Kimi Kärki to Release Eye for an Eye Aug. 18

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kimi karki

Along with the recent announcement that his band Lord Vicar will doom out atop the bill of the inaugural Emerald Haze festival this September in Dublin (info here) comes word that Finnish guitarist Kimi Kärki — also ex-Reverend Bizarre, Orne, and so on — will release a second solo long-player in August. Eye for an Eye, which is up for preorder now through respected purveyor Svart Records, is the follow-up to Kärki‘s 2013 solo debut, The Bone of My Bones (streamed here), which brought to bear an array of atmospheric and folkish melodies, presented raw and as honest as could be.

Going by the description below, it seems more might be in store arrangement-wise for Eye for an Eye, but with the second circular title and all it doesn’t seem unlikely there will be some continuity between the albums either. I look forward to finding out.

From the social medias:

kimi karki eye for an eye

Kimi Kärki – Eye for an Eye

Kimi Kärki: Eye For An Eye will be out in Friday the 18th of August, 2017. CD, LP, Digital via Svart Records, Finland. Also available from that cool record store near YOU. Preorder: https://www.svartrecords.com/product/eye-for-an-eye/

Kimi Kärki is a Finnish cultural historian, guitar player and singer-songwriter. Known for his versatile guitar playing and sombre compositions for Reverend Bizarre, Lord Vicar, Orne, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, and, most recently, Uhrijuhla, Kärki has developed his recognisable playing style within doom metal, progressive, folk, and electric ambient scenes. This variety of mostly underground styles reflects the open and intuitive approach to music, which is in the very heart of Kärki’s craft.

Eye for an Eye is Kärki’s second singer-songwriter album. It is a follow-up to The Bone of My Bones, a 2013 effort that was also released by Svart Records. When the first one was built on 12-string guitar foundation, this time things are even more intimate, personal and heartfelt, the songs are played with warm nylon string tones that come closer to the listener. But that heart is supported by a rich decoration of other sounds and harmonies.

The stories told on this record are romantic, in the old meaning of the world. They have their origins in both lived life and what could be called the Dreaming, but also resonate the culture that surrounds the dreamer. Both the pain and the joy are real. Give these songs some time, and they might heal you a bit, just like they healed the songwriter himself. Please listen loud, and preferably when you can forget everything else for a while. Even the silences speak volumes here.

To maximise the listening pleasure, Kärki again decided to invite some friends to contribute additional guest vocals. Patrick Walker is best known as the emotional vocalist and songwriter of both Warning and 40 Watt Sun, and John Richardson — who just released his superb debut album on Svart Records — is an old school musician and the Professor of Musicology at University of Turku. He was already heard on the first album, just like the two stunning female vocalists, Anna-Elena Pääkkölä and Pirita Känkänen, whose clear harmonies juxtapose Kärki’s sombre delivery. The album was again engineered by Joona Lukala. The collaboration with this sharp-eared audio wizard helped Kärki to realise the ambitious aural stories as intended — enjoy Eye for an Eye.

https://www.facebook.com/kimi.karki
https://www.facebook.com/lordvicar/
https://www.svartrecords.com/product/eye-for-an-eye/
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Kimi Kärki, The Bone of My Bones (2013)

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Cardinals Folly to Release Deranged Pagan Sons this Fall; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Filth-laden Finnish doomers Cardinals Folly will release their fourth album, Deranged Pagan Sons, this September or thereabouts. With all the grit of Saint Vitus, the brash epic fuckall of Reverend Bizarre and a healthy dose of medieval skullcrushery to boot, the Helsinki three-piece have unveiled the track “Worship Her Fire” for streaming and as you can hear below, they’re more than well-schooled in the tenets of the doom they’re conveying. That said, I think my favorite moment might be when they slink into harsher vocals and give the song an even more malevolent, misanthropic vibe while still keeping their fist in the air, middle finger up at the universe in general.

You can check out the track below, at the bottom of this post — do it. Deranged Pagan Sons is out this fall via Nine Records and Topillo Records, as the PR wire explains:

cardinals-folly-deranged-pagan-sons

Cardinals Folly – Deranged Pagan Sons

CARDINALS FOLLY to unleash 4th album “Deranged Pagan Sons” through Nine and Topillo Records this fall!

Finland´s dark princes of the riff, doom metal cult CARDINALS FOLLY will unleash their 4th album “Deranged Pagan Sons” through Polish Nine Records on CD and via Spanish Topillo on LP around September 2017.

Dabbling in the world of occultism, weird tales, pagan rites and luciferian depravity, the band has recorded an album consisting 8 powerful, even wild anthems of heavy doom and metal mastery, that never let their savage grip go, despite of going on a varied 48-minute fiery ´n´ groovy metal adventure, where the only rule is to doom in, drop out, rock hard & stay true.

