Quarterly Review: Lucifer, Rosetta, Mantar, King Giant, Si Ombrellone, Grand Massive, Carlton Melton Meets Dr. Space, Shiggajon, Mount Hush, Labasheeda

Posted in Reviews on July 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk summer quarterly review

The final day of the Quarterly Review is upon us. It has been one hell of a week, I don’t mind saying, but good and productive overall, if in a kind of cruel way. I hope that you’ve been able to find something in sifting through all these releases that you really dig. I have, for whatever that’s worth. Before we dig into the last batch, I just want to thank you for checking in and reading this week. If you’ve seen all five of these or if this is the first bunch you’ve come across, that you’re here at all is appreciated immensely.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Lucifer, Lucifer I

lucifer lucifer i

Vocalist Johanna Sadonis, who burst into the international underground consciousness last year with The Oath, resurfaces following that band’s quick dissolution alongside former Cathedral guitarist and riffer-of-legend Gary “Gaz” Jennings in Lucifer, whose Lucifer I eight-song debut LP is released on Rise Above Records. Joined by bassist Dino Gollnick and drummer Andrew Prestidge, Sadonis and Jennings wind through varied but thoroughly doomed atmospheres across songs like opener “Abracadabra” – the outright silliness of the “magic word” kind of undercutting the cultish impression for which Lucifer are shooting – or early highlights “Purple Pyramid” and “Izrael.” A strong side A rounding out with “Sabbath,” Lucifer I can feel somewhat frontloaded, but on repeat listens, the layered chorus of “White Mountain,” “Morning Star”’s late-arriving chug, the classically echoing “Total Eclipse” and the atmospheric finish of “A Grave for Each One of Us” hold their own. After a strong showing from Lucifer’s debut single, the album doesn’t seem like it will do anything to stop the band’s already-in-progress ascent. Their real test will be in the live arena, but they sustain a thematic ambience across Lucifer I’s 44 minutes, and stand ready to follow Rise Above labelmates Ghost and Uncle Acid toward the forefront of modern doom.

Lucifer on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

Rosetta, Quintessential Ephemera

rosetta quintessential ephemera

Drone-prone Philadelphia post-metallers Rosetta return with Quintessential Ephemera, the follow-up to 2013’s The Anaesthete and their fifth LP overall, which resounds in its ambience as a reinforcement of how little the band – now a five-piece with the inclusion of guitarist Eric Jernigan – need any hype or genre-push to sustain them. Through a titled intro, “After the Funeral,” through seven untitled tracks of varying oppressiveness and rounding out with the unabashedly pretty instrumental “Nothing in the Guise of Something,” they continue to plug away at their heady approach, relentless in their progression and answering the darker turns of their prior outing with a shift toward a more colorful atmosphere. At 52 minutes, Quintessential Ephemera isn’t a slight undertaking, but if you were expecting one you probably haven’t been paying attention to the last decade of Rosetta’s output. As ever, they are cerebral and contemplative while staying loyal to the need for an emotional crux behind what they do, and the album is both dutiful and forward-looking.

Rosetta on Thee Facebooks

Rosetta on Bandcamp

Golden Antenna Records

War Crime Recordings

Mantar, Death by Burning

mantar death by burning

Pressed up by Brutal Panda Records for Stateside issue following a 2014 release in Europe on Svart, Death by Burning is the debut full-length from sans-bass Hamburg duo Mantar – vocalist/guitarist Hanno, drummer/vocalist Erinc – and as much as it pummels and writhes across its thrash-prone 10 tracks, opener “Spit” setting a tone for the delivery throughout, there are flourishes of both character and groove to go with all the bludgeoning throughout standout cuts like “Cult Witness,” “The Huntsmen,” the explosive “White Nights,” “The Stoning” and the more lumbering instrumental closer “March of the Crows,” the two-piece seamlessly drawing together elements of doom, thrash and blackened rock and roll into a seething, tense concoction that’s tonally weighted enough to make one’s ears think they’re hearing bass strings alongside the guitar, but still overarchingly raw in a manner denoting some punk influence. Bonus points for the Tom G. Warrior-style “ough!” grunts that make their way into “The Stoning” and the rolling nod of “Astral Kannibal.” Nasty as hell, but more subtle than one might expect.

