Little Jimi to Release EP.1 Nov. 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Little Jimi

So, at 38 minutes, EP.1 is kind of disingenuous as a title. It’s not really an EP, but it was when Little Jimi self-released it in 2017. Released part of it, anyway. Then titled First EP according to the band’s Bandcamp page, it was a four-tracker that’s no been expanded to six and is set to release Nov. 16 through Mars Red Sound, the imprint helmed by fellow Bordeaux, France, natives Mars Red Sky. The two additional tracks are both newer and longer than anything before them on the EP, so maybe it’s a chance to get a glimpse at where Little Jimi are headed with their equal parts raucous and spacious heavy psych, while also giving a well-deserved second look at their first offering. The wash of the closer in particular, and how well the enact it and pull it back, seems to speak well of things to come. Especially in November.

From the PR wire:

Little Jimi EP 1

Garage psych trio LITTLE JIMI to release debut album “EP.1” on November 16th via MRS Red Sound.

South France garage psych rockers LITTLE JIMI announce the release of their debut album “EP. 1”, to be issued November 16th on vinyl and digital via MRS Red Sound.

When the power of the riff meets the hope-filled haziness of the 70s, when aerial vocals and two fuzzy guitars echo in unison, propelled by a powerful and surgical drumming… You feel the heat of South France’s garage psych rockers LITTLE JIMI carrying you into the wilderness of their debut album “EP.1”. The album tells the frantic story of little kid Jimi and his friend Katus, who are on the path to a new life, caught between wiseness and some darker auspices.

Firmly rooted in a modern heavy sound supported by strong dynamics, the power trio still shares the same love for vintage psychedelia as the likes of Birth Of Joy, The Black Angels or The Psychotic Monks. “EP.1” was initially released as a 4-track CD in the fall of 2017, and will be reissued with two brand new songs on November 16th, 2018 on limited 180gr 12” edition vinyl and digital via MRS Red Sound.

LITTLE JIMI – Debut album “EP. 1”
Out November 16th on MRS Red Sound
– Vinyl pre-order from Oct. 16th –

https://www.facebook.com/LittleJimi.music/
https://littlejimi.bandcamp.com/releases
https://marsredsky.bigcartel.com/products

Little Jimi, First EP (2017)

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Track Premiere: The Necromancers, Of Blood and Wine

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the necromancers of blood and wine

[Click play above to hear the premiere of ‘The Gathering’ from The Necromancers’ Of Blood and Wine. Album is out Oct. 5 on Ripple Music.]

Of Blood and Wine is the second full-length from The Necromancers in as many years, and among its accomplishments of songwriting and aesthetic craft, what it does is to bring into focus the direction of the band. Their Ripple Music-issued debut, Servants of the Salem Girl (review here), utilized many of the same stylistic elements — it’s only been a year, after all — but in hindsight was only hinting at the start of a development underway, and while it was easy to get caught up in the blend of cult rock, doom, heavy vibes and ’70s-style boogie that underscored the work of the Poitiers, France, four-piece, with the six tracks and 44 minutes of Of Blood and Wine, they showcase another aspect of their sound that was very much there all along: its forward potential. In some cases, like the swaying groove and bluesy leads in the first-half buildup of the 10-minute penultimate “Lust,” it’s a question of patience and production.

While there’s still an urgency and a tension at work, particularly in its later reaches, “Lust” is emblematic of the development in both, but from the uptempo boogie of opener “Join the Dead Ones” — adding a bit of Ghost in guitarist Tom Cornière‘s vocals during the verse before the gruff chorus takes hold, fueled by his own riffs and the deft rhythmic turns of bassist Simon Evariste and drummer Benjamin Rousseau while Robin Genais‘ leads mark the transition back to the verse afterward — to the consuming fullness of tone brought forth in closer “The Gathering,” The Necromancers hone an engrossing fluidity through a graceful two-sided offering that, even more than the debut, makes their approach their own. To wit, the post-Iron Maiden gallop and “Heaven and Hell” bassline in second track and longest cut “Erzebeth” (12:41) combine with Cornière‘s melodic and shouted vocals and the general warmth of tone in the recording to create something classic in its root but thoroughly modern in presentation.

One gets the sense that these will only continue to become key elements The Necromancers‘ collective sonic persona, but rather than let the listener speculate on where they might go, Of Blood and Wine demands attention in the now, “Erzebeth” stomping toward its midsection beneath a switched-on plotted solo from Genais that leads to proggy shuffle in an instrumental jam and one of the record’s more fervent thrusts. It’s not until nearly 10 minutes in that the vocals return, and from their spoken comeback, The Necromancers cleverly make their way back to the hook to close out and give way to the quiet 2:39 brooder of a title-track, a showcase for Cornière‘s emergence as a frontman — a not insignificant subplot to the album — and a demonstration of the diversity of approach in the core of their songwriting. It is much to their credit that Of Blood and Wine flows as easily as it does, and that they never seem out of place through their stylistic changes or to lose the overarching atmosphere that’s so crucial in tying the songs together.

the necromancers

To an extent, side A and B mirror each other. Both begin with an upbeat 5:44 kick in “Join the Dead Ones” and “Secular Lord,” though the latter dispenses with the first-minute album-intro-style riff in favor of a more immediate push, and then move into longer fare with “Erzebeth” on side A and “Lust” on side B. It’s in the third cut on each side that the real departure happens, since side A rounds out with “Of Blood and Wine” and side B caps with “The Gathering”‘s seven-minute doomery, making its way with due moodiness and a bit of subtlety to the final payoff of the entirety, with extra impact seeming to come from Rousseau‘s bassdrum and Evariste‘s low end as they stomp noisily out, ending with a horror sample of chains and screams and a ringing bell. Witch burning? It would be on theme, if nothing else. Either way, that conclusion comes after The Necromancers find their most active swing on “Secular Lord,” with its catchy central riff and adrenaline-fueled build in the second half, the band leaving behind some of their ’70s-ism in favor of harder-hitting push.

There’s room in “Lust” for both sides to come together, but it’s important again to consider the fluidity with which the band execute their material. They’re not in a rush, and they’re never really still, even on the title-track, but with an excellent sense of tempo and rhythmic motion, they build a momentum in fast and slow, loud and quiet movements that allows for the exploration in the middle third of “Lust” to have a context beyond itself, so that it’s not necessarily about indulgence so much as expanding the atmosphere of the album as a whole. It also serves in its emergent and fleeting heft as a precursor to what the closer has on offer, and one can hear again how the pieces tie to each other as “Lust” hits its climax with a last chorus and “The Gathering” creeps its way in with a first minute not entirely dissimilar from what started “Join the Dead Ones” before its full nod unfurls, topped with chants and turning to a spacious verse that trades back to the full-boar riff and chanting as a kind of semi-hook.

