Kadavar Post “Into the Night” Live Video; European Tour with Monolord Next Month

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

kadavar (Photo by Vollvincent)

Kadavar always seem to hit you on multiple levels, don’t they? It’s never just one thing. It’s an album, and a tour. It’s a video, and an entire series of them. It’s a split, and a tour. It’s a tour, and a tour. And so on. Next month, the Berlin three-piece head out with Monolord. Fine. Fair enough. Those’ll be killer shows for the Europeans lucky enough to catch them. Oh, and they’re also releasing a live record called Live in Copenhagen — you’ll never guess where it was recorded — both as a standalone LP and on CD as part of a tour edition of their fourth and latest album, Rough Times (review here). Oh, and they have a video from the live record for “Into the Night,” which originally appeared in all its protometallic righteousness on 2015’s Berlin (review here). Oh, and they’re doing a behind-the-scenes series of mini-documentaries about being in the band and touring all the time.

You know, I bet they have new songs in the works too.

If you’re wondering how Kadavar got to be Kadavar, yeah, righteous songwriting helps. The ’70s retroist vibe of their first two records helped. Well-brushed beards help. But there are plenty of bands out there who do that stuff. Kadavar got to be Kadavar by working their ass off. It’s been six years since their 2012 self-titled debut (discussed here), five since their 2013 breakout, Abra Kadavar (review here), and guitarist/vocalist Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann, drummer Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt and bassist Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup have barely stopped to catch their breath. You need amphetamines just to keep up with Kadavar, let alone be in the band.

Look, the point is that even in this often abstract, often horrifying digital post-future it’s not just about social media presence or keeping up momentum on Instagram posts. That’s part of it, make no mistake, but if you’re not actually out there doing something worth plugging for all to see in their feeds on their phones, you might as well be punching yourself in the face. It all feeds into the same cause, and if four records deep into their career you might dare doubt Kadavar‘s belief in their cause, just glance at the fucking string of tour dates they’re about to do. I don’t care how big your bus is, you’re still sleeping on a cot and doing stretches of six shows in a row in five different countries. Kadavar get a lot of credit for putting out good records– and well earned — but they get less credit for how much they back those good records with time on the road and a multifaceted, multi-tiered, multimedia approach to audience engagement, and to me that seems no less passionate than the material they craft itself.

Tour dates below courtesy of the PR wire. Enjoy the video:

Kadavar, “Into the Night (Live)” official video

Berlin-based rock overlords KADAVAR have announced to release a brand new live album called Live in Copenhagen, featuring their infamous show at Pumpehuset in Denmark’s capitol in November 2017 during the band’s tour in support of the most recent album, Rough Times.

Today the band releases the music video for the live cut of ‘Into The Night” from the aforementioned live album.

The album will be available as a tour edition packaged with said studio album (CD only) and also be made available separately on vinyl (see formats below). It’s scheduled to drop on October 12, 2018 via Nuclear Blast.

Pre-order your copy here: http://www.nuclearblast.com/kadavar-roughtimeste

Make sure to catch the band on tour:
KADAVAR + MONOLORD
25.10. D Dresden – Beatpol
26.10. D Magdeburg – Factory
27.10. D Berlin – Festsaal Kreuzberg
28.10. D Rostock – Peter-Weiss-Haus
30.10. DK Aarhus – Atlas
31.10. S Malmö – KB
01.11. N Oslo – John Dee
02.11. S Gothenburg – Sticky Fingers
03.11. D Weissenhäuser Strand / Ostsee – Metal Hammer Paradise *SOLD OUT*
04.11. NL Den Haag – Paard van Troje
06.11. F Angers – Le Chabada
07.11. F Toulouse – Le Metronum
08.11. E Bilbao – Santana 27
09.11. E Murcia – Garaje Beat Club
10.11. E Málaga – Sala Paris 15
11.11. E Sevilla – Sala Custom
14.11. F Six-Fours-les-Plages – Espace Malraux
15.11. CH Lausanne – Le Romandie
16.11. CH Zurich – Mascotte
17.11. NL Eindhoven – Helldorado
18.11. NL Groningen – Vera
20.11. D Bielefeld – Forum
21.11. B Kortrijk – De Kreun
22.11. D Karlsruhe – Substage
23.11. D Leipzig – Conne Island
24.11. D Schweinfurt – Stattbahnhof
25.11. D Neukirchen – Sägewerk
27.11. D Cham – L.A.
28.11. D Munich – Backstage
29.11. D Bochum – Zeche
30.11. D Saarbrücken – Garage
01.12. D Freiburg – Jazzhaus
06.12. D Frankfurt – Batschkapp*
*KADAVAR only

