Quarterly Review: Lucifer, Heilung, Amarok, T.G. Olson, Sun Dial, Lucid Grave, Domadora, Klandestin, Poor Little Things, Motorowl

Posted in Reviews on July 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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You know what’s disheartening? When someone goes ‘thanks dudes.’ You know, I share a review or something, the band reposts and goes ‘thanks to the crew at The Obelisk blah blah.’ What fucking crew? If I had a crew, I’d put up 10 reviews every single day of the year. “Crew.” Shit. I am the crew. In the description of this site, the very first thing it says is “One-man operation.” It’s a fucking solo-project. That’s the whole point of it. It’s like me looking at your bass and going, “Sweet guitar, thanks for the solos brah.” I’m happy people want to share links and this and that, but really? It’s been nine years. Give me a break.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Nobody gives a shit. Now I remember. Thanks for reading.

And while we’re here, please remember the numbers for these posts don’t mean anything. This isn’t a countdown. Or a countup. It’s just me keeping track of how much shit I’m reviewing. The answer is “a lot.”

Grump grump grump.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Lucifer, Lucifer II

lucifer lucifer ii

Recorded as the trio of vocalist Johanna Sardonis (ex-The Oath), guitarist Robin Tidebrink (Saturn) and guitarist/drummer Nicke Andersson (Death Breath, ex-Entombed, ex-The Hellacopters), Lucifer’s second album, Lucifer II (on Rise Above), follows three years after its numerical predecessor, Lucifer I (review here), and marks its personnel changes with a remarkable consistency of mission. Like Mercyful Fate gone disco, the formerly-Berlin/London-now-Stockholm group bring stage-ready atmospheres to songs like “Phoenix” and the riff-led “Before the Sun,” while unleashing a largesse of hooks in “Dreamer” and the boogie-pushing “Eyes in the Sky.” “Dancing with Mr. D” brings nod to a Rolling Stones cover, and “Before the Sun” reaffirms a heavy ‘70s root in their sound. I can’t help but wonder if the doomier “Faux Pharaoh” is a sequel to “Purple Pyramid,” but either way, its thicker, darker tonality is welcome ahead of the bonus track Scorpions cover “Evening Wind,” which again demonstrates the ease with which Lucifer make established sounds their own. That’s pretty much the message of the whole album. Lucifer are a big band. Lucifer II makes the case for their being a household name.

Lucifer on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records webstore

 

Heilung, Lifa

heilung lifa

Lifa is the audio taken from the live video that brought Denmark’s Heilung to prominence. Captured at Castlefest in The Netherlands in last year, the impression the expansive Viking folk group made was all the more powerful with elaborate costuming, bone percussive instruments, antlers, animal-skin drums, and so on. Their debut studio album, Ofnir, came out in 2015 and like LIFA has been issued by Season of Mist, but the attention to detail and A/V experience only adds to the hypnotic tension and experimentalist edge in the material. Does it work with just the audio? Yes. The 12-minute “In Maijan” and somehow-black-metal “Krigsgaldr” maintain their trance-out-of-history aspect, and the 75-minute set blends multi-tiered melodies and goblin-voiced declarations for an impression unlike even that which Wardruna bring to bear. Whether it’s the drones of “Fylgija Futhorck” or the chants and thuds of “Hakkerskaldyr,” LIFA is striking from front to back and a cohesive, visionary work that should be heard as well as seen. But definitely seen.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Amarok, Devoured

amarok devoured

Eight years after their founding, an EP and several splits, Chico, California, atmosludge extremists Amarok make their full-length debut with Devoured on Translation Loss. If it’s been a while in the making, it’s easy enough to understand why. The album is rife with brutalist and grueling sensibilities. Comprised of just four tracks, it runs upwards of 70 minutes and brings a visceral churn to each cut, not forgetting the importance of atmosphere along the way, but definitely focused on the aural bludgeoning they’re dealing out. Tempos, duh, are excruciating, and between the screams and growls of bassist Brandon Squyres (also Cold Blue Mountain) and guitarist Kenny Ruggles – the band completed by guitarist Nathan Collins and drummer Colby ByrneAmarok make their bid for Buried at Sea levels of heft and rumble their way across a desolate landscape of their own making. Eight years to conjure this kind of punishment? Yeah, that seems about right. See you in 2026.

