Willow Child Premiere Video for “Starry Road”; Paradise & Nadir out May 11

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

willow child by Christian Illing

What do we learn in the new Willow Child video? Well, first off, we see that quite literally it’s vocalist/guitarist Eva Kohl driving the band, and while one could make the argument that the totality of the German five-piece’s debut album, Paradise & Nadir — out May 11 on StoneFree Records — works much the same way, it’s not entirely that simple. Kohl is most certainly a forward presence in the band and in the mix of Paradise & Nadir, which was recorded by vintage specialist Richard Behrens (Heat, ex-Samsara Blues Experiment) and features cover art by Harley and J, but the organ work of Jonas Hartmann plays a significant role in “Starry Road” as well as other album cuts like “Eirene” and “Red Wood,” while Eva‘s brother, David Kohl drives languid bluesy grooves there and on the subsequent, progressively-minded “Mayflies,” which not only highlights Eva‘s vocals in its verses, but leaves room for the lead guitar of Flo Ryan Kiss to shine soulfully as it moves through its midpoint while bassist Javier Zulauf adds depth and tonal warmth alike to a spacious soundscape.

willow child paradiseSo while it may be Eva Kohl in the driver’s seat of that classic Chevy truck, don’t take that to mean the band has nothing else going for them. Paradise & Nadir is a quick-turnaround first album — the band’s lineup only solidified last year — but the songs feel older. Not only older-school, but to listen to the jammy break in the seven-minute “Beyond the Blue Fields,” there’s an established feeling between the players that, no matter how tight they are when they go into the recording studio, simply can’t be faked. Maybe that’s a result of the Kohls and Hartmann playing together longer, but whatever the case, Willow Child‘s dynamic isn’t just making an introduction for itself here: it’s showing that the band entered into the process of making their debut with a firm grip on who they are and what they want to accomplish as a band. Opening both sides of the eight-track offering with the longest piece — that’s “Little Owl” on side A and “Beyond the Blue Fields” on side B — they quickly mark out an expansive feel and balance that with structural traditionalism that only enhances the classic heavy rock aspects in their work.

I don’t have any kind of inside track or anything, but I’d hardly be surprised to find Willow Child‘s logo starting to pop up on festival posters come this Fall or even summer, since I think once people get ahold of Paradise & Nadir the band aren’t going to have any trouble ingratiating themselves to the converted among Europe’s continually staggering heavy rock underground. If you’re up for the ride — and some lasers! — you can check out the “Starry Road” video premiere below, followed by more background from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Willow Child, “Starry Road” official video premiere

Directed/Edited by: Nicolas Jansky
Lights: Timon Seidl

Jonas Hartmann (organ) and siblings Eva (vocals, guitar) and David Kohl (drums) had been making music together since 2014, when in 2016 bass player Javier Zulauf completed their ranks. A small setback in 2017: Jonas, who up until then had been playing the guitar in addition to the organ, had to focus solely on the organ after injuring his hand and not making a full recovery, which is when Flo Ryan Kiss joined as lead guitarist.

The whole band takes part in the process of songwriting. “One member will come up with a basic idea, whether it’s a chord sequence, a riff, a feeling, a theme or a verse. Then we usually spin the idea around a little, jam to it and just try out whatever comes to mind, and then the pieces of the puzzle usually start coming together. Of course there are exceptions in songs that are written entirely by one band member, but we always manage to blend individual styles into a bigger picture”, says bassist Javier. Flo Ryan adds: “What we love most is locking ourselves away for a weekend and just jamming out in a practice space in our remote hometown. That really puts our ‘real lives’ on hold and we play 10 to 14 hours a day.”

The goals for 2018 have been set: “We’re working really hard on our music and putting a lot of time, energy and money into it“, Flo Ryan Kiss says. “Even if we can’t make a living off music yet, we really value professional structures. They help us grow as a band and leave more room for creativity. We really feel like our debut album is a great foundation for growing our fan base by touring Europe and playing festivals. In the long run, we want to reach people across all borders with our music.”

