Friday Full-Length: Dozer, Through the Eyes of Heathens

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Part of the magic of listening to Dozer is being able to say, no matter which of their five albums you put on, that, yes, this was the moment when they came into their own. Even going back to their 2000 debut, In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here), as their sound was so highly influenced by the desert rock coming out of California, they inevitably brought their own spin to those established elements. 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens was their penultimate album ahead of 2008’s Beyond Colossal (discussed here), and it was their first release through Small Stone Records in the US, which became their home after moving from Man’s Ruin Records to their own Molten Universe imprint. They were, of course, an absolute monster of a band by then, and given the swath of early and later splits and singles they released and the touring they did, it’s easy to forget that only five years separate their first and fourth long-players. But that momentum can be heard as well across the 10 songs on Through the Eyes of Heathens, and it sounds utterly unstoppable.

From the very start of “Drawing Dead” through the memorable lead line in the slower-paced closer “Big Sky Theory,” Dozer assembled a work of impeccable songwriting and deep-rooted character. In the arc of their career, every record was another step forward, and just as 2001’s Madre de Dios built on the debut and 2003’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed here) built on that, so too did Through the Eyes of Heathens pick up from where its predecessor left off. Its sound was still rooted in a heavy rock feel, but Dozer were able to translate that into something more aggressive when they wanted — their sound had bite as well as lumber, and while a cut like “Born a Legend” could be traced back to their desert-minded beginnings in its basic structure, by the time it was finally executed, it was something else entirely. Working with the core trio of guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa (see also: Greenleaf), bassist Johan Rockner (now of Besvärjelsen), the band had parted with drummer Erik Bäckwall (also now in Besvärjelsen) after the third LP, and they brought in Karl Daniel Lidén to fill in behind the kit.

No minor change. Lidén had played in Greenleaf with Holappa as well as in Demon Cleaner, and was already by then well into honing his craft as a producer/engineer. On drums for Through the Eyes of Heathens, he added to the propulsion of songs like “From Fire Fell” and the underlying intensity of “The Roof, the River, the Revolver,” while holding together the airy groove in the volume-surge chorus of “Days of Future Past.dozer through the eyes of heathens” His approach to the riffs was to meet them head on, such that every turn of “Blood Undone” seems punctuated and “Man of Fire” seems to run at a clip trying to convey putting itself out. His work, alongside Holappa‘s leads and riff construction, Nordin‘s ultra-distinctive and ever-more-confident vocals, and Rockner‘s classic you-guys-just-go-ahead-and-have-fun-if-you-need-me-I’ll-be-here-being-the-foundation-of-these-songs style of bass, helped bring the pointed energy of Through the Eyes of Heathens to live, such that it wasn’t just heavy, or grooving, or loud, or whatever else. It was vibrant. On a sheer delivery level, Dozer evoked a sense of shove that spoke to the urgency of its own creation. Putting it on was like having Arnold Schwarzenegger hold out his robot hand and say, “Come with me if you want to live.”

And while, yes, definitely some of Through the Eyes of Heathens‘ highlight moments were found in its intense push, there was never a lack of atmosphere. Sure, flourish of piano, organ, percussion, etc., helped with that, but most of it was owed to the breadth of the guitar tones and to Nordin‘s ease of melody. His shouts in “Born a Legend,” and the standalone lines in “Until Man Exists No More” — which almost made the guest vocal spot on that track from Mastodon‘s Troy Sanders feel superfluous — made for an essential presence throughout, and as much reach as there was in the songs, Nordin‘s performance was one more standout factor tying the material together. One could say the same of Holappa‘s work on guitar. I already said it about Rockner on bass, and the same applied to Lidén‘s drums. It was everything in these songs. There was no “miss” anywhere on the album.

Which is what it came down to. It was the songs. There was a memorable line, or a riff, or just something about the way it was played, to go with every single track on Through the Eyes of Heathens. It’s a 44-minute record, so not short — though the standard has gotten shorter in intervening years with the vinyl resurgence and so on — but a cut like “Omega Glory” seemed to move from hook to hook to hook, and even in the eight-minute stretch of “Big Sky Theory” at the end or in the quieter verses of “Days of Future Past,” there was ultimately nothing spare about it.

