Stonebride Release Animals on Display EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

stonebride

The last offering from Croatian heavy rockers Stonebride arrived some four years ago in the form of the impressive — and impressively titled — full-length, Heavy Envelope (review here). Progressive as that outing was, it should be interesting to dig in and hear what the Zagreb four-piece has come up with for Animals on Display, which has been issued through PDV Records and is comprised of just four songs totaling 18 minutes in length. One track per year between releases? The PR wire makes the claim that Animals on Display is the band’s “most exhaustive” work yet. If each track was a year in the making, it might just be.

Details and the full EP stream came down the PR wire. Let’s all dig in together, shall we?

Indeed:

stonebride animals on display

Stonebride’s new album ‘Animals on Display’ is out

Animals on Display a new mini album by heavy rock veterans Stonebride is out after 4 years since their last full length effort Heavy Envelope. These diversely influenced musicians are on the quest to set another benchmark in the further development of their sound. The album was released this March 15th through PDV Records and is available in CD/digital forms while the vinyl release is scheduled for the upcoming Autumn release.

Animals on Display consists of 4 tracks with running time little under 18 minutes. It is by far the band’s most exhaustive work which demands undivided attention of the listener.

Stonebride remains true to their musical roots but keep implementing both musical and personal experiences and pouring it into this record. On the verge of various (sub)genres like psych, prog, doom, blues, desert/stoner or giving nod to the 90’s grunge/alternative they’re constantly pushing the envelope with each new release. Keeping in mind the band has been together for almost 13 years (with the same line-up) just adds to their credibility as an ongoing creative force that shows no signs of stopping.

The concept is rounded with the artwork from the talented Krešimir ?uk aka VAST. A visual artist that combines digital collage and vector graphics. Visually inspired by crosshatching and thematically by surrealism, his work’s main premise is comparing subjective experience of the person with objectivity and erasing the boundaries between them. Animals on Display was recorded with several people behind the desk in couple of studios in Zagreb, Croatia from April to December 2017. It was produced by Siniša Krneta (band’s vocalist/guitarist), recorded by Luka Grubiši?, Vedran Kova?i?, Hrvoje Nikši?, Vedran Rao Brle?i? and Hrvoje Štefoti?, mixed by Vedran Rao Brle?i? and mastered by Carl Saff.

STONEBRIDE – Animals on Display tracklist:
1. Animal on Display
2. Embodiment
3. Early Bird
4. Half of Me

stonebride.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/stonebrideband
youtube.com/stonebrighter
www.reverbnation.com/stonebride
http://www.pdv.com.hr/
https://www.facebook.com/PDVRecordLabel/

Stonebride, Animals on Display EP (2018)

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Eagle Twin, Wight, Sundrifter, Holy Mushroom, Iron and Stone, Black Capricorn, Owl Maker, Troll, Malditos, The Freak Folk of Mangrovia

Posted in Reviews on April 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

I’m pretty sure this Quarterly Review — life eater that it is — is going to wind up being six days long. That means next Monday look for sixth installment, another batch of 10 records, which were not hard to come by among everything that’s come in lately for review. I do my best to keep up, often to little avail — some random act’s Bandcamp page starts trending and all of a sudden they’re the best band ever, which hey, they’re probably not and that’s okay too. Anyhowzer, I’m trying is the point. Hopefully another 10 records added into this Quarterly Review underscores that notion.

More coffee. More albums. Let’s rock.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard (Songs of Hoof and Horn)

eagle twin the thundering heard songs of hoof and horn

Consuming tones, throat-sung blues, a wash of lumbering doom – yes, it’s quite a first three minutes on Eagle Twin’s The Thundering Heard (Songs of Hoof and Horn). Released by Southern Lord, it’s the Salt Lake City duo’s first outing since 2012’s The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale (discussed here), which arrived three years after their 2009 debut, The Unkindness of Crows (review here). Once again, the four-song outing finds guitarist/vocalist Gentry Densley and drummer Tyler Smith exploring the natural order and the natural world the 11-minute “Quanah un Rama” and the 14-minute “Antlers of Lightning” bookend “Elk Wolfv Hymn” (8:22) and album highlight “Heavy Hood” (7:21), creating an ever-more immersive and grit-laden flow across the album’s span. It’s hard to know if Densley and Smith are the hunters or the hunted here, but the tones are massive enough to make YOB blush, the rhythms are hypnotic and the use they’re both put to is still unlike anything else out there, ending after the chaos and assault of low end on “Antlers of Lightning” with a moment of contemplative guitar lead, as if to remind us of our solitary place in imagining ourselves at the top of the food chain.

