YOB Set June Release for Our Raw Heart; Announce Tour Dates with Bell Witch

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

yob (photo orion landau)

Not to point out the overly frickin’ obvious, but a YOB and Bell Witch tour is going to be insane. YOB go supporting Our Raw Heart, which is out in June on Relapse, while Bell Witch will be heralding last year’s brilliant Mirror Reaper (review here) on Profound Lore, having already played the thing in its 80-minute, one-song entirety at this year’s Roadburn in April. Details are still pretty sparse on the new YOB, which is unquestionably one of 2018’s most anticipated releases and marks their jump to Relapse from Neurot Recordings, which released their 2014 milestone, Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here).

YOB have never ceased to grow as a band from one release to the next, so one looks forward to finding out at what stage Our Raw Heart finds them. The album is out June 8 and the tour starts June 14, so you’ve only got a little bit to commit the songs to memory before you hit the gig, but I’m sure you’ll be on it no problem. Once you put on a new YOB record, it can be pretty difficult to turn it off.

The PR wire had the below to say on the subject. While you peruse the info, I’ll be busy asking myself why I don’t yet own the reissue of The Great Cessation that Relapse just put out. Oh yeah, because I’m broke. Well that was a fun reminder:

yob tour poster

YOB: Our Raw Heart Coming June 8; Announce North American Tour

YOB, the Oregon-based trio, will release Our Raw Heart, the band’s eighth full-length album and Relapse Records’ debut, on June 8.

“We’re very excited to share this new music,” says singer/guitar player Mike Scheidt. “We gave it everything we have. Going from an uncertain future in the beginning of 2017, to writing and then recording a new album at the end of it, it was quite a year. We’re very grateful. We’re looking forward to hitting the road again and celebrating decibels and good cheer with friends worldwide. Can’t wait.”

The news of the seven-track album’s release arrives as the band confirm a North American tour, kicking off June 14 at 89th Street in Oklahoma City. The outing, which will feature direct support from Bell Witch, also includes performances at Austin Terror Fest and Mutants of the Monster 2018. A full list of confirmed tour dates is available below.

Our Raw Heart was co-produced by the band and Billy Barnett at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene, Ore., with mastering handled by Heba Kadry (The Mars Volta, Diamanda Galas, Slowdive). Pre-Orders for Our Raw Heart will be available April 10 via Relapse.com.

YOB recently reissued their fifth full-length album, The Great Cessation, in December via Relapse. That album can be streamed via all digital retail outlets HERE and ordered via Relapse.com HERE.

YOB Tour Dates:

May 25 Vancouver, BC @ Modified Ghost Festival

— All Dates Jun 14 – Jul 14 w/ Bell Witch —

June 14 Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street
June 15 Austin, TX @ Austin Terror Fest
June 16 Little Rock, AR @ Mutants of the Monster 2018
June 17 Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone
June 19 Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
June 20 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
June 23 Wilmington, NC @ Reggies
June 24 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
June 25 Raleigh, NC @ King’s
June 27 Baltimore, MD @ Metro
June 28 New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
June 29 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
June 30 Boston, MA @ Middle East
July 02 Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rosa
July 03 Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks
July 04 Toronto, ON @ Mod Club
July 06 Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre
July 07 Detroit, MI @ El Club
July 08 Chicago, IL @ Reggies
July 10 St. Paul, MN @ Club
July 11 Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge
July 12 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
July 13 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
July 14 Boise, ID @ Neurolux

www.yobislove.com
www.facebook.com/quantumyob
www.twitter.com/quantumyob
www.instagram/com/quantumyob
www.relapse.com
www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

YOB, The Great Cessation (Reissue) (2017)

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YOB Sign to Relapse Records; New Album Due this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Eugene, Oregon, cosmic doom groundbreakers YOB have completed work on their next full-length and signed to Relapse Records for the impending release. Even before this announcement came through, the notion of a new YOB album, long said to be in the works, was among the most exciting potentialities for 2018, and as the three-piece return some four years after 2014’s landmark Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here) — arguably one of the best if not the best record of the decade; yup, I mean it — they seem poised once again to make a definitive statement of the to-date ceaseless creative progression that’s made them this generation’s most crucial act in doom. New YOB. Nothing else needs to be said, but rest assured, plenty more will be.

Just off the PR wire:

yob

YOB: Complete New Album; Sign To Relapse Records

Oregon based cosmic trio YOB has completed recording their highly anticipated 8th full-length album and long-awaited follow-up to the critically acclaimed Clearing The Path To Ascend. The album will contain six tracks co-produced by the band and recorded with engineer Billy Barnett at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene, OR, with mastering handled by Heba Kadry (The Mars Volta, Diamanda Galas, Slowdive). The album has already appeared on the Most Anticipated Albums of 2018 list by numerous publications.

The new album is set for a summer release via Relapse Records, whom YOB have officially signed to following a series of reissues with the label. Frontman Mike Scheidt commented on the new material and signing:

“I have many, many albums in my collection that have been released by Relapse, and I’ve been a fan of their releases for nearly 30 years. We’re honored and excited to release our new album with Relapse. We can’t wait to get back at it and share this new music with our friends worldwide!”

Additionally, YOB recently reissued their fifth full-length album, The Great Cessation, in December via Relapse. That album can be streamed via all digital retail outlets HERE and ordered via Relapse.com HERE.

