IAH to Release Self-Titled Debut March 23 on Kozmik Artifactz

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The self-titled debut EP (review here) from Argentinian heavy psych rockers IAH left enough of an impression on my first runthrough with it that I included it as one of the top short releases of 2017. And so it was. The jammy newcomers put forth an offering of marked character and sonic personality, and their chemistry was apparent from the very start. It was an easy record to dig into and get lost in, and held considerable promise for things to come from them. Immersive and hypnotic but as engaging so as not to let the listener get anymore lost than they necessarily wanted to be, it was a thrill and something of a surprise of a first release.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one taken by it, as Kozmik Artifactz will have it out on vinyl later this month. Details on the release follow here, but you pretty much know the drill by now: Limited numbers, vinyl mastering, Euro pressing, quality gatefold. Kozmik Artifactz doesn’t screw around when it comes to this kind of thing, and if you’ll note that the release is six tracks instead of the original four, it’s because the band issued two bonus cuts last June as a follow-up, and the LP version compiles them all together. Makes perfect sense.

From the PR wire:


IAH – IAH – Kozmik Artifactz

Introducing IAH and our first Kozmik release of 2018! We’ve been waiting patiently to be able to release this stunning debut. Hailing from Argentina, IAH are a cosmic force of interstellar proportions. From the opening of “Cabalgan los Cielos” to the epic climatic implossion of “Nuboj”, IAH is a voyage through sound that will leave you mesmerised.

Available as limited edition vinyl

Release Date: 23rd March 2018

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

1. Cabalgan los cielos
2. Ouroboros
3. Stolas
4. Eclipsum
5. La piedra que sujeta el sol
6. Luboj

IAH are:
Mauricio Condon – Guitar
Juan Pablo Lucco Borlera – Bass
José Landin – Drums
Guillermo Scarpa – Visuals


IAH, IAH Bonus Tracks (2017)

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Los Natas to Reissue Delmar on Argonauta Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Be still, my beating heart. If you’ve been hanging around here for any length of time — longtime, shorttime, hardy any time at all — then you’re probably already aware of my feelings about Natas‘ 1998 debut album Delmar. One of the best records ever released. Period. Whether you’re talking desert rock. Heavy psych. Stoner rock. Heavy rock and roll. Whatever it is, that record is just unbelievable, and 20 years after its issue, it still in my opinion holds up to everything that’s come along since, from the trio’s native Argentina or anywhere else for that matter. It’s that fucking good. Actually, it’s better than that.

If you’re wondering why I might be so stoked on the prospect of a reissue of a record that — though it’s been out of print for some time — rest assured, I already own multiple copies of, first I’ll say: are you kidding? It’s another space on my shelf that can be taken up by Delmar and that’s an automatic win. Second, with Argonauta Records behind the reissue, the album has been fully remastered, and I feel like it’s a record I know well enough that I might actually be able to tell the difference from one version to the next, rather than just pretend I can like everyone does all the time. So yeah, way stoked.

More to come. Here’s word from the PR wire:


We’re beyond excited to announce that legendary LOS NATAS are now part of Argonauta Records family!

LOS NATAS is a trio formed during 1994 in Buenos Aires/Argentina. Their musical influences are numerous and varied, having the base of the raw and psychedelic sound of 1970s bands such as The Doors, Black Sabbath, The Who, Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, among others. Los Natas propose a journey made of basic elements: valvular equipment and vintage instruments, they incorporate the use of the senses and perception of the listener as a part of a sonic trip.

They make music that changes constantly, supported by long jams that give them a different meaning every time they execute them having that way a sense of freedom in the way of interpreting the sounds, making this experience extremely related to the sensations that both the musicians and the audience receive every time a show begins. This is the essence of what people knows today as Stoner Rock.

LOS NATAS historical debut album DELMAR will see again the light during 2018 on CD and LP via ARGONAUTA Records, remastered edition from the original tapes.

More details to follow soon.


Natas, Delmar (1998)

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Ararat Post “El Camino del Mono” Video from Cabalgata Hacia la Luz

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan


I’ve made no attempt to hide my fandom for Buenos Aires trio Ararat in the past, and neither will I do so now. Still, it’s something of a surprise, maybe to have a new video from the Argentine group show up at this point. Their most recent album, Cabalgata Hacia la Luz (review here), was issued in 2014, and it’s been an another two years since their last clip showed up, that one for “Los Escombros de Jardin” (posted here). So what gives as regards the timing? Hell if I know. I’m just the guy who puts up posts. If you want scheduling, that’s a whole different department.

