Fire Down Below Premiere “Saviour of Man” Live Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

fire down below

Why, it was only one month ago today that Belgian heavy rock four-piece Fire Down Below took the stage in West Flanders at the Alcatraz Festival, and I know we live in an age of insta-nt bootleggery and all that, but to have a pro-shot and edited live video done in a couple weeks and ready to post is pretty killer. “Saviour of Man” comes from the Ghent-based outfit’s 2018 sophomore album, Hymn of the Cosmic Man (review here), which came out on Ripple Music, and for those of us who don’t get the chance to pop over the Belgium for shows, the clip provides a cool opportunity to see what Fire Down Below are all about when it comes to what they do on stage. In the case of drummer Sam Nuytens particularly, they’re about having a badass Monster Magnet t-shirt (Euro merch, man), but as regards his work and that of the band surrounding, think the uptempo kick of earlier Red Fang with Kyuss-style brashness and you won’t be far off.

While a host of big names took stage at Alcatraz this year — suspects like OpethMeshuggahVoivodAmenra, etc. — Fire Down Below shared a space in ‘La Morgue’ with compatriot outfits in The SpiritGlowsunWolvennest and Cowboys & Aliens, keeping killer company as they brought an energetic burst to the proceedings. Like much of the album from which it comes, “Saviour of Man” is a pretty straightforward affair, but its hook and drive demand little by way of flourish, standing their ground instead based on their sheer quality of craft. That is to say, you’re not gonna hear it and think something’s missing, and especially in the live setting as they are here, it’s clear to see that engaging an audience from the stage is where Fire Down Below‘s heart lies. How could it not? What’s better than that?

Speaking of, Fire Down Below have a few killer gigs booked for this Fall, including dates with Valley of the Sun and Gozu and a stop at Desertfest Belgium, where they’ll also join a selection of some of the country’s finest underground acts. Those dates are listed on the banner which you’ll find under the video itself, which of course follows here. I’m sure you’ve already clicked play, and rightly so.

Either way, please enjoy:

Fire Down Below, “Saviour of Man” live at Alcatraz Festival

fire down below fall shows

Fire Down Below on “Saviour of Man”:

We had the opportunity to play this gig at Alcatraz Hard Rock and Metal festival, one of Belgium’s biggest festivals for headbangers and devil worshippers. This year they installed a new stage, called La Morgue, reserved for some of the best underground bands in the country. We were extremely happy to be part of this great initiative and we had a blast on stage, as we hope you can tell from this video.

Fire Down Below live at Alcatraz festival in Kortrijk, 11 August 2019, playing Saviour Of Man from the album Hymn Of The Cosmic Man.
Recorded and edited by Lars Grote Audio.

Fire Down Below is:
Jeroen Van Troyen – guitar and vocals
Kevin Gernaey – guitar
Sam Nuytens – drums
Bert Wynsberghe – bass

Fire Down Below, Hymn of the Cosmic Man (2018)

Fire Down Below on Thee Facebooks

Fire Down Below on Bandcamp

Fire Down Below on Instagram

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Desertfest Belgium 2019 Highlights Belgian Acts; Fire Down Below, The Progerians, Vonnis & More Playing

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2019 banner

Desertfest Belgium 2019, as noted just the other day, is getting pretty close to its final lineup, and as they do, they’re making sure they support the native Belgian scene with a number of acts being highlighted for the broader audience they’ll draw. Both Fire Down Below and The Progerians might be familiar to some who’ll hit up Antwerp this October, and 30,000 Monkies have been making the rounds of festivals, but VonnisGrotto and Crayon Sun are probably going to be new to most people who show up, and so all the better they’re getting a showcase at an event like Desertfest. Of course, the broader lineup isn’t short on big names, with Sleep and PelicanBongripper and Zeal & Ardor, etc., so there should be plenty of draw to get heads in front of the stage for these bands, and it’s among the most admirable things an international fest can do to shine a light on the local types. You know this already, but it’s worth saying.

The PR wire has it like this:

desertfest belgium 2019 belgians

BELGIAN BANDS AT DESERTFEST BELGIUM 2019!

Each year at DF Antwerp, we present you with a number of upcoming local acts that deserve to shine in front of our esteemed international crowd. Absolute bosses, each and every one of them!

