Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
So you’re telling me you’ve got a new band with dudes culled from the ranks of Prisma Circus, Brain Pyramid and 1886? Somehow I don’t think I’m gonna have much trouble getting on board with this one, and listening to the instrumental boogie in the “lo-fi take” of “Jungla” — which seems likely to be the title-track of Cachemira‘s forthcoming debut album, and which you can stream at the bottom of this post — the appeal that drove Heavy Psych Sounds to pick the trio up feels pretty obvious. Fiery classic shuffle finds a good home amid a killer label’s unfettered expansion. Who doesn’t like that story?
The version of “Jungla” below, which appeared on a Red Sun Records compilation, is my introduction to the Barcelona-based outfit, but it’s only got me intrigued to dig further. The Italian imprint doesn’t half-ass it either when it comes to promoting its bands, so expect to hear more about Cachemira leading up to the release. For now, here’s the announcement that was posted about the signing:
Cachemira, Jungla – Heavy Psych Sounds
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is proud to announce the signing of a new awesome band!! Welcome on board to CACHEMIRA!!
Cachemira was born in the summer of 2015 in Barcelona, the band started as a duo composed of drummer Alejandro Carmona of Prisma Circus and guitar player Gaston Laine of Brain Pyramid (that had recently moved to Spain), after some intense nights of jams they were finally joined by bass player Pol Ventura (1886) to complete the actual line-up.
All three members meet during shows with their respective bands and decided to gather forces to develop each others compositions. Until early 2016 they kept composing in the search of their old school psych rock dynamic.
From January 2016 with a brand new set, the band started to play as much shows as possible to try out their sound. Through a bit more than half of the year they played various cities through Spain, Portugal, France and Germany, sharing the stage with some international bands from the Psych Rock, Stoner scene.
Recording of the first record started in June 2016 and was finished in August right after they were back from a short summer tour where they played in Sonic Blast Moledo, the band has since then matured its sound and keeps on with composition and shows, developing a genuine heavy psych blues experience!
THE DEBUT ALBUM FOR THIS INCREDIBLE 70’s, Heavy Psych, Bluesy Rock band WILL BE OUT THIS SPRING ON HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS!
More details about the album will be announced soon …so stay tuned!
Posted in Reviews on December 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
2016 ends and 2017 starts off on the right foot with a brand new Quarterly Review roundup. The first time I ever did one of these was at the end of 2014 and I called the feature ‘Last Licks.’ Fortunately, I’ve moved on from that name, but that is kind of how I’m thinking about this particular Quarterly Review. You’ll find stuff that came out spread all across 2016, early, middle, late, but basically what I’m trying to do here is get to a point where it’s not March and I’m still reviewing albums from November. Will it work? Probably not, but in order to try my damnedest to make it do so anyway, I’m making this Quarterly Review six full days. Monday to Monday instead of Monday to Friday. 60 reviews in six posts. Sounds like madness because it is madness. Let’s get started.
Quarterly Review #1-10:
San Francisco trio Hornss debuted on RidingEasy Records with 2014’s No Blood No Sympathy (review here) and further their raw genre blend on Telepath, their half-hour follow-up LP delivered via STB, melding heavy punk and metallic impulses to a noisy, thick-toned thrust on songs like “Atrophic” and the bouncing “Sargasso Heart” while opener “St. Genevieve” and the penultimate “Old Ghosts” dig into more stonerly nod. The latter track is the longest inclusion on the record at 3:26, and with 11 cuts there’s plenty of jumping between impulses to be done, but the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mike Moracha, bassist/vocalist Nick Nava – both formerly of desert punkers Solarfeast – and drummer Bil Bowman (ex-Zodiac Killers) work effectively and efficiently to cast an identity for themselves within the tumult. It’s one that finds them reveling in the absence of pretense and the sometimes-caustic vibes of songs like “Leaving Thermal,” which nonetheless boast an underlying catchiness, speaking to a progression from the first album.
Easily justifiable decision on the part of Denver’s Khemmis to return to Flatline Audio and producer Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, etc.) for their second album, Hunted. No reason to fix what clearly wasn’t broken about their 2015 debut, Absolution (review here), and on the 20 Buck Spin Records release, they don’t. A year later, the four-piece instead build on the doomly grandeur of the first outing and push forward in aesthetic, confidence and purpose, whether that’s shown in mournful opener “Above the Water,” the darker “Candlelight” that follows, or the centerpiece “Three Gates,” which opens as muddied death metal before shifting into a cleaner chorus, creating a rare bridge between doom and modern metal. Khemmis save the most resonant crush for side B, however, with the nine-minute “Beyond the Door” capping with vicious stomp before the 13-minute title-track, which closes the album with an urgency that bleeds even into spacious and melodic break that sets up the final apex to come, as emotionally charged as it is pummeling.
