THE OBELISK ALL-DAYER: Official Poster & Runtimes Revealed

Posted in The Obelisk Presents, Visual Evidence on June 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all-dayer poster skillit

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Gaze upon its countenance and realize just how fucking awesome this show is going to be.

Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn marks the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer, a one-of-a-kind celebration of things heavy, noisy, psychedelic, progressive, and weird. In addition to being the first New York appearances for French heavy psych mavens Mars Red Sky, Amsterdam-based motor-rockers Death Alley, West Coast riff-rollers Snail and bizarro Texas punks Funeral Horse, The Obelisk All-Dayer will feature food on-hand, full and recorded sets, limited-edition posters and other merch, and an afterparty with DJ Adzo (aka Adam Kriney of Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass) and Walter Roadburn (the man behind the internationally renowned Roadburn festival).

Today the official poster, which will be available at the Vitus Bar in a limited and one-time run of 50, has been revealed. Art is by Los Angeles-based designer Sean “Skillit” McEleny, who has worked with numerous acts across both coasts as well as the header for this site and perfectly captures the strange awe and wonder that the show is certain to elicit front-to-back.

Following the revelation earlier this month of the complete lineup, the set runtimes are now also available:

the obelisk all-dayer logo skillit-700

Mars Red Sky* 10:10-11:40
Death Alley* 8:50-9:50
Snail* 7:30-8:30
Kings Destroy 6:30-7:10
EYE 5:30-6:10
Funeral Horse* 4:30-5:10
King Buffalo 3:30-4:10
Heavy Temple 2:30-3:10
(Afterparty with DJ Adzo & Walter Roadburn* 12-2AM)
* Debut appearance in NYC

Set times are firm. The Obelisk All-Dayer is proud to be giving these bands enough time to flesh out their performances, as opposed to rushing one into the next in a festival. The intent is that the day will be a laid-back party more than a festival, from the start of Heavy Temple‘s cult-worthy riffing through the psych-blues bliss of King Buffalo, the possibly-cape-inclusive doings of Funeral HorseEYE‘s lush progressive rock, locals Kings Destroy‘s aggro noise push and the one-two-three punch of SnailDeath Alley and Mars Red Sky, none of whom has ever played New York before.

Get your tickets immediately.

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

The Obelisk All-Dayer event page

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The Obelisk Presents: La Otracina Farewell Show at The Acheron in Brooklyn, July 6

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

la-otracina-brooklyn-flyer

This week, respected Brooklyn venue The Acheron announced that as of next month, it would no longer be hosting shows. It’s a considerable blow to New York’s support system for all things heavy and metal, and from grind to doom and all in between, The Acheron has been a home for one of the most vital undergrounds in the US. Goes without saying that it will be much missed.

It’s been four years since frenetic psych rockers La Otracina toured Europe, and in the interim, members have gone on to found other projects, explore other creative facets. Murmurs of a La Otracina reunion started brewing a while ago, and they’ve done a couple shows over the last few months, but even apart from The Acheron closing, it’s bittersweet to have La Otracina‘s July 6 show, with The Company Corvette and Fox 45 supporting, as one for The Obelisk Presents, because it’s also going to be the official goodbye for the band.

Just days before the venue shuts down, La Otracina will call it quits on one of Brooklyn’s most venerable stages. It’s an ending worthy of the creative breadth La Otracina showed over their prolific career, which is fodder for cult worship if ever there was.

Below, spearhead Adam Kriney talks about the show and what led to his decision to bring the band to an end. Ticket and other links at the bottom of the post.

Adam Kriney on La Otracina’s farewell:

It is with great pride, a clear head and resolved heart that I announce the final LA OTRACINA performance and the true end of the artistic entity known as such. Started many moons ago in 2003, when I had just moved to Brooklyn, the band was my outlet to explore the outer reaches of experimental, progressive, improvised and psychedelic musical worlds, merging them into a unique voice that reflected my interests, abilities, and the contributing talent of who I was playing with at the time.

