Quarterly Review: Horsehunter, Church, Corpse Light, Sunder, T-Tops, The Space Merchants, Etiolated, Blown Out, Les Discrets, Beast Modulus

Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk summer quarterly review

Day one down and feeling good so far. Day two continues the thread of mixing more known quantities with bands either self-releasing or putting out demos, etc., and I like that. More than last time around — last quarter, if you want to use the business-y sounding language for it — I tried to really get a balance across this batch of reviews, posted yesterday and coming up over the next couple days. We’ll see how it works out when it’s over. It remains a ton of stuff, and I hope you dig it. Day two starts right now.

Quarterly review #11-20:

Horsehunter, Caged in Flesh

horsehunter caged in flesh

Pushing their way to the fore of Melbourne’s heavy surge, double-guitar four-piece Horsehunter proffer oppressive tonal crush on the four tracks of their 2LP Magnetic Eye Records debut, Caged in Flesh. The story goes that, unsatisfied the initial recordings weren’t heavy enough, the band – guitarists Michael Harutyanyan (also vocals) and Dan McDonald, bassist/vocalist Himi Stringer and drummer Nick Cron – went back into the studio and redid the entire thing. Mission accomplished. By the time 16-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Stoned to Death” is done, lungs are suitably deflated, spines are cracked, skulls cleaved, and so on. They’re hardly the only ones in the world to conjure formidable tonal heft, but it’s the deft changes in vocals – clean here, shouts there, more abrasive at the start of the title-track – and the sense of atmosphere in the three-minute penultimate interlude that really distinguish Horsehunter, as well as how smoothly that atmosphere integrates with the pummel in the second half of closer “Witchery,” attention to detail and awareness of the need for more than just sonic weight boding well for future progression.

Horsehunter on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

Church, Unanswered Hymns

church unanswered hymns

A staggeringly heavy debut full-length from Sacramento, CA, five-piece Church, Unanswered Hymns was initially released digitally by the band and quickly picked up for a cassette issue by Transylvanian Tapes and forthcoming LP through Battleground Records. One gets the sense listening to the three extended tracks – 19-minute opener “Dawning” being the longest of the bunch (immediate points) – that those won’t be the last versions to come. Psychedelic doom blends seamlessly with vicious sludge extremity, creating a morass engulfing in its tones, spacious in its breadth and unrepentantly heavy, making it one of 2015’s best debut releases, hands down, and a glorious revelry in bleak tectonics that challenges the listener to match its level of melancholy without giving into an impulse for post-Pallbearer emotive theatrics. As thrilling as they are plodding, expect the echoes of “Dawning,” “Stargazer” and “Offering” to resonate for some time to come, and should Church show any predilection for touring in the next couple years, they have the potential to make a genuine impact on American doom. Yes, I mean it.

Church on Thee Facebooks

Transylvanian Tapes

Battleground Records

Corpse Light, Without Form

corpse light without form

Recorded in a day and released by Grimoire Records, the four-track Without Form is slated as the debut from Baltimore atmospheric doomers Corpse Light, but the band have had tracks come out in drips and drabs since getting their start as Ophidian in mid-2012, even if this is their first proper release. Either way, “The Fool” sets up an immediate and grim ambience, the churning lurch from guitarists Keiran Holmes and Don Selner and bassist Aurora Raiten set to roll by Lawrence Grimes (The Osedax) and given earthy aggression by the vocals of Jim Webb. “Lying in State” fleshes out these morose aggro vibes, but it’s with the drop-everything-and-kill peak of the subsequent “R Complex” that Corpse Light hit their angriest mark. If Without Form was just about that, it would be the highlight, but the album’s 29 minutes have more to offer than pissed off tonally-weighted post-hardcore, as closer “Kenophobia”’s clever turns and deceptive forward momentum demonstrate, though a touch of that kind of thing never hurts either.

