Quarterly Review: Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Black Lung, Giant Dwarf, Land Mammal, Skunk, Silver Devil, Sky Burial, Wizzerd, Ian Blurton, Cosmic Fall

Posted in Reviews on July 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Got my laptop back. Turned out the guy had to give me a new hard drive entirely, clone all my data on it, and scrap the other drive. I’m sure if I took it to another technician they’d have said something completely different, either for better or worse, but it was $165 and I got my computer back, working, in a day, so I can’t really complain. Worth the money, obviously, even though it was $40 more than the estimate. I assume that was a mix of “new hard drive” and “this is the last thing I’m doing before a four-day weekend.” Either way, totally legit. Bit of stress on my part, but what’s a Quarterly Review without it?

This ends the week, but there’s still one more batch of 10 reviews to go on Monday, so I won’t delay further, except to say more to come.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Nocebo

elizabeth colour wheel nocebo

A rare level of triumph for a first album, Elizabeth Colour Wheel‘s aesthetic scope and patience of craft on Nocebo result in a genre-spanning post-noise rock that maintains an atmospheric heft whether loud or quiet at any given moment, and a sense of unpredictability that feels born out of a genuinely forward-thinking songwriting process. It is dark, emotionally resonant, beautiful and crushing across its eight songs and 47 minutes, as the Philadelphia five-piece ebb and flow instrumentally behind a standout vocal performance that reminds of Julie Christmas circa Battle of Mice on “Life of a Flower” but is ultimately more controlled and all the more lethal for that. Bouts of extremity pop up at unexpected times and the songs flow into each other so as to make all of Nocebo feel like a single, multi-hued work, which it just might be as it moves into ambience between “Hide Behind (Emmett’s Song)” and “Bedrest” before exploding to life again in “34th” and transitioning directly into the cacophonous apex that comes with closer “Head Home.” One of the best debuts of 2019, if not the best.

Elizabeth Colour Wheel on Thee Facebooks

The Flenser on Bandcamp

 

Black Lung, Ancients

black lung ancients

Ancients is the third full-length from Baltimore’s Black Lung, whose heavy blues rock takes a moodier approach from the outset of “Mother of the Sun” onward, following an organ-led roll in that opener that calls to mind All Them Witches circa Lightning at the Door and following 2016’s See the Enemy (review here) with an even firmer grasp on their overarching intent. The title-track is shorter at 3:10 and offers some post-rock flourish in the guitar amid its otherwise straight-ahead push, but there’s a tonal depth to add atmosphere to whatever moves they’re making at the time, “The Seeker” and “Voices” rounding out side A with relatively grounded swing and traditionalist shuffle but still catching attention through pace and presentation alike. That holds true as “Gone” drifts into psychedelic jamming at the start of side B, and the chunkier “Badlands,” the dramatic “Vultures” and the controlled wash of “Dead Man Blues” take the listener into some unnamed desert without a map or exit strategy. It’s a pleasure to get lost as Ancients plays through, and Black Lung remain a well-kept secret of the East Coast underground.

Black Lung on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Noisolution website

 

Giant Dwarf, Giant Dwarf

Giant Dwarf Giant Dwarf

This just fucking rules, and I feel no need to couch my critique in any more flowery language than that. Driving, fuzzy heavy rock topped with post-Homme melodies that doesn’t sacrifice impact for attitude, the self-released, self-titled debut from Perth, Australia’s Giant Dwarf is a sans-pretense 35 minutes of groove done right. They may be playing to genre, fine, but from the cover art on down, they’re doing so with a sense of personality and a readiness to bring an individual sensibility to their sound. I dig it. Summery tones, rampant vocal melodies in layers, solid rhythmic foundation beneath. The fact that it’s the five-piece’s first album makes me look less for some kind of stylistic nuance, but it’s there to be heard anyway in “Disco Void” and the bouncing end of “High Tide Blues,” and in surrounding cuts like “Repeat After Defeat” and “Strange Wool,” Giant Dwarf set to the task before them with due vitality, imagining Songs for the Deaf with Fu Manchu tonality in “Kepler.” No big surprise, but yeah, it definitely works. Someone should be beating down the door to sign this band.

