Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

Pabst on Thee Facebooks

Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

L.M.I. on Thee Facebooks

L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

Fuzz Forward on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

Onségen Ensemble on Thee Facebooks

Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

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Son of the Morning Self-Titled LP Due Aug. 3

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

SON OF THE MORNING

Next month, Iowan cult doomers Son of the Morning will make their self-titled full-length debut via DHU Records. Last year, the same label stood behind a release of their also-self-titled three-song EP (review here), and as all three cuts from that offering will be included on the new one, it’s safe to say there’s some continuity happening there. All the better, since, you know, the EP kicked ass and everything. The album — I’m not saying I’ve heard it or anything, but I’ve got it playing right now as I write this — would seem to do likewise, with a garage doom swirl around vocalist Lady Helena that seems to be working its way toward a thicker-toned Ruby the Hatchet, darker overall in atmosphere and with its own personality in the execution, but which should still be greeted warmly by those with an affection for a bit of ritual with their melody. You certainly won’t hear me complain as I look forward to digging deeper into the outing.

DHU has vinyl on the way, as detailed in the PR wire update below:

son of the morning self titled

Son of the Morning – S/T (DHU Records, 2018)

DHU Records will be releasing the Self Titled full length (DHU028) by Son of the Morning on August 3rd 2018 on limited edition vinyl.

!!! NO PRE ORDERS !!!

Sale goes live Friday July 20th at 7PM CET

Artwork for the album was done by the always amazing and talented artist Mr. David Paul Seymour and completely captures the mood of these Hymns of the Occult

Tracklist
Side A
A1. The Introduction
A2. The Rule of Three
A3. The Midwife
A4. The Wild Hunt
Side B
B1. Release
B2. Left Hand Path
B3. Hour of Our Enemy
B4. Eyes Sewn Closed

Written by Levi Mendes
Lyrics by Lady Helena
Performed by Son of the Morning
Produced by Levi Mendes
Engineered and Mixed by Phil Young at Wabi Sound, Des Moines IA
Mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering, Chicago IL
? and © 2017, Son of the Morning, (ASCAP) – All rights reserved.

Available in the following Editions:

LEFT HAND PATH EDITION
DHU EXCLUSIVE
Limited to 90 copies
Single jacket w/ 3mm spine
Inside flooded in black
Artwork by David Paul Seymour
Black polylined innersleeves
Hand numbered DHU Exclusive card
Includes an A4 poster with art by Shane Horror
Comes on Black/Purple Aside/Bside 12″vinyl

SON OF THE MORNING EDITION
Limited to 150 copies
Single jacket w/ 3mm spine
Inside flooded in black
Artwork by David Paul Seymour
Black polylined innersleeves
Includes an A4 poster w/ front cover art by DPS
Comes on Half Milky Clear/Half White w/ Black and Purple Splatter 12″vinyl

From the pale grey light of America’s Midwest, come Son of the Morning. An occult rock, doom band that interplays the whimsical with the diabolical. The four members of Son of the Morning form the inner-circle of creativity that call upon the forebearers of dark hard rock and heavy metal. However, all is not as it seems as odd-meter and syncopated arrangements dwell within the musical offerings.

To most, the band would be considered new, if it were not for the wealth of experience amongst its members. Combined, the quintet represents decades of musical accomplishment and exploration. The bond was forged in 2016 and most of the year was spent crafting the band’s signature sound. 2017 saw a year of festivals and shows along with the release of a self-titled debut extended play featuring 3 songs. The release was well received by fans and critics alike.

