Voidlurker to Release Debut EP on APF Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The UK sludge boom continues unabated, and APF Records is very quickly becoming the go-to outlet for the particular style of bastardry one finds around England these days, which is as likely to pull influence from Nails as Orange Goblin, Down and Eyehategod as much as Electric Wizard. It’s a new generation of disaffected dudes. And what’s changed? Hell, Voidlurker are from frickin’ Birmingham. You’d have a hard time arguing that fuckall doesn’t run across decades when it comes to an act coming from the same place that gave the universe Black Sabbath. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the working class play loud. So do the middle class, but probably on nicer gear. Or at very least, when it gets stolen on tour they can replace it easier.

You get the fucking picture.

Voidlurker tick the boxes sonically — riffs: check, shouts: check, nod: check, aggro: check — and are recording their debut EP with Chris Fielding at Foel Studio, so one would not expect that to sound anything but more punishing than their 2018 demo, which you can stream below. It’s two songs, so not a huge ask even if you’re busy, but again, I’d expect the EP to cover some more ground style-wise when it lands, reportedly early next year.

Here’s what APF has to say about it. Merry sludgin’ Xmas:

voidlurker

Voidlurker sign to APF Records

Birmingham-based doom / sludge trio Voidlurker are the latest addition to our filthy and expanding APF Records family.

Following on from their devastating performance at this year’s Bloodstock Festival, and fresh off a killer set last weekend in support of Raging Speedhorn, APF will be releasing their debut EP in early 2020.

Recorded by Chris Fielding at Foel Studio it’s chock full of crushing guitars, bass fuzz, and groove to snap your neck to. You’re in for a treat.

Merry fucking Christmas.

Voidlurker is:
Brad Thomas – Guitar and vocals
Andrew Rennie – Bass
Jack Bourne – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/voidlurker/
https://voidlurker.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

Voidlurker, Demo (2018)

Tags: , , ,

Beggar to Release Debut Album Compelled to Repeat in April; “Nine Atmospheres” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’m all for an early heads up, and I know that in a crowded promotional atmosphere, the sooner you can get word out about a thing happening, the better. Still, an album announcement upward of five months ahead of the actual release is a long time. I suspect part of the quirk of timing on the part of London sludge extremists Beggar — who should scratch the itch of anyone who found moral opposition to the Iron Monkey “reunion” too much to overcome — play the Sophie Fest this weekend and they wanted to get their new video for “Nine Atmospheres” out and give a promo push before that. I can’t argue with the logic, frankly. “Nine Atmospheres” is ridiculous in the heaviest way possible, and it promises an onslaught across their debut LP, Compelled to Repeat, that could position Beggar among the heavier end of the spectrum for APF Records.

And if you know the label, you know that’s saying something.

I have the distinct feeling we’ll be hearing about Beggar again in the next few months. There’s plenty of time until the release, and they would seem to have plenty of broken-bottle-against-the-neck sludge to fill it.

Dig:

beggar

Monolithic Post Metallers BEGGAR Release New Track; Announce Debut Album Compelled to Repeat to be released via APF Records April 2020

Emerging from the nihilistic quagmire of London, four-piece BEGGAR propound a kind of sludge-meets-extreme-metal carnival of tar thick riffs, blasts, emotional discharge and anguish.

Today the band have released standalone track and video ‘Nine Atmospheres’ which showcases the band at their most raw and misanthropic point. Recorded with Wayne Adams (responsible for recent works by Green Lung, 11Paranoias and Terminal Cheesecake) at Bear Bites Horse, London and mastered by the master of noise himself, James Plotkin (Sunn O))), ISIS, Pelican and Earth), the track comes ahead of their debut album Compelled To Repeat which is scheduled for release in April 2020 via APF Records.

Commenting on the track vocalist Charlie Davis says: “The track ‘Nine Atmospheres’ is about pressure, anxiety, the corporate world and the environment. It’s about the banality and the aggression of the contemporary world and the struggle to reconcile yourself to social and economic norms and to the destruction of nature. However, in a larger way, it’s also about the moments in which you can see straight through that world to something a bit older and darker (‘liquid magma lakes’, blistering lava’, etc.) The title ‘Nine Atmospheres’ refers to the amount of pressure measured in atmospheres that the human body can withstand underwater before it begins to rupture (like the track begins to rupture towards the end).”

