Mondo Generator Premiere “When Death Comes”; As Good as it Gets (Fuck It) out Feb. 14

Posted in audiObelisk on October 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

mondo generator

Nothing says ‘love’ like a little Mondo Generator on Valentine’s Day. The Nick Oliveri-fronted bringers of desert chaos — with Mike Amster (Nebula, Abrams) on drums and Mike Pygmie (You Know Who, John Garcia and the Band of Gold) on guitar — will release their new album, As Good as it Gets (Fuck It), through Heavy Psych Sounds on Feb. 14, just as they’re digging into the midst of a massive European tour. The announcement of the concurrent release date wasn’t unexpected, but is certainly welcome just the same, as is the opening of preorders which by astounding coincidence also starts today for the record. Sometimes these things just work out.

As one would dare to hope, OliveriPygmie and Amster conjure due madness with “When Death Comes,” the first audio to make its way to the public from As Good as it Gets (Fuck It), and in well under three minutes’ time, theymondo generator as good as it gets fuck it reconfirm the sense of punk rock danger that’s been at heart in Mondo Generator since their debut, Cocaine Rodeo, in 2000, and in Oliveri‘s work even before that in Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss. As that first full-length turns 20, it’s only fair that Mondo Generator should remain so unpredictable, and while “When Death Comes” might find Oliveri tempering his trademark vicious scream to a degree, there’s simply no telling at this point what the rest of As Good as it Gets (Fuck It) might hold in nodule-inducing abrasion.

Or, you know, not. Again, you can never really be sure what’s coming.

Obviously I haven’t heard the entirety of As Good as it Gets (Fuck It) yet, or I suppose I would, but it’s early days yet with preorders just launched and the artwork newly posted and all that kind of stuff. Plenty of time for these things as we get closer to next Feb. 14, but of course if you’re the type who likes to get your roses in advance, this would be an entirely different kind of gift to consider.

Enjoy “When Death Comes” below:

When Death Comes is the first single taken from the brand new Mondo Generator album As Good As It Gets (Fuck It).

The band is coming back after 8 years with a new line up: Nick Oliveri (ex Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age), Mike Pygmie and Mike Amster. The album will see the light February 14th via Heavy Psych Sounds.

The pre-order for this album (as well as a “lost” record from 2010 as well as the new Nick Oliveri N.O Hits At All Vol. 666) start today:
www.heavypsychsounds.com

The band will be also touring Europe during February and March 2020, including HPS Fests in Paris, Antwerp, London and Deventer.

*** MONDO GENERATOR EUROPEAN TOUR 2020 ***
05.02.2020 IT Roma-Traffic
06.02.2020 IT Pescara-Scumm
07.02.2020 IT North East Tba
08.02.2020 CH Winterthur-Gaswerk
13.02.2020 IT Ravenna-Bronson
14.02.2020 IT Cagliari-La Cueva Rock
15.02.2020 IT Parma-Splinter
16.02.2020 IT Cecina-Spazio Live Ritmi
17.02.2020 IT Torino-Blah Blah
18.02.2020 IT Erba-Centrale Rock
19.02.2020 FR Chambery-Le Brin Du Zinc
20.02.2020 CH Olten-Coq D’Or
21.02.2020 DE Siegen-Vortex
22.02.2020 DE Oldenburg-MTS Record Shop
23.02.2020 DE Hamburg-tba
24.02.2020 DE Berlin-Zukunft**
25.02.2020 DE Dresden-Chemiefabrik**
26.02.2020 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
27.02.2020 AT Innsbruck-PMK
28.02.2020 IT Bozen-Pippo Stage
29.02.2020 DE Wiesbaden-Kreativefabrik
01.03.2020 DE Karlsrhue-Jubez
02.03.2020 DE Augsburg
03.03.2020 LU Luxembourg-tba
04.03.2020 FR Nantes-Le Ferraieur
05.03.2020 FR Paris-Glazart “Heavy Psych Sounds Fest”
06.03.2020 BE Antwerp-Trix “Heavy Psych Sounds Fest”
07.03.2020 UK London-Underworld “Heavy Psych Sounds Fest”
08.03.2020 NL Deventer-Burgerweeshuis “Heavy Psych Sounds Fest”
09.03.2020 UK Nottingham-Albert’s*
10.03.2020 UK Bristol-Exchange *
11.03.2020 UK Manchester-Star&Garter*
12.03.2020 UK Glasgow-Nice n’ Sleazy*
13.03.2020 BE Diksmuide-Music Club 4AD
14.03.2020 NL Rotterdam-Baroeg
w/t ALUNAH*
w/t DUEL**

All tickets available soon via www.heavypsychsounds.com

MONDO GENERATOR ARE:
NICK OLIVERI – bass + vocals
MIKE PYGMIE – guitars
MICHAEL AMSTER – drums

Mondo Generator on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

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Mondo Generator and Nick Oliveri Announce New Releases on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

So it’s multi-pronged Nick Oliveri news from Heavy Psych Sounds. All album-related. First and foremost, a new Mondo Generator album. That’s cool. New lineup, same Nick. I’d expect it to be totally off the rails and you should too. Dude has a whole career demonstrating his love of screamy punk, so no reason to think that’s abated. Cool beans, daddy-o.

Second, a lost Mondo Generator album from 2010. Wondering why it’s been lost. His whole SWAT-standoff was 2011, so that timing doesn’t really fit. Maybe we’ll find out, maybe not, but right on either way. That might be even rawer than the new record.

Third, a new installment of the apparently ongoing series of N.O. Hits at All compilation releases that Heavy Psych Sounds has been doing over the last couple years. What on earth could be left? I’m sure plenty.

And if you’re wondering as to the timing on any of this, Mondo Generator are rolling out on a massive European tour next February, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think something will show up around then, though we won’t find out for sure until next week when the presales go up.

Till then, the PR wire:

mondo generator

Heavy Psych Sounds to announce a band signing: MONDO GENERATOR – coming back with a brand new album !!!

We are so stoked to welcome in our roster one of the most crazy bands in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen please welcome MONDO GENERATOR !!!

The band is coming back with a new line up: Nick Oliveri (ex Kyuss, QOTSA), Mike Pygmie and Mike Amster will release a brand new album after 8 years via Heavy Psych Sounds.

An “unreleased” album, lost in 2010 will also be released in 2020, last but not least the new Nick Oliveri N.O Hits At All Vol. 666 will also see the light next year !!!

PRESALE FOR ALL 3 ALBUMS STARTS: OCTOBER 17th

The band will be also touring Europe during February and March 2020, including HPS Fests in Paris, Antwerp, London and Deventer.