YOB has also announced a brief run of dates in 2018, including appearances at Modified Ghost Festival in Vancouver and Sabertooth Festival in Portland. A complete listing of dates can be found below.

Stay tuned for more details on YOB’s upcoming album.

YOB Tour Dates:
Feb 15th Seattle, WA Chop Suey
Feb 16th Portland, OR Sabertooth Festival
Feb 23rd Eugene, OR WOW Hall
May 25th 2018 – Vancouver, BC – Modified Ghost festival

YOB is:
Mike Scheidt – Guitar, Vocals
Aaron Rieseberg – Bass
Travis Foster – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/quantumyob
http://www.yobislove.com/
https://yobislove.bandcamp.com/
http://relapse.com
https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/

YOB, The Great Cessation (2017 Reissue)

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YOB to Reissue The Great Cessation Dec. 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

yob alyssa herman photo

If you’ve been wondering to yourself, ‘Gee, what’s the perfect thing to get that dude who runs The Obelisk for Xmas?,’ I hereby invite you to look no further. Originally released via Profound Lore in 2009 as their comeback offering after calling it quits following 2005’s landmark The Unreal Never Lived (discussed here), YOB‘s The Great Cessation (review here; also discussed here) is nothing less than an aggressive masterpiece, from the rolling open of “Burning the Altar” through the darkened reaches of its title-track. Relapse Records will have a reissue out on Dec. 8 with two bonus tracks from the vinyl. Buy it. I don’t care if you own the original or not. It’s fucking YOB. You get off your ass and you buy it. Rest assured, I’ll be doing the same.

The Eugene, Oregon, natives have a handful of dates booked for 2018 already and one expects a new album to land sometime next year as a follow-up to 2014’s stunning Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), so yes, there will be plenty more discussion around these parts about how YOB are the best band in the world. Because they are.

From the PR wire:

yob the great cessation

YOB: Announce The Great Cessation Deluxe Reissue; New Shows

YOB has announced the deluxe reissue of The Great Cessation. Originally released in 2009, the trio’s 5th full-length record is a master lesson in cosmic Doom. Epic, crushing, and heavy beyond words, YOB achieved legendary status in recent years due to their unmatched aesthetic and incredible body of work. The Great Cessation is a flawless document of a band ebbing and flowing between thunderous, skull-splitting riffage and rhythm to meditative moments of introspective psychedelia; an essential piece in the pantheon of YOB’s illustrious output. This definitive edition has been completely remastered by Heba Kadry (The Mars Volta, Diamanda Galas, Slowdive) and includes stunning new artwork plus two bonus tracks (previously only available on vinyl).

Vocalist / guitarist Mike Scheidt reminisced on the original release of The Great Cessation, saying:

“With The Great Cessation, we were revitalized from our break, we just had Aaron join the ranks with the single best new potential member audition (since Travis) and the album basically wrote itself. When we broke up, we played generally to very small crowds in a very small scene. When we came back, our return was met with a scene that has caught up to what the genre’s best had to offer, and we all of a sudden had opportunities we’d never had before. Hell, we did shows with Electric Wizard, Orange Goblin, High On Fire, that were attended by 50-ish people in the early 2000’s.”

YOB’s deluxe reissue of The Great Cessation is due out December 8th on CD/2xLP/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical packages and digital order are available via Relapse.com HERE and all digital retail outlets HERE.

Additionally, YOB has announced a brief run of dates in 2018, including appearances at Modified Ghost Festival in Vancouver and Sabertooth Festival in Portland. A complete listing of dates can be found below.

The Great Cessation Tracklisting:
Burning The Altar
The Lie That Is Sin
Silence of Heaven
Breathing from the Shallows
The Great Cessation
Blessed by Nothing (Bonus Track)
Pain Like Sugar (Bonus Track)

YOB Tour Dates:
Feb 15th 2018 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
Feb 16th 2018 – Portland, OR – Sabertooth Festival
Feb 23rd 2018 – Eugene, OR – WOW Hall
May 25th 2018 – Vancouver, BC – Modified Ghost festival

YOB’s plans for 2018 are even bigger and will be revealed in due time.

YOB is:
Mike Scheidt – Guitar, Vocals
Aaron Rieseberg – Bass
Travis Foster – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/quantumyob
http://www.yobislove.com/
https://yobislove.bandcamp.com/
http://relapse.com
https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/

YOB, “Breathing from the Shallows”

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Friday Full-Length: YOB, The Great Cessation

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

YOB, The Great Cessation (2009)

From their 2002 12th Records debut, Elaborations of Carbon, onward, each YOB album has established its own personality, but I don’t think there’s any question 2009’s The Great Cessation (review here) is the angriest of the seven offered to-date. Released as the first of two outings for Profound Lore Records — the other, Atma (review here), followed in 2011 — it marked the return of the groundbreaking Eugene, Oregon, cosmic doomers, who had split after the release of what was then their pinnacle achievement, The Unreal Never Lived (discussed here), was released in 2005.