In addition to the outright charm of titles like “Doominati,” “Coup d’étwat,” “Murdercycle” and “Urinal Acid” (the latter a bonus track), Rochester, New York’s Fox 45 offer fuzzy roll on their Twin Earth Records debut full-length, Ashes of Man, the three-piece of Amanda Rampe, Vicky Tee and Casey Learch finding space for themselves between the post-Acid King nod of “Necromancing the Stone” and more swing-prone movements like the relatively brief “Soul Gourmandizer.” Playing back and forth between longer and shorter tracks gives Ashes of Man a depth of character – particularly encouraging since it’s Fox 45’s first record – and the low-end push that leads “Phoenix Tongue” alone is worth the price of admission, let alone the familiar-in-the-right-ways straightforward heavy riffing of “Narcissister” a short while later. Very much a debut, but one that sets up a grunge-style songwriting foundation on which to build as they move forward, and Fox 45 seem to have an eye toward doing precisely that.
Double-guitar Pittsburgh four-piece Monolith Wielder make their self-titled debut through Italian imprint Argonauta Records, bringing together Molasses Barge guitarist Justin Gizzi and Zom guitarist/vocalist Gero von Dehn with bassist Ray Ward (since replaced by Amy Bianco) and drummer Ben Zerbe (also Mandrake Project) for 10 straightforward tracks that draw together classic Sabbathian doom with post-grunge heavy rock roll. There’s a workingman’s sensibility to the riffing of “No Hope No Fear” and the earlier, more ‘90s moodiness of “Angels Hide” – von Dehn’s vocals over the thick tones almost brings to mind Sevendust on that particularly catchy chorus – but Monolith Wielder’s Monolith Wielder isn’t shy about bringing atmospherics to the Iommic thrust of its eponymous cut or the penultimate “King Under Fire,” which recalls the self-titled Alice in Chains in its unfolding bleakness before closer “Electric Hessian” finishes with a slight uptick in pace and a fade out and back in (and a last sample) that hints at more to come.
The stomp and clap intro “The Man Who Would be King” casts an immediately bluesy hue on No Man’s Valley’s debut album, Time Travel (LP release on Nasoni), and the Netherlands-based five-piece seem only too happy to build on that from there. It’s a blend outfits like The Flying Eyes and Suns of Thyme have proffered for several years now between heavy psychedelia and blues, but No Man’s Valley find a niche for themselves in the dreamy and patient execution of “Sinking the Lifeboat,” a highlight of the eight-track/33-minute LP, and bring due personality to the classic-style jangle-and-swing of “The Wolves are Coming” as well, so that Time Travel winds up more textured than redundant as it makes its way toward six-minute piano-laden finale “Goon.” Once there, they follow a linear course with a post-All Them Witches looseness that solidifies into a resonant and deeply engaging apex, underscoring the impressive reach No Man’s Valley have brought to bear across this first LP of hopefully many to come.
Barcelona classic rocking four-piece Saturna seem to avoid the boogie trap when they want to, as on the more rolling, modern heavy groove of “Five Fools,” and that keeps their World in Sound/PRC Music third album, III/Lost in Time, from being too predictable after the opening “Tired to Fight” seems to set up Thin Lizzy idolatry. They dip into more complex fare on “Leave it All,” somewhere between Skynyrd leads, Deep Purple organ-isms topped with a rousing hook, but keep some shuffle on songs like “Disease” and the earlier “All Has Been Great.” Highlight/closer “Place for Our Soul” seems to be literal in its title, with a more subdued approach and harmonized vocal delivery, and listening to its more patient delivery one can’t help but wonder why that soul should be relegated to the end of the album instead of featured throughout, but the songwriting is solid and the delivery confident, so while familiar, there’s ultimately little to complain about with what III/Lost in Time offers.
Especially with the title of their second EP set as Hate from the Bong, one might be tempted to put Belgian outfit MØLK immediately in the same category of malevolent stoner/sludge metal as the likes of Bongripper, but frankly they sound like they’re having too much fun for that on the five-tracker, reveling in lyrical shenanigans on the politically suspect “Stonefish” and opener “Methamphetamine.” Make no mistake, they’re suitably druggy, but even Hate from the Bong’s title-track seems to keep its tongue in cheek as it unfolds its post-Electric Wizard echoes and tonal morass. That gives the five-piece an honest vibe – they’re a relatively new band, having released their first EP in 2016 as well; why shouldn’t they be having a good time? – to coincide with all that thickened low end and vocal reverb, and though they’re obviously growing, there isn’t much more I’d ask of them from a debut full-length, which is a task they sound ready to take on in these songs.