Line-up:
Eva Kohl (Vocals, Guitar)
Flo Ryan Kiss (Guitar)
Javier Zulauf (Bass)
Jonas Hartmann (Organ)
David Kohl (Drums)

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Willow Child on Bandcamp

StoneFree Records website

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Naked Star Announce Debut Album Ancient Rites Due Dec. 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 25th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

naked-star-700

Seems to me that if you’re going to release your debut album in the middle of December, that better be some cold-ass doom. None of this summer doom. I’m talking classic. Metal. Misery. Fortunately, that seems to be just the order of the day from Naked Star, the new project from Seamount‘s Tim Schmidt. Comprised just of Schmidt as multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jim Grant, at least in the studio, the band will release their first full-length, Ancient Rites, on Dec. 16, 2016, through The Church Within Records after making an impressive initial offering earlier this year with the Bloodmoon Prophecy EP, a three-song 10″ that you can hear below and which makes me think Ancient Rites will more than stand up to whatever the coldest and darkest days have to offer. Guess we’ll find out.

Info follows from the PR wire:

naked-star-ancient-rites

NAKED STAR – Ancient Rites (The Church Within Records)

Release date: 16.12.2016

NAKED STAR is the new musical outlet of Tim Schmidt (Seamount) and Jim Grant (Vampyromorpha), born in a night with a lot of booze, horror movies and a bloodmoon. In spring 2016 the 10’’ EP “Bloodmoon Prophecy” has already been released via Voize Of Azram Records, followed by a tape version from Auric Records.

After the collaboration had turned out to be very fertile, the duo began working on their full-length debut very soon and found the right label with The Church Within Records. Expect a full dose of pure and extremely HEAVY Doom in the vein of Saint Vitus, Goatsnake, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Count Raven, Hour Of 13 and the likes!

In the upcoming winter season 2016/2017, NAKED STAR will plan several club performances, consolidated by two live members.

Naked Star, Ancient Rites tracklisting:
1. Purgamantic
2. Stoned Demon
3. Spawn of the Witch
4. Be My Sacrifice
5. Bound to Hell
6. Alter Ego
7. I am the Antichrist
8. Necrolust

Distribution CD: Alive (GER) & Code7/PHD (Europe)
Distribution Vinyl: Voice Of Azram, Plastic Head, Clear Spot & All That Is Heavy (USA)

Members:
Tim Schmidt – Guitars, Bass, Drums;
Jim Grant – Vocals
live force:
Chris “the Amperor” – Bass
Markus “Satanas” – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/n.star666/
https://nakedstar.bandcamp.com/releases
http://doom-dealer.de/

Naked Star, Bloodmoon Prophecy EP (2016)

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Limestone Whale Premiere “Tale of the Snow Child” from Self-Titled Debut

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 12th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

limestone whale (Photo by Christian Illing)

Bavarian four-piece Limestone Whale will release their self-titled debut album on May 27 via Stone Free Records. They recorded the seven-track offering at Big Snuff Studio in Berlin with Richard Behrens, also of Heat, formerly of Samsara Blues Experiment and who also does live sound for Kadavar. That connection isn’t to be entirely forgotten when it comes to the sound of Limestone Whale‘s 39-minute LP, but neither is it the sum-total of their breadth, because while songs like “Paralyzed in Paradise” (video posted here) and hook-laden opener “Ambrosia” draw from a modified ’70s pastiche, vocalist Clement Hoffer, guitarist Flo Ryan Kiss, bassist René Preiß and drummer Maximilian Brev also dig into a grunge-style lumber on German-language centerpiece cut “Swarms” and the early-PearlJam-gone-bluesier guitar of “A Book I Have to Close,” which follows, one of several effective moments on the record of genuine melancholia alongside the earlier, doomier “Tale of the Snow Child” and closer “An Allegation,” which calls back to “Swarms” in its darker, chugging finish.

