Cities of Mars, Temporal Rifts: Opening Doors of Dark Matter

Posted in Reviews on October 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cities of mars temporal rifts

The year? 3251 BC. Martian civilization is in peril. There is a civil war taking place on the Red Planet and an evil scientist has just unveiled an army of mechanical spiders that may indeed turn the tide.

Such is the setting for at least part of Cities of Mars‘ debut album, Temporal Rifts. The Gothenburg-based trio’s first full-length arrives as their first release for Argonauta Records after two initial outings in the 2016 Suicide Records EP, Celestial Mistress (review here), and 2015’s self-released Cyclopean Ritual/The Third Eye (review here) single, both of which took place in the same canon being built by the sci-fi-driven heavy riffers. Their frame for narrative delivery has since that first single has been the discovery of this ancient Martian culture by a KGB agent named Nadia, somehow linked to the Celestial Mistress herself, and it seems that each new Cities of Mars track adds something distinct to the overarching tale or the setting in general.

Cities of Mars have been engaging in world-building all along, it seems, and Temporal Rifts is their deepest dive in that regard to-date, with five tracks and 35 minutes of what also happens to be the most complex material they’ve yet unfurled, moving fluidly from more straightforward and hook-driven fare in the opening salvo of “Doors of Dark Matter Pt. 1: Barriers” and “Envoy of Murder” (premiered here) to the post-Mastodonic progressive metal of “Children of the Red Sea” and from there even further into atmospheric depths. It seems time and storyline aren’t the only things Cities of Mars are exploring. After having felt their way through a nodding round of short releases, they’ve also clearly set themselves on a creative journey of sound as well.

All the better to avoid one of the most prevalent dangers when it comes to conceptual or narrative material, and that is the sacrifice of song to the story. Recorded by Esben Willems of Monolord at his Berserk Audio studio, Temporal Rifts doesn’t veer into spoken word interludes or feature dramatic character dialogue as some plot-fueled records do, but there’s still a strong sense of the material being tied together across an arc, and this is skillfully brought to bear while also allowing individual pieces to shine on their own. A hard balance to strike, but particularly by setting “Doors of Dark Matter Pt. 1: Barriers” and “Envoy of Murder” loose at the outset,  guitarist/vocalist Christoffer Norén, bassist/vocalist Danne Palm and drummer/vocalist Johan Küchler set a tone specifically geared toward the delivery of heavy hooks more akin to their early material.

cities of mars

This is rawer in style than what Temporal Rifts will begin to present once it moves into the centerpiece “Gula, a Bitter Embrace,” and into the eight-minute pairing of “Children of the Red Sea” and exclamatory closer “Caverns Alive!,” but the effect remains prevalent, allowing the later tracks to have a fuller context in answering the earlier ones through their own memorable parts as they also push well beyond in terms of ambience. In beginning that process, “Gula, a Bitter Embrace” is very much the centerpiece of Temporal Rifts and a key moment of methodoligical transition. At just under seven minutes long, it begins at a nod that reminds immediately of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats through its initial riff, but soon unfolds a denser verse and an instrumental bridge topped with an airy lead from Norén. The march resumes for the next verse and carries Cities of Mars past the midsection, into a back third marked by a more melodic vocal arrangement and winding guitar progression. It turns out to be set to a linear build but caps with a significant payoff, but the patience in the band’s delivery thereof is a marked shift in approach alone, never mind the melody preceding or the winding lines of guitar at the foundation there.

It is as suitable a lead-in for the spacious beginning to “Children of the Red Sea” as one might ask, and though the penultimate track, which is the longest on Temporal Rifts at 8:27, shifts into sharper-edged riffing soon enough and makes its way into more intense chug-and-churn as it moves through its midsection, what follows starting at about 5:07 is a stretch of minimal, quiet guitar and cymbal washing, sparse sampling and other noises. They’re back to louder fare soon enough, pushing “Children of the Red Sea” to its apex, but the effect remains, and moaning vocals that started out the song return over the ending riff cycles, which give way to sampled wave sounds at the end, met by a doppler timed to the drums at the outset of “Caverns Alive!”

