Opium Warlords Premiere “Year of 584 Days”; Droner out Nov. 3

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

opium warlords

Finnish experimentalist entity Opium Warlords releases its fourth album, Droner, on Nov. 3 via Svart Records. On and off for the last 13-plus years, Sami “Albert Witchfinder” Hynninen has used the one-man project as a vehicle for reveling in the sonically weird, producing and playing the vast majority of the instruments on records like 2009’s Live at Colonia Dignidad (not actually live; discussed here), 2012’s We Meditate Under the Pussy in the Sky, and 2014’s Taste My Sword of Understanding. Indeed, Droner follows suit in this regard, though where one might’ve found that compared to the rest of the Opium Warlords discography, Taste My Sword of Understanding was relatively straightforward, delving into structured material if doing so with a still exploratory bent, Droner steps well outside just about any and all stylistic confines with the three pieces included on Droner, and just when Hynninen seems to be making some kind of play toward the listenable, as on 19-minute closer “‘Closure,'” he immediately deep-dives into a wash of abrasive static noise that goes on to consume the track as a whole before a quiet ending caps the album like nothing ever happened. For those who might know him only through his work in Reverend Bizarre or Spiritus Mortis, it’s a considerable sonic leap off a considerable sonic cliff.

That said, the atmosphere is thoroughly one of doom, whatever salt burial Hynninen might be applying to that definition. Droner is comprised of three tracks — “Year of 584 Days” (20:33), “Samael Lilith” (20:27) and the aforementioned “‘Closure'” (18:54) — and each one of them is an album unto itself. Yes, drone is a huge part of it, perhaps nowhere more so than on “Year of 584 Days,” which sets the pattern in rumbling low end, initially sans percussive backing, and strange declarations from Hynninen on a post-opium warlords dronerWorld War II theme. The lyrics for that “song” — such as it is — and its two counterparts, are drawn from outside sources, and into the minimalist-feeling emptiness that permeates “Year of 584 Days,” Hynninen casts words from Finnish cultural historian Jouko Turkka. A suitably militaristic march of chains and stomping begins at about seven minutes in, and the declarations continue on the theme of Germans with flamethrowers, Hynninen drawing out pictures made all the more horrific because of the reality behind them. The minimalism has by then abated and it will continue to do so as the rumble moves into later progressions of guitar, key and bass droning, but right at about the 15-minute mark, the final movement of “Year of 584 Days” begins with a quiet guitar line and some subtle backing scrapes, and though volume will swell again, there’s a singularity to that moment that is no less vicious than the scathing to come in “‘Closure.'”

Between those two points is the curio “Samael Lilith,” which finds Hynninen reciting a ritual from the Congolese Ndembu culture designed around sexual intercourse and procreation. Its frank intonations of the vulva and the penis are no doubt intended as a shock piece for Western ears, and I guess they may or may not be, depending on one sensibilities as regards these things, but arrangement-wise, the SunnO)))-worthy drone that persists beneath and around Hynninen‘s spoken words is enough to add an otherworldly horror to the proceedings, making them all the more strange as notes are sustained into string-vibrating oblivion. Harsher noise takes hold late in the piece, skronking out in avant-jazz fashion until, at last, a straightforward ritualistic progression, different from the percussion and chants that started the track but still somehow tied to them, closes out. This brings the relatively folkish strum and vocals that begin “‘Closure,'” the lyrics for which come from midcentury artist/cultist Marjorie Cameron, whose ethereal invocations still come through as grandiose despite the relatively simple arrangement surrounding, which turns itself backward after eight minutes in to set the stage for the tearing apart that follows. The wash of noise — harsh, cruel — gives way to sparse bells of various kinds, percussive bowls and so on, and that’s how Droner finishes, finding peace at last.

The journey it has made by that point is significant both in runtime and in the substance of how that runtime is spent, but Hynninen proves himself able to act as the master of the chaos he’s bringing to bear throughout, and his central presence at the heart of Droner is what ultimately ties it to a feeling of craft. It is a deeply expressive performance piece, culled together in its various elements and layers, and very much in keeping with the nature of Opium Warlords as a whole, completely unto itself in sound, style and execution. You will not hear anything else like it.

Please enjoy “Year of 584 Days” premiering below, followed by more info from the PR wire:

Sami Hynninen on “Year of 584 Days”:

“What could I say about this song… it is about hydrogen bomb, and the total war. It is the clear world of devastation and torture. All senses are awake when you face the presence of pain and death. You are reborn to the battlefield and flames and terror. Everything you had before has been wiped away. You are alone and lost to a nightmare that has no end. The sun won’t rise again. Your home, and the pictures of your loved ones are now ashes, but you have to force yourself to go on. You just have to go on.”

