Dead Feathers to Release All is Lost Aug. 23; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dead feathers

It’s kind of amazing how far the fallout from the HeviSike Records shoe-dropping continues to go. Chicago’s Dead Feathers would seem to have made the best of a bad situation, and though it’s been three years since their self-titled EP came out, they’ve signed to Ripple Music to issue the follow-up full-length, titled All is Lost, and that’s pretty much a best case scenario going from an EP to a debut long-player anyhow, right? So good for them, and good for anyone who listens the new streaming track “Horse and Sands” at the bottom of this post as well, which I think shows quickly the appeal that might’ve caught Ripple‘s ear to start with, the European classicism meeting head-on with a brash American style. They make it easy to dig, so dig it.

Album’s out Aug. 23, which is in less than a month, so keep an eye out. Here’s whatnot from the PR wire:

dead feathers all is lost

Experience the Ascension of Psychedelic Quintet DEAD FEATHERS on ALL IS LOST | Stream ‘Horse and Sands’ now!

All Is Lost by Dead Feathers is released on 23rd August on Ripple Music

Since day one, these psychedelic Chicagoans have proven themselves to be a young band with limitless potential and lasting appeal. Building on the success of their 2016 self-titled EP on HeviSike Records, Dead Feathers have continued to cultivate a growing fanbase across the world, largely through ambitious tours and guest support slots with the likes of Kikagaku Moyo, Radio Moscow and Monster Magnet.

Fronted by the extremely talented Marissa Allen, whose vocals summon the spirit of Inga Rumpf and Linda Hoyle, Dead Feathers are influenced by rock bands of the 60s and 70s and the modern underground psych of today. Fusing a heavy, early 70s Fairports-via-Affinity vibe with a Dead Meadow and Black Mountain-esque appreciation for big riffs, their live shows are filled with a thunderous energy on stage that puts concert goers under their spell. Combining soulful and emotional songwriting with obscene levels of fuzz and reverb, overflowing bass lines and booming drums, Dead Feathers craft a mood with deft levels of artistry and showmanship.

Drop yourself in the incense smoke and reverberated grooves that is Dead Feathers this August with the release of All Is Lost on 23rd August through Ripple Music.

TRACK LISTING:
1. At the Edge
2. With Me
3. Cordova
4. Horse and Sands
5. All is Lost
6. Darling Sighs
7. Smoking Gun
8. Night Child (Exclusive to CD)
9. Not Ours to Own
10. Found Caravan (Exclusive to CD)

DEAD FEATHERS:
Tony Wold – Guitar
Marissa Allen – Vocals
Tim Snyder – Guitar
Rob Rodak – Bass
Joel Castanon – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/deadfeathers/
http://deadfeathersmusic.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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Snow Burial Sign to Prosthetic Records to Release Ostrava Sept. 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

snow burial (Photo by Aaron Ehinger)

No full songs yet, but we’re about two months out from the release, so we’ll get there. Chicago-style deep-dish post-metallers Snow Burial will offer up their second long-player, Ostrava, as their label debut on Prosthetic Records, and tour to support it. They have a couple weekenders currently listed, and I’m not sure if the actual tour that will follow the Sept. 20 release is properly announced yet or not, but the dates are included in the teaser clip for the record, so there you go. Plus if you watch that you get a little snippet of what I’ll assume is a strobe-laden official video to follow, and of course some music as well, so, you know, they really pack the info into that 30 seconds. One doesn’t generally think of post-metal as having such efficiency.

The band are new to me — I’m sure they’re not new to you; I’ve said this before, but you’re way cooler than I am — so I’ve also included below song from their Bandcamp that featured on a split last year with Aseethe. Bonus points to them for the Richard Nixon sample and the Isis-meets-Souls at Zero-ness all around.

To the PR wire:

snow burial ostrava

Prosthetic Records Sign Snow Burial – New Album & Tours Imminent

Prosthetic Records is thrilled to announce the signing of Chicago’s SNOW BURIAL. The doomy three-piece will release their second full length album – titled Ostrava – on September 20. Pre-orders are now available HERE.

Of the signing, SNOW BURIAL’s Ben Bowman comments:

“We are so excited to team up with Prosthetic Records and release Ostrava on their label. This album means the world to us and to be able to work with this team is a dream come true. Joining a label with so many friends and bands we love makes it all the better.”

SNOW BURIAL will celebrate their signing to the label by hitting the road this week with Aseethe. The two bands released a split EP together last year and their dual pronged trail of audio destruction kicks off this Thursday. Full dates are below.

Recorded in early 2019 at Electrical Audio, Chicago with Shane Hochstetler at the helm, Ostrava maps where life’s beauty and terror collide. Born from their defining experiences at home and on the road the unifying theme of Ostrava is one of duality – failure and triumph, celebration and mourning, isolation and family. Taking inspiration from the likes of Radiohead as much as any metal act; SNOW BURIAL craft polished songs with the whirring machinery hidden just below the surface. Their blend of melody and aggression delivers a sound that dredges the depths of doom and sludge and marries it with rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities.

