A Storm of Light Announce New Album Anthroscene

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Hard to believe it’s been five years since the last album from A Storm of Light came out. That record was Nations to Flames on Southern Lord and their new one, dubbed Anthroscene in a clever play on the you-are-here era of planetary extinction in which we currently live, will be out via Consouling Sounds in Europe and Translation Loss in the States this Fall as the band get ready to tour overseas with Mono. It’s a pretty significant run that starts in the UK and ends in Russia, but of course A Storm of Light will be up to the task. In addition to frontman Josh Graham‘s work on graphics for Neurosis, Soundgarden, and a host of others, they’ve always kept plenty busy on the road.

Info and dates follow from the PR wire:

a storm of light

A STORM OF LIGHT ARE BACK WITH A NEW ALBUM TO BE RELEASED IN TIME FOR LIVE DATES WITH MONO THIS OCTOBER

A Storm of Light return with news of a new record. Five years after their last studio album (Nation To Flames, Southern Lord), Josh Graham and his companions Chris Common, Dan Hawkins and Domenic Seita have been working on their fifth full length Anthroscene which shall be released via Consouling Sounds (EU and UK) and Translation Loss (US) this Autumn.

A Storm Of Light will be presenting their new album across Europe in October, performing alongside Mono – see the list of dates below.

A STORM OF LIGHT LIVE WITH MONO
01/10 – UK Bristol, The Fleece
02/10 – UK Norwich, Arts Centre
03/10 – UK Glasgow, Classic Grand
04/10 – UK Newcastle, The Cluny
05/10 – UK Leeds, Left Bank
06/10 – BE Ghent, De Central
07/10 – NL Utrecht, Tivoli De Helling
08/10 – DE Bremen, Tower
09/10 – DE Dresden, Beatpol
10/10 – DE Wiesbaden, Schlacthof
11/10 – CH Aarau, Kiff
12/10 – FR Lyon, CCO
13/10 – ES Barcelona, AMFest
14/10 – FR Toulouse, Le Rex
15/10 – FR Bordeaux, Iboat
16/10 – FR Orleans, Astrolabe
17/10 – NL Heerlen, Nieuwe Nor
18/10 – DE Oberhausen, Drucklufthaus
19/10 – NL Leeuwarden, Into The Void
20/10 – GR Athens, Fuzz Club
22/10 – RU Moscow, Zil
23/10 – RU St. Petersburg, Zal

https://www.facebook.com/astormoflight
https://astormoflight.com/
https://astormoflightsl.bandcamp.com/
https://consouling.be/
https://www.translationloss.com/

A Storm of Light, Nations to Flames (2013)

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Snailking Begin Work on Third Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It’s entirely possible that by the time they get the pre-production finished, start and complete a recording process, mix, master, press up the inevitable vinyl and secure a proper release, Snailking will be a full four years out from having issued their second full-length in the form of 2014’s Storm (review here). That record was the Jönköping, Sweden-based cosmic doom trio’s follow-up to 2012’s Samsara (review here) and their debut on Consouling Sounds, and while it’s unclear at this time if the same label will stand behind the new offering, it should be interesting to hear what the YOB-influenced outfit have come up with this time around, since in the time since Storm guitarist/vocalist Pontus Ottosson has completely revamped the rhythm section behind him.

Now comprised of Ottoson, drummer Olle Svahn (who takes the place of Karl Jonas Wijk) and bassist Anton Eng (come aboard for Frans Levin), Snailking are marking the start of what could easily be a new era for the band by kissing the old one goodbye via making Storm and Samsara as well as the 2014 Live at the Kinky Star Club available from Bandcamp in name-your-price fashion, hoping to entice listeners and build funds up for the impending studio time. If you didn’t hear it, Storm is worth the price of admission for the 17-minute roll of “Requiem” alone, never mind the more aggro take of songs like “Premonitions” and “To Wander,” but whatever your poison, there’s plenty of space-sludge to go around.

They put word out like so:

snailking photo nicky hellemans

Finally some good news, Snailking is currently doing pre-production for our next full-length album! We feel like this calls for some kind of celebration so we’re giving away both our previous albums for free on our Bandcamp. We’re also doing a sale where you can find cheap t-shirts and CDs, all sales goes to financing the recording of the next album.