Over the years, the lineups would change, vibe would change, intentions would change, and generally speaking the group became a pure extension of both my artistic discoveries and creative wants, and I was forever on a search for those who wanted to chart unknown territories with me… and I found many, both willing and resistant, to leap off of the abyss with me, to quite a mixed effect!

So here we are, 13 frenetic, chaotic, and shoulder-shrugging years later, and after about 20 releases (from CD-Rs and splits/comps to 12” EPs and double-albums), and approximately 300 concerts across the US and two European tours (the final one being the massive 46-date/18-country 2012 EU Tour), I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing more to say artistically under this group name. The sordid, bizarre, schizophrenic, multi-genre, juggernaut of LA OTRACINA no longer holds any interest for me to pursue, and is filled with enough emotional baggage and unrequited output/dedication to fill a 747!

Of course since the initial hiatus in 2012, I got extremely involved with the creation of THE GOLDEN GRASS where the majority of my time/energy now resides, to which things are going quite well and joyous! Current (as well as past) guitarist Philippe Ortanez has also been busy with his groups POLYGAMYST and VIMANA which are both worth your investigation. It’s been a wild ride, and the discography speaks for itself… but alas, July 6 2016, shall be the last cosmic dance of the Otra-sonic Spaceship!

Also performing at The Acheron gig will be Rochester, NY heavy doom rock quartet Fox 45 and Philadelphia, PA, psychedelic doom trio The Company Corvette! It’s sure to be a heavy pulsing night from some top notch northeast US bands!

Facebook event page

La Otracina on Thee Facebooks

Ticket purchase

The Acheron website

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DEATH ALLEY Confirmed for The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all-dayer

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With the addition of Amsterdam’s Death Alley, the bill for the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer is complete. Show is Saturday, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. The complete lineup is as follows:

THE OBELISK ALL-DAYER:
Mars Red Sky*
Death Alley*
Snail*
Kings Destroy
EYE
Funeral Horse*
King Buffalo
Heavy Temple
* first East Coast appearance.

Death Alley

death alley
Motor-driven Netherlands heavy rockers Death Alley tore their way into the consciousness with their 2015 debut album, Black Magick Boogieland (review here), on Tee Pee Records. An offering that set itself a seemingly impossible task with its title and then managed to live up to it, the record pulled together straightforward, classic-style brashness and offered an edge of spaced-out expanse that worked in a scope few groups would dare attempt, especially their first time out.

With members of Gewapend BetonThe Devil’s Blood and Mühr in the lineup, they’re not exactly inexperienced, but the energy they brought to Black Magick Boogieland and the energy they bring to the stage is fresh and righteously their own. I was fortunate enough to see them at Roadburn in 2014 (review here) and again twice this year (reviews here and here), and the progress they’ve made in that time was evident both in their sound and in the crowd they drew to watch them play. A group that obviously enjoys what they do on stage and wants you to do the same, they’ll bring vitality and push to The Obelisk All-Dayer in a way that no one else could, and maybe get a little weirdo jammy in the process. Awesome.

The Afterparty

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh an afterparty. La-di-da. Let’s all do blow and talk about Reaganomics.” Not quite what I’m going for. The show itself will run from 2:30PM until about midnight. Today I’m thrilled to announce that at 12AM, two DJs will be taking over: DJ Adzo and Walter Roadburn.

I don’t think either needs much of an introduction. Walter is of course the creative force behind the aforementioned Roadburn festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands. DJ Adzo is also known as Adam from Brooklyn’s own The Golden Grass and La Otracina. Both are excellent human beings and I’m humbled they’re willing to be involved in The Obelisk All-Dayer.