Ostrava Track List
1. Tyranny
2. Sever The Bloodline
3. The Afterneath
4. T?inec
5. Ostrava
6. Gaping Wounds
7. Burn Down The Crown
8. The Lost
9. The Unforgiven

SNOW BURIAL upcoming live shows:
18 July – Milwaukee, WI @ Walkers Point Music Hall
19 July – Madison, WI @ Barley Pop
20 July – Minneapolis, MN @ Hexagon
08 August – Des Moines, IA @ TBA
09 August – St Louis, MO @ Sinkhole
10 August – Louisville. KY @ Mag Bar (no Aseethe)
11 August – Dubuque, IA @ The Blu Room

Release show:
20 September – Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge (w/Scientist + These Beasts)

https://www.facebook.com/snowburial
https://www.instagram.com/snowburial/
https://snowburial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.snowburial.com/
http://prostheticrecords.bandcamp.com/

Snow Burial, Ostrava album teaser

Snow Burial, “Sever the Bloodline”

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Plague of Carcosa Stream Ocean is More Ancient than the Mountains EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on July 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

plague of carcosa

Chicago instrumentalist two-piece Plague of Carcosa will release their new EP, Ocean is More Ancient than the Mountains, on July 19 through Sludgelord Records on tape and Gipsy House Recordings on CD. The title, like much of the band’s framework, derives from the horror literature of H.P. Lovecraft, and the two songs on Ocean is More Ancient than the Mountains, “Crawling Chaos” and “Madness at Sea,” do likewise, the former being a 1921 short story related to the outer-god Nyarlathotep, while the latter refers to Cthulhu. So the big guns, as far as Lovecraft goes. Fair enough, as guitarist Eric Zann and drummer Lark McGee have the tone and pummel to match the giant mythical beasts they’d purport to base their work around. As to whether the two of them were sitting in the rehearsal space with their Lovecraft compendium out going, “Okay, now we’ll make this riff represent when he says, ‘Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men,'” but it’s of course an atmospheric impression, and after a few years of lineup changes — doing time over the last three years as a solo-project, a trio, and even a four-piece on last year’s 14-minute “Rats in the Walls” single — they basically have the whole “eldritch dark cosmos” thing down.

And it should go without saying that Lovecraft dilettantes, non-fans or those who’ve simply never engaged with the material and its old-style hyper-formal prose won’t necessarily lose out on the listening experience for not being immediately ready to connect the cumbersome title to the short story “The White Ship” from Plague of Carcosa Ocean is More Ancient than the Mountainswhence it comes. The 15-plus-minute offering has a rumbling, noisy appeal all its own, and one would be remiss not to liken it to acts like Bongripper (whose Dennis Pleckham mastered) or even the much-missed Beast in the Field — the tone at the start of “Madness at Sea” particularly for the latter — but its combination of fullness of sound and a duo’s elemental cacophony helps bring personality to Ocean is More Ancient than the Mountains beyond the basic thematic. “Crawling Chaos” indeed lurches forward, building into a sensory overload of which Nyarlathotep himself might be proud before entrancing with low-end distortion into a long deconstructing fadeout, while “Madness at Sea” starts out with feedback and unfurls a more undulating central progression with harder stops and will eventually also seem to rip itself apart on a molecular level before it’s done. “Madness at Sea” might be the more punishing of the two, but it’s a picking of poison either way on the two-songer, as Zann and McGee create a massive, churning abyss of groove and ill-intentioned tone. If the ocean is more ancient than the mountains — technically true — then Plague of Carcosa do well in conjuring what horrors might lie in the unfathomable deep.

I won’t profess to know whether Plague of Carcosa will keep their current configuration or seek to add another member (or two), but the best argument in favor of their current form seems to be coming from the band itself in these songs. I’m no expert on Lovecraft, but the brutal ambience McGee and Zann bring to bear on Ocean is More Ancient than the Mountains is a grim thrill unto itself, and only suggests further reading. And by reading, I mean crushing. And by crushing, I mean being crushed. Just so we’re clear.

You can stream Ocean is More Ancient than the Mountains on the player below. More info off the PR wire follows.

Please enjoy:

Plague of Carcosa is a 2-piece instrumental doom band formed in the spring of 2016; the band was created by cult leader Eric Zann in the forgotten corners of Chicago to explore the darker, more droning side of metal. Taking cues from the heavy textures Sunn O))) and Bong, and introducing the terrifying themes of Lovecraft, Eric self-released the debut The Color Out Of Space, and the cult grew. Recruiting a drummer and second guitarist as high priests of the cult, the group quickly took to playing in a style often compared to local heroes Bongripper, whilst also taking notes from the mighty Conan and Thou. As they honed their material, Eric released the 70-minute experimental piece (‘Ritual 1’) and shortly after, the group worked with Andy Nelson (Weekend Nachos) on their first release as a group, Hastur, which was unleashed upon the world in May of 2017. The winter of 2018 saw the release of ‘Rats in the Walls,’ a 15-minute behemoth, which was mastered by Dennis Pleckham of Bongripper.

The latest release, Ocean Is More Ancient Than The Mountains, once again sees the cult teaming up with Andy Nelson and Dennis Pleckham, this time operating only as a two-piece. While they have lost a high priest, they have gained followers all over the world with their sonic adaptations of the works of Lovecraft and invocations of the Great Old Ones. The opener ‘The Crawling Chaos’ serves as a tribute to the great Nyarlathotep and sees them seamlessly blending their signature colossal doom riffs with a touch of grindcore at the climax. The other half of the EP, ‘Madness at Sea,’ is intended to pay tribute to the ‘Call of Cthulhu’ chapter of the same name. Melding drawn-out, ever-evolving riffs with more ambient sections that crash into walls of feedback, it is a fitting depiction of the sailors losing their sanity when being faced with the mountainous Cthulhu in his sunken corpse city.

Ocean Is More Ancient Than The Mountains is set for release digitally and audio cassette via Sludgelord Records on July 19th 2019.