Snailking is:
Olle Svahn – Drums
Anton Eng – Bass
Pontus Ottosson – Guitar & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/SnailkingSWE/
https://snailking.bandcamp.com
http://snailking.se/

Snailking, Storm (2014)

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Quarterly Review: The Necromancers, The Asound & Intercourse, Bohr, Strobe, Astrosaur, Sun Q, Holy Mount, Sum of R, IIVII, Faces of the Bog

Posted in Reviews on September 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The season is changing here in the Northeastern part of the US. Leaves have just barely started to change, and the summertime haze that settles over the region for for the better parts of June, July and August has largely dissipated. It’s getting to be hoodie weather after the sun goes down. This past weekend was the equinox. All of this can only mean it’s time for another Quarterly Review — this one spanning a full Monday-to-Monday week’s worth of writeups. That’s right. 60 albums between now and a week from today. It’s going to be a genuine challenge to get through it all, but I’m (reasonably) confident we’ll get there and that when we’re on the other side, it will have been completely worth the lengthy trip to get there. Hell, you know the drill by now. Let’s not waste any time and get to it, shall we?

Quarterly Review #1-10:

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl

the-necromancers-servants-of-the-salem-girl

A noteworthy debut from the Poitier, France-based four-piece The Necromancers, whose coming has been much heralded owing in no small part to a release through Ripple Music, the six-track/41-minute Servants of the Salem Girl lumbers through doom and cultish heavy rock with likewise ease, shifting itself fluidly between the two sides on extended early cuts like opener “Salem Girl Part I” and the nine-minute “Lucifer’s Kin,” which gets especially Sabbathian in its roll later on. The album’s midsection, with the shorter cuts “Black Marble House” (video premiere here) and “Necromancers,” continues the flow with a general uptick of pace and ties together with the opening salvo via the burly vocals of guitarist Tom, the solo work of Rob on lead guitar, and the adaptable groove from bassist Simon and drummer Ben, and as the penultimate “Grand Orbiter” engages moody spaciousness, it does so with a refusal to commit to one side or the other that makes it a highlight of the album as a whole. The Necromancers finish contrasting rhythmic tension and payoff nod on “Salem Girl Part II,” having long since thoroughly earned their hype through songwriting and immediately distinct sonic persona. There’s growth to do in melodicism, but for being “servants,” The Necromancers show an awful lot of command in structure and style.

The Necromancers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

The Asound & Intercourse, Split 7″

the asound intercourse split

Noise is the order of things on the Tsuguri Records split 7” between New Haven, Connecticut’s good-luck-Googling aggressives Intercourse and North Carolinian sludge rockers The Asound. Each band offers a two-song showcase of their wares, with Intercourse blasting short jabs of post-hardcore/noise rock angularity on “Too Fucked to Yiff” and “Corricidin is a Helluva Drug” and The Asound bringing a more melodic heavy rock swing to “Slave to the Saints” while saving a more galloping charge for “Human for Human.” It’s a quick sampling, of course, and “Slave to the Saints” is the relative epic inclusion as the only one over three minutes long – it goes to 4:20, naturally – but boasts a surprisingly professional production from The Asound and an unhinged vibe from Intercourse that meets them head on in a way both competitive and complementary to the aggression of “Human for Human.” Fodder for the bands’ merch tables in its limited-to-300, one-time-only pressing, but there’s hardly anything wrong with that. All the more worth grabbing it if you can, while you can.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Intercourse on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Bohr, Bohr

bohr bohr

Officially called Self-Title, this two-song outing released by Tandang Records and BTNKcllctv serves as the first release from Malaysia’s Bohr, and with shouts and growls duking it out over massive plodding tones on opener “Voyager,” they seem to take position right away in the post-Conan verve of megadoom. Peppered-in lead work showcases some welcome nuance of personality, but it’s the second track “Suria” that trips into more surprising terrain, with a faster tempo and something of a letup in thickness, allowing for a more rocking feel, still met with shouted vocals but hinting at more of a melodic reach nonetheless. The shift might be awkward in the context of a full-length, but on a debut single/EP, it works just fine to demonstrate what may or may not be a nascent breadth in Bohr’s approach. They finish “Suria” with hints of more to come in a plotted guitar lead and are done in about 10 minutes, having piqued interest with two disparate tracks that leave one to wonder what other tricks might be up their collective sleeve.

