Review & Track Premiere: Shallow Grave, Threshold Between Worlds

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Shallow Grave Threshold Between Worlds

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘The Horrendous Abyss’ from Shallow Grave’s Threshold Between Worlds. Album is out Oct. 31 on Sludgelord Records, Cursed Monk Records, Black Voodoo Records and Minor Label.]

All that happens in the first 30 seconds of Shallow Grave‘s second album, Threshold Between Worlds, is a fade-in of an introductory riff, and yet even that seems crushing. The Auckland four-piece made 55-minute their self-titled debut (review here) in 2013 via Astral Projection, and while they’ve trimmed the runtime down to an LP-ready 38 minutes for four songs, the sense of impact remains a major concern. Mostly, I’d think, for seismologists. It is not long after that fade-in that Shallow Grave begin the 10-minute “The Horrendous Abyss” in earnest, with a buzzsaw tone worthy of namedrops like Beast in the Field and Swarm of the Lotus from guitarists Tim Leth (also vocals) and Mike Rothwell, furious low end distortion from bassist Brent Bidlake and an almost noise-rocking rhythm from drummer James Bakker, who succeeds in pushing deeper into “The Horrendous Abyss” while cutting through the mire with a snare that seems to hit with no less of a thud than the toms.

Largesse is the order of business, and business is lethal, but in “The Horrendous Abyss” and onward through “Garden of Blood” (9:41) and side B’s “Master of Cruel” (13:11) and “Threshold Between Worlds” (5:31), the band craft an atmosphere of chaotic churn, marked by vicious noise and, for all the madness unfolding, a feeling that the worst violence is still being held back. To wit, “The Horrendous Abyss,” in its eighth minute, pulls back to minimalist guitar notes, but even these are backed with windy drones, giving all the more a feeling of being alone somewhere in the wild. Presumably, we’ve arrived at the titular locale. That’s actually how the track ends, fading out to let the faster start of “Garden of Blood” come on to stomp itself between the line of sludge and brutalist noise. An angularity of rhythm emerges, and Leth‘s largely indecipherable vocals call to mind Tomas Lindberg in their rasp, but the primary impression thanks to a consistency of tone is still one of lumber, and Shallow Grave take due time to revel in it.

And who would argue? The foreboding is palpable early in “Garden of Blood,” as it was throughout “The Horrendous Abyss,” and before it hits the 2:30 mark, “Garden of Blood” slows its pace to a crawl and lurches-out for the next minute, growing an increasing wash of noise as its march leads toward an inevitable decay, drums cutting out just prior to four minutes in and the volume receding to let an airy guitar take hold momentarily before a momentum of riff picks up — exactly the source of the two band-comparisons above, neither of which one is inclined to make lightly — and shoves forward through the next several minutes, once again increasing in wash before the vocals return, caked in echo and even less human/humane for that. It may not be a horrendous abyss, as the first song was, but neither is it a relaxing beach-day getaway.

shallow grave (photo by Damian McDonnell)

Instead, it is an apex of pummel that reveals the second movement in “Garden of Blood” for the linear build it’s been all along, cleverly concealed by the surrounding onslaught. The last two minutes of “Garden of Blood” are given to a noisy, mechanical-seeming drone that fades out to conclude side A and prepare the ground for “Master of Cruel,” which in effect is the closing argument Shallow Grave will make here. A swell of low distortion provides a bed for the drums to come forward in the mix — bit of a role reversal there, since it’s been the drums anchoring the proceedings all along throughout “The Horrendous Abyss” and “Garden of Blood” — before an impressive and extended scream from Leth brings with it a surge of guitar.

By the time they’re past three minutes deep, the drums are gone entirely, and is the guitar, as they recede completely to a drone as the foundation for a line of standalone guitar soon enough met with cymbal wash. Just when you might think you have them figured out and that they’re starting another forward build in the vein of the preceding cut, instead of making their way through with deceptive patience, they thrust ahead all at once into a huge-sounding plod, brutally delivered before evening out to a steady hi-hat-punctuated roll. They are not yet, it’s worth noting, at the midpoint of “Master of Cruel,” the title of which would seem to betray its ambitions.

That steadying transition leads to a push-pull nod that will consume much of the second half of the track, as the vocals show up amid a proceeding decrease in tempo and increase in noise. By the time they’re 11 minutes deep, the direction is set and telegraphed to the listener: once more into the morass. Undulations of harsh frequencies mark the noisy finish, less about feedback directly than one might think, but still working on another long fade into a drone that shifts directly into the shorter closing title-track, which executes a tonal deathblow in a midsection surrounded on either side by noise. The effectiveness of those elements isn’t to be understated. Drones in the transitions, long fades, etc. — these are the things that help craft the atmosphere that winds up playing such a significant role in the effect of Threshold Between Worlds on the listener.