Eagle Twin on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Wight, Fusion Rock Invasion

wight fusion rock invasion

One wonders what it might’ve been like to see Wight on the 2015 tour on which the Bilocation Records-issued vinyl-only Fusion Rock Invasion: Live Over Europe was captured. Still a year out from releasing their third album, Love is Not Only What You Know (review here), the former trio had already become a four-piece with guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist René Hofmann, bassist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn and drummer Thomas Kurek bringing in percussionist Steffen Kirchpfening and already undertaken the funkier aesthetic turn that LP would represent coming off of 2012’s Through the Woods into Deep Water (review here). At least I’d think it would be something of a surprise as the band hit into “Helicopter Mama” and “The Muse & the Mule” and “Kelele,” which comprise side A of Fusion Rock Invasion, but by all appearances listening to the crowd response between songs, they seem into it. Who could argue? Wight’s groove in those songs as well as the older “Master of Nuggets” and Love is Not Only What You Know finale “The Love for Life Leads to Reincarnation” on side B, are infectious in their grooves and the soul put into them is genuine and unmistakable. One more reason I wouldn’t have minded being there, I suppose.

Wight on Thee Facebooks

Wight at Bilocation Records

 

Sundrifer, Visitations

sundrifter visitations

Name your bet someone picks up Sundrifter’s Visitations for a proper release. The Boston three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Craig Peura, bassist Paul Gaughran and drummer Patrick Queenan impress in performance, aesthetic and craft across the nine songs and 48 minute of their for-now-self-released debut long-player, and whether it’s Queenan dipping into blastbeats on “Targeted” or Gaughran’s rumble on the Soundgarden-gone-doom “Fire in the Sky” or the fuzz that leads the charge on the Queens of the Stone Age-style “Hammerburn,” Peura doing a decent Josh Homme along the way, each member proves to add something to a whole greater than the sum of its parts and that is able to take familiar elements and use them to hone an individualized atmosphere. In the wake of melodically engaged Boston acts like Gozu, Sundrifter would seem to be a focused newcomer with a solidified mindset of who they are as a group. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised either if they kept growing their sound. Something about the psychedelic distance in “Fire in the Sky” and “I Want to Leave,” says there’s forward movement yet to be had.

Sundrifter on Thee Facebooks

Sundrifter on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Moon

holy mushroom moon

Serenity and presence. There’s no shortage of either on the second Holy Mushroom full-length, Moon. Incorporating the prior-issued digital single “Éufrates,” the five-track/43-minute excursion is rife with natural-toned psychedelic resonance, marked out by organ/piano working alongside the guitar (see “Birdwax Blues”), as well as guest contributions of double bass and saxophone, and other sundry moments of depth-creating flourish. Their trance-effect is palpable, and Moon is an easy album to get lost in, especially as the Spanish three-piece make their way through 12:35 centerpiece “The Preacher,” moving from a dreamy opening line of guitar into funk-laden heft that only pushes forward with Hendrixian abandon through a massive jam before rounding out sweetly with vocals over background organ and sweetly-strummed guitar. “Éufrates” would seem to start the same way, but varies the structure in more of a back and forth format before closer “Grand Finale in the Blind Desert” brings both Holy Mushroom’s most patient execution and their most vibrant jam (sax included), essentially building from the one into the other to end the album in energetic fashion. To say it works for them would be underselling it.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Holy Mushroom on Bandcamp

 

Iron and Stone, Petrichor

iron and stone petrichor

A debut long-player of no-pretense, no-nonsense sludge-infused doom, Petrichor (on Backbite Records) shows German five-piece Iron and Stone as ready to follow where the riff will lead them. The late 2017 album is a solidly-delivered 10 tracks and 43 minutes that strikes mostly in monochrome intent, save perhaps for the acoustic “Interlude” near the midpoint. Their 2015 EP, Old Man’s Doom (review here), was similarly upfront in its purposes, but carrying across a full-length – especially a debut – is a different beast from a shorter outing. Their heavier push on “Monolith” is welcome and the break-then-chug of “Deserts” does plenty to satisfy, but Petrichor might require a couple concerted listens to really sink in on its audience, though as I’ve said time and again, if you can’t handle repetition, you can’t handle doom. Iron and Stone effectively balance traditional doom and rawer sludge groove, playing fluidly to whichever suits their purposes at a given moment.

