Abysmal Growls of Despair Announce Sentir le Poids des Montagnes et Trouver la Paix Dans les Ténèbres 66-Minute Single

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

If you think you’re up for mega-low-end drone, throat-singing and a willfully grueling expanse, by all means, test your constitution against that which France’s Abysmal Growls of Despair have on offer. The litmus doom outfit have released no fewer than 17 full-length releases in the last six years, and their upcoming-or-maybe-it’s-out-already-I-don’t-know Sentir le Poids des Montagnes et Trouver la Paix Dans les Ténèbres is one song clocking in at 66 minutes and six seconds — get it? — issued through UK imprint Blue Tapes on cassette and CD. It is not for the faint of heart or anyone not looking to have their perceptions challenged or moods altered. It is a work that is purposefully oblique as well as purposefully bleak, and, well, it was apparently recorded with six basses. I would imagine that, in a live setting, it simply sounds like death.

So enjoy:

abysmal growls of despair release

Doom for Martians! New release from Abysmal Growls of Despair!

Incoming! Epic abyssal kargyraa-doom

Exploring hitherto unchartered abysses with its ultra-ultra-low-frequency 432Hz recording of six basses, six guitars and rumbling, tectonic kargyraa vocals, blue twenty-nine: Abysmal Growls of Despair maybe is what doom sounds like on Mars.

The landscape of Mars is known as ‘chaos terrain’ and nothing on Earth resembles it. It consists of irregular blocks, some that are tens of kilometres across and and a hundred or more meters high patterned with craters that are hundreds of metres deep – a terrain ravaged by geological wars between countless ice ages and planet-reshaping activity from Mars’ three god-named volcanos – Elysium Mons, Hecates Tholus and Albor Tholus.

Consisting of one 66 minute and 6 second track, Sentir Le Poids Des Montagnes Et Trouver La Paix Dans Les Ténèbres, blue twenty-nine would make an excellent soundtrack to navigating these alien crevasses and subterranean glaciers, with the ethereal throat-singing of Hangsvart (Abysmal’s one-man doom army) chasing around the ragged stalagmites and stalactites of Sunn 0)))-crushing guitar like Martian ghosts.

Highly recommended for fans of Phurpa, Senayawa, Huun-Huur-Tu or even Blue Tapes’ own Jute Gyte, be warned that you do not so much ‘listen’ to this music as let it penetrate you. But don’t let the band name fool you, there is great ecstasy to be found in surrendering to this planet-eating sound.

Listen to Sentir Le Poids Des Montagnes Et Trouver La Paix Dans Les Ténèbres back-to-back with our last release – The Blue Tapes House Band’s equally epic Chase Me Before The Plague – and consciousness may never feel quite the same again.

Available on pro-dubbed C66.6 with onbody printing and O-card featuring Blue Tapes artwork; or on CD with obi strip and artwork by Atraxura.

https://abysmalgrowlsofdespair.bandcamp.com/
http://facebook.com/bluetapesUK
http://twitter.com/BlueTapesUk
http://bluetapes.co.uk/

Abysmal Growls of Despair, “Sentir le Poids des Montagnes et Trouver la Paix Dans les Ténèbres” excerpt

excerpt from blue twenty-nine: Abysmal Growls of Despair from xeroxboy on Vimeo.

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Pencey Sloe to Release Debut Album Don’t Believe, Watch Out on Prophecy Productions

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

pencey sloe

Among the great many things for which I’m an absolute sucker is a total immersive wash of melody. One can hear shades of post-black metal in Pencey Sloe‘s new single, “Lust of the Dead,” but more than that, what stands out is the fullness of sound as the track progresses, the spaciousness it creates and then occupies with rich-but-still-floating tonality. Their debut EP was apparently enough to get the attention of Prophecy Productions, and that venerable imprint will release the trio’s debut album, Don’t Believe, Watch Out, later this year. You can hear the new track at the bottom of this post, and consider this your recommendation that you do so.

No release date for the record as yet, but there’s plenty of 2019 left for it to show up. I’d guess September, if not before? Either way, I think particularly after you hear the song you’ll agree it’s one to look out for.

Dig:

pencey sloe lust of the dead

Prophecy Productions signs French prodigy Pencey Sloe

Paris-based Pencey Sloe seemingly came out of nowhere only two years ago, which is hard to believe while listening to their rich, elegant songs. Born out of a casual exchange of ideas between guitarist, singer and main composer Diane Pellotieri, lead guitarist Valentin Beaucourt and drummer Clément Aulnois, the threesome’s music reflects a distinctly original spin on shoegaze and dream pop.

