Quarterly Review: Surya Kris Peters, Lewis and the Strange Magics, Lair of the Minotaur, Sonic Wolves, Spacelord, Nauticus, Yuxa, Forktie, Ohhms, Blue Dream

Posted in Reviews on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I had a terrible thought yesterday: What if this one… went to 11? That is, what if, after 10 days of Quarterly Review ending today with a grand total of 100 records reviewed since last Monday, I did another batch of 10? Like a bonus round? Like I said, terrible thought.

Pretty sure it won’t happen. I’ve already got a review and a video premiere booked for next Monday, but I definitely had the thought. It was easy, of course, to fill out another 10 slots, and who knows, maybe this weekend for the first time ever I wind up with some extra time and energy on my hands? Could happen, right?

Again, I’m fairly certain it won’t. Let’s proceed with the assumption today’s the last day. Thank you for reading. I hope you have found something cool in all of this that has really hit home. I certainly have. We cap very much in last-but-not-least fashion, and if nothing’s resonated with you yet, don’t count yourself completely out. You might just get there after all. Thanks again.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Surya Kris Peters, Ego Therapy

Surya Kris Peters Ego Therapy

Those feeling technical will note the full title of the album is Surya Kris Peters’ Ego Therapy, but the point gets across either way. And even as Christian Peters — also guitarist/vocalist for Samsara Blues Experiment — acknowledges the inherent self-indulgence of the proverbial “solo-project” that his exploration of synth and classically progressive textures under the moniker of Surya Kris Peters has become, with Ego Therapy as his second full-length of 2018, he branches out in including drums from former Terraplane bandmate Jens Vogel. The 10-song/53-minute outing opens with its longest cut (immediate points) in the 15-minute “Angels in Bad Places,” a spaced-out and vibrant atmosphere more cohesive than psychedelia but still trippy as all hell, and moves through a bluesy key/guitar interplay in “Wizard’s Dream” following the dancey thriller soundtrack “Beyond the Sun” and into the Blade Runner-style grandeur of “Sleeping Willow” and the video game-esque “A Fading Spark” before bookending with the sci-fi “Atomic Clock” at the close. I don’t know how ultimately therapeutic Peters‘ solo offerings might be, but he only seems to grow bolder each time out, and that certainly applies here.

Surya Kris Peters on Thee Facebooks

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

 

Lewis and the Strange Magics, The Ginger Sessions

lewis and the strange magics the ginger sessions

How are you not gonna love a release that starts with a song called “Sexadelic Galactic Voyage?” Barcelona vamp rockers Lewis and the Strange Magics embrace their inner funk on the 23-minute self-released EP, The Ginger Sessions, finding the place where their uptempo ’70s fusion meets oldschool The Meters-style rhythm, digging into the repetitions of “Candied Ginger” after the aforementioned instrumental opening burst and then holding the momentum through “Her Vintage Earrings.” Some departure happens on what might be side B of the 10″, with “The Shadow of Your Smile” turning toward pastoral psychedelia, still rhythmic thanks to some prominent wood block and xylophone sounds, but much calmer despite a consistency of wah and keys. “Suzy’s Room II” follows in fuzzy fashion, bridging the earlier cologne-soaked, chest-hair-out vibes with garage buzz and a heavier low end beneath the synthesized experimentation. Mellotron shows up and continues to hold sway in closer “Witch’s Brew,” playing the band outward along with layers of drifting guitar for about two and a half minutes of bluesy serenity that feel cut short, as does the release on the whole. One hopes they don’t lose that funky edge going into their next album.

