Craneium Sign to Ripple Music; Explore the Void Due this Winter

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


From the Finnish heavy hotbed of Turku, four-piece rockers Craneium issued their debut full-length, Explore the Void, last fall. The band has been picked up to do a pressing of the album via Ripple Music, and it’s received a “winter” release date, no doubt because the label’s schedule is so packed. Fair enough. It may be 2017 before the CD and/or LP shows up, but Explore the Void can be streamed in full now from Craneium‘s Bandcamp (also below), and boasts a fuzzy sound as true to its intent as it is the fiery skies in Alexander von Wieding‘s cover art.

You’ll find that below, followed by the release announcement from the PR wire.

Goes like this:

craneium explore the void-700

Ripple Music Signs Finnish Psych Rockers Craneium to World-wide Deal and New Album

Prepare for a huge slab of protometal leads, psychedelic riffs, rolling bass lines, with killer melodies and grooves, as Ripple Music unleashes the debut album from Finnish rockers Craneium “Explore the Void”.

Craneium was formed 2011 in Turku, Finland, but the roots of the members grow deep in rural Ostrobothnia, the bible-belt of Finland, further north where the are more Holy Books than Sabbath records on the shelves. Craneium formed around one goal – to write some seriously intense and fuzzy riff rock. Eager to play they immediately headed out for live shows as soon as they had penned together some tunes. Live the energetic nature of the band really comes alive and shines. When they perform they are one force with the music, which they projectile right into to the crowd at full volume. Needless to say, they always end a concert dripping in sweat with the audience mangled against a wall of fuzz.

The band released The Slowerdrive Tapes on cassette in 2013 and a 12″ split in 2014 with fellow ‘nauts 3rd Trip. 2014-15 they spent long hours recording the essence of these four years: “Explore The Void”, a 50 minute journey through fuzz rock mayhem. The bands sound is a constant ebb and flow of different influences. They go from atmospheric clean vibes that build up and build up, only to clash into fuzzy grooves. While they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel they’re giving it a hard spin with their own brand of fuzz rock!

Wrapped up in some stunning, artwork, this album creates a total sonic experience; the sort of thing that you can get utterly and beautifully lost in, as you travel beyond the valley and into the void.

Look for Craneium’s Ripple Music debut “Explore the Void” this winter on limited edition vinyl, world-wide vinyl, CD and digital.

Craneium, Explore the Void (2015)

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Kaleidobolt, The Zenith Cracks: The Spoils (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk on May 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Helsinki trio Kaleidobolt will release their second album, The Zenith Cracks, on July 1 via Pink Tank Records, and as any follow-up worthy of the name should, it builds off its predecessor in noteworthy and exciting ways. That prior debut was last year’s self-titled (review here), which showcased a band barely a year old making strides suited to acts of much longer tenure. With The Zenith Cracks — topped off by Adam Burke cover art — guitarist/vocalist Sampo Kääriäinen, bassist/vocalist Marco Menestrina and drummer Valtteri Lindholm highlight creative breadth and nuance across eight tracks of boogie-laced heavy psychedelia, executing winding riffs with crispness worthy of The Atomic Bitchwax on the intro “Off the Cuff,” reveling in fuzz nod on “Inbred” and freaking out across a jam-heavy closing duo of “City of the Sun” and “Spoil.”

This is accomplished all while brandishing instrumental chemistry and toss-off vocals that seem to leave a trail of hooks behind them as they race or lumber past, songs like “Murderous Ways,” “The Crux” and “City of the Sun” landmarking memorable impressions on both of The Zenith Cracks‘ gatefold-earning sides while “Steal My Thunder” proffers madman Sabbathian blues with frantic piano deep in the mix and the prior “Helle” opens side B with, if you’ll pardon, a bit of finger to coincide.

