Quarterly Review: Rotor, Electric Octopus, Randall Dunn, Graven, Near Dusk, Svuco, Stonus, Acolytes of Moros, Lime Eyelid, Tombtoker

Posted in Reviews on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I’ve been doing this for a while, the whole Quarterly Review thing. Not just talking about the last two weeks — though that also feels like a while to be doing it — but over the last few years. And in so doing I have a couple running gags kind of with myself. One obvious one is the “(immediate points)” for bands who put their longest song first on their album. There is no point system. There will be no tally at the end. I don’t grade records. It’s just a way of noting a decision I almost always find to be particularly bold.

Another is the use of “penultimate.” I don’t even know how this happened, but I use that word all the time in these reviews, way, way more than I might in day-to-day life. Somehow I’m always talking about the second-to-last song. Keep an eye out today, I’m sure it’ll be in there.

Indeed, I bring it up because today is the penultimate day of this extended Quarterly Review. We’ll finish out with the last 10 records tomorrow, and no doubt by the end of it I’ll be doling out more “(immediate points)” and talking about the “apex of the penultimate cut” or whatever else it is I do. Hard not to repeat yourself when you’re writing about 100 records. Or, you know, one.

Quarterly Review #81-90:

Rotor, Sechs

rotor sechs

Long-running Berlin instrumentalists Rotor issue Sechs, their aptly-titled sixth album, as their second for Noisolution after 2015’s Fünf (review here), and in so doing blend the best impulses from where they started with where they’ve ended up. Fünf, not without its moments of heavy psych drift, was a deeply progressive album, and Sechs is likewise, but it also brings in a more natural, warmer production sound like some of their earlier material, so that songs like “Vor der Hern” or “Allmacht” come across as nuanced but welcoming all the same. “Allmacht” is a highlight for its classic prog elements, but that’s not to discount the centerpiece “Abfahrt!,” with its raucous second half or the nine-minute penultimate cut “Druckverband,” which finds Rotor pushing themselves to new heights some 20 years on from their beginnings. Or anything else, for that matter, because it’s all brilliant. And that, basically, is how you know you’re listening to Rotor.

Rotor on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution website

 

Electric Octopus, Line Standing

electric octopus line standing

Next-level naturalism from Belfast trio Electric Octopus means that not only does the digital-only-otherwise-it’d-be-a-box-set Line Standing top four and a half hours, but those four and a half hours bring the listener into the studio with the band — guitarist Tyrell Black, bassist/keyboardist Dale Hughes and drummer Guy Hetherington — as they talk between jams, goof around and discuss what they just played in quick interludes. Complementing cuts like 35-minute opener “Iliudi,” the 38-minute “Line Standing 23336,” the 24-minute “Room Move” and the three-minute funk-reggae vibe of “Inspired by a Chicken,” the chatter gives Line Standing an even more organic vibe not by trying to capture a live feel, like what they’d do on stage — they have plenty of live albums for that — but by bringing the listener into the studio while they pick up their instruments and improvise their way through whatever it is that’s coming next, which is something that everyone seems to find out together. It’s not always smooth, but neither should it be. This is pure sonic exploration — and not a little of it.

Electric Octopus on Thee Facebooks

Electric Octopus on Bandcamp

 

Randall Dunn, Beloved

randall dunn beloved

Randall Dunn, through his production work, collaborations with Sunn O))), founding Master Musicians of Bukkake, etc., is no stranger to experimentalism, and his first solo album, Beloved (on Figureight), finds him evoking cinematic landscapes one at a time in ambient tracks that range from minimalist to consuming by sheer will. His range as a composer means that “Mexico City” shimmers with a near-overwhelming post-Vangelis splendor while “Lava Rock and Amber” is barren enough to make each strike of the piano keys feel like a lifeline before the synth horror takes hold near the end. Dunn brings in several guest vocalists for spots on “Something About that Night” and closer “A True Home,” but there’s hardly a lack of human presence throughout the material anyway, as the nine-minute centerpiece “Theoria : Aleph” resonates with the creative drive that made it. Not by any means a record that’s going to be for everyone, Beloved casts a sound that’s impeccably broad.

Randall Dunn on Thee Facebooks

Figureight on Bandcamp

 

Graven, Heirs of Discord

Graven Heirs of Discord

Heirs of Discord, indeed. With guitarist/vocalist Peter Maturi and drummer Chris Csar from the much-missed Swarm of the Lotus and bassist Teddy Patterson of Burnt by the Sun and Human Remains in the up-and-down-the-Eastern-Seaboard lineup with vocalist Jason Borowy, there’s no shortage of discord to go around. Deathly extremity and a pervasive grinding sensibility is conveyed with tones that absolutely crush and a groove that, while not shy with the blastbeats on “I Dreamt You Were Dead” — or the bonus track Human Remains cover “Human,” for that matter — is no less comfortable locked in the nod of the nine-minute “Thieves of Rotted Ilk.” It reportedly took Graven over a year to make the six-song/28-minute LP at various studios (including one two towns over from where I grew up in my beloved Garden State), and one only hopes the no-doubt daunting nature of that task doesn’t dissuade Graven from a follow-up, because whether it’s the angular starts and stops of “Backwards to Oblivion” or the initial assault of “A Failed Mask,” they bring a stylistic nuance to extreme metal that goes beyond the often dry showcase of technical prowess the style can sometimes be. However long it might take to put together, a sophomore outing feels well justified.

