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Review & Full Album Stream: Deep Space Destructors, Psychedelogy

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

deep-space-destructors-psychedelogy

[Click play above to stream Deep Space Destructors’ Psychedelogy in full. Album is out Feb. 27 on Space Rock Productions.]

Goes without saying that time is a construct and that humans’ ability to understand it only relates to our very small, very remote position in a much vaster universe and that even the figures the construct presents are utterly beyond our conception — i.e., we cannot fathom 200 of our own years, and our years are meaningless to the surrounding cosmos. That’s a given. However, three years between full-lengths still feels like a long time for Finnish (nations: also a construct) trio Deep Space Destructors. Their fourth full-length, Psychedelogy, arrives via Space Rock Productions, which is the imprint helmed by synth wizard Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective and known for releasing that band’s work as well as other projects and offshoots.

To my knowledge, Deep Space Destructors — bassist/vocalist Jani Pitkänen, guitarist/backing vocalist Petri Lassila and drummer Markus Pitkänen — have no relation to that collective (yet), so all the more it’s an endorsement that should ring in the ears among the cosmically converted. The Oulu natives earn it well in the four tracks of Psychedelogy, which follows the 2015 two-songer Spring Break from Space (review here) as well as their first three long-players, 2014’s III (review here), 2013’s II (review here) and 2012’s I (review here), and stay true to the Hawkwindian roots of the genre while exploring progressive textures of their own. At an easily-digested 38 minutes, Psychedelogy presents its two sides — side Space and side Void (the last EP did likewise) — with poise and without pretense. They’re going on this trip one way or the other. Whether or not you come along is going to be your call.

Each half of Psychedelogy pairs a shorter piece with a longer one. Opener “Journey to the Space Mountain” (7:55) will be familiar to anyone who caught wind of Spring Break from Space, since it launched that brief offering as well. It is particularly suited to the task here too, with a fervent thrust that kicks up interstellar dust almost immediately following a quick sample and enacts immersive swirl as it makes its way toward its fist-in-the-air-moment-of-galaxial-righteousness title-line hook. Both it and the 10-minute “Spacemind,” which follows, have an underlying sense of triumph, but the momentum that carries through them isn’t to be understated, Markus and Jani making for a rhythmic powerhouse beneath Petri‘s echoing solo as “Journey to the Space Mountain” pours through its midsection, eventually making its way, gloriously, back to the chorus as part of a build the apex of which strikes just before feedback caps off.

A quieter, more Floydian beginning sets the course for “Spacemind,” but there’s a tension in the bass and drums as well as the first verse takes hold, Jani‘s vocals coated in effects, keys adding to the melody of Petri‘s guitar. Before the two-minute mark, “Spacemind” hits into its chorus with even more of a feeling of arrival than “Journey to the Space Mountain,” but it’s still just the beginning, as Deep Space Destructors use that as the launchpad for an instrumental bridge of classic prog fits and turns before moving back into the soothing verse section like nothing ever happened. They’re not yet at the halfway point of the track, but the fluidity of what they’ve executed already makes “Spacemind” a particular highlight of Psychedelogy. The ensuing jam, calm but purposeful with periodic vocal overlay, seals that, and when the three-piece ignite thrusters and push toward the song’s conclusion, the payoff seems to last until the very final second, clearly making the most of its time — which, just as a reminder, is a construct and doesn’t exist. Brain goes pop.

I don’t know if there’s an intentional difference between side Space and side Void in terms of what Deep Space Destructors are looking to accomplish, but it’s easy enough to read the second half of Psychedelogy as pushing further out along the progressive path the band has thus far marched. Both “Return to the Black Star” (7:05) and closer “From the Ashes” (12:34) keep the flow molten, the overarching vibe spontaneous but subject to some command, and come fleshed out by effects and synth, creating the parameters of the alternate universe in which they dwell. With Jani and Petri together on vocals, “Return to the Black Star” echoes some of the Hawkwindiness of “Journey to the Space Mountain,” but is more patient in that exercise and more willing to bring an improvised-seeming lead to the foreground in its back end. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mark a radical departure from the album’s beginnings, but the continuation presents some subtle turns for those ready to take Psychedelogy on for multiple listens — a process through which it only grows more fulfilling.