Lindholm takes a drum solo on “City of the Sun,” and Kääriäinen‘s guitar is a guiding presence throughout, steering through the shuffle of “Murderous Ways” and the twists of “The Crux,” but Menestrina brings the true standout performance across the album’s span, his choice basslines complementing and enhancing the guitar without losing sight of their place as the rhythmic foundation of the band. To have Kääriäinen depart in “The Crux” for a winding lead and find Menestrina not just keeping pace, but building off what his bandmate is doing is a thrill often lost on the classic heavy rock set, and the power of the trio is all the more prevalent for it.

It’s something immediately apparent as “Off the Cuff” — it may well have been — takes quick flight into a dizzying array, and remains true as “Murderous Ways” spaces out in its midsection, as organ takes hold late in “The Crux,” and as “Inbred” departs its initial push and subsequent jazzy dreaminess to a more fully-fuzzed groove. I won’t take away from what Lindholm brings to the drums — his crash is the anchor as “Inbred” winds down — or what Kääriäinen is doing on guitar throughout, but Menestrina basically puts on a how-to-be-a-kickass-heavy-rock-bassist clinic without sounding like he’s putting on a clinic, and the result is one of the most resonant impressions Kaleidobolt offer with the whole of The Zenith Cracks.


A key to the debut was the flow Kaleidobolt established between the tracks, and it’s to the benefit of The Zenith Cracks that that penchant hasn’t been lost. “Helle” eases into a more broad-reaching second half of the album, its still-complex blend of acoustic and electric strum opening to the crazed forward motion of “Steal My Thunder.” KääriäinenMenestrina and Lindholm trade back and forth in tension and release before shifting in the midsection to a stretch of minimal guitar leading to a surf-type line from which they build back up in layers of vocals around the lines, “Spiraling, spiraling, spiraling further/We are spiraling further from home,” in intertwined late-’60s psychedelic chants.

The cowbell arrives — finally! — after the slower-rolling intro of “City of the Sun,” and does so with Mountain-esque abandon, the band shifting into high-gear for a Kääriäinen lead only to turn back to the aforementioned drum solo in the second half, from which they miraculously return to the slower tempo fuzz of the song’s open. It’s an exhausting stretch, but Kaleidobolt back it with the 10-minute finale, “Spoil,” which bides its time through a multi-stage intro thrust and spaced-out verses in order to setup the freakout to come as they take off instrumentally into the sunset and pull apart in an extended closing raucous enough to answer for what came before it.

Between the sonic character the band portrays here and the command they’ve taken of their sound, Kaleidobolt‘s The Zenith Cracks provides a play-it-louder response to the potential Kaleidobolt exhibited their first time out. Perhaps most telling is that even as the band’s ambition has grown in terms of aesthetic, they’ve drawn closer together as players as well, and so their material is all the more assured as it works quickly to take these forward steps. One wouldn’t begrudge Kaleidobolt taking their time after The Zenith Cracks, but we’d be lucky to get another installment from them in 2017.

Kaleidobolt on Thee Facebooks

Kaleidobolt on Bandcamp

Kaleidobolt at Pink Tank Records

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BlowUp Vol. 2 Adds Samothrace, Monolord and Skepticism

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

blowup vol 2 header

Set for this October in Helsinki, Finland, BlowUp Vol. 2 has added MonolordSkepticism and Samothrace to its lineup. They join the ranks of Bastard NoiseConan and Oranssi Pazuzu for the event, which will also have a film component showing a banned documentary apparently filmed about 10 minutes from where I live about the treatment of patients in a mental hospital. Go figure on that one. That’ll have a live soundtrack with it, naturally.

Not sure as to how many acts will comprise the final lineup for BlowUp Vol. 2, but the six they already have already show a solid international draw, and though Europe is silly with festivals this October — BlowUp Vol. 2 is the same weekend as Desertfest Belgium 2016, albeit 26 hours away by car — the Finnish event is clearly going for establishing its own vibe.

Semi-translated info follows:

blowup vol 2 poster

BlowUp Vol. 2 is taking place 14 -15 October 2016 in Helsinki, Finland. The venue is Korjaamo Culture Factory, one of the largest independent art centres in the Nordic countries. Korjaamo was founded in an old tram depot in Töölö in 2004, and now hosts a concert venue as well as six smaller creative spaces for meetings and seminars plus movie theatre. The Vaunuhalli building is also home to Helsinki City Museum’s Tram Museum.

