Posted in audiObelisk on September 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Today marks the release date of Albez Duz‘s second album, The Coming of Mictlan, on Iron Bonehead Productions vinyl and Archaic Sound CD. The sophomore outing from the Berlin-based two-piece follows a 2009 self-titled debut and is a subgenre spanning work of depressive and extreme doom metal, seven tracks spread across two vinyl sides running a gamut from morose goth theatricality to deathly growls grueling rhythmic lurch, all with a sense of the grandiose and a dose of classic melodic melancholia to accompany. Propelled by the collaboration of multi-instrumentalist Eugen H. (also drums in black metallers Dies Ater) and vocalist Alfonso Brito Lopez, it is encompassing and masterfully conceived.
Beginning with the mystic drones and spoken word intro “Heaven’s Blind,” The Coming of Mictlan isn’t without its ritualized side, a cultish tendency and neofolk influence emerging on the album’s second half with the subdued “Drowned,” some classic prog coming late into that song with emergent keys (they also covered Black Widow on the first record), but Albez Duz utterly refuse to be pinned to one style or another. An early rocker like “Fire Wings,” which still boasts plenty of twists and turns, sets the stage for further branching out on the subsequent “Mictlan” and “Feathered Snake,” unifying Aztec themes emerging across the record’s flowing course until the closing Tanita Tikaram cover “Twist in My Sobriety” redoes the moody New Wave pop-folk of the original as dark rock downerism.
To coincide with the album’s release, today I have the pleasure of hosting “Mictlan” for streaming. It’s not a complete summary of everything Albez Duz accomplish on The Coming of Mictlan, but it does demonstrate over its eight minutes how coherently the band ties its varied elements together, creating something individual from them and balancing an experimental sensibility with progressive songwriting. Do yourself a favor: When the song is done, and the keyboard-topped doom march has reached its conclusion, hit play again and go back to the start to remind yourself of just how far you’ve come and in how relatively short a time.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Albez Duz‘s The Coming of Mictlan is available now on Iron Bonehead Productions LP and Archaic Sound CD. More info at the links.
Posted in On the Radar on September 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
There are probably a couple distinct jams within the 18-minute span of the eponymous track on Swedish duo The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues‘ self-titled debut EP, in terms of the songwriting. By that I mean although the Örebro duo of Robin Hirse (ex-Asteroid) and Jonas Ljungkvist get pretty deep in an immersive flow, it still sounds like more happened in the track than they hit record and went to town on an improv heavy psych exploration. Individual movements they may be, still better to get lost in the whole. The beginning unfolds with echoing Morricone guitar, and unfolds a slow heavy rock groove, and they proceed through numerous shifts and movements that piece together well but have some breaks between them as well. What individual titles might be, I don’t know, but with the results Hirse and Ljungkvist get across the sprawl in “The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues,” which fleshes out with organ before the vocals kick in right around the five-minute mark, I’m not about to argue.
Hirse‘s voice will sound familiar to those who heard him with Asteroid, who released their second and apparently final full-length in 2010’s II (review here), and to a degree, one might consider the new, cumbersomely-monikered two-piece an outgrowth from that album’s jam-minded heavy rock sensibility, but the feel on The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues represents a discernible stylistic shift as well, and not just in the occasional Westernism. The vibe here is bluesier, the build looser. Hirse and Ljungqvist credit Tobias Eriksson, Joakim Kohlscheen and Jimmi Kohlscheen as “helping” with the EP and don’t get more specific than that, but they’re definitely working toward a full-band aesthetic one way or another, rather than the minimalism that duos can sometimes purposefully convey. Even as “The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues” pushes through its heavier apex and into foot-stomp-and-hand-clap revival, vocals layered for a near-gospel effect, this is true in the space the song creates, and as the song is led into its final phase groove by the guitar, one gets a sense of a unit clicking pedals on to make the machine go.
I was a nerd for Hirse‘s prior outfit even unto their swansong 7″ (review here), and The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues present enough of a turn sonically to clearly be on their own path, but neither is the development of Hirse‘s craft scrapped entirely or burned to the ground in favor of starting completely over. What the EP sounds like, when you get right to it, is a vinyl side, and after listening through more than a couple times in the days since its Sept. 6 release, I’d like to find out what’s on side B. The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues are reportedly heading back into the studio in short order, so it might not be all that long before we get there. Right on.
The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, Self-titled EP (2014)
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The only thing I find debatable about Arik Roper‘s poster art for Roadburn 2015 is whether or not it was ethical of him to use so much awesome in one sitting. It is a gluttony of awesome. We’re getting into the high season of lineup additions, which means over the next couple months, the festival will really start to take shape around the previously announced headliners, other headliners still to come, new acts, curated picks, and so on. So far it’s looking once again like the theme is diversity. Even between the groups most recently added — Mugstar, Pyramidal, Domo, Undersmile and Coma Wall — there’s a huge stylistic variation. Hell, Undersmile and Coma Wall are on opposite ends of the spectrum alone, and they’re made up of the same people.
Here’s Roper‘s poster as big as I can make it on the page (click to make it bigger), and details on the newest bunch to join the Roadburn 2015 lineup, courtesy of the fest’s website:
Mugstar To Put Glistening And Outerworldly Sonic Glory On Display At Roadburn 2015
Heavily influenced by psychedelia, Krautrock and even Post Rock, Liverpool UK’s beloved Mugstar are in the vanguard of modern psych rock, just in case you were unfamiliar with them.
Infusing their brooding moodiness, minimal psych rock mesmerism and propulsive, hypnokraut grooves with seriously psychedelic ferocity has propelled Mugstar to stand alongside such well-regarded contemporaries as Circle, Bardo Pond and Oneida.
The band distil the wordless core of Hawkwind, Neu! and Sonic Youth and their highly recommended albums Sun Broken, Lime and Axis put transcendent, glistening and outerworldly sonic glory on display.