Previous album “Holocaust of Ecstasy & Freedom” (Shadow Kingdom Records, 2016) paved the way to this fulfillment of their doomed art, where every song rolls by like a megafauna of a bygone age.The doom metal underground sometimes seems packed with toothless sheep, so it is great to spend some time with wolves. Laughing off the shackles of the latest trends or retro gimmicks, Helsinki trio Cardinals Folly bring an energy and inventiveness to the genre that is authentic and unique. Drink from this chalice and give your body and mind to the old gods.

https://www.facebook.com/cardinalsfolly/
http://cardinalsfolly.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Topillo-Records-1764622050423677/
http://www.topillo.es/
https://ninerecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/NineRecords

Cardinals Folly, “Worship Her Fire”

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PH Post “We Fly High” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ph photo Elias Jokiranta

It’s hardly a we’re-a-band-in-our-rehearsal-space-with-a-GoPro-or-two kind of video, but if that’s what you’d expect from Finnish post-everything experimentalists PH — formerly Mr. Peter Hayden — then you probably haven’t been paying attention. After swapping out their moniker for the simple two letters that have served as their luminescent on-stage logo for their years together, the group aligned with respected purveyor Svart Records for a somewhat unexpected fourth outing, Eternal Hayden (review here), earlier this year, moving themselves beyond a stated trilogy of full-lengths and essentially beginning a new era for the band.

Some of that, I think even they would admit, is bookkeeping. Mr. Peter Hayden offered a thematic stretch across 2010’s Faster than Speed (review here), 2012’s Born a Trip (review here) and 2014’s Archdimension Now (review here), to be sure, and no shortage of sprawl in their drone-laden process, and as they look back at what they’ve accomplished — to wit, the 16-minute opener of Eternal Hayden is called “Looking back at Mr. Peter Hayden” — they’re conscious as well of the need for sonic progression. Hence the corresponding later cuts “Reach,” “Higher,” and “Rock and Roll Future.” These songs are aspirational, looking forward, and that puts second track “We Fly High” right where it belongs: in the present tense.

At a seven-minute lumber, “We Fly High” makes an excellent representation for where PH are in this moment of transition that Eternal Hayden captures. They’ve already gotten some mileage out of the piece, having previously released it as a single in 2014 (streamed here), but as well as it suits their purposes one can hardly argue against its inclusion on the record as well. It earns its spot, in other words. As for the video, it’s much more of an ambient visualization than the standard fare, put together by Jonne Pitkänen as the kind of thing that might appear on a screen behind the group as they play live, mostly in the dark from my experience, with light flashing from the aforementioned logo. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing them, it’s quite a trip.

In any case, a couple months now removed from the release of Eternal Hayden, I’m happy to have this excuse to sit again and fill my brain to the point of explosion with its atmospheric intensity, and if you’d like to do the same — and I know you would — you can check out “We Fly High” below. Come on, you’ve got seven minutes in your day to give over to mind expansion. You know you do.

PR wire info follows the video. Please enjoy:

PH, “We Fly High” visualization

From album Eternal Hayden.

Visual magick performed by Jonne Pitkänen with his all-analog self-crafted gear.

Finnish meta-rocking freebirds Mr. Peter Hayden, now referring to themselves just by their PH-insignia, are back with a new album. Their fourth full-length Eternal Hayden is released through Svart Records on March 10th 2017.

“This album is all about letting go and achieving, reaching something more after giving up everything. It is a guide to spiritual growth, ascension and overall progression towards freedom. At the same time it is a pre-written vision coming true aptly depicting our journey as a band and a spiritual entity.”

Eternal Hayden is the capstone, not only for their discography so far, but also for their whole existence. Their return from the voyage through trilogy of albums exploring the depths of mind, time and dimensions finally to reveal what it was all about. This album is everything they have ever done before and fair share of what they are going towards in the future, but performed in a manner none of the earlier albums were. It’s as much a return to the time before the trilogy as it is a brand new start, the future and the past.

PH on Thee Facebooks

PH on Instagram

PH on Twitter

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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Church of Void to Release New Album on Argonauta Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The apparently-ever-growing lineup of Argonauta Records gets just a bit doomier with the addition of Finland’s Church of Void. Okay, it gets a lot doomier. The traditional-rolling downer-riffers released their debut album in 2013 on Svart, and after a split last year with Cardinal’s Folly and Acolytes of Moros the tracks from which you can hear at the bottom of this post, they’ll bring their next full-length to bear later this year. To hear the PR wire tell it below, the record’s already been recorded. That’s a decent start, to be sure.