Son of the Morning:
Lady Helena – Vocals, Organ
Lee Allen – Electric Bass Guitar
H.W. Applewhite – Trap Kit
Levi Mendes – Electric Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/sotmcult/
https://www.instagram.com/sonofthemorningband/
https://sotmcult.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Son of the Morning, Son of the Morning EP (2017)

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Haunted Post “Dayburner” Video; New Album out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

haunted

The trippy visuals in Haunted‘s new video are almost as much a representation of the title-track of their new album, Dayburner, as the song itself. Amid deep-hued skylines, manipulated film footage, the cover art and sundry other elements, the Italian doomers give the nine-minute “Dayburner” over to the capable hands of Gryphus Visual for the proceedings, which are every bit full-screen-worthy and likewise suitable for maximum volume. The album “Dayburner” represents tops 66 minutes with its eight tracks, and is released with backing from Twin Earth Records (CD), DHU Records (LP, presumably) and Graven Earth Records (tape) as the follow-up to the band’s likewise immersive 2016 self-titled debut (review here).

Dayburner saw release June 8 and arrived even as it was announced Haunted would be included in the four-label split showcase Skull Mountain, which featured highlights from the rosters of Twin Earth, Ripple Music, DHU and Kozmik Artifactz, pushing even further the notion of Haunted catching the attention of some of the underground’s foremost tastemakers. Reasonably so. The outlander approach to rolling out stoner-doom groove fits into the post-Windhand cultistry, and yet there’s a sharper edge to Haunted‘s soulfulness. With Christina Chimirri at the fore vocally, the two guitars of Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando — that’s right, dueling Francescos — leading the charge with riffs and solos, and bassist Frank Tudisco (could he be Francesco number three?) and drummer Dario Casabona holding down the nodding grooves, Haunted hit just a little harder rather than get completely lost in the mire, and that difference proves crucial in the listening experience of Dayburner as a whole. It’s not just about hypnotic riffing, but about impact as well.

You can check out the clip for “Dayburner” below, followed by more info from the PR wire. I hope to have a review of the album in the next week or so, so please keep an eye out for that as well.

Dig:

Haunted, “Dayburner” official video

The international doom promises HAUNTED recently unleashed their new studio album, “Dayburner” via Twin Earth Records.

The band revealed the video of the new single ‘Dayburner’.

Francesco Bauso, guitar player, states:
“Basically, it’s one of the most spontaneous songs we have composed so far. We started from a verse and then built the rest around the main riff. The idea of the acoustic guitars came to our mind directly in studio, to add emphasis to the song’s intro. It’s actually the most catchy track on the record, boasting a Sabbathian riffing. On the finale we had the chance to experiment a bit with some overdubs, such as floor-toms for example; whose rhythm evokes a sort of witches dance.”

The video has been created by Gryphus Visual, who works with different labels (Twin Earth, Argonauta, Ripple Music) and made background visuals for Lucifer at Roadburn 2015, besides being the visual master of Addicthead and Echolot.

Purchase ‘Dayburner’ digitally here: https://hauntedband.bandcamp.com/track/dayburner

Haunted as:
Francesco Bauso: Guitars
Dario Casabona: Drums
Cristina Chimirri: Vocals
Francesco Orlando: Guitars
Frank Tudisco: Bass

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Haunted on Bandcamp

Haunted on Instagram

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

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Doomstress Touring to Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Supporting their NoSlip Records and DHU Records EP, The Second Rite (discussed here), Houston doom rockers Doomstress are once again hitting the road in June. The occasion is an appearance at Maryland Doom Fest in Frederick, MD, where they’ll play alongside Castle, Earthride (who rumor has it have a new bassist), Switchblade Jesus and headliners Windhand, and a host of others, but they’re also playing with a bunch of killer bands — who are both on and off the MDDF bill in their travels, including Josefus, in whose lineup Doomstress frontwoman Doomstress Alexis also plays, so check out the dates below and if they’re coming through, you know, buy some merch and whatnot.

Dates and details follow:

doomstress june tour poster

Doomstress announce ‘They Came from Texas! Tour in June to play Maryland Doom Fest and 2 shows w/Texas heavy rock pioneers Josefus!

Doomstress will have just wrapped up a tour in May but will be hitting the road again in June on the ‘They came from Texas! Tour’ to play Maryland Doom Fest 4. (Doomstress Alexis & Brandon played Maryland Doom Fest 1 w/Project Armageddon).