With somnambulistic certainty and a name harking back to American novelist J.D. Salinger, the trio creates soundscapes of beautifully psychedelic color with some darker tinges that urge you to glimpse into your own inner abyss. Diane and her fellows craft songs with both youthful abandon and astounding maturity. There is a particular deftness in Pencey Sloe’s harmonic interplay between jangling guitars and the front woman’s angelic voice, all held together by infectiously straight drumming.

After recording a demo EP and performing just a few shows on their home turf, Pencey Sloe quickly came onto the radar of Prophecy Productions, who immediately recognized the band’s vast potential. Though still a relatively new act, Pencey Sloe already have their admirers, amongst them Alcest’s Stéphane “Neige” Paut, who says about his young compatriots: “I discovered Pencey Sloe when they released their EP and instantly fell in love with their dark, ethereal sound. I think they are one of the most promising French bands, and their music will surely appeal to fans of Slowdive, Low or Chelsea Wolfe.”

Diane says with regards to the signing, “We are thankful to be part of the Prophecy family. We adore their devotion and true passion for different music and artists, with whom they have an incredible relationship of trust and respect.”

Pencey Sloe just recorded their first album, “Don’t Believe, Watch Out”, at Drudenhaus Studio (Alcest, Les Discrets), to be released later in 2019. In anticipation, the first single, ‘Lust Of The Dead’, is now available digitally.

Pencey Sloe is:
Diane Pellotieri
Clément Baptiste
Valentin Beaucourt

https://www.facebook.com/Penceysloe/
https://penceysloe.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/prophecyproductions/
https://prophecy-de.bandcamp.com/
http://en.prophecy.de/

Pencey Sloe, “Lust of the Dead”

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Abrahma Post “Lost Forever” Video; In Time for the Last Rays of Light Available to Preorder

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

abrahma

It is exceedingly hard to discuss depression. The second one enters into the classification of a diagnosis, the conversation changes. You become less of a person than the manifestation of an idea. This is true of any diagnosis. Think of the simple language involved sometimes. Depressives. Schizophrenics. Cancer patients. Not “people with…” but a simple, easily-filed categorization that saps the individual of their humanity when, let’s face it, acknowledging one’s humanity could potentially go a long way as a first step to addressing the issue in question. It doesn’t always help — it’s not going to make tumors stop growing — but it never hurts.

Making their return after an even-longer-feeling four-year absence, French progressive heavy rockers Abrahma are tackling the issue of depression head on with their new album, In Time for the Last Rays of Light, which is out May 24 on Small Stone and Deadlight Entertainment. The follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) indeed puts a human face on depression and the effects thereof on oneself and those surrounding. The video for “Lost Forever” directly portrays the despondency and loneliness that one can feel, even when in the company of loved ones. It manifests in the clip directed by Michael Leclere as a grueling agony with a tragic end and is by no means easy to watch.

“Lost Forever” is the opening track on In Time for the Last Rays of Light. I’m hoping to set up a premiere with a review as we get closer to the release, so keep an eye out for that (or, you know, don’t, if it doesn’t happen), but in the meantime, you can see the clip for “Lost Forever” below, followed by more info from the PR wire. I’d normally say “enjoy” here, but it seems crass given the context. Maybe just understand?

Here goes:

Abrahma, “Lost Forever” official video

In Time For The Last Rays Of Light is the third full-length from French progressive heavy rock outfit ABRAHMA. Set for release next month via Small Stone, the record follows three tumultuous years of personal challenges and lineup changes and is a chronicle of the ravages of coping with loss and mental illness, brought to bear with heavy and progressive songwriting, melodic catharsis, and an impact that goes beyond the material itself.

In advance of its release, the band has unveiled the moving video clip for “Lost Forever.” Offers director Michael Leclere, “‘Lost Forever’ unequivocally deals with depression, so I wanted to evoke identity quest as a parry to nothingness; when you lose yourself into the wilderness and have to draw in your own resources, facing yourself and looking after your animus, finding the strength to fight for things that may seem meaningless. Moving slowly toward an inextricable death, whether you do it to get a little more time or to find epiphany as a last shield before the abyss. We keep scattering pieces of ourselves through our constant efforts to stay alive. It’s like dying a little more each time. And it’s what will get us in the end.”

ABRAHMA’s In Time For The Last Rays Of Light will be released May 24th on CD and digital formats worldwide via Small Stone Records and in France on Deadlight Entertainment. For preorders go to THIS LOCATION.