So, for Roadburn 2015, Mugstar will explode into an interstellar, total drugpsych tripout on Thursday, April 9 at the 013 venue, and we’re equally excited to announce that the band will also play the soundtrack to Ad Marginem on Saturday, April 11 at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Pyramidal and Domo To Represent Spanish Heavy Psych at Roadburn Festival 2015
Spanish heavy psych has long been overdue at Roadburn, so we’re thrilled to announce that Pyramidal and Domo, both hailing from Alicante, will bring their stoner inspired heavy Space Rock with progressive and Krautrock leanings to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival, set for April 9 -12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Channeling the undiluted spirit of King Crimson, Hawkwind and Neu! on debut album Dawn In Space, and critically acclaimed follow-up Frozen Galaxies, Pyramidal will take you to the farthest reaches of outer space, propelled by otherworldly sounds, obscure psychedelia and hypnotic grooves.
Domo harkens back to the heyday of the gonzoid power trio’s of the hazy late 60s and early 70s, anchored to heavy clouds of screaming, wah wah driven psychedelia. If you love (early) Gary Moore, or you’re a fan of Tony McPhee (like most of us at Roadburn), and massively worship The Groundhogs‘ Split, then Domo will be surely a must for you.
Word on the street is that Domo‘ S/T debut album will be finally released on vinyl soon.
Sirens Of Sludge Undersmile To Bring Doom And Despair To Roadburn 2015
Undersmile will bring their hypnotic, soul crushing blend of doom and despair to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Featuring the unique dual vocal interplay of singer-guitarists Hel Sterne and Taz Corona-Brown, Undersmile combine tortuously slow tempos, discord and stomach-churning melody to create an intense listening experience, both live and on record.
Having released an EP, three splits (with Caretaker, Bismuth and their own alter-egos, Coma Wall) and 2012’s epic debut album Narwhal, the band will be supporting their as-yet untitled second album which they will be previewing at the festival.
Prepare For Despair As Coma Wall Bring Acoustic Death Folk To Roadburn Festival 2015
Coma Wall, the acoustic alter-ego of Undersmile, will bring rustic downbeat blues and folk to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
The very notion of unplugging a band as monstrously heavy and doomladen as Undersmile seemed almost ludicrous before we actually heard what it entailed, as the band replaced sludgy distortion with banjos and acoustic guitars in their alter ego Coma Wall guise.
Taz Corona-Brown and Hel Sterne’s haunting close harmony singing still brought a tingle to the spine as the band dredged southern gothic creeping dread and spectacularly outdid their electric selves on their split Wood & Wire EP (released by Shaman Recordings), bringing a bit of black sun gloom to sunny spring days and making for one of the most uncompromisingly powerful records to come out of Oxford (UK) in years.
Taking influence from artists such as Nick Cave, 16 Horsepower, Neutral Milk Hotel, Bob Dylan, Low, Mark Lanegan, Nirvana and Alice in Chains, Coma Wall will play songs from an upcoming EP, as well as tracks from Wood & Wire.
Roadburn Festival 2015 will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Posted in Reviews on September 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
After two ceremonious vinyl reissues for their 2012 Disastronaught (review here) and 2013 Corned Beef Colossus (review here) EPs, London heavy rock four-piece Steak make their proper debut on Napalm Records with Slab City, also their first full-length. In several ways, the album is a 10-track/49-minute homage to the glories of desert rock, and particularly, Slab City is indebted to Kyuss‘ 1994 genre classic Welcome to Sky Valley in both its mindset and execution, taking its name, as that record does (if unofficially) from a location in the Californian desert. Not only that, but Steak – vocalist Kippa, guitarist Reece Tee (also a principal organizer of the DesertFest in London), bassist James “Cam” Cameron and drummer Sammy Forway – traveled from London to Palm Springs in Southern CA in order to record at Thunder Underground with producer Harper Hug, who also recently engineered outings by Vista Chino and John Garcia, and co-producer Arthur Seay, guitarist of Unida and House of Broken Promises. In addition, John Garcia makes a guest vocal appearance on side A’s “Pisser,” underscoring that track’s particular Blues for the Red Sun-shine, and even unto the goof-off bonus track “Old Timer D.W.” — which, admittedly, is both less pull-you-out-of-the-album and more of an actual song than was “Lick Doo” on Sky Valley – Steak wear their influence on their sleeve. I’m not going to complain about that. With the general quality of their riffing and the compression brought to the recording — Vista Chino‘s Peace makes a decent comparison point, production-wise — by Hug and Seay, Steak embark on their first long-player by continuing the progression from their EPs that serves as the steps toward creating their own identity out of that influence. And anyway, it’s not like they’re trying to tell you they wrote “Gardenia” or something.
I’ve been curious to hear how Steak would make the leap from their shorter releases to a full album. They do so reusing only two tracks — “Liquid Gold” from the second EP, and “Machine,” from the first. Each is the second song on its respective half of Slab City, which seems to have been structured with at least thoughts of vinyl. “Liquid Gold” in particular is an early highlight, coming off opener “Coma”‘s noisy and gradually solidifying atmosphere — the first couple minutes of the album, the band seem to be coalescing aurally before the track launches — more expansive sounding than the original and with a different treatment of Kippa‘s vocals, which here are deeper in the mix and piled in effects, whether it’s echo, compression, megaphone, reverb, etc. Sometimes that can signal a lack of confidence on the part of a singer, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case here. While he’s got a gruff delivery and he’s prone to sticking to it, Kippa doesn’t strike as the kind of vocalist trying to hide behind studio trickery, and the impression across Slab City‘s first three tracks — “Coma,” “Liquid Gold” and the shorter push of the titular cut, “Slab City” — is that the band is trying to find different ways of changing things up around Tee‘s wall of fuzz and the laid back heavy grooves of Cameron (who once again serves as Steak‘s hidden weapon) and Forway, whose tight snare pop manages to ground the proceedings even at their most jammed out. And they do jam. Songs are structured, but even “Pisser” moves through its varied parts and into and out of Garcia‘s parts with a sense that any minute now Steak might just decide to ride a riff for the next eight minutes. They don’t go that far — at least not until closer “Rising,” and even that has purpose — but they make it known effectively that they could and reserve the right to at some future date. The noisy wash of “Quaaludes and Interludes” underscores the dynamic flow of Slab City‘s first half, setting up side B to keep the momentum moving forward.
