Mansion, Uncreation: Testimony of the Converted

Posted in On Wax on February 24th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

mansion uncreation

The 12″ vinyl packaging of We help you with Online this page and Assignment help services in USA. We offer English Homework help, Accounting homework help, Finance Mansion‘s second EP, Write My Papersin Canada - http://sprintingharejdm.co.uk/?personal-code-of-ethics-essays Louisiana State University, Georgia State University Uncreation, is elaborate but not ostentatious. Ever-conscious of their pursed-lip, upright-postured aesthetic, the Turku, Finland, outfit present marketing thesis paper offers custom labor report development and design for your unique information requirements. Uncreation in a screenprinted cardboard sleeve on black vinyl, but when one digs into the thing itself, there’s much more to the release. An application is included for those who would join bibliometric dissertation http://cis.kdu.edu.ua/?dissertation-la-mode-est-elle-futiles write up report buy cheap dissertations Mansion‘s cult — based on the Kartanoist movement in Finland founded by Terrific academic solution to buy research papers buy a research paper cheap that an opportunity to Service Learning Research Paper. Alma Kartano, after whom - Instead of spending time in inefficient attempts, receive specialized assistance here professional writers engaged in the company Alma Mansion, the band’s vocalist, takes her name — as well as a foldout liner that includes lineup info and the lyrics for the title-track, presented as a sort of missal. These seem like relatively small things, and indeed, it’s not like Working on that Doctoral Thesis? If you I Need Help Writing A Thesis Paper from us, we will assign the best American writer in your field to do it quickly. Mansion are doing blue swirl vinyl or green translucent platters or whatever, but if they were, it wouldn’t work. They might get away with red, but even that would pull away from the black-and-white of what they do, the high contrast of the front cover and how the visual side complements the audio of  Website Essay On The Scarlet Letter Quality web content, or a lack thereof, can make or break your business > Learn Uncreation‘s four songs, which aren’t lacking anything stylistically and aren’t minimal save perhaps for a brief stretch in “Uncreation” and the beginning of closer “Divining Rod,” but of which aesthetic and atmosphere is a huge part of the point.  tale of two cities essay http://devlopment.sulphurtechnologies.com/wp-content/?diversity-essay buying a dissertation help how to write a good medical school admissions essay Mansion followed the devil and deviated from this form somewhat on last year’s psych-rocking  What is this link? Hire writers is an article/content writing company, you can signup with hire writers in 2 different ways; You signup as a client to The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol. 1 7″, but  personal statement for college academic writing assignments Uk dissertation on banking risk management subjective essay Uncreation follows suit more with their 2013 breakout debut EP,  Searching for a http://www.yoshikiminatoya.com/masters-of-architecture-thesis-project/? We are what you were looking for! Only expert academic writing assistance from professional writers is We Shall Live (review here), and works along similar lines to cast out harsh judgments amid fire-and-brimstone progressions alternating between slow doom and classic metal, the latter showing itself particularly in the apex of opener “Child Preacher” and its side B counterpart, “I am the Mansion.”

Both  how to write a phd dissertation abstract http://sumberfood1.com/?term-paper-to-kill-a-mockingbirds Illegal el segundo high school homework help english research proposal example Uncreation and  BUY Scientist Research Paper College Essay: Academic Writing Company Sets Example Press release October 04, 2012 Ukplatinumessays.com, an academic writing We Shall Live are comprised of four songs, but it’s noteworthy that the newer release, at 36:42, is more than 10 minutes longer than its predecessor. The material, however, is by and large older. Listening to the slow churn of “Child Preacher” and the grand crashes of its chorus, the difference does not feel like happenstance. While just four tracks,  william lane craig masters thesis Help How To Write Essay Service creative writing homework ks1 homework help science-8th grade Uncreation feels and flows more like an album, and like  We Shall Live, it is strikingly cohesive and developed for a first full-length. Alma is joined by backing vocalist Aleksanteri in the chorus and verses of “Child Preacher,” and the keyboard work of the latter serves as an especially pivotal element in the opener and in the subsequent tracks as well, organ sounds and otherworldly keys greatly bolstering the ambience given life by guitarists Jaakob and Veikko-Tapio, bassist Immanuel, and drummer Mikael, who also contributes lyrics throughout, which also play a major role in the effectiveness of Mansion‘s aesthetic, the A/B scheme of “Uncreation” in lines like, “We have been rewarded/Unlike the foul and sordid,” reminding that part of what makes hymns so memorable is that in another context many are nursery rhymes. Church organ opens “Uncreation,” the longest inclusion at 12:51, and builds to a head before cutting short to music-box sounds and volume swell over which Alma soon begins the first verse. Drums and distorted guitar kick in after three minutes and a roll gets underway that continues as layers become more complex in the midsection, and around 6:40, a purely Sabbathian riff takes hold to lead into some spoken word over open-spaced atmosphere that sets up the echoing croon, “Come inside the mansion/Witness uncreation/Be among the righteous/Bathing in the brightness,” etc., which gets repeated over heavier guitar as choral layering mounts and organ steps back in to finish out side A.