*** MONDO GENERATOR EUROPEAN TOUR 2020 ***
05.02.2020 IT Roma-Traffic
06.02.2020 IT Pescara-Scumm
07.02.2020 IT North East Tba
08.02.2020 CH Winterthur-Gaswerk
13.02.2020 IT Ravenna-Bronson
14.02.2020 IT Cagliari-La Cueva Rock
15.02.2020 IT Parma-Splinter
16.02.2020 IT Cecina-Spazio Live Ritmi
17.02.2020 IT Torino-Blah Blah
18.02.2020 IT Erba-Centrale Rock
19.02.2020 FR Chambery-Le Brin Du Zinc
20.02.2020 CH Olten-Coq D’Or
21.02.2020 DE Siegen-Vortex
22.02.2020 DE Oldenburg-MTS Record Shop
23.02.2020 DE Hamburg-tba
24.02.2020 DE Berlin-Zukunft**
25.02.2020 DE Dresden-Chemiefabrik**
26.02.2020 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
27.02.2020 AT Innsbruck-PMK
28.02.2020 IT Bozen-Pippo Stage
29.02.2020 DE Wiesbaden-Kreativefabrik
01.03.2020 DE Karlsrhue-Jubez
02.03.2020 DE Augsburg
03.03.2020 LU Luxembourg-tba
04.03.2020 FR Nantes-Le Ferraieur
05.03.2020 FR Paris-Glazart “Heavy Psych Sounds Fest”
06.03.2020 BE Antwerp-Trix “Heavy Psych Sounds Fest”
07.03.2020 UK London-Underworld “Heavy Psych Sounds Fest”
08.03.2020 NL Deventer-Burgerweeshuis “Heavy Psych Sounds Fest”
09.03.2020 UK Nottingham-Albert’s*
10.03.2020 UK Bristol-Exchange *
11.03.2020 UK Manchester-Star&Garter*
12.03.2020 UK Glasgow-Nice n’ Sleazy*
13.03.2020 BE Diksmuide-Music Club 4AD
14.03.2020 NL Rotterdam-Baroeg
w/t ALUNAH*
w/t DUEL**

All tickets available soon via www.heavypsychsounds.com

MONDO GENERATOR ARE:
NICK OLIVERI – bass + vocals
MIKE PYGMIE – guitars
MICHAEL AMSTER – drums

https://www.facebook.com/officialmondogenerator/
heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

Nick Oliveri, N.O. Hits at All Vol. 5 (2018)

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Mondo Drag Announce West Coast Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

mondo drag

Hey, remember back in August when Mondo Drag said they were working on their fourth album and the follow-up to 2016’s The Occultation of Light (review here)? Yeah, that was pretty sweet. I was into it. They were playing a show then too, and it seems that the return to live activity will continue throughout this Fall as they make their way inevitably toward a 2020 recording/hopeful release of that new record. Perhaps the tour will allow them to road-test some new songs? I don’t know how they’d want to do it, but they’re playing with Witch a couple times over the course of the next week-plus and that’s a winning combination, and then they’ll hit the road out to Texas before turning band west and north for stops in Portland, Bellingham — where they’ll play with RidingEasy labelmates Blackwater Holylight — and Seattle.

True, I wouldn’t mind seeing them again, but at least for now, I’m just happy they’re doing anything. Hell, maybe the record’s done and in the can and this is their way of celebrating. Or maybe it’s not written yet. Whatever the status, more Mondo Drag shows isn’t going to make life worse for anyone.

And that’s my hard-hitting analysis. Stay tuned for more crucial perspective.

From the PR wire:

mondo drag fall tour

Mondo Drag announce U.S. tour dates for October-November 2019

San Francisco’s heavy-Krautrock-psych band returns

Bay Area heavy-Krautrock-psych band Mondo Drag hit the road later this month for tour dates around the Western U.S. in October and November, including a performance at Levitation Fest in Austin. Please see all dates below.

The band will have more to announce regarding new music soon.

MONDO DRAG LIVE 2019:
10/13 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel w/ Witch
10/16 Felton, CA @ Felton Music Hall w/ Witch
10/18 Sonoma, CA @ Sonoma Redwood Barn w/ Witch
11/01 Los Angeles, CA @ House of Machines
11/02 Oceanside, CA @ Moose Lodge
11/04 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
11/06 Taos, NM @ Monolith Brewing
11/07 San Antonio, CA @ Hi-Tones
11/08 Austin, TX @ Volcom House – Levitation Party
11/09 Dallas, TX @ Armoury DE
11/10 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar
11/29 Portland, OR @ Kenton Club
11/30 Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown w/ Blackwater Holylight
12/01 Seattle, WA @ Substation

Mondo Drag are:
John Gamino – Keyboards & Vocals
Nolan Girard – Guitar & Synthesizer
Jake Sheley – Guitar
Ventura Garcia – Drums
Conor Riley – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/mondodrag/
http://www.instagram.com/mondodrag
https://mondodrag.bandcamp.com/
https://www.mondodrag.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/

Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (2016)

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Brume Set Nov. 22 Release for Rabbits

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

brume

The only question when Brume signed to Magnetic Eye Records in March for the release of their second album, Rabbits, was whether or not said record would be out before the end of this year. The answer is yes. And not saying I’m listening right now for the first time or anything, but the record’s gorgeous. Atmospheric in new ways for the band, and the high drama of centerpiece “Blue Jay” kind of blows the doors down from what you might expect a San Fran doom band to be doing on their sophomore LP. Billy Anderson recording never hurts, and the mood in that piece and elsewhere on the LP is something that will very obviously require more than a cursory airing to more fully appreciate. But the first impression — not that I’m listening right now, I’ll say again — is that those subsequent airings will indeed take place. Possibly right after this one is done.

I’ll hope to have more before Nov. 22.

From the PR wire:

brume rabbits

San Francisco’s BRUME Present Hauntingly Beautiful New Full-Length RABBITS Nov. 22

album explores soft and pummeling atmospherics

Riding the momentum of the past several years, spellbinding San Francisco doom trio BRUME are preparing to release their new album, Rabbits, coming November 22nd from Magnetic Eye Records. Their first for the label, it follows the band’s critically-acclaimed Donkey and Rooster releases, as well as their split with Seattle’s Witch Ripper earlier this year, indicating that BRUME are pushing forward as fast as their creativity allows.

Sabbathian sensibility is a must for any band worth their weight in doom, but when combined with a strong penchant for acts like Portishead and Bjork, BRUME are a graceful leader among the skull-crushing pack.

In 2014, they made their mark with debut EP Donkey, a sorrowful slow-burner drenched in reverb and wrought with patient mourning. Rooster saw them plunge deeper into the study of duality between harsh distortion and the soaring refrains of frontwoman Susie McMullan’s stunning vocals. “Our music is non-fiction; a time stamped truth,” she said, but the band’s creative drive contains a timelessness not quickly forgotten among the sea of contenders in doom metal.

