The official issue date for Riff Fist‘s new album, King Tide, is listed as April 21, but you might look at the entirety of their upcoming European tour as a release party. The shows will happen in and on multiple stages throughout Poland, Germany and the Netherlands, as the Melbourne, Australia, three-piece make their return trip to the continent to play Desertfest Berlin 2017 after featuring two years ago at the same festival. Nothing like a command return, and all the better as they team up for gigs with Major Kong in their native Poland and fellow Aussie troublemakers Mammoth Mammoth for other gigs post-Desertfest, all en route to a headlining show in Berlin on May 12 that closes out the run.
It’s a busy time for the band, to be sure, but you’d never know it listening to “King Tide” itself. The title-track of Riff Fist‘s latest unfolds patiently over the course of 11 minutes as bassist/vocalist Cozza, guitarist Casey and drummer Joel dig into a languid psychedelic flow distinct from the prior work of the band’s own Dollars-trilogy-themed short releases, 2015’s The Good, the Loud and the Riff, 2014’s For a Few Riffs More and 2013’s Fistful of Riffs (review here), which tapped into some similar elements but only hinted at such range of approach. Rest assured, there’s still plenty of post-Orange Goblin burl to bask in during songs like “Chugg” and “Fist Bier (Noch Eins)” as the 33-minute King Tide plays out, and some of that in the title-cut as well, but Riff Fist offer a markedly expanded scope with “King Tide,” and in bringing it along with them as they hit Europe once again, it’s easy to imagine they’ll turn heads all the more in their direction as a result.
Below, the band premieres the track “King Tide” in a new video featuring the album artwork by Berlin-based artist BoozyBags. Spoiler alert: there’s a fist involved. Underneath the player itself, you’ll find some exposition from Riff Fist and the upcoming tour dates.
The highlight, however, is “King Tide” itself, and I hope you enjoy:
Riff Fist, “King Tide” official video
Riff Fist on “King Tide”:
‘King Tide’ is the epic track that we have long considered as our opus work and we finally look forward to presenting it to our fans. The track now recorded beautifully at the Black Lodge in Melbourne is shown in music video with a slow reveal first look of the new album artwork by Berlin artist BoozyBags. We look forward to fans experiencing its raw power presented with live Riff Fist energy on stages in Europe over the next 4 weeks.
From the upcoming release ‘King Tide’ available April 2017.
Hands up who wants to RIFF?
The knuckle sandwich to the eardrums that is Riff Fist are excited to announce their latest release ‘King Tide’. Recorded at The Black Lodge Studios in Melbourne, Australia by drummer and audio engineer Joel Taylor, the release features a true stoner rock epic title track that demonstrates the power trio’s dynamic range and solid groove. The rest of the album features the fuzzed out stoner riffage and fat low end the band are known for combining influences from the golden era of stoner rock as well as a solid dose of ?O’s heavy classics.
Celebrating the release the band are embarking on a European tour through Poland, Germany and The Netherlands including their second performance at Desertfest Berlin. After a fantastic reception to their previous European shows, the boys can’t wait to unleash the ‘King Tide’ at the following dates:
RIFF FIST EURO TOUR 2017: w/Major Kong and Red Scalp 21/4 – Poznan (POL) 22/4 – Wroclaw (POL) 23/4 – Krakow (POL) Desertfest 28/4 – Desertfest Berlin (GER) w/Mammoth Mammoth 2/5 – Dresden (GER) 3/5 – Osnabrueck (GER) 4/5 – Cologne (GER) 5/5 – Duesseldorf (GER) 7/5 – Utrecht (NL) 8/5 – Frankfurt (GER) 9/5 – Hamburg (GER) w/Urza and Kkröte 12/5 – Berlin
Fuzz-coated Australian heavy blues rockers Kitchen Witch will release their self-titled debut LP via Kozmik Artifactz on April 14. That’s pretty soon. Like less that two weeks from now. Sorry for the lack of heads up on this one, but we’re still technically in the preorder phase, so it’s not like you missed out if you want to grab a copy. The 12″, which will be pressed in a total edition of 316, is made up of songs from the Adelaide four-piece’s two prior EPs, 2016’s Back to the Mud, which you can hear in the Bandcamp player below, and 2015’s Trouble, from which the last couple tracks were left off. Hey, sometimes you run out of room. It happens.
Australia’s heavy boom continues unabated.