There are arguments to be made for each of Dozer‘s full-lengths as being their best work. Through the Eyes of Heathens, for me at least, seems to summarize much of what made them so rich and hard-hitting as well as the individualized sensibility of their material. I won’t take away from anything they did before or after — their last offering, 2013’s Vultures (review here), was the compiled pre-production demos for this album — but I still find myself going back to Through the Eyes of Heathens not infrequently and it feels each time like not only does it still have something new to offer, that it’s not just nostalgia, but also that it stands up to the time since it first came out with an ease that makes almost a decade and a half seem like nothing at all. Maybe that is nostalgia in itself. Fine, and well earned. True front-to-back releases are rare. They don’t happen every year, contrary to what hyperbole and promospeak tell you. Through the Eyes of Heathens is a blueprint for how to make an album last longer than its runtime.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I went last night and saw Yawning Man and Freedom Hawk in Brooklyn. First club show in a while. I get too anxious these days in crowds. Fests I can kind of get away with it, because usually I’m going back and forth from one thing to the next, taking pictures, writing notes, whatever it is, but just standing around at a gig waiting for a band to go on, I feel like I’m losing my mind. It was a good show though, even though The Drunkest Guy in the Room kind of accused me of being a CIA agent. I guess because I looked stiff and was standing in the back? I don’t know. I was just glad he didn’t stab me in the throat with a piece of the glass he subsequently broke. New Yorkers, such as there are any, delude themselves in thinking that a kind of charm.

The baby was up this morning by the time I was done writing about Dozer. 5:30 or thereabouts. Brutal. I got in a little after midnight from the show, which ended a bit before 11, and was up at 4. My alarm had been set for 6. Just up. So it goes. Got some writing done, grabbed the baby, read books — One Fish Two Fish, Hop on Pop, and whatnot — and had breakfast. Gave the baby a bath and put him down for a nap, which The Patient Mrs. rightly decided also to take.

I meanwhile did the voice tracks for Sunday’s episode of ‘The Obelisk Show’ on Gimme Radio, answered some email to the best of my limited ability, and settled in for this. We’ll see if I can finish by the time The Pecan awakes.

Seemed silly to post about it, but this week I put up the 11,000th post on this site. Not bad. They’re not all gold, but you know, it’s a pretty significant number anyway.

So Monday will be the Yawning Man/Freedom Hawk live review. Here’s what else I’ve got in the notes. There’s plenty:

MON 01/21 Yawning Man live review; Hollow Leg album stream.
TUE 01/22 The Sabbathian album stream.
WED 01/23 9Doorsopen track premiere; Benthic Realm video premiere.
THU 01/24 Thermic Boogie track premiere; Sundrifter video.
FRI 01/25 Swallow the Sun review.

Subject to change something something blah blah.

It’s a lot of cool stuff, and it means I won’t just be spending this weekend filing my secret undercover CIA report about the vape-quotient at the Yawning Man show and instead will have plenty of writing to keep me busy. Seriously, what the hell would the CIA be doing at the Vitus Bar? I would love to know what the reason would be. Why would they be there? What’s the operation? Testing the effects of the sustained awesomeness of Mario Lalli’s bass-playing on the fragile human psyche?

Again, I was glad to not be stabbed.

Or slashed.

Alright, I’m gonna punch out so I can go read reviews of the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery season two before I actually watch it so I can sound smart when I make “observations” about canon connections to The Patient Mrs. Don’t tell her.

Have a great and safe weekend. Forum, radio, merch.

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Kristonfest 2019 Completes Lineup: The Hellacopters, Earthless, Dozer and Mondo Generator Added

Posted in The Obelisk Presents, Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

kristonfest 2019 logo

I can only be honest with you — I have no fucking idea why Kristonfest was like, ‘Hey, we’ll put an Obelisk logo on our poster.’ Anyone with the kind of pull to put together a festival with the likes of EarthlessThe HellacoptersDozerKadavar, Mondo GeneratorChurch of the Cosmic SkullArabrot and Turbowolf needs me like they need a hole in the head. It’s there, the round one next to the memento mori skull at the bottom, and I’m proud as hell of it. But yeah, I don’t deserve that. Here’s a festival in Madrid that will have at least six years of history behind it by the time it comes around in May, and I’m some schlub sitting at my laptop. Something there doesn’t make sense. I’m honored, as the robot said: Does not compute.