New album Rabbits continues this theme, exposing a tight-knit crew at their most creatively expansive who’ve erected a monumental piece to capture and soothe the mind during this tumultuous cultural era. Tracks like “Lament” showcase a masterful grasp on tension-building and release; it’s a hypnotic lullaby and explosion in one, stretched over a singular sonic experience.

BRUME have absorbed the experience of playing prestigious stages at Desertfest London and opening for High On Fire in Europe, and are now ready to take on a bigger role than ever in the heavy underground with the release of Rabbits.

Brume
Susie McMullan: Vocals/Bass
Jamie McCathie: Guitar/Vocals
Jordan Perkins-Lewis: Drums

https://www.brumeband.com/
https://brumesf.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/brumeband/
http://brume.bigcartel.com/
http://store.merhq.com
http://magneticeyerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords

Brume, “Man-Made” official video

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Big Scenic Nowhere Set Jan. 31 Release for Visions Beyond Horizon; New Track Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

big scenic nowhere

Traveling is one of my very favorite things to do. As much as I ever let myself enjoy anything, ever, ever, ever, I enjoy going different places. It does require playing a bit of catchup when you get home though, and so here I am, catching up on news that came in at the end of last week, when I was in Norway. It was announced that Big Scenic Nowhere had signed to Heavy Psych Sounds in late September, so the unveiling of the album details and preorders for the project’s debut album, Visions Beyond Horizon, is right on time, as well as the stream of the opening track “The Glim,” which features vocals from Alain Johannes, also known for his many contributions over the years to Queens of the Stone Age.

Johannes is one of many lending their talents to the LP, along with members of The WellSpiritual Beggars, and Mondo Generator, while the core of the group remains as guitarists Bob Balch (Fu Manchu) and Gary Arce (Yawning Man) and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Tony Reed (Mos Generator). As well as actually hearing it, I’ll be keen to find out who actually does what and where on Visions Beyond Horizon among all the players included — listed below — but with Jan. 31 release date, there’s plenty of time for such things.

From the PR wire:

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Desert rock supergroup BIG SCENIC NOWHERE announce debut album ‘Vision Beyond Horizon’ on Heavy Psych Sounds Records; stream first track with Alain Johannes now!

Desert rock supergroup BIG SCENIC NOWHERE (with members of Fu Manchu, Yawning Man, Mos Generator, The Well, plus Nick Oliveri, Alain Johannes and Per Wiberg) sign to Heavy Psych Sounds for the release of their highly awaited debut album ‘Visions Beyond Horizon’ on January 31st. Today, the band unveils their debut single ‘The Glim.’

“We are super excited to be working with Heavy Psych Sounds. We practically know everyone on the label already. When it comes to this style of music they have a big presence, and we feel fortunate to become part of that. This album is a collaborative effort and the sum of its parts. The basic riffs and song structures were done by myself and Gary Arce, but the contributions from Tony Reed, Lisa Alley, Ian Graham, Mario Lalli, Nick Oliveri, Bill Stinson, Per Wiberg and Alain Johannes make this record what it is. There was never a discussion of what kind of music we wanted to make. But if I had to describe it there are elements of Soundgarden, Pink Floyd, Yawning Man and Fu Manchu.” states guitarist Bob Balch (Fu Manchu).

Bob Balch adds: “The Glim is a result of Gary Arce and myself jamming in DAD’GAD. The first riff was an idea Gary had and then like three hours later while jamming, Gary played the chorus! I went home and put the pieces together and added a bridge part. Tony Reed on mellotron, Mario Lalli on bass and Bill Stinson on drums filled it out. Alain Johannes absolutely killed it on this one. He played all the leads too. This was the first track I recorded all of my guitars at my house. All Reverend guitars on my rhythm tracks. My signature on the left and a Pete Anderson hollow-body on the right. Signature ROLA head too. Killer tones all around! This tune has sort of a Soundgarden meets Bowie vibe to me. Hope y’all dig it !”

Vocalist Alain Johannes adds: “Total honor and pleasure to get on a sonic ghost ship with Bob, Gary, Mario and Bill on this track. Love these dudes and had a blast collaborating on “The Glim”. Big Scenic Nowhere rules!”

‘Vision Beyond Horizon’ will be available January 31st via Heavy Psych Sounds in the following formats:
– 40 Test Press
– 250 Ultra Ltd Baby Blue Splatter Blue/Black Vinyl
– 550 Purple Vinyl
– Black Vinyl
– Digipak

TRACKLIST:
1. The Glim
2. The Paraonid
3. The I Was Gone
4. Mirror Image
5. Hidden Wall
6. Shadows From The Altar
7. En Las Sombras
8. Tragic Motion Lines
9. The War Years

BIG SCENIC NOWHERE is:
Bob Balch (Guitar, Bass)
Gary Arce (Guitar)
Tony Reed (Vocals, Keys, Drums)
Mario Lalli (Bass)
Per Wiberg (Keys)
Bill Stinson (Drums)
Nick Oliveri (Bass)
Lisa Alley (Vocals)
Ian Graham (Vocals)
Alain Johannes (Vocals, Guitar)

https://www.facebook.com/bigscenicnowhere/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/
www.heavypsychsounds.com/

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Quarterly Review: Total Fucking Destruction, Hippie Death Cult, The Cosmic Dead, Greenthumb, Elepharmers, Nothing is Real, Warish, Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Those Furious Flames, Mantra Machine

Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’d like to find the jerk who decided that the week I fly to Norway was a good time for the Quarterly Review. That, obviously, was a tactical error on my part. Nonetheless, we press on with day four, which I post from Oslo on CET. Whatever time zone you may find yourself in this Thursday, I hope you have managed to find something so far in this onslaught of whatnot to sink your chompers into. That’s ultimately, why we’re here. Also because there are so many folders with albums in them on my desktop that I can’t stand it anymore. Happens about every three months.

But anyhoozle, we press on with Day Four of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, dutiful and diligent and a couple other words that start with ‘d.’ Mixed bag stylistically this time — trying to throw myself off a bit — so should be fun. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Total Fucking Destruction, #USA4TFD

Total Fucking Destruction USA4TFD

Who the hell am I to be writing about a band like Total Fucking Destruction? I don’t know. Who the hell am I to be writing about anything. Fuck you. As the Rich Hoak (Brutal Truth)-led Philly natives grind their way through 23 tracks in a 27-minute barrage of deceptively thoughtful sonic extremity, they efficiently chronicle the confusion, tumult and disaffection of our age both in their maddening energy and in the poetry — yeah, I said it — of their lyrics. To it, from “Is Your Love a Rainbow”: “Are you growing? Is everything okay? Are you growing in the garden of I don’t know?” Lines like this are hardly decipherable without a lyric sheet, of course, but still, they’re there for those ready to look beyond the surface assault of the material, though, frankly, that assault alone would be enough to carry the band — Hoak on drums/vocals, Dan O’Hare on guitar/vocals and Ryan Moll on bass/vocals — along their willfully destructive course. For their fourth LP in 20 years — most of that time given to splits and shorter releases, as one might expect — Total Fucking Destruction make their case for an end of the world that, frankly, can’t get here fast enough.

