Lurk Premiere “Proteus Syndrome”; Fringe out Aug. 5

Posted in audiObelisk on July 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

lurk

Finnish sludge extremists Lurk release their new album, Fringe, Aug. 5 on Transcending Obscurity. The eight-track outing is the third from Lurk and was originally released by the Tampere-based four-piece digitally in 2016 before being picked up for a proper pressing. It follows behind 2014’s Kaldera and a 2012 self-titled from the band, who mark a decade by making their debut on the Indian imprint and whose attack has never sounded more visceral than it does on Fringe. I’ve already said about the album that they’re likely talking about the “lunatic fringe,” the way-out, or better, way-deep edges where most don’t dare to tread, since that seems to be where Fringe itself is interested in dwelling. With the harsh rasp of Kimmo Koskinen crawling out from beneath the lurch of guitarist Arttu Pulkkinen, bassist Eetu Nurmi and drummer Kalle Nurmi, the atmosphere is dark and punishing but not without an ambient breadth as opener “Ostrakismos” leads the way into an unfolding brutality made ritualistic with the use of an effects-laden alto sax.

Fringe, for all its madness in the chug of “Tale Blade” and the oozing wash of noise that is the subsequent “Reclaim” — Satyricon and Celtic Frost meeting with Neurosis and older Paradise Lost lookinglurk fringe on — is rife with these sonic details. Following the gang-shouted layers of rasp in “Reclaim,” “Elan” closes out side A with an extended building introduction and cleaner vocals — guesting on the song is Aleksi Laakso, also of Totalselfhatred and numerous others — that lead into the album’s most vicious lumbering yet before dropping to near silence and a searing throat-rip pulled directly from Finnish black metal. As side B begins with “Offshoot,” the affect is faster and more death/black than sludge, but the underlying groove is never far, and “Offshoot” seems to be making its way downward as it moves toward “Furrow,” a resumption of plod that remains willfully torturous despite not hitting the five-minute mark. A cleaner section of shouts ignites a call and response of sorts, but the tones surrounding, the crash and the lumber are a tie to the aural cruelty in the tracks surrounding.

As to that, “Nether” answers the how-does-this-not-just-melt chaos of the song before it with an almost stately metallic poise. It’s the shortest track at 3:35, but also perhaps the most straightforward in terms of its metal quotient, working against genre expectations in a way that successfully expands the palette of Fringe overall. It’s only fitting, then, that they should close with their darkest, most utterly miasmic assault. That’s “Proteus Syndrome.” At 7:05, it’s the longest inclusion on Lurk‘s third record, and between its squibbly guitars, its rhythmic nod and its vocal-cord-trashing indecipherability, it both makes for a fitting summary of what’s come before it and pushes further into the depths than anything before it has gone. A post-midpoint drum-dropout leads to a tension of low-end that moves toward resurgence of a riff that’s near-gothic in its theatricality, but repurposed and coated in filth to suit Lurk‘s purposes. They finish with no more kindness than they began, as “Proteus Syndrome” is consumed by a wash of noise that cuts short to leave nothing behind, the arrival of silence clear in its depiction of death and no less resonant or meaningful than the fetid barbarity before it.

Usually when I post a track premiere, I say something like, “enjoy.” I’m not sure that applies here, so:

Be devoured:

Lurk, “Proteus Syndrome” official premiere

Wistful and mysterious, LURK’s music is just as interesting and multi-faceted as their cover artwork. Blending elements of doom, black and death metal into their astounding sludge template, the Finnish band is taking the sound ahead in ways hitherto unheard. Haunting, soaring melodies juxtapose with abrasive low-end riffs without hampering the overall aesthetics. Watch the band take you into a slow, hallucinatory descent towards madness where multiple worlds coalesce and still make sense – that in a nutshell is the music of LURK.