Hey, thanks to Kristonfest 2019 for letting me be involved in the small way that I am. I was touched at the sentiment before, but now that the lineup is complete, that’s even more the case. If you can make it to Madrid, you should do that. I mean, you should do that anyway because traveling is amazing, but all the more so when an event of this caliber is involved. Thank you. And thank you for reading, because I’ll tell you outright the only reason anyone gives a shit about this site is because you read it. You will not find me deluding myself that it’s my charming personality and copious wordsmithery making the difference. It’s you. So thanks.

Here’s the final lineup announcement:

kristonfest 2019 poster

Kristonfest 2019

FRIDAY, MAY 10 | WARM UP PARTY KRISTONFEST 2019
SALA CARACOL (MADRID)

SATURDAY MAY 11 | KRISTONFEST 2019
SALA LA RIVIERA (MADRID)

For this 2019, the main novelty is that the next edition will be composed of 2 days: A first day framed in a Warm Up Party or party presentation in the Caracol Room and a second day in the usual La Riviera, both in Madrid.

The Hellacopters, Earthless, Dozer and Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator complete the poster of the next Kristonfest 2019, joining KADAVAR, Turbowolf, Church of the Cosmic Skull And Arabrot.

Tickets per day and bonuses now available: www.kristonfest.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/391742591310823/
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https://www.facebook.com/kristonfest
https://twitter.com/Kristonfest
https://www.instagram.com/kristonfest

Dozer, “Empire’s End” official video

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Friday Full-Length: Unida & Dozer, Double EP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Unida & Dozer, Double EP (1999)

Unida and Dozer in 1999. Each with an EP, teaming up to put them out together on CD via a then relatively-nascent MeteorCity. I ask you, what’s not to dig about that? And if you can ever get past the hook of Unida‘s “Red” — no easy feat, mind you — you’ll find the whole release has something to offer as regards peak post-Kyuss-era heavy rock. The Californian desert and Sweden never sounded closer together than they do here.

The Best of Wayne-Gro was the first Unida release, and it was put out by MeteorCity as a standalone in 1998 before being included in this split. Of course, Unida was John Garcia‘s next project after the dissolution of Slo Burn and Kyuss before that, and with the fuzz of guitarist Arthur Seay (now of House of Broken Promises), the bass of Jerry Montano (HellyeahDanzig, etc.) and the drums of Miguel Cancino (also now of House of Broken Promises) behind him, the band was a powerhouse from the start. They’d hold on to some sense of jammy looseness with Garcia‘s “what the fuck?” freakout shouts in “Wet Pussycat,” which finished out their section of the split, and “Delta Alba Plex” before that began to depart somewhat from the more rigid structure of “Red” and opener “Flower Girl,” but one way or the other, Unida offered primo desert rock in this first outing and filled the listener with hope for what they might go on to accomplish together.

The groove was immediate on “Flower Girl,” and Garcia rode on top of it as only he seems to be able to do, his cadence and the guttural push in his voice entirely his own. Unida‘s always been thought of as a “John Garcia band” along with the likes of Hermano and Slo Burn — that is, I don’t know if the group would’ve worked with a different singer, which is likely part of why Seay put together House of Broken Promises and left Unida to reunite as their own thing when the time came in 2013 — but the entire band was on point. Listen to Cancino‘s drumming at the start of “Red.” He’s carrying that entire build himself, moving to his toms and cymbals before taking off on the crash for the chorus. The fuzz features, naturally, and I won’t take away from Seay‘s solo later in the track, but in terms of propulsion, it’s the drums all the way, and they hold together the nod of “Delta Alba Plex” as well before “Wet Pussycat” kind of pulls itself apart at the end after that sweet, laid back roll in its first half. I’m not the first person to say it, and this is by no means the first time I’ve said it, but what a band. What potential. And do you know what the craziest part is? If you put SeayCancino and Garcia in a studio today, they’d absolutely crush it. I’m sure I don’t need to recount for you the story of their lost albumThe Great Divide, which would’ve followed up their 1999 debut, Coping with the Urban Coyote (discussed here). Bottom line: some you win, some you lose. We all lost on that one.