I won’t take away from the force of their delivery or the intensity of their heaviest moments — how could I? — but it’s the ambient factors that let Shallow Grave‘s sophomore release become more than just a very heavy sludge record and really begin to find its own personality in terms of style. And that personality may be psychopathic, but that still counts. With a half-decade between their debut and Threshold Between Worlds, it doesn’t seem fair to anticipate a follow-up anytime soon from Shallow Grave, but when/if it does happen that they put out a third release, one might expect them to continue to toy with this balance, as it seems so crucial to their purposes overall. At the same time, to think at all of Threshold Between Worlds, it feels less safe making predictions of any sort for what might come. Other than darkness, which most certainly is lurking on the horizon for all.

Shallow Grave on Thee Facebooks

Shallow Grave on Bandcamp

Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

Cursed Monk Records on Bandcamp

Black Voodoo Records on Bandcamp

Minor Label website

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Quarterly Review: Glanville, Destroyer of Light, The Re-Stoned, Ruff Majik, Soldat Hans, High Priestess, Weed Demon, Desert Storm, Ancient Altar, Black Box Warning

Posted in Reviews on July 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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

So Day 1’s done and it’s time to move on to Day 2. Feeling stressed and totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff still to be done? Why yes, I am. Thanks for asking. In the past, I used to handle the Quarterly Review well ahead of time. It’s always a lot to get through, but the week before, I’d be setting up back ends, chasing down links and Bandcamp players, starting reviews, etc., so that when it came time, all I had to do was the writing and plug it all into a post and I was set.

There was some prep-work done this past weekend, but especially this time, with my old laptop having been stolen in May, it’s all been way more jazz-improv. I was still adding releases as of last Friday, and writing beforehand? Shit. With the baby having just figured out how to climb? Not bloody likely. Accordingly, here we are, with much to do.

It’ll get done. I haven’t flubbed a Quarterly Review yet, and if I took an extra day to get there, I’m under no delusion that anyone else would care. So there you go. Let’s hit it for Day 2:

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Glanville, First Blood

glanville first blood

First Blood is the aptly-titled five-song debut EP from Glanville, a newcomer dual-guitar outfit with established players Philip Michel (The Earwix) on lead and Christopher West (Named by the Sun, ex-Stubb, etc.) on rhythm, Wight’s Peter-Philipp Schierhorn on bass and René Hofmann on vocals, and Thomas Hoffman (ex-Bushfire) on drums. Based in Germany and the UK, the group present 23 minutes of material on their first outing, drawing from the guitar-led likes of Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest to capture early metal and present it with a heavy rocking soulfulness and modern production. The most raucous of the cuts might be centerpiece “Durga the Great,” but neither “God is Dead” nor “Dancing on Fire” before nor “Demons” and “Time to Go” after want for action, and especially the latter builds to a furious head to close out the release. Hofmann as a standalone singer wants for nothing in range or approach, and the band behind him obviously build on their collective experience to dig into a stylistic nuance rarely executed with such confidence. They’ve found a place willfully between and are working to make it theirs. Can’t ask for more than that.

Glanville on Thee Facebooks

Glanville on Bandcamp

 

Destroyer of Light, Hopeless

destroyer of light hopeless

Having just recently signed to Argonauta Records for a new album in 2019, Austin doomers Destroyer of Light follow their 2017 long-player, Chamber of Horrors (review here), with a further auditory assault in the lumbering Hopeless. Psychedelic and yet still somehow traditional doom lingers in the brain after “Nyx” and “Drowned” have finished – the latter with an Alan Watts sample discussing alcoholism – and the band moves into demos for Chamber of Horrors cuts “Into the Smoke,” “Lux Crusher” and “Buried Alive.” Between the two previously unreleased songs and those three demos, Hopeless pushes to 39 minutes, but it’s probably still fair to call it an EP because of the makeup. Either way, from the miserable plod of “Nyx,” in which each chug in the riff cycle seems to count another woe, to the rolling nod early and surprising melody late in “Drowned,” Hopeless is anything but. Anticipation was already pretty high for Destroyer of Light’s next record after the last one, but all Hopeless does is show further depth of approach and more cleverly-wielded atmospheric murk. And the more it sounds like there’s no escape, the more Destroyer of Light seem to be in their element.

