Quarterly Review: Pallbearer, Dread Sovereign, Lizzard Wizzard, Oulu Space Jam Collective, Frozen Planet….1969, Ananda Mida, Strange Broue, Orango, Set and Setting, Dautha

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Here we are, on the precipice looking out over a spread that will include 50 reviews by the week’s end. Somehow when it comes around to a Quarterly Review Monday I always end up taking a moment to ask myself if I’ve truly lost my mind, if I really expect to be able to do this and not fall completely flat on my face, and just where the hell this terrible idea came from in the first place. But you know what? I haven’t flubbed one yet. We get through it. There’s a lot to go through, for me and you both, but sometimes it’s fun to be completely overwhelmed by music. I hope you agree, and I hope you find something this week that hits you in that oh-yeah-that’s-why-I-love-this kind of way. Time’s wasting. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartless

Three albums and nearly a decade into their tenure, Pallbearer stand at the forefront of American doom, and their third outing, Heartless (on Profound Lore), only reinforces this position while at the same time expanding beyond genre lines in ways that even their 2014 sophomore effort, Foundations of Burden, simply couldn’t have done. A seven-song/hour-long sprawl is marked out by resonant melodies, soulful melancholy conveyed by guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell – the returning lineup completed by guitarist Devin Holt, bassist Joseph D. Rowland and drummer Mark Lierly – and tonal weight set to a mix by Joe Barresi, who from opener “I Saw the End” onward arranges layers gorgeously so that extended pieces like “Dancing in Madness” (11:48) and closer “A Plea for Understanding” (12:40) become even more consuming. What comes through most resolute on Heartless, though, is that it’s time to stop thinking of Pallbearer as belonging to some established notion of doom or any other subgenre. With these songs, they make it clear they’ve arrived at their own wavelength and are ready to stand up to the influence they’ve already begun to have on other acts. A significant achievement.

Pallbearer on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls

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With the considerable frontman presence of Primordial’s Alan Averill on vocals and bass, the considerable riffing of guitarist Bones (also of Wizards of Firetop Mountain) and the considerable lumber in the drumming of Johnny King (ex-Altar of Plagues), Dread Sovereign make some considerable fucking doom indeed. Their second album, For Doom the Bell Tolls (on Ván Records), follows three years behind their debut, 2014’s All Hell’s Martyrs (review here), and wastes no time giving the devil his due – or his doom, if you prefer – in the span of its six tracks and 37 minutes. Atmospheric and seemingly on an endless downward plod, the 13-minute “Twelve Bells Toll in Salem” is a defining moment, but the trad metallurgy of “This World is Doomed” rounds out side A with some welcome thrust, and after the intro “Draped in Sepulchral Fog,” “The Spines of Saturn” and the thrashing “Live Like and Angel, Die Like a Devil” play dramatic and furious intensities off each other in a manner that would seem to truly represent the fine art of not giving a shit what anyone thinks about what you do or what box you’re supposed to fit into. Righteous. Considerably so.

Dread Sovereign on Thee Facebooks

Ván Records website

 

Lizzard Wizzard, Total War Power Bastard

lizzard-wizzard-total-war-power-bastard

Noise, largesse of riffs and shouted vocals that distinctly remind of Souls at Zero-era Neurosis pervade the near-hour-long run of Lizzard Wizzard’s Total War Power Bastard, but as much as the Brisbane four-piece willfully give themselves over to fuckall – to wit, the title “Medusa but She Gets You Stoned Instead of Turning You to Stone, Instead of Snakes She has Vaporizers on His Head… Drugs” – songs like “Shithead Nihilism,” “Pizza” and the droning “Snake Arrow” brim with purpose and prove affecting in their atmosphere and heft alike. Yes, they have a song called “Nerd Smasher,” and they deserve all credit for that as they follow-up their 2013 self-titled (review here), but by the time they get down to the roll-happy “Crystal Balls” and the feedback-caked “Megaflora” at the record’s end, guitarists Michael Clarke and Nick McKeon, bassist Stef Roselli and drummer Luke Osborne end up having done something original with a Sleep influence, and that’s even more commendable.

Lizzard Wizzard on Thee Facebooks

Lizzard Wizzard on Bandcamp

 

Oulu Space Jam Collective, EP1

Oulu-Space-Jam-Collective-ep1

Should mention two things outright about Oulu Space Jam Collective’s EP1. First and foremost, its three songs run over 95 minutes long, so if it’s an EP, one can only imagine what qualifies as a “full-length.” Second, the Finnish outfit releasing EP1 on limited tape through Eggs in Aspic isn’t to be confused with Denmark’s Øresund Space Collective. Oulu is someplace else entirely, and likewise, Oulu Space Jam Collective have their own intentions as they show in the 57-minute opener “Renegade Spaceman,” recorded live in the studio in 2014 (they’ve since made two sequels) and presented in six movements including samples, drones, enough swirl for, well, 57 minutes, and a hypnotism that’s nigh on inescapable. I won’t take away from the space rock thrust of 14-minute closer “Artistic Supplies for Moon Paint Mafia” (also tracked in 2014), but the smooth progressive edge of three-part 24-minute centerpiece “Approaching Beast Moon of Baxool” is where it’s at for me – though if you want a whole galaxy to explore, hit up their Bandcamp.

Oulu Space Jam Collective on Thee Facebooks

Eggs in Aspic webstore

 

Frozen Planet…. 1969, Electric Smokehouse

frozen-planet-1969-electric-smokehouse

They freak out a bit toward the end of 12-minute opener “Ascendant” and in the second half of the subsequent “Supersaturation,” but for the most part, Aussie three-piece Frozen Planet…. 1969 play it weirdo-cool on their fourth full-length, the excellently-titled Electric Smokehouse (on Pepper Shaker Records). From those jams to the dreamy beachside drift of “Shores of Oblivion” to the funky-fuzz bass of “Sonic Egg Factory” to the quick noise finish of “Pretty Blown Fuse” – which may or may not be the sound of malfunctioning equipment run through an oscillator or some other effects-whatnot, the instrumentalist Sydney/Canberra trio seem to improv a healthy percentage of their fare, if not all of it, and that spirit of spontaneity feeds into the easygoing atmosphere only enhanced by the cover art. On a superficial level, you know you’re getting psych jams going into it, but once you put on Electric Smokehouse, the urge to get lost in the tracks is nigh on overwhelming, and that proves greatly to their credit. Wake up someplace else.