Of course, Unida wasn’t the only act brimming with potential on the release, and like them, Dozer had issued their four-song Coming Down the Mountain EP as a standalone the year prior. Recorded in the band’s native Borlänge, Sweden, it stands as an ultra-early release for them as well, following their 1998 demo, Universe 75 (discussed here), and preceding a why-the-hell-has-no-one-compiled-these-for-reissue series of three splits with fellow Swedes Demon Cleaner that would be released over the course of ’98 and ’99. At the time, Dozer were guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa (now Greenleaf), bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall — the latter two now of Besvärjelsen), and the same lineup would go on to make three full-lengths together, 2000’s In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here) and 2001’s Madre de Dios on Man’s Ruin and 2002’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed here) on Molten Universe before parting ways with Bäckwall and working with producer/percussionist Karl Daniel Lidén — by then formerly of Demon Cleaner — for 2005’s more aggressive Through the Eyes of Heathens. Here though, they sound raw in comparison to the more experienced Unida, and man does it work for them.

I’m a big fan of what Dozer ultimately became. I think Through the Eyes of Heathens and their 2008 swansong, Beyond Colossal, were nothing short of incredible achievements of individualism in heavy rock, and if you want to know where they might’ve gone next, pick up Greenleaf‘s 2012 album, Nest of Vipers (review here), and go forward from there. That said, early Dozer — along with earliest Natas and just about no one else — offers some of the most natural sounding not-from-the-desert desert rock you’ll ever hear. “Headed for the Sun” is a near-perfect execution of what at the time was barely a genre, and to follow it with the roll of “Calamari Sidetrip” — the watery effect on Nordin‘s vocals almost acting as a tie to Garcia‘s — and the psychedelic guitar work there offset by the all-thrust of the drum-led “From Mars” and the consuming fuzz of “Overheated,” Dozer sound like a young band, to be sure, but their energy is infectious as it would remain throughout their career. Something else they still have in common with Unida? Put these guys in a studio today, and yeah, they’d absolutely destroy.

I thought maybe I’d bug former MeteorCity honcho Jadd Shickler and see what he had to say about it as one of the guys who put it out. Here’s what he had on the subject:

“Within our first year of trying to figure out what the hell it meant to run a record label, we’d managed to open a communication line to ex-Kyuss/Slo Burn singer John Garcia and his new band Unida. We were also on the forefront of exploring the new contingent of Kyuss-inspired bands in Sweden. With the Nebula/Lowrider double EP coming together so beautifully, we wanted to continue on that magic path. Debuting the first recordings anywhere from Unida, which saw a more in-your-face vocal style than anyone had heard from John with Kyuss or Slo Burn, paired with (I think) the first worldwide release from Dozer, who would grow into an internationally-known stoner-rock juggernaut themselves, was perfect synchronicity. The songs were badass, and the sense of significance was palpable. It was pretty much impossible to ever tap into that early sense of trailblazing discovery in quite the same way again.”

The Double EP split has a special place in stoner rock history, and the quality of the material on it is unmistakable and a banner example of the best of its era. MeteorCity reissued it circa 2005, so I think copies still exist someplace on the planet.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I just went for a walk in the parking lot of the townhouse where I live. Back and forth with the little dog Dio. Apparently that’s a thing I do now. It’s quarter-to-six in the morning. I’ve been up since three. Somehow though, if my impressions during semi-conscious rollovers and getting up to go to the bathroom twice (11PM and 1AM, like clockwork) are anything to go by, I think The Patient Mrs. slept even worse. I was out early. I don’t know that it was 8:30PM. Pretty soon I’ll be asleep before the sun goes down. Hell if I care. I’m up before it’s up, so that makes some kind of sense. As much as anything.