Not every cult act has an actual cult on which to base their philosophies — it would be like a band in Texas in 30 years adopting the tenets of the Branch Davidians; honestly, I’ll be surprised if it takes that long — but Mansion have already proven their dedication to this mesh of sound and style, and Uncreation finds them engaged in a likewise satisfying sonic development. “I am the Mansion” leads side B with Alma at the fore, playing off charisma in the resonant hook in the chorus and the slow, subtly doomed progression behind, keys once again setting the tone, until in the second half the tempo picks up and the band moves toward the apex, marked out by the lines, “I am the mansion/Who are you?” not so much questioning as challenging. Punishment has proven a regular and fitting theme for Mansion to date, and “Divining Rod,” while still Iommic in its righteous plod, follows in the spirit of “We Shall Live”‘s proclaiming, “We hall live, you will die,” the cut and dry, black and white divide set up between the saved and damned. The lead guitar toward the halfway point is a standout, but even more than that, the closer seems to flog itself into deconstruction, the second half building to a head and then falling apart amid backwards guitar, vocal effects, keys, and the steady-but-slowing forward motion of the rhythm section, ending in echoes less either of rapture or devastation or maybe both. What that might mean for Mansion‘s cult, I don’t know — I didn’t even get time to get my application in — but somehow I doubt they’ve yet met their end and their apocalyptic preaching and endtimes doom will persist, distinct not only for its specificity, but for the restraint it shows musically and how well that translates to the mindset of asceticism that is such a huge part of what they do. Except for when they give in to temptation, of course.

Mansion, Uncreation (Dec. 2014)

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Mansion on Bandcamp

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On Wax: Black Moon Circle, Andromeda

Posted in On Wax on February 2nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

black-moon-circle-andromeda-vinyl-cover-cd

The languid flow of Black Moon Circle‘s Andromeda is exceptionally well-suited to the vinyl treatment that Crispin Glover Records (distribution through Stickman Records outside Norway) has given it. I don’t know the pressing numbers for the late-2014 release, but the single LP arrives complemented by a CD in a quality matte/gloss cover with a thick sleeve for the record itself, the vinyl a gold and black swirl (solid gold or black also available) that matches the artwork of the sleeve, the front cover a play on the artwork for the Trondheim, Norway, three-piece’s 2014 self-titled debut (review here). It is a spacious presentation and that also fits with the musical thematic with which Black Moon Circle works on the five included tracks, recorded live instrumentally with guest appearances from Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective (who also produced the first album) adding swirl to opener “The Machine on the Hill,” the subsequent “Jack’s Cold Sweat” and side B standout “Dragon,” and Marius Pettersen, who adds vocals to those of vocalist/bassist Øyvin Engan and guitarist/vocalist Vemund Engan on “The Machine on the Hill” and the 15-minute closing title-track, and the three-piece of the Engans and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen show marked growth in expanding sound-wise and time-wise on their first outing, solidifying their craft black-moon-circle-andromeda-side-awith memorable tracks even as they leave room for the occasional psych freakout.