Kadavar, Live Quickies Episode 1

Kadavar, Live Quickies Episode 2

Kadavar on Thee Facebooks

Kadavar on Twitter

Kadavar on Instagram

Nuclear Blast on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast webstore

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Redlake Circus Premiere Video for “Bethel (Enki/Enlil/Anu)”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

redlake circus (Photo by Boris Kownatzki)

The sense of ritual is pretty thick from the outset in the video for the three-part track “Bethel” from Redlake Circus‘ 2016 album, Thelema. While a strong current of progressive metal runs through much of what surrounds, “Bethel” itself basks in post-rock and heavy psychedelic fluidity, and its stated themes of spiritual exploration remain consistent with the rest of the record, even perhaps the frustrations expressed in the subsequent “Sedloc,” which opens with the line, “I am fucking sick of this motherfucking world.” Hey man, we all have those days. Usually on Tuesday.

Anyhoozle, “Bethel” with its parenthetical subtitle listing the three parts, “Enki,” “Enlil” and “Anu,” appears as three separate tracks in the first half of Thelema that are also bundled together at the end of the digital version of the album, streaming on Bandcamp and whatnot. The nine-minute entirety is instrumental — that in itself is a departure from the rest of the record — and the video focuses on the live experience of the band on stage. It’s all in slow motion, giving a real sense of the atmosphere, and there’s incense, enviable hippie-pants, deep colors and deep tones that are no less expansive for their weighted grounding. Again, it’s a departure, but that seems to be the point.

And while Thelema might be a little more aggro than will sit easily with some heads — I suspect for others it’ll be just about right; that’s how these things usually go — the obvious aesthetic consideration Redlake Circus put into their work and the distinct progressive tinge lend the output a sense of reach that many others don’t have while still holding onto such charge. Again, the album’s been out since 2016, so I don’t know if the trio are working on something new or anything like that, but their live show, in fast or slow motion, seems like an immersion all on its own.

You’ll find the video below, followed by some explanatory comment from the band.

Please enjoy:

Redlake Circus, “Bethel (Enki/Enlil/Anu)” official video

Redlake Circus on “Bethel (Enki/Enlil/Anu)”:

Song is called BETHEL ( ENKI – ENLIL – ANU). Bethel is the third single from our latest album “Thelema.” Bethel is a 9 mins instrumental.

Song divided in 3 sections:
Enki representing our earthy emotions, the body , the creation… the dance of the snake.

Enlil brother of Enki, representing the water, the flood, as Ouroboros, cycles, sometimes we need to destroy something to be able to build again a new thing, this could be physical or emotional. From our material possession to our spiritual believes and state of consciousness.

Anu the father of both, representing fire, the explosion of our emotions, releasing the anger, sufferings or love and euphoria inside of us, the connection with something way beyond our minds. This part ends with a soft tapping melody which represent the air, a soft cleansing experience, unity between the three. Time to breathe and start over again.

Redlake Circus is:
Santana: Vocals & Guitars
Mateo Morandi: Bass
Johannes Möckel: Drums

Redlake Circus on Thee Facebooks

Redlake Circus on Instagram

Redlake Circus on Twitter

Redlake Circus on Bandcamp

Redlake Circus website

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Samsara Blues Experiment Touring Australia & New Zealand, South America & Mexico, and Europe

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

samsara blues experiment
Three tours, three months, touching four continents. Pretty god damn impressive for a band who a couple years ago decided they weren’t all that interested in playing out. Berlin heavy psych rockers Samsara Blues Experiment have resumed activity in a big way since the release last year of One with the Universe (review here) on Electric Magic Records, and if their ultimate goal is universal oneness, then hitting so much of the planet in so little time can only be considered a great way to go about it. They may still have a bit to go, but, you know, the more ground you can cover, the better.

