Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 Brings Cegvera to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The two-piece Cegvera, with members based in Mexico and the UK, recently announced the release of The Sixth Glare, their new full-length, as well as tour plans. The band will join Vinnum Sabbathi — with whom they share guitarist Gerardo Arias — in the lineup for Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 in Denmark this May. Does this mean they’re touring together? Wouldn’t be the first time, but of course nothing’s definite at this point from what I’ve seen and not seen.

With the album announcement — part of which you can see below, talking about the record’s environmental theme — Cegvera also unveiled “Red Swarm Beyond,” a new single that showcases some of the atmosphere and severity of impact throughout the offering as a whole. You can stream that at the bottom of the post here and I’ll hope to have more to come on it before it’s out.

Dig it:

esbjerg fuzztival 2020 Cegvera

Proud to announce the British/Mexican duo Cegvera will grace Fuzztival ’20 with their presence!

Some might recognise one member of Vinnum Sabbathi in this post-doom outfit and remember the split album they made together. Cegvera have a new album out in March, and we can’t wait to doom on with these legends!

Following on from their now sold out split release with Vinnum Sabbathi ‘The Good Earth Is Dying’ in 2018, Cegvera have become a two piece – Gerardo Arias (guitar) and Matt Neicho (drums). The bass duties have been taken on by Gerardo splitting the guitar between guitar and bass amps. A sound that needs to be seen to be believed. ‘The Sixth Glare’ represents the first full-length album that Cegvera has to offer as a duo. Recorded and mixed by Joe Clayton at No Studios (Manchester, UK) and mastered by KB at Testa studio (León, Gto. México).

‘The Sixth Glare’ is a reference to the environmental crisis that we are living through today and the anthropogenic extinction events that are referred by world-renowned scientists as ‘the Sixth Mass Extinction’.

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT www.fuzztival.com

Huset Esbjerg
May 8+9 2020

https://www.facebook.com/events/2277251089027506/
https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.fuzztival.com/

Cegvera, “Red Swarm Beyond” official video

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Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020: San Diego’s Monarch Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Good news keeps rolling in from Denmark. Last time out — and by that I mean just last week — it was confirmation that the headliners of Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 would be no less then countrymen psychedelic masters Causa Sui, and following-up on that, the fest has gone ahead and brought San Diego five-piece Monarch on board to perform. They’re of course on El Paraiso Records, so one can’t help but wonder if they might be doing a few shows around Esbjerg Fuzztival in the company of the aforementioned Causa Sui, who run the label, but one way or the other, they’re keeping excellent company there, as well as with other slated acts like The Whims of the Great MagnetHazemaze, fellow San Diegans Sacri Monti (who share Thomas DiBenedetto in their lineup), Japan’s Dhidalah an others.

Not trying to tell anyone how to live their life or anything, but the vibe here seems like it’s going to be pretty insane for these two days, and the getting’s good.

Monarch‘s latest offering was last year’s Beyond the Blue Sky (review here), which was every bit as sweet as whatever pie you want to put it next to.

Here’s what the fest had to say:

monarch esbjerg fuzztival 2020

Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 – Monarch

Thrilled to add Monarch to Fuzztival ’20!

In recent years Southern California has proved to be fertile ground for heavy psych, prog and free rock. The amount of excellent bands growing out of the San Diego soil is simply unparalleled. Among the youngest generation of these bands are the five-piece Monarch, a band rooted in psychedelia and experimental prog, with a view towards broader horizons.

There’s something refreshing about Monarch’s take on psychedelic rock: they aren’t afraid to weave allman brothers-esque dual guitar lines with synthesizers and saxophone. They can be heavy, but there’s an unmistakable panoramic quality to their compositions too, reflecting the rich and diverse environment they’ve grown up in, with dazzling pacific coastlines, mountains and desert highways.

