Telestrion Release Double-Album Blazing in the Sky

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

telestrion

Okay, so Telestrion‘s Blazing in the Sky has been out for a minute or two. Sometimes a thing comes to my attention after it’s been a while. It’s not like the record’s a year old, so, you know, stuff it. The span of the thing is more important than time anyway — though while we’re quibbling dates, I’ll note it’s been six years since the Atlanta natives released their last EP, Molecule (review here) — and maybe making up for lost time is part of the reason they’ve gone to a double-LP with Blazing in the Sky, though listening to the four jams that would comprise the second platter of a vinyl release, they don’t really need any justification for being included. They’re there, and awesome. That should be and is enough.

Blazing in the Sky is Telestrion‘s second full-length behind 2007’s self-titled debut, though the band also trace their roots back to the lone 2004 outing from another outfit called Qualone. I still have my CD of that record. Cool stuff. It’s on Telestrion‘s Bandcamp if you get through the new album and are up for digging back. Ah hell, you’ve got time. You know you do.

I don’t know if they’re doing a physical pressing at this time or waiting to get a label involved in such an endeavor, but either way, Blazing in the Sky is certainly lit up. Details follow from the PR wire:

telestrion blazing in the sky

Atlanta Cosmic Rockers Telestrion release “Blazing in the Sky” featuring Spinal Tap/Atomic Rooster Drummer, Ric Parnell

The music of Telestrion is an assault on the senses with their brand of own brand psychedelic acid fuzz rock. Think Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and Hawkwind and you’ll be in the ballpark, however Telestrion have a sound that is uniquely their own. Telestrion’s performances meander back and forth between tightly rehearsed songs and loose free form improvisational jams, depending on the state of the players and the moment.

In April of 2018, Telestrion released their long awaited double album, Blazing in the Sky. The album was produced by Telestrion and Jeff Tomei and features legendary Spinal Tap/Atomic Rooster drummer Ric Parnell. Blazing in the Sky is a 15 song cosmic journey that covers all of the bases from the short and sweet “Nothing Left” to the 15 minute epic “Midnight Never Ends.” Telestrion’s music is definitely food for the mind and is something to not just be heard but to be experienced as well.

Founding member/singer/guitarist/songwriter Andy Samford had this to say about working with the legendary Ric Parnell (aka. Mick Shrimpton in Spinal Tap):

“He was amazing, he would listen to a demo, I’d walk him through the arrangement and then he’d create and perform a perfect part in one or two takes. Genius, really. We’d give him some direction and I’d call out changes but other than that it was pretty spontaneous and in the moment. Sides 3 and 4 are all improv and were made up on the spot with zero discussion.” – Andy Samford

Tracklisting:
1. Electric Ball 03:08
2. The Peak 03:15
3. Manifestations 04:55
4. Oasis Of Souls 05:23
5. Paperclip 03:38
6. Blazing In The Sky 05:15
7. Nothing Left 02:37
8. Out In The Hills 04:39
9. A Storm Is Comin 07:22
10. I Ain’t Got Time For Time 04:03
11. I Ain’t Got Time For Time (Reprise) 03:59
12. What’s Not On 08:02
13. Kykeon 10:22
14. Midnight Never Ends 15:33
15. The Law Of Averages 07:44

Telestrion is:
Andy Samford – Guitar, Vocals, Synth, Piano, M-Tron, Percussion
Brian Holcomb – Guitar, Vocals, Theremin, Vocoder, Sitar, Maracas, Wind, Arpanoid
Ric Parnell – Drums
Stephen Carrington – Bass, Guitar
Jonathan Lee – Bass
Karl Kendrick – Synth, Backing Vocals
Billy Reeves – Percussion
Allen Beaver – Allen Holcomb’s Dragster

https://www.facebook.com/TELESTRION
https://telestrion1.bandcamp.com/
http://telestrion.net/

Telestrion, Blazing in the Sky (2018)

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Avon, The Discussion, Alms, Vessel of Light, Enojado, Mother Mars, Southfork, Gypsy Sun Revival, Valhalla Lights, L.O.W.

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

This is the part of each Quarterly Review when I begin to question my life choices. Otherwise known as ‘the beginning.’ I still haven’t decided if this is going to be a five-dayer or a six-dayer, but one way or another, between now and whenever it ends, at least 50 records will be reviewed in batches of 10 per day. It’s completely insane. Completely. Every three months or so I remind myself of this by doing it again, and every time it ends up being worth the insanity. I’ve no doubt that will be the case here as well, but looking across the next five days at placeholders where reviews need to be, well, yeah. It’s pretty insane.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Avon, Dave’s Dungeon

avon daves dungeon

Dave’s Dungeon is the second full-length from Californian desert rockers Avon, and with it they make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. Peppered with varied songwriting across alternately garage rocking cuts like “Yello,” “On Fire” and “Red Barn” (video premiere here), languid psychedelic excursions in “Space Native” and the subtly proggy “Hero with a Gun,” and the classic desert crunch of “Dungeon Dave,” “Mace Face” and “Terraformations,” the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist James Childs, bassist Charles Pasarell (also Waxy) and drummer Alfredo Hernández (ex-Kyuss, Yawning Man, etc.) have no doubt garnered attention due to the participation of the latter, but all three manage to leave their mark across the 10 tracks, particularly Childs. His English-accented vocals become a defining element in “Hero with a Gun” and “Yello,” and whether fast or slow, the rhythm section offers air-tight accompaniment. Straightforward in their approach but not without some flourish, Avon bring their own touch to the classic desert style and offer memorable songs in the process. Nobody loses.