Mantar on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Brutal Panda Records

King Giant, Black Ocean Waves

king giant black ocean waves

Though it seems King Giant’s fate to be persistently underrated, the Virginian dual-guitar five-piece offer their most stylistically complex material to date on their third full-length, Black Ocean Waves (released on The Path Less Traveled Records and Graveyard Hill), recorded by J. Robbins (Clutch, Murder by Death, etc.) as the follow-up to 2012’s Dismal Hollow (streamed here). Still commanded by the vocal presence of frontman Dave Hammerly, the album also finds moments of flourish in the guitars of David Kowalski and Todd “T.I.” Ingram on opener “Mal de Mer,” the leads on “Requiem for a Drunkard” or the intro to extended finishing move “There Were Bells,” bassist Floyd Lee Walters III and drummer Keith Brooks holding down solid rhythms beneath the steady chug of “The One that God Forgot to Save” and “Blood of the Lamb.” Side A closer “Red Skies” might be where it all ties together most, but the full course of Black Ocean Waves’ eight tracks provides a satisfying reminder of the strength in King Giant’s craftsmanship.

King Giant on Thee Facebooks

The Path Less Traveled Records on Thee Facebooks

Si Ombrellone, Horns on the Same Goat

si ombrellone horns on the same goat

The 14 single-word-title tracks of Si Ombrellone’s Horns on the Same Goat were originally recorded in 2006, but for a 2015 release, Connecticut-based multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli (Vestal Claret, King of Salem) took them back into his own UP Recording Studio for touch-ups and remastering. The endeavor is a solo outing for Tuozzoli, styled in a kind of post-grunge rock with Frank Picarazzi playing drums to give a full-band feel, and finds catchy, poppy songwriting coming forward in the layered vocals of “Innocence,” while later, “Forgiveness” and “Darkness” offset each other more in theme than sound, as “Love” and “Hate” had done earlier, the album sticking to its straightforward structures through to six-minute closer “Undone,” which boasts a more atmospheric take. It’s an ambitious project to collect 14 sometimes disparate emotional themes onto a single outing, never mind to do it (mostly) alone – one might write an entire record about “Trust,” say, or “Rage,” which opens – but Tuozzoli matches his craftsmanship with a sincerity that carries through each of these tracks.

Si Ombrellone on Thee Facebooks

Si Ombrellone album downloads

Grand Massive, 2

grand massive 2

Boasting a close relationship to Duster69 and Mother Misery and featuring in their ranks Daredevil Records owner Jochen Böllath, who plays guitar, German heavy rockers Grand Massive revel in commercial-grade Euro-style tonal heft bordering on metallic aggression. 2 is their aptly-titled second EP (on Daredevil) and it finds Böllath, lead guitarist Peter Wisenbacher, vocalist Alex Andronikos, bassist Toby Brandl and drummer Holger Stich running through six crisply-executed tracks of catchy, fist-pumping riffy drive, slowing a bit for the creepy ambience of the interlude “Woods” or the more lurching tension of “I am Atlas,” but most at home in the push of “Backseat Devil” and closer “My Own Sickness,” a mid-paced groove adding to the festival-ready weight Grand Massive conjure. Word is they’re already at work on a follow-up. Fair enough, but 2 has plenty to offer in the meantime in its tight presentation and darker vibes, Grand Massive having been through a wringer of lineup changes and emerged with their songwriting well intact.

Grand Massive on Thee Facebooks

Daredevil Records

Carlton Melton Meets Dr. Space, Live from Roadburn 2014

carlton-melton-meets-dr.-space-live-from-roadburn-festival-2014

If you guessed “spacey as hell” as regards this meeting between NorCal psych explorers Carlton Melton and Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Danish jammers Øresund Space Collective, go ahead and give yourself the prize. Limited to 300 copies worldwide courtesy of Lay Bare Recordings and Space Rock Productions, Carlton Melton Meets Dr. Space’s Live from Roadburn 2014 is a consuming, near-100-minute unfolding, Heller joining Carlton Melton on stage for four of the total seven inclusions, adding his synthesized swirl to the swirling wash, already by then 26 minutes deep after the opening “Country Ways > Spiderwebs” establishes a heady sprawl that only continues to spread farther and farther as pieces unfold, making “Out to Sea” seem an even more appropriate title. It will simply be too much for some, but as somebody who stood and heard the sounds oozing from the stage at Cul de Sac in Tilburg, the Netherlands, as part of the Roadburn 2014 Afterburner event, I can say it was a special trip to behold. It remains so here.