Abrahma is:
Sébastien Bismuth – Vocals, Guitars
Florian Leguillon – Guitars, Vocals
Benoît Carel – Guitars, Synths & Effects
Romain Hauduc – Bass, Vocals
Baptiste Keriel – Drums, Vocals

Abrahma website

Abrahma on Thee Facebooks

Abrahma on Twitter

Small Stone Records website

Small Stone Records on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp

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Stone from the Sky Premiere “Animal” Video; Break a Leg out May 3

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

stone from the sky

Stone from the Sky release their third album, Break a Leg, through More Fuzz Records on May 3. And once their video for the song “Animal” from the record gets to the point where the plane lands near the field of elephants in the African countryside, you immediately get a sense of where things are headed. They’re headed to dead elephants. Break a Leg is comprised of six tracks and runs 45 minutes of exploratory heavy post-rock instrumentalism, and yet there’s nothing standing in the way of its blatantly emotional expression, and where so much in the style seems to get lost in its own head — one could argue that’s the nature of it — and winds up cerebral to the point of emotional sterility.

Working its way in on a long fade of backwards guitar, animal noises and sparse percussion, “Vena Cava,” the opener and longest track (immediate points) of Break a Leg, readily counteracts that stereotype. Like Red Sparowes before them, Stone from the Sky take a personal approach to greater issues of environment and humanity’s place within it, but their sound isn’t always half as blatant as the video for “Animal” makes it seem, and as “Vena Cava” winds through loud/quiet tradeoffs with airy guitar and earthy bass working to fluidly counteract each other while serving the larger purpose of crafting the spaces in which the rest of the album plays out. “Agger,” which follows, is faster and more active in its forward push — also less than half the runtime at 4:17 — but still works with a similar tonal resonance that the leadoff lays bare and which becomes a running theme throughout the entire LP.

There’s some psychedelic reconciliation in “Therapsida,” stone from the sky break a legthe side A closer and second of three inclusions over nine minutes long — the last is closer “Rataxès” at 9:07 — but its percussive opening and turns to and from a fuller, fuzzier style of riffing tie it to a heavy rock that sits well alongside the floating notes in the quieter stretches. They have no trouble moving back and forth between them, and make their way in the second half of the song through a lysergic meander and back to the central “chorus” riff that has served them ably to that point, more slowed-down Karma to Burn than anything that might be called post-rock, but still consistent in tone and mood.

“Animal” leads off side B with another patient opening and does a particularly effective job of bringing together a harsher sense of noise and drifting guitar, like a more biting My Sleeping Karma, but distinct for how far into the wash Stone from the Sky are willing to go. They work from shortest to longest on the second half of the record, letting “Animal” lead into “Atomic Valley” (7:38) and the aforementioned “Rataxès” with a suitable feeling of moving farther and farther out, the former resolving in a massive wall-of-fuzz nod and the latter taking a jammier-sounding approach initially but revealing its linear course later as it works to payoff its own stretch and that of Break a Leg as a whole; a task in which it is ultimately successful.

I don’t think anyone will accuse the Le Mans, France, trio of revolutionizing heavy post-rock, but neither should they be discounted for whatever elements of their work might prove otherwise familiar. Their ability to evoke a sense of purpose in their material alone is a distinguishing factor, let alone the manner in which they put those otherwise familiar elements to use, and they maintain a balance between the head and the heart in their work that is malleable while also being very much their own. A deep-dive conscious listen or two will unveil some of Break a Leg‘s more subtle individualism, and prove all the more rewarding for those willing to engage with the record on the level it demands.

Clip for “Animal” is below. Heads up if you don’t want to see dead elephants.

Otherwise, enjoy:

Stone from the Sky, “Animal” video premiere

Stone from the Sky on “Animal”:

Stone From The Sky stands against this cruel and useless practice that is hunting. Elephant poaching for the ivory trade is one of its most vile expressions. Getting together the exaltation of our dirtiest instincts, the murder of animals, the pleasure of the ultra-rich and the exploitation of local populations only to destroy their own environment.

When one of the most majestic species of this planet will have been annihilated, what gadget are we gonna invent to justify the murder of other rare wild animals?

Stone From The Sky is proud to reveal its new clip in anticipation of the release of their upcoming 3rd album, “Break A Leg” which will be out on More Fuzz Records on May 3rd.

Even if Stone From The Sky is a pure instrumental band, this doesn’t avoid them to transmit their opinion about our current society in their music. And with this clip of the song “Animal”, they’re clearly stating they’re against what is currently happening in Africa with the killing of thousands of Elephants to get their tusks and after sell them on the Chinese market.

Most of the footage you’ll see in this clip has been taken from a Netflix documentary called “Ivory Game” which depicts this horrible situation. Don’t hesitate to watch it entirely to get a sense a of the problem, and how some people are trying to protect those endangered species.

“Break a Leg” is currently available to pre-order on LP & CD on More Fuzz Records webshop and on Digital on Bandcamp.

Stone from the Sky on Thee Facebooks

Stone from the Sky on Bandcamp

Stone from the Sky website

More Fuzz Records webstore

More Fuzz Records on Thee Facebooks

More Fuzz Records on Bandcamp

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Witchfinder, Hazy Rites

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

witchfinder hazy rites

[Click play above to stream Hazy Rites by Witchfinder in its entirety. Album is out April 1 on Black Bow Records.]