Graven on Thee Facebooks

Graven on Bandcamp

 

Near Dusk, Near Dusk

Near Dusk Near Dusk

The cleverly-titled “Humboldt Pie” finds them dipping into bluesier fare with some psychedelic effect on guitarist Matthew Orloff‘s vocals, and “We are the Buffalo” has a distinct spaciousness, but the core of Denver trio Near Dusk‘s self-released, self-titled debut is in straightforward heavy rock, and Orloff, bassist Kellen McInerney and drummer Jon Orloff sound well schooled in the ways of following the riff. “That Bastard” chugs out behind a vocal echo and the six-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “No More” introduces the steady factor that is McInerney‘s bass behind some initial guitar noodling that leads to the first of many rolling grooves to come on the seven-track/34-minute outing. The bass again gets to shine in the subsequent “Sweet Home,” setting up the final push for a moment before being joined by the drums and guitar, and the low-end tone is right on, though by the time they close out with “Furnace Creek,” all three of them seem to tease some jammier sensibilities. Near Dusk allow themselves room to develop their approach and perspective, but establish a strong root of songwriting to serve as their foundation as they move forward.

Near Dusk on Thee Facebooks

Near Dusk on Bandcamp

 

Svuco, El Gran Mito de SanSaru

svuco El Gran Mito de SanSaru

At least some of the material on Svuco‘s debut long-player, El Gran Mito de SanSaru, dates back a few years. The release includes what was the title-track of their 2015 Mizaru EP as well as the title-track of 2016’s Kikazaru, as well as a number of tracks that also featured on the Iwazaru EP shortly before the album actually arrived. Still, taken in this form and with these recordings, the Granada-based four-piece unfurl a varied 13-song full-length that’s crisp in its production and smoothly constructed to hit hard but with a sense of tonal presence that speaks to a heavy rock influence. That is, there might be a current of noise rock to the ’90s-style chug of “Llorarás,” but “Fuzzia” still has room for organ and acoustic guitar along with its central riff. Later cuts like “Nobogo,” the layered-vocals of “El Color del Sol,” and the almost-industrial pulsations (conveyed through organic instrumentation) of “El Dios del Nuevo Mundo” branch out, but there’s an underlying identity taking shape all the while.

Svuco on Thee Facebooks

Svuco on Bandcamp

 

Stonus, Lunar Eclipse

Stonus Lunar Eclipse

Welcoming in its tone and bordering on cosmic in its atmosphere, Lunar Eclipse is the second EP from Cyprus-based troupe Stonus, and for the sprawl of its eight-minute title-track alone, it showcases distinct potential on the part of the band. Intro and outro tracks help set up a flow, but as “Aspirin” and “Spiritual Realities” fuzz their way toward “Lunar Eclipse” itself, it’s hardly like Stonus need the help. The tempo of “Aspirin” tells the tale, taking desert rock to three-quarters speed for an extra laid back vibe, still pushed along by the drums, but chill, chill, chill as it goes. “Spiritual Realities” is a little more tripped out in its lumber, and its vocals are more forward in the mix, but once again, “Lunar Eclipse” is nothing but a joy to behold from front to back, and in large part it defines the short release that shares its name. They close out with the minute of experimentalism on “Euphoric Misery” and only make one hope they don’t lost those impulses by the time they get around to a full-length, because they’ll only help them further distinguish themselves.

Stonus on Thee Faceboks

Stonus on Bandcamp

 

Acolytes of Moros, The Wellspring

acolytes of moros the wellspring

Seven years on from playing their first show, Swedish doomers Acolytes of Moros present their first full-length, The Wellspring (CD on Nine Records), and if that might stand as an indication of their pacing overall, it would certainly apply to the album itself. Presented as four extended tracks with an interlude/instrumental near seven minutes dividing the two halves, it’s a rawly-produced take on doom-death traditionalism with an emphasis on the first part of that equation. Calling it “morose” feels too easy given the band’s moniker, but they’re nothing if not self-aware, and the miseries they portray in “Quotidian” and the 14-minute “A Yen to Relinquish and Evanesce” border on the dramatic without ever really tipping too far in that direction, coming through as much in the grueling riffs as in the vocal declarations and willfully repetitive rhythms. It’s a slog and it’s supposed to be, but Acolytes of Moros eschew the sometimes lush presentation of their genre in favor of a barebones take that loses none of its emotional impact for that.