Giant Dwarf on Thee Facebooks

Giant Dwarf on Bandcamp

 

Land Mammal, Land Mammal

land mammal land mammal

Land Mammal‘s debut outing is a 14-minute, proof-of-concept four-songer EP with clarity of presentation and telegraphed intent. Marked out by the Robert Plant-style vocal heroics of Kinsley August, the band makes the most of a bluesy atmosphere behind him, with Will Weise on wah-ready guitar, Phillip PJ Soapsmith on bass, Stephen Smith on drums and True Turner on keys. On opener “Dark with Rain” and closer “Better Days,” they find a pastoral vibe that draws from ’90s alternative, thinking Blind Melon particularly in the finale, but “Earth Made Free” takes a bluesier angle and “Drippin’ Slow” is not shy about nor ashamed of its danceability, as its lyrics demonstrate. For all the crispness of the production, Land Mammal still manage to sound relatively natural, which is all the more encouraging in terms of moving forward, but it’ll be interesting to hear how they flesh out their sound over the course of a full-length, since even as an EP, this self-titled is short. They have songwriting, performance and production on their side, however, so something tells me they’ll be just fine.

Land Mammal on Thee Facebooks

Land Mammal on Bandcamp

 

Skunk, Strange Vibration

skunk strange vibration

Even before they get to the ultra-“N.I.B.” patterning of second track “Stand in the Sun,” Skunk‘s Sabbathian loyalties are well established, and they continue on that line, through the “War Pigs”-ness of “Goblin Orgy” (though I’ll give them bonus points for that title), and the slower “A National Acrobat” roll of “The Black Crown,” and while that’s not the only influence under which Skunk are working — clearly — it’s arguably the most forward. They’ve been on a traditional path since 2015’s mission-statement EP, Heavy Rock from Elder Times (review here), and as Strange Vibration is their second album behind 2017’s Doubleblind (review here), they’ve only come more into focus in terms of what they’re doing overall. They throw a bit of swagger into “Evil Eye Gone Blind” and “Star Power” toward the end of the record — more Blackmore or Leslie West than Iommi — but keep the hooks center through it all, and cap with a welcome bit of layered melody on “The Cobra’s Kiss.” Based in Oakland, they don’t quite fit in with the Californian boogie scene to the south, but standing out only seems to suit Strange Vibration all the more.

Skunk on Thee Facebooks

Skunk on Bandcamp

 

Silver Devil, Paralyzed

Silver Devil Paralyzed

Like countrymen outfits in Vokonis or to a somewhat lesser degree Cities of Mars, Gävle-based riffers Silver Devil tap into Sleep as a core influence and work outward from there. In the case of their second album, Paralyzed (on Ozium Records), they work far out indeed, bringing a sonic largesse to bear through plus-sized tonality and distorted vocals casting echoes across a wide chasm of the mix. “Rivers” or the later, slower-rolling “Octopus” rightfully present this as an individual take, and it ends up being that one way or the other, with the atmosphere becoming essential to the character of the material. There are some driving moments that call to mind later Dozer — or newer Greenleaf, if you prefer — such as the centerpiece “No Man Traveller,” but the periodic bouts of post-rock bring complexity to that assessment as well, though in the face of the galloping crescendo of “The Grand Trick,” complexity is a secondary concern to the outright righteousness with which Silver Devil take familiar elements and reshape them into something that sounds fresh and engaging. That’s basically the story of the whole record, come to think of it.

Silver Devil on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records website

 

Sky Burial, Sokushinbutsu

sky burial Sokushinbutsu

Comprised of guitarist/vocalist/engineer Vessel 2 and drummer/vocalist Vessel 1 (also ex-Mühr), Sky Burial release their debut EP, Sokushinbutsu, through Break Free Records, and with it issue two songs of densely-weighted riff and crash, captured raw and live-sounding with an edge of visceral sludge thanks to the harsh vocals laid overtop. The prevailing spirit is as much doom as it is crust throughout “Return to Sender” (8:53) and the 10:38 title-track — the word translating from Japanese to “instant Buddha” — and as “Sokushinbutsu” kicks the tempo of the leadoff into higher gear, the release becomes a wash of blown-out tone with shouts cutting through that’s very obviously meant to be as brutal as it absolutely is. They slow down eventually, then slow down more, then slow down more — you see where this is going — until eventually the feedback seems to consume them and everything else, and the low rumble of guitar gives way to noise and biting vocalizations. As beginnings go, Sokushinbutsu is willfully wretched and animalistic, a manifested sonic nihilism that immediately stinks of death.

