Desertfest Berlin 2019: Greenleaf, The Shrine, Blackwater Holylight, Worshipper, Mirror Queen, R.I.P., The Great Machine and Lucidvox Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2019 banner

Yes. This. Cool update from Desertfest Berlin 2019, with Greenleaf and The Shrine and The Great Machine along for the ride with LucidvoxR.I.P., BlackWater HolyLightMirror Queen and Worshipper, and the pairings of the last four between RidingEasy Records and Tee Pee Records leads me to wonder if maybe Mirror Queen and Worshipper won’t hit the road together for a bit and if R.I.P. and BlackWater HolyLight won’t do likewise. For all I know, that’s already announced, but it’s speculation as far as my brain and limited, I’m-writing-in-the-car internet connection are concerned, but either way, they all bring something different Desertfest Berlin 2019, and pretty much anywhere Greenleaf goes is someplace you want to be. Man, I’d love to see that band again one of these… years.

Full announcement came down the PR wire:

desertfest berlin 2019 poster

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 ADDS THE SHRINE + GREENLEAF + THE GREAT MACHINE + LUCIDVOX + MIRROR QUEEN + WORSHIPPER + R.I.P. + BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT!

Spring is almost around the corner, which also means DESERTFEST BERLIN is coming close and will be again opening its holy grounds for the annual and 8th festival edition in the heart of Berlin, the Arena, this May. While desert rock fans and riff lovers from all over the globe come together at the leading cult underground festival specialising in all aspects of the Stoner Rock, Doom, Heavy Psych and all its great subgenres soon, today DESERTFEST BERLIN announced the next batch of great names and high class acts to their already eclectic line-up!

If Black Flag, Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath would have a baby, it would be definitely named THE SHRINE. Hailing straight out of the local rock scene at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles and delivering a breed of heavy, psychedelic, riff based Rock n’ Roll, THE SHRINE will make their long awaited return to DESERTFEST BERLIN this year, and are gonna light it up!

You eagerly asked for them, so you get them! As a most welcome guest and longtime member of the DESERTFEST family, we are thrilled to have GREENLEAF rocking out the Arena stage this year! The Swedish power rock unit will not only present their brand new album live on stage, but as always showcasing some of their finest riffs, haunting melodies to sing along, a unique groove and energetic stage presence the band is known and loved for. Welcome back at DESERTFEST BERLIN, guys!

Furthermore DESERTFEST is proud to confirm THE GREAT MACHINE will be coming all the way from Israel to Berlin! This trio creates a strong psychedelic, stoner rock experience with a heavy dose of the punk rock attitude, join THE GREAT MACHINE on their wild trip into the freedom of heaviest sounds, live at the ARENA Berlin 2019!

With the hints of folk and kraut-rock, LUCIDVOX from Moscow will join to represent full ladies power at this year’s DESERTFEST BERLIN! Sometimes psychedelic rock can extend beyond clichés of shaggy-haired ruffians; LUCIDVOX, the forerunner in a new and burgeoning Russian DIY rock scene, prove that more than well. While the brains behind this Moscowian four-piece, Alina, Nadezhda, Galla and Anna, have played outside of Russia just once, DESERTFEST BERLIN will be their very first show in Germany to date. Please give these killer ladies a very warm welcome!

Cult fuzz rock label Tee Pee Records (home of bands such as Witch, Sleep, High On Fire among many more ) are presenting us two more exciting and up&coming acts from their excellent artist roster: US-based MIRROR QUEEN and WORSHIPPER are currently rising from the psychedelic hard rock underground, both perfectly proving that the soul of melodic heavy music still burns brightly!

After several years of hammering the US west coast with their blunt scythe of street-doom, R.I.P. are about to embark on an extensive tour this Spring with a stop at DESERTFEST BERLIN! The band’s debut “In the Wind”, out on RidingEasy Records, closes the casket on the trends and exhumes the notion that doom isn’t always about how slow and de-tuned you can play, but about fear, death, leather and playing as heavy as possible.

Rounding up today’s announcement with another MUST-SEE tip from the underground, please welcome BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT to the 8th edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN! The Heavy Psych quintett from Portland, who released their critically acclaimed debut just last year on RidingEasy Records, are currently on their way to the top of the biggest hopes in psychedelic rock music, and we are more than psyched DESERTFEST BERLIN will be part of their journey.

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 takes place between May 3th – 5th 2019 at the riverside in the heart of Berlin, the ARENA. The festival will not only provide a new sound-and payment-system on the ground, but also more space PLUS a psychedelic wonderland chillout- and live zone on the ‘Hoppetosse’ boat!

Day- and Weekend passes are selling fast, make sure to grab yours at the following link:
www.desertfest-tickets.de

www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
www.instagram.com/desertfest_berlin

BlackWater HolyLight, “Wave of Conscience” official video

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Desertfest Berlin 2019 Adds Monkey3, The Skull, Black Tusk, Electric Citizen & Stonefield

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2019 banner

I’m going to try to do the two-birds-one-stone thing here and post the new Monkey3 art video — which I assume is like the standard lyric video, but for those without lyrics — for the newly-unveiled track “Mass” from that Swiss instrumentalist outfit’s forthcoming album, Sphere, with the news that the band has been added to Desertfest Berlin 2019 along with a host of others. The song rules, and you can and should stream it at the bottom of this post, but it’s perhaps all the more awesome to consider they’ll share the stage with The Skull, Black Tusk, Electric Citizen and Stonefield come early May. The Desertfest Berlin lineup this year is especially good, both in the band shared with the concurrent London incarnation of the festival like Fu ManchuOm and Colour HazeAll Them Witches and so on, and in those who’ll be exclusive to Germany. Someday I’ll get to this festival.

Until then, if you’re going, have a good time:

desertfest berlin 2019 poster

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 CONFIRMS MONKEY3 + THE SKULL + BLACK TUSK + ELECTRIC CITIZEN + STONEFIELD!

Europe’s hot-spot for the heaviest riffs and fuzzy sounds, the leading cult underground festival specialising in all aspects of the Stoner Rock, Doom, Heavy Psych and all its great subgenres, DESERTFEST BERLIN, has announced the next batch of bands for their 8th edition in 2019!

