Ethereal Riffian Offer Limited-Time-Only Screening of Afterlight DVD

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ethereal riffian

The word progressive, especially in a musical context, can have any number of definitions. It can convey a focus on technique, a history of intellectualism that goes back decades, can relate to politics as much as style or can be a nebulous genre catchall. For me, a band or release is progressive when it shows real consideration in some element of its craft and/or presentation. When a band puts care and thought into what they do and always keep in mind a sense of artistic growth, of — wait for it — progression. That’s pretty open, but not at all universal, and there are few acts who emphasize precisely the sort of creative willpower sonic progressivism as Ukrainian heavy ritualists Ethereal Riffian.

Among groups I’ve had the pleasure to encounter the last few years, the Kiev-based outfit stand out not only in sound, drawing from the meditative heavy psych of Om and blending that patience with expanded arrangements of guitar and a wide swath of other instrumentation rooted in semi-Opethian prog metal and a shamanist-minded thematic, but in their utter purposefulness and their attention to detail. The physical pressings of their material are as intricate and gorgeous as their music is immersive. Atmosphere is no less paramount than how the songs themselves are crafted. They engage intellectually, spiritually and emotionally in what they do, and after a productive span that brought forth offerings like the I am Deathless two-song EP (review here) and the live  Youniversal Voice (review here) in 2016, Ethereal Riffian now delve the furthest they’ve gone yet into their mythos with the Afterlight DVD.

It’s a concert documentary, yes. They play a show. There’s a tracklisting. Songs are aired from a selection of concerts. But it’s more than just that. Beginning with a spoken intro about the band’s philosophy as regards the nature of music, Afterlight goes onto work its way through Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism — how these things relate to Ethereal Riffian, tying in the migration from Russian of the peoples who would become Native Americans over a course of centuries with an artistry and fluidity that one can hear being brought to bear in the fluidity of their psychedelic metal, chants and richly atmospheric execution of their material, which even live comes through with a balance every bit worthy of its heady conceptual foundations.

Over the course of more than an hour and 40 minutes, Afterlight brims with purpose across multiple acts defined by these concepts and as the band rightly postulates, gives its audiences the most in-depth look at who they are and where they’re coming from that they’ve yet showcased. This is a limited-time screening. It will be available for five days, and after that, it gets pulled and the only way to view Afterlight will be by ordering it from Ethereal Riffian‘s Bandcamp. If you go that route, you should know it comes with a wax seal, and of course the artwork and packaging are crazy lux, as is the band’s wont.

So please, enjoy this one while you can. And as you dig in below, keep in mind the transitory nature of creativity itself, because I can just about guarantee that wherever Ethereal Riffian go from here, it’s going to be on a different plane than this or anything that’s preceded it.

Here we go:

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight DVD limited screening

Limited time, 5-day screening of Afterlight DVD is available exclusively via http://theobelisk.net/

Buy physical copy via http://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/

Spiritualized rockers from Ukraine Ethereal Riffian have launched the “Afterlight” DVD, which showcases the results of the band’s 6-year work. “Afterlight” is a conceptual work and its main theme is spiritual liberation in different spiritual traditions, namely – Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism. The DVD features:

– Full overview of Ethereal Riffian’s creative universe
– Animated videos uncovering the spiritual journey of “Afterlight’s” main characters
– Special structure with three acts, introduction and epilogue that gives the DVD a logical inception and ending.
– Unique bonuses including official music video, two documentaries, archive with rare photos and more
– Mesmerizing artwork

“Since 2013 I wanted to have a single release that can give a versatile overview of the band’s creative work – its music, philosophy, approach to limited editions and live potential. And now we have it,” says Val Kornev, the frontman of the band. “With this release we, on one hand, aim to crystalize all our work and ideas since the inception of the band, and on the other hand, we want to show the quintessential component which unites all spiritual paths. For the band this release marks the end of the first chapter in its history and the beginning of the new one.”

Tracklist of the “Afterlight” DVD
1. Whispering of the Ancients
2. Beyond
3. Transoma
4. Wakan Tanka
5. Thugdam
6. March of Spiritu
7. Anatman
8. Drum of the Deathless
9. Sword of the Deathless
10. Light of Self

Ethereal Riffian on Bandcamp

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Ethereal Riffian on Instagram

Ethereal Riffian on Twitter

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Ethereal Riffian Announce Afterlight DVD Preorders

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ethereal riffian

Like few heavy psych acts the world over, Ukrainian shamanistic groovers Ethereal Riffian have committed themselves to physical presentation of media as a part of their aesthetic process. Deeply progressive in their songwriting, they extend a self-awareness to how their material is presented to the listener, be it vinyl, CD, or in the case of Afterlight, a limited-edition DVD available to preorder in a number of varied packages. The release itself contains live and documentary footage and then some — animated videos, an overarching narrative, bonus interviews, and so on — and it seems the band’s attempt is to capture the full essence their years together in a single release. If that isn’t worthy of a wax seal, I don’t know what is.

You can see the various editions at their Bandcamp and see a teaser and a making-of video below. Official release date for Afterlight is Aug. 17, but all the tracks are streaming now as well.