Bohr on Thee Facebooks

Tandang Records on Bandcamp

BTNKcllctv on Bandcamp

 

Strobe, Bunker Sessions

strobe bunker sessions

It’s worth noting outright that Strobe’s Bunker Sessions was recorded in 1994. Not because it sounds dated, but just the opposite. The Sulatron Records release from the under-exposed UK psychedelic rockers finds them jamming out in live-in-studio fashion, and if you’d told me with no other context that the resultant six-track/40-minute long-player was put to tape two months ago, I’d absolutely have believed it. This would’ve been the era of their 1994 third album, The Circle Never Ends, and while some can hear some relation between that and Bunker Sessions in the shimmering lead and warm underscoring basslines of 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sun Birth,” the drift in “Chameleon Earth,” synth-laden space rock meandering of “Opium Dreams” and cymbal-wash-into-distortion-wash of closer “Sun Death” are on a wavelength of their own. It’s something of a curio release – a “lost album” – but it’s also bound to turn some heads onto how ahead of their time Stobe were in the ‘90s, and maybe we’ll get lucky and Sulatron will use it to kick off a full series of convenient LP reissues.

Sulatron Records on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Astrosaur, Fade In / Space Out

astrosaur-fade-in-space-out

While their moniker brings to mind pure stoner idolatry, Oslo instrumentalists Astrosaur acquit themselves toward more progressive fare with Fade In // Space Out, their Bad Vibes Records debut album, finding open spaces in bookending extended opener “Necronauts” and the dramatic shift between droning experimentalism and weighted lumber of the closing title-track even as middle cuts “Space Mountain,” “Yugen” and “Fishing for Kraken” balance with fits of driving progressive metallurgy. Comprised of Eirik Kråkenes, Steinar Glas and Jonatan Eikum, Astrosaur do get fuzzy for a bit on “Yugen,” but by the time they’re there, they’ve already space-doom-jazzed their way through such a vast aesthetic swath that it becomes one more stylistic element in fair-enough play. Open in its structure and building to an affecting cacophony in its ending, Fade In // Space Out is defined in no small part by its stylistic ambition, but whether it’s in the head-spinning initial turns of “Fishing for Kraken” or the stretch of peaceful, wistful guitar after the seven-minute mark in “Necronauts,” that ambition is admirable multifaceted and wide-reaching.

Astrosaur on Thee Facebooks

Bad Vibes Records website

 

Sun Q, Charms

sun q charms

There’s an encouraging and decidedly pro-shop fullness of sound being proffered on Sun Q’s debut full-length, Charms, to match an immediate sense of songcraft and stylization that puts them somewhere between heavy psych and more driving fuzz rock. Vocalist Elena Tiron takes a forward position in opener “Petals and Thorns” over the briskly-captured tones from guitarist Ivan Shalimov and bassist Denis Baranov while drummer Pavel Poseluev pushes the proceedings along, and whether they’re bringing in Seva Timofeev’s Hammond for the subsequent bluesy vibing of “After This,” toying with pop playfulness on “Plankton,” giving Andrey Tanzu percussive room on “Dancing Souls” or going full-expanse on keyboard-laden centerpiece and aptly-titled longest cut “Space,” there’s purpose behind the variety on offer and Sun Q never seem to lose their sense of poise throughout. There are moments where the bite of the production hits a little deep – looking at you, “Plankton” – but especially as their debut, Charms lives up to the name it’s been given and establishes these Moscow natives as a presence with which to be reckoned as they move forward.

Sun Q on Thee Facebooks

Sun Q on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mount, The Drought

holy mount the drought

White Dwarf Records picked up what by my count is Holy Mount’s fourth full-length, The Drought, for a vinyl issue following the Toronto foursome’s self-release last year, and with the immersive, dense heavy psych nod of “Division,” it’s little wonder why. The seven-cut LP is the second to feature the lineup of Danijel Losic, Brandon McKenzie, Troy Legree and Clayton Churcher behind 2014’s VOL, and its moments of nuance like the synth at the outset of “Blackened Log” or the blend of tense riffing and post-The Heads shoegaze-style vocal chants on the markedly insistent highlight cut “Basalt” only further the reasoning. The penultimate “Blood Cove” returns some to of the ritual sense of “Division,” and The Drought’s titular finale pierces its own wash with a lead that makes its apex all the more resonant and dynamic. Not nearly as frenetic as its cover art would have you believe, the already-sold-out vinyl brims with a vibe of creative expansiveness, and Holy Mount feel right at home in its depths.

