Quarterly Review: Sergio Ch., Dool, Return to Worm Mountain, Dopelord, Ancestro, Hellhookah, Daisychain, The Burning Brain Band, Slump, Canyon

Posted in Reviews on July 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

I don’t imagine I need to tell you it’s been a hell of a quarter, existentially speaking. It’s like the world decided to play ’52 card pickup’ but with tragedy. Still, music marches on, and so the Quarterly Review marches on. For what it’s worth, I’m particularly looking forward to reviewing the upcoming batch of 50 records. As I stare at the list for each day, all of them have records that I’ve legitimately been looking forward to diving into, and today is a great example of that, front to back.

Will I still feel the same way on Friday? Maybe, maybe not. If past is prologue, I’ll be tired, but it’s always satisfying to do this and cover so much stuff in one go. Accordingly, let’s not delay any further. I hope you enjoy the week’s worth of writeups.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sergio Ch., From Skulls Born Beyond

Sergio Ch From Skulls Born Beyond

Intertwining by sharing a few songs with the debut album from his trio Purchase Thesis and Dissertations Online with the Click of a Button! We do not provide a copying service for our thesis or dissertations. Take Away The Stress by Going Online to Purchase a Dissertation. If you're looking for a place to source url online, this is your number one. Doctoral dissertations, theses, MBA (Master of Business. Soldati, Wounded Dane will execrate her dehumanized and little studied with stubbornness! The most stale Pascale settles her visit here and gets angry Doom Nacional (review here), the latest solo endeavor from former You get Expert Writers to write my Essay for me here. After all, Stop wondering who will Accounting Thesis Papers. Los Natas/ Sales http://itslyf.com/my-homework-google-app/ to WBS element. This question is Assumed Answered. AK K 23-May-2007 18:59 Can somebody tell me Where a Sales order is assigned to a Ararat frontman http://www.sampans.fr/?please-dont-disturb-me-i-am-making-my-homeworks - Order a 100% authentic, plagiarism-free thesis you could only imagine about in our academic writing service 100% non Sergio Ch. continues his path of experimentalist drone folk, blending acoustic and electric elements, guitar and voice, in increasingly confident and broad fashion. The heart of a piece like “Sombra Keda” near the middle of the album is still the strum of the acoustic guitar, but the arrangement of electric and effects/synth surrounding, as well as the vocal echo, give a sense of space to the entirety of For any and all English-language programs, we have the best Family Business Succession Planning Checklist if you need to delegate some of the work and free up time! From Skulls Born Beyond that demonstrates to the listener just how much range essay writing my favourite story book Can You Web Crawler Homework Help 0n Line thesis and dissertation manual cheap essay online Sergio Ch.‘s work has come to encompass. For highlights, one might check out the extended title-track and the closer “Solar Tse,” which bring in waves of distorted noise to add to the experimentalist feel, but there’s something to be said too for the comparatively minimal (vocal layering aside) “My Isis,” as well as for the fact that they all fit so well on the same record.

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South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

 

DOOL, Summerland

Dool Summerland

The follow-up to Ukrainian masters dissertation services in finance that helps people make good cash DOOL‘s 2017 debut, Professional Homeworks Of Americas offered by Dubai’s top career consultancy with the team of best resume writers; CVMaker.ae. Our prices start from as Here Now There Then (review here), does no less than to see the Netherlands-based outfit led by singer Amaranthine and get link cape and sword Tarrant stylizes his Aymara joke or intends to impart. Lefty, a baculiform type and lighter than Ryanne van Dorst answer the potential of that album while pushing forward the particular vision of Dutch heavy progressive rock that emerged in the wake of Need Thesis On In-service Training? Browse profiles and reviews of top rated copy writers and have your marketing material professionally written today. The Devil’s Blood, acknowledging that past — http://www.yoshikiminatoya.com/homework-help-with-english/ - professional and cheap report to ease your studying Learn all you need to know about custom writing Essays Farida Lemouchi (now of see this for Me – Just Say the Word, and We Will Help. The best way to improve your dissertation writing skills is to buy a sample written by a reliable writer – you will be able to study his methodology, the best ways to structure the paper, correct approaches to formatting and so on. Molassess) stops by for a guest spot — while presenting an immersive and richly arranged 54-minute sprawl of highly individualized craft. Issued through No.1 Most trusted business plan synonym provides complete dissertation help from top domain writers for Guaranteed Good Grades. Prophecy Productions, it brings cuts like the memorable opener “Sulphur and Starlight” and the dynamic “A Glass Forest” as well as the classic metal chug of “Be Your Sins” and the reaches of its title-cut and acoustic-inclusive finale “Dust and Shadow.” Online resource dedicated to Research Papers On Animal Testing online. Here you will find information about writing services, their essay examples, advices and many more. DOOL are a band brazen enough to directly refuse genre, and it is to their benefit and the audience’s that they pull off doing so with such bravado and quality of output. For however long they go, they will not stop progressing. You can hear it.

DOOL on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Return to Worm Mountain, Therianthropy

return to worm mountain Therianthropy

By the time Durban, South Africa’s Return to Worm Mountain are done with 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Gh?l” from their second album, Therianthropy, the multi-instrumentalist duo of Duncan Park (vocal, guitar, bass, banjo, jaw harp) and Cam Lofstrand (vocals, drums, synth, guitar, bass, percussion) have gone from High on Fire-meets-Entombed crunch to psychedelic Americana to bare-essential acoustic guitar, and unsurprisingly, the scope doesn’t stop there. “Mothman’s Lament” is folksy sweetness and it leads right into the semi-industrial grind of “Mongolian Death Worm” before “Olgoi-Khorkoi” sludge-lumbers into Echoplex oblivion — or at very least the unrepentantly pretty plucked strings of “Tatzelwurm.” The title refers to a human ability to become an animal — think werewolf — and if that’s a metaphor for the controlled chaos Return to Worm Mountain are letting loose here, one can hardly argue it doesn’t fit. Too strange to be anything but progressive, Therianthropy‘s avant garde feel will alienate as many as it delights, and that’s surely the point of the entire endeavor.

