Dot Legacy to Release To the Others Nov. 25; Video Posted; Tour Dates Start this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

dot-legacy

Lots of news from Parisian heavy rockers Dot Legacy. Most pressing is the fact that they start their tour with Valley of the Sun tomorrow in the UK, but they’ve also unveiled a new video for “Story of Fame” — because, yes, you know you want to hear the riff from “Raining Blood” reworked as lounge fuzz; yes you do, don’t even lie and say you don’t — and announced the album from whence it comes, titled To the Others and due out Nov. 25 on Setalight Records. The new outing is the follow-up to their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), and when they’re done with the Valley of the Sun tour, they’ll be out with Truckfighters and Deville in Nov. and Dec., finishing up where they started in the UK just before the holiday season kicks in.

The first record was right on and I’ll look forward to hopefully getting to hear the second, but you can check out the “Story of Fame” video below to get a sampling and dig into the info that follows here, courtesy of the PR wire:

dot-legacy-to-the-others

DOT LEGACY announce new album and tours with Truckfighters and Valley Of The Sun

When Dot Legacy formed in 2009 in a Parisian basement, little did the fuzzed-out French quartet know that their seemingly unattainable dream to one day release albums, tour the world and share stages with some of rock’s finest was in fact anything but impossible.

Over seven years on and with countless gigs clocked up over several European and South American tours with the likes of Blues Pills, Mars Red Sky and Truckfighters, the band returns this November with To The Others, the follow up to their hugely impressive 2014 self-titled debut.

Inspired by the space race and mankind’s desire to discover, To The Others pursues two avenues of exploration; complete freedom of composition and collective creativity. Written by the band while on the road and recorded and produced by bass player/vocalist and Emmy Award-winner Damien Quintard the album not only captures the gain-addled fury of the band’s esoteric brand of “Energy Rock”, it also displays two distinct sides to Dot Legacy. The one side that uniquely seeks to experiment and weave multifaceted arrangements out of great ideas and impressive musicianship, and the other that simply aims to rock out and make you dance.

To support the release of the album, the band will be taking part in two massive tours with Valley Of The Sun and Truckfighters, hitting more than thirty-five European cites between September and December (For the list of confirmed dates so far see below.)

To The Others will receive a worldwide release on 25th November 2016 via Germany’s Setalight Records.

Tour Dates:
With Valley Of The Sun…
22/9 – Manchester, UK – Rebellion (Presented by Snuff Lane)
23/9 – Bristol, UK – The Mother’s Ruin (Presented by Snuff Lane)
24/9 – London, UK – The Unicorn (Presented by Snuff Lane)
25/09 – Amsterdam, NL – The Cave
27/9 – Malle, Belgium – Jeugdhuis Babylon
28/9 – Ghent, Belgium – Kinky Star
29/9 – Caen, France – La Demeuree
30/9 – Nantes, France – La Scene Michelet
1/10 – Paris, France – Espace B
3/10 – Poitiers, France – Le Cluricaume Cafe
4/10 – Olten, Switzerland – Le Coq d’Or
5/10 – Munich, Germany – 8 Below
6/10 – Berlin, Germany – Urban Spree
7/10 – Halle, Germany – Rockpool eV
8/10 – Chemnitz, Germany – Zukunft
11/10 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania – The Shelter
12/10 – Bucharest, Romania – Fabrica Club
13/10 – Sofia, Bulgaria – Mixtape
14/10 – Larissa, Greece – Stage Club
15/10 – Athens, Greece – Death Disco

With Truckfighters & Deville – Plus more dates to be announced soon…
25/11 – Koln, Germany – Underground
26/11 – Nancy, France – Le Hublot
27/11 – Paris, France – Venue TBA
28/11 – Nantes, France – Venue TBA
4/12 – Birmingham, UK – Rainbow
5/12 – Glasgow, UK – King Tuts
6/12 – Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
7/12 – Bristol, UK – Thekla
8/12 – Manchester, UK – The Ruby Lounge
9/12 – London, UK – Islington Academy
10/12 – Brighton, UK – Green Door Store

http://www.dotlegacyband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/dotlegacy/
https://twitter.com/DOTLEGACY
https://www.instagram.com/dotlegacy/
http://dotlegacy.bandcamp.com/
http://www.setalight.com/
https://www.facebook.com/setalightrecords
https://twitter.com/SetalightRec