Details from the PR wire:
Kitchen Witch set to release self-titled debut album this spring via Kozmik Artifactz
Australian stoner-blues rockers, Kitchen Witch, are set to release their debut full length this spring via Kozmik Artifactz. Comprised of tracks from the bands original self-released EPs, “Kitchen Witch” is a fuzzy, droning, soulful record that perfectly captures what Kitchen Witch are all about.
With their EPs having amassed over 10k plays on YouTube, Kitchen Witch are set to make waves this year. Fans of Royal Thunder, Blues Pills and Kyuss will be at home here as Kitchen Witch deliver a confident full length debut.
‘Kitchen Witch’ will be available on high quality 180g vinyl through Kozmik Artifactz on April 14th, 2017.
VINYL FACTZ – Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany – limited & coloured 180g vinyl – 166x green/white marbled (Exclusive mailorder edition, handnumbered) – 150x black – 300gsm gatefold cover – special vinyl mastering
TRACKS 1. Slipstream 2. Third Eye 3. Delusion 4. Like Blood 5. Smoking 6. Trouble 7. Don’t Waste Your Time 8. O’Lord
KITCHEN WITCH are: Vocals – Georgie Cosson Bass – Simon Elliott Guitar – Conor Kinsella Drums – John Russo
As it turns out, the 17-minute opening title-track (which you can stream at the bottom of this post) is also the longest cut on Mt. Mountain‘s Dust. Immediate points for that. In true psycheprolifidelic form, the four-song outing is the latest in a bundle the Perth, Australia-based five-piece have issued over the last half-decade — they had the full-length Cosmos Terros out last year, preceded by three shorter offerings going back to 2013, if their Bandcamp discography is anything to go by — but as it’s my first exposure to the band, I’m finding it easy to get stoked for the coming April 24 release date. “Dust,” as well as “Floating Eyes,” “Kokoti” and “Outro,” which follow, cover a formidable swath of ground and prove fluid and immersive in kind, jam-based, but with a sense of underlying purpose as well. It’s just about where my brain is at these days, if you want to know. So yeah, definitely a welcome arrival.
Preorders are up for swirl and black LPs, and in the UK/EU, it’ll be out via respected purveyor Cardinal Fuzz, as the PR wire informs:
Cardinal Fuzz are proud to announce the release of the epic “Dust” via Perth quintet Mt. Mountain. Since forming in 2012 Mt. Mountain are already lauded and revered in Australia where they have built a reputation as one of the most compelling live bands, a distinction that has seen them share stages with myriad Australian and international heavyweights including Sleep, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, Endless Boogie, Tortoise, Bardo Pond and Boris. On “Dust” Mt Mountain have laid down 4 tracks that capture the atmosphere of the red/orange landscapes that consume the Australian Outback.
Opening with the mini slow burn epic “Dust” which builds with an incessant drone and flute to form a ghostly menacing and meditative rhythmic and repetitive throb that builds and builds before the release comes and the bands shatters into a heady and thunderous elliptical crunch. Over the entire LP Mt Mountain capture, a dreamlike mood of shimmering dust filled landscapes where slow strummed guitars and single note organ lines ebb and flow and bring to mind Dylan Carson’s ‘Earth’ as played by mushroom ingesting elf’s. ‘Dust’ is psych rock meditation music and It is utterly entrancing.
Mt. Mountain is: Stephen Bailey: Organ, Whistle, Guitar, Vocals Derrick Treatch: Guitar, Mellotron, Vocals Brendan Shanley: Bass Glenn Palmer: Guitar Thomas Cahill: Drums, Djembe, Percussion
Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
From harsh doom to urban pastoralism to heavy blues rock to rolling doom nonetheless metallic in its defiance, Day Four of the Quarterly Review spins around a swath of styles and hopefully, hopefully, finds something you dig in the doing. It’s been a long week already. You know it. I know it. But it’s also been really good to dig into this stuff and I know I’ve found a few records that have made their way onto the already-ongoing 2017 lists — best short releases, debuts, albums, etc. — so to say it’s been worth it is, as ever, an understatement. Today likewise has gems to offer, so I won’t delay.
Quarterly Review #31-40:
Unearthly Trance, Stalking the Ghost
Brooklyn’s Unearthly Trance make a somewhat unexpected reentry with Stalking the Ghost (on Relapse), their sixth album. In the years since 2010’s V (review here), guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lipynsky has delved into a wide variety of extreme genres, from the blackened fare of The Howling Wind to the deathly-doom of Serpentine Path, in which Unearthly Trance bassist Jay Newman and drummer Darren Verni also shared tenure, but reuniting as Unearthly Trance feels like a significant step for the three-piece, and on tracks like “Dream State Arsenal” and the darkly post-metallic “Lion Strength,” they remind of what it was that made them such a standout in the first place while demonstrating that their years away have done nothing to dull the surehandedness of their approach. At eight tracks/52 minutes, Stalking the Ghost is a significant dirge to undertake, but Unearthly Trance bring pent-up anguish to bear across this varied swath of punishing tracks, and reassert their dominance over an aesthetic sphere that, even after all this time, is thoroughly their own.