Italian cult rock outfit Psychedelic Witchcraft have proven somewhat difficult to keep up with over the last year-plus. As they’ve hooked up with Soulseller Records and reissued their Black Magic Man EP (review here), their full-length debut, The Vision, and already announced a follow-up compilation in 2017’s Magick Rites and Spells, the band consistently work to feature the vocals of Virginia Monti (also Dead Witches) amid semi-retro ‘70s-style boogie, as heard on the debut in cuts like “Witches Arise” and “Wicked Ways.” At nine tracks/34 minutes, however, The Vision is deceptively efficient, and though they’re unquestionably playing to style, Psychedelic Witchcraft find room to vary moods on “The Night” and the subdued strum of “The Only One Who Knows,” keeping some sonic diversity while staying largely on-theme lyrically. To call the album cohesive is underselling its purposefulness, but the question is how the band will build on the bluesy soulfulness of “Magic Hour Blues” now that they’ve set this progression in motion. Doesn’t seem like it will be all that long before we find out.
Following the heavy post-rock wash of their 2016 debut album, Tidals, Brooklynite two-piece Spotlights – bassist/guitarist/vocalist Sarah Quintero and guitarist/synthesis/vocalist Mario Quintero – return on the quick with a three-track EP, Spiders, and set themselves toward further sonic expansion. The centerpiece “She Spider” is a Mew cover, electronic beats back opener “A Box of Talking Heads V2” and the spacious closer “Joseph” is a track from Tidals remixed by former Isis drummer Aaron Harris. So, perhaps needless to say, they hit that “expansion” mark pretty head-on. The finale turns out to be the high point, more cinematic in its ambience, but still moving through with an underlying rhythm to the wash of what one might otherwise call drones before becoming more deeply post-Nine Inch Nails in its back half. How many of these elements might show up on Spotlights’ next record, I wouldn’t guess, but the band takes an important step by letting listeners know the potential is there, adding three wings onto their wheelhouse in three tracks, which is as efficient conceptually as it is sonically immersive.
This self-titled second full-length from Malmö, Sweden-based Moon Coven begins with its longest track (immediate points) in “Storm” and works quickly to nail down a far-reaching meld between heavy psych and riffy density. Issued through the much-respected Transubstans Records, it’s a nine-track/50-minute push that can feel unipolar on an initial listen, but largely avoids that trap through tonal hypnosis and fluid shifts into and out of jams on cuts like “The Third Eye,” while centerpiece “Haramukh High” provides a solidified moment before the organ interlude “The Ice Temple” leads into the mega-roll of finisher “White Sun.” What seems to be a brooding sensibility from the artwork – a striking departure from their 2014 debut, Amanita Kingdom – is actually a far more colorful affair than it might at first appear, and well justifies the investment of repeat visits in the far-out nod of “Conspiracy” and the swirling “Winter,” which goes so far as to add melodic texture in the vocals and notably fuzzed guitar, doing much to bolster the proceedings and overarching groove.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Riff Ritual Fest Vol. 3 is set for April 22 in Barcelona, Spain, and the first two acts of what I understand will be a five- or six-band lineup have been announced as Samsara Blues Experiment and Powder for Pigeons. Both based in Germany, both planning on releasing their fourth album, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility they’ll travel together to Iberia. We already know that Samsara Blues Experiment will take part in Desertfest around this time as well, so it could be that a tour has yet to be revealed. Worth keeping an eye on, particularly as they’re reemerging from a period of relative inactivity over the last year or so.
Seems like it could be a cool vibe if you happen to be in that part of the world in Springtime. Here’s word from the fest:
Exactly 3 years ago, Samsara Blues Experiment visited Barcelona for the first and only time…
What’s a better way to celebrate it than announcing their appearance at Riff Ritual Fest’s third edition? That’s right, the German trio will visit us again with an exclusive show in the Iberian peninsula next April 22, 2017.
It will be the perfect chance to enjoy one of the best stoner/psych live shows around with songs off seminal records in the genre like “Long Distance Trip”, “Revelation & Mystery” or “Waiting For The Flood”.
After taking one sabbatical year, the band is back stronger than ever. We’re sure SBE’s show at RRF will be one for the ages!
Australian-German duo Powder For Pigeons will also be at Riff Ritual Fest’s third edition next Saturday April 22, 2017! PFP is Meike on drums and Rhys as vocalist/guitarist. They met in the Australian desert in 2012 and they haven’t stopped playing all around the globe ever since. In 2017 they will visit Spain for the first time ever.
PFP will be introducing their fourth album, expected for early 2017, while also playing songs from their previous albums; “Powder For Pigeons”, “Washed, Dried, Brain Fried” and “Circus Kinda Times”. A band surely to get the audience crazy with their unique blend of stoner metal and grunge.