After three wilderness years with doom gods Spiritus Mortis and Lord Vicar, electronic warriors Tähtiportti, and black metal sorcerers Azrael Rising, Sami Albert “Witchfinder” Hynninen is back in business with Opium Warlords. On November 3rd, Opium Warlords shall release Droner through Svart Records.

Droner is the fourth Opium Warlords album, and it brings Hynninen’s uncompromising musical vision to its most sparse form. It is noisy lo-fi riff music consisting only of particles unquestionably necessary, but at the same time with a musical spectrum that is very wide and open. It is experimental and avant-garde, still with roots deep in the very heart of heavy rock music. It is concrete blues, diving to the existence and the smallest molecular spheres of minimal riffs, and what seems to be an endless repetition of them. From these rather skeletal elements, it occasionally reaches neo-classical, even medieval spheres and death-romantic chambers of apocalyptic folk. Onto all of this, disturbing lyrics are chanted by unnamed, hostile protagonists.

Opium Warlords on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on YouTube

Svart Records on Twitter

Droner at Svart Records webstore

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Mangoo Announce New Album The Heat out Dec. 8; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Finnish heavy rockers Mangoo will sneak in their new album, The Heat, via Small Stone Records just before the end of the year. With a release date of Dec. 8, and preorders up now, the Turku-based fuzzers are streaming the opening track “Relief” now, and as you can hear in its stylistic blend, Mangoo take elements old and new and put them together with a penchant for hooks and groove that’s both straightforward and subtly their own. Perhaps most curiously of all, the record — for which I helped revise the bio below; which isn’t to say “here’s a bio I wrote,” because I didn’t write the original — caps with a cover of Eddie Murphy‘s “Party all the Time,” which if you don’t immediately recognize based on the title alone, almost certainly the hook will be familiar as it worms itself into the frontal cortex of your brain, there to reside permanently.

“My girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, PARTY ALL THE TIME…” and so on.

Info comes back around through the PR wire:

mangoo the heat

MANGOO: Finnish Fuzz Rockers To Release The Heat Full-Length Via Small Stone This December; New Track Streaming

You think you’re ready for The Heat, but you’re not. Catchy hooks and sweet vocal harmonies are nothing new for Finnish rockers MANGOO. On the Turku-based outfit’s third full-length, they come backed by a wall of thick, fuzz-fueled guitars and hard-hitting drums with an added sprinkling of analog synth sounds. Combined they result in a sound truly the band’s own – someplace between grunge, classic heavy rock, and a progressive psychedelic spaciousness that refuses any and all boundaries of style between rock and metal and beyond.

MANGOO — pronounced “man go” — have been busting out the fuzz since 2005 when they released their untitled debut EP. Countless beers, shows, and drummers later in 2009 the first full-length, Neolithic, was released on 7:45 Records. With a firm lineup of guitarist/vocalist Pickles, guitarist Mattarn, bassist Igor, drummer Teemu, and keyboardist/noisemaker Nicke, they engage new expanses as they follow-up their 2012 Small Stone debut, Neverland, with the eleven songs of The Heat.

Mega-choruses like “Get Away” and “Grey Belly” provide landmarks while MANGOO brings psychedelic heft to “Beyond The Sky” and the title-track, which, at seven minutes, seems to draw together everything the album that shares its name has to offer – except perhaps in the closing cover of Eddie Murphy’s 1985 single “Party All The Time.” Not that they needed to remind listeners to stay on their toes because you never know what’s coming when MANGOO emerges from the studio, but suffice it to say the track remains an earworm for the ages.

All told, MANGOO’s The Heat is fifty-three minutes of masterful heavy rock and roll of inimitable personality and unmistakable songcraft. It is a welcome return after half a decade from a band who have obviously not been wasting their time in terms of growth and forward progression, and a surefire highlight for any underground heads lucky enough to take it on.

Heat will see release via Small Stone on December 8th, 2017. Preorders are currently available at THIS LOCATION where you can also sample opening track, “Relief.”

Heat Track Listing:
1. Relief
2. Get Away
3. Beyond the Sky
4. Monolith
5. One Day
6. Deification
7. Tiembla
8. Stumbling Man
9. The Heat
10. Grey Belly
11. Party All the Time

http://www.mangooloid.com
http://www.facebook.com/Mangooband
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/the-heat

Mangoo, The Heat (2017)

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I, Captain Set Oct. 27 Release for Debut LP Tiid

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

i captain

Finnish four-piece I, Captain make their full-length debut later this month with Tiid on limited vinyl through Sound Effect Records, and if you’re looking for a follow-up destination after you check out the two-minute teaser for the record now streaming at the bottom of this post, I might suggest you hit up the Turku group’s Bandcamp, wherein their 2016 EP, Mantras for Mindlessness, its follow-up single “Matter of Perspective” and the preceding 2015 EP Surf the Supernova can all be snagged name-your-price style. There seems to be a good bit of variety in what I, Captain do in terms of songwriting, so if you want to get to know them better, it would seem the more is indeed the merrier.