Of course, we know that Ararat frontman Sergio Chotsourian has kept plenty busy over the last several years between reissues from his former band, Los Natas, founding and developing the raw rock trio Soldati and embarking on a solo drone-folk career under his Sergio Ch. moniker across multiple releases. Add to that the fostering of continental output he does through his South American Sludge label and I guess it didn’t seem unreasonable to think Ararat were on the backburner at least for the time being if not permanently. One new video — this one for the track “El Camino del Mono” — doesn’t necessarily change that, and it doesn’t mean there’s a new record in the works or anything like that, but hell, at least it’s a signal that the band still exists. Bottom line is I’ll take it.

Ararat is comprised of Chotsourian on bass and vocals, guitarist Tito Fargo and drummer Alfredo Felitte. You can see “El Camino del Mono” below, and when/if I hear of more doings on the part of the band, I’ll keep you posted. you know the drill.

Enjoy the video in the meantime, and if you haven’t yet picked up Cabalgata Hacia la Luz, it’s never too late.


Ararat, “El Camino del Mono” official video

New video premiere of Ararat “El Camino del mono”. directed by Martin Busacca!



Ararat on Thee Facebooks

Sergio Ch. website

South American Sludge website

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Manthrass Premiere “Como un Volcan”; Mapa Estelar Due in March

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan


Buenos Aires-based heavy rock trio Manthrass are gearing up to release their second album, Mapa Estelar, in March via Buscando Records and Kenai Records. Whether it’s the deep-toned fuzzy rollout of the opening title-track or the classic-minded heavy blues start-stop swing of the leadoff single “Paso Firme” that follows, it does not take long for the Argentine three-piece to distinguish their sophomore outing from its predecessor, 2015’s Blues del Destino (review here). To be sure, as cuts like “El Luchador” punch home their forward-minded riffing and the post-Clutch groove of “Seguir es Ganar” lands itself in a dudely sing-along chorus of “ooh”s, there’s still plenty of burl shared from the first record to this follow-up, but the level of presentation has shifted entirely, and where Blues del Destino had a rawer bite to the guitar tone of Mariano Castiglioni and Ángel Rex Rizzo‘s bass and the vocals — duties shared between them with backing from drummer Federico Martinez — cut through dry and less assured, Mapa Estelar engages a smoother approach all around, and Manthrass sound confident in their craft and righteous in their execution as a result.

To record Mapa Estelar, the band returned to producer Damián Colaprette, and that consistency is important, since it signals a directness of intention in terms of their growth — i.e., it’s not just that they had somebody different helm their record. They didn’t. Granted, Mapa Estelar was tracked at a different studio than its predecessor, but with the level manthrass como un volcanof progression from the prior batch of songs to the smoothness of the balance in “El Ermitaño,” where Rizzo‘s basslines come through so crisply and excellently balanced in bolstering Castiglioni‘s guitar leads as Martinez rolls the track along with rhythmic fluidity, the development very obviously isn’t limited to presentation. Manthrass have grown as songwriters as well. And to be sure, while Mapa Estelar has a smoother, more cohesive feel on the whole, there’s no corresponding lack of impact to the material, as the Megadeth-meets-Sabbath verse-chorus transition in “Como un Volcan” shows in answering the initial push of the opener, Manthrass brazenly adapting the trappings of heavy metal to their own contextual purposes, and in just four minutes, affirming the identity the debut began to craft as an idea based around sonic growth, a pervasive lack of pretense and a penchant for hooks that come through regardless of any language barrier that may or may not exist for a given listener. That is to say, ignorant as I am, I don’t speak more than the faintest hint of Spanish, and I still have these songs stuck in my head.

Naturally, this is to Manthrass‘ credit entirely, but neither is Mapa Estelar necessarily limited to a single take in terms of style. The bluesier fare of “Seguir es Ganar” and “Paso Firme” is met head-on by the more rocking push of the uptempo “El Ermitaño” and the seven-minute jamming instrumental centerpiece “La Eterna Lucha del Gris y el Verde,” and the expansion continues late with the penultimate acoustic interlude “Bei Tempi,” which is under a minute long in the tradition of a quick Iommic bit of finger but still showcases a drive toward adapting more diversity of sound and bringing a sense of full-album flow to Mapa Estelar rather than simply presenting it as a collection of tracks. That difference is perhaps the defining factor of Manthrass‘ second long-player, but it’s no less crucial to underscore the lack of self-indulgence in their work overall. There’s nothing showy about Mapa Estelar on a performance level, and all the band seems to ask of their audience is that occasionally the nod turn into a headbang along the way, which given the energetic charge they put in from “Mapa Estelar” to the raucous-but-still-controlled finisher “Lejos” is by no means a chore. Beyond that, CastiglioniRizzo and Martinez seem bent on having a good time and grooving out as they make established classic tenets their own, and the quality of their output in so doing makes listening to Mapa Estelar an infectious pleasure in the front-to-back listening experience. The first record had potential, this one confirms it.