Swiss psychedelic rock overlords MONKEY3 will turn the ARENA BERLIN into a space wonderland of magical spheres and mesmerizing riffs! The instrumental rockers have buckled up for their next interstellar journey, nestled in between space rock, psych, stoner and progressive, April 2019 will see the band release their fifth album ‘Sphere’ on Napalm Records. With timeless classics and new album tunes to be introduced live on stage, MONKEY3 will be creating their very own and unique sphere the four piece is known and loved for, taking you on an incomparable astral trip!

The already eclectic line-up of 2019 will be joined by heavy metal doom masters THE SKULL! Featuring vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner, formerly of metal legends Trouble, THE SKULL creates classic Sabbathian doom with a psych-tinged metal vision. Pushing authentic, old-school metal to heavier and foreboding places, fueled by burly riffing, metallic groove and a crushing punch, these legends deliver the definitive doom metal full of powerful builds and a mesmerizing dynamic range!

Savannah’s BLACK TUSK weld together a three-pronged vocal attack, with their dirty punk, thrash and sludgy heavy metal attitude, the band found their very own niche in nowadays heavy music scene and already made their way to the top of rock n roll heavyweights. Get your dose of BLACK TUSK live at Desertfest Berlin 2019! And if that’s not all, heavy rockers ELECTRIC CITIZEN and full ladies-power guaranteed by STONEFIELD are rounding up today’s exciting announcement!

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 will take place between May 3th – 5th 2019 at the riverside in the heart of Berlin, the ARENA. The festival will not only provide a new sound-and payment-system on the ground, but also more space PLUS a psychedelic wonderland chillout- and live zone on the ‘Hoppetosse’ boat!

Day- and Weekend passes, as well as first Day-Splits, are available at:
www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de

With more bands to be announced soon!

www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
www.instagram.com/desertfest_berlin

Monkey3, “Mass” art video

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Andreas Voland Premieres “9 Doors Open” from New Project

Posted in audiObelisk on January 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

andreas voland

What to expect when expanding your mind:

Colors might seem more vivid. You might hear sounds you didn’t know were there. They might not be there. They might be bells. Or sampled birdsong. You won’t really know. That’s fine. You’ll feel a swirling sensation, like a chill up your spine, but it might start at your ankles. You’ll be conscious of your blood moving, able to taste it somehow. You might feel like your skull is getting smaller. Oh, and at some point you’re totally going to freak out.

“9 Doors Open” is the first track from the new solo-ish-project of Andreas Voland, also known for his work on bass in Samavayo. Admittedly, there’s a visual component handled by Steffen Freiling that one imagines is pretty essential to setting the vibe in a live setting that’s woefully under-served in this post, but the 31-minute standalone piece isn’t exactly light on vibe as is. Rather, it engages with a ruminant experimentalism, a richness of space and substance coursing through its evident movements, andreas voland 9 doors openwaves of synth and subtle underlying low end pervading its early going only to recede and be replaced by open ambience and, gradually, noisier wash. That, in turn, meets with Native American-style chants echoing through a cosmic soundscape before a pulse of low end assures some ground beneath the feet, however fluid that might still be. Percussion arrives in its own time, and the wash is given form to a further degree, but by then the trance is well induced and even as synth returns, Voland‘s layered expanses seem inwardly cosmic.

The acoustic guitar that comes in at about 27 minutes feels near-messianic, and though the last movement of “9 Doors Open” is the shortest, it’s pivotal in underscoring a human presence within the vast landscape being created. As the first outing from Voland in this form, “9 Doors Open” seems to explode with creative urgency. It’s outwardly mellow, of course, but the scope of it speaks to it having been years in concept before actually being executed, and the amount of sonic ground the piece covers in its half-hour-plus is worth considering a single-song full-length. Naturally, I don’t know how what Voland‘s intent is for the project, if this might be a one-off, or an ongoing outlet, or what future material might bring, but taken on its own merits, “9 Doors Open” brims with psychedelic warmth and an alternate-universe acid folk spirit that’s nothing short of hypnotic.

Voland and Freiling will bring “9 Doors Open” to life in Berlin on Feb. 2 at Zukunft am Ostkreuz, which, if it isn’t an art gallery, is about to be one.

You can hear the premiere of “9 Doors Open” in its entirety below, and you should. But get yourself ready first. Chill out a bit. Be patient. Headphones might help, but regardless, put yourself in the right position to be open to what the track is doing and you’ll likely find it all the more rewarding.

Either way, please enjoy:

9 Doors Open – meditativ psychedelic audiovisual Trip for lucid dreaming or shifting reality

10 years of composing, 20.000.000 photo files, 9 Doors Open is a longterm projects, a meditative psychedelic, audiovisual trip to your innerself. Ideal for lucid dreaming or simply relaxing and enjoying soundscapes.

In their project Andreas Voland (musician in the band Samavayo) and Steffen Freiling (photographer and visual artist) are shifting the dimensions time and space, which gives you the opportunity to discover your reality in new ways.

On 2nd of February, 20:00 o’clock will take place the premiere at Zukunft am Ostkreuz in Berlin. Music by Andreas Voland and visuals by Steffen Freiling.

And the link to the event on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/507561446412197/

Andreas Voland on Soundcloud

Steffen Freiling website

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Friday Full-Length: Kadavar, Kadavar

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Kadavar, Kadavar

Not many albums are recognizable from even just their snare sound. And likewise, one doesn’t often hear panned drums all stuck over in one channel. But even when it was released, Kadavar‘s Kadavar seemed to be working on its own level.

Issued in 2012 by This Charming Man and Tee Pee Records, the seven-song/41-minute outing arrived at just the right moment to capture the attention of a new generation discovering heavy rock. The Berlin three-piece was comprised at the time of guitarist/vocalist Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann, drummer Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt and bassist Mammut — the latter was soon replaced by Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup — and they were by no means the first band to play ’70s loyalist retro rock. In 2012, the self-titled debut from Sweden’s Witchcraft was already eight years old, and even if that was the breakout moment for vintage-minded heavy, it was by no means the nexus of it. Even the first Graveyard album had come out half a decade earlier — on Transubstans and Tee Pee, mind you, so even the same label in the US. But with Kadavar, they were very much of that same generational switch happening in heavy rock’s audience. The mobilization of social media became a massive factor, and where plenty of bands had done their used-fashion shopping in time for their press shots, Kadavar looked like something out of a 1973 men’s magazine, and the drama of their poses, hair, beards and wardrobe became a crucial part of their aesthetic that the reshaping digital landscape only helped them foster.