The label sent the following background along the PR wire about the release, which is set for Oct. 27 in the edition of 300 total copies. Dig it:

i captain tiid

I, Captain – Tiid – Sound Effect Records

RELEASE DATE: 27/10/2017

SER 038B / Vinyl LP Black, Ltd to 200 copies / 18, 00
SER 038C / Vinyl LP Red, Ltd to 100 copies / 22, 00

I, Captain presents their debut album “Tiid”! Filled to the breaking point with heavy psych/stoner/kraut vibes, soaked in thawing arctic rage. Out October 27th on Sound Effect Records, on limited edition black and red vinyl!!

The origins of I, Captain can be traced back to the year of 2013, when Axel Vienonen, Andreas Österlund and Viktor Österholm decided to go for a creative collaboration in a musical group that tried to not go for a certain style or shoehorn the music into a specific folder. Exploring the sonic possibilities at our hands, we decided that there was a need for more sonic palettes, which led us to ask Lukas Åström to join our constellation on guitars. This was the point where it took off in a direction that still surprise us to this day, after countless gigs around the country of Finland and Scandinavia.

Our focus on sonic and aesthetic exploration is still developing to this day. We do not want to consider ourselves as only a musical group – what we do is an extension of what everyone of us brings out to each other. Sometimes it is ugly, sometimes it is raw. Other times we delve into beauty, to supreme levels of primal emotion. Our journey is a form of skepticism both towards ourselves and the state of music and the (mis)understanding of it.

Having released two demo EPs in 2015 (Surf the Supernova) and 2016 (Mantras for Mindlessness) we felt ready to start working on a full-length debut album. Locking ourselves
into a studio for a week, hammering out the riffs, beats and landscapes that we have envisioned for a long time was a climactic experience, and something that we wish to do again and again. Our album “Tiid” will be released in the autumn of 2017 and we cannot contain our collective excitement.

I, Captain is all about simplicity in the making of music and complexity in translating it to our audience. This was our main driving force writing the music for the album “Tiid”. The album title is a term found in the Ostrobothnian dialect of Swedish that, depending on context, can mean both time and space. The lyrical content is divided into English and Swedish sections, wherever which language can deliver the meaning we are after the best. Within this album, we delve into the psychological and mental hardships life throws at you – mostly consisting of negativity in its absolute form delivered by empowering music, more or less forcing a dissonance on the listener if you choose to take it all in. Beauty is most often surrounded by things which we cannot understand.

https://www.facebook.com/icaptainband/
http://instagram.com/i_captain_band/
https://icaptain.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soundeffect-records.gr
https://www.facebook.com/SoundEffectRecords/

I, Captain, Tiid album teaser

I, Captain, Mantras for Mindlessness 2016

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Opium Warlords: New Album Droner Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

opium warlords

The fourth album from Opium Warlords, Droner, is up for preorder now from Svart Records ahead of a Nov. 3 release. Very likely by the time you make it through 20-minute opening track “Year of 584 Days” you’ll agree the record is aptly-named. The ongoing solo-project of Sami Hynninen (Spiritus Mortis, ex-Reverend Bizarre) embarks on three deeply experimentalist tracks across the record, and brings forth mostly-drumless, minimalist lumbering topped with strange recitations, resulting in an avant drama being staged with only riffs accompanying where an orchestra might otherwise be. It doesn’t get any less weird when the cymbal crashes start in “Samael Lilith” or when the highlight finale ‘Closure’ turns folk impulses backwards for nearly all of its 19-minute duration. And neither is it supposed to.

I don’t care how many records you listen to in a given year — you’re probably not going to hear another one that sounds like this. So there.

Art and info from the PR wire:

opium-warlords-droner

OPIUM WARLORDS set release date for new SVART album

After three wilderness years with doom gods Spiritus Mortis and Lord Vicar, electronic warriors Tähtiportti, and black metal sorcerers Azrael Rising, Sami Albert “Witchfinder” Hynninen is back in business with Opium Warlords. On November 3rd, Opium Warlords shall release Droner through Svart Records.