Take a listen to the premiere of “Como un Volcan” below. Mapa Estelar is due out this March on Buscando Records and Kenai Records. Quote from Castiglioni, album info and links follow.

Please enjoy:

Mariano Castiglioni on “Como un Volcan”:

I wrote the lyrics for “Como un Volcan,” and when Angel was recording voices he also add some sentences. To us “Como un Volcan” means that strength that we feel in the creative process, that inner force that everybody feels. The riff is mine also, reminds me something between Slayer and Howlin’ Wolf — heavy blues, man!

The time at [Zar Estudio] was amazing. The studio looks like a small cave in the north of Buenos Aires, but at the same time was very stressing, at least for me. The difference with Blues del Destino is basically the production, the songs, the time. We work with a drum DR this time. I recorded with five different guitars, and Damian Colaprette was there all the time with us.

“Como un Volcan” is a good song to represent the album, we are proud of it, for me sounds a little bit a NWOBHM — I love that era — with our touch, of course.

MANTHRASS – Como un Volcan (SINGLE)
New album (2018)

MARIANO CASTIGLIONI, guitar and vocals
ÁNGEL RIZZO, bass and vocals
FEDERICO MARTÍNEZ, drums and backing vocals

Recorded, mixed and mastered by DAMIÁN COLAPRETTE at ZAR ESTUDIO
Design by Agustin Croxatto


Manthrass on Bandcamp

Manthrass on Thee Facebooks

Manthrass on Twitter

Manthrass on Instagram

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Sergio Ch. Premieres Video for “Tomatito”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sergio ch

Surrounded by amps in a studio with cameras set up around him switching from fixed position to fixed position, the new video for Sergio Chotsourian‘s what would seem to be an as-it-was-recorded version of the Los Natas song “Tomatito” demonstrates once again that that band’s former frontman always seems to have something in the works. Some new project, some new release either of his own projects or through his South American Sludge Records imprint, some new solo album, or in this case, apparently a couple minutes to spare and the simple will to make a new video happen. Directed by Pablo Fernandez, it’s not unlike the clip posted last year for “El Laud” from his second solo full-length, Aurora (review here), in terms of what’s actually happening — i.e., he’s playing the song directly to the viewer — but to get a rare updated take on an older Los Natas track, you’re certainly not about to hear me complain.

“Tomatito” originally opened the much-missed, Argentina-based heavy rockers exploratory set Toba Trance II, issued in 2004 via Nasoni Records. Its foundation was acoustic then as well, and it gave a humble start to the companion-piece to Toba Trance I — the two offerings would eventually be compiled together on CD — and set a contemplative mood ahead of the jammy explorations that followed as the trio made their way through extended pieces like “Traicion en el Arrocero” and “Humo de Marihuana.” Working under his long-established nom-de-guerre of Sergio Ch., Chotsourian here brings a new intimacy to the piece while also making it more expansive via vocal delay and an amplified acoustic sound that lends weight to the strum at its root. The melody, wistful as ever, comes through clearer in the newer version as well, and where previously “Tomatito” was almost too easy to pass over for the spaciousness of what followed on Toba Trance II, here it becomes a work of almost anthemic folk, sounding as fresh in its delivery as it does timeless in its structure.

I’ve had the pleasure of hosting numerous premieres for Chotsourian over the last couple years for videos, audio tracks and whatnot. This is not happenstance. I consider myself a huge fan of his work and I’m happy to continually post about it in its various manifestations. One never quite knows what might be coming next from Sergio Ch., but whatever he delivers, he delivers.

Please enjoy “Tomatito” below:

Sergio Ch., “Tomatito” official video



South American Sludge Records on Thee Facebooks

South American Sludge website

South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

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Mephistofeles Sign to Cursed Tongue Records; I’m Heroin LP Due in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan


Hope you’ve been doing your noddercizing, because Argentinian three-piece Mephistofeles don’t stop once they get going, and otherwise you might pull something in your neck. The trio have signed to Cursed Tongue Records following a booming response to their second long-player, I’m Heroin — or, if you’d prefer it more spacious: ( ( ( I ‘ M H E R O I N ) ) ) — and have been confirmed for a 2018 vinyl release through the label. If you’re asking yourself, “Gee, wasn’t it just like last week that Cursed Tongue announced they’d signed somebody?” Yeah, it was. That’s how you know a label is up and coming.