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Thee Facebooks

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Bandcamp

 

Lair of the Minotaur, Dragon Eagle of Chaos

Lair of the Minotaur Dragon Eagle of Chaos

Once upon the mid-aughts, Chicago’s Lair of the Minotaur roamed the land as the long-prophesied American answer to Entombed, as much classic, dirt-covered death metal as they were laden with heavy groove. Their tones filthy, their assault brutal all the while, war metal, ultimate destroyers. The whole nine. They released their last album, Evil Power (review here), in 2010. The two-songer Dragon Eagle of Chaos follows a 2013 single, and was released to mark the occasion of perhaps a return to some measure of greater activity. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but as both “Dragon Eagle of Chaos” and “Kunsult the Bones” affirm in about seven minutes between them, Lair of the Minotaur remain a wrecking ball made of raw meat when it comes to their sound. The madness that seemed to always underline their material at its most effective is present and accounted for in “Dragon Eagle of Chaos,” and the stripped-down production of the single actually helps its violent cause. Will they do another record? Could go either way, but if they decide to go that route, they clearly still have the evil power within.

Lair of the Minotaur website

Lair of the Minotaur on Bandcamp

 

Sonic Wolves, Sonic Wolves

sonic wolves sonic wolves

Eight tracks/34 minutes of smoothly-arranged and well-executed doom rock brought to bear with an abiding lack of pretense and a developing sense of songcraft and dynamic — there’s very little not to dig about Sonic Wolves‘ self-titled LP (on Future Noise and DHU), from the Sabbathian stretch of “Ascension” down through the bouncing low-key-psych-turns-to-full-on-wah-overdose-swirl in the penultimate “Heavy Light.” Along the way, bassist/vocalist Kayt Vigil (ex-Pentagram, etc.) — joined by guitarists Jason Nealy and Enrico “Ico” Aniasi and drummer Gianni “Vita” Vitarelli (also Ufomammut) — gallop through the traditional metal of “Red Temple” and ride a fuzzy roll in “Tide of Chaos,” leaving the uptempo shuffle of “You’ll Climb the Walls” to close out by tapping into a “Wicked World”-style vision of heavy blues that casts off many of the tropes of what’s become the subgenre in favor of a darker approach. If their self-titled is Sonic Wolves declaring who they are as a band after making their debut in 2016, the results are only encouraging.

Sonic Wolves on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

Future Noise Recordings webstore

 

Spacelord, Indecipher

Spacelord Indecipher

There is an immediate sensibility drawn from classic heavy rock to the vocals on Spacelord‘s second record, Indecipher, like Shannon Hoon fronting Led Zeppelin, maybe? Something like that, definitely drawn from a ’70s/’90s blend. Produced, mixed and mastered by guitarist Rich Root, with Chris Cappiello on bass, Kevin Flynn on drums and Ed Grabianowski on vocals, the four-piece’s sophomore LP is comprised of a neatly-constructed eight songs working around sci-fi themes on bruiser cuts like “Super Starship Adventure” and the particularly righteous “Zero Hour,” as opener and longest track (immediate points) “For the Unloved Ones” sets forth the classic vibe amid the first of the record’s impressive solos and resonant hooks. Something about it makes me want them to go completely over the top in terms of production their next time out — layers on layers on layers, etc. — but the kind of false start Grabianowski brings to the ultra-Zepped “New Machine” has a charm that I’m not sure it would be worth sacrificing.

Spacelord on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Nauticus, Disappear in Blue

Nauticus Disappear in Blue

Six years after the release of their second album, The Wait (review here), Finnish atmospheric progressive metallers Nauticus effect a return with the 78-minute Disappear in Blue, which following the relatively straightforward opening with “Magma” casts out a vast sprawl in accordance with its oceanic theme. Longer tracks like “Claimed by the Sea,” “Strange Sequences/Lost Frequencies,” “Arrival” and “Hieronymus” are complex and varied but united through a deep instrumental dynamic that’s brought to light even in the three-minute ambient post-rocker “Desolation,” which is something of an interlude between “Strange Sequences/Lost Frequencies” and the tense build of “Singularity.” Other ambient spaces “Jesus of Lübeck” and the later “Whale Bones” complement and add reach to the longer-form works, but it’s hardly as though Nauticus‘ material lacks character one way or the other. Overwhelming in its length, Disappear in Blue might take some time to wade through, but what a way to go.