A guest spot from Heller is never going to hurt in that regard, and even as Øyvin‘s bass makes a rich tonal impression on “The Machine on the Hill,” “Jack’s Cold Sweat” takes the emerging duality in Black Moon Circle and runs with it, a blend of heavy psych jamming and grunge-styled heavy rock resulting in a memorable, heavy feel that’s laid back and exploratory but still reliant on structure to move forward. The foundation for the trio working in this style was laid on the self-titled, but as an opening salvo, “The Machine on the Hill” and “Jack’s Cold Sweat” delve further, and in terms of providing a shifting dynamic across Andromeda‘s span, the lack of synth on side A’s third cut, “Supernova,” winds up making it sound all the more spacious, a subtly shuffling snare from Gulbrandsen and warm bassline serving as the foundation for wafting guitar and the melodic, echoing vocals that wrap the album’s first half on a sweetly jamming note as the guitar leads the way out topped by a few last lines in a progression that one imagines could have easily kept going ad infinitum. On the CD, that leads directly into the near-nine-minute “Dragon,” but a vinyl flip to side B makes the introductory acoustic guitar of the latter track all the more distinct. The unplugged layer turns out to be the hallmark of the song and the theme it moves around, a carefully woven build given added pulse with the third and final synth guest spot. black-moon-circle-andromeda-back-coverSooner or later, Heller might have to just join this band.

Repetitions of the lines “I feel the dragon rising/I feel the dragon rising again” make for Andromeda‘s most resonant hook in “Dragon,” the far-back drums scaled to suit the acoustics in the earlier part of the song, coming forward later with a full-breadth kick-in of heavier tones and lead swirl, an engaging payoff topped with fading amp noise that provides transition into “Andromeda,” which closes out. Black Moon Circle‘s Black Moon Circle was structured similarly, with a longer opener and longer-than-that closer sandwiching shorter material, but Andromeda is longer and more developed, and its finale is likewise, the trio’s chemistry evident in the pre-freakout guitar swirl and the assured direction-pointing of the bass and drums. As one might expect, a jam takes off from the soothing verses, and a guitar solo drives home an organic peak that pushes through the last several minutes of the album, Black Moon Circle managing to affirm their songwriting by bringing back the chorus amidst all the surrounding movement. That’s impressive in itself, let alone the solo that follows, but by then their hypnotic prowess is well established. The progression at VemundØyvin and Per show in these tracks (and how they blend them together) is no less fitting than the physical presentation of the album. It’s been a year since Black Moon Circle was released — “Dragon” was recorded earlier, but the rest was tracked April 5, 2014 according to the back cover — and in less than that time, trio whose name that album bears have learned from what they did on that outing and brought a sense of creative development to Andromeda. One can only hope they continue to evolve in such a manner and at such a rate.

Black Moon Circle, Andromeda (2014)

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Black Moon Circle on Bandcamp

Stickman Records

Crispin Glover Records

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On Wax: Yawning Sons, Ceremony to the Sunset

Posted in On Wax on January 22nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

yawning-sons-ceremony-to-the-sunset-cover-and-lp

Oh, I love this album. I really do. Quite frankly, I consider it a treat to even be writing about it again. From Wendy Rae Fowler singing about how she lost her heart at Wounded Knee on “Ghostship – Deadwater” to Mario Lalli stepping in for a croon on “Meadows,” the instrumental depth brought to “Tomahawk Watercress” and “Wetlands” by Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce and UK atmospheric heavy rockers Sons of Alpha Centauri, and Scott Reeder‘s layered harmonies on “Garden Sessions III” — the echoes of “waves on a distant shore” feature in my mental jukebox regularly — Yawning Sons‘ 2009 debut, Ceremony to the Sunset (review here), is among the most beautiful executions of heavy psychedelia I’ve ever heard. And the only reason I call it a “debut” instead of “only album” — they also have a split out with WaterWays, another Arce-inclusive project — is because no small part of me is still hoping for a follow-up at some point even six years later. It’s not impossible. This is an album that has kept me warm in winter, has soundtracked summer nights and has come with me on every significant bit of travel I’ve undertaken since its release. I think of it as an “airplane” album, because if I’m going to crash out of the sky and fall 35,000 feet to my demise, it’s I want to have the chance to be listening to it as I go down. No bullshit.