Frozen Planet…. 1969 on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Bandcamp

 

Ananda Mida, Anodnatius

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Ananda Mida make their debut on Go Down Records with Anodnatius, fluidly working their way around heavy psychedelic and more driving rock influences propelled by drummer Massimo “Max Ear” Recchia, also of underrated Italian forebears OJM. Here, Recchia anchors a seven-piece lineup including two vocalists in Oscar de Bertoldi and Filippo Leonardi, two guitarists in Matteo Scolaro and Alessandro Tedesco, as well as bassist Davide Bressan and organist Stefano Pasqualetto, so suffice it to say songs like the subtly grungy “Passvas,” the dreamy highlight “Heropas” or the vaguely progressive “Askokinn” want nothing for fullness, but there seem to be moments throughout Anodnatius as on “Lunia” and the shuffling “Kondur” early into the proceedings where the band wants to break out and push toward something heavier. Their restraint is to be commended since it serves the interests of songcraft, but part of me can’t help but wonder what might happen if these guys really let loose on some boogie jams. Keep an ear open to find out, as I have a feeling they might be headed in just that direction.

Ananda Mida on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records website

 

Strange Broue, Seance

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The heart of Séance – The Satanic Sounds of Strange Broue might come in the 11-minute sample dump that is “Cults and Crimes,” late into the second half of the 52-minute album. Capturing meticulously compiled news and talk-show clips from the late ‘80s, some of which talk about the Satanic roots of heavy metal, it gets to the ritualism that Quebec four-piece Strange Broue proliferate elsewhere on the record in the lo-fi post-Electric Wizard doom of “Satan’s Slaves,” “Kill What’s Inside of You” and the rolling opener “Ritualize” (video here). These pieces offset by other interludes of noise and drone and samples like “Satanic Panic,” “In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanis, Luciferi Excelsis,” the acoustic-until-it-gets-shot-in-the-woods “Las Bas,” the John Carpenter-esque “Séance IV – L’Invocation” and the extended penultimate drone of “Séance V – The Mystifying Oracle with Bells” ahead of the countrified pop gospel of “Satan is Real,” which finishes in subversive fashion, interrupted by more news reports and a finishing assault of noise. Like an arts project in the dark arts, Séance crosses some familiar terrain but finds Strange Broue on their own trip through cultish immersion, as psychological as it is psychedelic.

Strange Broue on Thee Facebooks

Sunmask Records webstore

 

Orango, The Mules of Nana

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Not much to argue with in the sixth long-player from Helge Kanck, Trond Slåke and Hallvard Gaardløs, collectively known as Orango. As they make their way onto Stickman Records (which also handled Euro distro for their last album, 2014’s Battles) with The Mules of Nana, the Norwegian trio deep-dive into harmony-topped ‘70s-style vibing that, well, leaves the bulk of “retro” bands in their V8-crafted dust. Mind you they do so by not being a retro band. True, the fuzz on “The Honeymoon Song” and “Head on Down” is as organic as if you happened on it in some forest where all the trees were wearing bellbottoms, but if you told me it was true, I’d believe Orango recorded The Mules of Nana onto – gasp! – a computer. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but “Heirs,” the sweetly acoustic “Give Me a Hundred” and motoring “Hazy Chain of Mountains” find Orango making no attempt to cloak a lack of songwriting or performance chops in a production aesthetic. Rather, in the tradition of hi-fi greats, they sound as full and rich as possible and utterly live up to the high standard they set for themselves. Pure win in classic, dynamic fashion.

Orango on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

 

Set and Setting, Reflectionless

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There’s an undercurrent of metal that’s quick to show itself on Set and Setting’s Reflectionless. The instrumentalist Floridian five-piece delve plenty deep into heavy post-rock on cuts like the shoegazing “Incandescent Gleam” and subsequent “Specular Wavefront Of…” but they’re not through opener “Saudade” before harder-edged chug emerges, and “…The Idyllic Realm”’s blastbeating nods at black metal while the churning endgame build of closer “Ephemerality” holds tight to a progressive execution. While its textural foundation will likely ring familiar to followers of Russian Circles ultimately, Reflectionless finds distinction in aligning the various paths it walks as it goes, creating an overarching flow that draws strength from its diversity of approach rather than sounding choppy, confused or in conflict with itself. Not revolutionary by any means, but engaging throughout and with a residual warmth to complement what might seem at first to be a purely cerebral approach. It offers more on repeat listens, so let it sink in.

Set and Setting on Thee Facebooks

Set and Setting webstore

 

Dautha, Den Foerste

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Primo short offering of pure, fistpump-ready, violin-infused doom traditionalism. I don’t know what Norrköping, Sweden’s Dautha – the five-piece of vocalist Lars Palmqvist, guitarists Erik Öquist and Ola Blomkvist, bassist Emil Åström and drummer Micael Zetterberg – are planning to do for a follow-up, but this Den Foerste (or Den Förste) two-tracker recalls glory-era Candlemass and willfully soars with no sense of irony on “Benandanti” and “In Between Two Floods” after the intro “Horkarlar Skall Slås Ihjäl,” and having already sold out a self-released pressing leaves little to wonder what would’ve caught the esteemed tastes of Ván Records. And by that I mean it’s fucking awesome. I’m ready for a full-length whenever they are, and from the poise with which Palmqvist carries the melodies of these tracks, the quality of the riffing and the depth of arrangement the violin adds to the overarching mournfulness, they definitely sound ready. So get on it. 15 minutes of dirge-making this gorgeous simply isn’t enough.

Dautha on Thee Facebooks

Ván Records website

 

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Quarterly Review: Crippled Black Phoenix, Zed, Mark Deutrom & Dead, Ol’ Time Moonshine, Ufosonic Generator, Mother Mooch, The Asound, Book of Wyrms, Oxblood Forge, The Heavy Crawls

Posted in Reviews on January 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Now having spanned multiple years since starting way back in 2016, this Quarterly Review ends today with writeups 51-60 of the total 60. I’ve said I don’t know how many times that I could go longer, but the fact of the matter is it would hit a point where it stopped being a pleasant experience on my end and I’d rather keep things fun as much as possible rather than just try to cram in every single release that ever came my way. Make sense? It might or it might not. I can’t really decide either. From the bottom of my heart though, as I stare down the final batch of records for this edition of the Quarterly Review, I thank you for reading. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Crippled Black Phoenix, Bronze

crippled black phoenix bronze

Nine albums and just about 10 years on from their 2007 debut, A Love of Shared Disasters, the UK’s Crippled Black Phoenix arrive on Season of Mist with the full-length Bronze and remain as complex, moody and sonically resolute as ever. If we’re lucky, they’ll be the band that teaches a generation of heavy tone purveyors how to express emotion in songwriting without giving up the impact of their material, but the truth is that “Champions of Disturbance (Pt. 1 & 2),” “Deviant Burials,” “Scared and Alone” and take-your-pick-from-the-others are about so much more depth than even the blend of “heavy and moody” conveys. To wit, the spacious post-rock gaze of “Goodbye Then” gives a glimpse of what Radiohead might’ve turned into had they managed to keep their collective head out of their collective ass, and the penultimate “Winning a Losing Battle” pushes through initial melancholia into gurgling, obtuse-but-hypnotic drone before making a miraculous return in its finish – then closer “We are the Darkeners” gets heavy. Multi-instrumentalist, founder and chief songwriter Justin Greaves is nothing shy of a visionary, and Bronze is the latest manifestation of that vision. One doubts it will be the last.