Corpse Light on Thee Facebooks

Grimoire Records on Bandcamp

Sunder, Demo

sunder demo

Heavy psych four-piece Sunder will make their debut this summer through Tee Pee and Crusher Records with a 7” for “Cursed Wolf,” so consider this notice of the tracks on their not-for-public-consumption demo a heads up on things to come. Their “Deadly Flower” was streamed here this past April, and the band’s previous incarnation, The Socks, released their self-titled debut (review here) on Small Stone in 2014, but with songs like the key-laced stomper “Bleeding Trees,” the ‘70s rusher “Against the Grain,” and the Uncle Acid-style swinging “Daughter of the Snows,” the Lyon, France, outfit continue to refine a style drawing together different vibes of the psychedelic era. “Deadly Flower” was also distinguished by its key work, and as for “Cursed Wolf” itself, the melody reminds of proto-psych Beatles singles (thinking “Rain” specifically), but the groove still holds firm to a sense of weight that’s thoroughly modern, and by that I mean it sounds like 1972. Keep an eye out.

Sunder on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

T-Tops, T-Tops

t-tops t-tops

Granted not everyone is going to make this immediate association, but when I first saw the moniker T-Tops, I couldn’t help think of like C-grade generic stonerisms, songs about beer and pretending to be from the South and all that. If you experienced something similar in seeing the name, rest easy. The Pittsburgh trio of guitarist/vocalist Pat Waters (ex-The Fitt, Wormrigg), bassist Jason Orr (Wormrigg) and drummer Jason Jouver (ex-Don Caballero) are down with far more sinister punk and noise on their self-titled, self-released debut full-length, riding, shooting straight and speaking truth on cuts like “Wipe Down” and the catchy “Pretty on a Girl” after the tense sampling of “A Certain Cordial Exhilaration” turns over the power-push to “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’.” “Ralphie” is probably an inside-joke if not a Christmas Story reference, but point is these guys are way less about-to-sing-about-muscle-cars than the name implies and their tight, crisp rhythmic turns come accompanied by vicious tonal force and an utter lack of bullshit, which is a scenario far preferable to that which one might otherwise expect.

T-Tops on Thee Facebooks

T-Tops on Bandcamp

The Space Merchants, The Space Merchants

the space merchants the space merchants

Issued by Aqulamb in the imprint’s standard 100-page art book/download format, the self-titled debut from fellow Brooklynites The Space Merchants seeks to draw a line between psychedelic rock and country. And not pretend country like people with a Johnny Cash fetish because he covered that Nine Inch Nails song one time – actual, bright, pastoral, classic country. Call the results psychtwang and applaud the effort, which works oddly well in a thoroughly vintage context to come across on “Mainline the Sun” like something from a lost ‘60s variety show. Parts of “One Cut Like the Moon” and the later fuzz of “One Thousand Years of Boredom” give away their modernity, but The Space Merchants’ push toward a stylistic niche suits them well, and the intertwined vocal arrangements from guitarist Michael Guggino, bassist Aileen Brophy and keyboardist Ani MonteleoneCarter Logan drums to round out the four-piece – add to the rich, welcoming feel that remains prevalent even as the eight-minute “Where’s the Rest of Life” slips into wah-soaked noise to finish out.

The Space Merchants on Thee Facebooks

Aqualamb on Bandcamp

Etiolated, Grey Limbs, Grey Skies

etoliated grey limbs grey skies

The undercurrent of black metal coursing beneath the surface of Etiolated’s debut full-length, Grey Limbs, Grey Skies, eventually comes to the surface in 10-minute opener “Internal Abyss” and 16-minute eponymous closer, which bookends, but in part it’s the tension of waiting for those rampaging surges that keeps one hooked to the Armus Productions release. Guttural death growls echo up from dense tonal reaches, and tempo shifts, whether in those longer tracks or three-minute lumbering slice “Futility” are fluid, the North Carolina five-piece executing a slow-grinding chug in centerpiece “Exsanguinate,” which seems like a murk without end until the 1:47 “For Your Hell” kicks into a speedier, more blackened rush, guest vocalist Ryan McCarthy joining guitarist/vocalists James Storelli and Walls, bassist Cody Rogers and drummer Elliot Thompson in furthering the already prevalent sense of extremism before “Etiolated,” after a surprisingly peaceful if brooding midsection, plods the album to a close. To say “not for the faint of heart” would be putting it lightly, but if I had a vest and if Etiolated had patches, the two parties would definitely meet up at some point in the near future.