Originally founded in Bristol in 2011 as a means of melding big stoner grooves with a blackened outlook and mode of expression, BEGGAR have honed their bubbling hatred over a series of EPs (culminating in 2017’s Chainscraper EP) into something that might defy categorisation altogether.

Impossible to fit within the stoner bracket, their sound nonetheless nods to the huge monoliths of tone that such a tag implies. More multi-faceted than the death metal or hardcore genres would allow, BEGGAR still use the sheer brutality and visceral dynamics of those styles as their primary means of propulsion.

Comprised of Charlie Davis (vocals/bass), Abraham Whitworth (guitars), Jake Leyland (guitars/vocals) and Bertrand Sautier (drums, formerly of French deathgrind outfit Sedative), BEGGAR have shared stages with the likes of Eyehategod, Slabdragger, Elephant Tree and The Obsessed.

Catch the band live at The Dev, London on 21st November and then at The Sophie Lancaster Festival (Sophie Fest) in Manchester on 23rd November.

Beggar are:
Charlie Davis (vocals/bass)
Abraham Whitworth (guitars)
Jake Leyland (guitars/vocals)
Bertrand Sautier (drums)

http://www.facebook.com/beggarband
https://www.instagram.com/beggar_uk
http://thusspokethebeggar.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

Beggar, “Nine Atmospheres” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight Sign to APF Records for Movin’ on Singles

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Warms the heart, this one does. Specifically, The Black Heart, most likely, which is where I’d imagine Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight would end up doing the release show for what will be their first outing through APF Records. Earlier this year, the kinda-reunited-but-we-never-really-broke-up-but-everybody’s-been-really-busy-with-life-and-stuff-and-you-know-how-it-is-and-also-Pete‘s-in-ElephantTree-and-Chris-has-like-50-projects-and-Dicky-can’t-really-tour heavy rockers began issuing digitally a series of singles recorded a decade ago as a way of honoring the 10th anniversary of the sessions for their 2009 debut full-length, Movin’ On (review here). Speaking as someone who still thinks of that record fondly, it was a fun way to relive it without doing the standard reissue thing and getting something previously unheard from the band, if not something actually new.

Well, because every now and then the universe bends its will to my druthers, APF Records has picked up the series for what will be aptly-titled Movin’ On Singles as a compilation and released on Oct. 30, which also just happens to be the same day Movin’ On came out those 10 years ago. Like I said, warms the heart.

Trippy Wicked have a couple shows lined up, including — now that I look — The Black Heart in Camden Town on Oct. 25, and Sophie Fest in Manchester on Nov. 23. They also just played this past weekend at Ripple Music‘s London Ripplefest along with Stubb, War Cloud and a host of other cool bands.

Here’s APF‘s announcement of the signing:

trippy wicked and the cosmic children of the knight

APF Records – Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight

I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to confirm that Trippy Wicked have signed to APF Records.

Their first APF release will be a limited edition digipak CD of their “Moving On Singles” on 30th October – which is the 10th anniversary of the release of the Moving On album. More info coming soon.

Chris, Pete, Dicky – a warm welcome to the APF family.

https://www.facebook.com/trippywicked
https://www.instagram.com/trippywicked
https://trippywicked.bandcamp.com/
https://www.trippywicked.band/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

Trippy Wicked, “Things Go Up”

Tags: , , , , , ,

A Horse Called War Announce New EP Good for Glue (And Nothing Else) out Nov. 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Though I can’t see their moniker and not hear the words in my head in the oh-so-imitable yarl of Zakk Wydle, the post-Iron Monkey filth proffered by UK four-piece A Horse Called War actually has little to do with pride, glory or any other kind of self-actualization. It’s been 12 years since they put out their Stumble at Every Hurdle EP, but at least as of 2007 the dudes were nasty as hell and proffered a scathing take on raw sludge that was more interested in peeling flesh than shining on. They’ve been a band, they’ve not been a band, they’ve been a band again minus a guitarist, and on Nov. 22, APF Records — arguably Britain’s finest purveyor of sludgy aural pummeling — will issue their new EP, Good for Glue (And Nothing Else). Time would not seem to have dulled their perspective in the slightest. Hey guys, how about a little bit of kind self-talk?

Doesn’t seem likely.

Back on the horse? You’re welcome to the gods of terrible puns.

Here’s the info:

a horse called war

UK sludge band A HORSE CALLED WAR sign to APF Records

Good For Glue (and nothing else) EP out November 22nd 2019

First new music to be released in 12 years.