I hear next week is the Quarterly Review. Well, I’ve done all of jack shit to prepare for it at this point and I think I just might decide to make it a six-dayer unless at the end of next week I’m so mentally burnt I can’t handle the prospect of going the additional day — which is certainly possible given everything else slated for the week as well. Dig the notes, subject of course to change:

Mon.: QR1, Greenbeard video premiere.
Tue.: QR2, Black Rainbows review/stream.
Wed.: QR3, Gozu review/track premiere.
Thu.: QR4, new Green Druid video.
Fri.: QR5, Rancho Bizzarro EP stream.

My brain aches thinking about it. Also I’ve got family in town this afternoon and tomorrow and I’m going to a Passover Seder tomorrow night at the home of one of The Patient Mrs.’ longtime friends down on Cape Cod. None of my pants fit. None of my shirts fit. If you need me, I’ll be drowning my anxiety in bran flakes and soy milk and sumo oranges. Also meds.

Oh yeah, plus five-month-old. The Pecan had a banner week. Dude’s clean vocals need some work, but he’s a screamer with the best of ’em.

I was in the grocery store the other day though — I grocery shop like every fucking day; it’s a thing to do with the baby and an unfortunate side-effect of eating food — and this leaving-middle-age dude in front of me in line turned around, saw the baby in the car seat in the cart and said, “I did that for 15 years before it was really accepted,” obviously talking about house-husbanding because it was the middle of the day. He had a pretty thick Massaccent, so I didn’t pick up everything he said, but I told him in response that it turns out it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. That’s not really true — I also want to write, all the time — but in terms of work, it’s incredibly difficult and only going to become more so once he’s verbal and mobile, but it beats the living shit out of every single job I’ve ever had. So yeah. Dude looked surprised. I was a little surprised too, I guess.

Then I went home and walked in the parking lot and told the little guy about snow melting and becoming water again. Somehow I doubt that’s the last time I’ll have that conversation.

Times continue to be hard in my head. Really hard. I see things and they set me off, like the dinner jacket that used to be my grandfather’s that I wore to my grandmother’s funeral that will never fit me again, and I get really sad. My nutritionist keeps telling me not to think about my body as a number, i.e. a weight. I’m not. I’m thinking of it as a thing that doesn’t fit into any of its clothes. Given where I was three months ago, it sucks to be where I am now. The doctor took more blood this week. I can’t even remember why.

Alright, I don’t really want to turn this post into a poor-fat-me piss party, so I’m going to leave eating disorder discussion there. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’m expecting a call any minute now from The Patient Mrs. for me to go upstairs and change the baby, so that’s something. Anyway, have fun and be safe. Quarterly Review starts Monday and don’t forget the forum and radio stream in the meantime. Thanks for reading.

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Friday Full-Length: Dozer, In the Tail of a Comet

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Dozer, In the Tail of a Comet (2000)

One might look at In the Tail of a Comet, the pivotal first LP from Sweden’s Dozer, as the closing chapter in a larger movement within heavy rock. Released by Frank Kozik‘s Man’s Ruin Records in 2000 following the band’s initial series of splits with Demon Cleaner and Unida, the album followed landmark debuts like Acid King‘s Busse Woods and NatasDelmar, both issued by the same label in 1999, as well as the first Queens of the Stone Age and Alabama Thunderpussy (both 1998). Granted debuts from Orange Goblin (1997), Colour Haze (1995) and Electric Wizard (1995) also preceded, but in the post-Kyuss surge of heavy rock, by the time 2001 came around, this league of bands would be past first records and onto the work of developing what became a golden age of riffs. Dozer were a huge part of that process in Europe, and In the Tail of a Comet was the beginning point of a stylistic progression that got more charged over the years that followed.