So it’s Australia and New Zealand starting this weekend, then in October a run through South America and Mexico, and finally in November, a week-long stint through Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. I’ll just go ahead and assume that’s it for them for 2018, though one never really knows, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were back at it next year again. I wouldn’t hold my breath for US dates, but there are always festivals and things of that sort and clearly Samsara Blues Experiment have made themselves welcome in a variety of places. Should be fun to see where they end up next. Japan?

The band posted the dates on the sans-frills manner as follows:
samsara blues experiment tour banner

SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT – LIVE is LIFE!

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
07/09/18 Perth (OZ), The Amplifier
08/09/18 Brisbane (OZ), Crowbar
09/09/18 Sydney (OZ), Leadbelly
10/09/18 Auckland (NZ), Whammy Bar
11/09/18 Wellington (NZ), Valhalla
13/09/18 Melbourne (OZ), The Bendigo
14/09/18 Geelong (OZ), Barwon Club
15/09/18 Melbourne (OZ), The Bendigo
16/09/18 Adelaide (OZ), Crown & Anchor

SOUTH AMERICA & MEXICO
11/10/18 Palmas (BR), Festival Bem Ali
12/10/18 Brasilia (BR), SUJO
13/10/18 São Paulo (BR), Abraxas Fest
14/10/18 Rio de Janeiro (BR), Abraxas Fest
16/10/18 Buenos Aires (AR), The Roxy
17/10/18 Montevideo (UR), Bluzz Live
19/10/18 Mexico City (MX), Multiforo Alicia
20/10/18 Puebla (MX), TBA

GOOD OLD EUROPE
10/11/18 Berlin, Zukunft am Ostkreuz
12/11/18 Hamburg, Hafenklang
13/11/18 Tilburg (NL), O13
14/11/18 Amsterdam (NL), Melkweg
15/11/18 Groningen (NL), Vera
16/11/18 Dortmund, Rock Hard Night @Piano
17/11/18 Brussels (BE), Magasin 4

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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Hypnodrone Ensemble to Release Plays Orchestral Favourites Oct. 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

hypnodrone ensemble

As a five-minute sampling of the upcoming album, Plays Orchestral Favourites, ‘Serial Staging’ presents Hypnodrone Ensemble‘s ambient breadth as encompassing and far-ranging in kind. Tracked as a nine-piece in true-enough “ensemble” fashion, the offering is due out Oct. 26 through Wolves and Vibrancy and features at its core the likes of Aidan Baker of Nadja and Thisquietarmy‘s Eric Quach. It’ll be their third record but first through Wolves and Vibrancy, and will feature arrangements of violin, baritone guitar and synth alongside drones, three drummers and, one assumes, whatever else they could possibly think of at that given moment. Sounds like fun to me.

I’m not always able to keep up with Aidan Baker‘s prolific output — who possibly could? — but I’ll point out that I don’t think I’ve ever checked out anything he’s been involved in, be it Nadja, his solo work, or some other collaboration, and been sorry I did. Considering how much he’s put out, that’s a significant track record.

News from the PR wire:

hypnodrone ensemble plays orchestral favorites

Hypnodrone Ensemble – Ambient Space Rock Collective Featuring Members Of Nadja, thisquietarmy And Caudal Share New Track “Serial Staging”

Hypnodrone Ensemble have recently shared the first track off their forthcoming new album “Plays Orchestral Favourites”, which is set for release on October 26th via Wolves And Vibrancy Records.

Titled “Serial Staging”, this new track is now playing at this location.

Hypnodrone Ensemble was formed in Berlin in 2014 by the Canadian experimental/ambient guitars Aidan Baker (also of Nadja) and Eric Quach (aka Thisquietarmy), along with the drummers David Dunnett, Jérémie Mortier (also of Alice In The Cities, Nearest Gas Station), and Felipe Salazar (also of Caudal).

A quintet at its core, though occasionally expanding or changing members, the group creates free-form, semi-improvisational studies in rhythmic, psychedelic, atmospheric spacerock. Hypnodrone Ensemble released its self-titled debut, a live recording from NK in Berlin, on Consouling Sounds in 2014 and followed that up with the studio album, The Shape of Space, released on Calostro Recordings and Little Crack’d Rabbit Records in 2015.

