Here we are, about to kick off the Spring incarnations of Desertfest, and Desertfest Belgium 2017 has already started representing the Fall season. And formidably, with Windhand and Radio Moscow providing immediate heft and scorch for a bill that’s only bound to continue to grow over the next couple months as we move into and through the summer. Also part of this first lineup announcement are Part Chimp and Hemelbestormer, so it seems there’s a pretty wide spread of styles and geography already to Desertfest Belgium this year. That’ll very likely continue to be a running theme as well.
More to come, most certainly:
DesertFest Antwerp 2017 First Names – WINDHAND, RADIO MOSCOW and more!
We know you all have been aching for this, so without further ado let us present the first names for the 2017 edition of Desertfest Antwerp!
We kick things off with Windhand, a scene favorite that has also managed to capture the hearts and minds of rock fans worldwide with their unique brand of female-led Sabbathian worship. Radio Moscow is another winner with a stone solid live reputation that will be sure to set the DF stage on fire.
Next up, something more out of the ordinary: Part Chimp blends sludgey riffage with the acid bite of Amphetamine noiserock, and will delight anyone with a fine ear for heavily distorted blues. Finally, we keep the tradition of presenting Belgian bands to our international crowd. Hemelbestormer (that’s Dutch for ‘Stormer of Heaven’) is a local postmetal band that has been making waves in Europe and the States for the last couple of years.
WINDHAND convey an irrepressible sense of motion even within the slowest of songs. The unique siren voice of Dorthia Cottrell combines beauty with enormous power, while the twin-guitar attack of Garrett Morris and Asechiah Bogdan can deliver both perfect riffs and fuzzed-out bliss. Add the colossal rhythmic mastery of bassist Parker Chandler and drummer Ryan Wolfe, and it’s easy to see how Windhand has become one of the premier metal bands of our time.
How to describe a RADIO MOSCOW live show? Imagine the feeling of being blown back by a whirlwind of energy and power, concocted by three guys locked in a groove. This is heavy blues-infused rock at its finest! The San Diego outfit has recently made the leap to a worldwide deal with Century Media Records, for whom they are currently preparing their next upcoming studio album to be released in late-summer 2017.
PART CHIMP emerged from South London in 2003 as a full formed noise rock leviathan. The band’s penchant for shockingly large riffs and monumental volume earned them a fully blown cult status by the time they split up in 2011. Recently reformed, their comeback shows already proved that time has far from diminished their extraordinary power. This year will see them deliver a new album for Rock Action – we can’t wait to hear what they’ll cook up next!
“HEMELBESTORMER” is a Dutch word which is literally translated as “stormer of heaven”, but is used to describe the outsiders with revolutionary and idealist minds. Since 2012 the Belgian band has combined post-rock, sludge, ambient, doom and even black metal into an instrumental sound that balances between light and dark. Hemelbestormer aims for quality, not quantity. With the visual spectacle of their custom sigils and entrancing wall projections, each live show feels like being sucked into a black hole.
Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Feeling groovy heading into Day Two of the Spring 2017 Quarterly Review, and I hope you are as well. Today we dig into a pretty wide variety of whatnots, so make sure you’ve got your head with you as we go, because there are some twists and turns along the way. I mean it. Of all five days in this round, this one might be the most wild, so keep your wits intact. I’m doing my best to do the same, of course, but make no promises in that regard.
Quarterly Review #11-20:
Ulver, The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Norwegian post-everything specialists Ulver have reportedly called The Assassination of Julius Caesar (on House of Mythology) “their pop album,” and while the Nik Turner-inclusive freakout in second cut “Rolling Stone” (that may or may not be him on closer “Comign Home” as well) doesn’t quite fit that mold, the beats underscoring the earlier portion of that track, opener “Nemoralia” and the melodrama of “Southern Gothic” certainly qualify. Frontman/conceptual mastermind Kristoffer Rygg’s voice is oddly suited to this form – he carries emotionally weighted hooks like a melancholy George Michael on the electronically pulsating “Transverberation” and, like most works of pop, shows an obsession with the ephemeral in a slew of cultural references in “1969,” which in no way is likely to be mistaken for the Stooges song of the same name. While “So Falls the World” proves ridiculously catchy, “Coming Home” is about as close as Ulver actually come here to modern pop progression, and the Badalamenti-style low-end and key flourish in “1969” is a smooth touch, much of what’s happening in these eight tracks is still probably too complex to qualify as pop, but The Assassination of Julius Caesar is further proof that Ulver’s scope only grows more boundless as the years pass. The only limits they ever seem to know are the ones they leave behind.