The story behind that stretch of time has been told and retold, but the tumult plays directly into The Great Cessation‘s atmosphere and five tracks. Guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt continued to work with Metal Blade Records, who had put out The Unreal Never Lived and the preceding 2004 full-length, The Illusion of Motion, as he formed the new project Middian and released a debut album therefrom in 2007 titled Age EternalMiddian, who went so far as to tour to support that record — something that YOB was really only starting to do when they called it quits in ’06 — wound up getting sued by an unsigned Wisconsin-based outfit called Midian who had trademarked the name and apparently decided the world wasn’t big enough for more than one band to use it despite the different spelling, and that basically brought the project to an end. Age Eternal, which invariably had some commonalities with YOB‘s work, languished, and though there was a brief time where Middian had changed their name to Age Eternal and it looked like they might press forward, by 2008, Scheidt had reformed YOB with drummer Travis Foster and new bassist Aaron Rieseberg, and work had begun on The Great Cessation, which somewhat ironically given its title, was nothing if not a new beginning for them as a group.

It was also, apparently, the receiving vessel for all the frustration that was born of this troubled time. While Catharsis had cut its teeth in a formative, slow-motion psychedelic doom, The Illusion of Motion made its mark with the perennially satisfying roll of “Ball of Molten Lead,” and The Unreal Never Lived found a place to dwell between sonic spiritualism and crushing heft, The Great Cessation was fueled by a rawer impulse. Produced by Sanford Parker, its sound was crisp and full, but the impact was near-immediate with opening track “Burning the Altar,” and what unfolded from then on would only become more scathing until arriving at its final resolution in the closing 20-minute title cut. To wit, the lurch forward that begins “Burning the Altar,” as YOB seem to reel back and attempt to smother the listener with the weight of the opening riff, or the explosive and caustic turns of the subsequent “The Lie that is Sin,” which crashes and rumbles and seethes even in its quietest stretches, finding Scheidt switching between cleaner vocals and harsh screams amid a final linear build that doesn’t so much offer payoff as it tightens until it can go no further and collapses on itself. “Burning the Altar,” which even eight years later commands nothing less than maximum volume at all times, had something of an instrumental hook, but YOB would pull the rug out from under it with “The Lie that is Sin,” and “Silence of Heaven” and “Breathing from the Shallows” only continued the descent into the darkest territory YOB had pursued up to that time, and maybe the darkest they’ve ever pursued, period.

Among those, particularly “Silence of Heaven.” Don’t get me wrong, “The Lie that is Sin” has just as much crunch as soar, and “Breathing from the Shallows” is second to none in terms of both growl and the critique of lines like “Where are you going with your greed” and “Ambition like cancer,” but if there’s a single representation on The Great Cessation of the raw anger running through the band at the time, it’s the centerpiece. It barely has lyrics, and seems to dedicate the energy that would otherwise go into crafting them into tearing its own flesh off. Furious and, for that, a little sad when taken in relation to the spiritualism or at least metaphysical searching Scheidt and YOB have put at the center of the band’s aesthetic all along, it feels right to call it a moment of pure catharsis despite having nothing to do with that album of the same name. Even when one goes back and listens to “Burning the Altar” or “The Lie that is Sin” before it, the rage of “Silence of Heaven” seems to radiate in all directions, affecting the songs before it as well as those after.

And yet, when The Great Cessation arrives at the quiet opening guitar line of its 20-minute closing title-track, isn’t there some sense of resolution? Isn’t that YOB willing itself — themselves — to press forward from that very anger and get back to the things that truly matter, court costs, legalese and other concerns be damned? In the tradition of “Catharsis,” “The Illusion of Motion” and “The Unreal Never Lived” — each an extended closing title-cut for the record on which it appeared — “The Great Cessation” provided YOB a landing point for the expression of The Great Cessation as a whole, but in its more melodic and serene atmosphere, that landing point also serves to answer “Silence of Heaven”‘s clenched fist with a release of tension. An exhale. Sure, the second half moves into some growling and lumbering riffs, and Rieseberg‘s bass is a thickening presence as always amid Foster‘s popping snare that does so much across the album’s 62 minutes to hold it all together, and the song devolves into noise as it makes its way out, but in comparison, even that seems reassuring compared to the blisters raised earlier. After such chaos, even the final howls of Scheidt‘s guitar — almost like a siren as the bass and drums fade out — are a sign of YOB leaving that anger behind. Purged.

They would indeed keep moving forward. The Great Cessation was my album of the year in 2009 (also the first year this site was up), and Atma followed suit in 2011, but YOB would hit their to-date transcendental peak with 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here). Also their debut on Neurot Recordings, it was a record — yes, the top one released that year — that looked inward as much as outward, to the self and the universe surrounding, and in addition to being YOB‘s most sonically progressive songwriting, it seems in hindsight to have taken the will to put its emotions brazenly at the forefront from The Great Cessation, and thereby wind up in a much different place in terms of representing YOB as people and as a group.

I’ve said on multiple occasions that YOB are the best band of their generation, and I stand by that assessment completely. They’re said to have a follow-up to Clearing the Path to Ascend in the works, which I imagine was delayed somewhat owing to recent health issues on Scheidt‘s part (he had surgery multiple times over but seems to be doing well, which is fortunate; all the best to him of course), and seems a likely candidate for most anticipated LP of 2018. Whenever it arrives, rest assured, it will be welcome. In the interim and despite its representing such a dark period of renewal for the band, I hope you enjoy revisiting The Great Cessation.

Thanks for reading and listening.

Kind of a weird week around here, I guess. I had company in town into Tuesday morning, so Monday was kind of a blur, yet in terms of response, it was easily the biggest day for posts. The rest of the week was pretty quiet, relatively speaking, including some stuff that I was hoping would catch more eyes. I recognize not everything is going to reach as many people as Uncle Acid reissuing their first record, but still. A few killer premieres — Blaak Heat, Old Man Wizard, The Quill — and reviews — Paradise Lost, Mindkult — that are well worth a look if you get there. If not, thanks at least for reading this sentence.