The new names are Swedish doom band Monolord, despair alleys of the American free-moving genre Samothrace, as well as Finnish Skepticism, whose funeral doom is playing live this year only this time in Helsinki.

Blowup Vol. 2 also offers the cinematic art. Titicut Follies is directed by Frederick Wiseman documentary in 1967, which follows the lives of Massachusetts Bridgewater inmate in a mental hospital. Although the movie was awarded with freshly festivals in Germany and Italy, the United States, it crashed into censorship. Titicut Follies was shown to the public for the first time only in 1992. At Blowup Vol 2 it is presented in the early evening on Friday, 14 October.

Titicut Follies screen will be accompanied by Veli-Matti O. “Heap” Äijälän and Markku Leinonen, duo that made new music for the movie, which will necessarily be heard a second time.

Confirmed bands so far are:
Conan (UK)
Monolord (SWE)
Skepticism (FIN)
Samothrace (US)
Bastard Noise (US)
Oranssi Pazuzu (FIN)

BlowUp Vol. 2 trailer

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Monsternaut Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

monsternaut heavy psych sounds

Today, Italy’s Heavy Psych Sounds continues its international shopping spree by signing Finnish trio Monsternaut. The Kerava trio currently have two EPs under their collective belt — a 2014 self-titled (review here) and a 2012 self-titled — and they’ll release them as their debut full-length this Fall on the label, after having featured the track “Caravan” on the recently-issued Heavy Psych Sounds Sampler alongside the likes of Mondo GeneratorBlack RainbowsIsaakFarflung and Ape Machine, among others.

“Caravan” was one of five songs on the second Monsternaut EP, which boasted a sound born out of heavy Fu Manchu influence, with a tonal touch of Queens of the Stone Age bounce and desert-bred groove. The trio of vocalist/guitarist Tuomas Heiskanen, bassist Perttu Härkönen and drummer Jani Kuusela thicken up nodding, momentum-rich riffs and offer a return to ’90s stoner heavy purity without sounding retro or like they’re 20 years behind the times — at least not any more than they want to be. The songs on their two offerings to-date offer catchy, The Action is Go-style stomp, as typified in “Black Horizon” which closes the latter release with a slower lurch that maximizes the groove at play.

Almost all the information on Monsternaut‘s debut album is still to come — is it self-titled? — but Heavy Psych Sounds has it slated to be out Fall 2016, so October seems like a realistic expectation. In addition to that, Monsternaut will tour in the EU as part of the label’s booking arm in November.

“Naturally we’re excited about signing with HPS — no news there,” said the band. “We’re looking forward to touring and meeting new bands and new people. Just to rock out with your cock out. As for the label, Gabriele [Fiori] seems like a straight shooter and has already proven to have connections here and there. We never had much expectations of the band so it was puzzling when HPS reached out to us at the end of 2015. We didn’t take it very seriously as we had no idea of the label. But since then, the macaroni jokes have decreased (not died!) and we’re left pinching ourselves to realize that this is actually happening.”

“The release itself is a combination of two older recordings. First session was back in 2012 and the second in 2014. We’re happy to have HPS release them as one bundle, but are also more or less ready to record more if the stars keep aligned. Suppose we have to wait and see what happens after this release. Fingers crossed!”

More to come.

Monsternaut is:

Tuomas Heiskanen Vocals/Guitar
Perttu Härkönen Bass
Jani Kuusela Drums

Monsternaut, Monsternaut (2014)

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Lost Boots Release Come Cold, Come Wind on May 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

lost boots

Finnish garage rockers Lost Boots will release their debut album via Svart Records on May 13. The record is titled Come Cold, Come Wind and preceded by the release of the track “Outdated,” which you can hear below, the band with vintage push of some fuller sound than many of the janglier/rawer garage variety, but still an overarching commitment to natural vibes that suits the classic structure of “Outdated” pretty well. I haven’t heard the complete album yet, so can’t comment on the rest of it, but if there’s any relation to members’ former project, Sweatmaster, in terms of style, I can see why an imprint like Bad Afro would have been on board.