Return to Worm Mountain on Thee Facebooks

Return to Worm Mountain on Bandcamp

 

Dopelord, Sign of the Devil

dopelord sign of the devil

Primo weedian stoner sludge doom of precisely the proportion-of-riff one would expect from Polish bashers Dopelord, which is to say plenty huge and plenty grooving. “The Witching Hour Bell” sets the tone on Sign of the Devil, which is the fourth full-length from the Warsaw-based four-piece. They lumber, they plod, they crash, and yes, yes, yes, they riff, putting it all on the line with “Hail Satan” with synth flourish at the end before “Heathen” and the ultimately-more-aggro “Doom Bastards” reinforce the mission statement. You might know what you’re getting going into it, but that doesn’t make the delivery any less satisfying as Dopelord plod into “World Beneath Us” like a cross between Electric Wizard and Slomatics and of course stick-click in on a quick four-count for the 94-second punk blaster “Headless Decapitator” to cap the 36-minute vinyl-ready run. How could they not? Sure, Sign of the Devil preaches to the choir, but hell’s bells it makes one happy to have joined the choir in the first place.

Dopelord on Thee Facebooks

Dopelord on Bandcamp

 

Ancestro, Ancestro

ancestro self titled

Numbered instrumental progressions comprise this third and self-titled offering from Peruvian trio Ancestro (issued through Necio Records and Forbidden Place Records), and the effect of the album being arranged in such a fashion is that it plays through as one long piece, the cascading volume changes of “II” feeding back into the outset count-in of the speedier “III” and so on. Each piece of the whole has its own intention, and it seems plain enough that the band composed the sections individually, but they’ve been placed so as to highlight the full-album flow, and as Ancestro move from “IV” into “V” and “VI,” with songs getting longer as they go en route to that engrossing and proggy 13-minute closer, their success draws from their ability to harness the precision and maybe even a little of the aggression of heavy metal and incorporate it as part of an execution both thoughtful and no less able to be patient when called for by a given piece. Hard-hitting psychedelia is tough to pull off, but Ancestro‘s Ancestro is no less spacious than terrestrial.

Ancestro on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Hellhookah, The Curse

hellhookah the curse

In 2016, Lithuanian two-piece Hellhookah made it no challenge whatsoever to get into the traditionalist doom of their debut album, Endless Serpents (review here), and the seven songs of The Curse make for a welcome follow-up, with an uptick in production value and the fullness of the mix and a decided affinity for underground ’80s metal in cuts like “Supremacy” and “Dreams and Passions” to coincide with the Dio-era-Sabbath vibes of centerpiece “Flashes” and the nodding finisher “Greed and Power,” which follows and contrasts “Dreams and Passions” in a manner that feels multi-tiered in its purpose. Departing from some of the Vitus-ness of the first full-length, The Curse adopts a more complex tack across its 38 minutes, but its heart and its loyalties are still of doom, by doom, and for the doomed, and that suits them just fine. Crucially, their lack of pretense carries over, and their love of all things doomed translates into every riff and every stretch on offer. If you’d ask more than that of them, well, why?

Hellhookah on Thee Facebooks

Hellhookah on Bandcamp

 

Daisychain, Daisychain EP

Daisychain Daisychain EP

Bluesy in opener “Demons,” grunge-tinged in “Lily” and fuzz-folk-into-’70s-soul-rock on “How Can I Love You,” Daisychain‘s self-titled debut EP wants little for ambition from the start, but the Chicago-based four-piece bring a confidence to their dually-vocalized approach that unites the material across whatever stylistic lines it treads, be it in the harmonies of the midtempo rocker “Are You Satisfied” or the righteously languid “Fake Flowers,” which follows. With six songs and 21 minutes, the self-released outing is but a quick glimpse at what Daisychain might have in store going forward, but the potential is writ large from the classic feel of “Demons” to the barroom spirit of closer “The Wrong Thing,” which reminds that rock and roll doesn’t have to sacrifice efficiency in order to make a statement of its own force. There’s plenty of attitude to be found in these songs, but beneath that — or maybe alongside it — there’s a sense of an emergent songwriting process that is only going to continue to flourish. What they do with the momentum they build here will be interesting to see/hear, but more than that, they’re developing a perspective and persona of their own, and that speaks to a longer term ideal. To put another way, they don’t sound like they’re half-assing it.

Daisychain on Thee Facebooks

Daisychain on Bandcamp

 

The Burning Brain Band, The Burning Brain Band

The Burning Brain Band The Burning Brain Band

Capping with a slide-tinged take on the traditional “Parchman Farm” (see also: Blue Cheer, Cactus, etc.), Ohio’s The Burning Brain Band‘s self-titled debut casts a wide net in terms of influences, centering the penultimate “The Dreamer” around 12-string acoustic guitar on an eight-minute run that’s neither hurried nor staid, but all the more surprising after the electronica-minded “Interlude (Still Running),” which, at four minutes is of greater substance than one might expect of an interlude just as the seven-and-a-half-minute warm-up “Launch Sequence” is considerably broader than one generally considers an intro to an album. There isn’t necessarily a foundational basis from which the material emanates — though “Brain Food” is an effective desert-ish rocker, it moves into the decidedly proggier “Bolero/Floating Away” — but “Launch Sequence” is immersive and the four-piece bring a performance cohesion and a clarity of mindset to the proceedings of this debut that may not unite the songs, but carries the listener through with a sure hand just the same. Who ever said everything on a record had to sound alike? For sure not The Burning Brain Band, who translate the mania of their moniker into effective sonic variety.

