Abbot to Release Between Our Past and Future Lives on Halloween

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Maybe you recall, maybe you don’t, but back in 2012, Finnish rockers Abbot made a switched-on debut with a 7″ called Into the Light (review here), taking cues from classic metal and doom rock and wrapping it all up in a kind of garage-style production for an unpretentious and engaging result. The single wasn’t changing the world, but it showed that Abbot, who got together in the ’90s, then split up for the years between, had something to offer riff-hounds and heads looking for a good nod along the way. In the two years since Into the LightAbbot has put together a debut long-player for release, and they’ve just announced that Between Our Past and Future Lives is slated for a Halloween release on Italy’s BloodRock Records.

The release seems to have been a while in the making, since they started leaking songs back in April, but better late than never. They’ve also got a few release shows lined up in Eastern Europe, included with the cover and release info below, snagged off the PR wire:

abbot between our past and future lives

ABBOT album release / tour

The Finnish doom rock band ABBOT release their debyt album Between Our Past and Future Lives on Italian label Bloodrock Records on Halloween Eve, October 31, 2014. ”We are super-excited about the album”, says drummer Antti Kuusinen. ”It’s turned out really good, with the all-analogue production, great artwork and songs coming from each band member”. ABBOT will do an album release tour around Halloween 2014:

29.10. Depo Night Club, Riga (Latvia)
30.10. Underground Pub, Kaunas (Lithuania)
31.10. Metro Club, Vilnius (Lithuania)
1.11. Woodstock Rock Club, Tallinn (Estonia)

Abbot started playing together for the first time in 1996. We played punk covers as Cherrycoles, and split up in 1997. Guitarist Jussi played in metal hardcore bands, singer JP in punk rock bands, and drummer Antti in all kinds of bands. Ten years after we got together again, found Tapsa “El Tabib” to play bass, and with renewed musical interests (while also going back to where it all started) started playing and writing songs.

Abbot, “Child of Light”

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Bong, Space Mushroom Fuzz, Desert Lord, Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, and Plunger

Posted in Radio on September 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

It’s been a couple weeks since the last time I was able to get together a proper round of adds to The Obelisk Radio, and the list as a result is accordingly huge. I’d have to go back and compare the last 18-plus months to be sure, but I think 40 albums is up there with what I might have uploaded during the initial buildup of the playlist, just basically getting everything I could think of and a bunch of stuff I couldn’t to expand on what was on the hard drive when I got it. We’ll be at two years since the Radio stream went live before I know it. Time goes quick, and seems to all the more when each post has a timestamp.

I say this every time, but there’s a lot of killer stuff included this week, so I hope you find something you enjoy.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for Sept. 13, 2014:

Bong, Bong Presents Haikai No Ku Ultra High Dimensionality LP

bong haikai no ku

I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to try to ascertain what plane of being Bong are residing on these days, but suffice it to say, they’ve evolved beyond corporeal form and merged with the all-consuming distortion of the universe. At least that’s how it sounds. The maddeningly prolific UK drone-doomers present this release but aren’t actually on it, save for guitarist Mike Vest, who leads the side-project Haikai No Ku through five tracks of blissful psychout on Ultra High Dimensionality. If you’re looking for differences between the two outfits, Haikai No Ku lean less toward grim droning than Bong, and songs like “Dead in the Temple” and “Blue at Noon” roll out huge psychedelic grooves — the band is completed by bassist Jerome Smith and drummer Sam Booth – but there’s consistency to be found in the wash of noise and the complete hypnosis of their repetitions anyway, and as high as the dimensionality might be, the volume should be higher. One to get lost in for sure, and there’s enough space for everyone. Bong on Twitter, on Bandcamp.

Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, The Shining One

lucifer in the sky with diamonds the shining one

The pun in the moniker of Moscow double-guitar four-piece Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds probably doesn’t need to be pointed out. Featuring The Grand Astoria collaborator Igor SuvorovLucifer in the Sky with Diamonds pull together touches of psychedelic impulsiveness and classic heavy rock structures with the production clarity and catchy songwriting of mid-era Queens of the Stone Age. There’s a danger underscoring the boogie of “How to Fix Things” from the band’s self-released debut LP, The Shining One, that seems to find payoff later in the big-groove hook of “Highlow World,” which provides one of the album’s most satisfying listens before shifting into an airier dreamspace and fading into the noisier “Lords of the Damned,” reviving the largesse of riff prior to the closing title-track. An intriguing debut for an outfit loaded with potential, the fullness of their sound boding particularly well for their confidence in their sound and the precision of their execution. One not to be missed. Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Desert Lord, To the Unknown