Etiolated on Thee Facebooks

Armus Productions on Bandcamp

Blown Out, Planetary Engineering

blown out planetary engineering

It has not taken long for the discography of UK psych jammers Blown Out to become a populated murky cosmos of its own. Planetary Engineering is released on Oaken Palace Records and finds the three-piece of guitarist Mike Vest (also Bong, etc.), bassist John-Michael Hedley (also Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs) and drummer Matt Baty (also the head of Box Records) exploring two mesmeric and sprawling instrumentals – one per side – that bend and flourish and hypnotize in organically-concocted swirl. Side A’s “Transcending Deep Infinity” tops 20 minutes and shifts from its spacey build to a low key groove at about 7:30 in, pulsing forward once more amid head-turning repetition, deep echoes and longform nod, culminating in a two-minute fadeout that brings forward “Thousand Years in the Sunshine,” an immediate bass groove and interstellar swirl no less trance-inducing than its predecessor. Cyclical drum fills morph over time behind the guitar and bass, and Planetary Engineering seems to push continually further out until, of course, it disintegrates, presumably as it crosses the galactic barrier.

Blown Out on Thee Facebooks

Oaken Palace Records on Bandcamp

Les Discrets, Live at Roadburn

les discrets live at roadburn

I was fortunate enough to have been in attendance at Het Patronaat in Tilburg when French post-black metallers Les Discrets took the stage at Roadburn 2013. As such, it’s with some trepidation I approach their Live at Roadburn recording on Prophecy Productions – the impression they made live wasn’t something I’d want potentially spoiled or brought to earth by a document proving it was just another set. With Neige of Alcest on bass with guitarist/vocalist Fursy Teyssier, Les Discrets proved to be something really special to those who, like me, were there to catch them, and the eight-track Live at Roadburn – fortunately – captures both the majestic lushness they brought with them and the underlying weight that seemed to add impact to the material. What might sound like post-production mixing on “L’Echappée” or the wash of “Chanson D’Automne” isn’t – it really was that beautiful and that perfectly balanced coming from the stage. A vastly underrated act and a document that reminds of how stellar they were without sullying the memory in the slightest.

Les Discrets on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions

Beast Modulus, Beast Modulus

beast-modulus-beast-modulus

Brooklynite foursome Beast Modulus seem to care less about meshing with ideas of genre than sticking them in a meatgrinder and seeing what comes out. To wit the riotous chugging of “Cowboy Caligula,” and the blackened thrust of “WaSaBi!” on their self-released, self-titled outing, which leads to dueling growls and screams on the tonally weighted post-hardcore “Fabulous,” and the appropriately mathy turns of the thrashing “Tyranny of Numbers.” Inventive in their stylizations and in where the six songs included on the release actually go – hint: they go to “heavy” – the lineup of vocalist Kurt Applegate, guitarist Owen Burley, bassist Jesse Adelson and drummer Jody Smith have some post-Dillinger Escape Plan vibe in the calculated chaos of “Kalashnikov,” but closer “Killing Champion” is too impatient to even be held by that, the prevailing manic angularity of Beast Modulus ultimately crafting its own identity from the physical assault the music seems intent on perpetrating upon the listener.

Beast Modulus on Thee Facebooks

Beast Modulus on Bandcamp

 

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Space Fisters Premiere Video for “Yellow Hills”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

space fisters

High impact heavy rockers Space Fisters released their debut full-length, Vol. 1, late in 2014, giving nodders what for with a sound setting together a blend of fuzzy riffs and more spacious psychedelics. Prone to fits of crunch and hooks, neither are they shy about fleshing out a track like “Short Daze” or “Bozz,” their jams based around movement — guitarist Robin Pruchon, bassist/vocalist Clément Baltassat and drummer Léo Mo see to it there’s plenty, regardless of tempo or the largesse of the riff they happen to be jamming around in a given stretch — but executed with a deceptive underlying patience. From a distance or a superficial listen, they might seem repetitive, but rarely are the four tracks of Vol. 1 actually standing still.

