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

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

quarterly-review

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

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

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

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Surya Kris Peters, Ego Therapy

Surya Kris Peters Ego Therapy

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

Surya Kris Peters on Thee Facebooks

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

 

Lewis and the Strange Magics, The Ginger Sessions

lewis and the strange magics the ginger sessions

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

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Thee Facebooks

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Bandcamp

 

Lair of the Minotaur, Dragon Eagle of Chaos

Lair of the Minotaur Dragon Eagle of Chaos

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

Lair of the Minotaur website

Lair of the Minotaur on Bandcamp

 

Sonic Wolves, Sonic Wolves

sonic wolves sonic wolves

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

Sonic Wolves on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

Future Noise Recordings webstore

 

Spacelord, Indecipher

Spacelord Indecipher

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

Spacelord on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Nauticus, Disappear in Blue

Nauticus Disappear in Blue

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

Nauticus on Thee Facebooks

Nauticus on Bandcamp

 

Yuxa, Yuxa

yuxa yuxa

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

Yuxa on Thee Facebooks

Yuxa on Bandcamp

 

Forktie, EP

forktie forktie

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

Forktie on Thee Facebooks

Forktie on Bandcamp

 

Ohhms, Exist

ohhms exist

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

Ohhms on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records on Bandcamp

 

Blue Dream, Volume Blue

Blue Dream Volume Blue

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

Blue Dream on Thee Facebooks

Blue Dream on Bandcamp

 

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King Goat Sign to Aural Music; Conduit Reissue Due Dec. 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

king goat

UK doomers King Goat have signed to Aural Music to release a new album in 2018. Before they get there, the Italian imprint will also reissue the Brighton five-piece’s 2016 debut full-length, Conduit, in December, compiled with bonus tracks culled from the prior self-titled EP the band first put out in 2014. It’s a striking blend of doom groove and more straightforward, prog-tinged metal that King Goat elicit, and if they’re a new entity for you as they are for me — which I’m sure they’re not because you’re way more hip to what’s going on than I am, if history is anything to go by — you can get a handle on the original release of Conduit below, streaming in full from King Goat‘s Bandcamp. Because convenience.

And here’s word from the PR wire. Because information:

king goat conduit

King Goat Sign to Aural Music

Progressive doom-mongers King Goat are excited to announce their signing with cult label Aural Music, marking the beginning of a very exciting new era for the band.

King Goat tease news of their highly anticipated second LP which is scheduled to arrive in early 2018. The band state: “Our latest recordings are further exploring the progressive elements of doom. We’ve pushed our dynamic boundaries further, experimented with songs in open tunings, more complex time signatures and more varied vocal textures. We’re eager to bring these new songs to the stage.”

Home of Ne Obliviscaris, Ephel Duath and more, Aural Music are also to re-release King Goat’s first EP and debut LP Conduit as one record – further details to be revealed over the coming weeks.

The momentous news continues King Goat’s steady rise as one of the most highly-regarded bands in British doom.

The band have previously played at Bloodstock Open Air, Mammothfest, Doom Over London; and alongside Enslaved, Grand Magus, Solstafir and others.

Live dates:
25th November: King Goat’s own Riffmass event, The Green Door Store, Brighton: https://www.facebook.com/events/219077765165942/

http://www.kinggoat.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kinggoatbri/
https://kinggoat.bandcamp.com/
www.auralmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/auralmusicgroup/
https://auralmusic.bandcamp.com/

King Goat, Conduit (2016)

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Ewigkeit Sign to Svart Records; New Album in 2017

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Comprised solely of Mr. Fog, aka James Fogarty, the UK experimental solo-project Ewigkeit released its last album, Back to Beyond, in 2013. I’m assuming that what the PR wire means by “commercially available” in the info below is physically distributed, which is fair enough. In that case, it goes back more than a decade to 2005’s Conspiritus, which came out on Earache. What piqued my interest, aside from the phrase “sign with Svart,” which I almost always take as a sign that something is worth checking out, is the blend of influences Fogarty talks about in discussing the album’s range, from The Doors to black metal. Have to wonder what that all sounds like when brought together, and with the endorsement behind it that it has, it would seem to bode well for the realization to come.