The closer also takes a linear course along a progressive and mindful execution, and like “Children of the Red Sea” with its vocals on either end, the doppler returns at the end of the finale, along with insistent percussion, capping Temporal Rifts with a symmetrical sensibility even beyond what Cities of Mars have already conjured through the LP’s structure. Although they’ve already shown significant growth from one outing to the next, it’s important to keep in mind that Temporal Rifts is still their debut outing, and that as much as they’ve begun to elucidate this engaging story of Nadia, Martian robot spiders and ancient mysteries, so too have they only really just begun their own story as well, and that it’s entirely likely the proggy aspects that show themselves here particularly in the final two cuts are the beginning chapters of an entirely different mythos.

Cities of Mars, Temporal Rifts (2017)

Cities of Mars on Thee Facebooks

Cities of Mars on Bandcamp

Cities of Mars on Instagram

Cities of Mars website

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

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Cities of Mars to Embark on Euro Tour Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Sweden’s Cities of Mars make their full-length debut on Sept. 29 with Temporal Rifts on Argonauta Records, and the three-piece have just announced a pretty extensive European tour by which they’ll support the record. Starting out Oct. 4 in their hometown of Gothenburg, they’ll pummel and roll through Germany, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, France, Spain, Portugal, the UK and Switzerland, etc. before they’re done, though it looks like a goodly portion of the dates are still coming together. Of course if you happen to live in any of the areas listen as “open” below and can make something happen, do it, because it’s the right thing and because Cities of Mars are pretty gosh darn awesome. I still haven’t heard Temporal Rifts in its entirety, but the track “Enjoy of Murder” was premiered here back in July and you can hear it as well as the bottom of this post.

The band posted the following update via their Thee Facebooks page:

cities of mars tour

CITIES OF MARS – Temporal Rifts Tour 2017!

The tour is coming together! We’ll be covering a lot of ground on this one – happy to revisit cool venues and meet friends again! Also, we’ll be sharing the stage with a whole bunch of top bands.

We still have a few dates to book, so if you are a promotor, venue owner, festival/club organizer or whatever with a possible offer, please email booking.razoragency@gmail.com!

Our new album is available for preorder here: https://citiesofmars.bandcamp.com/album/temporal-rifts

See you on the road!

Tour dates:
October 4th – Gothenburg, Sweden – The Abyss (with Vokonis)
October 5th – Esbjerg, Denmark – TBC
October 6th – Potsdam, Germany – Archiv Potsdam (w/ Big Ugly Fat Fella & sun)
October 7th – Lubbenau – Germany – Kulturhof Lübbenau (w/Långfinger)
October 8th – Warsaw, Poland – Miejsce Chwila
October 9th – Katowice, Poland – TBC
October 10th – HELP! – AUSTRIA / CZECH REPUBLIC
October 11th – HELP! – AUSTRIA / CZECH REPUBLIC
October 12th – Vienna, Austria – Derwisch (w/ECHOLOT )
October 13th – Basel, Switzerland – Hirscheneck (w/ECHOLOT & Leaden Fumes)
October 14th – Freiburg, Germany – Kiez 57
October 15th – HELP! – Belgium / Germany / Netherlands
October 16th – HELP! – Belgium / Germany / Netherlands
October 17th – HELP! – Belgium / Germany / Netherlands
October 18th – Kiel, Germany – Alte Meierei Kiel (w/Lo! )
October 19th – Strasbourg, France – TBC
October 20th – London, UK – The Dev
October 21st – HELP! – UK
October 22nd – Coventry, UK – The Phoenix (The Discussion & Silverchild)
October 23rd – Antwerp, Belgium – Kid’s Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Kaffee
October 24th – Zaragoza, Spain – Utopía Sala
October 25th – Barcelona, Spain – TBA
October 26th – Caen, France – TBC
October 27th – Oldenburg, Germany – MTS LP STORE
October 28th – Berlin, Germany – TIEFGRUND
October 29th – Helsingor, Denmark – Musikhuset Elværket Helsingør (Dirt Forge)

https://www.facebook.com/citiesofmars
http://citiesofmars.bandcamp.com
https://instagram.com/citiesofmars/
http://www.citiesofmars.se/
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/