Bookended by the longer “Short Daze” (9:10) and “Bozz” (14:30), middle cuts “Yellow Hills” (7:10) and “Goddess of Love/Priestess of Pain” (6:01) play one side off the other fluidly, the latter touching on moaning Electric Wizardry before shifting into boogie shuffle and spacebound jive then making the same tradeoff again, while “Yellow Hills” lets its fuzzy tone and crash blow the roof off before mellowing out to start a build that rises in the middle, recedes, and rises again near the finish, Baltassat‘s vocals a watery echo all the way. As a sampler piece of what Vol. 1 has to offer, “Yellow Hills” makes a particularly good slice, and no doubt that’s at least part of the motivation behind selecting it as the first video to come from the album.

Directed by Jul’ Silva, the clip for “Yellow Hills” boasts footage of the band jamming out and some strange kind of checker-pattern interpretive dancing going on, but one way or another, it’s going to grab attention. I’m happy today to be able to host the premiere of the clip, which you’ll find on the player below, followed by some more about the band from the PR wire:

Space Fisters, “Yellow Hills” official video

Formed in 2012 in the heights of Savoy, French power trio SPACE FISTERS produces a highly volcanic kind of stoner rock, that could be described as a threesome between Sleep, Earthless and The Melvins.

Their debut album « Vol.1? is a 36 minute long heavy psych uppercut delivered without any hesitation or concession. The tone in there is roaring, the rhythm section is vibrantly dauntless, while riffs regularly take off to bluesier skies, all towered by an unprecedented amount of fuzz… to make the Earth’s crust shake.

SPACE FISTERS skyrocket your minds into another dimension, and the live experience literally seizes you to the guts, as the band puts on infectiously fervent performances. Within three years, the trio already shared the stage with the likes of Red Fang, Kadavar, Earthless, Mars Red Sky, and more recently Stoned Jesus on their French tour.

Clément Baltassat – Bass & Vocals
Robin Pruchon – Guitar
Léo Mo – Drums

Space Fisters on Bandcamp

Space Fisters on Thee Facebooks

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DoctoR DooM Stream “Abso-Fuckin’-Lutely” from New Album This Seed We Have Sown

Posted in audiObelisk on June 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

doctor-doom

When picking out which track on your album you’re going to call “Abso-Fuckin’-Lutely,” take a page out of French heavy classic rockers DoctoR DooM‘s book, and make it move. Boogie runs rampant throughout the Pamiers four-piece’s debut long-player, This Seed We Have Sown, and true to form, “Abso-Fuckin’-Lutely” has all the swing and ’70s vibe one could ask in this post-Graveyard era. The album is out July 24 on Ripple Music CD and will have vinyl to follow in Sept. from STB Records, and in following-up a 2015 7″, a live outing and their 2012 DoomO EP (review here), it presents a steady flow across its nine tracks, beginning with “The Sun” and ending with the quiet guitar of “To be Continued,” which I wouldn’t be surprised to find echoed at the start of their sophomore outing whenever it might arrive.

Between those two and in the meat of This Seed We Have Sown, the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Jean-Laurent Pasquet, guitarist/backingdoctor-doom-this-seed-we-have-sown vocalist Jérémie Delattre, bassist/keyboardist Sébastien Boutin Blomfield and drummer/drummer Michel Marcq proffer natural tones and upbeat swing, touching here and there on classic Pentagram stylizations and a not unexpected touch of Sabbath on “So Jinxed” or side B’s “At War with Myself,” which is the longest inclusion at 7:14 and the precursor to “Truth in the Dark,” the particularly proto-metallic de facto closer before “To be Continued” finishes the album. Strong instrumental chemistry throughout and songwriting to match gives the tracks a personality of their own despite whatever genre familiarity they present, and though it has its morose stretches, the prevailing vibe is is more given to motion, and that brings us back to where we started.