Avon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

The Discussion, European Tour EP

The Discussion European Tour Ep 2017

Issued to coincide with an initial string of Fall 2017 European shows, the aptly-titled Tour EP serves as the debut offering from The Discussion, and its five tracks mark the return of guitarist/vocalist Laura Pleasants, not heard from since the end of her prior outfit, Kylesa. With “A Gesture/Other Side,” Pleasants and company commune with post-rock and atmospheric stretch, where “Like Rain” and “Surf Jesus” channel New Wave and Blondie pop with an underlying heft of low end to add presence. Through it all, Pleasants’ vocals prove a patient and melodic element, and as “Before We’re Gone” brings in a moody krautrock sensibility and finale “Cuts Like a Knife” engages louder and more forward riffing in its final minute payoff, the message that The Discussion has only begun comes through loud and clear. Tour EP sounds like the beginning stages of a larger process of experimentation and creative growth, and one hopes it proves to be precisely that.

The Discussion on Thee Facebooks

The Discussion on Bandcamp

 

Alms, Demo Vol. 1

alms demo vol 1

Modern heavy rock groove meets classic metal guitar on AlmsDemo Vol. 1, which, as it turns out, is more of a sampler than an actual demo, comprised as it is of two rough mixes from the band’s forthcoming debut album. The result of this mesh on “The Offering” and “Dead Water” is somewhere between Uncle Acid swing and Iron Maiden twin lead work, and the five-piece do well immediately to own the combination and make it cohesive sonically. Traditional doom play more of a role in “Dead Water,” and the keys of vocalist Jess Kamen – joined by guitarist/vocalist Bob Sweeney, guitarist Danny McDonald, bassist Andrew Harris and drummer Derrick Hans – and while I don’t know what label it is that’s going to pick them up (I’d believe anyone from Ripple to Shadow Kingdom to Season of Mist, depending on how much they want to tour), but if these two songs are anything to go by, they’ll be lucky to get them.

Alms on Thee Facebooks

Alms on Bandcamp

 

Vessel of Light, Vessel of Light

vessel of light vessel of light

Collaborating between Ohio and New Jersey, Vessel of Light brings together vocalist Nathan Opposition of Ancient VVisdom and guitarist Dan Lorenzo of Hades. Their self-titled five-tracker EP (on Argonauta) melds bluesy metallic riffing with tales of murder and drugs on cuts like “Dead Flesh and Bones” (video premiere here) and its eponymous closer, which emphasizes a hook based around the lines, “LSD has got a hold on me/I wanna show you all the things that I’ve seen.” It goes like that. For Lorenzo, parts recall the groove he brought to short-lived heavy rock outfit The Cursed, but with Opposition’s lyrics and the periodic delving into harsher vocals, there’s a moodier and more aggressive edge to the songs that helps define the personality of the duo as a band. How often they’ll work together remains to be seen, they make a murderous introduction with this EP and there’s plenty of fodder here for further exploration should they get there.

Vessel of Light on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Enojado, Mist and Thunder

enojado mist and thunder

German trio Enojado was founded by guitarist/vocalist Stephan Kieserling circa 2002, and though he’s been through numerous lineups since, with bassist/vocalist Thomas Schnaube and drummer Till Junker, he’s put together the band’s first release since their 2014 The Chain is Loose LP was issued by Setalight. At under half an hour and six tracks plus an intro, late 2017’s Mist and Thunder offers solid heavy rock songwriting with a straightforward approach bordering on the metallic in its tone but never quite departing a heavy rock context in rhythm, even in the starts and stops of “Notorious.” The obvious standout in heft is the seven-minute “Coma,” which seems to add weight to everything around it, from “The Truth About Gold” earlier to “I Saw the Sun,” which follows, and the finale in “Queen of Heaven,” which brings a quick payoff to the release and leaves a residual echo and drone/guitar minimalism for its last two minutes. Less derivative than it at first seems, Mist and Thunder might take multiple rounds to sink in, but proves worth the effort of a dedicated listen.

Enojado on Thee Facebooks

Enojado on Bandcamp

 

Mother Mars, On Lunar Highlands

mother mars on lunar highlands

It’s kind of rare for a band to sound like they’re making fun of their own music as they play it, and yet, “Lost Planet Airmen” from Mother Mars’ fourth full-length, On Lunar Highlands, does precisely that. The Aussie trio led by multi-instrumentalists Frank (drums, synth, Clavinet) and Paul (guitar, bass, synth, banjo-mandolin, keys) Attard – who also produced together – and featuring the bluesy stylings of vocalist Dave Schembri, did not make the 11-tracker a minor undertaking. Rather, at 69 minutes, it pushes through stoner boogie on “Thought it Best to Cut You Loose” and still has room for heady jams on extended pieces like “The Stalwarts of Stalwart Castle” (9:31), “Woodhollow Green” (12:55) and the penultimate title-track (8:35), which leads to the far-out banjo shenanigans of closer “The Heavy Hand of the Destroyer.” Needless to say, madness ensues. Interludes like “Bean Stalkin’” and “Bean Stalkin’ Again” and the experimental “The Working Mind of the Creator” add anything-can-happen flair, and the weirder On Lunar Highlands gets, the more it satisfies. It gets very, very weird.