Line up –
Kimmo Koskinen – Vocals
Kalle Nurmi – Drums
Arttu Pulkkinen – Guitar
Eetu Nurmi – Bass

Guest vocals by Aleksi Laakso on Elan
Alto saxophone by Aino Heikkonen on Ostrakismos

Album artwork by Adam Burke (HOODED MENACE, LOSS)
Layout and art direction by Francesco Gemelli (KATATONIA, TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS)

Lurk on Bandcamp

Lurk on Thee Facebooks

Transcending Obscurity website

Transcending Obscurity on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

Pabst on Thee Facebooks

Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

L.M.I. on Thee Facebooks

L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

Fuzz Forward on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

Onségen Ensemble on Thee Facebooks

Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Superfjord Announce New LP All Will Be Golden on Svart; New Single Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

superfjord

The hypnotic insistence of the new Superfjord single pretty much guarantees its imprint on the frontal lobe of your brain, and when you’re walking around singing ‘Bow down to the rainbow’ to yourself, there will be little wonder as to why. All Will Be Golden, which is the long-player from whence the aptly-titled “Rainbow” stems, has been confirmed for a Sept. 21 release through ultra-respected purveyor Svart Records. It’s their second album overall and the herald it receives bodes well for what’s to come, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the spaciness that shows up in “Rainbow” is more fleshed out elsewhere. We’ve got time before September hits — though apparently less than I think, as the calendar tells me it’s currently late June (the mind explodes) — so there will probably be more info to come in stuff like the cover art, tracklisting and so on, but you can stream “Rainbow” at the bottom of this post and there’s some preliminary data as regards the Svart signing that came down the PR wire:

It looked an awful lot like this:

superfjord rainbow

SUPERFJORD sign with SVART – release digital single, prepare new album for autumn

Svart Records announces the signing of Finnish prog-psych giants Superfjord. The band will be releasing a digital single titled “Rainbow” through the label, on all major digital platforms, in anticipation of their sophomore album (and first for Svart), All Will Be Golden, which is set for international release on September 21st. These will be Superfjord’s first brand-new releases since a limited 7″ single cover of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” released by cult psych label Fruits De Mer in the UK.

We shall all be redeemed, one way or another. Shall we pass through the golden gates towards the light, up to which myriad mysterious paths lead? Is the journey more important than the destination? Are we dreaming? Regardless of the questions asked, eventually All Will Be Golden.

Superfjord’s sophomore album is about it all: the journey, the destination, and the vehicles. All Will Be Golden is an ambitious musical trip formed of long arcs, mesmerizing mandalas, harmony vocals, and a multitude of aural colors. Have you heard the ayahuasca-inspired collaboration album from Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and Spiritualized? Neither have we, but All Will Be Golden could possibly exist in such a parallel dimension. Whether you’re looking for a cure, a way of escape, a catalyst for spiritual expeditions, something to groove to, or just some chakra-opening psychedelic rock ’n’ roll with a 21st century cosmic twist, this might just be it.

“Rainbow,” the first single off the album, is a message from the end of the rainbow: surrender to the force, human. Superfjord’s psychedelic temple contains the whole cosmic color palette. Can you fit The Who, Frank Zappa, and, well, William Orbit into the same congregation? Well, apparently you can – with love.

Superfjord are:
Jussi Ristikaarto: guitars, electronics, vocals
Mikko Kapanen: guitar, vocals, percussion
Ilari Kivelä: drums, percussion
Teemu Soininen: bass
Juho Ojala: keyboards
Jussi Peevo: drums, percussion

www.facebook.com/superfjord
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Superfjord, “Rainbow”

Tags: , , , , ,

Death Hawks Post Video for New Single “Atitlán”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

death hawks photo Sami Sänpäkkilä

So good. So good. New Death Hawks. So good. Post over. Okay, go watch the video.

Really?

Nah, not really, but if you read the above, you pretty much have the point of everything I have to say about the Finnish psychedelic rockers’ new clip for their single “Atitlán,” which as fortunate fate would have it is the predecessor to a fourth long-player to be released this Fall by Svart Records. The band’s blend of classic progressive elements and forward-thinking spaciousness is entirely their own, and if you heard their last album, 2015’s still-put-it-on Sun Future Moon (review here), you know that the result of their sonic meld lacks nothing for memorability for being so otherwise far, far out. Did I mention “so good?” Okay, right on.