“Abso-Fuckin’-Lutely” follows “The Sun,” and while it’s one of the “brighter” cuts on This Seed We Have Sown, its shuffle and groove, especially in Marcq‘s performance, show off DoctoR DooM‘s momentum at one of its most irresistible points on the record. They’re not necessarily pushing forward all the time, but definitely side to side, the songs almost dancing to themselves in pure heavy rock revelry. We’re a month out from the (first) release, but you can find “Abso-Fuckin’-Lutely” on the player below, followed by some more info on the album courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

DoctoR DooM was formed in the French town of Ariège in the Midi-Pyrénées by guitarists Jean-Laurent Pasquet and Jérémie Delattre. Having come together out of a shared appreciation for forgotten 60s and 70s music, it didn’t take long for the duo to find kindred spirits in drummer Michel Marcq and bass player Sébastien Boutin Blomfield as they sought to pull together the rhythm section required to knock out a monumentally heavy live set. Initially performing covers of Coven, Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple, out of the riffs and drum rolls of old grew new, original numbers that would later surface fully formed on their 2012 debut DoomO EP on STB Records.

This Seed We Have Sown by DoctoR DooM will be released worldwide on 24th July 2015 on Ripple Music, with a limited vinyl released on STB Records out toward the end of June.

DoctoR DooM:
Jean-Laurent Pasquet (Vocal, Guitar)
Jérémie Delattre (Guitar)
Sébastien Boutin Blomfield (Bass, Keys)
Michel Marcq (Drums)

DoctoR DooM on Thee Facebooks

DoctoR DooM on Bandcamp

STB Records

Ripple Music

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DoctoR DooM Announce Debut Full-Length This Seed We Have Sown; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

doctor doom

Following an earlier-2015 7″ release, a live outing and their 2012 DoomO EP (review here), French heavy rollers approach their first full-length, This Seed We Have Sown, with the classics in mind. As the new song “Relax, You’re Dead,” which you can stream below, can attest, the four-piece bask in ’70s traditionalism and organic tonality, and they’ve been well lauded for it since STB Records picked up DoomO for a vinyl pressing in 2013.

Accordingly, This Seed We Have Sown will see issue through both STB and Ripple Music over the course of the next two months, to be available no doubt in a variety of editions and on a variety of formats, the two labels having partnered to share releases between vinyl and CD. The exact numbers to come — as in “limited to X” — I’m not sure, but however many they make, don’t expect them to last.

More to come, I’m sure, but for now, off to the PR wire:

doctor doom this seed we have sown

DoctoR DooM announce new album This Seed We Have Sown | Stream and share new song ‘Relax, You’re Dead’

Formed in the French town of Ariège in the Midi-Pyrénées by guitarists Jean-Laurent Pasquet and Jérémie Delattre, since their formation in 2011 DoctoR DooM have blazed an impressive underground trail for followers of new, authentically crafted hard rock, metal and progressive blues.

Having come together out of a shared appreciation for forgotten 60s and 70s music, it didn’t take long for the duo to find kindred spirits in drummer Michel Marcq and bass player Sébastien Boutin Blomfield as they sought to pull together the rhythm section required to knock out a monumentally heavy live set. Initially performing covers of Coven, Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple, out of the riffs and drum rolls of old grew new, original numbers that would later surface fully formed on their 2012 debut DoomO EP on STB Records.

Inspired by the recent wave of Scandinavian stoner/rock bands such as Graveyard, Witchcraft and Spiders, throughout 2013 and 2014 DoctoR DooM took part in a series of high profile festival appearances including Spain’s Riff Ritual Fest, Doom Over Karalis in Sardinia and Germany’s much-celebrated DesertFest before taking to the studio at the end of last year to record their very first LP.

This Seed We Have Sown by DoctoR DooM will be released worldwide on 24th July 2015 on Ripple Music, with a limited vinyl released on STB Records out toward the end of June.