Mother Mars on Thee Facebooks

Mother Mars on Bandcamp

 

Southfork, Through a Dark Lens

southfork through a dark lens
Two decades after their founding in 1997, Stockholm’s Southfork returned late last year with their first album since 2001’s Straight Ahead, the seven-track Through a Dark Lens, which itself is nearly five years in the making. Opening with its longest cut (immediate points) in the 7:59 “Already Gone,” the bass-heavy approach the band takes is indeed emblematic of an era now easily thought of as classic, but one could hardly call it dated for that. Rather, tracks like “Into the Deep” and “Tomb of the Mirror Men” flow easily from one to the next and the record reveals in the strut of “Seventosix” and the answer-back closer “Nowhere Gone” just why someone might put almost half a decade of effort into realizing it. Whether you remember Southfork’s original run or not, Through a Dark Lens offers immersive tone and songwriting and as Southfork have already followed it up with what seems to be a compilation release, it may signal a return to fuller activity on their part.

Southfork on Thee Facebooks

Southfork on Bandcamp

 

Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time

Gypsy Sun Revival Journey Outside Of Time

Production by Kent Stump (Wo Fat). Mastering by John McBain (ex-Monster Magnet). Released through Nasoni Records. Sure enough, the second album from Texas heavy psych rockers Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time, wants nothing for the quality of its associations and with the Hendrixian guitar work of Will Weise and the bluesy classic frontman approach of vocalist Mario Rodriguez, they earn that pedigree through and through. Tyler Gene Davis’ contributions on organ only further the ‘70s vibes on “To the Sky” before Weise takes a wah-soaked solo backed by Lee Ryan on bass and drummer Ben H., and the later two-part “Pisces” combines with closer “Departure” to create a thrilling jammed-out side B that takes the more structured craft of “Indigo” and catchy opener “Cadillac to Mexico” earlier and pulls them through an interdimensional haze that only does more to evoke the album’s title. Between Journey Outside of Time and Gypsy Sun Revival’s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), one is left wondering how long we’ll be able to think of them as a well-kept secret of Texas’ fertile heavy underground.

Gypsy Sun Revival on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

Valhalla Lights, My Gracious Highway

valhalla lights my gracious highway

There’s a commercial sense of clarity to Valhalla LightsMy Gracious Highway, which seems to have been originally issued by the band in 2016 but is being given a renewed international push. It’s a crisp 13-track/45-minute long-player, marked by solid songcraft and the forward performance of vocalist Ange Saul, who takes the place of departed original singer Phoebe Black, who passed away in 2015 just prior to guitarist George Christie, bassist Brent “Badger” Crysell and drummer Deon Driver – all formerly of heavy rockers FORT – entered the studio to record their debut release. Songs veer toward Queens of the Stone Age-style groove on “Hammer the Witch” and closer “Punk,” and there’s enough variety of mood between the brooding “Beautiful,” showcase centerpiece “The One” and “Darker Side of Love” and the all-go rockers “Rise Above,” “Crucify” and “Someday” to carry the listener through smoothly with an abiding sense of professionalism. Will be too clean for some listeners, but is largely inarguable in its execution.

Valhalla Lights on Thee Facebooks

Valhalla Lights website

 

L.O.W., Bones EP

low bones ep

Located in the northwest of Poland, the acronymic four-piece L.o.W. debut with the Bones EP, which hurls forth three extended works of extreme sludge led into by an atmospheric intro. The band – the lineup of vocalist Adam, guitarist Marek, drummer Witold and bassist Micha? belong to the post-Primitive Man sphere of viciousness, but “Tear Me Open” offers some respite in its closing moments, pulling back on the massive plunder and switching from guttural growls to spoken vocals. With just a touch of Electric Wizard swirl, “Almost Like God’s,” renews the onslaught, offering a break in its middle from the Eyehategod-style sway while saving its most brutal growl for last, and at just under 10 minutes long, the title-track rounds out Bones with bass and drums unfolding a progression soon topped by guitar noise that lets the listener know they’ve just entered another level of punishment. There are moments of impulse toward stonerism that show themselves in Marek’s guitar work, but the primary mission on Bones seems to be assault, and the band has no problem living up to that intent.

L.o.W. on Bandcamp

L.o.W. on Thee Facebooks

 

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

The Discussion Announce Inaugural European Tour Dates this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the discussion laura pleasants

Former Kylesa guitarist/vocalist Laura Pleasants recently announced the formation of a subsequent project, The Discussion, and it seems that she’s diving headfirst into the new band. Though no music has yet to surface from the outfit, which consists thus far of Pleasants alone in the studio but will perform as a live three-piece including bassist Derek Lynch and drummer/sampler Richard Adams, a first live incursion has been announced that’s set to take place over the bulk of Fall 2017 across a considerable swath of Europe.

A band’s first tour covering a span of three months on a route of multiple countries on foreign shores? Some might prefer to test the waters with a weekender here or there, but hitting the road hard is nothing new for Pleasants, who did so for years as a member of Kylesa. And with that band’s increasingly progressive output leading up to their 2015 swansong, Exhausting Fire, which you can hear in full below, I have the feeling I won’t be the only one interested to find out where Pleasants takes The Discussion sound-wise. All the better she’s taking the project out to get it into as many ears as possible.