desert lord to the unknown

Finnish stoner-doom foursome Desert Lord get into some Sabbath-worship on their debut long-player, To the Unknown, but manage to avoid both the trap of retro ’70s-ism that has much of Europe so firmly in its grasp and the trap of sounding like Reverend Bizarre, whose legacy in their native land isn’t to be understated. Of particular note is that Desert Lord cite The Cult as an influence. One can hear shades of that in the guitars on opener “Forlorn Caravan,” but Desert Lord quickly move into doomier fare on the subsequent nine-minute “Wonderland,” which distinguished by weeded-out wah on Roni‘s bass. Middle-ground is sought and found on “New Dimensions,” with vocalist Sampo Riihimäki reminding of Earthride‘s Dave Sherman in his movement between rougher delivery, spoken word, and accentuated screaming, also hinting at roots in more traditional metal, though “Manic Survivor’s Song” gives way to more stoner territory in the guitar, reminding of some of Eggnogg‘s stylistic turns, though with less of a mind toward tonal thickness. They’re still figuring out where they want to be, but Desert Lord‘s To the Unknown has more than a few moments worth the effort of a listen. Desert Lord on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Onward, to the Future

space mushroom fuzz onward to the future

Perpetually progressive and perpetually prolific bizarro psych rockers Space Mushroom Fuzz return with another new release, dubbed Onward, to the Future. The Boston outfit, led by Adam Abrams of Blue Aside, include two tracks this time out, “Onward, to the Future,” a laid back space rocker made strange in its midsection with some theremin-style keys, and the waltzing “Half the Way Down,” which shows off some classical guitar work over a subtly oompah backing rhythm with soft, brooding vocals. Is it possible to have a shoegazing waltz? Space Mushroom Fuzz never lack character in they do, Abrams periodically leading the way through jams that could and sometimes do run into indulgent (if satisfying) noodlefests, but particularly with “Half the Way Down,” there’s something more grounded and sadder at the root. “Onward, to the Future” tells a tale of alien invasion — short version: they win — and showcases the band’s exploratory side, but even that ends contemplative and relatively minimal, sort of dropping instruments one at a time by its finish on a long fade. A lesson in taming expectation, perhaps, and a fascinating, quick journey from this inventive outfit. Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Plunger, Space Plumber

plunger space plumber

All seems to be on a course for weirdo noise punk as Los Angeles bass/drum duo Plunger get underway on their debut Space Plumber EP, some Melvins influence making itself felt on “Toxic Wrap,” and then they rumble and thump their way into the eight-minute centerpiece title-track, and it becomes apparent that there’s much more going on with twin brothers Mark (bass/vocals) and Kris Calabio (drums/vocals, also of Old Man Wizard) than it might at first seem. They quickly put their own minimalism to work for them on the faster opener “Blerg Rush,” but “Space Plumber” moves far off into sparseness, the drums barely there when they are and then gone ahead of the transition into “Sleep,” on which both Mark and Kris contribute vocals over a fuller rumble and steady roll, clearly enjoying the contrast. “Plunger” rounds out the release with a fuller take on some of the faster movement of the opener, starts and stops in the unpretentious 1;53 finale. One gets the feeling the (Super) Calabio Bros. are only going to get stranger from here, and that suits them well. Plunger on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Once again, these are five cool releases, but there were 35 other records that join the playlist today, including full-lengths from Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, Apostle of Solitude and on and on. A couple of these will be on the year-end list, so if you get the chance to check out The Obelisk Radio playlist and updates page, I think it’s worth a look.

Thank you for reading and listening.

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Cardinals Folly Steam “The Lover’s Crypt” from Our Cult Continues!

Posted in audiObelisk on August 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Onward rolls Cardinals Folly‘s cult. The Finnish trad doom trio’s exclamatory sophomore full-length, Our Cult Continues!, is out Aug. 19 via Shadow Kingdom Records, and it’s a beast of morose theatrics and rolling riffage. Hailing from Helsinki and — just to get it out of the way — yes, owing a bit of a debt to Finland’s Sabbath-worship forebears in Reverend BizarreCardinals Folly made their debut through the label in 2011 with Such Power is Dangerous! after kicking around since the mid-aughts under both their current moniker and the earlier The Coven. The metal of doom is the order of the day, and through fat bass tone, hard-hit drums and classic-minded guitar work, Cardinals Folly showcase a delight for reveling in the darker side of their genre.

Hard to blame them for that, since they’re so clearly enjoying themselves. The band is comprised of bassist/vocalist Mikko Kääriäinen, guitarist Juho Kilpelä and drummer Joni Takkunen, and from the opening invocations of “Eko Eko Azarak” in the intro “Chant of Shadows,” Cardinals Folly dive into a melancholy otherworldliness, not psychedelic or blissful, but full of bleak churning and smoke trails, Kääriäinen‘s voice cutting through songs like “Morbid Glory” and “Sighisoaran” to recount tales of who knows what swirling terrors. On the seven-minute “The Lover’s Crypt,” his bass and Takkunen‘s drums pave the way for an especially fuzzed-out, winding intro lead that unfolds to one of the record’s most memorable progressions, peppered by a build-up of despair that only becomes more prevalent as the song itself seems to disintegrate.

It is the penultimate of Our Cult Continues!‘s eight tracks, and with the 10-minute closer “Fallout Ritualist” backing it up, isn’t quite the apex of the album, but “The Lover’s Crypt” serves as a fitting summary of what Cardinals Folly have working for them on their second long-player, a prevalent attention to atmosphere taking hold not necessarily at the expense of the songwriting. I’m fortunate to be able to premiere the stream for “The Lover’s Crypt” ahead of the album release next week, and you’ll find it on the player below.