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT www.fuzztival.com

Huset Esbjerg
May 8+9 2020

https://www.facebook.com/events/2277251089027506/
https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.fuzztival.com/

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Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 Announces Causa Sui to Headline

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Well that’s only appropriate. Causa Sui headlining Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 in their native Denmark, on a bill that includes the likes of DhidalahSacri MontiVokonisHazemaze and Vinnum Sabbathi, among others? Yeah, that makes sense to me.

Given the recent stirrings in the Causa Sui camp — they’ll be at Sonic Whip in the Netherlands as well in May and Høstsabbat in Norway in October — and the fact that their last proper studio LP was Vibraciones Doradas (review here), which came out in 2017, I’m wondering if we won’t get a new record from them sometime this year. They’ve done a few reissues of late, with re-pressed Summer Sessions stuff and Free Ride (review here), but they’re probably due a new record at some point in 2020, if you believe in “due.” Could be the shows are a way of trying new material in front of a crowd, or could be it’s all already hammered out and ready to record, or could be recorded or could be they haven’t yet jammed out a note. We live in a universe of infinite possibilities, friends. Causa Sui‘s music is nothing if not a reminder of that.

I applied to cover Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020. Wrote a bio for myself — which was awkward in a hilarious, absurdist kind of way — as part of a grant application and everything. I haven’t heard anything about it so I’d assume it’s a no-go, and my travel schedule isn’t hurting at this point, but if it had happened, I know Causa Sui would be high on the list of reasons I’d be excited to make the trip. I put the entire El Paraiso Records playlist for the band at the bottom of this post, just to make your day better.

Enjoy:

esbjerg fuzztival 2020 causa sui

Causa Sui will HEADLINE Fuzztival 2020!

One of the biggest names in free-form jazz influenced instrumental heavy psych in the world will join our small fest! We’re still celebrating the news, and we imagine that you will too! This party will be absolutely legendary – hope to see you there!

Causa Sui consists of Jakob Skøtt, Jonas Munk, Rasmus Rasmussen and Jess Kahr, and have released eight albums since 2005. The trilogy set Summer Sessions that saw the band move away from the heavy-psych of their two first albums to more abstract, instrumental sounds that owes as much to electric Miles Davis or Can as to american stoner-rock.

Causa Sui’s sound has been described as the sound of a giant wave rolling up through the last four decades of rock.

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT www.fuzztival.com

Huset Esbjerg
May 8+9 2020

https://www.facebook.com/events/2277251089027506/
https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.fuzztival.com/

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Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 Adds Sacri Monti, Dhidalah, Earth Tongue & Slowjoint

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

esbjerg fuzztival 2020 banner

The big name here is Sacri Monti, who move to the top billing of the poster for Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 to rest alongside Vokonis. I don’t know if they’re headlining or what, but if they were, you’d have to believe it, as San Diego is a long plane ride from Denmark. I actually take this to mean the Cali heavy rockers will be back on tour in Europe in the Spring, which seems fair enough, so we’ll have to see where else their name pops up on festival bills and so on. Speaking of traveling significant distances, Slowjoint won’t, as they’re coming from the northern Danish peninsula Jutland, but Earth Tongue are coming all the way from New Zealand, which certainly qualifies, and the same applies to Dhidalah, from Japan.

Four bands, four different countries? Yeah, that kind of seems to be the story of Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 through its first two lineup announcements. The first announcement had Hazemaze and Vokonis, who are both Swedish, but also Mexico’s Vinnum Sabbathi and Denmark’s own Vestjysk Ørken, who are also involved in organizing the fest, so it’s quite an international assemblage that’s coming together for the lineup. Especially for a festival that, while it’s two days, won’t be massive by the time it’s done if the one that took place earlier this year is anything to go by — that is, it’s not four days/three stages has some other events are, though I think there’s a pre-party, so that could technically be considered a third day if you wanted to push it — it shows an impressive commitment to geographic as well as sonic diversity. They make it easy to dig what they’re doing, and indeed I do.