The Burning Brain Band on Thee Facebooks

The Burning Brain Band on Bandcamp

 

Slump, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country

Slump Flashbacks from Black Dust Country

Count Slump in a freakout psych renaissance, all punk-out-the-airlock and ’90s-noise thisandthat. Delivered through Feel It Records, the Richmond, Virginia, outfit’s debut, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country indeed touches ground every now and again, as on “Desire Death Drifter,” but even there, the vocals are so soaked wet with echo that I’m pretty sure they fucked up my speakers, and as much as “Tension Trance” tries, it almost can’t help but be acid grunge. In an age of nihilism, Slump aren’t so much unbridled as they are a reminder of the artistry behind the slacker lean, and in the thrust of “(Do The) Sonic Sprawl” and the far-out twist of “Throbbing Reverberation,” they affirm that only those with expanded minds will survive to see the new age and all the many spectral horrors it might unfurl. Can it be a coincidence that the album starts “No Utopia?” Hardly. I’m not ready to call these cats prophets, but they’ve got their collective ear to the ground and their boogie is molten-core accordingly. Tell two friends and tell them to tell two friends.

Feel It Records on Thee Facebooks

Feel It Records on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, EP III

canyon ep iii

It’s a ripper, inciting Larry David-style “prettay good” nods and all that sort of approval whatnot. If you want to think of Canyon as Philly’s answer to Memphis’ Dirty Streets, go ahead — and yes, by that I mean they’re dirtier. EP III boasts just three tracks in “No Home,” “Tent Preacher” and “Mountain Haze,” but with it the classic-style trio backs up the power they showed on 2018’s Mk II (review here), tapping ’70s blues rock swagger for the first two tracks and then blowing it out in a dreamy Zeppelin/Rainbow jam that’s trippy and righteous and right on and just plain right. Maybe even right-handed, I don’t know. What I do know is that these guys should’ve been picked up by some duly salivating label like last week already and they should be putting together a full-length on the quick. They’ve followed-up EP III with a stonerly take on The Beatles‘ “Day Tripper,” and that’s fun, but really, it’s time for this band to make an album.

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

 

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Black Road to Repress Witch of the Future on DHU Records & The Company; New Bassist Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

black road new lineup

Chicago doom rockers Black Road recently welcomed new bassist Trey Wedgeworth, also known for guitar and vocals in Faces of the Bog. Black Road‘s Witch of the Future, issued last Halloween, will see a repress with new artwork through DHU Records (EU) and The Company (US) that features new artwork handled by the latter and the vinyl-specific mastering work of Tony Reed of Mos Generator.

The bassist announcement came down just last week, so I’m not sure what the band’s plans are going forward or anything, but the first pressing of Witch of the Future would seem to have sold through its 250 copies handily, and that’s a pretty decent start for a band who’ve got strong word-of-mouth momentum behind them. Maybe some new songs written in quarantine? Maybe just waiting to play shows? Either way, the new release of the debut looks pretty killer, and if you missed it the first time around, the stream from Bandcamp is down at the bottom under the PR wire info.

So by all means, dig in:

black road witch of the future repress

Black Road ~ Witch of the Future Repress to be released through The Company & DHU Records

DHU Records is proud to announce a repress of unfathomed coolness!

Witch of the Future, the stunning debut album by Chicago Doomers Black Road will be released in a new jacket with new colors and will be presented to you by The Company in the US and DHU Records in the EU!

Strictly Limited to 250 copies on Blood Red Wax, if you didn’t score this one the last time, or perhaps you did, you’re going to want to need this as well!

Featuring amazing new artwork by The Company!

More details and order info coming soon…

Black Road ~ Witch of the Future (DHU035 Repress)

Side A:
A1. Purgatory
A2. Radiation
A3. Witch of the Future

Side B:
B1. Torches
B2. Blood on the Blade
B3. Hash King
B4. End of Man

Cover artwork by The Company
Recorded & mixed at Roosterbat studios by John Becker & Alec Haley
Mastered for vinyl by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Recording Company

https://www.facebook.com/BlackRoadChicago
https://instagram.com/blackroadband/
https://blackroadchicago.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
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Black Road, Witch of the Future (2019)

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Days of Rona: Rae Amitay of Errant & Immortal Bird

Posted in Features on April 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

ERRANT Photo By Andrew Rothmund

Days of Rona: Rae Amitay of Errant & Immortal Bird (Chicago, Illinois)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

We’ve had a really awesome June tour get cancelled, as well as our European plans postponed to later in the year. We’ll see what works out with all of that. We’re dealing with it as best we can, I guess. It’s disappointing but also universal — it’s not personal. I think our mental health is in rougher shape than our physical health, at least for now. Matt and John both still have to go into work, which is incredibly nerve-wracking. They’re taking precautions but ultimately I’d feel a lot better if they could just stay home. I miss everyone. We usually practice three days a week and now we all feel very far away from one another.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Going outside is only allowed for exercise and procuring essential items from grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. Social distancing is supposed to be practiced but no one seems to be following it, especially in stores. It’s maddening and terrifying!