Destroyer of Light on Thee Facebooks

Destroyer of Light on Bandcamp

 

The Re-Stoned, Stories of the Astral Lizard

the re-stonEd stories of the astral lizard

The inevitable question is “Why a lizard?” and if you make it four minutes into 11-minute opener “Fractal Panorama” and don’t have your answer, go back ad start over. Moscow heavy psych instrumentalists The Re-Stoned intend the reptile as a spirit guide for their new outing Stories of the Astral Lizard (on Oak Island Records), which follows quickly behind their late-2017 offering, Chronoclasm (review here), and given the ultra-patient desert vibes in the opener, the acoustic-laced folk-prog of “Mental Print for Free,” the languid meander of “A Companion from the Outside,” the swirling sprawl of the 16-minute “Two Astral Projections” and the final cowpoke drift of “The Heather Carnival,” one might indeed just find a lizard sunning its belly amid all the atmospheric evocations and hallucinatory vibes. I’ll take “Two Astral Projections” as the highlight, but mostly because the extra length allows the band to really dig in, but really the whole album feeds together gorgeously and is a new level of achievement when it comes to atmosphere for The Re-Stoned, who were already underappreciated and find themselves only more so now.

The Re-Stoned on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Ruff Majik, Seasons

Ruff Majik Seasons

Right on fuzz, right on groove, right on vibe – there isn’t much else one might say about Ruff Majik’s Seasons (on Rock Freaks Records and Forbidden Place Records) beyond “right on.” Heavy rock with twists of psychedelia, the Pretoria, South Africa, three-piece of Johni Holliday, Jimi Glass and Benni Manchino make their home on the lines of various subgenres, but wherever they go, the proceedings remain decisively heavy. To wit, a cut like “Breathing Ghosts” or the later “Birds Stole My Eyes” might dig into shuffle boogie or extreme-metal-derived thrust, but there’s a chemistry between the members and a resonant looseness that ties the material together, and as the last 14 of the total 66 minutes are dedicated to “Asleep in the Leaves,” there’s plenty of progressive weirdness in which to bask, one song moving through the next such that neither “Hanami Sakura (And the Ritual Suicide” nor the semi-doom-plodding “The Deep Blue” nor the funky twists of “Tar Black Blood” come across as predictable. Seasons might take a few listens to sink in, but it’s easily worth that effort.

Ruff Majik on Thee Facebooks

Ruff Majik at Rock Freaks Records webstore

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Soldat Hans, Es Taut

SOLDAT HANS ES TAUT-750

Hyperbole-worthy post-ism from Switzerland’s Soldat Hans makes their sophomore outing, Es Taut – on Wolves and Vibrancy Records as a 2LP – a forward thinking highlight. As rich in atmosphere as Crippled Black Phoenix and as lethal as Converge or Neurosis or anyone else you might dare to put next to them, the six-piece made their debut with 2014’s Dress Rehearsal (review here) and served notice of their cross-genre ambitiousness. Es Taut finds them four years later outclassing themselves and most of the rest of the planet across three extended tracks – “Story of the Flood” (26:15), “Schoner Zerbirst, Part I” (8:03) and “Schoner Zerbirst, Part II” (18:56) – that sprawl out with a confidence, poise and abrasion that is nothing short of masterful. Es Taut may be a case of a band outdoing their forebears, but whatever their legacy becomes and however many people take notice, Soldat Hans singlehandedly breathe life into the form of post-metal and prove utterly vital in so doing, not only making it their own, but pushing forward into something new in ambience and heft. This is what a band sounds like while making themselves indispensable.

Soldat Hans on Thee Facebooks

Wolves and Vibrancy Records website

 

High Priestess, High Priestess

high priestess high priestess

Calling to order a nod that’s immersive from the opening strains of leadoff/longest-track “Firefly” (still immediate points), Los Angeles trio High Priestess build out the psych-doom ritualizing of their 2017 demo (review here) to make their self-titled full-length debut through Ripple Music. The difference between the demo and the album in terms of what’s included comes down to artwork and the track “Take the Blame,” which adds its bell-of-the-ride swing between the atmosphere and melodic focus of “Banshee” and the spacious roller “Mother Forgive Me.” Potential is writ large throughout from guitarist/vocalist Katie Gilchrest, bassist/vocalist Mariana Fiel and drummer Megan Mullins, as it was on their demo, and even the harsh growls/screams on “Despise” seem to have found their place within the proceedings. As they wrap with the guitar-led jam of “Earth Dive,” High Priestess put the finishing touch on what’s hands-down one of 2018’s best debut albums and offer a reminder that as much potential as there is in their sound for future development, the accomplishments here are considerable unto themselves.