Nauticus on Thee Facebooks

Nauticus on Bandcamp

 

Yuxa, Yuxa

yuxa yuxa

As the greater part of anything related to post-metal invariably does, UK outfit Yuxa have their “Stones from the Sky” moment in “Founder in Light,” the opening cut from their self-titled debut EP, that most formative of progressions making itself known in modified form to suit the double-guitar four-piece’s intent with dramatic screams and shouts cutting through an ably-conjured surge of noisy adrenaline resolving in winding chug and crash en route to “Exiled Hand,” the seven-minute cut that follows and serves as centerpiece of the three-tracker. “Founder in Light,” “Exiled Hand” and nine-minute closer “Peer” are arranged shortest to longest, and the effect is to draw the listener in such that by the time the angular, purposeful lurch of the finale begins to unfold, Yuxa‘s rhythmic hypnosis is already well complete. Still, the straightforward arrangements of guitar, bass, drums and vocals give them a rawer edge than many synth- or sample-laden post-metallic cohorts, and that suits the atmospheric sludge with which they close out, harnessing chaos without giving themselves over to it. A quick sample of a creative development getting underway, though it’s telling as well that Yuxa ends with a sudden buzz of amp noise.

Yuxa on Thee Facebooks

Yuxa on Bandcamp

 

Forktie, EP

forktie forktie

The first EP release from Forktie — who stylize their moniker and titles all-lowercase: forktie — is untitled, but contains five tracks that tap into proto-emo post-hardcore and ’90s alt rock sensibilities, finding a place between heavy rock and grunge that allows for Aarone Victorine‘s bass to lead toward the hook of centerpiece “Decomposition Book” with a smooth presence that’s well complementary the vocals from guitarist Dom Mariano, their presence low in the mix only adding to the wistful feel of “Anywhere but Here” and “September Morning,” before the shorter “Spores” lets loose some more push from drummer Corey LeBlanc and closer “Ph.D. in Nothing” reinforces the underlying melancholy beneath the thicker exterior tones. It’s a new project, but Forktie have worked their way into a niche that suits their songwriting well, and given themselves a space to grow within their sound. Members experience in bands like UXO, Test Meat and textbookcopilot will serve them in that effort.

Forktie on Thee Facebooks

Forktie on Bandcamp

 

Ohhms, Exist

ohhms exist

As a fan generally of bands opening albums with the longest song included, I can get on board with UK heavy progressive metallers Ohhms opening Exist with the 22-minute “Subjects.” Immediate points and all that. Far more consequential, however, is the substance of that launch for the four-song/43-minute Holy Roar LP, which is the band’s fourth in four years. It’s a vast, broad and complex offering unto itself, consuming side A as vocalist Paul Waller embodies various entities, “I am wolf” (preceding a Duran Duran reference, perhaps inadvertent), “I am child,” and so on. Those proclamations are just the culmination of a progression that, frankly, is an album unto itself, let alone a side, and maybe should’ve been released as such, though the absolute post-metallic crush of “Shambles,” the seething of “Calves” and the heavy post-rock reach of “Lay Down Your Firearms” need no further justification than a simple listen provides, the last of them pummeling side B to a then-sudden stop. Ohhms are no strangers to longform work, and it suits them well enough to make one wonder if they couldn’t be headed toward a single-song LP in the near future.

Ohhms on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records on Bandcamp

 

Blue Dream, Volume Blue

Blue Dream Volume Blue

Chicago four-piece Blue Dream issued their first LP, Volume Won, early in 2018 and follow with Volume Blue — as opposed to “two”; could ‘Volume Tree’ be in the works? ‘Volume Free?’ — which collects nine neo-psych-mit-der-funky-grooves cuts chic enough to be urbane but fuzzed out enough to make the freakouts more than just a come on. They open peaceful enough with “Delta,” before the hook of “9,000 lb. Machine” defines the course and cuts like “Thank You for Smoking” and the almost woefully catchy “She’s Hot” expand the parameters. I’ll take the dream-tone shimmer of “Kingsbury Goldmine” any day in a kind of self-aware reflection of British folk and/or the garage rock of “Shake the Shake,” but the dense roll of “Viper Venom” that immediately follows reimagines grunge as more than just an influence from three popular bands and something that could genuinely move forward from the perspective of a new generation. Hearing Blue Dream close out with the boogie of “The Glide,” one hopes they do precisely that, though I’d by no means limit them to one avenue of expression. They’re clearly able to harness multiple vibes here.