Iron and Stone on Thee Facebooks

Backbite Records webstore

 

Black Capricorn, Omega

black capricorn omega

Sardinian doom cult Black Capricorn push well beyond the limits of the manageable with their 95-minute fourth album, Omega (released Nov. 2017 on Stone Stallion Rex), and that’s clearly the idea. The three-piece of bassist Virginia, drummer Rakela and guitarist/vocalist Kjxu offer grim ambience and tempos that sound slow regardless of their actual speed. That said, the 17-minute “Antartide” is an accomplishment as regards crawl. After a sweetly melancholic opening of guitar, it lurches and lumbers out its miserable heft until a return to that intro bookends. Even shorter tracks like “Flower of Revelation” or “Stars of Orion” hold firm to the tenet of plod, and though the results are obviously a lot to take in, the idea that it should be a slog seems all the more appropriate to Black Capricorn’s style. The band, which hits the decade mark in 2018, churn out one last bit of wretchedness in the nine-minute closing title-track before giving way to an acoustic finish, as if to remind that Omega’s sorrows are conveyed as much through atmosphere as actual sonic heft.

Black Capricorn on Thee Facebooks

Stone Stallion Rex website

 

Owl Maker, Paths of the Slain

owl maker paths of the slain

Guitarist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli, also of malevolent doomers Vestal Claret, leads the new trio Owl Maker, and in the company of bassist Jessie May and drummer Chris Anderson, he embarks on a heavy rock push of six tracks with the debut EP, Paths of the Slain, still holding to some elements of metal, whether it’s the double-kick in opener “Ride with Aileen” or the backing vocals and guitar solo of the subsequent “99.” Songwriting is clearheaded across the EP’s 23 minutes, and in terms of first impressions, “Mashiara” shows a focus on melody that retains a metallic poise without losing its riff-driven edge. The balance shifts throughout “Freya’s Chariot” and the all-go “Witches,” the latter of which touches on black metal in its first half before turning on a dime to mid-paced heavy rock, and closer “Lady Stoneheart” nods in its back end to NWOBHM gallop, as Owl Maker seem to tip their audience to the fact that they’re just getting started on their exploration of the many interpretations of heavy.

Owl Maker on Thee Facebooks

Owl Maker on Bandcamp

 

Troll, Troll

troll troll

When one considers the multiple connotations of the word, Portland’s Troll are definitely going more for “lives under a bridge” than “meddling in elections” when it comes to their sound. Their self-titled debut EP, issued in 2017 before being picked up by respected purveyor Shadow Kingdom Records for a 2018 CD/tape release, is a highlight offering of classic-style doom worthy of Orodruin and Pilgrim comparisons and headlined by the vocal performance of John, who carries songs like opener “The Summoning” and the later, more swinging “Infinite Death” in a manner impressive in both frontman presence and melodic range. His work is only bolstered by the riffs of guitarist Lou and the consistent groove held together by bassist Wayne and drummer Ryan, whose drive in centerpiece “An Eternal Haunting” is neither overdone nor incongruous with the wall its tempo hits, and who meld shuffle and plod on closer “Savage Thunder” with naturalist ease. Potential abounds, and they reportedly already have new material in the works, so all the better.

Troll on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records website

 

Malditos, II

malditos ii
Some bands, you just have to accept the fact that they’re on a different wavelength and that’s all there is to it. Magma. Master Musicians of Bukkake. Circle. Enter Oakland, California’s Malditos, whose sophomore outing, II: La Réve, arrives via Svart Records. From bizarre psychedelic chants to ritualized repetitions that seems to be daring you to play them backwards on your turntable, the spiritual freakout to songs like “Azadeh” and the penultimate “Momen” is palpable. Reach out and touch it and it will ripple like water in front of you. A sense of space is filled with elements alternatingly horrifying and engrossing, and after they make their way through “Le Passage” and centerpiece “Disparu” and wind up in the title-track to close out, the journey to the final wash of noise gives the distinct impression that for neither the listener nor the band is there any coming back. High order head trippery. Will simply be too much for some, will gloriously expand the minds of others.

Malditos on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records webstore

 

The Freak Folk of Mangrovia, Sonic Meditations: Live @ Palach

the freak folk of mangrovia sonic meditations live at palach

I don’t know how much improvisation is a factor in the sound of The Freak Folk of Mangrovia, but the Croation collective bring an ultra-organic presence to their perhaps-debut release, Sonic Meditations: Live @ Palach. The group, which seems also to have gone under the names Marko Mushan & the Mangrovian Orchestra and The Free Folk of Mangrovia, was opening for Acid Mothers Temple that night, and Sonic Meditations mostly breaks down into parts – “Sonic Meditation I,” “II,” “III” and “IV” – before the band closes out with “’Mangrovian Summer,” all the while with The Freak Folk of Mangrovia making their way through progressive dreamscapes, dripping with effects and spacious enough to house an entire Mangrovian village, however big that might be. It is otherworldly and jazzy and moves with such fluidity that the entire “Sonic Meditation” becomes one overarching piece, complemented by the closing “Mangrovian Summer,” which ebbs and flows through louder, more active jamming before capping in a wash of noise.