Plague of Carcosa is:
Eric Zann – strings
Lark McGee – drums

Plague of Carcosa on Thee Facebooks

Plague of Carcosa on Bandcamp

The Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

Sludgelord Records on Thee Facebooks

Gipsy House Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Gipsy House Recordings on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Pelican, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Greenbeard, Mount Soma, Nibiru, Cable, Reino Ermitaño, Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

More computer bullshit this morning. I lost about 45 minutes because my graphics driver and Windows 10 apparently hate each other and before I could disable the former, the machine decided the best it could do for me was to load a blank screen. Hard to find the Pelican record on my desktop when I can’t see my desktop. The Patient Mrs. woke up while I was trying to fix it and suggested HDMIing it to the tv. When I did that, it didn’t project as was hoped, but the display came on — because go figure — and I was able to shut off the driver, the only real advantage of which is it lets me use the night light feature so it’s easier on my eyes. That’s nice, but I’d rather have the laptop function. Not really working on a level of “give me soft red light or give me death!” at this point. I may yet get there in my life.

Today’s the last day of this beast, wrapping up the last of the 60 reviews, and I’m already in the hole for the better part of an hour thanks to this technical issue, the second of the week. Been an adventure, this one. Let’s close it out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Nighttime Stories

pelican nighttime stories

Split into two LPs each with its own three-minute mood-setter — those being “WST” and “It Stared at Me,” respectively — Pelican‘s Nighttime Stories (on Southern Lord) carries the foreboding sensibility of its title into an aggressive push throughout the album, which deals from the outset with the pain of loss. The lead single “Midnight and Mescaline” represents this well in directly following “WST,” with shades of more extreme sounds in the sharp-turning guitar interplay and tense drums, but it carries through the blastbeats of “Abyssal Plain” and the bombastic crashes of presumed side B closer “Cold Hope” as well, which flow via a last tonal wash toward the melancholy “It Stared at Me” and the even-more-aggro title-track, the consuming “Arteries of Blacktop” and the eight-minute “Full Moon, Black Water,” which offers a build of maddening chug — a Pelican hallmark — before resolving in melodic serenity, moving, perhaps, forward with and through its grief. It’s been six years since Pelican‘s last LP, Forever Becoming (review here), and they’ve responded to that time differential with the hardest-hitting record they’ve ever done.

Pelican on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed

swan valley heights the heavy seed

Though the peaceful beginning of 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Heavy Seed,” for which the five-song album is named, reminds of Swan Valley Heights‘ Munich compatriots in Colour Haze, the ultimate impression the band make on their Fuzzorama Records debut and second album overall behind a 2016 self-titled (review here) is more varied in its execution, with cuts like “Vaporizer Woman” and the centerpiece “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine” manifesting ebbs and flows and rolling out a fuzzy largesse to lead into dream-toned ethereality and layered vocals that immediately call to mind Elephant Tree. There’s a propensity for jamming, but they’re not a jam band, and seem always to have a direction in mind. That’s true even on the three-minute instrumental “My First Knife Fight,” which unfurls around a nod riff and simple drum progression to bridge into closer “Teeth and Waves,” a bookend to The Heavy Seed‘s title-track that revives that initial grace and uses it as a stepping stone for the crunch to come. It’s a balance that works and should be well received.

Swan Valley Heights on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

 

Mark Deutrom, The Blue Bird

Mark Deutrom The Blue Bird

Released in the wee hours of 2019, Mark Deutrom‘s The Blue Bird marks the first new solo release from the prolific Austin-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist through Season of Mist, and it’s a 50-minute run of genre-spanning outsider art, bringing ’70s folk vibes to the weepy guitar echoes of “Radiant Gravity” right before “O Ye of Little Faith” dooms out for six of its seven minutes and “Our Revels Now Are Ended” basks in 77 seconds of experimentalist winding guitar. It goes like that. Vocals are intermittent enough to not necessarily be expected, but not entirely absent through the midsection of “Hell is a City,” “Somnambulist” and “Maximum Hemingway,” and if there’s traditionalism at play anywhere, it might be in “They Have Won” and “The Happiness Machine,” which, toward the back end of the album, bring a sax-laden melancholy vibe and a straightforward heavy rock feel, respectively, ahead of the closer “Nothing out There,” which ties them together, somehow accounting for the 1:34 “On Fathers Day” as well in its sweetness. Don’t go into The Blue Bird asking it to make sense on any level other than its own and you should be fine. It’s not a minor undertaking at 50 minutes, and not without its indulgences, but even the briefest of pieces helps develop the character of the whole, which of course is essential to any good story.

Mark Deutrom website

Season of Mist website

 

Greenbeard, Onward, Pillager

greenbeard onward pillager

Austin bringers of hard-boogie Greenbeard reportedly issued the three-song Onward, Pillager as a precursor to their next full-length — even the name hints toward it being something of a stopgap — but its tracks stand well on their own, whether it’s the keyboard-laced “Contact High II,” which is presumably a sequel to another track on the forthcoming record, or the chunkier roll of “WCCQ” and the catchy finisher “Kill to Love Yourself,” with its overlaid guitar solo adding to a dramatic ending. It hasn’t been that long since 2017’s Lödarödböl (review here), but clearly these guys are committed to moving forward in neo-stoner rock fashion, and their emergence as songwriters is highlighted particularly throughout “WCCQ” and “Kill to Love Yourself,” while “Contact High II” is more of an intro or a would-be interlude on the full-length. It may only be pieces of a larger, to-be-revealed picture, but Onward, Pillager shows three different sides of what Greenbeard have on offer, and the promise of more to come is one that will hopefully be kept sooner rather than later.

