Ealdor Bealu Announce West Coast Touring for September

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I think I’ve made it pretty clear at this point that I did what Ealdor Bealu are doing on the earthy and progressive psychedelia of their second album, Spirit of the Lonely Places (discussed here and here), so even though I’ve no knowledge that next months run mostly through California will yield any further touring, I’m still glad the Boise four-piece are getting out to suppor the record at all, particularly if it means they’ll get the chance to sell a few records on the road and get the album to some people who might not have otherwise heard it. It’s a 10-show run in 12 days, and though, again, most of it is in Cali, they still cover a good amount of ground as they head north to finish out in Eugene, Oregon, on Sept. 21.

You can see the dates below, and if you go to this show, buy a t-shirt or something and tell them I said hi.

Here you go:

ealdor bealu tour

Ealdor Bealu’s Fall 2019 West Coast Tour kicks off [in less than] one month!! 10 dates all across California, Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho in some of raddest venues around with some truly amazing bands lined up to join us!! Tell your friends… We are coming.

9.10 Boise, ID @ The Olympic Venue w/ darsombra + Lucid Aisle
9.12 Reno, NV @ Dead Ringer Analog Bar w/ Kanawha + BLUNDERBUSST
9.13 Pasadena, CA @ Old Towne Pub Pasadena Metal Assault Presents w/ House of Rabbits + Solar Haze + Dusky Wing
9.14 San Diego, CA @ The Tower Bar w/ Nebula Drag + Mortar + Vedic
9.15 Oceanside, CA @ Pour House Oceanside w/ Deep Sea Thunder Beast + Francis Anger Roberts
9.17 San Luis Obispo, CA @ Pour House Hail Yourself Metalzine Presents w/ Stone Mountain SLO + Hemisphere
9.18 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Blue Lagoon w/ Birdo + Heavyskies
9.19 Oakland, CA @ Elbo Room Jack London w/ BURN RIVER BURN + Supernaut + Phantom Hound
9.20 Chico, CA @ The Maltese w/ Shadow Limb + Solar Estates + You Poor Devil
9.21 Eugene, OR @ Luckey’s Club w/ Childspeak + Long Hallways

SEE YAH ON THE ROAD

Ealdor Bealu is:
Carson Russell: Guitars, Vocals
Rylie Collingwood: Bass, Vocals
Travis Abbott: Guitars, Vocals
Craig Hawkins: Drums, Percussion

https://www.facebook.com/ealdorbealu/
https://ealdorbealu.bandcamp.com/

Ealdor Bealu, Spirit of the Lonely Places (2019)

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Ealdor Bealu Post “Smoke Signals” Video; Album out Next Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ealdor bealu

Boise, Idaho’s Ealdor Bealu will issue their second LP, Spirit of the Lonely Places, next Saturday, July 20, with a hometown release show at the Neurolux Lounge. “Smoke Signals” is the centerpiece of the five-track/39-minute offering, and it represents well the rich, smooth-flowing textures the four-piece hone throughout, maintaining a heft of tone and presence alike, weaving currents of mood and songcraft together to create something that feels in conversation with the Rocky Mountains without being outright Americana. It is heavy in spirit and execution, in other words, and a work that engages naturalism on multiple fronts. The video, following a river upstream toward its source, showing amber waves of grain, tall trees and the many threatened faces of nature, emphasizes this central communion well, but it’s in the music no less vividly than in the visual accompaniment below.