From the PR wire:

Ethereal Riffian Launch Pre-Orders for “Afterlight” DVD

Artist: Ethereal Riffian
Title: “Afterlight”
Formats: DVD-book, ecopack, or as a part of discography (comes with a secret link to view bonuses in Full HD)
Label: Self-Released

Release Date: 17 August 2017

Spiritualized rockers from Ukraine Ethereal Riffian have launched pre-orders for “Afterlight” DVD, which showcases the results of the band’s 6-year work. “Afterlight” is a conceptual work and its main theme is spiritual liberation in different spiritual traditions, namely – Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism. The DVD features:

– Full overview of Ethereal Riffian’s creative universe
– Animated videos uncovering the spiritual journey of “Afterlight’s” main characters
– Special structure with three acts, introduction and epilogue that gives the DVD a logical inception and ending.
– Unique bonuses including official music video, two documentaries, archive with rare photos and more
– Mesmerizing artwork

“Since 2013 I wanted to have a single release that can give a versatile overview of the band’s creative work – its music, philosophy, approach to limited editions and live potential. And now we have it,” says Val Kornev, the frontman of the band. “With this release we, on one hand, aim to crystalize all our work and ideas since the inception of the band, and on the other hand, we want to show the quintessential component which unites all spiritual paths. For the band this release marks the end of the first chapter in its history and the beginning of the new one.”

Traditionally for the band, “Afterlight” comes in unique formats elaborated by the band (limited edition DVD-book and discography) and can be purchased for pre-order prices, along with three exclusive limited-time offers via the band’s bandcamp page: http://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/. Pre-sale will be active from 17.VII.2017 to 17.VIII.2017. Upon the end of pre-sale, limited-time offers will expire and prices for other items will be increased.

Tracklist of the “Afterlight” DVD
1. Whispering of the Ancients
2. Beyond
3. Transoma
4. Wakan Tanka
5. Thugdam
6. March of Spiritu
7. Anatman
8. Drum of the Deathless
9. Sword of the Deathless
10. Light of Self

“Afterlight” DVD was made possible thankfully to the efforts of:

– Kirai Gigs team, which filmed and edited all video materials for the main unit
– xNinja, who created both the breathtaking artwork and the mesmerizing illustrations for animated videos
– Bobina Records and Max Poops, who worked scrupulously to make live performances sound like expensive studio records
– Robustfellow and the Kornev family whose continuous support motivates and inspires

https://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/etherealriffian/
http://bit.ly/etherealriffian
https://www.instagram.com/etherealriffian/
https://twitter.com/EtherealRiffian
https://vk.com/etherealriffian

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight (2017)

Ethereal Riffian, The Making of Afterlight Limited Editions

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight DVD teaser

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Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3: Journeys End and Begin

Posted in Reviews on January 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

electric funeral cafe vol 3

Look. The thing is immense. One can barely hope to give a decent accounting of a compilation in a review in the easiest of scenarios, but to attempt to sum up the scope of Robustfellow ProductionsElectric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3, which spans three CDs in its physical incarnation and tops out at an astonishing 48 tracks and four-plus hours of listening material when the digital bonus tracks are included from the Bandcamp version, the idea itself becomes silly. All one can really do is the same thing the listener likely does: make your way through it at your own pace, try to absorb as much as you can, and step back to admire the incredible amount of coordinating effort that must have gone into its making.

The latter is particularly impressive as what’s been touted as the final installment of the Kiev-based Robustfellow‘s Electric Funeral Cafe trilogy — nothing like going out with a bang — is bigger even than its predecessors, which came out in 2016 and 2015 and were “only” two discs apiece. The first two were broken down into component Electric and Funeral halves, arranged along this theme by discs. This edition works much the same way, with the Electric discs more focused on heavy rock and the Funeral disc dug into dirge-style doom and sludge, but adds the Cafe disc, on which one might be hear the Beatles-gone-electro-pop psych of Black Maloka, the Creedence Clearwater Revival-style boogie of Freeky Clean or the pure Doorsian meandering of The Jossers, along with more familiar names like Krobak (a Stoned Jesus side-project) or The Legendary Flower Punk (a The Grand Astoria side-project).

As with the earlier volumes, the bulk of the inclusions here highlight the underground boom in the Ukraine itself. 38 of the total 48 groups involved hail from the Ukraine. Two more are from Russia (The Legendary Flower Punk and A Foggy Realm, also on the Cafe disc), and one each from Japan (Eternal Elysium, on the Electric disc), Finland (Loinen, Funeral disc), the US (Contra, Electric), Sweden (Suffer Yourself, Funeral), Belarus (Nebulae Come Sweet, Funeral), the UK (Sons of Alpha Centauri, Cafe), and Italy (Le Scimmie, Funeral). It’s easy to get lost in the sprawl of a release like this, certainly, but worth noting all the same that this is the first of the Electric Funeral Cafe offerings to branch outside the Ukraine itself, so even as Robustfellow ends the series, it does so by reaching into new territories, making the project all the more impressive. One imagines that if the label kept it going, it would only continue to grow.

ELECTRIC FUNERAL CAFE POSTER

Not that it’s lacking in its current form, of course. Pick your poison and it’s likely here somewhere, from the progressive heavy vibes of Stonefromthesky and Ethereal Riffian on the Electric disc to the deathly chug of Chainsaw Jack‘s “Crashing Waves” and post-hardcore-sludge of Nebulae Come Sweet on the Funeral disc to the ’90s-style psych of Vermilion Nocturne and beat-backed drone of Submatukana‘s “Genesis” — which boasts a sampled Bible reading amid creepy whispered vocals — on the Cafe disc. There are, of course, a host of bands here who aren’t so easily fit into one category or another, as Dreadnought foreshadow on the Electric disc some of the screaming that will be a running theme throughout most of the Funeral disc, and the huge Ufomammut-style roll, push and echoes of Soom on Funeral do likewise for Cafe, but each piece of Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 offers something distinct from the others, and so the themes are not only ably established, but solidified while jumping from band to band, city to city, country to county, atmosphere to atmosphere.