Dates, many of which are still to be announced, follow here, as posted on the social medias:

the discussion euro tour

The Discussion – European Fall Tour 2017

Updates are happening all the time, so please keep checking with us!

Wed 6/9: Hamburg, DE @ Hafenklang
Thurs 7/9: Stockholm, SE @ Undergången
Fri 8/9: Gothenburg, SE @ Truckstop Alaska
Sat 9/9 Oslo, NO @ Revolver
Sun 10/9 Copenhagen, DK @ Beta
Mon 11/9 Berlin, DE @ Tiefgrund
Tues 12/9 Leipzig, DE @ AKKO
Wed 13/9 TBC
Thurs 14/9 Vienna, AT @ Das Bach
Sat 16/9 Budapest, HU
Sun 17/9 Belgrade, RS
Thurs 21/9 Sofia, BG
Fri 22/9 Thessalonik, i Greece
Sat 23/9 Athens Greece
Sun 24/9 Ioannina Greece
Thurs 28/9 – 7/10 : ITALY TBA
Sun 8/10 Lyon, FR
Tues 10/10 Barcelona, ES TBC
Wed 11/10 Castellón, ES
Thurs 12/10 Madrid TBC
Fri 13/10 Langreo, Asturias, ES
Sat 14/10 Bilbao, ES TBC
Tues 17/10 Paris, FR TBC
Thurs 19/10 UK TBC
Fri 20/10 UK TBC
Sat 21/10 UK TBC
Sun 22/10 UK Stonehenge
Tues 24/10 Ghent or Antwerp, BE TBC
Wed 25/10 Amsterdam, NL TBC
Thurs 26/10 NL TBC
Fri 27/10 NL TBC
Sat 28/10 Belgium or Germany TBC
Sun 29/10 Belgium or Germany TBC
Tues 31/10 Karlsruhe, DE Dudefest
Wed 1/11 Switzerland TBA
Thurs 2/11 Munich TBC
Fri 3/11 Leanna’s b-day / off
Sat 4/11: TBC Southern Germany

The Discussion is:
Laura Pleasants – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, etc
LIVE:
Richard Adams – Drums, Percussion, Samples
Derek Lynch – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/thediscussion.laurapleasants/
http://www.kylesa.com/

Kylesa, Exhausting Fire (2015)

Tags: , , , , ,

Kylesa Set April 22 Release for Live at Maida Vale Studios

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kylesa

I know this is probably the least-relevant measure that’s ever been applied to the band, but I’ll take a Kylesa live performance 150 times before I go see Mastodon. The two groups, who pretty much have in common Georgian lineage and a move from the heavier end of sludge thrust into more progressive and melodically conscious fare — not nothing — aren’t really comparable at this point, with Mastodon having gotten a major label push a significant-enough difference to make them largely apples and oranges and Kylesa pretty much having broken up (at least for now) last year following the release of the apparently-aptly-titled Exhausting Fire through Season of Mist in 2015, but still. I’m just saying. Kylesa were fucking awesome live every time I saw them.

They’ll release Live at Maida Vale Studios on April 22. It’s their fourth outing for Season of Mist, which makes me wonder what the terms of their contract with the label might’ve been after three studio outings in Exhausting Fire, 2013’s Ultraviolet (review here) and 2010’s Spiral Shadow (review here). For some reason, three-album deals and five-album deals seem more likely in my head than four-album deals, which of course Live at Maida Vale Studios would fulfill. Odd.

Okay. Whatever happens with Kylesa in the future, remember they never stopped progressing. PR wire has art and details:

kylesa-live-at-maida-vale-studios

KYLESA release Record Store Day exclusive, “Live at Maida Vale Studios”

Savannah’s genre-defying heavy rock group KYLESA will see the release of ‘Live at Maida Vale Studios’ as part of Record Store Day 2017. ‘Live at Maida Vale…’ captures KYLESA’s February 2014 BBC Radio 1 Rock Show session in its entirety, and has never been commercially available before. The session was recorded with BBC DJ Daniel P. Carter for the BBC program “Rock Show with Daniel P Carter”.

The track list for ‘Live at Maide Vale…’ is:
1. Quicksand
2. Long Gone
3. Don’t Look Back
4. To Forget

‘Live at Maida Vale…’ is a one time pressing of 1500 12″ LPs, 1000 CDs, and 150 cassettes and will be available on April 22 2017 at independent record stores worldwide. A full list of confirmed Record Store Day special releases and more can be found here.

Maida Vale Studios is a complex of seven BBC sound studios in London.The historic set of studios have seen musical performances dating back from 1946 to the present. Past performances have include music from legendary rock icons such as DAVID BOWIE, LED ZEPPELIN, JIMI HENDRIX and many more.

KYLESA’s most recent studio release is their critically acclaimed record ‘Exhausting Fire’. ‘Exhausting Fire’, which is available across several CD and LP formats at the Season of Mist E-Shop. The album is streaming via Bandcamp, and is also available on Spotify.

https://www.facebook.com/KYLESAmusic
https://twitter.com/kylesamusic
https://www.instagram.com/kylesa_band/
https://kylesasom.bandcamp.com/
https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=kylesa

Kylesa, Exhausting Fire (2015)

Tags: , , , , ,

The Obelisk Radio Adds: Woodsplitter, Shroud Eater & Dead Hand, Moaning Cities, Wartime and Megaritual

Posted in Radio on February 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio by cavum

A round of adds to The Obelisk Radio once a month doesn’t seem like too much to ask, right? Well, it probably will be as the rest of the year plays out amid my meandering attention span, onslaught of reviews, etc., but for now, I’m at least two-for-two on 2017, and that should count for something. I won’t speculate as to what.