Witchfinder‘s Hazy Rites isn’t so much a melting pot as it is a steaming cauldron of influences from the sphere of modern doom, sludge, and tonal onslaught. To listen to tracks like “Satan’s Haze” and “Covendoom,” two 10-minute riff-pushers stacked right at the front following opener “Ouija,” the Witchcult Today-era Electric Wizard-fandom comes through rolling and massive in the plodding riffs, vaguely cultish theme, resounding tonal murk and the vocals echoing up from it. Yet, the subsequent centerpiece “Sexual Intercourse” has a different focus on melody that calls to mind Elephant Tree before turning later into vicious screams and sludgy nod. The penultimate “Sorry” — just speculation, but I don’t think the apology is sincere — turns similarly caustic, and even “Ouija” back at the outset is working with different methods, a slow initial unfolding that soon enough gives way to Conan-style tonal dominance and melodic shouting.

All the more fitting, then, that Hazy Rites should arrive as the Clermont-Ferrand, France, trio’s first offering through Black Bow Records, owned by Conan‘s Jon Davis, whose Blackskull Services has also taken them on as a management client. Witchfinder made their self-titled debut in 2017 and were given a look last year from Kozmik Artifactz for a vinyl release, but Hazy Rites, at a willfully unmanageable seven songs and 60 minutes makes that 40-minute four-tracker seem almost like an EP, and what bassist/vocalist Clément, guitarist Stan and drummer Tom bring to bear across the mostly-lumbering beast they’ve conjured is broader than the preceding record and also more sure of itself, with “Wild Trippin'” unafraid to dig into heavy psychedelic doom in the vein of Windhand early before Stan‘s guitar turns from its utterly engrossing thickness to take flight and lead a spacious apex section ahead of the swinging finish en route to “Sorry,” which follows. All the while, Witchfinder seem to be casting the elements from which they comprise their sound as a burgeoning persona, aided by the subtle turns of influence and periodic fits of shroom doom or more vicious sludge.

Among its other strengths, Hazy Rites is a reminder to just about anyone who hears it what a difference an excellent drummer can make. It’s not about the technicality in Tom‘s playing, but even the force with which he hits the snare in the second half of “Ouija” comes through in the recording, and he proves well up to the task of holding together the album at its foggiest moments, as on “Satan’s Haze” or the turn from the speedier swing to the stomping finish of “Sexual Intercourse” where he deftly accents his crash hits with the kick drum, the ultra-slow march of “Covendoom” and “Sorry” or the malleability he shows in closer “Dans l’Instant,” holding onto the central rhythm for a moment even as the church organ that leads the way out for the last two minutes or so comes on and seems to consume the track in progress. He wouldn’t have that work to do without the context of the entire band, of course, so I’m not trying to take away from what Clément or Stan add to the record — it would be ridiculous to do so — but it’s plain to hear even as the vocals sing out over timed crashes in “Dans l’Instant” before the last roll ensues that Tom is the kind of player who brings a band to another level.

witchfinder

The production, handled at Satanic Audio in Poland, doesn’t hurt either, as the low end of bass and the alternatingly crushing and airy guitar become themes around which the songs function, and showcase not only a sense of what makes something heavy in terms of tone and groove, but how to use that as a foundation for exploration in songwriting. They’re not going so far out as to get lost — again, having those drums on the ground is a more than solid base to work from — but their style ends up being as much about atmosphere as about heft, and they don’t neglect either as the record plays out, whether it’s purposefully immersing the listener in “Satan’s Haze” and “Covendoom” back to back, or putting “Sorry” between “Wild Trippin'” and “Dans l’Instant” to add an element of the extreme amid Hazy Rites‘ most psychedelic fare. There’s consciousness at work here, addled though it might be.

Still, it’s the largesse that’s going to be the primary impression. The fact that Witchfinder sound huge as they roll their way through “Ouija” or “Sexual Intercourse” — the latter of which might also be the broadest-ranging cut they have here, with some touch of harmony to the vocals, an ethereal effects-wash of a solo, and then the turn before the five-minute mark to more forward-driving screamy sludge and the inevitable slowdown that ends it — is going to be the immediate standout factor. Echoing on Clément‘s voice adds to the sense of space in which the songs play out, and they dutifully fill that space with waves of distortion that seem bent only on pulling apart everything in their path.