Carlton Melton’s website

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings

Shiggajon, Sela

shiggajon sela

According to El Paraiso Records, Sela was held up as so many releases have been owing to plant production having been overwhelmed by Record Store Day and will be out circa August. Fair enough. Consider this advance warning of Danish improve collective Shiggajon’s first outing for the Causa Sui-helmed imprint, then, and don’t be intimidated as we get closer to the release and people start talking about things like “free jazz” and dropping references to this or that Coltrane. The real deal with Shiggajon – central figures Mikkel Reher-Lanberg (percussion, drums, clarinet) and Nikolai Brix Vartenberg (sax) here joined by Emil Rothenborg (violin, double bass), Martin Aagaard Jensen (drums), Mikkel Elzer (drums, percussion, guitar), Sarah Lorraine Hepburn (vocals, flute, electronics, tingshaws) – is immersive and tipped over into music as the ritual itself. One might take on the two 18-minute halves of Sela with a similarly open mind as when approaching Montibus Communitas and be thrilled at the places the album carries you. I hope to have more to come, but again, heads up – this one is something special.

Shiggajon’s Blogspot

El Paraiso Records

Mount Hush, Low and Behold!

mount hush low and behold

“The Spell” proves right away that Alps-based heavy rockers Mount Hush (I love that they don’t specify a country) have the post-Queens of the Stone Age fuzz-thrust down pat on their debut EP Low and Behold, but the band also bring an element of heavy psychedelia to their guitar work and the vocals – forward in the mix – have a bluesier but not caricature-dudely edge, so even as they bounce through the “Come on pretty baby” hook of “The Spell,” they’re crafting their own sound. The subsequent “King Beyond” showcases how to have a Graveyard influence without simply pretending to sound like Graveyard, even going so far as to repurpose a classic rock reference – “Strange Days” by The Doors – in its pursuit, and the seven-minute “The Day She Stole the Sun” stretches out for a more psychedelic build. Most exciting of all on a conceptual level is closer “Levitations.” Drumless, it sets ethereal vocals and samples over a tonal swirl and airy, quieter strumming. Hardly adrenaline-soaked and not intended to be, but it shows Mount Hush have a genuine will to experiment, and it’s one I hope they continue to develop.

Mount Hush on Thee Facebooks

Mount Hush on Bandcamp

Labasheeda, Changing Lights

labasheeda changing lights

Joined for the first time by drummer Bas Snabilie (apparently since replaced by Aletta Verwoerd) Amsterdam heavy art rockers Labasheeda mark four full-length releases with Changing Lights on Presto Chango, the violin/viola of vocalist/guitarist Saskia van der Giessen and guitar/bass/keyboard of Arne Wolfswinkel carrying across an open but humble atmosphere, touching here on Sonic Youth’s dare-to-have-a-verse moments in “My Instincts” and pushing into more blown-out jarring with the slide-happy “Tightrope.” They bring indie edge to a cover of The Who’s “Circles,” and round out with a closing duo of the album’s only two tracks over five minutes, “Cold Water” and “Into the Wide,” van der Giessen’s croon carrying a sweetness into the second half of the former as the latter finishes Changing Lights with a rolling contrast of distortion and strings as engrossing as it is strange. Labasheeda will go right over a lot of heads, but approached with an open mind it can just as easily prove a treasure for its blatant refusal to be pinned to one style or another.

Labasheeda on Thee Facebooks

Labasheeda on Bandcamp

 

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Myrkur Debut Album M Due in August

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

myrkur (Photo by Ole Luk)

I’m hardly what one would consider a purist as regards black metal, but am I wrong in assuming at this point that anything goes in the formerly-strict subgenre? Melodic vocals, keyboards, ladies, dudes who look like catalog models, doom riffs, whatever? I’m sure there are some corpsepaint bros in spiked armbands who are really pissed off about that shit, but does it matter? Did it ever? Do these questions even matter? Are we still talking?

Point is, expect much hullabaloo around the release of Myrkur‘s debut full-length, M, when it’s released in August — one can almost hear the critical pandering now, like a rumble in the distance or a mounting salival tsunami — but nothing I’ve heard from Myrkur, which is pretty much her self-titled debut EP, issued last year by Relapse, argues against the validity of the hype. If the purists are pissed, let them gouge their ears with their spiked armbands or novelty swords or whatever armaments they might have in hand.