Pretty varied batch this time around, with some familiar names stepping outside what might be perceived as their comfort zone and others digging into various traditions in rock, blues, psych, sludge and doom. Much as I try to keep the stream running at all times — one has server blips; it happens — I also try to mix things up at least in a context that makes sense from one song to the next, though every now and again as I listen I hear something that completely blindsides me. That can be fun too.

As always, I hope you find something in here you dig.

The Obelisk Radio adds, Feb. 6, 2017:

Woodsplitter, Inflamed

woodsplitter-inflamed

For those who know guitarist Ben McLeod for the bluesy, psychedelic flow he brings to the languid jamming of All Them Witches, no doubt the Inflamed debut from his Woodsplitter solo/side-project is going to be a marked surprise. That would seem to be at least in part the intent. Working in a fire-fueled vein of instrumental progressive metal, “Liturgy” introduces a sense of extremity yet unheard from McLeod. Backed only by his own programmed drums, self-recorded, -mixed and -released, it’s a 39-minute mostly-onslaught that calls to mind a sans-vocal Genghis Tron at times while perhaps nodding at Steve Vai technicality via Devin Townsend‘s more metallized approach. McLeod locks in a plodding groove on “Fatty’s Waltz,” but even this is a bold step stylistically, and subsequent “Pile” and two-part title-track — the second piece of which secures Inflamed‘s ultimate triumph — only continue the push into experimentation. Ultimately, McLeod lands sure-footed in this exploration, showcasing roots that many who’ll take on Woodsplitter probably didn’t know he had — including some post-rock layering at the tail end of closer “The Weather Outside is Frightful” — and setting up a future progression almost entirely distinct from that of his main outfit. Won’t be for everybody, but hits with an equal measure of purpose and force.

Woodsplitter on Bandcamp

All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks

 

Shroud Eater & Dead Hand, Split

shroud-eater-dead-hands-split

As to what unites Georgian five-piece Dead Hand and Floridian trio Shroud Eater on this late-2016 Southern Druid Records split 7″, it won’t take long to figure out. Both bands are heavy as hell. With “Guaiacol” from the former going head-to-head with the latter’s “Destroy the Monolith” it becomes a contest of churn vs. roll, Dead Hand taking an atmospheric approach that feels in comparison more derived from post-metal than Shroud Eater‘s nonetheless spacious sludgy pummeling. Either way you go, you’re getting crushed by a six-minute track that seems only to revel in the cruelty of its lumbering, Dead Hand‘s chug arriving over a torrent of double-kickdrum before opening to a more forward thrust on “Guaiacol” and locking into a nod that persists even in the relatively minimalist midsection before, the lumbering, growling extremity resumes. As a title like “Destroy the Monolith” might hint, Shroud Eater aren’t exactly taking it easy either. With a multi-vocalist arrangement and vastness of groove, they represent their core sound well as a precursor to the awaited arrival of their second album hopefully sometime in 2017. It’s a quick release — in and out in 12 minutes — but both acts are bound to make an impression on the listener as each shows off their own brand of brutality.

Shroud Eater on Bandcamp

Dead Hand on Bandcamp

Southern Druid Records webstore

 

Moaning Cities, D. Klein

moaning-cities-d-klein

Issued through EXAG Records, the oddly-but-somehow-appropriately-stylized D. Klein is the second full-length from Belgium’s Moaning Cities, who seem as much at home in referencing The Velvet Underground and The Stooges on “Solitary Hawk” as drifting out All Them Witches-esque on the earlier “Sex Sells.” At 10 tracks/39 minutes, the Brussels-based outfit don’t express any particular need to settle into one sound-niche or another, but they keep a languid flow of psychedelic heavy blues in songs like “Insomnia” and the poetically-stomping “Vertigo Rising” that makes the okay-it’s-freakout-time arrival of the penultimate “Drag” all the more satisfying, even if their clear element of control is well maintained throughout. Flourish like the electronic beats in opener “Expected” and the soundscaping guitar in the finale “Daggers” add further depth to a release that already offers plenty, but Moaning Cities retain a classy, nigh-on-chic atmosphere without losing the tonal substance needed beneath to hold up such a strong aesthetic presentation. Whether they’re digging into ’90s alt vibes on “Born Again” — Violent Femmes goes West? — or tossing some sitar to go along with the spoken word of “Yell-Oh-Bahn,” Moaning Cities thrive on never quite letting their listeners know what’s coming next, and that nuance suits D. Klein well.