But that’s not the end of Witchfinder‘s story, the deeper one digs in to Hazy Rites, the more one is likely to uncover, whether it’s in the melodies of “Wild Trippin'” or the brutality of the hits in “Sorry,” and the more satisfying the record ultimately becomes. Nod out if you must, but do so at the risk of missing the growth the band has undertaken in the couple years since their debut, and though it’s long at an hour’s runtime, that becomes part of the point of Hazy Rites in that it’s about creating the world this material inhabits even as the songs unfold. The converted will know what’s up — doom for doomers by doomers — and that would seem to be with whom Witchfinder are casting their lot here. Nothing wrong with that, certainly, and as France’s heavy underground continues to evolve, they seem primed to do just the same, whether that means more harmonies or tonal weight or screams or, preferably, all of it.

Witchfinder on Thee Facebooks

Witchfinder on Bandcamp

Black Bow Records website

Black Bow Records webstore

Black Bow Records on Bandcamp

Black Bow Records on Thee Facebooks

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Abrahma Announce May 24 Release for In Time for the Last Rays of Light

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

abrahma

As it happens, I wrote the bio for Abrahma‘s upcoming third album, In Time for the Last Rays of Light, which will be out May 24 through Small Stone Records everywhere else and Deadlight Entertainment in the band’s native France. So yes, I’ve heard it. It is a darker affair than either of Abrahma‘s other two albums, but still carries the weight and impact that so typified 2016’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here). No question though that the context has shifted, and founding frontman Sébastien Bismuth talks about a bit of what that’s all about in the bio below, touching on inward and outward tumult of a kind that, hey, I get it. Like, a lot.

I’m going to try to get some coverage set up for this one, so I’ll say “more to come” and leave it at that. You’ll find the PR wire below, and the bio I wrote starts after the “–” in the second paragraph.

Dig:

abrahma in time for the last rays of light

ABRAHMA to release third album “In Time For The Last Rays Of Light” on May 24th through Small Stone Records

ABRAHMA’s third album “In Time for the Last Rays of Light” follows three tumultuous years of personal challenges and lineup changes. It is a chronicle of the ravages of coping with loss and mental illness, brought to bear with heavy and progressive songwriting, melodic catharsis and an impact that goes beyond the material itself.

— Produced and mixed at Orgone Studios by Jaime Gomez Arellano (Paradise Lost, Ghost, Candlemass), “In Time for the Last Rays of Light” follows 2015’s “Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird” and whether it is the stark chug and lumbering weight of “Eclipse of the Sane Pt. 1: Isolation Ghosts” or the furious blast-beating in the prior “Lucidly Adrift,” its songs produce a depth of atmosphere that speaks to the soul that birthed them. A split with the prior lineup of the band brought the Rouen, France-based founding vocalist/guitarist Sébastien Bismuth into contact with local outfit Splendor Solis, whose members would soon be folded into the new incarnation of ABRAHMA. After many false starts, the band hit the studio in July 2018 and set to work on what is unmistakably their greatest accomplishment to-date: an album that copes with the depression that birthed it and soars hopefully above while reminding that the darkness beneath is ever-present.

“People do not take mental illness seriously,” says Bismuth. “People suffering from depression generally feel rejected, and it is not only a feeling. People that never gone through it generally do not really understand how hard it can be to live every day with this weight on your shoulders, all those questions going through your head.” Spanning genres and decades of influence, from the Bowie-ism of “…Last Epistle” to the gothic unfolding of closer “There Bears the Fruit of Deceit,” “In Time for the Last Rays of Light” speaks with raw honesty and lush craft to its challenges and realizations. In keeping with the album’s theme, a portion of the merch proceeds from ABRAHMA’s next tours will go to help those suffering from mental illness. “I decided to use this album has a medication against this depression and maybe help other people in this situation,” Bismuth recounts. “Each song explains a different side of it: loss of confidence, other’s critical looks, the impression of not having a place in this world.”

With front and back covers by famed French artist Gustave Doré (1832-1883) and a greater expanse of sound than ABRAHMA has ever had before, “In Time for the Last Rays of Light” confronts its demons and offers a reminder that light exists in the first place. (Words by JJ Koczan for The Obelisk)

ABRAHMA “In Time For The Last Rays Of Light”
Out May 24th on Small Stone Records (world)
and Deadlight Entertainment (France)

TRACK LISTING :
1. Lost.Forever.
2. Lucidly Adrift
3. Eclipse of the Sane Pt.1: Isolation Ghosts
4. Dusk Contemplation…
5. …Last Epistle
6. Wander in Sedation
7. Eclipse of the Sane Pt. 2: Fiddler of the Bottle
8. There Bears the fruit of Deceit

Sébastien Bismuth – Vocals, Guitars
Florian Leguillon – Guitars, Vocals
Benoît Carel – Guitars, Synths & Effects
Romain Hauduc – Bass, Vocals
Baptiste Keriel – Drums, Vocals

www.abrahmamusic.net
www.facebook.com/ABRAHMAMUSIC
www.twitter.com/ABRAHMAMUSIC
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com

Abrahma, In Time for the Last Rays of Light teaser

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Quarterly Review: Kungens Män, PFUND, Crystal Spiders, The Misery Men, Hubris, Woorms, Melody Fields, Oreyeon, Mammoth Grove, Crimson Devils

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

I used to be pretty artsy and write poetry. Let’s give it a shot:

There was an old man who wore no-toe shoes.
He said, I’mma go do 60 reviews.
He was out of his head,
Should’ve gone back to bed,
But he loves him some dirty psych blues.