Might be one to look out for, is all I’m saying. That’s all I’m saying.

From the PR wire:

ewigkeit

EWIGKEIT sign with SVART for next album, features In The Woods… vocalist

Fresh from contributing vocals/guitars/keys to the recent, widely acclaimed In The Woods… album pure, James Fogarty is now completing work on a new album for his long-running solo effort Ewigkeit – the first commercially available release since 2005’s Conspiritus album, on Earache Records.

“I have been working on a collection of songs which has a wide-ranging inspiration from the past 45-50 years of rock/metal, from The Doors, Hawkwind, and Sabbath, through the NWOBHM era and the extreme metal of the ’90s, right up until today,” says Fogarty. “It’s the most guitar-centered material I have ever recorded, and certainly owes a lot to my all-time favourite bands, from classic rock through to black metal.”

Of the album’s themes, Fogarty reveals, “Lyrically, I have been greatly inspired recently by the literary works from the psychedelic underground – authors such as Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson, and Dr Rick Stein. So, it’s basically a mish-mash of personal philosophy, scientific conjecture, stoned ramblings, and the schizophrenically esoteric, which, all in all, unintentionally, verges on the outrageously pretentious.”

To release the as-yet-untitled album, Fogarty has decided to team up with much-respected left-field and experimental metal label Svart Records of Finland. “For Svart Records to work with me on the new Ewigkeit material is great,” he beams. “This is a new beginning for Ewigkeit, and I am excited to be working on new material. They are the perfect label, owing to their embrace of the more experimental and psychedelic underground metal bands from over the last 10 years, and having a good understanding of music from the past, present, and future – that’s the new Ewigkeit material in a nutshell.”

The new, as-yet-untitled Ewigkeit album is nearing completion and will be released by Svart Records in the spring of 2017.

www.facebook.com/ewigkeitofficial
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Ewigkeit, Back to Beyond (2013)

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Enos Working on New Album; Announce Final Live Dates of 2015

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

UK space metal four-piece Enos aren’t kidding when they say they’re “taking their time with this one” below. I had thought the impending album, their third and yet-untitled, would be out sometime in 2015, but no dice, and as the band continues to experiment with a two-drummer setup moving past their 2015 split with Mangoo, we approach three solid years since their last full-length, All too Human, was released. Not an unreasonable amount of time — they’ve had a live record since then as well, which also resulted in a DVD — but they’re about due. Then again, I felt that way in January too, so who knows. Let them take their time. Planet Earth will still be here (hopefully, anyhow) when they get back.

Last I saw, vocals were started Aug. 28. Here’s the latest update from the band:

enos (Photo by Andrea Shamlou)

Enos: Recording Update and more gigs!

Well, it’s been a while since we last had an update! Needless to say Enos have been sitting on our collective arse (not all the time anyway). As well as playing shows at The Prince Albert in Brighton, WPC Summer Sizzler in Brixton and our first (and possibly only) show with two drummers (which incidentally was a fund-raiser for Cancer Research UK. Sam Dorrell, who some of you will recognise from his appearance as our second drummer on our recent Son Of A Gun/The Grey Belly split with Mangoo, raised over £1000!) we’ve also been busy working on our new album! Many days have been spent tinkering in the studio and getting things sounding just right, we’re taking our time with this one.

As yet we have no release date set so keep an eye out on the various social media sites and our web page for updates. This album is a progression on All Too Human and Chapter One and, like the others, is designed to be listened to back-to-back with the other records. There’s still a lot of work to do (all good things are worth waiting for!) but make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular studio updates, including videos.

We are very pleased to announce that we will be returning to France for two shows later in September! First up we will be playing at Stoned Orgies at La Scène Michelet in Nantes on Saturday the 26th. This will be our first time in Nantes and are looking forward to taking to the stage alongside Sunnata. Next up we’ll be heading back to Paris for Glad Stone Fest VIII at Glazart on Sunday the 27th.