Please enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

It’s been about 3 years since Cardinals Folly put their debut album out through Shadow Kingdom Records. Their sophomore effort is a definite step up in the songwriting department and much more memorable than their debut. This one has the traditional Cardinals Folly sound, but we’re hearing the Warning – Watching from a Distance / 40 Watt Sun – The Inside Room influence creep into their sound this time around. If you’re into collecting underground Doom Metal, check this band out. Fans of Cathedral, Reverend Bizarre, Witchfinder General will be interested to hear this album. This certainly gets my vote for best album artwork of 2014. If you’d like a t-shirt of this cover, we have those available at the Shadow Kingdom Records online heavy metal store.

1. Chant of Shadows
2. Morbid Glory
3. The Black Baroness
4. Our Cult Continues!
5. Sighisoaran
6. Walvater Unveiled
7. The Lover’s Crypt
8. Fallout Ritualist

Cardinals Folly on Bandcamp

Cardinals Folly on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records store

Shadow Kingdom on Thee Facebooks

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Mr. Peter Hayden, Archdimension Now: The Cosmos Unraveled

Posted in Reviews on July 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The word “epic” gets tossed around these days for everything from Homeric poetry to late-night burritos, so one hesitates to use it for fear it might be taken with a watered-down meaning. I’m at a loss, however, for how else to describe the monumental, otherworldly reality presented in the third installment in a trio of albums from Finnish five-piece Mr. Peter Hayden, Archdimension Now. Comprised of two hyper-extended cosmic drone-doom masterpieces and released as its predecessors were through Kauriala SocietyArchdimension Now is simply in a class of its own in terms of its scope. A 2CD, limited-numbers release housed in a sort of gatefold digi-box, its bright orange cover glaring, it is a staggering work and one that lives up to its theme. The Satakunta outfit’s debut, 2010’s Faster than Speed (review here), dealt with the idea of time travel as a transcendent moment, casting off the constraints of the dimension. Their 2012 follow-up, Born a Trip (review here), was a portrayal of leaving form behind, a sort of transitional stretch laid out as a single 68-minute track. With Archdimension Now, we arrive. The title seems to be as much a notation of where as when, and yet, when one makes their way through the 67-minute first disc or the 57-minute second disc of the album, the experience is bound to be one of lost time entirely, so hypnotic and engrossing is the material the band concocts. On the most basic level, Archdimension Now makes Faster than Speed sound like the product of a simpler age, and where Born a Trip still held to some of the structure the first album worked with — wide open as it was — these two parts go beyond it altogether. They’re what’s left after the dimensions are stripped away.

It is a very, very cool concept.

Sound-wise, what Mr. Peter Hayden do is take the claustrophobic elements of post-metal and cosmic doom and turn them on their head. Archdimension Now has stretches of lumbering, noisy weight, to be sure — by about 10 minutes in, the first disc has risen to its first crest — but with the context of the drones and ambience surrounding and within these parts, they’re not oppressive nearly as much as they are life-affirming. And more than these movements of tectonic heft and psychedelic wash, what stands out in listening to Archdimension Now is the sheer impossibility of the audio. That is to say, if Mr. Peter Hayden were to attempt to recreate these pieces — either of them — in a live setting, the sheer nature of the effects barrage, the waves of drone, the crashing drums and the wah-drenched guitars makes it inevitable that they would come across differently. As much as Archdimension Now is intended to be the space outside of time, then, it is also invariably a moment captured within it. I do not know how much if any of it was improvised or built on layers in the studio, but the broad-ranging, volcanic nature of the audio feels like a painting one could never recreate. A long stretch of 40-plus minutes’ atmospherics follows that first push proves to be the heart of the work. They’re not building tension — at least not yet — but exploring an aural space even as they make it. By 35 minutes in, they’ve broken it down to guitar-minimalism backed by progressive keys, and it’s from there that the second-half build of the track begins, so patient and fluid as to be almost undetectable on a minute-by-minute scale, but definitely there when you pull back to look at the larger picture. If the record was less than two hours long, one might almost call it subtle. The final thrust of the first disc has a foundation in a slow drum progression, so there’s something binding it to the earth, but atop that is space rock liquefied into its molten prog elements. Noise, feedback, guitar effects, keys — all come together to provide a fullness of sound, and when the song begins to fade after its 65th minute, and elements start to dissipate, one gets the impression that Mr. Peter Hayden could just as easily have kept going.

Read more »

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Begravningsentreprenörerna to Release Self-Titled Debut EP on Ektro Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m not gonna lie, part of the reason I’m posting about Begravningsentreprenörerna is because, at 26 letters, theirs is by far the longest single-word band moniker I’ve ever featured on this site. Doesn’t hurt either that they come from an island off the coast of Finland and play heavy motorpunk with an eye toward garage groove and Swedish lyrics. The four-piece have signed on to release their self-titled (what else would you call it?) debut EP on Ektro Records this July 3, and the track “Anden I Flaskan” is available now for you to check out. It’s raw but not shy about kicking ass.