It’s never just been about one thing with Kadavar. It’s never just been the look, and it’s never just been the songs, and it’s never just been the huge amount of touring they’ve done over the years. They’re a band with hustle. One recalls that when they played the Sardinian daydream-of-a-festival Duna Jam in 2012, they filmed a video for “All Our Thoughts” on their iPhones. That opening track, which is as much a signature and a herald of their sound as any band could ever hope for, as well as being better composed than most bands could hope for, was premiered here with a giveaway in 2012, and Kadavar was my pick for debut of the year a couple months later as well, but at the time it was impossible really to know the band that Kadavar would become, what their kadavar self titledsubsequent outings would produce and the work they would do to engage and build their audience, virtual and otherwise. Listening back to cuts like “Black Sun” and “Forgotten Past,” it was the incredible warmth of their tones, the on-beat nature of their boogie and the catchiness of their hooks that were speaking for themselves.

With centerpiece “Goddess of Dawn,” Kadavar nestled themselves into a proto-metallic echelon that was home to precious few bands, and as it was Bartelt doing the recording, mixing and mastering, the willfulness of their aesthetic was all the more prevalent. “Creature of the Dawn” still resonates with the insistent hook of its second half — perhaps unsurprisingly, the album as a whole is well suited to nostalgia even just six years later — and the theremin-inclusive “Purple Sage” (with Shazzula providing the eerie sci-fi sounds) was indicative in its multi-layered soloing of some of the more psychedelic aspects that would continue to be toyed with as Kadavar issued their follow-up as a 2012 split with France’s Aqua Nebula Oscillator, all the while maintaining the grounded structures that provided so much of the foundation of Kadavar itself. They would continue to save their departures for the ends of records afterward, and it has continued to suit them well.

But of course it has. Because Kadavar have always had a keen eye for how they’re perceived, and that has extended to all facets of their approach. There are those who view that cynically, like Kadavar are sitting around at a board meeting going over the quarter’s financials saying, “No good, time for another video,” or something like that, but while there’s no question they’ve had a strong sense of purpose since Kadavar was released, they’ve also had a growth in style and progression that’s led them to places the self-titled only hinted toward. Hearing “All Our Thoughts” and “Forgotten Past” and “Purple Sage” now, there’s so much naturalism at Kadavar‘s foundation that the album still holds I think among the decade’s best not just in its sound or performance, with its live feel, organic fuzz and groove and ultra-righteous bass tone, but in its very concept. Everything Kadavar does and has done has been on purpose. Even the accidents. Part of what made their first record such a standout was how sure they were of what they were doing at the time. There was no sense that they were getting their feet wet or feeling their way into their style. Listening to Kadavar‘s Kadavar was like unboxing some tech product with the battery already charged. All you had to do was take it out and put it on and you were set.

That’s still the case. Kadavar have gone on to become one of the most essential active European heavy bands, as their 2013 sophomore outing, 2013’s Abra Kadavar (review here), led to their signing to Nuclear Blast Records to wider distribution and a new level of reach in terms of touring. A pivotal moment followed in 2015’s Berlin (review here), their third album named for the city they call home, whereupon their sound took on a more modern, produced sheen that was a shift from the first two records. One would be naive to think that’s a coincidence of their signing to the new label, but they pulled off a difficult transition in sound thanks to the same undercurrent of songcraft that carried them through the debut and its follow-up. Touring all the while, they took on a moodier, more socially aware context with 2017’s Rough Times (review here), which was followed this year by the Live in Copenhagen companion LP. They’ve become an influence particularly in Europe, and as their craft has moved forward, they’ve never really lost the sense of structure that seemed so much to drive their beginnings. Kadavar knew it was playing to classics. I’m not sure it knew it would become one itself.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

It’s 5:24AM right now. Soon it’ll be 5:25. In about a minute or so. Ha.

Alarm went off at 3:30, as it will — I’ve been giving myself an extra half-hour and working during The Pecan’s morning nap — and he was up at 4AM. Hi from the Newark Airport flightpath. We’re in Jersey from now until about Jan. 20, and normally I’d have left his ass up there to fall back asleep on his own, but we have friends staying with us upstairs in the guest room across the hall. When it hit 15 minutes of yelling and it seemed like he wasn’t going to just lay back down and conk out, I went up there armed with fresh diaper and a bottle, changed him, fed him, and put him back down. He screamed bloody murder for about three minutes after I left the room, but has been out since, so even if he gets up at this point, I bought another hour. Again, I usually would leave him because I want him to learn and be used to settling himself down, but there are extenuating circumstances. “Additional factors,” as The Patient Mrs. and I like to say, usually about him.

Next week is New Year’s? That’s stupid. Whatever. Be safe. I’ll still be asleep by nine.

We did Xmas Eve at home and watched Die Hard, as we will, and then Xmas Proper in Connecticut with The Patient Mrs.’ family, then came down here the next day. I don’t even know what day that actually was. Wednesday, says the calendar. Fine. We got here and are mostly settled in at this point. I need Chemex filters something awful, but beyond that, it’s been good. Dinner with my family on the 26th, some hanging out with my oldest nephew, who does well with the baby, friends coming in yesterday. Good times. I like it here. I miss living in this area. So it goes.

With the New Year’s holiday on Tuesday, I’ll do the traditional thing of posting the results of the Year-End Poll. If you haven’t yet added your list of 20-or-however-many favorites of 2018, you should get on that.

What else? Merch still available at Dropout Merch. For now. I’m gonna nix some of those designs soon. I don’t want too much floating out there.

And while the next ‘The Obelisk Show’ on Gimme Radio was going to be Jan. 13, now it’ll be Jan 6. I got bumped up a week, which is nice. I still need to put together most of the playlist, but I know some of it will be highlights from the Quarterly Review, so there’s plenty to choose from there, as it was 100 records and all. Plus some other stuff I haven’t covered here yet.

Let’s do notes for next week. Haven’t done that in a while. Subject to change, blah blah, here goes:

Mon.: Arc of Ascent/Zone Six split review.
Tue.: Poll results.
Wed.: Begotten review; Medicina video.
Thu.: Volcano video premiere; maybe Thunderbird Divine review.
Fri.: Molior Superum track premiere.