Something else “Return to the Black Star” and “From the Ashes” have in common is being less immediately about their hooks, but the core guitar/bass figure in the finale is especially memorable nonetheless for its proggy intricacy — one can’t help but be reminded of peak-era Steven Wilson in some of the ensuing shimmer — and the additional flourish of sitar is yet another distinguishing factor. Ultimately though it’s the core guitar/bass/drums dynamic between the Pitkänens and Lassila that carries “From the Ashes” over so effectively, and beneath the swirl, the kosmiche thematics and the range, that turns out to be what most draws these songs together with the rest of Deep Space Destructors‘ body of work. Their time on “spring break” was not misspent, and whether they’ll resume the album-per-year pace of their first three outings, I wouldn’t speculate, but they’ve come into Psychedelogy with a clear sense of who they are and what they want to be as a group. If they follow through going forward on their own terms, then all the better, whatever those terms might be.

Deep Space Destructors, “Return to the Black Star” official video

Deep Space Destructors on Thee Facebooks

Deep Space Destructors on Bandcamp

Deep Space Destructors website

Space Rock Productions website

Psychedelogy order page at Sapphire Records

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Deep Space Destructors to Release Psychedelogy Feb. 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

deep-space-destructors-Photo-by-Tatu-Ollanketo

On Feb. 27, Finnish trio Deep Space Destructors will release their new LP, Psychedelogy, on Space Rock Productions. The Oulu-based outfit were last heard from on 2015’s Spring Break from Space EP (review here), and while to let a whole year pass without a release seems crazy from a space rock band, I’ve no doubt their time was well spent in prepping this full-length as they have. How can I be so sure without actually having heard it?

Well, over the weekend the band put up a special preview on their website with clips from the four included songs and an interactive look at the artwork by Markus Räisänen, and one can get a pretty solid sense of where they’re coming from with that. Besides, as anyone who heard their prior 2014 album, III (review here), can tell you, dudes know what they’re doing at this point.

If you need more, consider the endorsement of Space Rock Productions, the label helmed by none other than Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective himself. You know he doesn’t want any part of it if it’s not spacey as hell. So yeah, keep an eye out. I’ll hope to have a review of Psychedelogy up before the end of the month.

In the interim, you can dig into the below info and links:

deep-space-destructors-psychedelogy

Take a trip to amazing gatefold album art made by Markus Räisänen, with sounds from “Psychedelogy” out on vinyl February 27th through Space Rock Productions!

Web design by Mikko “ruottis” Ruotsalainen. Preview: http://bit.ly/2kUUmC7

Psychedelogy tracklisting:

Side Space:
Journey to the Space Mountain
Spacemind

Side Void:
Return to the Black Star
From the Ashes

Deep Space Destructors plays psychedelic space rock from Earth.

DSD was founded in the beginning of the Earth year 2011 in Oulu, Finland, on band members’ mutual love for 60’s and 70’s kraut, prog and psychedelic rock.

DSD’s journey continues towards deeper space and sounds.

Deep Space Destructors is:
Jani Pitkänen – vocals, bass
Petri Lassila – guitars, backing vocals
Markus Pitkänen – drums

http://www.dsdband.space/
https://www.facebook.com/deepspacedestructors/
https://deepspacedestructors.bandcamp.com/

Deep Space Destructors, “Journey to the Space Mountain”

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Deep Space Destructors on Tour Next Month

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

deep space destructors

Doubt very much I’ll be giving away any state secrets when I say I ran the announcement below through a translation matrix. Usually with that kind of thing, I might try to approximate, or reach out to the band/label/whoever and ask them for a translation so my ignorant, only-speaks-English ass can get hip to the news, but this time around, I kind of love what came back from the thing. It fits Deep Space Destructors so well, it’s kind of otherworldly, a communiqué piped in from the Finnish band’s own Northern cosmos. The kind of thing one might expect from a group who releases songs like “Journey to the Space Mountain” or “An Ode to Indifferent Universe.”

The band’s most recent release, 2015’s Spring Break from Space (review here), was named for a tour they were going on last year, and it shares its title as well with Deep Space Destructors‘ upcoming run next month as well, though there’s a “2016” added too. The Oulu-based swirlers will be out with Boar starting April 8, though there’s also a hometown gig April 1 to lead off the whole affair. “As a base for!”

