Magma Announce Retrospektïw I & II and III Due Nov. 24 on Southern Lord

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Progressive, psychedelic and interplanetary legends Magma will play a Southern Lord showcase in Amsterdam at the end of this month. The impetus in part behind the appearance is the impending release of Retrospektïw I & II and III a 3LP compilation of compilations — because when you’re Magma you can do that kind of thing and put out a record that spells out and as well as uses an ampersand and have it make sense. Also you can make up your own language. Also pretty much anything else you want at this point because, well, because you’re friggin’ Magma and Planet Earth is lucky to have you.

Southern Lord has the comp o’ comps out on Nov. 24 and will host the French mainstays on Oct. 29 at a label showcase with Circle, SunnO))) and — in awesome contrast — Unsane, among others. Sure to be a raucous night. Info follows on that and the release, via the PR wire:

MAGMA Georges Besnier

MAGMA To Release Volume I & II And III 3xLP Collection Via Southern Lord November 24th; Group To Appear At The Southern Lord Showcase Evening In Amsterdam On October 29th

MAGMA, one of the most influential of all French bands, will release the Retrospektïw 3xLP collection, including Retrospektï? Volume I & II and Retrospektï? Volume III via Southern Lord on November 24th. The collection will be made available as a limited pressing of 1500 hand-numbered copies, remastered by Brad Boatright, including original artwork by Eva Nahon, also including the classic comic strip by Solé, Dister, and Gotlib depicting MAGMA’s trials and tribulations.

Southern Lord and MAGMA’s collaboration doesn’t end there, as the label has invited the group to perform at their label showcase on October 29th at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, alongside Sunn O))), Unsane, Circle, Okkultokrati, Wolfbrigade, Big|Brave, and Vitamin X. The official show poster artwork was created by Savage Pencil and Eva Nahon.

Southern Lord Europe Presents:
10/29/2017 Melkweg – Amsterdam, NL w/ Magma, Sunn O))), Unsane, more

The first ten years of MAGMA were celebrated on three memorable evenings in June 1980 at the Olympia theatre in Paris. This retrospective, reuniting most of the musicians who had performed in the group, was issued as two albums; the Retrospektï? I & II double-LP and Retrospektï? III LP. Issued first, Retrospektï? III comprises three titles. “Retrovision” is a long piece in the style of the album Attahk, in which the vocalists Stella Vander, Guy Khalifa, and Maria Popkiewicz turn in a blazing performance over a driving rhythm section. There is a supercharged version of “Hhai,” in which the trio of Lockwood, Paganotti, and Widemann works miracles. And finally, “La Dawotsin,” where, in a more muted register, the voice of Christian Vander triumphs through its mastery and profound sensibility.

Recorded, like Retrospektï? III, during the soirees at Olympia in June 1980, Retrospektï? I & II is an absolutely fundamental album in which “Theusz Hamtaahk” — the first movement of the trilogy of the same name — is presented for the first time. The second and third movements, “Wurdah Itah” and “Mekanik Destruktiw Komandoh,” were of course already well known. Although played in concert since 1974, Christian Vander had waited for years before recording it for posterity as he wanted every note to be as beautiful, magical, essential and definitive as possible. It is with the same respect for his music that he releases here the most successful version of “Mekanik Destruktiw Komandoh,” considered outstanding on account of two incredible improvisation from Bernard Paganotti and Didier Lockwood. Klaus Blasquiz, who did not perform on Retrospektï? III, is the lead vocalist on this version – and justifiably so, since he was indeed the MAGMA singer who first sang these two masterworks.

There’s no doubt about it, MAGMA has left a legacy of music that defies any of the standard and convenient classifications of rock, operating instead in a realm of their own creation. Southern Lord looks forward to being part of their ever-evolving story…

http://www.magmamusic.org
http://www.southernlord.com
http://southernlord.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/twatterlord
https://www.facebook.com/SLadmin

Magma, “Slag Tanz” live at Roadburn 2014

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Lark Self-Titled EP Due out Oct. 31; New Teaser Streaming

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

lark

Newcomer modern progressive metal duo Lark is comprised of Raphaël and Zacharie Mizzi, former members of Sail in Between and Bright Curse, respectively. Their self-released, self-titled debut EP is due out on Halloween, and though listening to opener “Hailstorm” it seems easy enough to figure out the release — yeah, it’s got some of that post-Baroness winding proggy riffing, multiple vocal layers, etc. — by the time they get into the subsequent “Red Eye,” that pretty much goes out the window. The second track takes on a much more metallic feel, with growled and deathly vocals and a harsher vibe all the way around.