Establishing this decades-spanning sonic meld is the stated intent of Limestone Whale‘s debut, and the outcome is that the songs, whichever period they’re drawing from, are executed with an overarching focus on natural feel. It’s less about sounding like it’s 1971 than it is about presenting the material in organic a manner as possible. Again, I wouldn’t limestone whale limestone whalesay the band are completely divorced from retro European heavy — from the dry treatment on Hoffer‘s vocals to the rhythmic swing permeating the slower “W,” those elements are definitely there — but like their Pentagrammy Danish counterparts in Demon Head last yearLimestone Whale bring a near-immediate sense of persona to the songs on their first album, which is all the more impressive for that clarity of effort since it still sounds live-recorded and laid back. Some of that is Behrens, of course, but if the material wasn’t strong in the first place, the album would feel flat and lifeless, and instead it carries across a palpable energy without sounding sloppy or losing its sense of command as it sets up a dynamic of fluid rhythmic and volume changes that carries the listener across Limestone Whale‘s span.

Aside from the fact that the early ’90s are fair game again for influence, which is understandable since 1991 was 25 years ago, the message Limestone Whale send with these songs is that something truly classic is timeless. This decade has seen a boom in bands — largely in Europe, but in the US as well — turning their heads backward to find their inspiration, but with newer, next-generation acts like Limestone Whale, they don’t even have to go that far, since the heavy rock of the last half-century has become one giant mash, fed into itself and sustained by the continuing drive of those playing it to refine the form. Limestone Whale step into that process confidently on their self-titled, and as they execute broad-minded ambitions in a way that results in cohesive songcraft, one can only look forward to hearing how they’ll develop over their tenure and what they might ultimately contribute to that oeuvre. For now, they’ve shown remarkable potential in their debut full-length and accomplished precisely what it seems they set out to do. That’s more than enough to make the effort worthy of praise.

It’s my pleasure today to host “Tale of the Snow Child” as a track premiere. You’ll find it below, followed by some comment from Kiss about the song and the album as a whole.

Please enjoy:

Flo Ryan Kiss on “Tale of the Snow Child”:

Some parts of our music refer to late ’60s Heavy Psych Blues and early 70s Hard Rock because it’s a very important musical style for us, but we decided not only to revive the spirit of that era by playing riffs that have been played partly over and over again. Instead of that we want to add new flavours like 90s alternative rock or grunge elements. It’s like building bridges between different rock decades with the bridges consisting of a modern but very natural and analog sound.

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Limestone Whale on Bandcamp

Limestone Whale at Stone Free Records

Limestone Whale at Wormhole Mailorder

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Limestone Whale Post “Paralyzed in Paradise” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

limestone-whale-(photo-by-Christian-Illing)

Bavarian heavy rockers Limestone Whale issue their self-titled debut album May 27 via Stone Free Records. The album, which was recorded live to tape by Richard Behrens, formerly of Samsara Blues Experiment, finds the newcomer four-piece getting their feet wet in a newer-sounding take on heavy ’70s rock, organic but not necessarily vintage in trying to capture analog crackle as so many have the last few years, particularly in Europe. Nonetheless, some similarities of bounce exist between “Paralyzed in Paradise,” for which Limestone Whale have a new video, and the earlier work of Kadavar, for whom Behrens also does live sound. The influence of an influential band. Fair enough.

More encouraging, Limestone Whale bring a sense of personality to the style and come across as being in pursuit of their own niche, perhaps on their way to finding it. “Paralyzed in Paradise” centers around its hook much as its video, directed by Christian Fischer and at least nodding in the direction of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, basks in a sense of absurd imagery. It suits a stated youthful theme, but it’s not as though Limestone Whale aren’t clearheaded in their approach. The song is clean despite its naturalism, and catchy besides, and it demonstrates the clear grip Limestone Whale have on their aesthetic, which is likely only beginning to develop.

If, like me, the clip is your introduction to the band, I think you’ll find it’s a solid one. It’ll be interesting to dig into the rest of the LP and see how representative “Paralyzed in Paradise” is of their sound overall, or if it’s just a slice of what’s included in their scope. In either case, a hook is never a bad way to start.