Blue Dream on Thee Facebooks

Blue Dream on Bandcamp

 

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Sonic Wolves to Release Self-Titled Album Sept. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sonic wolves

I’ve barely — barely — started to dig into Sonic Wolves‘ self-titled second album, which is being released next month through DHU Records and Future Noise Recordings in order to coincide with a round of European touring that includes a stop at Desertfest Belgium 2018, but from what I gather thus far, the sleek, smoked-out groove of “Heavy Light” alone is worth the price of admission, whatever that costs these days. Taken in combination with the brash rocker “Tide of Chaos” and the quick-nodder “Cheatin’ Death” that follows and the vibe only gets thicker. Again, I’m just hearing it all for the first time as I write this, but I’ll be digging in deeper hopefully as we get closer to the release. Like maybe a review kind of digging in. You know how it goes.

There’s no audio for the record out yet for public consumption, but I’m going to find out if there might be something I can do to change that. In the meantime, Sonic Wolves‘ 2016 debut, Before the End Comes, is streaming below, following some background from the PR wire.

Dig if you dig:

sonic wolves sonic wolves

Sonic Wolves are back with new album

Few things beat touring with a new album in tow- as will be the case for Sonic Wolves this fall. This upcoming EU tour and coinciding album release mark a return of the heavy-psych-dirt rockers, following the 2016 release of the “He Said” 7″, the “Before The End Comes” full length,as well as a 2017 EU tour with Belzebong (PL). The new album was recorded at Trai Studio in Milan, and was produced by Femore Prod. (they produced Ufomammut) in February 2018.

This album explores different psychedelic territory while maintaining heavy grooves. Steady riffs with a down-tuned mission to add their own blend of thundering drums, fuzz-laden bass and guitar and soaring vocals are what put “Sonic Wolves” a step beyond their last album. It will be released on D.H.U. Records (vinyl) and Future Noise Recordings (CD) on September 25th, 2018. Sonic Wolves is an Italian-American heavy rock’n’roll band, formed by drummer Vita (Ufomammut, Rogue State) and bassist/ singer Kayt Vigil (Rogue State, ex-Pentagram and The Hounds of Hasselvander, with members of Raven, Venom, Carcass). Jason Nealy (Bleeding Eyes, Inverted Matter) and Enrico “Ico” Aniasi (The Broken Finger) on guitars complete the line-up.

Tracklisting:
1. Stonefaced General
2. Ascension
3. Grim Reaper
4. Tide of Chaos
5. Cheatin’ Death
6. Red Temple
7. Heavy Light
8. You’ll Climb the Walls

https://www.facebook.com/SonicWolves/
https://sonicwolves.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sonic_wolves/
www.sonicwolves.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.facebook.com/Future-Noise-Recordings-141470275887035/

Sonic Wolves, Before the End Comes (2016)

Sonic Wolves, Sonic Wolves album trailer

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Sonic Wolves Release Before the End Comes Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sonic wolves

First issued last year as the inevitable follow-up to their He Said single (review here), the eight-track full-length debut from Italy’s Sonic Wolves, Before the End Comes, has now been pressed to vinyl for the first time. It’s available via Taxi Driver Records in a couple different editions that include the aforementioned single, and in addition to marking the debut for the band, it’s also something of the end of an era, as bassist/vocalist Kayt Vigil (ex-Hounds of Hasselvander), drummer Vita (Ufomammut) and guitarist Diniz have since parted ways with guitarist/vocalist Paolo Melotto and opted to continue forward as a trio. No doubt that, whatever they do next, that will play into some shift in sound and approach.

The PR wire brings info and links for those who’d chase the platter in the meantime:

sonic wolves before the end comes

Sonic Wolves – “Before The End Comes” vinyl release

Taxi Driver Records announces the release of Sonic Wolves’ first album, titled “Before The End Comes”, on vinyl version.