Holy Mount on Thee Facebooks

White Dwarf Records webstore

 

Sum of R, Orga

sum of r orga

Over the course of its near-hour runtime, Orga, the Czar of Crickets-issued third full-length from Bern, Switzerland, ambient outfit Sum of R deep-dives into droning atmospheric wash while effectively producing headphone-worthy depths and avoiding the trap of redundant minimalism. Chimes in a song like “Desmonema Annasethe” and ringing bells in “We Have to Mark this Entrance” give a feeling of lushness instead that serves the release well overall, and these details, nuances, take the place of what otherwise might be human voices coursing through the bleak mire of Orga’s progression. One might look to closing duo “Let us Begin with What We Do Not Want to Be” and “One After the Other” for some sense of hopefulness, and whether or not it’s actually there, it’s possible to read it into the overarching drone of the former and the percussive movement of the latter, but by then Sum of R have well set the mood in an abiding darkness, and that remains the prevailing vibe. Not quite dramatic or brooding in a human/emotional sense, Orga casts its drear in soundscapes of distant nighttime horizon.

Sum of R website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

IIVII, Invasion

iivii invasion

Noted graphic artist and post-metal songwriter Josh Graham – formerly visuals for Neurosis, but also art for Soundgarden and many others, as well as being known for his work with A Storm of Light and the woefully, vastly underrated Battle of Mice – makes his second ambient solo release in the form of IIVII’s Invasion on Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds. A soundtrack-ready feel pervades the nine tracks/44 minutes almost instantly and holds sway with opener “We Came Here from a Dying World (I)” finding complement in the centerpiece “Tomorrow You’ll be One of Us (II)” and a thematic capstone in closer “Sanctuary,” only furthering the sense of a narrative unfolding throughout. There are elements drawn in “Unclouded by Conscience” from the atmospheric and score work of Trent Reznor and/or Junkie XL, but Graham doesn’t necessarily part with the post-metallic sense of brooding that has defined much of his work even as the pairing of “We Live” and “You Die” late in the record loops its way to and through its dramatic apex. Obviously not going to be for everyone, but it does make a solid argument for Graham as a composer whose breadth is still revealing itself even after a career filled with landmarks across multiple media.

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

 

Faces of the Bog, Ego Death

faces-of-the-bog-ego-death

In some of their shifts between atmospheric patience and churning intensity – not to mention in the production of Sanford ParkerFaces of the Bog remind a bit of fellow Windy City residents Minsk on their DHU Records debut album, Ego Death, but prove ultimately more aggressive in the thrust of “Drifter in the Abyss” and the later stretch of “The Serpent and the Dagger,” on which the guitars of Mark Stephen Gizewski and Trey Wedgeworth (both also vocals) delve into Mastodonic leads near the finish to set up the transition into the 10:33 title-track, which begins with a wash of static noise before Paul Bradfield’s bass sets up the slow nod that holds sway and only grows bigger as it presses forward. That cut is one of two over the 10-minute mark, and the other, closer “Blue Lotus,” unfolds even more gradually and ventures into cleaner vocals presaged on “The Weaver” and elsewhere as it makes its way toward an album-payoff crescendo marked by drummer Danny Garcia’s thudding toms and a low end rumble that’s as much a presence unto itself as a harbinger of progression to come.

Faces of the Bog on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

 

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Battle of Mice to Release All Your Sympathy’s Gone Discography 2LP Dec. 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

battle-of-mice-vinyl

Brooklyn post-metallers Battle of Mice had three releases out between 2006 and 2008. There was their stunning debut full-length, A Day of Nights (discussed here), which in my opinion continues to stand as one of the finest outings of its genre, offering a rare emotional resonance often cast aside in favor of ultra-cerebral chug and ambient interplay, as well as a preceding split with Red Sparowes and Made out of Babies and a following 2008 split with Jesu. That’s it. The band came to an unceremonious finish, and they were done. No talk of a reunion. No farewell show. No second album. Nothing. It was a cold ending.

Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds gives Battle of Mice their (over)due with All Your Sympathy’s Gone: The Complete Recordings, a 2LP that takes its title from the first lyric of A Day of Nights opener “The Lamb and the Labrador” and will be out Dec. 23. The package, which you can see above, is available now to preorder and for me, I’m just happy to have the excuse to revisit the band’s work, which though it’s a shock to think it’s been a decade since it came out, remains as powerful as it was when it was first released.

Info follows. Don’t miss this one:

battle-of-mice-all-your-sympathys-gone

It’s with tremendous pride we can announce the preorder for “All Your Sympathy’s Gone | The Complete Recordings”, collecting all of Battle of Mice’s music on a lavish gatefold double vinyl set.