The Freak Folk of Mangrovia on Thee Facebooks

The Freak Folk of Mangrovia on Bandcamp

 

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

Drone Hunter Premiere “Wine Dick” Official Live Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drone hunter

Surfing couches, in and out of venues and hostels, drinking, taking in the sights of different places, driving, flying, being here and there and all over the place, seeing different people and cultural spaces, and of course, playing shows — Drone Hunter‘s new video only lasts about five minutes, but that seems to be long enough for it to encapsulate what I imagine was at least a good part of their experience on their 2016 tour. Actually, this is probably just scratching the surface, but as a broad overview, the clip matches the charm of the song title “Wine Dick” with footage of the Croatian instrumental trio on the road and it looks like they’re having a good time. Nobody shows the slog in these videos — the sitting around waiting to play, the traffic, the meals at gas stations — but as a representation of the fun they had, it’s genuinely enjoyable to watch. Vacation video. Plus riffs!

As it happens, “Wine Dick” isn’t short on the latter. Coming off the three-piece’s 2016 second album, Welcome to the Hole (review here), the track doesn’t have vocals as noted, and Drone Hunter keep the proceedings pretty straightforward in the Karma to Burn be-as-bullshit-free-as-possible tradition, but while the band jumps around between Slovenia, the Czech Republic, France, Malta, etc. — Malta looks fucking incredible — they set up a hook just the same around which the track nails down the punch of its verse. In that, it represents the album well, which keeps to similar methods while varying somewhat the level of aggression in Drone Hunter‘s delivery. Are they getting back on the road this year in Eastern Europe or beyond? I’d imagine so but haven’t heard anything as yet. When and if I do, I’ll of course let you know.

In the meantime, I’m happy to host the premiere of the “Wine Dick” video below. The band had a quick explanation of its making and origins and you’ll find that under the player, as well as the link to their Bandcamp, where of course Welcome to the Hole is streaming in full.

Enjoy:

Drone Hunter, “Wine Dick” official video

We proudly present to you our tour video for ‘Wine Dick’. The footage was filmed throughout the year 2016 and covers our tours and journeys in Croatia, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Malta.

The whole thing was filmed and edited by ourselves in a completely DIY fashion and we’re extremely glad to share it with¨all of you. ENJOY!

Drone Hunter on Bandcamp

Drone Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Drone Hunter on YouTube

Tags: , , , , ,

Drone Hunter Post Official Live Video for “Fog Horn”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drone hunter

I know, I know. It’s the future. These kinds of things aren’t necessarily a big deal at this point. They happen all the time. Nonetheless, a sub-two-week turnaround from show to fully-edited multi-camera video document of that same show is pretty impressive whatever time you’re living in. Especially with the holidays in there. You ever try to get anything done over the holidays? Of course you didn’t.

Drone Hunter did. The Croatian heavy noise rockers rounded out 2016 with the Dec. 17 release show for their second album, Welcome to the Hole (review here), and by Dec. 28, the clip below for “Fog Horn” was done and ready to roll. I’m sorry, but even in a world of digital editing that’s quick. And it doesn’t at all look half-assed. In fact, the show looks like it was a really good time, and no doubt that’s precisely what the Varazdin three-piece were hoping to convey.

Starts and ends with some crowd noise and views, and it would seem the house was packed at the Caffe Bar Elephant, where the clip was filmed. From start to finish of the song itself, the hometown three-piece give Welcome to the Hole solid representation with “Fog Horn,” the track offering Karma to Burn-style straightforwardness of intent with an aggressive edge that comes across as just a bit meaner on the whole. Front to back, the record plays around with that spirit somewhat, but “Fog Horn” tells much of the story, and the video does accordingly — cool gig, maximum volume, heavy riffs. Nothing wrong with that.

Enjoy “Fog Horn” below, followed by credits and links:

Drone Hunter, “Fog Horn” official live video

We proudly present our official live video for ‘Fog Horn’ off our new album ‘Welcome To The Hole’ filmed at our hometown release show at Caffe Bar Elephant in Varaždin, Croatia on Dec 17th 2016.

Directed, filmed and edited by Igor ‘Meister’ Male?i? of Meisterwerk Productions, Zagreb, Croatia. Additional footage filmed by Jurica Galekovi? of Dakkar Pictures, Varaždin, Croatia.