Probably a smart move on the part of Heavy Traffic spearhead guitarist Ian Caddick and drummer/vocalist Tav Palumbo to swap coasts from Santa Cruz to Brooklyn ahead of putting together their sixth (!) full-length in three years and Twin Earth Records debut, Plastic Surgery. Cali is awash in heavy psych anyway and Brooklyn’s been at a deficit (as much as it’s at a deficit of anything) since space forerunners Naam became one with the cosmos, so even apart from the acquisition of bassist David Grzedzinki and drummer Dan Bradica, it’s a solid call, and one finds the fruits yielded on Plastic Surgery’s dream-fuzzed blend of heft and roll, heady jams like “See Right Through,” the oh-you-like-feedback-well-here’s-all-the-feedback “Broth Drain” and winding “Medicated Bed” finding a place where shoegaze and psychedelia meet ahead of the low-end-weighted closing title-cut and the bonus track “White and Green,” which finishes with suitable push and swirl to mark a welcome and vibe-soaked arrival for the band. Hope you enjoy the Eastern Seabord. It could use you.
In the second Saturn album, Beyond Spectra, one can hear one of retro rock’s crucial next movements taking place. The Swedish four-piece, who debuted on Rise Above with 2014’s Ascending and return with a periodically explosive 10-track/45-minute outing here, find a niche for themselves in adding dual-guitar NWOBHM elements to ‘70s-style (also ‘10s-style) boogie, as on the scorching “Still Young” or opener “Orbital Command.” They’re not the only ones doing it – Rise Above alums Horisont come to mind readily – but they’re doing it well, and the last three years have clearly found them refining their approach to arrive at the tightness in the shuffle of “Wolfsson” and the creeping Priestism of “Helmet Man” later on. I’ll give bonus points for their embracing the idea of going completely over the top in naming a song “Electrosaurus Sex,” but by the time they get down to closing duo “Silfvertape” and “Sensor Data,” I’m left thinking of the subdued intro to “Orbital Command” and the interlude “Linkans Delight” and wondering if there isn’t a way to bring more of that dynamic volume and tempo breadth into the songwriting as a whole. That would really be far out. Maybe they’ll get there, maybe they won’t. Either way, Beyond Spectra, like its predecessor, makes a largely inarguable case for Saturn’s potential.
Measuring its impact between doomly traditionalism and attitudinal fuckall, Lucifer’s Fall’s II: Cursed and Damned (on Nine Records) is a doom-for-doomers affair that tops 55 minutes with its nine tracks, recalling Dio-era Sabbathian gallop on opener “Mother Superior” and landing a significant blow with the slow-rolling nine-minute push of “The Necromancer.” Shades of Candlemass, Reverend Bizarre, and the most loyal of the loyalists show themselves throughout, but whether it’s the crawl in the first half of “Cursed Priestess” or the blistering rush of the clarion centerpiece “(Fuck You) We’re Lucifer’s Fall,” there’s an undercurrent of punk in the five-piece’s take that lends an abiding rawness to even the album’s most grueling moments. One looks to find a middle ground in songs like “The Mountains of Madness” and closer “Homunculus,” but Lucifer’s Fall instead offer NWOBHM-style guitar harmonics and soaring vocals, respectively, only pushing their stylistic breadth wider, playing by and breaking rules they’re clearly setting for themselves rather than working toward outside expectation. As a result, II: Cursed and Damned keeps its fist in the air for the duration, middle finger up.
Over the course of six-minute opener “A New Architecture,” guitarist Trevor Shelley de Brauw gradually moves the listener from abrasive noise to sweet, folkish acoustic guitar backed by amplified wavelengths. It’s a slowly unfolding change, patiently done, and it works in part to define Uptown (on The Flenser), the Pelican guitarist’s six-song solo debut long-player. Noise and drone make themselves regulars, and there’s a steady experimentalism at root in pieces like “Distinct Frequency,” the low-end hum and strum of “You Were Sure,” and the should’ve-been-on-the-soundtrack-to-Arrival “Turn up for What,” which unfurls a linear progression from minimalism to consuming swell in eight minutes ahead of the more actively droning 11-minute sendoff “From the Black Soil Poetry and Song Sprang,” but de Brauw manages to keep a human core beneath via both the occasional acoustic layer and through moments where a piece is being palpably manipulated, à la the spacious distorted churn of “They Keep Bowing.” I’m not sure how Uptown didn’t wind up on Neurot, but either way, it’s an engaging exploration of textures, and one hopes it won’t be de Brauw’s last work in this form.