Total Fucking Destruction on Thee Facebooks

Give Praise Records website

 

Hippie Death Cult, 111

Hippie-Death-Cult-111

Issued first by the band digitally and on CD and then by Cursed Tongue Records on vinyl, 111 is the impressively toned debut full-length from Portland, Oregon’s Hippie Death Cult, who cull together heavy rock and post-grunge riffing with flourish of organ and a densely-weighted groove that serves as an overarching and uniting factor throughout. With the bluesy, classic feeling vocals of Ben Jackson cutting through the wall of fuzz from Eddie Brnabic‘s guitar and Laura Phillips‘ bass set to roll by Ryan Moore‘s drumming, there’s never any doubt as to where Hippie Death Cult are coming from throughout the seven-track/42-minute offering, but longer, side-ending pieces “Unborn” (8:24) and “Black Snake” (9:06) touch respectively on psychedelia and heavy blues in a way that emphasizes the subtle turns that have been happening all along, not just in shifts like the acoustic “Mrtyu,” but in the pastoral bridge and ensuing sweep of “Pigs” as well. “Sanctimonious” and “Breeder’s Curse” provide even ground at the outset, and from there, Hippie Death Cult only grow richer in sound along their way.

Hippie Death Cult on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records BigCartel store

 

The Cosmic Dead, Scottish Space Race

The Cosmic Dead Scottish Space Race

Heavyweight Glaswegian space jammers The Cosmic Dead present four massive slabs of lysergic intensity with their eighth long-player, Scottish Space Race (on Riot Season Records), working quickly to pull the listener into their gravity well and holding them there for the 2LP’s 75-minute duration. As hypnotic as it is challenging, the initial churn that emerges in the aptly-named 20-minute opener “Portal” clenches the stomach brutally, and it’s not until after about 12 minutes that the band finally lets it loose. “Ursa Major,” somewhat thankfully, is more serene, but still carries a sense of movement and build in its second half, while the 12-minute title-track is noisier and has the surprising inclusion of vocals from the generally instrumental outfit. They cap with the 24-minute kosmiche throb of “The Grizzard,” and there are vocals there too, but they’re too obscured to be really discernible in any meaningful way, and of course the end of the record itself is a huge wash of fuckall noise. Eight records deep, The Cosmic Dead know what they’re doing in this regard, and they do it among the best of anyone out there.

The Cosmic Dead on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Greenthumb, There are More Things

greenthumb there are more things

With just three tracks across a 20-minute span, There are More Things (on Acid Cosmonaut) feels like not much more than a sampler of things to come from Italian post-sludgers Greenthumb, who take their name from a Bongzilla track they also covered on their 2018 debut EP, West. The three-songer feels like a decided step forward from that offering, and though they maintain their screamier side well enough, they might be on the verge of needing a new name, as the rawness conveyed by the current moniker hardly does justice to the echoing atmospherics the band in their current incarnation bring. Launching with the two seven-minute cuts “The Field” and “Ogigia’s Tree,” they unfurl a breadth of roll so as to ensnare the listener, and though “The Black Court” is shorter at 5:37 and a bit more straight-ahead in its structure, it still holds to the ambient sensibility of its surroundings well, the band obviously doing likewise in transposing a natural feel into their sound born of landscape real or imagined.

Greenthumb on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records on Bandcamp

 

Elepharmers, Lords of Galaxia

Elepharmers Lords Of Galaxia Artwork

Riffy Sardinians Elepharmers set themselves to roll with “Ancient Astronauts” and do not stop from there on Lords of Galaxia, their third LP and debut through Electric Valley Records. There are some details of arrangement between the guitars of El Chino (also bass, vocals and harmonica) and Andrea “Fox” Cadeddu and the drums of Maurizio Mura, but as Marduk heralds his age on second cut “Ziqqurat,” the central uniting factor is g-r-o-o-v-e, and Elepharmers have it down through “The Flood” and into side B’s classic stoner rocking “Foundation” and the driving “The Mule,” which shifts into laser-effects ahead of the fade that brings in closer “Stars Like Dust” for the last 10 minutes of the 47-minute offering. And yes, there’s some psychedelia there, but Elepharmers stay pretty clearheaded on the whole in such a way as to highlight the sci-fi theme that seems to draw the songs together as much as the riffage. More focus on narrative can only help bring that out more, but I’m not sure I’d want that at the expense of the basic songwriting, which isn’t at all broken and thus requires no fixing.

Elepharmers on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Nothing is Real, Only the Wicked are Pure

nothing is real only the wicked are pure

How do you recognize true misanthropy when you come across it? It doesn’t wear a special kind of facepaint, though it can. It doesn’t announce itself as such. It is a frame. Something genuinely antisocial and perhaps even hateful is a worldview. It’s not raise-a-claw-in-the-woods. It’s he-was-a-quiet-loner. And so, coming across the debut album from Los Angeles experimentalist doom outfit, one gets that lurking, creeping feeling of danger even though the music itself isn’t overly abrasive. But across the 2CD debut album, a sprawl of darkened, viciously un-produced fare that seems to be built around programmed drums at the behest of Craig Osbourne — who may or may not be the only person in the band and isn’t willing to say otherwise — plays out over the course of more than two hours like a manifesto found after the fact. Imagine chapters called “Hope is Weakness,” “Fingered by the Hand of God,” and “Uplift the Worthy (Destroy the Weak).” The last of those appears on both discs — as do several of the songs in different incarnations — as the track marries acoustic and eventual harder-edged guitar around murderous themes, sounding something like Godflesh might have if they’d pursued a darker path. Scary.

Nothing is Real on Thee Facebooks

Nothing is Real on Bandcamp

 

Warish, Down in Flames

warish down in flames

The fact that Warish are blasting hard punk through heavy blowout tones isn’t what everyone wants to talk about when it comes to the band. They want to talk about the fact that it’s Riley Hawk — of royal stock, as regards pro skateboarding — fronting the band. Well, that’s probably good for a built-in social media following — name recognition never hurts, and I don’t see a need to pretend otherwise — but it doesn’t do shit for the album itself. What matters about the album is that bit about the blasting blowout. With Down in Flames (on RidingEasy), the Oceanside three-piece follow-up their earlier-2019 debut EP with 11 tracks that touch on horror punk with “Bones” and imagine grunge-unhinged with “Fight” and “You’ll Abide,” but are essentially a display of tonal fuckall presented not to add to a brand, but to add the soundtrack to somebody’s blackout. It’s a good time and the drunkest, gnarliest, most-possibly-shirtless dude in the room is having it. Also he probably smells. And he just hugged you. Down in Flames gets high with that dude. That matters more than who anyone’s dad is.