All music written, produced and performed by Drone Hunter. Available on Bandcamp, CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon or at our shows, both digital and physical.

We appreciate all the friends, fans, promoters, hosts and everyone who is involved with Drone Hunter in any way. You guys make this ride even more fun and rewarding than the music itself!

Drone Hunter on Bandcamp

Drone Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Drone Hunter on YouTube

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Red Fang, Black Moon Circle, Druglord, Drone Hunter, Holy Serpent, Lugweight, Megaritual, Red Lama, Lacy, Valborg

Posted in Reviews on December 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Feeling good going into day two of the Quarterly Review. The good news about how heavy music has become such a vast universe is that there’s always plenty to cover without having to really dig into stuff I don’t find interesting. Of course, the other side of that is feeling constantly behind the curve and overwhelmed by it all, but let’s not talk about that for the moment. Point is that as we make our way through this week and into the next — because, remember, it’s six days this time, not five — a big part of me still feels like I’m just scratching the surface of everything that’s out there. It still seems just to be a fraction of the whole story being told around the world in the riffiest of languages. We all do what we can, I guess. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Red Fang, Only Ghosts

red-fang-only-ghosts

Four albums into one of the decade’s most successful and influential heavy rock careers, doesn’t it seem like Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang are due for a truly great record? Their 2013 outing, Whales and Leeches (discussed here), was rushed by the band’s own admission – their focus, as ever, on touring – and Only Ghosts (on Relapse) unites them with producer Ross Robinson and mixer Joe Barresi, two considerable names to bring heft and presence to the 10-track/42-minute outing. And I’ve no doubt that “Shadows” and the bigger-grooving “The Smell of the Sound” and opener “Flies” kick ass when delivered from the stage, and it’s true they sound more considered with the ambience of “Flames” positioned early, but Only Ghosts still comes across like a collection of songs united mostly by the timeframe in which they were written. Doesn’t mean they don’t build on Whales and Leeches, but now five years on from 2011’s Murder the Mountains (review here), and with their dynamic, charged and momentum-driven sound firmly established, Red Fang still seem to be at the threshold of some crucial forward step rather than stomping all over it as one might hope.

Red Fang on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Black Moon Circle, Sea of Clouds

black-moon-circle-sea-of-clouds

After releasing a self-titled debut (review here) and the follow-up Andromeda (review here) in 2014, 2016’s Sea of Clouds (on Crispin Glover/Stickman) is the third proper studio full-length from Norway’s Black Moon Circle – though at that point, define “proper.” In 2015, the trio/four-piece – Trondheim-based guitarist Vemund Engan, bassist Øyvin Engan and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, plus Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective on synth – also released The Studio Jams Vol. I (discussed here) and in addition to the four tracks of Sea of Clouds, they’ve also had a Vol. II (review here) out this year. The definitions become fluid, is what I’m saying, and that couldn’t be more appropriate for the sound of “Lunar Rocket,” the outward-gazing space rock of “The Magnificent Dude,” “Moondog” and “Warp Speed,” which indeed offer enough kosmiche expanse to make one wonder where the song ends and the jam begins. Or, you know, reality. One has to wonder if Black Moon Circle might bridge the gap at some point between studio improv and more plotted songwriting, but as it stands, neither side of their dual personality fails to engage with its flow and drift.

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Black Moon Circle at Stickman Records

Black Moon Circle at Crispin Glover Records

 

Druglord, Deepest Regrets

druglord-deepest-regrets

A one-sided 12” EP issued by STB Records in late 2015 as the follow-up to Richmond dirge-fuzzer trio Druglord’s debut album, Enter Venus (review here), the three-track Deepest Regrets represents the band’s final studio material with bassist Greta Brinkman (ex-L7) in the lineup, who’s since been replaced by Julian Cook. That distinction matters in no small part because so much of Druglord’s purposes on Deepest Regrets’ three component songs – “Regret to Dismember,” “Speedballs to Hell” and “Heaven Tonight” – is about reveling in low end. Rawer than was the album preceding, they find guitarist/vocalist/organist Tommy Hamilton, Brinkman and drummer Bobby Hufnell emitting an oozing lurch, blasting out thickened motor-riffing, and fortifying a darkly psychedelic drear – in that order. True to EP form, each song gives a sampling of some of what Druglord has to offer coming off the album, and with a recording job by Garrett Morris, who also helmed the LP, it remains a fair look at where they might head next, despite the shift in lineup.