It does so successfully. “Roadhead,” which follows “Quaaludes and Interludes,” begins a trio of faster cuts that continues through “Machine” and “Hanoid” as Steak hit full throttle en route to the eight-minute “Rising” and Slab City‘s grandest statement of where they are as a band. Though I doubt you’ll be hearing about it on the radio anytime soon, “Roadhead” is one of the album’s catchiest songs — a solid opener for the second half — and with the familiar roll of “Machine” backing it up, there’s a bit of back and forth play going on with the energy of the material, despite a pretty consistent tempo. Tee alternates between airy lead lines in the verse and a more heads-down chorus rollout, but the groove is palpable either way, and he saves a scorching lead for “Hanoid,” which builds up quickly over a four-and-a-half-minute course and ends with a cymbal wash and feedback to signal the shift into “Rising,” the longest piece on the record and most expansive, bringing in a feedback start, some vague speech in there either sampled or not, drum thud taking hold to transition into the verse. The song is almost at its halfway point be the time they get to the chorus, Kippa raging out his lines over waves of distortion in the guitar and bass. More feedback serves as a transition back through the next cycle, and though it’s basically a verse and a chorus repeated, Steak approach “Rising” with a feel open enough to bring some chaotic vibing to the mix, which is as fitting an end to Slab City‘s movement as one could ask. That makes “Old Timer D.W.” a little extraneous, perhaps, but the bonus track, which begins with a cockney “Come on now, work for your money! Play another song!” and shifts into reverb-drenched slide guitar shenanigans, is clearly serving a purpose beyond what it might convey about the band’s songwriting. Its half-written feel is somewhat incongruous with Slab City‘s overall purposeful nature — if Steak had just been interested in screwing around, they probably would’ve saved the travel expense and stayed in London or at least the UK to do it — but as far as sending messages goes, “we don’t take ourselves too seriously” isn’t a bad thing for a band to say on their first album.
But don’t mistake them, Steak might be up for tossing off a riff here and there, but even when they do so, they’re playing to a very specific idea, and Slab City — desert hued and desert captured — is a record by a group of players who knew precisely what they wanted to accomplish in making it. It is not haphazard. The two EPs set up a comic-book-style narrative between them, and I don’t know if Slab City continues that or not (hazards of digital promos), but in terms of their overarching progression, it proves just how ready they were to take on the long-player task, and justifies the ambitious method by which they recorded the album through high-grade riffs, memorable songs and a molten flow between its component tracks. Steak leave themselves room to grow, but don’t let that take away from the fact that Slab City is a markedly impressive debut and as true a work of desert rock as one is likely to find no matter the geography.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Dirty South finds a new home out west! Earlier this year on a split with Graves at Sea, North Carolina sludge stalwarts Sourvein began to show a different side of themselves, founder and vocalist T-Roy Medlin experimenting with a cleaner approach to singing over the band’s signature rolling riffs. On tour this spring in Europe, they worked this stylstic shift successfully into the context of their past material — raucous, riotous and filthy — and I guess it worked out. Their next album, Aquatic Occult, will be released on Metal Blade Records.
Their plan is to record with Mike Dean of C.O.C. early next year and put it out sometime thereafter. Medlin has bled hard for his band over the years, been through more lineups than I can count, and even Sourvein‘s last full-length, Black Fangs (review here), was badass, so I’d definitely say he deserves the push Metal Blade will give. Congratulations to him and to the band.
Fresh off the PR wire:
Sourvein signs to Metal Blade Records, plan release of “Aquatic Occult” for 2015
Critically-acclaimed sludge/doom veterans Sourvein have signed with Metal Blade Records! The new partnership’s first effort will be the release of the band’s fourth full-length album, “Aquatic Occult” in 2015. The album is scheduled to be recorded with Corrosion of Conformity’s Mike Dean in early 2015 and will finally see its release later that year. Sourvein main man Troy “T-Roy” Medlin was interviewed by friend and fellow musician, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God fame, who penned the band’s new biography. The text will serve as an excellent introduction for the uninitiated. It’s a recap of the past twenty years of the band, and a look towards a bright future for Sourvein.
Below is an excerpt from the biography, which includes comments on the signing and the upcoming album:
Over twenty long dues-paying years later, Sourvein has at long last found a proper home for their doom-laden Southern noise with underground stalwarts Metal Blade Records, and Medlin couldn’t be happier. “Aquatic Occult”, the band’s first offering on the label, promises to be heavier than a two-ton anchor dropped into an antique porcelain bathtub– it’s going to break things. But getting here hasn’t been easy.
“Finally, man. Finally,” he says, shaking his head in disbelief as he reflects on the lengthy, grueling trek that brought his band to Metal Blade’s roster.
“It’s the record I wanted to make when I was in those rooming houses, but I couldn’t,” Medlin says, “There was too much pain, so I got lost for bit, falling back into the party life and trying to numb myself with alcohol. But motherfuckers need to feel the pain. There is more to life than numbing yourself.” Is that what “Aquatic Occult” will be about, bringing the pain? “I’m going to bring the truth. The lyrics are reality to me; I don’t write about cars or chicks or fucking horror movies, I write about getting my nose fucking broken, all the stuff I saw growing up and now. But I want it to be positive, to let people know that there is a way out of bad times and tough situations. I’m living proof,” he says. When Sourvein hits the road in 2015 to support “Aquatic Occult”, is that what he’ll be talking from the stage, positivity?”