That’s true of the entirety of Spirit of the Lonely Places as well. As the midpoint cut, “Smoke Signals” follows opener “Sink Like Stone” and the subsequent “Firebird,” the two shortest songs at a respective 6:53 and 6:39, which present the initial fluidity of the album and the subtle care put into the arrangements both of the instruments and the vocal duties shared by guitarist Carson Russell and bassist Rylie Collingwood, who, after Russell fronts the pastoral post-rock of “Sink Like Stone,” comes to theealdor bealu spirit of the lonely places fore in “Firebird” and leads the way with soaring echoes through a kind of terrestrial space rock, still of the land but not necessarily attached psychically to it. In Russell and Travis Abbott‘s guitars, there’s a winding central progression that drummer Craig Hawkins gives both a forward shove and a swinging emphasis, the song hitting into a fervent wall of fuzz before coming apart behind the lead guitar line. With the first direct vocal tradeoff between Russell and Collingwood, “Smoke Signals” pulls as well from the drift and the push, its placement seeming all the more purposeful after the opening salvo as it builds toward and moves through its classic-feeling solo in the second half.

“Smoke Signals” also becomes a focal point for the transition it provides into the second half of the LP. In the nine-minute “Isolation” and eight-minute closing cover of Aphrodite’s Child‘s “The Four Horsemen,” Ealdor Bealu broaden the scope of Spirit of the Lonely Places as though they wanted to emphasize each keyword in the title itself: the spirit, the loneliness, and the feeling of place. “Isolation” is a singular triumph for its molten, dirt-colored psychedelic roll as well as the willful melodic meandering of its early stretch and the interplay between vocalists, let alone the payoff brought to bear later — which finds Collingwood indulging a few lines of blackened screams overtop — and the finale launches with an initial build into a fuzz-caked groove only to recede again into chime-laced atmospheridelia and emerge even more graceful for a last solo and chorus together that close out the record in, admittedly, one of its least lonely-seeming moments. Perhaps at the end of things there’s some solace after all, even if that’s derived from classic prog.

How blessed are, and so on.

Ealdor Bealu bill themselves as a heavy psych band, and that’s fair enough, but really just the start of what they have on offer with their second record. It is an earthy and progressive style that manifests the consideration obviously put into its making, and its textures go beyond the haphazard wizardry that “psychedelic” sometimes implies, though no doubt they met with their share of happy accidents along the way and Spirit of the Lonely Places is more organic as a result. It is not a record that will resonate with everyone but that some will find something very special within. The more I hear it, the more I think of myself in that camp.

Enjoy the video:

Ealdor Bealu, “Smoke Signals” official video

Spirit of the Lonely Places, the sophomore full-length album by Boise, ID Heavy-Psych Quartet Ealdor Bealu, out worldwide on vinyl/digital on 7/20/19.

Carson Russell: Guitars, Vocals
Rylie Collingwood: Bass, Vocals
Travis Abbott: Guitars
Craig Hawkins: Drums, Percussion

Videography: Willis Hall
Director: Carson Russell
Editor: Carson Russell

AUDIO CREDITS
Recorded/Mixed: Andy A. // THE CHOP SHOP (Boise, ID)
Mastered: Brad Boatright // AUDIOSIEGE MASTERING (Portland, OR)
Music: Travis Abbott
Lyrics: Carson Russell and Rylie Collingwood
Performance: Ealdor Bealu

Ealdor Bealu on Thee Facebooks

Ealdor Bealu on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 18

Posted in Radio on June 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Before I get started, I want to say thanks to Mark Kitchens from Stone Machine Electric for the artwork above. He did the platypus design and I added the blue background and yellow text kind of thinking it would be like one of those old title cards from David Letterman or something. I love it, so yeah. Thanks, Mark.

Like the prior episode, this one was themed around a playlist of some of the best of 2019 so far. I actually didn’t get to hear the whole show because I was at Maryland Doom Fest this past weekend, but I did check in on it while doing other stuff in Frederick. One way or the other, the playlist starts with Holy Grove and has Yawning ManMagic CircleDuelNebulaRoadsawEarth and Across Tundras on it, so you know it’s going to be killer. Really, the only thing I’d have listened for was to make sure I didn’t ruin it with my own derpy derp derp.