And as ever for a worthy various-artists release, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 presents a number of curios warranting further investigation. In particular, Lviv’s 1914, who lead off the Funeral disc with “8×50 mm Repetiergewehr M95” would seem to have a fixation with WWI — remind me to tell you sometime about how it was the fall of Western Civilization; unless you’re European, in which case you already know — and Lucifer Rising on the Electric disc blend modern buzz tone with classic blues rock thrust, but there are a swath of such interest-piquers as the comp plays out, and the real challenge lies in not being overwhelmed by all of it.

Much to the credit of Robustfellow and to the benefit of the acts contributing, everyone is given a genuine chance to ply their sonic wares, whether that’s a sub-three-minute death-doom rumbler like Monmuth‘s “Vail Seven” or the nine-minute heavy post-rock rollout of Stonefromthesky‘s “67,” which makes sense in a if-you’re-going-to-do-it-and-it’s-already-huge-then-don’t-skimp kind of way, and if the tradeoff for that is there’s a lot of music to dig into, it’s the kind of issue a listener should probably be thankful to take on, even if it requires multiple rounds to get through the front-to-back experience — a four-hour listening session is a rare gift in these busy times. Bottom line is Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 will be there, whether one wants to take it as a whole or in pieces — as a document of Ukrainian heavy, yes, but also the scene’s will to reach outside itself and include others in a creative conversation — and as that movement continues to flourish and progress, such an impulse can only help broaden a scope already shown here to be considerable. And by considerable, I mean staggering.

Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 (2017)

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

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Robustfellow Productions website

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Quarterly Review: Crowbar, Katatonia, Ethereal Riffian, Dot Legacy, Salem’s Bend, Thonian Horde, Second Sun, Ten Ton Slug, Komatsu, The Blue Sunshine Family Band

Posted in Reviews on December 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

We continue with day four of the Quarterly Review. This batch is numbers 31-40 of the total 60, not that the numbers really mean anything. I know it’s list season — believe me, I know — but there’s no actual ranking going on. It’s just basically so I can keep track and remember what day it is. That’s not to say this is done off the cuff. Actually, there’s an embarrassing amount of planning behind these things. Months. And when I start actually getting the posts ready and realize I’ve slated the same record on two different days — something that’s happened no fewer than three times so far, needing each time to be corrected — it’s a clear demonstration of the value of my planning. Ha. Anyway, we press on. Together. Into the thick of it. Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies

crowbar the serpent only lies

More than 25 years and 11 albums into a landmark career that helped prove the existence of the hairy beast known as “sludge metal,” Crowbar don’t owe anyone anything, and since returning to activity with 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand (review here) and 2014’s Symmetry in Black, they’ve played like it. Their third post-resurgence outing is The Serpent Only Lies (on eOne Heavy), and though it works largely to form – that is, Crowbar are going to sound like Crowbar: low, slow, seeming to lurch even when dug into fits of gallop on “I am the Storm” or the early going of “The Enemy Beside You” – one still finds progression especially in the vocal approach of frontman and founder Kirk Windstein, who self-harmonizes effectively on the title-track’s standout hook as well as the later pair “On Holy Ground” and “Song of the Dunes,” the latter also resoundingly spacious in a way that offsets much of The Serpent Only Lies’ head-down intensity. This might be flourish or a companion to the core Crowbar sound that remains intact throughout, but the truth is it’s not like it needs to be there – Crowbar’s audience would still go to the shows even if the band stopped growing – but it’s entirely to the credit of the New Orleans legends that more than a quarter-century later they continue to progress. I guess that’s how Crowbar gets to be Crowbar.

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eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Katatonia, The Fall of Hearts

katatonia the fall of hearts

Depending on what you count as a full-length, The Fall of Hearts (on Peaceville) is either the 10th or 11th studio record from Sweden’s Katatonia. It follows 2013’s acoustic Dethroned and Uncrowned, which reenvisioned 2012’s Dead End Kings and brings forth over an hour of new material from founding duo Jonas Renkse (vocals/guitar/etc.) and Anders “Blakkheim” Nyström (guitar/backing vocals), as well as Niklas Sandin (bass) and Daniel Moilanen (drums), who, working with engineer Karl Daniel Lidén (ex-Greenleaf, Demon Cleaner), continue to proffer resonant melancholy in abundance. As a band, Katatonia have had a number of different phases over the years, from their deathly beginnings through the later moves into melody, but as it stands on songs like “Decima,” with its acoustic and mellotron arrangement, and the seven-minute “Serac,” which plays back and forth between serene and some of The Fall of Hearts’ most intense thrust, they remain among heavy metal’s most recognizable acts. There is no one else who sounds like them, and they sound not quite like anyone else. This collection might be more about gradual steps forward than radical shifts in approach, but Katatonia have found a way to preach to their converted and keep growing at the same time, and that’s to be commended.

Katatonia on Thee Facebooks

Peaceville Records website

 

Ethereal Riffian, I am Deathless

ethereal riffian i am deathless

Issued via Robustfellow in a range of physical editions from an oversized CD digipak to cassette bundles, the two-song I. AM. Deathless EP from yet-underrated Ukrainian progressive ritualists Ethereal Riffian warrants the ceremony with which it arrives. Its two tracks, “Drum of the Deathless” (6:19) and “Sword of the Deathless” (9:57) closed and opened, respectively, the prior 2016 live outing, Youniversal Voice (review here), and in their studio form they bring to bear a vision of psychedelic metal given to atmospheric breadth that comes at the expense neither of purpose nor impact. The opener proves the more immediate of the pair, but as “Sword of the Deathless” plays out, it finds prog-metal swirl amid low-end starts and stops intertwined layers of multi-channel spoken word, acoustic and electric guitar and percussive tension, so that as it heads into its payoff and melodic finish, the resolution is both satisfying and something of a relief from the cacophony preceding. Forward-thinking and of marked substance, I. AM. Deathless offers a quick glimpse at the band’s scope and invites listeners to dive deep therein.