Someone in Scuzzy Yeti has roots in metal, and the good money’s on it being vocalist Chris Wells. Joined in the Troy, New Hampshire, five-piece by guitarists Brad Decatur and Jason Lawrence (ex-Skrogg), bassist Wayne Munson and drummer Josh Turnbull, Wells casts a sizable frontman presence across the five-tracks of Scuzzy Yeti’s self-titled debut EP, belting out “Westward” and “BTK” as the band behind him hones a blend of classic heavy rock and doom. The sound is more reminiscent of Janne Christoffersson-era Spiritual Beggars than what one might expect out of New England, and the band amass some considerable momentum as centerpiece “Conqueror” and the shorter shuffle “Knees in the Breeze” push toward slower, lead-soaked closer “Flare,” which finds the lead guitar stepping up to meet Wells head-on. They might have some work to do in finding a balance between the stylistic elements at play, but for a first outing, Scuzzy Yeti shows all the pieces are there and are being put into their rightful place, and the result is significant, marked potential.
The insistent push from punctuated Denver trio Urn.’s self-titled debut demo/EP is enough to remind one of the days when the primary impression of Mastodon wasn’t their complexity, but the raw savagery with which that complexity was delivered. Urn. – the three-piece of Scott Schulman, Graham Wesselhoff and Jacob Archuleta – work in some elements of more extreme metal to “Rat King” after opener “Breeder,” both songs under three minutes and successfully conveying an intense thrust. The subsequent “Stomach” ranges further and is the longest cut at 4:45, but loses none of its focus as it winds its way toward closer “To the Grave,” which in addition to maintaining the nigh-on-constant kick drum that has pervaded the three tracks prior, offers some hints of lumbering stomp to come. As a first sampling, Urn.’s Urn. is a cohesive aesthetic blast setting in motion a progression that will be worth following as it develops. Call it rager metal and try not to spill your beverage while you windmill, you wild headbanger.
2016 found San Diego aggressors Nebula Drag making their self-titled, self-released debut (review here) with a record that seemed to work in willful defiance of their hometown’s psychedelic underground while at the same time occasionally nodding to it. The forebodingly-titled Always Dying three-song EP does likewise, launching with a vengeance on “Crosses” before burying the vocals and spacing out behind the crashes of the more languid-rolling title-track and giving a bit of both sides with the four-minute closer “Flying Fuckers.” It’s almost as if the three-piece of Corey Quintana, bassist Mike Finneran and drummer Stephen Varns, having thus completed their first album, decided to boil it down to its essential stylistic components and the result of that was this 14-minute outing. An intriguing prospect, but it could also be these were leftovers from the prior session with Jordan Andreen at Audio Design Recording and putting them up for a free download was an easy way to give them some purpose. In any case, if you haven’t yet been introduced to the band, Always Dying is an efficient telling of their story thus far.
If their moniker doesn’t have you immediately running through the most legendary of cheat codes, congratulations on being born after 1990. Cleveland burl-sludge metallers Contra make their full-length debut on respected purveyor Robustfellow with the 10-track/41-minute Deny Everything, and if it sounds like they have their shit together – at least sound-wise – it should make sense given the pedigree of drummer Aaron Brittain (ex-Rue), bassist/guitarist Adam Horwatt (So Long Albatross), guitarist Chris Chiera (ex-Sofa King Killer) and vocalist Larry Bent (ex-Don Austin). Be it established that songs like “Snake Goat” and “Son of Beast” are nobody’s first time at the sludge rodeo. Fair enough. Doesn’t mean Contra don’t establish their own personality in the overarching fuckall and total lack of pretense throughout Deny Everything – hell, seven-minute closer “Shrimp Cocktail” proves that on its own – just that that personality has roots. What Contra wants to do with them still kind of seems up in the air, but something about these tracks makes me think the band likes it that way. See the aforementioned “fuckall.”