Warish on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Split

It’s a double-dose of New England doom as Connecticut’s Mourn the Light and Boston’s Oxblood Forge pair up for a split release. The former bring more material than the latter, particularly when one counts the digital-only bonus cover of Candlemass‘ “Bewitched,” but with both groups, it’s a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Both groups share a clear affinity for classic metal — and yes, that absolutely extends to the piano-led drama of Mourn the Light‘s mournful “Carry the Flame” — but Oxblood Forge‘s take thereupon is rougher edged, harder in its tone and meaner in the output. Their “Screams From Silence” feels like something from a dubbed-and-mailed tape circa ’92. Mourn the Light’s “Drags Me Down” is cleaner-sounding, but no less weighted. I don’t think either band is out to change the world, or even to change doom, but they’re doing what they’re doing well and without even an ounce of pretense — well, maybe a little bit in that piano track; but it’s very metal pretense — and clearly from the heart. That might be the most classic-metal aspect of all.


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Oxblood Forge on Thee Facebooks

 

Those Furious Flames, HeartH

those furious flames hearth

Swiss heavy rockers Those Furious Flames push the boundaries of psychedelia, but ultimately remain coherent in their approach. Likewise, they very, very obviously are into some classic heavy rock and roll, but their take on it is nothing if not modern. And more, they thrive in these contradictions and don’t at all sound like their songs are in conflict with themselves. I guess that’s the kind of thing one can pull off after 15 years together on a fifth full-length, which HeartH (on Vincebus Eruptum) is for them. Perhaps it’s the fact that they let the energy of pieces like “VooDoo” and the boogie-laced “HPPD” carry them rather than try to carry it, but either way, it’s clearly about the songs first, and it works. With added flash of organ amid the full-sounding riffs, Those Furious Flames round out with the spacey “Visions” and earn every bit of the drift therein with a still-resonant vocal harmony. You might not get it all the first time, but listening twice won’t be at all painful.

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Vincebus Eruptum Recordings BigCartel store

 

Mantra Machine, Heliosphere

mantra machine heliosphere

This is what it’s all about. Four longer-form instrumentalist heavy psych jams that are warm in tone and want nothing so much as to go out wandering and see what they can find. Through “Hydrogen,” “Atmos,” “Delta-V” and “Heliosphere,” Amsterdam-based three-piece Mantra Machine want nothing for gig-style vitality, but their purpose isn’t so much to electrify as to find that perfect moment of chill and let it go, see where it ends up, and they get there to be sure. Warm guitar and bass tones call to mind something that might’ve come out of the Netherlands at the start of this decade, when bands like Sungrazer and The Machine were unfolding such fluidity as seemed to herald a new generation of heavy psychedelia across Europe. That generation took a different shape — several different shapes, in the end — but Mantra Machine‘s Heliosphere makes it easy to remember what was so exciting about that in the first place. Total immersion. Total sense of welcoming. Totally human presence without speaking a word. So much vibe. So much right on.

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Mantra Machine on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Russian Circles, War Cloud, Here Lies Man, Book of Wyrms, Möyhy-Veikot, Darsombra, Set Fire, Jesus the Snake, Föllakzoid, Dresden Wolves

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Had to take a second this morning to get my email back under 100 unread. It currently stands at 95. There’s just something about being in triple digits that I can’t stand. Press releases and stuff I can usually file right away since not everything’s relevant to the site, etc., but that’s all stuff that either wants follow-up or could be a factor here if there was time. I do my best to try to keep up. And I fail, consistently.

The tradeoff, of course, is I spend that time writing reviews and other stuff for the site. Today’s hump day when we pass the halfway mark of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, and we’re doing it in absolutely all-over-the-place style, so all the better. Some pretty familiar names today, but some that might not be as well, so whatever your poison, I hope you enjoy the picking.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Russian Circles, Blood Year

russian circles blood year

There’s simply no denying the force behind the depths and swell of a song like “Kohokia” on Russian Circles‘ latest offering, Blood Year (Sargent House), and though one knows what to expect to some degree from the Chicago heavy post-rockers at this point in their career, they seem to be doing all they can to deliver their instrumental progressions with energy to match the breadth of the spaces and the heft they conjure. Like 2016’s Guidance (review here), the seven-track/39-minute Blood Year — was recorded with Kurt Ballou, whom the trio imported to their hometown to work at Electrical Audio (aka Steve Albini‘s stomping ground) instead of traveling to Massachusetts to track at Ballou‘s Godcity. If it was the long-famed drum sound of Electrical Audio that they wanted and the live feel that so many of the recordings done there have, they got both, so mark it a success and another notch in the belt of one of the heavy underground’s most immersive and evocative outfits. Their building and releasing of tension is second to none and moves into the spiritual by the time they even get to side B, let alone through it.

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Sargent House website

 

War Cloud, State of Shock

war cloud state of shock

Oh, the riffs you’ll gallop. Oakland, California’s War Cloud skirt the line between classic thrash and heavy rock and roll on their second album for Ripple Music, State of Shock, and from the sound of things, they have a good time doing it. The record’s not much over a half-hour long, which is as it should be for this kind of party, and they toy a bit with the balance between their two sides on a rocker like “Do Anything” or the subsequent “Means of Your Defeat” on side B, but the main crux of State of Shock and certainly the impression it makes off the bat with “Striker” and “White Lightning” up front ahead of the six-minute that-moment-when-ThinLizzy-turned-into-IronMaiden “Dangerous Game” is one of homage to the metal of yore, and in following-up the band’s 2017 self-titled debut (review here), it’s a showcase of energy and craft alike as two guitars shred, chug, groove and charge through the material. If they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d say something about getting caught in a mosh. As it stands, I’ll go with urging you to jump in the fire instead. Horns up, either way.