High Priestess on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Weed Demon, Astrological Passages

weed demon astrological passages

Four tracks of gurgling riffy plunder pervade Astrological Passages, the 41-minute – longer if you get the digital version or the tape/CD, which includes the 7:24 “Dominion of Oblivion” – debut album from Columbus, Ohio’s Weed Demon. Delivered on vinyl through Electric Valley Records, the nodder/plodder carves out a cave for itself within a mountain of tonally thick stoner metal riffing, infusing a sense of sludge with shouted and growled vocals from guitarists Andy and Brian and bassist Jordan – only drummer Chris doesn’t get a mic – and an overarching sense of bludgeoning that’s Sleep-derived if not Sleep-adjacent in terms of its actual sound. Nasty? Why, yes it is, but as “Sigil of the Black Moon” heads toward the midpoint of its 10-minute run, the repetitive groove assault makes the band’s intention plain: worship weed, worship riff. They get faster on “Primordial Genocide” and even sneak a bit of speed in amidst the crawl before the banjo takes hold in the second half of 12-minute closer “Jettisoned” – more Americana sludge please; thank you – but they never lose sight of their mission, and it’s the uniting factor that makes their debut hit like the brick to the head that it is.

Weed Demon on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Desert Storm, Sentinels

desert storm sentinels

With Sentinels, Oxford, UK, five-piece Desert Storm pass a decade since making their self-titled debut in 2008. They followed that with 2010’s Forked Tongues (review here), 2013’s Horizontal Life and 2014’s Omniscient (review here), and though they had a single out in 2014 on H42 Records as a split with Suns of Thunder (review here) in 2016, Sentinels is their first outing on APF Records and their first long-player in four years. Burl has always been an important factor in what they do, and the High on Fire-meets-Orange Goblin slamming of “The Brawl” backs that up, but Desert Storm have left much of the hyper-dudeliness behind in favor of a more complex approach, and while Sentinels isn’t a minor undertaking at 10 songs and 51 minutes, longer cuts like “Kingdom of Horns” and “Convulsion” demonstrate the maturity they’ve brought to bear, even as the one-two punch of “Drifter”  and “The Extrovert” offer swinging-fist hooks and beard-worthy chug that assures any and all testosterone quotas are met.

Desert Storm on Thee Facebooks

APF Records on Bandcamp

 

Ancient Altar, Cosmic Purge/Foie Gras

ancient altar cosmic purge foie gras

Based in Los Angeles, Ancient AltarScott Carlson (bass/vocals), Barry Kavener (guitar/vocals), Jesse Boldt (guitar) and Etay Levy (drums) – were last heard from on 2015’s dug-in atmosludger Dead Earth (review here), and they return lo these several years later with the two-tracker Cosmic Purge/Foie Gras, pushing into more extreme crush-of-riff with an abandon that’s anything but reckless. On the contrary, there’s some clear development in the 10-minute “Cosmic Purge” and 13-minute “Foie Gras,” rolling out oppressive grooves with blended screams/shouts and cleaner vocals. As with the last album, a drive toward individuality is central here, and Ancient Altar get there in tone while bringing forth a sense of scope to a sound so regularly thought of as closed off or off-putting in general. In its early going, “Foie Gras” hypnotizes with echoing melody and spaciousness only to resolve itself in a deeply weighted dirge march, furthering the pummel of “Cosmic Purge” itself. I don’t know if the EP – on vinyl through Black Voodoo Records, CD on Transcendental Void Records – will lead toward another album or not, but the sense of progression in Ancient Altar’s style is right there waiting to be heard, so here’s hoping.

Ancient Altar on Thee Facebooks

Black Voodoo Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Black Box Warning, Attendre la Mort

black box warning attendre la mort

Listen to it on headphones and the kickdrum on Black Box Warning’s Attendre la Mort is downright painful. Next-level blown-out aggro pulsations. Brutal in a physical sense. The rest of the band doesn’t follow far behind in that regard. Riffs are viscous and violent in noise rock tradition, but denser in their tone despite some underlying punkishness, and the vocals are likewise distorted and abrasive. The five-song/23-minute EP’s title translates to “Waiting for Death,” and each of the tracks is a dose: Opener “5 mg” is followed by “4 mg,” “1 mg,” “2 mg” and “3 mg.” Unsurprisingly, pills are a theme, particularly on “4 mg,” and the sense of violent threat is clear in “2 mg” and 3 mg,” which boast lines like, “Watch them all scream/Watch your enemy bleeded,” and “You are the pig/I am the butcher,” respectively. Between the lyrical and the general aural cruelty, the dis-ease is consuming and unmitigated, sludge becoming a slow-motion grindcore, and that’s clearly the point. Not stabbing, but gouging.