Busy busy busy, as usual. That’s good though. The music industry slows down during this time, basically through the end of January, but I never seem to have any lack of stuff to cover, and I’m not really interested in slowing down, so fair enough.

Just about 6AM now. Definitely not regretting giving him that bottle. The Patient Mrs. came to bed around 1:30AM, which is insane as far as current best practices are concerned. I told her that when the baby got up at five I was going to bring him down and stick her with him. I haven’t decided if I actually will do that or not. Probably not. But he should be up soon and I need to get another post live before I grab him, so I’m gonna punch out.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend, and if you’re doing the New Year’s thing, I hope you’re indoors? I don’t know. I hope you drink because it’s fun and not because you feel like you need to. That’s what I hope.

Have fun, don’t get hurt, and thank you for reading. Forum, radio, merch.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Desertfest Berlin 2019 Adds Fu Manchu, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Zig Zags and Swedish Death Candy to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2019 banner

So, uh, in addition to the kickass poster art — which so good that I’m happy to look at it twice with the banner above and the vertical poster below, Desertfest Berlin 2019 pretty much rules as regards lineup as well. Granted, you could put “ham sandwich” on a card under Fu Manchu and Om, and I’d pass on the sandwich but still call that a really good show, but WovenhandAll Them WitchesWitchColour HazeKikagaku MoyoNaxatrasEarthless, on and on. I mean, come on. This is serious business. I know it’s the holidays and people are kind of checked out, but just look at this fucking thing. Plus, you know, the art.

Their latest announcement is duly celebratory:

desertfest berlin 2019 poster

FU MANCHU ++ THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES ++ ZIG ZAGS ++ SWEDISH DEATH CANDY confirmed for DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019!!!

HoHoHo dear desert festers! Perfect in time for Xmas, we would like to make a very special gift, and are more than proud to reveal 4 more bands for Desertfest Berlin 2019. And holy moly, it still feels like a dream but it’s getting real! Since our very first edition, we wanted them to play our stage, 8 years later it finally happens: Fu Manchu are going to play live at our beloved DESERTFEST BERLIN!!!

Since their inception, FU MANCHU has built itself a fanatical army of loyal enthusiasts all drawn to the group’s guitar-driven sound and carefree lyrics centered on old muscle cars, choppers, vans, skateboarding and science fiction. Over their impressing career, FU MANCHU has released 12 albums and has performed to sold out audiences all over the world. 2019 sees desert rock legends Scott Hill, Brad Davis, Bob Balch and Scott Reeder embarking on new adventures, with EXCLUSIVE SHOWS ONLY at DESERTFEST BERLIN + LONDON! “Germany is one of our favorite places to play and the crowds are always amazing. We’re stoked to be coming back to Berlin as part of Desertfest!” the band comments. And so are we to welcome FU MANCHU in 2019!!!

The Devil And The Almighty Blues will be armed with vintage Gibson guitars and tube amplifiers to take over DESERTFEST BERLIN! The Norwegian quintet’s blues- based rock is so heavy without becoming metal, slow without being doom, bluesy without being straight up and boring. Please welcome THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY live at the ARENA BERLIN, when they will also unleash upon us a brand new album in the Spring of 2019!

Grab your pack of Zig Zags desert rockers, as we will bring you the Los Angeles- based sci-fi power trio live on stage! With their scuzzy fusion of punk, metal and stoner sounds, these guys will deliver the ultimate soundtrack to get high on their sounds. Be prepared for a rad and insane live set!

Tunes as thick and heavily layered, powerful and melodic at the same time, Swedish Death Candy are rounding up today’s special Christmas announcement! Following their formation in 2014 and thundering live shows later, the four-piece psych band quickly began to grab attention from rock fans all over the globe. For a good reason: The variety within the band’s individual backgrounds, skill sets and influences has led the band to be truly unique – and one that is vital for today’s current scene.

Friends, we hope you are as much excited about this very special Christmas present as we are. But that’s not all, DAY TICKETS + FIRST SPLIT OF LINE-UP for each day are also now available and to plan your trip to Desertfest Berlin 2019: www.desertfest-tickets.de

The DESERTFEST-crew would like to wish all desert rockers, friends & families a peaceful Christmas and a heavy happy New Year. Stay safe, enjoy the festive season and we will see us all again soon at the capitol of the almighty riffs: DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019!

www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
www.instagram.com/desertfest_berlin

Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe (2018)

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Samsara Blues Experiment Announce European Tour with Monkey3; New Material in the Works

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

SAMSARA blues experiment (Photo by Schmetterling)

Between September and November, Samsara Blues Experiment toured on four continents, playing in North and South America, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand. And, you know, they had a couple weeks between each run, but still, holy crap. Were their frequent flier miles expiring or something? Most people don’t get on four continents in a lifetime — they did it in a season. Madness.

As per their social medias, they’re taking a bit of time for the holidays and to work on new material. Their recent setlists have featured a couple new songs, so I guess progress has begun on a follow-up to One with the Universe (review here), which came out in 2017. Does that mean it’ll be out next year? Write in winter, record in spring, promote in summer, release in fall, maybe? It’s possible. If they’re in a hurry and the songs are far enough along, they could feasibly have it out by summer, and Samsara Blues Experiment certainly seem to be in a hurry these days, though I wouldn’t necessarily count on that to translate to songwriting.

Perhaps, then, their newly-announced Spring 2019 tour with Swiss mostly-instrumental stalwarts Monkey3 is a way to tighten up new songs before they enter the studio? Anything’s possible I guess. That would give them until the end of March to catch their breath and get material together. I don’t know. However the scheduling works out — how did this post become an appointment calendar? — the next Samsara Blues Experiment should be one to look forward to, and I plan on doing exactly that.

Here are those dates, courtesy of Sound of Liberation:

SAMSARA blues experiment monkey3 tour

Folks, we are more than happy to announce, that Samsara Blues Experiment & monkey3 are going to share the van in March / April 2019! What a heavy trippin’ package! We can’t wait for spring!