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Ripple Music website

 

Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon

here lies man no ground to walk upon

They should’ve just called it an album. Yeah, it would be short at 26 or so minutes, but it’s got everything you’d want from a full-length, and if they’d put a four-minute jam or something on it, they’d have been there anyhow. In any case, Los Angeles’ Afrobeat-infused heavy psych rockers Here Lies Man present seven tracks of dug-in glory with No Ground to Walk Upon (on RidingEasy), continuing to build on the potential shown across their first two LPs, 2017’s self-titled debut (review here) and last year’s You Will Know Nothing (review here), even as they swagger their way through a groove like “Long Legs (Look Away)” and show their continued forward potential. They continue to be a special band — the kind of band who doesn’t just come along every day and who shouldn’t be overlooked during their time, because maybe they’ll be around 30 years and maybe they won’t, but what they’re doing now is bringing something wholly individual to a heavy context. They’ve already proven influential to some degree, but listening to No Ground to Walk Upon cuts like the dream-keyed “Iron Rattles” and the opening strut-into-drone of “Clad in Silver,” one wonders if they wouldn’t be more so if people weren’t too afraid to try to pull this thing off. Hard to argue with that, since more likely than not most couldn’t.

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RidingEasy Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Remythologizer

Book of Wyrms Remythologizer

I won’t take anything away from the eight-minute “Blacklight Warpriest” earlier in the offering, but the highlight of Book of Wyrms‘ second album, Remythologizer (on Twin Earth & Stoner Witch Records) has to be the closing “Dust Toad,” which at 9:25 is the longest track and the slowest crawl included. Led into by the synth-infused “Curse of the Werecop,” it takes the crunch that showed itself through opener “Autumnal Snow” and, later, the melody and swing of “Undead Pegasus” — as seen on the cover art — and brings them together in order to perfectly summarize the doom rocking ethic the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece are working from. Tonally righteous and more solvent in their songwriting than they were on their 2017 debut, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (review here), the band sound assured as they move in “Spirit Drifter” from a standout keyboard line to a likewise standout guitar solo, giving a feeling of progressive nuance that’s continuing to take hold in their sound, balanced by the underlying naturalism of their approach. That dynamic continues to duke it out on Remythologizer, much to the benefit of anyone who takes the record on.

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Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Möyhy-Veikot, Huume Jet Set Life

moyhy-veikot huume jet set life

Too weird for planet earth and, well, probably too weird for anywhere else too, Helsinki psych-space-kraut-whathaveyou experimentalists issue their third tape in the form of Huume Jet Set Life and whether it’s the cosmo-jamming on “MITÄ ON TULLUT VEDETTYÄ?” or the who-the-hell-knows-what-ism of “MEDIA-AJOJAHTI 2000,” the band at no point fail to make an impression of being out there in the far gone far out there reaches of the far out there. Talkin’ freaked out next level total, like the cassette just fell into the atmosphere to represent some other planet’s culture where things are both dangerous and interesting and you never really know if you’re going to get laid or eaten or both. Still, they may be doing math of the likes not yet conceived by humanity, but Möyhy-Veikot go about it in suitably friendly if totally over-the-top fashion, and it’s fun to play along while also being completely overwhelmed at the various pushes and pulls happening all at once, the media samples and the Windows 95 compatibility of it all. It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for disco.

Möyhy-Veikot on Thee Facebooks

Möyhy-Veikot on Bandcamp

 

Darsombra, Transmission

Darsombra Transmission

It’s just lovely. Really. In some ways it feels like the 41:20 single-track full-length Transmission — self-released, no less — is what Baltimore ambient exploratory two-piece Darsombra have been building toward all along, but I think the truth is they probably could’ve done this at any time if they’d chosen to do so. Still, the fluidity of “Transmission” itself is something special, with its cascades of manipulated voice, riffs that swell and recede, loops, synth and somehow-manifested light that are as much immersion for the spirit as the eardrum. One doesn’t want to dive too deep into hyperbole and oversell it to the point of dulling the listener’s own impression, but Transmission is the kind of record that even those who profess to never “get” drone or noise offerings can engage with. Part of that is owed to Brian Daniloski‘s guitar, which provides landmarks along the path of swirl conjured by his own effects and the synth from Ann Everton (both add vocals where applicable; don’t look for lyrics or verses) that allow those who’d take it on to do so more easily. But the real joy in Transmission is letting go and allowing the piece to carry you along its progressive course, genuine in its reaching for the unknown. Plus there’s a gong, and that’s always fun too. Go with it.

Darsombra on Thee Facebooks

Darsombra on Bandcamp

 

Set Fire, Traya

set fire traya

Traya is the third three-song full-length from Boston’s Set Fire, and it would seem that, and in addition to marking the last recording to feature drummer Rob Davol, who’s since been replaced by Josh Cronin, it would seem to show the three-piece nailing their sound of classic-tinged duet-fronted heavy rock and roll. With two powerhouse vocalists on board in guitarist Jim Healey (We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, etc.) and keyboardist Jess Collins (ex-Mellow Bravo), they work in varying arrangements across a meager 12-minute run that feels short mostly because it is short. Too short. “Any Place Left” puts Collins in the foreground, while “Sacred Song” is more Healey‘s, and unsurprisingly to anyone who’s experienced their past work either together or separate, they’re more than able to carry the material — only more so with the other party backing. “Waves” brings them together around theatrical layers of piano and keyboard and guitar, and that they manage to hold it steady at all, let alone take flight as it does, speaks to how ready they are to embark on a longer offering. Put out an album, already, would ya?

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Set Fire on Bandcamp

 

Jesus the Snake, Black Acid, Pink Rain

Jesus the Snake Black Acid Pink Rain

For those feeling adventurous, Portugal’s Jesus the Snake follow-up their 2017 self-titled EP (review here) with the unmitigated warmth of Black Acid, Pink Rain, their live-recorded full-length debut. And for the sort of heavy psych-jazz-prog meandering, one would almost expect the organ-laced instrumentalist four-piece to track the record as they perform it, if not front-to-back then certainly one song at a time across multiple takes. Not one piece of the five total on the 49-minute offering is under eight minutes long, and sandwiched between opener “Karma” (10:28) and the closing title-track (10:55) are three cuts circa nine that prove no less hypnotic. The beginning of “Floyds I” is so fluid with the interplay of organ and guitar that one almost expects a gentle Portuguese spoken word verse to start, but of course one never does. Instead, Jesus the Snake complement mindful drift with flashes of more weighted or active fare, all the while holding to a central vibe that is peaceful even as “Duna” finds its chill before the halfway point, with no loss of spirit in the process.

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Jesus the Snake on Bandcamp

 

Föllakzoid, I

follakzoid i

As with any kind of sonic minimalism or release based around trance induction — see Darsombra above — there’s a certain amount of buy-in that needs to happen on the listener’s side. Accordingly, those going into the fourth LP from Chilean duo Föllakzoid, titled I and issued through Sacred Bones Records as a double-vinyl, should be aware that it’s requires that kind of interaction from one side to the other. It’s not especially loud or abrasive, or even demanding in terms of the basic sonics of the thing, but as “I” becomes “II” becomes “III” becomes “IIII” and the songs such as they are alternate between 17- and 13-minute runtimes and the blend of effects and electro beats tips to one side or the other — “II” with a fervent ‘ump-tis’ in its early going while “III” brings a more Vangelis-style cinematic wash — of course there’s an ask in terms of indulgence happening on the part of the two-piece to their audience. Whether an individual is willing to make that jump is obviously going to be up to their headspace and where they’re at, but Föllakzoid‘s work here is more than worth the investment, even for those less familiar with their methods.