yawning-sons-ceremony-to-the-sunset-front-coverAlone Records has seen fit to reissue Ceremony to the Sunset, giving the album its first vinyl release after the original CD version came out via Cobraside in the US and Lexicon Devil in Australia. The pressing is 500 copies in translucent red, orange or yellow (I got yellow and it doesn’t look like it lets light through in the pics above because of the white background, but it does). It comes in a gatefold with a reworked cover no less suited to the spaciousness conjured throughout the record by Arce and Sons of Alpha Centauri — the lineup of guitarist Marlon King, bassist Nick Hannon, texturist Blake and drummer Stevie B. is the same now as it was then — and it’s even more distinguished from the original offering by the inclusion of closer “Shores of Desolation,” an instrumental added to the back of side B that was tracked during the initial sessions in the UK and never released. While Alone pretty much had me at the word “go” on a reissue for Ceremony to the Sunset, I will say that the chance to hear a piece of music yet-unissued from this collaboration added significant appeal to the thought of giving the record a revisit. And no regrets. Blake must feature heavily on a song so textured, and sweet-toned guitar feedback is used to bring out further waves of melody before a final fadeout and back in and back out ends the new version of the album on a contemplative, sans-drums note following the bounce of “Japanese Garden.” Somewhat similar to “Whales in Tar,” but with a more foreboding undertone.

Since I usually put on Ceremony to the Sunset for a front-to-back listen, the vinyl does change the dynamic with two sides, and in that, “Shores of Desolation” serves a secondary function in evening out the halves. I hadn’t thought of “Meadows” as an opener,yawning-sons-ceremony-to-the-sunset-gatefold but it works well to start off side B after the flip, regrounding the proceedings after the three instrumentals “Tomahawk Watercress,” “Wetlands” and “Whales in Tar” appear in succession following album-opener “Ghostship – Deadwater” on side A. That track and “Tomahawk Watercress” continue to provide a tonal bliss that is largely unmatched in desert rock, Arce and King weaving guitar lines around each other while Hannon‘s bass and Stevie‘s drums give them a foundation on which to play out the memorable progression, descending and wistful. “Wetlands” brings the drums more forward, as does “Japanese Garden,” Yawning Sons‘ original closer, and like “Ghostship – Deadwater” and “Meadows” mirror each other as eight-minute side-starters, so too do “Whales in Tar” and “Shores of Desolation” work in conversation to end each half. I’ll make no attempt to hide my appreciation for Reeder‘s vocals on “Garden Sessions III,” but the guitar movement he tops is accordingly lush and open-spaced, relieving the almost-tense buildup that follows Lalli‘s guest spot on “Meadows.” Even with the rush of underlying percussion, it is a song to drift away by, and Reeder‘s voice is the tidal pull that carries you off. A one-man Beach Boys. Brilliant.

Granted I’m hardly impartial, but I can’t imagine that if you haven’t heard Ceremony to the Sunset before that the vinyl edition of it won’t grab you with its atmospherics and hooks both vocal an instrumental. In the history of desert rock, it’s probably a footnote, but for me it’s a landmark and an album that I’ve spent six years with at this point and found only a richer experience as time has passed. If Alone‘s reissue gets more people to hear it, or if those who appreciated it before have another excuse to take it on again and hear it in a different way, then all the better. Maybe one of these days Arce and Sons of Alpha Centauri can get together again and make a follow-up. Here’s hoping.

Yawning Sons, “Shores of Desolation”

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Alone Records

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On Wax: Mark Deutrom & The Asound, Mini-Skirt/The Chief of Thieves Split 7″

Posted in On Wax on December 19th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

mark-deutrom-the-asound-split-a-cover-vinyl

Austin-based Mark Deutrom and North Carolinians The Asound team up for a split 7″ released through Tsuguri Records, the imprint helmed by Asound bassist Jon Cox. One track from each outfit is included, Deutrom — who has a new band going called Bellringer (more on them to come) and has collaborated with no shortage of others but is probably best known for playing bass in the Melvins during their Stoner Witch era — tossing in a quick, punkish burst of an A-side in “Mini-Skirt,” while The Asound let their riffs breathe a little more on side B with “The Chief of Thieves,” a steady roll captured raw and suited to the 7″ form. Sound-wise, it’s not so different from their recent live split with Lenoir Swingers Club (review here), but the output is clear enough to indicate a studio recording, even if it’s one still punk enough to warrant the black and while cover art on the 7″ sleeve — a traditionalism well suited to both inclusions.