After the release of the album on cd in 2016, the limited edition 180gr 2-color split – black/white vinyl can now be pre-ordered from the label’s bandcamp page.

First 70 copies are hand numbered and include the 7″ single “He Said” radio edit, released first for Record Store Day 2016 (limited edition now sold out) and then for Sonic Wolves’ European tour supporting Belzebong in Feb/Mar 2017.

There’s also a very limited die hard edition: 25 handmade and numbered heavy paper boxes including 180gr vinyl record, jewel box cd, 7″ single “He Said”, pin button and screenprinted back patch.

Both numbered versions are available here only: http://taxidriverstore.bandcamp.com

“Before The End Comes” was recorded at the end of 2015 at Ampire Studio in Pistoia, with Stefano Tocci serving as studio sound engineer. Artwork by Michele Carnielli (Seals Of Blackening).

The album includes 8 tracks:
1. Winds Of War
2. Geronimo
3. Obscured
4. He Said
5. Wolfwitch
6. Lamia
7. Freedom Is The Devil
8. Before The End Comes

Sonic Wolves, heavy rock band founded by bassist Kayt Vigil (previously in The Hounds Of Hasselvander and Pentagram, currently also in Rogue State) and drummer Vita (also in Ufomammut and Rogue State), is now performing as a power trio together with their guitarist Diniz, as they have recently parted ways with the other guitarist.

Sonic Wolves is:
Kayt Vigil – Bass, Vocals
Diniz – Rhythm Guitar
Vita – Drums

www.sonicwolves.com
www.facebook.com/SonicWolves
www.taxidriverstore.com
https://www.facebook.com/taxidriverrecords/
https://taxidriverstore.bandcamp.com/

Sonic Wolves, Before the End Comes (2016)

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Sonic Wolves Premiere Both Sides of He Said Single

Posted in audiObelisk on March 10th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sonic wolves

Italian four-piece Sonic Wolves are gearing up for the release of their debut album this Spring, and as a way of laying the foundation for its arrival, Taxi Driver Records has gotten behind a 7″ single for Record Store Day featuring the songs “He Said” and “Song for the Earthbound.” The band, which features bassist/vocalist Kayt Vigil (ex-The Hounds of Hasselvander and ex-Pentagram) and drummer Vita (Ufomammut) as well as guitarist/vocalist Paolo Melotto and guitarist Diniz and formerly worked under the moniker Tsutar, offered up their debut demo, titled Wolfwitch, last year, and “He Said” featured on that as well, but He Said b/w Song for the Earthbound brings them to a more established feel in production and, as an introduction to the long-player to come, it shows a range of styles Sonic Wolves incorporate pull from various sides of heavy psychedelia and deep-toned fuzz. It’s a quick listen, of course, but Sonic Wolves acquit themselves well throughout.

“He Said” is a studio recording, where “Song for the Earthbound” was tracked live, and the sonic wolves he saidA-side establishes an almost immediate sense of depth. The rhythm is languid, an easy flow bolstered by near-shoegazing effects on the guitar, but Vigil‘s vocal echoes overtop in a way that’s somewhat more blown out, and that gives a looser, garage-style feel as “He Said” unfolds, a steady drum progression pushing it along until it crashes into the solo section, the bass fuzzing heavy under a nodding freakout that cuts suddenly to go back to the verse, somewhat more tense after what it’s just been through. Engaging, catchy in a lysergic kind of way and fluid, it still only tells part of the story, as “Song for the Earthbound” takes hold. The B-side, which didn’t feature on the demo, offers a fuller-toned push, some cowbell from Vita, and vocal tradeoffs between Vigil and Melotto as well as more straightforward guitar interplay and an emergent roll in its back half that leads to a return to the hook with both singers delivering. That dynamic doesn’t show up in “He Said,” so between the swapping of heavy/psychedelic influences and the dual-vocalist dynamic, Sonic Wolves set themselves up across He Said b/w Song for the Earthbound to go into an album of wide-ranging and intriguing possibilities.