Sky Burial on Thee Facebooks

Break Free Records on Bandcamp

 

Wizzerd, Wizzerd

wizzerd st

One finds Montana’s Wizzerd born of a similar Upper Midwestern next-gen take on classic heavy as that of acts like Bison Machine and Midas. Their Cursed Tongue Records-delivered self-titled debut album gives a strong showing of this foundation, less boogie-based than some, with just an edge of heavy metal to the riffing and vocals that seems to derive not directly from doom, but definitely from some ’80s metal stylizations. Coupled with ’70s and ’90s heavy rocks, it’s a readily accessible blend throughout the nine-song/51-minute LP, but a will toward the epic comes through in theme as well as the general mood of the riffs, and even in the drift of “Wizard” that’s apparent. Taken in kind with the fuzzblaster “Wraith,” the winding motion of the eponymous closer and with the lumbering crash of “Warrior” earlier, the five-piece’s sound shows potential to distinguish itself further in the future through taking on fantasy subject matter lyrically as well as playing to wall-sized grooves across the board, even in the speedy first half of “Phoenix,” with its surprising crash into the wall of its own momentum.

Wizzerd on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Ian Blurton, Signals Through the Flames

Ian Blurton Signals Through the Flames

The core of Ian Blurton‘s Signals Through the Flames is in tight, sharply-executed heavy rockers like “Seven Bells” and “Days Will Remain,” classic in their root but not overly derivative, smartly and efficiently composed and performed. The Toronto-based Blurton has been making and producing music for over three decades in various guises and incarnations, and with these nine songs, he brings into focus a songcraft that is more than enough to carry song like “Nothing Left to Lose” and opener “Eye of the Needle,” which bookends with the 6:55 “Into Dust,” the closer arriving after a final salvo with the Scorpionic strut of “Kick out the Lights” and the forward-thrust-into-ether of “Night of the Black Goat.” If this was what Ghost had ended up sounding like, I’d have been cool with that. Blurton‘s years of experience surely come into play in this work, a kind of debut under his own name and/or that of Ian Blurton’s Future Now, but the songs come through as fresh regardless and “The March of Mars” grabs attention not with pedigree, but simply by virtue of its own riff, which is exactly how it should be. It’s subtle in its variety, but those willing to give it a repeat listen or two will find even more reward for doing so.

Ian Blurton on Thee Facebooks

Ian Blurton on Bandcamp

 

Cosmic Fall, Lackland

Cosmic Fall Lackland

“Lackland” is the first new material Berlin three-piece Cosmic Fall have produced since last year’s In Search of Space (review here) album, which is only surprising given the frequency with which they once jammed out a record every couple of months. The lone 8:32 track is a fitting reminder of the potency in the lineup of guitarist Marcin Morawski, bassist Klaus Friedrich and drummer Daniel Sax, and listening to the Earthless-style shred in Morawski‘s guitar, one hopes it won’t be another year before they come around again. As it stands, they make the eight minutes speed by with volcanic fervor and an improvised sensibility that feels natural despite the song’s ultimately linear trajectory. Could be a one-off, could be a precursor to a new album. I’d prefer the latter, obviously, but I’ll take what I can get, and if that’s “Lackland,” then so be it.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

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Kadavar Announce Euro Tour & New Album Title For the Dead Travel Fast

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

kadavar

You know, if we’re being honest, I’d probably write this post on another day and be like, “Golly, I wonder what Kadavar‘s new record’ll sound like,” or some overly-wordy equivalent speculation thereof. Truth be told, I don’t care. Not that I’m not looking forward to it or I’m not curious, but after proving their songwriting mettle over four demonstrably different records without falling flat, I think they’ve at least earned the benefit of the doubt to that degree. Wherever they want to go in terms of their sound, I’m willing to trust they know what they’re doing. They might throw in something totally unexpected, they might not. Either way, don’t you just kind of think Kadavar know what they want to do in the studio by now? Hell, it’s even their own studio.

The record, which presumably will be out this Fall in time for their newly-announced European tour, is to be titled For the Dead Travel Fast, and it will see release through the band’s continued partnership with Nuclear Blast, recently reupped.

Details from the PR wire:

kadavar tour

KADAVAR Reveal New Album’s Title & Announce European Tour

Berlin, Germany-based rock overlords KADAVAR have announced the dates of the European tour in support of the band’s forthcoming album, For The Dead Travel Fast.