Looking forward to seeing who else is involved once January comes around. That’s also when tickets go on sale, as they inform:

esbjerg fuzztival 2020 second announcement

Second Band Announcement!

Thrilled to add SACRI MONTI from the US to the 2020 line-up as well as Dhidalah from Japan, Earth Tongue from New Zealand and SLOWJOINT fra Jylland! The most ambitious line-up at Fuzztival yet, showcasing the many nuances of the “stoner”-genre. We can’t wait!

Tickets go on sale in January, where we’ll also reveal the next bands!

Huset Esbjerg
May 8+9 2020

https://www.facebook.com/events/2277251089027506/
https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.fuzztival.com/

Sacri Monti, Live at SonicBlast Moledo 2019

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Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 First Lineup Announcement: Vokonis, Vinnum Sabbathi, Hazemaze & Vestjysk Ørken Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

esbjerg fuzztival 2020 banner

I’ve been through Denmark’s airport, so while my passport has the stamp — and the last time I was there, the guy at the customs counter had some very nice things to say about the photo from 2013 as relates to my current look; they almost always comment or at least give me a second look — I can’t really claim to have ever been there. If I was going to go, a smaller-ish festival like Esbjerg Fuzztival 2020 would be the reason why. The event, put together by members of Vestjysk Ørken, will feature not only that band for another go in its third incarnation, but also Vokonis and fellow Swedes Hazemaze as well as Mexico’s Vinnum Sabbathi, who one assumes will be announcing a European tour any minute now or at very least sometime in the next couple months — you know, before they fly over. That’s usually how these things work. But yeah, even from here I can feel this one being all about the vibe, being chill but heavy, and everyone there being laid back and having a good time.

2019 looked like an utter blast. I’d expect no different from 2020 once it’s finished being built up. Hell, this already looks like fun.

To wit:

esbjerg fuzztival 2020 first poster

ESBJERG FESTIVAL 2020 – FIRST BAND ANNOUNCEMENT!

We are very proud to present the first 4 bands on the poster for 2020!

VOKONIS will travel across the shallow waters from Sweden with a style that ranges from the heavy riffage and vocals of heavy bands such as Baroness to utterly clean Pink Floydish soundscapes, they aim to completely immerse you!

All The way from Mexico Vinnum Sabbathi merges heavy walls of sound with samples from science and sci-fi to create a unique sonic experience!

Also from Sweden Hazemaze will give you all the Sabbath riffs you could ever hope for and so much more! Today also marks their second full album release!

As per tradition (3 times IS a tradition!) we welcome back Vestjysk Ørken to open the festival for us on Friday!

https://www.facebook.com/events/2277251089027506/
https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.fuzztival.com/

Vestjysk Ørken, Live at Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019

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Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019: Electric Citizen Added to Lineup

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

esbjerg fuzztival 2019 banner

So, uh, there are 150 tickets for Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019 next May in Denmark. That’s it. 150, total. I don’t have sales figures or anything like that, but I have to think they’ll be gone long before next May comes around. I’ve seen people on the social medias lauding fest — or the fuzzt, as it were — for its sense of curation in the lineup, and I have to agree. Having kept periodic tabs, I’m particularly interested in Electric Citizen being added. I know they’re doing a date in Sweden sometime in the Spring as well, and as they’re RidingEasy labelmates with BlackWater HolyLight, and as both bands have new records out, I have to wonder if they’ll be on tour together in Europe. That’d be a good show, but more to the point here, they fit well in a varied lineup for Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019 that indeed seems meticulous in its mission, importing quality acts of diverse sound while showing loyalty as well to native Danish heavy. It’s not a revolutionary approach, necessarily, bringing in good bands local and otherwise, but it works. And it’ll sell out.