This tour will also include two direct support dates for late 60s heavy rock/proto-metal pioneers Josefus on their 1st ever shows outside of Texas!

Doomstress Alexis (bass & vox), Brandon Johnson (lead guitar) & Matt Taylor (lead guitar) will be joined by fellow Texan, Buddy Hachar of Greenbeard, pounding the skins for this tour!
Tour poster art by TriStarr (http://tristarr.art)

June Tour dates:
6/18 Mobile, AL @ Blind Mule
6/19 Chattanooga, TN @ Ziggy’s
6/20 Atlanta, GA @ 529 w/Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf
6/21 Raleigh, NC @ Local Band, Local Beer w/Demon Eye & Disenchanter
6/22 Charlottesville, VA @ Magnolia House
6/23 Frederick, MD @ Cafe 611 – Maryland Doom Fest IV w/Windhand, Castle, Earthride & The Watchers
6/24 Norfolk, VA @ Pourhouse of Norfolk w/Shadow Witch & Witchkiss
6/25 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/Goat Wizard
6/26 Canton, OH @ Buzzbin Bar w/Duel & Sparrowmilk
6/27 Ferndale, MI @ Zeke’s Rock N Roll BBQ
6/28 Kalamazoo, MI @ Shakespeare’s Lower Level
6/29 Chicago, IL @ The Hideout w/Josefus & PCW Syndicate
6/30 Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club w/Josefus & PCW Syndicate

Cheers- Doomstress Alexis & all at DOOMSTRESS

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Doomstress Touring Midwest Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Doomstress ride again. Actually, that’s pretty much been the story of the band since the first time they rode. They’ve toured steadily since the release of their first EP 2016’s Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (video premiere here), which got a follow-up in last year’s The Second Rite (discussed here), issued via NoSlip Records and DHU Records.

Appropriately enough, the run starts and ends in Texas, heading up to Wisconsin and back between May 18 and May 26, and as they go out again, I still can’t help but wonder when we might see a full-length from them. Two EPs and numerous runs later, I don’t think anyone would say they aren’t ready or sounding like they’re not up to the task. Hell, they started out up to the task, even before all the touring. Maybe I’m just impatient. Scratch that. I’m definitely just impatient. Point stands.

Nonetheless, off they go:

doomstress may tour

Texas heavy metal doomers, DOOMSTRESS, will be rolling back out on the US highways for their 3rd tour in 2018 to support their “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds-The Second Rite” ep (released on cd via NoSlip Records and 12″ vinyl split w/Sparrowmilk via DHU Records)

The tour kicks off at the 11th annual Loud!Fest in Bryan/College Station, TX on Friday, May 18th, travelling as far north as Madison, WI and covering much of the central US region before it wraps up back in Alington,TX at Division Brewing.

DOOMSTRESS – May tour dates:

5/18-Bryan, TX at Loud!Fest @ Revolution Cafe
5/19-Oklahoma City, OK @ Blue Note
5/20-Albuquerque, NM @ Moonlight Lounge
5/21-Denver, CO @ Streets of London Pub
5/22-Omaha, NB @ Lookout Lounge
5/23- Madison, WI @ The Wisco
5/24-Lawrence,KS @ Replay Lounge
5/25-Little Rock, AR @ Vino’s
5/26-Arlington,TX @ Division Brewing

Doomstress is out supporting their latest release, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds: The Second Rite. The EP contains remixed versions from the original, very limited self release and 7″ DHU single, as well as new song “Bitter Plea” recorded at the end of the Wicked Summer tour and featuring additional rhythm guitar by guitarist Joe Fortunato (Sparrowmilk/Venomin James/ex-Ancient VVisdom). The artwork that will appear on both the CD & vinyl is by renowned psychedelic artist, Goatess Doomwych.