Droner is the fourth Opium Warlords album, and it brings Hynninen’s uncompromising musical vision to its most sparse form. It is noisy lo-fi riff music consisting only of particles unquestionably necessary, but at the same time with a musical spectrum that is very wide and open. It is experimental and avant-garde, still with roots deep in the very heart of heavy rock music. It is concrete blues, diving to the existence and the smallest molecular spheres of minimal riffs, and what seems to be an endless repetition of them. From these rather skeletal elements, it occasionally reaches neo-classical, even medieval spheres and death-romantic chambers of apocalyptic folk. Onto all of this, disturbing lyrics are chanted by unnamed, hostile protagonists.

The lyrics come entirely from outside, already existing sources: a book written by Finnish culture radical Jouko Turkka, a ritual of Ndembu people, and a letter written by scarlet woman Marjorie Cameron. The purpose here is to create a soundtrack that pictures and reflects the contents of the textual force. The result is primitive and brooding sonic landscapes of war, ritual, and death. Gone is soothing warmth of the preceding album, Taste My Sword Of Understanding. Droner is all about nuclear war and clear, post-apocalyptic primitivity of the surviving culture. It is torturing purification through purgatory, to a new world and new form of life.

First track premiere to be revealed shortly. Preorder info can be found HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Opium Warlords’ Droner
1. Year of 584 Days (20:32)
2. Samael Lilith (20:30)
3. “Closure” (18:55)

http://www.facebook.com/OpiumWarlords
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords
https://www.svartrecords.com/product/droner/#

Opium Warlords, “The Solar Burial”

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Quarterly Review: Nibiru, The Ditch and the Delta, Cyanna Mercury, Surya Kris Peters, Golden Bats, Blind Hen, The Black Wizards, Low Flying Hawks, Brother Sister Hex, Cold Insight

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Ready for round three of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review? I hope so, because it’s a doozy. Things get pretty weird and pretty rockin’ in this batch, and at the risk of being completely honest, I much prefer it that way. It’s a varied group — maybe the most diverse in terms of sound throughout the entire week, though there’s stiff competition still to come — and as we hit the 30th review, that brings us to the halfway point of the Quarterly Review itself, which if all keeps proceeding according to plan will wrap up on Monday with a grand total of 60 done. Let’s hope no pianos fall on my head between now and then, literally or figuratively. Onward.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Nibiru, Qaal Babalon

nibiru qaal babalon

The fourth full-length from Italian sludge ritualists Nibiru, Qaal Babalon (on Argonauta) is an encompassing, 57-minute grind comprised of four extended tracks, the longest of which is opener (immediate points) “Oroch” at 19:07 – a song whose depths run dark and cruel and which, even when the tempo pushes upward from its initial slow crawl, still feels massively slow. Still, the spirit behind “Oroch” as well as the following and much faster “Faboan” (10:51), the buzzsaw noise cutting avant insanity of “Bahal Gah” (16:40) and full-drone rite of “Oxex” (11:05) is less directly about the punishment itself than about the exploration enacted thereby. That is, Nibiru aren’t just heavy for heaviness’ own sake and they’re not just assaulting their listenership without reason. Though I won’t take away from its raw sonic impact, Qaal Babalon’s greatest asset is its atmospheric impression and the experimentalism it brings to bear, which moves Nibiru into a terrifying place sound-wise that they seem to have all to themselves.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

The Ditch and the Delta, Hives in Decline

the-ditch-and-the-delta-hives-in-decline

Hailing from the unlikely heavy hotbed of Salt Lake City, Utah – though where better for a counterculture to emerge? – sludge rocking trio The Ditch and the Delta made their debut earlier in 2017 with the seven-song Hives in Decline via Battleground Records before being picked up by Prosthetic for this reissue. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Kory Quist (see also: Making Fuck), guitarist/vocalist Elliot Secrist and drummer Charles Bogus, the three-piece pummel handily throughout early cuts like opener and longest track (immediate points) “Hives in Decline” “Fuck on Asphalt” and the nodding “Sleeping Dogs,” but with the instrumental interlude “Dry Land,” they tap into post-Across Tundras heavy Americana and in that brief two-minute stretch deeply affect the mood of the release overall. They’re back to angular noise rock turns soon enough on “Till Body Quits” and the Remission-era-Mastodon-style “Mud” before alternating between lurching crush and airier prog/post-rock on closer “Dread Spectacle,” but by then the secret’s out of their underlying complexity, and rather than offset the sense of drive in the prior cuts, one finds them only enhanced by the later unfolding. Intense, and very much in the process of sorting through these impulses, but loaded with potential.