No word on a release date yet — I guess with the hurdle of recording already conquered, there isn’t a rush — but when and if I hear more I’ll let you know. In the meantime, Argonauta announced the acquisition of the five-piece thusly:

church of void

Thrilled to announce to have inked a deal with Finnish Doomers Church Of Void!

Hailing from the barren wasteland of Finland, Church of Void is a five men doom rock band. Founded in 2010 by vocalist Magus Corvus and G. Funeral (Ex-Horna, Battlelore), the band’s first sign of life was the limited run EP ‘Winter Is Coming’.

With a 2013 LP, released by Finland’s own Svart Records, and a handful of split releases, the band have found a new home in Italian Argonauta Records. These usually grievous Finns are pleased that their already recorded new full length is being released by this Mediterranean label.

Drawing influence from traditional doom such as Saint Vitus and Pentagram as well as grim rockers like Mana Mana, Church of Void blend their music into upbeat killers, slow-as-snail crushers and vintage hard rock. With five strong songwriters and performers Church of Void is an act to recognize, people either love or loathe them.

Church of Void has left its mark on Finnish doom in addition to bringing grief and ecstasy to other European nations such as Estonian, Swedes and Brits.

Church of Void is looking forward to play in your local CD player. More info will follow soon.

https://www.facebook.com/churchofvoid
http://churchofvoid.bandcamp.com/
http://www.churchofvoid.com/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/

Church of Void, Coalition of the Anathematized (2016)

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Friday Full-Length: Amorphis, Tuonela

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Amorphis, Tuonela (1999)

I’m not even gonna feign impartiality on this one. I love this album, and that’s why we’re ending the week with it. Finland’s Amorphis released Tuonela in 1999 on Relapse Records. It was their fourth full-length, and like the preceding 1996 outing, Elegy — which was a landmark in a discography that continues to grow — it stepped away from the deathly beginnings of their earliest works in 1992’s debut LP, The Karelian Isthmus, 1993’s Privilege of Evil EP and 1994’s sophomore outing, Tales from the Thousand Lakes, which for many is the standard by which the rest of their catalog is measured. Many, but not me. I love Tuonela like I’ve loved few records in my life. It’s my ultimate springtime album, and as we move this coming week into May, I can’t help but return to it once again to pay seasonal homage.

The last decade or so — really since 2006’s Eclipse; we’ll get there — has found Amorphis settled into a blend of nuanced folk-informed progressive rock and death metal, and while in large part the model they’ve been following has been based on Elegy, from where I sit, Tuonela hit the stylistic meld better. It doesn’t go as far into melodic heavy rock as either of the two subsequent albums, 2001’s also-stellar Am Universum and 2003’s somewhat meandering Far from the Sun — the highlight of which was an acoustic bonus track of the title-cut — but Tuonela songs like opener “The Way,” “Divinity,” “Morning Star,” wistful-but-still-rocking closer “Summer’s End” and the one-into-the-next pair of “Tuonela” and “Greed” at the heart of the offering are absolute standouts in their energy and execution, driven by memorable songwriting and what was then a course of progression that proceeded across everything Amorphis released. If inclined, one could chart Amorphis‘ growth from one record into the following with little trouble; from their raw beginnings, they became a band of wide melodic range and progressive mentality. The classic heavy rock organ added to “Morning Star” and “Shining” for example, or the nuanced push of the riff to “Nightfall” and the later choppy swirl of “Withered” — all of these feed into a linear, very-much-of-the-CD-era 46-minute flow that, for me, distinguishes Tuonela not only as a collection of great songs, but also a fluid and complete work best appreciated in its front-to-back entirety.

I’m not sure I can emphasize how much of an impact Tuonela had on me personally when I first heard it. I was recently asked by Sander van den Driesche of the site Echoes and Dust to list three of the records that most affected me, and I put Tuonela on that list. A teenager at the time, I’d never heard anything like “Greed” — so heavy, so extreme with its death growls, and yet still psychedelic, traditional in its songwriting, and, perhaps most pivotal, it had that sitar. That sitar. It was the moment at which the Beatles fan and the headbanger in me reconciled, found the middle ground between them, and wanted to explore it further. I won’t take anything away from what Amorphis — at the time comprised of vocalist Pasi Koskinen, guitarists Esa Holopainen (lead) and Tomi Koivusaari (rhythm, also sitar), bassist Olli-Pekka Laine and drummer Pekka Kasari, plus keys from Santeri Kallio — accomplished on cuts like “Rusty Moon,” with the guest flute from Sakari Kukko, whose sax also adds to “Nightfall” and the title-track earlier, or on the moody “Summer’s End” at the finish, but I still get chills when I hear “Greed” in spring. At this point, I don’t even remember where that association comes from. I just know the season has arrived when it’s time to put on Amorphis. And so it is.