And no doubt that’s the intent behind the single in the first place. Record Store Day (April 16) is the release date for He Said b/w Song for the Earthbound, and if you’re feeling groovy, it’ll be streaming for the next couple weeks to let you get a taste on the player below. More info on it follows from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Sonic Wolves are a “heavy dirty rock” band from Alessandria (Italy). The project started in 2012 by bassist Kayt Vigil (previously in The Hounds Of Hasselvander and Pentagram, currently also in Rogue State) and drummer Vita (currently also in Ufomammut and Rogue State), under a different name (Tsutar), and it developed with a line-up transformation with also Paolo Melotto (previously in Psyconauts and also Tsutar) on lead guitar and voice, and Diniz (currently in Temple Of Dust and Mexican Chili Funeral Party) on rhythm guitar, both joining the band.

Before their first album that will be out in late spring, Taxi Driver Records is going to release a 7inch 45-rpm single titled “He Said” for Record Store Day 2016 (16th April), limited to 150 hand numbered copies (first 50 copies on large central hole vinyl version).

Tracklist:
Side A: He Said
Side B: Song For The Earthbound

“He Said” was recorded and mixed by Stefano Tocci at Ampire Studio, Pistoia (Italy), and it’s a “radio edit” version. The extended track will be included in the upcoming full lenght. B-side “Song For The Earthbound” is a live recording by Alessandro Levrero. Both tracks were mastered by Riccardo “Paso” Pasini. Cover artwork curated by Seals Of Blackening (Michele Carnielli, frontman of Italian doomsters Kröwnn).

Sonic Wolves website

Sonic Wolves on Thee Facebooks

Taxi Driver Records webstore

Taxi Driver Records on Thee Facebooks

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Sonic Wolves Debut Album Due in Spring

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Italy’s Sonic Wolves will issue their debut album this Spring through Taxi Driver Records. Really, that’s about the extent of what’s known about it at this point. It’s been recorded, it’s got eight tracks, and they’re holding out on giving away stuff like the title, names of the songs, artwork and audio. Sonic Wolves, which features Kayt Vigil (The Hounds of Hasselvander) and Vita (Ufomammut), released their Wolfwitch demo last year and they’ve had a few lineup changes since that the PR wire details below, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the album had at least some of the same material to it, since the band made it pretty clear their first time out that they knew what they were doing.

From the PR wire:

sonic wolves

TAXI DRIVER RECORDS ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THE FIRST ALBUM BY SONIC WOLVES IN SPRING 2016

Taxi Driver Records announces the release of the first album by Sonic Wolves, planned for Spring 2016.

Sonic Wolves are a “heavy dirty rock” band from Alessandria (Italy). The project started in 2012 by bassist Kayt Vigil (previously in The Hounds Of Hasselvander and Pentagram, currently also in Rogue State) and drummer Vita (currently also in Ufomammut and Rogue State), under a different name (Tsutar), and it developed with a line-up transformation.
In December 2014 Sonic Wolves recorded their first demo at Ampire Studio (Pistoia, Italy). It was Kayt Vigil on bass/vocals, Vita on drums and Stefano Tocci (currently in Deaf Eyes and previously in Incoming Cerebral Overdrive) on guitars. The eight song demo titled “WolfWitch” was recorded by Tocci and was released in April 2015. In July 2015 Paolo Melotto (previously in Psyconauts and also Tsutar) joined Sonic Wolves on lead guitar and voice, followed in August 2015 by Diniz (currently in Temple Of Dust and Mexican Chili Funeral Party) on rhythm guitar.

The sound of Sonic Wolves is an infusion of heavy and dirty rock, with elements of metal and psychedelic influences permeating each song. They take rock to a louder and nastier level.

At the end of 2015 Sonic Wolves recorded their first full length, once again at Ampire Studio in Pistoia, with Stefano Tocci serving as studio sound engineer. The album includes 8 tracks and will be out in Spring 2016 on Taxi Driver Records. Artwork, tracklist and title will be revealed in the next weeks.

http://www.sonicwolves.com/
www.facebook.com/SonicWolves
https://taxidriverstore.bandcamp.com/
http://www.taxidriverstore.com/

Sonic Wolves, Wolfwitch (2015)

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