RIFF RITUAL FEST / Saturday, April 22nd / Barcelona Samsara Blues Experiment Powder For Pigeons
Posted in audiObelisk on September 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Thermic Boogie will release their debut album, Vastness and Matter, through HeadSpin Records on Sept. 15. The Barcelona-based two-piece introduced the record with a review/track premiere here back in the early hours of 2016, and signed with HeadSpin for the CD/LP physical pressings thereafter. A few months’ manufacturing time later, here we are again, streaming the record in full. Nice to give these things some symmetry sometimes.
However, as I’ve already reviewed the four/five-track work — it started out as four, but the latter part of “No Pienses en Volver” has been broken off into a separate, untitled closer for the real-world editions — it hardly seems useful to rehash my own meager insights about the instrumental work of guitarist Albert Martínez-López and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo (also of Brain Pyramid), so I thought I’d go to the band itself to get some background. What started as a track-by-track kind of became a general overview about how Thermic Boogie came about and how the record came together following the writing for its longest piece, the 21-minute “Quadratonic Magnitude.”
That that track would be the foundation for Thermic Boogie as a whole makes sense once you hear it. Gautier-Lorenzo and Martínez-López have immediate chemistry together as players, and it comes across there in a way that serves the shorter cuts around it, whether that’s opener “A Black Powdery” or the following “Space Void of Matter.” “Quadratonic Magnitude,” as the centerpiece of the tracklist, embodies Thermic Boogie‘s ethic, and the exploration it sets out upon continues in the subsequent “No Pienses en Volver” and the percussive experimenting of the already-noted unnamed finale.
Gautier-Lorenzo was kind enough to go into detail on Vastness and Matter from start to finish, concept to execution, so I won’t delay any further. Dig into the stream of the full album using the Soundcloud player below, then find his comments after, and please, enjoy:
Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo on Vastness and Matter:
Thermic Boogie was born in 2015, after the meeting of me and Albert, who is my step-brother. He already had two beautiful amplifiers and I was looking for a heavy rock project. We directly made a lot of jam sessions, which we recorded on my little cassette 4-track recorder.
Then, we made a surgical work to grab and mix all the heaviest and groovy things we had on the recordings. First came the longest song on the debut album: it’s called “Quadratonic Magnitude.” It actually last 21 minutes or something around. This is the song on which we spent a pretty big lot of time… We wanted to create an intense and dynamic piece, to stick to the dimension-related album. I think it give a good idea of the monolithic way of playing we are aiming to reach.
After this, we crafted the following song, which is the outro of the album. It consists in a sweet and deep part; followed by a percussion part. We really loved the idea of a huge finish, to bring even more density to the disc. It is also a way to show another side of heaviness. This acid-drum part is the only part that has been recorded with the 4-track recorder!
The other songs were quicker to compose. They have more common shape, and straightness. And it’s hard to say if we were “inspired” by a certain band or song to compose them. It think it just popped out of us, without thinking. I like to do spontaneous things, and these songs were almost created instantaneously. Albert brought a lot of ideas and freshness in the way of playing these songs.
The recording took place in a wood factory, in an industrial zone, near Barcelona. It was just a weekend, as we recorded all the playbacks “live”. We just made some overdubs after it, and we were done. It was a real isolation from the noise and agitation of city. We both love to be on the outsides and to have a relief from the stressed environment where we’re living. It think this is the main influence for the whole songs and also for the design and the way of building the album.
It was also very important for us to make that album sound natural and as close as possible of the reality. The mixing and master were made to respect the dynamics and textures of the versatile sound of the guitar, despite of the awful mics and recording gear we used, heheheh.
We made everything by ourselves from the beginning, without help from any third part person! So the people will taste an entire and “monolithic” part of the band and we would also say a huge thank to our friends and family, to Clio and Headspin/Clear Spot Records.
We’re really excited to see how the people will react to it, as every beginning project. We hope this will like to all the heavy diggers, and night trippers. May the real heavy rock live on!
[Click play above to stream ‘Noches de Sol’ from Cuzo’s Ensalada Ovni, out in September on Underground Legends Records.]
At its core, Cuzo‘s Ensalada Ovni seems to be most about balance. A balance between guitar and keys, guitar and bass, bass and drums, drums and keys, guitar and drums, and the fluidity that emerges from that balance. It is the Barcelona trio’s sixth album and their first for Underground Legends Records, having made their debut with 2008’s Amor y Muerte en la Tercera Fase (review here) and followed it with 2010’s Otros Mundos (review here) as they continued to develop their deeply progressive instrumental approach.