In case you’re wondering how Begravningsentreprenörerna translates, the Googles puts it as “Funeral Contractors,” which, though still decent, is nowhere near as cool as what they have. If you need me, I’ll be working syllable by syllable to continue to pronounce it, no doubt incorrectly.

Should you like to try your luck, the PR wire sends this:


Today, EKTRO RECORDS sets July 4th as the international release date for BEGRAVNINGSENTREPRENÖRERNA’s Begravningsentreprenörerna 10″ vinyl EP. Formed a year ago, the four misfits of BEGRAVNINGSENTREPRENÖRERNA – with members of Obnoxious Youth, Vorum, and Tinner – stitched their rock ‘n’ roll denim together and are now making their debut release a self-titled three-track EP. Like the roar from a bloated V8 that echoes through the wastelands filling the air with its toxic exhaust, BEGRAVNINGSENTREPRENÖRERNA play loud rock music with high-octane guitars that stink of liquor and cigarettes. The weighty ingredients in the lyrics delivered in Swedish kicks the dust of alcoholism, anxiety, death, and loneliness and migrates on the desolate highway towards the sunset, into desperation. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for BEGRAVNINGSENTREPRENÖRERNA’s Begravningsentreprenörerna
1. Du Skulle Se Mig Nu Din Fan
2. Anden I Flaskan
3. Snaran och Stålet


Begravningsentreprenörerna, “Anden I Flaskan”

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Mansion Reissue We Shall Live on CD through Nine Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Finnish cult rockers — or is that rocking cult? — Mansion were pretty high on my Roadburn 2014 gotta-see list. It’s always interesting to go to that fest an an American dying to see the European bands and see the Europeans eager to check out the American acts. Call it a reminder of how much of novelty depends on point of view. Either way, Mansion delivered thoroughly on my hopes and expectations from digging on 2013’s We Shall Live EP (review here), and while one of my biggest regrets from the weekend was not picking up a copy of their The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol. 1 7″, limited to 100 copies and I’m sure gone by now, at least I can drown my sorrows in knowing that We Shall Live is still gaining traction and a following. Polish imprint Nine Records — you might recall they did the CD of Vestal Claret‘s Bloodbath — has the EP out now on glorious, futuristic compact disc, complete with a 16-page liner.

The following comes translated from the Nine Records page:

MANSION – We Shall Live out now on CD!

Mansion is a band from Finland. The band’s name comes from the local Christian apocalyptic cult – Kartanoism, which had its glory days in the 1920s-50s. Kartano is the Finnish word for the Mansion and the name of the leader of the sect Alma Kartano. Mansion is a six-piece creating music that reflects the life of former followers of the sect.

Their music is a perfect blend of doom, psychedelic rock, and cult rock straight out of the 70s style: Jess And The Ancient Ones, Sabbath Assembly, The Devil’s Blood, Jex Thoth.

This is a compact edition reissue of the classic EP recorded in 2013. The package is embellished with a 16-page booklet with lyrics and many previously-unpublished photographs.

Mansion, We Shall Live (2013)

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Mansion to Release The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol. 1 7″ Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Persistently nebulous Finnish cultists Mansion — aka I am the Mansion, aka The Mansion Congregation — have announced a new 7″ single due next month through Streaks Records, the imprint which also released their 2013 debut EP, We Shall Live (review here), on vinyl in January. The new two-song release will be out in time for Mansion to appear at Roadburn in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and an audio preview is available now that shows the tracks to be more in a heavy rock vein than was the EP, though a theme of condemnation remains consistent.

Just 100 copies of the single will be pressed. The PR wire offers temptation:

Out Soon: STREAK#22: The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol. 1 7″ EP

This will be officially out at 4/4/14 !

When I heard the new tunes represented by Jaakob I truly understand what Mikael means with his foreword. It was still a harsh surprise though how filthy and unclean was the result. Still: With believe in the congregations braveness I sort it as a misstep that can be equaled out with their following album that hopefully will mark a return to the true doctrine. While possessed, the congregation created sinful melodies that make oneself feeling dirty while tasting the poisoned apple. It’s addictive, be forewarned!
Streaks Records

Mikael says:

Dear child,

The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol. 1. should be perceived as a warning. This release goes to show that even the most enlightened may be seduced by evil. When Mother Alma with congregation members differing from the familiar Mansion line- up set out to create spiritual hymns glorifying the devotion to our cause, something unexpected happened. The group experienced demonic seduction, which resulted in despicable behaviour manifested in the recording session. Details shall remain confidential.

Two tracks were recorded to accompany my lyrics with music contradictory in nature to the texts. My initial reaction to the hymns was distress. The thought of our Mother as a puppet on the string for the dark one still brings chills to my spine.

These devilish hymns are lustful and flirtatious. The congregation exposes the hymns to the public in shame, but with a solemn hope that it will serve as documentation of forces moving in the shadows ready to lead us astray.