It has been 10 years that Battle of Mice released their groundbreaking album “A Day of Nights”. The band, consisting of Josh Graham (A Storm of Light, IIVII, ex- Neurosis, ex- Red Sparowes), Julie Christmas (ex- Made Out of Babies), Joel Hamilton (Book Of Knots), Tony Maimone (Book of Knots, Pere Ubu (Official)) and Joe Tomino (Fugees, Dub Trio, Peeping Tom), was heralded as a post-metal supergroup. Battle of Mice unfortunately existed only a few years, but their musical legacy is tremendous. The album, previously released on Neurot Recordings, never saw a vinyl release. For this 10th anniversary, Consouling Sounds wants to pay homage to this seminal album by releasing it on vinyl for the very first time, augmented with the music from their split album, collecting all of Battle of Mice’s music on a lavish 2LP set.

The music has been especially remastered by Doug Henderson (also Swans, The Necks, Insect Ark, …), who revisited the original master recordings for this vinyl reissue.

To commemorate this special occasion, none other than Dehn Sora designed a special shirt. You can get this shirt from size S to XXL as a stand-alone order, or you can buy it as a package deal together with the 2LP.

Preorder now for a December 23 release here: http://consouling.be/album/battle-mice-sympathys-gone-complete-recordings/

https://www.facebook.com/battleofmice/
https://www.facebook.com/ConsoulingSounds/
http://consouling.be/

Battle of Mice, A Day of Nights (2006)

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Ortega Announce Sacred States Release; Stream New Track “Maelstrom”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

“Maelstrom” sets a raw post-metal vibe for Ortega‘s impending second album, Sacred States, and as the first audio made public from the Netherlands-based outfit for the follow-up to their 2013 debut, The Serpent Stirs (review here) — they also released the 18-minute single “Crows” (review here) in 2014 — it shows progression in its rougher edges and less cerebral take overall — as though the Groningen four-piece decided to cut ties with their preconceptions and just go for being as expressive as possible. That’s a hard vibe not to dig, and guest appearances from Gnaw Their Tongues and Primitive Man‘s Ethan Lee McCarthy only add intrigue for the rest of the album.

Release date is Oct. 5, but preorders for the vinyl are available now from Narshardaa Records, and Sacred States will also be out on CD through Consouling Sounds and tape through Tartarus Records.

Details go like this:

ortega sacred states art

Ortega – Sacred States

New track ‘Maelstrom’ + vinyl pre-orders

It has been quiet for a long time.

We are thrilled we can finally announce the release of our second full length ‘Sacred States’.

Since 2007, Ortega have been exploring the murky depths of humanity’s longing for the horizon. Perilous courses which drag carcasses ashore, sojourns that tell of the bells that chime on the sands below, collisions of doom, sludge and noise that tell tales of abyssal mankind.

Now, Sacred States is the first glance upwards. But whereas the depths below are finite, the chasms above ridicule every human attempt to realise itself. Whether he looks above or inside, the void remains. The tentative grasps into the great unknown will never hold anything but pain, and Ortega recount every step into the understanding of this fate that we turn away from more often than not. The hollow is here:

Recorded by John Bart van der Wal and mastered by James Plotkin.

Featuring contributions by Gnaw Their Tongues and Ethan Lee McCarthy of Primitive Man fame.

Sacred States is a collaborative effort between Consouling Sounds (CD), Narshardaa Records (Vinyl) and Tartarus Records (Cassette).

Vinyl pressing info:
100 multicolored splatter vinyl
100 clear vinyl
300 black vinyl

Pre-orders for Sacred States vinyl have started at Narshardaa Records: http://narshardaa.bigcartel.com/product/ortega-sacred-states-2xlp-pre-order

Release date: October 5th

https://www.facebook.com/ortegadoom
https://ortegaband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/ortegadoom/
http://consouling.be/
http://narshardaa.bigcartel.com/
http://tartarusrecords.com/

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Quarterly Review: Beastmaker, Low Flying Hawks, CHVE, Brujas del Sol, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, The Shooters, Boss Keloid, Hors Sujet, Warchief, Seedship

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

It seems like a day doesn’t go by that I don’t find something in one of these piles (metaphorical, sometimes literal) of records that keeps me coming back. Today is once again spread across a pretty wide stylistic swath, and that’s by design to keep my brain from going numb, but if there’s a unifying theme across all of it, let it be a sense of scope and bands and artists who are trying to take what’s been done before and push it forward or in some new direction. That’s not universal — nothing is — but today might be the most adventurous of the days included this quarter, so I hope you’ll keep open ears and an open mind as you make your way though.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae

beastmaker lusus naturae

Expectations are high for Fresno trio Beastmaker in no small part because their first album, Lusus Naturae, arrives through Rise Above Records. Whether they’ll take their place among the venerable UK imprint’s genre-shapers of the last half-decade, Uncle Acid, Ghost, etc., remains to be seen, but there can be little question Lusus Naturae lives up to the standard of offering something individual even as it plays off familiar conceptions. Beastmaker’s doom is classic without sounding like much of anything else, and as they unfold “Arachne” and catchy pieces like “Mask of Satan” and “You Must Sin,” they arrive aesthetically cohesive and demonstrating accomplished songwriting finding a space of its own surrounding Sabbathian and Cathedral-driven ideals with semi-psych, semi-cultish tendencies, not wanting to be put in one place or the other but successfully engaging a melting pot of modern doom in “Burnt Offering” and the plodding “It.” Whatever the wider response winds up being, Lusus Naturae will without a doubt stand as one of 2016’s best debuts.