DoctoR DooM:
Jean-Laurent Pasquet (Vocal, Guitar)
Jérémie Delattre (Guitar)
Sébastien Boutin Blomfield (Bass, Keys)
Michel Marcq (Drums)

https://www.facebook.com/doctordoom09
http://doctordoom.bandcamp.com/

DoctoR DooM, “Relax, You’re Dead”

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Glowsun Premiere “Behind the Moon” Video; Beyond the Wall of Time Due Soon on Napalm

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

glowsun

It starts out quiet and unassuming enough, but don’t be fooled. Lille, France, trio Glowsun will release their third full-length, Beyond the Wall of Time, this summer via Napalm Records, and the fuzz they proffer on “Behind the Moon” might begin softly, but the instrumental roll it soon undertakes is righteously grooved and fully toned. “Behind the Moon” is the first audio — also the first video — to come from Beyond the Wall of Time, so in addition to a visually creative look at the three-piece rocking out amid psychedelic imagery laced between and among the persons of guitarist/vocalist Johan Jaccob (also graphic art), bassist Ronan Chiron and drummer Fabrice Cornille, we’re also getting an early glimpse at what the album itself might, at least in part, have on offer.

And if the titles aren’t enough of a clue — Glowsun are “beyond” this, “behind” that — the song itself is all about movement. Turns are executed quickly and fluidly,glowsun beyond the wall of time but not without precision, and as the three-piece make their way over to the dark side, they do so fostering a balance between natural tones and a linear drive that takes them from their subdued beginning to a memorable stretch of chugging verses and chorus-style leads, sampling, and an open-structured creativity that seems to be focused on where “Behind the Moon” needs to go without coming off as forcing it to get there. They end louder and with more push than they started, but remain under control for the duration, and while it has its sense of space and remains entirely instrumental, the track never veers into all-out jamming. Glowsun seem to be on a different mission entirely.

All the better for signaling the promise the record holds. Beyond the Wall of Time is the follow-up to 2012’s Eternal Season (discussed here) and is out in North America on July 7. Please find the video for “Behind the Moon” on the player below, tailed by a few words from the PR wire, and enjoy:

Glowsun, “Behind the Moon” official video

French trio GLOWSUN are back with their third studio album and strongest record to date: Beyond The Wall Of Time! The sound and tone of the new album perfectly fits into Instrumental Psychedelic Rock realms. From the start the listener is kidnapped by the spherical sound, between enormous atmospheric compositions with pure rock riffs and psychedelic melodies that are perfectly intertwined.

Beyond The Wall Of Time will be released June 29th in the UK & July 7 in the US on Napalm Records! Get ready for this journey with Psychedelic Rockers GLOWSUN!

Glowsun’s website

Glowsun on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records

Napalm Records on Thee Facebooks

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Mystic Lady” Live at Hellfest 2009

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

For as long as I have a brain with which to remember it, I will consider myself fortunate to have been at Roadburn 2009 to witness the beginning — barring a warm-up show or two they played before leaving the US — of Saint Vitus‘ reunion. They hadn’t put out a record in 14 years by that point, and you’d have to add five more to that to get back to 1990’s V, their last studio outing to be fronted by Scott “Wino” Weinrich. Even though that Vitus reunion continued for the next half-decade, produced a righteous comeback in the form of 2012’s Lillie: F-65 (review here) and introduced a new generation to some of the finest American doom ever riffed through a Marshall, the beginning moments were a landmark. The start of a band getting its long over-due.

That Wino/Vitus reunion may continue, it may not. Following the former’s arrest last fall in Norway, the band linked up again with original vocalist Scott Reagers, and the future remains uncertain. But even if it is over, Saint Vitus have left behind a mark on their genre that will continue to be felt for years to come — not just for that full-length they were able to put together after so long away, but for the force with which they got on stage and delivered their classic material. It’s toward that classic material we turn for this week’s Wino Wednesday, finding Saint Vitus at Hellfest 2009 in Clisson, France, for “Mystic Lady,” which originally appeared on their 1985 sophomore outing, Hallow’s Victim (on which Reagers sang). Drummer Armando Acosta had already by then left the band prior to his death in 2010 and Henry Vasquez joined guitarist Dave Chandler, Wino and bassist Mark Adams, so even as they kept moving forward, the character of the band changed.