Between “Decay,” “Too Far Gone” and “Heavy,” which follow, Lark never quite get back to that kind of intensity again on the EP, but no question that on first listen it’s a jarring shift that makes it much harder to predict where they might end up in a given track — and likewise on any future release. Pretty awesome and unexpected turn.

The EP is out Oct. 31 and they have a teaser posted for it now, which came down the PR wire along with the following info:

lark lark

LARK to release debut EP on Halloween

Progressive sludge/stoner metal band LARK are set to release their debut, self-titled album on October 31st 2017. The band features former members of BRIGHT CURSE and SAIL IN BETWEEN.

Lark is the overdue collaboration of two French brothers, Raph, former guitarist and lead singer of Sail In Between and former bassist of Angher Incorporated and Zach, former drummer of Bright Curse. The elder resides in their native south of France, while the younger moved to London in 2009 to explore the UK music scene.

Zach evolved in the Stoner, Psyche and Hard Rock tones in recent years while Raph followed his love for Hardcore and Prog, but their tastes meet in a Rock and Metal avalanche of riffs, grooves and all that is heavy. They shared a vision of music that combines massive and textured sound with the groove of their early metal influence.

The two brothers rapidly found ways around the distance between them and started their first creative collaboration at the beginning of 2017. The EP came to life thanks to the help of Robin Mariat of Grey Matter Studio (Lyon, Fr), Chris Painter of Red Roof Sounds (London, Uk), Marco of Marc&Cheese (London, Uk) and Jake Read of Living Room Studios (London, Uk).

The band is set to release their first EP “Lark’’, a new blend of metal inspired by Mastodon, Opeth, Gojira, Black Peaks, Russian Circles and more this fall. The D day is set for Halloween 2017 when their extensive network of VIPs will meet and celebrate at a location not yet disclosed.

facebook.com/LarkBandOfficial/
instagram.com/lark_band/

Lark, Lark teaser trailer

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Greyfell Sign to Argonauta Records; Horsepower Coming in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Wasn’t it just yesterday I was talking about how Argonauta Records‘ lineup continues to explode unabated? Yup, it was. Granted I was a few days behind on the announcement that Italian rockers Di’Aul joined the multinational roster of Argonauta acts, but I think it goes to the prove the point anyway that here we are mere hours later and Argonauta have picked up another band — enter Greyfell, from France — and announced another release, this one due in early 2018.

Titled Horsepower, it’s the second Greyfell full-length behind 2015’s name-your-price-download, very-punctuated I.Got.the.Silver Vol. 1, which is streaming here. The label said Di’Aul would be out in February, and Greyfell have an “early 2018” tag in contrast to that, but honestly, Argonauta is pretty on its stuff when it comes to actually getting this constant slew of records out, so yeah, I wouldn’t expect it to get past Spring before Horsepower shows up. Another one for the 2018 list in the meantime.

Info comes from the PR wire:

greyfell

GREYFELL – ARGONAUTA RECORDS

French Doom Metallers GREYFELL inked a deal with ARGONAUTA RECORDS.

Equally influenced by violence and hypnosis, GREYFELL doom sonorities are able to blend Black Metal, Psych and Hardcore echoes, drawing influences from the sonic heavyweights like Type O Negative, Sleep and Kickback, with a sound that proves to be celestial, telluric and all around massive.

Their second album “Horsepower” explores new territories with the arrival of a fourth member on keyboards and synths, thus going even further into massive drones and ghostly textures.

Produced entirely on their own, this new record marks the beginning of their collaboration with Argonauta and pushes the boundaries of heaviness and incantatory atmospheres.

GREYFELL “Horsepower” will be released by early 2018.

“There will be a light in the dark, there will be quiet before the storm, there will be harmony in chaos.”