Beastmaker on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

 

Low Flying Hawks, Kofuku

low flying hawks kofuku

If you’re hand-picking dream rhythm sections, getting Trevor Dunn to play bass while Dale Crover drums would probably be the picks of any number of players, but initials-only core duo EHA and AAL of Los Angeles’ Low Flying Hawks actually went out and got the Mr. Bungle and Melvins personnel to play on their Toshi Kasai-produced Magnetic Eye Records debut LP, Kofuku. Aside from keeping good company, the album’s 10 tracks/53 minutes are marked by a spaciousness that not even the tonal heft of early cut “Now, Apocalypse” seems to fill as EHA and AAL balance post-rock, doomed lurch and darker psychedelics with blackened screams and fervent rhythmic push – see “White Temple” and “Wolves Within Wolves.” They round out with the lumbering 11-minute “Destruction Complete,” a heavy rock march topped by airborne, dissonant leads that keeps its head even as it plods onward into oblivion. Not as unipolar as it might first appear in terms of sound, but the mood of Kofuku points consistently downward.

Low Flying Hawks on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records

 

CHVE, Rasa

chve rasa

The crux of CHVE’s Rasa is in resonance. Amenra frontman Colin H. van Eeckhout (his solo-project’s name derived from his initials) constructs a flowing half-hour of fluid drone, intermittent percussion – first tribal, then a straightforward kind of march, slow but not still – and atmospheric vocal on the single track that comprises the work, seeming to take influence from calls to prayer as much as atmospheric noise. At higher volumes, the piece is consuming, his voice surrounds with the almost constant wash of tone, but even at more reasonable levels, the sense of purpose and ritual remains. Of course, Amenra are noted for the use of the word “mass” in their album titles, and while Rasa departs from the direct tonal heft of much of what van Eeckhout does in his main outfit, there is a sense of mass here in terms both of presence and in terms of the worship being enacted.

CHVE on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds

 

Brujas del Sol, Starquake

brujas del sol starquake

How do you fit an 11-minute track onto a 7” release? Easy, you break it in half. Such is the method of Ohio instrumentalists Brujas del Sol, who follow their Moonliner EP trilogy with the late-2015 single Starquake, presented on the limited H42 Records platter as “Starquake Pt. I” and “Starquake Pt. II” but comprising nonetheless a single piece that backs airy, post-rock-tinged guitar with a decided forward rhythmic motion, resulting in an overarching build that, while there’s a natural moment for the split, is hypnotic front to back, a swirl of effects calling it mind space rock improvisation even as the plotted momentum of drums and bass resumes. Starquake is enough to make one imagine what kind of variety and spontaneity Brujas del Sol would bring to a debut full-length, so in that it very much does its job, but it makes a good case for standing on its own as well as it hits its second apex and finishes in a residual wash of cosmic noise.

Brujas del Sol on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records

 

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Noeth ac Anoeth

mammoth weed wizard bastard noeth ac anoeth

Offered through New Heavy Sounds, Noeth Ac Anoeth is the debut full-length from Welsh cosmic doom four-piece Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. It is comprised of three songs and incorporates the half-hour-long “Nachthexen,” which was also the title-track of the band’s prior 2015 EP (review here), their rumble brought to bear through the capable knob-turning of Conan’s Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio. The vocals of Jessica Ball manage to cut through the ensuing tonal murk of her bass and the guitars of Paul Michael Davies and Wez Leon, and James Carrington’s drums live up to the near-impossible task of making “Les Paradis Artificiels,” “Slave Moon” and “Nachthexen” go, each developing its own plodding momentum amid the purposeful thickness overdose and atmospheric sensibility enhanced both by Davies’ work on keys and Ball’s vocals. “Slave Moon” winds up at a gallop and almost operatic, but there’s no way the highlight wasn’t going to be “Nachthexen,” which offers chug dense enough and spaces wide open enough to easily get lost in. Time well spent, all around.