Amarok on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

T.G. Olson, Ode to Lieutenant Henry

tg olson ode to lieutenant henry

Here’s a curious case: T.G. Olson, founding guitarist and vocalist of Across Tundras, is a prolific experimental singer-songwriter. His material ranges from psychedelic country to fuller-toned weirdo Americana and well beyond. He’s wildly prolific, and everything goes up on Bandcamp for a name-your-price download, mostly unannounced. It’s not there, then it is. Olson’s latest singe, Ode to Lieutenant Henry, was there, and now it’s gone. With the march of its title-track and a complementary cover of Townes van Zandt’s “Silver Ships of Andilar,” I can’t help but be curious as to where the tracks went and if they’ll be back, perhaps in some other form or as part of a different release. Both are plugged-in and coated in fuzzy tones, with Olson’s echoing vocals providing a human presence in the wide soundscape of his own making. The original is shorter than the cover, but both songs boast a signature sense of ramble that, frankly, is worth being out there. Hopefully they’re reposted at some point, either on their own as they initially were or otherwise.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Science Fiction

sun dial sci fi

If space is the place, Sun Dial feel right at home in it. The long-running UK psychedelic adventurers collect two decades’ worth of soundtrack material on Science Fiction, their new release for Sulatron Records. Made with interwoven keyboard lines and a propensity to periodically boogie on “Mind Machine,” “Airlock,” “Infra Red,” etc., the experimentalist aspect of Science Fiction is all the more remarkable considering the album is compiled from different sources. One supposes the overarching cosmos is probably what brings it together, but with the samples and synth of “Saturn Return” and the lower end space-bass of pre-bonus-track closer “Starwatchers” – that bonus track, by the way, is a 15-minute version of opener “Hangar 13” – and though the vast majority of the Science Fiction relies on synth and keys to make its impression, it’s still only fair to call the proceedings natural, as the root of each one seems to be exploration. It’s okay to experiment. Nobody’s getting hurt.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Sun Dial at Sulatron Records webstore

 

Lucid Grave, Demo 2018

lucid grave demo 2018

There are three songs on Lucid Grave’s first outing, the aptly-titled Demo 2018, and the first of them is also the longest (immediate points), “Star.” It presents a curious and hard to place interpretation of psychedelic sludge rock. It is raw as a demo worthy of its name should be, and finds vocalist Malene Pedersen (also Lewd Flesh) echoing out to near-indecipherable reaches atop the feedback-addled riffing. Quite an introduction, to say the least. The subsequent “Desert Boys” is more subdued at the start but gets furious at the end, vocals spanning channels in an apparent call and response atop increasingly intense instrumental thrust. And as for “Ride the Hyena?” If I didn’t know better – and rest assured, I don’t – I’d call it doom. I’m not sure what the hell the København five-piece are shooting for in terms of style, but I damn sure want to hear what they come up with next so I can find out. Consider me enticed. And accordingly, one can’t really accuse Demo 2018 of anything other than doing precisely what it’s supposed to do.

Lucid Grave on Thee Facebooks

Lucid Grace on Bandcamp

 

Domadora, Lacuna

domadora lacuna

Comprised of four-tracks of heavy psychedelic vibes led by the scorch-prone guitar of Belwil, Domadora’s third album, Lacuna, follows behind 2016’s The Violent Mystical Sukuma (discussed here) and taps quickly into a post-Earthless league of instrumentalism on opener “Lacuna Jam.” That should be taken as a compliment, especially as regards the bass and drums of Gui Omm and Karim Bouazza, respectively, who hold down uptempo grooves there and roll along with the more structured 14-minute cut “Genghis Khan” that follows. Each of the album’s two sides is comprised of a shorter track and a longer one, and there’s plenty of reach throughout, but more than expanse, even side B’s “Vacuum Density” and “Tierra Last Homage” are more about the chemistry between the band members – Angel Hidalgo Paterna rounds out on organ – than about crafting a landscape. Fortunately for anyone who’d take it on, the Parisian unit have plenty to offer when it comes to that chemistry.

Domadora on Thee Facebooks

Domadora on Bandcamp

 

Klandestin, Green Acid of Last Century

klandestin green acid of last century

That’s a big “fuck yes, thank you very much” for the debut album from Indonesian stoner metallers Klandestin. Green Acid of the Last Century arrives courtesy of Hellas Records and is THC-heavy enough that if they wanted to, they could probably add “Bong” to the band’s name and it would be well earned. Eight tracks, prime riffs, watery vocals, dense fuzz, stomp, plod, lumber, shuffle – it’s all right there in homegrown dosage, and for the converted, Green Acid of the Last Century is nothing short of a worship ceremony, for the band itself as well as for anyone taking it on. With the march of “Doomsday,” the unmitigated rollout of “Black Smoke,” and the swirling green aurora of “The Green Aurora,” Klandestin wear their holding-back-a-cough riffage as a badge of honor, and couldn’t be any less pretentious about it if they tried. From the hooded weedian on the cover art to the Sleepy nod of closer “Last Century,” Green Acid of Last Century telegraphs its intent front-to-back, and is all the more right on for it.