The next year, they hooked up with Can‘s Damo Suzuki for Puedo Ver Tu Mente, and Alquimia para Principiantes and Son Imaginacions Teves followed in 2012 and 2013, respectively, but three years is the longest stretch between Cuzo albums to-date, so it’s with more than a little interest that guitarist Jaime Pantaleón, bassist Fermin Manchado and drummer Pep Carabante make their return with these nine tracks. As to what the time has done to the band’s sound, Ensalada Ovni offers something of a shift in tone from Son Imaginacions Teves, some movement away from the fuzz that record proffered at times and which their earlier work did as well, toward a cleaner, more purely progged take, but they were headed in that direction already. The key is in how dug into the sound the three-piece is, how linked they are through chemistry when they play.
I don’t know if it’s fair to say “it sounds like a band’s sixth record” — first because it might not necessarily sound like a compliment, second because who the hell knows what a sixth record sounds like — but Ensalada Ovni clearly benefits from Cuzo‘s prior experience and dedicates itself to moving that forward across its tight-woven but not overly dense 36 minutes. For all its flow and for all the grace with which it blends the elements at work, Ensalada Ovni almost feels like it should be more self-indulgent than it is. Any even semi-experimental offering is going to have that side to its personality, and Cuzo‘s latest definitely qualifies, but Pantaleón, Manchado and Carabante keep a human core underlying the twists and turns of “Cuenta Atrás Muda” and the subsequent “Plutonium” that sets the tone for what plays out across the rest of the record, establishing the across-the-board balance noted above. That’s a tradeoff, inherently.
Balance comes at the expense of danger, but I don’t think a song like “Il Dio Serpente,” which sounds a little in its dreamy guitar like it’s auditioning for a Gary Arce collaboration, would necessarily work as well if it sounded like it was about to fall apart. Rather, the skillful hand(s) that guide it lead the listener through its jam-influenced course easily, and as long as one is prepared to go along, it’s an engaging trip to take, particularly backed as it is by the shorter psych freakout/keyboard wash of “Todo Ha Terminado,” a quick but linear part meld that gives way to Ensalada Ovni‘s centerpiece title-track, which feels lush in its keys early but still manages to bold hold a groove and avoid getting lost in itself. Very much emblematic of the album that shares its name.
Guitar leads the way into “Noches de Sol,” but the drums still play a foundational role in the track, giving Pantaleón the space to establish the initial breadth of the track before moving into the jangly central figure, spacing out from there and returning once again to the simple strum. Cuzo‘s tones may have gotten less fuzzy over time, but their delivery still has presence in its motion, and the funky start of “Maquina Suau” demonstrates that cleanly. The song is under four minutes long but among the most singularly immersive on Ensalada Ovni, more driven by its synth, though it’s the guitar that ultimately wahs the way out over a cymbal wash, jazzy and funky in kind.
Space continues to be the running theme through “Cuzolar” and closer “Good for Business,” the former with a more laid back roll that highlights Manchado‘s smooth tone beneath its forward keyboard line, and the latter which seems to start out on a similar course but shifts into more manic guitar strumming at about its halfway point. Never quite knowing what to expect, toying with nontraditional structures, playing up one side over another — these are all pretty consistent factors throughout Ensalada Ovni‘s run, but the overarching sense of design behind the record shouldn’t be ignored, and though they have worked at a prolific clip to get to where they are, it’s very obvious that Cuzo have reaped the benefits of their experience as a band. Expect Ensalada Ovni to be another step on a much longer path, though it offers landmarks on its way as well.
Posted in audiObelisk on January 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Barcelona duo Thermic Boogie are hoping to release their debut album, Vastness and Matter, this Spring. The instrumental two-piece of guitarist Albert Martínez-López and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo offer up a four-track, 50-minute long-player with their debut release in a style they refer to as “double-toasted” heavy rock. Whatever that might mean, their sound draws a line across two shorter cuts and two subsequent longer ones between semi-technical riffing and rhythmic turns and all-out crunching tonality. It’s heavy, it can move quick to a dizzying degree, and it retains a sense of spaciousness in its tone and crash no matter where Martínez-López and Gautier-Lorenzo (the latter also of Brain Pyramid and Fange) take it.
In short, Vastness and Matter offers up what its title promises — space and earthly crush. The dynamic that Martínez-López and Gautier-Lorenzo foster even from the feedback-soaked beginning of opener “A Black Powdery” belies the notion of this being their first outing, the guitar digging deep into low-end to fill out the room in the channel a bass might otherwise occupy as the drums offer immediate electrified propulsion. Still, “A Black Powdery” might as well be an introduction next to what follows as “Space Void of Matter” picks up with a vehement push of thickened boogie, Thermic Boogie winding through The Atomic Bitchwax-style runs and still showing up on the doorstep of the four-part “Quadratonic Magnatude” without a scratch on them.