“It’s a nasty little fucker. 5 tracks of unrelenting, groove-laden sludge bile and bludgeon. It’s gonna melt the skin off your face.” – APF Records

A Horse Called War was originally formed in November 2005 by five mates from the small, grimy English town in the heart of East Anglia known as Thetford.

Many shows were played up and down the country, including two appearances at London’s legendary Underworld and the band soon gained a strong reputation for powerful and energetic live performances.

In 2010 A Horse Called war unfortunately split, due to the strain of ever increasing work and family commitments. During that time, the band self-released the demo “We Ain’t Proud Of This” followed by the EP “Stumble At Every Hurdle” on Calculon Records (who released various 7”s from bands such as Sourvein, Church of Misery, Lazarus Blackstar and Charger).

Five years on from the split and 10 years from its original conception, A Horse Called War was reborn! The band immediately hit the road delivering chaotic and action packed live performances to old and new fans alike, proving that the band hadn’t lost any of their spark in the years away.

After a couple of successful years tearing up the live circuit, playing some brilliant shows, including some at memorable all-dayers such as Riff Fest and Doomlines, the same old problems that had plagued so much of the bands past were beginning to resurface. Things had to slow down for the band, at one point it looked like they might never release any new material. During this time, Ryan (guitars) decided to leave the band due to personal reasons. Losing Ryan was a great loss but the remaining four agreed to carry on without him, not seeking a replacement.

Finally, four years after getting back together and after some turbulent times, light began to appear through the cracks and things looked positive for the horse once again. A new EP was written and recorded (by guitarist Dave). The band managed to strike a deal with the mighty APF Records (BongCauldron, Desert Storm, Mastiff) for a November 22nd release date. The horse couldn’t be happier with its new home at APF Records and to be amongst the great family of APF bands.

The band currently booking live shows to promote the release of the new EP and writing for an new album is already underway, with studio time booked for early next year. 2020 is the year of the horse!

A Horse Called War are:
Dave – Guitar
Shane – Vocals
Cooper – Drums
Haydn – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/ahorsecalledwaru9k/
https://www.instagram.com/ahorsecalledwar
https://ahorsecalledwar.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

A Horse Called War, Stumble at Every Hurdle (2007)

Tags: , , , , ,

The Grand Mal Premiere “Burning Truth” from Self-Titled Debut out Oct. 18

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the grand mal

It is one of the oldest stories in rock and roll: players from two bands get together; new band is made. So it is that Dave-O and Rob Glenn of Mother Corona and Elliot and Ryan Cole of Desert Storm have joined forces under the banner of APF Records as The Grand Mal. Their self-titled debut is a 52-minute 10-tracker that the Oxford-based unit will release on Oct. 18 ahead of appearances at Manchester’s Sophie Lancaster Festival and APF‘s own all-dayer, which I hear is quite the party. All the better, as one could say the same of the record itself, with the band dipping into grassroots heavy rock groove and brash delivery, not shy about grit in cuts like “No Man’s Land” or the swinging fuzzo-stomper “Liquid Death,” but at the same time shooting for more than party rock vibes. On vocals, Dave-O is a metal-rooted John Garcia, while the band behind him makes an aesthetic of their rawness, with the later slower roll in “Eschaton” coming across extra thick ahead of the driving rocker “Black Spiral” and more out-there closer “Significant.”

Yeah, it’s a first record, but The Grand Mal aren’t exactly taking tentative baby-steps here so much as honing classic rocking sneer with a modern weight behind it. It’s a combo that brooks little argument, and fun as it is, as the album plays through, it only seems to build on the early rocking start of “Explode,” “No Man’s Land” and “Burning Truth,” the last of which you can stream as a track premiere at the bottom of this post, because the proof, ultimately, is in the riffing.

Preorders are up from APF. Have at it:

the grand mal the grand mal

APF Records is thrilled to announce the signing of Oxford-based heavy hitters The Grand Mal, and with it the release of their self-titled debut album this October.

Featuring twin brothers Ryan and Elliot Cole from rising stoner metal behemoths Desert Storm, the decision to back this promising new project was a “no-brainer” according to Andrew Field; peddler of some of the UK’s finest rock/metal underground albums in recent memory on his Manchester-based label.

“I’ve been Desert Storm’s biggest fan since I discovered their music six years ago, which is why I signed them in 2017,” he explains. “Elliot and Ryan approached me about releasing The Grand Mal’s debut and I jumped on it. It’s a joy to continue my relationship with them and I’m excited that APF Records is putting out this stunning release.”