Last year, Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void had the element of surprise working to their advantage when it came to the surprising progressive edge of their debut album, Skyward (review here). Now signed to Argonauta, the eight-song/55-minute follow-up, Relic, doesn’t need it. It finds Forming the Void once again working proggy nuance into big-riffed, spaciously vocalized fare on early cuts “After Earth” and “Endless Road,” but as the massive hook of “Biolazar” demonstrates, the process by which guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Jordan Boyd meld their influences has become more cohesive and more their own. Accordingly, I’m not sure they need the 11-minute closing take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” since by then the point is made in the lumber/plunder of “Plumes” and in the more tripped-out “Unto the Smoke” just before, but as indulgences go, it’s a relatively easy one to make. They’re still growing, but doing so quickly, and already they’ve begun to find a niche for themselves between styles that one hopes they’ll continue to explore.
Though it keeps a wash of melodic keys in the background and its approach is resolutely laid back on the whole, “Beautiful Void” is nonetheless a major factor in the overall impression of Hidden Trails’ self-titled debut (on Elektrohasch), as its indie vibe and departure from the psychedelic prog of the first two cuts, “Lancelot” and “Mutations,” marks a major distinguishing factor between this outfit and Hypnos 69, in which the rhythm section of the Belgian trio played previously. “Ricky” goes on to meld acoustic singer-songwriterism and drones together, and “Hands Unfold” has a kind of jazzy bounce, the bassline of Dave Houtmeyers and drumming of Tom Vanlaer providing upbeat groove under Jo Neyskens’ bright guitar lead, but the anticipation of heavy psych/prog never quite leaves after the opening, and that doesn’t seem to be what the band wants to deliver. The sweetly harmonized acid folk of “Leaving Like That” is on a different wavelength, and likewise the alt-rock vibes of “Space Shuffle” and “Come and Play” and the grunge-chilled-out closer “Denser Diamond.” If there’s an issue with Hidden Trails, it’s one of the expectations I’m bringing to it as a listener and a fan of Houtmeyers’ and Vanlaer’s past work, but clearly it’s going to take me a little longer to get over the loss of their prior outfit. Maybe I’m just not ready to move on.
Naturalist vibes pervade immediately from this late-2016 self-titled Svvamp debut (on RidingEasy Records) in the bassline to “Serpent in the Sky,” and in some of the post-Blue Cheer heavy blues sensibility, the Swedish trio bring to mind some of what made early Dirty Streets so glorious. Part of the appeal of Svvamp’s Svvamp, however, is that among the lessons it’s learned from heavy ‘70s rock and from Kadavar‘s own self-titled is to keep it simple. “Fresh Cream” is a resonant blues jam… that lasts two and a half minutes. The bouncing, turning “Oh Girl?” Three. Even the longest of its cuts, the slide-infused “Time,” the subdued roller “Big Rest” and the Marshall Tucker-esque finale “Down by the River,” are under five. This allows the three-piece of Adam Johansson, Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren to build significant momentum over the course of their 35-minute run, casting aside pretense in favor of aesthetic cohesion and an organic sensibility all the more impressive for it being their first record. Sweden has not lacked for boogie rock, but even the most relatively raucous moments here, as in the winding “Blue in the Face,” don’t seem overly concerned with what anyone else is up to, and that bodes remarkably well for Svvamp’s future output.
There are few songs ever written that require whoever’s playing them to “bring it” more than MC5’s “Kick out the Jams.” True, it’s been covered many, many times over, but few have done it well. Belgium’s Black Mirrors signal riotous intent by including it as one of the four tracks of their Napalm Records debut EP, Funky Queen, along with the originals “Funky Queen,” “The Mess” and “Canard Vengeur Masqué,” and amid the post-Blues Pills stomp of “The Mess,” the mega-hook of the opening title-track and the more spacious five-plus-minute closer, which works elements of heavy psych into its bluesy push late to welcome effect, “Kick out the Jams” indeed brings a moment of relative cacophony, even if there’s no actual threat of the band losing control behind the powerful vocals of Marcella di Troia. As a first showing, Funky Queen would seem to be a harbinger, but it’s also a purposeful and somewhat calculated sampling of Black Mirrors’ wares, and I wouldn’t expect it to be long before an album follows behind expanding on the ideas presented in these tracks.