Our first show outside of the UK was at Glad Stone Fest several years ago (also the first time we gave Another Solution from All Too Human a live outing) so we’re extremely pleased to be invited back. We’re also looking forward to returning to Glazart, if it’s anything like our show in February it will be superb. These are likely to be our last shows of the year as we will be heads down in the album from here on in. What a fantastic way to end the amazing ride we’ve been on since the release of All Too Human!

http://enosthechimp.com/
http://enosthechimp.bandcamp.com/
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Enos, All too Human (2012)

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Baron to Release Torpor on Oct. 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 26th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Baron Photo A

They can’t all be genius, right? The truth is most aren’t. No album is perfect, and most bands — UK four-piece Baron included — have things that work and things that don’t within their sound, style, whatever it might be. It’s so easy to get burnt out on stuff though, because a lot, a lot, a lot of it is quite good, so when something different and interesting comes along, it’s almost too easy to pass it up. I’m really glad I took a couple minutes out of my day to listen to Baron‘s new track, “Deeper Align.” It doesn’t represent the entirety of the UK outfit’s forthcoming album, Torpor, which is out Oct. 23 on Svart — who as far as I’m concerned have pretty much hit the I’ll-go-in-blind level when it comes to trusting their taste — but it’s the kind of journey that you don’t realize is underway until it’s over and you look back at how far you’ve come, and in that, and in its melancholy psychedelia, it represents the record well.

The problem with burnout is you run the risk of missing something special. Again, I’m very glad I stopped and listened to this one. You might be as well:

baron torpor

BARON set release date for new SVART album, reveal first track

“As soon as you think you know, you’re done for. You don’t listen and you can’t hear. If you’re certain of anything, you shut the door on the possibility of revelation, of discovery.” – Alan Garner

Today, Svart Records sets October 23rd as the release date for Baron’s highly anticipated Torpor. Torpor, the new album from the British rock four-piece, is the latest in a long line of imaginative works hailing from the British Isles that seek to link place and mythology – the wind-beaten rural landscape and the stories of magic handed down through generations of tellers. In this way, it takes many of its cues from previous generations of musicians and artists: Alan Garner and Mervyn Peake, Derek Jarman and Kate Bush – all explorers at one time or another of the potent mix of history, folklore, and landscape that lie at the heart of these Isles. It is a testament, then, to the sheer quality of Torpor that in this daunting company Baron should not feel ashamed.

Baron’s previous album, Columns, proved that they were a band filled with talent and vision, but Torpor takes the project to a very different level. This is nothing less than a fully realised masterpiece, rich in the same early-dawn melancholy that so marked its predecessor, but stronger and more resilient, marked with tangled thickets of electric guitar and organ and presided over by Alex Crispin’s unmistakable baritone.

While Baron’s choice of instrumentation could be seen as being “traditional” (guitar, organ, drums, even a recorder at points), Torpor is far from being some kind of revivalist “psych” album. What hits you at first listen is not the instrumentation being used, but Baron’s skill in evoking mood and nuance. The touchstones are similar to the ones evoked on Columns – Talk Talk’s sense of enchantment and The Blue Nile’s bleary eyed melancholy;,the airy crescendos reminiscent of Traffic’s late-period masterpiece When The Eagle Flies – but these influences are invigorated by Baron’s confidence and firm grip on dynamics, their ability to leap from a tear-stained hush to a raging crescendo without the join ever being noticeable (witness “Stry,” one of two tracks featuring Wolf People’s Joe Hollick on guitar, for a demonstration of their sure-footed approach). Torpor works precisely because it knows when and where to abandon its restraint. That it can do so without ever compromising its overall mood is a testament to the maturity of the musicians involved and their total knowledge of the story they are trying to tell.

That parts of the album were surreptitiously (and not entirely legally) recorded at Purton Green, one of the last surviving medieval halls in the UK, makes a lot of sense in this context. It is precisely this mix of daring and tradition, of the lure of the landscape and the ability to reconfigure it in one’s own image, that marks Torpor out as an outstanding album, and which pinpoints Baron’s position as the latest addition to an imaginative lineage that stretches back as far as the language itself. Hear for yourself Baron’s unique brand of magick HERE with the Torpor track “Deeper Align.” Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Baron’s Torpor
1. Dragonfly
2. Mark Maker
3. Wild Cry
4. Dark Down
5. Stry
6. Sleepless
7. Deeper Align
8. Albedo Dei

https://www.facebook.com/Baronland
http://www.svartrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/svartrecords