Following an expanded line-up performance in 2016 in Berlin, the group returned to the studio in 2017 to record ‘Plays Orchestral Favourites’ as a 9-piece group, with Simon Goff (also Molecular, Bee And Flower) on violin, Duchamp on baritone guitar, Felix-Florian Tödtloff (ex-Sun Worship) on bass, and Diego Ferri on synths.

https://www.facebook.com/AidanBakerMusic
https://www.facebook.com/thisquietarmy
http://wolvesandvibrancyrecords.com
https://wolvesandvibrancyrecords.bandcamp.com

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Kadavar Set Oct. 12 Release for Live in Copenhagen; “You Found the Best in Me” Video Posted; Touring with Monolord

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

kadavar

One assumes that the photo above of Berlin heavy rock magnates Kadavar was taken at this year’s Duna Jam. In the social medias post, they thank Sardinia, so yeah. The band’s new video below for “You Found the Best in Me” from last year’s Rough Times LP (review here) was filmed in the same location, what with the gorgeous beach and idyllic slow motion and whatnot. I don’t think that’s an effect, by the way. I think time actually slows down at Duna Jam. Just try to watch that video and tell me it doesn’t look like fucking magic there.

More to the point, Kadavar have a new live record that’s going to be released in vinyl Oct. 12 and on CD as a bonus with a tour edition of Rough Times. Fair enough, what with the massive run the three-piece are doing with Sweden’s Monolord between October and December. Kadavar and Monolord on tour together. What a god damn show that would be.

Anyhoozle, video’s at the bottom of this post if, like me, you care to daydream of literal foreign shores. Info on the live album and tour dates are in blue as well, as hoisted from the PR wire:

kadavar live in copenhagen

Kadavar Announce Live in Copenhagen Live Album

Release “You Found The Best In Me” Music Video

Berlin-based rock overlords KADAVAR have announced to release a brand new live album called Live in Copenhagen, featuring their infamous show at Pumpehuset in Denmark’s capitol in November 2017 during the band’s tour in support of the most recent album, Rough Times.

The album will be available as a tour edition packaged with said studio album (CD only) and also be made available separately on vinyl (see formats below). It’s scheduled to drop on October 12, 2018 via Nuclear Blast.

Pre-order your copy here: http://www.nuclearblast.com/kadavar-roughtimeste

Furthermore the band has released the official video for the song “You Found The Best In Me” from Rough Times.

Tracklistings:
Rough Times tour edition bonus CD
1. Skeleton Blues
2. Doomsday Machine
3. Pale Blue Eyes
4. Into The Wormhole
5. The Old Man
6. Die Baby Die
7. Black Sun
8. Living In Your Head
9. Into The Night
10. Forgotten Past
11. Tibulation Nation
12. Purple Sage

Live in Copenhagen Vinyl
1. Skeleton Blues
2. Doomsday Machine
3. Pale Blue Eyes
4. Into The Wormhole
5. The Old Man
6. Die Baby Die
7. Black Sun
8. Living In Your Head
9. Into The Night
10. Forgotten Past
11. Tibulation Nation
12. Purple Sage
13. All Our Thoughts
14. Come Back Life

Make sure to catch the band on tour:
SUMMER FESTIVALS
24.08. D Wörrstadt – Neuborn Open Air

KADAVAR + MONOLORD
25.10. D Dresden – Beatpol
26.10. D Magdeburg – Factory
27.10. D Berlin – Festsaal Kreuzberg
28.10. D Rostock – Peter-Weiss-Haus
30.10. DK Aarhus – Atlas
31.10. S Malmö – KB
01.11. N Oslo – John Dee
02.11. S Gothenburg – Sticky Fingers
03.11. D Weissenhäuser Strand / Ostsee – Metal Hammer Paradise *SOLD OUT*
04.11. NL Den Haag – Paard van Troje
06.11. F Angers – Le Chabada
07.11. F Toulouse – Le Metronum
08.11. E Bilbao – Santana 27
09.11. E Murcia – Garaje Beat Club
10.11. E Málaga – Sala Paris 15
11.11. E Sevilla – Sala Custom
14.11. F Six-Fours-les-Plages – Espace Malraux
15.11. CH Lausanne – Le Romandie
16.11. CH Zurich – Mascotte
17.11. NL Eindhoven – Helldorado
18.11. NL Groningen – Vera
20.11. D Bielefeld – Forum
21.11. B Kortrijk – De Kreun
22.11. D Karlsruhe – Substage
23.11. D Leipzig – Conne Island
24.11. D Schweinfurt – Stattbahnhof
25.11. D Neukirchen – Sägewerk
27.11. D Cham – L.A.
28.11. D Munich – Backstage
29.11. D Bochum – Zeche
30.11. D Saarbrücken – Garage
01.12. D Freiburg – Jazzhaus
06.12. D Frankfurt – Batschkapp*
*KADAVAR only