Get a load of that track under the album art and PR wire info below:

lost boots come cold come wind

LOST BOOTS set release date for SVART debut, reveal first track

Today, Svart Records sets May 13th as the international release date for Lost Boots’ debut album, Come Cold, Come Wind. Lost Boots, consists of a trio of musicians previously performing as Sweatmaster, plus extra guitarist Tomi Helomaa. Sweatmaster were well on their way to fame earlier this millennium, with a deal with the cult garage label Bad Afro and European tours with The Darkness and the like. Somewhere along the way, action-rocking garage fare no longer appealed to the sweaty threesome, and they ended up calling it a day, only to resurrect as Lost Boots a couple of years later.

“After Sweatmaster, we tried playing a bit of everything, even Finnish language prog rock, but nothing seemed to click. It was only after Tomi [Helomaa, guitar] came along that we really had a band together,” says guitarist/vocalist Sasu Mykkänen.

The band defines Lost Boots as being a more manly, slower-playing, and a tad more melodic unit than their sweat-covered predecessor. There is an electric “live” feel to the music, with edges not too heavily polished. It owes as much to classic hard guitar rock as it does to garage rock. Hear for yourself with the first track to be premiered from the album, “Outdated,” exclusively HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Lost Boots’ Come Cold, Come Wind
1. Another Brick In The Wind
2. Come Cold
3. Outdated
4. The Steam Rolled In
5. Brave
6. Widow Lover
7. Bangatan


Lost Boots, “Outdated”

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Atomikylä to Release Keräily April 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


This is good news. Finnish psychedelic black metallers Atomikylä tip the balance from one side to the other better than the vast, vast majority of those I’ve heard try. The difference? Production value is part of it — Atomikylä‘s 2014 debut, Erkale (review here), was lush in the true sense of creating a tonal wash, and among the elements of heavy psychedelia it incorporated was a true sense of sonic depth, not trying to sound thin and tinny as so much rawer black metal does, but crafting something you might really call encompassing. Making the listener part of the ritual, as opposed to just a spectator.

Best case scenario would be to continue that vibe, but I have the feeling a band this creative isn’t necessarily going to rest on their laurels one album to the next. They’re at Roadburn 2016 this week and I’m very much looking forward to picking this one up:

Atomikyla Keraily

ATOMIKYLÄ set release date for SVART debut, to play Roadburn

The dark psychedelic underground in Tampere, Finland is one of the most vividly creative musical collectives in the scene on the planet today, with such bands as Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising both considered masters of the uncharted territory in metal. Sprouting from the confines of the joint rehearsal space Wastement comes Atomikylä, a psychic joining of forces of members from both bands. Atomikylä is liberation through sound. It is the nightside of the collective unconscious and a means of escape from the confines of norm and comfort. Smashing walls with a wall of sound, Atomikylä are set to release their second album, Keräily, through Svart Records.

Atomikylä took their name (“nuclear village”) from a village of abandoned barracks in Tampere. The barracks were originally used to house workers constructing a nuclear power plant in the ’80s, after which they were dragged to the roadside in suburban Tampere and abandoned. Populated for years by drunks and junkies, the small shunned village was demolished a few years ago. The band Atomikylä dwells in a similar mental setting – radiant but lowly, dangerous and unpredictable, barred from normal life.

Keräily will be available at the Roadburn festival this week, and in shops from April 29th onwards. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Atomikylä’s Keräily
1. Katkos
2. Risteily
3. Pakoputki

Atomikylä, “Musta Kulta”

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Void Cruiser Sign to Argonauta Records; New Album Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Finnish heavy rockers Void Cruiser have signed a deal to release their second full-length album this fall on Argonauta Records. The Helsinki four-piece are the latest in an apparently ongoing series of pickups for the Italian imprint, and their debut LP, Overstaying My Welcome — it would seem not — was issued in May 2015, running a line between heftier sonic burl and smooth desert-style fuzz. Guess we’ll see what the follow-up holds when we get there, but going from the last record, which you can hear below, it wasn’t like they didn’t have it figured out the first time around.