Man, it’s not all peace and love; it’s just not coming from hate anymore. And when I’m on stage, I’m not up there to talk to you anyways. I’ll let the amplifiers do the talking. I want you to feel it. You’ve got to feel alive, and life sometimes includes pain. Masking it doesn’t do any good, because it’s still there. It’s better to live and feel it. All of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
Even without translating the title of the song “La Selva Se Muere” itself, Cultura Tres‘ latest video (their eighth, reportedly) makes its theme pretty plain, starting out in a dense, inhabited forest full of animals, people, water, insects, all manner of life, and winding up in a desert and a garbage heap. “The forest dies” is the title in English, and yeah, that’s pretty much what the aggressive bilingual Venezuelan sludge metallers give us in the clip, at one point guitarist/vocalist Alejandro Londoño switching from Spanish to repeat the line, “The ground is covered in blood,” reinforcing both the band’s respect for the land and their disdain for the ravages of colonialism and its thinly veiled corporate counterpart, globalization.
Disdain is something of a specialty of Cultura Tres — here Londoño, guitarist/backing vocalist Juan Manuel de Ferrari, bassist Alonso Milano and drummer David Abbink (recently replaced by Benoit Martiny) — and their 2013 full-length, Rezando al Miedo (review here), proved them to be masters of brooding viciousness and slow churn. If somewhat unipolar — the hazards of having a point to make — it was also consistent in its perspective lyrically and musically patient to a surprising degree. A band that seethes so much, one almost expects them to bust out thrashing at some point, but Cultura Tres never did, and “La Selva Se Muere” reminds of the deliberateness in their approach and the force behind their moody, lurching riffs.
Rezando al Miedo was released by Devouter Records, and Cultura Tres have started writing and demoing material for their next outing, which presumably will arrive in 2015. “La Selva Se Muere” was shot by Londoño, Milano and de Ferrari (somebody get that drummer a camera!) and edited by Londoño and de Ferrari. More to come next year as they start to move past Rezando al Miedo, but as you can see in the clip below, the band’s pissed off sensibility is as fresh as ever.
Cultura Tres, “La Selva Se Muere” official video
Strong criticism of the aboriginal holocaust, the religious invasion and polluting of the rainforest are some of the concepts that visualize the hypnotic chants and grunts, revealing a powerful narrative of greed and death. “La Selva Se Muere”, an agonizing mixture of psychedelic guitar work and haunting vocals, comes from CULTURA TRES latest album “Rezando Al Miedo” released last year on the UK based label Devouter Records. The video was shot on location in the midst of the Venezuelan Amazons and Médanos de Coro National Park.
The band has been working hard behind the scenes following the arrival of Benoit Martiny on drums and are busy writing their 4th album, the follow up to the widely acclaimed predecessor “Rezando Al Miedo”.
They kind of had to stretch to make the title work, but they got there in the end. For each respective side of the Battleground Records split tape between Arizona polisci sludgecore bashers Godhunter and Oakland atmospheric blackened doomers Secrets of the Sky, there are two songs. Godhunter present “Pursuit/Predator” and “Gh/0st:s” and Secrets of the Sky have “The Star” and “Gh/0st:s (Part II),” the latter cut for both deriving its title from an acronym of the bands’ names, the second one altered so that if written out it would appear as “Of the Sky: Secrets” and stylized with a zero where the ‘o’ in “of” would otherwise be. Again, it’s a stretch, but they make it work, and tie the two pieces together musically well. The two acts toured together earlier this summer around slots at the Doom in June festival in Las Vegas and they’ll partner again — with many others as well — for the Southwest Terror Fest as part of a booming lineup headed by Neurosis, SunnO))), Goatsnake, et al. On the earlier tour, the tape was sold in an edition of 100 copies with artwork by Nate Burns. Vinyl is due at the end of this month in cooperation between Battleground and The Compound.
What the two bands mostly have in common is that they’re heavy, and yes, I recognize that says next to nothing about them. Godhunterderive a big part of their sound from hardcore, and as the “Pursuit/running you down” call and response gang-style vocals over acoustic guitar round out “Pursuit/Predator” — which begins and ends with the Zodiac Killer, sampled — that’s all the more prevalent. To contrast, Secrets of the Sky take a Euro-style approach to blackened doom, a clearer production than one thinks of to fit the phrase “American black metal” adding a lush sensibility to their doomed progression on “The Star.” I suppose the two bands share an affinity for experimentation as well, however, since both 10-plus-minute installments of “Gh/0st:s” depart widely from the sphere of what one might expect from the band. In Godhunter‘s case, they bring in vocalist Julia DeConciniof Young Hunter and Burning Palms to top a moody, ambient tension with layers of otherworldly melody. There’s a spoken word break somewhere around the middle, and a guitar chug emerges later on, but at no point does “Gh/0st:s” explode with the kind of aggression shown in “Pursuit/Predator,” and that’s obviously the idea.
Immediately, Secrets of the Sky are on a different wavelength. Side two starts out with guitars slowly building up, and when “The Star” kicks in full brunt, the Oakland five-piece include a roaring death metal growl for good measure. A current of synth throughout provides further distinction, but even without, Secrets of the Sky have a more metallic root. Blackened vocals over a rolling doom verse give way to atmospheric guitar and spoken whispers, and it’s not until the final moments a cleaner-sung approach is revealed. By then, Secrets of the Sky have taken “The Star” up and down and around and beaten the hell out of it, a clear, full production ensuring that nothing is lost in the process. A more plotted feel presides over “Gh/0st:s (Part II)” as well, which is instrumental save for the endearingly blasphemous Exorcist sample at the end, as it too builds and recedes with crisply mixed toms, synth, acoustic guitar and plugged-in rumble. The sample is what pushes the track past 10 minutes, and I’d call it superfluous, but Secrets of the Sky and Godhunter pretty clearly had in mind that the pieces would complement each other and be of similar length, and they are.
