Earthship Premiere Lyric Video for “Valley of Thorns”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


To call Berlin’s Earthship (also stylized as Earth Ship) a sludge rock band is really only telling half the story. Maybe even less than half. I haven’t had the pleasure yet as regards their impending fourth full-length, Hollowed — out June 24 via Napalm Records — but to listen to “Valley of Thorns,” there’s sludge, yeah, but also metallic underpinnings that come through in the guitar periodically, a hint of Slayer here, some black metal, something more extreme in the middle, more progressive in the ending. Couple that with a shift into melodies brazenly born out of the self-titled-era Alice in Chains playbook, which is ground few dare to tread, and Earthship emerge four minutes later with a sound that seems less indebted to genre than built outward from it.

If sonic individuality isn’t enough to intrigue on principle, there’s also songwriting at work, and a sense of scope to “Valley of Thorns” as it moves between these elements, almost struggling against itself as it works out verses and choruses en route to a bleaker, chugging midsection. Growls back cleaner singing as they unleash the true hook in the nodding second half, and they finish with a torrent of a guitar solo before cutting “Valley of Thorns” short presumably to make way for what follows in the tracklisting (if you’re curious, it’s “Conjured”). How representative “Valley of Thorns” might be of Hollowed as a whole, again, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find Earthship changing up their approach, considering their past releases and the fact that a band so intentionally stylistically broad is rarely content to stand still.

You can find the premiere of a new lyric video for “Valley of Thorns” below, followed by some comment from the band on the track.

Please enjoy:

Earthship, “Valley of Thorns” lyric video

Earthship on “Valley of Thorns”

“VALLEY OF THORNS is one of our faster, a bit more progressive and cheerful tracks of the album but quite the opposite are the lyrics, mainly dealing with emptiness and despair. A sad and lonesome trip into oblivion but in a very colorful and metaphorical way. It shows you up somehow that we’re all running our private race against time before it’s all over and gone. Life is short, let’s get some shots!”

Earthship website

Earthship on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records website

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Kadavar Continue Visual Album with “Filthy Illusion”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 2nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

kadavar filthy illusion video

It’s not strobes or anything, but if you’re sensitive to flashing lights or things like that, you might want to approach the new Kadavar video with some measure of caution. The clip for “Filthy Illusion” continues the German heavy rock forerunners’ intention toward representing each of the tracks from their 2015 third outing, Berlin (review here), with a video — they’re calling it a “visual album,” which is fair enough — and follows behind “Pale Blue Eyes,” which was posted in March. The three-piece also previously had videos for “The Old Man” (posted here) and “Last Living Dinosaur” (posted here), so they’re already well on their way toward a clip for all the songs on Berlin.

Kadavar just this weekend wrapped up a quick Australian tour that I believe was their second behind a run in 2013, and will spend much of the summer taking part in European festival season, with slots at HellfestGraspopCopenhell and many others slated. As to what the fall and beyond might hold, I don’t know. They worked pretty quickly between their first two records and there was only a two-year split between 2013’s Abra Kadavar (review here) and Berlin, so it’s entirely possible they’ll embark on putting together a new album for release sometime in 2017, but the response to Berlin has been considerable. They might just have more road-time to put in to make sure, you know, the entire planet is covered and whatnot.

Either way, the presumption is that the series of videos for Berlin‘s cuts will continue all the while, and between “Filthy Illusion” and “Pale Blue Eyes,” they’ve already established a pretty broad spectrum within which to work going forward. I guess we’ll see how the rest shakes out when we get there.

Enjoy “Filthy Illusion,” followed by more info from the PR wire, below:

Kadavar, “Filthy Illusion” official video

KADAVAR have released the second video for the Berlin visual album concept. Watch the video for “Filthy Illusion” on the Nuclear Blast YouTube channel!

Together with long-time friend and collaborator Nathini van der Meer (, who has created artwork and videos for them in the past, they are working on their first “Visual Album”- 12 short films accompanying each of the albums’ songs, to be released once a month throughout the entirety of the year.

Commented the band: “You lose ground under your feet. No crutch, no hope, only a plunge into the deep unknown. Life always challenges you and you either fail or you grow out of it. No matter what you do, to get on your feet again, in the end it’s just a ‘Filthy Illusion’ and just right around the next corner there’s a another black hole trying to suck you right in.”