Ethereal Riffian on Thee Facebooks

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

 

Dot Legacy, To the Others

dot legacy to the others

There isn’t much that’s off-limits to Parisian heavy rockers Dot Legacy. To wit, the near-rap-rock mania of opener “Horizon” from their second LP, To the Others (on Setalight Records), and the laid-back psych-lounge vibes that follow on “Grey Cardinal,” only to be swept away in crashes and chants later, leading to the driving desert punkery of “211.” Three songs, three distinct feels, and Dot Legacy only get weirder from there as they toy with fuzzed momentum on “5314” and “Dakota” before the dreamy post-rock meandering of “The Twelve,” the prog-pop of “Story of Fame” and piano-laden psych-drama of closer “Pioneer.” In 35 minutes, the four-piece cover more ground than most bands do in their whole careers, but that becomes even more admirable in that they manage not to just be all over the place, but to provide a consistent quality of songwriting to complement all that quirk. Add to that the attention to detail in vocal harmonies and arrangements, and as they follow-up their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), they reveal a clear sense of a master plan at work under all the brashness and genre-hopping.

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Setalight Records website

 

Salem’s Bend, Salem’s Bend

salem's bend self-titled

Self-released by the Los Angeles trio in late-2015 and picked up for a vinyl issue through Ripple Music, the self-titled debut from Salem’s Bend leaves little wonder as to why with its classic sensibility and the vibe proliferated by the natural-toned nod of a song like “Silverstruck.” Though still prone to a bit of Hendrix-style shred when it comes to lead guitar, the three-piece of Bobby (guitar/vocals), Kevin (bass) and Zach (drums) depart from some of the post-Radio Moscow all-thrust boogie in favor of more laid back fair and on that cut and the later “Sun and Mist,” which hits into a satisfying apex in its second half without feeling overcooked, as well as the six-minute finale “A Tip of Salem,” which nods through its initial movement before bursting out toward the end. In a crowded SoCal scene, just about anything Salem’s Bend can do to stand apart will serve them, and the fluidity they hone across these seven tracks sets them up to do just that.

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Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Thonian Horde, Thonian Horde

thonian horde self-titled

Given the personnel involved, the black ‘n’ roll extremity of Thonian Horde’s self-titled debut full-length will no doubt come as a surprise to listeners. Formed in Boonsboro, Maryland, by bassist/vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis (Pale Divine, Admiral Browning, etc.), guitarists Darren “Dirty” Waters (Weed is Weed) and Dan “D-Mize” Mize (Faith in Jane), and drummer Tyler “The Beast” Lee (Weed is Weed), one might expect high-order Frederick-style post-The Obsessed doom. Thonian Horde have more in common with Immortal on their centerpiece track “Darkest Nights Shadow,” and even as the closing “Psychonaut” finds a rock groove in its chorus, it does so with the hooky edge of Satyricon more than any of the members’ other outfits. No doubt that’s the point: doing something different. Indeed, the nine-tracker is a refreshing aesthetic reboot for the scene from whence it comes, holding fast to their region’s crucial lack of pretense even as they brazenly walk their own path – left-hand, of course.

Thonian Horde on Thee Facebooks

Thonian Horde on Bandcamp

 

Second Sun, Tachyonregenerator

second sun tachyonregenerator

I don’t know about you, but I missed out on Hopp/Förtvivlan, which was the 2015 debut full-length from Swedish rockers Second Sun, so to have Gaphals provide gentle encouragement to check it out by getting behind the two-songer single Tachyonregenerator is most welcome. Both cuts included – “Tachyonregenerator” and “Tror Faktiskt På Dig” – bask in classic vibe without being overly showy when it comes to retroism, and are marked out by the inclusion of organ amid the natural-sounding guitar, drums and bass, the vocals presented in Swedish across both pieces. It’s a quick eight-minutes perfect for the 7” pressing it’s been given, but again, makes enough of an impression that one is inclined toward further investigation, and given that, I can’t call it anything other than a success. I’ll go ahead and chalk up one more quality Swedish act to keep track of, because Second Sun offer tight-knit progressive leanings in a crisp package on Tachyonregenerator, and even if I’m late to the party, I’m glad I got to hear it.

Second Sun on Thee Facebooks

Gaphals Records website

 

Ten Ton Slug, Brutal Gluttonous Beast

ten ton slug brutal gluttonous beast

Some pretty clear self-awareness demonstrated in Ten Ton Slug’s self-released debut EP, Brutal Gluttonous Beast. The Galway, Ireland, five-piece had a prior live-recorded two-tracker, but these four songs mark their first studio outing, and as they draw together massive sludge riffing and more extreme, death metal-style growls, there’s precious little one might say to more accurately describe a track like “Trollhunter” – the opener and longest on the release (immediate points) – than that it lives up to the title, its second-half slowdown lurch prefacing a similar move in “Bloodburns” before the more rampaging “Subterranean” and noise-soaked burl of “Unit” take hold. Intense and vicious, but not necessarily unhinged, Brutal Gluttonous Beast finds Ten Ton Slug sounding remarkably sure in their approach, and one will await the news of their traveling to England to record with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer, since that seems to be the kind of presentation for which the tonal onslaught here is begging.