Föllakzoid on Thee Facebooks

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Dresden Wolves, Hiedra – Sencillo

dresden wolves Hiedra Sencillo

The sub-three-minute “Hiedra – Sencillo” is the latest in an ongoing series of digital offerings from Mexico City’s Dresden Wolves, and though the two-piece band bill themselves as post-punk and they may actually have a history in playing punk rock — stranger things have happened, certainly — the song finds them working in a taut heavy rock context, brash in delivery but not overly so as to lose the overarching swagger they seem intent on conveying. Particularly as it follows behind two EPs and a swath of other single tracks, and is offered name-your-price through their Bandcamp, “Hiedra – Sencillo” feels like its most nefarious aim is to hook anyone who’d click play on first listen and try and keep them intrigued for next time out. Fair enough. I won’t profess to know what Dresden Wolves‘ plans are, but they’ve got songwriting in their pocket and the production on “Hiedra – Sencillo” is crisp and clear enough to convey the heft of the guitar but not so much so as to dull its rawer aspects. They’ve got the balance ready to go, whatever they might choose to do with it from here.

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Dresden Wolves on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: High on Fire, Ruff Majik, Merlin, Workshed, E-L-R, Sibyl, Golden Legacy, Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Burden Limbs, El Supremo

Posted in Reviews on October 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Another day, another batch of 10 reviews on the march to 50 by the end of the week. Will we make it? Yeah, probably. I mean, I think there was once when I had to skip a day or something but even then I made up for it and there’s never been an instance where the Quarterly Review fell apart. The one quarter I decided to nix it (was it last year?) I made up for it by doing 100 reviews instead of 50 the next time out, so we got there eventually. It being Tuesday, the end of the week looks far off, but indeed we’ll ge there eventually, and there’s a lot of good music between now and then, so let’s hit it.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

High on Fire, Bat Salad

high on fire bat salad

A limited vinyl EP released as part of Record Store Day 2019, High on Fire‘s Bat Salad comprises three songs: an original instrumental and two covers, one of Celtic Frost and one of Bad Brains. And I won’t take away from the “Rat Salad” Sabbath-does-blues-jazz-jam-except-it’s-HighonFire-so-it-sounds-nasty-as-hell spirit of “Bat Salad” at all, but the real highlight here is hearing Matt Pike‘s gravel-throated vocals take on “Into Crypts of Rays.” Celtic Frost have always been a central factor in what High on Fire were doing stylistically, so to have the band take them on directly seems long in the making. They approach Bad Brains‘ “Don’t Bother Me” with due reverence as well, careening through an intense three-minute burst of energy with the grit and underlying precision one has come to expect from these singular masters. Soon enough, bands will be covering High on Fire with the same spirit of fan homage. Doubly notable for being founding drummer Des Kensel‘s last recorded appearance alongside Pike and bassist Jeff Matz in the band.

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eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Ruff Majik, Tårn

ruff majik tarn

Guitarist/vocalist Johni Holiday, bassist Jimmy Glass and drummer Ben Manchino return with Tårn, Ruff Majik‘s second album on a quick turnaround from their 2018 debut, Seasons (review here). Aligned with Lay Bare Recordings for the vinyl release, the deceptively quick and even more deceptively complex seven-track/36-minute offering finds Ruff Majik digging into dirt-caked tonality and classically punkish sneer in Holiday‘s vocals. There are moments where they sound like Queens of the Stone Age (“Speed Hippie”) and moments where they sound like Black Flag (parts of opener “Schizophrenic”), but as a roller like “Heretically Happy” or the earlier post-Zeppelin stoner sneak of “Gloom & Tomb” show, Ruff Majik are perhaps most interested in sounding like themselves. They’re gleeful as they toy with doomed vibes on closer “Seasoning the Witch,” and the seven-minute “I’ll Dig the Grave” earlier thrills with changes drawn together by a pervasive and righteous groove. With Tårn, Ruff Majik have found their wavelength, and it suits them.

Ruff Majik on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Merlin, The Mortal

merlin the mortal

Be it heretofore established that sax-laced Kansas City psych-doomers Merlin don’t give a fuck. They don’t give a fuck what you expect, they don’t give a fuck what everyone else is doing, they don’t give a fuck if they meme the crap out of their own band. They’ve got their thing and they’re doing it. And you know what? They’re right. The Mortal is their fifth full-length in six years, following as a sequel to early-2018’s The Wizard (review here), and with flourish galore in arrangements of organ, sax, flute, percussion, accordion, trumpet, etc., alongside the foundation of songcraft that comes through the guitar, bass, drums and always-theatrical vocals of Jordan Knorr, the band recount tales along a dark-magical mystery tour of gorgeously flowing and still-weighted psychedelic plunder. They have become a buried treasure of weirdo/geek rock, and whether it’s the peaceful drift of “Ashen Lake” or the cacophonous heavy riffing of “Basilisk,” the stage-setting prog of “Towerfall” or the consuming swell that carries out the apex of closer “The Mortal Suite” — King Crimson chase and all — Merlin‘s work has never sounded so masterful. Will there be a third installment in the tale? Nothing quite like a trilogy.

Merlin on Thee Facebooks

The Company BigCartel store

 

Workshed, Workshed

workshed workshed

They’ve since added a third party in bassist Helen Storer (Fireball Ministry, among others), but Workshed‘s self-titled Rise Above Records debut LP was recorded as the duo of guitarist/vocalist Adam Lehan and drummer Mark Wharton. More than a quarter-century ago, both Lehan and Wharton played on Cathedral‘s pivotal first two albums, but in Workshed, and certainly there are some shades of doom on a stomper like “Anthropophobic” here, but the bulk of Workshed‘s nine-song/47-minute first offering is given to post-Entombed buzzsaw noise sludge, riffs crunched one into the next in an aggro, punk-rooted fashion that rife with a sense of willful punishment that comes through in sheer impact from front to back. Vocals call to mind Tom G. Warrior immediately and are suited to the social commentary of “If This is How it Is” and “This City Has Fallen,” while the grueling march of “A Spirit in Exile” leaves room for some atmosphere to eek through, which it does. They trash out in centerpiece “On Sticks of Wood” and chug their into a last fade on closer “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way,” but by then they’ve long since made their statement and left a trail of destruction behind them. Would they have been signed to Rise Above without the Cathedral connection? Probably not. Does the album earn their place? Absolutely.