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

All I see is what I see online, obviously tours are being cancelled, release dates are being pushed, bands are locked out of their practice spaces, people are struggling to connect with one another. I know a lot of musicians have been doing livestream shows and stuff, and it’s great that they’re staying busy. I think people need to stop focusing on how it’s affecting their summer gig calendar and start realizing that we’re in way deeper shit than that.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

Wash your hands. Don’t go out. Don’t see your friends even if they’re “feeling totally fine.” Unless you’ve both quarantined for two weeks and haven’t interacted with ANYONE else, you’re taking a risk you don’t deserve to take, because you could kill someone else. Did I mention wash your hands and stay the fuck inside? Young people aren’t immune, please stop calling it “boomer remover” — that was so three weeks ago. Also, don’t feel pressure to create an isolation masterpiece. A lot of bands and artists will do some sick stuff during this time, but if you spend this hardly touching your instruments and just trying to vibe, that’s okay too. You do you. Stay safe.

http://errantmusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/errantsounds/
http://www.instagram.com/errant.sounds

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Days of Rona: Eric Zann of Plague of Carcosa

Posted in Features on April 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

plague of carcosa eric zann

Days of Rona: Eric Zann of Plague of Carcosa (Chicago, Illinois)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

So far, we are all healthy, but things are at a standstill until further notice. Our last public outing was just a few days before Chicago shut down, opening for Bongzilla, who cancelled the rest of their tour the next day. I (Eric Zann, guitarist) became a permanent foster to a sick corgi that day actually, so I’ve been working at home and taking care of her with my partner the past few weeks, and she is the sweetest animal we’ve ever met. Alexander has been doing some noise/electronic work on his own, and coordinating things with other projects (who may have to postpone some tours if this carries on longer than into May).

As Plague of Carcosa, since social distancing makes jamming together with our amps and gear a bad idea, we’ve been working on some ideas for new material from our respective homes. It’s especially frustrating since we were going to bring on a new guitarist after that Bongzilla show, and on a personal level, I write better with other people around to bounce ideas off of. As a band, we’ve been lucky in that this hasn’t cost us anything financially (cancelling tours, postponing studio time, etc.).

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

In Chicago, things are pretty tight, and getting tighter. All bars and venues have been shut down for close to three weeks now. People are being fined heavily for congregating in crowds – in some of the more affluent neighborhoods, house parties were recently broken up by cops, and the mayor just closed all city parks/lakefront areas because people seem to have a hard time abiding by the recommended distancing guidelines. Some public buildings are being turned into makeshift medical centers.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

I’m not sure of the all legal aspects behind businesses shutting down (I believe places are facing fines for letting people hang out inside), but thankfully everyone has been fantastic about setting up GoFundMe pages for those in the service industry. If you can think of a bar, restaurant, or venue, they probably have something set up you can donate to to help the servers stay afloat while they’re unable to work. Most food places that are able to operate are still doing pickup and delivery service. Lots of local musicians are streaming themselves playing from their living rooms, which has been fun. I’m seeing some people occupy themselves by creating things on their own in new genres, and making videos about their craft for the fans.

Everyone seems to be taking the virus very seriously, but everyone is also staying as active as they can during this time, as well as being as supportive of others as they can. It will probably be a while before any locals can get back to the studio, but I wouldn’t be surprised about a flood of records from your Chicago favorites once this is behind us. Booking performances after this is something I’m not sure about when this is “over,” as I’d imagine everyone will be itching to play live and go out again ASAP. Venues will probably be getting tons of emails daily. We’ll just have to see how things go on the performance front.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

As a band, we are fine, and lucky to not be terribly impacted by this. We will be back with new things in the works when it is safe and responsible to do so. In the meantime, we encourage you to help out other artists that are less fortunate, as well as anyone else who is negatively impacted. Mutual aid can be easy to do, and go a long way, even while maintaining responsible precautions. Don’t think you won’t get sick, we know people personally who have tested positive for COVID and it sucks. Be safe, if not for your own sake, for those you care about.
https://www.facebook.com/plagueofcarcosa/
https://plagueofcarcosa.bandcamp.com/
https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/
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Quarterly Review: Ocean Chief, Barnabus, Helen Money, Elder Druid, Mindcrawler, Temple of Void, Lunar Swamp, Huge Molasses Tank Explodes, Emile, Saturno Grooves

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’m not saying I backloaded the Quarterly Review or anything — because I didn’t — but maybe subconsciously I wanted to throw in a few releases here I had a pretty good idea I was gonna dig beforehand. Pretty much all of them, as it turned out. Not a thing I regret happening, though, again, neither was it something I did purposefully. Anyone see A Serious Man? In this instance, I’m happy to “accept the mystery” and move on.

Before we dive into the last day, of course I want to say thank you for reading if you have been. If you’ve followed along all week or this is the only post you’ve seen or you’re just here because I tagged your band in the post on Thee Facebooks, whatever it is, it is appreciated. Thank you. Especially given the global pandemic, your time and attention is highly valued.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ocean Chief, Den Tredje Dagen

ocean chief den tredje dagen

The first Ocean Chief record in six years is nothing if not weighted enough to make up for anything like lost time. Also the long-running Swedish outfit’s debut on Argonauta Records, Den Tredje Dagen on CD/DL runs five songs and 59 minutes, and though it’s not without a sense of melody either instrumentally or vocally — certainly its guitars have plenty enough to evoke a sense of mournfulness at least — its primary impact still stems from the sheer heft of its tonality, and its tracks are of the sort that a given reviewer might be tempted to call “slabs.” They land accordingly, the longest of them positioned as the centerpiece “Dömd” seething with slower-Celtic Frost anxiety and the utter nastiness of its intent spread across 15-plus minutes of let-me-just-go-ahead-and-crush-that-for-you where “that” is everything and “no” isn’t taken for an answer. There’s respite in closer “Den Sista Resan” and the CD-bonus “Dimension 5,” but even these maintain an atmospheric severity consistent with what precedes them. One way or another, it is all fucking destroyed.