Baron, “Deeper Align”

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Recommended Buried Treasure: Enos’ First Launch

Posted in Buried Treasure on March 13th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

It’s a pretty rare phenomenon, but every now and again somebody gets in touch who feels strongly enough about a release to send it to me even though they’re not affiliated with the band in question, not part of any record label or promotional effort or anything like that. Just a fan of a work who thinks I’d be better off hearing it enough that they’re willing to put their postage where their mouth is and actually send it. To that end, I offer thanks and kudos to Anthony Brown of Guildford in the UK who saw fit to shoot a copy of Enos‘ 2010 debut, Chapter 1, across an ocean on my behalf. Even before I went to the post office and picked it and the XII Boar demo he also sent up, it was an effort I appreciated.

I’ve had some past experience with Enos, and pleasant experience at that. The band played the pre-show at London’s Desertfest last year (review here) supporting 1000mods that I was fortunate enough to attend, and while there, I picked up a copy of their 2012 self-released outing, All too Human. The band, who are named for the first chimpanzee launched into orbit, also work with space-program themes on the five tracks of what would essentially be a demo if it didn’t sound so cohesive over the course of its 34 minutes. It’s not hard to pin a narrative arc to the five tracks, “Launch,” “In Space,” “Floating,” “Transform” and “Back to Earth,” so to coincide with the professionally crisp production, they seem to have started out with a firm grip on the concepts driving their creativity. All the better across the songs, really, since “Launch” embarks with a countdown of cymbal wash and explodes with a vibrant pulse into the riffing of Chris P. Rizzanski and Sean Cox, which emerges as the dominant force in a nonetheless well-balanced mix thickened by George “Bungle” Cobbold‘s bass.

Rizzanski also handles vocals in semi-melodic, echoing shouts that sit smoothly alongside a psychedelic impulse, though when “In Space” is at its most chaotic, following a brief acoustic stop when Sparky Rogers kicks back in on the drums and the guitars are going full-force, he seems to shift more into a throatier approach that in another context I’d probably attribute to a Neurosis influence. Even looking back after All too Human, Chapter 1 finds Enos refreshingly individual. Yeah, there are the post-Kyuss riffs and some of Rizzanski‘s delivery reminds of Orange Goblin‘s Ben Ward — an impression I got less from the subsequent outing — but if Enos are making anything clear on these tracks it”s that what they’re in the process of developing is theirs specifically, and as “Floating” lives up to its name with the transition into the more raucous “Transform,” the shortest song on Chapter 1 but a barn-burner at 4:26, the work they’re doing seems well worth undertaking, the two guitars showing some lead interplay in the bridge over the solid rhythmic foundation of the bass and drums.

As it was no doubt intended to do, the nine-minute closer “Back to Earth” provides a neat summary of the 2010 outing — which, if you’re looking for a marker of its era, you might find in the MySpace link included on the back liner of the jewel case — gradually building a psychedelic opening progression to an airy mid-paced push and forward to a grander, louder, larger apex that consciously answers the call of the first four cuts for resolution prior to its long fadeout. Knowing they’d put out All too Human two years later and build on the accomplishments here feels a bit like cheating, but does nothing to diminish enjoyment of Chapter 1 as it is. The band’s latest release is the 2013 live album The East Slope, which is sold-out on CD, but still available digitally through the Enos Bandcamp, and there are still a couple copies of Chapter 1 out there as well. I feel fortunate to have been given one and having sat with the album and gotten to know it better, am all the more able to understand why Brown felt so strongly about it in the first place. Thank you, sir.