Dot Legacy, “Story of Fame” official video

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Mars Red Sky Announce Fall European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mars-red-sky

I’m not sure I can even begin to convey yet how much of a pleasure it was to host Mars Red Sky at the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer last month in Brooklyn. Being able to bring them to New York to play where they’d never been before for that gig (wrap here) was so special to me, and they were the perfect cap for the night, their blend of sweet melody and heavy tones just right for the vibe of the whole day. I don’t want to sound like I’m tooting my own horn or anything, it’s just that it worked out better than I could’ve hoped and I’m still thrilled about it.

By now, the Bordeaux-based trio have wrapped their shows on both US coasts about a week ago, also stopping at the venerable Psycho Las Vegas along their way from the Eastern Seaboard to the West, and they’ve just announced their next run through Europe — actually it’s already happening when you consider they played Reverence Valada this past weekend — with shows taking them into December to round out the year as they continue to support the stellar Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here) on Listenable Records.

Dates follow, as seen on the social medias:

mars-red-sky-fall-tour-poster

MARS RED SKY Fall 2016 tour:
Sep 17 La Poudrière Belfort, France
Oct 01 La Nef AngoulÊme, France
Oct 04 Petit Bain Paris, France
Oct 07 Le Rocher de Palmer Cenon, France
Oct 14 LE HUBLOT Nancy, France
Oct 15 Le Brise Glace Annecy, France
Oct 16 LE POSTE A GALENE Marseille, France
Oct 27 Alte Hackerei Karlsruhe, Germany
Oct 28 Klubovna Prague, Czech Republic
Oct 29 festival Soulstone Gathering Cracow, Poland
Oct 30 Klub Firlej Wroclaw, Poland
Oct 31 Ostpol Dresden, Germany
Nov 02 La Sirène La Rochelle, France
Nov 10 6 PAR 4 Laval, France
Nov 11 La Nouvelle Vague Saint Malo, France
Nov 12 Monteray Live Stage Kyiv, Ukraine
Nov 18 CAVE A MUSIQUE Macon, France
Nov 19 FILE 7 Magny Le Hongre, France
Dec 10 PAUL B. Massy, France
Dec 16 Le Poche Bethune, France
Dec 17 La Fourmi Limoges, France

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, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2016

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Hifiklub vs. Fatso Jetson & Gary Arce, Double Quartet Serie Vol. 1

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

hifiklub-vs-fatso-jetson-gary-arce-double-quartet-serie-vol-1-700

[Click play above to stream Double Quartet Serie Vol. 1 by Hifiklub vs. Fatso Jetson & Gary Arce in full. Album is out next month on Subsound Records.]

In 1960, saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman recorded Free Jazz with what was deemed a “double quartet,” including two trumpets, two basses, himself, a clarinet, and two drummers, each quartet playing in one channel. Roman label Subsound Records would seem to be following that blueprint with the beginning of its own Double Quartet Serie Volume 1 that pits Californian desert rock mainstays Fatso Jetson and Gary Arce of Yawning Man in right channel and Toulon, France-based experimentalists Hifiklub.

The project, the connections to jazz for which can be found through the general spirit of improvisational exploration more than swapping solos or anything like that, was recorded in Coxinhell Studio in Southern France. Fatso Jetson were working with the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Mario Lalli, bassist Dino von Lalli and drummer Tony Tornay on a European tour with Yawning Man, and Hifiklub — who in the past have collaborated with Mike Watt, Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth, and Alain Johannes, who mixed and mastered this release, are comprised of bassist/vocalist Régis Laugier, guitarist Nicolas Morcillo, art-and-stuff-ist Arnaud Maguet and drummer Pascal Abbatucci Julien.

Eight dudes, in a room together, making their way through seven tracks/37:41 of improv vibing, it’s no wonder one can hear bits and pieces of conversation taking place throughout, though that might also be samples playing through the songs. With such a wide-open sonic range, it’s important to acknowledge any number of possibilities for what could be happening at any given moment.