No doubt that for some who’d take it on, any words beyond “members of Monarch!” will be superfluous, but Bordeaux three-piece Endless Floods, who do indeed feature bassist/vocalist Stéphane Miollan and drummer Benjamin Sablon from that band, as well as guitarist Simon Bedy, have more to offer than pedigree on their three-song sophomore full-length, II (on Dry Cough vinyl and Breathe Plastic cassette). To wit, 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Impasse” rumbles out raw but spacious sludge that, though without keys or a glut of effects, and marked by the buried-deep screaming of Miollan, holds a potent sense of atmosphere so that the two-minute interlude “Passage” doesn’t seem out of place leading into the 19-minute lumber of “Procession,” which breaks shortly before its halfway point to bass-led minimalism in setting up the final build of the record. Slow churning intensity and longform sludge working coherently alongside ambient sensibilities and some genuinely disturbing noise? Yeah, that’ll do nicely. Thanks.
Boasting four eight-plus-minute instrumentals, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam finds New Jersey trio Tarpit Boogie rife with classic style heavy rock chemistry, bassist John Eager running fills around the dense-toned riffing from guitarist George Pierro as drummer Chris Hawkins propels a surprising thrust on opener “FFF Heavy Jam.” I’ve been a fan of Pierro and Eager’s since we were bandmates a decade ago, so to hear them unfold “Chewbacca Jacket” from its tense opening to its righteously crashing finale is definitely welcome, but the 37-minute offering finds its true reasoning in the swing and shuffle of the eponymous “Tarpit Boogie,” which digs into the very challenge posed by the title – whether or not anyone taking on the album can handle its balance of sonic impact and exploratory feel – inclusive, in this case, of a drum solo that sets a foundation for a moment of Cactus-style rush ahead of a return to the song’s central progression to conclude. They round out with “1992 (Thank You Very Little),” Chevy Chase sample and all, bringing more crashing nod to a massive slowdown that makes it feel like the entire back half of the cut is one big rock finish. And so it is. A well-kept secret of Garden State heavy.
The self-released Dead Seeds, Barren Soil is Horseburner’s second full-length, and it arrived in 2016 from the four-piece some seven years after their 2009 debut, Dirt City. They’ve had a few shorter outings in between, demos and 2013’s Strange Giant EP, but the West Virginia four-piece of Adam Nohe, Chad Ridgway, Jack Thomas and Zach Kaufman seem to be shooting for a definitive statement of intent in the blend of heavy rock and modern, Baroness-style prog that emerges on opener “David” and finds its way into the galloping “Into Black Resolution,” the multi-tiered vocals of “A Newfound Purity” and even the more straight-ahead thrust of “The Soil’s Prayer.” Marked out by the quality of its guitar work and its clearly-plotted course, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil caps with “Eleleth,” which at just under eight minutes draws the heft and the complexity together for a gargantuan finish that does justice to the ground Horseburner just flattened as they left it behind.
Lafayette, Louisiana, five-piece Vermilion Whiskey telegraph participation in the New Wave of Dude Rock to the point of addressing their audience as “boy” in second cut “The Past is Dead,” and from the cartoon cleavage on the cover to the lack of irony between naming the record Spirit of Tradition and putting a song called “The Past is Dead” on it, they sell that well. The Kent Stump-mixed/Tony Reed-mastered six-tracker is the band’s second behind 2013’s 10 South, and basks in dudely, dudely dudeliness; Southern metal born more out of the Nola style than what, say, Wasted Theory are getting up to these days, but that would still fit on a bill with that Delaware outfit. If you think you’re dude enough for a song like “One Night,” hell, maybe you are. Saddle up. Listening to that and the chunky-style riff of closer “Loaded Up,” I feel like I might need hormone therapy to hit that level of may-yun, but yeah. Coherent, well written, tightly performed and heavy. Vermilion Whiskey might as well be hand-issuing dudes invitations to come drink with them, but they make a solid case for doing so.
If the cover art and a song title like “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts” weren’t enough of a tip-off, there’s a strong undercurrent of the unsettled to Hex Inverter’s second long-player, Revision. The Pennsylvania-based experimentalists utilize a heaping dose of drones to fill out arrangements of keys, guitar and noise that would otherwise be pretty minimal, and vocals come and go in pro- and depressive fashion. Texture proves the key as they embark on the linear centerpiece “Something Else,” with a first verse arriving over a sweetened bassline after four minutes into the total 9:58, and the wash of noise in “Daphne” obscures an avant neo-jazz groove late, so while opener “Cannibal Eyes” basks in foreboding ambience prior to an emotionally-driven and explosive crunch-beat payoff, one never quite knows what to expect next on Revision. That, of course, is essential to the appeal. They find an edge of rock in the aforementioned “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts,” but as the loops and synth angularity of closer “Fled (Deadverse Mix)” make plain, their intentions speak to something wider than even an umbrella genre.