Druglord on Thee Facebooks

STB Records webstore

 

Holy Serpent, Temples

holy serpent temples

Melbourne’s Holy Serpent return with Temples (on RidingEasy), their second full-length after 2015’s self-titled debut (review here), and continue to offer an engaging blend of well-blazed psychedelia and heavier-rolling groove. Especially considering they’ve still only been a band for two years, the four-piece of guitarists Nick Donoughue and Scott Penberthy (the latter also vocals), bassist Dave Barlett and Lance Leembrugen remain striking in their cohesion of purpose, and Temples opener “Purification by Fire” and ensuing cuts like the fuzz-wall centerpiece “Toward the Sands” and echo-laden “The Black Stone” only continue to stretch their intentions toward ever more acid-ic flow. They called it “shroom doom” last time out, and seem to have moved away from that self-branding, but however one wants to label Temples, its five tracks/43 minutes push ahead from where Holy Serpent were just a year ago and, rounding out with the slower churn of “Sativan Harvest,” still reminds that mind expansion and deeply weighted tonecraft are by no means mutually exclusive.

Holy Serpent on Thee Facebooks

Holy Serpent at RidingEasy Records

 

Drone Hunter, Welcome to the Hole

drone hunter welcome to the hole

Self-releasing Croatian instrumental trio Drone Hunter devise vigilantly straightforward riffing on their second album, Welcome to the Hole, finding room for some charm in titles like “Wine Dick,” “Crazy Ants with Shotguns” and the closing “A Burning Sensation,” the latter of which seems to draw particularly from the playbook of Karma to Burn. That comparison is almost inevitable for any riff-led/sans-vocal three-piece working in this form, but the crunch in “Fog Horn” and “Waltz of the Iron Countess” isn’t without its own personality either, and as with a host of acts from the Croatian underground, they seem to have a current of metal to their approach that, in the case of Welcome to the Hole, only makes the entire affair seem tighter and more precise while maintaining tonal presence. Fitz (guitar), Klen (bass) and Rus (drums) might not be much for words or last names, but their sophomore full-length comprises solid riffs and grooves and doesn’t seem to ask anything more than a nod from its audience. A price easily paid.

Drone Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Drone Hunter on Bandcamp

 

Lugweight, Yesterday

lugweight yesterday

Lugweight is comprised solely of Brooklyn-via-Richmond-Virginia transplant Eric Benson, and the project makes its full-length debut with the evocatively-titled drone wash of Yesterday following one EP and preceding another. Fair to call it an experimental release, since that’s kind of the nature of the aesthetic, but Benson demonstrates a pretty clear notion of the sort of noise he’s interested in making, and there’s plenty of it on Yesterday in “Sleeping on Cocaine,” on which one can hear the undulating wavelengths emanating from speaker cones, or the penultimate “Love Song for the Insane,” which features chanting vocals in echoes cutting through a tonal morass but still somehow obscure. A 33-minute five-tracker, Yesterday doesn’t overstay its welcome, but alternates between sonic horrors and warmer immersion in the shorter centerpiece “Bleed My Sorrow” and closer “Show Me Where the Shovel Is,” coming dangerously close in the latter to doom riffing that one might almost dare to put drums to. Solo drone guitar, even when this thick, is never for everyone, but one doubts Benson was shooting for accessibility anyhow.

Lugweight on Bandcamp

Forcefield Records website

 

Megaritual, Eclipse

megaritual eclipse

To hear Australia’s Megaritual tell it, the 25-minute single-song Eclipse EP was recorded on Mt. Jerusalem in New South Wales this past summer, the one-man outfit of vocalist/guitarist/sitarist/drummer Dale Paul Walker working with bassist/Monotronist Govinda Das to follow-up his prior two Mantra Music EPs, recently compiled onto an LP (review here) by White Dwarf Records. Whether or not that’s the case, “Eclipse” itself is suitably mountainous, building along a linear course from sea level to a grand peak with droning patience and gradual volume swells, lush and immersive psychedelia in slow-motion trails, a sparse verse, percussion, sitar, guitar, bass, and so on coming to a glorious vista around the 17:30 mark only to recede again circa six minutes later in a more precipitous dropoff. The digital edition (and that’s the only edition thus far) comes with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” which makes good company for the hypnotic titular exploration and the quick progression it represents after the other two short releases.