Amorphis had a dramatic shift alluded to above that led to 2006’s Eclipse, which marked the end of the tenure of Pasi Koskinen — who was also in heavy rockers Mannhai and can currently be found in extremists Ajattara, whose new album, Lupaus, is out next month on Svart Records — as they brought in new frontman Tomi Joutsen in 2004. Joutsen has been with them ever since, and his arrival would seem to have coincided with a decision on the part of HolopainenKoivusaari and company to develop along the clearer path of melodic and progressive death metal. In revisiting Tuonela, I also took the opportunity to dig into — and purchase the tour edition of — the latest Amorphis full-length, 2015’s Under the Red Cloud (they’re currently on Nuclear Blast and have been since Far from the Sun), and after 2013’s Circle, 2011’s The Beginning of Times, 2009’s Skyforger and 2007’s Silent Waters, plus a steady stream of compilations, EPs, splits and live albums, they’ve pretty much nailed it. They just finished a US tour with fellow Finns Swallow the Sun. I wish I’d gone to see them. It’s been more than a decade since I caught their show at B.B. King’s in New York, when Joutsen was new to the lineup. It was a Sunday. I’d flown back from SXSW in Texas the same day. They opened with “Greed.” It was glorious.

Truth is, I could go on. About this band, about this record. I haven’t written much about them on this site in years past, but they’re a group who’ve greatly influenced the direction of my musical taste and for that I’ll always be happy to return to Tuonela as we move out of the winter dread and into the time of new life that invariably follows.

As ever, I hope you enjoy.

jj and falk-hagen at roadburn 2017 (photo jens wassmuth)While we’re reminiscing, the photo of me just to the right here was taken last weekend by Jens Wassmuth at this year’s Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands. If you missed the coverage of the fest, it’s all here and thanks if you did get to check any of it out or if you decide to do so.

Now, if you’re someone who’s followed this site for any amount of time you’ll know I’m loathe to post pictures of myself. It simply doesn’t happen. I could tell you the exact last time I did it, but I don’t want to, because that’s how much I don’t like to see pics of me around this place. I’ll take all the album covers in the world (preferably those sans cartoon tits) before a shot of my ugly mug. Just how it goes.

I’m on the left there, watching Warning on the Main Stage, and you can also see the esteemed Falk-Hagen Bernshausen on the right. The reason I’ve put this picture here is because of the t-shirt I’m wearing. He didn’t know it at the time, but Jens captured a special moment for me in taking this shot. I wore that Brant Bjork and the Bros. shirt on my honeymoon in 2005 to Rome, and there are all kinds of proto-selfies of The Patient Mrs. and I to prove it.

As time passed, the shirt no longer fit me and I basically haven’t been able to wear it since until recently. It was one of several special shirts — an Anathema shirt for A Fine Day to Exit that I’ve had since college, a Neurosis shirt for The Eye of Every Storm that I bought at their 2004 Philly show that never fit me until now — that I brought with me to Roadburn this year, sort of as a personal landmark.

I’ve struggled with weight issues my entire life and I expect I’ll continue to for as long as I live. Even putting it in those terms undersells my past and current history of body dysmorphia, disordered eating, persistent self-loathing, and so on. However, since Dec. 2015, I’ve lost 168 pounds (as of this morning’s weigh-in) — more than half my body weight when I started out — and bringing these shirts to Roadburn was my small way of celebrating that effort with myself.

It’s not the kind of allowance I often let myself make. I’ve no doubt that at some point I’ll gain every single one of the pounds I’ve lost back, which is why I get sad when people say things like, “You look awesome now,” or get uncomfortable when someone wants to talk about it, but wearing these shirts was a rare kind of celebration for me, and I’m honored to have that moment captured by someone so talented and kind as Jens, even if he was just responding to Andy from Clamfight on Thee Facebooks being a smartass and saying someone should take my picture in the photo pit. So thanks to Jens for that. That’s what’s up with that picture.

Crazy times this week, getting back to work and back into the swing of life in general post-Roadburn. Still a lot to catch up on at work, which if I’m 100 percent honest, I’m somewhat less motivated toward since finding out the job ends in June. As a temp/contract worker, I’ve basically been on a year-long job interview. Bummer to know that, in the end, I flubbed it. So it goes.

Still, one presses on with tasks at hand. Speaking of, here’s what’s in my notes for around these parts next week, subject to change as always:

Mon.: Sun Blood Stories review, Soldati video premiere & big announcement from Bison Machine.
Tue.: L.M.I. review/track premiere, new-ish Ides of Gemini video and Lords of Beacon House announcement.
Wed.: Blackout review/track premiere, maybe a video premiere for The Riven.
Thu.: Samsara Blues Experiment review.
Fri.: Six Dumb Questions and album stream of the new From Oceans to Autumn.