The roots of that are audible in a song like “Cupola” and elsewhere, but the overarching vibe of In the Tail of a Comet is pure desert-style fuzz, very much in the vein of later Kyuss and the style that Man’s Ruin helped foster through releasing works from Suplecs, the Desert Sessions and some of the aforementioned. What really distinguished Dozer from the outset — and what would continue to distinguish them as guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa (also principal songwriter in Greenleaf), bassist Johan Rockner and then-drummer Erik Bäckwall moved forward — was the songwriting. From opener “Supersoul” through “Lightyears Ahead,” “Speeder,” “Riding the Machine,” “Captain Spaceheart” and so on, Dozer‘s debut stood them out whether they were galloping through “Cupola” or swinging through the crashes of “Grand Dragon,” and where many at this point seemed to be getting their bearings, Dozer burst out of the gate with a collection of songs that helped shape European heavy rock and still ripples out its influence today.

I’ve had arguments back and forth about the merits of In the Tail of a Comet vs. Dozer‘s second album, 2001’s Madre de Dios or their 2003 third LP, Call it Conspiracy (discussed here), but the truth as I see it is they never stopped pushing forward in any of their releases, whether it was those or 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens and 2008’s Beyond Colossal (both on Small Stone), the latter of which stands as their most recent outing. Picking favorites is fun, but as their sound became more complex, Dozer never lost the core of craftsmanship that one can hear writ large over In the Tail of a Comet, and that would seem to make the entire body of work all the more admirable.

They’ve played shows sporadically for the last few years and hit the 20-year mark this year, and I keep my fingers crossed they’ll get a new LP out at some point. With Holappa concentrating on Greenleaf as a full-time band — they recently secured a US booking agent — that seems less likely in the near-term, but one can hope at some point they follow-up Beyond Colossal, because as anyone who heard that album can tell you, they still sounded like a band with more to say.

I did an interview this morning with Tom Geddes in the UK for The Desertfest Podcast that will be posted sooner or later from them. It was a Skype kind of deal, just Tom and I doing a lot of back and forth on how we got into music, some bits about writing, the book, the All-Dayer and so on. Mostly I think we talked about bands, but I love talking about bands, and especially with someone as knowledgeable as Tom, that’s all the more a pleasure. I’ll let you know when the podcast with the interview goes live. Not that you need to hear me run my mouth, but you know.

Also some interesting job news that I’ll talk more about next week, but that’s eaten up a lot of my consciousness for the last day or so. We’ll see how things shake out over this coming holiday weekend. Sorry to be vague, there are just some ducks to get in a row.

Thanks again to everybody who has ordered a copy of the book so far. The post office lost an entire box of signed copies — there were like 60 in it, minimum — so I’ll have more going out this weekend and will be following up on the lost ones to either find them or have more printed with the insurance money from the shipping. I was pissed either way. Still am, for all the good it does me.

Next week: I’ll be posting on Monday, even though it’s a holiday in the US. Plenty of international stuff to write about. Look for a review of Hijo de la Tormenta, followed by one Tuesday for the Earthless/Harsh Toke split, which is out now. Valley of the Sun and Stars that Move are the next two reviews on the list after that, but the plan for this week completely changed as we got into Wednesday and Thursday, so who the hell knows what might actually happen. Not gonna worry about it today. Point is, there will be rock and roll.

Speaking of, The Obelisk Radio broke a new record for listeners-at-one-time today. Thank you if you were a part of that or if you’ve ever checked it out. The Dozer record is done so I’m listening right now and it just went from Beast in the Field to Witch. Seriously some of the best money I’ve ever spent, putting this together. Tell your friends.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’re celebrating Memorial Day, I hope that celebration doesn’t involve unthinking jingoism — that is, not just remembering why we send our children to die in war, but to whose benefit — and I hope at very least after thinking about that, you’re still able to enjoy the day off. Me? I’m splitting out of the office early and headed to the beach, because you’re god damned right I am.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Dozer: More 20th Anniversary Video Posted

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 23rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

dozer centerline video

Swedish heavy rockers Dozer continue the video series started earlier this year to mark their 20th anniversary as a band. The latest two clips on offer both come from 2002, one from Berlin, Germany, one from who-knows-where in Europe, and find the band playing cuts from their second album, 2001’s Madre de Dios and a 1998 Molten Universe split with fellow Swedes Demon Cleaner that preceded the release of their first full-length, In the Tail of a Comet, in 2000. “Centerline,” the track from that split, represents an era of the band that I continue to feel like has been tragically overlooked.