mark-deutrom-the-asound-split-b-cover-vinylDeutrom reportedly recorded “Mini-Skirt” at the same time he tracked the jazzy solo offering Brief Sensuality and Western Violence (review here), and with Aaron Lack on drums, what might’ve been left off the record on account of not fitting sonically earns a distinctive place here via thickened shuffle and unceasing forward motion. Easy enough to be reminded of Butthole Surfers and the Melvins both, but “Mini-Skirt” makes its point in the unflinching, almost garage-sounding nature and in its quick-turning solo culmination. Where the record from whence it doesn’t come was a headier affair, “Mini-Skirt” is simple and decidedly anti-progressive, a sprint put to tape. It contrasts effectively with The Asound‘s “The Chief of Thieves,” which keeps to a slower pace, but the two find common ground in their rougher-edged production an in the density of their tones, the fervency of their crash and the efficiency with which they deal out their riffing.

Guitarist/vocalist Chad Wyrick leads the proceedings for The Asound, with Cox and drummer Michael Crump following the lurching groove set by the guitars more or less for the duration. It’s a riff worth basing a song around, and even the solo section in the second half seems to base its rhythm around that same movement, the vocals by then having dropped out to let the band get to the heart of the matter. No question the B-side is longer than the A, but in the context of what they’re doing, Wyrick‘s singing over the wailing distortion recalling some of Floor‘s appeal in combining doom and more accessible sonic forms, I don’t think I’d call “The Chief of Thieves” less productive than its companion, only going for — mark deutrom the asound split coversand, I’d argue, hitting the mark — on a different side of the same style. The Asound end after all that rolling on a quick-fading feedback that calls to mind the constraints of the format. That is, there’s nothing sonically to make me think that riff couldn’t have gone on another seven minutes or so.

But then it would be an entirely different kind of release — and Deutrom would probably need more than one song — so I’ll instead take the tight-packed grooves on the platter itself to stand as a visual metaphor for what “The Chief of Thieves” has to offer during playback. The 7″ is limited to 200 copies in green or black vinyl, and while it might be a stopgap for both parties concerned, it also asks next to no indulgence on the part of its audience and easily proves worth the time it takes to listen.

Mark Deutrom & The Asound, Split 7″ (2014)

Mark Deutrom website

Mark Deutrom on Bandcamp

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The Asound on Bandcamp

Tsuguri Records website

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On Wax: Molior Superum, The Inconclusive Portrait 7″

Posted in On Wax on December 11th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

molior-superum-the-inconclusive-portrait-cover-and-record

The Inconclusive Portrait is Swedish four-piece Molior Superum‘s first offering since their 2012 full-length debut, Into the Sun (review here), and it shows the Gothenburg-based unit in a somewhat different light. Released on 7″ vinyl by H42 Records — 340 copies; 140 on black vinyl, 100 green, 50 gold exclusive to the label, and 50 die-hards on clear-purple vinyl with different art — it’s just two songs, or even two parts of one title-track, but it’s both fuller in its tone and more modern than the long-player, and the shift in style is audible. The lineup of guitarist/vocalist Carl Isaksson,guitarist Oskar Öberg, bassist/vocalist Lars Sandström and drummer/vocalist Jens Fuglede hasn’t changed, and they still bear some sonic resemblance to the UK’s Stubb, but where that band’s second album found them searching for a more natural, psychedelic meditation, Molior Superum have turned expectation on its head and opted for a more straightforward feel, less boogie (which is different from none at all), more direct dynamic between the two guitars molior superum the inconclusive portraitand a thrust of groove that gives their hooks an urgency that serves the short release well.