Years from now, when I link back to this post for a “(review here)”-type scenario, I’m going to see that and I’ll still think it’s funny. The planet’s dying. I’d say a bit of silly is more than called for.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Kungens Män, Chef

kungens man chef

Krautrockers, assemble! Or, you know, whatever krautrockers do — I assume it involves homemade spacecraft that, yes, absolutely fly. Perhaps one of these days I’ll ask Stockholm’s Kungens Män, whose latest outing for Riot Season, simply titled Chef, is an outbound delight of psych-infused progressivism. Beginning with the opening throb of “Fyrkantig Böjelse” and moving into the volume swells, steady drum line and wandering guitar that starts “Öppen För Stängda Dörrar” on side A, its four extended tracks craft otherworldly textures through a meld of organic instrumental flow and waves of synth, the second cut building to a tense wash of distortion all the while keeping that hypnotic march. The two corresponding 10-minute-plus cuts on side B waste no time in offering cosmic boogie in “Män Med Medel” with a more active rhythmic flow, and closer “Eftertankens Blanka Krankhet” — longer than the opener by one second at 11:24 — fades in on meditative guitar and explores a serene minimalism that only underscores the all around joy of the album.

Kungens Man on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records webstore

 

PFUND, PFUND

pfund pfund

The self-titled, self-released debut full-length from Kiel, Germany’s PFUND arrives and departs with a guesting horn section, and while that inevitably adds a bit of grandeur to the proceedings, the bulk of the outing is dedicated to straightforward, semi-metallic heavy rock, held to ground even in the seven-minute “Spaceman” by a considered sense of structure and an earthy drum sound that draws the songs together, whether it’s the classic riff rock in “Sea of Life” or the moodier sway in the earlier “Lost in Rome.” Dual guitars effectively multiply the impact, and the vocals showcase a nascent sense of melody that one imagines will only continue to grow as the band moves forward. At nine songs and 44 minutes, it shows some breadth and nuance in “Exhaustion” and “Paranoia,” the former tapping into an edge of progressive metal, but the primary impact comes from PFUND‘s heft of groove and how it blends with a rawer edge to their production. The Kyuss-referencing centerpiece here might be called “Imbalance,” but that’s hardly representative of what surrounds, horns and all.

PFUND on Thee Facebooks

PFUND on Bandcamp

 

Crystal Spiders, Demo

crystal spiders demo

Three songs, 11 minutes and three distinct vibes from the aptly-titled Demo demo of North Carolinian three-piece Crystal Spiders. On “Tigerlily,” “Flamethrower” and “Devil’s Resolve,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath (also Lightning Born), guitarist/vocalist Mike Deloatch and drummer/backing vocalist Tradd Yancey careen from bluesy spaciousness to hard-driving catchiness and end up — because why not? — in repeating cult-sludge chants, “Come to the devil’s resolve!” like Black Widow trying to lure people to the sabbat, except shouting. If the purpose of a demo is for a new band to try different methods of working and thereby take a first step in discovering their sound, Crystal Spiders are well on their way, and for what it’s worth, there isn’t anything within their scope as they present it that doesn’t work for them. There are edges to smooth out, of course, but that too is a part of the process starting here.

Crystal Spiders on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Spiders on Bandcamp

 

The Misery Men, Deathspiration

The Misery Men Deathspiration

If you’d asked, depending on which part of Deathspiration was on, I’d probably have called The Misery Men a bass/drum duo, but nope, that’s guitar. Tonally one is reminded of At Devil Dirt from Chile, but the Portland, Oregon, two-piece of vocalist/guitarist Corey G. Lewis and drummer Steve Jones are entirely more barebones in their craft, eschewing digital involvement of any sort in the recording or mixing process and sounding duly raw as a result throughout the subtle earworm of “C.W. Sughrue” and the lumbering “Harness the Darkness.” The subsequent “Night Creeps In” brings a Northwestern noise payoff to quiet/loud trades and the near-10-minute closer “Stoned to Death,” well, it seems to meet an end befitting its title, to say the least. As their stated intent was to capture the most organic version of their sound possible, and made a point of working toward that ideal in their recording, one could hardly fault them for the results of that process. They wanted something human-sounding. They got it.