Fire Down Below have been making waves in the worldwide stoner community from day one, drawing comparisons to anything from Kyuss to Red Fang to Soundgarden. Likewise, The Progerians from Brussels have built a steady reputation for their uncompromising yet fiercely exciting mix of punk anthems and sludge stomp.

Some leftfield choices that are bound to raise heads: VONNIS – sheer brutality poured into a Molotov cocktail of hardcore, grind and noise. On the flipside we have Crayon Sun, the new project of Aldo Struyf (Millionnaire, Mark Lanegan Band) and the Antwerp blues singer Big Dave.

We already announced the merry noise pranksters of 30,000 Monkies earlier this year, and we close off this chauvinist list with a fine slab of supreme instrumental spacerock, courtesy of Grotto.

Go forth and check out these great bands!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/2260579413999993/

Vonnis, Bikini Season (2019)

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Quarterly Review: Worshipper, Dopethrone, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, Omen Stones, Capra, Universo Rojo, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Fire Down Below, Stone Deaf, Cracked Machine

Posted in Reviews on July 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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

Well, we made it to the end of another Quarterly Review. One more batch and then it’s off to planning the next one for late September/early October. I hope you have found something this week that you’ve really dug. I have. A few, to be honest. Not everything is going to stick with every listener, of course, and that includes me, but for as much as putting this one together has been, there’s been some really good, year-end-list-type stuff included. At least as far as my own list goes. I sincerely hope you agree.

So let’s do this last one, then go sleep for a couple hours. Alright? Here we go:

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Worshipper, Mirage Daze

worshipper mirage daze

I don’t know if Worshipper knew they’d be embarking on their first West Coast tour in Summer 2018 when they hit Mad Oak Studios in Oct. 2016 to record the four cover tracks for their Mirage Daze EP on Tee Pee Records, but it certainly worked out in the Boston four-piece’s favor. Following-up their 2016 debut, Shadow Hymns (review here), Worshipper present four cover tracks in Uriah Heep’s “Easy Livin’,” The Oath’s “Night Child,” Pink Floyd’s “Julia Dream” and The Who’s “Heaven and Hell,” and while I’m a little sad that “Heaven and Hell” isn’t the Black Sabbath song, which I think they’d nail if they tried it, and I’m glad to have a studio version of their take on Floyd’s “Julia Dream,” which from the first time I saw them live was always a pleasure to watch live, I think the highlight of Mirage Daze might be “Night Child.” I never bought that The Oath record, and Worshipper’s take on its lead single is about the best argument I’ve seen for doing so. It may or may not be a stopgap issued to coincide with the tour, but Mirage Daze is a welcome arrival anyway. It’s a fan piece? Well, I’m a fan, so right on.

Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

Dopethrone, Transcanadian Anger

dopethrone transcanadian anger

Montreal scumsludgers Dopethrone return with Transcanadian Anger, an eight-track blister-fest of crunch riffing and misanthropic vibes. Delivered through Totem Cat Records, the 36-minute Weedeater-gone-bad-drugs sludge assault seems to invite superlatives front to back, even in the slamming instrumental “Killdozer” – a tribute to the band? – and the swinging penultimate cut “Kingbilly Kush.” Elsewhere, opener “Planet Meth,” “Snort Dagger,” “Tweak Jabber” and “Scuzzgasm” celebrate addiction and violence unto oneself and others, making a spectacle of decay set to voluminous sludge riffs and abrasive vocals. This is Dopethrone’s aesthetic territory, and they’ve done well over the last decade to make it their own. As they answer 2015’s full-length, Hochelaga (review here), and the next year’s 1312 EP with yet another filth-caked collection, they seem all the more in their own league of aural and narcotic self-punishment. They could be straightedge vegans for all I know, but they sure sound high as fuck, and I guess that’s the point. So, well done.

Dopethrone on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore

 

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, BooCheeMish

the mystery of the bulgarian voices boocheemish

Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance would seem to be trying to solve The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, a choral group from Bulgaria who, seemingly until teaming with Gerrard for the Prophecy Productions release BooCheeMish was known by the French name Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. Whatever you call them, their history dates back nearly seven decades and their harmonies are utterly timeless. BooCheeMish is comprised of gorgeous folk renditions for 45 minutes of world-building perfection. Percussion of various sorts provides backing and on pieces like “Rano Ranila” they speed through at a pace and arrangement that’s head-spinning, while the later “Zableyalo Agne” finds them joined by flute for a nigh-religious experience and the subsequent “Tropanitsa” has a bounce worthy of any good times one might to envision from its evocative pulse. One can’t help but feel a bit of the cultural voyeur in taking it on – as well as feeling totally outclassed in reviewing it – but these songs were clearly meant to be enjoyed, and as their ambassadors, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices genuinely serve a public best interest.