Both sides of The Inconclusive Portrait — simply “Part 1” and “Part 2″ on back of the 7” sleeve — begin at a rush. Vocalist Joakim Segerfelt Steby of Brutus guests on “Part 1,” which is the shorter of the two, announcing its stylistic turn immediately in a modern-sounding crash and fuzz push that moves quick into the first verse. Understand, Molior Superum are still indebted to the heavy ’70s for a lot of their methods and influence, but it’s a more current feel that permeates the single than did the album. If you want to relate it to other Swedish bands, it’s more Greenleaf than Graveyard, and it works for Molior Superum, whose energy bleeds through the recording as plain to hear as the riffs themselves. Steby‘s contributions mesh smoothly, and a current of backing organ (or something thereabouts) fleshes out the chorus of “Part 1” almost in a call and response to the vocals amid the fury of chugging. At just over five minutes, “Part 2” would seem to have room for the band to flesh out some, but instead, they keep the high-impact spirit of “Part 1” pulsing through for the duration with no real letup either in vibe or volume. “Part 2” isn’t a direct continuation of “Part 1” from what I can tell, but if Molior Superum were to play one into the next live, I’m sure it would soundmolior superum close enough to make sense, as it does when one listens to the single digitally, without having to flip the record.

There’s something brash about “Part 2” that makes it stand out. Its central riff is hook enough, and they put it to work, but there’s an intensity to it that feels even more prevalent than on “Part 1,” a guitar solo kicking in late before a return to the chorus, and the whole band taking what in another context, perhaps slower, would almost certainly be vintage swing and setting it to kick-in-the-teeth pace. As it is, it distinguishes Molior Superum from a still-growing league of ’70s worshipers and is a credit to the recording job by Micke Nilsson (ex-Bonafide) at Music a Matic for helping to foster this level of performance. A lot can happen to a band in two years, and I wouldn’t necessarily have expected Molior Superum to make the turn they do here, or to pull it off so well, but I think it makes them stronger, and perhaps most importantly, it builds intrigue for what they might do next. It’s a quick, eight-minute release, but says a lot about the band’s hopefully ongoing development.

Molior Superum, The Inconclusive Portrait 7″ (2014)

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Molior Superum on Bandcamp

H42 Records on Thee Facebooks

The Inconclusive Portrait at H42 Records webstore

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On Wax: SET, Valley of the Stone

Posted in On Wax on December 3rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

set-valley-of-the-stone-cover-and-lp

Massachusetts-based metallers SET reside somewhere between the seemingly disparate sides vibes of thrash, stoner and doom, but from the bombastic groove of opener “Dicing with Death,” which launches their Valley of the Stone 2013 debut LP, self-released digitally and on vinyl, they’re immediately difficult to place in one or the other. Granted, the Worcester four-piece can’t play in two speeds at the same time, so it winds up being tradeoffs between fast and slow, extreme and nodding, but still, what’s most successful about the two-sided eight-track release is how much it seems to pull its elements together as a cohesive whole, cuts like the aforementioned “Dicing with Death,” or side A’s closer “The Eagle” pushing forward with breakneck weight and speed while “Magnum Opus” plods a smokier course and set-valley-of-the-stone-front-cover“Wolves behind the Sheep” works to bring the various sides to bear in one of Valley of the Stone‘s most engrossing rolls.

As a standout with a particularly killer hook, “Wolves behind the Sheep” serves to represent the stylistic breadth of the band well, blasting one second and swinging hard the next. I’ve had the advantage at this point of seeing SET play live three times now (reviews here, here and here), and seeing the fluidity drummer Tim brings to his tempo changes on stage only affirms what comes across on Valley of the Stone in that he does well in holding these songs together. That’s true throughout the album, as bassist/vocalist Andy, guitarist/backing vocalist Jeff and guitarist/vocalist Dan run off in one direction or another, telling stories of souls lost and various horrors inflicted on the unsuspecting, as much Slayer and S.O.D. as Sleep and Trouble. Their identity as they present it here is what gets carved out of the influences, something as threatening atmospherically as it is outwardly aggressive, “The Eagle” rounding out side A with its brashest vibe yet, dense low end underscoring a barrage of riffs and crash that drives through a metallic apex and into a finale of dizzying turns.