Comprised of four songs tracked live in the trio’s native Córdoba at 440 Estudio, the self-titled debut EP from Argentine trio IAH – guitarist Mauricio Condon, bassist Juan Pablo Lucco and drummer José Landín – would seem destined to catch the attention of South American Sludge Records if it already hasn’t. In the interim, the three-piece have made the instrumental EP available as a free download and its unpretentious heavy psychedelics and edge of rock-minded thrust on opener “Cabalgan los Cielos” and the early going of closer “Eclipsum” more than justify their intention to spread the word as much as possible. Set to a balance of post-rock guitar, the bassline of “Stolas” carries a progressive inflection, and the fuzz that emerges halfway into second track “Ouroboros” shows a desert rock influence that blends well into its surroundings as a part of a richer sonic entity. A nascent but palpable chemistry at work across its 26 minutes, IAH’s IAH could portend expansive ideas to come, and one hopes it does precisely that.
Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Here we are, on the precipice looking out over a spread that will include 50 reviews by the week’s end. Somehow when it comes around to a Quarterly Review Monday I always end up taking a moment to ask myself if I’ve truly lost my mind, if I really expect to be able to do this and not fall completely flat on my face, and just where the hell this terrible idea came from in the first place. But you know what? I haven’t flubbed one yet. We get through it. There’s a lot to go through, for me and you both, but sometimes it’s fun to be completely overwhelmed by music. I hope you agree, and I hope you find something this week that hits you in that oh-yeah-that’s-why-I-love-this kind of way. Time’s wasting. Let’s get started.
Quarterly Review #1-10:
Three albums and nearly a decade into their tenure, Pallbearer stand at the forefront of American doom, and their third outing, Heartless (on Profound Lore), only reinforces this position while at the same time expanding beyond genre lines in ways that even their 2014 sophomore effort, Foundations of Burden, simply couldn’t have done. A seven-song/hour-long sprawl is marked out by resonant melodies, soulful melancholy conveyed by guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell – the returning lineup completed by guitarist Devin Holt, bassist Joseph D. Rowland and drummer Mark Lierly – and tonal weight set to a mix by Joe Barresi, who from opener “I Saw the End” onward arranges layers gorgeously so that extended pieces like “Dancing in Madness” (11:48) and closer “A Plea for Understanding” (12:40) become even more consuming. What comes through most resolute on Heartless, though, is that it’s time to stop thinking of Pallbearer as belonging to some established notion of doom or any other subgenre. With these songs, they make it clear they’ve arrived at their own wavelength and are ready to stand up to the influence they’ve already begun to have on other acts. A significant achievement.
With the considerable frontman presence of Primordial’s Alan Averill on vocals and bass, the considerable riffing of guitarist Bones (also of Wizards of Firetop Mountain) and the considerable lumber in the drumming of Johnny King (ex-Altar of Plagues), Dread Sovereign make some considerable fucking doom indeed. Their second album, For Doom the Bell Tolls (on Ván Records), follows three years behind their debut, 2014’s All Hell’s Martyrs (review here), and wastes no time giving the devil his due – or his doom, if you prefer – in the span of its six tracks and 37 minutes. Atmospheric and seemingly on an endless downward plod, the 13-minute “Twelve Bells Toll in Salem” is a defining moment, but the trad metallurgy of “This World is Doomed” rounds out side A with some welcome thrust, and after the intro “Draped in Sepulchral Fog,” “The Spines of Saturn” and the thrashing “Live Like and Angel, Die Like a Devil” play dramatic and furious intensities off each other in a manner that would seem to truly represent the fine art of not giving a shit what anyone thinks about what you do or what box you’re supposed to fit into. Righteous. Considerably so.
Noise, largesse of riffs and shouted vocals that distinctly remind of Souls at Zero-era Neurosis pervade the near-hour-long run of Lizzard Wizzard’s Total War Power Bastard, but as much as the Brisbane four-piece willfully give themselves over to fuckall – to wit, the title “Medusa but She Gets You Stoned Instead of Turning You to Stone, Instead of Snakes She has Vaporizers on His Head… Drugs” – songs like “Shithead Nihilism,” “Pizza” and the droning “Snake Arrow” brim with purpose and prove affecting in their atmosphere and heft alike. Yes, they have a song called “Nerd Smasher,” and they deserve all credit for that as they follow-up their 2013 self-titled (review here), but by the time they get down to the roll-happy “Crystal Balls” and the feedback-caked “Megaflora” at the record’s end, guitarists Michael Clarke and Nick McKeon, bassist Stef Roselli and drummer Luke Osborne end up having done something original with a Sleep influence, and that’s even more commendable.