Much of the second half of the finale is given to the capstone movement, and rightly so. When one considers Of Blood and Wine as a whole work, its end in the final three or four minutes of “The Gathering” is nothing if not earned, and it underscores just how clearly The Necromancers intend that the album should be taken in its entirety. I said earlier that one doesn’t want to speculate about where they’ll go sonically their next time out, and I stick by that as they could develop in any number of directions, but a central achievement of their sophomore offering is that it brings their influences together into a cohesive, malleable oneness that is theirs almost entirely, while also highlighting the potential unfolding in their craft. That one should think of their future prospects while hearing these songs is something in itself, but more important is the realization that The Necromancers are already beginning to bring that potential to fruition.

The Necromancers on Thee Facebooks

The Necromancers on YouTube

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Mars Red Sky Jamming in a Castle; Touring South America

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Hey, you gotta write a new record anyway — might as well do it in a castle, right? I knew Mars Red Sky were a classy bunch of dudes, but the fact that they’ve been putting together material for their fourth album at Château de Monteton, a castle in Monteton, France, only cements it. The three-piece recently did a round of shows alongside Sweden’s MaidaVale, and in November, they’ll head to Mexico and South America on a tour presented by Abraxas supporting their 2016 full-length, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here).

One assumes the next album will surface in 2019 — onto the most-anticipated list they go — and it’s particularly interesting that the tour will end with a show in Rio de Janeiro, since that also happens to be where they recorded their second LP, 2014’s Stranded in Arcadia (review here), with producer Gabriel Zander. I don’t know if they’re planning to renew that collaboration or not, but they finish in Rio and then have the bulk of November open as of now on their calendar with a couple shows in France to round out the year in early December. Again, I don’t know anything for sure, but if they get the songs finished in time — being in a castle has to be good for productivity, right? — maybe it could work out.

In the meantime, Mars Red Sky contribute “Comfortably Numb” to Magnetic Eye RecordsThe Wall Redux tribute to Pink Floyd, which is up for preorder now.

The band sent the following down the PR wire:

mars red sky jamming in castle

We’re so happy to come back to South America this fall, with a lovely tour home made by Abraxas.

We are currently composing our new album, the 4th one! We’re really excited about it! We’ve worked from Monteton Castle to be able to gather the three of us without any distraction but the nature (and ghosts maybe).

Lastly, we’ve recorded a Pink Floyd cover “Comfortably Numb” with other great artists from the heavy/psych scene like The Melvins, Mark Lanegan, Yawning Man, Pallbearer or Greenleaf. This is going to be a heavy version of The Wall. You can preorder it on the Magnetic Eye Records online store.

REMAINING EUROPE TOUR
22.09 PACE (FR) Les Lunatiques Festival

SOUTH AMERICA TOUR
26.10 TOLUCA (MX) Landó Foro w/ Earthless
27.10 MEXICO CITY (MX) Sala Puebla w/ Earthless
30.10 BUENOS AIRES (AR) The Roxy Live
31.10. MONTEVIDEO (UR) Bluzz Live
02.11 PALMAS (BR) Wings Brewpub
03.11 SAO PAULO (BR) Fabrique Club w/ Earthless
04.11 RIO DE JANEIRO (BR) Cais da Imperatriz w/ Earthless

DECEMBER TOUR
06.12 SAINT ETIENNE (FR) NNY Fest
07.12 NANTES (FR) Nantes Metal Fest

http://www.marsredsky.net/
http://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband/
http://www.marsredsky.net
http://www.twitter.com/MarsRedSky1
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood” official video

Tags: , , ,

The Necromancers Stream “Secular Lord”; Of Blood and Wine out Oct. 5; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the necromancers

Multi-pronged update from busy French four-piece The Necromancers. They’ll follow-up their 2017 Ripple Music debut, Servants of the Salem Girl (review here), and the copious touring they did thereby, with Of Blood and Wine, from which a new single is streaming now. The album is out Oct. 5 and the band will begin their next road stint with a release show in their hometown of Poitiers, France, from where they’re set to head out to Germany, Poland, Croatia and beyond to mark the record’s arrival. The tour, naturally, is presented by Sound of Liberation.

You can hear the cult rock elements still present in “Secular Lord” — the new single streaming at the bottom of this post — but The Necromancers sound more confident overall. Listen to how they give the lead guitar room to work in the second half of the track and how easily the crash behind the winding, stomping apex seems to flow with the soaring solo overtop before they turn back to the last verse. These guys had some potential in the debut, and I haven’t heard the whole record yet, but it’s possible they’re starting to bring it to fruition on Of Blood and Wine. We’ll see in less than a month, I guess.

From the PR wire:

the necromancers of blood and wine

French heavy psych quartet THE NECROMANCERS return with new album + European tour dates | Stream and share new single ‘Secular Lord’ now!

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.

Following on from the release of their debut album last year on Ripple Music, the French quartet return with the first taste of their eagerly awaited follow up, Of Blood and Wine, with ‘Secular Lord’; a song about which explores the legend of Vlad ‘The Empalor’ Tepes. 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 an album a sound for ages.

After a very successful tour last winter with Swiss psych rock legends Monkey 3, The Necromancers take to the road for a European tour with Belzebong, kicking off with an album release show at Le Cluricaume in their hometown of Poitiers. (For the full list of dates see below.)

“The band is still young,” explains vocalist and guitar player Tom Cornie?re. “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 tour and to be able to share our album wherever we can.”

Of Blood and Wine by The Necromancers is released on 5th October 2018 on Ripple Music.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Join The Dead Ones
2. Erzebeth
3. Of Blood And Wine
4. Secular Lord
5. Lust
6. The Gathering

TOUR DATES:
24.10.2018 – Poitiers – Le Cluricaume (Release Show), FR
26.10.2018 – Montpellier – Le Black Sheep, FR
27.10.2018 – Lyon – Le Grand Incendie #3, FR
28.10.2018 – Altkirch – Le Domaine, FR
08.11.2018 – Dresden – Beatpol, D
10.11.2018 – Krakow – Soulstone Gathering, PL
12.11.2018 – Budapest – Dürer Kert, HUN
13.11.2018 – Zagreb – Vintage Industrial Bar, CRO
14.11.2018 – Ljubljana – Koncertna Dvorana Rog, SI
15.11.2018 – Innsbruck – Heavy Psych Sounds Fest, A
16.11.2018 – Leipzig – Werk 2, D
17.11.2018 – Strasbourg – La Laiterie, FR
18.11.2018 – Paris – La Maroquinerie, FR
19.11.2018 – Rennes – Le Mondo Bizarro, FR
20.11.2018 – Bordeaux – Make It Sabbathy 50th, FR
21.11.2018 – Barcelona – Rocksound, SP
22.11.2018 – Toulouse – Les Pavillons Sauvages, FR
24.11.2018 – Bologna – Freakout, IT
25.11.2018 – Milano – VVitch Festival, IT
26.11.2018 – Munich – Feierwerk, D
27.11.2018 – Utrecht – DB’s, NL
28.11.2018 – Brussels – Magasin 4, B
29.11.2018 – Cologne – Helios 37, D
30.11.2018 – Berlin – Zukunft Am Ostkreuz, D
01.12.2018 – Osnabrück – Westwerk, D
02.12.2018 – Freiburg – Slow Club, D