Enos, Chapter 1 (2010)

Enos on Thee Facebooks

Enos on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Grey Widow, I

Posted in Radio on January 23rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

It’s entirely possible that UK four-piece Grey Widow‘s fucked-up barrage of monstrous tones and vicious screams will make you feel right at home. Seems like every time I post about a band who make a point of being abusively heavy, someone has to step up and say, “Well I don’t think they’re that abusively heavy.” If that’s you, then congratulations ahead of time on working on a different standard than the rest of the universe, because the way I see it, Grey Widow are maddeningly extreme in their approach, and whether it’s the slow oozing riffs of “I” — which I’d call the title-track of their self-released full-length debut, I, but for the fact that all the other songs follow suit in Roman numeral fashion — or unbridled snare-count-in black metal pummel of “IV,” they’re bound to be a test of sonic endurance which many listeners won’t pass. No doubt that’s the point. Weed ’em out quick and then kick the living shit out of the rest. Grey Widow seem to have a pretty solid idea of what they’re doing on these eight songs.

But for a few cleaner shouts on “II” or in the punkish second half of “VII,” vocals stick to growls and screams. Those aware that Grey Widow boasts former Dopefight guitarist Owen Carty (also members of The Ergon CarouselThread and Parole) won’t have to strain to hear some of that band’s sludgy take, but Grey Widow are a different entity almost entirely, darker in there atmospheres and more metallic in their brutality. There’s plenty of groove in “III,” in the chaos-build of “V,” and in the consuming end section that begins with “VI” and runs through “VIII” — comprising about 25 of the album’s total 56 minutes — but nothing so stoner on display here, nor does I want for it, its tidal tonality captured by Slabdragger guitarist Sam Thredder late in 2013 at The Cro’s Nest Studio. Rather, Grey Widow commence and carry through an assault of their own, easing the listener into their sundry terrors the way one imagines being tossed off a cliff as “easing.” The Roman numeral titles only make the album more obscure and hard to get a bearing on, but this also seems to be on purpose, the band’s focus not at all on meeting halfway or making overtures toward accessibility.

In the fertile UK heavy underground, Grey Widow‘s debut positions them well on the more extreme end of the scene, and while that will invariably alienate some who might attempt to take on I‘s violent cycle, no doubt just as many other heads will turn in their direction precisely because they’re so unyielding. Particularly as I approaches its finish in the last three tracks, coming to a grisly, excruciating culmination on “VIII,” Grey Widow‘s approach feels terrifyingly solid for being the band’s first time out, and they’ve set themselves up to affect any number of atrocities they might choose in the wake of the genre-spanning cruelties unleashed here. You wanna have the heaviest, most extreme taste in the room? Okay. Meet Grey Widow and prepare to be outclassed.

Listen to I now as part of the 24/7 streaming rotation on The Obelisk Radio and grab a sample of Grey Widow‘s disturbing wares via the player below, snagged from their Bandcamp page.

Grey Widow, I (2014)

Grey Widow on Thee Facebooks

Grey Widow on Bandcamp

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War Wolf, Crushing the Ways of the Old Tape Available for Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Tartarus Records, now in its second year with its 20th and 21st cassette releases coming, sends word of a forthcoming tape from Brighton, UK, punk grinders War Wolf. Crushing the Ways of the Old is available now for pre-order in a limited edition of 100 that I can’t imagine will last very long.

War Wolf boasts drummer Ant Cole and bassist Paul Hale, formerly of Dopefight, alongside guitarist/vocalist Oliver Heart of doomers Sea Bastard, and Crushing the Ways of the Old follows their split with Sob Story and their Riding with Demons demo, for which they toured earlier this year.

They’ve got a handle on some thickened hardcore punk, and they’re plenty pissed off as you can hear on “The Upper Hand” below. Dig it:

War Wolf cassette now available for preorder

TAR020 War Wolf – Crushing The Ways Of The Old

Finally the debut full-length album of War Wolf is upon us! This is the third release after their first EP ‘Riding With Demons’ and the split tape with Sob Story. Twelve tracks of pummelling Hardcore/Doom from Brighton, UK. Taking influence from the likes of Dystopia, Nihilist and Brainoil. Lyrically they express their hatred for Religion, Homophobia, Racism and Sexism.

This Cassette is a co-release of Tartarus Records and Dry Cough Records. (Vinyl version is being released by Tadpole Records, Atomsmasher Records and Headless Guru Records.)

Edition of 100 grey tapes
Comes with a War Wolf guitar pick!

http://tartarusrecords.com/album/crushing-the-ways-of-the-old

War Wolf, “The Upper Hand” from Crushing the Ways of the Old (2013)

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