Crippled Black Phoenix on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Zed, Trouble in Eden

zed trouble in eden

Nothing shy about Trouble in Eden, the third full-length from San Jose heavy rockers Zed and second for Ripple Music. From its hey-look-guys-it’s-a-naked-chick cover to the raw vocal push from Pete Sattari –which delves into more melodic fare early on “The Only True Thing” and in rolling closer “The Mountain,” but keeps mostly to gruff grown-up-punker delivery throughout – the 10-tracker makes its bones in cuts like “Blood of the Fallen” and the resonant hook of “Save You from Yourself,” which are straightforward in intent, brash in execution and which thrive on a purported “rock the way it should be” mentality. Well, I don’t know how rock should be, but ZedSattari, guitarist Greg Lopez, bassist Mark Aceves and drummer Rich Harris – play to classic structures and seem to bring innate groove with them wherever they go on the album, be it the one-two punch of “High Indeed” and “So Low” or the Clutch-style bounce in the first half of “Today Not Tomorrow,” which leaves one of Trouble in Eden’s most memorable impressions both as a song and as a summary of their apparent general point of view.

Zed on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Mark Deutrom & Dead, Collective Fictions Split LP

mark deutrom dead collective fictions

Limited to just 200 copies on We Empty Rooms and Gotta Groove Records, the Collective Fictions split 180g LP between Melbourne noise duo Dead and Mark Deutrom (Bellringer, Clown Alley, ex-Melvins) is a genuine vinyl-only release. No digital version. That in itself gives it something of a brazen experimentalism, never mind the fact that one can barely tell where one track ends and the next track starts. Purposeful obscurity? Maybe. It’s reportedly one of a series of four LPs Dead are working on for the next year-plus, and they present two cuts in “Masonry” and “In the Car,” moving through percussion and mid-range drone to build a tense jazz on the former as drummer Jem and bassist Jace make room for the keys and noise of BJ Morriszonkle, which continue to play a prominent role in “In the Car” as well, which is also the only inclusion on Collective Fictions to feature vocals, shortly before it rumbles and long-fades snare hits to close out Dead’s side of the LP, leaving Deutrom – working here completely solo – thoroughly dared to get as weird as he’d like. An opportunity of which he takes full advantage. Over the course of four tracks, he unfurls instrumentalist drone of various stripes, from the nighttime soundscaping of “The Gargoyle Protocol,” which seems to answer the percussive beginning of Dead, through the spacier reverb loneliness of “Presence of an Absence,” like a most pastoral, less obtuse Earth, dreamy but sad in a way that denotes self-awareness on the part of the title, or at very least effective evocation thereof. Likewise, “Bring the Fatted Calf,” with its gong hits, Master Musicians of Bukkake-style jingling and minimalist volume swells, is duly ritualistic, which makes one wonder what the prog-style keys at the open of “View from the Threshold” are looking at. Deutrom moves through that side-closer patiently but fluidly and ends at a drone, tying up Collective Fictions as something of a curio in intent and execution. By that I mean what seems to have brought the two parties together was a “Hey, wanna get weird?” impulse, but each act makes their own level and then works on it, so hell yes, by all means, get weird.

Mark Deutrom website

Dead website

 

Ol’ Time Moonshine, The Apocalypse Trilogies

ol time moonshine the apocalypse trilogies

Any record that starts with a narration beginning, “In the not too distant future…” is going to find favor with my MST3K-loving heart. So begins The Apocalypse Trilogies: Spacewolf and Other Dark Tales, the cumbersomely-named but nonetheless engaging Salt of the Earth Records debut full-length from Toronto’s Ol’ Time Moonshine, whose 2013 The Demon Haunted World EP (review here) also found favor. The burl-coated outing is presented across three chapters, each beginning with its own narration and comprising three subsequent tracks – trilogies – tying into its theme as represented in the cover art by vocalist/guitarist Bill Kole, joined in the band by guitarist Chris Coleiro, bassist John Kendrick and drummer Brett Savory. They shift into some more complex fare on the instrumental “Lady of Light” before the final chapter, but at its core The Apocalypse Trilogies remains a (very) heavy rock album with an undercurrent of metal, and whatever else Ol’ Time Moonshine bring to it in plotline, they hold fast to songwriting as the most crucial element of their approach.

Ol’ Time Moonshine on Thee Facebooks

Salt of the Earth Records webstore

 

Ufosonic Generator, The Evil Smoke Possession

ufosonic generator the evil smoke possession

Italian four-piece Ufosonic Generator (also stylized as one word: UfosonicGenerator) make themselves at home straddling the line between doom and classic boogie rock on what seems to be their debut album, the eight-track The Evil Smoke Possession, released through Minotauro Records. Marked out by the soaring and adaptable vocals of Gojira – yup – the band offer proto-metal shuffle on shorter early cuts “A Sinful Portrait” and the rolling nod of “At Witches’ Bell,” but it’s the longer pairing of “Meridian Daemon” (7:47) and “Silver Bell Meadows” (6:53) on which one finds their brew at highest potency, sending an evil eye Cathedral’s way without forgetting the Sabbathian riffery that started it all or the Iron Maiden-gallop it inspired. They cap with the suitable lumber of their title-track and pick up toward the finish as if to underscore the dueling vibes with which they’ve been working all along. Ultimately, the meld isn’t necessarily revolutionary, but it does pay homage fluidly across The Evil Smoke Possession’s span, and as a debut, it sets Ufosonic Generator forward with a solid foundation on which to progress.

Ufosonic Generator on Thee Facebooks

Minotauro Records on Bandcamp

 

Mother Mooch, Nocturnes

mother mooch nocturnes

Issued digitally in late-2015 and subsequently snagged for a 2016 vinyl issue through Krauted Mind, Nocturnes is the debut full-length from Dublin five-piece Mother Mooch, and in its eight tracks, they set their footing in a genre-spanning aesthetic, pulling from slow-motion grunge, weighted heavy rock, psychedelic flourish and even a bit of punk on the shorter, upbeat “My Song 21” and “L.H.O.O.Q.” Those two tracks prove crucial departures in breaking up the proceedings and speak well of a penchant on the part of vocalist Chloë Ní Dhúada, guitarists Sid Daly (also backing vocals) and Farl, bassist Barry Hayden and drummer Danni Nolan toward sonic diversity. They bring a similar sensibility to the closing Lead Belly cover “Out on the Western Plain” as well, whereas cuts like opener “This Tempest,” “Into the Water” and “Misery Hill” work effectively to find a middle ground between the stylistic range at play. That impulse, seemingly innate to their songraft, is what will allow them to continue to develop their personality as a band and is not to be understated in how pivotal it is to this first LP.