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

https://www.facebook.com/thenecromancersband/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ripple-Music/369610860064
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

The Necromancers, “Secular Lord”

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl (2017)

Tags: , , , , ,

P.H.O.B.O.S. Premiere “Taqiyah Rhyzom” from Phlogiston Catharsis out Sept. 10

Posted in audiObelisk on September 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

phobos

Parisian acronymic industrialists P.H.O.B.O.S. will release their fourth full-length, Phlogiston Catharsis, Sept. 10 via Transcending Obscurity Records. Following a revamped/expanded lineup that brought guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Mani Ann-Sitar and bassist/programmer/etc. Magnus Larssen into the group alongside band founder Frédéric Sacri, who started the project in 2000 as a trio and gradually came to be the sole representative of P.H.O.B.O.S.‘ sound, as well as to record their material at his own studio, Sapel Lomor (which in phonetic French is pretty close to “it’s called love,” though I don’t know if that’s what he was going for), and release it through the self-made imprint Megaton Mass Products, the new album brings harsh vitality to a style that’s often staid or cold by nature.

P.H.O.B.O.S. aren’t that. If anything, they’re as molten as the imagery on the album cover, but it’s not the kind of easy-flowing groove-mongering one might expect from the use of that word. This is more like the actual process of melting rock and metal, of turning it into something churning and blistering to the touch. Like the meeting of minds between Satyricon and a doomed-out Godflesh, the eight-track/46-minute Phlogiston Catharsis revels in its assault factor and brutal chaotic wash.

It’s an oppressive and atmospheric work, with programmed beats and sampled noise serving as a bed for opener “Biomorphorror” and the more guitar-driven “Igneous Tephrapotheosis,” which follows, and the later, relatively uptempo “Neurasthen Logorrh,” the pacing of which does nothing to letup the chaotic feel. Consider as well the buzzing tone of the penultimate “Aljannashid,” which is the longest track on Phlogiston Catharsis at just under seven minutes, and its wide and spacious crushing sensibility, like being steamrolled by some large piece of mechanized equipment meant to flatten a four-lane highway in one go. Tension runs high throughout, of course, and the deep-diving ambience of “Zam Alien Canyons” and the forwardphobos Phlogiston Catharsis beats of “Aurora Sulphura” seem to further the sense of automated terror.

Sacri, drawing nearer to the 20-year mark with the band, obviously knows where he wants to be in terms of aesthetics, and if P.H.O.B.O.S. is the execution of that deranged will, its pulsations and anticosmic push speak to a clear vision brought to bear. For all its maddening aspects, Phlogiston Catharsis is striking in its cohesion, and more than just a meld of genres, pitting industrial and doom and black metal against each other in succession and seeing which comes out on top, the album finds P.H.O.B.O.S. bringing otherwise disparate styles together in pieces like the guitar-noise-laden “Taqiyah Rhyzom” and the cavernous finale “Smothered in Scoria” to craft a varied identity able to shift focus from one to the other without losing a grip on its central purpose of expression.

And that expression is resoundingly, unapologetically dark. Phlogiston Catharsis bears its chug and churn as a direct challenge to the listener, and as “Smothered in Scoria” lurches to its post-solo finish of noise wash and atmospheric screaming, it’s made plain that everything P.H.O.B.O.S. do is in service to an idea of the song, of what each song should be and what each song should bring to the collection as a whole. I won’t say it flows smoothly, because it’s not intended to, but if you let it, Phlogiston Catharsis will carry you from its beginning to end.

But it’s a ride not everybody will dare to take, and one imagines that 18 years later, Sacri is just fine with that. So be it. Destructive and willful, Phlogiston Catharsis manifests a striking stylistic nuance, and whether one approaches it from a place of black metal, or sludge, or doom, or electronic music, it’s the kind of release that grabs its audience’s attention and refuses to let go for the duration. If you’re willing to go along with it, the rewards are significant.

You can stream “Taqiyah Rhyzom” from Phlogiston Catharsis now on the player below. More PR wire info follows.

Please enjoy:

P.H.O.B.O.S., “Taqiyah Rhyzom” official track premiere

Dark and hypnotic, P.H.O.B.O.S.’s much awaited full length after their split with Blut Aus Nord and a standalone EP is genre-bending exercise for the French band. ‘Phlogiston Catharsis’ contains eight tracks of highly atmospheric industrial-tinged black/doom metal that are both visceral as well as sonically compulsive. These throbbing, sludgy tunes are atavistic in their heaviness but at the same time forward-thinking in their expression. Taking the best elements of black and doom metal, they concoct a form of music that possibly no other band can claim rights to. Their sound is singular, ominous and game-changing. It’s the soundtrack of impending doom.

Line up –
frederic sacri > distortion / keys / pulse / vox
mani ann-sitar > distortion / keys / vox
magnus larssen > subs / infras / lines / pulse

artwork and layout – Synckop (Deafhaven, Merzbow)

P.H.O.B.O.S. on Thee Facebooks

P.H.O.B.O.S. on Bandcamp

P.H.O.B.O.S. website

Transcending Obscurity Records on Thee Facebooks

Transcending Obscurity website

Transcending Obscurity Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Lucifer, Heilung, Amarok, T.G. Olson, Sun Dial, Lucid Grave, Domadora, Klandestin, Poor Little Things, Motorowl

Posted in Reviews on July 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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

You know what’s disheartening? When someone goes ‘thanks dudes.’ You know, I share a review or something, the band reposts and goes ‘thanks to the crew at The Obelisk blah blah.’ What fucking crew? If I had a crew, I’d put up 10 reviews every single day of the year. “Crew.” Shit. I am the crew. In the description of this site, the very first thing it says is “One-man operation.” It’s a fucking solo-project. That’s the whole point of it. It’s like me looking at your bass and going, “Sweet guitar, thanks for the solos brah.” I’m happy people want to share links and this and that, but really? It’s been nine years. Give me a break.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Nobody gives a shit. Now I remember. Thanks for reading.

And while we’re here, please remember the numbers for these posts don’t mean anything. This isn’t a countdown. Or a countup. It’s just me keeping track of how much shit I’m reviewing. The answer is “a lot.”