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Quarterly Review: All Them Witches, Anthroprophh, Orphan Gears, The Watchers, Grajo, Mythic Sunship, Empress, Monads, Nest, Redneck Spaceship

Posted in Reviews on April 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

Well, we’ve reached the end of the week if not the end of the Quarterly Review itself. That’s right: after hemming and hawing all week and going back and forth in my silly little brain, I’ve decided to extend this edition to a sixth day, which will be Monday. That means 60 reviews in six days, not 50 in five. Honestly, I could probably keep going for three or four more beyond that if I had the time or inclination, and I may get there someday, but I’m definitely not there now.

But hey, there have been a couple comments left along the way, so thanks for that. I appreciate you taking the time to read if you have. Here’s the last for the week and we’ll pick back up on Monday.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

All Them Witches, Lost and Found EP

all them witches lost and found ep

If Nashville four-piece All Them Witches put together the free-download Lost and Found EP simply as a means of getting their take on the folk song “Hares on the Mountain” out there, it was worth it. In the hands of vocalist/bassist Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod, Rhodes specialist/violinist Allan Van Cleave and drummer Robby Staebler, the traditional tune becomes a wide open dronescape, bristling and vague like memory itself. It’s beautiful and a little confusing in just the right way, and it comes accompanied on the short release by the Fleetwood Mac cover “Before the Beginning,” an even-more-subdued take on “Call Me Star” from 2015’s New West Records debut, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here), and a dub redux of “Open Passageways” – called, of course, “Dub Passageways” – from the same album. Might be a stopgap between full-lengths, but still, at 18 minutes, it’d make a more than worthy 10” release if they were looking for something new for the merch table.

All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks

All Them Witches on Bandcamp

 

Anthroprophh, Omegaville

anthroprophh omegaville

Next time you feel like, “Hey man, I’m so freaked out and weird and wow man whatever blah blah,” just take a second to remember you live in a dimension where dudes from The Heads have side-projects. Paul Allen and Anthroprophh – his trio with Gareth Turner and Jesse Webb, otherwise known as the duo Big Naturals – are a freaked out freakout’s freakout. The stuff of psychedelic mania. And that’s only on the first disc of the 2CD Omegavlle (Rocket Recordings). By the time they get around to the three-song second disc and dig into extended trips like “Omegaille/THOTHB” (14:48) and the subsequent finale, “Journey out of Omegaville and into the…” (20:57), they’re so far gone into noise and captured, manipulated audio that who the hell knows where we’ve ended up? At 88 minutes, the limits of manageability are long left behind, but to get some of the Velvet Underground-in-space vibes of “Maschine” in trade for undertaking the undertaking it’s well worth letting go of the rigidity of things like time, place, etc.

Anthroprophh on Thee Facebooks

Rocket Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Orphan Gears, Rat Race

orphan gears rat race

I’m pretty sure Orphan Gears used the Super Mario Bros. font for their logo on the cover of their latest EP, Rat Race, and for that, they should be saluted. The gritty-riffing semi-punker London four-piece offer five tracks and 20 minutes of workaday, boozy grooves, blowing off steam after putting in a shift at this or that crappy job. They are null as regards pretense, and ask little more of their audience than perhaps a beer from the stage or whatever else might be on the menu that night. They share initials, but unlike much of the London underground, they share little ultimately with Orange Goblin in terms of style, despite the shuffle of “Tough Luck, BJ” or the harmonica at the end of “Bitch-Slapped Blues,” and by the time they get to the classic strut of the title-track, they seem to be dug into AC/DC-style groove in the verse while blending in modern heavy rock impulses around it. They clearly save their best for last.