Ten Ton Slug on Thee Facebooks

Ten Ton Slug on Bandcamp

 

Komatsu, Recipe for Murder One

komatsu recipe for murder one

A half-decade after releasing their self-titled EP (review here), Eindhoven heavy/noise rockers Komatsu reemerge on Argonauta Records with the follow-up full-length, Recipe for Murder One. Boasting a guest appearance from Nick Oliveri on the suitably tumultuous “Lockdown,” the album leaves little to wonder what’s in that recipe in the darker-desert vibe of “So How’s About Billy” and “There Must be Something in Your Water,” which teases airy serenity in its first half only to go full-throttle for the second, but as the bass-driven lumber of the title-track and subtle melodic expansion of “The Sea is Calm Today” show, Komatsu haven’t wasted the last five years, instead constructing their own take on sonic density and sludge impulses that seems to hit with formidable impact regardless of tempo or tension level, both of which prove to be fluid elements at the four-piece’s disposal. They get the point across quickly in the stomp of “The Long Way Home,” but find suitable resolution in the nod of closer “Breathe,” rounding out a debut of significant character and depth with one last surprise in ambience it’s only fair to call progressive.

Komatsu on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

The Blue Sunshine Family Band, The Blue Sunshine Family Band

the blue sunshine family band self-titled

A double-guitar instrumental four-piece from Santa Rosa, California, The Blue Sunshine Family Band make their debut with a six-song/51-minute self-titled. Tracks presented as Roman numerals “I” through “VI,” though whether or not they’re actually the first six pieces the band has written, I couldn’t say. Either way, the impression immediately draws from “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” – that great king of nod riffs – and first-name-only guitarists Billy and Kevin, bassist Matt and drummer Quinten build outward from there, dipping below the eight-minute mark only on “V” (7:14) as they unfurl solid grooves and tonal heft, seeming to leave room for vocals either consciously or not. The converted will find engagement and immersion in the crash and swinging turn of “IV,” as well as the David Paul Seymour cover art, and if The Blue Sunshine Family Band is the sound of this foursome getting their feet under them, they manage to accomplish that preliminary feat and then some in these tracks.

The Blue Sunshine Family Band on Thee Facebooks

The Blue Sunshine Family Band on Bandcamp

 

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Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 Compilation Due Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

If you’ve had the chance to check out the prior two installments of Robustfellow Productions‘ compilation series Electric Funeral Cafe, you already know they’re massive things. Huge in terms of the sheer amount of music they feature, and with a strong focus solely directed on the Ukrainian heavy scene, they bring to light some acts who those of us outside the region might not necessarily run into on a daily basis. Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 is no different, but it’s worth noting that in addition to the good dose of acts from Kiev and Lviv it provides, it for the first time pushes international and boasts bands from the US, the UK, Belarus, Finland, Japan and Sweden included, so this final installment in the series — which comes with seven more tracks if you get the digital version — is by no means limited. Fitting for the mission of the series that it would expand even unto its conclusion.

I feel like the first line below under specifications really says it all: 41 bands, 9 countries, three discs, over three and a half hours of music. Sold.

Release date is Jan. 21. Here’s info from the PR wire:

electric funeral cafe vol 3

V/A – ‘Electric Funeral Café vol.3’

Formats: 3xCD in Deluxe digipack & Download
Catalogue # RBF 016 | IHR005
Label: Robustfellow Prods. & Iron Hamster Recs.
Release Date: 21 January 2017

Specifications:
– 41 bands from 9 countries on 3 CDs lasts for more than 3,5 hours
– Including 23 special tracks that you hardly hear anywhere else
– Plus 7 bonus tracks on digital version on bandcamp
– The final chapter of EFC trilogy
– Deluxe ltd.ed. that will consist of EFC vol.1,2,3
– Launch Party 21.I.2017 @ Winter Mass [“Monte Ray Live Stage”, Kyiv, UA]

Artwork design by Zinkovskaya Oksana
Design and DTP by Marsym Gavronsky
Made in Ukraine | 21.I.2017

List of robust bands involved in EFC vol.3 from A to Z:
1914 [Lviv, UA]
5R6 [Kharkiv, UA]
A Foggy Realm [Moscow, RU]
Atomic Simao [Kyiv, UA]
Bichkraft [Kyiv, UA]
Black Maloka [Kyiv, UA]
Borum [Kyiv, UA]
Chainsaw Jack [Kharkiv, UA]
Contra [Cleveland, OH, USA]
Dreadnought [Ternopil`, UA]
Drunk Diver [Lviv, UA]
Eternal Elysium [Nagoya, JP]
Ethereal Riffian [Kyiv, UA]
Filthy Rich Preacher [Cherkassy, UA]
Freeky Cleen [Kyiv, UA]
Krobak [Kyiv/Kharkiv, UA]
Katakomba [Kyiv, UA]
Le Scimmie [Vasto, IT]
Les Gendarmes [Kyiv, UA]
Loinen [Karjaa, FIN]
Love’n’Joy [Kyiv, UA]
Lucifer Rising [Kyiv, UA]
MAUT [Ivano-Frankivsk, UA]
Monmuuth [Dnipro, UA]
Nebulae Come Sweet [Minsk, BY]
Night on Fire [Zhytomyr, UA]
Ningen-girai [Cherkassy, UA]
Nödutgång:Självmord [Poltava, UA]
Obriy [Uzhgorod,UA]
Octopus Kraft [Drohobych/Lviv, UA]
Onsager [Khmelnitsky, UA]
OwlCraft [Cherkassy, UA]
Risin Sabotage [Kyiv, UA]
Small Depo [Kyiv, UA]
Sons Of Alpha Centauri [Kent, UK]
Soom [Kharkiv, UA]
Space-man [Lviv, UA]
stonefromthesky [Kyiv, UA]
Straytones [Kyiv, UA]
Submatukana [Dnipro, UA]
Suffer Yourself [Kyiv, UA/Linköping, SWE]
The Curse Of Wendigo [Kharcyzk/Kyiv, UA]
The Jossers [Kalush, UA]
The Legendary Flower Punk [St.Petersburg, RU]
Trip Inside Me [Kyiv, UA]
Tungu [Chernihiv,UA]
Vermilion Nocturne [Kyiv, UA]
Warningfog [Kyiv, UA]

http://robustfellow.blogspot.com/
https://robustfellow.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRobustfellow
https://www.facebook.com/RobustfellowProds/
http://vk.com/robustfellow

Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 2 (2016)

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Ethereal Riffian Post “Drum of the Deathless” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

ethereal-riffian

If you were in Kiev-based heavy psych ritualists Ethereal Riffian, how could you not tilt your head back and hold your beard aloft to the sky over your head? I mean, unless you don’t have a beard, in which case I should think a bare chin would do. Point is, they’re clearly a group looking to commune with the music they’re making, and on their 2016 two-song EP, I AM. Deathless, it’s easy to argue they get there. With just “Drum of the Deathless” and the longer B-side “Sword of the Deathless,” the core four-piece plus a couple guests on djembe and didgeridoo engage worship-ready psych fervor and a depth of atmosphere that only adds to the appeal that the overarching weirdness of it all provides.

And they’re incredibly purposeful about all of it. If you don’t believe me, check out the documentary they premiered here back in August. See how they talk and think about what they’re doing. While I’d still definitely call it exploratory music, they’re not just throwing ideas out for public consumption. This material is built, put together in such a way that represents a mentality as progressive as it is heavy. The video for “Drum of the Deathless” extends this even to its visual cues. The first two and a half minutes lead you in — a constant stream of inward motion of band shots. The middle section is all swirl and circles around the group. And for its ending section, just as they lock in the big finish for the last minute or so, it begins to pull back outward again, returning the viewer to their own reality.

You can check out and read more about the clip, which was directed by Victor Priduvalov, below.

Please enjoy:

Ethereal Riffian, “Drum of the Deathless” official video

Ethereal Riffian presents the visualization of their song “Drum of the Deathless.” The video was created by an iconic Ukrainian director – Victor Priduvalov and Re:Evolution Film team at the Mental Drive Studio. For the time being, this work is the brightest flash in the band’s history that uncovers the idea of their mini-album “I AM. Deathless” to the greatest possible extent. This album was released on a CD in unique format for collectors, as well as on tapes in association with Kyiv-based label Robustfellow Prods.

Mystical song “Drum of the Deathless” tells about the deathless nature of human being and refers the listener to Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Collaboration with Victor Priduvalov over “Drum of the Deathless” is certainly the new experience for Ethereal Riffian that opens a new path to the next stage of development. For the audience, it is the opportunity to reach the Light, expand their consciousness and move to the fourth dimension.

Ethereal Riffian is:
Val Korniev – guitar/vocal/didgeridoo
Olexander Korniev – bass
Max Yuhimenko – lead guitar
Nikita Shipovskoi – drums

Guest Musicians:
Maha Tretyakova – djembe
Yaroslaw Kaminskiy – didgeridoo

Ethereal Riffian on Bandcamp

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Robust Fellow Productions on Bandcamp

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Ethereal Riffian Premiere Documentary Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

ethereal riffian again

The proper name for the clip is ‘Robust Rehearsal Vol. II: Bobina Records & Ethereal Riffian,’ and in a nearly edited half-hour, it tells the story of Kiev-based heavy rockers Ethereal Riffian, splicing in live-in-the-studio rehearsal footage with interview snippets covering the five-year history of the band. It extends to the composition of their first two albums, 2011’s Shaman’s Visions and 2014’s Aeonian, and showcases work from their latest offering, the I am.Deathless EP, released in 2016 by Robustfellow Productions, along with the Youniversal Voice (review here) live album. Moving back and forth between shots of them rocking out and talking about their methods and the reasoning behind them, it gives a concise look at the Ukrainian outfit while also plunging into some depth about their themes of spirituality and the perils of ignorance on all levels.

It’s also completely in character for Ethereal Riffian, and by that I mean that the band has proven to be one putting considerable thought and effort into the expressiveness of their work. One can see this even in the packaging in which their latest EP and live album arrive — elaborate, thought-out, individualized even unto its very construction — and in the fact that their second full-length came with a narrative story to complement the music. These steps help distinguish Ethereal Riffian from an increasingly crowded Ukrainian and Eastern European heavy rock scene, but ultimately it needs to be the songwriting and performance carrying their ideas forward to their audience. One obviously gets the best sense of that listening to their records and presumably seeing them play live — I can’t say I’ve done the latter — but to hear the passion of guitarist/vocalist Val Korniev and guitarist Max Yuhimenko, bassist Alex Korniev and drummer Nick Shipovskoi as they explain where they’re coming from as a band goes a long way toward understanding the core drive that seems to bleed into everything they do.

Thanks to Robustfellow and Ethereal Riffian for allowing me to host the premiere of the documentary, which I think tells an interesting story even if you’re not familiar with the band. You’ll find the full video below, followed by its credits.

Please enjoy:

Robust Rehearsal Vol. II, Bobina Records & Ethereal Riffian

ROBUST REHEARSAL vol. II
Bobina Records & Ethereal Riffian

This Episode was shot in Kyiv, 24th October 2015

ROBUSTCREW

PhillO))) – idea, general management, interviewer

VIDEO CREW
Eugene Kredenster – director of photography, interviewer
Artem Isaev – camera operator

BOBINA RECORDS
Dmitry Homulko (aka Bob)
Max Litvinchuk (aka Poops)

ETHEREAL RIFFIAN
Val Korniev – guitar/vocal
Max Yuhimenko – lead guitar
Alex Korniev – bass
Nick Shipovskoi – drums

Sound recording and mixing by Max Poops @ Bobina Records. Video production by Nikita Longinov and Eugene Kredenster. Subtitles by Val Korniev and Julia Kornieva. Final audio-mixing by Max Yuhimenko.