Perhaps it’s inevitable because of the runtimes involved, but “Quadratonic Magnatude” and the closing “No Pienses en Volver” both top 21 minutes and comprise the core of Vastness and Matter‘s barrage of high-impact riffs and en-route-to-tripped-out sonics. Working in four individual movements, “Quadratonic Magnatude” courses through uptempo heavy rock twists and wall-of-noise crashing before settling at last into a slowdown groove and big finish worthy of what came before it, and as it carries the rest of the album out, “No Pienses en Volver” is a record unto itself, with jazzy bursts, a massive stretch drum tension and a stretch of silence prior to a classic riffy shuffle takes hold, either as a secret track or a second part of “No Pienses en Volver” that remains unnamed. At heart in everything Thermic Boogie do on their first outing is the chemistry between Martínez-López and Gautier-Lorenzo, who give an impressive showing while also setting up various avenues for potential future growth.
They’re reportedly looking for a label now to get behind the release of Vastness and Matter, and I don’t anticipate finding one will be much trouble. “Space Void of Matter” gives an excellent sampling of what they have going throughout the album (while not necessarily giving it all away), and you can check it out on the player below.
Thermic Boogie is a heavy rock band formed in Barcelona on summer of 2015. It is the initiative of Albert Martinez Lopez and Baptiste Gautier Lorenzo (Brain Pyramid/Fange). The aim is to provide a loud and powerful groove through firing and corrosive songs. Great volumes, intense sound, high energy, and hard playing. The influences are all 90s and some actual sludge bands, but also rock and roll in his different forms, and of course, every funky groovy, and world music. They will release their first LP called Vastness and Matter in beginnings of 2016. The band is now searching for many gigs to offer the best of what they can blast.
Thermic Boogie / VASTNESS AND MATTER 01 A Black Powdery 02 Space void of matter 03 Quadratonic Magnitude –03.1 Amplitude –03.2 Distance –03.3 Lux Vacuum –03.4 Ascension 04 No pienses en volver
Posted in Reviews on September 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan
Cruising right along with the Fall 2015 Quarterly Review. I hope you’ve been digging it so far. There’s still much more to come, and I’ve spaced things out so that it’s not like all the really killer stuff was in the first day. That’s not so much to draw people in with bigger names as to get a good mix of styles to keep me from going insane. 10 records is a lot to go through if you’re hearing the same thing all the time. Today, as with each day this week, I’m glad to be able to change things up a bit as we make our way through. Let’s get to it.
Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #21-30:
Aside from earning immediate points by sticking the 10-minute title-track at the front of their 62-minute fourth album, Swedish mustache rockers Horisont add intrigue to Odyssey (out on Rise Above) via the acquisition of journeyman guitarist Tom Sutton (The Order of Israfel, ex-Church of Misery). Their mission? To rock ‘70s arena melodies and grandiose vibes while keeping the affair tight enough so they don’t come across as completely ridiculous in the process. They’ve had three records to get it together before this one, so that they’d succeed isn’t necessarily much of a surprise, but the album satisfies nonetheless, cuts like “Blind Leder Blind” departing the sci-fi thematics of the opener for circa-1975 vintage loyalism of a different stripe, while “Back on the Streets” is pure early Scorpions strut, the band having found their own niche within crisp execution of classic-sounding grooves that seem to have a vinyl hiss no matter their source.
I’ll make no bones whatsoever about being partial to the work of both Blackwolfgoat – the solo experimental vehicle of Boston-based guitarist Darryl Shepard – and Larman Clamor – the solo-project of Hamburg-based graphic artist Alexander von Wieding – so to find them teamed up for a split 7” on H42 Records is something of a special thrill. Shepard’s inclusion, “Straphanger,” continues to push the thread between building layers of guitar on top of each other and songwriting that the last Blackwolfgoat full-length, Drone Maintenance (review here), found him exploring, while Larman Clamor’s “Drone Monger” is an alternate version from what appeared on last year’s Beetle Crown and Steel Wand (review here) and “Fo’ What You Did” digs deep into the swampy psych-blues that von Wieding has done so well developing for the last half-decade or so in the project’s tenure. My only complaint? No collaboration between the two sides. Would love to hear what Shepard and von Wieding could do in a cross-Atlantic two-piece.
II is the aptly-titled second full-length from Russian heavy psych instrumentalists Matushka, who jam kosmiche across its four component tracks and round out by diving headfirst into the acid with “Drezina,” a 20-minute pulsation from some distant dimension that gives sounds like Earthless if they made it up on the spot, peppering shred-ola leads with no shortage of effects swirl. In comparison, “As Bartenders and Bouncers Dance” feels positively plotted, but it, “The Acid Curl’s Dance” before and the especially dreamy “Meditation,” which follows, all have their spontaneous-sounding elements. For guitarist Timophey Goryashin, bassist Maxim Zhuravlev (who seems to since be out of the band) and drummer Konstantin Kotov to even sustain this kind of lysergic flow, they need to have a pretty solid chemistry underlying the material, and they do. I don’t know whether Matushka’s II will change the scope of heavy psychedelia, but they put their stamp on the established parameters here and bring an edge of individuality in moments of arrangement flourish — acoustics, synth, whatever it might be — where a lot of times that kind of thing is simply lost in favor of raw jamming.