From 12AM to 2AM, they’ll be spinning whatever the hell they want — classics, new stuff, stuff you know, stuff you don’t — and I feel completely comfortable trusting the taste of both of them and can’t wait to hear what they put on. After Mars Red Sky‘s headlining set, there’s still plenty of party left, and I hope you’ll stick around for it.

The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. Official poster and set times coming soon.

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

The Obelisk All-Dayer event page

Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Temple on Thee Facebooks

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KINGS DESTROY and HEAVY TEMPLE Confirmed for The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on May 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all-dayer

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The first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer is set for Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY. So far the announced lineup includes Mars Red Sky for their first East Coast appearance, Snail for their first East Coast appearance, Ohio’s EYE supporting their new album, Funeral Horse for their first East Coast appearance and King Buffalo, who’ll be playing the last night of their release tour.

I’m proud and thrilled today to add Kings Destroy and Heavy Temple to the bill.

I can’t say enough about what each of these bands brings to the show, and I couldn’t be more stoked to have them involved. One thing I’ve been trying to do all along is build a genuine flow to the day that I think will make sense as one set leads to the next. It’ll make sense once the full running order is posted, but for the time being, let me just say that both these bands hold a special place in the lineup.

Here’s more on each:

Kings Destroy

kings destroy
There isn’t a band today I feel closer to than Brooklyn’s Kings Destroy. If you read this site at all, you probably already know that. I’ve been a nerd for these cats since their first 7″ and I’m fortunate today to consider them as friends and the bottom line is there’s just no way in hell I’d put on this show and not have them involved. They were out on tour earlier this year with Black Cobra, Lo-Pan and Bongzilla supporting their 2015 self-titled third album, for which they’ve already started writing the follow-up. They have a new 15-minute song that last I heard was about half done and they don’t know it yet, but I’m calling them out to play it at this show. The gauntlet is thrown down, gentlemen.

Heavy Temple

heavy temple
Oh my god, the new Heavy Temple is so good. Don’t get me wrong, I knew before I heard it that I wanted them on this bill — I’ve known it since Vultures of Volume last year, but the Philly trio have a new EP in the can and it’s absolutely stellar. They’ll open the show hopefully playing tracks from it and I expect by the time August comes around, there will be some official announcement as to the release, but even if you don’t know it yet, you’re in for a treat as they kick things off at The Obelisk All-Dayer. I shouldn’t have to tell you to get there early — looking like a 2:30PM start — but I will anyway, just to reinforce the importance of the issue. Get there early.

The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food truck on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. One more band to be announced in June, along with DJs and the running order.

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

The Obelisk All-Dayer event page

Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Temple on Thee Facebooks

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Mountain God Sign to Artificial Head; Debut Album in 2017

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last we heard from destructive New York heftmongers Mountain God, the Brooklyn three-piece were unveiling their 2015 single-song EP, Forest of the Lost. The trio have been keeping plenty busy, it would seem, as they’ve now been announced as signing to Artificial Head for the release of what will be their debut full-length after the EP and the prior 2013 demo, Experimentation on the Unwilling (review here). They’ll record in August, reportedly, and the album has been given a tentative release date of Feb. 2017 from Artificial Head, the dead of winter seeming appropriate for the disaffected malevolence in which Mountain God revel.

Vinyl will be limited to 400 copies. Expect more to come in the months ahead regarding preorders, titles, artwork, tour dates and all that other happy this-and-that that goes into releasing records these days. I’m very much looking forward to hearing what they come up with for this album. Keep your fingers crossed for creepiness:

mountain god

ARTIFICIAL HEAD RECORDS WELCOMES MOUNTAIN GOD!!!

New York stoner sludge metal band Mountain God have signed with Artificial Head Records for their debut vinyl release!

Formed in 2012, the band has taken their time to unleash two releases of their sound: 2013’s “Experimentation on the Unwilling” and 2015’s “Forest of the Lost”. Both releases have rightfully earned the band its solid reputation for creating a unique style of dark, heavy psychedelic music.