The listener may experience tempting sensations when exposed to the hymns. Use this recording as a reminder that spiritual adversity may lead to detestable acts. Never take heed of temptation. Know the enemy. Stay strong in your faith.

Mikael, main lyricist of Mansion

The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol. 1.

Performed by:
Mother Alma – vocals and organ
Aleksanteri- vocals and guitar
Jaakob- guitar
Roni- bass
Veikko Tapio- drums and guitar
Joona – mellotron

A. Wild Child
B. New Dawn

Recorded, mixed and mastered:
Joona Lukala in Jan 2014
Released by Streaks Records on 4.4.14

Postage one copy:
Germany 2,50 Euro,
Europe 4 Euro,
World 4 Euro

Mansion, The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol. 1 (2014)

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Mr. Peter Hayden and Dark Buddha Rising Join Forces for European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

There are two reasons I’m posting about the Mr. Peter Hayden and Dark Buddha Rising tour and they are as follows: Mr. Peter Hayden and Dark Buddha Rising.

I’ve been looking forward to the new Mr. Peter Hayden album, Archdimension Now, since streaming part of their in-betweener single “We Fly High” here back in January. The third in a trilogy of outings, the first two of which were cosmically-minded, exploratory and, when they wanted to be, demolition-grade heavy, I don’t doubt that it will hit under the radar for some, but those who catch it will be glad they did. If this post entices someone to check out that single or 2012’s Born a Trip (review here), all the better.

And though Dark Buddha Rising‘s Dakhmandal got lost last year amid the mess of digital promos, I was at Roadburn 2012 when they played (review here) and so the prospect of that set coming out on tape is enticing indeed. They were among the bleakest acts I’ve ever seen at that festival, and their droning doom remains deeply individual, very much their own.

So you see, the two bands touring together, even nowhere I’ll be able to see them, is an event worth marking. The PR wire puts it thusly:

Dark Buddha Rising and Mr. Peter Hayden collaborative European tour dates for April 2014 announced

Finnish heavy-weight deep space psychedelic travellers Dark Buddha Rising and Mr. Peter Hayden will be touring Europe in April 2014. Trips will be served on eight nights, starting on April 19th in Bülach, Switzerland and ending seven nights later in Stockholm, Sweden. Prepare your minds!

Dark Buddha Rising have released four albums of their signature monolithic dark psychedelic art and gained full acceptance throughout Europe. Last year they opened for Neurosis and are now back to challenge your senses. Mr. Peter Hayden are known from their lengthy compositions and in-depth instrumental approach on sonic psychedelia. Now they are putting out a two-hour piece of music in form of a double album and returning to Europe to continue where they left off at last years Roadburn Festival.

Prior to the tour Mr. Peter Hayden will release a double album entitled Archdimension Now. This will complete the album trilogy they have been working on since 2009. Album will be released through Kauriala Society on April 11th.

Also Dark Buddha Rising have a new release coming up. Live at Roadburn 2012 will be released through Future Lunch on cassette only on April 4th. Finnish masters of dark psychedelia proceed onward after their last years epic release of three 12” EP’s entitled Dakhmandal. Now their debut live recording is being released from their much celebrated performance at Roadburn Festival 2012 in Tilburg, Holland via Future Lunch. Known from their black psychedelic art and performances, the group has gained major acceptance beyond borders. They are now serving you a unique glimpse of their previous guidelines as presented in this 2012 one-of-a-kind event. An event in which minds were trembled and all mountains shook up.

Set your pre-orders here!:

Dark Buddha Rising & Mr. Peter Hayden : “Archmandal” – European tour, 19. – 26.4.2014
19.4. Guss39, Bülach, Switzerland
20.4. Doomed Gatherings, Glazart, Paris, France
21.4. Little Devil, Tilburg, Netherlands
22.4. Hühnermanhattan, Halle, Germany
23.4. Crass Pub, Chemnitz, Germany
24.4. Werk4, Magdeburg, Germany
25.4. Stengade, Copenhagen, Denmark
26.4. Püssy a Go Go, The Liffey, Stockholm, Sweden

Mr. Peter Hayden, Born a Trip (2012)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kimi Kärki of Lord Vicar

Posted in Questionnaire on March 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

As Peter Vicar in Reverend Bizarre, guitarist Kimi Kärki helped to start a wave of traditional doom in Europe during the mid-’90s that continues to this day. That Finnish outfit’s influence has endured even after their split in 2007 following the release of their last album, III: So Long Suckers – a variety of splits and comps continued to surface for a couple years after — and Kärki‘s career has continued to branch out, working with former Saint Vitus and now Goatess frontman Chritus Linderson in the righteously doomed Lord Vicar as well as putting out new material from the Reverend Bizarre-concurrent project Orne, founding and exploring psychedelic experimentation in E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, playing with Uhrijuhla and working as a coordinator at the University of Turku. Late last year, Svart Records released his solo debut, The Bone of My Bones (streamed here), on which Kärki showcased progressive folk songwriting to create evocative and deeply resonant atmospheres.