https://www.facebook.com/KadavarOfficial/
https://twitter.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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The Obelisk Presents: Earth Ship & Rising Fall German Tour

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on August 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

earth ship rising tour

Two underrated progressive and aggressive acts — that’s Berlin trio Earth Ship and the five-piece Rising from Copenhagen — will head out together this Fall on a five-date run through Germany for which I’m thrilled to have The Obelisk among the presenters. From Earth Ship‘s individualized approach to sludge rock and Rising‘s grown affinity for a prog-metal approach to doom, each band offers something different from the other, and yet they should still make for an excellent and complementary pairing. It may not be the longest tour ever, but it’s bound to give German crowds something different from everything else happening as we head toward the end of the year.

Both bands are coming off 2016 releases — Earth Ship released Hollowed through Napalm and Rising had Oceans into Their Graves out on Indisciplinarian — and by astounding coincidence, both band will have new albums out in October. I know! What are the chances? Anyway, I know not everyone who reads this either is in Germany now or is going to be there in November, but even if you’re elsewhere and you get to check out either Rising or Earth Ship on the Bandcamp players below and maybe dig something you haven’t hear before, that’s still a win as far as I’m concerned. Either way, this tour seems like it’s going to be something special with the two new albums hitting around the same time and both groups being so much on their own respective wavelength.

If you do get to a show, consider me jealous. The PR wire has more info on the impending records and more background on the bands. As well as the dates, which, you know, you definitely want in there.

Dig it:

EARTH SHIP ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR THE FALL OF 2018!

WITH VERY SPECIAL GUESTS RISING!

Doom and sludge heavyweights EARTH SHIP have announced a bunch of German tour dates for the Fall of 2018! The Berlin-based trio has teamed up with Denmark’s RISING, both bands are set to release their brand new records this October and will introduce them live on stage.

Ever since their inception in 2010, EARTH SHIP have built their reputation in the vast field of the stoner, doom and sludge underground scene as one of the most relentless and heavy-hitting live bands out there. With their thunderous blend of sludgy riffs, bluesy leads, virulent vocals and a massive dose of both groove and humour, vocalist Jan Oberg, his wife Sabine (bass) and Sebastian Grimberg (drums) have taken EARTH SHIP to the stages of Desertfest, Stoned From The Underground or Pelagic Fest, and toured with bands like RED FANG, TORCHE, CROWBAR or VOIVOD.

After 3 albums on Pelagic, the band signed with Napalm Records for the release of their 4th and critically acclaimed studio album „Hollowed“ in 2016. But the alliance didn’t last long, and the band returned to the welcoming arms at Pelagic for album #5: Resonant Sun.

Resonant Sun will be released on October 5th, perfect in time for a German headline tour with support by very special guests Denmark’s RISING in November!

Epic metal five-piece RISING, formed in 2008, have just finished their fourth full-length album which will be released this October on Indisciplinarian. In 2016, the band released their third album ‘Oceans Into Their Graves’, which was followed by numerous shows all over Europe with bands alike Gold or Orm including festival appearances at such as Copenhell or Roskilde Festival. With their exciting mixture of all that is heavy, RISING own a very special trademark of modern metal sounds while retaining their unique blend of the 70’s and 80’s classic Heavy Metal with the heavier aspects of the more recent alternative and progressive variations of the genre. Their upcoming brand new record will showcase the band’s diversity, musical talent, live power and RISING’s best album to date!