Grump grump grump.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Lucifer, Lucifer II

lucifer lucifer ii

Recorded as the trio of vocalist Johanna Sardonis (ex-The Oath), guitarist Robin Tidebrink (Saturn) and guitarist/drummer Nicke Andersson (Death Breath, ex-Entombed, ex-The Hellacopters), Lucifer’s second album, Lucifer II (on Rise Above), follows three years after its numerical predecessor, Lucifer I (review here), and marks its personnel changes with a remarkable consistency of mission. Like Mercyful Fate gone disco, the formerly-Berlin/London-now-Stockholm group bring stage-ready atmospheres to songs like “Phoenix” and the riff-led “Before the Sun,” while unleashing a largesse of hooks in “Dreamer” and the boogie-pushing “Eyes in the Sky.” “Dancing with Mr. D” brings nod to a Rolling Stones cover, and “Before the Sun” reaffirms a heavy ‘70s root in their sound. I can’t help but wonder if the doomier “Faux Pharaoh” is a sequel to “Purple Pyramid,” but either way, its thicker, darker tonality is welcome ahead of the bonus track Scorpions cover “Evening Wind,” which again demonstrates the ease with which Lucifer make established sounds their own. That’s pretty much the message of the whole album. Lucifer are a big band. Lucifer II makes the case for their being a household name.

Lucifer on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records webstore

 

Heilung, Lifa

heilung lifa

Lifa is the audio taken from the live video that brought Denmark’s Heilung to prominence. Captured at Castlefest in The Netherlands in last year, the impression the expansive Viking folk group made was all the more powerful with elaborate costuming, bone percussive instruments, antlers, animal-skin drums, and so on. Their debut studio album, Ofnir, came out in 2015 and like LIFA has been issued by Season of Mist, but the attention to detail and A/V experience only adds to the hypnotic tension and experimentalist edge in the material. Does it work with just the audio? Yes. The 12-minute “In Maijan” and somehow-black-metal “Krigsgaldr” maintain their trance-out-of-history aspect, and the 75-minute set blends multi-tiered melodies and goblin-voiced declarations for an impression unlike even that which Wardruna bring to bear. Whether it’s the drones of “Fylgija Futhorck” or the chants and thuds of “Hakkerskaldyr,” LIFA is striking from front to back and a cohesive, visionary work that should be heard as well as seen. But definitely seen.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Amarok, Devoured

amarok devoured

Eight years after their founding, an EP and several splits, Chico, California, atmosludge extremists Amarok make their full-length debut with Devoured on Translation Loss. If it’s been a while in the making, it’s easy enough to understand why. The album is rife with brutalist and grueling sensibilities. Comprised of just four tracks, it runs upwards of 70 minutes and brings a visceral churn to each cut, not forgetting the importance of atmosphere along the way, but definitely focused on the aural bludgeoning they’re dealing out. Tempos, duh, are excruciating, and between the screams and growls of bassist Brandon Squyres (also Cold Blue Mountain) and guitarist Kenny Ruggles – the band completed by guitarist Nathan Collins and drummer Colby ByrneAmarok make their bid for Buried at Sea levels of heft and rumble their way across a desolate landscape of their own making. Eight years to conjure this kind of punishment? Yeah, that seems about right. See you in 2026.

Amarok on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

T.G. Olson, Ode to Lieutenant Henry

tg olson ode to lieutenant henry

Here’s a curious case: T.G. Olson, founding guitarist and vocalist of Across Tundras, is a prolific experimental singer-songwriter. His material ranges from psychedelic country to fuller-toned weirdo Americana and well beyond. He’s wildly prolific, and everything goes up on Bandcamp for a name-your-price download, mostly unannounced. It’s not there, then it is. Olson’s latest singe, Ode to Lieutenant Henry, was there, and now it’s gone. With the march of its title-track and a complementary cover of Townes van Zandt’s “Silver Ships of Andilar,” I can’t help but be curious as to where the tracks went and if they’ll be back, perhaps in some other form or as part of a different release. Both are plugged-in and coated in fuzzy tones, with Olson’s echoing vocals providing a human presence in the wide soundscape of his own making. The original is shorter than the cover, but both songs boast a signature sense of ramble that, frankly, is worth being out there. Hopefully they’re reposted at some point, either on their own as they initially were or otherwise.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Science Fiction

sun dial sci fi

If space is the place, Sun Dial feel right at home in it. The long-running UK psychedelic adventurers collect two decades’ worth of soundtrack material on Science Fiction, their new release for Sulatron Records. Made with interwoven keyboard lines and a propensity to periodically boogie on “Mind Machine,” “Airlock,” “Infra Red,” etc., the experimentalist aspect of Science Fiction is all the more remarkable considering the album is compiled from different sources. One supposes the overarching cosmos is probably what brings it together, but with the samples and synth of “Saturn Return” and the lower end space-bass of pre-bonus-track closer “Starwatchers” – that bonus track, by the way, is a 15-minute version of opener “Hangar 13” – and though the vast majority of the Science Fiction relies on synth and keys to make its impression, it’s still only fair to call the proceedings natural, as the root of each one seems to be exploration. It’s okay to experiment. Nobody’s getting hurt.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Sun Dial at Sulatron Records webstore

 

Lucid Grave, Demo 2018

lucid grave demo 2018

There are three songs on Lucid Grave’s first outing, the aptly-titled Demo 2018, and the first of them is also the longest (immediate points), “Star.” It presents a curious and hard to place interpretation of psychedelic sludge rock. It is raw as a demo worthy of its name should be, and finds vocalist Malene Pedersen (also Lewd Flesh) echoing out to near-indecipherable reaches atop the feedback-addled riffing. Quite an introduction, to say the least. The subsequent “Desert Boys” is more subdued at the start but gets furious at the end, vocals spanning channels in an apparent call and response atop increasingly intense instrumental thrust. And as for “Ride the Hyena?” If I didn’t know better – and rest assured, I don’t – I’d call it doom. I’m not sure what the hell the København five-piece are shooting for in terms of style, but I damn sure want to hear what they come up with next so I can find out. Consider me enticed. And accordingly, one can’t really accuse Demo 2018 of anything other than doing precisely what it’s supposed to do.

Lucid Grave on Thee Facebooks

Lucid Grace on Bandcamp

 

Domadora, Lacuna

domadora lacuna

Comprised of four-tracks of heavy psychedelic vibes led by the scorch-prone guitar of Belwil, Domadora’s third album, Lacuna, follows behind 2016’s The Violent Mystical Sukuma (discussed here) and taps quickly into a post-Earthless league of instrumentalism on opener “Lacuna Jam.” That should be taken as a compliment, especially as regards the bass and drums of Gui Omm and Karim Bouazza, respectively, who hold down uptempo grooves there and roll along with the more structured 14-minute cut “Genghis Khan” that follows. Each of the album’s two sides is comprised of a shorter track and a longer one, and there’s plenty of reach throughout, but more than expanse, even side B’s “Vacuum Density” and “Tierra Last Homage” are more about the chemistry between the band members – Angel Hidalgo Paterna rounds out on organ – than about crafting a landscape. Fortunately for anyone who’d take it on, the Parisian unit have plenty to offer when it comes to that chemistry.