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Orphan Gears on Bandcamp

 

The Watchers, Black Abyss

the watchers black abyss

An immediately cogent, professional debut full-length is about what you’d expect from The Watchers, the San Francisco four-piece with members of SpiralArms, Orchid and Black Gates in their ranks, particularly after their prior EP, Sabbath Highway (review here), but that doesn’t stop the songwriting from impressing across the eight-song long-player, Black Abyss (on Ripple Music). The band’s presentation is crisp and pro-shop all the way through, from the soloing on “Oklahoma Black Magic” to the keyboard-laced TonyMartin-era-Sabbathism-meets-tambourine of “Suffer Fool” later on, and with the opening salvo of the title-track and “Alien Lust” right behind it, The Watchers set a quick expectation for hooks and a high standard of delivery that, thankfully, they show no hesitation in living up to for the duration, the chug-and-roll finale “Seven Tenets” satisfies in mood and efficiency, departing into airy guitar meditation and making its way back for a suitably rocking sendoff. Dudes know what they’re doing, where they’re headed and how they want to get there. All the listener needs to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

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Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Grajo, Slowgod II

grajo slowgod ii

A sequel to their 2015 full-length, Slowgod II (on Underground Legends Records, Spinda Records and DHU Records), sees Córdoba-based four-piece Grajo dug into a deep-toned psychedelic doom. There are flashes of Eastern influence on “Malmuerta,” with frontwoman Liz crooning over the minor-key guitar noodling of Josef, the forward motion in Félix’s drums and the heft of Pistolo’s bass. That dynamic works across Slowgod II, from opener and longest track (immediate points) “Altares” through its closing eight-minute counterpart “Malstrom,” which moves from early crunch through spacious volume swells in its middle only to regain composure and offer a heavy post-rock payoff that, somehow, still isn’t that atmospherically removed from the swinging “Horror and Pleasure” right before it or the similarly speedier “Queen Cobra” that follows “Altares” at the outset. Definitely one for the converted, Grajo deliver tones thick enough to stand on and engaging melodicism without falling into any real traps of sonic redundancy, varying their pace effectively and conjuring consuming plod on “ER” while still holding to that notion of breadth that seems to unite all their material here.

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DHU Records webstore

 

Mythic Sunship, Upheaval

mythic sunship upheaval

It just so happens this is exactly what the fuck I’m talking about. After releasing their Land Between Rivers (review here) LP through El Paraiso Records last year, the Copenhagen four-piece of Emil Thorenfeldt, Frederik Denning, Kasper Andersen and Rasmus “Cleaver” Christensen, collectively known as Mythic Sunship, return with four more slabs of exploratory bliss on Upheaval. Either completely or partially improvised, “Tectonic Beach” (12:42), “Aether Flux” (10:55), “Cosmic Rupture” (6:44) and “Into Oblivion” (13:56) flow together like the work of masters, and with shades of patient space rock at their core, the tracks are infused with life even beyond the spontaneity of their creation. Heavy jams. Heavy, spacy jams. Molten. Swirling. Badass. Even the shorter and more forward “Cosmic Rupture” is headed out of the atmosphere, and when they come around to the noisy payoff deep in “Into Oblivion,” it’s abundantly clear they’re not joking around when it comes to the title. You can get onboard with Mythic Sunship, or you can miss out. Bands like this separate the hip from the squares.

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El Paraiso Records webstore

 

Empress, Reminiscence

Empress reminiscence

Those who miss the days when Mastodon or Baroness howled their shouts into a landscape of crunching tonal largesse might do well to dig into what Vancouver, British Columbia’s Empress have to offer on their late-2017 debut EP, Reminiscence. The 27-minute five-tracker isn’t without its sense of melody – there’s plenty of room in eight-minute second cut “Immer” – but guitarist/vocalist Peter Sacco, bassist Brenden Gunn and drummer Chris Doyle make their primary impression via the impact of their material, and as they swap back and forth between shorter tracks and longer ones, a sense of structural playfulness results that moves through the bass openings of “Baptizer” (2:50) and “They Speak Like Trees” (9:27) into the ambient guitar finisher “Dawn,” and the feeling is that, like their stylistic forebears in at the time what was thought of as a new take on sludge metal, Empress will only grow more progressive as they move forward from this first outing. One hopes they hold firm to the tectonic weight they present here that so many others seem to have given up along the way.