Despite the sonic differences, there’s an apparent affinity between the two bands for each other’s work, and that comes across as they meet in the middle (it’s a very far out “middle”) on the two “Gh/0st:s” pieces. Still, each side of the tape has something different to offer underscoring the idea that, let’s say, if you’re showing up to a gig where both acts will be taking the stage, there’s really any number of angles from which your ass might be kicked.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Following up on 2011’s Rise, Netherlands-based instrumental foursome Tank86 are preparing to launch a Kickstarter in order to press their second album, Obey. I was pretty sure Shepard Fairey had a trademark on the word “obey” in block letters if not the word overall, but I guess the Tilburg outfit are within their rights on the new album’s cover, which they’ve newly unveiled. Or if not, you know, prepared for litigation.
Tank86 recorded the eight tracks for Obey this spring at Quarantine Studios and their plan is to put the whole deal out on vinyl presumably early in 2015, though I guess they could probably squeeze it in before the end of this year if the crowdfunding takes off. They teased the whole deal like such, and as you can see, they’re of about as few words as one might expect of an all-instrumental outfit. We can’t all be talkers.
Goes like this:
The final master of “OBEY” is done and approved by our four sets of bleeding ears. Great work by Brett of Tower Studios!
Currently we’re editing a crowdfund promovideo and finalizing all the other kickstarter thingies. There will be some very cool limited stuff up for grabs! Expect the kickstarter (with preview tracks!) to hit somewhere next week.
Meanwhile we present you the cover image of “OBEY” designed by the fine folks of Blacklake. Coming to you soon in full vinyl glory!
TANK86 released their debut album ‘Rise’ in 2011, which was well received by critics and fans all over the globe for it’s instrumental depth, high density of breackneck riffage and general instumental songwriting.
TANK86 has toured Europe with Dozer, played at the legendary roadburn festival and stood its ground alongside bands such as Monster Magnet, Pelican, Karma to Burn and The Sword.
Posted in audiObelisk on September 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Illinois five-piece Lark’s Tongue will release their debut album, Narrow, through their own Bird Dialect Records on Sept. 20 (preorder here). The eight-song 2LP plays out in utter defiance of its title: Narrow is anything but as Lark’s Tongue explore the spaces between heavy psychedelia and post-rock, working influences from New Wave melancholia into songs like “Hecate” and concocting rich vocal harmonies to complement the airy backing of guitar effects and synth that constitute their lush, immersive sound when paired with deep bass and underlying drums that seem to hold the whole thing together. At 63 minutes, it is as ambitious a debut as one is likely to hear this year or any other, and its weight is matched by both its sonic and emotional resonance.
There are moments at which, with the spacious mix, ever-present focus on melody and heavy push, Lark’s Tongue remind of mid-period Katatonia or some of Anathema‘s former glories, but they seem to take the long way around to get there. That is, I don’t think it’s a direct influence, and rather that the wisping guitar of “Lay Me Down Slow” and the dramatic vocals of “Hermit’s Lament” come more from post-rock than the doom that took earlier inspiration from it. Still, as Narrow plays out, even in a heavier-rocking cut like “The Mask of Evil,” there’s a definite sense of clarity in Lark’s Tongue‘s vision, and the method of expression varies widely between the dreamy opening of “Windows and Mirrors” and the drone-to-apex finale of “Brown Recluse,” but what remains consistent is the smoothness with which they execute the material and the vast range of the album’s scope, undercutting the notion of Narrow as a first album and giving away members’ experience in acts like Minsk, Men of Fortune, Deceased Priest and JuanGoblin.
Lark’s Tongue is comprised of Chris Bennett, Jeff Hyde, Nate Lucas, Jon Wright and Andrew Sledd, and whatever else Narrow may or may not be, it’s a huge leap from where they were last year on their split with Across Tundras (streamed here). Listening to it is like diving into a pool, the way the band’s sound encompasses, especially when played at appropriate volume. Perhaps the most immersive moment is “Cold Hands,” which over the course of its 10 minutes rises from minimal guitar drones to a huge, lumbering tonal crush topped with somehow-still-under-control vocals that really emphasize just how far ahead of the game these guys are.
They’ll play two release shows for Narrow on Sept. 19 and 20. PR wire details and LP preoroder info follow the album itself, which you can hear on the player below.
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Following a debut 7″ and split 12″s with Across Tundras and Men of Fortune, Narrow is the debut full-length from Lark’s Tongue and the ninth release on the band’s own label, Bird Dialect. It features eight expansive songs across two LPs that collectively encapsulate the band’s first four years of existence.
Narrow is a pilgrimage across the vastness of psychedelic rock to places at once familiar and foreboding, severe and loving, intricate and immense. It’s the band’s first fully-formed missive: a statement of intention, a transmission of catharsis, a halcyon ode to the power of transformation.
A vinyl release show is set for September 20th at Ear in the Envelope in Peoria, Illinois, just one day after the band opens for the legendary Nik Turner’s Hawkwind at RIBCO in Rock Island.
Recorded by Jeff Gregory at ToneLab/Earth Analog Mixed by Sanford Parker at Hypercube Mastered by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room
True, I said I’d hold off putting up more clips from the Spirit Caravan reunion tour. Or at least I think I said it. Or at least I think I thought it. Either way, it was a stupid idea. There’s an awful lot of footage out there of Wino, Sherman and Henry Vasquez kicking ass across the land, and I’d be a fool to not embrace it because I live under the delusion that anybody’s keeping count of how often one or another of Wino‘s bands appears here. Hell, I’m damn near three years into doing Wino Wednesday. Redundancy stopped mattering a long time ago.