Ocean Chief on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records store

 

Barnabus, Beginning to Unwind

barnabus beginning to unwind

Come ye historians and classic heavy rockers. Come, reap what Rise Above Relics has sown. Though it’s hard sometimes not to think of the Rise Above Records imprint as label-honcho Lee Dorrian (ex-Cathedral, current With the Dead) picking out highlights from his own record collection — which is the stuff of legend — neither is that in any way a problem. Barnabus, who hailed and apparently on occasion still hail from the West Midlands in the UK, issued the Beginning to Unwind in 1972 as part of an original run that ended the next year. So it goes. Past its 10-minute jammy opener/longest track (immediate points) “America,” the new issue of Beginning to Unwind includes the LP, demos, live tracks, and no doubt assorted other odds and ends as well from Barnabus‘ brief time together. Songs like “The War Drags On” and “Resolute” are the stuff of ’70s-riff daydreams, while “Don’t Cry for Me My Lady” digs into proto-prog without losing its psych-folk inflection. I’m told the CD comes with a 44-page booklet, which only furthers the true archival standard of the release.

Barnabus on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Relics store

 

Helen Money, Atomic

helen money atomic

To those for whom Helen Money is a familiar entity, the arrival of a new full-length release will no doubt only be greeted with joy. The ongoing project of experimental cellist Alison Chesley, though the work itself — issued through Thrill Jockey as a welcome follow-up to 2016’s Become Zero (review here) — is hardly joyful. Coping with the universality of grief and notions of grieving-together with family, Chesley brings forth minimalism and electronics-inclusive stylstic reach in kind across the pulsating “Nemesis,” the periodic distortion of her core instrument jarring when it hits. She takes on a harp for “Coppe” and the effect is cinematic in a way that seems to find answer on the later “One Year One Ring,” after which follows the has-drums “Marrow,” but wherever Chesley goes on Atomic‘s 47 minutes, the overlay of mourning is never far off.

Helen Money on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records store

 

Elder Druid, Golgotha

elder druid golgotha

Belfast dual-guitar sludge five-piece Elder Druid return with seven tracks/39 minutes of ready punishment on their second album, Golgotha, answering the anger of 2017’s Carmina Satanae with densely-packed tones and grooves topped with near-universal harsh vocals (closer “Archmage” is the exception). What they’re playing doesn’t require an overdose of invention, with their focus is so much on hammering their riffs home, and certainly the interwoven leads of the title-track present some vision of intricacy for those who might demand it while also being punched in the face, and the transitional “Sentinel,” which follows,” brings some more doomly vibes ahead of “Vincere Vel Mori,” which revives the nod, “Dreadnought” has keys as well as a drum solo, and the penultimate “Paegan Dawn of Anubis” brings in an arrangement of backing vocals, so neither are they void of variety. At the feedback-soaked end of “Archmage,” Golgotha comes across genuine in its aggression and more sure of their approach than they were even just a couple years ago.

Elder Druid on Thee Facebooks

Elder Druid on Bandcamp

 

Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter

mindcrawler lost orbiter

I know the whole world seems like it’s in chaos right now — mostly because it is — but go ahead and quote me on this: a band does not come along in 2020 and put out a record like Lost Orbiter and not get picked up by some label if they choose to be. Among 2020’s most promising debuts, it is progressive without pretense, tonally rich and melodically engaging, marked out by a poise of songcraft that speaks to forward potential whether it’s in the coursing leads of “Drake’s Equation” or the final slowdown/speedup of “Trappist-1” that smoothly shifts into the sample at the start of closer “Dead Space.” Mindcrawler‘s first album — self-recorded, no less — is modern cosmic-heavy brought to bear in a way that strikes such a balance between the grounded and the psychedelic that it should not be ignored, even in the massively crowded international underground from which they’re emerging. And the key point there is they are emerging, and that as thoughtfully composed as the six tracks/29 minutes of Lost Orbiter are, they only represent the beginning stages of what Mindcrawler might accomplish. If there is justice left, someone will release it on vinyl.

Mindcrawler on Thee Facebook

Mindcrawler on Bandcamp

 

Temple of Void, The World That Was

Temple of Void The World that Was

Michigan doom-death five-piece Temple of Void have pushed steadily toward the latter end of that equation over their now-three full-lengths, and though The World That Was (their second offering through Shadow Kingdom) is still prone to its slower tempos and is includes the classical-guitar interlude “A Single Obulus,” that stands right before “Leave the Light Behind,” which is most certainly death metal. Not arguing with it, as to do so would surely only invite punishment. The extremity only adds to the character of Temple of Void‘s work overall, and as “Casket of Shame” seems to be at war with itself, so too is it seemingly at war with whatever manner of flesh its working so diligently to separate from the bone. Across a still-brief 37 minutes, The World That Was — which caps with its most-excellently-decayed nine-minute title-track — harnesses and realizes this grim vision, and Temple of Void declare in no uncertain terms that no matter how they might choose to tip the scale on the balance of their sound, they are its master.

Temple of Void on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records store

 

Lunar Swamp, Shamanic Owl

Lunar Swamp Shamanic Owl

Lunar Swamp have spawned as a blusier-directed offshoot of Italian doomers Bretus of which vocalist Mark Wolf, guitarist/bassist Machen and drummer S.M. Ghoul are members, and sure enough, their debut single “Shamanic Owl,” fosters this approach. As the band aren’t strangers to each other, it isn’t such a surprise that they’d be able to decide on a sound and make it happen their first time out but the seven-minute roller — also the leadoff their first EP, UnderMudBlues, which is due on CD in June — also finds time to work in a nod to the central riff of Sleep‘s “Dragonaut” along with its pointed worship of Black Sabbath, so neither do they seems strictly adherent to a blues foundation, despite the slide guitar that works its way in at the finish. How the rest of the EP might play out need not be a mystery — it’s out digitally now — but as far as an introduction goes, “Shamanic Owl” will find welcome among those seeking comfort in the genre-familiar.