Greyfell is:
Clément : gitar
Thierry : trommer
Boubakar : bassen
Hugo: Torden

https://www.facebook.com/Greyfellband/
https://greyfell.bandcamp.com/
facebook.com/argonautarecords
www.argonautarecords.com

Greyfell, I.Got.the.Silver Vol. 1 (2015)

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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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Quarterly Review: The Necromancers, The Asound & Intercourse, Bohr, Strobe, Astrosaur, Sun Q, Holy Mount, Sum of R, IIVII, Faces of the Bog

Posted in Reviews on September 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The season is changing here in the Northeastern part of the US. Leaves have just barely started to change, and the summertime haze that settles over the region for for the better parts of June, July and August has largely dissipated. It’s getting to be hoodie weather after the sun goes down. This past weekend was the equinox. All of this can only mean it’s time for another Quarterly Review — this one spanning a full Monday-to-Monday week’s worth of writeups. That’s right. 60 albums between now and a week from today. It’s going to be a genuine challenge to get through it all, but I’m (reasonably) confident we’ll get there and that when we’re on the other side, it will have been completely worth the lengthy trip to get there. Hell, you know the drill by now. Let’s not waste any time and get to it, shall we?

Quarterly Review #1-10:

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl

the-necromancers-servants-of-the-salem-girl

A noteworthy debut from the Poitier, France-based four-piece The Necromancers, whose coming has been much heralded owing in no small part to a release through Ripple Music, the six-track/41-minute Servants of the Salem Girl lumbers through doom and cultish heavy rock with likewise ease, shifting itself fluidly between the two sides on extended early cuts like opener “Salem Girl Part I” and the nine-minute “Lucifer’s Kin,” which gets especially Sabbathian in its roll later on. The album’s midsection, with the shorter cuts “Black Marble House” (video premiere here) and “Necromancers,” continues the flow with a general uptick of pace and ties together with the opening salvo via the burly vocals of guitarist Tom, the solo work of Rob on lead guitar, and the adaptable groove from bassist Simon and drummer Ben, and as the penultimate “Grand Orbiter” engages moody spaciousness, it does so with a refusal to commit to one side or the other that makes it a highlight of the album as a whole. The Necromancers finish contrasting rhythmic tension and payoff nod on “Salem Girl Part II,” having long since thoroughly earned their hype through songwriting and immediately distinct sonic persona. There’s growth to do in melodicism, but for being “servants,” The Necromancers show an awful lot of command in structure and style.

The Necromancers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

The Asound & Intercourse, Split 7″

the asound intercourse split

Noise is the order of things on the Tsuguri Records split 7” between New Haven, Connecticut’s good-luck-Googling aggressives Intercourse and North Carolinian sludge rockers The Asound. Each band offers a two-song showcase of their wares, with Intercourse blasting short jabs of post-hardcore/noise rock angularity on “Too Fucked to Yiff” and “Corricidin is a Helluva Drug” and The Asound bringing a more melodic heavy rock swing to “Slave to the Saints” while saving a more galloping charge for “Human for Human.” It’s a quick sampling, of course, and “Slave to the Saints” is the relative epic inclusion as the only one over three minutes long – it goes to 4:20, naturally – but boasts a surprisingly professional production from The Asound and an unhinged vibe from Intercourse that meets them head on in a way both competitive and complementary to the aggression of “Human for Human.” Fodder for the bands’ merch tables in its limited-to-300, one-time-only pressing, but there’s hardly anything wrong with that. All the more worth grabbing it if you can, while you can.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Intercourse on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Bohr, Bohr

bohr bohr

Officially called Self-Title, this two-song outing released by Tandang Records and BTNKcllctv serves as the first release from Malaysia’s Bohr, and with shouts and growls duking it out over massive plodding tones on opener “Voyager,” they seem to take position right away in the post-Conan verve of megadoom. Peppered-in lead work showcases some welcome nuance of personality, but it’s the second track “Suria” that trips into more surprising terrain, with a faster tempo and something of a letup in thickness, allowing for a more rocking feel, still met with shouted vocals but hinting at more of a melodic reach nonetheless. The shift might be awkward in the context of a full-length, but on a debut single/EP, it works just fine to demonstrate what may or may not be a nascent breadth in Bohr’s approach. They finish “Suria” with hints of more to come in a plotted guitar lead and are done in about 10 minutes, having piqued interest with two disparate tracks that leave one to wonder what other tricks might be up their collective sleeve.