Should mention two things outright about Oulu Space Jam Collective’s EP1. First and foremost, its three songs run over 95 minutes long, so if it’s an EP, one can only imagine what qualifies as a “full-length.” Second, the Finnish outfit releasing EP1 on limited tape through Eggs in Aspic isn’t to be confused with Denmark’s Øresund Space Collective. Oulu is someplace else entirely, and likewise, Oulu Space Jam Collective have their own intentions as they show in the 57-minute opener “Renegade Spaceman,” recorded live in the studio in 2014 (they’ve since made two sequels) and presented in six movements including samples, drones, enough swirl for, well, 57 minutes, and a hypnotism that’s nigh on inescapable. I won’t take away from the space rock thrust of 14-minute closer “Artistic Supplies for Moon Paint Mafia” (also tracked in 2014), but the smooth progressive edge of three-part 24-minute centerpiece “Approaching Beast Moon of Baxool” is where it’s at for me – though if you want a whole galaxy to explore, hit up their Bandcamp.
They freak out a bit toward the end of 12-minute opener “Ascendant” and in the second half of the subsequent “Supersaturation,” but for the most part, Aussie three-piece Frozen Planet…. 1969 play it weirdo-cool on their fourth full-length, the excellently-titled Electric Smokehouse (on Pepper Shaker Records). From those jams to the dreamy beachside drift of “Shores of Oblivion” to the funky-fuzz bass of “Sonic Egg Factory” to the quick noise finish of “Pretty Blown Fuse” – which may or may not be the sound of malfunctioning equipment run through an oscillator or some other effects-whatnot, the instrumentalist Sydney/Canberra trio seem to improv a healthy percentage of their fare, if not all of it, and that spirit of spontaneity feeds into the easygoing atmosphere only enhanced by the cover art. On a superficial level, you know you’re getting psych jams going into it, but once you put on Electric Smokehouse, the urge to get lost in the tracks is nigh on overwhelming, and that proves greatly to their credit. Wake up someplace else.
Ananda Mida make their debut on Go Down Records with Anodnatius, fluidly working their way around heavy psychedelic and more driving rock influences propelled by drummer Massimo “Max Ear” Recchia, also of underrated Italian forebears OJM. Here, Recchia anchors a seven-piece lineup including two vocalists in Oscar de Bertoldi and Filippo Leonardi, two guitarists in Matteo Scolaro and Alessandro Tedesco, as well as bassist Davide Bressan and organist Stefano Pasqualetto, so suffice it to say songs like the subtly grungy “Passvas,” the dreamy highlight “Heropas” or the vaguely progressive “Askokinn” want nothing for fullness, but there seem to be moments throughout Anodnatius as on “Lunia” and the shuffling “Kondur” early into the proceedings where the band wants to break out and push toward something heavier. Their restraint is to be commended since it serves the interests of songcraft, but part of me can’t help but wonder what might happen if these guys really let loose on some boogie jams. Keep an ear open to find out, as I have a feeling they might be headed in just that direction.
The heart of Séance – The Satanic Sounds of Strange Broue might come in the 11-minute sample dump that is “Cults and Crimes,” late into the second half of the 52-minute album. Capturing meticulously compiled news and talk-show clips from the late ‘80s, some of which talk about the Satanic roots of heavy metal, it gets to the ritualism that Quebec four-piece Strange Broue proliferate elsewhere on the record in the lo-fi post-Electric Wizard doom of “Satan’s Slaves,” “Kill What’s Inside of You” and the rolling opener “Ritualize” (video here). These pieces offset by other interludes of noise and drone and samples like “Satanic Panic,” “In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanis, Luciferi Excelsis,” the acoustic-until-it-gets-shot-in-the-woods “Las Bas,” the John Carpenter-esque “Séance IV – L’Invocation” and the extended penultimate drone of “Séance V – The Mystifying Oracle with Bells” ahead of the countrified pop gospel of “Satan is Real,” which finishes in subversive fashion, interrupted by more news reports and a finishing assault of noise. Like an arts project in the dark arts, Séance crosses some familiar terrain but finds Strange Broue on their own trip through cultish immersion, as psychological as it is psychedelic.