Greenbeard on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

 

Mount Soma, Nirodha

mount_soma_nirodha

Each of the three songs on Mount Soma‘s densely-weighted, live-recorded self-released Nirodha EP makes some mention of suffering in its lyrics, and indeed, that seems to be the theme drawing together “Dark Sun Destroyer” (7:40), “Emerge the Wolf” (5:50) and “Resurfacing” (9:14): a quest for transcendence perhaps in part due to the volume of the music and the act itself of creating it. Whatever gets them there, the trajectory of Nirodha is such that by the time they hit into the YOB-style galloping toward the end of “Resurfacing,” the gruff shouts of “rebirth!” feel more celebratory than ambitious. Based in Dublin, the four-piece bring a fair sense of space to their otherwise crush-minded approach, and though the EP is rough — it is their second short release following 2016’s Origins — they seem to have found a way to tie together outer and inner cosmos with an earthbound sense of gravity and heft, and with the more intense shove of “Emerge the Wolf” between the two longer tracks, they prove themselves capable of bringing a noisy charge amid all that roar and crash. They did the first EP live as well. I wonder if they’d do the same for a full-length.

Mount Soma on Thee Facebooks

Mount Soma on Bandcamp

 

Nibiru, Salbrox

nibiru salbrox

One might get lost in the unmanageable 64-minute wash of Nibiru‘s fifth full-length (first for Ritual Productions), Salbrox, but the opaque nature of the proceedings is part of the point. The Italian ritualists bring forth a chaotic depth of noise and harsh semi-spoken rasps of vocals reportedly in the Enochian language, and from 14-minute opener “EHNB” — also the longest track (immediate points) — through the morass that follows in “Exarp,” “Hcoma,” “Nanta” and so on, the album is a willful slog that challenges the listener on nearly every level. This is par for the course for Nibiru, whose last outing was 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here), and they seem to revel in the slow-churning gruel of their distortion, turning from it only to break to minimalism in the second half of the album with “Abalpt” and “Bitom” before 13-minute closer “Rziorn” storms in like a tsunami of spiritually desolate plunge. It is vicious and difficult to hear, and again, that is exactly what it’s intended to be.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

 

Cable, Take the Stairs to Hell

Cable Take the Stairs to Hell

The gift of Cable was to take typically raw Northeastern disaffection and channel it into a noise rock that wasn’t quite as post-this-or-that as Isis, but still had a cerebral edge that more primitive fare lacked. They were methodical, and 10 years after their last record, the Hartford, Connecticut, outfit return with the nine-song/30-minute Take the Stairs to Hell (on Translation Loss), which brings them back into the modern sphere with a sound that is no less relevant than it was bouncing between This Dark Reign, Hydra Head and Translation Loss between 2001 and 2004. They were underrated then and may continue to be now, but the combination of melody and bite in “Black Medicine” and the gutty crunch of “Eyes Rolled Back,” the post-Southern heavy of the title-track and the lumbering pummel of “Rivers of Old” before it remind of how much of a standout Cable was in the past, reinforcing that not only were they ahead of their time then, but that they still have plenty to offer going forward. They may continue to be underrated as they always were, but their return is significant and welcome.

Cable on Instagram

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

Reino Ermitaño, Reino Ermitaño

Reino Ermitano Reino Ermitano

Originally released in 2003, the self-titled debut from Lima, Peru’s Reino Ermitaño was a beacon and landmark in Latin American doom, with a sound derived from the genre’s traditions — Sabbath, Trouble, etc. — and melded with not only Spanish-language lyrics, but elements of South American folk and stylizations. Reissued on vinyl some 16 years later, it maintains its power through the outside-time level of its craft, sliding into that unplaceable realm of doom that could be from any point from about 1985 onward, while the melodies in the guitar of Henry Guevara and the vocals of Tania Duarte hold sway over the central groove of bassist Marcos Coifman and drummer Julio “Ñaka” Almeida. Those who were turned onto the band at the time will likely know they’ve released five LPs to-date, with the latest one from 2014, but the Necio Records version marks the first time the debut has been pressed to vinyl, and so is of extra interest apart from the standard putting-it-out-there-again reissue. Collectors and a new generation of doomers alike would be well advised on an educational level, and of course the appeal of the album itself far exceeds that.

Reino Ermitaño on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Split

cardinals folly lucifers fall split

Though one hails from Helsinki, Finland, and the other from Adelaide, Australia, Cardinals Folly and Lucifer’s Fall could hardly be better suited to share the six-song Cruz Del Sur split LP that they do, which checks in at 35 minutes of trad doom riffing and dirtier fare. The former is provided by Cardinals Folly, who bring a Reverend Bizarre-style stateliness to “Spiritual North” and “Walvater Proclaimed!” before betraying their extreme metal roots on “Sworn Through Odin’s and Satan’s Blood,” while the Oz contingent throw down Saint Vitus-esque punk-born fuckall through “Die Witch Die,” the crawling “Call of the Wild” and the particularly brash and speedier “The Gates of Hell.” The uniting thread of course is homage to doom itself, but each band brings enough of their own take to complement each other without either contradicting or making one or the other of them feel redundant, and rather, the split works out to be a rampaging, deeply-drunk, pagan-feeling celebration of what doom is and how it has been internalized by each of these groups. Doom over the world? Yeah, something like that.

Cardinals Folly on Thee Facebooks

Lucifer’s Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Temple of the Fuzz Witch Temple of the Fuzz Witch

A strong current of Electric Wizard runs through the self-titled debut full-length from Detroit’s Temple of the Fuzz Witch (on Seeing Red Records), but even to that, the outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Noah Bruner bring a nascent measure of individuality, droning into and through “Death Hails” after opening with “Bathsheba” and ahead of unveiling a harmonized vocal on “The Glowing of Satan” that suits the low end distortion surprisingly well. They continue to offer surprises throughout, whether it’s the spaciousness of centerpiece “329” and “Infidel,” which follows, or the offsetting of minimalism and crush on “The Fuzz Witch” and the creeper noise in the ending of “Servants of the Sun,” and though there are certainly familiar elements at play, Temple of the Fuzz Witch come across with an intent to take what’s been done before and make it theirs. In that regard, they would seem to be on the right track, and in their 41 minutes, they find footing in a murky aesthetic and are able to convey a sense of songwriting without sounding heavy-handed. There’s nothing else I’d ask of their first album.