Busy enough, I think. I’ve gotten a few kind comments on bringing back the Six Dumb Questions features, and I think I’m going to continue that at least for the time being, so look out for more in the weeks and months ahead.

I’ve also started slating releases for the next Quarterly Review, which will be in June. It’ll be here before you (or I) know it, to be sure.

In the meantime, I’d like to wrap up this week by saying thank you again for reading. Last weekend being Roadburn, this is a special time of year for me and if you’ve been a part of it at all, I cannot properly express how deeply I appreciate that. Thank you. There are days where I feel like I have nothing else to offer but this. Really. So to have you be involved is humbling in a way that I find continually dumbfounding and humbling.

Much love. All the love.

Have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Barren Womb Premiere “Freak Flag” Video; Crown Control EP out April 22

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

barren womb

With two full-lengths under their belt of skin-peeling noise rock, Trondheim, Norway, duo Barren Womb offer an aesthetic shift with their upcoming Record Store Day EP, Crown Control. Set for release April 22 through All Good Clean Records (distribution through Stickman), the five-track trades distorted guitar for banjo and adopts a neofolk and Americana stylization that removes the traces of post-Kvelertak black ‘n’ roll that otherwise make themselves felt in their sound. True, a song like “Devil Run the Game” from their 2015 sophomore long-player, Nique Everything, did much the same, but Crown Control brings this more into focus and is a more brazen move away from weighted sonic impact.

For example, listening to “Freak Flag,” for which Barren Womb have a new video premiering below, my most immediate comparison point for what Timo Silvola and Tony Gonzahl are doing is 16 Horsepower‘s “Straw Foot,” and that doesn’t feel like an accident on the band’s part. To listen to the lyrics of “Freak Flag,” there’s plenty of disaffection on offer, as well as some willfully less-than-charming raunch, but where they end up gets to the underlying message at the heart of the song. After urging an audience toward what they call “the dark side” and “the cool side” in the chorus, they finish with the lines, “…Because the worst is the best in a hive mind/And no one should have nothing to hide.”

What that last couplet lacks in grammar, it makes up in justifying the song’s overarching sense of alienation, and it seems that loud or quiet, Barren Womb bring a purpose to their material that’s about making a statement at least as much about conveying the wretchedness driving them toward that statement in the first place. I haven’t heard the rest of Crown Control, but there’s definitely an element of critique in the “Freak Flag” video as well, which features more hot dog eating than I, even as an American — and all we do is eat hot dogs; well, that and wars of aggression, anyway — have seen in a while, and a bit of NSFW-ness for decent measure.

Just a heads up on that.

Barren Womb‘s Crown Control is out April 22 and can be preordered now from All Good Clean Records. PR wire info follows the clip below.

Please enjoy:

Barren Womb, “Freak Flag” official video (NSFW)

Directed by Hanna Fauske.
From the EP “Crown Control” available now on All Good Clean Records.

On April 22nd, Records Store Day, the Trondheim-based power duo Barren Womb will release Crown Control, an EP somewhat out of the ordinary for the duo.

Lyrically it’s still rooted in their usual bleak universe, but the distorted guitars and drums have mostly been replaced by banjo and acoustic guitars. Crown Control comprises 5 winding, misanthropic tracks in the Dark Americana-/Folk-tradition, and will be released by All Good Clean Records.

The first hundred copies will be released as a special handnumbered edition including a signed insert and lyrics sheet.

Crown Control preorder at All Good Clean Records

Barren Womb on Thee Facebooks

Barren Womb on Twitter

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Blowup Vol. 3 First Announcements: Spiritus Mortis, Ufomammut and Phurpa Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

No doubt Helsinki-based fest Blowup Vol. 3 will continue to take shape over the next couple months — October is still a ways off — but they make a strong opening statement anyhow. We already knew that Italian cosmic doomers Ufomammut would be on the road supporting their new album, 8, which is out in September (info here), but to find the homage paid to native Finnish doom in welcoming Spiritus Mortis, which features former Reverend Bizarre vocalist Sami Hynninen, is particularly in keeping with tradition. I’ll admit I don’t really know Russian outfit Phurpa, but their name is incredible enough to warrant investigation. I’ll get on it. Like with the Bandcamp stream at the bottom of this post. That’ll be a good place to start.

The info below was run through an internet giant’s translation matrix, so take it more as a work of linguistic impressionism rather than pure technicality, but the dates and links and band names are right, so I think the important parts are covered.

