbering death-doom in its apex ahead of the jazz-into-choral-into-drone-into-freer-jazz-into-progressive-black-metal of the 11-minute “Freyjan Death Cult,” subsequent closer “Reverend Queen” leaving behind the chaos in its last few minutes for an epilogue of mournful strings and drums; a dirge both unrepentantly beautiful and still in keeping with the atmospheric weight throughout. Bands like this — rare — make other bands better.

Volur on Thee Facebooks

Volur at Prophecy Productions

 

Wedge, Like No Tomorrow

wedge like no tomorrow

Bursting with enough energy to make one miss live music, Wedge‘s third album, Like No Tomorrow, transcends vintage-ism in its production if not its overall mindset, bringing clarity to Deep Purple organ-tics on opener “Computer” while keeping the lyrics purposefully modern. Bass leads the way in “Playing a Role” and the spirit is boogie fuzz until the jam hits and, yeah, they make it easy to go along for the ride. “Blood Red Wine” has arena-rock melody down pat while centerpiece and likely side A closer “Across the Water” at last lets itself go to that place, following the guitar until the surge that brings in “Queen of the Night” indulges purer proto-metal impulses, still accomplished in its harmonized chorus amid the charge. Is that the guitar solo in “U’n’I” panning left to right I hear? I certainly hope so. The shortest cut on Like No Tomorrow feels like it’s in a hurry to leave behind a verse, and sets up the surprisingly modestly paced “At the Speed of Life,” which is lent a cinematic feel by the organ and layered choral vocals that bolsters yet another strong hook, while the nine-minute “Soldier” is bluesier but still sounds like it could be the live incarnation of any of these tracks depending on where a given jam takes Wedge on any given night. Here’s hoping, anyhow.

Wedge on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

SpellBook, Magick and Mischief

SpellBook Magick and Mischief

About a year and a half after issuing Otherworldly (review here), their third album under the moniker Witch Hazel, the dukes of York, PA, are back with a new name and a refreshed sound. As SpellBook, vocalist Nate Tyson, guitarist Andy Craven, bassist Seibert Lowe and drummer Nicholas Zinn push through two vinyl sides of classic heavy f’n metal, less concerned with doom than they were but still saving a bit of roll for the longer centerpiece “Not Long for This World” and the airy, dramatic closer “Dead Detectives.” Elsewhere, “Black Shadow” brings a horns-at-the-ready chorus, “Motorcade” reminds that the power of Judas Priest was always in the basslines (that’s right, I said it), and “Ominous Skies” brims with the vitality of the new band that SpellBook are, even as it benefits from the confidence born of these players’ prior experience together.

SpellBook on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Old Blood, Acid Doom

old blood acid doom

Kudos to L.A.’s Old Blood for at least making the classification part easy when it comes to their debut album, conveniently titled Acid Doom, though that category hardly accounts for, say, the piano stretch of second cut “Bridge to Nowhere,” or the heavy rock theatricality in “Heavy Water” or the horn sounds of “Slothgod” a few songs later, but I suppose one has to start somewhere, and ‘acid doom’ is fair enough when it comes to accounting for the sleekery in the vocals of Lynx, the weight of the riffs of C. Gunner, the roll of bassist Octopus and drummer Diesel and the classic-style organ work of J.F. Stone. But if Old Blood want to unfurl something deceptively complex and stylistically intricate on their debut, that’s certainly cool as far as I’m concerned. Production is a strong presence throughout in a way that pulls a bit from what the impact of the songs might be on stage (remember stages?), but the songwriting is there, and Lynx‘s voice is a noteworthy presence of its own. I’m not sure where they’ll end up sound-wise, but at the same time, Acid Doom comes across like nothing else in the batch of 70 records I’m doing for this Quarterly Review, and that in itself I find admirable.