In Connecticut today, New Jersey tomorrow and back to Massachusetts on Sunday, so it’s going to be a busy weekend, but I have already and will continue to see family as a part of that process, so I’m looking forward to it. Some pretty cool stuff in store for next week though. Might do a surprise poll if I can bother Slevin to help me put it together over the next day or two, so keep an eye out for that, but there’s plenty besides even if that doesn’t shake out.

Here are the notes, subject to change as always:

Mon.: Blues Funeral track premiere/album review; news on End Hip End It, Attalla and more.
Tue.: Steak video premiere/overdue album review; maybe that poll.
Wed.: Red Mountains track premiere/review; Six Dumb Questions with Cortez.
Thu.: Sundrifter track premiere.
Fri.: Stinkeye review.

These posts have gotten longer and longer lately — writing about YOB is a sure way for me to not at all cure that — but here’s a nice moment to leave you with before I sign off for the weekend:

While waiting to go to a haircut appointment late yesterday afternoon, The Patient Mrs. and I sat outside at a cafe here in CT which we frequent when we’re here. The place was getting ready to close up but there were a couple people sitting at the outside tables and they weren’t chasing anyone away or anything. They just kind of leave them there. The sun was shining and we sat there looking at a clothing rack outside the little for-middle-aged-ladies boutique next door at a black and white shirt with a rose on it and a bird or something and I started cracking wise about buying it and being goth with its wide neck and wearing it when I get hangry and sad before meals. “Aww, what’s the matter, pookie? Did your eating disorder make you goth? Did you have to put on your sad goth shirt because of it?”

My wife, about two months away from giving birth to what will be our first and only child, laughing loud enough so that the people at other tables looked over to see what was going on. My favorite sound in the world. Her amazing laugh. Her wonderful face. I had to stop for a minute to realize how lucky I am to be where I am in my life. I’m 35 years old, unemployed, just waiting to take up the stay-at-home-dad mantle, but it was such an incredible feeling of warmth and beauty in her laugh that I damn near wept behind my sunglasses. How lucky I am. How stupidly, stupidly unworthy I am of the last 19-plus years with her. How much I’m looking forward to the terrific and terrifying adventures ahead and to facing them together. It was such a simple thing, and that moment didn’t last — had to go get that haircut, after all — but if I lived for a thousand years, I’d hope to never forget it.

Thanks again for reading, and have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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Quarterly Review: Ecstatic Vision, Norska, Bison, Valborg, Obelyskkh, Earth Electric, Olde, Deaf Radio, Saturndust, Birnam Wood

Posted in Reviews on July 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

It turns out that, yes indeed, I will be able to add another day to the Quarterly Review this coming Monday. Stoked on that. Means I’ll be trying to cram another 10 reviews into this coming weekend, but that’s not exactly a hardship as I see it, and the stuff I have picked out for it is, frankly, as much of a bonus for me as it could possibly be for anyone else, so yeah, look out for that. In the meantime, we wrap the Monday-to-Friday span of 50 records today with another swath of what’s basically me doing favors for my ears, and I hope as always for yours as well. Let’s dig in.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ecstatic Vision, Raw Rock Fury

ecstatic-vision-raw-rock-fury

Hard touring and a blistering debut in 2015’s Sonic Praise (review here) quickly positioned Ecstatic Vision at the forefront of a Philadelphia-based mini-boom in heavy psych (see also: Ruby the Hatchet, Meddlesome Meddlesome Meddlsome Bells, and so on), and their Relapse-issued follow-up, Raw Rock Fury, only delves further into unmitigated cosmic swirl and space-rocking crotchal thrust. The now-foursome keep a steady ground in percussion and low end even as guitar, sax, synth and echoing vocals seem to push ever more far-out, and across the record’s four tracks – variously broken up across two sides – the band continue to stake out their claim on the righteously psychedelic, be it in the all-go momentum building of “You Got it (Or You Don’t)” or the more drifting opening movement of closer “Twinkling Eye.” Shit is trippy, son. With the echoing-from-the-depths shouts of Doug Sabolik cutting through, there’s still an edge of Eastern Seaboard intensity to Ecstatic Vision, but that only seems to make Raw Rock Fury live up to its title all the more. Still lots of potential here, but it’ll be their third record that tells the tale of whether they can truly conquer space itself.

Ecstatic Vision on Thee Facebooks

Ecstatic Vision at Relapse Records website

 

Norska, Too Many Winters

norska-too-many-winters

Issued through Brutal Panda, Too Many Winters is the second full-length from Portland five-piece Norska, and its six tracks/48 minutes would seem to pick up where Rwake left off in presenting a progressive vision of what might be called post-sludge. Following an engaging 2011 self-titled debut, songs like the title-track and “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” churn and careen through Sourvein-style abrasion, vaguely Neurosis-style nod and, in the case of the latter or closer “Fire Patience Backbone,” soundscaping minimalism that, in the finale, is bookended by some of the record’s most intense push following opener “Samhain” and the subsequent “Eostre.” That salvo starts Too Many Winters with a deceptive amount of thrust, but even there atmosphere is central as it is to the outing as a whole, and a penultimate interlude in the 2:22 “Wave of Regrets” does well to underscore the point before the fading-in initial onslaught of “Fire Patience Backbone.” Having Aaron Rieseberg of YOB in the lineup with Jim Lowder, Dustin Rieseberg, Rob Shaffer and Jason Oswald no doubt draws eyes their way, but Norska’s sonic persona is distinct, immersive and individualized enough to stand on its own well beyond that pedigree.