For the second video for the visual album concept, Nathini did just that – more visuality than a story line. An optical illusion perfectly matching the song that aesthetically captivates the audience and puts them in a kind of ecstatic trance. A bit trippy, a bit poppy, a bit dirty, just as the song itself, the video was shot with old, analogue lenses. A studio set up that matches KADAVAR’s live performances because in those, in their sound and light show you can also easily lose yourself.

Kadavar on Thee Facebooks

Kadavar on Instagram

Nuclear Blast Records

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Nadja Announce North American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Now based in Berlin and hot on the heels of releasing their umpteenth studio outing, Sv, last month on Essence Music, dronegaze duo Nadja will return to North American shores in May and June for a handful of shows. The only one in the US will be at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus Bar, obviously, and one imagines that playing other dates around Canada, where their roots are, will probably include stuff like seeing family, friends, bit of a homecoming and so on. If you can work in some live dates in that process, all the better.

Sv, which is comprised of the single, 41-minute track “Sievert,” is available now to stream in full and features companion artwork by Seldon Hunt. Info and show dates follow:

nadja saint vitus bar

Nadja North Am Tour Dates

Essence Music is proud to announce the release of Nadja’s new full-length album “Sv” or “Sievert” in full, which is a derived unit used to measure the ionizing radiation on the human body.

The much anticipated follow-up to the dreamgaze masterpiece “Queller”, was originally composed to be performed at a pair of music festivals in Berlin and is comprised of a long, single 42-minute track combining Nadja’s layered, textured noise ambiences with polyrhythmic drum patterns that, in structure, approach an industrial, almost danceable sound. Pounding, punishing machine-like hypnotic pulses, harsh cymbals and caustic textures grow together and collide in a massive metallic maelstrom of fierce doom-dirge heaviness. A surprising, yet rewarding departure from your typical Nadja dose of slow-blooming, nuanced ambient guitar constructions.

Featuring the stunning artwork of Seldon Hunt (Neurosis, Earth, Jesu, Isis, etc…) and mastered by James Plotkin (Khanate, OLD, etc…) “Sv” came out worldwide March 14th on limited-edition CD.

Nadja on tour:
26-05-16: Obey Convention, Halifax, NS
28-05-16: Le Ritz, Montreal, QC
29-05-16: St Vitus, New York, NY
03-06-16: The Garrison, Toronto, ON
05-06-16: The Handlebar, Toronto, ON (AB solo)

Aidan Baker – guitars, drum machine, piano
Leah Buckareff – bass

Nadja, SV (2016)

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Samavayo, Dakota: Crossing Lines (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

samavayo dakota

[Click play above to stream Samavayo’s “Cross the Line” from Dakota. Album out May 6 via Setalight Records.]

Dakota is the fifth full-length from Berlin-based trio Samavayo, and it offers a distillation of hard and heavy rock, heavy psychedelia and Middle Eastern influences that results in a vibe not quite like anything else going. With seven songs and 45 minutes split up across two sides in an LP tradition, it offers a progressive complexity and clearheaded tonal push that even as it feels rooted in classic structures pushes beyond them with semi-metallic defiance. To look at the runtimes of the tracks, between five and seven minutes, roughly, there certainly would be space enough for variety in the material, but Samavayo bring together a diversity of influence beyond expectation and Dakota is that much richer as a a result.

Recorded at Big Snuff Studio by Richard Berhens (Heat, ex-Samsara Blues Experiment), it follows Samavayo‘s 2015 split with The Grand Astoria (review here), a 2014 split with One Possible Option, and their 2012 full-length, Soul Invictus, in presenting their forward-thinking crunch even as it marks the start of a new era for Samavayo, who work here as a trio for the first time on a long-player. That’s a significant change in dynamic, but in the end, Samavayo emerge from it with their identity intact, guitarist/vocalist Behrang Alavi leading the way on Persian-language opener “Arezooye Bahar,” a song with lyrics purportedly about freedom and arriving, of course, in the midst of Europe dealing with a migrant crisis.

That the decidedly Middle Eastern “Arezooye Bahar” should start off an album with the title Dakota — very American; taking its name from the native tribe, the word meaning “friend” or “ally” — from a band operating in the heart of Europe should give some sense of the melting pot scope of influence under which Alavi, bassist/vocalist/Moog-ist Andreas Voland and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Stephan Voland are operating. The tracks likewise are a cross-continental span of mood and resonance, “Arezooye Bahar” setting up the live-recorded feel that will ultimately tie seemingly disparate spirits together as the second-half apex of the opener gives way to the subsequent “Intergalactic,” the shortest track at 5:13 and among the most straightforward in its riff-led heaviness, all the more apparently so because it’s instrumental for its entirety, playing out like a more expansive Karma to Burn while serving to push the listener deeper into Dakota‘s broader context, full of thrust as much as emotional or social comment.