Mountain God is fronted by Ben Ianuzzi (guitar, vocals) along with and Ryan Smith (drums) and Nikhil Kamineni (bass, synths).

Details on the new album are being held close to the vest — but we can reveal that:
• Album is slated to be released in February 2017
• Vinyl only release of 400 copies
• Bonus lathe cut 7” to be included with initial orders
• Exclusive artwork to be created by New York artist, Max Kahan (maxkahan.com)

Recording for the new album will be completed this August with news on touring and more this Fall.

http://artinstitute.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MountainGodBand
http://mountain-god.bandcamp.com/

Mountain God, Forest of the Lost (2015)

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The Golden Grass, Coming Back Again: Shine a Little Light

Posted in Reviews on April 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-golden-grass-coming-back-again

It’s much to The Golden Grass‘ credit that their second album, Coming Back Again, retains the ‘g’ at the end of the word “coming.” The Brooklynite trio seem to have a sense of just where the line is that would put them over-the-top, beyond belief, and they walk that line carefully throughout their sophomore long-player and Listenable Records debut as they did on their 2014 self-titled first outing (review here), released on Svart. That record’s primary contribution came via its overarching positivity — its material dared to be sweet, melodic, graceful, friendly and warm in a climate that reads authenticity mostly via the miserable, even as regards underground heavy music. The Golden Grass‘ boogie worked in direct opposition to that, and much to their credit at their beginning, they had the songwriting to back up their stylization. Fortunately, that remains true on Coming Back Again.

The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Michael Rafalowich, drummer/vocalist Adam Kriney and newcomer bassist/vocalist Frank Caira present six tracks/38 minutes conveniently split across two sides, tracked by Jeff Berner at Galuminum Foil Productions, and geared to be as friendly, welcoming and accessible as possible, while also retaining a sense of heft to the tones and rhythmic push — if you want people to dance, give them a shove — and exploring a newfound progressive flourish in the instrumental chemistry that marks a clear, mindful step forward from the debut two years ago. That answers a big question coming into the album, since it was plain from the effort the band put into their presentation that they had no intention of standing still creatively, but it was up in the air how that progression would manifest. It’s manifested as progress. Go figure.

Crucially, as Coming Back Again moves The Golden Grass‘ sound ahead from where it was, that doesn’t come at the expense of the feelgood atmosphere or the melodic richness overall. If anything, even as the emotional context broadens with some more wistful lyrics, it deepens both the atmosphere and level of performance, as opener “Get it Together” (video premiere here) launches with an immediate rhythmic movement leading to a call and response verse from Rafalowich and Kriney, whose harmonies have only become more engaging. Psychedelic lead guitar in a quick break prefaces jams to come, but the band is looking to start out with earthier fare, and the boogie is as strong as the hook in “Get it Together.” It’s not until the break after about four minutes in that the guitar and drums begin to signal some of the sonic shift Coming Back Again will really present, building to a psych-prog swirl atop Caira‘s rock-solid bassline before Rafalowich‘s dream-tone lead takes hold, shifting back to ground in a tambourine-inclusive gallop that finishes the song. That’s a lot of ground to cover in about two minutes’ time, but The Golden Grass masterfully guide “Get it Together” to a sunshiny melodic finish and the tones fade just in time to let the jazzier “Reflections in the Glass” take hold with a smooth entrance.

the golden grass

Caira shines in the transition between verses, along with some keys and interwoven layers of acoustic and electric guitar — the band once again making complex ideas sound simple — and Rafalowich and Kriney execute a thoughtful vocal arrangement to add to the lushness, both easing back for a more gentle delivery than the harder rocking “Get it Together,” but still finding resolution in the last moments of “Reflections in the Glass,” guitar, bass and drums rounding out deceptively complex turns that meet head on with the launch of side A finale, “Shadow Traveler,” more immediately psychedelic. As one of two cuts on Coming Back Again over eight minutes, one might expect full-on prog exploration, but at least in its early going, “Shadow Traveler” is some of the rawest boogie here on offer, Rafalowich calling out both himself and Kriney in the lyrics — “Hey now here comes Adzo/He gonna show you how to swing” — and so he does, in one of the album’s most resonant choruses and subsequent grooves.