Moaning Cities on Bandcamp

EXAG Records webstore

 

Wartime, Wartime Vol. 1

wartime-vol-1

Between its five-minute, horror-sample-topped intro “Breaking Wheel” and its corresponding five-minute, horror-sample-topped outro “Magical Law,” Wartime‘s Wartime Vol. 1 delves so deep into classic doom via NWOBHM cultishness that I’m amazed Shadow Kingdom Records has yet to pick it up for a release. The Colombian trio’s 2016 debut, it’s as effective in the moodiness of its acoustic centerpiece “A Whisper” as in the brash Sabbathism of the eponymous “Wartime,” and an overarching rawness in the tracks only feeds the vision of doomed purity within them. Pressed in a limited number of CDs that, like their prior 2015 demo tape, are already long gone, it’s a fist-pump-worthy execution of doom for doomers that asks little by way of indulgences and delivers much in riff, metal-of-yore ambience and the songcraft of drummer/vocalist Alejandro, guitarist D-Pig and bassist Scum, who hold onto a punkish thrust for “Another Reality” before the Vitus-style plod of “Wicked Son.” Children of doom indeed. At 32 minutes, it’s on the shorter end of a full-length album, but it unquestionably sets the groundwork for an LP-style flow, and as Wartime‘s debut, impresses double with the realization of its conceptual bleakness. Special thanks to Juan Lopez for the recommendation on this one. I’m glad I got to check it out and will look forward to what Wartime do next.

Wartime on Bandcamp

Wartime merch page

 

Megaritual, Temple

megaritual-temple

I’ve been doing my dernedest to keep up with Australian one-man outfit Megaritual since getting hip to the White Dwarf aptly-named LP compilation, Mantra Music (review here), late last year. The product of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Dale Paul WalkerMegaritual followed that release with the 25-minute single-song Eclipse EP (review here), and it’s to that offering that the 18-minute single-tracker Temple seems to have direct lineage, though actually the recording dates back further, to 2013/2014, and finds Walker joined by drummer Govinda Das in a duo incarnation of the band. Not entirely to find “Temple” is a little older, since Megaritual seem to be finding the patience later shown throughout the Mantra Music EPs that comprised the vinyl and then Eclipse afterward here, but you absolutely will not find me complaining about the edge of tonal buzz that complements the massive riff of this track, nor the improvised-sounding spaces around it being explored early on, nor the noise/drone that plays out over the course of the second half. If this is Walker giving a look at the project’s origins, he would seem to have come into Megaritual with an expressive concept in mind, and while it’s clear he’s put himself to the task of refining it, Temple demonstrates it was immersive even in its most formative moments.

Megaritual on Bandcamp

To see everything that joined The Obelisk Radio playlist today, click here.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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

Friday Full-Length: Zoroaster, Matador

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Zoroaster, Matador (2010)

There’s a repeated line in the opener of Zoroaster‘s Matador (review here) that would seem to sum up the entire attitude of the album. It goes: ‘Don’t tell me how to die.’ I’m not sure if I’d call it part of a chorus, but it comes up once or twice in “D.N.R.” and as the last line of the song, is the lead-in to the bizarro crush that follows throughout the Atlanta-based doomers’ 2010 swansong. I recall when I first heard the record — which arrived just one year after their second outing, 2009’s Voice of Saturn (review here), as their debut on E1 Music — it took a while to settle in, and by that I mean I didn’t completely understand what the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Will Fiore, bassist/vocalist Brent Anderson and drummer Dan Scanlan were doing with their sound. I’d followed their progress since their 2005 self-titled CD demo through the self-released 2007 debut, Dog Magic, and on from there, and everything they did from outing to outing showed clear growth from one to the next, but when the nine-track/44-minute Matador hit with its swirling, Sanford Parker-produced spaciousness, the prevailing vibe was so weird that I was caught almost entirely off-guard. One expected big riffs and grooves from Zoroaster. One didn’t expect the chants and meditations of “Old World.” It took some getting used to.

On the off-chance you clicked the review link in the first sentence of this post, you’ll see I did eventually adjust my consciousness to Matador‘s wavelength. Took me a minute, but I got there. The record came out in July 2010 — I had an interview with Fiore up to mark the release; spoke to him a few times over the years and he never remembered me but was always cool to talk to — and by then I was ready to proclaim it one of the year’s best. Six years later, I stand by that. It would wind up being Zoroaster‘s final album, but at the time, Matador sounded like it was just the beginning, and in that blend of psychedelia and the churning sludge from whence they emerged, FioreAnderson and Scanlan discovered a sound that was truly their own — one only bolstered by Parker‘s production. Their years of hard touring paid off in pure aesthetic achievement, and whether it was the rawer thrust of “Ancient Ones,” the soaring leads of “Trident,” the meaner shouts of “Black Hole” or the languid vibes of “Odyssey II,” a companion-piece to righteous and deceptively catchy third cut “Odyssey,” and the final gravity well of its title-track, Matador was immersive across its span in a way that neither Voice of Saturn nor Dog Magic could’ve possibly been. That’s not to say anything against either of those LPs, which I wouldn’t do, just that the effort Zoroaster put into what they did came to fruition in these tracks, and as we moved into the current decade, they seemed poised to be among the forerunners of adventurous, forward thinking US doom. New label, more expansive sound, touring as much as ever — there were few safer bets to make.