Klandestin on Thee Facebooks

Hellas Records on Bandcamp

 

Poor Little Things, Poor Little Things

poor little things poor little things

You get what you pay for with “Rock’n’Roller,” which leads off the self-titled debut EP from Bern, Switzerland-based Poor Little Things. Around the core duo of vocalist Tina Jackson and multi-instrumentalist Dave “Talon” Jackson (also of Australia’s Rollerball) on guitar, bass, synth and percussion is Talon’s The Marlboro Men bandmate Fernando Marlboro on drums, and together the band presents five tracks of remember-when-rock-rocked-style groove. Fueled by ‘70s accessibility and a mentality that seems to be saying it’s okay to play big rooms, like arenas, cuts like “Drive” seem prime for audience participation, and “Break Another Heart” gives a highlight performance from Tina while “About Love” showcases a more laid back take. They close with the 6:37 “Street Cheetah,” which struts appropriately, and end with a percussive finish on a fadeout repeating the title line. As a showcase of their style and songwriting chops, Poor Little Things shows significant promise, sure, but it’s also pretty much already got everything it needs for a full-length album.

Poor Little Things on Thee Facebooks

Poor Little Things on Bandcamp

 

Motorowl, Atlas

motorowl atlas

Every now and then you put on a record and it’s way better than you expect. Hello, Motorowl’s Atlas. The German troupe’s second for Century Media, it takes the classic stylizations of their 2016 debut, Om Generator, and pushes them outward into a vast sea of organ-laced progressive heavy, soaring in vocal melodies and still modern despite drawing from an array of decades past. The chug in “The Man Who Rules the World” would be metal for most bands, but on Atlas, it becomes part of a broader milieu, and sits easily next to the expansive title-track, as given to post-rocking airiness in the guitar as to synth-laden prog. That mixture of influences and aesthetics would be enough to give the five-piece an identity of their own, but Atlas is further characterized by Motorowl’s ambitious songwriting and benefits greatly from the melodic arrangements and the clear intention toward creative development at work here. Those who take on its seven-track/45-minute journey will find it dynamic, spacious and heavy in kind.

Motorowl on Thee Facebooks

Motorowl at Century Media website

 

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Domadora Announce June 29 Release for Lacuna

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

domadora

Last heard from with their 2016 sophomore outing, The Violent Mystical Sukuma (discussed here), Parisian heavy psychedelic three-or-four-piece Domadora have set a June 29 issue date for their new album, Lacuna. No audio from it as yet, but one imagines that can’t be far off, and given the sonic adventurousness that showed itself through their material their last time out, I’d expect the forthcoming four-track long-player to do a healthy bit of wandering. One would hope so, at least.

The PR wire has art and details and whatnots for the digging, so have at it:

domadora lacuna

DOMADORA announce the release of their third album “Lacuna” this June 29th.

France’s premium psychedelic jammers DOMADORA return with their long-awaited third full-length “Lacuna” this June 29th.

“Lacuna” commonly refers to the “empty space” or “void” from which everything takes shape. The void is at the beginning of everything: matter and time, light, sound and art. It is the starting point of the artwork. It just takes the scratching a match of creativity inside the void to generate an idea, a note, a melody… and feelings as well as emotions are born. So how is an idea born? Where does it come from? A Big Bang. Music is a way to reach mind elevation. DOMADORA’s music intends to put the willing listener into a state of trance and reach a state of elevation.

“Lacuna” is different from DOMADORA’s two previous albums and recorded far from the auditoriums of “Tibetan Monk” (2013) and “The Violent Mystical Sukuma” (2016). Domadora is convinced that context directly influences the intuitions and colours of improvised music. That’s the reason why the band has made the choice to record this album on an isolated farm in western France. Therefore, a very strong human experience and geographical isolation are on the list of ingredients of this album.

“Lacuna” was recorded and mixed by Brice Chandler, and mastered by Kent Stump in Crystal Clear Sound Wo Fat studios in Dallas, Texas.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Lacuna Jam
2. Gengis Khan
3. Vacuum Density
4. Tierra Last Homage

Artwork by Antoine d’Agata

The influences of Domadora are more in musical trends : free, uninhibited and daring to make music. Of course, you’re gonna easily think rock of the late 60’s and top 70 – but also to proto punk, the freedom of the area, or the heavy rock jam born in the desert. You can also find an influence in some classic pieces including the way to live a journey through successive wave intensities – from Pink Floyd to Fatso Jetson passing Led Zeppelin and Beethoven.