Domadora on Thee Facebooks

Domadora on Bandcamp

 

Klandestin, Green Acid of Last Century

klandestin green acid of last century

That’s a big “fuck yes, thank you very much” for the debut album from Indonesian stoner metallers Klandestin. Green Acid of the Last Century arrives courtesy of Hellas Records and is THC-heavy enough that if they wanted to, they could probably add “Bong” to the band’s name and it would be well earned. Eight tracks, prime riffs, watery vocals, dense fuzz, stomp, plod, lumber, shuffle – it’s all right there in homegrown dosage, and for the converted, Green Acid of the Last Century is nothing short of a worship ceremony, for the band itself as well as for anyone taking it on. With the march of “Doomsday,” the unmitigated rollout of “Black Smoke,” and the swirling green aurora of “The Green Aurora,” Klandestin wear their holding-back-a-cough riffage as a badge of honor, and couldn’t be any less pretentious about it if they tried. From the hooded weedian on the cover art to the Sleepy nod of closer “Last Century,” Green Acid of Last Century telegraphs its intent front-to-back, and is all the more right on for it.

Klandestin on Thee Facebooks

Hellas Records on Bandcamp

 

Poor Little Things, Poor Little Things

poor little things poor little things

You get what you pay for with “Rock’n’Roller,” which leads off the self-titled debut EP from Bern, Switzerland-based Poor Little Things. Around the core duo of vocalist Tina Jackson and multi-instrumentalist Dave “Talon” Jackson (also of Australia’s Rollerball) on guitar, bass, synth and percussion is Talon’s The Marlboro Men bandmate Fernando Marlboro on drums, and together the band presents five tracks of remember-when-rock-rocked-style groove. Fueled by ‘70s accessibility and a mentality that seems to be saying it’s okay to play big rooms, like arenas, cuts like “Drive” seem prime for audience participation, and “Break Another Heart” gives a highlight performance from Tina while “About Love” showcases a more laid back take. They close with the 6:37 “Street Cheetah,” which struts appropriately, and end with a percussive finish on a fadeout repeating the title line. As a showcase of their style and songwriting chops, Poor Little Things shows significant promise, sure, but it’s also pretty much already got everything it needs for a full-length album.

Poor Little Things on Thee Facebooks

Poor Little Things on Bandcamp

 

Motorowl, Atlas

motorowl atlas

Every now and then you put on a record and it’s way better than you expect. Hello, Motorowl’s Atlas. The German troupe’s second for Century Media, it takes the classic stylizations of their 2016 debut, Om Generator, and pushes them outward into a vast sea of organ-laced progressive heavy, soaring in vocal melodies and still modern despite drawing from an array of decades past. The chug in “The Man Who Rules the World” would be metal for most bands, but on Atlas, it becomes part of a broader milieu, and sits easily next to the expansive title-track, as given to post-rocking airiness in the guitar as to synth-laden prog. That mixture of influences and aesthetics would be enough to give the five-piece an identity of their own, but Atlas is further characterized by Motorowl’s ambitious songwriting and benefits greatly from the melodic arrangements and the clear intention toward creative development at work here. Those who take on its seven-track/45-minute journey will find it dynamic, spacious and heavy in kind.

Motorowl on Thee Facebooks

Motorowl at Century Media website

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Glanville, Destroyer of Light, The Re-Stoned, Ruff Majik, Soldat Hans, High Priestess, Weed Demon, Desert Storm, Ancient Altar, Black Box Warning

Posted in Reviews on July 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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

So Day 1’s done and it’s time to move on to Day 2. Feeling stressed and totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff still to be done? Why yes, I am. Thanks for asking. In the past, I used to handle the Quarterly Review well ahead of time. It’s always a lot to get through, but the week before, I’d be setting up back ends, chasing down links and Bandcamp players, starting reviews, etc., so that when it came time, all I had to do was the writing and plug it all into a post and I was set.

There was some prep-work done this past weekend, but especially this time, with my old laptop having been stolen in May, it’s all been way more jazz-improv. I was still adding releases as of last Friday, and writing beforehand? Shit. With the baby having just figured out how to climb? Not bloody likely. Accordingly, here we are, with much to do.

It’ll get done. I haven’t flubbed a Quarterly Review yet, and if I took an extra day to get there, I’m under no delusion that anyone else would care. So there you go. Let’s hit it for Day 2:

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Glanville, First Blood

glanville first blood

First Blood is the aptly-titled five-song debut EP from Glanville, a newcomer dual-guitar outfit with established players Philip Michel (The Earwix) on lead and Christopher West (Named by the Sun, ex-Stubb, etc.) on rhythm, Wight’s Peter-Philipp Schierhorn on bass and René Hofmann on vocals, and Thomas Hoffman (ex-Bushfire) on drums. Based in Germany and the UK, the group present 23 minutes of material on their first outing, drawing from the guitar-led likes of Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest to capture early metal and present it with a heavy rocking soulfulness and modern production. The most raucous of the cuts might be centerpiece “Durga the Great,” but neither “God is Dead” nor “Dancing on Fire” before nor “Demons” and “Time to Go” after want for action, and especially the latter builds to a furious head to close out the release. Hofmann as a standalone singer wants for nothing in range or approach, and the band behind him obviously build on their collective experience to dig into a stylistic nuance rarely executed with such confidence. They’ve found a place willfully between and are working to make it theirs. Can’t ask for more than that.

Glanville on Thee Facebooks

Glanville on Bandcamp

 

Destroyer of Light, Hopeless

destroyer of light hopeless

Having just recently signed to Argonauta Records for a new album in 2019, Austin doomers Destroyer of Light follow their 2017 long-player, Chamber of Horrors (review here), with a further auditory assault in the lumbering Hopeless. Psychedelic and yet still somehow traditional doom lingers in the brain after “Nyx” and “Drowned” have finished – the latter with an Alan Watts sample discussing alcoholism – and the band moves into demos for Chamber of Horrors cuts “Into the Smoke,” “Lux Crusher” and “Buried Alive.” Between the two previously unreleased songs and those three demos, Hopeless pushes to 39 minutes, but it’s probably still fair to call it an EP because of the makeup. Either way, from the miserable plod of “Nyx,” in which each chug in the riff cycle seems to count another woe, to the rolling nod early and surprising melody late in “Drowned,” Hopeless is anything but. Anticipation was already pretty high for Destroyer of Light’s next record after the last one, but all Hopeless does is show further depth of approach and more cleverly-wielded atmospheric murk. And the more it sounds like there’s no escape, the more Destroyer of Light seem to be in their element.