I wanted to include some lesser-known stuff here too, so check out the Cosmic Fall, SÂVEREaldor Bealu and Mount Saturn tracks if you haven’t, and that Centrum at the end I really dig a lot. Hell, the whole thing is great. You really can’t go wrong when your operating theme is “stuff that’s awesome.”

Thanks if you got to check it out.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 06.21.19

Holy Grove Valley of the Mystics Holy Grove II 0:10:37
Duel Drifting Alone Valley of Shadows 0:04:27
The Well Death Song Death and Consolation 0:04:48
BREAK
Across Tundras The Rugged Ranges of Curbs & Broken Minds The Rugged Ranges of Curbs & Broken Minds 0:06:58
Yawning Man I Make Weird Choices Macedonian Lines 0:07:21
Cosmic Fall Lackland Lackland 0:08:32
Lamp of the Universe Rite of the Spheres Align in the Fourth Dimension 0:05:12
SÂVER Dissolve to Ashes They Came with Sunlight 0:07:43
Atala Upon the Altar The Bearer of Light 0:06:06
Magic Circle I’ve Found My Way to Die Departed Souls 0:05:11
BREAK
Mount Saturn Idol Hands Kiss the Ring 0:04:11
Nebula Man’s Best Friend Holy Shit 0:04:56
Ruff Majik Seasoning the Witch Tårn 0:06:31
Earth An Unnatural Carousel Full Upon Her Burning Lips 0:06:51
Ealdor Bealu Smoke Signals Spirit of the Lonely Places 0:07:32
BREAK
Roadsaw Under the Devil’s Thumb Tinnitus the Night 0:03:54
Centrum Sjön För Meditation 0:08:39

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is July 5. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Ealdor Bealu Announce New LP Spirit of the Lonely Places & Fall Tour; Premiere “Smoke Signals”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ealdor bealu

As was the case with their first outing, 2017’s Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain (review here), there is a keen awareness of geography in Ealdor Bealu‘s sophomore LP, Spirit of the Lonely Places, as well as a purposefulness in the atmosphere being conveyed. Alluded to in the title, the album basks in that feeling of being humbled by nature, the Boise, Idaho, four-piece seeming to look around them and see giant mountains, giant trees, giant skies and to feel duly small as a result. Spirit of the Lonely Places is comprised of five tracks that vary in mood and in terms of composition but are united in ambience and grim melody — the fruit of multiple songwriters coming together with common intent — and while it may not be a concept record in terms of narrative storytelling, its sense of identity is as strong as it is lonely. Standing alone would seem to suit Ealdor Bealu.

It’s out July 20 as issued on LP by the band to coincide with their hometown release show at Neurolux. Preorders are up through Bandcamp and you can stream the premiere of “Smoke Signals” at the bottom of this post. Make sure you do that. They’ll also be touring the West Coast in September.

Dates and info follow:

ealdor bealu spirit of the lonely places

Ealdor Bealu – Spirit of the Lonely Places

Spirit of the Lonely Places, sophomore full-length album. Saturday, July 20th Worldwide Release.

Recorded/Mixed by Andy A. at THE CHOP SHOP (Boise, ID). Mastered by Brad Boatright at AUDIOSIEGE MASTERING (Portland, OR). Artwork/Design/Layout by Adam Rosenlund (Boise, ID).

Independently Released on 180G Milky Clear Vinyl (limited to 300) and Digital.

Album Release Show @ Neurolux Lounge in Boise, ID on Saturday, July 20th.

Vinyl Pre-Order goes live on Tuesday, June 11th. All pre-orders receive immediate download of Smoke Signals as well as Ealdor Bealu Patch and Stickers. Vinyls will begin shipping out Monday July 22nd.