That announcement, in all its glory, can be found with the tour dates below. Enjoy it, because language is fricking awesome:

deep space destructors tour dates

Deep Space Destructors & Boar, Spring Break from Space 2016

Oulu bad-ass Boar and Deep Space Destructors are leaving Europe to deceive the local population psychedelic kohkauksellaan. However, Hullusega cosmos karavan does not run without petrol, so a tour of the countdown starts from Oulu, as a base for! Come and support the bands tour and enjoy the audio-visual tykityksestä! It offers new songs, fresh merchiä and everything thingy on both bands!

1.4.2016 Tukikohta, Oulu
8.4.2016, Rock Bar, Örebro, Sweden
9.4.2016 KB18, Copenhagen, Denmark
10.4.2016 Weinstube Pizzini, Bamberg, Germany
11.4.2016 AKK, Karlsruhe, Germany
12.4.2016 Le Midlands, Lille, France
13.4.2016 Worm, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Jani Pitkänen – vocals, bass
Petri Lassila – guitars, backing vocals
Markus Pitkänen – drums

https://www.facebook.com/deepspacedestructors
https://deepspacedestructors.bandcamp.com/
https://boar.bandcamp.com/

Deep Space Destructors, Spring Break from Space (2015)

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Deep Space Destructors Release Spring Break from Space Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

deep space destructors

If you listen to the tracks on the Bandcamp stream below and find yourself wondering why Oulu, Finland-based trio Deep Space Destructors might have gone with Spring Break from Space (review here) as the title of their latest two-track EP, I agree, it’s a little misleading. After all, if you listen to those songs, it becomes clear rather quickly that the three-piece are not at all on a break from space and that, rather, they’re way deep in it. “Spring Break from Space” was the name of the tour they went on this past Spring, so the idea is they’re normally in space, but they took a break to come to earth and do some shows. Make sense?

Now that I’ve done my good deed for the day in explaining that, I’ll turn it over to the announcement that Spring Break from Space is available now on vinyl through Sapphire Records and Space Rock Productions, pressed up in limited numbers. Behold:

deep space destructors spring break from space lp

Deep Space Destructors “Spring Break From Space”

The first vinyl release of the finnish Space Rock Trios …

Deep Space Destructors are a space rock trio fro Oulu, Finland. The band has previously released two excellent albums on CD.

This music was originally released as limited edition of 30 cassettes by Deep Space Destructors for Spring Break From Space Tour 2015.

With the release DSD dives towards innerspace, shamanistic rhythms and to the mystic realms of consciousness. What is the space mountain and will you discover it? Spring Break

From Space includes two songs recorded live at DSD’s Rehearsal Vortex, with vocals, percussions and analog synths added afterwards. — Space Rock Productions / Scott Heller

Limited Edition 270 copies total: 110x black – 160x yellow/red
This is the black 10″-vinyl edition – hand numbered

Side Space:
Journey To The Space Mountain (7:52)
Side Void:
Where Space Ends Time Begins (11:10)

Band:

Jani Pitkänen – vocals, bass
Petri Lassila – guitar, backing vocals
Markus Pitkänen – drums

Spring Break From Space EP now available as 10″ vinyl through Space Rock Productions and Sapphire Records!

Limited 100 copies on black vinyl:
www.sapphirerecords.de/Deep-Space-Destructors-Spring-Break-From-Space-black

Limited 150 copies on transparent yellow with red marble:
www.sapphirerecords.de/epages/61252611.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/61252611/Products/%2ALP10DSDc

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deep-Space-Destructors/137326709697944
http://deepspacedestructors.bandcamp.com/

Deep Space Destructors, Spring Break from Space (2015)

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Deep Space Destructors Stream Spring Break from Space EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on March 27th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

deep space destructors

Next week, Finnish spacedudes Deep Space Destructors launch a quick tour they’re calling “Spring Break from Space,” and they’ll be bringing a limited-edition cassette EP — 30 copies only — with them to mark the occasion. Also called Spring Break from Space, the EP contains two rehearsal-room jams recorded live and then fleshed out with synth, vocals and percussion to extra spacey effect. Both cuts, “Journey to the Space Mountain” and “Where Space Ends Time” — yes, they’re working on a theme, and yes, that theme is “space” — offer marked swirl as a result, bassist/vocalist Jani Pitkänen, guitarist/backing vocalist Petri Lassila and drummer Markus Pitkänen pushing classically Hawkwindian jams past the thermosphere and into zero-grav floatation.