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Hubris, EP #II Live

hubris ep ii live

Some — not all — of what one needs to know about HubrisEP #II Live is right there in the title. Indeed, it’s their second EP. Indeed, it was recorded live. And indeed, like using a ‘#’ sign with a Roman numeral, there’s something about the way the three included songs from the Toulouse, France-based outfit sound that’s just a little bit off-kilter from what you might expect. “Zugzwang” (7:19), “Tergo” (19:58) and “Biotilus” (27:04) are arranged shortest to longest, and while the opener starts off like Queens of the Stone Age on an Eastern-tinged psychedelic bender, the lengthy jams that follow — the first of them with a fervent drum punctuation, the second a gradual intertwining of synth and guitar with hardly any percussion at all until after its 22nd minute. The instrumental flow that ensues from there is almost like a hidden bonus track, at least until they Hubris get to minute 26 and the whole thing explodes in crash and plod. The underlying message, of course, is that if you think you’re safe at any point, you’re not.

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Woorms, Slake

woorms slake

Lumbering fuckall pervades the debut full-length, Slake, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sludgers Woorms — also stylized all-caps — which incorporates past singles “Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God” and “Mouth is a Wound” amid the sample/noise barrage of “Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced” and the willfully brash “Racist Kevin” that follows. There’s an edge of Melvinsian chug to the proceedings, but Woorms‘ take, though presented in finished compositions, comes across as almost nihilistic rather than making a show of its experimentalism. That is, they’re trying to say they don’t give a fuck, and in listening, they make it kind of easy to believe, but there’s still something about the cohesiveness of “Veni Vidi Fucki” and “Rice Crispy” and the saved-the-best-nod-for-last finale “Sore Afraid” that undercuts the notion even while making the listening experience all the more pummeling, and from the intro “Corpse Corps” through “Urine Trouble Now”‘s echoing shouts and the closer’s unmitigated stomp, there’s still plenty of exploration being done.

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Oreyeon, Ode to Oblivion

Oreyeon Ode to Oblivion

Rebranded since their 2016 debut, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), from their more phonetically intuitive original moniker, Orion, Italy’s Oreyeon issue a cosmically expansive spacescape follow-up in their six-song/40-minute sophomore outing, Ode to Oblivion, also their first release through Heavy Psych Sounds. Echoing vocals pervade “Big Surprise” after the introductory “T.I.O.” and “Trudging to Vacuity” establish the wide-cast mix and anti-grav rhythmic density, and the nine-minute side A finale title-track runs mostly-instrumental circles around most of what I’d usually call “prog” only after it lays down a sleek hook in the first couple minutes. After “Big Surprise,” the 8:45 “The Ones” trades volume back and forth but finds its breadth at about the sixth minute as the dramatic lead turns on a dime to desert rock thrust en route to wherever the hell it goes next. Honestly, after that moment, everything’s gravy, but Oreyeon lay it on thick with closer “Starship Pusher” and never neglect melody in the face of nod. Worth a deeper dig if you get the chance.

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Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Melody Fields, Melody Fields

melody fields melody fields

Sometimes you hear a record and it’s like the band is doing you a favor by existing. To that, thanks Melody Fields. The Gothenburg psych troupe lace their lysergic flow with folkish harmonies and an open sensibility on their self-titled debut that comes coupled with enough tonal presence to still consider them heavy not that it matters. They break out the sax on “Morning Sun” to welcome effect, and the sun continues to shine through “Liberty” and the garage-buzzing “Run” before “Rain Man” turns water droplets into keyboard notes and Beatlesian — think “Rain” — voice arrangements atop soothing instrumental drift, every bit the centerpiece and an excellent precursor to the acoustic-based “Fire” and the 10-minute “Trädgränsen,” which is the crowning achievement of this self-titled debut, which, if I’d been hip to it in time, would’ve made both the 2018 best albums and best debuts list. They cap with a reprise of “Morning Sun” and underscore the solid foundation beneath the molten beauty of their work throughout. To ask for another album seems greedy, but I will anyway. More, please.

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Sound Effect Records website

 

Mammoth Grove, Slow Burn

mammoth grove slow burn

Okay, look, enough screwing around. It’s time for someone to sign Mammoth Grove. The Calgary natives have been putting out quality heavy psych rock since their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and their latest long-player, the four-song Slow Burn is a righteous amalgam of peace-thru-rock that lives up to its freewheeling vibes in “Seasons” after the methodical opener “Valleys” and rolls out a bit of melodic ’70s biker rock bliss in “Black Meadow” before the side-B-consuming “Gloria” (18:42) asks early if you’re ready to go and then goes like gone, gone, gone, and gone further. Given the analog mindset involved and the heart on display throughout, there’s something fitting about it being pressed up in an edition of 100 hand-screenprinted LPs and 100 CDs likewise, but the more people who could hear it, the merrier, so yeah, some label or other needs to step up and make that happen, and I dare you to listen to the solo that hits past the 14-minute mark in “Gloria” and tell me otherwise. Dare you.