The lesson of Black Mirrors new video for the title cut from their debut EP, Funky Queen, is much the same as was the lesson of the lyric video they posted last month for the same song: it’s catchy as hell. Not much more to say about it than that, really. The EP is out now via Napalm Records in its four-song entirety and while I haven’t heard it in full yet — it’s slated for the Quarterly Review at the end of the month, so I’ll get there soon — the push behind it seems geared toward bringing the band to wider acclaim. The two videos are a part of that, of course, but even more pivotal would seem to be the tour that Black Mirrors head out on later in March supporting Sweden’s Horisont.
Though they’re veterans of Desertfest Belgium, it’s not exactly like Black Mirrors have been slogging it out for years on the road at this point — remember, Funky Queen isn’t just their debut on Napalm; it’s their first release, period — so touring alongside a more experienced outfit like Horisont will be a way for them to test the waters both in terms of their own experience, how they work as a road band, and give them a crash course in how to engage an audience night after night. It’s an oldschool way to go about it, which is fitting enough to the band’s classic heavy rock sound, but if it’s something you really want to get done, I’m not sure there’s any other way to go. You’ll note that the list of tour dates below ends with a couple headlining gigs. I doubt very much that if all goes according to plan they’ll be Black Mirrors‘ last.
But that’s getting ahead of events unfolding. In the meantime, the “Funky Queen” video plays off simple visuals and silhouetted performance footage to highlight the song itself, which stands up to such scrutiny. I’m looking forward to getting to know the other three tracks on the EP better, and to seeing how the response to Black Mirrors continues to take shape as more people hear Funky Queen and the band moves on after this tour toward the next one very likely already being planned.
PR wire info follows the clip below.
Black Mirrors, “Funky Queen” official video
BLACK MIRRORS RELEASE NEW VIDEO
Debut EP ‘Funky Queen’ March 3rd 2017 on Napalm Records!
If Janis Joplin, Jack White, Anouk, Nirvana and Queens Of The Stone Age ever had the chance to breed, BLACK MIRRORS would have been their favorite creation. This jewel is Belgium’s answer to pretty much every rock band out there: BLACK MIRRORS, fronted by the charismatic vocalist Marcella Di Troia, manage to gather an endless amount of influences which have been ruling the rock n’ roll universe for decades, and combine them into BLACK MIRRORS’ very own and special sound. It’s been only a matter of time for their first debut EP, ‘Funky Queen’, to finally see the light of day on March 3rd 2017 via Napalm Records!
Now the band unveiled a brand new video for the EP-title track ‘Funky Queen’, and this one is a keeper! Filmed and edited by Van’s Ography, get some taste of BLACK MIRRORS’ upcoming EP and watch the ‘Funky Queen’ right HERE.
Says the band: “We hare happy to share with your our very first official video clip for «Funky Queen»! We had a blast making this video as it was crazy funny to play with our own shadows haha! We hope you’ll like it as much as we do!”
Funky Queen – the debut EP by BLACK MIRRORS coming March 3rd 2017.
BLACK MIRRORS live: w/ Horisont 16.03.17 DE – Hamburg / Logo 17.03.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex 18.03.17 DE – Dusseldorf / Pitcher 19.03.17 NL – Helmond / Cacaofabriek 20.03.17 NL – Nijmegen / Merleyn 21.03.17 BE – Liège / La Zone 23.03.17 DE – Munich / Backstage 24.03.17 IT – Fontaneto D’Agogna / Phenomenon 25.03.17 CH – Pratteln / Z7 26.03.17 AT – Vienna / Das Bach 27.03.17 AT – Salzburg / Rockhouse 28.03.17 DE – Mörlenbach-Weiher / Live Music Hall 29.03.17 DE – Lichtenfels / Paunchy Cats 30.03.17 DE – Berlin / Privatclub 31.03.17 DK – Randers / Von Hatten 01.04.17 DK – Copenhagen / Huset
BLACK MIRRORS Headline Shows: 02.03.2017 BE – Brussels / Botanique 06.04.2017 BE – Antwerp / Trix
Posted in Radio on February 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
A round of adds to The Obelisk Radio once a month doesn’t seem like too much to ask, right? Well, it probably will be as the rest of the year plays out amid my meandering attention span, onslaught of reviews, etc., but for now, I’m at least two-for-two on 2017, and that should count for something. I won’t speculate as to what.