“Kodokushi,” which follows, is the only other cut under the six-minute mark, and touches on some of the psychedelia that will show itself later, but keeps itself on a plotted course, taking in some of the Persian influence musically — think a less manic version of some of what Blaak Heat are getting up to these days, with more crunch — despite its English lyrics and offering one of Dakota‘s finest stretches of thrust as it moves toward its ending, Stephan getting the last word on toms as a transition into side A finale “Overrun” (premiered here), which also serves as the centerpiece of the album as a whole, rightly so for its added depth of melody, locked-in groove and the sense of command which Samavayo as a whole bring to it, shifting into a memorable and melodic chorus fluidly in the midsection before Alavi‘s wah-soaked lead and another run through the hook finish out.

There is not one song on side B that isn’t longer than everything on side A, but the three tracks on the back end of Dakota — “Dakota,” “Cross the Line” and “Iktsuarpok” — aren’t necessarily branching out beyond the point of recognition from what the likes of “Kodokushi” had to offer, even if they deepen the stylistic impact overall, the title-track adding percussion to the mix as it makes its way toward a sprinting riff-rock hook before opening to a chorus slowdown that makes an effective landmark and, as it’s repeated again at the end of the track, a suitable apex ahead of the drums-into-chug that starts “Cross the Line.” More of a swinging rhythm, but a lot of the underlying theme is the same, and when the full-toned hook kicks in, “Cross the Line” resonates with one of Dakota‘s most memorable impressions, shifting back through the verse and chorus again before spacing out a bit in the bridge and skillfully returning to the chorus to finish out, perhaps the best example here of Samavayo repurposing a classic structure to suit their own progressive purposes.

That sets up an admirable balance of intricacy and accessibility as the band makes their way into the airier opening of closer “Iktsuarpok” — from the Inuit; meaning a feeling of anticipation someone has that keeps them looking outside to see if someone is coming — which tips the balance again toward semi-psychedelia despite the earthy underpinnings of the bass and drums. I don’t know if it’s an added layer of guitar or what, but “Iktsuarpok” offers an even fuller sound than much of Dakota, and even as it chugs its way into a quiet (and momentary) break, it skillfully holds the tension that the prog metal grand finale will pay off, the last words, “You don’t know,” ringing out over a last crash of guitar, bass and drums. It’s as fitting a close as one could think of to an album so clearly intent on conveying a particular experience — of the melding of cultures, of emigrating, of seeking refuge — but perhaps most noteworthy of all, it is a fitting summary of all the things that make Samavayo who they are sonically, and it’s the clear expression of that which allows Dakota to work so engagingly as it does.

Samavayo on Thee Facebooks

Samavayo on Bandcamp

Samavayo at Setalight Records

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Earthship Release Hollowed June 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


After issuing their third album, Withered, on Pelagic Records in 2014, Berlin-based four-piece Earthship have signed to Napalm Records and will make their debut on the label with Hollowed on June 24. Their winding riffery touches on progressive territory in such a way that to call them “sludge” doesn’t really do the full scope of their mission justice, but there is for sure a dirt-under-the-fingernails sensibility to their songs, however melodically conscious they may ultimately be.

Interesting that the title Hollowed follows Withered in being a past participle. Not to mention the central idea of decay between them. I wonder if the two records are related thematically somehow. Only one way to find out:

earthship hollowed

EARTHSHIP – Announce Title, Track Listing, Artwork & Release Date Of Upcoming Album!

Behold the power of the riff in all shapes and sizes: It would be a serious understatement, even borderline ignorance to simply lump EARTHSHIP in with the rest of the sludge rock genre – a horribly abused and undefined tag.

Berlin based EARTHSHIP was born in 2010 and present an intriguing mix of heavy metal, fuzzy Stoner Rock & some of the finest sludge to date. The band has already released 3 full-length albums & toured all across Europe and the UK. Now it’s time to take the next step together with their new home at Napalm Records! This four-piece has announced the details of their upcoming album entitled Hollowed including the Album artwork, track listing & release date!