KADAVAR – FOR THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST EUROPEAN TOUR 2019
Special Guests: HÄLLAS & PABST
06.11. SE Copenhagen Pumpehuset
07.11. NO Oslo Bla
08.11. SE Göteborg Brewhouse
09.11. SE Stockholm Debaser
10.11. DE Hannover Capitol
12.11. FR Lyon Le CCO
13.11. FR Nantes Le Stéréolux
14.11. FR Paris L’Alhambra
15.11. FR Bordeaux BT 59
16.11. ES Madrid Mon
17.11. ES Barcelona Razzmatazz 2
19.11. FR Strasbourg La Laiterie
20.11. DE Wiesbaden Schlachthof
21.11. DE Nu?rnberg Hirsch
22.11. DE Mu?nchen Backstage Werk
23.11. AT Wien Arena
24.11. DE Dresden Beatpol
25.11. BE Brussels Orangiere at Botanique
27.11. DE Stuttgart LKA Longhorn
28.11. DE Köln Essigfabrik
29.11. DE Hamburg Große Freiheit
30.11. DE Berlin Columbiahalle

The band recently re-signed with their long-time label Nuclear Blast after a highly successful 7 year run encompassing three studio albums during which the trio has toured the globe relentlessly.

Commented singer and guitarist Lupus: “When we signed our first deal back in 2012, all of this was just a mere idea. Since then a lot has happened and after 3 records, 2 live albums and quite a few singles, we’re a very happy to continue working with Nuclear Blast.”

The band is currently working hard on the successor to 2017’s Rough Times at their own recording studio in Berlin Neukölln.

Added drummer Tiger: “We’re very creative at the moment, writing new songs on a daily basis. Wir very much loooking forward to completing the album soon. So it’s very nice that we have this new contract!”

KADAVAR’s latest album, Rough Times, was released in late 2017 to global critical acclaim, including live hits like “Die Baby Die,” “Tribulation Nation” and “Into The Wormhole”.

KADAVAR live:
27.06. I Segrate (MI)- Magnolia Stone
29.06. D Ferropolis – Full Force
02./03.08. D Beelen – Krach am Bach
08. – 10.08. D Haldern – Pop Festival
16.08. F St. Nolff – Motocultor Festival
17./18.08. USA Las Vegas, NV – Psycho Las Vegas

https://www.facebook.com/KadavarOfficial/
https://instagram.com/kadavargram/
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

Kadavar, “You Found the Best in Me” official video

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Samavayo Premiere “Intergalactic Hunt” Video; Dakota Reissue & Tour with The Machine Announced

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

samavayo

This October, Berlin progressive heavy rockers Samavayo will head out on tour with Dutch noisemakers-and-sometimes-jammers The Machine, doing a 10-show run that includes stops at Up in SmokeKeep it Low and the Setalight Festival. Hey, it’s a busy season. There are other shows besides, of course, and as Samavayo continue to support last year’s Vatan (review here), they’ve also announced a reissue for the prior outing, 2016’s Dakota (review here), which had also been re-pressed in 2017. As that record was their first as a three-piece, the revisit seems fair enough, and to mark the occasion, the band have a new video for “Intergalactic Hunt” that, well… well… well, it’s just great.

It’s got the band wearing foil hats and using drum hardware like laser guns. There’s a threat of a freak gasoline fight breaking out, and then they do battle with all manner of trashcans, from little R2-D2-looking ones to big ol’ dumpsters in the climax. I won’t spoil the ending, but yeah. It’s all pretty awesome.

You’ll find it at the bottom of the post. Enjoy:

“Dakota” was the first album SAMAVAYO released as a trio. Oriental influences became more and more apparent on this one and for the first time the whole album was recorded all live in analog recording technique – which meant a more organic sound and far more labor involved. With this record the band made a huge step leading to up to the follow up “Vatan” (2018 / Noisolution) that made the band rise from their status as scene-veteran to a true scene highlight.

“Dakota” is and has been sought after now more than ever – which has inevitably led to it being sold out by now. Fear not though: We’ve decided to make this gem available again for you and all fellow fans – and also just in time before the band is back on the road with STONED JESUS and later this year with THE MACHINE.

The special thing about Dakota is the mix of 70s and 90s rock sound that combines progressive instrumental parts and heavy mosh parts with oriental elements and unusual rhythms. The best example is the song „Arezooye Bahar“, which is SAMAVAYO´s 2nd song in Persian language. The Iranian singer, Behrang Alavi, sings about freedom. He himself was a political refugee and experienced bomb attacks at a very young age.