Enjoy:

Limestone Whale, “Paralyzed in Paradise” official video

This is a song about idealization, about escaping and about being kept imprisoned. This is a figurative and surrealistic music video about YOUTH. Directed and filmed by:
Christian Fischer.

Formed in the shadows of the Bavarian forest Limestone Whale have developed their very own approach to heavy psych blues – far beyond prevailing stereotypes. The quartet combines the natural roughness of proto metal and psychedelic rock with straight 70s inspired hard rock and 90s alternative/grunge elements. With their mixture of heavy riffs and refreshing melodies the young but yet experienced musicians create a vivid and stirring presence on stage. Limestone Whale are definitely among the few bands who are able to revive the spirit of the golden age of rock music without trying to sound „retro“.

With their self-titled debut Limestone Whale set an example for their three-year-old career. The seven songs found on “Limestone Whale” are not just a good lesson in variety and covering different genres like they were meant to form a symbiotic relationship, but they also come with an outstanding, clear and characteristic sound, which is the result of recording the album live and with analogue technology at Berlin-based Big Snuff Studio.

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Limestone Whale on Bandcamp

Limestone Whale at Stone Free Records

Limestone Whale at Wormhole Mailorder

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Quarterly Review: Jess and the Ancient Ones, Iguana, Seamount, Gentlemans Pistols, Wired Mind, Automaton, Sideburn, Year of the Cobra, Drive by Wire, Akris

Posted in Reviews on January 4th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review winter

And so it begins again. It had been my original intention to launch this latest Quarterly Review last week, but as that would’ve had me basically walking out on the holidays with my family, it seemed somehow prickish to be like, “Uh, sorry dudes, riffs call” and split, particularly when there are hours of driving involved. Still, though it’s already running late by the arbitrary calendar in my mind, I’m glad to be able to tackle a batch of releases that both looks back on the last part of 2015 and to the New Year we’ve just entered. As ever, there is a lot, a lot, a lot of ground to cover, so I won’t delay except to remind of what the Quarterly Review actually is:

Between now and this Friday, I will post 10 reviews a day in a single batch grouped like this one. The order is pretty much random, though something higher profile is usually first. It is my intention that each post covers a range of styles, and hopefully within that, you’re able to find something that speaks to you. Many of these releases were sent to me as physical product, and before I start, I want to extend thanks to those groups for undertaking the time and expense of giving me the full representation of their work to hopefully better do mine.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Jess and the Ancient Ones, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes

jess and the ancient ones the second psychedelic coming

Finnish six-piece Jess and the Ancient Ones pay homage to psych cultistry on their sophomore full-length, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes (on Svart), and while one might argue with the band marking this out as the “second coming” of psych – I’d say the third, generationally-speaking – the paean to late-‘60s sonic spaciousness in “In Levitating Secret Dreams” is unmistakable, the songwriting of guitarist Thomas Corpse conjuring fervent swirl behind the soulful Grace Slick-isms of vocalist Jess. At 65 minutes, it’s a classic double-LP, but Second Psychedelic Coming seems most engaged in its longer pieces, the eight-minute “Crossroad Lightning,” which pulls back from the urgency of earlier cuts “”The Flying Man” or the opening “Samhain,” and the 22-minute closer “Goodbye to Virgin Grounds Forever,” which has an arrangement to match its scope that unfolds no less gracefully. Some of the more frenetic parts seem to be arguing with themselves, but the overarching vibe remains satisfyingly tripped out and that closer is their to-date masterpiece.

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Jess and the Ancient Ones at Svart Records

Iguana, Cult of Helios

iguana cult of helios

No big surprise that a record called Cult of Helios would seem to so unabashedly bask in sunshine. The four-track/32-minute sophomore full-length from German heavy psych four-piece Iguana has its driving moments, some in opener “Josiah” but more in the subsequent melodic thriller “Albedo,” but the prevailing sensibility is toward tonal warmth and steady groove. The band – vocalist/guitarist Alexander Lörinczy, guitarist Thomas May, bassist Alexander May and drummer Robert Meier – debuted in 2012 with Get the City Love You (review here), but Cult of Helios is a more cohesive, individualized release, whether it’s the hook of “Albedo,” the Beatles-gone-fuzz of “A Deadlock Situation” or the lush, flowing 15-minute jam of the closing title-track. Iguana’s propensity for blending underlying structure with a wide-open, welcoming atmosphere is writ large over Cult of Helios, and the album shines in a manner befitting its inspiration. A sleeper that begs waking.