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Crimson Devils, A Taste for Blood

crimson devils a taste for blood

Since pared down to a trio from the four-piece incarnation they present here, Austin’s Crimson Devils first released their debut, A Taste for Blood, in 2017, but gave it a vinyl revisit last year and it’s little mystery why. The record comprises 11 sharply-composed tracks of Small Stone-style heavy rock, taking cues from Sasquatch in modern-via-classic modus, picking and choosing elements of ’70s and ’90s rock to conjure formidable groove and engaging hooks. There’s considerable swagger and weight in “They Get It,” and while opener “Dead and Gone” seems to show an influence in its vocal patterning from Elder, as the album unfolds, it’s more about the blast of “Captain Walker” or the penultimate “Nothing to Claim” and the straight-ahead vibes of “Bad News Blues” and “No Action” than anything so outwardly prog. There’s plenty to dig in the rock-for-rockers mindset, and it’s the kind of offering that should probably come with an octane rating. However such things are measured, safe to say it would not be low.

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Komodor Stream Self-Titled Debut EP in its Entirety

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Komodor are set to release their self-titled debut EP tomorrow, Jan. 11, through Soulseller Records. It’s the French band’s first offering of any kind, and yeah, there are certainly no shortage of enticing associations, what with the fact that Blues Pills bassist Zack Anderson recorded and that he and his entire group put in guest appearances on it, with vocalist Elin Larsson sitting in on three of the four songs — what, you’re gonna just have her on one? no way — and guitarist Dorian Sorriaux sits in as well on “Nasty Habits” with André Kvarnström and Rickard Nygren adding further boogie to the classic garage fuzz of that piece, which follows the particularly Grand Funky “Join the Band.” The core four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Slyde Barnett, guitarist Ronnie Calva, bassist Goudzou and drummer Elrik Monroe reserve closer “1984” for themselves, and fair enough for that track’s relatively straightforward arrangement, but of course by the time they get there in rounding out their brisk 17-minute offering, Komodor have already well established their put-on-your-shuffle-shoes penchant for heavy ’10s boogie as filtered through post-Kadavar naturalist production and live-feeling performance.

That finale in “1984” is also the shortest cut on the EP, so perhaps its guest-less arrangement is meant to further convey an idea on the part of the band of something simpler and more direct musically. Though Komodor aren’t exactly komodor komodorlacking efficiency in the rest of the material either, as opener “Still the Same” launches with analog-warmth and an earworm hook to lead the way through, and if initial EPs are intended to showcase what a band has to offer, Komodor come ready to dance. They’ve got their aesthetic nailed down and their songcraft wants nothing for organics in terms either of construction or execution. As Larsson backs Barnett in “Still the Same,” Calva‘s fuzzy lead seems to join the chorus and Goudzou and Monroe offer rhythmic propulsion that sets the tone for the rest of the release to come. There’s a definite sense of flow to what Komodor have on offer here — with so much groove around, there would almost have to be — and that carries right into “Join the Band,” which veers from its thrusting verse and suitably inviting chorus into an extended guitar solo before ending cleanly with a last run through the chorus. “Nasty Habits” makes good use of the guest piano for a honky-tonk boogie vibe, mellowing out in the second half, but only to set up the party explosion that soon follows, leading to the going-it-alone capper “1984,” which shows that even left to their own devices, Komodor have no problem letting their songs speak well for them.

The question that remains after listening to Komodor‘s Komodor is just how much over the long term the EP will represent their sound. I’m not just talking about vintage-style bands evolving a more modern sound as they move forward — as Blues Pills have done — but how a full-length would come across with the band on their own. Either way, if this collection is helping the four-piece get to the point of running on their own legs, it’s an encouraging first step, and their collaboration with Anderson and the rest of his band is just one of the songs’ appeals. In the end, their songs have to hold up as they are, and they do, so something tells me Komodor will be just fine.

You can hear Komodor‘s Komodor a day early on the player below. More info from the PR wire info follows.

Please enjoy:

KOMODOR’s first release, a self-titled mini album, will be published on 11th January 2019 on CD, 12” LP and in digital formats.

It features guest appearances by the entire BLUES PILLS band, whose bassist Zack Anderson even recorded the four songs. Inspired by MC5, James Gang, Grand Funk Railroad and many more, KOMODOR invites you to their journey through rock’n’roll!

Check out a first little teaser at this location: https://youtu.be/L6VAd755ljY

Tracklist:
1. Still The Same
2. Join The Band
3. Nasty Habits
4. 1984

Line-up:
Goudzou – Bass
Elrik Monroe – Drums
Ronnie Calva – Lead Guitar
Slyde Barnett – Lead Vocals & Guitar

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Soulseller Records website

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