Pretty varied batch this time around, with some familiar names stepping outside what might be perceived as their comfort zone and others digging into various traditions in rock, blues, psych, sludge and doom. Much as I try to keep the stream running at all times — one has server blips; it happens — I also try to mix things up at least in a context that makes sense from one song to the next, though every now and again as I listen I hear something that completely blindsides me. That can be fun too.
As always, I hope you find something in here you dig.
The Obelisk Radio adds, Feb. 6, 2017:
For those who know guitarist Ben McLeod for the bluesy, psychedelic flow he brings to the languid jamming of All Them Witches, no doubt the Inflamed debut from his Woodsplitter solo/side-project is going to be a marked surprise. That would seem to be at least in part the intent. Working in a fire-fueled vein of instrumental progressive metal, “Liturgy” introduces a sense of extremity yet unheard from McLeod. Backed only by his own programmed drums, self-recorded, -mixed and -released, it’s a 39-minute mostly-onslaught that calls to mind a sans-vocal Genghis Tron at times while perhaps nodding at Steve Vai technicality via Devin Townsend‘s more metallized approach. McLeod locks in a plodding groove on “Fatty’s Waltz,” but even this is a bold step stylistically, and subsequent “Pile” and two-part title-track — the second piece of which secures Inflamed‘s ultimate triumph — only continue the push into experimentation. Ultimately, McLeod lands sure-footed in this exploration, showcasing roots that many who’ll take on Woodsplitter probably didn’t know he had — including some post-rock layering at the tail end of closer “The Weather Outside is Frightful” — and setting up a future progression almost entirely distinct from that of his main outfit. Won’t be for everybody, but hits with an equal measure of purpose and force.
As to what unites Georgian five-piece Dead Hand and Floridian trio Shroud Eater on this late-2016 Southern Druid Records split 7″, it won’t take long to figure out. Both bands are heavy as hell. With “Guaiacol” from the former going head-to-head with the latter’s “Destroy the Monolith” it becomes a contest of churn vs. roll, Dead Hand taking an atmospheric approach that feels in comparison more derived from post-metal than Shroud Eater‘s nonetheless spacious sludgy pummeling. Either way you go, you’re getting crushed by a six-minute track that seems only to revel in the cruelty of its lumbering, Dead Hand‘s chug arriving over a torrent of double-kickdrum before opening to a more forward thrust on “Guaiacol” and locking into a nod that persists even in the relatively minimalist midsection before, the lumbering, growling extremity resumes. As a title like “Destroy the Monolith” might hint, Shroud Eater aren’t exactly taking it easy either. With a multi-vocalist arrangement and vastness of groove, they represent their core sound well as a precursor to the awaited arrival of their second album hopefully sometime in 2017. It’s a quick release — in and out in 12 minutes — but both acts are bound to make an impression on the listener as each shows off their own brand of brutality.
Issued through EXAG Records, the oddly-but-somehow-appropriately-stylized D. Klein is the second full-length from Belgium’s Moaning Cities, who seem as much at home in referencing The Velvet Underground and The Stooges on “Solitary Hawk” as drifting out All Them Witches-esque on the earlier “Sex Sells.” At 10 tracks/39 minutes, the Brussels-based outfit don’t express any particular need to settle into one sound-niche or another, but they keep a languid flow of psychedelic heavy blues in songs like “Insomnia” and the poetically-stomping “Vertigo Rising” that makes the okay-it’s-freakout-time arrival of the penultimate “Drag” all the more satisfying, even if their clear element of control is well maintained throughout. Flourish like the electronic beats in opener “Expected” and the soundscaping guitar in the finale “Daggers” add further depth to a release that already offers plenty, but Moaning Cities retain a classy, nigh-on-chic atmosphere without losing the tonal substance needed beneath to hold up such a strong aesthetic presentation. Whether they’re digging into ’90s alt vibes on “Born Again” — Violent Femmes goes West? — or tossing some sitar to go along with the spoken word of “Yell-Oh-Bahn,” Moaning Cities thrive on never quite letting their listeners know what’s coming next, and that nuance suits D. Klein well.