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Omen Stones, Omen Stones

omen stones omen stones

Virginia duo Omen Stones have no online presence as yet. No songs streaming. No cheeky logos-on-photos social media posts that new bands do when they’re sitting on their hands waiting to get material out there. What they – and by “they,” I mean guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hamilton of Druglord and drummer Erik Larson of Backwoods Payback, The Might Could, Alabama Thunderpussy, etc. – have is a four-song self-titled EP collecting about 13 minutes of material in demo fashion, bringing forth the Southern-shuffle-gets-weird-then-explodes opener “Secrete” as a first impression of a deceptive approach. You think it’s all good and then you get punched. Go figure. “Secrete” is also the longest track (immediate points) at 4:06, and the forward charge and harsher vocal of “Fertile Blight” follows, catchy as it is mean, and more indicative of what’s to follow in the maddening tension of “Sympathy Scars” and the fuckall sludgepunk of “Purity Tones.” Immediately against-trend, Omen StonesOmen Stones is a bird of prey unto itself. Hopefully at some point soon they make it publicly available.

Druglord on Bandcamp

Erik Larson on Bandcamp

 

Capra, Unholy Gallows

Capra Unholy Gallows

Taking influence from hardcore punk, post-hardcore and sludge, Lafayette, Louisiana’s Capra seem to fit in a Midwestern style of semi-metallic aggression that has flourished in the wake of the likes of The National Acrobat and Coliseum. The foursome’s Unholy Gallows single follows their also-two-song self-titled 2016 EP, and finds Tyler Harper (also of the recently-defunct The Midnight Ghost Train), Jeremy Randazzo, Ben Paramore and Lee Hooper aligned in their purposes of riff-led bludgeoning. Unholy Gallows is two songs/six minutes long – not by any means an afternoon commitment in terms of listening – but its furies are unveiled in far less time than that, and both “Red Guillotine” and “Hot Lips” waste no time in doling out their beatings. A sense of heft stems from tonal thickness, but they make it move to a propulsive degree, and aside from a quick feedback intro to “Red Guillotine,” there’s no letup; even as “Hot Lips” slows the pace some initially, it maintains geared toward foreshadowing the next fist to fly.

Capra on Thee Facebooks

Capra on Bandcamp

 

Universo Rojo, Impermanencia

Universo Rojo Impermanencia

Sprawl, sprawl, sprawl. Into space. Universo Rojo’s excellent four-track debut album, Impermanencia, makes you want to speak slowly enough to feel the words vibrate out of your mouth. The Chilean four-piece offer lengthy, jam-based excursions that echo out their feel across vast reaches of effects, progressive rhythm and melody-making unfurling all the while beneath an overarching swirl of effects, guitars and synth running atop the mix like competing currents of water. Opener “¿A Dónde Ir?” (8:13) gives way to the flute-laden krautrockism of “Visión Planetaria de los Tiempos” (8:40) as vocalist/guitarist/clarinetist Ferro Vargas-Larraguibel, drummer Naim Chamás, bassist Cristóbal Montenegro and synthesis Francisco Arellano conjure such molten possibilities. Though it’s just 34 minutes, Impermanencia is nonetheless expansive, with the 9:36 “Cinco (La Quinta Dimensión)” finding a place between drift and psych-jazz undulations while closer “Inmaterialización del Sentimiento Cósmico” (7:32) lets out a full-impulse burst of energy that’s blinding if you know just where to look. Not to be missed.