Director Sami Sänpäkkilä, who also helmed the camera and edited the video for “Atitlán” and has worked with the band before, put up a pretty interesting blog post about its making in both conceptual and technical terms, which I’ve cut and pasted below since you don’t often see something so detailed about the actual putting together of a video. That post talks as well about Death Hawks frontman Teemu Markkula‘s providing the stage costumes from his work as a professional drag performer, and the glamorous visual elements end up making “Atitlán” both subversive and all the more a trip into the band’s own world, which makes it suitable that the song itself comes from Markkula‘s traveling to Guatemala and staying for a month by the side of a volcano-surrounded lake. As far as inspiration goes, that’ll probably do the job.

I’ll hope to have (much) more on Death Hawks‘ next record as we get nearer to its arrival, but until then, “Atitlán” has a catchy enough hook to set up residence for heavy rotation on the mental jukebox, and you can hear it and see the accompanying video on the player below. Keep an eye out for the parts where they’re waving crystals in front of the camera. Sänpäkkilä mentions it in his post and you can totally see it in the clip itself once you know what you’re looking for. And if watching drag artists makes you uncomfortable, one suspects that’s part of the point.

So dig it:

Death Hawks, “Atitlán” official video

Today, Death Hawks – the most successful Finnish psychedelic rock act of modern times – reveal a new video for the track “Atitlán.” A new recording two-and-a-half years after their smash-hit album, Sun Future Moon, for Svart Records, “Atitlán” is a special digital-only single currently available on all major digital platforms.

As vocalist/guitarist Teemu Markkula reveals, “We’ve been playing around with the song’s characteristic theme for about a year during soundchecks all over Europe. At some point, our bass player Riku made a demo from it, and we decided to produce this new single from it. The song is a melodic and vocal-driven pop song. It has an interesting variety of instruments and a lot of layers which makes it possible to immerse oneself into the song.”

Continuing about the song’s genesis, he says, “At that time, I had just spent a month in a little Guatemalan village by the lake Atitlán. It’s a magical place! A big lake that has three volcanoes rising up from the shorelines – even more if you count in the ancient volcanoes. This song actually is a kind of a postcard from there, and it is dedicated to the most wonderfully bizarre and liberal people. Travelling really broadens the mind! Whaddaya know?”

Sami Sänpäkkilä on “Atitlán”:

Death Hawks new song Atitlán from their fourth full length album is also my third video for the band. All the videos we’ve done have been very different in technique. Black Acid was shot on super 8 and on Beyond Thyme we used UV lights and paints.

Teemu Markkula and myself cooked up the idea on what the video should include in terms of looks and story. The choreography, lights and the visuals were mostly done at the studio. Teemu had some reference images so we kind of had an idea of the colors we wanted. The clothes were all Jukka’s stage clothes as he’s a professional drag artist.

The whole shoot only took about 6-7 hours including lunch and that speed is due to the fact we had a good studio (Visual Works in Helsinki) and loads of people doing their thing. Lighting and VJ setup was simple. We had a 650W tungsten with a soft box and a grid high up on the ceiling. We also had an amazing portable and wirelessly triggered fog machine that was super easy and fast to use. Jonne Pitkänen did the front projections and Ilona Lehtonen did all the back projections.

All the effects except for the double exposure shots are in-camera effects. We had a few crystals that we shaked in front of the camera.

Directed by Sami Sänpäkkilä
Script: Sami Sänpäkkilä, Teemu Markkula
Music by Death Hawks
Actors: Teemu Markkula, Jukka Kuronen
Gaffer: Anna-Mari Nousiainen
VJ’s: Ilona Lehtonen, Jonne Pitkänen

Death Hawks website

Death Hawks on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Full Album Stream: Pelagos, Revolve

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

pelagos revolve

[Click play above to stream Pelagos’ Revolve in its entirety. Album is out June 8 via Svart Records.]