Dozer, in addition to their 1998 demo, Universe 75 (discussed here), and their 1998 Coming Down the Mountain EP that wound up as a split with Unida the next year, had a trilogy of split releases with Demon Cleaner in ’98 and ’99. All issued via Molten Universe, Demon Cleaner vs. Dozer, Hawaiian Cottage and Domestic Dudes featured two songs each from each band, and to the best of my knowledge that material has never been reissued. Granted, the earliest post-Kyuss desert rock style they showed on those offerings was a long way from what they’d become by the time a decade had passed and they released 2008’s Beyond Colossal — their final outing to-date — but hell, not even a reissue?

I’ve been campaigning the last few years in my quiet way for an early works compilation from Dozer similar to that which Church of Misery first released in 2004, and I think this version of “Centerline” makes another solid argument in favor thereof. Whether or not that will ever happen — hasn’t yet — I don’t know, but for all that Dozer accomplished in the decade between 1999 and 2009, it seems like it’s a stage of the band worth not leaving out of the conversation.

Enjoy “Centerline” and “Full Circle” below:

Dozer, “Centerline” Live in Europe, 2002

Dozer, “Full Circle” Live in Berlin, 2002

20 years is a long time but it sometimes feels as yesterday when we started the band back in 1995. In the following weeks we´ll be putting up some live footage from these past 20 years, recorded with a simple camcorder, so bear with us that the audio and video is not top notch. We enjoyed watching these old vids anyway and hope you do too.

Centerline live in 2002 somewhere in Europe.

Full Circle live in Berlin, Germany 2002.

Dozer on Thee Facebooks

Dozer on YouTube

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Dozer 20th Anniversary Video Series Continues

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 16th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

dozer cupola video

Earlier in Dozer‘s 20th anniversary video series, when they put up “Rising” live in Sweden and “Soulshigh” live in Finland, both from 2002 (both posted here), there was some discussion as to the seminal Swedish four-piece’s progression between their second album, 2001’s Madre de Dios, and its follow-up, 2002’s Call it Conspiracy. There’s an audible shift away from desert rock between the two records, and I was kind of wondering aloud what might’ve driven that progression, whether it was conscious or just something that kind of happened as the songs came together. If you didn’t see it, former Dozer drummer Erik Bäckwall answered my question in the comment section of that post, saying:

“There wasn’t an outspoken plan to change the sound or anything as far as I can remember. We just wanted the new record to sound better. We rehearsed a lot in those days and focused on writing new songs all the time. Some songs on CIC were written on the road. We rented a rehearsal space in Belgium for example, for at least two days there on some days off on a tour (the foundation of Man Made Mountain was written there). We also used some of our soundcheck time to work on some stuff (Feelgood Formula being one example). CIC also marked the first time we worked with a real producer (Chips K) and that made a huge difference I think. He spent time in the rehearsal room with us, making suggestions and questioning. I think he made the songs sound a bit more to the point.” – Erik, former drummer of Dozer

A shift in production style makes a lot of sense as explaining at least part of that turn, and I thank Bäckwall — who was joined in Dozer at the time by guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa and bassist Johan Rockner — for the insight. In the latest two clips in the series, it just so happens that the band feature tracks from their 2000 debut, In the Tail of a Comet and the aforementioned Call it Conspiracy, essentially putting their most post-Kyuss material with the moment they really began to establish what would continue to be their own sonic course. Convenient, to say the least. You might need the studio versions to really make the point, but I think you can hear the evolution of the band anyway in the below.

Please enjoy:

Dozer, “Cupola” live in Germany, 1998

Dozer, “Man Made Mountain” live in Sweden, 2003

20 years is a long time but it sometimes feels as yesterday when we started the band back in 1995. In the following weeks we´ll be putting up some live footage from these past 20 years, recorded with a simple camcorder, so bear with us that the audio and video is not top notch. We enjoyed watching these old vids anyway and hope you do too.