Accordingly, that’s not at all how it went. These years later, I’m somewhat amazed that in the array of reunions happening, nobody has kicked around Zoroaster‘s name as one due for a resurgence. Maybe it’s too soon — the last touring I heard of from them was with Church of Misery in 2013; by then, Anderson was out of the band and replaced by Mike Morris — but their laser lightshow was always welcome every time I was able to catch it and I can’t imagine their presentation wouldn’t find favor amid the new generation of heavy aficionados that has surfaced in increasing numbers since the band’s departure. We may or may not get there eventually — you won’t find me daring to predict, having sort of learned my lesson in that regard — but the point is that both live and in the studio, Zoroaster were a special group and delivered something that no one else did in quite the same way. I have to wonder what planes of existence they might’ve moved to had they kept going after Matador, where all this lysergic weight would’ve carried them. As it stands, one can find Anderson in Order of the Owl, who released their We are Here to Collect Our Crown EP earlier this year following up on 2012’s In the Noon of the After Day full-length debut, while Fiore rounds out the four-piece incarnation of Royal Thunder, who will reportedly have a new record out in 2017. Last I heard, Scanlan, who was an absolute difference-maker especially on stage, wasn’t currently with a band.

Whether Zoroaster ever make a return is something the years will tell, but in revisiting Matador so long after the fact, it’s even more obvious to me how much they had to offer. If you were into it at the time or if it’s new to you now, I hope you enjoy.

It was a quiet week overall, though it hardly started that way on Monday driving back from holiday celebrations with family in New Jersey. Granted we stopped for dinner, but seven-plus hours of a four-hour trip felt perhaps needlessly brutal. Fortunately, I had plenty of time to recover with the week off from work. And that’s exactly what I did. Errands here and there, and it turned out to be the perfect span for the Quarterly Review — which wraps on Monday — since otherwise it was pretty quiet, but in the main it was delicious food prepared not at all in a post-workday panic, hanging out with The Patient Mrs. playing Final Fantasy XV, making our way through the entirety of the Die Hard film franchise, etc.

Call it a reminder of how much I prefer existence when I can wake up and write every day on my own terms; of what I want my life to be. I need weeks like this.

Next week, a return to somewhat frenetic normalcy. Here’s what I’ve got planned so far, subject to change as always:

SUN: Year-End Poll results.
MON: Quarterly Review Day 6 and a new video from The Progerians.
TUE: Sgt. Sunshine review and Drone Hunter video.
WED: Review/premiere from Blood Mist, announcement from Hair of the Dog.
THU: Much-delayed Surya Kris Peters review, video premiere from Drive by Wire.
FRI: Sergio Ch. review slated as of now, but that might shift.

Lots of good stuff to come as we get into 2017. I’ve got my list of most anticipated releases coming together — it’s over 100 strong at this point. I want a week or two to solidify things further and give myself a break from writing lists generally, but it’ll be posted before the end of January.

In the meantime, as noted above, the motherload of lists — the results of the Year-End Poll — goes up this weekend, so stay tuned for that. As of this post, it’s still a really close race as it has been all month, and we’ve totally blown away last year’s number of contributors by nearly 200, so I’m very, very pleased with how it’s all turning out. Of course, everyone’s list will be included as always. It will be massive and probably crash the site, but whatever. Poll-time comes but once a year.

I say this every week, but if you’re the type to celebrate New Year’s, it’s especially true: Please be safe and have a great time. No DUIs, no fireworks blowing off hands, none of that shit. Not saying you can’t enjoy yourself, just saying no casualties. The universe needs all the rockers it can get.

Alright, that’s it for me. Can’t say I’ll mourn 2016’s passing, as it was a rough one on any number of levels personal and otherwise, but let’s all look forward and hope for better times to come. Please know you have my best wishes.

And please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

Shroud Eater & Dead Hand Team up for Split 7″ out Nov. 21; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

I’m a pretty easy sell at this point on Shroud Eater anything. Presumably the Miami trio’s forthcoming split seven-incher alongside Georgian doomers Dead Hand will serve as a precursor to their upcoming STB Records full-length, Strike the Sun, which was announced over the summer and (also) presumably will be out early 2017. Not a moment too soon, frankly, and while I don’t know if their inclusion on the split, which will be out on Southern Druid Records and is available to preorder now, will show up on the LP as well, if it does then it’s a preview for the record and if it doesn’t then it’s a bonus for those who seek it out. Either way, it’s not like you really lose. But then again, like I say, I’m a pretty easy sell.

Release date for the split is Nov. 21. Info follows from the PR wire:

SHROUD EATER / DEAD HAND split 7″

Dead Hand and Shroud Eater join forces to deliver this sonic pummeling of a 7″.

Shroud Eater brings their Miami Sludge groove harder than ever on “Destroy the Monolith”. Dead Hand prove once again that they are masters of Doom with their track “Guaiacol”.

Pre-order ships on 11/21/16.

Brooding Miami riff sorcerers SHROUD EATER continue to deliver crushing alms to the altar of heavy. Riding high off the frenetic energy of their last release, the trio are releasing a newly recorded version of slow-churning wickedness in “Destroy the Monolith”. The song will be released on a split 7″ with Georgia’s tone lords Dead Hand. The split is set to be released 11-18-2016 via Jacksonville’s Southern Druid Records.

Starting as an idea in 2012, Dead Hand hit the ground running with a split 7 inch with Philly shredders, Repellers in Jan 2014 on Divine Mother Recordings.Mastered by Dan Randall of Mammoth Sound (Ash Borer, Noothgrush, Unearthly Trance), the split received stellar reviews. An EP in July 2014 and regional touring filled up the remainder of the year. In June 2015, Dead Hand released their first full length, “Storm of Demiurge” on Divine Mother Recordings in the USA and Third I Rex in Europe.