Tracklisting:
1. Sink like Stone 06:52
2. Firebird 06:38
3. Smoke Signals 07:32
4. Isolation 09:21
5. The Four Horsemen 08:44

Fall West Coast Tour:
9/10 Tues Boise, ID The Olympic Venue
9/12 Thurs Reno, NV Dead Ringer Analog Bar
9/13 Fri Pasadena, CA Old Towne Pub
9/14 Sat San Diego, CA The Tower Bar
9/15 Sun Oceanside, CA TBA
9/16 Mon Fresno, CA TBA
9/17 Tues San Luis Obispo, CA The Pour House
9/18 Wed Santa Cruz, CA The Blue Lagoon
9/19 Thurs Oakland, CA Elbo Room Jack London
9/20 Fri Chico, CA The Maltese Bar
9/21 Sat Sacramento, CA TBA

Ealdor Bealu is:
Carson Russell: Guitars, Vocals
Rylie Collingwood: Bass, Vocals
Travis Abbott: Guitars, Vocals
Craig Hawkins: Drums, Percussion

Ealdor Bealu, “Smoke Signals” track premiere

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2017

Posted in Features on December 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top-20-debut-albums

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2017 to that, please do.

Every successive year brings an absolute inundation of underground productivity. Every year, someone new is inspired to pick up a guitar, bass, drums, mic, keyboard, theremin, cello — whatever it might be — and set themselves to the task of manifesting the sounds they hear in their head.

This is unspeakably beautiful in my mind, and as we’ve done in years past, it seems only fair to celebrate the special moment of realization that comes with a band’s first album. The debut full-length. Sometimes it’s a tossed-off thing, constructed from prior EPs or thrown together haphazardly from demo tracks, and sometimes it’s a meticulously picked-over expression of aesthetic — a band coming out of the gate brimming with purpose and desperate to communicate it, whatever it might actually happen to be.

We are deeply fortunate to live in an age (for now) of somewhat democratized access to information. That is, if you want to hear a thing — or if someone wants you to hear a thing — it’s as simple as sharing and/or clicking a link. The strong word of mouth via ubiquitous social media, intuitive recording software, and an ever-burgeoning swath of indie labels and other promotional vehicles means bands can engage an audience immediately if they’re willing to do so, and where once the music industry’s power resided in the hands of a few major record companies, the divide between “listener” and “active participant” has never been more blurred.

Therefore, it is a good — if crowded — time for an act to be making their debut, even if it’s something that happens basically every day, and all the more worth celebrating the accomplishments of these first-albums both on their current merits and on the potential they may represent going forward. Some percent of a best-debuts list is always speculation. That’s part of what makes it so much fun.

As always, I invite you to let me know your favorite picks in the comments (please keep it civil). Here are mine:

telekinetic-yeti-abominable

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2017

1. Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable
2. Rozamov, This Mortal Road
3. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
4. Dool, Here Now There Then
5. Eternal Black, Bleed the Days
6. Arduini/Balich, Dawn of Ages
7. Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Works
8. Tuna de Tierra, Tuna de Tierra
9. Brume, Rooster
10. Moon Rats, Highway Lord
11. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
12. OutsideInside, Sniff a Hot Rock
13. Hymn, Perish
14. Riff Fist, King Tide
15. Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, Medicine
16. Abronia, Obsidian Visions/Shadowed Lands
17. Book of Wyrms, Sci-Fi Fantasy
18. Firebreather, Firebreather
19. REZN, Let it Burn
20. Ealdor Bealu, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain

Honorable Mention

Alastor, Black Magic
Devil’s Witches, Velvet Magic
Elbrus, Elbrus
Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
Grigax, Life Eater
High Plains, Cinderland
Kingnomad, Mapping the Inner Void
Lord Loud, Passé Paranoia
Masterhand, Mind Drifter
The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl
Owlcrusher, Owlcrusher
Petyr, Petyr
The Raynbow, The Cosmic Adventure
Savanah, The Healer
War Cloud, War Cloud
WhiteNails, First Trip

I could keep going with honorable mentions, and no doubt will add a few as people remind me of other things on which I brainfarted or whathaveyou, preferably without calling me an idiot, though I recognize that sometimes that’s a lot to ask. Either way, the point remains that the heavy underground remains flush with fresh infusions of creativity and that as another generation comes to maturity, still another is behind it, pushing boundaries forward or looking back and reinventing what came before them.