Megaritual on Bandcamp

White Dwarf Records website

 

Red Lama, Dreams are Free

red lama dreams are free

Heavy psychedelic pastoralists Red Lama enter the conversation of 2016’s best debut albums with Dreams are Free, initially released on All Good Clean Records and subsequently picked up by Stickman. Leaning more toward the liquid end of psych-blues, the Danish seven-piece immediately transcend with opener “Inca” (video here) and quickly showcase a subtlety for build that only gets more potent as they move through “Sonic Revolution” and “The World is Yours,” unfolding due heft in the latter without losing the laid back sensibility that the vocals bring sweetly, melodically, to the material. The later “Mekong River” seems almost like it’s going to shoegaze itself into post-rock oblivion, but Red Lama hold their sound together even into the 10-minute closer “Dalai Delay” – aptly-titled twice over – and deliver with striking patience a languid flow with hints of underlying prog experimentation. How that will come to fruition will have to remain to be seen/heard, but Dreams are Free also dips into funkier groove on “Dar Enteha,” so while they probably could be if they were feeling lazy, Red Lama don’t at all seem to be finished growing. All the better.

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama at Stickman Records

 

Lacy, Andromeda

lacy andromeda

Lacy is an experimental solo-project from former Lord guitarist Stephen Sullivan, based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and part of a deep sludge underground that goes back well over a decade. Andromeda is his third album with the outfit and the second to be released in 2016, though unlike the preceding Volume 2. Blue, its 12 tracks were recorded in a matter of months, not years. All instruments, arrangements, vocals and the raw recording were handled by Sullivan himself (he also took the photo on the cover) but cuts like “Gyre Hell” and the acoustic “Push Me Away” veer around self-indulgence or hyper-navelgazing – I’d call “Offal and the Goat Brains” experimental, but not narcissistic – and he seems more interested in writing songs than making a show of being outside this or that imaginary box. Still, Andromeda offers diversity of instrumentation and arrangement, unplugging once more for “Healer” before closer “Always” finishes the album as a rumbling and grunge-laden love song.

Lacy on YouTube

Lacy on Bandcamp

 

Valborg, Werwolf

valborg werwolf

After catching on late to German metallers Valborg’s 2015 fifth album, Romantik, I told myself I wasn’t going to miss whatever they did next. The single Werwolf (on Temple of Torturous and Zeitgeister) might be a quick check-in of just two songs – “Ich Bin Total” and “Werwolf” itself – but the classic European-style death-doom chug of the latter and the vicious crash of the former I still consider a reward for keeping an eye out. “Ich Bin Total” is less than three and a half minutes long, and “Werwolf” just over five, but both feature choice chug riffing, darkened atmospherics and art-metal growls that only add to the clenched-teeth intensity of the instruments surrounding. They spare neither impact nor ambience nor lives as Werwolf plays out, the title cut riding its massive progression forward to a sensory-overload of nod before finally offering some release to the tension in a second-half guitar lead, only to revive the brutality once more, repetitions of “werwolf” chanted in growls over it. Awesome.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Temple of Torturous website

 

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

Drone Hunter Release New Album Welcome to the Hole

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Meanwhile, in Croatia, crunch-riffing instrumental trio Drone Hunter get ready to play the release gigs for their second album, Welcome to the Hole. A self-release, it follows their 2013 self-titled debut and was posted for streaming on Nov. 15 ahead of the physical version, which will see its official arrival on Dec. 3 in Malta and Dec. 17 with the hometown gig in Varazdin. The three-piece have plans for European touring and video-making in Spring 2017 but will take some time off after celebrating the new outing as they round out the year. Fair enough. From where I sit, once you make a song called “Wine Dick,” you can pretty much take the rest of the year off, particularly if health issues are a concern. Paid leave for all.

Info came down the PR wire:

drone-hunter-welcome-to-the-hole

DRONE HUNTER (CRO) – new album, Welcome to the Hole

DRONE HUNTER have been around since spring of 2012. and have since released a self titled debut album in 2013. and have had about a hundred shows and two European tours in Croatia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

This summer we recorded a brand new album called ”Welcome To The Hole” which we self released and is available on Bandcamp, YouTube, CDBaby, iTunes and Amazon. The album contains 8 new songs and was recorded and mixed at E-Minor Studio in Varazdin, Croatia by Tomislav ‘Tompa’ Novosel which also happens to be our practice space. With all that, the artwork for the album contains photos of the building since it was written, recorded and mixed there.

Mastering was done by Igor ‘Meister’ Male?i? of Meisterwerk Productions in Zagreb, Croatia.

The album was produced by Drone Hunter and the cover, photos and design were done by Drone Hunter with the help of graphic wizard Antonio Mohenski a.k.a. MHNSK from Varazdin, Croatia.