Mother Mooch on Thee Facebooks

Krauted Mind Records website

 

The Asound, The Asound

the asound self titled

To my knowledge, this only-70-pressed five-song tape release is the second self-titled EP from off-kilter North Carolina heavy rockers The Asound following a three-songer back in 2011 (review here). Offered by Tsuguri Records, the new The Asound starts with its longest track (immediate points) in the 6:54 “Moss Man” and touches on earliest, most righteous High on Fire-style brash, but holds to its own notions about what that that blend of groove and gallop should do. Through splits with Flat Tires (review here), Magma Rise (review here), Lenoir Swingers Club (review here) and Mark Deutrom (review here), the trio of Guitarist/vocalist Chad Wyrick, bassist Jon Cox and drummer Michael Crump have always had an element of the unpredictable to their sound, and that’s true as centerpiece “Human for Human” revives the thrust of the opener coming off “Controller”’s less marauding rhythm, but the sludgy rollout and later airy lead-work of “Pseudo Vain” and chugging nod of closer “Throne of Compulsion” speaks to the consciousness at play beneath the unhinged vibes that’s been there all along. They’ve sounded ready for a while to make a full-length debut. They still sound that way.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

book of wyrms sci-fi fantasy

Immediate bonus points to Richmond, Virginia’s Book of Wyrms for titling a track on their full-length debut “Infinite Walrus,” but with the Garrett Morris-recorded tones they proffer with the seven-song/53-minute Sci-Fi/Fantasy (on Twin Earth Records), they don’t really need bonus points. The five-piece of vocalist Sarah Moore Lindsey, six-stringers Kyle Lewis and Ben Coudriet, bassist Jay Lindsey and drummer Chris DeHaven mostly avoid the sounding-like-Windhand trap through stretches of upbeat tempo, theremin and other noise flourish, and harmonies on guitar, but they’re never far from an undercurrent of doom, as opener “Leatherwing Bat” establishes and the long ambient midsection and subsequent nod of centerpiece “Nightbong” is only too happy to reinforce. “All Hallows Eve” gets a little cliché with its samples, but the dueling leads on 11-minute closer “Sourwolf” and included keyboard noise ensure proper distinction and mark Book of Wyrms as having come into their first long-player with a definite plan of action, which finds them doing well as a showcase of potential and plenty immersive in the here and now.

Book of Wyrms on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

Oxblood Forge, Oxblood Forge

oxblood forge self-titled

Despite the sort of cross-cultural ritualism of its cover art, Oxblood Forge’s self-titled debut EP has only the firmest of ideas where it’s coming from. The Whitman, Massachusetts-based five-piece boasts former Ichabod vocalist Ken MacKay as well as bassist Greg Dellaria from that band, and guitarist Robb Lioy (also in Four Speed Fury with MacKay) alongside guitarist Josh Howard and drummer Chris Capen, and in a coherent, vigilantly straightforward five-tracker they touch on aggressive fare in “Lashed to the Mast” as their Northeastern regionalism would warrant – we’re all very angry here; it’s the weather – and demonstrate a knack for hooks in “Inferno” and “Sister Midnight,” the latter blending screams and almost Torche-style melodies over clam chowder riffing before closer “Storm of Crows” opens foreboding with Dellaria’s bass and moves into the short release’s nastiest fare, MacKay sticking to harsher vocals as on the earlier “Night Crawler,” but in a darker instrumental context. They set a range here, and might be feeling things out in terms of working together as this band, but given the personnel involved and their prior familiarity with each other, it’s hard to imagine that if a follow-up is in the offing it’ll be all that long before it arrives. Consider notice served.

Oxblood Forge on Thee Facebooks

Oxblood Forge on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Crawls, The Heavy Crawls

the heavy crawls self-titled

Ukrainian trio The Heavy Crawls set out as a duo called just The Crawls and released a self-titled debut in 2013 that was picked up in 2015 by ultra-respected German imprint Nasoni Records. Under the new moniker, they get another stab at a first album with the 10-track/42-minute classic rocker The Heavy Crawls, the three-piece of founding guitarist/bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Max Tovstyi, drummer Inessa Joger and keyboardist/vocalist/percussionist Iryna Malyshevska evoking spirited boogie and comfortable groove on “She Said I Had to Wait” and the handclap-stomping “Girl from America.” Elements of garage rock show up on “Too Much Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the soul-swinging “I Had to Get Away,” but The Heavy Crawls are more interested in establishing a flow than being showy or brash, and the payoff for that comes in eight-minute closer “Burns Me from Inside,” which stretches out the jamming sensibility that earlier pieces like the organ-laced “One of a Kind” and the staccato “Friday, 13th” seem to be driving toward. Some growing to undertake, but the pop aspect in The Heavy Crawls’ songcraft provides intrigue, and their (second) debut shows a righteous commitment to form without losing its identity to it.

The Heavy Crawls website

The Heavy Crawls on Bandcamp

 

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Primordial Live Album Gods to the Godless Due Nov. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

If you’ve never seen Primordial live, it’s among the great pleasures that modern heavy metal has to offer. Alan Averill is among the most charismatic frontmen that whatever subgenre you want to put his band in has to offer, and when it comes to the long-running Dublin outfit’s first-ever live record, Gods to the Godless: Live at Bang Your Head Festival Germany 2015, I can’t help but wonder how the vigilant energy he brings to the stage will translate to a recorded reproduction. Not like you can hear him pumping his fist, putting his foot up on the monitor, or leading the band like they’re a military regiment coming over a hillside in some ancient battle against all that which sucks. Or maybe you can. Hence my interest.

The opening title-track, originally from 2000’s Spirit the Earth Aflame, is streaming now below, if you’d like to get a taste of what’s to come. Album is out Nov. 25 on Metal Blade.

Averill offered comment via the PR wire, which also brought forth the preorder link:

primordial-gods-to-the-godless

Primordial announces live album, ‘Gods To The Godless (Live at Bang Your Head Festival Germany 2015)’; launches title track online

Irish pagan metallers Primordial have announced the release of the first live album in the band’s history: Gods To The Godless (Live at Bang Your Head Festival Germany 2015), due out November 25th via Metal Blade Records. To hear the title track and pre-order Gods To The Godless (Live at Bang Your Head Festival Germany 2015) in various formats, please visit metalblade.com/primordial now!