I’d say that’s nothing new for the Oulu three-piece, whose three full-lengths to date —  2012’s I (review here), 2013’s II (review here) and 2014’s III (review here) — have likewise thrust beyond the limits of convention, but where a song like the 15-minute “An Ode to Indifferent Universe” from III was certainly jam-based, it was more structured than either “Journey to the Space Mountain” or “Where Space Ends Time,” clearer and less awash in effects. “Journey to the Space Mountain” makes a hook of its title line, but still blasts pretty far out, a foundational bassline and drum progression setting a bed for a guitar-led freakout deep space destructors tape coverthat persists over a long midsection jam before the track resumes its charted course with a stop and layered recitation of a couple lines about — wait for it — space.

It’s fun to kid around that a band with space in their name would release an EP with space both in its title and in the titles of each of its two tracks, but the jams hold up. “Where Space Ends Time” starts with a slower march, minimal in percussion but picking up speed as it approaches the end of its first minute. When the bass kicks in, Deep Space Destructors are underway. Various washes of effects make their way in and out of the jam’s early going, sampled, spoken vocals appear and disappear with a pervasive experimental feel that builds as the track progresses, hypnotic and saturated. There are vocals later, echoing in the second half over a sort of ambient melody given tension by that same bassline, and while it’s easy to forget, the band are actually leading the song somewhere. An apex of “Where Space Ends Time” is signaled by crashing drums, but it’s short, and the track cuts out soon, ending cold as though you’ve just been pushed out the airlock.

There are five shows on Deep Space Destructors‘ upcoming tour, and they’re only making 30 copies of the Spring Break from Space tape, so I’m not sure how available it will wind up being to the worldwide cosmos-faring public. All the more reason I’m glad to be able to stream it in full today. You’ll find the tracks on the player below, followed by tour info and some words about the making of the new release.

Please enjoy:

Psychedelic space rockers Deep Space Destructors made a limited cassette release of 30 copies for the upcoming Spring Break From Space 2015 tour.

With the new material DSD dives towards innerspace, shamanistic rhythms and to the mystic realms of consciousness. What is the space mountain and will you discover it?

The cassette includes two songs recorded live at Rehearsal Vortex, with vocals, percussions and analog synths added afterwards. The cassette contains:

Space (A-side): 01. Journey To The Space Mountain (8:16)
Void (B-side): 02: Where Space Ends Time Begins (11:33)

The tour starts on April 1st from Oulu which is also the release date for the cassette. The songs will also be available for pay what you want digital download through bandcamp:
http://deepspacedestructors.bandcamp.com/

Spring Break From Space 2015 tour with
Boar (https://boar.bandcamp.com/) and Tuliterä (https://soundcloud.com/tulitera):

April 1st Tukikohta, Oulu, Finland
April 2nd Varjobaari, Tampere, Finland
April 3rd Lepakkomies, Helsinki, Finland
April 4th Depo, Riga, Latvia
April 5th Rockstars, Tallinn, Estonia

Deep Space Destructors on Thee Facebooks

Deep Space Destructors on Bandcamp

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Last Licks 2014: Nate Hall, Nocturnal Poisoning, Snailking, Godmaker, Void Generator, The Mound Builders, Mother Kasabian, Deep Space Destructors, Underdogs and Human Services

Posted in Reviews on December 30th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Happy to report that I survived the first day of this project. Spirits are good and I look at the stack of discs (plus one book; we’ll get there) in front of me and feel relatively confident that by the time I’m through it, my cerebral cortex will still manage to function in the limited way it usually does. If yesterday’s installment is anything to go by, however, I’ll be well out of adjectives by then. What’s another word for “heavy?”

There’s only one way to find out. These will be reviews 11-20 of the total 50. I don’t know if they say the first 10 are the hardest or the last, but I’ll be in the thick of it when this is posted and while I’m sure I probably could turn back and catch minimal if any flack for it — one “Hey wha happen?” on Thee Facebooks seems likely penance — better to just keep going. Another stack awaits tomorrow, after all.