The Ditch and the Delta on Thee Facebooks

The Ditch and the Delta at Prosthetic Records

 

Cyanna Mercury, Archetypes

Cyanna-Mercury-Archetypes

From Greek dialogue in “Hermes” to the Nick Cave-style piano balladry of “Apollo” to the organ-and-handclaps Mediterranean pop underscoring “Lilith”’s boogie and the spoken verses and explosive hook of “Snake” ahead of moody closer “There will be a Time,” Cyanna Mercury’s debut long-player, Archetypes, seems to leave no sonic stone unturned. The Athens-based five-piece hone a thoroughly progressive approach across the 10-track/40-minute (plus a CD bonus track) outing, touching on heavy psych in opener “Horse Dark as Night” and injecting a darker theatricality into centerpiece “Ode to the Absent Father” and the later “Nothing We Can Do,” but refusing to relegate themselves ultimately to one sound or another. Elements of folk, heavy rock, psychedelia, classic prog, pop and more besides show themselves across what’s a legitimate head-trip of a record, and though it’s hard to get a grip on where Cyanna Mercury are ultimately headed with this sonic brew already so potent and already so much their own, they seem to be completely in control of how it all plays out in arrangement and songwriting, and they work quickly to earn the listener’s trust via a resonant overarching flow that renders Archetypes truly immersive. Will fly under most radar, but a stunningly creative debut.

Cyanna Mercury on Thee Facebooks

Cyanna Mercury on Bandcamp

 

Surya Kris Peters, 2nd Chances

surya-kris-peters-second-chances

Numerically-titled three-song EP 2nd Chances is – since we’re going by the numbers – the third release of 2017 from Surya Kris Peters, behind the synth-driven Dream Exit EP digitally-issued this past summer and January’s Holy Holy Holy (review here) full-length. With it, Samsara Blues Experiment frontman Christian Peters further expands the contextual breadth of his solo work, revisiting songs from his prior outfit Terraplane in the Mellotron-infused melancholy of “Smalltown Blues” and the quick, folkish rambling instrumental “Dark Euphoria” while also covering Jefferson Airplane’s “Come up the Years” between. All told, it’s only 10 minutes long, but Peters brings a particularly progressive psychedelic folk vibe to the tracks, and from the shimmering guitar lead that takes hold in “Come up the Years” and the intimate feel of “Smalltown Blues” despite an arrangement of keys, vocals, multiple layers of guitar and effects, an emotional and sonic resonance is still very much achieved. One never wants to guess what Peters will do next, but if he had a full-length of this kind of thing out at some point, you wouldn’t be likely to find me complaining.

Surya Kris Peters on Soundcloud

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

 

Golden Bats, Residual Dread

golden-bats-residual-dread

An underlying mournfulness pervades Golden BatsResidual Dread, or maybe that’s just the Brisbane-based solo-project of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/engineer Geordie Stafford living up to the title chosen for the album on “Nothing.” Elsewhere, Residual Dread takes on guitar-as-keyboard plotted soloing in 11-minute closer “The Crows Build a Fire” and find a place between black metal and doomly roll, and add piano to tapped Godflesh-style programming on opener “Trouble in the Sewers” and bring organ to the relative bounce of “Eye Juices” as far-back echoing shouts provide the vocal presence. Setting elements against each other would seem to be a core aspect of Stafford’s intent, and the feel on Residual Dread is more about the smashing them together and seeing what happens than trying to gently meld one idea from two or three. That lends a raw, experimentalist sensibility to the lumber of “Outer Body” and “Into the Silver Valley” that serves them well, like a Large Hadron Collider driven by riffs and thickness of tone.

Golden Bats on Thee Facebooks

Haemorrhage Records webstore

 

Blind Hen, Life

blind-hen-life

In its first two minutes, Blind Hen’s “As a Monster” moves from electronica-style Euro dance rock to heavy-riffed progressive metal. Then it turns back. This is just the start of the Finnish four-piece’s four-track/21-minute Life EP, and “Titanic” follows stylistic suit with an even more intense thrust early before moving into psychedelia in its second half with an underlying tension in its beat to contrast the melodic wash overtop. The chugging “The Maze” is more guitar-led and straightforward, but even there, Blind Hen find room for nuance in their vocal arrangement, also bringing in acoustics amid the multiple layers of singing, and with a sample at the outset, closer “Catch” moves once again toward the danceability of the earlier fare, if in a via-Mr.Bungle rhythmic restlessness rather than the fusion beatmaking. Weird, weird, weird. What draws Life together is the fact that Blind Hen cross this aesthetic swath with stuck-in-your-head choruses as a constant, essentially giving the audience something to grasp onto while they go wherever they want in terms of sound. It is appreciated to say the least, and shows the band to be all the more attuned to their craft, even when they seem at their most unhinged.