DATES:
29.03.19 Cologne / Helios 37
30.03.19 Antwerp / Zappa
31.03.19 Nijmegen / Doornroosje
01.04.19 Paris / Petit Bain
02.04.19 Nantes / Le Ferrailleur
03.04.19 Toulouse / Rex
05.04.19 Stuttgart / JH Hallschlag
06.04.19 Jena / F-Haus
07.04.19 Dresden / Beatpol
08.04.19 Munich / Feierwerk
09.04.19 Zuerich / Rote Fabrik
10.04.19 Vienna / Arena
11.04.19 Budapest / A38
12.04.19 Salzburg / Rockhouse
13.04.19 Aschaffenburg / Colos-Saal (*with My Sleeping Karma)

https://www.facebook.com/samsarabluesexperiment/
http://sbe-official.tumblr.com/
http://instagram.com/samsarabluesexperiment”
https://samsarabluesexperiment.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/electricmagicrecords/
https://electricmagicrecords.bandcamp.com/

Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Surya Kris Peters, Lewis and the Strange Magics, Lair of the Minotaur, Sonic Wolves, Spacelord, Nauticus, Yuxa, Forktie, Ohhms, Blue Dream

Posted in Reviews on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I had a terrible thought yesterday: What if this one… went to 11? That is, what if, after 10 days of Quarterly Review ending today with a grand total of 100 records reviewed since last Monday, I did another batch of 10? Like a bonus round? Like I said, terrible thought.

Pretty sure it won’t happen. I’ve already got a review and a video premiere booked for next Monday, but I definitely had the thought. It was easy, of course, to fill out another 10 slots, and who knows, maybe this weekend for the first time ever I wind up with some extra time and energy on my hands? Could happen, right?

Again, I’m fairly certain it won’t. Let’s proceed with the assumption today’s the last day. Thank you for reading. I hope you have found something cool in all of this that has really hit home. I certainly have. We cap very much in last-but-not-least fashion, and if nothing’s resonated with you yet, don’t count yourself completely out. You might just get there after all. Thanks again.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Surya Kris Peters, Ego Therapy

Surya Kris Peters Ego Therapy

Those feeling technical will note the full title of the album is Surya Kris Peters’ Ego Therapy, but the point gets across either way. And even as Christian Peters — also guitarist/vocalist for Samsara Blues Experiment — acknowledges the inherent self-indulgence of the proverbial “solo-project” that his exploration of synth and classically progressive textures under the moniker of Surya Kris Peters has become, with Ego Therapy as his second full-length of 2018, he branches out in including drums from former Terraplane bandmate Jens Vogel. The 10-song/53-minute outing opens with its longest cut (immediate points) in the 15-minute “Angels in Bad Places,” a spaced-out and vibrant atmosphere more cohesive than psychedelia but still trippy as all hell, and moves through a bluesy key/guitar interplay in “Wizard’s Dream” following the dancey thriller soundtrack “Beyond the Sun” and into the Blade Runner-style grandeur of “Sleeping Willow” and the video game-esque “A Fading Spark” before bookending with the sci-fi “Atomic Clock” at the close. I don’t know how ultimately therapeutic Peters‘ solo offerings might be, but he only seems to grow bolder each time out, and that certainly applies here.

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Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

 

Lewis and the Strange Magics, The Ginger Sessions

lewis and the strange magics the ginger sessions

How are you not gonna love a release that starts with a song called “Sexadelic Galactic Voyage?” Barcelona vamp rockers Lewis and the Strange Magics embrace their inner funk on the 23-minute self-released EP, The Ginger Sessions, finding the place where their uptempo ’70s fusion meets oldschool The Meters-style rhythm, digging into the repetitions of “Candied Ginger” after the aforementioned instrumental opening burst and then holding the momentum through “Her Vintage Earrings.” Some departure happens on what might be side B of the 10″, with “The Shadow of Your Smile” turning toward pastoral psychedelia, still rhythmic thanks to some prominent wood block and xylophone sounds, but much calmer despite a consistency of wah and keys. “Suzy’s Room II” follows in fuzzy fashion, bridging the earlier cologne-soaked, chest-hair-out vibes with garage buzz and a heavier low end beneath the synthesized experimentation. Mellotron shows up and continues to hold sway in closer “Witch’s Brew,” playing the band outward along with layers of drifting guitar for about two and a half minutes of bluesy serenity that feel cut short, as does the release on the whole. One hopes they don’t lose that funky edge going into their next album.

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Lewis and the Strange Magics on Bandcamp

 

Lair of the Minotaur, Dragon Eagle of Chaos

Lair of the Minotaur Dragon Eagle of Chaos

Once upon the mid-aughts, Chicago’s Lair of the Minotaur roamed the land as the long-prophesied American answer to Entombed, as much classic, dirt-covered death metal as they were laden with heavy groove. Their tones filthy, their assault brutal all the while, war metal, ultimate destroyers. The whole nine. They released their last album, Evil Power (review here), in 2010. The two-songer Dragon Eagle of Chaos follows a 2013 single, and was released to mark the occasion of perhaps a return to some measure of greater activity. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but as both “Dragon Eagle of Chaos” and “Kunsult the Bones” affirm in about seven minutes between them, Lair of the Minotaur remain a wrecking ball made of raw meat when it comes to their sound. The madness that seemed to always underline their material at its most effective is present and accounted for in “Dragon Eagle of Chaos,” and the stripped-down production of the single actually helps its violent cause. Will they do another record? Could go either way, but if they decide to go that route, they clearly still have the evil power within.

Lair of the Minotaur website

Lair of the Minotaur on Bandcamp

 

Sonic Wolves, Sonic Wolves

sonic wolves sonic wolves

Eight tracks/34 minutes of smoothly-arranged and well-executed doom rock brought to bear with an abiding lack of pretense and a developing sense of songcraft and dynamic — there’s very little not to dig about Sonic Wolves‘ self-titled LP (on Future Noise and DHU), from the Sabbathian stretch of “Ascension” down through the bouncing low-key-psych-turns-to-full-on-wah-overdose-swirl in the penultimate “Heavy Light.” Along the way, bassist/vocalist Kayt Vigil (ex-Pentagram, etc.) — joined by guitarists Jason Nealy and Enrico “Ico” Aniasi and drummer Gianni “Vita” Vitarelli (also Ufomammut) — gallop through the traditional metal of “Red Temple” and ride a fuzzy roll in “Tide of Chaos,” leaving the uptempo shuffle of “You’ll Climb the Walls” to close out by tapping into a “Wicked World”-style vision of heavy blues that casts off many of the tropes of what’s become the subgenre in favor of a darker approach. If their self-titled is Sonic Wolves declaring who they are as a band after making their debut in 2016, the results are only encouraging.