Electric Citizen will return to Europe supporting their 2018 album, Helltown (review here), that found them digging into the heavy rock and regional roots alike. After its somewhat glamified predecessor, Helltown has a pointedly straightforward vibe, but as ever, the band brings a character to their work conveyed through instrumental and vocal presence. It seemed to fly under the hype radar, but they continue to make quality records and it’s good to know they’ll be back out abroad next year. One imagines tour dates are forthcoming.

From the social medias, here’s the Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019 lineup:

esberjg fuzztival 2019 poster

Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019 May 10-11

Huset Esbjerg
Stoner/Desert/Doom/Psych

* THE MACHINE (nl)
* ELECTRIC CITIZEN (us)
* HIGH REEPER (us)
* BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT (us)
* ALASTOR (swe)
* DOMKRAFT (swe)
* MYTHIC SUNSHIP (dk)
* PSYCHLONA (uk)
* SAINT KARLOFF (nor)
* THUNDERWHIP (dk)
* STONE CADAVER (dk)
* VESTJYSK ØRKEN (dk)
+ MORE TBA!

Fuzztival Bands Spotify Playlist: https://tinyurl.com/ycmxpkpj

https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.facebook.com/events/880111745513014/

Electric Citizen, Helltown (2018)

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Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019: The Machine to Headline, BlackWater HolyLight, Alastor, Psychlona, Domkraft, High Reeper, Saint Karloff and Thunderwhip Added

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

esbjerg fuzztival 2019 banner

A slew of lineup adds from Esbjerg Fuzztival 2019, which has said that The Machine will headline, playing Denmark for perhaps the first time in their more than 10 years together. The Netherlands-based trio will take the stage at Huset Esbjerg with their new lineup that includes bassist Chris Both, who recently played his first show with the band stepping into the role. The fest has further filled out its two-day lineup with the likes of Alastor and Domkraft from Sweden — the latter of whom seem like they’re going to be kind of all over the place next year — as well as Saint Karloff from Norway, High Reeper from the States and many more.

Seems like they’re taking advantage of some bands being on tour at that time for the busy Spring fest schedule — one imagines that BlackWater HolyLight, the latest of these additions, will be on the road supporting their 2018 self-titled debut on RidingEasy, which is one of the year’s best — but it seems to be an awesome conglomeration that, again, I have no idea why they asked me to be involved with presenting. You know I’d be posting about it anyway.

But here we are anyhow. Tickets are on sale now and limited.

Announcements from the fest’s social media follow:

esbjerg fuzztival 2019 poster

We are STOKED to announce The Machine will headline Fuzztival in 2019! No introduction needed! We screamed like teenage girls when they agreed to stop by! First time in Denmark, too! (Fact check?)

Please note: The Machine will be filling in for Spelljammer, who unfortunately had to cancel their appearance at Fuzztival.

We have been graced with the presence of the daughters of fuzz. Blackwater Holylight confirmed for Fuzztival 2019!

Let the mojo rise! Psychlona added to the bill! Having just released their vinyl on the danish label Cursed Tongue Records they have set out to prove there’s a desert in ye olde England! The groove is real!

Next on the bill: Domkraft. Wielding a mindbending soundscape of obeliskian riff-majesty, Domkraft discharge layer upon layer of crushing fury, weaving through the wormhole punctures of spacetime.

Fuzztival are proud to present Alastor! Get your occult doom on!

Northern stoners Saint Karloff will be taking the riffs to a whole new stage, with local legends ThunderWhip bringing the old school doom! Ramping up to a great fest!

https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.facebook.com/events/880111745513014/

The Machine, Rehearsal Video Dec. 2018

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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Quarterly Review: Thou, Liquid Visions, Benthic Realm, Ape Machine, Under, Evil Triplet, Vestjysk Ørken, Dawn of Winter, Pale Heart, Slowbro

Posted in Reviews on December 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

We meet again! The second week of this amply-proportioned Quarterly Review begins today as we move ever closer toward the inevitable 100-album finish line on Friday. There is an incredible amount of music to get through this week, so I don’t want to delay for too long, but as we look out across the vast stretch of distortion to come, I need to say thank you for reading, and I hope that you’ve been able to find something that’s kicking your ass a little bit in all the right ways so far. If not, well, there are 50 more records on the way for you to give it another shot.