Norska on Thee Facebooks

Norska at Brutal Panda Records website

 

Bison, You are Not the Ocean You are the Patient

bison-you-are-not-the-ocean-you-are-the-patient

Think about the two choices. You are Not the Ocean You are the Patient. Isn’t it the difference between something acting – i.e., an object – and something acted upon – i.e., a subject? As British Columbian heavy rockers Bison return after half a decade via Pelagic Records, their fourth album seems to find them trying to push beyond genre lines into a broader scope. “Until the Earth is Empty,” “Drunkard,” “Anti War” and “Raiigin” still have plenty of thrust, but the mood here is darker even than 2012’s Lovelessness found the four-piece, and “Tantrum” and closer “The Water Becomes Fire” bring out a more methodical take. It’s been 10 years since Bison issued their debut Earthbound EP and signed to Metal Blade for 2008’s Quiet Earth, and the pre-Red Fang party-ready heavy rock of those early works is long gone – one smiles to remember “These are My Dress Clothes” in the context of noise-rocking centerpiece “Kenopsia” here, the title of which refers to the emptiness of a formerly occupied space – but if the choice Bison are making is to place themselves on one side or the other of the subject/object divide, they prove to be way more ocean than patient in these songs.

Bison on Thee Facebooks

Bison at Pelagic Records website

 

Valborg, Endstrand

valborg-endstrand

With its churning, swirling waves of cosmic death, one almost expects Valborg’s Endstrand (on Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions) to be more self-indulgent than it is, but one of the German trio’s greatest assets across the 13-track/44-minute span of their sixth album is its immediacy. The longest song, “Stossfront,” doesn’t touch five minutes, and from the 2:14 opener “Jagen” onward, Valborg reenvision punk rock as a monstrous, consuming beast on songs like “Blut am Eisen,” “Beerdigungsmaschine,” “Alter,” “Atompetze” and closer “Exodus,” all the while meting put punishment after punishment of memorable post-industrial riffing on “Orbitalwaffe,” the crashing “Ave Maria” and the noise-soaked penultimate “Strahlung,” foreboding creeper atmospherics on “Bunkerluft” and “Geisterwürde,” and landmark, perfectly-paced chug on “Plasmabrand.” Extreme in its intent and impact, Endstrand brings rare clarity to an anti-genre vision of brutality as an art form, and at any given moment, its militaristic threat feels real, sincere and like an appropriate and righteous comment on the terrors of our age. Fucking a.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Valborg at Prophecy Productions website

 

Obelyskkh, The Providence

obelyskkh-the-providence

Probably fair to call the current status of German post-doomers Obelyskkh in flux following the departure of guitarist Stuart West, but the band has said they’ll keep going and their fourth album, The Providence (on Exile on Mainstream) finds them capping one stage of their tenure with a decidedly forward-looking perspective. Its six-song/56-minute run borders on unmanageable, but that’s clearly the intent, and an air of proggy weirdness infects The Providence from the midsection of its opening title-track onward as the band – West, guitarist/vocalist Woitek Broslowski, bassist Seb Fischer and drummer Steve Paradise – tackle King Crimson rhythmic nuance en route to an effects-swirling vision of Lovecraftian doomadelia and massive roll. Cuts like “Raving Ones” and 13-minute side B leadoff “NYX” play out with a similarly deceptive multifaceted vibe, and by the time the penultimate “Aeons of Iconoclasm” bursts outward from its first half’s spacious minimalism into all-out High on Fire thrust ahead of the distortion-soaked churn of closer “Marzanna” – which ends, appropriately, with laughter topping residual effects noise – Obelyskkh make it abundantly clear anything goes. The most impressive aspect of The Providence is that Obelyskkh manage to control all this crunching chaos, and one hopes that as they continue forward, they’ll hold firm to that underlying consciousness.

Obelyskkh on Thee Facebooks

Exile on Mainstream Records website

 

Earth Electric, Vol. 1: Solar

earth-electric-vol-1-solar

Former Mayhem/Aura Noir guitarist Rune “Blasphemer” Ericksen leads breadth-minded Portuguese four-piece Earth Electric, and their devil-in-the-details Season of Mist debut, Vol. 1: Solar, runs a prog-metal gamut across a tightly-woven nine tracks and 35 minutes, Ericksen’s vocals and those of Carmen Susana Simões (Moonspell, ex-Ava Inferi) intertwine fluidly at the forefront of sharply angular riffing and rhythmic turns from bassist Alexandre Ribeiro and drummer Ricardo Martins. The organ-laced push of “Meditate Meditate” and “Solar” and the keyboard flourish of “Earthrise” (contributed by Dan Knight) draw as much from classic rock as metal, but the brew Earth Electric crafts from them is potent and very much the band’s own. “The Great Vast” and the shorter “Set Sail (Towards the Sun)” set up a direct flow into the title cut, and as one returns to Earth Electric for repeat listens, the actual scope of the album and the potential for how the band might continue to develop are likewise expansive, despite its many pulls into torrents of head-down riffing. Almost intimidating in its refusal to bow to genre.