What I’m most enjoying about this bevvy of pickups from the imprint thus far, however, is a diversity of sound. To wit, Mephistofeles are post-Electric Wizard scumriffers of the highest order, dropping out, nodding off, reveling in grainy porn and a generally addled haze. Hey, it’s an aesthetic. Deeply problematic on a number of levels, but an aesthetic nonetheless. Plus, Tony Reed did the mastering! That’s always a win.

As is Cursed Tongue‘s wont, they’ve got a full announcement with background and so forth to get listeners introduced, and if you haven’t heard it yet, you can stream the seven-tracker in its entirety at the bottom of this post. I’m digging the stomp in “Trash Lord,” personally, but you’ll no doubt find your own path through the mire.

Fog on:

mephistofeles i'm heroin



This time we at Cursed Tongue Records have gotten our hands stained by the vilest filth this side of the Andes. It is with the utmost thrill we can announce the inclusion of Mephistofeles to the CTR family. We are very happy to welcome this black sheep of doom and its hate-infused debauchery extravaganza. Cursed Tongue Records look forward to drop a thick slab of wax right in the face of a festering vinyl collecting horde of sonic-drug-hungering stoner heads.

Based in Paraná, Entre Ríos, Argentina since mid-2015 Mephistofeles compels a three piece power group that worships an early seventies prototype of doom metal with tints of psychedelia. Mephistofeles’ music goes hand in hand with graphics that tend to be trashy, including elements from sexual abuse, nazi exploitation and dreary dark scenarios.

The band fulfilled its faith when releasing the debut album called “Whore” (2016), which prompted a ton of public attention during this past year, achieving a little well known place in the international underground stoner music scene. Moving away from the cleaner production on Whore, they have managed to unveil the true sleazy sound on “( ( ( I ‘ M H E R O I N ) ) )”, the kind of dirty and sloppy sound that this record needed to attain. In other words, the band arrive at what they like to call “The true sound of hate”. A sound that most bands nowadays have forgotten how to achieve.

“( ( ( I ‘ M H E R O I N ) ) )” was straight out recorded in just one session during Argentinian summer of 2017 and mixed during the entirety of the following winter. The record does not go that much further from the “Whore” equation, but definitely has an evolution in the sound and brew of the songs. On the new record the compositions have a wider dynamic that take the listener from: heavy acid repetitive riffing nightmares into another different stage of electricness with songs as “The Rogue” and ‘Addicted To Satan’. “( ( ( I ‘ M H E R O I N ) ) )” sees the band branch out and experiment even further with the song compositions, extending the jams to give them time to properly unfold resulting in the ultimative mind-fuck. The album closes with ‘Into The Night’; a truly psyche-eroding extemporary spaced-out excursion to the brain’s deepest abyss and as the song progresses it slowly starts to dissapear between the trees of the darkest forests that Transylvania has to offer. There’s no no hope of surviving this Hendrixian heroin spree!

“( ( ( I ‘ M H E R O I N ) ) )” has already garnered some significant notion by some of the scene’s heavy weight icons and rightfully so as their sophomore album expands Mephistofeles’ expression on several levels; the production is sleazier, the instrumentation and play is markedly enhanced, the lyrics and graphic content more bleak, the hate is untamed. There’s no doubt that Mephistofeles didn’t come here to win your heart, they are here to corrupt your mind and drain your soul. For what’s left after all when it’s over…

The band responds to the commotion by stating:

“We are really happy to be experimenting this kind of stuff right now with our music. We are kids in our early 20’s, we can’t ask for anything more. We believe that there’s just death afterwards in our future.”

The new album will see ligt of day on limited heavy weight vinyl via Cursed Tongue Records in the spring of 2018 sporting a wide array of truly x-rated graphical content pushing the borders of what’s widely accepted. Tongue in cheek – literally.