Here goes.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Thou, Magus

thou magus

How can something be so raw and forward thinking at the same time? Baton Rouge’s Thou might be the band of their generation who’ve added the most to sludge in terms of pushing the style in new directions and shaping genre to their purposes. Magus (on Sacred Bones), their fourth or fifth full-length depending on whom you ask, is an overwhelming 75-minute 2LP of inward and outward destructive force, as heavy in its ambience as in its weight and throat-ripping sonic extremity, and yet somehow is restrained. To listen to the march of “Transcending Dualities,” there’s such a sense of seething happening beneath the surface of that chugging, marching riff, and after its creeping introduction, “In the Kingdom of Meaning” seems intent on beating its own rhythm, as in, with fists, and even a stop-by from frequent guest vocalist Emily McWilliams does little to detract from that impression. Along with Magus, which rightly finishes with the lurching threat of “Supremacy,” Thou have released three EPs and a split this year, so their pace runs in something of a contrast to their tempos, but whether you can keep up or not, Thou continue to press forward in crafting pivotal, essential brutalizations.

Thou website

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Liquid Visions, Hypnotized

Liquid Visions Hypnotized

Sulatron Records‘ pressing of Liquid Visions‘ 2002 debut, Hypnotized, is, of course, a reissue, but also the first time the album has been on vinyl, and it’s not long into opener “State of Mind” or the grunge-gone-classic-psych “Waste” before they earn the platter. Members of the band would go on to participate in acts like Zone Six, Wedge, Electric Moon and Johnson Noise, so it’s easy enough to understand how the band ties into the family tree of underground heavy psych in Berlin, but listening to the glorious mellow-unfolding-into-noise-wash-freakout of 15-minute closer “Paralyzed,” the appeal is less about academics than what the five-piece of vocalists/guitarists H.P. Ringholz (also e-sitar) and Kiryk Drewinski (also organ), bassist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (also Fender Rhodes and Mellotron), drummer Chris Schwartzkinsky and thereminist Katja Wolff were able to conjure in terms of being both ahead of their time and behind it. As the album moves from its opening shorter tracks to the longer and more expansive later material, it shows its original CD-era linearity, but if an LP reissue is what it takes to get Hypnotized out there again, so be it. I doubt many who hear it will complain.

Liquid Visions on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Benthic Realm, We Will Not Bow

Benthic Realm We Will Not Bow

The second short release from Benthic Realm behind a 2017 self-titled EP (review here) finds the Massachusetts-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Krista van Guilder (ex-Second Grave, ex-Warhorse), bassist Maureen Murphy (ex-Second Grave) and drummer Dan Blomquist (also Conclave) working toward a refined approach bridging the divide between doom and darker, harder hitting metal. They do this with marked fluidity, van Guilder shifting smoothly between melodic clean singing and harsher screams as Murphy and Blomquist demonstrate like-minded ease in turns of pace and aggression. The penultimate semi-title-track “I Will Not Bow” is an instrumental, but “Save us All,” “Thousand Day Rain” and closer “Untethered” — the latter with some Slayer ping ride and ensuing double-kick gallop — demonstrate the riff-based songwriting that carries Benthic Realm through their stylistic swath and ultimately ties their ideas together. If they think they might be ready for a debut full-length, they certainly sound that way.