Acolytes of Moros on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records website

 

Lime Eyelid, Week of Wonders

lime eyelid week of wonders

As regards recording narratives, it’s hard to beat the image of Traveling Circle drummer Josh Schultz recording Lime Eyelid‘s debut album, Week of Wonders (as in, The Wonder Weeks?), alone in his kitchen. The resulting limited LP is comprised mostly of numbered instrumental experiments in drone and languid groove, save for “I Saw Waves,” which brings to mind some of Six Organs of Admittance‘s far-out earlier fare, but psychedelia holds a prominent sway and if you ever want a lesson in doing something new with familiar elements, look no further than the watery guitar line of “1” or “3,” with its Earth groove gone processional. The 12-minute soundscape of “4” follows as Schultz moves deeper into the realms of cosmic minimalism — that big, mostly empty, galaxy — but “5” somehow sounds even more piped in from outer space, and closer “6” rounds out with swells of high-pitched volume that seem to be speaking their own language in tone. Pretty vast reaches for a record to hit, having been recorded in the kitchen. One awaits further adventures in the follow-up.

Lime Eyelid on Soundcloud

Lime Eyelid on YouTube

 

Tombtoker, Coffin Texts

tombtoker coffin texts

I don’t know if the band’s moniker refers to one who actually tokes tombs or who tokes in tombs, but neither would surprise me. The Baltimorean five-piece Tombtoker unveil their 20-minute debut EP, Coffin Texts (on Seeing Red, tapes through Metal Swarm), with a melding of doom, sludge and metallic extremity that is righteous in its riffs and malevolent in its purposes. That is to say, they mean harm. “Warfare Revolution” and “Robo Cujo” demonstrate that plainly ahead of the centerpiece “Stenchsquatch” with its oh-you’re-gonna-have-to-play-that-at-all-the-shows lurching midsection of death, while the subsequent “Blood Freak” taps Eyehategoddy swing and closer/shortest track “Globster” (3:21) bludgeons its own riffs before a bit of Slayer-style ping ride late adds even more of that metal-for-metal feel. I’d call it promising, but maybe “foreboding” is a better word. Whether they’re smoking your corpse or just smoking near your corpse, Tombtoker bring a welcome sense of chaos to extreme sludge that hearkens to the genre’s original, unhinged appeal.

Tombtoker on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

Metal Swarm website

 

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Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard Set March 1 Release for Yn Ol I Annwn; Preorders up Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mammoth weed wizard bastard

I don’t know if you heard it or not, but the split Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard put out this year with Slomatics, titled Totems (review here), was unbelievably good. Likewise the band’s last long-player, 2017’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll (review here), which followed their 2015 debut, Noeth Ac Anoeth (review here), the goofy-named UK outfit growing more progressive and broader in their reach every time out. Though I’ve heard exactly none of it, I have accordingly high expectations for their next full-length, Yn Ol I Annwn, which is out March 1 and available to preorder now from New Heavy Sounds. The cover art and tracklisting have been posted and you’ll find them below, as per the preorder page at Cargo Records‘ distro site — which, not to tell you your business or anything, you just might want to visit.

They’ve also got a quickie teaser trailer for the record that you can see below, as per the social medias.

Have at you:

mammoth weed wizard bastard yn ol i annwn

MAMMOTH WEED WIZARD BASTARD ‘YN OL I ANNWN’ PRE-ORDER

Titled ‘Yn Ol I Annwn’, Welsh for Return To The Underworld’, it is the third part of the trilogy of albums that began with ‘Noeth Ac Anoeth’ in 2015 and 2017’s ‘Y Proffwyd Dwyll’.

The final phase of the band’s first intergalactic voyage if you will.

The eight songs that comprise this album see the band delve deeper into their collective influences, embracing full on space rock, atmospheric film soundtracks, melancholic acoustic interludes, psychedelia, cosmic moogs and percussion, moments of introspection and light … and of course, large helpings of doom. The fat riffs, big hooks and endless space grooves are all present and correct.

And once again Jessica Ball’s voice glides over it all, both sweet and melancholy, yet this time more assured. A myriad of stacked harmonies and layered vocals weave in and out of the tracks, adding an ‘other-worldly’ melodicism to the songs.

In fact the album as a whole, is very much a sonic journey into some cosmos on the edge of forever. Just turn off the lights, turn up the volume and be transported to dance at the end of time.

The band’s music has developed and been honed over the previous two records, but there is no doubt that they have distilled the essence of MWWB into this one. Previous comparisons to Windhand, Yob, Sleep. or whatever, are rendered completely redundant with ‘Yn Ol I Annwn’.

No one else is pushing the boundaries of heavy like MWWB.

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard sound like Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, full stop.

First pressing is a double vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with 2 colour variants.
Variant 1 in Green/Blue marbled vinyl.
Variant 2 in Amber and red disc vinyl.
Each variant includes is a free download of the entire album.
Main CD package is a 4 panel digipack with booklet

Vinyl Tracklisting:
Side A:
1. Tralfamadore
2. The Spaceships Of Ezekiel

Side B:
3. Fata Morgana
4. Du Bist Jetzt Nicht In Der Zukunft

Side C:
5. Yn Ol I Annwn
6. Katyusha

Side D:
7. The Majestic Clockwork
8. Five Days In The Abyss

CD Tracklisting:
1. Tralfamadore
2. The Spaceships Of Ezekiel
3. Fata Morgana
4. Du Bist Jetzt Nicht In Der Zukunft
5. Yn Ol I Annwn
6. Katyusha
7. The Majestic Clockwork
8. Five Days In The Abyss

MWWB are: Paul Michael Davies, Jessica Ball, Wes Leon, James Carrington, Stuart Sinclair.