Still, these moments remain something special within doom, proving the timelessness of this band and their work. I hope you enjoy:

Saint Vitus, “Mystic Lady” Live at Hellfest 2009

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Mars Red Sky Explore “The Light Beyond” in New Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

mars red sky

In just under a week’s time, Bordeaux heavy psych rollers Mars Red Sky will make a return trip to South America for shows in Argentina and Brazil. The latter, of course, is where they wound up recording their second album and Listenable Records debut, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), after their original plan to track in the California desert was scrapped by US customs in what I’ve since considered an embarrassing international incident caused by the ignorance of my countrymen to quality fuzz. No doubt somebody went home that day and thought they’d done a good job. Wrong-o, chief.

Those issues are easy enough to put aside because Stranded in Arcadia, which was recorded at Estúdio Superfuzz by Gabriel Zander, turned out so well. The trio of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matgaz crafted not only a progressive step froward from their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), but a highly individualized blend of sonic weight and psychedelia, the melodies, the riffs and heft all their own. It was a gorgeous record, whatever the circumstances of its making, and even as they’ve recently announced intentions toward a third album, they’re still supporting Stranded in Arcadia both on the road — that stopover in South America will be followed by another European tour — and with a new video, this one for the opening cut “The Light Beyond.”

It’s one of the most singularly gorgeous tracks on Stranded in Arcadia and the video is their most elaborate production to date. They’re known for sort of compiling clips through manipulated footage, maybe blending live shots with old movie clips and things like that, but “The Light Beyond” is a more traditional music video approach, the band staged on a sandbar as a giant manta ray made of shadow flies over head and a mysterious shaman wanders the desert. Fun note: From what I hear, the drone used for filming the band actually crashed in that lake. Hazards of working with robots, I guess.

As always, hope you enjoy:

Mars Red Sky, “The Light Beyond” official video

Taken from 2014’s critically acclaimed ‘Stranded In Arcadia’ album, the gallic power trio rockers stay true to their roots. Shot on location in France and Australia, ‘The Light Beyond’ features downtuned fuzzed up guitars, blues soaked doom laden riffage, wandering shaman, flying manta rays and deserts as far as the eye can see. 

The band will be off for a their « Soviet Attack tour » in South America next week, which will be quickly followed by a full European tour, including a special guest slot in London with Eyehategod at Desertscene Festival, among other nice events this summer:

26.05 BUENOS AIRES (Ar) Uniclub
27.05 PORTO ALLEGRE (Br) Signos Pub
28.05 SANTA MARIA (Br) Boteco do Rosário
29.05 PETROPOLIS (Br) Gypsy Bar
30.05 RIO DE JANEIRO (Br) Rio Rock & Blues
31.05 SAO PAULO (Br) Inferno Club
25.06 CARDIFF (UK) Moon Club
26.06 MILTON KEYNES (UK) Crauford Arms
27.06 LONDON (UK) The Dome (w/ Eyehategod)
28.06 PARIS – Deep #2 – Péniche Antipode
03.07 BRESCIA (It) Somen Fest
04.07 JESI (It) Field Fest
05.07 ROMA (It) Sinister Noise
17.07 MIRAMONT DE GUYENNE (47) Abracada’Sons
18.07 DOUR (Bel) Dour Festival
19.07 NIJMEGEN (NL) Valkhof Festival
29.07 KIEV (Ukr) Open Air
14.08 SAINT NOLFF (56) Motocultor Festival
15.08 VERDUN (55) Musiques & Terrasses
29.08 THONES (74) Backwoods Festival
25.09 SAINT PETERSBURG (RU) Zoccolo 2.0
26.09 MOSCOW (RU) Depressive Fest – Volta

Mars Red Sky on Thee Facebooks

Mars Red Sky’s Bandcamp

Listenable Records

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Stonebirds Premiere “Burned Flesh” from Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air