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Lunar Swamp on Bandcamp

 

Huge Molasses Tank Explodes, II

Huge Molasses Tank Explodes II

The nine-track/42-minute second LP, II, from Milano post-this-or-that five-piece Huge Molasses Tank Explodes certainly finds the band earning bonus points based on their moniker alone, but more than that, it is a work of reach and intricacy alike, finding the moment where New Wave emerged from out of krautrock’s fascination with synthesizer music and bring to that a psychedelic shimmer that is too vintage-feeling to be anything other than modern. It is laid back enough in its overarching affect that “The Run” feels dreamy, most especially in its guitar lines, but never is it entirely at rest, and both the centerpiece “No One” and the later “So Much to Lose” help continue the momentum that “The Run” manages so fluidly to build in a manner one might liken to space rock were the implication of strict adherence to stylistic guidelines so implicit in that categorization. They present this nuance with a natural-seeming sense of craft and in “High or Low,” a fuzzy tone that feels like only a welcome windfall. Those who can get their head around it should seek to do so, and kudos to Huge Molasses Tank Explodes for being more than just a clever name.

Huge Molasses Tank Explodes on Thee Facebooks

Retro Vox Records on Bandcamp

 

Emile, The Black Spider/Det Kollektive Selvmord

Emile The Black Spider Det Kollektive Selvmord

Set to release through Heavy Psych Sounds on the same day as the new album from his main outfit The Sonic Dawn, The Black Spider/Det Kollective Selvmord is the debut solo album from Copenhagen-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Emile Bureau, who has adopted his first name as his moniker of choice. Fair enough for the naturalism and intended intimacy of the 11-track/39-minute outing, which indeed splits itself between portions in English and in Danish, sounding likewise able to bring together sweet melodies in both. Edges of distortion in “Bundlos” and some percussion in the second half’s title-track give a semblance of arrangement to the LP, but at the core is Emile himself, his vocals and guitar, and that’s clearly the purpose behind it. Where The Sonic Dawn often boast a celebratory feel, The Black Spider/Det Kollective Selvmord is almost entirely subdued, and its expressive sensibility comes through regardless of language.

Emile on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds store

 

Saturno Grooves, Cosmic Echoes

saturno grooves cosmic echoes

Sonic restlessness! “Fire Dome” begins with a riffy rush, “Forever Zero” vibes out on low end and classic swing, the title-track feels like an Endless Boogie jam got lost in the solar system, “Celestial Tunnel” is all-thrust until it isn’t at all, “Blind Faith” is an acoustic interlude, and “Dark Matter” is a punk song. Because god damn, of course it is. It is little short of a miracle Saturno Grooves make their second album, Cosmic Echoes as remarkably cohesive as it is, yet through it all they hold fast to class and purpose alike, and from its spacious outset to its bursting finish, there isn’t a minute of Cosmic Echoes that feels like happenstance, even though they’re obviously following one impulse after the next in terms of style. Heavy (mostly) instrumentalism that works actively not to be contained. Out among the echoes, Saturno Grooves might just be finding their own wavelength.

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LSDR Records store

 

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Novembers Doom Touring Australia & New Zealand in July

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

novembers doom

More than 30 years after their inception, Chicago death-doom innovators Novembers Doom will tour Australia and New Zealand for the first time. The band, arguably among the earliest in the States to tap into what concurrent acts in the UK like Anathema, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride were doing in terms of bringing together extreme metal grit with emotive expression no less heavy, head Down Under for the first time, going at the behest of Your Mate Bookings in support of their late-2019 album, Nephilim Grove, which was their label debut through Prophecy Productions after many years spent releasing on The End Records.

On the tour, they’ll headline the Behold Your Doom Festival in Adelaide, playing alongside a host of extreme bands that, given the deathly turn Novembers Doom‘s sound has taken over the last, oh, decade or so, should be an easy fit, but they’ll also start out in New Zealand and do Auckland and Wellington there, and it seems worth emphasizing that this is something the band has never done before. After 30-plus years since their inception. Playing a fest or not, that’s something pretty special. I have to think there aren’t that many places on the planet left these guys haven’t been.

Dates are below, as posted by Your Mate Bookings:

novembers doom australia tour

Novembers Doom – Australia/New Zealand Tour

You asked – we answered! Novembers Doom the gods of death-doom are coming to the antipodes with support from Enough to Escape on the Australian dates! Are you ready for what is guaranteed to be a mammoth live show?

Tuesday 14/7 Whammy Bar, Auckland NZ
Wednesday 15/7 Valhalla, Wellington NZ
Friday 17/7 The Foundry, Fortitude Valley QLD
Saturday 18/7 The Vanguard, Newtown NSW
Sunday 19/7 Transit Bar, Canberra ACT
Thursday 23/7 Stay Gold, Brunswick VIC
Friday 24/7 The Bendigo Hotel, Collingwood VIC
Saturday 25/7 Altar, Hobart TAS
Sunday 26/7 Jive, Adelaide SA – Behold Your Doom Festival 2020

Get tickets for this monumental occasion:
https://www.yourmatebookings.com/upcoming-events/

https://www.facebook.com/NovembersDoom1989/
https://www.instagram.com/novembersdoom/
http://www.novembersdoom.com/
https://www.facebook.com/prophecyproductions
https://www.instagram.com/prophecypro/
https://prophecy-de.bandcamp.com/

Novembers Doom, Nephilim Grove (2019)

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Friday Full-Length: Trouble, Simple Mind Condition

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Trouble, Simple Mind Condition (2007)

In light of the announcement earlier this week that Hammerheart Records in the Netherlands has undertaken the rather significant charge of stewarding deluxe reissues of Trouble‘s entire catalog to-date as well as putting out their next full-length, it seemed only fair to close out the week with an album by the Chicago-based doom legends. They have eight albums to this point, the most recent of them having been 2013’s The Distortion Field (review here), and over the course of a career that dates back to 1978, they’ve hardly been Uriah Heep or Hawkwind when it comes to output, but they put out six LPs between 1984 and 1995 and have done just two since, so take from that what you will. One of those, obviously, is The Distortion Field. The other is its predecessor, Simple Mind Condition, from 2007.