Black Box Warning on Thee Facebooks

Black Box Warning on Bandcamp

 

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Yidhra Southwestern Tour Starts Tonight

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

yidhra

Tonight, Los Angeles doom metallers Yidhra hook up with Wisconsin sludgers Attalla for a stint of Southwestern tour dates running through the weekend. Attalla are on a longer stretch, having looped around the Pacific Northwest to meet up with Yidhra in L.A., and together they’ll head into Arizona and Nevada before Attalla continue on back home toward the upper Midwest. If that geography is confusing, it’ll make more sense when you see the routing of the tour (the rest of Attalla‘s dates are here).

Yidhra of course head out supporting their late-2015 Cult of Bathory EP (review here), which as the PR wire informs is now also available on tape:

yidhra attalla tour

YIDHRA: Stoner/Doom Alchemists Announce Southwest Tempest Tour With Attalla; Signature Fuzz Pedal Launched + Cult Of Bathory EP Available On Limited-Edition Cassette

California stoner/doom alchemists YIDHRA will join Attalla for a short run of live dates later this week. The Southwest Tempest Tour will run from July 20th through July 24th hitting Los Angeles, San Diego, Tucson, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

The band will be touring in support of their Cult Of Bathory EP. Initially released this past Winter via Black Voodoo Records on limited ten-inch vinyl and digital formats, the follow-up to 2013’s critically-lauded Hexed full-length was captured live with master engineer and producer Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Corrosion of Conformity, Trouble, etc.) at Skull Seven Productions and boasts four dark, lead-footed hymns centered on the occult, witchcraft, life, death and imminent destruction. Cult Of Bathory is now available on cassette through The Harmacy Records’ Giallo imprint. Limited to fifty-five units worldwide, it can be obtained at THIS LOCATION.

YIDHRA w/ Attalla – Southwest Tempest Tour:
7/20/2016 Complex – Los Angeles, CA w/ Sisters Ov The Blackmoon, Ancient Spell
7/21/2016 The Merrow – San Diego, CA w/ Great Electric Quest, Supersonic Dragon Wagon
7/22/2016 SurlyWench Pub – Tucson, AZ w/ Abhorrent Contagion, Blacklidge
7/23/2016 The Sandlot – Phoenix, AZ w/ Tombstalker, Goya, Grey Gallows
7/24/2016 The Warehouse – Las Vegas, NV w/ The CG’s, The VD’s, Duct Tape Shoes, Commital, Grim Reefer, Wax Pig Melting

In other YIDHRA news, the band recently launched their own “signature” pedal, the Hexed Fuzz Custom through Arts In Bloodshed Custom Effects. There is a music realm made of heaviness, where goblins dwell and witches prepare their potions in wicked cauldrons. A doomed land where the trees are evil and the sky’s dark green. If you belong in here, then the Hexed Fuzz Custom is for you. Built according to the specs of YIDHRA guitarists Dave Krocker and Ted Venemann, the pedal provides an extra thick yet detailed high gain fuzz distortion perfect for extra low tunings. The fat and squished texture is filtered through a custom three band EQ and features a soft action true bypass switch as well as a bright creepy green led. Switchcraft jacks complete the high quality hardware. Heavy, extra gainy, and quiet. Now’s the time to get your hoof on it and begin to compose your malevolent chant. For more info visit THIS LOCATION.

http://www.yidhra.com
http://www.facebook.com/YidhraWitchQueen
http://www.yidhra.bandcamp.com
http://www.blackvoodoorecords.myminto.com

Yidhra & Attalla tour trailer

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Yidhra Stream Cult of Bathory EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on December 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

yidhra

Los Angeles-based doomer foursome Yidhra release their new EP, Cult of Bathory, on Friday through Black Voodoo Records. The four-songer arrives pressed up in 300 copies on a 10″ platter with digital and CD versions to follow (a rare swap in pressing order), and sees the band take a step further thematically from their 2013 full-length debut, Hexed, exploring modern/current subjects through a veil of coded references and metaphor.