Evocations of space and water meet on “River (Proxima Centauri),” and that would seem to summarize at least a goodly portion of where Pelagos are coming from on their Svart Records debut album, Revolve, but the key idea is of finding some other place. Listening to the Finnish outfit’s eight-track/48-minute offering, one can’t help but wonder how much of it was crafted with an intent, either conscious or not, for escapism. At the same time, there are flashes of traditional folk rhythms amid the washes of e-bow guitar, synth, keys, and so on, so something keeps even “River (Proxima Centauri)” grounded, and as it follows the immediately echoing vocals and expansive welcome of opener “Code” — as in “blue?” is that the kind of other place we’re visiting? — that sense of ground definitely has a purpose to serve.

Pori, from whence the three-maybe-four-piece — they list Teemu Elo, Petri Hagner and Janne Peltomäki as members, but there sure are four people in their promo photos — hail, is known for having produced the mega-weirdo progressive outfit Circle, and sure enough Pelagos share a lineage with that group going back decades, but the new band seem on a more distinct sonic mission, and with the synthesizer pushing them farther and farther out throughout pieces like “Island of Pelicans,” the somewhat more brooding and decidedly urbane “Aphrodite’s Shore,” and into Revolve‘s second-half depths, amid the acoustic-guitar-based “Invisible,” the darker and electronic-beat fueled “Sea of Tranquility,” the encompassing soundscape of “Muted Stars” and closer “Embryo”‘s reimagining of New Wave as an extension of progressive rock with manipulated vocals and repetitive electronics complemented by airy guitar and a steady underlying groove, a key factor in the outing overall is immersion. It’s the kind of record you might get caught in a ridiculous run-on sentence describing, as each song seems to have something of its own to offer while adding to the overarching atmosphere.

And atmosphere is central to Revolve, to the point that one wants to read a story into the idea that they begin with “Code” and end with “Embryo,” as though the songs between are stages in a journey from death to reincarnation. Certainly there’s room to create that narrative in the ethereal sonic affect Pelagos have donned, and though there’s a definite tonal presence throughout, they refuse to let any element get overblown. That is, as much breadth as there is in the material, it’s never simply wandering for its own sake, and a keen balance holds firm for the duration. There’s a temptation to call is psychedelic, but it’s not psychedelic in terms of the traditional mushroom-munching definition of the genre. Whatever the proclivities of the band’s members — I wouldn’t speculate — what they seem to share with psychedelic rock is the idea of space, both thematically and in the music itself. “Code” opens with a subtly gripping drumless section, letting the wash gradually consume the listener before the album makes its way into the journey ahead.

pelagos

After the hypnotic “River (Proxima Centauri),” “Island of Pelicans” takes hold with a more rhythmic feeling behind it, shifting to a more synthesized vibe at around the midpoint, winding up in strumming acoustic guitar with other elements swirling around, in front of and behind it, the idea seeming to be a constant motion either forward or in its own roundabout spirit, moving without feeling like it needs to be anywhere. That, given that it’s purposeful, is a compliment. In truth, even at its most repetitive, Revolve — the title itself a repetitive motion — loses neither its will nor the gracefulness of its execution. As “Aphrodite’s Shore” gives way to “Invisible,” the shift in approach is clear. Both songs are just over five minutes long, and yet the sound of each, from the utter wash of the former to the more folkish impression of the guitar on the latter, is tied together by the ambience that permeates so much of the record and, though it’s mostly at the fore in introductory sections or leadouts, defines it.

I won’t take away from the more active sections of Revolve or the effectiveness of the shifts in structure Pelagos bring to bear, pushing verses forward on “Sea of Tranquility” or “Island of Pelicans” while the ringing tones of “Muted Stars” and “Aphrodite’s Shore” cast a vision of what Yawning Man might’ve been if they were born on an ocean planet instead of in the desert, but there’s no mistaking the focus on ambience — which I wouldn’t exactly classify as “inactive” either — as being crucial to the impression the album gives as a front-to-back listen. And though it should somewhat go without saying, but a work this fluid and smooth in its shifts between one song and the next should be taken in its entirety.