Much of the second half of the song is given to an extended psych jam, Rafalowich and Kriney trading lines back and forth referencing other songs on the album — “Get it Together,” “Reflections in the Glass,” the forthcoming “Down the Line” and closer “See it Through” — in a manner classic and brilliant in how it positions the first-time listener with an immediate familiarity with what they’ve just heard. After a finishing wash and crash, side B begins with the interlude “Hazy Daybreak”; two and a half-minutes interplay between far-back airy electric and progressive acoustic guitar, quiet drums, finger snaps, shaker, etc., that, sadly, doesn’t meet with any vocal harmonies on its brief path. I would not be surprised if next time, i.e., on the next album, the case turns out to be different, but if The Golden Grass are telegraphing future experimentation, they’re no less clearheaded about it than they are with their more established movements on Coming Back Again, such as the building tension of the opening to “Down the Line,” which becomes a defining piece for the album in more than just its 9:45 runtime, an early chug and vocal harmonies giving due sense of motion to the chorus “Going down the line.”

After the initial Kriney-led verses, Rafalowich takes the fore through a section past three and a half minutes in that is the departure point for an extended jam careening through psychedelic lead work and rumbling into quiet bass, drums and sparse guitar noise as it moves into the song’s midsection — the foundation of a subdued dream-prog sequence that moves back to reality via Kriney‘s toms and eventually, skillfully, brings back the verse and chorus to close out with emphasis on the control that was never lost. That makes closer “See it Through” something of a victory lap, though a subtly moodier take in the lyrics — plus another noteworthy performance from Caira — also serve as distinguishing factors. And they find room for a boogie jam as well, pushing toward the last hook with handclaps, interspliced layers of fuzz and bass, cowbell, snare and so on as they execute one final round of deceptively tight rhythmic turns while sounding like they’re smiling all the while. The push ends with a “woo!” and that’s about all that needs to be said.

As much as it affirms what The Golden Grass accomplished their first time out, Coming Back Again also leaves that record behind in terms of its ambition and the chemistry in development between RafalowichKriney and Caira, who by no means sounds as new to the band in these tracks as he was when they were recorded. With a grander scope that still sounds definitively natural, The Golden Grass strike a rare balance between accessibility and progressive drive in cuts like “Shadow Traveler,” “Reflections in the Glass” and “See it Through” that, along with “Hazy Daybreak,” set a context for future growth while giving their audience songs that, in the present, are worth returning to the way one enjoys visiting good friends. They’re working toward forward movement sonically, but The Golden Grass remain a band with a deeply individual take on heavy rock, and there’s nothing else out there quite like them.

The Golden Grass, Coming Back Again (2016)

The Golden Grass on Thee Facebooks

The Golden Grass on Bandcamp

The Golden Grass at Listenable Records

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EYE Confirmed for The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on April 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all-dayer

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Today I’m ridiculously pleased to announce that lush progressive heavy psych rockers EYE will play the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer on Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY.

By the time Aug. 20 gets here, EYE will have very likely issued Vision and the Ageless Light, their third full-length and first for The Laser’s Edge. The album arrives following a grueling three-year wait since EYE‘s last release, 2013’s Second Sight (review here), and features new guitarist Jon Finley and new bassist Michael Sliclen alongside founders Lisa Bella Donna (synth) and Brandon Smith (drums), embarking on an expansion of the melodically resonant poise they showed last time out and on their 2011 debut, Center of the Sun (review here).