Bohr on Thee Facebooks

Tandang Records on Bandcamp

BTNKcllctv on Bandcamp

 

Strobe, Bunker Sessions

strobe bunker sessions

It’s worth noting outright that Strobe’s Bunker Sessions was recorded in 1994. Not because it sounds dated, but just the opposite. The Sulatron Records release from the under-exposed UK psychedelic rockers finds them jamming out in live-in-studio fashion, and if you’d told me with no other context that the resultant six-track/40-minute long-player was put to tape two months ago, I’d absolutely have believed it. This would’ve been the era of their 1994 third album, The Circle Never Ends, and while some can hear some relation between that and Bunker Sessions in the shimmering lead and warm underscoring basslines of 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sun Birth,” the drift in “Chameleon Earth,” synth-laden space rock meandering of “Opium Dreams” and cymbal-wash-into-distortion-wash of closer “Sun Death” are on a wavelength of their own. It’s something of a curio release – a “lost album” – but it’s also bound to turn some heads onto how ahead of their time Stobe were in the ‘90s, and maybe we’ll get lucky and Sulatron will use it to kick off a full series of convenient LP reissues.

Sulatron Records on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Astrosaur, Fade In / Space Out

astrosaur-fade-in-space-out

While their moniker brings to mind pure stoner idolatry, Oslo instrumentalists Astrosaur acquit themselves toward more progressive fare with Fade In // Space Out, their Bad Vibes Records debut album, finding open spaces in bookending extended opener “Necronauts” and the dramatic shift between droning experimentalism and weighted lumber of the closing title-track even as middle cuts “Space Mountain,” “Yugen” and “Fishing for Kraken” balance with fits of driving progressive metallurgy. Comprised of Eirik Kråkenes, Steinar Glas and Jonatan Eikum, Astrosaur do get fuzzy for a bit on “Yugen,” but by the time they’re there, they’ve already space-doom-jazzed their way through such a vast aesthetic swath that it becomes one more stylistic element in fair-enough play. Open in its structure and building to an affecting cacophony in its ending, Fade In // Space Out is defined in no small part by its stylistic ambition, but whether it’s in the head-spinning initial turns of “Fishing for Kraken” or the stretch of peaceful, wistful guitar after the seven-minute mark in “Necronauts,” that ambition is admirable multifaceted and wide-reaching.

Astrosaur on Thee Facebooks

Bad Vibes Records website

 

Sun Q, Charms

sun q charms

There’s an encouraging and decidedly pro-shop fullness of sound being proffered on Sun Q’s debut full-length, Charms, to match an immediate sense of songcraft and stylization that puts them somewhere between heavy psych and more driving fuzz rock. Vocalist Elena Tiron takes a forward position in opener “Petals and Thorns” over the briskly-captured tones from guitarist Ivan Shalimov and bassist Denis Baranov while drummer Pavel Poseluev pushes the proceedings along, and whether they’re bringing in Seva Timofeev’s Hammond for the subsequent bluesy vibing of “After This,” toying with pop playfulness on “Plankton,” giving Andrey Tanzu percussive room on “Dancing Souls” or going full-expanse on keyboard-laden centerpiece and aptly-titled longest cut “Space,” there’s purpose behind the variety on offer and Sun Q never seem to lose their sense of poise throughout. There are moments where the bite of the production hits a little deep – looking at you, “Plankton” – but especially as their debut, Charms lives up to the name it’s been given and establishes these Moscow natives as a presence with which to be reckoned as they move forward.

Sun Q on Thee Facebooks

Sun Q on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mount, The Drought

holy mount the drought

White Dwarf Records picked up what by my count is Holy Mount’s fourth full-length, The Drought, for a vinyl issue following the Toronto foursome’s self-release last year, and with the immersive, dense heavy psych nod of “Division,” it’s little wonder why. The seven-cut LP is the second to feature the lineup of Danijel Losic, Brandon McKenzie, Troy Legree and Clayton Churcher behind 2014’s VOL, and its moments of nuance like the synth at the outset of “Blackened Log” or the blend of tense riffing and post-The Heads shoegaze-style vocal chants on the markedly insistent highlight cut “Basalt” only further the reasoning. The penultimate “Blood Cove” returns some to of the ritual sense of “Division,” and The Drought’s titular finale pierces its own wash with a lead that makes its apex all the more resonant and dynamic. Not nearly as frenetic as its cover art would have you believe, the already-sold-out vinyl brims with a vibe of creative expansiveness, and Holy Mount feel right at home in its depths.