CTR-666, Mephistofeles – “( ( ( I ‘ M H E R O I N ) ) )”, official release date: 2018

Mephistofeles is:
Ismael Dimenza on bass,
Gabriel Ravera on guitar and vocals,
Iván Sachar on drums

Julián Millen on general mixing
Enrique Lopez as mixing assistant
Aitor Aramberry as mixing assistant & digital mastering
Mastering for optimal vinyl playback by Tony Reed
Artwork, layout & design by Wizard Of Meth



Mephistoeles, I’m Heroin (2017)

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Hijo de la Tormenta Announce El Manto de la Especie Vinyl out Dec. 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

hijo de la tormenta (Photo Pelado Jerez)

Who doesn’t like a last-minute release before the holidays? Sure, Argentinian heavy psych naturalists Hijo de la Tormenta could probably wait until sometime early in 2018 to give the official vinyl version of their 2016 outing, El Manto de la Especie (review here), its public unveiling via Necio Records, but screw that. Everyone’s broke after the holidays anyhow. You might as well take advantage while the money’s already being spent. Plus there’s always way more coming out in January than December, because of everyone who decided to wait till the New Year.

And in most cases, if we’re being serious, that’s probably the way to go, but El Manto de la Especie came out last February, so while awesome that it’s getting a vinyl run of 300 copies and all that, it’s hardly the first time it’s being released. Still an occasion worth marking, and all the more if you’re into preorders, which are available now from the band’s Bandcamp page, linked below.

Also note the good news that they’re touring and will be recording their third long-player sometime in 2018. One to keep an ear open for, to be sure:

hijo de la tormenta el manto de la especie

Hijo de la Tormenta – El Manto de la Especie – Vinyl

Hijo de la Tormenta announces the release date for the vinyl edition of their latest album, El Manto de la Especie (2016). Fruit of the collaboration between the band’s independent work and Peruvian label Necio Records, the 180 gr vinyl edition will be available starting on December 20th. International shipments can be arranged via the band’s Facebook, Bandcamp or E-mail: hijodelatormenta.rock@gmail.com.

Hijo de la Tormenta will finish their year with a release party at their hometown of Córdoba in Argentina, and will then tour Chile in January of 2018. The band will then proceed to hit the studios for their forthcoming third album sometime during the next year.

El Manto de la Especie tracklisting:
1. Rock para huir de una ciudad 04:57
2. 53 cosechas 03:40
3. El Abuelo 06:06
4. Manifiesto al Sol 08:36
5. Un mañana aún más glorioso nos espera 12:31
6. Recibimiento 02:04

Hijo de la Tormenta is:
Juan Cruz Ledesma: Guitarra y voces
Santiago Ludueña: Batería
Guido Di Carlo: Bajo
Fabricio Morás: Teclas


Hijo de la Tormenta, El Manto de la Especie (2016)

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Sergio Ch., Araujo & Romeo Post 37-Minute Single “El Hombre con la Cámara”

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

El Hombre con la Cámara is the debut single from the new three-piece of Sergio Ch. Araujo & Romeo, and in some ways, the story behind it is pretty familiar. Sergio Ch. is, of course, Buenos Aires-based artist Sergio Chotsourian, the prolific founder and former frontman of Los Natas, who through his work in that band as well as Ararat and more recently Soldati, his own Sergio Ch. solo output and numerous other offshoot projects, in addition to his contributions to the continental underground through fostering bands on his South American Sludge imprint, has become something of a godfather of underground heavy in Argentina and the surrounding nations.

In Sergio Ch., Araujo & RomeoChotsourian is joined by drummer Jorge Araujo and synthesist/keyboardist Ernesto Romeo and together they embark on an ambitious beginning with “El Hombre con la Cámara.” It’s a single, in that it’s only one song, but it’s basically also a debut full-length comprised of naturalist, at least in-part-improvised-sounding soundscapery. Mostly instrumental, it courses and ebbs and flows through raw psychedelics and pushes into more driving fare momentarily only to recede again. Vocals come and go and come again, and the overarching effect on the listener is hypnotic without relying on a wash of effects or even an overdose of Romeo‘s synth. Make no mistake, that’s a factor, but it’s not at all overdone or out of balance with the guitar or drums.

What’s the future for Sergio Ch., Araujo & Romeo? Not a clue, and not worth your time to speculate. Could be a one-off, could be a whole new band about to take shape, and it’s no less likely that “El Hombre con la Cámara,” which in its final moments seems to reference Chotsourian‘s past work, will show up again in some different form in the future as well. You just never really know until you get there. Which — and stop me if I’ve said this before (actually, I know I’ve said this before, and don’t stop me) — is precisely why it’s fun.

Track is streaming under the info below. Enjoy:



[S.A.S. 080]

Recorded and mixed by Sergio Ch. at Death Studios
Mastered by Patricio Claypole at Estudio el Attic
Artwork by Sergio Ch.
Produced by Sergio Ch.

SERGIO CH. – guitar & vocals
ERNESTO ROMEO – keyboard & synth

South American Sludge Records.


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