Preorder: https://cargorecordsdirect.co.uk/products/mammoth-weed-wizard-bastard-yn-ol-i-annwyn

https://www.facebook.com/mammothweedwizardbastard/
https://mammothweedwizardbastard.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/newheavysounds
https://newheavysounds.bandcamp.com/
http://www.newheavysounds.com/

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard & Slomatics, Totems (2018)

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Høstsabbat 2019: Stuck in Motion Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

stuck in motion

Swedish heavy hippie rockers kind of quietly released one of 2018’s best debut albums in their June-issued self-titled debut. Hard to imagine some label won’t pick it up for another round of vinyl, but whether you hear it on a platter or through a bluetooth speaker from your phone, the thing absolutely oozes vibe. It’s in clear recognition of this that the three-piece were recently added to Roadburn 2019 (I wrote the announcement; info here), and the 2019 edition of Oslo-based Høstsabbat is following suit in bringing them to Norway next October. I do not for one second imagine they will be the last to do so.

The only question is whether they’ll be in the crypt or on the altar. I hope I get to find out.

The fest made the announcement thusly:

hostsabbat-2019-stuck-in-motion

It’s been a very busy week for everyone following Høstsabbat on SoMe, and we apologize if you feel we’re spamming your news feed. Sometimes things happen simultaneously, and you just gotta go with the flow.

If one word can describe our next announcement for Høstsabbat Festival, October 2019, it’s FLOW.

Once again, we’ve had our eyes peeled on Sweden, and once again, we’ve found pure gold.

Out of Enköping, Stuck in Motion’s debut album struck a nerve with us at Høstsabbat, and the self titled album released June this summer, has been playing on repeat for a great part of this fall. The craftsmanship is top shelf, and the whole album feels timeless in a modern, almost indescribable way. They utilize both their native language as well as English, and the vocals from Max Kinnbo and Adrian Noren floats like a velvet blanket on top of the bands gentle groove and lush sound. Stuck in Motion gives us psychedelic blues at its finest, and just like the weather outside today, it feels very refreshing, and makes you wanna dive right in.

We predict a blinding future for this three-piece, launching with their appearance at Roadburn Festival next spring. We are proud to invite Stuck in Motion at such an early stage, as we fell totally in love with their realm.

We surely think you will do to!

Catch Stuck in Motion for the first time in Norway at Høstsabbat October 4th- 5th, 2019, in Kulturkirken JAKOB.

Tickets out Friday at 11:00 CET!

HØSTSABBAT 2019 SPOTIFY PLAYLIST
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Stuck in Motion, Stuck in Motion (2018)

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Via Vengeance Signs to Salt of the Earth Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Easy to imagine that Shane Ocell makes a striking impression live with his one-man outfit Via Vengeance. Also the drummer/backing vocalist for Sorxe, Ocell positions himself behind a drum kit with a guitar and a microphone and is essentially a whole band. The slogan is: “All live. No loops.” So be it.

It is striking to watch. There’s a video at the bottom of this post you can check out. It’s not exactly recent, but I think it gets the point across. Ocell as Via Vengeance has signed to Salt of the Earth Records and will have a new album out reportedly next summer. At least he doesn’t have to wait for anyone else to show up at the studio.

There’s a secondary announcement being made here in that at least for this signing, Kyle Stratton, also of Atala, has joined onto the Salt of the Earth label team with head honcho Scott Harrington. Atala being based in Twentynine Palms, CA, it seems reasonable to assume Stratton is the connection to Ocell, who is in Phoenix, so maybe Stratton is working some West Coast A&R with Harrington, who is based in Connecticut where he also hosts the New England Stoner & Doom Fest. Interesting development either way and something to keep an eye on.

From the PR wire:

via vengeance

Via Vengeance – Salt of the Earth Records

SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS is proud as all hell to welcome VIA VENGEANCE to the family.

The unrelenting Phoenix AZ based Sludge band known as VIA VENGEANCE was formed in 2006 by Shane Ocell with exploring the concept of being a one-man Sludge band being the ultimate mission… And he has been crushing solo ever since.

VIA VENGEANCE use no loops and Shane records all his tracks while playing both guitar and drums simultaneously. Combining both a finesse and a reckless audio abandon that must be heard, and felt to truly appreciate.

“We are excited to have him on the roster. Via Vengeance is completely honest. An original. A living breathing piece of art,” says Kyle Stratton (SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS) “He is a one-man band, creating an amazing industrial sludge sound, something I have never heard before. I am beyond excited to welcome Shane.”

VIA VENGEANCE has toured the U.S. multiple times and is heading overseas to to tour in Holland and France this December. VIA VENGEANCE have destroyed stages with heavy hitters like Mastodon,Jesu, Big Business, The Bad Brains, Atala and countless others.

2019 will see VIA VENGEANCE back in the studio recording their SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS debut with an eye towards Spring/Summer release.

Asked about VIA VENGEANCE, Scott Harrington (Salt Of The Earth Records) yelled this at me from a roof top…

“We are constantly looking for new artists that push their boundaries musically and creatively. Knowing how Via Vengeance pummel live crowds with Shane’s uniquely powerful sound and delivery…I can’t wait till sludge fans far and wide get to experience what this is all about. THIS is HEAVY.”