Not much to argue with in the sixth long-player from Helge Kanck, Trond Slåke and Hallvard Gaardløs, collectively known as Orango. As they make their way onto Stickman Records (which also handled Euro distro for their last album, 2014’s Battles) with The Mules of Nana, the Norwegian trio deep-dive into harmony-topped ‘70s-style vibing that, well, leaves the bulk of “retro” bands in their V8-crafted dust. Mind you they do so by not being a retro band. True, the fuzz on “The Honeymoon Song” and “Head on Down” is as organic as if you happened on it in some forest where all the trees were wearing bellbottoms, but if you told me it was true, I’d believe Orango recorded The Mules of Nana onto – gasp! – a computer. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but “Heirs,” the sweetly acoustic “Give Me a Hundred” and motoring “Hazy Chain of Mountains” find Orango making no attempt to cloak a lack of songwriting or performance chops in a production aesthetic. Rather, in the tradition of hi-fi greats, they sound as full and rich as possible and utterly live up to the high standard they set for themselves. Pure win in classic, dynamic fashion.
There’s an undercurrent of metal that’s quick to show itself on Set and Setting’s Reflectionless. The instrumentalist Floridian five-piece delve plenty deep into heavy post-rock on cuts like the shoegazing “Incandescent Gleam” and subsequent “Specular Wavefront Of…” but they’re not through opener “Saudade” before harder-edged chug emerges, and “…The Idyllic Realm”’s blastbeating nods at black metal while the churning endgame build of closer “Ephemerality” holds tight to a progressive execution. While its textural foundation will likely ring familiar to followers of Russian Circles ultimately, Reflectionless finds distinction in aligning the various paths it walks as it goes, creating an overarching flow that draws strength from its diversity of approach rather than sounding choppy, confused or in conflict with itself. Not revolutionary by any means, but engaging throughout and with a residual warmth to complement what might seem at first to be a purely cerebral approach. It offers more on repeat listens, so let it sink in.
Primo short offering of pure, fistpump-ready, violin-infused doom traditionalism. I don’t know what Norrköping, Sweden’s Dautha – the five-piece of vocalist Lars Palmqvist, guitarists Erik Öquist and Ola Blomkvist, bassist Emil Åström and drummer Micael Zetterberg – are planning to do for a follow-up, but this Den Foerste (or Den Förste) two-tracker recalls glory-era Candlemass and willfully soars with no sense of irony on “Benandanti” and “In Between Two Floods” after the intro “Horkarlar Skall Slås Ihjäl,” and having already sold out a self-released pressing leaves little to wonder what would’ve caught the esteemed tastes of Ván Records. And by that I mean it’s fucking awesome. I’m ready for a full-length whenever they are, and from the poise with which Palmqvist carries the melodies of these tracks, the quality of the riffing and the depth of arrangement the violin adds to the overarching mournfulness, they definitely sound ready. So get on it. 15 minutes of dirge-making this gorgeous simply isn’t enough.
Aussie newcomers Smoke Witch released their self-titled debut EP on Jan. 1 digitally and on DIY, 100-copies-only CD and followed that with a vinyl issue on March 10. The instrumentalist heavy rock duo have been together not more than a year, but that seems to have been plenty of time for them to draw eyes and ears in their direction, and with the first release under their belt — you can see the video for opening track “Grave Diggers” below and the whole thing is streaming on their Bandcamp; I’d have posted it here but for its cartoon-titty artwork — gigs played and their very own Smoke Witch Ale, they would seem to be set to embark on the next stage, which brings us around to the news that they’ve hooked up with Desert Highways for the release and promotion of their next outing.
Hard to argue with a band who works quickly. The PR wire brings details and whatnot. I think my favorite part is “broke through with their first Instagram post.” Makes me feel old.
SMOKE WITCH Joins Forces With DESERT HIGHWAYS!
We’re very proud to announce that Geelong’s Smoke Witch have joined forces with Desert Highways!
In the winter of 2016, Smoke Witch broke through with their first Instagram post and came into being; a twin-cylinder sonic jam from Geelong.
With the band not even together for one year, they’ve already released their debut, recorded another five tracks ready to go, and are making plans to head back into the studio on their first anniversary. They’ve also created their own Smoke Witch Ale through Casati Beer Co (Melbourne) and locked in some massive gigs including Brewtality Festival (August), and signing to Desert Highways!
Members Sammy Wright (strings) and Karl Stehn (skins) have played in various bands over the years and shared stages with the likes of Spiderbait, Cosmic Psychos, Airbourne, Hard-Ons, Peeping Tom, Fauves, Testeagles and more.
In just under six minutes on the A-side of their new single for Desert Highways, Perth two-piece Ohm Rune span a gamut of modern heavy, from initial soothing post-rock into punch-in-the-gut riffing and abrasive screaming vocals set to a charged and rolling groove. The track is called “Ether,” and it’s not streaming yet, but preorders are up now for the platter, which also contains the somewhat shorter, more direct companion-piece “The Great Dark,” highlighting an almost thrashy tightness that seems to ask what would happen if the modern prog-metal set had grown up on a diet of At the Gates — which many of them did and just don’t want to admit it — and provide the answer in an efficient and crisply-delivered voluminous onslaught.