Thanks in advance to anyone reading:

Nate Hall, Electric Vacuum Roar

nate hall electric vacuum roar

Electric Vacuum Roar is one of two Nate Hall physical releases from this fall. The U.S. Christmas frontman and solo performer also has a few digital odds and ends and Fear of Falling, on which he partners with a rhythm section. Released by Heart and Crossbone Records and Domestic Genocide, Electric Vacuum Roar is closer to a solo affair. Hall is joined by Caustic Resin’s Brett Netson on guitar/bass on two extended tracks: “Dance of the Prophet” (16:46) and “Long Howling Decline/People Fall Down” (11:57). The second part of the latter is a reinterpretation of a Caustic Resin song, though here it is droned out and put through a portal of drumless and inward-looking psychedelia, turned into the finale of a communicative and intimate affair. Amp noise and effects swirl around “Dance of the Prophet,” and it’s easy to get lost in it, but Hall maintains a steady presence of obscure vocals and the result is what tribal might be if tribes were comprised of one person.

Nate Hall on Thee Facebooks

Heart and Crossbone Records

Nocturnal Poisoning, Doomgrass

nocturnal poisoning doomgrass

I’ve never tried to break up a one-man band, but I can’t imagine Scott Conner – who helped pave the way for US black metal under the moniker Malefic in Xasthur – has had an easy time of it since he put that band to bed in 2010. Nocturnal Poisoning, whose Doomgass arrives via The End Records, is an entirely different beast. Centered around layers folkish acoustic guitar, cleanly produced backed by occasional bass and tambourine, Doomgrass is still depressive at its core – Robert N. contributes guest vocals, almost gothic in style, to songs like “Starstruck by Garbage” and “Illusion of Worth” – but if the name is a portmanteau of doom and bluegrass, it fits the style. If anything ties Nocturnal Poisoning to Xasthur aside from Conner’s involvement, it’s a focus on atmosphere, but the two ultimately have little in common otherwise, and Nocturnal Poisoning’s exploratory feel is refreshingly individualized and leaves one wondering if Conner will be able to resist the full-band-sound impulse going forward.

Nocturnal Poisoning on Thee Facebooks

Doomgrass at The End Records

Snailking, Storm

snailking storm

Though they’re decidedly post-metal in their influences – Neurosis, YOB, obviously Ufomammut for whose record they are named – Sweden’s Snailking keep to heavy rock tones on their Consouling Sounds debut full-length, Storm, and that greatly bolsters the album’s personality. Even as they lumber, the riffs of 11-minute opener “To Wander” are fuzzed-out, and that remains true throughout the five mostly-extended cuts the trio of drummer Olle Svahn, bassist Frans Levin and guitarist/vocalist Pontus Ottosson present on their first record, which follows the 2012 demo, Samsara (review here). Centerpiece “Slithering” is the shortest and most churning of the bunch at 6:32, but the particularly YOBian “Requiem” underscores another value greatly working in Storm’s favor – the patience with which Snailking present the ambience of their pieces. That will serve them well as they continue to distinguish themselves from their forebears, but for now, Storm makes a welcome opening salvo from the three-piece highlighting both their potential and how far they’ve come already since the release of their demo.

Snailking on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds

Godmaker, Godmaker

godmaker godmaker

The self-titled debut from thoroughly-bearded Brooklynite four-piece Godmaker arrives via Aqualamb as an art-book and download, a full 96 pages of designs, lyrics to the four included tracks of the vinyl-ready 32-minute long-player, live shots from a variety of sources, bizarre geometry and odd etchings feeding the atmosphere of the songs themselves, somewhere between sludge, thrash and aggressive noise with scream-topped moments of doom like “Shallow Points.” Comprised of guitarist/vocalists Pete Ross and Chris Strait, bassist Andrew Archey and drummer Jon Lane, Godmaker fluidly shifts between the various styles at work in their sound, whether it’s the explosion at the end of “Shallow Points” or that beginning the rush of opener “Megalith,” and while their self-titled is a dense listen, with the surprising post-hardcore take of “Desk Murder” and the check-out-this-badass-riff-now-we’re-going-to-smash-your-face-with-it 11-minute metallic closer “Faded Glory,” it efficiently satisfies. More so after a couple listens front to back. If Godmaker were breaking your bones, it would be a clean break, and yes, that’s a compliment to their attack.