Complimenting the Cole brothers in The Grand Mal are Mother Corona vocalist Dave-O and bassist Rob Glenn. Their first single – ‘Burning Truth’ – is both indebted and in line with the colossal riffs and big grooves of the quartet’s collective influences. Inspired by bands such as Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Soundgarden and Royal Blood, as Butthole Surfers’ JD Pinkus put it best. “The Grand Mal is like Queens of the Stone Age mixed with 80’s Ozzy.”

The Grand Mal’s self-titled debut album is released on Friday, 18th October through APF Records and can be pre-ordered here https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/.

LIVE:
6/9/19 – The Facebar – Reading, UK
28/9/19 – O2 Academy2 (w. Evil Scarecrow) – Oxford, UK
26/10/19 – The Underground (w. Desert Storm) – Bradford, UK
22/11/19 – The Port Mahon (w. Gnome) – Oxford, UK
23/11/19 – Rebellion (Sophie Lancaster Festival) – Manchester, UK
2/02/20 – The Bread Shed (APF All-Dayer) – Manchester, UK

TRACK LISTING:
1. Explode
2. No Man’s Land
3. Burning Truth
4. Synapse Transmission
5. Liquid & Dust
6. Glitch
7. Pig In The Python
8. Eschaton
9. Black Spiral
10. Significant

THE GRAND MAL: Dave-O (Vocals), Ryan Cole (Guitar), Elliot Cole (Drums), Rob Glenn (Bass)

https://www.facebook.com/thegrandmal/
https://thegrandmal.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords/
http://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/

The Grand Mal, “Burning Truth” official premiere

Tags: , , , , ,

Gandalf the Green Release New Single A Billion Faces

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gandalf the green

Gandalf the Green sound like somebody hit their riffs over the head with the ugly-stick. Filthy, doomed stoner-sludge is stock and trade for the UK at this point — it’s why they’ll be fine after crashing out of the EU — but the lumber the Huddersfield three-piece bring to the end of their new 13-minute single “A Billion Faces” is a feedback-drenched nightmare just the same, and by that I mean it’s damn good fun. They’ve got live dates coming up, including at Riffolution Festival tomorrow night, and that’s all well and good, but the single is out now through APF Records and you can get it on Bandcamp if you so please or Spotify or whatever outlet it is you choose to peruse. The song, naturally, is about parallel existences of the self in alternate universes. Duh.

Dig it:

gandalf the green a billion faces

APF Records Presents GANDALF THE GREEN – “A Billion Faces”

RELEASE DATE: 28th March 2019

Taking influence from bands like Conan, Sleep and Yob, GANDALF THE GREEN’s aim is to make slow music that is as heavy as they can possibly make it – dropping into spacey ambience and then back to crushing riffs again. The trio wanted to take a less dark and evil approach to Stoner/Doom Metal in favour of something a bit more colourful, weird and psychedelic. Music which uplifts rather than bring the mood down. Lyrical themes include Lord of the Rings, time, consciousness, and not being very sober. Someone once put it eloquently as ‘The brutality of Mordor with the serenity of the Shire.’

Gandalf The Green started in guitarist / vocalist Andy Flint’s bedroom in 2015 when the guys were all just 16 years old. “We’d previously been in a deathcore band together and knew we all liked slow and heavy music, so got together and started rehearsing with ghetto equipment in Andy’s bedroom in Huddersfield (UK). The band name came from a friend who’d just bought a Gandalf-style pipe and we found the pun hilarious for a Stoner Doom band, so we used it”.

Gandalf The Green released their debut EP ‘King of the Ashes’ in September 2016 as a 4-piece band with two guitarists, though soon after they split with their drummer and put Jack Walker behind the kit as a trio. After that things began moving properly. Since then, the three lads have been gigging more, collecting more equipment, and worsening their tinnitus by turning everything up even louder.

Gandalf The Green recently signed with APF Records, with their first release as a partnership being 13-minute stoner / doom epic “A Billion Faces”. Andy Flint’s notes on the track:

“It was the first track I wrote after we tuned down to drop F and bought a bunch of new effects, so I was really playing with all the new toys and trying to make something with a big dynamic change from the gentle intro to when it kicks in. We’ve been performing it live for a while, so the song’s evolved over time to include the sexy wah solo and, because Jack and Danny (Wrigley, bass) love noise music, we added the noise/screaming section in the outro. The original demo was only 9 minutes compared to the final 13!