Temple of the Fuzz Witch on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Torche, Spillage, Pharlee, Dali’s Llama, Speedealer, Mt. Echo, Monocluster, Picaporters, Beaten by Hippies, Luna Sol

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

quarterly-review

We meet again. The Summer 2019 Quarterly Review. It’s four in the morning and I’m getting ready to start the day. I haven’t even managed to pour myself coffee yet, which even as I type it out feels like a crime against humanity, such as it is. I’ll get there though.

Wednesday in the Quarterly Review marks the halfway point of the week, and as we’ll hit 30 reviews at the end, it’s half of the total 60 as well, so yeah. Feeling alright so far. As always, good music helps. I’ve added a couple things for consideration to my ongoing best-of-the-year list for December, so that’s something. And I think I’ll probably be doing so again today, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Torche, Admission

torche admission

15 years later and Torche‘s sound is still expanding. To that point, it’s never sounded quite as expansive as it does on Admission, their fifth album and second for Relapse behind 2015’s Restarter (review here). There are still plenty of straight-ahead heavy riffs on cuts like “Reminder” or “Slide” or the bomb-tone-laden “Infierno,” but in the title-track, in “Times Missing,” the closer “Changes Come,” “Slide” and even the 1:30-long “What Was,” there’s a sense of spaciousness and float to the guitars to contrast all that crunch, and it effectively takes the place of some of the manic feel of their earlier work. It’s consistent with the brightness of their melodies in songs like “Extremes of Consciousness” and the early pusher “Submission,” and it adds to their style rather than takes away, building on the mid-paced feel of the last album in such a way as to demonstrate the band’s continued growth long after they’d be well within their rights to rest on their laurels. Sharp, consistent in its level of songwriting, mature and engaging across its 36-minute entirety, Admission is everything one might ask of Torche‘s fifth album.

Torche on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Spillage, Blood of Angels

spillage blood of angels

If you, like me, believe doom to be the guardian style of classic heavy metal — you could also argue power metal there, but that’s why it’s an argument — Chicago’s Spillage might be the band to help make your case. With their own Ronnie James Dio in Elvin Rodriguez (not a comparison I make lightly) and a connection to the Trouble family tree via founding guitarist Tony Spillman, who also played in Earthen Grave, the band unfurl trad-metal poise throughout their 53-minute second album, Blood of Angels, hitting touchstones like Sabbath, Priest, and indeed Trouble on a chugger like “Free Man,” a liberal dose of organ on “Rough Grooved Surface” adding to the classic feel — Rainbow, maybe? — and even the grandiose ballad “Voice of Reason” that appears before the closing Sabbath cover “Dirty Women” staying loyal to the cause. I can’t and won’t fault them for that, as in both their originals and in the cover, their hearts are obviously in it all the way and the sound is right on, the sleek swing in the second half of “Evil Doers” punctuated by squealing guitar just as it should be. Mark it a win for the forces of metal, maybe less so for the angels.

Spillage on Thee Facebooks

Qumran Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Pharlee, Pharlee

pharlee pharlee

San Diego strikes again with Pharlee‘s self-titled debut on Tee Pee Records, a 29-minute boogie rock shove that’s marked out by the significant pipes of Macarena Rivera up front, the shuffling snare work of Zach Oakley (also guitar in JOY and Volcano) and the organ work of Garret Lekas throughout, winding around and accentuating the riffs of Justin “Figgy” Figueroa and the air-push bass of Dylan Donovan. It’s a proven formula by now, but Pharlee‘s Pharlee is like the band who comes on stage in the middle of the festival and surprises everyone and reminds them why they’re there in the first place. The energy of “Darkest Hour” is infectious, and the bluesier take on Freddie King‘s “Going Down” highlights a stoner shred in Figueroa‘s guitar that fits superbly ahead of the fuzz freakout, all-go closer “Sunward,” and whatever stylistic elements (and personnel, for that matter) might be consistent with their hometown’s well-populated underground, Pharlee take that radness and make it their own.

Pharlee on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

Dali’s Llama, Mercury Sea

dalis llama mercury sea

Long-running desert rockers Dali’s Llama return with Mercury Sea, their first release since 2017’s The Blossom EP (review here) and their first full-length since 2016’s Dying in the Sun (review here), sounding reinvigorated in rockers like opener “Weary” and the subsequent grunge-vibing “Choking on the Same,” “When Ember Laughs” and the garage-style “She’s Not Here.” Persistently underappreciated, their albums always have a distinct feel, and Mercury Sea is no different, finding a place for itself between the laid-back desert blues and punkier fare on a cut like “Someday, Someday,” even delving into psychedelic folk for a while in the 6:54 longest track “Goblin Fruit,” and a bit of lead guitar scorch bringing it all together on closer “All My Fault,” highlighting the theme of love that’s been playing out all the while. The sincerity behind that and everything Dali’s Llama does is palpable as ever in these 11 tracks, an more than 25 years on from their inception, they continue to deliver memorable songs in wholly unpretentious fashion. That’s just what they do.