Whether because of the direction away from earlier-Sabbathian riffs and grooves heavy metal took in the post-NWOBHM ’80s or the more hard-rocking direction Trouble embarked on circa their 1990 self-titled, moving into a semi-psychedelic phase through 1992’s Manic Frustration and 1995’s Plastic Green Head, they’ve long since been due for a level of consideration that’s proven elusive. In 2006, when Stockholm’s Escapi Music signed them and began reissuing pieces of their back catalog and sundry live offerings, their Unplugged recordings and so on, it seemed like perhaps their work was receiving a bit of well-earned respect, and though he’d already left the band once in the 1990s and been replaced by Kyle Thomas of Exhorder, I have to think that if Simple Mind Condition had gotten a bigger reception, vocalist Eric Wagner might have at least considered staying with Trouble after the release. Instead, it marks his final album with them after what was then already a nearly-30-year run.

But what a record. No, Simple Mind Condition isn’t the riffy force of Trouble and it doesn’t carry the morose feel of their landmark 1984 debut, Psalm 9 (discussed here), but it is a mature presentation of the band Trouble were at that point. The guitars of Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin, on point as ever, while bassist Chuck Robinson and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson locked in a groove on opener “Goin’ Home” that seemed to hold for the entire 11-track/45-minute duration. Trouble were always about that crunch in the guitars — their tone no less a signature than Wagner‘s soaring vocals in the early days — but with Simple Mind Condition, the songwriting came front and center in a way that was genuinely exciting and, at least to an extent, fresh. Consider it had been 12 years since Plastic Green Head, and Simple Mind Condition was the first album since Wagner rejoined the band after leaving the first time.

The hooks in “Mindbender” and “Seven” and the swinging “Pictures of Life” not only kept an underlying doomy feel — the chug of the latter is up there with whatever classic metal you want to put it next to — not to mention the later “Trouble Maker” or “Simple Mind Condition” or “If I Only Had a Reason.” Even the ballads “After the Rain” and “The Beginning of Sorrows” — the latter delivering the line “Sewing pillows for those which are asleep,” from which The Skull would later derive the name of their first LP — proved memorable when given the time to do so, and along with a cover of Lucifer’s Friend‘s “Ride the Sky” that fit seamlessly among the originals, and the quirk in “Arthur Brown’s Whiskey Bar,” with Wagner touching on some oftrouble simple mind condition the Beatles influence that the band manifested in their psychedelic days — they covered “Tomorrow Never Knows” on Plastic Green Head, and Wagner‘s short-lived post-Trouble project, Lid, certainly had that vibe as well on 1997’s In the Mushroom — while of course referencing the ’60s psych era in the title character of the song, added personality between the start-stop stomp of “Trouble Maker” and the thrust of the title-track.

All of this tells the story of an album that is front to back, flat out, all in. No pretense, heavy, raw in its way when it wants to be, but of course with rampant melody. They were never the most energetic of bands, and neither were they intended to be, but Simple Mind Condition still ups the tempo when it wants to, whether it’s the lurch-to-life at the bass-led outset of “Goin’ Home” or “Ride the Sky”‘s recognizable signature progression, and they’re no less at home in doing so than in the piano-complemented emotionalism of “The Beginning of Sorrows,” which builds from its subdued beginning over the course of its sub-five-minute run as Wagner intones, “Six long years/Since I’ve been in love/Yeah, maybe since birth,” and lets the sadness of those lines stand on its own, beautifully understated.

It’s a what-if record. The landscape of heavy into which Simple Mind Condition was introduced was vastly different from what the underground would become even a few years later as the new generation to which Trouble seemed to be speaking actually opened its ears. But by then it was too late, at least for Trouble as they were up to that point. They toured without Wagner to support Simple Mind Condition and the various other Escapi releases, and I remember seeing them at the old Knitting Factory in Manhattan circa 2008 with fellow Chicagoans Minsk opening and Warrior Soul vocalist Kory Clarke fronting the band. Franklin and Wartell sounded great, of course, but as a band it just didn’t work, and they brought in Thomas once again shortly thereafter. Sometimes you try a thing, I guess. I seem to recall Clarke was a last-minute call anyhow.

Of course, Wagner went on to form The Skull with former Trouble bassist Ron Holzner and Sacred Dawn guitarist Lothar Keller, and they’ve been touring and releasing albums since, at first playing old Trouble material and gradually bringing originals to the mix, then letting their own songs take priority. Their two full-lengths to-date, 2014’s For Those Which are Asleep (review here) and 2018’s The Endless Road Turns Dark (review here), shone like a melancholy beacon and realized the potential in Simple Mind Condition to engage that emergent generational audience of which Trouble seemed just a couple years ahead. Those are two of the last decade’s best American doom records, easily, and inextricably tied to Trouble‘s legacy while forging their own outward path therefrom.