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard on Thee Facebooks

New Heavy Sounds

 

The Shooters, Dead Wilderness

the shooters dead wilderness

Spanish heavy rock four-piece The Shooters present their third album, Dead Wilderness (on Red Sun Records/Nooirax Producciones), as two sides even on the CD pressing, each half of the record ending with an extended cut over the 10-minute mark. All told it’s six songs/49 minutes of solidified, mostly straightforward Euro-style riff-led heavy grooves, tapping into some Dozer influence on “War on You” but offering more spacious burl on “Lucifer’s Word,” which starts side B after the push of “Roots” rounds out side A. There’s little by way of letup, but moments like the quiet start and bridge of “Black Mountain” do a lot of work in adding complexity to The Shooters’ hook-minded approach, and 11-minute finale “Candelabrum” builds on that with a patient linear unfolding that casts off some tonal heft in favor of a more atmospheric take. That ultimately lets Dead Wilderness bring an individual edge to established stylistic parameters, from which it greatly benefits.

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The Shooters on Bandcamp

 

Boss Keloid, Herb Your Enthusiasm

boss keloid herb your enthusiasm

Granted, a title playing off Curb Your Enthusiasm and, well, herb, might make you think the band is just goofing around, but UK riffers Boss Keloid offer more substance with their second album, Herb Your Enthusiasm, than they do wackiness. The sound – captured by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio – is positively massive, bolstered by guest appearances from Fielding himself and his Conan bandmate, Jon Davis, who also owns Skyhammer and Black Bow Records, the imprint releasing the LP, and given to swells of largesse and huge rolling grooves that still remain righteously fuzzed, as on “Escapegoat” or “Lung Valley” the quieter complement to opener “Lung Mountain.” Vocalist Alex Hurst assures any quota of burl is met, but has more to his approach melodically than riff-following chestbeating, and guitarist Paul Swarbrick, bassist Adam Swarbrick and drummer Stephen Arands present instrumental flow and turns behind that give the record a sense of personality beyond its weedian play. Not a minor undertaking at an hour long, but satisfying in tone and execution.

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Black Bow Records

 

Hors Sujet, Nous N’y Trouvons que le Doute

hors sujet nous ny trouvons que le doute

I guess it’s fair to call late 2015’s Nous N’y Trouvons que le Doute the debut full-length from Toulouse-based one-man outfit Hors Sujet, though multi-instrumentalist/atmosphere-conjurer Florent Paris has done a variety of soundtrack work and released numerous other textures in EPs and a variety of other offerings, so take that for what it’s worth. More important is the rich sense of ambience Paris brings to Hors Sujet in the seven included songs, from the dystopian doom of “Au Plus Loin, la Mer / L’hiver Peureux” to the wistful drone wash of “Le Souffle, Peu à Peu (Pt. 2),” which has its companion piece earlier in the album. Of special note should be 27-minute closer “Et Maintenant, le Ombres,” acting as a summary of the proceedings as much as expansion thereupon, concluding an often quiet outing with a stark cacophony that gorgeously builds from the minimalism before it to a raucous finish worth of the breadth Paris shows in his work throughout.

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Hors Sujet on Bandcamp

 

Warchief, Warchief

warchief warchief

Initially released by the band in summer 2015, the self-titled debut from Finnish progressive heavy rockers Warchief sees vinyl issue through Phonosphera Records, its two sides consumed by organic execution across four tracks moving beyond traditional structure in favor of a more varied approach, from the rumbling heft that emerges in opener “Give” through the goes-anywhere near-psychedelia of 21-minute closer “For Heavy Damage.” Warchief, the Jyväskylä-based four-piece of Teemu Pellonpää, Juho Saarikoski, Esa Pirttimäki and Tommi Rintala, feel right at home working in longer-form material, whether it’s that closer or the nine-minute “Life Went On” preceding, and given their breadth I wouldn’t be surprised if they would up with a single-song album sometime in the future. With that in mind, perhaps most encouraging about their self-titled is the fact that it seems so exploratory, very much like the beginning of creative growth rather than a finished product on display. One hopes they continue to flesh out stylistically and build on the foundation they’ve set here.