Old Blood on Thee Facebooks

Metal Assault Records on Bandcamp

DHU Records webstore

 

Jahbulong, Eclectic Poison Tones

JAHBULONG ECLECTIC POISON TONES

Just because you know the big riff is going to kick in about a minute into opening track “Under the Influence of the Fool” on Jahbulong‘s tarot-inflected stoner doom four-songer Eclectic Poison Tones doesn’t make it any less satisfying when it happens. The deep-rolling three-piece from Verona make their full-length debut with the 45-minute offering through Go Down Records, and the lurching continues in “The Tower of the Broken Bones” and “The Eclipse of the Empress,” which is the only cut under 10 minutes long but still keeps the slow-motion Sabbath rolling into the 15-minute closer “The Eremite Tired Out (Sweed Dreams)” (sic), which plays off some loud/quiet changes fluidly without interrupting the nod that’s so central to the entirety of the album. Look. These guys know the gods they’re worshiping — Sleep, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard maybe, etc. — and they’re not trying to get away with saying they invented any of this. If you can’t get down with 45 minutes of slower-than-slow grooves, maybe you’re in the wrong microgenre. For me, it’s the lack of pretense that makes it.

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Go Down Records website

 

Heavy Trip, Heavy Trip

heavy trip heavy trip

Heavy Trip. Four songs. Two sides. Three dudes. Instrumental. Accurately named. Yeah, you’ve heard this story before, but screw it. They start out nice and spacious on “Hand of Shroom” and they finish with high-speed boogie in the 13-minute “Treespinner,” and all in between Heavy Trip make it nothing less than a joy to go along wherever it is they’re headed. The Vancouver three-piece make earlier Earthless something of an elephant in the room as regards influences, but the unhurried groove in second cut “Lunar Throne” is a distinguishing factor, and even as “Mind Leaf” incorporates a bit more shove, it does so with enough righteousness to carry through. As a debut, Heavy Trip‘s Heavy Trip might come across more San Diego than Vancouver, but screw it. Dudes got jams like Xmas hams, and the chemistry they bring in holding listener attention with tempo changes throughout here speaks to a progressive edge burgeoning in their sound.

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Burning World Records on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Pallbearer, Fulanno, Spirit Mother, Gevaudan, El Rojo, Witchwood, Gary Lee Conner, Tomorr, Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Karkara

Posted in Reviews on December 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

There isn’t enough caffeine in the universe to properly sustain a Quarterly Review, and yet here we are. I’ve been doing this for six years now, and once started I’ve always managed to get through it. This seven-day spectacular hits its halfway point today, which is okay by me. I decided to do this because there was a bunch of stuff I still wanted to consider for my year-end list, which I’d normally post this week. And sure enough, a few more have managed to make the cut from each day. I’ll hope to put the list together in the coming days and get it all posted next week, before the poll results at least. I’m not sure why that matters, but yeah.

Thanks for following along if you have been. Hope you’ve found something worth digging into.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Their best record. I don’t want to hear anymore about their demo, or about 2012’s Sorrow and Extinction (review here) or anything else. This is the album Pallbearer have been driving toward since their outset. It is an amalgam of emotive melody and tonal weight that makes epics of both the 12-minute “Silver Wings” and the four-minute “The Quicksand of Existing” that immediately follows, that hits a morose exploration of self in opener “Forgotten Days” and “Stasis” while engaging in metallic storytelling on “Vengeance and Ruination” and “Rite of Passage,” the latter incorporating classic metal melody in perhaps the broadest reach the band has ever had in that regard. So yeah. Pallbearer don’t have a ‘bad’ record. 2017’s Heartless (review here) was a step forward, to be sure. But Forgotten Days, ironically enough, is the kind of offering on which legacies are built and a touchstone for whatever Pallbearer do from here on out.

Pallbearer on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast website

 

Fulanno, Nadie EstĂĄ a Salvo del Mal

fulanno Nadie estĂĄ a salvo del mal

The fog rolls in thick on Argentinian doomers Fulanno‘s second full-length, Nadie EstĂĄ a Salvo del Mal. The seven-track/42-minute outing launches in post-Electric Wizard fashion, and indeed, the drawling lumber of the Dorset legends is an influence throughout, but by no means the only one the trio of guitarist/vocalist Fila Frutos, bassist Mauro Carosela and drummer Jose A. are under. They cast a doom-for-doomers vibe almost immediately, but as “Fuego en la Cruz” gives way to “Los Elegidos” and “Hombre Muerto,” the sense of going deeper is palpable. Crunching, raw tonality comes across as the clean vocals cut through, and the abiding rawness becomes a part of the aesthetic on “Los Colmillos de Satan,” a turning point ahead of the interlude “Señores de la NecrĂłpolis,” the eight-minute “El Desierto de los CaĂ­dos” and the surprisingly resonant closing instrumental “El Libro de los Muertos.” Fulanno are plenty atmospheric when they want to be, and one wonders if that won’t come further forward as their progression continues. Either way, they’ve staked their claim in doom and sound ready to die for the cause.