What’s next on the Drone Hunter calendar is a live release show in Zurrieq, Malta on Dec 3rd where we were invited by Silver Tongue booking agency and then a hometown release show on Dec 17th in Varazdin at Elephant Bar. After that we will make a short break due to medical issues, and in that time we will make a live video and a tour video similar to the one for Twisted Horse Boogie from the first album. Also, we have another Euro tour planned for April 2017.

https://www.facebook.com/events/957270561083968/
http://www.dronehuntercro.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/DroneHunter

Drone Hunter, Welcome to the Hole (2016)

Tags: , , , , ,

Stonebride Release Heavy Envelope on Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

stonebride

Issued via cooperation between PDV Records and Setalight Records, Croatian heavy rockers Stonebride‘s third album, Heavy Envelope (review here), is out now on vinyl. Not technically a reissue since it’s the first pressing in the format, the album is a moody but progressive take on bruiser riffing, and offers more on repeat visits than it might the first time around. All the better that it’s up now for revisiting by anyone who missed it. You’d almost swear these things were planned out ahead of time.

Stonebride had posted in Aug. about planning out a European tour for March/April 2016, so when and if I hear more on that, I’ll post accordingly. Until then, the PR wire sent along the following on the album:

stonebride heavy envelope

Stonebride’s ”Heavy Envelope” vinyl release!

It is a huge pleasure to announce that the sons of all things heavy , the band Stonebride have just released their latest critically acclaimed album Heavy Envelope in vinyl format! From now on you can treat your record player with two LP album versions (black & halloween orange edition). At the end of 2014. the band unleashed upon the world its’ 4th official release in CD/digital format. This came out via joint efforts from an independent label PDV records and Setalight records.

After a European tour last year, including some selected shows this year, Stonebride is ready for further conquering of all hearing senses. Their take on heavy rock, tied with alternative / psych / doom / prog voyages leaves none without awe. European tour for March/April 2016. is being booked at this moment, so keep an eye out when they roam through your city.

It’s also worth mentioning that in December band celebrates a 10th year jubilee of existing, sonic road bending, creating music and leaving their own mark in the oceans of the most finest art we call music.

Tracklist:
1 Movies, Movies
2 Lowest Supreme
3 Lay Low
4 Coloured Blue
5 Sokushinbutsu
6 Venomous

http://www.pdv.com.hr/artist/stonebride
stonebride.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/stonebrideband
youtube.com/Stonebrighter

Stonebride, Heavy Envelope (2014)

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Machine and Seven that Spells Announce Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Dutch heavy rockers The Machine and Croatian krautrock specialists Seven that Spells are teaming up to hit the road in November. The shows are only in Germany and Switzerland, so it’s not exactly full-coverage even as regards Western Europe, but it’s a week of dates anyway and better than nothing. Jeez, what’s the worst that happens, you fly to Germany and see a show? Live with it.

The Machine will be out supporting earlier-2015’s Offblast! (review here), their fifth outing and most accomplished work to-date, while Seven that Spells hit the road on the heels of a Sulatron Records reissue of their 2012 album, Superautobahn, their most recent studio release being last year’s The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: IO (review here), the second installment of a to-be-concluded trilogy.

Tour is presented by Sound of Liberation and info is as follows:

the machine seven that spells tour

When We Switch Our Amps On The Cities Go Dark Tour (THE MACHINE & SEVEN THAT SPELLS)

The Machine & Seven That Spells will be touring Germany (ok and Switzerland) for one week in November 2015.

ROCK AND ROLL
13.11 : Kulturbahnhof Jena // Jena GER
14.11 : Feierwerk // München GER
15.11 : Sedel Garage Luzern // Luzern CH
16.11 : Immerhin Würzburg // Würzburg GER
17.11 : Bassy Club // Berlin GER
18.11 : Kulturzentrum Faust // Hannover GER

SEVEN THAT SPELLS:
Beyond. We are the dogs of the western Jazz society looking for dope. Modern, aggressive psychedelic wall of sound incorporating polymetrics and occasional Viking funeral rites; hailing from the 23rd century where rock is dead, Seven That Spells returned in time where its still possible to change the tragic course of the boring history.

THE MACHINE:
THE MACHINE is a rock band from the Rotterdam area (NL). Through the years the band has been crafting its own (loud) brand of both hard-hitting tracks and instrumental takeoffs. Rooted in heavy rock, THE MACHINE refuses to be pigeonholed and prefers a modern experimental approach to the well known concepts of yesteryear.

https://www.facebook.com/events/932785733427068/
https://www.facebook.com/STS777
http://www.sulatron.com/xoshop/seven-that-spells-superautobahn-lp.html?xploidID=c9822eb662e59efb76d844cefdc7e28f
https://www.facebook.com/themachine.nl
http://elektrohasch.de/

The Machine, “Coda Sun” official video

Seven that Spells, The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: IO (2014)

Tags: , , , , , , ,