DOMADORA is
Organ – Angel Hidalgo Paterna
Drums – Karim Bouazza
Bass – Gui Omm
Guitars – Belwil

https://www.facebook.com/DomadoraBand
https://twitter.com/domadoraband
http://www.domadora.fr/
https://domadora.bandcamp.com/

Domadora, The Violent Mystical Sukuma (2016)

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Domadora Stream New Album The Violent Mystical Sukuma

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

domadora

Hard to argue with the brand of psych jamming Parisian trio Domadora dig into on their second full-length, The Violent Mystical Sukuma, so I won’t try. The band were featured in a podcast earlier this spring, but they’ve made the album streaming in full, and I guess if there’s a point to the news at all, it’s “hey, this record exists.” And so it does. They’ve earned a host of Earthless comparisons along the way, and covered them as well as Tia Carrera, which should give you a fair idea of where they’re coming from, but Domadora‘s first album, 2013’s Tibetan Monk, was picked up for release by Kozmik Artifactz, and whether or not a similar fate awaits The Violent Mystical Sukuma, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

The PR wire brings info and links:

domadora-the-violent-mystical-sukuma

70’s Heavy-Psych Rockers Domadora stream new full-length album

3 years after their very well-received ‘Tibetan Monk’, French 70’s Heavy-Psych Rockers Domadora released a few week ago a brand new full-length album called ‘The Violent Mystical Sukuma’ for CD and Digital formats on Bandcamp and the main legal platforms (iTunes, Deezer, Amazon…). In addition to the release, the album is also available right now for full streaming at the same location or SoundCloud.

Influenced by the 60’s and 70’s vibes from Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, Heavy Psych/Rock/Stoner power-trio from France Domadora delivers psychedelic stoned jams since its birth around the shade of bands such as Fatso Jetson or Karma to Burn.

In 2013, the band released its debut full-length album acclaimed by both critics and public and then toured massively with big names such as Pentagram, Baroness, Earthless of Yawning Man before to work again on a new record.

Three years later, Domadora unleashed its very awaited new full-length effort : ‘The Violent Mystical Sukuma’.

https://www.facebook.com/DomadoraBand
https://domadora.bandcamp.com/
http://www.domadora.fr/
https://twitter.com/domadoraband

Domadora, The Violent Mystical Sukuma (2016)

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audiObelisk Transmission 057

Posted in Podcasts on April 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Given my druthers, I’d have had this up more than a week ago, but there was a bit of a crunch last week as you may have seen, so here we are. Better late than something something. The important thing is here’s about two hours’ worth of new music from psych to drone to sludge and if I do say so myself, it’s a pretty good mix of all of it. The first hour gets pretty driving by the time you get down to Gozu and Domadora before the big chill out with New Planet Trampoline, and though I’m always happy to include audio from improv specialists Øresund Space Collective, their “Ode to a Black Hole Pt. 1” might be their most tripped-out affair yet. Darker for sure, but way, way gone.

As always, the theme is simple — new music — and the goal is perhaps you’ll hear something you didn’t know before. The impact of Elephant Tree’s “Aphotic Blues” forced itself into the playlist, and I’ve been digging the hell out of new Goya, Telstar Sound Drone and Gozu releases, so they had to be here too. I hear some Floor in Spotlights, but there’s more to them than just that, which I think you can hear in “The Grower,” and that’s really just the start of what gets to be pretty expansive by the time it’s finished. Hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Curse the Son, “Sleepwalker Wakes” from Isolator
0:05:58 Valley of the Sun, “The Hunt” from Volume Rock
0:08:14 Spotlights, “The Grower” from Tidals
0:15:27 Dunbarrow, “The Crows Ain’t Far Behind” from Dunbarrow
0:18:47 Goya, “Last” from The Enemy
0:23:27 Sourvein, “Avian Dawn” from Aquatic Occult
0:26:54 Gozu, “Nature Boy” from Revival
0:30:01 Domadora, “Rocking Crash Hero” from The Violent Mystical Sukuma
0:34:40 New Planet Trampoline, “Acts of Mania” from Dark Rides and Grim Visions
0:43:26 Telstar Sound Drone, “Dead Spaces” from Magical Solutions to Everyday Struggles
0:49:27 Samavayo, “Overrun” from Dakota
0:55:58 Elephant Tree, “Aphotic Blues” from Elephant Tree

Second Hour:

1:01:53 Black Moon Circle, “Warp Speed” from Sea of Clouds
1:14:54 Jupiter, “In Flux” from Interstellar Chronodive
1:28:43 Øresund Space Collective, “Ode to a Black Hole Pt. I” from Ode to a Black Hole

Total running time: 1:54:43

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 057

 

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Kozmik Artifactz Streams New Label Compilation Home of the Good Sounds Vol. 2; Free Download Available

Posted in audiObelisk on June 9th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

home of the good sounds vol 2 front

Over the last couple years, Kozmik Artifactz and its close cohort, Bilocation Records, have assembled one of the most enviable label rosters in the world for heavy rock and roll and psychedelia. Their commitment is to vinyl releases in limited quantities, and their stuff usually goes. It’s harder to get in the States with import prices, but their reach includes American acts like Ruby the HatchetBison MachineValley of the SunSpace God Ritual and The Dirty Streets, all of whom are featured alongside European groups Somali Yacht Club (Ukraine), Earthmass (UK), Sonora Ritual (Germany) and Domadora (France) as well as Australia’s Child on the new 18-track Home of the Good Sounds Vol. 2 label sampler, which is out today.

With new music from The Heavy Eyes — “Somniloquy” is the first I’ve heard of their upcoming third LP, He Dreams of Lions — as well as Buzzard, the new project from Place of Skulls and Pentagram drummer “Minnesota” Pete Campbell, and home of the good sounds vol 2 backUK trio Mammothwing, the sampler should have no trouble piquing interest among the converted while more familiar cuts from The Kings of Frog Island and Valley of the Sun reinforce a solid mixtape feel. I won’t belabor the point that you’re probably about to spend a decent portion of your afternoon head-to-head with these songs — it’s 18 tracks, after all — but there’s a decent flow from one to the next and it’s clear the label was looking to do more than just toss together something haphazardly. Anyone who’s ever held a piece of their vinyl can probably tell you that’s not how they roll.

Plenty of variety, plenty of heavy, and some brand new stuff to preview what they have coming hopefully before the end of 2015, there’s really no way to lose. If nothing else, you can’t beat the price. Kozmik Artifactz was kind enough to let me announce the comp’s arrival, and you’ll find it on the player below, courtesy of their Bandcamp, followed by their official word on today’s release.

Please enjoy:

Kozmik Artifactz and Bilocation Records are very proud to offer to their new and old followers the second label compilation ‘Home of the good sounds – Vol. 2’. The sampler features 18 bands from all over the planet including 12 tracks that are not published on vinyl yet, three of them are exclusively to be heard here: new stuff from The Heavy Eyes from their forthcoming third album ‘He dreams of lions’, mighty Buzzard (featuring Pete Campbell from Pentagram) with ‘Is you Is’ and Mammothwing with a new track from their upcoming epic album ‘Morning light’.

For further informations to bands and releases visit our website www.kozmik-artifactz.com and our shop at http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/.

Thanks to our artist for creating so exciting music and to our customers and friends for their endless support – It is the music that matters!

The Kozmik Crew.

Kozmik Artifactz on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

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On the Radar: Domadora

Posted in On the Radar on June 7th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Probably more even than most bands, your first listen to Parisian trio Domadora is going to determine your overall impression of the band. Yeah, you’re probably thinking that happens all the time anyway, but I mean it. The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Belwil, drummer Fred and bassist Guiom seem to basically have to modes of operating. Check it out:

“On the Highway” indeed. It’s some pretty straightforward stoner rock, vaguely reminiscent of early The Atomic Bitchwax, but melodically aware and not at all offensive in its approach. More or less, if I told you there’s a heavy rock band from Paris who dig their Fu Manchu and the Bitchwax and have songs about fast cars, and I played you “Lost on the Highway,” you wouldn’t tell me I was wrong about Domadora.

Now get a load of this:

I first encountered both these tracks on YouTube, and initially, I didn’t believe they were actually the same band. Not that a band can’t engage in both regular-type verse/chorus songwriting and then psych jam their way into the deep reaches of space rock, just that most bands don’t. Domadora, to the best of my knowledge, don’t have an album out (their website is more fun to navigate than it is informative), so how they might blend these sides of their sound on a full-length remains to be seen, but the prospect of their trying to bridge a sonic divide of this size is interesting enough in itself for me to want to keep them on the radar. So here we are.

Domadora has more tracks streaming on their Soundcloud, including a rough version of a Stooges cover, and are on Thee Facebooks here. All their stuff, whichever side it’s coming from, is pretty formative-sounding, but it should be fascinating to see where they wind up.

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