The PR brings copious information, but even if you don’t feel like getting knowledge about Kristoffer Rygg producing or other whathaveyou, the stream of new song “Hævnen” might prove worth a spin. Have at you:

myrkur m

MYRKUR Announces New Album, M Out August 21st on Relapse Records

Produced By Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver, Teloch of Mayhem on Guitars, Øyvind Myrvoll of Nidingr & Dodheimsgard on Drums

On the heels of MYRKUR’s universally praised debut EP, comes M, the Danish black metal phenom’s highly anticipated first full-length album. Recorded in various locations of Oslo, Norway (including renowned artist Emanuel Vigeland’s Museum) with co-producer Garm – the mastermind behind black metal legends Ulver – M finds MYRKUR achieving the grandiose heights that everyone hoped she would climb to. The melodies are lush and the brutality devastating. M is a highly developed metal masterpiece that blends second-wave black metal, Nordic folk music, classical instrumentation and haunting choirs. Rounded out on record by members of Mayhem, Dodheimsgard & Nidingr plus a guest appearance from Christopher Amott of Arch Enemy, MYRKUR has quickly established herself as one of the best and most intriguing acts in metal today.

M will see its worldwide release August 21st via Relapse alongside her first ever live performance, headlining the black stage at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival with Deafheaven and Tombs. Numerous other festival appearances around Europe are planned throughout the year. Physical and digtal pre-orders are now available and include a special deluxe LP package containing an exclusive bonus track of the “Skadi” demo.

MYRKUR on the concepts of M:
“The album is a story where the songs are connected. It is Nordic folk music, black metal, classical choirs and more. It feels like a soundtrack to some sort of Norse mythology horror movie with blastbeats. I wrote it about many things, as a goddess who wants revenge and to kill off people in my life, perhaps also a side of myself. I feel a strong sense of being divided into two, not one whole. a side of light and a side of shadows battle within me. And sometimes a disassociation to reality. A disconnect to the normal world and to what I am. This album tells my story and the transformation to one is complete in my mind.”

Producer Kristoffer Rygg aka Garm of ULVER on M:
“In a – for me – short, but efficient time I feel that we managed to sew together a production that will be instantly recognizable in the plethora of “history conscious” metal music, with it’s stylistic wavering between classical, folk, rock (shoegaze) and (black) metal traditions. At the same time “M” also sounds strangely contemporary to me. It goes in circles, I guess. Soundwise it’s all out classic analogue stuff. No triggered drums, brick walling or all on grid here. It’s a really natural sound harkening back to the days of old. That’s the feel (or soul) we were after and I think we captured it. It’s no secret that Amalie loves Bergtatt (our first album), and there’s even a song on the album to prove it! I’m not really a type to gush, but Myrkur is a multi-talent and she knows it. Fortunately for me we really hit it off and were on the same page from the get-go… I think our time of meeting was really auspicious as I’ve been working a bit with Ulver’s old metal back catalogue recently and with that stuff fresh in mind the feeling came natural and was a total trip for me, to summon that epic, sylvan Scandinavian sound, as it were. I am really proud to be involved, to help her make her vision come to life, and also to have her carry the torch, so to speak. I think it’s a killer album and I’m anxious to see what people think.”

MYRKUR Live Dates:
July 4: Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark
August 22: Midgardsblot Metalfestiva – Borre, Norway

MYRKUR
M
Relapse Records
August 21, 2015
1 – Skøgen Skulle Dø
2 – Hævnen
3 – Onde Børn
4 – Vølvens Spådom
5 – Jeg er Guden, I er Tjenerne
6 – Nordlys
7 – Mordet
8 – Byssan Lull
9 – Dybt i Skoven
10 -Skadi
11 – Norn

http://www.relapse.com/myrkur/
http://myrkur.bandcamp.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/id992506564?mt=1
https://www.facebook.com/myrkurmyrkur
https://instagram.com/myrkurmyrkur

Myrkur, “Hævnen”

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Duuude, Tapes! Demon Head, Ride the Wilderness