Dali’s Llama on Thee Facebooks

Dali’s Llama on Bandcamp

 

Speedealer, Blue Days Black Nights

speedealer blue days black nights

Speedealer ride again! And just about at top speed, too. The Dallas, Texas, outfit were last heard from circa 2003, and their turnabout is marked with the self-release of Blue Days Black Nights, a fury-driven 10-tracker that takes the best of their heavy-rock-via-punk delivery and beefs up tones to suit another decade and a half’s worth of hard living and accumulated disaffection. The Dallas four-piece blaze through songs like “Never Knew,” the hardcore-punk “Losing My Shit,” the more metallic “Nothing Left to Say,” and the careening aggro-swagger of “Rheumatism,” but there’s still some variety to be had throughout, as highlight “Sold Out,” “War Nicht Genung” and “Shut Up” find the band no less effective working at a somewhat scaled-back pace. However fast they’re going, though the attitude remains much the same, and it’s “fuck you fuck this” fuckall all the way. Those familiar with their past work would expect no less, and time has clearly not repaired the chip on Speedealer‘s shoulder. Their anger is our gain.

Speedealer on Thee Facebooks

Speedealer webstore

 

Mt. Echo, Cirrus

mt echo cirrus

Based in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, the instrumentalist four-piece Mt. Echo present a somewhat noisier take on Russian Circles-style heavy post-rock with their nine-song/46-minute debut, Cirrus. Not at all shy about incorporating a noise rock riff or a more weighted groove, the dual-guitar outfit nonetheless spend significant time patiently engaged in the work of atmosphere-building, so that their material develops a genuine ebb and flow as songs tie one into the next to give the entire affair a whole-album feel. It is their first outing, but all the more striking for that in terms of how much of a grip they seem to have on their approach and what they want to be doing in a song like “Lighthouse at the End of Time” with airy lead and chugging rhythm guitars intertwining and meeting head-on for post-YOB crashes and an eventual turn into a harder-pushing progression. Ambience comes (mostly) to the fore in the seven-minute “Monsters and the Men Who Made Them,” but wherever they go on Cirrus, Mt. Echo bring that atmospheric density along with them. The proverbial ‘band to watch.’

Mt. Echo on Thee Facebooks

Mt. Echo on Bandcamp

 

Monocluster, Ocean

Monocluster Ocean

Over the course of five longform tracks on Ocean, Germany’s Monocluster build fluidly on the accomplishments of their 2015 self-titled debut (review here), greatly expanding on the heft and general reach of their sound while, as opener “Ocean in Our Bones” demonstrates, still holding onto the ability to affect a killer hook when they need one. Ocean is not a minor undertaking at 56 minutes, but it dedicates its time to constructing a world in cuts like “Leviathan” and “A Place Beyond,” the giant wall of fuzzed low end becoming the backdrop for the three-part story being told that ends with the 11:43 “Home” standing alone, as graceful and progressive as it is brash and noisy — a mirror in that regard to the nine-minute centerpiece “Guns and Greed” and a fitting summation of Ocean‘s course. They keep this up for very long and people are going to start to notice. The album is a marked step forward from where Monocluster were a few years ago, and sets up the expectation of continued growth their next time out while keeping a focus on the essential elements of songwriting as well. If we’re looking for highlights, I’d pick “Leviathan,” but honestly, it’s anyone’s game.

Monocluster on Thee Facebooks

Monocluster on Bandcamp

 

Picaporters, XXIII

picaporters xxiii

The third full-length from Argentine trio Picaporters marks another level of achievement for them as a band. XXIII arrives three years after El Horror Oculto (review here) and is unquestionably their broadest-cast spectrum to-date. The album comes bookended by eight-minute opener “La Soga de los Muertos” and “M.I.,” an 18-minute finale jam that would give a Deep Purple live record reason to blush. Soulful guitar stretches out over a vast rhythmic landscape, and all this after “Jinetes del Universo” motorpunks out and “Vencida” pulls together Floydian melo-prog, “Numero 5” precedes the closer with acoustic interplay and the early “Despertar” offers a little bit of everything and a lot of what-the-hell-just-happened. These guys started out on solid footing with their 2013 debut, Elefantes (review here), but neither that nor El Horror Oculto really hinted at the scope they’d make sound so natural throughout XXIII, which is the kind of record that leaves you no choice but to call it progressive.

Picaporters on Thee Facebooks

Picaporters on Bandcamp

 

Beaten by Hippies, Beaten by Hippies

beaten by hippies beaten by hippies

As their moniker hints, there’s some edge of danger to Belgium’s Beaten by Hippies‘ self-titled debut (on Polderrecords), but the album ultimately resolves itself more toward songwriting and hooks in the spirit of a meaner-sounding Queens of the Stone Age in songs like “Space Tail” and “More is More,” finding common ground with the energy of Truckfighters though never quite delving so far into fuzzy tones. That’s not at all to the band’s detriment — rather, it helps the four-piece begin to cast their identity as they do in this material, whether that’s happening in the volatile sudden volume trades in “Dust” or the mission statement “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which feels geared a bit to the anthemic but would probably work just as well in whatever pub they happen to be terrorizing on a given evening. Their delivery skirts the line between heavy and hard rock as only that vaguely commercially viable European-style can, but the songs are right there waiting to take the stage at whatever festival is this weekend and blow the roof — or the sky, I guess, if it’s outdoors — off the place.

Beaten by Hippies on Thee Facebooks

Polderrecords website

 

Luna Sol, Below the Deep

luna sol below the deep

Guitarist/vocalist Dave Angstrom may be best known in heavy rock circles for his work alongside John Garcia in Hermano, but in leading the four-piece Luna Sol through their 12-song/50-minute sophomore outing, Below the Deep (on Slush Fund Recordings), he proves a capable frontman as well as songwriter. Sharing vocal duties with bassist Shannon Fahnestock while David Burke handles guitar and Justin Baier drums, Angstrom is a steady presence at the fore through the well-constructed ’90s-flavored heavy rock of “Below the Deep” and “Along the Road” early, the later “Garden of the Gods” playing toward a more complex arrangement after the strutting “The Dying Conglomerate” paints a suitably grim State of the Union and ahead of the fuzz-rich ending in “Home,” which keeps its melodic purpose even as it crashes out to its languid finish. Whether it’s the charged “Man’s Worth Killin'” or the winding fuzz of “Mammoth Cave,” one can definitely hear some Hermano at work, but Luna Sol distinguish themselves just the same.