Between its five-minute, horror-sample-topped intro “Breaking Wheel” and its corresponding five-minute, horror-sample-topped outro “Magical Law,” Wartime‘s Wartime Vol. 1 delves so deep into classic doom via NWOBHM cultishness that I’m amazed Shadow Kingdom Records has yet to pick it up for a release. The Colombian trio’s 2016 debut, it’s as effective in the moodiness of its acoustic centerpiece “A Whisper” as in the brash Sabbathism of the eponymous “Wartime,” and an overarching rawness in the tracks only feeds the vision of doomed purity within them. Pressed in a limited number of CDs that, like their prior 2015 demo tape, are already long gone, it’s a fist-pump-worthy execution of doom for doomers that asks little by way of indulgences and delivers much in riff, metal-of-yore ambience and the songcraft of drummer/vocalist Alejandro, guitarist D-Pig and bassist Scum, who hold onto a punkish thrust for “Another Reality” before the Vitus-style plod of “Wicked Son.” Children of doom indeed. At 32 minutes, it’s on the shorter end of a full-length album, but it unquestionably sets the groundwork for an LP-style flow, and as Wartime‘s debut, impresses double with the realization of its conceptual bleakness. Special thanks to Juan Lopez for the recommendation on this one. I’m glad I got to check it out and will look forward to what Wartime do next.
I’ve been doing my dernedest to keep up with Australian one-man outfit Megaritual since getting hip to the White Dwarf aptly-named LP compilation, Mantra Music (review here), late last year. The product of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Dale Paul Walker, Megaritual followed that release with the 25-minute single-song Eclipse EP (review here), and it’s to that offering that the 18-minute single-tracker Temple seems to have direct lineage, though actually the recording dates back further, to 2013/2014, and finds Walker joined by drummer Govinda Das in a duo incarnation of the band. Not entirely to find “Temple” is a little older, since Megaritual seem to be finding the patience later shown throughout the Mantra Music EPs that comprised the vinyl and then Eclipse afterward here, but you absolutely will not find me complaining about the edge of tonal buzz that complements the massive riff of this track, nor the improvised-sounding spaces around it being explored early on, nor the noise/drone that plays out over the course of the second half. If this is Walker giving a look at the project’s origins, he would seem to have come into Megaritual with an expressive concept in mind, and while it’s clear he’s put himself to the task of refining it, Temple demonstrates it was immersive even in its most formative moments.
Last month, Napalm Records announced that it had picked up Belgian outfit Black Mirrors for the release of their debut EP, Funky Queen. Now, that’s a badass title, to be sure. Any angle you want to approach it from, Funky Queen works. But it’s no minor thing for a band who doesn’t have a release out to get picked up by a label like Napalm. That’s a significant endorsement of promise. I said at the time that I was curious what the band could actually do in the studio, since it seemed likely the imprint knew something that had not yet been revealed to us as listeners — except perhaps those fortunate enough to have seen them at Desertfest Belgium last fall — about Black Mirrors‘ potential.
With the lyric video below for the title-track to Funky Queen, we start to get an answer in terms of where Black Mirrors are coming from. The elephant in the room in terms of influence is probably Blues Pills — and will be for a good number of other acts before they’re done, to be sure; that stuff isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — but Black Mirrors bring a more modern, almost commercial clarity to the production aspect, and what really puts “Funky Queen” over the top is the track’s hook. Delivered by vocalist Marcella di Troia, it’s immediate, and likely won’t take more than one listen to embed itself in your frontal lobe for a while. As an initial impression, it finds Black Mirrors straightforward and making no bones about their intentions: they’ve come to rock as many ears, turn as many heads as possible.
The tour they’re about to embark on alongside Horisont after the March 3 release of Funky Queen certainly won’t hurt their cause, and I wouldn’t be surprised if their name starts popping up around summer festivals as well, but already they’ve got a couple headlining dates that take them into April. Expect more of those too, for sure.
The band offered some comment on the track and EP via the PR wire. Find it under the player below.
Black Mirrors, “Funky Queen” lyric video
Debut ‘Funky Queen’ coming March 3rd 2017 on Napalm Records!
The band explains: “We are proud and happy to introduce you to our new EP! We worked on it with a lot of passion and love and we can’t wait to share it with the world and to hear people’s reactions. Making and releasing this EP fills us with great joy and hopefully more people will love our songs as much as we do! Initially the song “Funky Queen” – from a musical point of view – was far more complicated than how it is today. There were many different parts that have been revised to eventually come to the current version. We composed the final version on a folk guitar which helped us getting more into the essence and feeling of the song. Funky Queen is about any kind of addiction as in drugs, alcohol or even love. The Queen confronts everyone with one’s own demons.”