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on June 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

demon head ride the wilderness tape cover

Pressed to golden cassette with an eight-panel j-card in an edition of 150 copies by Caligari Records, the eight-track debut long-player from ’70s-styled Copenhagen five-piece Demon Head, titled Ride the Wilderness, seems way more concerned with going back to the source material than taking inspiration from modern practitioners. By which I mean it’s more Pentagram than Witchcraft. That distinction would probably seem minute to some ears, but it makes a difference in the listening experience on Ride the Wilderness — which in addition to the Caligari tape has been released on tape in the EU by Smokedd Productions, on CD via This Charming Man and Wolfbiker Records and on vinyl through This Charming Man —  as it did on Demon Head‘s two 2014 releases, Demo 2014 (review here) and the Demon Head b/w Winterland (review here). Three songs from that demo are repurposed here, one of them being “Demon Head,” and “Winterland” appears on the album as well, so those who’ve caught onto the band’s energetic take on classic-style proto-metal will no doubt find some of the material familiar, catchy as those songs are, but all seem to have been re-recorded, and for what it’s worth, one of the 46-minute offering’s greatest strengths is its front to back flow, which even split into two sides with a pause between side one and two, as on the tape, rests easy on a bed of rolling grooves, ’70s swing, natural tonality and resonant hooks.

“Undertaker,” “Winterland” and “Ride the Wilderness” all appear on side one, with the newcomer “Revelations of April” before the title-track. As it opened the demo, “Undertaker” is no less an introduction here to the point of view conjured by the band — vocalist Marcus Ferreira Larsen, lead/slide guitarist Thor Nielsen, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Birk Nielsen, bassist Mikkel Fuglsang and drummer Jeppe Wittus — with a proclamation-prone Larsen donning the titular role and informing the listener, “I’ve been waiting for you and I’ve been dying to meet you,” in the first of several landmark hooks the record provides. His presence is considerable as a frontman even on the recording, but he’s well met throughout Ride the Wilderness by the swinging groove of Wittus‘ drumming and the alternating between more uptempo boogie and morose, semi-theatrical doom. Much to their credit, at no point to Demon Head sound like they’re not having a good time, and that only adds to the vital spirit of their delivery. Part of that could be youth, but whatever it is, it makes “Winterland” all the more infectious and pushes the roll of “Revelations of April” outward with a sense of something spontaneous en route to the tempo shifts, righteous delivery of the title line and later layered solos of “Ride the Wilderness” that are on their way to calling Graveyard to mind but seem consistently to be on a darker stylistic trip.

demon-head-ride-the-wilderness-tape-and-case

That holds true for side two of the tape as well, which is perhaps less immediate than the bash-you-over-the-head choruses of “Undertaker” or “Winterland,” but ultimately the more satisfying of Ride the Wilderness‘ two halves, with three newer cuts where side one had three older ones. “Book of Changes” leads off, followed by the reappearing “Demon Head,” “The Greatest Lie” and the closer and longest cut at 7:20, “Worthless.” No question “Demon Head” is an anchor for the 24-minute side two, but it’s far from the only highlight, with a shuffle emerging on “Book of Changes” from a kind of drawling progression to build to the inevitable slowdown, Larsen calling out the wickedness of man over a quick wash of noise before a return to the winding central figure, and “The Greatest Lie” being the most impressive accomplishment Demon Head present on their debut, an under-five-minute roll that plays to cult cliché brazenly without it mattering and outdoes even the chorus of “Demon Head” before it — no easy feat — with a two-layer hook that comes coupled with Ride the Wilderness‘ best nod and shifts into quirked-up horror thematics in its last minute-plus before making way for the more spacious, slow-crawling “Worthelss,” which keeps to its lumbering pace until there are about two minutes left, then kicks into higher gear to give Ride the Wilderness the raucous finish it deserves, Nielsen topping off with yet another impressive solo as the track fades out to the eventual click back to side one.

It should say something that no fewer than four labels picked up Ride the Wilderness for a release — if nothing else, they come well endorsed — but the strength of the album isn’t in who’s standing behind the songs so much as in the songs themselves. Demon Head make a formidable opening statement with Ride the Wilderness, and with the development they already show between redone cuts like “Undertaker” and “Ride the Wilderness” and newer ones like “Worthless” and “The Greatest Lie,” it will be even more intriguing to find out where they end up their next time out. Planet earth is not short on ’70s stylization whether it’s from Europe or the States, but when Demon Head tell you to Ride the Wilderness, it’s an easy invitation to accept.

Demon Head, Ride the Wilderness (2015)

Demon Head on Thee Facebooks

Demon Head on Bandcamp

Caligari Records on Thee Facebooks

Caligari Records on Bandcamp

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Elusive Truth” Live in Denmark, 2000

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Hard to mess with Spirit Caravan in the year 2000. They were, by the time they hit Stengade in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the show from which this week’s Wino Wednesday clip comes, already past their landmark 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun, and moving toward their second outing, Elusive Truth, which would see release in 2001 on Tolotta Records as their final full-length prior to their disbanding in 2002. A short run, but one the repercussions of which continue to be felt today, and not just because the band — or two-thirds of the original lineup, anyway, with Scott “Wino” Weinrich and Dave Sherman joined by drummer Henry Vasquez in place of Gary Isom after an unceremonious falling out — but also because of the influence they had on the Maryland/D.C. heavy rock scene around them and the wider riff-loving sphere. The climate for heavy rock was different at that point, but even then, these dudes were prone to killing it.