Primordial’s A.A. Nemtheanga comments: “It might seem like an unusual move, a double live album. Especially within the scene we are from, but the live album was once a staple of most bands’ careers and something we all grew up with in our collection. Pouring over tour dates, gear information and killer live pics. Ok so it’s not ‘Live After Death’ but you can see the attraction and taste the romance involved, right? Fact is though we hadn’t planned it, it was basically a happy coincidence, the good people at Bang Your head who took such a risk booking us the first time on a more traditional old school rock festival had us back for the fourth time, gave us a proper headlining set length and happened to mention afterwards that they had a mobile recording device rigged up and ready to go. When we listened back to the tapes we found something we could work with and the idea took shape. If you love the band, you will know what to expect: blood, guts and passion – and believe us, the double vinyl will look beautiful! If we’ve been in your orbit, but you’ve never trained your sights on us properly, this might be a good place to start as the sound is massive, the old songs have some added muscle and the planets aligned to make ‘Gods to the Godless’ perhaps a great introduction to the band. From our side, it felt like something important to do, like taking advantage of an opportunity to make not only a standalone album in its own right, but also add something rich to the heritage and tapestry of metal that once hinged on the live album. The tradition reaches back into the 70s and 80s and we are proud to have our own small place in that pantheon! And for the record…not one single over dub. This is truly Live and Dangerous…”

Gods To The Godless (Live at Bang Your Head Festival Germany 2015) track-listing
1. Gods to the Godless (Live)
2. Babels Tower (Live)
3. Where Greater Men Have Fallen (Live)
4. No Grave Deep Enough (Live)
5. As Rome Burns (Live)
6. The Alchemists Head (Live)
7. Bloodied Yet Unbowed (Live)
8. The Coffin Ships (Live)
9. Heathen Tribes (Live)
10. Wield Lightning to Split the Sun (Live)
11. Empire Falls (Live)

https://www.facebook.com/primordialofficial
http://www.primordialweb.com
https://twitter.com/PrimordialEire
http://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords
http://twitter.com/metalblade
metalblade.com/primordial

Primordial, “Gods to the Godless” live

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Mother Mooth Issue Nocturnes LP; Euro Shows Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Moody and atmospheric Dublin-based heavy progressive rockers (you sure that description’s long enough?) Mother Mooch have issued their debut album, Nocturnes, on vinyl through Krauted Mind Records, and next month they’ll head to Mainland Europe for the first time to mark the occasion with a couple shows in Belgium and the Netherlands. Testing the waters for more action in 2017? Perhaps. They’ll look to tour the UK at least next year, and since the album has only continued to garner a positive response since it first came out late last year as a digital self-release, one can only imagine they’ll keep making the most of the momentum they’ve built, however that realizes itself.

The PR wire has info for the info-hungry:

mother-mooch

MOTHER MOOCH RELEASE ‘NOCTURNES’ ON VINYL

Dublin psychedelic doom-grunge five piece Mother Mooch self released their debut album Nocturnes in digital format on Friday 13th November 2015 to critical acclaim throughout the international stoner/doom/psych underground. Always intended for vinyl release, the band were on the verge of pressing a vinyl edition of the album themselves when they were contacted by Henry Fauser of Germany’s Krauted Mind Records who had discovered the album on Bandcamp and offered a vinyl release through his label. Aware of the fertile stoner/doom/psych scene in Germany and the rest of mainland Europe, Mother Mooch jumped at the chance to get their music heard by a wider audience.

The marbled orange vinyl limited edition comes in a gatefold sleeve with a new interior piece from Illustrations by Emmet Mulligan to accompany his beautifully rendered cover art, and will also shortly be available in the US through Ripple Music’s Heavy Ripples Distribution.

Earlier this year, Mother Mooch recorded and released their darkly cinematic ‘Hive Mind’ video – which was nominated for Dublin Underground Cinema’s Best Music Video Award 2016 – and recruited new bassist Léon Ó’Gríoffa before a setting off on a successful September tour of Ireland’s major cities with an inspired cross section of Ireland’s rising stoner/doom/sludge/psych bands.

Mother Mooch are set to play their first ever European shows in November with dates in Netherlands and Belgium and have plans to tour the U.K. in early 2017.

Mother Mooch live:
Nov 11 StudioGonz w/ Cities of Mars + Echelot + Mother Mooch, Gouda, Netherlands
Nov 12 Antwerp Music City w/ The Progerains, Antwerp, Belgium
Nov 19 Legend (Iceland) + Mother Mooch Dublin, Ireland

Mother Mooch is:
Vocals – Chloë Ní Dhúada
Guitar and Vocals – Sid Daly
Guitar – Farl
Drums – Danni Nolan
Bass – Jack Dandy

“Nocturnes” Vinyl Limited Edition is available through Krauted Mind Records: www.krautedmind.com
US distribution through Heavy Ripples: www.heavyripples.bigcartel.com

www.mothermooch.bandcamp.com
www.breakingtunes.com/mothermooch
www.facebook.com/mothermooch
www.instagram.com/mothermooch
http://open.spotify.com/album/7u62qSjEGIS1eCvU285XCY

Mother Mooch, “Hive Mind” official video

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Mother Mooch Post “Hive Mind” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

mother mooch

Irish double-guitar five-piece Mother Mooch give a somewhat brooding impression in their new video to herald the Krauted Mind Records release of their debut album, Nocturnes. That label, based in Germany, is probably best known for psychedelic outings by the likes of Vibravoid and Pyramidal, and Mother Mooch have a touch of the ethereal to them as well, but “Hive Mind” shows by and large a darker vibe, partly indebted to progressive metal and slowed-down post-grunge, the plod underlying in Danni Nolan‘s drums providing an anchor to bring the vocals of Chloë Ní Dhúada to ground and give the airy guitars of Sid Daly and Farl some structure, further breadth added in Jack Dandy‘s steering of the low end.

The song itself builds tension early and holds it for the duration with denser noise-rock riffing taking hold momentarily past the three-minute mark, and the video directed by Shannon Moncrief takes the fivesome out into the woods to capture some performance footage and smoothly edit it in with a sort of “sheeple” narrative, extras in masks popping up to add to an overarching creepy vibe, which of course a sheep mask will almost always do. A catchy chorus emerges to go with the instrumental hook of plucked guitar notes, and “Hive Mind” rolls forth its critique on a fluid bed of tone and melody, familiar in affect but hardly offensive in that, and piquing the interest as to how the rest of Nocturnes plays out, if the metallic taste here becomes more of a factor or recedes in favor of ambient fare.

Only one way to find out, I guess.

Enjoy the clip for “Hive Mind,” followed by more info from the band, below:

Mother Mooch, “Hive Mind” official video

Independent Irish rockers Mother Mooch have unveiled their darkly cinematic Hive Mind Official Video, taken from their 2015 debut album Nocturnes. Accentuated by the stunning autumnal landscape of Donadea Forest, the video explores concepts of conformity and indoctrination; themes consistent with the song’s dark tone and lyrics. Filmed on location in Donadea Forest Park, Kildare, Ireland by director Shannon Moncrief and cinematographer Philip Blake, and produced by Mother Mooch and Shannon Moncrief. Speaking about the video, lead singer and lyricist Chloë Ní Dhúada said “We’re extremely grateful for all the hard work everyone put into making this beautiful piece of atmospheric art, the end result is even better than we could have hoped for.”