If a pilot is used in television to test whether or not a show works, then Tuna de Tierra’s EPisode I: Pilot, would seem to indicate similar ends. A three-song first outing from the Napoli outfit, it coats itself well in languid heavy psychedelic vibing across “Red Sun” (the opener and longest track at 8:25; immediate points), “Ash” (7:28) and the particularly dreamy “El Paso de la Tortuga,” which closes out at 4:08 and leaves the listener wanting to hear more of what Alessio de Cicco (guitar/vocals) and Luciano Mirra (bass) might be able to concoct from their desert-style influences. There’s patience to be learned in some of their progressions, and presumably at some point they’ll need to pick up a drummer to replace Jonathan Maurano, who plays here and seems to since be out of the band, but especially as their initial point of contact with planet earth, EPisode I: Pilot proves immersive and a pleasure to get lost within, and that’s enough for the moment.
Much of what one might read concerning North Carolinian trio MAKE and their second album, The Golden Veil, seems to go out of its way to point out the individual take they’re bringing to the established parameters of post-metal. I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but part of that has to be sheer critical fatigue at the thought of another act coming along having anything in common with Isis while at the same time, not wanting to rag on MAKE as though their work were without value of its own, which at this point an Isis comparison dogwhistles. MAKE’s The Golden Veil successfully plays out an atmospherically intricate, engaging linear progression across its seven tracks, from the cut-short intro “I was Sitting Quietly, Peeling back My Skin” through the atmospheric sludge tumult of “The Absurdist” and into the patient post-rock melo-drone of “In the Final Moments, Uncoiling.” Yes, parts of it are familiar. Parts of a lot of things are familiar. Some of it sounds like Isis. That’s okay.
To an extent, the reputation of Belgium instru-crushers SardoniS precedes them, and as such I can’t help but listen to “The Coming of Khan,” which launches their third album, III (out via Consouling Sounds), and not be waiting for the explosion into tectonic riffing and massive-sounding gallop. Still the duo of drummer Jelle Stevens and guitarist Roel Paulussen, SardoniS offer up five tracks of sans-vocals, Surrounded by Thieves-style thrust, a cut like “Roaming the Valley” summarizing some of the best elements of what they’ve done across the span of splits with Eternal Elysium and Drums are for Parades, as well as their two prior full-lengths, 2012’s II and 2010’s SardoniS (review here), in its heft and its rush. A somewhat unanticipated turn arrives with 11:46 closer “Forward to the Abyss,” which though it still hits its standard marks, also boasts both lengthy atmospheric sections at the front and back and blastbeaten extremity between. Just when you think you know what to expect.
With their debut long-player, Barcelona trio Lewis and the Strange Magics answer the promise of their 2014 Demo (review here) in setting a late-‘60s vibe to modern cultish interpretation, post-Uncle Acid and post-Ghost (particularly so on “How to be You”) but no more indebted to one or the other than to themselves, which is as it should be. Issued via Soulseller Records, Velvet Skin isn’t afraid to dive into kitsch, and that winds up being a big part of the charm of songs like “Female Vampire” and “Golden Threads,” but it’s ultimately the chemistry of the organ-inclusive trio that makes the material hold up, as well as the swaggering rhythms of “Cloudy Grey Cube” and “Nina (Velvet Skin),” which is deceptively modern in its production despite such a vintage methodology. The guitar and keys on that semi-title-track seem to speak to a classic progressive edge burgeoning within Lewis and the Strange Magics’ approach, and I very much hope that’s a path they continue to walk.
Basking in a style they call “oceanic rock,” newcomer German trio Moewn unveil their first full-length, Acqua Alta, via Pink Tank Records in swells of post-metallic undulations that wear their neo-progressive influences on their sleeve. Instrumental for the duration, the three-piece tracked the album in 2014 about a year after first getting together, but the six songs have a cohesive, thought-out feel to their peaks and valleys – “Packeis” perhaps most of all – that speaks to their purposeful overall progression. Atmospherically, it feels like Moewn are still searching for what they want to do with this sound, but they have an awful lot figured out up to this point, whether it’s the nodding wash of airy guitar and fluid heft of groove that seems to push “Dunkelmeer” along or second cut “Katamaran,” which if it weren’t for the liquefied themes of the art and their self-applied genre tag, I’d almost say sounded in its more spacious stretches like desert rock à la Yawning Man.