Blind Hen on Thee Facebooks

Blind Hen on Bandcamp

 

The Black Wizards, What the Fuzz!

the-black-wizards-what-the-fuzz

If you’ve got 68 minutes, Portuguese four-piece The Black Wizards are ready to have a heavy blues shindig on their second 2LP full-length, What the Fuzz!, and I do believe we’re all invited. The nine-song outing emphasizes the vocals of guitarist Joana Brito, who emerges on post-intro opener “Freaks and Geeks” with a prominent kind of trilling in her voice of the sort Parker Griggs brings to Radio Moscow that holds for the duration as a steady presence. Joined by guitarist Paulo Ferreira, bassist/acoustic guitarist B and drummer/backing vocalist Helena Peixoto, Brito leads the way through the fuzzy rollout of the nine-minute “The Story of an Hopeless Drummer” (sic), stepping back to let the guitar/bass have a righteously nodding moment late in the track, but holds firm in a forward position on the short, twanging “Just Not Today” as well as the early going of the prior subdued-blues-smoker highlight “Floating Blues.” “Build Your Home,” “I Don’t Wanna Die” and the particularly-classic-sounding “Fire” revive the classic heavy rock spirit of “Freaks and Geeks,” and 16-minute finale “Everything is Good Until Trouble Comes” uses its extra runtime for a satisfying and patient execution with an expanded arrangement including choral vocals, organ and additional guitar effects. You might be boogied out by the time they’re done, but as The Black Wizards crash through their big finish, they sound like their party’s just getting started.

The Black Wizards on Thee Facebooks

The Black Wizards on Bandcamp

 

Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku

low-flying-hawks-genkaku

One might expect that with all the Melvins affiliation going on in the second Magnetic Eye Records full-length from L.A. duo Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku would sound, you know, more like the Melvins, but despite working with bassist Trevor Dunn, drummer Dale Crover and producer Toshi Kasai, and despite bringing in Buzz Osbourne for guest vocal spots on eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Smile” and side B leadoff “Space Wizard,” initials-only multi-instrumentalists EHA and AAL follow their 2016 debut, Kofuku (review here), with a sound even more their own, balancing between thick riffy rollout and post-rock atmospherics. Of course, they weird out a bit on “Smile” and the lumberingly spacious “Uncool” and “Virgin Witch,” but whether it’s the later mournfulness of “Hallucination” or “Twilight” toying with noisy fuckall while seeming to mock heavy rocker burl ahead of the melodic payoff in closer “Sinister Waves,” there’s more EHA and AAL in Low Flying Hawks than the prominent pedigree of their collaborators might lead you to believe. All the better for what becomes a richly satisfying 43-minute listen rife with depth, patience, and yes, personality.

Low Flying Hawks on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

 

Brother Sister Hex, End Times

brother-sister-hex-end-times

Coherent songwriting rests at the core of what Denver’s Brother Sister Hex bring to their five-song third EP, End Times, which darkens up Queens of the Stone Age-circa-Songs for the Deaf vibing on its title-track (also a bit of Kyuss’ “El Rodeo” in there for good measure) before delving into more ambient fare on the centerpiece “Confessions.” Vocalist/guitarist Colfax Mingo demonstrates SubRosa-style vocal command there, but the context is more rock-based, uptempo and straightforward as she, guitarist Patrick Huddleson, bassist Drew Hicks and guest-drummer Jordan Palmer (Plastic Daggers) meld traditionalist structures with atmospheric moodiness. Opener “Hey” offers a suitable greeting through hook and groove, and the shuffle of “Sweet and Sleazy” and the rumbling fuzz (Hicks makes it a highlight) of closer “News Feed” wraps with another grunge-style QOTSA melody efficiently drawn, shouting the question “what have we done?” as it thuds into its second half. Uh, you’ve made a professional-sounding, excellently-constructed EP that shows you’re more than ready to embark on a debut full-length, permanent drummer or no. So yeah, get on that.

Brother Sister Hex on Thee Facebooks

Brother Sister Hex on Bandcamp

 

Cold Insight, Further Nowhere

cold-insight-further-nowhere

As progressive as it is brutal, Further Nowhere is ostensibly the debut release from Paris’ Cold Insight. The material seems to date back at least to 2013, if not earlier than that, when band-spearhead Sébastien Pierre (also of Enshine, Fractal Gates, and others) first issued what’s now tagged as a “pre-production album” version, but it’s hardly as though the lush, growling, melodeathly doom sounds dated. With sonic likenesses throughout to bands like Amorphis, Dark Tranquility and Paradise Lost, Cold Insight – on which Pierre, who also did the artwork, is joined by drummer Christian Netzell while Jari Lindholm adds lead guitar – hit on a very particular, very European style, and not an unfamiliar one as displayed in the righteously driving “Distance,” but the find-the-beauty-in-darkness spirit behind “Close Your Eyes” and songs like “Even Dies a Sun” and the more uptempo later piece “I Will Rise” help ensure that the formidable 12-song/66-minute run of Further Nowhere never gets too bogged down in its melancholy. It may have been a while in the making, and one hopes a follow-up won’t take as long to arrive, but the precise execution Pierre hones in these songs and the depths to which he can bring a willing audience are a fitting payoff for the years of work that went into their construction.