Luna Sol on Thee Facebooks

Slush Fund Recordings webstore

 

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Russian Circles Announce Blood Year Due Aug. 2; North American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

russian circles

Holy crapola, you mean to tell me Russian Circles have seven albums? Way to make me feel old, PR wire. The latest of the bunch is called Blood Year, and it will be issued Aug. 2 through Sargent House, which makes the Chicagoan three-piece label-kin to Earth and Boris, and though one tends to think of those bands as icons of the heavy form, don’t Russian Circles kind of fit in that echelon at this point as well. All kidding and feeling-old (about which I was very much not kidding) aside, these guys are long-since-proven veterans and their influence has been widespread for at least the last decade, if not longer, so yeah, a release on Sargent House feels right. Shit is important to a lot of people.

The new song, called “Arluck,” has been making the rounds this week and you can hear it at the bottom of this post if you haven’t yet or if you’d like to again, and in addition to the album announcement, there’s the requisite slew of tour dates included in the PR wire info as well.

Have at it:

russian circles blood year

RUSSIAN CIRCLES ANNOUNCE THEIR NEW ALBUM, ‘BLOOD YEAR,’ & NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

The formidable trio’s seventh studio album will be released on August 2 via Sargent House. Check out the first single “Arluck” now.

There are few things one can be sure of these days, though one truism that remains is that Russian Circles will continue to reign as one of instrumental music’s supreme champions. These masters of sonic tension and release plan to deliver their seventh studio album August 2nd on Sargent House. Dubbed Blood Year, the LP is less a musical exploration and more a statement of authority, lest there be any doubt that Russian Circles remain a force to be reckoned with on the stage and in the studio.

The Chicago trio have always explored the dynamics of volume and timbre, with their albums often vacillating between caustic attacks and blissful respites. Russian Circles returned to the studio with Kurt Ballou to record Blood Year, but this time they tracked it in Chicago at Steve Albini’s world-famous Electrical Audio. From guitarist Mike Sullivan’s riff-fueled assaults, to Dave Turncrantz’s war machine rack and floor toms and Brian Cook’s meat grinding bass lines, the sound of Blood Year is that of a band unafraid to flaunt their hard-earned prowess.

Sullivan, Turncrantz, and Cook made a conscious effort to approach the songs on Blood Year with the same organic feel of a live show. In an age where rock records are often built on a computerized grid, Russian Circles chose to track the foundations of the songs together in one room as complete takes without click tracks. The human pulse and unmetered energy is woven throughout Blood Year, a presence that can be felt with each bone-rattling minute.

Blood Year will be released via Sargent House on August 2 and Russian Circles will be on tour in North America this September, October and November in support of it. FACS and Windhand will appear on select dates — check out all tour dates listed below.

Blood Year is available for pre-order here. Stay tuned for more news.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES LIVE:
May 31 Chicago, IL @ Do Division Fest

RUSSIAN CIRCLES IRELAND/UK DATES
AUG 08 Dublin, IRE @ Button Factory *
AUG 09 Galway IRE @ Roisin Dubh *
AUG 10 Belfast UK @ Limelight 2 *
AUG 12 Glasgow, UK @ G2 +
AUG 13 Manchester, UK @ Gorilla +
AUG 14 London, UK @ Earth +
AUG 16 Bristol, UK @ ArcTanGent Festival +

Support from
* No Spill Blood
+ A.A. Williams
With further European tour dates to be announced soon.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES NORTH AMERICAN DATES:
September 11 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon *
September 12 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Culture Center *
September 14 Bozeman, MT @ Rialto Bozeman *
September 16 Seattle, WA @ Neumos *
September 17 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *
September 19 San Francisco, CA @ August Hall *
September 20 Ventura, CA @ Discovery Ventura *
September 21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Teragram Ballroom *
September 23 Mesa, AZ @ The Nile *
September 24 Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf *
September 25 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater *
September 28 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall *
October 18 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Pyramid Scheme
October 19 Detroit, MI @ El Club
October 20 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
October 21 Montreal, QC @ Theatre Fairmount
October 23 Portsmouth, NH @ 3S ArtSpace
October 24 Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
October 26 Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
October 27 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
October 29 Washington, DC @ Union Stage
October 30 Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry
November 1 Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall +
November 2 Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre +
November 3 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade +
November 4 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s +
November 6 Houston, TX @ The Secret Group +
November 8 Austin, TX @ Levitation
November 9 Dallas, TX @ Deep Ellum Art Company +
November 11 St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall +
w/ FACS *
w/ Windhand +

Blood Year — Track Listing:
1. Hunter Moon
2. Arluck
3. Milano
4. Kohokia
5. Ghost on High
6. Sinaia
7. Quartered

https://www.facebook.com/russiancirclesmusic/
https://www.instagram.com/russiancircles/
https://www.russiancirclesband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sargenthouse/
http://www.sargenthouse.com/

Russian Circles, “Arluck”

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Brimstone Coven & Spillage Announce August Tour Dates

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

brimstone coven

spillage

This August, West Virginia’s Brimstone Coven and Chicago’s own Spillage will head out on tour together through Texas and various destination points in the Midwest. The run is 10 shows in 10 days, no nights off, and will begin on Aug. 8 as Brimstone Coven head out behind last year’s What Was and What Shall Be, which was their first offering as a three-piece after issuing their second album, Black Magic (review here), through Metal Blade in 2016. They also just appeared this past weekend at the New England Stoner and Doom Fest II in Jewett City, Connecticut, which by all accounts I’ve seen was a win.