I’ve been fortunate enough to see EYE live, and their flowing, patient, heavy and thoughtful material is a perfect fit for The Obelisk All-Dayer. If you haven’t been introduced, their latest outing was 2014’s Live at Relay (review here), which brought together two eyemassive, 19-minute cosmic explorations captured, as the title indicates, completely on the move. The textures they’re able to create on those songs push through atmospheric boundaries to create something as spaced-out as it is plotted, and EYE steer their ship with a rare grace as they move further and further away from terra firma.

Bella Donna had this to say about playing: “We are equally excited to rip some music as well as listen during the festival. We are very big fans of The Obelisk and our full intention is to celebrate that energy and the momentum that JJ has already elevated. We have a lot of new sounds and vibes flowing in our music, so we’re excited to bring them to the already great host of music we’ll get the opportunity to listen and party to.”

EYE join the previously announced Mars Red SkySnailKing Buffalo and Funeral Horse on the bill for The Obelisk All-Dayer. Tickets are available now. Three more bands still TBA.

The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food truck on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. Stay tuned for announcements to follow.

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

The Obelisk All-Dayer event page

EYE on Thee Facebooks

EYE on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Chron Goblin, Slabdragger, Jupiter, Izo, Cultist, Haoma, Spaceslug, Slush, Menimals, The Linus Pauling Quartet

Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

Thus ends another successful Quarterly Review. And by successful I mean I survived. There were a few minutes there when I actually thought about spreading this out to six days, doing another batch of 10 on Monday, but then what happens? Then it’s seven days, then eight, then nine, and before I know it I’m just doing 10 reviews every day and it’s more of a daily review than a quarterly one. Next week we’ll get back to whatever passes for normality around this place, and at the end of June, I’ll have another batch to roll with. Maybe the beginning of July, depending on time. In any case, thank you for reading this week. I hope you’ve found something in all this that you’ve dug, and that this final round offers something else that resonates.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Chron Goblin, Backwater

chron goblin backwater

Calgary party rockers Chron Goblin pay homage to Seattle with a song named after the city on their third album, Backwater (on Ripple Music), but they continue to have way more in common with Portland, Oregon. The follow-up to 2013’s Life for the Living (review here) pushes into psychedelic groove early in its title-track and gets bluesy for most of the subsequent “The Wailing Sound,” but it seems even that song can’t resist the urge to throw down and have a good time by the end, and cuts like “Give Way,” the galloping opener “Fuller” and the requisite “Hard Living” reaffirm the band’s commitment to heavy riffs and positive vibes. The stylistic elephant in the room continues to be Red Fang, but as they’ve done all along, Chron Goblin work in shades of other influences in heavy rock – if they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d call it Roadsaw – and put a stamp of their own on the style.

Chron Goblin on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music

 

Slabdragger, Rise of the Dawncrusher

slabdragger rise of the dawncrusher

“Mercenary Blues” is near-immediate in telegraphing the level of heft Slabdragger will emit across their second album, Rise of the Dawncrusher, which tops an hour in five tracks (one of them four minutes long) and shifts between clean vocals, screams and growls from bassist/vocalist Yusuf Tary and guitarist/vocalist Sam Thredder as drummer Jack Newham holds together tempo shifts no less drastic. The shorter cut, “Evacuate!,” is an extreme take on heavy rock, but as Slabdragger move through the extended “Shrine of Debauchery” (12:23), “Dawncrusher Rising” (15:16) and “Implosion Rites” (17:20), their methods prove varied enough so that their material is more than just an onslaught of thickened distortion. I wouldn’t call it progressive exactly, but neither is it lunkheaded in its intention or execution, as the chanted melodies buried deep in “Shrine of Debauchery”’s lumber, derived perhaps in part from Conan and Sleep but beholden to neither so much as its own righteous purposes.