BLACK MIRRORS live: w/ Horisont 16/03/2017 DE – Hamburg / Logo 17/03/2017 DE – Siegen / Vortex 18/03/2017 DE – Düsseldorf / Pitcher 19/03/2017 NL – Helmond / Cacaofabriek 20/03/2017 NL – Nijmegen / Merleyn 21/03/2017 BE – Liège / La Zone 23/03/2017 DE – Munich / Backstage 24/03/2017 IT – Fontaneto D’Agogna / Phenomenon 25/03/2017 CH – Pratteln / Z7 26/03/2017 AT – Vienna / Das Bach 27/03/2017 AT – Salzburg / Rockhouse 28/03/2017 DE – Mörlenbach-Weiher / Live Music Hall 29/03/2017 DE – Lichtenfels / Paunchy Cats 30/03/2017 DE – Berlin / Privatclub 31/03/2017 DK – Randers / Von Hatten 01/04/2017 DK – Copenhagen / Huset
BLACK MIRRORS Headline Shows: 02.03.2017 BE – Brussels / Botanique 07.03.2017 TU – Ankara / ODTÜ 06.04.2017 BE – Antwerp / Trix
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Belgian four-piece Black Mirrors have signed to Napalm Records for the release of their debut EP, Funky Queen. That winning title is — again, this is worth stressing — the band’s debut EP. Not just their label debut, but the first thing they’ve put out. And they’re signed to Napalm. That’s not an easy feat, considering that by signing to the label Black Mirrors join the ranks of Brant Bjork, Greenleaf, John Garcia and an impressive host of others. Already veterans of Desertfest Belgium, Black Mirrors will also tour in March as support for Sweden’s Horisont, and they have headlining shows besides, so it seems only fair to expect them to make a splash in 2017 one way or another. I’ll be interested to hear how the EP — which features a likewise brazen MC5 cover — actually sounds when its March 3 release gets here.
The PR wire has details:
BLACK MIRRORS Sign Worldwide Deal With Napalm Records & Reveal Details Of Debut EP!
BLACK MIRRORS are a new Garage Rock / Blues Rock gem that enriches the Napalm Records roster and are Belgium’s answer to pretty much every Rock band out there. BLACK MIRRORS sound encompasses endless amount of Rock influences, which have been ruling the Rock N’ Roll universe for decades. If Janis Joplin, Jack White, Anouk, Nirvana and Queens Of The Stone Age ever had the chance to breed, BLACK MIRRORS would have been their favorite creation. This one’s a keeper!
The band on their new home with Napalm Records: “We are super proud to announce that we signed a record deal with the high-acclaimed label Napalm Records! We are grateful and proud that we can work together with such a big record label and that we’ll be on the same roster like bands as John Garcia, Alter Bridge, Monster Magnet, Brant Bjork among so many others!
We are looking forward to working together with the whole Napalm family and to bring our music to every corner of the world and to rock with all of you! See you on the road soon and stay tuned as we will have some other great news coming for you!”
But not enough of good news from team BLACK MIRRORS as their debut EP entitled Funky Queen will be released worldwide on March 3rd 2017 via Napalm Records!
Check out the stunning EP artwork Artwork by mighty Sebastian Jerke (Greenleaf, My Sleeping Karma,).and track listing below and make sure to catch them live on tour.
The track listing reads as follows: 1 Funky Queen 2 Kick Out The Jams (MC5 cover) 3 The mess 4 Canard vengeur masque
The EP Funky Queen will be available as a Limited First Edition 4 Page EP Digipack as well as black & colored vinyl.
Catch up with BLACK MIRRORS in Europe: w/ Horisont 16.03.17 DE – Hamburg / Logo 17.03.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex 18.03.17 DE – Düsseldorf / Pitcher 23.03.17 DE – Munich / Backstage 25.03.17 CH – Pratteln / Z7 26.03.17 AT – Vienna / Das Bach 27.03.17 AT – Salzburg / Rockhouse 28.03.17 DE – Mörlenbach-Weiher / Live Music Hall 29.03.17 DE – Lichtenfels / Paunchy Cats 30.03.17 DE – Berlin / Privatclub
BLACK MIRRORS Headline Shows: 02.03.2017 BE – Brussels / Botanique 07.03.2017 TU – Ankara / ODTÜ 06.04.2017 BE – Antwerp / Trix
BLACK MIRRORS Line-Up: Marcella Di Troia: Vocals Pierre Lateur: Guitar Gino Caponi: Bass Nicolas Scalliet: Drums
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Belgian punishers Bathsheba will make their full-length debut on Svart Records Feb. 24 with the album Servus. The esteemed label also released their prior EP, The Sleepless Gods (one wonders if they’re the same gods Enslaved said were sleeping on an EP of their own), in 2015, and to prepare the ground for the LP’s arrival, Bathsheba have a new video for the track “Conjuration of Fire” that you can see below.