Bottom line, VIA VENGEANCE is coming for you. You have been warned. But you still won’t be ready.

https://www.facebook.com/viavengeance/
http://instagram.com/viavengeance
http://viavengeance.com/
www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec
www.saltoftheearthrecords.com

Via Vengeance, “Lust Blood” live in Brooklyn, 2010

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Aboleth Release Benthos LP this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

aboleth

Los Angeles, heavy rockers Aboleth issued their debut full-length, Benthos (discussed here), this past Spring, but like all good things, vinyl takes time, and so Kozmik Artifactz will have the LP version of the record out this Friday. The band parted ways this summer with founding member Collyn McCoy (also The Ultra-Electric Mega Galactic) and is now a four-piece with guitarist David Abrams and Mark Dalbeth, so Benthos will also remain the only album documenting the original trio lineup.

Interested to see what the future brings for them, but either way, the record is out on Friday from Kozmik Artifactz, which sent the following down the PR wire:

aboleth benthos

Trudge the Swap and unearth “Bethos” the debut album from Aboleth, Out December 14th

Sludgy riffs, Allman-esque slide solos and whisky-drenched-yet-soaring female vocals – this is Aboleth!

Aboleth was founded in 2016 by Collyn McCoy (Trash Titan, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic) and 21-year-old whisky-throated belter Brigitte Roka. Roka propels the group with her Joplin-esque grit and soaring highs, while McCoy lays the sludgy foundation care of his baguitar — a bass/guitar hybrid that offers the lows of the former and the highs of the latter. Together the two meld stoner-doom with primal blues and desert rock to form what they have dubbed “dirt metal”.

‘Benthos’, their full-length debut album, expands on the themes explored on their 2016 debut cassette – murder, revenge, lust, devil worship, and the benefits of a plant-based diet – while pushing their sound deeper into the proto-blues swamp.

Benthos will be released on limited edition heavyweight vinyl on the 14th December on Kozmik Artifatcz.

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. Wovenloaf
2. Fork In The Road
3. No Good
4. Black Box
5. Glass Cutter
6. Sharktown Blues
7. Ode To Plastic
8. Vinny Gets Arrested
9. The Devil
10. Wytches

Aboleth are:
Vocals: Brigitte Roka
Guitar: David Abrams
Bass: Mark Dalbeth
Drums: Boll3t

https://www.facebook.com/abolethband
https://abolethband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/abolethband/
https://twitter.com/abolethband
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Aboleth, Benthos (2018)

Aboleth, “Wovenloaf” official video

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KYOTY Premiere Live at 3S Video; Live Album out Friday

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

kyoty

This week, New Hampshire heavy post-rock instrumentalists KYOTY will release the new live album, Live at 3S, through Deafening Assembly. The six-track outing captures a show the three-piece played on Aug. 3, 2018, at the 3S Artspace in I-guess-gentrifying downtown Portsmouth, NH, and the accompanying video was shot by Treebeard Media. The screen comes down behind Nathaniel Parker Raymond, Nick Filth and Rob Brown quickly as they begin their half-hour set, and the sense of atmosphere and range is almost immediate from those initial crashes, but as “L” from their 2017 split with SEA (discussed here) and as the forceful strums of “Via” and punctuated exploration “Carcer” from 2015’s Geomancy I take hold, they only begin to flesh out further the textures and progressive ambience of the set’s beginning. A wash of effects surges forward intermittently as intensity picks up and recedes, but even the quiet moments are given a sustained tension through the adrenaline surge one can easily see in the clip below, despite the dim lighting.

Those inclined to suss out influences will find Russian Circles comparisons well enough met by “Carcer” — if not by the actual band, whose moniker is an acronym for Keep Your Opinions to Yourself — and before they kyoty live-at-3s-fullclose with the resonant tones of “14,” which opened their 2012 debut, Undiscovered Country of Old Death and Strange Years in the Frightful Past — which was remixed, rearranged and remastered last year into Remanufactured Realm of Ancient Annihilation (get it?) — they unfurl “Populus,” which its anxious starts and stops and an ensuing buildup toward a massive payoff. By then, a telltale Sunn crackle can be heard from the amps, but the drift into “14” is clean and they hold down the end of the set with vitality that undercuts the notion of such atmospheric material being in any way staid or overly academic in its execution. They may not have a frontman out there plugging the t-shirts at the merch table, but KYOTY obviously have no trouble making arguments in their own favor regardless.

Their Bandcamp page is a trove of churning progginess ripe for digging in, and I won’t tell you not to do that, but on the occasion of the release Friday of Live at 3S, I’m happy to be able to host the video shot by Treebeard of the entire set — i.e., the visual accompaniment of the entire live record. With the audio mixed by Filth and the level of performance taking place, I think you’ll agree it’s worth sticking around for the whole gig. I’ve been through it five or six times at this point and no regrets.

Some comment from the band follows.