Holy Mount on Thee Facebooks

White Dwarf Records webstore

 

Sum of R, Orga

sum of r orga

Over the course of its near-hour runtime, Orga, the Czar of Crickets-issued third full-length from Bern, Switzerland, ambient outfit Sum of R deep-dives into droning atmospheric wash while effectively producing headphone-worthy depths and avoiding the trap of redundant minimalism. Chimes in a song like “Desmonema Annasethe” and ringing bells in “We Have to Mark this Entrance” give a feeling of lushness instead that serves the release well overall, and these details, nuances, take the place of what otherwise might be human voices coursing through the bleak mire of Orga’s progression. One might look to closing duo “Let us Begin with What We Do Not Want to Be” and “One After the Other” for some sense of hopefulness, and whether or not it’s actually there, it’s possible to read it into the overarching drone of the former and the percussive movement of the latter, but by then Sum of R have well set the mood in an abiding darkness, and that remains the prevailing vibe. Not quite dramatic or brooding in a human/emotional sense, Orga casts its drear in soundscapes of distant nighttime horizon.

Sum of R website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

IIVII, Invasion

iivii invasion

Noted graphic artist and post-metal songwriter Josh Graham – formerly visuals for Neurosis, but also art for Soundgarden and many others, as well as being known for his work with A Storm of Light and the woefully, vastly underrated Battle of Mice – makes his second ambient solo release in the form of IIVII’s Invasion on Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds. A soundtrack-ready feel pervades the nine tracks/44 minutes almost instantly and holds sway with opener “We Came Here from a Dying World (I)” finding complement in the centerpiece “Tomorrow You’ll be One of Us (II)” and a thematic capstone in closer “Sanctuary,” only furthering the sense of a narrative unfolding throughout. There are elements drawn in “Unclouded by Conscience” from the atmospheric and score work of Trent Reznor and/or Junkie XL, but Graham doesn’t necessarily part with the post-metallic sense of brooding that has defined much of his work even as the pairing of “We Live” and “You Die” late in the record loops its way to and through its dramatic apex. Obviously not going to be for everyone, but it does make a solid argument for Graham as a composer whose breadth is still revealing itself even after a career filled with landmarks across multiple media.

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

 

Faces of the Bog, Ego Death

faces-of-the-bog-ego-death

In some of their shifts between atmospheric patience and churning intensity – not to mention in the production of Sanford ParkerFaces of the Bog remind a bit of fellow Windy City residents Minsk on their DHU Records debut album, Ego Death, but prove ultimately more aggressive in the thrust of “Drifter in the Abyss” and the later stretch of “The Serpent and the Dagger,” on which the guitars of Mark Stephen Gizewski and Trey Wedgeworth (both also vocals) delve into Mastodonic leads near the finish to set up the transition into the 10:33 title-track, which begins with a wash of static noise before Paul Bradfield’s bass sets up the slow nod that holds sway and only grows bigger as it presses forward. That cut is one of two over the 10-minute mark, and the other, closer “Blue Lotus,” unfolds even more gradually and ventures into cleaner vocals presaged on “The Weaver” and elsewhere as it makes its way toward an album-payoff crescendo marked by drummer Danny Garcia’s thudding toms and a low end rumble that’s as much a presence unto itself as a harbinger of progression to come.

Faces of the Bog on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

 

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Frank Sabbath to Release Are You Waiting? Oct. 2; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This one’s coming up quickly, so keep an eye out. French trio Frank Sabbath released their second album, Telluric Wanderers (discussed here), last year through Argonauta as the follow-up to their 2015 self-titled debut (review here), and even after two later-2016 sessions-type offerings posted on their Bandcamp, it would seem the Paris/Montpellier troupe are unwilling to let 2017 pass without a proper full-length, so on Oct. 2 they’ll drop Are You Waiting?, of which they’re giving a first taste now in the off-the-wall “Sasume.”

Crazed is nothing new as regards a general status for these guys, but I feel like this might even be a different level in that regard. Not sure how I feel about those maybe-Japanese vocals, but it’s weird, and the bass tone is inarguable, so there are definitely elements working in its favor.

Are You Waitingwill be Frank Sabbath‘s first record through their new label, Bermuda Cruise, and you can see more info about it below, courtesy of the PR wire, as well as hear “Sasume” if you’re feeling particularly brave:

frank-sabbath-are-you-waiting

Frank Sabbath is proud to reveal the cover and first extract from their new album, Are You Waiting?