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Iguana website

Seamount, V: Nitro Jesus

seamount v nitro jesus

Most long-distance projects fizzle out after a record or two. With a lineup split between Bavaria and Connecticut, doom rockers Seamount have managed to sustain a remote collaboration, the German band of bassist Markus Ströhlein, guitarist Tim Schmidt and drummer Jens Hofmann working with New England-based vocalist Phil Swanson (ex-Earthlord, ex-Hour of 13, Vestal Claret, etc.). The excellently-titled Nitro Jesus (on The Church Within) is their fifth full-length since 2007, and boasts a refined blend of doom, NWOBHM and dark thematics common to Swanson’s lyrics. Tonally crisp but immersive, slow crawlers like “Can’t Escape the Pain” are offset by the ‘80s metal swing of “Beautiful Sadness,” and each side caps with a longer track, whether that’s the seven-minute “Scars of the Emotional Stuntman,” the most singularly sweeping movement here, or the closer “No One Knows,” which has a moodier feel, the guitar recalling Don Henley accompanied by piano as the finale hits its apex. For those who like their metal of tried and true spirit and individual presentation, Nitro Jesus delivers in more than just its name.

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The Church Within Records

Gentlemans Pistols, Hustler’s Row

gentlemans pistols hustler's row

Every now and then you hear a record that reminds you what you love about rock and roll in the first place. It doesn’t need to be the most complicated thing in the world, or the most expressive, or the heaviest or the most whatever of anything else, but like Gentlemans Pistols’ third LP, Hustler’s Row (on Nuclear Blast), if it locks in a special chemistry between its players, that’s more than enough to carry it through. That the UK four-piece are ace songwriters and bolstered by the lead guitar chops of Bill Steer (Firebird, Carcass) for the Thin Lizzy dual-solos – vocalist/guitarist James Atkinson on the other end – helps plenty as well, but with the tight, classic-style grooves brought to across Hustler’s Row by bassist Robert Threapleton and drummer Stuart Dobbins, Gentlemans Pistols give essential heavy rock a non-retro modern interpretation that might leave one wondering why so many people try to ape a ‘70s production to start with.

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Gentlemans Pistols at Nuclear Blast

Wired Mind, Mindstate: Dreamscape

wired mind mindstate dreamscape

Each side of Wired Mind’s Mindstate: Dreamscape LP (on HeviSike Records) gracefully unfolds a lushly-toned, warm, engaging heavy psychedelic sprawl. The chief influence for the Hannover two-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mikey and drummer Chris is their countrymen godfathers Colour Haze, but the duo make their presence felt early on “Road,” the opener and longest-track at 11:01, which balances serene and spaced exploration with post-Kyuss “Thumb” shuffle, all the more enticing for having been recorded live, conjuring Echoplex spaciousness around the repeated line, “All we gotta do is love.” Both sides work on the same structure of a longer track feeding into a shorter one, “Road”’s considerable amassed thickness giving way to the winding groove of “Jennifer’s Dream of a Switchblade” while the Duna Jam-ready vibes permeating from “Wired Dream” finding a moving complement in closer “Woman,” which effectively captures desert rock rhythmic propulsion. As their debut, Mindstate: Dreamscape feels conceptually and stylistically cohesive, and sets Wired Mind up with a sonic breadth on which to continue to build.