With that in mind, here’s something a little different. Ha. “Inside Looking Out” was originally released as a single by The Animals in 1966. A couple years later, in 1969, Grand Funk Railroad took it on and switched the lyrics so it was talking about reefer, and that apparently did the trick in terms of making the song awesome. It’s been covered by many over the years and has a classic boogie riff with some start-stops, and anytime Wino and Sherm want to share vocals, that’s cool by me. At about the halfway point in the video, right before the solo, the dude filming decides to throw the horns right at the bottom of the shot. I kind of thought the song itself was making the point of its own asskickery, but I have a hard time arguing with the sentiment.
This tour wasn’t Wino‘s first experience with “Inside Looking Out” either. The Obsessed released it in 1996 as the A-side of their Altamont Nation 7″ on Bongload Records with “The Peckerwood Stomp” accompanying, and it was also included in their 1999 compilation, Incarnate, on Southern Lord, which made it somewhat more readily available. As you can see in the clip below, experience counts.
Spirit Caravan, “Inside Looking Out” Live in Las Vegas, March 18, 2014
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
There really isn’t a word for what Milking the Starsis in relation to Last Patrol. “Reimagining,” which is what they went with in the title, comes about as close as anything I can think of, but really what Monster Magnet are doing here goes beyond simple reinterpretation. It’s not like they’re just playing fast songs slow or heavy songs acoustic or vice versa, they’re tripping way the fuck out and giving a glimpse at just how liberated these cats are after making their “return” to heavy psychedelia. So the version of “The Duke (of Supernature)” on Last Patrol(review here) was kind of sweet and subdued? Well here’s Bob Pantella‘s snare drum to punch you in the face. “Mindless Ones” was a hard rock rager? Well here it is as echoed-out psych pop. Oh, let’s absolutely drench “End of Time” in Hammond! It’s like listening to Dave Wyndorf‘s studio impulsiveness come to life.
The pivotal New Jersey five-piece will release Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrolon Nov. 18 through Napalm Records, complete with a new cover (you’ll notice the cosmic Bullgod is facing the opposite direction as on Last Patrolas he destroys whichever planet that was, probably ours) by John Sumrow. The title-track is also brand new, put to tape during the Last Patrol sessions, and other parts have been re-recorded as needed. Also worth noting that the two live bonus tracks are the recorded debut of bassist Chris Kosnik (The Atomic Bitchwax) in the band.
PR wire facts, comment from Wyndorf and audio of “No Paradise for Me” — a reworking of Last Patrol‘s “Paradise” — follow:
MONSTER MAGNET to Release Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrol – Artwork, Track Listing and First Song Revealed
Available November 18th on Napalm Records
2013 saw the release of MONSTER MAGNET’s latest album Last Patrol. Now comes Milking the Stars a reimagining of Last Patrol. Met with critical acclaim and supported by a world tour, Last Patrol has become a staple in the MONSTER MAGNET discography.
Today the artwork, track listing and first song from Milking the Stars have been released. Wyndorf’s pick for the first song he wanted fans to be exposed to is “No Paradise For Me”. The song according to Wyndorf is ‘interesting, fucked up and old school sounding’. Listen to “No Paradise For Me”HERE.
Wyndorf on Milking the Stars:
“Milking the Stars is a “re-imagined” version of Last Patrol featuring four new songs and live tracks.
“This was a happy experiment for me. It’s not a re-mix record by the current definition. It’s more like Last Patrol in a “what if?” style alternate reality.
“What if these songs were recorded in 1968?” “What would happen if I turned a pretty song into an angry one?” How would adding creepy organs and Mellotrons affect the emotional vibe of a song?” These are just a few of the questions that roll around in my head when I write and record any album but this time I decided to actually answer them with fully fleshed out, recorded and mixed examples.
“The process actually created new songs. That’s the icing on the cake for me. New sounds, new vocals, different instruments and arrangements make for a weird 1960’s vibe totally apart from Last Patrol which was fun for Phil, Bob, Garrett, mixer Joe Barresi and myself to explore.
“Finally there’s expanded versions of the songs “Last Patrol” and “Three Kingfishers” as recorded live at the AB club in Belgium, 2014. Both those songs were re-arranged for “maximum rock and psych” before we hit the road last year and feature the debut performance of new MAGNET bassist, Chris Kosnik. Personally, I think they beat the original versions.
Milking the Stars Track Listing: 1. Let the Circus Burn 2. Mindless Ones ‘68 3. No Paradise For Me 4. End of Time (B-3) 5. Milking the Stars 6. Hellelujah (Fuzz And Swamp) 7. I Live Behind The Clouds (Roughed Up And Slightly Spaced) 8. Goliath Returns 9. Stay Tuned (Even Sadder) 10. The Duke (Full On Drums ‘N Wah) 11. Last Patrol (Live) 12. Three Kingfishers (Live)
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The 2012 outing from Swedish trio, Pike, To Cross the Great Divide, was a varied and atmospheric work of post-metal, successfully avoiding the we’re-gonna-lie-about-what-we-do-in-order-to-trick-you-into-thinking-it’s-not-a-boring-Isis-ripoff methodology of countrymen Cult of Luna by virtue of working in faster tempo shifts and being generally unpretentious about a metallized influence across the album’s five mostly-extended tracks. Call it a High on Fire influence on the grammatically intriguing opener “Rituale Romanum” (is that a ritual of the Romans or to them?) if you want — the band is called Pike, for crying out loud — but there turned out to be much more to the band than one side or the other, and much to the album’s benefit.
They released To Cross the Great Divide as a gatefold digipak CD, nodding at vinyl without taking on the debatably needless expense of actually putting out the record on that format, and while they, like all post-metallers, had their requisite “Stones from the Sky” moment in the aforementioned opening cut, they at least used it as a fleshing out point for further expansion of their sound. Brothers Alex and Alvin Risberg recently welcomed new guitarist Ludwig Lovén to the fold and sent along the following announcement, which also hints at new material in progress:
We would like to officially welcome Ludvig Lovén as our new guitarist!
We are very excited about the future of Pike and where we are heading with this new line-up.
We are currently in the process of rehearsing some of our old material, as well as writing new stuff that will undoubtedly rip your face off.