Teaming up with EARTH SHIP to tour both hotly anticipated records will surely please all fans of the Sludge, Doom and Heavy Metal. „We’re happy to return to Germany to play shows in November with the great Earth Ship in support of our forthcoming album!“ RISING comments. „We have some of most persistent and dedicated supporters in Germany, and it always kinda feels like coming home when touring there, as we’re always met with love and open arms. So, expect a fiery set of both new and older tunes and a band going for the throat…or thereabouts. We can’t wait, see you all in November!“

Make sure to catch this heavy package live on the following dates, presented by ALL NOIR, LEGACY, METAL.DE and THE OBELISK:

13.11.18 Hamburg – Fundbureau
14.11.18 Osnabrück – Bastard Club
15.11.18 Köln – Sonic Ballroom
16.11.18 Dresden – Loco
17.11.18 Berlin – Cassiopeia ( + Grim van Doom, Blacksmoker, Praise The Plague )

www.facebook.com/wearetheearthship
www.facebook.com/risingdk

Earth Ship, Hollowed (2016)

Rising, Oceans into Their Graves (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

Pabst on Thee Facebooks

Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

L.M.I. on Thee Facebooks

L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

Fuzz Forward on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

Onségen Ensemble on Thee Facebooks

Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

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Friday Full-Length: Electric Moon, Inferno

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Pardon me if you’ve heard this one before, but the discography of German psychedelojammers Electric Moon isn’t exactly the most transparent of undertakings. In addition to their studio full-lengths, they have self-pressed CD-Rs and a slew and then some of live albums to dig into, and more on the regular. Last year they issued the Stardust Rituals LP through longtime imprint Sulatron Records, founded and run by guitarist/synthesist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, and it was a welcome return after some six years of live outings, 2016’s Live 2015 – Zeiss Planetarium Bochum (review here), 2015’s Theory of Mind (review here), 2014’s Mind Explosion (review here), 2013’s Live 2012 1 & 2 (review here), and so on. With a sound so based on improvisation, sonic wandering and exploring the chemistry between the players involved — Schmidt, bassist/sometimes-vocalist/graphic artist “Komet Lulu” Neudeck and several drummers; Marcus Schnitzler played on the latest record but seems to have since been replaced by returning founder Pablo Carneval — just about any show properly recorded can turn into a live release. Because live releases are kind of the point. There wouldn’t be a band if they couldn’t do it on stage.

And since on stage is where Electric Moon are inherently most in their element, a studio outing from them is something of an event. They first released Inferno in 2011 on a CD-R and then followed up with an official Sulatron pressing in 2012. It has been through several editions since then on CD and vinyl, and got a proper reissue in 2015. It is comprised of just two tracks:

1. Mental Record (14:24)
2. Inferno (51:54)

Obviously between them, the latter cut is going to get the vast majority of the focus. It’s a one-song album, essentially, with a bonus track put first. And I won’t take away from what SulaLulu and then-drummer Alex do on “Mental Record,” but the unmitigated swirl of “Inferno” is simply in a league of its own when it comes to tapping into the heart of heavy psychedelia. Electric Moon aren’t the only band in the underground to take an improv-rooted approach to heavy psychedelia, but theirs is one of particular, enduring and evolving character. They have their methods, to be sure, with Schmidt‘s synth running alongside the guitar or the cyclical turns of drums in “Inferno” past the 10-minute mark, but the key seems to be always working to find something new in the sound or the style of play. An experimental tweak here, a little extra howl in the guitar there. And every now and again, vocals. As with few others, Electric Moon seem wholly comfortable in allowing their material to become what it needs to be, the band acting more as vessels for what flows from all of them together rather than individual players following their own agendas. They’re in there, to be sure, but channeling something through themselves in a way that most bands simply don’t or can’t do. It’s not about ego or about virtuosity, but about the spirit and the worship of creativity itself, about capturing the heart of the moment when that new idea happens. About putting that to tape and pressing it up to share with a dedicated fanbase that’s only grown more dedicated over time.

Electric Moon are not a trifling band. They’re not just plugging in their instruments, arranging a bunch of cymbals and making noise. They follow a course that takes them to the inner workings of psychedelia. The long, jammed-out pieces that many others would carve into songs, split into verses and choruses, etc., Electric Moon serves up raw in what always seems to be their original form. Some of the songs on Stardust Rituals had a discernible structure, but that’s more the exception than the rule. Builds come and go, loud parts, quiet parts, guitar scorch and funky rhythms as on “Mental Record,” driven space-rock triumph as in the middle of “Inferno,” but Electric Moon seem to try never to be in the same place twice, and so very often they’ll end up someplace completely separate from where they started, and this is where the chemistry particularly between Sula and Lulu saves them, since there doesn’t seem to be a place where one leads that the other can’t or won’t follow. Or if there is, it certainly doesn’t make it onto the record.