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DHU Records webstore

Future Noise Recordings webstore

 

Spacelord, Indecipher

Spacelord Indecipher

There is an immediate sensibility drawn from classic heavy rock to the vocals on Spacelord‘s second record, Indecipher, like Shannon Hoon fronting Led Zeppelin, maybe? Something like that, definitely drawn from a ’70s/’90s blend. Produced, mixed and mastered by guitarist Rich Root, with Chris Cappiello on bass, Kevin Flynn on drums and Ed Grabianowski on vocals, the four-piece’s sophomore LP is comprised of a neatly-constructed eight songs working around sci-fi themes on bruiser cuts like “Super Starship Adventure” and the particularly righteous “Zero Hour,” as opener and longest track (immediate points) “For the Unloved Ones” sets forth the classic vibe amid the first of the record’s impressive solos and resonant hooks. Something about it makes me want them to go completely over the top in terms of production their next time out — layers on layers on layers, etc. — but the kind of false start Grabianowski brings to the ultra-Zepped “New Machine” has a charm that I’m not sure it would be worth sacrificing.

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Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Nauticus, Disappear in Blue

Nauticus Disappear in Blue

Six years after the release of their second album, The Wait (review here), Finnish atmospheric progressive metallers Nauticus effect a return with the 78-minute Disappear in Blue, which following the relatively straightforward opening with “Magma” casts out a vast sprawl in accordance with its oceanic theme. Longer tracks like “Claimed by the Sea,” “Strange Sequences/Lost Frequencies,” “Arrival” and “Hieronymus” are complex and varied but united through a deep instrumental dynamic that’s brought to light even in the three-minute ambient post-rocker “Desolation,” which is something of an interlude between “Strange Sequences/Lost Frequencies” and the tense build of “Singularity.” Other ambient spaces “Jesus of Lübeck” and the later “Whale Bones” complement and add reach to the longer-form works, but it’s hardly as though Nauticus‘ material lacks character one way or the other. Overwhelming in its length, Disappear in Blue might take some time to wade through, but what a way to go.

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Nauticus on Bandcamp

 

Yuxa, Yuxa

yuxa yuxa

As the greater part of anything related to post-metal invariably does, UK outfit Yuxa have their “Stones from the Sky” moment in “Founder in Light,” the opening cut from their self-titled debut EP, that most formative of progressions making itself known in modified form to suit the double-guitar four-piece’s intent with dramatic screams and shouts cutting through an ably-conjured surge of noisy adrenaline resolving in winding chug and crash en route to “Exiled Hand,” the seven-minute cut that follows and serves as centerpiece of the three-tracker. “Founder in Light,” “Exiled Hand” and nine-minute closer “Peer” are arranged shortest to longest, and the effect is to draw the listener in such that by the time the angular, purposeful lurch of the finale begins to unfold, Yuxa‘s rhythmic hypnosis is already well complete. Still, the straightforward arrangements of guitar, bass, drums and vocals give them a rawer edge than many synth- or sample-laden post-metallic cohorts, and that suits the atmospheric sludge with which they close out, harnessing chaos without giving themselves over to it. A quick sample of a creative development getting underway, though it’s telling as well that Yuxa ends with a sudden buzz of amp noise.

Yuxa on Thee Facebooks

Yuxa on Bandcamp

 

Forktie, EP

forktie forktie

The first EP release from Forktie — who stylize their moniker and titles all-lowercase: forktie — is untitled, but contains five tracks that tap into proto-emo post-hardcore and ’90s alt rock sensibilities, finding a place between heavy rock and grunge that allows for Aarone Victorine‘s bass to lead toward the hook of centerpiece “Decomposition Book” with a smooth presence that’s well complementary the vocals from guitarist Dom Mariano, their presence low in the mix only adding to the wistful feel of “Anywhere but Here” and “September Morning,” before the shorter “Spores” lets loose some more push from drummer Corey LeBlanc and closer “Ph.D. in Nothing” reinforces the underlying melancholy beneath the thicker exterior tones. It’s a new project, but Forktie have worked their way into a niche that suits their songwriting well, and given themselves a space to grow within their sound. Members experience in bands like UXO, Test Meat and textbookcopilot will serve them in that effort.

Forktie on Thee Facebooks

Forktie on Bandcamp

 

Ohhms, Exist

ohhms exist

As a fan generally of bands opening albums with the longest song included, I can get on board with UK heavy progressive metallers Ohhms opening Exist with the 22-minute “Subjects.” Immediate points and all that. Far more consequential, however, is the substance of that launch for the four-song/43-minute Holy Roar LP, which is the band’s fourth in four years. It’s a vast, broad and complex offering unto itself, consuming side A as vocalist Paul Waller embodies various entities, “I am wolf” (preceding a Duran Duran reference, perhaps inadvertent), “I am child,” and so on. Those proclamations are just the culmination of a progression that, frankly, is an album unto itself, let alone a side, and maybe should’ve been released as such, though the absolute post-metallic crush of “Shambles,” the seething of “Calves” and the heavy post-rock reach of “Lay Down Your Firearms” need no further justification than a simple listen provides, the last of them pummeling side B to a then-sudden stop. Ohhms are no strangers to longform work, and it suits them well enough to make one wonder if they couldn’t be headed toward a single-song LP in the near future.

Ohhms on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records on Bandcamp

 

Blue Dream, Volume Blue

Blue Dream Volume Blue

Chicago four-piece Blue Dream issued their first LP, Volume Won, early in 2018 and follow with Volume Blue — as opposed to “two”; could ‘Volume Tree’ be in the works? ‘Volume Free?’ — which collects nine neo-psych-mit-der-funky-grooves cuts chic enough to be urbane but fuzzed out enough to make the freakouts more than just a come on. They open peaceful enough with “Delta,” before the hook of “9,000 lb. Machine” defines the course and cuts like “Thank You for Smoking” and the almost woefully catchy “She’s Hot” expand the parameters. I’ll take the dream-tone shimmer of “Kingsbury Goldmine” any day in a kind of self-aware reflection of British folk and/or the garage rock of “Shake the Shake,” but the dense roll of “Viper Venom” that immediately follows reimagines grunge as more than just an influence from three popular bands and something that could genuinely move forward from the perspective of a new generation. Hearing Blue Dream close out with the boogie of “The Glide,” one hopes they do precisely that, though I’d by no means limit them to one avenue of expression. They’re clearly able to harness multiple vibes here.