Cold Insight on Thee Facebooks

Cold Insight on Bandcamp

 

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Kimi Kärki Posts “Beyond Distance” Video; Eye for an Eye out Next Week

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

kimi karki

The collaboration between Kimi Kärki and Patrick Walker is no minor moment when it comes to the former’s second solo album, Eye for an Eye (review here). Set for release a week from today via respected purveyor Svart Records, the record offers no shortage of melancholy anyhow as the Lord Vicar, Orne, ex-Reverend Bizarre, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, etc. guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and experimentalist explores more intimate, personal ground even than that which comprised his first outing, The Bone of My Bones (review here), in 2013.

Bringing in Walker, whose voice almost invariably conveys a doomed emotionalism and has been a key element in crafting landmark full-lengths from Warning and 40 Watt Sun alike, only builds on this spirit. The track is called “Beyond Distance,” and while there are subtle arrangements of backing vocals and flourish of crowd noise at the end, the most striking impression comes directly from Kärki and Walker working together respectively on guitar and voice, and the result is a standout that, while atmospherically consistent with its surroundings on Eye for an Eye, nonetheless draws the listener’s attention in both its concept and execution.

I said as much when I reviewed Eye for an Eye, but it’s hard to listen to “Beyond Distance” and not imagine what Kärki and Walker might be able to accomplish were they to actually put a collaborative project together, to write songs together, either in a heavier and doomed sonic context or a more tranquil duo as they are found to be in “Beyond Distance.” There’s just so much potential here that it seems like a waste to have this be a one-time-only happening. Not that I get a vote, but the more I hear “Beyond Distance,” the more my vote is “more, please.”

Kärki assembled and directed the video below himself, as he did the prior clip for “Entangled in Pleasure” that was premiered here, and it follows suit in its atmospheric visual impressionism and, at least until the very end, black and white visuals. The highlight of course is the song itself, but to go with Walker‘s self-harmonies and the intricate plucking of strings from Kärki, the various shots here at very least make a fitting complement.

Please enjoy:

Kimi Kärki (feat. Patrick Walker), “Beyond Distance” official video

Kimi Kärki premieres the new video “Beyond Distance.” Featuring 40 Watt Sun’s Patrick Walker, “Beyond Distance” hails from Kärki’s highly anticipated second album, Eye for an Eye, set for international release on August 18th via Svart Records.

Kimi Kärki is a Finnish cultural historian, guitar-player, and singer-songwriter. Known for his versatile guitar playing and somber compositions for Reverend Bizarre, Lord Vicar, Orne, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, and, most recently, Uhrijuhla, Kärki has developed his recognizable 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.

Music, guitars, eBow, bass, memotron: Kimi Kärki. Vocals, words, his vocal arrangement: Patrick Walker. Backing vocals: Pirre Känkänen, Anna-Elena Pääkkölä. Engineering: Joona Lukala. Music recorded at Noise for Fiction in 2016. Patrick Walker’s vocals were recorded at Bremhill Corpse Studio by Laurence Collyer, in August 2016. Crowd noises recorded at Brighton and Nikosia by Kimi Kärki in 2016. Video directed and edited by Kimi Kärki, filmed in Oslo 2014, Turku archipelago 2015, Carmel by the Sea and Cleveland 2017.

Kimi Kärki on Thee Facebooks

Lord Vicar on Thee Facebooks

Eye for an Eye at Svart Records webstore

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on YouTube

Svart Records on Twitter

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Hands of Orlac & The Wandering Midget Split Due Sept. 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Those who seek the maximum bizarro quotient in their doom likely don’t need me to tell them that the pairing of Italy’s Hands of Orlac and Finland’s The Wandering Midget — who haven’t had a release out in a what-happened-to-the-last five years, apparently — is good news. Cruz del Sur will boldly stand behind the two outfits as they join together for a new split out Sept. 8 that brings four cuts from the former and one extended piece from the wildly politically-incorrectly-monikered latter, and it’s sure to be a dark-hued freakout of a high order both in terms of quality and chemical ingestion. Both bands will be making their debut on the label with this release.

Gonna hope to have more to come on this one as we get closer to Sept. 8, but here’s cover art and the basic social medias announcement of its impending arrival. Hooray for getting weird:

hands-of-orlac-the-wandering-midget-split

HANDS OF ORLAC / THE WANDERING MIDGET Split Release out in September

The worlds of occult metal and colossal doom collide on the HANDS OF ORLAC and THE WANDERING MIDGET split, set for a September 8 release via Cruz Del Sur Music.