Godmaker on Thee Facebooks

Aqualamb

Void Generator, Supersound

void generator supersound

Supersound is the first full-length from Italian heavy psych rockers Void Generator since 2010’s Phantom Hell and Soar Angelic (review here), and where that album held three extended pieces, the latest and third overall breaks into smaller pieces. Some of those are extended – opener “Behind My Door” is 8:09 and “Master of the Skies” tops nine minutes – but the bulk of Supersound’s seven tracks is shorter works somewhere between desert rock and classic psych, guitarist Gianmarco Iantaffi leading the four-piece with a  more subdued vocal approach than last time out, compressed even in the rowdier verses of “What are You Doin’” (written by Sandro Chiesa), on which the keys of Enrico Cosimi feature heavily and add to the sound too crisp to be totally retro but still vehemently organic. Bassist Sonia Caporossi (also acoustic guitar on penultimate interlude “Universal Winter”) and drummer Marco Cenci hold together the fluid grooves as Void Generator follows these varied impulses, and Supersound proves cohesive and no less broadly scoped than its predecessor.

Void Generator on Thee Facebooks

Phonosphera Records

The Mound Builders, Wabash War Machine

the mound builders wabash war machine

There’s a version of The Mound Builders’ 17-minute Wabash War Machine EP from Failure Records and Tapes that includes a comic book, but even the regular sleeve CD edition gives a glimpse at the Lafayette, Indiana, five-piece’s heavy Southern metal push. The middle two of the four inclusions, “Sport of Crows” and “Bar Room Queen,” surfaced earlier this year on a split tape with Bo Jackson 5 (review here), but opener “Wabash War Machine” and the sludged-up closer “The Mound” on which the guitars of Brian Boszor and “Ninja” Nate Malher phase between channels and vocalist Jim Voelz delivers his harshest performance to date, are brand new, albeit recorded at the same sessions in July 2013. “Wabash War Machine” highlights the band’s blend of southern metal and heavy groove, guitar intricacy and a gang-shout chorus meeting thick rollout from bassist Robert Ryan Strawsma and drummer Jason “Dinger” Brookhart, but it’s the finale that’s the EP’s most lasting impression, as pummeling as The Mound Builders have gotten to date.

The Mound Builders on Thee Facebooks

Failure Records and Tapes

Mother Kasabian, Mother Kasabian

mother kasabian mother kasabian

In Olof’s buzzsaw guitar tone, the thud of Karl’s drums and Gidon’s abiding vocal menace, “Strike of the Emperor” gives notice of some Celtic Frost influence, but that’s hardly the whole tale when it comes Stockholm trio Mother Kasabian’s self-titled, self-released debut EP, as “The Black Satanic Witch of Saturn” immediately calls to mind The Doors in its minimal, spacious verse and offsets this with a soulful classic heavy rock chorus en route to the seven-minute “Close of Kaddish,” which works in a similar pattern – hitting notes of Trouble-style doom in its crescendos – and offers Mother Kasabian’s widest ranging moment ahead of the swaggering closer “The Return of the Mighty King and His Cosmic Elephants.” Swinging drums and variety in Gidon’s The Crazy World of Arthur Brown-style approach give the EP a distinguished feel despite raw production and it being Mother Kasabian’s first outing, and with the psych touches in the finale and a generally unhinged vibe throughout, the trio showcase considerable potential at work.

Mother Kasabian on Thee Facebooks

Mother Kasabian on Bandcamp

Deep Space Destructors, III

deep space destructors iii

Active since 2011 and with two prior full-lengths – 2012’s I (review here) and 2013’s II (review here) – under their belt, Oulu, Finland, heavy psych trio Deep Space Destructors offer their definitive stylistic statement in the wash of III, a five-song/45-minute cosmic excursion with progressive krautrock edge (see “Spaceship Earth”) driven into heavier territory through dense fuzz in guitarist Petri Lassila’s tone and the chemistry between he, vocalist/bassist Jani Pitkänen and drummer Markus Pitkänen. Their extended but plotted jammy course finds culmination in the 15-minute penultimate cut “An Ode to Indifferent Universe,” – King Crimson and Floyd laced together by synth sounds – but the space-rock thrust of closer “Ikuinen Alku” highlights the multifaceted approach Deep Space Destructors have developed since their inception, consistently psychedelic but expansive. The sides gel effectively on “Cosmic Burial,” lending modern crash and tonal heft to classic ideals to craft something new from them in admirable form. As far out as they’ve gone, Deep Space Destructors still seem to be exploring new ground.