As a former applicant for asylum Behrang reacts to a current European topic that effects him deeply because of his own experiences. To celebrate the second release of “Dakota” there is also a new video to an “old” track: The instrumental “Intergalactic Hunt”. A video resembling a true little Sci-Fi-Crime film well worth seeing while featuring a soundtrack so brute and intergalactically heavy it’s gonna blow your mind right up into space!

Also: The title “Dakota“ stands for the North American native tribe of the same name and translates to „friend, ally“. SAMAVAYO have been playing together for more than a decade which has also made them grow together to musical allies. They are friends who have been creating a musical unity over the years. And to come full circle, that is the translation of SAMAVAYO: „Unity“

Tour dates:
Sat, JUL 20 – TBC, Germany
Sun, JUL 21 – Welcome To The Village Festival – Leeuwarden, Netherlands Antilles
Fri, JUL 26 – Sommerschein Festival – Hofheim Am Taunus, Germany
Sat, JUL 27 – Rock im Wald – Mosbach In Baden, Germany
Fri, AUG 16 – Voice Of Art Festival – Hohenstein-ernstthal, Germany
Thu, OCT 3 – The Machine & Samavayo – Tilburg, Netherlands
Fri, OCT 4 – Samavayo @ Up In Smoke Festival – Pratteln, Switzerland
Sat, OCT 5 – The Machine & Samavayo – Vortex, Siegen, Germany
Sun, OCT 6 – The Machine & Samavayo – Deventer, Netherlands
Mon, OCT 7 – The Machine & Samavayo – Hamburg, Germany
Tue, OCT 8 – The Machine & Samavayo – Kobenhavn, Denmark
Wed, OCT 9 – The Machine & Samavayo – Dortmund, Germany
Thu, OCT 10 – The Machine & Samavayo – Chemnitz, Germany
Fri, OCT 11 – Keep It Low Festival – Munich, Germany
Sat, OCT 12 – Setalight Festival 2019 – Berlin, Germany

https://www.facebook.com/samavayo/
https://www.instagram.com/samavayo/
https://www.samavayo.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/samavayo

Samavayo, “Intergalactic Hunt” official video premiere

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Announces Berlin and Dresden Editions

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

heavy psych sounds logo

Remember like a very, very short time ago — maybe last week? — when I was talking about how Heavy Psych Sounds was taking over the world, one band, tour and festival at a time? Well here we are with the announcements for four nights in Germany this December that one assumes — but never knows for sure — will round out a busy 2019 for the Italian label/booking agency/one-stop-shop. Monolord, The Sonic DawnWedgeGorilla and 1782 are thus far announced with apparently more to come. No big surprise they’re not done, as it seems increasingly like they’re never done. Did you see the pictures from the West Coast Heavy Psych Sounds package tour? It looked pretty amazing.

I guess that’s what happens when you put everything you have into what you do and what you do kicks ass.

From the PR wire:

heavy psych sounds fest berlin dresden

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS announces BERLIN + DRESDEN FEST; featuring MONOLORD, THE SONIC DAWN & more!

Headquartered in Rome, Italy, Heavy Psych Sounds specializes in presenting the best artists in the global heavy psych, doom, fuzz blues and space rock realms, and their Festival- series will be no exception, spotlighting the ever-growing label’s dedication to its craft. While the first HPS Fests were held in Italy, the label has since extended its live reach into the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria and even the USA: The underground cult label is not only THE address for all heavy rock record collectors, but has also become an important live and festival institution; with a brisk participation from heavy music fans all over the world.

Now, Heavy Psych Sounds is set to bring the ROCK to Germany: Dresden and Berlin with the just-announced special shows taking place this December! Each stop of the traveling festival tour will feature diverse line-ups including both genre leaders and fast-rising acts, all ready to prove their place among the world’s best. In cooperation with Greyzone Concerts and ElbSludgeBooking, Heavy Psych Sounds has just revealed the first bands featuring heavy doom weights MONOLORD, psychedelic rockers THE SONIC DAWN and more:

[ artwork by Branca Studio ]

Taking place December 6th and 7th 2019 in Berlin and Dresden, the tickets are now on sale at:

BERLIN
Event: www.facebook.com/events/328145071206018/

DRESDEN
Event: www.facebook.com/events/658161097944810/

https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.greyzone-concerts.de
www.facebook.com/Elbsludgebooking

Monolord, Rust (2017)

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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.

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