Notes

Will try and likely fail to keep this brief, but the thing I find most striking about this list is the variety of it. That was not at all something I planned, but even if you just look at the top five, you’ve got Telekinetic Yeti at the forefront. Abominable is something of a speculative pick on my part for the potential it shows on the part of the Midwestern duo in their songcraft and tonality, but then you follow them with four other wildly different groups in Rozamov, Mindkult, Dool and Eternal Black. There you’ve got extreme sludge from Boston, a Virginian one-man cult garage project, Netherlands-based dark heavy rock with neo-goth flourishes, and crunching traditionalist doom from New York in the vein of The Obsessed.

What I’m trying to say here is that it’s not just about one thing, one scene, one sound, or one idea. It’s a spectrum, and at least from where I sit, the quality of work being done across that spectrum is undeniable. Think of the prog-doom majesty Arduini/Balich brought to their collaborative debut, or the long-awaited groove rollout from Vinnum Sabbathi, or how Italy’s Tuna de Tierra snuck out what I thought was the year’s best desert rock debut seemingly under everybody’s radar. Stylistically and geographically these bands come from different places, and as with Brume and Moon Rats, even when a base of influence is similar, the interpretation thereof can vary widely and often does.

That Moon Rats album wasn’t covered nearly enough. I’m going to put it in the Quarterly Review coming up just to give another look at the songwriting on display, which was maddening in its catchiness. Maddening in its cacophony of noise was Stone and Skin from Brooklyn’s Thera Roya, which found itself right on the cusp of the top 10 with backing from the ’70s heavy rock vibes of the post-Carousel Pittsburgh outfit OutsideInside. Norway’s Hymn thrilled with their bleak atmospheres, while Australia’s Riff Fist showed off a scope they’d barely hinted at previously, and Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree offered surprises of their own in their warm heavy psych tonality and mostly-instrumental immersion. That record caught me almost completely off-guard. I was not at all prepared to dig it as much as I did.

Thrills continue to abound and resound as the Young Hunter-related outfit Abronia made their first offering of progressive, Americana-infused naturalist heavy, while Book of Wyrms dug themselves into an oozing riffy largesse on the other side of the country and Sweden’s Firebreather emerged from the defunct Galvano to gallop forth and claim victory a la early High on Fire. REZN’s Let it Burn got extra points in my book for the unabashed stonerism of it, while it was the ambience of Ealdor Bealu’s Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain that kept me going back to it. An album that was genuinely able to project a sense of mood without being theatrical about it was all the more impressive for it being their first. But that’s how it goes, especially on this list.

There you have it. Those are my picks. I recognize I’m only one person and a decent portion of my year was taken up by personal matters — having, losing a job; pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, etc. — but I did my best to hear as much music as I could in 2017 and I did my best to make as much of it as new as I could.

Still, if there’s something egregious I left out or just an album you’d like to champion, hell yes, count me in. What were some of your favorites? Comments are right down there. Let’s get a discussion going and maybe we can all find even more music to dig into.

Thanks for reading and here’s to 2018 to come and the constant renewal of inspiration and the creative spirit.

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Quarterly Review: Novembers Doom, Abrams, The Grand Astoria, Hosoi Bros, Codeia, Ealdor Bealu, Stone Lotus, Green Yeti, Seer, Bretus

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

So, after kvetching and hemming and hawing and all that other stuff that basically means ‘fretting and trying to shuffle a schedule around’ for the last several days, I think I’ve now found a way to add a sixth day to this Quarterly Review. Looking at all the records that still need to be covered even after doing 50, I don’t really see any other way to go. I could try to do more The Obelisk Radio adds to fit things in, but I don’t want to over-tax that new server, so yeah, I’m waiting at the moment to hear back on whether or not I can move a premiere from Monday to Tuesday to make room. Fingers crossed. I’ve already got the albums picked out that would be covered and should know by tomorrow if it’s going to happen.