Slabdragger on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records

 

Jupiter, Interstellar Chronodive

jupiter interstellar chronodive

Finnish heavy psychedelic rockers Jupiter take a decidedly naturalist position when it comes to their style. Yeah, there are some effects on the guitars throughout Interstellar Chronidive, the trio’s second album behind 2014’s Your Eccentric State of Mind, but it’s more about what the three players can accomplish with dynamic tempo and mood changes than it is creating a wash, and that gives songs like “Stonetrooper” and “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” a classic feel despite a decidedly modern production. “Premonitions” provides raucous fuzz worthy of any next-gen stoners you want to name, and the 14-minute “In Flux” answers its own initial thrust with and expansive, liquefied jam that’s all the more emblematic of the organic core to their approach, Hendrix-derived but not Hendrix-emulating. Bright guitar tone, rich bass and swinging drums aren’t necessarily unfamiliar elements, but the touches of space rock narration on “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” and the consuming nod of closer “Vantage Point” assure there’s no shortage of personality to go around.

Jupiter on Thee Facebooks

Jupiter on Bandcamp

 

Izo, Izo

izo izo

Also stylized as IZ? with a long accent over the ‘o,’ Izo is the self-titled debut from Italian double-guitar instrumental four-piece Izo, who bookend four flowing and densely weighted progressions with an intro and outro to add to the atmospheric breadth. Rather than choose between heaviness or ambience, Izo – guitarists Paolo Barone and Maurizio Calò, bassist Francesco de Pascali and drummer Luca Greco – play both into each other so that a song like “Hikkomori” is as engaging in its heft as it is hypnotic. That might be easier to do without vocals, but it’s essential to Izo’s approach, and something that, for their debut, sets up future expansion of post-metal and psychedelic elements. I’m not sure if there’s a theme or narrative for the album, but consistent use of Japanese language and imagery ties the material together all the same, and Izo emerge from their first album having shown a clearheadedness of purpose that can only continue to serve them well.

Izo on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records

 

Cultist, Three Candles

cultist three candles

Cultist made their introductory statement in the early hours of 2016 with Three Candles, a five-song EP from the social media-averse Cleveland, Ohio, trio featuring members of Skeletonwitch, Mockingbird and Howl. In the wall of fuzz they construct, the swing injected into their rhythms and the use of multiple vocalists, there’s a strong undercurrent of Uncle Acid to “Path of the Old One,” but “Consuming Damnation” distinguishes itself with a more aggressive take, rawer in its melodies, and the creeping closer “Eternal Dark” is up to something entirely more doomed. How this balance will play out with the more familiar riff-patterning in “Follow Me” is the central question, but for their first tracks to be made public, Cultist’s Three Candles offers fullness of sound and the realization of an aesthetic purpose. Yes, there’s room to grow, but they already have a better handle on what they want to do than a lot of bands, so it should be interesting to keep up.

Cultist on Instagram

Cultist on Bandcamp

 

Haoma, Eternal Stash

haoma eternal stash

Ultra-thick, ultra-dank, Haoma is the work of Swedish duo R (bass/vocals) and S (drums), and the three-tracker Eternal Stash is their second self-released EP. The offering takes its title from the opener and longest track (immediate points), and wastes no time with subtlety in getting down on molten Cisneros-style stoner-doom grooves. Sleep meets Om isn’t a huge divide to cross, but there’s a blown-out sensibility to the vocals as well that speaks to some element of Electric Wizard at play, and the overarching roughness suits Haoma’s tonal crunch well. Even when they break to wah bass in the second half of “Eternal Stash” to set up the ensuing jam, this underlying harshness remains, and “Unearthly Creatures” and “Orbital Flight” build on that, the latter with a march that feels more decidedly individual even if constructed on familiar ground. Heavy, raw, unpretentious celebration of groove is almost always welcome by me, and so Haoma’s Eternal Stash is likewise.