One wouldn’t exactly call Cult of Bathory subtle as it mines desolate landscapes and pummels front-to-back in a burled-out assault of sludge riffs atop rolling doom grooves, but in its imagery and atmosphere, its songs give a glimpse at a world gone dark, and the brutality they emit almost immediately as the opening title-track unfolds from its swinging intro into the aggressive, guttural first verse en route to a chorus in which vocalist/rhythm guitarist/thereminist Ted Venemann seems to nod directly at Metallica — see pronunciation of “Bathory” vs. Master of Puppets‘ “Battery” — mirrors the brutality their songs would seem to be interested in portraying.

The lineup of Venemann, lead guitarist/vocalistyidhra-cult-of-bathory Dave Krocker, bassist Thomas Harris (since replaced by Erik Brasher) and drummer Chris Hannan use “Cult of Bathory” to establish a uniformly grim vision that persists throughout the subsequent three tracks, “Iron Mountain,” “The Adversary” and “Reign of Terror” exhibiting a sonic breadth in kind with the underlying dedication to weighted spirits and sonics. “Iron Mountain” is the longest of the four inclusions at 8:11 and uses its added space for a subdued, semi-psychedelic midsection jam that holds its underlying tension in Hannan‘s toms and some spacious volume-swell swirling.

They build their way back to the full-toned assault, naturally, and finish side A with a few measures of extra bashing. The thread continues as “The Adversary” launches side B with gruff chugging in tradeoff with quieter verses and dudely roll that gives way after the halfway mark for a briefer sojourn into minimalism that, similar to “Iron Mountain,” kicks back to maximum heft, en route to “Reign of Terror,” which is more uptempo but still unabashedly driven by the lower end of the tonal spectrum. A late solo feels in its element over the faster backing, and “Reign of Terror” justifies its closer position through a general uptick in the energy level that hits its apex in a post-slowdown fit of chugging and pace build, cutting out to finish cold, which is suitable enough to the preceding vibes.

Produced and engineered by Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Trouble, many others) at Skull Seven Productions, where Yidhra also recorded Hexed, Cult of Bathory is a strong follow-up to that full-length release, showing that the style the band proffered there and on the prior self-titled EP in 2009 was the ground floor of a development that remains underway. Crisp in sound and pointed even in the bluntness of their execution, the EP’s tracks are available to stream now on the player below ahead of Friday’s release date. Please enjoy:

Black Voodoo Records will release YIDHRA’s Cult Of Bathory on December 18th, 2015 on 10-inch vinyl in three limited edition color variants: 100 blood red splattered, 100 purple sold exclusively through Black Voodoo Records, and 100 standard black. Cult Of Bathory will be available on CD and digitally in early 2016. Stay tuned for details. Teaser tracks to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Yidhra website

Yidhra on Thee Facebooks

Yidhra on Bandcamp

Black Voodoo Records

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Yidhra Releasing Cult of Bathory 10″ Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 10th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

yidhra

It was noted in this space back in 2013 when Los Angeles Theremin-inclusive doomers Yidhra released their full-length debut, Hexed, so it seems only fair to post word of the follow-up 10″ EP, Cult of Bathory, which comes out next month. Like its predecessor, the new offering features a veiled lady in sepiatone, though I guess the difference is this time she’s got no clothes on other than the veil — always the last to go…? — and is engaged in some creepy ritual whatnot, as the band themselves seem to be. The four-songer is out Dec. 7, and like the album before it, was tracked by Bill Metoyer in L.A.

Word follows from the PR wire:

yidhra cult of bathory

YIDHRA: Los Angeles-Based Stoner/Doom Bringers To Release New 10-Inch EP This December Via Black Voodoo Records

Los Angeles-based stoner/doom volume abusers will release a new 10-inch EP this Winter via Black Voodoo Records. Titled Cult Of Bathory, the followup to 2013’s critically-lauded Hexed full-length was captured live with master engineer and producer Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Corrosion of Conformity, Trouble, etc.) at Skull Seven Productions and boasts four rumbling, lead-footed anthems centered on the occult, witchcraft, inhumanity, life, death and imminent destruction.

Cult Of Bathory Track Listing
1. Cult Of Bathory
2. Iron Mountain 1
3. Theadversary
4. Reign Of Terror

Since their inception in 2009, YIDHRA have drawn comparisons to the likes of Electric Wizard, Saint Vitus, Trouble and Candlemass. But there’s something singularly hypnotic about YIDHRA; an intangible allure slithering beneath the doom and gloom. Literally formed by the fates of tragedy, life and death, they’ve been able to rise above their roots of despair and use those experiences to forge a massively heavy, dark and catchy arsenal of material. Lyrically and visually, YIDHRA conjure strong horror and occult themes that yield a seductive sense of foreboding. Musically they build a mountain of distortion, groove, thunder and a haunting ambiance that can only be attributed to true devotees of the almighty riff, master practitioners of tone worship and a spiritual relationship with the Theremin. Though there’s been a steady evolution within the band over the years, YIDHRA’s approach has always been focused on true expression; raw emotions and creating powerfully catchy kick ass songs.