Universo Rojo on Thee Facebooks

Universo Rojo on Bandcamp

 

Sergeant Thunderhoof, Terra Solus

sergeant thunderhoof terra solus

Kudos to Bath, UK, four-piece Sergeant Thunderhoof on starting off their sophomore long-player, Terra Solus, with the album’s longest track in “Another Plane.” And likewise for the blend of psychedelia and burl that unfolds. In taking on the follow-up to their 2015 debut, Ride of the Hoof, they offer eight cuts and 51 minutes of spacious riffing charged with just an undercurrent of English boozer burl, Elephant Tree and Steak meeting head on for a raucous session of who knows what. “B Oscillation” taps nod and particularly satisfying fuzzy warmth in its lead section, while even a would-be bruiser like the subsequent “Diesel Breath” has a trip-out included. There is time for such things as every track but the penultimate and relatively minimalist soundscaper “Half a Man” tops six minutes, but Sergeant Thunderhoof make a much richer impression overall than their moniker might lead one to believe, and close out in particularly resonant fashion with “Om Shaantih,” emphasizing the breadth and post-rock elements that help make Terra Solus so engaging from the outset.

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Thee Facebooks

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Bandcamp

 

Fire Down Below, Hymn of the Cosmic Man

fire down below hymn of the cosmic man

The adaptation of Kyuss’ “Thumb” riff for Fire Down Below’s “Ignition/Space Cruiser” after the “Red Giant” intro on their second album, Hymn of the Cosmic Man (on Ripple), is nothing short of a clarion to the converted. The Belgian unit’s mission would seem to be to find that place on the horizon where the desert ground and space itself seem to meet and become one, and as side A closer “The Cosmic Pilgrim” turns from its initial crunch into more patient and drifting psych, they’d seem to get there. Atsmophere is certainly central to the record, as the aforementioned “Red Giant” and its side B counterpart “Nebula” demonstrate, never mind the other five tracks, and even as “Saviour of Man” runs through its janga-janga stoner-riffed hook there’s a flourish of effects to create a balance between the earthbound and the interstellar. Side B’s “Ascension” and especially 11-minute album-closer/highlight “Adrift in a Sea of Stars” seem to find the balance the four-piece is shooting for all along, and just before the nine-minute mark when the thick, fuzzed-out riff emerges from the jammy lead, the entire impetus for their journey seems to be laid bare. Well done.

Fire Down Below on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Stone Deaf, Royal Burnout

stone deaf royal burnout

Denver, Colorado’s Stone Deaf present a sans-frills desert rock vibe across the eight tightly structured tracks of their sophomore album, Royal Burnout (on Black Bow Records). Specifically, the compressed crunch in the guitar tone and some of the start-stop bounce riffing in cuts like “Room #240” and “Monochrome” seem to be drawn from the Songs for the Deaf methodology, and some of the vocals on opener “Spitshine” (video premiere here) remind of Queens of the Stone Age as well, but Stone Deaf – whose moniker, then, would be well sourced – have a deeper root in punk rock that underscores the “Go with the Flow” thrust of “Deathwish 62” as well as the chugging verses of “Boozy Spool” immediately preceding. It’s a sound that benefits greatly from the sharpness of its delivery and the craft Stone Deaf bring to it, and even when they seem to loosen up a bit on the midpaced pre-finale “That Lefty Request,” there’s a fervent sense of a plan unfolding. That plan would seem to be a success.

Stone Deaf on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records webstore

 

Cracked Machine, I, Cosmonaut

cracked machine i cosmonaut

Originally released last year, Cracked Machine’s debut, I, Cosmonaut, finds vinyl issue through PsyKA Records and earns it well with six tracks/45 minutes of mostly-instrumentalist and progressive space-psych. One assumes there’s a narrative thread at work across the span, as guitarist Bill Denton, bassist Chris Sutton, keyboardist/vocalist Clive Noyes and drummer Blazej Gradziel weave their way through “Twin Sons Rising” and “New Vostok” at the outset into the easy flow of “Baikonur Cosmodrome,” the harder-hitting title-track, the fuzzy declaration of “Svetlana” and the patiently executed 10-minute closer “Transorbital,” Denton’s guitar singing all the while. These places and, maybe, characters would seem to weave together to tell the story in impressions largely open to interpretation and correspondingly open in terms of their creativity, sounding spontaneous and maybe live-recorded if not entirely improvised, instead working to a plan for where each inclusion should go or end up. As Cracked Machine’s first album, it’s an ambitious work that does far more than get the band’s feet wet. It takes them out of the atmosphere and embarks on a journey beyond that one hopes is just beginning.