Destroyer of Light on Thee Facebooks

Destroyer of Light on Bandcamp

 

The Re-Stoned, Stories of the Astral Lizard

the re-stonEd stories of the astral lizard

The inevitable question is “Why a lizard?” and if you make it four minutes into 11-minute opener “Fractal Panorama” and don’t have your answer, go back ad start over. Moscow heavy psych instrumentalists The Re-Stoned intend the reptile as a spirit guide for their new outing Stories of the Astral Lizard (on Oak Island Records), which follows quickly behind their late-2017 offering, Chronoclasm (review here), and given the ultra-patient desert vibes in the opener, the acoustic-laced folk-prog of “Mental Print for Free,” the languid meander of “A Companion from the Outside,” the swirling sprawl of the 16-minute “Two Astral Projections” and the final cowpoke drift of “The Heather Carnival,” one might indeed just find a lizard sunning its belly amid all the atmospheric evocations and hallucinatory vibes. I’ll take “Two Astral Projections” as the highlight, but mostly because the extra length allows the band to really dig in, but really the whole album feeds together gorgeously and is a new level of achievement when it comes to atmosphere for The Re-Stoned, who were already underappreciated and find themselves only more so now.

The Re-Stoned on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Ruff Majik, Seasons

Ruff Majik Seasons

Right on fuzz, right on groove, right on vibe – there isn’t much else one might say about Ruff Majik’s Seasons (on Rock Freaks Records and Forbidden Place Records) beyond “right on.” Heavy rock with twists of psychedelia, the Pretoria, South Africa, three-piece of Johni Holliday, Jimi Glass and Benni Manchino make their home on the lines of various subgenres, but wherever they go, the proceedings remain decisively heavy. To wit, a cut like “Breathing Ghosts” or the later “Birds Stole My Eyes” might dig into shuffle boogie or extreme-metal-derived thrust, but there’s a chemistry between the members and a resonant looseness that ties the material together, and as the last 14 of the total 66 minutes are dedicated to “Asleep in the Leaves,” there’s plenty of progressive weirdness in which to bask, one song moving through the next such that neither “Hanami Sakura (And the Ritual Suicide” nor the semi-doom-plodding “The Deep Blue” nor the funky twists of “Tar Black Blood” come across as predictable. Seasons might take a few listens to sink in, but it’s easily worth that effort.

Ruff Majik on Thee Facebooks

Ruff Majik at Rock Freaks Records webstore

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Soldat Hans, Es Taut

SOLDAT HANS ES TAUT-750

Hyperbole-worthy post-ism from Switzerland’s Soldat Hans makes their sophomore outing, Es Taut – on Wolves and Vibrancy Records as a 2LP – a forward thinking highlight. As rich in atmosphere as Crippled Black Phoenix and as lethal as Converge or Neurosis or anyone else you might dare to put next to them, the six-piece made their debut with 2014’s Dress Rehearsal (review here) and served notice of their cross-genre ambitiousness. Es Taut finds them four years later outclassing themselves and most of the rest of the planet across three extended tracks – “Story of the Flood” (26:15), “Schoner Zerbirst, Part I” (8:03) and “Schoner Zerbirst, Part II” (18:56) – that sprawl out with a confidence, poise and abrasion that is nothing short of masterful. Es Taut may be a case of a band outdoing their forebears, but whatever their legacy becomes and however many people take notice, Soldat Hans singlehandedly breathe life into the form of post-metal and prove utterly vital in so doing, not only making it their own, but pushing forward into something new in ambience and heft. This is what a band sounds like while making themselves indispensable.

Soldat Hans on Thee Facebooks

Wolves and Vibrancy Records website

 

High Priestess, High Priestess

high priestess high priestess

Calling to order a nod that’s immersive from the opening strains of leadoff/longest-track “Firefly” (still immediate points), Los Angeles trio High Priestess build out the psych-doom ritualizing of their 2017 demo (review here) to make their self-titled full-length debut through Ripple Music. The difference between the demo and the album in terms of what’s included comes down to artwork and the track “Take the Blame,” which adds its bell-of-the-ride swing between the atmosphere and melodic focus of “Banshee” and the spacious roller “Mother Forgive Me.” Potential is writ large throughout from guitarist/vocalist Katie Gilchrest, bassist/vocalist Mariana Fiel and drummer Megan Mullins, as it was on their demo, and even the harsh growls/screams on “Despise” seem to have found their place within the proceedings. As they wrap with the guitar-led jam of “Earth Dive,” High Priestess put the finishing touch on what’s hands-down one of 2018’s best debut albums and offer a reminder that as much potential as there is in their sound for future development, the accomplishments here are considerable unto themselves.

High Priestess on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Weed Demon, Astrological Passages

weed demon astrological passages

Four tracks of gurgling riffy plunder pervade Astrological Passages, the 41-minute – longer if you get the digital version or the tape/CD, which includes the 7:24 “Dominion of Oblivion” – debut album from Columbus, Ohio’s Weed Demon. Delivered on vinyl through Electric Valley Records, the nodder/plodder carves out a cave for itself within a mountain of tonally thick stoner metal riffing, infusing a sense of sludge with shouted and growled vocals from guitarists Andy and Brian and bassist Jordan – only drummer Chris doesn’t get a mic – and an overarching sense of bludgeoning that’s Sleep-derived if not Sleep-adjacent in terms of its actual sound. Nasty? Why, yes it is, but as “Sigil of the Black Moon” heads toward the midpoint of its 10-minute run, the repetitive groove assault makes the band’s intention plain: worship weed, worship riff. They get faster on “Primordial Genocide” and even sneak a bit of speed in amidst the crawl before the banjo takes hold in the second half of 12-minute closer “Jettisoned” – more Americana sludge please; thank you – but they never lose sight of their mission, and it’s the uniting factor that makes their debut hit like the brick to the head that it is.

Weed Demon on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Desert Storm, Sentinels

desert storm sentinels

With Sentinels, Oxford, UK, five-piece Desert Storm pass a decade since making their self-titled debut in 2008. They followed that with 2010’s Forked Tongues (review here), 2013’s Horizontal Life and 2014’s Omniscient (review here), and though they had a single out in 2014 on H42 Records as a split with Suns of Thunder (review here) in 2016, Sentinels is their first outing on APF Records and their first long-player in four years. Burl has always been an important factor in what they do, and the High on Fire-meets-Orange Goblin slamming of “The Brawl” backs that up, but Desert Storm have left much of the hyper-dudeliness behind in favor of a more complex approach, and while Sentinels isn’t a minor undertaking at 10 songs and 51 minutes, longer cuts like “Kingdom of Horns” and “Convulsion” demonstrate the maturity they’ve brought to bear, even as the one-two punch of “Drifter”  and “The Extrovert” offer swinging-fist hooks and beard-worthy chug that assures any and all testosterone quotas are met.