Goes without saying that Hifiklub vs. Fatso Jetson + Gary Arce, as a whole, eight-piece unit, are tailor-made for headphones. Any single one of those entities would be headphone-worthy on their own, and together, their sounds coming through different channels on the vast “A la Fin Je l’Espère Calme,” that’s even more the case. The album glides through a suitably varied scope of moods, from the rolling, massive-in-the-low-end march of side A closer “Glorious Whores” — also the longest cut at 8:02 — to the noise-wash build of “Safe in Pieces,” which is almost straightforward compared to some of what’s going on.

That’s not to say there isn’t a sense of structure throughout. Beginning with “Tenderloin Vignette” (video premiere here), Double Quartet Serie Vol. 1 pairs longer tracks with shorter ones. It’s not that “Tenderloin Vignette” is a rocker and the subsequent “Un Gribouillis De La Beauté” (3:10) an interlude — both keep a consistent focus on ambience — but it seems more about different jams working in different ways depending on which element is in the lead.

fatso-jetson-hifiklub

“Tenderloin Vignette” follows the guitar and “Un Gribouillis De La Beauté” presents a more sparse, key-led wash that gets immediately contrasted by the double-drum solo from Tornay and Julien at the launch of “Glorious Whores,” soon enough joined by a bass tone so rumbling it’s almost funny that turns out to be a defining aspect of the song around which the guitars and drums build to a considerable plod.

There are vocals on several of the tracks, “Glorious Whores” among them, but no discernible lyrics to form a verse/chorus trade, which only underscores the dudes-in-a-room-playing-off-the-cuff spirit of the record as a whole. None of these players are strangers to improv or to collaboration, so to have them working together is still an experiment, but definitely one that benefits from their general readiness to plug in and play.

And the shorter, more atmospheric pieces — “Un Gribouillis De La Beauté,” “Black Without White,” “A la Fin Je l’Espère Calme” — do much to avoid a “sessions” kind of feel, adding range to the project overall and giving context to the post-grunge guitar work on “Safe in Pieces” or the dreamy meld in “Tenderloin Vignette.” That tradeoff becomes even more apparent on side B, with four tracks beginning with “Black Without White” leading into “Safe in Pieces” and the pair of “A la Fin Je l’Espère Calme” and “The Rocky Road to Holiness” closing out.

More conversation is had — literal and figurative — as guitars play off each other in “A la Fin Je l’Espère Calme,” but with how fluidly they do so, it would be easy to listen to a a whole record of nothing but that, particularly with the keys surrounding. To call it a jam I guess is fair enough, but it’s more of a standalone piece, and it comes apart to let the quiet start of the finale set its mood with more foreboding guitar, toms and cymbal wash, introducing chanting before the two-minute mark and dropping out circa 2:30 into its 7:29 to let the guitar introduce the figure on which “The Rocky Road to Holiness” will roll Double Quartet Serie Vol. 1 to its conclusion, both drummers working in lockstep as the bass and guitars build around them.

By the time they’re about five minutes deep, they’ve brought the wash to its head, and topping it with some “ohh”-type vocals from one side, the other, or both, it’s a cohesive way to cap the release as it winds down, underscoring the point that throughout, it’s not so much a case of Fatso Jetson and Gary Arce opposing Hifiklub as working in concert with them. I said as much with the video premiere, but really, what the eight-piece Hifiklub vs. Fatso Jetson + Gary Arce conjure is molten to the point of liquidity, and with how well they fit together, Double Quartet Serie Vol. 1 is able to engage front-to-back with a genuine sense of adventure and immersive depth.