We see that readily in the video below, in which, playing in front of their own banner, the trio of Wino, Sherman and Isom belt out what would become the title-track of Elusive Truth as well as “Powertime” from Jug Fulla Sun, with Wino plugging the new record before the former and Sherman shouting out the latter to oldschool metalheads, into Slayer, Venom, Mercyful Fate, and so on. I guess the song has some of that vibe, but with its lyrical theme of freedom and perseverance, it’s hardly as dark as anything Venom might put out there. Maybe Sherman was just feeling the elder metal and wanted to call it out. No further explanation would be required if that was the case.

Either way, the video captures Spirit Caravan (né Shine) at the arguable height of their run, and for that I’m happy to have it to check out. As always, I hope you enjoy:

Spirit Caravan, “Elusive Truth” and “Powertime” live in Copenhagen, Denmark, Nov. 22, 2000

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Demon Head to Release Ride the Wilderness in May

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

demon-head

Danish five-piece Demon Head issued one of my favorite short releases last year in their Demo 2014 tape (review here), and then followed that up quickly with a 7″ called Demon Head b/w Winterland (review here) that also showcased much promise, so their debut full-length has been one to look forward to. Titled Ride the Wilderness and repurposing three songs from the demo which also appeared on the single, Demon Head‘s debut has all the languid analog roll one could ask, but brings a youthful energy to the tenets of post-Witchcraft retroism that carries well across the songs, a nascent melodic sensibility in progress amid the organic tones and swinging grooves. It’s an easy one to dig, as the first track made public, “Book of Changes,” attests below.

Announcement of the album’s arrival through no fewer than three labels — This Charming Man on LP, Caligari Records on tape (also a local tape release through Smokedd Productions), and Wolfbiker on CD — follows, dutifully transcribed from the PR wire:

demon head ride the wilderness

Friends and strangers!

Hear the thunder on the horizon? The time is coming..

It is with great pleasure that we can tell you all that May will see the release of our first full-length album, RIDE THE WILDERNESS.

It will be no less than eight songs of wild rock that we summoned and trapped in a tape machine last year for the untamed and unchained!

Recorded at The Chaos Island and Mastered by Tiger Bartelt of Kadavar, we’re dying for you to hear it..

LP on This Charming Man-Records, CD on Wolfbiker records as well as cassette tapes by Caligari Records overseas and local Smokedd Productions… Lightning strikes!!

DEMON HEAD’s debut album will finally see the light of night in May… We’ve been dying for you all to hear these hard rocking songs and sinister tales from nightmarish corners of our minds!

On a lost road between Heavy Rock highways and the Doom abyss, these eight tunes have been crafted with dedication to the old rock music traditions, for those that are born to be wild. Following the Winterland 7″ (Levitation Records) and a sold-out demo tape, we have recorded RIDE THE WILDERNESS in our own studio, capturing and manipulating this wicked devil child of our on gritty tape machine and haunted sound equipment from days bygone. Inspired by the likes of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and The Doors, this is a soundtrack for days of thunder & lightning.

RELEASE PARTIES
May 20 – Grand, Malmö
May 21 – TBA, Germany
May 22 – Loppen, Copenhagen
May 23 – Hässelholm, Sweden

https://www.facebook.com/Demoncoven/
http://demonhead.bandcamp.com/
http://www.thischarmingmanrecords.com/
http://www.wolfbiker.de/
http://www.caligarirecords.com/

Demon Head, “Book of Changes”

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Shiggajon to Release Sela on El Paraiso Records in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

The catalog of Danish collective Shiggajon is about as amorphous as both the band’s lineup and their improvisational methodology, full of independent live releases with varying participants, splits, limited tapes and CDRs dating back to 2006 or thereabouts. They’ve had numerous full-lengths already, but no doubt signing to El Paraiso Records for the impending June release of Sela will be a landmark for the outfit. The album is available now for preorder on LP and is comprised of two extended tracks of improv-worship, the feel duly psychedelic, but not geared toward any particular idea of what that might mean.