Hollowed track listing:
1 Reduced to Ashes
2 Hollowed
3 Valley of Thorns
4 Conjured
5 Monolith
6 In Fire’s Light
7 In the Arms of Medusa
8 Castle of Sorrow
9 Safeguard of Death
10 Red Leaves
11 The Edge of Time
12 Blood Candy (Bonus Track)
13 The Edge of Time – Acoustic (Bonus Track)

On Hollowed, these Berlins once more gracefully tackle the soft yet stronger dynamic of bands like Kylesa and Black Tusk, celebrating and crowning the whole thing with morbid melodies Alice In Chains would be proud of. Saturated with monolithic doom and hauntingly good! Hollowed is set to be released on June 24th via Napalm Records. Pre-Orders will be available shortly!

Hollowed available as:

LTD 4 Page Digipack CD (+2 Bonus Tracks)
1 LP Gatefold Edition
Upcoming tour dates will be announced soon! Stay tuned!

Earthship, Withered (2014)

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Desertfest Berlin 2016: Greenleaf and Baby in Vain Added; Lineup Complete

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Well, that’ll do it. The lineup for Desertfest Berlin 2016 is complete. The final three bands are Greenleaf, from Sweden, Baby in Vain, from Denmark, and Five White Dudes in a Band Called Black Pussy, from Portland, Oregon. They join a mammoth bill with the likes of Electric Wizard, Elder, CrowbarAsteroid, Pelican, Rotor, and many others, and the whole shebang will take place April 28-30 at the Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin, with the biergarten and hippie market intact from years past.

This is the fifth year for Desertfest Berlin, and so far, each one has been bigger than the last. Greenleaf head to it supporting their new album and Napalm Records debut, Rise Above the Meadow (review here), which is without a doubt one of the year’s best records, and will no doubt continue their ascent to the forefront of European heavy rock. Now if only we could get a US tour.

Desertfest Berlin 2016 wrapped its lineup as follows:

desertfest berlin 2016

We are finally back. Sorry for the delay. Here come the last three bands for DesertFest Berlin 2016! We are thrilled to welcome:

– 70s-influenced, US- Rock n Rollers Black Pussy!
– Copenhagen’s all-girl grunge/rock trio Baby In Vain!
– and last but not least, Sweden´s fantastic Heavy Rockers Greenleaf!

You’ll find more infos about those bands on our website. And as our 2016 line-up is now complete, timetables will come in early April.

We are also proud to tell that this 5th edition of the festival is completely SOLD-OUT! Thanks a lot to all of you, and see you very soon.


SOUND OF LIBERATION UG in partnership with GREYZONE CONCERTS is proud to present the fifth edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN: the ultimate heavyrock-psycho-doom festival!!!

3 days of rock mayhem with 30+ performing acts on two stages, visual arts and hippie market…. the full package nested in the beating cultural heart of Berlin: F-Hain/X-Berg, in the famous ASTRA KULTURHAUS.

Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (2016)

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Samavayo Announce New LP Dakota Details & Premiere “Overrun”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Berlin heavy rockers Samavayo will release their fifth album, Dakota, on May 6 via Setalight Records. The record is fresh, as in brand-spanking-new — recorded just last month with Richard Behrens (Heat, ex-Samsara Blues Experiment), and it boasts seven new tracks that blur the lines between harder-edged riff rock, metal and psychedelia, beginning with “Arezooye Bahar,” which delves into Persian poetry, and pushing outward from there, the band foregoing any resettling that their shift from a four-piece to a trio in 2013, following the release of their last LP, 2012’s Soul Invictus, may have created in favor of an expansive style, rhythmically intricate and complex in its aesthetic as title-title track dips into cosmic expanse and centerpiece “Overrun” pushes forward with an insistent, almost noise rock roll.

That the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Behrang Alavi, bassist/vocalist/Moog-ist Andreas Voland and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Stephan Voland are able to execute the turns while still offering classic vibes on the penultimate “Cross the Line” and a prog-metal thrust on “Intergalactic” gives Dakota a varied character, but one that the band carries and commands more than ably, speaking to the experience of four albums prior, even if this is their first outing in their current incarnation. Across the four tracks of side A and the three of side B, which rounds out with the patient build toward the apex of “Iktsuarpok,” they benefit from that experience and use it to forge ahead in their sound, careening from part to part while leaving a trail of memorable impressions behind.

I’m happy today to host the premiere of “Overrun” ahead of Dakota‘s May 6 release. You can find it under the album artwork and details, as well as Samavayo‘s upcoming tour dates, on the player below.


Our 5th full length studio album “DAKOTA” will be released on May 6th (Setalight.Records).

Recorded and mixed by Richard Behrens (Big Snuff Studio, Berlin) in Feb 2016. Mastered by Emanuele Baratto. Artwork and paintings by Dark Jordão.