It’s fucking heavy, and I don’t think SET would have it any other way. The plot thickens on side B, though, with the creepy lead guitar on the title-track giving way to a full-on grindout followed by noise rock rumble-and-shout, the band’s command unwavering as they nod at Crowbar‘s sludge en route to the next round of swinging pummel and the Dopefight-style stoner punk of “Apophis,” catchy but less nuanced than “Valley of the Stone” or “Children of the Doomed,” which serves as the apex of the album, Jeff and Dan coming together to add a rush of lead lines to the hook. Since, like “Wolves behind the Sheep,” it’s the penultimate cut on its side, there’s an element of symmetry at work in Valley of the Stone‘s structure as well, but the more satisfying thing is the actual song, which hits the blend of extremity and groove just set-valley-of-the-stone-side-aright and shows what SET are able to do at their best. The closer, “Sacred Moon Cult” is rightly saved for last and is probably the only track that wouldn’t be a comedown after “Children of the Doomed,” but its chorus feels like it’s taking a shortcut to righteousness, as opposed to the frenetic rawness of “Children of the Doomed,” which punches through a wall rather than going around it.

Maybe at that point it’s splitting hairs, but either way, by then SET have shown their ability to cull something individual out of familiar elements, and there’s nothing more one could reasonably ask of their debut than that, though in that regard it’s worth pointing out that the vinyl version of Valley of the Stone, with its two-sided liner and dead-on black-and-white artwork makes for no less accomplishment of presentation. Some bands figure it out late, some bands figure it out early. SET would seem to be in the latter category if the debut is anything to go by, and with a sound so varied, they still have plenty to work from in terms of creative progress without much fear of stagnating anytime soon.

SET, Valley of the Stone (2013)

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SET on Bandcamp

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On Wax: The Linus Pauling Quartet, C is for Cthulhu 7″

Posted in On Wax on November 24th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

the linus pauling quartet c is for cthulhu package

Perpetually and gleefully weird, Texan outfit The Linus Pauling Quartet — in which, make no mistake, there are five members — toy with Lovecraftian themes on their new single, “C is for Cthulhu,” conjuring the Great Old One himself with a hook worth of its Sesame Street-style title. The band’s heavy riffing style comes out in full force across the five-minute cut, pressed with the B-side “My Desire,” a cover of back-in-the-day Houston noisemakers The Pain Teens, in a red 7″ platter edition of 300 copies, the guitars fuzzed out and appropriately lumbering for their subject matter. Production-wise, it’s less raw than some of what Linus Pauling Quartet have done in the past — recording was helmed by bassist Stephen Finley — but particularly for only being a release with two tracks, goes a long way toward showcasing the band’s the linus pauling quartet c is for cthulhu b-sidesans-pretense quirk and open creative sensibility. That is to say, whatever they feel like doing, there’s a good chance they’re going to do it.

“C is for Cthulhu” itself has a metallic feel, thanks in no small part to its burly riff and some death growls backing the chorus. They’re deep in the mix — the lines being, “Don’t eat/Don’t sleep/Hear me calling from the deep,” one imagines that (presumably it’s) guest vocalist Stevie Sims is taking the role of Cthulhu himself in backing guitarist/vocalist Clinton Heider — but set a weighted atmosphere for the track surrounding, and The Linus Pauling Quartet revel in it. With HeiderFinley, guitarist/backing vocalist Ramon “LP4” Medina, organist/synth-specialist Charlie Horshack, Sims, drummer Larry Liska and Erich Zann (another Lovecraft reference) credited with violin, there’s plenty going on throughout “C is for Cthulhu,” but the structure remains straightforward, and it’s the aforementioned chorus that’s the center around which the rest churns. Some vague chanting crops up as they move past the halfway mark and into a fervent solo section with Heider forward in the mix, but they pull back to the verse and give the chorus another runthrough, extending the end on the way to a last-minute kick the linus pauling quartet c is for cthulhu back coverin pace that rounds out. Flip the record over, and you might think it’s a completely different band.