Their debut EP “Preludes”, released in March 2015, began attracting fans from around the globe and brought them to the attention of national and international music media. Their fully self produced debut album “Nocturnes” was released on Friday 13th November 2015 and has received glowing reviews at home in Ireland and throughout the international heavy underground. Songs from the album have featured on radio stations, websites, blogs, podcasts and youtube channels throughout Ireland, Europe and the US.

Mother Mooch are set to release a vinyl edition of “Nocturnes” through independent German Psych/Stoner Rock label Krauted Mind Records in summer 2016, with Irish, UK and European shows later in the year in support of the album to follow appearances on the Irish summer festival circuit.

Pandora Pictures

Director – Shannon Moncrief
Cinematographer – Philip Blake
Video Editor – Carolina Caetano
Camera Assistant – Padraic Conaty
Art Director – Eleonora Volpe
Hair and Make up – Marie Murphy, Aminah Bajwa
Location Assistant – Trish Groves
Photographer and Runner – Du Jingze
Catering – Sharon Nolan

Vocals – Chloë Ní Dhúada
Guitar and Vocals – Sid Daly
Guitar – Farl
Drums – Danni Nolan
Bass – Jack Dandy

Mother Mooch on Thee Facebooks

Mother Mooch website

Krauted Mind Records

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Electric Taurus to Release Riders in May

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Dublin bruisers Electric Taurus have set a May release date for their upcoming album, Riders. It’s their second full-length behind 2012’s debut, Veneralia, and follows a split with Prehistoric Pigs and last year’s live outing, Live at the Siege of Limerick, recorded at Earrach 2015 in, you guessed it, Limerick, Ireland, where they shared the stage with Solstice, Alunah, The Wounded Kings, War Iron and a host of others in varying pockets of extremity. You’ll find Electric Taurus‘ niche is booze when it comes to extremes, but their brash rock comes across well on that live offering, which you can hear below as hoisted from their Bandcamp.

The Riders title-track and “Vessel of the Damned” also appeared in that set, so you get a little preview of the record as well. Have at it:

electric taurus riders

Our new album “Riders” will be out in May in digipak format. Pre-order coming soon.

Artwork done by MontDoom – Design & Illustration

Tracklist:
1. The Black Commander
2. Riders
3. Ancient Evil
4. The Necromancer
5. Cerberus Rising
6. Satan’s Rule
7. Vessel Of The Damned

Electric Taurus formed in 2010 as a recording project by Matt. After numerous lineup changes, the final lineup was completed with James Lynch and Mauro Frison.

In May 2012, Electric Taurus was offered a record deal for their first album by Italian indie label Moonlight Records. The album Veneralia was recorded in July and will be released mid-October. Since then, a split has been released with Italian instrumentalists Prehistoric Pigs through Go Down records.

The band is heavily influenced by both the giants of the 60s and 70s (Black Sabbath, Hendrix, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Deep Purple) and the underground bands of the same era (Buffalo, Leaf Hound, Iron Claw, Primevil, Hard Stuff, Captain Beyond).

All this retro fuzz music is then blended with the 90s Monster Magnet, Sleep, Soundgarden, Kyuss, Electric Wizard and Orange Goblin.

James Lynch – Bass
Matt Casciani – Guitar & Vocals
Mauro Frison – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/electrictaurus/
http://electrictaurus.bandcamp.com/

Electric Taurus, Live at the Siege of Limerick (2015)

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Roadburn 2015 Trip Pt. 9: Burning the Altar

Posted in Features on April 13th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Thee notes.

04.13.15 — 14:58 GMT — Mon. Afternoon — Dubin Airport

I took notes all weekend. Like a jerk. About the bands, general impressions, things I knew I’d forget if I left it to whenever the next time I was able to write. The smell of the cleaner on the floor of the 013 in the morning, the smell of the beer on the floor of the 013 at night. That kind of thing. Last night as I sat in the hotel room, well after 03.00 but before I packed up my stuff to leave today, I took all of them, tore them out of my current notebook, and threw them out. My only regret is I couldn’t give them a Viking funeral while listening to Wardruna, but somehow I don’t think the overnight shift at the Mercure would’ve taken too kindly to it.

Woke up at 08.47, which was precisely 47 minutes later than I wanted. I don’t even remember the alarm on my watch going off at eight. I must’ve pressed the button to stop it before I even hit consciousness. Showered, finished packing everything except for whatever I inevitably left behind, and was out the door by nine to walk my shinsplints to the train station. No time to get the crust out of my eyes and it feels like there’s more shampoo in my hair than out of it, but at least I smell better than I did after the show last night. I’m somewhat less greasy.

Being late was unnerving, since I wanted to catch a train that left Tilburg at 09.07 to get to Schiphol Airport, which I knew would be trying. Always is. You’d think after doing something seven times in seven years, I’d be better at it than I was when I started. I didn’t even have the right direction. Seriously. I thought the train, if you were facing the front of the station, would be going left. It went right. Fucking hell. I found a Roadburner in a San Francisco Giants hat and asked, “Hey man, this train go to Schiphol?” He was remarkably helpful, and accurate, which counts double.

That first train had pulled out as I was walking up, but I knew there was another like 10 minutes later, so it was fine. I changed in den Bosch, as one does, stayed in the corridor of the train car and watched the countryside roll by. Some lambs, the occasional windmill, that river that I see every year and don’t know the name of. Arrival at the airport was uneventful. No balloons to congratulate me for making it, a complimentary cup of coffee, nothing. I checked in for my flights, first to Dublin and then on to Boston, and used the automatic bag checking system that looked like Soylent Green for luggage. I really hope my dirty t-shirts enjoy living in Cairo, because I’m pretty sure I’ll never see them again.

The flight to Dublin was uneventful, as was the hour I spent in “US Pre-Clearance,” which I somehow very much doubt will save me any time going through customs once I actually land in the States. The security guard asked me if I had any pipes or “zig-zags,” since I was coming from Amsterdam. I had to ask her what a “zig-zag” was. Rolling papers, as it turns out. I had ibuprofen and antacids and a laptop. Bemused? Yes, she was bemused. Not quite a-mused. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of Dublin, as in, leaving the airport and exploring the kind of gray but still somehow sunny world outside. No time. Too bad. My flight leaves in about an hour, so I just have a bit of time left.

I want and need to say thanks to my wife, The Patient Mrs., whom I’ve missed these last few days and whose love and support, really for the last 18 years but especially for this past year, has been what has kept me going. Thanks as well to Walter Hoeijmakers, both for this having the will to enact this wonderful, creative, vibrant, constantly-evolving festival and for being so welcoming in having me as a part of it in the minimal, note-taking way I am. I consider myself lucky to call Walter a friend, and some of my best Roadburn memories have nothing to do with the bands and more to do with hanging out and chatting music with Walter, Jurgen, Becky and the rest of the Roadburn crew at the 013, all of whom deserve appreciation as well. Thanks to my mother and my sister.