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Blue Dream on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Rotor, Electric Octopus, Randall Dunn, Graven, Near Dusk, Svuco, Stonus, Acolytes of Moros, Lime Eyelid, Tombtoker

Posted in Reviews on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I’ve been doing this for a while, the whole Quarterly Review thing. Not just talking about the last two weeks — though that also feels like a while to be doing it — but over the last few years. And in so doing I have a couple running gags kind of with myself. One obvious one is the “(immediate points)” for bands who put their longest song first on their album. There is no point system. There will be no tally at the end. I don’t grade records. It’s just a way of noting a decision I almost always find to be particularly bold.

Another is the use of “penultimate.” I don’t even know how this happened, but I use that word all the time in these reviews, way, way more than I might in day-to-day life. Somehow I’m always talking about the second-to-last song. Keep an eye out today, I’m sure it’ll be in there.

Indeed, I bring it up because today is the penultimate day of this extended Quarterly Review. We’ll finish out with the last 10 records tomorrow, and no doubt by the end of it I’ll be doling out more “(immediate points)” and talking about the “apex of the penultimate cut” or whatever else it is I do. Hard not to repeat yourself when you’re writing about 100 records. Or, you know, one.

Quarterly Review #81-90:

Rotor, Sechs

rotor sechs

Long-running Berlin instrumentalists Rotor issue Sechs, their aptly-titled sixth album, as their second for Noisolution after 2015’s Fünf (review here), and in so doing blend the best impulses from where they started with where they’ve ended up. Fünf, not without its moments of heavy psych drift, was a deeply progressive album, and Sechs is likewise, but it also brings in a more natural, warmer production sound like some of their earlier material, so that songs like “Vor der Hern” or “Allmacht” come across as nuanced but welcoming all the same. “Allmacht” is a highlight for its classic prog elements, but that’s not to discount the centerpiece “Abfahrt!,” with its raucous second half or the nine-minute penultimate cut “Druckverband,” which finds Rotor pushing themselves to new heights some 20 years on from their beginnings. Or anything else, for that matter, because it’s all brilliant. And that, basically, is how you know you’re listening to Rotor.

Rotor on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution website

 

Electric Octopus, Line Standing

electric octopus line standing

Next-level naturalism from Belfast trio Electric Octopus means that not only does the digital-only-otherwise-it’d-be-a-box-set Line Standing top four and a half hours, but those four and a half hours bring the listener into the studio with the band — guitarist Tyrell Black, bassist/keyboardist Dale Hughes and drummer Guy Hetherington — as they talk between jams, goof around and discuss what they just played in quick interludes. Complementing cuts like 35-minute opener “Iliudi,” the 38-minute “Line Standing 23336,” the 24-minute “Room Move” and the three-minute funk-reggae vibe of “Inspired by a Chicken,” the chatter gives Line Standing an even more organic vibe not by trying to capture a live feel, like what they’d do on stage — they have plenty of live albums for that — but by bringing the listener into the studio while they pick up their instruments and improvise their way through whatever it is that’s coming next, which is something that everyone seems to find out together. It’s not always smooth, but neither should it be. This is pure sonic exploration — and not a little of it.

Electric Octopus on Thee Facebooks

Electric Octopus on Bandcamp

 

Randall Dunn, Beloved

randall dunn beloved

Randall Dunn, through his production work, collaborations with Sunn O))), founding Master Musicians of Bukkake, etc., is no stranger to experimentalism, and his first solo album, Beloved (on Figureight), finds him evoking cinematic landscapes one at a time in ambient tracks that range from minimalist to consuming by sheer will. His range as a composer means that “Mexico City” shimmers with a near-overwhelming post-Vangelis splendor while “Lava Rock and Amber” is barren enough to make each strike of the piano keys feel like a lifeline before the synth horror takes hold near the end. Dunn brings in several guest vocalists for spots on “Something About that Night” and closer “A True Home,” but there’s hardly a lack of human presence throughout the material anyway, as the nine-minute centerpiece “Theoria : Aleph” resonates with the creative drive that made it. Not by any means a record that’s going to be for everyone, Beloved casts a sound that’s impeccably broad.

Randall Dunn on Thee Facebooks

Figureight on Bandcamp

 

Graven, Heirs of Discord

Graven Heirs of Discord

Heirs of Discord, indeed. With guitarist/vocalist Peter Maturi and drummer Chris Csar from the much-missed Swarm of the Lotus and bassist Teddy Patterson of Burnt by the Sun and Human Remains in the up-and-down-the-Eastern-Seaboard lineup with vocalist Jason Borowy, there’s no shortage of discord to go around. Deathly extremity and a pervasive grinding sensibility is conveyed with tones that absolutely crush and a groove that, while not shy with the blastbeats on “I Dreamt You Were Dead” — or the bonus track Human Remains cover “Human,” for that matter — is no less comfortable locked in the nod of the nine-minute “Thieves of Rotted Ilk.” It reportedly took Graven over a year to make the six-song/28-minute LP at various studios (including one two towns over from where I grew up in my beloved Garden State), and one only hopes the no-doubt daunting nature of that task doesn’t dissuade Graven from a follow-up, because whether it’s the angular starts and stops of “Backwards to Oblivion” or the initial assault of “A Failed Mask,” they bring a stylistic nuance to extreme metal that goes beyond the often dry showcase of technical prowess the style can sometimes be. However long it might take to put together, a sophomore outing feels well justified.