We have also extended our reach to include the social media platform Instagram. So if you’re into that type of thing, follow us at @pikemusic
Pike: Ludvig Lovén – Guitar Alex Risberg – Bass/Vocals Alvin Risberg – Drums
A couple weeks ago, we began a series of pro-shot live videos shot at this year’s Ceremony of Sludge in Portland, Oregon, with footage of Beard of Bees playing “General Butt Naked.” It was as raucous a start as one could’ve hoped for, and with the second installment, we move into precision post-sludge tectonic riffing, courtesy of Portland’s own Sioux and their chug-a-lug stomper “Let in the Night.” Among the other things it is — progressive, complex, atmospheric — it is righteously heavy.
Sioux debuted in 2013 with a self-titled EP (review here), and at Ceremony of Sludge – held March 7 and 8 at Club 21 in Portland — they celebrated the release of their full-length debut, The One and the Many. “Let in the Night” is the opener from that album, and it highlights the addition of the former trio’s fourth member, synth-specialist/vocalist/sampler Ben Jackson, whose alternately screamed and clean-sung approach makes an excellent complement to the gruff, sludgy style of bassist Kirk Evans. On “Let in the Night,” they trade parts effectively but make highlight moments out of unison between them, adding depth and a sense of arrangement to the already rich turns of guitarist Juan Caceres and gloriously half-timed plod of drummer Ryan McPhaill. The sense of early Mastodonic lumbering that pervaded the EP is still there, but no question Sioux have taken their approach to a new level.
They were the penultimate act on the second night of the fest, with only Holy Grove following, so it was a fitting way to mark the beginning of this stage of the band. Last week, Sioux followed up The One and the Many with a digital single covering Nine Inch Nails‘ 1994 breakout radio hit single “Closer” that’s available as a name-your-price download from their Bandcamp page. However you might feel about the original source, it’s a bold song to take on and Sioux do well in putting their own spin on it.
As with last time, Sioux‘s “Let in the Night” was filmed by Cole Boggess, Justin Anderson, Justin Brown and Eli Duke, and edited by Cole Boggess with sound by Tim Burke. Stay tuned for more in the weeks to come from the third annual Ceremony of Sludge, and please, enjoy:
Sioux, “Let in the Night” Live at Ceremony of Sludge, Portland, OR, March 8, 2014
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Twin Cities duo Bloodnstuff have released their self-titled debut album digitally through Fuzzorama Records, the increasingly active imprint helmed by members of the always-active trio Truckfighters. I’m not sure when the album was first issued, or if it was self-released at all — they have a video for “Oh You Pretty Failures” that dates back to 2012 — but in listening to Bloodnstuff it’s easy enough to discern why the label picked up the band, whether it’s the swaggering stomp of the eponymous “Bloodnstuff” or the waltzing “The Cow People.” There’s a touch of fuzz to the tone of guitarist/vocalist Ed Holmberg, but the two-piece have a jagged side as well that drummer Dylan Gouert does well in emphasizing on the start-stop “One Day Roses,” which seems to tie together duo minimalism with Torche-style sludge pop.
Bloodnstuffwill tour Europe beginning later this month with none other than Fu Manchu. Dates and info follow, care of the PR wire:
BLOODNSTUFF – NEW SIGNING TO FUZZORAMA!
DIRECTSUPPORT FOR FU MANCHU IN EU!
The high energy rock-duo from Minneapolis, MN, is the newest addition to the “fuzzfamily”! For being a two piece this group really sounds like a massive wall of fuzz and great melodies! In September and October they will also tour together with Fu Manchu in Europe!
Bloodnstuff is a high energy dynamic rock duo from Minneapolis, MN. Ed Holmberg and Dylan Gouert have been playing in various local groups for over decade. In 2010, Bloodnstuff was formed. The group did not appear publicly until the summer of 2011. After an onslaught of shows, hype started to grow and the group’s live performances kept audiences coming. At the end of 2011, Bloodnstuff was voted “best rock band of 2011″ in the Minneapolis City Pages. In April of 2012, they independently released a long awaited full-length album, titled “Bloodnstuff”.
Ed and Dylan spent the next year opening for national acts as they came through town. In April 2013, Bloodnstuff went on a US tour as direct support for Fu Manchu. Shortly after, they did a 5 show tour opening up for Alice in Chains, on their “The Devil put Dinosaurs Here” tour. Since then, Bloodnstuff has been writing and opening for such bands as Bush, Deerhoof, Japandroids, Royal Blood, Truckfighters, 400 Blows, Cloud Nothings, and more. You can also find Bloodnstuff music in Vans, Oakley, and Ford Racing videos. As of now, the band has signed with Fuzzorama Records and you can see Bloodnstuff open for Fu Manchu’s upcoming 2014 European tour.