Dig it:

blowup vol 3 banner

Blowup Vol. 3 Helsinki, Korjaamo

October 13 – October 15

Korjaamo
Töölönkatu 51, 00250 Helsinki

Confirmed acts acts so far are:

Phurpa (RUS)
Spiritus Mortis (FIN)
Ufomammut (ITA)

This October, Helsinki is again on the hardest place to be.

Blowup festival was created to meet the autumn gaping vacuum of doom and other marginal, experimental heavy music lovers in the calendar. The number of visitors and the feedback received has shown that there is a demand for the event. Blowup Vol. 3 will be held from 13 to 14.10. at Korjaamo in Helsinki.

Vaunusali has served as the main venue of the festival successfully. the spirit of the underground exude an event, but so organized professionally manicured evenings have attracted incense for both customers and artists alike.

In previous occasions we have seen blowup genres international top names such as Ufomammut, Year of No Light, 40 Watt Sun, Conan and Lucifer, as well as domestic artists such as Skepticism, Callisto and Emma-candidate Oranssi Pazuzu.

This year, Blowup Vol. 3 of the festival artists presents a visual artist Tekla Vályn photographs. “Close of each artist into the dark space, where I spent hours listening to music and watching the darkness. The works are the fruits of darkness, generated by the music and visions of darkness KALEIDOSCOPE” The first artists are Ufomammut, Phurpa and Spiritus Mortis.

Ufomammut (ITA)
Ufohavaintoja have been reported in the 2010s, repeatedly in Finland. And rightly so, because italialaistriolla has played an important role in both of these latitudes doom / stoner popularity of the ground work that Blow Up That Gramophone story. Helsinki arrival Ufomammut is topical once again, because of massive riffs and psychedelic moods business card featuring a band has just finished their new album.

PHURPA (RUS)
The ritual is a word with many bands now like to describe gigs. Phurpan in connection with any other word does not come to mind. Echoes from Tibet, Tantric esoteriaa, mantras throat, voice skulls. Phurpa is a terrorist mind. An explosion of fragments of consciousness after the occurrence of the enlarged Pick it all makes sense.

Spiritus Mortis (FIN)
Finnish doom metal list can not talk about without mentioning two bands: laid the groundwork for Spiritus Mortis and magnitude that brought Reverend Bizarre. Blowup will be like ouroboros experiences, because the latter vocalist Sami Hynninen aka Albert Witchfinder occurs for the last time the ranks.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1281525598564862/
https://www.facebook.com/blowupthatgramophone/
https://www.tiketti.fi/Blowup-Vol-3-Kulttuuritehdas-Korjaamo-vaunusali-Helsinki-lippuja/45471

Phurpa, Trowo Phurnag Ceremony (2015)

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Quarterly Review: Pallbearer, Dread Sovereign, Lizzard Wizzard, Oulu Space Jam Collective, Frozen Planet….1969, Ananda Mida, Strange Broue, Orango, Set and Setting, Dautha

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Here we are, on the precipice looking out over a spread that will include 50 reviews by the week’s end. Somehow when it comes around to a Quarterly Review Monday I always end up taking a moment to ask myself if I’ve truly lost my mind, if I really expect to be able to do this and not fall completely flat on my face, and just where the hell this terrible idea came from in the first place. But you know what? I haven’t flubbed one yet. We get through it. There’s a lot to go through, for me and you both, but sometimes it’s fun to be completely overwhelmed by music. I hope you agree, and I hope you find something this week that hits you in that oh-yeah-that’s-why-I-love-this kind of way. Time’s wasting. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartless

Three albums and nearly a decade into their tenure, Pallbearer stand at the forefront of American doom, and their third outing, Heartless (on Profound Lore), only reinforces this position while at the same time expanding beyond genre lines in ways that even their 2014 sophomore effort, Foundations of Burden, simply couldn’t have done. A seven-song/hour-long sprawl is marked out by resonant melodies, soulful melancholy conveyed by guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell – the returning lineup completed by guitarist Devin Holt, bassist Joseph D. Rowland and drummer Mark Lierly – and tonal weight set to a mix by Joe Barresi, who from opener “I Saw the End” onward arranges layers gorgeously so that extended pieces like “Dancing in Madness” (11:48) and closer “A Plea for Understanding” (12:40) become even more consuming. What comes through most resolute on Heartless, though, is that it’s time to stop thinking of Pallbearer as belonging to some established notion of doom or any other subgenre. With these songs, they make it clear they’ve arrived at their own wavelength and are ready to stand up to the influence they’ve already begun to have on other acts. A significant achievement.