Last month, Svart issued a 4LP edition of III: So Long Suckers with expanded liner notes in memory of Reverend Bizarre‘s legacy, and E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr are slated to appear at Roadburn next month.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kimi Kärki

How did you come to do what you do?

Because it felt right. I followed my intuition and walked on the footsteps of the giants.

Describe your first musical memory.

It is hearing my mother sing a classic lullaby “Sininen uni” (Blue dream), originally sung by legendary Finnish javelin athlete and singer Tapio Rautavaara, the text being a poem by P. Mustapää. I love that song and sing it to my own children now. Here:

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Hard to pick up the best… Perhaps hearing the master of In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend for the first time, or the first time I saw people in the audience singing my lyrics.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Every day.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

To a better focus, deeper musical layers, profound lyrics and sometimes an early grave.

How do you define success?

That I feel pleased with what I have done, can love and be loved, and survive the tests of living.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Images of parents carrying their dead children, that is the ultimate horror.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A theme album which is musically solid and has a coherent, emotionally touching narrative.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Finishing my Ph.D., finally.

Kimi Kärki, “I am Aries” from The Bone of My Bones (2013)

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Harvest Bell, Wheel of Foretaste EP: Building the Habit

Posted in Reviews on February 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

By the time the 16-plus minutes of Harvest Bell‘s Wheel of Foretaste EP are through, the most surprising thing about the three-track outing is that it’s not longer. The Finnish five-piece made their debut in 2010 with another EP, Wooden Stone, and Wheel of Foretaste finds them aligned to BloodRock Records and easily, smoothly blurring the lines between traditional doom metal and heavy rock. Alternately brooding and brash, “Salutation” (6:16), “Afterglow” (6:43) and “Too Hard a Habit” (3:32) seem to play as much to the solitary metal melancholies of classic doom as they do to beer-spilling, fist-pumping sing-alongs. Each of the three cuts offers a different take, and in that, Wheel of Foretaste does well to showcase Harvest Bell‘s songwriting and the stylistic breadth that comes through in the material. It does not repeat itself, but nor is it unhinged or too all over the place to the point of sound like the band is just haphazardly playing styles off each other. That’s not the case, and that becomes apparent from the time 4:28 into “Salutation”‘s total 6:16 when, following a well-timed grunt from vocalist Jussi Helle and guitarist Tuomas Heinonen, they kick into straight-ahead faster riffing to cap the remainder of the song. And it’s not just that they do it, but also how smoothly they make the transition, Helle, Heinonen, guitarist Petri Härmä, bassist Jarno Mäkinen and drummer Juho Alhola all switching gears in unison to bask in a righteous heavy rock thrust.

There might be some doom heads who prefer to remain in the steady plod of the song’s earlier going, but from where I sit, the sudden change is like a wake-up call for listeners that Harvest Bell aren’t content just to stick to one side or the other, and more importantly, that they can make a song work in playing to both. Keyboards from Aki Laaksonen in the first two-thirds and a blend in the solo section around the midpoint of acoustic and electric guitars — Heinonen and Härmä seem to trade leads as the song transitions back to the verse — insure that even if they were to doom out all the way through, they’d be doing so with character, but the more rocking side comes as something of a surprise the first time through (I can’t help but feel in writing this review I’m giving away spoilers by talking about it), Helle transitions no less smoothly to the faster pace than anyone else in the band, and Mäkinen‘s fills add an element of bluesy class that seem like a victory lap after the stylistic jump Harvest Bell just landed. Or maybe the victory lap arrives in “Afterglow,” which sets moody doom acoustics — again, much enriched by the keys — and a memorable chorus up to threaten heavier surge and then pull back before actually delivering the blow. Ultimately, it’s that restraint that winds up making “Afterglow” all the heavier when it hits, but the track is also more than just waiting for the distortion to kick in. Alhola delivers a clinic on drums, both holding a tension and punctuating the intricate guitar work in the early going while the bass and keys provide a steady foundation, and Helle‘s vocals have an almost New Wave inflection that add a goth flair before fuzzier guitars launch into full-on doom with just over a minute to go. If nothing else, Harvest Bell seem keen on a big finish.

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Mansion’s We Shall Live to See Vinyl Release on Jan. 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

After selling completely through a run of limited CD-R copies of their We Shall Live debut EP (review here), Finnish conceptual cult rockers — that is, they’re not just a cult, but they’re a specific, historical cult; look it up, it’s fun — Mansion have announced that Streaks Records has picked up the four-songer for a vinyl edition that’s set to release on Jan. 24. Once again, the theorem is proved that religion is very, very creepy.

Mansion are set to play Roadburn this year as well, and are reportedly preparing their first long-player for release in time to mark the occasion. More on that as it comes, but before the vinyl sells out, here’s this:

Mansion / We Shall Live EP to be reissued on vinyl by Streaks Records.

(STREAK#21), release date 24.1.2014

The sold out, sought for and self- released debut of the Finnish cult rockers Mansion, i.e. the We Shall Live EP, is now resurrected in the form of a second pressing by Streaks Records. The second coming arrives with an insert of the lyrics to the song We Shall Live for chanting lessons to the new cult followers.