From the PR wire:

void cruiser

Argonauta Records New signing: VOID CRUISER

We are proud to welcome a new great band in the ARGONAUTA RECORDS family: VOID CRUISER, excellent Stoner/Desert Rock from Finland! The Void Cruiser crew united their sonic powers back in 2011 with the intention of combining the best parts of their favourite music to create the ultimate sound. Connected by friendship and love for the same bands, Vili, Teemu, Lassi and Santeri have achieved an earth tremoring soundscape seasoned with some juicy desert rock vibes. The first album “Overstaying My Welcome”, available here, was released in May 2015 and the scion of the much praised debut is underway.

The band says: “We are really stoked about starting this cooperation and Argonauta Records is definitely the right partner to attract the people who can relate into our forthcoming album made of melancholic, yet soul crushing heavy soundscapes. We really appreciate the support from Gero and there’s no doubt this pact between Void Cruiser and Argonauta Records will bring monumental things to the Universe.”

The forthcoming album will be released in Autumn 2016. Stay tuned!

Void Cruiser has always been there. Only now the crew have awakened from their cryogenic sleep and they are on a holy quest. A quest for groove and the massive resonance. Those who follow will find glory and rewards indescribable with mere words.

Void Cruiser:
Lassi – Bass
Teemu – Drums
Sante – Guitars & Vocals
Vili – Guitars

Void Cruiser, Overstaying My Welcome (2015)

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Quarterly Review: Chron Goblin, Slabdragger, Jupiter, Izo, Cultist, Haoma, Spaceslug, Slush, Menimals, The Linus Pauling Quartet

Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

Thus ends another successful Quarterly Review. And by successful I mean I survived. There were a few minutes there when I actually thought about spreading this out to six days, doing another batch of 10 on Monday, but then what happens? Then it’s seven days, then eight, then nine, and before I know it I’m just doing 10 reviews every day and it’s more of a daily review than a quarterly one. Next week we’ll get back to whatever passes for normality around this place, and at the end of June, I’ll have another batch to roll with. Maybe the beginning of July, depending on time. In any case, thank you for reading this week. I hope you’ve found something in all this that you’ve dug, and that this final round offers something else that resonates.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Chron Goblin, Backwater

chron goblin backwater

Calgary party rockers Chron Goblin pay homage to Seattle with a song named after the city on their third album, Backwater (on Ripple Music), but they continue to have way more in common with Portland, Oregon. The follow-up to 2013’s Life for the Living (review here) pushes into psychedelic groove early in its title-track and gets bluesy for most of the subsequent “The Wailing Sound,” but it seems even that song can’t resist the urge to throw down and have a good time by the end, and cuts like “Give Way,” the galloping opener “Fuller” and the requisite “Hard Living” reaffirm the band’s commitment to heavy riffs and positive vibes. The stylistic elephant in the room continues to be Red Fang, but as they’ve done all along, Chron Goblin work in shades of other influences in heavy rock – if they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d call it Roadsaw – and put a stamp of their own on the style.

Chron Goblin on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music


Slabdragger, Rise of the Dawncrusher

slabdragger rise of the dawncrusher

“Mercenary Blues” is near-immediate in telegraphing the level of heft Slabdragger will emit across their second album, Rise of the Dawncrusher, which tops an hour in five tracks (one of them four minutes long) and shifts between clean vocals, screams and growls from bassist/vocalist Yusuf Tary and guitarist/vocalist Sam Thredder as drummer Jack Newham holds together tempo shifts no less drastic. The shorter cut, “Evacuate!,” is an extreme take on heavy rock, but as Slabdragger move through the extended “Shrine of Debauchery” (12:23), “Dawncrusher Rising” (15:16) and “Implosion Rites” (17:20), their methods prove varied enough so that their material is more than just an onslaught of thickened distortion. I wouldn’t call it progressive exactly, but neither is it lunkheaded in its intention or execution, as the chanted melodies buried deep in “Shrine of Debauchery”’s lumber, derived perhaps in part from Conan and Sleep but beholden to neither so much as its own righteous purposes.