Hifiklub vs. Fatso Jetson + Gary Arce, The Making of Double Quartet Serie Vol. 1

Hifiklub on Thee Facebooks

Fatso Jetson on Thee Facebooks

Yawning Man on Thee Facebooks

Subsound Records on Bandcamp

Subsound Records on Thee Facebooks

Subsound Records website

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Video Premiere: Fatso Jetson & Gary Arce Debut Collaboration with Hifiklub

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 2nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

fatso jetson hifiklub

The official name of the project — Hifiklub vs. Fatso Jetson & Gary ArceDouble Quartet Serie Volume 1 — is kind of complicated, but what it works out to is gorgeous psychedelic spaces crafted with a spirit of resonant improvisation. Indeed, the parties involved in the seven-track Subsound Records release are collaboration-prone French experimentalists Hifiklub (they’ve also worked with Alain Johannes and have a new record out with Jad Fair and kptmichigan), as well as Fatso Jetson — who at the time of the recording were touring as the trio of Mario LalliDino von Lalli and Tony Tornay — and Yawning Man guitarist Gary Arce, with whom they were on the road. Two quartets. Hence “double.”

Subsound will have the full-length out next month, and I haven’t yet heard the whole thing, but listening to the two tracks included in the video below, “Tenderloin Vignette” and “Glorious Whores,” my only quibble is with the “vs.” part of the collaboration’s moniker. There’s very little working against each other going on here, if any. Granted it might be awkward to go with Hifiklub & Fatso Jetson & Gary Arce, but that’s really kind of how it works out. Each party makes clear contributions, but I wouldn’t say there’s any antagonism on a sonic level to be found — only fluid, desert-infused psychedelic jamming, oddly choral vocalizations, and a bendy-string intro that soon gives way to two cuts anchored by warm and consuming bass tone over which guitars shine out in engaging progressions. I get the use of “vs.” as a stylistic choice in naming the project, but it’s worth making clear that nobody in Hifiklub or Fatso Jetson seem like enemies by the time the songs are done.

Rather, the vibe that pervades is delightfully let’s-go-into-the-studio-and-see-what-happens. The underlying motion of “Tenderloin Vignette” and the bass push that starts “Glorious Whores” seem to have been thought out beforehand, but there’s a lot here that sounds off the cuff, a real “sessions”-kind of release. You get members of one band or the other screwing around between the tracks and all, and it makes the whole thing seem even more natural, not that it was hurting in that regard.

The video, directed by Laetitia Bica, captures Mont Faron, in Hifiklub‘s native Toulon. Some of the portion in the second half going backwards gave me kind of a queasy feeling, so if you’re affected by that kind of thing, keep an eye out, but even if you put it on and click to another window, I think you’ll agree it’s well worth your time to listen.

More to come on this release next week. Please enjoy:

Hifiklub vs. Fatso Jetson & Gary Arce, “Tenderloin Vignette”/”Glorious Whores” official video

Subsound Records is happy to announce the ‘2 Tracks video’ (track 1 and 3) from the upcoming album “Double Quartet Serie” Vol.1 HIFIKLUB Vs FATSO JATSON w/ GARY ARCE, directed by the artist Laetitia Bica.

It’s a portrait of the montain in Toulon, Le mont Faron, France.

The release will be out via Subsound Records in October and distributed worldwide.

Tracklist :
1. Tenderloin Vignette
2. Un Gribouillis De La Beautè
3. Glorious Whores
4. Black Without White
5. Safe In Pieces
6. À La Fin Je L’Espère Calme
7. The Rocky Road To Holiness

Double Quartet Serie Volume 1
Hifiklub vs Fatso Jetson + Gary Arce
2016, Subsound Records

Two tracks:
1. Tenderloin Vignette
2. Glorious Whores — starts at 6.49

Music by Pascal Abbatucci Julien, Régis Laugier & Nico Morcillo
Arranged with Gary Arce, Ahmad Compaoré, Mario Lalli, Arnaud Maguet, Tony Tornay & Dino Von Lalli

Quartet 1, left channel — Hifiklub
Ahmad Compaoré – drums
Régis Laugier –bass & vocals
Arnaud Maguet – effects
Nico Morcillo – guitar

Quartet 2, right channel — Fatso Jetson + Gary Arce
Gary Arce – guitar
Mario Lalli – bass & vocals
Tony Tornay – drums
Dino Von Lalli – guitar

Subsound Records website

Hifiklub website

Fatso Jetson website

Laetitia Bica website

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The Obelisk All-Dayer Countdown: Mars Red Sky Premiere “Seen a Ghost” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features, The Obelisk Presents on August 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all dayer

The countdown is on! We’re less than two weeks out from The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NYC (get your tickets here) and it’s time to get stoked for what’s sure to be a really special day. The lineup is insane — Mars Red SkyDeath AlleySnailKings DestroyEyeFuneral HorseKing BuffaloHeavy Temple — the room couldn’t be more perfect, and we’re not even there yet and I’m so into the vibe I can hardly even talk about it without getting choked up. To say I’m anticipating it is underselling the facts. I’m already losing sleep.