”After my copy of their limited private released debut vinyl showed signs of wear from playing it over and over again, I had to ask the band to rerelease their “We shall live” 12″ EP to make this outstanding piece of art available to a wider audience. Their historically realistic, somehow creepy yet morally righteous concept of Cult Rock that is based around the austere christian cult Kartanoism that existed in Finland between the twenties and fifties, hit me instantly and impressed me deeply. The music perfectly mirrors this atmosphere, presenting the songs like sermons that hem oneself in but beguile as well with its catchy melodies. The arrangements are elaborate and the voice of the frontwoman, named Alma after the original mother that founded the cult, creates a lot of dramatic tension. A totally focused and cohesive debut that crucially needed a vinyl repress.” -Matthias Wittwer / Streaks Records

Mansion: We Shall Live
Side A: Mother´s Burden / We Shall Live
Side B: Sorrowless / Slumber Sermon

Alma: Vocals, keyboards
Aleksanteri: Keyboards, vocals
Immanuel: Bass
Jaakob: Guitar
Mikael: Drums
Veikko-Tapio: Guitar

Mansion, We Shall Live (2013)

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audiObelisk: Mr Peter Hayden Stream “We Fly High” from New 7″ Single

Posted in audiObelisk on January 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Finnish cosmic doom five-piece Mr. Peter Hayden are nothing if they’re not ambitious. Their debut and sophomore outings, 2010’s Faster than Speed (review here) and 2012’s Born a Trip (review here), comprise the first two installments of a thematic trilogy. Somewhere along the lines of time, matter and… what? Moving beyond them? I’m not quite sure yet, but when their third album, Archdimension Now, arrives in April — a double CD, no less — we’ll have an answer.

Until then, Mr. Peter Hayden have put together a new 7″ titled We Fly High that continues the consuming space-lurch of Born a Trip‘s massive interstellar scope, but unlike that album, which ran a continuous 68 minutes of immersive linearity, there’s a necessary break in the song “We Fly High” to allow for the side A/B swap. The result is that both halves of “We Fly High” offer a convenient sample by which to get a taste of Mr. Peter Hayden‘s style.

And I’ve said it for a while now that these dudes are worth checking out, so if you haven’t, I’m fortunate enough to be able to host side B of “We Fly High” for streaming ahead of the official Jan. 15 release. It has its own flow and progression from the first part of “We Fly High,” so you won’t feel like you’re listening to half a song, and the wash of progressive psychedelia that rises amid the stomp here bodes well for transcendence to come on Archdimension Now.

Mr. Peter Hayden will tour Europe around the release of the new album this spring and have a couple shows lined up for February in Finland. That info and more about the new album follow the track below.

Dig it:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

A-side streaming through Soundi magazine (Finland) here.

What is left when time and form have stepped aside? Shadows of final ideas, light and stream of eternal substance, the tension of final entity? Mr. Peter Hayden have gone through phases and planes of inevitable and come across their final chapter of trilogy. Diving another level deeper and superpositioning their minds the chapter will reach its end in form of a double album, to be released in April 2014.

Although the groups lineup and instrumentation has always been evolving, it has always consisted of very close and connected friends. At the moment the personnel and instruments of choice are: V. Ajomo on synthesizers, L. Kivelä on bass, JP. Koivisto on guitar, T. Santamaa on drums and V. Vatanen on guitar and effects.

During the years of their existence Mr. Peter Hayden has performed live at most of the Finnish clubs and festivals devoted for the psychedelic music. They have also toured Europe and been invited and played at Roadburn Festival. During spring 2014 they will tour in Scandinavia and come back to Central Europe.

Mr. Peter Hayden live:
15-02-14 Hyberporea, Lepakkomies, Helsinki
14-02-14 Bar15, Seinäjoki

Mr. Peter Hayden on Thee Facebooks

Mr. Peter Hayden on Bandcamp

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Mangoo Release The Road to Calabash Tour Documentary

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

In Oct. 2013, Finnish heavy psych rockers Mangoo set about on a tour that took them from England, to France, to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium alongside UK-based heavy proggers Enos and Marseille riffers Rescue Rangers. Now, it’s not out of the ordinary that some manner of video footage from the tour would surface — a cellphone clip of some inside-joke shenanigans or of course the always-welcome staple of gig videos, sound quality in varying levels of blown out. Shaky-cam galore.

Mangoo play it a little differently. On New Year’s Day, the Turku five-piece released The Road to Calabash, a documentary that shares its name with the tour itself and which chronicles the three bands’ 12 days on the road together, directed by Mangoo guitarist/vocalist Pickles and filmed by him as well, along with drummer/vocalist Teemu. Not surprisingly, Mangoo‘s music features pretty heavily, but you can get away with that when it’s your documentary and you shot, edited and toured the whole thing.