SHROUD EATER // “Destroy the Monolith”

Recorded by: Davin Sosa & Aric Meerbot / Guzu Recordings
Mixed & Mastered by: Aric Meerbot

Written & performed by: Shroud Eater
Jean Saiz – guitar, vox
Janette Valentine – bass, vox
Davin Sosa – drums, vox, synth

Art & Lyrics by Jean Saiz

DEAD HAND // “Guaiacol”
Recorded, mixed and mastered at Ledbelly Sound Studios by Matt Washburn

Art by Matt Mills.

http://southerndruidrecords.storenvy.com/products/18254516-shroud-eater-dead-hand-split-7
https://www.facebook.com/shroudeater/
https://shroudeater.bandcamp.com/album/shroud-eater-dead-hand-split
https://www.facebook.com/deadhandcollective/
http://deadhandcollective.blogspot.com/

Shroud Eater, Face the Master (2015)

Dead Hand, Storm of Demiurge (2015)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Stars that Move, No Riders: Bathing in the Devil’s Fountain

Posted in Reviews on June 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

stars that move no riders

Georgia-based trio Stars that Move released their self-titled debut (review here) in the second half of last year, so that they’d turn around and bring forth a follow-up in less than 12 months’ time in the form of No Riders (on Twin Earth Records) comes across as something of a surprise initially. In truth, the quick turnaround is in line with the band’s ’70s ethic — Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut in Feb. 1970 and answered back with Paranoid in September of that same year. Whether that’s the thinking behind Stars that Move‘s desire to press forward beyond their first album, some of the material from which was also featured on a prior Demo Songs EP (review here), I don’t know, but the three-piece of guitarist/bassist Richard Bennett, drummer Frank Sikes and vocalist Elisa Maria definitely draw from that well stylistically, so it would make a kind of sense to follow suit in their methods.

Could be the debut was recorded earlier or Bennett and Sikes — both of whom play/ed in Starchild as well — had the material and decided to track it, but No Riders, which clocks in at an utterly manageable 29 minutes, does show progression from where Stars that Move started out just months ago. That’s something of an impressive feat — consider that some bands take years between records and don’t grow at all — but in addition to Maria sounding more comfortable on vocals, the band seems to have set about smoothing edges in their songwriting in a way that sets up even more of a flow across the included eight tracks than was featured last time out.

An encouraging sign, no doubt, but No Riders is still just months removed from Stars that Move, so one wouldn’t necessarily expect the second record to be leaps and bounds ahead of the first. Opener “The Devil’s Fountain” finds the band reestablishing the post-Uncle Acid riffing that worked so well on “The Blue Prince” from the self-titled and backing it with some proggy noodling on the guitar, buried deep in the verses. The sound on No Riders overall is clearer and fuller, less demo-feeling, and as “The Devil’s Fountain” gives way to the more shuffling “Witchtower,” Stars that Move seem to be right in their element, somewhere between modern cult heavy rock, classic proto-doom and fuzzy psychedelia.

stars that move

With echo on Maria‘s voice, “Castles” takes a subtler approach rhythmically, is a little more subdued in its beginning, but finds Bennett nailing down a bluesy solo that’s a multi-layered joy of Iommic tendencies, feeding back to the verse before a long fadeout brings the shorter “Lost Beyond the Stars,” the end of side A and something of a stylistic landmark, with a faster push and backing vocals behind Maria that further distinguish it from its surroundings. Again, at 2:26, it’s in and out quickly, but “Lost Beyond the Stars” is a definite example of the progress Stars that Move are making as a band. Whether it’s indicative of an overall direction they might head, faster songs with more of a straightforward thrust, departing the swing of “Witchtower” or “Oh Sharon” still to come, I wouldn’t speculate, but it already shows variety growing in their songcraft, and for that is a highlight.

Expansion of process is what I’m talking about on a general level, and that will continue in the second half of No Riders as well, less in cuts like closer “People of the Sea,” which seems in direct conversation with “The Devil’s Fountain” in its purpose and execution, and more in the cover of ZZ Top‘s “TV Dinners,” which has an ultra-simple, no-way-it’s-taking-itself-too-seriously lyric — it’s actually about tv dinners — and shows that while they might start out with the creeper-doom of “Burning Village,” Stars that Move are nnot limited to cultish imagery by any means. They remain exceedingly catchy either way, but where “Burning Village” exudes grim classicism and “Oh Sharon” follows with a more upbeat garage inflection, “TV Dinners” would be punk if its central riff wasn’t straight out of an early ’80s arena rock playbook.

The self-titled had a cover of Sabbath‘s “A National Acrobat,” so “TV Dinners” feels like a reasonable answer for that and is a mega-hook departure before “People of the Sea” caps off with layered guitar boogie and a return to the ethereal heavy swing that the beginning of the album set forth. Though consistent in its sound, No Riders actually benefits from its variation in mood and rhythm. I wouldn’t call it anything but guitar-led on the whole, but Bennett steers the songwriting with a mind toward classic LP structuring, and that suits the material well. Whenever they get around to a third one, maybe sooner, maybe later, it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for, but in the meantime, Stars that Move have established themselves in a niche of post-Sabbathian heavy rock that’s both loyal to its sources and moving toward an identity of its own.

Stars that Move, No Riders (2016)

Stars that Move on Thee Facebooks

Stars that Move on Bandcamp

Twin Earth Records website

Twin Earth Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,