Earth Electric on Thee Facebooks

Earth Electric at Season of Mist website

 

Olde, Temple

olde-temple

After debuting in 2014 with I (review here), Toronto’s Olde return via STB Records with Temple, proffering sludge-via-doom vibes and a center of weighted tonality around which the rest of their aesthetic would seem to be built, vocalist Doug McLarty’s throaty growls alternately cutting through and buried by the riffs of guitarists Greg Dawson (also production) and Chris “Hippy” Hughes, the bass of Cory McCallum and the rolling crashes of drummer Ryan Aubin (also of Sons of Otis) on tightly constructed pieces like “Now I See You” and the tempo-shifting “Centrifugal Disaster,” which reminds by its finish that sometimes all you need is nod. Olde have more to offer than just that, of course, as the plodding spaciousness of “The Ghost Narrative” and the lumbering “Maelstrom” demonstrate, but even in the turns between crush and more open spaces of the centerpiece title-track and the drifting post-heavy rock of closer “Castaway,” the underlying focus is on capital-‘h’ Heavy, and Olde wield it as only experts can.

Olde on Thee Facebooks

STB Records webstore

 

Deaf Radio, Alarm

deaf radio alarm

Based in Athens and self-releasing their debut album, Alarm, in multiple vinyl editions, the four-piece of Panos Gklinos, Dimitris Sakellariou, Antonis Mantakas and George Diathesopoulos – collectively known as Deaf Radio – make no bones about operating in the post-Queens of the Stone Age/Them Crooked Vultures sphere of heavy rock. To their credit, the songwriting throughout “Aggravation,” “Vultures and Killers” and the careening “Revolving Doors” lives up to that standard, and though even the later “Oceanic Feeling” seems to be informed by the methods of Josh Homme, there’s a melodic identity there that belongs more to Deaf Radio as well, and keeping Alarm in mind as their first long-player, it’s that identity that one hopes the band will continue to develop. Rounding out side B with the howling guitar and Rated R fuzz of the six-minute “…And We Just Pressed the Alarm Button,” Deaf Radio build to a suitable payoff for the nine-track outing and affirm the aesthetic foundation they’ve laid for themselves.

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Saturndust, RLC

saturndust rlc

The further you go into Saturndust’s 58-minute second LP RLC, the more there is to find. At any given moment, the São Paulo, Brazil-based outfit can be playing to impulses ranging from proggy space rock, righteously doomed tonal heft, aggressive blackened thrust or spacious post-sludge – in one song. Over longform cuts like “Negative-Parallel Dimensional,” “RLC,” “Time Lapse of Existence” and closer “Saturn 12.C,” the trio cast a wide-enough swath to be not quite genreless but genuinely multi-tiered and not necessarily as disjointed as one might expect in their feel, and though when they want to, they roll out massive, lumbering riffs, that’s only one tool in a full arsenal at their apparent disposal. What tie RLC together are the sure hands of guitarist/vocalist Felipe Dalam, bassist Guilherme Cabral and drummer Douglas Oliveira guiding it, so that when the galloping-triplet chug of “Time Lapse of Existence” hits, it works as much in contrast to the synth-loaded “Titan” preceding as in conjunction with it. Rather than summarize, “Saturn 12.C” pushes far out on a wash of Dalam’s keyboards before a wide-stomping apex, seeming to take Saturndust to their farthest point beyond the stratosphere yet. Safe travels and many happy returns.

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Saturndust on Bandcamp

 

Birnam Wood, Triumph of Death

birnam wood triumph of death

Massachusetts doomers Birnam Wood have two prior EPs under their collective belt in 2015’s Warlord and a 2014 self-titled, but the two-songer single Triumph of Death (kudos on the Hellhammer reference) is my first exposure to their blend of modern progressive metal melody and traditional doom. They roll out both in able fashion on the single’s uptempo opening title-track and follow with the BlackSabbath-“Black-Sabbath” sparse notemaking early in their own “Birnam Wood.” All told, Triumph of Death is only a little over nine minutes long, but it makes for an encouraging sampling of Birnam Wood’s wares all the same, and as Dylan Edwards, Adam McGrath, Shaun Anzalone and Matt Wagner shift into faster swing circa the eponymous tune’s solo-topped midpoint, they do so with a genuine sense of homage that does little to take away from the sense of individuality they’ve brought to the style even in this brief context. They call it stoner metal, and there’s something to that, but if we’re going on relative balance, Triumph of Death is more doom-stoner than stoner-doom, and it revels within that niche-within-a-niche-within-a-niche sensibility.

Birnam Wood on Thee Facebooks

Birnam Wood on Bandcamp

 

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Friday Full-Length: YOB, The Unreal Never Lived

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

YOB, The Unreal Never Lived (2005)

If there’s another word for The Unreal Never Lived beyond ‘masterpiece,’ I don’t know what it is. From its opening rumble and softly-spoken delivery of the title in “Quantum Mystic” through the final ultra-plodding drums and throat-singing of the 21-minute “The Mental Tyrant,” YOB‘s fourth album is nothing short of a treasure, and it stands among records like Neurosis‘ genre-defining A Sun that Never Sets and Earth‘s Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method as one of the most pivotal heavy releases of the 2000s. Issued in ’05, it comprised four tracks — “Quantum Mystic,” “Grasping Air,” “Kosmos” and “The Mental Tyrant” — and within the context of YOB‘s prior output across 2002’s Elaborations of Carbon, 2003’s mega-essential Catharsis and 2004’s The Illusion of Motion, it was the realization that the band had been pushing toward all along: A sound both spacious and crushing, looking inward thematically as it sought wisdom from outside, unremittingly heavy and still somehow psychedelic in its overall affect. If Catharsis was the moment when YOB came into their own sonically — and I’ll gladly argue it was, despite the potential their debut showed before it — then The Unreal Never Lived was when they showed just how expansive that definition of “their own” could be.

