Review & Track Premiere: Sundecay, Gale

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sundecay gale

[Click play above to stream “Gales” from Sundecay’s new EP, Gale. Vinyl is out Nov. 30.]

It’s an old debate, EP vs. LP. Where the line stops between a short release and a full-length. I take my cues from bands, and Sundecay have made it clear that their new self-released four-songer, Gale, is an EP. But I don’t necessarily agree. At half an hour long, it’s right on the border of one side or the other, but the key factor for me is the way the Toronto DIY five-piece arrange the songs themselves to set up a clear flow from opener “Heavy Motions” through the 11-minute closer “The Land that Never Thaws.” Gale breaks roughly even into two vinyl sides — which is fortunate, because they’ve pressed it up as a 12″ in limited numbers, gold-embossed front lettering, etc. — of two songs apiece, and especially in physical form, there’s no substance lacking that one would say it isn’t an impressive debut album.

Does it ultimately matter? Probably not, and it could well be that Sundecay will next year put out a full-length that’s a 70-minute 2LP and show themselves as thinking of an album as a completely different entity — I don’t know that that’s going to happen, I’m just positing a hypothetical — but the bottom line either way is that Gale presents a strong front-to-back fluidity amid its burly double-guitar riffs, spacious vocal echoes and largesse of groove to ignite the argument.

With Mark Chandler and Brian Scott (the latter also cover art) on guitar, Derek Hoffman as bassist, engineer and mixer, Julian Vardy on drums and Rich Pauptit on vocals, Sundecay bring together “Heavy Motions,” “Gales,” “From Corners” and “The Land that Never Thaws” with a firm sense of aesthetic, capturing some of the marauding sensibility of mid-period High on Fire but played at maybe two-thirds speed, so that the battle axe of riffs is swinging, but kind of in slow motion. Tempo shifts and moments of ambience like those that open “Heavy Motions” or appear in the second half of “The Land that Never Thaws” suit the band well, but of course the sheer level of impact is a major consideration in what they do.

And their work hits hard. “From Corners” is the shortest cut on the EP at 3:57, pairing smoothly with the closer on side B, and it has an almost classic doom approach to its swaggering groove, making it all the more understandable where they’re coming from in touting a Pentagram/proto-metal influence, but someone in this band listens to or listened to earlier Mastodon, and the effect of that style of weighted, almost-angular chugging tension is present in the guitar as well as the dreary atmospheres surrounding. It’s a fitting answer to the echoing beardo-burl of Pauptit‘s vocals, which seem to call up in “Heavy Motions” from beneath the rolling nod in a way that’s both headphone-worthy and calling for max-volume presentation, so, you know, watch your eardrums.

sundecay gale vinyl

If nothing else, “Heavy Motions” lives up to its name, moving from its gradual start into a melodic interplay of guitar for the verse before seeming to grow thicker as it progresses through the midsection and plods into a drum-dropout before the five-minute mark, only to resume the fervent march in apex fashion as the ending, which concludes in a long fade bringing about the foreboding open of “Gales,” the guitars evoking a bluster of wind from the outset that seems to blow in multiple directions. Like “Heavy Motions” before, the opening is gradual, but does much to establish the feel of the song itself, and when the drums and bass kick in at full-tone, there’s a feeling of arrival.

A more driven push takes hold before two minutes in with a faster meter and some of that crunching angularity brought forward in the guitar at the central position. They wind their way into a slowdown in the middle third but hold to it for a while, and make it unclear at first if they’l even go back at all to the chug from whence they came. When they do, it’s with about a minute left, and they run through the verse one more time before finishing out with a showcase of symmetry that seems all the more relevant for ending the first half of the record.

The relatively brief “From Corners” follows and plays a crucial role not only in offsetting “The Land that Never Thaws” still to come, but in allowing the band to expand the context of the album — (coughs loudly) — overall, with a departure from the methods of the two prior tracks. “From Corners” is inherently more straightforward in its structure, and while it remains tonally and rhythmically consistent with what surrounds, Sundecay use it to efficiently demonstrate a malleable methodology on the whole.