Thanks to Lee Edwards. Tired each morning, we sat across from each other and waited for the coffee to kick in, talking music, life stuff, both of us using idioms the other doesn’t know — I now consider it a personal goal to use the phrase “mad as a box of frogs” in casual conversation sometime in the next year. Lee’s as genuine and warm a gentleman as I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through music — and I’ve met some good people along the way, see above — and it’s an honor working with him on the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch Roadburn ‘zine for the second year in a row.

To the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch staff as well: José Carlos Santos, Kim Kelly, Adrien Begrand, Pete Green, Alex Mysteerie, Paul Robertson, Andreas Kohl (thanks for the help folding!), Becky, Jurgen and Walter (again). Thanks to Cavum for the fantastic art and Paul Verhagen for the humbling photos. I’d love to have a staff meeting one of these days.

I met a lot of really cool people this weekend. Many I’d seen before, but some new ones as well. In bands and out. Heard on more than one occasion, “Oh, you seem really busy,” and stuff like that. It’s true. When I’m at Roadburn, I do a lot of running around. I feel like while I’m there, I should be trying to do as much as possible. I don’t take time to go sit in Weirdo Canyon and have a burger — I barely stop to eat, most days — and while it’s true that part of me feels like I owe that to Roadburn, to put everything I can into my experience of it because so much work went into making it happen, it’s also how I enjoy myself. It’s what makes it special for me. These last few days have been an absolute blast. I’m dead tired and I expect minimal sympathy when I get home — after all, I went on vacation to a music festival — but it’s so worth it for the chance to be there, to experience this event and this culture, to see and hear things that I never thought I would. Year after year, I’m so grateful for the chance to do this.

Thank you most of all for reading, which is something I say all the time — I should say it every day, if I don’t — but really, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. For liking posts, sharing links, retweeting, commenting, or, you know, actually getting into it and checking out the words and the photos — it’s all so, so appreciated. I’m amazed and humbled. Thank you.

I’m gonna go get on this plane and go home.

Thanks one more time for reading.

Sincerely,

JJ Koczan
H.P. Taskmaster

To see all of this year’s Roadburn coverage, click here.

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Quarterly Review: Leather Nun America, Corsair, Sea, The Munsens, Gondola, Space Mushroom Fuzz, Deep Aeon, Teepee Creeper, Hellrad, Venus Sleeps

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Day four. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling it, but you know, that’s what caffeine is there for. If I push past the day’s quota of mental energy, fine. Hasn’t stopped me yet, and there are only 20 reviews of the total 50 left. Not quite the home stretch, but it’s up there on the horizon. Some cool stuff today, and that always helps as well.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Leather Nun America, Buddha Knievel

leather nun america buddha knievel

Though they’re mostly indebted to a Wino-style Maryland doom sound, San Diego three-piece Leather Nun America touch on more dramatic fare late into their fifth album, the awesomely-titled Buddha Knievel (on Nine Records). Pairing the acoustic-led instrumental “Gloom” and 7:51 “Winter Kill,” which swirls its way to an apex of lead guitar from John Sarnie with some subtle touches of extreme metal from drummer Sergio Carlos, they expand beyond a riff-and-groove ethic – though of course they do that well too. Sarnie and bassist Francis Charles Roberts (also of Old Man Wizard) offer familiar structures but satisfying tones, cuts like “Into Abyss” taking a darker turn on some of Spirit Caravan’s road-ready groove. An intro (“Prologue”) and subsequent interludes offer further depth, but the heart of “Burning Village” and Buddha Knievel as a whole is in the three-piece’s take on doom rock, and some of the record’s most satisfying moments come from precisely that, even unto the surprisingly boogieing closer “Irish Steel.”

Leather Nun America on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records on Bandcamp

Corsair, One Eyed Horse

corsair one eyed horse

Seems longer than three years since Virginia’s Corsair made their self-titled full-length debut (review here), but with the fervent support of Shadow Kingdom Records, they return with One Eyed Horse, an album much sweeter than its somewhat disturbing cover art might indicate, the four-piece of guitarist/vocalists Marie Landragin and Paul Sebring, bassist/vocalist Jordan Brunk and drummer Michael Taylor gracefully delving further into progressive heavy rock textures in cuts like “Shadows from Breath,” which though it winds up in blastbeats, never loses its sense of pose. That’s emblematic of the masterfully-handed twists and turns One Eyed Horse presents throughout its 45 minutes, highlights like “Sparrows Cragg” soaring and immersive while elsewhere “Brothers” reminds that sometimes it’s important to just get down to business and rock out. Corsair remain a well-kept secret, and one wonders while listening to the harmonies and post-rock bliss of “Royal Stride” just how long they can stay that way. Gorgeous, heavy and definitively their own, there’s nothing one could ask of One Eyed Horse that it doesn’t deliver. And yes, I mean that.

Corsair on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records

Sea, Demo

sea demo

“Seer,” “Moros” and “Chronos” are the first three tracks to be released by Boston newcomer post-metallers Sea, but already their Demo showcases an impressive atmospheric breadth. Churning riffs from guitarists Liz Walshak (who also drew the cover; ex-Rozamov) and Mike Blasi (Rhino King) are given added depth from bassist/vocalist Stephen LoVerme (Olde Growth), and propelled ahead by drummer/engineer Andrew Muro, though there’s room left in each cut for ambience as well, “Seer” trading off, “Moros” beginning a linear build, and “Chronos” finding a middle-ground in switching between harsh and clean vocals before a slowdown brings about the chugging, memorable finale. Opening with its longest cut (immediate points), Demo proves an ambitious first release, but there’s nothing Sea set out to do on it that they don’t accomplish, and I take it as a particularly encouraging sign that in three cuts, there’s just about no structural repetition to be found. That bodes well in the classic demo sense, but more than what’s to come, these songs are already worth hearing.

Sea on Thee Facebooks

Sea on Bandcamp

The Munsens, Weight of Night

the munsens weight of night

Aggressive Sabbath-style doom with East Coast roots – The Munsens recorded at Moonlight Mile with Mike Moebius (Pilgrim, Kings Destroy) in NJ – Weight of Night finds the trio amidst the legal flora of Denver, Colorado, which is a fitting enough setting for the three riff-led cuts they offer on the tape. Of them, side one’s “Slave” is the most decidedly Iommic, a layered solo rounding out after “Under the Sun”-style descent — it also opens with a sample of Julie Newmar as the devil from The Twilight Zone — but both “Weight of Night” and side two’s 11-minute “The Hunt” boast the root influence as well, though the latter is invariably a standout for its crawling progression, almost Pallbearer-esque, that pushes up the tempo in its second half, arriving at a driving pace that’s even farther from where it started than the runtime would have you believe. The opening title-track works somewhat similarly, but ends with a piano interlude, and the shouting, metallic vocals hold back later on “The Hunt,” making its lumbering all the more hypnotic.