For the next two weeks, I’ll be featuring a different band on the lineup every day in this space. Some will have premieres, and that’s the case today as we start the series with Mars Red Sky. Their song “Seen a Ghost” first arrived on 2013’s Be My Guide EP (review here) that preceded the 2014 release of their second album and Listenable Records debut, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), on which it also appeared.

The album version neatly summarizes the progressive jump the Bordeaux trio made between their 2011 self-titled debut (review here) and the subsequent full-length. Its march and its flourish combine perfectly with the breathy vocal melody from guitarist Julien Pras, and it has all the swirl of the first record while also clearly a building more individualized persona on top of that.

Mars Red Sky made a video for “Seen a Ghost” that’s never been shown anywhere until now, and I’m thrilled to be able to host the premiere of the clip. I have it on good authority — i.e. bassist Jimmy Kinast told me — they’ll be playing the song as part of their headlining set at The Obelisk All-Dayer as they have on select few occasions, and to my ears that only makes the whole thing more special.

Enjoy:

Mars Red Sky, “Seen a Ghost” official video

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

Mars Red Sky on Thee Facebooks

Saint Vitus Bar website

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Alcest to Release Kodama Sept. 30; Preorders Available Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

alcest

I remain intrigued at the prospect of an Alcest album that even the band seems to position as a return to form, if not in such direct language, as they’ve never done anything in their career that wasn’t a move forward from where they were previously and one wonders what lessons they’ll incorporate from their last outing, 2014’s Shelter (review here), as they make their way back to the post-black metal aesthetic they — as their label, Prophecy Productions, rightly asserts — helped to pioneer in their earlier work. I dug Shelter in part for the bold step away from that that it represented, but it seemed like much of their audience was missing the lush, textured emotionalism. We’ll see where their fifth album, Kodama, ends up upon its Sept. 30 release.

The band posted the artwork and tracklisting and Prophecy has preorders up now for worldwide shipping, so if you want to get in on it, you can indeed get in on it. Here goes:

alcest kodama

We are really excited to announce that our new album “Kodama” will be out on September 30th through Prophecy Productions.

“Kodama” is the Japanese word for both “tree spirit” and “echo”. The artwork has been done by the French duo Førtifem.

Tracklist :
– Kodama
– Eclosion
– Je suis d’ailleurs
– Untouched
– Oiseaux de proie
– Onyx

Pre-order:
World: http://en.prophecy.de/artists/alcest/
US: http://us.prophecy.de/artists/alcest/

“Kodama” the fifth album from Blackgaze pioneers, Alcest, marks the French duo’s ferocious return to the stylistic maximalism of its early albums while continuing the band’s relentless pursuit for new sounds and fresh ideas.

“Kodama” is the Japanese word for ‘tree spirit’ and ‘echo’ and from the album’s structure and dynamics to its cinematic sound, “Kodama” indeed ‘echoes’ Alcest’s 2010 classic, “Écailles De Lune”. But this is no simple back-to-the-roots album: the band has more punch, rhythm and organic feel than ever before. While clearly influenced by bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Dinosaur Jr, Grimes and The Cure, “Kodama” ultimately reveals itself as Alcest’s ‘Japanese album’, drawing substantial inspiration from Japanese art and culture.

Originally triggered by Hayao Miyazaki’s anime film “Princess Mononoke”, “Kodama” picks up on the fate of its protagonist and, at its core, deals with the sensation of not belonging; of living in between worlds, be it city and nature or the physical and spiritual one. Duality is also crucial for the visual approach of the album, realized by French graphic designer duo Førtifem. Paying tribute to Japanese illustrators like Takato Yamamoto, the visuals portray contrasting elements like nature/urbanity, youth/death, femininity/animality and combine poetic elements with darker ones that were not present in Alcest’s earlier works.