Featuring four contributions from Italian/Swedish occult metal troupe HANDS OF ORLAC and one 18-minute epic from Finnish doomsters THE WANDERING MIDGET, the split finds two disparate, unique bands offering a glimpse into their dark and mysterious worlds.

Formed in 2009, HANDS OF ORLAC has gradually evolved from its early doom forays into a horror soundtrack-infused outfit, heavily inspired by the works of BALLETTO DI BRONZO, GOBLIN, BIGLIETTO PER L’INFERNO and ALPHATAURUS. The band’s four offerings on the split were recorded by veteran producer Berno Paulsson at the renowned Berno Studio in Malmö, Sweden. With the mystical vocal and exotic flute work of G. leading the way, HANDS OF ORLAC offer up an invigorating take on occult metal, with both the progressive “Curse Of The Human Skull” and straightforward “From Beyond The Stars” displaying a degree of balance that is emblematic of a band capable of pushing boundaries without falling prey to genre clichés.

THE WANDERING MIDGET hail from Lappeenranta, Finland and were formed in 2005. The band’s 2008 “The Serpent Coven” and 2012 “From The Meadows Of Opium Dreams” LPs were riff-intense bodies of work, channeling the true spirit of doom forerunners BLACK SABBATH and CANDLEMASS. THE WANDERING MIDGET’s contribution to the split, “Where We March The Vultures Follow”, is their first sonic offering in over five years, and is a true stroke of monolithic doom, laced with anguished, slow-churned melodies and the animated vocals of Samuel Wormius.

The split is the first release on Cruz Del Sur Music for HANDS OF ORLAC and THE WANDERING MIDGET, representing the label’s continued focus on unearthing the underground’s most challenging bands. The sounds of occult metal and epic doom joined together have never sounded so foreboding.

Split track listing:
1. HANDS OF ORLAC – Curse Of The Human Skull
2. HANDS OF ORLAC – Per Aspera
3. HANDS OF ORLAC – From Beyond The Stars
4. HANDS OF ORLAC – Ad Astra
5. THE WANDERING MIDGET – Where We March The Vultures Follow

HANDS OF ORLAC line-up:
G. – Vocals / Flute
A. – Guitars
F. – Bass
J.– Drums

THE WANDERING MIDGET line-up:
Samuel Wormius – Fire Lungs & Tornados
Thomas Grenier – Storm of Locusts
Jonathan Sprenger – Earthquake Sorcery

http://handsofevil.blogspot.com/
handsoforlac.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/TheWanderingMidget
https://thewanderingmidget.bandcamp.com/
www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
twitter.com/CruzDelSurMusic

Hands of Orlac, “Witches Hammer”

The Wandering Midget, From the Meadows of Opium Dreams (2012)

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Church of Void Self-Titled Album Available to Preorder; New Single Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

church of void

Finnish doomers Church of Void will make their debut on Argonauta Records Sept. 15 with their second overall album. Self-titled and comprised of seven tracks, the record gets its first public preview in the unveiling of a video for closer “World Eater,” which swirls out a deceptively intricate blend of darkly progressive psychedelia and classic-styled trad doom riffing, topped with layered vocals that add to both the eerie mood and the overarching intricacy of the whole affair. I haven’t heard the complete outing yet, though it’s available now to preorder, but on first impression it seems like there’s more to Church of Void‘s bleak take than one might at first expect.

All the better going into the album, then. The five-piece have had a couple offerings out — most recently a 2016 split with Cardinals Folly and Acolytes of Moros — but Church of Void will be the rightful follow-up to their 2013 debut, Dead Rising, and the preceding Winter is Coming EP from 2012. In going back and listening to the first long-player, one finds the vocals cleaner but the band overall still driven by an underlying impulse that seems to be drawn from the more extreme end of metal. Maybe even some goth rock? I missed that album at the time, because I suck at this, but it’s a fascinating blend and I look forward to hearing how the context expands when the self-titled arrives.

Album artwork, preorder link, other details and the video for “World Eater” follow here, as seen on the social medias:

church of void self titled

Finnish Doom Metallers Church Of Void reveal cover artwork and tracklist of their highly anticipated self-titled album, the perfect blend of traditional doom and “grim” rock sonorities.

The videoclip of the first single taken from the album is available here. Live video footage by Timo Honkanen.

“Church of Void” will be released in CD/DD and available from September 15th, 2017.

Preorders run here: http://bit.ly/2tGmniz.

TRACKLIST:
Prelude
Passing the Watchtower
Harlot’s Dream
Moonstone
Lovecraft
Beast Within
World Eater

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, “World Eater”

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