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Graven on Bandcamp

 

Near Dusk, Near Dusk

Near Dusk Near Dusk

The cleverly-titled “Humboldt Pie” finds them dipping into bluesier fare with some psychedelic effect on guitarist Matthew Orloff‘s vocals, and “We are the Buffalo” has a distinct spaciousness, but the core of Denver trio Near Dusk‘s self-released, self-titled debut is in straightforward heavy rock, and Orloff, bassist Kellen McInerney and drummer Jon Orloff sound well schooled in the ways of following the riff. “That Bastard” chugs out behind a vocal echo and the six-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “No More” introduces the steady factor that is McInerney‘s bass behind some initial guitar noodling that leads to the first of many rolling grooves to come on the seven-track/34-minute outing. The bass again gets to shine in the subsequent “Sweet Home,” setting up the final push for a moment before being joined by the drums and guitar, and the low-end tone is right on, though by the time they close out with “Furnace Creek,” all three of them seem to tease some jammier sensibilities. Near Dusk allow themselves room to develop their approach and perspective, but establish a strong root of songwriting to serve as their foundation as they move forward.

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Near Dusk on Bandcamp

 

Svuco, El Gran Mito de SanSaru

svuco El Gran Mito de SanSaru

At least some of the material on Svuco‘s debut long-player, El Gran Mito de SanSaru, dates back a few years. The release includes what was the title-track of their 2015 Mizaru EP as well as the title-track of 2016’s Kikazaru, as well as a number of tracks that also featured on the Iwazaru EP shortly before the album actually arrived. Still, taken in this form and with these recordings, the Granada-based four-piece unfurl a varied 13-song full-length that’s crisp in its production and smoothly constructed to hit hard but with a sense of tonal presence that speaks to a heavy rock influence. That is, there might be a current of noise rock to the ’90s-style chug of “Llorarás,” but “Fuzzia” still has room for organ and acoustic guitar along with its central riff. Later cuts like “Nobogo,” the layered-vocals of “El Color del Sol,” and the almost-industrial pulsations (conveyed through organic instrumentation) of “El Dios del Nuevo Mundo” branch out, but there’s an underlying identity taking shape all the while.

Svuco on Thee Facebooks

Svuco on Bandcamp

 

Stonus, Lunar Eclipse

Stonus Lunar Eclipse

Welcoming in its tone and bordering on cosmic in its atmosphere, Lunar Eclipse is the second EP from Cyprus-based troupe Stonus, and for the sprawl of its eight-minute title-track alone, it showcases distinct potential on the part of the band. Intro and outro tracks help set up a flow, but as “Aspirin” and “Spiritual Realities” fuzz their way toward “Lunar Eclipse” itself, it’s hardly like Stonus need the help. The tempo of “Aspirin” tells the tale, taking desert rock to three-quarters speed for an extra laid back vibe, still pushed along by the drums, but chill, chill, chill as it goes. “Spiritual Realities” is a little more tripped out in its lumber, and its vocals are more forward in the mix, but once again, “Lunar Eclipse” is nothing but a joy to behold from front to back, and in large part it defines the short release that shares its name. They close out with the minute of experimentalism on “Euphoric Misery” and only make one hope they don’t lost those impulses by the time they get around to a full-length, because they’ll only help them further distinguish themselves.

Stonus on Thee Faceboks

Stonus on Bandcamp

 

Acolytes of Moros, The Wellspring

acolytes of moros the wellspring

Seven years on from playing their first show, Swedish doomers Acolytes of Moros present their first full-length, The Wellspring (CD on Nine Records), and if that might stand as an indication of their pacing overall, it would certainly apply to the album itself. Presented as four extended tracks with an interlude/instrumental near seven minutes dividing the two halves, it’s a rawly-produced take on doom-death traditionalism with an emphasis on the first part of that equation. Calling it “morose” feels too easy given the band’s moniker, but they’re nothing if not self-aware, and the miseries they portray in “Quotidian” and the 14-minute “A Yen to Relinquish and Evanesce” border on the dramatic without ever really tipping too far in that direction, coming through as much in the grueling riffs as in the vocal declarations and willfully repetitive rhythms. It’s a slog and it’s supposed to be, but Acolytes of Moros eschew the sometimes lush presentation of their genre in favor of a barebones take that loses none of its emotional impact for that.

Acolytes of Moros on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records website

 

Lime Eyelid, Week of Wonders

lime eyelid week of wonders

As regards recording narratives, it’s hard to beat the image of Traveling Circle drummer Josh Schultz recording Lime Eyelid‘s debut album, Week of Wonders (as in, The Wonder Weeks?), alone in his kitchen. The resulting limited LP is comprised mostly of numbered instrumental experiments in drone and languid groove, save for “I Saw Waves,” which brings to mind some of Six Organs of Admittance‘s far-out earlier fare, but psychedelia holds a prominent sway and if you ever want a lesson in doing something new with familiar elements, look no further than the watery guitar line of “1” or “3,” with its Earth groove gone processional. The 12-minute soundscape of “4” follows as Schultz moves deeper into the realms of cosmic minimalism — that big, mostly empty, galaxy — but “5” somehow sounds even more piped in from outer space, and closer “6” rounds out with swells of high-pitched volume that seem to be speaking their own language in tone. Pretty vast reaches for a record to hit, having been recorded in the kitchen. One awaits further adventures in the follow-up.

Lime Eyelid on Soundcloud

Lime Eyelid on YouTube

 

Tombtoker, Coffin Texts

tombtoker coffin texts

I don’t know if the band’s moniker refers to one who actually tokes tombs or who tokes in tombs, but neither would surprise me. The Baltimorean five-piece Tombtoker unveil their 20-minute debut EP, Coffin Texts (on Seeing Red, tapes through Metal Swarm), with a melding of doom, sludge and metallic extremity that is righteous in its riffs and malevolent in its purposes. That is to say, they mean harm. “Warfare Revolution” and “Robo Cujo” demonstrate that plainly ahead of the centerpiece “Stenchsquatch” with its oh-you’re-gonna-have-to-play-that-at-all-the-shows lurching midsection of death, while the subsequent “Blood Freak” taps Eyehategoddy swing and closer/shortest track “Globster” (3:21) bludgeons its own riffs before a bit of Slayer-style ping ride late adds even more of that metal-for-metal feel. I’d call it promising, but maybe “foreboding” is a better word. Whether they’re smoking your corpse or just smoking near your corpse, Tombtoker bring a welcome sense of chaos to extreme sludge that hearkens to the genre’s original, unhinged appeal.

Tombtoker on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

Metal Swarm website

 

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