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Warchief on Bandcamp

 

Seedship, Demo 2015

seedship demo 2015

Riffing their way into the post-Electric Wizard league of rumble purveyors, Minneapolis newcomers Seedship avoid any cultish trappings on last fall’s Demo 2015, their first release. A marked tonal thickness is nearly immediate, but along with the slow-motion nod and overarching density, melodic vocals cut through the morass to give a human aspect to the groove. Of the three tracks, “The Edge of Expiry,” “The Condemned Adrift” and “The Desperate Odyssey,” not a one is under eight minutes long, and as they plod their way through the opener (also the longest track; immediate points), Seedship enact a sci-fi theme that carries through the release as a whole, which scuffs up the approach some in the closer, but always keeps its spacier elements intact, even as it kicks the pace in the ass at around six minutes in and lets loose a release for all the tension built up prior before a final slowdown ends out. They seem to have a lot already worked out sound-wise, so should be interesting to hear where they go with it.

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Amenra to Release Alive on April 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

amenra

Belgian post-everything resonance emitters Amenra release their mostly-acoustic new album, Alive, on April 15. As fate and clever scheduling would have it, Amenra will be performing an acoustic show at Roadburn 2016 that very weekend, presumably doing similar reinterpretations of older and newer material as those which appear on the new LP. CD and vinyl will be out through Consouling Sounds, which has made preorders available now for those who won’t be at the fest or who like to take care of these things early, and it marks the latest foray into unplugged atmospheres in a periodic series for the oft-crushing outfit.

The PR wire brings details:

amenra alive

Amenra – Belgian Post-Metal Collective Announces New Album Details

Consouling Sounds is proud to announce the release of Amenra’s new album, “Alive”.

Set for release on April 15th to coincide with the band’s performance at this year’s iconic Roadburn Festival, “Alive” is a unique release featuring live recordings of acoustic versions of Amenra’s old and new tracks as well as two cover versions, including a stunning rendition of Tool’s “Parabol”.

Pre-orders for the CD and LP versions are now available at the following location.

View the artwork cover created by Christoph Mencke.

In 2009, Amenra released the beautiful and fragile EP “Afterlife”, meant as a musical testament for future generations. The acoustic tracks that made up this EP showed a very different aspect of the band, but also proved that in any incarnation Amenra connects on a deeply emotional level with its audience. The acoustic album kept on lingering in the background, and it was only a matter of time for the band to revisit the acoustic approach of the EP. In 2014 Amenra again showed their most vulnerable side on different stages and this new album simply titled “Alive” collects live recordings of old and new acoustic renditions of Amenra tracks, but it also harbors the collaboration with Belgian poet Sofie Verdoodt and two bone chilling covers.

https://www.facebook.com/churchofra
http://consouling.be
https://www.facebook.com/ConsoulingSounds

Amenra, “The Longest Night”

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Innerwoud Release New Album Mirre

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 17th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

innerwoud (Photo by Stefaan Temmerman)

As we head inexorably toward the darkest day of the year, what better time to indulge a bit of full-on string-based melancholy. Enter the contemplative solo work of Ghent, Belgium’s PJ VA, operating under the moniker of Innerwoud. The one-man outfit’s new outing, Mirre, has been newly released and is four tracks of experimentalism that seems to be actively eschewing “classical” tags in favor of more modern evocations. Consouling Sounds is at the helm of the release, which brings to mind a more staid version of the layering and drones Helen Money brings to the cello, and it’s available right now, sunrise or sunset.

The PR wire had this to say:

innerwoud mirre

Innerwoud’s Mirre Out Now Via Consouling Sounds

Consouling Sounds is thrilled to present the debut full length album of Innerwoud. This lone man and his double bass have already made some heads turn. His very own way of playing and layering bass drones makes up for truly unique listening experience. Innerwoud live is impressive: trying to subdue his unleashed instrument, battling it into submission, and exploring the vastness of the drone spectrum. His practice is rooted in the contemporary classical music, but Innerwoud is a far cry from a classical musician. Constantly shifting between contemporary classical music, moody drones, and haunting soundscapes, he captivates his audience across genres and conventions. His debut captures the essence of his live shows, augmented with sparse and well-aimed arrangements, resulting in an album that crawls deeply under the skin.

Mostly deep drone harmonies, accompanied by a subtile and dark melody. Creating a lyrical sound without lyrics, in the warm shade of Icelandic and Canadian predecessors. Not an overtrained musician but a connoisseur of african cultures. Former member of Ghent based quartet Zura Zaj, participating in different projects such as neoclassical between-whiles-band Ana Barii.

Innerwoud – Mirre
Consouling Sounds
Release Date: 13 December, 2015

1. Dar
2. Nachtkus
3. Mirre
4. Sterveling

https://innerwoud.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/innerwoud
http://consouling.be
https://www.facebook.com/ConsoulingSounds

Innerwoud, “Sterveling”

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