The Munsens on Thee Facebooks

The Munsens on Bandcamp

Gondola, Get Bent

gondola get bent

Philly trio Gondola waste just about no time showing off primo guitar antics on their Budro Records-released Get Bent LP, a penchant for jamming underscoring a lot of the wah-drenched movement on opener “Brain Ghost” and its side A compatriots “Psychic Knife,” “Poison Path” and “The Hornet.” There’s a decidedly stoner influence, vocals gaze-out Dead Meadow-style on “Psychic Knife,” but a Naam jam in “Brain Ghost” and the Fu Manchu drive of side B highlight “Electric Werewolf” offer plenty of variety within that sphere, guitarist/vocalist Rocky Rinaldi, bassist/vocalist Jordan Blumling and drummer Tim Plunkett finding space to make their own thanks in no small part to a palpable chemistry between them. Heavy rock and roll, and a damn good time, Get Bent comes across more as a suggestion than an imperative by the time the arm’s returned after “Life Cult” but either way, Gondola’s jam-laden push and brainmelter leads make this one a howler not to be missed, and just because it vibes hard doesn’t meant the songs don’t move.

Gondola on Thee Facebooks

Gondola on Soundcloud

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Future Family

space mushroom fuzz future family

Consistently unpredictable and reliably prolific, Boston outfit Space Mushroom Fuzz – spearheaded by Adam Abrams of Blue Aside – isn’t through opener “Let’s Give Them Something to Hate About” before a sampled bong and sickly-sweet solo interwine with a progressive psychedelic jam. One never really knows what’s coming from Space Mushroom Fuzz, and on Future Family, it seems to be a blend of traditional songwriting with the project’s long-established weirdo sensibilities. “A Day in the Strife” is particularly Floydian, but even that has a structure, and “Saving all My Love for U2” has just about the heaviest, most straightforward push I’ve heard from Abrams in this context, even though there’s plenty of freakout to be had as well. What holds the release together is the persistent anything-goes vibe, which is maintained even unto the acoustic-led swirl of closer “L’Americana,” not quite fully departing an underlying cynicism, but escaping sonically the irony in some of the album’s titles in a manner that’s sincere whether or not it wants to be.

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Bandcamp

Deep Aeon, Temple of Time

deep aeon temple of time

The key to Deep Aeon’s Temple of Time (released on H42 Records) is in the momentum the German four-piece commence to build on opener “Element 24” and how utterly unwilling they are to relinquish it at any point over the release’s 29-minute span. Even six-minute closer “River” has a shuffle – and handclaps. Vocalist Marcel Röche keeps a gruff edge to his voice throughout, but that could just as easily be from keeping up with guitarist Alexander Weber, bassist Axel Meyer and drummer Nikolaj Marfels. Songs like “Floating” and side-B launch “With that Priest on the Back Seat” offer straightforward fuzzy heavy rock, but rhythmically, Temple of Time swings and swings and swings and there’s just no getting away from it. If the record was 50 minutes long, I’m not sure it would be sustainable – someone’s bound to need to catch their breath, band or listener – but for being in and out in under half an hour, Deep Aeon make a clean, efficient run with little use for letup. Bonus points for the Alexander von Wieding artwork.

Deep Aeon on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records

Teepee Creeper, Ashes of the Northwest

teepee creeper ashes of the northwest

“Come with me, let’s go get high,” urges Teepee Creeper guitarist/vocalist Jon Unruh on “Rainbow Sex Glow” from his band’s seven-track/33-minute Ashes of the Northwest full-length, recorded by Mos Generator’s Tony Reed, who also drums and whose band released a split 7” with Teepee Creeper last year (review here). I won’t say “let’s go get high” sums it all up, but a lot of it. Riffs rule the day, and deservedly so, on tracks like “Far Far Away,” the live-tracked “Crushing the Gods of Men” and “The Raven’s Eye,” which caps with a particularly righteous roll. Rounded out by bassist Jeremy Deede – no slight presence in the mix – and now featuring drummer Ian Hall, Teepee Creeper seem to get better the higher the volume goes, the impressive and open-sounding tones surrounding the listener on the aforementioned “Rainbow Sex Glow” like a meaner version of Texas’ Wo Fat, and yes, that is a compliment. The album may or may not reduce their native region to ashes, but it’s bound to turn some heads in their direction.

Teepee Creeper on Thee Facebooks

Teepee Creeper on Soundcloud

Hellräd, Things Never Change

hellrad things never change

How right the umlaut-happy Hellräd are when the Philly sludge slammers posit that Things Never Change. Their destructive, blown-out grime makes its nihilism plain in songs like “Homegrown Terrorist,” “My Jihad Against My Own Mind,” “Dopefiend Jesus,” and of course “Smoke More Crack,” weighted, lumbering grooves switching off at a clip with full-speed punker fuckall. Guitarist Mike Hook, noisemaker/vocalist Dirty Dave (not the same Dirty Dave from The Glasspack), bassist Herb Jowett and drummer Robert Lepor get down to all-out bludgeonry from the start of “Street Zombies,” the opener and longest track (immediate points) at 6:55, but there’s just something about the rolling groove of “Fuck Up (All I’ll Ever Be)” that hits home. Probably not as primal in its making as the energy with which it’s conveyed might lead one to believe, the ultra-nasty 38-minute debut full-length is nonetheless likely to leave a dent in your skull. Or have your skull leave a dent in something else. A wall, maybe. Or another skull.

Hellrad on Thee Facebooks

Hellrad on Bandcamp

Venus Sleeps, Dead Sun Worship

venus sleeps dead sun worship

Working in longer form on the four original tracks included on Dead Sun Worship, their full-length debut, Dublin four-piece Venus Sleeps make an atmospheric centerpiece out of the Syd Barrett cover “Golden Hair,” which in the context of what surrounds it is almost an interlude. Shades of Electric Wizard show themselves on the howling “I am the Night,” but the opening duo of “Ether Sleeper” and “Dawn of Nova” is more progressive, the guitarist/vocalist Sie Carroll, guitarist/backing vocalist Steven Anderson, bassist Seán O’Connor and drummer Fergal Malone exploring a psychedelic blend of doom and heavy rock riffing that comes to the fore again on 11-minute closer “Age of Nothing,” despite that song’s healthy dose of wah. The range they show in the original material seems only bolstered by the cover, and especially as their debut, the ambition and scope Venus Sleeps showcase is admirable. There are moments when the production seems to contract when a given part wants it to expand, to sound bigger, but Dead Sun Worship lacks nothing for clarity in purpose or execution.

Venus Sleeps on Thee Facebooks

Venus Sleeps on Bandcamp

 

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