Admittedly, it’s not that new. Word of the clip came down the PR wire just before the holidays, fell through what were some rather considerable cracks on my end — if it wasn’t the Quarterly Review that week, I was pretty probably too busy cramming at work to not sleep on it — but February’s still a little ways out and I’d rather be late than never. So if this is old news to you, apologies. Most days I’m just trying to keep my head on straight.
From the PR wire:
BATHSHEBA reveal new video from SVART debut album, set release date
Blackened Belgian doom/sludge cult Bathsheba reveal a video for “Conjuration of Fire.” The track hails from the band’s highly anticipated debut album, Servus, set for international release on February 24th, 2017 via Svart Records. Directed by Joris Lieben and Michelle Nocon, view the video for Bathsheba’s “Conjuration of Fire” exclusively HERE.
From the depths of the black charcoal mountains rises Bathsheba. Fronted by she-devil Michelle Nocon (ex-Serpentcult, Leviathan Speaks, Death Penalty), carried by the punishing drums of Jelle Stevens (ex- SardoniS), massive vibrations from Raf Meukens (Death Penalty, Torturerama), and relentless riffs from Dwight Goossens (ex-Disinterred), Bathsheba create atmospheric, schizophrenic doom that carries the heaviness of filthy, blackened sludge. A heavily downtuned monster, it throws you into deep sadness and inner rage, straight into a grim cave – no meandering in an enchanted forest on the way to the deepest abyss.
Bathsheba self-released a demo tape in October 2014 and shortly after signed to Svart Records, who released a 10″ EP, The Sleepless Gods, in May 2015. Not long after, the band took to the stage at such festivals as Doom Over London, DesertFest, Incubate, Dutch Doom Days, and Doomed Gatherings.
The Sleepless Gods made quite a stand, but it is obvious that Bathsheba have gained more identity with their debut album, Servus. Servus translates the heaviness of life, a way to cope with the concrete walls of fact and matter against which we are relentlessly beaten. Servus is about struggle, sadness, constant threat, and distortion of the mind. With this album, Bathsheba drags you into the horror of existence under the crushing weight of reality. Servus is about losing yourself in the maelstrom of burden and then finding yourself again, facing the true ugliness of existence. It destructs the mind and shakes the soul. This schizophrenia is translated musically in a genre that takes on sludgy doom in a filthy, blackened way: no compromises. A sinister whisper to a howling she-devil moan…
Sometimes, the truth is too heavy to carry – gather around the witch and hail the oath of doom. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Bathsheba’s Servus 1. Conjuration Of Fire 2. Ain Soph 3. Manifest 4. Demmon 13 5. The Sleepless Gods 6. I, At The End Of Everything
Crunching riffs and crunching numbers, Belgian heavy noise rockers The Progerians return with a brand new video to teach us all some basic addition. The track comes from the Brussels-based trio’s 2015 debut full-length, The Fabulous Progerians, and is a quick burst at an instrumental three minutes, but gets the point across that a lot of that album was making in its overarching sense of rush and the forward-coursing winding riff it uses to create such motion. It was posted in the late hours of last year (one is trying to get used to 2017 as the present instead of the future tense), but the band has said that they’ve got a new record in the works for this year as well, so it could be that “2+6” is their way of kissing their debut goodbye.
If so, it’s a grim farewell. I’m not entirely sure what’s happening in the plot, but the main character is being chased by a series of flying rocks — stoner rock itself? I sometimes feel that way — back to his living room where he seems to try to fight off an attack with a knife and maybe some occult spells? I don’t want to spoil the ending, because frankly, three minutes isn’t too much for the band to ask of your time without me giving it all away, but let’s just say it doesn’t turn out so hot for the dude in question. I guess according to The Progerians, stoner rock wins. You won’t find me mounting a counterargument.
On the off-chance you missed their record — which I know you didn’t, because you’re on your game like that all the time — it can be streamed via the Bandcamp page linked below, and I’ve included their bio, just for background should you want some.
And by way of another spoiler, “2+6” makes eight.
The Progerians, “2+6” official video
Directed and edited by Nicolas de Viron Starring Xavier “Xray” Decoster Cinematography: Yassin Serghini Assistant Camera: Lucas Sevrin
The Fabulous Progerians are a three-piece that radiates throughout the Brussels’ underground and its surroundings. This heavy and fat paving block seeks to translate youth’s anxiety, agonising in unemployment and lust offered by the modern world for lack of a future.
Their influences go far back into prehistory, but it’s somewhere between Punk and Sludge that the band likes to find its secret harmonies.
Known for powerful performances, they are usually joined by other musicians who widen even more the sound spectrum and universe of the band.