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Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls

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With the considerable frontman presence of Primordial’s Alan Averill on vocals and bass, the considerable riffing of guitarist Bones (also of Wizards of Firetop Mountain) and the considerable lumber in the drumming of Johnny King (ex-Altar of Plagues), Dread Sovereign make some considerable fucking doom indeed. Their second album, For Doom the Bell Tolls (on Ván Records), follows three years behind their debut, 2014’s All Hell’s Martyrs (review here), and wastes no time giving the devil his due – or his doom, if you prefer – in the span of its six tracks and 37 minutes. Atmospheric and seemingly on an endless downward plod, the 13-minute “Twelve Bells Toll in Salem” is a defining moment, but the trad metallurgy of “This World is Doomed” rounds out side A with some welcome thrust, and after the intro “Draped in Sepulchral Fog,” “The Spines of Saturn” and the thrashing “Live Like and Angel, Die Like a Devil” play dramatic and furious intensities off each other in a manner that would seem to truly represent the fine art of not giving a shit what anyone thinks about what you do or what box you’re supposed to fit into. Righteous. Considerably so.

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Ván Records website

 

Lizzard Wizzard, Total War Power Bastard

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Noise, largesse of riffs and shouted vocals that distinctly remind of Souls at Zero-era Neurosis pervade the near-hour-long run of Lizzard Wizzard’s Total War Power Bastard, but as much as the Brisbane four-piece willfully give themselves over to fuckall – to wit, the title “Medusa but She Gets You Stoned Instead of Turning You to Stone, Instead of Snakes She has Vaporizers on His Head… Drugs” – songs like “Shithead Nihilism,” “Pizza” and the droning “Snake Arrow” brim with purpose and prove affecting in their atmosphere and heft alike. Yes, they have a song called “Nerd Smasher,” and they deserve all credit for that as they follow-up their 2013 self-titled (review here), but by the time they get down to the roll-happy “Crystal Balls” and the feedback-caked “Megaflora” at the record’s end, guitarists Michael Clarke and Nick McKeon, bassist Stef Roselli and drummer Luke Osborne end up having done something original with a Sleep influence, and that’s even more commendable.

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Oulu Space Jam Collective, EP1

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Should mention two things outright about Oulu Space Jam Collective’s EP1. First and foremost, its three songs run over 95 minutes long, so if it’s an EP, one can only imagine what qualifies as a “full-length.” Second, the Finnish outfit releasing EP1 on limited tape through Eggs in Aspic isn’t to be confused with Denmark’s Øresund Space Collective. Oulu is someplace else entirely, and likewise, Oulu Space Jam Collective have their own intentions as they show in the 57-minute opener “Renegade Spaceman,” recorded live in the studio in 2014 (they’ve since made two sequels) and presented in six movements including samples, drones, enough swirl for, well, 57 minutes, and a hypnotism that’s nigh on inescapable. I won’t take away from the space rock thrust of 14-minute closer “Artistic Supplies for Moon Paint Mafia” (also tracked in 2014), but the smooth progressive edge of three-part 24-minute centerpiece “Approaching Beast Moon of Baxool” is where it’s at for me – though if you want a whole galaxy to explore, hit up their Bandcamp.

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Frozen Planet…. 1969, Electric Smokehouse

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They freak out a bit toward the end of 12-minute opener “Ascendant” and in the second half of the subsequent “Supersaturation,” but for the most part, Aussie three-piece Frozen Planet…. 1969 play it weirdo-cool on their fourth full-length, the excellently-titled Electric Smokehouse (on Pepper Shaker Records). From those jams to the dreamy beachside drift of “Shores of Oblivion” to the funky-fuzz bass of “Sonic Egg Factory” to the quick noise finish of “Pretty Blown Fuse” – which may or may not be the sound of malfunctioning equipment run through an oscillator or some other effects-whatnot, the instrumentalist Sydney/Canberra trio seem to improv a healthy percentage of their fare, if not all of it, and that spirit of spontaneity feeds into the easygoing atmosphere only enhanced by the cover art. On a superficial level, you know you’re getting psych jams going into it, but once you put on Electric Smokehouse, the urge to get lost in the tracks is nigh on overwhelming, and that proves greatly to their credit. Wake up someplace else.

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Ananda Mida, Anodnatius

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Ananda Mida make their debut on Go Down Records with Anodnatius, fluidly working their way around heavy psychedelic and more driving rock influences propelled by drummer Massimo “Max Ear” Recchia, also of underrated Italian forebears OJM. Here, Recchia anchors a seven-piece lineup including two vocalists in Oscar de Bertoldi and Filippo Leonardi, two guitarists in Matteo Scolaro and Alessandro Tedesco, as well as bassist Davide Bressan and organist Stefano Pasqualetto, so suffice it to say songs like the subtly grungy “Passvas,” the dreamy highlight “Heropas” or the vaguely progressive “Askokinn” want nothing for fullness, but there seem to be moments throughout Anodnatius as on “Lunia” and the shuffling “Kondur” early into the proceedings where the band wants to break out and push toward something heavier. Their restraint is to be commended since it serves the interests of songcraft, but part of me can’t help but wonder what might happen if these guys really let loose on some boogie jams. Keep an ear open to find out, as I have a feeling they might be headed in just that direction.