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Empress on Bandcamp

 

Monads, IVIIV

monads iviiv

Released some six years after Monads’ 2011 debut, Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem, the Aesthetic Death Records-issued IVIIV was, according to the Belgian five-piece’s own accounting, in the works for most of that time in one way or another. One might say, therefore, that its creation does justice to the glacial pace of some of its slowest moments, the crawling death-doom extremity of pieces like “To a Bloodstained Shore,” or the lurch before the gallop takes hold in “Your Wounds Were My Temple.” At four songs and 50 minutes, IVIIV is indicative enough of the style, but Monads legitimately showcase a persona of their own in and out of those genre confines, the melancholic atmosphere and expanded arrangement elements (piano, etc.) of 15-minute closer “The Despair of an Aeon” creatively used if familiar, and the smoothness of the transitions in opener “Leviathan as My Lament” setting a tone of scope as well as downward emotional trajectory. Not sure I’d count on a quick turnaround for a follow-up, but if half a decade from now a new Monads record surfaces, it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for.

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Aestehetic Death Records website

 

Nest, Metempsychosis

nest metempsychosis

Rolling from its untitled intro through its untitled outro through a barrage of charred-black, bludgeoning sludge extremity, the debut album from Lexington, Kentucky’s Nest, Metempsychosis (on Sludgelord Records), refers in its title to a transmigration of the soul, an inheritance almost as much as reincarnation. The band may be talking about themselves or they may be working on a theme throughout the record’s seven proper tracks, I don’t know, but if the idea is destruction and rebirth, they certainly sound more interested in the former. Songs like “Heretic” seethe and scour, while the lumbering and spacious closer “Life’s Grief,” capping with abrasive noise, would seem to be a mission statement in itself. Individual pieces like “Jewel of Iniquity” and the preceding atmosphere-into-mega-crush “Diving into the Entrails of Sheep” – of course the centerpiece of the tracklisting – are shorter unto themselves, but like everything else that surrounds, they feed into an overarching ambience of disgust and chaos.

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Sludgelord Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Redneck Spaceship, Grand Marshal Ape

redneck spaceship grand marshall ape

There are some issues as regards the balance of the mix pushing the vocals forward ahead of the guitar to work out, but Moscow’s Redneck Spaceship impress all the same with the intent and execution of their late-2017 self-released debut, Grand Marshal Ape. In riffs and songcraft, their influences stem from the classic days of stoner rock, but from opener “The Sands of Dakar” and the later “That Sounds Nuts,” one gets a vibe of underlying punk influence, while the twang in harmonized highlight “On the Roadside” and slide guitar of “Maverick” lends a Southern, bluesy swing that the penultimate “Enchained” answers back later ahead of the sample-laden psychedelic jam-out closer, “Antariksh,” which strikes as a far cry from the ultra-straightforward presentation earlier on “Empty Pockets,” but speaks to an immediate scope in Redneck Spaceship’s sound. One hopes they continue to meld elements as they progress beyond Grand Marshal Ape and bridge the gap between one side of their moniker and the other.

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Redneck Spaceship on Bandcamp

 

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Lightsabres Sign to DHU Records; A Shortcut to Insanity Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Swedish genremasher John Strömshed, now in his fifth year of operation under the moniker of Lightsabres, has inked a deal to release his next full-length through DHU Records. After a series of outings through STB Records, HeviSike, Medusa Crush and others, DHU will release the forthcoming A Shortcut to Insanity, which is a title that may or may not be final but serves as a reasonably fitting description of what it’s like to try and follow along with Strömshed as he careens between styles, leaving his stamp on them as he goes.

Admirably prolific, Lightsabres issued a split with Blissful Stream last year to follow-up on 2016’s Hibernation (review here), and seems to be on a continuous mission to confuse the crap out of anyone who’d try to slab a label on his work one way or another.

The PR wire made it official:

LIGHTSABRES A SHORTCUT TO INSANITY

DHU RECORDS – !!! NEW SIGNING !!!

DHU Records is damn excited to announce the signing of Luleå, Sweden’s own one man stoner punk enigma LIGHTSABRES!

Having released a handful of albums under many great labels, DHU Records will not hold back on this one!