Cities of Mars, “Envoy of Murder”

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Cities of Mars Unveil Cover Art and Preorders for Temporal Rifts

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Do you have any idea how difficult it is not to write the word ‘riffs’ every time I type out the title of Cities of Mars‘ upcoming debut album? Severe struggle, I’m telling you. Temporal Rifts is due out Sept. 29 via Argonauta Records and will mark the Swedish three-piece’s first offering for the label following their initial 2015 single, Cyclopean Ritual/The Third Eye (review here), and the 2016 EP, Celestial Mistress (review here), that followed, and is set to continue the narrative thread those releases put in motion. By way of a refresher, the track “Envoy of Murder” was premiered here as a preliminary showcase just a couple weeks ago.

Today, in addition to the blue-hued album art, we get the tracklisting for the five-song long-player, preorder links and word that Cities of Mars will tie in the story with more background on their website when the time comes. Here’s the latest off the PR wire:

cities of mars temporal rifts

Swedish Psych Doom masters Cities of Mars release cover artwork and tracklist of their highly anticipated new album “Temporal Rifts”; release date Sept 29th, 2017. CD / LP / DD preorders run now:

CD: http://bit.ly/2eZGchk
LP: http://bit.ly/2vl1SLZ
DD: http://apple.co/2vaWzOI

“It is with great expectation we get closer to the release of Temporal Rifts, our first proper album, on Argonauta Records. Once again our good friend Axel Widén has conjured a piece of art for our evolving saga. Common lyrical themes throughout these five songs are various transitions, transformations and shifts from one set of reality into another, therefore the portal theme suits the album very well. All these songs are set in a distant past in our story, thousands of years before our main character Nadia enters the scene. Upon release, all songs will have a timeline year and a brief piece of background story available on our webpage www.citiesofmars.se.”

TRACK LISTING
1. Doors of Dark Matter Pt 1: Barriers
2. Envoy of Murder
3. Gula, a Bitter Embrace
4. Children Of The Red Sea
5. Caverns Alive!

https://www.facebook.com/citiesofmars
http://citiesofmars.bandcamp.com
https://instagram.com/citiesofmars/
http://www.citiesofmars.se/
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/

Cities of Mars, “Envoy of Murder”

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Cities of Mars Premiere “Envoy of Murder” from Temporal Rifts

Posted in audiObelisk on July 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cities of mars

Swedish nod-grooving trio Cities of Mars will issue their debut full-length, Temporal Rifts, on Sept. 29 via Argonauta Records. With it, they continue a story set in motion by their very first release. Not only their own, of course, but one in their lyrics of interplanetary discoveries about conspiracies and ancient civilizations, uncovered by a KGB agent named Nadia in 1971. Their 2015 single, Cyclopean Ritual/The Third Eye (review here), introduced this character and began to set the place and time in which the narrative takes place, and the subsequent 2016 EP, Celestial Mistress (review here), pushed these ideas further into an arc worthy of graphic-novel representation. It became increasingly clear that this world would return on the Gothenburg three-piece’s debut album.

And so it does. More than two months ahead of its official release, Temporal Rifts today unveils its first public audio in the form of “Envoy of Murder,” and thereby cities of mars envoy of murderbrings an initial glimpse at the next phase of the tale. The band describes it further below, but let it suffice to say it takes place far in a distant, futuristic past and involves robot spiders (as one would hope, frankly), and the hook with which those mechanized arachnids arrive on the scene stands among the most righteous Cities of Mars — the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Christoffer Norén, bassist/vocalist Danne Palm and drummer/vocalist Johan Küchler, who recorded once again with Monolord drummer Esben Willems (interview here) at Berserk Audio — have yet brought to bear. As they begin to unfold Temporal Rifts and bring listeners up to speed on the increasingly complex plotline their material has been following, it seems like everything is beginning to fall into where it should be for characters, setting and narrators alike, and who doesn’t like to see a good story come together?