We were approached by a friend of a friend who needed a band to record for his University coursework, it seemed mutually beneficial, and we’d get to record in the gorgeous Phipps Hall and borrow a bunch of Huddersfield University’s Matamp equipment for free to use with ours, so we took him up on it. We live recorded the track in December 2018 and mixed and mastered the track ourselves, so got away with recording this track for nothing. It sounded lovely in the room, but we really didn’t expect the final product to sound quite as good as it did.

Lyrically, the track is about parallel universes and how, if they exist, every different possible version of you exists somewhere in a big infinite tree of possible “yous”, experiencing the best and worst things all at once. I was wondering where I’d be if I’d taken a different turn in life and moved to a different city, and I realised that there’d be a version of me in a parallel universe where I did move there, wondering right now where he’d be if he took the turns I did. We’re both thinking about each other amongst a billion different versions of ourselves, but unable to know who the other is and what their life is like.”

“A Billion Faces” is out on APF Records on 28th March across all digital platforms, with the video for the track premiering on YouTube and Facebook. The band have a solid itinerary of gigs and tours for the rest of 2019, including appearances at Riffolution Festival on 30th March (supporting BelzebonG) and High Priestess and Cities of Mars in May.

Gandalf the Green is:
Andrew Flint – Vocals/Guitar
Jack Walker – Vocals/Drums
Danny Wrigley – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/gandalfgreenband/
https://gandalfthegreen.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://twitter.com/apf_records
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

Gandalf the Green, “A Billion Faces” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

APF Records Announces Showcase Lineup with 13 Bands

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

apf records amp logo

UK sludgedealer APF Records has announced the lineup for its second label showcase in Manchester, and well, it’s got almost everybody. It’s 13 of the 16 active bands on the roster, piled onto a single bill. Do you have any idea how hard that must be to make happen? The coordination involved? Imagine trying to plan lunch with a specific friend. You have to find a day, a time, a place that works. Now imagine doing what with upwards of 50 friends. It’s not just planning a party and saying “be here at this time.” There’s so much involved in making it happen, it’s a pretty clear indication of a mission at play. Kudos to APF for making it happen at all, let alone once.

The label has a busy 2019 planned to follow what was a busy 2018, and that’s fair enough. I myself have been enjoying the new Mastiff record, which will be out soon, and I’m dying to hear something new from the timely Tronald, though there’s been no confirmation of one in the works. Still, I’ve got my fingers crossed, and it seems like there’s plenty to come in the meantime as APF continues to provide the UK’s fervent and varied sludge scene the home it deserves.

Showcase announcement and links follow from the PR wire::

APF Records Showcase 2019

APF RECORDS SHOWCASE ALL-DAYER

Manchester, UK – 2nd February 2019

13 APF Records bands play a special one-off gig

APF Records is hosting a special one-off gig at The Bread Shed in Manchester UK on 2nd February, featuring all 13 of its current active signed bands playing across two stages.

Founded by Andrew Field in March 2017 APF Records has released albums, EPs and singles by Under, Diesel King, Blind Haze, Mastiff, The Wizards Of Delight, Tronald, The Hyena Kill, RedEye Revival, Ba’al, BongCauldron, Nomad, Desert Storm, Battalions and Barbarian Hermit during its first 18 months.

The label already has releases lined up for 2019 by Widows, Pist and Possessor as well as further releases from the bands mentioned above.

Due to the logistical challenges of getting so many APF bands in one place at once this is likely to be the last time so many of the APF Records roster will play in one place on one day. Thus advance tickets have been moving fast and the event (at the 400-capacity Bread Shed venue) is predicted to be a sell-out.

Doors open at 2pm with the first band performing at 2.30pm. The event will finish 9 hours later when BongCauldron headline the main stage.

Appearing at the APF Records Showcase:

Battalions
Barbarian Hermit
BongCauldron
Diesel King
Mastiff
Nomad
Pist
RedEye Revival
The Hyena Kill
Trevor’s Head
Tronald
Under
Widows

APF Records and Stonebaked Promotions presents: The APF Records Showcase All-Dayer
Venue: The Bread Shed, Manchester UK
Date: 2nd February 2018
Doors Open: 2pm
Tickets: £12.50 adv / £20 otd

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/162465091142797/
Ticket link: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/430503

https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://twitter.com/apf_records
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

BongCauldron, Tyke (2018)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,