Fulanno on Thee Facebooks

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

Interstellar Smoke Records on Bandcamp

 

Spirit Mother, Cadets

spirit mother cadets

Preceded by a series of singles over the last couple years, Cadets is the full-length debut from Los Angeles four-piece Spirit Mother, and it packs expanse into deceptively efficient songs, seeming to loll this way and that even as it keeps an underlying forward push. The near-shoegaze vocals do a lot of the work in affecting a mellow-psych vibe, but there’s weight to Spirit Mother‘s “Ether” as well, violin, woven vocal layers, and periodic tempo kicks making songs standout from each other even as “Go Getter” keeps an experimentalist feel and “Premonitions” aces its cosmic-garage driver’s test with absolutely perfect pacing. The ultra-spacey “Shape Shifter I” and more boogie-fied “Shape Shifter II” are clear focal points, but Cadets as a whole is a marked accomplishment, particularly for a first LP, and in style, substance and atmosphere, it brings together rich textures with a laissez-faire spontaneity. The closing instrumental “Bajorek” is only one example among the 10 included tracks of Spirit Mother‘s potential, which is writ large throughout.

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Spirit Mother on Bandcamp

 

GĂ©vaudan, Iter

gevaudan iter

UK four-piece GĂ©vaudan made their debut in 2019 with Iter, and though I’m late to the party as ever, the five-song/53-minute offering is of marked scope and dynamic. Its soft stretches are barely there, melancholic and searching, and its surges of volume in opener “Dawntreader” are expressive without being overwrought. Not without modern influence from Pallbearer or YOB, etc., GĂ©vaudan‘s honing in on atmospherics helps stand out Iter as the band plod-marches with “The Great Heathen Army” — the most active of inclusions and the centerpiece — en route to “Saints of Blood” (11:54) and closer “Duskwalker” (15:16), the patient dip into extremity of the latter sealing the record’s triumph; those screams feel not like a trick the band kept up their collective sleeve, but a transition earned through the grueling plunge of all the material prior. It’s one for which I’d much rather be late than never.

GĂ©vaudan on Thee Facebooks

GĂ©vaudan website

 

El Rojo, El Diablo Rojo

el rojo el diablo rojo

The burly heavy rock of “South” at the outset of Italian heavy rockers El Rojo‘s El Diablo Rojo doesn’t quite tell the whole tale of the band’s style, but it gives essential clues to their songwriting and abiding burl. Later pieces like the slower-rolling “Ascension” (initially, anyhow) and acoustic-inclusive “Cactus Bloom” effectively build on the foundation of bruiser riffs and vocals, branching out desert-influenced melody and spaciousness instrumentalism even as the not-at-all-slowed-down “When I Slow Down” keeps affairs grounded in their purpose and structure. Riffs are thick and lead the charge on the more straightforward pieces and the seven-minute “Colors” alike as El Rojo attempt not to reinvent heavy or stoner rocks but to find room for themselves within the established tenets of genre. They’ve been around a few years at this point, and there’s still growing to be done, but El Diablo Rojo sounds like the starting point of an engaging progression.

El Rojo on Thee Facebooks

Karma Conspiracy Records website

 

Witchwood, Before the Winter

witchwood before the winter

Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, some Led Zeppelin in “Crazy Little Lover” and a touch of opera on “Nasrid” for good measure, Witchwood‘s 62-minute Before the Winter 2LP may be well on the other side of unmanageable in terms of length, but at least it’s not wasting anyone’s time. Instead, early rockers like “Anthem for a Child” and “A Taste of Winter” and the wah-funked “Feelin'” introduce the elements that will serve as the band’s colorful palette across the whole of the album. And a piece like “No Reason to Cry” becomes a straight-ahead complement to airier material like the not-coincidentally-named “A Crimson Moon” and the winding and woodsy “Hesperus,” which caps the first LP as the 10-minute epic “Slow Colours of Shade” does likewise for the record as a whole, followed by a bonus Marc Bolan cover on the vinyl edition, to really hammer home the band’s love of the heavy ’70s, which is already readily on display in their originals.