By giving the album a cultural, stylistic and compositional narrative, Neige and Winterhalter keep “Kodama” from just being the latest improvement on the Alcest sound and instead make the album a most rare and exciting thing: a vital, relevant record from a pioneer that not only upholds the band’s trailblazing legacy but actually makes you want to see where they go next.

Available editions:
– CD digipak with die-cut sleeve
– LP (33rpm) on heavy-weight 180g black virgin vinyl
– 2CD hardcover book (36 pages with lyrics, elaborate liner notes by Neige, Winterhalter and Fortifem, translations of the lyrics, ca. 18x18cm) incl. bonus CD with bonus track “Notre Sang Et Nos Penseées”
– Deluxe 3LP box (45rpm) with vinyl etching, 6 art prints and lyric sheet; ltd. to 777 copies, split to: 200x black vinyl, 200x clear vinyl, 200x clear/black marble vinyl, 177x magenta/black marble vinyl (exclusive to the Prophecy online shop!)
– “Complete Kodama Box”: 4LPs (45rpm) incl. vinyl etching and bonus track “Notre Sang Et Nos Penseées”, 2CD hardcover book (36 pages with lyrics, elaborate liner notes by Neige, Winterhalter and Fortifem, translations of the lyrics, ca. 18x18cm) incl. bonus CD with bonus track “Notre Sang Et Nos Penseées”, 6 art prints and certificate; ltd. to 777 copies, split to: 200x black vinyl, 200x clear vinyl, 200x clear/black marble vinyl, 177x magenta/black marble vinyl (exclusive to the Prophecy online shop!)

https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official/
https://twitter.com/Alcestofficial
http://www.alcest-music.com/

Alcest, “Opale” Live in NYC, Sept. 22, 2015

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Stonewitch Release Debut Album The Cross of Doom

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

French classic doomers Stonewitch have issued their debut album, The Cross of Doom, via Italian imprint Terror from Hell Records. The album follows the band’s demo and while I can’t profess to having heard the full thing at this point, the opener track “Eerie Valley of the Crimson Planet” seems to nod at NWOBHM gallop en route to Grand Magus-style fistpumping and some Candlemassian doomly sway. They cover Pentagram on the record, and no doubt “Sign of the Wolf” fits well in its surroundings.

It was released last month, so maybe I’m not exactly current on it, but better late than never, and if you’re looking to doom out, here’s this:

stonewitch the cross of doom

OUT NOW – Stonewitch – The Cross of Doom

Stonewitch was created in January 2014 by Aymeric (guitars) and Romain (bass and guitars) as a heavy/doom project. The tracks for the demo “The Godless” were composed by two of them, and they were helped in studio by Serge (vocals), who quickly joined Stonewitch, and Fog (drums) as session for the demo recordings. “The Godless” was recorded at Le Caveau in August 2014 and released in a limited tape edition by the Italian label Terror from Hell Records.

After the demo, Cedric (drums) and Joss (bass) joined Stonewitch as full-time members to complete the line-up in spring 2015, so the band could start to hit the road in September 2015.

In late October, the band returned to the studio Le Caveau for the recordings of six new songs, for 40 minutes of pure doom metal without compromises, “The Cross of Doom” was recorded, and again will be released by Terror from Hell Records in June 2016.

Track List:
1. Eerie Valley Of The Crimson Planet
2. Beyond The Sharp Vine
3. Unearthed (Foes & Woes)
4. Holy Smoke
5. Sign Of The Wolf (Pentagram cover)
6. The Cross Of Doom

https://www.facebook.com/stonewitch.official
http://stonewitch.fr/
https://www.facebook.com/ElektroplasmaMusik
http://www.tfhrecords.com/

Stonewitch, “Eerie Valley of the Crimson Planet”

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Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, Human Collapse: Choice to Arrival (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

los disidentes del sucio motel human collapse

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel’s ‘Departure’ from the new album, Human Collapse, out Sept 9 on Ripple Music.]