With their third album Are You Waiting? the French psychedelic jokesters Frank Sabbath present a concentrate of their composition style in four songs, ranging from high energy psychedelic rock, to progressive doom-laden melodies, and trippy atmospheric soundscapes.

The first track off the album, “Sasume,” album premiere is a japanese infused psychedelic tune, reminding the seemingly forgotten times where humor did belong in rock music.

Are You Waiting? will be released on CD and digital format by the new associative label Bermuda Cruise, which is focusing on psychedelic, experimental and improvised music. The date of release for the album is set to October 2nd.

Frank Sabbath is:
Guillaume Jankowski : Bass
Baptiste Reig : Drums, vocals
Jude Mas : Guitare électrique, vocals
Léo Minart : Sound engineer, tapist

https://www.facebook.com/franksabbath.band/
https://franksabbath.bandcamp.com/
http://bermudacruise.fr/

Frank Sabbath, “Sasume”

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StoneBirds Premiere “Animals”; New LP Time out Oct. 20

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

stonebirds-gael-mathieu

French trio StoneBirds will release their second long-player, Time, on Oct. 20, and like the title of the record itself, the output therein is evocative and open to interpretation. What about “time” are we discussing? How it’s spent? How it’s already gone? How it’s not here yet? The subject is pretty vast, and as they engage it in the heavy post-rock textures of their centerpiece “Only Time” — among the final lyrics is the line, “There’s no hope in time” — the message could seem to be pretty bleak. Fair enough, but that doesn’t at all stop the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Fañch, bassist/backing vocalist Sylvain and drummer Antoine from exploring 55 minutes’ worth of progressive heavygaze fluidity across their mostly extended tracks. Bookended by intro “I” (3:12) and the crushing Jesu-style outro “II” (5:32), Time builds on the depth conjured for StoneBirds‘ 2015 Pink Tank Records debut, Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air (review here), brandishing Vangelis-via-Cult of Luna atmospherics on the 11-minute “Shutter Pt. I & II” and seeming to level an accusation with every tonally-dense churn and shout of the penultimate “Animals,” departing the earlier melodies of “Sacrifice” and the patient swelling and receding of “Blackened Sky” in order to take a more direct, nodding approach leading into the further crush and parting ambience of “II.”

Like many releases of its kind, Time takes a somewhat heady approach to its stated theme, and one finds a core of critique and cynicism (well enough earned) in the environmentalist-minded samples that pervade the early going of “Shutter Pt. I & II,” but whether one wants to engage StoneBirds on this level and discover what they actually have to say about these issues and about time itself or one simply wants to get lost in the tonal wash and alternating shoegaze-melodies and shouts, volume consumption and post-psychedelic meditations of “Sacrifice,” “Blackened Sky” or even “Only Time” itself will ultimately be up to the individual listener. For what it’s worth, repeat listens and taking StoneBirds‘ various turns and shifts on in a more active manner yields more satisfying results, as it almost invariably would. While more cerebral in the spirit of Rosetta, The Atlas Moth and any number of other post-metallic acolytes than the likes of Neurosis, there’s an underlying attention to detail that comes to fruition for example in the post-midpoint bassline of “Only Time” or in the guitar lead and additional vocal layering at the apex of “Animals” before the track stretches itself into a kind of subdued melancholy to end out, and the nuance goes a long way in distinguishing StoneBirds from those with similar stylistic purposes or intent. That doesn’t necessarily make Time revolutionary at its core, but as a record that by and large eschews traditionalist structures, it does give the audience something to grasp onto and justify that further digging that ultimately results in a more switched-on experience of the record as a whole.

And make no mistake, Time is meant to be taken as an entire work. While its 55-minute runtime borders on unmanageable, the immersive nature of StoneBirds‘ sound and the movement they enact between darker and lighter atmospheres, claustrophobic riffing and open-feeling ambience comes through as correspondingly broad to the offering’s stated theme. Bits, pieces and individual moments provide standout impressions, but there’s an arc to the proceedings that each song feeds into, beginning with the unfolding of “I” into “Sacrifice” and continuing until “Animals” gives way to “II” at the end. Between and within these songs, StoneBirds hone a spacious dynamic and embrace a creative breadth that all the more makes Time worth the investment.