Please enjoy:

KYOTY, Live at 3S Artspace, Portsmouth, NH 08.03.18

KYOTY on Live at 3S:

We decided to make the video when we realized that a lot of the live footage of us online was either outdated or not great quality (probably because we tend to play in the dark, haha). We figured it was worth setting up something for ourselves to share a better vision of our live performance. Having toured with SEA, we were friendly with Steve and were fans of his video work so it seemed only natural that we work with him and Treebeard.

Initially it was going to just be a live video for which Nick Filth (our guitarist) was going to mix the audio. But we were all so happy with the performance and the tracks provided by Adam Preston Cissell that it seemed worth releasing in its own right. I think we all felt it was such a good, honest portrayal of our sound as a band that we had to put it out. Nick Filth mixed and mastered the audio for the final release.

KYOTY performing live at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH on August 3, 2018.
Album available here: https://kyoty.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-3s

Sound & lights by Nick Lemoyne and Alex Bourne.
Audio mixed & mastered by Nick Filth.

Tracklisting:
1. —
2. L
3. Via
4. Carcer
5. Populus
6. 14

KYOTY is:
Nick Filth
Nathaniel Parker Raymond
Rob Brown

KYOTY on Thee Facebooks

KYOTY on Instagram

KYOTY on Bandcamp

KYOTY website

Treebeard Media website

Deafening Assembly on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: BongCauldron, Black Helium, Earthbong, Sir Collapse, Alms, Haaze, The Sledge, Red Lama, Full Tone Generator, Mountain Dust

Posted in Reviews on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Not to get off topic here, but it’s December, and god damn, I hate the fucking holidays. Christmas, even if you believe in the religious significance of the day, is pure garbage. I like giving presents well enough, don’t particularly enjoy receiving them, but even if you put aside the whole “oh it’s so commercial ‘now'” thing, like there was a time anyone now living ever saw when it wasn’t, it isn’t fun. The meal sucks. It’s dark. It’s cold. The songs are fucking endless and terrible — yes, all of them — and the whole experience is just a bummer the whole way through. If there was actually a war on it, I wish they’d drop the bomb and incinerate the entire thing.

Take Thanksgiving, make it start in November and end in December. A month-long festival for the season. You can even give gifts at the end, if you want. It could be like Ramadan, or, probably more likely and much on the opposite end of the spectrum, Oktoberfest.

There. Problem solved. Have a great day, everyone. Let’s do some reviews.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

BongCauldron, Tyke

BongCauldron Tyke

Biscuit, Corky and Jay of BongCauldron return less than 12 months out from their Binge LP (review here) with Tyke (on APF), three more cuts of weed-eating, dirt-worshiping, weed-worshiping, dirt-eating sludge, fueled as ever by fuckall and booze and banger riffs — and yes, I mean “banger” as in “bangers and mash.” There’s a lead that shows up in closer “Jezus Throat Horns” and some vocal melody that follows behind the throaty barks, but for the bulk of the three-tracker, it’s down to the business of conveying dense-toned disaffection and rolling nod. “Pisshead on the Moon” opens with a sample about alcohol killing you and works from its lumber into a bit of a shuffle for its midsection before hitting a wall in the last minute or so in order to make room for the punker blast of “Back up Bog Roll,” which tears ass and is gone as soon as it’s there, dropping some gang vocals on the way, because really, when you think about it, screw everything. Right? “Jezus Throat Horns” might be offering a bit of creative progression in closing out, but the heart of BongCauldron remains stained of finger and stank of breath — just the way it should be.

BongCauldron on Thee Facebooks

APF Records webstore

 

Black Helium, Primitive Fuck

black helium primitive fuck

Oh yes. Most definitely. From the Sabbath swing behind the chugging “Love the Drugs” and the march of “Wicked Witch” through the what-would-happen-if-Danzig-was-interesting “Summer Spells” and fuzzed-out post-punk shouts of “Videodrone” en route to the nine-minute “Curtains at the Mausoleum,” London four-piece Black Helium make heavy psychedelic songcraft into something as malleable as it should be on their Riot Season debut, Primitive Fuck, holding to underlying structures when it suits them and touching on drone bliss without ever really completely letting go. Opener “Drowsy Shores” is hypnotic. The aforementioned “Curtains at the Mausoleum” is hypnotic. Even the chug-meets-effects-blowout closing title-track is hypnotic, but on the handclap-laced “Do You Wanna Come Out Tonight?” or “Videodrone,” or even “Summer Spells,” there are hooks for the listener to latch onto, life-rafts floating in the swirling tonal abyss. The truth? There isn’t a primitive thing about it. They’re not so much lizard-brained as astral-planed, and if you want a summation of their sound, look no further than their name. It’ll make even more sense when you listen. Which you should do.

Black Helium on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Earthbong, Demo 2018

earthbong demo 2018

The immediate association in terms of riff is going to be Sleep. “Drop Dead,” the 10-minute first of two songs on Earthbong‘s debut Demo 2018, rolls out with pure Dopesmoker-ism and follows the model of gradual unfolding of its weedian sludge riffery. No complaints. The Kiel, Germany, trio are obviously just getting their start, and since it’s a demo and not the “debut EP” that so many otherwise demos try to position themselves as, I’ll take it. And to boot, “Drop Dead” ultimately departs its Sleepy environs for altogether more abrasive fare, with Bongzilla-style screams and an increasingly aggressive shove, the drums crashing like the cymbals did something wrong, and feedback capping into the start of “Wanderer,” which is shorter at seven minutes and opens its assault earlier, the vocals no less distorted than the guitar or bass. There’s some space in a solo in the second half, but Earthbong again twist into harsh, crusty doom before letting feedback carry them out to the demo’s finish. Growing to do, but already their violence seethes.