Live performance used in the documentary was shot on the 31st of May, 2015 at MonteRay Live stage by Kirai Gigs team. Sound was mixed by Max Poops at Bobina Records.

Tracks by Ethereal Riffian used in this video (in order of appearance):
“Voice of Reason” (performed at Bobina Records, from “Shaman’s Visions” LP, 2011)
“Thugdam” (performed at Bobina Records, from “Aeonian” LP, 2014)
“Sword of the Deathless (Intro)”/”Beyond” (performed at MonteRay Live Stage on 31st of May 2015, from “I AM. Deathless” EP, 2016 and “Shaman’s Visions” LP 2011)
“Drum of the Deathless” (performed at Bobina Records, from “I AM. Deethless” EP, 2016)
“Dkyil Khor” (used in credits, from “Dkyil Khor” single, 2012)

Robustfellow Prods. 2016
PEACE. LOVE. HEAVINESS.

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Quarterly Review: Eight Bells, Öken, Brimstone Coven, Pants Exploder, Shallows, Monumentum, Famyne, Ethereal Riffian, Wet Cactus, Forming the Void

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

I thought yesterday went pretty well, by which I mean I didn’t receive any complaints that somebody’s name was spelled wrong (yet), so I feel alright going into the second batch of releases for the Quarterly Review. Today mixes it up a bit, which is something I always enjoy doing with these, and while I’ll take pains to emphasize that the list of releases today, as with every day, isn’t in order, there was no way I wasn’t going to start with the first record below. Some albums just demand top placement.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Eight Bells, Landless

eight bells landless

However you define the word “heavy” as it relates to music, Eight Bells are it. The Portland, Oregon, trio release their second album and first for Battleground Records in the form of the five-track Landless, and from the opening sprawl and lumber of “Hating” through the crawling-plus-blasting chaos of “Touch Me,” a strong progressive current underscores the material – most notably the 13-minute title-track, but really the rest as well, which flows gracefully even in its harshest moments, the blackened rush in the second half of “Landless,” for example, which follows psychedelic drones and harmonies just minutes before, or the similar thrust of centerpiece “Hold My Breath,” which works in tighter quarters but manages to span genres all the same. “The Mortal’s Suite” provides some respite in airy guitar and airier vocals, giving new drummer Rae Amitay a break while showcasing the harmonies of guitarist Melynda Jackson (ex-SubArachnoid Space) and bassist Haley Westeiner. As open atmospherically as the band is in their creative scope, there just isn’t a level on which Landless isn’t superb.

Eight Bells on Thee Facebooks

Battleground Records

 

Öken, Öken

oken oken

Swedish four-piece Öken do themselves huge favors by refusing to be easily categorized on their 2015 self-titled Ozium Records debut full-length, which runs an immersive 62 minutes and blends doom, classic heavy/desert rock and forest psych with subtle grace throughout its eight tracks, each of which is fleshed out in an overarching naturalist atmosphere. “Väktaren” dives headfirst into boogie only after initial minimalist teasing, and “Crimson Moon” bursts to life after a hypnotic psychedelic opening to find its crux in later runs of dueling guitars. The two closing cuts, “Under Vår Sol” and “Cuauhtémoc” are an album unto themselves, the former nodding initially at Sungrazer’s serene vibes before pushing into even more open psychedelic territory, and the latter proffering riffy largesse en route to a striking classic prog finish. That Öken make these elements work side-by-side and transition from one to the other fluidly is emblematic of the confidence at work in the band, and they carry their scope with organic-sounding ease.

Öken on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records

 

Brimstone Coven, Black Magic

brimstone coven black magic

West Virginian roots doomers Brimstone Coven made their debut on Metal Blade in 2015 with a self-titled EP compilation (track stream here), and Black Magic is their first full-length. Its 10 tracks/54 minutes take cues varyingly from classic heavy rock, doom and the less majestic side of the NWOBHM, but Brimstone Coven’s approach is marked out by the extensive use of vocal harmonies on cuts like the prog-tinged “Beyond the Astral,” the later moments of raw-roller “Upon the Mountain” and “The Plague.” Black Magic’s production is barebones enough that this singing – credited solely to “Big John” Williams, while Corey Roth handles guitar, Andrew D’Cagna bass and Justin Wood drums – doesn’t really soar so much as nestle in and enhance the begging-for-vinyl analog-worship of the instruments surrounding, a proliferation of cultish themes distinguishing Brimstone Coven even as a song like “The Seers” finds them inheriting a trad-doom soulfulness from The Gates of Slumber.

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Metal Blade Records

 

Pants Exploder, Pants Exploder

pants exploder pants exploder

Between its vicious aggression, inhumane chug and have-fun-enduring-this stomp, the self-titled, self-released debut LP from Pants Exploder could just as easily be definitive New York noise, but the low-end heft of their assault right from opener “It’s Ok, I’m Wiccan.” (punctuation included in title) has an element of early-Mastodonic lumber, and that’s a thread that continues throughout “End of the World” and “You Don’t Strike Me as a Reader,” which offsets its slab-of-concrete-on-your-chest push with moments of respite, but remains driving in its intensity. As in, driving your head into the ground. Also the ground is pavement. It’s fucking heavy, is the point. To wit, the mega-plod of “Um, I Curated an Art Show in College, So…” and thrust of “God Has a Plan for Me.” Capping with the seven-minute “You Smug Bastard,” Pants Exploder pays off the tension they build in a noise-wash fury that is as impressive as it is scathing.