Cracked Machine on Thee Facebooks

Cracked Machine at PsyKA Records webstore

 

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Fire Down Below Release Hymn of the Cosmic Man June 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Belgian heavy rockers Fire Down Below have set a June 8 release for their new album, Hymn of the Cosmic Man. Their new video for the track “Saviour of Man” finds them basking in influences from the likes of Kyuss and 1000mods in following-up 2017’s Viper Vixen Goddess Saint, and even if their theme takes them to outer space as the PR wire notes below and the video reaffirms, their riffs and grooves still sound awfully sandy to my ears.

The Ghent four-piece have a couple dates booked around the LP release and some other shows in the months coming up, and you’ll find that info below, once again, courtesy of the PR wire, which also sent the cover art for Hymn of the Cosmic Man, which I’m not posting because cartoon tits depress the shit out of me.

Info follows; video at the bottom:

fire down below

FIRE DOWN BELOW: Belgian fuzz rock quartet to release Hymn of the Cosmic Man | New video for ‘Saviour Of Man’ premiered

Hymn of the Cosmic Man by Fire Down Below is released worldwide on 8th June via Ripple Music

This June will see the official worldwide release of Hymn of the Cosmic Man, the brand-new studio album from Belgian progressive rock quartet, Fire Down Below.

Following on from last year’s hugely successful rerelease of Viper Vixen Goddess Saint, the Ghent-based foursome are back with yet another exceptional melee of fuzzed-out stoner rock, heavy psych and grunge on Ripple Music, home to some of the finest acts in recent years to emerge from the underground.

On Hymn of the Cosmic Man, Fire Down Below trade the hot desert winds of their debut for the cold desolation of outer space. With a storyline that pitches a single soul against an unnamed threat to mankind, the band express fear, hope, defeat, surrender and courage across seven tracks, making for one truly compelling journey.

“We had this background story that guided us in the songwriting process,” explains bassist Bert Wynsberghe. “Yet we left it somewhat vague so that it wouldn’t limit us and we could still pursue ideas that were more ‘out there’. That really worked for us, we got to explore new sonic territories and we’re excited to see what reactions we might get.”

As a glowing endorsement and belief in their sheer quality, Fire Down Below’s second full-length not only plants a flag into the earth’s crust, it endeavours to propel the band into orbit. Never ones to mess with a winning combination, after the critical acclaim of their debut, Fire Down Below teamed up again with Tim De Gieter at Much Luv Studio in Belgium for recording and mixing, with Brad Boatright at Audiosiege in Portland on mastering duties.

“We were happy to be able to work with Tim again. We’d raised the bar for ourselves for the new album and we were thrilled to see that he had done the same thing for his studio work. And then of course we’re super excited that Ripple Music is releasing this album. To be part of a family with bands such as Wo Fat and Mothership is just beyond anything we had ever considered possible.”

Already, the band has garnered some truly remarkable comparisons with bands like Truckfighters, Red Fang and Soundgarden, and now with Hymn of the Cosmic Man, from the swelling, space swallowing opening of ‘Red Giant’ and ‘Ignition/Space Cruiser’, to the spectacularly progressive closer ‘Adrift In A Sea Of Stars’, we will at last see them step up, take flight and traverse the universe powered by hard rock, stellar riffs and their own, breathtaking volition.

Hymn of the Cosmic Man by Fire Down Below is released worldwide on 8th June via Ripple Music

Pre-order now at www.ripple-music.com

FIRE DOWN BELOW:
Bert Wynsberghe – Bass
Jeroen Van Troyen – Guitar and Vocals
Kevin Gernaey – Guitar
Sam Nuytens – Drums

LIVE DATES:
15 June – Album Release Show (Venue TBC) – Ghent, Belgium
16 June – Album Release Show (Venue TBC) – Bruges, Belgium
6 July – JH ‘t Slot – Wortel, Belgium
1 September – Café Gonzo – Ninove, Belgium

TRACKLISTING:
1. Red Giant
2. Ignition / Space Cruiser
3. Saviour of Man
4. The Cosmic Pilgrim
5. Nebula
6. Ascension
7. Adrift In A Sea Of Stars

https://www.facebook.com/firedownbelow/
https://firedownbelow.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/firedownbelowband/
https://twitter.com/Fire_Down_Below
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Fire Down Below, “Saviour of Man” official video

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