And it may well be that Electric Moon sit down and plan out when their changes will arrive, when part G goes into part H on “Inferno” — somewhere around 35 minutes in, maybe? — but that wouldn’t make their project any less impressive in its scope. What they do brims with such a sense of the real that its spacious sound is still often resoundingly human, as it ends up being while “Inferno” makes its way through is slower back half, fuzzy lead guitar taking hold at around 43 minutes and serving as the bed for the apex wash that gives way at 50 minutes on the dot to the languid meandering that caps the last couple minutes. Inferno is an especially vital example of the spark that exists in what they do, but that spark is just about everywhere in their — again — somewhat opaque catalog. And while it may sometimes be difficult to keep straight which release came before which other release, what was when and which is a reissue — let alone which reissue — the basic fact is that wherever one chooses to dive in, that lunar pool runs singularly deep.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

I woke up Monday at 5:30AM to start working on the review of the last day of Maryland Doom Fest 2018. I’d gone to bed I guess around 1AM? I don’t even know. Anyway, that would turn out to be the latest I slept this week. After driving about six hours from Maryland to Connecticut, The Patient Mrs. and I have been staying here all week with The Pecan and her sister’s two kids, who are lovely, and their dog, as well as our dog and her mother’s dog. It hasn’t been a little, and I’ve kept my alarm set for 3:30AM all week so I could wake up and do Obelisk stuff before the baby gets up, which lately he’s been doing at five or so. Today it was closer to six, but he was also up at 4:45AM for a feed/diaper-change session. I’d call it brutal, but whatever.

Accordingly, you might’ve noticed it’s been four-post days most of this week except for today, which was five. So much going on all week is why, but it’s also the fact that since I was at the fest all weekend I didn’t get the chance to get my usual day-ahead jump on the week. Generally, what’s written over the weekend gets posted on Monday, what’s written on Monday posted Tuesday, Tuesday on Wednesday, and so on. Barring stuff like Brant Bjork announcing a new record that I feel like needs to get up as soon as it comes in — I’m waiting for Uncle Acid to announce their new album’s release date any minute now, any day, any week — I don’t usually have a problem working that way. It’s nice to have reviews done ahead of time. This week I couldn’t do that, so it’s been a little more manic.

And speaking of manic, this all coincided with me putting a kybosh on taking my meds as of late last week. I was cruising for a few days, did pretty well at Doom Fest — at least for me — but then I had like three days in a row of welling up in tears for no reason and, well, I guess we’re just not quite there yet. Back on the pills. To quote a government official: “womp womp.” Was worth a shot, anyhow. I cut out the anti-anxiety meds and that seems to have gone alright, so I’ll take my wins where I can get them.

Next week is busy. This weekend is busy. Life is busy. Here’s what’s in the notes, all subject to change as ever:

Mon.: Yawning Man review/stream; Dunbarrow track premiere; Entierro announcement.
Tue.: Brant Bjork review/premiere; Boss Keloid video.
Wed.: Seedy Jeezus review.
Thu.: Planet of Doom: First Contact EP review.
Fri.: Open at the moment, maybe Bong Six Dumb Questions.

That’s it. I’m punching out and going to spend as much of the rest of the day watching baseball as possible. Or maybe I’ll just watch that fucking Heilung video for the 80th time. Because it’s summer, and hot out, and whatever, I’m tired and want to be on the couch. Tomorrow, more writing. Monday, more posting. Maybe if I’m lucky some more sleeping. Probably not the last of those.

Oh and I need to empty the dishwasher. Fuck.

Alright. Have a great and safe weekend. If you’re celebrating the Fourth of July next week in the US — first of all, fucking why?, but second, be safe and not stupid about it. Have a great time if you’re the type to let yourself do so, and if not, back on your pills you go. Ha.

Thanks again for reading. Forum and Radio.

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