It’s worth noting that, for several years, it was also their swansong. The last YOB record. The Eugene, Oregon, trio of guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Isamu Sato and drummer Travis Foster toured sparingly to support The Unreal Never Lived. I recall they came east once to play Manhattan at a basement club called The Pyramid. It got to be 2AM and they still hadn’t gone on, and The Patient Mrs. had to be to work in five hours so we left. Then the band broke up. It was — and I say this without irony or exaggeration — a significant source of resentment in my relationship with my wife. Because I was never going to get to see YOB! They’d just put out their best record, hit the East Coast once and disbanded (it didn’t happen in that quick succession, but still). I saw Scheidt‘s post-YOB project, Middian, in Brooklyn, and that was cool, but that band too was short-lived. Of course, YOB was reactivated with ScheidtFoster and bassist Aaron Rieseberg, and would go on to release 2009’s The Great Cessation (review here), 2011’s Atma (review here) and 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here) — each outdoing the one before it, expanding on the blueprint that The Illusion of Motion and The Unreal Never Lived set forth, and each one my pick for album of the year in its year of release — and I’d get to see them multiple times over, including playing The Unreal Never Lived in full at Roadburn 2012 (review here), so all was forgiven. But those years I spent thinking I’d never get to witness the space-doom mastery of “Kosmos” live? Not easy. I’m not even joking.

For all that time, the disc never left my trusty CD wallet. It’s still there, though these days I’m probably more inclined to play it off my phone, where the digital version has also taken up permanent residence. As with the best of albums, it has not dulled with age but only grown more worthy of reverence in light of the developments in sound it’s led to and the influence it’s had on other acts, which is broad in scope and far-reaching in number. As YOB have progressed, they’ve kept playing with and expanding some of the forms that were presented as solidified for the first time throughout The Unreal Never Lived — the quiet opening of “The Mental Tyrant,” its shift into chaotic noise and the furious gallop of its apex, the unmitigated thrust of “Quantum Mystic,” the roll and crash of “Grasping Air,” etc. — so it seems fair to me to think of the album as a landmark even in a catalog of landmarks. If they had stayed broken up, if they’d never done anything else, it would’ve still be enough to forge a legacy. Fortunately, that legacy has only continued to grow over their subsequent three albums.

This and The Illusion of Motion were recently reissued on vinyl through Holy Mountain Printing. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Well, tomorrow’s the day. The first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn (there is actually zero excuse if you haven’t bought a ticket yet), with Mars Red SkyDeath AlleySnailKings DestroyEYEFuneral HorseKing Buffalo and Heavy Temple, plus Walter Roadburn and DJ Adzo for the aftershow. I don’t mind telling you I’m nervous as hell.

Advance ticket sales have been good — thank you if you’ve been a part of that — but still. It’s such a massive lineup, with so many variables. I hope everyone shows up. I hope the crowd has a good time, everybody’s chill, everybody gets into the spirit of the day, and so on. I just want it to be fun. Real, actual fun.

Today, nonetheless, is the calm before the storm. Yesterday evening, The Patient Mrs. picked up Walter Roadburn at the airport. I know Mars Red Sky made it over, and Death Alley as well. Snail are on the East Coast and Funeral Horse flew out yesterday from Texas. Everything’s coming together, and I’ve taken the day off from work to go to the beach in Connecticut, might do some record shopping, hit the farmers’ market and relax ahead of making the trip to Brooklyn tomorrow morning in time for a noon load-in. Like I say, I’m nervous, but also stoked.

I hope you can make it to the show, but even if not, I hope you have a great and safe weekend whatever you’re up to. I’ll be posting pics on the social medias over the weekend I’m sure, so keep an eye out, but will check back in on Monday with an update on how it all went down. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk All-Dayer

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The Obelisk Radio

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YOB and Black Cobra Announce Fall European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

I don’t recall hearing too many complaints when Oregon visionaries YOB and San Francisco demolition specialists Black Cobra hit the road together last fall in the US, and I don’t imagine they’ll come up against much resistance when they bring the show to Europe this September and October. YOB are still out supporting 2015’s album of the year, Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), while Black Cobra head out under the banner of earlier-2016’s Imperium Simulacra (review here), for which they’ve already toured in the States alongside Bongzilla, Lo-Pan and Kings Destroy and which offers a broader take on their trademark tumult.

The tour will hit an impressive number of festivals, from Incubate to Smoke the Fuzz to Asymmetry to Up in Smoke to Desertfest Belgium, each one basically providing an anchor with club shows in between. Looks like it’ll be a great time.

YOB announced the tour thusly:

yob black cobra europe 2016

EU FALL TOUR ANNOUNCEMENT: All current festival and show dates for our European tour this fall with black cobra are below.

Check back for more dates and ticket info, as we’ll be updating again soon!