Deep Space Destructors on Thee Facebooks

Deep Space Destructors on Bandcamp

Underdogs, Underdogs

underdogs underdogs

Released as a cooperative production between Garage Records and Go Down Records, Italian trio Underdogs’ second, self-titled LP pushes further along the straight-lined course of heavy rock their 2007 debut, Ready to Burn, and 2011’s Revolution Love (review here) charted. Songs like “Nothing but the Best” strip away the Queens of the Stone Age-style fuzz of past outings in favor of a cleaner tone and overall feel, and while that spirit shows up later on side B’s “Called Play” and the rumbling grunge of “My Favourite Game” (a cover of The Cardigans), the prevailing vibe speaks to European commercial viability with clear hooks and straightforward structures. Acoustic finale “The Closing Song” offers a last-minute shift in style, calling to mind UnderdogsDogs without Plugs digital release, but even in more barebones form, the songwriting remains the focus on this mature third offering from a three-piece who’ve clearly figured out the direction in which they want to head and have set about developing an audience-friendly sound.

Underdogs on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records

Human Services, Animal Fires

human services animal fires

Since they issued their self-titled debut (review here) in 2012, Virginia’s Human Services have brought aboard Steve Kerchner of Lord, and he brings as much a sense of chaos to Animal Fires as one might expect in teaming with Jeff Liscombe, Sean Sanford, Don Piffalo and Billy Kurilko, though the 59-minute full-length isn’t without its structure. Longer songs pair with concise noise experiments throughout the first 10 of the total 13 tracks, and each is different, so that even as the gap between songs is bridged, the stylistic basis for Animal Fires is branched out. The result is that by the time “Onyedinci Yil Sürüsü” closes out the album proper before the 17-minute live inclusion “No Structures in the Eye of the Jungle” hits, Human Services have reimagined the modus of Godflesh as an extremity of organic noisemaking, Southern heavy and eerie progressivism. Shades of Neurosis show up in centerpiece “Rats of a Feather,” but they too are twisted to suit the band’s creative purposes, threatening and engagingly bleak.

Human Services on Thee Facebooks

Human Services on Bandcamp

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Deep Space Destructors, II: Beneath the Deserted Planet

Posted in Reviews on February 20th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

There’s a touch of space-rock theatricality to “Spacy Phantasy,” the third of the four extended cuts on Finnish heavy psych rockers Deep Space Destructors‘ second self-released album, II, but even that is mitigated by the warmth of tone in the band’s low end, provided by bassist Jani Pitkänen. Pitkänen also handles vocals where and when they pop up throughout the aptly-titled sophomore outing, backed by guitarist Pete and drummer Markus Pitkänen as well, and the band ranges in that regard from the guttural psychedelic chanting of the chugging second half of opener “Beneath the Black Star” to the echoing Finnish-language incantations toward the end of closer “Sykli.” By and large, the songs are jam-based but not without structure to their parts, and II‘s flow is open and easy accordingly.

So what we have is a four-track/38-minute European heavy psych record with jam-minded songwriting and warm, thick tonality in the guitars and bass propelled by organic grooves and classic rocking rhythms. Hardly new terrain in the grand scheme of the current wave of Euro acts, but the Pitkänens and Pete have also shown significant development since the release of their first album, I (review here), last year, branching out stylistically here and there while presenting a more complex songwriting modus all around, as demonstrated on “Beneath the Black Star,” which is genuinely plotted however jammed-out its parts may sound. This move toward premeditation works to the Oulu trio’s favor almost as much as the Markus Räisänen cover art, the rich blues and intricate design of which effectively mirror the band’s engrossing style. As “Beneath the Black Star” stomps to its finish and album highlight “Deserted Planet 2078” opens with a jazzy bassline from Jani and Pete‘s open strumming,Markus’ drums answer back with natural-sounding thud, marking the launch of a gradual progression that plays out over the course of the track.