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Wired Mind at HeviSike Records

Automaton, Echoes of Mount Ida

automaton echoes of mount ida

Greek heavy rollers Automaton revisit their 2013 debut full-length, Echoes of Mount Ida, for a limited vinyl release. The four-track offering initially surfaced coated in burl and massive riffing, but a remix adds psychedelic edge to the lumbering fervor of “Fear,” on which the Athenian five-piece are joined by Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective for added synth and swirl. He delivers, and the opener also adds guest vocals from Nancy Simeonidou, but the remix keeps things consistent as Automaton transition into the chugging “Beast of War,” a complex near-djent rhythm (which will find complement in the end of “Echoes of Mount Ida” itself) smoothly met by drummer Lykourgos to finish side A of the LP while the locked-in nod of “Breathe in Stone” bleeds into the closing title-track as Automaton offer riffy largesse set in a spacious backdrop like mountains in the distance. Interesting to see if the semi-reboot of their debut is indicative of some overall shift in direction, but at least on the vinyl offering, it makes their sound that much broader.

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Sound Effect Records

Sideburn, Evil or Divine

sideburn evil or divine

Between Martin Karlsson’s keys (also bass) and vocalist Dimitri Keiski’s propensity to soar, the mood turns epic pretty quick on Sideburn’s fifth album, Evil or Divine (on Metalville Records). The Swedish foursome’s latest shares more than just its titular reference in common with Dio — who, in addition to the lyric from “The Last in Line” had a live record with the same title – but keep a foot in doom territory throughout, drummer Fredrik Haake playing with metallic precision and an edge of swing as Morgan Zocek pulls out leads over “Sea of Sins.” The later “The Day the Sun Died” is particularly post-Ozzy Iommic, but Evil or Divine benefits from the kick in the ass that the penultimate “Evil Ways” seems only too happy to provide before “Presence” finishes on a hopeful note. Definitely more fist-pump than nod, Evil or Divine cries out to legions of the brave who want a thicker groove than modern metal is willing to provide without giving up the occasional cause to headbang.

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Metalville Records

Year of the Cobra, The Black Sun

year of the cobra the black sun

Seattle-based bass/drum duo Year of the Cobra had two labels pick up their debut EP, The Black Sun, between Devil’s Child Records and DHU Records, and they’ve signed to STB Records for the follow-up, so it seems safe to say their three-track outing has gotten a solid response. The songs make a compelling argument for why. With vocals that recall Soph Day from Alunah on opener “White Wizard” before delving into faster, more punkish fare on “The Black Sun” itself, Year of the Cobra serve immediate notice of a breadth in their sound, and the seven-minute wah-bass finale “Wasteland” enacts a low-end swirl that pushes even further out while keeping hold of itself via steady, tense drumming. That finisher is a particular high point, with bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith self-harmonizing in layers over the steady build and drummer Johanes Barrysmith making sure the considerable tone keeps moving forward. Easy to hear why they’ve found such support in such a short time.

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Dark Hedonistic Union Records

Devil’s Child Records

STB Records

Drive by Wire, The Whole Shebang

drive by wire the whole shebang

The third long-player from Dutch four-maybe-five-piece Drive by Wire, The Whole Shebang gets more complex as it goes. Its first couple tracks, “Kerosine Dreams” [sic], “Woodlands,” “The Whole Shebang” and “Five Ft. High” are deeply indebted to desert rock circa Songs for the Deaf, tonally and even in some of Simone Holsbeek’s sing/talk call and responses on “Woodlands.” From there, “Rituals,” “In This Moment” and the moody “River Run” and “Promised the Night” push into more individual ground, and even though they tie it back together in the album’s third and final movement with “Rotor Motor,” “All Around” and “Voodoo You Do,” the context has changed, and by the time guitarist Alwin Wubben swells lead lines behind the verse of the closer, the fuzz of “Kerosine Dreams” is a distant memory. Completed by bassist Marcel Zerb and drummer Jerome Miedendorp de Bie, Drive by Wire wind up on a considerable journey, and while the title at first seems off-the-cuff, it works out to be a whole shebang indeed.