Formed in 2013 with a total DIY ethic John Strömshed set out to make some of the most gnarliest lo fi stoner punk much akin to the sound of 80s and 90s Black Metal, even using a font that is similar as most bands of that genre.

The music however is more like the early punk bands of the 80s, combined with stoner riffage and heavy metal melodies, distinguishing himself and creating his own signature sound.

DHU Records is ecstatic and honored to be working with and releasing LIGHTSABRES new album tentatively called A SHORTCUT TO INSANITY

Presented here is the artwork created by MIDORI HAYASHI for LIGHTSABRES new album A SHORTCUT TO INSANITY

Tracklist
1. From the Demon’s Mouth
2. Breathing Fire
3. Cave In
4. Sweet Oblivion of Sleep
5. Shot in the Head
6. Tangled in Barbed Wire
7. With Horns
8. No Light
9. Shark Eyes
10. Born Screaming

As always with DHU Records you can expect some wild colored Limited Editions to compliment the release. More details and info coming soon.

LIGHTSABRES
J. Strömshed: Guitar/Bass/Vocals
Anton Nyström: Session Drummer

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https://lightsabres.bandcamp.com
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Lightsabres, tracks from split with Blissfull Stream (2017)

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Doomstress Touring with Beerwolf in February

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Next month, Texas now-four-piece Doomstress will head out on tour in the company of Florida’s Beerwolf for a run through the Southern states. Normally here I’d write something about heading south for the winter, blah blah blah avoiding snow, but that doesn’t seem to be the way the universe works anymore. Nonetheless, Doomstress go in support of their new EP, The Second Rite (discussed here), which is out on DHU Records as the follow-up to 2016’s Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (video premiere here).

Doomstress have undertaken numerous tours since getting together about two years ago now, and one can’t help but wonder how much that process may or may not be playing toward progress on a debut full-length. With members coming from outfits like Venomin James, Project Armageddon and Well of Souls, there’s no lack of experience or pedigree behind them. Could be they’ve chosen to find their sound in front of an audience rather than in the rehearsal space, which is an admirable ethic, to be sure. I guess maybe I’m just anxious to hear how an LP from them might come across when they get there. Due time.

Tour dates came in from the PR wire:

doomstress beerwolf tour

Doomstress to Embark on Co-Headlining North American Tour with Beerwolf!

Houston, TX doom metal masters (and mistress) Doomstress will be hitting the road for an extensive North American tour starting in February. Joining Doomstress as co-headliners starting February 17th will be Florida’s Beerwolf. Here’s what Doomstress Alexis had to say about the upcoming tour:

“After playing with Beerwolf in Tampa, FL during our 2nd tour back in November 2016 and really hitting it off with these dudes, we are super stoked to have them touring across the southern US with DOOMSTRESS this February!”

Doomstress/Beerwolf North American Tour 2018
February 15 – Lafayette, LA – Freetown Boom Room (Doomstress Only)
February 16 – Hattiesburg, MS – The Tavern (Doomstress Only)
February 16 – Gainesville, FL – Loosey’s (Beerwolf Only)
February 17 – Mobile, AL – The Blind Mule
February 18 – Birmingham, AL – The Nick
February 19 – Memphis, TN – Growlers
February 20 – Oklahoma City, OK – Your Mom’s Place
February 21 – Arlington, TX – Division
February 22 – Austin TX – The Lost Well
February 23 – San Angelo, TX – The Dead Horse
February 24 – Houston, TX – Dan Electros
February 25 – New Orleans, LA – Santo’s Bar

Doomstress is out supporting their latest release, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds: The Second Rite. The EP contains remixed versions from the original, very limited self release and 7″ DHU single, as well as new song “Bitter Plea” recorded at the end of the Wicked Summer tour and featuring additional rhythm guitar by guitarist Joe Fortunato (Sparrowmilk/Venomin James/ex-Ancient VVisdom). The artwork that will appear on both the CD & vinyl is by renowned psychedelic artist, Goatess Doomwych.

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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