Slabdragger on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records


Jupiter, Interstellar Chronodive

jupiter interstellar chronodive

Finnish heavy psychedelic rockers Jupiter take a decidedly naturalist position when it comes to their style. Yeah, there are some effects on the guitars throughout Interstellar Chronidive, the trio’s second album behind 2014’s Your Eccentric State of Mind, but it’s more about what the three players can accomplish with dynamic tempo and mood changes than it is creating a wash, and that gives songs like “Stonetrooper” and “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” a classic feel despite a decidedly modern production. “Premonitions” provides raucous fuzz worthy of any next-gen stoners you want to name, and the 14-minute “In Flux” answers its own initial thrust with and expansive, liquefied jam that’s all the more emblematic of the organic core to their approach, Hendrix-derived but not Hendrix-emulating. Bright guitar tone, rich bass and swinging drums aren’t necessarily unfamiliar elements, but the touches of space rock narration on “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” and the consuming nod of closer “Vantage Point” assure there’s no shortage of personality to go around.

Jupiter on Thee Facebooks

Jupiter on Bandcamp


Izo, Izo

izo izo

Also stylized as IZ? with a long accent over the ‘o,’ Izo is the self-titled debut from Italian double-guitar instrumental four-piece Izo, who bookend four flowing and densely weighted progressions with an intro and outro to add to the atmospheric breadth. Rather than choose between heaviness or ambience, Izo – guitarists Paolo Barone and Maurizio Calò, bassist Francesco de Pascali and drummer Luca Greco – play both into each other so that a song like “Hikkomori” is as engaging in its heft as it is hypnotic. That might be easier to do without vocals, but it’s essential to Izo’s approach, and something that, for their debut, sets up future expansion of post-metal and psychedelic elements. I’m not sure if there’s a theme or narrative for the album, but consistent use of Japanese language and imagery ties the material together all the same, and Izo emerge from their first album having shown a clearheadedness of purpose that can only continue to serve them well.

Izo on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records


Cultist, Three Candles

cultist three candles

Cultist made their introductory statement in the early hours of 2016 with Three Candles, a five-song EP from the social media-averse Cleveland, Ohio, trio featuring members of Skeletonwitch, Mockingbird and Howl. In the wall of fuzz they construct, the swing injected into their rhythms and the use of multiple vocalists, there’s a strong undercurrent of Uncle Acid to “Path of the Old One,” but “Consuming Damnation” distinguishes itself with a more aggressive take, rawer in its melodies, and the creeping closer “Eternal Dark” is up to something entirely more doomed. How this balance will play out with the more familiar riff-patterning in “Follow Me” is the central question, but for their first tracks to be made public, Cultist’s Three Candles offers fullness of sound and the realization of an aesthetic purpose. Yes, there’s room to grow, but they already have a better handle on what they want to do than a lot of bands, so it should be interesting to keep up.

Cultist on Instagram

Cultist on Bandcamp


Haoma, Eternal Stash

haoma eternal stash

Ultra-thick, ultra-dank, Haoma is the work of Swedish duo R (bass/vocals) and S (drums), and the three-tracker Eternal Stash is their second self-released EP. The offering takes its title from the opener and longest track (immediate points), and wastes no time with subtlety in getting down on molten Cisneros-style stoner-doom grooves. Sleep meets Om isn’t a huge divide to cross, but there’s a blown-out sensibility to the vocals as well that speaks to some element of Electric Wizard at play, and the overarching roughness suits Haoma’s tonal crunch well. Even when they break to wah bass in the second half of “Eternal Stash” to set up the ensuing jam, this underlying harshness remains, and “Unearthly Creatures” and “Orbital Flight” build on that, the latter with a march that feels more decidedly individual even if constructed on familiar ground. Heavy, raw, unpretentious celebration of groove is almost always welcome by me, and so Haoma’s Eternal Stash is likewise.