You can get a feel for yourself with the sample of the immersive title-track below. It’s only five minutes of an 18-minute track, but I think you’ll be able to get a feel for what Shiggajon are getting up to, and hopefully agree it’s worth pursuing.

500 copies of the album will be pressed. Info follows from the PR wire:

shiggajon sela

Shiggajon Sela LP

Shiggajon is a Danish collective based around musicians Mikkel Reher-Lanberg and Nikolai Brix Vartenberg. Much like the music itself the collective is in constant flux, sometimes performing in the form of a small ensemble, other times appearing on stage with as many as 15 persons, depending on the situation.

It’s tempting to categorize Shiggajon as a spiritual jazz ensemble, since their music is able to induce a heightened, spiritual euphoria much similar to that of Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry or Alice Coltrane. But any narrow definition of their sound would be misleading. While there’s an element of ritualism present, there’s also a post-modern tendency to absorb everything from sufi music to krautrock and contemporary electronic drone. Heavily modulated guitar pedals and processed vocals accompany layers of flutes, strings, bells and percussion as the most natural thing in the world.

It’s the kind of music that demands openness and surrender. Every time the ensemble performs improvisation is fundamental – it’s a journey into the unknown. As in John Coltrane’s later works, Shiggajon establishes a unity between spirituality and improvisation – they embrace the paradox of seeking elevation and existential affirmation through sounds that occasionally verges on chaos and dread. These two long, multi-layered, cacophonous pieces occasionally come off as slightly abrasive and dissonant, but ultimately the music is a process resulting in joyful catharsis and healing.

Emil Rothenborg, violin and double bass.
Martin Aagaard Jensen, drum-kit.
Mikkel Elzer, drums, percussion, and electric guitar.
Mikkel Reher-Langberg, drums, percussion, and clarinet.
Nikolai Brix Vartenberg, saxophone.
Sarah Lorraine Hepburn, vocals, silver flute, electronics and tingshaws

http://www.shiggajon.blogspot.com/
http://elparaisorecords.com/releases/shiggajon-sela
https://www.facebook.com/elparaisorecords

Shiggajon, “Sela (excerpt)”

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Grusom Sign to Kozmik Artifactz; Debut LP Due in July

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

grusom

Danish six-piece outfit Grusom released their three-song demo last October, and by November, they were in talks with Kozmik Artifactz, who it has been announced will be handling the release of the band’s forthcoming full-length debut this July. The band’s blues-rocking style, marked out by dual guitars, standalone vocals and keys, is fitting in the progression past pure retroism that seems to be emerging throughout Europe, heavy ’70s influences being put in a more modern context, but one will still recognize some hallmarks in the single “The Journey,” for which Grusom have just released a new video.

A brooding sense of regret pervades the song — it’s not by any means upbeat or a brash, boozy single — but the pickup in the second half demonstrates the kind of flow Grusom have on offer and bodes well for what might come with the first album. The announcement came via the PR wire:

grusom grusom

Denmark’s finest GRUSOM are signing with Kozmik Artifactz

Debut album release summer 2015

Just one month after releasing their demo on Bandcamp, Grusom signed with the German record label “Kozmik Artifactz.” Jacob Bredahl from Dead Rat Studio did the recording of their debut album. Grusom wanted to keep the feel of the actual recording as true and authentic as possible. Jacob caught Grusom’s sound and soul by recording all music in one room at the same time. Grusom’s debut album is expected to hit the street and shelves sometime during July 2015 (vinyl, cd and digital).

The first single from the album called “The Journey” is to be released the 16th. of March 2015. “The Journey” was partially written and arranged while recording in Dead Rat Studio. “The Journey” can be found digital on iTunes and several other online platforms including Grusom’s official bandcamp site.

The musicvideo was shot by Grusom’s personal photographer Andreas Bastiansen – you can watch it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSzdBlvnURA

http://kozmik-artifactz.com/artist/grusom/
https://www.facebook.com/grusomband
http://grusom.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/grusomband

Grusom, “The Journey” official video

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Gas Giant Reunite; Playing Freak Valley and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

gas giant

Danish heavy psych rockers Gas Giant haven’t been heard from much in the last decade. In 2004, their participation in the High Volume compilation put together by Bobby Black of High Times magazine introduced them to a wider American audience, but by then, the band was already winding down. With two records under their collective belt — 2000’s Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes and 2003’s Mana — plus the unfinished Portals of Nothingness from 1999, they faded out just as heavy rock was beginning a resurgence, and had they come along either four years earlier or four years later, I’ve no doubt they would’ve garnered more attention around the world. Better late than never.