Their 2014 debut, Bodies at the Frontier, had a similar construction to its songs, if swapped in side A and B, but the band’s growth in sound is palpable and it’s hard to argue against closing with “The Land that Never Thaws,” which drops its title-line in the first verse and brings its slower chug to bear along with a markedly epic feel underscored by the lumber of the drumming at its root. It’s not the first time the band have gone marching, but they do it well and with a particularly downtrodden flare in “The Land that Never Thaws,” and as that gives way to the stretch of guitar, bass and vocals alone, the nigh-goth pastoralism is one more fascinating turn that makes the surge that begins after nine minutes in even more of a crescendo. Pauptit‘s vocals come to the fore of the mix with surrounding wails of guitar and plod of bass and drums, and the guitars cap in chugging fashion on a fade to mirror that of “Heavy Motions.”

Whether one considers Gale an EP or an LP, that symmetry is essential to the progressive impression the band makes on the whole. It may well be that this collection is just a sampling of their intent toward larger- and longer-form works to come. If so, fine. But the adage of “it’s just an EP” doesn’t really apply to the formidable presence Sundecay establish or the swath of heavy styles they seem to so naturally make their own in this material.

Sundecay on Bandcamp

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Southwest Terror Fest Vol. 4 Lineup Revealed

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 10th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Great googly-moogly. The full lineup — and set times, because apparently that’s how on their shit these cats are — for this year’s Southwest Terror Fest have been posted, and it’s breathtaking. Sleep and Acid King and Bongripper among the headliners, with the likes of Dropdead and Thou and the Body and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth strewn about a four-day span for the fourth edition of the festival, which in accordance with doomly mandate and the Order of Things has been dubbed Southwest Terror Fest Vol. 4. I doubt I’ll get to Tucson to witness it, but it looks like a hell of a time.

As the PR wire puts it:

southwest terror fest vol 4

SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST Vol. 4: Entire Lineup Of Annual Arizona Underground Metal Festival Announced; Tickets Available

Sleep, Thou & The Body, Acid King, Dropdead, Bongripper, Xibalba, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth And More Confirmed

The entire itinerary for the fourth edition of the annual SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST has been disclosed, as the 2015 installment is confirmed to consume Tucson, Arizona for four days once again this October.

SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST VOL. 4 will run from October 15th through 18th, with events scheduled at three Tucson venues — The Rialto Theatre, Club Congress and 191 Toole. The festivities will begin on Thursday, October 15th with a nighttime kickoff show, followed by both matinee and late club shows on Friday the 16th, and the main events on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th, and the running orders for each show has now been posted. The confirmed acts include headliners Sleep, Thou & The Body, Acid King, Dropdead and Bongripper, as well as Xibalba, Landmine Marathon, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Graves At Sea, Cult Leader, Call Of The Void, Demon Lung, Immortal Bird, In The Company Of Serpents, Abstracter, Gale, and more. Additionally, soloist Amigo The Devil will perform impromptu sets throughout the weekend once again.

Tickets for all SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST VOL. 4 events have been posted and are linked below alongside the running order for the entire weekend. Additionally, there are 100 VIP passes being sold this year, which are disappearing quickly; get them before they’re gone RIGHT HERE.

SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST VOL. 4 Lineup:

Thursday, October 15th // Kickoff show at 191 Toole (All Ages):
Main Stage:
10:15 – End — Thou & The Body
8:45 – 9:30 — In The Company Of Serpents
7:30 – 8:00 — Heat Dust
6:30 – 7:00 — Gale
Side Stage:
9:30 – 10:15 — Dead To A Dying World
8:00 – 8:45 — Abstracter
7:00 – 7:30 — Hanta
6:00 – 6:30 — Methra

Friday, October 16th // Matinee show at 191 Toole (All Ages):
Main Stage:
10:20 – End — Dropdead
9:10 – 9:50 — Landmine Marathon
8:00 – 8:40 — Xibalba
7:00 – 7:30 — Immmortal Bird
6:00 – 6:30 — Gatecreeper
Side Stage:
9:50 – 10:20 — Call Of The Void
8:40 – 9:10 — Bastard Feast
7:30 – 8:00 — 908
6:30 – 7:00 — Swamp Wolf
5:30 – 6:00 — Warmonger

Friday, October 16th // Late show at Club Congress (21+):
12:20 – End — Bongripper
11:10 – 12:00 — Graves At Sea
10:20 – 10:50 — Skycrawler
9:30 – 10:00 — Naught

Saturday, October 17th // Main show at The Rialto Theatre (All Ages):
10:30 – 12:30 — Sleep
9:10 – 10:10 — Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth
8:10 – 8:50 — Cult Leader
7:20 – 7:50 — Goya
6:30 – 7:00 — Languish

Sunday, October 18th // Closing show at Club Congress (All Ages):
10:30 – 12:00 — Acid King
9:20 – 10:10 — Demon Lung
8:20 – 9:00 — Night Demon
7:20 – 8:00 — Fuzz Evil
6:30 – 7:00 — Ice Sword

Now in its fourth consecutive year, SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST was founded in 2012 by members of Tucson-based underground acts Godhunter, Inoculara, Diseased Reason and Great American Tragedy, in conjunction with local venues, vendors and businesses, in order to bring a full-bore event to underground music fans. Each year the event expands into new directions and brings a massive variety of internationally-known headliners together with incredible acts from across the Southwest and beyond.

http://www.ticketfly.com/event/844951
http://southwestterrorfest.bigcartel.com
http://www.facebook.com/southwestterrorfest
http://www.earsplitcompound.com

The Body, Live at Southwest Terror Fest 2014

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audiObelisk Transmission 046

Posted in Podcasts on March 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

I was coming down to the end of this one and decided that I couldn’t let it go without including one more track to push it toward the two-hour mark, and the weirdness of Skunk Hawk’s “Lovers of Pompeii” won out. All bets were off after JPT Scare Band anyway. Nothing to lose between that and Jonas Munk and Headless Kross. Kind of all over the place stylstically there, but each song is so immersive on its own that I figured it would work one way or another. Heaven forbid you change it up once or twice in 60 minutes. Ha.

The first hour gets pretty heavy as well — I suppose it starts that way, with Ufomammut leading off, but look out. Once Wren kicks in from the Jarboe & Helen Money track, that, Gale and Watchtower get into some serious heft. Not that the others don’t, but you know what I mean. Blah blah blah riffs. Oh yeah, and I totally snuck in some new Acid King there, because that record is killer. So dig on that for sure if you haven’t yet. As always, hope you enjoy:

First Hour:
Ufomammut, “Plouton” from Ecate
Royal Thunder, “Time Machine” from Crooked Doors
Boarchucker, “Red Rain” from Swine Throne
Suzukiton, “Snakehead” from Suzukiton II
Jarboe & Helen Money, “Hello Mr. Blue” from Jarboe & Helen Money
Wren, “Before the Great Silence” from split with Irk
Gale, “Burn Your Person” from Vol. 1
Watchtower, “Living Heads” from Radiant Moon
Leather Nun America, “Bourgeois Pig” from Buddha Knievel
Worshipper, “High above the Clouds” from Black Corridor/High above the Clouds
Acid King, “Red River” from Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

Second Hour:
Headless Kross, “Rural Juror” from Volumes
Jonas Munk, “Absorb” from Absorb Fabric Cascade
JPT Scare Band, “Sleeping Sickness” from Acid Acetate Excursion & Rape of the Titan’s Sirens
Skunk Hawk, “Lovers of Pompeii” from Skunk Hawk

Total running time: 1:59:24

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 046

 

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