Benthic Realm on Thee Facebooks

Benthic Realm website

 

Ape Machine, Darker Seas

ape machine darker seas

Maybe Ape Machine need to make a video with cats playing their instruments or something, but five albums deep, the Portland outfit seem to be viciously underrated. Releasing Darker Seas on Ripple, they take on a more progressive approach with songs like “Piper’s Rats” donning harmonized vocals and more complex interplay with guitar. It’s a more atmospheric take overall — consider the acoustic/electric beginning of “Watch What You Say” and it’s semi-nod to seafaring Mastodon, the likewise-unplugged and self-awarely medieval “Nocturne in D Flat (The Jester)” and the rocking presentation of what’s otherwise fist-pumping NWOBHM on “Bend Your Knee” — but Ape Machine have always been a band with songwriting at their center, and even as they move into the best performances of their career, hitting a point of quality that even producer Steve Hanford (Poison Idea) decided to join them after the recording as their new drummer, there’s no dip in the quality of their work. I don’t know what it might take to get them the attention they deserve — though a cat video would no doubt help — but if Darker Seas underscores anything, it’s that they deserve it.

Ape Machine on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Under, Stop Being Naive

under stop being naive

Stockport, UK, three-piece Under bring a progressive edge to their pummel with their second album, Stop Being Naive (on APF), beginning with the deceptively thoughtful arrangement of crushing opener and longest track (immediate points) “Malcontent,” which unfurls a barrage of riffs and varied vocals contributed by guitarist Simon Mayo, bassist Matt Franklin and drummer/keyboardist Andy Preece. Later cuts like “Soup” and “Grave Diggers” tap into amorphous layers of extremity, and “Happy” punks out with such tones as to remind of the filth that became grindcore in the UK nearly 40 years ago, but while “Big Joke” rolls out with a sneer and closer “Circadian Driftwood” has a more angular foundation, there’s an overarching personality that comes through Under‘s material that feels misanthropic and critical in a way perhaps best summarized by the record’s title. Stop Being Naive is sound enough advice, and it comes presented with a fervent argument in its own favor.

Under on Thee Facebooks

APF Records webstore

 

Evil Triplet, Have a Nice Trip

evil triplet have a nice trip

Trimming the runtime of their 2017 debut, Otherworld (review here) nearly in half, Austin weirdo rockers Evil Triplet present the six-song/38-minute single LP Have a Nice Trip on Super Secret with classic garage buzz tone on “A Day Like Any Other,” a cosmic impulse meeting indie sneer on opener “Space Kitten” and a suitably righteous stretch-out on “Aren’t You Experienced?” — which is just side A of the thing. The pulsating “Open Heart” might be the highlight for its Hawkwindian drive and momentary drift, but “Pyramid Eye”‘s blown-out freakery isn’t to be devalued, and the eight-minute capper “Apparition” is dead on from the start of its slower march through the end of its hook-topped jam, reminding of the purpose behind all the sprawl and on-their-own-wavelength vibes. A tighter presentation suits Evil Triplet and lets their songs shine through while still highlighting the breadth of their style and its unabashed adventurousness. May they continue to grow strange and terrify any and all squares they might encounter.

Evil Triplet on Thee Facebooks

Super Secret Records website

 

Vestjysk Ørken, Cosmic Desert Fuzz

Vestjysk orken Cosmic Desert Fuzz

To a certain extent, what you see is what you get on Vestjysk Ørken‘s debut EP, Cosmic Desert Fuzz. At very least, the Danish trio’s three-tracker first outing is aptly-named, and guitarist/vocalist Bo Sejer, bassist Søren Middelkoop Nielsen and drummer Thomas Bonde Sørensen indeed tap into space, sand and tone on the release, but each song also has a definite theme derived from cinema. To wit, “Dune” (11:41) samples Dune, “…Of the Dead” (9:13) taps into the landmark George Romero horror franchise, and “Solaris” (14:15) draws from the 1972 film of the same name. The spaciousness and hypnotic reach of the latter has an appeal all its own in its extended and subtle build, but all three songs not only pay homage to these movies but seem to work at capturing some aspect of their atmosphere. Vestjysk Ørken aren’t quite rewriting soundtracks, but they’re definitely in conversation with the works cited, and with an entire universe of cinema to explore, there are accordingly no limits as to where they might go. Something tells me it won’t be long before we find out how deep their obsession runs.

