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

Tags: , , , , ,

Here are 40+ New Releases to Look for in the Next Three Weeks

Posted in Features on September 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Starting tomorrow, the next three weeks are absolutely stupid with new albums. Over-the-top, ridiculous. An immediately-go-broke amount of music. Nothing less than an onslaught. We’re under attack.

Far be it from me to tell you how to spend your money — also far be it from me not to — but there’s some really killer stuff in here. As to why it’s all landing now? Some of it of course has to do with the timing of when it was recorded, bands hitting the studio in Spring before heading out on the road over the summer, but Fall releases also line up nicely for tours in October and November, heading into the holiday season, when the music industry basically shuts down. This is the last chance for releases to come out in 2017 and be considered for best-of-year lists.

I doubt the likes of Chelsea Wolfe or Godspeed You! Black Emperor or even Kadavar would cop to that as a motivating factor, instead pointing to the timing of Fall touring and so on, but these things are rarely coincidental. You know how there aren’t any blockbusters in January but every movie feels like it’s trying to win an Oscar? Same kind of deal.

Nonetheless, 2017 is laying it on particularly thick these next couple weeks, and as you can see in the lists below, if you’ve got cash to spend, you can pretty much choose your rock and roll adventure. I’ll add to this as need be as well, so keep an eye for changes:

Sept. 22:

Alcest, Souveinirs d’un Autre Monde (10th Anniversary Edition)
Brant Bjork, Europe ’16
Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spunthe-flying-eyes-burning-of-the-season
Epitaph, Claws
Faces of the Bog, Ego Death
The Flying Eyes, Burning of the Season
Fvzz Popvli, Fvzz Dei
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Luciferian Towers
Jarboe & Father Murphy, Jarboe & Father Murphy
Monarch, Never Forever
Nibiru, Qaal Babalon
Process of Guilt, Black Earth
Satyricon, Deep Calleth Upon Deep
Spelljammer, Inches from the Sun (Reissue)
Thonian Horde, Inconnu
Trash Titan, Welcome to the Banana Party
Ufomammut, 8
With the Dead, Love from With the Dead
Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven

Sept. 29:

monolord rust
Cities of Mars, Temporal Rifts
Deadsmoke, Mountain Legacy
A Devil’s Din, One Hallucination Under God
Disastroid, Missiles
Jim Healey, Just a Minute More (Sept. 26)
Idylls, The Barn
Kadavar, Rough Times
Lucifer’s Chalice, The Pact
Monolord, Rust
Outsideinside, Sniff a Hot Rock
Radio Moscow, New Beginnings
Scream of the Butterfly, Ignition
Tronald, Tronald (Sept. 30)
Unsane, Sterilize
Wucan, Reap the Storm

Oct. 6:

fireball-ministry-remember-the-storyElder Druid, Carmina Satanae
Fireball Ministry, Remember the Story
Frank Sabbath, Are You Waiting? (Oct. 2)
Himmellegeme, Myth of Earth
House of Broken Promises, Twisted EP
O.R.B., Naturality
Primitive Man, Caustic
Spirit Adrift, Curse of Conception
Spotlights, Seismic
Sumokem, The Guardian of Yosemite
Torso, Limbs
White Manna, Bleeding Eyes

Also:

Oct. 13: Enslaved, Firebreather, I Klatus, R.I.P., Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats (reissue), Weird Owl, etc.

Oct. 20: Iron Monkey, Spectral Haze, Bell Witch, The Spacelords, etc.

Something I forgot?

Invariably, right? If you know of something not seen above that should be, then by all means, please leave a comment letting me know. My only ask is that you keep it civil and not call me a fucking idiot or anything like that. I write these posts very early in the day, and if something has been neglected, I assure you it’s not on purpose and I’m happy to correct any and all oversights.

Thanks for reading and happy shopping. Support local record stores.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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”

Tags: , , , , ,

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”

Tags: , , , , ,

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

Tags: , , , , ,

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)

Tags: , , , , ,

Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cities of Mars Touring Europe in November

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

cities-of-mars

Swedish riff merchants Cities of Mars are making ready to hit the road this fall. They’ll head out on a tour spanning two weeks mostly in Northern Europe as the three-piece support their second EP, Celestial Mistress (reviewed and streamed here), a three-tracker that followed-up their 2015 debut single, Cyclopean Ritual / The Third Eye (streamed here), and make ready to record their debut full-length, which will reportedly feature six new songs continuing the narrative thread of their work to-date.

They’ll be joined by Basel, Switzerland’s Echolot for the run, which includes dates in not only that country and Sweden, but Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Denmark, as well as a couple dates still TBA that, you know, if you can help out with, you should, because good bands need good shows and so on and so forth.

Here are all the confirmed dates so far as well as other odds and ends and background culled from the internets, as well as a live video from earlier this year of “Beneath a Burning Sun.” Dig:

cities-of-mars-nov-tour-banner

In 1971, The Soviet Union landed a secret agent on the planet Mars. She discovered an ancient civilisation and a conspiracy from the dawn of time.

A vicious encounter, an undying Lord brought to life. Ancient feuds brooding in the shadows.

Puny humans playing guitar, bass, drums while chanting incoherently.

Time until the November tour will be spent writing songs for the upcoming album. Six new tales of the wicked planet are being crafted as we speak.

CITIES OF MARS Nov. tour w/ Echolot:
04.11 Jonkoping SE Sofiehof with Snailking
05.11 Stockholm SE Copperfields
06.11 TBA
08.11 Potsdam DE Archive
09.11 Amsterdam NL The Cave
10.11 Gorinchem NL PoGo
11.11 Naaldwijk NL Flatertheek
12.11 Antwerp BE Music City
13.11 Freiburg DE White Rabbit
14.11 Basel CH Schwarze Erle
15.11 TBA*
16.11 Le Mans FR Le Lezard with Stone from the Sky*
17.11 TBA*
18.11 Helsingør dk Elvaerket with Emortuo*
*no Echolot

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

Cities of Mars, “Beneath a Burning Sun” live, March 26, 2016

Tags: , , ,