Witchwood on Thee Facebooks

Jolly Roger Records website

 

Gary Lee Conner, Revelations in Fuzz

gary lee conner revelations in fuzz

If nothing else, Gary Lee Conner sounds like he probably has an enviable collection of 45s. The delightfully weird former Screaming Trees guitarist offers up 10 fresh delights of ’60s-style garage-psych solo works on the follow-up to 2018’s Unicorn Curry, as Revelations in Fuzz lives up to its title in tone even as cascades of organ and electric piano, sitar and acoustic guitar weave in and out of the proceedings. How no one has paired Conner with Baby Woodrose frontman Uffe Lorenzen for a collaboration is a mystery I can’t hope to solve, but in the swirling and stops of “Cheshire Cat Claws” and the descent of six-minute closer “Colonel Tangerine’s Sapphire Sunshine Dreams,” Conner reaffirms his love of that which is hypnotic and lysergic while hewing to a traditionalism of songwriting that makes cuts like “Vicious and Pretty” as catchy as they are far out. And trust me, they’re plenty far out. Conner is a master of acid rock, pure and simple. And he’s already got a follow-up to this one released, so there.

Gary Lee Conner on Thee Facebooks

Vincebus Eruptum Recordings website

 

Tomorr, Tomorr

tomorr tomorr

Formed in Italy with Albanian roots, Tomorr position themselves as rural doom, which to an American reader will sound like ‘country,’ but that’s not what’s happening here. Instead, three-piece are attempting to capture a raw, village-minded sound, with purposeful homage to the places outside the cities of Europe made into sludge riffing and the significant, angular lumber of “Grazing Land.” I’m not sure it works all the time — the riff in the second half of “Varr” calls to mind “Dopesmoker” more than anti-urbane sensibilities, and wants nothing for crush — but as it’s their debut, Tomorr deserve credit for approaching doom from an individualized mindset, and the bulk of the six-song/48-minute offering does boast a sound that is on the way to being the band’s own, if not already there. There’s room for incorporating folk progressions and instrumentation if Tomorr want to go that route, but something about the raw approach they have on their self-titled is satisfying on its own level — a meeting of impulses creative and destructive at some lost dirt crossroads.

Tomorr on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records on Bandcamp

 

Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide

temple of the fuzz witch red tide

Well what the hell do you think Temple of the Fuzz Witch sounds like? They’re heavy as shit. Of course they are. The Detroiters heralded doomly procession on their 2019 self-titled demo/EP (review here), and the subsequent debut full-length Red Tide, is righteously plodding riffery, Sabbathian without just being the riff to “Electric Funeral” and oblivion-bound nod that’s so filled with smoke it’s practically coughing. What goes on behind the doors of the Temple? Volume, kid. Give me the chug of “The Others” any and every day of the week, I don’t give a fuck if Temple of the Fuzz Witch are reinventing the wheel or not. All I wanna do is put on “Ungoliant” and nod out to the riff that sounds like “The Chosen Few” and be left in peace. Fuck you man. I ain’t bothering anyone. You’re the one with the problem, not me. This guy knows what I’m talking about. Side B of this record will eat your fucking soul, but only after side A has tenderized the meat. Hyperbole? Fuck you.

Temple of the Fuzz Witch on Thee Facebooks

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

 

Karkara, Nowhere Land

karkara nowhere land

Rife with adventurous and Middle Eastern-inflected heavy psychedelia, Nowhere Land is the follow-up to Toulouse, France-based Karkara‘s 2019 debut, Crystal Gazer (review here), and it finds the three-piece pushing accordingly into broader spaces of guitar-led freakery. Would you imagine a song called “Space Caravan” has an open vibe? You’d be correct. Same goes for “People of Nowhere Land,” which even unto its drum beat feels like some kind of folk dance turned fuzz-drenched lysergic excursion. The closing pair of “Cards” and “Witch” feel purposefully teamed up to round out the 36-minute outing, but maybe that’s just the overarching ethereal nature of the release as a whole coming through as Karkara manage to transport their listener from this place to somewhere far more liquid, languid, and encompassing, full of winding motion in “Falling Gods” and graceful post-grunge drift in “Setting Sun.”

Karkara on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records website

 

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