Desert Storm on Thee Facebooks

APF Records on Bandcamp

 

Ancient Altar, Cosmic Purge/Foie Gras

ancient altar cosmic purge foie gras

Based in Los Angeles, Ancient AltarScott Carlson (bass/vocals), Barry Kavener (guitar/vocals), Jesse Boldt (guitar) and Etay Levy (drums) – were last heard from on 2015’s dug-in atmosludger Dead Earth (review here), and they return lo these several years later with the two-tracker Cosmic Purge/Foie Gras, pushing into more extreme crush-of-riff with an abandon that’s anything but reckless. On the contrary, there’s some clear development in the 10-minute “Cosmic Purge” and 13-minute “Foie Gras,” rolling out oppressive grooves with blended screams/shouts and cleaner vocals. As with the last album, a drive toward individuality is central here, and Ancient Altar get there in tone while bringing forth a sense of scope to a sound so regularly thought of as closed off or off-putting in general. In its early going, “Foie Gras” hypnotizes with echoing melody and spaciousness only to resolve itself in a deeply weighted dirge march, furthering the pummel of “Cosmic Purge” itself. I don’t know if the EP – on vinyl through Black Voodoo Records, CD on Transcendental Void Records – will lead toward another album or not, but the sense of progression in Ancient Altar’s style is right there waiting to be heard, so here’s hoping.

Ancient Altar on Thee Facebooks

Black Voodoo Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Black Box Warning, Attendre la Mort

black box warning attendre la mort

Listen to it on headphones and the kickdrum on Black Box Warning’s Attendre la Mort is downright painful. Next-level blown-out aggro pulsations. Brutal in a physical sense. The rest of the band doesn’t follow far behind in that regard. Riffs are viscous and violent in noise rock tradition, but denser in their tone despite some underlying punkishness, and the vocals are likewise distorted and abrasive. The five-song/23-minute EP’s title translates to “Waiting for Death,” and each of the tracks is a dose: Opener “5 mg” is followed by “4 mg,” “1 mg,” “2 mg” and “3 mg.” Unsurprisingly, pills are a theme, particularly on “4 mg,” and the sense of violent threat is clear in “2 mg” and 3 mg,” which boast lines like, “Watch them all scream/Watch your enemy bleeded,” and “You are the pig/I am the butcher,” respectively. Between the lyrical and the general aural cruelty, the dis-ease is consuming and unmitigated, sludge becoming a slow-motion grindcore, and that’s clearly the point. Not stabbing, but gouging.

Black Box Warning on Thee Facebooks

Black Box Warning on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: CHRCH, Bongripper, King Chiefs, Bonnacons of Doom, Boar, June Bug, Tired Lord, Bert, Zen Bison, Wheel in the Sky

Posted in Reviews on July 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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

You know the deal by now, I’m sure: 50 reviews this week between now and Friday, in batches of 10 per day. It’s an unholy amount of music, but those who really dig in always seem to find something cool within a Quarterly Review. Frankly, with this much to choose from, I’d certainly hope so. I’m not going to delay at all, except to say thanks in advance for coming along on this one. It’s got some core-heavy and some-not-really-core-heavy stuff all bundled next to each other, so yeah, your patience is appreciated. Okay. No time like the present. Let’s do it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

CHRCH, Light Will Consume Us All

chrch light will consume us all

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the songs are long. Blah blah blah it’s heavy as whatever kind of construction equipment you could want to name. What’s even more striking about Los Angeles doomers CHRCH’s Neurot Recordings debut, Light Will Consume Us All, is the sense of atmosphere. The follow-up to 2015’s massively well-received Unanswered Hymns (review here) is comprised of three songs presented in descending time order from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Infinite” (20:41) to centerpiece “Portals” (14:50) and closer “Aether” (9:29) and it finds CHRCH refining the unremitting patience of their rollout, so that even when “Aether” explodes in its second half to charred blastbeating and abrasive screams, the ambience is still dense enough to feel it in one’s lungs. CHRCH keep up this level of progression and soon enough someone’s going to call them post-something or other. As it stands, their second album builds righteously on the achievements of their debut, and is a revelation in its bleakness.

CHRCH on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings website

 

Bongripper, Terminal

bongripper terminal

Pressed up as ever in DIY fashion, Bongripper’s Terminal presents two gargantuan slabs – one per vinyl side – that only seem to highlight the strengths in the Chicago instrumentalists’ approach. The tones are huge, the grooves nodding, the impact of each kick drum forceful. Repetition is central, that feeling of aural mass and destructiveness, but neither is Terminal – comprised of “Slow” (25:11) and “Death” (18:15) – lacking a sense of atmosphere. After 21 minutes of grueling pummel, “Slow” devolves into droning layers of noise wash and quiet guitar to finish out, and “Death” seems to hold onto an echoing lead in its closing minutes that accomplishes much the same thing in broadening the atmosphere overall. I don’t know if the two songs were composed to fit together –the titles would hint yes – but they invariably do, and as “Death” unleashes a more insistent punch before turning to a post-YOB gallop, it reconfirms Bongripper’s worship-worthy place in the stoner doom milieu, how their sound can be so familiar in its threat and yet so much their own.

Bongripper on Bandcamp

Bongripper webstore

 

King Chiefs, Blue Sonnet

King Chiefs Blue Sonnet

Born as Chiefs ahead of their 2015 debut album, Tomorrow’s Over (review here), Arizona-based four-piece King Chiefs make their own first outing in the form of the easily-digestible desert rocker Blue Sonnet (on Roosevelt Row and Cursed Tongue Records), comprised of 10 tracks running just under 40 minutes of older-school laid back heavy, swinging easy on cuts like “Surely Never” and “Drifter” while still finding some Helmeted aggressive edge in the riffs of “Slug” and “Walk the Plank.” The overarching focus is on songwriting, however, and King Chiefs hone in cleverly on ‘90s-era desert rock’s post-grunge sensibility, so that their material seems ready for an alternative radio that no longer exists. Such as it is, they do just fine without, and hooks pervade the two-guitar outfit’s material in natural and memorable fashion all the way to five-and-a-half-minute closer “Shrine of the Beholder,” which embraces some broader textures without losing the structural focus that serves so well on the songs before it.

King Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Roosevelt Row Records website

Cursed Tongue Records website

 

Bonnacons of Doom, Bonnacons of Doom

bonnacons of doom bonnacons of doom

Heavy psychedelic experimentalism pervades the Rocket Recordings-issued self-titled debut album from Liverpool collective Bonnacons of Doom, rife with tripout ritualism and exploration of sound as it is, all chasing light and getting freaky in any sense you want to read it. Five tracks, each a voyage unto itself – even the bass-fuzzy push of shortest cut “Rhizome” (5:55) is cosmos-bound – feed into the larger weirdness at play that culminates in the undulating grooves of “Plantae” (8:39), which is perhaps the most solidified cut in terms of choruses, verses, etc., but still a molten, headphone-worthy freakout that pushes the limits of psychedelia and still holds itself together. If the album was a to-do list, it would read as follows: “Eat mushrooms. Get naked. Dance around. Repeat.” Whether you do or don’t is ultimately up to you, but Bonnacons of Doom make a pretty convincing argument in favor, and I don’t generally consider myself much of a dancer. Among the most individualized psych debuts I’ve heard in a long time.