Not that a given song can’t give an impression of the core sound of its surroundings, just that the full breadth of Revolve is best experienced when the whole voyage is made. And it is a longer go than the 48 minutes of its runtime might convey, but whether or not the narrative intended is the one purported, what really matters is that Pelagos put their audience in a place where the experience is engrossing enough that the mind wants to engage with it as one might the chapters of a novel. Particularly given their pedigree, it would be futile to guess what Pelagos might have to offer in the long term or how or along what path their style might develop, but their debut is rich and resonant, and it brims with the openness of spirit that seems to have driven its creation. Especially considering it as a first album, it is a considerable achievement in its balance and aesthetic.

Pelagos on Thee Facebooks

Pelagos on Bandcamp

Pelagos Tumblr

Pelagos on Svart Records webstore

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Kaleidobolt European Tour Starts Tonight; Playing Freak Valley and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

kaleidobolt

Finnish heavy psychedelic progressives Kaleidobolt have been working on new material and reportedly have — quoting now — ‘a ton and a half’ of new material to sift through in the making of their next record, which will be the follow-up to 2016’s sub-radar stunner The Zenith Cracks (review here). One imagines their upcoming tour which, hey how about that, starts tonight, will be a major factor in that sifting process, as the band have said they’ll look into recording afterwards, no doubt trying to capture some of their residual stage energy and focus into a studio setting. A noble endeavor to be sure, and with a handful of shows booked in Finland for August, they might even have a timeline on getting the new record done before they head out again. Of course that’s speculation, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye on.

If you missed The Zenith Cracks, it’s streaming at the bottom of this post and well worth the time to dig into. Shows on the current tour are presented by Sound of Liberation, and the following comes from the PR wire:

kaleidobolt tour poster

KALEIDOBOLT SPRING TOUR 2018

31.05 COPENHAGEN BETA2300
01.06 HAMBURG Hafenklang
02.06 NETPHEN DEUTZ Freak Valley Festival 2018
03.06 COLOGNE Helios37
04.06 NIJMEGEN De Onderbroek
05.06 LE HAVRE Mc Daid’s
06.06 LONDON The Dev
07.06 PARIS Espace B Paris
09.06 OLTEN Coq d’Or
10.06 FREIBURG Slow Club Freiburg
11.06 MUNICH Feierwerk
12.06 DRESDEN Ostpol
13.06 OSNABRÜCK Jugendzentrum Westwerk
14.06 BERLIN Urban Spree
15.06 ROSTOCK Kulturkombinat e.V.

Kaleidobolt Finland tour:
22.8 OULU 45 Special
23.8 HELSINKI Bar Loose
24.8 TAMPERE 24.8. Manse Psych Fest 2018 / Klubi & Pakkahuone, Tampere
25.8 TURKU @Gong

Tour arranged by Sound of Liberation
Poster design by The Impossible Machine & Andrés Gamiochipi.

Kaleidobolt is a power trio that came together in early 2014 in Helsinki. In the short time they’ve been together, they’ve gained the reputation of being one of the most exciting live bands around. Their music is a dizzying maelstrom of progressive song structures, crushing riffs and loose psychedelic soundscapes, delivered with joy and ferociousness. Their first self titled album was released 2015 and brought the guys a huge success all over the world. In between two European Tours Kaleidobolt recorded 8 new tracks which came out on their second album The Zenith Cracks on 01st of July 2016.

https://www.facebook.com/kaleidobolt/
https://kaleidobolt.bandcamp.com/album/the-zenith-cracks
http://www.pink-tank-records.de/label-1/the-pink-tank-family/kaleidobolt/
https://www.facebook.com/pinktankrecords/

Kaleidobolt, The Zenith Cracks (2016)

Tags: , , ,

Lurk to Release Fringe Aug. 5; Streaming “Reclaim” Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

lurk

Finnish guttersludge extremists Lurk have set an Aug. 5 issue date for their new album, Fringe, via Transcending Obscurity Records. And call me crazy, but I don’t think they titled the record after that not-X-Files show Fox had on until they could convince X-Files to come back. And while it’s possible, I don’t think it’s the kind dangling from Ozzy‘s jacket either. I’m thinking this is more the “lunatic fringe” kind of fringe. Out there on the edges, blown mind, blown soul, all fucked up and not caring anymore. That kind of fringe.