Plenty to do in the meantime, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Novembers Doom, Hamartia

novembers-doom-hamartia

Look. Let’s be honest here. More than 20 years and 10 records in, one knows at least on a superficial level what to expect from Chicago’s Novembers Doom. Since their first album arrived in 1995, they’ve played to one side or the other between the spectrum of death-doom, and their work legitimately broke ground in the style for a US band and in general. After a push over their last couple albums including 2014’s Bled White (review here) into more deathly fare, Hamartia (on The End Records) brings 10 tracks and 58 minutes of the melancholy dramas – special hello to the piano/acoustic-led title-track – and gut-wrenching, crushingly emotive miseries – special hello to “Waves in the Red Cloth” and “Ghost” – that have defined them. One doesn’t expect a radical departure from them at this point and they don’t deliver one even as they turn to another side of their overarching aesthetic, but whether it’s the still-propulsive death gallop of “Apostasy” or the lush nine-minute finale “Borderline,” Novembers Doom reinforce their position as absolute masters of the style and give their longtime fans another collection of vital woes in which to revel.

Novembers Doom on Thee Facebooks

The End Records website

 

Abrams, Morning

abrams morning

Not a hair out of place in the execution of Morning, the Sailor Records second long-player from Denver three-piece Abrams (interview here). That has its ups and downs, naturally, but is suited to the band’s take on modern progressive heavy rock à la newer Mastodon and Baroness, and with production from Andy Patterson (of SubRosa) and Dave Otero (Khemmis, Cephalic Carnage, etc.), the crisp feel is both purposeful and well earned. Their 2015 debut, Lust. Love. Loss. (review here), dealt with a similar emotional landscape, but bassist/vocalist Taylor Iversen, guitarist/vocalist Zachary Amster and drummer Geoffrey Cotton are tighter and more aggressive here on songs like opener “Worlds Away” (video posted here), “At the End,” “Rivers,” “Can’t Sleep” and “Burned” (video posted here), and “Mourning,” “In this Mask” and closer “Morning” balance in terms of tempo and overall atmosphere, making Morning more than just a collection of master-blasters and giving it a full album’s flow and depth. Like I said, not a hair out of place. Structure, performance, delivery, theme. Abrams have it all precisely where they want it.

Abrams on Thee Facebooks

Abrams on Bandcamp

 

The Grand Astoria, The Fuzz of Destiny

the-grand-astoria-the-fuzz-of-destiny

Dubbed an EP but running 29 minutes and boasting eight tracks, The Grand Astoria’s The Fuzz of Destiny is something of a conceptual release, with the St. Petersburg, Russia-based outfit paying homage to the effect itself. Each song uses a different kind of fuzz pedal, and as the ever-nuanced, progressive outfit make their way through the blown-out pastoralism of opener “Sunflower Queen” and into the nod of “Pocket Guru,” the organ-inclusive bursting fury of “Glass Walls” and the slower and more consuming title-track itself, which directly precedes closer “Eight Years Anniversary Riff” – yup, it’s a riff alright – they’re able to evoke a surprising amount of variety in terms of mood. That’s a credit to The Grand Astoria as songwriters perhaps even more than the differences in tone from song to song here – they’ve certainly shown over their tenure a will to embrace a diverse approach – but in giving tribute to fuzz, The Fuzz of Destiny successfully conveys some of the range a single idea can be used to conjure.