The axiom applies because the Copenhagen-based four-piece have reactivated. They’ll play a weekender in Germany this week, and in June, return for the Freak Valley festival. Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes is set for reissue via Space Rock Productions, and other releases might follow as well if the response warrants.

Below, Scott “Dr. Space” Heller offers the story of Gas Giant and a video of their new lineup rehearsing the song “Never Leave this Way” from their 2001 split with WE from Norway:

gas giant art

GAS GIANT is back!

Gas Giant formed in 1996 under the name Blind Man Buff with Pete Hell on Drums, Thomas Carstensen on bass, Stefan Krey on guitars and Jesper Valentin on vocals. In April 1997, the Blind Man Buff EP was recorded and released the next year. In 1999, they changed the name to Gas Giant and recorded a record called Portals of Nothingness which showed a more melodic and spacey direction but this was not released as the band was not really happy with the sound production, despite the amazing songs, several of which the band would rerecord on later albums. We sold this on CD-R at the shows between 2001-2004 so about 50 copies exist on CD-R.

In late 1999 and early 2000, their now classic record, Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes (Burnt Hippie Recordings) was recorded. This was released in 2000 and the band rerecorded their track, Too Stoned, in a slower version than what appeared on the Blind Man Buff EP, which was a real hit on the stoner rock underground and even the lead track on a High Times Magazine compilation CD that came out in 2004.

I first met the guys in November 1998 and started hanging out with them a lot and recording their shows and rehearsals and running a primitive web site (before Kim took over), and managing the band. In 2000, Pete Hell left the band and they had Kjeld on drums for about a year before he split in April 2001. I started playing with the band in November 2001, when they recorded the tracks for the split LP with the Norwegian band WE. I played on the track Firetripper. Tommy replaced Kjeld in August 2001. From Nov 2001 to 2004 I played at most of the bands live concerts and recorded every show, which you can hear at the link below for the archive.org web site. There are 45 shows that have been downloaded 65,000 times! In 2002, the band recorded and released the Mana record on the Elektrohasch label on CD and the Nasoni record label on vinyl in an abbreviated version. The band played quite a few shows in support of the record in Finland, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Germany.

The band was really amazing live and changed the set every night and did amazing jamming at each show, which I hope they will continue to do with the new lineup. The underground German press called them the Grateful Dead of stoner rock and we did a lot of amazing improvisation and jamming on tracks like Never leave this Way, Back on the Headless Track, Ride the Red Horse and Storm of my Enemies. These were the real jam tracks that were very different every night. The live show reviews were always great. If the band had really had the time to play more shows at this time, I really think they would have been as big or bigger than bands like Nebula, Fu Manchu, Monster Magnet, at least in Germany, but they were all having children and it was harder and harder to live this life and tour. In 2004, they decided to take a different turn in the music and lose the synthesizers (and me) and try with a more mainstream sound. The next two years they struggled and eventually the band broke up with Jesper leaving. Although the band would play the occasional party or reunion show for special events like Ralph Rjeily’s Tribute show, they did not really exist as a band.

Come 2015 and Gas Giant is back! The band has a new energy with the addition of a new bass player, Kasper (Bleeder Group, Dyreforsøg, Megafon, Gyserfilm, and Marte) and drummer, Martin (Psyched up Janis, The Univerzals, Fri Galaxe, The Saints) replacing original member Thomas (bass) and Tommy (who drummed with the band since 2001). Here is a short video of the band rehearsing from march 21st, 2015. Just sneak preview of the new line up!

The band is out on the road in 2015 with the following confirmed dates:

Thu, Mar 26 Schaubude, Kiel, Germany
Fri, Mar 27 Cafe Tiko, Erfurt, Germany
Sat Mar 28th Zukunft :: Ranch am Ostkreuz, Berlin, DE
Thurs April 30th HDDT, Loppen, Christiania, DK
Thurs June 4th Freak Valley Festival, DE

In June this year, the Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes will be released as a single vinyl lp on the Space Rock Productions label with additional sales and distribution via Kozmik Artifactz in Germany. If this does well, other old Gas Giant material may be released as well on vinyl.

https://archive.org/details/GasGiant
http://thegasgiant.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gas-Giant/587716488024613

Gas Giant, “Never Leave this Way” March 2015 Rehearsal

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