Earthbong on Thee Facebooks

Earthbong on Bandcamp

 

Sir Collapse, Walk to the Moon

sir collapse walk to the moon

Grunge, noise rock and Queens of the Stone Age-style melody-making collide on Walk to the Moon, the debut full-length from German four-piece Sir Collapse, sometimes on disparate cuts, like the noisy intro given to the album by “Lower Principles,” and sometimes within the same song, as in the later “Like Me.” A jangly swing in “Mono Mantra” and the Nirvana-esque hook there soon gives way to the desert-hued thrust of “One Man Show” and the early ’90s fuzz of “Happy Planet Celebration,” while “The Great Escape” leads the way into some measure of evening out the approach in “Like Me,” “Too Late,” “Hey Ben” and “The Family,” unless that’s just the band acclimating the listener to their style. Fair enough either way. Sir Collapse round out with a return to the uptempo push shown earlier, giving their first LP an impressive sense of symmetry and whole-work presentation as layers of vocals intertwine with melody alternately lush and raw, sounding very much like a band who know the parameters in which they want to work going forward. So be it.

Sir Collapse on Thee Facebooks

Sir Collapse on Bandcamp

 

Alms, Act One

alms act one

Organ-soaked Baltimorean garage doomers Alms enter the conversation of 2018’s best debut albums with Act One on Shadow Kingdom, a collection rife with choice riffing, dynamic vocals and a nuanced blend of heft and drama. That a song like “The Toll” could be both as traditional sounding as it is and still modern enough to be called forward-thinking is nothing short of a triumph, and in the stomping “The Offering,” Alms cast forth a signature chorus that stands out from the tracks surrounding without departing the atmosphere so prevalent in their work. “Dead Water” at the outset and “For Shame” build a momentum through side A that the five-piece of keyboardist/vocalist Jess Kamen guitarists Bob Sweeney (also vocals) and Derrick Hans, bassist Andrew Harris and drummer Derrick Hans expand in the second half of the record, winding up in the early gruel of “Hollowed” only to resolve the album with speedier swing and as sure a hand as they’ve guided it all along. At six songs and 33 minutes, Act One unmistakably leaves the audience wanting more, and indeed, the plot may just be starting to unfold.

Alms on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records on Bandcamp

 

Haaze, Swamp Mama

Haaze Swamp Mama

It is a sharp, biting 27-minute run, but Swamp Mama isn’t just thrown together haphazardly. Alberta-based sludge metallers Haaze build a song like “35 Indians” to a head over the course of a deceptively efficient 4:44, following opening track “Beast of the Bog” with a developed sense of craft underlying the outward negativity of their sound. I’ll give the band bonus points for finishing side A with a song called “Stereotypically Doomed,” but more for the crash cymbal that seems to devour the mix. There’s a trashy undercurrent to the subsequent title-track, and as it finishes its pummel, it relinquishes ground to the acoustic interlude, “The Mechanic,” which I’m just going to assume is named for the Charles Bronson movie. That of course sets up the most extreme cut included in closer “AL,” which layers fierce growls and screams atop a rhythm clearly designed for maximum assault factor. A little more metal than sludge, it nonetheless remains tonally consistent with what comes before it, giving Swamp Mama a vicious ending and a feel that’s all the more lethal for it.

Haaze on Thee Facebooks

Haaze on Bandcamp

 

The Sledge, On the Verge of Nothing

the sledge on the verge of nothing

Copenhagen four-piece The Sledge boasts the three former members of heavy rockers Hjortene in guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Palle, drummer/vocalist Kim and bassist Claus, so while they’ve revamped their identity and gone on to add vocalist Magnus Risby — who appears here on “179 Liars” and “Yet Untitled” — perhaps its somewhat disingenuous to consider their first album under the new moniker, On the Verge of Nothing, a debut. Issued through Kozmik Artifactz, the record collects eight tracks produced by Anders Hansen (who also worked with Hjortene) and mixed by Matt Bayles, and in listening to the cuts with Risby in the lead spot, the vibe taps into a thicker take on late-era Dozer with no less righteous melodicism. That, however, is just a fraction of the total story of On the Verge of Nothing, which taps earlier desert idolatry on “Death Drome Doline” and brings in none other than Lorenzo Woodrose himself for guest spots elsewhere. People in and out of the lineup through different tracks should make the LP disjointed, but as ever, it’s the songwriting that holds it together, and one can’t discount the core band’s experience playing together as a part of that either. Debut or not, it’s an impressive offering.