BLOODNSTUFF LIVE (as direct support to Fu Manchu): SEPT 24 London o2 Islington Academy, UK SEPT 25 Sheffield Corporation, UK SEPT 26 Brighton Concorde 2, UK SEPT 27 Lille La Peniche, FRA SEPT 28 Osnabruck Rosenhof, GERMANY SEPT 30 Wiesbaden Alter Schlachthof, GERMANY OCT 1 Karlsruhe Karlsruhe Substage, GERMANY OCT 2 Lausanne Le Romandie, SWITZERLAND OCT 3 Pratteln Up In Smoke Festival, SWITZERLAND OCT 4 Romagnano Sesia Romagnano Sesia Arena, ITALY OCT 6 Vienna Flex, AUSTRIA OCT 7 Warsaw Proxima, POLEN OCT 8 Erfurt HSD Gewerkschaftshaus, GERMANY OCT 9 Luxembourg Den Atelier, LUXEMBOURG OCT 11 Deventer Burger Weeshuis, NETHERLANDS OCT 12 Antwerp Desertfest, BELGIUM OCT 13 Copenhagen Pumpehuset, DENMARK OCT 14 Stockholm Kagelbanan, SWEDEN OCT 15 Oslo Vulkan Arena, NORWAY OCT 17 Helsinki Nosturi, FINLAND
Posted in Reviews on September 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The headline for Earth‘s 10th album, Primitive and Deadly, will always be that it was the one where they brought back vocals. It’s inevitable. That was the story of the record even before anyone heard it. And not even just that there were vocals at all — Earth‘s last with them was 1996’s Pentastar: In the Style of Demons – but that they were bringing in guests to perform: Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age and The Mark Lanegan Band fame and Rabi Shabeen Qazi of psych rockers Rose Windows. This turnabout in methodology is made much more than novelty by the execution of the songs themselves, but even if one hasn’t heard them, interest is bound to be piqued. In fact, there’s much more to Primitive and Deadly (released, as ever, by Southern Lord) than the human voice. While sections of it are flat-out beautiful in their lush, tonally rich sprawl, guitarist/founder Dylan Carlson leading the way through the six tracks with his trademark slow rolling drone rock riffs as bassist Bill Herzog rumbles in time to Adrienne Davies‘ drums, it’s also Earth‘s heaviest offering in over 15 years and certainly since they made their return with 2005’s landmark Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method. That record has been the foundation point for their progression throughout the last decade, subsequent outings like 2008’s The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull, 2010’s reinterpretation of their earliest work, A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra-Capsular Extraction (review here), and the 2011/2012 improv two-parter, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (review here) and II (review here), and on a certain level it is for Primitive and Deadly as well, but as the title seems to hint, there’s a wiping-the-slate happening across these six extended tracks/49 minutes that leans back to something rudimentary in Earth‘s sound. That’s not to say the album lacks ambience, just that the ambience feels like it’s punching you in the face — relatively speaking.
That’s true immediately on opener “Torn by the Fox of the Crescent Moon,” which crashes into its chugging central riff with a jarring immediacy. Primitive and Deadly is clearly structured for a 2LP, with two shorter songs on sides A and C and one longer song on sides B and D, but anywhere you go and from whatever angle you might want to approach it, the sound is much bigger than one might be used to from Earth. Herzog is a deep-toned bassist and the production — the album was recorded at various points with Mathias Schneeberger, Dave Catching (who assisted) and Randall Dunn (who also mixed and contributed Moog) — brings out a rawness in their sound that their most recent output seems to have pulled away from. If these songs are Earth hitting reset, they’re not by any means forgetting the lessons they’ve learned over the last 10 years, and their sound is as evocative and atmospheric as ever, even if given a more pointed direction with the inclusion of vocals, the first of which arrive from Lanegan on the revivalist themed “There is a Serpent Coming.” His gravelly voice is perfect for Pentecostal forebodings, and there are a couple awkward syllabic turns, but there’s no denying the pairing works. Lanegan is given two songs, side A’s “There is a Serpent Coming” and side C’s “Rooks across the Gate,” which as tracks two and five lead the way into and out of the meat of the album, and Qazi is given one, side B’s 11-minute “From the Zodiacal Light,” but it’s her cut that turns out to be the highlight of both the vocalized half (cleverly spread out through the tracklisting) and of Primitive and Deadly as a whole. Her voice fits the material more smoothly, and she rides the groove of the song — as quintessential Earth as Earth get — in such a way that as the listener, being carried along by it is inevitable. That’s not to mention the resonance of Qazi‘s voice itself, somewhere between breathy and masterful. Hers is the prevailing impression of the album, and she reminds us that the only element missing from Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light – which Carlson positioned as Earth‘s homage to classic psych-folk — was the human otherworldliness.
Late in “From the Zodiacal Light,” Carlson swirls out a psychedelic lead that presages some of what’s to come with side C’s “Even Hell Has its Heroes,” a slightly more gradual start to the second LP’s opener than appeared on the first. Two guest guitarists appear on Primitive and Deadly, Brett Netson and Jodie Cox. I don’t know which of them it might be having a blues jam over the 9:43 “Even Hell Has its Heroes,” and frankly, if you told me it was both I’d probably believe you as there are a number of different tones layered in particularly as the song approaches its midsection, but it’s as close to classic heavy rock as Earth has ever come. The slow progression maintained by Davies, Herzog and Carlson might be a dirge were it not for the extra guitar — a languid march is punctuated by well-mixed bell hits — but as it stands, “Even Hell Has its Heroes” is more glorious than mournful. It is complemented on side C by Lanegan‘s second appearance, “Rooks across the Gates,” a more subdued roller on which he offers a traditional sort of ballad storytelling amid rising tides of guitar and the steady rhythm. He appears for two verses to recount the tale and is gone again, an echo disappearing into a singularly hypnotic moment in the second half with undulating waves of amp noise rumbling out the conclusion on a fade. It seems by the time they get there that there can’t possibly be much for closer “Badgers Bane” to say that Earth haven’t already expressed at one point or another, but in addition to complementing “From the Zodiacal Light” on guitar, the closer also seems to be most tying Primitive and Deadly to Earth‘s modus of this past, productive decade, unfurling its 12:28 runtime patiently as always and continuing to find room to experiment as a long fadeout past the four-minute mark leads to an ambient midsection of vague echoes grounded only by Davies‘ drum march until the song eventually makes a return, shortly after seven minutes in, and carries through past the nine-minute mark, at which point the final chord is sustained into a section of noise and straight droning that closes out. In the final minutes, Earth demonstrate that not only are they willing at this point to most directly engage with their audience — i.e. by adding vocals — but also to continue to push their material well beyond the point of accessibility. It’s ultimately the blend of both that makes “Badgers Bane” such a fitting wrap for Primitive and Deadly, since it underscores the unceasing creative impulse at the heart of what Earth has done. Their influence has spread far and wide from their Seattle roots, but Earth have never stopped progressing or pushing themselves, and even more than who’s singing on what tracks, that’s what stands out about their 10th full-length.