Haoma on Thee Facebooks

Haoma on Bandcamp


Spaceslug, Lemanis

spaceslug lemanis

Another boon to Poland’s emerging heavy rock scene, Wroclaw’s Spaceslug slime their way out of the ground with their debut long-player, Lemanis, a seven-cut paean to weighted tone and laid back roll. Vocally, the trio seem to take a cue from the Netherlands’ Sungrazer, but their riffs are far more dense and while the penultimate interlude “Quintessence” and the earlier “Galectelion” demonstrate a sense of spaciousness, the context in which that arrives is much more weighted and, particularly in the second half of “Supermassive,” feels culled from the Sleep school of Iommic idolatry. No complaints. The record clocks in at 43 minutes all told and in no way overstays its welcome, rounding out with the nine-minute title-track, an instrumental that’s probably not improvised but comes across as exploratory all the same. The CD version is out through BSFD Records, but don’t be surprised when someone picks it up for a vinyl issue, as both the front-to-back flow and the artwork seem to be made for it.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp


Slush, American Demons

slushies american demons

An element of twang that seems present even in the most uproarious moments of SlushAmerican Demons tape comes to the fore with the brief “Leshy,” a quick, fleetly-strummed bit of slide guitar the follows highlight cut “Bathysphere” and precedes “Death Valley,” both of which bask full-on in the garage shake, proto-punk vibe and anything goes swagger the Brooklynite trio have on offer throughout their third EP. That countrified twist plays well alongside the drawling skate rock of “In the Flesh,” which seems to take on some of The Shrine’s West Coast skate vibes with a twist of New York fuckall, and the quick crotchal thrust off “Silk Road,” which serves as Slush’ most purely punkish moment. “Death Valley” closes out with a tale of drugs and the desert, the vocals somewhere between Misfits and early Nick Cave, drenched in attitude and accompanied by fuzz that seems to be likewise. Bonus points for the silver tape and copious included art and info.

Slushies on Bandcamp

Lean on Bandcamp


Menimals, Menimals

menimals menimals

Strange spirits are afoot throughout MenimalsMenimals, the maybe-debut from the Italian troupe who engage wantonly in the proliferation of post-Mike Patton creepy darkjazz across five cuts of sparse, spacious weirdness. Issued through Phonosphera/Riot Season, it’s a work of high atmospheric density but ultimately more about mood than sonic impact, evoking complex shapes – dodecahedrons, tetrahedrons, octahedrons – as a mirror for its own quizzical mission. The kind of record that those who don’t spend time trying to figure it out are going to have more fun with, it makes its most effective impression on “Transitioning from a Cube to the Octahedron” on side B, evoking minimalist drone rock atmospheres as whispered vocals tie it to the rest of Menimals’ bizarre vibe. That’s not to take away from the noisy finish of closer “Bird on the Wind as a Hinge,” which follows, just to note that Menimals manage to somehow find balance in all the subdued seething and resonant experimentalism.

Menimals on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records

Phonosphera Records


The Linus Pauling Quartet, Ampalanche


By way of a confession, I wanted to end this batch of 50 reviews with something I knew I dug, and that distinction goes to Houston rockers Linus Pauling Quartet, whose latest full-length, Ampalanche, is released via the label wing of Italian ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum. An album that offers some of the most pretense-free rock flute I’ve ever heard on “Slave to the Die,” it’s a down-home weirdo rocker that might, at a moment’s notice, plunge full-on into psychedelia in “Sometimes” or, say, include a 49-minute echoing space-drone “Vi, de Druknede (We, the Drowned)” as a download-only bonus track, and the fact that Linus Pauling Quartet can always be relied on for something different but consistent in charm and the quality of songwriting is not to be taken for granted, whether it’s the Midwestern noise rock of “Brisket” or the fuzzy roll of dreamy album-closer “Alive.” Yeah, I was doing myself a favor by finishing with Ampalanche. I have absolutely zero regrets. Linus Pauling Quartet continue to be woefully underappreciated.

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