YIDHRA will bring their smokey odes to the stage with two newly confirmed performances including a show tonight opening for New Orleans sludge kings, Crowbar with additional live abrasions in their plotting stages.

YIDHRA:
11/20/2015 Sweet Springs Saloon – Los Osos, CA w/ Behold! The Monolith, Inferos, Lesions

Black Voodoo Records will release YIDHRA’s Cult Of Bathory on December 7th, 2015 on 10-inch vinyl in three limited edition color variants: 100 blood red splattered, 100 purple sold exclusively through Black Voodoo Records, and 100 standard black. Cult Of Bathory will be available on CD and digitally in early 2016. Stay tuned for details. Teaser tracks to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

YIDHRA is:
Ted Venemann – vocals/rhythm guitar/theremin
Dave Krocker – lead guitar
Thomas Harris – bass (on the recording/since resigned)
Erik Brasher – bass (new/current)
Chris Hannan – drums

http://www.yidhra.com
http://www.facebook.com/YidhraWitchQueen
http://www.yidhra.bandcamp.com/merch
http://www.blackvoodoorecords.myminto.com

Yidhra, Hexed (2013)

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Ancient Altar Premiere “Void” from Dead Earth

Posted in audiObelisk on August 6th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

ancient altar

Los Angeles sludgers Ancient Altar will release their sophomore full-length, Dead Earth, on Sept. 1. The 300-pressed vinyl comes courtesy of Black Voodoo Records, and there’s reportedly a tape to follow through Midnite Collective, which also released the band’s 2014 self-titled debut, the response to which was fervent enough to earn the four-piece a slot on the May 2015 Psycho California festival. Dead Earth makes no secret of its grim purposes across its four tracks and 41 minutes, but much to its success, the band manages to conjure a vision of atmospheric sludge that’s neither redundant in its methods nor specifically derived from the post-Neurosis school of undulation. Make no mistake, at some point along the way, someone in Ancient Altar probably heard Through Silver in Blood — whether that’s bassist/vocalist Scott Carlson, guitarist/vocalist Barry Kavener, guitarist Jesse Boldt or drummer Etay Levy, I wouldn’t speculate — but it’s by no means a defining influence, and Dead Earth seems much more geared toward innovation than emulation, or at very least the creation of an individualized identity from a variety of stylistic elements.

ancient altar dead earthWhat the hell does that mean? In terms of the front to back listening experience, it means Ancient Altar are particularly adept at tipping their aesthetic to one side or another. Obviously the split between vinyl sides is a factor, but listening to Dead Earth digitally, its four cuts right in a row, the album moves almost seamlessly from one piece to the next, two longer cuts, opener “Leader, Liar” (12:38) and closer “Void” (12:48), sandwiching the shorter “Albion” (8:34) and “Dead Earth” (6:55), as all work in various levels of thoughtful abrasion toward a full-album flow, somewhere between aggro and a pervasive resignation that feeds into the titular theme — it’s too late to think about saving anything except ourselves. The bulk of the record is screamed, and “Albion” and “Dead Earth” especially dip into black metal atmospheres, but even in those moments, Ancient Altar refuse to be so easily categorized, and by the time they’re through the immersive beginnings of “Leader, Liar,” and they’ve trudged through “Albion” and the nadir of “Dead Earth,” they open up, not to a resounding hopelessness as the title “Void” might hint, but to a feeling of potential from within that despair. Amid clean vocals and a heightened melodic sensibility, the “Void” may be empty, but it’s also the only hope.

All of this ties in with the stated theme of the record, which is loosely that the planet is beyond saving and if our species is to survive, we’ll have to enter that void and find hope elsewhere. Of course, Ancient Altar do a better and more descriptive job on conveying it, so perhaps it’s better to leave it to them. Ahead of the album’s Sept. 1 arrival, I have the pleasure today of hosting the premiere of “Void,” which in addition to being the longest inclusion on the outing is also the richest in terms of the emotional and thematic drive on display.

You’ll find it on the player below, followed by tour dates for a run that begins tonight and more album info. I hope you enjoy:

Ancient Altar hails from the land of the unrelenting sun, crippling drought, and excess known as Los Angeles, born of arcane philosophy and a stripped-down approach to bristling, daunting, towering doom. Formed in late 2013, the band features bassist Scott Carlson and guitar player Barry Kavener splitting vocal duties, along with second guitarist Jesse Boldt and drummer Etay Levy.