Posted in audiObelisk on May 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

stonebirds

Emanating sonic largesse from their home in the west of France, three-piece outfit Stonebirds will make their full-length debut on Pink Tank Records in July with Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air, a five-song/34-minute long-player whose bent almost immediately and throughout its entire course is toward carrying across material with as big a sound as possible. Riffs are huge, vocals shout up from way back in the mix, the bass pushes air underneath a dense wall of fuzz, and the drums crash with gotta-hear-it echo for a maximum sense of space, giving the entire work an added layer of atmospheric intensity to go along with its complex turns and ever-widening sonic breadth. If you had to put a genre to it (and you don’t), you might call it post-stoner for its pervasive ambience, adventurous flourish and open-feeling structures, but what Stonebirds do is still very much rooted in following the riff. It’s just where that riff takes them that makes all the difference.

The album opens with “After the Sin,” the longest song at 8:44 (immediate points) and a track that summarizes a lot of what the entirety of Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air will offer, its rhythmic thrust of considerable force from the moment Antoine‘s drums kick in with Fañch‘s guitar and Sylvain‘s bass, which will soon enough lead the swaying “Angst Lover.” Their builds seem to bleed into each other, but the atmosphere is hypnotic right away as “After the Sin” moves into its progressive-feeling midsection, a slide or ebow lead arriving after five minutes in and somehow presaging a return to the earlier chorus. When it hits, “Angst Lover” is moodier but winds up no less forward-thinking, an airy first half giving way to wah swing, chugging and crushing shouts later on while still holding onto an eerie melodic sensibility that “Into the Fog” develops further in a more laid back setting of squibbly guitars, fuzz bass and ride-cymbal wash. stonebirds into the fog... and the filthy airThe tension comes to a head accompanied by what sounds an awful lot like a theremin and seems to expand outward until it starts to decay, leaving just the drums to hold the progression together until some surprise acapella at the end provides a transition into “Burned Flesh.”

If it’s not clear by now, momentum is a central factor working in Stonebirds‘ favor. Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air is a quick listen, but one of marked sonic depth. A headphone record not for its psychedelic aspects, though I guess it has those if you want to darken your colorful impression of the word, but for the way their audio seems so three-dimensional, it moves through with little time for reflection, and that seems to suit Stonebirds‘ purposes well as they push into “Burned Flesh” from “Into the Fog” and hit on a mid-paced roll with vocal interplay from Fañch and Sylvain that offers probably the nearest step toward post-metal that the band takes amid a deceptively catchy hook. “Burned Flesh” is the shortest song on the album at 5:36, but even with the relatively brief runtime, Stonebirds leave an atmospheric impression in a bridge topped by repetitive builds that pays off in a wash of guitar and a fading final rumble that sets up the quiet introductory stretch of “Perpetual Wasteland,” almost Deftones-esque for its brooding and malevolent melodicism, but holding firm to the underlying tension as it crashes toward Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air‘s last stomp, an epilogue of melodic wash and drum thud finishing cold to end the album.

It’s an impressive debut for what Stonebirds accomplish across its span and the lack of pretense with which they do it, and today I have the pleasure of hosting “Burned Flesh” for streaming ahead of the July 14 Pink Tank vinyl release of Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air. Please find it on the player below, followed by info on the LP release courtesy of the label, and enjoy:

STONEBIRDS trio emerged in 2008 from the desolated landscapes of central Brittany (France) from which they draw inspiration to write crushing and misty songs. After the self-release of a demo CD, a split album with Stangala and a digital Ep, STONEBIRDS is now fully matured and release the “Into the fog… and the filthy air” Lp through Pink Tank Records (Ger). A psychedelic and massive disc recorded in a full-analog studio which wraps the songs in a vintage and raw sound. On stage, STONEBIRDS crushes the audience like a dark fog hammer and riffs to break the spine!

Pink Tank Records 012 STONEBIRDS – INTO THE FOG AND THE FILTHY AIR

– 500 copies total
– 75 copies red/black marbled incl. poster & download code (exclusive Pink Tank edition)
– 25 copies red/black marbled standard edition (wholesale)
– 100 deep grey marbled incl. poster & download code (exclusive band edition)
– 300 copies standard black

RELEASE IS SCHEDULED FOR 14.07.2015

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