Having another vocalist plays a big role in that regard. The core five-piece of the band is the same — Sims and Zann, if Zann is a real person, are out — but Heider steps back on vocals and Carol Sandin Cooley takes the mic. A veteran of Houston experimentalists Sad PygmyCooley establishes a punkish command over the rawer-sounding guitar buzz of “My Desire,” The Linus Pauling Quartet taking The Pain Teens‘ noise-caked proto-industrial thud and approaching it with clear reverence. In another context, the main riff could just as easily be grunge as Godflesh, but the heavy treatment it gets — meaner than “C is for Cthulhu” — is one that suits it. “My Desire” is far less playful than its companion A-side, but culminating in a cut-off swell of noise that ends cold for the needle return, it goes show that the band who a couple years ago put out a 3CD set called Assault on the Vault of the Ancient Bonglords neither take themselves too seriously the linus pauling quartet c is for cthulhu linernor are purely interested in screwing around. Or if they are, at least they make it work.

My copy of the 7″ came with a 9 of clubs that had one of the clubs scratched off and what looks like a custom design on back, a sticker, and a download code featuring alternate masters of the two tracks, plus the art itself, which comes on a quality stock that unfolds to the liner notes and lyrics for “C is for Cthulhu.” C is for Cthulhu follows 2013’s Find What You Love and Let it Kill You 7″ EP, and one can only imagine what horrors The Linus Pauling Quartet have yet to come.

The Linus Pauling Quartet, C is for Cthulhu (2014)

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On Wax: The Cosmic Trigger, The Cosmic EP

Posted in On Wax on November 11th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

the-cosmic-trigger-voltaire-cover-and-record

There is a stark contrast between the A and B sides of The Cosmic Trigger‘s new, self-released 7″, The Cosmic EP. The Fort Worth four-piece’s release, pressed to thick vinyl and arriving in a quality-stock matte-finish gatefold sleeve with righteous vertical cover art by Michael Sturrock, is two songs, “Voltaire” and “Catharsis,” totaling just over 11 minutes, and they vary their sounds widely from one to the next. “Voltaire” owes some of its rocking bounce to Thin Lizzy, the guitars of Spenser Freeman and Tyrel Choat meshing along a running, winding course, while Choat‘s vocals growl out a kind of drawn-back Metallica gruffness in the verse, only to open to a cleaner shout in the chorus, given steady punctuation by drummer Josh Farmer‘s sharp snare and a low-end foundation for the guitars by bassist Dustin Choat. It’s catchy, and the recording — by Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas — the cosmic trigger the cosmic ep coveris clear and crisp. It seems initially that perhaps too much so, and like The Cosmic Trigger would benefit from being roughed up a bit, but particularly for those who didn’t hear their 2012 debut full-length, The New Order of the Cosmos, “Catharsis” goes a long way toward explaining where the band is coming from.

Not to be confused with the YOB song of the same name, “Catharsis” works its way around a prog-metal bassline from Dustin and, though Tyrel works in largely the same vocal style, the lyrics (printed on the inside of the vinyl gatefold) give a different take, a severe narrative of betrayal and a murderous chorus of, “You ain’t going home tonight/You’ve seen my face/I’ll see the light drain from your eyes/But you ain’t going home tonight,” blindsiding with its violent intent. By contrast, “Voltaire”‘s lyrics call out the philosopher and question the prospect of modern mortality, but if they’re concerned with death, it’s certainly not death by the speaker’s own hands directed at what seems like an ex-girlfriend. Maybe I’m reading too much into metaphor, but it comes on pretty strong in the song itself, the tapped guitar and basslines building to a head before launching into a riffier closing section after the lyrics, “You’ve made your choice and/Now you’re dead to me.” Fair enough. It may be that The Cosmic Trigger enjoy toying with these ideas as much as they clearly enjoy pitting subgenres against each other, but if you were to take on The Cosmic EP unawares, it could easily be jarring. I guess, if you’re going to take a listen, the cosmic triggerjust be warned. Someone might get hurt.

The full-length, though it featured a different guitarist alongside Tyrel, worked in a similar stylistic vein on the border between heavy rock groove, metallic aggression and progressive intricacy. Listening to The Cosmic EP, it seems the band are still figuring out where on that spectrum exactly they want to position themselves, or at least which stylistic basis from which they want to explore outward. Performance-wise, they’re tight and cohesive enough that there’s nothing to make me think they wouldn’t be able to arrive at that point, and both of these songs are well constructed, it’s just a very ambitious aesthetic they’re trying to capture and they have work to do before they get there.

The Cosmic Trigger, The Cosmic EP (2014)

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