Dead Earth is the band’s sophomore effort, coming just a year after their 2014 eponymous debut, which was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews, and just a few months after a devastatingly stunning set at Psycho California in May. Dead Earth is a loose concept album based on war, corrupt leaders, and religion destroying planet Earth as we speak—which is happening, and only getting worse. The album depicts the only way for humanity to survive: leaving this dead earth and starting over somewhere else. The record dips and dives between themes of the utter despair of the human race’s impending doom—and a sense of hope as we triumphantly make our terrifying yet absolutely necessary escape toward a fresh start and a new future.

Track Listing:
1. Leader, Liar
2. Albion
3. Dead Earth
4. Void

Ancient Altar Tour Dates:
8/6 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Bar
8/7 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Flux Capacitor
8/8 – Santa Fe, NM @ The Cave
8/9 Tempe, AZ @ 51 West

Ancient Altar on Bandcamp

Ancient Altar on Thee Facebooks

Ancient Altar tour event page

Black Voodoo Records

Midnite Collective

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Bloodmoon Stream “The Singing Flame” from Voidbound LP Remaster

Posted in audiObelisk on December 9th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

bloodmoon

Originally put out by the band on CD and tape late last year, Bloodmoon‘s debut full-length Voidbound is available now to preorder on vinyl through Black Voodoo Records ahead of a Dec. 20 release date. The three-song LP from the genre-bending San Luis Obispo trio — who’ve dubbed their progressive, metallic, blackened and sludgy style “grey metal,” which is at very least more efficient — has been remastered by James Plotkin for its 12″ platter edition, but honestly, even if it hadn’t, and even if it was still streaming on their Bandcamp page (no doubt it will be again soon), I’d still want to stream a track from it for the simple reason of how willfully individualized it is and how effectively Bloodmoon blend elements of different styles into what sounds like the beginning of a progression all their own. Particularly for being a first album — they also released an EP, Orenda, in 2012 — Voidbound is admirably ambitious and sets a high standard of accomplishment from which guitarist/vocalist Peter Tomis, bassist Pat Mullholland and drummer/vocalist Jason Goldie can work going forward.

Of the three included pieces, “The Singing Flame” is the shortest at 7:17. The closer, it’s also the bloodmoon voidboundbiggest riff on offer, though Bloodmoon never stay in one place too long. Like its longer predecessors, “Voidbound” (17:56) and “Back World” (13:25), “The Singing Flame” works in movements, each part flowing into the next, fading in on an initial tension of rumble and snare work from Goldie before the full plod of the progression takes hold, topped with harsh, echoing vocals somewhere between the post-hardcore rawness of sludge and blackened theatrics. It does not waste time. Playing off the atmosphere crafted over the course of “Voidbound” and “Back World,” it feels like a specially crafted apex shift, but there’s still room for a shift into ambience before the chugging, shouts and double-kick resurfaces, vicious and running along a memorable line of thickened riffing. And if there was any doubt Bloodmoon have more to say, let the fact that “The Singing Flame” fades out while essentially still in progress stand as assurance that it won’t be long before this richly creative trio make a return.

On that note, whether you’ve heard it before or not, I hope you’ll take the time to dig into “The Singing Flame” on the player below. For me, I consider it correcting an oversight for a record that deserved way more coverage than I gave it when it first landed, and I appreciate the opportunity to do so. PR wire info follows underneath.

Please enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

San Luis Obispo, California’s blackened sludge act BLOODMOON is set to reissue their transformative 2013 album, Voidbound, on limited edition vinyl. The new version has been completely remastered for vinyl by James Plotkin (Sunn 0))), ISIS, Conan, Slomatics).

Gazing into the void with combined effort since 2010, BLOODMOON have been exploring the musical elements of sludge, doom, stoner, black and death Metal with heavy doses of psychedelia to give themselves a highly distinctive sound of their own. Over the past two years, the band has released two albums, embarked upon several tours, and played countless shows all over the west coast at any given point in between. Between shows, they are continually writing with the self-imparted directive of releasing new music every year while always experimenting with different ways to bring the heavy in their own way.

As if traveling an entire, bitter lifetime, Voidbound takes you for a ride through curiosity and emptiness in three movements. And once it ends, feels as though it has taken part of you back into the depths it calls home.

Bloodmoon on Thee Facebooks

Bloodmoon on Bandcamp

Voidbound at Black Voodoo Records

Black Voodoo Records on Thee Facebooks

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