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Drive by Wire webstore

Akris, Fall EP

akris fall ep

Relaunched as a trio in the first half of 2015, Virginia trio Akris made a studio return with the four-song/32-minute Fall EP, which probably should’ve been called a full-length and probably should’ve been pressed to vinyl (paging Tony Reed to master and STB Records to release…), but the digital-only offering finds Akris and particularly founding bassist/vocalist Helena Goldberg anything but apprehensive as she, guitarist/vocalist Paul Cogle (Nagato, Black Blizzard) and drummer Tim Otis (Admiral Browning) follow-up the band’s raucous sans-guitar 2013 self-titled full-length debut (review here), balancing plodding grooves, melody and abrasion deftly atop rumble and riffs in “Forgiven” as Goldberg swaps between screams and grunge-styled croons. The subsequent “People in the Sky” is less patient, and caps its nine-minute run with a barrage of noise rock synth that continues at the start of closer “Alley Doorway” but ultimately recedes (momentarily) to let that song establish its own course of loud/quiet tradeoffs and resonant exploration. Unless Akris are planning a series of seasonal short releases, I see no reason why Fall EP shouldn’t be characterized as a second long-player and heralded for the bold expansion of the band’s approach it represents.

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Akris on Bandcamp

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Motorgoat, The Days of Thirst: Imbibe Irresponsibly

Posted in Reviews on March 16th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

How someone didn’t beat them to the name, I’ll never know, but Bavarian creamers Motorgoat storm out of the gate with The Days of Thirst – the first EP from this hard-drinking foursome. If their logo looks like something you’d see on a doppelbock label, it’s not a coincidence: the burl on the EP’s four tracks comes through boozy-breathed and with all the subtlety one might expect from a song called “Alcoholic Supernova.” What they really have going for them through the self-released The Days of Thirst’s 19-minute runtime is charm. From the beer can top-popping that starts “Alcoholic Supernova” through the burp that caps closer “Werewolves on Wheels” (named for the 1971 movie), Motorgoat rev up straightforward heavy biker rock, dudely and occasionally falling over itself – as drunkards do – but still regaining consciousness in time to rock some more. The two songs in between the opener and the closer, “Curse of the Motorgoat” and “Days of Thirst” don’t do much to expand the sonic palette, though “Days of Thirst” is longer and has more going on structurally, but they show some songwriting potential and seem to further the idea that Motorgoat don’t want much more than to get loaded and rock out. The EP being self-released, and their first, there’s not much more I could see reasonably asking of it than what it delivers, especially as the tracks are catchy and, true to their intent, go well with a frosty beverage or two. Or six.

Fans of the last couple Orange Goblin records will be able to grasp Motorgoat’s approach almost immediately. “Alcoholic Supernova” is led by the riffs of Raffael and topped with the rough-but-clean vocals of Matthias, whose punkish delivery has the effect of dirtying up most of The Days of Thirst, and bassist Benedikt and drummer Simon hold down straightforward rock rhythms behind. Nobody in the band is showy in their playing, and the songs work for being relatively simple – at 3:25, “Alcoholic Supernova” would barely have time in it anyway for indulgent soloing from Raffael or anyone else – while still staying upbeat enough to hold the attention. “Curse of the Motorgoat” leans a little more on Benedikt’s bass tone for the verse groove, which comes through well even in a rough-edged production, with Matthias saying something about London, England, in the chorus that I can’t quite make out. If it’s an idea taken from classic horror, it would make sense given Motorgoat’s overall approach and the familiarity “Werewolves on Wheels” would seem to connote, but I can’t be sure. Raffael takes a few measures for a solo, as if to give me time to process, but even that’s not enough (I’m a little slow), and soon Simon is thudding the band’s way into the final chorus, which is catchy but perhaps not as much so as that of “Alcoholic Supernova.” With “Days of Thirst,” the gears shift somewhat and Benedikt opens the song quietly on bass, a developing intro gradually introducing the drums and more ethereal guitar for about the first 45 seconds until the riff and Matthias kick in almost in tandem. The third is the most satisfying of the EP’s four tracks — even if the chorus riff pinch-harmonics get grating after a while – for its more relaxed feel and better balance of groove and pace.

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