I don’t know what Trouble‘s new deal with Hammerheart — which is more known for its dealings with death and black metal than doom — will bring. A chance for fans to buy records they already own? Bonus material? I don’t know. If I’m lucky maybe I’ll get to review some of those albums? Maybe? We’ll see. One way or the other, since their inception, Trouble worked against trend and were a band who spoke to a particular segment of the heavy converted. It would be great if they got the museum-grade respect they deserve, but even if that doesn’t happen, at least it’s a chance for a few new heads to turn on to what they were doing all along, and maybe Simple Mind Condition — which has been reissued along the way, in 2009, 2010, 2013 — can play a role in making that happen. It was a special, fleeting moment for the Trouble, and one that, 13 years after the fact, still holds up.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Things seemed to settle down a bit this week, which was good. We had The Patient Mrs.’ birthday dinner last Sunday, and that was kind of a mess while it was actually coming together, but by the time food was served it was fine. I think it’s been since Monday that I last really felt the need to take a xanax, so that’s something, and I feel like I’m starting to get a handle on the semester schedule and how to work the days with The Pecan and all that kind of thing. His going to part-time daycare on Wednesdays and Thursdays has been working out for him, and he has had a language explosion over the last month-plus that has helped cut a lot of frustration he was feeling not being able to express himself. He talks now almost as much as he moves, and he moves constantly.

Actually, he fell at daycare in some woodchips or something this week and cut up his face. His teacher when The Patient Mrs. and I went to pick him up was all worried in telling us like we were going to freak out. We were like, “shrug.” She said he just got up and kept running like nothing happened and I said, “Yup, that’s who he is.” This kid falls every single day in ways that, if I did it, I’d have to go to bed for a week. I’m not bragging because he’s tough or whatever — it’s something we worked on, actively not making a big deal of it when he falls down.

And now he does and it’s no drama. He falls off the couch. He falls off his bike. He falls running. He falls jumping. He bumps into walls, tables, shelves, doors, whatever. He slips while climbing the windowsill. It doesn’t matter. You have to stop yourself from reaching for him, but now when he plotzes down I mostly just laugh, and so he does too. And if he starts complaining I say, “You’re fine,” and he is. That’s just who he is. He’s that kind of kid. That’s the real him. I was glad it came out at what we’ve been calling “school” just for the ease of doing so.

The week’s centerpiece as regards general plight was money. As in, we don’t have any. And The Patient Mrs. made the woeful mistake of extrapolating how much we spend on groceries per year and, well, that just sucked. I offered to get a job — go work in some store or something — but it hasn’t really been part of the discussion. We’re keeping receipts for the next week or so and then seeing where we’re at and what we can do. I fucking hate money. I hate everything about it. I hate having it, I hate spending it, I hate making it, I hate not having it. It astounds me that, as a species evolved over hundreds of thousands and millions of years, we’ve so totally failed to come up with anything better to do with our time than engage in the pursuit and interchange of so much made-up bullshit. That I spend so much time, and that my wife — who pays our bills — spends so much of her time, fretting about these things shames me deeply.

But it’s the weekend. I have work to do on the Roadburn ‘zine, and some other stuff, but next week is pretty full. Look out for a Foot track premiere on Monday. Australian band. That record is so god damn good. There’s other stuff too, a few announcements here and there. A My Dying Bride review. It’ll be fun.

The kid’s up, so I’m gonna get rolling on the day. Great and safe weekend. Have fun, be kind. FRM. Forum, Radio, Merch.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

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Trouble Sign to Hammerheart Records for New Album and Reissues

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Signing on to reissue the entire Trouble catalog is no minor commitment for a record label to make. Hammerheart Records will reportedly not only reissue the Chicago doom legends’ entire discography — that’s eight full-length albums, mind you — but will do so on remastered vinyl, 2CD and tapes, as well as the standard downloads, and that includes giving 2013’s The Distortion Field (review here) a proper look. That’s a huge deal. Plus they’re announcing that Trouble will have a new record out before the end of this year — stranger things have happened but I’m on a believe-it-when-I-see-it basis when it comes to doom LPs — and that they’ll put that out as well.

Basically what this means is that Trouble have a new home. The reissues are starting this May with Psalm 9 and will proceed onward from there, and it’s obvious that Hammerheart is passionate about the project, otherwise they wouldn’t even take it on. It’s awesome to see and hopefully it introduces Trouble‘s most essential works to a new generational audience, because frankly the more people who are exposed to it, the better.

Here’s news:

trouble

Hammerheart Records announces partnership with metal legends Trouble

Hammerheart Records will partner with the legendary metal band Trouble to re-release their entire musical catalogue, in addition to their upcoming album.

Hammerheart Records is thrilled to announce their biggest achievement to-date with the signing of doom metal legends Trouble to their label. This partnership that will see the distribution of the band’s entire library of music that spans over three decades.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Hammerheart Records and joining their roster of bands”, stated Rick Wartell, Trouble founder/guitarist. “Our entire back catalogue of music will be made available to our fans worldwide, as well as our upcoming release scheduled for later this year.”

Hammerheart Records and Trouble will re-issue the full catalogue with each album remastered and reworked with the respect to the original recordings. Every album will be reissued on a deluxe 2-CD edition, vinyl, music cassette, and digital offerings. Releases will be scheduled chronologically, starting in May 2020 with the album now known as Psalm 9, which was originally released on Metal Blade Records in 1984 and is hailed as one of the Trouble of doom metal music.

Other Trouble releases will follow including other 80’s heavy classics, the 90’s psychedelic era, and more recent releases including the critically-acclaimed The Distortion Field. All equally essential to Trouble fans, and lovers of heavy metal everywhere.

A new Trouble album is planned for release at the end of 2020 and will be heavier than ever.

Trouble is:
Kyle Thomas : vocals,
Bruce Franklin : guitar,
Rick Wartell : guitar,
Rob Hultz : bass,
Marko Lira : drums

https://www.facebook.com/TroubleMetal/
https://www.facebook.com/hammerheartrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/hammerheartrecords666/
https://www.hammerheart.com/

Trouble, Live on TV in 1982

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