Their prior single, Star Destroyer b/w Adrift, was rawer in its sound and had some clean vocals as well, but should be enough to give you some idea where they’re coming from. You can hear it below, under the PR wire info about Ether b/w The Great Dark, which releases April 11.
OHM RUNE – NEW RELEASE THROUGH DESERT HIGHWAYS!
We’re very proud to announce that Perth’s OHM RUNE are releasing their latest 7” through Desert Highways!
Key Points – Double A-Side 7” Flexi with art by Rogue Luxuria. – Tracks: 1. Ether (5:55) // 2. The Great Dark (4:33) – Limited to 100 Orange / 150 Blue. – Recorded by Adam Round (Tame Impala, Voyager, Forstora, The Floors, POND, Timothy Nelson & – The Infidels, The Growl) at Underground Studios, Perth. – Mastered by Brad Boatright (Off!, Sleep, Poison idea, Beastwars, Black Tusk, Goya) at Audiosiege, Portland, US.
Presale: 13 March 2017. Release: 11 April 2017.
Launch Tour: April 12 – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide, VIC. * April 13 – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC. * April 14 – Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC. * April 15 – The Barwon Club, Geelong, VIC. * April 22 – The Boston, Perth, WA. * Double Headline Easter Shows with Dr. Colossus (Melbourne).
Bio: Hailing from Perth, Western Australia new comers Ohm Rune have already blown away initial predictions and generated a significant buzz online reaching all corners of Australia and beyond. 2016, their first year as a band, saw them play numerous shows around Australia with renowned acts Acid King, King Parrot, Dead City Ruins, Sanzu, Dr. Colossus, Frankenbok, Seedy Jeezus, and Sumeru, just to name a few.
In August 2016, they released their debut double A-Side through Arrest Records Australia. It features two tracks; Star Destroyer and Adrift.
March 2017 sees their much anticipated second release coming out through Desert Highways, coinciding with a run of shows with Melbourne’s much loved Dr. Colossus. Ohm Rune aren’t trying to change the world with their blend of desert / stoner / metal but that doesn’t stop them showing everyone exactly how huge a sound a two-piece act can deliver. Guitarist Alex, armed with only a bass guitar, manages to produce layers and tones many four-piece bands struggle to attain. Combining this with the ferociously stoner metal influenced drumming styles of Justin, Ohm Rune leaves listeners drooling, and completely dumbfounded by the sheer magnitude of the sound produced.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
I’ve got it on pretty good authority — and by that I mean I asked the band — that Melbourne cosmic doomers Merchant are just a scant few weeks away from announcing the details of their next release. Whatever it’s called, whenever it hits, expect a crater to form. Their prior debut long-player, last year’s Suzerain (review here), was a forceful statement of cosmic doom intent, from its 20-minute title-track outward into the crushing expanse of the songs surrounding. It was as light on compromise as it was heavy on tone.
That should only make Merchant all the more a fitting pairing with fellow Melbourners Watchtower. The two bands will head to New Zealand in April — Watchtower supporting their 2015 EP, Radiant Moon (review here), which in the States was picked up by Magnetic Eye Records for a release — and though it’s just a three-date run through Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, they look like they’re spending their time well, keeping good company with the locals and whatnot. A few packed bills here for a weekender.
But I guess if you’re gonna go, and even if you’re only going from the relative proximity of Melbourne — still three and a half hours to Auckland by plane; I looked it up — you should make it count. So be it.
More to come on Merchant‘s next offering, and for that matter, Watchtower‘s, when I hear it. Until then, the dates:
Merchant & Watchtower announce New Zealand Tour
Melbourne based sludge slingers Merchant and Watchtower have teamed up to lay waste to New Zealand for the first time in April. Presented by BoredSound, the deadly double header will see venues crushed by volume in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington on consecutive evenings. With both Merchant and Watchtower quickly rising to notoriety in the Australian heavy underground due to their all consuming live shows and coupled with swag of killer local supports, this tour isn’t something that fans of heavy music should miss.
Merchant & Watchtower New Zealand tour: Saturday, April 22 @ Whammy Bar, Auckland with NIISA, Reaving & Bloodnut Sunday, April 23 @ Nivara Lounge, Hamilton with Bloodnut, Sick Old Man & Wolf Wizard Monday, April 24 @ Valhalla, Wellington with Opium Eater & Ritual Abuse