Workshed on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

E-L-R, Mænad

e-l-r maenad

With their first full-length, Mænad, Swiss post-metallers E-L-R cart a gorgeous and textured course through patient and progressive songweaving that lends itself to hypnosis through its churning rhythm as much as its overarching melodies seem to evoke other worlds. It is not without its sense of challenge and certainly plenty heavy in its tone and groove — at least where it wants to be — but it’s also rich and provides a level of depth to its mix that should have others in the genre asking how they did it. A transitional drone at the end of “Devotee” brings about the 10-minute “Above the Mountains There is Light” and a long contemplation begins, working from the ground up on a pilgrim’s path to the eventual payoff. The resonance there is something unto itself, but even as “Ambrosia,” “Lunar Nights” and “The Wild Shore” find the stylistic footing that opener “Glancing Limbs” and “Devotee” seemed to hint at earlier, E-L-R maintain both an ambient sprawl and a consuming sense of passion that makes their work here all the more thrilling. This is a debut, following only a single 2018 demo that had two of the same tracks. What that tells me is look out for this band, because this kind of potential doesn’t come along every day and when it does, you want to be there for the follow-up. The impeccable taste of Prophecy Productions pays dividends once again.

E-L-R on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Sibyl, The Magic Isn’t Real

sibyl the magic isn't real

Otherworldly doom rock marked by echoing vocals oozing out from deep in the mix and gotta-hear-it bass tone complemented by choice riffage and a fervent thud in the drums, even if the aesthetic of Richmond’s Sibyl is familiar enough, there’s plenty to dig about their debut EP — what one might’ve called a “demo” in eras past — The Magic Isn’t Real. The stylistic elephant in the room is RVA’s own Windhand, but Sibyl take a more psychedelic path to heavy oblivion, and with four tracks in the range of four to five minutes, The Magic Isn’t Real comes across as well focused in its songwriting despite the ethereal touches in the actual sound. Cool vibe, and as they work some noisy shuffle into “Spinning Webs,” they show themselves as being less restricted than otherwise might be the case if they were purely committed to doomed drudgery. I’ll give bonus points as well for naming the penultimate track “Sexpionage,” just on principle, but it’s in stretches like the subdued creeper opening of “Blood Moon” and the engrossing, still-somehow-moving wash of “Pendulums” that Sibyl really showcase their intention.

Sibyl on Thee Facebooks

Sibyl on Bandcamp

 

Golden Legacy, Golden Legacy II

golden legacy golden legacy ii

London heavy noise duo Golden Legacy offer five tracks and 23 minutes of anti-genre, adrenaline rock to follow-up their 2016 self-titled EP. There’s a strong undercurrent of modern punk and indie to their sound, which is what gets them the “anti-genre” consideration, but it’s the energy of their delivery carrying them one way or the other as they drive through the harsh snare of “Cut and Crash” following the chunkier tone of opener “Moon” and just before centerpiece “Dirty Mouth” finds its way into grunge-style howling beastliness. Comprised of drummer/vocalist Lorena Cachito and guitarist Yanni Georgiou, the two-piece find winning momentum in “Salvation,” while closer “Thirsty” opens with a mellow drum progression gradually joined by the guitar and builds into more progressive and dramatic movement, casting off some of the rawness of the songs before it in favor of more complex fare. It still manages to soar at the end, though, and that seems to be what counts. They might be rawer now than they’ll eventually turn out, but that suits most of what they’re doing in adding to the emotionality on display in Cachito‘s vocals.

Golden Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Golden Legacy on Bandcamp

 

Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Coven of the Ultra-Riff

saint karloff devils witches coven of the ultra-riff

Alright, look. I don’t even think I have the full thing, but whatever. Saint Karloff and Devil’s Witches came together to release the Coven of the Ultra-Riff split — it can be so hard to find the right coven for your family; have you considered the Ultra-Riff? — and they each play an original track and then they cover each other’s songs and then Saint Karloff introduce the progression of “Supervixen (Electric Return)” and Devil’s Witches take up the mantle and run with it on “Supervixen (Acoustic Return),” so yeah, it’s pretty awesome and kind of all over the place but whatever. Get your head around it and get on board with whatever version you can grab. Vinyl came out through Majestic Mountain Records and tapes were through Stoner Witch Records and I’m fairly certain it’s all sold out already and probably stupid expensive on Discogs, but do what you need to do, because this is what Sabbath worship in the year 2019 is supposed to sound like. It’s bombed out of its gourd and has long since dropped out of life. It’s exactly where and what it wants to be.

Saint Karloff on Thee Facebooks

Devil’s Witches on Thee Facebooks

Majestic Mountain Records BigCartel store

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Burden Limbs, There is No Escape

burden limbs there is no escape

I’m not going to pretend to have the grounding in post-hardcore to toss off the influences under which Burden Limbs are working, but to listen to the blast of noise in “How Many Times Must I Reset” and the near-industrial wash of noise they conjure in the subsequent “Hypochondriac,” it’s clear they’re working under one influence anyway. There is No Escape (released through Glasshouse Records) runs 24 minutes and carries four songs, but in that time the band around founding figurehead and guitarist/vocalist Chad Murray manage to challenge themselves and the listener alike to keep up with their turns and emotional resonance. Murray is joined by two bassists, another guitarist, keyboards/synth and drums, so yes, there’s something of a busy feel to it, but even echoing cavernous as they are, the vocals seem to draw the songs together around a central presence and add a human core to the proceedings that only makes them all the more affecting as would seem to be the intent.

Burden Limbs on Thee Facebooks

Glasshouse Records on Bandcamp

 

El Supremo, Clarity Through Distortion

El Supremo Clarity Through Distortion

Sometimes these things take a while, but El Supremo was formed by now-ex-Egypt bassist Chad Heille has a solo-project and released a self-titled demo in 2008, to which Clarity Through Distortion is the follow-up full-length. Now joined by guitarist Neil Stein (also ex-Egypt, and who also played some on the demo) and organist Chris Gould as well as bassist Cam Dewald who came aboard after the album’s completion, the instrumentalist full-band incarnation of El Supremo waste no time diving into dead-on tonal and riffy righteousness, taking classic heavy cues and running with them in modern production richness, sounding clear but natural as a jam like “Moanin’ & Groanin'” turns into a shuffler as it moves into its second half, or the mellow sway of the 14-minute “Supercell” at last runs head-on into the lumbering motion that will carry it through to the end. I don’t know how much clarity — at least of the existential sort I think they mean in the title — they might’ve found by the time the bluesy “Lotus Throne” rolls over into the shreddy “Outro” that caps, but if the method is distortion, they’ve certainly got that part down.

El Supremo on Thee Facebooks

El Supremo on Bandcamp

 

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