11/09/2016 – Tilburg NL – Incubate Festival – September 2016
12/09/2016 – Dortmund DE – FZW
13/09/2016 – Aarhus DK – Radar
14/09/2016 – Gothenburg SE – Sticky Fingers // Göteborg
15/09/2016 – Oslo NO – BLÅ
16/09/2016 – Copenhagen DK – Pumpehuset
17/09/2016 – Athens GR – Smoke The Fuzz gigs Fest
19/09/2016 – Wiesbaden DE – Schlachthof Wiesbaden
20/09/2016 – Munich DE – Feierwerk
21/09/2016 – Berlin DE – Musik & Frieden
22/09/2016 – Wroclaw PL – Asymmetry Festival
23/09/2016 – Leipzig DE – UT Connewitz
24/09/2016 – Nurnberg DE – Z-Bau
25/09/2016 – Vienna AT – Chelsea
26/09/2016 – Ljubljana SL – Club Gromka
28/09/2016 – Zagreb HR – VintageIndustrial Bar
29/09/2016 – Linz AT – Stadtwerkstatt
30/09/2016 – Milan IT – Lo Fi Milano
01/10/2016 – Pratteln CH – UP in SMOKE indoor festival in Z7
02/10/2016 – Orleans FR – L’Astrolabe – Orléans
04/10/2016 – Belfort FR – La Poudrière – Belfort
05/10/2016 – Paris FR – GLAZART
06/10/2016 – Tourcoing FR – Le Grand Mix
07/10/2016 – Bristol UK – The Fleece Bristol
08/10/2016 – Glasgow UK – The Garage
09/10/2016 – Birmingham UK – The Rainbow Venues
10/10/2016 – Manchester UK – The Ruby Lounge
11/10/2016 – Dublin IRE – Whelan’s
13/10/2016 – London UK – Scala
14/10/2016 – Antwerp BE – DESERTFEST ANTWERP 2016
15/10/2016 – Hannover DE – CAFE GLOCKSEE

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https://www.facebook.com/quantumyob/
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Black Cobra, “Chronosphere” Live in L.A., 11.20.15

YOB, “Marrow” Live in NYC, 11.07.15

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YOB and Black Cobra Announce US Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 11th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

What, like I’m gonna say something that could possibly make this news any better? It’s fucking YOB and Black Cobra touring together. That should and probably will be enough to reaffirm your belief in a universe composed of something more than bummers. Thanks, Nanotear Booking. YOB of course are out supporting last year’s stellar Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), and this will be their second full-month of US touring behind their seventh album and Neurot Recordings debut, while if Black Cobra have ever stopped touring since about seven or eight years ago, well, I haven’t seen news about it.

According to reputable sources (read: the comments, though this particular commenter would know), Black Cobra have finished recording with Torche bassist Jon Nunez for the follow-up to 2011’s blistering Invernal (review here), so maybe this is the tour by which they’ll begin to bludgeon audiences with new material live. Only way to find out is to show up. In the meantime, YOB are also heading to Australia next week for a run presented by Life is Noise, and they play North West Hesh Fest (info here) at the end of the month — so what it all works out to is everybody’s very busy one way or another.

This just happens to be a particularly awesome way to keep busy:

yob black cobra tour

YOB headlining North American tour w/ Black Cobra

Pacific Northwestern psychedelic doom bringers, YOB, will bring their sonic enormity to stages this Fall on a lengthy North American headlining trek. Slated to commence on October 22nd in Boise, Idaho and conclude on November 21st in Oakland, California, the trio will quake the stages of over two dozen venues including a special performance at this year’s edition of Philip H. Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Fest in San Antonio, Texas. Support will come from San Francisco volume dealers, Black Cobra. Tickets go on sale this Friday, August 14th.

10/22 – Boise, ID – Neurolux
10/23 – Salt Lake City, UT – Area 51
10/24 – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
10/25 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theater
10/26 – off
10/27 – St Paul, MN – Turf Club
10/28 – Madison, WI – High Noon w/Jex Thoth
10/29 – Chicago, IL – Reggies w/Acid King
10/30 – Newport, KY – Southgate House w/Ethicist
10/31 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
11/01 – Toronto, ON – Mod Club
11/02 – Montreal, QC – Foufounes w/Dopethrone
11/03 – Boston, MA – Brighton
11/04 – off
11/05 – Brooklyn, NY – Bell House
11/06 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
11/07 – New York, NY – Webster Hall (Marlin Room)
11/08 – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery
11/09 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter
11/10 – off
11/11 – Asheville, NC – Tiger Mountain
11/13 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia w/Author & Punisher, Muscle & Marrow
11/14 – Houston, TX – Rudyard’s
11/15 – San Antonio, TX – Housecore Horror Film Festival*
11/16 – off
11/17 – Albuquerque, NM – Sister w/Deafheaven, Tribulation*
11/18 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
11/19 – San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick
11/20 – Los Angeles, CA – Echo
11/21 – Oakland, CA – Metro
* = no Black Cobra

https://www.facebook.com/events/1439941099649475/
https://www.facebook.com/quantumyob
http://www.yobislove.com/
http://www.neurotrecordings.com/
https://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings
http://blackcobra.net
http://www.facebook.com/blackcobramusic
http://www.twitter.com/blackcobramusic
http://www.southernlord.com
http://southernlord.bandcamp.com

YOB, “Unmask the Spectre”

Black Cobra, Invernal (2011)

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