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Go Down Records website

 

Strange Broue, Seance

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The heart of Séance – The Satanic Sounds of Strange Broue might come in the 11-minute sample dump that is “Cults and Crimes,” late into the second half of the 52-minute album. Capturing meticulously compiled news and talk-show clips from the late ‘80s, some of which talk about the Satanic roots of heavy metal, it gets to the ritualism that Quebec four-piece Strange Broue proliferate elsewhere on the record in the lo-fi post-Electric Wizard doom of “Satan’s Slaves,” “Kill What’s Inside of You” and the rolling opener “Ritualize” (video here). These pieces offset by other interludes of noise and drone and samples like “Satanic Panic,” “In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanis, Luciferi Excelsis,” the acoustic-until-it-gets-shot-in-the-woods “Las Bas,” the John Carpenter-esque “Séance IV – L’Invocation” and the extended penultimate drone of “Séance V – The Mystifying Oracle with Bells” ahead of the countrified pop gospel of “Satan is Real,” which finishes in subversive fashion, interrupted by more news reports and a finishing assault of noise. Like an arts project in the dark arts, Séance crosses some familiar terrain but finds Strange Broue on their own trip through cultish immersion, as psychological as it is psychedelic.

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Orango, The Mules of Nana

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Not much to argue with in the sixth long-player from Helge Kanck, Trond Slåke and Hallvard Gaardløs, collectively known as Orango. As they make their way onto Stickman Records (which also handled Euro distro for their last album, 2014’s Battles) with The Mules of Nana, the Norwegian trio deep-dive into harmony-topped ‘70s-style vibing that, well, leaves the bulk of “retro” bands in their V8-crafted dust. Mind you they do so by not being a retro band. True, the fuzz on “The Honeymoon Song” and “Head on Down” is as organic as if you happened on it in some forest where all the trees were wearing bellbottoms, but if you told me it was true, I’d believe Orango recorded The Mules of Nana onto – gasp! – a computer. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but “Heirs,” the sweetly acoustic “Give Me a Hundred” and motoring “Hazy Chain of Mountains” find Orango making no attempt to cloak a lack of songwriting or performance chops in a production aesthetic. Rather, in the tradition of hi-fi greats, they sound as full and rich as possible and utterly live up to the high standard they set for themselves. Pure win in classic, dynamic fashion.

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Stickman Records website

 

Set and Setting, Reflectionless

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There’s an undercurrent of metal that’s quick to show itself on Set and Setting’s Reflectionless. The instrumentalist Floridian five-piece delve plenty deep into heavy post-rock on cuts like the shoegazing “Incandescent Gleam” and subsequent “Specular Wavefront Of…” but they’re not through opener “Saudade” before harder-edged chug emerges, and “…The Idyllic Realm”’s blastbeating nods at black metal while the churning endgame build of closer “Ephemerality” holds tight to a progressive execution. While its textural foundation will likely ring familiar to followers of Russian Circles ultimately, Reflectionless finds distinction in aligning the various paths it walks as it goes, creating an overarching flow that draws strength from its diversity of approach rather than sounding choppy, confused or in conflict with itself. Not revolutionary by any means, but engaging throughout and with a residual warmth to complement what might seem at first to be a purely cerebral approach. It offers more on repeat listens, so let it sink in.

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Dautha, Den Foerste

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Primo short offering of pure, fistpump-ready, violin-infused doom traditionalism. I don’t know what Norrköping, Sweden’s Dautha – the five-piece of vocalist Lars Palmqvist, guitarists Erik Öquist and Ola Blomkvist, bassist Emil Åström and drummer Micael Zetterberg – are planning to do for a follow-up, but this Den Foerste (or Den Förste) two-tracker recalls glory-era Candlemass and willfully soars with no sense of irony on “Benandanti” and “In Between Two Floods” after the intro “Horkarlar Skall Slås Ihjäl,” and having already sold out a self-released pressing leaves little to wonder what would’ve caught the esteemed tastes of Ván Records. And by that I mean it’s fucking awesome. I’m ready for a full-length whenever they are, and from the poise with which Palmqvist carries the melodies of these tracks, the quality of the riffing and the depth of arrangement the violin adds to the overarching mournfulness, they definitely sound ready. So get on it. 15 minutes of dirge-making this gorgeous simply isn’t enough.

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Ván Records website

 

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