Spillage meanwhile appeared at Maryland Doom Fest last year and in January released their second album, Blood of Angels, and their classic Chicago-style deep-dish doom/metal should make a fun pairing with Brimstone Coven‘s harmonies. The tour is presented by Mercyful Mike Management, which is long-since aligned with Spillage, having booked them as well as support for its Sheavy tour and featured the band on Days of the Doomed III way back when in Wisconsin. That was just about six years ago. Time flies and all that.

Texas gets its due here, but there’s plenty of non-TX dates as well for anyone not of a Lone Star persuasion. Cheers to the bands on getting out. An independent tour of 10 shows in a row could easily be a slog, but something tells me these guys will keep good company.

Dates follow:

brimstone coven spillage tour

Happy to officially announce all dates of the “Blood and Hellfire” tour featuring Brimstone Coven and SPILLAGE! See you all in August!

8/8 – Little Rock, Arkansas @ The White Water Tavern
8/9 – San Antonio, Texas @ Limelight
8/10 – Houston, Texas @ Dan Electros
8/11 – Austin, Texas @Beerland
8/12 – Kansas City, Missouri @ TBA
8/13 – Des Moines, Iowa @Lefty’s Live Music
8/14 – Bloomington, Illinois @ NIghtshop
8/15 – Indianapolis, Indiana @ Black Circle Brewing Co.
8/16 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin @ Club Garibaldi
8/17 – Lombard, Illinois @ Brauer House

https://www.facebook.com/brimstonecoven
https://brimstonecoven.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/spillagerocks
https://spillage.bandcamp.com/

Brimstone Coven, What Was and What Shall Be (2018)

Spillage, Blood of Angels (2019)

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Bible of the Devil Announce 20th Anniversary Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

bible of the devil

Bible of the Devil are riding high (in the night) coming off the release of their new album, Feel It (review here), and this summer, they’ll put tires to pavement in support of the record and their 20th anniversary on the “Feel it for Life” tour beginning July 25. While that name kind of sounds like a charity event, I’m pretty sure all proceeds go to gas to get to the next gig, and that’s fair enough. If you’ve never had the pleasure of stumbling into a Bible of the Devil gig during a drunken afternoon at SXSW circa 2005 and hearing their two guitars tear classic metal a new ass — just as an example — they’re primed to destroy everything in their path once they hit the stage, and the songs on Feel It should make the perfect ammunition to allow them to do so on this run.

They’re playing with some killer bands throughout — Hey ZeusApostle in SolitudeWolf BloodFreedom Hawk, and so on — so find where they’re gonna be and then find where you’re gonna be and then work to make sure those two places are the same.

Behold:

BIBLE OF THE DEVIL – 20 Year Anniversary Tour Summer 2019

Greetings BOTD fans! Lots of stuff in store for you over the next few months. Our new album, Feel It, came out in March and we appreciate all your support and the great response it has gotten. In honor of this release we’ll be doing a huge show in May at Liar’s Club, then moving on to Indianapolis in June and back to Chicago again for our 20 year anniversary celebration at The Burlington.

This will be followed up by the “Feel It For Life” Tour that begins in Madison on July 25th. For those of you who’ve been with us from beginning, this will be the 29th Bible of the Devil US tour. Feel it.

All shows are listed below. We encourage you to come rock and feel the night with us!

May 24th Fri. Racine, WI @ McAuliffe’s w/Hey Zeus, Callous Wizard
May 25th Sat. Chicago, IL @ Liar’s Club Feel It Album Release Show w/Hey Zeus, Holy Warheads, Ghost Forest

Jun. 28th Fri. Indianapolis, IN @ Black Market Brewing w/The Cocaine Wolves, Apostle of Solitude
Jun. 29th Sat. Chicago, IL @ The Burlington BOTD’s 20 Year Anniversary Show w/The Cocaine Wolves, Mama, Midnight Dice

“Feel It For Life” 20 Year Anniversary Summer Tour 2019

July 25th Thurs. Madison, WI @ Bos Meadery w/Joe Price and the Cost, Ruin Dweller
July 26th Fri. Minneapolis, MN @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge w/United Teachers of Music, Wolf Blood, Nightosaur
July 27th Sat. Omaha, NE @ O’Leaver’s w/Pro Magnum, Jump The Tiger
July 28th Sun. Tulsa, OK @ Mercury Lounge w/Blind Oath
July 29th Mon. San Antonio, TX @ The Limelight w/Over the Top, Thunderhorse
July 30th Tues. Austin, TX @ The Lost Well w/Broken Teeth, Crimson Devils, Hot Crimes
July 31st Wed. Hattiesburg, MS @ The Tavern w/AstroTrain
August 1st Thurs. Atlanta, GA @ 529 w/The Pinx, Dusty Booze and the Baby Haters, Timmy James and the Blue Flames
August 2nd Fri. Wilmington, NC @ Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern w/Thunderlip, Freedom Hawk
August 3rd Sat. Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 w/Thunderlip, Knightmare
August 4th Sun. Lexington, KY @ The Green Lantern w/The Vibrolas

Bible of the Devil is:
Nathan Perry: Vocals, Guitars
Greg Spalding: Drums, Loathing
Darren Amaya: Bass, Vocals
Chris Grubbs: Guitars

www.facebook.com/bibleofthedevil
https://www.instagram.com/bibleofthedevil/
http://bibleofthedevil.net/

Bible of the Devil, Feel It (2019)

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