On the player below, you’ll find the premiere of “Animals,” followed by some comment from Fañch on the ideas behind the song and how they play into the rest of the material. Time is out Oct. 20.

Please enjoy:

Fañch on “Animals”:

“Animals” is the rawest track on the album, and maybe the most primitive we’ve done with Stonebirds in a while. It’s also the only one with a traditional verse/chorus structure. “Animals” is the conclusion of stories about our relation to “subjective time,” life and death. It had to be tense and nervous to close the chapter. The lyrics deal with our hopelessness to create Time, and how mankind always wants to distort or break it. In a more general way, it’s a reflection on how we try to take the power on something that seems concrete to us, but is nothing more than a idea, a piece of our soul that we will carry until an hypothetical end. I hope you will enjoy this new song as much as we took pleasure to write and record it.

StoneBirds is:
Fañch : guitare/chant
Sylvain : basse/choeurs
Antoine : batterie
Alx : son

StoneBirds on Thee Facebooks

StoneBirds on Bandcamp

StoneBirds on Twitter

StoneBirds website

Kerwax Recording Studio

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The Necromancers Tour Starts Sept. 19; Playing Up in Smoke & Keep it Low

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

We’re just about a week removed from the release of the debut album from The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl, via Ripple Music, and hey, no time like the present for the French outfit to announce a European tour supporting the record. They start out Sept. 19 in their native Poitiers and are go-go-go from there, making their way across France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany as support for Swiss-based progressive instrumentalists Monkey3. Good gig to get, and all the better since their tour also includes slots on the Up in Smoke and Keep it Low festivals, where no doubt they’ll be in top form, having just spent the prior week-plus on the road. Seems like they’re doing it right on all the way through.

The PR wire has background and whatnot, and if you haven’t heard Servants of the Salem Girl, it’s streaming in its entirety at the bottom of this post. Please feel free to dig in:

the necromancers

THE NECROMANCERS: French heavy psych quartet announce European tour with Monkey3 | Debut album out now on Ripple Music

Drawing on antiquated inspirations in mythology, religion, fantastical tales from European literature and an obsession for classic horror cinema, The Necromancers are a curious alliance of musicians, and together are a strange beast to behold.

Experimenting with progressive rock, heavy psych and the 70s pagan/proto-metal of bands like Black Sabbath and Coven, they take these influences, throw in the urgency of NWOBHM and douse the entire lot in lysergic illusions. All with a mind to create a debut album for the ages.

Having performed at many of Europe’s largest metal and rock festivals the band also toured Europe recently with London-based stoner rockers Elephant Tree and are set to embark on a short tour this year with Monkey 3.

“The band is still young,” explains vocalist and guitar player Tom Cornière. “We never would have thought of signing with a label like Ripple. We could hardly have hoped for better. It’s an honour and a surprise. Now, we are looking forward to the next tour and to be able to share our album wherever we can.”

Servants of the Salem Girl by The Necromancers is out now via Ripple Music on limited edition, multi-coloured vinyl and worldwide in a black vinyl edition, as well as on CD and digital.

Tour Dates:
19th Sept – Le Zinc – Poitiers (FR)
20th Sept – Le Ferailleur – Nantes (FR)*
21st Sept – Backstage – Paris (FR)*
25th Sept – Magasin 4 – Brussels (B)*
26th Sept – Hafenklang – Hamburg (D)*
28th Sept – Burgerweeshuis – Deventer (NL)*
29th Sept – Cadillac – Oldenburg (D)*
30th Sept – Vortex – Siegen (D)*
1st Oct – Nachtleben – Frankfurt (D)*
2nd Oct – Muz – Nürnberg (D)*
3rd Oct – 7er Club – Mannheim (D)*
4th Oct – Scheune – Dresden (D)*
7th Oct – Up In Smoke Festival – Pratteln (CH)
17th Oct – L’Usine – Geneva (CH)
22nd Oct – Keep It Low Festival – Munich (D)
*With Monkey3

The Necromancers:
Tom Cornière – Vocals, Guitar
Robin Genais – Lead Guitar
Simon Evariste – Bass Guitar
Benjamin Rousseau – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/thenecromancersband/
http://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/product/the-necromancers-servants-of-the-salem-girl-black-magic-lp
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ripple-Music/369610860064
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl (2017)

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