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Haoma on Bandcamp

 

Spaceslug, Lemanis

spaceslug lemanis

Another boon to Poland’s emerging heavy rock scene, Wroclaw’s Spaceslug slime their way out of the ground with their debut long-player, Lemanis, a seven-cut paean to weighted tone and laid back roll. Vocally, the trio seem to take a cue from the Netherlands’ Sungrazer, but their riffs are far more dense and while the penultimate interlude “Quintessence” and the earlier “Galectelion” demonstrate a sense of spaciousness, the context in which that arrives is much more weighted and, particularly in the second half of “Supermassive,” feels culled from the Sleep school of Iommic idolatry. No complaints. The record clocks in at 43 minutes all told and in no way overstays its welcome, rounding out with the nine-minute title-track, an instrumental that’s probably not improvised but comes across as exploratory all the same. The CD version is out through BSFD Records, but don’t be surprised when someone picks it up for a vinyl issue, as both the front-to-back flow and the artwork seem to be made for it.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

 

Slush, American Demons

slushies american demons

An element of twang that seems present even in the most uproarious moments of SlushAmerican Demons tape comes to the fore with the brief “Leshy,” a quick, fleetly-strummed bit of slide guitar the follows highlight cut “Bathysphere” and precedes “Death Valley,” both of which bask full-on in the garage shake, proto-punk vibe and anything goes swagger the Brooklynite trio have on offer throughout their third EP. That countrified twist plays well alongside the drawling skate rock of “In the Flesh,” which seems to take on some of The Shrine’s West Coast skate vibes with a twist of New York fuckall, and the quick crotchal thrust off “Silk Road,” which serves as Slush’ most purely punkish moment. “Death Valley” closes out with a tale of drugs and the desert, the vocals somewhere between Misfits and early Nick Cave, drenched in attitude and accompanied by fuzz that seems to be likewise. Bonus points for the silver tape and copious included art and info.

Slushies on Bandcamp

Lean on Bandcamp

 

Menimals, Menimals

menimals menimals

Strange spirits are afoot throughout MenimalsMenimals, the maybe-debut from the Italian troupe who engage wantonly in the proliferation of post-Mike Patton creepy darkjazz across five cuts of sparse, spacious weirdness. Issued through Phonosphera/Riot Season, it’s a work of high atmospheric density but ultimately more about mood than sonic impact, evoking complex shapes – dodecahedrons, tetrahedrons, octahedrons – as a mirror for its own quizzical mission. The kind of record that those who don’t spend time trying to figure it out are going to have more fun with, it makes its most effective impression on “Transitioning from a Cube to the Octahedron” on side B, evoking minimalist drone rock atmospheres as whispered vocals tie it to the rest of Menimals’ bizarre vibe. That’s not to take away from the noisy finish of closer “Bird on the Wind as a Hinge,” which follows, just to note that Menimals manage to somehow find balance in all the subdued seething and resonant experimentalism.

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Riot Season Records

Phonosphera Records

 

The Linus Pauling Quartet, Ampalanche

the-linus-pauling-quartet-ampalanche

By way of a confession, I wanted to end this batch of 50 reviews with something I knew I dug, and that distinction goes to Houston rockers Linus Pauling Quartet, whose latest full-length, Ampalanche, is released via the label wing of Italian ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum. An album that offers some of the most pretense-free rock flute I’ve ever heard on “Slave to the Die,” it’s a down-home weirdo rocker that might, at a moment’s notice, plunge full-on into psychedelia in “Sometimes” or, say, include a 49-minute echoing space-drone “Vi, de Druknede (We, the Drowned)” as a download-only bonus track, and the fact that Linus Pauling Quartet can always be relied on for something different but consistent in charm and the quality of songwriting is not to be taken for granted, whether it’s the Midwestern noise rock of “Brisket” or the fuzzy roll of dreamy album-closer “Alive.” Yeah, I was doing myself a favor by finishing with Ampalanche. I have absolutely zero regrets. Linus Pauling Quartet continue to be woefully underappreciated.

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Vincebus Eruptum webstore

 

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