Since their first album, 2008’s Lemuria (review here), it has been increasingly difficult to pin Peruvian outfit El Hijo de la Aurora to one style or another. Drawing from doom, heavy rock, drone and psychedelic elements, they seem to push outward cosmically into something that’s all and none of them at the same time on their third album, The Enigma of Evil (released by Minotauro Records), the core member Joaquín Cuadra enlisting the help of a host of others in executing the seven deeply varied tracks, including Indrayudh Shome of continually underrated experimentalists Queen Elephantine on the acoustic-led “The Awakening of Kosmos” and the penultimate chug-droner “The Advent of Ahriman.” Half a decade after the release of their second album, Wicca (review here), in 2010, El Hijo de la Aurora’s work continues to feel expansive and ripe for misinterpretation, finding weight in atmosphere as much as tone and breadth enough to surprise with how claustrophobic it can at times seem.
Dallas outfit Hawk vs. Dove recorded Divided States in the same studio as their self-titled 2013 debut (review here) and the two albums both have black and white line-drawn artwork from Larry Carey, so it seems only fitting to think of the new release as a follow-up to the first. It is fittingly expansive, culling together elements of ‘90s noise, post-grunge indie (ever wondered what Weezer would sound like heavy? Check “X”), black metal (“Burning and Crashing”), desert rock (“PGP”) and who the hell knows what else into a mesh of styles that not only holds up but feels progressed from the first time out and caps with an 11-minute title-track that does even more to draw the various styles together into a cohesive, singular whole. All told, Divided States is 38 minutes of blinding turns expertly handled and impressive scope trod over as though it ain’t no thing, just another day at the office. It’s the kind of record that’s so good at what it does that other bands should hear it and be annoyed.
Posted in audiObelisk on September 28th, 2015 by JJ Koczan
Relocated from Brittany in France to Barcelona, Spain, heavy rock trio Brain Pyramid have made their second long-player, Magnetosphere, available to preorder from Vincebus Eruptum Recordings. A vinyl/download available either on black or green wax, it’s their follow-up to 2014’s Chasma Hideout (stream here; review here) as well as a split with French act Missingmile and finds guitarist Gaston Lainé and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo joined by new bassist Paul Arends. One doubts it’s completely attributable to the lineup change, but the difference between the first album and the sophomore outing is palpable, Brain Pyramid departing from structured songwriting in favor of instrumental heavy psych sprawl, Magnetosphere made up of just three tracks totaling 43 minutes.
To make matters even more spaced out, 25 of those 43 minutes are dedicated to the title-track, which serves as the entirety of side A. On side B, Lainé, Gautier-Lorenzo and Arends offer up two more jams, “Solar Wind” and the closing “Electric Spell,” each running the better portion of nine minutes. All told, Brain Pyramid retain the natural tones and stoner grooves of their debut but branch way out into improv psychedelics, and while it may be a one-off — that is, they’ll get back to verses and choruses sooner or later; unless they don’t — if the three-piece were looking to demonstrate their newfound chemistry, they do so across these songs in the rawest form possible. Their weighted jams swell in volume and recede over the solid foundation of Gautier-Lorenzo‘s drumming, and Lainé runs through extended solos that only make the proceedings more molten as they go, each cut operating with the same live-style warmth that, whether or not Brain Pyramid decide to return from the lysergic region of subspace they’re inhabiting here will serve them well as a stylistic groundwork from which to build.
As a way of heralding Magnetosphere‘s arrival, you can stream “Electric Spell” on the player below. Something of an outlier for not being completely improvised, it nonetheless represents the general methodology well. Album info and preorder links follow. Please enjoy:
Brain Pyramid was formed in November 2012, in Rennes (Brittany—France). This is the initiative of the actual lead guitarist Gaston Lainé and the drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo.
Influenced by the sweet old Rock n Roll (Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Sabbath, Motörhead, Blue Cheer, etc.) but also by stoner rock and actual psychedelic scene (Kyuss, Sleep, Fu Manchu, Earthless, Orange Goblin, etc.) they decided to create a band to play like these masters. After the release of their first EP «Magic Carpet Ride», the former bassman left his place to Ronan Grall from the doom band Huata. The band recorded it’s first LP called «Chasma Hideout» and release it on Acid Cosmonaut Records. After the 2014 European tour, the band proceed to another line-up change, to welcome a new bass player: Paul Arends. They made a Split with the french stoner band Missingmile, and they recorded an other LP in 2015, based on free jams, called Magnetosphere. They are now beginning a new era in the city of Barcelona.
Brain Pyramid is a Heavy Bluesy Stoner Psychedelic Rock And Roll band. They play loud enough to make you feel like blown by a lsd dose. They are actually searching for lots of gigs to expend their experience and grow up to the sun.