The Grand Astoria on Thee Facebooks

The Grand Astoria on Bandcamp

 

Hosoi Bros., Abuse Your Allusion III

hosoi-bros-abuse-your-allusion-iii

Oh, they’re up to it again, those Hosoi Bros. Their 2016 full-length, Abuse Your Allusion III, from its Guns ‘n’ Roses title reference through the Motörhead riffing of “Saint Tightus” through the stoner punk of “Topless Gnome” and the chugging scorch of the penultimate “Bitches are Nigh” offer primo charm and high-order shenanigans amid the most professional-sounding release of their career. Across a quick 10 tracks and 36 minutes, Hosoi Bros. readily place themselves across the metal/punk divide, and while there’s plenty of nonsense to be had from opener “Mortician” onward through “Lights Out” (video premiere here) and the later swagger of “Unholy Hand Grenade,” the band have never sounded more cohesive in their approach than they do on Abuse Your Allusion III, and the clean production only seems to highlight the songwriting at work underneath all the zany happenings across the record’s span, thereby doing them and the band alike a service as they make a convincing argument to their audience: Have fun. Live a little. It won’t hurt that much.

Hosoi Bros on Thee Facebooks

Hosoi Bros. on Bandcamp

 

Codeia, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared

codeia-dont-be-afraid-she-whispered-and-disappeared

There’s actually very little that gets “Lost in Translation” in the thusly-titled 22-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) of German post-metallers Codeia’s cumbersomely-named Backbite Records debut album, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared. With heavy post-rock textures and an overarching sense of cerebral progressivism to its wash underscored by swells of low-end distortion, the three-piece of guitarist/backing vocalist Markus L., bassist/vocalist Denis S. and drummer Timo L. bring to bear patience out of the peak-era Isis or Cult of Luna sphere, sudden volume shifts, pervasive ambience, flourish of extremity and all. Nine-minute centerpiece “Shaping Stone” has its flash of aggression early before shifting into hypnotic and repetitive groove and subsequent blastbeaten furies, and 16-minute closer “Facing Extinction” caps the three-song/48-minute offering with nodding Russian Circles-style chug topped with growls that mask the layer of melodic drone filling out the mix beneath. They’re on familiar stylistic ground, but the breadth, depth and complexity Codeia bring to their extended structures are immersive all the same.

Codeia on Thee Facebooks

Backbite Records website

Mountain Range Creative Factory website

 

Ealdor Bealu, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain

ealdor-bealu-dark-water-at-the-foot-of-the-mountain

“Water Cycle,” the 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of Ealdor Bealu’s debut full-length, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain, introduces a meditative feel and a breadth of sound that helps to define everything that follows. The ostensible side B leadoff of the self-release, “This too Shall Endure” (11:04), offers no less depth of atmosphere, and the graceful psychedelic expanses of the penultimate “Behind the Veil” continue to add to the overall scope with interplay of tempo variety and acoustic and electric guitar, but even earlier, shorter cuts like the wistful indie rocker “Deep Dark Below” and the linear-building “Behold the Sunrise” have an underlying progressivism that ties them to the longer form material, and likewise the particularly exploratory feeling “Ebb and Flow,” which though it’s the shortest cut at just over five minutes resonates as a standout jam ahead of “Behind the Veil” and subtly proggy seven-minute closer “Time Traveler.” The Boise-based four-piece of guitarist/vocalist/spearhead Carson Russell, guitarist Travis Abbott (also The Western Mystics), bassist/vocalist Rylie Collingwood and drummer/percussionist/saxophonist Alex Wargo bring the 56-minute offering to bear with marked patience and impress in the complexity of their arrangements and the identifiable human core that lies beneath them.

Ealdor Bealu on Thee Facebooks

Ealdor Bealu on Bandcamp

 

Stone Lotus, Comastone

I can take spicier foods than I ever could before.