I don’t know if following them across Europe for 12-days-distilled-to-70-minutes is the best way to get introduced if you haven’t already heard the band, but it’s a cool project anyway and worth checking out:

Mangoo, The Road to Calabash tour documentary

In late 2013 the band Mangoo toured the rock clubs of Europe, this is the documented story.

Directed by Pickles
Filmed by Pickles and Teemu
Edited by Pickles
Produced by Pickles
Visual Effects Supervisor Pickles

Mangoo are:
Vocals, Guitar Pickles
Bass, Vocals Igor
Drums, Vocals Teemu
Lead Guitar Mattarn
Synths, Vocals Nicke

Enos are:
Vocals and Guitar Chris
Guitar Sean
Bass Bungle
Drums Sparky

Rescue Rangers are:
Vocals and Guitar Pascal
Drums Pierr
Bass Christophe

Mangoo and Isaak appears courtesy of Small Stone Recordings
Enos appears courtesy of Stargun music
Rescue Rangers appears courtesy of Trendkill Recordings

Mangoo Website

Mangoo on Thee Facebooks

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Harvest Bell Sign to Bloodrock Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Few phrases in the heavy underground offer as immediate an association as “Finnish trad doom,” and while if you weren’t thinking about Reverend Bizarre before, you probably are now, Turku five-piece Harvest Bell are on something of a different wavelength, avoiding some of the Sabbath worship in favor of more classically progressive fare. It’s a fine line, maybe, but the distinction works out to be somewhat less minute with the actual audio itself, as Harvest Bell showcase in “Salutation” below. Word has just come down the PR wire that the band will release their next outing, an EP called Wheel of Foretaste, through Italy’s Bloodrock Records.

Bloodrock Records – of course named for the heavy ’70s rock band from Texas — is somehow affiliated with Black Widow Records, but I don’t know exactly what the nature of that relationship is. Both seem to put out some cool stuff. While I dig into that matter and see what I can find out, dig the announcement of the signing and Wheel of Foretaste release below, which the band sent over:

HARVEST BELL has made a record deal with Italian BLOODROCK RECORDS

Finnish doom rock group Harvest Bell has made a record deal with Italian BloodRock Records. As a result the band will be releasing an EP called Wheel of Foretaste in both vinyl and CD formats.

Founded in 2006, Harvest Bell combines heavily rolling riffs with atmospheric melodies strewed with a touch of psychedelia. Harvest Bell has previously released Wooden Stone EP. The band’s lineup is Jussi Helle (vocals), Petri Härmä (guitar), Tuomas Heinonen (guitar), Jarno Mäkinen (bass) and Juho Alhola (drums).

Harvest Bell, “Salutation”

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audiObelisk: Stream Kimi Kärki’s The Bone of My Bones in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on December 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Bone of My Bones is the first solo album from Lord Vicar guitarist Kimi Kärki — whose impressive resume also includes current tenure in Uhrijuhla, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, Orne and a past playing under the moniker Peter Vicar in Finnish trad doom forebears Reverend Bizarre — and it is out now on Svart Records in gatefold LP and CD. It is an album that lives up to its title. Acoustic, minimal in its arrangements despite flourish of organ alongside Kärki‘s guitar and a host of guest vocalists, it proves indeed to be a deeply personal, deeply internal offering, comprising seven songs and 36 minutes of contemplative searching, a process that seems to be discovering the musical atmosphere even as it constructs it. That’s not to say songs like “My Name is Free,” “Red Rooster” and “Archipelago” are lacking in structure or progression, just that it becomes clear over the course of The Bone of My Bones that Kärki is building his sound from the ground up, and this is the beginning of that process.

“Young Goodman Brown” touches some on the melody of Led Zeppelin‘s “No Quarter,” and there are other flourishes of ’70s era progressive and psychedelic folk to be found throughout, but the richness of The Bone of My Bones comes from the humanity of the effort more than any particular lushness of sound, though a bit of swirl emerges on the nine-minute closer “Taxiarch” with wisps of electric leads curling around a steady acoustic line. As a vocalist, Kärki seems most comfortable in a semi-spoken lower register, but he pushes himself to expand beyond it right from the start in opener  “I am Aries,” and the additional contributions of Mat McNerney (of Svart labelmates Hexvessel), Anna-Elena Pääkkölä and Pirita Känkänen enrich the song’s ambience, bringing it somewhat out of Kärki‘s own experience and into a place where the listener can engage with it on another level. The launch of the album is just one of the high points, as Kärki elicits a melancholy sense of meditation without getting lost in neo-folk pretense or giving up songwriting for the experiment. True to its Edward Coley Burne-Jones cover art, The Tree of Forgiveness (1882), it has a classical feel.

And though the prevailing sense is that Kärki is laying the groundwork with The Bone of My Bones to, say, return to the form later and flesh it out, having that impression does nothing to diminish the appeal of his solo debut. Please find The Bone of My Bones on the player below and enjoy:

Kimi Kärki, The Bone of My Bones

Kimi Kärki‘s The Bone of My Bones was released Dec. 5 through Svart on CD and LP. More info at the links.

Kimi Kärki at Svart Records

Kimi Kärki on Thee Facebooks

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