Vestjysk Ørken on Instagram

Vestjysk Ørken on Bandcamp

 

Dawn of Winter, Pray for Doom

Dawn of Winter Pray for Doom

I have no interest in playing arbiter to what’s “true” in doom metal or anything else, and neither am I qualified to do so. Instead, I’ll just note that Germany’s Dawn of Winter, who trace their roots back nearly 30 years and have released full-lengths on a one-per-decade basis in 1998, 2008 and now 2018 with Pray for Doom, have their house well in order when it comes to conveying the classic tenets of the genre. Issued through I Hate, the eight-track/51-minute offering finds drummer Dennis Schediwy punctuating huge nodder grooves led by Jörg M. Knittel‘s riffs, while bassist Joachim Schmalzried adds low end accentuation and frontman Gerrit P. Mutz furthers the spirit of traditionalism on vocals. Songs like “The Thirteenth of November” and the stomping “The Sweet Taste of Ruin” are timeless for being born too late, and in the spirit of Europe’s finest trad doom, Dawn of Winter evoke familiar aspects without directly worshiping Black Sabbath or any of their other aesthetic forebears. Pray for Doom is doom, because doom, by doomers, for doomers. The converted will be accordingly thrilled to hear them preach.

Dawn of Winter on Thee Facebooks

I Hate Records website

 

Pale Heart, Jungeland

pale heart jungleland

Semi-retroist Southern heavy blues boogie, some tight flourish of psychedelia, and the occasional foray into broader territory, Stuttgart three-piece Pale Heart‘s StoneFree debut long-player, Junegleland is striking in its professionalism and, where some bands might sacrifice audio fidelity at the altar of touching on a heavy ’70s aesthetic, guitarist/vocalist Marc Bauer, key-specialist Nico Bauer and drummer Sebastian Neumeier (since replaced by Marvin Schaber) present their work in crisp fashion, letting the construction of the songs instead define the classicism of their influence. Low end is filled out by Moog where bass might otherwise be, and in combination with Hammond and Fender Rhodes and other synth, there’s nothing as regard missing frequencies coming from Jungleland, the nine songs of which vary in their character but are universally directed toward honing a modern take on classic heavy, informed as it is by Southern rock, hard blues and the tonal warmth of yore. A 50-minute debut is no minor ask of one’s audience in an age of fickle Bandcamp attentions, but cuts like the 12-minute “Transcendence” have a patience and character that’s entrancing without trickery of effects.

Pale Heart on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website

 

Slowbro, Nothings

Slowbro Nothings

UK instrumentalist three-piece Slowbro‘s full-length debut, Nothings, brings forth eight tracks and 51 minutes of heavy-ended sludge rock notable for the band’s use of dueling eight-string guitars instead of the standard guitar/bass setup. How on earth does something like that happen? I don’t know. Maybe Sam Poole turned to James Phythian one day and was like, “Hey, I got two eight-string guitars. So, band?” and then a band happened. Zeke Martin — and kudos to him on not being intimidated by all those strings — rounds out on drums and together the trio embark on cuts like “Sexlexia” (a very sexy learning disability, indeed) and “Broslower,” which indeed chugs out at a considerably glacial pace, and “Fire, Fire & Fire,” which moves from noise rock to stonerly swing with the kind of aplomb that can only be conjured by those who don’t give a shit about style barriers. It’s got its ups and downs, but as Nothings — the title-track of which quickly cuts to silence and stays there until a final crash — rounds out with “Pisscat” and the eight-strings go ever so slightly post-rock, it’s hard not to appreciate the willful display of fuckall as it happens. It’s a peculiar kind of charm that makes it both charming and peculiar.

Slowbro on Thee Facebooks

Creature Lab Records website

 

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