At least that’s the vibe I get off streaming the track “Reclaim,” which you can hear at the bottom of this post if you’re so inclined. What could almost as easily be marketed as black metal, the track is a push toward extremity of fuckall that nonetheless maintains an underlying groove. It’s not easy listening by any stretch, but making the effort comes with a reward. And, no, I don’t just mean the Adam Burke cover art, though that’s rad as well.

Info from the PR wire:

lurk fringe

LURK (Finland) – ‘Fringe’ Gold LP Box Set / Gold LP / CD Box Set / Digipak CD / Merch / Digital (August 5th, 2018)

Genre – Atmospheric Sludge/Doom Metal
Release Date – August 5th, 2018
Record Label – Transcending Obscurity Records (India)

Wistful and mysterious, LURK’s music is just as interesting and multi-faceted as their cover artwork. Blending elements of doom, black and death metal into their astounding sludge template, the Finnish band is taking the sound ahead in ways hitherto unheard. Haunting, soaring melodies juxtapose with abrasive low-end riffs without hampering the overall aesthetics. Watch the band take you into a slow, hallucinatory descent towards madness where multiple worlds coalesce and still make sense – that in a nutshell is the music of LURK.

Band lineup –
Kimmo Koskinen – Vocals
Kalle Nurmi – Drums
Arttu Pulkkinen – Guitar
Eetu Nurmi – Bass

Guest vocals by Aleksi Laakso on Elan
Alto saxophone by Aino Heikkonen on Ostrakismos

Album artwork by Adam Burke (HOODED MENACE, LOSS)
Layout and art direction by Francesco Gemelli (KATATONIA, TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS)

Track listing –
1. Ostrakismos
2. Tale Blade
3. Reclaim
4. Elan
5. Offshoot
6. Furrow
7. Nether
8. Proteus Syndrome

https://www.facebook.com/lurkdoom
https://lurkdoom.bandcamp.com/
https://tometal.com/
http://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/

Lurk, Fringe (2018)

Tags: , , , ,

Hooded Menace Announce June Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Finnish doom malevolents Hooded Menace are heading out in just to play the Death over Drachten fest in the Netherlands. The five-piece released their latest album, Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed, this past January on Season of Mist and received the usual hyperbole-laden top marks for it that must be so boring to them by this time that they can’t stand it. Whether they can or can’t, they earned it as ever with the unbridled darkness of their atmospheres, only enhanced by a more dynamic take overall.

They’ll play a couple shows around the fest, including at The Black Heart in London, as the PR wire informs. I don’t know if larger touring is in the works or if these kinds of sporadic appearances will be it for now, but either way, if you’ve never caught these guys, they’re worth the hearing damage.

To wit:

hooded menace

Finland’s death/doom overlords HOODED MENACE have announced a string of European tour dates this summer. The mini tour kicks off on June 22 in Oberhousen, and sees the band playing at Death over Drachten in the Netherlands. A full list of dates can be found below.

HOODED MENACE are touring in support of their new album, ‘Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed’. Their most ominous, dark, and mature album to date, ‘Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed’ sees HOODED MENACE expertly weave dreary funereal atmospheres with dark melody, which only adds to emotional gravitas of what is sure to be one of the heaviest albums of 2018.

‘Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed’, HOODED MENACE’s fifth full-length, is available here.

The album art, painted by Adam Burke (SOLSTAFIR, ARTIFICIAL BRAIN, VEKTOR, and more) and track list for ‘Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed’ can be found below:

Track list
1. Sempiternal Grotesqueries
2. In Eerie Deliverance
3. Cathedral of Labyrinthine Darkness
4. Cascade of Ashes
5. Charnel Reflections
6. Black Moss

HOODED MENACE Tour dates:
Jun. 22 Oberhausen, DE @ Helvete
Jun. 23 Drachten, NL @ Death over Drachten (w/ SHINING, CARNATION)
Jun. 24 London, UK @ The Black Heart

https://www.facebook.com/HoodedMenace
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Hooded Menace, “In Eerie Deliverance”

Tags: , , , ,