Tonally, “Deserted Planet 2078” isn’t so much fuzzy as it is covered in hair, and the progressive vocal treatment in its initial verse strike as a surprise the band puts to good use in giving the impression that, although they’re still a relatively new band — having formed in 2011 — they have a clear idea of where in the niche they want to reside. For what it’s worth, Deep Space Destructors write long songs that don’t feel long. Working in movements as much as parts, “Deserted Planet 2078” locks into a ride-it-out bridge groove before stepping back into the initial verse line in the second half, and then — as Markus switches to a faster push on his ride cymbal — launches into the space rocking that will only become more prevalent as “Spacy Phantasy” takes hold. In short, it’s the jam. But even here, the band hasn’t lost their sense of direction, and the jam is leading somewhere rather than plateauing and holding steady. Just before seven minutes in, “Deserted Planet 2078” comes to a halt and introduces a classic rock riff that it essentially pounds on for the next minute and half to end the song. There was little to presage its arrival, but with the shifts in rhythm around it and the repetitive cycling, some riffs are their own excuse for being. With the open vibes the band has on offer, it’s not like it seems out of place, even leading into the echoing reaches that open “Spacy Phantasy.”

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Deep Space Destructors, I: Set a Course for Drift

Posted in Reviews on May 1st, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Titled simply I, the self-released debut EP from Finnish trio Deep Space Destructors captures their warm, still-nascent classic heavy rock interpretations with just an edge of the “deep space” from which they take two-thirds of their name. I is made up of four engaging cuts – three available via digital means and an untitled bonus track exclusive to the limited-to-100-copies CD – that roll through stonerly pacing and grooves without forgetting to add a little more than that. Influences prominent throughout the current European scene (as much as one can distill the output of an entire continent into one generalized grouping) from early kraut rock and the more modern fuzz of Witch show up on “Without Warning,” “Black Star Rising” and “The End Times,” and as I gives a general impression of what Deep Space Destructors have managed to accomplish in their first year of being a band – they formed early in 2011 with the lineup of vocalist/bassist Jani Pitkänen, first-name-only guitarist/backing vocalist Pete and drummer/backing vocalist Markus Pitkänen – it seems to accomplish everything it sets out to do. The recording is low, in terms of volume, but whether it’s the fuzz intro of “Without Warning” (it’s really hard to type those words and not follow them with “a wizard walks by”) or the layered pastoral solo late into “Black Star Rising,” I makes a strong case for turning it up, especially as that solo leads to an Asteroid-style riff-out, where you can’t tell if it’s guitars or organs or both or something just made of hairy distortion and groove. Really, it doesn’t matter what it is (it’s guitar), because the point is it’s put to good use. Deep Space Destructors are a recent enough act to be influenced by the newer school of Eurofuzz, but not so far behind as to miss its still formative period.

The basic result of that is that when they turn the atmosphere a little darker for the beginning movement of “The End Times” – the title indicative of the purpose in that atmospheric shift – it’s not so much derivative of someone else as it is Deep Space Destructors putting their own spin on what’s become over the last couple years an established sound. It’s more than some do, less than others, but they make it work, and their classic influence serves them well across the EP’s 26 minutes, starting off raucously but working quickly to introduce a range of effects and moods. The call in the verse call and response reminds a bit of The Kings of Frog Island, but Jani has a more straightforward answer to it, higher in the mix and overall drier in terms of reverb and/or cavernous echo. That serves to separate it from what Pete and or Markus are doing vocally, but Jani is forward enough to dominate the guitar and his own bass, and that has an odd effect on the song. He doesn’t sound too loud, but compared to the tonal fuzz surrounding and Markus’ swaggering drums, the vocals just sound like they could use more effects of their own as well as to come down a bit in volume. It’s less of an issue in the more riff-rocking opening of “Black Star Rising,” but by the time the guitars drop out for the verse, the situation is largely the same as in the opener, though the 7:44 runtime of the second track allows for much more to play out stylistically, and Deep Space Destructors are well-suited to both the multi-vocal build before the four-minute mark and the subdued progressive jam that ensues afterwards, Jani’s bass offering choice runs to coincide with the vocals and relaxed strum of Pete’s guitar.

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