Pants Exploder on Thee Facebooks

Pants Exploder on Bandcamp

 

Shallows, The Moon Rises

shallows the moon rises

The rather ominous The Moon Rises EP is the first non-demo offering from Asheville, North Carolina, four-piece Shallows, who blend heavy psychedelic and grunge influences across its five tracks, opener “Shimmering” and closer “Distance” mirroring each other’s spacious push while between, “Zero,” “A Mile Beneath” and the Earth-influenced “The Barn Burning” enact gorgeous vocal harmonies between Cameron Zarrabzadeh and HannahLynn Cruey atop atmospheric heavy rock, hitting into Alice in Chains-meets-Kylesa territory on the centerpiece, “A Mile Beneath,” which is a fair bit of ground to cover. That cut is the high point in showcasing Shallows’ potential, but the Western take with “The Barn Burning” and meandering post-rock echoes and organ of “Distance” only add to the breadth of this impressive, too-short collection. With a focus consistently kept on ambience throughout, The Moon Rises flows like a full-length album, and so bodes that much better for what Shallows will be able to accomplish when they get there. I’ll look forward to it.

Shallows on Thee Facebooks

Shallows on Bandcamp

 

Monumentum, The Killer is Me

monumentum the killer is me

Even before they get to the all the aggro fuzz riffing, there’s a distinct threat of violence in Monumentum’s The Killer is Me. Its four songs, “Noose,” “Whore,” “Fiend and Foe” and “Killer Me,” each seem to find the Norwegian band doling out noise-influenced heavy rock, driven by some underlying dissatisfaction on this, their first EP. Released on vinyl through Blues for the Red Sun Records, it offsets being so outwardly pissed off through groove, the starts and stops of “Killer Me” and the rolling seven minutes of opener and longest track “Noose” (immediate points) both marked out for both their tonal weight and the force with which Monumentum push their material forward – not speedy, though “Whore” is by no means slow, but dense and emitting a residual tension all the same. Somewhat unipolar in its mood, The Killer is Me still manages to give an initial impression of what Monumentum are about sound-wise, and provides them with a solid start to work from.

Monumentum on Thee Facebooks

Blues for the Red Sun Records

 

Famyne, Famyne

famyne famyne

While the UK isn’t at all short on doom or sludge at this point, Canterbury five-piece Famyne distinguish themselves on their self-titled first EP with a traditional take and the at-times theatric harmonies of vocalist Tom Vane. Along with guitarists Alex Tolson and Alex Williams, bassist Chris Travers and drummer Jake Cook, Vane nods at Alice in Chains on lumbering opener “Enter the Sloth” without going full-on “hey whoa momma yeah” and provides a considerable frontman presence, particularly for a debut recording. Comprising three songs with the speedier bonus track “Long Lost Winter” as an add-on download with the CD version, Famyne’s Famyne EP finds its crux in the nod and push of the 10-minute “The Forgotten,” which takes a cue atmospherically from The Wounded Kings but finds its own, less-cultish niche in bringing new energy to classic doom and setting in motion a progression that already puts an individual stamp on established tenets.

Famyne on Thee Facebooks

Famyne on Bandcamp

 

Ethereal Riffian, Youniversal Voice

ethereal riffian youniversal voice

There’s patient, and then there’s Ethereal Riffian, whose riffy ritualizing and exploration nonetheless brims with some intangible energetic sensibility on their new live outing, Youniversal Voice. Heavy psychedelic wash, thick riffs, theatric vocals and guitar effects, stoner roll and the occasional fit of shredding, one might hear any of it at a given point in over-12-minute cuts like “Wakan Tanka” and “Anatman,” the latter which arrives as the penultimate of the eight-song/56-minute set. The clarity, for being a live album, is remarkable, and Ethereal Riffian add to the experience with a CD version that includes a candle, elaborate packaging and artwork, and tea, so the multi-sensory impression is obviously important, and where many live outings are throwaways or a means of bowing to contractual obligation, Youniversal Voice adds to Ethereal Riffian’s studio work a substantial ambassasorial feel, conveying an onstage vibe with a fullness of sound and clarity of mind not often heard.

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Ethereal Riffian on Bandcamp

 

Wet Cactus, Wet Cactus

wet cactus wet cactus

Desert rock trio Wet Cactus don’t make any bones about where they’re getting their influence from on their late-2015 self-titled second EP. By the time they get around to the penultimate “The Road” on the five-track/24-minute outing, they’ve dug themselves in deep into the worship of crunchy Kyuss-style riffing, and you can throw in looks for Unida, Queens of the Stone Age, Slo Burn and whoever else of that milieu, but Kyuss is at the root of it all anyway. Less grand in their production than UK outfit Steak, who operated in similar territory on their 2014 debut LP, Slab City, Wet Cactus keep it natural in the tradition of their forebears, and while there’s room for them to grow into a more individual approach, the hazy fuckall in closer “World’s Law” has a stoner charm before and after it kicks into a punkish push to close out. Cool vibe either way, and the tone is dead on. If these cats go jammier, watch out.

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Odio Sonoro

 

Forming the Void, Skyward

forming the void skyward

I won’t say a bad word about the artwork of David Paul Seymour in the context of this review or any other, but ultimately, Louisiana doomers Forming the Void are coming from someplace much more in line with progressive metal than the three-eyed goat and robed figures on the cover of their second album, Skyward, might represent. Again, that’s not a knock on Seymour, or for that matter, the band, just that the look of the record is deceptive, dogwhistling stonerisms even as moody cuts like the opening title-track and “Three Eyed Gazelle” – while thoroughly doomed in their vibe – prove more lucidly constructed. That holds true through the chugging centerpiece “Saber” as well, marked out by vocal harmonizing, and “Return Again,” which rolls through atmospheric metal and an ambient interlude to enact the record’s most memorable payoff and set up the linear course of the more patient closer “Sleepwalker.” Cohesive in mood and clearly plotted, Skyward is ultimately darker and more driven than it might at first appear.

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Forming the Void on Bandcamp

 

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