All songs written and composed by Samavayo. Lyrics by Samavayo, lyrics of “Arezooye Bahar” taken from poem by Siavash Kasraie.

Dakota tracklisting:
1. Arezooye Bahar
2. Iktsuarpok
3. Dakota
4. Cross The Line
5. Intergalactic Hunt
6. Overrun
7. Kodokushi

We are back on the road with a new album! “Dakota” is our debut full length release since Samavayo has become a trio in 2013. After three great tours with our last album “Soul Invictus” we are launching a new era in the band’s history with The Dakota Tour I in April and May 2016 including the Desertfest 2016 in Berlin on April 30th!

01. APR DE Cottbus, Blue Moon Festival
02. APR DE Erfurt + Slowmind
16. APR DE Zwickau, Seilerstraße “Beltane Rocks”
21. APR DE Bielefeld, Forum + Monomyth
22. APR DE Halle, Hühnermanhattan + Swedenborg Raum
23. APR DE Leipzig, Halle5 + Swedenborg Raum
30. APR DE Berlin, Astra “Desertfest”
10. MAY DE Potsdam, Kuze
11. MAY DE Hamburg, Bar 227
12. MAY DE Erfurt, Museumskeller + Shotgun Valium
13. MAY DE Ulm, Hexenhaus
14. MAY DE Würzburg, Immerhin
16. MAY A Salzburg, Rockhouse +Deadsmoke
17. MAY A Wien, Viper Room
18. MAY CZ Brno, Bajkazyl
19. MAY DE Nürnberg, Zentralcafe + Mother Engine
20. MAY DE Leipzig, Moritzbastei + Mother Engine / Wucan
21. MAY DE Berlin, Binuu +Tschai Ka
23. MAY DE Karlsruhe, Akk + Mother Engine
24. MAY CH Basel, Kaschemme + Mother Engine
25. MAY CH Luzern, Bruch Brothers + Mother Engine
26. MAY CH Winterthur, Helvti + Mother Engine
27. MAY DE Mannheim, Mohawek + Black Rainbows

Samavayo, “Overrun” from Dakota

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Surya Kris Peters’ The Hermit LP Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Surya Kris Peters, the solo vehicle of Christian Peters, guitarist/vocalist of Samsara Blues Experiment, has two albums under its belt already in last year’s Status Flux and Moonstruck, but The Hermit is the first of his outings to receive a vinyl release. Available to preorder now through Electric Magic Records, the record can also be streamed in full on the label’s Bandcamp (see embed below) and brings together instrumental experimentation and far-ranging psychedelic meditations with a personal sense of intimacy in the creative act. Here delving into classic organ, there exploring a soundscaping drone, it’s an album that has about as many sides to its personality as it has tracks, but there’s a hypnotic current overriding as well, so it’s still possible to get lost in it.

As, of course, you’re welcome to do in checking out the album below. Release info follows:

surya kris peters the hermit

Kosmic Kris’ new soloalbum LP is now available for preorder. This is limited to only 100 pieces of white wax, with screenprinted artwork and the seductive smell of creativity… don’t expect rock music, expect the higher realm of sonic bliss.

Introspective, contemplative, evocative: SURYA KRIS PETERS is the soloproject of Samsara Blues Experiment-mainbrain Christian Peters. His first LP “The Hermit” offers a selection of the previously only digitally released albums “Status Flux” (Aug 2015) and “Moonstruck” (Jan 2016). “The Hermit” can be seen as a summary of Peters´ musical influences reaching from childhood memories of Mike Oldfield and Bedrich Smetana to adolescent impressions by Trance To The Sun and Saturnia, sprinkles of Krautrock (esp. Popol Vuh and Klaus Schulze), and actual favorites like synthesizer drone-minimalist Eliane Radigue and sounds from Far East by artists like Osamu Kitajima and Ananda Shankar. While being rooted in the early days of electronic music Surya Kris Peters yet takes on a different approach. He masters to add his own perspective to music without being nostalgic.

This first LP-edition is limited to 100 items of virgin-white vinyl with silkscreened artwork and handwritten labels. A true work of art, and soon a collectors item!

1. Eremitage 05:12
2. Ragamati 04:50
3. Winterbottom 02:26
4. Snow Feather 05:35
5. The Legend Of Raja Shakuu 09:18
6. Moonstruck Serenade 02:59
7. Chandra Luna 09:38
8. La Morriña 03:42

Surya Kris Peters, The Hermit (2016)

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