The Sledge on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Red Lama, Dogma

red lama dogma

One tends to think of serenity and peaceful drift when it comes to Danish heavy psych rockers Red Lama, but as the seven-piece band quickly turn around follow-up to their 2018 sophomore LP, Motions (discussed here), cuts like opener “Time” and “RLP” unfold with a particular sense of urgency, the former seeming to showcase an acknowledgement of sociopolitical circumstances in Europe and beyond in a way that seems to readjust their focus. That’s a tidy narrative, but if it’s a case of priorities being rebalanced, it’s striking nonetheless. To coincide, “RLP” has a heavier roll in its second half, and while second cut “State of the Art” and closer “Tearing up the Snow” both make their way past the five-minute mark with post-rocking pastoralia and dreamy melodies, there remains a feeling of a tighter focus in the tracks that could portend a new stage of the band’s development or could simply be a circumstance of what’s included here. The next album will tell the tale.

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama on Bandcamp

 

Full Tone Generator, Valley of the Universe

full tone generator valley of the universe

Fronted by Andy Fernando of Don Fernando, Full Tone Generator‘s debut long-player, Valley of the Universe, nonetheless bears the unmistakable hallmark of the Californian desert — in no small part because that’s where it was recorded. Fernando and guitarist/bassist/backing vocalist Brad Young traveled to that famed landscape to record with Bubba DuPree and Brant Bjork at Zainaland Studios, only to have the latter end up playing drums and contributing backing vocals as well to the eight-tracker. Not a bad deal, frankly. The key reference sound-wise throughout Valley of the Universe is Kyuss, particularly because of Bjork‘s involvement and Fernando‘s vocal style, but the slow-rolling “I Only Love You When I’m Loaded,” 59-second blaster “No Future” and the ending jam duo of “Preacher Man” and “Never to Return” make the ground their own, the latter with some surprise screams before it bounces its way into oblivion as though nothing ever happened. They’ve got the vibe down pat, but Full Tone Generator do more as well than simply retread desert rock’s founding principles.

Full Tone Generator on Thee Facebooks

Hurricane Music on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Dust, Seven Storms

mountain dust seven storms

Keys give Montreal four-piece Mountain Dust a tie to classic heavy blues and they use that element well to cast their identity in the spirit of a post-retro modern feel, details like the backing vocals of “White Bluffs” and the waltzing rhythm held by the snare on “Witness Marks” doing much to add complexity to the persona of the band. “You Could” goes over the top in its boozy regrets, but the dramas of “Old Chills” are full in sound and satisfyingly wistful, while closer “Stop Screaming” offers a bit of twang and slide guitar to go along with its sense of threat and consuming seven-minute finish. Tight songwriting and clean production do a lot to give Seven Storms a professional presentation, but ultimately it’s the band itself that shines through in terms of performance and as Mountain Dust follow-up their well-received 2016 debut, Nine Years, they sound confident in their approach and ready to flesh out in multiple directions while maintaining a central character to their sound that will be familiar to the converted enough to be a work of genre while setting the stage to become all the more their own as well.

Mountain Dust on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

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Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019: The Machine to Headline, BlackWater HolyLight, Alastor, Psychlona, Domkraft, High Reeper, Saint Karloff and Thunderwhip Added

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

esbjerg fuzztival 2019 banner

A slew of lineup adds from the Obelisk-presented Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019, which has said that The Machine will headline, playing Denmark for perhaps the first time in their more than 10 years together. The Netherlands-based trio will take the stage at Huset Esbjerg with their new lineup that includes bassist Chris Both, who recently played his first show with the band stepping into the role. The fest has further filled out its two-day lineup with the likes of Alastor and Domkraft from Sweden — the latter of whom seem like they’re going to be kind of all over the place next year — as well as Saint Karloff from Norway, High Reeper from the States and many more.

Seems like they’re taking advantage of some bands being on tour at that time for the busy Spring fest schedule — one imagines that BlackWater HolyLight, the latest of these additions, will be on the road supporting their 2018 self-titled debut on RidingEasy, which is one of the year’s best — but it seems to be an awesome conglomeration that, again, I have no idea why they asked me to be involved with presenting. You know I’d be posting about it anyway.

But here we are anyhow. Tickets are on sale now and limited.

Announcements from the fest’s social media follow:

esbjerg fuzztival 2019 poster

We are STOKED to announce The Machine will headline Fuzztival in 2019! No introduction needed! We screamed like teenage girls when they agreed to stop by! First time in Denmark, too! (Fact check?)

Please note: The Machine will be filling in for Spelljammer, who unfortunately had to cancel their appearance at Fuzztival.

We have been graced with the presence of the daughters of fuzz. Blackwater Holylight confirmed for Fuzztival 2019!

Let the mojo rise! Psychlona added to the bill! Having just released their vinyl on the danish label Cursed Tongue Records they have set out to prove there’s a desert in ye olde England! The groove is real!

Next on the bill: Domkraft. Wielding a mindbending soundscape of obeliskian riff-majesty, Domkraft discharge layer upon layer of crushing fury, weaving through the wormhole punctures of spacetime.

Fuzztival are proud to present Alastor! Get your occult doom on!

Northern stoners Saint Karloff will be taking the riffs to a whole new stage, with local legends ThunderWhip bringing the old school doom! Ramping up to a great fest!

https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.facebook.com/events/880111745513014/

The Machine, Rehearsal Video Dec. 2018

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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