I will hope to have more to come on Temporal Rifts as we get closer to the album’s landing and I get to hear the full thing (there’s still plenty of time before Sept. 29), but I’m thrilled to host the premiere of “Envoy of Murder,” which you can find streaming on the YouTube embed that follows here. Preorders will be coming soon from Argonauta, so keep an eye out, and in the meantime, thanks for reading and listening.

Please enjoy:

Cities of Mars, “Envoy of Murder”

First single from Cities of Mars’ Temporal Rifts – Envoy of Murder. Temporal Rifts release date Sept 29.

Recorded live with a few overdubs by Esben Willems at Berserk Audio/Studio Svavel in Gothenburg Sweden 2017.

Envoy of Murder is the first single from the album Temporal Rift.

As always, the song contains a piece of the unfolding saga of the ancient Martian civilization, rediscovered by the KGB agent Nadia in 1971.

The song is set in 3251 BC, where a devastating civil war rages on Mars. A mad scientist has just released his latest invention onto the battlefield – an army of biomechanical spiders. Hidden in the shadows, the scientist controls his spider minions roaming the battle plains, infecting and reanimating dying soldiers into walking terrors.

Cities of Mars on Thee Facebooks

Cities of Mars on Bandcamp

Cities of Mars on Instagram

Cities of Mars website

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

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Cities of Mars Sign to Argonauta Records; Temporal Rifts Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The only real question with Swedish riff-bringers Cities of Mars was who it was going to be that eventually picked them up. Today we get that answer in the form of Italian imprint Argonauta Records, which adds the Gothenburg trio to its ever-growing roster for the Fall 2017 release of their debut full-length. Titled Temporal Rifts, the anticipated long-player will follow on the heels of last year’s Celestial Mistress EP (review here) and the prior first single, Cyclopean Ritual / The Third Eye (streamed here), continuing the narrative thread that those two offerings began concerning Mars, ancient civilizations, and of course, the KGB.

As Cities of Mars have already toured supporting Celestial Mistress last Autumn, I’d expect no less from them as they dig into a cycle for the upcoming Temporal Rifts. I’ll hope to have much more on that and the album itself prior to the release. You might recall, it was one of my most anticipated for 2017.

Here’s the latest from Argonauta:

cities of mars

Cities of Mars signing with Argonauta Records!

Thrilled to welcome Swedish doom metal band Cities of Mars in our family!

“We’re happy to announce that we’ve signed a deal with Italian doom titan label Argonauta Records for the release of our first full length album. Argonauta dedication and growth as a relentless force in the heavy underground scene suits our own hands-on hard work ethic” says the band.

The Swedish renowned band Cities of Mars has taken the genre with storm with their last EP Celestial Mistress (http://citiesofmars.bandcamp.com).

All songs are written as a part of an intergalactic story taking place on Mars with a timeframe that stretches from ancient days up until now. The concept is well incorporated in the band’s all releases and really appreciated according to multiple reviewers all over Europe.

The band is planning a massive three-week European tour to promote the release of the upcoming album, Temporal Rifts. The full length album will contain five new songs firmly rooted in the ancient Martian civilization later discovered by a covert KGB agent.

Temporal Rifts will be available on LP, CD, downloads and via various streaming services during Fall 2017.

“Sonically, we are still roaming the deep space of slow riffs, but are also expanding into a few selected up-thrusts. We believe you’ll like it as much as we do! We are very excited to join forces with Argonauta Records and together enter the next phase of the Cities of Mars saga” the band ends.

https://www.facebook.com/citiesofmars
citiesofmars.bandcamp.com
https://instagram.com/citiesofmars/
http://www.citiesofmars.se/
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/http://www.argonautarecords.com/

Cities of Mars, Celestial Mistress EP (2016)

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