One might consider the title of “Mountain of Filth,” the second cut on Stone Lotus’ debut album, Comastone, a mission statement for the Southwestern Australian trio’s vicious ‘n’ viscous brand of rolling, tonal-molasses sludge. Yeah, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Dave Baker, bassist Samuel Noire and drummer Reece Fleming bring ambience to the interlude “Aum,” the slower loud/quiet shifts in “Anthropocene” and the subsequent “Umbra” that leads into the creepy launch of the title-track – in fact, quiet starts are something of a theme throughout Comastone; even the thudding toms that begin opener “Swamp Coven” pale in comparison to the volume swell of massive distortion that follows closely behind – but it’s the rhythmic lumber and the harsh vocals from Baker that define their course through the darker recesses of sludged-out misanthropy. No complaints there, especially on a first long-player, but Stone Lotus are right to keep in mind the flourish of atmosphere their material offers, and one hopes that develops parallel to all the crushing weight of their mountainous approach.

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Green Yeti, Desert Show

I'm not sure if that's an effect of dropping carbs or how it would be, but it's strange.

Even before it announces its heft, Green Yeti’s Desert Show casts forth its spaciousness. The second offering from the Athens-based trio in as many years dogwhistles heavy riffing intent even unto its David Paul Seymour album cover, but the five track rollout from guitarist/vocalist Michael Andresakis, bassist/producer Danis Avramidis and drummer Giannis Koutroumpis, as it shifts from the opening salvo of “Black Planets (Part 1)” and “Black Planets (Part 2)” into the Spanish-language centerpiece “Rojo” (direct homage perhaps to Los Natas? if so, effectively done) and into the broader-ranging “Bad Sleep (Part 1)” and 15-minute closer “Bad Sleep (Part 2)” builds just as much on its atmosphere as on its newer-school stoner rock groove and fuzz riffing. It is a 41-minute span that, without question, speaks to the heavy rock converted and plays to genre, but even taken next to the band’s 2016 debut, The Yeti has Landed, Desert Show demonstrates clear growth in writing and style, and stands as further proof of the emergence of Greece as a major contributor to the sphere of Europe’s heavy underground. Something special is happening in and outside of Athens. Green Yeti arrive at the perfect time to be a part of it.

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Seer, Victims

seer victims

Let’s just assume that Seer won’t be asked to play at Dorney Park anytime soon. The Allentown, Pennsylvania, three-piece dig into largesse-minded instrumental riffing someplace between doom and sludge and do so on raw, formative fashion on the two-song Victims EP, which features the tracks “Victims… Aren’t We All?” and “Swollen Pit,” which is a redux from their 2015 debut short release, Vaped Remains. Some touch of Electric Wizard-style wah in Rybo’s guitar stands out in the second half of the opener, and the closer effectively moves from its initial crawl into post-Sleep stonerized idolatry, but the point of Victims isn’t nearly as much about scope as it is about Rybo, bassist Kelsi and drummer Yvonne setting forth on a stomping path of groove and riff worship, rumbling sans pretense loud enough to crack the I-78 corridor and offering the clever equalizer recommendation to put the bass, treble and mids all at six. Think about it for a second. Not too long though.

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Bretus, From the Twilight Zone

bretus-from-the-twilight-zone

Doom! Horror! Riffs! Though it starts out with quiet acoustics and unfolds in echoing weirdness, Bretus’ new album, …From the Twilight Zone, more or less shouts these things from the proverbial cathedral rafters throughout its seven tracks. The Catanzaro, Italy, foursome weren’t shy about bringing an air of screamy sludge to their 2015 sophomore outing, The Shadow over Innsmouth (discussed here), but …From the Twilight Zone shifts more toward a Reverend Bizarre trad doom loyalism that suits the Endless Winter release remarkably well. Those acoustics pop up again in expanded-breadth centerpiece/highlight “Danza Macabra” and closer “Lizard Woman,” and thereby provide something of a narrative thread to the offering as a whole, but on the level of doom-for-doomers, there’s very little about the aesthetic that Bretus leave wanting throughout, whether it’s the faster-chug into drifting fluidity of “The Murder” or the nodding stomp of “In the Vault” (demo posted here) and crypto-NWOBHM flourish of “Old Dark House” (video posted here). Not trying to remake doom in their own image, but conjuring an eerie and engaging take in conversation with the masters of the form.

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