Cupola live at Subway Festival, Enger, Germany 1998 with Unida, Nebula and Zeke.

Man Made Mountain from Sundsvall, Sweden 2003.

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Dozer Post More 20th Anniversary Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 2nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

dozer live in 2013

This is the fifth clip posted in Swedish heavy rockers Dozer‘s 20th anniversary series (the others are here and here), and it only underscores how viciously badass they’ve been and for how long. The track “Octanoid” comes from their 2001 second album, Madre de Dios, and is a prime example. Then the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa, bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall, Dozer tore into the foundations of post-Kyuss desert rock at a constant fifth gear, their forward momentum steamrolling the sand with enough heat and pressure to turn it into glass. As the follow-up to their 2000 debut, In the Tail of a Comet, the Man’s Ruin Records release would solidify the energy that has come to define Dozer‘s output, regardless of where their sound has progressed through the years.

In that way, it’s fitting that they should mark their 20th anniversary with a bunch of live videos, since the vitality they bring to the stage bleeds through these clips so clearly and is such a huge part of what they do. It would continue to be as Dozer made their way through 2002’s Call it Conspiracy, 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens and 2008’s Beyond Colossal, and no doubt it would still be if they got around to making a new record. I wouldn’t expect that this year, with Holappa and Rockner offering up a new Greenleaf album later this month and touring heavily to support it, but Dozer keep playing fests and periodic other gigs, so who knows? Maybe 2017? 2018? Could happen anytime, really.

Enjoy “Octanoid.” Not sure how long Dozer are going with the series, but if they want to keep it up for the year, that’s cool with me:

Dozer, “Octanoid” live in Finland, 2002

20 years is a long time but it sometimes feels as yesterday when we started the band back in 1995. In the following weeks we´ll be putting up some live footage from these past 20 years, recorded with a simple camcorder, so bear with us that the audio and video is not top notch. We enjoyed watching these old vids anyway and hope you do too.

Octanoid live in Finland 2002.

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Dozer Continue 20th Anniversary Video Series

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 19th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

dozer in 2013

Swedish heavy rockers Dozer press on with their 20th anniversary video series, this time bringing out classic tracks from their second and third albums, performed live in their hometown of Borlänge, Sweden, and in Helsinki, Finland. Both recorded in 2002, possibly a couple nights apart, I suppose, the songs featured are “Rising” and “Soulshigh,” both of which exemplify the shifts the band was going through at the time. Though they had a consistent lineup between them of guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa, bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall (later replaced by Olle Mårthans, seen in the photo above), 2001’s Madre de Dios and 2002’s Call it Conspiracy were wildly different records.

The former continued in the desert-minded style of 2000’s debut, In the Tail of a Comet, but with their third outing, Dozer pushed further into their own brand of heavy rock and roll. Riffs were still at the center, as “Rising,” which was the second song on that record, demonstrates, but there was more adrenaline. The songs on Call it Conspiracy hit harder, were more intense, and that would be the model, by and large, that Dozer would develop through their two subsequent LPs, 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens and 2008’s Beyond Colossal. What’s most striking about watching “Rising” and “Soulshigh” back to back is just how quickly that switch happened. It was the next year. It’s not like Dozer let it sit for three years and then decided to change things up sound-wise. I’d love to know what drove that shift, whether it was something conscious on the part of the band, and if so, motivated by what.

I don’t have that answer, sadly. I do have two live Dozer videos that the band put up as they continue to celebrate their 20th anniversary, so I guess that’s no reason to complain. Check those clips out below, and please enjoy:

Dozer, “Rising” Live in Borlänge, Sweden, 2002

Dozer, “Soulshigh” Live in Helsinki, Finland, 2002

20 years is a long time but it sometimes feels as yesterday when we started the band back in 1995. In the following weeks we´ll be putting up some live footage from these past 20 years, recorded with a simple camcorder, so bear with us that the audio and video is not top notch. We enjoyed watching these old vids anyway and hope you do too.

Soulshigh live from Helsinki, Finland 2002 supporting Henry Rollins.

The song Rising from Peace & Love Festival, Borlänge, Sweden 2002.

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