Bonnacons of Doom on Thee Facebooks

Rocket Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Boar, Poseidon

Boar Poseidon

Poseidon, at six songs and 39 minutes, is the second long-player from Finnish four-piece Boar. Released on vinyl with no shortage of backing — Lost Pilgrims Records, Dissonant Society, Impure Muzik, S.K.O.D., Rämekuukkeli-levyt – it hurls forth a High on Fire-informed vision of noise rock on its opening title-track only to take on a slower roll in the subsequent “Shahar’s Son” and dig into massive crashing on “12.” Using echo to add a sense of depth all the while, they scream in tradeoffs à la Akimbo and boogie in “Featherless” and seem to find a post-metallic moment on “Dark Skies” before closing with the alternately brooding and scathing “Totally out of This World,” the song sort of falling apart into the feedback and noise that ends the album. There’s a persistent sense of violence happening, but it’s as much inward as outward, and though some of Boar’s most effective moments are in that rawness, there’s something to be said for the contemplation at the outset of “Shahar’s Son” and “12” as well.

Boar on Thee Facebooks

Boar on Bandcamp

 

June Bug, A Thousand Days

June bug A Thousand Days

Seemingly unrestrained by genre, the Lille, France-based duo June BugJune on vocals and multiple instruments and Beryl on backing vocals and multiple instruments – dig into some post-punk nudge on early cut “Reasons” from their debut album, A Thousand Days (Atypeek Music) after the folkish melodies of opener “Now,” but whether it’s the fuzzy indie vibes of “Freaks” or the harmonies, electronics and acoustic guitar of “Let it Rest,” or the keyboard-handclaps, lower tones and poppish instrumental hook of centerpiece “Mama,” there’s plenty of variety throughout. What ties the differing vibes and richly nuanced approach together is the vocals, which are mostly subdued and at times hyper-stylized, but never seem to fail to keep melodicism as their central operating method. That remains true on the subdued “Does it Matter” and the beat-laden “Silenced” at the album’s finish and brings everything together with an overarching sense of joy that holds firm despite shifts in mood and approach, making the complete front-to-back listen as satisfying as it might seem all over the place.

June Bug on Thee Facebooks

Atypeek Music website

 

Tired Lord, Demo

tired lord demo

Released by the band last year, the four-song Demo by San Francisco outfit Tired Lord has been picked up for an official cassette issue through From Corners Unknown Records and will reportedly be the only release from the black metal/sludge genre-benders. Presumably that means they broke up, rather than just refuse to ever record again, though the latter possibility intrigues as well and would be meta-black metal. Spearheaded by guitarist Bryce Olson, Tired Lord effectively bring a thickness of tone to charred riffing, and a balance between screams and growls brings a cast of general extremity to the material. So I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to regret their dissolution and wish they’d do a proper release. Fair enough for the brutal chug in “Serpent’s Ascent” and the 7:51 closer “Astaroth,” which one wouldn’t mind hearing fleshed out from their current form. Failing that, one of the 30 tape copies pressed of Demo seems like decent consolation. At least while they’re there for the getting and before Tired Lord go gleefully into that black metal demo tape ether where so many seem to dwell.

From Corners Unknown Records on Thee Facebooks

From Corners Unknown Records website

 

BerT, Relics from Time Zero

bert relics from time zero

Lansing, Michigan, trio BerT – bassist Phil Clark and brothers Ryan (guitar) and Rael (drums) Andrews – broke up. They even put out a posthumous rare tracks release in 2017’s The Lost Toes (review here), so what’s left? Well, another album, of course. Intended as a sequel to the sci-fi narrative of the never-released long-player Return to the Electric Church, the five-track/35-minute Relics from Time Zero is unfinished, sans vocals where they might otherwise be, and basically a look at what might’ve been had the band not dissolved. For those prior-exposed to the once-prolific heavy rock bizarros, some of the proceedings will seem familiar: riffs are plentiful and fluid in their tempo changes from driving rock to droned-out stomp, and there seems to be about 1.5 of them in the four-minute “In the Cave of the Batqueen,” so but for the fact that it’s not done, I’d just about call it business as usual for BerT. I know they’re done and all, but I still wouldn’t mind hearing these songs with some lyrics, let alone the record this one was intended to follow-up. Either way, even defunct, BerT remain on their own wavelength.

BerT on Thee Facebooks

BerT on Bandcamp

 

Zen Bison, Krautrocker

zen bison krautrocker

Classic-style heavy rock riffing pervades opener “Blow My Mind” (5:47) and the subsequent “Backseat Lovers” (5:15) – somewhere between Stubb and Radio Moscow — on Zen Bison’s debut LP, Krautrocker, but as the five-track/42-minute self-release moves into the 11-minute title-track, guitarist/vocalist Philipp Ott, bassist Steffen Fischer and drummer Martin Konopka – joined by organist Hans Kirschner and percussionist Bobby Müller –move into deeper-grooving and more psychedelic fare. That turn suits the mostly-live-recorded outfit well on the longer instrumental piece, and that leads to a side B with the likewise-sans-vocals “La Madrugada” (9:56) and the closing cover of Don Nix’s blues rocker “Going Down” (10:24), jammed out at the end in its middle and end with quick return to the chorus between. There isn’t much on Krautrocker one might actually consider krautrock in the traditional sense, but there’s certainly plenty of rock to go around on the impressive and varied first offering from the Rostock trio.

Zen Bison on Thee Facebooks

Zen Bison on Bandcamp

 

Wheel in the Sky, Beyond the Pale

wheel in the sky beyond the pale

From opener “Rivers of Dust” onward, Wheel in the Sky’s second album, Beyond the Pale (on The Sign Records), proffers classy and classic digs, informed by a heavy ‘70s uptempo spirit on its title-track and moving into more complex volume and arrangement shifts in “Burn Babylon Burn” (video premiere here) and a poppy, goth-informed hook on “The Only Dead Girl in the City,” all the while held together through a quality of songwriting that even the band’s 2015 debut, Heading for the Night (review here), seemed to hint toward. It’s a mover, to be sure, but Wheel in the Sky execute their material with poise and a sense of clear intention, and no matter where they seem to go, their tonality and natural production assures the listener has an easy time tagging along. Might be a sleeper for some, but there are going to be people who really, really dig this album, and I’ve got no argument with them.

Wheel in the Sky on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,