French heavy rockers Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel have been conceptually-focused since their outset, so it’s little surprise that their third full-length and Ripple Music debut, Human Collapse, would follow a similar course. What is surprising about the album is just how tight that focus has gotten when taken in consideration with the band’s songwriting. The Strasbourg-based five-piece of guitarist/vocalist Nico, bassist/vocalist Julien, guitarist Romain, keyboardist/vocalist Dany and drummer Greg began their tenure with 2011’s Soundtrack from the Motion Picture (review here), a charm-laced and uptempo run through the tropes of desert rock that stood itself out from an increasingly-crowded post-Truckfighters sphere of heavy rock by following a genuine plotline.

The inevitable follow-up, 2013’s Arcane, brought this to ideas and themes less directly related to desert rock itself, and the music followed suit, taking on a sharper edge — something that Human Collapse continues to push forward. To go with its ominous title, the band offers a lyrical journey of seemingly just one particular human — as opposed to it being the whole species collapsing; though I suppose one could stand in for the whole — from beginning to end, following a logical course of loss and redemption in song titles as the narrative seems to dictate the mood of the songs; “Community,” for instance, is a more melodic, welcoming post-rock sway after the semi-metallic tumult of “Border.” In light of Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, it’s impossible to ignore a social context in which Human Collapse arrives, but even apart from that, the level of dynamic that has developed in Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel‘s sound would be enough on its own to carry a weightier sense of impact than either of their prior LPs.

For anyone who has followed Ripple Music over the last several years, the West Coast imprint has emerged as one of the most reliable American purveyors of heavy. Already in 2016, they’ve issued new records from heavyweights Wo Fat, Foghound and Gozu and continued their ambitious The Second Coming of Heavy split series, so to say that Human Collapse is arguably the most forward-thinking album they’ve put out to-date should not be taken as rank hyperbole or a statement disregarding of the context in which Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel‘s latest arrives.

los disidentes del sucio motel (Photo by Bartosch Salmanski)

Rather, it’s an acknowledgement of the breadth that the band covers in these 10 tracks/56 minutes, which begin with “7PM Choice” and end with “5PM Arrival,” taking us as listeners through 22 hours of travelogue musical and lyrical, a journey that starts with grand crashes and progressive melodies and moves through driving moments early in “Decision” and “Departure” presented with a commercial-production-style crispness — which, in the tradition of European heavy rock, doesn’t necessarily draw away from the impact of the songs — and only growing broader as it moves past “Border” into later stretches like “Rebirth,” “Determination,” and at last, the eight-minute “5PM Arrival.” Moods vary across the span but the prevailing impression is somewhat brooding, and the band works well with that, finding room in their multifaceted songs for vocal harmonies and resounding hooks, clever arrangements of guitar and keys, and in an earlier cut like “Trip,” clear evidence of how far their craft has come in the last half-decade delivered via efficient, progressive, still-straightforward heavy rock and roll, the screams in the second half setting up fluidity into the more lumbering “Border” that typifies the flow enacted across the entire album.

Perhaps most impressive of all is how easily Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel make it sound to blend songs that are individually catchy and that stand on their own — “Departure,” “Border,” “Community,” the thick-chugging “Determination” — with an overarching linear concept. One wouldn’t want to speculate as to which came first, the music or the concept, but either way, it’s no small feat for a group to compile material that would work so smoothly on both levels. As Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel wind up pushing through “5PM Arrival” into the melodic apex of the album, it’s no small arrival whatsoever, and it would also seem to mark their own arrival as a band working under their own impulses rather than feeding off the influence of others — at least to such a degree as to make the material distinguished in its sound.

This blend of progressive storytelling and heavy-riffed roots may continue to define them, it may not, I don’t know, but with Human Collapse, Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel would seem to realize the vision that they set out with more than five years ago, while also refining their songwriting to its most potent, resonant degree. It plays smartly to its strengths in multi-layer vocal arrangements and interweaving of guitar/key textures with big, nodding rhythms, but what it accomplishes with these elements is not to be overlooked.

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